Author Topic: Skinchanger - Defensive Petmaster Build Guide  (Read 1862 times)

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Offline botebote77

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Skinchanger - Defensive Petmaster Build Guide
« on: 04 June 2018, 00:33:59 »
Skinchanger - Defensive Petmaster Build Guide
Build a Fortress Around  You



First, let me just clear it... Despite what the title says, this is not a pure petmaster. You can play this as a pure petmaster but the kill speed will be slower. And besides, it's too hard to resist the urge to attack while hiding in briar ward. Make no mistake though, this is a pet heavy build. I've started this as a journal thread actually, if you want to read walls of text, you can read it here. If you want to know just how it turned out, continue reading.

At first look, nature and rune seems a clash of playstyles. Nature offers pets, what pet does rune have? stones? What aura does rune give for a petmaster? Energy armor which costs 3k+ energy to be somewhat effective? How about damage wise? Strength of the pack boosts physical damage, rune weapon deals elemental damage. The synergies of the 2 masteries seemingly clash with each other. When i created this character, i didn't expect much at all. I just believe that all combinations should be good depending on how it is built. I started this rough... well, not really rough but ugly. That's because i was going blind. I didn't know which direction to take. I tried several playstyles from melee to ranged attacker to pure petmaster, then finally settled for this build. I played it as a str/dex build with the intention of eventually going hybrid. It really started as a so-so character however when i started investing on int, that's when it started to take shape. And I'm not even talking about my damage. I'm talking about cooldown reduction and +to all skills. When i finally decided to optimize my gear to focus on those, i felt... the marriage of these 2 masteries is just divine. And i never regretted my decision to go hybrid. Gear optimization was easy enough i settled on some blues for endgame items. I have many purples and i could wear just about all of them but it's good as it is, I didn't want a self-induced headache. I never even used the legendary craftsmanship reward on any difficulty.

Stat and Gear Optimization

As you can see on the pic, it's a hybrid style but my stats aren't that high except str. But that's only because chakram of the sun has 10% str and talisman of the jade emperor has 15% str. Without those 2 items, my str is only 400+ which is still enough to wear my other items. I'm not really sure what the ideal stat distribution is and i don't really care because my stats are mainly to meet gear requirements and not really about damage dealing. Starting legendary act 1, i stopped putting points on str/dex/int and started investing on health. But this one is up to you. It just felt like most of the damage comes from my pets anyway so i decided to up my health instead partly to take advantage of max HoO. Actually, there is a hidden synergy here. The higher your health is, the more times sacred rage will proc. You don't need the exact same items i have but you would want the attributes i got from those items. My key item here is Odysseus' Armor (-30% requirements). I was able to wear it by equipping Alke/Timaios first to meet the str requirement. When i was able to wear the armor, i replaced my rings with pet jewelry. If you don't have Odysseus' Armor, there are other items that are easier to find like Symbol of the Polymath and Rhessus Whitewashed Armor. If you have reduced requirement items or items that boost stats by %, you won't lack in stat points. Skill and gear optimization, when i started focusing on pets rather than damage dealing, that's when life started getting easier. You can still play this as self-found provided you have enough knowledge about the game. I can say this because i only started gear optimization when i died against the manticore in epic. And even then i chose the wrong items. And i played this xmax x3. If you play this self-found though, farming is still recommended and you might have to start as a damage dealer. I do not recommend this build for beginners who have no experience in the game. You will see why when you get to the near end of this guide. I felt it's still ok writing this guide because i think most players who have Ragnarok have some experience with the base game already. If you think you're not ready to play hybrid, choose int/dex but if you want better end-game optimization, get str also. Don't worry if you think you will lack damage, the majority of damage dealing still comes from pets. And besides, this build is a defensive petmaster so higher armor is preferable. High DA would probably be good for this build but i find my set-up sufficient enough. Truth be told, I'm just too lazy to think of another set-up that offers high DA, high resists, high CDR and at least +4 to all skills :) . I chose my jewelries to be pet buff items. I really wanted to equip my ritualist of convocation amulet but i find torc of the ancestors too hard to turn down. Also, i wanted my pet rings to be 1 physical and 1 elemental but i don't have a better elemental pet ring and I'm too lazy to shop farm. It's ok though because i have strength of the pack. I don't really know which is better. I decided to use monkey king's trickery on each to reduce resistances and also to boost pierce resist. It's easier to spread resistance reduction if you use thunder strike. And that is why i don't hold back attacking with throwing weapon.

