[3.11] A CI/LL HoP/HoA + Spiders Guardian - 65K armour, 1300 ES on block, millions of Sirus DPS
Welcome to my guide, exile!
I am planning to focus on CI and retire LL in time.
Also, I changed the build a bit to optimise it, the guide and the PoB will show you how. ;)
This build is created to be rather defense-oriented; it has good clear, great survivability (basically unkillable), and great single target.
There are two things which you can adapt to your liking in this build. The first is whether you go CI or LL, the second is whether you use HoP or HoA. The CI version is more recent, but seems much better, and I am planning to retire the LL version; similarly, I think HoP is overall better, and am planning to retire HoA.
If you don't want to be bothered with choosing anything, I recommend going with CI and HoP as a default - it really seems to be the best in my opinion.
Our first source of damage is Herald of Purity (or Agony, depending on your preference). Both heralds summon a minion (or several) when we hit, and we use Cyclone to continuously summon them. Since we're incredibly tanky, we can afford to do that all the time without taking any risk.
On top of that, we use the dagger Arakaali’s Fang, which lets you raise spiders on kill. Using the Writhing Jar to summon them, they are effectively always up, even in boss fights, and have a very aggressive AI, which makes them great both for clearing and for bosses.
Small disclaimer: I know the quality of the videos (well, those I recorded myself, that is) is really poor, and that the lag is annoying to watch. I'm really sorry about that, but my computer is getting very old, and it's doing its best :') I hope you enjoy the videos anyway!
Cortex fight (3.11)
Awakening level 8 Sirus carry (3.11)
Lvl 83 Mastermind fight (3.11)
Awakening level 5 Sirus fight (3.11)
The Elder (3.11)
Short helpful video: Colouring your helmet to fit Cyclone (3.11)
Bonus: Facetanking Abaxoth in a T16, without molten shell
If you want to contribute to the guide, you can record a video of you killing an end-game boss, and I will add it! :)
+ Good clear
+ Good single target (Uber Elder and A8 Sirus down on a 5L)
+ Great survivability with multiple defensive layers: over 7K ES, over 65K armour, 75% chance to block attacks and spells, 1300 ES gained on block, huge ES regen every five seconds, 10K damage shield with Molten Shell, a lot of reduced effect of curses
+ Easy to cap resistances
+ Can do all map mods (although no regen is more comfortable with a mana flask and less armour/chance to block can be rippy versus strong physical bosses like the Minotaur)
+ The minions we use are immortal (or resummon themselves in the case of HoP), so there’s no need to worry about them dying
+ Since this build uses almost only unique items, it’s very cheap to min-max
+ I don't play hardcore, but I would assume that this build is definitely HC viable, even though leveling will require some measures (e.g. leveling with zombies + SRS until you have all your gear, at lvl 68)
+/- It's a minion build, which feels clunky to some people and relaxing to some others
- This build is quite bad at handling blighted maps, since it doesn't have screen covering AoE.
Tl;dr: Path of Building
3.11 PoB: https://pastebin.com/Y1ckx2Qg
Note that the PoB was updated on 29/06/2020 with various improvements, including more damage, more armour, and allowing the use of non-perfect Circles of Guilt.
If you have been building the previous version, it's perfectly fine! It's also perfectly viable. Just try to transition to this one bit by bit over time.
The version presented is the one I'll be playing, with HoP; if you want to play with HoA, you need to:
* Replace HoP with HoA
* Replace Circles of Guilt with Circles of Nostalgia
* Replace Chance to Bleed on Cyclone with Poison
* Allocate Resolute Technique,
like shown in the following PoB: https://pastebin.com/7yMtezbB
Why Guardian? Why Cyclone?
The Guardian ascendancy is a very underestimated one (in my opinion) and fits this build for several reasons.
* This build stacks up a lot of mana and converts it to armour thanks to Memory Vault, and the Guardian ascendancy converts it to Energy Shield (ES), which makes us very tanky.
* Since this build is based on block, fights with lots of damage over time, like Uber Elder, can be tough. The Time of Need ascendancy makes those fights a lot easier by giving us free ES regen every five seconds.
* The Radiant Crusade and Unwavering Crusade ascendancies grant some more damage to our minions, makes them intimidate on hit (applying 10% increased damage taken), grants onslaught, and other very strong buffs.
