Nate's blog

Wyrdthief Guide

Regarding :

Just got finished doing a bit of in-depth testing of a new tree (not uploaded, as of writing), and I realized that the class could actually use a bit of a guide.


The obvious first question is race-- and the obvious answer is Halfling. Starting bonus to Luck, Cunning, and Dexterity; save bonus racial.

Other decent options are Dwarf, Cornac and Thalore.

As far as creating your character? The starting points aren't always the best place to put your points (in discussion with Fayd about that right now). Steal Luck isn't so useful until you actually get a way to spend your fortune. Felicity is a great tree (if you want to go that route), and it's not supposed to be unlearnable-- but it is. My bad :)

The temptation when playing a class from an add-on is to rush to their special talents. With Wyrdthieves, that just doesn't work. Their special talents don't shine until later levels-- they certainly won't keep you alive long enough to reach higher levels! The good old rogue stand-bys are the way to go for your early levels. A starting character cannot afford to ignore Lethality, Dual Weapons, or Dual Techniques, and that's where your beginning points should go. These are your offensive melee options, and they're essential.


With the talents you can learn, and the places you need to put your points, there aren't really any options besides dual wielding daggers. That's the only way you're going to be able to do decent damage.


A couple of good regen infusions are good for starting out, but you'll probably want to replace them with shielding runes ASAP. A teleportation rune is also essential. Wild infusions are great-- you haven't got much in the way of status clears or immunities.


Arcane all the way baby. They'll always give you good stats. If you happen to get an early Temporal Explorer, there's nothing wrong with a free point in Dreamwalk though. Since you don't have any natural mana regeneration, you're better off avoiding any of the spells.

Luck and Fortune

Several Wyrdthief abilities debuff an opponents Luck and add it your own Fortune. Your Fortune has pretty obvious effects-- it's how you spend your talents, it affects the strength of various passives such as those from Felicity. Many talents exist that scale with your Fortune: often, these talents can become detriments when your Fortune is below its midpoint. Talents in the Disaster tree actually scale with your bad Fortune, which means that they typically have no effect when you Fortune is above its midpoint, and the most dramatic effects when your Fortune is zero.

It's easy to miss the effects of the Luck debuff. Luck affects Defense, Accuracy, Crit Rate and Damage, Ranged Defense, and Trap avoidance-- all of the the things that Felicity affects. Fayd's model was to have your extra fortune (above the midpoint) give 1/6 of a point of luck via each talent point in each tree of Felicity. (That's no longer the case for Turn the Tables, which got nerfed to be in line with other crit bonuses.) So remember, every time you debuff an enemy's Luck, you're doing something significant and useful.

Felicity vs Disaster

You've got two choices, and they're largely incompatible. With Felicity, you get large passive bonuses that scale with your Fortune-- something that means you'll want to keep your Fortune in the top quarter of the bar, because those bonuses can go negative when your Fortune drops below its midpoint. With Disaster, you've got free Fortune whenever you're below your midpoint, but your goal is to spend your Fortune as quickly as possible, so that you debuff your opponents for larger amounts! These builds aren't totally incompatible-- a bit of Bad News can be a nice insurance policy for your Fortune, and you don't need low Fortune to benefit from an Unlucky Streak, but for the most part, you'll want to decide whether to play Felicitously or Disastrously at the beginning of your game, and stick to that.

With Disaster, it's worth remembering that almost all of the talents scale with both your bad Fortune and your bad Luck. Bad Luck is handled a little strangely-- it bends the curve. So if you're at 0 fortune, it doesn't matter what your luck is, you'll get the same scalar. But at, say, the bottom quartile of Fortune, your Luck can have a large effect on these talents' scaling.


A lot of Wyrdthief trees aren't totally obvious at first. Let's go over the talents specific to them.


