[3.4] "The Wicked Warband" | Viper Strike + Both New Heralds = Chaos Melee Summoner

This build is outdated and I do not plan to develop it further. However, if you decide to use it and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me :)


======== [3.4] "The Wicked Warband" | Chaos Melee Summoner ========



This Champion build attacks with Viper Strike for applying as many stacks of poison as possible, but also supports chaos-based Sentinels of Purity, Phantasms, and an Agony Crawler.

I call the build "The Wicked Warband" because "wicked" is a synonym for evil [in relation to chaos damage and poison] and "warband" refers to a cadre of warriors - I like being extremely corny with build names. Joking aside, there's much synergy between the skills, passives, and equipment selected for this build. Recent changes to the game have made melee summoners more plausible.

[Here] is the Guardian variant for this build.


Pros & Cons
+ Easy to play! You only actively use two skills (Viper Strike and Whirling Blades/Shield Charge) and your minions are auto-summoned.

+/- Since the tree focuses on minions and since the equipped items don't all contribute to the same defensive stat, maximum life is a bit low. However, other defensive layers (e.g. permanent Fortify, reduced damage from Taunted enemies, stun immunity, 70%+ chance to evade, 65%+ physical damage reduction, high life recovery, minion meat shields, etc.) make up for this.

+/- I made this build purely for fun :) As such, I take a more casual approach to this build. You can view this as either a positive or negative (lol).

- The build might be difficult for new players or league starters as it requires/suggests very specific and potentially expensive items.

Why Champion?
Why not Pathfinder?

I understand that the Pathfinder streamlines the Agony Crawler and has many benefits for poison. However, I chose Champion for a number of reasons:

* Conqueror: The "100% chance to Taunt on Hit" mod serves multiple purposes. First, Taunt triggers the other defensive mods of this passive. Second, Taunt redirects aggro to you, thus making it easier for your minions to target enemies. Third, Taunt enables "Worthy Foe."

* Worthy Foe: The "Enemies you Taunt take 20% increased Damage" mod is a damage multiplier for both you and your minions, while the "Enemies Taunted by you cannot Evade Attacks" mod ensures you and your minions never miss. This is very important for your minions because they're all supported by the new gem Withering Touch; its success is proportional to accuracy.

* Unstoppable Hero: The "Cannot be Stunned while you have Fortify" mod is incredibly helpful. The "+1000 to Armour and Evasion Rating while you have Fortify" mod also scales nicely with the inherent armor and evasion rating minor nodes the Champions receives.

* Fortitude: Gives you permanent Fortify, thus giving you permanent 20% reduced damage taken from hits and enabling all mods from "Unstoppable Hero."

Why not Necromancer?

I didn't go with Necromancer because its passives are marginal for this build. Let's pose an example with this Necromancer tree.

* "Flesh Binder," "Bone Sculptor," and "Soul Weaver" are not taken because the build doesn't focus on Zombies, Skeletons, or Spectres.

* "Commander of Darkness" has no effect because the build doesn't use auras (Heralds are not considered auras). Likewise, "Invoker" has little benefit because Convocation isn't an absolute necessity for this build.

* The only beneficial passives are "Mistress of Sacrifice" for the 50% self-offering and "Puppet Master" for general quality of life for your minions.

In my opinion, Necromancer is not well suited for the nature of this build. With Champion, permanent Fortify is a huge defensive buff, Taunt is extremely useful for redirecting enemies, and "Worthy Foe" essentially removes any accuracy problems for you and your minions.

// SKILLS //

Path of Building

* PoB Code: https://pastebin.com/XGbVNWfj

Here's a screenshot of the core stats from PoB. Viper Strike is selected and all player buffs, enemy debuffs, and flask effects are accounted for.

Skill Gems
Viper Strike + Multistrike + Melee Splash + Faster Attacks

I suggest this setup in The Embalmer. Combined with Herald of Agony and The Wasp Nest, Viper Strike will apply poison 100% of the time to a small area in front of your character. By placing this setup in The Embalmer, Viper Strike becomes further supported by Level 20 Vile Toxins.

Herald of Agony + Greater Multiple Projectiles + Vile Toxins + Withering Touch + Minion Damage + Summon Phantasm on Kill

I suggest this setup in The Coming Calamity. The Agony Crawler from Herald of Agony will score most of the kills, so Summon Phantasm on Kill will trigger frequently. Both the Agony Crawler and Phantasms are supported by the linked gems. If you don't want to use Phantasms, you can switch to Minion Speed - the extra movement speed for your Agony Crawler helps it catch up to you and your Sentinels.

Herald of Purity + Multistrike + Melee Physical Damage + Withering Touch

I suggest this setup in your Helmet. Socketing Herald of Purity into a rare Elder helmet supported by Minion Damage and Concentrated Effect (which affect the Sentinels' AoE attack) turns this into a 6-Link. Your Sentinels excel at single-target damage.