This build stacks up a lot of defensive layers, and can therefore be in the melee pretty much all the time. We use this freedom to apply poison or hit enemies in order to summon the Herald of Purity sentinels or the Herald of Agony crawler. In order to do so, we need a skill that’s usable with a dagger (since we use Arakaali’s Fang, see Gear section for more info) and that hits very frequently.
Cyclone is a great candidate for such a skill, and works perfectly, but ultimately, if there is another skill you prefer, feel free to experiment with it!
Build mechanics (please read!)
I know reading a guide might be boring, but this part is very important, so I’ll try my best to keep it short.
We use two kinds of minions: the Herald of Purity sentinels / Herald of Agony crawler, and Akaraali’s Fang spiders.
The Sentinels spawn when we hit, so we Cyclone into packs. We support them with Feeding Frenzy, which makes them aggressive and grants us the Feeding Frenzy buff, increasing our minion stats. In the HoA version, the Crawler spawns when we apply poison. The more poisons we apply, the deadlier he gets. We use Cyclone to apply poison, and run into enemies while poisoning them while the Crawler shoots them down from afar. We also support HoA with Feeding Frenzy, for the same reason.
Arakaali’s Fang lets you raise spiders from nearby corpses when you kill an enemy. So in order to summon them, the easiest way is to use Desecrate to create corpses (either use spell cascade if you have the sockets, or cast it twice if you don’t, to create enough corpses), then use one of your Writing Jars to spawn writhing worms, and kill them to raise the spiders. They will then follow you around killing everything in a one screen radius. Their AI is already very aggressive, so there is no need to support them with Feeding Frenzy.
This build stacks up many defensive layers, so there’s a lot to cover, but once again, I promise I’ll try my best to keep it short.
In the Low Life (LL) version, we reserve almost all our life and use Shavronne’s Wrappings to counter chaos damage. We get flat armour from reserved life thanks to the Guardian ascendancy. In the Chaos Inoculation (CI) version, we use Skin of the Loyal to compensate the loss of flat armour by the "100% increased global defenses" mod the Skin has.
We get a lot of mana, both from the skill tree and gear, which grants us flat ES thanks to the Guardian Ascendancy, and flat armour thanks to Memory Vault.
On top of this very high effective HP pool, we get a lot of block chance, enough to reach 38% chance to block both attacks and spells. We use the Aegis Aurora shield, which grants a lot of armour and energy shield, and refills our ES by 2% of our armour on block.
We then use the Glancing Blows keystone, which doubles our chance to block attacks and spells, bringing us to 75% chance to block. The downside is that we take 50% of damage from blocked hits, but that is completely countered by the Aegis Aurora’s ES refill, making us virtually unkillable by hits.
Next, we use Fortify support on Cyclone, which means we’re always fortified. For tough fights like Uber Elder, one quick cyclone every 6 seconds is enough to keep fortify up and running. This is important because we always take 50% damage from blocked hits, and fortify helps reduce this damage, effectively increasing the ES refill on block.
With Anointed Flesh, the small nodes leading to it, and the upgraded Soul of the Brine King, we are unaffected by chill, have 50% reduced duration of freeze, and can't be chain frozen.
Finally, we use Molten Shell, which, with the amount of armour we have, can tank 10000 damage in our place, making the Shaper's and Elder's slams so weak they actually heal you. Just activate it before a hit that could get you low, and your ES will be full before you even know it.
There some unique jewels that are necessary for this build, and some that work wonders for it. They are all listed below.
This dagger allows us to raise spiders, and additionally grants us some chance to poison, which is useful for summoning the Agony Crawler. We use it in our main hand.
Trade site links
Any Arakaali's Fang (no important rolls)
Lots of armour, lots of ES, and ES refill on block. I recommend getting one as soon as possible, and playing with spiders only until you do, as this item is the core of the build’s survivability.
This build gets a lot of mana, and Memory Vault converts it to armour, which means less physical damage taken and more ES gained on block. You gain a lot from this item, even if it has a low roll, so don’t hesitate to buy such a roll.
Intelligence grants us energy shield and mana, and therefore even more ES and armour. And this item is especially strong when used with the following item, Shaper’s Touch. Also, some gems (notably Withering Touch) require a lot of dexterity, which we don’t naturally get as Templar, so since we don’t really need any mod on our amulet, we use Astramentis to help us get dexterity.
Anointing your amulet
The notable we ultimately anoint is Potency of Will, which increases the duration of our spiders, of molten shell, and of our offering. You can also anoint Arcane Guarding before you can afford a Blue Nightmare.
