Rating all of Qing Yan's Ascensions, along with miscellaneous gameplay tips. This guide assumes Nightmare Difficulty and Solo Play. Occult scrolls are not factored, as this is a general guide and you cannot rely on getting specific scrolls.
Guide to Qing Yan
Why to Play Qing Yan (or Why Not to Play)
- + Very high natural sustain and survivability.
- + Preference for Melee, and the Shotgun weapon type.
- = Probably the easiest of the current 4 characters to do consistently well with.
- - High Ascension RNG. Many of your ascensions are worthless after you commit to a build.
- - Can sometimes lack damage output (somewhat mitigated by using shotguns).
To Cleave or Not to Cleave
Qing builds can be generally divided into two categories: Cleave builds, and anything that isn't a Cleave build. Nightmare difficulty scales pretty heavily the further a run goes on. If you have not invested in your Cleave properly, it will be useless for clearing normal enemies, and any ascensions you spent in the 'Fatal Wings' tree will be pretty much wasted.
Cleave viability lategame is mostly reliant on the Ascension 'Easy Kill'. However, you aren't guaranteed to get it, you can go a whole run without being offered it once.
In general, follow these rules to maximize consistency:
- If you do not get the 'Easy Kill' Ascension early on (By the end of the first boss at the latest), do not invest in Cleave Ascensions for the rest of the run.
- Don't pick other Cleave Ascensions if you don't have 'Easy Kill' yet.
- If you do get 'Easy Kill' early, always keep an eye out for weak enemy groups you can Cleave.
You can also just skip 'Easy Kill' entirely if you prefer the Gun-based playstyle.
Ascension Tier List
This list covers Ascensions in a vacuum. Specific ratings will shift as your build progresses in a run. Use your own judgement. (ex. defensive Ascensions may have more value if you have only found offensive occult scrolls)
Some Ascensions are also rated differently depending on how many points you have in them already (ex. lv3 rating assumes you already have 2 points invested).
The Tiers are divided as follows:
- S: Excellent Ascension. Almost always pick if it doesn't conflict with your build,
- A: Great Ascension. Can't usually go wrong with these.
- B: Good Ascension. Good to have, just not as high priority.
- C: Mediocre Ascension. Not necessarily 'bad' but you probably shouldn't pick these over other ones.
Fleeting Scud Ascensions
- "Leap has +2m .. +4m .. +6m AoE and -20% .. -40% .. -60% cooldown. It deals 120% Cleave DMG to all enemies within range at lv3."
- The range extension is nice, but the cooldown reduction is the main reason to take this skill. Leap is your prime defensive cooldown, being able to use it more often is always good. The third level of the skill sounds great for Cleave builds but in practice it doesn't really matter that much, one additional Cleave on a leap is rarely gonna be significant. The high investment needed outside the 'Fatal Wings' tree makes it unlikely you'll even see it to begin with.
- "After hitting an enemy with Leap, -50% .. -100% DMG taken for 2s. Convert DMG taken into Armor in this duration."
- Great at promoting aggressive gameplay. This skill gives a buffer window to leap into a group and quickly pick off priority targets (or Cleave them all to death). Keep in mind that you are by default invincible for the leap duration, this skill applies after you land. Also has great synergy with the other ascension "Fully Equipped", letting you safely make use if your boosted damage (though if you have 'Fully Equipped', the lv3 ability of this ascension becomes somewhat redundant).
- "After a Leap, restore 40% .. 100% .. 100% Armor if it hits and 20% .. 25% .. 100% if it misses."
- This is a great skill to help refill your armor quicker, but it does have diminishing returns. At level 1, you only need to hit two targets to restore 80% of your armor bar. Raising it past level 2 does not do anything unless you have the habit of intentionally missing the enemy with leap so that it acts as a full armor refill and applies the -50% cooldown reduction for missing your leap. I find that quite awkward in practice since you tend to be close to the enemy as Qing but it may be something to keep in mind.
To Last Breath
- "Leap deals +200% .. +400% .. +600% DMG. Leap's remaining cooldown -1s .. -2s .. resets for each enemy it kills. "
- The damage increase is not bad, but leap is never going to be your primary source of damage. The cooldown reduction rewards you for leaping into trash mobs (like the exploding enemies in stage 1 and 3) and rewards you with cooldown reduction for doing so. Though you can always just Cleave those types of mobs regardless of if you're a Cleave build or not.
