Sun Paladin 1.0.4

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Sun Paladins are tanks.

They tank extremely well, extremely powerfully, and have terrible damage to the point where playing them requires a different mentality from usual.

Many classes want to kill things faster than they kill them and can't sustain constant defense. Sun Paladin is the opposite. They will not kill much more than moderately tough grunt enemies before running out of CDs, and do abysmal damage-but they can survive practically any situation.

My Sun Paladin is a bit old but they'll give you a bit of an idea of what one looks like in the end. For the details, though...


Strength/Magic primary. Magic is a little more important than Strength, since a majority of the skillset-including the most important skills-run off Magic, but in general you want to build them evenly.

All of your other stats are less important, and it's hard to decide on if Dexterity(for improved Accuracy-you have backup offensive magic, but it's not very damaging by and large) or Constitution(to tank even harder) is preferable. I went with Con-the main thing for most of the game that defensively tanks up is Dreads, and Dreads are weak to Light. Handy.


Cornac: Boring and nothing much special to say for it here. The Category point has a sort of a role-there's two categories you want to unlock, and there's a sort of need for a Generic sink skillset, if not a pressing one...but it's really not major. On the other hand, faster leveling gets you to Retribution faster(Which you want.), and the HP isn't terribly damaging. Sorta pointless, but not bad. Skeleton's much better though.

Higher: Like Cornac, but a little worse. More HP, but the skillset is largely less useful than a category point would have been, for a Sun Paladin. Still not much.

Thalore: Good stuff-big Save bonuses and resistance bonuses. Slow leveling hurts early, though-you'll have a bit harder of a start, and Sun Paladins don't start especially fast(they don't really have a game plan until L8, where they pick up Barrier, and Thalore get the special Eastern start, which can be somewhat difficult for Sun Paladin to start with.). Not recommended if you're still having problems with 1-10(not too likely if you have legitimately unlocked Sun Paladin, but possible if you mostly ran Bulwark or Alchemist, who have great earlygames.). Otherwise, solid. Nice pet walls eventually, too.

Shalore: I wish I could recommend this more. It's not actually bad-you get a potentially huge Haste(if you build Dex) on...a class that mostly relies on four moderate CD attacks and has a lot of downtime where they tend to cast heals a bunch. The Invis is nice for tanking even harder, and the crits are...not useless, but your main attack autocrits. Timeless is another status cure, and status is probably the issue you will have most, but I prefer lots of saves instead of heals as a rule. And +2 HP and the heavy tanking mindset make it...acceptable, if not special. All told, better than Cornac or Higher for this, for sure.

Dwarf: What I picked, obviously. It's all about the big saves-+35 combined with a good save setup(Str/Mag/Con gives great physical and magical saves) and stacked with Chant of Fortitude...well, suddenly your saves are dangerously high, enough to actually blast off most non-Mind status(and put a good dent in that). Status is killing you a lot more than other options, so this is quite nice, and they have decent leveling speed, 14 total HP mod as Sun Paladins, and Stone Walking for a backup escape-and escapes are nice for Sun Paladin, as their mobility is abysmal. Good choice. If you don't mind missing the special start, I recommend this the highest of any option.

Halfling: Antiphysical is oddly not that bad for Sun Paladin-they tend to have general tanking measures, not anything specific, and their Defense/Armor aren't necessarily better than, say, a heavy armor Archer that went with Sling/Shield. Walling physicals can be a big help, and Indomitable is never bad. Decent level speed and HP, too. They don't get the East start, IIRC, so if you want to have a normal start on Sun Paladin-helpful since they do start a little weak, as mentioned-then this is the race for you.

Yeek: As a general rule, I find I look at classes, with Yeek, for how well they clear, not how optimal the combination is-as I consider very few classes to even be competitive with Yeek backing, let alone good.

With that in mind...this is a pretty good Yeek. The bad start compounds poorly with the nasty Yeek starting dungeons, but if you can live through that, these guys wall all notable Mind status very hard, get a pet wall to run away in a bad situation with, and while global speed isn't a big deal, they do get more effective mobility from it. If you manage to rack up enough healing/defensive buttons so that you can largely chain them-scarily close to possible late in the game-the extra speed can be amazing. They're not optimal, but the high HP mod, leveling speed, etc. makes them an interesting option. Just don't cry to me about how bad the earlygame is.

Skeleton: More tanking buttons! More! Bone Armor with Dex backing it up is amazing, and this is a tank class that can do exactly that(though probably not very early...but Bone Armor is amazing early no matter what). Providence helps with the status issues that the undead suffer, too. The low leveling speed is an issue, as is the starting dungeon, but if you're a very conservative player...this might very well be the best combination in the game to get through Roguelike Normal with. Just play very slowly and have good escapes ready whenever someone might status you.

