[3.12] Aura stacking Guardian on a budget

Patch 3.13 changes to medium cluster jewels make this build uneficcient

If my math is correct - with new cluster jewels MY character loses 68% AE
and this is quite BAD
If you are on a lower budget then me - you are going to lose even more most likely

You can try to fix this situation with Voices
But I doubt that 1 node Voices suddenly become affordable

And pouring Mirrors into a build just to make it OK - doesn't worst it in my opinion

Hello everyone

Build idea is not new, not it is mine
Just wanted to showcase what aura stacking is capable of in Heist league
with a relatively small budget (15Ex to start, 25 to make it quite strong)

Progression is shown on the video
The build is based around cluster jewels, so a higher level is desired (ideally LVL 95, so you can fit all cluster jewels)

Ideally, you want to be at least level 79 before the transition
You can put all mandatory Uniques and have at least 2 cluster jewels by that time, but do not expect that at LVL 79 you'll suddenly start popping things off, no, you will be squishy, and have quite little damage due to low effective life pool and Aura effectiveness

Since many people here having issues to progress with this build - I've decided to make this guide a little bit more precise about priorities and choices, as well as add some progression suggestions

Since the economy is fucked up to the point that it is very hard to say how much certain things cost - I'll prepare a couple of different POBs to follow
and it will be up to you, to check what you really can afford at given day with your budget

During the guide I'll be using the following abbreviations:
- RMR - Reduced mana reserved
- AE - aura effectiveness
- ES - energy shield

Pastebin deletes codes from POB suddenly, so until the issue is fixed I'll use controlc instead, so you'll have to load POBs manually

For those who like to read - welcome

The key concept's of the build, that you need to realize independent of what stage you are at:

1. The build is revolved around 2 key stats, namely:
- Increased effect of non-curse Auras from your skills (boost our auras effect)
- Reduced mana reserved (allows us to run more auras)
So at any given point of the progression, those 2 stats will be our priority

Nature of scaling of both of these stats is a breakpoint based
Which means that not every 1% increased to those stats will give you seizable
benefits, but rather benefits are coming when you cross certain breakpoint
EXAMPLE:: Unwavering Feith (Ascendancy keystone) gives you 1% Physical damage
reduction per aura you are running
This is true until you have up to 99% Increased Aura effect, once you cross
breakpoint (100% in this case) Unwavering Feith will give you a 2% reduction
for each aura, you are running
The same applies to Reduced Mana reserved
Hatred reserves 50% of your mana
Having 50% RMR total will make Hatred reserve 25% mana
Having 51% RMR total will make Hatred reserve 25% mana as well
Having 52% RMR total will make Hatred reserve 24% mana and so on

2. Build have MANDATORY items (you can't replace them at all, or can, but only by godlike rares), namely:

Shavronne's Wrapping allows you to go low life and gives you some ES
You can replace it with Solaris Lorica to some extend, but I would not suggest doing that unless you don't need ES anymore (got enough from jewels for instance, and trying to figure chaos resists)
You can replace it with Saqawal's Nest and go CI though, I'll add a separate POB for the CI version of Guardian, even though I think for CI you better go with Scion (budget will be higher though, on every stage, Scion should outshine Guardian at higher budgets (mainly movement speed))

Nebulis brings %Increased damage to the build, pretty much unbeatable, unless you want to try an attack, not spell version of the build
This item is also the reason to play Phys or lightning spell with this build (Phys to be converted to lightning)
Having a good Implicit is a luxury
Having high Increased Lightning and Cold damage is very nice to have
Each 1% increased here gives you a 15% increased damage total, it is quite significant, so try to snipe for good roles here

Prism guardian is Huge for LL builds, free blood magic without 196% multiplier of the gem, with 25 RMR, and without a need to sacrifice a slot for Blood magic
Corruption is nice to have, but not mandatory

Alpha's Howl - 8 RMR and +2 to socketed auras and cannot be frozen as a bonus, for 2c only, this is just absurd value for money
To beat this helm with a rare one - you'll have to pay A LOT, investing into jewels for RMR and AE to compensate +2 levels
Enchant is a luxury

