Jubei, the Mentalist Dragon Mage
1. Character introduction
Once a noble apprentice of the High Temple of the Mages' Guild seeking magical knowledge, Jubei quickly earned a name for himself in the Great Council. His fast learning abilities combined with the accurate magic and fighting skills acquired during the short stay at the Temple turned him into one of the most promising students in the land. The ranks and grades he obtained were bolstered day by day, slowly climbing on his way to the top. One day, following his hard work and commitment at the Temple, Jubei managed to came into the Grand Archmage's attention who wanted to personally greet and teach him all the knowledge he had. Finally, the young student, got the opportunity to fulfill his childhood dream, that to meet and directly learn from the Archmage himself. But he never got the chance to fully complete his wish. At a time, the men's long forgotten enemies had returned, the Demons. They shortly begun to slaughter everything in their path, man by man, kingdom by kingdom, quickly making their way to the Mages' land. Overcome and outnumbered by the demonic army, Jubei and his fellows retreated into the mountains to seek shelter, but only a few of them managed to fulfill the long and tedious journey to the peak of the mountain. Little did they know that they had taken refuge close to a dragon's lair so they were taken by surprise by the dragon's return, who surprisingly allied them against their common enemies, teaching Jubei vast mentalism and dragon magic knowledge. Since that day, the now fearsome and skilled Dragon Mage seek to avenge the loss of his former colleagues and masters, entirely driven by his own will in order to banish the evil once and for all.
2. Skill build and skill mastery
2.1 Skill build
Level 2 - Mentalism Lore (at least 75 points here (I recommend 200); match its level by your character's level so you can master it at level 75) - What's a mentalist without his Mentalism Lore skill? Mentalism Lore is a crucial skill in our build, increasing both damage dealt and casting speed of the combat arts from the Mentalism aspect as well as granting Runes of Protection buff further resistance increase. Also allows modifications for our most important spells.
Level 3 - Tactics Lore (at least 75 points here (you can go even 200 if you want a more melee oriented character); keep it 3/4 of your character's level so you can master it by level 100) - A good mentalist has to be a skilled fighter as well. Tactics Lore provides us increased weapon damage as well as better chance for critical hits.
Level 5 - Armor Lore (75 points here; keep its level around 2/3 of your character's level in order to diminish the penalty caused by high level gear; usually, the penalty level has to be at least 20 levels higher than your character's level, meaning that a level 75 Dragon Mage (for example) should use level 95 or even 100 gear without any penalty) - A balanced mentalist should not only focus on his offense but on his defense as well. Armor Lore provides us a decent amount or resistance and regeneration decrease as well as a penalty level decrease for our equipment.
Level 8 - Mentalism Focus (75 points here; match its level by your character's level so you can master it as level 75) - In order to be a complete mentalist, we should have the focus skill of this aspect as well. Like Mentalism Lore, Mentalism Focus is another crucial skill in our build that greatly reduces regeneration time for Mentalism aspect combat arts and diminish the penalty levels too. Also allows further and faster modifications for our Mentalism spells.
Level 12 - Concentration (75 points only; keep its level 1/4 of your character's level until mastery; don't put too many points into this skill since we're using it mostly for the second buff) - Learnt by Jubei in the loneliness of the mountains, Concentration is a must have skill that comes in handy even with a single point into it. It reduces the regeneration time of all combat arts but most important, it enables the use of 2 buffs at the same time.
Level 18 - Dragon Magic Focus (75 points here; keep it 3/4 of your character's level so you can master it by level 100) - The mighty dragon's knowledge finally comes in handy. Dragon Magic Focus greatly reduces regeneration time for Dragon Magic aspect combat arts and diminish the penalty levels as well. Also allows modifications for our Dragon Magic spells.
Level 25 - Pole Arms (75 points here; keep its level around 2/3 of your character's level in order to diminish the penalty caused by high level weapons; like Armor Lore, the penalty for Pole Arms weapons has to be at least 20 levels higher than your character's level, meaning that a level 75 Dragon Mage (for example) should use level 95 or even 100 weapons without any penalty) - Like a skilled Shaolin fighter that uses long-handled weapons, our mentalist will focus on learning the power of the pole arms weapons. Pole Arms increases attack speed and chance to hit as well as a penalty level decrease for our weapons.
