[3.13] The Fortified Summoner: HoP/Zombie MI Champion [Mid-League Update 2/17]

3.13 Update 02.17.21:
Spoiler
In the vein of "the best defense is a good offense" I've been tinkering around with the build this league to see how much damage I can squeeze out of it. Right now my PoB is showing almost double the damage of the baseline build, at the cost of dropping max elemental resistances down to 77/76/76 (dropping the purity skills and 2x Molten One's Mark). To compensate, I am running Skitterbots which gives a chill (and shock) effect, as well as Flesh and Stone which gives us Blind!

Ultimately I'm not sure which version of the build I'll recommend as baseline, but if nothing else I wanted to show this high-damage version to the community so those interested can take a look.

PoB: https://pastebin.com/RHNiS6kB



Something you don't see every day: A Champion Summoner!



I made this build because I really enjoy the low-stress ease and dependability of the champion spec, and wanted to see if a high armour, perma-fortify melee class could make a summoner playstyle work. Turns out the answer is yes!


Pros:

-A tanky summoner!
-Can do ALL map mods
-No required Flasks! We have zero reliance on flasks for damage, so run whatever you want for utility
-Endgame viability and consistency; easily get to 90+…we tend to just not die much
-Relatively inexpensive; 1<2ex will get you to red maps easily



Cons:

-Skill-swap needed after leveling
-Several specific items needed-Not SSF-friendly
-Running with Purity of Fire/Purity of Elements auras is detrimental (group play)



The Basics

The first half of the build, and the one that does the vast majority of boss damage, revolves around summoning Sentinals of Purity from Cyclone. So far, nothing too crazy. Where we depart the beaten path is instead of using these minions to smack things really hard, we light them on fire and detonate them via the Minion Instability keystone! Because MI detonations deal fire damage and scale off of minion life, this build scales damage by doing three things:
1. Stacking Minion Life and Minion Damage nodes
2. Reducing enemy fire resistance
3. Increasing the spawn rate of Sentinals of Purity, without capping out and re-writing the duration/life of a previous Sentinal.
The other half of the build is exploding zombies! HoP sentinels only spawn if hitting a rare/unique, so we need a more reliable minion generation mechanism for regular mapping, which we get through CwC-Zombies. Our arsenal is rounded out by utility minions Holy Relic and Lightning Golem, both in CwDT links.

For defenses: 20-40k armor, perma-fortify, endurance charge generation, added flat physical damage reduction, 82% elemental resistances, and ridiculous life recovery from Maligaro’s Lense, this build is extremely tanky and forgiving, and just as importantly FUN to play, with an absolute minimum of the random deaths that are so frustrating in higher level content. We are melee after all, taking large hits to the face comes with the territory!

Shaper Slam:


Sirius Death Beam:


Plus, It's a Champion Summoner, and it can clear all content thrown at it without any weird workarounds like Writhing Jar. Just Cyclone into the thing(s) you want to die, and watch your minions melt the map (and heal you while doing it).

Changelog

Spoiler

3.12 was a big league for this build in that I transitioned away from HoA and in to MI-Zombies as the mapping damage source. This league, double-Determination watcher’s eyes have become ridiculously expensive, if you can find them at all. Without the extra armor from watcher’s eye we really needed to run an armor chestpiece, which meant The Coming Calamity was out.

While I am sad to see HoA go, it was definitely the right move as we now can squeeze in several important auras into the build, boosting either damage or defense in ways not previously possible. Skitterbots, Aspect of the spider, Flesh and Stone, Purity of Ice/Lightning are all on the table now, and getting life/armor from our chestpiece really helps our survivability.

3.11 saw further refinements to this build; most notably in adapting to the quite dramatic nerfs to a couple key cluster jewels used in 3.10. I am quite happy with the results; overall the build is easier to optimize, and removing cluster jewel dependency is great for the budget-conscious player as well vs the 3.10 version.



Skill Links

Spoiler

There is a fair bit going on here so I will break down our skill links sources point by point, as well as explaining the role they play in the overall build. Key mechanics will be included at the end.

Primary Support Links

This build can run multiple iterations of support links successfully. If using less than the full 6 links for a support, simply socket in according to the order listed. I will summarize the most popular combinations at the end.

6-Link Herald of Purity

Links:
Herald of Purity - Minion Life - Minion Damage - Infernal Legion - Combustion - Deathmark

If you are thinking that this is a strange list of supports for Herald of Purity well, you aren’t wrong. Unlike most builds using HoP, we are exclusively use them for their MI detonation. In good gear each Sentinal will have over 70k health, and total health recovery from detonations will be around 1.4k/sec. Add in the life gain on hit recovery from cyclone (820/sec)*N_targets, and you are around 2.2k regen/sec, rapidly scaling per mobs hit. This setup is only possible because of the unique shield Maligaro’s Lense+Necomantic Aegis keystone, and will be discussed further in the Mechanics section.

Note: this link is best socketed into an Elder helmet with Minion Life/Minion Damage support. They can get a bit pricy for a well rolled armor helmet with good life/ele resist, but you can generally find one for 10-20c if you aren’t picky. +2 to level of Minion Gems is an acceptable substitute for one of the supports if you are on a budget. Alternatively, it is relatively easy to fossil craft with bound fossils if you so desire. Luxury upgrade is minion life/damage along with +30% elemental damage essence craft, but those will cost unless you get quite lucky.


