Ranger Build Compendium (Mod 19)

by Sorek on June 30, 2020
Ranger
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Ranger Build Compendium (Mod 19)

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Introduction

Welcome to the Ranger Build Compendium. My name is Sorek, and all opinions contained in this guide are my own, although most of them are based on discussions had on the Wolfpack discord group, where there are lots of more experienced Rangers than I am. Consider joining it if you want access to knowledge as it evolves in real time.

I started experimenting with various builds in Mod 17 and 18, when Melee Warden was the undisputed best. Now, for the first time in a long while, the Ranger class is so lucky to have two viable paragon paths, and a lot of options to play with.

The general consensus is that Hunter Trapper is best for single target, while Melee Warder tends to be better in AoE situations. Even though the other builds are not as effective as these two, they are fun to play, especially in random queues, master expeditions, legacy campaigns, and I’d say everything below LOMM difficulty. From LOMM and above, efficiency starts to be important and people often abandon dungeons because the group’s dps (damage per second) is not high enough, so maybe try to stick to the best builds.

Also, if you are a developer, I’ve included some suggestions at the end of each section. Hopefully, they’ll be helpful for the next patches / modules.

A quick thanks to Rainer and his very helpful Pocket Wiki (and videos), and Janne’s website for more insights on how the game works. If you’ve just started playing, check out Obikin’s Guide to Neverwinter.

Leave comments if you find typos or have suggestions, and remember to have some fun while grinding!

 

Melee Warden

The Melee Warden build has been covered extensively by much better players than me, and it has changed very little since Mod 18. Check this video by Sume if you haven’t seen it yet, or one of Rainer’s videos, e.g. this video, which also covers extensively what the Best in Slot (BiS) gear currently is. If you don’t have those items yet, keep calm and check out the bonus section Equipment at the very end of the article.

 

Stance Switching Warden 1

This build (SSW1) is one of my favourites. Very mobile and flexible, it’s great for dungeons with a lot of control effects. I’ve personally used it in the Throne of Idris, and the Frozen Heart, as I noticed that with my Melee Warden I had to keep dodging and moving, and my dps plummeted. Instead, with this build you can dive into melee when you see an opening, deal some serious damage taking advantage of Blade Hurricane (Flurry), then get out of there and still be relevant.

At wills: Electric Shot, Penetrating Arrows
Encounters: Hindering Shot, Constricting Arrow, Binding Arrow
Class Features: Aspect of the Serpent, Twin Blade Storm
Dailies: Snipe, Call of the Storm
Feats: Focused, Storm’s Recovery, Blade Hurricane, Skirmisher’s Gambit, Enhanced Conductivity

As you can tell, this build is not quite a rooter build, despite the fact that almost every Encounter Power roots the target. That is because Crushing Roots is not very useful for a Warden: the feats (mainly Thorned Roots) that make roots matter are in the Hunter path. Therefore I’ve decided to go with Aspect of the Serpent, which gives me a decent bonus to damage.

My favourite rotation is:
Ranged, Hindering Shot, Constricting Arrow, Binding Arrow, Hindering Shot, Melee (Tab), Call of the Storm (if you have the AP), Hindering Strike, 4x Storm Strike, Steel Breeze, 4x Storm Strike, Oak Skin, Ranged (Tab), …

Whenever you are moving, make sure to be in ranged stance and to be shooting penetrating arrows. That reduces your downtime from dealing damage and it’s great for kiting enemies around. It’s also great for defensive purposes, as most enemies telegraph their big hits, but by the time their animation has finished, you are already out of their range.

Rotation for mobs:
Hindering Strike, Steel Breeze, 5 x Electric Strike, Oak Skin. For me this is usually more than enough. If 3 or more mobs are still alive, 5 x Electric Strike. Otherwise switch to bow and finish them down individually with you ranged Encounters. I don’t really use Electric Shot.

It’s useful to cast Oak Skin at the end of the rotation, if nothing else, because it reduces the cooldowns of your other melee powers.

If you are far and have full AP or have just finished the melee rotation, you can just Snipe the boss and keep accumulating AP. As sometimes we actually use Snipe, maybe it would be better to use the Nickel-plated ring (+3% damage to Encounter Powers) instead of the Leading Ring of the Teacher (+3% dmg on at wills and encounters, -30% dailies) or similar. The contribution of our at-wills to the total damage is much lower for the Stance Switching Warden than for the Melee Warden anyway.

Even though the Feat Focused is technically the wrong one for this build, I found it to be much better than its alternative Deft Strikes. I may work on a rotation designed to maximise the return from Deft Strikes in the future.

The last point about this build is that it uses the same Feats as the full melee build, therefore people can try it without needing an extra loadout or a respec token.

Suggestion:
It would be really nice if Deft Strikes was changed to grant 20% bonus damage with a stance shift, decreasing 2-4% per second. Or instead, if it allowed Aspect of the Serpent to hold 5 charges for 5% bonus damage each (a bit like stacks of Arcane Mastery). As it is, Deft Strikes isn’t working well, even on a build specifically based on it, see SSW3 below.

