In this Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Build Guide we’re going to be taking a look at the first companion you usually acquire: Edér. I’ll be explaining my Swashbuckler Build for both the regular real-time with pause and turn-based modes, so that anyone can use him effectively. If you plan to use Edér in your party then read on for some insight into this jovial Companion. Please note that this Build Guide was updated for the 5.0 version of the game, as well as 1.02 on console (as of January 25th, 2020), and works with both Real Time with Pause and Turn-Based.
Pillars Of Eternity 2 Deadfire Companion Build Guide: Edér
Edér will be found immediately after Character Creation if he survived your game save from PoE 1, or if you chose from one of the generated world states. After the brief ship battle you can recruit him on the beach and you will immediately need to choose between a Single Class Fighter, Single Class Rogue, or a Multiclass Swashbuckler (a mix of the two). This can be a very tough decision for new players because it’s one that is permanent, and cannot be reversed later.
Whenever I use Edér I always drop him into the Defender role, and there are a few reasons for that. First, his Attribute point spread is more ideal for a Defender than that of a Striker, though this is more true in the Real-Time With Pause version of the game than the Turn-Based version. Second, he’s a Human, and Fighting Spirit works best on characters that tend to get hit often. Third, both of his Classes are “No Subclass” versions, meaning they don’t excel at Striking (or Defending). And last, there are some great Defending synergies between Rogue and Fighter, which I will explain.
The way this Build works is that Edér uses the Fighter’s Defender Stance to hold enemies in place, and uses the Rogue passive Persistent Distraction to Distract them all, reducing their Deflection and Accuracy. You will be able to attack enemies instantly that Miss you with Melee attacks via the Riposte ability, and all of your damage will be boosted against enemies you have Engaged by 30% thanks to Sneak Attack. Turn-Based players should also use the Escape ability every round to boost their Deflection by +50, and prevent themselves from being Flanked, greatly increasing the likelihood they will Riposte.
Edér Swashbuckler Subclasses
When choosing Swashbuckler Edér comes with No Subclass Fighter, which is less than ideal. Both Unbroken and Tactician are better suited for this type of Build thanks to their passives, but unfortunately we don’t have that option. The only saving grace here is that there are no penalties, making it very new player friendly, and fairly straightforward.
When choosing Swashbuckler Edér also comes with No Subclass Rogue, which again is less than ideal if you are playing Real-Time With Pause. Trickster is much more useful, since it provides a way to buff your Deflection, though this isn’t as important if you are playing Turn-Based (because of the Escape ability). Streetfighter would also be a good choice, as you will be Bloodied and Flanked often, but this will not be the case in Turn-Based because of Escape. I only mention these here because you may wish to make this Build on a non Edér character.
Edér Weapons and Armor
Edér comes with Proficiencies in the Saber and Medium Shield, and it is advised that you take several more Proficiencies with One-Handed Weapons, such as Sword. Gladiator Sword is a very good early game weapon that you can use to boost Damage and Deflection, just be sure to Enchant it ASAP, as it has poor Penetration otherwise.
Medium Shield is all that you will need, and the Proficiency for it is possibly the best in the game. It gives you 30% chance to Resist any weapon attack, this includes attacks from beasts and animals, and ones that have range. The best part is that these “Resists” count as Misses, allowing for a Riposte, which really helps boost damage.
Edér Swashbuckler Abilities
In this section we’re going to cover the “must have” Swashbuckler Abilities for this Build. These are the ones that really make the Build work, and ones that anyone playing this way should take. Let’s start with Fighter.
Disciplined Barrage – This ability increases your Perception, and converts 50% of Grazes to Hits. This will boost your overall damage.
Fighter Stances – These Stances become available at level 4 and you will use Defender Stance to Engage many enemies. This will allow you to use Persistent Distraction on them all.
Confident Aim – This passive also helps to convert Grazes to Hits, but only with proficient weapons. Still, it does help with your overall damage output, particularly on harder difficulties.
