This is the Mage - "Elementalist" build by Owns
- 1 Overview
- 2 Resistances
- 3 Traits
- 4 Info
- 5 Equipment
- 6 Skills
- 7 General Skills
- 8 Advanced Skills
- 9 Progression
- 10 Companions
- 11 Notes
Crit: 6% (17-24)
|6 (7) or (8)||3 (5)||4 (6)|
(See Notes section below for more detailed guide/tips using specific skills. This build is written for getting through the main story line of the game and has not been tested yet for Sewer of Horrors. I will later update with thoughts on SoH and an optimized level 23 or 25 build.)
Some Game Stats: (full details can be found in this thread)
- Time Played: 61h
- Quests: 84/88 (I think only SoH and new v1.1.1092 quests remain)
- T. Hall quests: 29
- Game Difficulty: Hard
This build will rely on spell casting for most of the damage. It requires lots of mana and you will be fragile. It is probably not the easiest mage build to play. You will have to be aggressive, focusing on killing before getting killed. Hit and run will be a common tactic. You should pay attention to enemy resistances/weakness and exploit their weaknesses using elemental damage from both your wands and your spells. The reason I favor Wand of Storms is for the Stun2 attribute. That, combined with Grissenda's Bash III will keep enemies stunned for long durations, giving you plenty of time to either wait for spell cooldowns, or not even use spells at all when you want to conserve mana. It also doesn't cost mana to use, but switch to another wand (even Arcane wands) when it makes sense for a damage boost, for example to exploit weaknesses or banish outsiders. Also, bosses tend to have high Stun resistance and you'll have better luck stunning with Lightning Bolt, while the extra damage from another wand will add up in a long boss fight. Though stun is almost always more beneficial than the added damage, you can start with the Wand of Storms and gauge how often it'll stun (look at combat log for stun chance if the boss resists). If it won't work out then switch to an arcane rod.
Along with exploiting elemental weaknesses, spatial awareness and making the best use of your surroundings (narrow halls, doorways, corners, alcoves, and small rooms) are the keys to making the most of this build. You will want to fight in areas that allow your spells to hit as many enemies as possible, as many times as possible. You'll want to always think about damage per mana cost for good management of your mana and judge whether its worth spending on spells or if it might be better to just knock enemies down slowly with wand attacks, depending on the situation.
Implemented properly, you should be able to finish the main story of the game by level 20-21 without too much trouble on Hard difficulty. Killing large groups of enemies at the same time will be the norm, sometimes entire camps or rooms with 1 or 2 spells as you get stronger. Undead will be an actual joke, furry animals and hobgoblins will easily succumb to your Fireball, goblins will be decimated by your Ice Storm, and none will withstand your Lightning Bolt (drama out of my system now). You will however find yourself most vulnerable to archers (stick behind Grissenda and let loose with your spells). Also you will have a tougher time against enemies with high armor and resistances as well as high damage like Vorators and Earth/Iron golems.
- Jester's Skull, Greater Orbs, Pouch of Reagents, Wisdom of the Seas (used occasionally in Ark only)
- Wand of Storms and/or Tesla Emitter, but also Rod of Incineration, Branch of the Holy Tree, and Batrax Wand
- Crown of Galade preferably, or Tiara of the Mentalist
- High Mage Robes or Tunic of the Lightning Priest until Plexifiber Robes
- Essence Gloves
- Breeches of the Mad Wizard until Black Silk Leggings
- Sandals of the Saint
- Amulet of Dark Whispers
- Bishop Ring
- Ring of Mentalism until either Ring of the Star Traveller or if you prefer endurance, Ring of Unlife
- Phantom Cloak until Cloak of Dark Fate
- Blessed Belt of Agility
I will try to give some specifics on progression, but it will mostly be general advice to follow. I will also assume that you have found and used some Ancient Tolassian Tomes (but not all, give some to Grissenda), so if the trait points don't add up, that's the reason why.
First remember that your main source of mana will be Intellect (INT), while Personality (PER) gives half the amount of mana. Since this isn't a summoner build, the main reason we want PER is for mana (and some dialogue trait checks). Just remember that the trait points cost for increasing INT from Lvl 3 -> 4 is 4 points, which is more than it costs to increase PER from Lvl 0 -> 2 (3 points). So this is what I call a tradeoff point and it makes sense to favor PER at that point. The next tradeoff happens at INT 6->7, while PER 2->4 will cost the same (7 points). It's better to add PER here for the added resistances, gossip, and more trait check options.