Ghoul: 16 HP mod tank with a massive area of effect damage/healing combo skill is pretty funny, but the global speed is undesirable-you need your turns so you can hit more buttons so that you can live longer. It can work, though, and is one of the few times I feel like Ghoul's HP modifier can actually overcome their speed-that is a truly insane mountain of HP, backed up by a huge pile of tanking skills. It's workable.


Class skills first.

Shield Offense

You'll want Shield Pummel and Assault to 5 and 1-3 respectively, fairly fast. Shield Pummel is surprisingly good offense once the shields start picking up real damage stats(around Dwarven Steel), and Assault is, in a vacuum, the best offense skill in the game. Doesn't scale incredibly, but given the fact that it hits like a train on base, does it need to?

Riposte to 5 also makes a ton of sense. While my character was before Block changes, I've ran a Bulwark since-Block and then Shield Pummel/Assault is great, and you need Riposte L5 to make it really work. (At least, I think it's 5 on 1.1 mastery. If it's 4, someone please correct me-I know it's 4 for Bulwark, but I think that's due to their 1.3.)

Overpower is a nice 1. Don't bother leveling it.

Combat Techniques

For Combat Techniques, Rush to L5 is somewhere between a good idea and necessary. You move like molasses, and this is your only real class based movement skill. You still suck at it(1.1 Combat Techniques hates you and all you stand for, you see), but it's a lot better than not having it.

Precise Strikes is good for Dex building Sun Paladins, but not major-Assault's autocrits are a lot of your damage, but Shield Pummel's a pretty decent chunk too. Perfect Strike can make a nice 1 (I didn't really care much lategame, which is why it was at 4. <_<), and Blinding Speed is an option if you find yourself wanting to place points somewhere, but not really great-again, you are bad at dealing damage outside of a few specific moderate CD attacks like Shield Pummel and Assault. Your bump attacks are joke. Seriously, an Alchemist can have better ones.

Combat Veteran

This can be nice if you have a place you want to toss points late, but none of the skills in it are especially major-at least, not since Crusade got buffed and gave you a non-Stamina backup attack. Quick Recovery is still the best skill in the tree for a Sun Paladin, though, since you're not building Willpower and consume a lot of Stamina with Assault/Shield Pummel.


Weapon of Light is good early, middling later. You do get a lot of hits, and it does grant a pretty good bonus amount of damage while consuming Positive. (As a rule, Positive is less of a resource and more of a "Cast Barrier before doing things" reminder. It was annoying when it cut off at 0, but now it's fine.)

Martyrdom nets pretty bad amounts of damage: 40% of the damage done to you might come out to 400-500 over ten turns in a very nasty firefight, like the final fight, but anything much more than that will likely kill you at some point, and anything less than that makes it not worth it. Pretty bad skill, to be honest, and kinda hard to buff (it's already shockingly dangerous when used on the player).

Wave of Power is nice -- ranged basic physical can be useful at points -- but nothing special. 150-200% in mults is good for other classes, but not Sun Paladin. Level it for later, when the range on it scales up to good instead of terrible (the range scales with Strength).

Crusade is your other major button. It consumes Positive-making it nearly free-and the multiplier is solid enough to be useful. It also can be used with Chant of Light to make it your strongest skill, if you're into that.


3/whatever/0 or 1/0 or 1.

Searing Light is actually good: not as a ranged spell, but to use point blank, since the damage over time and initial hit will both hit your target. You do damage very slowly in general, and this can be surprisingly useful against the Light weak (like Dreads) or dodgy (like Dreads).

Sun Flare is a matter of taste: you don't have great Spellpower, but it's a nice radial blind skill if you don't mind that it fails a decent amount due to your Spellpower. The last two are bad spells, should feel bad, and only exist to build up more Positive. I find six spells enough for that, but if you don't, take 1 in them.


This tree is amazing. It's somewhat backended, which is why I tend to suggest getting it at 20 and an Inscription at 10, if you don't mind holding points back. If you do, just take it at 10 though, all of the skills are good.

Shield of Light grants you healing when enemies hit you. With anything. The downside is that it chugs Positive each hit, but 20~ healing at L5 when hit by anything, as long as you have Positive, is pretty awesome. Remember, this gets hit by Healing Modifier-with 150%+ Healing Mod this tends to equate to nulling out all damage over time effects, as long as you have Positive. As a rule, you'll have Positive, thanks to how Positive works (Fatigue makes you heal and consume more, but the costs from Sword/Shield are flat rate -2s. And if you're not wearing heavy armor and a shield as a Sun Paladin, something is very wrong with you, or you're doing a challenge run.).

