A Versatile Perspective by Tyco
This post provides an additional perspective to building trickster-based Polonia teams that is focused on hero versatility. The intent is to be a complement to Astrylian’s article on Plundering with Polonia as well as the Polonia Partners TL;DR on ST Central. I do suggest taking a look at those first as I’m trying to not duplicate concepts that are already detailed elsewhere.
Please contact Tyco#3709 on Discord for comments or feedback.
What does versatility mean?
OK, so let’s tackle this first. Versatility is about being adaptable for multiple different uses or situations. In terms of building tricksters for Polonia teams, what this means is to build them in such a way that optimizes their usefulness across a range of different scenarios. So, yes, while the primary goal for Polonia teams is for them to be really good at maximizing the loot stolen during a quest, I want them to be able to do more than just that. I’m greedy like that.
So the question becomes, how to build them to a) still be really good at maximizing the loot Polonia brings home but also b) do more than just maximize that loot.
What more is there other than just maximizing loot? Great question. Here are some of the things that appeal to me, but you may have other ideas as well.
First, I want them to be as cheap and sustainable to use as possible. And second, I want them to also be great at regular questing and events so that, if ever the need arises, they can pivot quickly and be useful outside of their usual Polonia runs.
What makes a versatile trickster skill set?
With all of the above in mind, I chose to not build around rest time-reduction skills as I believe it increases the likelihood of them ultimately being one-trick
ster ponies and thus not being very versatile. Instead, I prioritized rolling heroes that had great non-crit “green-class” skills that provided them with buffs to evasion, defense, HP, and even attack.
Here, you can see the skills my team has as examples, but I’m not suggesting that these are the only ones worth keeping.
While Astrylian favours a defense-stacking approach in his summary, I wasn’t too worried about including good evasion-attack hybrid skills because you can adjust the amount of attack delivered substantially by changing the tier and quality of a weapon. However, I did deliberately avoid bronze weapon skills. By my thinking, the thief/trickster innate essentially is a weapon skill already, and bronze weapon skills don’t add anything else of benefit like evasion, defense, or HP (as compared to Marksman or Warlord, which do). See below for my personal ranking of skills (adjusted for update 9.0) that I would consider for building versatile tricksters. Considering thieves are free to roll, I’d only advocate promoting a thief with S and A tier skills
One quick note about Impervious being included as the only S tier skill without evasion. This skill is so ridiculously powerful it is amongst the best possible options for any class, including evasion-based green heroes. With the third tier added it’s now even more powerful, and with many of the other epic skills listed here getting bumps to evasion at tier 3 it’s also less challenging to hit the evasion cap with a skill like Impervious, which adds no evasion at all.
The important thing to note is that some skills will work better, or synergize, with a subset of other specific skills. As such, a “great” skill set will look different on a hero with a non-evasion skill like Impervious compared to a hero getting evasion from four hybrid skills.
Pros and Cons for Versatility
Because I can already feel eyes glazing over, here’s a quick summary table of the pros and cons to building for versatility below. If you want to understand any of the points within, feel free to jump to the relevant explanation. Or just jump all the way down to the TL;DR for a brief summary of key points.
|More flexibility to gear on the cheap||Fewer possible quests/day without rest time-reductions|
|Easier to use in higher difficulty quests/events||Potentially steeper cost to finalizing skills|
|Easier to ensure Polonia’s survival|
|Can be re-geared for regular questing|
|No need to target the small pool of rest time-reduction skills|
|Future-proofing for potential meta shifts|
Con #1: Fewer possible quests/day without rest time-reductions
This is the rub, boys and girls. Given both versatile and rest-reduced teams cap at the same number of items per quest, a team of rest-reduced tricksters is the way to truly maximize the volume of loot retrieved in a day. If this is your objective then there is only one answer. However, I suggest you consider how likely you are to take advantage of those shorter rest times by asking yourself the following three questions:
- Are you setting a timer for every quest/rest period?
- Are you logged in or available to reset your quest at any given time, 24/7?
- Are you prepared to use stamina potions or gems to wake up Polonia so she can keep up with your well-rested tricksters?
If you are, then a rest-reduced team may make the most sense for you. So my suggestion is to take a look at the number of extra items a rest-reduced team is going to collect – in the real world – and use that as a basis to compare against the pros outlined below.
Con #2: Potentially steeper cost to finalizing skills
While building tricksters for versatility may mean it’s easier to get a good first two skills than if you’re chasing rest-time reduction skills, it may also require players to be more strict about the other skills they bring along in the end. This might result in a higher gem/dice cost to secure skills in slots 3 and 4 that you’re happy with. However, the joy (and pain) of hero building is, of course, that this is entirely up to the mercy of the RNG gods. In any case, your tricksters will likely be effective while you continue to work on finalizing skills in slots 3 and 4.
Pro #1: More flexibility to gear on the cheap
OK, so this is something I’d been doing “wrong” for a long time without realizing it. Snype finally inspired me to take a closer look recently and I was surprised by just how much I was over-gearing my tricksters. Even using all normal quality enchanted T10 gear, I was basically flushing gold down the toilet every time… in fact, it turns out you need very little in terms of gear to have a full, well-skilled team clear some of the game’s most challenging quest areas.
