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Thread: 61 Bladedancer in PvE - A comprehensive guide

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    RIFT Guide Writer Muspel's Avatar
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    Default 61 Bladedancer in PvE - A comprehensive guide

    Bladedancer has always been one of my favorite builds, but it's also very different from every other rogue spec in terms of playstyle-- and for that reason, a lot of people have never given it a try.

    Let's take a look at the pros and cons of playing Bladedancer.

    Strengths
    • Extremely strong burst AoE DPS-- in fact, Bladedancer can actually beat dedicated AoE specs like Cabalist, Champion, and Saboteur on AoE windows of 12 seconds or less.
    • Solid single-target DPS. Bladedancer won't do as well as Assassin or other dedicated single-target specs, but it does beat out AoE specs that you'd otherwise use on AoE-heavy encounters.
    • Bladedancer rewards planning quite a bit, due to the need to match your dances to what's coming up next.
    • Bladedancer is one of only a few specs in the game that can provide the 5% crit debuff (via Dauntless Strike), and it's more versatile than the other two options (Champion is bad at anything other than AoE, and Assassin cannot do anything other than ST).
    • Bladedancer loses almost no DPS on target swaps. All you have to do is apply Dauntless Strike and get a crit for Magnify Pain, and you're in business. There are no other debuffs or DoTs that you have to manage.
    • Fairly decent utility. You have a ranged interrupt, a stun, and pretty good mobility. (And a disarm, but it doesn't really do anything in PvE.)
    • Has a significant energy surplus-- even without raid buffs, Bladedancer will never starve.

    Weaknesses
    • Bladedancer suffers badly on target disconnects. The only abilities you have that can damage anything outside of melee range are Fiery Spike, Hundred Blades, and Planar Variation. Fiery Spike does very low damage, and you'll often want to save the latter two for AoEing instead.
    • Mediocre sustained AoE. If you need to AoE for very long periods of time (more than ~22 seconds out of every 30), then Bladedancer isn't all that great. Fortunately, most things that you need to AoE don't live long enough for this to become an issue.
    • You have to adjust your dance rotation to each and every encounter if you want to optimize your DPS. This can actually be quite fun, but it also makes the spec somewhat complex.

    Overall, this makes Bladedancer a fantastic choice for any situation where you need both AoE and ST DPS, especially if you're switching back and forth between the two at around 30-second intervals. It's also one of the best choices for dungeons if you're able to survive being in melee, as most trash packs will die before your AoE cooldowns run out. (Be warned, though-- less experienced or less geared tanks may have trouble holding threat off of Bladedancer AoE. I've lost count of how many times I've pulled entire packs off the tank and died.)

    The Spec

    Use 61 Bladedancer/12 Assassin/3 Nightblade-- it's not the highest ST or the highest AoE DPS option, but it's a good trade-off between the two. You can switch in 3 Riftstalker instead of 3 Nightblade if you want to-- you'll lose a bit of DPS, but get a teleport and some extra health/armor/resists in exchange, which can be useful in some situations.

    Also, you have some flexibility with the level 61, 62, and 63 masteries, if you want to use something else, but the ones I picked in that build are the most frequently useful.

    Buffs: Virulent Poison, Leeching Poison, and Combat Preparation*.

    There are two alternate specs: the top ST DPS Bladedancer spec is 61 Bladedancer/8 Nightblade/7 Assassin, but it sacrifices AoE DPS and Bladedancer is only used when you need to AoE. By contrast, 61 Bladedancer/10 Assassin/5 Nightblade has higher AoE DPS, but sacrifices single-target DPS, and Bladedancer is used when you need good AoE and good single-target DPS. Overall, the difference between the three specs is very minor, but 12 Assassin/3 Nightblade is still the overall best choice-- it's not the best at either, but the amount of ST and AoE that you lose is very minor compared to the top builds in their respective categories, meaning that you get the best of both worlds.

    *Combat Preparation will be overwritten by other buffs in raids.

    Macros, Hotkeys, and Cooldowns

    That thing about macros in the line above? That's a lie, Bladedancer does not use any macros.

    For starters, you need to put every Bladedancer ability on your action bars except for Keen Strike, Deadly Strike, and Reprisal.

