[3.6] Herald of Agony Mana Guardian [22k ES, 55k armour]



Disclaimer! This build is not completely mine. I've looked through a few versions of this archetype and created my own variation which may be very similar to others but since I haven't found any guides I decided to create my own.


Are you tired of dodging skillshots and dying to atziri's flameblasts? Do you want to become an immortal? If you've answered yes to both of these questions then I have something excactly what you need.

PoB: https://pastebin.com/D5QbGwBq

VIDEOS:
Chimera Kill:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIw6t6Vg2gg&feature=youtu.be
New! Shaper Kill Deathless Facetanking:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz1Jl4sBpQA&feature=youtu.be
If this build gets attention I'll try to make more. I would like to make a video of uber elder but he doesn't want to come to shaper's stronghold.

OVERVIEW:
This build relies on stacking a lot of mana which also grants us energy shield from Radiant Faith and armour from Memory Vault. For damage, we use Herald of Agony abusing the fact that it deals absurd amount of damage with no investment at all (around 500k reliable shaper dps with only gems).

Pros:
-Quite tanky (22k es, 50k+ armour)
-All content viable (except HoGM)
-Can run any map mods (although there are some that are very annoying like no regen or chance to avoid poison)
-Fun in PvP
-Hardcore viable
-Budget-friendly option available (should do fine as a league starter)

Cons:
-Slow clear speed for today's standards (although it can clear incursions and memory fragment reliably well)
-Some items may not be available at the start of the league
-As of 3.6, cyclone still may be clunky
-Not SSF viable

Exactly how tanky is this build?


15% of our reserved mana is gained as base energy shield which is almost all of our mana. That means increases to mana and increases to energy shield multiply together instead of adding. So all we need to do is stack a lot of mana. How do we achieve this?

We get a lot of increases from passive tree and using Healthy Mind all over the place to convert increases to life (which is useless for us since we have CI) to increases to mana.
Now that we have a lot of increases, we'll need a good base mana pool.
We achieve this by multiple of factors.

First, we stack grand spectrums

Secondly, we use shaper's gloves so that we strength can give us base mana as well as intelligence. All thats left to do is to stack strength and intelligence which both give us base mana and %es.

In the end, we should get around 15k mana. If you have enough budget, you can use watcher's eye to get 18% of mana as es if all of this wasn't enough.
As a result, we can achieve around 20k es without much investment. But that's not the end of it!

Using memory Vault we gain all of our reserved mana as base armour. With a couple of increases we can gain over 50k armour so physical damage can only tickle us!

Additionaly, we use Aegis Aurora that replenishes our shield by 2% of our armour whenever we block. In our case, 2% of our armour is around 1000 energy shield! It also gives us +5% to maximum resistance which is useful when fighting shaper/elder.

Our chance to block comes from rumi's flask and guardian ascendancy so we should be block capped most of the times.
As a result, normal monsters heal us more that damage us!
On top of that, we get fortify from shield charge.


How do we deal damage?

Herald of agony grows stronger each time we poison an enemy. That's why we use cyclone with 100% chance to poison and fight in melee range. Since we don't deal much damage by ourselves, we can stack a lot of virulence stacks before our crawler kills the monsters.

Agony Crawler can deal an absurd amount of damage without any investment from passive tree and gear. With this armour, and empower we can get lvl26 agony crawler which is enough to have a decent damage against all bosses in the game. (Around 500k shaper dps)

If you still don't have enough damage:
1. Make sure you can reliably gain maximum virulence stacks.
2. Try to have maximum gem levels and quality on herald of agony setup. (Especially lvl21 HoA and lvl4 empower)
3. Try to get Poacher's Mark on hit from ring or Vulnerability on hit from gloves corruption.
4. Try to get/craft a weapon with increased minion damage (through essence, temple, bound fossil etc)
5. Try to get circle of nostalgia with increased agony crawler damage.
6. Try to get reduced mana reserved through helmet enchant or circle of nostalgia and then use Hatred instead of purity.
7. Try to get increased minion damage from corrupting jewels.
8. Try to get +1 to socketed gems as a corruption mod on Skin of the Loyal
9. If you still lack damage, sacrifice bottom skill tree for templar minion nodes.


Passive tree

My current tree (lvl 94):
http://poeurl.com/cmJ3
For level 100:
http://poeurl.com/cmJ4
Kill all bandits


Gear


My current gear





Gear explanation

Helmet:

IMPORTANT!
This helmet provides us with so much armour that other helmet options are overwhelmingly outvalued. We reserve almost 100% of mana so all of this is gained as a base armour. With all the increases from passive tree and Skin of the Loyal, we reach around 50k armour. This helmet is costs 1-2c and should be easy to obtain.

