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 Post subject: OA's U Can't Touch This Guide
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 5:07 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:50 pm
Posts: 3502
Location: Canada
SK Character: Karsh
Build Overview: This is a shaman build designed to tank physical damage and provide prep support for allies. It's meant to be the ideal hybrid tank relying on evasion more than defensive skills and buffs, and to augment that evasion using malediction-type spells.

Pros: This build provides perhaps the greatest survivability of any hybrid build, and rivals or
exceeds the survivability of many melee builds. The utility skills of the shaman class allow you
to create much of your own combat prep, and the healing helps with leveling and adventuring.
Unlike many hybrid tank builds, this one can actually handle an MR barb's negation build to some limited degree. Given enough patience, a lot of end-game content can be solo'd by this build due to how survivable it is. End-stage leveling is fast and efficient with very little assistance. At end-game, you can manage with support with only moderate prep. If all else fails, this build can double as a support build, albeit to a lesser degree than a build designed to fill that role. Long-lived race requirements allow you to remain competitive in your role for longer than other builds. Racial bonuses to magical damage reduction help with tanking caster enemies.

Cons: The damage output on this build is very low, or very mana-intensive, so PvE combat can be very lengthy. The lack of bash is harmful to any front-row character, though the shaman's Spirit Horde spell can work in a pinch. Even so, it requires precise timing and practice to render an opponent prone-locked so landing solo kills is very difficult. The lack of rescue in a tank can sometimes be a hindrance in some end-game content, and the Sleep spell doesn't always make up for it. There are also stages of leveling that can be very time-consuming to get through. At end-game, it is prep-intensive to be highly competitive. Playing support roles with this build will be sub-par compared to other more support-oriented builds. Low physical attribute maximums can be a hindrance, making gear and prep selection critical to achieve best effect. Lack of focus on save-based armor enchantments leave a vulnerability to save-based maledictions and effects.

Character Creation: This build requires a sprite for race. The size tiny bonus to evasion and
the natural Lightning dexterity maximum is critical for the purpose and style of this build.
Given the spell-based defensive buffs, the sprite intelligence maximum is critical for holding
your buffs under heavy fire. The racial weaknesses of sprite are also somewhat mitigated by the class spells and the build's strengths. There are many alignments that suit this build, as it can be implemented with a number of cabal choices. However, given some of the prep items that are ideal for the build a dark alignment is usually preferred. It's functional and competitive with most if not all alignments, however.

Attributes should be prioritized in this order - Dexterity > Constitution > Wisdom > Intelligence > Art (not to maximum) > Mana > Move > Charsima.

Natural maximums are ideal in Dexterity, Constitution, and Wisdom. Art should have a few trains in order to enhance your ability to maledict. Intelligence should be close to, if not at,
natural maximum (this will help with naked recovery efforts). Charisma is least important to
this class, even in the event of joining a tribunal, and you can use most of your trinket
enchantment slots on it if necessary.

Religion: Given the restraints of the shaman class, religion must be pantheist.

Tribunal: Tribunal choice is pretty open. For light-aligned characters, Peacekeepers provides
some good DPS NPCs to augment your own sub-par damage, and Talons provides a taunter to help offset your lack of bash. The Guardians' NPCs are focused more on tank-orientation and won't complement your own abilities as well. For light-leaning grey-aligned characters, Talons are again a viable option for the access to the taunting NPC. For dark-aligned characters, Legion provides the best support NPCs for your own abilities. Hand NPCs are generally more tank-oriented than DPS-oriented so it's probably a less than ideal choice for tribunal membership.

Cabal: Which cabal you join is heavily dependant on your alignment, but there are only a couple that play strongly into the build's strengths.

For grey and dark alignments, Harlequins is the ideal choice. The evasion bonuses from Harlequin Dance are ideal for the build, allowing you not only to avoid prone state more often than not, but also in the Dodging and Shield Blocking you can manage. For end-game, the Mimic spell is extremely helpful for a lot of reasons. The only unfortunate aspects of Harlequins as a cabal choice are that many of the cabal abilities have no application to end-game content or require you to be without a group.

For light alignments, Fist of The White Swan is the ideal cabal. You lose the general damage reduction of wearing a shield, but getting two checks for blocking each attack through Hands of Steel can often give you comparable damage reduction. The Fist cabal abilities also help with group disruption through Whirlwind Blast and Breaking Point. The real drawback to going Fist is the loss of pre-battle malediction prep, and that can in some cases severely reduce your survivability or extend the amount of time you need to use maledictions while already in-combat which also increases your risk as you use combat time to cast instead of quaffing heals or rendering opponents prone through Spirit Horde.

