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Dual-wielding CM 1.60 build

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Inspired by the new implementation on mage staves brought by CM patch 1.60, and more specifically the fact that all mage staves now shoot projectiles regardless of having the associated weapon skill, I decided do try a new thing. More specifically to play "ranged" by shooting projectiles and finishing off incoming mobs by hand. First I thought that why not dual-wield staves and shoot two bolts at a time, but as a matter of fact only the staff in the primary weapon slot will fire a projectile (as implemented), so then it became a matter of dual-wielding a staff for "ranged" and another one-handed weapon for plain damage.

Since my idea was to finish off incoming offenders quickly I thought of rebuilding a Magic Coup HE, but it would require too many skill points spread too far out, as well as not having enough skills to properly employ Crystal Skin. So I thought about using a few different characters and strategies until I remembered to use Nether Allegiance as a primary buff for having bodyguards. So basically I zoom in as much as I can, shoot enemies in the distance with the projectile from the staff and when they come close the skeletons from Nether Allegiance pick up on them (you'll need to configure minion instructions) and when coming close to me I just hammer them with Frenzied Rampage. There are more possibilities and combinations to be used in this build, so far I've tried using a dual-buff system with Nether Allegiance and Reflective Emanation (now that Idol doesn't break the game) and it works really great. One interesting aspect is that I only put the necessary points in Astral Lord Focus to give Nether Allegiance the golden mod, so no need to spread my points too thin. I'm currently using a level 75 blank Niob toon in Platinum for testing this build, but I'd like to start it from level 1 and develop it over the different difficulties.

For testing I used these skills:

  1. Astral Lord Focus (9 points for gold mod on Nether Allegiance)
  2. Malevolent Champion Focus (primary skill, nearly mastered)
  3. Concentration (one point, dual buff)
  4. Tactics Lore (primary skill, mastered)
  5. Dual Wield (primary skill, higher weapon level without penalty/attack speed/damage, mastered)
  6. Speed Lore (higher attack/defence, better chance to hit target)
  7. Armour Lore (primary skill)
  8. Constitution (primary skill without Grim Resilience, mastered)
  9. Spell Resistance
  10. Toughness

All "primary skills" are in for prioritised mastering, and I chose CONS over MCF due to testing survival skills. For testing purposes I used 50/50 of the attribute points on STA/INT, since mage staff damage is increased by INT and STA reduces CA penalty. But now some questions arise like, should I forget about STA and invest all in INT to maximize the damage output of the staff? Besides, what regulates the projectile's damage, is it the base damage value of the weapon or the INT value? Another one is if Speed Lore will eventually make that much of a difference in terms of hit chance or not, or if I'd be better off taking it out in favor of Combat Discipline to try and milk some more damage output on melee. Since I won't be using combos it'd be solely for adding more damage to the melee range fights, so all in all which one of these options would be better? This build also allows to, in time and if one wants it, run a triple buff toon. With Concentration mastered and with the modification points from Tactics Lore it's possible to mod Grim Resilience even if I don't have the appropriate Focus skill. Is that a good choice in the long term or it becomes unnecessary with the character's progression (Constitution/Toughness and general damage dealing style)? Considering that Concentration can be at the very least the sixth mastered skill (behind TL, DW, MCF, CONS, AL) does Spell Resistance become superfluous in the long term? In that case should I replace it with Combat Discipline and retain Speed Lore as well?

Lots of questions here on the trade-ins, I know. My idea is to properly maximize damage dealing since I'll eventually be dealing with bosses so I need to cause as much damage as I can, and survive in the process. If someone wants to pitch in and give some opinions please do. ;) 

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This is one of the most inventive builds I have ever taken a look at; it seems quite plausible that the Shadow Warrior could be powerful enough to destroy enemies before they can inflict enough reverse pain (before they perish). High Elf builds tend to accomplish this feat well enough but the fragile lady is truly more vulnerable than the Shadow Warrior (especially with his Toughness.) I'd be sure to add points to Vitality and Dexterity until you feel safe and particularly before mastering Toughness and Concentration. This build gives one a lot of freshly combined variables to consider.


