A repeating crossbow build that makes the most of the variety of different +[W] shots available in Deepwood Stalker and Arcane Archer. It augments that raw damage with rune arm damage per shot, as well as sneak attack damage (including Improved Sneak Attack) from rogue.
It's Dex-based to make the most of the Shadar-kai chain knockdown - which I concede appears to be flavourish, but sue me.
It also gets a very reasonable (DC 70) Executioner's Shot once capped and fully kitted out, but obviously it's still very high before maxxing out. Issues with Executioner's shot are a 30 second cooldown and only 35% chance to proc (per shot). Neither of which is deal-breaking on a (3 shot burst) repeater with IPS. Just use it whenever it's off cooldown and you've lined up some fools.
As with all 'shot' abilities on a repeater, make sure to reload before clicking or it will be wasted on a truly deadly bolt-insertion animation.
As a ranged build, twisting in Otto's Whistler and Pin are both no-brainers to provide CC and helpless damage. They also add to your rotation of high damage shots.
The build (32 point Shadar-kai):
Dex 20 + 7 level-ups +10 Item + 1 Exceptional + 3 Insightful + 5 Tome + 1 Racial Enhancement + 2 DWS Enhancement + 2 Ship Buff + 2 Yugo Pot + 3 Destiny + 4 Tensor's Transformation = 60 for a MOD 25
Int 16 + 10 Item, +1 Exceptional + 2 Insightful + 5 Tome + 2 Ship Buff = 36 for a MOD 13.
1 - Rogue 1 - Point Blank Shot
2 - Ranger 1
3 - Ranger 2 - Weapon Finesse, [TWF]
4 - Ranger 3 - [Precise Shot]
5 - Ranger 4
6 - Ranger 5 - Precision
7 - Ranger 6 - [ITWF]
8 - Rogue 2
9 - Rogue 3 - IC: Ranged
10 - Artificer 1 - [Rapid Reload]
11 - Artificer 2 - [Rune Arm Use]
12 - Rogue 4 - IC: Piercing
13 - Rogue 5
14 - Rogue 6
15 - Rogue 7 - Improved Precise Shot
16 - Rogue 8
17 - Rogue 9
18 - Rogue 10 - GTWF, [Improved Evasion] <-- Swap Improved Evasion to [Opportunist] at level 27 when you take Epic Reflexes
19 - Rogue 11
20 - Rogue 12
Epic 1 - Improved Sneak Attack
Epic 4 - Combat Archery
Epic 6 - Pierce Adamantine (or whatever. Toughness or pierce something else are both fine alternatives)
Epic 7 - Epic Reflexes
Epic 8 - Doubleshot
I've taken GTWF and IC: Piercing because they make level-draining helpless things with Sacrificial Daggers faster. It's a niche problem, but one I consider worthy of two feats... three really counting weapon finesse. It's also just fun to have a melee option.
You can ditch them for Toughnesses, Dodge / Mobility / Shot on the Run, or anything else that takes your fancy.
Max trap things. Max tumble. Max bluff. Max UMD.
Hide, MS, OL, and Balance all can be not-max since the Ranger levels mean not everything can be maxxed (despite Hide and MS being Ranger core skills, I wouldn't take them during those levels). I like Spot, but if you don't, put it in the Hide/MS/OL/Balance basket.
Everything not mentioned is discretionary filler. Don't exceed the point totals in the trees and ensure you pick up all of the listed skills.
DWS 34 points:
- Improved Weapon Finesse, Dex I and II, Called Shot, Mercy Shot, Leg Shot, Head Shot, Improved Archer's Focus
Arcane Archer 15 points:
- Dispelling Shot III, Inferno Shot I, Shattermantle Shot I.
Mechanic 13 points:
- Targeting Sights (int-to-xbow damage), 75% Wand Mastery, Wracking Shot.
