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Questions and thoughts about my Immolation Arrow Amazon

Discussion in 'Amazon' started by jiansonz, Mar 19, 2013. | Replies: 7 | Views: 6222

  1. jiansonz

    jiansonz IncGamers Member

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    Hi there,

    I am currently playing an Amazon in the 'Envious of the Green and Gold' tournament over in the Single Player Forum. It's an untwinked Hardcore, Single Pass (no rerunning of areas) tournament where we can (once we have filled the slots) only use Set and Unique items. Sockets can only be filled with emeralds, topazes and jewels with the green or yellow graphic. No restriction on stat points or charms.

    Since I did not know what weapon types I was going to find and use, I saved a lot of skillpoints once I got past the early part, unsure of what build to go for. We are allowed to use respecs but I prefer not to. She was played as a melee fighter in late Normal, wielding Skull Splitter (eventually upgraded) and later Heart Carver. But now I have found both some spears and some bows (upgraded Blastbark and Skystrike). I have tried out Immolation Arrow for the first time and I love using that skill. It's maxed now, and I have pumped the synergy that boosts the explosion damage about halfway. No extra points yet in the other synergy (the one that boosts the damage of the lingering flames). I am currently halfway through Nightmare Act III.

    Not planning to get a Valkyrie (partly because I have 'Been There, Done That' already and partly because I want to have no points in Evade with this character) but my Decoy is close to maxed (17 points, I think) and a sturdy tank where I am now.
    My merc is currently a Might guard with The Impaler, Tancred's Skull and Skin of the Flayed One. My own gear is heavily MF oriented now: Blade of Ali Baba, Sigon's 3-combo with boots, Arctic armor(with PTopaz)+belt, Cathan's 3-combo with amulet.

    So, a couple of questions for you people in-the-know:

    1. Is Immolation Arrow generally seen as a good PvM skill for questing through the game?
    (I hope to be able to make decent progress in Hell, doing full clears on /players 3, but /players 1 will do in a pinch.)

    2. Which of the two synergies is seen as the most useful? Explosion or flames? Or do people go for both?

    3. Can you steal mana with Immolation Arrow? If yes, is it feasible to dream about doing enough damage and having enough mana steal to make it support itself, or is that just a futile hope?

    4. What level of Pierce is good to aim for, mostly for use with Immo Arrow? It's at level 2 now.

    5. Merc choice. This seems very open to me, and I want to discuss it a bit. Both the melee dude types are good for tanking, and the Act III Cold merc sort of does a similar job (will help the Decoy to survive and tank better). Act I mercs are great in many areas in Act V NM and Hell (with all the ranged guest monsters). Current weapons I can give mercs are:
    bows: Skystrike or upgraded Blastbark (whichever one I do not use myself)
    spears/polearms: The Impaler, upgraded Bloodthief or upgraded Razortine. I had a Dimoak's Hew but I sold it. Maybe that was a bad choice...
    swords: upgraded Soulflay

    Or course, future weapon drops may push me in a certain direction. I mean, if a Bonehew, a Goldstrike Arch or a Doombringer would drop, that would clearly affect my decision. :badteeth:

    6. What to do about PI+FI monsters? Skipping them is not an option - everything must die! I can plink with Skystrike's Attack (125 lightning damage on average) but that will take forever on a tough boss on Hell. Of course, three of the merc types add decent cold damage (although the Rogue's cold damage requires a bow with big damage to be good). The Impaler and Skull Splitter have Open Wounds, which is always handy against these kinds of bosses. Thoughts? Adding another skill based elemental damage type? Do I have enough skill points for that? Keep in mind that I am unlikely to find a javelin.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
  2. zaphodbrx

    zaphodbrx IncGamers Member

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    1. No, not really. The timer ruins the skill, damage is too low and half of hell is fire immune. It's not a cookie cutter basically.

    2. I think getting both is probably better, though I would prioritize explosion.

    3. The physical part of the immolation arrow damage steals mana, but it'll be useless without a big damage bow and high manaleech%.

    4. Most people get lvl 9 pierce and razortail for 100% pierce. For untwinked put as many points as you feel like, it has diminishing returns.

    5. Personally I always use prayer-insight merc for untwinked and never had a reason to use anything else. Automatic life and mana healing is win.

