[3.5] NO Uniques! HCSSF! #1 Guardian! Poison Balls of Knockback! (Ball Lightning/Agony&Purity)
Idea of the build
I play HCSSFBTW so I wanted a cheap build that didn't require any uniques and worked on a 3link as I can't guarantee there drops and I wanted it to be fun. (And also be a decent league starter not requiring anything)
So the concept I came up with was an Army Spawned from Poisonous Balls to keep enemies away from me.
Sources of all the cool images I butchered
Also does it look better with or without the charges?
So I used Ball lightning to stack hits, Herald of Agony for the ranged DPS and Herald of Purity for foot soldiers.
Aiming to hit as much as possible with ball lightning to stack poison adding chance to knock back and blind seemed to synergize so well any enemy not immune to knock back wont be able to touch you (Including some bosses and ranged enemies pushed out of range) and halving every enemies chance to hit!? AND maxing out on power/frenzy/endurance charges easily!!! :O!
Also I wanted to beat the 10 Acts which I had never done before so I wanted to share just in case anyone else has had trouble beating HCSSF without wanting to copy meta builds. (From never beating the acts to number 1 Guardian on the leaderboards with this build! Read end of post for more info!)
Example killing a boss not immune to knockback :)
(Video of general gameplay at end of post):
Pro's & Con's
+ Cheap to build, Actually free to build SSF don't NEED any uniques and only need 4 links.
+ Multi Level defenses (Meatshields>Reduced Movespeed/ActionSpeed>"Evasion">Block>max Endurance charges/Immortal call>EnergyShield>Mind of matter>Armour/Life)
+ Makes non-knockback immune enemies trivial
+ FUN! To not just kill but push enemies into a corner (Especially bosses) as your cronies beat them up >:)
+ Versatile leveling (And somewhat versatile end game build)
+ Summoner build that doesn't need to manually cast any summoning spells. (Casting Ball lightning will automatically summon Sentinels/Scorpion)
- None that I can think of, Well none that doesn't apply to every build.
- Uniques can improve the build, More expensive ones improve it better.
- 6linked items improve the build.
- Doing it SSF can use a lot of Chormas, Jewelers, Fusings to get the right gems in the right spots.
- There are more tankier builds and builds that do more DPS
- Guess there might be one, Build path is bit stretched out
Example Act 10 Completion Gear
Example Tier:10 map Completion Gear
Example Level 90 Gear
Something to note I leveled with spit arrow into Toxic Rain (Just because had had a Silverbranch) and trash gear for most of the run, Like white items just for the gem slots or literally no gear in some slots, Didn't gear 5L till near the end and for most of the run I ran (Ball lightning-knockback-Blind-Posion, But with 5L i used almost all my chromas trying to get 2 Green gem slots to get poison added back but couldn't based on the base)
So gear isn't super important as I wanted this to be a SSF viable build, Just max resistances, Get life (Armour is good, Energy shield isn't entirely useless either) and Cast speed is nice (More balls = More on hit) and Minion damage increases your minions and you, And anything you can do to make your mana pool more effective for Mind over matter is good to. (Less reservations, increased max mana, lower cost of skills, I like to have mana just in case there is a big hit I have the mana to take it)
Non Generic Useful Uniques (Specific to this build):
(if anyone has a lightning version of Volkuur's I could link it would be better.)
More useful Uniques
Keep in mind I don't have any of these uniques so these are all just theory crafting and I'm Not sure which would be better Cospri's Will or Coming Calamity but I'm sure any of these would dramatically increase the builds power.
Curse anything, Extra curse (Can save passive points or use 3 curses) + 60% chance to poison... Pretty neat! Cospri's Will (60) + Herald of Agony (20) + Volkuurs Guidance (20) = 100% poison chance! No need for poison support or passives!
Make Herald of Agony strong as you want! As it will always reserve 45%, Something like HoA-MinionDmg-DMGonFullLife-GMP-MinionSpeed-SummonPhantasmOnKill(or add herald of purity in there as well if desired, Something like HoP-HoA-MinionDMG-VileToxins-Maim-MinionSpeed, But that would reserve 90% of your mana) Using Coming Calamity over Cospri's Will mean with Volkuur's Guidance you will have 40% poison chance (Adding a poison support to Ball lightning would increase it to 100%, Not that you necessarily need 100%)
Only useful with Coming Calamity, Free Aura.
