Seems like very few people have any idea how to play this class but somehow it just clicked for me so I guess I'll write a guide. Here's my winner
for reference. Like in my Corruptor guide, I'll put a tl;dr build at the top but you really need to read the whole thing to actually understand how to play this class because it's a weird one.tl;dr build
1/5/5/5 Force of Will
5/1/5/0 Advanced Shadowmancy
Spare class points can go in any talent from the four used categories other than Hateful Whisper.
1/1/1/5 Shalore or Doomelf racials
1/1/1/1 Dark Sustenance
1/2/1/0 Cursed Form
1/1/5/5 Cursed Aura
Seriously just read the guide for where to put spare generic points.
Stats: Cun = Wil > Str/Dex/Con
Inscriptions: Movement, Movement, Heroism, Regeneration, Wild/PD/Shielding
Prodigies: Spine of the World at 30, Superpower, PES, or Mental Tyranny at 42Races
Go Shalore or Doomelf. Shalore gives the Ruined Earth + Spine of the World + Timeless combo and Doomelf's Haste of the Doomed and Pitiless are greatly appreciated. Otherwise Thalore and Ogre are decent as always but neither have any synergy.Stats
Cun = Wil > Str/Dex/ConInscriptions
Standard set of Movement x2, Regeneration, Heroism, Wild/PD/Shielding. I actually used Movement, Regeneration, Heroism, Wild, and Shielding but I found a really good Shielding Rune and had Boots of the Hunter so I didn't use a second Movement Infusion. In hindsight I should probably have used a second Movement over the Wild.Prodigies
Spine of the World at 30 for the Ruined Earth combo. I don't know about other difficulties but on Insane the mindpower sweet spot is around 90 where you can semi reliably beat the mind save of almost anyone including the final bosses. If you have under 90 mindpower and Superpower or PES will push you over 85 mindpower then I recommend one of those at 42. If you have 90 or higher mindpower without Superpower or PES, then I recommend Mental Tyranny instead for more Madness procs. If you have low enough mindpower that it can't be salvaged, you probably want another defensive prodigy or you may want to re-evaluate your gear choices to build more mindpower and then take Superpower or PES.Category points
Something like Insc, Insc, Advanced Shadowmancy, boost Shadows. You can boost Shadows earlier if you value the fourth one over the Inscription slot but waiting is good if you are holding out for Umbraphage or a mastery amulet to drop. If you get the fourth Shadow without spending a category point, then the last category point can go to Survival or Fears or even boosting Cursed Aura if you somehow got a bunch of Shrouds and Nightmares items.Class CategoriesForce of Will:
1/3/0/0 early, 1/5/5/5 core, Willful Strike luxury
Willful Strike had okay damage but the knockback is great. Poor range makes this not as important as your other talents.
Deflection makes you not die. That's a big deal. I think it's pretty obvious that this is an essential talent on Doomed.
Blast dazes, knocks back, and does lots of damage. Sometimes it hits twice because of the knockback but I don't know a way to do this reliably. Also this is your only talent that lets you corner snipe aside from the Shadow stuff (if you have vision of the target) and Cursed Sentry.
Unseen Force is like a bunch of mini Willful Strikes, which is obviously amazing. If you have a hate on mind crit item, this will likely keep you at max hate for the entire duration.Darkness:
This category takes a whole lot of points to do pretty much nothing. Dark Torrent is not terrible aside from the fact that it's like your only talent that does darkness damage. Never put any points in this terrible category.Shadows:
5/5/4/1 early, 5/5/5/1 core
Shadows are what really makes this class work. They wander off and do their own thing, but that's actually really good because usually that means they're already killing stuff before it even targets you. They tank damage, deal damage, and pin enemies. Their importance cannot be overstated.
Shadow Warriors also boosts the damage of Shadows' spells. It's pretty great.
Shadow Mages lets them cast stuff, which is obviously a good thing. Not much to say here besides it's good and you need it. 4/5 is a nice breakpoint but you will want 5/5 at some point.
Focus Shadows immediately re-summons all your Shadows with just 6 cooldown which is very good. Note that they will have a 100% chance to teleport to an ally but they don't have 100% chance to Blindside an enemy, so if you really want them to teleport then you will want to target yourself, your Cursed Sentry, or even one of your Shadows.Punishments:
0/0/0/0 early, 1/1/5/5 core, Reproach luxury
Reproach has the same damage, range, and cooldown as Willful Strike but trades the knockback for a better damage type, a chance to brainlock, and AoE. It's not great because of the range but it's not bad either.
Hateful Whisper's damage appears to fall off late but it is very useful early at 3/5 if you want to float points in it since it outranges Reproach and Willful Strike.
Agony has very long range for a Doomed talent at 7 and also does respectable damage. Unlike Attenuate you cannot stack the damage by reapplying it before it expires so don't use it on an enemy already affected by it since it will reset the damage. This talent is great for its chance to trigger Madness or cause brainlock at high range
Madness is good but it requires you to have good ways of dealing mind damage and high mindpower in order to work well. This is why I don't take it until very late.One With Shadows (locked):
Don't unlock, 1/5/1-4/0 luxury
Shadow Senses is a mini Track I guess. Not very good.
