I've been planning for quite some time to make a char for each of the eight class-specific sets, and I've finally gotten around to putting those plans into action. Here's the second (I made an IK barb years ago).
Life (no BO): 1528
Resists (Hell): 75/55/75/57
FHR: 87% (4-frame)
CoT Damage (per skill tree): 1-5148 direct/2-3133 nova/2-5044 cb
FoF Damage (per skill tree): 2247-2471 direct/1817-1934 burn
PS Damage (per skill tree): 2760-3084 fire/3-6984 lightning/514-552 cold
DC Damage (per LCS): 520-933/767-1000
DC AR (per LCS): 8391/8184
Claw Mastery: 18(28) (this would be maxed if I levelled more)
All other shadow: 1(11)
All other MA: 1(15)
Natalya's Totem (Ral)
Natalya's Shadow (Shael/Shael/Hel)
Verdungo's Hearty Cord
Stone of Jordan
Natalya's Mark (unsocketed)
Bartuc's Cut-throat (Jewel of Truth)
Nothing on switch (I probably should have used CtA, but it wasn't really necessary, and I'm lazy)
Anyways, I believe I've come to the conclusion that I don't particularly like charge-up skills. I don't find them hard to use in general or anything, I just don't really enjoy them. Phoenix strike in particular wasn't really my favorite skill. I found it rather difficult to reliably choose which element to use, and the meteor suffered from all the problems meteor always does (like, the monster moving, or failing that, it just taking a long time) so that I wound up using FoF over PS pretty much exclusively - the only place where PS was particularly useful was on act bosses or other very high hp targets.
CoT was used pretty much exclusively through norm/NM. Once I hit hell, I used CoT or FoF depending on which immunes were absent in the area, or if there were both LI's and FI's, depending on which I found more annoying. I think I might prefer FoF to CoT for general non-immunes, which kinda suprised me. The reason is that, counting the burn damage, it's a lot easier to focus the damage to a few monsters. CoT works well for scattering monsters (which pretty much all seem to be FI anyways) and for large groups, but assassins aren't really supposed to take large groups head-on, so it didn't come up much. Back in NM when I twinked on kenshi's everything and a handful of MA skillers and had something over level 40 CoT and everything died to the nova, it was fun, but that didn't last.
Given how defensive I wound up making the equipment, there wasn't really anything particularly *dangerous* at any point - the only thing that could really injure me is a lot of quick hits from stunning monsters, or a lot of quick hits from FHR-inducing monsters, which is why I went to 4 frame FHR, which isn't something I do in PvM very often. Even with this, though, it didn't make hit recovery less annoying - any time I encountered one of these situations my attacks got interrupted so much that it wasn't really that easy to fully charge an attack. Basically, an annoyance rather than an actual danger.
I played on p5 through most of hell and only dropped to p1 when I gave up and decided I didn't really like the char and just wanted to finish it. Ancients weren't particularly tough, though I did reroll them a couple times due to dual immunes, which I don't generally do. Once I hit a roll without any FI/LI's, it was pretty easy, since I just picked one, namelocked it, then switched between a chargeup and DC until it died.
No particularly interesting finds, don't remember what the HF was which means it was something useless.
If I actually liked the char and wanted to improve it, I'm fairly certain that this could be pretty impressively powerful if built focused almost entirely on offense and not using the set. This would require much more frequent use of CoS and MB due to the lack of defense, but I was able to take out just about everything with one cycle of pick-a-chargeup on p1 with my current stats, and switching out the set and defensive stuff brings the damage pretty high.
Next up, finishing up a frenzier I stalled months ago, and probably a trang's necro.
Grats on the mat! I feel the same way with PS. Right now I'm running a TS/Dtail asn with CoT and PS as backup attacks and I've pretty much stopped using PS. It's hard for me to tell when I have 2 charge ups going since the balls blend in with my TS balls and it just gets frustrating.