 

Stance Switching Warden 2

Recently I’ve been playing around with the build above, and I realised there are situations where it can be improved. So, if you are playing Throne of Idris, Cradle of the Death God, or any other dungeon where positioning matters a lot, and misstepping can cause you to die, you should use the build above. Instead, if you can move more or less freely, and mobility is important as monsters apply lots of control effects (e.g. Vallenhas), then this build is even better. As a matter of fact doing Master of the Hunt and checking how long it takes to clear each area, for me this build (SSW2) is even better than the my standard Melee Warden.

The powers equipped are the same as above, with the exception of Marauder’s Escape instead of Binding Arrow. Keep in mind that while Marauder’s Rush is very good and useful, Marauder’s Escape rarely hits at all. But, the new cooldowns are shorter, and both new powers give you additional mobility.

The way I use Marauder’s Escape for damage, is jumping in people’s face and activate it while I’m still in the air. If you fire it from very close, it tends to hit the promised 3 times. Otherwise I use it to get out of a red area, and if I also hit something, even better. If needed, you can cancel the animation by dashing.

The rotation in perfect conditions would be:
Melee (Tab), Marauder’s Rush, 4x Storm Strike, Hindering Strike, Steel Breeze, maybe 1/2 Storm Strike (just enough to let the ranged powers come off cooldown), Ranged (Tab), Marauder’s Escape, Hindering Shot, Constricting Arrow, Hindering Shot (if not on cooldown), Melee (Tab), Marauder’s Rush, …

Obviously, if there are plenty of monsters applying control effects, you’ll also be running and dashing and using penetrating arrows as well while you move.

When my Action Points are full I tend to get out of the way and use Snipe (during the ranged part of the rotation, then continue as usual). With control effects, I don’t have the time to stand still while using Call of the Storm (and taking advantage of its buff) as I get immediately controlled.

 

Stance Switching Warden 3

I’ve been experimenting with Deft Strikes, and this build (SSW3) is what came out of it. It’s a difficult rotation, quite unforgiving if you miss one step. Here it goes.

At wills: Electric Shot, Penetrating Arrows
Encounters: Hindering Shot, Constricting Arrow, Marauder’s Escape
Class Features: Aspect of the Serpent, Twin Blade Storm
Dailies: Snipe, Call of the Storm
Feats: Deft Strikes, Storm’s Recovery, Blade Hurricane, Skirmisher’s Gambit, Enhanced Conductivity

Rotation:
Marauder’s Rush, 4 Storm Strike, Tab, Hindering Shot, Tab, Hindering Strike, Tab, Constricting Arrow, Tab, Steel Breeze, Tab, jump and Marauder’s Escape, 1 Penetrating Arrow (waiting for cooldowns), Call of the Storm, Marauder’s Rush, 4 Storm Strike, …

If you miss one step, I would fall back to the usual Melee Warden rotation until the ranged powers have come off cooldown, then try to start again. Unfortunately, the tests I’ve performed indicate that this build/rotation is not significantly better than SSW1 or SSW2. One possible reason is that despite taking full advantage of the 10% increase in damage coming from Deft Strikes, the bonus only applies to Encounter powers, and quite a lot of time is wasted switching stances while it could be used to cast At Wills with Flurry instead.

 

Hunter Trapper

In Mod 19 Hunter Trappers received a lot of attention, as they have arguably become the strongest build for Rangers. Recently both Sume and Rainer have published very thorough videos about it. Make sure to check them out. My approach is probably in between.

At wills: Aimed Shot, Rapid Shot
Encounters: Hindering Shot, Constricting Arrows, Longstrider Shot
Class Features: Crushing Roots, Aspect of the Falcon
Dailies: Forest Ghost, Disruptive Shot
Feats: Rate of Change, Thorned Roots, Biting Snares, Forest Bond, More than Disruptive

Rotation (single target):
Hit Tab until you’re Ranged (for the +15% dmg buff), Disruptive Shot (to apply 10% bonus ranged dmg for 5 sec), Longstrider Shot, Constricting Arrow, Hindering Shot, Melee (Tab), Gushing Wound, Steel Breeze, Hindering Strike, Ranged (Tab), a Hindering Shot if you have 2 charges, then use Aimed Shot, and hit Tab twice (quickly) in the middle of every shot until Londstrider shot has about 2 seconds left on cooldown. Then restart the rotation.

Hitting Tab quickly during the casting time of Aimed Shot will refresh Rate of Change (+15% dmg), and will allow you to quickly check if your melee powers are ready. I used to do it with Rapid Shot in Mod 18, and it was somehow easier.

Using almost only ranged at-wills allows you to take advantage of Aspect of the Falcon, which in this case is superior to Aspect of the Serpent.

I thought that Careful Attack would synergise with Bilethorn and being in a party, but after some testing I realised that Careful Attack has an internal cooldown of about 1 second, and despite it being an at-will, it does not proc Bilethorn. So even though it would be a cool power, the amount of damage it does is abysmal and I will not be using it.

Also, the bleed from Aimed Strike does not stack with itself, but it does stack with the bleed from Gushing Wounds.