Hammer of Light is also a viable option, but it doesn't play to the build's strengths as well. Aura of Invincibility can help against bash, and Horsemanship provides helpful bonuses to the
evasion and defensive skills that the build relies on, but in general it's a subpar choice compared to Fist of The White Swan. If built and prepared correctly, bash is far less of a
concern for this build than most if not all others.

Leveling: There are two stages of this build's leveling curve that go quickly, and they sandwich the slow stage in the middle. For light-aligned characters, Taslamar is an ideal starting city. For dark- or grey-aligned characters, Empire or Northern Wastes are good starting cities. Regardless of choice, a trip to Taslamar's school for equipment and to Empire's for lessons (if you can't get an in-game PC mentor) is in order before you reach Novice status. At each status of this guide will also be listed the essential skills/spells to train. The rest can be ignored until later in the character's progression to save on training costs in both coin and experience. As an addendum, even though you don't learn the Shield Block skill until Veteran status you should level with a shield even before then. It will provide a general reduction of damage even if you can't actively block with it.

Amateur - Leveling through this status should be accomplished in your starting kingdom. The only caveat to that is the two trips mentioned above to Taslamar and Empire. The ideal weapon for a shaman to level with (and use at end-game) is the flail since fewer NPCs possess the enhanced-parry skill. Given the already-low damage output of the race/class option, ensuring more of your strikes land through NPCs' defensive skills can greatly improve the pace of advancement. Have your flail consecrated for damage. That will help mitigate the penalty you take for being size tiny and lacking the Enhanced Damage skill. Despite being subject to damage, any of the leather suits available at Taslamar's school is ideal for the first stages of leveling. It's protective and durable, and if you happen to luck into a priest as a mentor or one who is friendly is available you can add a few consecrations of Armor Protection to further help with early leveling. Ensure Continual Light is cast on your chest piece of armor, and probably on the head piece as well (redundancy in this instance doesn't hurt, and it could potentially help a lot).

Flail is really the only skill necessary at this stage of leveling.

Amateur spells are critical, however, at every stage of play for this build. Armor, Bless, Cure
Light, and Refresh all play huge roles in leveling, adventuring, PvP, and traveling throughout
the entire life of the character. Learn them early and practice them often. Remember to release and re-cast Armor and Bless before and after resting respectively to practice, and each time you train level (as their effects become more powerful as you do). Avoid the lowbie healer castings of Bless and Armor whenever possible. They will be the same strength as the ones you can cast, but will prevent you from being able to practice them as often.

Level in aggressive stance, as your weapon attacks will still be your primary form of experience gain at this stage. Use Cure Light as necessary, trying to keep yourself above 70% hit points. You can fit two Cure Light spells between combat rounds, so practice that to get a hang of the timing if you don't already know it (this is very, very helpful in end-game with this build and it's an important skill to develop to take best advantage of the build).

Novice - Light-aligned characters will find most benefit from Taslamar's Sewers area for this
stage of leveling. Focus primarily on the maggots and cockroaches first, then rats. Avoid the
fecal demons and mire ghouls. There is also a quest line here that can shorten the stay as well.

Dark- or grey-aligned characters will likely progress most quickly in the quarry of Kytar,
particularly completing the quest line. Focus mainly on the elves when possible. Try to train in
the rooms with the healer NPCs as they will provide healing and energizing.

Meditation is the only skill available at novice and is critical throughout the character's life.

The only Novice spells that are essential are Create Water, Slow, and Spirit Doll. Once Spirit
Doll is learned, use it frequently to practice. The cooldown is very long, and the improve rate
is very slow, so learning it and using it early is helpful for end-game when it will be more important. Create Water will help with non-combat experience throughout leveling, and Slow
provides moderate experience when casting at this level. Level in aggressive stance, as your weapon attacks will still be your primary form of experience gain at this stage.

Initiate - Regardless of alignment, Initiates using this build should visit the Outpost in Ayamao. At the back end of the area are undead. From behind a pet you can use Cure Light to level quickly and efficiently through this status. They stack up in the rooms and, like all undead, assist one another but at their level just about any store-bought pet can withstand their damage with relative ease so you can sleep through ticks if you run out of mana before clearing the room. If you find your pet taking more damage than you feel comfortable with, place an Armor spell on it instead of yourself. Just be sure to keep an eye on your pet's hit points if you need multiple rest cycles to clear the rooms or if there is a repop before you've cleared one.

The only Initiate skill is Self-Defense, and there is next to no reason for this build to ever train it (unless you intend to go the Fist of The White Swan route for cabal choice).

Initiate has a few spells that are good to learn and practice for the later stages of leveling. Blindess, a key malediction at end-game, is available and should be practiced during this stage. Deafness can help with spell mastery, but it has limited use at end-game. Train it at your discretion, but it is not what would be considered an essential spell at this stage. Sleep is important at end-game and during later leveling stages to help in clutch situations where you end up facing more than you intended. Identify is also important at most stages, and it can be practiced while you practice Spirit Doll. There is no situation at any point in the game where Cure Serious is an ideal choice, and should probably never be trained at all.