Weapon and Shield Style – This will increase your Deflection by +6 if using a Shield, which you will be, and adds the Shield’s bonus to Reflex defense.
Hold the Line – This passive will allow you to Engage one additional enemy, which again works well with Persistent Distraction.
Disciplined Strikes – This upgrade of Disciplined Barrage increases the likelihood that you will Crit by 25%, which helps increase our overall damage.
Armored Grace – This ability will reduce the penalty you take to Recovery Time when wearing Armor. This is much more useful in Real Time with Pause.
Superior Deflection – All the Deflection you can get helps to make enemies Miss you and allows you to Riposte, so take this one.
Vigorous Defense – This ability will improve all of your defenses by +20 and give you Concentration. This will help protect you from spells and abilities that target Reflex, Will and Fortitude primarily.
Guardian Stance – This upgraded version of Defender Stance will reduce the damage you take for each enemy Engaged, which should be a lot.
Refreshing Defense – This upgrade will allow Vigorous Defense to refresh when you take damage, which will save you valuable Discipline over longer fights.
Escape – This ability gives you +50 Deflection, which is amazing for prompting Ripostes and keeping you alive, but only if you’re playing Turn-Based. I would not take this ability if you are playing Real Time With Pause.
Riposte – Chance to make a Full Attack Counter when an attack targeting Deflection misses. You won’t get the benefit of two weapons here, but it still boosts your damage.
Adept Evasion – This will ensure attacks that target your Reflex are Missed if they would normally Graze. Since you will have high Reflex from Weapon and Shield Style and Vigorous Defense, this should completely protect you from Reflex attacks.
Persistent Distraction – An amazing ability that puts Distracted and Flanked on an opponent when you engage them in combat, meaning that Sneak Attack and Deathblows passives are automatically added to your attacks.
Deep Wounds – 20% of Damage dealt added as Raw Damage over time. A great ability for increasing your overall damage output.
Slippery Mind – A great survival Ability that makes you immune to Perception, Intellect and Resolve Afflictions while Bloodied or Near Death.
Deathblows – Increases Damage done by 50% with Abilities and Weapons against any opponent that suffers from 2 or more Afflictions that enable Sneak Attack. Deathblows works best with the Persistent Distraction passive because it automatically puts Distracted and Flanked on any enemy that you Engage, and Distracted and Flanked are both conditions that enable Sneak Attack.
You can see that our list isn’t particularly long for this setup, so there is lots of room to add other Abilities that work best for you.
When combat starts you’ll want to run in and Engage as many enemies as you can, keeping them from attacking your teammates. If you’re playing Turn-Based then on your turn you will buff with Disciplined Strikes and then use Refreshing Defense and Escape. This is all you need to be setup for your defense, and you are then free to attack with any Ability you want or just basic attack. You’ll want to refresh Escape every round until you run out of Guile, and Refreshing Defense and Disciplined Strikes as necessary. If you are playing Real Time With Pause then you won’t need Escape, but otherwise the setup remains the same.
Magran’s Blessing is a fantastic Medium Shield for this Build as it counts as an off-hand Weapon, allowing your Ripostes to deal more damage, since they are a Full Attack. It is located in: The Sacred Stair in a chest at the top of the steps in the Temple of Magran. It’s guarded, but you can use Sparkcrackers to distract the guard and have another character steal it from the chest if you are quick.
In some fights you will not need to use Defender Stance because you should have at least 3 Engagements between the Shield, Persistent Distraction and Hold the Line. In this case you can use either of the other two Stances to help boost your damage. Pay attention to how many enemies are left on the battlefield and switch when it is below the amount you can Engage anyway.
Lastly, be sure to invest a decent amount of points into Athletics in order to make best use of Second Wind. You want to use this when his Health gets low, and it is a Free Action, or a very quick one if you are playing Real Time With Pause. Using this first allows your healer to save its heals until many party members need it, since many heals are AoEs.
Stay tuned for more Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Guides, as we cover all the Companions in preparation for the console launch.