- "After a Leap, +30 .. +60 .. +100 Max Armor and +10% .. +20% .. +30% Movement Speed and 25% chance to be invincible for 0.5s after being hit for 6s. "
- This ascension just isn't high enough impact to be worth taking over the others. Investing in a mediocre ascension with the hope of hitting level 3 is not something you should be doing. In nightmare damage numbers tend to be very high, the invincibility is not going to be something that will reliably save you.
- "Leap DMG becomes Elemental DMG with 50% Elemental Effect Chance. "
- This skill can randomly be one of the three main elements, it will tell you which before you select it. Which one is best depends on which weapons you currently have. If only it had 100% elemental chance it would be great, but at 50% it cannot be relied upon. It can still do a good bit of burst damage with elemental fusions (especially if also taking 'To Last Breath')... 50% of the time at least.
- "After a Leap, deal +75% .. +100% .. +150% weapon and skill DMG, regain 20% .. 30% .. 50% Armor and -1s .. -1.5s .. -2s Leap cooldown for each kill. This lasts 2s .. 3s .. 3s."
- Great damage boost and side benefits, held back by the very short duration. Getting this to level 2+ helps that a lot though. Make sure you're using a burst weapon like a launcher or a shotgun (or Cleave build) so you can output maximum damage in the 2 or 3 seconds you have. Good synergy with Steel Armor so you can focus entirely on getting kills.
- "+40% .. +80% .. +120% DMG against enemies within 7 .. 7 .. 12 meters"
- Universal damage boost, only condition is being near the enemy, something Qing is doing anyways. Also buffs Cleave damage so this is a great first pick if you haven't been offered Easy Kill yet and still want to try to go Cleave later.
Hail of Bullets
- "After a reload, the first 3 .. 4 .. 5 shots deal +30% .. +40% .. +90% weapon DMG, have +20% .. +30% .. +40% Lucky Shot chance and consume no ammo."
- This is a potentially very powerful, just not as universally applicable as Qing's other damage ascensions. You want to use this with a high damage shotgun or launcher to make use of the free shots. There is a certain weapon inscription that makes this ascension amazing: "Magazine size is two, but second shot has +200% Lucky Shot chance". When you find a weapon with this inscription, empty its magazine to 1, then switch to your foundry pistol and reload (reload the foundry). Now switch back to your weapon and you have 3.. 4 ..5 shots with +200% lucky shot before you have to switch back to your foundry and reload again. This results in crazy burst damage, just make sure to not fire the last shot in the magazine by accident or you have to waste time setting it up again.
- "When Armor breaks, 20% .. 35% .. 50% extra weapon DMG, extra skill DMG, extra RoF and decreased DMG taken for 2s .. 3s .. 5s."
- This is just bad. The duration is terrible considering the condition for activating it (breaking your armor) is something you never want to do anyways. The numbers aren't great either considering how little uptime you're gonna get out of this.
- "After each kill, +5 .. +10 .. +15 max Armor for 6s .. 7s .. 8s. When Armor breaks, cast a Nova that damages surrounding enemies (with Skill DMG bonus)."
- Each stack of this skill also refreshes the duration of previous stacks. This has some funny potential (you can get upwards of 700+ armor in certain conditions), but it's far too situational to properly make use of. You must be relentless with killing enemies, as if you fail to kill an enemy every 6s .. 7s .. 8s you lose all your stacks at once. It's also useless on the initial engagement, which tends to be the most dangerous time frame and where you'd want a defensive skill to help you.
- Massive damage bonus and it's basically free, biggest reason for Qing to use a shotgun right here. The trigger for it is specifically "one shot causes 4 .. 3 .. 2 instances of direct damage" so a launcher hitting multiple enemies can also trigger it. At level 3, any weapon with a "+1 projectile count but +100% ammo consumption" inscription will also trigger it. Additionally you can trigger it with a weapon and switch to another weapon and keep the damage bonus (for 5-10s before you have to trigger it again).
Fatal Wings Ascensions
- "Cleave has +2m .. +3m .. +5m AoE and deals +20% .. +30% .. +40% DMG for every enemy within range."
- Range extension is nice. Damage bonus is fine too, but Cleave is weakest is against strong single targets and this doesn't help much with that.
- "Cleave applies a Death Mark to enemies for 4s .. 5s .. 6s. Marked enemies take +20% .. +30% .. +40% DMG. After killing a marked enemy, +20% .. +25% .. +30% Movement Speed for 6s .. 6s .. 10s."
