[3.11] [HC] [SSF] Zombies/SRS Occultist

3.11 tl;dr The Patch Notes don't address the Occultist, SRS or zombies directly.

Aligned Spirits (mana/minion damage/minion skills mana cost) has been moved to the other side of the tree and values on the nodes providing increases to minion accuracy have been cut, which makes the build a bit more demanding gear or skill points-wise.

Enduring Bond got a new mod: Summoned Raging Spirits have 5% chance to refresh their Duration when they Hit a Unique Enemy, which should make the flow of boss fights much more appealing.

I will notify you when the guide is fully updated.

This is the build which I managed to get to level 100, as the first one ever, when I played it in the Betrayal hc ssf league (3.5). I considered it rather generic, but as opposed to strength-stacking characters, it didn't seem like this specific version got much attention. So, I thought maybe it's worth to share and discuss it.

The basics
Raging Spirits are temporary minions characterized by their mobility and aggressiveness. We can have 20 of them at the same time, so they can focus on a single target or disper when dealing with a pack of mobs.

Zombies are persistent minions which trade mobility for higher individual damage. Their default AI also is different - usually they will follow the character unless we directly point the enemy to them (this can be changed with support gems). There's a limit for their number which goes up as their gem levels up. It can be increased in various other ways too.

I've tried playing these skills separately, but in the end I enjoyed their complementarity the most.

A character employing SRS and zombies usually would be the Necromancer using a few unique items, possibly The Baron as the cornerstone. My intention was to check if that build can be translated into a viable version under ssf conditions and the Occultist seemed suited to the job.
Why the Occultist?
Historically, I preferred the Occultist over the Necromancer for the defensive potential, at least in ssf. In the current version, the gaps between them are pretty small in some cases, the Necromancer leads in others, the Guardian is worth attention too. I still think that playstyles based on Energy Shield, encouraged by the Occultist, fit summoners pretty well. Besides, Profane Bloom (look below) can stuck with you.

A quick overwiev of the class:

Vile Bastion
Regenerate 40 Energy Shield per second
Regnerate 1% of Energy Shield per second for each Enemy you or your Minions have Killed Recently, up to 10% per second
Cannot Be Stunned while you have Energy Shield

Not as great as it used to be, but still can supplement an ES-based playstyle. In the past it was a factor competing with The Baron for me. Easies the choice of the Pantheon powers [story spoiler] and opens up a possiblity of a transition into a Chaos Inoculation character. Unlike the regular 50% chance to avoid being stunned while you have ES, this still applies if you pick Eldrith Battery.
Void Beacon
Nearby Enemies have -20% to Cold Resistance
Nearby Enemies have -20% to Chaos Resistance
Nearby Enemies have 100% reduced Life Regeneration rate

Quite helpful, as we utilize Hatred and support SRS with Added Cold Damage. It's even more relevant with the Triad Grip gloves. The part about regeneration can be useful especially in the Metamorph encounters and in the Temple of Atzoatl.
Profane Bloom
Your Curses can apply to Hexproof Enemies
Cursed Enemies you or your Minions Kill have a 25% chance to Explode, dealing a quarter of their maximum Life as Chaos Damage

Noticeably improves the clearspeed when your minions don't use Melee Splash Support and can save from re-rolling maps or avoiding particular nodes in the Azurite Mine.
When you Kill an Enemy, for each Curse on that Enemy, gain 8% of Non-Chaos Damage as extra Chaos Damage for 4 seconds
You can apply an additional Curse
15% increased Effect of your Curses
Enemies you Curse have Malediction
(The Malediction debuff on cursed enemies applies 10% reduced Damage Dealt & 10% increased Damage Taken)

Unfortunately, the first part doesn't apply to minions. Other lines still make Malediction a solid passive skill though, both defensively and offensively.
(3.8) Pit of the Chimera (full run)

(3.8) The Shaper

Plese keep in mind that bosses are much more tanky now, especially the Shaper.
Energy Shield
I utilize Chaos Inoculation, ES recharge, and ES regeneration mechanics.

CI is a passive skill that sets our maximum life to 1, but makes us invulnerable to chaos damage, which is the only type of damage that normally bypasses ES. In other words, it allows us to focus entirely on getting more ES.

