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Assassin, master ambusher - builds and discussionFollow

#1 Mar 15 2011 at 12:44 PM Rating: Good
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GOAL
The goal of this build is to be a master ambusher. Surprise and blitz your target down before s/he has much time to react. So, it revolves around the element of surprise, burst damage and escape for when things go bad. Get behind enemy lines and kill the flag carriers and/or casters. Obviously, it lends itself well to a PvP environment, but still does very well in PvE.

So, with that in mind, lets establish some target baselines....


TARGETS
Stealth and burst come naturally for an assassin, but being behind enemy lines means that you're very vulnerable to counter-attack, so we'll want a minimum of 31 points in Assassin for the Slip Away ability in order to get away. Also, keeping an eye on 40 points to pick up Hidden Veil in the roots.
NOTE: At level 31, Assassin really starts to come into his own because of Slip Away. I would also argue that this talent is a must for main-Assassin builds to work.

To support that role, we have 2 choices: either boost our damage (to get the deed done quicker), or to survive long enough to finish the job. Looking through the trees, I'm not seeing many talents mid-way deep in trees that really synnergize well with ambushing. So, we either stay shallow in 2 support trees (for more damage potential), or go deeper into 1 tree for more toys.

In doing some warfronts recently as Assassin, going behind enemy lines to kill the flag carrier, I was usually successful in ambushing my target, but not as often as I'd like. So, I argue that the build should shoot for more survivability; Riftstalker. Then find a 0 point soul that has something nice to support the job.
Note: Below I offer a less-deep Riftstalker option that's intriguing.


PUTTING IT TOGETHER
So, what can we pick up in Riftstalker that also has us picking up 40 points in Assassin? Here's what I've come up with so far...

40 Assassin / 26 Riftstalker / 0 Infiltrator
OR
40 Assassin / 18 Riftstalker / 8 Ranger


BREAKDOWN -- 0 POINT 3rd SOUL
The showcase here is being able to Stealth, whenever and wherever you want. Slip Away and Hidden Veil being the 2 highlights. Supporting this are high damage, improved poisons and stuns to help re-establish the "rogues do it from behind" mantra.

That alone isn't enough. There will be times where your target slips just outside of melee range (happens a lot) and you have no way to catch back up. There's also times where you're trying to ambush your target only to have his/her friends rip you a new one. This is where Riftstalker steps in...

Riftstalker helps by providing extra survivability, damage and lots and lots of mobility. Plane Shifting abilities, which can be initiated from and remain in Stealth following the ability. There are 4 such abilities that we can grab with the remaining 26 points.
- Shadow Shift (shift forward)
- Shadow Stalk (shift to behind target, removes cc)
- Shadow Assault (shift to behind target and attack)
- Shadow Blitz (shift to target and aoe)
- Shadow Warp (shift to targetted location)
All of these abilities are augmented, via talents, to increase damage, movement speed, reduce cooldown, stun immunity. An Assassin with all this should have no problems catching back up to an escaping target, or perform an escape him/herself.

Lastly, the 3rd Soul, I filled with Infiltrator for another CC breaker; total of 3 (Break Free, Shadow Stalk, Slip Away). Which, is probably the best 0-point ability you can get.


CONCERNS
My biggest concern is if by going deep into Riftstalker, am I giving up too much dps for survivability and mobility? I may not need so much mobility and could put points into Bladedancer, Ranger, or Nightblade; 3 popular 3rd Soul options to the Assassin/Riftstalker build.


BREAKDOWN -- >0 POINT 3rd SOUL
I could easily see myself dropping down to 18 points in Riftstalker with 8 in Ranger. I'll lose 2 Shifts, all the secondary buffs for the shifts, but gain more damage (crit, ap buff) and reduced damage.

I chose Shadow Assault as the low-bar for usefulness which is 16 points in because it allows you to catch back up if they get outside melee range. 16 Riftstalker


3rd SOUL - WHY RANGER?
If you're going to put points into your 3rd Soul, then my research so far has shown three popular choices: Bladedancer, Nightblade and Ranger. I'll take you through my thought process on why I chose Ranger.
Note: You'll have 40 in Assassin, 16-18 points in Riftstalker, so 8-10 points to spend in your 3rd Soul.

Ranger:
You don't need 10 points here, 8 will do you just fine. This gives you 5% more crit, 6% reduced damage taken, and an AP buff. You can pass up Crippling Shot as you've already got your "catching up to the enemy" issue taken care of.
Note: Crit also helps fuel your Assassin dps, so nice synnergy here that you can't find elsewhere.

