Crit Builds vs. Owlbear Builds

If you feed it, you own it.  They get bigger.

Before I start, I need to thank @rjc9000 and Janne Moonmist for their hard work in getting most of these numbers together and for helping us all understand what the heck is going on.  You can learn, too, at Janne’s excellent site for Neverwinter game mechanics here.

So comparing these two builds is something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while, but it is difficult to test two builds against each other because there are far too many variables involved.  Furthermore, I don’t really want to shoot down one of the few viable builds TRs have available.  My intention here is to compare single hits for a Crit Build and Owlbear Build within several given circumstances so that TRs have a better understanding of how each Build performs, and why and under what circumstances the hits from a range of powers perform better under each build.

I’m going to try to explain this so everyone can understand, but to do that, I have to get into some math.

Don’t freak out.  (This is not a picture of me)


This is how damage is calculated in Neverwinter:

Damage = {class base damage + weapon damage} * skill modifier * feat buffs * ability modifier * power modifier * debuff modifier * (critical hit modifier+combat advantage modifier)  * companion modifier * weapon enchant + Owlbear Bonus

But, to break this down so it is easier to deal with, if we assume, for the purposes of this experiment, that all the buffs are the same for all comparisons.  Then we can isolate the two big differences between crit and Owlbear builds, namely the Owlbear bonus and crit bonus.

Crit Damage=(all common Buffs and damage put together) * crit bonus

Owlbear Damage= (all common buffs and Damage put together) + Owlbear bonus

See?  Easy!

We do need to account for a few more things, such as the fact that Owlbear Builds have more power than crit builds, but I’m getting to that.

Now for some clarification:

NOTE: I am intentionally being conservative on my values. I understand that not everyone is a high IL, so I’m trying to show a comparison of moderate TRs here, where not every buff is active at the same time.

Class Base Damage:

Each class has its own base damage that they do, even if they are drunk, naked, weaponless, and wildly optimistic.  For TRs, that number is 86.6547857.  🙄

Weapon Damage:

This is your weapon damage.  For this post, I’m assuming we have one of the newer sets (Titansteel, Aboleth, Shadewalker) which all have the same damage.  We need the average, so for TRs, we add both main hand and off hand ranges together and divide by 2.  That gives us 2056.

Skill Modifier:

Each attack we make has a modifier.  That’s how they make one attack more powerful than another.  There is a base modifier, and then a further modifier for what rank we have in that power.  For the purposes here, I’m going to go ahead and assume a full rank 4 for each power.

I’m going to compare four powers: Blade Flurry and Dazing Strike (1.5225), Wicked Reminder (1.716), and Lashing Blade (4.68).

Why not Smoke Bomb, you ask?  Well, my friends, smoke bomb’s modifier is variable.  This means, even with fixed damage weapons, it’s damage is all over the place.  It’s just too friggan random for this post.  Don’t ask why, it makes no sense.

You’ll get a good idea of how it all works with the other powers I picked, anyway.

Feat Buffs / Skill Buffs:

This is damage modifiers from all feats and skills.

Now, our feats are multiplicative with each other.  For this, I’m going to work up both executioner and saboteur feat trees for both Crit and Owlbear builds.  Because, I’m a glutton for punishment.  Some feats, like Cunning Ambusher (6% more damage after leaving stealth) can stack on itself.  I’m going to assume there isn’t any stacking for the executioner, but I am assuming it has stacked twice for Saboteurs because of the nature of their capstone feat.  Some feats don’t kick in until the enemy is below a certain % health.  I’m not counting them at all for this.

Executioner Feat Buffs I am using:  Cunning Ambusher (+6%), Endless Assault (+6%), Back Alley Tactics (+25%), and vicious pursuit (+5%)So: 1.06*1.06*1.25*1.05= 1.4747

Sabo feats I am using: Cunning Ambusher (+12%), Flashing Blades (+5%), Ambusher’s Haste (+25%), One with the Shadows (+20%), and Back Alley Tactics (+25%).  So: 1.12*1.05*1.25*1.20*1.25= 2.205

We get a lot of bonuses from our skill buffs.  Things like Action Advantage, Invisible Infiltrator, etc.  for the purpose here, I’m going to assume those two are in the mix for an additional 25%.  So:

Executioners: 1.4747+.25= 1.8247

Saboteurs: 2.205 + .25= 2.455

Ability Modifier:  This, for TRs, comes from the strength ability.  It basically gives +1% for each point above 10.  I’m going to arbitrarily pick a strength of 22, giving us +12% or 1.12.

