Slayer is interesting in that it is somewhat of a hybrid class. Slayers can choose to spec either melee or ranged or, if they are willing to sacrifice a bunch of utility and some DPS, can actually spec into both. I know, I know ?Just tell me which one does more damage?. Well, I did the math and the damage comes out to be almost exactly the same, if you have your gear in order.
The main differences are that ranged requires two talent slots while melee requires only one. One advantage that might push ranged over the edge is that you can roll amulets with Blood Harvest AND Steel star where there is no other amulet bonus for melee.
The slayers ?Mana? bar is referred to as energy, it refills at the fixed rate of 10 energy per second while in combat. It has an increased regeneration rate while out of combat. The slayer also has the exciting property of moving slightly faster than all classes other than monk when in combat. Slayer also has invisibility mode and when invisible moves 20% faster as well as being immune to both damage and all crowd control.
Dance of Blades (RMB):
The bread of your bread and butter if you decide to go ranged spam slayer, does a tiny amount?of damage but does cleave in a line between you and the target. Only useful for building up?deadly accuracy stacks.
Steel Star (Hold RMB):
The other half of your right click, charge it up and let it go. Cleaves in a line past your?target and consumes deadly accuracy stacks.
Shady Strike (LMB):
The opening hit for your melee attacks it chains into all your other melee attacks.
Blade Vortex (LMB>RMB):
The first finisher of your attack combo. Does an aoe cleave that does a tiny amount of damage and activates your impulse charge. Pretty poor damage but your only non energy AoE attack.
Sudden Strike (LMB>LMB):
Continues the basic attack chain, has no useful or exciting properties.
Double Strike (LMB>LMB>LMB):
The left mouse combo finisher, this is half of the no energy DPS cycle for a melee slayer as it increases the damage of your backflip by 40%(or 300% if talented). Apart from blade vortex it is the only way to activate impulse charge as a slayer.It also inflics a 50% slow that lasts for 5 seconds though you often won?t notice the slow having an effect. The attack animation is short and can go straight back into the melee combos.
The right mouse combo finisher, as alluded to it is the second half of the cycle. Without the bonus from double strike it does exactly the same damage as a double strike so it is basically useless to use without the buff. A few interesting properties is that it hits multiple times instead of once and has a medium length animation. The animation stuns weak enemies and can be canceled with a dodge?roll. The full damage from the spin will still take effect but the use of this is very?minimal since the nerf of animation cancelling.
Melee single target attacks: LMB>LMB>LMB & LMB>LMB>RMB
Ranged single target attacks: RMB>RMB>RMB>RMB>Hold RMB
Melee AoE: LMB>RMB
Ranged AoE: RMB>RMB>RMB>RMB>Hold RMB
Always Equipped Abilities:
Backstab (1):75 Energy.
Backstab teleports you behind a mob and deals a?moderate amount of damage?as you drop from the sky. The range is about 10 ? 15 units and it?stuns the target for 1 second. Useful for moving short distances and interrupting channel?spells. Your opener at the start of a fight and also every time you drop out of stealth form.
Minefield (2):80 Energy.
This is your only good AoE damage so you better learn to use it well. Places 8?mines in a circle around you. With the offhand you should be using, it places the mines in two?rows in front instead. To note it costs 80 energy and not 75 so you need to wait for one tick?before you can cast the second one ? a perfect opportunity to use Blade Vortex.
Grapevine (3):50 Energy.
Grapevine has two modes, instant press which pulls you towards the enemy or charge which pulls the enemy towards you. Neither of the modes do significant damage. As cool as this move?sounds you will use it surprisingly little amount. The instant press is almost always worse than just waiting 3 ticks and using a backstab and you will only use the charged version when a mob is stuck in a wall or in some kind of fire ground.
Flurry of Blows (R):6:15m cooldown.
This is your ultimate skill, 2.5 second stun plus a nuke at the end. Costs no energy so can be used once you have your rotation going instead of a double strike flip combo. Not super interesting, but it has a relatively short cooldown when compared to other ultimates.
Killing (E):20s cooldown.
Your execute with the special property that it puts you into stealth for a few?seconds ? or until you use any one skill. It?s not bad but not insane either. One thing to?note is that you drop stealth mode as soon as you start the Twilight Scourge cast so if you?are surrounded by mobs maybe use carnage instead. It also interacts poorly with moving or dashing during the animation. Make sure to stand still if you want to get the cloaking afterwards.
Abilities in Cloaked Mode:
Twilight Scourge (LMB):
This is slayers ?Big Burst? which is really just moderate burst. The skill puts an AoE on the ground and if at the end of the animation the target is still in the circle, it will deal damage and stun the target. When you cast the skill, it will add a stacking buff to your character and when the damage is dealt it will check the stack numbers. If the number is of stacks is equal to 3 then they will be removed and you will get a guaranteed crit with an extra multiplier. This skill was specifically targeted by the dash cancelling nerf and if you dodge at all during the animation you will not finish the skill.
Carnage (RMB):2s cooldown.
