[3.0] [SSF] Thunder Liege (Summoner-Spellcaster Hybrid)


First, thank you for paying attention to this little build.
Before you start to comment eventaly comment it, I need to put some warnings about it:

What this build is about?

This is a build about the Elementalist ascendancy, and even more one of its notable passive called Liege of the Primordials

You gonna tell me: "But a lot of builds use Liege of the Primordials ?"
No. They use half of it. Either the golem part, or the damage boost part.
This build is simply focused on using this notable passive at its full potential.

Just because I love elementalists, but I dislike to waste, so:
‣ I don't like the idea to run like a chicken while my pets do all the work, when I get some pretty damage buff from them.
‣ I don't like either have them running behind me, as mere buffbots, unable to do anything else.

What this build is not about?

It's not about creating a new top score of clearing speed.
It's not either to make a better summoner or a better spellflinger than other builds.

This build will have a decent level in all this three aspects, but it's a jack of all trades, so a master of none.

Other important points to notice

The current build is still a work in progress.
I'm currently testing and tuning it, but it's not even level 75 yet. So please take every information wrote here with a pinch of salt.

Also, this build is made for SSF, so it will not provide information about unique items that could fit in the mix. I'm sorry about it, but I just don't want to cancel the SSF mode to test the different uniques possible, but if there is some decent advices about it, feel free to post them for the other players.


Pros and cons


Versatile Build: You can blast through things or just avoid attacks and let your golems grind the target.
Fun summoner: You are not just reduced at a debuffer for your pets. You have always an active part into the fight.
Automatic clean-up: Destroy 95% of the pack with your spells, your golems will clean up the rest while you pick up some loots
Original gameplay: The build has lots of original point and plays differently than everything else so far

Not a top build: As you spend passive for your pets, you are never going to have the DPS of some top spellcasters with this build.
Need some luck with loot: Efficiency of golems is largely influenced by jewels. So you gotta cross a bit your fingers if you want the golems to reach their top (but they still efficient even without)


A word about the choice of golems for an hybrid build

The first question to answer with this build is: Which golem to use?

As the goal is to use Liege of the Primordials at its fullest, all the golems have to be elemental golems to get the elemental immunity. i.e. Flame, Ice and Lightning Golems.
Chaos and Stone Golems aren't elemental golem and gain no immunity.

Now, here is a quick summary about the 3 elemental golem type:
Flame Golem: Use spells only, bring +40% fire damage and an extra damage buff on top of it. Its gem is based on Strength, then Intelligence. It is the elemental golem with the better clear speed.
Ice Golem: Use both attacks and spells, bring +40% ice damage and +30% critical strike chance. Its gem is based on Dexterity, then Intelligence.
Lightning Golem: Use spells only, bring +40% lightning damage and +9% casting speed. Its gem is based on Intelligence, then Dexterity. It is the elemental golem with the best dps on boss, simply because with the right setup, it will stack its orb on the boss for cumulative damage.

First conclusion: the Ice Golem falls behind the two others.
Dexterity is the stat the less used by witch, and elemental caster builds usualy rely on the Elemental Overload keystone which render the critical strike buff irrelevant (you will crit enough to sustain the buff even with the minimal critical chance)

Lightning and Fire golems have both their perks, and for this build, both are good.

Now, the question is: should we mix golems of different types in the squad?
A good point of a squad with a single element is that you can empower it with aura and curses related to a single element. While is you mix golems of different types, the only aura/curse that will help all the golems is Elemental Weakness, which is rather weak compared to the single element counterparts: Conductity and Flammability

There are good combos to do with several golems to improve the overall casting power... but if you start to sacrifice your golem's potential to make yourself more powerful at spellcasting, then you probably just should do a regular elemental spellcaster.

So, at the end, all is a choice between a pure flame golem squad and a pure lightning golem squad.
I personnaly chosen to take the golem which are the best against boss, as I'm confident we can reach a decent clear speed just with spells. So Lightning Golems.
It happens that during leveling, I also found a very fun lightning combo to use that made that choice even more interesting: the Charged Dash CWC Arc


Part 1 : Level 40


Playstyle: Before the first labyrinth, it's better to just stick with spells. Simply because golems will only become useful once you have unlocked your ascendancy and Liege of the Primordial, and second because you need to raise your dexterity a bit to summon the Lightning Golems.
MoM comes rather late, by the end of the Act 3, probably just before the fight with Dominus. That's why you gotta be careful while fightning Piety or activating strongboxes in narrow spaces.

Skill tree: Just before the first labyrinth
This take in account the 2 bonus skill point gained by killing all the bandits.

Gem setup:
The attack spell is setup up with this gems, by priority:

3L is enough honestly, but I found a 4L tunic in the act4 shop, so it ended like this.

For damage support, use Clarity and Herald of Thunder until late in act 3, then switch Clarity for Conductivity+Blasphemy. Do not try to put Wrath in the mix yet, as it will put your mana too low at those levels


Part 2: First labyrinth, then up to level 60


Playstyle: After the first labyrinth, your golems are going to enter the dance. You must have two of them always active, if one dies, resummon immediatly.
Do not try to wait for them to catch with you. Except in boss phases, your spells will kill truly faster than they can follow... rather, let them clean the remains. There is often one or two little bugs that escape the first wave of slaughter, and the golem will take care of them nicely.

Skill tree: Just before the second labyrinth
Even if it doesn't appear on this build, you could need to put a point into the Agility node. The reason why is because of the Summon Lightning Golem gem's dexterity requirement: you could not have found some good gear with +dexterity to meet it so early, so in that case, at level 41, active this node... and respect it later when you don't need it anymore

Gem setup:
For the offensive spell, I aim for the combination that Whaitiri recommands into his Whaitiri's Arc Witch


‣ Spell Echo replace Faster Casting because it litteraly doubles the casting speed.
‣ Life Leech will bring another layer of survival which will become handy during act 8 and above.
‣ Onslaught is... well, test it, you'll understand.