ES recharges constantly, unless we take damage. If so, it won't recharge for a delay of 2 seconds by default. By reducing this delay and increasing the chance of avoiding taking damage, we make sure it will re-start recharging as fast as possible. The Discipline aura gives us additional ES and increases ES recharge rate. Its gem can be corrupted to grant also Vaal Discipline, which can take away the delay completely in an emergency.

Thanks to the Occultist's Vile Bastion passive skill, we get up to 10% ES regeneration as long as our minions kill enough enemies and we can't be stunned. The Zealoth's Oath keystone applies any source of life regeneration to ES instead of life.
My means for avoiding taking damage include:

- Evasion and block. If you can, use at least one Ghastly Eye jewel giving your minions a chance to blind on hit.

- Cast When Damage Taken Support (lvl 1) + Temporal Chains (lvl 5). With this setup TC is triggered when we take 528 damage and slows enemies down, providing a safer environment.

- Curse on Hit Support + Enfeeble + Arc. Enfeeble is a general defensive curse that has a synergy with evasion. It’s linked with Arc for the purpose of applying another curse and effects of Elemental Equilibrium at the same time (look below).

- Correct positioning. A lot of people like using Shield Charge for the defensive bonus of Fortify Support linked with it. It would be nice to squeeze in Fortify, but I don’t rely on that, I don't recommend Shield Charging right into packs of mobs at all.

- Undying Evangelist Spectres. They cast a short duration Proximity Shield on themselves, preventing damage from sources outside of its area of effect. I use them with Meat Shield Support, so that they usually stay close and I can benefit from this effect too.

I boost the minions in a few specific ways worth mentioning here. These include:

- Elemental Equilibrium. I focus my zombies and Raging Spirits on fire and cold damage. EE is a passive skill which in that case allows us to decrease enemies’ resistances to those types of damage by hitting them with lightning damage. My personal preference is to apply it with Arc, as it gives a lot of freedom for positioning.

- Carnage Chieftain Spectres. They grant us and our minions Frenzy Charges, which increase speed and multiply damage. They're more powerful on the minions than on us.

- Flesh Offering. A spell that increases movement and attack speed of our minions by consuming corpses, which helps with dealing with some on-death effects, like corpse explosion. Alternatively, Spirit Offering is a similar, more defensively oriented spell that can help with keeping up elemental and chaos resistances of the minions.

- Elemental Weakness. A curse reducing elemental resistances, that one is rather straightforward. I apply it together with Enfeeble by using Curse on Hit Support + Arc.

- Reservation skills. Hatred provides bonus cold damage to our minions. In the Betrayal league I was able to use Aspect of the Avian as an additional source of movement speed/damage.

- Profane Bloom. The Occultist’s passive skill that makes some cursed enemies explode on death, dealing chaos damage to other nearby enemies. It also allows us to apply curses to enemies with hexproof mod. Remember that some enemies, like totems, can never be cursed anyway.
Passive Tree
Path of Building is a useful 3rd party software for planning your character. Its creator has been hired by GGG, but it's still an independent project. You can learn more about it and download it here. Also check its fork for a more up to date version.

PoB link (3.11): https://pastebin.com/ynWJz09X, last edited: June 17, 2020.

The official browser tree (3.10): http://poeurl.com/cLN9.

This is the final tree for the Chaos Inoculation version. CI is gated by adequate Energy Shield gear. You need to get/craft it first. As a rule of thumb, CI characters need to have 5000 ES for t1 maps and 400 for each tier up. You're likely to have a bad experience if you try to level up aiming straightforwardly for this tree and ignore life nodes/gear. If you're not sure how to get there, please check the Leveling section.

The order of Ascendancy passive skills:
Vile Bastion -> Profane Bloom -> Malediction -> Void Beacon.

Since 3.7 it's harder to make a transition to CI than before, so you might want to stay around with a hybrid version for longer. Here's the suggested tree:

PoB link (3.11): https://pastebin.com/0b9Tv4gP, last edited: June 17, 2020.

The official browser tree (3.10) http://poeurl.com/cLOc.

It won't reach a very high life pool, so the more chaos resistance you can get, the better (at least 40%). You'll have to watch out for Al-Hezmin and maps under his influence, Incursions, and the Syndicate encounters. There are also some occasional chaos damage spikes, like nodes with chaos golems in the Azurite Mine. You can always consider picking Withering Presence instead of Vile Bastion, but that should be resolved by gear.

PoB links include some reference gear, but it's not meant to be comprehensive regarding all crafting goals/possibilites etc.
Cluster Jewels
Full article.

