High Crit build for PvE GWF Destroyer.
I’ve been playing this game for along time, 1 year and 8 months. Almost in every game I’ve played I have always shared a guide about one or two classes. My favorite class in this game is the Great Weapon Fighter because is the class that I’ve always wanted to play: It’s a very strong warrior, high damage, high critical chance, you really feel like if you are playing some kind of berserker warrior, you get hurt and you get stronger or the more you attack stronger you become, it’s awesome.
The Great Weapon Fighter is a class that depends a lot in his equipment and the correct distribution of the stats. You can choose among 3 different paths: Instigator (should be reworked sooner or later) Destroyer (Damage dealer) and Sentinel (Some kind of two-handed sword tank that doesn’t really make sense in PvE or in proper words isn’t optimal).
When you are playing a GWF, a very important thing is that you have to focus on your mechanics, you have to work a lot for your DPS. Our class features and paragon feats increase a lot our damage but we have to attack. We need: to be fast,to keep the pace of the whole party, to mantain our stacks/buffs as much as possible, to be ready for every fight (specially clearing trash) so if you are a lazy player you won’t see good results with your character.
The High Crit build
Previous guides were based in a GWF focused on Power/STR which were very nice, every hit dealt much more damage but had lower critical chance, resulting in a screen full of “strong” yellow hits and sometimes you were able to see some orange hits (critical strikes). The build that I would like to share now is based in a very high critical % chance plus a very high critical severity. Due to the mod6 stats rework, Power and Crit have the same gain 1% for every 400 which makes crit much more desirable than power, therefore, having the highest amount of critical % will be our main goal. The start will be above 51% up to 95% critical chance (including self-buffs). The higher your critical %, crit severity becomes even better.
The optimal choice is the Half-Orc= 2 STR / 2 DEX + 5% Critical Severity, it’s perfect. Another good option: Human, less STR but 1% more chance crit (the extra defense is worthless). Metallic Dragonborn which allows you to choose +2 STR /+2 DEX plus a slight boost in Power/Crit.
18 STR – 18 DEX – 12 CON, including racial +2 STR + 2DEX, then each 10 lvl we will add points to STR-DEX. Low CON means not a very high HP and Armor Penetration but this is not a problem since the new gear comes with a huge pool of HP and the ArPen can be stacked easily.
Paragon: What should I choose Swordmaster or Iron Vanguard?
Once you are level 30, you will have to choose your paragon path for the GWF. The paragons are Swordmaster or Iron Vanguard but which one is better?
Swordmaster is stronger in DPS than Iron Vanguard, thanks to the Weapon Master’s Strike and Crescendo. This daily have higher base damage than Indomitable Strike. IV used to be good when we had frontline surge in our encounters tray but it got nerfed + the high CD made it a not very good one. Threatening Rush is a good At-Will, the Mark will grant you 20% more damage to you and 8% to your allies. Good for single target fights but not for clearing trash.
One thing to consider is that Weapon Master’s Strike buff our at-wills for 30% damage including itself (after the first hit), when WMS is buffed deals the same damage than Wicked Strike so there’s not really difference between these skills, the good part is if you use WMS to buff the other at-wills you will deal higher damage, buffing wicked strike for clearing or buffing Sure Strike for even higher single target damage. Either using Threatening Rush or Weapon Master’s Strike in order to boost your At-Wills (20% and 30% respectively) works great but WMS is also an AoE attack + you can also apply mark with Daring Shout which is a very useful encounter, being IV means you are 30% below Swordmaster regarding to the damage of the At-Wills. It is correct that the mark also affects the damage done by every skill, not only at-wills, but these are the main source of our damage not the encounters nor the dailies, that’s why I’m more focused in mentioning the effect on them.
Most of the powers had to be unlocked as requisite in order to advance to the next level. The Nwcalc doesn’t allow me to add 4 points atm but you will absolutely want 4 ranks in the following powers:
Weapon Master’s Strike
Indomitable Battle Strenght
Avalanche of Steel
For solo playing, single target dmg and running dungeons we are able to use almost always the same powers, it might be important according to the situation that you can switch Spinning Strike for Avalanche of Steel if the group requires more control. AoS used in the right time can be very useful. Daring Shout is great for building determination ASAP + extra damage resistance + apply mark to the enemies which will increase the overall damage of the group but you can also change to Restoring Strike if you feel squishy for extra healing or if you need more stamina for sprinting.
One of the most important things that you have to master when you play with the GWF class: the mechanic, which I refer to the way how you play the character under specific situations. This class is not really easy to play in PvE, pushing 2 or 3 buttons won’t make you Top DPS and whoever says the contrary means poor knowledge about the class or clearly bad performance.
