Schooled by Shadowdancers


It was a nice evening for my guild, Tyrs Paladium, on the night before the St. Valentine’s Day Server Massacre. We were about to reach guild level 70 as we began a run in “The Portal Opens” in Epic Elite.

Our guild leader has been a little obsessed of late with generating enough Purple Dragon Knights favor to make her Spider-Spun Caparison outfit work as a Sun Soul item. (That’s what Syn is wearing in the image, above.) If you didn’t know, that takes 375 favor. You’ll need to run every Eveningstar, Underdark and Demonweb quest in Epic Elite difficulty, as well as all challenges.

Our guild’s party experiences with Epic Elites has been, frankly, painful. Toons that we’ve built as the end-all be-all of awesomeness are swatted away like drunken flies if we do the littlest thing wrong in EE quests.

But lately our guild’s reticence to accept these ultimate challenges has faded, which not only leads to a victory through persistence and (often) cunning, but definitely gives those in the quest a little more to talk about to others about the experience.

I have five Monks, two of which could handle EE quests at the moment: Syncletica, my main (above), and the dark Monk Ryncletica, who’s nearly completed her Shadowdancer training with great success. Thinking of survival as a Light Monk with self-healing and fast attack speed, I bring Syn, not Ryn, into this one.

I should’ve picked Ryncletica.

Our party was certainly light on the heavy DPS. Our guild leader was running her Light Monk as well. Two Rogues, both Shadowdancers around L23 or more, also joined in, as well as one of our guild’s most incredible players who perform miracles in keeping our parties healed with her Favored Souls and Clerics.

I figured that Syncletica and the guild leader’s Monk would be the front line, with the Rogues behind us and our Cleric behind them. In the very first fight, Syncletica is practically killed instantly, with the Rogues barely getting a scratch.

Time to switch tactics. The Rogues take point. Both are Assassins. Over the course of the quest, they begin to systematically lure and assassinate the tougher fighters and mages, while the rest of us surround “weaker” enemies.

After Syncletica was killed yet again, she switched from her Grandmaster of Wind stance (which wasn’t working at all for stunning with the venerable Grave Wrappings) to Ryncletica’s preference: Ocean Stance. I had only Greater rank at hand, but it improved my AC and Dodge and WIS just enough to allow my stunning to work so to become less of a piker in this run (you need 36 or greater with Stunning +10s in EE, folks). Syn began to emulate Ryn’s stealth tactics from here on.

Ah, Elminister, the level 54 PIKER! that stands about doing nothing to help us. Yeah. You’re TOTALLY NOT Gandolf–he’s USEFUL.

Anyway, in the rooms where the two key objects reside, our Shadowdancer Rogue Assassins do something I may have predictably done as Ryncletica if I were smarter in bringing her and not Syn into this quest.

After the orange-named leaders zerg outside of their room to attack (they always see you once opening the door), we lure them down, isolated, into the cleared hallways to eliminate them.

Then one of the Shadowdancers uses Shadow Manipulation on one of the driders. Every other enemy inside the room goes after that dominated drider, and the Rogues step up behind that mob and assassinate each of them, leaving us only to wait for the domination to lapse and for the drider to die from Shadow Manipulation’s killing effect.

The Monks earn a Legendary Victory and Impressive Trophy in the last room to bring the guild to level 70 right then and there. We were buoyed a bit at the world-announcement and “ding” that appeared over the server as we moved to the final leg.

We anticipated a hell of a time with the end fight and prepared a plan. First wave: the circle of Drow to kill. Beat up on the boss mage, then she spawns Wave 2: Animated statues of drider, drow and spider to kill us. Finally, the boss mage calls out Wave 3: Several Dretch and Dracolith demons to end us.

The guild leader and I had our Everything is Nothing “Death Blossom” charges ready. I use mine on the first wave of Drow, killing all but two. Easy-smeasy. The group has a harder time on wave 2 and the guild leader uses her Death Blossom early to dispatch the statues, fearing an imminent wipe with no shrine for us to run to for recovery and regrouping.

Then the dracolith come. The party nearly wipes, and Syncletica is the only one up with four angry and determined dracolith still about. Fortunately, I had my EiN charged up again, but I needed to kite all of those demons for a nail-biting 76 seconds before I could eliminate three of the four demons with that Death Blossom.

Some clever kiting of the last demon was needed before I had my health and ki high enough to raise our Cleric with my Rise of the Phoenix to get our party back up to finish off the last demon and complete the quest. (The next time somebody tells me that Rise of the Phoenix is a waste of points, I’m going to recall this story for them.)

But our Rogues were Absolute Masters of their Craft in this one. They were the true stars of the party who were absolutely essential in completing this quest. Nice work, Ghelli and Furhst.

I’m sure that Ryncletica would have survived far easier with her similar Shadowdancer abilities and Grandmaster of Oceans training. Self-healing, DPS or fortification didn’t matter one darned bit in this one. Evasion, Dodge, stealth, assassination and cunning did.

I was both affirmed in the Shadowdancer’s true worth while completely schooled in the grave limits of a Wind-Stancer Monk in EE all at once. I had added information on Shadowdancer training for Monks and stealth tactics in my Monk guide weeks before this run, learning and proving these very facts for myself with Ryncletica. It’s a pity and my fault that I didn’t take my own advice for this quest by using Ryn instead.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ComicRelief
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 22:17:57

    So far my very favorite ED element is “Sealed Soul” (Tier 5 Shadowdancer). Yeah, take THAT, you level-drain spamming mobs!

  2. Spencerian
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 07:23:08

    Very, very much agreed, Comic. I absolutely love Shadow Manipulation for messing with mobs and Shadow Form’s perma-incorporeality, but moments after I got Sealed Soul, I picked a fight with all the beholders in “Invaders!” just to show it off. 🙂

  3. Adiurd
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 07:30:24

    Wow, great post. Had me hanging on every word 🙂

  4. bhgiant
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 17:44:15

    You did a writeup on this? Wow, I feel flattered :).

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