Back up Coming Calamity, Think of 20% Reduced Mana reservation as improved damage on Herald of Agony (Allows more support without breaking your mana pool) Also useful if you want to put Herald of purity and agony with same supports to make them both lower cost (Depending on the supports could even be more effective then Coming Calamity).
Amazing life gain with the amount of hits you are doing (Especially useful with Cast when damage taken - Immortal call - Ball lightning/Firestorm to get health back) and it has cast speed...
Fire/cold version allows your spells to poison which is useful! But with Lightning version it gives 20% poison chance with ball lightning, It also removes the requirement for herald of purity, Though you still probably want HoP, Removing HoP does allow you to do physical reflect maps (albeit slower). If using Volkurr's Guidance using more lightning skills would be more effective. Such as Storm brand rather then Armageddon (CWDT Ball Lightning)
Get any "Add X Fire/Chaos DMG to spells" the DMG is irrelevant as you just want to get 60% poison chance. HeraldOfAgony+TheConsumingDark+Volkuur'sGuidance=100% poison chance. Avatar of Fire passive (all DMG becomes Fire) is a viable option. As with Volkuur's it allows you to not NEED Herald of Purity.
Spread poison and healing for you and minions (Not sure if the spread works with HoA)
Useful for giving minions frenzy which is pretty good. 5% chance on hit to give minions frenzy charge, With the amount we hit it's going to be almost always giving 3 charges to minions.
Move Speed Slow + Cast speed + reduced mana costs
Extra endurance charges:
Make skeletons slow even enemies more and minion damage (Which increases your dmg)
More mana reservation reduction
More projectiles no one gets near you
Not a unique, but useful base for a helmet 40% dmg for you and your minions.
Example build with only 4links:
4L Ball Lightning-KnockBack-Blind-Posion
- Ball lightning - Poison - Added Knockback - Blind (Essentially 100% chance to continuously do 100% increased Knockback and lessen the chance to hit by 50% and lowers the light radius to the minimum value and reduce the effective critical strike chance)
- Herald of Agony (Gives poison chance and Summons Scorpion as main goal behind the build)
- Herald of Purity (Adds physical damage to spells so they can poison to summon Herald of Agony, Summons Senitals to distract/kill enemies, with 10% chance to summon on rare/unique hit have 100% uptime, without needing to resummon if compared to using zombies for same purpose)
- Brand - Curse on hit - Enfeeble - Temporal Chains, Spread curses to enemies and keep them on bosses for longer.
- Cast When Damage Taken - Immortal Call
Not really core/required but I used it to fit into the theme of body shields and I like it:
- Spell totem - Vaal Summon Skeletons - Maim (Vaal summon skeletons can help with a tough boss, Normal Summon skeletons for more distraction defense want to Maim an enemy for slows and damage when needed, As with minion damage nodes there damage isn't insignificant, I use totem to cast and forget to keep skeletons spawning up for a duration)
- Golem (Personally Stone for the taunt, But others or none should work to)
I also used:
Flame dash - Faster Casting - Leech life (Just for movement and generally if I'm dashing something is coming at me or I just got hit so leech life can be useful but probably better skill combos)
For leveling? Do anything you want! The Minion DMG nodes increase DMG of anything you may want to use! (Spells/Attacks/Bows/Minions!/etc)
Other useful gems:
Any Aura - Clarity at level 1 is the easiest to fit in, For damage increase to you and your minions from Radiant Crusade ascendancy.
Raise Spectre - One skill gem, Without support can be helpful (Don't expect to hang onto it though, Summon something with strong range attack to help clear and with all your minions can even survive some bosses) a 4L:Agony-Spectre-SummonPhantasm-GMP is funny (Spectre and Agony spawns Phantasms, Everything has GMP)
Bladefall - Physical damage poison stacker, alternative gem to do elemental reflect maps. (Albeit can be messy swapping blue gem for a green one and working out how to apply curses, Is doable if you're needing to save rerolling maps in SSF)
Gem Support Information!
Supports possible for
"Ball lightning - Added Knockback support - Blind" (Goal isn't damage but on hit applications)
- Knockback, Crowd controls a lot of enemies, But also just happens to increase our DPS but unspecified amount by keeping enemies in range. (Imagine a ball lightning going towards an enemy while they run at you, Hits them once then goes past, But with knockback when the ball hits the enemy it will push them back with the ball getting full duration of DMG!)