Note that you can use Intrinsic Catalyst to improve the attributes on the amulet, raising the explicit up to 120!
Those gloves have several uses. First, we naturally have a lot of strength, which means those gloves grant us a lot of mana and ES. Second, we naturally have a lot of intelligence, which means they grant us a lot of accuracy rating, which is essential to spawn our sentinels or get Virulence stacks for our Agony Crawler.
Note that Shaper's Touch with Despair on hit are pretty cheap (compared to uncorrupted Shaper's Touch), and gives our minions a lot of dps, so I recommend checking it out!
Trade site links
Any Shaper's Touch
Shaper's Touch with a good roll
Shaper's Touch with Despair on hit
4L Shaper's Touch with Despair on hit
NB: Corrupted items can have their sockets modified, be it socket number, links, or colours; if you'd need, for instance, 25 chromas to recolour your item if it wasn't corrupted, you'll need 25 chromas + 25 vaal for the corrupted version. It might be more expensive than to buy a 4L, but it can be useful to know!
Chestplate: Skin of the Loyal (CI) / Shavronne’s Wrappings (LL)
In the CI version, we use Skin of the Loyal to get lots of armour, ES, and +1 to level of all socketed gems. In the LL version, we use Shavronne's Wrappings to protect our low life from chaos damage.
Note that the Skin of the Loyal's sockets can't be modified, so you need to buy the right colours, even if it's not corrupted.
The colours we will ultimately use are 5R 1B, but if you can't afford it, you can work with a 4R 1G 1B and replace Empower with Vile Toxins before you can afford the right colours and/or an Empower.
About Skin of the Lords
Skin of the Loyal has a fated version Skin of the Lords, which is basically the same except that you can only socket corrupted gems, and you get a free random Keystone. Once all your gems are corrupted, and you can afford it, you can start looking for a Skin of the Lords with one of the following Keystones:
Call to Arms: Huge quality of life, making Enduring Cry instant.
Resolute Technique: Useful on HoP, saves two skill points on HoA.
Zealot's Oath: Saves us one skill point.
Iron Reflexes: A bit more armour.
Avoid Unwavering Stance though! We have good anti stun measures (stun & block recovery, anti chain stun, enough tankiness to survive the occasional stun), and we use the small stuns we take to summon our golem automatically!
Trade site links - Skin of the Loyal
Those boots are very cheap for what they give: lots of elemental resistances, movement speed, mana, and most importantly, chance to block spells, which gets us to 75%.
Circle of Guilt/Nostalgia
This ring allows us to use more support gems on our Herald, while also being able to increase the Herald minions' damage if you can afford the right version. Plus, the HoP ring, Circle of Guilt, grants us some flat armour - icing on the cake!
Note that in order to use your 6L Herald, Discipline and Determination, you will need two Circle rings with at least 18% reduced mana reserved with fertile catalysts applied to them (life and mana) in order to get each of them to 21% reduced mana reservation.
Trade site links - Circle of Guilt (HoP)
Trade site links - Circle of Nostalgia (HoA)
This belt is criminally underrated in my opinion. It can grant even more raw mana/ES than a rare belt in total, more resists, and can increase very useful stats like minion movement speed. Also, Harvest introduced belt enchants, and using this belt allows you to keep or buy an enchant and upgrade your jewels inside freely.
As for the jewels inside, here is what we need in order of (decreasing) priority.
* The elemental resistances we couldn't get elsewhere. Keep in mind the resistances on the jewels will be increased by 75%!
* 2% chance to block spell damage if you've been damaged by a hit recently on one of our jewels. Since we use Glancing Blows, we take 50% of damage from blocked hits, which means that all hits damage us, and the buff will always be active in combat, bringing us to 75% chance to block spells.
* Flat mana, which grants us a lot of ES and armour.
* Flat ES.
* Minion movement speed.
Trade site links
Abyss jewel with any mana roll, and spell block (remember to add the resistances you need!)
Abyss jewel with at least 30 mana, and spell block (remember to add the resistances you need!)
The Writhing Jar
We use three of those. We need to kill an enemy to raise spiders, and we use this flask to easily kill an enemy. Be aware that the flask charges used are a roll, and that you can buy a cheap one to start with, but you should aim for a good roll when you start min-maxing.
Trade site links
For other flasks, I recommend using a Quicksilver for movement speed, and a Basalt for even more armour for fights with a lot of physical damage and bleed immunity. A mana flask can be swapped in for no regen maps as well.
