I've been playing this game for about 1000 hours, and 200 of those hours are either being AFK or having the game up while theorycrafting stupid builds. As a result, I think I'm qualified enough to be able to at least give a decent overview of the basics of building without being too bogged down in pro mentality.
Please bear in mind that nobody's perfect, and everyone has their own processes: this is just one of many methods that can lead to your new favourite way to play. This guide should be read in its entirety, from start to finish, as it outlines an entire process that is very much worth exploring in its fullest. It makes most sense after this.
There is no "perfect build". The concept of a perfect, unkillable build runs counter to the core of this game - that's shown in the balancing, the realm instability, and the goblet mechanics.
Please also bear in mind that this is running you through a process which involves a lot of trial and error. Please do not rush to create and craft creature setups as you read them in the guide, as things will be swapped out and changed as the process refines the team idea. This is purely an example. I'll be writing up a full guide for this team soon(tm).
With that in mind, if you do enjoy this guide or have something to say, please don't hesitate to leave a rating or a comment - or both!. It helps feed my ego and helps me improve on my guides by giving me much-valued feedback.
Step 1: The Idea
This is probably, and unfortunately, the hardest part of the process. The idea.
Nobody can tell you what you want. Nobody can look inside your head and go "boy have I got an idea for you". You and your tastes are your own: but there's something you can do to help turn that faucet on.
Play the game
This might seem obvious to some, but one of the best ways to come up with an idea for a build is just to play the game as you are now. Push your limits, and find where you're failing.
Utilising the battle history, you should be able to see where your team is failing. Did you have fun failing? Can your team recover from this, or do you just not care enough about that team any more?
If you had fun failing, chances are your primary goal is to reinforce the main idea you have. Say, for example, you just want to make a dumb caster build. A build that just... Casts. Okay, you think, that should be easy. But what do you want to cast? Is there a spell you like?
Perhaps, instead of discovering yourself through failure, you just see something that catches your interest. An enemy casts Unanswered Prayer, or Divinity - some absolutely bizzarre spell that makes precisely zero sense to you. That's got to make you start thinking, right? Why is this in the game?
For the purposes of the guide, we're just going to go "why is unanswered prayers such a weirdly useless spell and how can I make it work?".
Find your tempo
Okay, so this just sounds like "play the game" again, but look - that's all we really want to do here. We want to play the game, in the end, don't we? The only way to learn how you want to play the game is to play the game some more. Doing so not only teaches you about what's in the game, but also teaches you about what you like seeing and how fast or slow you like seeing it.
Maybe you like slow and calculated fights, or you just like to zoom through. Maybe you prefer to see cute things destroy terrifying things, or be the monster that rampages through the realms. It's entirely okay to think based on aesthetic, but it's at this point you have to consider the limitations. By now, you should have a vague idea forming.
We like Carbuncles. Well, maybe you don't like carbuncles, but for the sake of the guide, we really like Carbuncles. They're so floppy and cute and soft and we just want to hug them. Again, maybe you don't and maybe you don't have a soul, but here? We do. We want to hug them. And we want them to gnaw out enemies' shins off.
Haha play the game some more. Honestly. This is the longest part of your build.
For me, it takes me about 2 days to come up with a solid idea for what I want to do. I let ideas bask around in my head. Do I really like this idea, or is it just some fad? I mean I, personally, chase dumb memes and go "lol im gonna make this work", but maybe you just want to go for something comfy. That's totally fine.
Let the ideas clash about. Watch the game you're playing. Hell, fire up Netflix and let the build just stew in your brain for a bit Try to visualise how a vague fight might go. Put the small ideas you've collected into the washing machine and let them spin around a bit. Watch them go. This bit takes a bit of imagination, as you can imagine (no pun intended), but realistically, you're going to need it. There's almost 1000 creatures in this game, my dude.
