First things first, this will be an atypical Stone Warden guide since instead of dual-wielding shields, it skips shields entirely in favor of staves. While the EG/SS shield build makes for very tanky Stone Wardens, this build favors strong ranged damage over defense and melee damage. I am not going to argue that this is the best way to play Stone Wardens, but it is definitely a viable build that got me through Nightmare/Adventure without much difficulty until level 50. This style of Stone Warden is incredibly strong early game and still solid late game, with the only problem being its relative lack of defense. I don't recommend this build unless you're comfortable surviving without two shields.
Mag > Wil > Cun > Str, considering stopping your investment in Willpower around 30 or 40 when you can get all the talents you need since it doesn't actually help that much since mana and equilibrium are never an issue.
Stone Skin **
I guess this helps with the Stone Fortress passive talent but you really don't care that much about armor overall since your hardiness will suck. Worth sustaining since you don't care about mana but I wouldn't recommend putting more than 1/5 in this talent.
Pulverizing Augur *****
This is your primary damage spell, spam it. It can kill you halves so be careful not to blow them up, you want them for damage and tanking.
Good damage and knockback in a cone, definitely worth maxing by the midgame.
Stone Wall *****
This talent is stupidly good at 4/5. It essentially allows you to remove one or more enemies from combat, or isolate yourself so you can heal and wait for cooldowns. It also does amazing damage making it one of the best abilities you have. Get it to 4/5 by level 15 and use it whenever you're in a bad situation.
We aren't using shields for this build so we're skipping this tree.
We don't care about shields, mana, or equilbrium making this talent a waste of points.
Stone Fortress ****
This is great for reducing DoTs and such, doesn't need more than 1/5 but more points will help if you have lots of armor.
You don't use shields so this is worthless to you.
Eldritch Stone ***
It's a damage shield, but it's about as bad as damage shields get. It's worth using preemptively for a bit of extra defense but definitely not worth more than 1/5.
Stone Vines ****
This tree is overrated since movespeed reduction is a serious problem. Still, it costs nearly nothing and it can be a decent investment. Pinning enemies is helpful even though the damage sucks. You'll probably want to max this for the maximum range.
Eldritch Vines *
You don't care about mana or equilbrium and the damage still sucks, this talent is not helpful.
I don't know why you'd want to be next to an enemy, but it could help if you're surrounded and the heal is good. Probably worth 5/5 because the heal is nice.
I don't know why you'd want to bring enemies next to you but it could finish off low health enemies when your other stuff is on cooldown. I never used this and never regretted not using it, definitely don't get above 1/5.
Elemental Split *****
This is easily your best talent. The Stone Half tanks an absurd amount of damage while the Crystalline Half does more damage than you, making this an essential talent that should be maxed as soon as possible. Since you're using a staff instead of shields, your Crystalline Half is even more amazing than usual. You can probably get to level 20 with nothing but 5/1/1/0 in this tree and your starting inscriptions on Normal difficulty because your halves are so amazing.
Power Core ****
More damage and defense! It doesn't help by a ton but it's a nice investment, 5/5 it eventually.
Dwarven Unity *****
Gets you out of tough situations and sends out tons of Earthen Missiles. 5/5 this pretty quickly.
This is great when used just before your halves are about to expire. Its damage and healing aren't great but it still helps. This is worth at least 1/5, maybe more depending on how often you use it.
You should probably unlock this around level 20.
Deeprock Form *****
You turn into a giant earth elemental and get good bonuses to your physical damage. This isn't good by itself but it's amazing because of the next two talents. 5/5 this as soon as possible.
Volcanic Rock *****
Volcano seems really bad if you just look at the damage, but it's actually one your best offensive talents due to its low cooldown (it's 5 even though it says 20) and the fact that it can hit many times a turn. All of your items that proc something when a spell hits will have a chance of triggering many times each turn thanks to how often this hits. 5/5 this right after Boulder Rock
Boulder Rock *****
This is your best way of dealing damage without blowing up your halves. Its knockback will often practically remove an enemy from the fight for several turns allowing you to deal with any other enemies in the area and giving you time to set up Volcanos. 5/5 this right after Deeprock Form.
You get good resistances to lots of statuses when in Deeprock Form. Get at least 1/5, 5/5 if skipping Stone Alchemy.
Earthen Missiles *****
This ability is stronger than Pulverizing Augur and it has longer range, but it can only hit a single target and its bad against enemies that are immune to bleeding. This will be your other big damage ability next to Pulverizing Augur
Body of Stone ***
It looks like this got nerfed a bit making Pulverizing Augur and Earthen Missiles less spammable. Of course, since you don't care about mana and you this sustain can be cast instantly, it's still worth using when you can, its just not as good as it used to be.
This can easily mess up your halves if they wander into it, but it applies stun multiple times in an area while doing decent damage, which is amazingly helpful.
