Skinchanger Build Guide - Titan Quest
Skill Trees: Nature and Rune
Primary Skills: Rune Weapon, Thunder Strike, Runic Mines, Call of the Wild, Sylvan Nymph, Briarward, Rune of Life, Heart of Oak, Energy Shield, Guardian Stones (Optional), Rune Storm (Optional), Refresh (Optional)
Important Stats: Resistances, +Skills, Elemental Damages, Defensive Ability, Other stats that improve survivability
Attributes: Enough Strength to use a Shield/Throwing Weapon; enough Dexterity to equip Stonebinder's Cuffs (425 dex) and the rest of your Attribute Points into Intelligence
Skinchanger's are a combination of the Nature and Rune Masteries and typically wield 2 throwing weapons or a throwing weapon with a shield. It's up to you which approach you'd prefer to take, if you want more protection then go with a shield but if you want (slightly) more damage then go with dual wielding weapons. This is just my personal experience/opinion but I believe the damage difference in dual wielding 2 weapons on this build is minimal since almost all of our outgoing damage is with abilities. Despite this, I still used 2 weapons when writing this guide because I wanted to experiment and test it out myself.
As far as my personal experience goes with this build I found it to be quite powerful and one of the better builds that I have played. Nature is one of the best support masteries in the entire game and Rune is a very powerful mastery that deals a lot of damage without the need for other builds to synergize with it. For that reason these builds work quite well together, Nature will provide you with tons of support and survivability and Rune will provide you with all the damage dealing capabilities that you need.
When it comes to gearing your Skinchanger the most important thing you'll need on your gear is resistances (duh). Second most important thing you need is +Skills -- you should be getting Stonebinder's Cuffs for your character along with any other gear you can find with +Skills. There are lots of skills with lots of passives that this build uses and we don't have the Skill Points for all of them so as much +Skills as you can possibly get is recommended.
Next up I typically look for gear that increases my Elemental Damages in some way. Hesione's Golden Veil (Helm), Iris' Scintillating Robe (Chest), Freyella (Weapon), Polaris (Neck) are good choices. Aside from Elemental Damages the rest of what I look for is Defensive Ability (about 900 - 1000 is recommended), Energy, Energy Regeneration and -Recharge helps too if you plan to spam Briarward and/or Guardian Stones.
How to play a Skinchanger is pretty straight forward... You have 3 buffs which are worthwhile to keep up on yourself at all times, Rune of Life, Heart of the Oak and the less important Energy Shield. The Energy cost of Energy Shield is so insanely high that I seldom use it; I typically buff myself with it before boss fights or difficult fights but otherwise do not use it.
Every fight I begin with dropping some Runic Mines on the ground and if I know the enemies will be more difficult I use Briarward and/or Guardian Stones too for protection. After I have activated these abilities I will spam Thunder Strike if it is a group of enemies and Rune Weapon on single targets. That's really all there is to this class, if you'd like to you can purchase the Refresh skill in Nature and use Briarward and Guardian Stones every single fight as well. I find this to be a bit overkill though.
For fights that you find too difficult to tank what I like to do is kite enemies around and let my pets eat them alive while I use Runic Mines and drag enemies overtop of them. Occasionally when I have a moment of safety I will turn and Thunder Strike the enemies chasing me too. Last but not least the only skill I have yet to mention is Rune Storm. With Refresh and some -Recharge items you can keep this ability up at all times if you wanted. Alternatively, I pop it during more difficult fights when I rely more on kiting usually. Like I said in my guide though, it's a totally optional skill.
(Rune) Runic Mines: One of the best abilities in the Rune Mastery tree in my opinion. I use this ability at the start of every fight, to pull enemies and while kiting. You can cast Runic Mines through walls and over wide distances which will allow you to pull enemies that are in adjacent rooms. As for kiting, for fights that I find too difficult to tank I often run around and drop Runic Mines every where. With the Freezing Mines passive you'll not only deal damage to the enemies you're kiting but slow them down and sometimes freeze them.
(Rune) Thunder Strike: This is your right click attack and the main ability that you will be using against groups of enemies. You should max out both Thunder Strike and the Unleash passive that comes with it since this ability does a crap ton of damage and stuns enemies.
(Rune) Rune of Life: A short duration buff that Rune Mastery gets that can be applied to both yourself as well as to your pets. If you're anything like me you'll constantly forget to keep this buff on you since it only lasts 5min but it's a very good buff to have and to constantly use. Rune of Life provides you bonus movement speed, % Strength, % Bleeding Resistance and % Vitality Resistance all of which are extremely good.
(Rune) Guardian Stones (Optional): These stones will deal a small amount of damage to any enemies that enter the AoE. I think it is mostly negligible damage and enemies don't seem to attack the Guardian Stones unless you leave the area. All in all I did not like this ability very much in the time I spent experimenting. Nor did I like the Menhir Wall ability that you need to purchase to get to this one.
(Rune) Sacred Rage: Usually I only put 1 or 2 Skill Points into this ability and the passive that goes with it and let +Skills do the rest. Skinchangers can be rather squishy since we wear cloth and we'll often take spike damage that drops us below 40% and activates Sacred Rage making this ability definitely worth getting.
(Rune) Rune Weapon: This is your left click attack and the main ability you should be using against single targets. Rune Weapon is the bread and butter ability for Rune Mastery and is a must have for most builds that choose this spec. I recommend you get all 3 passives along with Rune Weapon.
(Rune) Energy Armor: Gives some Stun Resistance and a minor amount of damage absorption. This ability has a massive Energy cost and is often not worth it to maintain 24/7 since it'll require a lot of Energy Potions. It's up to you how often you'd like to keep this ability active and use it, I typically use it before fighting bosses or before doing tough fights but otherwise forget to rebuff.
(Rune) Rune Storm (Optional): This is a powerful skill with a short duration and long cooldown... Thankfully though our build has access to the Nature tree which gives us Refresh. With Refresh you can technically have Rune Storm up 24/7 if you desired giving you a very powerful consistent AoE ability.
(Nature) Briar Ward: At the start of every battle I drop Briar Ward and Guardian Stones if I have the ability. Briar Ward forms a protective barrier around you and grants you some bonuses for standing inside the circle you create. It synergizes well with Guardian Stones and Menhir Wall since all 3 abilities require you to stay in one location and protect you/assist you for doing so.
(Nature) Refresh (Optional): When you use Refesh it will decrease the cooldown of all skills currently on cooldown. It's optional for this build because if you get Refresh you can use Briar Ward and Guardian Stones every single fight. These two abilities are quite powerful but are not required for this build to function.
(Nature) Call of the Wild: This is one of your most important skills for the build and for leveling. Max it out as early as possible and get +3 Skills as early as possible too as it'll allow you to summon 3 wolves. Survival Instinct and Strength of the Pack passives need to be maxed as well.
(Nature) Heart of the Oak: At max rank gives you and your pets +85% Health, additionally the Permanence of Stone passive will give you and your pets 31% Elemental Resistances too.
(Nature) Sylvan Nymph: I dump my extra Skill Points into the Sylvan Nymph as well as the 3 passive abilities tied to it once I am done all of the other important skills for this build.
(Nature) Plague (Optional): One of the best debuffs in Nature Mastery and worth getting on almost every build. Plague reduces the damage enemies deal and also increases the damage they'll take from your attacks and your pets. The only reason I did not get this on my Skinchanger is because I already had too many buttons to hit.
- 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.