[3.18] VoidForge Insanity - A Very Unique Animate Weapon Summoner. Now with More Explosions



Beat the Searing Exarch without being hit by the Rolling Meteors? What Rolling Meteors? xD

Changes since 3.14

Build lost EE and its overall damage got halfed. It lost nearly all of its defensive options due to the loss of dodge, flasks and the rework of Fortify. You still have around 4K hp at most, if anything hits you, you are going to die.

On the plus side, no longer need to juice AG's damage for brittle allowing it to be even tankier (though this is cancelled out by it no longer being able to dodge), no more need todo Vaal Breach Soul Ripper nonsense for arena bosses and a pair of extremely wack Explodey boots. Builds worse at the high end (just like every other 3.14 build) but much much better at low-medium investments. If you can afford Uul-Netol's Vow you actually make back all the damage lost from EE's removal, making this the same monster it was in 3.14.

In 3.17 managed to clear all content with this build, getting my first 36/40. Achievements missing were the two mega grindy ones (boons 3+endgame grinds), Archnemesis 3 (never got round to it) and Night Terrors since I never touched Expo. Every endgame boss was mostly a cakewalk, even the feared wasn't that bad.

Changelog
Spoiler
11/05/22 - 3.18 Update, added Atlas Strategy

16/02/22 - Updated PoB, added Piloting section
13/02/22 - 3.17 Update
10/02/22 - Updated 3.17 Notes.
06/02/22 - Started pre-update process.
21/10/21 - Added 3.16 Pastebin with leveling trees.
25/07/21 - Added Bonus section on Numlock Autocasting
24/07/21 - Added Skilltrees to PoB section while I fix PoB's. See Note 2.
22/07/21 - Updated 3.15 note based on PoB update numbers.
21/07/21 - Added alternate double damage pastebin
21/07/21 - Nothing! First release. Maybe the only release.



Build Overview:
Animated Guardian is a weird thing that has largely been unexplored. Did you know AG’s get the benefits of keystones on gear? Did you know AG’s can use any on hit effect and buff provided it isn’t cast or triggered? Did you know that it has it’s own curse limit which if higher than your own allows dual cursing? This build combines this knowledge to take advantage of uniques that would otherwise be alc shards into something that does millions of dps on a budget of nothing that with a budget scales to around 30-80 million+, depending on investment. Oh and you’ll perma freeze/shatter everything that isn’t a boss with White Wind and most of the time with Voidforge.

This is a build I stumbled into after much trial and error, forcing it to work. It is far from perfect but is still the smoothest and most powerful build I’ve ever played. If you give it a shot I hope you enjoy and you better hope it doesn't get nerfed yet again.

Table of Contents
1. Pros/Cons
2. Videos
3. Levelling
4. Path of Building
5. Atlas Strategy
6. Defence & Piloting
7. Gear
8. Gems
9. Numlock Autocasting

1. Pros/Cons - 3.18 Edition
Spoiler

Pros:
++ Works as a League Starter
++ You get a Bro to adventure with
++ Immortal minion army
++ Has dual curse
++ Isn't mana dependent
++ Can do all Content
++ Can do all map mods (with reflect rings)
++ Powerful enough to skip phased bosses such as Eater/Exarch.
++ Has Explode now thanks to Maven Boots
++ Even cheaper to build than 3.14
++ Extremely high survivability once geared due to army of minions taunting for you.
++ Extremely High damage / investment ratio
++ It won me a supporter pack.
++ Item additions since 3.14 and new 3.17 Influence are massive QoL. This build is so damn smooth now.
++ Has little competition for the items it wants to use, even endgame ones.



Neutral:
• Much damage scaling comes from Minion clusters (which are pricey)
• Not a tanky build (though it could be)
• Very unique dependent (though all the uniques are vendortrash)
• Prob not SSF Viable due to the above
• I doubt it's HC Viable anymore, not without an extreme damage loss.



