I call this build “Medusa” because of all of the Gaze attacks. Posted below is the build as I’m currently running it. I’ve included attribute levels and equipment as well (so you can try it out yourself). Following shortly thereafter are alternative skills and their usefulness.
The Medusa is a blood magic build based on spamming life stealing spells. This version is focused on doing so from spell range, rather than “up close and personal” as some of the other blood builds. This tactic is frequently used by E/Me to copy Fireball and is commonly knows as an Echo Chain.
I’m presently using a 10/10 wand (req 9 Soul Reaping) and a 20/20 blood offhand, which gives me 10/10 on all spells and 30/30 on blood spells. This is primarily a caster build. A 20/20 wand would make things work more quickly, but a caster sword/axe/spear would be fine as well for +5 energy and 20% enchant increase for AtB. I would ideally use a 20/20 wand and 20/20 offhand (both blood) and have a shield set to switch to (prolly -5/20 +30 or -2 enchant/+45 enchant) if I start taking hits.
Because I’m more likely going to be close to my foes with this build, I tend to favor more armor. I use Tormentor’s Insignia if I’m including more than one sacrifice spell (see below) and Survivor’s Insignia if not. My Tormentor’s includes a Sup Blood Rune (on scar), Minor Soul Reaping Rune, Major Vigor Rune and 2 Attunement Runes. It is advised to stay away from the Condition Removing Runes for this build as you will need to have at least one condition constantly (see below). My Survivor’s Armor is the same, but change Attunement to Vitae.
Medusa (current incarnation):
Signet of Agony (SoA)
Awaken the Blood (AtB)
Angorodon’s Gaze (AG)
Arcane Echo (AE)
Vampiric Gaze (VG)
Blood of the Aggressor (BotA)
Signet of Lost Souls (SoLS)
Casting order… SoA before AtB (to avoid extra life sac), Echo, AG, AE, Echoed AG. Cycle through all 3 copies of AG. Use VG and BotA if you are having trouble keeping conditions on you (may have to use manual casting with heroes who remove conditions very effectively). AG costs 15 if you don’t have a condition (SoA provides bleeding for 25 sec), but only 3 if you do (you must still have 15 energy to cast in the first place).
AG steals 63 health at BM 12, 79 health at BM 16 and 87 health at BM 18. With its 1 sec cast time and 5 sec recharge (both reduced frequently with the 20/20 mod(s)) you will be spiking your enemy for a lot of armor ignoring damage and healing yourself at the same time.
When grouping with people, I generally drop BotA or AtB and add a rez.
Keeping with the theme:
Ravenous Gaze [E]
Gaze of Contempt
Jaundiced Gaze is nice for a starter attack and steals/deals 63 health/damage at BM 16 with a 2 sec recharge. It is a conditional life steal (foe has more health than you) which makes its inherent 10% sac (15% sac with AtB) a little hard to manage without lowering your health.
Oppressive Gaze has a 7 sec recharge and 2 sec cast time and requires the foe be suffering from weakness for full effect (meaning you need to provide weakness somehow). It “damages” the foe for 100-110 (some damage, some steal) but is slower and more costly than Angorodon’s Gaze for dealing only slightly more damage/steal.
Ravenous Gaze [E] is an elite that cuts down on the number of copies you can make of your gaze spells. It has high conditional returns and may be beneficial in a build where you lower your health or use multiple life saccing skills (to lower your health in battle below the 50% mark to trigger this skill’s conditional extra damage).
Verata’s Gaze is included because it is a gaze spell. Not terribly useful here as you have to invest at least 5 points into the Death Magic attribute and it functions with minions.
Gaze of Contempt is a nice utilitarian spell to remove a foe’s enchantments. It has a high recharge (15 sec) but removes all enchantments and makes for a nice way to start things off.
Here are a few skills to consider with this build:
Foul Feast – Draw conditions from ally to meet req for Angorodon’s Gaze (also some health/energy gain)
Blood Drinker – Applies bleeding to you if your health is over 50%
Vampiric Spirit [E] – spells cost more and life steal is based on proximity (how close you are to target)
Vampiric Swarm – nice AoE life steal
Life Transfer [E] and/or Life Siphon – adds degen pressure while providing regen for you
Strip Enchantment – 1-2 enchants and life steal–compare with Gaze of Contempt
Blood Renewal – regen and healing, be careful of the 25% sac when using AtB
Demonic Flesh – nice health buffer, be careful of the 20% sac when using AtB
Cultist’s Fervor [E] – decreases spell cost by 7, but adds sac (which is often taken care of by life steals). Not recommended for use with AtB
Reaper’s Mark [E] – degen foe and nice energy return upon foe’s death
Masochism – great when using spells that sac health
Be sure you discuss with your group that you will be running this build and explain how Angorodon’s Gaze works so the party monk doesn’t keep removing your conditions. I’ve had some difficulty getting my point across a couple times and have volunteered to be the person who removes conditions in the party. For this I generally will either add Foul Feast to my build (at SR 13 it costs 2 energy and heals me for 39) or, in condition heavy areas, I’ll bring the monk elite Martyr or the paragon elite Cautery Signet. All 3 skills remove conditions from party members and leave me with a condition to power Angorodon’s Gaze. Additionally, none require me to reallocate my attribute points into another attribute.
Likewise, if you are bringing heroes with condition removal, it is advised to disable these skills and use them yourself when necessary.
Good luck and happy slaying!