6-Link Zombies

Links:
Raise Zombie - Cyclone - Cast while Channeling - Infernal Legion - Minion Life - Minion Damage

Our secondary damage source, and our only way to do damage when there are no rares/uniques around, comes from Minion Instabilty (exploding) Zombies. Not only do they do the brunt of the damage when mapping, but they also provide substantial, consistent life recovery through our shield. Cast while Channeling linked to Cyclone gives us our constant zombie generation. Note that when using with Aukuna’s Mitts (which is a required item), zombies spawn under your curser. This makes it important to hover your curser over the correct area, or your zombies will explode in the middle of nowhere.


Secondary Support Links:

These links provide utility, defense, and support to our main damage dealers.

3 Link Gloves/Boots:
Lightning Golem - Feeding Frenzy - Cast when Damage Taken

Lightning golem provides attack speed, and feeding frenzy buff for a nice damage increase. We link this to a lvl 20 CwDT for convenience.

3 Link-Weapon:
Holy Relic - Elemental Army - Culling Strike
Holy Relic is a great activator for Culling Strike, as it continuously pulses when we are hitting with Cyclone. Elemental Army is the ideal 3rd link, but requires added fire damage on one of your jewels. Because we are so short on gem sockets, I recommend a bench craft of 3 crafted modifiers - Trigger a Socketed Spell – Minion Damage/Minion Life, but the budget option is to just drop Elemental Army and activate it with CwDT

Other Support Gems

Convocation – Ports in wandering minions so they blow up on target, and—probably more importantly, procs our damage increase on our Ghastly Eye jewels (minion damage if you used a minion skill recently). You want to be using this on cd.

Dash – Movement ability, not much to say.

Determination – Huge survivability boost, both through the added armor, as well as the “% physical damage reduction while affected by Determination” mod on Watcher’s Eye. Must-have.

Infernal Cry – Covers our enemies in Ash, giving a nice chunk of bonus damage. Cyclone into a pack and let it rip!

Molten Shell – Good survivability cd. Depending on what you are running you may or may not be able to run Vaal Molten Shell in one of your cwdt setups, but I think I prefer just using the regular molten shell anyways as you can have better uptime when you really need it.

Flammability or Elemental Weakness A good chunk of extra damage for our fire-based minion explosions; ideally you would have one of these as a curse on hit implicit from a ring. If you can’t find/afford one, you can use an actual gem on a CwDT link, but the curse on hit is preferred as it is much more consistent. Depending on your setup you might drop this if you can’t get it as curse on hit.

Purity of Ice / Purity of Lightning – I recommend running both of these, both for the %max resistance, as well as helping to cap our resistances (we run a lot of uniques so res is hard to come by). Running these, and 2x Molten One’s Mark cluster jewels, we can get our ele resists to 81/82/82, which is huge for survivability. Note! Our shield is dirt cheap, even with corrupted implicits. Getting a +2 to level of aoe gems corruption is key in getting our max res up to 82% for cold and lightning, so keep your eyes out for one.


Skill Combination Summary:

There are multiple skill combinations depending on what state your gear is, and how much investment you put in to it. I recommend looking in to the various PoB’s for exact skill combinations depending on what your gear is, but below is broadly how your endgame links should look.

-HoP (Elder Helmet, 6 link)

-Cyclone/CwDT-Zombies (Chest, 6 link)

-Lightning Golem (Gloves, 3 link w/ CwDT)

-Holy Relic (Weapon, 3 link, can be CwDT or Trigger Socketed Spell (preferred))

-Convocation/Dash/Infernal Cry/Molten Shell (Boots, no linking needed)

-Determination/Purity of Ice/Purity of Lightning (Shield, no links, ideally shield has +2 aoe corrupt)

Total mana reserved: ~95%.



Key Mechanics

Spoiler

Minion Instability - a Keystone in the upper-left hand corner of the map; this is the talent around which the entire build is based. In a nutshell, any minion reduced to low life will explode for fire damage equal to 33% of their max life! Pair this with the support Infernal Legion, and the high base health of Sentinels of Purity, and we can deal upwards of 800k for every MI hit.
The number of summoned sentinels increases proportionally with our attack speed. This makes faster attack support an absolute must-have for cyclone, and makes increased attack speed on your claw extremely valuable.

NOTE: if you over-cap on summoned Sentinels, the oldest one will be refreshed in both health and duration! This is the worst possible thing that can happen to us as a refreshed minion is a minion that is not exploding, and thus maximizing our sentinel spawn rate while avoiding capping out is one of the main goals of this build.


Elemental Equilibrium - our biggest single buff we can get for our MI damage. Basically, we use either lightning or cold damage (added through weapon/gloves/ring) to lower the fire resistance of every mob hit by our attacks by 50%.


Worthy Foe - a free 20% damage taken increase straight out of the Champion Ascendancy, and one of the main reasons to pick Champion (outside of Fortify of course).


Necromantic Aegis – Keystone that lets us apply all stats from our shield to our minions. We use this in conjunction with Maligaro’s Lense to lower minion resistances to the point that we can get reliable HoP MI detonations, as well as enjoy the constant regen from said detonations. Huge boost to both our damage as well as our bossing survivability.


Cluster Jewel passives—Not required for the budget build, but pretty much necessary for the more endgame versions of this build. Cluster jewels provide a good chunk of damage, and just as importantly a huge chunk of ele/chaos resists if you buy good ones. For example: in 3.12 I am getting 40% Chaos and 95% Total Elemental Resistance from my cluster jewels, on top of +4 to maximum fire resistance. If you use the recommended endgame gear, you pretty much must use cluster jewels to get your resists where they need to be. Look for both +Chaos and +Elemental Resistance rolls on pretty much all your cluster jewels.