Cons:
- Designed to be squishy so you always die before the AG
- AG can decide to kill itself at random if you don’t pay attention
- GGG can decide to kill your AG at random if you don’t pay attention
- GGG can decide to kill your AG at random even if you are paying attention at any time because reasons.
- Without the AG, you don't have a build.
- Likely an extremely laggy build for most of you.
- Uses A LOT of unique items
- Can’t use other minions, such as spectres.
- Pretty crap at delve as AG is stupid and you are easily hit by pierced projectiles in delves narrow passageways.
- Uses Trigger minion claw/dagger which are not a good minion weapon




2. Videos


3. Levelling
Spoiler


You can essentially level with any minion build you like. If you path over to Indomitable Army early you can grab Minion Instability and level as Popcorn. The thing to note is every active skill you end up using prior to 70 is likely to be abandoned since they are incompatible with Chains of Command.

Do not level with Regular Animate Weapon. It requires too much investment to sustain and is very slow compared to other minions in general. Absolution is very strong but largely incompatible with gems we want to use later.

Once you have access to Spectres, go grab a Carnage Chieftain from act 2. The frenzy they provide you and your minions help massively. Once you hit level 50 and have access to Victaro's Charity, replace it with a Ruins Hellion from Act 8 until you start using Chains of Command. This little doggy is very very strong and will carry you into maps and through early maps if you are not ready to transition to Chains of Command yet.

Once you have access to Chains of Command, its time to build a basic Guardian. White Wind, a shield (free choice), Bringer of Rain, Blood Dance, Gravebinds, Gruthkul's Pelt. All of these parts are interchangeable based on the state of the economy, this AG is designed to be cheap and disposable. If it somehow dies it shouldn't take more than a dozen chaos to replace. Gruthkul's is sometimes expensive, if you can't afford it try Zahndethus' Cassock instead. If any of the above is too expensive for whatever reason skip it, use whatever you like in its place.

Now just farm away. First priority is getting access to brittle, be it through a heist shield on the AG or the new Searing Exarch influence for brittle ground. Once you feel comfortable with your AG's ability to live and have Brittle Ground boots, upgrade to Voidforge.

From here your next investment is getting chaos res/flat physical abyss jewels, a good stat stick cluster jewel and general gear upgrades for life/res/etc.



4. Path of Building
Spoiler


https://pastebin.com/ZN0KybAP
- Kill all Bandits
- Soul of Brine King & Ryslatha

This isn't a min-max'd PoB by any means, it is reflective of my Archnem Character. It can be pushed a lot further with better clusters/abyss jewels and using Netol's but still sits at around 55-60ish mill once Power Charges are up.


5. Atlas Strategy
Spoiler


I personally recommend essences. They are extremely easy for this build and quite profitable, especially with 3.18's Kirac mod Pool. Even the strongest double 9 essence insane monster will die in seconds, while the double a fraction later due to the Chains of Commands inbuilt cleave. Shrines are extremely important, Shrine buffs while random most of the time help your survial immensely. Careful with Echo shrine though, that turns you into a Flicker Build for the map (rightclick the buff to disable it if it's too wild for you).

While this is speculation on my part I think the recombobulator items that let you combine items together in Sentinal league will enable dual essence items, meaning players will be going through a lot of essences as will you. If it works this way, double essence on your claw is quite a nice buff. On the extreme topend, it's likely possible to get a dual influence shield with an essence mod on it the same way.

The new keystones are interesting. Can this build do the new uber content and uber uber content? Based on my experience breezing through content in 3.17 I'd say yes (even Exarch's with +100% hp were getting phase skipped by me). This is conditional on your AG being complete and you knowing the fight in question since if the AG dies you don't have a build and if you die attempting it you lose your minion army which can be quite hard to start up again mid fight. This is mostly a problem for Maven arena stuff since it spawns you directly back in the arena where you don't have free space to reliably get your army back. For Maven Arena stuff you can use the old Vaal Breach banking method to stack breaches on the edges of the arena before triggering the fight to restock your minion army should you die if you really want todo that content.

