The Return of the Thwacky-Stick

QuinAndGholaFanWith three characters done with their Thunderholme raid runs to build their Thunder-Forged weapons, I wanted to get another character dusted off and armed.

I was also getting slightly burned out from the successes of ranged and thrown fighting. I’d been playing Pynthetica, Szyncletica and Paracleta a bit too much lately, and I wanted to go melee again since Lynncletica is fully-actualized as a strong tank for many raids, and the Poison Master Ryncletica needs some gear tweaks before she goes into Thunderholme.

It was time to return to Quintessica, my Henshin Mystic.

A long time ago in a D&D-styled game not so far away, I made a Fighter that used quarterstaves. I called them “thwacky-sticks” because the Fighter essentially beat the living crap out of everything with impunity.

I never quite got that same mojo with the Henshin Mystic…until now.

Quintessica’s sat on the sidelines for a handful of reasons, although I enjoyed playing her.

  1. Attack speed (in the original enhancement pass) was woefully slower than other builds using quarterstaves.
  2. Overall defense was very poor, especially for a melee build. It was like playing a Barbarian with less than no armor. When a character builds up aggro as the Mystic does, they need to absorb much more damage or attack faster.
  3. Building up effective spellpower (in the original enhancement tree) to increase the ki-powered damage types was doable but problematic. You could have a staff that increased spellpower or melee damage, but not both.

Thankfully, it looks like these problems seem licked back with Update 33, so now, I’m catching up.

Offensive Changes

The new enhancement tree removed the use of spellpower to increase damage to ki-powered spell-like abilities. In its place, ki-powered abilities are magnified by Monk levels, Melee Power, or both. The tree gains remarkable base Melee Power bonuses.

These changes have really boosted the overall attack performance. For example, Cauldron of Flame is an extraordinarily potent kill-zone maker since the Melee Power and Monk level bonuses stack up to roast a wide area. It’s your own personal Firewall and every melee cannot help but come face-to-face with you–and burn.

If a boss is inside the zone with you, smack them with the All-Consuming Flame fire debuff and the damage goes way up. Bonus: You can move within the flame circle now; it lasts 30 seconds and has a 30 second cooldown. For places where I expect to get swarmed, I have this attack ready. And you also gain an attack and PRR boost while inside a Cauldron.

The addition of melee power in the core enhancements also increase general weapon damage. Hits do seem harder and more effective. It doesn’t hurt that Lighting the Candle, the Fire/Force damage weapon buff, also scales with that Melee Power.

For my build, I chose to add CleaveGreat Cleave, and Whirlwind Attack. This allows me to spin a staff almost continually. You can guess how all that spinning works with enemies trying to kill me while immersed in a Cauldron of Flame. Did I mention the extra fun with glancing blows?

The doublestrike-boosting Quick Strike also has a faster cooldown, allowing more chances for extra hits. I’m trying to add any Doublestrike bonuses here and there.

While I like some of the melee attacks of Legendary Dreadnought, it appears that Fury of the Wild is the better ED to use with its glancing-blow benefits to two-handed weapons such as quarterstaves, the burst damage of Adrenaline and Unbridled Fury, as well as Fury Made Placid (WIS +6, improves Monk DCs and AC). As I’ve said, Mystics and Barbarians have similar features.

As for other destinies, Primal Avatar doesn’t have much save STR and a few weapon buffs. Unyielding Sentinel may be helpful in quasi-tanking since I can maximize CON from the tree, but perhaps Divine Crusader’s similar treats with Consecration and weapon buffs may add up, as well as STR bonuses that I desperately need for more damage.

As melees go, Quintessica kills more efficiently now, thanks to these boosted powers and the wider reach of the staff to smack things. Wear-and-tear on quarterstaves is still nasty, and for the first time ever, I’m seeing permanent damage build up on a Thunder-Forged weapon. Upgrading it through the tiers doesn’t change this so I’ll bind it and use a repair oil kit from the DDO Store (or use the Stone of Change) shortly now that it’s bound to my character anyway.

As for attack speed, the last core enhancement pays off. Serenity adds 15% boost to attack speed, which seems to stack with Melee Alacrity boosts. I missed this in an early review of the new tree. I liked the idea of taking the epic feat Blazing Speed for permanent Haste, but realize weapon damage is better and will work in Epic Feats and Destiny Feats such as Overwhelming Critical and Harbinger of Chaos. Being a Monk, I already have plenty of speed for running or attack.

