[3.4][Theme Build] The Indiscriminate Summoner
Read this first: This is a theme build! Please don't expect millions-of-DPS min-max uber-boss-ownage here. The build is functional at least up through tier 15 maps (as far as I've gotten in Delve league to this point), and it'll probably handle Elder and Shaper fights with some effort. But it's never going to be as honed as the many builds that are intended to dominate the end-game.
Would you like to punish your graphics card? Think the game servers need more work? Then this is the build for you! Overload your screen with 3 Spectres, 6 Zombies, 13 Sentinels of Dominance (from Dominating Blow), a Holy Relic, up to 20 Raging Spirits, 4 Sentinels of Purity (from Herald of Purity), a Golem, and an Animated Guardian. All made faster with a Haste aura, and sometimes really fast when dominating a speed-aura rare.
When the 3.4.0 patch notes hit and I saw all the new and revamped skills that could be used for summoning, I knew I had to build with them. Who wouldn't want to charge through the wilds tossing around Dominating Blow? But it didn't look great for boss fights, and besides, I love my zombies and spectres, too. So I decided they all needed a home, and thus here we are - The Indiscriminate Summoner. Undead, holy, magical, elemental...all minions welcome! This build uses all the minions I could find room for, leaving out only animated weapons and skeletons. (And mirror arrow clones, I suppose.) Sadly I couldn't find a way to shoehorn in absolutely everything, but I came as close as I could!
Taking Act 10 Kitava down (at level 71)
Promenade map run (at level 91)
Depth 190 delve (at level 91)
The concept is simple: Lead a large horde of minions on a rampage! Quick links:
Passive Tree at L91
L91 pastebin for Path of Building
L71 pastebin for Path of Building (right after defeating A10 Kitava)
Dominating Blow + Melee Splash/Multistrike + Fortify - Get in close and personal with the monsters and get to dominating! You're mostly trying to hit all the monsters once, so they'll turn into Sentinels of Dominance when your other minions finish the job. If you kill something, great, but it's not the primary goal. Attack speed is more important than weapon damage, so claws, swords, and daggers make nice weapon choices. If you use Advancing Fortress, you can save a gem slot with the free Fortify it grants.
Raise Spectre + Minion Damage + Burning Damage + Elemental Focus (or Swift Affliction or Combustion) - Area damage is pretty well covered already simply because you'll have so many minions, so I chose to focus the Spectres on single-target damage. Tukohama's Vanguards (find them in Act 6, Coast and Mud Flats) work great for this with their scorching ray totems. In the end-game, if you get lucky (or spend the currency) to get an Elder helm that has built-in support gems like Burning and/or Minion damage, you can use Swift Affliction and/or Combustion for more damage.
Summon Raging Spirit + Spell Totem + Minion Damage + Melee Physical Damage - Raging Spirits work well both when fighting groups, as they spread out to attack everything, and when focusing on a single target. Usually you'd see Melee Splash in a raging spirits link, but it's not needed here since you have so many minions to cover area damage. If you prefer, you can use Faster Casting instead of one of the damage gems to get more spirits, but remember that you're limited to 20 spirits at a time. By the time I was around level 70, I was getting 17+ spirits consistently without the Faster Casting, so it made sense to use a damage gem instead.
Summon Zombie - Not enough room in the build to give the zombies any support gems, although I like to put the gem in the Advancing Fortress so they get Fortify and share Multistrike with Dominating Blow. You may have to resummon the zombies fairly often after high-damage fights.
Summon Stone Golem - I prefer the Stone Golem for the regen bonus and occasional taunt, plus he doesn't die as often as other golems. But it's perfectly fine to use a different golem if you prefer.
Animate Guardian - I generally just give the guardian whatever random rare items I find, but you can equip him with some interesting uniques if you like. The two most useful IMHO are Leer Cast (extra 15% damage to you and your non-guardian minions) and Victario's Flight (10% extra move speed for everyone).