Okay, so this one is obvious. It's worth noting that increased talent level reduces the cooldown as well as the duration and number of effects.
This is going to be essential at lower levels. When all of your opponents are melee attackers, Denied can nicely fill in the spaces between regeneration infusion or shield runes, giving you the few extra turns of melee invulnerability that you need to have a shot at killing Bill the Troll (no Certainty in that prospect stated or implied).
This is one that needs a little thinking about. Guaranteed saves? What's not to like? Well, how about the fact that an awful lot of attacks don't actually grant any saves. Or the fact that it's ridiculously hard to predict which turns you're going to need to save against effects. Vetoed is a great ability, but it's hard to use.
Who doesn't love guaranteed criticals? Use with Unlucky For Some to get a good starting boost to your Unlucky Streak.

+ 2/+2 to useful stats. Great. Non-diminishing returns, worth taking to five, if you feel like pursuing Certainty.



Steal Luck
If you're playing a Felicitous build, this is your source of Fortune. If you're playing a Disaster build, this is your source of luck debuff. Either way: you don't need Steal Luck at level 1, but you're going to need it by level 50. As long as you're doing that, why not invest a few extra points to get the bonus damage?
Steal Weapon
Depending on when you gain it, an AoE disarm can be incredibly effective, or pretty blah.
Steal Heart
This is your summon. One less bad guy to worry about, one more for your opponents to worry about. Don't bother to use it on skeletons or mummies (or elites). And watch out for the death explosion. It uses your spellpower against their mental save, so you're going to need some Magic to make it work.
Steal Life
For a melee build, this is essential. The damage bonus is large, and you're going to need the heals. For Felicitous builds, watch out for the rapidity with which it drains your Fortune; for Disastrous builds, watch out for it running out of Fortune and terminating!


A Felicitous line with a couple of great escapes.
Make them hit themselves when they miss you? Sure, why not. Considering the potential Defense of a felicitous build, this is a great way to chew through melee attackers.
Dance with Destiny
A lightweight movement infusion, combined with a passive move bonus, this is where Grace starts to be specific to Felicitous builds. The passive bonus is randomly applied, and there's no way to predict whether you'll benefit from it on any given turn, but it can be extremely powerful-- and at low Fortune, extremely detrimental.
A bit of insurance on your Stealth is never a bad thing-- but even if you're not improving Stealth, you'll probably want a point in this to reach the next talent:
Now You See Me
A great escape. Phase door combined with invisibility means that even if you don't land where you wanted, you'll have a good chance of getting away (especially when followed with Dance with Destiny!). This ability is useful enough that even Disastrous builds might be willing to accept the penalties of Dance with Destiny.

Grand Larceny

Definitely maybe. While this gives you some powerful AoEs, you're likely to benefit more from mastery of one of your existing talents. (Which is largely because talent points mostly give linear returns, which is partly my fault...)
Steal Luck on a different cooldown, with an AoE. Great for Felicitous or Disastrous builds.
Sticky Fingers
Can end up giving a tremendous amount of gold-- that you can turn in for Big Prizes in Last Hope. Probably not the best talent in the line, but a decent one nonetheless. Don't bother trying to farm-- the Developers have done everything they can to discourage this behavior :)
Steal Armor
Not an AoE, but a tremendous resistance debuff. Frequently nothing but a waste of Fortune, but in the case where you need resistances debuffed, nothing else comes close.
Spontaneous Combustion
Short lived, highly damaging DoT, with a damage type few can resist.

All of these talents require decks to use. That's not as much of a drawback as it might seem-- given the egos on decks, you might just want to be wearing one anyways.
Hit Me
This isn't enough damage to be overpowering-- it's a little bit extra, at low levels, but it scales with the level of your deck, and with your dexterity, and pretty linearly with talent level, because each additional level makes this talent act, not more powerfully, but FASTER. The real point of this ability lies when you start to find some egoed or artifact decks, which can use powerful damage types.
Even if you don't want to go any further, this line can be worth pursuing for Bluff, which is something rather like a targeted phase door+trap. Just don't use it on anything too close-- it leaves a trap behind which can damage you.
Underhanded Dealing
This is all about stacking the deck. High talent levels only reduce the Fortune cost and failure rate. If you're a fan of Hit Me, and you see a king on the bottom of your deck-- well, if your top card was a deuce, you've just done six times as much damage. Not to mention the potential value of actually knowing which damage type you're going to be dealing next. But the real power comes when used in conjunction with
Dealers Choice
Massive combo damage for Hit Me. These combos are almost impossible to pull off (without cheating), but if you do, you can expect some of the most obscene damage numbers in the game. Royal Flush? That boss is nearly dead.