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This build scratches a few itches I have. It allows me to have a gaming style where I can play zoomed in most of the time, so I can appreciate the added detail with ET, furthermore increased with the new enemy and gear skins from the CM patch. And it also allows me to play a SW again but not in a regular way for a SW, after a long time spent with HE (SW was my first toon ever on this game). I really like playing weird unnatural hybrid builds in RPGs, and after a long long time spent with Magic Coup HE I needed to try something weird elsewhere, and the Captain America build wasn't much fun in the end as weird and challenging of a build as it was.

In my experience Vitality shouldn't really be necessary because of Constitution, as I intent to keep it at character level until mastery. Why do you mention Dexterity on this build? It doesn't add up to any of the weaponry I use, unless you're counting smaller one-handed weapons on the right hand slot. But even then with Dual Wield and its speed/attack bonus I don't think it'll be necessary as well.

What's your opinion on leaving Combat Discipline out of this build? Do you feel like it should be in?

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Well, as stated in the Wiki, Dexterity "Increases Attack Value slightly and Defense Value significantly. Increases Damage dealt by Dexterity Based Weapons such as Short Swords, Daggers, Blunt Polearms and Ranged Weapons." Because your mage staff shoots a projectile now, does it not also behave as a ranged weapon? Also. the added defense value would be helpful. Because you have a nice speed increase from Dual Wield you could perhaps replace Speed Lore with Combat Discipline which would lower regeneration time and also boost damage output.

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But mage staff damage is increased by INT and not DEX, that's why I've put points on it in the first place. ;)

Also, Speed Lore increases only run speed, but it does increase both attack and defence values, increasing my chance to hit and decreasing the enemies'.

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I was thinking about these trade-offs a bit more and it occurred to me. If I indeed make Concentration my sixth mastered skill (TL, DW, CONS, MCF, AL) then by my calculations at level 110 I can have a triple buff toon with a huge amount of willpower bonus that would help circumvent the lack of Spell Resistance, in favour of Combat Discipline. I'm thinking the progression goes somewhat hand in hand, plus the idea was always to only have the skill and not master it by any means. A few medallions with "spell resistance +x%" should be helpful enough I reckon. Though I hate to take away a Niob staple skill like SR there needs to be some compromise here, and I do think this may be the more well balanced way of doing so.


It would be something similar to this:

Skills (Lv.75)

 2 Tactics Lore 75
 3 Malevolent Champion Focus 27
 5 Armor Lore 27
 8 Speed Lore 1
12 Dual Wield 75
18 Concentration 1
25 Astral Lord Focus 9
35 Constitution 75
50 Combat Discipline 1
65 Toughness 1


Seems nice or what?! :paladin:

Edited by Androdion
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Been running around a bit with this build and I was able to put down Gar Colossus very easily. In fact after rune feeding Nether Allegiance up to penalty level I took Gar down just by shooting ice projectiles from afar and having the skellies attack at the farthest distance. He couldn't even put them down! I have them moded for three skellies with spike shields and further armour resistance (they basically gain the thoughness skill). So yeah, pretty cool in that respect! :D

I've left one small detail behind on why I think I can pass on Spell Resistance, and that is that I have Reflective Emanation modded for reflecting melee/ranged/spells, so it's an added protection. Sure no protection against critical hits, but with Toughness and Constitution... And if the idea is to have Grim Resilience as well then it only further reinforces that survivability aspect. I don't think I need to worry about high regen times either because with regen per hit I can very easily circumvent that as well. Since I'm not using spell based CAs and I tend to cast Frenzied Rampage quite a bit (plus it's modded for double hits twice) I easily get the CAs available again. More points for triple buff toon even with all the regen penalties that brings.

I think that this build has the potential to be very well balanced indeed! I'll keep testing it and the CM Beta in Platinum for the time being and once things are final with that I'll start from level 1. :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Update on this build:

Started testing this build with a lv.75 blank toon straight on Platinum, went with a full Malevolent Champion set and little else of aid. Didn't do much in terms of upgrading apart from eating runes, and by the end of the day I managed to finish the main quest still below lv.84. Guardians were lv.96 and I managed to kill them easily, actually much easier than I had anticipated! Over 3% LL from opponents did help I reckon, but the Nether Allegiance summons also distract them a lot from hitting you.