Body Armour:

Gives a nice boost to es and armour and allows us to make a high level herald of agony since +1 to gems applies to HoA and empower. This one costed me 30c.
Budget option: The Coming Calamity
With this chest, you dont need to have empower (although its still good).
Also, it gives you room to put more auras like purities or discipline.
Expensive option: Skin of the Lords with Zealoth's Oath or CI to save us 1-2 skill points.
Super Expensive option: High es vaal regalia with offcolor sockets and increased aura effect on you from fossil craft.
With such regalia you can reach over 30k es. On the other hand, you'll miss +1 gems from The Skin of The Loyal.

Boots:

This is quite an expensive option and not really necessary. It gives us immunity to bleeding which is a nice defensive option and +1 endurance charge is always nice. It should be low on your priority list to buy.
Budget option: Good rare boots with movement speed and elemental resists. You don't have many spaces to put resistances in this build.

Gloves:

REQUIRED!
This is the base for our attribute stacking. Without this, you'll have much less es. It should be fairly cheap in the middle of the league but may be hard to obtain at the start of the league.


Shield:

IMPORTANT!
This shield makes us immortal when fighting groups of monsters since we're in the melee range most of the time and we don't really kill monsters by ourselves so we take a lot of hits.
Budget option: You can use Saffell's Frame for nice resists or Victario's Charity to grant frenzy charges to our crawler. Both options are fairly cheap.
Alternate option: Whakatutuki o Matua will give you much more energy shield. use it if you prefer to have more es pool rathen than a nice way to sustain it.

Rings:

We are looking for strength, intelligence mana and resists. Poacher's Mark on Hit from elder mod is also really nice since frenzy charges significantly increase crawler speed and so our clear speed.
Expensive option: Circle of Nostalgia with increased crawler damage and reduced mana reservation.

Amulet:

Since we stack stats it's an obvious choice.
Budget option: Good rare amulet with strength, intelligence and resists.

Belt:

Ideally, you want elder heavy belt with increased attributes but a good belt with strength and resists should suffice.

Weapon:

Since cyclone setup requires 4 green sockets I couldn't find any place for him so I decided to use a sword with faster attack shaper mod.
There are a lot of options here. For example, you can use Poison Support Elder mod instead. Ideally you'll want to get a weapon with strength, intelligence and attack speed. Hits cannot be evaded craft could also be very good here since with our accuracy he have around 89% chance to hit.
If you're going for ball lightning setup, you don't need attack speed from weapon and from support gem so in this case I would stick with poison elder mod and use Spell Echo gem.

Flasks:

Gives us a nice amount of block for aegis aurora. Should be easy to obtain as it is fairly cheap.

Provides us with an additional defence against all elements.

Just a standard quicksilver to move around

Jewels:
The layout of unique jewels can be checked in my path of building link: https://pastebin.com/xdLP8csd

We use healthy mind to stack increases to mana and grand spectrum for a solid mana base. Both of these are quite cheap.

Watcher's eye with clarity mod gives us much energy shield for a single jewel slot. Unfortuately, it's very expensive. If you don't have enough currency just don't take the 3-point jewel socket and spend your points elsewhere.






Gems

Main setup:

1. Herald of Agony
2. Minion Damage
3. Pierce (clear speed)
4. Damage on Full Life
5. Empower
6. Vicious Projectiles
Empower lvl 4 is the best option here but lower levels should suffice.
Improving quality of the gems is very important since increases to damage are almost as strong as more damage since we don't have any increases elsewhere.
You can swap Pierce for Vile Toxins for maximum single target damage.
Additionally, you can swap Minion Damage for Summon Phantasm on Kill for better clear speed.

Movement skill:

1. Shield Charge / Leap Slam
2. Faster attacks
3. Fortify
4. Culling
Our main movement setup which provides cull and fortify. You can cut the cull support and put it on 3L weapon/shield to make space for 4L cyclone.
Both Shield Charge and Leap Slam are good options. It's up to your preferences.

Poison setup:

1. Cyclone
2. Poison
3. Lesser Poison
4. Faster attacks
Our main virulence generator. shaper's gloves provide a decent amount of accuracy from intelligence so our hit rate should be decent. Poison and lesser poison provide 100% chance to poison. You can swap it with shield charge for 4L and add faster attacks support.
Molten strike may also be a good option here but then you have to stand still.
Another decent poison setup is ball lightning with storm brand. Then you won't need attack speed on your weapon.

Auras:

1. Vaal discipline
2. Any purity
3. Enlighten
4. Clarity
We use vaal discipline to quicky recover ourselves from dire situations (which are quite rare). If you have enough resistsances, use normal discipline as well. If you don't have enough resistances, use a relevant purity to cap your resistances. We use clarity minimalise that 1% of mana that's left but you should leave yourself enough mana to use your cyclone. Don't worry about mana regeneration, I assure you it's very fast.
As for enlighten, lvl 2 should suffice. For 6L herald of agony, we need any 35% aura to maximalise our reserved mana pool. If you have more unreserved mana through less links or labirynth enchant, you can use 50% aura like hatred or two 35% auras like discipline and purities. It is important to note that you'll then need to adjust reduced mana reserved passive points accordingly.

