Tricks And Strategies

This page includes various tricks and strategies for getting the most out of sphere abilities. Since many of them mix spheres and effects from different categories, they're separated only by system and otherwise presented in no particular order. Many of these tricks were submitted by the community.

Submissions

Do you have a favorite trick or strategy using any part(s) of the spheres system? Send it in, and we might feature it on this page! However, there are a few notes for this.

  • First, tricks should focus on ability combos (including class abilities or magical items if needed), not on any ability that's powerful on its own. Something that's just plain good isn't a trick.
  • Second, no Advanced Talents, though Legendary Talents are fine - tricks should be available with content assumed to be available in any game using Spheres, and Advanced Talents are often restricted.
  • Third, tricks should only require a handful of talents at most (rarely more than four max); they're tricks, not entire character builds. Ideally, a character should be able to get everything they need within 2-3 levels if they don't start with the trick.
  • Finally, tricks should be 100% rules-legal, with no house rules or customization or creative interpretation required to make them work.

If you have a neat combo you'd like to tell others about, send it through the Contact form.


Spherecaster Tricks

  • Using the Admixture and Stone Blast talents from the Destruction sphere with one of the Admixture Feats and something from a different sphere can let your destructive blast apply an additional effect and bypass most types of anti-magic defenses. This is a little costly, either for lengthened casting times or spell point costs, but highly effective on enemies with good spell resistance.
  • The Selective Barrier talent of the Protection sphere can be used well by a party. For example, you can allow party members to dash in and out while blocking ranged attacks, or you can block movement and ranged attacks from your foes while allowing your party's ranged strikes out to hit them.
  • Start with the Conjuration sphere and take the Familiar companion archetype, as well as the Material Weakness, Object Bound and Elongated Summoning drawbacks. With the Companion Concentration feat added in, you have a minion who can hold concentration for you and allow you to spend your feats on other things without spending as many spell points to maintain buffs.
  • You can use the Shape Focus drawback to get the Destruction sphere's Crafted Blast talent when sticking with the default blast shape. This is stronger than the default blast damage at essentially no additional cost, especially if you're just dipping into Destruction for reliable offense.
  • Many spherecasting classes can benefit from a one-level dip into the Sphere Magus archetype. This allows you to use Spell Combat to concentrate on an ability while freeing your actions up for something else.
  • You can use the Destruction sphere's Bramble Blast (blast type) to create difficult, plant-filled terrain, then use the Nature sphere's Entangle (plantlife) to further lock foes down. This is particularly effective with area-of-effect blast shapes that you can shape into convenient forms.
  • You can use the Time sphere's Eject (time) and Group Time powers to temporarily remove some or all enemies from the battlefield. This can give your team several rounds to buff and prepare.
  • You can use any (blot) talent from the Dark sphere together with the Telekinesis sphere's Gravity Well to create a zone that constantly pulls enemies in while inflicting an effect on them. The Shadow Slick (blot) talent is particularly effective for this since it can reduce the target's speed.
  • The War sphere's Perseverance (mandate) goes extremely well with the Life sphere. Additional talents like Fount of Life can make it easy to rapidly heal two allies long enough to get through a fight.
  • The Corpse Explosion (dual sphere) feat works particularly well with powerful crowd-control Destructive Blasts, allowing you to affect a group of enemies at a lower spell point cost. This is particularly useful on lower-CL characters who care about the secondary effects of destructive blasts more than the potential damage.
  • The War sphere's Adroitness (mandate) and Resolve (mandate) talents pair extremely well together, allowing a front-liner to avoid damage and keep a foe engaged while a ranged attacker focuses on hurting the target.