Rotation (multiple targets):
Use Forest Ghost instead of Disruptive Shot when mobs surround you, then keep firing the Encounters following the usual rotation. Avoid casting Gushing Wounds as it takes a whole 1.3 seconds, and you’ll often get interrupted before the animation finishes. Rapid/Aimed Shot until your Encounters are ready. You may want to slot Cordon of Arrows instead of Longstrider Shot when doing AoE damage to packs of mobs. Do NOT use Cordon of Arrows during boss fights, it is terrible for sustained damage.

As we use dailies a lot, consider in getting one of the legendary slug mounts that on a daily use, give you back 10% AP over 10 seconds.

Obviously, use Seeker’s Vengeance if you can consistently get behind the enemies and during boss fights, instead of Crushing Roots.

Don’t use Leading Ring of the Teacher as you rely on damage from Disruptive Shot quite a lot. I personally went with a Ring of the Gravestalker +5, which boosts both melee AND ranged damage as long as I am within 25ft of the target. And I almost always am, also to take advantage of Aspect of the Falcon.

I confess, I often drop Longstrider Shot in favour of Marauder’s Rush, just because of the extra mobility it gives me, a bit like the Hell Pit Trapper build below.

If the enemies are densely packed, as in the Infernal Citadel of the Ascension BHE in Avernus, use Cordon of Arrow/Plant growth and Seismic Arrow.

Suggestions:

  1. Cordon of Arrows / Plant Growth needs to be buffed. Plant Growth would be pretty decent if it had a cooldown of like 14 seconds and did twice the damage. Cordon of Arrows should have a similar cooldown and shorter casting time. As they are, these powers are nearly useless on longer encounters. Remove the charges for Cordon of Arrows if necessary. Maybe increase the area. Plant Growth’s cooldown is way too long.
  2. The feat Slasher’s Expertise does not fit with the concept. Change it e.g. to let both Disruptive Shot and Slasher’s mark buff both ranged AND melee damage by 10% for 5 seconds. Hunters cannot be pure melee. Or, substitute Slasher’s Expertise with Nature’s Envoy from Warden. That would be great, with a small buff to Aimed Strike. In exchange, substitute Nature’s Envoy in the Warden with the option to give Snipe the ability to buff all damage by 10% (similar but better than Slasher’s Expertise). As a Stance Switching Warden I would pick that! Or even better, the enemy takes 10% more damage.
  3. Almost all the Hunter paragon Class Features are nearly useless. Possibly buff them to be almost on par with the useful ones.
  4. Bear Trap / Ambush is a very cool power, but not good enough to be used in practice. Please buff it!
  5. Hunter’s Teamwork / Careful Attack: Please remove the internal cooldown to make Careful attack usable. More drastically, if it was changed to decrease target’s damage dealt by like 2% / increase target’s damage taken by 2%, it would be a cool power to use in both versions!
  6. Please, let Aimed Strike stack with multiple applications, and increase the damage to be in the ballpark of Aimed Shot.

 

Hell Pit Hunter Trapper

During the Hell Pit event I found myself playing around with these builds once again. Be aware that even though your item level is scaled down to 20k, the caps seem to be 85k according to Rainers video. So what I did was removing as many items that gave me combat advantage in favor of +arpen, defence and crit, and replacing Arcturia’s set with Demogorgon’s set (no enchants). I chose Hunter because in Hell Pit the roots have time to deal the full damage, and they stop mobs from surrounding me too much (and gaining CA). The powers I used are

At wills: Rapid Shot, Aimed Shot
Encounters: Hindering Shot, Constricting Arrows, Marauder’s Escape
Class Features: Crushing Roots, Aspect of the Serpent
Dailies: Forest Ghost, Disruptive Shot
Feats: Rate of Change, Thorned Roots, Biting Snares, Forest Bond, More than Disruptive

I never had the time to cast Gushing Wounds, and in Hell Pit mobility is very important, so I substituted Longstrider Shot with Marauder’s Escape.

As I can’t quite control the distance between me and the enemies, I dropped Aspect of the Falcon for Aspect of the Serpent. However, I wasn’t worrying too much about the rotation, as after using Encounter powers, I was dodging and moving instead of using at-wills.

Cast Forest Ghost to lose some aggro.

That’s it, have fun.

Obviously, this build (forget about the comments about the equipment) can be used in its own right, if you like being a trapper and you don’t want to renounce the mobility that comes with Marauder’s Rush/Escape (thanks to Pjgg78 for pointing this out). I use it to do quests in Vallenhas and Avernus for example.

 

 

Hunter Ranged

With Mod 19, Hunter Ranged is IMO roughly on par with Stance Switching Warden, with the advantages that being a completely ranged dps brings (thinking about the second boss in Infernal Citadel, or the last part of Bel).

At wills: Aimed Shot, Rapid Shot
Encounters: Constricting Arrow, Commanding Shot, Longstrider Shot
Passives: Seeker’s Vengeance, Aspect of the Falcon
Dailies: Forest Ghost, Disruptive Shot
Feats: Longshot, Critical Action, Predator, Commander in Chief, More than Disruptive

Rotation Single Target:
Commanding Shot, Disruptive Shot, Constricting Arrow, Longstrider Shot, then Aimed Shot until Commanding Shot is ready. Rinse and repeat.

If the enemies die quickly, use Rapid Shot instead of Aimed Shot (e.g. Throne of the Dwarven God?).

