Nightblade plays like a hybrid melee/ranged soul. Its strengths are high initial burst, ability to keep dealing respectable dps during melee disconnects and good dps during the last 30% of targt?s health. Its main weaknesses are poor ability to switch targets and for a melee spec low sustained dps during the first 70%. NB is also not viable dps unless you can hit your target with Living Flame, this happens if your target has a big hitbox and its center is located in a place where you can?t go.
NB dps graph is like a wave, you have high burst and then low dps between them. Sometimes this is to your advantage and other times it is a disadvantage. NB can also stealth but for PvE DPS this is only used for the initial opening and not used at all after that unlike assassin. NB also has some AoE but it?s not a real AoE build and should not be used for any sustained AoE fights.
Selfbuffs: Ebon Blades, Smoldering Blades, Curative Engine (spec 1), Planebound Resilience (spec 2), Predatory Instincts (spec 3)
There are 3 specs and which spec does the most dps is determined by your gear. Spec 1 is the starter spec and you should only use it if your gear is expert dungeon quality or worse. Spec 2 is the default spec and in most cases the best one, it also has more health and an extra blink which can be useful. Spec 3 overtakes spec 2 in damage at very high crit power numbers, if you have close to 1k crit power then you will see more dps with it. Break even point is about 900 crit power but you will lose the blink, speed buff and health when you switch to it so if you are close to the break even point you should still use spec 2.
Normally AP gear gives best return for investment. However if you have stacked crit power you can use the spec with more crit chance. Use NB ynergy crystal.
Stat weight estimates, these are ballpark figures and depend on your gear. Don?t take these as absolute truths as they are only quick estimates.
Spec 1; 1 AP : 0.65 CP: 0.3-0.35 Crit
Spec 2; 1 AP : 0.6 CP: 0.3-0.35 Crit
Spec 3; 1 AP : 0.85 CP : 0.3-0.35 Crit
Main abilities and mechanics
Every time you use a combo point builder ability you will gain a stack of Heat Retention. Each stack increases your damage by 2% and once you reach 5 stacks your next finisher will do 30% more damage.
If you hit multiple targets with Fiery Chains you will gain a stack for each target and you also get one stack of HR per target that Living Flame hits. Hitting multiple targets with Weapon Flare does not give you multiple stacks of HR.
Primal Strike and Twilight Force
Primal Strike is your main melee combo point builder ability and Twilight Force is your ranged combo point builder. Their damage is about the same but Twilight Force has a much higher energy cost so it should not be used in melee range.
Dusk Strike is your high damage combo point buider ability. Each time you use it you will also get 1 stack of Emptiness debuff which increases the damage and energy cost of Dusk Strike. This mechanic is your way to transform energy into more dps.
Fiery Spike is an absolutely mandatory dot to have ticking on your target, not only does it do a lot of damage when it reaches 5 stacks but it also gets recast after Blazing Strike or Flame Thrust if it is on the target. This recast also gives you a combo points. Flame Blitz also recasts Fiery Spike but does not give a combo point. Unless you need to switch targets there should never be a need to use Fiery Spike manually.
Dusk to Dawn
Dusk to Dawn does a lot of damage and awards 2 combo points. It does not however give 2 stacks of Heat Retention which means that building up to 5 combo points normally will cause the next finisher to be used without the 30% bonus damage. This makes a difference in the rotation and you should be careful when you use it.
Scourge of Darkness
SoD is an extremely high damage ability and should be used as often as possible, even small delays will cause a big drop in dps. When you use SoD you will get 25 charges which are then consumed as additional damage whenever you use other damaging abilities. Note that SoD does not refresh Fiery Spike on your target.
Living Flame is an AoE ability but it is also very good for single target since every tick of it casts a Fiery Spike on all the targets it hits. This is also very important ability in your opening rotation since it?s your fastest way to build up Fiery Spike stacks. If the fight has target switches then it?s best to save Living Flame for those instead of using it in normal rotation.
Living Flame only damages targets if it can reach the center o the target?s hitbox. This is important to know on fights where the target has a large hitbox. On fights where you can?t use Living Flame it?s best not to use NB at all, NB without Living Flame is extremely bad dps.