Skill Optimization

Despite the seemingly clashing playstyles, We can make the skills work together. Keep in mind though that these skills only work well together if you have + to all skills and high CDR. That's why i put gear optimization first before skill optimization.

briar ward and guardian stones - guardian stones are static pets so you don't want to run too far from them because mobs will just follow you and guardian stones wouldn't be able to reach them. Briar ward will protect you from mobs while your pets does the damage. Also for some reason, some monsters attack guardian stones so it also helps as a little CC. They won't die that easily because they also get HoO aura from you

sanctuary and energy armor - energy armor, at ultimate max, costs 3k+ energy. sanctuary reduces energy cost. You will still need some energy cost reduction from items. You can check the items i chose in my pic above. I have Pelaron shield on secondary to reduce energy cost just to cast energy armor. If you don't have them, surely you'll have golden fleece relic? Also, energy armor and sanctuary both provide damage absorption. I don't know the stacking mechanics when it comes to damage absorption but I'm 99% sure sanctuary and energy armor stacks. Why? because energy armor is flat while sanctuary is percentile. Add in overgrowth cast by nymph and that's a lot of damage absorption. I like to call these 3 skills the damage absorption combo   O0

energy armor and nature pets - if you cast energy armor while your pets are close to you, they get the aura too. Somehow it lasts longer on wolves than it does on my toon. I still have to resummon them from time to time but it really helps with their survivability i could get by without a convocation amulet

refresh and guardian stones - guardian stones have long cooldown. CDR and refresh will enable you to have them up at all times. You don't need too many points on refresh. You'd want the cooldown to be short also

briar ward and rune weapon/thunder strike - i went for throwing weapon and shield. Ranged weapons and briar ward really goes well together. Shield enables you to be tankier and rune has runeword:absorb. It's defensive but it goes well with the theme of the build. In my case though i only invested on rune weapon and magical charge when i had to choose between spending my points on nymph or rune weapon line. I initially chose nymph but i just kill faster if i mix some ranged attack in my playstyle so i took back those points and put it on rune weapon and magical charge. I had thunder strike maxed starting from epic onwards.

guardian stones and susceptibility - guardian stones deal elemental damage, susceptibility reduces elemental resists

briar ward and freezing mines - freezing mines? yep. I've read many people use freezing mines by luring monsters to them. I find that i can also use it with briar ward. By being stationary, you invite mobs to come to you. Freezing mines offer some protection. It freezes or slows enemies. Mines are actually only optional but it goes well with the defensive fortress theme. I suggest max briar ward and sanctuary but only 1pt each on runic mines and freezing mines.

rune of life, energy armor and permanence of stone - Rune of life gives vit and bleed res. Permanence of stone gives elemental res. Energy armor gives stun res. Those 3 skills will help you with gear optimization

HoO and sacred rage - i already mentioned this above but i felt like adding it here in the skills section anyway. Sacred rage will proc more often if you have high health. Basic math tells us with 5k health, sacred rage will proc at 2k health. With 8k health, it will proc at 3200 health. Nature and rune both give very low HP though so i compensate it with my 2 rings and some stat points.

So how does it work? As the subtitle says, Build a Fortress Around You. And as the title says, Defensive Petmaster:

1) Start by casting energy armor on you and your pets. I do this by switching to secondary which is Pelaron, then casting briar ward. Sanctuary will reduce the energy cost of energy armor. I call my pets using F1 so they also get energy armor.