Outside of this, I'd recommend grabbing Wellspring of Creation starting out. People have constantly complained about this builds survivability and this should go a decent way to fixing that. With how high this builds DPS is you shouldn't notice the increase to monster hp at all for the most part. It won't kick in during instanced bosses but for them you are mostly relying on movement skills to dodge aoe to stay alive or killing the boss outright before it does anything. Very rarely if at all will you be attacked directly and 1 shot by stray damage, it will be something that positioning could have avoided.




6. Defence & Piloting
Spoiler


Defence

Spoiler
The Player
WE HAVE NONE. Stay moving or you'll stay dead. This build requires a high level of map awareness in order to know when its safe to move or stop moving or you'll likely get hit by a stray bullet. With enough clearspeed you can tank most stray bullets from Writhing Jar Piano but until then you'll prob die a lot if you jump into reds.


The Animated Guardian
A near unkillable monster. Few things dent it, mostly juiced Kill on Death AoE stuff. Watch out for that stuff. It alone shouldn't kill your AG, not even close but I wouldn't take the risk. Most things that are able to hurt the AG deal that level of damage so infrequently that it'll just regen through it. On the off chance you see the AG take more than 30-40% of its HP get ready to unsummon it or kill yourself. With the level of Def stacked on the AG anything that can hurt it is bad news, do not risk it.


Piloting the Build

Spoiler
It's quite a lot like Flicker Strike in the sense that you are moving around so fast and kill things before they get a chance to react to you. Though unlike flicker strike this applies to bosses also. You will very rarely if ever die to an actual monster provided you approach packs correctly and judge when it is safe to dive through them, go around them or stay away from them entirely. In all 3 of these scenarios your minions will rush in, draw the attention of everything and blow it to bits.

As outlined above, this build is extremely fragile, likely far more fragile than any build you've ever played. If you stop moving you will die very quickly. Here are some general tips to help you survive in Reds -

# If you see Volatile Dead disengage and dodge it immediately. Doesn't matter what the map mods are, it will always 1 shot you.
# Always Whirling Blades + Frostblink away from any strongbox you open, both Frost Novas and Detonate Dead ones will kill you instantly
# Try and avoid +% inc AoE mods on maps if Boss has a Nova move.
# Try and avoid maps with monsters that have piercing projectiles, such as the infamous titty bitches. You will die getting caught in the crossfire as they aim for your minions.
# Spec into Shrines on the Atlas ASAP. They help you go fast and the faster you go, the safer you are.





7. Gear

Spoiler

The Unique Shopping list

I wasn't joking when I said this was a very unique build. The following is in no specific order of importance.

Spoiler

Chains of Command, Saintly Chainmail
Without this one the build flat out doesn’t work. Doesn’t need to be 6 linked, 6 socket is fine. Quite easy to grab this day 1 6s for a couple of c.

Triad Grip, Mesh Gloves
Can be any colours you want except white. To maximize damage you want to match the colours to the damage aura you are using. Example - Hatred 4 Green.

Ancient Skull, Bone Helmet
This is going to be your main helm. It is an extremely massive damage boost early on, the uptime is constant and the super aggression makes the weapons go off screen to clear things for you. It is extremely good.

Gruthkul's Pelt, Wyrmscale Doublet
This is your AG chest and has one purpose, 5% regen. An AG with 75% chaos res will take 5% of it’s max hp as damage per second. Without this chest your AG will kill itself in seconds.

Zahndethus' Cassock, Sage Robe
If Gruthkul's is too expensive use this. While not ideal provided the AG is getting it it works out the same the majority of the time.

White Wind, Imperial Skean
This is your starting AG weapon and the second best option for damage you have access to. Animated Weapons count as having an empty off-hand at all times if one-handed, meaning it gets full benefit from the up to 200% inc cold damage. It’s a very strong weapon. You can give your AG a brittle on Block Shield with it while early mapping if you want, can help out a lot.

Bringer of Rain, Nightmare Bascinet
Our Entry level AG Helmet, the can't use chest restriction doesn't work on AG making this an extremely strong option. Good Stats, more +% Block and chance for Endurance on Block. Until you craft a +1/1/1 shield this is the best helm you have access to.

