pvp anti-caster c/c kicksin guide (Mageslayer v1.6) Mageslayer v1.6 Introduction This guide describes a specialized application of the standard c/c dtalon pvp kicksin to produce a character who excels in dueling casters. As evident in the title (Mageslayer), this build started as a plan to maximize sorc killing, but I soon discovered that it was effective for other casters. This guide is not intended to replace the other pvp kicksin guides but to provide a more specialized anti-caster alternative. Three principles guided its development. First, most pvp guides attempt to create characters that will be equally effective against all classes and even all varieties within each class. Accomplishing this goal requires multiple outfits of godly gear and typically involves some sacrifices in skill and/or stat points. The build presented here is designed to specialize against casters, and although it has been surprisingly effective against melee characters, that isnâ€™t the focus. Second, I am often frustrated with pvp guides that seem to assume that nobody will start dueling until level 99. Thus, this guide is designed to maximize your effectiveness beginning around level 46. Third, this build is designed with public dueling in mind. This is relevant because I assume that most players participate in public dueling with an â€œanything goesâ€ mindset. In my personal opinion, if the whole bad manners thing bothers you, you probably arenâ€™t dueling in public anyway. You will see that I do not advocate using excessive amounts of absorb, but I will expect most opponents to do so. Stats Strength is probably the most important stat for a kicker because it greatly enhances kick damage. Of course, strength must be balanced with vitality because your kicks wonâ€™t do much damage when youâ€™re dead. Strength: Initially, you will want to get your strength to 79 so that you can use Bartucs. This will be enough until you are around level 50, and then you will want to pump strength a bit. Ultimately, I suggest a minimum of 100 strength, with 150 being the number to shoot for at higher levels. Dexterity: Like strength, you need to get your dexterity to 79 so you can use Bartucs. You probably wonâ€™t need much (if any) more than this. As you level, monitor your attack rating and chance to hit. With the gear I will be recommending below, you should be able to keep your dex fairly low. Vitality: This is pvp, so every point you can spare goes here. Energy: None. Skills The target skill allocation looks like this: Max Dragon Talon Max Weapon Block Max Venom 1 pt in Fade (or more as needed) 1 pt in Dragon Flight (or more as needed) 1 pt in Shadow Master 1 pt in Wake of Fire 1 pt in Mind Blast 1 pt in all prerequisites This build is fairly flexible, and I do not want to give you the impression that no choice is involved. Thus, I will split my discussion of skills into two parts: core skills and secondary skills. The core skills are what makes this build and are strongly recommended. The secondary skills are where the flexibility comes in. I will present recommendations here, but there is some room for alternatives. Core Skills Dragon Talon - 20 points Dragon Talon (dtalon) is your main attack (just like in all pvp kicker builds) and should be the first skill maxed. At slvl 24, dtalon gives you 5 kicks. With lots of +skill gear and +martial arts charms, it is possible to get your dtalon to slvl 30, giving you 6 kicks. While 6 kicks sounds great, I am not convinced that it is worth the sacrifice in gear it would require unless you happen to have tons of +martial arts charms. Weapon Block - 8 to 15 points This skill forms the basis of this build - it is that important. Given the focus on casters, we go c/c in order to utilize Weapon Block (WB). WB permits you to block melee and most elemental/magical attacks at a rate of 60% (at slvl 26). 60% might not sound like much when you are used to 75% with a shield. However, note that WB lets you block many attacks that are unblockable with a shield (e.g., bone spirit, frozen orb, etc.). As if that werenâ€™t enough of a reason to use it in an anti-caster build, WB remains at 60% even when you are running. This makes the c/c sin one of the most mobile characters around. The goal is to reach slvl 26 after all +skill items, giving 60% block. Figure out how many +skill items you will have, and determine the exact point investment accordingly. Dragon Flight - 1 point+ Having at least 1 point in Dragon Flight (dflight) is essential. This is the only way you are going to be able to reach most casters, and it is a great skill for hitting moving targets. Maxing dflight results in a considerable boost to its damage. Assuming you can hit your target, maxed dflight (especially with venom and open wounds) will put a serious dent in the opponentâ€™s life. The problem is that even with dflight maxed, you are only going to hit 25% of the time against someone with max block who is standing still. Of course, the second your target is running, everything changes, and your odds of hitting with dflight go way up. Thus, dflight is a great skill for killing those opponents who realize they underestimated you and try to make a run for it. My recommendation is to start with 1 point and hold off on any more until your other skills and gear are complete. At that point, it should be clear to you whether more points here will help. I will probably add additional points to dflight at some point because I have found it to be extremely effective against casters and zons. Shadow