Nightblade:
I do not recommend this 10 point option for the following reasons. Sure, you get 15% more damage on your CP generating abilities & finishers, but that's it. No supporting abilities really help you here. Conceal, you already have. Hellfire Blades, you should not be using because you'll have your Assassin poisons. Lost Hope, a crowd-control, you don't really need since you already have Incapacitate. So yea, not much here unless you really want a 2nd crowd-control.

Bladedancer:
A solid 10 point choice here, but for me I think I'll stick with Ranger unless convinced otherwise. Here's why... You get 5% more hit and 50% more auto-attack damage, a dodge cooldown, and a Dex buff. The major ability gains here are defensive, which we already have taken care of in Riftstalker. My focus for the 3rd Soul is more dps and this option seems to half-way focus on defense. Though the extra 5% to hit would be very nice.


LEVELING UP
Here's what the spec looks like at level 21: 21 Assassin / 7 Riftstalker / 0 Saboteur
Saboteur used for Adhesive Bomb to help you catch up to escaping enemies, since you have no other means to catch back up at this level.
What you're doing: Grab all the stealth enhancements while boosting your dps as much as possible.

Here's what the spec looks like at level 31: 31 Assassin / 10 Riftstalker / 0 Infiltrator
Could keep Saboteur here, but if you're getting in trouble just Slip Away!!
Bladedancer a good option as well for the dodge cooldown.

What you're doing: Grabbing Sliip Away asap while greatly improving your openers (ie. Assassinate)

Here's what the spec looks like at level 40: 40 Assassin / 13 Riftstalker / 0 Infiltrator
Could keep Saboteur since you still don't have many ways to catch back up.
What you're doing: Going back to fill in important skipped talents

After this point is where you need to make the hard decision. Go deep into Riftstalker or spread points between 2nd and 3rd Souls.

And finally, level 50...
Deep into Riftstalker option = 40 Assassin / 26 Riftstalker / 0 Infiltrator
Shallow in 2nd and 3rd Souls option = 40 Assassin / 18 Riftstalker / 8 Ranger
What you're doing: Deciding where to place the rest of your points. Spread them evenly between 2 Souls, or go deep into your 2nd Soul.



Now that I've got y'all thinking about the Assassin, I'd like to open up the discussion?
- Where is your thought process at?
- Do the talents chosen for the 40 points spent in Assassin make sense to you?
- Can you argue for a better allocation?
- What of the 2nd and 3rd Souls? Do you have an argument for something that synnergizes better?

#2 Mar 15 2011 at 1:03 PM Rating: Good
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As someone going pure assassin, I have to say I like the versatility of this build and its viability in pvp. I have one comment to make though - I would recommend taking the point out of Freedom of Movement and put it in Rift Prison. While both are incredibly useful, I think the Rift Prison would be more useful, particularly in warfronts where you want to quickly keep someone from taking a flag / control point from range, or just as importantly disable them while you take it. Blinding Powder can accomplish this, but is easily broken. All Freedom of Movement does is make you immune to snares when most often you will have plane shifted out of one in the first place, making a second one unlikely to come if you are fighting a single target.
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#3 Mar 15 2011 at 1:44 PM Rating: Decent
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I still can't see taking 40 honestly. I run a 34/32/0 asn/rift/sab and it wrecks the place.

34 Asn gets you the healing weapon enchant, 32 rift gets you memory teleport which is insanely good at keeping you alive as you tele-bounce between enemies with abandon.

The main key ends up being the snare/root immunity after rifting power as well as 5 pts in the cooldown reduction on rifting so you can maintain the 15%d/15%c as long as you want.

I simply don't see the point in Infiltrator at 0 points though if you have riftstalker as well. 0 in sab gets you not only potential ranged attacks with detonate it gets you adhesive bomb which is nuts.

Additionally if someone is sapped you can toss charges on them with sab without breaking the sap so you can set up a real easy rift->assassinate->final blow->combo point attack->detonate for insane damage.

Rifting also doesn't break stealth (given you're using non-attack rift powers) so the you're pretty much invisible AND highly mobile once you have both the 15 yard and 25 yard rifts + slip away.
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#5 Mar 27 2011 at 9:37 AM Rating: Decent
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Could you please guide me in what order did you give points as you have levelled up and a link to your build than ?
#6 Mar 27 2011 at 4:22 PM Rating: Decent
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Well, I "did it wrong" honestly. I played an RS in the beta the entire time so I wanted to get my rift ports as early as possible. That's not the most efficient manner of doing things.

rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=0MpMT.VcxIzqzRoz.GA0stoboddo

If I did it again, I'd start as RS, get to 16 for shadow assault and stalker phase and then go whole hog through assassin until it hit 34 or cap. At the point where I had enough points to get 16 in RS as the secondary soul I'd respec to move asn to primary.