The Brine Crown, Prophet Crown
Once you have a +1/1/1 shield to generate Endurance charges upgrade to this. Fat Armour while the AG is standing still attacking things, freeze immunity and chilled ground when it gets hit.

Mask of the Stitched Demon, Magistrate Crown
An alternative endgame helm to the above. Pair with a rare +% of Max life as Extra Max energy shield chest and Grave Intentions and you should never have to worry about your AG ever again. Lots of ground Degens and stuff in 3.17.

Gravebind, Hydrascale Gauntlets
Enables getting full Army with Writhing Jar Piano. Essential for bossing and getting the snowball going. Try and get Curse on Hit Ele weakness on them for QoL though its not as important as it once was.

The Blood Dance, Sharkskin Boots
If you don’t have curse on hit Gravebinds yet, use these. They are very cheap and help the AG against degens (one of the few/only things that can damage it). Works even better if you lab enchant it for even more regen.

Windscream, Reinforced Greaves
If you have curse on hit Gravebinds, use these. This gives the AG a curse limit of two and allows elemental weakness to stack with a curse of our own.

Legacy of Fury, Wyrmscale Boots
The new boot king. A passive -15% ele res Aura and Explosions! Boosts the builds already insane clearspeed into orbit. These things are awesome, pretty cheap too. Downside is no longer have +1 curse on the Guardian so you'll have to get +1 curse on yourself to use Assassins Mark with Ele Weakness.


Victario's Charity, Laminated Kite Shield
With Necro Aegis gives minions passive block, frenzy and power charges. Extremely powerful and since we can’t use spectres for charge generation, a must have. Upgraded to a Dual influence Cold-attuned Buckler once you can afford it.

The Scourge, Terror Claw
This is the best minion weapon you have access to until you can craft a minion trigger claw of your own.

Darkness Enthroned,Stygian Vise
Best in slot minion belt, better than a Torments Reclamation with the right abyss jewels.

The Writhing Jar, Hallowed Hybrid Flask
Emergency weapon generation, ailment removal and life topper. You'll want at least 3 eventually but 1 is enough to start out.


Sinvicta's Mettle, Ezomyte Axe
Second Weapon slot. Switch to activate Rampage then switch back. Also works on bosses with Vaal Breach, not just mapping.

Quickening Covenant, Viridian Jewel & Fortress Covenant, Cobalt Jewel
Socket in cluster jewel which disables the negative aura giving you massive attackspeed/damage/block/Spell suppression for 2 points. Quickening isn't as important as it was in 3.14 but is still a good investment.

Voidforge, Infernal Sword
The main damage upgrade for your AG. It is massive. Ideally want max or close to max rolls as possible then corrupt or craft to 30%.

Uul-Netol's Vow, Unset Amulet
Do you shit currency? If so this is the amulet for you. Easily at least another +30% more damage to the build, this thing is a massive upgrade.

Shame I'll never acquire one =(



Other Gear
Spoiler


Most of the builds damage come from stat stick large clusters and abyss jewels. Rings, Amulet, boots are free slots. Try and cap off res and get as much hp as you can. Movespeed boots isn't a priority, you already have extremely high mobility with Whirling Blades and the passive +% movespeed from rampage.



The Final Endgame Set
Spoiler


Player

Helmet - Ancient Skull with 24% chance for extra weapon enchant
Chest - Chains of Command
Weapon - Minion damage synth claw base, essence crafted with minion damage, +Trigger and +Minion attack speed.
Shield - Crafted dual influence Shaper/Redeemer shield with +1/1/1 on block and +2 Frenzy.
Gloves - Triad Grip with 4 Green Sockets
Belt - Darkness Enthroned
Rings/Boots/Amulet - Free slot, get as much res/life as you can. Anoint Grave Intentions.

Animate Guardian

Weapon - Voidforge Beastcraft corrupted to 30%
Helmet - Mask of the Stitched Demon
Chest - Rare Hunter Chest with +1 Curse and +% Max Life as Extra Max ES
Gloves - Gravebinders with +ele weakness on hit
Boots - Legacy of Fury with +1 Endurance charges



8. Gems
Spoiler

With the Changes to Awakened Gems since 3.14 the only Priorities now are Awakened Melee Physical Damage and Awakened Multistrike. Awakened Minion damage does almost nothing for us since we use no other minion gems with it and it can't boost the effect of Chains of Command.

