Keeping Shadow at Bay

Hours after the last post on preparing for Lynncletica’s first epic raid tanking, I remembered at the last minute that a raid was scheduled that same day.

I made the decision to move the Little Mountain to hold back the Sibilant Shade, Aurgoloroasa, in “Temple of the Deathwyrm.”

The most-excellent raid group, formed from several different guilds, met for their twice-weekly run into Thunderholme. To survive trying to tank the dragon, I needed one thing: Level 27. With sufficient work on my destinies that wouldn’t jeopardize future XP too much, I leveled up, added Epic Damage Reduction for 10 PRR more, and pulled the level 27 Guardian’s Cloak from my reincarnation cache for desperately-needed DR against slash and pierce damage.

In Unyielding Sentinel destiny, I checked my gear and looked at my twists. With 3 fate points available, I upgraded the second slot and added Fury of the Wild’s Damage Reduction for 6 PRR more.

I hoped to wear the Epic Mentau’s Goggles for Ghostly through the raid. However. the dragon’s occasionally deadly breath attack debuffs Death Ward, leaving you vulnerable to excessive negative energy damage without Deathblock. Unable to upgrade a slot in time for the raid for an inexpensive yellow augment, it was back to wearing some Green Steel goggles I’ve trusted for this.

The raid was smooth and uneventful and fast as we made our way to the top, fortunately avoiding the taxing Jump and Red Light/Green Light intermediate rooms for the Trap and Tower Combat rooms.

Then the moment of truth came. I checked both my Intimidate and Concentration skills. Ki Shout would be my more dominant intimidate but I added the Intimidate button to my toolbar just in case. I learned later, not surprisingly, that they share cooldowns like Ten Thousand Stars and Manyshot.

With a quick check of my defense/healing gear, off I went.

lynn-dw1.jpg

My plan was simple and similar to any tanks before me: Intimidate by either skill and keep striking the dragon. As a Monk, I wanted to build ki for Healing Ki when needed, use Rejuvenation Cocoon if Healing Ki becomes interrupted. In short, I’m continually healing as I fight, so as not to require a dedicated healer.

Things have gotten wild in other DW runs, especially if the tank loses control or the crowd controlling party that manages the Kuldjarghs and respawns become overwhelmed. I needed to be as self-sufficient as possible, and Lynn’s training and gear did not disappoint. Thankfully, Aurgoloroasa hasn’t any other special attacks, and as a Shintao Monk, I had a few special protections to help against undead even as powerful as her.

I would like to see if the Shock and Awe effect that dragons throw out can be offset by the Monk’s anti-stun finisher, Grasp the Earth Dragon. I hadn’t time to throw a buff for it at the time. (A later run showed that the buff is ineffective.) Shock and Awe slowed me most of time, naturally, since this is a big freakin’ angry undead shadow dragon.

One thing I learned quickly to do once the dragon started knocking me down (Stand Against the Tide’s secondary ability that prevents knockdown, Steadfast, doesn’t work against all knockdown types) was first to move to Unbreakable stance for PRR and then do something Monks don’t think of doing often: Block.

lynn-dw2.jpg

Even without a shield, a simple block seemed to prohibit knockdown (although the wiki does not note this), wards off some attack types and, thus reduce the damage I received. Once I had my HP restored, I turtled up for a bit, struck to gain back some ki, and blocked again.

Once or twice, the dragon’s successive attacks knocked me down and left me with just one-quarter health. The feat Guardian Angel kicked on for emergency PRR but I hadn’t time to look at that, of course. A single quick Cocoon restored my HP bar, thanks to 220 healing amplification. The healing curse also pulled 4 or 8 HP per strike.

The secondary worry was losing aggro. This was an accomplished raid team that knew when to attack the dragon to lower her HP in order for her to spawn Shadows to kill for portals used to enter the shadow side for phylactery destruction. But too much damage by the group and I could lose the dragon’s attention. Thankfully my threat level was sufficient. Only once did I need to rein her back in.

