3.7 Caustic Ground Zombie Sacrificer

This build surprised me with how well it performs. It isn't Worb levels of awesome, or even probably a tier 2 build, but It's different and it's fun! Do be aware that it isn't always the smoothest experience for clearing. Bossing is a breeze though and it melts those new hefty rares nice and easy.

Also, I've not posted a build on here before so sorry if formatting is bad, I'll improve it over time.

Edit for 3.8: Aukuna's will is stupidly expensive thanks to the corpse reworks. Unless I find a pair I'm not going to be able to update this until next league!

Caustic Ground Zombie Sacrificer (Fart Zombies).[/b]

A build based around the 'Your Raised Zombies spread Caustic Ground on Death, dealing 50% of their maximum Life as Chaos Damage per second' ability from the Witch Necromancer ascendency node 'Flesh Binder'. We summon zombies until one of them dies, in it's death throes it craps itself all over any nearby monsters, killing them very rapidly. Not a pretty sight.

Pros:

High damage
Cheap gear (With options to spend more to get more out of it).
You'll be a fairly special snowflake

Cons:

A little clunky.
Not very tanky.



Have successfully cleared Guardians without issue. I generally don't bother with anything further than guardians but if I get round to it I'll update.

Levelling
Spoiler
Level as you would any normal minion build. Spec up to the top cluster of minion nodes, then over to the cluster on the left of the tree, then down to get the life cluster. If you're taking too much damage, deviate to get as much life as you can instead of damage. I levelled with skeletons and zombies without much issue, but you might prefer SRS. When you get raise spectre, put a point into the top notable to get an extra one because it helps a lot with levelling. Remove it later. Kill all bandits, we need the points!


POB
Spoiler
https://pastebin.com/fV9JWgd9 - This is as close as I could get to my current character minus legion jewel which kinda screws up the tree. Add more cast speed/mana regen and get better jewels to make it smoother to play.


Gem Links
Spoiler

These are my current gems. Note that if you are not using Aukuna's you will need to slap in unearth/desecrate somewhere to generate corpses (remove vaal detonate dead + something else for GMP with unearth)

Zombie:
Raise Zombie - Minion Life - Minion Damage - Conc Effect/increased AOE (swap for bossing/clearing)- Unleash - Swift Affliction

Clarity:

Clarity - Blood Magic

CWDT:

CWDT (lvl 1) - immortal call (or whatever guard you want)(lvl 1) - Spirit offering (lvl 7) - convocation (lvl 1)

Auras:
Malediction - generosity
Flesh and Stone (sand stance for the blind)

Movement:
Flame dash - faster casting

Wither + Skeletons:
Cast while Channelling - Wither - Vaal summon skeletons

Spectre + Golem:

Minion life, Raise Spectre, Chaos golem

Also:
Vaal detonate dead (because it's fun and it auto pops your zombies on bosses for a bit more damage). Swap out for portal if you'd rather just have a portal handy.



Gear
Spoiler

My Current Gear:
Spoiler



Essential:
Mon'Tregul

Advised:
-Aukuna's Will (STRONGLY ADVISE. Makes it much smoother)
-Bloodbond (for the %max minion hp really. I'm looking to swap this for a rare chest with minion life and high player life (+whatever other stats) as I don't really like using blood offering anyway. However this is a strong starting point and easy to get hold of.)
-Two unset rings (expensive to get the stats you need. Not essential, just nice to have more slots)
-a sceptre with %minion damage
-2x Violent dead jewels
-Stygian vise
-One of those tasty helms with 3 supports built in can give you a 7 link for your zombies. They're expensive though and it means sacrificing a lot of other stats (which you could get on your chest instead of bloodbond)

Jewels with a mixture of life, minion damage, cast speed and minion life, as you require. - cast speed is less important with Aukuna's, but still nice to have. More mana regen/flat mana or resistances might be more useful now for the most part.

If you can get hold of a Legion jewel that gives you some strategically placed minion life or damage notables, then do it.