Chest - 3B3R
Minion Damage (Anomalous ideally)
Increased Critical Damage
Multistrike (Awakened if able)
Melee Physical Damage (Awakened is priority)
Elemental Damage with Attacks (Awakened if able)
Ruthless

Minions have a base crit multi of a mere 130%. Increased Critical damage essentially doubles the damage a critting minion would normally do (as of 3.15) and our minions constantly crit. It’s a near 100% more damage multi support and is the main reason the build is able to achieve the damage it does.

Ele Pen is another gem to consider but for how rare it is and how similar it is in numbers to everything else it's likely not worth the investment. If you want to use it replace Ruthless (unless you are a Rich SoB and have Vow, then by all means use both).

Gloves - 4G
Additional Accuracy
Whirling Blades
Nightblade
Faster Attacks

You can use what you want here depending on how you coloured them.
This is what I use currently.

Boots/Helm - 2G1R // 1B
Hatred
Generosity
Anomalous Convocation
#########
Divergent Clarity

Or

Hatred
Henerosity
#########
Anomalous Convocation
Enhance

More damage for minions, mana regen for you to keep whirling around. Convocation in a non weapon slot means the numlock trick doesn't break when weapon swapping to start Rampages. If using the enhance setup you can put the Divergent Clarity in weapon or ring instead.

Helmet/Boots - 3B1R
Animate Guardian
Meat Shield
Feeding Frenzy
Minion Life

Support to make the AG tankier / give more damage to the weapons.

Weapon - 2G1B
Wave of Conviction (level 1)
Flesh Offering
Frost Bomb (level 1)

Alternate - Replace Wave/Frostbomb with Enhance.

Shield - 2B1G
Desecrate
Arcanist Brand
Assassins Mark

Throw this brand something scary to make sure you have corpses and the mark on the correct monster the moment it spawns. Make sure you have +20% quality on the assassins mark so your minions can quickly gain power charges vs bosses.

Ring - 1B
Frostblink

Not essential but really nice to have as a get out of the shit button. Sometimes Whirling Blades is not enough and thats where this shines.

Sinvicta's Mettle
Cyclone
Cast While Channeling
Portal
3x Free Slot.

Swap to at start of maps to trigger rampage. The Cast While Channelling cyclone portal part while optional is very nice QoL. If you don't care about that you have 6 slots to level whatever gem you want with.



9. Numlock Autocasting
Spoiler

Any skill or spell in the game that has no cast time can be triggered automatically, provided you meet the other requirements to cast it, such as mana. It doesn't have to be on the main skillbar, you can use the secondary skillbar (default CTRL+Key) and it'll still cast even though you can't see it.

Todo preform this do the following

- Rebind key on second skillbar to Numpad 0 or 5. 1/3/7/9 should also work.
- When you load into a new area perform the following sequence, numpad refers to whatever key you bound the skill to.

"
Numlock on -- numpad press -- Numpad press&hold -- Numlock off -- Release numpad


Repeat the above whenever you enter a new area or for any other skill you want to autocast. It will last until you hit a loading screen. To turn it off prior to that, do the following sequence

"
Numlock on -- numpad press -- Numlock off


Do it right and with an automated anomalous convocation your minions will maintain their movespeed bonus automatically without you needing todo anything.




If you got any Questions I'll do my best to answer them.
Last edited by TheVoidInsanity on May 14, 2022, 8:37:06 PM
Last bumped on Aug 5, 2022, 7:39:29 PM
Hi, love your build nice job! Can you recommend leveling guide as well ?
one more question why not scion for the build ?
how much chaos resistance is needed for AG ? to not make him die ?
"
Violetine wrote:
Hi, love your build nice job! Can you recommend leveling guide as well ?