Crystalline Focus **
The damage boost and resistance penetration are pretty low and the saves don't really matter. You have better places to put points unless you're skipping Vines completely.
Eldritch Spikes (locked)
Stone Spikes ****
This talent has great damage, but it has low range and long cooldown. Nearly useless against enemies like Bone Giants who are immune to poison and bleeding.
Poisoned Spikes ***
This does good damage and the healing reduction is nice, but many enemies are immune to poison making it worse in practice than in theory.
Eldritch Spikes *****
This applies silence, which is awesome. Unfortunately, many casters will stay at range 10 making it hard to hit them with Stone Spikes. Damage is nice too, though you won't be stacking arcane damage.
Impaling Spikes *****(
This makes melee enemies essentially helpless since they won't be able to do serious damage anymore. Its good against archers too, if they're close enough, and it does instant damage making it better against skeletons and similar bleed/poison immune enemies than the first two talents in this tree.
Heightened Senses **
This isn't very good after the early game, the only reason to put any points in it is to get to Charm Mastery.
Charm Mastery *****
This essentially lets you use items like Wanderer's Rest and Rod of Spydric Poison way more often than usual. This is the often best talent to get from Thief escorts.
Piercing Sight ***
Lets you see invisible foes more easily. Don't get more than 1/5, but its worth having in areas like Dreadfell and Reknor.
Call of the Wild
Equilibrium in combat is not a problem, I guess you can use it while running away for the healing mod and mental save. Suggested 1/5 to regenerate equilibrium while resting.
Nature's Touch *****
This is your most only heal except for Healing Light from escorts. Unfortunately, it scales with mindpower which you aren't stacking that much (despite your high wil and cun). It can crit, but your mental crit chance will probably be pretty low. You'll probably want 5/5 since you don't have anywhere better to put your generic points.
Earth's Eyes *
This is usually a waste of a turn.
Nature's Balance ****
Resets Elemental Split and Nature's Touch, two of your most important abilities. Get it to 4/5 so it can reset all your nature gifts. Now if only it reset Deeprock Form...
Stone Alchemy (locked)
Don't bother taking this tree unless you're planning on getting Crafty Hands.
Extract Gems *****
At 5/5 you essential get one or two extra merchant randarts by the end of the game. Merchant randarts are good.
Lets you get stuff like 15% crit an 30% all damage or 15% resist all with crafty hands.
Gem Portal *****
This is essentially a much better version of Stone Walking
Stone Touch ***
3/5 makes it a nice shutdown on multiple enemies. Consider getting more points if you want, but 3/5 is good enough.
Thick Skin *****
Needs no explanation, 5/5
Armor Training ***
You start with 3/5 but you'll probably end up using a robe so leave it at that.
Combat Accuracy/Weapons Mastery/Dagger Mastery
You use Staves, invest zero points in these talents.
You can unlock this with a category point if you wish.
Waters of Life *****
Makes diseases and poisons heal you, which is amazing against corruptors and Orc Assassins.
Elemental Harmony ***
You have no way of applying fire, cold, lightning, nature, or acid damage to yourself, but this is still good in general since many enemies do fire damage.
One with Nature ***
This is okay since Infusion Saturation can become a serious problem late game.
Healing Nexus *
This is extremely situational, you probably don't want more than 1/5 in this talent.
I got Cauterize and Crafty Hands. Since you're forgoing shields, you definitely want Cauterize, but the second prodigy is much more flexible.
Craft Hands *****
If you got Stone Alchemy, this is either 10% resist all or 20% all damage and 10% critical chance, both of which are pretty good.
Windtouched Speed **
You're limited too much by cooldowns to take advantage of this.
Draconic Body ***
Your hp will be very high for a mage making this decent, but the cooldown is a serious problem.
Fungal Blood **
This would be okay but you won't have any con or the Fungus tree, making it a poor choice.
Spine of the World ****
This is great for preventing many nasty debuffs, since without Stone Alchemy your stun resistance probably won't be that great.
This is often the reason you're not dead, since you won't have good blocking or armor like most Stone Wardens.
Draconic Will ***
This is decent but Spine of the World is better for races other than Shalore.
Meteoric Crash ****
This is pretty strong since you'll have high physical damage, and the stun is good too. It doesn't do anything particularly special though, since you can easily stun people with Earthquake instead. Consider taking this if you took Eldritch Spikes over Stone and Stone Alchemy.
Garkul's Revenge ***
+20% damage to all humanoids including Orcs is cool since late game most of your enemies are Orcs, but it's really not worth a prodigy point. This is much worse than Crafty Hands unless you really want to kill Atamathon.
Get a Heroism, Movement, and Regeneration Infusion no matter what. For your other three, pick between physical/mental Wild Infusion, another Movement Infusion, or a Shielding Rune.
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Last edited by bpat on Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.