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LotRO Custom Build: The Fighting Minstrel

Updated Sat, Oct 16, 2010 by Darkgolem

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LotRO Custom Build : The Fighting Minstrel

By Darkgolem

Many players of Lord of The Rings Online (LOTRO) look at minstrels as just party healers, without a lot of other function.  Certainly the minstrel is the best healing class in game, but they also can shine in combat, providing as much value to a fellowship in combat as a healer, and be very capable when solo.  A minstrel is not ever going to be as fast at melee as a champion or a hunter, but is much more survivable and versatile in combat than your standard damage per second (DPS) oriented class, and often because of this will survive must longer than a DPS class.

About The Traits

The key to a minstrel being good at combat is trait selection, especially class traits.  A minstrel will live or die based upon having enough power, and the most important things for a minstrel to do is extend how long the minstrel has power to use in combat, and to make sure that the minstrel has killed any opponents before running out of power.

Virtues

Virtues need to be balanced with the need for power regeneration in combat, and other functions.  The best way to determine what traits a fighting minstrel should get is through experience.  Pick a good selection of virtues, and then “fiddle” with them by seeing what areas one is lacking in.  Some great virtues are Idealism (which adds fate), Discipline and Empathy (fate, armor, fear and melee resistance), since this adds to your armor and to your regeneration of power in combat.  Once you have enough fate to keep yourself powered in combat, focus on combat and more traditional minstrel stats such as will, agility or might.

Fighting MinstrelClass Traits

Class Traits are probably the most important of your choices for a fighting minstrel, for most of your career.  The trick for combat is to use your class traits to buff up certain key attacks, and having these form the backbone of your fighting ability.  

Piercing Cry has an additional 25% chance of gaining a critical hit and a 10 second reduction in reset time using war speech. Taking the Unrelenting class trait, you will disrupt your opponents a lot in addition to damaging them in combat.  

Herald’s Strike, when used with the Herald’s Hammer trait, gives you double damage.  Using Noble Cause, you end up getting three free resets of your Herald’s Strike, and heal each time you hit with your Herald's Strike.

One of the most important class traits for a minstrel is the medium armor trait.  This makes huge difference in how much damage you take in combat, and that in turn speeds up how quickly you do damage, since you are focused on healing less and damaging your opponent more.

Light in the Dark is a nice trait, increasing your damage for your tier 1 and 2 ballads, which can really increase your damage per second (since you will have a few seconds for these between your Piercing Cry and Herald’s Strike reset.

Fighting Minstrel Trait Chart
Virtue Traits
Trait Name Trait Earned  (Examples)
Trait Benefit
Idealism
Flowers of The Old Forest (Bree-Land)
History of The Dunedain (Bree-Land)
+ Fate
+ Fear Resistance
+ Will
Discipline
Hendroval Slayer Advanced (Ered Luin)
Wolf Slayer Advanced (The Shire)
Sickle-Fly Slayer Advanced (Bree-Land)

+ Might
+ Disease Resistance
- Melee Vulnerability
Empathy
Life of A Bounder Advanced (The Shire)
Bree-Land Adventurer (Bree Land)
+ Armor Value
+ Fate
+ Fear Resistance
Determination
Wolf-Slayer Advanced (Ered Luin)
Slug-Slayer Advanced (The Shire)
Barghest Slayer Advanced (Bree-Land)
+ Agility
+ in-Combat morale regen
+ Maximum Morale
Patience
Places of The Dwarves (Ered Luin)
Restoring the Quick Post (The Shire)
The Barrow Downs (Bree-Land)
The Ruins of Bree-Land (Bree-Land)
+ Non-Combat Power Regen
+ Wound Resistance
- Ranged Vulnerabilty
Class Traits
Medium Armor Proficiency
Complete Level 15 Class Quest
Medium Armor usage.
+65 Maximum Power
Herald's Hammer
Hit with Herald's Hammer 700 times
Herald's Strike deals double damage.  +50 Maximum Morale
Unrelenting
Land Peircing Cry as a critical hit 100 times
Piercing Cry stuns when it scores a critical hit.  Piercing Cry gains a 25% bonus to a chance for a critical hit.  +50 Maximum Morale
Silver Tounge
Use Cry of The Chorous 125 Times
Silver Tounge: All of your songs recover 20% faster. 2% Fear resistance.
Light in the Dark
Use Ballad of Resonance 1000 times
Your Tier 1 and 2 Ballads do more damage.  +10% Ballad Damage.  _+50 Maximu Morale.

