**Currently still working on ironing this out, although it's mostly complete for now. Mostly straight ripped off my Evie guide to write this.**
Since information on Cestus Karok doesn't seem to be in abundance, this guide will help to tell you (at least mostly) all of what you need to know about Cestus Karok.
Throughout this guide I will refer to the Weaving dodge (spacebar) as simply Weaving, and any other methods of obtaining Weaving frames will be called by their command inputs/skill names.
Feel free to post any comments, criticisms or suggestions about the guide.
Table of contents:
Stats and How They Effect Karok
Summary of Active Skills
Skill Ranking Priority
Transformations and You
Enchant Scroll Suggestions
Scroll Drop Locations
Maximizing Damage Output
Stats and How They Effect Karok
Going down the list in the Character Window:
STR: Increases ATT, your main offensive stat, and lifting power for objects
AGI: Increases DEF, at a rate of 1 DEF per 2 AGI
INT: Effects Meditation, and that's about it
WIL: Increases the chance of Life Flare, landing critical hits, critical hit damage and Standing Endurance procing.
LUK: Gives you the chance of obtaining a white core. White cores randomly drop off of monsters whenever they drop regular evil cores (including some, if not all, breakoff points). At 100 LUK, you don't have a chance to gain white cores.
BAL: The range of how much damage your attacks will deal. For simplicity's sake, a balance of 80 means you will do anywhere from 80% to 100% of your maximum damage with each hit.
ATT SPD: Attack speed. Decreases the amount of time it takes to do most attacks (Big Bang Attack is seemingly not effected).
HP: Your hit point amount. When this reaches 0, your character dies.
Stamina: Your stamina. As you run, perform smashes, blasts and Weaving, you will lose stamina.
ATT: Physical attack. Karok's primary offensive stat.
MATT: Magical attack. Useless for Karok.
DEF: Your defense. Reduces damage taken when hit.
Critical: Your chance to land a critical hit.
Crit resist: Decreases the chance of enemies critical hitting you.
Summary of Active Skills
(for a full listing of skills and their descriptions and AP costs, check VindictusDB)
Big Bang Attack - Karok launches a giant explosion from his blaster after a fairly long charge time. If Karok has any blast gauges, they will be consumed when Big Bang explodes regardless of whether or not the attack hits an enemy. Higher levels of blaster gauge boost the damage dealt by Big Bang Attack.
Blast Mastery - Karok aims his blaster and causes an explosion in front of his blaster. Can be activated after any smash by pressing E after a smash, or after a Weave Attack if Weave Attack is rank C.
Blast: Crushing Strike - A buff that increases ATT. Activated when Karok's blaster is red (stage 2) and a target is hit with a Blast attack.
Blast: Destroyer - A buff that guarantees a critical hits, even if Karok is under the Dullness effect. Activated when Karok's blaster is blue (stage 3) and a target is hit with a Blast attack.
Blast: Terror Rush - A buff that increases attack speed. Activated when Karok's blaster is green (stage 1) and a target is hit with a Blast attack.
Boss Bash - Allows Karok to grapple bosses. Activated by pressing the E button against a downed boss.
Clash - Karok's signature move that allows him to face-off against a boss in a contest of strength. Activated by pressing E against certain attacks. You can tell if you can Clash an attack if a keyboard button labeled E floats around a boss' attack. Takes a bit of timing to do right. Once in a Clash, you can win by rapidly pressing E, or either attack button.
Power Grab - Allows Karok to grab certain enemies that other character's can't (Hemdrills, spiders, etc). Activated the same way regular throws are, by pressing E when near an enemy.
Weaving - Karok's primary defensive manuever. Similar to Absorb Shock, when Karok is struck while in a Weave frame, he will freeze from the hit, but unlike Absorb Shock, Karok takes absolutely no damage. Weaving is important for activating other specific skills. The easiest way to Weave is by pressing Spacebar/dodge. There are also Weave frames in Karok's first normal, sprint smash and Big Bang Attack. There are supposedly Weave frames in the 2nd and 3rd normals, but I've yet to pull that off.
Weaving Attack - Allows you to perform a smash attack after weaving by pressing the smash key. At rank C, you can continue your combo by pressing the normal attack key after the smash, and at rank A you can perform a Blast immediately after the initial Weave Attack.