Dire Charge is also under consideration. This mass-stun pairs well with the cleaving to affect mass damage to several enemies, especially if I can get them all close in a Cauldron to burn everything for 6 seconds while getting a beat-down with a staff. Its effectiveness will vary in raids, where often trash is warded or red-named and unaffected by stunning.

The only enemies I can’t burn are devils and demons. I make some Force damage, sure. I’ll just have to be more creative in some raids.

Defensive Changes

The core enhancements improved the inadequate defenses a tiny bit. For every core enhancement, you gained +3 PRR for a maximum of +15. That’s not much, but it’s still appreciated. Staying in Mountain Stance at its maximum tier adds another 15 PRR. I just might reach 100 PRR with some Insightful bonuses and the best Monk armor, Outfit of the Celestial Guardian, by level 29.

Adding to this, I also followed Lynn’s design and trained Combat Expertise for more AC. The epic destiny Legendary Dreadnaught’s Improved Combat Expertise adds 20 PRR with the companion feat active as an epic character, which could be easily twisted.

Quinn currently sees 61 PRR, with more later. Like other older characters in my dojo, I didn’t train every destiny early on for them, so Quinn’s second life is holding at 25-27 while I work on completing EDs to unlock fate slots as well as qualify for ED feats such as Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting. Glancing-blow damage is great when you have multiple cleave effects.

I added something from the Ninja Spy tree to help: Shadow Veil. That 25% incorporeality combined with Dodge, Blur and AC seem to get Quinn through many scrapes, although she still bruises more than Lynncletica. Ideally, Quinn should be 3/4 as durable as Lynn and have around the same HP. I am not confident of Quinn’s effectiveness as a tank, even an off-tank. Lynn’s PRR stands around 150-161 PRR with nearly 300% fortification and has more HP than Quinn, who would get pummeled without more PRR and fortification. “Stick and move” is really Quinn’s mantra.

General Stance and Feat Changes

The general Monk stance updates are mixed blessings. Water Stance gives greater Dodge and a really improved cap. Fire Stance received the critical threat multiplier from Mountain Stance, which, I believe has improved Threat.

The most useful feat changes involved Ku-kando and the Shining Star finishing move. The DCs of both are no longer CHA-based but WIS-based. While I can’t use Ku-kando as a Mystic, I have weaponized Shining Star, sending enemies into dance frenzies with its spell-like ability of Otto’s Irresistible Dance. This finisher is rapidly easy to activate since it uses Earth-Wind-Fire moves in sequence that don’t lengthen the time to activate with cooldowns.

There’s also the mob-draining power of Every Light Casts a Shadow. In groups, I just warn others to have Death Ward equipped (just in case of a nagging bug) before I throw myself into a pile of enemies and neg-level the lot of them.

I had forgotten that Every Light is a dark-ki attack, which means I can also activate the ninja-grade finishers such as the paralyzing Freezing the Lifeblood or the mage-stopping Pain Touch. I have to time the attack just right, but after neg-leveling all near me, the odds of this helpless-inducing paralysis sticking go way higher.

Although the Mystic’s damage often add Force damage as well, she’s got to be careful in raids like “Defiler of the Just,” where everything is fire-immune, naturally, as devils and demons. Some dragons also will laugh at her powers but Thunder-Forged weapons are meant to hurt most of them. Amplifying the fire damage as a Mystic is just a bonus.

Weapons

Quinn has a boatload of staves–perhaps too many, and few of them useful in epic. The three I see most effective at level cap are the Thunder-Forged staff (its Adamantine durability is really preferable as well as its Fire/vulnerability damage), the Epic Light Unending (specialized undead/boss beater) as well as a Legendary Green Steel Mineral or Triple-Positive staff (once I build them).

With all the destinies to power up to gain fate points, I’ll have plenty of time to gather ingredients to build these staves to full power.

Gear

The best thing I’ve done is to custom craft items for more STR, CON and WIS while upgrading items for Melee Alacrity, Devotion, and AC bonuses. I have most AC covered except Natural Armor, which needs more of those pesky Purified Eberron Dragonshard Fragments for my crafter. Thankfully, some runs in “Devil Assault” can get me Tokens of the Twelve to exchange for a few: Crafting can get expensive as you add Insightful abilities.

I find the Guardian’s Cloak a staple for damage mitigation on all my characters. And if one enters “Temple of the Deathwyrm” enough, eventually the challenge of surviving the “Red Light-Green Light” room requires that I’ll need a Jeweled Cloak from Epic Gianthold as a backup against the instant-death effect.