Level 35 - Constitution (75 points; keep its level around 1/2 of your character's level; try to master it by level 150 'cause we'll badly need it for Platinum and Niobium difficulties) - Constitution provides increased health and health regeneration, empowering our Mage's survivability.
Level 50 - Combat Discipline (75 points; keep its level around 1/2 of your character's level until mastery; we won't really need 4 combat arts in a combo so don't hurry up mastering this skill) - A Concentration-like skill that comes in handy without many points in it. Combat Discipline improves the damage of all combat arts as well as the number of combat arts that can be put in a combo.
Level 65 - Toughness (75 points; keep its level around 1/3 of your character's level until mastery) - One final defensive skill for the mentalist, Toughness provides a little bit more resistance as well as a minimal damage mitigation percent. I picked Toughness as a final level 65 skill simply because I find resistance and survivability in general a higher priority for the late game (Platinum or higher) rather than damage increase skills (we already have Mentalism Lore as well as Combat Discipline skills to do it).
If you intend to give the build a personal 'touch' or you want to define it in a particular way, some other possible level 65 skill choices can be (instead of Toughness):
Dragon Magic Lore (75 points; keep it around 1/2 of your character's level until mastery) - Only if you really want to further improve the Dragon Magic aspect combat arts in terms of more Eternal Fire and Dragon Strike damage and a little bit of Familiar health bonus as well; I personally prefer Ancient Magic skill to increase the spell damage and the health bonus granted isn't that much of a thing since we already have Constitution)
Ancient Magic (at least 75 points here (you can even go for 200); keep it around 1/2 of your character's level; try to master it either on Silver or Gold difficulties since we'll badly need the opponents' spell resistance reduction on Platinum and Niobium) - If you want to maximize the damage dealt, choose this skill. It boosts our spell damage by a decent amount and it decreases opponents' spell resistance when mastered (my personal favorite skill as a Toughness replacement because it can be a good choice for Platinum and Niobium too if you master it before entering those difficulties since it reduces the enemies' already high resistance, dealing with them a bit faster)
Spell Resistance (75 points only; keep it around 1/3 of your character's level until mastery) - Good skill to choose if you feel your Runes of Protection buff can sustain you in battles against weapon attacks. As the name says, Spell Resistance increases our Mage's resistance against magic spells and adds a protection against spell-based critical hits as well.
Enhanced Perception (75 points; keep it at least 2/3 of your character's level for better effectiveness) - Learn Enhanced Perception if you like a greedier approach to the build since it increases our chance to find valuables. Good skill to take if you like to play with a lot of set and special items.
Bargaining (200 points here; if you want to fully benefit from it match its level by your character's level) - Learn Bargaining if you intend to do a lot of shopping to constantly upgrade our gear.
2.2 Skill mastery order
1st - Mentalism Focus: for further decrease of the regeneration time and even more penalty level diminish for the Mentalism aspect combat arts. Master it at level 75.
2nd - Mentalism Lore: for further damage increase for the Mentalism aspect combat arts. Master it at level 75.
3rd - Tactics Lore: for even more damage and chance for critical hits increase. Master it by level 100.
4th - Dragon Magic Focus: for further decrease of the regeneration time and even more penalty level diminish for the Dragon Magic aspect combat arts. Master it by level 100.
5th - depending on your skill chosen at level 65:
Pole Arms (only if you didn't pick Ancient Magic at level 65): to have the chance for double hits. Doesn't have a certain level to be mastered with.
Ancient Magic (only if you picked it at level 65): to be able to reduce the enemies' resistances against magic. (if you picked Ancient Magic at level 65 then master it 5th, right after Dragon Magic Focus and delay the order of the rest of the masteries afterwards by 1; try to master it either on Silver or Gold difficulties since the spell resistance reduction to the enemies will be much needed in Platinum and Niobium).
6th - Armor Lore: for further reduce to the regeneration penalty. Doesn't have a certain level to be mastered with.
7th - Constitution: to increase the health regeneration rate during combat. Try to master it by level 150.
8th - Combat Discipline: for further combat arts' regeneration time decrease and to allow up to 4 combat arts in a single combo. Doesn't have a certain level to be mastered with.
9th - depending on your skill chosen at level 65:
Toughness: for even more resistance increase and damage mitigation.