Step 2: Theoretical Carbies
Okay, so by now you've got your idea. We're going to assume that, by now, you've unlocked the Gate of the Gods - you don't have to have done this, but for this build idea, we're going to assume that. Don't be scared off, though, because the process remains much the same.
Your idea? Aurum takes his Carbuncles for a walk and everything dies.
It's a really dumb idea, right? Carbuncles are so weak and they take so long to scale! But here's the thing, and you'll bump into a similar problem with anything you look at: you haven't thought about
S Y N E R G Y
Now, let me preclude this part by telling you that you will get this wrong. There's no shame in it. In this example you specifically want to run certain creatures, and you won't always be able to run them in a viable way, but for now you just sort of want to set your baseline out. You want the most zoomed-out possible look on a build idea - true for any build.
A bit of critical thinking is involved here, though most of your work is done via the Bestiary and the handy dandy creature compendium on the Thylacine Studios discord, pinned in the General Discussion tab under Siralim Ultimate and an unhealthy reliance on the CTRL-F function.
This search should take you a good few minutes if not an hour. You're looking for keywords here. In our example, we want to look for "cast", because that's what we scale from, "Intelligence", because that's our favourite stat, and "attack". Now, this is a weird one. This third choice is purely out of curiosity. We won't find many traits involving it that are relevant to us, but it keeps the brain moving on while you're building the basis of your team.
By now, you've got a good basis of what you want to really use.
In this example, we found that Occultists both cast and scale Intelligence very well. We want to use these guys, as well as some other things we noticed. Wolpertingers do some kinda neat stuff on-attack, could we use that to make Topaz Carbuncle, who uniquely scales attack potency from spellcasts, pull weight?
Forming your draft party
Don't start fusing creatures yet.
What you want to do for now is write down a theoretical party. Write down the creature, what it's fused with, and if you feel adventurous, what the artifact trait would be. Zoom in hard at this point. You want to double down on your build idea without thinking about its weaknesses.
Scale that main stat. Cast more. Set up your Topaz as your main attacker. You should be able to fit these three factors into your build easily - and honestly, the same works for any other build. You have about three main factors to consider in terms of your build's mechanical capability: how it does its thing, the stats it uses, and how consistently it can put out damage.
We know from experience that spells, attacks, and indirect damage all can be resisted. Try to put a source of all three in this hyper zoomed-in idea. To recap, our example has the following:
Topaz Carbuncle using a couple of neat traits we found: Colourblind, for Scourge spells on attack, and Martyaxwar for extra attacks on single target (scourge!) spells. It's funny. Topaz scales attack potency based on casts, so he's only going to get more powerful!
Ruby Carbuncle, fused with a Zealot Occultist and a Djinn Pyromancer because lots of intelligence and some indirect damage - the first two here scale intelligence based on spellcasts, and are so powerful to just leave to their own devices.
Aurum's going to make you cast a lot. You definitely want him, but you were probably going to use him anyway.
Sapphire Carbuncle for that extra spell potency and reduced charge usage, Ruby Carbuncle and Zealot Occultist because we want a dedicated caster that scales intelligence like our Djinn setup and oh my god we've found a problem.
In our example, thanks to our reading of Sapphire Carbuncle's trait we've just spotted a glaring weakness in our build and we need to stop to think about it immediately. In this case: spell charges. They're limited, and in a realm, that hurts.
Back to the drawing board...
Step 3: Your first major hurdle
So, to recap:
We've decided precisely what we want to do. In our example, we want to cast a lot and we want to scale intelligence a lot. We want to do damage in various different ways because we know that a single point of damage isn't enough on its own.
We found a single glaring weakness above all else: spell charges.
Hold tight, dear reader. Your build is about to become a difficult, difficult beast.
So many answers, too many answers
There are a LOT of traits in Siralim Ultimate. So many of them will give you answers, but so many of them have drawbacks that might not be all that noticable at first.
Your first thought might be the most obvious. There's a creature here that solves our problem as a fuse: in our example, Sapphire Carbuncle stops us using charges after a small setup that we can afford... At the cost of us using a trait slot on every creature.