Where Dealer lacks raw damage, Gambler delivers.
Throw the Bones
Chance of AoE, chance of 100% resistance penetration, large range of (relatively basic) damage types, linear damage scaling. All of that's worth a little bit of risk of self damage.
Snake Eyes
Five turns of DoT is perfectly reasonable for a ranged attack, and a bit of extra damage (at no additional Fortune or energy cost) is always appreciated.
Bad Break
Only for the risk averse-- or those that want the next talent.
Impossibly Lucky
Cheating? Maybe. This is your huge cost, huge payoff ranged ability. AoE, massive damage, complete resistance penetration.


Saved for last because it's so fundamental.
Some reduced fortune cost (which you'll want if you want to pursue the rest of this tree), and an incomparable Defense bonus (that turns into an incomparable Defense penalty at low Fortune). High levels in this talent can render you impervious to melee damage.
Good Graces
And again, incomparable accuracy bonuses (or penalties)-- this talent should be an either/or with Combat Accuracy, because you should never need both.
Charmed Life
The saves are great (and essential, and part of why I recommend Dwarf). The luck bonus is easy to ignore, but Luck raises your base and maximum Fortune in addition to its other effects.
Turn the Tables
If you're going Felicity, go all the way. This gives you awesome critical boosts (again, or penalties), and a chance out of bad Fortune. Just pop the talent and spend spend spend!


For the unlucky.
Bearer of Bad News
The movement speed bonus is great (too bad it doesn't stack in any useful way with the bonus from Dance with Destiny). This constantly steals Fortune (and thus debuffs Luck) from all foes within its radius-- but in proportion to how little Fortune you have. It will never take you above your midway point. That makes the Fortune drain a bit of a mixed bag: sure, it's free Fortune, but every bit of Fortune reduces the effectiveness of the luck debuff (and movement speed buff).
Unlucky For Some
So you've got a bit of crit pow buff (scaling with target's bad Luck), but the fun part is the streak. Your crit rate goes up every successive time you crit-- approaching, but never reaching, 100%. So you can potentially take a 2% crit rate up to 100%, without other investment (and if you're careful, can use some Guarantees to get you there). But watch out, because if you ever fail to crit, the streak disappears, and so does your bonus. Note that this is the only talent in the tree that doesn't depend on your own bad Fortune-- worthwhile even for a Felicitous build.
Black Cat
The potential debuffs are pretty large-- global speed penalty, cross-tier effects-- but it's remarkably difficult to use. You can't cross your own path, or you destroy it. You need quite a bit of speed to get your opponent's to cross your path rather than just tracing it to you, and even if you do, you have to be careful that they don't cross it back the other way (which undoes the debuff). But if this is your kind of talent, you can get some serious benefit out of it. (Note that the path duration scales with bad Fortune-- if you're above the midpoint, no path will be made.)
Master of Disaster
Yup, all talents. That includes bump-attack. Anything they do that targets you has a chance of being retargeted to somebody nearby. It decides on a target (from a list weighted by bad luck and distance to you), and then creates a chance based on that target's bad Luck (mostly). So you've got a serious incentive to keep the Luck debuffs as powerful as you can.

Dual Weapons

Dual Weapon Training
Your first point doesn't look very good, but this tree gives, strangely, accelerating returns. 5/5 asap.
Dual Weapon Defense
Part of the reason your Defense can get so high. Mostly, you'll only want this at a low talent level.
Utterly worthless.
Nice talent, but you're unlikely to have the Stamina to maintain it for long.

Dual Techniques

Dual Strike
Pretty essential for the early game.
Your main melee damage dealer.