Claw Weapons - In addition to having decent attack speed, claws provide us with a very nice boost to our regen by life gain on hit, which is even more important than normal because we really can't leach worth crap as we do almost no damage ourselves.


Putting it all together, let’s see what happens when we press the Cyclone button. Cylone:

-Procs Sentinels of Purity, whose explosive deaths are the main damage source of this build
-Spawns Zombies, whose explosive deaths are the other main source of damage
-Procs Elemental Equilibrium on hit for a sweet -50% enemy fire resistance, exploited by above-mentioned explosive sentinels
-Taunts on hit for +20% damage taken, and cannot evade attacks (Worthy Foe)
-Applies curse on hit EE, if you have it on your ring
-Gives us a good chunk of regen from life gain on hit+claw implicit, which scales to god-tier regen when moving through large packs

All while remaining fully mobile, with two rotations skills being Convocation and Infernal Cry, both of which are instants.


Gear

Spoiler
Below are the recommended items for each gear slot, as well as budget/luxury alternatives when applicable.

Neck:



Aul’s Uprising is not quite required for the budget build, but is pretty much necessary for the more advanced versions, as without this ammy there is no way to run Purity of Ice/Frost.

Budget Alternative: Rare ammy with life/resists. You will be limited to just running Determination and HoP reservations.;

Shield:



Maligaro’s Lens is one absolutely required unique for this build, and fortunately it is also readily available and dirt cheap. Be picky and look for maxed attack speed and life rolls! The -%Elemental Resistance is key to getting consistent HoP detonations, while the % heal on death combos with Necromantic Aegis to turn our minion’s timely demise into massive sustained regen for us (as long as we are within proximity of the detonation; good thing we are a melee summoner!)

Budget/Luxury alternatives: +2 to AoE corruption implicit, socketed with Determination/Purity of Ice/Purity of Lightning

Helmet:

While not technically a required item, a helm with minion life and minion damage supports as shown below can be found for quite cheap and acts as a pseudo 6-link for HoP. Very highly recommended if you want to do good damage.

]

This helmet is actually better than a correctly colored 6link chest due to the added minion life and damage affixes. Other stats to look for are a good life roll, resists, and an open suffix for resist crafting,
Budget alternatives: Any rare helm. If you can’t find/afford both minion life and damage supports, you can get by with just minion life and “+x lvl to minion gems” prefix, but this should be a very high priority to upgrade.
Luxury Upgrade: Rare with Life/Damage support, as well as the 30% increased elemental damage suffix (essence crafting, usually expensive).

Weapons:



I prefer gemini claws, as the on-hit life and mana provides a nice additional regen, and the mana on hit makes no regen maps significantly less annoying. Preferred mods: Cold or Lightning damage to attacks, and increased attack speed (preferably 1.85 aps or better). Ideally you then multi-craft on Minion Life/Damage hybrid, as well as “trigger a socketed spell” to proc your Holy Relic.
Budget option: don’t multi-craft, and just find a claw with an open suffix for the minion life/damage craft. You will then need to proc your Holy Relic with CwDT

Rings:



Circle of Guilt: Mandatory roll is Mana Reduction, and I prefer the second roll to be Sentinel Damage. % Physical damage reduction is a good substitute, especially for budget builds as they tend to be cheaper, and provide more defense for squishy new characters. The exact amount is not too important for the budget build (no Aul’s Uprising), but the endgame build needs 20% (24”% after Fertile catalysts) or else you will have to invest in extra reservation on your tree, which is at least 2 wasted points.

Chest:



Craiceann’s Carapace is my preferred chest. It has mounds of armor, good life, some resistance, and the all-important bleed immunity. Once you play with this chest you will never want to run anything else. That being said, off-coloring is a real pain.

Budget Alternative: Any rare chest. look for life, lots of armor (1k+, preferably 1.5k or higher), and resists

Gloves



Aukuna's Will gloves lets us spawn Zombies without needing a corpse, and is pretty much mandatory.

Belt



My preferred belt is a Stygian Vise. Basically just find one with the best combination of ARMOR, resists, and life you can afford. Preferred catalysts are prismatic if you need extra resists, else use fertile.

Boots



The movement speed on these boots is night and day vs even a max 35% speed roll rare boots, and in my opinion is completely worth giving up the armor and resists in this slot.

Alternative: any rare armor-based boots with life, resists, and movespeed.

Jewels:



Ghastly eye jewels are amazing. They are wonderful. Get them and love them; ideally with all the following rolls: “+xx to Maximum Life”, “Minions have xx% Increased Maximum Life”, and “Minions deal xx% Additional Damage if You’ve Used a Minion Skill Recently”. Look for as close to maxed rolls as possible. At least one jewel should also have “Minions deal # additional Fire damage” to allow the Holy Relic to proc Fire Exposure on hit through Elemental Army.



Watcher’s Eye is a fantastic jewel, and required for getting to the %physical damage reduction needed for smooth play at high levels. Required mod is “+x% Additional Physical Damage Reduction while Affected by Determination”, and ideally the second mod will be either freeze or (my preference) shock immunity while affected by purity of ice/lightning. The god tier roll would have the third roll as “+xxx to Armor while Affected by Determination”, although I’ve yet to see that combo this league.

Those are the key gear considerations. For everything else, we want to grab as much health, resists, and ARMOUR as we can get our hands on.


Things to Aim For/Things I’ve Learned

Spoiler

1. Life target: 4500-5000 when entering red maps, 5500+ for endgame content (Simulacrum, 5 orb, UE, nasty t16's etc)

2. Physical Damage Reduction target: 75-85% sitting in hideout with Determination on.

3. Resistances: Res cap at minimum, ideally as high as you can get them to minimize Elemental Weakness map mod

3. Chaos Resistances: I personally want at least neutral Chaos resistance. This is only really feasible in this build with good cluster jewel passives, but is definitely worth pursuing.

