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Sonic Wave Crit: The Build (or, Desperate RK Times, Desperate RK Measures)

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Posted 26 January 2022 - 11:02 PM

I think at this point the potential viability of the Physical Rune Knight Sonic Wave / Crit (SWC) build is somewhat well-known, but, because this is still early days for SWC, and if only for the sake of making good on the promised follow-up to my earlier thread of gripes reflections on the inadequacy of Ignition Break for post-175 leveling, I thought I'd toss in my two cents about this build. Well, two cents soon turned into three and... before I knew it, I had something you could squint at and call a guide on my hands. This is that. Enjoy.

General Observations

Just to be clear on what we're talking about for anyone not in the loop:

  • SWC is a type of Physical / Critical Rune Knight build: Its defining feature is leveraging "Oriental Sword" (obtainable from "Ancient Hero Weapon Box" and on the open market) to trigger frequent automatic casts of Sonic Wave (think Bash - ranged, and on steroids) while dishing out a respectable stream of critical hits at max attack speed.
  • Yes, this means taking on monsters one at a time - a playstyle that you've probably considered obsolete outside of MVPing for at least 75 levels or so.  But because (with currently available gear as of this writing, at least) Ignition Break's 2 second cooldown and mediocre damage render it a total non-starter for the new end game leveling maps, Physical Rune Knights have got to consider other options. Practical testing shows that with good gear selection, smart critical builds can work as an approach to leveling in AGH.
  • Enter Sandm... SWC.


1. It works.

  • This build/play style appears to "work" in Abyss Glast Heim. By "work", I mean that - thus far - it has allowed me to level at a pace that I can tolerate. YMMV on this and frankly, there will be some people who will decide that respecing to DB until 185 (or respeccing to another class...) is the more reasonable path to take. And make no mistake: This is still an auto-click affair with the inherent inefficiency that comes with killing monsters one at a time, no matter how fast. Definitely good for a hit of nostalgia, though, right?
  • I would not recommend SWC prior to level 175 for leveling, even for physical RKs. IB can, for instance, one-shot arbitrarily large mobs of Big Bells with sufficient investment, making its cooldown basically irrelevant; mob leveling with IB is going to be a much more efficient way for Physical RKs to polish off levels until level difference penalties on the old content and IB's damage limits on the newer content really begin to burn you at level 175 or thereabout.
  • In case it wasn't clear from the above, this guide assumes you will be leveling in AGH. I make no representations about the viability of SWC in Nogg 3 - though, based on the monster density and certain other issues (equipment breakage) with that map, I don't expect the juice will be worth the squeeze for anyone running SWC. We need monster quality over quantity and a minimum of hassle for SWC to work. AGH provides that. There are a couple of monsters that you may wish to avoid in AGH, at least at the outset: Corrupted Wanderers (IB) and Stings (AGI Down). But you can certainly tank the former if your HP is beefy enough, and both are trivial to evade. Neither is required to complete AGH's monster bounty quest.



  • No need to bury the lede, I guess: With decent-to-good gear and a respectable stack of consumables, you can expect critical hits in roughly the 25k - 65k damage range depending on what you're fighting and what you're fighting it with (and thus 50k - 130k when Turisus's damage multiplier activates), and frequent Sonic Waves of 200k - 400k damage (assuming you stack Sonic Wave gear bonuses and be sure to drink your Ovaltine), all at 193 aspd.  There's additional headroom available for those willing to combine truly impressive consumable stacks with excellent gear.

3. It's expensive.

  • This build is not cheap (but if you're a Physical RK, Sunk Cost Fallacy should be your band name, right? So screw it.). While deflation has taken some of the bite out of end game gear purchases over the last year, you're still looking at an outlay in the billions to really make SWC fly (and by "fly", think more "lean turkey" than "unladen swallow").
  • And did I mention consumables? Don't even think about running this build without a constant IV drip of Turisus runes. Don't. Even. You'll get to meet every brother, sister, aunt and uncle in kobold town - while hunting them down mercilessly for their beautiful, craftable fur. I wouldn't consider any other runes essential, so long as you can hit 193 aspd (which you must) without Asir. Also, if you're squishy, you may need Stone Skin for a few levels (I've been able to do without, and without super high VIT, FWIW).
  • As for other consumables, Berserk Potion/Enrich Celermine Juice should fall under "duh"; Savage BBQ, Donuts and Citizen Oda are a big help if you can afford the habit. ::scratches::. At least donuts are free right now (stock up).
  • Gear recommendations are provided below.

4. I Can Haz MVP 2?

  • This could be a competitive build for MVPing, but I haven't explored and compared with pure crit in that context.  If Lindy is an available alternative, you would be giving up the % boss damage bonus from Lindy / Immortal Dog tag to go this route...
  • That said, a hybrid approach might also win out here for some bosses: Activate crush strike while wearing Lindy Hop and double attack gear, boink the boss, then flip to Oriental Sword and flail away.  Magic 8-Ball says: Ask Again Later.

