The Path of The Blade (A Warrior's Strategy Guide)

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    jneedler
    Participant

    “Walk softly, and carry a big stick.”
    -Winston Churchill

    “Anybody tries and kill you, you try an kill ’em right back.”
    -Malcolm Reynolds

    Just because we fight stronger, doesn’t mean we can’t also fight smarter …. don’t go standing still in the middle of a big room of bad guys and expect to make it out alive. Tactics are an important part of winning tough combats. Know that there isn’t one perfect character build, just as there isn’t one perfect combination of attacks, skills, and powers for all situations. This guide is far from comprehensive, but hopefully it is a helpful tool.

    Stats – we recommend starting with the normal Warrior stats of Strength 4 and Constitution 2.
    Strength (STR) is your main stat. Each point of STR increases your accuracy with melee weapons by +1, and also your damage by +1.
    Constitution (CON) is your next most important stat. Each point of CON increases your HP, and some other minor benefits.

    Gear selection

    When comparing stats: STR is most important, followed by CON, then AGI. Finally, INT/WIS/CHA are all equally not very important to a warrior.

    If you can only add one additional type of damage, it seems more mobs are vulnerable to radiant damage than anything else. Items (other than weapons) that increase your damage are fairly rare. If you find one, that’s probably your best bet.

    A note about ranged weapons: none of the skills or powers seem to apply to ranged weapons, making them virtually useless. A pity. The only time where you might seriously consider carrying one would be the floors where Gravity Hounds are most problematic: the first several floors after they appear.

    Warrior Skill – You start the game with 5 skill points (already assigned, but you can reset right away) and gain an additional skill point at every other level (the odd numbered levels). Obviously, you have to start by taking the Military Weapon Proficiency before you can take any other warrior skills. If you’re going the warrior route, we don’t see any reason you wouldn’t want to wear armor. Therefor, we will assume for the rest of this guide that you will always put a skill point into each of Military Weapon Proficiency and Armor Proficiency.

    For your other 3 starting skill points we recommend:
    ->Weapon Mastery <<+ damage>>
    –>Savage Warrior <<+ damage dice>>
    ->Weapon Expertise <<+ melee skill>>
    With these skills you’ll hit harder, and hit more accurately. Look for a good two handed weapon with reach (reach helps with those pesky evasive summoners at the low levels).

    Reset your skills as often as needed – don’t be afraid to rebuild yourself. Many of the skill groups below have ‘break points,’ as in: three skill points in the charge skill group won’t get you much, but four points will get you Triumphant Charge. If you only have three skill points to spare, put them somewhere besides the charge skill group.

    The warrior skill groups are listed below. A note about formatting: if the text arrow pointing to a skill is longer than the arrow above it, the skill above must be taken first. For example, you must take Precise Charge before you can take Swift Charge (see below).

    Warrior: Momentum (the ‘charge’ skill group)
    ->Precise Charge <<+accuracy when charging>>
    –>Swift Charge <<+distance when charging>>
    —>Leap Attack <<step over known traps when charging>>
    —>Brutal Charge <<+damage when charging>>
    —->Triumphant Charge <<free charge attacks>>

    Triumphant Charge is essentially: if you kill a mob, and another mob is within charge distance (2-7 squares away at end game), you get a free charge attack. Repeat infinitely.

    It offers easy, near infinite free actions to kill minion mobs and those nuisance spell casters. Triumphant Charge really only works if you can consistently one-hit kill mobs (at least the minions). It works wonderfully in huge open rooms with lots of space to charge, but also in long hallways. Small rooms are not ideal.

    Leap Attack: The skill group requires 4 skill points to get to the good one (Triumphant Charge), but you’ll also want to add Leap Attack as soon as possible after getting Triumphant Charge. Leap Attack makes sure you don’t get tangled up by pesky traps in the middle of a charge. For best use, pair Leap Attack with a Detect Traps scroll, a purple item that allows you to Reveal Traps, or a purple item that gives you flying.

    Reach Weapons: When using the Triumphant Charge chain, you don’t get as much benefit from a weapon with reach – your charge will overcome most of your distance problems. In fact, using a weapon with reach means mobs at a distance of 2 are NOT in range for your charge attacks, which can be problematic if you get completely surrounded. However, a weapon with reach still extends your charge range by +1, and is still optimal for powers that target “all creatures within weapon reach.” Whichever path you choose (reach, or no reach), make sure your weapon and your powers work in harmony.

    In late game, the power Leaping Fury (Warrior 12 Epic) does much the same thing as Triumphant Charge. It doesn’t require you to kill in order to keep attacking, only that you hit. The downside is that Leaping Fury has a cooldown of 20 turns. Plus, you need Swift Charge and Leaping Attack to get the most out of Leaping Fury, so for two more Skills you might as well keep Triumphant Charge as part of your arsenal, even if you use Leaping Fury.

