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Version: 1.16 | Updated: 10/18/19


Case Study 1: Umezawa

This was originally posted in the Obsidian forums by me. Reposted here with significant edits.

What follows is a case study in putting together a specific multiclass. This incorporates many of the lessons and discussions from the rest of the guide, and hopefully can be a good practical implementation of many of the more abstract ideas presented elsewhere. Plus, hopefully it's a potential inspiration for your own multiclass mixes.

What is an "Umezawa?"

"What the hell is an 'Umezawa?'" Well, while I don't play it anymore, I still follow and am a big fan of Magic: The Gathering. And with one of the more recent sets out (Dominaria), I got to thinking about a couple of cards that struck me as particularly flavorful:

Even if you don't play Magic: The Gathering, the takeaway here is a fragile, weak, but elusive hero, and a stupidly powerful tool-kit of a weapon that the hero is lorewise linked to. I liked the idea of taking a very blue (crafty, subtle, evasive) approach to stupid levels of power, and decided to personify it in Deadfire as a Streetfighter/Wael multiclass that I'll just brand here as an Umezawa build.

The Build Itself

Before diving into the mechanics of it all, let's just lay out the build order.

ClassZealot - streetfighter + priest of wael
RaceWood elf
Backgroundliving lands + scientist
Stats10 (9+1 living lands) might, 12 constitution, 17 dexterity, 15 perception, 18 intellect, 6 resolve
Skillsroughly 4:1 ratio between Explosives to Alchemy. For your secondary skill, shove as much as you can into Religion, though you can respec out of this after a certain point. Be sure to pay 3000g each to train both Explosives and Alchemy.
Storybe clever at the first summons to the gods so you get Wit of Death's Herald

For the abilities, active priest abilities are marked with arabic numbers indicating the ability level; active rogue abilities are marked with roman numerals.

Character levelAbilities
1Restore (1), Escape (I) [Arcane Veil (1)]
2Fast Runner
3Arms Bearer
4Withdraw (2), Smoke Veil (II) [Iconic Projection (2)]
5Weapon and Shield Style
6Two Weapon Style
7Despondent Blows (3), Riposte [Mirrored Image (3)]
8Deep Pockets
9Prayer for the Spirit (3)
10Devotions for the Faithful (4), Dirty Fighting [Llengrath's Displaced Image (4)]
11Persistent Distraction
12Pillar of Faith (2)
13Barring Death's Door (5), Tough [Confusion (5)]
14Champion's Boon (5)
15Uncanny Luck
16Salvation of Time (6), Smoke Cloud (V) [Arkemyr's Wondrous Torment (6)]
17Rapid Casting
18Pillar of Holy Fire (6)
19Cleansing Flame (7), Deathblows [Gaze of the Adragan (7)]
20Smoke Grenade (VII)

For your pet, you should choose Cosmo Pirate or Epsilon (the latter available in Dunnage).

For weapon proficiencies, you should choose hatchet/blunderbuss at level 1, then large shield at level 4. After that, there's more discretion, though I recommend picking up sabre, mace, stiletto, and dagger in some order. (Dagger is less important).

Recommended weapons, based on slots:

Weapon slotMain hand; Off hand
I.Frostfall Mace, Animancer's Blade, or Rust's Poignard; Kitchen Stove or either of Serafen's blunderbusses
II.Pukestabber; Marux Amanth (bound to priest)
III.Xoti's Sickle; Wintertide Bulwark or Bronlar's Phalanx

Important supporting items:

Inventory slotItemWhy
HeadFair Favorbonus crit damage and chance with most of this build's weapons
BodyMiscreant's Leatherfastest light armor
Ring1Entonia Signet Ringconditional deflection boost
Ring2Drunkard's Regretenabling Pukestabber without hangovers
FeetBoots of Speedstride bonus, disengagement bonus
WaistUndying Burdensurvivability boost
HandsGloves of Accuracyunconditional accuracy boost
Hands (alt)Rokowa's Fingersfree Sparkcrackers
BackFrostfur Mantledefense bonus when afflicted
Back (alt)Stormturner's Cloakincreasing survivability boost

TL;DR Playstyle

Early on (when your health is super low, like levels 1-4) you are going to dual-wield a hatchet and a blunderbuss with Powder Burns enabled. You'll attack at range with a blunderbuss to trigger the Streetfighter's Heating Up bonus, then run in for melee. When the Powder Burns self-debuff has ~3.5 seconds left (first reload) or ~1-2 seconds left (subsequent reloads), you'll shoot at an enemy or ally 3-5m away and refresh the Powder Burns debuff. (Early on you may just run out of range manually and shoot your current target.)