That isn't worth it. You want to reduce the amount of duplicate traits you have in general unless said duplicate trait is so integral to your build that it can't be ignored, and by then you'd want to think of ways to share that trait around instead.
In our example, we have no such way. Especially since we've cast our eyes to Aurum, who's going to help us cast a lot of spells. You didn't think we stopped building our team just because we saw that problem, did you?
So Sapphire won't work, but we don't want to let go of her just yet. I mean, there's a chance we might restrict ourselves to one damage-based caster: there's all sorts of spells in the game and it's perfectly normal to have a single, dedicated damage dealer
Refer to the Codex
It's easy to forget that certain pieces of information can't be found in the creature and spell compendium. A great place to check around this time is the Codex.
Quite often, a helpful buff is what your team needs. Something like Arcane, which gives your dudes a free cast. What the game doesn't tell you here is that Arcane actually affects every cast performed on the turn that it's in effect, but this is what testing is for later on. For now, our focus is on the effect itself and how we obtain it at minimal cost to our build's available slots
Spells aren't always not the answer, though. Spells like Drain Power or Living Necklace can help us mitigate our concerns, and since we're using Aurum, they can just be a much needed, consisted piece of utility in our spell rotation. It's ideal - we can set up our caster and the rest of our dudes can have Generous setups. There might be a better way to do this, but for now we have our answer.
Part 4: Zooming back in
You've done it. You've solved your first problem. Your team is now stable and self-sustaining, at least in terms of its mechanical capability. This is the first major milestone for your team.
At this point, you want to do another pass over your team just to be sure. You've already got your first three creatures, and the rest will fall into place pretty easily. Your primary goal is to make a pass over the most important things you've learned over your journey to this point and either reinforce or mitigate, depending on its interaction with your build.
In this example, you want to run Aquamarine because those buffs will offer your team some extra utility, and Onyx carbuncle's a neat little dude, because debuffs are just universally bad, and then...
God, then there's Aurum, that glistening lad...
Setting yourself up for success
Now, for a moment, ignore that voice in the back of your head that's telling you there's more problems. The thing is, if this is your first build, you don't know exactly what those problems are until you've tested the team a bit. Hell, even if this is your tenth build, you don't have every point of perspective. You know what comes next, don't you?
Play the game
For now, you want to fuse this first team up. Give it a little play around, see what it does, what makes it tick, and what it's missing. Look for where it fails. This is the most important part: failing. A failure is not a bad mark on you, it's a sign that you've taken the time to make a mistake and to learn. A transferable lesson, by the way.
For this first run of the draft team, you want to run it without realm instability. You have to accept that this team will not be good, and you have to see the flaws from the ground up. Run 10-20 realms depending on how many times you teamwipe.
In our example, one of the first things we'll notice is that we can't reliably start first... And that's a problem. We need to be able to set up our Onyx Carbuncle to make us immune to debuffs, and even then, we need to be able to disable enemies in a significant enough way to stop us wiping!
Part 5: Utilising common strategies
It's around this time you'll want to refer to the Siralim Discord for help. Around this point you'll want to dip into common strategies used by the community. Now, while this may not be an exhaustive list of strategies, here are a few examples:
Phase Knight helps us heavily mitigate sources of indirect damage by reducing it by 80%
Mimic's trait lets one of our creatures start first every time, allowing is to set up our team on turn 1.
Ravens and Occultists give spellcasting teams healthy int scaling and stat-based utility, and are incredibly powerful if you can avoid the many ways the game can punish you for running a spellcasting build
Pegasus is useful on a tanky setup, or a setup that will make a creature cast on damage taken, by redirecting killing blows to itself. Consider setting this up with an Emerald Carbuncle in our example, and something that reduces incoming damage.
An Apis Defender with the Ethereal trait can be a potent alternative should you be able to lock enemies out of spells. All attacks are diverted to the Defender but they're immune to the damage, at the cost of hitting the bottom of the timeline if he takes an actual hit.