5. Maybe not the only advanced leveling option?

  • A Wind Cutter build may be a viable alternative to SWC for 175+, because we have gear (Black Ribbon) that significantly reduces that dreaded, efficiency-killing cooldown on WC, unlike IB. I intend, but haven't had the time, to try this approach yet. Just throwing it out there. It might open up Nogg 3.
  • Notably: Assuming you're willing to invest in Gelerdria and Storm Stone (the latter is fairly cheap after the most recent OCP) along with SWC-focused gear, these two builds should dovetail pretty nicely - both can leverage Black Ribbon. SWC for AGH and WC for Nogg 3? They said SpotemGottem and Pooh Shiesty would NEVER link up, and yet here we are...

6. Caveat Emperiumtor:

  • I don't give a [HYPERLINK BLOCKED] about WoE or this build's relevance for it. If running SWC causes your Emperium to grow chicken legs and run away or something, don't come crying to me. (but do screenshot that)

7. How does this compare to a well-geared Crit build with Lindy Hop?  If I'm already kitted out for pure Crit with Lindy, should I care about this?

  • To be clear, a well-geared "pure critical" build leveraging Lindy Hop is also viable for AGH (...insofar as you'll allow that SWC is viable, anyway...); and you'd certainly hope so - it's still RK's end-game sword! Most of the caveats, gear and tactical recommendations previewed below would also apply directly to a vanilla Lindy crit build.
  • From a utilitarian perspective, the long run performance of either approach, assuming comparably advantageous gear selections, appears to be very similar.  Which approach you choose will should come down to finances and preferred play style (steady-as-it-goes vs "... ... JACKPOT!").
  • The end of this guide has some technical musings on the relative advantages of Lindy Hop if you care to delve.  (...cue joke about wasting more time on theory-crafting than you'd save with either option...)


SWC Build Advice:


Stats. There are multiple ways to skin this cat. Personally, I like exploiting PDM, and really like 100% DEF penetration, with optionality for full buffs on temporal STR or LUK boots. To that end, at the outset of your grind at 175 ("Hi Santa! Remember me!"), I can endorse:


STR: 120 (for general gronk force and temp STR boots synergy, when rolling that way)

LUK: 126 (100% def bypass via PDM)

AGI: 90 (very much open to personalization. Ninety AGI synergizes with PDM, and I like having high AGI anyway to lubricate leveling and reduce my dependence on consumables to hit 193 aspd, but you can go much lower if you're willing to chug (crunch?) Asirs)

DEX: ballpark 40s to 54 (oh, another reason not to totally neglect DEX: yes, at heart you are a flitting, critting, Ginsu 9000, but the whole point here is getting Sonic Wave to hit, too. While Clashing Spiral can pinch hit, you'll probably need some non-trivial amount of DEX. So don't totally ignore it unless you want to get fancy with Perfect Hit or gear like Phreeoni Wings.)

INT: 1 (you might consider putting 18 or 36 in here for the PDM synergy later... only mad rumors exist of higher concentrations..)

VIT: everything else


Stuff. As for gear, a key question is whether you will be trying to maximize your critical damage or sonic wave auto attack damage. I'm candidly not sure yet which is the exp/hour optimal approach. I think either approach should be fine, though I'm riding mostly in the latter lane for now. So let's go with that as framing:




(Atta girl!)


The arsenal here, and possible alternatives:

- Weapon:

  • Well, there's no alternative here, per se: Oriental Sword is sine qua non for SWC. It not only boosts Sonic Wave damage, it triggers Sonic Wave on attack (level 10 no less, if you know it, which you do, right?), and at +9, triggers it often.  
  • But you'll want to go for at least +11 to get the indestructability perk - absolutely essential when using Turisus rune (which you must use for this build, and which has a small chance to break your weapon on attack) with a high ASPD. No, Oriental Sword isn't, so far as I know, enchantable. Much sad. But then, there's like 30 enchantment systems in iRO at this point (literally...) so maybe do your own homework on that aspect.
  • Bottom line: Oriental Sword - get it, upgrade it, and fill it with White Knight cards. Or whatever cards seem interesting/potent.
  • Ominous Assaulter (on sword) and Ominous Heater (on accessory) could be another good choice for extra critical damage. I saw a YouTube video where a guy running SWC slotted a Sidewinder card in his sword, but I don't think that makes sense on a long-term damage basis (if my abacus isn't lying to me, just +5%-ish damage as a long run average, for regular attacks only?), unless it's helping Sonic Wave to trigger significantly more often, which didn't seem to be the case based on his video. As always, Hunter Fly is an option for enhanced survivability, but I consider the opportunity cost of using that pretty severe; I think there are adequate and less dear ways to get leech (if not, necessarily, less dear financially speaking...). Drake or Turtle General could be awesome choices in AGH, but if you're customarily wearing that kind of bling, maybe just consider buying WarpPortal AND FORCING THEM TO FIX PHYSICAL RU... anyway...