Master - 1 point Little more than a distraction in 1.10, but still useful enough for 1 point. It is in the core skill section because it the distraction it provides is invaluable. Many players attack it just long enough for you to kill them. Additional points add life and resistance, but are probably not worthwhile. Secondary Skills Secondary skills include: Mind Blast - 1point+ In the first version of this guide, Mind Blast (MB) was in the core skills. I said that I felt MB was one of the most important strengths of playing a sin. After many more duels against a variety of character classes, I no longer feel this way. True, if we were making a kicksin for taking on melee characters, a high level MB would be critical. However, for the Mageslayer build, I suggest that 1 point here is likely to be enough. While MB is nice in certain situations, I find that I rarely need it. In fact, the only time I used MB was in team duels where I was attempting to help out against melee characters who were more than 20 levels higher than me. I suggest putting 1 point in MB as soon as you get it and waiting to see how much you really need it before adding additional points. Burst of Speed - 1 point One point in Burst of Speed (BoS) should be plenty with +skills. Although it seems obvious that one should use fade instead of BoS when fighting a sorc, this is not always the case. The added r/w speed you get from BoS can often keep you out of range until the right moment. If you are fast enough, it becomes very difficult for the opponent to even hit you with fireballs, bone spears, arrows, etc. In fact, I tend to start every duel with BoS and find that I need fade less than half the time. Fade - 1 point+ Fade can be incredibly useful in certain situations. Whatâ€™s not to like about enhanced physical damage resistance, shorter curse duration, and improved elemental resists? The only limitation is that using fade means you do not benefit from the enhanced r/w speed of BoS. I find that most of the time, this extra speed more than makes up for the loss of fadeâ€™s benefits. However, you will probably need fade against some sorcs, trapsins, poison necros, and necros who use a lot of curses. Fade is also very helpful in dealing with those pesky town guarding sorcs or wind druids. How many points to put here beyond 1 will depend on what your resists look like in whatever difficulty level you plan to duel. Thus, I suggest waiting on fade until your gear is finished and you have a sense of how much you will need. Venom - 20 points This is the most controversial sin skill, and you have probably already many debates about the pros and cons of venom for pvp. I too have been following these discussions, and it seems clear that the majority recommend it for pvp kicksins. Not everyone has high poison resist, and venom boosts your damage (especially with Trangâ€™s gloves). My recommendation is to max venom, however, you can still be successful without it. Wake of Fire - 1 point WoF is superior to LS for stun-lock, and this is the only reason you are using it. It may be necessary against zons with high passive skills and other sins using WB as a means to trigger their dodge/block and permit you to attack in between blocking cycles. Equipment This section will be expanded in later versions of the guide. For now, I will provide mid-level (say around level 50) recommendations. Let me also mention that I really donâ€™t care about the whole â€œbad mannersâ€ argument. I duel only in public games and only against players who are of a higher level. I assume that everyone in this environment will use whatever they can get their hands on, and I donâ€™t have a problem with that. Claws There are a few options to consider, and the good news is that some are very affordable. At lower levels, it is hard to go wrong with a malice claw as your primary claw. It will help you level and can be quite effective in pvp due to the 100% open wounds mod. The real drawback of malice is that its life drain will require you to use another piece of gear to counter it. Another option would be a strength claw (+strength and crushing blow). Once you hit level 42, use a bartucs as your secondary claw. The +skills and +stat mods make this an ideal choice. Another viable option is to use 2 bartucs. This provides a significant boost in skills and stats over the malice/bartucs combo. Your kick damage will benefit from the +strength, and the +skills will help boost your venom, weapon block, BoS, etc. If you are lacking in resists, you may also want to consider using a jade claw as your secondary. For this setup, you will need a bartucs instead of a malice as your primary claw. If you can find them, using a pair of +3 shadow skills claws on weapon switch to boost your venom, fade, etc. before the fight can be helpful. During leveling, you might also find that having a claw that grants you death sentry can be useful. Helm Many options to consider. Peasant Crown is okay for low levels. Guillaumeâ€™s Face is simply awesome for leveling, and I often use it for dueling because I am too lazy to switch it out. It tends to be much more effective against melee characters and bone necros, but it will not help you against other casters much. Against casters, Rockstopper is an option for those needing additional resists. At higher levels, you will probably want to upgrade to Shako or Crown of Ages. Belt Try to find both T-gods and Snowclash. I wear T-gods most of the time for the 20 strength/20 vitality bonus but occasionally switch