This guide is meant for normal, where it should hopefully provide fairly consistent results. If you prioritize stats correctly, it will work even with bad loot drops throughout. Since the guide is meant for newer players playing on normal, I don't go entirely in depth in certain areas, however many things have been discussed in the thread if you want to know more.
About the build:
The build is very straightforward, and should be pretty consistent across different playthroughs.
The gist of it is, you get a number of breath skills (sand breath, fire breath, ice breath, lightning breath, corrosive breath, and venomous breath), stack a bunch of strength (their damage all scale with strength), ignore offensive stats on gear (other than strength), and stack a bunch of hp, resistances, and immunities on all your equipment. This works well because with all the defensive stats you will be getting, surviving is very easy. While each breath wont hit that hard individually, together they give you a good strong sustained damage output, that is only reliant on 1 stat that is very easy to get. You also wont have any troubles with immunities from enemies since your damage types will be split. With as much strength as you'll be getting, your infusions will also be extremely powerful, which improves your defense further.
Thalore: A great race for this build, the defensive talents it gets are great, and wrath of the woods is amazing late game.
Ogre: Also a great race, the buff to infusions is perfect, and the downside of grisly construction does not matter since you don't use mindpower.
Halfling: Has some cool stuff in general, but nothing that goes particularly well for this build.
Dwarf: Same as hafling, cool, but nothing particularly desirable.
The races i didnt mention i wouldnt recommend for this build unless you are conciously going for something sub-optimal, though anything could work.
Willpower will be important early on, to be able to level up your skills, but it'll be less useful once it gets high. Ignore it once its high enough to max chromatic fury (54).
Strength is your most important stat, since all your damage will scale with it, you wont need to bring it super high early though. Max it eventually.
Constitution helps you stay alive, put points here whenever you can spare some. Max it eventually.
Dexterity should get all the remaining stat points after str, will and con are done, makes you more tanky.
Wild-gift / sand drake aspect: 5/1/1/5
Wild-gift / fire drake aspect: 1/5/0/0
Wild-gift / cold drake aspect: 1/5/1/5
Wild-gift / storm drake aspect: 5/1/1/5
Wild-gift / venom drake aspect: 1/1/1/5
Wild-gift / higher draconic abilities: 5/1/5/5
The tier 1 skills you dont max untill everything else is done.
Swallow and prismatic slash: You'd get these only for passive bonuses, mental crit and mental speed, respectively.
Bellowing roar: Extremely good early game, because if you max it asap, it kills most enemies in 1 cast, the aoe is great, and it confuses, great skill through the whole game. Dmg is low late game.
Icy skin: The life% is very good since you will be getting a lot of life on gear, however the equilibrium sustain cost means you can't use this until quite late in the game.
Lightning speed: Pretty good even at 1 point, lets you reposition as well as engage and escape, i used it often. I maxed this eventually for the passive speed, but you can leave it at 1 point if you prefer to get the crit or mental speed from swallow or prismatic slash first.
Wyrmic guile: Must have since it halves your breath cooldowns, the status immunity on top is great as well.
Chromatic fury: Good for the damage.
All the breaths: Good range, decent damage throughout the game. Since the buff to wyrmic guile, you can easily get away with only maxing four breaths instead of six, which means we will be skipping two. I skip venomous breath since it's nature damage, which doesn't get bonuses from chromatic fury, and also fire breath because first off it's a dot which i dont like, but also because it can supposedly be resisted entirely by stun resistant enemies.
There isnt that much to say about the skills, because they all work as you would expect. The skills i didnt mention i either never used, or didnt use since getting the first two breaths up and running, but ill mention some when i talk about the early game later.
Quick overview: This is what i would call the base build, there will be spare points available.
Race / Thalore: 1/1/5/1
Race / Ogre: 1/5/1/5
Technique / Combat training: 5/5/0/0/0
Wild-gift / Call of the wild: 5/5/0/0
Wild-gift / Fungus: 3-4/1/5/1
Wild Gift / Harmony: 1/5/0/0
(Thalore) Wrath of the woods: Extremely good, by the time i beat the game, activating this together with a wild infusion maxed all my resists, as well at put my "all resist" at 94%. Rotating between this and two different wild infusions, you can get 30+ turns of very high dmg mitigation. The dmg increase is also very good, since you wont be stacking +% elemental dmg on gear, the % increase from this skill will be very efficient, and it affects all dmg types.
(Thalore) Guardian of the wood: Really good, the all res on this is awesome.
(Thalore) Natures pride: I put 1 point here eventually, since the distraction can save you, not necessary, but its a potentially life-saving 1 point.
