First, I'm cp430-ish and a magDk so I'm not taking the easiest way through.
Currently, I'm running:
2pc Ilambris, 5 pc Julianos (2 of which are Julianos Inferno staves; one with fire enchant, other with weapon enchant both gold), 5pc Mothers Sorrow. I can also switch to Skoria but it isn't a light helm, it's medium. I also have BSW to switch to as well. Everything but weapons (which are gold) is purple. Divines for armor with mag enchants, jewelry is arcane with spell damage enchants.
Health buffed with blue food is 18k, Mag is 37k, stamina is: never enough for that next dodge roll. Spell damage is 2453 and spell crit is 65.2%
Front bar: burning embers, crushing shock, coagulating blood(or flame whip), harness magicka, Flames of Oblivion (or reflective wings) ULTI: Dk Std of Might OR magma shell (the one that deals fire back)
Back: Eruption, Blockade, ele drain, engulfing flames, molten armaments ULTI: Elemental Rage
On my 6mil dummy I can almost hit for 16k, 14.5k more reliably.
I have watched several of Alcast's videos and AndyS' strictly just for research. The one video I really hone in on is Alcast's video that is 3 hours long and he breaks down the mechanics on his stamblade back when it was VR16. I usually study both a video and Joy Division's walkthrough prior to a round.
ROUND 1: The first round went pretty well. Died a few times just from not paying attention to shields and such. I was also very laid back, it was like "lets see what I can even do". I was surprised to only have died a couple times and honestly, to even clear it.
Round 2: things got a little wonky. It took me a good minute to figure out how to handle the spinning blades as well as the dwemer adds, let alone the stinking Centurions. For some reason two of the three would attack at once, I was certain that it should have only been one but once I learned their attacks and how to mitigate the spinning blades, it got easier.
Round 3: Holy swear words. This one took a good minute. I'd like to say, who ever thought up the stranglers and the snare, I hope you stagger into the bathroom at night to use the can and sit down on a lifted seat and fall in. This round really got frustrating because of those stranglers. As everything, it took many runs to get used to but I got my clear. Many a swear word was uttered during this run and I'm willing to guess that I died somewhere around 20 times here.
Round 4: Still continuing. I NEARLY cleared it my first time but died with the boss at about 6%. Very frustrated at that but oh well. The round is so much better without those INCREDIBLY aggravating snares that slow you down. Honestly, it's easily the most frustrating part of the game I've ever encountered thus far. Anyway.. I'm getting better and I'm looking forward to the rest of the challenge. (Dear future me: yes you actually want to do this. don't give up). UPDATE Beat it once I actually managed to hit the boss with my ulti and grab every single sigil after he stopped the first time. He didn't get to stop a second time as I successfully burnt him down. Of note: It helped me by dropping coagulating blood for the flame whip. I didn't need the heal while standing under the boss, i just kept a shield up and spammed burning embers when needed. ON TO ROUND 5!
Round 5: I found this round to be surprisingly easier than I had expected. Across all waves, I probably died 10 times, 5 of which were to the boss. A few were clearly lag induced deaths as well. It took me a minute to figure out the strategy of kiting her and dealing with the mobs, and avoiding her attacks. However, I screwed up and she destroyed the power and defense sigil platform before I could get her off it (actually, she was following me and was halfway between that flow and the beginning flow with the haste sigil, the one I wanted her to break, so I guess her health dropped to "break sh*t" level and she went to the closest flow, the power and defense sigil. SO, I had two flows remaining and welp, wouldn't you know it I got her to break the right one and was left with the healing sigil island. I grabbed the healing sigil (because I knew I was likely screwed) and kept my reflective wings up, shields, and just ignored the insane adds and I think I even dropped my ferocious leap and BAMO! BIG UGLY DROPPED! ON TO ROUND 6! I really though I was in trouble here because not only did the adds spawn from her health dropping but a troll came over too. So now I have a troll trying to break the ice, big momma trying to smash me, archers shooting me, and i knew I only had once choice: DoT's. I threw em down, hit englulfing flames, kept shields up and watched the troll die to a Skoria flame ball. A quick glance at tall and ugly and she was at 10%, I CAN DO THIS! So, I just beat her down the best I could with embers and crushing shock.