Once you have a bit more health and a bit more abilities under your belt, the playstyle is very aggressive. Instead of relying on Powder Burns, you'll rely on one of: blindly charging in and getting flanked; blindly charging in and getting your health pummeled really fast; or manually triggering your Streetfighter special by hitting yourself with Sparkcrackers or, in a pinch, Cinder Bombs. So depending on the situation, you might be tanking for your entire party, or you may be dodging back behind enemy lines to take out important casters. For boss fights, you'll drink a Potion of Impediment and try to pin the enemy down with repeated interrupts.

Detailed Playstyle

This character is a "build-around" on the streetfighter's special. It's a glass cannon build that uses a lot of spells to help it survive in the dangerous situations a streetfighter needs to be in to take advantage of their bonus. This build also loads up on consumables and spells that can be taken advantage of with the streetfighter bonus.

The way cast times work in Deadfire is that they generally follow a pattern where spells with faster cast times have longer recovery, and slower cast times have shorter recovery; this means that, ironically, a very slow spell cast (6s) will have a much shorter recovery time (typically 2s) than even a very fast cast spell (0.5s cast, up to 4.5s recovery). (The standard progression for spell timing is 3s cast/4.5s recovery, 4.5s cast/3s recovery, 6s cast/2s recovery so the total action time spent doing a spell cast monotonically increases with slower spells, even if the recovery is less.) So this means that we can still get some benefit out of the Streetfighter's special if we focus on casting fast (3s) and some average (4.5s) spells, because shaving off 2.25s or 1.5s off your recovery is still incredible (shaving 2.25s off a fast spell cast is roughly equivalent to a +42% action speed or almost like taking three stacking copies of the Rapid Casting passive talent, even though it's all weighted towards the recovery phase instead of the cast phase).

Details: Armor

A really important piece of gear is actually your pet. The cosmo pirate pet (unlocked by doing the deadfire scavenger hunt or special non-achievement-disabling console commands) or Epsilon gives your main character a reduction in their armor penalty. The effect varies on armor, but this variance is because of the weird way it's implemented (which is identical to how a Fighter's Armored Grace is implemented). Internally, the game stores armor recovery penalties of +20%, +35%, and +55% roughly as coefficients of .83, .74, and .65. (What these numbers mean is not important right now.) Instead of applying a consistent effect on the listed recovery penalty, the cosmo pirate pet adds a flat .1 to these internal coefficients, which means these coefficients become .93, .84, and .75, which means the armor recovery penalty becomes +7%, +19%, and +34%. This means that the armor recovery penalty reduction is actually strongest for heavy armor, but that's not the important point here.

The important part is the interaction with Miscreant's Leather (a light armor you can get for doing the first Principi quest by killing Benweth). Miscreant's Leather comes with a special enchantment that reduces recovery time by -10%. Theoretically, this was supposed to have the net effect of mitigating a majority(*) of the of the +20% light armor recovery time. However, with Cosmo Pirate or Epsilon, your base armor recovery time penalty is +7%, which means the -10% recovery time enchantment makes wearing Miscreant's Leather actually faster than wearing any +0% recovery time clothing.

Sidebar: Further discussion on Miscreant's Leather

Read up on Action Speed/Recovery Time mechanics before proceeding on with this sidebar.

Anyway, for our purposes here what you need to know is that the -10% recovery time bonus needs to first be translated into its native unit as an action speed adjustment, or +11% action speed. The +20% light armor recovery time is in its correct native unit so we don't need to change it. Now (and for you people who took science classes in high school and pay attention to your bases/units this might hurt your head but is how Deadfire does it), you subtract the recovery time from the action speed and get a unitless -9%; because it's negative the effect is considered a recovery time penalty, and so the net effect of the -10% recovery time adjustment is that the armor effectively has a +9% recovery time penalty instead of a +20% recovery time penalty. So the -10% recovery time bonus is actually more powerful than you think, even without the benefit of an armor recovery penalty reducing pet.

So, as one of the few mandated pieces of gear, you should really have a pet that reduces your armor recovery, and you should prioritize getting Miscreant's Leather. It will give you extra protection than cloth and be faster than cloth. Plus, it has a really useful enchantment for this build (Kidney Guard, which reduces received flanked damage by -10%). For the early part of the game before you get the leather, you should otherwise be in +0% recovery time clothing. If you're struggling a bit too much in early game, you can equip other light armor and the cosmo pirate pet.

Sidebar: Pale Hide

If you're up for a little bit of micromanagement, you should invest in obtaining Pale Hide (available at Dunnage for ~29k). It can be upgraded to conditionally have a similar -10% recovery time bonus, but only at night, so you have to be sure you're always resting/waiting until at least the start of evening. (This adds a wee bit of extra challenge for those playing with Skaen's challenge enabled, and also indirectly Eothas and Rymrgand).

