Pillars of Eternity 2 Build Ideas

Like many RPGs, a player’s build-in Pillars of Eternity 2 is paramount to their success. There are dozens of ways to approach each of the classes in the game, and each one can be tweaked to tailor to the player’s preferred playstyle. Some builds have risen above the rest since the game’s release for players who are newer to RPGs like Pillars of Eternity 2 or who need a strong build to help them through its more punishing difficulties. So, if you’re looking for a great build to help you, here are three fantastic options.

Key Info Up Front

Spirit Lancer Sage: A potent mix of Wizard and Monk that combines the classes’ defensive abilities and lightning-quick attacks respectively to keep on its feet while dealing massive amounts of damage to all enemies.

Holy Slayer Sniper: A combination of the Paladin and Rogue that focuses on massive bursts of damage that enemies won’t have time to react to and stealth to get out of sticky situations and position themselves for their next strike.

Ancient Terror Druid: This build only uses the Druid class with the Ancient subclass and focuses on tearing groups of enemies down with damage over time spells while helping their squadmates wait for enemies to die by providing some healing as well.

Spirit Lancer Sage

sage

The Spirit Lancer Sage maximizes your damage output with the lance gained by casting the spell Citzal’s Spirit Lance. This lance is critical to the build because it deals area-of-effect damage rather than targeting just a single enemy. This allows the class to capitalize on the Monk’s abilities to more significant effect, especially those that inflict negative debuffs on enemies. The Wizard part of the build is to get Citzal’s Spirit Lance and help buff yourself and make defensive moves when necessary.

Subclasses

I recommend not taking any subclass for the Wizard part of this build. This class uses a spread of spells from so many different schools of magic that no Wizard subclass doesn’t omit one of them. It is also unnecessary to pick a subclass because, ideally, you won’t spend much time casting while using this build. You obviously will have to cast at times, but the majority of your actions in combat will center around your Monk abilities rather than your Wizard ones, as those are the ones that will keep you shelling out damage.

For your Monk subclass, you should take Shattered Pillar. Shattered Pillar will make your Monk abilities incredibly strong, as you will be doing enough melee damage thanks to your area-of-effect attacks, never to worry about running out of wounds. Other Monk subclasses like Helwalker could work for this build, but the high damage output and debuffs of this build mean that you’ll likely find yourself running out of wounds frequently if you don’t go with Shattered Pillar.

Equipment

buff

You obviously won’t have to worry about your weapon for this build once you get your hands on Citzal’s Spirit Lance. However, you won’t be able to get that spell until your character reaches level 13, so you’ll need to find something else to make do with until then. Thanks to your Monk class, one good option is just going unarmed, which is a very viable option. You also could equip a regular polearm, such as Concelhaut’s Parasitic Staff, to help you get used to how they play. Concelhaut’s Parasitic Staff also gives you health whenever you damage enemies, which will do wonders to help you stay on your feet until the rest of your build is in place.

For your armor, you want to primarily focus on equipping pieces that don’t hamper your Recovery Time, as this build is all about your abilities. This will likely mean that your raw armor from your equipment will probably be pretty low, but that’s okay. Since you’ll be casting Llengrath’s Displaced Image, most of your hits will be turned into grazes with decreased penetration. At the same time, you’ll also be able to give yourself +5 armor with a few other abilities, meaning that whatever you have should more than do the trick.

Abilities

There is some wiggle room for you to personalize it to fit your preferences for this build’s abilities. However, there are some abilities from each of its two classes that it simply can’t go without. These are listed below, but feel free to take whatever else you want once you have them out of the way.

