[Guide] Amara's Skills - Analysis and Rating

If you disagree with anything I have in here or have anything to add (links, math, opinion, anything) let me know and I will gladly update and improve it.


Table of Contents

  1. Ratings
  2. Brawl
    2.1. Action Skill
    2.2. Action Skill Effects
    2.3. Passives
  3. Mystical Assault
    3.1. Action Skill
    3.2. Action Skill Effects
    3.3. Passives
  4. Fist of the Elements
    4.1. Action Skill
    4.2. Action Skill Effects
    4.3. Passives
  5. Credits


ratings

:star:
Sub-par: These are the skills that are generally bad and it is really hard to make them worthwhile. Or they suffer from bug and don’t work (as intended).

:star::star:
Below Average: These are skills that can be useful but requires you to build around them a bit, just throwing them in to move down a tree is a usually bad idea because there are better options.

:star::star::star:
Average: These are the skills that are solid choices to move to the skills you really want.

:star::star::star::star:
Great: These skills will make the game much easier and should be taken always if you are at that point in the tree they are located in.

:star::star::star::star::star:
Outstanding: Skills of this rating will be game-changers that you base your build and play style around, they should be taken with almost every set up if you are in that tree.



brawl

This skill tree holds most of Amara’s melee skills but the majority of passives can be used with any kind of build. It offers great survivability.

Here’s the link to the Brawl official skill tree for easy reference!


Action Skill

Phaseslam :star::star::star:
The most basic variant of Phaseslam. Highest impact damage, huge AoE, medium cooldown. Can be good on melee and generally close quarters combat builds. At times it can be buggy, not applying damage properly to all targets and/or not triggering passive skill effects. But it’s the AS that offers some of the most powerful anointed perks. That isn’t reflected in the star rating but it’s noteworthy nonetheless.

Fracture :star::star::star:
Lowest cooldown Phaseslam variant, dealing less damage than the other ones. It’s great if you want to keep some distance. Can’t trigger Phaseslam anointed perks.

Downfall :star::star:
Overall highest damage (impact + beam DOT) of all Phaseslam variants but also comes with the highest cooldown timer. It can be quite difficult to target an enemy with and hit the beam consistently.


Action Skill Effects

Revelation :star:
This effect can sometimes outperform the default damage of an action skill but is quite unreliable and most of the time not worth the valuable effect slot.

Glamour :star::star:
Better than Revelation but worse than some alternatives in the other trees. Can be quite hilarious to watch. The decrease in AS damage and increase in AS cooldown make this one a tough choice.


Passives

Root To Rise :star::star::star:
Good skill all around, especially when combined with some % health regen (based on max health). If you’re abusing health gating (heavy hits can’t kill you outright but leave you at 10% health and if you manage to get above 50% again shortly after the health gate can trigger again) with Soul Sap or Sustainment more health can be detrimental.

Personal Space :star::star::star::star::star:
Significant multiplicative damage boost for your guns. Great value for every point spent. If you want to learn more about its math and ranges you can find that information here.

Clarity :star::star::star:
This health regen is based on missing health. It’s not as strong as health regen based on max health. It can stop some weaker DOTs from killing you after killing the last enemy. Generally it’s better in pure melee builds where Personal Space isn’t used (often) should only be used if you need more points allocated to move further down the tree and you don’t have any other passive available that would provide some benefit to your build.

Arms Deal :star::star::star:
Decent additional reduction against those nasty badasses with heavy guns, grenades and Torgue weapons. Easily :star::star::star::star: if you’re making extensive use of splash damage (Torgue weapons, lots of grenades, etc) in your build.

Samsara :star::star::star:
This one is quite tricky to rate. On one hand, it would be one of her best passives, working for pretty much every build by providing all-around great bonuses. The healing isn’t as much as the description makes you believe but it’s still more than Clarity. On the other hand, it’s buggy/unreliable and works only with a hand full of action skills. Phaseslam (and it’s variants) and Fist Over Matter (Phasegrasp variant) work best for triggering it. Just make sure you have as many enemies in the area of your action skill while the AS itself is in your field of view. The last part is crucial since enemies will only take damage (and consequently trigger Samsara) from your AS if you actually watch it.