2) Playstyle - Upon encounter of mob, cast briar ward first, followed by guardian stones, plague, runic mines then refresh. After that i shoot rune weapon and thunder strike, preferring thunder strike more. With 80% CDR, i can cast thunder strike every 1.4secs. Most of the time the wolves will attack monsters not in the range of guardian stones. So what i do is i press F1 and click near me, wolves will go near me and monsters will follow them, then guardian stones can attack them. It's not the case against archers. I get in their range and quickly cast briar ward. Energy armor gives me the opening i need to set up my fortress but i still take it slowly. It's too dangerous to get in the middle of them and eat all those arrows. It's not mana pot hungry because rune weapon steals energy and sanctuary reduces energy cost. I've included a short video at the end of this guide just to show how it works.

Even if briar ward falls down, you still have some protection given by energy armor, overgrowth and sanctuary. Yes, even if briar ward falls down, the effect of sanctuary stays for its duration. But you can cast briar ward again if you cast refresh provided you have high enough CDR. That's why i said earlier to focus on CDR and + to all skills items. You want briar ward and guardian stones to be always ready. But you also want briar ward, sanctuary, overgrowth, and energy armor at ultimate max level to fortify your fortress.

You cannot rely too much on briar ward though. Most Top Dog Bosses, it's better to be mobile than stationary. Some examples are Typhon (never), Surtr, Barmanu, Dactyl and Fafnir. It takes experience and familiarity of the game to know which bosses you can rely on briar ward and which you can't. But you know the other good thing about guardian stones, they don't move. It's bad but it's also good. You can summon guardian stones, cast plague, then run away to safety. Usually it's not enough but at least the stones will keep the bosses busy while you regroup or in some cases, prevent them from running away while you get to a place where they can't attack you but you can attack them. I've done this against loki and the demon bull in act 3, summoning briar ward first so they can't insta-kill me, run back, summon guardian stones and plague, then get back near entrance so i can retreat if i have to. By far the hardest boss was Typhon. You cannot cast briar ward at all because he will just replenish his life. You might kill yourself if you hit him while he has thorns. 3 Typhon legendary was just hell. You should be ok with 1 Typhon but if you want to fight 3 Typhon, say your prayers first :) .

There are areas in the game where you can only summon 1 or 2 guardian stones. I felt most of it were in caves in act 5. It sucks but you're still not alone. You still have 3 wolves, 1 nymph, and 1 or 2 stones. Plus you still have briar ward and throwing weapon. Another is great wall in act 3, the peng problems quest. I think the whole area i could never even summon 2 stones. It was easy though because i was tanky enough. Olympus portal, the way to Typhon, i can only summon 1 or 2 stones. But it was nothing compared to the hell that is 3 Typhon.

End of epic, my build looked something like this:

https://www.kirmiziperfect.com/titancalc-anniversary-edition/TitanCalcd6f4d6f4rune9de6.html?mastery=Skinchanger&master1=4&master2=10&sa=20&m1=32-3-15-11-1-1-7-15-3-7-1-3-1-1-5-11-1-7-1-7-1-0&m2=32-1-0-5-1-1-9-1-1-1-9-1-1-1-1-0-7-1-0-7-1-11-0

not exactly like that but close to that. i had more than +4 and i was playing xmax x3. If you want a more petmaster build, you can prioritize nymph over thunder strike.

Legendary, i started to invest some points on survival instinct, overgrowth, rune weapon and magical charge.

End of normal, i can't really remember. I tried many different playstyles that up until end of legendary act 3, i was still experimenting. I changed tactics like a girl changes clothes. Is that a bad thing? no, not at all :) :) .


these were played xmax x3 legendary
what better way to test its sturdiness than by face-tanking a pack of dragonians and act 4 lamia beastmen :>
« Last Edit: 04 June 2018, 04:50:51 by botebote77 »
i eat mana for breakfast
Spoiler for Hiden:
finished ragnarok xmax x3 with sorcerer, illusionist, mage haruspex, skinchanger

Offline CrocMagnum

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Re: Skinchanger - Defensive Petmaster Build Guide
« Reply #1 on: 11 June 2018, 12:20:58 »
Good guide. And very informative at that, botebote77.

