[3.8 SC] Dominating Blow HoP Impale Champion

Welcome to my first guide!
There are other DominatingBlow Champion builds out there, but most are outdated for the new gems of 3.8 or have different approaches to support, secondary gems and equipment, so I found it worth to discuss my take on the build.

This build was played in Blight SC.

Mechanics and gameplay
As a life-based Champion, this build has a few defensive layers, like Armour, Evasion, Block, Fortify, Blind, Chill, high elemental resistences, a lil bit of Dodge and Enfeeble curse.
Offensively, Resolute Technique allows us to not worry about accuracy, and the minions damage is quite good, which is improved with Frenzy and Power charges, Feeding Frenzy, Pride aura, Vulnerability curse, Impale, Maim, Culling, Intimidate, Champion's Taunt, Carrion golem buff, Skitterbot's shock, Vaal Haste and Flesh Offering.

Against map mobs, a couple of hits are performed for the first group, which dies, creates our Sentinels and allows us to just run past a couple of other mob groups while our minions kill them. Another hit must be done at most 30s later, aiming near rare mobs, to keep the Sentinels up and get their mods.
Against tough fights, Enfeeble is cast and the Banner is dropped before engaging and, after a few hits, our army is full and you can back down to a safe distance for a while.

+ Fast and safe mapping (not the fastest still).
+ Good general survivability.
+ Good boss damage after the minions are up.
+ Confortable league starter.
+ SSF viable (with changes).
+ Most fun minion build I played, where you are actively participating in combat.

- Some isolated bosses can be dangerous in the beginning of the fight.
- HC not advisable.
- Can't do physical reflect and has a harder time in maps without mana regeneration.
- Not as lazy gameplay as other minion builds.
- Manual curse casting (alternatives available).

Gameplay video
Coming soon..!

Path of Building (PoB)
PoB currently doesn't calculate the correct value of the Shock debuff, so it wasn't applied.

Passive Tree

Bandits: Kill them all!

30 points:
Make a B-line towards Resolute Technique, gathering nearby life nodes.

60 points:
Make your way around the Templar/Witch area, getting more life,the first minion/your damage nodes and defensive ascendancy passives. You can then use regret points/orbs to remove the redundant strength nodes on the way to Resolute Tech. Also you will probably need to get the Agility node for +30 dexterity that we are thirsty for.

120 points (final, level 97):
Get the remaining life nodes, mana reservation, minion damage, extra curse, leaving most jewel sockets for last (get at least one socket early, for minion blind chance)

Skill Gems

Main skill (6L)
Dominating Blow - Melee Physical Damage - Brutality - Melee Splash - Impale - Multistrike or Fortify
After being hit by this skill, an enemy that dies during the debuff duration turns into a Sentinel minion that fights for you for a duration. When hitting an unique enemy, there is a 25% chance to create a Sentinel on every hit.

When an enemy is turned into a sentinel by this skill, his on-death effects are not triggered (Spike explosions, caustic clouds, tar or generating other monsters).

When you create a Sentinel from a Magic (blue) or Rare (yellow) enemy, the Sentinel gains the enemy mods. Some powerful mods can be acquired from yellow enemies are Attack and Movement speed aura, increased physical damage aura, Energy shield aura and even the "cannot die" aura that some monsters possesses.

That's the main skill of this build and the one we use to hit enemies and generate minions to help us, since our own damage is pretty low. Our hits will also cause many affects such as Taunt, Impale and Intimidate.
4L: dump Multistrike or Melee Physical Damage and Impale supports
5L: leave out Multistrike or Impale

If you don't have another source of the Fortify effect, make sure you use that support, otherwise use Multistrike.

Multistrike is very useful in this build during bosses because the faster hits from the support can help creating your army faster.
In tough fights, Melee Splash can be exchanged for Minion Damage, provided a white socket is available, or Ruthless or Empower otherwise (PoB shows more DPS for Ruthless even against a level 4 Empower).