CWDT Setup:

1. Spirit Offering / Flesh offering
2. Cast when damage taken (lvl 20)
3. Desecrate
4. Increased duration
Spirit offering gives crawler a nice boost to damage and desecrate provides corpses for the offering. Since we're in the front line all the time, the cwdt setup procs very often even on higher gem lvl. You can use flesh offering instead for some better clear speed.

Convocation:

1. Convocation
2. (Optional) Cast when damage taken
A good use of convocation can increase your clearspeed. It is especially useful when dealing with proximity shields. You just need to teleport your agony inside the proximity shield. If you're lazy you can put it on CWDT.



Pantheon

Major God:
Freezes and stuns may be very annoying on this build. If you don't want to deal with them, use Soul of The Brine King. Otherwise, use Soul Of Araakali
Minor God:
Abberath and Ralakesh are best options here. If you have Death's Door then Abberath is better.


Leveling


Ascendancy:
1. Bastion of Hope - a solid defence for early levels
2. Radiant Faith - so you can switch to CI before merciless lab
3. Time of Need - at this time you should start mapping so curses become a thing
4. Harmony of Purpose - it's mostly used to get frenzy (for attack speed) and endurance charges

Trees:
26 points:
http://poeurl.com/cm7N
42 points:
http://poeurl.com/cm7O
62 points:
http://poeurl.com/cm7P
Then we activate build and respec unnecessary points
92 points :
http://poeurl.com/cm7J

Since we're taking life from the tree anyways, it can be efficiently used for leveling to get a decent life pool.

You should level up with spells (like blade vortex) up until you can get poison support gem. Then you can switch to herald of agony. As for poison setup, I strongly recommend to start with ball lightning + storm brand, but molten strike or cyclone should be viable if you have taken Spiritual Command. Beware that if you decide to use attacks as a poison setup, your virulence stacks gain rate will depend on your attack speed and accuracy.
If you still lack damage, you can use Zombies to help you.
Complete Siosa's quest to have access to gems (or just buy them).

Useful leveling uniques:
- Tabula Rasa
- Thief's Torment
- Sidhebreath

You should focus on life until lvl 68. Then you'll be able to pick most important uniques and convert to CI.
To quickly reach lvl 68, you can farm blood aqueducts when you get here.


Poison setups

There are many ways to apply poison depensing on preferences and playstyle. Your weapon choice should depends on your poison setup. Poison setup can be divided into two main types:

Attack based poison setup:
This setup relies on high attack speed weapon and a skill gem with high hit rate, mainly cyclone and molten strike. Shaper's Touch provide a decent amount of accuracy to support our chance to hit.

Gem setup:
1. Cyclone / molten strike
2. Poison (weapon elder mod)
3. Lesser poison
4. Faster attacks (weapon shaper mod)

Weapon:
High attack speed base is essential preferably sword. You can try to find one with shaper/elder mods mentioned above or just use a 4L. In addition, you sword should have additional strength and mana. "Hits cannot be evaded" craft should greatly increase your hit rate but it's quite expensive and hard to get.

Cyclone vs Molten Strike
Molten strike should overall have greater hit rate than cyclone. On the other hand cyclone can pass through minions and you can move through monsters instead of standing still.

Spell based poison setup:
We are looking for a spell that has a high hit rate without cast speed investment. An obvious choice is ball lightning hitting every 150ms which doesn't scale with level. In addition, we can use storm brand which would hit enemies over time in addition to our main setup. Storm burst can also work quite nicely as a main setup.

Gem setup:
1. Ball lightning
2. Poison
3. Lesser Poison / Storm Brand
4. Spell echo / Faster Casting

Weapon:
We are looking for a caster weapon with intelligence , strength, cast speed and mana. If you're going to put your poison setup on 4L then these mods should be your only focus. If you decide to put your poison setup on weapon then you try to find a shaped dagger with faster casting and poison shaper mods.

Spell vs Attack
Generally, spells are more safe than attacks since you can keep the distance from danger. They're easier to build around since you don't need accuracy and base attack speed. In addition, spell setup has better ssocket colors.
On the other hand, crawler AI may be a bit more clunky since most of the time it try to "protect" you and follow you instead of attacking minions. With attacks there is no such issue since we're very close to minions. It also means that we will receive more chip damage that procs our Aegis Aurora.