Level in a Neutral stance. It will not hinder your casting time, but it will reduce your incoming damage from mob-thrown weapons. If your pet should happen to die, it will also help you either escape or survive to the end of the fight better than an aggressive stance will.

Apprentice - Apprentice is similar to Initiate in that alignment is not a splitting point for this stage of leveling. The Undead Halfling village is the ideal place for an Apprentice using this build to train, and it is done in much the same way as outpost. Avoid the frosted wraiths and the giants. Keep a closer eye on your pet's hit points as many of these NPCs are armed. Again, all undead assist one another, so pick your fights carefully and avoid large groups if you're not sure you can take at least most of them before you have to rest (or have cleared them out a few times to where they don't spawn with weapons equiped any longer).

At Apprentice, shaman get Dodge. Learn it as early as possible. Even when leveling behind a pet you will still earn improvements from dodging thrown weapons, and if your pet should happen to die it will go a long way towards improving your survival. This build relies heavily on the Dodge skill. Training Endurance at this stage is not ideal, despite the benefits of the skill. Mastery of the Refresh spell is more important in the long-term, and so Endurance should be trained later to provide more opportunities to cast Refresh.

Apprentice spells of greatest importance are Create Food, and Curse. The combination of Create Food and Create Water allows a build of this type to reduce their carrying weight by a lot, which is critical given the focus of the build and the limitations of the sprite race. Curse is critical at end-game, and it will help with surviving accidentally finding yourself on the front
row during leveling. Of secondary importance are Cure Poison and Infravision. Infravision is
important when you are engaged in corpse recovery after an accident, since sprites lack it
innately. Cure Poison helps if you run into a biting NPC while traveling. Sprites are weak to
poison so having a cure for it available can be helpful. Regeneration and Remove Curse aren't of critical importance until much later and so can be ignored for now with relative safety.

Level in Neutral stance for all of the same reasons listed above in the Initiate stage.

Journeyman - This tends to be a bit slower than previous statuses. It tends to go well through the Bakemono Caves. Start by fighting the spiders for the first couple of levels, then move on to Flamestrike with the grouped Bakemonos below. Keep your pet behind you and use your defensive spells to protect yourself. You will likely master your Dodge skill during this stage. It is also a good time to upgrade armor. The brass armor from Nerina with a couple of Armor Protection enchantments is suitable. Even better, skinned brass or bronze armor from a friendly scout with a handful of Armor Protection added is preferable. As a sprite build based on evasion weight matters a lot, and skinned armor is the lightest.

Both skills available to shaman at this level are helpful. Trance is essential at all stages of play, and Second Attack can help mitigate what is otherwise a slower point of progress.

Spirit Aura is the single most critical spell for this build and is available at this level. Learning it as early as possible is fundamental to all end-game competition. Release it and re-cast it when you rest. It doesn't have an intense mana drain to slow your recovery rate, but it is important to get the spell near to Mastered as soon as possible and it is moderately slow to improve. Cure Critical is a helpful precursor to Heal and it's a good time to get a hold of it and start practicing. That will come in handy later in the curve as well. Midway through Journeyman is a good time to pick up Flamestrike, as it will get you through the end of this status.

During the first couple of levels while you fight the spiders, level in Aggressive stance. Once you move on to the bakemonos, switch to a Neutral or Defensive stance. Try Neutral, but if you find yourself struggling to stay alive or evade switch to Defensive. It will slow your casting, but the defensive bonuses make up for it. If you have joined a cabal by this point this will likely be the stage in which you master your main defensive ability.

Veteran - Veteran status should find you in the Cloud Realm area for leveling, focusing on the
Elder Mistlings. Pay attention to the alignment of the enemies you face (light-aligned enemies
are coloured white, dark-aligned black) to maximize your experience gain. Some of the enemies are grouped, use Call Lightning on those. The ones that are ungrouped are best defeated by melee combat. That takes a bit longer, but the efficiency is actually better due to the mana drain of your combat spells. Rest at the Cloud Geyser, since it's safe to land there. Stay flying at all other times.

The only Veteran skill that needs to be trained is Shield Block. It is one of the primary skills
of this build and this stage of your leveling will provide quick mastery.

Veteran spells are almost all necessary. Call Lightning and Control Weather are linked intrinsically and with proper use of Control Weather the Call Lightning spell is greatly enhanced. Weaken is one of your key maledictions, and should be cast on your weapon before you initiate melee combat with single enemies in this area. Cure Disease can be saved until the end of Veteran, since it won't be necessary until the next status.