Jewels and corrupted blood
Damage over time is one of the only things that can kill us, so having a jewel with Corrupted Blood can't be inflicted on you is a really good choice. You can grab a rare jewel with some of the usual stats you want (ES/minion damage/...) with this corruption. One is enough.
Note that Energised Armour is very cheap with corrupted blood immunity, and, socketed below the start of the Templar, grants us the massive amount of 6K armour at the price of 200 ES. This might seem like a bad tradeoff at first, but keep in mind that armour = ES gained on block = effective survivability. You will almost never go below 75% ES, so losing 200 ES really is no big deal - while 6K armour means 120 more ES gained on block, i.e. at almost every hit we receive. You can look for another jewel of course, but this is a very solid choice in my opinion, and is what I'll be using from now on.
Jewel: the Blue Nightmare
This jewel is what allows us to get such a high spell block chance. We socket it next to the Templar start, which means that in its radius, there is 12% all res in Holy Dominion, 8% all res in Faith and Steel, and 24% in Sanctuary and the small nodes before, for a total of 14% spell block chance, doubled to 28% with Glancing Blows.
Trade site links
The addition of cluster jewels did a lot of good for this build, even though Pure Agony doesn't grant +1 sentinel any more. I recommend getting a 4 or 5 passives medium cluster jewel with the notables Cult Leader and Disciples for HoP / Invigorating Portents for HoA, and a jewel socket, where you would socket a 2 passives small cluster jewel with the notable Will Shaper.
A budget alternative of Will Shaper is Stalwart commander, which grants less ES, but more armour.
Trade site links
Jewel: Healthy Mind
We stack up a lot of mana, and Healthy Mind helps us do just that.
Jewel: Fortress Covenant
This jewel grants up to 45% increased minion damage, which is huge. However, it negates all notable in a medium radius, causing them to make our minions take increased damage. But, socketed near Mind over Matter, no notables are in range, which means we only get the hughmongous damage. Hurray!
Last jewel socket: below the Templar start
Since this is the only socket where we don't have to use a non-cheap jewel, the priority should be, at first, to get immunity to corrupted blood, since all other jewels with that mod will be pretty expensive (at least 2ex in general). That being said, I think the following two jewels clearly stand out.
Energised armour: Grants us the insane amount of 6K armour at the price of 200 ES. This might seem like a bad tradeoff, but keep in mind that armour = ES on block = effective survivability. As a matter of fact, 6K armour means 120 ES on block, i.e. on basically every hit we take, even the weakest. It's up to you to make up your choice, but I really think this is almost a best in slot.
Watcher's Eye: There are several mods that can be useful for us on a Watcher’s Eye. The most useful one is Gain #% of maximum mana as maximum energy shield, but it’s very pricy (around 35ex at the time of the writing). Cheaper alternatives are +# to armour while affected by Determination and You take #% reduced extra damage from critical strikes while affected by Determination, which makes us even tankier, #% chance to block spells while affected by Discipline, which can help you get spell block before you get a Blue Nightmare, #% of maximum energy shield regenerated per second while affected by Discipline for a bit of extra regen…
About Helmet enchants
It's pretty hard to find Memory Vaults with the right enchants because it's not a very used helmet, so people don't enchant it a lot. However, here are a few enchants that are interesting.
* +1 Sentinel of Purity (HoP version)
1 more Sentinel. What more is there to say? The best enchant for the HoP build, but very pricy.
* Molten Shell buff effect
This enchant is a huge defensive buff, and can help versus really strong physical damage.
Off-colouring your items
Check the FAQ if you need some help with off-colouring your items.
In the HoP version, your Herald of Purity setup should be the following (socketed in body armour):
In the HoA version, it should be the following: (socketed in body armour)
(Note that if you use a Carrion Golem with Feeding Frenzy, you can replace Feeding Frenzy with a damage support gem)
Your Raise Spider support gems should be the following: (socketed in weapon 1 (Arakaali's Fang))
For hard boss fights, replace Melee Splash with Melee Physical Damage.
In order to summon Sentinels or apply poison stacks, we use Cyclone: (socketed in Helmet; for help on how to off-colour your items, please refer to the Off-colouring your items subsection of the Gear section)
Note: In the HoA version, replace Chance to Bleed support with Poison support.
The rest of the gems differ between the CI and LL version.