RS doesn't bring much damage of its own, especially early on. Asn also provides more utility with blinding powder, but unless you have 3/3 in rift scavenger and rift guard tougher NPCs and large groups of NPCs will demolish you.

Once you've broken stealth for assassinate ASN really doesn't have much to rely on except the one stun when you're on your own. RS provides the constant 15% crit, 15% damage plus rift guard for ~20% damage reduction, the 6% damage reduction talent, all the extra endurance, extra AP (annihilate) and heal on kill.

RS is also your CC breaker with riftstalk.
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#7 Mar 29 2011 at 9:14 AM Rating: Decent
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to the OP: thank you for this great post and discussion. i was looking for exactly what you laid out :) keep up the great insight for us newbies plz.
#8 Apr 26 2011 at 2:33 PM Rating: Decent
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To the OP great Post, nice work!

I am approaching level 40 and going Assassin/Rift stalker/Ranger and had some questions:

1. Does Freedom of movement break root/cc on phase shifting if you are already rooted or stunned without using shadow stalk?
2. What do you think about this build rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=0MMpN.MAkfzRfqddk.VcbIhobkk <a href="http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=0MMpN.MAkfzRfqddk.VcbIhobkk">Assassin (40) / Riftstalker (26) / Ranger (0)</a>

The build is essentially the same as yours with the exception of a 0 point 3rd ranger soul. With all the phase shifting with 26 points into RS I see didn't see a reason to take infl. Also I didn't put any points into shadow mastery thinking that all the phase shifts (as you pointed out attaining at level 26) do not make reducing the cool down on shifting a priority.
- Shadow Shift (shift forward)
- Shadow Stalk (shift to behind target, removes cc)
- Shadow Assault (shift to behind target and attack)
- Shadow Blitz (shift to target and aoe)
- Shadow Warp (shift to targetted location)

What do you think of these changes to your base build?
#9 Apr 30 2011 at 2:44 PM Rating: Decent
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really liking this build (the infiltrator) but since you had a 0 third soul, why no Physical Trauma or improved Final blow?

Also, what about a build that puts points into infiltrator?

Edited, Apr 30th 2011 1:50pm by Shalazar
#10 May 02 2011 at 11:37 AM Rating: Good
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Cruxio wrote:
- Shadow Warp (shift to targetted location)

...

Lastly, the 3rd Soul, I filled with Infiltrator for another CC breaker; total of 3 (Break Free, Shadow Stalk, Slip Away). Which, is probably the best 0-point ability you can get.


Just a note on Shadow Warp - this alone is really not worth it atm. It has some rather annoying issues, the main one being that any obstruction, no matter how small, will stop you. Low walls, small rocks, some brush on the ground, all can stop it. It's utterly useless for trying to bypass obstacles - you can't use it to get up cliffs or on buildings or anything.

If you're going to use riftstalker, either stop at 18-20 for blitz and/or the phases or go the full 32. I'd really recommend getting Flashback/memory capture. It's extremely powerful and very worth it for making hit and run attacks. You don't need line of sight to your memory point, and it even works while stunned. The range on it is huge too. I'd go with a 34 asn / 32 rft / 0 sab or something. Flashback has so many uses, and really can make you the ultimate hit and run specialist.

For a third soul, if you're going for a 0 point soul, you might also consider sab. Adhesive bomb is simply amazing for slowing up entire groups of people or even just one. And it's up a lot more than a 5 min CD CC break.
#11 May 05 2011 at 6:27 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
If you're going to use riftstalker, either stop at 18-20 for blitz and/or the phases or go the full 32. I'd really recommend getting Flashback/memory capture. It's extremely powerful and very worth it for making hit and run attacks. You don't need line of sight to your memory point, and it even works while stunned. The range on it is huge too. I'd go with a 34 asn / 32 rft / 0 sab or something. Flashback has so many uses, and really can make you the ultimate hit and run specialist.


this is the build i'm going for. i'm thinking of being a flag runner/node defender/game changer. i'm using asn for my ambushing and killing, doing rft for the mobility and survival, and sticky bombs are the only 0 pt that makes sense to me. rift prison and blinding powder are sick for stopping people on the go.

gimme a critique to this build:

http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=0MMpT.0ARft0boddo.VcthuodRkkk
#12 May 06 2011 at 7:14 AM Rating: Decent
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tommyguns wrote:


I dislike a few of your choices, particularly those in RS. For the kind of role we're talking about, I'd much rather have 15% crit after shifting than 6% DR. Improved Guardian Phase - you're really going to be trying to kill things in guardian phase? Again for Phantom Blow, Rift Guard, and Imp. Guarded Steel.... survival is one thing (and a good thing), but it looks like you're trying to tank pvp.