Rotation Solo/AoE (Rapid volley instead of Commanding Shot):
Rapid Volley to apply Prey, Disruptive Shot, Constricting Arrow, Longstrider Shot, use all the Rapid Volley charges you have left but 1, then Aimed Shot until Prey and More than Disruptive have run out, one charge of Rapid Volley to keep Prey up. Then keep using Aimed Shot until your Encounters are ready. Rinse and repeat.

If the enemies die reasonably quickly, keep a few more Rapid Volley charges available in order to apply Prey more often.

Don’t ever use Hunter’s Teamwork / Careful Attack. As explained in the Hunter Trapper build above, they are not viable.

As both Constricting Arrow and Commanding Shot apply Strong Grasping Roots, Thorned Roots may be better than Critical Action. However, roots do not count as Encounter power and are not buffed by the Longshot Feat.

Suggestion:

  1. The Critical Action feat needs to be buffed.
  2. It’s a bit ridiculous that Longstrider Shot is still called that even though it now has nothing to do with fast movement, but hey, that’s a very minor point!

 

Storm Warden

This build consists in a Ranged Warden that focuses on electricity based ranged AoEs. It’s not very good for dungeons, but I’m told it’s a blast for solo play. One example of such build is in Typo (Yarrow) and Viking’s guide, make sure to check it out.

 

Other Ranged Builds

If you’re interested in Ranged builds you should check out Typo (Yarrow) and Viking’s guide, where the discussion is a lot more focused on ranged combat.

Hunter Buffer

As the title says, it is actually possible to play ranger as a buffer and a bit of a healer. Gus described the build in this video, and even though it is technically a Stance Switching build, it’s something entirely different and IMO it deserves its own separate tab.

Hunters can use Hawk Eye and Commanding Shot to buff everyone’s damage, and Stag Heart to provide 15% of the hunter’s HP as shield to all allied players. As you can see in Gus’ video, it is possible to reach 900k hp for a ranger, which guarantees a sizeable shield to everyone. The active companion takes care of dealing damage.

Unfortunately, the gear you need is substantially different from the usual dps gear, and it requires an investment of resources that not everyone can afford. Also, we don’t know yet how a hunter buffer with suboptimal gear performs in 5 or 10 men parties, and if it’s more convenient for that dps do just be a normal dps. It’s certainly convenient in Trials in private queue, where a hunter buffer can take up the spot of the second healer, and contribute more to the overall damage than a healer would.

I’m told that Gus is very popular in content like ToMM, and he can even “solo heal” it. So if you’ve got resources to spend and are a bit bored with the routine, give this build a go. It’s probably going to be a lot of fun.

 

Chicken DPS Build

This build has been put together mainly by Sondre and Gus as far as I know, with contributions from people on the Wolfpack discord. Sondre typed it up. Essentially it describes how to maximise the damage output of the abyssal chicken, using appropriate insignia bonuses, runestones, companion powers, etc. Things are still being tested, but the damage output seems to be quite high. Caveat, this build too requires some investment in gear that is not mainstream at the moment.

Here‘s the link to the guide. Enjoy!

PvP

Lately, there has been a sort of revival of PvP in Neverwinter, also partly due to the nice rewards you can earn.

As a quick note about the rewards, if you fight at least 6 matches you end up on the leaderboard. If you are on the leaderboard, at the end of the season you get at least 5 PvP currency, even if you arrive last. A Rank 13 Enchantment Choice Pack costs 20 currency from the PvP store, so even if you arrive last, you can afford one in 4 seasons.

Another thing I want to stress is that to have fun in PvP and not necessarily top the charts, you don’t have to be completely maxed out. It’s enough to be in early endgame (roughly Item Level 28k), and to know what you’re doing. The queue that pops most often is Domination Solo. Read the guides on the Domination Discord on how to play domination. The most frequent reason for people being kicked out of matches is because they “go after the kill” instead of capping nodes.

Last note, power is much less important in PvP than PvE. And companions don’t work. Having 80k Power, 80k Arpen and 80k Crit is a dream to strive for. So go on discord, ask people in game, ask for training groups, don’t just dive blindly into PvP. That’s it, I’m done cautioning.

While in PvE you generally have a best build for a given piece of content, PvP encourages a much wider variety of builds as your effectiveness largely depends on the specific build of your opponent. However, people don’t share these builds that much as someone could gear up specifically to counter them. Fortunately, I’m an undergeared nobody, so I can share what I tend to use.

 

PvP Trapper

As a general note, Crowd Control is a big deal in PvP, so don’t use powers with long casting times.

At wills: Rapid Shot, Aimed Shot
(although I rarely use Aimed Shot, but I do use it. I rarely use At-Wills in general, too busy dodging/hiding)

Encounters: Hindering Shot, Constricting Arrows, Marauder’s Escape
(Commanding Shot would nice for roots and Stag Heart, but the casting time is too long)

Class Features: Crushing Roots, Aspect of the Serpent / Pathfinder’s Action
(I though Pathfinder was good for the extra 5k Deflection, but I’m not sure anymore. Crushing Roots super important)

Dailies: Forest Ghost, Disruptive Shot
(Forest Ghost essential for survival)

Feats: Rate of Change, Thorned Roots, Biting Snares, Forest Bond, More than Disruptive
(Just like a regular Trapper)

 

In general, use as many Strong Root powers as possible in combination with Crushing Roots for Crowd Control (Daze) and root damage.

