ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

Tryb's wins: New: Odd Dorf Bulwark
Page 3 of 3

Author:  Tryble [ Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: YAVP: Newest - Ins. OOZE

Character here. Ins. Adv. Thalore oozemancer. Three deaths; two from playing around in the elven ruins way too early, and one from Ata, who is impossibly more dangerous here than I ever remember him being.

Good Stuff
  • Corner sniping with Acid splash & Acidfire saved me a lot of headache, especially in the prides. In high peak, most every floor I quick-burrowed around the edge of the map till track spotted the floor guardian and corner sniped him off the stairs and movement'd onto them. I ended up killing most of the guardians for funsies though since my gear is trash.
  • I ended up liking mucus a lot more than I thought I would. I wish it weren't completely trash from 1-3, though.
  • Spine of the World is freakin' great, I don't know why I never bothered trying it before. A wild + oozewalk is all it took to ensure complete safety from phys effects.
  • Everybody kinda talks about how underwhelming Mana Clash is, but I found that endgame randbosses universally had about 2,500 mana, which is enough to pull off before committing to a fight. Clash + Reabsorb (and clash again from eye of tiger) wiped the mana reserves of most randbosses, and crapped on vim users. That said, I was durable enough that I didn't bother about half the time
  • Nature's Touch + Fungal Growth made for some pretty ridiculous regens - far stronger than regen infusions. I was getting about 330 from regen, and about 650 from Nature's Touch crits. I had pretty low crit mult and didn't max growth, so that could have been pushed higher, but why bother? I was never in danger from level 20 all the way through the final battle.

Bad Stuff

General comments on the build & run:
I skipped the Corrosive Blades tree. A second oozebeam would have been great, but I decided to opt for Reclaim as my third primary offensive talent. Yes, it's objectively inferior to acidbeam, but it's usable enough to serve as a replacement. It hit harder than oozebeam/slime spit, and the damage bonus it gets on undead is useful since you get the tree before dreadfell. The longer cooldown problem was mostly handled by eye of the tiger, though firing random other talents when it failed to do so wasn't that bad. Losing the piercing damage was annoying but crowds of scrub enemies aren't the biggest source of danger around. In exchange, I used a second heroism infusion, and kept the effect running full-time, which was neat. Unlocking eyal's fury early meant an easy urkis/master fight too, since Acidfire is a thing. Corner-snipe dispelling is pretty boss.

I also skipped out on heavy armor. Early game, melee enemies just melted from oozebeams. In mid, heroism, leaves' tide, oozes, grasping moss, acidfire blinds, and fungus regen meant that anything that tried to get in melee was not gonna make it. In late, it didn't really matter how much damage something had. At that point I only worried about AB flurry dudes shenanigans.

I'm pretty sure that at midgame, barring immunities, you could take away all your direct attack talents and with purely through indirect damage via mucus poison, leaves' tide bleed, moss, etc. There were an awful lot of randbosses I stood next to while they just melted away. Oozemancers are crazy survivable and throwing actual attacks out was an annoyance.

This run's ata was ridiculously more dangerous than I've ever seen him. Eye beams rated at 3,100 damage and he was rated at 500 wpn dmg with talents like Impale (which did 2000 on top of its actual attack) and Pound. Since he had skate, there was no staying out of melee range. Eye beams could be shut down with mana clash, but despite stacking +HP gear and having both oozes and heroism active, I was oneshot by (I think) pound. He's going unbeaten this time around...

After this run, I'll either try one more character (maybe paradox mage), or take a break from ToME. I dunno yet.

Author:  Tryble [ Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tryb's wins: Newest: Nonlich Necro

Character here. Insane Adv. Higher Necro.
7 deaths, all before the east. Once I learned about Empathy and Purge, I got through the remainder without too many close calls.

Went non-lich, and I think is the first nonlich insane necro win. Spoiler alert: It freaking sucks.

