Of the support classes I listed, I wouldn't consider any of them except Lightcaster to be niche. Unless having 5 people and a Stonecrusher is considered niche :s
I'd consider niche supports to be like shaman/evo shaman for nerfing specific stats, acolyte/bard for preserving mana, classes that need to build up stacks on their debuffs, classes with debuffs that make the enemy take 20-30% more damage, defensive supports in general, and classes that heal, stun, or draw aggro to themselves.
For some reason I thought VHL Shackle lowers the enemy damage output by 50%, but it doesn't. I'd put Chaos Slayer as the 7th best offensive support. Feels like they always give the Anguished debuff. 8th Would be Doomknight I guess? Has the same debuff but needs to stack it 5 times.
Thing is... I'm not sure Bard and Acolyte's mana helpfulness isn't actually useful in the grand scheme of things, even with classes that struggle with mana, you'll find that using aracnomancer, archfiend and stonecrusher are all far more useful for even mana hungry classes such as cryomancer, ShadowStalker of Time, etc... The actual results show that the added damage and crit chance of offensive classes help cryomancer and other mana hungry classes more than healer and bard do.
I don't think I'd ever see a situation where i'd use bard and healer over another offensive support. Having more mana is nice on the surface but when you actually time your results, adding 100% more damage far outweighs the amount of mana gained from those classes, I'd rather finish a boss faster and have some mana problems, if you finish a boss with bad mana faster than you finish a boss with good mana, is it really worth it? I don't really think so.
Bard does have very small nerfs and a small heal but i'd honestly use LightCaster as it heals far better, increases hit chance, resistance, crit damage, etc, and then straight up increases damage. The same with healer's heal.
Also I don't think Shaman and Evo Shaman are really even that useful in those niche situations, there's really no bosses I can think of that have absurd dodge. And to be quite honest a straight up damage boost is better than negating dodge, I'd rather have my hits dodged once in a while and hit far harder than to have my hits undodgable but still missable and hit far less.
Again in actual timed results, another Aracnomancer or Archfiend over the Shamans is better.
As for LightCaster being niche, I don't think it is, it's offensive buffs and DPS and heal make it nearly as good as StoneCrusher in raw support, keep in mind LightCaster increases 3% per stack, and 15% crit damage, regular damage, haste, crit chance, dodge chance and resistance and heals instantly all from it's heal.
This actually really makes it an insane support class. It doesn't take but 10-15 stacks for it to reach Aracnomancer level support, due to aracnomancer only being able to keep it's 100% damage for half the time (Which as you said can be looped with a stonecrusher)
I'm actually abit debitive whether LightCaster or Archfiend is better offensively. I'm sure Archfiend comes on top in the beginning but I believe LC can probably surpass it after not too long.
LightCaster might even have the best heal. It's a full heal which is as much as anyone can take advantage of because over 4-5k heals means you excess healed and nobody really benefitted from that. And then add of the buffs and defense buffs from LCs heal.
It is a 6 ally heal too which means the full group can benefit from it. Although there are potentially very few maps where more than 6 people can be at. Healer is only a 4 target heal and heals you the most and the rest less but does apply a HoT...but only on the first target making that pretty useless as a support heal....
Oracle has some randomized status effects hat don't always benefit you...infact it can increase your party's mana costs and endurance, decrease your party's luck which are both pretty bad...And it's also only a 4 target heal so it's that great either...
ArchPaladin might have the benefit of extra endurance and about 5% more resistance added...but overall the defensive and offensive buffs make LC's better... Paladin Highlord has the full heal 10 player heal however...
HOWEVER AP would still be better defensive because of it's 90% nerf.
< Message edited by Edme MacHeath -- 6/26/2018 11:36:40 >