Power Modifier:  This Modifier is calculated by this equation:  (1+(Power/39908.4)).  I’m making power my “x” variable, so we can see how adding power affects the whole shebang.

I also need to account for the fact that the Owlbear builds stack power and the crit builds have to stack power and crit.  After a totally unscientific survey on the TR Facebook group, it seems that the difference in power is something like 10k-15k.  I’m going to say 12k.  I don’t think, at BIS you could get that much more power from swapping to a power build, but maybe so with lower geared players.  At any rate, I’m subtracting 12k power from the crit build, again, to be conservative.

Debuff Modifier:  This is tricky as even a moderate group can grant us quite a bit of debuffs.  There are diminishing returns on this since mod 12, with a hard cap at +300% or a whopping value of 4(!).  Diminishing returns means we’ll never quite get to 300% though, but over 200% is very doable.

I’m going to give this variable 2 values by setting it to +10%, for the sellsword/con artist/etc buff, to simulate solo play, and setting it to (a conservative) 150% buff for group play.  So the two values will be 1.1 and 2.5, respectively.

Critical Hit Modifier:  This is a little complicated, but I am going to do my best to explain.  The (somewhat simplified) equation that determines the Modifier is this:  Modifier = (1+ total crit severity bonus + total combat advantage bonus)

Here is how I am breaking it down using conservative numbers:

Crit Severity Bonus = 1+ base(.75) + companion(0) + weapon enchantment(.5) + boons (.05) + racial bonus (0)+ feats (+.25 for executioners dying breath)= 1.3 (sabo) or 1.55 (executioner)

Combat Advantage Bonus = 1 + base (.15) + companion(0) + attribute (Charisma above 10= .05) + stat (.09) +boons(*1.1)= 0.319

For the purposes of this, I am going to assume that all builds have combat advantage on the hit we are testing.

So, the total Modifier for the Sabo Crit Build = 1+1.3+.319=2.619

Exec Crit Build= 1+1.55+.319= 2.869

The Modifier for the Owlbear Build (only combat advantage)= 1+.319= 1.319

Companion Modifier:  I am going to assume, for both builds, that we are running air, fire, and earth archons, along with the siege master.  I’m also assuming the active is a 10% debuff companion, although that is irrelevant to this particular Modifier.  I am arbitrarily going to say we are getting the bonus damage from the air archon, earth archon, and siege master.  They are multiplicative, and the multiple archon bonuses apply.

Modifier = 1.06(air)*1.07(earth)*1.04(siege)= 1.18

Weapon Enchantment / Artifact Bonus:  This is a little tricky because the Owlbear will be running a different enchant than the crit build.  For simplicity sake, I’m going to assume a feytouched (+18% or 1.18) for the Owlbear only.  If I was going to include the wheel in this, I’d do it here.  However, on my crit build, I rarely use it outside of boss fights, so in keeping it conservative, I’m leaving it off.

Owlbear Bonus: This is just (power/2) added onto the rest.

Final Equations:

Y=Total Damage.     X=Power.     P=0 for Solo or 1 for party with buffs 

Executioner Crit Build:

Y= 2142.6548*(skill Modifier)*1.8247*1.12*{1+((X-12000)/39908.4)}*{1.1+(P*2.5)}*2.869*1.18


Y=14824.3*(Skill Modifier)*{1+((X-12000)/39908.4)}*{1.1+(P*2.5)}

Executioner Owlbear Build:

Y= 2142.6548*(skill Modifier)*1.8247*1.12*{1+(X/39908.4)}*{1.1+(P*2.5)}*1.18*1.319*1.18+(X/2)


Y=8042.12*(Skill modifier)*{1+(X/39908.4)}*{1.1+(P*2.5)}+(X/2)

Saboteur Crit Build:

Y= 2142.6548*(skill Modifier)*2.455*1.12*{1+((X-12000)/39908.4)}*{1.1+(P*2.5)}*2.619*1.18


Y= 18207.04*(Skill Modifier)*{1+((X-12000)/39908.4)}*{1.1+(P*2.5)}

Saboteur Owlbear Build:

Y= 2142.6548*(skill Modifier)*2.455*1.12*{1+(X/39908.4)}*{1.1+(P*2.5)}*1.18*1.319*1.18+(X/2)


Y=10820.08*(Skill modifier)*{1+(X/39908.4)}*{1.1+(P*2.5)}+(X/2)

You’re Welcome, math nerds.