If you’re fighting on a node, jump before using Marauder’s Escape. You can use it without jumping when moving between nodes to go faster.

For the gear, see the Gear section in this guide, the Wolf Pack discord and the PvP discrords.

I encourage you to get in touch with the PvP community, as they can provide valuable feedback.

 

A Poor Ranger’s Guide to Gear

People ask often about this, and I myself would have appreciated a guide like this back then when I hit level 70/80. I hope this useful to others. Leave your questions in the comments, or come to the Wolfpack discord group. Last but not least, this guide is more of a guideline than something to follow with precision. Many of the suggestions are also based on the current prices on the Auction House (AH), so if they change drastically, you may want to get items in a slightly different order. All in all, this is how I would progress if I were to create a new account now. Good luck on your journey to endgame =).

 

Level 1-70

You don’t worry about gear and caps at this stage. Use whatever gear drops from you quests. At this stage, a higher item level is always better. Do your random queues every day, refine your rough astral diamonds, and save them. Remember that Acquisition Incorporated eventually gives you a free rank 14 enchantment, so make sure you work on it.

Tip: join a guild. Don’t be afraid to leave if you don’t like it or it’s a bit dead.

 

Level 70-80

Start the Undermountain campaign (Map on table behind Sgt Knox in Protector’s Enclave). Put on the free gear you receive at the Moonstone Mask (make sure you have inventory space). As you progress through the campaign, you’ll receive slightly better gear: put it on. Save the all the rank 8 enchantments that come with your free gear for later. Save your Astral Diamons and your rank 8 Enchantments for when you move on to better gear.

Tip: join a guild in an active alliance. From here on there is a lot to know and do, and guildies can help you with that. Or as in zone chat and hope to find a good soul.

 

Level 80

You are supposed to finish Undermountain at around level 80. When you do, start doing Master Expeditions (MEs), Warden Expeditions (WE) and Fragment Expeditions (FE) in Stardock (see “+me x3” in zone chat).You’ll also earn resonance from the end chest, which you can give to Zok at the Sleeping Portal for rewards. By the time you start farming expeditions, you should more or less already have the following gear:

Head, Chest, Feet, Weapons, …: Feather Clan Equipment — AH (Auction House)

Rings: 2 Epic 880IL rings from Undermountain quests

Armour Enchant: Soulforged rank 8 or 9 — AH
Weapon Enchant: Dread rank 8 or 9 or 10 — AH
(these enchantments aren’t great but are very cheap (40/80k AD), and will do for now)

Enchantments: save your rank 8s from the gear you got at the start of Undermountain. I wouldn’t bother slotting them, as you’ll be swapping gear soon.

Companion Gear: level 880ish companion equipment you are rewarded with during Undermountain

Summoned Companion: cheapest Epic augment companion, usually Watler or Cat — AH
Consider buying an Epic Abyssal Chicken if you want an active companion — AH
(if in doubt about which companions are Augments, check Rainer’s pocket wiki or ask in alliance chat)

 

Your First Decent Gear

You’re going to get your first decent gear by farming MEs, WEs and FEs in Undermountain, three times a day. Make sure you know how to use runes, as the resonance from the end chest will help you a lot. You should still prefer higher level gear, such as * of the Feather clan, until you get the items below. At this stage, some items give you bonuses that are more important than the additional stats that a higher level piece with a worse bonus would grant you. Remember, the caps in Undermountain are 60k. You can start Legacy Campaigns. Mostly do only weekly quests, which give you the most rewards for the least effort. Take it easy and don’t burn out. Keep doing your daily random queues, refine AD and save.

Head: Protege’s Hood — seals vendor
Chest: Stealer of the Star > Ebony Stained Hide > Gurdunn’s Defence — MEs
Arms: Trapper of the Twilight (+3% encounters) — MEs or Zok
Weapons: Alabaster or Burnished set — MEs or seals vendor (you should aim to refine it to purple quality and fill it up with refinement points. That way it’s almost as good as Legendary quality, but you don’t have to spend the materials to upgrade it. Don’t bother with weapon modifications yet.)
Feet: Gurtunk’s Booties (+power for n. enemies) or Hard Rock Kickers — MEs
Neck: Jhesiyra’s Tattered Mantle (Arcturia’s set) — Zok or AH
Rings: Ebonized Assault/Raid or Protege’s ring (see what stats you need) — ME or seal vendor
Waist: Trobriand’s Conduction Cable — Zok or AH
Shirt: Ebony Stained — MEs or WEs or FEs
Trousers: Pants of the Sentinel (+4k defence) — MEs or WEs or FEs

Armour Enchant: Barkshield rank 8 or 9 — AH
Weapon Enchant: Vorpal rank 8 or 9 — AH
(give old enchantments to your alts)

Artifacts:
Staff of Flowers — AH or Zok
Arcturia’s Music Box — Zok (may be pricey on AH, try to wait for drop)
Wyvern-venom Coated Knives — Undermountain Campaign Store or AH
Trobriand’s ring — AH or Zok
Free blue artifact +1800 power — Free from intro to Undermountain
If the event Tales of Old is on, try to complete the journals Envenomed > Frozen > Flayed > Darkened. Only use if you have 2 or more (set bonus).