- Top:

  • Black Ribbon boosts Sonic Wave damage by a chonky 50% and gives a bit of general ATK bonus. Nice. And you likely have one of these anyway! Consider carding this with Deviruchi unless you have blind immunity from some other source. Trust me - AGH has two monsters that can blind, which is a real PITA for SWC: blind won't do jack diddly to your crits, but it will effectively neuter your Sonic Wave auto attacks, which depend on HIT to connect (yes, even when auto-triggered). You'll probably also feel less piqued about putting a Deviruchi card in a Black Ribbon than in...
  • A highly-upgraded Old Rune Circlet, which also works very well in this slot. While it offers no specific benefit to your Sonic Wave auto attacks, it will help to keep your crits strong like bull! Notably, ORC also makes it much easier to hit 193 aspd without Asir (not a trivial advantage, especially if you decide to shortchange AGI). I like. Just not quite as much as I like Black Ribbon in this slot. For now. We'll see...

- Lower:

  • Miracle Blue Rose is this interesting but awkward little item that you, quite reasonably, may never have thought about until now. It gives a 5% chance to auto-cast aspersio on attack. Neat, right? But when would you ever attack fast enough, long enough to... oh right. Now you would. At 193 aspd, this little number will keep your politically-problematic sword blessed with God's personal stamp of approval, permanently. And since 3 out of AGH's 8 monsters are ever under the Good Lord's divine stink eye (Shadow or Undead), you'll be prepared to lay a stupendously sanctimonious smackdown on them. Holy endow won't do anything for the rest of AGH's monsters (who, uh, are presumptively also God's children, I guess? AWKWARD); but leveling is an averages game, and on that basis, Miracle Blue Rose seems like a good bet for best in slot.
  • If you can't or won't spring for Miracle Blue Rose, Mob Scarf (with Sunglasses on mid - a good place to stick that Deviruchi card, freeing up a top headgear card slot) remains a perfectly cromulent option.
  • Heart Card in Mouth also works for a cheap 5% crit damage bonus, and becomes actually somewhat interesting as a slot choice here when paired with Gambler's Seal on mid, particularly if you already have access to aspersio on support or via scrolls: Your aspd worries are over, you get a nice critical boost, and - look at that - a bit of actual mob management ability via splash damage on auto attacks. Spiffy... but, at least for solo play, I think not quite as spiffy as Miracle Blue Rose when paired with...

- Middle:

  • Little Garden seems like the way to go if you'll slot Miracle Blue Rose in lower. And maybe even if you won't. Particularly at high LUK levels, it gives very substantial bonuses to both base ATK and Critical Damage. It's just impossible to go wrong with this for SWC.
  • And don't ask about Seraphim Coronet - your Rune Knight has the INT of a nutrient-deprived lab axolotl, right? S/he probably couldn't figure out how to put the damned thing on. ... Or, maybe... if you signed your character up for that Rune Midgard Kaplan Review GED course and reset your INT... could it work?

At 175:

STR: 90

AGI: 72

INT: 120

LUK: 120

DEX: 42

VIT: 40 ( /swt )


Then maybe... mayyyybe... or maybe not. Anyway, feel free to give something like that a try with Seraphim Coronet, together with Seraphim Feather or, perhaps more pragmatically, Toy Syringe - with so little VIT, you're probably going to need a continuous drip flow IV of slim whites in your left arm in addition to the Turisus line going into your right... Asir Rune will also be visiting you every day in the critical care unit. Make sure to send home heart-warming recovery videos. Snark aside, +250 is admittedly one big fat Greek ATK bonus, MATK actually enhances Enchant Blade (one of your bread-and-butter buffs for SWC), and with your still-rather-high LUK, you'd be getting at least 90% physical def reduction from PDM and serious critical synergies from temporal gear. Jeez, I almost feel like I've talked myself into this... But I'll still feel free to laugh if you try it and face plant (remember that Santa's sleigh only holds so many free resets).

