Arcane Archer Theorybuild: Old Version

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Arcane Archer Theorybuild: Old Version

Note: Due to changes in Oct 2015, much of this version no longer applies. Archiving the old version here for historical purposes.

For the theory build I'm using cleric. The idea is that a Half-Elf Cleric can get some Bow Strength from the Ranger Dilettante feat, Arcane Archer from their racial enhancement tree, can spend 35 points in Arcane Archer to get all the heroic cores and two T5's, and still have leftover enhancements for at least the Radiant Burst. Worshipping the Silver Flame gives long bow proficiency and a few +1 enhancement bonuses as you level. If you play into epics you get all the cores and the capstone by level 25 by shifting 41 points into the AA tree.

In the lower levels of heroics you take Artificer Dilettante for the ranged weapon synergy and repeater use. You simulate the AA Conjure Arrows by using Artificer scrolls (Conjure Bolts). The AA elemental imbues appear to apply to conjured bolts. A heroic Hellfire Crossbow is a nice generic weapon as it has a built in elemental burst and an expanded critical range. Before the Hellfire Crossbow, a simple crafted Screaming of Bleed is fine.

The entire plan applies to a Favored Soul except you want the Archon instead of the Burst, which means the AP will be tight. It could also work for a paladin with a full set of archery feats (I hear Holy Sword is awesome on a bow). In the case of either Cleric or Favored Soul the idea is to not completely gimp spell casting. I'm looking for a way that casting and bow use work in tandem.

As long as you have arrows and bolts conjured, before you drop Artificer Dilettante you can easily swap between repeaters and longbows.

  • Arcane Archer unlocked in helf is 14 ap.
  • Arcane Archer capstone is 41 ap. It's only available in epic levels.
  • Radiant Burst is 11 ap.
  • If you're only going for a heroic build, you need 30 points in the tree to unlock the T5, plus 2 ap for Slayer Arrows and 3 ap for maximum Improved Elemental Arrows. Aligned Arrows are the best core you can buy and are available at level 15. This means you only need to spend 35 points in the tree for heroic AA.

Top of tree for Ranger Dilettante is 15 ap and gives up to +8 strength bonus to bow attacks. That would be another +3 ap, total. On any divine it's best to spend 19 total and buy two tiers of Arcanum, instead of Arcane Fluidity.

66 of 80 ap spent, 69 if you max Ranger Dilettante. There might be some points free for the regenerating turns in Radiant, and the 2nd tier of helf healing amplification, or some archery boosts in Warpriest. Don't bother trying to use Divine Might as an Enhancement bonus to Strength. You'll be struggling with too many stats and gear slots to get Charisma high enough to pay. This makes wearing your heroic and epic Gianthold gloves hard for heals. In heroic levels, you can always use a Cannith crafted strength item. In epic levels, you can toss a +7 Strength augment in the epic gloves colorless slot. You want to try to avoid using an epic Shamanic Fetish, as that breaks the Planar Conflux set. You need a Pinion (and want the Conflux bonus) in epic level as that's the strongest bow for this build.

Here's a rough list of feats.

Feats

  • 1-Point Blank Shot (+ Artificer Dilettante)
  • 3-Rapid Shot
  • 6-Maximize
  • 8-feat swap to Ranger Dilettante (best dragonshard cost)
  • 9-Manyshot
  • 12-Quicken
  • 15-Empower or Empower Healing
  • 18-IC - Ranged
  • 21-Spell Focus: Evocation
  • 24-Precise Shot
  • 26-Improved Precise Shot
  • 27-Ruin
  • 28-Mass Frog

I've fallen in love with Mass Frog. If you have it unlocked, it's worth taking on any cleric with a decent Evocation DC at level 28. As one of my mentors explained it to me, it's like having a second Implosion spell. Instead of the targets disappearing, they turn into frogs! Harmless, hopping, croaking frogs. If you ever wished you could cast Implosion twice as often, Mass Frog is for you!

Many Shot needs a BAB of +6, Dex 17, and PBS/RS. Rapid Shot needs Dex 13. +3 tomes apply at level 11 (meaning 12 is the soonest a cleric could take Manyshot if they're depending on a tome for Dexterity). With at least a +2 Dexterity tome, you can get Manyshot at level 9 by starting with a 15 Dexterity.

Precise Shot needs Point Blank Shot. Improved Precise Shot needs Precise Shot + Dexterity 19. Starting Dexterity needs to be calculated based on tomes and the 19 target.

Improved Critical has a BAB of +8.

My first thought is to put all level-ups into Wisdom. I have no idea how that would play out with hitting (how much Dex does an endgame archer 'need'?)