Reflective wings and crushing shock really worked well here thanks to the reflect and interrupt of the skills.
Round 6: Did a quick recon without having done much studying and promptly got my butt kicked. Gotta study Joy's and Alcast's runs. update 26 JulyWent back at it today and got nowhere thanks to the obelisk bug showing up. The obelisks were not displaying the webs correctly and therefore, I had no clue which ones to attempt to deweb. I'll retry on my next day off.
UPDATE CLEARED!! FINALLY!!!!!!! It's taken me so long to finally beat this stage and I am so effing happy! I had her down to 60k health at one point; I had burned her in two phases. The first phase I burned through her fast enough to spawn the Lurcher who went down rather easily. The second phase I burned through her but ran out of magicka, then stamina dodge rolling a few lightning bursts and when the spider swarm appeared, I duly died. I was hell bent on not giving up though and I've finally cleared the round.
I don't remember exactly how everything went down but I took my time clearing obelisks and didn't go ham on her, just kept dots down and kept my magicka up while dealing with the adds (namely, her stupid sidekick). I took each sigil as I needed it; healing first, then haste when the lurcher spawned. After he spawned I lucked into clearing the final obelisk, I did a mini-rotation and ulti drop on each of them, then used the remaining stun to heavy attack some resources back. From there I hunted down a hoarver to clear an obelisk and kept my DoTs down. The spider swarm came and I had her at 45k, I shielded up and heavy and light attacked her from the relative safety of a lit obelisk. ON TO ROUND 7!!!!
Round 7: Finished! It took me about two days to beat this round, the first day I twice had the boss down to about 10% health, only to be foiled by an unfortunate poison plant. Not really much to say about this round other than the poison plants.
Round 8: Much easier than the previous two. In fact, I think it's probably the easiest round after Round 1. I died a few times but mostly from not really understanding the mechs. Once I picked up on who to kill and when, it was cake. The final boss is a total joke tbh, she was easy to kite and burn after the stun.
Round 9: After two days, 6 cumulative hours of fighting this guy, once getting him to 15% health (with a bone colossus and CG spawned) only to die; attempt after attempt only to be thwarted by anything and everything, I have FINALLY beat vMA. I beat him on one of the ugliest runs I had. I got up top pretty nicely, but was knocked off twice. The first time I went down, I was like welp here we go again, another death. I had decided that it wasn't worth picking up the defense sigil when falling off because it made the last part of the fight incredibly difficult. Somehow, I managed to drop the CG and the clan fear and get back up top. Then I got knocked down a second time, and at this point, I was just thinking "stay calm, it's all good". After getting back up top again, I was able to drop the little bit of health in the final crystal and when back down, I grabbed everything but the power sigil AFTER disrupting that first channeled attack.
Then, after orienting myself to the boss, I grabbed two ghosts and he got the third. I was like "sh&*t!" but again, i thought just stay calm and we are good. So the CG spawns and I'm getting pretty worried at this point. The boss and the CG were standing together so I dropped my destro ulti, and just spun around the daedroth, spamming burning embers and keeping my shield up. He died and I found the boss, attacked him a few times with dots (minding the STUPID summoners) and then grabbed that final ghost and immediately used that dang explosion. I thought to myself, "THIS IS IT! I DID IT!" And took the opportunity, for just a split second, to stand over him and take in the fact that I was about to kill him. A few whacks later and that sonofagun was on the ground.
A month and a half later, I have finally conquered the Maelstrom Arena.I picked up my decisive Lightning Staff....and then went right back in 5 minutes later. Breezed through the first 5 rounds and then remembered just how god awful that spider round was.