SP: Gigantic Strength - Karok yells and activates all 3 of his Blast buffs (at the ranks you have them currently at), and also gains a damage reduction buff and 3 blaster gauges. Karok is not invincible while activating this. Consumes 2 SP bars.
SP: Howl - Karok yells and negates a debuff currently on him, and also gains an HP-regenning one. Consumes 1 SP bar.
SP: Hulking Fury - Once activated, Karok briefly winds up a punch and charges forward with enough force to guarantee a flinch hit on (mostly) every boss. After the first blow, if you press Smash continuously, Karok will continue doing an attack for up to 9 more hits. When winding up the initial punch, Karok is not invincible, but he does have Weaving frames (you can get a blaster gauge from this), but for the combo, he is invincible. Consumes 2 SP bars.
Skill Level Priority
This section is broken up into several different levels of priority. High priority overrides medium, which overrides low. Auxiliary priority is basically just a handful of skills that you can rank whenever, but they're either lower than low priority, or on a case-by-case basis and you may want to rank them sooner than say, low priority skills. Survivability priority skills should be obtained whenever you feel like you're dying or in near death scenarios far too often.
If a skill is not listed, that means it's essentially useless for Cestus Karok (Dropkick, Grizzly Uppercut, etc). Cestus Mastery is not listed since you should only rank that skill as you need it to equip higher level Cesti.
This section assumes everything is available at once, which is obviously not always the case, so if a skill is not available to you at your level/maxed for your current level, just go down the list until you see one you can rank.
Skills are listed in order of descending priority (with respect to their own tier).
Click on skill names to see their in-game description.
Battle Respiration (rA)
Stamina Mastery (rD)
Standing Endurance (r9)
Cestus Karok eats up stamina extremely fast, so it'd be best to keep maxing Battle Respiration whenever the opportunity arrives. Similarly, getting Stamina Mastery to rD early on is a good idea since it's fairly cheap to get it there and it's a free 10 stamina to add to your bursts. Past D, you really shouldn't get Stamina Mastery until you don't have much else to get.
Smash Mastery and Weaving Attack re pretty much your primary ways of passively increasing damage, since Cestus Karok doesn't get any smash-specific skills for any of his attacks unlike most of the other melee characters. I would get Weave Attack to at least rC before spending more points into Smash Mastery due to the fact that rC of Weave Attack lets you pull out combos more quickly, and it's also fairly inexpensive to rank. Critical Hit is also important to rank, since Blast: Destroyer guarantees critical hits, but it's fairly expensive to level while other skills that can increase DPS could use that AP.
Standing Endurance is a good skill, if only because it lets you instantly get up after getting knocked down at the cost of 20 stamina. Some people don't seem to like it because the animation for it seems to get them killed, but I don't mind it too much. Make sure you get it to r9 for the instant-roll.
Blast: Crushing Strike
Blast: Terror Rush
Strength Mastery (rA)
Blast: Crushing Strike and Blast: Terror are Karok's major assets that sets him apart from other melee classes. They're both extremely good buffs (+1200 ATT and +10% ATT SPD at rank A for both skills) and they're easy to keep up. They also actually have good payoffs for ranking them, as opposed to Destroyer which really only gets a good boost at rank A (3 critical hits as opposed to 2). I'd rank these pretty early, at least to rank C or B, so that you can keep them up longer without only focusing on getting your buffs out. You can level these two interchangeably, I wouldn't strictly say one is better than the other.
Critical Hit originally was in High priority when I was making these lists up, but for the cost of ranking it, it was demoted all the way down to here. It's still a solid skill to rank, though.
Strength, Blast and Combat Mastery are all good skills, and I lean towards Strength when it comes to these three just because it increases damage on everything. Although Strength Mastery is passive and essentially does what Crushing Strike does, except for free, Crushing Strike adds more ATT per AP spent. Blast Mastery is pretty low down the list, mostly because spamming blasts can drain stamina quickly, plus it can get you killed due to its delay (it certainly kills me sometimes). And don't knock Combat Mastery, because Karok's normals are all actually fairly strong.