- We have very slow At-will powers unless we are in Unstoppable, so we have to use most of our encounters/dailies when we don’t have unstoppable ready yet and spam our At-wills as soon as the TAB button is available. Using Indomitable Battle Strike as finisher when there are only 1 or 2 seconds before it’s over.
- Always keep an eye in the enemy with lower HP and aim your IBS to him. This encounter will help us to get tons of Action Points if you use it properly. The AP gauge should be always ready everytime you charge against a new pack of mobs.
- Use Weapon Master’s Strike properly, it buffs a lot your Sure Strike. Do as follows: Considering that your TAB is ready, press it and inmediately press WMS once then follow up spamming Sure Strike.
- Restoring Strike, don’t use it as soon as you can, learn the attacks of your enemies, sometimes we will get hit for a lot of damage and we need to recover our HP to full in less than a second. You receive the damage then strike back with Restoring Strike, full HP again. Remember you are useless as DPSer if you are dead.
- Hidden Daggers, this power buff our damage 40% for 8s, don’t spam it. If you want to deal AoE dmg use WMS instead, cast it when the effect is about to end.
- Daring Shout is our opening encounter either for single target situations or surrounded by trash mobs. It will fill the unstoppable bar generously, grant us combat advantage and 20% more damage for us (8% for the team) thanks to the Mark effect. We can keep it easily 100% uptime so try to cast it every time you can.
- If you are playing with a CW (who should be using Arcane Singularity often) prepare to use your Spinning Strike in the exact point where the mob are being gathered. It is better if you use it before they land because they will spread out after that.
- There are many more, remember just don’t smash buttons, be smart and you will have success. One single encounter can make a difference for your group and you.
- Our main stat will be critical Strike, you will fill every offensive slot with Azure Enchantment.
- Even though, more defense means more power/dmg in our build, if we add azure enchantments to every defensive slot, the extra amount of Power won’t make a huge difference (9*700 (azure r12)= 6.300 which 20% is 1260 = 3.15% Damage Bonus) but adding Radiants (HP) is going to be much more important now because it grants us a bit more of survivability AND we will get a higher pool of Temp HP instead of using Power in offensive slots (using radiants in defensive slots gives us around 3 times more Temp HP than using the enchantment in an offensive slot.)
- Our CON is low (14) and we receive only 4% resistance ignored. We will need to get our Armor Penetration up to 5k-5.5k. Just aim for a max of 40% ArPen for clearing trash and up to 60% for fighting harder enemies like bosses.
- Health Points (HP) This will make your experience lvling from lv 60 to 70 a lot easier. Always go first for HP when you start getting items either from quests or drops from mobs, the higher your HP, easier you will find the content.
- Combat Advantage bonus up to 8% = 1000 Stat points (Should be 1 Mythic artifact + First Icewind Dale boon).
- Do not even think about Regen, it’s useless for PvE. It’s hard to get in the equipment and it doesn’t have a good return anyway.
- AoE resist up to 8%: Elemental Fire Sword Knot artifact stat increase + Weathering the Storm (IWD first boon). Just like Combat Advantage up to 1000, depending of the artifact that you choose to play with.
- Power will help you to get more temp HP, it’s very nice but don’t focus your character in this stat.
- Recovery isn’t really necessary. Daring Shout’s CD is around 15s while the mark effect lasts for 20s and Hidden Daggers isn’t affected by recharge speed (it’s always 12s) You will get enough with the gear.
- Life steal between 8% and 10% is enough because we are continuously attacking and we can get our HP back to full only using our At-wills.
- At first look, the character might look squishy but thanks to the dmg bonuses + the HP pool, we can get between 70k and 150k in Temp HP every time we hit TAB.
Offensive slots: Azure enchantment for Critical Strike. You can put also some Radiant Power enchantment and mixe with Azure.
Defensive slots: Mainly Radiants for HP but Azure and Brutal are a good option.
Utility slots: Dragon’s Hoard or Dark enchantments.
Note: While you are achieving your goal (reaching the maxed stats) you might need to switch some enchantments in order to get the other stats that you need, like more ArPen, meaning Darks instead of Azure in offensive. The most important offensive stat is ArmPen (65% cap actually starting mod12 – 75% Cap), then go for crit.
Note: Some updates regarding Neverwinter mod12 (August 2017)
- DragonFlight set (guild stronghold market) is good to start the adventure when you are lvl70. You can buy also 2 pieces of Pilgrim set with Tramalune bars. You can find all kind of set for GWF in Neverwinter gamepedia post. Relic Armor Set is very good but difficult to obtain from Fangbreaker Island (FBI).