When leveling through melee, use an Aggressive stance. If you have learned the Frenzy spell, you can use that as well. When engaging the groups, use a Neutral or Defensive stance to ensure that you evade the Mistlings' bashing to keep your casting nearly constant. Call Lightning can be cast between combat rounds if your timing is good. Practice that, it will come in handy later, and if you should happen to get bashed by one you won't spend a few rounds with no experience gain due to being prone mid-concentration.

Expert - Expert leveling is divided into two areas. The first you will visit is the Griffon Island's Quarry area. Bring a pet, and ensure you've learned Cure Disease. Rest at the entrance to the Quarry, behind your pet. Drop all held spells except Spirit Aura (with the exception of the above mentioned situation). Set your speed to dart/run, your stance to Defensive, and then
use Control Weather to create ideal conditions for Call Lightning inside the quarry. Set up an
alias to enter the quarry, cast Call Lightning north at the Volator NPCs, then exit the wilderness entrance all in a single alias entry. Wait for a slow three count and then repeat. If
the NPCs walk in after your casting, flee, move around the quarry to draw the group away from the entrance, and exit to the wilderness. Return to recover your pet after the NPCs go back to the center of the quarry and begin the cycle again. Using this method, you should be able to acquire a few levels in very short order. Keep in mind the familiarity of the quarry is
different than the island wilderness, so check inside the quarry to see what experience bonuses you're receiving.

The second area to visit as an Expert is the Blasted Chancel area. Use the targeted info command to find the lean half-elves that are grouped. Set up the weather for Call Lightning with Control Weather. Put yourself in front row in a Neutral stance, holding Bless, Armor, and Spirit Aura on yourself. If you still have a pet from the Griffon Island, place it behind you. Use Call Lightning on the groups of half-elves. Mind the Swamp Boa. Unlike many other builds, this build is capable of taking on the Swamp Boa at this stage (even when alone), but it will be time consuming and will require nearly a full mana pool to accomplish. Still better to avoid it if
possible. If you get tied up with possum(s), use maledictions to Slow, Weaken, and Curse them (Blindness too if you want the practice), and defeat them with melee. Your damage spells are most efficient against groups, and should be reserved for them to maximize efficiency. You should, in fact, be able to advance well into your first Mentor level here, which is a great idea since the next stage will require one of your Mentor spells right from the outset.

You gain access to the Brew skill at this status, but it is not essential to learn immediately.
It is, perhaps, actually recommended that you wait to learn it as advanced lessons in the skill
can be costly in terms of experience at this stage.

Only two spells would be considered essential at this stage of leveling, and one of those is
questionable. Heal is the one spell that absolutely should be learned at this stage of leveling.
Sanctuary is helpful for traveling cross-country or for extending the life of your pet, but it is not actually a strictly essential spell at this stage (or, in many cases, at end-game for this build). If you do plan to learn Sanctuary at this stage, or whenever you do end up choosing
to learn Sanctuary, remember to keep it active at all times you aren't engaged in leveling. If
you take a break from leveling to socialize or rest, keep it active at all times to not only help survive surprises but also to master the spell in the shortest possible time.

Mentor - Leveling at this status is also best split into two areas. The first area to level in is Valley of Ashes. Follow the quest line appropriate to your alignment for bonus experience to
ease the grind here. You'll need to have learned Spirit Horde to make the most use of this area. Hold Armor, and Spirit Aura. Bless is optional but it doesn't hurt. Enter rooms with four or five NPCs of appropriately opposed alignment. Be careful of the shamanic minotaurs if the area is fresh from reboot as they are armed. If you have not mastered your two weapon-based maledictions (Weaken and Curse), you can place those on your flail before you begin. Initiate melee combat with all the NPCs on the room while being in a Neutral stance. Once you are being attacked by all of the NPCs, begin using Spirit Horde. If you find they are damaging you too heavily, switch to a Defensive stance or only engage a few of the NPCs at once, but you should be fine with the full rooms especially if you've joined one of the above mentioned cabals.

Once you've learned the area "like the back of your hand," it's time to move to A'van Keep. Easiest to enter through a gate spell, but this build provides you the means to enter without
one even while alone fairly easily. If you are a light-aligned character that has joined the
Fist of The White Swan you don't need to bring a pet but you should have learned Breaking Point. If not, bring a pet that can bash and place it behind you in formation as some of the doors in the area are locked (but bashable) and behind them are some of the better leveling targets. Use Weaken, Slow, and Curse on the standard guard NPCs. Use blindness on the elite guards to prevent their casting. If you don't mind resting often, you can use Spirit Horde to maximize your experience gain per battle, or if you don't mind the grind as much you can defeat the enemies with melee damage. Either way will get you through the final few reviews of Mentor and into the first couple of Master. If you opt for Spirit Horde, use a Neutral stance. If you plan to use melee damage, opt for an Aggressive stance. Don't use Frenzy, however. The intelligence and concentration penalty can be extremely problematic if an extra NPC wanders in unexpectedly. Without Frenzy you should be able to Sleep the extra until you're more able to deal with it.