You could probably give up Spell Focus: Evocation, but I'm reluctant to actually gimp casting on any cleric. I do reserve it for epic levels as it's not needed in heroics.

If taking a heroic-only build, you should probably go for Empower Healing. Since there's not going to be damage SLAs, you might as well have the cheaper metamagic to use on healing spells. If you're taking the character to epics, you'll want plain old Empower. This will empower your healing SLAS, as well as empowering offensive epic SLAs.

This build would be best as either a True Reincarnation after you spent a lot of time grinding good heroic and epic gear, with the majority of epic destinies unlocked, or as an Epic Reincarnation after the same. It would need maximum available spellpoints (good Wizardry items, greensteel Con Op), good spellpower (heroic and epic Gianthold gloves, Holy Symbol of Lolth from 21-23, Lantern Ring). I'd also want a +3 Wisdom Planar Focus to bond with Pinion.

Endgame Radiance would come from a Lantern Ring. With the Lantern Ring and the Gloves of Immortality all you need is Impulse for blade barrier (or just skip it and use Potency). If you skip it then you can slot a damage augment in Pinion.

Some other choice epic gear: If you could get them, I'd go for the Halcyon Boots from Fall of Truth. With +8 Dexterity, Striding 30%, a yellow slot (and a colorless slot for +2 Insightful Dexterity), and Potency +80, there's a lot to like. The Tablecloth would take care of Charisma and Spell Focus Mastery (+2 to all casting DCs). The evocation necklace from Friends in Low Places (heroic and epic) would boost a cleric's main damage school.

With Potency on your boots and the Tablecloth on your back, you could afford Flawless Black Dragon armor, or Shadowscale that's DPS-oriented.

Before TRing into this build:

  • Hand in House Deneith Favor and get your two quivers (one for arrows, one for bolts).
  • Get a Hellfire Crossbow from the Chronosphere raid. This repeating crossbow is Bound to Account and thus may be swapped between characters.
  • Get a Silver Longbow. It binds on equip but isn't particularly rare. If you can't farm it, they're usually available in the plat Auction House. It has an expanded critical range and a red slot and is going to be your core bow for several levels.
  • Farm up a triple positive greensteel bow (for undead).
  • Get a Bow of Sinew (from the Missing chain). This bow is Bound to Account and thus may be swapped between characters. This bow is amaazing. It has an expanded critical range and a x4 critical multiplier, plus does Aligned damage. This plus AA imbues is your DR-breaker for heroic content (and even early epics).

Both the Silver Longbow and Bow of Sinew work with Improved Critical.

Some other nice gear to have:

  • Petrifying Warbow. Made from combining two weapons plus a Mark from the second Lordsmarch chain. Binds to character on Equip, and doesn't have an augment slot. This bow is a little tricky to farm, so you may want to save it for a long-term AA toon. However, it is VERY nice. The petrification proc freezes mobs in place, and the bow also has crippling (50% slow) on crits.
  • Serpentbranch. From Delera's end reward list. This bow is Bound to Account and thus may be swapped between characters. It has two augment slots, one red and one purple, and does poison damage. Many mobs are vulnerable to poison.
  • Thornlord, heroic version(+4 damage, 1.5 damage dice). This bow binds on equip and is very rare, so you may want to save it for a long-term AA toon.
  • Quiver of Poison (from Gianthold). Heroic and Epic versions are both nice. Binds to character.
  • Wind Howler Bracers. They give a bonus to ranged attacks and have a sonic proc on vorpal strikes (reported in the forums as 5d6+30 with no save).
  • Venom Set from the Red Fens. Has a poison proc on vorpal (2d6 Con damage). Constitution damage is nice because they lose hit points each time it ticks. Very few heroic mobs (even red-names) are immune to poison.

Cannith-Craftable Bows for creatures immune to crits:

  • +X acid/electric/frost (burst) of greater elemental bane
  • +X (vicious of) greater construct bane
  • +X acid (burst) of greater undead bane

A low-level smiter, disruptor, and banisher are useful

Advice from Natsira

My TR buddy Natsira gave me some advice on playing an AA. I have a tendency to let builds marinate for a while, and then when Natsira plays something, it motivates me to try it on my own. It happened with my pure cleric Warpriest build (he played a Warpriest Favored Soul) and then with my AA Theorybuild (he played an AA Ranger). While it doesn't say it here, he also pointed out that I wanted Manyshot before 12th level.

Hello,

manyshot use it as often as you can, get your str high for more dps from str bow, i took sniper shot and slayer arrow use it in manyshot to max dps

also haste/dmg boosts are cool and improved precison shot to hit multiple enemies with any shot + paralyzing arrows = win you can get them in line paralyze and use arrow of slaying on all enemies in line i did that a lot

against undead it sucks...