The Fighting Minstrel’s Tactics

The tactics of a fighting minstrel have some variations from standard combat tactics for a minstrel.  The goal of a fighting minstrel is to get combat set up to go quickly when it starts, and then focus on damaging an opponent as soon as possible.

Starting combat, you should have war speech and tales of battle activated.  This costs you a little power, but you regenerate power faster too.

Starting combat, you will want to use three powers in quick succession.  These are Chorus of The Oathbreakers,  Call of The Elder King and Piercing Cry.  

Piercing Cry is the longest ranged, so you often can start combat with piercing cry, but since often it stuns opponents, it usually is better to start with Chorus of The Oathbreakers, the Call of The Elder King and finally Piercing Cry.  

Chorus of the Oathbreakers is more or less fire and forget, and reduces further song and cry resistance.  Then Call of The Elder King does damage and reduces damage mitigation (setting up opponents for further combat) and finally Piercing Cry damages (and sometimes stuns) opponents.

At this point opponents take extra light damage and resists songs and cries poorly (due to the songs to this point).  The fighting minstrel now uses Herald’s Strike, then triggers Noble Cause (which resets Herald’s Strike three times instantly).  Therefore a minstrel can “front-load” damage by triggering the (double damage) Herald’s strike, healing with each hit, four times total.

Once this is complete, Piercing Cry is reset, and can be reused.  For longer combats, simply work up the tiers of songs (remember that you do more damage with Light in the Dark trait, and Call of the Elder King reducing damage) and use Ballad of War followed by Anthems of the Free People (bringing up your melee damage and then in combat power and morale regen).

This basic combat debuffs opponents, buffs the minstrel, and allows fast short term and solid long term survival in combat.

Fighting Minstrel Combat Order
Action
Benefit
Start:  War Speech and Tales of Battle Activated
 Allows Call of The Elder King, Chorus of the Oathbreakers, Increases Damage
1.  Call of the Elder King
Reduce Damage Mitigation
2. Chorus of the Oathbeakers DOT + Song Resistance reduction
3. Piercing Cry Stuns (25% Chance)
4. Herald's Strike
Damage
5. Noble Cause
Reset's Herald's Strike
6. - 8. Herald's Strike
Damage + Heals Self
9. Piercing Cry
Stuns (25% Chance)
10. Tier 1 Damage Song
Damage, Opens Up Tier 2 Song
11. Tier 2 Damage Song
Damage, Opens Up Tier 3 Song
12. Ballad of War
Increase Damage Amount
13. Anthem of the Free People
Raise In - Combat Regen fast
14+ Repeat 1. - 13.

Other Points

They Were Coming Right At Me..It is important to remember that you should turn off war speech and become a healer when in a fellowship with effective fighting types.  You might consider changing your traits at the same time, toward a more healing friendly build.  It can be very difficult to heal successfully unless you (at least) turn off your war-speech when your thinking about the healing of others.

Another point to remember when being a successful fighting minstrel is to have the best equipment.  It is a very hard standard to avoid being hit in combat when you are wearing medium armor, and so you need to invest in the best medium armor you can arrange while you are a fighting minstrel.  It might be wise to take a vocation with the tailoring profession, allowing a minstrel to make mastery medium armors to wear.

More than most classes, it is important to have a good rhythm to using attacks on opponents, and a good plan for starting combat.  Pushing attacks as they pop up is inefficient, and primary to combat is having enough power to keep fighting, meaning attacking with the right attacks and setting up opponents with the correct debuffs.  By doing this, a minstrel can turn from a simple healer to a fighting minstrel to be reckoned with.

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