There are no skills available to shaman past Expert status, but now is a good time to gather up a few of the earlier ones you skipped. Particularly, Endurance, Brew and Staves are good to have at this point if you don't already have them.

As mentioned previously, Spirit Horde is absolutely essential to this stage of leveling as well
as all following stages of the character's life. Word of Recall can be helpful, particularly if
things go south during leveling, but it is not essential as yet. This is also a good stage to
clean up spells that you previously bypassed. Learning the early status spells will hardly be
noticeable to your experience count at this point, and so filling out your spell list can be
done with relative ease.

At this point, you can upgrade to mithril armor. The Wandering Legion often has some pieces of effective mithril armor available. Failing that, and with competent help, the Faceless Mauler
from Lower Morea has a suit of effective mithril. Ideally, you want skinned mithril though
because of the considerations that you need to have for weight. For this build, you also don't
focus on innate save enchantments on armor as strongly as other builds, and skinned mithril will take the Armor and Magical Protection enchantments you're going to want at end-game. The easiest mithril skins to get, and ones that take enchantment well, are the Twagras Hive Guard skins from Oak Swarm area. With a friendly scout and priest one can have a collection of well-consecrated mithril skins in an hour or two. Even if you can't get them consecrated on the spot, the innate protection of the mithril skin armor will be better than the brass or bronze you've been wearing up to this stage. When consecrating the skins, lean more towards Armor Protection. At ideal levels, the skins will take seven or eight consecrations, so weight it 4/3 AP/MP if you have to make the choice.

Master - Ideally, you should have reached Master status near the middle of your time in A'van, and so should be a couple of levels into the status by the time you hit this stage of leveling. This part is best accomplished in the Tlaxcala Mage Colony. If you are dark- or grey-aligned and joined the Harlequins, Babble can be used on the upper level on all the priests, which you can then pull into yourself at the center room and use Spirit Horde to power through the rest of Master in extremely short order. Otherwise, Blindness can be used to similar effect but be aware that as priest NPCs they will cure their own blindness effects. Use a Neutral stance for this as you'll need to be able to have the shortest possible casting times between Spirit Horde, Flamestrike, and possibly Blindness.

Dark- and Dark-leaning-grey alignments can also gain benefit from the Temple of Krychire. The quests don't provide significant experience, but since you're going to be grinding on the NPCs anyways you might as well turn in the hearts while waiting for mana regeneration. If you can get a little ranged-capable help, stand in the center basement room of the temple and have your assistant draw in multiple targets at once. Try to avoid the griffon NPCs, and leave the deep-elves until you've cleared out the other types as they will cast and will need to be blinded before they're safe and efficient leveling targets. If you can't get help use a similar tactic as was used in the Valley of Ashes. Namely, initiate combat with several of the enemies and when you've reached what you feel is a good number, use Spirit Horde to whittle them down. If there are skills remaining untrained at this point, clean them up before advancing into
Champion and seek out any advanced trainers you have yet to make use of. The only remaining spell for shaman at this stage is Voodoo. Whether to train this or not is mostly a personal choice. Given the limitations of this build, the Voodoo it is capable of creating will never be a serious threat on its own. It can be used in combination with another shaman's Voodoo to ensure a kill, but even that will be sub-standard as far as Voodoo goes. As with any remaining untrained skills, any untrained spells or advanced training needed for spells
should be cleared up near the end of this stage of leveling as well.

Champion - Champion leveling seems to slow, since you return to single-target leveling, but in
actuality you only need to earn a couple of levels through traditional leveling methods. Once
you've reached about the mid-point of Champion status, it's most efficient to utilize quests to
finish the remainder of the progression to Grandmaster. Prior to that, though, one should level
in Lower Morea. The NPCs down there assist one another, so be careful to pull them apart with Flamestrike. If you are light-aligned and inducted into the Fist of The White Swan you don't need a bashing pet, otherwise bring one and put it behind you in formation (or following along outside of any formation if you're trying to utilize Harlequin Dance) as there is a hidden wall that can be knocked down to access another dozen leveling NPCs. Outside of that hidden area, level only on the malformed humanoids. The animated forms use a vampiric touch script that will drain your health too rapidly to make them safe and efficient leveling targets. Use your Weaken and Curse on your weapon, but don't bother recasting on the NPCs once combat is engaged if they fail to land. Focus instead on using your mana pool for Spirit Horde. You can level in an Aggressive stance here, but be ready to switch to Neutral or Defensive if there is an unexpected area repop or NPCs wander in and join combat.