*In the CI version*
We use a Carrion Golem for more damage, along with Feeding Frenzy support to make it grant us the Feeding Frenzy buff (10% more minion damage, and 10% increased attack speed, cast speed, and movement speed). Since we don't invest in minion life regen or leech, it tends to die every minute or so, which is why we use Cast when Stunend to summon it automatically. Since we're CI, we get stunned easily, so it's always up, and we mitigate the danger (and discomfort) of stuns through Soul of the Brine King. (See the Pantheon section for more info). (Socketed in Weapon 2 (Aegis Aurora))
As auras, we use Discipline and Determination for more ES and armour respectively. We support them with a level 3 enlighten, and since they get 4 sockets, we link them to our offering skill, Spirit Offering, to reduce its mana cost as well. (Socketed in Boots)
Finally, there are a few lone gems that we make use of. Desecrate allows us to summon our spiders, Rallying Cry grants our minions a nice damage boost, Shield Charge (or another movement skill of your choice) makes us quicker, and Molten Shell gives us an extra layer of defense. (Socketed in Gloves)
*In the LL version*
I have decided to start retiring the LL version of this build. CI is safer, cheaper, tankier, and has more damage. However, if you want to be a hipster and still build LL (no offense, I love playing like a hipster too), please refer to the LL PoB for the gem info.
Kill them all.
Easy choice: the only bandit worth helping on some builds is Alira, and since we do not profit from the crit multi, the two skill points are what we go for.
The Pantheons we use differ between the CI version and the LL version.
In the CI version, we use Soul of the Brine King to avoid chain stuns/freezes and drastically reduce the chill effect. The Minor god you use is up to you; I like Soul of Ralakesh to avoid bleed, blind and maim. For ignite maps, I sometimes run Soul of Abberath to halve the ignite duration.
In the LL version, the major gods we use are Soul of the Brine King if we don't have an anti stun and are in a risky situation (like Sirus), or Soul of Arakaali if we have an anti stun or are in a safe situation stun-wise and need defense versus chaos damage (like the Hunter). As minor god, Soul of Shakari helps us further deal with chaos damage, and especially poison, while the other same two minor gods as before, Soul of Abberath and Soul of Ralakesh, are useful in situations where chaos damage is absent.
For most bosses, you just cyclone into them and stick to them while facetanking everything they throw at you. ezpz. However, tough bosses like Uber Elder and Uber Atziri can hurt so much that you need to avoid them, and this is where you need some mechanics.
In these cases, cycloning around the bosses almost always does the trick. However, if you're still not safe, feel free to take some distance and let your minions hit by themselves for a bit. This is especially true for the HoP version, since the sentinels will hit just as hard whether you're here or not, while HoA requires you to permanently stack Virulence.
Be sure though to hit the boss once in a while to keep your Fortify buff up at all times.
For the buffs, Warcry whenever you're trying to DPS the boss. Spirit Offering is a bit trickier, since it requires corpses, but lasts longer; just desecrate two or three times whenever you are safe, offer the pile of corpses, and you'll be good for at least 10-15 seconds.
Skill tree progression
In the skill tree, there is no best way to go about this, but I recommend going for Gravepact, then Sanctuary very early on. That will give you consistent damage and good resistances from the get go. You can also grab Discipline and Training to get some life while leveling, and refund it once you transition to CI/LL.
After that, grab Resolute Technique so you have a good hit chance before Shaper's Touch (and I recommend keeping this node until you get those gloves, or your accuracy will be in the gutter). If you intend to play HoA, you will need to keep Resolute Technique; only refund it if you play HoP.
Then, go for Faith and Steel for a bit of ES and resistances, and Redemption for minion damage and movement speed. You can also grab Righteous Army for some minion regen, and refund it later.
After that comes a bit of boring part, where you have to travel a lot in the skill tree. However, it's really no big deal since you'll easily have the damage and resistances to progress. Go right from near Faith and Steel, and grab Anointed Flesh for more resistances and reduced effect of chill for a bit more safety. Then, go for Discord Artisan to be able to use more supports on your herald, cruel preparation for life and resists, and then go down toward Lord of the Dead, Ravenous Horde, and Heart and Soul. You can then consider going for Holy Dominion, back near the Templar, for more resists.
After that, it's pretty much up to your personal preference. If you need to reserve less mana, grab Sovereignty; if you want more ES, gor for Insightfulness, etc.
Remember to go near CI before you actually transition, so you can just allocate it when you want to.
Leveling as league starter
There is a way to play a modified version of this build as a league starter until you can afford the items you need. This league starter version requires no twink gear, is very easily capped in resistances, and can very easily go up to the beginning of yellow maps with a few 1 alch items only - more than enough to start farming your real items!
