Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Stay In The Circle - A PvE Guide For Soulbenders

Original thread is: H e r e .
Stay In The Circle

A PvE Soulbender Guide
version 0.2
__Table of Contents__
I. Introduction [IDNX]
-A. Getting Started [IDNS]
II. Skills [SKLX]
-A. Common Skills [SKLC]
-B. Class Skills [SKLB]
-C. TP Skills [SKLT]
-D. Class TP Skills [SKLP]
III. Builds [BLDX]

IV. QP Distribution [QPDX]

V. Equipment And Gearing Up [EQPX]
-A. Otherverse Sets [EQPC]
VI. Frequently Asked Questions [FAQX]
-A. Katana VS Short Sword [FAQS]
VII. Otherverse / Outer World Advice For Soulbenders [OVGX]
-A. 2nd Chronicle Otherverse [OVG2]
-1. Goblin Kingdom [OVGG]
-2. Castle Nebulous [OVGN]
-3. Rangelus's Guerillas [OVGR]
-B. 3rd Chronicle Otherverse [OVG3]
-1. Void Rift [OVGV]
-2. Dark Side [OVGD]
-3. Bakal's Castle [OVGB]
-C. Miscellaneous Notes For Otherverse [OVGM]
VIII. Fun Tricks and Advice For Other Difficult Stages [TRIX]

IX. Mechanics [MECX]

X. Credits [CRED]

I. ---Introduction [IDNX]

Hello, you can call me Taioko. I'm a Soul Reaper, level 70 in DFO and currently 74 and rising in DnF. I've been playing the class here and there since 50 cap, but it was around a week after 60-cap that I started focusing on them. Since then, I've learned many many things about how to play Soulbenders, and I'll hope to share some of my knowledge and strategies with you via this guide. If you've got any suggestions or would like to contribute to the guide, which I'd love, feel free to share them with me via PM, mail, in-game chat or mail, or just by simply posting in this thread. For more information about contributing, see the Credits.

Through this guide, I'll be giving you some advice to get started with your Soul Bender. This guide is currently under construction however, and I intend to continually rework it as to provide both the most up-to-date information, and the most relevant.

With that out of the way, let's get down to business! to defeat the huns

Currently, the guide is still being written in some places. Pardon the blank spots, they'll vanish with time.

Spoiler: Version history: 

10/16/2012 |October 16th, 2012
Version 0.2
-Added links to all posts in the first post and got started on the equipment and gearing up section. Also started recording version history in the bottom of the first post.

10/15/2012 |October 15th, 2012
Version 0.1a
-Added icons to the skill section.

Version 0.1
-Started the guide. Only had Sections I through III initially.

I. -A. ---Getting Started [IDNS]

Well, the first step is deciding if you want to be a Soulbender.
Let's talk pros and cons.

Soulbender Pros-
  • We are able to be offensive and supportive simultaneously thanks to Kazan and Bremen.
  • We have an abundance of innate Shadow Damage attacks to make it easy to stack elemental damage, & an abundance of shadow defense debuffs to make the elemental damage stacking even more effective.
  • We have one of the most damaging awakenings in the game.
  • We have some of the most easily-accessible invincibility frames in the entire game and can spam them constantly.
  • We become incredibly fantastic to have on your team in 80-cap.
  • Our level 40 cube skill, Phantasmal Slayer, comes out quickly, crosses a great distance, stuns the enemies in place and hits like a truck.
  • And, we've got some really fun chronicle sets.

Soulbender Cons-
  • We are a cloth class. This means we're fragile.
  • Our awakening is unwieldy and eats all of our buffs and debuffs, and is thus commonly skipped in builds.
  • Saya's freeze chance, Rhasa and certain effects of Ghost Slash Drive rely on status effects, which are rendered useless in many endgame situations.
  • If there's an enemy with insane shadow resistance, you're probably going to have a harder time with that enemy.
  • There are so many enemies with insane shadow resistance.
  • To get the most out of your damage, you're going to have to learn how to properly use Bremen and Kazan and incorporate them into your playstyle.
  • Some Soulbenders have trouble clearing the enemies away to give them enough breathing room to place their circles.

