Analysis of a Deck: Ninja (Dragon)
Since I haven’t made much progress in understanding character builds, decks and the ability wheel, I need to slow down for a while and study. And why not do that by just analyzing the deck I am using, pre-made by FunCom: “Ninja”. It’s a melee build using blades and elemental magic for some ranged abilities and to spice up things. And by spicing up I mean synergies, something, the designers of “The Secret World” have declared as basic principle behind the creation of the abilities for player characters.
“The Secret World” organizes character abilities in a wheel, consisting of 3 sections with 3 weapon/school types each. For each weapon type, there are 2 inner and 6 outer groups of 7 abilities each. Add 3 more groups with miscellaneous abilities. This adds up to 9 * 8 + 3 = 75 groups or 75 * 7 = 575 abilities. Getting all skills of an inner group will cost you 19 ability points. All skills of an outer group will cost you 169 AP. That’s a total of 9975 AP.
To say the least, this is overwhelming. There are already a good number of guides out there, but I am still far away from really understanding what’s going on. Let’s start with a quick overview of guides & tools: The most comprehensive guide is Yokai’s guide to build mechanics and build philosophy. It’s still a lot to digest. There’s Seki’s “Weapon synergy and build discussion”, which will go away once the TSW boards are reformatted. You’ll find a copy of the post here. There’s also a nice calculator at Bad Omens.
Now we will take a look at the abilities being used for the deck. The damage amounts are taken from an empty build, most of them will be higher when more skill points are added. Please ignore them for now, the actual damage is secondary.
Delicate Strike: Builds 1 resource for each equipped weapon. A single target attack that deals 48 physical damage.
Resource Builder, buffed by “Delicate Precision” passive to increase penetration chance.
Clearing the Path: Consumes all Blade Resources. A PBAoE attack that deals 57 physical damage. This attack penetrates any Afflicted targets it hits.
Blade PBAoE finisher, exploits Afflicted status
Blaze: Consumes 3 Elemental Resources. A single target attack that deals 164magical damage, or 181 magical damage to Afflicted targets.
Elemental single target resource consumer, exploits Afflicted status
Surging Blades: A column dash attack that deals 58 physical damage.
Utility: gets you to your target fast, and if you do it right, away as well.
Flashpoint: A single target attack that deals 35 magical damage. The target also becomes Afflicted with a damage over time effect that deals 20 magical damage every second for 5 seconds.
If the target is already Afflicted, it will cause 5 enemies in a 5 meter radius around them to become Afflicted with a damage over time effect that deals 20 magical damage each second for 5 seconds.
Single target, exploits and triggers Afflicted.
Ice Manifestation: Places a manifestation at the targeted point that lasts 9 seconds. Every 3 seconds it will hit up to 5 enemies in a 5 meter radius, dealing 40 magical damage. Affected targets will also be rooted to the ground for 2 seconds.
Targeted AoE, crowd control.
Four Seasons: A channelled attack that deals 31 physical damage each hit. The damage dealt increases by 5% for each hit, and all hits will penetrate. The last hit will cause the target to become Impaired and unable to act for 3 seconds. This ability has a 15 meter range.
Single target attack, triggers Impaired and Afflicted, the later because it’s buffed by Incision.
Fortunate Strike: Whenever you attack an Afflicted target, there is a 10% chance you will perform an additional hit that deals 21 physical damage.
Aidelon: “Blaze” has a 100% chance to critically hit Afflicted targets.
Twist the Knife: Whenever you penetrate you also gain 1 stack of a beneficial effect, which increases all damage dealt by3% for 10 seconds. This effect can stack up to 3 times.
Triggered by Penetrate.
Incision: Whenever you penetrate, you also cause the target to become Afflicted with a damage over time effect that deals 10 physical damage every second for 3 seconds.
Triggered by Penetrate, triggers Afflicted.
Sudden Return: Whenever you penetrate, you also perform an additional hit that deals 18 physical damage.
Triggered by Penetrate.
Delicate Precision: Increases the Penetration Chance of “Delicate Strike” by 10%.
Flight of Daggers: Whenever you attack, you build a Flight of Daggers counter. When the counter reaches 5, you will hit up to 3 enemies in a 5 meter radius around you, dealing 46 physical damage. Affected targets also become Afflicted with a damage over time effect that deals 10 physical damage every second for 5 seconds.
The key to this build lies in the passive ability Incision and the active ability Clearing the Path. Incision causes affliction with the first penetration and Clearing the Path penetrates everything that’s afflicted. Thus, as long as you keep up with time-outs, your target will remain afflicted and penetrated a lot.
This deck gains even more by abilities exploiting the constant affliction and high rate of penetration. Blaze and Flashpoint are active abilities which benefit from the target being afflicted. Fortunate Strike and Aidelon are passives which benefit as well. Additionally, Twist the Knife, Incision and Sudden Return all amplify the effects of penetrate.
By analyzing a single pre-made deck, we’ve seen how well 7 active and 7 passive abilities can interact with each other. Writing this article was an exercise for myself to learn how this interaction happens and I think I know much better now what to look for in other builds. It will still be a challenge to come up with a build of my own, but the first step is done.
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