Good Stuff
  • Chill of the Tomb corner sniping and invoke are good enough to get you to midgame for the most part. Minions aren't necessary early in and are pain in the ass to manage, and no points to spend on them anyway.
  • Morrigor: This is a cool weapon. I stole a copy of Providence for use in High Peak (with charm mastery you could use it, normal providence, and recast it for three uses total), but earlier made do with any offensive spell talent I could get my hands on.
  • I managed >100% dark pen without it, so I skipped out on the shades line. Also, shit offensive talents since nonlich, so forgery had nothing big to hit with.
  • Blighted Summoning: Took it on a whim since I was about to suicide the character. In practice, it makes skeletons even better and ghouls even worse. The problem with melee skeletons taking too many turns to get into melee is solved, and the problem with archers not shooting shit is (sort of) solved.
  • Animus Purge is fantastic and I wish I had tried it out sooner. Even without empathy abuse, it's brutal. Corner sniping with insane-tier summons, bodyblocking guys with 10+ necro minions, throwing antimagic oozes/champions at casters, you name it.
  • Dark Empathy is a thing. Look at the tooltip for Dark Empathy in my character sheet.

final.jpg [ 43.05 KiB | Viewed 3378 times ]

Bad Stuff
  • Non-Lich: There's a lot of reasons this is bad. I'll list them below in its own section.
  • Managing minions to full is such a freaking pain, god damn. I hate this class forever now.
  • Will o the Wisp is okay at midgame and earlier purely so your minions that get toasted by the tiniest thing have a little more life as enemy distractions, but are obsoleted by Empathy shenanigans. Wasted points.
  • While not bad per se, Sacrifice got way less use than I expected since enemies frequently got tied up attacking the minion horde.
  • I couldn't fight Argoniel since I ran out of mana. Should've left a portal open, but I probably would've been killed fighting Elandar if I had. I had to resort to using Bloom with Consume soul to regen what little I could. I only finished her because she spent so much effort attacking invincible skeletons, the Staff of Absorption fully charged. I was able to drop a pair of essence absorbs on her in a reasonably short time, dealing enough to overwhelm her vitality regen.
  • Necromantic Aura is too small to autoexplore with. Given it takes up to five minutes sometimes to restore super minions, this means you can't autoexplore.

Consequences of avoiding Lichform

The biggest and worst effect of ditching Lich is you miss out on Star Fury. Without Midnight Ray, Invoke is your workhorse at CD 4. Weaker rares may be KO'd by Chill + Invoke + Fear + Rigor, but anything tougher than that and you're spending 3 out of 4 turns doing nothing, and you just blew your strongest spells. In my build, I bought channel staff because I was absolutely desperate for another attack no matter how garbage and was grateful for it. Those points ended up wasted since I ended up maining morrigor + mindstar. Having the majority of your turns be dead turns is by far the worst consequence of avoiding Lich. Even with Gwai's Burninator + Spydric (and 5/5 charm mastery) I spent far, far too many turns in battle idle or moving for no real reason.

Since you have fewer spells to work with, you have to Chill more often which toasts your entire horde. Even with pumped minions from Empathy, if you get any substantial form of cold respen you're going to waste them with every cast - getting cold damage/penetration now actively works against you. I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that the Ice talent line wrecks your guys as well, making it a nonoption. Opening with Chill also puts you at the head of the crowd, so your skeletons probably aren't going to attack anything. Archers do nothing, warriors take forever to get into melee. Hallways are especially bad, and they're everywhere.

Your minions, specifically your ghouls, get actively worse since they will soon learn Retch, which'll hurt you and strip beneficial physical effects instead of harmful ones. But you really need the damage that minions provide so you take even longer out of battle to try and cycle minions to get mages and warriors. In High Peak, I often had to stop for five to ten minutes to dig out the corner of the map and clear an area wider than phase door's radius to get minions up and running again. It is crushingly boring.

In comparison, you can pick up Lich, get Moonlight Ray, and just blast things with minions operating purely as distractions. Ray will toast your minions, but using them other than as sacrifice & purge support is far too much work for so little reward. Empathy is weaker without pain suppression from wilds, but it's less critical when you can roast guys with lasers so quickly. This will also hugely improve Vampiric Gift since you aren't spending empty turns waiting on CD's and can get way more heal procs off it.

General Comments on the run:

Animus Purge is the MVP talent of the run. Use empathy to pass 100% res all to something dangerous and they'll last a long time, and wreck things. A Champion of Urh'rok solo'd the room of death for me. In the final battle (which I would have lost in), Argoniel got tied up fighting an indestructible Bone Golem while a Champion mowed down Elandar with constant spell disruption (an incredible stroke of luck that things played out like this, I would likely have lost otherwise). Between Empathy and Animus Purge, this character with 7 deaths before the East narrowly pulled a win.

