Sigil Strike ••••••••••
Sigil Strike deals a small amount of damage (about the same as Rune Carve) and is a level 2 chain attack that follows Rune Carve, our most basic rune carving ability. The catch is, unlike Rune Carve, Sigil Strike always produces a rune on the target. The animation is pretty fast.
We get this as our first stigma for completing the stigma quest at 20. For all purposes its not the worst stigma at this point of the levelling game, you can carve up to 3 runes with this which is vital to levelling quickly. The 3 carve is not guaranteed since it is dependant on Rune Carve, but it very often does land and produce a rune. I give this a 2/10 because it actually is useful until 28 where we get Beast Kick, and then can free this stigma slot up.
- Good rune carving capability - reliable and fast
- Not as necessary after 28 when we get Beast Kick
- Stigma slots better used elsewhere
 Flurry ••••••••••
Increases attack speed by 20% for 30 seconds. 2 minute cooldown. This increases the speed of your skill animations as well as your auto attack timer.
Definitely a core stigma to have, a lot of our ability to carve runes faster is dependant on attack speed, the idea in PVP is that we want to let the opponent move as little as possible. The easiest way to ensure this is to increase your attack speed so that you carve fast enough that you can chain your stuns back to back without them getting a chance to move. Later on you will see gear that gives you attack speed (gloves, weapons) and while it doesn't take away from the utility of this stigma, it becomes a little less powerful as a result of your attack speed increasing through passive stats.
I would get this no later than 30 for both PVE and PVP just because it increases your DPS a LOT.
- 30 seconds of 20% attack speed, which means high burst potential
- Makes stunlocking much easier while its up
- One of the best stigmas
- Loses a bit of steam once you get attack speed stats
 Aethertwisting ••••••••••
Resists up to 2 magical attacks within the next 8 seconds. 30 second cooldown
Honestly for both PVE and PVP this will be another one of your "must-have" stigmas simply due to the fact that many mob stuns and debuff effects can be twisted. This also includes the fort guardian AOEs that can potentially kill you, all of it can be twisted and with the help of FE interweaved you can essentially stay in 100% against the guardian.
In PVP this is an invaluable tool against just about every class you can think of, even melee classes! For example, you can aethertwist Gladiator's Ankle Snare, and Assassin's Ambush/Pain Rune/Explosions abilities. It also of course is the most useful against casters who can CC or burst you down, but the number of uses for Aethertwist is incredible in PVP. A MUST HAVE STIGMA.
- Multi-useful in PVP, PVE
- Critical ability to have to effectively stand a chance against casters and mirror assassin opponents
- Most useful fort seiging stigma since you dont have to run out of guardian AOEs (more contribution potential!)
- Cooldown being nerfed to 1 min next patch...
 Ambush ••••••••••
Teleports you behind your target dealing small-medium damage and stuns them for 3 seconds. 40 second cooldown
Yet another absolute core stigma for the Assassin, Ambush is a great PVE opener for grinding, a mobility tool, and also an on demand stun in PVP.
The only downfall being that it doesn't really become reliable as a stun against high tier elites. It should be noted that the damage component is physical and the stun component is magic based, not physical. To this effect anything that increases magic resists will also affect Ambush's chance to stun the target. Skills like Aethertwist also can stop the stun component but not the damage.
For PVP this makes a great opener, or even a later-in-the-fight stun on demand. I've even used it to help escape gank groups (target critter and ambush), works like a blink in that respect. I should note that while it does teleport you behind your target, sometimes the server does not immediately recognize this and you may want to wait before using positional abilities (like ~1 second before using SA) to let the server catch up.
Another downside is that it shares a cooldown with both Dash Attack and our later-game "Throw Dagger" ranged stun. It also does not work in flight. It also tends to be a bit buggy in that it may teleport you next to your target, or it may teleport you a bit out of melee range if they are moving a lot.
- On demand stun
- Mobility tool
- Not 100% reliable
- Shares cooldown with Throw Dagger & Dash Attack
- Can't be used in the air
 Rune Burst ••••••••••
Rune Explosion, deals damage based on the number of runes on your target. Damage is a little bit higher than Pain Rune. 12 sec cooldown.
