I’ve played GK for a long time and have like 10 load-outs for him, I haven’t found any dead talents. There are some that stand out as being more viable with a greater variety of weapons and traits, but I’ve found he really doesn’t have dead talents. He is arguably one of the most dynamic careers in the game with different talents that complement every weapon he can use. I want to go over each unique talent to explain why I think so.
2nd Row Talents
Virtue of the Ideal stands out as being the best overall talent on the 2nd row. It is almost always active at full stacks besides when fighting a few roaming enemies, a group of powerful enemies like a patrol, or when fighting a monster. Basically, whenever fighting a horde, it’s at max stacks.
Virtue of Knightly Temper is the least effective 2nd-row talent, but it is for a more monster slayer type of GK. It complements the use of strength potions using Virtue of the Penitent 4th row talent and makes his ult way more effective at finishing off bosses. The bretonian longsword vertical strike combo: push-attack, heavy light, heavy light… does around 45 damage to armor on a crit. 4x that is 180. That will slay any elite on crit in 1 hit on cataclysm besides the chaos warrior which will would take about 2 regular heavy hits to the head and then one crit. The ult always counts as a crit, so with a strength potion on cataclysm you can usually finish off a monster with about 1/4 to 1/3rd it’s health by using your ult with this talent. Hardly a dead talent.
Virtue of Heroism can effectively be a 25% power bonus at almost all times. When using a combination of two weapons with only heavy attacks such as Greathammer and Mace. Add on the 3rd-row talent for a total of 32.5% power bonus. Use a 10% power bonus vs chaos on the charm and the mace. to get 52.5% power bonus and the 5th row Virtue of Discipline to get up to 70.5% bonus power after a timed block. I’ve used this to great effect on cataclysm with the greathammer and mace using only heavy attacks. The mace’s heavy attack is faster and does more damage than the greathammer’s light attacks, doing about 25-60 damage on a heavy hit; usually wiping out a storm vermin in 2 hits to the head on cataclysm. The great hammer will throw trash enemies around more effectively with this talent than any other class I’ve used it on and do a ton of damage to them.
4th Row Talents
All of the 4th row talents are good team talents. I usually use the Virtue of Duty to get a higher chance of having some health regen for the team upon picking up a Grimoire or completing a Chest of Trials. It stacks nicely with nat bond, Waystalker’s Amaranthe, SotT 25% heal bonus, and/or the 1 in 3 second health regen boon in chaos wastes with other Chaos Wastes boons that increase health gained like Boon of Shallya.
I’ve used the Virtue of Purity first for a long time just to get a bit extra for damage reduction or attack speed. It is not my personal fav, but it isn’t by any means a dead talent. That extra 50% from two quests can be a powerful bonus; particularly useful when you realize that the 3rd quest granting health regen might not be great for Zealot or you just are not going near Grimoires.
The Virtue of Penitence is arguably the most useful talent on the row. Strength potions make GK’s ult devastating against bosses and on Cataclysm there are often so many hordes that an extra strength potion drops regularly, and on cata, the potions aren’t nearly as common.
5th Row Talents
On the 5th row, Virtue of Stoicism is planning for disaster. I like to have the bot use this one to help keep it alive. It’s my least favorite, but regening 50% of health you lost as temp health is great combined with Boon of Shallya and helps make GK a lot more durable. If you’re playing a bit more offensive with low stamina and sluggish weapons like Executioner’s sword or Greathammer, you might this added layer of protection since gaining temp health on stagger or killing blows might not be enough. Might be the closest thing to a dead talent on the tree; don’t know if many people use it, but I could definitely see this being useful for players who have trouble with getting hit a lot.
The Virtue of Discipline makes being a skillful player so rewarding. A 20% power bonus for 6 seconds after a timed block works great with Bretonian Longsword and the Bretonian Sword and Shield. When I’m in the middle of bullying hordes and elites with the shield and knocking them around, it’s so easy to get a little tap on your shield when you quickly react to an attack that keeps that 20% power bonus on more often than you might think. The Bretonian Longsword often gets you a parry when you prepare a heavy attack and riposte, which makes that heavy attack even more powerful.
The Virtue of the Joust is my favorite with GK and I love to use the Bretonian Sword and Shield with a 60% push/block angle bonus, +2 stamina, 30% block cost reduction and 30% stamina regeneration bonus. Lump that with this talent and you got a push angle bonus of 90% and 60% stamina regen. Absolutely amazing against large groups of hordes with elites in there. You can use a shield to bully your way through everything except chaos warriors and disable attackers behind you. Your inner push angle becomes 190, and the outer push angle becomes 340. I think push/block angle might be one of the most underrated things. I used this with the Opportunist trait for quite some time to get that 50% push force against attackers.
6th Row Talents
I’m actually the most disappointed in the 6th row talents because none of them make his ult as powerful as I feel it should be on Cataclysm. He can’t usually one-shot a chaos warrior with his ult. Seems just shy of greatness. However, all of the talents on this row compliment different roles within the team: boss slayer, team rescue / get me out of here, and elite killer respectively.
I’ve switched between Virtue of Audacity and Virtue of Confidence quite a bit. I think the fact that Virtue of Confidence loses cleave against Chaos Warriors and doesn’t do enough damage to kill them outright is so disatisfying. Virtue of Audacity is great against bosses, but I still find myself using the Virtue of Audacity more against general elites that often crowd the team, killing around 3 to 5 at a time.
The virtue of the Impetuous Knight is the one I use the least, but it does have a place and I think that 35% movement speed bonus is underrated. You can put a 5% movement speed bonus on your charm and he has a 10% increase to movement speed for a total of 50% increased movement speed while using that talent. This can be extremely useful for getting out of a bad situation or helping a downed ally. I think of it’s use being akin to how many classes have ults that can be used to stagger, disable or bypass enemies to help downed allies or get out of a nasty situation. Having no ranged weapon, the GK benefits greatly from having some more movement speed and losing a teammate you can’t reach in time because they have been disabled by something is awful, so I don’t think this is a dead talent. I just wish this one gave you something like another 10% attack speed for 15 seconds too so it had some more offensive use.