The great thing was that I tanked it well, defended well against the damage, healed myself most of the time, and could move her around enough to help complete the raid.

Now, the group decided just for Epic Hard that night, having suffered a brutal Epic Elite completion days before due to game issues.

Tanking was most triumphant.

A few days later we tried Elite “Fire on Thunder Peak.” I was tanking the “fat” dragon quite well. Things, however, went very pear-shaped after the two purple-named magma elementals were killed. Our teams were in poor alignment for more trash and the dragon’s attacks increased (as expected), leaving me more vulnerable. We abandoned our Epic Elite run and returned to curb-stomp things on Hard.

But, in my opinion, no more vulnerable than any other tank. I’ve seen heavily armored guys die easier than I did.  As a Shintao, my general defenses are good, and I have room for a bit more with some item farming and creative use of twists. Lesser Displacement. Another 30 PRR. Healing amp so strong I can heal 600 HP with Healing Ki.

Since then, Lynncletica has reached level 30, choosing Elusive TargetOverwhelming Critical and Dire Charge to complete the feats to 29. For the Legendary feat, I chose something new for me: Scion of Limbo. I’m used to one-minute buffs. The advantage here is that Limbo costs me nothing to use and works passively. I can time tactics as buff messages appear.

Filling in some epic destinies for 4 more fate points for twisting Sense Weakness. Not that Lynn has been hurting for damage. At around 50 STR and using the incredible burst damage of the Storm’s Harness handwraps, Lynn has begun to solo Epic Elites to work on her 5,000 favor. Her stunning work is also very strong there: As high as 80 DC for Dire Charge and a 68-70 DC for Stunning Fist. More than sufficient to stun Champion orange-names most times.

For those DCs, I wear level 30 Severlin’s Leaden Boots, a Legendary Animated Rope for +14 Combat Mastery (Enhancement bonus), some Insightful Combat Mastery +6 gloves, and Legendary Tactics from Legendary Dreadnought as a twist. I wear some Wisdom +14 goggles but haven’t any Insightful WIS items equipped just yet. The Storm’s Harness wraps add a +4 Quality Stunning bonus, too. My WIS is rarely above 40. Dire Charge uses your highest ability score, which is either STR or CON, both often in the 50s.

If I’m going to continue tanking shadow dragons, however, I need the negative energy absorbing powers of the Belt of Thoughtful Remembrance. I should have one, but farming for it shouldn’t be too hard.

Update 33 Testing

The DDO forums are abuzz with player comments and a few replies from the devs on the expected changes.

Given the magnitude of changes, and with a little encouragement from Cordovan, I’ve decided to join in the testing of U33 once it’s live on Lammania.

It’s amazing to me how some much criticism has been generated. I find it amazing because historically, the many functions of the Monk, certainly the most complex of the melee class, don’t seem to be used by many players I’ve seen in my circle. Everyone has a right to comment and aid in the development. I wish I knew more players that seem to actually use the enhancements and feats, attack and defense benefits at the level I’ve tried. Trying and using everything in the class is what my guide and gaming practice is all about.

Not that I’m omniscient to know the hearts and techniques of all players, of course. I’m always concerned how some players miss out on the tactical elements of the class, and think that more attack power or defense is simply the way to go.

But again, I’m oversimplifying other’s motives. I guess I don’t see any serious deficiencies in the class (save the Mystic’s defense and attack speed) that can’t be compensated by strategy.

Since the Book of Syncletica is going to need some significant changes on the update’s release, getting ahead on how the changes work will help update the guide that much sooner.

Can’t wait to begin.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DDOCentral
    Oct 12, 2016 @ 21:31:38

    Reblogged this on DDOCentral.

  2. mernom
    Oct 13, 2016 @ 05:17:24

    Care tell me which feats the build you used here has?