- Blind, It's a great aliment but only 10% chance to apply.. Good thing we are aiming to hit over 10 times a second at 10% each hit! ;)
- Lesser poison(40%) support, Ideally Poison(60%) support as you just want the chance to poison the physical damage isn't needed to poison, Herald of Purity covers that.
- Faster casting, Faster/more spells cast more on hit applications.
- Spell echo, ^
- Slower projectiles, More hits on immobile bosses (bunch of other minor benefits as more hits on enemies against the wall before the projectile hits the wall and disappears etc, But it is slower clear speed)
- Lesser multiple projectiles, Volley, Greater Multiple projectiles, They are fun to see all the balls hitting a greater area! But I am uncertain if multiple balls from the same cast can "Hit" the same target (From what I could find out they cannot "Damage" the same target but do they "Hit" and do 0 damage? I dunno) One ball is good enough imo if you pull and aim well though.
"Herald of Agony"
- Minion damage
- Damage on full life
- Vile toxins
- Faster Attacks
- Lesser/Greater Multiple projectiles
"Herald of Purity"
Basically the same as Herald of Agony without Pierce, Lesser/Greater Multiple Projectiles and Damage on full life. (AS they don't use projectiles and can take damage, Unlike Herald of Agony)
Also a plus to using Herald of Purity just hypothetically if you treated them as equals to zombies, Having HoP consistently spawn at max spawns without needing to press any summon button or manually cast as they spawn automatically, Is so much more convenient and smooth game play then doing a zombie build.
With heralds the biggest issue is mana reservation, Needing to balance how strong you want them to be with how much manage you want left over to make Mind over matter more effective. (And also casting skills).
"Brand - Curse on hit"
Basically wanted a skill to apply curses and decided on brands, I used Enfeeble (Reduced Accuracy,Critical Strike Chance,Damage,Critical Strike Multiplier) and Temporal Chains (Less Action Speed,Other effects on Cursed enemies expire 40% slower) for defense, If you feel like using different curses feel free.
Projectile weakness can add even more knockback!
I used Armageddon brand, To be honest just because I think it looks cooler then Storm brand. But I think Storm brand might be better, Hits seem possibly guaranteed, But Armageddon Brand would hit more enemies once you push them all together with knockback so I think both would work.
Reason for brands, You get 5 seconds brand application + curse length after.
Considered Orb of storms which last 6 seconds but mobile enemies/bosses can be annoying to keep recasting it every time they move brands stick to the enemies with the added bonuses of attaching to new mobs if first one dies. (And brands have 0.10sec faster cast time which is more important then you might think when casting them a lot makes it feel way more smooth to just quickly throw out 1-3 before Ball Lightning)
When clearing trash mobs actually feels smooth to cast a brand then Ball lightning because you knock back the enemies into each other so brand has plenty of targets to reattach to (Like putting a bomb one enemy throwing them into a crowd), Whereas Orb of Storms enemies would be pushed out of range very quickly.
Cast When Damage Taken - Immortal Call
I used increased duration and Enfeeble, Yes I already have the brands applying higher levels of Enfeeble but I just like the piece of mind if something big hits me if I missed it with brands or its off screen then it will at least get some dmg and accuracy reduction.
- Discharge, Since you have max of all the charges easily
- Life leech, if used with something damaging like Discharge
- Vortex, Cold Snap, Arctic Breath, Ice Nova, Chill enemies
- Convocation to bring minions to you
- Golem (so you don't need to manually recast)
- Ball Lightning/Orb of Storms/Firestorm to have more on hit
Summon Phantasm on Kill support:
Mixed feelings on this support.
Adds distraction minions, Can add to to anything in this build really and goes well with Herald of agony supports (Greater Multiple projectiles, Piercing, Minion damage, So you can get support gems effecting both, But they attack with spells so not Faster Attacks)
Rush Mind over Matter (But not the increase mana nodes, I find it super good early game) then "Spiritual Aid" (Top left, Increases to Minion Damage affect you) This allows you minions to do a lot of damage but also covers your damage for anything (Bows/spells/Melee/etc doesn't matter) while leveling and great for end game. (Reason I took that specific path is to get MoM, an extra curse and Elemental Overload)
Then rush "Fending" for the knockback, Core of this build.
