The goal of this character was to press speed advantage to high levels. Yeek's global bonus & Rampage's bonus (both slightly pumped by Adept), Eden's Guile (which showed up very late, sadly) and alacrity armor for me. For the enemy, ~80% on-hit slow, ~40% thorn grab slow, 30% gloom slow if lucky enough, Cripple via Flexible combat. In the very best case scenario, enemy global speed went <40% with 70% action speeds, whereas my speeds were ~190% global & ~170% action. I also took Fears, hoping to steal the enemy's few turns with Paranoia attacks or Panic movement. Most advice says to stay away from Fears since moving an enemy away is the last thing you want as a melee, but with this much speed advantage it's a huge positive - remember that Surge & Rampage active, movement speed shoots up >500%. Go ahead, step away...I'd be happy to take a half dozen turns in response!
The Good Stuff
- Rampage is good. Early game it saved the run by activating if an enemy so much as stood nearby threateningly, and lategame served as the "murder everything" button.
- I love Mark Prey - it dramatically reduces the need for Track (which is good since I didn't get any till the end) and nerfs the damage of the most dangerous targets on the floor. It's seriously great.
- Leaves' Tide provided a consistent 54% chance to avoid all damage at the end, which is pretty nuts.
- Fungus is good as usual, but getting that ~500 max health from Wild Growth was really important. I was dropped <200 health several times in the run by surprise attacks from dangerous melee enemies - although I wore the ring of the dead the whole game, it was nice to dodge those instakills.
- Although I'm unsure how well Savage Hunter worked, Shrouded Hunter was unexpectedly a huge defensive bonus. The massive amount of stealth it provides when mindpower is high (& Adepted) is surprising; enemies lost turns constantly wandering around or attacking wrong directions. I floated points in occasionally to pump it to about 120 stealth by the end, and had another ~20 or so stealth power from equipment. That's enough to beat the vast majority of stealth vision around, although not all.
- Corner sniping enemies with Instill Fear was useful when jumping right onto a target via Blindside was too risky.
- Fears commonly crush enemy mind res and mindsave, the former of which is a really nice bonus when using Psiblades attuned to mind.
- Wayist is fantastic! You can aggro from outside LOS with something actually strong, you can distract dangerous targets, burst down an enemy, and they are pretty strong besides. I ran Nexus of the Way in my mainhand purely to get doublecastings of Wayist, which was stupid effective.
- It's really nice how all-round great Adept is. A bit of Global Speed, Max Health, All Res, DMG/Armor Pen, Immunities from all the passive talents, as well as pumping the best effects of all the stuff you 5/5; Leaves Tide, Wayist, Mark Prey, Gloom...I need to double check to be sure, but I think it was boosting the talent procs of flex combat, too.
- Wore the Cut Drem Arm purely for immunity, but holy moly the free yanks were super practical. I never once regretted keeping it equipped.
The Bad Stuff
- Tier 1 zones as yeek is pure suffering. I had about a dozen runs that got to Maj'Eyal only to walk into every single T1 zone, get forced to flee by a deadly instakill rare, and then sit wondering on the world map which zone I'd prefer to die in. I had absolutely trash luck with gear in the shops which didn't help any.
- Despite high Mind Speed during Rampage & Alacrity, plus boosted by Adept, Gloom effects just don't trigger often enough to be meaningful. Generally, once an enemy was tagged by gloom, they were being shredded by a billion psiblade attacks as they helplessly waited out the slow turns.
- Part of the early game problem is fighting with one hand behind your back waiting for Psiblades - mindstars still suck early on and 500g to unlock the tree is crippling. However, pumping too much STR to get good melee weapon damage is wasteful. I lucked out in this run by getting the Three-Edged Sword to carry me through T1s to get to Psiblades much more safely.
- Psiblades not dealing physical damage is an anti-combo with Rampage's physical damage bonus, unfortunately.
- Debuffs were a problem, so I wore a bunch of crappy-to-mediocre fixedarts just for the immunities. Boots of the Hunter for pin immunity was the most painful.
- Enemies had such a hard time targeting through stealth, hitting through leaves tide, or punching through immunities that I barely used my two Wild Infusions. Similarly, I used my Heroism twice the whole game (neither was necessary, though), so I effectively was only using a single infusion (regen) nearly the whole game. I considered dropping Heroism for Primal, honestly.
- I only found a single piece of alacrity armor the whole game, and it was trash. I wore it anyway.
- Mana clash is really unnecessary when you can flexible combat punch with spellhunts all you want.
General comments on the build & run
The survivability of this character was night and day from T1 to T2. I attribute this to Shrouded Hunter & Mark Prey - once those went up I felt like I was ever really in serious danger ever again (while shrouded was active, that is). But before then, it was RIP city and super frustrating.
I was pretty worried about defenses considering how all of Cursed defenses are 'soft' defenses...but there's so many that it actually works out pretty well. It just takes a bit to get them all online.
I really wanted to take Windtouched Speed, but idiotically transmog'd all the Dex gear I had. By Lv29, I had none and was really hurting for a prodigy, so took Adept. At 42, I figured Flexible Combat beats out windtouched since it grants access to Cripple as well as providing a huge chunk of free damage on account of all the high speed attacking. I skipped Parasite speed as a result of low generics. It would have been nice to have all of those at once, but it didn't really make sense to try.
Took Fears with the last category point; it was useful in a lackluster kind of way. I'd probably take it again if I ran the same char (infusions saw surprisingly little use) but they're not that important.
I skipped a lot of stuff again. Didn't bother checking half the backup guardians, ignored Tannen, ignored spidercave, skipped elven ruins, the underwater east zone, both dark crypts etc. I rushed dreadfell early so that I could get east & back ASAP, hoping to buy merch randarts and get the last cat point fast. After that, straight to prides instead of cleaning up. Yeek go fast.
I also learned near the end of this run that siding with the Assassin Lord actually gives something really good. I've been running merchant for my last three wins...