  • Incidentally, if you're willing to pass on temporal boot synergies and would like more stat flexibility, Diabolus Wings (with well-upgraded Diabolus Boots) present an interesting option: very healthy ATK and MATK boosts (+240 on both counts at +12 upgrade to the boots!) not tied to any particular stat allocation.  I think you would be taking a decided hit to your critical damage by going this route, though there is that synergy with Enchant Blade again... Certainly worth a test.
  • Guild mates have pointed out that the recent OCP item addition Wonder Egg Basket may well be worth a look here, depending on your pet predilection. Synergies with the Cat' O' Nine Tails Pet provide an eyebrow-raising +30% damage to "devils". Given that, by my count, 5 of the 8 regular monsters in AGI count as "demons" (that's, uh, the same thing as "devils", right?  Unless we're working on D&D mechanics here.. paging Gravity, Gygax and maybe Thomas Aquinas...), Wonder Egg Basket could be a sleeper hit for this slot, and it's quite likely you already have one if you participated in OCP 33.

- Body:

  • Abyss Dress appears to beat Abusive Robe in this slot (which remains a perfectly serviceable option, to be clear), even when the latter is augmented with good enchants. Its type bonuses and intrinsic element are just so well suited to AGH. It also prevents knockback, which the monsters in this map are wont to do. I think this is probably best in slot. Get, upgrade, wear, prosper.

- Garment / Boots:

  • Temporal Manteau / Temporal Boots [1] ... Neither of these are essential, but they work very well together here (especially if you'll use Temporal Ring as an accessory). If you've got the scratch to get good slotted Temporal LUK boots, it's a way to get some aspd enhancement and critical enhancement at the same time when paired with Temporal LUK Manteau. Thus far, I've used temporal LUK gear, as I think the bonuses to your ordinary crits these items provide with Temporal Ring are more consequential than what temporal STR gear does for Sonic Wave; temporal AGI gear is another option if you need additional support on the aspd front. Oh, and Oriental Sword has set bonuses with Ancient Hero Shoes (short duration buff-on-hit chance) which don't look terrible - or super compelling, frankly. But those kicks might be worth a ride.
  • Whatever garment you use, I think I'd recommend Petal card. With Parry active (remember that skill?) you shouldn't have much trouble tanking AGH's critters without a deviant garment. And for the record, I think Etran's Undershirt is total overkill on the def front for AGH.
  • Fallen Angel Wings are an interesting alternative choice for the garment; it's a bit like PDM for this slot, and certainly enables some beefy crit bonuses. I think I still prefer Temporal LUK Manteau due to the synergies it enables, but I plan to experiment with FAW further.
  • Phreeoni Wings, while definitely not a damage maximizing choice in the abstract, would be worth a look if you've really short-changed DEX early on (the whole Sonic Wave bit doesn't really bite if it never hits). Similarly Temporal DEX gear.
  • A garment to avoid: Battle Surcoat. It first blush, Battle Surcoat would seem like a terrific option for SWC (level 10 double attack!), but Raging Trifecta Blow has crashed the party like a drunk, 40 year old former frat boy at your fall rush event. Turn away quickly and pretend not to notice when it calls out to you.

- Accessories: There's so much you could do here.

  • For me, Temporal Ring seemed like a no-brainer given the other gear I've been using. If you're kickin' it with temporal boots, you can't go wrong taking advantage of the synergy with Lucky Day or Bear's Power.
  • Perverse Demon Mask is just awesome if you're going high LUK anyway: 90-100% DEF bypass as the door prize, with a bunch of other freebie stat boosts, comped? Sign me up.
  • Note that the classic crit build staple Luminous Blue Stone loses some of its luster in this application: Because Oriental Sword (currently) can't be Malangdo enchanted, there's no synergy with "Sharp" bonuses to boost its performance, and so it becomes a balanced, but somewhat mediocre, performance enhancer.
  • On the card front, Gold Scaraba remains a solid, and probably the default, choice, but there are other tacks you could take...
  • Note that if you get REALLY, REALLY pressed for aspd (what, did you put 1 in AGI or something??), GC109 could be a good option to card in one of your accessories (+3% aspd).
  • Are you that weird goth kid who made crosses out of popsicle sticks in kindergarten? Or just really keen on auto-casts? Screw the normies and slot Owl Marquees/Owl Viscount in your accessories! Auto Lord of Vermillion! ... whose damage will suck because your character also has the INT of a kindergartener (unless, wait... 120 INT... Seraphim Coronet... my god, you hipster monster!)! But hey, pretty lights, which will appeal to your inner kindergartener regardless - oh, and also +3% aspd (And Whirlwind. Neat.)
  • Similarly, Gazeti Card (5% chance of auto casting level 2 Cold Bolt).
  • Owl Baron and Owl Duke Card - golden oldies that may be worth another look.  The former gives you a 3% chance to auto-cast Lex Aeterna (double damage! ... but at a 3% rate, so... a ~3% effective physical damage increase?  Beats a kick in the shins.), the latter, Impositio Manus - and together, a 2% chance to auto-cast level 5 Lightning Bolt.
  • But anyway, just about anything, whether accessory or card, that boosts some combination of critical damage, base damage and aspd should work just fine. Verus Core might be worth a look if your Sonic Waves are having trouble connecting (what, did you ALSO put 1 in DEX or something?? Go beg Santa for total moral redemption in addition to a stat reset).