Laughing Wisp with a Mimic can allow a guaranteed turn-1 spellcasting setup without having to worry about game-start Silences - something we'll cover in a moment. Casting the first 5 non-ethereal spells on turn start is ridiculously funny.
Terror Wight with Unicorn Vivifier and a method of achieving multiple attacks is a solid way to have a tanky powerhouse heading your party. It's also incredibly accessible early on, as these are some of the first creatures you meet!
Yetis are a steadfast, consistent source of crowd control. The only downside to Freeze is that it can be a little unreliable without backing it up with something like an Icemane Yeti
Maniacs have provoke-based suicide traits that can be used to proc Terror Wight stat boosts. Using a Glutinous Slime will allow you to share those boosts around, giving your entire team a much-needed stat scale!
Automatons on their own are capable of reducing enemy stats at turn start. Priests give you the stats instead!
Dolor Sin and Dryad Vindicator can set up a recursive enemy debuff and stat reduction combo by triggering each other with said effects (thanks for this one Sirc from the Siralim discord!)
Sins and Sanctuses are generally reliable sources of stat manipulation. For early forms of builds especially, it's worth considering these!
Apis Majesty and Humanitus Sanctus as a combo raises the base statline of all of your other creatures by boosting its own stats and sacrificing its offensive power, and then sharing 15% of those stats with everyone else. For a setup that doesn't sacrifice the offensive power of a sixth of your party, consider replacing Apis Majesty with Invidia Sin for a sudden powerhouse of a creature!
Amaranths are sturdy sources of defensive stats. Kolossi offer significant health-based boosts as well, which is an incredible defensive consideration where the Defence stat may fail you.
Transient Spectre and Decrepit Automaton are an absolute brutal combo: given a high base defence, this creature will lower enemies' defence by 15% of its own and then on-defend will lower it by a further 30% of their own defence
The Decay spellgem severely hampers enemies by removing their statboosting artifacts
Mass Dispel can save you surprisingly well if your team doesn't rely on buffs or debuffs - alternatively, Dispel can wipe everything on a single target, Absolute Corruption can turn buffs to debuffs, and Reverse Polarity can do the opposite. Very valuable gems to have! (Thanks to Lekon from the Siralim discord for these pointers!)
Certain Bards add unique stat scaling to attacks - useful to help squeeze out a little extra out of a team that scales stats other than attack but still needs that backup!
Nature Shapeshifter gives you insurance versus the Confuse status effect by making self-attacks heal instead of harm
As said before, this is not an exhaustive list. If you have any ideas, please comment below or PM me on Discord (tag Sparky Summers#6969) with them!
Part 6: Refine, recap, experiment
By now it should hopefully be obvious what you need to do. You've been doing this over and over, and the process does not change much.
The primary change to how you want to do things now is mostly mathematical. You can do this without really paying much attention to the minutiae: as long as you have a vague idea of one number being bigger than another, and understanding what kind of stat boosts will trigger more often than others, you should be able to open up opportunities to close up weaknesses in your build.
For example, in our Carbuncle build, the primary issues we have are as follows:
Spell charges, which we consider ourselves solved with Arcane, but this doesn't give us enough help past turn 1
Turn-1 silence, which we have some of the pieces to fix, but we haven't put them together yet
Turn ordering, which we can solve by giving one of our creatures the means to set everyone else up
We die fast
Back to the drawing board, then.
We've spent a lot of time working on our spell charge problem, but this still isn't fixed. That's fine, though: iteration is important. That's how a build gets fixed up.
We want to zoom out a little here. Giving everyone Arcane is not sustainable, and there's no way we can just stop everyone spending spell charges. There is the option of using Drain Power and running the Evoker spec to avoid using too many charges at once, but in this instance, we don't want to lock ourselves into a single spec.
The best option here is to have a dedicated, powerful caster fused with Sapphire Carbuncle, with the rest casting low-impact utility spells that can easily be managed by Drain Power.
