[3.0] Dark Pact Occultist Summoner

Intro

This is the build I was playing in Hardcore Harbinger league. Unfortunately I ripped in a twinned Vaal Pyramid map through my own fault. I will continue to play in softcore for a while, since I found this character to be very fun and would like to see how it performs in higher tier maps.

The idea is to do as much damage as possible with dark pact by scaling minion life and taking increased chaos damage on the tree. Since this requires picking almost all of the minion notables you can take advantage of using a large number of zombies to boost your defence (just dont expect them to do much damage).

Overall, levelling was very smooth and this build is a great boss killer. Your minions will distract the boss and once surrounded by skeletons the DPS from dark pact can be huge. I killed act 9 doedre before any of the pillars spawned.

I recommend going MOM during the story mode and early maps before transitioning over to hybrid life/ES.

Ascendency
Spoiler

I chose to go Occultist over Necromancer because of the damage boost to chaos you get from the first 4 ascendancy points (profane bloom and void beacon) and later from the survivability of the final 4 points (wicked ward and vile bastion).

In order to apply Profane Bloom to as many targets as possible, take the Hex Master notable for increased curse AOE. With blasphemy, this will give an almost screen wide 10% increased damage taken to monsters and a 20% chance to explode plus the -25% chaos resist from void beacon. The AOE nodes on the tree scale both blasphemy range and the AOE of dark pact.


Passives

Build at 67 (MOM)



Build at 85 (Life/ES)



Skill Gems

Spoiler
I haven't had a chance to test a 6L dark pact yet but for 5L I settled on:

Dark Pact - Spell Echo - Void Manipulation - Controlled Destruction - Added Chaos Damage

If you have The Baron helmet you should socket:

Spell Totem - Summon Skeletons - Minion Life - Empower/Minion Speed/Increased Duration

having a high level empower would be great to increase both skeleton and minion life gems, otherwise minion speed helps your skeletons to move between enemies quicker (but it can be hard to get 3B1R when using The Baron) else increased duration increases spell totem duration so you do not need to worry about recasting it so often.

3L:

Raise Zombie - Minion Life - Fortify

3L:

Flame Dash - Faster Casting - Arcane Surge (low level)

4L:

Your choice of CWDT setup

(2 + 1 + 1)L:

Blasphemy - Enfeeble/Warlord's Mark

Summon X Golem/Vaal Summon Skeletons

Discipline



Gearing
Spoiler

Gearing is quite simple; whilst levelling look for items with resists, mana and life. I was also dual wielding for the cast speed. Once you start to pick up the ES nodes on the tree, switch out a wand for a shield and look for items with resist, ES and life. I also recommend trying to essence craft minion life onto your chest. Hopefully you'll get something better than mine!



There are a few uniques that also boost minion life as well as the unique jewel Fortified Legion.



Apep's rage would be a good wand for this build (provided you can sustain the mana cost).







Last edited by locobilbo on Aug 8, 2017, 4:45:32 AM
Last bumped on Sep 8, 2017, 9:41:21 PM
Sounds similar to what I am trying to realize currently.

Two questions:

1. is chain worth the 50% dmgreduce downside?
2. certain about the occultist? Beacon of Curruption sound promising (really promising) to me... what do you think?
I'll try and answer the second question first.

I have always assumed that the summon skeletons totem is summoning skeletons at a rate faster than I can kill them (though I do have a fast cast speed) so on death effects won't proc. However, because of the visual effect of dark pact I haven't been able to see if the skellies are dying or not. Minion instability is only 2 nodes away, I will take it and see if I notice any explosions. If you use vaal summon skeletons, minion instability might be a great choice, since there should be plenty of time to kill those skeletons, I wonder how quickly one could nuke down a boss :).

Even if it turns out that the skeletons are dying, I'm not sure necromancer is the right choice. Anything that isn't a boss will be dead before you cast dark pact the 11 times you need to reduce a minion below 33% (and hence kill it via minion instability). Aside from that ascendency node there isn't really anything else that appealing (apart from the few minion max life nodes in-between the notables). You could try and take advantage of the spectre damage but this build is already starved for sockets. The -25% chaos resistance and 10% extra damage taken nodes for the Occultist are actually really huge bonuses, like more multipliers on top of more multipliers. On top of that the energy shield nodes are useful, though admittedly not as much as for a CI character.

