[3.3] Low Budget - Animate Weapon Bowmancer

Updated for 3.2:
-New Ascendancies
-Added Abyss jewels as recommendation for this build
I got this build up and running in 3.2. Here's a paste bin of my current status: https://pastebin.com/UgmtDWqk

I just switched, so my gems are pretty low. I successfully did a T1 Graveyard without dying. In fact, I found it easier with auto-cast AW than when I did it with SRS + Zombies.

I've listed some of my tweaks to the core of this build (Speaker's Wrath; Null's Inclination; Victario's Influence):

* Hyrri's Bite - helps hit the DEX stat requirement and provides cold damage to our attack so we can use any bow skill

* Rain of Arrows - I like its AoE nature, and it synergizes with the +10% AoE on Hyrri's Bite

* Garukhan's Flight & Zealot's Oath - I found I had a decent amount of ES but no real way to regen it mid-combat. Garukhan + ZO gives ES regen when I panick and run; it also gives nice move speed and a little health.

* Lightning Golem - adds some nice attack and cast speed; I'm torn on whether I should give it support gems to try and make it DPS. I wonder how it'd stack up compared to Mirror Arrow

Some other notes:

* I have Desecrate and Bone Offering socketed, but I'm not sure I'm going to keep them. I tried using it once but the buff got overwritten immediately by the auto-cast Flesh Offering. Once I 6-link the bow, I might bring them back.

* Currently planning to swap SRS with Mirror Arrow in the helm once I get it leveled up more.

I'll post again when I hit mid-tier maps. Thanks again for the awesome build outline - it's a lot of fun!
Thank you for posting feedback here.
I dont play the build myself, so it's good to hear how it does in the current league.

Looking at your build right now, i really dont think it is worth to go ZO with only 500 ES.
I like the use of garukhan's, i just wish the life conversion on them was better. They get outperformed by rare ones later on, same with Hyrri's Bite.
I think the next step should be to get more life on your gear and tree.
Yes, I definitely need more life gear. While 500 ES isn't a lot, 100 regen/sec isn't that much either. Running around for 5s is kind of a long a time. The bigger issue I'm finding with Garukhan's is that I don't want to move at all. I'm tempted to remove Speaker's Wreath entirely as clear is kind of slow. That might be a function of my accuracy coupled with low quantity. I rarely get more than 25-30 animated weapons.

Have you tried this is CI? Seems like it'd be extremely easy to get 250%+ ES on the tree. The big problem is the chest doesn't have much ES. However, 20/20 Generosity in a high ES chest could work. Probably couldn't run Haste/Wrath/Anger, but two of the three would be fine.
If you remove Speaker's Wreath then the build wont work at all, you do no damage, so you wont kill anything and never trigger the minion spells in the bow.
I highly recommend you get Resolute Technique to increase your clear speed. 30 weapons are more than enough for everything.

You can probably go CI, havent played around with that so far.
But you can, also while still using life, drop an aura, move the auras with generosity somewhere else, and get a six link in the chest for your bow skill to have Curse on hit + Any curse. Easily generating Endurance charges with Warlord's Mark for example.
This is a lower damage, higher survivability, higher budget version.
I've upgraded my gear a bit and adjusted the passive tree a little.

Here's the pastebin:https://pastebin.com/x6b8pPk0

Here's a video clearing Chateau (T4) for the first time.

I'm finding Split Shot + Chain to be the best combination for clearing. I liked Rain of Arrows for clearing trash, but found I couldn't use it to direct my minions, so bosses where creatures that granted undying status to allies were extremely difficult to handle.

Melee Splash on Animate Weapon is very helpful. I tried Ancestral Call and Multistrike, but didn't like them. When I get more currency, I'm going to try and recolor for the following: Animate Weapon -> Additional Accuracy -> Minion Damage -> Weapon Elemental Damage -> Melee Splash. 2G, 2B, 2R. Last blue for an Offering.

I'm liking Mirror Arrow + Blink Arrow to start maps, and I find using them to supplement damage helps as well. The Lightning Golem's surprisingly effective, too, with no links.

The Abyss Jewel mod "Minions have % chance to Taunt enemies on hit" is amazing. That has helped my survivability a lot.

I'll post another video if/when I get to tier 8 or 9.
Last edited by Velkhar on Mar 7, 2018, 1:08:05 AM
I also like Split Shot the most, the animation feels better and faster than Ice Shot and Tornado Shot.

