What Makes a Good Hero? – Spellcasters

“What makes a good hero in Shop Titans?”

General Skills

So far in this series, we’ve taken a look at some universally weak skills as well as what you’re generally looking for in your Fighters and Rogues.

This time, we’ll be concluding the archetype trinity. This guide is all about blue types / Spellcasters: Mages, Clerics, Druids, Sorcerers, Spellblades, and Geomancers. These guys are your stereotypical squishy magic users. They have extremely high offensive power but will typically fall over if a stiff breeze flies in their general direction. This raw attacking prowess comes from their ability to wield weapons with inherently high Attack (read: Wands) plus the unique ability to hold Spells as Accessory items. A Spell has roughly 30% more Attack than a Wand of the same tier which leads to massive returns with high attacking stats from skills. However, this also leads to the Spellcaster’s main weakness – their squishiness. They’re holding an Accessory almost exclusively dedicated to attacking power, which means they’re NOT holding an extra piece of armor or defensive Accessory. In a party, their role is to use their massive damage to end the fight as quickly as possible. This minimizes failure of a quest due to bad RNG and also mitigates gear breaks as much as possible. Spellcasters don’t have any archetype exclusive skills that should be avoided like the plague so this time, we’re going to cover three main topics before we get to the classes themselves – HP% skills, Evasion skills, and weapon skills.

HP% Skills

First up are the HP% skills – Sturdy, Fast Healer / Survivor / Toughness, and Juggernaut. These mostly have a similar reasoning for why you want to avoid them on most Rogues. These skills’ primary benefit is a percent boost to total health. Don’t get me wrong – HP is important and is easily the most critical stat in the game. It’s a universal rule that your DPS drops to 0 if you’re a corpse, regardless of what game you happen to be playing. HP as a stat is important up until the point that you can comfortably survive the quest 95% of the time, and then extra is fairly meaningless. These skills specifically also don’t provide any boost to combat capability (aside from the obvious “more HP” thing) and Spellcasters have pretty low base HP so they can’t make great use of them most of the time.

  • Sturdy is simple as it only provides HP%. It’s a pretty big boost at 60%, but is a prime example of this point – it offers no additional combat help aside from allowing the user to take an extra hit or two.
  • Fast Healer, Toughness, and Survivor all provide Rest Time Reduction as their secondary stat. This effect does absolutely nothing in battle so it’s partially wasted. Additionally, all three have less HP value than Sturdy despite being higher rarities than it.
  • Juggernaut’s secondary stat is bonus Defense (75% at rank 4). This is great for Fighters but not quite as good for Spellcasters. This archetype has inherently low HP / Defense and can only wear Clothes, which typically gives them pretty low overall tankiness. Since Juggernaut directly benefits from high Defense / HP values in gear and base stats, you usually aren’t going to see massive improvements in hit-taking ability with this skill.
    • Spellblades can make solid use of this skill on a tanky build since they can wear Heavy armor items.
  • Impervious is the major exception here. This skill is a direct upgrade to Sturdy and is HUGE – it offers a whopping 80% HP and +150 flat HP at rank 4. This is a massive boost to survivability and is useful on all classes. You still get the inherent downsides of “no combat capability besides more HP” but this skill basically solves a Spellcaster’s biggest weakness by itself – their low HP.

Evasion Skills

Evasion is a bit of an odd topic on Spellcasters. The pure Evasion skills Acrobatics and Blurred Movement tend to have the same problem on Spellcasters as they do on the non-evasive Fighters. They only provide a chance to avoid incoming damage on classes that inherently have 0% Evasion. These skills do nothing if the hero is attacking and they do nothing if you fail the dice roll while defending. This means that most of the time, you’re running with a dead slot. However, note that the same Evasion penalty on Extreme also applies here so it can be a good idea to use these in some situations.

Now, what if there was a way to completely avoid incoming damage without compromising your attacking power? Enter the hybrid Evasion / Attack skills: Curse, Antimagic Net, and Dance of Blades. There are some class-exclusives here too – Caltrops / Throw Daggers for Spellblades and Shadow Embrace for Sorcerers.

These hybrid Evasion / Attack skills are great. They give the Spellcaster a chance of completely ignoring an incoming attack but they crucially do NOT reduce the hero’s damage output (much). They’re not the best choices for pure damage as they range from 90% Attack (Throw Daggers) to 150% (Dance of Blades), but they’re an excellent way to give some longevity to your squishy heroes.

Weapon Skills

Weapon skills are a little more nuanced here than they are for Fighters and Rogues. For Rogues and attacking Fighters, a weapon skill is mandatory because their weapon is the single biggest source of offensive power they have. While a weapon skill isn’t quite as important on Spellcasters compared to the other archetypes, it’s still a sizeable boost to attacking strength and you still generally want to have one.

That said, there is one huge exception to this – Sorcerers.

Sorcerers have the unique ability to hold two Spell items. This means that a much larger potion of their Attack comes from these instead of their weapon. As a result, you actually get less Attack from a Common weapon skill than a pure Attack skill up to a certain threshold. The breakpoint is around 350% – 400% or so. If you have this much bonus Attack from skills, then Wand or Staff Master will typically provide more Attack than an extra Attack skill.

