Darkest Dungeon: Occultist - Skill Guide
Darkest Dungeon is a pretty tough game the first time you jump into it. Characters will die, you'll struggle to keep your party sane, and it can be overwhelming at first glance to choose who to take on your next quest.
This guides are designed to help with that. Each instalment focuses on a character class, discusses each of their skills, and gives you a general build or two to try out.
Note these aren't intended to be “perfect”, optimum guides but more of a roadmap for the newer player who wants some help getting their head around things. Please leave a comment if you feel anything has been left out so that we can all benefit from it.
It's also worth noting that Darkest Dungeon has undergone repeated alterations and tweaks to class skills as it has been developed. Therefore, whilst these guides will strive to be as accurate as possible, by the time you are reading them, all of the information may not be 100% correct, so always double check with your game in case skill properties have been altered in some way.
The Occultist is a long-range character that plays a supporting role during combat through a variety of means. The biggest draw for the character is that he comes with the best single-target healing spell in the game, and is able to compliment this with a number of long-range moves that move, debuff and generally harass the enemy, all whilst the Occultist is (hopefully) safe in the back ranks.
The character also benefits from a bonus to damage when fighting Eldritch enemies, which means he's of particularly good use when adventuring in the Cove. Perhaps the biggest draw of the character is his overall versatility. Like the best supporting characters in the game, he's a team player, and is designed to enhance whichever party configuration he is working with.
Position: 1st, 2nd or 3rd rank
Target: 1st or 2nd or 3rd rank
Whilst damage dealing is not exactly the Occultist forte, the fact that he possesses an attack move that not only gets a bonus against an enemy type (Eldritch), but can be used three ranks back, and hits three ranks, is nothing to be sniffed at. The move also comes with a potent 10% critical hit modifier as well.
Overall, the Occultist is probably going to be busy taking other skills most of the time, however, if you feel like your team is lacking a little oomph, especially when exploring the Cove, you could do a lot worse than equipping this skill.
Position: 3rd or 4th rank
Target: 3rd and 4th rank
This is perhaps the more conventional offensive skill to equip the Occultist with. Abyssal Artillery does possess a -25% damage modifier, but the fact that it hits both back rank units simultaneously (and still keeps the Eldritch damage bonus) means that it's perfect for picking off the supporting units in the enemy ranks when the Occultist has nothing better to do.
A damage debuff that can hit anywhere and still does minor damage. Weakening Curse is certainly a skill that can be put to good use, however, in most regular fights you'll likely find you're killing the opponent so fast that this skill has little benefit.
A better use is to have this upgraded and saved for boss encounters. The fact that it can hit anywhere, and the Occultist can be in any position makes it very flexible. Fully upgraded, Weakening Curse inflicts a -40% damage debuff on the target, which will increase your survivability against the game's worst heavy hitters.
Position: 3rd or 4th rank
This is the skill that you'll want to have on the Occultist at all times, Wyrd Reconstruction is the strongest single-target healing skill in the game, capable of healing up to 12 points of damage before it's even upgraded. The two downsides are that, firstly, it has rather high variance and can potentially heal no damage when used. Secondly, the skill triggers a bleed check on the target, which is especially frustrating if the skill didn't heal much damage.
When tallied up, the pros still outweigh the cons. The fact that Wyrd Reconstruction can potentially remove so much damage in a single turn compliments the Occultist's other support abilities, allowing him to spend less time healing and more time harassing the enemy.
Upgrade this as soon as possible. Whilst the skill never guarantees healing (there's always the risk of getting nothing, regardless of level), when fully upgraded, Wyrd Reconstruction can potentially heal up to twenty points of damage in one turn.
The debuff of choice for when the Occultist is taken on marking teams. Vulnerability Hex does very little damage (-90% damage modifier) but marks the target and inflicts a hefty dodge debuff.
Debuffing the enemy's dodge stat is never the most powerful thing you could be doing, but, provided you can capitalize on the marking status, the synergy it creates can make the skill much more powerful than it initially appears on paper. The Highwayman, Arbalest and Bounty Hunter are all units that can make use of the mark status effect to deal extra damage.
Usually it's much easier for a support-oriented unit like the Occultist to make room for a move like this than more aggressive characters like the Bounty Hunter. As is usually the case for the Occultist, he's typically able to customize his skill set to the party he's travelling with, improving the performance of all your characters.
Hands from the Abyss
Position: 1st or 2nd rank
Target: 1st, 2nd or 3rd rank
A stun skill is usually ideal for a unit designed to support the party. However, Hands from the Abyss comes with the annoying stipulation that the Occultist must been in one of the front two ranks.
This wouldn't be so bad but by having your Occultist up close that's typically going to result in fewer meaty high-damage characters that you'll have at your disposal. Furthermore, the character's meagre HP stat doesn't make standing up to lots of attacks all that appealing. Whilst Hands from the Abyss is by no means a bad skill, it's perhaps one that's best to avoid and instead have the Occultist do what he does best from long range.
Position: 2nd, 3rd or 4th rank
Target: 3rd or 4th rank
Daemon's Pull is a great compliment to the Occultist's range of abilities and allows him to further harass the back ranks of the enemy lines by pulling them forward into the range of your close combat specialists.
The fact that it clears corpses is another bonus too, ensuring that the rest of your team has something good to fight. Movement is such an underrated element of strategy in Darkest Dungeon that any skill that messes with it shouldn't be quickly overlooked.
Here's a build to get you started with the Occultist:
- Abyssal Artillery
- Wyrd Reconstruction
- Daemon's Pull
- Vulnerability Hex/Weakening Curse/Sacrificial Stab
The Occultist is the kind of class that's spoilt for choice when it comes to a good set-up. Practically every skill in his arsenal is viable so it can be difficult to choose what to take and what to leave behind.
At its core, the character's game plan should be built around healing injured characters first, and then bringing vulnerable targets to the fore with Daemon's Pull or picking them off with Abyssal Artillery. It's always worth assessing what will get you the biggest advantage each turn when deciding between Abyssal Artillery or Daemon's Pull. As a general rule of thumb, if you can easily kill using the artillery, go with that option first.
The final slot in the build can be filled with whatever you think is best. Definitely, go for Vulnerability Hex if you have even one character that can benefit from it. The damage boost it gives to the Bounty Hunter's Collect Bounty, for example, is simply too good to pass up.
However, if you're facing off against a boss, or are dealing with Eldritch monsters on a regular basis, then Weakening Curse and Sacrificial Stab are certainly worth taking along inside. Experiment with using different characters with the Occultist and see what works best for you here.
Overall, the Occultist highlights how being versatile can get you far in this game. He simply has no duds in his skill list, and it's simply a case of identifying what works best with your party formation. As long as you back him up with a damage dealer or two, he'll go far.