Helping Hand(s) :star::star::star::star::star:
Hands down a fantastic skill. The only downside is a bug that prevents the skill’s duration from refreshing when it is already active. You have to wait until it runs out before you can activate it again. Either you keep that in mind and plan your action skill usage accordingly or you have high cooldown reduction so it won’t matter as much.

Mindfulness :star::star::star::star:
Lot’s of additional survivability layers. The faster you are the less likely you’re getting hit by attacks and the recharge delay reduction makes shield recharge almost instant in dense situations. In melee builds with Roid shields it can mess up your damage potential, but still provides defence when you need it the most.

Find Your Center :star::star::star::star:
Excellent in melee builds for its damage bonus and utility, useless for gun builds. The additional melee range is bugged in coop gameplay. The melee damage bonus does apply regardless, though.

Vigor :star::star:
Decent for mobbing in group scenarios if you can manage to get killing blows on enemies, lacklustre when solo mobbing and almost useless in boss encounters.

One With Nature :star::star::star::star:
It is generally better than Root To Rise because a big portion of its increase in effective life pool comes from the damage reduction which isn’t detrimental to health gating. Definitely, a worthwhile investment. In melee builds with always-down roid shields being attuned to fire action skill element is perfect.

Do Unto Others :star::star:
Deals little situational damage and because of that, it’s hard to justify in comparison to some of the awesome skills within the same row and above. But if you have a spare skill point use it. You might get some additional utility out of it depending on your action skill element.

Jab Cross :star::star::star:
Can be good if you focus on action skill damage. The gun damage bonus is negligible because it’s just a small additive bonus.

Guardian Angel :star::star::star::star::star:
For just a one-point investment this is a no-brainer. The only downside can be wasting this long cooldown if a weak enemy is nearby and you’d have been able to get back up easily anyway. Its max health restore was nerfed with the most recent hotfix but the guardian rank perk Resilient completely negates this nerf.

Blitz :star::star::star::star:
Great investment for melee and shotgun builds if you want to close distance. The melee damage bonus applies on all melee attacks, not just Blitz.

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mysticalassault

This tree focuses mostly on gun gameplay, dealing big damage and some utility. It also allows for stacking action skill boosts.

Here’s the link to the Mystical Assault official skill tree for easy reference!


Action Skill

Phasecast :star::star::star::star:
Great single-target damage and decent cooldown rate. Not the best AS for mobbing but an absolute boss-killer.

Deliverance :star::star::star:
All-around a worse alternative to standard Phasecast. The main projectiles deal less action skill damage and the additional projectiles don’t deal any AS damage at all, they just add some lacking DOT damage. Other skills that proc off of action skill damage (e.g. Samsara) won’t get triggered by the additional projectiles.

Reverberation :star::star:
In theory, this one has a way higher damage potential in comparison to standard Phasecast when aligning multiple enemies perfectly behind each other. In practice, that almost never happens. You’ll just lose single-target damage and suffer from slightly increased cooldown without gaining any benefit most of the time.

Tandava :star::star::star:
Very similar to Reverberation in its performance. In scenarios with tightly packed enemies, this can do big damage but isn’t worth the heavily increased cooldown.


Action Skill Effects

Soul Sap :star::star::star::star::star:
This effect has absolutely no downside. In solo scenarios you can easily heal yourself to full within a second and in coop-play you can be the team’s healer. It also works with AS that typically don’t deal any damage (e.g. Ties That Bind when only one enemy present and phasegrasped).

Stillness of Mind :star::star::star::star:
Arguably the best effect for mass crowd control when paired with Ties That Bind. Decent with all the other AS.


Passives

Do Harm :star::star::star::star:
Works great for almost all action skills that actually deal some damage. God-tier skill when paired with Ties That Bind / Phasecast and a Phasezerker class mod. Phasecast (or its variants) can be used to gain 99 stacks within a few seconds. I have rated the skill with just 3 stars because this “special behaviour” was most likely not intended by the developers and might get changed in a future update (or it should rather).

Fast Hand(s) :star::star::star::star:
Great with any kind of build due to the vast amount of different bonuses. Currently, it’s also Amara’s only working reload speed buff. More reload speed, less time spent reloading, more DPS and life steal (when paired with a skill like Sustainment). The weapon swap and mode switch speed help with matching elements significantly, resulting in even more DPS and more fluid gameplay.

