I’m still getting the feel of the epic Henshin Mystic as I progress my first one through early Epic levels. Over the weekends, I moved through the Eveningstar quest chain and then into the Drow city quest chain, sticking to Legendary Dreadnought training and increasing Quintessica’s fighting options there.
(I know. I promised not to gush more about the Mystic. I kept my word with the last post. I didn’t say I’d stop writing about it altogether. Besides, it’s a new class tree and very little is out there in the wilds of the interwebs as to playing it as a pure Monk. I might be one of a very few number of sources on how the class plays.)
Ultimately, as with Lynncletica the tanker, Quintessica will have at least two Destiny modes of fighting. In Dreadnought mode, she favors the takedown power of her quarterstaff, using ki attacks to weaken but relying on various special melee attacks for greater hand-to-hand damage.
And then there’s Grandmaster of Flowers mode–something I’ve really, really have wanting to integrate. The answer to why should be clear. Quintessica’s ki bar at the moment is around 400 ki. With all her passive regeneration, her bar at rest continues to rise to about 380 ki. In short, it’s practically full most of the time.
So, I thought I’d see how I could dump that excess as would a spellcaster with mana to burn and/or shrines galore and with not a care in the world of running out. I wanted to utilize every ranged and tactical ki attack that a Mystic could do while also staff wielding. It’s time to go all Jedi on the masses.
Most of you are familiar with Grandmaster of Flowers, the epic destiny that gives epic Monks some very good ranged and area-of-effect fighting options with ki attacks. Most of the time, even as an epic unarmed Monk, we’ll get low on ki reserves or find that we’re spamming attacks faster than the cooldowns in this destiny.
But the Mystic brings in additional ki attacks of its own, combined with doublestriking, critical damage and high ki regeneration. So, in Grandmaster mode, here’s all of the offensive ki strikes a Mystic can do. Since cooldowns are 3, 6 , 9, 12 and 15 seconds for the most common attacks, there’s plenty of time to spam each one of these almost constantly in battle.
- Ki Bolt (Mystic) – Fire and Force damage from a very long-range attack, 3 seconds.
- Incinerating Wave (Mystic) – Fire and Force damage, long-range directional attack, 9 seconds.
- Fists of Iron (Mystic) – 3(W) ki attack with +1 critical range and threat multiplier, 3 seconds.
- Void Strike (Mystic) – 10d6 Force damage, on Vorpal, erases enemy from existence, 3 seconds.
- Lily Petal (GMoF) – 300-400 magic damage to single enemy, can be evaded, 6 seconds.
- Orchid Blossom (GMoF) – 300-400 magic damage to multiple enemies, can be evaded, 12 seconds.
- Drifting Lotus (GMoF) – 300-400 magic damage in area-of-effect, 3 second knockdown probable, 15 seconds.
And then there’s the staff-based tactical attacks…
- Cleave: 1(W) strike in a forward arc, 5 seconds.
- Whirlwind Attack: 4(W) strike in 360-degree spin, 5 seconds.
I’ve learned that my Two Handed Fighting feat really isn’t all that effective, While Fighters have enough feat slots to take the full line to be more effective, a Monk (this one, anyway) can’t do it. I’ve swapped out that feat in favor of
- Great Cleave: 2(W) strike in a half arc, 5 seconds.
That’s right. I’ll have three separate cleave effects–and these don’t count the Legendary Dreadnought strikes when in that mode. This will disable my human enhancement for glancing blow effects but, like THF, Great Weapon Aptitude wasn’t all that effective in relation to all the ki damage I add to strikes, anyway.
Those two freed AP can now give me Greater Heroism. Imagine three cleave effects going off after I knock down a mob with a Drifting Lotus. The mob will not be getting up.
I wanted to test how most of these effects would work against some tough foes and decided to try out the Cannith Manufactury recently. Filled with Warforged, heavily fortified living constructs who could not be neg-leveled (my preferred way to attack, using a Dreamspitter), I needed to resort to stronger staff attacks.
On entering and getting assaulted immediately, I found a new and disturbing change with the artificers there. They like to throw the Lightning Motes spell a lot now. This is a ranged electrical daze spell that takes 3-9 seconds to shake off. Update 19 changed the effective DCs here, and you’re likely to get stunned immediately.
I can’t imagine what many players are doing against these guys now–but being a Monk, I had the Grasp the Earth Dragon finisher to make me immune from stun for a short while as I targeted the artificers.
One thing I find more challenging is self-healing. With an unarmed Monk, stunning is common, so you can take your relative time to build up Healing Ki finishers for greater effect. But with a Mystic, it’s damage, damage, damage.
You can still work in the healing finisher but you’re likely also spamming special strikes. This is far more likely the case when using Legendary Dreadnought’s many attacks as opposed to the fewer options in Grandmaster mode. None of the Dreadnought attacks break up finishers, being tactical strikes…you’ll just find it harder to fit in the ki attacks with the LD attacks.
Quintessica sits around the 515-540 HP range, so she’s a bit more durable but still takes a beating, despite rarely standing still. Healing Ki hits around 80-100 with the Purple Dragon Gauntlets equipped and a weaker Devotion item that I should upgrade sometime.