Easy to miss. You haven't the health or armor to take many hits. Stealth is a very good idea.

Dirty Fighting

A few more good ways to spend your stamina :)


A must have. You're probably going to need to raise both your dexterity and your cunning-- but never your Str. But don't feel like you need it at level 1.

Combat Training

Thick Skin
A must have at 5/5; you'll probably require a small arsenal before you can reach the Con requirements.
Armor Training
Fortune is modified by Fatigue mods. You'll probably want to avoid this tree.
Combat Accuracy
Between Good Graces, luck debuffs, and your own naturally high Dexterity, you probably don't need any points in this tree.
Dagger Master
5/5 ASAP.


Heightened Senses

Pretty important for a stealth build.

Benchmarking Lua

Just out of curiosity, I decided to see how much I had to worry about optimization in Lua. I downloaded a Lua binary from and ran a few tests.

Fresh boot, AMD dual core 2.6ghz. In case you're curious, that's a pretty old computer; it was at the price-performance sweet spot when I bought it, but parts are going to start failing soon.

local time = os.clock(); for i=1, 10^7 do if i==0 then break end end; print(os.clock()-time)

Note that this basic loop consists of 1 increment, 2 compares, and 1 jump. Every loop that follows is going to be the same, except sometimes they have 1 less compare (the if in the middle of the loop). I can run it more than 20 million times in a second. If I was doing this in ToME, I wouldn't notice any difference in framerate until I did it around 2*10^4 times every frame. That would drop my framerate from 30 to 29.

local time = os.clock(); local p; for i=1, 10^7 do p = math.sqrt(i) end; print(os.clock()-time)
Takes about four times longer to do a square root loop. I could only do 5000 square roots every frame before affecting Lua framerate.

local time = os.clock(); local p; for i=1, 10^7 do p = i^0.5 end; print(os.clock()-time)
Huh, that's funny. For the non math inclined, i^0.5 is the exact same thing as sqrt(i). I repeated this several times to be sure-- sure enough, ^0.5 is faster. And, I might add, easier to type, and easier on the eyes. So adjust that square estimate to 9000 a frame until we affect framerate.

local time = os.clock(); local p; for i=1, 10^7 do p = math.sin(i) end; print(os.clock()-time)
Slowest yet. Looks like I could get away with 4000 sines. I'm going to assume tan and cos work at similar speed (maybe not a safe assumption in light of the surprising square root discovery!)

local time = os.clock(); local p; for i=1, 10^7 do p = math.exp(i) end; print(os.clock()-time)
About the same as trig. Can't imagine wanting to do a lot of this.

local time = os.clock()local p = "test"; for i=1, 10^7 do if p~="test" then break end end; print(os.clock()-time)
Comparison of strings isn't any slower than comparison of numbers. That's because of how Lua handles strings. p is a pointer to a string; "test" is a pointer to the exact same string.

TL;DR: Unless you're writing display code or pathfinding code, there is almost nothing you can do that will noticeably impact the performance of ToME. Don't worry about speed-- worry about having your code do what it's supposed to do, and do it clearly.

Your first Cursed

After playing a few cursed, I thought it might be useful to make a guide for people playing their very first.

This isn't supposed to be complete. It's supposed to give you the best chance of winning the game. That's not a subject of complete consensus.

Birth': Cornac are the most effective. Put a category into Rampage, one point into Rampage, and one point into Stalk. Put three points into Strength and one point into Armor Training.

Tier 1 (levels 1-10): You'll start in the Trollmire. Explore, and kill. Don't forget to activate your sustainables, Gloom and Stalk. Use your regeneration frequently.

Soon, you'll get the option to "Give in to your hate" and release your rage upon something that you pick-up. I'm gonna recommend, "Don't." Doing so will unlock a new Generic tree, but will make your early game harder. Not that it's a bad choice to do so; just wait until after your first winner.

Remember: hit and run. If you get down to about (say) half life or so, just get away. Thanks to your point in Rampage, that should be easy. Retreat, use your regen, and then re-engage.

