ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

Learning to play the Shadow Blade
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Author:  jam3 [ Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:35 am ]
Post subject:  Learning to play the Shadow Blade

So I have tried out most of the classes (I think Arcane Blade only once) that I have available (I have only unlocked summoner).

I like characters that give me lots of toys and options, but that I can also just hit things. I think that the Shadow Blade is a good class for me. However, it is a difficult class because while there are many great talents available, it is really lacking in resources (mana/life/stamina). I usually run into trouble because one of those is low... (life, I get nuked... or I am doing attacks and run out of mana/stamina). My defence also seems not great, and if I don't build properly my offence might not be great either. I usually die after beating level 3 of Trollmire (level 5-6) but sometimes it is after I have defeated the crypt and come back and defeat Bill (level 7-9). It is usually casters or a surprise enemy that can 1-shot me that gets me.

I want to give my thoughts and how I intend to build and ask for pointers. I hope this is the right place. As part of my interest in options, I am playing a standard human (although Luck seems like a great stat that halfings have).

First thoughts on generic talents:
Phase door seems to be 3 separate things depending on whether you have 3, 4, or 5 points in it. The first 3 points seem important.
Teleport is also 3 separate things depending on whether you have 1, 4, or 5 points in it. So just 1 (ASAP).
Displacement Shield is some defence, I think 5 points but I have never reached the point I can do so.
Probability Travel is expensive, so just 1 point.

Combat Training
Thick Skin seems to be something you want at 5 at some point.
Armour training is not for Shadow Blades I think?
Combat Accuracy seems to be very important as a 1st point, I did noticeably less damage if I didn't take it. I would guess you want to take it all the way to 5.
Weapon Mastery isn't needed.
Dagger Mastery doesn't seem to scale well so probably is left at 2-3.
Exotic Weapon Mastery is something that might be a good thing to get from Warrior Escorts and allows you to use Whips I think? (I got an awesome one once).

Heightened Senses seems good but not too important, at least 1 early though.
Charm Mastery seems good but not too important, at least 1 obviously.
Piercing Sight seems to be the same. Honestly I don't have much experience with these things. I know that having 1 in Heightened Senses is not good enough to see some of the thieves and assassins you can fight in the first ~10 levels.
Evasion seems amazing. Something to get 5 in.

So that gives me a minimum of 31 points in the open generic talents. I think you have 43-48 by end game so there should be enough to take a special generic talent category.

Divination is the obvious one, but Light and Chronomancy are also possibilities? I don't think I take it at 10 but at 20.

I am going to split the post here, I want to give what I am trying to do for the first ~10 levels and where I want to go Class Talents wise.

Author:  jam3 [ Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning to play the Shadow Blade

Now that my first post has been accepted.

My current build to fight Proxy (the troll):
13+3 (level 2)
13+3 (level 3)
1 rush (level 3)
1 shadow magic
2 lethality
1 dirty fighting
1 dual weapon fighting
1 heightened senses (level 3)
1 dagger mastery (level 2)
1 phase door
1 combat accuracy
1 dual strike (level 2)

The category point doesn't really matter yet, and I don't think I need to spend it. Inscriptions are too expensive to buy, but could be an option.

This is a bit weak though, I think that while Rush is necessary after Trollmire 3, that it isn't before (as long as you don't run into any skeleton mages). Additionally, I am not sure about Dual Strike. When I get it, I end up being really low on stamina (if I use Rush, it is way too low).

So I guess I will end for tonight with the idea of changing out Rush.

Author:  jam3 [ Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning to play the Shadow Blade

I still have the problem of facing the shade, this is at level 6 or 7.

stats (at 6):

1 rush
2 shadow magic
1 shadow cunning
2 lethality
1 dirty fighting
1 dual weapon fighting
1 dual weapon defence
1 heightened senses
1 dagger mastery
3 phase door
1 dual strike
1 backstab
1 combat accuracy

I was trying to get to 7 and take teleport, and blur (probably remove one in dual strike).

Author:  Crim, The Red Thunder [ Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning to play the Shadow Blade

Might help to do the tier 1 dungeons in a different order. Especially on squishier chracters, doing Trollmire first followed immediately by the shade might be the wrong choice. Go hit up Norgos Lair after trollmire, and then do Korpul/heart of the gloom afterwards. Just because your journal doesn't mention them, doesn't make them a bad idea to do. (To the opposite, it's usually a great idea to do all the tier 1 dungeons, for the artifact drops, and experience.)