Being perfectly honest, this is heavily a PVE stigma, simply because its not bad, does high burst damage (like Pain Rune) but without the stun component. All it is really is a slightly stronger pain rune without the stun and on a really short cooldown. So if you're going for a strong PVE build you should have this just to juggle in between Needle/Pain Rune, and also because it unlocks one of the advanced stigma chains later on. It also has some moderate pvp utility since pain rune and binding rune will almost always be on cooldown, and its a ranged burst attack that does decent damage against players as well. Also because it is magic based it is a decent explosion to use against armored targets (Temp/Glads).
So in short its not god awful but its utility in PVP is questionable when there's many other "core" stigmas we need early on. Maybe late game it is an option if you like, or if you tend to focus on PVE and getting top contribution during forts, you may want this!
- Good damage ranged burst
- Extremely short cooldown
- Part of an advanced stigma chain
- No stun component
- More useful in PVE than PVP
 Apply Deadly Poison ••••••••••
Uses 2 poison reagents to apply poison to your attacks for 2 minutes. While buffed, your attacks have a 2% chance to stun the target briefly.
In comparison to your other options, this is a pretty trash stigma. On the other hand, it does its job in improving what your poison effects do. Just to note that it does still apply the poison dot so that people cannot fly, with that extra 2% chance to stun. The problem is the stun is extremely short (~2 sec max) and unpredictable, making this a really useless tool in PVP.
Even then in PVE the only real solid utility of poisons is so you can use assassination, so in most cases you're just spending extra poisons for nothing with this in PVE anyway, and really no chance to stun elite mobs. The other drawback of not getting this however, is that is also part of an advanced stigma chain.
- Unlocks an advanced stigma chain
- Penetrates Unwavering Devotion
- Works with a bow
- Unpredictable in PVP
- Stun is too short
- Only useful once you have stunning godstones of some sort, either the 6% stun or the paralyze
 Oath of Accuracy ••••••••••
Increases magic and physical accuracy by 500 for 20 seconds, 5 minute cooldown.
Moderately useful, 500/500 accuracy means your ambush, and stuns are very likely to land on targets with higher magic resist (namely Clerics), this also is great against other scout types who tend to break your chains, with this stigma the RNG nature of scout vs. scout fights is eliminated for the duration (and honestly 20 seconds is all you need to kill any target in this game save warrior/priest types).
The big issue is that its infrequently usable, on a 5 min cooldown you won't get enough utility out of it in large scale fights. On the other hand it supposedly is useful for countering the Chanter's 500 stun resist mantra, and as said, targets that use magic resist religiously. I would say keep this in your standby arsenal but its not all that useful until endgame, if that.
For PVE it will help land stuns on elite mobs more frequently, but even then it still does not seem to be effective enough at that either.
There is some debate whether this stigma actually works properly or not.
- Makes fighting priest/scout types significantly easier
- Increases PVE stun rates against elites
- Long cooldown
- Korean players question if it really works at all
 Rune Knife ••••••••••
Deals small damage up to 10m away and carves a rune on the target up to level 3.
The small damage and effect may seem insignificant enough to not pick this up, but the utility it has (primarily in PVP) is incredible! It shares a cooldown with Rune Carve, but essentially REPLACES it in every sense of the word. Not only does it let you build runes at range on a target, but they are guaranteed runes every time, so no more opening with 2 runes and having to wait another cycle if RNG hates you.
This also is an excellent stigma for aerial combat, since a lot of the trick to killing players in the air is being able to stun them. This, interweaved with bow attacks, will easily let you get a pain rune, or other explosion off if you're in chase. You can even use it to build runes when kiting other players, or using LOS to dodge spells while you weave in and out using it. Overall, its the best rune carve ability we get, and probably one of my favorite stigmas so far. My only dispute is it's reasonably mediocre damage, though with a devo/KE it is capable of critting up to 1000 damage on PVE mobs (not amazing, but the damage is "alright").
One cool trick in mirror fights is to rune knife off the other assassin's FE and then ambush immediately for the opening advantage. Or to kite while he has AT up and build runes while you wait.
- Carves runes at range
- Always carves a rune, unlike Rune Carve
- Low damage
- Shares cooldown with the Rune Carve chain.
 Blinding Burst ••••••••••
Blinds all targets within 15m for 10-25 seconds. 10 minute cooldown.