If you really dont want to take Resolute Technique, then you can try to use Shaper's Touch. Gives enough accuracy to drop the accuracy gem for something else, and also adds a bunch of life and evasion.

That's great to hear that the taunt jewels work out so well, do bosses completely ignore you now? They should be perma taunted with the amount of weapons and the high attack speed, I cant tell from just one video.
Yeah, I've tried

* Rain of Arrows + Inc AoE: focusing minions is impossible
* Barrage + [Chain | Fork | Volley]: doesn't spread EE well enough
* Split Shot + [Chain | Pierce]: I prefer chain most of the time, but pierce tends to do better vs. undying allies aura

I'm torn on Resolute Technique. Same with Shaper's Touch. It would free up a gem socket, allowing me to slot another utility gem on Split Arrow, but not sure there's anything better to use.

Knockback? This might be nice, but not sure attack speed is enough to matter vs. the things I'd want to keep back.

Life Gain on Hit? Not sure this would help much since damage comes in huge bursts.

Blind? Not sure I attack fast enough to apply it, but maybe? It'd probably be better just to get 3-5% on a jewel (for me and/or for minions), though.

I suppose if I 6-socket my chest and got 3G linked, I could get a 4-link for some other skill, but, again, not sure what I'd do with it.

There's also the difference in the trees for getting Resolute Technique. The two trees I'm considering has +20% max life for Resolute Technique. The alternate tree gets +2 jewel sockets, +6% atk speed, +36% resists, and +.7% life regen. Is 20% max life and +11% accuracy worth all that? I have 89% accuracy with the alternate tree and my current gear vs L84 mobs.

As for the taunt jewels, yes, the bosses seem to more or less ignore me. It's still dangerous at times due to AoE -- I don't know that this build is HC-friendly -- maybe if I had prioritized life on my tree? I'm getting life last, but I could've gotten it sooner.

Last thoughts for the morning:

* I like Bone Offering more than Flesh Offering. It helps my survivability quite a bit, and I'm now regularly getting 30+ weapons, whereas before it was a struggle to keep above 20.

* I am finding minion leech to be rather useless. Minion damage is bonkers, but they spend a lot of time smacking 1-hp targets, leeching nothing, and soaking AoE damage. I don't think Resolute Technique would solve that problem -- I think I'd need a Nova-like bow attack that pierces everything (maybe TS + Pierce + GMP + Accuracy - losing Onslaught? I haven't tried that yet). I spec'd out of the .6% leech node because of this and use Bone Offering which is working better for me.

I'll try and record another map, around T6, if you're interested in seeing it in action more.
Last edited by Velkhar on Mar 7, 2018, 11:31:04 AM
How would this build be, instead of using Animate Weapon, and use SRS instead. Swap the helm out with Mark of the Red Covenant? Just curious.
Swap the helm out with Mark of the Red Covenant?

So the core of this build (Null's Inclination; Speaker's Wreath) should work with any minion gem. Its strength is the ability to auto-cast the minion spell extremely fast. This means its well suited for minions whose maximum number is high, e.g., Animate Weapon at 50. It's also pretty great for Offerings, especially coupled with Necromancer's Mistress of Sacrifice notable.

There are two issues with swapping Speaker's Wreath with Mark of the Red Covenant.

The first is that Speaker's Wreath is a core component to the build; it is how you are able to get killing blows instead of your minions. Null's Inclination won't do anything if you don't get the kills. You might be able to get kills before your minions using Culling Strike, but I've not tested that.

The second issue, and no less troublesome, is that Mark of the Red Covenant reduces the maximum number of SRS minions by 75%. This means you can only have 5 out; there's no advantage (in fact, it's a detriment) in casting SRS over and over, which is sure to happen with this build. Moreover, the purpose of the build is for you, the player, to score kills, not your minions. Mark of the Red Covenant prolongs the life of your 5 SRS when they get kills. These two things (you getting kills; SRS getting kills) are competing with each other.

I think you could do this build (Null's Inclination; Speaker's Wreath) with SRS, but you'd be resummoning a lot of SRS and SRS have a rather long activation period (i.e., they sit where they're summoned for like a second before they do anything). I wouldn't recommend it. As far as I'm aware, the only minion that you want to cast as often as possible is Animate Weapon. If there's another, it'd definitely be perfect for the two core items.
Last edited by Velkhar on Mar 8, 2018, 11:49:17 AM

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