Scholar: A Guide to Damage Reduction

When CS was first introduced, the endgame meta focused on healing toons. The Druid was the best pure healer in the game – and in many ways still is the best pure healer – and she quickly became the de facto healer for endgame content. The Cleric was a somewhat close second, but regeneration and the ability to transfer mana made the Druid the clear choice. The Druid and the Cleric were the only healers at the time, so there really wasn’t anything else that could serve as a comparison. 

The mechanics have changed since then. Now, instead of healing damage, the endgame meta is focused on preventing damage. Let’s face it – if toons just took damage, a pure healer could easily replenish their health. In the current meta, however, we have to deal with mobs that can kill a character in one hit. The only way to prevent this is to reduce the damage taken, because all the heals in the world won’t do any good if the damage actually kills a character. 

It’s a damn good thing that the developers have introduced the Mystic and the Scholar, two characters that can help mitigate damage while also serving as competent healers. We already know that the Mystic is a stellar support character, so this post is going to focus on the Scholar and the ways that the Scholar synergies with the Mystic. 

The Scholar’s critical skill is his passive ability, Mad Flask. The ability grants the Scholar five flasks when a battle begins, and it recharges flasks whenever a stage is complete or whenever the Scholar attacks an enemy.

The key, though, is the manner in which this passive ability complements the use of a damaging ability. The Scholar will decrease an enemy’s damage whenever he uses a damage skill. The reduction is a whopping 20%, which regularly marks the difference between lethal damage and damage that can be easily healed, and it often turn “spike” damage into simple “pressure” damage. 

The Scholar can almost effortlessly use a damage skill each turn. The first, and perhaps most common, option is casting Decay. At GrandMaster level, Decay is a no action damage skill that only costs 35 mana, inflicts minor damage as soon as it is cast, and inflicts minor damage over time. The key isn’t the damage, but the fact that each cast of GM Decay – which can occur every turn, ensures that an enemy does 20% less damage. 

The best option, though, is GM Ancient Plague. This is a new skill that, like GM Decay, doesn’t cost an action to use. It costs 25 mana, marginally less than GM Decay, and also does immediate damage and inflicts minor damage over time. Unlike GM Decay, GM Ancient Plague can be stacked three times and has an inherent feature that reduces enemy damage by 6%. That damage reduction, coupled with the 20% damage reduction provided by the Mad Flask passive ability, means that the Scholar is now reducing enemy damage by 26% or more each turn. 

It gets better. Either the Scholar or another toon can cast TIV Lethargy on an enemy. TIV Lethargy permanently reduces an enemy’s damage by 19%. The 19% damage reduction provided by TIV Lethargy and the 20%-26% damage reduction provided by the Mad Flask passive coupled with either GM Decay or GM Ancient Plague, mean that an enemy is now doing 39%-45% less damage to your characters. 

It gets even better. A party running with a Scholar and the same or another toon using TIV Lethargy synergies well with the Mystic. The Mystic has a passive ability referred to as Spirit Enhance, which grants a shield equal to 110% of her Spell Power to herself and a target when she uses Enhance and Heal skills, and also heals the Mystic and the target. TIV Purify qualifies, and Mystics often use this skill to heal party members because of its low mana cost. The shield, though, is a key component. Whenever the Mystic casts TIV Purify on a member of the party, they’re healed and they receive the shield. My Mystic’s Spell Power is 8609 unbuffed, so she’s able to create a shield on party members that reduce their damage by almost 9,500. Factoring in the Mana Consumption ability from gear, my Mystic uses 13 mana to cast TIV Purify, so she can typically keep the shield on all party members all the time. 

Therefore, a party using both the Scholar and the Mystic can really benefit from damage reduction. The enemies are doing 39%-45% less damage due to the Scholar’s passive and casting of TIV Lethargy, and the damage is further reduced by almost 9,500 due to the Mystic’s shields. That’s freakin’ amazing. 

Let’s consider how it works. Right now, my Mystic has 75,583 health. If she gets hit by an enemy that does 150,000 damage, and she doesn’t have any means of reducing the damage, she’s dead. In fact, that amount of damage is nearly enough to kill her twice. She’ll be a ghost, and it’s not even close. 

However, if the enemy has been hit by the Scholar’s GM Ancient Plague, the damage is reduced by 26%. If the enemy has already been tagged by Lethargy, the damage is reduced by another 19%. Assuming my math checks out, that means the 150,000 is reduced to 82,500. That 82,500 damage is reduced by 9,500 due to the Mystic’s shield, meaning the effective damage is now 73,000. My Mystic’s health is 75,583, so she’ll survive the hit with a little more than 2,500 health remaining. She can heal on the next turn and be ready to go. 

And that’s how a hit that will nearly kill a character TWICE can be survived. 

There are other ways to reduce damage even further. Some skills, such as Bestow Divinity and Grace of Protection, will provide shields to characters. The shields aren’t always available due to cooldowns and absorption mechanics, but they can be effective when strategically used by your toons. Some gear, such as Deadman accessories, may provide shields to the party. They’re not necessarily reliable – in the case of Deadman gear, the shields are only generated when an enemy is hit a certain number of times – but they also help. You can also find relics – such as the Mystic’s Basics of Healer relic – that will provide additional shields to the party. 

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