If you aren't yet familar with Norgo's lair, then from the entrance to trollmire, follow the treeline east. There's a tiny zig-zag path in the trees, that leads to a Thaloren village, and 2 dungeons, Norgo's lair, and Heart of the Gloom.

Another piece of advice for the shade, is to dig into his room, rather then charging down the long hallway while he blasts you. (That never ends well.) If you dig south into his room, he's 2 tiles away, instead of 10, when he starts shooting. Helps immensely.

Author:  jam3 [ Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning to play the Shadow Blade

I did Norgos before Korpul this time. It was a very chancy affair, I have not died yet but was close multiple times (The danger from range 'trash' seems greater in Norgos than Korpul, but the danger from the boss seems greater in Korpul than Norgos).

I ran into a Temporal Traveller in the 3rd map, and barely lost him (got down to 10 health, luckily survived by phase shift+heal+regen, defeated a lot of mobs and came back to find him with a sliver of life under attack by two monsters with not much room to retreat. Used Rush on weak monster (That was blocking strong monster) and then Lightning (item) on strong monster which killed him, should have used Lightening to finish weak monster and than Rush to engage strong monster. I still have tactics to learn.).

This time I opened up Light with my level 0 category point. I am on Korpul now, hopefully I have the tools to deal with the Shade.

Author:  Atarlost [ Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning to play the Shadow Blade

Probability Travel is not worth it on an AB so it's probably not worth it on a Shadowblade. You just don't have the mana for a 200 mana sustain. Save that generic point. Probably either for piercing sight to see through stealth or accuracy for better stuns.

Author:  jam3 [ Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning to play the Shadow Blade

So passed the Shade easily, with a combination of heal + digging. I think that his area is always the same? Also defeated the 3 arena fighters and Bill.

Where do I go next?

Dual Weapons
Dual Techniques
Combat Techniques
Dirty Fighting
Shadow Magic
Combat Training

Some delayed thoughts on extra places for Generic Talents. I think if you do not have a racial line that you definitely should open up something as an SB.

Divination (a shield + increased ability to not get into dangerous situations)
Arcane Eye: It would be nice to get at least 1, but this could come from a Seer?
Keen Senses: Is this important?
Vision: It would be nice to get at least 1, but this could come from a Seer?
Premonition: A nice defence, however, with a sustain cost of 120 I think it is too resource intensive for a SB.

Light (requires escort, I don't think it requires anything else, heals and a shield)
Healing Light: Looks like a great heal, 5
Bathe in Light: Not sure what this is good for
Barrier: Looks like a great shield, 5
Providence: Looks like some additional support, 5 (in the end)

Chants (requires escort, I don't think it requires anything else?, 3 defences and a damage boost)
Fortitude: Seems good, 5
Fortress: Not so useful
Resistance: Seems good, 5
Light: OK, probably not used in general

Chronomancy (requires escort, I think it requires a inscription to manage the paradox, some of the best abilities to dodge bad situations and a defence)
Chronomancy: Seems awesome, 5
Foresight: Seems good
Moment of Prescience: OK
Spin Fate: seems very good, 5

The issue with Chronomancy and Divination is that the Shadow Blade already has some tools of this sort (both in Survival and in Shadow Magic/Ambush/Stealth). Additionally, Chronomancy really requires an additional inscription to handle paradox if it is going to be used heavily (is this correct?). Light can remove some of the need for Infusions allowing you to do more with your infusions slots, and seems quite good too (not sure about Bathe in Light). Chants seem very good, but you can only have 1 at a time, so spending a category point and lots of generic talents on it (~ 11) seems unneeded.

So I think the single strongest one is Light, with Chronomancy being intriguing (then you need to get 5 inscriptions I think).

Author:  Crim, The Red Thunder [ Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning to play the Shadow Blade

Typical dungeon path is something like this.

Tier 1 dungeons (in rough order of difficulty)

Norgos lair -> Trollmire -> Heart of the Gloom -> Korpul -> Scintillating caves -> rhaloren camp.

