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Subject: Anyone used and enjoyed throwing knives scoundrel? (High level cards spoilers) rss

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Travis Vandenberg
Canada
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Scoundrel is my go-to class in pretty much any game and I've always enjoyed the class fantasy of throwing knives. Because of our group composition (Mindthief and Brute), I've gone all in with the positioning melee build. I've enhanced toward this with extra move on my 3 move attacks and am currently benefiting from the following two items:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Horned Helmet and Ring of Skulls


While I still like playing this playstyle, I find myself getting annoyed with ally adjacency requirements. I'm sure that as I progress, I'll get better and better at handling these situations but part of me longs for the knives build, especially knowing that things will get much rougher if my two melee companions retire. I'm debating also retiring this scoundrel and later starting a new one with a throwing knives setup. So what I'm wondering is if people have found success (and joy) in running this type of build. Specifically, I'm talking about the following cards: Flurry of Blades, Stiletto Storm, Watch it Burn, Crippling Poison, Throwing Knives

Ideally, these would be supported by some combination of Visage of the Inevitable, Special Mixture, Thief's Knack, Burning Oil, Duelist's Advance, Hidden Daggers or Stick to the Shadows. These cards would provide movement and extra attacks, ways to poison enemies before hitting them with AOE, and access to invisibility. I might even contemplate throwing in something like Flanking Strike for the movement, the jump I'll likely throw on it this playthrough, and the possibility to chunk someone for good damage when I only have one target around and an adjacency bonus.

The upside of this sort of a build is that both of the items I'm currently using would be freed up and instead I could go for the prosperity lvl 2 item
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Empowering Talisman
alongside a stamina potion (only at lvl 2 prosperity so I don't know what else there is) to help offset the card loss from playing two persistent loss cards right away. I would probably want the invisibility cloak as well to help prevent monsters from mauling me when I get in midrange for throwing or jump in the middle with Visage/WIB.

So to those of you who have played this build, how often do you spend the first two turns just putting up your empowering abilities? I would hesitate to spend two turns doing nothing while my allies are fighting. It seems like a nice opener could be:
T1: Crippling + Shadows/Daggers to go stealth and prep for next turn
T2: Visage + Stiletto to go slow, mass poison and hit four (some at a disadvantage)
T3: Flurry + whatever makes sense to finish off or move out of disadvantage range
T4: Mixture + Throwing or a melee so that you can poison someone and either kill that one with melee or potentially finish off a previous enemy with Throwing
T5: Rest and play WIB if you've cleared the room
Although this doesn't really buy you any more turns in the game over playing WIB at some point before your rest, it does give you the flexibility to get in right on T2. Finally, it seems like how you would have to use the build before you get to level 9 anyway.

In terms of enhancements, what's worth taking? I feel like a +1 move on Visage would be optimal even though it would be costly or Special Mixture for more of a budget choice. A strengthen on Hidden Daggers bottom would be nice as it would often be coupled with Flurry of Blades and could last for two turns of hits. Range upgrade on any of the AOE cards would only be 60g plus level, so ideally we would put this on Throwing Knives but there could be options for putting them on others. A dream luxury enchant might be to put poison on the bottom of Watch it Burn so that you could open slow with WIB bottom + Crippling top and follow it up with devastating damage the next turn (only a pre-first-rest option as after that you would want WIB top in play).

Upsides of the build are less pigeonholing on items, no need to worry about adjacency, constant multi-targeting, support for opponent attacks with poison spreading, less concern for nulling on an attack, nearly equivalent damage to single target builds when poisons are on an opponent.

Downsides of the build are mobility loss, lack of massive single target damage (particularly on bosses who may have immunities), fewer available turns, loss of many low initiative cards, more setup required.

So I would love to know if this is a reasonable build to work toward. I have already shot myself in the foot card-wise (and enhancement-wise) for reaching this setup and I've committed to the positioner build (much better for now), but I'm likely coming back to the scoundrel after retiring and raising prosperity and I may keep this build in mind when picking a card to binge my retirement item sale enhancement on (FOUR RANGE STILETTO??). Let me know your thoughts on it and whether you've made it work so far.