In exchange for this conditional recovery time bonus, you get a bunch of other stuff that is arguably much better than anything you get from Miscreant's Leather. First is another upgrade to grant yourself +8 deflection while flanked. Because you'll spend so much of your time flanked, this significantly mitigates one of the biggest risks to this build and is effectively the biggest single deflection boost you can get on a single time. As a plus, it won't interfere with any Sparkcrackers shenanigans because the deflection boost will only be active while flanked, i.e. when you don't need to Sparkcrackers at all.

Lastly, the armor comes with built-in 15% hit to graze defense as well as bonus elemental defense, which will significantly amp up your survivability.

Details: Weapons

A hatchet and a blunderbuss (along with their proficiencies) are your absolute priorities early on, followed up by large shield. A hatchet is important because it provides a stacking +3 deflection against melee and its weapon modal applies a -10 accuracy (regardless of attack type) to the enemy, both of which you'll soon see is very important for this build. The blunderbuss proficiency is important because Powder Burns applies the Distracted affliction on you every time you attack, and conveniently for the Streetfighter, all perception afflictions also apply Flanked which will trigger the Streetfighter special. Early on, using a blunderbuss at the start of the fight is a good, safe way to trigger the special, and the powder burns aoe damage is generally so low that it's ok to occasionally hit armored allies with it. Later on, Powder Burns is still a useful way to trigger your special in small fights or when you're isolated by yourself against important targets away from everyone else.

Sidebar: Reloading time and recovery time changes

An important pickle with reloads and recovery time is that any positive adjustment to is delayed by one reload or recovery. This means that after you fire your Powder Burns blunderbuss, the subsequent reload will not benefit from the -50% recovery time bonus. However, subsequent reloads will. This also works in reverse. If you start reloading your blunderbuss while benefiting from the -50% recovery time bonus and Powder Burns wears off, you still benefit from the faster reload until the next time you need to reload (though by then you will already have refreshed it).

Note that this is distinct from any negative adjustements to your reload or recovery (e.g. Disoriented or Blinded afflictions). These apply immediately and even dispelling them you do not regain your normal recovery until your next reload or recovery.

For this character, you will want to dual-wield your blunderbuss with a melee weapon (early on, a hatchet). Because of game mechanics (even if it doesn't make logical sense), dual-wielding a melee weapon with a ranged weapon means that outside of melee range you only use your ranged weapon, and in melee range you only use your melee weapon, but you do both as if you were dual-wielding, so you get the -30% recovery time bonus from dual-wielding (plus an additional -15% recovery time bonus from two weapon style), even though you're just repeatedly attacking with the same weapon. In fact, in some parts of the game, you may have a melee weapon that is so good that you don't want to switch off with a weaker second melee weapon, which makes it a perfect candidate for pairing with a blunderbuss. In practice, it also means you can blunderbuss, melee, and then re-blunderbuss a ranged target (to re-trigger Powder Burns) without having to switch between weapon slots, which incurs a costly 2.5s recovery each time. This is a relatively painless (if micromanagement intensive) way to get 100% uptime with your Streetfighter special.

Note that blunderbusses have a low range (4-5m, depending) so when you are in this melee/blunderbuss mode you should be cognizant of viable blunderbluss targets, particularly since for a good amount of that range your character will want to melee or take a step in order to melee. It is actually worth shooting your own allies (and positioning them close to do so) because for armored tanky allies they will take negligible damage that is well worth the continued uptime of Heating Up. In the worst case (if you're not engaged by your target), you can just step away from your target and fire at range. This downtime of running back and forth will still be outweighed by the significant damage boost you get from having constant uptime on your Heating Up effect. Do remember that for your first reload you need to give yourself 3-4s of time (depending on stats and gear) though subsequent reloads will only need a little more than a second.

At level 4 you pick up large shield proficiency because this build has two very large weaknesses. I'll go into the second one later, but the first and most common weakness is enemy gunfire. See, this build leans on Arcane Veil heavily for protection, and Arcane Veil unfortunately offers no protection against veil-piercing keyworded attacks, of which enemy gunfire is the most common type. In such a situation, the large shield modal gives you an astounding defense against ranged attacks: -50% to ranged damage (that benefits from inversions) on top of the natively large deflection bonus (coupled with Weapon and Shield Style) that will work against gunfire. It's such an extreme survivability difference that in any fight involving guns (at least early to mid game), you should switch to using a large shield and prioritize taking out the gunners. The downside to the large shield modal is that you are immobile, but fortunately we pick up Escape at level 1, which will let us hop around the map without having to toggle the large shield modal on and off (in addition to providing a nice, gun-effective deflection bonus for a short time). Note that even outside of gunners, many ranged attackers in Deadfire have stupidly high accuracy bonuses for their attacks that it may still be worth switching to large shield in ranged-heavy fights in early-to-mid game, both for the extra deflection, and for the significant damage mitigation.