Opinion varies a bit, some find trollmire easier (outside of Bill), others norgos. Similarly, Heart of the Gloom and Korpul are interchangeable, some find one easier, others the other. Big issue in Heart is the boss and his shadows, which can be very painful to classes that don't deal with groups and being surrounded well. Scintillating caves is generally agreed to be second hardest, and Rhaloren camp the worst of the bunch, both filled with mages, and the ones in Rhaloren camp being exceptionally strong. Shaloren characters who start in the scintillating caves are advised to leave immediately upon entering.

Tier 2 Dungeons (In rough order of difficulty)

Maze (Standard) -> Old forest (standard) -> Maze (Alt) -> Sandworm lair (either) -> Daikara (Standard) -> Old forest Alt)/Daikara (Alt)

Opinions are fairly varied here, due to varying difficulty on the standard and alternate versions of dungeons. The horrors in the alt maze make it somewhat significantly more difficult, especially for new players, but the smaller levels and high concentration of gold chests (My record is 16 in 1 run... It's crazy.) make it a tempting loot magnet, that can be a significant boost. The old forest is frequently second, though some favor doing it first, due to less dangerous standard enemies, compared to either maze, though the lesser grade of loot makes it a later priority. Sandworm lair offers decent loot in the standard or alt version, but is hideously tedious and annoying regardless of which version, but neither version is hugely threatening once you know how to handle the tunnels. Daikara is by far the hardest region, in either version, and tends to pack stronger enemies, in groups.
Alt old forest is a special case, the boss there is rather overpowered at the moment, and tends to be fairly rough, though the regular boss is significantly easier. Due to varying opinions on difficulty, and different classes, it may or may not be for you.

Beyond the tier 2 dungeons, there are also some optional ones that show up around now.

Optional set 1

Hidden Compound - Randomly placed on the world map, can typically be taken anytime after level 15.

Ruined dungeon - Randomly placed on the world map, used to be handled around level 15, it's now changed and is easier to handle around 20-25. Your mileage may vary.

Lake Nur - Appears at the end of the old forest, handling it can be easy or hard depending on build, you want to try and do it before really high levels (under 25, definitely), but when depends on your own choices. Level 15-20 recommended.

Temporal rift - Typically, do this after either halfling ruins, or after clearing all the tier 2's. It appears on Daikara level 3.

Halfling ruins - Found west of zigur, northwest of dreadfell, typically, you do this after all the tier 2's, and any optional dungeons you want to do, before heading to dreadfell.

Past that, your journal guides you to dreadfell, and the rest of the game should be manageable from there. The Elven ruins should be avoided till much later, as should mark of the spellblaze. (Both are post-dreadfell, and elven ruins, even later then that.)

I hope this helps.

Author:  jam3 [ Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning to play the Shadow Blade

Maybe at level 1 Nogros is easy, but at level 5 it is not (the 'trash').

How about quests like
"The beast within"
"And now for a grave"
or the one with the merchant (I think you can side with the assassin, but do not know how to do that).

Author:  Crim, The Red Thunder [ Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning to play the Shadow Blade

You are correct. You should do the cursed quest anytime after two tier one dungeons. If you're level 7-8 and can do the arena quest in derth, the cursed quest should be fine. Squishy characters can wait longer.

The assassin tunnels should be done in the 10-15 range, or whenever it pops, as you only get one chance to enter the tunnels. If you leave them when the dialog box comes up, you never get another one. (To side with the assassin, just talk to him and don't try to fight. Dialogue choices that are not hostile should be easy to figure out.)

The graveyard is post-dreadfell if you are not a necromancer, and level 24 if you are a necromancer. (No question. 24. You don't want to put it off any longer if you're a necromancer.) It can even be skipped completely.

Golem graveyard should be skipped completely. There's nothing there of any note for you, and why risk getting blasted by golems in a tiny cramped level for a piddly amount of pathetic experience?

Did I leave any more out?

Author:  jam3 [ Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning to play the Shadow Blade

I died to two Ambushes in a row, the second had range + pin attackers. I couldn't escape.

I then tried Arcane Blade. It is so much stronger.

It starts with range attacks (although it rarely uses them). It has a heal (Arcane Reconstruction) and all that Aegis line unlocked. It still has the Conveyance (although I felt too strong to use it, which was my undoing). The Fiery Hands (and Lightening Hands) are stronger than Shadow Combat. Arcane Cunning and Shadow Cunning are equivalent. Arcane Feed and Shadow Feed seem equivalent? But Arcane Blade has the whole Arcane Destruction and Arcane Combat Talents which are awesome. This doesn't even include Flame/Lightening (or even Stone).

