Melee Sorceress (WIP)

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Solfege
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FOREWORD
PLEASE READ

This guide is in the process of being rewritten for M2017.

With the exception of the hardest Ubers and an ultimate end-game gear setup, most of this guide is now up-to-date. Uber strategies are being updated as I complete them and an interim end-game gear setup is listed until that section is finalized. Since this guide is a work-in-progress, skillplans, gear, and strategies can still change at any time.

Thanks for your patience.



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Early Game - Mid-Game - End-Game - Uberquests - Challenges - Minigames - Crafting - Gameplay Tips



INTRODUCTION

The Melee Sorceress relies on her speed and versatility in both close-quarters and medium-ranged combat to take down her enemies while still being tough enough to stand against the strongest foes. But while she can achieve high defensive stats with the right build, a Melee Sorc is not a tank. Instead, she lets her minions do the tanking while she uses the good old "hit-and-run" strategy. Outmanoeuvre, outflank, hit, retreat and repeat. These are the keys to a Melee Sorc's success.

Though this guide is written for beginners, a Melee Sorc isn't the easiest build to play. She's heavily reliant on gear and lacks the necessary Life bonuses to be able to simply rush into a mob blindly and come out of it alive. Many people get frustrated once they hit Destruction and start doing early Ubers because they can't just faceroll the content anymore. A Melee Sorc isn't about facerolling the game and 1-shotting Ubers, it's about finding innovative ways to overcome challenges with an underpowered build nobody expects much from.

For this guide, you'll be using two specs: a Lightning/Ice spec for early and mid-game, then a Fire/Lightning spec for end-game. Lightning/Ice will give you superior defense and an army of summons, which will help with survivability in both the regular game and during early Uberquests. By the beginning of end-game, you'll have good enough gear and Charms to achieve max block, which makes high defense and an army of summons less important. So you'll switch to a Fire/Lightning spec for the innate life regen and higher damage potential.

It's important to note: this guide demonstrates only one way to build a Melee Sorc. There are a number of gear combinations and skill plans that can achieve similar--or better--results, but since this is a beginner's guide (and because I hate farming), it will focus on doing things as cheaply as possible. Once you're familiar with a Melee Sorc's playstyle, strengths, and weaknesses, I encourage you to deviate from this guide and experiment with your own gear and skill combinations.



DISCLAIMER

1. I make no claims as to the originality of this build, nor to the ideas and strategies contained in this guide.

2. Because this is a Melee Sorc, caster respecs will not be used, even if using a caster spec would be easier for completing certain tasks.

3. This guide was written around the base M2017-003.1 patch (i.e. Single Player). As such, MP-specific cheese such as abusing rejoin and TP holding will never be listed as viable strategies anywhere in this guide. Also note: since circumstances on the Realm can change from Season to Season, gameplay adjustments may be necessary if playing TSW. In other words: adapt, or die.

4. Please consult Median XL's Official Documentation for more in-depth information and to get a better understanding of the game's mechanics.



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PROS AND CONS

Pros:
- Can complete every Uber.
- Doesn't need expensive gear.
- Minimal farming required.
- Doesn't need to grind to clvl 121.
- Many gear/skill combo possibilities.
- She's a fking Melee Sorceress.

Cons:
- Gear-dependent.
- Low damage compared to other melee-centric Classes.
- Not as tanky as other melee-centric Classes.
- Not a farmer.



FINAL STATS

STR - Enough for gear
DEX - Everything else
VIT - None
NRG - None



FINAL SKILLS

Warp Armor, Baneblade – SMax
Moonstrike - 30 Points
Fusillade – 26 points
Familiar, Wraithsword, Bladestorm, Blade Spirits, Symbol of Esu, Nova Charge, Firedance – 1 point
Living Flame – All remaining points



SKILL BREAKDOWN


MELEE TREE

Moonstrike
Increases max life and damage dealt for a short time. Keep this active at all times whenever in combat.

Wraithsword
Short to mid-range attack. Deals pure Physical damage. Suited for close-quarters combat with dense mobs, Magic Immunes, and times when tanking to sustain Life resources is necessary. Best paired with the Life Leech mod.

