HCE Focus Glaive Crowd Control Build Guide

embermanemberman Posts: 729
edited May 2015 in Outlander Discussions
This is a guide based on my most successful HCE Outlander, currently alive at level 100 and in a state of semi-retirement somewhere in Act 3 NG+++, in a vanilla un-modded game.


The theme of this build is maximum safety and never getting hit. This is achieved by copious amounts of crowd control (CC) as well as ranged damage and kiting.

Stat Allocation

Stat allocation is very flexible and the combined stat boosts from late game gear usually overshadows the amount of points you earn by leveling up, making late-game stat allocation decisions nearly irrelevant as long as you can find Borris and have enough gold to pay him. Thus, here are some general soft guidelines instead. The priority order is Focus, Vitality, Dexterity, Strength. Focus is your main offensive stat, as all the damage skills in the build scale with focus. Vitality is your chief defensive stat to boost shield block chance.

Dexterity and Strength are the lowest priorities. This build values block (vit) over dodge (dex) as block covers a wider range of damage types than dodge. This build also does not rely on critical hits (dex + str) since in my experience the extra damage is unnecessary to the end goal of killing things before they can attack.

Act 1 is where stat points matter the most since you have very little gear. My approach is to pump 100% of available points into focus in the early game and pull back once I feel like I am dealing comfortable amounts of damage and have enough room to spend points on something other than raw damage.

Skill Choices

Glaive Throw (5) - This is the build's starter skill, and will carry you for much of NG0 Acts 1 and 2, until you pick up Shattering Glaive. It provides CC in the form of movement slow and interrupt. To get the most out of the interrupt you need to stand still and spam it so don't put points into this skill unless you can afford the mana. It also fills your charge bar, so you can get quite far with just this skill alone. If you choose to continue using it as your main damage skill in the late game you can upgrade it beyond rank 5, but this build chooses to use other skills for damage instead.

Blade Pact (15) - Mainly a CC skill. The slow on enemy attack speed directly translates to extra survivability. The movement speed slow gives you more time to attack.

Rune Vault (1) - This is your only movement / escape skill. Since it goes backwards it takes a bit of practice and time to get used to but you don't really have any other choice. Burning Leap is unfortunately not a good replacement because you don't get it until level 35, and it costs more mana. It's worth noting that Rune Vault will NOT break immobilization like the Basilisk stare or bone cage traps, and easily gets stuck on corners and narrow passages.

Cursed Daggers (15) - Possibly the most useful Outlander skill in the game. Cast it at the beginning of every fight and refresh it every 4-8 seconds.
It has a laundry list of effects that are useful to HCE characters:
  • Damage Reduction - anyone familiar with **** Elite knows that Damage Reduction is the king of defense. This skill gives you 20-30% DR on anything you hit with it, and that DR stacks with your gear-based DR so it doesn't interfere with the 75% cap there.
  • At rank 5, it gives you a movement speed bonus, which helps you kite enemies and avoid attacks.
  • Knockback
  • Damage - in a focus / poison build, the damage this skill deals is nontrivial. For super safe boss clears you can cast this every 4 seconds and kill the boss with nothing but daggers while you spend 99% of your time kiting rather than standing still. 1-2 casts of Cursed Daggers will kill most non-champion mobs.

Sandstorm (5) - A fantastic combination CC and damage skill. It is meant to be spammed so don't increase the ranks and mana cost too much. Each glaive provides 100% stun chance and persists for quite a long time, serving as area denial with knockback and stun. As a minor bonus, each glaive hit also generates charge. Area denial stun is very useful in a wide variety of situations. If an enemy jumps in your face and you don't have space to rune vault safely, stun and knock it back with a sandstorm to the face instead. As you walk down corridors, keep a wall of sandstorm glaives in front of you for added protection. If you come across a dungeon room you can't safely enter because it is packed to the brim with enemies, you can kill the entire room with just this skill alone by spamming it through the entrance. It bounces around walls and turns small rooms into perma-stun death chambers. You should probably not bother trying to use Sandstorm outdoors or in wide open spaces. With nothing to bounce off of or focus and restrict their slow meandering path most of your sandstorms will miss due to their slow travel speed and untargeted meandering trajectory. Each sandstorm costs almost twice as much as glaive throw to cast, so outdoors or against single large targets don't waste mana and switch to something more efficient like Shattering Glaive or Glaive throw. Bosses resist stuns so it is not worth it to use Sandstorm on them either.

Bramble Wall (10) - This skill has the distinction of being one of the only CC abilities that works on bosses. Most bosses have very high resistances to stun, slow, immobilize and similar effects, but they can't pass through a physical obstruction. I chose to upgrade it to rank 10 for the width increase. You can try leaving it at rank 1 if you want those 9 points somewhere else. Note that most of your skills will damage your own brambles. Glaive throw in particular should not be used together with brambles as it will try to hit the wall segments instead of enemies. A beneficial side effect is you can attack your own Bramble Walls in a safe location to fill up your charge bar before a fight starts. A bramble venomous hail combo will fill up about 75% of your charge bar nearly instantly.

Stone Pact (15) - This skill heals very rapidly. It is like having a permanent health potion, which allows you to save your health potion cooldowns for emergency health recovery instead of being forced to spend potions on topping off chip damage. The armor boost and damage reflection don't hurt either.