In regards to Melee Splash, some people prefer to use Ancestral Call. AC is easier to use, since you don't need to touch the enemies to hit them, keeping you safer. But it does not apply to the Sentinels and still reduces their damage. It's a viable option while leveling.

Herald of Purity (- Maim - Ruthless - Brutality - Bloodlust)*
The ring used for this build is the Hungry Loop, which allows us to 5L our Herald, highly increasing the minions damage.

In order for the ring to absorb a support gem, it needs to be slotted on it while it's level 19 and then leveled to 20 (it can already have the required experience). Quality won't be taken into account by the ring, so don't mind it.

The support choices here are based on mana multiplier effectiveness, since we need a little bit of mana left. Maim and Ruthless are obvious choices, with very low multiplier numbers.
Brutality is our third choice, for the best damage.
For last, Bloodlust is chosen for big damage on bosses, who will be bleeding due to other minions attacks while on Vulnerability curse.

Another option instead of Bloodlust would be Faster Attacks, for lower mana multiplier.

Blood Magic - Raise Spectre - Carrion Golem - Animate Guardian or Summon Holy Relic
The new Spectre gem is great, allowing us to reach 4 spectres, with a level 21 gem (achievable either with a Helmet mod or as a gem corruption).
Spectre choices
The chosen spectres are:
  • 2 Carnage Chieftains (Frenzy charge generation)
  • 1 Host Chieftain (Power charge generation)
  • 1 Heretic/Temple Guardian (or Undying Evagelist) (Proximity Shield)

Both Chieftains can currently be obtained in The Ashen Fields (Act 7).
Heretic and Temple Guardians are identical and seem to have more life than the Evangelist, but lower Elemental resistances. They can be found at Oriath Square, Templar Courts, Ruined Square or Torched Courts (all in Act 5), Ravaged Square, Torched Courts or Desecrated Chambers (at Act 10).
Undying Evangelist can be found at Sceptre of God (Act 3) and Grand Promenade (Act 8).

Carrion Golem provides extra physical damage to all other minions. Chaos or Stone Golems can be chosen if extra survival is a worry.
The last gem slot can be filled either by a Animate Guardian or by a Holy Relic. Animate Guardian, when equipped with good items is a superior choice, being able to provide extra damage, movement speed and even fortify and culling strike for the whole party, while being extremely tanky.
Animate Guardian equipment
  • For weapon, the best choice is surely the amazing Kingmaker, which provides Critical Damage Multiplier, Culling and Fortify for everybody (except himself). That weapon is currently considerably expensive. A budget option would be the classic Dying Breath.
  • As for Body Armour, the strongest potential would be the Garb of the Ephemeral, keeping the allies from losing action speed (attack and movement) and nullifying enemies critical strikes (!). That item is, however, very expensive. The next best choice would be a Gruthkul's Pelt to provide high life regeneration for the Guardian, keeping it alive in (hopefully) any situation. As a budget option, a rare armour with life, elemental resistances and life regeneration % is great.
  • For Helmets, the best option is a rare one, with life, elemental resistances and "Nearby enemies take 9% increased physical damage" mod (obtainable with Jagged fossil craft). Budget-wise Leer cast can provide all allies with increased damage.
  • For Boots, Victario's Flight is fine, providing movement speed for all allies.
  • For Gloves, Southbound gives the Guardian a lot of life and should be priority.

Remember to keep your Guardian's elemental resistances ALWAYS capped at 75%, otherwise it will be easily killed and your equipment lost. Supporting him with Minion Life and/or Fortify may also be necessary. To check your Guardian resistances, you will need to put his equipment on Path of Building.

Main hand
Enfeeble - Withering Step - Feeding Frenzy
Enfeeble is our defensive curse of choice and it's manually cast on tougher encounters. Alternatively, you can craft "Trigger a Socketed Spell when you Use a Skill" to cast it.