Test with Blade Flurry/Dazing Strike

These two powers both have the same skill Modifier of 1.5225, so they perform equally.


Blue= Sabo Owlbear    Orange= Sabo Crit     Green= Exec Owlbear     Red=Exec Crit

This tells us, firstly, that without the extra damage feats from the executioner tree, in mob play, the sabos can hit harder up front than executioners.  It also tells us that, with Dazing Strike and Blade Flurry, both crit builds out performs the Owlbear only until the Owlbear power reaches about 18K within the given stipulations I’ve outlined above for solo play.

Let’s see what happens when we add the wheel buff (+35%) to all builds.

Soloing with Wheel Buff (+35% damage):

Blue= Sabo Owlbear     Orange= Sabo Crit      Green= Exec Owlbear      Red=Exec Crit

Now, the Owlbear build doesn’t start out performing the Crit build until the Owlbear’s power gets around 45-50K range.

This tells us that there is a point where the Owlbear builds will not be able to keep up, with these particular powers.  That point is when the bonus damage gets to 65%.  At that point, the sabo and exec crit builds out perform their respective Owlbear builds with dazing strike and Blade Flurry.

What does this mean?  It means, in solo play, the Owlbear Build probably is better than crit builds with these two powers.

What about a party with a moderate amount of debuffs (150%)?

With Moderate Buffs from Party (+150% damage):

Blue= Sabo Owlbear     Orange= Sabo Crit     Green= Exec Owlbear     Red=Exec Crit

Here is where the crit build really starts to perform for Dazing Strike and Blade Flurry.

So, what is going on here?

The difference is that the crit bonuses are multipliers and the Owlbear is an additive bonus.  As power goes up, the bonus damage on the crit build from the power is multiplied whereas the Owlbear adds a steadily increasing amount of damage.  No matter how much power we add to both builds, the Owlbear can’t catch up in this situation for Dazing Strike and Blade Flurry.  The more power and Buffs we have, the more the crit will out perform the Owlbear.  Also, the higher the skill Modifier is, the better the crit will perform.

Test with Wicked Reminder

We just saw, mathematically, what happens with Wicked Reminder and Dazing Strike which had a skill Modifier of 1.45.  Let’s take a look at Solo play for Wicked Reminder which has a skill Modifier of 1.716.


Blue= Sabo Owlbear     Orange= Sabo Crit     Green= Exec Owlbear     Red=Exec Crit

This is using the same perimeters as the first graph above, Solo play, with a medium amount of damage bonuses.  Looks pretty similar to the test with Blade Flurry and Dazing Strike, but if you notice, the gap is closing.

Solo with Wheel Buff (+35% damage):

Blue= Sabo Owlbear     Orange= Sabo Crit     Green= Exec Owlbear     Red=Exec Crit

Now, the Owlbear Build and crit Build are performing at virtually the same level.  Even at the highest power obtainable in solo play, the damage difference between Owlbear and crit builds is negligible for Wicked Reminder.

As we add the Buffs from group play, the crit builds will out perform.

With Moderate Buffs from Party (+150% damage):

Blue= Sabo Owlbear     Orange= Sabo Crit     Green= Exec Owlbear     Red=Exec Crit

Yup.  Keep in mind, that this is a moderate buff party.  +150% is not too difficult to get to.

Now, let’s look at the big mama jama, Lashing Blade.

Test with Lashing Blade

Lashing Blade has a skill Modifier of a whopping 4.68.  With that kind of Modifier, I’d expect the Crit Build to out perform the Owlbear Build, even in solo play.


Blue= Sabo Owlbear     Orange= Sabo Crit     Green= Exec Owlbear      Red=Exec Crit

Yup.  It is interesting to note that the executioner crit Build and the sabo Owlbear Build hit almost identically hard with Lashing Blade under these perimeters.

Solo with Wheel Buff (+35% damage):

Blue= Sabo Owlbear    Orange= Sabo Crit     Green= Exec Owlbear     Red=Exec Crit

With Moderate Buffs from Party (+150% damage):

Blue= Sabo Owlbear    Orange= Sabo Crit     Green= Exec Owlbear     Red=Exec Crit

By the way, did you notice the scale?  It looks pretty big until you run with a GWF who does an IBS for 25 million…

Anyway, clearly the crit build out performs the Owlbear with Lashing Blade, in all cases.