Turning our attention to some of the niche applications of Relics, we have the option of using Triumvir to give Aurum a turn-1 Arcane buff, freeing up a creature trait and giving Aurum some extra intelligence scaling, which isn't the worst thing in the world. Since he's our setup boy, he can spam spells for free on turn 1, setting up Sapphire Carbuncle and Onyx Carbuncle on turn 1.
The turn-1 silence can be solved by giving Aurum a certain Wisp trait: the Laughing Wisp. Since Aurum only exists for his trait and his turn-1 setup, we don't care that he's getting slapped down to the bottom of the timeline every time someone sneezes on him, as long as he sets up Onyx Carbuncle so that our silence debuffs don't matter any more. In other words: it's entirely okay to sacrifice 1/6th of your team if it means the rest of your team can work better than that single part.
Because we only need one creature to set the rest up, our turn ordering is solved by a simple Mimic fuse on Aurum, but for any other team, refer to the codex. You're looking for anything that can push you up on the timeline: speed is important here, but it's not always accessible. You can't just give everyone a Mimic trait, because that's trait real estate lost. It's here that you could fall back on a spell that shuffles the timeline order, because anything's better than being last!
Alternatives to this for other builds include Manticore traits that make turn order based on attack instead, or setups that can cast things like Avalanche at the start of the game. It's around this time you want to really play with dumb setups.
Survivability doesn't just mean defence, and just because we're dying fast doesn't mean we're out of the fight. We can use Vitja's Surprise on a creature that has Flourish as its top slot to spam revival spells on-death, or perhaps Vitja's Revenge for a more luck-based alternative that conserves spell charges. As long as you can figure out how to keep those spell charges up, you're doing absolutely fine.
Alternatives to this involve traits that help scale defence early in the game, or lower the stats of enemies similarly quickly. Refer to the common setups section of the guide for things like this, or look for traits and spells that specifically synergise with your setup. As ever, don't be scared to ask in the Discord!
Check over every step you've done until now. Fail and fail again. Rewrite your team with some new ideas. Using the Assassinate missions you can relatively quickly farm trait materials that you need, so you should always be able to access the stuff you need given the right amount of time. Perfecting a team past the first couple of drafts is something that will take you a lot of in-game time. and there is nothing wrong with that.
Step 7: The conclusion
By now you've definitely made a choice. Either this team is possible, or it isn't. Heck, maybe the team doesn't work but you find it so fun that it doesn't matter.
What you need to understand is that this game is all about learning. You learn what works, what doesn't work. You learn how to synergise. The entire main story is one big tutorial, introducing you to new mechanics, new trials, new things that you will have to watch out for throughout the game. Keep watching and keep learning.
Above all else, remember these 5 steps:
Fail. Learn. Build. Iterate. Repeat.
What I've shown you in this guide is by no means a complete build. I've been working on it for a while on and off, and there will be a completed build after the next major patch. Things seem terrifyingly complicated at first, but if you make sure to pay attention to keywords and search for those specifically, you'll find that the game is much more accessible than it first appears.
I sincerely hope that this has helped you. As I said before, this won't work for everyone, but if it helps just a slice of the community, then this guide has done its job. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me or leave a comment below with any feedback you have. Writing this was a difficult task, as I had to figure out my own process, picking it from a flurry of thoughts and making coherent sense of it. I like to think I've done a good job, but my perspective is only one perspective. Just like with building a team.
Thanks to Sirc and Xamnen in the Siralim Discord for giving things a read-over and setting my mind at ease about my rambling, and again to Sirc giving me tips to make things make a bit more sense in terms of demonstrative perk choices.
Thanks to all the members of the Siralim Discord for being such a helpful crowd and passively giving me ideas for the commonly demonstrated strategies. I can't emphasise enough how good that discord is, and you can access it by clicking this text.[discord.gg]
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- Codex Reference
- Guide 16
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