Class Ability Description
Wizard Spirit Shield Increases your Armor Rating by 3.
Mirrored Image Increases your Deflection by 30 (stop using once you get Llengrath’s Displaced Image).
Infuse With Vital Essence It grants you the Fit and Smart buffs to increase the side of your area of effect.
Llengrath’s Displaced Image Increases your Deflection by 10, Reflex by 20, and has a 30% chance of converting hits to grazes.
Ironskin Increases your Armor Rating by 5 (replaces Spirit Shield).
Citzal’s Spirit Lance Summons a lance to wield that deals 18-24 damage and has eight penetration.
Arcane Reflection Increases your Chance to Reflect against spells by 100% for one minute.
Wall of Draining Increases the duration of beneficial effects for yourself by one second while decreasing the time of beneficial effects for enemies by one second.
Martial Caster Increases your Action Speed by 15% when using a summoned weapon.
Monk Swift Strikes Increases your Action Speed by 15% and gives you the Quick buff.
Lesser Wounds Increases the rate you gain wounds at.
Two-Handed Style Increases your damage with two-handed weapons by 15%.
Swift Flurry Increases your Action Speed by 15%, gives you the Quick buff, and gives your melee critical hits a 33% chance to cause another strike immediately.
Torment’s Reach A powerful strike hits an enemy and damages the area surrounding them.
Soul Mirror Increases your chance to Reflect ranged attacks by 50%.
Duality of Mortal Presence Allows you to buff either your Intellect or Constitution with your wounds.
Thunderous Blows Gives you the Tenacious buff.
Rooting Pain Deals damage around you whenever you gain a wound.
Raised Torment Stuns enemies you hit, allowing you to stun enemies around you when combined with your lance and Rooting Pai.
Turning Wheel Increases your Intellect and increases your burn damage by 2% for each wound.
Skyward Kick A move that knocks the enemies around you into the air for increased damage and leaves them prone when they land.
Heartbeat Drumming It gives your melee Critical Hits a 25% chance to trigger a free attack instantly.

Attributes

build

The main attributes you need to focus on with this build are Dexterity, Perception, and Intellect. If you don’t have a tank in your group, you may also want to put some points into Constitution to help you stay on your feet. You can largely ignore Might and Resolve to help put as many points as possible in the main three you need. Dexterity is pivotal because it will decrease your Recovery Time so that you can keep your many buffs active as frequently as possible.

Perception is also significant to increase the Accuracy of your attacks and maximize the potential of you getting a critical hit, which can unleash a wave of damage at this build’s higher levels. Intellect is also critical because it will increase the duration of your buffs, but it will also expand the size of your area of effect, allowing you to hit even more enemies with each attack.

Tips

  • Any race in Pillars of Eternity 2 can work for this build, but Nature Godlike and Hearth Orlan fit it exceptionally well.
  • As you play, use your wounds on powerful Monk abilities as frequently as possible because you’ll be getting them back almost constantly through your melee attacks.
  • Don’t use any of your level five Wizard slots on other spells, as you’ll need to be casting Citzal’s Spirit Lance for every combat, or else this build won’t function properly.

Holy Slayer Sniper

Holy Slayer Sniper

The Holy Slayer Sniper focuses on using stealth to begin engagements and reposition during them to hit vulnerable enemies with massive bursts of damage at the most reasonable times by combining the Paladin and Rogue classes. This build can work very well as a solo build, or it can be worked into a party, but you’ll have to control it the entire time because the AI won’t go into stealth to take full advantage of its abilities. This build also can take a lot of patience, as you’ll have to retreat from combat to replenish your resources quite frequently, but if you don’t mind spending the time, you’ll find that it can make the game’s most complex challenges trivial.

Subclasses

You’ll want to stick with Assassin to increase your critical damage, Accuracy, and armor penetration for your Rogue subclass. These buffs are all gained when attacking stealth, which can be complex with a melee character, but you should be shooting from stealth 99% of the time since we’re building a sniper.

For your Paladin subclass, you should go with Bleak Walkers. This subclass increases the damage of your Flames of Devotion, which is the primary ability that we’ll be using to deal our burst of damage on enemies. It also makes Flames of Devotion give enemies the Sicken debuff, which decreases their healing and makes them more susceptible to sneak attack damage if they somehow survive past the first hit.

Equipment

Arquebus

For your weapon, you must use an Arquebus. Not only will these weapons give you incredible range to your attacks, but they also focus on dealing one massive hit of damage, which will further increase the damage enemies take from your Flames of Devotion. To make them even better, they improve your Accuracy by 20, helping make sure that you won’t miss. However, you should also keep a ranged weapon that deals slash damage in your inventory if you come across any enemies that are immune to the Arquebus’ piercing damage. This build can function with any ranged weapon, so you’ll do fine with your secondary, but it will be more challenging.

Your armor doesn’t matter too much in this build since you shouldn’t be taking any damage anyway. However, you should try to minimize your armor’s impact on Recovery Time to speed things up and keep an eye out for any Legendary Sets that increase your damage, Accuracy, or penetration.

Abilities

The abilities of this build may seem counterintuitive, as we’ll be using the Rogue for our support abilities and Paladin for our active ones. However, this is because you will want to save all of your Guile for returning to stealth while the Paladin abilities will focus on dealing with our big burst of energy. You can take whatever you wish outside of the below capabilities, especially if you are playing at a party, but the ones below are the must-haves for this build to function correctly.

