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The Agonist

By on Apr 17, 2013 at 8:22 pm, in Article, Guides, RIFT  |  Comments: 43 comments

The Agonist Title Picture

The Agonist is a serious death dealer which can maim your enemies and protect your allies.  Trion listed the Defiler soul as a healing soul, however, this soul has much more potential than just being a healing soul.  By combining the Defiler and Cabalist souls, this spec reeks of death, and your tank will thank you after that huge pull.

Agonist Spec purpose:  Solo, AoE Damage, and tank/group damage reduction.

Agonist is a very versatile spec and can be used in a variety of situations.


  1. Links which can provide up to a 30% damage interception from any party/raid member.
  2. Very good AoE Damage (30k+)
  3. Beacon of Despair (Pet Summon) for easy soloing.
  4. Lots of healing abilities. (HOT, cleanse, 3 stack heals)


  1. Single target DPS leaves something to be desired (5-6K)
  2. Only 1 Raid buff


Firstly, here’s a picture of the tree itself (click the image to bring up the full-size version).

The Agonist Tree

The point spread is 58 into Defiler and 18 into Cabalist. Here is the build on Rifthead.


The only macro for this build is this one, which is used during the second part of your AoE rotation.  However, if you are fighting 6 or more mobs, you can just use this macro continuously for maximum DPS.

#show Pain Transmission
cast tyranny of death
cast pain transmission
cast bound fate

Buffs used:

  • Rage Blight/Grief Blight– They do not stack. Use Rage Blight to do more damage, or Grief Blight to do more healing.  Normally I would only recommend using Grief Blight if you are in the spec to heal specifically, otherwise, use Rage Blight. At a full 5 stacks, this buffs your damage by 20%.  These stacks only accumulate when your beacon or links are taking damage.
  • Feast of the Fallen– Heals yourself,  party members, and pets for a small amount every time an enemy mob dies.
  • Dark Harbor– Adds +3% resistances to your character.

During every other situation, these additional buffs are used, which are called links. This is what makes this soul unique as you can intercept and take damage from another character in the party/raid. There are 4 links and each one scales a little differently. Generally, the higher intercept percentage the link, the less intercepted damage you take.

  • Link of Agony– 30% intercept/Cleric takes 19% of the intercepted dmg.
  • Link of Suffering– 20% intercept/Cleric takes 30% of the intercepted dmg.
  • Link of Misery– 10% intercept/Cleric takes 59% of the intercepted dmg.
  • Link of Distress– 5% intercept/Cleric takes 85% of the intercepted dmg.
  • Blighted Greed– When cast upon another party member, allows the Cleric to gain stacks of Blight without intercepting any damage.

Use these links in order or importance in your party/raid.  Example: In a 5-man group, prioritize your links by Tank > Healer > Support > DPS.  Same goes for a bigger group, just prioritize your links in the same manner.  All the links are usable at the same time, but only one link per person.

Single Target Encounters:  

  1. Cast your Beacon of Despair at your target’s location (if solo). This will automatically focus your target on your beacon and not on you, and all your attacks will channel your aggro to the beacon.
  2. The main abilities you will use for your rotation are in this order: Marrow Harvest (1), Siphon Vitality (2), Dark Water (3), Curse of Solitude (4), Bond of Pain (5), and Somatic Desecration (6).
  3. In order to maximize DPS, this is the rotation:  5 1 2 3 4 1 6 6 6 6 6 1 2 3 4 1 6 6 6 6 6.  This rotation will result in the highest DPS gain for a single target encounter and takes exactly 30 seconds to complete with no delay in cast times. After the last Somatic Desecration (6), you can re-apply Bond of Pain (5) and start all over again.
  4. The DPS output of this rotation depends mostly on how often your beacon is getting hit. The more abuse it takes, the higher your DPS output will be.  On most single target pulls, you can expect between 5-6k DPS with an Expert-geared Cleric.

Important:  Siphon Vitality heals you, and this activates your Husk of Indifference, which absorbs all the intercepted damage you take from your links or beacon. By maintaining your rotation, you will never lose any health as the shield will never drop. It is also important to keep Bond of Pain up as this deals reactive damage back to the attacker each time one of your links or beacon does damage and ends up accounting for 10-15% of your total DPS for an encounter. If you have target of target enabled in your settings, you can also heal your beacon easily using your Ghastly or Loathsome Restoration. One use of this will make the beacon’s health go back up to 100%.

