[3.4]Soulwrest: Toxic Biohazard | Cheap Starter | T16/Vaal Temple/Shaper done

I can hear you ask: BEFORE I READ THIS, CAN IT KILL SHAPER?

The answer is yes. Deathless Shaper is very doable.
Vaal Temple has been deathless. Have yet to try an Elder fight or any other endgame boss (uber atziri, breachlords etc) so I'll keep you posted ;)


This league is a good league for minions. Extra passive nodes, most notably giving the summoner additional damage and attack speed, along with Soulwrest, allow for a more traditional summoner build using Phantasms. You can summon 9 phantasms within a second (you'll have a maximum of 10)right where they need to be, allowing for comfortable clearing whilst also making them an easily deployable source for singletarget damage.

This build focuses on those phantasms while supporting them through MASSIVELY CLEVER use of the player and other minions. You will deal a mixture of mainly Physical and Chaos damage, with poison stacking for additional damage. Smite gives you a small portion of extra Lightning damage, but that's sort of insignificant.

WARNING: THIS BUILD MAY DANCE WITH YOUR DYNAMIC RESOLUTION IF YOU LIKE PLAYING IN LARGER PARTIES, BUT THEN AGAIN WHICH BUILD DOESN'T HAHA


PROS AND CONS


+ Relatively high effective health and sustain: 4k+ ES and 4k+ Life, allowing you to heal yourself for over 700 ES for every maxed Spirit Offering (9 corpses).

+ Safe for most bosses: Even if your phantasms die, you can quickly resummon them as meatshields or to focus targets at a distance and keep them at bay.

+ Fast clear speed: Not a top-tier clearing build, but comfortable nonetheless. The new minion nodes in the passive tree allow for faster leap slams.

+ Cheap startup: You don't need a 6-link to start dishing out your damage (although of course a 6-link chest will greatly increase singletarget damage).


- Zombies die quickly under extreme circumstances, resummoning them takes a while and leaves you more vulnerable.

- No CWDT setup (if you consider that a con).

- No ailment immunity, relies on flasks for freeze / bleed / shock removal.

- Weak against maps with "no regen" mods due to low amount of unreserved mana.


WHY CHAOS / POISON?

The new Withering Touch is an extremely useful support gem in minion setups with a focus on Chaos damage. Assuming you have 10 zombies each hitting once per second with a 25% chance of applying a Wither stack, You'll reach about 5 stacks in 2 seconds - effectively increasing enemies' chaos damage taken by 30%.

You can channel Blight in the meantime to further increase their chaos damage taken by another 50%.

Since poison can stack infinitely and you have 20 phantasms at your disposal, it's a nice chunk of extra damage over time.

Both of these effects, as well as all other debuffs we use in this build (maim, blind, taunt, slow, hinder) have their duration increased through Temporal Chains.


Since we're using Spirit Offering to heal back our Energy Shield, your phantasms will gain another 29% of their physical damage as extra chaos damage.



SKILL TREE
Path of Building (current gear and level 90)

While leveling, prioritize in this order:
1. Max zombie count
2. Spiritual Command (Increases and reductions to minion attack speed also apply to you)
3. Jewel slots (at least 2)
4. Max spectre count (1)
5. %Life and %Energy Shield
6. Minion damage



- Ascendancy Passives:

* Normal lab: Mistress of Sacrifice
Get this as your first ascendancy notable. It'll give you faster leap slams to mow through the story.

* Cruel lab: Invoker
By the time you reach cruel lab, you'll likely want to have quicker convocation cooldown for safety. Make sure to get a few closeby Life and ES nodes by now

* Merciless lab: Flesh Binder
A few extra zombies and some meat shields / physical damage reduction / faster Wither stacks

* Eternal lab: Puppet Master / Commander of Darkness
This is really up to you. You're only using two auras (Discipline and Haste/Envy) so you'll get less damage out of Commander of Darkness, but it will provide you and your minions with 20% elemental resistances so gearing up and letting your minions survive should be a bit easier. I might actually respec to it at some point.



PANTHEON
Do what you wish. Personally I went with Stun Immunity and additional Physical Damage reduction while stationary, but the difference is marginal.


ITEMS AND GEMS SETUP


Weapon:


Since your phantasms are on your weapon, you don't need your sockets linked and you can put 6 support gems in your staff.

Preferably get this staff as soon as you hit level 59 and 6-socket it. If this isn't your first character, use Vorici (2 Green) to get 3 Green and 3 Blue sockets. Not a big deal if you can't get it to 6 sockets before you start mapping, but it'll make the last parts of the story a breeze.

The additional Summon Phantasm on Kill gem stacks the maximum amount of phantasms you can summon, without even requiring any kills. This effectively doubles your damage (and gets your poison stacks up faster), so definitely get this. Not sure if bug or feature though.

Singletarget damage: Switch out Faster Projectiles for Slower Projectiles


Gloves:


Threshold Jewels:
x2

You'll use a 5-link Blight with CWC for your first layer of support. Your Blight won't deal much damage, but the debuffs that come with it are a boost to both offense and defense.



Body:

Abyss Jewel:


Low priority, focus on Energy Shield before 6link

Your zombies deal a small portion of your damage, but are mainly there for support. Spectres are full support.

Your prefered spectres are 1 Host Chieftain and 1 Carnage Chieftain. You can obtain both in the Ashen Fields (act 7).