Violent Tapestry :star:
If you focus on Rush stacking one point and an elemental weapon can be worthwhile to prevent Rush stacks from falling off too fast in between action skill activations. Otherwise completely ignore this skill. It’s just a multiplicative bonus on top of the base elemental effect chance of your gun. AlmostNothing * 1.06 = StillAlmostNothing, while guns with an already high base effect chance don’t need this bonus to apply their status effect.

Alacrity :star::star::star:
This skill was finally fixed. It’s great if you focus on Rush stacking. Then you get a really good reload speed bonus out of it which translates into more DPS. Activating your action skill as often as possible grants an additional bonus but without means to quickly refill those stacks, it won’t do much.

Transcend :star::star::star::star:
Allows for easier crits and those crits also do more damage. Keep in mind that crit damage is added multiplicative on top of all other damage bonuses (gun, elemental, etc.) and is extremely valuable because of that.

Restless :star::star::star:
Decent skill all-around, especially in setups with barely any other CDR bonuses and an emphasis on action skills while triggering other skills off of them. It suffers from diminishing returns like almost all bonuses in the game, though. If you already invest heavily into cooldown reduction (class mod affix, artefact affix, Phasezerker bonus, guardian rank, etc.) this won’t do much. Sometimes it’s just a difference of 1 lousy second. Considering there aren’t that many good alternatives in this tree to progress further down it’s a no-brainer and might give you the slight edge that decides on whether you live or die.

Ascendant :star::star::star:
This one is hit or miss, its power solely depends on the effect you’re using it with. In some cases the bonus couldn’t be any better in others it’s just “eh…”. Either way, if you have a spare skill point just use it.

From Rest :star::star::star::star:
From Rest, Laid Bare and Wrath have all their ups and downs and it’s hard to rate them relative to each other because their performance will vary heavily with the equipment you’re using.
From Rest has a slight benefit over the others when paired with Maliwan guns. But the fire rate increase will only be more valuable if you already have some decent gun damage bonuses and reload speed. Guns that don’t allow for more than one shot obviously won’t gain any benefit from this skill unless they are Maliwan and even then the use of From Rest is questionable.

Laid Bare :star::star::star::star:
From Rest, Laid Bare and Wrath have all their ups and downs and it’s hard to rate them relative to each other because their performance will vary heavily with the equipment you’re using.
Laid Bare is a multiplicative damage bonus that shines especially in coop. While playing solo you have to have more than 60% gun damage bonuses from skills and equipment to make it strictly better than the alternatives. Or if you’re a user of Ties That Bind and make it affect more than one target.

Wrath :star::star::star::star:
From Rest, Laid Bare and Wrath have all their ups and downs and it’s hard to rate them relative to each other because their performance will vary heavily with the equipment you’re using.
Wrath can generally be considered the most reliable skill out of those three. It doesn’t have any prerequisites (specific amount damage, reload speed bonuses, etc.) to make it shine and it applies to all sorts of guns the same way. But if you’re using the Phasezerker class mod and/or have quite some gun damage bonuses on equipment (more than 60-70% in total) than the other two skills can be more valuable. And it also will perform worse if you have an AS cooldown longer than the 8 seconds duration of Wrath’s full bonus. This is especially noticeable when Phasegrasp (or one of its variants) runs for the full duration with the cooldown afterwards.

Remnant :star::star:
First and foremost, investing more than one point into this skill is almost always a waste. The majority of its damage comes from overkill damage and stays always the same no matter the investment. Remnant can produce some nice overkill damage but it requires a certain setup (guns with very high damage per shot or vastly buffed action skill) to have a significant impact. Fast low-damage guns will produce extremely weak overkill orbs not worth even a single point investment. DOT kills - which happen a lot on Amara - also don’t trigger orbs. The orb AI and pathing are quite bad, making it even worse. And the skill is also prone to stop producing orbs after some time spent in-game. In order to fix it, you have to exit to the main menu and restart your session.

Awakening :star::star::star:
If you make heavy use of Rush stacks and put the maximum amount of skill points in Do Harm and Alacrity it can be worthwhile. However, it’s wasted on Violent Tapestry. It also doesn’t buff the Phasezerker perk.