I leveled it as generic summoner, namely SRS/Spectres. I have my levelling tree in the pastebin but the optimum way to level this I don't really know. Maybe SRS popcorn? You could easily grab minion instability and spec out of it at level 70, or just stay as SRS until you ready to switch over.

Depending on how good it is, you could turn this into a Reaper build quite easily. Drop the chains of command for a different chest, drop necro aegis victro's and fit spectre in a hungry loop for minion power/frenzy and go nuts. If I play Expo league (which I prob won't) this is what I'll be trying. By having an immortal reaper it shouldn't want to eat the AG (assuming it only eats to heal itself).


"
Violetine wrote:
one more question why not scion for the build ?


Damage and utility mostly. The past people who have tried to make chains of command work have depended on flask piano worm flask to keep weapons up and would only be able to achieve around half their weapon count at best. My build instead focuses on keeping the minions alive and around. AFAIK the scion versions skip minion duration entirely, so the AW last 20 seconds. Mine last 46 seconds.

I still have passive flask generation from The Traitor keystone but I only have that for Arena based boss fights such as Sirus to power up Vaal Breach. The Traitor/Soul Ripper/Vaal Breach combo is the difference between fighting bosses and skipping them. I still don't know how to beat phase 4 of A8 Sirus, he gets me everytime. This build, I skipped the phase. That's how powerful it is.

You technically don't need it at all if you don't mind actually fighting bosses, like what the Scions do. Soul of Ryslatha on it's own is enough to sustain a few weapons from 2-3 Writhing Jars due to how long mine last which Scion cannot take advantage of as they are piano dependent. The other versions of this build using scion do FAR less damage and half the duration. Mine are over double the duration and prob around 3-5x the damage so you don't need to keep replacing them. Unlike scions you only need your initial army to carry you through a fight 99% of the time. When mapping you pretty much press flask once to start with a minion then just zoom to the boss and kill it.

"
Violetine wrote:
how much chaos resistance is needed for AG ? to not make him die ?


The full 75%. The whispers debuff really hurts. It's not hard to get though. Minion Chaos res abyss jewels are cheap to get, 2 of them in belt and 1 on tree is enough. It's not just for the AG, the weapons need Chaos Res to survive the whispers also. 20% of max hp as chaos per second is a lot of damage that needs to be mitigated but its worth it, it is essentially an extra 1-2 links worth of damage (it's worth more the worse your gear is).




One other thing - For comparison, the other Animated Weapon build on this forum by ThanatoZGaming does 10x less damage than me using his most recent 3.14 pastebin. 500K damage weapons vs my 5 million damage weapons. That's also not the peak of this build, I have a pastebin that has 9.5-10 million damage weapons using double minion cluster but since I never did that on my actual character (couldn't afford) I not shared that one. Using the other pastebin just one of my weapons outclasses many top end PoE builds, and you can have up to 14. This build is really, really dumb.
Last edited by TheVoidInsanity on Jul 21, 2021, 1:05:45 PM
Best answers I got so far thank you a lot btw I am a big fan of your build! Had this build before but your build is in the next level! you really nailed it! Maybe you have that sick pob for even more dps? I would like to make a go this league on it with huge investment:)
What Ascendancy skill tree you recommend to take 1,2,3,4 if I go with SRS?
"
Violetine wrote:
Best answers I got so far thank you a lot btw I am a big fan of your build! Had this build before but your build is in the next level! you really nailed it! Maybe you have that sick pob for even more dps? I would like to make a go this league on it with huge investment:)


I have updated the main post with the alternate PoB. It's not much different to the original, just a few points cut off, level 100 and a second minion cluster.

"
Violetine wrote:
What Ascendancy skill tree you recommend to take 1,2,3,4 if I go with SRS?


No idea. I went Commander of Darkness (for free res mostly) into Mistress of Sacrifice then switched, since in Ulti League due to how much XP ulti's gave you (which I constantly won) I was level 70 upon hitting act 9.
New Community Fork update out with updated gem info. Builds damage is halfed, other builds have apparently lost a lot more.

Oof......
Love the ideas of your build. Thanks for sharing :)
Maybe a crit/poison/chaos version becomes better than elemental in 3.15?

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