    6. I suggest maxing magic arrows as your main immune killer instead of strafe or GA. The conversion% to magic damage will kill any PI/FI, and it also adds a tidy bit of damage and costs no arrows or mana. Most twinked builds would use a merc with conviction aura or chance to cast decrepify.

    Good luck!
  3. Pyrotechnician

    Pyrotechnician IncGamers Site Pal

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    Might as well add in:

    1. As zaph said, the timer makes it worse off then it needs to be, and if you were to make an elemental based build I would prefer to use explosion arrow over immoltion arrow as its not timered, you should be able to fire off 2-3 explosion arrows in comparison to the 1 immoltion arrow since its a 1 second delay.

    2. If you are going to use immoltion, definately max explosion first, the main part of your damage is going to be from the initial blast, not from the monsters sitting around in the flames afterwards (unless they are frozen, I'll go into further detail with merc choice). Besides, its a 10% synergy compared to a 5% synergy and the flames per second damage is low to start with.

    3. Physical portion will leach, once again as zaph said, highly unlikely to be supported easily.

    4. Level 9 is a comfortable spot, and depending on what other skills you go for its probably your best bet. Diminishing returns kick in harder after that point anyway. But you also have to remember, more pierces means more explosions, so its a balance thing.

    5. Since you can't use insight (sorry zaph, thats a runeword), and if you continue on planning to use immoltion, I would go with the cold merc. An enemy frozen in a patch of fire is going to be your best bet for damage dealing. Other than that, standard might merc is always good to up your physical damage.

    6. I personally like Frozen arrow, but thats also a big mana hog, but immoltion frozen frozen, rinse, repeat, I would imagine would work pretty well. That would allow you to skip the cold merc too. Magic arrow seems like it could be decent since you really do need something thats not going to leave you without mana after 3 casts.
  4. Hector

    Hector IncGamers Member

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    1. Not a cookie cutter skill but it gets the job done. The problem is the high number of fire immunes and the skill's timer.

    2. I'd go for both, you will need the damage.

    3. It steals Mana but it depends on a high damage bow. It probably won't sustain itself, though. Try a combination of Mana steal, high damage and +Mana after each kill. And drink lots of blue pots, since you can't have a handy Insight merc!

    4. 9 after +skills and Razortail or a Kuko bow. Or none if you get say, a Buriza.

    5. Merc choice: A2 Holy freeze no doubt about it. Should make targets stationary/together enough to help Immolation's flames and explosive arrows more effective.

    6. Charms with elemental damage, one with poison is specially useful to stop regen. One point in the Lightning Bolt (jav tree) as it converts 100% of the javelin damage to lightning with a single point, so there's no cheaper option than this - but considering you can only use Uniques, you'll need to find a unique Javelin for this. For the bow side, I'd go for Magic Arrow without a doubt - if you get something good such as a WWS you don't even need to spend points (Magic Arrow + Amp is a godsend). Or if you find like a Buriza... besides the good physical damage, the cold damage on it can get stuff killed.
  5. jiansonz

    jiansonz IncGamers Member

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    Thanks for the input, people. Some valid points overall. For now, I think I am going about it like this:

    1. I do think it will get the job done considering how good it is now. I have a pretty good feel for the amounts of life in /p3 Hell compared to /p8 Act III Nightmare.

    2. Going to pump only the explosion synergy, I think. I am level 63 now, and the final level will be 87 if I can go with /p3 on Hell. That means I have only 30 more skill points to play with. Maxing both synergies and adding the last level in Decoy eats up exactly 30 points. That leaves nothing for Pierce or another elemental type. If I skip the Fire Arrow synergy, I have 19 more points. I think 0-3 to Pierce and the rest in my PI/FI skill (see below).

    3. Yeah, I will dedicate one column of the belt to blues when I stop my MF craze and strap on Sigon's belt instead.

    4. Razortail is nothing I can count on (even though I run around with well over +200% MF on the merc's kill now). I am not sure I like Pierce all that much, to be frank. I have a feeling that it could sometimes cause me to "wake up" monsters I am not ready to fight yet. Multiple explosions within a tight monster pack are nice though (but maybe Next Delay issues lowers the efficiency?)

