Harbinger Build Guide - Titan Quest
Skill Trees: Warfare and Dream
Primary Skills: Onslaught, Phantom Strike, Distort Reality
Important Stats: Resistances, Attack Damage Converted to Health, Physical Resistance, +% Physical Damage
Attributes: Mostly all into Strength but you'll also want enough Dexterity to use Stonebinder's Cuffs and any gear that requires Dex
The Harbinger build in Titan Quest is one of the more powerful Dual Wielding builds in the game. It has very high damage output but low survivability without good gear. Much like with all melee builds in ARPGs it's going to be heavily gear and weapon dependent; if this is your first character it will be difficult to farm better gear since you'll struggle killing the hardest bosses and progressing through the game without gear in the first place.
You technically have 2 ways to play the Harbinger build, you can use a sword & shield or 2 swords. In Titan Quest shields do not offer you any significant amount of survivability other than the stats that come on the shield and the occasional block you get. Without any bonus Shield Recovery Time you'll only be able to block 1 attack every 3 seconds which is not much. Additionally, the bonus armor that comes on your shield does not apply to your over all armor. How armor works in Titan Quest is slot by slot -- your overall armor is largely irrelevant.
Usually for these reasons most players who choose Harbinger builds will go into the dual wield specializations in the Warfare tree. This is the route I personally took when writing this guide and I feel this is the best route for this build as a whole. If you're going dual wield then getting good weapons for your character is probably the most important thing you can do -- thankfully there are easy farms in Titan Quest for insanely good weapons!
When it comes to melee builds in Titan Quest some of the best advice I can give you is to stop in Act 3 and farm Sabertooth weapons and then stop again in Act 5 and farm up Einherjar's Fate. Both of these weapons are considered to be best in slot items for almost every melee build in the game. If you're unfamiliar with Titan Quest these items are Monster Infrequents and you can learn more about them as well as their farming locations by checking out my Tigermen (Sabertooth) Farming Guide or my Asgard Monster Infrequents Farming Location.
Since our weapons are Monster Infrequents it means we'll be able to put Charms or Relics onto them as well. I think Incarnation of Anubis' Wrath is the best choice for both weapons since it'll increase your Attack Damage Converted to Health by so much that you'll be able to heal to full health by attacking enemies. Alternatively you can also get Incarnation of the Blade of Thanatos which will give you a +15% Total Damage boost.
As far as gear goes, you'll want items with Attack Damage Converted to Health on them and +%Physical Damage. For a necklace both Necklace of Harmonia and Myrmidon's Pendant would be great choices; Necklace of Harmonia arguably has a little bit more survivability but Mymidon's Pendant offers you a whopping +40% Physical Damage which is great. As for as your rings, Star of Elysium is good since it comes with an increase to Physical Damage as well as some useful resistances. Mark of Ares is another decent choice if you want to maximize your damage.
For chest armor you have quite a few choices, Odysseus' Armor, Armor of Achilles, Armor of Peleus all come with +% Physical Damage as well but offer little survivability. For arms I typically go with Stonebinder's Cuffs just because I love those things. Artifacts I usually choose between Apples of Idun and/or Talisman of the Jade Emperor. Leg slots you can choose really whatever you want. I went with Greaves of the Argonauts but am unhappy with my choice for that slot. If I could, I would get something with more resistances like Trollwrestler Greaves.
Playing a Harbinger is rather straight forward and simple considering there are not many skills that we'll be purchasing for this build. The only 2 abilities you'll have to keep active are whatever Trance you pick as a buff and Summon Nightmare, your pet. Onslaught will be one of your main attacks along with Phantom Strike; usually I bind these to my left and right clicks.
War Horn is an extremely powerful debuff that will make the enemies weaker and stun them and you'll want to use every single fight if you can. If you get a tad bit of gear with -Recharge on it you'll be able to lower the cooldown and use this every fight. An item like Talisman of the Jade Emperor would be enough -Recharge to make a decent difference. This isn't required for the build though so don't worry if you can't get any gear with -Recharge on it.
Battle Standard is another very powerful buff ability that you'll want to use every fight or every other fight. It will place an aura on the ground that when standing in it will increase your damage and decrease the damage you receive from enemies. The only other abilities left that you'll be using are War Wind and Distort Reality, both of which are optional. Basically both do AoE damage, Distort Reality also stuns. Slam is another optional ability you could use for this build, it's most useful against Archers.