When you use Dark Descent your next 3 finishers will not use combo points.
Ebon Fury is a cooldown ability which is mostly used to recover energy, it removes the energy cost from Twilight Force and Dusk Strike. Normal rotation is designed to slowly drain your energy towards zero and every 2 minutes you will be able to regenerate to full using this ability. It is also a dps cooldown since you will be able to spam Dusk Strikes during the entire time with full Emptiness stacks. Be careful when Ebon Fury ends not to accidentally waste all your energy with a couple of extra Dusk Strikes. Also try to build up some Emptiness stacks before using Ebon Fury and optimally time it so that the SoD+3*Blazing block of your rotation does not fall inside it.
Touch of Darkness
For the next 6 seconds weapon ability attacks deal additional death damage and drains the target?s energy/power/mana. Most noteworthy thing here is to know what counts as an attack. SoD charges, autoattacks, trinket/weapon procs do not count. Each ability such as Primal Strike or Dusk Strike counts as one attacks. Each first tick of Fiery Spike counts as an attack, so finishers are actually two attacks each since they also cast a Fiery Spike through Lingering Flame mechanic. Each tick of Living Flame counts as an attack, also since Living Flame casts a Fiery Spike on each tick that means Living Flame does 2 attacks per second to all targets for 6 seconds. For this reason Touch of Darkness is always best used with Living Flame.
Single Target Rotation
Base rotation is quite simple. Just build up to 5 combo points and then use a finisher. Every 30 seconds use Dark Descent+SoD+3*Blazing Strike. Always keep SoD and Dark Descent synced,the benefit there is that you never drop to 0 combo points ths way and the followup Blazing Strikes will refresh Fiery Spike automatically without having to worry about it.
The energy cost of Dusk Strike increases faster than its damage which means that the optimal way to use Dusk Strike is to maximize the amount of times you use it. If you have Living Energy that means 4 Dusk Strikes, then waiting for Emptiness to drop and then using another 4 and so on. During Verse of Joy you can stack Emptiness higher. If you don?t have Living Energy you can only sustain 2 stacks.
Use Living Flame together with Touch of Darkness when they are available right before Dark Descent+Sod. This allows for its ticks to build up HR stacks and you get the third Blazing Strike with full HR stacks this way. Use Dusk to Dawn in the combo point buildup right after the Sod+3*Blazing finisher burst. This allows you to use it without dropping a finisher from full HR stacks to 4. It also allows Touch of Darkness to get extra hits from the Fiery Spikes cast by the finishers through Lingering Flame.
You will often find yourself in a situation where you have 5 combo points and 5 stacks of HR but SoD is still 1 second away from being available. I find that it?s better for sustained dps to use an extra combo point builder rather than use Blazing Strike and end up delaying SoD by 3 seconds past the 30 second cooldown. However this is for sustained average dps only and which one is actually better depends on what part of your rotation the fight will end.
Your ideal fight ends right after your SoD stacks have been consumed, if you happen to delay SoD 3 times in such a fight you will end up completely missing out on one burst. On the flipside your absolute worst fight duration is when the fight ends right before your big burst, in such a fight delaying SoD would not have changed the amount of SoDs you had time to do and therefore if you used those extra combo point builders you ended up losing some dps.
Build up to 5 combo points with Fiery Chains and Weapon Flare, then use Flame Blitz. Try to use Fiery Chains when you are at low combo points, otherwise you will end up wasting the extra combo points. Macroing Fiery Chains and Weapon Flare is not very optimal because you then lose the ability to time Fiery Chains. Every 30 seconds build up to 5 combo points and use Dark Descent+SoD+3*Flame Blitz.
Use Living Flame+Touch of Darkness on cooldown, it?s by far your highest dps aoe attack. Your AoE dps has a huge ramp up time unless you manage to start it with Living Flame. In fact unless you have Living Flame available it?s generally best not to aoe at all.