Dragon Magic Lore: for further damage increase for the Dragon Magic aspect combat arts.
Spell Resistance: to be able to reduce the duration of detrimental effects (the five secondary damage effects like open wounds, burn, freeze, poison and weaken) and damage over time effects.
Enhanced Perception: to grant a chance to find secret compartments in chests and hiding places (not really sure what this means to be honest since I never mastered Enhanced Perception).
Bargaining: for better quest rewards. All of these skills mentioned in this section doesn't have a certain level to be mastered with.
10th - Concentration: for further combat arts and buffs' regeneration time decrease and to allow up to 3 buffs to be used at the same time. Doesn't have a certain level to be mastered with. I choose to master Concentration last because we don't really have a useful buff as our 3rd one since we didn't focused on the Elemental Magic aspect to modify the Protector buff.
3. Combat arts and modifications
3.1 Combat arts
1. Energy Blaze: Our main offensive combat arts we'll be using. It creates a magic energy that damages and burns (damage over time) enemies in the area of effect. Very good for dealing with groups of enemies. (I don't really have a certain number of runes to be read here, just pay attention to not go above the penalty level; the damage dealt will be primarily increased via +% Magic Damage modifiers and not via reading runes but we'll eventually end up with 200 runes at character level 200; on a personal note, I try to keep this spell's regen at around 1.5-1.8 seconds)
2, Combat Trace: Powerful castable buff that reduces our combat arts' cooldown and protects us against root and stun effects as well. Very good ability when used before boss fights. (200 runes here since we won't really spam this; can even go above the penalty level a lot without any major issues)
3. Maelstrom: Good crowd control combat art that slows the enemies inside the area of effect. Also slows the missiles inside the field. Probably better when used in a combo paired with other combat arts than used as a standalone spell. (200 runes here; can go up the penalty levels by your wish)
4. Runes of Protection (buff): Our main buff we'll be using. It basically provides the Dragon Mage a magical armor that protects him against melee attacks and spells. Extremely powerful defensive buff. (200 runes here eventually but keep an eye out on your Energy Blaze's regen and also to the penalty level to not go above it; don't increase your spells' regen too much with this, so, my advice is to start occasionally reading runes after you reach level 25-ish)
Dragon Magic aspect
5. Eternal Fire: Another area of effect damage ability that ignites an enemy and spreads the fire over to nearby targets. Might be better used in a combo paired with another area of effect or crowd control spell rather than a standalone ability. (occasionally read runes up to the penalty level and keep this around the penalty level as well; 200 runes will go there eventually, later in the game)
6. Dragon Strike: Heavy area of effect offensive spell that comes in handy in a possible combo. Calls down a dragon that casts a massive fireball at the targeted area, dealing fire damage over time to the enemies. (similar to Eternal Fire, occasionally read as many runes as the penalty level lets you; 200 runes here as well)
7. Familiar (buff): Our second buff after we'll learn Concentration. Summons a small dragon companion that increases our Intelligence, Health and Willpower. Very good second buff if modified according to the build. (as this is a very important defensive buff, I recommend to reduce its regen a lot via item modifiers and read a lot of runes here; can even go above the penalty level but not too much; 200 runes will go there)
3.2 Modifications (modify the combat arts in the exact same order as listed below)
1. Energy Blaze
Confusion: targets attacks more slowly (30% + 0.02% per Energy Blaze level) - I find this modification to be more effective than Blind (opponents' hit value decrease) just because it synergies better with Maelstrom's slow (Energy Blaze and Maelstrom combined provide movement slow, attack speed slow, missile slow as well as a weaken effect) Zone: increases the area of effect (+5 meters) - I personally prefer this one over Impact (damage increase) because we can increase the Energy Blaze's damage much easier than increasing its area of effect. Afterglow: magical burn gets stronger (2.5 damage/second + 1.25 damage/second increase per Energy Blaze level) - I personally find this better than the regeneration decrease modification (Experience) because we'll reduce the regeneration time of all spells via items, Combat Trace or Energy Flux Familiar modification, so a little damage increase over regeneration decrease won't hurt us that much.