A weakness for glass cannon builds like this on PotD is penetration. On PotD enemies can sometimes have substantial armor, and if you can't penetrate their armor, a glass cannon can't do the high damage output needed to balance out its relative fragility, which means you're just a fragile character with little upside. Therefore I recommend diving into maces (which have high inherent penetration and whose weapon modal debuffs armor for everyone in the party), sabres (for access to Animancer's Energy Blade, which does raw damage; you don't technically need the weapon proficiency to take advantage of this, but sabres are just a good class of weapon to have proficiency with early on), and/or stilettos (high inherent penetration, access to Rust's Poignard). Both stilettos and sabres benefit from the Fair Favor hat, which this build already uses. In addition, as I'll mention later, I recommend picking up Champion's Boon penetration from the Tenacious inspiration.

This character will also pick up dagger proficiency. For reasons that I'll elaborate on in a moment, the weapon modal isn't too important, but what is valuable is getting a Marux Amanth soulbound to your priest class. Fair Favor also benefit daggers with its hit-to-crit and bonus crit damage. Marux Amanth has very useful abilities for this character when fully unlocked: Worthy Sacrifice (which is an instakill against Near Death targets if you hit them), Corona of the Soul (10% chance for a decent burn aoe effect), and Echoes of Faith (10% chance to re-cast any priest spell a half second after the initial cast). Echoes of Faith is a particularly good ability; 10% isn't very common, but when it does happen can be a tide-changingly good effect. We actually pick up certain spells basically because they would be really good to have duplicated (Pillar of Faith, Pillar of Holy Fire, Cleansing Flame). Still others get good benefit (Salvation of Time), and at the very least you get double chances to afflict enemies with Despondent Blows or Devotions for the Faithful. Corona of the Soul is also a decent ability and works well with this character because we will be attacking so fast that we'll be close to maximizing the number of times we can proc the burn aoe (which does ~10-20 in about ~1.5m) in any given amount of time. As an extra plus, imagine that the Marux Amanth is the Deadfire equivalent of Umezawa's Jitte from above :).

Sidebar: weapon proc effects and damage bonuses

Corona of the Soul has its damage boosted by damage modifiers that affect any weapon, including something like Deathblows. This appears to apply to any weapon-based proc. This is both a general thing to keep in mind for your own builds, especially rogues who can sneak attack and Deathblows, but is especially good for a Streetfighter who can easily get an additional +50% from Heating Up and a further +100% from critting while On The Edge.

As far as other unique weapons go, snatch Xoti's Sickle as soon as you can, you'll be able to put better use to it. Not only does it have the benefit of having two damage types unlike other hatchets (giving you much-needed damage diversity), but its power-up effect (additive +5% plus .5% per religion skill to sickle damage until end of fight, up to 4 stacks) is very good and likely to trigger since this character will be doing a lot of finishing blows. I highly recommend you enchant it to have Urgent Harvest, which gives you 15% plus .5% per religion skill action speed bonus to Xoti's Sickle the moment any enemy dies anywhere, regardless of whether or not you did the killing blow. Importantly, due to stacking rules, this combines with the Streetfighter special, with Potions of Deftness, etc so you can get stupidly fast attack speeds with the sickle.

Mid-to-late game better hatchet options will open up. Acolyte's can be straight up better than a Xoti's Sickle because its Freezing Lash is always active (whereas Xoti's Sickle needs to power up upon kills) and is a multiplicative bonus with the total damage you did, which means a +15% freeze damage lash is worth much more than a +15% xoti's sickle damage. The combination of sneak attack damage (up to +60% additive) and Streetfighter special (another +50% additive) and possibly the Streetfighter On the Edge bonus (another +100% additive from crits) can make that lash worth more than a fully-powered up xoti's sickle.

Later on when you have more survivability tools at your disposal and the +3 deflection bonus from a hatchet (or +6 from two hatchets) is less important and the -10 accuracy weapon modal more redundant, you can start ignoring hatchets all together. I like pairing Marux Amanth and Pukestabber together; when Pukestabber is enchanted with Mad Drunk, while under the effects of alcohol, both daggers will have +20% additive damage and +20% action speed; plus, both of them will benefit from the Fair Favor hat.