Enchantments: all the rank 8s that you received for free when starting Undermountain. Radiants in offense, slots Azure in defense, Dark in utility.

Other Companions:
Minstrel — Sybella in the vault under the throne room in PE or AH
Energon — Dread Ring skirmish or AH
Kenku Archer — AH
Mercenary — AH
or whatever you have available that increase the stats you need — Dungeons or Zok or AH

Companion Gear:
3 pieces of level 990/1010 Epic companion gear that get your offensive stats around 70k — MEs or WEs or FEs
(I say don’t worry too much about Combat Advantage at this stage, you’re not doing LOMM yet, you just need to survive in Avernus)
3 x rank 9 or 10 Bonding Runestones — AH (should be quite cheap)
5 x rank 9 or 10 Empowered Runestones — AH
1 x rank 9 or 10 Profane Runestone — AH
(usually the right companion gear combinations have 5 offensive slots and 1 defensive slot)

Insignias: Dominance when possible — Dungeons or AH

Tip: start the Dread ring and farm the Thayan lairs on Thu, Sat, Sun for refinement items to improve your gear.

 

Some More Gear for the Grind (to BiS)

When you are at least mostly done obtaining the gear mentioned above, you should have around 18-19k Item Level and around 80k power, and you can start the Descent into Avernus campaign, which will take you to Vallenhas. There, start farming the Big Heroic Encounters (+bhe in chat), i.e. the Ape and Siege for the currency Chaotic Writings. Siege gives you more, but Ape is easier to farm. Use the currency to buy Juma Bags from Juma, the little imp in a cage next to the fortress. Gear from AH starts to be expensive, but you can do RTQs for a lot of rAD. Buy what you need and save the rest. The caps in Vallenhas are 85k.

Head: Cormyr Duelist’s Mask — Juma
Feet: Infernal Forged — seals vendor
Shirt: Infernal Forged — seals vendor (not BiS but more stats for Avernus)
Pants: Infernal Forged (1.6 def, 3.6 deflection) — seals vendor
Artifacts: Halaster’s Blast Scepter — AH
(Do Tales of Old for the journals if you can)
(When refining artifacts, focus on your main and get it to Mythic quality. The reduced cooldown time makes a big difference in combat. Use Preservation Wards)

If you don’t already have them,
Armour Enchantment: Barkshield rank 9 — AH
Weapon Enchantment: Vorpal rank 9 — AH

Potion Tray: Forgerer’s Box — Alric in Vallenhas

Insignia Bonuses: 2 x Gladiator’s Guile

(update companions to Epic with AD, and to Legendary with currency from Sybella with Legacy Campaigns)

 

Rest of Gear for the Grind (to BiS)

Once you have most of the items above, start the campaign Path of the Fallen, which will bring you to Avernus. You need to start farming Maps, which drop when killing anything in Avernus. Use the maps to open the secret treasure chests at the locations given in this video. Farm BHEs and HEs in groups (+bhe in chat) to gain the reagents to restore the infernal gear. Caps are 90k here. Don’t stop farming expeditions in Undermountain, as it’s likely that the exact BiS gear that you will need hasn’t dropped for you yet. Keep farming and keep all the companion gear with 2 offensive slots or 1 offensive and 1 defensive that gives you a +4k bonus to defence. Buy some runic bags of holding if necessary and/or use your bank and alt characters as storage space if needed.

Weapons: Legion Set — Treasure Chests
Legs: Fiend Forged — refine twice Infernal forged
Rings:
Brutal Fiend and Fallen Power — Mog and Gary
Guiding Ring of the Spy — AH
(Nickel Plated ring is also good and cheap — AH)
(These are all good rings, see if you have AD to spare and what stats you need)

Start the Chult campaign, and grind the weekly Fane of the Night Serpent until you get a Ring of the Shadow Stalker +5, which you will use along with the Guiding Ring of the Spy.

Start grinding for
Deepcrow Hatchling — AH
Upgrade Deepcrow to Legendary
3 x Bonding Runestone, rank 15 — AH
Quasit (or Bulette Pup) — AH
Upgrade Quasit (or Bulette Pup) to Legendary

 

The Big Grind to BiS

One you’ve got your Legion weapons set, the big grind to BiS items starts, and the stuff you need from the AH starts to be very expensive. Work on the Legacy campaigns. Start farming Lomm and the IC. Now go read guides about End Game and Best in Slot items. Good Luck!

 

Mounts Powers

For now, Tunnel Vision (strong single target attack) is easy to obtain and is considered best in slot.

Best Mount Passive Power is still Dominant Force (+Power and Combined rating) for most of the content.

Remember to improve the mount bolster, that increases the effectiveness of mounts a lot.

 

Mount Collars

I personally recommend to go with

Crit Severity, Encounter Powers, Stamina, Movement Speed, Rough Astral diamonds.

It’s still untested but IMO those are the best choices for Hunter Trapper. Melee Warden may want to substitute the Encounter bonus for the At-Will one, but that practically only applies to ToMM. In every other piece of content a Melee Warden Encounter powers will deal more damage than their At-Wills.