There are many notables you can use to customize your character, but just to point out a few that seem especially relevant for this build:

Usually I use Soul of Solaris and Soul of Tukohama. Maps with "Monsters' skills Chain 2 additional times" can be dangerous for summoners though and Soul of Lunaris helps with those. Burning Ground prevents Energy Shield recharge, so Soul of Abberath is hepful at times too.
Gems and Links
If you don't know when/how to get a specific skill gem, check https://poe-roadmap.com/build/33232. For leveling setups, check the Leveling section.

SRS + Unleash + Added Cold Dam. + Minion Dam. + Ruthless + Elem. Focus.

I used to use Spell Echo instead of Unleash, but I think the latter works better overall.

Elem. Dam. with Attacks tends to be replaceable with Ruthless. What's better dps-wise depends on the state of other skills and modifiers to minion stats from gear. Ruthless decreases the mana cost though. Multistrike can be the strongest support gem, but it's also the most mana-costly one.
Raise Zombie + Minion Dam. + Feeding Frenzy + Empower/Fortify.

Empower is a drop-only support gem. Once it reaches level 2 or above, it will increase the level of the Raise Zombie gem. Before you get one, use Fortify instead. I think it's also worth to use Fortify if you don't need Empower to increase the number of zombies (details below), unless you happen to obtain a level 4 Empower.

Feeding Frenzy is an important support gem modyfing AI of supported minions - it makes them aggressive.

Since 3.8, the maximum number of zombies goes up with their gem level – it’s 6 at level 20 and 7(?) at level 25. Gems don’t gain experience once they reach level 20, but Raise Zombie can gain additional levels:
- by supporting it with Empower,
- by using a Vaal Orb on a level 20 gem (not guaranteed success),
- by "+(1 to 3) to level of socketed minion gems" modifier that can be found on helmets,
- by "+1 to level of all minion skill gems" modifier that can be found on Convoking Wands (more about them in the Gear section).

The limit can be affected directly:
- by passive skills: Lord of the Dead and Death Attunement,
- by prefix that can be found on Elder amulets (a good candidate to chase),
- by craftable prefix that can be obtained by unveiling helmets (not so good, it competes with Energy Shield).

For example, if we have both Lord of the Dead and Death Attunement, then using a level 3 Empower gem, a level 21 Raise Zombie gem, and a helmet with "+2 to level of socketed minion gems" allows us to raise 9 zombies (but still only 4 with Mon’Tregul’s Grasp).
(Vaal) Arc + Curse on Hit + Enfeeble + Elem. Weakness,
CWDT + Temporal Chains.

The Vaal version of Arc is useful for particularly mob-density intense situations, like the Legion encounters, where it can immediately apply curses and the Elemental Equilibrium debuff to a large portion of monsters.

Remember that you can apply only 1 active curse by default. We increase this limit with Malediction and Whispers of Doom. For leveling I prioritize Elemental Weakness, but the choice is up to you.
(2 x Carnage Chieftain + Undying Evangelist)
Raise Spectre + Blood Magic + Meat Shield.

Using Blood Magic allows Carnage Chieftains to grant Frenzy Charges more often. We can't use skills supported by Blood Magic as a Chaos Inoculation character (but it won't accidentally kill us either), so we need to remove the gem each time we raise spectres.

Meat Shield is an important gem modifying AI of supported minions - it makes them act like our bodyguards.

Similarly to zombies, we can have more spectres as the level of the gem goes up - 2 at level 13 and 3 at level 25. Death Attunement increases the limit by additional 1.

To raise a spectre, you need a corpse. Undying Evangelists can be found in The Sceptre of God (Act 3). Carnage Chieftains can be found in The Old Fields (Act 2).

Your spectres are assigned to every area you enter and using Desecrate in such area has a chance to spawn the corresponding corpses. Spectres do not disappear when you log out.

If you can raise up your limit, you can add a Host Chieftain - can be found in The Riverways (Act 6).
Reservation skills
(Vaal) Discipline,
Hatred + Generosity.

If you can somehow deal with additional mana reservation*, you can consider Aspect of the Spider (more damage + better defense) or Aspect of the Avian (generally considered worse, unless you really like to stack movement speed). It's hard to use them in ssf though. Bosses you need to catch in order to craft them on existing items are very rare. You can obtain items with Aspects as rewards from some mechanics, but usually meta-crafting modifiers are needed to make them useful. Other options in the same reservation range include Arctic Armour and Flesh and Stone, but we're running out of gem sockets at this point.