This looks like a pretty weird and insignificant 6-link, but don't be mistaken. This gives you a TON of support: your spectres will constantly provide you and your minions with maxed out power and frenzy charges, while your zombies do all of the below with the help of the abyss jewel:

- Taunt (1 abyss jewel with taunt is enough)
- Blind (1 abyss jewel with blind is enough)
- Maim, increasing physical damage taken from your phantasms
- Wither, increasing chaos damage taken from your phantasms
- Grant physical damage reduction to you and your minions(11% if you get the chest enchant)
- Act as your best meatshield friends whose pleasure of disappearing almost matches that of Mr Meeseeks (only while leveling).
(Your spectres technically are capable of this too, but they're usually too busy violently slamming their chests)

This is an efficient support 6-link, as your zombies and spectres share 2 important gems for this setup:
Blood Magic: You'll be very low on mana because of Discipline and Envy (or Haste if you don't have Envy), so Blood Magic allows you to resummon multiple zombies fast. It also allows your Chieftains to dish out Power and Frenzy charges at a comfortable pace.

Minion Life: further increases tankiness on both (Spectres haven't died in Shaper fight so far) and provides a small damage boost of your Zombies' Caustic Cloud damage (granted by the Flesh Binder ascendancy passive), which can come in very handy during Delve encounters.

Boots:


Use Smite for bosses who don't summon enemies. It's not a big damage buff, but better than Dominating Blow

For a considerably fast and safe Leap Slam and Dominating Blow/Smite, support them both with Faster Attacks + Fortify. Prioritize using Dominating Blow on Rare monsters with auras for temporary damage boosts.

Helm:


For all your skills that don't need links. Since 3 of them are Minion gems, getting a +2 Minion Gems suffix gives you a little extra.


Jewellery:


Get most of your life and resistances here. If you don't have an Envy amulet, switch out a ring for an Unset Ring with Haste.

Flasks:


Despair aura helps you nuke down nearby targets faster. Rest is utility and can be any combination you desire.




LEVELING:
Act 1

- Get Raise Zombie as your first skill from quest reward. Keep Fireball around until you can get Summon Raging Spirits later in the act.

- Get Summon Holy Relic.

- Keep an eye out for three-link items (2 Blue, 1 Red)

- Get Minion Damage from quest reward. Buy Melee Splash from Nessa and link both to Summon Raging Spirits.

- Get both Flesh Offering and Spirit Offering. Use Flesh Offering, level Spirit Offering in a free slot.



Act 2

- Kill all bandits.
- Get Minion Life from Yeena and link it to your zombies if possible.


Act 3

- Got currency? Buy a Reverberation Rod (very cheap) and socket your raging spirits in there. If you've found a chaos orb by now, you could probably buy a Bones of Ullr.

- Get Raise Spectre. You could use it, but it doesn't really matter since they'll likely die all the time anyway.


Act 4

- Get a Chaos Golem
- Get Vile Toxins. Level it in a free slot.

Act 5

Complete the Death to Purity quest and get Spreading Rot from quest reward. Buy another one if you can. Or buy both.

Act 6


- Clear the Twilight Strand. Get all the other gems mentioned in the Gems section and level them if you can.

Raise Zombie, Raise Spectre and Leap Slam should take priority over anything else.

If you don't have enough slots, that's fine. Don't spend your jeweller's orbs unless you have more than enough to spare (300+)

- Trash those stupid Raging Spirits.


Act 8

- Got currency? Buy your Soulwrest so you can wear it as soon as you ding 59! Use your jeweller's orbs to get it to at least 4 sockets. If you've got plenty to spare, try for 5 or even 6.

- Find a 4-link item (3 Blue, 1 Green). Socket Blight, Cast while Channeling, Desecrate and Spell Cascade. If you can't find one, prioritize Desecrate and Spell Cascade

Spell Cascade allows you to Desecrate 15 corpses with 1 cast and 1 charge. It's not a necessity for leveling, but it will speed it up and save time when you need to summon from scratch


Rest of the story
If you've gotten your 4+ socket Soulwrest by now, congratulations. You will now fly through the rest of the story content. How, you ask?

- Cast Desecrate (optimal setup in "Act 8" spoiler)
- Use Spirit Offering to instantly summon 9 phantasms
- If you sockted "Summon Phantasm on Kill" in your staff (which you should), repeat the previous step for 18 phantasms!
- Waltz through the story while your army sings the song of their people.


Mapping / Endgame Gameplay

You'll likely find yourself looking at everything from a distance while you use Blight to spawn corpses underneath your enemies and send your minions on the offense, but you'll quickly notice that there will often be room for you to just leap slam in and safely use Convocation to bring your friends and slaughter your enemies.

Use Blight to hinder enemies and increase their chaos damage taken. Trigger a Spell Cascade of Desecrate (15 corpses in 1 trigger) and Spirit Offering x2 to summon a total of 10 phantasms. If you've got your defenses covered, pop your flasks, leap slam and convocate. Use Dominating Blow on anything that's still alive.


Longer encounters (eg Delve) and Bossfights: Do the previous, but hold Blight for just a bit longer before Spirit Offering to cast Temporal Chains first, to increase all debuff durations and an additional slow. Resummon a few zombies to trigger Caustic Clouds for another layer of damage.

There's somewhat of a ramp-up in longer single-target fights as your zombies need a bit of time to get 15 wither stacks and your phantasms need a second or two to get 5 or more poison stacks. While your minions are doing their thing, you can switch between channeling Blight for debuffs and attacking with Smite for buffs. If you need some healing, use Spirit Offering in between for 700ES heals (based on my current build, which can still use a lot of improvement)



Changelog

15/09: Switched out "Added Chaos Damage support" for "Summon Phantasm on Kill" to double the phantasm count. Inspired by other soulwrest builds.



If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave them in a reply so I can optimize the guide as much as possible.

Trying to spread Red Elder now. May post a video if my PC can handle recording.

Happy Delving!
Last edited by VirtualTrident on Sep 15, 2018, 11:31:16 AM
Last bumped on Sep 14, 2018, 9:58:58 PM

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