Brandish is a good damage multiplier followed by a big radial light spell that actually has a better multiplier than literally any spell in Celestial/Sun. Not standout, but definitely good.

Retribution is why you're here. Retribution might be the best talent in the game, and is what sets Sun Paladin apart from Bulwark-it's their Shield Wall, you could reasonably say.

Retribution causes you to halve damage up to a surprisingly high value-400 at endgame and at cap isn't unreasonable, and 200-250 isn't unreasonable, at which point it causes a big radial damage explosion for that value.

Sound good? Oh, but it's much better than it sounds. Firstly, it's 10 CD. So it's already one of the fastest barriers in the game. Secondly, it's a sustain. Don't have Positive? It doesn't care, it consumes max, not current.

And the most important part? It absorbs that 200-400 damage amount.

Which is to say, it halves twice that amount of damage. So it's a barrier that halves 400 to 800 damage before going off in a big explosion for half that damage.

When I played, there was only the one auto-cast option(didn't care if enemies around or anything), and Retribution takes a turn. To date, this is the only turn consuming talent that I have set to always auto-use when available-because I couldn't see a time where I was likely to want something over it.

Now, of course, I'd set it to auto-use with no enemies around, but still. This can be used as a massive constant surprise damage buffer(that will also heavily nuke enemies when it runs out), or as a huge barrier spell-either way, it's amazing. It's the only thing that makes Sun Paladin's tanking playstyle stand out really strongly over, say, an Arcane Blade that has learned Celestial/Light.

Second Life is pretty good too-it's a revive if you die, in sustain form. The only reason this isn't universally better than Retribution is that it has a notably large cooldown and consumes a lot to sustain. Lategame, though? You want this skill. It's great. It may not always buy you enough time to survive, but it's a lot better than nothing if the alternative is being dead.


Generic is, as it often is, much simpler.

Combat Training

One of the few 5/5/5/5/0s I'll ever suggest: Sun Paladins have nothing but their armor to really make them tanky towards physicals, and their skills are amazingly good against magic due to being flat rate heals and barriers-may as well keep them hard to smash up the other way. They need Combat Accuracy unless they do a heavy Dex sink and Precise Strikes, at which point cutting a few points there might be good. Thick Skin and Weapon Mastery are obvious.


For Chants...pick a Chant you like and 5 it. To be honest, Fortitude is the one I like most, since I like to status tank as well as other flavors and that's the only major bonus...but Fortress and Resistance are very notable boosts against physicals and magic, and Light can give your anemic damage a bit of a kick upwards by making Crusade hit like a truck. None are bad, but you don't really need more than one(I think the instant/low CD were meant to make you more willing to swap them, but it doesn't really work out too well, IMO.).


5/1/5/5 is pretty reasonable. It's an amazing defensive skillset outside of Bathe in Light. Bathe in Light has uses more specific uses for leveling, but in general this is a good setup.

Healing Light is a standard cure, no real need for details there.

Bathe in Light is generally kinda poor, but set it to auto cast when no one's around! This is a fast and easy way to manage Positive energy so that you always have it when you need it.

Barrier is one of the best shield skills in the game. 10 turns and a big absorb mean that you can reasonably set it on auto cast when enemies appear-I prefer not to, since I get paranoid about overly automatic defenses and would rather control them, but it's your call.

Providence at 6.5 even makes for a good life regen, as well as a status cure!

Build Order

For the category points, I strongly suggest L10 Combat Techniques, L20 Guardian and the last two for Inscriptions. If you want a Generic sink-reasonable, you may have to 5 something low priority like Stoneskin without one-ditching an Inscription is a possible but not terribly recommended option. I'd suggest ditching Combat Techniques and running one or multiple Movement Infusions instead-but it's your call. Don't ditch Guardian. Ever.

I suggest Guardian at 20 because, between the high stat requirement and the fact that Retribution is an L18 spell, it can be simpler to simply save 5~ Class points right before hitting 20 and rush up to Retribution. Shield of Light and Brandish aren't incredible skills, early(though, they're never bad, they just need some invest to come into their own), but Retribution is always amazing, and this lets you get Combat Techniques earlier. But it's a preference thing, mostly.

