Last updated on January 21st, 2020
In this Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Build Guide we are going to be taking a look at newly added Druid subclass Ancient. Ancient Druids specialize in Plant and Beast spells, doing damage over time and healing everyone. I’ll be providing information on Attributes, Weapons, Armor, and most importantly, what Abilities to take and how to use them. Please note that this Build Guide was updated for the 5.0 version of the game, as well as 1.01 on console (as of January 22th, 2020), and works with both Real Time with Pause and Turn-Based.
Ancient Druid Build Guide
This is a Single Class Build because we do not want to lose Power Levels and access to more powerful spells. What this build does is it slowly but surely kills enemies with lots of DoT spells and serves as a secondary healer at the same time. Ancients gets increased Power Level with all Beast and Plant spells, making Spells like: Plague of Insects, Venombloom and Insect Swarm more potent. In addition, this Build provides ways to deal with any beast by Charming or Paralyzing them and has summoning options as well.
Subclass Abilities Recap
- +1 Power Level with Beast and Plant spells
- -10 to all Defenses against Veil Piercing Attacks
- +15% Damage taken from Vessel attacks
Automatically learn these spells:
- Summon Sporelings: Summons 2 Sporelings to fight for you.
- Hold Beasts: AoE Paralysis spell that affects Beasts only.
- Wild Growth: Buff summons with Robust.
- Form of the Delemgan: Increases Stride, Armor Rating against some damage types, Immunity to Dexterity afflictions.
- Wall of Thorns: Spawns Wall of Thorns that does Pierce damage and puts Weakened affliction on anyone that passes through.
- Venombloom: AoE spell that does Raw damage, Frightens and Weakens enemies.
- Call to the Primordials: Summons 3 Ooze to fight for you.
- Fire Stag: Summons Fire Stag.
- Aspect of Galawain: Summons a giant beast.
Ancient Druid Attributes and Race
This Build requires 4 Attributes: Might, Dexterity, Perception and Intellect. Might affects damage and healing from all spells that we are casting. Although most of these spells do low damage over time, and Might won’t increase it that much, there are still other spells we add to the build that do a lot more damage instantly. It also increases Healing done with spells like Garden of Life and Moonwell. Dexterity decreases recovery time and speeds up Spell casting time, and Druid spells that we use have long cast times and recovery times, making Dexterity a good Attribute to invest into unless your are playing Turn-Based where it is much less useful. Perception is necessary for any DPS build, especially on higher difficulties, to overcome resistances. Intellect increases the Duration of Spells, which is quite important against tougher enemies, to get more damage per Spell. DoT spells last long and Intellect increases that by a lot more on top of adding more radius to AoE spells, which most of our Spells are.
The best Race for this Build is Nature Godlike. We get +1 Power Level whenever under the effect of Might, Constitution or Dexterity inspiration. It is easy to obtain these by casting the Druid Spells Nature’s Vigor, Nature’s Balm or have some other Class buff you, like Priest with Triumph of the Crusaders.
Ancient Druid Equipment
This Build does not rely at all on equipment. There are some things that benefit us more then others, but usually we only need boosts to Attributes. The Weapon you use can be whatever you want, and it does not matter in the least. Armor should be either a Robe or a Light Armor with a decreased Recovery Time effect like Swift Hunter’s Garb or Miscreant Leather. There is also Soulbound armor that works well for Druids called The Changeling’s Mantle. It spawns a random non-combat pet at the beginning of the combat that gives buffs to the entire party. Further upgrades decrease Recovery Time, add a chance to Shaken Beast upon scoring Crits with Weapon attacks, and the final upgrade grants the option to transform into a beast.
As for other items go for anything that increases Attributes that we need. There are some good choices for the build such as Kuaru’s Prize ring, which increases damage done with Spells by 5% and adds +1 to Perception and Intellect. The Shroud of the Phantasm cape grants the Living Illusions spell, the Mystical Clarity passive (which increases spell action speed by 10% when under the effect of any Mind Inspiration), and gives a 1% chance of granting the Brilliant Inspiration (that increases Intellect by 5 and Power Level by 1, and periodically regain class resources). Vithrack Silk Slippers are also useful for any caster because they grant a 5% chance to recast a spell without using additional resource.