5. Cyclone Cost: With The Stampede boots, we should be regenning enough for Cyclone’s 2 mana cost to be mana neutral for us. Even in reduced/no regen maps, mana gain on hit from gemini claw will keep us going.

7. Cluster Jewels: Cluster jewels provide a good chunk of damage, and just as importantly a huge chunk of ele/chaos resists if you buy good ones. For example: this league I am getting 40% Chaos and 95% Total Elemental Resistance from my cluster jewels, on top of +4 to maximum fire resistance. If you use the recommended endgame gear, you pretty much must use cluster jewels to get your resists where they need to be. Look for both +Chaos and +Elemental Resistance rolls on pretty much all your cluster jewels.


Leveling

Spoiler
I recommend leveling with Dominating Blow/Herald of Purity, and then performing a minor respec into the final MI tree once you hit maps. We do this because dominating blow plays well with easy-to-acquire strength gear, making it much less of a hassle to socket as you level. Minion instability; the cornerstone of the MI build, relies on multiple intelligence-based supports that makes finding off-color strength gear a pain.
Support gems are flexible while leveling, so feel free to mix and match as you like; the supports below are simply arranged in my rough order of preference.

Dominating blow: Melee Splash > Brutality > Melee Physical > Fortify > Ruthless

Multistrike can be a really good link as well, but some people don’t like how it feels. Use it if you like it!

Herald of Purity: Brutality > Melee Physical > Fortify

Ideal leveling setup would be to socket Dominating Blow into the highest linked chestpiece you can find, and Herald of Purity into any 4-link (or even one of your claw 3-links will work).

Leveling trees are shown below, designed to retain as much overlap with the final MI tree as possible. I recommend reaching at least lvl 80 before swapping to the final MI build, and with that in mind I have provided both lvl 80 Domination Blow and starter MI trees. Level 80 is where the MI build really starts to pick up steam, so I recommend some early mapping with Dominating Blow until you have gathered/purchased a good set of starting gear, then making the tree switch around 80.

Dominating Blow Leveling, with leveling path below in artfully-drawn freehand: https://pastebin.com/4VvGbzWZ


And, below is the Lvl 80 Stater MI tree. This has what can be considered the absolute essentials of the MI build, including tree pathing and gear. Use this as a starting point as you gather gear for your MI switch:

https://pastebin.com/8ikLayTy

Scroll down to the Path of Building section for the final MI trees.


Ascendancy:

Unstoppable Hero, Fortify, Conqueror, Worthy Foe, in that order.

Pantheon

Major: Solaris
Minor: Abberath

Don't forget to upgrade your pantheon!! It is easy, and more than worth it for the extra defenses added.


Ammy Annoint:

Use whatever you want for the starter build. For endgame we focus on mana reservation. Because we are running The Stampede boots, we actually get 2 anoints, and they need to be Sovereignty and Charisma. If you don’t want to spend the chaos for Charisma you can just manually spec in to the reservation nodes leading up to Sovereignty, at the cost of 4 extra points in the tree.


Videos/Screenshots:
Spoiler

3.12 Videos:

T19 Beyond+Delirium Juiced Grotto
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PasObuGi9W8

T16 Crystal Ore:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzXd8N_2nX4

T16 Hydra:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX8KvOcM6CY

Sirius:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGEBAwff1ik

Shaper:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApnoWRbGiI0

T16 Excavation, with Incursions:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFs6ciS7y1M



Videos from my 100c challenge: I limited myself to lvl 90 points, and total gear cost of 78c to show the build in starter gear. Want to see how it fairs against T15's and T16's? Check out the videos below.

T15 Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEB727Psw9E

T16 Tropical Island (with a surprise metamorph to boot)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J98NoM33MLs

The Eradicator+Delirium (apologies for the poor framerate)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64CKYo_ZuAk

PoB of the gear/tree used in these maps:
https://pastebin.com/h5Kehrft

For those interested, here is my total cost breakdown for my gear. I did use my existing skill/support gems because I was lazy, but lvl 20 gems are plentiful and cheap, so it won't affect the costs much.




Cost Breakdown:
Rings: 10c for both
Ammy: 1c
Gloves: 8c
Boots: 25c (I think I got ripped off on these)
Shield: 1 alc (lol)
Chest: 19c
Helmet: 5c
Claw: 2c
Belt: 3c
Abyss Jewels: 1c x5

Grand Total: 77.5c



3.11 and older videos, using HoA and SRS
Spoiler


20/20 Simulacrum deathless: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REHJb6YlZXo
T16 Malformation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzsWvusN-24
T15 Acid Caverns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEWJ-bzvlqo


Mapping

https://youtu.be/H-sk-M6lU4w The HoA variant—my personal preference
https://youtu.be/ymAfR2urOSM The baseline variant— significantly easier to gear for; using Spectres instead of HoA.

Bossing

https://youtu.be/PYVttgl54PM Sirus Deathless, awakened lvl 5



Final MI Tree/PoB/Damage Potential:
Spoiler


Note: All links are created using the community PoB fork.

