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Empress's Grace Arcanist Build Guide for PvE

Build

required skill points: 384

The main source of damage in the Empress build is a Ruin Card explosion. When you hit an enemy that is marked with Ruin stacks by using a red skill, you will see two different damage numbers.

The lesser one is a red skill damage and the harder-hitting one is the Ruin explosion damage. This is very important to understand in order to choose the right damage engravings. It is also Arcanist’s main source of stagger.

If you prefer a faster-paced build that isn't as dependent on Ruin stacks, try out the Order of the Emperor build.

Call of Destiny

10

Call of Destiny

Nimble MovementQuick DrawChain Attack
Purify
Return

10

Return

Weakness ExposureConcentrated CardExposed Darkness
Rage
Quadra Accelerate

10

Quadra Accelerate

Nimble MovementCard DrawAccelerate Concentration
Galewind
Spiral Edge

10

Spiral Edge

Quick PrepRuthless ShotQuick Pace
Galewind
Scratch Dealer

10

Scratch Dealer

Weakness ExposureWeak Point AttackSafety Device
Galewind
Celestial Rain

10

Celestial Rain

Vital Point HitEnhanced StrikeWeak Point Detection
Why?Protection
Serendipity

10

Serendipity

Piercing StrikeLucky BlowIntended Luck
Why?Protection
Secret Garden

10

Secret Garden

Vital Point HitPerfect SecretSecret Chance
Why?Protection

Skill priority

Celestial Rain
Quadra Accelerate
Call of Destiny
Spiral Edge
Serendipity
Return
Secret Garden
Scratch Dealer

Prioritize the following skills to max 1st:

  • Celestial RainCelestial Rain
  • Secret GardenSecret Garden
  • SerendipitySerendipity
  • ReturnReturn

The following skills can be level 4 or 7:

  • Spiral EdgeSpiral Edge at least to level 7 for 2nd tripod
  • Scratch DealerScratch Dealer can be level 4
  • Call of DestinyCall of Destiny can be level 7

Since the red abilities themselves are not dealing much damage, you should prioritize leveling the rest of the skills to unlock more different tripods instead of leveling red skills to level 11 and 12 on character levels 55 and 60.

Make sure to level up red skills tripod levels as much as you can because it is one of the main sources of damage increase that you can utilize to make your Arcanist hit harder.

The Awakening that you should use is DeathboundDeathbound if you have not acquired a relic gear set yet,

You can save it and use it when you draw cards like Death or Twisted Fate (remember that the Twisted Fate card may not do anything at all for you).

Do not forget to apply Ruin stacks for before the Awakening to deal the most damage. The Judgment card effect also works on it. The DeathboundDeathbound has a very long animation lock after the cast so you should spam the spacebar to cancel it with a dash or spam the Celestial RainCelestial Rain to cancel it with the ability cast (the Awakening damage does not remove the Ruin stacks).

How to play

Build Combo Rotation:

Use Call of DestinyCall of Destiny whenever it is off cooldown to cycle through Identity cards more efficiently.

Damage combo:

Scratch DealerScratch Dealer > Quadra AccelerateQuadra Accelerate > ReturnReturn > Celestial RainCelestial Rain > Spiral EdgeSpiral Edge x2 > Secret GardenSecret Garden.

  • If you managed to apply another 4 stacks of ruin before either Secret GardenSecret Garden or Celestial RainCelestial Rain came off cooldown – use SerendipitySerendipity.
  • Basically, you stack Ruin with either Scratch DealerScratch Dealer with Quadra AccelerateQuadra Accelerate or Spiral EdgeSpiral Edge and detonate the stacks with any red skill you have off cooldown.

Tarot Card tips

  • If you draw Royal card, make sure to use it when it is the only card you currently have so it draws 2 cards and not 1
  • Use Star card when most of your skills are on cooldown to get the most benefit from the remaining skill cooldown reduction
  • If you happen to have both Hydra and Balance effects together, you can quickly apply 4 stacks of Ruin with 1 use of Spiral EdgeSpiral Edge and normal attack. Make sure to detonate the stacks fast to be able to use the second charge of Spiral EdgeSpiral Edge before the skill goes on cooldown;
  • When you draw a Judgment card, make sure you have all of your red skills off cooldown so you can quickly use them all with full effects while the Judgment buff is active. It is more optimal to wait for another good Tarot Card like Death or Twisted Fate or Wheel of Fortune but it might take a long time. The combo of Death and Judgment is the best card combo you can draw at any time.
  • Make sure to use damage increasing Tarot Cards like Death and Twisted Fate right before you detonate the Ruin stacks. If you are fast enough you will be able to apply another four Ruin and detonate it while the card buff is still active.
  • You can use a Wheel of Fortune card to cast your Awakening two times one after another. Don’t forget to apply four Ruin before using the DeathboundDeathbound. The skill does not remove Ruin stacks when it deals damage. If you do not have your Awakening ready when the card is drawn, use it to cast Celestial RainCelestial Rain twice (do not forget to stack Ruin before second use). If you happen to draw Wheel of Fortune and Judgment together, make sure you have all red skills up and use ReturnReturn > Wheel of Fortune+Judgment > SerendipitySerendipity > Celestial RainCelestial Rain > SerendipitySerendipity > Secret GardenSecret Garden.