*E.g. by picking a 4% reduced mana reserved node and using a Redeemer's amulet with reduced mana reservation of Hatred on it (min. ilvl 75). Allocating nodes in the Sovereignty wheel could be sufficient too - if you find it justifiable, but I have doubts.
Flame Dash,
Spirit Offering,

If your minions are safe enough without Spirit Offering, you can use Flesh Offering instead to speed them up. It's also more dps for Raging Spirits.

I suggest using a weapon triggering your Desecrate and Offering (more in the Gear section). Alternatively, you can use an Offering skill in a CWDT setup.

Convocation doesn't feel as necessary as in builds focused purely on zombies, but it's still worth the try to fit it in if you want to move around faster.
Adjustments for the Shaper (and other bosses)
The fight is easier if you use Storm Brand instead of Arc to keep the high uptime of your curses and the Elemental Equilibrium debuff. Enfeeble probably won't save you anyway, so you may use Frostbite or Vulnerability instead.

If you can afford a slot, Convocation may somewhat help with protecting your minions from the Shaper's beam and vortices casted by the mid-phases bosses, but I don't think it's necessary.

If your spectres die, don't try using Desecrate in The Shaper's Realm - it has a huge monster table, so it takes ages to get the right corpses. You can just go back to your hideout and raise them back there.
This section is meant to be an overwiev of the gear I got mostly in the Betrayal league (changes since then especially include weapons) and a discussion about options which should be available currently in a mid/late ssf league.

Crafting Recipes
Here's the list of sources of the most relevant recipes for the build. You can check the full list here or just on your Crafting Bench - missing ones will have assigned locations.

Energy Shield Modifiers
The Karui Fortress (Act 6):
- increased ES [armour pieces] (rank 1),
- to maximum ES [armour pieces] (rank 1).

The Feeding Through (Act 10):
- increased ES [armour pieces] (rank 2),
- to maximum ES [body armour, helmet, shield] (rank 2).

Waterways map (Tirn's End):
- increased ES [armour pieces] (rank 3),
- to maximum ES [body armour, shield] (rank 3).

Laboratory map (Tirn's End):
- increased maximum ES [amulet] (rank 1),
- to maximum ES [amulet, ring] (rank 1).

Lava Lake map (Lex Ejoris):
- increased maximum ES [amulet] (rank 2),
- to maximum ES [amulet, ring] (rank 2).

Lookout map (Valdo's Rest):
- faster start of ES recharge [ring] (rank 1).

Belfry map (Lex Proxima):
- faster start of ES recharge [ring] (rank 2).
Minion Modifiers
The Lunaris Temple level 2 (Act 8):
- increased maximum life [helmet] (rank 1),
- increased movement speed [ring, amulet] (rank 1),
- increased damage [weapon] (rank 1),
- increased damage [gloves] (rank 1).

Burial Chambers map (Valdo's Rest):
- increased maximum life [helmet] (rank 2),
- increased movement speed [ring, amulet] (rank 2),
- increased damage [weapons] (rank 2).

The Temple of Atzoatl (Hatchery, Automaton Lab or Hybridisation Chamber):
- increased damage [weapons] (rank 3).

By unveiling weapons:
- increased damage & increased maximum life [weapon] (ranks 1 - 3),
- increased attack speed & increased cast speed [weapon] (ranks 1 - 3).
- "Can have up to 3 crafted modifiers" [any item]. You can obtain it by defeating the Pale Council in a battle which is accesible after completing four special chains of prophecies.

- "Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill" [weapon]. You get it by unveiling weapons.

You can improve the quality of your armour pieces to 28% via the crafting bench obtained by putting Hillock in the Fortification division at rank 3.

Convoking Wands have a special "Can roll minion modifiers" implicit, which enables a list of chasable modifiers on them. They drop in the region of the Atlas named Lex Ejoris.

In regard to crafting them, you can find that a combination of Jagged, Shuddering, Corroded, and Metallic Fossils excludes almost all unwanted prefixes. Resonators with 4 sockets are uncommon though and you're still likely to fail a lot before you obtain a nearly perfect item, so you might be better off just trying your luck with some Bound Fossils. Those can be found in Petrified Forests and Abyssal Depths in the Azurite Mine. You can use Essences of Fear to have at least a guaranteed modifier to minion damage too.

