[3.8] [SC] TheEmperorSlayer's Autobomber - Pushing Boundaries
Is this the right build for you? Quick build overview
☑ Unparalleled clear and satisfaction
☑ Awful single-target unless very invested
☑ Cannot be played until level 62
Dream setup: what to work towards
Path of Building
By default, enemies are considered to be on full life and not affected by Assassin's Mark (since it's applied on hit, but doesn't apply to that first hit)
Video of my fastest T16 Elder Toxic Sewer
Video of an Abyss + Bestiary + Breach T16 Elder Toxic Sewer
Video of a Shaper run using a singletarget setup
If you want a thorough explanation of the build, welcome. Here's everything it covers:
Ever since I first played my autobomber, I knew that I had fallen in love with it. It was, however, not a smooth experience, and it felt like I could do so much more for the build than other guides were doing at the time. Throughout thousands of maps on my journey to level 100, I have been asked many questions by friends and party members. After fine-tuning most aspects of my character, I have decided to start my own build guide to help other players have an easier time putting all the pieces together.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, a traditional autobomber functions by starting, and maintaining, a chain reaction between Herald of Ice and Herald of Thunder. While this is often easy to do, there are many subtle details that go unnoticed or disregarded most of the time, resulting in suboptimal and not-always-enjoyable characters. Because of this, autobombers are often treated as weaker, clearspeed-oriented builds. My intention is to delve right into the nooks and crannies of the build to provide all the relevant information that is available to me.
Scope of the build: what it does, and what it doesn't
The build is tailored to be one of the fastest and most satisfying builds in the game, capable of tearing through even the highest tiers of maps, regardless of map mods (with one single exception being Monsters have 90% chance to Avoid Elemental Ailments). Due to the nature of the Herald of Ice chains, it is best-suited to layouts which clump as many packs of monsters together as possible, and thus open areas take more time to clear.
To achieve this, there is the tradeoff of giving up single-target capabilities. There are ways to circumvent this which require planning ahead and switching items around, but ultimately, the build is not designed to deal with some of the more demanding map bosses, and definitely not any of the end game encounters, such as the Pale Council, Uber Izaro, the Elder's Guardians, the Shaper's Guardians, the Shaper himself, Uber Atziri, and Uber Elder.
Herald of Ice deals damage in a small area around enemies you shatter; Herald of Thunder strikes nearby enemies for a short duration after killing a shocked enemy. It cannot apply shock.
We want to heavily invest in critical strike chance for the chain reaction to take place, as critical strikes have a 100% chance to apply elemental ailments. However, heralds have a base critical strike chance of 0%, but that doesn't mean they aren't able to crit. We can still reach very high amounts of it through sources of additional base critical strike chance and increases to critical strike chance.
Assassin is all-around a very solid choice for what the build aims to do, and yields the smoothest gameplay experience compared to Ascendant and Elementalist. These are the four notable passive skills we want to allocate:
This node is what truly cements the build as a oneshot-machine. 100% more Critical Strike Chance against Enemies that are on Full/Low Life means that as low as 47,5% takes us to the 95% cap against most enemies. +40% Critial Strike Multiplier against Enemies that are on Full Life is slightly higher than a tier 1 roll on rare items, or about one third of an Increased Critical Damage gem, which is pretty good.
Granting only a measly chance to gain a power charge every now and then, this node is overall very lackluster, its only few upsides include being a steady source of power charges if no curse-on-hit setup is present, the upkeep of power charges against bosses, and the extremely niche ability to gain power charges and refresh their duration with the help of The Writhing Jar and its two summoned Writhing Worms per use.
This node boils down to +2% Critical Strike Chance while at maximum Power Charges and at least 40% critical strike multiplier, helping our consistency with crits and our damage output very significantly. It is at this point that the build can reliably start working as an autobomber.
This node could very well be named "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger". Every stat it grants is immensely valuable, specifically when going up against tougher enemies such as rogue exiles, essence-trapped monsters and unique bosses: 100% increased Damage while there is only one nearby Enemy and You take no Extra Damage from Critical Strikes while there is only one nearby Enemy. The former makes up for our low increased damage modifiers, the latter makes up for our low health and defenses. Damage from your Critical Strikes cannot be Reflected is a deceptively bad stat when blowing up whole screens full of mobs at a time, as damage from heralds cannot be reflected, but it comes in handy when taking down beefier targets. If you thought that was already great, there's even more, 20% increased Movement Speed if you've Killed Recently, which is pretty much always active and equals to about 10% more movement speed in the end game, very welcome on a fast-paced build.