    Warrior: Flurry (the ‘dual wield’ skill group)
    ->Quick Draw – this has nothing to do with dual wielding. It allows you to switch weapons as a free action, whether dual wielding or not. Grab this skill once you have multiple decent weapons with differing damage bonuses, so that you can switch weapons frequently to maximize your damage. In early game, just use the best weapon you can find. By late game (around level 20 or so), look for a purple weapon that does bonus damage to all (evil, undead, and demons), plus multiple additional types of damage: radiant, acid, fire, lightning, etc. When you find your ‘one weapon to rule them all,’ reset your skills and get your skill point back from this.

    ->Dual Wielding <<free offhand strike when main hand hits>>
    –>Ambidextrous <<wield ANY one hand weapon in off hand>>
    —>Dual Defense <<+AC>>
    —->Two-Weapon Expertise <<+damage>>
    —–>Twin Critical <<free offhand strike when main hand lands a critical strike>>
    ——>Followup Strike <<free offhand strike when main hand hits>>

    The full chain turns each of your attacks into three attacks: 1x main hand strike plus 2x offhand strikes … or 3x offhand strikes if your main hand critically hits! Because you end up hitting more times with your offhand, put your best weapon in your offhand.

    Pair this skill chain with Deadly Precision <<+ chance of crit>> and Cleaving Critical <<free main hand attack after any crit>>. Every crit then gives an additional main hand attack, which starts the entire chain all over again! It’s easy to get a long series of attacks during a single round, often achieving 9 attacks or more per turn. Pro tip: if you dual wield, prioritize gear that increases your chance to crit above all other gear. It’s especially important here to use weapons that have +damage, +damage sides, and +damage dice, as each weapon will benefit from those bonuses on BOTH weapons.

    Warrior: Finesse (the ‘parry’ skill group)
    ->Parry <<block melee attacks with your weapon>>
    –>Riposte <<free counter attack after every Parry>>

    Parry scales with your Warrior skill tree investment, so the defense provided by a shield is probably better from early game to mid game. At level 15, you’ll get a Parry of about ~20% (with all skill points in the Warrior tree). At that point, grab Parry and Riposte as soon as you can, even if it means giving up Shield Proficiency. For only two skill points, you get a chance to stop a mob’s attack (melee only), plus a free attack against them in return. If you’re using either Triumphant Charge or Followup Strike (and you really should be using one of them), then a Riposte can even trigger these when it’s not your turn!

    Warrior: Slaughter (the ‘hit better’ skill group)
    ->Deadly Precision <<+ chance of critical hit>>
    ->Bleeding Criticals <<damage over time to mobs after a critical hit>>
    ->Massive Criticals <<critical hits do more damage>>
    ->Weapon Expertise <<+ melee skill>>
    ->Weapon Mastery <<+ damage>>
    –>Savage Warrior <<+ damage dice>>
    —>Merciless Strike <<free attack on fleeing mobs>>
    —->Great Weapon Specialization <<+ damage sides on two-handed weapon>>

    Pair Deadly Precision with Cleaving Critical <<free attack after a critical hit>> instead of taking either Bleeding Criticals or Massive Criticals because a second strike is better than killing a mob deader …. you should be one-shotting most mobs anyways, remember?

    Merciless Strike is brilliant if you have a reach weapon and some kind of automated mob repelling effect such as Howl of Victory <<free attack on retreating mobs>>. Taking two bonus damage skills sure doesn’t hurt, either.

    Great Weapon Specialization is nice, but only if you already use Merciless Strike and have a skill point available.

    Warrior: Rage (the ‘rage’ skill group)
    ->Blood Lust <<+ HP after a kill>>
    –>Victorious Surge <<+ mana after a kill>>
    —>Howl of Victory <<frighten mobs after a kill>>
    —->Blood Frenzy <<+ temporary STR after a kill>>

    You pretty much can always benefit from Blood Lust. Howl of Victory is fun, and pair it with Merciless Strike <<free attack on fleeing mobs>> just to be mean. Add in Deadly Precision <<+ chance of crit>> and Cleaving Critical <<free attack after any crit>> for lots of free attacks that generate even more free attacks. Howl of Victory works best with a reach weapon.

    Warrior: Resilience (the ‘don’t get debuffed’ skill group)
    ->Nerves Of Steel <<resistance to fear>>
    ->Quick Recovery <<extra chance to save from effects every turn>>
    ->Clear Headed <<resistance to confusion>>
    ->Perfect Balance <<resistance to being knock down>>
    ->Warrior’s Power <<+ mana>>
    ->Immovable <<+ resistance to being moved>>
    ->Battle Stamina <<+ HP>>
    ->Mind Over Body <<resistance to slowing>>
    ->Unwavering Focus <<resistance to stunning>>
    ->Nimble Body <<resistance to immobilization>>
    ->Resilient Warrior <<+ to save modifier>>
    ->Tough as Nails <<+ resist physical damage>>
    ->Master Of Body <<resistance to paralyzation>>
    ->Thick Skulled <<resistance to dazing>>

    Of all the resistance skills in this list, Quick Recovery doubles your chance to save against ALL effects, making it the obvious first choice. After that, we prioritize Resilient Warrior (for better chances to save against ALL effects) and Unwavering Focus, because getting stun-locked is one of the few truly deadly debuffs. Finally, once you can take the Explosive Rage power, Battle Stamina will be invaluable.

