Monday, December 19, 2011

Ask Fatal - Dragon's Tomb Edition (Trickster)

Alright!  Welcome to the final installment of my Dragon's Tomb series of postings.  So far we've covered Fighters, both Tank-style as well as Damage Dealing / Sub-Tank style, Mages, Archers, and now Tricksters.  Sorry to you Cleric lovers out there, but I highly doubt I'll be doing a Cleric version as I really have no desire to level up another Cleric to 80 just for the sake of making a guide!  Let the questions begin!

What is the Trickster's primary role in the party?
This is the question that everyone asks and depending on your playstyle and gear, therein lies your answer.  The Trickster can be extremely versatile if you get a better grasp of some techniques.

Versatile?  Tricksters are squishy by nature right?  What do you expect the Trickster to do?
While it is true that a Trickster's defense and HP doesn't measure up to a Fighter's, the Trickster has the Evasion advantage.  While not the ideal "Tank" in Dragon's Tomb, the Trickster is surprisingly serviceable in this capacity.

Tanking?!  Are you nuts?
Maybe.  But to me, that's the most fun a Trickster can have in Dragon's Tomb.

Yeah, you're a bit loco... wanna explain?
Tanking for a Trickster is a bit err "tricky" in that it involves a lot of cooperation from your party.  This is where the Tanking-Trickster really needs to assert themselves.

Okay, so where to start?
As a Tanking-Trickster, you need to set a few groundrules to the party to make sure that it is successful.  The first off being that YOU set the pace.  So no Archers running up front, no Mages going off to pull, etc.  The reason for this is because you need to establish aggro quickly.

Alright, that sounds reasonable.  What else?
For some reason, Mages are more apt to cast Inferno first rather than Frost Nova.  As a Mage, I never do this, so I don't really understand why they do it, but the Mages I've partied with as a Trickster typically drop Inferno first.  This, for the Tanking-Trickster led party, is a mistake.  This technique for a Trickster takes some timing and a bit of practice.

What's so hard? I just grab a soul and cast Soul Trap right?
Hmm... not so fast.  You first need a better understanding of how Soul Trap works.  If you've ever played as Fighter, you know that the skill Devastate is directional.  Typically you only stun those mobs that are in front of you.  Any mobs behind you will be unaffected by Devastate's damage or Stun effect.  Soul Trap works much the same way.

Okay, so what does that mean for me?
This means that you need to position yourself to set up Soul Trap so that you can freeze as many mobs as possible.  This also means you damage as many mobs as possible.  More damage means more aggro generated towards you.

Establish proper positioning prior to Soul Trap.
Ahh.. that makes sense.  So what's the sequence of events that leads to a successful pull?
For the smaller, regular mobs, typically you need to pull all of the close-ranged melee-type mobs into the ranged mobs so that you can freeze/damage them all together.  If you attack only the melee-types without pulling them towards the ranged, the ranged will continue attacking you, then as the Cleric heals you, they will refocus their attacks onto the Clerics since you are no longer generating aggro.  Again, remember to position yourself in front of all the mobs, you don't want any behind you if possible.

Wow, so I need to understand some basic tanking principles?
Yes.  In order to do this successfully, you need to have a working knowledge of how to tank.  Tanking on a Trickster is much more difficult compared to tanking on a Fighter.

Yeah, I imagine so, but why?
Tanking-Fighters have many advantages over a Trickster trying to fill that role.  As stated before, higher DEF and higher HP for one, but also an abundance of aggro-grabbing skills like: Kick, Mock, Demoralizing Hit, and Slice and Dice.  The Trickster's only source of aggro are generated through damage and positioning.  Again, this is why you need a cooperative party.

So what happens when the party isn't cooperative?  What can go wrong?
Again, a Trickster is not ideal for Tanking in DT, but it can be done effectively.  A couple of the problems aside from just uncooperative party members would be Stuns and Fears.  Nothing's worse than getting stunned or feared before establishing aggro.  This is when chaos typically occurs and party members start panicking.  So again, you need to keep a level head and work on re-establishing aggro.  This doesn't mean killing!  You re-establish aggro via damage, once you established aggro on that mob, target the next one, then the next.  You may have to sacrifice your Soul Trap skill just for the sake of an Aggro grab.

Okay, so what about the party members?
If you allow the Archer or Mage to get out ahead of you, you're going to have problems establishing aggro and keeping things in order.  I always warn both Archers and Mages to be patient, wait for me to get in there first before they start AOE'ing.  This is especially problematic with Archers.  With a normal Tank, an Archer is free to move out ahead and start AOE'ing to pull mobs back to the party where the Fighter can just Mock them all to him.  This pace setting technique for Archers is detailed in my Archer-DT guide.  However, this does not work well with a non-traditional Tank.  When that Archer starts pulling, they will typically just continue kiting along avoiding damage.  This is extremely problematic for the Trickster trying to establish aggro when his targets continue running down the hall.  So again, rein in your party members and be assertive.  Not rude.  Assertive.

