Initial thoughts are 5 or 10 Void Gems, 0 or 5 Chaos Gems. This makes it easier to get Blizzard Glitch, and gives extra Chaos for Fire Cover to clear problem arenas. Any additional gems should only be obtained for magic refills. This shouldn't be needed.
Some minor testing brought me to the conclusion that the best options for reliable DPS with Shadow Whip were to get Guillotine early. Guillotine loops do high DPS and allow you to avoid many random attack patterns while being cheap to buy early. In addition, Rising Whip (DA Launch) levels quite fast.
After that, DA Parry attack and Somersault Attack are the next best options due to allowing you powerful combat options off a bad attack pattern or to evade blocks. Both of these can also level quickly. At this time, I think maxing three abilities on Shadow Whip to increase its mastery to 2 is worthwhile. Your magic and relic use is not stable enough early on to spam Whirlwind, so a 30% increase to damage on your primary damage seems good.
Current picks for leveling Shadow Whip: Rising Whip, Aerial DA, then Somersault Attack, Parry Attack, or Area Attack normal on large groups.
Sustained AA is very, very good DPS but inconsistent without Blizzard Glitch up. To that end, I wouldn't invest in it until that time. Sustained DA is good damage but not consistent enough to execute without being interrupted.
For Void Sword, I pretty much take Whirlwind and do my best to space out the dash for the extended hits. Hitting Whirlwind at the end of the dash does between 6-9 hits instead of the 2-3 when done up close. This is much easier to space on enemies with larger hitboxes. To get Blizzard Glitch, I use Seal of Alastor since 5000 Exp is a lot to invest in a move we only want to use 3-5 times.
Chaos choices are more in the air. I like Explosive Earthquake since it tracks enemies, but without the longer Chaos Magic bar of NG+, we need to regenerate far too often.Because of this, Fire Cover is a great next solution. It is fairly magic efficient, and it really deals with some of the more frustrating groups of enemies. Other options include Avalanche to chase down enemies and possibly parry attack.
If Transmute is used, you can purchase the cheapest relics in he shop and change them into Seals and Demons. So far, I think the 3-4 small Prison Guard fight before Chupa Jail is guaranteed to drop a Seal. I also think the Large Prison Guard x2 fight after the harpies has a high chance of a Demon. Other than that, you are fishing for relic drops. The earliest relic drop I got was Clock just before getting the Wolf's Medallion. I want to say I have seen Seal drop in the arena before First Acolyte, but I don't know for sure.
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