SP: Hulking Fury
Big Bang Attack
SP: Gigantic Strength
SP: Hulking Fury is this far low because Karok doesn't really have any good ways to build SP unlike most other classes. His best bet for SP gain is spamming LLLLR, and, when possible, adding Blast: Destroyer's buff to the mix for more SP from that last smash. Speaking of Blast: Destroyer, it's pretty much the worst of the three blast buff skills to rank, not because its effect sucks (which it doesn't), but because you don't get much out of it until you get it to rank A, which is why it's so low.
Grapple Mastery and Boss Bash are pretty eh skills for a Karok to rank, mostly because you won't be using them too often except for kicks really. Although they're most certainly more used than Big Bang Attack, which has far too long of a cast time and does not do enough damage for the risks of using it.
As for SP: Gigantic Strength, I really don't like it at all. It does something that you can do free of SP charge extremely easy, and the damage reduction buff isn't worth it at all because of how easy it is to dodge (and how short the buff is).
Secondary Weapon Proficiency
Stamina Mastery (rC+)
Clash is a fun skill to use, but aside from when you're in a party, it's not really that great of a skill. You certainly won't be leveling it for damage (it's pretty weak for how hard it can be to pull off sometimes), so you're mainly ranking it for being able to Clash for longer. You can skip this for awhile if you're soloing most things, or aren't good at getting Clash off.
Willpower Mastery is good because it augments your critical abilities, and gives you added survivability because it adds to Standing Endurance and Life Flare.
Weaving isn't worth ranking past rC for awhile, since all it does is add to the amount of time you can keep your blaster gauges without weaving.
Secondary Weapon Proficiency is mostly a novelty, since you don't really need any of the extra secondary weapon choices. The title you recieve for unlocking rC of this skill is pretty good though, as it adds 12 STR and 12 INT, although not worth sinking all that AP into this skill just for that title.
As said before, Stamina Mastery past rD isn't really that great, and I would only get it if you don't have much else to rank. Agility Mastery is kind of similar, since you won't really notice the difference in stamina regen from ranking this, and the DEF gain isn't large either. SP: Howl is mostly a novelty skill, unless you do Hero a lot, where SP is more than abundant, or perhaps Klaus/Weeping Queen.
HP Potion Proficiency
Plate Armor Proficiency
Heavy Armor Proficiency
Light Armor Proficiency
HP Potion Proficiency is a solid skill, since it cuts down on money spent on pots, and also shortens the amount of time you're standing off to the side potting.
Life Flare is a pretty tricky skill to consider when it comes to survivability, since it's not a guaranteed thing. I'd certainly rank it if you're not going to get lots of defensive gear any time soon, but other than that, if you have it at rank A or 9, or around there, I'd aim for Defense Mastery or the armor proficiencies. I'd get Defense Mastery before the proficiencies though, because it works regardless of what gear you're wearing, and it's overall cheaper to level for its payoff, especially if you're wearing a mixed set.
Campfire is really only good if you're either soloing a lot against harder bosses, or your parties never have someone with a camp. Otherwise I'd gloss over it.
Health Mastery isn't really worth ranking until later levels, since ranking it from F to 6 is only an increase of 210 HP, which won't save you that often.
Transformations and You
In here, I'll briefly discuss the major differences in trans, and sum it all up with what path you should go on your Karok.
Click on the skill names to see their in-game description.
Stage 1 differences:
Grace: DEF vs Revelation: ATT
Revelation: ATT has a hidden BAL bonus that is not listed in-game. I'm not sure if level 1 Revelation: ATT adds BAL or not, however, the numbers for level 2 and 3 are correct.Code:Grace: DEF Revelation: ATT Level 1: +250 DEF +500 ATT/MATT Level 2: +500 DEF +1000 ATT/MATT, +2 BAL Level 3: +750 DEF +1500 ATT/MATT, +4 BAL
I'd say Revelation: ATT is the winner here, since it's not too hard to dodge most things, and the +HP skill alongside the boost to stats from either trans ought to be enough of a safety net to keep you alive.