Regardless of what weapons you choose, you'll have three weapon slots each with an important role: one that has a blunderbuss/melee pair, one for dual-wielding, and one for a large shield. Your dual-wielding one will be your main slot past the early game, but you'll need to be ready to switch to one of the other slots as the situation demands. And be sure to have damage type diversity, because this character will lose a lot of steam if you're stuck in a 25% No Pen situation against most of the foes in an encounter. In fact, I recommend keeping your high penetration backup weapon as your blunderbuss/melee pair - this is essentially your "boss mode" set up where you can both do high penetration and trigger self-flank at will throughout a long fight without having to repeatedly weapon switch. `

Details: Surviving

The basic point of this character is getting into dangerous situations to trigger the Streetfighter special and then surviving, which is a harder task when playing on Veteran or Path of the Damned. Before we dive into the many tools that we'll lean on, we need to recall our Stacking Rules and see how they apply to this character. Remember that the type of a bonus matters, so for the purposes of boosting this character's survivability, let's take a look at the different "types" of active bonuses and what goes where in terms of making it harder for enemies to hit you. Only the largest effect from each column gets used.

+Deflection-Deflection+Deflection via resolve-Deflection via resolve-Enemy accuracy-Enemy accuracy from perception
Arcane Veil (+50 vs non-guns)Flanked (-10)resolve inspiration (+5)resolve affliction (-5)Despondent Blows (-15 melee)Arkemyr's Wondrous Torment (-10, jumps to -5)
Escape (+50)Ripple Sponge drug (+2)hatchet modal (-10)Any perception affliction (-5)
Mirror Image (+30)Devotions for... (-10)
Llengrath's... (+10)Blinded affliction (-10)
dagger modal (+10)
Coral Snuff drug (+5)

This means that any given time, you can have around a 85-point net swing in your relative deflection to the enemy's accuracy. This is by combining Arcane Veil, a resolve inspiration, a Despondent Blows debuff on the enemy, and a perception affliction on the enemy. Though you will likely also have a constant -10 from being flanked. Still, a 75-point net swing after being flanked is still pretty huge and this is still ignoring stackable passive effects like the hatchet innate weapon bonus (+3 deflection against melee), Entonia Signet Ring (+2 all defenses per enemy engaging you [which is different from enemies that you engage]), a large shield with weapon and shield style (+12, +6, plus an additional +2 per large shield enchantment level), etc.

However, this does means that if you have Mirror Image active, there is no reason to have your dagger modal active. If you've hit all the enemies nearby with a blinded affliction, there is literally no reason to have your hatchet modal active and casting Devotions for the Faithful could potentially just be a waste of time. Juggling all these various stacking effects will constitute a good chunk of the micromanagement of this character. You certainly could just leave your dagger or hatchet modal on all the time, but you'd be giving up a significant chunk of damage unnecessarily.

Now, a big question is: say all enemies nearby are hit with Devotions for the Faithful (-10 accuracy); is it worth the opportunity cost in your action economy of casting Despondent Blows on top of that (it would be a net change of an additional -5 accuracy)? Similarly, if you are already protected by Arcane Veil, is it worth the time to get a resolve inspiration? The answer, my friend is that defenses offer increasing returns. Basically, look at the combat log. If the enemies don't have too much of a negative penalty to their attack roll, then it's probably not worth it. If they have a pretty huge negative penalty (but less than -75), then yes it's probably worth it. Even then, this guideline isn't perfect because if you're trying to get hit to get low enough health to trigger On the Edge or a perma-Heating Up (common later on in the game), then you may never find it worth it to cast even the hard-hitting stuff to begin with.

You'll note that I list Escape as a source of deflection. And while it lasts an extremely short time (3s), with decent intellect and stuff like Meppu/Roe it can last almost 5s. Early on it can be a way to get some extra emergency protection without burning an Arcane Veil (especially since you don't have many other non-situational Guile-spenders you can potentially just chain together a bunch of Escapes to your current location since it has only a .5s base action time and no recovery), and at all points in the game can be used so that you can jump straight behind enemy lines and have a few seconds of unconditional +50 deflection protection to buff yourself or do something else. (If you want to be tricky, you can use Salvation of Time to extend the unconditional +50 defense of Escape.) With late game PL scaling, you can actually get some decent time off of this, especially if you just repeatedly use this in-place.

Now, it's important to highlight that this character is not intended to be an immortal riposte build. We could just leave a large shield equipped and stack on all sorts of bonuses to be untouchable, but frankly I find that playstyle boring (I did that for my own The Ultimate achievement run and while it was certainly impregnable it was also tedious). What we really just shoot for is enough defenses and debuffs to not be squished into oblivion within a few seconds of being flanked, so that we can go on a killing rampage. This character picks up riposte not because we are going to rely on it for as a centerpiece for our damage, but as an accent of some additional damage in certain situations (which we maximize by dual-wielding since riposte does a full attack). In fact, in the late game, we may just want to deliberately get to near death ourselves and not worry so much about defenses, backed up by cannot die effects.