Feel free to drop the Rough AD bonus for the gold bonus if that’s more important to you.

 

PvP

PvP is getting traction lately, but it’s a completely different ballpark. There’s no aggro to manage, summoned companions and companion powers don’t work, control effects become very important, and there’s no fixed caps for your stats, they’re just compared against the stats of your opponent. Most importantly for the scope of this guide, the gear you need in PvP is very different from what you need for PvE.

For example, you absolutely need a high level Shadowclad Armour enchantment, a Holy Avenger Weapon Enchantment, Enchantments other than Radiants for stats, and so on. As no one uses these items in PvE, doing PvP properly requires an enormous amount of extra AD, which people typically can’t spare while gearing up for PvE endgame content.

However, there’s a reason why y’all should care about PvP: even if you finish the PvP season last on the leaderboard, you are guaranteed currency that will yield you a free rank 13 Enchantment choice pack after 4 seasons. More rewards if you do better.

I’m not an expert of PvP, so I suggest you join the Ranger discord or the PvP discord to be able to ask questions to more experienced players than me, and to be able to access the guides to gear and strategy for PvP, which you should be aware of to have some fun. Be aware that given the high rewards, the PvP community is quite competitive, so you should really make sure you’ve read and understood the guides. People (including me!) have been kicked from matches for making too many rookie mistakes. After a match, don’t be afraid to contact people who seemed experienced. They’ll likely give you a tip or two.

 

Races

Unless you can pick Dragonborn, race does not matter that much. However, as things stand in mod 16-19 the best race for ranger is Half-Orc, for the +5% crit sev and the +2 bonuses to Str and Dex. Most of the damage done using the builds above is physical, so a bonus to Str is preferable to a bonus to Int.

Other than that, Sun Elf is quite good for Melee Warden, for the +2% AP gain and +2 to Dex and Int (Int is important for magical damage, coming from your at-wills). Also, the thematically appropriate Wood Elf is also good, with bonuses to Dex and Int. Other notable races are probably Gith and Tiefling (the latter for the +5% dmg when target is below half HP), although they’re a bit at odds with the forests and nature theme.

 

Boons

The boons should be picked using the same logic that the Melee Warden build follows. My choices are Power > Movement Seed, Comp Influence > HP > Bonus damage & resistance against Demons, Undead > Resistance to Control Effects.

About the main boons on the top part of the sheet, I tend to go with crit sev/AP gain (or incoming healing for TOMM) if Warden, or recovery/crit sev/incoming healing if Hunter (for now). I also tend to pick Blood Lust in both cases.

 

General Strategy

I feel I should spend a few words on general strategy. Cooperation is an important asset and can make a world of difference on how a fight goes.

The tank should always walk in first. When entering a fight as a dps, walk on the side of the enemies and position yourself behind them. When the tank grabs aggro, you can start attacking and you’ll all benefit from combat advantage, deal more damage, have more fun, die less. During a boss fight, the party positioning should look like this.

The boss should be facing the tank, and everyone should be behind the boss, all close enough to be in the range of a single healing spell from the healer.

Obviously, party composition varies. If all the dps are melee, and the healer is a paladin, obviously you’ll have the four people sticking closer around the back of the boss. If all dps and healer are ranged, they’ll be lumping closer to the point exactly opposite to the tank. However, everyone still has to be near the boss, within the healing range.

When the adds spawn, the choice it twofold. If they are relatively weak adds, the dps’ can keep facing the boss and deal with the adds using Area of Effect powers. If the adds are relatively strong, the dps’ should leave the boss and focus on the adds to dispatch them quickly, *while the tank maintains aggro*, then focus back on the boss. All of that while remaining withing healing range.

If the boss turns towards you (you being a dps), stop attacking, take some distance (remaining close to the healing range), dodge blows if they come, until the tank grabs the aggro back. Then you can resume dealing damage again. Don’t run off or the healer may not be able to keep you alive. If you die, you get a stack of resurrection sickness (-10% hp and dmg per stack) and make everyone’s life harder.

Dodge the “red areas”, deal a tiny bit less of damage, save the healer a lot of divinity that can be spent when really needed!

Also, last but not least, when you realise you are in a new dungeon and don’t know the mechanics, tell your party, they’ll help you out. And when you finish the dungeon, go online and read a guide about it, so you’ll know what to do next time.

 

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  • Dave
    February 3, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Thanks for the guide. Love it so much started playing my ranger again!

  • Winter
    February 26, 2020 at 12:25 am

    quick question, what are the top races for the stance switching ranger?

    • March 3, 2020 at 5:11 pm

      Any race that makes a good ranger will make a good Stance Switching Warden.

      If you are willing to spend some money, dragonborn gives bonuses to hp and damage. Otherwise, as things stand in mod 18, I’d go Half-Orc or Sun Elf. Half-Orc gives you +5% critical severity, very important, a bonus to Dex (which gives you more Crit Sev), and a bonus to Strength, which increases the damage of your Encounter Powers. Sun Elf instead, gives you increased Action Point gain, also very important, a bonus to Dex (as above), and a bonus to Intelligence, which increases the damage of your at-wills. As a Stance Switching Warden, you’re gonna use a lot of Encounter Powers, so probably Half-Orc is slightly better, but the difference is likely very small.