Author:  dadito [ Mon Dec 19, 2016 11:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tryb's wins: Newest: Nonlich Necro

good job tryble :lol: ... d93168ba68

Author:  Number43 [ Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tryb's wins: Newest: Nonlich Necro

You do know if your minions know a talent you don't want them to use, you can order them to set that talent priority to 0, and it will persist whenever you summon the same thing. Also set higher priorities for anything you want them to use as often as possible.

Author:  Tryble [ Thu Dec 22, 2016 4:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tryb's wins: Newest: Nonlich Necro

Number43 wrote:
You do know if your minions know a talent you don't want them to use, you can order them to set that talent priority to 0, and it will persist whenever you summon the same thing. Also set higher priorities for anything you want them to use as often as possible.

I did this for my own character when manually controlling purge'd enemies (which is neat), but didn't see a way to do so for any minion necro could control.

dadito wrote:


Author:  Number43 [ Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tryb's wins: Newest: Nonlich Necro

Tryble wrote:
Number43 wrote:
You do know if your minions know a talent you don't want them to use, you can order them to set that talent priority to 0, and it will persist whenever you summon the same thing. Also set higher priorities for anything you want them to use as often as possible.

I did this for my own character when manually controlling purge'd enemies (which is neat), but didn't see a way to do so for any minion necro could control.

Really? I've never played necro, but it lets me do so on any other summoned thing I've ever tried, including alchemist golems, summoner wild summons, and things summoned from items. When summoning spiders from the egg sac you have to spend a lot of time resummoning to set the priorites on everything as they have varying inscriptions, so you have to keep doing it until you've seen everything with every possible inscription type, or those inscriptions will have a priority of 1.

Author:  Number43 [ Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tryb's wins: Newest: Nonlich Necro

Ok, on further investigation, it seems the only reason I could do that as summoner was I had the summon control talent. Having 1 point in that lets you give orders to any summoned thing, even if not from summoner talents. Having a golem also lets you do that to anything you summon.

Author:  Tryble [ Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tryb's wins: New: Skellington Berserker

Skeleton zerker! I thought damage pressure might be too high without heal/regen, and general escape capability too weak without movement, but that turned out to not be the case!
This was on Adventure with 4 deaths - two of those totally don't count; was me messing around where I shouldn't have (celia, eastern crypt). One was an instant kill in high peak from an enemy that dealt >150% max HP on opening attack through huge armor, and the last one was five minutes later, me accidentally oneshotting myself in the final fight from martyrdom, apparently. I was mad from the earlier death and not paying attention.

Also, this is, I think, my first insane run with no gameplay mods. woo

The Good Stuff
  • Never Stop Running: I cannot praise this prodigy enough. It is incredibly valuable. It gives you scouting ability, escape ability, maneuverability, free turns, and the ability to trivialize otherwise brutal encounters. With stamina being plentiful and NSR on a 8cd, you are basically impossible to keep down outside of instakills or pin. You effectively get nigh-infinite movement infusions.
  • Vile Life: Specifically, Blood Splash, since that's all you get. That heal can crit (also healmod!), and by the time I'd 5/5'd it, I was seeing heals every turn for >200, thanks to Zerk's insane crit rate. With natural & bloodbath regen, I was often seeing 300 HP/turn when attacking: great stuff, and it more or less obsoleted all other sources of healing outside of rare panic heals.
  • 100% Crit: It's crazy seeing your damage go from 500/turn on fortress dummy to 2,000/turn just because you found a weapon with 40% crit and amassed another +100% crit mult. By endgame I was oneshotting nearly every enemy except armor and randbosses. Most randbosses you could feasibly kill in Unstoppable's duration, but I don't trust unstoppable anymore. Four guardians in slimetunnels almost all went down in three turns. Zerker stronk!
  • Unexpected: Biting Gale Rune. Sure it locks a crowd down for a while. lets you stun normally stun immune enemies. Given that stunning enemies is virtually Zerker's only meaningful form of defense, this is pretty notable. I used this heavily until replacing biting gale with dissipation.
  • Immunities: Insane giving such great loot, I acquired Stun, Disarm, Blind, Fear, KB, and Confuse immunity. Also 50% pin resistance, aka 100% when zerk was active. Unflinching Resolve was obsoleted and I couldn't have been happier.

