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 Post subject: [1.5] Shadowblade guide
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:04 pm 
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Archmage

Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:46 pm
Posts: 306
I usually write guides for classes that don’t already have one and Shadowblade already has a 1.5 guide. I agree with approximately 0 of the content though, and the writer himself said “Please write some [guide] so my guide can be the bad guide rather than the only guide”, so let’s not disappoint.

Shadowblade is a fun class with tons of tools, mobility and speed. And damage. And defense. What I am getting at is that it’s OP. It’s also fun to play. And it has tons of buttons but that’s less of an advantage and more of a “oh god my 60 hotkeys are taken, what do I remove for this new one” deal.

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1. Why Shadowblade
2. Races
3. Weapons
4. Stats
5. Class trees
6. Generic trees
7. Category point
8. Inscription
9. Prodigies
10. Escorts
11. Alch quest
12. Random thoughts

Endorsements :
Micbran wrote:
This guide was created to actually help players, unlike the previous shadowblade guide
Orange wrote:
Jesus - christ Micbran, the man might have a family. An ashamed family but still a family.
Dado wrote:
Daggers lmao. You should just get a T5 1h from the assassin lord and win, doesn’t need to be more complicated than that.
Ster wrote:
If you’re not using Ogre you might be even more retarded than I thought and your guide is barely better than the previous one. ToME is truly dead.
Bpat wrote:
Now that you’re writing guide for classes with more than two talents I’ll be able to show your guides are just as bad as mine.
Minmay wrote:
Ambuscade is all you need because that talent and the devs are dumb, stop writing bad guides.
Mex wrote:
not an archmage guide, 0/5
Kirk wrote:
anything that draws people away from playing demonologist is a win in my book, so I fully support this guide :^)


Why Shadowblade ?

I like to play them fast and nervous, going in and out and shredding mobs before they can even take a turn. Dashing from mob to mob and seeing them explode is a great stress reliever!

Pros :
+ Great burst
+ Great speed
+ So much mobility
+ Also tanky

Cons :
- Annoying stat spread
- so many things to put points in
- oh god resources are melting


Races :

  • Higher : 1/5 no synergy, Highborn’s Bloom could be great if it prevented drains but it doesn’t so…
  • Cornac : 4.5/5 everything is great, the extra cat/class/gen points are all really needed and the fast leveling helps as well.
  • Thalore : 3/5 thalore is average like usual.
  • Shalore : 3.5/5 the usual, timeless is good but Shalore is worse than other to get to that level.
  • Doomelf : 4/5 while there is no such thing as “too much mobility”, the tp isn’t as much of a game changer as usual. Those racials are still great though, and is someone happens to be tanky enough to matter, pitiless will extends all those nasty debuffs you have.
  • Halfling : 4/5 the ONE thing Sblade doesn’t have is status cleanse (though they have temporal shield to reduce duration). Indomitable helps in that regard, while the evasion makes melee mobs cry and the first racials guarantee crits from very early
  • Ogre : 5/5 well, you’re a weapon class. 2h and better infusion is always great.
  • Dwarf : 2/5 as usual, they have nothing on the other generalist that are Halfling/Thalore
  • Yeek : 3.5/5 even more speed! And summons.
  • Skeleton : 0/5 nothing to see there, you want infusions and there are no synergies
  • Ghoul :?/5 I want to believe Ghoul make great Sblade. The reasoning is that you kill everything very fast already, so using the ghoulish leap as an engage means you’ll have EVEN more speed than other races for the duration of the fight. And once it wears out you have tons of way to get out anyway. The early is a problem though.



Weapons :

Shadowblade can either go 1h+dagger or dual dagger (or if Ogre, 2h+dagger). We’re gonna cover this right now because it’s important for the rest of the guide.