Help Alira. You can view my character's passive tree using PoB (https://pastebin.com/AnTMkitM)
The Rippling Thoughts has an internal cooldown of over three times that of Cospri's Malice, but enables us to keep our traditional gameplay of simply spamming Shield Charge. To compensate for procing Storm Cascade less often, it can be supported by an extra support gem compared to Glacial Cascade, which means its average damage is considerably higher.
Shield Charge has been changed not to interact with Cospri's Malice, as it now hits using the equipped shield rather than the main-hand weapon.
If you would still prefer to use Cospri's Malice, use Glacial Cascade, socketed into it, together with Concentrated Effect and Controlled Destruction, and roll elder rare gloves with Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 16/18/20 Additional Accuracy or Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 16/18/20 Faster Attacks to free up a gem slot, and then socket your attack of choice in addition to Shield Charge. Cyclone is probably your best choice.
Zeel's Amplifier grants us moderate amounts of life and spell damage, along with up to 50% increased Area of Effect to all our skills, an amount too large to pass up. It's all-around a very valuable item to the build: it boosts our area of effect enough to hit enemies that would have been out of our heralds' reach otherwise, and it makes overlapping Glacial Cascade hits much easier, resulting in very real, yet very underrated, damage increases.
Esh's Mirror can help you pack a punch if your overall damage is lacking, however, I have found this item to be extremely overrated for what it really does. It may help your raw numbers, but it will never feel as fast and as smooth as Zeel's.
Lycosidae doesn't have much going for it, but the ability to bypass accuracy rating may prove to be useful at some point throughout your character's journey.
The Coming Calamity has pretty much been a staple in most autobomber builds ever since it was introduced. It overrides the mana reservation cost of our herald skills to always be 45%, except when socketed into Essence Worm, in which case they will not reserve any mana.
Rare boots are pretty much mandatory for capping resistances, and they are a pretty good slot to balance The Wise Oak resistances on, if one is being used. Since 3.6.0, Two-Toned Boots can be enchanted without losing their implicit resistances, which make for the superior base choice in nearly all scenarios.
If no other sources of life leech are present in your character, I strongly recommend you get it from your boot enchantment. If that's already taken care of, then simply get some attack speed from your enchantment instead.
Rare gloves crafted with Essence of Insanity make Shield Charge significantly faster, which means faster movement and more damage through Cospri's Malice procs.
Feel free to use whatever gloves you can get your hands on that have a decent attack speed roll, before upgrading to an Essence of Insanity pair.
This simple-looking enchantment fires a nova of eight icy projectiles that can really pack a punch, with a whooping 1530 to 2422 base cold damage, compared to Herald of Ice which hits for 337 to 505 base cold damage at gem level 21. It is invaluable thanks to the massive area coverage it adds to the build. It becomes increasingly apparent the more open a layout is, and that is exactly what we need: tools to cover our weaknesses.
A shaped rare helmet can upgrade our 4L Herald of Ice to a 5L, 6L, and pseudo-7L. Adding an Essence of Horror to the mix makes for a potential very expensive, very overkill, pseudo-8L. If you're not sure of what any of this means, the explanation is that there are several useful mods that can roll on shaped helmets. Some of them grant additional support gems to our Herald of Ice, while others act as support gems but technically aren't, this is why I call them "pseudo".
For a solid helmet, try to get two of the following mods:
These are all great enchantments, and each of them covers different weaknesses. I believe it is unreasonable to expect people to get a "perfect helmet enchantment" with how many there are in the pool, so if you're farming lab yourself, stop when you get any of these.
Aul's Uprising allows us to cast yet another aura of our choice without reserving any mana. My recommendation is to go with the regular counterpart of the Vaal aura of your liking. Furthermore, it comes with a decent amount of life and attributes. The extra flask charges gained from nearby enemies is just the cherry on top.