If you haven't acquired mithril armor before this stage, do so now. Whether it's consecrated
skins or one of the various suits available in the game world, it's important to be at least basically as protected as you can be for this part.

PK Before Grandmaster:

Novice to Journeyman, melee opponent - At this stage of this build, your evasion is not going to be ideal, but your opponent's offensive skills won't be at their peak either. Slow, Curse, and Blindness will all help augment your lack of defensive skills. In a pinch, Sleep can buy you
some time to slip away. At the top end of this scale, Spirit Aura will actually probably be doing more damage to your opponent than you can do on your own, so just focus on healing your
own incoming damage and let your Spirit Aura do the rest. Use a Defensive stance until you're
sure the fight is going in your favor. That will keep you prone far, far less and them prone far more, and make sure you have time to heal incoming damage. Switch to a Neutral stance once you're relatively certain you're going to out-last your opponent to enhance your casting speed and land the critical maledictions if they haven't already been applied. Slow and Curse will be the most critical. Even if they flee the fight, you'll be able to keep tracking them down as their movement speed will be greatly reduced and Curse will prevent them from quaffing a vial of recall. The goal here is to outlast them, so be conservative with your mana useage as much as possible. If you know you're going to be facing a swashbuckler and have some time to prepare, ensure you have deafened yourself to be able to slip away if the fight isn't going in your favor.

Novice to Journeyman, hybrid opponent - Blindness and Deafness are often of greater value against hybrid opponents than Slow and Curse (at least until the fight turns in your favor).
Those maledictions will either force the opponent to take time to cure them, or will hinder them greatly if they either can't or won't cure them. Evasion is lacking in this build at this stage, but towards the end of the spectrum Spirit Aura will again be your greatest ally in that it reflects their own damage towards them. If you trained Dispel Magic, it can be used to cancel any buffs your opponent has active. With hybrid characters, that can be crippling in many situations. Most of these fights are well-handled in a Neutral or Aggressive stance. It's rare to require a Defensive stance against an unleveled hybrid opponent.

Novice to Journeyman, caster opponent - Hands down, Blindness and Sleep will win these fights at this stage. Most often these opponents will be behind pets of some kind (whether it be elementals, store-boughts, undead or charms), and so you will be hard pressed to actually secure a kill against opponents of this kind, but you will almost always be able to shut down their ability to secure a kill against you as well. If you learned Dispel Magic, you can pretty easily handle a warlock's elemental or a sorcerer's charm, but you'll want to Sleep and/or Blind the warlock or sorcerer first which means you should be engaging in a Neutral or Defensive stance in order to survive the initial volleys from the pets.

Veteran to Master, melee opponent - Your key malediction against melee opponents is Weaken. It's completely devastating to a melee opponent's damage output. If you have time to prepare and are going on the aggressive against this kind of target, use your Weaken and Curse on your weapon. If it lands through that first strike, it can save a lot of time in combat necessary for other critical spells or actions. Timing at this stage becomes critical. Know how much time it takes you to cast Spirit Horde in Defensive and Neutral stances, and also how long it takes you to use your maledictions. It's always better to let a combat round roll by with you just reflecting damage through Spirit Aura and adding a bit with your weapon than to over-cast between Spirit Hordes and let your foe slip away. Because this build relies on evasion, Sanctuary is of limited benefit to it in general. That is not to say it is of no benefit, it will absolutely reduce what damage you can't avoid, but it is of less benefit than another build based on damage reduction instead of evasion. As always, Slow and Curse are essential for landing kills if you miss your timing on Spirit Hordes or fail a casting (because you're deafened for facing a swashbuckler or haven't mastered the spell while leveling yet). If you have time and mana to spend on a spell and Weaken, Slow, and Curse are all in place already, Blindness can be added but it is of limited use against melee opponents. These fights should always begin with you in a Defensive stance until you have gained a significant advantage, then you should switch to a Neutral stance. At no time should you engage an opponent of this sort in an Aggressive stance, as it will hinder your evasion to their bashes far too much to be of worth.

Veteran to Master, hybrid opponent - Blindness remains a potent tool against hybrids through
this stage, but Deafness loses its appeal in favor of Weaken, Slow, and Curse. Or, in the case
of another shaman, Dispel Magic. Once maledicted properly, this sort of opponent is handled in much the same way as a melee opponent, specifically prone-locking through Spirit Horde. The major difference is that these opponents can often be engaged initially in a Neutral stance. You still should not require an Aggressive stance, as the melee damage bonus you would gain from it would still not be worth the defensive penalties associated with the stance.