Once you're done showing Hillock who's the real #nopantslife master, grab Smite as quest reward and buy Raise Zombies from Nessa. Remember to do the Tidal Island quest to get a Quicksilver flask, as well as Ruthless for your Zombies.
Once you've completed the Mud Flats, Nessa will give you Summon Holy Relic, which will deal damage and heal you and your zombies as you hit. After Brutus, get Melee Splash - you don't need it yet, but you will in the future.
If you find the currency for it, and have the required sockets/links, you can also buy the following gems according to your preferences: Flame Dash, Minion Damage / Added Fire Damage for your Zombies.
In terms of items, try to get ES bases with life on them, as well as some resistances. The armour-ES shields are also a good option due to their elemental resistance implicit. Don't waste your precious scrolls of wisdom or transmutes on your weapon though; the Twilight Strand stick does the trick just fine!
After the Chamber of Sins, get Herald of Purity and support it with one or two support gems you might have, like Minion Damage, Added Fire Damage, or Melee Physical Damage once you get it (after killing the big spider in the Western Forest's lair). Be aware though that the more support gems on it, the higher the mana reservation, so I don't recommend using more than two. You will also need to buy Desecrate, after the Chamber of Sins too, so you can summon your Zombies reliably (and your spider later in the game). You might need to get a Jade amulet from Yeena, or allocate a 30 dex node in the skill tree to use it.
After "rescuing" Tolman, grab Discipline from Nessa, as well as Rallying Cry, which will be a really good damage buff. From the moment you start using the warcry, the base damage of your weapon will start to matter, so try to find one with decent physical damage. Attack speed will also be important later, so start looking out for a weapon with those stats. If you're so stinking rich that the weight of your purse is hurting your back, you can lighten it a bit by buying Determination and socketing it in a second weapon set so it's high level when you start using it.
Level 28 is when the fun starts: you get Dominating Blow. Support it with the Melee Splash you had been leveling, as well as whatever damage support gems you have - this skill should be in your largest link setup. From now on, while clearing, use Dominating Blow, and, versus bosses, use Smite now and then to grant all your minions its lightning damage aura.
After killing Voll, grab a Stone Golem. It will greatly improve your survivability.
After killing the angry bois, aka Kaom and Daresso, let Dialla do her thing and grab Multistrike. Use it on Dominating Blow as soon as you can; the order of priority is Dom Blow > Melee Splash > Multistrike > other damage gems.
At that point, you should be able to run the normal lab very safely. Grab Radiant Crusade first, which will give you some resistances, damage, and more importantly permanent onslaught for you and your minions.
Act 5: Nothing in particular, just keep looking out for item upgrades and 4 links.
This is when you can get a lot of useful gems. Once you've cleared the Twilight Strand, talk to Lilly to get the following gems (they are roughly organised by order of importance, the most important ones being first)
Meat Shield will make your Zombies taunt, which will change your life more than you thing. Minion Life will help them survive, now that they'll be taking most of the hits.
Be sure to use this break to check if you can grab better damage gems than those you have.
From now on, the story is pretty straightforward, as you don't get any new gems.
Acts 7 to 10
Nothing worthy of noting, just run over the story like the pantsless bulldozer you are.
Right before killing act 10 Kitava, I recommend running the cruel lab (before getting the resistance penalty, even though you should still be easily capped) to get Radian Faith and start buffing up your ES.
Once you're done with the story, use the few alchs (or chaos, if you're lucky) to get decent items in as many slots as possible; a bit of life/ES, some resists, and a weapon with a bit of attack speed and decent base physical damage will do the trick. The idea would be to have a 4L for Dom Blow (which you should upgrade to a 5L asap), a 3L for HoP, and a 2L for your Holy Relic (Minion Damage), even though the last 2L is really optional.
You should be very easily capped in resistances, and will have zombies that taunt enemies, so mapping should be very safe. Your damage should also be more than enough. You can run the merciless lab whenever you feel like you have the damage and tankiness to do so. You should very easily get to T5 maps, at which point you should start finding enough currency to slowly transition to the full build.