Fortunately for the streetfighter, one way to trigger Heating Up is to get Bloodied or lower, and the only way to get On The Edge is a combination of being Bloodied or lower and being flanked. Both Barring Death's Door and Potion of the Final Stand give us a nearly foolproof way to trigger Heating Up and sustain On The Edge. But both Potion of the Final Stand and Barring Death's Door have low base duration. It's for this reason why we pick up something like Prayer for the Spirit (+5 intellect means an extra +25% of base duration for Barring Death's Door), invest in Alchemy (+5% duration per point in Alchemy to Potion of the Final Stand), and love food/drink like Meppu/Roe (+15% beneficial effect duration, additively stacks with intellect and power level scaling) and importantly why one of our most important late-game spells is Salvation of Time (+10 seconds to beneficial effects). This stuff also helps Arcane Veil--which has a fairly short duration as well--but is more critical for these "can not die" effects because the moment they wear off with you at 1 health, you are probably going to be knocked out.

This leads to the second of this character's weaknesses, and it is Arcane Dampener. It's not too common for much of the game, but during the Paradise of the Mind quest and Nemnok the Devourer quest, literally every enemy wizard will try to hit you (and especially this character) with Arcane Dampener at least once; Arcane Dampener will temporarily suspend any current protections for a long time. You can try to hope that your will defense-which will be sizable thanks to a high intellect (buffed further by Prayer for the Spirit)-protects you, but this hope is dangerous because even a graze will dispel all your protections for a few seconds, which is more than enough time for you to be interrupt-locked to your death. You have two main approaches. First, you can try to use Smoke Veil to go invisible the moment you see the Arcane Dampener icon appear above wizards' heads (they tend to all cast it at the start of the fight, so if you see one you will probably see a lot) and let the enemy wizards re-target it to another member of your party who is less reliant on spell protection for survival. Second, you can try to use Smoke Grenade/Smoke Cloud or something like Grenades or Concussion Bombs to interrupt them while they are trying to cast it. This is very risky because if you miss you don't get another chance to interrupt them, so generally prefer the first approach. Either way, you should then eliminate the enemy wizards with extreme prejudice, because some of them will hang on to their third level spell cast to try again later.

Details: Consumables

In addition to blunderbussing with Powder Burns or charging in to get flanked/brought to Bloodied quickly, an additional way you are going to get uptime with Heating Up and On The Edge is with explosives. Sparkcrackers is the way to do it for much of the game, since it will afflict you with Distraction and with a high explosives skill can last ~30s on a hit. The catch is that it needs to hit deflection first, so it will not work very well if you have already buffed your deflection or are in the middle of an Escape. A smaller catch is that your Intellect and possibly your Resolve are high, so your will defense will be high, making it hard for Sparkcrackers to hit, so only do this if you're desperate for a buff or are under the effects of Deadeye, Potion of Deftness, or something like Potion of Perfect Aim (all of which will give you a modest boost to accuracy). Note that pre-4.1, Sparkcrackers would attempt to hit you twice: one upon contact and once again a second later but this is no longer the case (however, the Sparkcrackers effect from Rokowa's Fingers still does).

If all else fails, you can use Cinder Bombs (or rely on a friendly wizard to cast something like Chill Fog). Unlike Sparkcrackers, Cinder Bombs don't need to hit deflection first and instead of targeting will targets reflex which may not be as high if you have a perception affliction. Note that the Blinded affliction is much worse for you than being Distracted, because in addition to being flanked and losing 5 perception, you will also have an additional -10 accuracy penalty and a severe +50% recovery time penalty. However, even though the +50% recovery time penalty has the same magnitude as Heating Up's -50% recovery time bonus, the recovery time bonus is much more powerful than an equivalent magnitude penalty, and so you will still gain a significant speed up from being blinded (see Action Speed/Recovery Time for more details). Cinder Bombs can also be used suicidally in a pinch if you want to lose some health to either trigger On The Edge or get into Heating Up in the first place, but do pay attention to that ongoing damage because it would be stupid if you ended up actually killing yourself. In higher-level fights, Cinder Bombs can also be a useful protection since if you're blinded you cannot be hit by Fampyr's Dominating or Charm Gaze.

Other than those explosives, you should load up on whatever else floats your boat. Remember that, like weapons, explosives have a short action time and a longer recovery, so the Streetfighter with their special will be able to spam explosives like nobody's business. Because of this Grenade and Concussion Bombs are a little less useful than others because spamming bombs is a little harder to do when Grenade and Concussion bombs are knocking everyone around.