Starter 3.12 Tree, minimal investment

This tree is a good starting point. It’s focused on lvl 90 and doesn’t have any crazy gear or cluster jewel requirements; basically it’s the lvl 90 version of the lvl 80 tree in the “Leveling” section.

https://pastebin.com/AtHZ5ix7

3.12 Endgame Tree

This is my current 3.12 tree, gems, and gear, and should provide a guide in what to aim for as you optimize the build. Pay attention to the rolls on the cluster jewels, as they give a ton of much-needed resistance to this build.

https://pastebin.com/wFB9xxsA

Alternate, High-Damage PoB

For those so inclined, here is an alternate endgame build that emphasized damage, at the cost of some survivability. I am not currently running this variant, but it's worth considering for those more adventurous.

https://pastebin.com/zdmEf5w7

Note: Average damage can be calculated in PoB by the following formula: (HoP Damage)*(Cyclone hits per sec)*0.2 + (Combust dps) + (Zombie Damage/.35). This assumes a lvl 20 CwC; if you are using an awakened verision then .35 changes according to the awakend gem level.

Alternate HoP/HoA PoB:
This variant uses Coming Calamity+HoA for mapping clear. It works well, but is not as tanky. Use it if you want though; it was the standard build until 3.12.

https://pastebin.com/E8i9Th1e

Old SRS PoB
Spoiler

I consider the current HoP-MI version of this build to be significantly better than the old CwC-SRS build as it does between 2-3x more damage when optimized, but for those interested here is the latest SRS PoB.
https://pastebin.com/xxJRds6i



Thank you for your interest in this guide! I had a lot of fun making it, and I hope others enjoy it as well. I am always happy to discuss questions; just leave me a message in the thread or PM and I will be happy to get back to you.


Old 3.10 and earlier Updates, history for the super-bored
Spoiler


3.11 READ HERE FOR UPDATED 3.11 PoB (Latest Update 7/26)
Spoiler

7/26 Update

Posting my current, moderatly end-game gear, as well as my latest tree. All in all not much different from the previous tree, with the exception that I have compromised on a single large cluster for added damage. I think 1 large cluster is better than the 1 large/2 medium option until you get to around lvl 95+, as before then it just takes too many points and you start having to eat in to your core armor/life nodes to make it work.

The other note is that if you can fit it in (mostly if you can make your resistances work), The Stampede boots are amazing! While I would consider them a luxury item as they make getting resist cap much more difficult, they really bring a lot of snappiness into mapping, and are a ton of fun. I recommend them if you can make your life/resists work.

I am quite happy with how this build has adapted to the 3.11 cluster jewel changes; overall the build is easier to optimize, and removing cluster jewel dependency is great for the budget-conscious player as well. At some point I will roll the 3.11 updates in to the rest of the guide, and as always post a note in the comments if you have any questions!

1-cluster pastebin:

https://pastebin.com/vjucdrLH




7/13 Update

It's been about a month since my last update, so I wanted to share my thoughts on this league so far. My first big takeaway is: This build does not need cluster jewels to make it viable! an ideal cluster jewel setup is around 15% more damage, but the build functions perfectly fine without it.

Second: Fortress Covenant jewel has sucessfully taken the place of the 3.10 version of Pure Agony, and The Coming Calamity takes the place of 3.10 Heraldry. This build functions essentially identically to 3.10, and is also more flexible than 3.10 due to not needing to run cluster jewels. My baseline (no cluster jewel) tree is copied below for reference (current gear, w/o cluster jewels I am currently using):

https://pastebin.com/rgd85KFe

See "Damage Potential" section below for how to calculate effective damage. The pastebin above is averaging around 2.3M Shaper DPS.

Current gear for reference:


6/19 Update
First pass at a 3.11 tree posted in pg 13 of comments! Very similar performance to 3.10 overall, and more to follow.

3.10 Updates (Latest Update 5/9)
Spoiler

5/9/20

Whew, guide update/ground-up rework is complete! The guide as it stood just didn’t reflect the current state of the build, so I re-worked basically every single section. Skill gems, gear, leveling, tips and tricks, pob’s, it’s all updated! 3.10 league experience has been moved down to the bottom of the guide for reference. I hope this new guide works well; as always let me know if there is something missing or that doesn’t make sense!


4/26

Working on basically a complete re-write of the guide as much of it is obsolete with the 3.10 changes. For those interested in a summary: the current build is doing over double the damage and healing of the initial 3.10 build, and it does this by ditching SRS in favor of focusing on HoP MI. The build is better than ever, and until I get the full guide updated, below is my final 3.10 PoB, as well as a starter version to get you going.

Final 3.10 PoB: https://pastebin.com/Vj8T0ZUr
3.10 Starter PoB: https://pastebin.com/UzgxKqk6

Lastly, below is my Deathless Simulacrum run with this build, for your viewing pleasure!

20/20 Simulacrum deathless: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REHJb6YlZXo

4/20 MAJOR UPDATE

While the build as it existed prior to this update is capable of doing pretty much any content in the game, it was somewhat lacking in damage; topping out around 1M dps. This was on the low side for high level delirium content so, back to the drawing board we go!

Long story short: the new cluster gems gave us the answer. Stacking 2x Heraldry, along with 2x Pure Agony, we can dramatically up our attack speed and not over-cap on HoP minions. As we attack faster and faster, we get better at poison stacking too, and Heraldry+reduced reservation rings lets us have a full 6/7 link HoA for much improved mapping. The result: over double the baseline build dps, ~2x the MI healing, and ~3x the life gain on hit!

Current (Shaper) dps: 2.1M dps
PoB: This one depends on the chestpiece. I am currently favoring Lioneye's Vision, but requires good mana reduction rings, and so will be a bit more expensive option. A second, more versitile option is to get a Skin of the Lords with Minion Instability; this lets us save some points we can invest in life or damage, or a skin of the loyal with the "+2 to level of socketed Duration gems". More complete PoB to come but for now here is my current gear, tree, and cluster gem setup.

https://pastebin.com/SWYDPZcf

Can it lvl 20 simulacrum? Why yes it can!