P.S. Please no spoilers on later items!!
 
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I haven't tried out many of the scoundrel's permanent loss options, but I have experimented a bit with duelist advance's bottom (+2 damage to any enemy not adjacent to one of its allies, round bonus), which you surprisingly don't address while discussing a throwing knives build. I find you can very often get >4 damage out of the bottom action, which is pretty great for a ranged bottom action -- even better if you can advantage with this as you'll likely crit somewhere along the way at 4 damage, which is excellent.

I think Duelist's Advance's bottom strikes a strong median between flexibility, endurance and strength: it's nice to not suffer a loss early, but this also gives you something you can look to do when you're unable to find a teammate to help take down an enemy. At 3p, there are usually enough enemies to hit but not enough enemies that they'll cluster as heavily as they do in 4p, so hopefully you can get some good value out of this strategy.

In terms of average card power, I think this combo ranks pretty high for a long time for the scoundrel -- I think it's an excellent combo to stamina potion for if you find yourself in a situation where you can get >4 damage out of duelist's advance.

This might be a helpful combo to consider alongside your poison-based damage build -- I definitely think it's an underutilized Scoundrel action.
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Travis Vandenberg
Canada
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I definitely had that one in mind as well when I was going through the options (which is part of the reason it's in my optional section!) though you're right that I didn't mention it. Part of the reason for that is that I'm only 10 scenarios in but have found the enemies often clumped up next to at least one ally. Maybe it has to do with our positioning (they all get drawn in by the brute often) but I have had the card available many times in the last four scenarios and not once have I taken advantage of the bottom. That being said, it's far less effective in a melee build so it might have to be something I play around with more in the throwing knives setup. I had actually thought to instead combo Duelists's Advance top with Hidden Daggers bottom to get a quick stealth out and get a smack in still but knowing there's two good options for it is quite appealing.
 
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Rasmus JN
Finland
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The issue is that this build does not come alive until you've hit max level. You'd probably have to play melee up to 6-8 somewhere, since your single target hits are so much better than spread-out low damage for the most part of the game.
Crippling+WIB, which the build revolves around, will cut your effective round count to 15 rounds in total (if short resting) when they are played some time before the first rest, which you definitely want to do. This is when accounting for the items you mentioned. If you long rest you will spend 5 more rounds on the board, doing nothing but choosing which card to lose. Additionally, 2 of those 15 rounds will be without any top attack since you're activating your persistent Losses. That's 13 rounds of knife throwing, in this scenario.
Also, if you get hit and bleed cards with this build it's a sure fire way to lose, since you have so little longevity to begin with. If you lack a frontliner of sorts to take the focus from you and if you lack crowd control, you might be in big trouble with this one. The build looks cool on paper, but I think it is quite risky to pull off. Never tried this one myself, but may be good with the right group comp.
 
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michael ray
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I used a lot of the ranged scoundrel options because I had no melee team mates to help out with adjacency.

It's def. not the 'standard' build for a scoundrel, but it's 100% functional.
 
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Travis Vandenberg
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@Rasmus: Fair point about the build not opening up really until level 9. I'm contemplating trying this out at a higher prosperity so I have fewer scenarios to do until I max it out the build. I guess you could still run it with using Visage, Poisoned Knife and Special Mixture being the activators instead and sometimes use the throwing knives moves just for damage (with rollings they could still be pretty good). In terms of longevity, you're right that it would max out at 15 rounds but I'm hoping that with another later spoiler prosperity item, the 18 rounds you could extend it to (with optimal play) would be long enough to finish most scenarios. Ideally, we would be abusing initiative to move in and out of range and using invisible to avoid damage so I'm not sure how often we would need to lose cards to keep health up.