Fusillade
Trap-like skill that fires linear streams of blades at nearby targets. More base points reduces it's seek range (meaning you'll need to use it closer to the target), but it also reduces it's cooldown period. In crowded areas, it will attack a single target until it's dead before seeking another. For this reason, it's best used against single targets, as a source of supplemental damage in crowds, and for enemies you don't want to engage in melee.

Summon Blade Spirits
About as simple a summon as can be had. These ghostly floating swords won't provide any buffs, but they're remarkably tough. They will be your tanks.

Bladestorm
Mid to long-range attack that converts nearly all Physical damage dealt to Magic damage. Suited for general gameplay. Best paired with the Life on Attack mod.


ICE TREE

Snow Queen
Passive that grants percentage-based max life (will not exceed 25%) and flat defense bonuses. Only affected by base points, not soft points from +skills gear.

Summon Ice Elementals
Adorable little snowballs meant as a support summon. They emit a Frost Armor aura that gives a 150% defense boost and 15% DR. They're squishier than Blade Spirits, so they'll need to be resummoned fairly often.

Frigid Sphere
Used as a synergy for Ice Elementals, granting them a larger overall life boost than putting points into the Ice Elementals skill itself, and without the extra mana cost per summoning.


LIGHTNING TREE

Warp Armor
Defensive skill that grants %TCD and Avoid. Both base and soft points increase its %TCD bonus, but with every 2 base points invested, an extra 1% chance to avoid damage is gained.

Nova Charge
Periodically emits a lightning nova. The main reason for putting a point here is for the 25% base DEX added to NRG, which will all but eliminate any mana problems.


FIRE TREE

Living Flame
Passive that provides a flat life boost as well as an innate source of life regen. This skill works on the principle of increasing returns (i.e. becoming more effective with more base points).

Firedance
Buff that increases both physical weapon damage and elemental damage (i.e. proc damage) to all allies while inside the fire circle.


MANA TREE

Familiar
Familiars are untargetable, can only be killed by reflected damage, and their attacks stun their targets. They also have the Zann Esu's Rite aura, which grants 15% FCR, a 25% bonus to NRG, and a +1 skill level boost for every four base points, as well as an extra cat for every 5 base points.


REWARD SKILLS

Baneblade
]Buff that provides velocity, damage, and defense boosts, as well as a skill-based source of Life on Attack and Increased Chance to Block. It does come at a cost, locking out nearly every other skill that's not a dedicated melee or summon skill.

Symbol of Esu
Ennead Challenge reward skill. It allows for the creation of an infinite number of Moon Symbols (aka moon cookies), which are used just like potions to restore a flat amount of life instantly. But unlike Healing Potions, they don't remove Poison effects.



WRAITHSWORD vs. BLADESTORM

The following is a more in-depth look at how Wraithsword and Bladestorm function for the purposes of this guide specifically:

Early on, Wraithsword is a superior close-quarters attack. It does more damage and gets bigger buffs from Moonstrike and %EWD. It also doesn't suffer from Next Delay like Bladestorm does. However, later on when Crushing Blow is added to the mix, Bladestorm eventually surpasses Wraithsword in killspeed simply for it's potential to deliver more CBs more often--even against single targets and despite ND. That said, it doesn't mean Wraithsword is useless later on. Aside from being better at dealing with Magic Immunes, CB's effectiveness quickly diminishes as a monster loses life. This means, when engaging a single target with a large life pool (such as a Boss), a Moonstrike-empowered Wraithsword will eventually start killing the target faster than Bladestorm once that target's health falls below a certain point. Also, Wraithsword can take full advantage of both LoA/MoA and LL/ML, whereas Bladestorm suffers stiff penalties to LL/ML due to its high Magic damage conversion.



BREAKPOINTS

IAS:
10/37/92 (5 fpa) - Crystal Sword (-20 WSM)
6/23/56/129 (5 fpa) - Warp Blade (-10 WSM)
FBR:
3/7/13/20/32/48/75/129/280 (4 fpa)
FHR:
5/11/20/35/60/109/280 (3 fpa)
FCR:
6/19/42/83/194 (5 fpa) - Staff
8/22/42/78/157 (6 fpa) - Crystal Sword/Warp Blade

Source: Speed Calculator v. 1.2 by Terryys.