Final note: damage can be calculated by: (HoP Damage)*(Cyclone hits per sec)*0.2 + (Combust dps) + (HoA dps)


4/5 Update, Videos Up!
I've been getting some questions about how the build plays in Delirium, so I went ahead and made some quick videos to showecase T15/16 mapping, as well as my first ever simulacrum attempt! I have not yet tried a 5 orb delirium run, but hopefully these videos will give a good idea about capability.

T16 Shipyard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0OGNlX4RrY

T15 Primordial Pool: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gxvqLdvx5A

Simulacrum! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcm1N4i7nVY

I ended up clipping the simulacrum run to the last 5 levels or so as it ended up being quite long, but it should give a good look at my general strat (basically, keep moving, keep your life/freeze immunity flasks rolling, and make sure to tag the rare spawns as you move to keep your HoP minions spawning.

Also, I had an incorrect "more" modifier on a ring in my last PoB. This is fixed now, and updated link is shown.

https://pastebin.com/xxJRds6i


3/30 Update!
I started off a bit slow this league, but as I am finally up and farming T16 maps, I wanted to share my updates, observations etc.

1. First off, I have been experimenting (and will continue to do so as the league continues, with the new cluster jewels, and my conclusion is overall you need some pretty specific and well-optimized jewels to improve over the standard tree. The exception to this is the new notable Pure Agony! This notable let's us have an additional Sentinel up, and dramatically reduces our trouble with over-capping on HoP sentinels. For this reason I have exactly 1 Medium cluster jewel with Pure Agony, and Cult Leader because well, it came with the jewel ;) I socketed it in to the armor node on the left as shown.


2. I've been running with Determination the entire league and really like the stability it gives the build, as well as opening up a much larger variety of chest pieces while still staying 30k+ in armor. As such I can't run things like skitterbots or aspect of the spider, and have been looking at ways to make up the lost damage. One technique I've come up with is using cwdt-Wave of Conviction-Added Fire Damage to apply a -25% fire exposure debuff, which is significantly better than the 10% exposure off of Elemental Army. The downside is, it will screw up your EE so you have to follow up with cyclone hits to put EE back to -fire after the wake hits. So far I'm really liking the results, and will probably be keeping that link for the rest of the league.

3. As a direct result of having up to 5 HoP minions due to Pure Agony, I have been looking to pump up my HoP minion spawn rate by upping my attack speed. I do this with a combination of Ammy annoint, a couple tree notables, and claw enchant, and cwdt-Blood Rage, and have my cyclone to .12 attack time, translates to 33% more HoP minion spawns over our baseline with no attack speed. Considering each minion can hit for 700k+ in good gear, this is a decent chunk of free damage! Just be careful not to overcap, or all that extra damage goes out the window.

For those who are interested, here is my current gear and PoB! I will keep the default PoB's as they are for now as it's nice to have a tree without the variability of the new cluster gems as baseline. As always if you have any questions or ideas to improve the build drop me a comment!



Pastebin:
https://pastebin.com/8yGxQGBT

Initial 3.10 Update
This build is completely unchanged for 3.10 (so far)! SRS and HoP escaped all nerfs. Aside from dedicating a portion of the tree to the new gems, I will also be experimenting with a spellslinger varient of this build the league progresses. That being said for a league starter, the build as-is will handle anything we throw at it.

Gem notables (in order of preference): Pure Agony>Invigorating Portents>Lone Messanger>Heraldry>Cult-Leader

Defensive options: Stalwart Commander>Hex Breaker

This section is definitely prone to change as the league progresses and I get the chance to math out the possibilities. Stay tuned!

1.21.20
Final 3.9 League Update
3.9 was a good test for this build. T15+Metamorphs (and Sirus for that matter) can be ridiculously hard on minions, and without the Necro ascendancy we don't quite have the added health to guarantee the consistent minion survivability I was looking for.

The latest build (PoB linked below) functions completely independant of any permanent minions! Yes I still have a Kitava's Herald Spectre 4link, but that's purely there for the Culling Strike link, and can be ditched for something else if you choose. The key to this latest build is the shield:

Not only does it lower minion resistances enough to get consistent HoP MI detonations (which are almost 1m PER HIT), but it also lets us heal from our minion detonations! This in turn lets us ditch our trusty claws in favor of this little beauty:

Pair that with MI Skellies on a spell totem, and we can proc the "covered in ash" debuff on bosses for some extra free damage, as well as extra skelly heal-on-death.

Overall the Maligaro's Lense build has similar to slighly higher boss damage as the original 3.9 build, but bossing is significantly easier because of the life gain on minion death. The only downside is our life gain tends to come in bigger chunks, and is delayed by a few sec after the start of channeling. I generally have a flask running when first engaging packs to give my first SRS/HoP minions time to tick down.

For those interested, here is my deathless Sirus kill (Awakened lvl 5), as well as some T16 mapping fun to show how it performs in a variety of content. Thank you for your interest as always, and if you've been running this build drop me a line in the comments and let me know how it's been working for you!

Sirus Awakened lvl 5:
https://youtu.be/PYVttgl54PM

T16 Promenade:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NwI31gvAs0

Final Gear List:


And....the PoB! Cheers :D
https://pastebin.com/Ev4nj7Wv

12.31.19
Happy New Year! The build is settling down; my gear is approaching a state I am satisfied with, so it is high time to give an update and show how we handle higher-end red maps!