The Bottom Line:

Guess what folks?  The Owlbear probably does more damage in solo play against mobs.  Why do I say only against mobs?  Well, a couple of reasons: 1) You rarely solo bosses and we see how both builds perform as party Buffs are added.  2) Executioners gain a number of damage Buffs not taken into account here that can add far more to their damage, and again, the more Buffs we have, the more crit builds tend to out perform Owlbear builds.

Just to bring my point home on the group Buffs, here is the graph where I removed the skill modifier altogether using the same stipulations for moderate group buffs:

Blue= Sabo Owlbear    Orange= Sabo Crit     Green= Exec Owlbear     Red=Exec Crit

In group play, hit for hit, the owlbear can’t quite make up the difference, regardless of how much power is stacked.

Note: I expect the sabo to out perform the exec, here.  Within my given stipulations, and ignoring most of the executioner Buffs that rely on specific circumstances, what this simulates, is a situation where all builds are likely to be using encounter, namely against mobs.

Again, this is hit for hit.  The bigger the damage of a single hit, the better the crit build performs vs owlbear, because the crit modifier is multiplicative whereas the owlbear’s bonus is additive.  Once you get so high, the owlbear simply can’t keep up.  However, it should be noted that in solo play, between the two builds vs groups, they are either very close, or the Owlbear out performs the crit.  That probably makes the owlbear build better for soloing groups because of their increased recovery.  However, in group play, the crit builds seem to hold the upper hand.

My goal, again, is not to kill a build.  My goal is to help other TRs understand some of our mechanics better so they can understand one aspect of the differences between these two popular builds, and should be taken as a rough comparison. 

This examination doesn’t take into account the higher recovery in the owlbear builds, the rotations used by both to maximize damage, the positive effect that the single target executioner damage buffs have on crit builds, or the at-wills that help the crit build so much (as much as 50% or more) in single target fights.

If you are playing an owlbear build and like it, keep it!  The goal here is to have fun!  And, what is undeniably true, is that owlbear builds are viable, can contribute and compete in the game, and from the players who love them, are indeed, a lot of fun to play!


Lostmauth Solo

Hey! I never tried to solo a dungeon before, and this was my first attempt. 

 A couple of things:1) I have never recorded my voice on one of these and everyone hates the sound of their own voice.
2) I did not realize I had a habit of…um… singing? to myself? ugh

3) My keyboard is mechanical and very loud. Sorry about that.

4) The red on the ground for the falling rocks at Lostmauth are not appearing right now due to some bug that, apparently, was on the forums that I missed. Anyway, before I realized what was going on, I did die once because of this. Oh, well. Yall will have to trust me that I know how to not get hit by falling rocks when lostmauth flies into the air.

I did this for fun just to see if I could and to make sure I still remembered how to make a video. If I were trying to break a speed record, I would have streamlined my play against mobs using a lot more dailies, but meh, I was having fun fooling around!
And, I saw where I clearly missed a peridot on the ground after the scorpions. More than anything, that upsets me the most…;)
Anyway, it was fun and I hope you all enjoy!

Lilia Drakon Lostmauth Solo

Update to the Update

Well, I’m sorry to say that being out of the loop has left me a little behind on equipment and a little rusty on my testing!  I’ve already changed my equipment from my update a few days ago in anticipation of the new mod that comes out today.  Without further ado, here are those changes along with an explaination as to what exactly is going on with the archon bonus:

First, I’ve swapped my jarl’s gaze for the guise of the wolf clan.  The only time you really need the power is when you are in a group, and the GotWC gives more, plus an extra 7k hp, and more defense.  And, the jarl’s gaze’s bonus really only works for MSVA and FBI.  Now, I get a bonus anywhere.

Secondly, I’ve swapped out my survivor’s wraps for my vivified arms.  There are a couple of reasons I dropped them.  As someone on Reddit pointed out to me, the bleed tics from them kill AA from your DC at the beginning of the fight.  It also limits the effectiveness of the earth archon, too.  The beginning of the fight is when we need our biggest buffs because our feat damage doesn’t kick in until later.  So, good bye wraps!

Finally, I went back to the drawing board with the archons.  I couldn’t shake the feeling I had missed something and I was right!  I got RJC9000, of GF fame, to help and we found out that I made three errors. 1) My friend, Dayze, was using a trans vorpal, and I didn’t take into account the debuff it has.  2) I didn’t read the updated tooltip on the fire archon in preview.  I didn’t know it was changed. 3) I forgot that the buffs from archons are multiplicative.