If you want a generic sink, Wild-Gift/Harmony has a unique advantage when used with Bathe in Light(heal enemies, but steal their healing! And any healing they might have! This actually makes it into a good healing skill, when combined.), and many of the other Generic options are duds(you have Celestial/Chants and Light, Divination is not much and you're better off taking Premonition, Conditioning is okay but you don't really need it, etc.). Elemental Harmony's never bad, either.


For the Prodigies...

Irresistable Sun is Sun Paladin themed for a reason, and is an amazing skill that does a ton of damage (sadly getting nerfed a bit on that next version, but still good) while drawing enemies towards your slow, immobile butt-this is great. Arcane Might is more damage, and I've never regretted taking it on any fighter/mage -- I doubt I would on this one. Giant Leap is also good on any immobile fighter.

You could go a tanking route, of course. Draconic Body gives you another autoheal at low life -- congratulations! Someone one-shotted you, now you're at 70% life!

Spine of the World is probably one of the better status options, or you could just go for Draconic Will.

Cauterize and Corrupted Shell could even be options: Cauterize gives you a buffer before Second Life, while Corrupted Shell gives you actual Defense tanking on a Str/Mag/Con build-since you'll have some points eventually to put into Dex, this probably can manage legitimate Defense.

And then, of course, there's Eternal Guard (which is goofily good, in my opinion: enjoy your constant barrier and constant counters!) and Spectral Shield (not as good: you can swap shields to keep elements current, and a good merchant randart shield can have a lot of flavors of element on it -- even an ego can get six).

There's a lot of good Prodigies for these guys. Not as many as Arcane Blade, who can probably dance around with half the Prodigy set in the game on due to the stat spread... but they get a great set.

Short Build Suggestion

1/1/1/1 every part of Shield Offense as soon as you can, and get Barrier as soon as you can, first off.

You'll probably notice a problem with this right off, though-one takes Strength and one takes Magic. Unless you get some nice Str/Mag equips, you'll probably have to wait a bit on one. Wait on Shield Offense, as odd as it is, if this happens: Barrier is 150~ damage mitigation early, and this is the main thing you have going for you, along with Healing Light, early on. You'll want a decent Shield Pummel/to get Overpower at the very least, but if you have to wait a bit on Assault getting Barrier, so be it, it's worth it.

You don't get Shield Wall or anything like that, you do fairly low damage, and your physical defense isn't enough to really make up for your terrible bumps-so you need to get into the mindset you'll need all game long. Namely, sitting there and hitting nice healing/support buttons until your big damage comes back. (Block helps a lot for this! I didn't get that when I played. :( )

After you have the basics of Sun Paladin combat going, I suggest building Strength/Magic evenly, picking up Shield Pummel L5 and getting Riposte going, picking up a few basic Celestial/Sun levels (the spells are better early than late, for certain), and either going for L10 Guardian(at which point you probably want to build up the non-Second Life skills in the tree heavily the moment you open it up, especially Retribution), or L10 Combat Techniques (Get Rush to 1 instantly, get it to 5 pretty fast.).

The main important thing to pick up for inscriptions is a Teleport -- you have no reason not to and you have awful mobility. Movement is good too, and if you want, you can entirely ditch healing oriented inscriptions early, for mobility oriented ones. Personally, I don't suggest this-make it more of a later thing, and keep your Wild/Regen around (Mental Wild's best, probably) until you feel comfortable. You can make a playstyle out of having overkill Shielding/Regen along with your great base tanking, and just field everything as it comes, if you want, but have at least one real escape.

Once your Barrier gets up to a decent level (and as long as you use it consistently auto-use when enemies come into sight is an option if you like, though I prefer to have more control), and your offensive skills and Retribution get rolling, you shouldn't have too much trouble staying alive. For the rest of what to do, see the above suggestions on skills, stats, etc.

Oh, and be very, very careful with the Fearscape! Very, very careful. Enemies with Fearscape abilities tend to be devastatingly fatal-a lot of what you do relies on constantly using healing and barriers to counteract damage-a big constant DoT is spectacularly brutal, and you can't get out of the Fearscape. I am not kidding when I say that every death I got with that character, IIRC, was to the Fearscape. Other DoTs like Gravity Well and Ice Storm should be watched out for, too, of course, and you should be careful with big damage status (especially things like Impending Doom) if Providence is on cooldown for whatever reason.

But other than that, you can mostly tank every flavor of damage amazingly. Heavy armor gets great elemental resists and armor, and your abilities are very indiscriminately defensive against every form of damage.

Most people consider Sun Paladin pretty boring -- I'm probably a pretty dull player, since I enjoyed them.

But if you want a wall, these are your guys.