Many of the cons can be overcome with a bit of effort and practice, leaving us with a solid class to play.

Soulbenders are able to deal a good bit of fixed damage, but their main strength will be coming from percentage-attacks in the long run. So make sure to prioritize getting that +12 or +13 lv70 purple equip from Kiri.

Their percentage damage comes from:
  • Part of Ghost Slash
  • Part of Moonlight Slash
  • Ghost Slash Drive
  • Saya
  • Ghost Step's X String
  • Triple Threat
  • Phantom Sword Slash
  • Phantasmal Slayer
  • Kalla's Finishing Attack
  • Crystal Saya
  • Part of Tombstone Triangle

Their fixed damage comes from:
  • Part of Ghost Slash
  • Part of Moonlight Slash
  • Tombstone
  • Kalla's fireballs
  • Kalla's added damage to the X String of Ghost Step
  • Kalla's fire tick damage
  • Blache
  • Part of Tombstone Triangle

As you can see, percentage damage plays a strong role in the majority of our attacks. Take note of that and gear accordingly.

Overall, Soulbenders are currently a decent class, but they can be positively great when well-geared. And when 80 cap rolls around they'll become even better.

Moving on...

II. ---Skills [SKLX]

Ah, finally moving on to skills. For a brief rundown as to how I'll be tackling the skill section, here's the gist of things:

<----------------------------///This will be the skill's icon in-game.
Cancel - Item Throw <-------///This will be the skill's name!
Lv-0 <----------------------------///This is the level I recommend you keep the skill at.
/Skip. <--------------------------/// And these are the comments on the skill.

Another brief note: 0 to max means anywhere from 0 to max level on the skill is okay. 0 or max means leave it at 0 or max it.

Cancel - Item Throw

Lv-0 or 1
/Leap is occasionally considered for maximum Kalla usage due to jump-shooting fireballs being the fastest method of shooting them, but honestly your SP can probably be used better somewhere else. 

Throw Mastery

Indomitable Spirit
Lv-0 to max
/A reasonable point-sink. It's not half bad if you've somehow got the points for it. Also, good for PvP as of this guide's creation, but this isn't a PvP guide.

Physical Critical Hit & Physical Rear Attack

Magical Critical Hit
Lv-0 to max
/A great option to max. Stacking M.Crit is a wise choice, so the more crit the better. A skill like this will help you on the path of reaching as high a MCrit rate as possible. Recommended.

Magical Rear Attack
Lv-0 to max
/Points here might be better off spent with Ancient Memory, but it is an option, and it should be acknowledged as one. Soulbenders can easily get Back Attacks after all.

Ancient Memory
Lv-0 or max
/People usually decide between this and MCrit, with MCrit being the usually-favored option. Lately Ancient Memory's boost just hasn't been holding up under scrutiny when compared to MCrit, so it's no wonder that it's being dropped by people. If you can fit both AM and MCrit in your build, then that's great, but it -could- mean you're not maxing something that you ought to be maxing, so you're probably not going to be able to get one of these two things. Choose between this or MCrit. Recommended.

Quick Rebound
/This should be the first skill you add to any build. Get it. No questions asked.

II. -A. ---Common Skills [SKLC]

Ghost Slash
Lv-5 or Max
/This is a really good skill, actually. It's highly damaging, and one of our strongest skills on a low cooldown. But at the same time, some SBs have been choosing to forgo it for other stronger moves, like some SBs choose to leave it at 5 to max both Tombstone and Phantasmal while using the Shadow Rage set, which adds +1 second to Ghost Slash's cooldown, making it a touch slower, and thus a touch worse. So, if you're getting the Shadow Rage set, you can drop this. If you're not, then I think that you shouldn't, but acknowledge that it -is- an option until 80 cap. I Recommend maxing this skill, assuming you're not wearing Shadow Rage.

Upward Slash

/Kazan's one of our three bread and butter ghosts, (Kazan, Bremen, and Saya,) and unless you're well-versed in the class, and simultaneously well-geared, you shouldn't even think of skipping any of them. Both it and its EX are Highly Recommended.