- Supporting Hotkey Items: Useful additions to your utility belt:

  • Kirin Horn (Level 6 Increase AGI - "it's not just for attack speed anymore! (tm"); faster movement speed is also very valuable when you're taking on monsters one at a time), or a less potent substitute (City Map) if you're tight (and if you're not yet, keep reading...)
  • Ring of Jupiter (Many Blessings upon you; also a viable main accessory option, but take note of the very different effects depending on which accessory slot it goes into...)
  • Something carded with Obeaune if you simply refuse to card a piece of headgear with Deviruchi.

- Shadow Equipment: Some interesting choices here.

  • Front and center is Rune Knight Shadow Weapon: at level +10, this provides another chonky +70% bonus to Sonic Wave damage (if you've stacked +12 Oriental Sword, Black Ribbon and this, you're up to +160% Sonic Wave damage now), which seems very hard to pass up if your purse hasn't started screaming for mercy yet.
  • Another interesting option is Rune Knight Shadow Shield, which synergizes with Rune Knight Shadow Weapon to enable auto Ignition Break on attack. Double your autocasts, double your fun? Well, auto-IB via Shadow Armor won't cast at the same rate as Sonic Wave via Oriental Sword, and probably won't have quite as much punch due to fewer synergies and a lower base level. Putting True Seyren Windsor cards on your weapon in lieu of direct damage boosting cards might seem kind of ingenious in this situation, but I suspect you'll ultimately find more in that "Tarnation, Lil' Johnny got through both locks and into the cupboard again and got stuck there - help, Paw!" kind of way befitting a precocious toddler, rather than being a genuinely smart move. Auto IB just doesn't activate often enough to justify the opportunity cost of losing those weapon card slots to boost its damage alone, in my estimation. But if you're wearing Black Ribbon or Old Rune Circlet, you're getting at least 30% boost to IB damage anyway (maybe 100% or more with ORC!), and it IS a source of extra damage, area of effect damage at that, at basically no cost to your primary gear slots. Equipping both Rune Knight Shadow Weapon and Shield is thus a very solid choice, and probably decisively the best... but for one serious downside:
  • Using Rune Knight Shadow Shield effectively precludes using the single best utility shadow set in the entire game: Malicious Set. At +30, Malicious Set gives, among other more marginal bonuses, a 28% chance of restoring 1% of HP when performing a physical attack (and that includes Sonic Wave). Particularly when combined with Succubus (more HP leech!) or Incubus (SP leech!) pet and Parry, this all but eliminates potting except in emergency situations where a Corrupted Wanderer manages to roast you with his own IB or multiple enraged Contaminated Raydrics decide to take out their other-worldly frustrations on you. So, equipping both Rune Knight Shadow Weapon and Shield is a very solid move, but understand what you're giving up by going that route.
  • Miscellaneous options: Physical Shadow Ring and Rapid Shadow Pendant (aspd % bonuses; you can equip both of these with Full Malicious Set and Rune Knight Shadow Weapon, incidentally). Really, anything that doesn't use up your shadow weapon slot (keep that for Rune Knight Shadow Weapon if at all possible) is gravy; take a gander at the iRO wiki page and pick something relevant, but don't obsess over this stuff. Rune Knight Shadow Weapon and maybe Malicious Set aside, the impact is going to be pretty marginal for your leveling.

- Pet Options: It's worth pulling up the whole iRO Wiki page for quick reference.