At first glance, Headhunter comes with a very useful amount of attributes, life, and a respectable damage roll against rare enemies, but that doesn't justify its price. What does, is stealing a handful of modifiers from monsters, which makes the build much more powerful and durable. It can never be stressed enough, Headhunter offers more survivability than anything else! And if that wasn't enough, it makes gameplay faster, smoother, and refreshing.
Essence Worm and a shaped rare ring with the mod Curse Enemies with Level 8/12 Assassin's Mark on Hit will grant us everything we need. Hatred improves our single-target damage by adding up to 27% of our Glacial Cascade's physical damage as extra cold damage, a global multiplier to our cold damage, and it also enables extremely desirable mods found on Watcher's Eye.
Watcher's Eye with the mod +(1.2-1.8)% to Critical Strike Chance while affected by Hatred is one of the biggest upgrades to get, as it greatly increases the consistency of our critical strikes. Whilst not required for the build to function, it is essential for dealing meaningful single-target damage. The second best mod to get is -(10-5) to Total Mana Cost of Skills while affected by Clarity, which brings the mana cost of Shield Charge down to 0 on the highest roll, one of the best quality of life upgrades to get.
Pure Talent grants us +0.5% to Critical Strike Chance for being a Shadow and Damage Penetrates 5% Elemental Resistances for connecting to the Templar's starting location. Despite both of these being seemingly minuscule, they add up, and corrupting unique jewels for desirable outcomes is oftentimes pretty affordable.
As of the Legion League, Unnatural Instinct is unfortunately subpar, and should probably not be used in this build.
Grand Spectrum, the viridian type, grant 36% increased Elemental Damage when three of them are used, each. That's a total of 108% increased elemental damage, for a very affordable price. Because of this, these are our prime targets for hunting desirable corruptions.
As of 3.7, Rare jewels are a really lackluster choice, even if excess sockets are available. You're free to get any stats you might need on them, but keep in mind that since 3.7, Shield Charge doesn't scale with the Main Hand Attack Speed modifier, and therefore mods such as Increased Attack Speed with Swords and Increased Attack Speed with One Handed Melee Weapons will not work.
I can't recommend using rare jewels at the moment unless you're looking for a very specific property, such as chance to gain Phasing for 4 seconds on Kill from abyssal jewels.
Alchemist's Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline greatly increases our movement speed for a short time. It should always be possible to sustain while clearing, but if not, choose a different prefix.
Ample Diamond Flask of Grounding (defensive choice) or Ample Diamond Flask of the Order (offensive choice) ensure that our critical strike chance stays high and steady at all times. It never runs out of flask charges while clearing, and holds three uses for a total of at least 14,4 seconds (15,12 seconds at 26% quality) against bosses.
Kiara's Determination would be vastly overpowered if it wasn't for how difficult it is to consistently funnel enough flask charges into it to keep it up. It takes a bit of getting used to if you're newer, slower, or simply like to pick up many items, but it should be fine for the most part.
The Wise Oak comes with a decent chunk of elemental penetration, and some slight elemental mitigation. If you can be bothered to balance your resistances around it, I'd say it's a very strong choice. If you're not into crunching numbers and wasting Divine Orbs, this flask might just not be ideal for you.
Original Vessel of Vinktar is broken. If you own one, you know that, and you should be making use of it, although it's not required by any means and I only bought one after reaching level 100. Legacies aside, current Vessel of Vinktar is pretty bad, don't try to use it in Temporary Leagues.
The build makes use of at least six active skill gems:
There are some gem links which are static, regardless of items and gem levels:
[3L] Concentrated Effect - Controlled Destruction - Power Charge on Critical, socketed into The Rippling Thoughts
[4L] Shield Charge - Faster Attacks - Additional Accuracy - Fortify
[2L] Summon Lightning Golem - Cast when Damage Taken
[2L] Vaal Grace/Haste - Increased Duration
Some other gems, however, must be more closely monitored depending on items and gem levels:
Different setups for Herald of Ice
[4L] Herald of Ice - Added Lightning Damage - Increased Critical Strikes - Increased Area of Effect
This is the most basic, rudimentary setup. Every upgrade expands on it via additional modifiers granted by the helmet, some of which are interchangeable with actual gems.
The Tempest's Binding
The Tempest's Binding adds two support gems to our setup, none of which replace any of our core gems, making it the most straightforward choice.