Lv-0 or Max
/If you've got a highly reinforced weapon and you're deciding to become a crazy percent-damage only speed-SB, Thrust + Thrust EX is actually a viable option thanks to Conversion.
But I'm not kidding about that highly reinforced weapon. Don't even think about touching this until you've got one. +16 or bust

Neutral Wave Sword
Lv-0 or Max
/This is also an option, but I don't recommend getting it. I actually recommend against it.

/I recommend skipping it. We used to have a glitch that made us immortal via guard-abusing in korea, but we never even got a chance to try it, so it's not nearly as important to get, try, or even use at all. It's an option, and a cheap one at that, but not one I'm recommending.

Ashe Fork

Triple Slash
/Skip. Every Slayer ought to have one single level in Triple Slash, but they now have it automatically. So, skip. Unless you're one of those crazy SBs with 9 pieces of the Twilight Edge/Twilight Blade set, but that set's not too great anyway and 9 piece C2 set effects clog up your equipment slots too much.

Gore Cross

Wave Wheel Slasher
Lv-1 or Max
/You must have at least one level in WWS. If you max it and grab the EX, it's not too bad an attack skill too. But I'm hesitant to suggest more than one level. But, it's especially effective the more piercing you get, so do keep it in mind.

Moonlight Slash
Lv-5 or Max
/It's always an option. Not one that I recommend unless you've got the Blade Soul set, but it's still here.

Mountainous Wheel

Aerial Chain Slash
/This isn't PvP.

Short Sword Mastery, Katana Mastery
/It's virtually pointless to not get one of these two masteries. The debate between Short Sword and Katana rages eternal, and with the advent of Magic Sealed equips dominating the market and Posession running off of attackspeed, it's only burning hotter and hotter. I'm not going to tell you decisively that you MUST get Short Sword or that you MUST get Katana. I'm going to tell you that you have a choice, and so long as you take your Katana or Short Sword to +13, you're going to be fine no matter your choice.
But I will state that I am personally biased towards Short Swords, so if you want to ask me for my opinion, there it is.

Zanbato Mastery, Bludgeon Mastery
/It's pointless to get one of these two masteries. Skip. No, you're not a physical soulbender and Rhasa-abusing physical builds are completely ridiculous. I've tried a zanbato soulbender with the 65 pink Zanbato as a gag once. It's extremely silly and wildly uneffective. A thousand-times Skip.

Flip Side Counter

Blood Lust
Lv-0 or 1
/More grabs never hurt anybody. Now that conversion's here, it'll deal more damage too. More viable than before.

Spirit Crescent
/Skip. We are not Asuras, here.

II. -B. ---Class Skills [SKLB]

Shadow Harmony & Unshackle
/These oft-forgotten skills raise your dark resistance while simultaneously lowering your light resistance even further, and raise the level of all circle-based Ghosts (and Kalla and Keiga too!) by one. They're automatically obtained, but don't forget they're there.

Ghost Slash Drive
Lv-5 or Max
/I highly recommend maxing this. It's good for having fun with sleep status effects, and is also good for glitching Delezie. Even if you don't have Ghost Slash maxed, Ghost Slash Drive is cheap and effective, so think about it a little bit. Remember though, there is the whole problem with status effects too. Recommended if you're maxing Ghost Slash.

Full Moonlight Slash
/You need it for prereqs.

Afterimage of Keiga
/We're a cloth class, so the durability is quite a help to us. Especially for those difficult-to-avoid attacks. And the extra phantasmal damage is nice too. Recommended. If you're well-geared (full +10 reinforced C3 Set Armor, etc.,) and strapped for SP though, this skill is actually an option to drop.

Hazy-Eyed Bremen
/No matter what, you must get this skill. A must-max. "Recommended" in that skipping Bremen is worse than skipping Power Fist on a striker, or pretty much as bad as skipping Ballacre on a necro. You need Bremen.

Lunar Curtain
Lv-5 to Max
/Stacking shadow damage and shadow debuffs is one of the central skills of the class. You don't -need- to get Lunar Curtain, but I strongly feel that you ought to. Highly Recommended.

Ice Saya
/Though not as bad as skipping Bremen, Saya's still a crucial skill to max. You've gotta pick her up unless you're using some intentionally terrible gimmick build or running around with some wild gear. A must-max.