Feel free to nodes along the way you might need like life endurance charges for Immortal call/defenses, But try not to delay the rush to much.
Elemental overload is an alright node even with low crit chance (Improved with Light of divinity and power charges) but a lot of hits you can keep EO up almost all the time.
Guardian for Harmony of Purpose 10% chance for power,frenzy,endurance charge on hit. As we have so many hits just like with blind basically 10%=100%.
Almost always have max charges Aside from defenses of endurance charges the movespeed,Cast speed, crit chance are pretty nice at rounding out the build.
Then I went Radiant Crusade then Unwavering Crusade, For the DMG and buff to Herald of Purity. (But you could just as easily go Bastion of Hope and Time of Need if you wanted even more defensive capabilities, Fairly easy to get 33% block attack chance, Which I personally have, So with Bastion of hope you would have 3 seconds of a 1 out of 3 chance to block and 2 seconds of 4/5~ chance to block attacks, Considering they have to get past the minions,blinds,knockbacks,slows,Immortal Call,etc first it's not bad Odds)
Image of Skill Tree on how to level/Url link
Once you have done that, Just add what you need, Life, Resistances, Damage, Up to you. As it is a long journey to get to those passives and I took a specific path to leave a lot of life and useful nodes just off the side so easy to upgrade however you need after the rush. Then keep adding whatever you need until level 100 as your builds technically finished after the rush everything else is just a bonus.
I wanted the route to the 4 10% poison chance nodes near the bottom of the tree but couldn't ever bring myself to stretch the passive tree even thinner.
My tree after beating Act 10:
Shadow and Ranger are probably viable with more access to poison nodes with ascendancies that give 40% poison chance, 25% blind chance and 50% less Virulence stack loss but probably more of an evasion based build, Witch and Marauder would also probably work if you desired.
My level 90 skill tree
I might have missed some "On hit" effects or uniques that might be amazing in this build or ways to improve it, I'm all ears!
I'm not the best player in the world
So if this build enabled me to beat the acts after 5 years, 550hours (On steam) and 2 days, Surely if I can do it anyone can and someone else can do it better!
I'll update the build as I get further into end game and see what it is viable for (If I don't die, But if anyone wants to take the build and try it let me know how it goes!)
1st!! Highest level living Guardian!(23rd Jan 2019)
6th Highest level Guardian
98th Highest level Templar (23rd Highest living Templar)
844th Highest level in HCSSF
I dunno if that is impressive but makes me feel like the build isn't entirely terrible.
Screenshot of leaderboard
Act 10 boss@4:20
Main Skills: Ball Lightning > Knock back support > Poison support > Blind support, Herald of Purity, Herald of Agony.
Main Passives: Fending, Harmony of Purpose, Spiritual Aid
Main Uniques: Cospri's Will, Cybil's paw, Volkuur's Guidance
No uniques, 4Link, HCSSF Number 1! end game viable Guardian Lightning Ball knockback Herald of Agony/Purity summoner build
Last edited by WWWilliam on Jan 23, 2019, 7:24:05 AM
Last bumped on Feb 7, 2019, 1:14:57 PM
on Dec 27, 2018, 12:34:21 AM
I haven't gone in depth yet, but the build idea is solid. That said, elemental overload is a waste of a passive point. Your minions deal physical damage, so the 40% does not affect them in the slightest. You don't scale the damage of your spells anyway, so the benefit in that regard is tiny at best.
You might want to work in an aura if possible to benefit more from the guardian ascendancy.
I'd recommend changing the gem section to use the full name of the gems rather than abbreviations. Not everyone is going to notice that you elaborate more in the spoiler below, I'd change the title of that spoiler too. You change the title by writing it in the first tag, like this:
Last edited by Lilyliciously on Dec 28, 2018, 12:48:01 PM
on Dec 28, 2018, 12:47:26 PM
Thanks! If you do go in depth or try it out let me know how it goes! Curious to see how other people like the build.
Elemental Overload is actually uses up 2 points(Int node to get to it), I agree, Even if the minions did elemental dmg I don't think it would effect them either.
I wasn't intending to get it and ignored it majority of the build and with better optimized builds definitely wasted.
