My third build for the Compendium (see skills section)
The Conquerer : Gatsu, The Dreadnought.
1) - Overview -
Due to all the requests for a guide to building a conquerer, I've decided to dedicate my third guide to this incredible build. The conquerer, with decent gear and build can be among the top three characters in the game power and survivability wise - and arguably one of the most fun to play. The conquerer makes use of the Defense and Warfare trees to maximise his incredible melee potential and to gain the ability to tank nearly any monster in the game!
2) - Skills and Stats -
Inititally, get your strength and dex up to the point where you can use your target gear (if you don't know what you'll be finding, take em up to about 400 a piece). This will grant you decent damage and shield block rate.
Then plow the rest of your points into health and str - in a 1/1 ratio.
Int and mana should be left untouched - 'tis better to live while chugging mana potions than to die a squishy death due to too little hp.
=== Defense ===
Armor Handling - 6 points (max). This allows your character to use armor more effectively and reduces the requirements for shields and armor. Useful, since it will allow you to equip decent gear early on and KKND your way through normal and epic.
Shield Smash, Disable and Pulverise - 18 points (max - 6 in each). These are the three main procs of the defense tree - all allow your character to strike with both shield and sword simultaneously. They allow this double attack (smash), extreme slowing of enemies (disable) and multipe target hitting (pulverise). Get them.
Shield Charge - 1-12 points (max). This skill is one of the coolest in the game - a gatotsu esque technique that flings you ahead and strikes a target hard, stunning them and those around them (with synergies). This will be your main tactic for dealing with powerful ranged mobs - bringing your foes into arms reach in a second. You may want to leave a single pont in it if you are worried about mana, since you are after the stun and skill disruption, not the damage. Assign it to your right mouse button and use as soon as it charges (not long).
Disruption (synergy to above) - 6 points (max). Not only does this allow your charge to strike multiple targets, but it disrupts their skills (perfect for those cocky dragonian casters). 'Nuff said. Get it.
Colossus - 1-8 points (max). A stunning skill, albeit a silly looking one. Your character becomes really big and tough for a short period of time. Nice to have if boss running or for when things get tough - but has a nasty recharge time and can be annoying (you won't fit through certain doors, for one ).
Battle Awareness - 1 point. The conquerer's 'energy reserved' skill, this gives a minor boost to defensive abilities. Not all that usefull on its own - but its synergies are well worth the price of admission.
Focus (synergy to above) - 3-6 points (max). Allows your shield to block more often...more useful than you'd think but less than you'd hope.
Iron Will (synergy to above) - 6 points (max). Quite possibly the best skill in your defensive arsenal. This adds those tricky to get resistances such as stun and skill disruption. This will make you the envy of other melee builds in legendary, since everything seems to love stunning you - get it, love it, appreciate it.
Adrenaline - 1-10 points (max). An okay proc with insanely good synergies. This gives you a minor boost to regeneration and has a 5 percent chance of triggering whenever an enemy strikes you. Maxing it gives it a longer duration (12s), allowing it to be active for longer (a good thing since it has a 30s hidden recharge time). Nonetheless, regen isn't all that helpful when potions are plentiful and gold is easy to come by.
Resiliance - 6 points (max). There are those who view this skill as cheap and those who view it as an awesome and essential part of the conquerers arsenal. I'm a member of the latter group. It gives a significant reduction to *all* recharge times, allowing adrenaline to trigger sooner and your charge and other abilities to be used more often.
Defensive Reaction - 4-8 points (max). This significantly boosts your damage and speed (50 percent/15 percent max) during an adrenaline boost. A good skill to have, since late game adrenaline will be triggering almost constantly.
=== Warfare ===
Weapon Training - 6 points (max). Gives a decent boost to attack speed and offensive ability. An essential warfare skill.
Dodge attack - 3 to 6 points (max). A very useful skill, gives you a 15 percent (max) bonus to dodge all damage. This will save your *** more than you know.
Onslaught - The bread and butter of this build. Onslaught gives you a boost to your attack with each consecutive strike, to a significant 50 percent at max. With its synergies this skill is hard to beat - assign it to your left mouse button and go nuts.
