The Blademaster is one of the most versatile characters played in the game. Armed with the most skills of any character, 46, and decent stat growth per level you are able to survive and damage deal at the top of any class. You have a self heal, a group physical defense buff, temporary self physical and magic buffs, aggroing skill, and a wealth of damage dealing abilities that increase attack speed, debuff enemies, add fire damage to your attack, and stun and seal mobs like crazy.
But, currently many BMs are not taking advantage of this. Phrases like “what weapon path are you?” are slung about as if BMs are only meant to carry one type of weapon. You are not a true Blademaster unless you can take advantage of multiple paths!
This guide is for the All Path Blademaster, also known as Axe/Fist Blademaster because axe requires the most strength of any weapon, and fist requires the most dexterity. If you can wield these you can wield any weapon.
This is a meta-guide. A bit wordy (very) but hopefully covers almost everything you could ever want to know about BMs. Suggestions and feedback are welcome and contributors will be listed in my thanks section. And of course, it’s a perpetual work in progress. :P
Post #1- Stat placement and Armor Options.
Post #2- Weapon classes and requirements
Post #3- Tactics and purpose in squad.
Post #3- Skills
I’ll put this as very first, since its a popular question. If axes require 3 strength per level and fists require 2 dex per level, and I only get 5 stat points per level, do I ever get to add to vitality?
Simplest answer is "you shouldn't add to vit and you'll be fine without it. Just stat 3 str and 2 dex per level."
The more complex answer is go ahead and add to vitality if you are willing to:
1. Restat later.
2. Carefully plan your gear to cover the vitality.
3. Not use a current level axe or fist.
But, if you don't want to scramble for stat points, plan gear out, or use an outdated weapon than 3str/2dex is your build. It is very possible to tank your own BHs, pull FCCs, and aoe grind without ever adding to vitality as long as you know your class and don't neglect your armor by keeping it current and adding +1-3 refines.
If you want to try and add vitality there are a few good ways to do it. First, get a double stat tome. A single stat tome, like +5 vit, offers less total stat points than a double stat tome that would add +3 vit and + 4 dex for a total of 7 stat points. The +4 dex gained from the tome means you can add 4 vitality stat points instead of dex points as long as you have that tome. Same with the Wraithgate Trophy cape, since its reliable that the only cape upgrade you will do is to the Lunar Trophy which also has +stat adds.
People have different opinions on if you have to use one current level weapon and one outdated weapon, which would it be. I suggest using fists as your main after level 29 when you get your single spark, but have axes available for aoeing. For this reason if I had to neglect dex or strength I'd neglect strength. Fists and axes have equal dps at low levels (before -int gear) but fists have better chi gain making questing cheaper and easier because you can single spark more often and use your self heal more often instead of hp pots for healing and the heavy mp cost of axe aoes. Once you get enough strength for Calamity Axes of Blood (level 70, 212 str req) your next real axe upgrade isn't till 90. If you would like to add to vitality instead of str during this time its a good opportunity because BH69 bosses and FCC pulls require a fair amount and these happen during the 80's.
Lastly, if you add to vitality expect to restat endgame (100+) but already expect to restat out extra dex once you have your endgame gear. Most BMs endgame aim for 200/220 dex, 3 vit, 3 magic, and the rest into strength. For this reason try not to add more than 28 or 53 vit because restat notes come in 25 and 50 points.
I consider this a pure build. We are damage dealers. Any vitality or magic points added will subtract from this. In addition, the 3:2 ratio gives a great ratio for maxed dph (strength) with very consistent accuracy and a high amount of critical hits. If you add vitality you will gain hp, but do you really gain survivability? You increase your physical defense by adding to strength, and you increase your evasion by adding to dexterity. In addition, the increased damage you deal may kill the mob several hits faster, thus reducing the amount of damage you take.
One further suggestion is to stat dexterity to your next critical hit percent, which are in increments of 20. So, if you are placing your stats and your dexterity is near a multiple of 20, and you don’t need the strength for your weapon, add it to dexterity to hit your critical hit mark and catch up on strength during the next level.
~ Never add to magic. Never. ~
Figuring out requirements for your level: Since you start with 5 stats each and you start adding at level 2 this means
[(your level minus 1) x 3 strength] + 5 = your strength required for that level.
[(your level minus 1) x 2 dexterity] + 5 = your dexterity required for that level.
Ie. You are level 35. So, your level minus 1 = 34. Times it by 3 str = 102 str. Add your 5 original stat points and you get 107 str. This is how much strength you should have at level 35.
Armor HA is what we’re meant for, but as you develop you may find awesome LA that kicks the **** out of your HA. Go for it. Go ahead and replace out one piece, only one though. We have marrows if we need magic defenses but a majority of the damage we take will be physical Since we are a melee class mobs will usually use magic attacks from a distance and physical attacks once we are up close, then toss in the occasional magic attack. The majority of attacks we’ll receive are going to be physical and so physical defense is our priority over magic, but damage dealing is priority over defense usually.
End game you’ll want to use HA as you will receive more hp per refine. The general consensus among BMs who PvP is LA should be replaced with HA pieces during PvP.
Here are the reasons for each:
Heavy Armor – The most popular option, and for good reason. As a high damage dealer, you have the
ability to take aggro from every class. You may end up tanking instead of the barb if he cannot
hold aggro. That’s fine, you’re built for it. You have defense buffs giving you more defense than
a barb, as well as a self heal if the cleric can’t keep up. Also, when aoeing you will stand in the middle of a group of mobs and tank while they die.
Light Armor – Not recommended except for -int bonuses. It is true that it has the least efficiency (see chart) and a worse refining bonus than HA, but trading for better stats or a quicker attack speed may benefit you by killing things faster and taking less damage. I recommend using only one or two pieces of LA if they have ias and the rest HA.
Arcane Armor – You will not have the available stats for arcane armor, nor would you want to stat for it as it sacrifices damage and accuracy as the use of your weapons. If you need magic defense use magic marrow or let a caster class tank.