CWDT (Lv. 1) + Desecrate (Lv. 7) + Spirit Offering (Lv. 8) + Temporal Chains (Lv. 5)

Desecrate must be socketed before Spirit Offering to ensure the correct order of casting. Spirit Offering is important for adding chaos damage scaled from physical damage to all of your minions. Temporal Chains is a strong defensive curse and also makes poison, wither, and blind last longer.

Despair + Blasphemy + Increased AoE

Despair is the clear curse of choice for this build. Since Herald of Agony and Herald of Purity reserve most of your mana, a blasphemied Despair is managed through Impresence. Increased AoE will not increase the mana multiplier for Despair.

Whirling Blades/Shield Charge + Faster Attacks + Blood Magic

This setup is for movement and you can use either Whirling Blades or Shield Charge - whichever boats your float. Link your movement skill to Blood Magic to avoid any troubles with mana cost (remember, most of your mana will be reserved by your Heralds).

Build Attributes

Passive Skill Tree

[Here] is the current passive tree for approximately Level 88. Much of the tree focuses on minion, life, attack speed, resistances, and armor/evasion nodes. Be sure to pick up the Necromantic Aegis keystone.

Place one Growing Agony in either socket in the Duelist or Scion starting areas to improve your Viper Strike. The rest of the sockets are up to you (and you don't even need as many sockets as the tree suggests; it's really personal preference) - I have two jewels with "6% chance to Blind" for an extra layer of defense.

Leveling Guide & Leveling Tips
* Level 1-15
* Level 16-32
* Level 33-46
* Level 47-57
* Level 58-67
* Level 68-79
* Level 80+

Unfortunately, Viper Strike, in my experience, is hard to use when leveling up a character, mostly due to the lack of AoE. In early levels, I suggest Caustic Arrow + Mirage Archer, eventually switching out Caustic Arrow for Toxic Rain after killing Merveil in Act 1. Viable leveling supports for Toxic Rain are Mirage Archer and Vicious Projectiles.

Toxic Rain is strong until Level 60 when you can equip The Wasp Nest. If you don't want to use Toxic Rain until then, you can start using Viper Strike at Level 28 with Lakishu's Blade - it's a cheap and easily acquired 4-Link for Viper Strike. Viper Strike can then move to The Embalmer at Level 50.

When leveling, focus more on supporting Herald of Agony instead of Herald of Purity; Herald of Agony is far stronger for boss fights. Viable leveling supports for Herald of Agony are Lesser Multiple Projectiles, Vicious Projectiles, Pierce, and Minion Damage. Do not use Herald of Purity until you have The Coming Calamity.

Ascendancy Allocation


Bandit Rewards

Go with Eramir's reward (+2 passive skill points). You can never have enough passive skill points for a melee summoner.


For the major god, use Lunaris to mitigate incoming projectile damage (primarily against projectiles that chain, which are deadly when you have minions). For the minor god, use Gruthkul to reduce the attack speed of enemies that hit you.

// ITEMS //


Required Item

* The Coming Calamity: This item is an undeniable requirement for this build as it defaults each Herald to reserve 45% mana regardless of how many support gems they're linked to. Without this item, your Heralds would reserve far too much mana and basically make the entire build unusable.

(Seriously, look what happens when you don't have The Coming Calamity)


Recommended Items

* Impresence: Again, since most of your mana is reserved by your Heralds, this item is highly suggested for giving you a free blasphemied Despair.

* Victario's Charity: Combined with Necromantic Aegis, this item gives constant Frenzy charges to you and your minions.

* The Wasp Nest: The high attack speed, implicit 40 Life Gain on Hit, additional 20% chance to poison, and added chaos damage make it the perfect weapon for this build.

* The Embalmer: Turns Viper Strike into a 5-Link setup, but also gives additional chaos damage and increased poison duration.

* Rare Elder Helmet: Once more, a rare Elder helmet supported by Minion Damage and Concentrated Effect will really boost your Sentinels' damage.

Other Items

The rest of your items should focus on core stats: Life, resistances, defense, etc. Craft rare jewelry with Deafening Essence of Fear for the increased movement speed for minions.


I recommend having a Granite Flask and Jade Flask because the Champion scales both armor and evasion rating quite well. I also recommend a Basalt Flask for additional physical damage reduction and at least one The Overflowing Chalice to help generate flask charges. The last flask is up to you.



* [Basic]: Showcases basic gameplay and mechanics in the Desecrated Chambers.

* [Pier (T10)]: This was the highest tier map I had at the moment. I'll post videos of higher tier maps later. The lag was really bad for some reason.


Frequently Asked Questions
Why not Dominating Blow?

Dominating Blow would certainly add more minions to the build, but Viper Strike is far more intuitive for many reasons:

* First, the poison from Viper Strike lasts 4 seconds (instead of the standard 2 seconds), allowing for much higher stacks of poison.

* Second, Viper Strike has an inherent additional 60% chance to poison. If you went with Dominating Blow, you'd have to link it to the Poison support gem. This would replace Faster Attacks (Multistrike and Melee Splash are required for the Viper Strike setup), which means less stacks of poison/Virulence, slower Life Gain on Hit, and reduced frequency to summon Sentinels against bosses.