Avatar :star::star::star::star:
If you’ve already invested this heavily into the Mystical Assault tree this skill is the logical consequence. It makes managing your Rush stacks way easier while also increasing the max possible amount for them. If you’re using the Phasezerker class mod there’s no better way to invest a single skill point. Being able to activate an action skill twice in a row can be extremely powerful. Just keep in mind that the AS countdown won’t continue where it was when you pressed your AS key for the second time but instead it resets to the full countdown. So it’s most valuable when used in quick succession.
Phasegrasp doesn’t benefit as much as the other two action skills from Avatar.

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fistoftheelements

This tree is centred around dealing direct elemental damage and elemental effect damage. But it also sports some options for defence and utility.

Here’s the link to the Fist of the Elements official skill tree for easy reference!


Action Skill

Phasegrasp :star::star:
The most basic variant of Phasegrasp. There is no damage and no additional effect. Has the shortest Cooldown for the “missed grasp build”. Most of its variants are strictly better.

The Eternal Fist :star::star:
This skill is okay for what it does. Still no damage. Not all skill augments work with the newly created grasped target. The AI on the orb seeking a new target is also weird as it can sometimes go across the entire room and ignore a target right next to the previously grasped target.

Ties That Bind :star::star::star::star::star:
This skill couldn’t be any better for mobbing. It can dish out some crazy AoE damage with the right setup (Phasezerker, Avatar, Do Harm, etc.). It doesn’t trigger Samsara, though, but augments like Soul Sap do work with it. The damage you’re dealing with your guns doesn’t have to hit the main/grasped target for the damage to be shared. If there would be half stars I’d give it 4.5/5 because for boss runs (especially when no minions are around) you’re better off switching to Phasecast instead (its anointed perk for bonus damage is also way better) most of the time.

Fist Over Matter :star::star::star:
This is the only Grasping Action Skill that does direct damage. The damage is consistent over a short period of time. It can be a decent alternative to the other variants when doing bosses because the multiple smashes still happen even though you can’t actually grasp most bosses or tough enemies. However, some testing shows this Action Skill is bugged and is not doing damage or applying stacks or buffs when not looking at it. It also sports the longest cooldown of all grasp action skills.


Action Skill Effect

Allure :star::star::star:
The only Augment in this skill tree. It is great for pulling enemies in. However, a lot of the times enemies fly randomly all over the place. Hilarious to watch but can be somewhat annoying. The range is so-so but can be increased with Ascendant in the Mystical Assault tree. Lowers Action Skill damage.


Passives

Anima :star::star::star:
The max 20% increase in damage on an already weak damage over time isn’t anything to write home about, but DOTs seem to be stronger in this game than the last. The duration can be helpful for healing or if you have a relic that increases the elemental damage of whatever element is hurting you. This can lead to some crazy fast boss kills.

Steady Hand(s) :star::star::star:
Straightforward increase to gun stats. Should help in aligning some sweet crits in rapid succession.

Infusion :star::star:
Infusion goes off whatever your Action Skill element is. It can be convenient while mobbing and levelling. Using an incendiary gun and occasionally see enemies with shields? Make your element shock to deal with it on the fly without having to switch guns.
The DOT from Infusion will overwrite the DOT from your gun if they are the same. You’ll also lose parts of the healing provided by Sustainment because that skill’s effect doesn’t trigger off of Infusion’s converted damage for some reason. Don’t use Infusion in situations where you absolutely want max DPS by matching elements 100%, like in boss fights.

Tempest :star::star::star::star:
Big multiplicative increase to all elemental damage from guns, DOTs, and melee (if you get Illuminated Fist). Matching elements is incredibly strong and this skill makes it even better. Shock might not be calculated properly, but still great.

Illuminated Fists :star::star::star::star:
If your running a melee build get this. It’s huge melee buff and easily a 5-star skill IF you match elements to the enemies’ weaknesses. All elemental damage bonuses from skills and equipment will make it even stronger. But if you don’t feel like matching elements depending on weaknesses and Mayhem modifiers by going into the skill tree you’ll lose a lot of damage and probably end up doing way less damage than before.

Wildfire :star::star:
This skill in general really isn’t worth. DOTs are generally weak and most enemies you shoot will die before it can spread. And Indiscriminate does basically the same thing but way better. Unless you’re using weapons with very high base DOT or a Unleash The Dragon artefact with melee. Then it can dish out some nice additional damage without requiring investing time or ammo but only if enemies are nearby. It’s situational and niche.

