Serpent strike

I want to like this skill more than I do. It has a lot of good design and choice with the passives with several different ways to play:

poison - pet (would like on hit) - crit - speed - execute

But i cant get over the fact that it is currently the only melee skill that has a restriction of weapon type on it

*shield charge also has an off hand requirement of an equipped shield

Lunge has a node that also makes it require a polearm

The skill is far to weak for being forced to use a special 2 handed weapon. Imagin the Screamy of agony if Hammer Throw will only be useable with twohanded hammers tomorrow… just for example. A node that changes the skills behaviour is okay like in Lunge, a weapon requirement from the get go… nah thx.

This is also my main concern with the skill. You’re going to want very specific affixes depending on how you built serpent strike and to get a top tier weapon for it you need incredible luck or you need to start with at least a couple tier 2 rolls on it of the affixes you want.

Now throw in that it has to be on a polearm and you’re hunting forever for a weapon. And if you don’t build crit you’re wasting the implicit bonus on almost all polearms since most of them have implicit crit bonuses. Then there’s one elemental bonus (which would likely be worthless) and a movespeed (which is on a low level base).

Hopefully there’ll be a more attack speed or poison oriented polearm coming to use with non-crit serpent strike, but then you’re praying for those exact affixes on one exact base. It’s just so restrictive.

This skill is not weak at all if you build it right. It does take DEX to make it even better. If you build it toward using its poison nodes it is not weak by any means. You need Chance to poison as much as you can and attk speed as the main things you are looking for, then poison dmg or DoT dmg. For defensive the usually glancing blow and dodge combo with life will do just fine. Problem is DEX is rare as hell right now, pets are still horrible unless you use all your buttons for them, the scorpion doesn’t have a tree yet.

I use it mainly for the blinding part and the poisening myself and on top of it poison is my most buffed secondary damage. I still loose dmg compared to swipe and the blinding utility didn’t come in handy yet.

Serpent Strike is pretty horrific - especially if you’re trying to go Primal Serpent and MonoPet. Too much effort is spent trying to specify how different it is than a normal pet, such as removing healing, and then provides like 13 more nodes giving it additional healing/longevity/respawn.

The respawn on Kill Mechanic is awful - not enough adds in boss fights, meaning that any investment in Pet buffs is lost if the Snake goes down, and can’t be respawned. There is so much Crit available through IAS and Crit Chance in easy reach elsewhere that I think on Hit/Crit Mechanics are good here.

I love that it’s actually unique to Polearms - not enough games have polearms or make them useable.

I think the tree could do with 4 areas, which have synergistic early points in all 4 branches, but with unique break points at say 12-15 point investments.

  • Branch 1; Primal Serpent - just treat it like a normal pet. Nodes for it to be treated like a Companion if you wish to let it be Perhaps dual stacks generated by your attacks improving the Pet Stats, while the Snakes attacks improves your attacks
  • Branch 2; Monk Style - this is where you get to recreate some warrior of the forest, shaolin monk style dude who can just pull out big crits. Improves Physical damage, hits and raw damage.
  • Branch 3; debilitating effects improve your poison and bleed effectiveness, blind duration, damage vs blinded, movement speed, etc - perhaps something which assists potential party play as a Z-DPS type build concept
  • Branch 4; new concept, improving your defenses and turning you into some pseudo-druid forest defenders, with one of the keystone passives giving you the ability to wield 2H polearms with a shield, or give you a new skill to burn mana to make Javelin-esque attacks similar to the D2 Javazon

Draalsting is an excellent weapon early game - can there be late game versions of these? Perhaps an exalted weapon that allows it to compare to a T5 craft weapon?

Draalsting itself is a late game weapon, really; the chance to poison affix is the same as the highest roll tier 5 affix on a two handed weapon, and the poison damage affix is actually slightly higher than the highest possible tier 5 roll on a two handed weapon (if you’re crafting you can also put on damage over time, and you won’t have the attack speed penalty Draalsting does, so you can still surpass it eventually). The fact that it’s available at level 18 means it will be an incredible twink weapon for any poison on hit build.

Personally, I’m hoping the next patch adds a tree for Call Scorpion and a tree for Werebear form (or maybe even a new Werescorpion form skill?) and I’m going to build a Serpent Strike focused character. Looking at the current tree my plan is to max out both Plague and Blinding Poison as well as their respective “more damage” nodes. Can’t wait to see how it works!

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