CHANCE TO BLOCK

Sorcs have an innate +3% CtB. With Baneblade active, their innate CtB increases to +4%. The following values will give the total DEX needed per additional CtB from shields to achieve Max Block (75%). They will assume a clvl 120 Sorc with Baneblade active.

+2% CtB = 3015 DEX
+1% CtB = 3615 DEX
+0% CtB = 4515 DEX



MERCENARIES

Mercs aren't necessary for this build, but it's still recommended you have one, especially early on. They can be extremely helpful in many situations, such as farming TA and clearing T-Cows/D-Cows. I find Act 1 Rogue Sisters and Act 3 Iron Wolves the most useful for a Melee Sorc due to their ranged attacks and tendency to stay out of the way.

Rogues:
Ranger (Offense) - Physical-based ranged attacker. Has higher damage potential thanks to War Spirit (%CB).
Priestess (Support) - Physical/Magic-based ranged attacker. Uses Tremor to reduce enemy life. Curses enemies with Vindicate, which heals you when you kill a cursed enemy.

Iron Wolves:
Abjurer (Offense) - Lightning and Physical/Magic-based caster. Uses Banish to reduce enemy life.
Bloodmage (Support) - Fire and Poison-based caster. Uses Gift of Inner Fire to instaheal the entire party.

Tip:
Mercs inherit both your %GF and %MF, on top of any they get from gear, as long as they get the kill. They also benefit from the +Skills mod found on gear.

A more comprehensive Merc section will be added later.



SUMMONED MINION RESISTANCES

Summons have innate resistances, gaining 15% per Skill Point (Base Points aren't necessary) up to their natural cap of 75%. They also suffer from the same resistance penalties you do in later difficulties. While the +Summoned Minion Resistances mod can bring them back up to their cap, summons can't utilize more than +75% additional resistances from gear/Charms/MOs, nor can their resistances be increased beyond the 75% cap.

The following values list the Summoned Minion Resistance penalty per Difficulty, as well as how much +minion res is needed to reach the cap. They will assume at least 5 Skill Points into a summon skill.

Hatred (+/-0% Res Penalty)
75% innate resistances. No additional Summoned Minion Resistances are necessary.
Terror (-50% Res Penalty)
25% innate resistances. +50% Summoned Minion Resistances is needed to cap.
Destruction (-100% Res Penalty)
-25% innate resistances. +75 Summoned Minion Resistances is needed to cap, giving them 50% resistances.

h/t Suchbalance for clarifying this.



ACRONYMS AND TERMINOLOGY

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Summary
Spec: Lightning/Ice
Core Gear: TU Warp Blade and TU Ceremonial Armor
Objectives: Level Challenge 1, Ennead Challenge, Level Challenge 2

BUILD

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GEAR

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GAMEPLAY

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Summary
Spec: Lightning/Ice
Core Gear: Crafted Warp Blade, Crafted Sorc armor, Crafted Shield
Objectives: Black Road Challenge, "easy" Uberquests, Destruction Baal

BUILD

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GEAR

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GAMEPLAY

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Summary
Spec: Lightning/Ice, switching to Fire/Lightning
Core Gear (WIP): Sway of the Stars, Hellfire Plate, Crafted Spiked Shield, Nero
Objectives: All remaining Uberquests

BUILD (WIP)

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GEAR (WIP)

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GAMEPLAY (WIP)

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Edited by Solfege 2 days.
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Note:
1. The Ubers marked "WIP" have partial/full strategies, but are still being tweaked. The Ubers marked "TBA" have no strategies yet because I haven't done them.

2. The color-coded ranking system is still being tweaked.


For this guide, Uberquests are grouped into 3 tiers, and are ranked depending on gear requirements, number of Signets of Learning needed, and the amount of strategy/player skill necessary to complete them. They are listed in Documentation order.

Easy
  • Gear: Combination of Early and Mid-Game gear recommended
  • Signets of Learning: 0
  • Strategy/Player Skill: Low

Medium
  • Gear: Mid-Game gear, with some End-Game upgrades recommended
  • Signets of Learning: 50-150
  • Strategy/Player Skill: Medium

Hard
  • Gear: Full End-Game or other specific gear
  • Signets of Learning: 150+
  • Strategy/Player Skill: High

This symbol indicates an Uberquest has a corresponding Trophy.