As for damage, since this build will utilize wands, Agility (AGI) is our main source of attack damage (other than spells of course) while Awareness (AWA) gives half the ranged damage. AGI will also add armor to make you more durable. Similar 'tradeoffs' apply for ranged damage, AGI will trade off with Awareness (AWA) at the same levels as INT with PER. Finally, AWA Lvl 3 will add one more armor which is useful for a fragile mage.
Side Note: The first time you meet the Travelling Alchemist, purchase 3 Living Ice from him, it'll make completing the Important Research quest at Inori Enclave much easier. He won't carry Living Ice again for a while, but always carries it on the first encounter from my experience. You can obtain Living Ice elsewhere later, but much easier this way.
- Lvl 1:
- INT 0->2, AGI 0->1
- Ice Storm I
- I like to start with Ice Storm since it costs the least mana (you will have very little at the start) and it is also powerful against goblins and imps in the first dungeon.
- Lvl 2 :
- Lvl 3 :
- Lvl 4:
Over the next levels, prioritize in the order listed below (using Ancient Tolassian Tomes but remember to give some to Grissenda as well). This is mostly from my own memory/reasoning so don't follow it exactly if you prefer re-ordering things. Feel it out as you progress:
- For Traits:
- PER 0->2
- AGI 2->3
- AWA 1->2
- INT 3->4 (switch this with END 1->2 if you're good on mana but feel too fragile)
- END 1->2 (or INT 3->4 if you did this first)
- INT 4->5
- AWA 2->3 (switch this with INT 5->6 if you prefer more mana over extra armor at this point)
- INT 5->6 (or AWA 2->3 if you did this first)
- PER 2->4
- AGI 3->4
- END 2->3
- For Skills:
- Mage Armor III and Mage Barrier I at the same time.
- You'll need a reputation of 7 with Wizard's Guild to learn Mage Barrier. This is achievable as early as level 7 by completing the following quests: A Fair Deal, An Easy Job (Lvl 6+), and Important Research (Lvl 7+). You should have a reputation of 7 after those and can learn the skill at the Inori Enclave. No rush, but seek out these quests and fit them in with your questing. This also means that you will actually learn other skills listed below before this one but I list this at the top to emphasize that you should seek out these quests and do them when you're able. You might want to get your elemental spells and Mana Surge to level 2 before learning Mage Barrier.
- Wand Mastery II, this will help boost your attack damage but mostly it's for the added pushback.
- Continue adding points to your spells and mage armor as you prefer. Keep in mind that increasing the level of a spell significantly increases mana consumption as well.
- When my elemental spells were all Lvl 2, I focused on getting Mana Surge III and Lightning Bolt IV before Fireball III and finally, Ice Storm III.
- Just Remember that you'll need Mage Armor III before you can get Mage Barrier. You'll want Mage Barrier III when you're starting The Ark of Lothasan quest (roughly around lvl 19-21), until then Lvl 1-2 should be fine.
- Arcanist I, last.
She will be your main companion. You want Grissenda to be strong to keep you safe so give her some Ancient Tolassian Tomes. Mage will level up quickly due to xp boost from intellect, so try to equip her with an item with Wisdom whenever possible and use scrolls of wisdom on her before doing dungeons, town hall quest ventures, rumor bosses, placing shards, and other things that give major xp. You should use scrolls of wisdom on yourself as well but I usually prioritize Grissenda if only one scroll is available. You can also donate at an Altar of The Three for an xp boost, but Grissenda can't. When I was level 20, Grissenda was level 18 with the following build:
- Traits: 4 Strength, 3 Endurance, 5 Agility. Later, make her Endurance lvl 4 when possible.
- Skills: Shield Expert III, Bash III, Fury III, Resilience II, Whirlwind I, Cleave I. Later, add points for Cleave II first, then Resilience III, and finally Whirlwind II.
- Her many knockbacks (from both Bash and Whirlwind) can sometimes work against you, making you miss spells or making her move out of a good defensive position. I've a second mind to drop Whirlwind and just max out Cleave instead.