    Bladedancer is all about the dances. These are a set of six 21-second self-buffs with 60-second cooldowns, and they overwrite each other if you try to use one while another is already active. In practice, this means you can have one up at all times. Here's a list of them, in order of the strength (for ST DPS):
    • Fated Blades
    • Blade and Soul Parity
    • Dualism
    • Double Coup
    • Blade Tempo
    • Side Steps

    Even though Fated Blades is stronger than Blade and Soul Parity, you'll generally want to start the fight with Blade and Soul Parity, as the amplified crit chance lets you stack up Duelist Pose much more quickly.

    Keeping an eye on which dance you should be using can be daunting, so you may want to use an addon for that. Check the Addon section below for help on setting one up.

    On top of those cooldowns, you have Dancing Steel (DS) and Hundred Blades (HB), which both do massive AoE damage over six seconds, and have thirty-second cooldowns. Dancing Steel does damage in a circle around you, and Hundred Blades is a cone in front of you. There's also Planar Variation, which has a 1-minute cooldown and also heavy AoE damage over 3 seconds-- but take note that since Planar Variation is not a Bladedancer attack, it is not affected by Fated Blades. These three abilities will make up the overwhelming majority of your AoE damage.

    Now, your dances are good for different situations. Dualism is a huge increase to single-target damage, but doesn't affect AoE at all. Fated Blades is the strongest of the bunch, raising ST and AoE damage significantly. Blade and Soul Parity (BaSP) is almost as strong as Fated Blades, and it also raises the damage of HB and DS. Double Coup affects both ST and AoE builders, but not HB or DS. Blade Tempo does affect HB and DS (although it's weaker than B&SP), but is worse than the other dances for everything else, so you'll generally only use it for AoEing. Side Steps isn't useful for DPSing, but it can be a good panic button if the tank dies or if you pull threat off him.

    In practice, what this means is that you need to look at what you're doing and decide which dance you should be using. For instance, if you have Fated Blades and Dualism available, and you're currently single-targeting with some AoE coming up in 30 seconds, you should use Dualism, then use Fated Blades when it wears off-- because even though Fated Blades would boost your ST DPS more than Dualism, it will affect your AoE DPS.

    Those kinds of decisions are something that I can't really teach in a guide, unfortunately. A lot of it just comes down to experience with the spec and with the content. As you become more used to Bladedancer, you'll learn to plan out your cooldowns.

    Rotation

    The single-target rotation is fairly simple: you want to use at least 3 builders after each finisher (so that you use up all of your Deadly Dance charges), you want to end each builder sequence with Binary Strike (so that you can use follow-up->Binary Strike->follow-up after your next finisher), and you want to get as many follow-up attacks as possible, because they do more damage than Binary Strike.

    Your follow-up attacks are Precision Strike (PS) and Quick Strike (QS), and they can only be used after Binary Strike (or Keen Strike, but you'll never use that because Binary Strike is a straight upgrade). Precision Strike does slightly less damage than Quick Strike, but generates two combo points instead of one.

    For finishers, you'll mainly use Double Strike, but you should also use Dauntless Strike once per minute to maintain the debuff on the target (unless someone else is doing it). On AoE, you'll use Compound Strike instead.

    Your opener at the start of the fight is:

    Flash of Steel -> Binary Strike -> Finisher

    Then go into the standard rotation.

    Quick Strike -> Binary Strike -> Precision Strike -> Binary Strike -> Finisher

    And then repeat.

    During Dualism, though, the rotation changes, because your follow-up attacks will generate extra combo points. Instead, you'll alternate between the following two sequences:

    Quick Strike -> Binary Strike -> Quick Strike -> Finisher
    Binary Strike -> Precision Strike -> Binary Strike -> Finisher

    If you don't need them for AoE, you can use Hundred Blades or Dancing Steel during the last second of Fated Blades-- they'll keep the effect for the whole channel even though the buff expires, as long as it's active when you start. This is a single-target DPS gain. You can do the same with BaSP and Blade Tempo-- there's no reason to do so for ST, but it can be worth it on AoE if it matches up with what you're doing anyways.