Grasp vs. Steal
Between these two, Steal is the better choice since it can add to your ATT on top of what you normally get, and the damage from both skills isn't significant enough to care about. You won't want to put too many points into this though since even just level 1 of either can get the job done.Code:Grasp Steal Level 1: +5% projectile damage Absorbs 5% HP Level 2: +10% projectile damage Absorbs 10% HP Level 3: +15% projectile damage Absorbs 15% HP Level 4: +20% projectile damage Absorbs 20% HP Level 5: +25% projectile damage Absorbs 25% HP
Grace: Aura vs. Revelation: Aura
For the Paladin's Aura, 5 SP every 3 seconds amounts to 200 SP, or just a under 1 bar of SP without taking into account Fatigue and Vigor. For reference, the entire SP gauge is 1,000 SP. With Fatigue and Vigor, you get roughly 190 (first stage) + 280 (second stage), so a total of 470 SP, or almost 1/2 of your bar, which is a pretty decent deal.Code:Grace Revelation Level 1: Generates 1 SP every 3 seconds +30 maximum Stamina Level 2: Generates 2 SP every 3 seconds +60 maximum Stamina Level 3: Generates 3 SP every 3 seconds +90 maximum Stamina Level 4: Generates 4 SP every 3 seconds +120 maximum Stamina Level 5: Generates 5 SP every 3 seconds +150 maximum Stamina
Also of importance is the fact that Revelation: Aura only increases the max amount of Stamina for allies; it does not generate that much stamina when an ally receives the buff (so if a character has 100 stamina and receives +150 stamina, he will still be at 100 stamina) or increase regeneration. Also, when the 15 seconds are up for any ally, the skill does not get immediately rebuffed, but instead, the character will lose the extra stamina, and then receive the buff again, and will have to regenerate that extra stamina again. One last thing of importance is that staff Evie stamina regeneration is fairly poor, so if you do get Revelation: Aura maxed, then it will take you around 7~8 seconds to fully regenerate your stamina from 0.
That being said, I'd go for Revelation: Aura in this case because that +150 stamina is a great blessing to the Cestus.
Petrification vs. Slowdown
Petrification will completely immobilize an enemy, while Slowdown will only slow down an enemy. Both skills only work against regular mobs (ie: no bosses or mini-bosses). Petrification is the clear winner here.
Stage 2 differences:
Grace: Perseverance vs. Revelation: Fury
Dark Knights get a slightly buffed up version of their Revelation: ATT skill, while Paladin's get a carbon copy of their Grace: DEF skill. I'd opt for Revelation: Fury here, since the +6 BAL compacted on to a level 3 Revelation: ATT will add a total of 10 BAL, or essentially +5% total damage.Code:Grace Revelation Level 1: +250 DEF +500 ATT/MATT, +2 BAL Level 2: +500 DEF +1000 ATT/MATT, +4 BAL Level 3: +750 DEF +1500 ATT/MATT, +6 BAL
Conviction vs. Fissure
This video offers some insight into Fissure's damage. It deals almost one bar of Blood Fist's HP, which is just shy of 6,986 damage (69,863 total HP for him according to VindictusDB). For a comparison, a hammer Fiona with 13,000 ATT will Shield Charge him for just about that much damage (approximately 5200~8700 damage). So basically, just think of Fissure as being a Shield Charge in terms of damage. The drawback to these two skills is that you can only use it once per transformation (aside from when you fight Shakarr since the cooldown is 80 seconds), but keep in mind that it is ranged, and that you can double its damage by maxing out Encroach if you so choose to.
Due to shoddy coding, from what I know, Conviction is pretty much a waste on Karok, since Absorb Shocking (and by extension, Weave) will still cause your Conviction to take damage. So yeah, Fissure all the way.
Overall, I would recommend Dark Knight over Paladin. There's not really much going for Paladin's favor when it comes to Cestus, and the silly way Conviction works with Karok doesn't do anything to help.
This section will discuss the various endgame weapons and armors that are at Karok's disposal. For the most part, when it comes to leveling up to level 61, you're really only going to be use whatever you can, or whatever's cheapest anyway. It also doesn't help that Karok's armor sets are fairly limited, so there's not much room for discussion in that area.
Although Karok can't wear as many armor sets as other melee characters, he does have quite a few choices, mostly because you may want to consider more DEF to cover up for any slight mistakes, or you might want Light Armor to put Force on, or if you're really offensively-starved, you could try to abuse Weave's ability to proc on-hit-buffs to keep Queen's Glory's Rage buff going.
So here's a sample of 8 armor sets which you can decide from.