Summon Holy Relic - This is a great new minion for an attacking summoner, since it helps keep you and your horde on their feet with life regen. The bit of extra area damage doesn't hurt, either, but be cautious in physical reflect maps since the relic will happily kill itself with those novas. Keep an eye on it and resummon as necessary.
Herald of Purity - Mostly this is here for the ability to summon a few Sentinels of Purity, but the extra attack damage is a nice little bonus. Early on you may not see many of those since you're unlikely to kill things yourself very often, but in later acts and maps there will be enough targets that you'll kill a few personally and get those extra sentinels.
Haste - I had to decide between Haste and Hatred as my aura, and Haste won out for the following reasons:
Orb of Storms + Curse on Hit + Enfeeble and/or Temporal Chains - Orb of Storms is the obvious choice to both trigger Elemental Equilibrium and apply curses. I chose defensive curses because the minions will almost always kill things quickly as long as they're staying upright, so all I really need to do is keep them that way. For most of the game, you'll just need one curse. In higher tier maps, it's useful to pick up Whispers of Doom on the passive tree and apply both curses with the Orb.
Cast When Damage Taken + Immortal Call + Bone Offering (+ Increased Duration) - I find that I don't really have time in most fights to cast Bone Offering, which is why it's here in the CwDT link. It's not the best defensive setup but it works with my playstyle, and the extra block for both me and the minions does make a noticable difference. Keep an eye on the gem levels - you're aiming for CwDT going off every couple of monster packs during normal play. At level 90 when running red maps, I'm using CwDT level 13, Immortal Call level 15, and Bone Offering level 16. If you have an extra slot available (i.e. not using a second curse), Increased Duration is a solid addition that can be leveled all the way to 20.
Convocation - You might be tempted to skip this utility skill to save a gem slot, but I think it's extremely important. As any summoner knows, minions are dumb and will happily get lost/stuck in any little map crevice they can find. Sentinels are even worse than zombies or spectres, which is saying something! Even when they're not wandering away, you'll sometimes want to pull the minions out of danger (Flame/Frost/Storm Bearer death bombs, for instance) or get them to focus on a particularly dangerous target. Convocation will almost certainly save your life multiple times in Delves particularly, pulling the minions out of chokepoints so you can keep up with the crawler.
Flame Dash - Movement saves lives in Path of Exile! I prefer teleport skills rather than dashes (like Shield Charge) so that I can get across blocking terrain. Can't use Lightning Warp since the passive tree has longer skill duration on it, so Flame Dash it is. You might occasionally lose a little DPS when Flame Dash triggers Elemental Equilibrium, but that should be pretty rare and quickly corrected by Orb of Storms.
Desecrate - You'll need this utility skill to get new corpses to raise as spectres. Remember that you'll want to upgrade your Tukohama's Vanguard spectres whenever you get access to a higher-level area. I like to keep this in my main gear so I can also drop extra corpses in boss fights, so that Bone Offering has something to eat and I can re-raise zombies as required, but it's not strictly necessary. Putting Desecrate on your weapon switch is reasonable if you really need the gem slot.
Through the entire storyline and the first few map tiers, you can use pretty much any gear you find. I played entirely self-found through Act 7, then bought an Advancing Fortress (cost me a Fusing Orb, if I remember right) and nothing else until around tier 3-4 maps. Priorities are:
1) Getting the slots you need. There's a lot of gems required to get all these minions! You'll want a armor with six slots as soon as you can find one (though they don't need to be linked) and probably two Unset Rings as well.
2) Life. There's no such thing as too much.
3) Elemental Resistances. Don't worry too much about these until around the end of Act 3, and even then it's not a big deal if you haven't capped everything. You can always use a flask to fill in the gaps in problem situations. Once you're past the first Kitava and into Act 6-7, then you want to really work on capping off your resists.
4) Other defensive stats (armor, ES, evasion). The passive tree doesn't give you much in this area so it's not really worth making these stats a priority on your gear. More is always better, of course, but everything above is more important.