To sum up, I’ve been far more cocky in running quests. Knowing the areas help me lure (or avoid) enemies so I can effect maximum damage to many enemies in an enclosed space. When there are a mix of mages and melee, the woo-woo of mass-neg leveling increases my chances of taking all down a bit faster. I wonder if the Mystic can win the melee-only/no-spells game of “kill ’em all faster.”

It’s been a long while since I’ve made a video, and I think I’ve promised one for the Mystic for longer. Lots of real-life work to do first, but sometime soon I’ll get one posted.

 

 

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. EvenNote
    May 31, 2017 @ 23:57:53

    That sounds like a fun build! I’ve never run a q-staff melee before, might have to give it a try.

    Reply

    • teachersyn
      Jun 01, 2017 @ 10:52:12

      I’d certainly recommend it more now over its previous version! If you’ve run a Thief-Acrobat before, it’s probably a little slower but the Mystic has more mass-damage tricks and should be a bit more durable.

      Reply

  2. saekee
    Jun 01, 2017 @ 15:10:28

    heya, I am using the tier 5 henshin as a platform for PSWF (not staves)! The void strike then activates on vorpal which becomes 10% of its uses! So every 3 seconds, there is a 10% chance the foe goes ‘poof!’

    The I used the neg level version on my Pale master splash and now am trying the heal version (build is post nude tun split 11 wiz/6 monk/3 pally). I think it would work really well with 14 pally:6 henshin to buff up the sword (using Oathblade low epics, will switch later with Celestia).

    Reply

  3. Vladrich
    Jun 03, 2017 @ 18:09:13

    I can’t disagree with anything you’ve said about mystic from my own experience. I’ve not gotten as much playtime in as I’d like, but I’m getting close to reincarnating back to level 1 and trying out a new mystic build.
    I’m a huge fan of Shadows Cannot Exist Without Light in my rotation to help stabilize my HP as I solo, but that’s more of a personal preference than anything.
    Oh, and you might want to look at the Bone Crusher and Epic Bone Crusher from Palace of Stone –it’s a solid thwacky-stick with a good durability.

    Reply

    • teachersyn
      Jun 05, 2017 @ 01:01:01

      Just picked one up. That stick is full of total win. Carves through stuff incredibly well.

      Reply

      • Vladrich
        Jun 05, 2017 @ 19:41:45

        Yes it does, it’s my favorite thwacky-stick (since I can’t seem to get Epic Light Unending to drop for the last four months) and I’m going to miss it as I reincarnate and work my way through the levels again.

        Reply

        • teachersyn
          Jun 06, 2017 @ 22:39:49

          I found this stick more useful than E-Light Unending. That staff has greater general damage but the Breaker has a crit range of 13-20 with Divine Crusader ED. BAM.

          Reply

  4. DDOCentral
    Jun 03, 2017 @ 22:31:09

    Reblogged this on DDOCentral.

    Reply

  5. Tholgrin
    Jun 12, 2017 @ 11:49:51

    I’ve found running in Unyielding Sentinel to be amazing for my Mystic. Using Renewal – once you get used to it’s druid style healing over time – is lovely in nasty situations. Pop it before you jump in, spam Fists of Light while cleaving everything in your Cauldron of Flame, and then drop Healing Ki when everything is dead to walk out completely unscathed. It’s a blast… Literally.

    Of course, I also carry the Epic Light Unending for devils and demons, and the Epic Bonecrusher for rusties and oozes – as Thunder-Forged and the ELU are both metal. Makes quite a nice upgrade from an unlocked Dreamspitter in Epic levels.

    I’m looking forward to my Mystic’s next few Heroic lives – of course, she still has to pull her Jack’s blade, and I’ve got a few other projects to address first, but they’re highly anticipated.

    Reply

  6. Vladrich
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 21:58:00

    I saw something the other day that made me go “ohhhhh,” apparently random staves now drop in materials other than wood (or densewood which I had a few in my bank to use as blanks in crafting). I found a steel quarterstaff in random loot which surprised the crap out of me as I level up my new build (although this might just be the first time I noticed it). Just something to look out for as others begin playing around with Mystic, the steel helps with the durability a tiny bit, but you’ll want a backup against rust monsters.

    Reply

  7. erdrique
    Jul 08, 2017 @ 13:43:48

    Definitely sounds like a fun build. I ran Erd as a thief-acrobat and really enjoyed it. When I take him back around for another monk life I’m thinking of doing another quarterstaff user and this route sounds like the way to go for sure!!

    Reply

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