As mentioned earlier, Potions for the Final Stand are a good, if uncommon, supplement to Barring Death's Door (and your main option-aside from a friendly Shieldbearer Paladin-before you get Barring Death's Door). Potion of Impediment meshes extremely well with the Streetfighter's ultra-low-recovery rate for weapon attacks; with a 30% interrupt chance and a fast attack rate you can still prevent a dangerous enemy from getting much done (see Interrupts vs Concentration for more discussion on interrupt mechanics). As a back up to help penetration, try to keep a Potion of Piercing Strikes handy (though as a reminder it will not stack with the Tenacious inspiration). For much of the game, you'll also want Potions of Minor Healing (nothing stronger) just to help you when your health gets too low. Various potions to increase your AR (Spirit Shield or Ironskin) can also be lifesavers. Remember that streetfighter's bonus also reduces potion consumption recovery time, so don't be afraid to drink a lot of potions when you need to.

Details: Miscellaneous Spells and Abilities

As mentioned before, we pick up Pillar of Faith, Pillar of Holy Fire, and Cleansing Flame just to do some extra damage and cause some interrupts (for Pillar of Faith), and hopefully trigger a Marux Amanth double-cast. Remember that opportunity cost is very important; make sure with all of these that you are doing something that, on its own, is worth giving up the melee damage you are foregoing by not auto-attacking instead. For Pillar of Faith, that means trying to interrupt several enemies in one go (remember that the prone itself targets Fortitude whereas the damage targets Reflex). Pillar of Holy Fire against groups of enemies (and potentially yourself if you're trying to trigger Bloodied). Cleansing Flame to eliminate enemy buffs and when it looks likely you'll get some good jumps off of it. Even though this build doesn't explicitly pick up Iconic Projection, you get it for free and is another spell that can be spammed quickly with this build for good effect if you can hit a lot of your party members and enemy targets with each cast.

Champion's Boon solves several problems for us. First, it gives us +2 penetration from its Tenacious inspiration; this won't stack with a sabre or stiletto weapon modal, but will stack with the mace effect (because the mace gets extra penetration by implementing it as a debuff on the enemy, not as a buff on yourself) and importantly is the only consistent way we have to boost the penetration of daggers. In fact, for daggers this is better than a weapon modal because most other bonus penetration weapon modals give you a significant recovery penalty, whereas Tenacious gives us the +2 penetration without any drawback.

The second and smaller perk is that Champion's Boon gives us +3 engagement. Combined with Persistent Distraction, this means up to four nearby enemies will be Distracted. Combined with the inherent Resolute inspiration Champion's Boon gives you, this is a net 10-point hit chance swing in your favor, in a way that stacks with accuracy penalties from Despondent Blows, Devotions of the Faithful, or the hatchet weapon modal. It also means your Riposte attacks have an easier chance to hit on virtually anyone attacking you.

We pick up Smoke Cloud solely as a prerequisite for Smoke Grenade. And we pick up Smoke Grenade for two reasons: as an additional fast interrupt, and as a way to help enable Deathblows. Persistent Distraction will take care of Deathblows for you automatically (remember that the free flanked that perception afflictions bestow counts as a second affliction), but Smoke Grenade will be useful for triggering Deathblows on enemies you are not able to engage and for situations where the enemy is resistant to perception afflictions (you get the weakened effect from Smoke Grenade, and then rely on either manual flanking or some other explosive or party member to apply another affliction). If you have no problem with keeping near 100% Deathblows up-time without Smoke Grenade's help and don't mind the friendly fire, you can pick up Pernicious Cloud instead for the extra damage.

This build also has a story requirement: to be snarky at the gods when they first summon you after leaving Port Maje. This is because doing so unlocks the Wit of Death's Herald upgrade to your Death's Herald watcher ability (it also fits in with Wael's preferred disposition of being clever, coincidentally). Wit of Death's Herald adds on an intellect inspiration to the base effect, so is a "free" way to cast Prayer for the Spirit once/rest without using up a PL3 slot.

Details: Stats

The last part of this is just the easiest: why are stats the way they are? Intellect is the only mandatory max-out, because you want to squeeze as much duration and area of effect out of everything you have. Resolve/deflection is an important stat, but after the consumable nerfs of patch 1.2, this build really needs the accuracy help due to perpetually being hit with a perception affliction (and no longer able to rely on Deadeye or Potions of Deftness with a high alchemy), so we actually skip resolve and invest in perception instead. In fact, to maximize the chance we affect ourselves with Sparkcrackers or lengthen the Powder Burns debuff, we tank it a decent amount; not all the way, because then we have too deep a hole to climb out of with our deflection buffs.