to Snowclash against cold sorces. String of Ears is an option for leveling. Verdungos is the belt of choice if you can afford it. If you donâ€™t have these yet, look for +strength and resistances. Gloves Venom users will want Trangâ€™s gloves for the 25% poison damage increase. If you canâ€™t afford these, Venom Grip are usually cheap and better than nothing. Draculâ€™s Grasp are great if you can afford them. Crafted gloves are an option. Look for crushing blow, resists, and/or leech. At lower levels, Bloodfist are nice. Although Hellmouth would help vs. fire sorces, I am not crazy about the other mods. Boots Because this is a kicksin, your boots are the primary factor determining how much damage your kicks inflict. Use the highest damage boots you can wear for your level. Although some boots have great mods (e.g., goreriders), maximizing your kick damage is probably even more important. A great example of this was provided by clsurfer. He compared regular (non-upgraded) gores with rare scarabshell boots and made a convincing argument that the extra damage gained from the scarabshells makes up for the loss of mods from the gores. This is particularly true if you are using malice because you are not really benefiting from the extra open wounds mods on the gores. Of course, goreriders can be upgraded to a higher damage class, and this might be the best way to go. Armor Durielâ€™s Shell is one of the best mid-level armors you can find for this build because of the resists and â€œcannot be frozenâ€ mod it grants. Another great choice is Lionheart (resists and open wounds). For the rich, Guardian Angel is nice. For those who decide not to use a malice claw, consider Toothrow or Crowcaw as another source of open wounds. If you donâ€™t have any of these, look for armor that gives you resists, +skills, and/or damage enhancing mods. Amulet I generally wear a crafted +2 shadow skills ammy that features +resist all. Look for +skills and resists here. For the rich, Maraâ€™s or Highlordâ€™s are nice options. Rings Ravenfrost is highly recommended for one slot. You will need the â€œcannot be frozenâ€ mod if you donâ€™t have it elsewhere. For the other slot, it really depends on who you are dueling. I usually start with a Manald Heal for the mana leech and restore life (which you need to counter the malice claw). I keep a Dwarf Star in my stash for those fire sorces, although I havenâ€™t actually worn it in a duel yet. A second Raven would be helpful against cold sorces, and a nice dual leech would be good for leveling. Generally, look for leech and resists here. Charms Quite simply, you need resists, +shadow skills, and r/w here. +martial arts skills are worth using if you are going for the 6 kicks from a slvl 30 dtalon. Life and strength are always nice if you can spare the room. PvP Tactics After reaching level 50, I dropped off my gold and threw myself into many of those free-for-all duels where everyone else in the game was level 70-80. I also played in several team duels and challenged countless players at least 10 levels higher than me to 1:1 duels. This range of experience has permitted me to duel against all classes and to face everyone from noob duelers to experienced players with godly gear. I was amazed at how well this build fared against most opponents. One thing you have going for you with this build is that you will be consistently underestimated. When you enter a game and go hostile (or get hostiled), you see the other players going to their stash to put on their lighting resist/absorb gear. Once they realize that you are not a trapper, they typically laugh at you and hurl insultsâ€¦until you kill them. At this point, the ignorant half will accuse you of hacking, and the experienced half will express their admiration, often saying they didnâ€™t realize sins could be so powerful. Casters I havenâ€™t had the chance yet to face any hammerdins, but I have dueled several varieties of sorc, wind druids, and necros. Sorc Most will be some combination of cold and fire. Figure out their primary attack and wear the appropriate resist/absorb gear. Start with BoS and never stop moving. Against many, it is as easy as dflighting in and datloning them to death. The good ones will be able to teleport very fast, and you will often dflight in and have them disappear before you can land more than a single dtalon hit. When this happens, dflight will need to become your primary killing skill. Compared to orb and fireball, blizzard is much tougher. The killing power of high level blizzard is scary and harder to avoid. Against these sorces, if you stop moving even for a second, it is over. In most of my fights against good blizzard sorcs, we both ended up dying. I would dflight into a blizzard and manage to get a few hits in before dying. Right after I died, the sorc went down from my poison. Wind Druid I thought these guys were going to be much harder than they were. After dueling several wind druids around level 70, I found that I won more than I lost. Use some cold resist/absorb and fade if needed. Expect town guarding. They can take more hits than your average sorc, and tornado really hurts. However, dflighting to them prevented me from being hit with hurricane. As long as I could talon them to death before they hit me with a tornado, it was easy. Because tornados donâ€™t hit all the time, it is all about whether you can dodge them while getting the kill. Necro The first few necros I faced went down so easily that I was getting overconfident. Just then, I had my first