Tuesday, August 18, 2009

demigod strategy: oak minion build

In my last post, I chatted a bit about Demigod, an action-oriented, arena combat PC game featuring a compendium of fantastical beings. Of the 8 demigods currently playable, I've spent the most time with Oak. He's a "general" demigod, which means that he can summon and control minions. You can play Oak in a support style, since one of his powers is a potent shield that protects a demigod from all damage for a short period of time. However, I have favored a more aggressive style of play with him, in which I try to maximize my damage/second by creating an unstoppable army of undead minions. For, you see, Oak is a necromancer.

Here's my typical skill progression, by level:

1. Raise Dead I
2. Penitence I
3. Divine Justice I
4. Raise Dead II
5. Surge of Faith I
6. Soul Power I
7. Raise Dead III
8. Divine Justice II
9. Penitence II
10. Surge of Faith II
11. Raise Dead IV
12. Morale I (or Shield I)
13. Morale II (or Shield II)
14. Morale III (or Shield III)
15. Surge of Faith III

Your killing power with this build comes from the combo of 1) having as many minions around you as possible, 2) Penitence, and 3) Surge of Faith. As a demigod approaches, hit him with Penitence, then autoattack for a bit. Wait for them to use their interrupt if they have one (Sedna's Pounce, for example). If they stick close in melee, it's time for Surge of Faith. The dramatic increase in damage from your minions will hopefully lead to a rapid drop in your opponent's health. They will likely panic and try to run, at which point you should have enough mana for a final Penitence. This may or may not finish him off. This Oak build does not excel at killing demigods, but when I have used him, I often end up being the assist leader in my games.

Raise Dead is a fun skill to use. When cast, Oak plants a black flag into the ground - if any unit dies within a certain radium of that flag, it has a chance of being converted into an undead spirit which will henceforth be controlled by Oak. Try to place your flags in "kill zones," which will evolve and move over the course of a game.  Remember:  you don't have to be physically present to generate spirits.  Once created within the flag radius, they'll seek you out wherever you are.  Here's a pic of Oak with a couple of his spirit guardians floating about:

As a general, Oak can also summon minotaurs, ranged-units, and healers to his side. Here's a pic of Oak at 4th level, already with an army of 11 units (5 spirits, 2 minotaurs, 2 archers, 2 priests):

If he faces off against Unclean Beast now, Oak's got a nice advantage. As stated above, the key to making the most out of this army is proper timing of Surge of Faith, an activated power that drastically increases the effectiveness of Oak's minions:

It's worth noting that Surge of Faith also has excellent synergy with Divine Justice. Wait until you're surrounded by creeps and let loose with SoF.  Oak will gain health and mana from killing the horde, nearly paying for the entire cost of the surge.  This will allow you to speed up your leveling between 5-10.  Optimally, you want to be the 1st demigod to hit level 10 - Oak can really start causing damage at that point, and his devastation can lead to a relatively early win.

Penitence serves to slow an enemy demigod so that it's harder for them to escape, and it also increases the amount of damage they take per hit. A great combo with Surge of Faith.  But without minions, this build suffers. Oak needs to constantly check that he has a full army of spirits at his command, and at least a couple healers. If he goes toe-to-toe with an assassin demigod and doesn't have a minion army behind him, he's going to get wasted.

When it comes to shopping and item choices, I typically try to get items that help both me and my minions. Here are two of the best, I think, for the early to mid-game.

Hauberk of Life not only increases you max health and health regeneration, but also your minions'.

I also love the Gloves of Fell-Darkur. Along with one or two levels in Soul Power, they make Oak's auto-attacks much more damaging. But the gloves also increase minion attack speed and damage, making these gloves priceless.

Other items I like to get: Nimoth Chest Armor (to make Oak more durable) and Unbreakable Boots (for a health and mana boost).  Trade in your Nimoth for Platemail of the Crusader (which gives a huge boost of health and armor to both you and your minions) when you can afford it.  This probably won't be until after you hit level 10.

With regards to Favor items, it really depends on your skill level.  If you're relatively new to the game, or are generally interested in increasing your survivability, go with the standard Blood of the Fallen (+800 health, +5 health/sec).  It's every player's fail-safe.  However, if you really want to focus on minion damage, try the General's Favor item, Ring of Divine Might.

This build of Oak can periodically suffer from mana-deficits, especially if you forego any helms which provide boosts to mana regeneration. The solution to this is to maximize use of Divine Justice; this skill grants you and all nearby allies an increase in health and mana every time you kill a grunt. So if you're low on mana, go farm some creeps and pretty soon you'll be ready to jump in the fray again.  If you find yourself spamming Penitence and need more mana, you may need to save up and buy Vlemish Faceguard - the best helm for your money.

A couple final points. One nice thing about this build is that once you get Divine Justice, you shouldn't have to return to the health crystal very much (at least not until you want to shop). Most of your time in the early-mid game should be spent holding lanes, farming creeps, and helping your fellow demigods when they get into a bit of trouble. Because you have staying power, you should level up a bit faster than other Demigods.  Second, you should send out your spirits for various hit-and-run missions whenever possible. By default, pressing "i" selects just your spirits, allowing you to give them specific movement and attack orders. Proper use of this hot-key is fairly important in maximizing Oak's effectiveness as a general.  Attack squishy enemy heroes (Regulus, Torchbearer, etc.), attack enemy towers, attack the enemy Citadel after you hit level 10.  Just be sure to replenish your spirits, as they're likely to die fairly quickly once they're on their own. But don't worry about feeding your opponents more XP and gold: minions don't provide these!

Once I have a descent minion army, I mostly focus on pushing - especially attacking enemy towers.  Extra gold I have is spent on citadel upgrades and idol upgrades (siege engines are particularly useful mid-late game - set them to attack various towers along with your spirits, and you don't even need to be there). I don't typically have enough cash to buy expensive artifacts, but if you find yourself with lots of gold and want to be selfish, go ahead and buy some Godplate or the legendary Ashkandor. And, of course, don't forget to have fun.


  1. Great writeup! I play Oak very similar to you, and it is my favorite demigod too. Look for me in game and lets hook up to stomp some people.

    Lately, I've stopped going much beyond Penitence I or II. The extra dmg and debuff percentages seem negligable compared to spending the points on raise dead. I like to max out raise dead and soul frenzy :)

  2. Hey thanks, Ogham! I'll add you to my friend list in DG.

  3. I love the oak, and this is a good build. I tend to like to go for an assassin mode oak that is similar to this. I take soul power before I get any of the raise dead powers and focus on getting penitence and I get any item I can get my hands on that adds speed.

    The strategy is similar but I don't buy any extra minions. I think you will find that you will get kills very very often.

  4. Pfuzzy: Yeah, I've encountered some excellent Oak-assassin builds. Maxing out Shield totally pays off in the mid-late game. I just totally dig using Oak's spirits to harass the hell out of my enemies. Thanks for the comment and hope to see you online.

  5. I get: most expensive boots from item shop, 8% lifeleech ring, ashcandor, all-father ring, and mageslayer sword, and then get the passive upgrades that give you health when you kill stuff and the + weapon damage and then proceed to mow through straight to the enemy citadel. Just my playstyle though