      However, race does not make a big difference in mod 18, so you should pick a race that you’ll like to play in the long run. For example, Sume is a Halfling, I am a Wood Elf.

  • Winter
    March 14, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    What about boons? From campaigns and such?

  • Tomás
    April 28, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    I have an wood elf warden, i,d put all my ability scores in dex and int?? Ty

    • Sorek
      May 6, 2020 at 10:43 pm

      If your build is Melee Warden, and you follow the standard rotation 1 Encounter + 3 seconds of at-wills, yes. If you’re using any other build described in the guide, then no, put them in Strength and Dex. Good luck

  • Pjgg78
    May 14, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    First of all thank you for this great guide, always good to have some variety and alternatives to play around and break the routine. I’m not a big fan of the standard melee warden because it tends to get a bit boring and very similar to Assassin Rogue gameplay, wich i also have, so i tend to go with stance changing builds even if they’re not the best performing ones. From the wardens my favourite is SS2. However the best performing stance changing build appears to be Hunter Trapper. I tried it and it does feel a bit stronger than SS2 but i miss the flexibility and mobility from Marauder’s Rush/Escape. My question is would i lose much or even break the build mechanics if i replaced Longstrider Shot with Marauder’s Rush/Escape or is it actually viable with only a minimal loss in DPS output?

    • Sorek
      May 16, 2020 at 10:08 pm

      That is a good question. I’ll try it and let you know as soon as I have a chance. It would definitely not break the build, you’ll just have to adjust the rotation to factor in the different cooldown time, but that’s all. All in all, I’d say you’re losing some dps, but I don’t know how much. You could try to use Hindering Strike, Marauder’s Escape, Longstrider’s Shot, and see what happens. Good luck

      • Sorek
        May 20, 2020 at 4:17 pm

        I did some testing, and I seem to deal around 4 Mil, so a dps loss of around 7% over the HT build. Obviously the test isn’t accurate as Steel Breeze and Thorned roots (from Constricting Arrows) deal damage to other mannequins as well, while Marauder’s doesn’t. And it’s not a dungeon.

        Another point is that you have to be very careful to jump when using Marauder’s Escape, otherwise you’ll get further than 25′, and lose bonuses such as Aspect of the Falcon and Gravestalker’s Rings.

        If you like it, go for it, it doesn’t break the build if you remember to jump when using Marauder’s Escape.

        • Pjgg78
          May 20, 2020 at 11:23 pm

          Thanks for taking the time to test it. I’ll try it and see how it goes.

          • Sorek
            May 25, 2020 at 11:55 am

            Fyi, for Hellpit I am playing a trapper with aspect of the serpent and marauder’s escape instead of aspect of the falcon and longstrider shot. I’ve also unequipped the companion gear that gives +12k combat advantage in favour of more arpen and defence (after scaling the caps are still 85k, see Rainer’s video). I am finding it a little bit easier than with melee warden, as I dodge a lot (steel breeze helps) and roots have time to deal full damage.

            Also, as of now it looks like the hunter trapper build above will be pretty cool in mod 19. Hunter Ranged will get a boost too.

  • Hikarikaze
    May 24, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    i haven’t played neverwinter for a year and a lot has changed. I have dragonborn Ranger, and plan to make a hunter trapper. there was possible to have 2 builds on 1 char, so melee warden as the second would be perfect i guess. BUT i couldn’t find any detailed info about boons and feats. any tips on that? cause i entered the game and my char was completely rerolled 😀

    • Hikarikaze
      May 24, 2020 at 12:22 pm

      and all my purple gear which i was fighting for during couple of months is trash now ;(

      • Sorek
        May 31, 2020 at 9:59 am

        Yes, you can have 2 different loadouts on the same character, e.g. one Warden and one Hunter.

        The Feats for each build are described in each section, near the powers (at-wills, Encounters,…).

        Have you checked out the bonus sections at the end of the guide? There’s one about boons, and one about equipment.

        Let me know if you have any specific questions

  • October 1, 2020 at 12:09 am

    Hello Sorek, thank you for the good info! I do have a question, in the ranged build, you replace commanding shot with Rapid Volley for AOE. Why Commanding shot rather than constricting arrow so you keep the buff portion as well? Just relearning after a long break. Thanks! Nd

    • October 7, 2020 at 11:04 am

      I would drop Commanding as the buff is only vs 1 enemy (mobs die fast), and the casting time is long. Constricting on the other hand is quick to cast, and Steel Breeze is an AoE which also regenerates lots of stamina if it hits several enemies. That is my reasoning. However the builds above are more like guidelines/an opportunity to discuss, so feel free to use whatever goes with your playstyle. And if you find a good combo, please let us know!

  • Red
    October 27, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    What up?

    I’ve got a Ranger main, I split-stance Warden. [Bow only on Hunter, the melee is just too slow.] I’m finding (on my Wood Elf) that Hinder Strike/Shot. Boar, Marauders, and Cordon have become my goto powers. Coupled with Call Storm and Slashers… it’s pretty gnarly. I also run both paths and really like they’ve brought back Trapper.

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