Withering Step is great moviment skill for builds that don't need to attack/cast so often, providing good movespeed, phasing and Dodge. Other options can be used, like Shield Charge or Whirling blades but without Faster Attacks support, they should be a bit too slow to be worth.

For last, Feeding Frenzy is slotted here because it will affect the weapon's Spectral Spirits, providing more damage and speed for all our minions.

Cast when Damage Taken (lvl 1) - Desecrate (lvl 7) - Flesh Offering (lvl 8)
Our automatic Flesh Offering setup. CWDT can be removed in case of a weapon with the "Trigger a Socketed Spell when you Use a Skill" mod is used.
The gem order is important here. When CWDT triggers, it casts each spell in the order of the gem links, from top left to bottom right, so you should keep Desecrete socketed first to ensure Flesh Offering has corpses to consume.

Gloves/Boots (interchangeable)
Dread Banner - Vulnerability - Blasphemy - Enhance
Dread Banner is a source of Impale for our minions, as well as accuracy reduction on nearby enemies. Drop it on the floor at the beginning of tough fights for increased effect.
Both the Banner and Vulnerability aura doesn't reserve mana with the Champion's passive Inspirational and Impresence amulet.

Enhance support provides extra Impale effect, lower enemy accuracy, as well as higher bleed chance for Vulnerability.

Pride - Convocation - Vaal Haste - Summon Skitterbots
Convocation is a essencial skill for most summoning builds. Bringing all minions to you allows them to focus especific enemies and can save them from area damage. Also, puts you inside the spectre's proximity shield and the Guardian's fortify (equipped with Kingmaker).

Skitterbots is a mine focused skill, but that is worth it's reservation for many builds, providing permanent Chill and Shock for nearby enemies. The bots are very fast and keep up with you very well.



Gear discussion
The best weapon I consider is a rare crafted Gemini Claw, due to high attack speed and to the Life and Mana gain on hit implicits.

The Spectral Spirits essence mod is used to get better damage in the beginning of maps and triggering Feeding Frenzy for all minions.
Crafted with Bound+Corroded+Prismatic+Glyphic fossils (expensive)
Crafted with Essence of Insanity (cheaper)

Desirable mods to look out for are:
  • (Shaper item) Socketed Gems supported by Faster Attacks (if using Shield Charge or Whirling Blades)
  • (Bound fossil) Minions deal % increased damage
  • Resists
  • Life/Mana leech (Our damage is not much but it is an extra layer of survival, especially for no regen maps)

Minion damage and/or Attack speed can also be crafted from the bench provided available preffix/suffixes.

Another useful mod to craft is Syndicate's Trigger a Socketed Spell when you Use a Skill, to automate curse casting and even Flesh Offering, getting rid of Cast When Damage Taken.
Weapon budget option
The Scourge claw, for it's speed and good damage for minions (you may need other source of mana gain or leech if using something other than Gemini Claws)

Rare elder helmet craftable with: Bound+Pristine fossils (optionally, Jagged)
Desirable mods:
  • +X to Level of Socketed Minion Gems (allows for 4th Spectre and more minion life)
  • (Elder item) Socketed Gems are Supported by Level X Minion Life (Strengthens Golem, Spectres and Guardian)
  • Life and resistances
  • (Jagged fossil) Nearby Enemies take 9% increased Physical Damage (not needed if Guardian already has it)

Circle of Guilt is highly recommended to make full use of Herald of Purity. The ring can come with different combinations of mods:
  • Herald of Purity has (40-30)% reduced Mana Reservation
  • (40-60)% increased Physical Damage while affected by Herald of Purity
  • Herald of Purity has (70-100)% increased Buff Effect
  • Sentinels of Purity deal (70-100)% increased Damage
  • 4% additional Physical Damage Reduction while affected by Herald of Purity

The high priority here is the reduced reservation, getting as close to 40% as possible is important (Divine Orbs can be used to improve the roll).
Only the physical damage reduction and the Sentinels damage increase is useful for us, so keep a eye on those.
At last, look for useful implicits, like life and resistances.

