Equilibrium Scourge - a 3.6 Dominating Blow build (Cheap, league starter/SSF)

(Edit - originally built as 3.5, 3.6 did not change any of the build's design)

This is a build that's derived from Ghazzy's "Call to Arms" Guardian. It recommends different gear, scales damage differently, uses different gems, and modifies the passive tree, so it's different enough that it felt worth posting. The original build guide is here, and I still heartily endorse a lot of the leveling advice in it:

https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2208101

TL;DR summary:

This is a very cheap build with good clear speed and very unreliable single target damage. With all of the minions out, bosses simply melt; without minions already summoned, it will struggle a lot but can still function. It scales dominating blow sentinel damage with elemental equilibrium but is otherwise a bog standard dominating blow build.

Level 90 Path of building link and summary in spoiler:

https://pastebin.com/yJqXB0R1

Spoiler


* Kill all bandits
* Build defining nodes are Spiritual Command, Spiritual Aid, Elemental Equilibrium, Resolute Technique
* Other nodes are life, life regeneration, minion damage, minion attack speed, jewel sockets, and a little bit of skill duration because it was convenient
* Pantheon recommendations are Lunaris and whatever minor makes sense at the time; Gruthkul is a good defensive option
* Ascendancy order is Radiant Crusade, Unwavering Crusade, Bastion of Hope, Harmony of Purpose


Pros:

-Dirt cheap
-League starter or SSF viable with no mandatory uniques
-HC viable with a lot of meat shields and solid life pool
-Fast clear speed
-Good single target damage in most situations

Cons:

-Ineffective against many endgame bosses due to the way minions are generated - if they die, it's bad news
-Requires momentum to work; getting (re)started on a map can be tedious
-Minion AI is terrible

I was able to beat Hydra after dying right at the start of the fight (I foolishly face tanked her charged shot on a map with nasty mods), so it's not that it can't work against those enemies, it's just not a good choice.

Build concept:

Spoiler
The build is based around the active skill gem Dominating Blow. This gem creates Sentinel minions that have a moderate duration and gain additional abilities from Templar's Guardian ascendancy.

It is a life based build that has several defensive layers - minions that can taunt and blind, shield or dual wield with ascendancy bonuses to attack blocking, fortify, some life leech, and moderate regeneration.

Offensively it scales damage through Elemental Equilibrium, cold damage from Hatred (with generosity so that the player doesn't deal cold damage), added cold damage from Grip of the Council, and a Vulnerability curse that I rarely tend to use because things tend to die very quickly.

Mobility comes from using whirling blades in my setup, with Flame Dash as a backup for barriers. Shield charge or leap slam can also be used, as the weapon is not terribly important.


Core build gems and links in order of importance:

Spoiler
---Dominating Blow, supported by:
* Multistrike
* Melee Physical Damage
* Melee Splash (swap for Ruthless for single target damage if needed, see note below)
* Minion Damage
* Faster Attacks (see note below)
* (Potentially a level 1 Maim "support gem" from a crafted body armor)

The original build calls for Ancestral Call and Added Fire Damage. Faster Attacks is disturbingly effective for sentinels for some odd reason, so even without the Elemental Equilibrium problems it's better than Added Fire Damage. Melee Splash is only worse than Ancestral Call in some niche situations; it vastly improves the build's clear speed as the moronic minion targeting is no longer a problem. This is our bread and butter, starting from level 28. Might as well get used to it, it works fine at that level. Note that quality on Dominating Blow only adds damage to your attacks and does nothing for the minions, so the 21/0 gem I bought for 8c works great. Empower (level 4) is marginally better than Faster Attacks for damage, but not worth the price tag (and worse quality of life on lower attack speed) unless you have further bonuses (e.g. +1 to gems from a corruption or something).

---Herald of Purity, supported by:
* Maim (Minion Damage if you have Maim in the armor)
* Ruthless
* Blind (Culling Strike here if you have plenty of blind from abyss jewels and can afford a little more of a mana hit)

This provides some additional minions. Technically optional, but a nice way to apply status ailments and some additional damage. If really struggling on mana, skip this for a Blasphemy of Warlord's Mark.