(sorry for any screen stretching)
These sets are all ordered by STR: the set on the left gives the most STR and as you go to the right, the sets decrease in STR (the rightmost set adds the least STR). Conveniently enough, the sets on the right also add more DEF (rightmost has more DEF), and generally, as you go left, you get less DEF, although there are some exceptions on the left half.
Keep in mind that the first 4 sets are all light armor, or light armor and heavy armor mixes, while the 5 on the right are all heavy/plate or plate mixes. This only exemplifies the difference in DEF/STR, as you can only use Force on Light and Cloth armors, and Sentinel on Heavy and Plate. Armadillo also goes on Heavy, if you're considering that as well.
There are also varying differences in Crit Resistance, which can decide whether you die or not. 59 Crit Resistance is technically the cap right now, so if you use the first set on the left, you might notice that your screen flashes red a lot even if you Weave, which just makes you even more fragile than you already are.
Any recommendation I give beyond this is just preference really, so you should pick whatever set you'd be comfortable with the most, especially since you might need to take into consideration the cost of making these gears.
Here's a list of Karok's currently endgame Cesti.
The +11 Ivory Cestus is there just for the sake of those who don't like spending NX trying to get a +10 or higher weapon, so getting a +11 Ivory Cestus may not be a bad investment. It has about the same ATT as a +7 version of most of the 61 Cesti (except Raider's, which it has more than), and +7 on a 61 weapon isn't too hard to get. It's also important to note that all that additional damage from higher enhance levels will give you more DPS with a +11 Ivory Cestus over a +7 other weapon when in trans, due to the ATT cap and how easy it is to get ATT on a Cestus Karok.
Other than that, your weapon choice is fairly simple. The Raider's Cestus is trash due to its low BAL, ATT and only 3 more crit than the Chiulin Cestus. Blood Fist Gauntlet is most definitely not worth it, since the Chiulin offers more at the cost of only 80 ATT in comparison. The Braided Cestus and Stone Breaker are almost on par with each other, although I'd go for the Braid's 75 BAL over the Breaker's 70 and 226 more ATT with 6 more speed.
That being said, the Chiulin Cestus is the best because it has most of what makes each other 61 Cestus good; it has high ATT (only 219 less than Stone Breaker), tied for highest BAL, has the second highest crit at 38, and also has the highest attack speed.
As for accessories, these are the only mixes I would say are worth it, outside of more extreme accessories. The choice should be fairly simple for you, depending on if you want to stack as much DEF as possible, or want to consider the price of these items. Earrings are your choice of either Sarghamiu Nose Ring or Shield Badge.
Sadly, Karok's Sage Whisper set can't be crafted by Goldsmiths, so you'll be stuck with 2*.
Enchant Scroll Suggestions
For a complete listing of scrolls, check here.
Listed in this section are good enchants that you should consider putting on your gear. You don't need to have absolutely all of your enchant slots filled up, but if you're looking to add more power to your character without spending millions of gold on obtaining a staff with a high enhance level, enchantments are the way to go.
Scrolls with names in navy blue font are r9 scrolls. When enchanting with an r9 scroll, if you fail, there is a chance that the item you are enchanting will break and you will lose it forever (without getting any of its ingredients back). Exceptions to this are Dominance and Berserker, no idea why but they have a 60% success chance and do not break gear (they still bind your equipment though). Otherwise, I would suggest using these scrolls on non-enhanced/enchanted gears to reduce the financial blow in case you fail and the item breaks. Also, upon success, the enchanted item will be bound to you with a level 5 bind, and 3 unbind counts.
Scrolls with names in dark red font are r8 scrolls that have a chance of breaking your items. There are some r8 scrolls that do not break your items at all, and these are Strong, Healthy, Significant and Passion. These 4 scrolls can have up to a 100% success rate (1 BR = 1% success rate when enchanting) and will appear in a dark green font. Other r8 scrolls work more like r9 scrolls, and have an even smaller chance of success.