Though it is not Unique, nevertheless it is mandatory
Stats priority on this amulet are the following:
- ES
- Skill (Vitality is preferred)
- anything else that can be useful

If you want to go crit - you have 2 options, cheap (this gloves) and very expensive one (Having crit Multi on your jewels)
So those gloves are irreplaceable unless you have LOTS of money
Having good corruption here is a luxury

Pair of those rings (20% quality is a must) allow us to have 96% conversion, hence effectively allowing us to use more damage modifiers
EXAMPLE: EK physical damage is being converted to Lightning by Gem and Watcher's Eye and then converted to Cold. It applies both lightning and cold tags to our damage hance both Increases from Nebulis gives us benefits (I might be wrong here, can't say that I'm 100% understand conversion in this game)
On top of that having this much cold damage allows perma-freeze everything around you, and that feels great
Having frostbite as corruption here - is very nice, its cheap alternative to gloves corrupt (with less quality of life due to self-cast)

Having this jewel is mandatory
Having RMR corruption on it - depending on the current state of your build

3. Mandatory items with lots of variations:

1. Large cluster jewels are mandatory to this build, but the only requirement
for those jewels is having 8 passives and 2 sockets
Anything else you can get from those jewels is nice to have, but not

Example of a good Large cluster jewel:

Example of a quite mediocre Large cluster jewel, that is still fine:

Using Voices is definitely possible, but it has to be reasonable (you are LVL 100 and have enough passive point to insert one more Medium cluster jewel)
Otherwise - not recommended

2. Medium Cluster Jewels
This is the Core of the build, all strength is coming from here
Those Jewels have requirements and nice to have bonuses
- Having 6 Passives (less is BAD)
- Gives you an ability to have auras or more AE
nice to have bonuses:
- Small Passives have a 25% increased effect
- Have nice notable ( First among Us, Replenishing presence)
- Some good suffixes (Int, attributes, Chaos resist)

When buying those jewels, you have to make sure that Requirements are met, and on top of that you have at least one from nice to have bonuses
Example of good Medium Jewel:

This jewel is 6 Passive (requirement 1 is met)
This jewel gives me Most AE possible (requirement 2 is met) and there is no way for me to add more auras at the moment
It has 2 from nice to have bonuses
Another example of a good medium Jewel:

This jewel is 6 Passive (requirement 1 is met)
This jewel gives me an ability to run Grace (I can't literally have this aura without it)
It has 1 of nice to have bonuses
On top of that, this one is slightly special because of Grace aura is the only 50% aura that is running on Blood magic gem, so it has a 196% mana multiplier that has to be compensated

At some point, you might start moving your auras away from gems (Discipline corruption on a shield, Vitality on Amulet, etc)
This will allow you to add heralds to your build
Once you have 2-3 heralds - it is very beneficial to have 2 jewels like this:

Keep in mind that this notable has a hard cap of 40%

3. Jewels (Rare or threshold)
To start with the build you must have at least 2 jewels with RMR corruption
Adding more jewels with this corruption should be considered if it allows you
to stick more auras
Stat priority on Rare jewels:
- RMR (if it allows you to pass breakpoint)
- ES
- Crit chance
- Chaos resist
- Cast speed
- Projectile Speed/Damage
- anything else

Non-mandatory pieces of gear:

You can use any belt you want theoretically, but I would suggest

Stats priority:
- ES
- Strenght (to have enough to run str auras, might need attr quality catalysts here)
- Aspect of the Spider
- Anything else

Why crystal belt - build is very hungry of ES sources, crystal belt can provide a lot, the especially noticeable on a lower budget

The end goal and BIS here would be:

But I'm not sure if this item worth the grind for it

Probably some other belts might do just fine, I don't know, haven't tested it myself


You can snipe high ES sin trek for a few Chaoses, and those are great until the very high budget of the build, lets say you have HH, so you lost your Aspect of the spider from your belt, you can get boots like this