experience with an enigma-wearing bone necro who knew what he was doing. Wow, these guys are tough! Spamming bone prison, teleporting with skill, and alternating spear and spirit. When caught in a bone prison and the necro is out of your dflight range, prepare to die. However, when they make the mistake of staying on your screen, dflight fast and you may have a chance. Against these guys, use BoS (not fade), wear enigma or a teleport ammy, and pray for a miracle. The few poison necros I have faced were fairly easy as long as you see it coming, stack your poison resist/reduce poison length gear, and use fade. At high levels, their nova will hurt no matter what you wear. However, you will usually be able to kill them with the standard dflight/dtalon attack before they can kill you. Trappers You are definitely going to need fade here. Good trappers are extremely difficult even with T-gods. If I could get to them before they laid all of their traps, I usually won. Once all their traps were down, I could sometimes win by casting shadow master to one side of the traps and then dflighting in. With a quick initial hit, I could usually bring down the trapper before I died. Against those who take full advantage of a high level mind blast, I usually died well before I could do much damage. Bowazons Yeah, I know they arenâ€™t really casters, but they are more similar to casters than to most melee characters. First, use BoS and never stop moving against a bowazon. With WB, you donâ€™t have to worry about your block rate. Expect poison damage and adjust your resist gear accordingly. Guided arrow was nerfed in 1.10, but it still hurts quite a bit. Run around them in circular patterns, making sure to vary your course so it isnâ€™t predictable. When you get them on the edge of your screen, dflight in and dtalon. You will be able to kill some zons this way, but those who have high passive skills will be able to dodge well enough that they may escape. Try to get them on the run where their passive skills are less effective. If they prove to be too tough, use WoF to trigger their evasive skills and then dflight and dtalon again. This will help if you can hit them in between defensive moves. Melee This guide was designed to maximize your ability to defeat casters. Although the basic build presented here can be effective vs. melee characters, substantial gear changes would be needed to beat most decent melee duelers. Another thing to realize is the a c/c build is going to be less effective than a c/s build for going toe-to-toe with melee characters. At the same time, the c/c build is going to have the advantage over the c/s build while running. Thus, your strategy against melee characters should involve great speed and mobility. Think more in terms of hit and run than stand your ground and fight. Even without gear changes, I have discovered that this build can do surprisingly well against many melee characters. Players who do not use a shield and lack the zons passive skills are at a disadvantage because you will hit them fairly easily. Surprisingly, I have been able to take down several level 80 barbs (at level 50) who were using polearms, axes, or 2-handed swords without shields. I expected to lose because they were destroying everyone else in the game, but I was pleasantly surprised. With BoS and WB, it is difficult for them to hit you until you dflight in, and then it is sometimes possible to kill them before they can recover. If this doesnâ€™t work, mind blast will be essential. The shield users are much harder unless they run. Pallys typically beat me (with the gear discussed above) unless I get lucky with mind blast. But what if you want to duel melee characters more often? You will need a different gear setup that replaces resists with PDR. Look at replacing your armor, helm, and belt with items that grant PDR. Also realize that attack rating is going to become more important. Using angelic amulet and rings can help considerably here. I am still experimenting to find the optimal setup for melee, so expect an expansion of this section in the next version of this guide. Concluding PvP Tale Just to give you an idea of this buildâ€™s potential, let me share a quick story from my recent pubbie dueling experience. At level 53, I enter a game with 3 sorcs and a barb. The sorcs were levels 47, 62, and 73. The barb was 51. After some team duels, it changed to free-for-all (or at least that is what I thought initially). I go running out with BoS and Venom, wearing my malice/bartuc combo, Durielâ€™s, Ravenfrost, Manald Heal, Goreriders, crafted ammy, T-gods, and Peasant Crown. I then realized that it was 4 vs 1, and I was the 1! Rather than retreat to town and complain, I kept going just to see what would happen. Using only Venom (maxed), Dtalon (maxed), Shadow Master (1 pt.), BoS (1 pt.), and Dflight (1 pt.), I killed everyone in the game without using any potions or trips to town. I had about Â¼ of my life left, but I was victorious. Stunned, they visited their stashes, regrouped, and we did it again with the same conclusionâ€¦and againâ€¦and again. Then the 47 sorc left and returned with a 57 bowazon, but the outcome was the same. Did they suck? Well, some of them clearly did. The 47 sorc would go down in 1 hit and the 51 barb wasnâ€™t smart enough to use a shield (even after I suggested he do so). However, the other two sorces seemed decent and if I stood still and let one fireball me (which we did later), I was dead in 1 hit. A fluke? Maybe, but I am still encouraged.