First I want to say that San0ix's guide here is an awesome general guide and very informative. Certainly the best place to learn. It helped me understand the TW.
I found the TW to be both fun, fast and very forgiving.
TW is very open to many variations, and it can be tweaked to your style. I'd thought I'd share a slightly different playstyle, adapted from playing a lot of shadowblade builds and learning some of the finesse from them. Not better, just different, to show how flexible TW builds can be. And some of San0ix's talents descriptions might have been tweaked in recent patches.
I finished a Roguelike Normal run at a very brisk pace and a slightly different build. That included running a number of farportals, the crypt, and Atamathon without too much trouble.
The build: Skeleton TW
And while it was only normal, I was always thinking to myself "would this be effective in Insane?". I'm pretty sure it would work really well.
This was my level 49 ~ point allocations (level 49 is the best indicator of build evolution and playstyle imho, before you get all those freebie points at 50):
Blade Threading 1/3/3/2
Bow Threading 1/3/2/3
Temporal Combat 3/1/4/5
Temporal Guardian 2/1/2/5
Threaded Combat 2/5/5/2
Combat training 5/1/1/0/0
Fate Weaving 1/2/2/3
Spacetime Weav 1/1/0/0
4 Runes: shield, controlled phase, controlled phase, teleport. (I used the teleport only once - in the battle with Atamathon...so ymmv)
(If not a skeleton I would have used: shield, controlled phase, movement infusion, a regen or heal infusion, and maybe a second shield or heroism. I rarely used the 2nd controlled phase)
Prodigies: Arcane Might and Spine of the World.
I focused on penetration with items, so I didn't need Temporal Form for that - so keep that in mind. If you can't find 30%-50% dmg penetration for one of your stronger elements, you'll need TF for that (in Insane)
-The phys power boost from Arcane Magic for a high magic combat build is very significant. When I took it as the first prodigy, it almost doubled my damage for the mid-game
. And it does tier correctly now, but even so, it's very much worth considering - even if in the end-game it is less significant. Note that this means for a TW, it impacts your clone-effect damage
too (arrow stitching, wardens call, etc). My end-game geared
phys power was ~99 with just a few points invested in strength. Spins add a tiny bit on top of that.
-Spine of the world is really good. TF only covers pin, bleed, blindness, stun. SoTW covers 90% of the game's bad effects. Every 5 turns-you simply need to get rid of the one effect that intiates SofW.
I was kind of feeling out the class as I went. I got an Anthoril escort early and was thinking to go with the standard suggested prodigies, so that is why I had unlocked and put 1/5/1/5 in Celestial light. In restrospect I could have had the exact same play with 1/3/1/2 and spine of the world. And with skeleton and no light tree, I could have probably used a heat rune to remove the phys effect that procs SotW. With a non-undead, who can use infusions, this is not usually an issue. The light tree is just a nice-to-have, not mandatory.
-But do note that Bathe in Light can grow and extend any shield. And Barrier can crit for twice the strength.
With the increased damage from Arcane might or gear and lots of proc effects on weapons and gear, you can control the battle field. Orc pride fights were over in 4-5 steps. (On insane the time might be doubled... but in insane you find good gear much before you do in Normal...so it depends). Items that add crit% and crit multiplier then significantly impact the battle. Over 1000 per hit is not uncommon near the end. Even in Farportal and High Peak, most standard enemies in normal were one-shots.
Speaking of procs, Breach (Temporal Combat) with Seal Fate (Fate Weaving) is impressive. You can stack effects for ages on bosses. Not needed in normal, ofc because you kill so fast, but this would be amazing in Insane. I tested on the end-bosses and I was able to Stack: Fold fate, Spell shocked, Illness, Corrosion, and Confusion on Argonial (who has Spine of the World) until I decided to kill her..8 turns plus. Talk about battlefield control! Elandar, who does not have SotW had many more physical effects in addition (slow, stun, cripple, bleed).
-The Paradox sweet spot seems to be 300. You get your best durations for your investment here. (Precognition, See the Threads, Invigorate, Breach, Wardens focus, Time stop, etc)
-You can get by with Paradox control only via Arrow Threading and some willpower investment. Initially you'll have to rest a lot to keep Paradox in control via Spacetime Tuning, until you get Arrow threading going. And then remember to shoot a lot of arrows, which is not hard, since that's your most dominant weapon. But that's only important if you don't want the Stasis tree.
