Assassin Oak (Guide)
A guide to using Oak without spirits. Rather, make him a strong front-line with good Demigod slaying abilities.
Oak will never be the best at any one thing. He can never match the healing and protection of Sedna, the speed of Unclean Beast, the damage of The Rook, nor the summoning of Lord Erebus. However, he is very good in each of these categories, and in the right situations a tide-turning juggernaut.
To make Oak a flexible and manueverable opponent, I typically buy Boots of Speed right off the bat, and use the Swift Anklet as my favor item. This makes him better at running in for a slash of Penitence to discourage would-be flag capturers. I say only one use of Penitence because off the bat Oak doesn't have enough mana for two. That is why I usually get the Vlemish Faceguard as soon as I can, to give Oak the ability to scare off a lone Demigod for a little while. In reality, until level 5, Oak will spend more time running to cap flags than trying to chase after Demigods. This is because until then, he cannot really use Divine Justice to boost life and energy to sustain his frontline presence.
With Surge of Faith, that changes, giving him not only the ability to wipe trash and mitigate some of the cost of the skill, but also further boost speed and damage, making this a good skill to eliminate any weaker minions or trash to further discourage enemy advancement. Also, at higher levels, when mana is much less a concern, the Surge can make entering combat much quicker.
This is where the main growth of Oak is guided: if the map has few spawn portals there is not really a good crash of enemies together to make Surge of Faith really shine, so Penitence becomes more of a priority. Penitence pales when a good group of creatures, both hostile and allied, are in close combat, so if Giants or even Catapultasauri are coming through, ride with the wave and wipe out the enemies and use the restoration of Divine Justice to keep the group moving.
Penitence requires careful timing and observation, and if done properly can stall any one-on-one situation. This is the skill to use when Torch Bearer swings his staff for Fireball, when Lord Erebus gathers to stun, or when Unclean Beast get close enough for his lead-off of Venom Spit. This is also a critical attack when a Demigod attempts to teleport, so as a general rule don't use Penitence to get you opponent into their "danger zone" where they try to flee because you'll be powerless to stop them if they choose to teleport immediately following Penitence. Obviously, if you have backup or feel confident about killing them in the teleport activation time, feel free to use Penitence as a catch-up skill, which can usually be coupled with Surge of Faith to close the distance quickly.
In the situations where I've over-extended or have barely killed an opponent, Shield is critical. The best times to use this are when Penitence is unavailable, namely to block any damage over time effects. Using Penitence to block Unclean Beast's Venom Spit and then using Shield to counter his Life Leech can be devastating. Shield is also useful in those situations where just a little more survival is needed, for example to let Aura of Faith recharge to let loose a blast against overwhelming odds.
With all these combination in mind, it is not hard to see that there are no remaining skill points to allocate to Oak's Death Ward, nor towards the Morale levels. In order to do this, a sacrifice must be made of another skill set. Typically, if this is being done, the Morale skill is not used, Surge of Faith is sacrificed, and those points are put towards the Death Wards. This is done so that Oak becomes more along the lines of a dedicated assassin because Soul Power provides a significant boost if spirits are present. If you find that you're not really in the middle of mobs and decide that speed is not as important, this may be an acceptable tradeoff.
Outfitting Oak is not difficult, and I usually find that increasing the power of the Citadel works well with the aforementioned wave-riding. Depending upon how many assists and direct kills you get, you may find it better to invest in many Citadel upgrades than following this list:
- Favor Item: Swift Anklet
- Boots of Speed
- Vlemish Faceguard
- Wyrmskin Handguards (upgrade to Doomspite Grips)
- Warlord's Punisher
- Ring of the Ancients (or Groffling Warplate)
- Parasite Egg
- Journeyman Treads
- Wand of Speed
[Note: I included no Artifacts, games for me don't usually last long enough and I turn pretty much every spare coin into the Citadel or on potions, or teleportation scrolls if the map is big enough]
Invest in Shield at the third rate, Divine Justice last. This usually means that at level 14 you have 1 point but nowhere in these four to place it; just wait for level 15 and improve Surge of Faith and Shield, then Divine Justice, and then start investing in Soul Power. Level 20 is usually Last Stand, but can be taken earlier if you need to pass through a wall of Demigods to just deal a little more damage to a Fortress. Otherwise, don't risk paying out all that money for suicide runs.
- Don't hoard Shield, if someone's in the grips of Life Leech or just needs a little more time to get out of range, give them that moment of protection.
- Learn the signs of item or skill activation and consider the damage Penitence prevents through interruption as effectively life gained. This is especially true with anything that steals life. Stalling teleport or using a potion can be a death sentence, but make sure you're not blocking a feint, such as preventing the 300 damage from the Warlord's Punisher only to be hit by a maxed-out Fireball.
- Surge of Faith can be a great way to get into or out of battle, and can bring allies along for the ride.
- If you follow the item usage guide, Oak's speed makes him dangerous at speeding around the map, using Shield to get though defenses and capping spawn flags near the Citadel. Remember, if they're chasing you, your allies can push the battle lines closer to what they hold dear.
- Do not neglect the Citadel. Oak can perform as a stopgate measure to prevent Giants from coming to the Citadel, but that typically means your enemies are attacking it instead.