  • As noted, Succubus and Incubus (depending on whether your HP or SP is under more pressure) are each a natural and excellent complement to SWC. You will not go wrong having a cute demon tagging along at your side while you level with this build (but then, would you ever? I digress...). Anything else that offers leech or recovery-on-hit (Yao Jun, Moonlight Flower) will be similarly useful. But there are other interesting options here depending on your resources (as always...) and whimsy.
  • First up, Hodremlin. The application is obvious... or would be if you had any idea WTF I was talking about. So, right: Hodremlin, the evolved form of the Gremlin pet. Not ringing a bell? Here's a visual reference: It's that big, grinning gray scrotum you may have seen capering about Eden Group HQ recently. It's a virtual anomaly because it has been virtually impossible to acquire one of these uglies until relatively recently. The taming item for Gremlin, Air Ship Parts, drops from exactly ONE monster in the Airship Raid Instance at a low rate. You run that one daily, right? Right. Oh, and that tame? It has no confirmed success rate, but that rate is almost certainly below 10%. ... But on to why you might care anyway: Among other minor bonuses, this guy gives a beefy +9% to critical damage. And, while crit builds are still a bit of a hipster move, they're more relevant now, and so a few people have actually started farming this tame; yours, for a mere 100-200Mz a piece at going market rates (beats... unobtainable... I guess?). Hodremlin is certainly worth a look, but if it needs to be said: don't break the bank on getting one of these. While its bonus isn't trivial, there are much cheaper and easier ways to get crit damage. We're talking second (maybe third) helping of gravy here.
  • Also on the gravy train, Phreeoni: +18 HIT/+15 Perfect Hit. 'nuff said.
  • Little Isis gives a +4% ATK bonus for a bit of a boost to your regular attacks and Sonic Wave.
  • Earth Deleter: +3% aspd, +3 AGI - maybe worthwhile if it would nudge you over the edge to 193 aspd.
  • A particularly "interesting" choice: Evolved Diabolic: In addition to a grab bag of low percentage boosts to ATK, MATK, HP and SP, securing this guy's loyalty will cause you to auto-cast Fire Bolt Lv. 3 when attacking. A bit gimmicky to be sure, but hey, it's on brand, and may be worth a test if you've already got one (full admission: I do, but haven't actually tried it out yet), especially if for... whatever reason... you actually have significant INT (no kink shaming here).
  • I would tend to recommend against pets that merely boost crit rate rather than damage - crit rate probably won't be your issue with any set of gear you're likely to use. But, if it is, Choco, etc. would be an option.

- Costumes:

  • We're really getting in the weeds now, but I suspect most of these choices would be obvious.
  • +ATK % stones on upper, mid and lower costumes are a great fit for SWC ("collect all three and get a free additional 1% ATK!").
  • You could do much worse than putting an ASPD stone on your costume garment - that's good for a flat +1 aspd, not a mere percentage reduction to attack delay, like most "aspd" bonuses.  It's worth noting that this is quite the perk when you're struggling to reach the 193 aspd cap.  Because of how attack speed is calculated, each point becomes progressively more difficult to get, and so if you're on the bubble at 192 aspd, that last +1 from a costume garment ASPD Stone would be worth a large amount of AGI or attack delay % reduction.  And the fact that you can get this bonus affordably, with no impact to your primary gear selection? ::chef's kiss::
  • The exp boost of Costume Boy's Cap (for ballers) or Goggles, etc. (for paupers; are you one yet?) is, as ever, a pleasant perk, just understand that the boost is additive, not multiplicative, and so becomes relatively less significant the higher the base server rate and any other exp buffs you use.

- ...and one more thing - Peuz Set:

  • I suppose can't omit a gear set that advertises boosting Sonic Wave damage by 100%. But to cut to the chase: This set didn't get marquee billing because its Sonic Wave bonus and other perks are going to be severely pressed to make up for the substantial deficit to critical damage that you'll likely incur by using the fully assembled set.
  • The good: While the individual characteristics of this set's items aren't very potent, their synergies are often compelling. Take a gander at the set, and Storm Stone as well, which is another source of synergies with Peuz set gear.
  • Back with us?  I'm sure the aforementioned Sonic Wave buff, aspd boost, Spear Dynamo activation, general damage bonus and auto-casting of Storm Blast (!) caught your eye.  And this set had better have some substantial perks: While our Sonic Wave's damage would be getting a mighty ~260% boost with +12 Oriental Sword, +10 Rune Knight Shadow Weapon and +9 Black Ribbon, we've paid a handsome price for that buff, losing four of our primary armor slots to mediocre gear, including garment and boots - prime sources of enhanced damage. It's just too much.
  • I'll note Peuz Set is usually dirt cheap, so there's no reason not to experiment.  And for a cash-strapped player, Peuz set may offer a workable "starter set"; just don't expect to assemble this gear, put your pinkie to your lips Dr. Evil style, and cackle while you gloat over the success of your brilliant scheme to beat the system.
  • (Side bar: whatever your opinion of Peuz set, don't totally discount Storm Stone - it has important synergies with Wind Cutter, which has a decent chance of becoming the Last Best Hope for Physical RKs seeking to level in Nogg 3).


How to Actually Play This Thing:

Oh, right. Playing. ... Well, honestly, you shouldn't need much hand holding here. You take your Abyss Glast Heim quests from the sketchy, vaguely sexually-suggestive wizard who offers them ("A trip into an unexplored dimensional time crack to hunt nightmarish revenants? Well, if it's for science, bae...") and take the plunge into Abyss Glast Heim. You buff yourself. You run up to medium (sigh...) sized monsters. You chop them down mercilessly, one at a time. Grin stupidly when Sonic Wave lets off a particularly meaty blast. Rebuff. Stalk more prey. Now, FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!

