So a few days ago I wrote a scathing op-ed about Survival builds being utter and complete trash in Dead Cells (https://steemit.com/sportstalk/@reverendrum/dead-cells-why-survival-builds-are-trash). And while I stand by my original assertion (Survival is indeed true garbage), I feel I need to recant what I said about shields. Shields are not at all as bad as I originally thought, and I’m now always grabbing a shield in every run I do moving forward. I’ll explain why:
Blocking damage: Shields block damage, because of course. Something I didn’t realize about shields is that they have a passive damage reduction IN ADDITION TO their active block move. This means that if you inadvertently take damage, either by a poorly timed dodge or not seeing an errant projectile from those annoying magic snipers or mushroom jerks in the Ancient Sewers, you’re taking significantly less damage. Because it’s passive, it’ll just work even when you’re not paying attention. Damage will still add up quickly and you’ll want to eliminate the threat immediately or retreat to cover, but that extra little ability is really nice.
Parrying: The 12 frame parry window is actually a lot more lenient than I originally thought. Now I don’t know if it’s because I’ve just gotten better at the game, if my reflexes have improved, or if it’s actually just easier than I expected. That said, parrying really isn’t hard. I’d still rather dodge attacks, but every now and then it’s the right option, like if dodging would roll you into spikes or something. It’s hard to explain, and you’ll need to give it a few attempts to really know what I’m talking about. Regardless, more options is never a bad thing, and when those options mean negating all damage and even reflecting projectiles, I won’t complain.
Combo: Shields are the perfect compliment to every build. Do you really need two bows? Probably not. A bow + sword isn’t bad, but anything + a shield is the best. Now you can focus on a single weapon and reap the benefits of the shield’s passive damage reduction (plus the benefit of full damage parries). No idea why I used to think two different bows was a good idea, what a silly notion. My ideal loadout is now an Endless Bow, a shield, and two turrets.
Any Shield Will Do: It doesn’t matter which shield I grab, because I only care about the passive bonus. That means that I don’t need to bother unlocking new shields by finding blueprints and spending hard earned cells when I could spend it on more health potions or a good bow. No more resetting the run because the random shield the game offered wasn’t good. The type of shield doesn’t matter, only that it’s a shield at all.
Survival is trash: Like I said earlier, Survival still sucks. The thing is, you don’t need it! There’s no need to level up your Survival if you have a backup shield, because it’s your backup and nothing else! From my understanding, the damage reduction doesn’t scale with your Survival stat, so you don’t need to bother wasting level-up scrolls on it. Keep building Tactics while you enjoy the shield’s benefits with no investment necessary.
Again, this doesn’t make Survival builds any better. In fact, after learning more about shields, my opinion of Survival builds somehow was lowered further. Shields, however, are amazing. I like the Endless Bow plus any shield. That gives me range with unlimited arrows, plus the shield bonus.
By the way, I finally made it to The Giant! Lasted a whole 30 seconds or so. Not bad for something that took 40 minutes to reach… It was a really cool fight, though. Can’t wait to challenge him again.
Sources: gamepedia, Steam Store