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Rift: Riftstalker


The Riftstalker

The Riftstalker is Rogue soul for tanking. Due to passive and short term buffs, the class becomes more of a mitigation tank than an avoidance tank, making them quite viable for tanking instances, as well as endgame raids. Riftstalkers are weakest without any buffs up. Once you have your buffs active, you are able to take damage equal to, or better than a warrior tank.


Combo Builders:

Phantom Blow - (1 point) - Stacks a buff on you that reduces damage taken by 2% per stack for 20s. Generates additional threat. Stacks 3 times.
Planar Strike - (1 point) - Deals damage and generates a large amount of additional threat.


Plane Shifts:

Shadow Assault - (1 point) - Teleports behind your target and deals bonus damage (1 combo point). This skill is mainly used in pulling, but can also be utilized to turn mobs. All plane shift ability have a default cooldown of 45 seconds, but do not share a cooldown.
Shadow Shift - Basic "blink" skill. Teleports you forward 15m but not through objects. This skill has limited use in PvE once you obtain Shadow Blitz/Assault, since it isn't wise to use while tanking.
Shadow Stalk - Teleports behind the target and removed roots, snares, and stuns on you. Usable while stunned.
Shadow Blitz - (1 point) - Teleports to the enemy and deals damage to it and 10 enemies nearby. Generates additional threat.
Shadow Warp - Teleports to the targeted location, which can be where you are standing to simply trigger Plane Shift triggered skills.
Memory Capture/Flashback - Memory Capture sets a location, while Flashback takes you there, as long as you are within range. Can be used in conjunction with other Plane Shifts to teleport in to pull, then Flashback out to your pull spot. Good for pulling out of line of sight of ranged mobs.


Finishers:

Guarded Steel - Deals damage and increases armor for 12s per combo point. Can be specced to gives 10% armor increase and 40% increased threat while active.
Rift Guard - Puts a shield on you that absorbs 15% of incoming damage for a total of 50% of your max hp. Can be specced to absorb more damage with a higher max cap, based on points spent in the Riftstalker tree. As one of the most important finishers you have, you will want this up at all times, and want to get it up as quickly as possible on a pull.
Annihilate - Deals damage and increases your attack power for 12s per combo point.
False Blade - (Bladedancer) - Deals damage and increases dodge chance by 5% for 12s per combo point. While this is actually a Bladedancer skill, it will be one of your important finishers.


Other important skills:

Planebound Resilience - Self only endurance buff.
Combat Pose - (Bladedancer) - Targettable dex buff.
Instigate - Forces an enemy to attack you for 3 seconds. This skill has a long range, so it can be nice to pick up stragglers that you can't hit with your AE on the pull. 8s cooldown.
Rift Disturbance - Deals AE damage and reduces attack and spell power of enemies hit by a large amount for 15s. This is your main AE threat building skill. In most cases you will only need Shadow Blitz and Rift Disturbance to hold aggro on a pack. 8s cooldown.
Guardian Phase - Defensive stance. Increases threat generation by 100%, endurance by 30%, and armor by 50%, while also giving 50 to all resists. Reduces damage by 30%. Can be specced to increase endurance by an additional 5%, while giving 1% more for each points over 26 spent in the Riftstalker tree. Caps at +60% endurance with 51pts spent.
Weapon Barrage - (Bladedancer) - Deals damage and interrupts spellcasting. Silences for 5 seconds on a successful interrupt. Useful for bringing caster mobs to you when you want to keep them in range to use Rift Disturbance. Doesn't trigger GCD.


Soul Tree Options

Toughened Soul (Tier 1) - Increases armor by 4% per point for a max of 20%.
Unseen Fury (Tier 1) - Increases attack power by 3% per point for a max of 15%.

Great Fortitude (Tier 2) - Increases endurance by 3% per point for a max of 15%.
Phantom Blow (Tier 2) - See above.

Boosted Recovery (Tier 2) - Increases healing on you by 2/4/6%.
Exceptional Resilience (Tier 2) - Decreases damage taken by 2/4/6%.

Rift Guard (Tier 3) - See above.
Rift Barrier (Tier 3) - Absorbs 15% of incoming damage for a total of 60% of your max health after plane shifting. This shield does not stack with Rift Guard, but is a great way to give yourself some minor mitigation while you get your big buffs up.

Improved Rift Guard (Tier 4) - Improved Rift Guard absorption by 2.5%, and increases the max health it can absorb by 25%. Increases absorption by an additional 0.5% and max health it can absorb by 5% for each point spent in the Riftstalker tree above 16. Caps at 35% absorption for of 250% of your max health with 51pts spent.

Quick Reflexes (Tier 1) - (Bladedancer) - Increases dodge by 1% per rank for a max of 5%.