    Your AoE DPS mostly relies on Hundred Blades, Dancing Steel, and Planar Variation, but if you need to AoE without them, you use Twin Strike and Compound Attack:

    Twin Strike x5->Compound Attack

    Tips and Tricks
    • Hundred Blades' area of effect is bigger than you'd think. You can use it to AoE targets that aren't near each other, but you also need to be careful not to pull extra mobs that might not be out of the deceptively large range.
    • You can quickly toggle Defensive Pose on if there's a large burst of raid damage incoming to make the healer's job easier, then turn it off afterwards. You can also leave it on the whole time during Blade and Soul Parity, since it removes energy costs.
    • Defensive Pose can also be used for a movement speed boost.
    • It's easier to stack up Duelist Pose on AoE (since you have more chances to crit with more targets). This means that if you don't have 5 stacks of Duelist Pose yet, or if your stacks are about to fall off, it can be worthwhile to AoE a bit with Twin Strike or Compound Strike even if the mobs that you're AoE don't need to die.
    • Planar Variation can also be used to heal yourself or an ally. This is sometimes very useful if the healer dies-- you can channel it on the tank and keep him alive long enough for the rest of the group to mop up the remaining trash.

    Addons

    I strongly recommend using Karuul Alert to track the durations and cooldowns of your dances. Try importing the following set:

    Code:
    KA::AlsjfeNq9lt1umzAUx18lT9DZGLAjXxmw1V1siRZ2Vwk54LSoFCJsNnUf7z6bJB1paYeSdHE
    uAFvHv3P89zkn6VppyqaehRTSlG4r+aja/lHYsSoLNVsZtdWUhSxhXpDEfE4i4OOIArvMLQJ2fCk
    3hibSyA83Xz/eyHVZleYxK/Om1jfaGsm0M3JVFJqGAaIE+dQn7g/toDH/nPIv7gn2AwG7f3r43L+
    F/UbiV3LghWO8USUtsKyL2arpqtlSthaDMt/jCfEAIQyKGAdgMnqrvpVGVuUPBfOLwFtb+mFI7u3
    JD1MMEMaC+TwJfB5bbjaZtVCbSuUuNlD2rDiYn8IKD7BNt67ULG667UvglA6nWRglDMwRxAgKX8T
    kBGg/30WYhMFZ1LKrTaW0trJty3s1QL8ysr1VZk9mQ/58KROJzxFCYYAF59yGb6obm7KWle6teLv
    Yg5BiAodepIvlc0cg7h2JFmm6+LSf9I7cWWw2d07OUbfZ9KEfFfx1p60jlHme4JAzANGcgMTzT+G
    Ho/yA/tRG5vf695gfPbMYlfwOMFUP22ZMRcNphv0AIACsfjAm3Asm46+dlcw4Kz39HJKzNHTIMf7
    rOebSyBfKisEYsZBGWQm5HbUTOfFjH8JYhDHEMZ6MfCfbdVnfqjbbWk2a5iHrnbhIVpd1bk27UqO
    qoc6f0uPRAoY5CyLhwdjDiAvu8s20dLMz46qRqp64j4WezHa/42v55p3tvz3J5yjcI6n+fxwHgd5
    FboA3pqd3qFXnyee6q4v2zZg/W8FERETAQpSwgEFE8FQB9SF2KrJhv9vZ3Ic9y0f1BOn1QU+vF4D
    BDB49BjR6DO9Ugc87i0iulmMnMLU1C0/uzVzNOkvzyqrazJaNVi/DbRue4by9thhCwbgfhTAM0fR
    W4btsq6YtslbJ4jHbNtp0rcr+dmzH4vln1X2re/gDKo+Itw
    You'll get something that looks like this:

    61 Bladedancer in PvE - A comprehensive guide-2013-11-18_072807.jpg

    Stats and Gearing

    Bladedancer loves attack power.

    Final Words

    Let me know if you have any questions, or if you've spotted something that you think is incorrect.
    Last edited by Muspel; 10-10-2015 at 10:36 AM.

  2. #2
    Soulwalker
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    Default Thank You!

    Thank you for the guild Muspel! I was doing MH -> OH -> F, but I will fix this . It will be useful for our twins progresssion. ^
    Last edited by Neverland; 11-18-2013 at 09:10 AM.

