This Build is using shotgun as weapon and berserk tokens as its main damage multiplicator, aided by vulnerability stacks. It can do -99% damage missions (currently at +17 levels in season 3).
Guide to Berserking Shotgun Assassin Build
Berserk had been nerfed already, but can still make nearly any build work, so I heard. It can certainly improve your DPS like nothing else, though generating berserk tokens is not a trivial process (like it is with enrage tokens).
I use vulnerability stacks with debuff passive tree to get more damage multiplication, and a grav-gun as a secondary weapon to have additional means of applying those stacks quickly through gravity implosion skill. Grav-gun has longer range and can also be used to take out those flamer turrets. I believe bolter or a pair of bolt pistols can be used instead as single target weapons, shotgun’s own single target damage is poor.
Crusader class should do well here instead of assasin too.
Character has to have radical morality to use radical perk.
Youtube video of a short Unholy Cathedral run:
Most guides state berserk tokens should be generated with items having “chance to get berserk tokens on losing 10% hp”. I’m glad I didn’t ignore the rest of them, as “berserk tokens on activating massacre effect” can be very efficient at lower level missions and still work at -99% missions if you have enough normal mobs around you. It will trigger on either “massacre” or “killstreak” effect, that is what the description means. Tokens on damage taken work best at high level missions (approx +13 and higher in season 3). You still need lots of defensive stats to survive high level missions, but they will also prevent you from taking damage and generate tokens from that in lower level ones. So in the end I am using two “tokens on losing hp” items and two “tokens on massacre effect” items.
Life drain is necessary somewhere on available items, best source would probably be a weapon with “%hp gained on critical hit” main enchant or “of stride” ancient relic that has the same main enchant. their drop chance and crafting chance was probably nerfed so they had become very rare in this season. You can also gain it from a new psalm doctrine (Voltaic Psalm + Aegis Psalm + Hermeticon Psalm + Shroud Psalm + Emanatus Psalm), which is what I am doing.
Other stats to look for on items are resistances, damage reduction, cooldown reduction, attributes, crit chance, damage and hit strength, supression damage reduction, suppression on hit or on kill. Slow and shock on hit can be useful in higher level missions.
I used to believe the best weapon for berserk build would be an ancient relic of insanity, until I dropped it.
This pretty item turned out to be inferior to my archeotech shotgun, all because single shot skill (build’s main clearing skill) is affected by cooldown reduction stat. Simple relic or archeotech weapons can roll cooldown reduction for one of the weapon’s skills, while ancient relic weapons enchants are predetermined, and there is no cooldown reduction among “of insanity” weapons enchants. Cooldown reduction here works the same way as attack speed usually does, increasing your DPS on a skill multiplicatively. 5 shots per second is 2,5 times stronger than 2 shots per second, regardless of other multipliers and additive buffs. So a shotgun with cooldown reduction turns out better, unless you can stack cooldown reduction to cap (which should be 50%) by other means, I guess.
Note that -22% cooldown reduction on single shot.
Signums should have ~+5% damage per berserk token.
I am using “of shattering” ancient relic armor which gives random vulnerabilty on hit to synergize with vulnerabilty stacks and debuff passive tree, but other things may fit, like other ancient relics with suitable main enchants or morality relics. Fabricatus distortion armor is probably the most useful one, though others may work too. It would be a sane idea to use the “cerebral feedback” passive in the sicarian augmentics tree with fabricatus armor. Synskin armors allow easy use of surprise state and ambush tactics, holofield can create clones for crowd control – each of them will have knockback.
Rosarius with “berserk tokens on losing hp” can be used in high level missions. It is not necessary until +15-17 lvl missions however, and I prefer running with mines or grenades in belt. Preferably stun mines or stun grenade with same tokens on losing hp.
Berserk build requires throwing yourself in the way of hurting mob attacks to get buff, which is dangerous. This perk helps you get out of bad situations in hardcore missions with only one life and elsewhere. You also get 100 berserk tokens if it happens to punish whoever did it to you.
Shotgun magasines are too small for a weapon firing 5 times per second, so increased magasines are necessary for your convenience. Perk also increases overheat threshhold for grav-gun.
This perk is another source of berserk tokens, and obviously you should be radical to use it.
Maxing accuracy (damage) and survival (hp) is what I did, plain more damage and more hp. Bloodlust (energy) is not necessary in this build. Survival final bonus grants you evasion on kill that will stack to 80% which serves as another layer of defence in high level missions.
I believe it isn’t important how you level this or which subclass to take. I myself thought I am creating a poison build for needler rifle before I dropped some good berserk gear.
If you need an advice on the order in which you take your passives, start with ranged attacks, then simultaneously add defense and crit trees to max, then physical damage to max, then health. Radical somewhere in the process. Movement and debuff trees last.