The vanilla shaped helmet
Shaped helmets feature two modifiers which act as replacements for some of our core gems:
Thanks to this, we are free to fill any remaining empty sockets in our helmet with a wide array of support gems (ordered by damage increase):
My recommendation is to go with Ice Bite and Innervate for the global benefit of Frenzy Charges and Innervation, essentially the same setup used with The Tempest's Binding, but with the potential to be stronger.
The Horror-crafted shaped helmet
Essence of Horror guarantees a property when upgrading or reforging an item. For helmets, it guarantees the modifier: Socketed Gems deal 30% more Elemental Damage. Comparatively, this is slightly stronger than most support gems and can be considered as a replacement for one, the same way I explained above.
The main highlight of a Horror-crafted helmet is the much higher ceiling it provides for our Herald of Ice damage. Nevertheless, obtaining one that outscales a good vanilla shaped helmet can be extremely cost prohibitive.
Do not attempt to craft your own horror-helmet unless you are just minmaxing your character!
Different setups for Herald of Thunder
The 6L Coming Calamity
[6L] Herald of Thunder - Added Cold Damage - Increased Critical Strikes - Lightning Penetration - Added Lightning Damage - Power Charge on Critical
Gems are sorted from most important to least important. If your The Coming Calamity isn't six-linked yet, simply ditch Power Charge on Critical. If it isn't five-linked yet, then ditch Added Lightning Damage as well. The build works just fine with a four-linked The Coming Calamity, you'll just need to rely more heavily on Cospri's Malice to keep the chains going.
The +1 6L Coming Calamity
Replace Added Lightning Damage with Empower.
The Pantheon is often not given enough credit for what it does. Some of its bonuses are not only quality of life, they're true lifesavers. These are the God Powers we want to use in nearly all situations:
Soul of Lunaris
- Major God -
1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%
1% increased Movement Speed for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%
10% chance to avoid Projectiles
Captured Sebbert, Crescent's Point
5% chance to Dodge Attack and Spell Hits if you've been Hit Recently
Captured Lycius, Midnight's Howl
Avoid Projectiles that have Chained
Soul of Lunaris' main appeal are the layered defenses it provides. They might seem meaningless individually, but combined with Zeel's Amplifier and Vaal Grace (if you choose to use it), the resulting defenses are:
In other words, we don't receive damage from:
Soul of Shakari
- Minor God -
5% reduced Chaos Damage taken
25% reduced Chaos Damage over Time taken while on Caustic Ground
Captured Terror of the Infinite Drifts
Immune to Poison
Soul of Shakari is great as a band-aid to our extremely low chaos resistance. Being immune to poison means that there's one less thing to worry about, which is always good.
Understanding Exp in Maps:
In spite of what some people think, experience granted by slain monsters increases with every tier of maps. For example, a level 75 character will earn a lower amount of Exp for clearing a tier 1 Beach map than it would for clearing a tier 16 Elder Beach map. This is important to know because it means that playing harder content is always the best choice, at least on paper. In practice, it isn't really needed to move on to harder content as long as you don't suffer from Exp Penalty, since you don't want to be dying in maps that are simply too hard for the current state of your character.
Understanding the Atlas:
Any given map is allowed to drop itself, any other completed map of up to one tier higher (up to two tiers higher from the map boss), and maps that are connected to it on the Atlas. It is possible to manipulate the Atlas into funneling map drops to one or more targeted maps of our choice, this is commonly referred to as shaping the Atlas. For more information on how to achieve this, please search for a dedicated guide online, as this guide is already quite lengthy.
[PARTIALLY OUTDATED] Maps to run for Exp:
Map modifiers to skip:
Annoying map modifiers:
Combinations to watch out for:
Don't neglect your immunities if you want a smooth gameplay experience, and specially if you want to push your character's level. Remember to always keep them relevant and adequate to the content you're doing. With my exact setup, my character's list of immunities looks like this:
☑ Chill (Kiara's Determination)
☑ Corrupting Blood (jewel corruption)
☑ Curses (Kiara's Determination)
☑ Freeze (Kiara's Determination)
☑ Hinder (jewel corruption)
☑ Maim (jewel corruption)
☑ Poison (Pantheon: Soul of Shakari)
☑ Shock (flask suffix: of Grounding)
☑ Silence (jewel corruption)
☑ Stun (Kiara's Determination)
Autobombers are most vulnerable when their power charges are down. If you're sometimes scared to charge into that first pack of monsters, fearing that you will fail to crit several attacks in a row only to die miserably, consider using The Writhing Jar for a chance at setting off Herald of Thunder, or generate power charges preemptively with the use of Brinerot Flag or Jaws of Agony.