A lower resolve means we're going to get hit more regardless of what we do, so we don't dump constitution. We don't have the spare points to invest too much in it. So in fact we pick up Tough later on for extra buffer room against high-impact enemy spells/abilities, but it's really a double-edged sword. More health means you can stay at Bloodied or below for longer, and there's more room for mistakes (like not paying attention to the fact that your Arcane Veil just ran out or that your Arcane Veil isn't doing anything because the enemy is using guns even while you melee them), but it also means it takes a lot longer to get to Bloodied.

Whatever might adjustments you make here will be generally dwarfed by the huge amount of damage bonuses you'll get from a Streetfighter sneak attack (the base +30% plus power level scaling, plus the +50% from the Heating Up special). We opt for a neutral score to put the points elsewhere (and we want to avoid a penalty because damage penalties are stronger than bonuses).

We put points into dexterity because action speed stuff has linear returns so we'll be able to be even faster, and importantly our spell cast times aren't affected by the Streetfighter special (just their recovery), so dexterity is the main way we'll make our spell casts a little more nimbler. (Picking up Rapid Casting later on will help, too.)

Wood elf background is pretty important for its Dexterity affliction resistance. This character really wants mobility, and being able to shrug off hobbling, and convert a near-lethal Paralyze into a not-bad-at-all Immobilize is pretty valuable. You can find gear that provides Dexterity resistance, but this way you can reserve those inventory slots for more interesting stuff. If you're confident about being able to deal with dexterity afflictions, then this build is tailor-made for the human's racial bonus (unfortunately this particular build does not benefit as much from the death godlike's racial).

Putting it all together!

Whew! That was a lot of text to read. If you made it this far, congratulations! And I hope you learned a thing or two. If this build still sounds really abstract to you, here are a couple typical examples of mid-to-high level encounters and how an Umezawa would handle it.

SCENARIO: mixed group of melee

  1. Main tank charges in, unstealthed, while Umezawa is still stealthed. Targets self with a Sparkcrackers with almost 100% accuracy (which is guarantees the initial hit to trigger the distraction and the distraction effect will be likely to at least graze). If the main tank pulled right maybe an enemy gets affected too.
  2. Escape towards the bulk of the enemies. While you still have the +50 Escape bonus active, make sure hatchet modal is enabled (in case Riposte procs you can debuff enemy accuracy), and then self-buff with Prayer for the Spirit and then cast Despondent Blows before disabling your hatchet modal and then casting Arcane Veil.
  3. DPS everything down. Throw some bombs if you feel like it. Re-cast Arcane Veil if necessary. If fight is still going on and you're out of Arcane Veil, self-empower, chain Escapes together, use Mirror Image, etc.

SCENARIO: high-level mixed group of melee and casters

  1. Charge in. Notice that casters start casting Arcane Dampener.
  2. Use Smoke Veil to go invisible. Continue to run Umezawa towards the back while the Arcane Dampener gets retargeted to your other party members.
  3. Unstealth by throwing Sparkcrackers at point-blank range with one of the back casters, hopefully affecting yourself with Distraction. Cast Prayer For the Spirit, then Barring Death's Door as enemies reconverge on you.
  4. Let them bring you down to 1 health and flank you while you DPS the caster down (you can also self-target with Pillar of Holy Fire to help bring your health down), and Escape to target the next caster. If you see another Arcane Dampener start getting fired, use Smoke Veil or Smoke Grenade.
  5. When all the casters are gone, DPS everything else down. Use Salvation of Time for extra Barring Death's Door time. If you're in a situation where Riposte could be relevant and you're already at 1 health, go ahead and use Arcane Veil just for the added damage from your counterattacks. If you run out of Salvations of Time and Barring Death's Door, self-empower for another round of both.

SCENARIO: single-enemy tough fight

  1. Start off with deadeye already enabled.
  2. Start off with your melee/blunderbuss weapon slot, the melee weapon being a fast (base 3s recovery) weapon. If you are able to land a non-graze self-sparkcrackers, switch to your dual-wield. Otherwise stay with this weapon slot and just find ways to keep Powder Burns uptime for the rest of this scenario.
  3. Drink Potion of Impediment. (The interrupt chance from this and Deadeye are multiplicative with each other, so you'll have a net 40% [1 - .7 * .85] chance of interrupting with any given attack.)
  4. Attack the enemy with a fast weapon. While as of 1.2 you won't completely interrupt-lock the enemy, attacking almost every second with a 40% chance to interrupt will turn down the danger level of any given tough enemy.
  5. Use Salvation of Time if necessary. Use Cinder Bomb, Pillar of Holy Fire, or other explosive to get your health down if you also want to be On The Edge while doing this.