Shadow Empathy is okay but overrated. If you use Focus Shadows, Stone, and Shadow's Path well you will almost never be in danger while you have living Shadows making this irrelevant. Really good uptime with Timeless though.
Shadow Transposition is a situational cleanse and teleport. Usually you don't want to trade places with a Shadow though because they like to melee enemies. Low cooldown is nice.
Shadow Decoy costs 40 hate so it's unusable lol.Advanced Shadowmancy (locked):
Unlock at level 20 or 36, go 5/1/5/0 immediately, Stone and Cursed Bolt luxury
Merge has 100% uptime and should be used on cooldown against difficult enemies. Combo with Ruined Earth and Feed to reduce an enemy's damage to zero.
Stone does the same amount of damage as Willful Strike which is pretty good considering it has range 10 assuming a Shadow is near
Shadow's Path does two very important things: lots of damage and precise Shadow teleport. Unlike Stone and Focus Shadows, you can pick the exact tile that Shadows will attempt to move to, so if you have a tile you need blocked, this talent will prove invaluable. I usually just use it for the damage haha. Note that this talent can move Shadows through walls which allows you to damage enemies without them being able to retaliate.
Cursed Bolt does less damage than Shadows Path and doesn't do anything special. However mind damage is much easier to stack than physical damage so it may end up doing more damage anyway. It's a decent damage talent with respectable range and potentially worth maxing but it's definitely not essential. Note that this does not trigger Madness as your Shadows do the damage, not you.Fears (locked):
Don't unlock, 5/0/0/0 or 1/1/1/4 luxury
Instill Fear is pretty good since both the Paranoid and Despair effects are excellent. Unfortunately you cannot pick which one to use so against solitary enemies it has a 50% chance to do nothing if you get the Paranoid effect.
Heighten Fear comes with two new effects; one good and one worthless. The Terrified effect is amazing and probably the best Fear because of its incredible defensive help. Sadly it's a package deal with the Distressed effect which does nothing since if you're beating mind save to apply the Fear, you're beating mind save to apply other effects as well.
Tyrant is even worse since doing a bunch of damage isn't really what you want to get out of this category. Also I don't think these effects can crit making them even worse than they seem.
Panic is great despite its long cooldown. It's a reverse Beckon which is like talent fail chance with an upside. It's a shame that it forces you to put points in Heighten Fears and Tyrant which make Instill Fear useless. If you could go 5/0/0/4 then this would be an excellent category but unfortunately Instill Fear and Panic are essentially mutually exclusive.Generic TalentsDark Sustenance:
1/1/1/1 early and core, Feed Power luxury
Feed gives you hate. Real simple right? 1/5 and move on, maybe float 2-3/5 until you get a hate on mind crit item if you are having issues keeping your hate up.
Devour Life is pretty pathetic but a heal's a heal and sometimes you don't have anything better to use. No need to invest past 1/5 here.
Feed Power is part of your damage reduction combo. This isn't worth more than 1/5 unless you have a ton of spare points, but it's probably the best talent in this category to invest past 1/5 in.
Feed Strengths is really good against elementals and randbosses that have a bunch of items giving them resists. As with all talents in this category, it doesn't get much better past 1/5.Cursed Form:
1/2/1/0 core, 1/5/1/1 luxury
Unnatural Body makes you worse! Too bad you can't refund it haha. Leave at 1/5.
Relentless gives you 28% resistances at 2/5 which is great and 50% at 5/5 which is okay. 2/5 is a nice breakpoint but more points here are still helpful.
Seethe is a decent damage boost in long fights but it doesn't get much better past 1/5. Feed Power is probably a better investment or a similar effect.
You don't care about Strength and Willpower only gives 0.7 mindpower per point so you're really in this just for the chance to cleanse a disease or poison. Not completely useless but really close.Gestures:
1/1/1/2 early and core, all but Gesture of Power luxury
Gesture of Pain boosts your bump attack damage early, but later Psiblades will do comparable damage. Even if Gesture of Pain does less damage, keep it on unless bump attacking that turn for the Gesture of Guarding counterattack chance. The big advantage Gesture of Pain has is that it uses your mind crit over phys crit. Also Psiblades give more chance to proc Madness especially with Mental Tyranny. The stun chance is too low to rely on even at 5/5. Basically you want to invest in this if you find yourself bump attacking a lot. Also don't bother with this at all if you end up with too low mindpower to beat saves because it uses mindpower vs mind save instead of accuracy vs defense to determine if the attack hits at all. Lastly, bumping with Gesture of Pain off is your best way of breaking Bone Shield aside from Disperse Magic gloves, so make sure to turn it off when bumping enemies with Bone Shield.
Gesture of Malice is great! Gives a good damage reduction and even if not using Gesture of Pain for attacks it's worth manually toggling it just to apply the debuff.
Gesture of Power gives you two very useful stats...in laughably low quantities. 1/5 just to get Gesture of Guarding.
