[3.19] Mana Stacking Phys Minion Guardian

1. Introduction
This is a Minion build focussing on physical damage. Therefore it uses Zombies and Carrion Golems as its primary source of damage, with Spectres and an Animate Guardian as Support. As a secondary mechanic, we utilize mana stacking, which is the primary reason for choosing Guardian over Necro. We also utilize the unique helmet "Memory Vault" to gain a bunch of Armour in addition to the ES we gain from being a Guardian. This allows the build to reach over 9k ES and 30k Armour even on the budget setup, making it incredibly tanky.

- Over 50k Max Damage Taken without Molten Shell
- ES Gain on Block for immortality against lots of small mobs
- Chill Minion Playstyle

- not a great Leaguestarter (minimum Budget is about 3 Divines)
- Doesn't clear 3 screens at once
- Relatively low DpS

2. Gearing
You want to use a Convoking Wand, it's our main source of increased Damage. If you don't have a lot of currency, just get one with "+1 to all Spell Skill Gems" or "+1 to all Minion Skill Gems" and benchcraft "Minions deal #% increased Damage" on there yourself. Once your budget is a bit higher you can get one with a Minion Damage mod already on it, and craft Minion Attack Speed yourself (The other way around works as well, but is a bit worse). Once you're able to spend a few Divines on a Wand you can get a +2 Wand with an open Prefix and then multimod it for Minion Damage and Minion Attack Speed. Your final goal should be a +2 Wand with 80%+ Minion Damage. If you want to craft one yourself, you should use a fractured base.
If you're low on currency just get as much ES on your shield as possible. Later on, you should get "+1 to the Level of all Minion Skill Gems" on it as well. The higher your budget, the more ES you should get. And your final goal should be a Shaper-influenced Shield with "Recover 5% of ES when you block" and +1. Alternatively, you could get a defense-focused shield with 350+ ES as well as ES recovery on block. A nice bonus you could get is the mod "Gain an Endurance, Power or Frenzy Charge when you Block" which will generate Endurance charges for you, if you're getting hit a lot.
Get a Memory Vault, it's mandatory for this build. Once you can afford it you should get a Reservation Efficiency Enchant for either Discipline or Determination so you can fit another Aura. Your end goal should be a "Socketed Skill Gems get a 90% Cost & Reservation Multiplier" Corruption on top of the enchant. For that, you can just buy the corrupted helmet and then pay a Lab Runner for the enchant.
Body Armour
In the beginning a 6-linked Vaal Regalia with 500+ ES will do fine. As your budget increases, you could upgrade to a 700+ ES one and get the "Discipline has #% increased Aura Effect" Exarch mod on it. BiS is a Skin of the Lords with 3B3R due to the +2 to socketed gems providing you with a lot of extra damage. If you don't have a lot of currency you can just get any keystone on it that doesn't hurt your build. Later on, Call to Arms allows you to use Enduring Cry like a Life Flask, and Glancing Blows works very well with an ES on Block Shield.
On a low budget you should just get some ES. As your budget increases, you could also get some Resistances on them as well as the Minion Damage Exarch-Implicit. Intelligence and Mana are nice-to-haves as they provide you with extra ES as well as Armour.
Just get some ES, Movement Speed and Resistances. If you can get an open Prefix, you could craft extra ES or Movement Speed on it. Like with the Gloves, Intelligence is a nice bonus. The best Implicit you can get is Flesh Offering Effect.
Get a Crystal Belt and put some Tempering Catalysts on it. If you don't have a lot of currency yet, just get an ES mod and some resistances on it. Later on, you could also use it to fix your attributes and get some flat Mana. Your final goal should be to also get the Elder mod "#% increased Attributes" which will help you meet your Str and Dex requirements as well as provide you with a lot of additional int. If you can afford it a Mageblood is BiS as it allows you to completely ignore resistances on the rest of your gear, making it possible to get some truly disgusting items.
You can get a lot of flat ES as well as increased ES on your Amulet. It's also the best place to fix your attributes. If possible, benchcraft all res + minion res on it, as your minions really need a bit of work to stay alive. The best Anoint for this build is Foresight. The higher your budget, the more Attributes and Res you can get on your Amulet, in addition to the ES mods. On the highest budget, you could also get "+1 to Level of all Skill Gems" for a bit of additional damage.
Get Bone Rings with the new "Minions deal #% increased Damage" mod as well as some ES. You can use the rest of the mods to fix your resistances and attributes. If you have a lot of currency you could also get the Crusader mod "#% increased Energy Shield" to hit 20k+ ES.