Ancient Druid Abilities
Next to abilities that we get automatically, we want almost every spell with the Beast and Plant Keywords. The only one I didn’t go for was Lashing Vine since it does not do that much to justify spending points into it. It counts as a summon, meaning you can’t have 2 at a time and there are just better options. Must have offensive spells include Charm Beasts, Insect Swarm, Plague of Insects, Wicked Briars and Great Maelstrom. Great Maelstrom is just ridiculous with this Build, but it is only available at the last power level. By then we have DoT spells that do almost double the damage with high Might and increased Power Levels.
On top of that, you can add any Spell that you want. For example Sunlance is nice against a single enemy. Defensive and healing abilities should be Beetle Shell, Nature’s Vigor, Nature’s Balm, Moonwell and Garden of Life. With a high Might Attribute we can efficiently heal the whole party with Garden of Life. Moonwell is also another great option, but it has reduced AoE range, though this can be changed with the Spell Shaping passive.
Charm Beast – Charms animals in an area. A very useful ability that can charm multiple animals at once, turning the fight in our favor. With high Intellect this Spell is fantastic , because animals will fight much longer on your side, making the whole encounter easier.
Nature’s Vigor – Puts Fit inspiration in a small area. Fit increases Constitution by 5 and it counts as a Constitution inspiration. That activates +1 Power Level from Nature Godlike, which is extremely useful.
Insect Swarm – An AoE DoT ability that does Raw Damage and prevents enemies from possessing Concentration. Raw Damage ignores Damage Reduction, making it powerful. One of many DoT spells we cast in order to maximize overall dps. With high Intellect and Might, longevity and damage are increased.
Beetle Shell – A useful defensive ability that puts a damage shield on yourself or ally, which can absorb 200 points of damage before breaking. The target cannot move or act when under the effect of Beetle Shell. Upon casting most of the spells at the beginning of combat, enemies will likely turn their attention to you. They will already suffer from DoT attacks at that point so Beetle Shell not only provides brief immunity to damage, but it also makes them take damage while trying to damage you.
Moonwell – Restores health periodically and increases all defenses by +10 in a small AoE. A useful healing and defensive ability that is highly effective with this build due to high Might and Intellect.
Wicked Briars – Another great AoE DoT spell. This one does Pierce Damage over time and Hobbles enemies, reducing their Dexterity by 5, and making the unable to run. This helps keep enemies in your AoEs.
Plague of Insects – The best AoE DoT spell that we have at our disposal. It does Raw Damage over time, prevents enemies from possessing Concentration, and puts Sickened on enemies, reducing their Constitution by 5 and healing received by 25%. This Spell stacks with Insect Swarm.
Garden of Life – A long -lasting AoE heal with huge range. Another great healing ability that is boosted by high Might.
Great Maelstrom – An insanely powerful Spell that can clear the screen of enemies (and allies). When used it does periodic Crush Damage, in addition to all elemental types of damage. Your tank should survive it, but others should stay clear of the affected area, or have your Priest cast Barring Death’s Door.
Wildstrike – Adds elemental damage to weapon attacks when Spiritshifted. It does not matter which one you choose, just upgrade it to max. Spiritshift is not the focus of this build, but it can and should be used when being attacked to deal with the enemy.
Combat Focus – Grants Concentration at the start of the battle. Important to negate any attempts at interrupting, so that we can get our many Spell off (healing and DoTs alike).
Spell Shaping – Lets you increase or decrease the AoE size of Spells at the cost or benefit of Power Level. The smaller the AoE, the bigger Power Level bonus you get. With a bigger radius, Power Level is decreased. Just be careful not to hit allies with your Spells.