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    RIFT Guide Writer Nynja's Avatar
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    just want to mention that you can also PS>BS>QS>BS>finisher if anyone prefers it outside of dualism^^
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nynja View Post
    just want to mention that you can also PS>BS>QS>BS>finisher if anyone prefers it outside of dualism^^
    QS > BS > PS > BS > Finisher does slightly more damage because of Blade Hustle.
    Last edited by Gery; 11-18-2013 at 11:20 AM.

  5. #5
    RIFT Guide Writer Nynja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gery View Post
    QS > BS > PS > BS > Finisher does slightly more damage because of Blade Hustle.
    thx i always confused that :/
    Quite@Typhiria
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    Nightmare rifts - An indepth guide to reach stage 300

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    RIFT Guide Writer TheGrinnz's Avatar
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    I use two macros to organize my dances so that I can think in terms of purpose. This probably won't work well for anyone who just throws in the macros without understanding how the dances work and if you rely on them of course you lose flexibility. That said they have helped me understand how the dances are used without taking 10 second breaks mid fight to figure out what to use next.

    For single target. Dualism is first in the macro so I am extremely aware of when it will be used (since it changes the rotation), but BaSP and Fated Blades are used first via the other macro or separately.
    Code:
    #show Dualism
    suppressmacrofailures
    cast Dualism
    cast Fated Blades
    cast Blade and Soul Parity
    cast Double Coup
    cast Blade Tempo
    AoE macro. BaSP used separately if I need to get duelist pose up first. This macro is for maximizing HB and DS.
    Code:
    #show Fated Blades
    suppressmacrofailures
    cast Fated Blades
    cast Blade and Soul Parity
    cast Blade Tempo
    cast Double Coup
    And I have all the dances (especially BaSP) visible separately, just next to those.

    I am starting to understand the dances well enough to use them separately but I don't do a lot of T2 content with BD on my rogue so that granularity/preparation hasn't been necessary.

    Some questions. FB is better than BaSP for HB/DS when duelist pose is up right? (need to add a kalert for that...)

    I'm still not entirely sure how to optimize dances over a long term period for either Twin Strike spam or going ST in between HB and DS, in practice, because you can't just switch dances every 15 seconds or you run out and/or waste them. I don't really see a point in ever prioritizing Double Coup for AoE (thus in my setup, adding a third macro) because you are never going to use Twin Strike for the entire duration without throwing in HB/DS.

    Could you give some advice on AoEing two targets over a long duration for example? I would assume twin strike is a waste there.

  7. #7
    Ascendant bitnine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muspel View Post
    • Has a significant energy surplus-- even without raid buffs, Bladedancer will never starve.
    Never say never. Well, if using Meditative Trance during Dualism turns out to be a thing, at least.

    Related question: has anyone gotten the chance to really parse that out yet?
    Last edited by bitnine; 11-18-2013 at 01:38 PM.

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    RIFT Guide Writer Nynja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGrinnz View Post

    Could you give some advice on AoEing two targets over a long duration for example? I would assume twin strike is a waste there.
    BASP>HB>DS>twinstrike>finisher until BASP runs out
    FB>HB>DS>twin strike>finisher until FB runs out
    BT>HB>DS>twin strike>finisher until BT runs out
    DC>HB>DS>twin strike until BASP is rdy

    what else should be possible...
    Last edited by Nynja; 11-18-2013 at 01:46 PM.
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  9. #9
    RIFT Guide Writer Muspel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGrinnz View Post
    Some questions. FB is better than BaSP for HB/DS when duelist pose is up right? (need to add a kalert for that...)
    Correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGrinnz View Post
    I'm still not entirely sure how to optimize dances over a long term period for either Twin Strike spam or going ST in between HB and DS, in practice, because you can't just switch dances every 15 seconds or you run out and/or waste them. I don't really see a point in ever prioritizing Double Coup for AoE (thus in my setup, adding a third macro) because you are never going to use Twin Strike for the entire duration without throwing in HB/DS.
    Yeah, it's rare that Double Coup is used for AoE. Generally, I only use it for that purpose if I only need minor AoE and need to save the major cooldowns for something just around the corner. However, Hundred Blades and Dancing Steel still do pretty good AoE DPS even without a dance that boosts them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nynja View Post
    BASP>HB>DS>twinstrike>finisher until BASP runs out
    FB>HB>DS>twin strike>finisher until FB runs out
    BT>HB>DS>twin strike>finisher until BT runs out
    DC>HB>DS>twin strike until BASP is rdy

    what else should be possible...
    No. Twin Strike is a DPS loss compared to the ST rotation unless there are at least three targets. (And if Dualism is up, you need at least four targets for it to be worthwhile.)