Fire archons now gain the same .5% damage buff for each additional archon. That means, running with air earth and fire, we get 6%+7%+8% buff. That’s not a 21% buff, it’s 1.06*1.07*1.08 = 22.49% more damage when they are all proccing. When it is just the air and earth we get 1.055*1.065= 1.123575 or about 12.36% more damage. Adding the fire gives 22.49-12.3575 = 10.1325% more damage. 1% (really 1.0025) of that is up practically all the time, so the rest or 9.13 of that is up, let’s say, 35% of the time. So, that’s an effective damage of about 3.1955%. Added to the 1%, that gives us 4.198% more damage from the fire archon, I think, conservatively.

Now, the new area has tougher enemies, so the active bonus may be up longer, but I think this definitely knocks out the Erinyes, for sure. And, if the new raptor companion out performs the siege master, I’d drop him, too.

Here’s the cut off: if the fire archon is proccing for less than 32.9% of the time, it won’t give more than a 4% bonus.
Sorry about the updated updates!  I’ll try to update my build today, and get over to mmominds to update that as well.

Build Updates, Etc…

Hi, everyone!  I am back from taking some extra time for my family and real life stuff.  I got tired of fighting the child agro and decided to take some time embracing it!  Anyway, it’s good to be back and playing more regularly.  I know there have been a lot of questions posted here and on mmominds, and I plan on answering them ASAP.  Sorry to be MIA.  Here is my plan on this post:

  1.  I’m going to write down here what my current equipment setup is, and update my build with this information to help with the folks that are running this build on console that probably won’t be getting the new mod for a few months.
  2. I’m going to write up my equipment is going to be in anticipation of the new mod coming up with pictures and stats.  In this, I’m also going to include some information about the new mod that is important, for those that do not know.

Build Update

I know there have been a lot of questions about updating my build and I am here to do that.  I’m going to write it down here and update the build itself, so I should be covering my bases.  I know the new mod is dropping soon for PC, so there will be changes happening.  But, I figure the console players are probably still a couple of months away, so an update isn’t a bad idea.

Here is my equipment right now:  Jarl’s gaze, executioner’s black attire, survivor’s wraps, and vivified shadewalkers raid boots.  I am running the wheel of elements, shard of orcus wand, symbol of air, and heart of the blue dragon.

My companions are Sellsword (summoned), Air Archon, Earth Archon, Siege Master, and Erinyes of Belial.  On my summoned, I am running 3 loyal avenger.

My offensive enchantments on my character:  I’m running 2 cruel, and the rest are Black Ice Enchantments.

My offensive enchantments on my companion: 2 Brutals, and 1 Azure

I have Vicious in all my defensive slots.  (no stronghold lifesteal boon yet)

I mostly run with a transcendent barkshield.  It works really well vs big single hits.  Against tons of small hits, like dots, it is virtually useless.  So, if I am in that kind of situation, I’ll go with my soulforged.  If you are just starting out, soulforged has more utility because it can be useful anywhere, so get that one first before the barkshield.

Now, generally you’ll notice that I have been stacking my recovery up around 9000 or so.  Having a decent recovery helps so much!  If you up it, you will notice a difference.  I took a bit of a hit to my crit, which sits at about 86% when bondings are procced.  To get that stat up where I need it to be, I’ve been using consumables.  Don’t be afraid to give yourself that extra boost from them.  It’s a way to tweak your character at endgame that is often overlooked.

On my companions, I have dropped the Wild Hunt Rider.  It was nerfed and is just not the companion it used to be.  And, yes, I’m running the Erinyes.  It gives me about a 3.2-3.4% boost in damage, which is the best that is left, I think.  The fire archon’s bonus is never active 50% of the fight, so I went with the crit severity even though it isn’t my favorite.

On my mount insignia powers, I am running Cavalry’s Warning, Artificer’s Persuasion, Protector’s camaraderie, Protector’s friendship, and Assassin’s Covenant.  If I am running mobs, I’ll swap out Protector’s friendship for gladiator’s guile.

This brings up another somewhat unrelated point, that I keep seeing in Reddit, Facebook, forums, etc.  That is, people recommending Black Ice enchantments for TRs partially because the extra stats from a three stat enchantment helps with assassin’s covenant.  This is complete baloney.