Stats priority would be:
- ES (at least 170)
- Open Suffix to craft Aspect of the spider
- Open prefix to craft Movement Speed + Onslaught
Depend on your luck you can snipe this kind of boots quite cheap

Another good option would be Doryani's Delusion, BUT only if you have invested enough into RMR jewels, so you get Purity from boots and have something to fit into your helmet

Starter POB
If you can't afford ALL the items from this POB - do not start to pull this build together, it will NOT work
Exception - Frostbite corruption on the ring, try to snipe it, but even without it should be fine

This is the very beginning version of this build, character LVL 79 allows you to allocate all RMR nodes on the tree, as well as plug 2 large cluster jewels and 4 medium cluster jewels

What you can expect from build at this stage:
- It can run up to T12 maps, with some issues on bosses and tougher mobs here and there
- It can go and kill Izaro on its own, so you can get the last 2 ascendancy passives
- You are very susceptible to one-shots due to very low EHP
- Physical damage hits you hard
- Chaos damage is painful
- You don't have stun protection aside from pantheon
- You are forced to play Arc as your main skill, since Watcher's Eye that is
mandatory for EK is too expensive and Spark will do little to no damage at
this point

Pay attention to the placement of your auras
You want Hatred, Wrath, and Haste in your shield
You want Grace, Skitterbots, and HoI linked to Blood magic gem
You want your Purities to be in Helmet and LVL 21 (so at 200% aura effectiveness you will have 15% to max res and full damage from Nebulis)
On one of 4 of yours medium cluster jewels
You must have notable Sublime Form
On the other 3 medium jewels you need to get at least 2 of the following notables:
- Self-control
- Pure Might
- Pure Guile
- Pure Aptitude
If you get 3 - you can add Aspect of the spider I think
To get rares cheaper - check the crafting section
Do not try to improvise much over this POB, it is as cheap as it gets

Transition to EK

EK is much better for clear, but have big issues with a single target on a low budget
You should consider a transition to EK ONLY if you have/can afford everything from previous POB, and have enough money to get the following mandatory items:

The mandatory stat is Phys damage converted to lightning

This jewel Make your EK shoot in nova, very useful for clear

This one is up to your personal preferences, I like to run with this one

At this stage, you need at least 4 RMR jewels to be able to stick all auras.
It is up to you on which jewels to get it

Unnatural Instinct in this POB only because I was lucky to drop it, Replace it with Rare jewel, with ES and Mana and you are good to go

Pay attention to medium Jewels, at this point, you are running heralds, so having a Purposeful Harbinger is very sweet, but remember about a hard cap

At this point, you can expect this build to clear all content of the game, except probably 100% delirium T16 and above, especially if there is no space to kite

I would not suggest running 100% delirium anyway, the difference in the drop is not that significant, but mobs having a LOT more HP
You could run 2 80% maps instead of 1 100%, and it should be a lot more profitable

My current character POB
Compare to advanced POB, I've added some luxury items, namely:

Nothing to explain here, best belt in game

Very expensive Flask, happened to drop it myself

Great corruption, allows me to set free one more gem slot
Managed to snipe it for 8 Ex

This enchant on this helm is very valuable
I've managed to replace Self-control notable with another First among the equals due to this one

I have 1 mistake in my character, I'm running 4 heralds and 2 Purposeful harbingers which is a waste
If I could get a little bit more RMR, I could put Malevelence/Divergent Determination instead of HoL in my boots
But after HH grind, I'm taking a bit of a brake

CI version
This is pure theory-crafting, I haven't played this version of the build, so it is here more as a reference
Rodneyking was using this POB as a reference for his build

If anyone wants to have a practical version of CI guardian - lend me a 6link
Saqawal's Nest, I'll test it with my gear, make a POB, and return you your armor along with the rent fees


Aura effectiveness calculation

To calculate your current aura effectiveness in POB
Go to Calcs, pick any aura (wrath in my example)

You can see your Aura effect modifier (3.49 for my character, or 249% Increased Aura effect)
As well as all Increases\reductions to this stat

