[3.21 -> 3.22] Caustic Zombie Bomber Necromancer (Not Minion Instability)
Have you ever wanted your necromancer to just walk around and leave behind puddles of death? Have you ever hated your zombies so much that you'd want to see them perish over and over again? Probably not. Nonetheless, this build does exactly that!
I am posting this guide late into Crucible [3.21] but I do hope it inspires others to try it as well.
[3.22] For 3.22, there should be no outstanding changes for this build, although it would not be ideal for players who wish to do Sanctum. 3.22 does introduce an interesting minion support gem, namely Fresh Meat Support, which essentially gives our zombies adrenaline in place of the crucible node. Additionally, tattoos from the league mechanic can provide additional minion damage.
- Can be tanky
- Good mobility
- Moderate damage
- Cheap to start (<1 div)
- Feels funky
- Spew zombie stuff all over your friends
- Can be squishy
- Moderate damage
- Not good for SSF, many uniques to farm
- Has no good way to scale damage
- Your feet will stink
Disclaimers: This build is not really for beginners although the starting uniques are easy to acquire. The build's numbers may be a bit inflated due to the existence of crucible passives during 3.21. It does not fare well against pinnacle bosses simply because of the lack of dps and use of petrified blood. A Minion Instability build would likely do better than this build, but I wanted to bring something funky to the table.
I will go more in depth about how each unique functions in the How the Build Works section, this section is for showcasing the unique and its most important mod. Since most of the uniques are cheap, I found desirable corrupts on them. They do not need to be corrupted and the corrupted implicits do not need to be exact.
Aukuna's Will (CHEAP) [REQUIRED]
This unique adds the mod Raised Zombie Does Not Require a Corpse and Raised Zombies Count as Corpses and Raised Zombies have 100% Increased Maximum Life
Siegebreaker (CHEAP) [REQUIRED]
This unique adds the mod Your Minions Spread Caustic Ground on Death, Dealing 20% of Their Maximum Life as Chaos Damage per Second
Bubonic Trail (CHEAP) [REQUIRED]
This unique adds the mod Triggers Level 20 Death Walk When Equipped and Increased Mana Reservation Efficiency of Skills While Affected by a Unique Abyss Jewel
Amanamu's Gaze (EXPENSIVE)
This unique adds the mod Minions have +6% to Damage over Time Multiplier per Ghastly Eye Jewel affecting you, up to a maximum of +30%
Maligaro's Lens (CHEAP)
This unique adds the mod Nearby Allies Recover 1% of Your Maximum Life When You Die
Mon'treguls Grasp (CHEAP)
This unique adds the mod Raised Zombies have +5000 to Maximum Life
How The Build Works
This build scales using Minion Life, Minion Damage and Minion Damage Over Time Multiplier.
1. Raise Zombie
2. Run over zombie
Using Aukuna's Will, you are able to summon zombies without a corpse. The summoned zombie will also count as a corpse. The level 20 Death Walk triggered by Bubonic Trail causes corpses nearby to explode, dealing 5% of their maximum health as fire damage. Since your raised zombies count as corpses, Death Walk explodes them when you walk near them, dealing fire damage. This fire damage is not the main source of damage though, although it is a nice added bonus. Using Siegebreaker, when the zombies get exploded, a patch of caustic ground is created - which is the main source of damage dealing 20% of their maximum life per second. Using Maligaro's Lens and Necromantic Aegis, each time you explode a zombie corpse you recover 1% of the zombies maximum life for extra life recovery. Minion Instability does not work with this build because in order for it to proc the zombies need to reach low life, which is not feasible when the zombies die instantly from the Death Walk from Bubonic Trail.
This build is not exactly tanky but it can use the Bloodnotch and Immutable Force combination. The way I built this build does not focus much on defenses and it's very easy to focus on defenses because of how much the build relies on its items and not the passive tree. In general, you are better off making a Minion Instability build instead of this build, but this build is much more off-meta.
This section will go through each gem setup. Each setup has left-to-right support priority, meaning that the first support gem linked to the active skill gem will have the most priority compared to the last support gem.
Raise Zombie=Minion Life=(Awakened) Void Manipulation=(Awakened) Swift Affliction=(Awakened) Empower=Faster Casting
These support gems are mainly raising the Raised Zombie's maximum life and increasing the damage done by the caustic ground. Faster casting is used to reduce the clunkiness when summoning a zombie. You can replace Faster Casting with Predator Support or Meat Shield Support when facing bosses. I put parenthesis for Awakened because the regular version works fine as well.
Wither=Spell Totem=Multiple Totems
Standard Wither totem setup to apply wither stacks. More wither stacks = more damage taken.
Self-cast Despair for lower chaos resistance on enemies.