---Hatred, supported by:
* Generosity (if you don't have the support gem, Elemental Equilibrium will not work properly)

Again, technically optional, but a big part of our damage.

---Whirling Blades, supported by:
* Fortify
* Faster Attacks

A movement skill and a way to get fortify. I supplement this with Flame Dash (socketed with the healing minions) so that I can cross gaps. With dual wielded The Scourge or similar, it is a very quick way to travel maps.

---Convocation (no supports needed)

This gem does just fine at level 1. I specifically do not use this in Cast When Damage Taken as dropping all of your current minions on a target's feet helps them focus damage, massively improving single target potential.

---Vulnerability (no supports needed)

A curse to boost the single target damage. Not very important, but as it does not require a support slot, it's more of a "why not?" My setup happens to add increased duration as a support here, but that's almost always irrelevant.

The following can be modified according to taste and personal preference:

---Stone Golem - mostly a safety tool for more regeneration, shares a Culling Strike gem with the relic.
---Summon Holy Relic - again, a safety tool for more regeneration. The area attack from this minion pairs well with culling strike but it's extremely unreliable.
---Immortal Call - supported by Cast When Damage Taken (CWDT) and Increased Duration. Just standard defensive stuff.

Other options to consider:
1. Vaal Haste (not as a reserved aura, just for the temporary buff).
2. Vortex or Phase Run in the CWDT setup for additional safety.
3. Tempest Shield (if using a shield).
4. Enduring Cry to generate Endurance Charges.


Important gearing considerations:

Spoiler
* You cannot have any cold damage on your own attacks or Elemental Equilibrium will not work.
* You must have a fire or lightning damage bonus somewhere on your own attacks to trigger Elemental Equilibrium (crafted prefix on a ring is an easy way to do this).
* An item with mana leech on physical damage or a claw with mana on hit. We don't get leech from the tree, so mana is a problem. This isn't hard to fix.

* High attack speed melee weapon. Dual wielding or weapon and shield are both fine; two-handed weapons are possible but don't offer anything special. The damage on the weapon is not irrelevant, but it's also not critical. The original build recommends Brightbeak, which is fine until you can equip The Scourge or a Gemini Claw crafted with a bound fossil (potentially better than The Scourge as you can get more than 70% bonus damage and you don't lose the damage if you stop attacking).
* Life leech, somewhere. The Scourge by itself is plenty, but if using another weapon this is a gap to be filled.
* Abyss jewels that give your minions taunt on hit (Ghastly Eye is the minion type).
* The build needs a lot of dexterity from gear for Faster Attacks as it gets almost none from the tree.
* Enough resists and as much life as you can get your hands on.

Recommended gear:

Spoiler
* The Scourge is a near-ideal weapon for the build. Other weapons may be better, but I bought a pair of these for something like 2-3 chaos each mid-league.

* The Writhing Jar (worm flask) is a way to generate enemies to generate minions, as well as an instant heal. Generating minions this way is difficult as your other minions often kill them before you have a chance to hit them with Dominating Blow. This thing is dirt cheap unless you go for perfect rolls.

* Grip of the Council essentially adds more Hatred aura for your minions. I bought a set with good rolls for 9 chaos mid-league.

* Fossil crafted body armors can have Level 1 Maim as an added support gem as a bonus. I bought a 6L set of armor with this bonus for 2 exalts mid-league. Ideal versions would have +1 to support gems, +1 to gem level corruption, or other things, but this is supposed to be a cheap build.

* An elder helm can give more links or levels for minion gems (either damage or life), and a Bone Helmet of any sort can add further minion damage. I prefer the quality of life from Devoto's, but it isn't the best choice numerically. Lightpoacher (2 abyss jewels) is another option, but an expensive one for very little benefit.

* When looking for abyss jewels, you want either % increased minion damage or % increased minion damage if you've used a minion skill recently. The flat damage jewels do almost nothing and the non-abyss jewels aren't worth considering. Here's the Darkness Enthroned I'm using with two example jewels.


The rest of the gear is in the Path of Building link. None of it is particularly interesting.
Last edited by SDY225 on Mar 6, 2019, 10:18:12 PM
Last bumped on Apr 26, 2019, 10:31:27 PM
Very well written but I'd like to see some videos

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