The Bad Stuff
  • People were not kidding when they were talking about getting instakilled in insane. That link above says it all; I saw that dude throw >3,500 damage in one turn and he could have done worse. I've seen similar instakills on other characters early in game, but nothing quite so extreme as that.
  • Early game mobility. No movement infusions means relying on blink rune/teleport...both of which are subject to silence. They'll work, but you gotta be careful. 1.6.6 reduced CD on blink which is great.
  • The horror scenario is when you're disarmed + silenced, leaving you with 0 talents to use and death looming. Naturally, I built for disarm immunity ASAP.
  • Unstoppable. I know, everyone loves this. But it gets me killed about half the time I use it. I got aggressive with Celia, relying on it, but she froze me on its last turn, which blocks the healing? I'm not totally clear what happened. But Unstoppable's heal is just a normal heal, so you're vulnerable to healing blocks and things like impending doom. Someone in chat also said they died with it up, I suspected the buff got stripped, but no evidence of that. I just find it too unreliable - the heal at end should be fixed and...unstoppable.
  • Prides are still so long, man. Can't we reduce them by one floor?

Fun Tricks:
  • Track + Never Stop Running means all the scouting movement you want since time isn't passing while you're going. With sufficient max stamina, it's easy to sidestep entire floors on the prides and such, stopping behind corners and recovering before continuing to the goal.
  • Never Stop Running lets you dodge High Peak bosses super safely; aggro them with a tentacle totem or egg spiders, then use Track to know when to move in. They'll never even know you were there.
  • Did I mention I like Never Stop Running? You can easily drain enough stamina to get Relentless Fury up prior to battle, if you want to be super aggressive.
  • Biting Gale Rune - lets you stun normally stun immune enemies. Stunning blow is two strikes, so a 75% chance to stun a normally 100% immune enemy! It's excellent, since a stunned enemy is a harmless enemy. Doubles as an escape since it tends to freeze dudes long enough to duck around the corner.

General comments on the build & run:
T1 is easy, incredibly so. T2 is challenging, very. Everything else is reasonable, except for getting instakilled in endgame.
By the time I stepped through the portal to go east for the first time, I was Lv40. Hit 50 before prides even began.

Zerker is absolutely trash at dealing with three things: Healing spam, major armor, extreme phys resistance. Together, it's a nightmare.
Phys resistance you can pierce...if you can bleed the enemy. Many, many enemies have bleed immunity as a racial. Dreadfell is especially awful.
Sunder Armor is just absolutely awful at putting a dent in an enemy with armor nearing 150. Dropping enemy armor by 30 is puny; you need sources of armor pen and corrosion.
You actually can't deal with healing at all. Get a stingin' totem or bleeding charm which will just get shrugged off, then cry. It's a shame, bleeding edge would be an excellent thing for zerk: bleed for phys res reduction + healing reduction and major damage, all in one excellent talent! Unfortunately, I found enemies were typically bleed immune or shrugged off the bleed anyway.
With all this in mind, Grushnak Pride was incredibly awful.
Last note: This wasn't really that fun a run. I like other classes more. G

If people are interested, I might make an zerk overview guide. There's not a lot of up to date info nowadays.

Author:  Tryble [ Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tryb's wins: Insane Skellington Berserker

Cornac zerker! I wanted to compare it to my skelly zerker I just won with, and get more info for the zerker guide I posted. It played a lot differently.
Vaultless Insane Roguelike, with the only gameplay addon being my Combat Veteran rework.

Differences between Antimagic Cornac and Skellington:
Pumping CON to high heaven and wearing healmod gear makes you effectively immortal while regen is up. Bloodbath, regen from gear, fungus, and combat vet provide extreme levels of normal regen, too. I was noting 200+ heal per turn with Vile Life, but Cornac was getting that...even without popping a regen infusion. I was seeing nearly 600+ at the end. PES is hilarious.
Having movement infusions meant I didn't need Never Stop Running, so went with PES. Wow, that prodigy is busted when you have 150+ strength.
I finally tried out heroism infusions, and I really like how they work now. They fill a similar niche as Healing Infusions (I just took a lot of damage and am concerned I might die next turn) and synergize with Unstoppable big time, which is super cool.
Earlygame was easy on skelly, lategame was hard and dangerous, but the reverse was true for cornac.
Without bonus zones like bearscape and poosh (also I forgot to do rift), I ended up going east at a lower level than my skeleton did (39 vs 40).