I recommend keeping a close eye on the price of Arakaali's Fangs, since this is the item that makes your damage go from good to insane. However, it might be a bit expensive early on (if I recall, it was 2ex in the first few days of Delirium, down to 30c after a bit less than a week), but it's important enough that it's worth keeping an eye on anyway. Apart from that, you can look to get a Dream Fragments, which should be a few chaos early on, to get a nice amount of mana and cold res, and chill and freeze immunity. The Aegis Aurora will also be a huge acquisition, but is usually worth between 20c and 1ex in the first few days, and goes down to 10-20c shortly after. Upgrade the rest of the items at your own pace.
* My minions kill my worms before I can. How do I deal with this?
There are easy ways to deal with this, don't worry.
First, remember that your minions will attack enemies, so if you're killing trash mobs, just run close to them so your minions go beat them up, and summon your worms easily.
If you're starting a boss fight and need to refresh your spiders before the fight, the way I socketed the gems means that you can weapon swap twice, and all spiders and the golem will despawn, leaving you with only the sentinels, which die out very quickly. You're then free to resummon fresh spiders.
Finally, if you're too lazy to do any of that and there are still minions (or selfish party members) that kill your worms, it helps to desecrate under your minions, stand on them, start cycloning, pop two flasks and cyclone in a random direction. In 75% of the cases, you'll still get your spiders this way - but it costs at least 2 flask uses, so don't do that versus bosses!
* Isn't it useless to stack that much armour?
No, it's not! :) Remember that raw ES does not grant survivability, sustain does, and we replenish our ES by 2% of our armour on block. Which means that stacking armour = stacking ES on block, and that's how we survive. So yes, we could get higher ES, but we'd be much less tanky with, for instance, 9K ES and 30K armour.
This is also the reason I think using an Energised Armour below the Templar start is a really good choice, but ultimately, it's up to you.
* Why do we grab Steelwood Stance in the skill tree, which is a staff cluster?
Because it grants us insane armour, even with a shield! 35% permanent armour, plus 600 flat armour if we've blocked recently (i.e. all the time), for a grand total of 9K armour in three nodes.
* How do I get off-colour son my items?
There's a trick to do that easily, but it requires the following crafting recipes: two, three and four sockets, and two guaranteed colours. First, set your item to 2 sockets, and guarantee two off-colours. Then, set your item to three sockets. The first two sockets will remain the same, so you will keep your 2 off-colours, only the third socket will be random. If the third socket is not an off-colour, go back to two sockets and try again. When you get an off-colour on your third socket, you do the same for the fourth socket until you get it. It's important to get the off-colours first since it costs less jewellers to go between 2-3-2-3-... sockets than between 3-4-3-4-...
* The spiders' PoB dps seems low, is that normal?
Remember there are 20 spiders, so you have to multiply the dps by 20, and add 4 times the DPS of sentinels.
* Where does our block chance come from?
Remember that we only need to reach 38% chance to block attacks and spelld, since Glancing Blows doubles it. That being, here is PoB being very helpful and listing in detail where we get all our block chance.
Block chance sources
* Why aren't you using the Bastion of Hope ascendancy?
We are already capped in block chance, so we don't profit from the additional chance to block if we've attacked/casted a spell recently. The only benefit of this ascendancy is the stun immunity, and we use the Soul of the Brine King to avoid chain stuns. Since this build is very tanky, we can afford to get stunned once in a while without immediately dying because of it, even in end game fights like Uber Elder.
* Why aren't you using the Harmony of Purpose ascendancy?
The charges are only shared with party members, so our minions don't get them. The only benefit is the attack speed that frenzy charges grant us, and it's not worth it compared to other ascendancy nodes.
* I can't use all auras, I don't have enough mana. Why?
Make sure that you have all the mana reservation nodes, that your rings have 21% reduced herald reservation, that there are no "accidental" support gems on Discipline. If you did all this and still can't use all auras, post on a message on this thread with your PoB, and I'll take a look!
I would like to thank everyone who helped me with the guide and with the build itself, especially the following people:
* livejamie, who created a CI version that inspired me to create the one featured in the guide.
* onlyjust5, who beat an A8 Awakener fight and allowed me to use the video for the guide.
* cence, for funding some of my items in order to allow me to update the guide more quickly every league (and for being a very good friend).
* Dobarn, who brought up the idea of using Stalwart Commander as an alternative to Will Shaper.
* TheScalpel, who thought of a good Watcher's Eye mod to add to the list.
* Pathdegilpaf, who recorded an Uber Elder guardian video and allowed me to add it to the guide.
Thanks to everyone who read the guide, I hope you enjoyed it, and if you have any question, feel free to ask on this post or to send me a message :)
I hope you all have a nice day!