Not all enemies can be shattered by us. This sometimes entails issues because, if you still hadn't noticed, the build is heavily dependent on shattering mobs. These are the ones I've noticed, but the list is most likely incomplete:
Herald of Thunder will continue to strike enemies during the Grace Period. It will not deal damage, but any curse-on-hit setups will still work. This is one of the few ways we have to curse enemies while keeping them at full life, retaining bonuses from Ambush and Assassinate.
Spark is able to dish out an absurd amount of damage under the right circumstances, such as when fighting in narrow corridors or rooms. Watch out for Tinevin Highdove's Vaal Spark.
If you own The Coming Calamity with a +1 to Level of Socketed Gems corruption, get a 20/23 Increased Critical Strikes instead of a 21/20 one. Doing this will result in 1% higher increased Critical Strike Chance.
Troubleshooting Your Character
Based on the questions I've been asked (many, many times), and the character reviews I've done, I have come up with a quick and easy way to recognise some of the potential flaws of your character. From top to bottom, as soon as you encounter something you can't check off the list, work on it before moving on to the next step:
Herald MTX Showcase
That's it for my comprehensive and, most likely verbose, first forum guide. If any part of it was useful to you, that's an accomplishment for me, and I hope you found it organised and well put together.
My profile and character tab are public if there's anything you would like to take a look at. Also, I'm always open to offer some help if you need it, be it in this forum thread or ingame.
Last edited by b0moodc on Oct 26, 2019, 2:31:55 PM
Last bumped on Jul 7, 2020, 6:39:42 AM
on Oct 2, 2018, 12:46:52 AM
Hey, just saw your build on Reddit and had to come here and say congratulations. One of the bests written guides I ever read. Looks solid for what aim, and I'll try your build soon. How are you doing on delve? Can you do 250'ih lvl?
on Oct 2, 2018, 10:28:49 AM
on Oct 2, 2018, 11:04:30 AM
He doesn't have any characters outside of standard.
on Oct 2, 2018, 11:07:39 AM
"Thank you very much for the kind words, I'm currently skipping Delve in an attempt to finish crafting my helmet in Standard. It's been an expensive project so far.
If I had to make a guess, I'd be very confident about the build performing well, until the point where Glacial Cascade no longer deals enough damage to kill at least one mob in a single cast. Thinking about it, I would say that the limiting factor would be survivability.
Last edited by b0moodc on Oct 4, 2018, 7:24:31 AM
on Oct 2, 2018, 11:12:59 AM
Daaaaaamn, nice guide. My only suggestion is that you add an actual PoB of the completed build. That way people can still see it even if you change or adjust the character in your profile.
on Oct 2, 2018, 11:21:55 AM
Who knew, with 150 ex of gear, you, too, can clear maps slightly faster than CuteDog's/Empyrian's already-well-publicized autobomber guides (which themselves don't actually do anything new or interesting).
No fun allowed.™
on Oct 2, 2018, 1:29:55 PM
Wow that is a very well written guide! Good job.
on Oct 2, 2018, 1:51:44 PM
"I actually bought my Coming Calamity for 70, gloves for 20-ish, helmet base for 280 (crafting costs are around 400 by now), perfect Headhunter for 225 (for fun), Watcher's Eye for 220, 200-ish for the shaped Opal and its crafting costs back in the day, and 200 for the Vessel of Vinktar that I sometimes use, and let's say 50 for gems and jewels. That's nearly 1400 ex of gear.
However, you miss the point of the guide, and that is to get people interested in autobombing whilst guiding them through building their own characters. I believe such an exceptionally enjoyable build should be shared, but logically, I can only show the items I own.
Last edited by b0moodc on Oct 4, 2018, 7:24:43 AM
on Oct 2, 2018, 2:33:56 PM
Nuclear Bomb recipe seems to be a lot shorter then this build, ty anyways
on Oct 2, 2018, 3:12:34 PM