Current gear at time time of this update:


I am happy to report we are fully capable in red mapping! I have been going back and forth between the two variations of this build (Zombie/HoP supports vs Zombie/Spectre), and have made the claim that you can use either one without issue, so I though I would do a little side by side comparison to show each version's capabilities.

Below are two 85-ish quantity T15 shore maps, both with Jun's mission. I run through each, including the metamorph at the end, and have no issues with either build. I personally have swapped back to zombies/spectres, as I feel the clear is slightly faster; and peak damage is about 10% higher, but it is somewhat more complicated to gear for, so pick whichever you like.

I hope those who are playing this build are enjoying it as much as I am; feel free to post your progress, and happy new year!

T15 Shore Mapping

Zombies/Spectres Support Build:
https://youtu.be/pySgb8HxRZc

Zombies/HoP Support Build:
https://youtu.be/qs9SmCL5has



12.23.19
Current Gear/links at the time of this update:


After a weekend of mapping, getting some gear and a few more points on the tree, I believe I have settled on the final form of this build moving forward, at least for 3.9. The SRS core remains unchanged; what has been in flux is the support talents; we have 2 main options. They are:

a) HoP (4 link)+Zombies (6 link)
b) Zombies (4link)+Specters (6-link):

I took a more serious look at HoP in this build because of several comments left (thank you!), and I was pleasantly surprised on the uptime; basically 100% on any boss fight of note, and good during mapping as well. In my current gear, HoP with Infernal Legion nets me ~200k extra dps, along with providing a nifty vehicle for applying the Elemental Army debuff! But how does damage stack up?

In my current gear, option a) comes out to 418k dps, and option b) clocks in at 360k, including the aspect of the spider and skitterbot shock. This is relatively close and when you throw in the shock/spider multipliers on our core SRS damage option b) will actually win out, but I am proceeding with option a) for now for the not-very-scientific reason that specters a bit of a pain! Also not having to find a good aspect of the spider piece is nice too. Both options are perfectly fine though and I will have PoB for both soon.

Note! Be careful using zombies until you can get them to around 15k+ health. Less than that and you will find them dying, and constant re-summoning is a pain.


12.18.19
First serious evening of mapping: with around 40c total invested in gear, I am comfortably into yellow maps. Here is my current gear for reference, as well as a couple takeaways from the leveling process this season.


a) Zombies are underwhelming during the gem leveling process. Constant re-summoning, little actual utility. I am investigating swapping them with something else that I can use feeding frenzy with; possibly HoP (although I really don't want to reserve the mana as it will mean dropping either skitterbots or aspect of the spider; and potentially both).

b) As I hit maps around level 72, it didn't really make sense to swap over completely to the final SRS tree; the points just aren't there yet. I ended up going with a hybrid of the leveling dominating blow tree, grabbing EE and MI, and dropping most of the wheel around Spiritual Aid and Spiritual Command.

c) ASAP invest in the gem slots, and prioritize "Minions have %# increased maximum life" as well as "Minions deal #% increased damage if you've used a minion skill recently". We trigger the second with Convocation, and those gems make up a huge amount of our baseline damage.

Here is a video I made of a typical tier 5 map; this is with <50c total gear investment and should serve as a good baseline for what you can expect in the early times as you transition into the final SRS build.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YccF-HOrZSU


Initial 3.9 Summary:
Very little has changed in 3.9! No tree changes whatsoever, so I am leaving the PoB links as they are from 3.8. Our main damage source SRS got a minor QoL targeting buff, while specters and zombies got nerfs. Fortunately this makes little difference to us as we use both minions in support roles; mostly as vehicles for Feeding Frenzy/Elemental Army buffs. Skitterbot baseline shock got a slight nerf as well; overall minor changes. I will be using this build as my league starter, and will update the guide periodically as I level and progress into maps.


Last edited by Peterrabbit_01 on Feb 17, 2021, 8:41:17 PM
Last bumped on Feb 27, 2021, 5:09:44 PM
Interesting stuff. I'd be interested in more details about your gear choices, like Tavukai.

Do you have any idea of the DPS this build achieves ?
Thank you for the interest! I added a quick explanation on gearing, as well as an overview of damage potential in the PoB spoiler. Let me know if you have any questions; I will attempt to be as prompt as possible.
Cool, thanks for the update. Tavukai is obvious indeed I did not get at first that this was a minion instability build xD

Might give it a try in a future league.
Yeah, I realized after you made the comment that I never specifically said it was minion instability; fixed now.

I did find that while srs/instability has plenty of damage potential, the drawback is the delay while they tick down. This is a big part of why spectres/zombies are included; to give the build a healthy dose of instant damage outside of srs ramp. Most mapping pulls involve cycloning into packs, applying EE and flammability in the process, convoking in the middle, and letting the combination of zombies, spectres, and srs wreck everything in sight :) . Anything that is missed in that initial hit is mopped up by instability explosions.