From what I’ve seen, with 5 generics invested (so 5/5 weapon mastery or 5/5 dagger mastery) 1h+dagger and dual dagger builds do similar damage (both when keeping bump pressed and when using talents), I tried to have roughly the same quality of gear in both scenarios but this is of course not perfect, dummy had 100%/100 armor and 50% resists. Dual dagger was actually doing a bit more, but it was close. Gear will be different between games and it’s not possible to try every variation anyway, so I’m just gonna go with the idea that both are close enough that it doesn’t matter (damage wise).

There are things other than damage though, with 5/5 dagger mastery your parry will be better and that matters for survivability! You also have easier stat spread, and easier early game.

If you can spare the generics and go 5/5 in both weapons AND dagger mastery, then 1h+dagger becomes clearly superior, at the cost of generics.

If Ogre you go 2h+dagger because yeah, that’s better, whether you pump dagger mastery or not. Can still pump dagger mastery though (again, if you can spare the points).

I recommend dual dagger because I found it easier, switching weapons at some point is a hassle, ”losing” 5 generics is annoying, and it looks better thematically :p


Stats :

Depends. Are you gonna use sword + dagger or dual dagger? Are you gonna go PES or AM? Neither? Both (don’t do that please)? This is a puzzle and a pain early. What’s important is having 20+ MAG at level 10 to get 1 or more levels in time shield. The rest is split between DEX and CUN for stat req on all other trees.

I don’t advise using 1h early, even if you plan on them later because I found it more difficult every time I tried. I also wouldn’t use them later but that’s up to you, both work well and we’ve been over this already.

So : DEX/CUN/MAG early, for req.

After you reached 20 MAG (counting gear) and ~30 DEX/CUN, either go STR > DEX > CUN and transition to 1h + dagger or DEX > CUN > STR if you’re gonna stay on dual dagger. Last stat doesn’t really matter, a few skills scale on MAG but nothing much, WIL gives some resources (which can still be a problem late) and CON gives HP/heal mod, but none of those will be game changing.

STR : first if 1h (or 2h) + dagger, third otherwise (it’s still bonus ppower if dual dagger).
DEX : first if dual dagger, second otherwise (defensive stat).
CON : last, if you choose so. Armor of Shadows only benefits from CON starting at 60+ CON btw.
MAG : last, to scale a few talents. If you want to take Arcane Might then this is 3rd, replacing STR.
WILL : last, for a bit more resources.
CUN : second if dual dagger, third otherwise.


Class trees :

TL;DR
Dual Techniques 1+/2+/2+/2+
Combat Techniques 1+/1+/1+/5
Duelist 3+/1-2/1/2+
Stealth 1/1+/1/1+
Phantasm 0/0/0/0
Lethality 1+/4/3+/2-4
Shadow Magic 1/1/3+/1+
Dirty Fighting 1/0/0/0 or 2/1+/1/2
*locked* Temporal 1/1+/1/5
*locked* Ambush 0/0/0/0 or 1/1+/3+/0
*locked* Combat Veteran 0/0/0/0


51-64 points. In a normal game you will get 68 points, +2 from Alch reward (and +5 if Cornac). Remember (and this is valid 90% of the time, for all classes), 1 in every talent is better than a lot of points in a few talents, so don’t put more than 2 in skills early.
In my first iteration I had written about 65 necessary, I tried to really reduce that number to what is indeed the strict minimum because I want there to be the room for choice, this is not a “best possible build guide”, it is a base for people to work on, but the base by itself is strong enough to win.

Unlocked Class trees :

Dual Techniques 1+/2+/2+/2 *I love those last two*
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Dual strike : your stun. Simple and effective, more point for longer stun. The 1.2 mastery sadly means you need 4 points for stun duration = cd.
Flurry : big damage in multi-hit. More point for more damage.
Heartseeker : short dash with extra crit damage. 1 more range at 4/5.
Whirlwind : short dash with AoE damage + bleed. 1 more range at 5/5. Can be targeted at an empty spot or an enemy, if you target an enemy you’ll end up in a random square in range 1 of them.