Class Ability Description
Rogue Smoke Veil Allows you to turn invisible for five seconds.
Dirty Fighting Automatically turns 10% of your hits into critical hits.
Two-Handed Style Increases your damage with two-handed weapons by 15%
Uncanny Luck Increases your resistances and critical hit chance by 5%.
Deep Wounds Deals 20% of your damage to enemies into extra damage over time.
Smoke Cloud Allows you to turn invisible and distract enemies.
Deathblows Increases your damage against enemies with at least two Afflictions by 50%. 
Smoke Grenade Interrupts and distracts enemies and gives them the sickening Affliction, which helps with Deathblows.
Improved Critical Increases your critical hit damage by 10%.
Paladin Flames of Devotion A massive attack that deals bonus damage increases based on how much damage the initial attack dealt and deals burn injury.
Zealous Focus Increases your Accuracy.
Scion of Flame Increases the penetration of your Fire attacks by one.
Virtuous Triumph It gives you a 25% chance of getting one Zeal point when you kill an enemy.

Attributes

For this build, you first want to focus on increasing your Might. This will increase your damage in the only way for this build that doesn’t rely on getting better equipment. Then, you’ll want to get your Perception high and increase your Accuracy and your chance of getting critical hits. Finally, you should increase your Dexterity. Dexterity is the least important of the three attributes but will help you cut down on the lengthy reload time of your Arquebus.

Tips

  • Any race can function just fine in this build, but the only ones that give it a slight bump are Island Aumaua and Hearth Orlan.
  • Since you need to get away from combat quickly after you strike, you should look out for items that increase your Stride or consider taking the Fast Runner ability.
  • This build also doesn’t have too many things that you need to pick up or look for later into your playthrough, so you shouldn’t play this build if you get bored of making the same combat loop throughout the game.

Ancient Terror Druid

Ancient Terror Druid

This build is unique to the three listed as it doesn’t use two classes but instead focuses on optimizing the Druid’s Ancient subclass. This subclass focuses on casing Beast and Plant spells, which emphasize dealing damage to enemies over time and healing their allies. However, it also decreases your defenses against attacks that pierce the veil and increases the damage you’ll take from Vessel attacks. However, you should have enough healing to mitigate the negative traits of the subclass.

Equipment

Thankfully, this build is mostly independent of your equipment. Some certain attributes and pieces will suit it better than others, but you don’t have to wait to get the perfect loadout for this build to start showing its strengths. Firstly, the weapon you choose to go with is largely irrelevant, so pick whatever type you prefer to play with. For armor, you’ll want to keep an eye out for light armor or robes that decrease your Recovery Time. Specifically, you’ll want to watch Miscreant Leath, The Changeling’s Mantle, or Swift Hunter’s Garb. Those three will work great in the endgame, so pick whichever you prefer, and it should work out for you.

You should also keep an eye out for equipment that boosts the attributes this build focuses on that are listed below. In particular, you’ll want to get your hands on Kuaru’s Prize ring to increase your spell damage, the Shroud of the Phantasm cape, and the Vithrack Silk Slippers, as they give you a 5% chance to recast a spell for free. However, you don’t need these specific pieces, and there are plenty of other options to tweak this build and keep it running well, depending on how you want to approach it for your playthrough.

Abilities

Since you’re wholly investing in this one subclass, you’ll be taking just about everything that it offers. When you take the subclass you’ll automatically get the following spells:

  • Aspect of Galawain: Summons a beast to fight for you.
  • Call to the Primordials: Summons oozes to fight for you.
  • Fire Stag: Summons a fire stag to fight for you.
  • Form of the Delemgan: Gives you an increase to your Stride and Armor Rating.
  • Hold Beast: Paralysis spell that can only be used on beasts.
  • Summon Sporelings: Summons Sporelings that fight for you.
  • Venombloom: An area of effect spell that also Frightens and Weakens enemies.
  • Wild Growth: Buffs your summons.

Beyond these abilities, you’ll also want to take every ability and spell you can that is a beast or Plant type. This will let you personalize your approach to the build to your tastes, but the spells that I recommend are below.