Teleports from enemy to enemy doing a decent amount of damage. It does have a cooldown, so if your jumps don?t link up, you might have to drop a twilight scourge while you wait for it to recharge.
Additional Abilities (pick one of these):
Shadow Cloaking/Complete Cloaking (4):50s cooldown.
This is your goes invisible set of moves. Shadow cloaking is basically always better in this slot. Shadow Cloaking last 9 seconds instead of the 6.5 seconds of Complete Cloaking, it is the only way to get the 80% bonus damage of surprise effects (which applies while cloaked as well as for a period afterwards) and has its cooldown reduced by cold-blooded killer. The only advantage to Complete Cloaking is that if you would die it will auto activate putting you invisible and saving your ass. This effect will work if you have put the skill on cooldown yourself, but has a separate cooldown of 1:00m.
Blood Harvest/Swinging Chains (X):75 Energy.
Once you have decided between melee and ranged these two skills define your build. They are right and wrong skills. Blood Harvest is both the best PvE dps skill and the true defining skill of your class. Anyone who complains about slayer is complaining about this skill.
I wont talk much about Swinging Chains. It is always worse than Blood Harvest. Don?t use it. As flashy as backstab is blood harvest is the true defining skill of the class. Blood harvest is a DoT that lasts 7 second and ticks 13 times over that duration, it ticks as soon as you apply it and ticks when the duration reaches 0. It?s added property is that if the target is at or below 50% HP when the final tick is inflicted it will refresh its duration.
Hint: Blood harvest can only affect one target at a time. If you cast it on a new target it will remove the DoT from the previous one.
Shadow/Flight of the Shadow (Z):75 Energy + 80s cooldown OR 60 Energy (channeled).
This is a flavour/quality of life set of?skills.
Shadow summons a shadow clone of yourself that attacks a target for a small amount of damage but allows you to switch places with it at will. The clone can be summoned a fair distance away and works kind of like a teleport.
Flight of the Shadow causes you to become a spinning spear that pushes forward at an increased movement speed, it does small AoE damage and can be cancelled at any time.
Hint: Neither skills are especially great and I just swap whenever I get bored of one.
Bait/Aegis of the Night/Twilight Shackles (C):150 Energy + 90s cooldown OR 150 Energy + 56s cooldown OR 1x use per invisibility phase.
Once?again, this is kind of a do what you feel like kind of choice.
Bait taunts an AoE and can be talented to do some decent damage to pack mobs. Its main use is soloing or to bail your tank out of a huge pull.
Aegis of the Night gives you a short immunity plus infinite dashes for the duration.
Twilight Shackles can only be used when you are invisible and puts a slow on a small group of enemies. When soloing enemies won?t move if you are invisible so the damage won?t trigger.
Once again you can do whatever you want here, experiment and find out what works best for you.
Smoke Grenade/Shadowland (V):30s cooldown OR 75 Energy + 46s cooldown.
Shadowland sends your target to the Shadowrealm for 6s, where I can only assume?they learn to play Yu-gi-oh and come back with a deck of cards to duel you with. I will never?know for sure, because you should never talent this skill.
Why you ask?
Because Smoke Bomb, apart from making you immune to all attacks from more than 5 yards also doubles your energy regen. Thats right, this isnt a just crowd control spell this is an important part of your rotation. You should be using it on cooldown for some juicy extra backstabs.
Sneak Attack/Killing Proficiency:Backstab
These are both passive. ?KP:B? does a whole bunch of junk, most of it useless. The important thing to note here is that it has a chance to proc on each backstab rather than a guaranteed proc every time you backstab. If you really want to be backstabbing from 40 yard range?instead of actually doing damage you can take this but it?s actually just trash.
Sneak Attack is where it?s at. Not only does it give a nice bit of burst on the opening of a fight (when you have an extra 75 Energy to spare on that Backstab), but it also gives you a passive damage buff while invisible ? aka burst mode. Always the right choice.
X:Blood Harvest. I am dead serious, kiddo, I will find you. Use it.
Z:Anything you like, ?
C:Anything you want, ?
While the slayer can build for either range or melee it is important to note that this is only for your filler damage and you will be using the same special moves ? regardless of where you choose to stand while doing damage.
Significantly increases the damage of your melee filler attacks, remember that filler damage is still damage so if you are going melee take this skill.
This is the real talent that makes ranged spamming work, the stacking crit damage multiplier puts steel star on a level to make up for what Dance of Blades lack. It is quite reasonable to take this skill together with Cutthroat Fervor for the times when you can not do melee damage to bosses, due to damage auras or knockbacks.
Pain Spot Expert:
This is the secondary ranged slayer talent. If you plan on never clicking the left mouse button then you should pick this skill up. Keep in mind, though, if you want to play as a hybrid you should take Cutthroat Fervor instead.
Big Deeps Talents
This is what turns your invisibility into an actual burst skill. Not only is it just great DPS it is also important to have a way to burst when you supports activate their damage buffs.