Notes: Depending on how I am feeling (frustrated, hands hurt, in the groove, worn out) I will either rez or take it back to the way shrine and walk in. Walking back in helps me reset and take a breath, it also lets me charge weapons or eat food and repair equipment. It is also a bit easier to restart from the wayshrine as the level doesn't begin quite as quickly. It seems like when you rez in place, theres a very short time before the wave comes and it's difficult to get my bearings on where I am in the level (and thus, where the sigils are).
All in all, it's still challenging and quite rewarding when I kill the boss.
build update Hit 18.1k with Ilambris on the above mentioned "base setup" and hit 17.5k with molten whip slotted instead of crushing shock. It would likely have been higher had my backbar weapon not lost its charge. I also did a run for a light Skoria helmet, and have paired that with a heavy Skoria shoulder (I only have a heavy and a medium Skoria shoulder). I know small things like this won't make or break your vMA run but I've included it for those who might be curious. With food I now sit at 18.2k health, 36k mag, and 9k stam. Skoria also hits things way more than Ilambris did, not necessarily in proc % just the fact that things run out of Ilambris.
25 July note: Took a break and went back to my stamblade for an hour or two. Managed to gather a group of guildies to run vCoA2 for a light Skoria helm. Thinking on it, that might have helped my playstyle on the magDK. I just seemed to be smoother, calmer, and more relaxed on the controls. Not only that but on my stamblade in CoA i felt more relaxed; going in I was like this is easy! I don't have 4 mobs coming at me, an ice flow about to break, or a strangler snaring me with poison spit. Then when I did get to Skoria, him breaking the platforms was not as scary as I remember it back when I got my first Skoria helmet.
25 August (A full month has gone by!) I've gotten considerably better at the game as a whole. My dps is now up to 24k and I've completed several trials. I now have an Asylum Inferno staff! I've done nMoL, nCR, nHoF, and nAS. I've decided to gold out Grothdarr set and have picked up a full set of Destruction Mastery. The plan is to run DM with BSW once I get the traits corrected.
So for the final round and complete I switched over to using Destruction Mastery along with BSW and a Julianos fire staff in a mock vma setup. With this setup I am hitting for 27k on witch mothers. This was the build that got me through vMA. I also switched from my flame whip to crushing shock, this allowed me to save stamina from bashing and allowed me to interrupt the boss from range, rather than having to run over to him.
My final build: Grothdar Heavy helm/Med Shoulder, Destruction mastery on the body, bsw jewelry, bsw fire staff/flame damage front bar, julianos fire staff/spell damage back bar.
Skills: Front bar- Eruption/WoE/Engulfing Flames/Coag Blood/Inner Light Ulti-Shooting Star
Back bar- Embers/Crushing Shock/Ele Drain/Harness/Inner Light Ulti- Destro
What I have taken away from vMA is that it has made me far and above a better player. At the beginning of this thread, I was hitting for maybe 15k, now I'm hitting for 27k. I've gone to solo world bosses, Skyreach, and a few normal dungeons. It's made me completely forget about crappy healers or fake tanks in PUG's. I've also completed all trials on normal except AA and HRC. If you've read this far, I absolutely encourage you to try and stick with vMA, despite the pain and frustration.
Thanks so much for following along!
Edited by boombazookajd on September 10, 2018 1:23PM
Drathus Delenu- Dunmer magDk: Shehai Shatterer, Mageslayer, Stormproof, Peak Scaler, Clockwork Confounder, Orderly, Master Wizard, Cloudrest Hero, Undaunted, Dragonstar Arena Champion
Thoronir Rolston- Breton petsorc: Stormproof
Zaakazha-Redguard stamblade: Boethia's Scythe, Clockwork Confounder, Maelstrom Arena Champion, Dragonstar Arena Champion
Justinius Maximus Decimus- Altmer magblade
Agronak gro'Mashul- Orc DK Tank
Valerya Hawkcroft- Breton healer
Zaaka- Imperial stamDK/crafter