Notable things:
I ignored fungus until like Lv45. It isn't really important, but is really nice once it's running.
Scoundrel Tree is really, really good on this build. The antispike effect of neutering enemy crits goes so well with ultraregen that I just straight up stopped even looking at what classes randbosses had. Healmod is wicked good when it gets to these kinds of levels. My other addon (which I didn't use on this character) which pumps max life and reduces heal mod, in my opinion, might be a good change for the game as a whole...mass healing really trivializes engagements but exploding instantly is always a concern.
Going antimagic seriously screws with your ability to find good gear. At the very end I was wearing decent randarts all around, but compared to what skelly had, it's hugely worse. I had a very hard time just getting and keeping stun immunity.
That guardian totem artifact really screws with the final bosses. With 5/5 charm mastery it was really giving elandar a hard time. Also spellhunts. I threw two or three spellhunts and two or three antimagic pillars during that fight and it really eased the fight.
Cornac gets tons of points. TONS. Around Lv45+ I didn't really know what to do with points and just threw them around wherever.
Disarm is really convenient for when stun fails.
Got pretty good luck with escorts but terrible with equipment. Only managed stun imm well after going east.
I'm not sure, but I think sudden growth double dips healing mod if you have a regen infusion active?
I skipped so many zones. Crypt, other crypt, underwater place in east, all of high peak, most of prides, desert, elven ruins, moon quest tunnels, that one zone when you teleport to the east, spider tunnels...Hit Lv50 in first pride so why not.

I'm gonna close the character with PES up so the character sheet shows how brutal some of those stats are. It's nuts even though it's only up 1/3rd the time. Also regen and max bloodbath. Check out dat regen!

Author:  Tryble [ Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:24 am ]
Post subject:  Tryb's wins: New: Thalore Wyrmic

Thalore Wyrmic! I just won with two zerkers, I figured why not a third? This was a 2H weapon talent based wyrmic that played pretty much like a more versatile berserker. Overall, it felt a lot better than a normal zerker.

Insane Roguelike (vaultless/addonless) - Blood of Life saved the run from a random cursed rare whose rampage gave him 1000% movespeed and 250% attack speed (who of course had massive weapon damage) taking me out instantly from offscreen in High Peak 10.

The Good Stuff
  • Thalore's talents. Gift of the woods is effectively a free regen infusion, a hilariously long lasting one with fungus.
  • Verdant had unexpected synergy with Ancestral life, granting free partial turns from heavy poison/acid hits, which are common enough. Enemy oozemancers are lol.
  • Treants are unexpectedly brutal. With >100 WIL, they have pretty massive damage, and inheriting all your +dam% and +respen% meant that mine were running around at +70% of each and were killing randbosses alone, sometimes.
  • Wymic's grab bag of resistances, thick skin 5/5, and thalore's resistances collectively add up to 25~30% to most everything depending on how you spend your talents. I wore a guardian helm and limmir's amulet had a pearl inside, so I had 40% allres and ~45% to wyrmic elements by the end. Resolve at 3/5 would take care of the rest.
  • As usual, going antimagic generally results in colossal regen from wearing regen/healmod gear; I had about 170 passive regen by the end, surging to >600 with my infusion up. Sudden Growth at 2 was more than enough to full heal >2000 and ancestral life made that a free turn.
  • Even a breathless wyrmic has no issue wiping out big crowds thanks to Ice claw / Wing Buffet / DeathDance / Cleave. You just gotta pull them in first.
  • Heroism prevented three oneshots throughout the run. It's good.