Combat Techniques 1+/1+/1+/5 *standard melee build*
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Rush : you know it, you love it, you never use it to engage but only to flee. More points for range/cd
Precise Strikes : I don’t want to hit slower, my whole deal is being fast. But if I’m stuck at 70-80% crit because the crit gear just doesn’t drop and I have the points to spare, I’d rather take the attack speed hit and get 100% crit. You’ll still have more than 100% AS, just not as high.
Perfect Strikes : at least 1 by DF for dread/dreadmasters. Always useful to ensure your burst will hit, more points for more duration.
Blinding Speed : don’t invest early (it’s expensive) but extra GS is great.

Duelist 3+/1+/1/2+ *a lot of defense in that tree*
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Dual Weapon Mastery : more damage with offhand and parry. Parry is awesome because it acts like armor and reduce enemy damage very early in the calculations. That means it blocks a LOT more damage than you would think looking at the tooltip. 3 early and max late.
Tempo : stam regen, turn gain, cool. It’s passive so you won’t notice it but it’s nice.
Feint : nice talent that gives nothing with more than 1 point.
Lunge : Disarm is an excellent status, neuter melee and is rarely resisted.

Stealth 1/1+/1/1+ *it’s better than nothing and not that much worse than all 5*
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Stealth : it’s not a reliable defense but it’s nice to have enemies miss you every once in a while…
Shadowstrike : …especially when it also gives a guaranteed crit with bonus damage!
Soothing Darkness : some regen, helped me in final fight because TR was draining stamina like crazy.
Shadow Dance : enter stealth immediately and stay stealthed for a few turns. Excellent. I actually managed to totally reset Argoniel in final fight and to rest for 200 turns thanks to this.

Dirty Fighting 1/0/0/0 or 2/1+/1/2 *late game only, once you have good on hit and attack speed*
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Dirty Fighting : lets you stun/blind/conf/pin otherwise immune enemies. More point for more duration. It deals unarmed damage so you can get some nice procs out of it too.
Backstab : deal more damage to debuffed enemies and debuff them even more.
Blinding Powder : (very) small AoE debuff, blind is great.
Twist the Knife : pitiless’ little brother.

Lethality 1+/4/3+/2-4 *yay, expose weakness*
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Lethality : make knives use CUN instead of STR, gives crit and crit mult. Helps reaching 100% crit.
Expose Weakness : completely broken skill. The damage buff is gives is absolutely crazy, seriously. Use with flex and projection ego for best results.
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Blade Flurry : very good attack speed boost, worth using even in 1v1. The AoE is a bonus to clear faster, or for those summoners/necro/doomed if you didn’t manage to fight them 1v1. It also gives more Expose Weakness hits. Tooltip and drain cost don’t match, the truth is : drains 4 stam/turn
Snap : 2 points lets you reset Expose Weakness, Dual Strike, Flurry, and Dirty Fighting. 4 points lets you also reset Perfect Strikes, Blinding Speed, Heartseeker, Whirlwind, and Lunge. So 2 to reset only damage skills, 4 for utility/mobility. A lot of those T4 skills are expensive stamina wise though.

Shadow Magic 1/1/3+/1+ *kinda underwhelming unique tree*
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Shadow Combat : small darkness on hit, drains your mana fast. Good for proccing Armor of Shadows reliably if you take it.
Shadow Cunning : gives spellpower based on CUN. You, uh, do not give a crap about spower though.
Shadow Feed : mana regen, which lets you drop the manasurge rune. Attack and spell speed, because that’s how you roll.
Shadowstep : engage at good range and good damage. Unlike Rush this cannot be targeted on an empty tile, and unlike Rush the damage goes up with talent level. 3 points for 9 range is great. It’s a teleport and will grant oop buff.