Cleaving Rotation for single target dps increase
This is all about Fiery Chains. Use Fiery Chains right after finisher so you have more time to react to the extra combo points which come with a delay. Fiery Chains allows you to build combo points quicker and that means more finishers and therefore more dps.
You also need to know that any aoe abilities you use will also spend your SoD charges on the adds instead of main target. Since you only want to improve your single target dps with the adds you should wait 10 seconds or so after SoD before using Fiery Chains.
Also in these situations Living Flame right before SoD is a bad idea since it will cause your SoD charges to be wasted on adds. Instead use it when you don?t have SoD charges.
Ranged rotation is very simple. It?s exactly like melee rotation but you just don?t worry about Dusk Strike or Living Flame since you are out of range to use them. Your ranged dps is roughly 85% of your dps in melee range which makes this an excellent spec for fights with disconnects.
Even though you have 1 or 2 blinks in your spec you should not use them as gap closers to get to melee. The gcd you use for the blink loses you a full second of dps and to accumulate similar loss in dps by being at range but within 20 meters takes 7 seconds. You can always run back into melee from there in less time than that so never use the blinks as gap closers when you are within 20 meters of the target. If you are further away then they are good. Shadow Shift also does not break stealth so it?s useful for getting closer at the pull before using Dark Malady.
Under 30% target health rotation
Exactly the same as normal rotation. Twilight Force gets a big dps boost but its high energy cost causes it to not really improve your dps if used instead of Primal Strike as the main builder. Try to save at least one Ebon Fury for this phase of the fight.
The main weakness of NB is its terrible target switching ability. You need to build up Fiery Spike stacks and you also lose plenty of damage until rng gives you stacks of Ebon Blades on your target.
If you need to switch then save Living Flame for them, it quickly builds up Fiery Spike stacks and therefore you don?t lose much dps.
If Living Flame is not available then you need to do Fiery Spike manually. Do not spam 5 stacks of Fiery Spike on the target, it?s not worth it. Going beyond 3 manual stacks is a waste and if it?s a short switch then just use it once and let finishers build it up further than that.
If it?s a switch that includes a switch back to the previous target then keep the old target as your focus and manually refresh Fiery Spike on that target after using a finisher on the temporary target.
There?s two options for opening rotation here, which is better depends on circumstances.
Option A (starting from 0 combo points)
Dark Malady, Living Flame, Dusk to Dawn, Dusk Strike, Dark Descent+Sod+3*Blazing Strike
Option B (starting from 0 combo points)
Dark Malady, Living Flame, Dusk to Dawn, Dusk Strike, Blazing Strike, 4*Dusk Strike, Dark Descent+Sod+3*Blazing Strike
Option B delays the burst enough that raid dps cooldowns such as Orchestra of the Planes/Wild Growth/Flaring Power should be up by then. You can also build up combo points before the fight with for example a sab spec. It?s best to use these combo points for SoD 25-50 seconds before the pull and then go with opening rotation B. You will use almost all of the SoD charges in the first 5 seconds for a good extra burst and then immediately use a new SoD after that.
NB can macro quite a few abilities together to save some buttons. These are the macros that I use. It would be possible to put Blazing Strike and Flame Thrust to the SoD macro but it is a bit dangerous since many times you will hit 5 combo points at the exact moment or a fraction of a second before SoD comes out of cooldown and in those cases you can not be certain what your macro decides to do so I do not recommend doing that.
Do not macro Dusk Strike or Dusk to Dawn, use them manually. In addition to these you also need Living Flame, Ebon Fury and Fiery Chains in their own buttons.
#show primal strike suppressmacrofailures cast primal strike cast twilight force
#show blazing strike suppressmacrofailures cast blazing strike cast flame thrust
#show scourge of darkness suppressmacrofailures cast dark descent cast scourge of darkness
Manual Fiery Spike refresh macro
#show fiery spike suppressmacrofailure cast [shift] @focus fiery spike cast fiery spike
ToD+Living Flame macro
#show touch of darkness suppressmacrofailures cast touch of darkness cast living flame
These are the alerts I use for NB, use them if like, do your own or track stuff some other way. What ever works for you.
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