The Bad Stuff
  • Wyrmic seems to have trouble getting enough phys or mind power to apply its effects, which was the main reason I doubled into offensive prodigies (ICCTW + Superpower). Those fixed up that problem.
  • Minor mobility was kind of a problem - Didn't unlock rush until Lv50 and I didn't run movement infusions. An enemy that managed to get a few squares away meant plenty of wasted turns. Fearless Cleave showed its value again.
  • Duathedlen in the final battle made that encounter way more tense than it should have been. If I hadn't taken down Elandar first and had to hunt him down in the darkness instead of Argoniel, I'd probably have lost.
  • Speaking of the final encounter, Aeryn got hit by so much -healmod just before dying that second life did absolutely nothing for her. Had to try to 1v1 Argoniel while she kept running around in darkness.
  • Accuracy was also an issue, Wyrmic gets close to none. I floated points into combat accuracy when I had to, until I finally managed to get perfect strikes. Wyrmic's strong enough that two turns of that was pretty much enough to kill anything.
  • Effect clearing was a big issue. I had two double wild infusions to rely on, and that was about it. I tried building for immunities, but couldn't max many of them out. Had to swap some of the best of that away for spellhunt/guardian totem for the final battle, too.

Fun Tricks: None really. Wyrmic is as simple than berserker, really.

General comments on the build & run:
Having just lightning speed (nature balance backup) & ice wall as escapes proved sufficient, I was worried about not running movement infusions.
I entered dark crypt for the first time in forever. Corrupters weren't a problem, unkillable bosses are. Found an annihilator randboss I couldn't drop below 85%, and he also had vitality. A bulwark rare on melinda's floor was strong enough to oneshot me with several talents, and also had so much armor I couldn't hurt him. There was an archmage rare on the stairs that had enough speed to doublecast on me for an instakill (thanks heroism) but at least he was killable. I skipped as much as I could with Burrow Lightningspeed, using EarthEyes to spot the stairs.

Skipped zones: Temporal Rift, Elven Ruins, Ukllmswwik's lair, all the prides, tannen's quest, sludgenest, all of high peak. Not much reason to hitting zones when you're 50 and got excellent gear from the merchant.

Author:  tabs [ Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tryb's wins: Ins Thalore Wyrmic

Wait, how did you skip all the prides and High Peak?

Author:  Tryble [ Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tryb's wins: Ins Thalore Wyrmic

I didn't mean 'skip' as in literally never going there, but rather avoid all or most of the combat inside.
For a couple of the prides, you can burrow + lightning speed around the edge of the map to the other side, you don't even need to hit the switches, it seems. One of them (the one with the dragons) you can't seem to burrow through the walls so you have to go through it conventionally. Earth Eyes at least will let you spot the switches inside the buildings ahead of time, so you can avoid all the randboss dragons.
For grushnak, Earth Eyes & Track will help you spot the next level stairs and go through rooms without the larger enemy groups.

High Peak is pretty easy; you rarely spawn in sight of hostiles, so a high power track will instantly tell you where the stairs are, since a randboss is standing on them and mousing over that target will tell you if the ground is floor or the next level stairs. You can then burrow through the walls towards it, avoiding battles. Then you aggro the boss outside of LOS somehow, and circle around to go through the stairs without a fight. Repeat until on high peak 10.

Worth noting that dread and banshee type enemies seem to zero in on you as soon as you enter the floor, and teleporting orc mages can alert a lot of enemies if you let them.

Author:  Tryble [ Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tryb's wins: Ins Thalore Wyrmic

Dwarf Bulwark! My goal with this character was to try out a couple of disdained concepts; namely going all in on saves (ignoring immunities) and making heavy use of shield block & eternal guard.
Insane Adv mode (no deaths), vaultless. The only gameplay-changing addon was my combat veteran rework, which kinda felt like it was handcrafted to fit bulwark specifically.