Here is why:  The difference in stats between a 3 stat enchantment (460+230+230=920)and a 2 stat enchantment (420+420=840) is 80 (920-840).  Let’s assume you are an endgame TR running 4 defensive slots on your character and 3 defensive slots in your companion.  That makes the total difference between the stats:

(4*80)+(3*3*80)= (4*80)+(9*80)= 13*80= 1040.  Assassin’s Covenant gives 10% of that or 104 power.  You will never notice that 104 power.  Ever.  Never Ever.  I try to be a min maxer, but even I don’t care about that.  If you have more defensive slots, just add 8 power for each extra one.  Yup, baloney.


Always go for the defensive stat you need, which is not Defense.  Here’s why:  many of our endgame enemies have a 15% resistance ignored against us.  When you take that into account, point for point, Defense is not as effective a stat for us to stack as Deflect or, for that matter, Hit Points.  Life steal is number 1.  Get that to 20% first.  Then work on deflect, and then HP.

My Next Moves

My guild doesn’t have the lifesteal boon yet, but we will soon.  When that happens, I plan on swapping out my vicious on my character for wicked (Deflect and HP) and my vicious on my companion for silveries (deflect).  This will give me 6.3% more deflect and 6720 more HP.

Titansteel Weapons:  These weapons have the same stats as the Shadewalker weapons, but offer a 2% damage buff for you and the rest of your party.  The problem with the Shadewalkers, is if you dodge into combat or out of a red splat, you activate the defensive boost which we don’t need.  And, even if you do nail the offensive stat every time, you are only looking at a 33% uptime on a 10% buff which gives us an effectiveness of about 3.33% buff.  Now, it works well if you can time it for SoD, while avoiding dodging at the wrong time, and keeping up every other thing we have to juggle as TRs to be optimal.

But, if just one more person in your group has the Titansteel, it will outperform the Shadewalker’s without the timing difficulties, even if you nail the timing every time.  So, I’ll be getting these as soon as I can.

Fragmented Key of Stars:  I’m upgrading this artifact because we are going to need more armor pen (see below) and it gives power and crit as well.  Great artifact.

For the Next Mod:

There are a couple of changes for the new mod.

  1. Armor Pen needs to get to 85% resistance ignored.  To do this, I am working on my fragmented key, like I said.  But, I’ll probably use my legendary lantern of revelation until the next double refinement.  That ought to bring me pretty close to 85%.
  2. I’m swapping out my Erinyes for my fire archon.  Here is why:  They are fixing the multiple archon bonuses in the next mod.  Now I went to preview to test this out and here is what I found with Fire, air and Earth archon:  Individually, they perform exactly as their tooltip says.  But, when all three are procing at the same time, instead of the expected 20% total damage boost (fire-7%, earth 7%, air 6%), it actually gives 24.9% more damage. 

Now, I’m not sure exactly what is going on, and it could get fixed before the new mod actually drops.  But right now, that kicks the Erinyes out of the starting lineup in favor of the fire archon.  By a lot.

Thanks for your patience everyone!!!



Have questions about game mechanics?

Hi All!

Sorry, it has been a while since my last blog post.  Real life has made it difficult to keep on top of things lately.

But I have GREAT news.  Janne Moonmist has put out a new site that can answer all your game mechanic questions.  It’s very detailed and full of great information that will help anyone who wants to have a more clear understanding of how all kinds of things are calculated, with helpful tools as well. Want to know how much your damage increases if you add 4000 power?  Want to know the most efficient way to get that artifact to mythic?  Still have questions about crit severity?  (I’m looking at you prokiller…lol)

It took a lot of work on Janne’s part and is an amazing resource to the whole community, and TRs in particular.  I encourage EVERYONE to check it out.

Janne’s Site

New Sabo Build

Hey Everyone,

My Sabo guildmate decided to put his build out there.  We’ve worked hard on it and hope you all appreciate it!  In his hands, he out DPSes me FREQUENTLY.  Even if you don’t play sabo, it’s worth a look.  You can find it to the right, or click here.




TR Dragon Flight Red Dragon Solo

Hey everyone!  I keep reading (and reading) about how terrible TRs are from other TRs, so I wanted to start putting out solo videos to give you all out there some hope.

Here’s my first one.