You might find items with Citaqualotl's affixes in the Temple of Atzoatl (or other sources of Incursion rewards, like Legions or Metamorphs) - they can constitute good starting points for crafting as well.
Body Armours, Gloves, Boots, Shields

This Vaal Regalia here is a result of crafting gear with Dense Fossils in 3.5. In 3.10 they work vastly differently, but keep an eye on them in Fungal Caverns and Petrified Forests in the Azurite Mine anyway. We don't have much information about new methods of crafting Energy Shield gear at the moment, so I'll get back there.

The suffix granting Aspect of the Avian was added via beastcrafting. As mentioned in other parts of the guide, using Aspects isn't easy to assume in ssf. The tree or gem setups don't anticipate any, but it should be possible to fit one in e.g. by picking a 4% reduced mana reserved node and using a Redeemer's amulet with reduced mana reservation of Hatred on it (min. ilvl 75). Note that in this particular case the Aspect is supportable by some gems, like Increased Duration, which would increase its reservation cost.

To mention some interesing modifiers on influenced items:
- Crusader body armours can have "#% increased ES recovery rate" suffix, up to (12-15)% since ilvl 80.
- Crusader shields with ilvl 75 or higher can have a suffix granting (1.5–2.5)% ES regeneration.
- Redeemer shields can have "#% faster start of ES recharge" prefix, up to (26-30)% since ilvl 80.

"+(1 to 3) to level of socketed minion gems" is an imporant modifier which you can get on your helmet. The max roll is reserved for helmets that have at least ilvl 86. One way to obtain them is to farm high monster level zones in the Azurite Mine that have modifiers affecting the level of dropped items. You can also try crafting Armourer's Strongboxes in maps with monster level 81 or above. Those "of Ascendance" have +(1 to 5) chest level.

Considering influenced items:
- Elder helmets with ilvl equal at least 68/75/83 can have a prefix supporting socketed gems with level 16/18/20 Minion Damage respectively. This is a component of the most offensive configurations.
- Crusader helmets with ilvl 75 or higher can have a suffix granting (1–1.5)% Energy Shield regeneration.
Rings, Amulets, Belts

Crystal Belts are distinguished by their implicit providing 60-80 to maximum Energy Shield. They can be found in the natural (discovered by upgrading the region) yellow and red maps in Tirn's End.

You can obtain rings and amulets increasing movement speed of minions by using Essences of Fear.

As for amulet anointments, I recommend Gravepact.

Influences on jewelry open up a range of modifiers that can catch your attention:
- Crusader rings can have "#% increased maximum ES" prefix, up to (13–15)% since ilvl 82.
- Hunter rings can have "#% faster start of ES recharge" prefix, up to (20–24)% since ilvl 75.
- Redeemer rings can have "Minions deal #% increased damage" prefix, up to (22–25)% since ilvl 80.
- Elder amulets can have "+1 to maximum number of Raised Zombies" prefix.
- Crusader amulets with ilvl 75 or higher can have a suffix granting (1.5-2.5)% ES regeneration.
- Crusader belts can have "#% increased maximum ES" prefix, up to (13-15)% since ilvl 82.
- Both Shaper and Crusader belts can have "#% increased ES recovery rate" suffix, up to (16-20)% since ilvl 75.

Rumi's Concotion is a popular choice for a defensive flask. It's not restricted by any specific league mechanic or bosses and it can be obtained by farming Earth Drinker divination cards. Nevertheless, quite often I use a Basalt Flask with a suffix 'of Dousing' or 'of Grounding' instead, depending on the risk of getting ignited or shocked respectively.

I recommend using a Topaz Flask in maps under Baran's influence.

Check this page about Ghastly Eye jewels if you're not familiar with them. Here are some examples of useful modifiers. Please note that the Energy Shield value is legacy (in 3.9 it's up to 40).
Adjustments for the Awakener
A general tip - if you strongly rely on Energy Shield, then you're probably vulnerable to elemental ailments, as due to the way they work, you're easier to freeze and shock, while every ignite holds back your ES recharge. I think this is especially important in the fight.