DUNGEON

Death Projector
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Creature of Flame
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Infernal Machine
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Rathma Square
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Azmodan
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Cathedral of Vanity
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Vizjun
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Toraja
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Startled Witch - TBA
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Uldyssian - WIP
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The Void - FTS
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SUMMONING

The Butcher
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The Binding of Baal
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Assault on Mount Arreat
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Akarat
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Legacy of Blood
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Lord Aldric Jitan
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Judgement Day
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Zorun Tzin - TBA
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Archbishop Lazarus
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UBERLEVEL

Secret Cow Level
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Kurast 3000 B.A.
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Island of the Sunless Sea
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Khalimgrad
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Tran Athulua
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Fauztinville
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The Triune
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The Unformed Land
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Kingdom of Shadow
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Ghosts of Old Bremmtown
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Duncraig
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Yshari Sanctum - WIP
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Wretched Sands
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HEROIC

Bull Prince Rodeo
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Quov Tsin
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Belial
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Athulua
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Astrogha - WIP
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Kabraxis
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Edited by Solfege 1 week.
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LEVEL CHALLENGE 1

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ENNEAD CHALLENGE

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LEVEL CHALLENGE 2

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BLACK ROAD CHALLENGE

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Minigame 1: Witch Queen

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Minigame 2: Mirror, Mirror

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JEWEL-CRAFTING

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SHRINE-CRAFTING

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BASE-CRAFTING FOR RUNEWORDS

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Melee Sorc Tips

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General Tips

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Elementals of the Unformed Land

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Stages of Yshari

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Preparing for Archbishop Lazarus

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Stages of Uldyssian - WIP

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Sins of the Void - TBA

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Upgrading the Soul of Kabraxis - TBA

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Upgrading the Glorious Book of Median - TBA

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Alternate End-Game Gear (Still Theoretical)

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Videos

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  • Marco, Laz, and the entire MXL team.
  • Blizzard North (may you rip).
  • Rishab for his “Bestiary.”
  • Suchbalance for the “Workshop” section of his Stormazon guide.
  • Wolfieeiflow for his “Guide to Writing a Guide.”
  • All the people who keep the forum running, maintain the documentation, and host servers.
  • SwineFlu for his write-ups and teaching me how to do the ultra-end-game Ubers.
  • Kenshin, Keithioapc, Gloryseeker, and everyone else who provided feedback, strategies, and tips for this guide (sorry if I missed anyone).

Thanks for reading!

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions related specifically to this guide, feel free to pm me here on the forum.
Edited by Solfege 6 days.
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Goodkidscc
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How can you invest into the cold light and fire trees if you can only pick 2?
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void
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ok i didnt read yet, but i can already tell nice pics

/e: IAS: 39/80/180 (Warp Blade) i think you forgot to factor the wsm from the weapon itself when you (i assume) checked the bps in the speedcalc, warp blade got a really good wsm
Edited by void 6 months.
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Pinball
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Goodkidscc wrote:How can you invest into the cold light and fire trees if you can only pick 2?


He starts with Lightning/Ice then switch to Fire/Ice later.
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Pinball wrote:
Goodkidscc wrote:How can you invest into the cold light and fire trees if you can only pick 2?


He starts with Lightning/Ice then switch to Fire/Ice later.


He starts with Light/Ice for the def/survivability, but then once he gets later game into some RWs, he can respec to Fire/Ice for more life and damage (firedance), along with Adamantine Guard end game for the Warp Armor passive from Light tree.
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Goodkidscc
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LHawkins1 wrote:
Pinball wrote:
Goodkidscc wrote:How can you invest into the cold light and fire trees if you can only pick 2?


He starts with Lightning/Ice then switch to Fire/Ice later.


He starts with Light/Ice for the def/survivability, but then once he gets later game into some RWs, he can respec to Fire/Ice for more life and damage (firedance), along with Adamantine Guard end game for the Warp Armor passive from Light tree.

Gotcha. I realized it was a misguided question after I read the guide a second time.

Nicely done, and cookied.
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void
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ok i read it all, i dont remember anything thats missing, but i would be interested in your source for where you found that adamantine guard oskill warp armor boosts minions as well
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Solfege
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Uberquests section added. That's enough for today...