Ignore Pain (synergy to above) - 1-6 points (max). This gives you damage resistance and the all important pierce resistance, up to a max of 15 percent. Very useful, unless you have already maxed your pierce resistace through items.
Ardor (synergy to above) - 6 points (max). Increases your movement and attack speed, greatly enhancing your DPS. A very useful skill. Note - hamstring is not required to access Ardor and thus should be ignored.
Ancestral Horn - 1-15 points (max). This summons in up to five badass fighters who are utterly awesome at engaging the attention of enemies and bosses. I use this as a bankai, for difficult encounters and with colossus makes you almost unstoppable. However, like colossus, its over way too fast and takes a while to charge.
Battle Standard - 1 point. A gorgeous skill when facing bosses - not only does this boost various offensive and defensive abilities but adds a +1 to alls skills! It also seems to make abilities recharge faster.
Triumph (synergy to above) - 1-6 points (max). Reduces enemy defenses when Standard is up, especially their stun resistance. For those who like to stun, this skill will truly shine - for everyone else, it is still highly useful for weakening bosses.
=== Other skills to consider ===
War Horn and Doom Horn (synergy) - These provide a short term, erratic stun over a wide area and a considerable drop in enemy defense and life. Some people swear by this skill...I tend to merely swear at it, since the stun is insignificant in legendary, monsters tend to have high resistances to vit damage and 33 reduced armor aint all that much. Furthermore, enemies should die so fast in melee range that you won't really have much time to use this. Nonetheless, as said there are those who really love this skill. Give it a try if it appeals to you.
Rally, Inspiration (synergy) and Defiance - Once again, this is a 'swear' by or 'swear at' skill. It gives a minor boost to hp, regen and armor when used - although nothing to really write home about. Its synergies are similarly meh, granting energy regen (useless to you) and damage returned (nice, but things die too fast in close for this to really be useful IMHO). The only truly good thing about this skill is that defiance can provide a hefty (up to 50 percent) bonus to elemental resistances. Nice. Once again, feel free to give it a try - it can be a useful skill, especially in MP.
Battle Fury, Crushing Blow and Counterattack - My personal favourite of the 'considered' skills. This is yet another proc which pumps your combat potential, granting a significant offensive boost (fury), huge potential damage (crushing blow) with a negligible retaliation (counterattack). If you have points lying spare, max the first two and drop a point or two into counter. It should be noted that, as with all proc synergies, the synergies will only activate when the primary is in effect - i.e. Battle Fury.
Batter and Rend Armor - Great little skills, if you have a mouse button to spare. I recommend using Batter early game to allow your character to dominate until you unlock Warfare. It gives your character the ability to slow his foes, as well as a nice shield/weapon combo to use at will. Rend gives a not insignificant ability to lower the armor of foes, but its main use is to add more targets to Batter. I choose not to include this in the primary build, since I never found myself using it. Between Onslaught, Charge and the various procs, my damage and slowing capacity was more than sufficient. Nonetheless, a great skill if you are possessed of great dexterity with the third mouse button and have skills to spare.
Quick Recovery - A decent skill, perhaps worth a point or two. Improves your blocking immensely when active, increasing its chace to block and frequency of blocking, as well as your armor rating slightly. I tend not to use this all that much late game, since my shield block is already 98 percent...a reasonable consideration, though.
3) - Character Progression -
There are a number of possible ways to build this character up, but this is my personal favourite. Start by dropping a point into Batter (yes, batter) - a great little skill to help you up till you get Onslaught. Once you have the latter, feel free to retrieve the skill point.
Next, maximise Armor Handling to allow you to use your target gear sooner (the str bonus from your chosen armor and shield will further accentuate this skill). Now drop a point into Battle Awareness and start climbing the defense mastery tree until you can put a point in Shield Smash.
When you hit level 8, put a point or two in Onslaught and maximise weapon training for the nice offensive boost. Until you are using powerful gear, maximising onslaught won't gain all that impressive a return, since it is a percentile. You will have a better time maxing the mastery for base damage and to use your uber gear sooner .
