Build Review: Shield Mages

VDX_360

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A forum user expressed significant frustration with his mage, which can be described as a Shield Summoner (Shield, Wand, Summon, No Spells). Companion: A light weapon Griss. A test was done with his exact build and the following are noteworthy. Note, nothing new.

Summary: The biggest challenge was the player didn't understand game mechanics, and seemed confused some areas might be too hard. That prevented the player from adjusting tactics to the party's strengths.


1) In the early game, some players might find using a Shield more useful than orbs. In the ultra early game, every point of armor counts. That and available off-hand orbs are rather weak (it's the early game, after all).
2) By mid-game, Level 10 or so, a wand mage is well served by using a combination or orbs, or shields that serve the exact need at hand.
3) By late, game wand mages are best served by using the best orb available, and maybe using a shield in a few unique situations.
5) These notes stem from the limited number of shields a mage can equipment (and of those only two have decent resistance).

1) The player in question was trying to rely on purchased summon scrolls, namely wolf. That was using a lot of gold.
2) The player hadn't learned Fire or Ice Summon yet so it's unclear if he would have improved his quality of life with those summons.
3) Wand mages do less damage than Staff mages, so the use of strong summons (or spells) is vital to an effective build.

1) Wand mages benefit greatly from learning spells. The damage output helps make up for the defensive nature of a Shield Mage.
2) Not learning any spells means the build needs to relay on other damage methods (summons!), or expect longer, tougher fights.


1) A Light Weapon Shield Griss tends to be rather defensive. She can take a lot of punishment, but will struggle to do damage in the mid-game until better equipment, and her side quest is done.
2) Hirge, with her healing ability might serve a little better, but having her in the party might further reduce the offensive ability of the party.

1) Neither a mage nor warrior can heal. This makes the party really dependent on healing potions, and the recovery skill. A skilled player might limit potion use to a reasonable amount (a few timely potions as needed), but a inpatient player can easily consume way too many potions per dungeon run, resulting in a constant shortage of funds. Sometimes its just better to leave and come back rested.
2) Wands have pushback. That can interfere with using doorways as chokepoints (the push back breaks the log jam). It can also push enemies where you don't want them to go (fire elementals into fire floors, mummies back into their gas clouds, etc). It also interferes with Companions and Summons ability to attack.

1) If the player sticks it out and learns Earth Mastery, the Iron Golem might help out a lot.
2) Shield Mages aren't a broken build, but they are handicapped compared to other Wand builds.
 

Apocalypse

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Hey I'm currently in the Ark with a wand + summon mage! I never play wands, and I've been tempted to reset my skills and switch to staff many times loll. But I persevered.
If I may, I would like to join you on your build review! :)

Wands are very bad overall in my opinion. The only good ones are the few fire wands, then there's a cold one in the sewers of Icemist and the shock one in the Ark, but they're only available for the end game. So I felt a bit useless, my companion and summons did most of the work. I had to resort to spells for damage, so my mana was always drained. It was an extremely hard run, compared to my other runs with staves. As long as your enemies can be killed with a fire wand, it's fine. The normal damage wands are super weak though.

Orbs and shields add to our defense, sure, but the very low damage output means much longer fights, so in the end, even with a small bonus on armor, hp and/or resistance, we often end up sustaining more damage.

There is one huge advantage though.
Pushback!!!
It's fun.
Can give a headache or trigger epilepsy from watching opponents bounce all the time but it can be very useful loll. Sometimes I hated it though. It's tough to master the pushback. But once I did master it, it became easy to keep enemies at bay and let my team take the damage instead of me. So considering pushback, I'd say wands can get pretty defensive. It just takes a bit of work and learning.

Right now, in the Ark, I had to reset my skills. I was too weak. I just learned the MAGE BARRIER skill, and it changed everything. It's my favorite spell. I got from puny weakling to powerful juggernaut only with that spell. The barrier has its own pushback, and combined with wand pushback, enemies have a hard time even touching me! And the barrier now deals most of my total damage output.

Iron Golem, Mage Barrier and the Wand Pushback is definitely a good combination. But it's the only way I've found to make wands actually decent lol.
 
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VDX_360

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I think you hit the nail on the head: "I had to resort to spells for damage."
A Wand Mage is well served by also being a spell mage.
And, yes, Mage Barrier ties in well with a Wand Mage.
 

Apocalypse

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Since I got Mage Barrier, my Ark farming has really changed. I don't need my Iron Golem anymore. I do use Lightning Bolt though, so I suppose if I were to play without offensive spells, I'd need the summon. But it's crazy how much damage the barrier deals.

I'm still learning to use the double pushback.
I wonder how good it might get combined with the slow effect from Death Cloud...
 

VDX_360

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Slow + Pushback + Scepter of the Underworld might have some interesting damage output.

Slow + Pushback might make it hard for enemies to reach you, even if death damage isn't at play.

Haven't toyed around with that combo....
 

Apocalypse

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Guess I could try it in my current game.

I'm playing "The Magister", archenemy to all 3 Muggle Kingdoms. But there appear to be some random guy using my title and pretending to be me in the Ark. I need to take care of him and secure *my* Deep Gate to Noutamet. But afterwards, I'll go learn Death Cloud and see how it fares with the double pushback. Death seems an appropriate element for The Magister! I might even attempt to defeat the King of Korne with this...

*Evil Laughter*
 

Apocalypse

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I did it!
Slow Pushback works!!!

SLOW PUSHBACK:
Wand pushback + Death Cloud's slow effect

I just beat the King of Korne with this strategy, and he never touched me nor my companion Adaon. He couldn't get near us at all! I kept him slowed down with Death Cloud, while Adaon and I were firing at him from a safe distance. It took a while loll, but we won! We never lost a single HP!

King Korne was stunned a bunch of times too, which allowed me to push him back all the way to the other side of the room every time. I used Wand of Storms (Stun 10%), and Adaon used Jester's Bow (Archery III gives him Stun 7%). I don't think this strategy would have worked without stun. There's always that half second between Death Clouds where he would start running towards us, scary stuff loll. I needed those stun moments to get some distance between us.

I also have Mage Barrier for a Double Pushback, like we talked. It works great! I just didn't need it against Mr. King Korne. The only problem with this strategy is that it's worthless against ranged attackers and giant creatures (they're immune to pushback). Which means most bosses loll. And it's weak against hordes. But otherwise it's awesome lol.
 

VDX_360

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Working in the stun chance was a brilliant tactical move. It would have been easy to focus on the death damage aspect.

Summons might help with this tactic. Summons work well as meat shields that buy you that extra time to stay away.
 

Apocalypse

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Oh yes of course, summons are an absolute must for mages. But I chose to play this run without any summons to make it harder lol. I also chose to have a ranged companion only. I really wanted to rely on the pushback / stun / slow strategy. I'm also using Lightning Bolt for its stun effect.
One might even say I'm stunning... Lolll

I'm calling my character the "PSYCHOKINETIC MAGE", it feels as if he's using telekinesis to hold opponents at bay!
 

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