Veteran to Master, caster opponent - At this stage caster opponents become a greater threat. Those with access to maledictions of their own, or with save-based effects like Necromancers and Sorcerers are best avoided until you can get some assistance with them. If you already have the assistance, engage Defensively and try to use Blindness on them quickly. Once blinded, let your ally handle the DPS and just focus on staying alive through the charms/undead and any damaging spells the opponent manages to cast. Warlocks are a slightly different matter, and can usually be at the least sent packing with a Blindness or two and a Dispel Magic against their elemental. They should still be engaged in a Defensive stance so that ordered bashes have the least chance of disrupting your malediction and dispellation.


At end-game, this build has some of the highest survivability of any build in the game. As such it's great for a new player or one who is looking to learn to handle PvP situations. The most important thing to remember is not to panic. Given the difficulty of actually taking down this build, it provides lots of time to recover from surprise and turn fights around in your favor,
particularly since there is no reason for a character in this build to ever be in a stance other
than Defensive or Neutral. The ability to prepare your own healing vials, as well as vials of
your main defensive buffs in the event that you get dispelled or negated, means that you should never be caught unable to mount a defense even from a flat-footed position.

Because this build relies more heavily on evasion than it does on damage reduction through buffs as most other hybrid builds do, this is one of the only hybrid tank builds that can compete against a negation build in a barbarian. Even once negated, you won't lose your bash evasion, your immunity to trip, and your defensive skills and bonuses will still apply. This allows you time to either replace your defensive spells through casting or quaffing, or to just focus on quaffing healing vials to reduce what damage you do take from your opponent while your allies handle the outgoing damage.

In addition, it's easier to go on the aggressive with this tank build since Sanctuary isn't as
critical to survivability as it is with other builds. This allows sometimes-critical first strikes with maledicted weapons that can mean the difference between victory and defeat. It also allows you to dictate the terms of engagement better, since you don't have to wait for your
opponents to pick where they want to fight before you let them engage you.

While it may take patience and a cool head under fire, a lot of end-game content can be handled without support once you've gotten geared and prepared. Many high end areas are solo-able content for this build, and it excells at CRS content particularly.

One thing to keep in mind is that while supplies and devices are important to your being competitive at the top end, the loss of evasion for being over half weight is worse than not
having them at all. Sanctuary herbs, staves and vials are always preferable to holding the spell yourself due to the concentration costs associated with it, but carrying too many of them is more hindrance than help. While this build should never have a reason to be at less than two dozen Heal vials, it can manage as well with one-dozen doubled Heal vials albeit at a cost of more downtime between engagements to prepare essential supplies. Judge carefully which items and how much of which items you need to be most effective, and tailor your kit to suit. Included below is a list of ideal preparation and supplies necessary for average activity in the PvP and PvE arena that should come in under half weight. If you happen to come into a pile of gear or supplies from an engagement you won, keep only the bare minimum that you can't replace easily and quickly on your own and get rid of the rest either by selling it, giving it to allies, or dumping it somewhere. Being a packrat while trying to play this build will severely reduce your ability to function in its ideal role.

This build is designed to absorb damage and reflect it back, not to deal it directly. Don't get
excited if a fight is taking a long time and drain your mana reserves on unnecessary combat
spells. You never know when you'll need that last 12% of your mana pool to lock your opponent in place with a Spirit Horde or two to secure the win. Play to the strengths of the build and remember that the more prep your opponent puts into being able to deal damage to you, the more damage that will be reflected back to them. Sit back, roll with the punches, keep yourself healed with vials, and let your enemies defeat themselves.

This build is particularly good with a couple of different builds. Below will be a list of pros
and cons to these "power combos."

Suggested Preparation For End-Game PvE and PvP:

A suit of mithril skins, enchanted primarily for Armor Protection with Magical Protection

Trinkets with greater fortitude enchantments innately, adding attributes as needed or greater
willpower/fortitude/reflex as able. If available, scripted detections and/or Ironguard are

Adamantite or Energy flail, enchanted for damage exclusively. One spare to be carried in the
inventory in case of disarmament.

One medium sized container of moderate size to be carried in the inventory. Material is not
important. Use this to collect spoils of war, or to help with gear collecting for making coin to
replace supplies as they're used.

One good container of durable material, sized small, to be worn. Enchant to fill a gap in attributes.

6-9 Word of Recall vials. If possible, brew Refresh into them. Keep one in your inventory at all

24-30 Heal vials. Half that number if double Heals. Alias the retrieval of them from your
container and practice that alias until it's a knee-jerk reaction to combat starting. You should
never be casting Heal in combat unless you're playing support. Always use vials for yourself in
PvP, and rely on your healer in PvE.

1 water container.

6 Mandrake, or 1 scripted invisibility item.

7-10 Larkspur, keep 3 in your inventory and alias the retrieval of the rest from your container.

3-6 Mistletoe. Helpful in some situations, but not critical enough in most to warrant carrying a
bunch of these. Keep one handy, just in case.

3 strong Shield vials.

2 weak flight staves, or 1 strong one.