For the 6L summon, I will trust until further testing the recommandation of Tomatopotato in his lightning golem summoner build : Summon Lightning Golem - Minion Damage - Spell Echo - Added Lightning Damage - Elemental Focus - Increased Duration
‣ Spell Echo not only allow you to summon two golems at once, but also improve the spell casting of the golem themselves. Two bird with the same stone... or gem.
‣ Increased Duration make the golem's orbs evern more deadly, and bring a better DPS than most other gems you can find

For support abilities, as soon you get Soverignty, you can run both
1) Wrath
2) Conductivity + Blasphemy
It still however a large reserve cost, so we won't have room for improvments until we find some items reducing this reserve cost and it also limitate the efficiency of Mind over Matter. I usualy cut down the curse when I'm going to fight down a boss, in order to gain some survival.

Jewels setup:
Jewels slots are to use in priority for jewels that allow either to summon more golems, or make them more deadly. Until you find some jewel like this, you can use the slots to put the rare jewel who as gifted to you during missions


Part 3: Second labyrinth then up to level 75


Playstyle: This is time to introduce the Chard Dash CWC Arc combo, you can do this just before or after the second labyrinth.
I'd recommand to switch to it before and clear a few map to get used to it, because this combo make the cruel labyrinth easy as shit.
If you don't feel confident, stick with simply Arc to clear it... then switch to the combo after.

Skill tree: Just before the third labyrinth
You need to aim for 68 dexterity with or without the help of the Agility passive. 68 is needed for level 20 Summon Lightning Golem and 67 is needed for the level 1 Charged Dash.

Gem setup:
The main change is to switch the attack gem setup like this: Charged Dash - Cast While Channeling Support - Arc - Lightning Penetration Support - Life Leech Support - Controlled Destruction Support
‣ Casting time of Arc will be now set by the CWC gem, rendering Spell Echo and Onslaught useless (Onslaught still provide move speed, but with Charged Dash it's not as useful as before, and not useful enough to be worth a gem slot).
‣ You still gain a lot of benefit in DPS from Ligthning Penetration and Controlled Destruction, and Life Leech is very useful to keep your life up.

A secondary change is a slight modification to the curse: Conductivity + Blasphemy + Increased Area of Effect Support
‣ Mainly, the goal is to lower the unreserved mana even more, but do this only when you switch to the Charged Dash CWC Arc combo. I found than an increased area of effect radius was the best improvment I could add to this curse at this point... could change later

Jewels setup:
Same as before, golem jewels should be taken as a piority, if you found any. Otherwise, just slot the rare jewels the quests gives, especialy the one of act 8 which brings a reduction of cost and mana reserved.


Part 4: End game (above to level 75)


A bit soon for me to speak about it as I need further testing, but how is a quick look of what the tree could look like : Full passive tree

Basicaly, it goes for Whisper of Doom's extra curse, and then aim for extra jewel slot and finally for more damage taken from the templar side.

Gem setup will not truly change after this, the extra curse will be Warlock's Mark to improve survivability of both the main character and its golems.

I'll have to consider Zealot's Oath depending how high ends the ES with looted items
Last edited by Moonheart_Starpirit on Sep 3, 2017, 12:55:59 PM
Last bumped on Aug 24, 2017, 6:17:49 PM
Currently following this build loosely while leveling in the early game. I have to say I am having a blast using skeletons and casting together! I look forward to getting Golems and to seeing how the build will progress into end game. Do you think using vaal summon skeletons while also using Golems will be at all viable?
Very interesting question!

I was so focused on Liege of the Primordial that I didn't thought I could add even more summons while at it.

My first thought is: "Why not? What would we lose?"
All the minion passives are already bought for the golems anyway, so it's only a gem slot to spend to get additional minions and damage

My second thought is: "Skeletons are nice, but isn't there some good foes using lightning spells we could resurect with Raise Specter instead?"

I'll take a look at it, once I'm done testing several combination of golems/spells.
I need to do some updates to my guide with my findings.

I agree that while i'm having fun with skeletons at the moment, it will be hard to find enough sockets to make them viable in the end game. However as you say, certain spectres that use lightning attacks should scale off of the same support gems as the Golems. So in theory you could sacrifice 1 support gem slot for the Summon Spectre gem, and I would think it would be worth it!

Some spectres that use lightning skills that I got from the wiki are:

Blackguard Arcmage ( Uses Arc )
Galvanic Ribbon ( Uses Arc )
Sparking Mage ( Uses Spark )
Blackguard Mage ( Uses Spark and Lightning Thorns )
Bearded Shaman ( Uses Spark and Shock Nova )

Also I believe Stygian Revenant casts elemental projectiles with lightning damage
Last edited by TheSlowOne on Aug 23, 2017, 4:33:59 PM
So... I'm in act 10, and I played with spectres (stygien revenants) during the evening.

The damage they can add is not bad, but the problem is their defense.
Without much defensive support, Golems tend to live longer than me against bosses, while those spectres can die just during maps against a few mobs that would survive my Arc.

And if golems are easily replacable, the spectres are not, so, if we decide to keep spectres, we will need to figure a way to keep them alive first.

Need more testing... perhaps with a higher level monster, like the Ribbons from act 8 ?
After many tests, I found a truly nice gem setting for this concept: Charged Dash + CWC + Arc, running with MoM and auras.

It completly changed the gameplay of this character, and I'm having a lot of fun with it, so I have edited the guide to include it. I'll also add a "Mechanic" section later to explain how the combo works.

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