In the case of the Mage using Inferno, you'll see that you'll have a hard time re-establishing aggro without the help of Soul Trap's freeze effect.  It can still be done based on the strength, or in this case weakness, of the Mage, but it's more difficult.  Kindly remind your Mage to Nova first once you've pulled the mobs.

What about those panicked party members that continue just running mobs away?
Well that's really on them.  If they want to pull the mobs all the way back down the hall, then it's on them to finish them off.  If the rest of the party is safe from immediate harm, then by all means, give chase and help, but if there's danger around the main party, focus there.

Okay, I think I understand that a bit.  So what do you use to Tank?
Again, not everyone plays the same way or has the same resources.  I understand that.  This is what I use on my Trickster (Level 89 as of this write-up):
+50% HP/SP Extender
+10 BK Dual Swords (45end 33dex 6int 34spe)
+9 86 Helm (36str 35spr)
+9 85 Wonder W Armor (32end 11dex 43spr)
+9 85 Wonder W Pants (40end 41dex 30spr)
+9 85 Vanity Dance Boots (27end 41spr)
+0 40 Bloody Gem Necklace (3str 5dex 4end)
+0 85 Guardian's Wish Earring (3end 1dex +325HP +4%Evasion)
+6 40 Ring of Chaos (Totals 9str 18end 25dex 13int +42MDef)
+9 40 Ring of Chaos (Totals 7str 21end 20dex 22int 6spr +70MDef)
I always use a full compliment of T4 Scrolls (Vit, Def, MDef, Eva) as well as T1 Speed.

Geez, I can't afford that.  So what do I do with limited resources?
Much of what you can and can't do will be affected by your resources.  I've stated that in pretty much every write up.  How to play DT as a Trix fully +0?  I really wouldn't know.  That's not something I plan to, or would want to do, but I don't begrudge anyone for doing it that way.  Just understand your limitations and work from there.

If I'm fully +0, what can I do?
A fully +0 Trickster at 85 sacrifices about 700 DEF from what I use.  That's significant.  The Trickster in this case is primarily just support.  This isn't enough DEF to really be considered a Sub-Tank either.  If this scenario happens to be you, I would just focus on having Soul Trap ready when you're Tank is pulling as well as focusing your damage primarily on ranged mobs to help out your Cleric.  In the end fight vs. Cornelius, you'd get 1-hit by his AOE.  You're better off not approaching him, honestly.  You could try and help kill the spawned Shellas and Nerpas, but if you do charge in there, you run the risk of getting flattened by the Dragon.

Anything else?
Pre-85, I primarily just filled the "Sub-Tank" role.  I had an incomplete +9 75 Set (+9 pants, +7 armor, +0 boots, +0 hat, +10 Emberflame Dual Swords), but that worked fine for everything except Cornelius.  Again, if you've experienced DT on mutliple classes, you're much well equipped to figure things out and understand how every other party member will react in certain situations.

If you're an aspiring Tanking-Trickster, take it slow.  Keep going into DT with a Fighter as the primary Tank, but take a few opportunities here and there to try and increase your comfort level with Tanking.  Get out ahead a little bit and start the pull.  Work on positioning.  Understand mob positioning in relation to their status effects also (like pulling Krugers away from other idle mobs so in the event you get feared, you don't end up pulling everything).  Basically stretch your limits and improve every run.  I would also highly recommend that you keep HP pots on you at all times.  I carry T3/T4/T5 HP as well as T3 Cure potions into Dragon's Tomb.  T3 Cures are especially convenient during the fight with Cornelius as this will cure his nasty debuff.  Do keep in mind though that a Cure potion shares it's cooldown with a regular potion, timing is critical to this.

The Tanking-Trickster is NOT ideal, but it works.  If there is a Tank-Fighter available, go with that route. it's safer for the party.  But if there are none available, hopefully this helps you fill in that gap.

Below are two walk-through videos, I will be adding annotations to them a bit later.  The first video (which still needs to be uploaded) is a basic DT run with the Trickster serving as the Sub-Tank.  The second video is an example of how to run DT without the traditional tank, with the Trickster filling in.

Video I:

Video II:  Tanking - Trickster


  1. nice guide fatal i just wish i had ur gear

  2. I really like the trickster 80 duals

  3. Thanks for the guide Fatal! I've been wanting to try out trickster for a while but didn't due to lack of knowledge of this class.


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