Alpha mini-guides: Blademaster

Disclaimer: As 2038 progresses, much of the info in these guides is very likely to, or even bound to, not apply in the future. The purpose of these guides is to highlight how classes differ from their Global/SP counterparts, so as to provide leveling testers with more efficient ways to test later content.

Disclaimer #2: The builds outlined below are most often functional after lv30, as they do often use lv25-30 skills. It is noteworthy that not all such builds will be easy to start from lv1 with, either due to high gear dependency (ie Shrapnel) or a significant lack of AoE that would assist in leveling. Therefore, in such cases it is highly advised that testers either

  1. deviate from such builds in favor of more AoE-oriented ones early on, and later reskill to them, or
  2. account for the relative lack of AoE through the use of early/mid-game weapons that assist in that front, either by themselves or by providing AoE skills.

What’s the Blademaster now?

Global had arguably toned Blademasters down into borderline Hell mode viability, allowing the class to mainly focus around speedrunning Catacombs for Occulis-farming parties. This led to their popularity declining, and forced many players to sacrifice already lacking DPS for damage mitigation (see here for a prime example of this in Xerlyn’s guide).

The opposite is true for 2038. The class was in the middle of a major revamp in TCv4 (see here for patch notes), which has effectively led the class to (arguably) overperform. Questions of DPS vs damage mitigation still exist, especially for Hardcore mode, but the class is now undeniably powerful.

Key differences with Global (details in spoiler tags)

Shrapnel is horrendously powerful. While most likely subject to change, Shrapnel currently* works magnificently. While BMs may often not choose to go for nova builds, it is now a viable option to consider. *This is an aspect of the game that is very likely to change in the future. But currently, it’s a very efficient leveling/farming option.
The Sets differ, and Minisets don't exist. The Templar TC set drastically differs from the Strong Set of Global, and Minisets don't exist. The Strong set's (relative) +hp bonuses and +crit (which Minisets also provided) are replaced by massive +damage, +ele, and +movement speed bonuses, causing final builds to differ considerably. However, Global's BM set was arguaby mediocre, so this is practically more of an overall boost than a loss.
Whirlwind is much worse, but the TC sets make up for it. The skill is nowhere near the great utility/map traversal option it was in Global... but the TC set makes up for it. A BM in a full set will end up with 160-180% movement speed *before* using runner sets (ie Unyielding Moons, +speed mods etc).
Surge of Mentality is gone, replaced by Surge of Speed. While the loss of a powerful passive power regeneration option isn't insignificant, the class now has Surge of Speed to aid with the aforementioned +speed options.
Balance of Power now exists. If one's power regeneration is lacking, Balance of Power can remedy the issue at the cost of adding Hamper to one's rotation. This TC skill allows each use of Hamper to also drain power.
Parry is gone, but oh well. This fantastic theoretical passive buff is gone, but it had always been bugged in Global, so.
Divine Fury is gone, and Aura of Zeal doesn't grant more +crit per level. These factors make crit builds harder by comparison, but the absence of Hell mode and the overall boost the class got arguably makes up for it.
"+% hp" bonuses are halved. This practically translates to BMs having a lower max hp pool by comparison, but to very little practical effect. Since Global's Hell mode standards are absent, 5-digit hp pools are by no means essential to one's survival.

Gear

In terms of damage mitigation, quoting my old Guardian guide’s section on the matter seems appropriate.

“The desirable properties on gear for tankers are mainly +% hp bonuses, % TAV (total armor value increased), +hp bonuses, and +All Attributes/Strength/Will for reduced feeds, and thus more points invested in Stamina.”

Once the player’s defensive choices are out of the way, offensive options are to be considered.

1) +AA/+ACC/+STR All 3 +stat options aid in a larger ACC and/or STR pool, depending on the player's preferences.
2) +elemental damage Given the massive base damage of many endgame swords, this is a welcome property to both get in Mythics and seek through mods, as well as to get through certain armor pieces. The TC set *has* been generous in this regard.
3) +damage against caste This is a massive boon to overall damage, especially for non-crit builds. The TC set does not fail to deliver here.
4) +crit All the way down in #4, due to crit builds having comparatively fallen out of "do-or-bust" status, +crit from swords, mods, Expertises and skills is always beneficial. It is only this low on priorities due to it being a secondary, non-constant bonus to damage if one does not build around it.

Builds (details in spoiler tags)

Given the factors discussed above, here are the rough outlines of two builds that can work sufficiently.

Note, both builds take for granted a +1 to All Skills helmet. This is much easier to augment compared to Global, and it’s generally not a rare augment by any means.

Such gear as Grimace, Moorgoth’s Hand, Archangel Wings and other +AS/+skill weapons and rings can also provide room to expand on these builds. They are not accounted for in either build, to ensure gear dependancy is kept at a bare minimum.
However, it is noteworthy that certain BM builds do require more skillpoints compared to other classes. Therefore, some gear options that alleviate this should be considered.