Optionally, 1 stave of Stone Skin, Resist Elements, and Water Breathing.

That should keep you well-prepared for nearly any situation, and also keep you just under half
weight so that your evasion is at its peak.

Power Combos:

Paired with a bard - A bard with good situational awareness is an extremely potent, if not the
most potent, ally to this build. Not only does a bard make a good off-DPS, but their Tumble
skill makes up for the lack of Rescue in the shaman. The penalties applied by Songs of Sleep can make this build neigh invincible against a huge number of enemies, and the addition of Trip in the bard's skill set can offset the lack of Bash. In PvE scenarios, the shaman is also free to use more mana for Heal or Spirit Horde, as the bard's Songs of Healing reduces overall resting time significantly.

Paired with a barbarian - A damage-build barbarian with a reaching weapon is a phenomenal ally to this build. Not only will the shaman be able to absorb damage, but the barbarian can fight from an Aggressive stance behind them allowing them to dish out their best DPS. Negation builds are also made more effective, since the barbarian can safely fight from behind the durable shaman and negate targets at his leisure and of his choosing through directed attacks. The only caveat to negation builds is their tendency to remove the shaman's debuffs, which can reduce the number of opponents able to be handled at once.

Paired with a hellion - Hellions are a great hybrid class with access to a good number of
maledictions and damage spells, but lack in the defensive department in many ways. When paired with this defensive build, that weakness all but disappears allowing them to make the most of their offensive skills and spells. The hellion's access to Weaken, Curse, and Blindness make them a great compliment to the shaman's debuffs, allowing large groups to be debuffed quickly and efficiently.

Paired with a paladin - Against specific opponents, this pairing is very, very powerful. The
paladin is able to free up some of the shaman's concentration and mana by supporting with
defensive buffs that they have in common, and the shaman gives the paladin time to use their
class-specific spells to decimate those classes they are designed best to fight. PvE, especially, is made easier with this combination, though the lack of Rescue on the shaman's part does need to be taken into account.

Paired with a sorcerer - Of all the caster classes, sorcerer benefits most from this build's
assistance. With a charm in the second row, and this build absorbing damage on the front row, the sorcerer is put at less risk of having their Charm Person spell negated by a resistant
barbarian and is free to use their combat-oriented magic on less resistant opponents. In PvE
situations, the shaman is afforded a bit more fluidity in group positioning, able to move to
second row or first as the situation demands, keeping the charm able to be the most effective
DPS it can be and letting the shaman handle some light healing as needed, or to tank against a
reaching enemy

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 Post subject: Re: OA's U Can't Touch This Guide
PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:29 pm 
Mortal Contributor

Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2002 4:00 pm
Posts: 1276
Location: Miami, FL
I wish there was an upvote system in place so I could upvote the hell out of this. Good show, sir.

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 Post subject: Re: OA's U Can't Touch This (Shaman) Guide
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:24 am 

Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 4:58 am
Posts: 700
Location: Rolling in the Grave
SK Character: Gailehn, Stephanov
Please rename guide of OA's shaman to something that is recognizable to players who will be likely (eventually) searching through topics to know which read they want (depending on their character build).


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 Post subject: Re: OA's U Can't Touch This Guide
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:29 am 

Joined: Fri May 24, 2002 8:02 am
Posts: 79
Location: Misawa, Japan
SK Character: Jhor
By far one of the most in-depth guides I've ever read. :drunk:

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 Post subject: Re: OA's U Can't Touch This Guide
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:34 am 

Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 12:28 pm
Posts: 375
I would like to argue that going Fist does not prevent this class from using maledictions in pre-combat prep, they just need to put the maledictions on a throwing weapon (shuriken, etc) and throw it so that they wind up empty-handed after the attack. With such a great dex, the weapon is very likely to hit.

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 Post subject: Re: OA's U Can't Touch This Guide
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:55 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:38 pm
Posts: 11
Ki straps also work for pre-combat maledictions.

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 Post subject: Re: OA's U Can't Touch This Guide
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:29 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:50 pm
Posts: 3502
Location: Canada
SK Character: Karsh
In response to Aujin's two points:

1) Thrown weapons are fine and dandy and are possible, but if you start the fight by getting bashed then you've just lost your main defensive skill as a Fist because now you can't empty your hands.

2) This is a tank build for physical damage. Removing an armor slot in favor of a weapon (ki straps provide no defensive bonuses and take out the hand armor for their use) is a poor choice for this build. It would work just fine with a giant merc fist build, which is more about the DPS than tanking.

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 Post subject: Re: OA's U Can't Touch This Guide
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:55 pm 

Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 5:06 am
Posts: 1447
Location: Seattle
SK Character: Theodoric
+Acc on Ki Straps doesn't add defense? Genuine curiosity there.

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