- Minor damage increase, and the movement speed is nice although nothing major. This is probably the best ascension in the category for a non-Cleave build at least, they can safely use it while reloading or while initiating combat.
- "Cleave restores 10%/20% .. 20%/40% .. 30%/60% Armor per enemy hit/killed and decreases Leap's remaining cooldown by -1s .. -1.5s .. -2s per enemy killed."
- The best survivability option for Cleave builds right here. Ridiculous armor gain for a Cleave spammer, and Leap cooldown reduction on top of that. Getting this at least to at least lv1 is something you will try to do if possible.
- "Cleave deals +100% .. +200% .. +300% DMG. After a Cleave, the next shot deals +50% .. +100% .. +150% weapon DMG."
- More damage on Cleave, what more could you ask for. The weapon synergy is much too awkward to make good use of most of the time (as usual its strongest with a shotgun or launcher).
- "Cleave deals up to +100% DMG to enemies at low Health. After killing an enemy with Cleave, permanent +5 Cleave base DMG"
- The whole reason Cleave is viable right here. Taking this guarantees that no matter how bad your ascension selection is, your cleave will at least be able to do something by stage 3. Get this as early as possible and start farming kills for it, or don't bother at all with Cleave. After you commit to a Cleave build, try to tailor your weapon set to be able to kill elites/bosses well, because Cleave will be killing most of the rest. (I recommend strong weapons that can activate the Miasma fusion effect [Corrosive + Lightning fusion])
- "Cleave has +3 .. +6 .. +10 capacity and restores 1 .. 2 .. 3 charges for each kill."
- After getting Easy Kill, this is almost vital. Lets you relentlessly spam Cleave everywhere without concern for your ammo once it hits level 2. Level 3 tends to be overkill though, that's why the rating on it is significantly lower (It can also be replaced by a specific occult scroll "Capacity Overdraft" if you also have Defensive Cleave).
- Leap is fully invincible for the duration, which does make it an excellent approach option.
- Leap is explosive damage. This means it has a chance to stagger enemies you hit with it. It's not guaranteed, but it can really help relieve pressure on you when it does happen.
- Don't get too reckless with Leap. Make sure you can quickly eliminate any high priority threats near your Leap location or else you'll find yourself stuck in the middle of a group with little recourse. Sometime it's best just to approach normally.
- Environmental objects like boxes and pots count as targets for Leap, so you can recharge armor from Leaping onto them. This is a good thing to do if you're low on armor and have already cleared out the enemies in a room.
- Leap (and Cleave) doesn't cancel your reload if you've started it beforehand. If you need to, trigger your reload before using Leap (or Cleave).
About your Weapons
- Generally, Qing can't go wrong with shotguns. All his damage ascensions benefit them.
- Always have a weapon with at least mid range capability on hand. Some enemy formations and bosses make it very dangerous or suicidal if you attempt to immediately enter close range. The Pupil and Porcupine are both Elemental shotguns with longer range than normal, so those are good candidates.
- Qing sometimes has problems dealing enough damage to elites and bosses (especially if you're running a cleave build). If you find your damage falling off, I recommend trying to get a corrosive weapon and a lighting weapon and making heavy use of the Miasma fusion effect. The aforementioned Pupil and Porcupine are excellent candidates for this.
- Many normally long range enemies have a quick melee attack they can execute if you're right next to them for too long. Be wary to not to get hit by these because they do hurt quite a bit.
- Enemies with the 'Corrosive' prefix are your bane. Make sure to eliminate these quick or prevent their damage aura by destroying the poison ball above their head.
- To a lesser extent be very careful about enemy Octopus and Kappa in stage 3, as they can also hit you with the Corrosive status and remove most of your mobility (if you do not have a scroll to protect you from that).
- Arsonists in stage 2 have a flamethrower with seemingly unfair range, but the fire cannot actually hit you if you are directly next to them. Be careful of doing this if other enemies are nearby because you won't be able to move or see very much during this.
Making this was sure a lot more effort than I thought it was gonna be.
I was going to make a Lei Luo guide first but I'm gonna wait to see if he gets changed in a patch first. Lots of his ascensions are quite terrible or heavily reliant on specific ascension combos. I also have suspicion that the talent 2.0 update this summer will make some of his traits like the starting perk and the bonus weapon drop universal to all characters...