Only known exception so far - Purposeful Harbinger (PH as shortcut)
It is not calculated, you have to calculate it yourself if you are using it with following formula
(0.08 * NUMBER_OF_HERALDS) * Number_of_PH_nodes
But remember that PH has hardcap of 40% AE
So if you run 4 heralds, and 2 PH nodes - you'll hit the hardcap, but first PH node will bring you 32% AE, and the second one only 8%, which is rather a waste (First among the Equals brings more in this case)

AE Breakpoints explanation

Some auras, like Purity of Ice (PoI further in text) for example, getting hard-capped, others (like Precision) don't
So depending on your current AE you do\don't need more AE\LVLs to your auras to get full benefits from it

Lets take PoI as an example
Level 21 PoI gives you 42% Cold res and 4% Max Cold res if you have 0 AE in your build
If you insert your PoI into Alpha's howl helmet, it will get +2 lvl, you'll get lvl 23 PoI, which gives you 44% Cold res and 5% max cold res respectively

If you reach 100% AE to your build, PoI will give you 88% Cold Res and 10% max Cold Res

If you reach 200% AE to your build, PoI will give you 132% Cold Res and 15% max Cold Res

If you reach 275% AE to your build, PoI will give you 165% Cold Res and 18% max Cold Res
There is definitely no need to have this mach Cold Res, and Max Cold res is hard-capped at 90% anyway, so at this point you can move you PoI out from helmet to let's say gloves, and insert auras that do scale into your helmet to make +2 LVL from your helmet bring you some value

Same math applies for other purity skills

At LVL 21 Precision gives you 60% Crit chance (it gives accuracy, but it is irrelevant for Spell build) at 0 AE
If you reach 275% AE, Precision will give you 225% Crit Chance

If you put Precision to your helmet (to get lvl 23 which has 64% Crit chance) at 275% AE it will give you 240% Crit chance instead

Vaal Grace
LVL 20 Vaal Grace gives you 34% Dodge\Spell Dodge
If you reach 100% AE to your build, Vaal Grace will give you 68% Dodge\Spell Dodge

If you reach 200% AE to your build, Vaal Grace would have given you 102% Dodge\Spell Dodge, BUT Dodge\Spell dodge is hard-capped at 75%, so there is not much use of having Vaal Grace lvl 21. On the other hand, Grace do scale almost infinitely, and difference between LVL 21 and 23 Grace may seems quite significant(279 evade), diminishing return will east it up anyway, so it doesn't really matter, and I would not suggest to chace lvl 21 Grace

Crafting Rares

The build has only 2-3 rares, depend on which stage of the build you are at

Buy redeemer amulet with Strenght and reduced mana reserved 5%, should not cost too much
And Use Fertile Catalyst on it, to make it 6%
Ideally, this amulet should be Marble Amulet base type and not have any other Redeemer affixes

When you have enough RMR to put Vitality on your amulet and fit some other aura in place of the Vitality gem, you can get Shaper Amulet with Vitality on it and no other Shaper mods, and merge it into your redeemer amulet with Awakener orb

Buy Crystal belt at least ilvl 82
Use alteration\augmentation + regals orbs until you hit 50+ strength
and Flat Es (more is better)
After you have 3 affixes on the belt - go and buy Fenumus First of the Night beast to craft Aspect of the spider
Craft more ES and use Intrinsic Catalyst to have more strength
It is needed to keep up with the strength requirements of our red gems

Snipe good ES base boots from trade web site with
- 170+ ES
- Open prefix
- Open suffix
Buy Fenumus, first of the Night to craft Aspect of the Spider
Craft Movement speed + onslaught as a prefix on the bench

Alternative quality gems thoughts

Anomalous Physical to Lightning Support - must have
Divergent Purity of Ice - Pen is good, worth it's money I think if your AE > 275%
Anomalous/Divergent Inspiration Support - both might be useful in some certain cases