- Necklace, Belt and Artifact: We will aim for the Demon Lords’ Immortality artifact set bonus. Baphomet’s Infernal Talisman, Demogorgon’s Girdle of Might and Shard of Orcus’ Wand respectively. The set bonus “Deal up to 20% additional damage based on the difference in hit point percentage between the player and target.”, it’s simply perfect for our GWF following this high crit build: +2 STR +2 DEX as stats just like our ability scores, additional damage while we can achieve up to 95% crit and we have the highest weapon damage among the classes. Waiting for this set, Great Protector Set is not bad to start with Greater Twined Rope of Dexterity and Lantern of Revelation for 2 part of set for GWF.
- Artifacts: After Lostmauth’s Horn of Blasting, we still have 3 more artifacts. First, Sigil of the Devoted Cleric, our dailies can deal much more damage than any other artifact (Token of Chromatic Storm hits really hard and have a very nice debuff but the stats aren’t great). Lantern of Revelation has very good stats: Critical/ArPen/CA dmg. Kessell’s Spheres of Annihilation has similar stats: Power/ArPen/CA but remember that we will focus our character in Crit instead of Power, also lantern is cheaper. Sigil of the Controller (CW Artifact) is the only artifact which comes with Power and Critical so it’s a very good choice. The last artifact will depend on your stats, you can go for more crit/arpen/hp/power in that order. In example, if you choose a kessell’s spheres artifact, you can switch the Icewind Dale’s first boon for AoE resistance while keeping 2 artifacts that will provide enough Combat Advantage. Typically used by GWF are: Wheel of Elements, Shard of Orcus’ Wand and Sigil of Controller with Lantern of Revelation. Shard od Orcus’ Wand is a part of Artifact Set Demon Lords’ Immortality.
- Accesories: Starting mod12 you can buy with Seals vendor (in Protector Enclave) epic Ostorian Ring of Dod previously availables in FBI (Fangbreaker Island dungeon). The most interesting Ring is Greater Ostorian Ring of Dod wit Power and Critical Strike and 2 Offensive slots – in FBI (Fangbreaker Island dungeon) and mSVA (master Assault on Svardborg dungeon). Another interesting ring is Ring of Rising Power +5 (obtained from Demogorgon and Master Demogorgon dungeons) – eventually +4 but we prefer DoD rings this moment.
- Necklace: Baphomet’s Infernal Talisman as mentioned before with the extra AP gain granted at Legendary lvl. 4% each 3s is amazing, it will become 50% of our total AP gain during a battle. It’s a must to upgrade this artifact to max lvl asap. Cloaks with +8 AC are useless for DPS, it means 4% more damage resistance that won’t make any difference.
- Weapon and Armor enchantments: It’s a high crit build based in high crit severity so Vorpal is a must for this build. Perfect is more than enough, there’s not really point upgrading your vorpal to Pure or Transcendent since the Crit Sev is going to be the same. If you are playing solo, Negation is a very good option but isn’t really good for dungeons where Soulforged is much more important.
How important are our At-Wills?
There are many people complaining about how weak are the GWF At-Wills, I disagree. Sure Strike is the core of this build and a GWF played correctly can make a very good use of it, please, take a look to this picture. Using the right mechanic and keeping the buffs/debuffs properly, SS is going to bring higher DPS than other encounters even if they hit a lot harder. by the time when IBS has done a huge crit, SS has already done much more damage. That’s why it is necessary to follow the mechanic as I explained, if you do it in the wrong order, you will lose DPS.
Note: I didn’t use lostmauth’s set bonus so I can keep the picture for longer time in the guide, the bonus set will be eventually nerfed.
How to buff our GWF properly?
- Start with Daring Shout, this will give you combat advantage and increase the damage of your following attacks.
- Hidden Daggers for extra 40% dmg.
- Weapon Master’s Strike which buffs the damage of your At-will attacks, this allows you to keep your AoE using WMS fully buffed or use SS for full single target dmg.
- (Augment) Choose an Ioun Stone with 3 offensive slots, so we can add Profane runestones for extra critical . You can use Ioun Stone of Radiance if you prefer the extra life steal even being so low. Black Dragon Ioun Dragon Stone is also a good one but in the long term the active bonus won’t be useful. It is difficult to get a Radiance but Ioun Stone of Might is almost the same except for the active bonuses. Note: A Black Dragon Ioun Stone will grant you extra Armor Penetration but if you prefer to use the Radiance, you can switch the 3rd Dread Ring boon for 3% Resistance Ignored which will be more than enough to cover it.
- Epic Erinyes of Belial 10% Critical Severity, Epic Cambion Magus 10% Critical Severity and Epic Dancing Blade for an extra 5% Crit Sev, this makes 25% crit sev thanks to the companions.
- Finally, Air Archon or Fire Archon are very good options too. Air Archon which bonus activates as soon as your enemy is not at 100% hp and Fire Archon gives you 7% more dmg when your enemy’s hp is below 50%.
Note: We only need 1 legendary companion, that honor is for our Ioun Stone, more stats is always good. Legendary lvl doesn’t increase our companion’s active bonuses.