-Fate weaving is a great tree and can also add a little bit of damage mitigation and combat boost via Fateweaver. It's not uncommon to have 3 spins going. I really liked the tree, in general.
-I found the SpacetimeWeaving tree not worth a lot of investment. Dimensional shift is good as long as you can teleport for the removal and it only shortens
one effect. Temporal Guardian/Vigilance is % to remove
the effect every turn.
I used my phasing for battlefield control and attack position. And in some weird spots (some doorways in prides and high peak) and under some spells effects you can't teleport. And that's why I had 2 points in Chronomancy/Celerity for my skeleton (as a movespeed closer in those situations, while using Stop) - I would rather have had a move infusion.
-Range 5 SpacetimeWeaving/DimensionalStep is perfect for all the orc pride distances until the final fight. If you need further maneuver distance, you can use a Controlled Phase Rune, which will get you close enough, after which you can use the instantaneous Dimensional Step for accuracy, if the Rune missed. Until you get a controlled rune, you could float more points in Step if you like. BlinkBlade(2/5-3/5) will eventually fill the distance gap for strikes.
-See the Threads is not really critical. I used it as my Contingency (who doesn't like 3 chances to escape?) and sometimes to play around with bosses. It does have a bug, though: if you complete an achievement while in a thread
, the game won't save. My contingency only ever activated with Atamathon, though. So ymmv with this. I didn't even use contingency until the last half of the game in order to help manage Paradox numbers.
-Invigorate will double cooldown speed of Runes, race talents, and some item talents (evasion on boots), as well as all your abilities. It's great. So it effectively can mean twice-as-fast rune shielding available, for example. And likely Prodigies too...although I couldn't test as my prodigies had no cooldown.
-Blade Threading/Blade Shear can be very effective, when positioned around many adjacent enemies. Especially if you have many procs. For example, if you can get next to the Orc Pride bosses (usually they are lined up together at the start), you can proc them all the first turn and they are rendered much less dangerous for a number of turns.
-1/5 seemed to be enough in Treaded Combat/Blended threads to keep a nice cycling of cooldowns for my playstyle. ~50/50 melee/bow in harder battles. With the occasional activation of Invigorate, as well. Invigorate was at 1/5 for most of the game.
-Combat training/Combat accuracy. Because you are going full-on dex this can stay at 1/5 most of the game. Usually you find a few items with accuracy boosts. Note that end-game 2/5 only gives maybe a boost of 5 with gear and that number diminishes with more points. Depends if you need that 5-10. You could float the points or Spins( Fate Weaving/Fate Weaver) can also add a little accuracy.
-Offhand weapon is a very good candidate for procs, since it does less damage. Look for weapons that have on-hit procs. Early on, your crit% will be too low to bother with any on-crit proc. Blind, slow, and daze are very effective mid-game. Most early procs will be melee-only, and you'll need to be up close to use them. Temporal Combat/Weapon Manifold is also really good at 4/5 and works on ranged and melee. It also adds on top of weapon procs.
-It's possible to constantly run a battle at ~150% attack/spell speed and top it up to almost 200% attack speed (with Speed control/Haste) for 5 turns. That's not including items. The bow you can get at Dakaira can add +25% more speed to that for ~220%.
-I preferred +% phys crit gear and effect procs, and some defensive gear. I didn't find a lot of teleport gear, though.
Some other Prodigies:
-Windblade: As San0ix mentioned, it has potential. Synergizes well with Blended Threads and Warden's Call.
-Temporal Form: damage penetration and some immunities
-Cauterize if you are really scared of dying...however, it may never get used. That's not as much fun as something in constant use, but it's safe if you like that style.
-Draconic Will....honestly, Spine of the World with a few helper items is so much better; it's much less micro-management.
-Flexible combat: I think this is only melee...so keep that in mind if you like to use the bow a lot.
-Swift hands: This cheesy prodigy is not about switching weapons, it's about switching to items that will have no initial cooldown
upon switching. Once per turn for free. If you love to stockpile items with cooldown abilities, then this may be for you. Not my style.
Races. I think Halfling would also work well as a TW. Militant Mind is undervalued. It can boost phys power quite a bit.