Posted in the bigger “Let’s get some Amara” builds thread, but it seems like we’re branching out more into individual build theorycrafting, so I thought I’d make it’s own post (and edit it up a bit so it’s more in line with how Amara actually works).
Speaking which, hey errybody! I’m Arsonist, a holdover from the BL2 boards. When playing RPG’s, I tend to have one mode and one mode only.
Naturally I tend to gravitate towards Siren Classes.
Disclaimer: Like everyone else has said, even with the trees, we don’t know a lot here. Damage calculations, how effective dots will be comparatively with BL1/2/TPS. I’m obviously of just as in the dark as you guys. One big sticking point for my builds at this phase tends to be that no one knows how the “This skill does this” abilities will scale. We tend to go from crazy effective stuff like you would see on Athena in TPS, to the sad, limp call of the blight pheonix we saw through most of BL2 for Maya.
Still, refer to the pic above. I’m here to cast fireball and laugh maniacally. 8d6’s ad, all day.
With that in mind, I present Arsonist’s ABC’s, Always Be Casting.
Action Skill Selection: Deliverance or Tandava for Damage , Ties that Bind or Eternal Fist for Crowd Control
Chevron Augment: Allure, Soul Sap, or Stillness of Mind
Diamond Augment: The only one available in this build is Soulfire. I could potentially see a variation of this build down the line that invests some points into Brawl to gain access to Blight Tiger.
So already we’re looking at a lot of variation, depending on what our Amara is trying to do. First “whats the hoozit” has to do with the actual action skill we pick. Being hearty black mages, and not any of those goddamn clerics who try to steal our thunder, we naturally want to lean towards the skills offered by Mystical Assault over the other options, as they seem to be the main “lets deal damage” options. After the spec is done, we have our choice between Reverberation, Deliverance, and Tandava from our main tree, as well as The Eternal Fist, The Ties that Bind, and Fist over Matter from our secondary tree.
The latter three are likely going to be super helpful as we encounter enemies or groups that deal a lot of damage, as we’re not Really specing into any tanking abilities. Which of these is going to be a standout is hard to tell, but TEF and TTB are both high on my watch list at the moment. FOM seems useful and elegant for the FOE build, but I feel like it’s very likely that it’s going to be low on the totem pole, trying to strike a balance between CC and damage. This is not our goal - we either want to be spamming damage spells at all times, or be an effective “screenlock” in horde situations.
“No half measures. Some things can’t be cut in half. You can’t half-love someone. You can’t half-betray, or half-lie.” - Jorg Ancrath, Prince of Thorns
While we may have to rely on those CC abilities at certain points, our main focus is going to probably be focused between one of two abilities - Deliverence or Tandava. The first seems like it’s exactly what this build is trying to do, and makes Amara spam fireballs at all times that burst into tinier fireballs that hit people pretty damn hard. Awesome and flavorful and I love it. Tandava is less flashy but at the moment has the higher damage number. There’s going to be a lot of theorycrafting pitting these two skills against each other since they both fit the same “do a lot of damage and then some aoe” niche. Personally I’m rooting for Deliverance all day (I talk about napalm butterflies below which is just delightful), but will accept Tandava as a more “raid boss ready” strategy if I must.
Moving to the chevron augments, we have a hefty list to choose from - Allure and Soul Sap seem like the most likely standard “all day mobbing abilities”, giving us some healing and providing “rack em up” potential for our biggest DPS bombs that we can use twice in a row. Stillness of mind is likely going to be the best get any time we are trying to CC, providing a ranged CC and a theoretical “screen lock” situation when paired with The Eternal Fist or Ties that ind. All seem like they have a niche, so being fluid in what you’re selecting is probably a good idea.
Lastly, in this version of the build, we only have room for one Diamond skill, Soulfire, which makes all of our fireballs well… fireballs. I could see the necessity at end game to dump 5 points into brawl just to give us the option to swap damage types. If that’s the case, expect to cut back on the ricochet effects and some of the nicer things in brawl to pick up 3/3 personal space and 2/5 one with nature, since clarity is Probably going to do less than that super neat flat damage reduction. Again, time will tell if this is the smart case or if the points need to be spread out more for mod coverage, but hey. We’re sure as ■■■■ not putting anything in stone 2 months before the game even lands.
So with that out of the way, let’s jump into the actual build.
Our main goal in this build is to race our goddamn way through Mystical Assault to get the sweet sweet capstone at the end of it.