Raise Spectre=Feeding Frenzy=Lifetap=Minion Life
Using Carnage Chieftains to generate frenzy charges. Rarely do the frenzy charges actually get applied because of how fast the zombies die to your Death Walk. Lifetap is used to get the Carnage Chieftains to generate frenzy charges faster. Feeding Frenzy is used to add a more multiplier to minion damage. Minion Life can be skipped but is used to prevent the spectres from dying too much due to the -50% all elemental resistances from Maligaro's Lens. They still die too much honestly. You could swap out Lifetap with Animate Guardian for extra damage multipliers, or swap in a Chaos Golem for additional phys damage reduction.
Common dash setup, lifetap to gain increased life recovery from flasks. You could also switch to lightning warp + reduced duration.
Increases Damage over Time for minions.
Petrified Blood for increased survivability in combination with Bloodnotch and Immutable Force, as mentioned earlier. Arrogance does not affect Petrified Blood, but needed to save space for other auras.
Purity of Elements
Immunity to elemental ailments and helps with overcapping resistances.
Shock and chill on enemies for more damage / barely increased survivability
This section will highlight my current gear and what you should look for in each equipment slot.
Use a helm with +# Level to All Minion Skill Gems, high life, high resistances.
Dialla's Malefaction is nice because of the +# gem level, but there other options like this rare chest with +1 to Active Skill Gems and Support Gems. For rare body armor pieces, look for minion life, +# Socketed Active Skill Gems, life and resistances. The endgame body armor would be a Skin of The Lords with Eldritch Battery, saving a few passive points and additional increased defenses.
Aukuna's Will is required. Look for max Raised Zombies Have [80-100]% Increased Maximum Life roll.
Bubonic Trail is required. Two abyssal jewel slots is not necessary but is better. Look for max [16-24]% increased Reservation Efficiency while affected by a Unique Abyss Jewel roll.
Siegebreaker is required. Can use Replica Siegebreaker instead, look at the section below for more information. Look for max [6-10]% Increased Maximum Life roll.
Look for rings with minion damage and/or minion life, life, and resistances. Keep in mind that you can always craft minion life onto a ring. You may use rings to fill in gaps for attribute requirements as well.
Look for +1 to All Skill Gems, life and resistances. This is a real cheap one that I still use. Cast speed is a bonus on all jewelry, if you can get it definitely nab it. I have annointed Unfaltering for the Bloodnotch and Immutable Force interaction.
Weapon Slot 1:
Mon'treguls Grasp is an extremely nice choice for a weapon. +5000 base HP for zombies is nearly unbeatable. The decreased max zombie count does not matter for this build. The enemies explode when killed by zombies hits do not matter as well. During Crucible league, there was a weapon passive that gave zombies adrenaline when summoned (showcased above), which was extremely good.
Weapon Slot 2:
Maligaro's Lens is a strange choice but it is viable. Using Necromantic Aegis, the #% Increased Maximum Life applies to the zombies. Furthermore, it can be used in a Minion Instability build due to its -50% to all Elemental Resistances. Using a more defensive shield and unallocating Necromantic Aegis would work as well. Using a different minion wand or sceptre works as well, however I couldn't disregard the health recovery from Maligaro's Lens. For Maligaro's Lens, look for max [10-20]% increased maximum Life roll.
Basic instant life flasks. Basic quicksilver flask for zoom zoom. Phasing flask to not get stuck in packs of enemies. Last flask can be any defensive flask. The automation enchant "Use When You Use a Guard Skill" comes into play because I have necromancers Bone Armor on left click.
Fire DoT Variant
Using a Replica Siegebreaker, it's possible to convert this build into a fire DoT based build instead, since it may be easier to scale. Using EE and fire exposure its possible to reach around the same amount of damage or maybe more than the chaos damage variant. During testing with PoB, I found there was little difference in damage while the fire DoT variant was more convoluted - applying EE and using Wave of Conviction for exposure was not ideal. However, the name of my character (CruxHellWalker) was originally planned using Replica Siegebreaker.
Acts 1-9: Level as a zoomancer, utilizing Summon Raging Spirits, Raise Zombie, Raise Spectre (damage spectres for now), Summon Skeletons, and Carrion Golem. Focus on Summon Raging Spirits for clear speed. Using all necromancer leveling uniques such as Bones of Ullr will help.
Act 10: Switch to using Mon'treguls Grasp, Siegebreaker, Bubonic Trail, Maligaro's Lens and Aukuna's Will. Get Amanamu's Gaze when you can afford it. You won't be able to fit in all the auras if you don't have Amanamu's Gaze, so you can skip using Petrified Blood and Skitterbots. Don't forget the singular magic ghastly jewel for Bubonic Trail.
Post Acts: Acquire Amanamu's Gaze if you haven't already. Also grab Dialla's Malefaction. Get good minion life / increased maximum life jewels and good minion life cluster jewels.