Once you're getting past the early maps, better gear will help a lot. I'm using three uniques (and eventually I may also replace my gloves with a Grip of the Council for additional minion cold damage):
Advancing Fortress claw - Extra block chance, fairly quick attack speed, and a free Fortify support gem (saving me a slot)
Belly of the Beast - Life, lots of life. Also some resistances. And who doesn't love Extra Gore? :) The fact that I don't need 5 or 6 links on my body armor helps keep the cost down.
Bones of Ullr - Mainly these are giving me a third spectre. The extra zombie isn't that important, but doesn't hurt.
I've also bought an Elder helm to buff up my spectres with free Burning and Minion Damage gems, so they're effectively six-linked.
All the rest of my gear is focused on getting as much life as possible while maintaining elemental resistances at about 115% (in order to be capped even in Elemental Weakness maps).
Important note: Make sure you don't equip anything to add fire (or cold, ideally) damage to your attacks or spells! You don't want to mess up Elemental Equilibrium's big debuff to enemy fire resistances.
Mostly the tree that you see in the links above is about minion buffs and life. Beyond that, there's a few points of note:
Because I didn't spend much time looking at all the changes - basically just skimmed the patch notes - I didn't plan out all the Ascendancy synergies. Instead I just picked Scion and figured I'd cherry-pick whatever bonuses were available. Necromancer was an obvious choice, and I decided on Guardian as the second pick largely for the curse reduction and aura bonus. But really that second choice could be anything that fits your playstyle.
This build works great for new players and/or a league starter. There should be no trouble leveling with the minions, and you can use pretty much any gear you have available until you get into mid-tier maps. Here's how I did it:
Kill things however you like, presumably Spectral Throw-ing the first two-handed weapon you find, until reaching level 4 and opening the tidal passage.
Pick up two Summon Raging Spirit gems and a Summon Zombie gem from Nessa. Your playstyle for the next few levels is to cast spirits and move out of the way of any incoming attacks while they burn things to death. It's up to you whether you want to bother raising zombies; they won't add very much for a while and they die quickly at this level.
After killing Brutus, link up one of the Raging Spirit gems to Spell Totem. Now your playstyle is drop a totem, self-cast spirits with the second gem, and dodge attacks. That will result in a whole lot of spirits for this level, enough to melt most anything in the early game.
When you can, link the self-cast spirits to Melee Splash and Minion Damage, and the totem to another Minion Damage. If you can get a sceptre/wand with +1 to fire gems, that's a nice bonus, but it's no big deal if you're short on currency.
Also pick up Flame Dash as your movement skill. You could do Shield Charge instead if you like, but I prefer the teleport to get over annoying terrain.
Other gems to pick up that you'll need later: Orb of Storms, Summon Holy Relic, Bone Offering. Slot them somewhere (on weapon switch if you're out of main set slots) to level up.
On the passive tree, go for Sentinel, Constitution, Shaper, and Gravepact. You can wait on the skill duration nodes and extra life around Path of the Warrior until later.
Nothing much should change for you in this Act, keep using those spirits to fry things.
Other gems to pick up that you'll need later: Herald of Purity, Faster Attacks, Desecrate, Melee Physical Damage, Elemental Focus.
On the passive tree, head over to Lord of the Dead and Heart and Soul, then get Quick Recovery. You'll want the passive points from the bandits.
Continue using the spirits as you roll into the Sarn Encampment. After the Crematorium, Clarissa will sell you a bunch more gems. Get Convocation, which you'll probably be waiting for anxiously after suffering through 2.5 acts of minions taking terrible paths through dungeons. Pick up Enfeeble or Temporal Chains (or both, and keep one leveling on weapon switch). You probably won't need to bother using them yet, except maybe on bosses. Get Haste also, though you may be short on mana to run it.
Keep on going until you've killed Gravicius, at which point you can get Dominating Blow and Animate Guardian. Keep the Raging Spirits-Spell Totem-Minion Damage link, but drop the self-cast Spirits. Instead use Dominating Blow-Faster Attacks-Melee Splash.
Now you can summon your Holy Relic and Animated Guardian. If you haven't been summoning zombies, this is a good time to start. They should be high enough level now to stay upright most of the time.
