I’ve been waiting for this moment. I’ve studied others, often “monkcher” builds, on how they survive and defeat an Epic Elite quest by themselves.
This moment also brings a moment of declaration to any player that believes that a pure class cannot survive long, much less alone, in an Epic Elite quest. Never mind the notion that a thrown weapon can equate to bow attacks.
It was time for the Shiradi Shuricannon to blow away the myths–and its enemies.
I’ve watched some solo EE “Gianthold Tor” runs where a monkcher (one which had Monk, Ranger and Wizard levels, based on the buffs he used) completed the initial quest, defeating the boss mage. The optional dragon/giant pairs were not shown.
I saw two very important things.
One, the monkcher’s burst damage, using Adrenaline Overload and Action Boosts, combined with Manyshot and Ten Thousand Stars, dealt doubleshot damage of over 1,000 per arrow with damage numbers that scrolled fast and furious. Impressive.
The second: After this burst damage, the arrows per second were far less damaging and shot at a much slower rate than my ‘Cannon’s thrown speed. One other condition is the limitation of what damage effects come from the bow attack. The bow itself might have two or three elemental or damage reduction effects. An Arcane Archer can add two imbues to the arrows and then perhaps some weapon and indirect enhancements or items. That’s it.
The ‘Cannon comes in with only Ten Thousand Stars. My character won’t have Fury of the Wild ED trained to Twist any abilities for a time. The video I watched showed the player with both Manyshot and Ten Thousand Stars, although they supposedly share the same cooldown. If that was the case, it’s because he gained better damage at certain times or against certain enemies.
But my character comes in with dramatic normal attack speed, an assortment of throwing stars with many, many effects going off from Shiradi effects and Spellplague and weapon enchantments that should slow down even rampaging giants and damage them heavily.
There’s also Vorpal damage, 100 points if the enemy still has over 1,000 HP. In short, the ‘Cannon is always “manyshotting” at 2-3 stars per normal attack–it’s in “super”-manyshot mode with Ten Thousand Stars. With my WIS, there’s at least one additional star per throw and a small chance at one or two more per throw. Unfortunately I learned the greater mathematics of TTS too late for this life, as Pynthetica is learning now. Perhaps there will be greater results later with some Epic hardware.
The off-hand Celestia’s light and fire damage often proc with hundreds of damage to supplement overall attack power.
So, the only question remaining is whether my ‘Cannon, at a paltry 503 HP soaking wet, can stay alive long enough to take things down.
Firewall, creator of the Shuricannon build, noted that my stats didn’t seem to match up to his build (past lives notwithstanding) as he witnessed in one of the demo videos I made, so I’ve reviewed my character for any deficiencies.
There’s the matter of gear, which I know I’m slacking. Unlike the Shuricannon’s creator, my character hasn’t many past lives and I haven’t run many raids or particular quests with her, limiting some gear choices until I do.
Gone will be that trusty Frozen Tunic. I’m working on building a Flawless White Dragonscale Robe and hope to make several Tor runs to farm for the matching Epic Helm of the White Dragon for a +50 HP boost and better overall protection. A Restored Giantcraft robe, a robe that works as the Black Dragonscale Robe, is helpful with its armor piercing and haste guard.
There are a few items to add more DEX. I wear an Epic Normal pair of Treads of Fallen Shadow for the Insightful DEX +2 and DEX +7, but another greater DEX item is preferred. The most impressive DEX item I’ve seen was noted in a post by a player in the Shuricannon forum thread: Dumathoin’s Bracers, from one of the two highest-level raids in the game, gives Dexterity +11. There’s surely a few +10 and +11 loot-generated items somewhere out there, too. I prefer rings.
Szyn owns Yugo potions, a few DDO Store elixirs and now knows of the House Deneith ability potions. With Wind Stance, ship buffs and these potions as available, she can hit 60 DEX, with a little room for more.
By level 25 of last life, I started to dispense with the Way of the Sun Soul gear in favor of equipment that increased DEX and WIS and CON while keeping my Dodge maximized (28%), adding Blurry (20%) while also using Shadow Veil’s incorporeality (25%).
In EE, I believed the ‘Cannon’s overall defenses were higher with miss-chance, Monk AC bonuses and speed, and Combat Expertise. PRR isn’t part of the normal setup since ‘Cannons are either in Wind or Ocean Stance, not Earth. Defenses aren’t high on my list. I’m moving all the time to avoid direct hits, and high Evasion and saves remove anything else except arrow/missiles (why Firewall is fond of Deflect Arrows feat in EE) and magic missiles (avoided by a Shield clicky).
I did experiment with Deflect Arrows after Firewall’s recommendation in the character’s first life. I may return to it again since my DEX is in better shape than in the last life.
It still means that I’ve got a lot of XP grinding to do to train LD and perhaps Fury for their abilities and for Twist of Fate slots. I got lazy with Lynncletica and bought a Tome of Fate +2 to get a slot unlocked or upgraded for her, and I don’t have any problem doing so for Szyn if it will reduce the time in ED grinding while training outside of the Shiradi destiny.
Which Quest to Do First
You can tell by my tone that I don’t do EE often. I know quite a few others have and know their way around and mind their limits. Often they’re with a party while I’m usually solo (not in my best interests).