PoB and Videos
PoB (old, 400k Uber DPS) - https://pobb.in/L7uhrVlq7YkE
PoB with Elegant Hubris (400k Uber DPS, doesn't account for Swift Affliction and Void Manipulation) - https://pobb.in/17kHzvwnqPOw
T16 Cemetery Gameplay (outdated gear) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaH1RVJuESE
T16 Temple Gameplay (current gear) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4ChZ-OgCYI
Overall this build can do clearing okay and bosses okay. It's easy to build but hard to scale. I reached around 600k Uber DPS and 330k zombie maximum hp with mid-endgame equipment. I hope someone decides to try this build out as I had great fun theorycrafting and playing this build in 3.21 - Crucible League. You may ask any questions in the comments!
Last edited by SOLARBLZE on Aug 11, 2023, 11:29:06 AM
Last bumped on Sep 3, 2023, 9:55:02 PM
on Aug 4, 2023, 11:46:52 AM
1) I'm not sure what bubonic trail is actually bringing to the build. Going MI with infernal legion is bringing the same effect but allows to aim immediately a zombie in a pack. It looks super convoluted just to get one support (but lose MI in the process)
2) Dialla is probably not the BIS, a skin of the lord is +2 skill level on both zombie and empower.
3) Minion damage is pretty bad in your build. -25% max hp for 44% more damage is effectively 8% more damage. The skill level is not enough to justify a slot.
on Aug 8, 2023, 11:17:09 AM
1) Bubonic Trail is used for two reasons: the increased mana reservation efficiency (which, admittedly, can be found in other places) and more importantly making the build function as I wanted it to. This build was meant to feel like you walk to kill the zombies yourself, not using homing missile zombies. Because you are close to the zombie and the enemy when it dies it can proc the incredibly small nearby range of Maligaro's Lens as well as work with Meat Shield Support. This specifically isn't a MI build because I find MI builds boring. If you watch the video in the PoB and Videos section you can see the difference in playstyle. MI is definitely a superior build and much more nuanced in the PoE community but I'm trying to bring something different to the table.
2) You are right here, I simply forgot Skin of the Lords existed. It is a more expensive option to find the correct colors and correct keystone. Dialla's has the teeniest of advantages with the +30% quality on Faster Casting support.
3) After testing in PoB, Awakened Minion Damage Support seemed to be the best source of damage, other than Predator Support. Yes the downside is very apparent, but because of how this build scales more multipliers are scarce.
I will edit the post to correct and clarify a few things, thanks for your feedback!
Edit: Bubonic Trail also has one or two additional abyssal jewel sockets for Amanamu's Gaze.
Edit: I would like to add that a build being "convoluted" can be a good thing. I spent a period of time before league theorycrafting it and asked a flurry of questions to Viperesque of GGG to come to a conclusion that this build could work. Personally, I like meme builds a lot so finding niche interactions is fun. The playstyle of the build isn't convoluted.
Edit: Added a few points.
Last edited by SOLARBLZE on Aug 9, 2023, 11:22:45 AM
on Aug 9, 2023, 11:00:37 AM
I suspect a PoB bug, because there is no reason either void manipulation or Swift affliction wouldn't work (39% more damage for AVM, 49% for ASA) vs 16% for awakened minion damage. Maybe swift affliction could not work on the belt effect depending on how you see it, but void manipulation should at 100%
Also, getting 5 ghastly jewels is pretty much mandatory, stopping at 3 is a large dps loss.
Last edited by Keyen on Aug 9, 2023, 12:32:34 PM
on Aug 9, 2023, 12:25:07 PM
1) If it is a PoB bug, then yes those choices would be obvious. Asking Viperesque about building around the Siegebreaker yielded one response which was that it could only be scaled using Minion Damage and minion stats. Not sure if Void Manipulation would support caustic ground, the skill that the zombie uses.
2) Yes you are correct, however I could not fit in more because of attribute requirements and resistances. If you could get the maximum amount of abyssal jewels needed for Amanamu's Gaze that would be fantastic.
I will maybe try to test out using Void Manipulation when I get the chance, thanks for your feedback yet again.
Edit: After testing dps with and without Void Manipulation on a white t16 Cemetery with no debuffs on the boss, it does seem to work with the caustic ground from Siegebreaker. Without Void Manipulation, it took around 16 seconds. With Void Manipulation, it took around 11 seconds. I will update the guide accordingly.
Edit: After testing dps with and without Swift Affliction on a white t16 Cemetery with no debuffs on the boss it does seem to work with the caustic ground from Siegebreaker. Without Swift Affliction, it took around 16 seconds. With Swift Affliction, it took around 11 seconds. I will update the guide accordingly again.
Last edited by SOLARBLZE on Aug 9, 2023, 1:18:37 PM
on Aug 9, 2023, 12:57:16 PM
Trying it on 3.22. Not much time to play but I will post when tried on t16.
Also any update will be eagerly consumed by me :)
on Aug 30, 2023, 6:35:14 AM