Turn on your Herald of Purity, drop a Raging Spirit totem regularly as you move around, and start dominating things. The actual amount of melee weapon damage isn't all that important, since the minions will kill stuff for you. You mostly just want to tag things with the Dominating Blow debuff so you get the Sentinels of Dominance. If you do happen to kill things, well, that's all good since it'll give you Sentinels of Purity.
Once you've done the Library quest, you can get Fortify. Useful to link up to Dominating Blow, until you get an Advancing Fortress. Also, if you're having trouble surviving in melee range you might want to pick up an Enduring Cry gem (from Yeena in Act 2). Eventually you'll want to drop it to free up a gem slot, but it's helpful until you get your life and resistances up.
Other gems to pick up that you'll need later: Burning Damage, Raise Spectre. If you have a gem slot for the Spectres that's fine, but they're going to die a lot until much later on. If you're short on slots, just level the spectre gem on weapon switch for now.
On the passive tree, you'll want to get the skill duration nodes down around Potency of Will, and then head over to the Spiritual Command and Sacrifice minion clusters.
You'll get Summon Stone Golem early in this act, which should be immediately put to work. Near the end after taking down Malachai, Multistrike and Curse on Hit will become available.
At this point you've got all the gems available, so you're likely limited by the number of slots in your gear. Prioritize defensive links (curse, Cast When Damage Taken + Immortal Call), your raging spirit totem, and Dominating Blow. Try to keep the golem and zombies, since they're decent shields for you. If you have to leave the auras or Animate Guardian or Desecrate out for a while until you have enough slots, no big deal.
On the passive tree, pick up Retribution, Discipline and Training, and Sanctity. At this point the rest of the nodes can be taken in pretty much whatever order you like.
No major changes. Dodge those little glowing fire sparks from Innocence and Kitava's X-slash, and the minions should do the rest.
Check your resistances! If your gear isn't up to the task, dedicate a flask slot or two to resistance buffs. Especially important before going after the Brine King, his cold and lightning damage is no joke.
Slots should be getting more plentiful on your gear. Once you have a spot for the Raise Spectre gem, you can get your Tukohama's Vanguards. Remember to re-raise them (obtaining corpses with Desecrate) every once in a while. I usually do it once every 3 or 4 zones to keep their levels fairly close to the monsters.
By this point, there's not much more to add. Keep on upgrading your gear, hopefully ending up with capped resists and a full complement of slots (and thus minions) by the time you're facing Kitava again. I like taking a Ruby Flask that removes burning into that fight, since his big fire breath attack is the one that always seems to get me.
Last bumped on Sep 22, 2018, 12:06:15 PM
on Sep 15, 2018, 6:07:34 PM
Minor update: I was able to (finally) take down the T15 Elder after a gazillion map runs to get him to spawn. It was actually the second time, since the Shaper died on my first attempt - no idea how that happened, he looked fine and was on the fourth seal, then insta-died somehow. Lag, I guess. Anyhow, on the second run the Shaper stayed alive with no trouble. In both fights, the minions did fine in a target-rich environment...all I really had to do was dodge tentacle slams and occasionally use Convocation to get focus fire on something threatening.
Unfortunately I died a couple of times to all the damage spam in the final Elder phase, but that's just me being unfamiliar with the fight. Only done it maybe a half-dozen times overall, and many of those were months ago in older leagues. Practice would fix that, but it's such a pain to get the spawn that I'm not going to get much practice.
Sadly, in all those map runs I still have not run across the sixth Lab trial. Multiple spawns of the other five, but still missing that last one. So I'm still waiting to get those last ascendancy points and update my passive tree.
Otherwise, things have been pretty smooth. On no-regen maps, I've been getting along OK with just a Hybrid flask to refill mana. I'll also occasionally switch out Haste for one of the Purity auras when I get a map with bad mods (i.e. 100% extra fire damage and negative max resists). Everything else is just standard gameplay, letting the horde swarm over everything.
on Sep 22, 2018, 12:06:15 PM