Early levels have us starting off with 5/5 Do Harm and 1/5 Violent Tapestry. Obviously these are subject to change. I’m not a fan of relying on a kill skill, but in this first tier, Do Harm is the damaging of the two options and works with our strategy of always be casting. 1/5 into tapestry gives us a non-kill mode for gaining rush stacks, and a light buff to elemental damage that we can tweak once the numbers become more obvious (as in, are we talking BL1 or BL2 elemental damage systems). I could see some variation here, but the important thing is that it doesn’t seem like you gain more stacks by putting points into tapestry. Normally we’d think hard about fast hands, but we’re already going heavy in rush, and the second tier is going to be where our reload is…
Speaking of which, here we’re looking at 5/5 Alacrity (one of my favorite words, especially when boyd crowder hisses it) and 5/5 Restless. As stated, we’re going to be counting on this for a lot of reload speed and are expecting it to always be at least somewhat active since this is an action skill spam build. Again, I wouldn’t be shocked to see some points flicker between alacrity and tapestry (or even the first tier abilities) as we get more access to game mechanics. Restless seems more likely to keep it’s max’d status though, mostly due to the fact that it cuts into the core mechanic we’re hoping to abuse. We will lament the loss of the critical hit damage from transcend, but goddamit, we’re war mages not rangers. Our war song is a thousand explosions and you don’t have to be super accurate with those.
In the next tier… Ascendant is good.
I shouldn’t have to sell you on that one.
The next two tiers however, break my heart cause I kind of want everything.
Laid Bare and Wrath seem… goddamn near essential in this build. Between them you’re adding a lot of damage to everything you touch, and this build is set up to touch a lot of things by abusing Tandava and Deliverance when we’re mobbing, and (maybe) swapping into Reverberation when going up against a single target. Even the ties that bind gets a little bit of a go from these two, which is nice. We are… sad that we can’t pick up “From Rest”, because fire rate is always nice. At the same time, we’re not too sad, because the next tier gives us Remnant and Awakening… another hard choice. A lot of what we don’t know has to do with how much damage these projectiles are going to be doing, so there’s a lot of unknowns around remnant (although it’s worth noting that if max’d, it has a damage value of 99, which is a little over half of Tandava’s massive 166). Awakening seems better for raid bosses/big fights when you’re not likely to build up as many rush stacks, but again, time will tell. For the moment I’m leaning hard into the idea of stacking Remnant and Deliverance. I’m kind of imagining a lot of little fire butterflies swooping to-and-fro to my enemies, like live napalm.
Finally, the entire reason we spec’d this way is the capstone - Avatar. This seems to open up a lot of unique playstyles with a shitload of customization options being available. Personally, again I’m hoping for a lot of love with the allure/deliverance combo, kind of making everything I loved about converge + ruin except with a lot more fire and burning babies.
We go into Fist of the Elements for the rest of our points, and they serve us pretty well.
At first tier here we have to weigh Anima vs Infusion. Going by BL2 math, Infusion is probably the better get. Going by BL1 math, Anima is. Where this lands? No one really knows. On paper, right now, Infusion looks better because of the next tier…
Which we go utterly and completely apeshit for. Tempest does so much for us. Upping all elemental damage across the board in a mage spec? Yespleasethankyou. More to the point, it doubles that bonus for shock, which gives us a wonderful thing - weapon preference. If shock behaves even remotely like it does in the other two games, then it means that it won’t really have a weakness against a certain type, making it a great mobbing gun. It getting all the other bonuses we’ve already allocated on top of that means it goes straight to the top. Even better, it appears like this is worded to add to our glorious collection of damage abilities from our action skill, making it more attractive. Even BETTER BETTER, combined with infusion and our fire perk (or corrosive, if we need to mod for the extra versatility later), it means all our shots have a chance to proc both fire and lightning damage, keeping us with a higher rush count at damn near all times.
What do the skids think about that?
The rest of this tier is just gravy for us as well, but kind of depends on how we need to go (as do other things here). It’s hard for me to ever turn down a 1 pointer, but the point of this build is to blast from mid range, not close, so I’m avoiding Illuminated Fist for now. Wildfire helps us get more dots which gives us more rush stacks, which again we’re a big fan of, but time will tell whether it stacks up better than Anima or not, or whether a split between the two would be beneficial (for single target stuff, Anima seems much more likely). Still, for now, it seems more hilarious, so we stick with it.
Dread, sadly only affects Grasp (boo gearbox, boo. All this customization and this one stick in the mud pissing me off). We skip unless we’re going into a grasp build.
Finally, our last round is a bit strange. We have a lot of skills here that we like, but not a lot of points left. For this build I opted for Catharsis because exploding bodies, again hilarious. It seems likely that Indiscriminate may out perform it in the long run, and then we’ll have to find some other place for that spare point (probably into from rest >.>). Again we seem to have an option where it’s single target vs aoe though, so for a raid fight, we probably want Indiscriminate more. That being said there is no way in hell we are leaving Deep Well on the table, given that we’re never not using an elemental gun.
So there it is, your preliminary guide to Black Maging with Amara.
I have no earthly idea if it will be even remotely viable, but I kind of love every part of it and hope I get to do it.