The more experienced you become with Arcanist the better you will identify good card combos and rotate your skills in combat more efficiently.

engravings

Empress's Grace

1

Empress's Grace

Grudge

3

Grudge

Adrenaline

3

Adrenaline

Hit Master

3

Hit Master

Cursed Doll

3

Cursed Doll

Barricade

3

Barricade

Arcanist does not bring any utility for the party (other than critical chance synergy of course), only damage and pretty much of it. So we are building as much damage as possible.

  • Empress's GraceEmpress's Grace: The difference between level 1 and level 3 is small but having at least level 1 is important.
  • GrudgeGrudge: This engraving provides the most damage increase of any non-class engravings in the game.
  • AdrenalineAdrenaline: This engraving is here for more consistent crits.
  • Hit MasterHit Master: Even though Secret GardenSecret Garden and SerendipitySerendipity have back and head attack damage modifiers, the Ruin explosion does not so Hit Master is very efficient.
  • BarricadeBarricade: This is the reason why we use Protection runes in our ruin detonation skills. This is a 16% damage increase that is almost as free as the Hit MasterHit Master. Prioritize getting the runes as soon as possible since, obviously, the engraving does not work properly without them. With decent timing, you can even get the bonus damage for your Awakening by canceling the animation with the spacebar and casting Celestial RainCelestial Rain right before the Awakening deals its damage. But if you use the skill too early, the Ruin stacks will be removed and your ultimate will do very little damage so some precise timing is required for this trick.

Note:

Keen Blunt WeaponKeen Blunt Weapon is not advised because Arcanist has a big built-in Critical Damage buff in her tripods and sacrificing a valuable engraving slot for more Critical Damage is not efficient.

combat stats

Crit

500

Swiftness

0

Specialization

1500

Endurance

0

Domination

0

Expertise

0
  • Prioritize Specialization. The more spec you have the more damage your Ruin explosion deals so it is highly recommended to get better quality on your accessories.
  • Get a necklace with Specialization and Crit. With a high enough level of your crit tripod on Celestial RainCelestial Rain, Secret GardenSecret Garden, and AdrenalineAdrenaline engraving along with your own crit synergy on top of that, you will have no problem critting.

Recommended relic Set is the Nightmare Set.

Attack Gems

Celestial Rain

Celestial Rain

Serendipity

Serendipity

Secret Garden

Secret Garden

Prioritize Damage and Cooldown on Celestial RainCelestial Rain, Secret GardenSecret Garden, SerendipitySerendipity.

Cooldown Gems

Celestial Rain

Celestial Rain

Quadra Accelerate

Quadra Accelerate

Call of Destiny

Call of Destiny

Spiral Edge

Spiral Edge

Serendipity

Serendipity

Return

Return

Secret Garden

Secret Garden

Scratch Dealer

Scratch Dealer

Cooldown gems are on utility skills and card meter gain skills Spiral EdgeSpiral Edge, Quadra AccelerateQuadra Accelerate, Scratch DealerScratch Dealer, ReturnReturn, Call of DestinyCall of Destiny.

gear tripods

Call of Destiny
Quick DrawQuick Draw
Chain AttackChain Attack
Return
Concentrated CardConcentrated Card
Exposed DarknessExposed Darkness
Quadra Accelerate
Card DrawCard Draw
Accelerate ConcentrationAccelerate Concentration
Spiral Edge
Quick PrepQuick Prep
Ruthless ShotRuthless Shot
Scratch Dealer
Weak Point AttackWeak Point Attack
Safety DeviceSafety Device
Celestial Rain
Vital Point HitVital Point Hit
Enhanced StrikeEnhanced Strike
Weak Point DetectionWeak Point Detection
Serendipity
Piercing StrikePiercing Strike
Lucky BlowLucky Blow
Secret Garden
Vital Point HitVital Point Hit
Perfect SecretPerfect Secret
Secret ChanceSecret Chance

Prioritize crit synergy tripod "Exposed darkness" tripod on ReturnReturn.