I am back on ShadowBlade, but I think the focus on Shadow Combat must be a mistake?

Author:  Odeshog [ Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning to play the Shadow Blade

Arcane blade is way stronger at the start of the game. Later on as a SB you get to unlock some nifty skill trees, especially Ambush, which make for a unique style of play. In general SBs have a bit of a hard time in the beginning of the game but picks up around level 20 or so. I would recommend a warrior class for getting used to the game. In my opinion they're also quite fun to play, but you may not agree with that of course.

Author:  jam3 [ Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning to play the Shadow Blade

I like the idea of the SB but maybe I should stick with the AB. However, I right now have had two awesome drops as SB and want to be somewhat successful.

My drops were:
Blood of Life, Umbral Razor (I can't use yet)

I have almost died several times. I defeated Nogros (was easy this time, no area of effect range attackers) and Pox. I am on Floor two of the Crypt.

What should I take to not die? After playing the AB (1-2 shields, 1-2 heals), I feel super squishy (1 regen). I feel like I should dump everything into Dex to use Umbral Razor, but that will take 4 more levels (12?).

I currently have 3 stat points, 5 class points, 1 category point (no light this time), 4 generic points

Level 8
Notable Equipment: Eden's Guile,Telekinetic Core
Dual Weapons 1/0/0/0
Dual Tech 1/0/0/0
Combat Tech 1/0/0/0
Dirty Fighting 1/0/0/0
Lethality 2/0/0/0
Shadow Magic 1/0/0/0
Phantasm 1/0/0/0
Combat Training 0/0/1/0/0/1
Survival 1/0/0/0
Conveyance 1/1/0/0

I had intended to take Backstab, Dual Weapon Defence, Shadow Cunning, 2 in Blur, 1 in Displacement Shield, 1 in Dagger Mastery, 1 in Accuracy, 1 in Charm Mastery (with at least 2 in Magic to get to 28).

Now I want to be safe for a bit, but also go up in Dex as fast as possible to get the dagger. Also, I might want some Con.


Author:  Odeshog [ Sun Sep 22, 2013 6:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning to play the Shadow Blade

As a cornac you only get 10 hp per level so you should probably get more con. In fact I'd recommend only putting points into dex cun and con for the rest of the game. Magic is less useful than you think, you can use rings and other equipment to reach the requirements for certain skills. Shadowstrike is one of the best skills you have, I'd start working towards that immediately. Note that you do not need to have a clear path to enemies to use it. I.e. as long as you see them, say with arcane eye, you can strike them. Other than that work on your dual skills. Perhaps use the cat point for another infusion/rune slot for now and unlock a skill tree with the one you get at lev 10.

Author:  jam3 [ Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning to play the Shadow Blade

I ended up using the Blood of Life due to a long stun + 23 damage per turn (I think I was one turn away from being able to use my heals). I was 'safe' but dying for like 6 turns before dying (I teleported quickly).

Is there some way to get unstunned as a Cormac SB?

Current status:

Unused Notable Items:
Mighty Girdle, Storm Bringer's Gauntlets, Summertide Phial
Notable Items:
Umbral Razor, Eden's Guile, Telekinetic Core, Emblem of Evasion, Wintertide Phial
Dual Weapons 1/5/0/0
Dual Tech 1/1/0/0
Combat Tech 1/0/0/0
Dirty Fighting 1/1+1/0/0
Lethality 2/0/0/0
Shadow Magic 1/1/1/0+1
Phantasm 1/1/0/0
Ambush 0+1/0+1/0/0
Combat Training 0/0/1/0/2+2/1
Survival 1/1/1/0+1
Conveyance 3/1/2/0
Mana, Regen, Heal, Wild
Only the Wild is still the original, the others have been improved 1-2 times.

So very unfortunately about the Blood of Life. The Maze was a lot harder this time, I am at the bottom of it (I think).

I found a nice T2 dagger which I have replaced my arcing T1 dagger with (in offhand). However, the T1 dagger could project, which seems really really nice. The T2 dagger might freeze though?

Also, I am thinking about taking Armor Training 1 and putting in 3 in Strength to do so so I can use the Storm Bringer's Gauntlets. Good idea?

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