You probably won't be strong enough to tackle Trollmire level 4, not at the beginning. Don't worry about it. Come back later.

When you gain a level, your goal is to get a single point into as many talents as possible. Almost all Cursed talents involve rapidly diminishing returns, so spread the points. Extras, do what you want with. For generics, you'll want Armor Training 3 as soon as possible, so that you can use decent armors; another goal is another point or two into Combat Accuracy, and further points into Weapons Mastery. You can pretty safely put all of your points into Strength, which you'll want to keep as high as you possibly can.

A good order to tackle the tier one dungeons: Trollmire, Norgo's Lair, Heart of the Gloom, Kor Pul, Scintillating Caves, Rhaloren Camp'. Don't bother with vaults: some are safe enough, but you don't know the difference yet, and you don't need them. A safe bet: if it's weirrd, don't touch it, and don't go down that ladder. Chests are an exception: as a Cursed, you can handle any chest. This goes for the rest of the game as well.

After your first or second dungeon, you'll probably have enough money to buy something. Infusions, especially a healing or second regeneration infusion, are a priority for your first purchases. Check out a few towns and see if they have something better than what you have. Infusions aren't sexy the way artifacts are, but throughout the game, your success will depend on your infusions to a much greater extent than it will on any of your other equipment.

After your fourth dungeon, you might as well tackle the Arena in Derth for two free generic points.

As far as equipment, you can keep an eye out for decent off-handers, but you'll probably be strongest just by finding a good two-hander and using it. Pay special attention to +damage on hit, or when hit. At low levels, these are really effective.

Try to avoid runes, because you want to betray all of your escorts to Zigur. In general, you'll want anything that increases Strength, Willpower, Constitution (in that order), but increases to Cunning or Dexterity are also nice. Piercing Sight, Dreamwalk, and Mindstar Mastery are all decent talents to learn.

Tier 2(levels 11-20): You'll want to get your character stronger as fast as possible. A good order to take these dungeons is Old Forest, Sandworm's Lair, Tranquil Meadow, the Maze, Daikara, Temporal Rift, Halfling Ruins, Unknown Tunnels, Tempest Peak. That will net you benefits as soon as you're strong enough to take them.

Your character will start to max strength, accuracy, and combat training by this point. Your next priorities are Thick Skin, Relentless, and enough Willpower to get you every talent (36). Eventually, you'll want 5/5/5/5/0 in combat training. You'll also eventually get a talent point in almost every talent-- skip Cleave, Repel, and Slam. Top priorities for extra talent points are the Rampage tree (you'll want 5/5/5/0 ASAP), Surge, and Sanctuary. After getting sufficient Willpower (to take Surge to 5), it's a good idea to start investing in Constitution, at least until you have enough Con for Thick Skin 5. Seethe and Grim Resolve are good abilities to get to level 1, but not much past that.

At level 10 and 20, you get new category points. It's a good idea to spend these on infusion slots. At level 20, the ideal infusions would probably be 2 regeneration, 1 movement infusion, 1 healing infusion, and 1 heroism infusion. That's enough to keep you alive anytime that you'd need a wild infusion, without being useless the rest of the time, and without being vulnerable to the RNG God. If it leaves you vulnerable to anything, it's Pinning, Worm Rot, and Impending Doom, so be on the look out for those effects. If you get Rotted or Doomed, don't forget to trigger your rampage! Rampage/Tenacity can very easily be the difference between surviving DOTs like this and dying.

In the tranquil meadow, choose the more evil-sounding of all of the options. This will net you a powerful trinket that provides movement speed and physical damage bonuses, without needing to be equipped. In the Halfling Ruins, use your preternatural senses to blindside Subject Z, throwing all of your abilities into killing him before he has a chance to kill the Yeek, and net some free, permanent confusion immunity. It will be tremendously beneficial to have Combat Accuracy at 5 before fighting Subject Z.

You may be level 24 before you reach the Unknown Tunnels-- meaning you might run into the Dark Crypt. That's a dangerous area, and as a Cornac, you don't need to bother with it, so just avoid it.