Strike Back (Tier 2) - (Bladedancer) - 50/100% chance to strike an enemy with both weapons after dodging an attack.
Reprisal (Tier 2) - (Bladedancer) - Attack triggered after dodging or parrying an attack that also gives 1 combo point.


Playstyle

Riftstalkers are most vulnerable when they have none of their temp buffs up, which makes pulling a new pack the easiest time to die. You want to get 3 to 5 combo points and get Guarded Steel up as soon as possible in any fight. One common way to initiate is to use ranged combo builders (cadence or splinter shot), Shadow Blitz into the pull to trigger Rift Barrier, and pop a 3-4pt Guarded Steel. Use Rift Disturbance for extra aggro and damage reduction, and get 3 stacks of Phantom Blow up. Your next finisher is Rift Guard, and then False Blade. Once you have GS and RG up, work on getting 5 point versions of all 3 finishers up. Keep your Phantom Blow x3 up, and start using Planar Strike for single target aggro and combo building. Also keep Rift Disturbance up at all times. Normally a Shadow Blitz/RD combo will give you pretty strong aggro on all targets you hit, though you may need to use Weapon Barrage and/or Instigate to pull a caster or runner back into your AE range. At 44 points, you get an AE that pulls nearby mobs to you and forces them to attack you for 3 seconds, making ranged/caster mobs less difficult to deal with. Once you are comfortable keeping up your defensive skills, you can weave in Annihilate as well for extra dps.

You have many other temp buffs as well to keep yourself alive. Side Steps for 50% evasion, Planar Refuge for 30% reduction, and Scatter the Shadows for 3 second immunity and debuff clearing. You also have Defer Death, which delays damage you take during the duration for 10 seconds. Using this skill for it's full duration will almost certainly result in death, since the damage all comes at once, and you can't avoid it with scatter the shadows.

Most bosses can be beaten in a similar fashion to normal pulls, blink in, keep buffs up, and use aggro skills. You never want to have a buff drop (RG/GS), since a buff being down for a few seconds can make or break the fight if your healers aren't ready for it. Remember, you can also use Shadow Stalk while disabled, so for bosses with stuns, roots, and knockbacks, you can be right back on them instantly.


Stats and Items

Your stat priority is debatable, since you get such a huge boost from any endurance gear. Toughness is your primary concern until capped. From there you can either choose to stack Endurance, or Dex/Dodge -> Str/Parry. The same applies to runes. Dex to weapons/shoulders, endurance to boots, toughness to chest. Hit rating also needs to be capped, but most lvl 50 gear has enough to keep you above the cap without requiring you to gear for it.

There are limited options for Source Core essences, since rogues cannot block. The only defensive tanking greater essence that is rogue usable is one that has a chance to proc a 55 endurance buff when you get hit. For the less slots, you want to stack endurance/avoidance, via either the 7str/10end/8dodge from IPP, or the 8str/11end/6parry from Stillmoor. Dodge is better than parry, and the IPP essence costs less. You can also put a 5th one in the second greater essence slot.


Macros

These will cause your normal point builders to cast Reprisal if it's up. The third macro is for dps, using bladedancer skills

#show Planar Strike
suppressmacrofailures
cast Reprisal
cast Planar Strike

#show Phantom Blow
suppressmacrofailures
cast Reprisal
cast Phantom Blow

#show Quick Strike
suppressmacrofailures
cast Reprisal
cast Quick Strike
cast Keen Strike


Class Combos

Bladedancer - Obviously many of the Bladedancer skills are only useful when you are getting attacked, and therefore go hand in hand with the Riftstalker soul. You also get access to their 0pt ability of 50% dodge for 15 seconds.

Bard - The 2 biggest benefits of going light bard are Street Smart, and Good Health. You also gain access to Fanfare of Vigor, which stacks with Planebound Endurance. From this soul, you gain 10% health and 2% chance for the enemy to miss, along with 40 endurance from the fanfare.

[b]Ranger/[b] - Ranger is probably the better choice for endgame tanking. You get 5% hp increase, and 4% more damage reduction from all sources. You may lose 5% hp from bard and the fanfare of vigor, but you are taking less damage overall, so the loss is worth it. You also get an AP buff, and ranged skills. These skills make pulling much easier, you can initiate with splinter shot + quick shot, and use shadow blitz to trigger a Rift Barrier, then throw up a 4pt Guarded Steel. This way you essentially have 2 buffs up before even taking damage.


Recommended Builds

51 Riftstalker / 7 Ranger / 8 Bladedancer - http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=0M...uqdRkkR.xb.x0d

Since two of the Riftstalker skills scale based on points spent, maxing the tree becomes the best way to ensure maximum mitigation and health. Ranger is taken for a few ranged skills, 4% damage reduction, and 5% hp. Bladedancer is taken for dodge, reprisal, false blade, twin strike, and the dex buff, in addition to the 0pt evasion buff.

 

Written by: Rhys