2. Runes of Protection (buff)
Protection: increases protection against physical damage (8 + 5 per Energy Blaze level) - Very good modification since most of the enemies in Ancaria's lands uses physical damage (or physical + other damage type). Stone Skin: increased chance to block missiles (25% + 0.3% per Runes of Protection level) - We already have one Protection modification as well as Armor Lore and eventually Toughness, so we have enough physical resistance. An increased chance to block incoming missiles would be better this way. Flux: reduces the costs to keep up the runes (-25% reduction to the regeneration penalty) - A huge modification to take since it reduces the regeneration penalty caused by Runes of Protection buff, thus meaning a shorter regeneration time of all our combat arts.
3, Combat Trace
Awareness: increased stun resistance (16.7% + 0.1% per Combat Trace level) - I find this better than the Light Footed modification (increases root resistance) because we can still use combat arts and attack while rooted, while we're completely defenseless while stunned. Experienced: reduces the Trace's cooldown (down to 40 seconds) - Self explanatory. Shorter cooldown, more Combat Trace uses we have. Energy Flux: markedly increased regeneration (-15% + 0.3% per Combat Trace level) - Highly recommended modification to take for further regeneration decrease to all aspects.
Grind: further reduces the armor of enemies caught in the Maelstrom (-50% + 0.2% per Maelstrom level) - The less armor they have, the more damage we inflict. I choose this modification over the Burden one (further speed reduce) because Maelstrom has a -50% speed slow by default, which is more than enough for huge crowd control. Thicken: missiles are further slowed inside the field (200% slow) - A total of 400% missile slow after this modification. I'm not a big fan of the Extension modification (Maelstrom duration increase) since 8 seconds by default is more than enough and we usually finish opponents in less than 8 seconds. Demoralize: attributes are further decreased inside the field (5.5% + 0.1% per Maelstrom level) - Similar to the Grind modification, the less attributes they have, the more damage we inflict. I prefer this modification instead of another Thicken one since a total of 400% missile slow is usually more than enough.
Dragon Magic aspect
1. Familiar (buff)
Insight: increases experience per kill (+10%) - A free 10% increase experience per kill will help us level up a bit faster. I pick this over Firebug modification (chance to ignite targets) because we won't rely on the Familiar to kill our targets, we'll do it with Energy Blaze and Eternal Fire. Quick Mind: increases casting speed (15% + 0.2% per Familiar level) - From my perspective, Dragon Mage has a lot of slow casting spells so I always prefer this modification over the Protection from Fire one (self explanatory name). Energy Flux: reduces the regeneration time of all spells (-16.7%) - Another huge regeneration decrease modification and a must have one since it decreases the regeneration of all spells from all aspects, not just from the Dragon Magic aspect. Also, the Life Force modification (health increase) can be a bit overkill since we have Constitution anyway (and a lot of resistance from our items and Runes of Protection buff).
2. Eternal Fire
Licking Flames: fire can jump to enemies that are further away (+0.8 +0.01 meters per Eternal Fire level) - As the description says, more spread range with more burning enemies. Can be deadly in certain combos. Hunger: increases the chance to jump over to nearby enemies (+10% +1% chance per Eternal Fire level) - Like the previous modification (Licking Flames), this one increases the fire spread further more. Fury: fire burns stronger (+37.5% damage increase from base damage) - The more damage dealt, the more deadly Eternal Fire will be.
3. Dragon Strike
Heat: fire burns faster, reducing time between the pulses (+0.34 hits/second) - Faster damage over time to the enemies caught. Since this spell will only be used in a combo, we won't take the other modification, Terror (chance to stun the targets). Heat: fire burns faster, reducing time between the pulses (+0.34 hits/second) - Another Heat modification for even shorter damage intervals. Fury: fire burns stronger (+33% damage increase) - Very good modification to take to maximize the damage potential of this spell.
Combo 1: Energy Blaze + Maelstrom - Both crowd control and damage focused combo.
(Energy Blaze rips enemies apart and the survivors (if they exist) will be greatly slowed and will be finished only by weapon)
Combo 2: Energy Blaze + Eternal Fire - Maximum damage focused combo.
(Energy Blaze heavily damages the enemies in the area of effect while Eternal Fire sets them ablaze, finishing the rest of the survivors (if they exist))
Combo 3: Dragon Strike + Maelstrom - Another crowd control and damage focused combo.
