What are your thoughts on stacking Regeneration & Boon Duration via Runes like 2x Dwayna, Monk, and Water (+20% regen, +10% boon, +10% boon, respectively)? Turn Mark of Blood's 5-second regeneration into a 8.5-second regen.
My idea behind this would be to throw down 2 - 3 Marks of Blood then switch to Axe / Focus. The minions keep regening and now you can stack on Vulnerability freely.
I can see a skilled player pulling this off, and making this playstyle better than just staying on staff the whole time. The marks of blood, though, need to hit all your minions and landed at least twice consecutively, before allowing for a safe weapon swap to axe / focus, which might be hard to pull off. After the patch, I'm not sure if jagged horrors are even able to be maintained now, but swapping guarantees that you won't be able to since you might end up with more than 5 targets for mark of blood, that is, if you were able to maintain multiple jagged horrors in the first place at all. Obviously, the only reason to swap is if you are facing a veteran or champion as trash mobs will usually die within the time you use 2-3 marks of blood and staff's other skills are still superior in the case of fighting multiple mobs.
I'm thinking that the amount of stats you sacrifice is mostly negligible for the extra duration, but I guess that's probably the biggest downside I can see to using the runes instead of the orbs: the loss of about 140 stats with 90 being healing power. Even if you don't switch to axe, the regen duration is still useful in case you miss some marks of blood so you really aren't making a sacrifice at all in order to set up the conditions to more effectively switch to axe. In addition, the recent axe buffs also make the weapon more attractive.
So in conclusion, I'd say go for it. If swapping means you can't effectively maintain regen on your minions, then just don't swap and you won't be any worse off for having the runes over the orbs. If you are able to swap effectively, then I'd say veterans (maybe champions) will be falling a lot faster. I'd be curious in your testing for this. Right now, the build in this guide lacks any effective utilization of the second weapon set. If axe / focus would provide a notable improvement, then it may be worthy to be main-barred, and there would be a tighter build and a lot less stuff in the "variant" sections. At least at this point, I'm reluctant to say axe / focus will make any big difference but feel free to prove me wrong.
EDIT: When using axe / focus, would a cleric's set be a better choice? Clerics would provide a great boost to axe / focus while giving a moderate boost to staff damage. Apothecary would give a great boost to staff damage, but none at all to axe / focus. Given that staff is still going to be used the majority of the time, it seems smarter just to stick with apothecary and use the axe solely for the vulnerability stacking aspects of it, and then switching back to staff as soon as weapon swap is off cooldown.
Edited by OChunx, 01 March 2013 - 05:45 AM.