- Decisive (+1 BAL, +3% critical rate, -40 ATT)
- Valor (+5 BAL, +4 Attack Speed, +130 ATT, +119 MATT)
- Bloodlust (+3 BAL, +5 Attack Speed, +150 ATT, +138 MATT)
- Oblivion* (when attacking, has a chance of increasing ATT and MATT by 2500 with Hakam's Apprentice/Successor title)
- Dominance (+150 ATT, +150 MATT, when attacking, has a chance of increasing BAL by 30 and regens 2 stamina per second, for 60 seconds)
*only applicable for Ivory weapons
Prefix: Enduring (+8 Stamina, an additional +7 Stamina with Cloth Armor Proficiency rA)
- Stone (when hit, has a chance of increasing defense by 3000 for 30 seconds, and the hit that activates the buff gets affected by the boost)
- Master (-1 BAL, +5% Critical Rate, +5% Critical Resistance)
Suffix: Zeal (regenerates stamina at a rate of 1 per second and is always active, including times when you wouldn't normally be able to regenerate stamina)
Any armor piece:
Prefix: Rounded (+3 STR, AGI, INT, WIL, +7 ATT, MATT)
Any non-accessory/spell-book equipment:
- Vampire (+2 STR, AGI, INT, WIL)
- Resistance (+10 DEF)
- Safety (+20 DEF)
Any Cloth Armor or Light Armor equipment:
Prefix: Well-Balanced (+2 ATT SPD, +1 BAL, +1% CRIT, -1% CRIT resistance)
Suffix: Force (+2 BAL, +140 ATT, +132 M. ATT, -28 DEF)
Any Heavy or Plate Armor equipment:
Prefix: Tutelary (+112 DEF, +50 HP)
Suffix: Sentinel (-15 ATT, +118 DEF, +2% CRIT resistance and an additional +106 DEF with Willpower Mastery rA)
Any Heavy equipment:
Suffix: Armadillo (+336 DEF, +5 STA, -100 HP)
Any Queen's Glory equipment piece:
Suffix: Rage (+500 STR, -20 HP every 3 seconds for 30 seconds)
- Warlord (+6 STR, +6 INT, and +130 DEF when level 65 or above)
- Strong (+9 STR, +9 INT, +2 STA when level 66 or above
- Significant (+15 ATT, +15 MATT, +1 ATT SPD when level 68 or above)
- Berserker (+30 ATT, +30 MATT and 2 stamina regained every second when level 70)
- Passion (+200 DEF, +2 STA)
Scroll Drop Locations
Here are the locations of some of the various scrolls I mentioned in the previous section. Some scrolls drop from a specific boss that will appear in multiple quests, which is why some locations have two quest names and a boss name in parentheses.
Only quests with at least somewhat common drops are listed. Battles like The Fleeing Gnoll King (drops Force) are not listed, due to how rare of a drop the scroll is, and thus is not an advised farming mission.
You can assume that you must do the battle quest on Hero mode, unless otherwise noted. Battle quests marked with a * are those that can be completed on Hard for the scroll.
Armadillo - Strong Drink
Berserker - Weeping Queen
Bloodlust - Regrets... Too Late
Decisive - Proof of Courage
Enduring - Ruins of Sanctity
Force - The Contract, Avatar of Destruction*
Healthy - Level 67 Quest reward
Master - Rocktune's Cabin
Oblivion - Regrets... Too Late
Passion - Level 69 Quest reward
Sentinel -The Contract
Significant - Level 68 Quest reward
Stone - Blood Prince
Strong - Level 66 Quest reward
Tutelary - The Evil One*
Valor - Fruitful, Trampled Plains
Warlord - Irukul
Well-Balanced - The Evil One*
Zeal - Decisive Battle
Credit to many of the drop locations listed here belong to heroes.inven.co.kr
Maximizing Damage Output
Since a lot of people seem to want to just get top damage or do the max amount of DPS they possibly can, I figure having this kind of section would be worth it. I'll discuss the merits of certain scrolls, as well as which attacks to use, and other aspects that attribute to high DPS as I see fit.
First off, let's talk about your weapon. Cestus has naturally high ATT, with ATT almost matching Black Hammer's (which is currently the highest ATT or respectively MATT of any weapon). If you're using any of the non-Raider's 61 Cesti, you'll have 7280+ ATT from just a +5 Braided Cestus, 7630+ ATT with a +8 (just because it's still "safe" to go that level without runes), and 7930+ ATT with +10. With a typical ~700 STR set, the majority of the good STR titles, and Strength Mastery rA, you'll be at almost 1800 STR. So with that aforementioned Braided Cestus, you'd be at around 12140 (+5), 12490 (+8), or 12790 (+10) ATT, with no enchants. Add in 1200 ATT for Crushing Strike, and you have a total of 13340 to 13990 without enchants.