The only other tip I can give you for playing this build is when you encounter a boss or group of enemies that hit too hard for you to tank them you can always resort to the run around and Phantom Strike strategy. Phantom Strike teleports you to your target and during that teleport you're immune to damage. Additionally, if you get the passives for this ability it'll stun enemies when you hit them with it.
What this means is you can basically run around in circles and occasionally Phantom Strike whatever target you're fighting -- effectively kiting them around and only attacking them on your terms. Works a little less effectively for bosses but is still a nice strategy in those "oh crap" moments.
Below are a list of all the skills you'll want to purchase for this build along with a little bit of information about each skill that I think you should know.
(Warfare) Onslaught: My left click ability. Onslaught is one of the bread and butter abilities in the Warfare tree and is used by pretty much every build that goes into the Warfare tree and plans to deal melee damage. Essentially how this skill works is each time you attack it builds up a charge and the charges grant you additional bonuses depending on how many passives you have and how many points into those passives. All passives in the Onslaught tree are worth getting.
(Warfare) War Horn: This ability is a bit deceiving with how great it can be. If you invest points into both War Horn and the passive that comes with it you will not only stun enemies you'll also reduce their health and armor which will make them significantly easier to kill. War Horn also has a pretty short cooldown allowing you to pop this ability every fight or every other fight.
(Warfare) War Wind (Optional): War Wind is another way to deal AoE damage with this build and is an optional ability for you to take. For builds that purchase the Dual Wield skill and decide to use 2 weapons War Wind will deal even more damage since it hits with both weapons.
(Warfare) Battle Standard: One of the best abilities in the Warfare tree. Battle Standard will increase your damage done, Offensive Ability, Damage Absorption and reduce Energy Cost of all skills while in the Aura. If you invest into the passives for this skill you'll also reduce all damage done to you while standing in the aura.
(Warfare) Dual Wield + Passives: If you want to use 2 weapons on this build then you'll need to invest points into the Dual Wield skill and the passives that come with it. I strongly recommend you go this route as this build is kind of made for dual wielders.
(Warfare) Slam (Optional): Another optional ability in Warfare that you can grab if you want. This ability fires an attack across the screen in the direction your character is facing that deals moderate damage and will Stun/Disrupt the Skills of any target it hits. It also has a chance of debuffing the target with Impaired Aim which will reduce ranged accuracy of the target. I personally feel this attack is strongest against Archers for this reason and when I purchase Slam I typically use it on Archers.
(Dream) Trance of Convalescence: Technically you can choose whatever Trance buff that you want for this build, I personally like Trance of Convalescence the most but Trance of Empathy is a very good choice as well. It depends on which weapon Relics/Charms you choose for yourself and what your personal playstyle looks like. Convalescence offers you pure survivability whereas Empathy offers you some survivability and some extra damage.
(Dream) Summon Nightmare: While this pet isn't required for this build I typically dump Skill Points into it after I have purchased everything else that is neccessary. Summon Nightmare will give you a minor DPS boost but more importantly he'll use Confusion on enemies that you're fighting providing you with some survivability support. That's usually what I like him most for on this character.
(Dream) Phantom Strike: My right click ability. Phantom Strike is the highest damage skill we have for this build and boy does it do a lot of damage. I recommend investing as many points as you can into both this skill and the associated passive as early as possible. You'll be using this skill both for dealing damage and during fights that are too difficult where you have to kite enemies around.
- If you're struggling in Titan Quest and need some help check out my Best Leveling Abilities Guide, my Titan Quest F.A.Q or my Titan Quest Tips & Tricks pages for a lot of helpful info about this game. Additionally if you're curious what I think the Best Builds Are in Titan Quest check out that guide too. Last but not least you should consider getting TQVaultAE which is a third party program that nearly everyone who plays TQ uses.
- Curious what other sorts of gear you should get for this build? I have put together a long list of Overpowered Gear Combos in Titan Quest that you may find useful. The guide contains information for all sorts of build combinations and specializations; both offensive and defensive gear choices are included as well as Monster Infrequents you can farm for Best In Slot items for your characters.