How to play
Spoiler

With Aukuna's:

Cast raise zombie on a pack, watch them die. Keep casting to spread the ground.

I have CWDT - Convo - Offering linked so that if I get in melee range and take damage, I instantly have a bunch of caustic ground around me to kill them.

On bosses, cast raise zombie, cast vaal detonate dead, then cast raise zombies as much as you can until vaal detonate dead is done, then just raise zombies to refresh the caustic ground when needed. Let them hit the boss normally in between. Optionally cast the offering from your bloodbond on them first for a bit of a dps boost, but be aware of the 20% life damage you'll take.

Without Aukuna's:

Run up to a pack/boss, cast unearth, cast raise zombie. Pack/boss dies.

On bosses you can boost your damage by casting a bunch of unearth/desecrate and using blood offering then casting a load of zombies (lots of caustic ground), then holding wither on them. Vaal summon skeletons if it's up just because.

Spectres you have two bubble type ones, because ranged attacks are scary. Have desecrate in a +levels ring and get it as high as you can. They won't die much.

Lightning golem for cast speed

CWDT convocation, as you only really need it to get your bubbles back on top of you.

Despair and Malediction I currently have in my heretics veil with an enlighten. Considering swapping out despair for enfeeble or temp chains or getting rid of heretics veil and doing it another way altogether! See what works for you.

Explanation (warning! Wall of text!)(Written in 3.6 pre-Aukuna's, but largely still applies)
Spoiler

Damage for this build is easy to come by. Get minion life and minion damage and you get it in spades. Mon'tregul gives us a massive boost in this regard and is essential to actually have the build function. It's also common and very cheap, so yay!

So the main problem we have is that you can't just instantly get caustic ground. A zombie has to die or be resummoned. We have 5 zombies minimum (base gem + the ascendancy to give you caustic ground), but realistically you'll end up with 7 zombies total so you can have two spectres (we need two projectile bubble spectres, trust me) and spec through the tree efficiently enough for the nodes you need. We want as few zombies as is possible so that we get caustic ground as fast as possible, as you'll only get it once a zombie disappears. We have options here:

- run into a pack, cast desecrate or unearth, cast convocation and resummon as many zombies as possible. Congratulations you died in the 5 years or so it takes to do this.

- cast desecrate/unearth on a pack and hold down CWC+Wither on them until enough zombies lurch into life to kill an existing one that is near enough to the pack to get caustic ground on enough of the pack to kill them.

- (my preferred method) cast desecrate/unearth on a pack and cast your unleash-supported zombies on it. Repeat as necessary to finish off the pack (since the zombies all there at that point, you can keep casting zombies on the corpses and you'll clear up.)

I prefer the last method because I don't like dying and the CWC+Wither combo takes a really long time to get any damage happening. CWC+Wither is friendlier to having more zombies and costs basically no mana, but is less efficient for map clearing. It also costs two links instead of one (although you get a damage boost from it).

For the last method to work, you have to have exactly 3 zombies able to be alive at any one time. This is because unleash lets you cast zombie 4 times (once then 3 repeats). This means you cast desecrate/unearth and you raise 4 zombies instantly, which kills the first one raised in the middle of the pack, so you get the caustic ground straight away. No convocation needed, only one link 'wasted'. This means 7 zombies from gem+tree, then we use Mon'tregul to halve that (and get a stupid tasty damage boost), which rounds down to 3.

Now we've got a way of having caustic ground appear where and when we want it, the next challenge is getting it to happen smoothly. The cast time for raise zombie is slow. Desecrate is also a bit slow. Since casting twice (two separate skills at that!) to kill a pack isn't great, we need cast speed. Unearth gets cast speed with quality and casts faster than desecrate anyway. Unearth + GMP + faster cast is functional. Still not great, but it's the best I've found so far. Don't use spell echo, because it locks you in place for too long.

The rest of this is a balancing act on your tree+gear. The faster we cast, the better it feels and the longer we live. Unfortunately, the only thing we can really spare on the tree is damage (we need all the survivability we can get). So you sacrifice boss killing for clear speed. Up to you. Jewels help with this, because you can get some nice combos of damage, life and cast speed on a ghastly jewel.