    Warrior: Deflection (the ‘shield’ skill group)
    ->Shield Proficiency <<can equip a shield>>
    –>Shield Mastery <<+ chance of block>>
    –>Protective Shield <<+AC, +Fortitude, +Reflex, +Will>>
    —>Counterstrike <<free counter attack after every block>>
    —->Shield Bash <<shifts you forward after successful Counterstrike>>

    Essentially, this whole skill group is garbage. Shield Proficiency is ok for early game only if you have a decent shield AND a good one handed weapon. The capstone skill, Shield Bash, essentially does the same thing as the beginner power called Inexorable Advance I … but with less damage, and it could happen when you don’t want it to. If you want Counterstrike, just get Parry and Riposte instead – it costs fewer skill points, and let’s you hold a bigger weapon.

    Warrior: Protection (the ‘armor’ skill group)
    ->Armor Proficiency <<can equip armor>>
    –>Armor Mastery <<+ resist physical damage>>
    –>Protective Armor <<+ AC>>
    —>Impenetrable Defense <<50% chance at Impenetrable Defense>>
    ->Medium Armor Specialization <<+ AC>>
    ->Heavy Armor Specialization <<+AC>>

    As stated at the beginning: Armor Proficiency is pretty required. When you get enough gear bonuses to make your Agility score at least 10, you can grab either Medium or Heavy Armor Specialization to match your armor type (your armor description states either Light, Medium, or Heavy).

    Don’t waste your skill points on Impenetrable Defense. You can’t control it, you get it less than 50% of the time, and it didn’t seem to make a big improvement on my survivability when I tried it. Giving up those extra three skill points just isn’t worth it.

    Warrior Powers – We’re only going to address the powers that are almost “must have” powers.

    Inexorable Advance – this power is one of the few that gives you some tactical control in a close-combat scenario. You can push an enemy around, or advance into his square if you kill him. Stuck in an acid cloud while battling a hundred rats? Advance out of it.

    Recupereating Strike – set this as your default attack (use the button: “Edit Attacks”). That way, you get HP back after you one-shot those easy mobs that crosses your path.

    Clear The Field – a simple sweep attack that targets all enemies within your reach. Great with a reach weapon for fields of minion mobs.

    Second Wind – recover 50% of HP, and removes some debuffs. Key phrase: “Can be used regardless of condition.”

    Charge Attack – whether or not you use Triumphant Charge, you probably want this. With Triumphant Charge, all of your charge bonuses apply to this. Without Triumphant Charge, this may be you only way to rapidly close the distance with a mob.

    (Both Charge Attack and Holy Strike are Warrior 6 Minor, so you’ll have to chose just one initially. Don’t grab the other one next chance you get. Instead, keep taking more advanced levels of powers. After a few more levels, you’ll have the chance to get the higher version of both Charge Attack and Holy Strike, so you can round yourself out and get the other one.)

    Holy Strike – all your damage are belong to radiant. Transforms your damage type into radiant, which is the most effective.

    Fluid Strike – make a strike, shift one square, make another strike. Second Strike can be against the same or a different mob. Gives you flexibility and tactical movement, plus gives you two hits for one action.

    Paladin’s Stance – think of this as a protection racket. Get it, pay the mana to keep it running at all times, and you don’t have to worry about stat drains.

    Bring Em On – like Clear the Field, but pulls mobs towards you before the attack. When surrounded by a crowd, use Clear the Field to make some space, then follow up with Bring Em On.

    Explosive Rage – this is an “attack” that gives you +20 Strength and +20 Constitution for the next 20 turns. Who cares about the attack, just get this back up every time it runs out!!!

    Blood of the Masses – kind of a combination Clear the Field and Second Wind. Good to have another option for healing, in case Second Wind is still cooling down.

    Juggernaut’s Advance – another “attack” that gives you +30 Constitution, and then heals 100% of your new, improved HP. Combined with Explosive Rage and Battle Stamina, you should be rocking 75+ Constitution for over 10,000 HP. Juggernaut, indeed! Same as Explosive Rage: re-use this as soon as it wears off.

    Ripe For Slaughter – make a mob 500% vulnerable to physical damage for a few turns …. then hit em with a stick. Good for boss mobs. Do NOT follow this up with Holy Strike.

    Dance of Death – three consecutive Clear The Fields, with additional debuffs to mobs, and two tactical shifts? Sure, we’ll use that.

    Leaping Fury – like Triumphant Charge, but you don’t have to kill them to keep going. Get four stonecrusher mobs a little spread out, and use this to kill them all in one turn. Or, just clear an entire red room with it – just be careful you don’t make a gap between mobs and leave yourself stranded with no follow-on target.

    A note about powers: aim for a well-rounded mix. You need powers that strike near, and also that strike far; powers that strike one target hard, and also that strike many targets. For powers that have cool-down timers, getting a second similar option (so you don’t have to wait as long) is fine if you can afford it.

    Good luck, and remember: when in doubt, hit it harder!

    #308

    Amon
    Participant

    Wow! Thanks for the great strategy guide! This is very well written!

    Thanks for playing!
    Amon

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