Monday, April 19, 2010

The Swordmaster and Group Utility part 4

In the last part, I discussed builds useful when Whispering Winds is useful to your group. In this part, I'll show builds I use when WW is not useful to your group.

The first consideration when WW is not useful to your group is whether or not you need another knock down. I like to have two reliable hard CC abilities in the group so that two healers can be neutralized at the same time or within a short period of time at least. If you're it for CC and you are RR60 plus, use the CC extreme spec in part 3.

If you do not need the second knock down, you are basically a guard/challenge/distracting bellow bot. You need to be able to survive being hit by guard damage as well as any focus fire directed your way. The easiest way to make sure that you can do this is to wear a shield. The shield will block guard damage very reliably allowing the healers to just focus on your guardee. This will completely gut your burst though, forcing the rest of your group to make up the difference, so I only recommend this as a last resort. Also, Wall of Darting Steel will help you parry guard damage.

If you've decided to use the 2h like a real SM ;) and you don't need WW for your group, use the specs below. Modify for your RR by dropping extra points from Khaine or dropping Aethyric Armor.

DPS/Guard/Challenge bot spec
This has a little survivability added in. You have no extra CC or debuffs though. I like it's simplicity and ease of play. Only to be used when the CC needs of the group are WELL covered elsewhere.

DPS/Guard/Challenge/Debuff spec
Note: This spec makes me REALLY squishy. Don't say I didn't warn you. But it allows you to protect your guardee much better. Also, no extra CC is given here. Make sure your CC needs are well met.

DPS/Guard/Challenge/Heal support spec
I don't really like this spec, but it can be useful in the 3 tank, 2 dps, 1 healer group when your group doesn't take good advantage of WW. You can forgo one of the Khaine tactics for something else like Ensorcelled Agony.

If you need the knockdown or a shield, here's a few specs to help out. Also, feel free to use the full support spec or the healing support shield version from part 3 if using a shield even if your group can't take advantage of WW. WW and Sapping Strike work well together.

DPS/Knockdown Hybrid
Again, RR60+ needed. You can also take a different tactic from either Khaine or Vaul instead of Great Weapon Mastery.

2h Knockdown/Debuff spec
This provides an element of deception. You really don't have much DPS in this spec, but you do have a good number of debuffs available with your knockdown. It's not as effective as the WW full support spec though. A knockdown is generally superior to a silence, so that's the trade-off.

Shield Knockdown/Debuff spec
The unassigned mastery points can go wherever. This gives you the debuffs, the knockdown, and Crushing Advance for the extra interrupt. You won't have any DPS, but you'll be able to protect your guardee quite well while protecting yourself from guard damage.

I'm on a ToVL kick recently, so when I remember to get some video of it, I'll show you how crazy an SM (or two) :) is in PvE.

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