When it comes time for Tempest Peak, you might just want to skip it. The strongest route for a Cornac Cursed is Anti-magic, but you don't need Anti-magic just yet, and access to arcane equipment might be more valuable in the mean-time. Whatever you decide. When you do decide to take Tempest Peak, don't forget to get your Fungal Growth tree by talking to the Halfling commander after beating Urkis!

You might want to check some shops for any water-breathing equipment and do Lake Nur. You don't need to, though. You don't really need water-breathing equipment either, although it's nice for the first couple of times through. You can also do the Golem Graveyard and the Hidden Compound.

Tier 3: Before you go to Dreadfell, take a chance to look at all of your merchants. Sometimes, they have artifacts like the infinitely valuable Blood of Life. Don't forget the merchant you rescued from the Tunnels.

This is also a good time to get all of the Brotherhood of Alchemists quests out of the way. I like to get the Elixir of Foundations, Elixir of Precision, Elixir of Brawn in that order. If I have the chance, an Elixir of Mastery is also good, as is the Elxir of Focus. If you don't have all of the ingredients for an elixir, you can do the Ruined Dungeon: at its end, there is a puzzle that you can fail repeatedly to grind random monsters (probably not ideal way to handle it, but...)

You'll probably also get your first prodigy around this time. Superpower is always a safe bet for a free, passive +30% damage, +25% mindpower.

In Dreadfell, it is even more important that you ignore vaults. They can and will kill you. Bulwarks start being a pain in the ass here. Think about your unarmed damage, or try to find some disarm immunity, or just take these guys irritatingly slowly. Be on the lookout for counterstrikes.

After Dreadfell, it shouldn't be too hard to beat the orc ambush. Just remember to save the leader for last so you don't die, even if you fail. Reknor is a cakewalk in comparison to Dreadfell.

You'll probably start running out of places to put your talent points. At this point, it's really up to you. I like Preternatural Senses, Frenzy, Slash, Blindside, and Reckless Charge, roughly in that order. Later, I will improve Harass Prey and Dominate. But you can't really go wrong.

Tier 4: Welcome to the East! I like to make my way back to the West ASAP, so I take this Vor's Armoury, Briagh's Lair, followed by a few backup guardians and Tannen's Tower. The Armoury really isn't that difficult, provided you take it slow. That nets access to merchant randarts and Relentless Pursuit as soon as possible. After that, I do the prides in this order: 'Mancers, Summoners, Necromancers, Melee. After that, I probably need to do a few side quests to make it close to 50, then it's time for High Peak. Probably the most dangerous zone at this point is the Shadow Crypt, so you might want to stay away from that one.

Your level 36 category should go into Fungal Growth. There are a few ways to handle Fungal Growth: 1+/1/5/1, or 5/1/1/1. Either is a good way. If Sudden Growth is high, there's no real cost to triggering the infusion, so you don't need as many turns on your infusion, but your Rampages may suffer (not sure). With such a high Willpower, Sudden Growth 5 should give close to 100% of a turn to you. You might need a few points in the first talent to handle infusion cooldowns.

Around level 40, you should be capable of beating the Sandworm Lair backup guardian, netting you your last category point. Predator is a good choice. So is Combat Training mastery. So is Harmony. Let's make it simple, and recommend Combat Training mastery. That leaves you a few generics to put into Antimagic as you see fit, and a lot of talent points to distribute wherever (just go where your heart takes you). You'll also max your Strength, Willpower, and Con-- the extra points go nicely into Cunning, which increases your crit rate and mindpower.

Don't forget to buy randarts from the merchant as often as possible. When I go anti-magic, there are never any good belts (1 exception), cloaks, or gloves for me, so those are generally what I buy. Of those, I seem to get better belts and gloves (too much +stealth on my cloaks).

Your level 42 prodigy is up to you. Draconic Body is nice; Flexible Combat is nice; Spell Feedback is nice; Giant Leap is nice; Garkul's Revenge or whatever is nice. Do whatever you want.