I definitely don’t want to enter into a mob-ridden EE such as “Tharaask Arena” to test the viability and tactics needed. Same for EE Tor. To get my toes wet, I might use a place where there’s room to run and escape if things go south. And I hope to bring a guildmate or five, perhaps, but was not against a solo attempt.
“The House of Rusted Blades” in House Dun’Robar would work. It’s short. There’s only Drow. They’re still nasty but there’s a lot of maneuvering room in the end-fight. There’s enough of them and variety (mages, fighters) to challenge my character without clearly overwhelming her. And it fits my role-play. The character background is that Syzn was a refugee from House Dun’Robar, a matron mother to-be that was culled early. Saved by a family friend, she trained in Eberron and returns to the Underdark for sweet, star-filled revenge on the whole frakking house. (R.A. Salvatore, are you reading?)
I took Szyn and the hireling Andaro into a Heroic Elite “Breaking the Ranks” yesterday, partially out of curiosity as I haven’t done any of the Storm Horns quests beyond “Lines of Supply.” In “Supply,” running Heroic Elite too, she annihilated the convoy. A mistimed re-application of Death Ward got me killed before Andaro revived me, allowing a swift-footed gnoll to escape. But that was it.
“Ranks” was a wide slay-fest where Andaro couldn’t survive. The word “hordes” fits well there as very numerous mobs come at you.
But this is where the Shuricannon’s thrown and running speed work very well. She was too fast and was able to continually circle-strafe her way to domination. Her miss-chance avoided the potshots from the dragon above.
Alternately, there’s a few Eberron EEs where I can mix up stealth with slaying. Going EE isn’t just about the necessary DPS and defense if a fight is inevitable, but ultimately simply surviving to the end. If all the stealth training can’t help there in some capacity, I think I’m doing it wrong.
I accidentally entered “Return to Prison of the Planes” rather than its Heroic version on Epic Elite. (Not the first time I’ve done that.) I actually mowed down the Aurum fighters nicely before realizing my error–and the realization that Szyn might be ready.
Epic Elite “The Tide Turns”
I chose a personal favorite, “The Tide Turns,” one quest I know very well.
Two candidates came to mind for this place: Kiricletica and Szyncletica.
I tried my hand with Kiri. Her stealth was excellent. But once she was found, the melee hits were just too much. A goof where my finisher toolbar wasn’t in place sealed her fate.
In came Szyncletica. She has barely 475 HP. Her fortification is only 105%, insufficient to withstand a CR 45 critical hit. But her miss-chance powers were strong, her stealth as good or better than Kiri’s.
I entered without any hirelings at L24, just a hairs-breadth of experience from the next level. I drank a Yugo DEX potion and one Superior Elixir from the DDO Store, and one Potion of Reason to add +5 to my DEX and boost a couple of other scores. Last, one well-treasured Eternal Potion of Death Ward from the Anniversary Cards. Ten minutes of Death Ward, cools down in 10 minutes. Perfect.
I hung off to the side on opening the door to the central room and snuck inside. After a mob moved off the stairs, I snuck up to Captain Tew to activate the next objective: bypass the shield.
From here I needed to kill. Would Szyn have the chops?
My improved paralyzing stars whirled through the fortress. Combined with Improved Precise Shot, Nerve Poison, No Mercy, stat damage and other spellplague and Shiradi effects, the CR 45 mobs, most with 3,500 HP, were slowed, frozen and eliminated fast.
I carefully cleared my way to the armory. Tight spaces with little room to maneuver meant that I had to rely on the stopping effects of the stars and have some room behind me to run.
Soon, I was in the sewers. The only challenge here were the giant rats in the latter part of the area. My first attempt ended with getting eaten. On attempt #2 I kept on the pipes where their AI wasn’t smart enough to force them to chase me.
I cleared out the shrine room, also too tight for comfort, by dropping in a Diversion dummy–one training-dummy hate magnet to make it easier for me to whittle off the pirates inside while they were unable to stop fighting the dummy.
Strong monastic saves and a couple of Abundant Steps got me to the shield switch, where I carefully pulled and aligned all the fighters to remove them for a required objective. The kobold ambush and the mob beyond a door ahead were also carefully pulled for elimination. Thankfully, my saves against the powerful electrical trap spared me from serious damage.
I pulled and slew enemies by the final shrine, near the barracks, as well as enemies beyond it. Once cleared enough, I had the luxury of using the shrine to reset any clickies I had.
A mix of stealth and stars cleared the path to the boss. In Heroic play I often ignored Tew’s guards and pulled him alone into the small hallway to fight him and, later, his puppetmaster. But Szyn needed to run; the ogre mage Ahraatz-Ri throws all kinds of attacks that are best avoided from a distance. I opened both doors to Tew’s last stand and spammed stars until the mob was gone and Tew was killed.
The final fight. Ahraatz-Ri was CR 53. My ship buffs were fading. Rejuvenation Cocoon was the key to victory, allowing quick and easy battle healing. But the ogre mage was a massive bag of HP, probably around 120,000 at least.
It took about 10 minutes. But he did fall.
As I’ve said, I’m not a power-gamer. But I’ve taken notes from the best, so getting my very first EE solo completion says a lot for the many players that provided their experience in making it happen. Many thanks to Teacher Firewall for creating this incredible ninja build.