This is a Guardian variant for this build, which is intended for a Champion. I probably won't update the Guardian variant as much as the original Champion build.
=====[3.4] "The Wicked Warband" | Chaos Melee-Summoner=====
This Guardian 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.
Pros & Cons
+ Easy to play! You only actively use two skills (Viper Strike and 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. near permanent stun immunity, 70%+ chance to evade, 60%/10%+ chance to block attacks/spells, 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 very specific and potentially expensive items.
Why not Pathfinder?
I understand that the Pathfinder streamlines the Agony Crawler. However, the Pathfinder only caters to the Agony Crawler and, as such, I chose Guardian for a number of reasons:
*Radiant Crusade: The "Summoned Sentinels of Purity have 50% increased Area of Effect" mod really boosts the AoE clearing of your Sentinels.
*Unwavering Crusade: The "100% increased Minion Accuracy Rating" mod increases accuracy for not only your Sentinels, but your Phantasms and Agony Crawler as well. This is very important for your minions because they're all supported by the new gem Withering Touch and its success is proportional to accuracy. The "Minions Intimidate Enemies for 4 seconds on Hit" mod also affects all minions.
*Bastion of Hope: The "If you've Blocked in the past 10 seconds, you
and nearby Allies cannot be Stunned" mod is incredibly helpful to prevent you and your minions from being stun-locked.
*Time of Need: The "Every 5 seconds, 30% of Maximum Life Regenerated over one second" and "Every 5 seconds, remove Curses and Elemental Ailments from you" mods can really save you in a pinch.
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 Guardian, you have more consistent defense and synergy with your minions.
Path of Building
* PoB Code: https://pastebin.com/hDMakCdN
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.
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.
I suggest this setup in your Helmet. Socketing Herald of Purity into a rare Elder helmet supported by Minion Damage and Concentrated Effect turns this into a 6-Link. Also note that Concentrated Effect will affect the Sentinels' AoE attacks.
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. A low-level Immortal Call gives you brief moments of immunity to physical damage.
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. Also note that Increased AoE will not increase the mana multiplier for Despair.
Shield Charge + Blood Magic + Fortify
This setup is for movement. Be sure to include Blood Magic to avoid any troubles with mana cost (remember, most of your mana will be reserved by your Heralds).
Passive Skill Tree
[Here] is the current passive tree for approximately Level 85. Much of the tree focuses on minion, life, and attack speed nodes, in addition to jewel sockets. Be sure to pick up the Resolute Technique and Necromantic Aegis keystones.
Place one Growing Agony in the socket near the Ranger starting area to improve your Viper Strike. The build lacks Intelligence, so consider placing one The Fertile Mind to the right of the Scion starting area to convert some Dexterity to Intelligence. 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).
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 Smite or Molten Strike. Viable leveling supports for Smite and Molten Strike are Faster Attacks and Elemental Damage with Attacks.
Smite and Molten Strike are strong until Level 60 when you can equip The Wasp Nest. If you don't want to use Smite or Molten Strike 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 Purity [instead of Herald of Agony], mostly due to the Guardian's passives. Viable leveling supports for Herald of Purity are Multistrike, Melee Physical Damage, and Minion Damage. Do not use Herald of Agony until you have The Coming Calamity.
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 (or Shakari if your chaos resistances are low).
*The Coming Calamity: This item is an undeniable requirement for this build. Without this item, your Heralds would reserve far too much mana.
(Seriously, look what happens when you don't have The Coming Calamity)
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 Jade Flask and Basalt Flask for general defense. I also recommend at least one The Overflowing Chalice to help generate flask charges. The rest of the flasks are up to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is better: Guardian or Champion?
They both have their advantages and disadvantages. I'd say Guardian is more defensive and better for bossing, while Champion is more offensive and has superior crowd control. However, their damage output is quite similar. Again, be sure to read the Champion variant to make an informed decision on which class/ascendancy to choose.
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 essentially 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 is your PoB damage so 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.
* 9/6/2018: Initial guide posted in the Templar forum.
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!
Thanks for the build, have not really found something in Delve that has caught my interest and have started to look for something a little different. Your Duelist Champion had caught my attention, but I have not played a Guardian before (rarely a Templar) so I might just have to give this a try.
Now I'm lvl 94 and it's very fun and quite powerful! However, I have made one major change to this build. I was in love with Dominating Blow during the leveling. So, I'm using Dominating Blow on a rare pair of elder glove with Faster Attack and Poison supports. I have used Viper Strike too ( on the glove with Dominating Blow) until lvl 93 but I drop it to gain one jewel slot and add Vile Toxins on DB.
Having 13 additional minions is a huge buff both for damage and defence.
I’m using Acrobatics and Phase Acrobatics to add a layer of defence because in deeper mine depth you can take many hits and your main weakness are packs of aoe spell foes like screaming bats or ethereal knives banshees.
I can clear easily Delve's Mine (275 atm) and T15-T16 maps. I have done all shaper's guardians without death except one for Phoenix but it was with TC + 2 extra elem damage XD. I have done 2 of the Delve Bosses too.
Clear speed is very good too since I can run in the middle of packs of mobs and see them “converted” in no time and the rare sentinel of dominance add a very good buff for everyone when you kill a rare with speed/physical/es/res aura. It’s a very dynamic and punchy minions build!
Here my stuff atm:
Thanks again Kaype! ;-)
Last edited by Les_Larmes_du_Styx on Sep 23, 2018, 4:14:48 PM
I have killed the Shaper with one dumb death but I have failed on Uber-Elder. :/
Red Elder, Vaal Temple and Guardians are easy and I want to try Uber-Atziri too.
For single hard boss as Shaper, I have a switch setup of gems. I'm using Melee Physical Damage in place of Melee Splash on DB ; replacing Summon Phantasm on Kill and GMP with Minion Speed and Withering Touch for Herald of Agony.
I have made some upgrades on my stuff:
Find a very nice Rare Gemini Claw with high attack speed, phys damage and chaos damage. With the implicit "14 Mana gain on Hit", I can drop Essence Sap on the skill tree and take another jewel slot.
Find a very powerfull essence-crafted pair of gloves with 16% MORE attack speed on top of Faster Attack and Poison supports for DB.
And get a 6L The Coming Calamity.
Last edited by Les_Larmes_du_Styx on Oct 3, 2018, 4:52:51 AM