Phantom Sword Slash
/This is a great, fantastic skill. Wonderful for feeding in Goblin Kingdom, moving enemies around, getting them into your circles, or for just straight damage. It's not a must-Max, but it is, quite frankly, incredible and (again,) fantastic. Highly recommended that you get both this skill and its EX. When you add its EX, its already great range becomes incredible, and its damage just goes even higher.

Triple Threat
/This is a pretty good skill. Not quite as good as Phantom Sword Slash, but it is still good enough to hold its own and make its EX worth picking up or even maxing if you can somehow find the TP. It's also viable to become wildly strong if you stack Red + Green chronicle imbues for it. Not a must-max, but Highly Recommended. I cannot stress how much I recommend this skill.

Ghost Step
Lv-4 to Max
/This is a very useful skill. Some Soulbenders are passing up the extra damage and movespeed that maxing it brings, but personally I recommend against that. Pre-Revolution, the biggest problem that plagued the Soulbender class was a lack of quick-damaging skills on a low cooldown. This skill is the ultimate solution, and it can be yours. I feel like skipping it would be a terrible waste. Highly Recommended.

Lv-5 to Max
/Tombstone is still great. It's strong, it hits like a truck, and it's got more fixed damage piled together than Blache itself... on paper, anyway. But with the rising of Phantasmal Slayer, Tombstone just can't manage to keep up a nearly as convincing case for itself as it once had. So, now, it's optional. Leave at 5, or max. Its randomness of actually hitting is a big dealbreaker for some people. Where before Phantasmal EX I might have urged people to keep it, now that Phantasmal EX is here, it's just no longer as good in comparison. It's still Recommended, though.

Rhasa: Carrier of the Plague
Lv-0, 1, or Max
/Rhasa is a good skill, but it's no longer one of the best we have. Rhasa is now suffering from there being better things to spend both SP and TP on. Due to being a status-ailment-inflicting ghost, which means it working at all is dependent on if you're leveling the skill, and if the dungeon you're battling in has decided to be vulnerable to status ailments. Rhasa is no longer a highly recommended, or even recommended at all max. Now, this doesn't mean Rhasa is bad, it just means there are better things to spend your SP (and TP) on, again. If you max Rhasa, you have to go all the way; and that means spending not only enough SP to max it so the status ailments work, but also enough TP to max Rhasa EX, as its status ailments are simply not strong enough on their own anymore to be good without the EX.
As unfortunate as it is, I just cannot recommend maxing Rhasa in most of your builds. If you're wearing full Ruler of Domain or you're trying to be a supportbender then he might be up your alley, but there are simply good playstyles and builds now that he just doesn't manage to fit into anymore.
Poor guy. 

Phantasmal Slayer
-1 or Max
/Phantasmal Slayer has finally arrived. Finally, finally, and thank goodness. All of the good reasons with which Phantasmal Slayer were previously ignored have now vanished. Ghost Step now has constant upkeep, it is now innate dark damage, and its utility is now even greater with the coming of Phantasmal Slayer EX. It's strong, it's useful, it's great. Highly Recommended.

Kalla of Dark Flame
-1 to Max
/Kalla is one of your strongest skills as a Soulbender. Its DPS is terrifying, its strength really is out of this world. It's a highly viable max, and its added damage to Ghost Step's X String is good enough. Even without Ghost Step, its fireballs pack a terrifying punch. And its finisher, which is activated by using the skill again/hitting the skill key again, is beyond strong. Recommended.

Fear of Darkness
/Soul Benders/Reapers deal innate shadow damage all over the place. This passive is a constant shadow damage resistance debuff to the enemies around you that totals to an extra 9% in Shadow Damage. Without a doubt, it's worthy of maxing. Highly Recommended.

Ghost 7: Furious Blache
Lv-0 or Max
/Situational, unwieldy but strong enough to make it all worth it. Perhaps the same could be said of most awakenings, but few Awakenings suit those three descriptors as much as Blache. It's capable of hitting the displayable damage cap on most if not all bosses in the game. But, it also eats all of your active ghosts, thus shattering your steady DPS for a crazed burst, and leaving you back at nothing. It is a fine idea to create a "blache build" and switch between the two with the alternate builds function, because the blache build is probably not something you're going to want to be using all of the time.
If you should desire to put Blache into your build, plan ahead. He's very strong, but very costly.