Once again we are stacking damage multipliers here, once your invisibility has worn off you get one extra bit of burst by backstabbing directly out of it. The buff also lasts long enough for a full Blood Harvest.
Medium Deeps Talents
While your burst is not on the level of a Kinetic or Berserker having access to it more often is a good thing. You will mostly be weaving in backstabs while your Smoke Bomb is down, but you also get to put more backstabs in when your Blood Harvest is generating bonus ticks.
Anyone who has played an MMO before will know that the only numbers that matter are single target DPS. Anyone who has tanked in Skyforge will know that the biggest contributor to wipes is adds not dying. Slayer has terrible pack clear and this talent does help significantly so do your tank a favour and take this talent.
This causes every named attack to reduce the cooldown of your ultimate by 1 second. That means a full melee B?n?B combo takes 6 seconds off the cooldown likewise the ranged combo will reduce it by 5. A Blood Harvest takes 1 second off because you only cast it once.
Hint: Over a fight of infinite time you can expect the cooldown to be reduced by approx 2mins per cast so the damage increases are in steps rather than linear where the length of the boss fight has a significant impact on the strength of this talent.
This skill is difficult to evaluate but it basically amounts to one free backstab per enemy killed. Since you will always have Blood Harvest on a target and you will never have a full energy bar this will amount to a few free backstabs every fight. If you do take this skill a good thing to know is that 1 Backstab approximates to 3s of Blood Harvest.
Knights and Alchemists have damage reflects and now you can too! I have not done extensive testing with this skill to qualify if it has a damage cap like other classes, neither what percentage of boss damage counts as melee damage. What I will say is that in solo play this skill does a significant amount of damage to pack mobs.
This skill is a true staple for anyone soloing and your tanks will love you for it too. 3s of AoE control is nothing to laugh at and as an added bonus any enemy that walks into the area during the duration will receive the debuff. Players that walk out and back in again get dazed again. Great times.
Trash talents you shouldn?t look at
Sounds good right? Well, prepare to be disappointed. The buff lasts 25s so basically if you don?t execute every single time it?s off cooldown, it will drop off. During solo play it is probably possible to keep a decent amount of damage flowing but when you are in a group it?s going to be a struggle to get even an average of 1% crit chance over all combat.
Thirst for Vengeance:
Probably the only time you would use the chains skills but it really is just faster to walk over to a mob. Literally the travel time to walk somewhere and the time it takes to do the grapevine animation are almost equal.
You get half the energy cost back just because the duration of the skill is so long so I guess if you take blooded marks you can make it effectively free. The thing is, Flight of Shadows only real use is to move slightly faster between packs of mobs.
Does what it says i guess? I don?t use the skill so I definitely don?t use the talent.
Not only does this skill only work on players rather than all enemies, we don?t have anything to do with it because we use Blood Harvest like good little ninjas.
I hear that this skill is pretty buggy and often does no damage. I?m not a big fan of wasting my time in invisibility so once again I don?t use either the skill or the talent.
If you are all about PvP this is actually really good. You can?t and won?t expect anyone to stand still long enough to get hit by Twilight Scourge so you are using Carnage while cloaked. But the only skill you need to win at PvP with is Blood Harvest right? OP slayers.
Does exactly what it says. Cool I guess.
Just use smoke bomb, man. Come on.
Single Target Rotation > 50%
Replace all Melee with your ranged spam if you play ranged. The important part is to refresh Blood Harvest right as it drops off, not before because that?s just wasteful.
Single Target Rotation < 50%
It?s the same deal but when blood harvest self refreshes you cast a backstab instead.
Opening a fight
When you open a fight you want to
4x Twilight Scourge
The idea here is that the faster you use shadow cloaking the faster you get it back, but you don?t waste your precious energy by having a full bar when you first go invisible.
When smoke bomb is down you need to stand in it to get the bonus energy regen but when you are the regen is enough that you can turn your between blood harvest filler from the single target rotation to
Once again you want to use smoke bomb any time you don?t have invisibility up.
Using Flurry of Blows:
Pretty simple, make sure you have a Blood Harvest up and then use it instead of your normal filler.
All the standard stuff. STR + Luck on rings, Crushing Blow > Accuracy > Crit chance. Your main hand weapon needs to be a blue quality +Blood Harvest damage weapon and while your offhand mod is not too important the Mines damage and placement is far and away the best.
As obvious as it may sound I will say that the only stat on amulets you need to care about is blood harvest damage. If you find +blood harvest +steel star consider yourself lucky.
On blood harvest and swinging chains.
I literally spent hours doing damage calculations between blood harvest and swinging chains and the conclusion was that with even stats a slayer with a blood harvest weapon and using blood harvest will do about 20% more damage in a full 1 minute rotation than one with a swinging chains weapon and swinging chains equipped EVEN WHEN THE TARGET IS ABOVE 50% HP. Yes DoTs are that much better than channeled skills, yes I know you like to see big backstabs but I like to see big DPS and blood harvest is where it is at. If you want to discuss it feel free to message me in game and I can talk you through my methodology.
IGN: Lanaya Moore