She should use a shield/sword, go for highest armor you can find. Her top priority is staying alive, then dealing damage. Mostly Light weapons for best damage with this build, sometimes Hand weapons when certain attributes/elements were needed. This build will make her very powerful with both good damage and high survivability. You might be surprised how long she can survive with just a sliver of health left. The reason I like Cleave for this build is because this mage build focuses on hitting multiple enemies at the same time whenever possible; Cleave will help mow them down faster, and also help keep them attacking Grissenda (hold aggro) rather than chasing after you. Unless you're starting a long battle, keep her health low to make use of Fury. Potion of the Tragic Hero works great with Fury and will turn her into a monster. Let her die near the end of a fight and get back up with half health before moving on when possible (sorry Griss!). This way you'll conserve health potions and Recovery.
Here I will explain some strategies for making the most out of this build and your spells.
- Learn to dodge enemy ranged attacks by running back and forth from a distance and casting spells in between. It's difficult against archers but easier against spell casters. If you can't do this without getting hit against spell casters (or you find it too tedious) then you'll have trouble in Ark of Lothasan. In that case I suggest Lesser Summoning I, Instead of Ice Storm III. See Ark notes below for more on this.
- Make sure you have switched on "Display combat log" in your settings (while playing). Pay attention to elemental weaknesses/resistances and exploit them. This goes for your spells and weapons. Remember, most wands deal elemental damage and that's part of this build. Pay attention to Grissenda's weapons too. You can also review resistances/weaknesses in the Bestiary
- No shame in hit and run, in fact it is your go-to strategy. If an enemy is charging you down, cast your spells then buy time with a couple of wand pushbacks and/or run until spells are ready again.
- When it's not too dangerous, try to pull multiple enemies at the same time and funnel them together using corners and narrow spaces so that you can hit them all with one spell. This will save mana and move things along faster.
- Try as often as possible to have Grissenda hold enemies at a doorway or in a narrow corridor so you can safely hit them from the rear. They will try running to you but can't get past her and this will help her survive longer as well.
- Grissenda's Shield Expert will make arrows very weak against her, so stick behind her when fighting archers as much as possible.
- Use Grissenda's (and your own) knockback to push enemies where you want them like into corners for best spell usage. Position her behind a door on the opposite side of where you want the enemy to go, then pull them through the door and watch her knock them into the corner. Good way to set up Ice Storm.
- When pulling single enemies away from a group or boss, be careful of pushback or knockback pushing them too far back towards the group. Again, spatial awareness is key for this build.
- Don't get flanked!!! If you know you will get hit, just face the enemy and take it head on. Mage Barrier especially useful here. Getting flanked will quickly kill a fragile mage.
- Can be extremely powerful if used right. Try to fight enemies in a corner, alcove, or small room then cast it. It'll move back and forth and hit multiple times with a single cast. I often can hit an enemy 4 times from 1 cast in the right spot. This can make a huge difference against bosses and tough enemies. Pull them to a corner/alcove or small room, let Grissenda corner them, just don't get cornered yourself.
- Useful in open areas where enemies are spread out too, like camps. It will go around hitting all of them. This can be a useful way to pull distant enemies and get them to bunch up together before hitting them with Fireball or Lightning Bolt. On the other hand, this can sometimes be an undesired result so be careful.
- Bounces off walls, barricades, and anything you can't walk through. Use this to your advantage. When casting through narrow hallways it's likely to go through everyone, just like Lightning Bolt. If you're lucky it'll even come back through them again. If fighting a single enemy in a hallway, try to cast it facing the wall (rather than along the wall) so that it bounces back and forth against the walls.
- Shoots in a straight line and through any enemies it hits. So try to pull many enemies to a narrow corridor before unleashing through all of them. Doorways are also good for getting enemies to line up, so have them chase you through a doorway then cast just as the first enemy passes through.
- When in open spaces, just try to position yourself so that you line up with multiple enemies if possible.
- Archers are dangerous, take them down fast with Lightning+Fireball combo.
- Stun is especially useful against enemy healers. Save it for when they're about to heal (just under 50%) health, then cast all your spells at once, starting with Lightning Bolt to burst them down.
- Try to alternate stunning with Grissenda's Bash. Wait for them to come out of stun from Bash, then cast Lightning Bolt and hope they get stunned again. Combining this with Wand of Storms is serious stun trolling.
- Good opener spell when pulling, if it stuns you're likely to kill the enemy before they reach you. But due to high mana cost, you might not always want to use it.
- Will damage you if you're too close when it explodes (but not your companion so don't worry about that). So try to use it from a distance, or run as soon as you cast it. Dangerous when you're cornered... never get cornered as a mage.
- Useful opener against easier enemies since highest spell damage and less mana than Lightning Bolt.