Practiced Healer – Increases Healing Done by 15%. Great for this build due to having Moonwell and Garden of Life spells. More healing is always good.
Rapid Casting – Adds +10% Action Speed with Spells. Very useful since we cast a lot of them.
Quick Summoning – Grants +15% Action Speed when using Summoning spells. Since these Spells typically have lengthy Cast Times, this can shave almost a second off of that.
Farcasting – Adds +20% Range to spells. Useful for this build because some spells like Wicked Briars have short range.
Improved Critical – Increases Crit Damage by 10%, making it a must for any damage dealing Class.
Prestige – Adds +1 Power Level to all abilities.
Ancient Terror Abilities Rotation
Most work is done at the start of the battle, while the rest of the time we heal the team. I would suggest having a Priest in the party to cast Dire Blessing and Triumph of the Crusaders, adding +5 to Perception and Might. Also Triumph is a Might Inspiration, which triggers Nature’s Godlike passive that grants +1 Power Level. At max level you get +3 to Power Levels overall. One from the Prestige passive, one from Nature’s Godlike and one for all Beast and Plant spells from Ancient Druid passive. If you are lucky with Shroud of the Phantasm proc you get one more.
If a Priest is not available, use Nature’s Vigor to trigger the Nature Godlike passive, because it lasts much longer then Nature’s Balm. Nature’s Balm is mostly for when you get targeted, not before. After that come offensive spells. Having 1 or 2 proper tanks in the party is required so that they block the path to you, because you will need some time to cast everything. Start off by casting Form of the Delegan on your Tank and others close to him. That will make them immune to Wicked Briars’ Hobbled effect, which reduces Dexterity by 5. Now follow up with Wicked Briars, Insect Swarm, Plague of Insects and Venombloom. At max level, if all of those Spells Hit, you can do potentially 60-80 damage every 3 second, melting everything over time. None of this is even using Great Maelstrom, which levels anything on top of that.
There are many scenarios how all this can play out, and there is no rotation that works for every scenario. If you are up against animals, for example, then Charm Beasts or Hold Beasts comes into the rotation as well. If you are up against someone that is immune to piercing damage, then Wicked Briars is out. And so on.
After offensive spells have been cast, it is time to switch to the healer/summoner role. Depending on the situation, you might start summoning first or use Garden of Life and Moonwell. If you are targeted then Nature’s Balm and Beetle Shell are there to save you. Summons do not do much damage, but they can help by blocking enemies coming at you which forces enemies to focus their attention elsewhere. Use Wild Growth to grant them the Robust Inspiration, and then it helps to Spiritshift if 1 or 2 enemies come into melee range. That way you are not useless offensively in melee and can still cast. My Spiritshift choice is Boar, because of the regeneration passive, but feel free to choose whatever you want.
Rough Rotation Overview
- Buffs from allies or Nature’s Vigor
- Form of the Delegan
- Offensive Spells
- Summoning, Defensive and Healing Spells
This Build is great throughout the course of the game because it fills 3 roles at once. Healer, Summoner and DPS. In every scenario there is something useful you can do. Summon Sporelings is a great 1st level spell, because having 2 meat shields in the beginning of the game can be of utmost importance on higher difficulties. Once you’ve obtained Wicked Briars, your DoT DPS starts becoming decent because you can combine it with Insect Swarm. Plague of Insects and Venombloom transform decent DPS into very high DPS, especially considering the fact every enemy is likely going to be affected by these AoE attacks.
As for Skills, add whatever you like. There is an option to go Explosives and start throwing Bombs at enemies if you want that. Alchemy is useful as well, to increase Attributes through Drugs. Most of them would benefit the Build but be warned that Drugs do no stack with Inspirations, so pay attention to the Inspiration Spells and Drugs you have at your disposal.
Stay tuned for more Pillars of Eternity 2 Build Guides, as we make some more specific Guides covering some of the most fun and interesting combinations we could find. If there is a specific combination you would like to see, please post in the comments and we will do our best to accommodate!