Last edited by Unlimitation on May 13, 2019, 4:33:27 PM
Last bumped on May 26, 2019, 3:12:02 AM
thnks for the guide, i was looking for something like this..

do you think that a storm brand/winter orb variation instead of cyclone will work?

cause i want to try something like this but i don't like cyclone with my ping.
Single storm brand and winter orb probably won't hit that frequently to maintain maximum virulence stacks. But storm brand/ ball lightning should work well. I actually used it until I switched to cyclone. The problem is that the targeting may be clunky since you can't just cast and go because your crawler will follow you instead of attacking.
Sweet build! I've always wanted to give mana guardian a shot, to I might try this one out. Also wanna let you know that your PoB shows Alira as your bandit reward, rather than 2 passive points.
Thanks for your feedback! Fixed this issue.
After doing 4 builds this league considering this one

Looking for a VERY tanky build to complement my poor gaming skills that is good to easily handles t16 bosses + end game. Uber video would be nice

A bit concerned about the leveling info that seems a bit lacking(trees? ascend order?)

Seems like Templars as a whole including this build are very unpopular so
gear should be cheap(unlike that Occ herald of agony 10 Ex helmet) but am I missing something....?



Last edited by snowmittens on Apr 25, 2019, 12:49:36 PM
"
snowmittens wrote:
After doing 4 builds this league considering this one

Looking for a VERY tanky build to complement my poor gaming skills that is good to easily handles t16 bosses + end game. Uber video would be nice

A bit concerned about the leveling info that seems a bit lacking(trees? ascend order?)

Seems like Templars as a whole including this build are very unpopular so
gear should be cheap(unlike that Occ herald of agony 10 Ex helmet) but am I missing something....?





I'm in the same boat, and I would definitely recommend trying this build out to see if the playstyle works for you. Just got mine leveled up and into maps, invested about 150-175 chaos into gear for it, and killed my first shaper guardian, completely deathless, at level 78. Here's a vid of that if you wanna see it in action! I go through all my gear in the end, so you can get an idea if what I invested into it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6s97L0E0rM

Edit: Leveling isn't the smoothest starting out, but once you have HoAg and Cyclone you can basically just spin through the entire campaign. Main issue is that you don't get any damage scaling on the final passive tree, so you have to either spec damage early on and respec later, or just take all the defensive nodes and level more slowly.
Last edited by April_Spades on Apr 25, 2019, 3:12:52 PM
Hi

I am leveling this build and i'm actualy lvl 41, as you tell it cyclone gameplay is a little meh i try molten strike with the setup poison + ancestral call + multistrike (wild fire jewel) as there is elder weapon with ancestral call + multi strike would it be okay compare to cyclone? virulence stack seem to stack faster with molten strike but i'm just lvl 41 for the moment duno if it is ok in endgame what are your thought?

Fly safe

PS: i probably miss something but why do you take life node on the tree?
Last edited by Tagmatar on Apr 25, 2019, 6:36:08 PM
"
snowmittens wrote:
After doing 4 builds this league considering this one

Looking for a VERY tanky build to complement my poor gaming skills that is good to easily handles t16 bosses + end game. Uber video would be nice

A bit concerned about the leveling info that seems a bit lacking(trees? ascend order?)

Seems like Templars as a whole including this build are very unpopular so
gear should be cheap(unlike that Occ herald of agony 10 Ex helmet) but am I missing something....?



Updated leveling info. And yes, you only need around 5c to make this build work but I would suggest to have at least 50c for most important uniques.

"
Tagmatar wrote:
Hi

I am leveling this build and i'm actualy lvl 41, as you tell it cyclone gameplay is a little meh i try molten strike with the setup poison + ancestral call + multistrike (wild fire jewel) as there is elder weapon with ancestral call + multi strike would it be okay compare to cyclone? virulence stack seem to stack faster with molten strike but i'm just lvl 41 for the moment duno if it is ok in endgame what are your thought?

Fly safe

PS: i probably miss something but why do you take life node on the tree?


Molten strike setup should be completely fine as I mentioned in the build. It mostly comes to preferences. I personally love spinning through monsters.
With molten strike you may have higher attack rate than cyclone.
On the other hand, molten strike has a slight delay before balls drop.
My guess is that with the nature of cyclone you'll receive more chip damage which is actually good for this build.
And with molten strike you may sometimes get stuck in groups of monsters since you can't really kill them with molten strike. Cyclone doesn't have this problem as it can pass through monsters.

Edit: We take life from the tree since Healthy Mind jewel converts this life to maximum mana. It usually gives more maximum mana than normal mana nodes.
Last edited by Unlimitation on Apr 26, 2019, 4:59:10 AM
Just finished act 3 and there is a serious lack of damage on the leveling process. It took forever to take down the boss ( It feels like I did most of the work with the cyclone while the minion watched). Even trash mob take too long

Seems this build needs to be leveled differently till level 60+ and then respected

Maybe respecting to molten strike for a while is gonna do the trick.

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