SoJ crit

This is a basic template for crit builds. Crusader’s Wrath is an option to consider, but it has not been used here due to available points and its massive CD.

Skills

3 (2+1) Charge, 3 (2+1) Onslaught, 2 (1+1) Path of Righteousness
Note, a point hasn’t been invested to indicate a point into Path of Righteousness, as the planner currently doesn’t allow it.
A tree that adds much needed mobility. More points in this tree through gear are a very welcome addition.

2 (1+1) Aura of Zeal
Since this Aura no longer grants more crit chance with extra points, every point invested in it yields +25% crit damage while the Aura is active. While not a useless bonus by any means, I’d argue that BMs do have better investment options.

10 (9+1) Surge of Restoration, 5 (4+1) Templar Restoration (recommended to boost)
Two amazing damage mitigation options, SoR actually scales to the player’s max HP pool, and Restoration provides an instant (AoE) heal for times of need (ideally to be used just before a SoR expires).

10 (9+1) Surge of Wrath, 7 (6+1) Surge Mastery
Surge of Wrath is the main skill that enables crit builds, while Mastery allows Surges to work more consistently. Truly, a match made in heaven.

10 (9+1) Sword of Justice
The trademark skill of the class, SoJ is the single best damage skill of the class, and allows Surges to work consistently by dealing 6 hits almost instantly.
Maxed for maximum damage bonus.

2 (1+1) Heaven’s Arc
For the pesky flying enemies.

6 (5+1) Matched Blades (highly recommended to boost)
A point in this skill allows dual wielding, which is essential to the class. Further points provide +8 STR each, which both boosts damage and assists with STR feeds.

Offtank

Skills

3 (2+1) Charge, 3 (2+1) Onslaught, 2 (1+1) Path of Righteousness
Note, a point hasn’t been invested to indicate a point into Path of Righteousness, as the planner currently doesn’t allow it.
As above, a tree that adds much needed mobility. More points in this tree through gear are a very welcome addition.

5 (4+1) Aura of Deflection (can be skipped - see below)
An Aura that grants a massive defensive boost, especially for Hardcore mode.

10 (9+1) Surge of Restoration, 10 (9+1) Templar Restoration
As above, two amazing damage mitigation options. SoR actually scales to the player’s max HP pool, and Restoration provides an instant (AoE) heal for times of need (ideally to be used just before a SoR expires). Offtank builds have even more use for this duo of skills, due to a larger available HP pool.

7 (6+1) Surge Mastery
Again, the passive skill that makes Surges work.

2 (1+1) Sword of Justice (highly recommended to boost)
SoJ is still invaluable for making Surges work consistently, it’s not maxed here as the mild damage loss isn’t so crucial.
Still, more points in it through gear are very, very welcome.

2 (1+1) Matched Blades (highly recommended to boost)
As above, a point in this skill allows dual wielding, which is essential to the class. Further points provide +8 STR each, which both boosts damage and assists with STR feeds.

2 (1+1) Heaven’s Arc
For the pesky flying enemies.

5 (4+1) Call of the Chosen, 10 (9+1) Angelic Orator
The tree that allows the tank to function as an offtank, along with the Restoration duo.
Angelic Orator is maxed for the Taunt and Fear bonuses, while Call of the Chosen can be invested into more or less depending on the player’s preferred radius for the skill.

Noteworthy +skill gear for both builds

  1. Grimace
    This wonderful TC sword grants ~50 ACC, which translates to 100 CDB. It also grants points in Aura of Deflection, so using 2 allows free access to a maxed Aura without the need to invest points in it.

  2. Archangel Wings
    The TC set shoulders grant 3 points in Charge and Onslaught, boosting the mobility of the class at no cost.

A design retrospective

Disclaimer: This video is by no means a guide in itself, nor is it in any way indicative of how Blademasters are best built in the current TC environment. Rather, this is a design retrospective; a review of the design of Blademasters up until the time of the TCv4, made to illustrate the theoretical core of the skillset of the class.
It is only included in the guide to provide theoretical context to newcomers and a revisionist perspective to veterans, in hopes that it may augment discussions on class balance and future changes.

1 Like

Where do you suggest I allocate my stat points toward? First time playing this game since Global, so I’m really nervous to just start throwing them where I think they should go.

Also, thank you very much for making this guide!

1 Like

Thank you for the encouragement :slight_smile:

In terms of stats, the general consensus seems to be to split stats between STR and ACC for crit builds (in a rough ratio of 3:2 or 2:3), and between STR and STA for offtank builds and the more cautious (in a rough ratio of 3:2 or 2:3, or even 1:4 for the true HP fans).
Daybreaker, Bawbert, Fruska, and other veteran BMs should be much more illuminating and thorough than me in that area though :slight_smile:

1 Like

I’ve also noticed that the skill tree for Duelist and Flying blade are swapped compared to the skill planner. That’s weird.

Yes, that’s a tad inconvenient :frowning:

1 Like