Phantasm 0/0/0/0 *this tree really need to be reworked or removed*

Locked class trees :

Temporal 1/1+/1/5 *time shield is a life saver early and EoS is awesome once you have the mana*
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Congeal Time : projectile that slows GS. You’ll already slow people with on-hit, projectile is super slow, probably needs spellpower to apply. 1 to get to the rest.
Time Shield : time shield is great early and still good later. Shield and reduces debuffs duration.
Time Prison : you don’t have the spellpower.
Essence of Speed : huge GS boost that is always on. You need to have the 250 mana to sustain it though, and enough for still casting time shield once at the bare minimum. Even late 250 mana is quite a lot, that’s one of the reason I would understand investing a few points in WIL.

Ambush 0/0/0/0 or 1/1+/3+/0 *may have to drop dirty fighting to fit in the build*
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Shadow Leash : you have a less costly disarm, which damages and lasts longer.
Shadow Ambush : pull + silence + daze. Great because pulls are better than dashes if you have to target an enemy. Range 7 means it’ll outrange heartseeker but this deals no damage. The daze will ensure your next debuff sticks, too. More points for longer silence.
Ambuscade : huddle in a tunnel and let your shadow fight to take no risk. Yay so fun. But effective so there we are. More point for more duration and damage.
Shadow Veil : Not being able to do anything for a number of turns is bad, because it’ll get you killed. It deals damage alright, but the mitigation provided is not enough to make me feel safe. It only takes one time to end the run (well, technically several if you have BoL/Ring of Death/play adventure).

Combat Veteran 0/0/0/0 *nobody would ever unlock this*


Generic trees :

TL;DR
Combat Training : 3+/1/1+/1+/0-5/5
Mobility : 2+/1/2+/5
Conveyance : 5/1-5/0-1/0-1
Survival : 1/1-5/1/1
*locked* Divination : 0/0/0/0 or 1+/1+/1+/1+


31-50 generic points, you get 48 (+2 with Alch potion, +5 if Cornac). Light and tinkers are both great unlocks, but easier to fit if you are Cornac, as you can see.

Unlocked generic trees :

Combat Training 3+/1/1+/1+/0-5/5 *only question is weapon mastery investment*
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Thick Skin : 3 is nice, more if you have the points. Not a priority.
Heavy Armor Training : 1 to wear helmet/gauntlets/boots.
Light Armor Training : 1 is nice, 2 gives less, 3+ way less.
Combat Accuracy : 1 early, maybe more if needed.
Weapon Mastery : if you’re going for 1h/2h.
Dagger Mastery : every time, max later if you go 1h/2h + dagger because it’s less important than mainhand weapon.

Mobility 2+/1/2+/5 *great defense/mobility*
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Disengage : a really nice skill that I don’t often see mentioned, with proper positioning it’s really good at letting you escape. Sometimes the squares you can and can’t go to can be a bit odd though. Remember you have a movement boost after. 2 for 5 range, more for more range/speed.
Evasion : cd scales well with level but you won’t be using this several times in a fight even then. Great against melee.
Tumble : this is instant, instant talent are often underrated. It’s a short range teleport that works in vault. Use this to escape, or position yourself to set up a disengage escape. 2 for 3 range, more points for more range.
Trained Reactions : only go 3/5 early, it gives less returns after and will cost you too much stamina. This is a great defensive talent that lets you survive damage spikes. Don’t neglect resistance/armor because of it though, if it procs every other attack you’ll soon run out of stamina.

Survival : 1/1-5/1/1 *same as always*
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Heightened Senses : 1 early for those unlit dungeons.
Device Mastery : 1 if you don’t use charms, 5 if you realize they’re extremely good.
Track : 1 for those times you don’t want to rush in blind and stop long enough to realize you don’t have to.
Danger Sense : 1 for a second chance at saving against a debuff (since it shreds your saves on second try it’ll only be 5% chance but it’s better than 0% chance).