Divergent Determination - If you actually run this aura (I don't)
Divergent Zealotry - better then nothing, but not worth it's money
Anomalous Hatred - maybe, it's cheap at least
Divergent Hatred - might be useful, if you have a way to make Chilled Ground
Divergent Vaal Haste - if you play EK - decent
Divergent Wrath - quite expensive, might be useful for some late min-maxings
Anomalous Smite/Phantasmal Smite - First nice and cheap, second very nice and expensive
Anomalous Precision/Divergent Precision - might be useful in some cases
Divergent Righteous Fire - Very good
Divergent Clarity - A little bit of damage boost on first hit
Anomalous Blood Magic Support - might be useful in some cases
Anomalous Grace - might be useful to some extend


Build recap and showcase
If you want me to showcase any other content completion with this build - let me know in the comments

POB links

Starter POB

Transition to EK

My latest POB
Weird things with POB sometimes
Discipline corrupt on shield shows as if reserves mana, it is not True

Work is still in progress, so if you spot any mistakes - pls let me know
If you have any questions\suggestion - Don't hesitate to contact me here or in game
Last edited by askaal on Jan 14, 2021, 5:07:18 AM
Last bumped on Jan 15, 2021, 12:25:10 PM
15 ex
conqueror's : 450c
ring of blades : 230c
unnatural instinct : 590c
just with this : 19ex
redjo wrote:
15 ex
conqueror's : 450c
ring of blades : 230c
unnatural instinct : 590c
just with this : 19ex

Unnatural instinct is not needed, nor it is included in the starter POB
It can be replaced with rare jewel with Increased % ES and REduced mana reserved

Starting this build you better go with Arc
So you don't need either ring of blades or Watcher's Eye that jumped in price 3 times since I've bought it myself 2 weeks ago

Conqueror's jumped 4 times within the last 2 weeks indeed
But you don't need corrupted one to start

And generically speaking for the last 2 weeks more and more people are building this kind of build (aura stacking) and prices of all pieces risen very much

When I started to lvling my character - there was 1 guardian aura staking in poe ninja ladder, now there is a full page of them

Last edited by askaal on Oct 9, 2020, 12:25:47 PM
Is there a difference in jewels, gears and gems when i want to use spark other than ek or arc ?
darkFraud wrote:
Is there a difference in jewels, gears and gems when i want to use spark other than ek or arc ?

For EK you must have:
1. Watcher's Eye with Phys to Lightning conversion
2. Ring of Blades with 1% reduced mana reservation corruption
3. Poacher's Aim with 1% reduced mana reservation corruption
4. Anomalous Physical to Lightning Support

So with this, you have full Phys > lightning damage conversion, which then converted to cold by rings

For Arc:
1. No need for watcher's eye
2. Any rare jewels with 1% reduced mana reservation corruption are ok
3. Phys to lightning conversion to be replaced by Awakened added lightning\controlled destruction

If you want to use let's say Spark
1. Hazardous Research with 1% reduced mana reservation corruption
in place of Conqueror's efficiency.
2. Conqueror - stick it somewhere else
3. Use Awakened Fork
4. Rare jewel with 1% reduced mana reservation corruption

In theory - any other Phys or Lightning skill can fit as your main skill,
with minimal to none changes
Can you upload the pob link again ? Im getting 404 error when importing
darkFraud wrote:
Can you upload the pob link again ? Im getting 404 error when importing

There is some issue between pastebin and POB atm

U can use this

Open link in browser, copy code and paste it into POB
Can you show me the gem link for spark ?
darkFraud wrote:
Can you show me the gem link for spark ?

I haven't played Spark ever, so take it with a bit of skepticism

Spark > Spell Echo > Inspiration > Cold Pen > Arcane Surge > Fork

If you can afford the awakened version of gems - go for it
Last edited by askaal on Oct 14, 2020, 1:45:34 PM
hi there. so i have all the cluster jewels and unique ones , except for the watchers eye and some rare ones. I have pretty much 0 single target dmg . I have both purities lvl 21, and my Nebulis has 20 and 17 %. Where to get my single target dps ?

Report Forum Post

Report Account:

Report Type

Additional Info