Focus on climbing the defense mastery tree, putting a point into each of the essential skills (especially the procs, adrenaline and shield charge). The second you are using your first chosen powerful weapon (probably around level 10 or so), max onslaught and watch that DPS hit the roof!
Next focus on climbing the defense tree, until you have unlocked Colossus and Pulverise (the latter I'd maximise right away, since it is the most powerful crowd control proc at your disposal). You should now be in late Egypt/early Orient.
From here you have two possible routes. If you feel confident about your dps and survivability, start climbing the Warfare tree, getting the synergies to Onslaught and grabbing your Ancestral Guardians. However, if you feel that your character could still use a bit of work, focus on maxing resiliance (to allow you to enter the adrenaline state and charge more often), disruption
(boosting your charge immensly) and the various defensive procs.
Either way, by early epic you should have your two trees fully available. Epic should really be a blue milk run, focus on maxing the essential skills. Ensure that dodge attack, iron will and perhaps ignore pain are up to scratch before you enter Legendary.
Finally, put any left over points into one of the 'considered' skills or maxing out the '1-x' essentials you like (such as colossus and Ancestral horn). I favour Rage, but plenty of others like rally or doom horn.
4) - Lets Talk Strategy -
Your basic strategy for the Conquerer is to target the enemies that offer the greatest threat to you - classically massed archers or casters, and use shield charge to get in close and annihilate them before they do the same to you. Learn to anticipate when charge will be ready and use it *often*.
Regular melee monsters should not provide much of a threat. The sheer number of procs going off coupled with the awesome boosts from Onslaught should raise your dps to an endgame total of 4-5k or beyond (with uber gear). You will thus be able to tank almost any mob, so long as you make a good entrance with charge and neutralize any ranged/casters. Believe me, once you get the hang of it, this build will make you cocky as all hell .
When facing bosses, you'll need to play it slightly safer - Beware the Ides of March : I mean, the Stomp of Talos! Learn the patterns of bosses and don't be afraid to use hit and run tactics to wear them down. Talos, Dracolich and other one hit wonders should be approached with caution (or avoided entirely if they prove too much a threat). Drop your ancestral spirits, battle standard and engage colossus form if ever in doubt - these skills will grant you immense temporary survivability and damage against your foes.
Use the terrain wisely, back up against a wall to avoid being surrounded. If all else fails - leg it, kite your foes and try to get them into a position where you can engage them one at a time (especially those blasted Cyclopses in legendary Olympus).
On the other hand, Typhon and most melee foes will scarely be able to scratch you, and archers/casters will fall like corn beneath the scythe to a well placed shield charge!
5) - Gear -
This is a gear intensive build. I would advise you to have a decent shield, set of armor and weapon close to hand as early as possible. The Somatophylaktes plate, Spinebreaker hammer and legendary shields like Bloodthirst and Eidolon are all great choices and easy to find (the latter three are, in my experience, some of Epic Typhon's favorite drops). Of course, nicer gear should be introduced late game, but I'd call these items (or equivalent) pretty much necessary to see the Conquerer at his best.
Your main worry is threefold - decent stun and pierce resistance, while sacrificing as little damage as possible.
I like to have at least 50 percent if not more of these resistances in legendary - not all that difficult to do, thanks to great, easy to find shields like Bloodthirst and the powerful helms available. In desparation, run Typhon on normal first, then epic to ensure you have good enough gear to survive the road ahead.
6) - Weaknesses -
The main problem with the Conquerer is that he has no pets to divert enemy attention away from him - thus all focus will be on you. If your damage resistances, stun resistance and armor rating are not up to scratch, expect to die a lot in Legendary.
The other problem is that you must literally be toe to toe with your foe to fight. While shield charge can get you there, being this close makes it difficult to avoid large blasts and nova type effects - certain bosses that barely touched you when you were ranged may offer an entirely new level of challenge to a melee build.
However, with a reasonable set of gear and decent strategy, the Conquerer can wade through most of this game with relative ease - and a ton of fun.