Hybrid int/dex shields can naturally have both a chance to avoid elemental ailments and a chance to block spell damage. Shaper boots can provide a chance to avoid elemental ailments as well. You can also craft it on your helmet and gloves if you unlock the recipe in a Bazaar or a Siege map.
Here's the breakdown of the routine which emerged from my hc ssf runs. All PoB links include the same leveling and full trees, they're just configurated a bit differently. I didn't include setups with more than 4 linked sockets or any uniques. If you don't know when/how to get a specific skill gem, use https://poe-roadmap.com/.

PoB link: https://pastebin.com/5AycaMZA - 25 points/lvl 23/The City of Sarn (Act 3).
Tree only: http://poeurl.com/cLOe.

My leveling setup is based on SRS linked with Infernal Legion. In Act 1 zombies are not really tough yet, but picking the Sacrifice wheel helps a lot later on.

If you're interested in details about balancing elemental resistances of minions against Infernal Legion, I prepared some calculations.

In Act 2, I help Alira for mana regeneration and elemental resistances.

PoB link: https://pastebin.com/TD0dF1eU - 47 points/lvl 41/The Control Blocks (Act 5).
Tree only: http://poeurl.com/cLOh.

In Act 3 I pick Anger as opposed to Hatred in the final version. Early on it's better, but you can go with the final setup if you don't want to be bothered by swapping. In any case, remember about Generosity from the Library quest.

PoB link: https://pastebin.com/YvCAT0uT - 78 points/lvl 61/The Oasis (Act 9).
Tree only: http://poeurl.com/cLOj.

After you complete Cruel Labyrinth, you can drop Infernal Legion and focus your Raging Spirits on single target damage more.

Usually it looks like this at the time of the first maps:
- I finish Act 10 with about 2.5k life, 2k Energy Shield and I make sure I have at least some positive chaos resistance.
- I use my Vaal Orbs to get Vaal Discipline if I didn't get it from Vaal side areas.
- I use a Bubbling Divine Life Flask, a Jade Flask of Reflexes, a Quicksilver Flask, a Granite Flask, and a Stibnite Flask. They need to remove bleeding, freeze, curses, and for some maps, burning.
- I try to avoid maps with more than 2 mods resulting in more damage taken.
- I move. I assume I'm being targeted if I stay in the same place for longer than 3 seconds.
- I level up as a hybrid life/ES character until I get gear providing 6-7k ES, then I switch to Chaos Inoculation. You should aim for at least 9-10k in the late endgame though.
Last edited by Aeui on Jun 17, 2020, 3:11:52 PM
Last bumped on Jul 1, 2020, 9:04:28 AM
end-game viable? (softcore)
Last edited by dollygm on Mar 7, 2019, 11:32:51 AM
dollygm wrote:
end-game viable? (softcore)

The Mastermind (red maps tiers) - yes.

The Elder and his Guardians (red maps tiers) - yes and protecting the Shaper shouldn't be a problem.

The Shaper's Guardians - yes. The Shaper - probably yes, but I haven't tried it yet.

[edit; June 13, 2019] I can confirm it's Shaper-viable in 3.7. On the other hand, I'm not sure about protecting the Shaper in fights against the Elder anymore. No Wicked Ward and less energy shield regeneration will make it harder, so you may need to help yourself with Frost Wall.

No idea about Uber Elder.

Delve - I got to depth 319, could go further. I'm a bit worried about rare monsters in the Azurite Mine regarding the nerfs to Temporal Chains and Enfeeble in 3.6, but we'll see.

[edit; June 13, 2019] That didn't turn out especially dangerous, but then again rares got more health in 3.7, so don't underestimate them.

[edit; March 8; 2019] I added a few videos, so hopefully it's not totally groundless.
Last edited by Aeui on Jun 13, 2019, 8:23:24 AM
Trying SSFHC for the first time in 3.6. Saw this guide and gonna give it a shot. One of the few, well written SSFHC guides. I'm sure I'll be messaging you to pick your brain at some point lol.

Could you maybe add some level progression passive trees? I'm sure I could wing it prioritizing life and whatnot, but that would be super helpful..

Also I assume you kill all bandits? And what pantheons do you utilize?
Last edited by ruth1ess on Mar 8, 2019, 10:21:09 AM
How viable would this build be without using Raise Specter? I don't really like having to hunt down specific mobs to raise myself.
ruth1ess wrote:
Trying SSFHC for the first time in 3.6. Saw this guide and gonna give it a shot. One of the few, well written SSFHC guides. I'm sure I'll be messaging you to pick your brain at some point lol.