    If there are only two enemies, you should of course use Dancing Steel/Hundred Blades. Spend the rest of your time doing your single-target rotation (you can substitute in Compound Attack for Double Strike if you want-- it does very slightly less damage, but can help with maintaining Magnify Pain on both targets and keeping Hack and Slash up). Swap back and forth between the enemies as necessary-- the low penalty for target swapping works in your favor here.

    That being said, if you need extended 2-target cleave ability, Bladedancer is probably not the best choice.
    Last edited by Muspel; 11-18-2013 at 02:04 PM.

  10. #10
    RIFT Guide Writer TheGrinnz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muspel View Post
    If there are only two enemies, you should of course use Dancing Steel/Hundred Blades. Spend the rest of your time doing your single-target rotation (you can substitute in Compound Attack for Double Strike if you want-- it does very slightly less damage, but can help with maintaining Magnify Pain on both targets and keeping Hack and Slash up). Swap back and forth between the enemies as necessary-- the low penalty for target swapping works in your favor here.
    My question was more how to time the dances. No matter what order you use, if you want to maximize them for an extended fight then you need to leave them up for the full duration, but that doesn't line up with HB/DS which in a 2 target fight is the highest priority. Something like, am I better off delaying some HB/DS so they're used with proper dances or should I just use them off cooldown even if dualism is up?

    Thanks for the response.
    Last edited by TheGrinnz; 11-18-2013 at 03:01 PM.

  11. #11
    RIFT Guide Writer Muspel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGrinnz View Post
    My question was more how to time the dances. No matter what order you use, if you want to maximize them for an extended fight then you need to leave them up for the full duration, but that doesn't line up with HB/DS which in a 2 target fight is the highest priority. Something like, am I better off delaying some HB/DS so they're used with proper dances or should I just use them off cooldown even if dualism is up?

    Thanks for the response.
    You can clip dances if necessary-- you have five of them, and only four are necessary for 100% uptime (and even then, Double Coup ends up getting clipped as soon as BaSP comes back up).

    You just can't clip TOO much, or you'll end up with deadzones.
    Last edited by Muspel; 11-18-2013 at 03:18 PM.

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    RIFT Guide Writer Orangu's Avatar
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    is 12 sin 3 nb better than 10 sin 5 nb now because of the poison proc chance increase recently?


    Lithmygoober@deepwood
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  13. #13
    RIFT Guide Writer Nynja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangu View Post
    is 12 sin 3 nb better than 10 sin 5 nb now because of the poison proc chance increase recently?
    Any subsoul combination with 2 enchants will be best for BD in terms of ST..thats why many ppl also use 8NB/7sin but i guess thats only an option if your off-hand is better than your mainhand
    Last edited by Nynja; 11-18-2013 at 05:05 PM.
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  14. #14
    RIFT Guide Writer Nynja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muspel View Post

    That being said, if you need extended 2-target cleave ability, Bladedancer is probably not the best choice.
    and except for twins FT there isn't any scenario like that given right? thats why i didnt bother..
    Quite@Typhiria
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  15. #15
    Rift Disciple superhbman's Avatar
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    A few questions.

    Macro
    I personally have 2 macros, Quick Strike + Binary Strike and Precision Strike + Binary Strike and I find that they work for me since QS and PS will only become active after Binary Strike hits the target. When I initiate combat on a fresh target or change target, I would either continue the sequence of strikes or QS and PS would have become inactive due to timeout.

    Is this macro okay? If not, what am I missing?


    Crit Debuff
    In groups and raids, which soul is usually expected to bring the 5% crit debuff?


    Dualism
    Any tips for transitioning out of Dualism? It's fine if I ended with Binary > Precision > Binary, but what if I ended with Quick > Binary > Quick instead?
    Shinryujin | Tsuyuko | Chieri | Kimiyomi

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