    5. If weapons finds for the different merc types are close to equal, Holy Freeze is my default choice once I stop MFing (merc wears Stealskull now so I let him do most of the damage, hence my choice of Might to boost his own damage). The combo of HF merc and Decoy should provide an excellent fighting front that can survive a ton of damage (especially if I pull the merc back and let monsters gather around the Decoy first).

    6. I can't see Magic Arrow being a good choice here (unless I find a WWS so I get it for free). The conversion is a measly 1% per skill point. Plus it requires a high damage bow. Even if I would max it, I would need a bow that lets me do over 600 physical damage per hit just to be on par with Skystrike's lightning damage. Granted, monsters usually resist lightning more than they resist magic, but still. Even Cold Arrow would outdo it, as its conversion from physical is nearly twice as big (even if you factor in the 25% penalty). Freezing Arrow does indeed dish out good damage at high levels but I want to do something else with this character (plus it's an enormous mana hog!).

    Nope, I have decided to use a melee lightning skill with a spear on switch, mostly because I want to. Javelin works too but unique javelins are ultra rare (what are there, 4-5 types and all but Titan's are elites, right?)
    Lightning Strike is out because there will nearly always be just one monster around when I use this skill (I kill the minions first) so the CL part gets wasted. So it's Power Strike or Charged Strike. Which one do you think will be the best against a single boss, using around 19 skill points and no extra point in synergies?

    I do have a poison charm with good poison length saved up for later, but most of my inventory will be used for resist charms. One of the biggest challenges in the tournament is to gather enough resist gear for Hell. Playing with only greens and golds, you realize just how much you normally rely on runewords and rares (and the occasional socketed Ral/Ort in armor/helm) for resists.
  6. zaphodbrx

    zaphodbrx IncGamers Member

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    For a melee alternate ability charged strike is basically the best at killing single targets, no question.

    But let me put the case for magic arrows again anyway.
    -Magic arrows are free. They cost no mana or arrows. At level 25 it will do 3/4 physical 1/4 magical so it will kill pretty much anything if you press the button on it long enough. And you can kill it from a distance while tanking with the valk/merc/decoy. No need for meleeing anything. That's why it's good for killing simple fire immunes as well (not just PI/FI), or just for taking a break when out of mana or arrows.
    -Magic arrows add +1 damage to your bow for every skill point. So your 100 damage bow can become a 125 dmg bow with level 25 MA, which is significant. Don't think you can get much more than 100 dmg for an untwinked elite bow, possible even less for rubbish like skystrike. Note: this extra dmg is not displayed in LCS
    -Magic arrows don't get 3/4 dmg penalty like strafe or multi shot
    -Lots of bows fire magic arrows for 'free', like widowmaker, WWS, m'avina's caster etc.
    -Admittedly I have only used MA with stuff like faith/forti/windforce, but I was very satisfied with it.
  7. onderduiker

    onderduiker IncGamers Member

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    Note that unlike Exploding Arrow, Immolation Arrow's skill damage is applied by both the explosion and the arrow.

    Immolation Arrow may have a skill delay, but there is no Next Delay.

    Cold Arrow doesn't have any damage penalty, despite what the skill description states.

    Power Strike's +% Attack Rating does not actually apply due to a bug, while Charged Strike bolts are always released upon attack.
  8. jiansonz

    jiansonz IncGamers Member

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    Just wanted to let you know that I went the Charged Strike route for dealing with PI + FI monsters. I have reached Dry Hills on Hell difficulty now and I have already managed to deal with some troublesome bosses (an Extra Strong LE Stone Skin spider boss in Act I was the worst).

    I am using Cliffkiller on my main switch and The Impaler on the other. Using a spear is not dangerous because I mainly use it for fighting single bosses and I have both merc and Decoy to tank for me in those situations. I am actually using the spear more and more against regular FI monsters if they take a long time for the merc to kill. The Open Wounds and Ignore Target's Defense on my spear are very helpful.

    Holy Freeze merc feels like a great choice.

    Only 1 or 2 points left to invest in Exploding Arrow now. For the rest of the points, I need to decide if I want to pump the Fire Arrow synergy or if I should pump Charged Strike more. Probably the latter.

    Thanks for the help. I really like playing this character. Players 3 Hell has so far been just right when it comes to the gameplay. Challenging without being frustrating.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2013

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