Last edited by Vatinas on Jul 3, 2020, 10:42:37 AM
Last bumped on Jul 6, 2020, 1:59:15 PM
on Jun 22, 2019, 2:04:06 PM
03/07/20: Added several end game videos, including an Awakening 8 Sirus carry for a friend and the Elder fight.
02/07/20: Added an Awakening level 5 Sirus fight video.
01/07/20: Recorded three 3.11 videos: a Cortex fight, a lvl 83 Mastermind fight, and a short crafting tutorial for off-colouring the helmet.
28/06/20: Updated the guide with a few improvements, including a better skill tree pathing, capped spell block without tempest shield, better cluster notable, a golem, and better gems for HoP. From now on, the LL version is to be considered deprecated, and I am planning to retire it in the coming weeks.
18/06/20: Updated the guide for 3.11, and added a new CI version.
3.10 and before
07/01/20: Added gem placement to the PoB and to the guide. Updated the leveling skill trees.
30/12/19: Fixed the gems equipped in the gear featured in the Gear section.
25/12/19: Added a video of a deathless A8 Awakener kill, courtesy of onlyjust5.
20/12/19: Added Tempest Shield, which frees the anointment of our amulet. I recommend getting Soul of Steel if you can afford it, and if you want a cheaper anointment, you can look at Adamant and Inexorable, for instance. I also redrew the picture at the top of the guide to match 3.9 stats and buffs.
25/09/19: Changed the Arcane Guarding anointment to Deflection, making us gain armour and capping attack block on top of spell block.
24/09/19: Added more videos, and replaced Faster Attacks by Culling Strike on Cyclone.
19/09/19: Added Circle of Nostalgia to the build, allowing us to use a 6th HoA link and Aspect of the Spider.
18/09/19: Updated the build for 3.8, Blight league (sorry for doing this so late!)
09/07/19: Added instruction for off-colouring your gloves/boots.
06/07/19: Added trade site links for rare items (ring, belt, abyss jewel).
05/07/19: Added a full Phoenix run to the Videos section, and updated the Boss Mechanics section.
29/06/19: Added a full Minotaur run to the Videos section.
27/06/19: Added a deathless Uber Elder video (yay!), and added the Sorrow of the Divine to the build.
23/06/19: Added leveling skill trees, trade site links, and corrected some typos.
22/06/19: Created the guide. Hello world!
Last edited by Vatinas on Jul 3, 2020, 10:36:35 AM
on Jun 22, 2019, 2:42:16 PM
Very nice build,lvl 80 on HCL atm.
just saying thank you for sharing
on Jun 23, 2019, 11:13:41 AM
Hi, I'm glad you like the build! It's also interesting to hear from someone playing HC. I hope all goes well :)
on Jun 23, 2019, 11:35:07 AM
Looking for a tanky mapping/bossing char and found your guide. How is it with legion? How much boss kills on 4/5 emblem fights? Does it release all legion on maps?
on Jun 23, 2019, 7:44:26 PM
In my opinion, this build is a nice compromise of tankiness, mapping and bossing. I can, however, rarely fully release legions when the layout is not open. I haven't tried to run emblem fights, I'll try to run some tomorrow and give an update. :)
on Jun 23, 2019, 8:09:58 PM
coloring a shavs in 3g2r1b will be a nightmare :(
on Jun 24, 2019, 10:59:02 AM
How you generate endurance and frenzy charges ?
on Jun 24, 2019, 2:35:53 PM
Indeed! That's why I told about a few methods to circumvent that problem :)
The screenshot is from a previous version on the build using the Harmony of Purpose ascendancy, which grants changes on hit; I used to think that this would grant my minions frenzy charges, but it only grants them to party members, so I changed the ascendancy to what it is today. :)
Edit: I ran a 4 emblem fight, and the damage of the build is, in my opinion, a bit too low to effectively tackle those fights. I only had the time to kill each general twice. It makes up for it by being unkillable by any general, but if your goal is to farm emblem fights, maybe this build isn't the best. :)
Last edited by Vatinas on Jun 24, 2019, 2:53:10 PM
on Jun 24, 2019, 2:49:01 PM
Kinda of a cool concept and different type of build. Haven't played Guardian in awhile. Was lucky enough to find a 5 link 3G1R1B Shav's for like 90c. Going to have to do a little more currency farming and I'll be able to get the Nightmare and other jewels and be able to start playing.
on Jun 27, 2019, 12:46:25 AM