    • teachersyn
      Oct 13, 2016 @ 08:00:18

      Nothing special. I added Toughness a couple of times, and just Improved Two Weapon Fighting, Cleave and Great Cleave, with Improved Critical: Bludgeoning as Heroic feats. I believe Lynncletica’s epic feats included 1 Great Constitution, Improved Martial Arts, and Overwhelming Critical by level 30. Epic Destiny feats were Guardian Angel, Delfic Warding, Elusive Target and Dire Charge. As for healing amp, I have some older Convalescent bracers that stack with the Iron Mitts. When in Unyielding Sentinel with an EH Shamanic Fetish, I see 450-500 HP return from Healing Ki, and I should farm for the EE for a bit more performance. Not quite fully geared as I’d like, but the Slave Lords crafting system seems like the grinding could be worth it in a party.

      • teachersyn
        Oct 13, 2016 @ 08:02:26

        Oh, the Legendary feat, noted above, was Scion of Limbo. Short of confetti, every one of the buffs were useful and 1 minute is a long time in battle.

      • Jammond
        Oct 13, 2016 @ 19:27:45

        Sounds like you’ve definitely fleshed out your build, and reached most, if not all your goals! Always awesome, and congratulations on doing so!

        I do have some questions about some of the specifics chosen, as well as some specifics of what you hit.

        First, how many hp have you actually hit so far, and how much further do you see yourself reaching?

        How hard are you having to work on solo EE content? What are your biggest challenges (since most of us poor mortals have those, even on good characters like this one)?

        Do you feel the lack of the greater two weapon fighting feat? Was it dropped simply because it couldn’t be fit it in and the other feats (overwhelming critical or one of the toughness feats) actually give enough that you feel it’s worth it? It just seems so painful to me to give up the big feat in a fighting line on a melee. Does it hurt as much as I’m imagining?

        Could you swap the great con feat for epic toughness? It seems like an obvious choice if you can swap since the con gets you at best 30 hp vs 50 for epic toughness. (Unless you’re needing the higher fort save, but that seems very unlikely on a tank build).

        How well does this build deal with large mobs? It seems like the cleave/dire charge combos would make you capable in that situation, but paper vs playing is often different. Is the AOE strong or are you needing to tweak it?

        Obviously, the gameplay is very rewarding or you wouldn’t be saying “Tanking was most triumphant.” And that is very much the whole goal, but how do you see yourself refining the build itself in future iterations? Any long term reincarnation (epic or otherwise) goals for Lynn?

        • teachersyn
          Oct 13, 2016 @ 19:42:19

          HP in U-Sentinel around 1200-1300. That’s probably the current limit, barring adding back some Vitality and False Life gems/items lost when transitioning to L29 Outfit of the Celestial Guardian. Now capable (with care) of soloing EE stuff. Working carefully on Eveningstar stuff. Generally, the Champions give the most trouble but I can take a few hits well. No problems at all with only Imp TWF. Lynn is built more to outlast than to out-DPS an enemy, but she still gives fair damage, although nothing like the archers or the ninjas. In tanking, since Monks get 3/4 HP than other melee, adding CON and protections were paramount to endure. Tanks don’t kill as fast, but a Shintao will outlast everything thanks to ki and saves. PRR and miss-chance help, too. Not enough data on EE yet but that’s hard on everybody. Will consider Great Toughness–better payoff, didn’t think of that. Mobs are easier with Dire Charge and her durability. Have to adjust for killer Champions but she survives. Because Dire Charge uses the highest ability, it’s either CON (around 52) or STR (same and growing). That’s seen a 74-80 DC and it’s pretty good. Will twist in Sense Weakness to make DPS more effective, too. I need some negative energy absorption as noted and some Quality STR and CON gear will go a long way. Lynn’s 3rd life, so she’ll likely become one of my first eTRs and then I’ll work on a new Shintao fully based on U33. What’s great about Lynn is being in party. What normally tries to wipe a party I turn back to fight only me while the others stay safe and pick them off. It’s why Lynn’s nickname is Little Mountain. She tells others to move, ’cause she’s not. 🙂

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