Explosive Maelstrom: 15220, 15570, 15870
Explosive Valor: 14598, 14948, 15248
Explosive Bloodlust: 14618, 14968, 15268
Leopard Maelstrom: 13852, 14202, 14502
Leopard Valor: 13230, 13580, 13880
Leopard Bloodlust: 13250, 13600, 13900
Twinkling Maelstrom: 14092, 14442, 14742
Twinkling Valor: 13470, 13820, 14120
Twinkling Bloodlust: 13490, 13840, 14140
Most people would tell you Explosive is the way to go, and typically Maelstrom follows suit just because that's almost hands down the best suffix. If you do that with even just a +8 Braided Cestus, you'll be over the ATT cap on every current raid boss except for Lionotus when you use Hulking Fury. Now, this isn't inherently bad since you're not spamming Hulking Fury, but at the same time, a stage 1 of trans is +3820 ATT if you're Dark Knight with max ATT, and Potential. If you use just a +5 Explosive Braided Cestus, you're hitting the cap in stage 1 DK.
That's why, if you plan to go beyond +9, I wouldn't recommend using Explosive. You'll get more benefit from Leopard or Twinkling (seriously), since in stage 1 of trans you'll be ATT capping with that Explosive and then some, meaning your DPS will be lower than if you even had nothing. A lot of the benefit of Hulking Fury would also be put to waste, even moreso when you trans. And although you won't be transing for *every* boss, you'll be transing for the important ones. Since Cestus Karok pretty much specializes in burst-type damage, it'd be best to maximize your damage output while in trans, which is the epitome of burst damage if you're going all the way.
Also, since Big Bang Attack is effected by attack speed, that Leopard would give you a +13 ATT SPD boost over Explosive, which is a 6.5% faster Big Bang. Keep in mind that if you cap in trans, even before Hulking Fury, it might actually be a better idea to use Gigantic Strength to get off 2-3 full powered Big Bangs (Gigantic Strength -> Big Bang -> weave three times -> Big Bang -> possibly repeat again for the full bar), which would take either less or as much time to pull off as a single Hulking Fury.
There's also a few other factors that contribute to your raw ATT, like Campfire buff (however silly this may sound), or Force and Rage scrolls if you're going for a raw power route.
The other primary factor to damage output are the percentiles that we've all come to know and love. Looking around forums and such, I haven't actually been able to find any decent percentile charts (they were either dated back to the test server data or were for XE). So I did some work and came up with some of my own, however shoddy it may be:
It's important to note the "Estimated average BAL (average dmg percentile / highest dmg percentile)" row, because the closer that number is to 85, the more accurate it is (since 70 is my weapon's BAL, and 85 is the average to 100).
- There are four ways (of which I'm certain of) that you can execute Weaving with. This video demonstrates all four of them.
- When you use Weaving frames to dodge an attack, you'll only get one blaster gauge from that specific maneuver's Weaving frames, no matter how many times you're hit. For instance, if you're hit 5 times when you perform Weaving, you'll still only get 1 gauge.
- Against 2-3 hit combos, I would suggest that you sometimes perform a normal -> Weaving instead of spamming Weaving. That way, you won't be hoping that your Weaving is stretched out by the freezing animation, and by doing normal -> Weaving, you can get 2 levels of blaster gauge as opposed to just 1. If it's just a 2-hit combo that can be easily Weaved, and you have either 0 or 1 blaster gauge and only want to get one more blaster gauge, go ahead and use Weaving in that case.
- SP: Hulking Fury's guaranteed flinch can be useful for knocking bosses out of a few key attacks (Colru's orb storm) or for knocking Lionotus to the cliff (not knocking him off it, however).
- SP: Hulking Fury doesn't flinch all bosses. Shining Shakarr for instance does not get flinched by it.
This section will list a few videos which you may find useful for learning some tricks that Evie has up her sleeve.
Videos in this section won't be embedded into the forum post, just so that the post doesn't become exceedingly long.
Dark Knight Fissure
Hulking Fury doesn't have good knockdown
Big Bang Attack and Attack speed
vindictusDB for various information and icons