Conveyance 5/1-5/0-1/0-1 *PD at 5 is great, rest of the tree way less*
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Phase Door : level 5 let you choose where to teleport, useful for escape when surrounded.
Teleport : level 5 to choose who to target and where (large radius). Useful to tp a problematic mob in 1v1 if you can beat saves, or as a last attempt to flee. Since it has a minimum range of 15 and at 5/5 the radius is 15, I guess you can ensure you go to range 16 by just targeting one square away from you?
Displacement Shield : unreliable shield but still a shield. 1 point so you have the option.
Probability Travel : extra expensive but can blink through a wall in a pinch. 1 point to have the option.

Locked generic trees :

Divination 0/0/0/0 or 1+/1+/1+/1+ *I wouldn’t unlock, unless you found no escorts as Cornac*
Arcane Eye : 1 gives vision, 4 allows you to follow a monster, 5 to negate stealth/invis.
Keen Senses : spell crit, can be useful, especially if you went for Arcane Might.
Vision : helps knowing the terrain around you (and near the monsters you’ve tracked/arcane eyed.
Premonition : expensive sustain but more res is good if you unlocked the tree anyway.


Category points :

Cornac : Inscription -> Temporal -> escort/Ambush/inscription
       You can even take a second escort tree depending on your investment in other trees.

Non-Cornac : Temporal -> Inscription -> 2 of escort/Ambush/inscription
       Drop escort for less generic strain, Ambush for less class strain, insc for most options.

Temporal at 10 is great because time shield is worth an insc, as long as you can invest in it, and it lets you get Essence of Speed fast, if you found +mana items.

Inscription next (or before if Cornac) because you have SO many things to invest in, and I don’t know how to play without 4 insc.

Then the order is up to personal taste, I would take escort first because they give you the one thing Sblade doesn’t have : cleanse (since you’ll take light or chants). But Ambush is arguably better since the shadow lets you kill in safety. I would usually take the 5th insc with last point if I take it.


Inscriptions :

Drop the manasurge right away and go Heal/Wild/Movement early. Get a point in Shadow Feed between 8 and 10 so you have mana regen by the time you unlock Time Shield, before that the level up will be enough, or maybe you’ll even find an item with mana regen.

Add Heroism when you can, take whatever in the meantime, a second Wild/Heal/Movement are all good, so would be PD/Regen/Shield.

PD works early because the reduced debuff duration will stack (multiplicatively) with Time Shield’s and you have so many ways to move after the TP. I usually say to only use one late but here we go.

Switch the starter wild to a dual wild by DF if you can.


Prodigies :

Flexible Combat first prod, no questions asked. Procs are awesome since you hit a LOT and it makes your Expose Weakness better since it adds more hits to it.

Second is up to you, notable prodigies include :
  • PES : if dual daggers, by level 42 you’ll have good STR and not only does it add damage to your daggers, it also makes Expose Weakness even stronger since it scales of CUN
  • AM : if you’d rather have a passive damage buff.
  • Armor of Shadows : you want a defensive prodigy, that’s fine with me. As long as you keep Shadow Combat sustained, or if you have some misc darkness on hit this will always be on while you hit people. Really strong against melee/archer mobs.
  • Naloren : you went full Ogre. Will you go as far as offhanding a whip? (Imagining a whip parry is weird…)
  • ICCtW : if Ogre, as 2h will benefit nicely from the bonus STR, and your infusion will become bonkers


Escorts :

  • Sun Paladin : chant of fortitude for the HP, or the category if you plan to unlock it.
  • Anorithil : take the category, then free points in BiL
  • Temporal Explorer : Foresight is 2% crit shrug, Precognition is a poor track (and stun fodder), I’d choose the first
  • Alchemist : god I hate this useless escort. Just take stone touch for stun fodder or +2 MAG, and cry.
  • Seer : vision or arcane eye, nice. I’d go vision since you have track already.
  • Warrior : 1 in vitality which is handy early. Then 1 in UFR even if the returns are shit. Don’t need to put points in Exotic even if you plan on Naloren, just keep a few points for when you get it. Stats requirement are a bit high for levels 5-10 but the stats needed are your 2 mains so you’re good.
  • Thief : free generic points!
  • Loremaster : Disarm is great
  • Tinker : Learn the craft. If you consider tinker unethical, go for last engineer standing for that crit shrug.