Ability Description
Charm Beast Charms animals in an area so that they fight for you for a while.
Nature’s Vigor Gives friendly targets to the Fit buff.
Insect Swarm An area of effect spell that damages enemies with raw damage that ignores resistances and prevents them from keeping Concentration on spells and abilities. 
Beetle Shell It gives you or an ally a shield that absorbs damage but keeps them from moving or acting while it is active.
Moonwell Heals in an area over time while also increasing defenses by 10. 
Wicked Briars An area of effect spell that deals piercing damage and hobbles enemies while stopping them from running.
Plague of Insects An area of effect spell that is effectively an upgraded version of Insect Swarm that also gives enemies the Sickened debuff and decreases their Constitution and healing received. Even better, it stacks with Insect Swarm.
Garden of Life A massive and long-lasting healing spell that heals all allies in a giant area.
Great Maelstrom A giant spell that calls in a storm, occasionally dealing crushing damage and every elemental type of damage to everyone in the area. 
Wildstrike Increases the damage of weapon attacks by 15%.
Combat Focus It gives you Concentration at the start of an encounter so that you can’t be interrupted while getting your summons up and running.
Spell Shaping Allows you to modify the size of a spell’s area of effect to increase its Power Level or allow you to hit more targets.
Practiced Healer Gives you a 15% increase in your healing.
Rapid Casting Increases your Action Speed when casting spells by 10%.
Quick Summoning Increases your Action Speed when casting summoning spells by 15%. 
Farcasting Increases your spell range by 20%.
Improved Critical Increases your critical damage by 10%.
Prestige Increases all of your abilities by one Power Level.

Since this build is so reliant on casting abilities that mostly have pretty lengthy cast times, we’ll also look at your optimal spell rotation. This build does most of its work at the beginning of encounters. So, to start, you’ll want to use Nature’s Vigor on yourself to buff up your spells and trigure the Nature Godlike passive if you have it.

You’ll also need to have at least one tank in your party to keep enemies off you while you cast, so try to stay back, and at this point, you can start casting your offensive spells. First, cast Form of the Delegan on your tank and then follow it up with Wicked Briars to slow enemies, followed by Insect Swarm, Plague of Insects, and Venombloom to lay on the damage. However, this order can be modified if other spells work better in the situation, such as Hold Beast.

Once your damage spells are in position, you’ll want to work on summoning a few animals to help keep enemies busy and away from you. If you start getting targeted, don’t panic and just use a combination of Nature’s Balm followed by Beetle Shell to get you through it until the enemy targets someone else. Once you have summons out, you can start buffing your allies and healing them if necessary. It is very unlikely that you’ll have to recast any damage or summon spells, but if you do, make sure you replace them whenever they end.

Attributes

druid

For your Attributes, you’ll want to focus on Might, Dexterity, Perception, and Intellect. Having a higher Might will increase the damage and healing of your spells, which is critical. Dexterity is also very important to decrease your Recovery Time to keep your spell rotation running smoothly. Perception will help you overcome enemy resistances and get critical hits to help take down enemies, while Intellect will increase the duration of your spells. You’ll want to get your Intellect to either be maximum level or as close as possible to increase the time your summons and damage over time spells are up and running.

Tips

  • A great compliment to this build is running a Priest in the party that can cast both Dire Blessing and Triumph of the Crusaders on you at the start of a battle to make your summons even better.
  • Combining this build with Alchemy can help buff it up and make it even more effective.
  • Have at least one or two tanks in your party to keep enemies away from you. It is also wise to focus on summoning spells that create multiple creatures to help make even more of a meat shield for yourself early in the game.
  • This build can also seem ineffective at low levels but wait to get all of the spells and abilities you need, and it’ll get powerful quickly.

FAQs

Question: Do these builds work in Pillars of Eternity 2’s turn-based mode?

Answer: Yes, all three of the above builds will work well in turn-based mode. However, you’ll want to not invest too heavily in Dexterity for any build in that mode since Recovery Time is not important.

Question: Do I need to have played Pillars of Eternity before Pillars of Eternity 2?

Answer: There are some aspects of the game narrative-wise that will be more rewarding or interesting if you have completed the first game, but it is a fresh start, so playing the original is not required.

Question: What is the maximum level in Pillars of Eternity 2?

Answer: The maximum level is 12, so getting the most out of each level is critical to tackling the challenges later in the game.

Conclusion

Of course, there are plenty of other build options in Pillars of Eternity 2, and if you enjoy making builds, I recommend just diving into the game and figuring some out for yourself. There are seemingly infinite possibilities, and with the right equipment and party composition, just about any option is as viable on all but the highest difficulties. However, if you want to tackle the most increased problems or aren’t interested in piecing together a build with solid synergies, the three classes above are a great starting place.

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