Mage Armor / Barrier
- Obviously, always have it on for protection. If it's taken some hits but still there, consider renewing it before your next fight so you're not caught naked.
- It completely negates damage from spike traps so use it to either trigger them or safely attempt to disarm. Sometimes I'll use it to push Griss into a trap if she's low on health to have her health reset to 50%. I hate myself for it, but oh well. This immunity against traps makes Hard difficulty much easier and is definitely OP (but don't tell David).
- Mage Barrier will make your life much easier and safer. It protects and attacks at the same time with knockback and stun chance, what more could you want? Do not underestimate the damage it does, sometimes it kills multiple enemies before I even know what's going on. Especially important for Ark of Lothasan.
- Try to have at least 3-5 mana and health potions on you at all times. More for tougher/longer dungeons like Abbey of Saint Admus and Ark of Lothasan.
- Use scrolls of wisdom on Grissenda (priority) and yourself so her level doesn't fall too far behind.
- When it becomes affordable, try to always have 1-2 Scroll: Circle of Restoration but try to save them for long boss fights.
- Use summoning scrolls during boss fights to add damage, but make sure the boss is focused on Grissenda first. Otherwise your summon will quickly die and be wasted. Elementals can sometimes offer last-resort protection... but good luck with that =P
- Potions of shielding and strength are also great to use on Grissenda for boss fights or before facing multiple tough enemies.
Cash and Grind
- I never really needed to mindlessly grind for either cash or xp. That said, I did many Town Hall Quests to raise my reputation.
- Pick up as many Town Hall quests at the same time as you think you can complete before their deadline. Use scrolls of wisdom on both you and Grissenda. Then go and do them all. You will earn tons of gold and xp this way while raising your rep.
- For example, I'd go to New Garand, pick up all the quests, listen at both taverns. Then go to Kingsbridge, pick up all the quests and listen at the tavern. Depending on where the quests take me, I'll pick up more quests while completing the first set from one more town (usually Lannegar or Nivarian). But don't take more than you can handle (look at the time limits), and give preference to quests where the location is already known.
Ark of Lothasan (Dungeon)
Mild spoilers, expand if you don't care:
- I completed the peaceful ending without facing a horror, so I don't know how this build at Lvl 20-21 would fair against it.
- Roughly 20 each of Potion of Mana and Potion of Moderate Healing, and 10 or so Potion of Resist Shock should be enough to get you through. You might be better off with craftable recovery items like Epic Omelette but I hate grinding so... moving along...
- Switch between defense gear (for spiders) and shock resistance gear (for wizards/droids). I only switched between Wisdom of the Seas and Greater Blue Orb (hadn't obtained Orb of the High Clouds yet).
- When facing the spiders (one at a time), pull with Lightning Bolt, hit twice with Wand of Storms, then let it attack you once and Mage Barrier III should kill it. Alternatively, 2 Lightning Bolts (Lvl 4) will also kill a spider. Buy time via pushback and/or running until cooldown for 2nd cast.
- When facing multiple spiders, it's best to try to hit them at the same time with Lightning Bolt, run until cooldown, then cast again and they'll die.
- When you find Tesla Emitter or Tesla Rod (assuming you also have batteries), pull spiders with a normal attack first, immediately followed by Lightning Bolt. If normal attack triggers EMP, they should be dead or might need 1 more normal attack.
- Against Wizards, dodge their attacks and cast Lightning Bolt in between. It takes 3 Lightning Bolt IV's to kill a wizard.
- Against Droids, the strategy for wizards will take too long and too much mana (unless you're taking on 2 at the same time... fun!), so equip all your shock resistance gear (should be at least 110 shock resistance before potion), drink a Potion of Resist Shock and just keep attacking / casting Lightning Bolt until he dies, healing yourself as needed. Use the highest shock damage weapon you have (including Nanocarbon Scalpel if you don't have the Tesla wand or rod).
- When you find Tesla Emitter, Tesla Rod or even Nanocarbon Scalpel, it's sometimes worth using the Droid strategy against Wizards as well to save mana. You should only need 2 Lightning Bolts to kill them in this case. Be careful of explosions if using the dagger, and really only use it if you found it before the wand or staff (or don't use it at all if you prefer not to).
- If dodging bullets is not your style then learn Lesser Summoning I instead of Ice Storm III. The sparkling will absorb their shock damage, so just let him soak it up and take your time killing them. You could also drop Arcanist I for Lvl2 Lesser Summoning if you feel good on mana even with Arcane wands.