Stygian Vises provides an extra valuable abyssal jewel.
Also, a mod that grant Rallying or Abyssal Cry can provide extra clearspeed and activates Champion's Conqueror and Worthy Foe from a distance..

Rumi's Concoction,Jade and Quartz flasks provides great defenses.

For the other gear, the usual Life + resistances are the main focus.

Watcher's Eye is viable thanks to the mod Your Hits Intimidate Enemies for 4 seconds while you are using Pride, providing your allies with 10% increased damage.
Haste modifiers should also be looked for:
  • X% chance to Dodge Spell Hits while affected by Haste
  • Debuffs on you expire (20-15)% faster while affected by Haste

If needed, Conqueror's Efficiency can provide 2% reduced mana reservation. Look out for the extra 1% reduced reservation corruption.

Rare jewels mods to look out for:
  • Life
  • Minions have X% chance to Blind on Hit with Attacks (get at least one with this)
  • Minions deal X% increased Damage if you've used a Minion Skill Recently
  • Minions deal X to Y additional Physical Damage
  • X% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana
  • +X to Dexterity (if needed)

Amulet anointments
Offensively, the best anointment is probably Gravepact (Azure+Black+Black).

Defensive options are more expensive, and include:
  • Life: Golem's Blood, Herbalism, Blood Drinker, Thick Skin, Cruel Preparation
  • Armor and max resistances: Soul of Steel
  • Mana leech and gain on hit: Essence Sap

While levelling, a +30 Dexterity node can be anointed very cheaply (3 clear oils) as needed.

Lab enchantments
Helmet (listed kinda in order of preference):
  • Dread Banner has 40% increased Aura Effect
  • 30% increased Enfeeble Curse Effect
  • Herald of Purity has 30% reduced Mana Reservation
  • Dominating Blow can summon an additional Rare Sentinel of Dominance
  • Flesh Offering grants an additional 21% increased Attack Speed
  • Withering Step has 30% increased Elusive Effect
  • +1 to maximum number of Sentinels of Purity

  • of the Grave (summon minions on minion kill)
  • Reflection (creates clone when hit)
  • Light (consecrated ground when crit'd)
  • Blades (flat physical damage projectiles)

  • Regenerate 2% of Life per second if you were Hit Recently
  • 8% chance to Dodge Spell Hits if you've taken Spell Damage Recently
  • 10% Chance to Dodge Attack Hits if you've taken a Critical Strike Recently

A good weapon for levelling would be Brightbeak due to its very fast attack speed and resistances.

Until Act 3, where you get access to Dominating Blow, you can level with Cleave or some other area-based attack, with the help of Raise Zombie, if you're in a trade-enabled league.
Smite + Ancestral Call can also be used during levelling for good clear while also buffing your minions.

SSF options
The absence of Circle of Guilt, Hungry Loop and Impresence in the build changes things a bit, albeit still viable IMO.

Without the Impresence amulet, Vulnerability can be manualy cast on bosses or ditched, allowing us to drop the Whispers of Doom nodes on the passive tree.

Without the unique rings, Herald of Purity would be harder to deal.
One option would be to use it on a Helmet with minion mods like + Socketed minion gems and Minion Damage support, getting rid of some other gems, like Vulnerability+Blasphemy (along the Impresence absence), Vaal Haste, and Holy Relic (Animate Guardian would hardy be viable on SSF).
Another option would be to ditch it altogether, netting you little less boss dps, but keeping the clearspeed and saving you mana reservation, enabling you to get Aspect of the Spider or Crab with a good rare item.

Thanks for reading! I accept suggestions and corrections!
Last edited by Brfeldens on Oct 20, 2019, 9:34:31 PM
Last bumped on Oct 17, 2019, 6:55:57 PM

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