Alchemist Quest :

Focus > Foundations >> Precision >>>> Fox > Whatever
Blah blah blah, reward for completing the last alch potions are decent (except last Hope) but you probably won’t use them anyway, blah blah blah Invulnerability potion can be extended by BiL, making it funnier and more overpowered (but ugh, consumable).
Some things never change.


Random thoughts :

  • Someone play Ghoul Sblade please
  • Expose Weakness needs to be gutted
  • #indaggerswetrust
  • Who is even reading these?

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Do you like guides ? I write guides.

You can go here for a compilation of everything I wrote, plus some other important stuff!

Includes general guides (inscriptions, zone, prodigies), and class guides (Demo, Anorithil, Bulwark, Zerker, Sblade)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:40 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 4:27 pm
Posts: 716
#indaggerswethrust


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:26 am 
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Wayist

Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:19 pm
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Thanks!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:18 pm 
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Wyrmic

Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:27 pm
Posts: 227
Great guide, I might actually try this class again next run! :D

Phantasam is that one tree I really wish I could use as a Shadowblade because it's got a neat theme with it, but the only way I've ever seen anyone get use out of it was Shadowstrike+Illuminate on a dual staff build. I'm not sure that can even fly anymore, it was before the Stealth rework and Shortstaff nerf.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:22 am 
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Archmage

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 324
Looks like a pretty good guide, appreciate the clear discussion of a generally unclear class. Will have to try, have always meant to try the Ogre Shadowblade and just couldn’t really get started.

Is there any point to a heavy armor, Stealth-less Shadowblade? Because Ogres always go “TEE-HEE, TEE-HEE” when they’re trying to sneak...

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:36 am 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:19 am
Posts: 1148
Location: Yeehaw, pardner
Snarvid wrote:
Looks like a pretty good guide, appreciate the clear discussion of a generally unclear class. Will have to try, have always meant to try the Ogre Shadowblade and just couldn’t really get started.

Is there any point to a heavy armor, Stealth-less Shadowblade? Because Ogres always go “TEE-HEE, TEE-HEE” when they’re trying to sneak...


With shadowdance you can enter stealth anyways so lol

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 7:11 am 
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Archmage

Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:46 pm
Posts: 306
Snarvid wrote:
Is there any point to a heavy armor, Stealth-less Shadowblade?

Going heavy sure is possible if you want... but it's more of a problem of losing Tumble and Trained Reactions than losing stealth (btw you can enter stealth while wearing light/no armor THEN equip heavy/massive and you'll still be stealthed).
I wouldn't do it but it's not necessarily wrong to do so, you'll get a few more class/gen points to put somewhere else and less stamina drain. Though you'd get the fatigue, so higher stamina/mana costs... anyway, do what sounds fun to you, i don't tell you how to play :p

Chronosplit wrote:
Phantasam is that one tree I really wish I could use as a Shadowblade because it's got a neat theme with it

Me too. It's not that the talents wouldn't fit in, it's just that they don't do enough. Illuminating area is ok, but it's 3 points until it blinds aswell. More defense is good, except the numbers are way too low. High melee retal is fun up to a point because rogue flurrying you can kill themselves, but after a while the damage is too low compared to mobs HP and you invested in two other lackluster talents. Also two of those cost mana to sustain, making it harder to have the mana for EoS, while being infinitely worse.

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You can go here for a compilation of everything I wrote, plus some other important stuff!

Includes general guides (inscriptions, zone, prodigies), and class guides (Demo, Anorithil, Bulwark, Zerker, Sblade)


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