When you make it to the top of High Peak, you should be doing enough damage to win before adds become a problem, before Aeryn falls. Just stick on that caster, and don't forget to beckon!

Some further notes:

EQUIPMENT: Generally, you'll see what's good. But there are a few things worth noting:

Wanderer's Rest is simply the best footwear a Cursed could ask for. Pinning immunity, speed, and a free escape. Don't pass these up. But don't kill yourself thinking that you need them.

Keep a few amulets, switch around. Blindness and invisibility detection is a persistent weakness for Cursed, so you'll often find yourself using this slot to deal with that, either via immunity or via blindsight.

There's nothing special for Cursed in the artifact weapon department, but you can't really go wrong. If you choose to go Arcane, a blighted maul is wicked (Cursed talents work at global speed, not attack speed-- and the maul stacks with cleave and misfortune). There are some tier 4 weapons that are as good as tier 5 weapons, like Anmalice and Truth (frenzy hits four times, remember!)

Blackened Plate is great, even if all that confusion immunity is wasted. But so are any of the other heavy/massive tier 5 armors.

Don't forget a healthy dose of +health, +healing mod equipment. You'll be tempted to take your Rampage and Surge to the max with +speed equip, but +movement, +attack speed are just not going to be as important on you as they would be on another, and nothing with +global speed is worth a damn.

Forget the tool stats: a simple torque of psychoportation is worth all of the Guardian Totems a Temporal Explorer could dig up.

TALENTS: The weird thing about Cursed is that they have a bunch of talents that look offensive, but only shine when used as defense/escape.

Frenzy: This is your best damage. The precise flavor of it matters, too. Watch out for huge amounts of reflected damage (x4!). Or, use it to get huge amounts of damage when you've got a lot of +damage on-hit. Or, use it with on-crit procs to get a huge likelihood of a crit. Etc. Overkill isn't usually very wasted either. To focus your strikes, use it only after you've begun to stalk a target.

Reckless Charge: When surge+rampage nets you +1000 speed, walking there and bumping is actually faster. But reckless charge doesn't have to target an enemy, so you can use it to get the hell out of there in literally no time.

Cleave: This is fun, but there's nothing you could do with cleave, that you couldn't do without cleave. Put a point in it if you want more buttons to press.

Stalk: Don't overestimate this. You rarely get a large number of successive hits on a target. Even with tough targets, you have to break to use infusions. But a single point is great.

Beckon: One of those abilities that NPCs can use to much larger effect than we can, sadly. But don't forget about it: it can't compete with Blindside, but it is another weapon in your arsenal. Works on targets that are out of LOS but seen with preternatural senses, so given enough hate and patience, you can use it to pull.

Surge: It's easy to miss this. Forget the dual wield thing. Surge will give you +100% movement speed when it's maxed. Think about it. That totally nullifies Stuns, even without immunity. And it multiplies. With Surge, you can afford to reposition any damn time you feel like it. The ability to retreat is the ability to survive; the ability to survive is the ability to win.

Dominate: Usually a hate-sink and little else, but there are times when it comes in very handy. The effect on your target's resistances is very large.

Blindside: This is your first-line escape, even though it looks like an attack. Very few classes have a perfect accuracy (at one talent point!), non-arcane teleport. If you want to use it for damage, the scaling (reduced cool-down, increased damage) means that this can compete with Slash at high hate and high talent level, although it is expensive in terms of hate.

Repel: This is actually appropriately powerful, but high level Cursed don't really worry about melee damage. A perfectly played Cursed could benefit from Repel against some random bosses. I don't find it's worth the trouble to think about.

Gloom: It doesn't look like it, but this will be effective through the very end of the game. Feel free to put extra points into this.

Weakness: Even if you're surrounded, which you shouldn't be, this ability underperforms. But a single point is essential, for very rapid Hate generation.

Dismay: If you can use this well, it can be very powerful. The actual ability, with a doofus player like me, is fine. But if you can keep track of who you can get a free crit on-- you can easily maximize your damage, or get awesome weapon procs. Don't worry about losing the Stalk bonus.