...I hope no one else mentions balls in this thread.
The thing that really got to me about trying to pick an element with PS is as soon as I managed to land a meteor on something, the flames would completely obscure whatever charges I had. I'd say in the baal fight (which was all PS), I hit the second charge at least as often as the first.
I used the Orphan's set instead of the PS and was a PS/DS hybrid. I actually enjoyed PS and I think I have played her long enough to time the charge up skill perfectly to what skill I want. You're right about the meteor though. I went almost purely lightning for most characters with the second charge of PS followed by laying down several traps to finish them off with corpse explosion.
She isn't a bad MF'er though because Nat's boots give her terrific speed and she can break any immunity and kill quickly. Plus, with a couple points in fade, you can skip loading up on resists.
Congrats, it is a tough build and I'm glad to see you had an easier time with the ancients than I did. (It took me two months to beat them with her.)
1500+ life plus life tap triggering constantly makes me pretty hard to take down. I considered fade (mainly so I could use treachery for the boost to skills) but I have a soft spot for BoS. It wasn't really hard to get my resists respectable - only one of my four armor sockets went to resists, and no equipment was chosen specifically for it (unless you count mara's). I didn't have to spend any GC slots on resists, either, it was all skillers or AR. Needing a few SC's isn't enough to make me consider sacrificing BoS.
I could probably twist this char into a MF'er or LK runner or something if I put the effort into it, but when I'm running for items, my only interest is maximum return over time, so meh. If I ever revive my old policy of doing runs with every char I make until they hit a minimum of 85, I'll work out a way to do it, but I don't really think that's gonna happen anytime soon.
I might've liked PS better if I ever tried to use something other than meteor - back when I was first experimenting with LoD, my favorite char was a phoenix striker that used the third charge. I just never really had a problem taking things down with CoT, and when I have something that works I rarely have the motivation to try to improve on it (which is why I went through the game with an empty switch instead of a cta).
edit: I purposefully avoided using DS on this char because it's so unbelievably useful. Had I used it, it's quite likely that instead of exclusively using MA skills, I'd just use whatever would generate the first couple corpses fastest, then let CE do it's work. I specifically wanted to play through using an elemental MA 'sin. Were I building the char to optimal ability, I'd definitely have at least a point in DS (or I suppose a +DS claw on that empty weapon switch I mentioned.)
Congratulations on the Matriach.
I am just about to do the Ancients with mine. But I love the build, I think she is extremely powerful and versatile. More on that next week, hopefully I will Mat her at the weekend.
Nice job CG, it looks like you and I have some similar ideas. I am about to build my PS 'sin around Nat's Set as well, with a few small differences from yours. I was thinking LoH, but maybe all the +skills give your BoS enough IAS to hit the goal. Always wanted to try blade fury, but I think I'll make a separate build that it is more useful/effective for. Do you prefer SW or SM and why?
I too am going to make chars around all the class-specific LoD sets, except maybe BK (no Naj either:rolleyes. What kind of pally are you thinking of building w/Griz's?
Griz is probably going to be an avenger, though that opinion might change after I do some research on it. Pally is pretty far down my list because I've patted two of them in the last three weeks or so.
Everything I could find showed that I hit the fastest breakpoints for everything with just BoS, but it's well within the realm of possibility that I was just misreading it. If I did/you do need more IAS, though, stick a shael in the nat's mark. Using DC or the elemental chargeups, hits happen constantly, so the ctc life tap from dracul's is almost always in effect. I would have found this a much less safe build without it.
A point in BF isn't really gonna break the bank, but IMO you'd probably want to use a weapon switch for it. I don't personally think the build needs it, and I'd rather make a dedicated BF sin (and I intend to at some point).
I consider SW a better skill due to the ability to control her actions, but I used SM (and I pretty much always use SM) because it's much less effort. I'd recommend using SM until the point where you get entirely too pissed off about her converting the monster you were just about to release your charges on.