I’m still a little disappointed in the quality, but it’s an improvement over the MSVA run, anyway.  I’m still working on tweaking things on my setup.  And, I realize I have a very annoying habit of shaking my mouse when I use DF.  I can’t explain it, but it’s just an unconscious habit I have and I’m trying really hard to quit.

I’ll get there one day!

6 TR MSVA Run under 10 minutes

So, I decided to try to show the PVE world that a team of TRs could do quite well in MSVA.  This is my first attempt at a video, and it shows!  In my defense, my computer is pretty sick right now.  But, even though the quality is just awful, it still shows us beating MSVA in under 10 minutes.

I’ve gotten a lot of constructive feedback and the next time, the quality will be better, I promise!

Crit Severity Companions

So, first, let me start of with a Happy New Year!  Second, I want to thank all the kind messages I have received in game and out, and all of the words of encouragement I have gotten since I started this blog.  Y’all are great, and, I think TRs are already on the rise.  Thank you!

Now, an awful lot of people, including me, have been running the Erinyes of Belial that offers a 10% bonus to critical severity.  A lot of people lament the fact that the Cambion Magus hasn’t made a return, and is pretty much unavailable unless you have millions of AD to spend on the auction house.  After all a 10% bonus to crit severity gives us a big bonus to damage, right?


“Cool!  My Cambion Magus turned my main hand into a gun…43 million AD?  Worth it!”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that well.  Let’s look at how the crit severity bonus works.  Sorry, but we gotta delve into math if we want to figure this out.  The equation that shows what we need is:

base damage*(1+(crit severity)+(combat advantage))= damage

Now, for your own calculations, you need to know that your combat advantage bonus is figured this way:

CA Bonus=15% + attribute bonus from charisma + stat bonus + companion bonus

I don’t use CA pets, so my CA bonus sits right at about 24%.

I’m to pick an arbitrary base damage of 1.  It doesn’t matter what this number is because it won’t affect the percentages we are looking at.

This makes out equation look like this:

1*(1+crit severity+.24) = damage

At this point, we want to see what difference in damage having an extra 10% crit severity gives us.  Well, that depends on what your crit severity starts at.  When figuring it out, remember that your vorpal enchantment isn’t reflected in the stat on your character sheet.  If you have at least a perfect vorpal, add 50% to that number.  For most TRs, that ought to bring your Crit Severity to at least 130%, so let’s start there:

1*(1+1.3+.24)= 2.54

If we add 10% crit severity:

2000*(1+1.4+.24) = 2.64

2.64/2.54 = 1.039 or 3.9% increase in damage

Wait what?  Yes, and that assumes a 100% crit rate.  So, at that level of crit severity and higher, you are better off with a siege master than either 10% crit severity companion.

So, at what point does our bonus from crit severity and combat advantage make the 10% bonus from crit severity companions drop below 4% (the damage bonus of the siege master)?

solve for x:


x=1.5 or 150%

This means that the 10% Critical Severity companions only out perform the Siege Master (+4% damage) if your Combat Advantage + Critical Severity are less than 150%.

Here is a graph, provided by Janne Moonmist (thank you!), that shows your diminishing returns.  Note:  this shows the diminishing returns for CA+CS, so keep that in mind.


This assumes a 100% crit rate and combat advantage uptime.  For me, since my Combat Advantage bonus is 24%, it is only advantageous for me to use them if my total Crit Severity is less than 126%.  Since mine is much higher, it makes more sense to go with another companion.


Man, 43 million AD doesn’t get you as far as it used to…


Grim Pleasure vs Arterial Cut

So, there has been a lot of debate on which of these feats is better.  I, apparently like to torture myself.  So, I went through and did some testing, and did the maths, and here is what I came up with:

I took off everything that altered my stats in preview, all boons, all companions except Erinyes of Belial (unsummoned), and I basically respecced without putting points into anything except choosing Master infiltrator.

REMEMBER THIS EQUATION: Damage = Base * (1+ Total Critical Severity+Total Combat Advantage)

I used Dazing Strike and got my base damage, my crit damage (non stealth), and stealthed damage.

Power: 18,381
Crit severity: 85%
Combat advantage = attribute bonus + stat bonus + base = 2% + 6.9%+ 15% = 23.9%


Base (includes power bonus): 2490
Crit (crit severity): 4606
Stealth (Crit + Combat advantage): 5200

So this checks out with our equation:
For just a critical strike Damage = Base *(1+(.85)) = 4606.5
For stealth hits we add in Combat Advantage= 2490 * (1+.85 + .2388) = 5201.6

I kind of expect it to be a point or two off as we are probable rounding some of the numbers that Neverwinter doesn’t, or the numbers Neverwinter gives us are rounded from the numbers it uses to actually come up with the damage.