(Ogre) Grisly construction: Perfect for this build, your regen and wild infusions will be stronger which is awesome. The two-hander part is also nice, but only provided you actually have a two-handed weapon with good stats on it (you wont really be hitting with it).
(Ogre) Writ large: Lets you use wild infusions more often basically, and also lets you get another infusion or rune.
Thick skin: 15% all resistance is just great, no less.
Armour training: Makes a wider range of equipment available, which lets you get better gear easier. Also makes you more tanky, which is also good.
Combat accuracy/weapons mastery: Getting a few points in these will let you kill crap enemies with your weapon, but it will never be very significant.
Meditation: You can leave this at 1 point or max it. At rank 5 it is very powerful because of the healing modifier and because it can restore your equilibrium very rapidly. Only activate it when you need to restore equilibrium or when you really need some more healing mod.
Natures touch: I used this often, and while healing a few hundred hp might not seem like much, by the end it healed me for 1.2k hp because of added healing factor (498 tooltip heal).
Waters of life: I hardly ever use this, but you can experiment with it once you max the important talents if you want.
Elemental harmony: Hard to tell when it actually does something, but whos gonna argue with +44% global speed for 10 turns upon taking fire dmg. The equilibrium sustain cost is quite high, so don't use this early on.
One with nature: It's nice, but even when i take it i forget to use it.
Wild growth: Pretty good, increases regen infusion duration, which is great.
Fungal growth: Not bad but not a whole lot of benefit from it either.
Ancestral life: Makes your regen infusion more or less instant, which lets you spend more turns doing breath attacks. Its also good for the sudden growth ability, because you can use regen and then sudden growth without enemies getting a turn.
Sudden growth: By the end, maxed sudden growth healed me for 2.6k hp with my regen infusion active. Pretty good at 1 point, its essentially another natures touch, no reason not to get.
Not much more to say here, its pretty simple; you get the heals and the passive defenses.
I can carry the world!: This is great, while the fatigue part doesnt actually do anything for you (equilibrium skills arent affected by fatigue), the +40 str is amazing for your damage. It should be around +100 dmg for your breath attacks, which is really really good. The str is also great for infusions that scale with str.
Irresistible sun: Really good skill that also scales with your strength. This skill is amazing, and just destroys packs and rares alike.
Windtouched speed: Theoretically good, since it lets you fire 1 additional breath attack every 5 turns.
Meteoric crash: A strong prodigy, that will increase your burst damage by a fair bit. It doesnt take a turn to use, as opposed to irresistible sun, so this is great for shorter fights.
All defensive prodigies: The ones that concern status effects are not needed, since you will be stacking effect immunities on gear anyway. The other defensive ones are just overkill.
I would take I can carry the world always (at level 42), and for the first one, the choice is between irresistible sun, windtouched speed, or meteoric crash, whichever you prefer. Unfortunately, if you skip fire breath, you likely wont be able to get irresistible sun (it requires you to do 50k fire dmg) at level 30, and since meteoric crash is also not too consistent, you might just have to get i can carry the world as your first prodigy, which is still nice but not optimal.
You will want to acquire gear with stun/freeze as well as confusion immunity, this is your #1 priority. Make sure those two immunities are as high as possible, and eventually maxed permanently. Next focus on getting HP and stat points (str/con/will), and lastly dmg type resistances. Damage stats are nice, but you can complete the game with literally no damage bonuses besides strength. It is also quite hard to itemize for damage when you are using 4 different damage types, whilst you are prioritizing the stats above.
I dont think antimagic is worth getting, because you will be getting very high resists already, and antimagic is just overkill. I also never had any issues with spellcasters, so why even bother. If you go antimagic, you will have a smaller item selection to chose from, and while the antimagic items are good, will and mindpower (which is the usual "antimagic bonus" you will get from items) are actually pretty useless for this build. You can go antimagic and get some benefit, but it will make it much harder for you to get proper equipment, and it will delay your investment into the other generic trees. The equilibrium regen from resolve is really good however.
1h + shield, 2h, mindstars?:
I went 1h + shield, because you get the largest amount of useful stats this way. 2H is pretty pointless unless you are gonna attack with it. Mindstars are pointless since you dont really need willpower or mindpower. Certain artifacts and grisly construction can change this.
Nothing crazy here. No harm in getting premonition and a chant, but i wouldnt go as far as to unlock any tree. Getting healing light would also be good, and i would get vitality over unflinching resolve, because you will likely be stun immune late game anyway.
1st slot: regen infusion. Keep it updated with the best one you find, and use it throughout the game.
2nd slot: regen infusion. You can switch between these two with the fungus tree and always have a regen infusion active.
3rd slot: wild infusion. Get the highest mitigation % you can, make sure it scales with str.