I see you've found quite a few synergies between Rune and Nature. I'm surpised but hey Titan Quest never ceases to amaze me. ^^

- The Guadians Stones / Refresh Combo you devised is borderline overpowered. Tell me on Normal, outside of xmax x3, how many bosses can resist that treatment?,

- sadly I see you let down the Nymph. Man! This is so uncool! :P,
« Last Edit: 11 June 2018, 12:30:37 by CrocMagnum »

Offline botebote77

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Re: Skinchanger - Defensive Petmaster Build Guide
« Reply #2 on: 11 June 2018, 14:27:13 »
i initially chose nymph over rune weapon and magical charge.. but i really want to attack especially that I'm always hiding in briar ward.. and even if briar ward breaks, i still have all those damage absorption.. so i don't really do too much running.. meaning i can attack at will.. so i chose rune weapon over nymph.. overgrowth though is maxed.

would you believe traps are stronger than guardian stones? that's if you wear wraithlords or alfathers jewelries because the flat damage is best utilized by rapid attacks.. i don't really remember in normal but in epic act 5, it's still strong.. legendary, it's still ok

the selling point of this build is defense.. i mean how many builds can facetank a pack of dragonians with 500 defensive ability? ;)
i eat mana for breakfast
Spoiler for Hiden:
finished ragnarok xmax x3 with sorcerer, illusionist, mage haruspex, skinchanger

Offline botebote77

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Re: Skinchanger - Defensive Petmaster Build Guide
« Reply #3 on: 17 June 2018, 06:15:18 »
looking at my video, it makes sense to cast seal of fate in the middle of that mob.. and so i tried it and yes it helps.. this will only work well against heavy mobs that last long though... and of course stationary mobs and bosses that don't move much

so credit to @Hector for indirectly making me realize seal of fate is a good skill to use for this build
i eat mana for breakfast
Spoiler for Hiden:
finished ragnarok xmax x3 with sorcerer, illusionist, mage haruspex, skinchanger

Offline botebote77

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Re: Skinchanger - Defensive Petmaster Build Guide
« Reply #4 on: 17 June 2018, 10:23:58 »
alright i know i said not to facetank Dactyl.. well, that's because it's Dactyl.. but today i really wanted to test it's sturdiness and i thought legendary Dactyl is the next step... facetank

i managed to make him appear 3x.. i made sure my fortress is already set-up before i facetank him.. i can click fast enough to cast plague on him before his 1st wave

1st wave he breaks briar ward, but energy armor holds.. i immediately recast briar ward, this has to be done fast or I'm probably dead

i cast seal of fate, and recast briar ward again.. then bombard with rune weapon attacks.. all this time guardian stones is attacking

of all those 3x, he managed to break my energy armor but of all those 3x i won.. which may only be possible because of seal of fate because once it explodes, he dies quickly

i tried to make him reappear for 4th time but for the next 15 or so runs, he just won't reappear.. for now I'm content with 3-0  :)

all 3 tests were done xmax x3 but it's always 1 Dactyl spawning in 1 place.. he always has mob gigantes with him but them i can ignore.. i focused all my attention on facetanking Dactyl as if the mob gigantes weren't there

it's still very dangerous but just in case someone wants to follow this build and wants to kill Dactyl, this is an option

all tests done with ultimate max briar ward, sanctuary, energy armor and overgrowth.. lvl 1 seal of fate and aftershock but i have many + to all skills
« Last Edit: 17 June 2018, 10:27:20 by botebote77 »
i eat mana for breakfast
Spoiler for Hiden:
finished ragnarok xmax x3 with sorcerer, illusionist, mage haruspex, skinchanger

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