I took heroic feats that don’t affect damage: Action Advantage, Swift Footwork, Improved Cunning Sneak, etc.
I took ONLY Grim Pleasure
I then attacked with cloud of steel until I hit a crit, and hit using dazing strike without critting, a hit critting, and a stealth hit.
My power went to 19,300 after hitting my first crit.

The first critical hit you do does NOT get the buff.


Base hit: 2529
Crit: 4679
Stealth: 5282

This checks out with our previous numbers and equations:
2529/2490 = 1.0157 or 1.57% increase in damage.
This checks out this way, as well: (1+(19300/40000))/(1+(18381/40000))=1.0157 or 1.57%

The rest is pretty straightforward plugging in our numbers:
Crit damage = 2529 * (1+.85) = 4678.65
Stealth damage = 2529 * (1+.85+.239) = 5283.08

I added my companion with bondings and brutality rings and the change in power from Grim pleasure did not change so it is ONLY your BASE power.


I respecced using the same non effecting heroic feats and took only Arterial Cut.

Power: 18,381

Base: 2490
Crit: 4606
Stealth: 5574

The Base and Crit are identical to the test I did without feats, so that checks out, as expected.

The stealth should be 2490 * (1 + 1 + .239) = 5575.1

So, Arterial Cut performs as expected with an added 15% crit severity to damage delt while you are in stealth.

In this example, with these stats, hits from stealth do 5574/5200 = 1.0719 or 7.2% more damage with arterial cut. However, you have to keep in mind that that extra damage only counts in damage from stealth. If we are generous and say we do 40% of our damage from stealth, .4*.0719 = .02876 or 2.9% added damage with this feat. Compared with Grim Pleasure which we’ve already established, with these stats, gives us about a 1.57% increase in damage, it’s seems Arterial Cut is the clear choice.

However, here is where it gets complicated (I know right?):


The effectiveness of Arterial Cut goes way down the more Crit severity and combat advantage you get. For example, if you had 150% Crit Severity (pretty common end game) and 40% Combat Advantage Bonus (also fairly common), using my base damage stats from above, without Arterial Cut, you get stealthed damage of:

2490 * (1+1.5+.4)= 7221

Add in the 15% from arterial cut:
2490* (1+1.5+.15+.4)= 7594.5 or 7595 rounded

7595/7221= 1.052or 5.2% increase in stealth using Arterial Cut. Say you do 40% of your damage from stealth (which is pretty generous IMO), that gives it an effective damage increase of 5.2% * 40% = 2.1% extra damage.

BUT, as your base power goes up, Grim Pleasure gets better. To find out at what point our power needs to get to in order for Grim Pleasure to be better than Arterial Cut, we gotta go back to our maths (again):

We want to find the point at which our power increase with Grim Pleasure reaches 2.1%. Let’s go back to this equation:

(1+(power1/40000))/(1+(power2/40000)) = percentage difference in damage that power 1 is over power 2
(1+(power1/40000))/(1+(power2/40000)) = 1.021

Then if we take x as our needed power and make the first power x * (grim pleasure buff), our equation looks like this:
(1+(x*1.05)/40000))/(1+(x/40000) = 1.021

Solve for x (rounding) = 28,966 base power needed to out perform Arterial Cut.

So, here is the bottom line, fellow TRs: The Big assumption is the amount of damage you do from stealth. For me, I feel like I am being generous at assuming 40%. But that number is going to be different for everyone depending on their build. And, you don’t have to go much higher than 40% to make it impossible for Grim Pleasure to keep up. For example, if you do 45% of your damage from stealth, the amount of base power you need to pass up Arterial Cut with Grim Pleasure jumps to 36,482. But, if you do 35% damage from stealth you’ll only need 22,500 base power.

Keep in mind the variables: your base power, your crit severity, your combat advantage, and the amount of damage you do from stealth.

Also, realize that the difference between the two feats is, less than 1.5% damage.

Yeah, I just wrote a friggan dissertation over 1.5% difference.

Thank you to @chemodan007, @rustlord, and @micky1p00 over on the official forums for helping me out on this!

Never ever try to do this kind of work without coffee.