3. Jewels
You will want to use The Anima Stone to get 2 additional Carrion Golems. This requires you to use 3 Primordial Jewels. The best one is Primordial Eminence as it provides you with some extra DpS but you also want to get one Primordial Might to make your Golems aggressive. This makes mapping a lot smoother. So the ideal setup for Primordial jewels is 2 Eminence, 1 Might, and 1 Anima Stone. You should also get Corrupted Blood Immunity on one of them.
Cluster Jewels
BiS are Large Minion Damage Clusters without any Notables. On a lower Budget just get one with some ES, increased Effect, and 1 Attribute or Res mod. Later on, you can get a T1 ES mod and maybe an int mod as well. In the beginning, a 10-12 Passive Cluster is fine. Your final goal should be to get 2 8-passive Clusters with T1 ES, T1 increased Effect, T1 Int, and a generically good 4th mod.
Other Jewels
You should definitely get a Watcher's Eye with "Gain 10% of Maximum Mana as Extra Maximum Energy Shield" as it gives you over 1k additional ES. You could also get 1 or 2 Split Personalities with ES and Int or Mana and socket them into your Cluster Jewel, but I think in the end a set of Forbidden Jewels is better. If you can afford them you should buy a set with Forbidden Jewels that allocate "Sanctuary of Thought". This will provide you with the option to use another Aura and up to 2k ES.

4. Flasks
This build is really flexible regarding flasks since your minions don't get much benefit from most of them. There are only 2 flasks you always want to use: A Granite Flask for some flat Armour and a Bottled Faith (on a higher budget). You can use whatever you want for the other 3 slots. A Basalt Flask provides you with some extra Phys mitigation while a Ruby/Topaz/Sapphire Flask increases your defense against Elemental Damage. If you want to increase your mapping efficiency you could also get a quicksilver flask. The only thing that is important is that you get Bleed Immunity and Increased Armour on 2 of your flasks.

5. Gems
Main Setup
1. (Divergent) Raise Zombie: The Divergent Version gives your Zombies 2% Life Region which helps them a lot with survivability. It isn't needed at all for normal T16s but is really helpful for juiced content and bossing.
2. Summon Carrion Golem
3. (Awakened) Multistrike: The Awakened Version is a big upgrade but is always pretty expensive (~10 Divines). You should prioritize it, once you run into damage problems.
4. Awakened Brutality: Always pretty cheap
5. (Awakened) Empower: Awakened version is super expensive. You should only plan on getting it if you're using a Mageblood.
6. Awakened Minion Damage: If your Minions feel too squishy you can swap it to Impale Support.
1. Determination
2. (Vaal) Discipline: The Vaal version isn't necessary at all since you're using Wicked Ward but it's still a nice emergency button. I'd still prioritize a normal lvl. 21 gem over a lvl. 20 Vaal gem.
3. Vitality: Incredibly nice against small DoTs like Burning Ground.
4. Clarity: Required to use your Watcher's Eye.

The next Auras aren't necessary and you can decide which ones you prefer:
1. Defiance Banner: Gives you a bit of additional Armour and the reduced crit chance for nearby enemies is actually noticeable. I'd always run this on the lower budget versions but you can swap it out once you got your Animate Guardian running.
2. Precision: A little bit of additional damage but not that great, since we aren't running a crit build. I'd mainly use it if you need to reserve an odd amount of mana for Memory Vault and Radiant Faith.
3. Summon Skitterbots: A good amount of extra damage and a bit of defense due to chills. A good option if you can't quite fit another 50% Aura just yet.
4. Pride: A massive damage increase, especially against bosses. But sadly it requires a lot of work to fit in.
5. Tempest Shield: A bunch of additional Spell Block and Shock Immunity. I'd use it if you aren't using Glancing Blows.

Note: Always socket your most expensive Auras into your corrupted helmet.
Utility Minions
1. Raise Spectre: Allows you to summon up to 3 utility specters which can boost both your offense and your defense by quite a bit.
2. Meat Shield: A lot less damage taken, which helps to protect your specters.
3. Minion Life

