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Heart Of Oak
If any demigod embodies the theme of a general, Oak is probably the one. Clad in armor from head to toe, Oak is the knight in shining armor. He is the opposite of the Torchbearer, supporting his allies, minions, and friendly creeps with a variety of AOE powers.
The power of a general like Oak tends to be less obvious than that of a deadly front-line demigod like the Rook or the Unclean Beast. The damage coming from Oak himself tends to be minimal, particularly when he is unsupported. But with the proper tactics Oak can be both an inspiring front-line combatant and an invincible defensive juggernaut.
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The General Oak
The Oak is a general. That said, even the general characters at first seem best played as assassins. It is hard to understand the effect that minions have as their bonuses and the damage they deal is simply less visible. Some readers will be surprised to learn that playing Oak as a general heavily reliant on his minions and allies is one of the most offensively oriented builds Oak has, but this is the case. A General build uses swarms of minions to quickly kill enemy demigods. The downside to this build is that the reliance on spirits makes for a weaker early game (Oak has fewer spirits at that time) and also causes vulnerability to AOE attacks.
Amongst Oak's most potent offensive abilities are his minions, which are summoned from the bodies of dead soldiers. These minions are extremely mobile and, in large numbers, do a large amount of damage. As a General Oak, pumping up Raise Dead will be the highest priority. It is possible to reach Raise Dead 4 by level 10. In addition to Raise Dead, another important skill to boost is Soul Power. Soul Power raises the base weapon damage of Oak and applies a further damage bonus for every spirit summoned. Finally, you'll want to pick up Penitence and pump it up. Penitence does direct damage, slows any target it hits, and increases damage taken by any target it hits. It is the perfect finishing move.
Other important skills, particularly at higher levels, are Soul Frenzy and Morale. Soul Frenzy puts Oaks' spirits into a frenzy, increasing movement speed and damage, while Morale makes spirits tougher. The degree to which these skills are needed is dependent on the opponent - against the Rook, Soul Frenzy would likely be best, but against an AOE damage dealer like the Torchbearer, Morale will be necessary to make sure AOE attacks don't wipe the floor with spirits. By the end of the game, a General Oak should have Raise Dead, Penitence, and Soul Power maxed out. Soul Frenzy or Morale should be maxed out, but not both. There are some spare points - use these to pick up the base levels of useful abilities, such as Shield.
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The Gladiator Oak
As powerful as the General Oak can be at pure damage, he is near useless without minions. Players using the General build have to be very wary of heavy AOE attackers. The Gladiator Oak, on the other hand, takes the direct approach. This is the build to use if you prefer direct attacks and don't want to worry about dragging along a pack of annoying minions.
The staples are the Gladiator at Penitence, Surge Of Faith, and Shield. All of these abilities should be kept at a high level throughout. Penitence's ability to deal damage, slow an enemy, and make them more vulnerable to damage results in an excellent direct combat ability. Surge Of Faith is an AOE nuke which does up to 600 points of damage, and can either be triggered with Penitence for extra damage or used to clear out enemy creeps. Shield is a defensive ability that renders a friendly target immune to damage. Used on himself, it can render Oak invulnerable for six seconds, heal Oak for 600 damage, and negate debuffs. The uses of this are obvious. Six seconds is a long time to be rendered invulnerable, and allows Oak to press an attack against an enemy or to retreat in almost total safety.
At higher levels, players should pick up Soul Power for the damage boost and Divine Justice for the health bonuses applied when an enemy demigod is killed. Once Divine Justice is fully levelled, Rally should be obtained to cap it off.
While this build is certainly more direct than the General build, its name as Gladiator rather than as Assassin is appropriate. Without needing to spend points on minion related abilities, the Gladiator can pay a lot of attention to his survival skills. The damage of this build is respectable, but his lasting power is outstanding. Shield is the ultimate get-out-of-jail free card. The Gladiator is safe so long as Shield is activated and a teleport scroll is in his inventory. In fact, survival is likely this build's most deadly trait. The Gladiator can fool enemies into thinking that he is easy prey, then pop shield, throw up a health potion, and what looked like an easy kill becomes a deadly opponent.