* Third, Viper Strike's threshold jewel, Growing Agony, gives the Unholy Might buff, which is about 50k additional damage.

* Lastly, Viper Strike has a much lower mana cost than Dominating Blow, thus easing mana constraints and reducing reliance on mana regeneration or mana leech.

Why not other minions?

Most other minions do not align with the mechanics of this build. Raise Zombie, Summon Skeletons, and Raise Spectre need a bit of micromanagement, which goes against the build's auto-summoning nature. Likewise, Summon Raging Spirit and Animate Weapon require investment in skill duration (which this build does not - the build does use Phantasms, but your Agony Crawler constantly spawns them without trouble). However, a Golem and/or Animate Guardian can fit in the build, but you may need to rearrange some skill gem setups.

Why is your PoB damage low?

Damage in the previous PoB screenshot only displays Viper Strike's DPS. Remember this build is a melee summoner; a large portion of this build's DPS comes from minions, which, unfortunately, are not calculated in PoB at the moment. It's hard to say exactly how much damage this build does, but I'll update the guide accordingly as PoB updates.


Change Log
* 9/2/2018: Initial guide posted in the Duelist forum.

* 9/4/2018: Added videos. Added "Leveling Guide & Leveling Tips" subsection. Moved around subsections, included text colors, included external links, and consolidated information into spoilers for easier reading.

* 9/6/2018: Posted a Guardian variant in the Templar forums.

* 9/12/2018: Changed "Melee Splash" to "Melee Physical Damage" in the Herald of Purity setup. Re-assigned points for "Whispers of Doom" for +1 curse. Substituted "Immortal Call" for "Temporal Chains" for increased utility. Included a Basalt flask for flat physical damage reduction. Updated PoB and passive skill trees.


While this build isn't the strongest in the game, it's certainly a different take on a melee summoner that, to me, is both fun and exciting. Overall, I thoroughly enjoy "The Wicked Warband" and I hope you try it out. Thanks for reading!
Last edited by kaype on Dec 27, 2018, 11:59:09 AM
Last bumped on Dec 6, 2018, 11:08:29 AM
Hello & ty for your build, haven't decide myself for Delve and why not this one.
Ty for leveling tree but can you tell me more for that ? Can I level directly with viper strike ? Any unique cool for it ?

Ty !
Awà wrote:
Hello & ty for your build, haven't decide myself for Delve and why not this one.
Ty for leveling tree but can you tell me more for that ? Can I level directly with viper strike ? Any unique cool for it ?

Ty !

Oh god, I forgot to include leveling tips. Thanks for the reminder! I included a few leveling tips under the "Passive Skill Tree & Leveling" subsection. Let me know if you have any other questions :)
Hi I need your help...i cant get Herald of Agony to prox :-( I have all of the gems in a RASA, yet it doesnt active the agony.

PLease help
First, make sure you have enough mana to reserve Herald of Agony and enough left over to spend on Viper Strike.

If your Agony Crawler isn't spawning, then you're most likely not applying poison [and, in turn, gaining stacks of Virulence]. This is why 100% chance to poison is key.

And I know this is going to seem like a silly question, but your Herald of Agony is indeed active, correct? The Herald of Agony must be active before the Agony Crawler can spawn.

If you're still having trouble, what is your setup for Herald of Agony? Are you using any other uniques? What's your chance to poison?

I appreciate your response.

To answer your questions first. Herald of agony is active and I have about 136 mana left. I'm currently lvl 41, which got me to your mana leech, mentioned in your leveling guide.

Current main weapon is a claw called " Al Dhih Time worn claw"

Current Main armor is Tabula RASA with ( Lv5 Herald of Agony,lv2 wintering touch, lv7 Lesser multi projection, lv2 vile toxins, lv4 reduced mana). I've been mixing things up to try and prox it.

In my character screen, , chance to poison from main hand hits is %20.

Are you on discord?

Thanks in advance
Hm... Not seeing why Agony Crawler wouldn't be spawning for you. You definitely want to strive for more chance to poison. Are you using Viper Strike, or another skill (i.e. Caustic Arrow or Toxic Rain - as suggested in my leveling guide)?

Side Note: Remember that the Reduced Mana support will not reduce the mana reservation cost of Herald of Agony. It only works on skills that require manual use.
Last edited by kaype on Sep 5, 2018, 6:48:06 AM
Haha yea, I took out the mana reduction gem. Otherwise, yes, I'm using viper with all other recommended gems.

I tried looking you up, but no luck. Can you try finding me on discord? KiLLMoRe#4836
Thank you for your assistance - It was a stupid gem, that didnt allow me to have non minions active!! lol

killmore wrote:
Thank you for your assistance - It was a stupid gem, that didnt allow me to have non minions active!! lol

You're welcome!

To clarify (in case anyone else might be having the same problem): It was the new unique amulet The Primordial Chain, which prevents players from having any non-golem minions. Definitely forego this item in this build as it would prevent your Agony Crawler, Sentinels of Purity, and Phantasms from spawning.

Let me know if you have any other questions :)
Last edited by kaype on Sep 5, 2018, 6:52:30 AM

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