As for chain, eventually you will only have 30% less damage and that is counteracted by the 66% more damage you get from chaining to 2 more skellies. It also means the area damage from dark pact covers a larger area of the screen and you can often kill separate packs at the same time. If the vaal summon skeletons minion instability trick works, having an extra 2 skeletons die due to the chain will also add a lot more damage.
Last edited by locobilbo on Aug 7, 2017, 4:59:40 AM
Now imagine if that actually works...

Another aspect to consider: chaining also works between 2 skellis.
Meaning, cast 2 and +chain they will die fast enough to proc minion instability & beacon.
Rather pain in the ass potentially always having to keep track of them, but definitely worth a try.

€: My bad, it does not. Forgot about the spellecho gem while counting x)
So yes, you're right, seems tough killing your own skellis reliably.


€2: Minion Instability DOES work.
Last edited by inspiration on Aug 7, 2017, 7:30:27 AM
I've tested minion instability and with Apep's rage you have enough cast speed to kill skeletons before they are respawned by the totem. However, you will probably need to run warlords mark instead of enfeeble for mana leech. Warlords mark is a good curse choice anyway since it gives endurance charges for immortal call and makes you able to stunlock most mobs. I can't tell exactly how much damage MI is doing, but for 2 points its probably worth it.

This does mean you need to be very careful to maintain at least some skeletons, since you can easily start sacrificing your own life at an alarming rate!
"
locobilbo wrote:

As for chain, eventually you will only have 30% less damage and that is counteracted by the 66% more damage you get from chaining to 2 more skellies. It also means the area damage from dark pact covers a larger area of the screen and you can often kill separate packs at the same time. If the vaal summon skeletons minion instability trick works, having an extra 2 skeletons die due to the chain will also add a lot more damage.


since Dark Pact already chains twice, if you support it with chain support you end up with 5 hits total. At Chain support level 20 you do 31% less damage, meaning you do 69% damage on each hit, or 0.69x5. This ends up being 3.45, or 345%. without chain, you do 3 hits of 100%. That means that a level 20 chain support is a 3.45/3= 1.15 multiplier, or 15% more damage, for a 150% mana multiplier.
Level 20 added chaos, on the other hand adds (26+256)/2= 141 avg. damage for a 130% mana multiplier. Base damage of level 20 Dark Pact is (30+301)/2= 165. A level 20 skeleton has 1897 HP baseline. Add to that 110% increased life from your tree, and 49% from a level 20 minion life support you end up at 2.59x1897= 4913, and of that 6% is added to the spell - 0.06x4913= 295. So base damage is 165+295=460. This means that added chaos is a 1+(141/460)= 1.31 multiplier, or 31% more damage for 30% more mana.
Granted extra chains while clear white packs easier, but damage will suffer a lot if you have less than 3 skeletons out.
I'm trying out a similar build but with necromancer. If your spell totem hits max skeles it will trigger beacon of corruption but won't trigger minion instability (because your skeles don't hit "low life"). I've been running summon skeles + the new From Dust jewel + spell echo and it feels a bit smoother/faster than spell totem and allows me to proc minion instability more reliably.
Dark Pact takes 6% of current skeleton's life, not max? If so, what about using vitality aura? (with generosity and some tree nodes for sustaining more damage).
"
losludvig wrote:
Granted extra chains while clear white packs easier, but damage will suffer a lot if you have less than 3 skeletons out.


Yeah you're right, in fact lvl 20 added chaos gives an average of 213 base damage, which is even more % damage than you calculated. I had thought that the extra 70% or so minion life on my gear plus the added chaos from Apep's rage would mean that scaling %increased/%more would be better than flat added damage. I will update the skill gems section.
Last edited by locobilbo on Aug 8, 2017, 4:30:45 AM
I still don't really see the benefit of taking Necromancer over Occultist. Most things should be dead before you are able to kill your skeletons or hit max skellie count. Considering also that, as Gosen pointed out, dark pact only takes 6% of current life, it is technically impossible to kill your own skeletons with it. It might be useful against bosses (if the caustic cloud stacks) but you can get practically the same effect just by taking minion instability and still be able to take all the chaos damage bonuses from the occultist class.

Thanks for pointing out that dark pact only scales off current life, Gosen. I think the life regen from vitality is too low to really make a difference, especially since you are always getting fresh skeletons from the totem. However, this is an argument against using chain as the more skeletons you hit the less damage you will do next time you cast as there are less high health targets available!

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