@Michael: Glad to hear you went with those. Did you run the Poison build with it or just throw them in to deal damage? I found Throwing Knives (the lvl 1 move) to be very ineffective when I used it but that's also because I was a low level and had tons of terrible modifiers in the deck still. Now with rollings, it could actually be pretty effective.
 
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michael ray
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It was my first character, so we didn't quite realize how strong poison was at that point.

If I remember right the biggest advantage to having range as the scoundrel for me was First room:
Go super late in initiative
Let bad guys move close to me
Stab anyone in melee range
Throw knives at anyone else
 
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Scot Rose
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I've played a Scoundrel in a 4-player campaign and from 1-9th level in a 2-character solo. The 4-player had more options for melee. The 2-player was with a Mindthief for most of her career. Because of the squishiness, I definitely spent a lot of time with ranged attacks, and playing more of a game focused around positioning. I would generally employ a round of softening things up with range, and then finishing things off in melee.

I know the ranged cards (Throwing Knives, Swift Bow, Hidden Daggers, Flurry of Blades, Burning Oil, Stiletto Storm) can work, but I don't have a specific build of cards. The best thing about the Scoundrel is she is so versatile, and I probably never played with the same combination of cards twice. I will say that I didn't take Stiletto Storm, as at 2-player monster counts and with more access to Invisibility (for both the Scoundrel and Mindthief), I would spend more time in melee. I would sometimes bring Single Out for a melee attack early in the scenario, as a late initiative option for invisibility, and then as bonus damage for finishing up the last room (along the same lines as Duelist's Advance). Our Scoundrel in my 3rd campaign just finished up a scenario with Singled Out, Duelist's Advance, and Hidden Daggers...we all thought we had one more turn for XP and loot, but were shocked when he whipped out 2 Attack 8's (and crit the big guy for 16).

For enhancement, adding a jump to a card you use for movement will be great. Adding range to your knife attacks will also reduce your positioning needs.
 
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Travis Vandenberg
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Good to know this worked for you and your friend. I think I've settled on taking Stiletto Storm as my lvl 8 card this playthrough (even though I'm running melee) and then blowing my enhancement money to add one range to it. It seems far too difficult to hit 4 targets in range 3 without getting disadvantage on a few or getting hit really hard so the enhancement would be a nice boost this time around and crucial for when I go for a ranged scoundrel next time.

I'm stuck though on what I do regarding Hidden Daggers, Duelists's Advance and Stick to the Shadows. While Hidden Daggers is a nice finisher, Stick to the Shadows is a strictly better bottom with the move and higher initiative for stealth. I could take both, but then I would lose out on the option for big hits with Duelists's Advance's bottom, plus it has nice initative. I have to pick one of the two because level 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9 all have non-negotiable cards for me.

Anyone know if it's legal to start a character off at level 3 (due to prosperity) and then pick two level 3 cards when you level up instead of a 2 and 3 or two 2's? My guess is no because then you could start a level 9 character near the end of the campaign and choose all the highest cards to use, but I figured I would ask either way.
 
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Robert Stewart
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WhatAChamp wrote:
Anyone know if it's legal to start a character off at level 3 (due to prosperity) and then pick two level 3 cards when you level up instead of a 2 and 3 or two 2's? My guess is no because then you could start a level 9 character near the end of the campaign and choose all the highest cards to use, but I figured I would ask either way.
It's not legal - you unlock cards one level at a time as though you gained the levels individually rather than all at the same time.
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Scot Rose
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WhatAChamp wrote:
I'm stuck though on what I do regarding Hidden Daggers, Duelists's Advance and Stick to the Shadows. While Hidden Daggers is a nice finisher, Stick to the Shadows is a strictly better bottom with the move and higher initiative for stealth. I could take both, but then I would lose out on the option for big hits with Duelists's Advance's bottom, plus it has nice initative. I have to pick one of the two because level 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9 all have non-negotiable cards for me.
My friend skipped Flurry of Blades to get both 3rd level, as he was more focused on the stealth and they work well together. I think skipping 5th would be a reasonable option.
 
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