(We'll put Dragon Strike first into the combo since it has a short delay before the fireball falls.)
if you want to use 3 combat arts in the same combo (after learning Combat Discipline, level 50), the third combat art that will be put into the combo is pure preferential (same thing applies after Combat Discipline mastery when we can combo up to 4 combat arts); I usually use combos with just 2 combat arts into them
a suggestion for a maximum damage 3 combat arts combo: Dragon Strike + Energy Blaze + Eternal Fire (can be good against certain slow bosses)
level 1-30: add points into Strength (for increased attack value and pole arms weapon damage; note that we won't be using blunt pole arms which are only affected by Dexterity attribute since Strength-based pole arms are usually easier to find and comes with better damage values as well) and Stamina (for better combat arts' regeneration time early on) in a 60-40 ratio (at level 30 you should have around 18 points added into Strength and around 12 points added into Stamina; if you prefer you can even add 16 points into Dexterity and 14 into Stamina)
level 31-50: put points into Strength and start to occasionally up Vitality as well (for some health bonus) in a 60-40 ratio as well (by level 50 you should have added around 12 points into Strength and 8 into Vitality)
after level 50 when you will have 2 attribute points to spend: ONE point should always go into Strength while the other one should go into Vitality or Intelligence (for a bit of spell damage and spell intensity); my preference is to improve Vitality one level and then Intelligence next level and so on
after level 150 when you will have 3 attribute points to spend, TWO points should always go into Intelligence (to be able to scale our spell damage better into the higher difficulties) and the other one into Strength
6. Weapons and equipment
since there are no set pole arms specific to the Dragon Mage, we're going to use some unique ones (if we're lucky enough to find some)
otherwise, rares are good too (even some blues can be found with nice modifiers as well)
best weapon modifiers to use: +X% Lifeleech is the best modifier so far (+X flat value Lifeleech is good too), +X/X% Damage, +X% chance for critical hits, +X% chance for double hits, -Combat arts regeneration time, +X% damage to the same damage type you use, +Regeneration/hit, +X all combat arts, +X all skills
try to keep each one of the weapon slots for each damage type and focus on one main damage type (I personally use magic damage due to the weaken effect that synergies with the weaken from the Maelstrom spell)
only use pole arms that are affected by Strength attribute (thus meaning that all blunt pole arms that doesn't have a sharp edge or a point won't be affected by Strength)
best unique vanilla-version pole arms you can use (for lucky people): Cordell's Javelin of War (+All combat arts, +Strength, +Attack and Deathblow), Gronkor's Downfall (+Chance for double hits, +Chance for critical hits, +Regeneration/hit, +Attack and Defense), Optimus Minimus (+All combat arts, -Regeneration time, +Offensive Skills), Torik's Wrath Ice and Blood version (just for the sake of role-playing but fortunately it has some nice bonuses such as +Attack speed, -Opponent's chance to evade and a huge +Ice damage boost)
if you have the Community Patch installed (thanks Flix for reminding me), then the best pole arms weapons you can use are: Danse Macabre (+% Lifeleech, +Chance to disregard armor, +Attack, +Spell Intensity), The Earth-Shaker (+% Strength, +All skills, -Opponent's armor: physical, -Opponent's attack value, +Chance to slow), Soulflay Fork (+Chance to reflect combat arts, +Damage, +All combat arts, +Intelligence, +Regeneration/hit) and Waton's Dreamblade (+Chance to halve regeneration time, -Opponent's chance to evade, +Duration of potion effects, +Chance to hit additional opponents)
best modifiers to socket into your weapons (from jewelry): +X/X% Lifeleech, +X% Chance for critical hits, +X/X% Damage, +X/X% Magic damage, +Regeneration/hit or even +X Attack
best type of armor to use are the set ones (we're going to use Torik's Oath set for the bonuses to the Mentalism aspect)
until you find all pieces of the Torik's Oath set, mixed gear containing rares, uniques or other set items are also good
best modifiers to use on your armor pieces: +X/X% Lifeleech, +X/X% Defense, +X/X% Armor, -Combat arts regeneration time, -Regeneration penalty from buffs, -Regeneration aspect: Mentalism, +Mentalism aspect, +X all combat arts, +X all skills, +X% Damage mitigation,+X% Magic damage or +Spell Intensity
best modifiers to socket on your armor pieces (from jewelry): +X/X% Lifeleech, +X/X% Armor, -Combat arts regeneration time, -Regeneration penalty from buffs, +X to all skills, +Regeneration/hit, +X% Damage mitigation, +X Defense, +X% Magic damage or +X Max hitpoints modifiers