An excellent stigma to have against any physical type opponent, which automatically rules out 3/8 of the classes in the game. The effect of blind is awesome though, and its long duration makes this an ideal counter if you get Ankle Snared since it doesn't base its hit/miss off of your evasion, but basically rules a static amount of hit reduction on the afflicted target. The range is awesome so if you get swarmed by a bunch of gladiators, this will greatly increase your chances of escaping unharmed. It also is a great wipe avoidance stigma for instancing, a well placed blind can easily turn a bad pull into a saved raid.
The downsides are that the blind effect is CC pottable (and CC pots are on 30 sec cooldown, GG), and that we don't have any debuffs to cover the blind with (even more GG). The other problem is that, it is resistable, and also doesn't really do much against caster opponents, making this extremely long cooldown very limited in utility.
- Perfect advantage to have handy against some counter classes
- Lasts a long time, has a large radius
- Unlocks an advanced stigma chain
- CC Pottable
- Atrociously long cooldown
- Only useful against half the classes in the game
 Eye of Wrath ••••••••••
Allows one attack to be guaranteed to crit, but decreases crit by 300 for 10 sec or until used. 1 minute cooldown
Guaranteed crit, but your auto attacks until you use an ability have a -300 crit rate. Short cooldown, on demand crit, not much to hate about this other than finding room for it in your build. This can get you that powerful burst during your aerial lock when you need it, or just to finish your target off.
- Extremely useful for finishing a target on demand
- Short cooldown
- Unlocks an advanced stigma chain
- Somewhat limited to a 'window of opportunity'.
 Throw Shuriken ••••••••••
Deals high damage to a target that is aerial locked. 30 second cooldown
This is primarily for the assassins that use the aerial lock burst as their core damage moment. Throw Shuriken only aids in this burst by giving a pretty high burst while they are in the air. With flurry you can fit Shuriken, WB and SA all into the chain before crashing, making your aerial burst rotation extremely deadly to any target. Also the short cooldown lets you use it in group fights more (up to twice before your own binding rune is up!). Aerial locks in this game are the deadliest opportunity to burst someone in this game, this only helps us even more in that respect.
For most cases I'd say this is a must-have, the only problem is that you can't aerial lock in the air, so it loses its utility if you end up spending most of your time there.
- Makes our aerial lock a practical death sentence
- Short cooldown
- Extremely good to have for group PVP
- Useless if you can't aerial lock a target (air combat)
- Limited use in PVE since elites are hard to aerial
 Shadow Walk ••••••••••
Puts you into an advanced hide state for 5 minutes. 2 minute cooldown.
This basically turns your stealth into "perma-stealth". Ideal for ganking and/or scouting in most cases where normally Hide would require you to run out of radar range to restealth. This will essentially let you creep around unnoticed while the cooldowns overlap, and gives you the power to scout for group pvp without being seen.
There really are no downsides other than the fact that if you frequently hide and unhide you probably will want to use your normal hide and save this for ganking/scouting only. Its also detectable by 40+ rangers and assassins so using it while they have All-Seeing off cooldown is a big waste. If nothing more its a luxury not a necessity unless you find yourself ganking/scouting a lot.
The best way to use it is to wait for the cooldown to overlap before unstealthing for any reason, so that it is available again when you need it.
- Allows for "perma-stealth"
- Short cooldown
- A necessity if you like to solo gank or play a scouting role for your groups
- Detectable by level 40+ detection abilities
- Cooldown not always available if you unhide prematurely
 **Deadly Abandon ••••••••••
Increases physical attack by 20% but decreases evasion by 200 for 3 min. 5 min cooldown
This is 100% a PVE stigma and maybe 50% a PVP worthy stigma. What it isn't good for is that every melee class will hit you almost 100% thanks to the debuff, but against casters you get a spiffy buff. Its a toss up and completely dependant on what you want - you can remove the buff if you end up needing to at any time, but there's no real downside to using this against 3/8 of the classes in the game.
Also, in PVE you wont really be tanking anything that you need the evasion for, so this will give you quite the advantage in PVE situations.
- Excellent PVE stigma, since you dont need to tank
- Excellent PVP buff if you aren't fighting melee
- Buff is removable so you can remove the debuff as well
- Use with extreme caution!
- Buff isn't necessarily significant enough to make it worth it unless you have high attack power
- Not much room for this stigma in an "ideal" setup, but may be fun to play with
** marked stigmas I need to test myself or get some feedback on to confirm their utility.
to be continued...
This post has been edited by Mephs: 31 December 2009 - 05:01 PM