That's cool, good luck!

ruth1ess wrote:
Could you maybe add some level progression passive trees? I'm sure I could wing it prioritizing life and whatnot, but that would be super helpful..

The plan is to add the details as I level up in Synthesis. Unfortunately, I won't have much time in the first days. For now, I just added a short description in the Leveling section, check it again please.

I'd like to emphasize on the fact that zombies and spectres are fragile early on.

You probably shouldn't even bother with spectres until Act 6. You can use some random offensive ones earlier, if you don't mind raising them now and then.

Before you get Mon'tregul's Grasp, your zombies need rather defensive support gems like Fortify, Minion Life, and Minion and Totem Elemental Resistance. Especially, burning damage just deletes them if you don't raise their resistances. Minion life leech on the tree or Ghastly Eye Jewels can help a bit.

If you happen to find some uniques, like Wraithlord or Skullhead, that can significantly change things though.

I haven't tested using Bone Offering instead of Spirit Offering early on, but I'm curious if that works better during leveling.

[edit; June 13, 2019] I tested it and it doesn't seem to be better.

ruth1ess wrote:
Also I assume you kill all bandits? And what pantheons do you utilize?

I help Alira for resistances and mana regeneration. You can change that decision later if your gear allows you.

From the minor gods, Tukohama. In the Labyrinth you can switch to Rakalesh.

From the major gods, Solaris, but I guess Lunaris isn't a bad choice either.

SimianChaos wrote:
How viable would this build be without using Raise Specter? I don't really like having to hunt down specific mobs to raise myself.

They're rather a significant support. You don't really need to hunt them: when you don't have them, using Desecrate in the right area will eventually spawn their corpses. When you have or just had them in your current area, it will do that too. And they aren't gone when you log out. So, you need to repeat the process from scratch only if they die and you loose the last area you had them in.

Using Spirit Offering helps a lot with keeping them alive in maps. It may be a good idea to not use Blood Magic during leveling though, at least not before you grab enough minion life nodes and level up the gems.
Last edited by Aeui on Jun 13, 2019, 8:27:45 AM
having fun with the build :D thx for the guide.

can you talk about the setups for srs? cyaa
dollygm wrote:
having fun with the build :D thx for the guide.

Great to hear!

dollygm wrote:
can you talk about the setups for srs? cyaa

Both setups have similar DPS on paper.

But first of all, the one with Immolate + Combustion is more aesthetically pleasing (single elemental damage type). Then, Combustion introduces a synergy with zombies - they will deal more fire damage to every enemy ignited by Raging Spirits.

The downside is that I think it requires a 6-link. You should also be worried if they can ignite smoothly enough in maps in which monsters have a 90% chance to avoid elemental ailments. That can be annoying to some degree, but if you give 5-6 those Spirits a second to ignite the target, it will burn in over 90% of trials anyway.

The other one is just more reliable in comparison. You can cut out the last socket or two, if you can't use them at the moment, and it still makes sense.

[edit; June 13, 2019] In 3.7 I decided to remove from the guide the first setup referred in this message, the one based on Immolate + Combustion.
Last edited by Aeui on Jun 13, 2019, 8:35:30 AM
What Order Do you Get your ascendancies in.
I can't imagine doing maps without Vile Bastion.
But the extra curse seems pretty important too.

I've never done a minion build before. this one looked cool. so i'm giving it a go.
DeathSabre wrote:
What Order Do you Get your ascendancies in.
I can't imagine doing maps without Vile Bastion.
But the extra curse seems pretty important too.

I've never done a minion build before. this one looked cool. so i'm giving it a go.

Wicked Ward -> Vile Bastion -> Profane Bloom -> Malediction

I think I'm always already CI in uber lab, so Vile Bastion first it is.

Of course, in softcore you have more freedom regarding curses. If you feel like you don't need that much defense, you can try using Vulnerability instead of Temporal Chains or Enfeeble.

Best of luck!

[edit; September 7, 2019] In 3.8, if you plan to go CI, I'd suggest

Vile Bastion -> Profane Bloom -> Malediction -> Void Beacon.

If I wanted to stay with the life/ES version and I had a problem with chaos resistance, I think I'd go

Profane Bloom -> Malediction -> Void Beacon -> Withering Presence.
Last edited by Aeui on Sep 7, 2019, 12:16:45 PM

Report Forum Post

Report Account:

Report Type

Additional Info