We also need a lot of mana as we need to get just under 200 unreserved mana and enough regen to keep it up. Luckily the nodes we can use also give us life regen and/or life and/or Energy shield equivalents.



Last edited by jokerrf on Sep 8, 2019, 12:19:52 PM
Last bumped on Aug 22, 2019, 6:42:33 AM
Sounds interesting!
If you get one of those Elegant Hubris jewels, one of the changes it can make to notables is 80% minion life. I just got one that has 3 80% in the witch starting area and 2 80% minion damage. It also got rid of my +1 zombie at the start.

240% minion life is nothing to sneeze at. Granted, I did divine it like 8 times to try for 3 Slum Lords on the left side pathing down to Scion life wheel -_-



(in case the imagine link is busted) https://imgur.com/szioD7b

Also, didn't GGG make the ground not stack fairly recently? Might still be able to hit good numbers with one. In my case, I made a jewel with the same bonuses and it more than doubled the DoT
Last edited by JoeODanger on Jun 14, 2019, 1:44:46 AM
"
JoeODanger wrote:
If you get one of those Elegant Hubris jewels, one of the changes it can make to notables is 80% minion life. I just got one that has 3 80% in the witch starting area and 2 80% minion damage. It also got rid of my +1 zombie at the start.

240% minion life is nothing to sneeze at. Granted, I did divine it like 8 times to try for 3 Slum Lords on the left side pathing down to Scion life wheel -_-



(in case the imagine link is busted) https://imgur.com/szioD7b

Also, didn't GGG make the ground not stack fairly recently? Might still be able to hit good numbers with one. In my case, I made a jewel with the same bonuses and it more than doubled the DoT


Yeah I've just finished levelling my new version of this build so will be updating this page properly over the next couple of days. I'm absolutely getting one of those jewels because they look amaaaaazing!

With regards to stacking ground, I'm currently playing assuming that they don't stack. Not entirely sure either way because it's quite hard to tell with how the build playys. Because of this and also because abyssal jewels are less amazing now, I'm much more inclined to use two violent dead jewels. It means that the zombies actually do something useful when they aren't dead and the build is such that they do fairly respectable damage by themselves.
Well, good luck. I'm going skeletons for instability myself but I will probably try the zombies at some point since I have a pair of the gloves. I figure if it feels bad I'll swap over to specters. I love skeletons usually, but I'm unsure how they fare vs the Legion mechanic (the mages are probably good).

I expect divines to get more expensive if rolling the Karui, Maraketh, and Empire jewels catch on more. The Vaal ones seem bad; I rolled one 10 times and never got anything approaching usefulness.

I'll keep an eye here to see how it's going for you.
Well, good luck. I'm going skeletons for instability myself but I will probably try the zombies at some point since I have a pair of the gloves. I figure if it feels bad I'll swap over to specters. I love skeletons usually, but I'm unsure how they fare vs the Legion mechanic (the mages are probably good).

I expect divines to get more expensive if rolling the Karui, Maraketh, and Empire jewels catch on more. The Vaal ones seem bad; I rolled one 10 times and never got anything approaching usefulness.

I'll keep an eye here to see how it's going for you.
Nice, I love popcorn skeletons :D. Yeah, luckily it shares like 99% of the tree with most other generic minion builds so it's easy to swap to whatever you want if you don't enjoy it.

I've just updated it with all my current stuff and a POB, although I just got an Elegant Hubris so my actual tree is now..... somewhat different. (Got two Minion life notables and a Minion damage one! - 15c for the jewel, 30c worth of divines. Not bad for 160% minion life and 80% minion damage!)
I found this jewel, what would it do in terms of this build?

https://www.reddit.com/r/pathofexile/comments/c8xtq6/amazing_minion_life_jewel/
Yeah that would be pretty nice. Any jewel with tons of minion life/damage is going to be good, you've just got to weigh up the pros and cons of what you have to swap out to use it.

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