Dread :star::star::star::star:
If you’re using any of the Grasping Action Skills get this. Increases damage, instantly reloads your weapon, and a class mod can get you to 30%. You also keep the buff for the duration if your Grasped target was killed, looking at you Maya. In coop the reload only applies to the player delivering the killing blow.

Indiscriminate :star::star::star::star::star:
Get this if you are going down this tree. The regular 30% chance at half damage is applied all the time. A Grasping Action Skill just makes your weapon crazy powerful. And even better, you’ll clean whole rooms when paired with Ties That Bind. Because a ricocheting bullet will also damage any enemy linked by TTB.

Deep Well :star::star::star::star:
Straightforward magazine buff. Going down this tree you are more than likely using an elemental weapon. It would be 5 stars if there wouldn’t be a bug that prevents some guns from working with this skill even though they are elemental.

Catharsis :star:
Low damage overall due to the DOTs scaling off of this skill’s base damage. The radius is also quite lacking. If you need to put a skill point somewhere to reach the bottom, this is acceptable.

Sustainment :star::star::star::star:
Almost perfect skill all-around. It’s great for constant healing when shooting an elemental gun, chucking elemental grenades and using nova shields or Phasegrasp nova anointment (those count as grenade damage as well). But it doesn’t activate from melee, action skill damage and Infusion / Forceful Expression or any other “Bonus Elemental Damage”. Because of the latter, Infusion will actually lower the healing received because you’ll only receive life steal for the elemental damage that wasn’t converted by Infusion. So those two skills don’t pair well. And non-elemental builds that make use of Infusion or sources of Bonus Elemental Damage won’t benefit from it at all.

Conflux :star:
Random elemental DOTs that aren’t matched to the enemy’s weakness are pretty much useless. Unless you play in Normal Mode, but then it’s still hard to justify because there are way better skills you could invest the points into.

Forceful Expression :star::star::star::star:
If you’re running an elemental build, which if you are investing heavily into this tree you are, get this. Elemental damage increase for all guns. It’s added on top of Infusion and Tempest. But you shouldn’t run Infusion if you’re running this skill for the reasons mentioned in Infusion’s description, Forceful Espression will strip weak shields easily enough without having any drawbacks. It doesn’t provide any extra life steal from Sustainment.

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credits

34 Likes

Good job on all this. If you need help give a shout.

1 Like

Some help would be greatly appreciated. If you want to write some descriptions and rate skills just let me know which ones you want to do so our work doesn’t accidentally overlap. If you want to you can even use the same formatting I use in the OP so I just have to copy paste the stuff over. I leave it up to you. :slight_smile:

I can do the Fist of the Elements tree. I haven’t really experimented with the Mystical Assault tree if great detail, so my opinions would be terrible on that.

All right, then I’ll do MA next.

Question, on the original “Skill analysis and rating” threads from BL2 there was a description and stats of what each skill does then a review. I noticed you only have the review. Do you still want me to include the description and stats?

I’ve considered adding that stuff but ultimately decided against it. The original skill descriptions can be found ingame, in all the available skill calculators and the all the wikis. They serve barely any purpose and would just make the thread even bigger and convoluted. And the stats will probably be changed several times in the upcoming months so the thread would need constant updating even if the ratings stay accurate/relevant. All of those numbers can easily be found in game and several sources of the internet as well.

Well that makes that a lot easier. I understand your reasoning, I was just looking out for the mobile user or new users.

Yeah, I just linked the official skill tree for easy reference (for new and mobile users). Once the work is done on all skill ratings we may add more info to it depending on the feedback.

I’ve completed the MA tree. Let me know where you’re currently at in the FotE tree so I can do a few of the remaining ones.

