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Rift: Blade Dancer


The Bladedancer is a dps class that requires you to alternate skills to get the best results. Playing the class is about rhythm, and is a little different from the other rogues, where you normally build combo points with the same skill 5 times. You also get a good deal of your damage from dodging attacks via special attacks and soul tree options. The class has a fair amount of avoidance increasing skills, which is great for soloing, or combining with a Riftstalker, the rogue tank soul. Though group play will not give you as much of a chance to use evasion triggered skills, the soul tree gives you excellent energy management skills to keep dps up.


Damage Skills (point builders):

Keen Strike - 1 point - Your main skill. Landing this skill opens up quick strike and precision strike.
Quick Strike - 1 point - Deals nearly double the damage of keen strike, but only usable once per keen strike. Gains 25% AP bonus.
Precision Strike - 2 points - Deals about the same damage as quick strike, costs 10 more energy, but awards 2 points. Has a 10 second cooldown, so you will not always have this up. Gains 25% AP bonus.
Twin Strike - 1 point - Deals keen strike damage to your target with your mainhand, and the same damage to another nearby target with your offhand.

Other (point builders):

Reprisal - 1 points - Deals more damage than quick/precision strike, but only usable after you dodge an attack. Not affected by global cooldown. 6 second cooldown.
Disengage - 1 point - deals low damage, but stuns for 4 seconds. Only usable after you dodge an attack. Not affected by global cooldown. 20 second cooldown.
Flash of Steel - 2 points - Charges at your target, cannot be avoided, and roots them for 2 seconds. Also breaks snares/roots on yourself. 15 second cooldown.

Finishers:

Deadly Strike - Basic finisher. Deals more damage than the other finishers, but has no special effects.
False Blade - Deals damage and gives you 5% dodge for 12 seconds per combo point.
Dauntless Strike - Deals damage and gives the raid 5% crit for 12 seconds per combo point.
Compound Attack - Deals damage to up to 3 targets. Deals slightly less based on the number of targets.

Utility Skills:

Maim - 50% snare with damage.
Weapon Barrage - Interrupts spellcasting and silences for 5 seconds. Not affected by global cooldown. 10 second cooldown.
Disassemble - Disarms for 6 seconds but deals no damage. 1 minute cooldown.
Side Steps - Basic skill for taking bladedancer. Gives 50% dodge for 15 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.
Combat Pose - Targetable dex buff.
Combat Preparation - Raidwide dex buff. Requires a cheap reagent. Does not stack with combat pose.


Soul Tree Options

Quick Reflexes (Tier 1) - gives 1/2/3/4/5% dodge. Many of your skills require you to dodge, so this is a good choice.

Strike Back (Tier 2) - gives you a 50/100% chance to strike an enemy with both weapons when you dodge an attack. I'm not sure if this works with parry as well, since the tooltip only mentions dodge. This skill will be triggering a lot, and has great synergy with side steps, which gives you 50% dodge.

Reprisal (Tier 2) - gives you the reprisal skill, which deals high damage and gives a combo point, but only after a dodge. Doesn't use GCD, so you can hit it during the GCD and not lose attack time.

Blade and Fury (Tier 2) - Causes your quick/precision strike to make your next keen strike +10% damage. More of a filler for the tier.

Blade Finesse (Tier 3) - Reduces most of your point builders by 5 energy. It may not seem that great, but being able to use more attacks before being out of energy is always a plus.

Combat Efficiency (Tier 4) - Gives all melee attacks a 10/20/30/40/50% chance to restore 3 energy. Nice skill to let you keep up dps, since it will proc quite often at 5 points.

Blade Tempo (Tier 4) - 30% damage buff for 15 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.

Contra Tempo (Tier 5) - Gives you a 50/100% chance when you parry/dodge, to make your next keen/quick/precision strike give an extra combo point. Allows you to get to 5 points faster, which is always a plus.

Flash of Steel (Tier 5) - Gives you the flash of steel charge ability. Excellent initiator that gives you 2 combo points.

Improved False Blade (Tier 5) - Gives 3/6% parry buff to false blade.

Disengage (Tier 6) - Gives you the disengage ability, which deals damage and stuns, but is only usable after a dodge. As with reprisal, you can slip this in during GCD. Though you can only use reprisal or disengage when you dodge/parry, disengage has a longer cooldown, so reprisal doesn't become obsolete when you get this skill.

Vivacity (Tier 6) - Gives you 10/20 more maximum energy. I wasn't able to test this during this beta, but having a higher maximum will of course give you more skills to use before running out of energy. Other classes also have skills that restore energy, so the additional 20 may get more use.



Playstyle

Bladedancer is very much about rhythm and alternating skills. You use keen strike for 1 point, then quick/precision strike open up. Use precision strike for 2 points, keen strike for 1 point, quick strike for 1 point, then use a finisher. I like to start with false blade, since it gives you dodge. Then you start with keen strike again, and repeat, using precision strike when the cooldown is up. Many times you will parry/dodge during a fight, and reprisal and disengage will become usable. Use disengage first if available, since it has a long stun, and reprisal otherwise. This gives you a combo point as well, so always make sure you keep count of your points. Note that when quick/precision strike become available, they will persist though a finisher, so if you get 5 points on a keen strike, you can still use them after the finisher. Once you have the charge, always use it to initiate, since it starts the fight with 2 points. Even though deadly strike deals slightly more damage than the other finishers, I stopped using it once I had false blade, or would use it only after the false blade buff was on me.

For multi-target solo fights, you can hit side steps for the evasion, which will trigger your strike back ability often, and activate your reprisal and disengage. Spam twin strikes for multi target damage, or single target to kill one mob faster. Compound attack will hit multiple targets as well, so depending on the difficulty, you can get false blade up first, or just dps down with compound attack as a finisher.


Class Combos

Riftstalker - The Riftstalker is supposedly the tank rogue class, though I haven't focused on it to see how well it performs as a tank. The class gets a short range teleport, and many defensive finishers and abilities. The soul tree also has defensive skills that pair well with your already evasion-based character. You will also get an endurance buff that stacks with your dex buff. The first tier of the soul tree can increase your attack power by 15%. These classes complement each other very well, even if you don't plan on being a tank.

Nightblade - Nightblade gets a tier 1 soul tree ability that restores energy when using a finisher. Can be a good combination with bladedancer, which already has a good deal of energy saving/generating skills to keep you from having to wait on your energy bar.

Ranger - Since you can swap out souls freely that do not have spent points in them, ranger gives you a free pet to tank and deal damage for leveling, a ranged combo point builder, and a ranged finisher for no invested points. Later when you have points to spare, you can dump ranger without cost and pick up another class if you wish.

 

Written by: Rhys