Multi-Target Encounters:

  1. The multi-target rotation is not much different from the single target rotation, however there are a few key differences.
  2. Cast Beacon of Despair at the target’s location (if solo).
  3. If the enemy mob is 5 enemies or less, start with this rotation: Marrow Harvest, Siphon Vitality, Bond of Pain, Unholy Nexus (no Global Cooldown), and Curse of Solitude.
  4. Start the AoE macro. You should be able to do about 4 Bound Fates and Tyranny will detonate around the time when you should go back to the first part of the rotation.
  5. If the group of enemy mobs is larger than 5, you can just use the AoE macro as the first part of the rotation only affects 5 mobs.
  6. Once again, your DPS output is dependent upon how hard your beacon is getting hit. This soul shines on AoE pulls. On an 8 dummy parse, this spec will pull in around 26-28k DPS with no Bond of Pain or links active so you can expect to see 30k+ with links or a beacon active.


Final Thoughts:

Your beacon can be used whenever you’re soloing no matter how many mobs you are fighting, however, the beacon becomes useless in a party or raid situation as you will likely have a tank and healer present.  When you use your links on your party members, they then act like your beacon, which will buff you as they receive damage. When Bond of Pain is active, they will be dealt reactive damage when the enemy attacks.

All your bonds have no cooldown and are instant cast, but their effectiveness lasts for 30 seconds.

Using Empowered Affliction will restore 7% of your max Mana, but reduce your max HP by 5% for 10 seconds up to 5 stacks. This is a great tool and can be used on the run, just be careful because big hits or waves could potentially kill you during this vulnerable state.

If your beacon takes too much damage, it will de-spawn and all aggro will redirect back to you.  It is very hard to pull the aggro away from yourself once this has happened and as such, there are a few heals you can use to keep your beacon’s health up.  Ghastly and Loathsome Restoration are big heals that consume the stacks of Foul Growth (up to 3) and can heal your beacon up to full health from around 25%.  You can also sneak in Hideous Restoration during your rotation and this HoT will help take some of the heat of your beacon.




Latest posts by wkwilley2 (see all)

  • Samuel Serafim

    In order to maximize DPS, this is the rotation: 5 1 2 3 4 1 6 6 6 6 6 1 2 3 4 1 6 6 6 6 6.
    it make me laughting a lot.

  • Raheem

    When i clicked this i thought this was a new class for 2.3 haha

    • Warren Willey

      Not quite, but I will be doing a write up on the new cleric soul when it goes live.

  • EchoesIE

    This is painful to read. Go 61 Defiler to get the best defensive cooldown in the game. Why a point into Dark Harbor? Resistance is almost worthless. And your lack of Pain Transmission is frightening. This is at best, a spec to play around with for funsies, but not to take seriously.

    • Warren Willey

      Don’t knock it till you try it….pain transmission is in the macro. And as far as “funsies” go, my entire guild uses this spec with great results, in raids mind you.

      I think its worth mentioning as well that this build IS NOT for healing. The 61 defiler ability is unneeded in this spec and dark harbor was by preference

      • EchoesIE

        I don’t need to try it, because its completely inferior. If you’re not going to be healing, then you should be focused on DPS, yes? You can gain a solid 3-4k more DPS using a 10 Inq/5 Sentinel build. The spreading of Marrow Harvest, Bond of Pain and a Pain Transmission already does 14-17k AoE DPS on fights like Matriach and Kain. If you’re willing to lose 4k Single-Target DPS for an extra 1500-2k AoE DPS, then thats your choice, however poor it is.

        • Warren Willey

          I think your math’s a little screwy, but that’s your opinion and I respect that. A single 5% crit buff won’t add 3-4k dps to single target, that’s puffery. And you’re sticking points into a healing soul with no passive dps gains? Tsk, tsk. I can get the same wisdom gain in cabalist with a 5% passive increase in damage. And this is 30k AoE dps with expert level gear, which doesn’t take into account the gains from raid level gear.

          • EchoesIE

            By going 15% into cab, you pick up the 15% passive damage from points in Cab. 5% damage from “Secrets of the Deep” and 10% more Wisdom from “Stroke of Genius”.