All in all this seems to be a very interesting, versatile and most of all survivable build. A lot of playing styles can be carried over and it allows for tons of variations, taking one or another skill and changing the balance here and there (take out speed lore and add death warrior focus for a higher level triple buff, or for astral lord lore and go full on necro, and so on and so forth). Base playing style can be both defensive and aggro, just be sure to configure your minions' attack orders and range appropriately.

Some interesting sinergies are for instance using +attack/defense gear to maximize speed lore's effect, +leech life per hit gear for taking full advantage of frenzied rampage as a leeching spell (which with a magic staff shooting projectiles is great), regen per hit and casting frenzied rampage with both modifications for double hits will make each cast an insta-regen so you can keep your CAs very high. These are some examples but I'm sure that while playing with this build more can be found. It's definitely an interesting take on the SW, a more versatile one than just blunting everything to death.

My plan now is to raise him from lv.1 to lv.150 (something) which according to my math is more or less when I can take eight skills to mastery level, but that should prove a long hard task and I'm only starting it after the release of the final version of CM Patch 1.60. In the meantime if anyone wants to discuss this I'm up to it. ;)

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I think I have to eat my own words when it comes to the attributes. :blush2:

Speed Lore increases attack and defense values alike, but in percentual terms, which means it still needs a solid base value to work on. And like I mentioned in the build's synergies, adding +attack/defense value gear increases the skill's proficiency. So yeah Hooyaah, I'm thinking that for the lower end of the progression Dexterity is probably the best bet in terms of attribute placement. That is while only one point is given. It should be enough to build a solid amount of +attack/defense values in the character and have it progress naturally from the increase in level and SB from lv.50 onwards. By then I can start investing in Intelligence, two points at a time, in order to maximize the effect of wielding a magic staff. For the later progression (lv.150-200) I was thinking about probably dividing the three attribute points between Dexterity, Intelligence and Willpower to maximize all aspects of the build in terms of attributes.

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You have grasped the concept of defense balance well and have a sound build planned, in my assessment. You may wish to examine how Speed Lore Mastery would affect its effectiveness during later progression before determining whether or not any more points need be invested in Dexterity.

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I read you, though the lv.150-200 boundary is the least of my worries. ;) The +1/+1/+1 distribution is intended to "just" reinforce the shortcomings of the build, or in other words to emphasise the aspects that were built throughout the previous character progression.

But in any case Speed Lore mastery just further increases run speed, so we're cool.

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That all makes good sense. I have yet to master Speed Lore in any of my prior High Elf builds as it doesn't augment her Mystic Stormite or Arrant Pyromancer Combat Arts (as is so with the other Offensive Skills). Your clever build takes advantage of a Delphic Arcania Build, one with which I have not yet tinkered. I look forward to seeing your final results.

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1 hour ago, Hooyaah said:

Your clever build takes advantage of a Delphic Arcania Build, one with which I have not yet tinkered.

You haven't played with a Delphic HE yet? Man you're missing out then! I can hand you over my build if you will. Just hit me via PM if you want it. ;)

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I started one but she's only at level 11, Silver. She's not having to use health against Kobolds and I like the chain damage with Cobalt Strike. I'll take a look at your build, certainly, yet I stubbornly change the builds of others to find something unique and individual. Are you sure that you don't want to share your build with the community yet? I plan on updating the build that I am working on for my Single Buff Mystic Stormite lady. She's rocking Niob now at level 96.

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Well, the build works, but I kind of cheated since I've got specific equipment from the download section and a ladder of shoppers to back it up with +all skills jewellery all the way to Niobium. I'd probably do some variations on it if I were to play it again now.