But being SSF and somewhat at the whims of what I can scrape together to make it work (25% BL DMG Helm pushing my hand a bit), My Ball lightning and Brand DMG is not insignificant.
Just from the skill tree:
Minions deal 127% increased Damage (applied to spells)
52% increased Damage
affected by your Aura Skills deal 20% increased Damage
15% increased Spell Damage
32% increased Elemental Damage
So for 2 points getting 40% more DMG is wasted on minions but circumstantially helps me to not be to dependent on them.
Fixed the formatting and Added Auras as a suggested gem and actually added Clarity to my build! So if you got any more advice/suggestions let me know!
No uniques, 4Link, HCSSF Number 1! end game viable Guardian Lightning Ball knockback Herald of Agony/Purity summoner build
on Jan 3, 2019, 11:22:33 PM
This build definitely has potential, but as it is I don't think you could push this much further than you already have. It's very safe, which is a huge point in its favour, but it's lacking in certain ways. These things are in no particular order.
The damage of your brand and ball lightning really is negligible in comparison to your minions. Yes, you're scaling it with minion damage, but you're not using any gem links that increase the skills damage. Gems are a very potent increase in damage, far beyond what you'd get from your passive tree. As such, I'd recommend dropping Elemental Overload and anything that boosts spell damage, including the gear you have that boosts it. If you ignore the damage from Ball Lightning, you can also keep it and GMP at level 1. This is just as effective in terms of poison application, but reduces the mana cost significantly.
Ball Lightning does not need to be a 5/6 link. Using BL, GMP, Knockback, and Blind is more than adequate to provide you with plenty of poison stacks. In its place, you can then get your heralds in a 5 or 6 link, allowing you to boost their damage further. You might struggle with mana reservation if you have both heralds in this link. If you focus on one of the two heralds, that would solve the issue. Various means of mana reservation reduction would also assist. There are four nodes near the minion damage nodes that would bring a 6L double herald up to 16% unreserved mana.
With this much mana reservation, I'd strongly recommend dropping Mind over Matter. The goal is to have 30% of your total health+mana being unreserved mana, and by scaling your heralds you're incredibly unlikely to ever reach this value. Instead, Mind over Matter is rather going to drain your mana before becoming useless, which is a very risky thing. If you didn't have all that blind and knockback, you'd have probably died from this by this point.
You're using Mana Leech with Flame Dash. I'm 99% sure that isn't doing anything, because Flame Dash does not hit enemies.
You've got Summon Lightning Golem in the same link as your Heralds. I'm pretty sure that it's not doing all that much damage, so I'd move that out into another link to give you the option of another damage booster for your other minions. My recommendation is in the CWDT Immortal call setup, replacing the duplicate enfeeble. You're not losing all that much survivability by doing so, and it's giving you plenty of damage.
Last edited by Lilyliciously on Jan 4, 2019, 5:14:37 AM
on Jan 4, 2019, 5:13:38 AM
I am positive the build is lacking in areas and somewhat of a work in progress to perfect but I feel being the number one highest level living Guardian
8th Highest level Guardian
137th Highest level Templar (28th Highest living Templar)
994th Highest level in HCSSF
Proves it's potential? I've done up to tier 10 maps and not really struggled with any content yet. (Havn't gotten further because of my incompetence with trying to getting higher level maps in SSF, Learning how it all works since it's my first time doing maps)
So maybe I will hit a wall at some point, but I think it's going well so far!
I agree in an optimal situation the dmg should be negligible, circumstantially it's not that bad, I can clear maps without heralds turned on (Doing phys reflect maps before I had added chaos dmg for spells) I feel like that means the dmg isn't negligible.
From the beginning planning stages I was intending to get the reservation nodes but during play making it to knockback nodes and getting life always seemed like the safer option.
But I am constantly considering taking off Elemental overload and couple other nodes to take the mana reservation nodes. It's just hard to do, Because been able to kill stuff yourself when minion AI is dodgy etc is nice. (And also especially while leveling before the build is smoothed out it's good to have everything do dmg)
But keeping ball lightning level 1 is a good idea, Definitely going to consider that and think about it.
Because even with a level 1 ball lightning it still benefits from a 5L, More hits = More life on hit & More/Quicker Endurance charges & higher odds of not missing a blind.