Thanks a lot for the effort! I have some small remarks regarding the MA tree:

  • Do Harm:
    It also works extremely well with Phasecast and the Phasezerker class mod. If you spam double Phasecast on cooldown, it is also quite common to reach 99 stacks. I’m not sure if this makes the skill deserve one more star but it should at least be mentioned.
  • Restless:
    I still don’t agree with you about this skill being good. Sure, if you have no other means of getting CDR, it might be worth the investment, but it is so easy to get other sources of CDR. And even if you do not have other sources of CDR, 5 points for 25% is quite a heavy investment. In your analysis, you already compare Restless to the other skills in that tier, and obviously it is much better than the non functioning Alacrity. On the other hand, I think that Transcend will always be better the Restless (except for melee builds). So the 2 skills should not have the same rating in my opinion. I also think that Restless is worth than any other skill rated with 4 stars. We should lower the rating of Restless to 3.
  • Remnant:
    I agree with the rating. However, there is incorrect information in the analysis: It says “DOT kills […] will produce extremely weak overkill orbs […]”. This is incorrect. As the skill description says, orbs are only produced by gun kills and action skill kills. DoT kills do not produce orbs at all. I tested this, so in this one case, the description actually seems to be correct.

Note: a lot of the skill images in the Brawler section seem to be broken.

I have them, but you’ll have to insert the pictures. Mine I’m using an add-on on my Pixelbook that lets me screen capture each individual picture fragment. So it looks like this 29-08_32_55 28-23_57_13 I can PM you the skill summaries.

Wrath
A reasonable increase in gun damage. Great if you don’t have any other source (equipment, skills, guardian rank, etc.)

Guardian rank is multiplicative with everything as far as I can tell. Also Amara doesn’t have many additive damage skills so Wrath gets more value than you might expect. Especially since from rest is rated 4 stars while it doesn’t see a ton of value outside of maliwan weapons. Yes 12% more multiplicative DPS is good, but after accounting for reloads this can end up being a much smaller bonus than Wrath would give even after Wrath losing some effectiveness to diminishing returns. I’d recommend knocking from rest down to 3 stars with 4 for a maliwan build. Wrath is definitely 4 stars imo if you don’t have much that adds with it.

I also agree that restless is rated a bit high. Like yeah there’s not really a better option in the tier after maxing out Transcend, but it’s still not that good.

Edit: Also yeah personal space is extremely strong and should be 5 stars. If you aren’t playing around this skill as Amara you are losing out on a massive part of your DPS.

1 Like

Note on Personal Space:

As @Skwuruhl just wrote (Amara Gun Damage Formula) and I can confirm from my testing, Personal Space does up to +18% per rank, contrary to the +12% stated in game.

The amount of times I’ve ended a fight with a DoT on me that downed me when there’s no way to get back up… Clarity can stop that from happening completely. I’d at least mention that as a benefit in the guide.

I think the reason he lowered it, is because there is currently a build out there that completely ignores this skill and can tank TVHM M3 groups and still wipe the floor with a few gun shots.

Re: Helping Hands

Has anyone confirmed how the damage reduction formula works out? In BL2 damage taken = 1/(1+damage reduction) * damage. That means that 40% damage reduction gives you the same 40% increase in effective hit points as does a 40% increased health. If that’s true, then damage reduction is basically another bonus hp modifier on a separate multiplier, and should be scored accordingly.

Re: Wrath and Others

I also think you undervalue bonus gun damage. The 12% fire rate multiplier from From Rest doesn’t beat out the 20% gun damage from Wrath until you already have around 70% bonus gun damage. The 40% bonus gun damage from Wrath after action skill use is basically always better than 12% fire rate, not becoming worse until somewhere around 275% bonus gun damage.

Wrath is also strictly better for gun dps than Laid Bare until Amara already has 60% bonus gun damage, which probably doesn’t happen (is impossible?) unless running with a Phasezerker com.

Edit: I would personally rank wrath, laid bare, and from rest as 4 stars each - but make it clear in the descriptions the relative strengths of each.

Amara has so many amazing survivability skills that clarity doesn’t keep up.

Laid Bare does boost the damage of your whole team so it has a place in coop, but otherwise yeah Wrath is strictly better. Not only does it give a larger bonus (until you get very god rolled gear) but half of the bonus also applies while not in ult and works with ults that don’t do damage. Not to mention if you wipe all the enemies damaged by your ult then you stop benefiting from Laid Bare. You benefit from Wrath for its entire duration either way.

If you’re going all the way down the blue tree both are worth taking obviously but if you only take 1 it should almost definitely be Wrath (and almost never From Rest unless maliwan build).

I agree that Wrath should be ranked higher, probably 4.