Very basically it's a mish mash of several similar builds. I use Magic Coup as my main attack, one handed weapon with shield for melee blocking+Shield Lore mastered (after DAF/DAL/CONS/AL in this order), with Shadow Step modded as an offensive skill (Explosion mod), where the tactic is walking around shield in hand, evade with Shadow Step causing damage and stunning mobs, then switching to a bow (secondary weapon slot) and finishing them from afar. I just run around that routine and have Expulse Magic to cover the rest. For staying alive it's a mixture of Constitution and Shield Lore mastery, all attribute points in Vitality, Spell Resistance for Niobium (enemy spells), and Crystal Skin as a secondary buff. The trick with CS is that if you're playing with it you actually need to have both Mystic Stormite Focus and Lore for it to be effective. You only need to mod it to Silver, so five points will do (Gold mod won't do you any service anyway), but if you don't use the Focus skill you won't have much level behind it, and without the Lore skill the resistance value will be thin as paper. Just with +all skills bonuses and both skills you can get a base resistance value of several thousands, which with Armour Lore mastery will make your global armour value in the tens of thousands.

That's basically it, and like any Delphic melee build it's extremely demanding in terms of having the appropriate gear. That's why I abused LAN with shoppers and had a Kira's Wall as a shield taken from the Download section. I know, shame on me, but I wanted to run it like that. There's probably nothing better than Kira's Wall+Kaldur's Legacy for such a build. ;)


PS (that math may not be entirely correct, but it's approximate enough):

 2 - DAL (5 -> DAF@LV.5) => 1ST MAST@75
 3 - CONC (1 -> 2ND BUFF)
 5 - DAF => 2ND MAST@75
 8 - CD (1 -> 10% REGEN)
12 - AL => 3RD MAST@78
18 - CONS => 4TH MAST@81
25 - SL => 5TH MAST@111
35 - SR => 6TH MAST@111
50 - MSF (3 -> CS BRONZE MOD)
65 - MSL (2 -> CS SILVER MOD)

Edited by Androdion
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  • 1 month later...

Small update to say that with the CM Patch on the verge of final release some changes were made to the magic staves' range, which change some of the gameplay this build presents. I may need to re-test it in order to check out how some things work now. ;)

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  • 1 month later...

Well, I guess this also deserves an update.

I have reached Platinum with this build, and how it has changed since I first thought it through. I've went from a full-on warrior with a twist to a Blacksmith project that is proving to be a lot of fun! I've dropped Speed Lore and Combat Discipline in favour of Death Warrior Focus (better Grim Resilience) and Blacksmith for being able to craft my own gear, which goes hand in hand with my Dragon Mage shopper ladder.

Right now the build looks like this, at level 65:

 2 Tactics Lore 65
 3 Armor Lore 45
 5 Dual Wield 65
 8 Astral Lord Focus 9
12 Concentration 65
18 Malevolent Champion Focus 1
25 Death Warrior Focus 1
35 Constitution 1
50 Toughness 1
65 Blacksmith 1

Gameplay is super cool. Frenzied Rampage with a dual-wield configuration of staff+sword is killer with all the projectiles flying around. With the final release of the CM Patch staves now work in mid-range and so do its CAs, so having the army of three in Nether Allegiance and a semi-ranged tank with both Grim Resilience and Reflective Emanation at level 75 can easily compensate for the lack of base damage, though some compensations need to be made by adding points and bonuses to the Intelligence attribute. I'm not even using left click attacks anymore, I just have Demonic Blow and Scything Sweep at level 1 and spam them with regen per hit as my "normal attacks". So basically it's CAs all the way, which makes the presence of the magic staff even more valuable for ranged shooting. In terms of resilience this toon is tough as a coffin nail and can mop up the floor with most mobs, even in early Platinum (and now even more with the added +All Skills I gave it via Bargaining). Bosses go down easily as well, even without a +%LL weapon, though I'm bound to try to get one just to make that scenario more accessible.

I rushed through both Silver and Gold, so now the idea is to browse around questing and looting, so that I can get some decent set pieces and feed the hungry Bargaining machine I'm setting up with my Dragon Mage build. Seems like it's going to be a fun road ahead. :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

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