This part is very simple, Toughness for more HP, Disciple of the Strenght and Endless Assault for more damage, 1 point in Armor Specialization so we can continue to the next tier. Steely Defense because more power is a good thing and finally Devastating Critical with Weapon Mastery which boosts the core of the build.
Destroyer feats: Great Weapon Focus with 5 points, we don’t longer need that single point that we used to have in Deep Gash. Disciple of War for more Power, Staying Power this will boost a bit the damage of Hidden Daggers since we have to cast it continously and specially our finisher IBS. Executioner’s Style increases the damage of IBS and Sure Strike, simply amazing! Focused Destroyer grant us a ton of % dmg bonus and finally the capstone. We will keep using a few feats in Instigator: Student of the Sword for 5% extra damage, Vicious Advantage 5/5 for 5% extra crit + 5% damage. We always have combat advantage so the bonus is always on plus more crit is better than just a bit more of damage in comparison to Powerful Challenge. Remember you can keep mark in max 5 foes but you can do CA dmg to unlimited number of enemies. The last 5 points is what will make this build very interesting. 1 single point in Flanking Maneuvers, this is going to work like a small CC effect interrupting your enemies thanks to Weapon Master’s Strike which secondary attack comes from behind and since we will have close to 100% crit chance, it’s going to happen very often. This is very useful for the group while we are running dungeons and soloing, the fact that you can deal a ton of dmg plus some CC makes you a very important piece in any group. The last 4 points goes to Unfettered Strikes, the reason why I’m adding this feat is because the extra speed can help you to avoid red areas much more easily and that’s specially useful against hard hitting enemies. Deep Gash doesn’t deal enough damage, the enemies doesn’t live long enough.Flanking Maneuver’s effect has a 15s CD, so it is not possible to perma stun lock your enemy. Also, don’t even think about using Tier 3 sentinel feats for PvE, you will die before you can get enough stacks or some relevant amount of DR.
Update 05/17/2015 Note: Using this build, once you have achieved every possible BIS item, you will be above 100% Crit chance. In my case, I don’t longer need the extra 5% granted by Vicious Advantage so I had to choose a couple of feats in the Sentinel Tree: Scale Agility (5% Deflection) and Powerful Challenge (15% more damage to marked enemies) but keeping Student of the Sword. This means a total of 20% damage instead of 10% damage. Going for Vicious Advantage and removing 5% crit chance (azures in offensive slots) won’t give me the same benefit. Remember, this is only after you have reached 100% crit chance, otherwise if you go for these feats skipping vicious advantage and losing 5% crit chance you will be doing less DPS overall.
Very important: If it is a bit difficult for you to get Armor Penetration, add a point to Forbidden Piercing in Dread Ring for an extra 3%. Later, once you have reached the cap, you can switch it to Illusion Shimer.
Note of 05-17-2015
Ok guys, finally I got my last piece of Lv. 137 gear which allowed me to do a few more tests for the build. I’ve updated a couple of things and I have very nice information for you.
Mighty Blade: Your AoE damage is increased by 12.5%. If you want to know which powers are affected by this feat, just read the tooltip and look for the word: Burst, i.e: Avalanche of Steel, Mighty Leap, Not so Fast. It was great because AoS is one of the most important dailies for the GWF and that extra damage is noticeable specially when you are fully buffed but in the overal damage it doesn’t make a lot of difference, so I decided to stop using it. Invest full points in Staying Power and the last 5 points: 1 for Flanking Maneuvers and 4 for Unfettered Strikes. Why this feat? Because the extra speed can help you to avoid red areas much more easily, that’s specially useful against hard hitting enemies and yes it does makes a difference.
Weapon Master Strike: This feat is finally working as intended, you can add 4 points now.
Wraitful Determination: This class feature gives you 12.5% more damage in your Power and it is supposed to give you twice the amount when your determination is full. However, after a few tests, I only noticed the increase of 12.5% without the extra bonus with full determination which means that overal dmg boost is much lower than expected. Even after Lostmauth’s set bonus gets fixed, I don’t see this class feature viable.
On a side note, I’ve managed to achieve above 100% Crit chance. I don’t longer need the extra 5% granted by Vicious Advantage so I had to choose a couple of feats in the Sentinel Tree: Scale Agility (5% Deflection) andPowerful Challenge (15% more damage to marked enemies) but keeping Student of the Sword. This means a total of 20% damage instead of 10% damage. Going for Vicious Advantage and removing 5% crit chance (azures in offensive slots) then adding Power won’t give me the same benefit. Remember, this is only after you have reached 100% crit chance, otherwise if you for go these feats skipping Vicious Advantage and losing 5% crit chance you will be doing less DPS overall. This is an advice only for BIS players.
I kindly suggest you read the whole guide again since a few points were modified and some info was added.