Anyway, on my way in to work for now, but I'd go more like this:
http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=0MMpT.hARrt0boddo.VhxIhobRkzo
#13 May 06 2011 at 10:57 PM Rating: Decent
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TainNZ wrote:
tommyguns wrote:


I dislike a few of your choices, particularly those in RS. For the kind of role we're talking about, I'd much rather have 15% crit after shifting than 6% DR. Improved Guardian Phase - you're really going to be trying to kill things in guardian phase? Again for Phantom Blow, Rift Guard, and Imp. Guarded Steel.... survival is one thing (and a good thing), but it looks like you're trying to tank pvp.

Anyway, on my way in to work for now, but I'd go more like this:
http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=0MMpT.hARrt0boddo.VhxIhobRkzo


ya, i'm thinking flag runner, fang keeper...hence to slippery **** build in rft. stealth in, kill the defender, grab the flag, port out, and dodge the barrage enough to get to the friendlies(should they be competent).

i already miss the Sprint from BD...but we'll see.
#14 May 08 2011 at 8:49 AM Rating: Good
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tommyguns wrote:


First off, you skip some of the best skills in the riftstalker tree and take some really horrible ones. There's no reason to skip Shadow Mastery - cutting your phase shifts down to 30 sec CDs is huge. Planar switch is really bad too. That point is better in almost anything else.

You're better off having 2 separate roles for what you're after - an assassin spec just for ambushing and killing, and a runner spec for fang / stone holding.

Shard Runner build - You get all the phase shifts, tons of speed boosts, decent damage, an aoe slow, and an aoe root. You're nearly impossible to stop.

Assassin Ambusher build - You get the damage boosts out of Riftstalker, lots of damage from assassin, and some range options from Ranger. You're nearly impossible to get away from - you have lots of phase shifts to keep up, a ranged snare, and a ranged finisher. You're kind of weak on the defensive side, but if you play smart and pick your targets, that won't matter.

Mixing assassin, a burst damage soul, with the tanking side of riftstalker just doesn't work. You can role swap any time you're not in combat, so just make two roles, specialized for what you want. You'll get better results.
#15 May 09 2011 at 11:50 AM Rating: Good
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51sin/15inf/* in 29 dps daggers or higher is actually better burst.

All you do is macro in serpent strike to your final blow and in decent gear you'll see some 2k-4k spikes.

Do mind the fact you need gear for 51 sin to really shine.
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#16 May 17 2011 at 8:30 PM Rating: Decent
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Cruxio wrote:
GOAL

LEVELING UP
Here's what the spec looks like at level 21: 21 Assassin / 7 Riftstalker / 0 Saboteur
Saboteur used for Adhesive Bomb to help you catch up to escaping enemies, since you have no other means to catch back up at this level.
What you're doing: Grab all the stealth enhancements while boosting your dps as much as possible.

Here's what the spec looks like at level 31: 31 Assassin / 10 Riftstalker / 0 Infiltrator
Could keep Saboteur here, but if you're getting in trouble just Slip Away!!
Bladedancer a good option as well for the dodge cooldown.

What you're doing: Grabbing Sliip Away asap while greatly improving your openers (ie. Assassinate)

Here's what the spec looks like at level 40: 40 Assassin / 13 Riftstalker / 0 Infiltrator
Could keep Saboteur since you still don't have many ways to catch back up.
What you're doing: Going back to fill in important skipped talents

After this point is where you need to make the hard decision. Go deep into Riftstalker or spread points between 2nd and 3rd Souls.

And finally, level 50...
Deep into Riftstalker option = 40 Assassin / 26 Riftstalker / 0 Infiltrator
Shallow in 2nd and 3rd Souls option = 40 Assassin / 18 Riftstalker / 8 Ranger
What you're doing: Deciding where to place the rest of your points. Spread them evenly between 2 Souls, or go deep into your 2nd Soul.



Sorry for the dumb question but im new on this game .... u going from Sab to Inf to ranger and even changing 2nd and 3rd souls, how do you change the souls?
#17 May 18 2011 at 9:40 AM Rating: Good
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You can pay a small fee at the class trainer to reset your talent points, at which point you can pick new souls.
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