the best jewelry you can equip are the ones that provides the bonuses mentioned above (like +Resistance, +Defense, +Regeneration/hit, -Regeneration time, -Regeneration penalty from buffs, +X to all skills, +X Defense/Attack or +X Max hitpoints)
pieces with individual skill bonuses such as +Mentalism aspect, +Mentalism Lore, +Mentalism Focus, +Constitution or pieces with individual attribute bonuses such as +Strength, +Vitality, +Stamina (or even +Willpower) etc. are good too
don't socket more than one jewel into a single item (if it has more socket slots) because you'll lose the other ones when you will take one of them out (fill the rest of the slots with Blacksmith arts; Anneal and Enhance are the best ones for armor pieces while Whet for the weapon slots)
have a main relic slot with mixed resistance relics (I personally use one Magic relic, one Fire relic and one Poison/Ice relic for every character and build I follow)
the rest of relic slots should focus on the following resistance types: one entire slot filled with Fire relics, one with only Ice relics and the remaining one filled with Poison relics
if you have the Community Patch installed, the new set relics added with the patch are one of the best ones to use (following the rules mentioned above as well)
7. Play style
Expert Touch option should be ON since we're mainly focused on the Mentalism aspect
you can use both standalone spells or put them into different combos, it's your choice
Combat Trace should not be put in any combo, just use it as a standalone spell because I heard people saying it can crash the game when used in a combo; didn't experienced it on my play nor even tried to verify the eventual bug yet (I'm not sure if the Community Patch fixed this bug either)
control groups of enemies with Maelstrom, slowing them down, then follow with an Energy Blaze to wipe them out
use the "hit'n'run" kiting style a lot early on since we're not a casual 'hack'n'slash-kill-everything-in-our-path-overpowered-toon' and we need some time and a lot of modifications to fully outline our build (later levels you can stand and fight in almost all battles because we'll eventually grow stronger and resistant)
don't forget to always use a Concentration potion followed by Combat Trace before tough battles or boss fights
try to use the maximum damage combos (Energy Blaze + Eternal Fire or Dragon Strike + Energy Blaze + Eternal Fire) against bosses since most of them are slow-ish and in majority of the cases we won't need Maelstrom to slow them down (however, slowing projectiles and missiles with Maelstrom is always a good thing)
don't hesitate to often use Mentor potions since we're mainly fighting against hordes of enemies (also, we find potions quite easily and Mentor potions stacks with the Familiar Insight modification if you have the Community Patch installed)
try to complete as many side quests as possible and collect all items found (even the common ones) because we need some levels and enough gold to outline the build and constantly upgrade our items (I always do all of them in all my playthroughs, from the 1 star ones to the 5 star ones)
although boss killing can be a bit slow, try to complete all 4 and 5 star side quests since they give a lot of experience and good item drops after completing them
if you find the character's casting speed a bit slow then you can slaughter single enemies only by your weapon
8. Pros and cons
As a part of all my guides so far, in the end of each one I show the players both pros and cons in order to help people understand advantages as well as disadvantages of each particular build I create. So, without further ado, I came to the following conclusions:
very good crowd control and damage against huge groups of enemies
high amounts of damage dealt with the offensive spells
amazing resistances (one of the highest physical resistance in the game from all characters) due to the Runes of Protection buff (Familiar buff also provides some health bonus)
combat arts that synergies very well between them as well as their modifications
interesting and extremely powerful combos to use
can be an interesting build for the players who are into role-playing
awesome looking Mentalism focused set (Torik's Oath)
can be a bit weak early on
requires a lot of combat arts modifications to fully come on-line
boss killing can be a bit slow since it requires a lot of 'hit and run' strategy
not that flexible build in terms of combat arts, modifications and items since it requires certain choices to work well
Dragon Mage is the only character in the game who doesn't have access to weapon-based combat arts
the use of two-handed pole arms turn the player unable to use shields, thus decreasing his resistance a little bit