Bosses are actually perfect for Instability, as almost all have either RP in the beginning or some form of proximity pull, allowing you to get the full complement of srs out and ticking down before you engage. The ramp is effectively zero for bosses.
I kind of wanted to do a build like this too. But I thought the whole idea was to use the Aura buffs you can get from the Champion such as Inspirational from your ascendancy and use that to benefit the minions. I see you don't care much for the aura's in this build. Plus you are really close to Spiritual Aid in your tree, it would help with the Cyclone damage, no?
Builds
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2149153
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2245701
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2664371
Shaper Guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2252008
Last edited by 0piate on Oct 15, 2019, 5:20:30 PM
Thank you CaptainWarlord, some great points as always. At work now so will have to go over them in more detail tonight. I really do like the idea of skitterbots and feeding frenzy; those are two damage modifiers I did not know existed! I remain hesitant to use skellies though; interrupting cyclone channel for casting really mucks up the smoothness of the build. Thanks again!
"
0piate wrote:
I kind of wanted to do a build like this too. But I thought the whole idea was to use the Aura buffs you can get from the Champion such as Inspirational from your ascendancy and use that to benefit the minions. I see you don't care much for the aura's in this build. Plus you are really close to Spiritual Aid in your tree, it would help with the Cyclone damage, no?


So I toyed around with this as well, as inspirational seems on the surface to be a great pick. Problem is; it doesn't fit that well with minion instability, which is the main workhorse of this build.

To boost minion instability damage, we can look at 3 main components:

1. Minion life. The higher the life of SRS, the bigger the hit. Pretty straightforward, and you can see basically all minion life nodes in easy reach have been picked

2. Minion damage. This is where you would think things like aura support would come in. Thing is, herald of ash mucks up EE, even with generosity support. Even if it didn't, because we are scaling the instability explosion, the actual attack damage of our SRS and other minions are of only secondary importance. This is why I've put so much focus into minion damage adders on my gear and in the tree, as that does work with instability.

3. Increasing enemy damage taken. This comes in two main components: the first being +% damage taken modifiers (like the Worthy Foe ascendancy talent), and the second is through reductions in enemy fire resistance. The most important source of this is Elemental Equilibrium, and is also why herald of ash can't be used--you can't add fire damage to your attacks or you screw up EE for your minion instability.

Additionally, we are running Flammability+Elemental weakness, +Exposure from my Spectres, and Combustion from SRS, all combine to around a 1.8 damage multiplier on all fire damage (which minion instability is). Huge deal for damage potential. Compared to this benefit, it's hard to justify spending resources on the various auras.

I guess you could run one of the curses with blasphemy for the aura increase, but then I would have to drop Worthy Foe which is hard to argue with as it gives a flat 20% damage taken increase, without having to reserve mana on a blasphemy curse.


Finally, we don't really care about our cyclone damage. Without proper gem and tree supports, it hits like a wet noodle. it's only purpose is to spawn SRS, and debuff the enemy with EE, and curse on hit. Think of the cyclone as the enabler and buffer of our damage, not the damage itself.
Last edited by Peterrabbit_01 on Oct 15, 2019, 7:05:10 PM
I see, looks like a well thought out build, good work.
Builds
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2149153
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2245701
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2664371
Shaper Guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2252008
"
In response to your message:

I took a sweep over the build, and I noticed a few things.

Whispers of Doom imo isn't worth it. The lvl 5 Flammability ring barely adds anything.

You could instead grab Quick Recovery for the same 3 points for another 290 HP.

You could also grab another jewel socket near Devotion (2 points) for Life and Minion Life. This is about the same DPS as your 2 Curses, with the bonus of a little more HP or whatever.

You could save another passive point between Spiritual Command and Purity of Flesh. The 4% minion AS can be skipped if you ask me.

You can also scrap a few passives and pick up another 2 Endurance charges instead, if you feel like it. It seems you could use some work on defenses/speed. Damage is already there.

Flame Sentinels barely add anything, both noticable in PoB and your Shaper video. I'd skip them altogether and instead maybe go for skellies with Feeding Frenzy. The buff adds damage and skellies are expendible.

I don't really see the point of going MoM, despite using Gemini claws. MoM requires a free Mana pool of 40% of your total HP to be useful. I'd suggest to rather use Skitterbots or something.

That about covers it, I think. Hope I could help :) Build looks solid. Good job.


Finally got some time to go through your comments, and thanks again! Going point by point cuz that's how my brain works :p

Whispers of Doom: Agreed. looking into PoB it was only about a 10% damage adder. Thanks to your other comments I more than make up this loss. Removed and put toward life.

Endurance Charges: I feel like my endurance charge generation is not consistent enough to really warrant boosting the max number. Ideas for improving generation?

Flame Sentinals: I agree their single target damage is pretty insignificant. They are there for 2 reasons:
1. Mapping: they give some nice instant aoe. Nice but not vital.
2. Debuffing targets. I was already using them for the Exposure debuff from elemental army for a free -10% to resists on targets. Your comment about feeding frenzy got me to thinking though; since the spectres are mostly there for debuff application, why not use them to proc feeding frenzy too? I tested it and turns out ranged minions don't tend to wander off and get themselves killed with feeding frenzy, unlike melee units. Tested it out on Chimera/Shaper and had pretty much 100% uptime. Really good note about feeding frenzy!

Side note: This leaves zombies as just an extra damage source; there may be something better to do with that chest slot. They are extremely helpful for mapping, but not so noticeable on bossing.

MoM/Skitterbots: Let's just say I had no idea whatsoever skitterbots did what they did. Took me a hot second to swap that in; the perfect substitute for the discarded 2nd curse sockets! As I am now reserving basically all my mana (and have more life now too!), MoM is useless. Dropped, and invested the points into that last gem socket.

I'm a little skeptical of PoB's calc on the shocked damage taken modifier, as it's just a toggle in the config and doesn't seem to have any relation to the actual shock applied by the skitterbots, but going from the description it should be a 24% increased damage taken modifier, which puts it well ahead of the curse it was replacing; and got 500 life in the process! Will update the PoB now, and thanks again.
Last edited by Peterrabbit_01 on Oct 16, 2019, 4:06:57 AM

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