Core - Grit, Dex +1, Shadow Phase, Shadow Jaunt
Tier 1- Spiked Chain Attack
Tier 2 - Vicious Chain, Guile 1
Tier 3 - Forceful Chain, Slashing Chain
Tier 4 - Whirling Chain
= 80 points
Mostly I'd recommend staying in Shadowdancer. It's the destiny the build is made for, and the only way you get an insta-kill.
Having said that, if you're in a raid or in content where you know Executioner's Shot won't work anyway (read "just EE Stormhorns". Wheloon is fine), you want to be in Fury since Fury's awesome.
Tier 1 Dex +1, Technician 2
Tier 2 Dex +1, Lithe 1, Skill Mastery
Tier 3 Dex +1, Cloak of Shadows, Shrouding 3
Tier 4 Improved Invis 1
Tier 5 Shadow Manipulation, Untouchable 1, Executioner's Shot
Tier 6 Consume, Shadow Form
This gives you a maximum of 10 Shadow Charges. That means, when fully charged, your Executioner's Shot DC is:
= 70 DC
Twist 1 : Otto's Whistler
Twist 2 : Pin
Twist 3 : Whatever. +1 Dex usually enables advantageous gear juggling or a DC. Brace for Impact is nice. Unearthly Reactions gives you Blue AND Black smoke when you tumble in Shadow Form.
I should probably do a defence breakdown, though I personally think the answer is 'don't get hit and run away' if you're on a ranged character. Having said that, boulder-tossing giants don't subscribe to my philosophy.
-PRR: If you must. Robes are easier to take off and make you feel more free if you know what I mean.
-AC: Nothing. No mitigation. Maybe incidentally some through Dex to AC bonus, but not enough to ingenuously list.
-Shadow Form: 25% Incorporeal
-Blur: 20%. Get blur somewhere or wand/scroll it. Displacement GS clickies and scrolls are also on the table.
-Dodge: 10% Shadow Charges + 3% Combat Archery + 4% Uncanny Dodge + Item if you care = 17% upto 25% cap with item.
If you do get knocked down or otherwise in trouble, block with shift, and spam tumble. Often you can escape before the coup-de-grace with the serious instantaneous distance on maxxed tumble dex toons.
Eventually you want Needle + Planar Conflux, probably in Black Dragon Helm + Armour. PDK Gloves are basically non-negotiable at this juncture on Iconics too unless you have 30% HAMP Bracers on an alt. Sneak Attack gear and an Improved Deception item are also very desirable, as is an 'of radiance' x-bow - even Greensteel holds up at cap.
Glass Cannon is ideal as a rune arm due to it being the highest damage bonus you can get. Never actually fire it since with 2 Artificer levels it's pretty much a firework.
How to Play:
- 'Pin' if things aren't moving. Even in good parties (especially in good parties?), you can sneak ahead of the group to get a good IPS line up of non-moving mobs. Pin makes basically anything non-incorporeal or floating helpless, including most elementals and undead. It's just great and should be used a lot.
- 'Otto's Whistler' if things are moving and not about to stop. You get a feel for this over time. I was awful initially and would have sworn it was bugged. I'm not 100% certain it's not, but I'm leaning toward it just being finicky.
- 'Leg Shot' if things are moving and Otto's is on cooldown.
- 'Pin' anyway if things are moving and Otto's Whistler and Leg Shot are both on cooldown since it cripples them.
Annihilate things that are slowed or helpless with your assortment of other shots:
- Sniper Shot, Mercy Shot, Head Shot, Shrouding Shot, Executioner's Shot, Dispelling Shot III.
- Try and 'Shrouding Shot' before you actually do the kill to get charges.
On bosses stand still and turn on (Improved) Archer's Focus and let loose with your named shots, ensuring you maintain Inferno Shot stacks.
I have no idea how to use the shadar-kai chain effectively, but have every intention of using it constantly, especially when the party is buffing or there is any other sort of downtime.
Feedback welcome as always. I have actually rolled one of these and am enjoying it so far.