Practitioner Tricks

  • The Guardian sphere's Delayed Damage Pool and the Berserker Sphere's temporary hit points from Berserking are an extremely effective combination. The delayed damage pool empties at the end of your turn, while the temporary hit points last until the start of your next turn, meaning the delayed pool will always consume these temporary hit points before moving to your regular hit points. Berserking is also a free action - in effect, this combo gives you free health every round that scales upwards as your BAB grows.
  • The Athletics sphere and its Sudden Flank (motion) talent allow you to set up your own flanking. Combine that with the Fencing sphere and you have regular access to precision damage. This can be expanded further with (exploit) talents during your attack, allowing you to use choices like Ankle Strike (exploit) to trip enemies and make them far more vulnerable to attacks from the rest of your party. If you have a lot of casters, consider the legendary talent Soul Strike (exploit) instead, which will weaken their saving throws.
  • You can mix the Brute sphere and the Berserker sphere into a self-sustaining combo. Start by shoving the enemy with the Brute sphere, then using the Berserker sphere's Heavy Swing talent during a Brutal Strike to further stagger and limit your target. Add the Brute sphere's Focused Might talent to regain martial focus when you succeed on a shove and you can near-constantly expend your martial focus to get additional damage equal to your BAB. This also has a nice crowd-control effect because the Staggered condition significantly limits what enemies can do.
  • You can use the Equipment sphere's Gauntlet Shield and Unarmed Training (discipline) talents to get a gauntlet that provides a shield bonus and can count as an unarmed strike when making bashes with it. Enhancing the gauntlet as a weapon also increases its defensive abilities. This allows for excellent combos with the various unarmed spheres, especially if you pick up an option to avoid losing your shield bonus when you attack.
  • Tank-role characters with the Guardian Sphere can cooperate with an ally using the Callous Casting feat (see Pathfinder Player Companion: Champions of Corruption). Aside from making it easier to inflict the Shaken condition on foes, this can fill up your Delayed Damage Pool to use with the Punishment legendary talent. This combos well with the Berserker sphere trick, as described above.
  • You can effectively feint at range using the Dual Wielding Sphere's Synchronous Accuracy talent and the Barrage Sphere's Distracting Shot (blitz) talent. The sequence here is ranged attack with main hand, intentionally miss to feint, then making a follow-up ranged attack with your off-hand. This combos well with anything that triggers off of feinting, including many talents from the Fencing sphere.
  • You can use the Wrestling sphere's Living Weapon (slam) talent with the Lancer sphere to impale one enemy with another enemy. …Ouch.
  • The Boxing sphere's Launching Uppercut (counter) can set foes up for the Open Hand sphere's Axe kick.
  • You can use the Boxing sphere's Counter Punch and the Berserker Sphere's Bloody Counter talent in response to the same attack from a foe. Jolt Counter (counter) completes this trick because if your Counter Punch lands, the foe is flat-footed and battered, allowing your Bloody Counter to hit the enemy before their attack resolves. This may be enough to drop them and totally prevent them from hitting you at all. Keep in mind that this trick uses Martial Focus, so have a way to easily regain that.

Champion Tricks

  • The Prodigy class can do well with the Guardian sphere, even when not acting as a tank. The opener from the sphere lets you start your sequence as a move action, and filling your delayed damage pool is essentially a no-action link. The faster you link effects, the sooner you can unleash your finishers.
  • Start with the Destruction sphere's Blistering Blast (blast type) talent and the Gladiator sphere's Cow Enemy (demoralization) talent. This lets you inflict a significant penalties to the target as a Standard+Swift attack, including weakening their saving throws to make them much easier to incapacitate.
  • Take the Destruction, Fencing, and Dual Wielding spheres, plus the Cunning Combo talent. Pick up Duel Wielding Mystic Fusion and Duel Wielding Mystic Strike as well. This allows you to feint the target when you make a dual attack and channel a destructive blast through it. (Exploit) talents can stack further effects onto this.
  • The Guardian sphere's Endure Pain talent allows you to take damage from your delayed pool as nonlethal. The Life sphere's Painkiller talent can cure nonlethal damage when you Invigorate the target (and this doesn't cost a spell point, allowing you to do it all day).
  • In a variation on the previous combo, you can choose to only take some damage in your delayed pool and convert it to nonlethal, allowing other hits to go through normally. Since healing heals both lethal and nonlethal damage for equal amounts, this can significantly improve the effectiveness of any restorative powers used on you.
  • You can use the Blood sphere's Absorb Blood and Self Control talents to grant yourself temporary hit points. This combos extremely well with the Guardian sphere's Delayed Damage Pool. Essentially, this allows you to hurt enemies with bleed damage in order to remove damage in your delayed pool, making them pay the price for the damage done to you. As for bleed damage…
  • The Duelist sphere's Perforating Wounds (bleed) talent and Blooded Strike ability are great for dealing bleed damage. It gets better if you use the Blood sphere's Exsanguinating Strike and Hemorrhage talents, plus the Spell Attack feat. This lets you start up a massive amount of bleed damage all at once, and it combos extremely well with the previous effect.
  • The Mystic Magus can use the Athletics sphere's Mobile Striker talent and the Death sphere's Tomb of Flesh with Advanced Spellstrike to dart into an enemy group, absorb a foe, and bring them back into your group where they can be focused down.
  • At an odd level, take one level in Incanter, and use your talents to get two spheres and their associated [Strike] talents. Use your bonus feat, and the feat from an odd level, to take the Sphere Virtuoso and Spell Attack feats. Take your next level in Sphere Arcanist; this allows you to pick up different spheres and gain the strike talents for them.
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