Ice Saya Crystals
/Markedly stronger than normal Saya until 80 cap rolls around, freezes for a shorter period of time but has ice crystals to hit more rapidly. A must-max.

Tombstone Triangle
/Lowers shadow resistance of all enemies waiting within its circles, turns all teammates' weapons who are standing in its circles to begin dealing shadow damage, curses if it lands on an enemy and explodes to deal massive shadow damage. Another must-max.

II. -D. ---Class TP Skills [SKLP]

Hazy-Eyed Bremen Upgrade/EX
Lv-0, 1, or Max
/Bremen EX is currently best left at 1 to add a physical defense debuff to Bremen, but once 80-cap rolls in, you max this. Just so you know...
Anyway, I recommend leaving it at 1, but if you're a supportbender you can max it, or if you hate physical defense debuffs you can leave it at 0. The extra 6% really adds up over time though, so it's still plausible to max it in some builds. Not going to recommend maxing it, but I will recommend leaving it at 1.

Ghost Step Upgrade/EX
/After Revolution, this thing became terrible. Definitely skip it. Its invincibility is far too short-lived to be worth anything at all.

Rhasa: Carrier of the Plague Upgrade/EX
Lv-0 or Max
/If you maxed Rhasa, max this too for maximum effectiveness.

Ice Saya Upgrade/EX
/This doesn't really give you much in the way of bang for your buck, due to only providing a single extra second per 2 TP added to it. That's a single Saya tick per 2 TP. I honestly cannot recommend getting this unless you're wearing 6 pieces of the Yaksa chronicle set and decided to try for infinite Saya.

Tombstone Upgrade/EX
Lv-0 or Max
/If you're stacking Tombstone equips like Tombstone of Oblivion and Shadow Rage together, then go for it. If you're not, then skip it. 

Phantasmal Slayer Upgrade/EX
Lv-0 or Max/1
/Definitely get this thing if you're maxing Phantasmal Slayer, which you ought to be doing. This lets you move around after casting Phantasmal while the enemies are stuck/grabbed in it at the cost of invincibility frames. It gives it even more utility, and is perfect for stacking and combining with the Shadow Rage set for one of the most dangerously terrifying SB loadouts ever. Highly Recommended.

Kalla of Dark Flame Upgrade/EX
Lv-0 through Max
/Not too bad an investment. An extra 3 seconds per level and a good bit more strength to your finisher, and only your finisher, isn't the absolute best deal, but it's certainly not the worst. If you've got spare TP, Kalla EX is a great place to spend it. It's close to getting my recommendations, but if you're stacking Kalla it's a no-brainer.

Phantom Sword Slash Upgrade/EX
/If you're maxing Phantom Sword Slash, which I hope you are, then you ought to get this too, as to increase its range and damage even higher. I Highly Recommend this unless you really really hate Phantom Sword Slash with a vengeance.

Triple Threat Upgrade/EX
Lv-0 through Max
/Triple Threat EX is a decent point sink, and a great place to put those last 2 TP. Triple Threat's a good move, so it's perfectly fine that its damage-boosting EX should be worth it. It's especially good in that you can go Triple Threat damage-stacking should you so desire via C3 sets. A full Red + Green C3 imbued set ought to result in enough damage to last you for a long time, I'd hope. Recommended.

III. ---Builds [BLDX]

Here's an absolute barebones build to get you started.

Absolute Barebones build : Soul Bender - Planner

Here's a slashing oriented-build:
Soul Bender - Planner

The build maxes:
Afterimage of Keiga
Hazy-Eyed Bremen
Lunar Curtain
Ice Saya
Ghost Step/Possession
Phantasmal Slayer
Fear of Darkness
Ice Saya Crystals
Tombstone Triangle
Ghost Blade Whip
Triple Stab
It leaves WWS at one, and also grabs Quick Rebound due to both of them being beyond essential.