Rampage: It will trigger on its own. That's the offensive use of this ability-- just let it trigger passively, which it will do when you most need it, and enjoy the speed bonus. The bigger deal is its use as an escape. Rampage+Surge will give you faster movement than any movement infusion. Tenacity will soak a good 500+ points of damage during a Rampage, enough to survive an otherwise deadly DOT like Impending Doom. Think of it like this: you're paying 11 talent points and a category point for awesome passive boosts, and for an extra movement infusion and shielding rune. Easily worth it. (Brutality is the least important of the line-- well, other than Slam. Don't buy Slam. Not to say that you shouldn't max Brutality, because you should: for the situations where it matters, Brutality is the most efficient conversion of talent points into damage.)

Predator: Good line, four abilities that are worth the category point even if only investing a single point in each. Mimic, for instance, is 7 stat points for one talent point, which is a great deal for Cursed. More effective when you're willing to manage your Mark Prey. I am not.

Cursed Aura: Shrouds is the stand-out. Madness can shine even in the presence of a single point in Dark Gifts. High levels of Misfortune are just fun. Ruined Earth doesn't last long enough to be worth the turn using. Sentinel is similarly disappointing.

Fears: Wish I could say otherwise, but don't bother. Doesn't work well with Cursed playstyle.

Other Races: Friends don't let friends Yeek. Otherwise, the sky's the limit.

Shalore and Thalore are expensive, but the eventual benefits are worth it. (Timeless is insane.)
Dwarves and halflings are always awesome.
Higher are fine.
Yeek are really, really hard, at least in the early game.
Undead: haven't tried them, but hear good things

Arcane: My fave build is actually an arcane Thalore Cursed, which is probably not the best build for winning, but it's what I like. Fungal Growth is far from a requirement, Antimagic even less of a requirement, and there is a lot of very useful end-game Arcane equipment. You don't even have to ever make the decision to go Anti-magic-- just keep delaying it, and eventually all of your generics will be spent. Playing an arcane cursed isn't very different from playing an antimagic cursed. Not even your escorts have to change: sure, you can go for Premonition, Healing, Chants, etc, but you could just as easily betray them all too. With my arcane Cursed, I usually don't make any infusion changes, but a teleport rune would probably be a little bit nicer than a movement infusion (redundant with Surge and Rampage).

Dual Wield: I don't build for dual-wielding. It seems like diverting points into Dex for minimum stats is counterproductive, and with Cursed, there aren't enough generics to divert points into Knife Mastery. The benefits from Surge+Dual Wield are unimportant. Potential benefits from Madness are insufficient to make up for this, in my mind. But just because I don't build to dual wield, doesn't mean I never dual wield! With an armory of +dex items, you don't need to invest, and you can take advantage of what the RNG hands you in the way of equipment. Played to the utmost, a Cursed shouldn't pay much attention to whether a weapon is two-handed, mainhanded, or offhanded, but should use whatever is most effective at the time.

Mindstar Offhand: I don't do this very often, mostly because I can't be bothered to figure out exactly how effective a particular mindstar is. But with their high willpower, cursed can take advantage of very powerful mindstars. Keep in mind that mindstars do full damage when wielded in the offhand-- and that includes when using talents like frenzy! That's right, when you frenzy, your offhand mindstar is hitting 4 times for 100% damage. Still, because of the escort system, you shouldn't build a Cursed around Mindstar Mastery, but you can take advantage of it if the situation comes up.
As with dual wielding, don't feel that you need to use a mindstar because you're some kind of mindstar build. You're not. You were raising willpower anyways. Just use an offhand mindstar when that's the best choice.

Dual Mindstar: I wouldn't recommend this, but I've never tried it. Unlike mindstar offhands, this would need to be a dedicated build, probably involving neglecting strength and elements of the Combat Training tree. It could work, potentially, and it would sure be weird, but it's not the strongest way to build Cursed. Maybe next time I get an alchemist early I'll give it a go.

Shield: I don't know anybody who does this, and I've certainly never done this myself, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. In theory.

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