That said, a few finer points:


- Beg, borrow, buy or steal your way into a Beelzebub or mistress wing. At least initially, you probably won't want to tangle with Corrupted Wanderers or Stings (especially the latter - AGI Down is a real annoyance for anyone; the former are a mortal threat if you have relatively low HP, which is a strong likelihood on this build for your first few levels post 175), and you need to find solo or small groups of monsters quickly to keep your exp/hour up. You'll be doing a goodly amount of warping.

- Configure your hotkeys for efficiency. You need to be at 193 aspd at all times, and should be keeping your ATK up besides - we're soloing monsters here, and so each needs to be sent for its dirt nap fast with minimal downtime between grave filling engagements. This means juggling a fair number of buffs and consumables. Aura Blade, Enchant Blade, Clashing Spiral, Parry and Magnum Break (see below) are top candidates for your "home row". If you're using Kirin Horn for Increase Agility and/or Ring of Jupiter for Blessings, keep in mind that you'll want want the ability to swap these accessories in, access their buffs, and swap them out, efficiently. Your most important consumables should be similarly accessible: Turisus runes are another prime contender for your home hotkey row. Berserk Potions last 30 minutes and may not warrant an assigned hotkey; for the ballers who use these, the same goes for Citizen Oda's Miracle Elixir with its 60 minute duration (there's also the risk of fat fingering an accidental injection of several million zeny in consumables); but Enrich Celermine Juice, Savage BBQ, and Donuts are good candidates for a key. Getting comfortable with AutoHotKey might pay dividends here; you can, for instance, use it (permissibly) to trigger ensembles of buffs with the same duration.

- Don’t forget about Magnum Break’s hidden ATK buff. It’s short (only 10 seconds), but surprisingly sweet - a 20% pseudo-elemental fire damage buff to all of your physical attacks. I recommend a convenient hot key assignment and trying to pop off a blast right before every battle (no need to worry about it making contact with anything; it’s the buff, not the boom, we care about here).

- Keep some Ygg berries or seeds on hotkey. You will eventually get burned - literally - by a Corrupted Wanderer or made into a pinata by a posse of pissed-off Raydrics. At that point, it's either warp off and mend your wounds with more mundane meliorables (an admittedly awful application of alliteration, but not necessarily the worst tactical option) or hit the emergency berry button, stat. And sometimes, man, you want to make a point to these punks. Just who do they think's walkin' 'ere, you feelin' me?

- You're thinking about it. I know your are. Frenzy. It's been sitting up there in the right hand corner of your skill bar for all these months... years? If not now, WHEN? And sure, the idea makes a certain sense. Why not - go ahead, satisfy your curiosity. It IS doable...ish, particularly if you're willing to micromanage a death race between exquisitely-timed logouts and the guttering candle flame of your rapidly-depleting life bar... and then immediately chug even more consumables when you log back in with virtually no HP or SP (you did remember not to die, right?). But really, prepare to be underwhelmed. Frenzy's aspd bonus should be basically moot, and its ATK bonus probably isn't going to work quite how you expect. Given your already (hopefully) massive stack of equipment and consumable buffs, you won't be doing three times the damage or anything like that by activating frenzy. It's impact is apt to be way more marginal. I've tried it, and ultimately I just don't find it a practical way to play with this build. But who knows, give it a try, maybe you can see the Matrix and make it work.

- SP shouldn't be much of a problem, particularly if you monitor your buff durations and don't spam rebuffs like a spaz, but unless you ride with an Incubus in the saddle (so to speak...), have some other SP leech gear, or actually use that uber-crazy high INT variant build, do expect a gradual SP drain. Have something or other handy to top your SP bar off again once you bottom out.

- Ghosts are great leech cows, if you're getting a bit low on HP and playing with leech gear, know that Flame and Ice ghosts are pretty weak not withstanding their substantial HP. These guys can be a safe and quick way to refill your tank.

Well, that's it for now. More if anything that seems useful comes to me.

Long story short: Sonic Wave Crit... it's certainly... a thing. Maybe a thing for you. And, while it's hard to recommend a consumable heavy, frenetically aggressive, and frankly gonzo build like this unreservedly... you are, after all, already a Physical Rune Knight, right? Yeeeeeaaaahh!  And in the words of the immortal Hunter S. Thompson: I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.

Good luck.