It gets the following EX Upgrades:
Lv3 Kazan Upgrade 
Lv1 Bremen Upgrade
Lv1 Phantasmal Slayer Upgrade
Lv3 Ghost Blade Whip/Phantom Sword Slash Upgrade

It leaves you with enough SP and TP to both max a weapon mastery with and play around with while still maxing the essentials.

More builds and talk about builds will be appended on to this post at a later date, such as how to use the builds, and more.

IV. ---QP Distribution [QPDX]

-Coming Soon-

V. ---Equipment and Gearing Up [EQPX]

When gearing up, there are certain pieces of equipment that are far and away better than others when it comes to becoming stronger faster.


Level 70 Magic Sealed Katana/Short Sword -[This will work very well if you should reinforce it to +12 or higher after attaining a good effect like Deathblow or Armor Breaker or Smash, or one of those previous three with +INT and +Shadow Damage as well. If you get one with +1 or +2 to Bremen on it, that's a fine skill to be boosting up anyway. Still, go for Smash, Deathblow, or Armor Breaker, then just +12 it and you're set.]

Level 65 Unique Short Sword: Ancient Ruins Bronze Sword -[+2 to two of our most valuable skills, and +1 to Phantasmal Slayer as well. This sword is fantastically strong, and if you +12 it, it will last you to 80.]

Level 65 Boss Unique Short Sword: Steel Scale Sword-[This sword is pretty decent, but not as good as the ARBS or Elenore. Its higher-than-usual MATK makes it a good fit for reinforcing, and still leaves it as a sword not to be trifled with. Get it from a random drop by Commodore Cannonhand at Iron Scale.]

Level 50 Epic Short Sword: Ghost Sword Elenore -[This one's a classic. A +11 or higher Elenore -ought- to allow you to level yourself to 80 easily enough when 80 cap arrives, and it's pretty much one of the best weapons in the game, if not the best, as things are right now. The problem is, like all other Epics not sold by Grandis, they're nigh impossible to obtain.]


Level 64 Unique Bottom: Scroll of Evil Spirit-[These pants are the best pants in the game for Soulbenders, period. Unless you're gunning for a 9-set chronicle bonus, you're going to want to wear these pants constantly. These things are fantastic, stop at nothing to get them. Extra shadow damage, +1 to all circles and it's a pink so if you reinforce it, that extra defense might go a bit further than you were expecting.]


Sub-Equip / Magic Stone

V. -A. ---Otherverse Sets [EQPC]

If you're looking for more information and advice on the Otherverse sets, YanDaMan263/xKagaho's written a great mini-guide that can be found right here!

2nd Chronicle Sets

3rd Chronicle Sets

VI. ---Frequently Asked Questions [FAQX]

VI. -A. ---Katana VS Short Sword [FAQS]

VII. ---Otherverse / Outer World Advice For Soulbenders [OVGX]

VII. -A. ---2nd Chronicle Otherverse [OVG2]

VII. -A. -1. ---Goblin Kingdom [OVGG]

VII. -A. -2. ---Castle Nebulous [OVGN]

VII. -A. -3. ---Rangelus's Guerillas [OVGR]

VII. -B. ---3nd Chronicle Otherverse [OVG3]

VII. -B. -1. ---Void Rift [OVGV]

VII. -B. -2. ---Dark Side [OVGD]

VII. -B. -3. ---Bakal's Castle [OVGB]

VII. -C. ---Miscellaneous Notes For Otherverse [OVGM]

VIII. ---Fun Tricks and Advice For Other Difficult Stages [TRIX]

IX. ---Mechanics [MECX]

X. ---Credits [CRED]

If you'd like to contribute to this guide, please feel free to send me a message or post about it in the thread. You will be credited for your information here.

This guide was written by Taioko.
Thanks go out to DFO World Wiki for the skill images.
Thanks, YanDaMan263/xKagaho for your fantastic mini-guide on the Otherverse chronicle sets.

Memento mori. Remember Your mortality.


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This site is a collection of up-to-date guides, maintained by some of the most dedicated players of various classes in DFO.
While articles may contain the personal opinions of the writers, they are opinions based on hundreds of hours of gameplay and the general consensus of their respective communities.