4th slot: wild infusion. Same and first one.
5th slot: heroism infusion. The stat increase is a great damage bonus, and the -hp thing can save you. I never dipped below 0 hp and only used it for the dmg.
6th slot (ogre): have your pick, I would probably get controlled phase door or lightning.
I put one in the fungus tree, for the quicker regen activation, as well as higher draconic abilites for some more status resistance. There isnt much point putting any in the individual drake trees, since the benefit will be minor and only on 1 skill.
You'll be using three sustains eventually; wild growth (15 equilibrium), icy skin (10 equilibrium), and elemental harmony (20 equilibrium), and they can severely hamper your breath casting if you start using them too soon. Wild growth is the first one you will be using, and it'll enable you to have regen infusions on permanently, so no real getting around this one unless you are on point with your other heals. Icy skin you wont max till after you get 4 breaths maxed, and by this time 10 equilibrium more is not that bad, just don't use it before then. Elemental harmony can be quite strong, but also quite inconsistent, and with the high cost to sustain it, don't use it until lvl 40+. If you have trouble with your equilibrium rising too fast, consider deactivating some sustains until you are higher level.
Early game specifics:
At the start you will use lvl 1 acidic spray as well as melee attacks to kill stuff, this can be a bit slow, but as soon as you get level 4 start investing in bellowing roar, which will speed things up. Roar + acidic spray + corrosive mist should let you kill most things safely until level 12. At lvl 11 you should have 2 breath skills ready to invest points in, one should be corrosive breath, the other can be whichever one you want, I recommend sand breath. From 12 to 15, level your two breath skills simultaneously, and start leveling a third breath once the two are lvl 3 each (they jump from 6 to 8 range from lvl 2 to 3). Once you get bellowing roar maxed, the early game should be a breeze, get some gear with good +willpower, str, and con. Dont put point in trees you arent gonna use yet, you need the points to be able to level your two breath skills simultaneously.
Mid game specifics:
Once you got 3 breath skills maxed (corrosive breath, sand breath, and your own choice), you should max wyrmic guile and chromatic fury, and start working on a 4th breath skill. Be on the lookout for good gear, i found a "Revenant" armor in the maze, which lasted me all the way to the late thirties. Be patient and manage your equilibrium, the last thing you want is your natures touch failing when you need it most (use meditation in combat to lower equilibrium). You will have some dead turns where you can only really use "bad" skills to do dmg, this can be fine to do, but watch your equilibrium, make sure it doesnt go to waste (acidic spray uses 3 equil. so this is fine to use, but corrosive mist and any of the melee skills are mostly a waste). Your first prodigy should be Irresistible sun or meteoric crash, if possible, which will speed up things.
Late game specifics:
Nothing much to say. You should be able to kill all white enemies with absolutely zero issues, rares are a matter of activating a wild infusion, irresistible sun, and spamming breath attacks. Super tough enemies (5k+ hp) might take a bit longer. Keep yourself alive while things are on cooldown with regeneration, heals, and wild infusions.
Artifacts to look out for:
Look for artifacts with lots of resistances, str, hp, or immunities. Dont worry about % dmg boosts or penetrations. There are plenty of great artifacts for this build, i will mention some of the ones that are strong in the early game, and can last you longer than you would expect. I'll skip the lategame artifacts, because they can usually speak for themselves, and whether they are good for you or not depends on what your current resistances and immunities are.
Ring of growth: Really good ring because of the time you usually get it (early), the +will frees up stat points for str and con, and the str is great. Also gives healing mod, resistances, and damage, pretty great.
Vargh redemption: Also really good, just for its defenses. +6 con as well as resistances and a decent active.
Coral spray: Decent resistances, and a decent proc on block.
Girdle of the calm waters: Really good, the healing factor is amazing and it gives a bunch of resistances.
Snow giant wraps: hp, resistances, strength, pretty great.
Iron mail of bloodletting: resistances, str, con, healing mod. good.
Thalore-wood cuirass: Good resistances, healing mod, con, will. good.
Revenant: Not sure which level range this appears in, but i found it in the maze, so it must be early. The armor is great, strong immunities, con, and saves.
Wyrmbreath: Good resistances, gives you an extra breath attack, great.
Wrathroots barkwood: Really good resistances, i used this for a long time.
In the charred scar, don't waste too much time fighting drakes and fire dudes, just activate lightning speed and move south.
Active items can be very useful. I used an amulet that let me use a heal, as well as a sword that gave me an additional fire breath, these both worked wonders for me in the mid game.
Thats all. Feel free to ask any questions if anything is unclear.
Last edited by anathema on Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:55 pm, edited 20 times in total.