But the biggest thing is, I haven't done the math but I feel like improving a 0 dmg ball lightening is better dmg for herald of agony then adding dmg gems to herald of agony, More consistent 40 virulence stacks might be better DPS then less consistent 40 stacks but more support on HoA. Dunno but even if it's not mathematically better I feel it's still in the same ball park?
"Maybe, But I also know for a fact I would be dead without MoM. Took hits that dropped shield and my mana to 0 and my life to below 500~ so without MoM tanking some of the dmg, Rip.
But that's exactly why I have it, Yes it's not as high as it should be or at the ideal "30%"(I feel it's biggest area in need of improvement in my build I want more mana but hard to prioritize it over life.), But the purpose of MoM for me is to survive those big hits, so if I only had 5% mana that's still 5% dmg reduction on a big hit. (And I would rather my mana go to 0 then my health)
Maybe it's not optimal but it's working for me (Since ES is tanking most of lighter hits so it's not much of a factor until a big hit comes in, Chaos dmg is annoying but manageable) especially since I'm trying to layer as many defenses as possible so having a 15%-20% dmg reduction on big hits is worth it more then anything else I could think of to use the passive points on.
Maybe not I dunno haha, Basically I had an empty gem slot that was green (Hard enough to get two blue slots on evasion weapon) so in game PoE says flame dash supported by it and don't have any room on my taskbar for another skill and couldn't think of a green skill that I would really want to use anyway. So thought it's better then leaving it blank if it does nothing so be it, If it gives me a little mana back (If flame dash has a initial dmg i think? Idk just using it as movement skill) that is better then nothing and leveling it up can't hurt if I want to add it something later dunno.
That was the original plan and what I had done and might go back to doing, But having a smaller mana pool by supporting heralds even more hurts my MoM defenses.(And losing guaranteed enfeeble)
So part of what I was saying before, I am trying to make up for the lack of support gems by increasing the consistency of the 40 virulence stacks, I've not done the math but the damage feels equivalent and I get to keep a larger mana pool.
(BL w/consistent 40stacks = HoA W/Support & inconsistent 40stacks, Obviously ideally you would have HoA supported with consistent 40 stacks, But seems to be good enough to allow focusing on defense rather then perfect dps)
But I want to do it, So if I ever get more mana reservation gear or something I will but jumping at the opportunity to add more support to herald of agony, But until then Keeping HoA+HoP+Golem+MinionDMG in a +2 minion helm is good enough. Until I can figure out how to support HoA more while keeping MoM and a decent mana pool.
No uniques, 4Link, HCSSF Number 1! end game viable Guardian Lightning Ball knockback Herald of Agony/Purity summoner build
Last edited by WWWilliam on Jan 7, 2019, 5:48:45 PM
on Jan 7, 2019, 5:43:37 PM
Bandits, pls write what to take ;)
on Jan 25, 2019, 11:46:56 AM
I personally almost always take the 2 passives.
But I guess if the "6% Cast Speed, 3% chance to Dodge Attacks, 6% increased Movement Speed" is worth more to you then 2 passives. By all means help Kraityn or "1% of Life Regenerated per second, 2% additional Physical Damage Reduction" Help Oak. But it's not a deal killer either way.
on Jan 27, 2019, 6:15:52 AM
Ty, i killed all ;)
Golem (Personally Stone for the taunt, But others or none should work to)
Are you sure you not talking about chaos golem ?
Last edited by IdI on Jan 28, 2019, 10:27:23 AM
on Jan 28, 2019, 9:42:39 AM
No problem! Feel free to ask any questions!
The Stone Golem can use a rolling movement skill and a taunting AoE ground slam
But I've actually swapped over to lightning Golem for the increased cast speed and because it's ranged, Because found stone Golem dying to often and slightly annoying to recast (Even if it technically gives more survivablity with a taunt) but not really core to the build so whatever suits you.
on Jan 29, 2019, 6:02:27 AM
Ty i will ;)
Ascendancy skill points, what first to take ?
And what spectre you summon ?
Why you not use LMP, or GMP gem ?
sorry im not played 1+ year. So now im like new here :D
p,s, Killed kitava act 10 alone, nice build ;)
Last edited by IdI on Jan 31, 2019, 6:30:28 PM
on Jan 30, 2019, 11:07:36 AM