Updated: Apr 2
The goal of this Artificer build is to give more durability to the otherwise quite squishy rogue. Couple that with the huge damage potential, and you get a pretty overpowered build if you use it correctly.
For solo gameplay this is pretty much the safest and most powerful dual dagger approach, while using Stealth, although recommended, remains completely optional, since the build works well without it.
Toxic Cloud is an often overlooked skill, since it really doesn't offer that much in terms of damage: 50% weapon damage converted into poison for 8 seconds in a small 5 meter radius? Who would use this when they can deal thousands and thousand of critical damage from abilities like Twin Fangs or Throwing Blades?
Well, the useful part of this skill lies in it's upgrade "Lost in the Mist", which is one of the most useful upgrade in the entire game! The "Elusive". This will allow you to create a "barrier" around you, a shadowy form of yourself that will deflect any type of incoming damage. After one hit, it disappears. Even if this would just be it, it would still be extremely useful in certain situations, but this is not just it... you get to stack this protective shield up to 3 hits!
That's right. If you stand in Toxic Cloud, after every second, you get another Elusive until it reaches its peak at 3.
In addition to this, it is immune to overtime damage like, poison or burning. In fact it immediately stops them dealing damage on you if you activate the ability after the status effect is applied on you. This means that you can deflect that nasty, very powerful poison damage from poison spiders and you also don't have to be afraid of the burning effect from dragons or spellcasters.
There is really only one thing left for you to focus when you have an incredibly useful ability like this at your disposal: how to use it as often as possible!
Cooldowns are extremely important for this build, so your main focus is to boost up your critical chance. High critical chance with the Artificer passive Opportunity Knocks will grant you the ability to use your skills in a rapid fashion and in a never-ending cycle.
This will give you unlimited access to the Toxic Cloud skill and the Elusive, along with an extremely impressive damage output.
Toxic Cloud - Lost in the Mist: The cornerstone of the build. This will allow you to be protected while you are doing your non-stop attacks.
Throwing Blades - Precision Targeting: Another cornerstone. Fast, multiple hits and applies a 25% damage buff to the next ability you use. One of the most powerful skill for a rogue.
Spinning Blades - Neverending Spin: The third most important skill for the build. This not only serves as a quick way to reduce your cooldowns, but using it after Throwing Blades with the Pincushion passive unlocked, will melt the health pool of even the toughest bosses. It also has a nice AOE damage and it ends with an AOE knockdown. Fantastic skill!
Flank Attack - Skirmisher: Great skill to have in your arsenal. It gives you a quick way to get close to your enemies or get behind their back. With the upgrade you also get out of their sight fast, in case you need it.
Death Blow - Thrill of Victory: For a quick way to finish off enemies when their health is down or for bosses below 50% health to suffer enormous damage when used after Spinning Blades and Throwing Blades. The skill is extremely fast so it can also help reducing cooldowns. It also offers a small AOE knockdown after the second cut.
Stealth - Clinging Shadows: This is completely optional. Stealth is useful at the beginning when you don't have the specialization yet, but you can spec out of it later on. The build works just fine without it. You can still get it if you have skills to burn, since it will make things even easier.
Passive skills(only the most important ones):
Opportunity Knocks - This is the most important passive. After each critical hit, your cooldown lessens by 0.5 seconds. Get it as fast as possible.
Looked like it Hurt - The second most important passive skill. This is essential for ability activation, since this skill basically does the same thing Opportunity Knocks, but instead of reducing the cooldown, it will replenished your stamina upon a critical hit. With this in the background, you will never run out of it.
Pincushion - 5% damage increase after each hit works extremely well with this build, since you use multiple hit abilities, so that 5% can quickly go up to 100-200% during that 10 second window while it lasts.
Unforgiving Chain - It is required to unlock in order to access Spinning Blades, but still worth to mention of how good it is. If your base critical chance is around 50-60%, this passive will make sure that you will hit critical pretty much 100%.
And Take them Down - 5% critical chance for a passive sounds like a fair trade!
Tricks of the Trade - 10% bonus damage and 10% bonus duration on status effects is always useful.
I feel like a broken record when I say that the Superior Prowler Armor schematics with its upgrades are the best choice here. It is pretty much the best choice for any rogue build, really. Stuff it with Great Bear Hide for critical chance or Lurker Skin for critical damage depending on what you need. You can also put the Sigil of the Great Bear in it.
You can get this schematics by getting the Short List inquisition perk and visiting the Desert Merchant in the Hissing Waste. The shop will randomly sell it sometimes.
The Coiled Strike schematics is the best choice for this build in my opinion, since it comes with a lot of offensive slots for critical damage and critical chance. If you plan to get critical chance elsewhere and you would go for Attack instead of Critical Damage, then I recommend the Stone Stalker Blade.
The Coiled Strike is available at the Black Emporium. You can get the Stone Stalker Blade from the Descent dlc.
The Superior Skirmisher Hat is pretty much the best option here, since it offers the most utility slot for a rogue. The only alternative is the Superior Battlemage Cowl, if you use Avvar Cotton in the utility slot.
Available at the Black Emporium. For the Battlemage Cowl, you will need the Jaws of Hakkon dlc for this schematics. You need to visit Stone-Bear Hold and look for the Weapon Merchant there.
Superior Critical Damage Rings are the choices I went with, because I had enough critical chance, but if you are lacking in that area, you can get the Ring of Slicing.
The Critical damage Rings are random loot, they have a high chance to spawn in the chests in the Descent dlc, the Ring of Slicing is available in the Black Emporium.
The Malika's Guard amulet can be weird choice, since it is mainly used by archers, because of the penalty to flanking damage, but I usually attack from the front so to me, the penalty is not a problem. If you want to use flanking, use a Superb Dexterity Amulet.
For a belt, there really isn't any mandatory choice. You can go with a Superb Life Belt, Belt of Elements or you can even use a Belt of Urgency if you are willing to trade 50% of your health for a large speed boost.
Masterworks: You have multiple choice here or you can just go with all of them. It all depends on what you need. Using Hidden Blades further reduces cooldowns when it procs so it is extremely useful to have. Getting Guard on hit also works. And finally, you can always go with Targets Explode or Walking Bomb if you feel like you need more aoe damage.
Naturally, you first activate Toxic Cloud. The Elusives will add up after each second, up a total of 3. I recommend using Throwing Blades first, no matter what. The damage boost you get for the next ability is really rewarding, regardless of which skill you use after.
Depending on the distance of your target, you can use Flank Attack to get close, or if you are close enough, you can activate Spinning Blades. After this, all you have to do is spam Throwing Blades and Spinning Blades. Keep an eye on your Elusive and activate Toxic Cloud regularly to keep yourself safe. If your targets' health is sufficiently low, you can finish them off with Death Blow. You can use Stealth if you feel like it in order to avoid enemies or to get the damage buff.
It is hard to create a more powerful build than this one. Usually dealing high damage comes with poor survivability without Stealth and good survivability comes with weak damage. I am not surprised that the Artificer can find a way around this too. This is by far the safest build for a non-stealth based rogue and it was a huge blast to play. You are a monster who can kill anything in seconds and you are almost impossible to kill. It can take some time to get use to the combos and the extremely fast paced combat, but once you get it, you will love it!