At 2/5 Gesture of Guarding only the strongest melee attacks will harm you at all provided you have 5/5 Psiblades. At 5/5 you have excellent protection even without any armor. Regardless of whether or not you're using Gesture of Pain, you need this talent to be at least 2/5 and possibly 5/5.Cursed Aura:
1/1/1/5 early, 1/1/5/5 core, 5/5/5/5 and a category point luxury if you're a masochist
Defiling Touch and Dark Gifts are good if somehow all your items have Curse of Nightmares or Shrouds. Go big or go home.
Ruined Earth repeatedly applies a physical debuff that reduces damage to everyone in the area, making Spine of the World work wonderfully with it. If you extend Spine with Timeless, it lasts the full duration and removes the initial instance of the debuff. When in doubt, it's better to use this than not to use this even if you don't have Spine yet or a way to cleanse the debuff.
Cursed Sentry does great damage, especially if you give it a good bow or sling. Bows are usually better since arrows hit harder than shots. Also procs on-hit effects from the weapons. This also can block hallways and otherwise tank for you. You can switch places with it so it can help you get away from melee enemies that are already adjacent to you. Treat this like a tankier, immobile Ritch Flamespitter summon that can hit you with its projectiles.Survival (locked):
Don't unlock, 1/5/1/1 luxury
Heightened Senses is useless.
5/5 Charm Mastery is great if you know how to use it.
Piercing Sight helps you not get killed by stealth mobs. This is a good choice from Thief escorts.
Evasion makes you get hit less. This doesn't actually matter much on Doomed but it helps against Archers and such.Combat Training:
1/5 Armor Training immediately, Thick Skin luxury
Buy this from Last Hope for 50g.
You don't need heavy armor thanks to Gesture of Guarding. Combat Accuracy isn't needed for Gestures/PsibladesPsiblades:
5/1/1/1 early and core, Leaves' Tide luxury
Buy this from Zigor for 500g and then spend 750g to boost it. Ideally buy it after betraying a Alchemist escort to give an additional 0.1 mastery.
Psiblades boosts your Gesture of Pain damage and Gesture of Guarding protection. Also gives lots of mindpower.
Thorn Grab is instant but nothing special.
Leaves' Tide makes you and your Shadows even more tanky! Obviously this is a very good talent and probably the best luxury generic option.
Nature's Equilibrium is a heal. It doesn't scale well but that's fine.Shalore racials:
1/1/1/5 core, Magic of the Eternals luxuryDoomelf Racials:
1/1/1/5 core, Haste of the Doomed and Resilience of the Doomed luxuryThalore Racials:
1/1/1/1 core, Guardian of the Wood luxuryOgre Racials:
1/1/1/5 core, Grizzly Constitution and Scar-Scripted Flesh luxuryTalent Order
I don't like to tell people what order to take talents but I'll make an exception for this class. Below is the order you should invest in talents. You don't have to follow it precisely but it's a good general helper. Also floating points in damage talents early can help you get to the point where Shadows do enough damage, I recommend either two points in both Willful Strike and Reproach or 1/3/0/0 Punishments.
1/3/0/0 Force of Will
5/5 Shadow Warriors
1/5/5/5 Force of Will and 5/5 Shadow Mages in any order
5/1/0/0 Advanced Shadowmancy
5/5 Shadow's Path
Luxury talents and 1/1/5/5 Punishments in any orderStrategy
Shadows basically do everything for you, but that doesn't mean you should just sit around doing nothing. Blast and Unseen Force are both very powerful talents that knock multiple enemies away from you which means you won't have many opportunities to use your short range talents or melee attacks. Also hiding behind corners and letting your Shadows do most of the work is a very potent strategy against dangerous foes; it got me through the Dark Crypt on Insane. The enemies you need to be most careful of are those that use ranged weapons like Archers because Gesture of Guarding doesn't work against them and you probably won't be wearing heavy or massive armor. Merge should be used on cooldown against difficult foes. Ruined Earth + Merge + Feed reduces an enemy's damage to zero for a while. Stone should be used whenever enemy targets you because you'd rather your Shadows die than you. You can resummon them anyway every 6 turns with Focus Shadows.
If you're Shalore, Doomelf, or Ogre, unlearn your first racial and replace your Runes with Infusions to be able to betray escorts. You really want talents like Nature's Touch, Track, and Dream Walk and also getting Psiblades before buying it from Zigur gives you an additional 0.1 mastery.Equipment
Hat: Malslek the Accursed's Hat is ridiculous. Hateful Whisper is lame as an activated talent but it's amazing when it procs off Unseen Force.
Gloves: Disperse Magic gloves are necessary. I recommend farming Zigur patrols until you get one over entering High Peak without it.
Tool: Silence torque is probably the best use of this slot.
Lite: Umbraphage will save you a category point on Shadows if you're lucky enough to get it.
Body Armor: A robe or light armor will do fine thanks to Gesture of Guarding, just be careful around Archers.
Other than those slots, general advice applies. Healmod is more important because of Unnatural Body and also you don't care about armor as much as other classes. Rod of Spydric Poison is even better than usual because its 10 range is longer than that of almost all your talents.