1. Anomalous Raise Spectre: The anomalous version provides your spectres with quite a lot of additional life.
2. Meat Shield
3. Anomalous Feeding Frenzy: The anomalous version lets supported minions recover 1% of Life on hit which does wonders for their survivability.
4. Divergent Animate Guardian: The divergent version gives your AG a lot of additional HP. Your Animate Guardian will provide you and your minions with a lot of extra survivability but when it dies you'll lose all the items it has equipped. This makes it really important to only use it in the endgame setup because you don't want to lose your currency. Also, be sure to deactivate it during really dangerous fights like Uber Sirus.
CWDT Setup
1. Cast when Damage Taken (lvl.1)
2. Molten Shell (lvl.10)
3. Increased Duration
This setup basically gives you a 7k Absorption Shield whenever you get hit which is incredibly strong against bosses and completely automatic.
1. Convocation: summons your Minions to you which is really useful for mapping. It also gives a bunch of regen to them which makes it nice to use after a big hit from a boss.
2. Flesh Offering: Just a bit of additional DpS. For some bosses you also need Desecrate to use it.
3. Flame Dash: Movement Skill
4. Shield Charge: A Movement Skill you can use instead of Flame Dash. It's a bit faster for mapping but can't cross gaps and feels horrible for bosses. I prefer Flame Dash.

6. Spectres
Here is a list of all useful utility Spectres. You can get them all from global chat /6666.

1. Arena Master: Gives you and your Minions additional Damage and Attack Speed, but also increases the damage you take. Source: Drox Maps
2. Pale Seraphim: Applies a debuff to enemies that gives them reduced action speed and increased Damage taken. A nice option for both offense and defense and one of my personal favorites. Source: Global Chat and perhaps Beyond
3. Demon Harpy: Applies a debuff to enemies that gives them increased phys damage taken. Source: Global Chat and perhaps Beyond
4. They of Tul: Spawns a Blizzard that gives you reduced damage taken and a chance to avoid damage taken while in it. Source: Tul's Breachstone
5. Carnage Chieftain: Gives your Minions Frenzy Charges but is difficult to keep alive. Source: The Old Fields in Act 7

You can choose any 3 of these. My favorite setup is Demon Harpy, Arena Master, and Carnage Chieftain.

7. Animate Guardian
Kingmaker is by far the best Weapon for your AG. It gives you and your minions 10% less damage taken as well as Culling Strike. This item alone makes it worth it to use an Animate Guardian.
Body Armour
The other big support item you can get is a Garb of the Ephemeral. It prevents nearby enemies from dealing Critical Strikes which, on this build, basically fully removes one-shots. It also prevents your Action Speed from falling under 100% which makes you immune to Chill and Freeze. Together with a Kingmaker, this makes your AG one of the biggest defensive upgrades you can get. You'll want to get a Garb with a "#% of Life regenerated per Second" Synth mod, but if you can't get one it should still be fine for most content.
Mask of the Stitched Demon gives about 3% of Life regenerated per Second since your AG gets some ES from boots, Body Armour, the Mask itself, and from your Radiant Faith Ascendancy. This is massive for its survivability.
Just get enough ES for your AG to hit 1.5k ES, as well as some Resistances if possible. Chaos res is optimal.
Southbound Gloves corrupted with "Curse Enemies with Vulnerability on Hit" provide your AG with a lot of Life while also automating your curse on single-target.

8. Leveling
I wouldn't recommend using this build as your leaguestarter since you need some ES gear to get started. You can level this build as a life based version using a pretty similar tree and the respect into the Mana Stacker when you reach maps, but I vastly prefer leveling this with Twing Gear using Hollow Palm. Below you can find 2 leveling PoBs with more details in the notes.

Life Based Minions: https://pastebin.com/qqg3rgmi
Hollow Palm with Twink Gear (not my own PoB): https://pastebin.com/NrnNScuA

9. PoB
Please keep in mind that this PoB doesn't display all possibilities. You may end up using slightly different gem setups for example. Also the DpS calculation isn't correct, since it misses the Demon Harpy debuff from your Spectre as well as the Curse from your AG. In the end you'll have about 15-20% more DpS.

Last edited by AdrijanPoE on Aug 28, 2022, 2:13:38 PM
Last bumped on Jan 4, 2023, 2:35:25 PM
minimum Budget is about 3 Divines

Man, I missed Exalted Orbs already...
Friendship with Path Of Exile has ended. Now [Insert a video game title here] is my best friend.
do you think there is any way to build this using iron mass + alberons warpath boots for a skelly warrior build?

been looking for a way to utilize the permanent skellies now that they changed the boots
thanks very much. i'll try this build right now!
Hi, my Zombies are very squishy, what i do wrong? https://pastebin.com/WmXuN5Zv
Hello, would it be possible to see a video of the build running a t16 map?
I know this isn't updated for 3.20, but I was kind of following along because I hadn't done a guardian and I usually do minions. Until I got far enough along in the POB and found two watcher's eyes socketed.

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