  • Adept is pretty good, both because it provides a bigger Attack boost to the weapon (giving it an easier time at being competitive) and it has a generic Attack bonus. This skill is almost always useful on a Sorcerer unless you’re running a dedicated crit build or a Dragon Invasion specific one.
  • Sorcerers have access to Warlord as of update 11.0, but this typically is a poor choice for them. If a Sorcerer is holding a Dagger, it’s because they want the CHC secondary stat on it far more than the Attack of the item itself because they’re using it for a Crit build (you generally want to stay away from Dagger Master for the same reason). Warlord’s low HP% boost is handy but not super helpful considering this class has the lowest base HP value in the game.
  • If the Sorcerer has two of Poison Cloud, Double Cast, or Petrify, then a weapon skill will round the set out very nicely. Any combination of two of these skills easily puts you over 400% total Attack, after all.
  • Definitely make sure you’re using the Hero Simulator if you’re around this breakpoint with a Sorcerer / Warlock. The math is pretty complicated and it’s difficult to parse out a universal answer that works for everyone.

Double Weapon Skills

Now, notice the earlier phrase “a single weapon skill.” Double stacking Common and Epic weapon skills of the same type (Wand Master and Adept for example) works pretty well for Spellcasters. You might be wondering about how this stacks up on the other two archetypes, so let’s touch on them here.

  • Defensive Fighters can do their job pretty effectively with a damage output of zero, so Common weapon skills are pretty weak for them anyway. Epic weapon skills are primarily used for their secondary effect (usually the 20% HP of Warlord).
  • Attacking Fighters and Rogues typically can’t make the double stacked weapon skill thing work either because they need lots of other stats. Both are usually Crit based attackers so they need CHC, CD, and whatever defensive stats are normally required. They don’t have the space to get enough bonus Attack to make this really work.
  • Spellcasters on the other hand have the advantage of simple stat requirements AND better Attack options. Wand Master, Adept, and two high Attack skills works out pretty well for many Spellcasters, especially Geomancers due to their innate skill effectively giving them Double Cast for free. Mages / Archmages can reach some impressive Attack numbers by double stacking Staff skills due to their innate as well.

Putting it all Together

Finally, let’s put this all together. As with the Fighter and Rogue pages, we’ll take a look at what you’re generally going to want in a Spellcaster. Building one of these guys is usually pretty simple. A typical Spellcaster build will fall into one of three primary categories – pure Attack, Crit, or tanky.

  • Pure Attack is the simplest. Spellcasters inherently have an extremely high Attack stat so stacking large amounts of Attack in their skillset makes perfect sense. This gives you high damage with minimal investment or skill luck required. This archetype has access to a LOT of good Attack skills so this build style typically isn’t that difficult to set up. Pick a weapon skill and three skills with Attack on them that are not named Magic Darts / Mage Armor / Smite – you’ll be fine.
  • Crit builds work extremely well for Spellcasters. Their proficiency towards high Attack values scales very well with critical hits. This one can be a little tricky because a CHC skill is required in addition to a CD one. Telling Blows can cover this by itself if you get lucky. You can get a bit more CHC via a weapon – Sorcerers can use crit Daggers and most other Spellcasters can use Soulbinder Staff (T12).
    • Note that you don’t NEED to go full crit here. Getting a single CHC skill (especially All Natural / Telling Blows) will be a pretty sizeable damage increase by itself. You don’t really want to run a CD skill by itself however – you won’t have high enough CHC to make it consistently worth using.
  • Finally, Spellcasters have access to several hybrid Attack / Defense skills. A few of these plus something like Impervious can work pretty well, especially for some of the classes that can naturally lean into a tanky build.

The pure Attack and the Crit based setups tend to work pretty well for most Spellcasters due to their naturally high damage output. All Spellcasters can use a tanky build, but some are inherently better at it than others.

Clerics are a unique class. Similar to Wanderers, they’re the only member of their archetype that doesn’t get any offensive power from their innate skill. This means full attacker setups tend to be a bit less effective on them compared to the other members of this archetype. On the other hand, the potent heal over time plus bonus HP from their innate skill lets them run a tanky build far better than most Spellcasters. This allows them to run a fun (if slow) setup and go full Evasion – an exception to the earlier section about Acrobatics / Blurred Movement. A Cleric with six Phoenix Spirits and 75% Evasion is effectively immortal and can bulldoze most content through sheer force of not giving a flying [EXPLETIVE DELETED]. Four Clerics make up the Immortal Quartet team style and can completely trivialize endgame content by simply refusing to fall over (although the team does require some specific investment).

Druids and Spellblades can also work pretty well on a tankier build. Druids get a lot of HP bonuses from their non-Spell Accessory slots and Spellblades are highly customizable in both skills and gear.

The other four Spellcaster classes will typically want to stick to the more offensive setups. It’s a safe bet to focus on high Attack and then pick up any Crit or hybrid Attack / defensive skills as a bonus. Sorcerers and Geomancers tend to be the best at running Crit builds due to their innate skills letting them hit some pretty impressive Attack numbers without breaking much of a sweat. Mages usually want a Staff-compatible weapon skill to combo with their innate but otherwise work well with the high damage setups.

And we’re done! We’ve now covered a general overview of all classes plus each of the three archetypes individually. Do you think a certain build works and didn’t get mentioned? Did I get any stat priorities wrong for a class? Let me know! Mistakes and alternate opinions are great learning opportunities, so I’d be happy to update this series if needed. Do you want to tell me that this series is an incoherent mess of word vomit and I don’t know what I’m doing? Too bad! You’ll have to take a number – the voices in my head have a pretty long line for that one.

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