Shattering Glaive (15) - Another fantastic combination skill that includes CC (movement slow), and both single target and area damage in a single cast. I like to call this the outlander cruise missile. This one of the highest damage skills in the build, but more importantly it is the longest range skill available to Outlanders (even longer than Venomous Hail), and it follows terrain so it will go up and down stairs and ramps just fine. Use the range to kill things from a safe distance without taking any return fire. It is superior to glaive throw in nearly every way except that it generates no charge, so you will need to use the bramble walls venomous hail trick mentioned above to build up charge instead.

Venomous Hail (15) - The main reason to get the skill is for its targeting utility. You can cast it on any spot on the map within range, without needing line of sight, allowing you to kill enemies that can't shoot back. There is one very important caveat - Venomous Hail can be reflected, and the reflected damage cannot be manually avoided at any range, and once you press the button to fire it you cannot take it back so all 8-12 waves over 2 seconds will land. Thus, it is imperative that you be absolutely 100% certain you DO NOT CAST THIS ON AN ENEMY WITH A MISSILE REFLECT SHIELD, or the damage from a reflected VH will likely end you. The most dangerous reflect abilities that come to mind are found on the large robots in Act 2 and the shield skeletons in Act 3.

Dodge Mastery (1 - ?) - The first point in this skill gets you 4% dodge while subsequent points only get you 2%. I think the first point is always worth it, but the rest, not so much. You can dump leftover points here but take care not to waste them as dodge is capped at 75% and remember your charge bar will give you 10-16% dodge depending on how much wealth you are sharing.

Poison Burst (1 - ?) - The only skill you have to trigger this is Venomous Hail. However, 1 skill point to activate this passive seems reasonable.

Share the Wealth (15) - Improves your charge bar.

Master of the Elements (15) - Straightforward damage increase. Ironically if you prefer Sandstorm and Shattering Glaive most of your damage will be physical, but it still helps in the early game.

This build uses a lot of active skills. If you are willing to put up with it, you get a lot of power and survivability out of it. With this expansive arsenal of attacks you should be able to hit anything from anywhere, which lets you choose the safest approach to any encounter. It is less complex than it looks at first glance because a lot of the skills are situational so you won't be using all of them at the same time. Learning what skill to use when is part of the build.

The typical end game boss rotation is:
  • If your charge bar is empty use Brambles and VH until it is filled.
  • Keep Haste (spell tome) up 100% of the time.
  • Approach boss and block them with brambles before throwing Cursed Dagger at them.
  • Throw down both pacts.
  • Refresh brambles to keep the boss at bay while you continually hit it with daggers and venomous hail.
  • If the boss breaks through the brambles rune vault somewhere else and set up your pacts / walls again.
This rotation gives you constant healing, constant damage reduction and attack speed slow on the boss, as well as movement obstruction.

Mobs just die to glaives and daggers alone. When you stack the slow effect from blade pact and shattering glaive and possibly glaive throw as well, most enemies get nearly rooted in place. As mentioned previously, use Sandstorm in small enclosed spaces, and use Glaive Throw / Shattering Glaive in open areas.


This build is designed to have very low gear requirements. As a result it looks a bit similar to Wyatan's no gear HCE NG0 build. With this build and no restriction on not wearing any gear, it is possible to clear NG0 without any farming at all (just plow straight through the game without repeating any dungeons / areas). You want the best shield you can find / buy and after level 42 you want a pistol so you can shoot venomous hails out of it. That's about it. Beneficial enchantments and effects that I tend to prioritize include:
  • Large amounts of +HP.
  • Damage reduction - I lack the patience to farm for Limoany skulls, so I am stuck with at most 25% DR from gear. Luckily I have Cursed Daggers to help me out.
  • Cast speed - your skills are what keep you safe. The faster you can cast them the better.
  • Move speed - for kiting and dodging
  • Block - I use the Centerwing in the late game for decent block stats and a high cast speed modifier. Enchant the shield for even more block
  • Missile reflect - for more damage mitigation
  • Stat boosts to focus, vitality, and even dexterity and strength are always welcome

Haste is a highly recommended spell time. Due to the awkward and unwieldy nature of Rune Vault, it's better if you can rely on your feet to avoid taking damage. Block spell tome is almost mandatory to reach the 75% cap. Having extra summons (summon skeleton has an especially low cooldown) is helpful as they divert enemy attacks away from you. Use fish as cheap healing potions for your pet to let it continuously tank for you without fleeing.

Tips for levelling up

This build is nearly unstoppable in the late game since you almost never get hit. The trick is getting there. For most of Act 1 you will be stuck constantly running out of mana spamming glaive throw. Get some mana regeneration, put all your points into focus, and keep glaive throw at level 1 and try to stay alive until level 21. At 21 you get a bit of a power spike as you gain access to Cursed Daggers and Sandstorm at the same time. Once you finish Act 1 it should be smooth sailing to the end of the game as long as you continue to remain vigilant and carefully dodge attacks. The next most dangerous threats are floor traps in Act 2, the luminous area in Act 2, trolls in Act 3, and Grom's Arena in Act 3, so gear up with +HP enchants and be ready to rune vault a lot. Stone Pact and shields let you move outside the light in Luminous Area without taking any damage.


  • wildbucks44wildbucks44 Posts: 1

    Thanks for the helpful build. I am fairly new to the game, but I am finding that the glaive skills are the most effective way to handle enemies. Sandstorm is extremely useful and so is the starter glaive throw (I prefer it sometimes over glaive smash for crowd control)

    Unfortunately I have spent some of my points into weapons skills (rapid fire, chaos burst, and shadowshot) but I realize that it is too many skills to handle. Maybe if I put some points into repulsion hex it will even things out.

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