Building Saves instead of Immunities
Dorf Bulwark has one of the strongest collections of all save you can get: +50 passively from Dorf, ~30 phys/spell from dorf active racial, ~30 from Daunting Presence, and another 25/70 phys/spell from class. That's a pretty heavy heavy swing in your favor, and that's all before gear comes into play. Yes, the stats are rescaled, but the raw numbers here are huge enough to be telling in the end. You only need +20 over the enemy to reach max benefit.
The growth of your saves on this character is pretty neat. Daunting Presence comes online early, and when it maxes out, Shield Specialist starts up. Then, Power is Money opens up, then Danger Sense. There's decent growth to invest in from Lv8 all the way through to about Lv40 or so, but it's pretty brutal to drop 15 generics for this.
Here are some screenshots of various randbosses and such throughout the run. I snapped SS's whenever I remembered. One or two don't have Intimidation applied and I have Dorf Resilience applied in a few, take note.
Saves vs Power Early Game
Saves vs Power Mid/Late
Saves vs Power Final Bosses
The main takeaway is that, well, there honestly aren't a lot of enemies sporting massive power. Given your growth throughout the run, it's really easy to stay way ahead on the power vs save curve. My experience in this run was that I could basically ignore that enemies had detrimental effects at all, for nearly the whole run. By endgame, enemies had caught up enough (no real save boosters in talents after 40-ish) that they could start landing effects sometimes. After getting a few pieces of equipment with all save (I was wearing about +70 all in the end), I'd pulled ahead again until the final battle.

That said, there's a couple scenarios where megasaves don't match up to immunity. One, is that saves carry a minimum 1/20 fail chance, some hits will go through anyway. Second, there are a number of no-save abilities...notably runes, which show up in number in certain Prides. The first problem is partially solved by Danger Sense - an effect you are +20 against but fail anyway is gonna fail 45% of the time thanks to Danger Sense's double check, bringing the save min fail down. The second just sucks, but Bulwark has Unflinching Resolve. Anything that punches through your wall of saves is gone in one or two turns. In practice, this wasn't really anything to worry about.

There's a lot of side benefits of high saves. Necromancer minions can't stun you, corruptors can't hex you, inner demons isn't a thing etc. A lot of annoyances that pop up regularly in normal games you can just act as if don't exist. It's pretty nice.

I think only a few character combos could use saves really effectively: You want a large +all saves in your talents and some kind of cleanse handy (unflinching was perfect) as part of your kit. Then you gotta to make room on gear for saves. Most dwarf classes with Conditioning would work pretty easily.

Block is a lot different than how I remember it in 1.4.9, and the most current bulwark guide has mean things to say about it. Since it's been touched up I went heavy to try it out.
After going a run with it, I think it's pretty good.

Defensively...I don't remember if it worked like this before, but normal Block applies its value to all hits during its active turn. It blocks all damage types except mind, and gets a 50% Block value boost against any element the shield has resistance to. That's a pretty substantial effect, and can effectively be considered a flat damage resist to everything for its active turn. This is a lot better than it seems, since the most dangerous junk in the game isn't single overwhelmingly powerful attacks (although those exist), but rather many high damage hits all at once, each of which will suffer Block reduction. Double turn attacks, Dual wielded flurries, Assaults, telekinetic smashes and so on, are all way, way less dangerous when you deduct hundreds of damage from each of the 3~6 individual strikes. It's nice that the damage prevention is reliable now. Fun fact: This character would have died at Assassin Lord after winning the fight, since the last lingering poison tick would have killed & I had no more healing/cleanse. Instead, I blocked it.

Offensively, counterstrike (looking at its behavior in log files), doubles damage as the tooltip suggests rather than adding a +100% damage modifier as the talent suggests. This means that offensively it's fundamentally always a good idea to Block & Counter, since it allows you to effectively doublecast your heaviest damage talents. Riposte at 4+ grants 3 double damage strikes. That doubles Assault/Shield Slam damage, but other talents get doubled while still leaving Counterstrike up for following strikes. One Block grants three tripled bumps.

Between the defensive & offensive bonuses, I think it's more or less optimal to block all the time. With that said, Eternal Guard brings block uptime to something like 60% and provides what is effectively infinite counterstrikes. Bulwark's super durable, massively so once EG is up. I didn't really take many screenshots, but here's one example of the kinds of fights I'd just stand around in and slowly beat crowds to death from behind the shield. (this is partly thanks to the anticrowd talent in my mod though)

With that said, I think it's complete madness to not take a damage-boosting talent like ICCTW or Arcane Might as prodigy #1, bulwark's sheet damage is just completely awful and they get completely shut down by other bulwarks. Grushnak had more armor than I had weapon damage and was effectively invincible. I ran around the world for a while until I collected another +90 damage/APR before reattempting that fight. Even then, I could barely touch him with my shield and relied on Assault and normal weapon strikes.

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