For crunch times I should add in an Ardor potion for an alchemical bonus. I’ve built a steel +2 Aligned Quarterstaff of Vampirism with a silver gem in its red augment slot as a better Harry Beater and emergency survival stick to help.
Quin can blur herself, but finds her fight times last much longer than the Dance of Clouds’s one-minute buff since she often takes on mobs wholesale. That’s riskier since mobs bring a kitchen sink of trouble.
I’ve been reworking tactics, using the very-long range Ki Bolt to pull single enemies for an easier mob dilution. Despite her ability to take on mobs, it’s not Quin’s better idea unless there’s not a choice–she’s a might squishier defensively than Lynncletica the tanker and Ryncletica the Ninja if in the wrong place.
It helps that she doesn’t stand still long while throwing ki attacks and weapon spins. In the Cannith quests, I’ve learned to do this with enemy Artificers as they are clearly the most dangerous now with their stuns and Blade Barriers for those in party without Evasion.
In short, Quin really needs a greater blurring option, so she’s got a Green Steel helm in mind for later. Same problem is true for Dodge and Incorporeality. She’ll never see numbers like Ryncletica the Ninja, but something has to be better than nothing. An Epic Ring of Shadows remains on the docket. For now, she’s using some Treads of Falling Shadow for a 10% incorporeal. A bit of loot rearranging leaves Quin at 24% Dodge in LD mode, so that’s practically maxed in any other fight mode.
This is the question that many prospective players want to know. How much do all of these effects hit? How often? How is the quarterstaff damage? How useful is Incinerating Wave, especially in Epic? Answer: It’s surprisingly good. With spell power in the 140s or better, a Wave hits a typical enemy with 120-250 damage combined–more if they are vulnerable. This stuff stacks up as you smack a mob up every 9 seconds–and remember that often spell criticals make things worse.
Jump in with the best damaging quarterstaff I have, the Stout Oak Walking Stick, and hits of 60-80 with 200-500 criticals start popping up, even a 600 or 700 one from time to time. The unlocked Rahl’s Might still works when I need a slashing option.
I’m building a Green Steel quarterstaff for a stronger, durable Harry Beater. (A rust monster literally chomped my Metalline of Pure Good staff very quickly in a recent “Rainbow in the Dark” run. Oh, Rusty!..how could you?!)
GMoF ki attacks are potent magic; those who cannot evade get another 300-400 damage. With the right timing, you throw a Wave (it moves slowly), outrun it to drop a Drifting Lotus to knock them down, make some cleaves just as the Wave hits for more damage, jumping back with an Orchid Blossom to finish off stragglers. Some never rise from that knockdown.
Ki Bolt is very handy. How so? I took Quin into “The Jungle of Khyber” on Epic Normal, accompanied by my faithful panther and Klin, the Cleric With a Demon Summons That I Can’t Spell Right Now. We slay well enough, getting into a small pickle with an overwhelming mob that kills the hirelings and requires me to go into pick-off mode to rescue them. After, we venture into the beholder area.
We pick off two of the Xoriat beachballs conventionally. Then I spot two floating far away in the mushroom grotto (where the three runes reside). I send bolts at one beholder from extreme long range, so far that the beholder can’t fire back anything nor can discern who’s striking him to charge forward and attack. I have lots of ki and lots of time with 150 damage per strike. Scratch one, then two beholders.
Twisting in some LD attacks as well as the cleave effects while in Grandmaster mode should add additional hell. When red names appear, the Stout Oak Stick is the go-to weapon with its powerful critical hits and Aligned effect that assures that anything that hasn’t combination DR bypass (such as a pit fiend) is going to get hurt. Add in the Action Boosts for damage or haste and Quin officially holds title as my dojo’s greatest DPS Monk.
Testing Quin’s solo mettle in the Devil Battlefield, I found three bosses, all golems, in my travels. I pull out the Walking Stick and go flailing. And I tripped the golems, over and over again. The Stick trips anything on a vorpal with no save possible. It’s quite humorous as well as a powerful effect against bosses, not to mention the poor devils and demons that go prone from the hits.
It’s not quite reliable as Stunning Fist can be, but I’ll take it.
Logged in yesterday to see that Mabar had returned. The code generally looks good with a few bouts of lag while 0-2 in killing the dragon (both altar protect failures).
What Quintessica loves is that the graveyard’s type of L20-25 occupants are limited to vampires, lichs and lots and lots of fleshy Shadar-Kai. Now I know many players dread these guys because of their ferocious attacks with their spinning chains.
I prefer to aggro about 10 of them and apply all of the above attacks. Drifting Lotus + Cleave + Great Cleave + Whirlwind Attack = 8-9 dead Shadar-Kai. The lichs are very dangerous; use any knockdown AoE you have and have a Shield clicky at the ready for its massive missile attacks. Limited to using attacks that work publicly, which excludes Lily Petal and Incinerating Wave. I get by.
The amount of Cursed Fingerbones I collect per hour is just insane. Now I did mention these Shadar-Kai guys aren’t undead, right? That means that they take neg-levels and critical hits so very nicely.
I’m stocking up on Death Ward potions for the entire dojo, but I know that many, many players will be playing hard and heavy through the 11th.
For Turbine will give you a +5 ability tome of your choosing, 1 per character, with enough collectables you get from three Mabar dragon kills.
Well played, Turbine. Well played.
Mystic needs a strong set of muscles.