Coda: SWC vs Pure Crit / Lindy Hop - The Weeds

  • Laying financial considerations aside, and assuming nearly ideal optimization, the jury is still out on whether SWC edges out pure crit with Lindy Hop for leveling purposes.
  • My impression (which I do not yet fully trust) is that in terms of sheer raw damage output, SWC might barely beat pure crit / Lindy over time.  But I've tried timing monster kills and averaging them out using each play style and, honestly, there's still enough variance to hide a decisive result.  They're that close. Lindy might win in the end. Note that if Oriental Sword becomes enchantable, or we gain access to Patent Oriental Sword, its baseline critical damage will increase, and the relative performance of the two weapons would have to be re-assessed.   
  • If you're building a physical RK from scratch and facing a limited budget, Oriental Sword has a clear price/performance advantage: it's significantly cheaper than Lindy Hop. But you have a well-geared crit RK already, don't feel compelled to pick up Oriental Sword just for leveling purposes.  Lindy will get the job done.
  • In Lindy Hop's clear favor: Particularly when paired with Old Rune Circlet and Immortal Dog Tag, Lindy Hop produces significantly stronger critical hits than Oriental Sword - up to roughly a third or so stronger depending on the particulars of your loadout. Achieving 193 aspd is also significantly easier when using Lindy Hop because of its intrinsic aspd bonus, which may give you more gear and stat flexibility.
  • When using Crush Strike / Rhydo Rune (not so relevant for leveling but definitely in an MVP relevant context), Lindy decisively wins, at least at the outset of the fight: Sonic Wave cannot benefit from Double Attack or Turisus rune's occasional 2x damage multiplier (it will benefit from Turisus's STR and ATK buff, of course) and so Lindy Hop will almost inevitably produce a much stronger Crush Strike than Oriental Sword.  Lindy also benefits from very strong synergies with Immortal Dog Tag. It would be possible to attack MVPs with a hybrid approach using gear swap: activate Crush Strike with Lindy and then switch to Oriental Sword to finish the fight, but this would require some rebuffing, and it's far from clear that any advantage gained would be worth the trouble.
  • There is a technical argument that when raw damage per second between two offensive approaches is very close, the better offense is the one that produces a finer-grained damage stream due to the inevitable phenomenon of "overkill" or "wasted damage": in the last hit that you deal to a monster, every bit of damage that exceeds its remaining HP is, in a sense, wasted.  When Sonic Wave triggers at the end of a fight, it might amount to hundreds of thousands in overkill damage.  Lindy/Pure crit would appear to have an advantage in this regard, because it derives less of its total damage from "big wallops" like a Sonic Wave autocasts. However, the practical impact of this factor is blunted because 1) SWC's regular crits deal less damage those of a pure crit build with Lindy and 2) if Sonic Wave triggers on the last hit, it means that Turisus Rune's damage multiplier (another prime, if less substantial, source of wasted damage) didn't trigger.  There's probably bit of a disadvantage here for SWC but I think it's pretty modest.
  • Moreover, while overkill damage is "wasted" in the sense of, well, killing, it isn't wasted for leech - which (at least so far as I understand it) is based on the raw damage of your attack (what you see on the screen) not how much HP your target actually loses.
  • And of course, what Lindy Hop won't give you is the chance of getting one of those beefy 400k wallops every time you pull the slot lever attack. 
  • All in all, SWC's most significant differentiator is in how it feels to play vs pure crit with Lindy Hop.  Lindy produces a steady flow of very good critical damage; SWC is a rollercoaster from baseline to BOOM every time Sonic Wave activates.  Long run performance considerations aside, SWC gives you more of a dopamine kick - it feels more exciting (to me, anyway). Sometimes you kill a monster marginally more slowly than you would if you'd be smacking it with Lindy Hop... and sometimes you'll RIP AND TEAR
  • So while SWC might have an edge over pure crit with Lindy Hop in utilitarian leveling, this is going to be very gear and context dependent.  Ultimately, if both setups are an option, you should just try and stick with whichever you enjoy using more. 


Edit 1/27/22: DEX reco typo correction - should've been 54, not 56; reference under Stats "[Temporal] STR or AGI boots" should've been to "STR or LUK" boots; added notes about Wonder Egg Basket, Diabolus Wing; a little extra color on costume garment aspd stones, key buffs and hot keys; reference to Sidewinder and Owl Baron's effective damage boost should've been "5%" and "3%" respectively; oh, and added an intro item about damage numbers - that's probably important, right? Misc. typo fixes. 1/30/22: Notes about Lindy/Crit vs SWC, Peuz set, Luminous Blue Stone; corrected typo on Rune Knight Shadow Weapon Sonic Wave buff (should've been 70% at +10)

Edited by INREM, 30 January 2022 - 02:23 PM.

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#2 VModIceCreamCake


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Posted 27 January 2022 - 03:04 AM

Not sure what I just read but I got a few chuckles while scaling that wall of text. Thanks for sharing your guide!

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#3 kinkthecat


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Posted 27 January 2022 - 04:05 PM

I almost certainly met you yesterday and grinded with you :P I love this build btw, I played agi crit RK to lvl 150 originally like 7 years ago, fun build lol.

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