Ress’s Hero and Quest Simulator is your best friend when working out different skill and gear combinations for your team. For my tricksters, I was able to downgrade my trickster’s gear to normal quality T6 items, enchanting them with lizards and T7 elements. Due to the number of rounds it takes to maximize Polonia’s steal, you will be faced with multiple gear breaks – even if using higher quality stuff. With the load-out I’m now using for my team, each break costs about 60K gold to repair (as a long-term RM subscriber). But even for players without RM, outright replacement of one of these items will cap out at no more than 5-600K gold, which is easily outweighed by the quest loot. See below the specific builds for my tricksters, but again, these are just examples and are not exhaustive.
Contrast this to the costs of the normal T10 gear I had been using before: Roughly 2 million gold per break to replace, or 500K to repair. This can all add up to millions of wasted gold per day.
Pro #2: No need to target the small pool of rest time-reduction skills
As described above, there are about 14 skills that can work well in this model of versatility. By contrast, the pool of desirable rest-time reduction skills is much smaller, meaning you can (hopefully…) spend less time retiring and rehiring thieves to land a set of 2 skills worth building around. As noted before, your tricksters will likely be effective while you continue to work on finalizing skills in slots 3 and 4.
Pro #3: Easier to use in higher difficulty quests/events
Another advantage of building tricksters this way will be that the skills here, ie, including some with attack buffs, provide some improvements in the overall questing performance.
What this means practically is that it’s a bit easier to run these tricksters in more difficult content, in particular, during higher levels of Tower of Titans and higher difficulties of the Lost City of Gold
Even when you do need a bit more power to get your team through it, you can accomplish a lot by simply improving the tier and/or quality of the weapons used.
A key caveat to note here is that it will depend on the specifics of your team as well as your Polonia. I have the luxury of level 40 heroes, lots of seeds, and max-rank Polonia – each player should evaluate their teams using levels and stats relevant to them in the Hero & Quest Simulator.
This could also become more relevant if there’s a new quest area released in the future that makes sense to send Polonia teams to. As it stands now, there’s little real difference in running teams on Peak or Temple Easy. But if higher tier loot drops from future quest areas you can bet we’ll all be scrambling to adapt our teams to run there as quickly as possible.
NOTE: As of update 9.4, the new T12 dungeon, Cinderlake Volcano, has been added. Unfortunately, Polonia has received a bit of a nerf in this dungeon – T11/T12 gear does not show up in the steal slot. As such, it makes sense to prioritize running Pol quests in Peak or Temple to optimize loot drops overall. The impact in Epsilon Tower and the new LCOG levels remain TBD.
Pro #4: Easier to ensure Polonia’s survival
In the spirit of sustainability, some players will prefer to ensure Polonia survives the quest, so as to keep her rest time between quests (and/or the gem cost of reviving her) as low as possible
A team of well-skilled tricksters will have more flexibility in terms of how they can be tweaked to keep Polonia alive.
For example, in the team shown above, swapping 2 lizard spirits for 2 mammoths on each trickster allows Polonia to survive >95% of the time on Bleakspire Peak Easy. As of 9.0, Polonia can also now be equipped with a familiar to increase her survivability independent of your heroes. The cyclops familiar especially appears to be a natural choice for this purpose.
As noted above, each player should evaluate their teams using levels and stats relevant to them in the Hero & Quest Simulator.
Pro #5: Can be re-geared for regular questing
A feature that is central to the concept of versatility is the ability for them to be used in different scenarios. Maybe you need more components fast? Or need all hands on deck for a particular event? For tricksters built using this approach you could re-gear them to slide right into regular questing rotations within your roster.
stered out in best-in-slot legendary gear, versatile tricksters would be able to solo Temple or Peak easily; with more modest flawless gear sets they should be highly capable duo partners as well. But as always, each player should evaluate their teams using the correct/relevant levels and stats in the Hero & Quest Simulator to see what is feasible.
Pro #6: Future-proofing for potential meta shifts
Last but not least on the list of pros is the concept of future-proofing against future meta shifts. This is clearly a less tangible point, but it’s worth noting that a single patch can change things dramatically.
Before tricksters were buffed, many players were running specialized teams of rangers or other low-damage survival-based heroes with Polonia. This remains a viable strategy and many players don’t want to be bothered with the pain of rolling for great skills on a T1 hero class.
But for those interested in building heroes and shifting with the meta, it’s always possible that trickster-based Polonia teams get ousted by something new and shinier. Given each trickster requires a titan soul, taking a versatile approach can bring at least some peace of mind that they can be easily repurposed back into a roster whenever needed.
In the spirit of Reiga’s reviews and commentaries, here’s my summarized elevator pitch:
- A versatile team of tricksters can do more than just be really good at maximizing the loot stolen during a quest
- The skills of a versatile trickster include the usual great rogue-class skills, with the exception of those that buff critical chance/damage and the bronze weapon skills
- Do not be scared of good hybrid skills that buff attack as well; damage is easily mitigated with lower tier or quality weapons
- Be mindful that some skills will work better, or synergize, with a subset of other specific skills – you can’t just mix and match any set of four great skills and achieve the same quality of hero at the end
- If your objective is purely to maximize potential quests and loot per day, then rest-reduction skills are required; however, be sure to assess whether your playstyle will actually take advantage of that potential increased rate of questing
- Do not over-gear your tricksters, you need very little for a team to succeed in Peak or Temple on easy difficulty and over-gearing means wasting gold
- Finally, with versatility also comes an ability for your tricksters to tackle more difficult content, enable Polonia’s survival, and adapt to regular questing rotations as needed
- Imagine a world where higher tier loot drops from a future, and therefore more difficult, quest area or event. Will your team be ready to take it on when the time comes?