            Going 61/10 Inq/5 Sent will net you an even amount of +% damage (gain 3% from 3 points in Defiler, 10% from 10 points in Inq and 3% from Corporal Punishment), but 20% more spellpower, as well as the 5% criticial hit chance from Armor of Devotion.

            So instead of telling me to ‘check it out’, why don’t you do the same? Also, I forget how many raid bosses require you to have 30k AoE DPS. Don’t present a ‘guide’ like this without a warning, or header — something stating that this is something that you personally use, but may not represent the best available build for a DPS Defiler.

          • Warren Willey

            I don’t need to include a warning with guides. Every player plays the game different, and therefore, will get different results than someone else with the same spec. That is unless you totally idiot-proof it with macros and karuul alerts. However, I’m done with this conversation. The thing that makes this game great is the near-infinite number of soul configurations. Saying that a spec is inferior, is totally irrelevant.

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  • EricD

    It’s a decent guide. Im in a high level guild that has killed every dragon in the game pre nerf and while they were still relevant and one that unfortunately due to the lack of players in my region is starting to fall apart in SL now that the xpac hype is gone and the game is back to losing players, so if you think my comment in elitist just disregard completely. There will always be just one defiler in a raid, and unless you’re dealing with an easy farm boss from this T1 SL raiding you will be needing the defiler CD on a tank. You will need it on reggie, you will need it on the HMs, and likely you will needed on at least one of the T2 10man thats one pts and near finished (will ship with 2.3 soonish) and i find it hard to believe it wont be needed maybe on every single boss of the new 20man whenever that may be. Especially with sentinels erased from the healing map based on how underpowered and not versatile they are compare to chloro (thus no HC for the raid in a “proper” raid setup)

    • Warren Willey

      I don’t think it’s an elitest comment, you strike a good point. Defiler is an interesting soul and honestly was a poor attempt at a support soul in that sense, but it does have it’s uses. The only fight we use it in is in Falconer Zoles and that’s just to take some abuse off the tank, not to mention, this build does better in 2 pulls than an inquisitor.

  • Alex

    Nice build. Can you please tell me what armour you are wearing? It looks very nice :)

    • Warren Willey

      It’s actually a big mix of gear, and all of it can be made by an armorsmith or bought from the adventure vendor with the exception of the gloves.

  • Matt

    1.) If you have more than one Cleric playing Defiler in a raid, you’re doing it wrong. Best AOE DPS is a Shaman. If you need more than 1 Cleric to link more than 4 people, tell people to stop being terrible in your raid(s).
    2.) Why would you spec into Dark Harbor? Resistance is completely useless with Resist All stats now–a wasted point.

    If this is the kind of guide that RJ allows, this site is truly in the gutter. Your guide needs a warning at the top “this is a solo spec I play” because outside of soloing, it’s terrible

    • JohnP29

      Just saying…It does clearly, in bold nonetheless, state that the purpose of the spec is Solo gameplay. It also does list decent aoe dmg and damage reduction as purposes — none of which should be automatically assumed to mean “in a raid situation”. As my guild’s main defiler, 61 def is absolutely the way to go in 20 man content, but I do also carry a more damage-oriented defiler spec for solo, IA, and hunt rifts. This guide is not pointless or garbage — there’s room in the game for it depending on playstyle and preferences.

  • Yepi 10

    Great , I like

  • JohnP29

    When rolling as a defiler of any sort, beacons are not at all useless when in a party/raid. Dropping the beacon (cast with an automatic link) is another source of damage for Pain Transmission — and who’s going to not want another 8-13k hit per mob?

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    Thank you for posting the great content.I was looking for something like this.I found it quiet interesting, hopefully you will keep posting such article.

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    the content is quite good, i can see the way to play the game and how to make the character in the game become stronger to fighting with the Agonist

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  • Friv 2

    Why would you spec into Dark Harbor? Resistance is completely useless with Resist All stats now–a wasted point.

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  • Vilemon

    I tried this, but couldn’t cope with a bunch of closely spaced ranged mobs, since the build has no interrupts or “pulls”. Any advice?

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  • Lemming456

    To the critics: if this guide is so bad, why don’t you write one and add it to the site? There are casual players who don’t want to spend 3 years learning how to play a decent character. Any advice we get is more than what we had when we started.

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