[3.12] [HC] [SSF] Zombies/SRS Occultist

3.12 tl;dr The Patch Notes don't address the Occultist, SRS or zombies directly, except for

Permanent minions such as Golems, Zombies and Animated Guardians are now saved when you log out, and are automatically resummoned when you log in.

[20 September] I finished all main updates. Probably will add some further details as the league unveils itself.

The idea of this build originates from the one I managed to get to level 100, as the first one ever, when I played it in the Betrayal hc ssf league (3.5). I considered it rather generic, but as opposed to strength-stacking characters, it didn't seem like this specific version got much attention. So, I thought maybe it's worth to share and discuss it.

The basics
Raging Spirits are temporary minions characterized by their mobility and aggressiveness. We can have 20 of them at the same time, so they can focus on a single target or disperse when dealing with a pack of mobs.

Zombies are persistent minions which trade mobility for higher individual damage. Their default AI also is different - usually they will follow the character unless we directly point the enemy to them (this can be changed with support gems). There's a limit for their number which goes up as their gem levels up. It can be increased in various other ways too.

I've tried playing these skills separately, but in the end I enjoyed their complementarity the most.

A character employing SRS and zombies usually would be the Necromancer using a few unique items, possibly The Baron as the cornerstone. My intention was to check if that build can be translated into a viable version under ssf conditions and the Occultist seemed suited to the job.
Why the Occultist?
Historically, I preferred the Occultist over the Necromancer for the defensive potential, at least in ssf. In the current version, the gaps between them are pretty small in some cases, the Necromancer leads in others, the Guardian is worth attention too. I still think that playstyles based on Energy Shield, encouraged by the Occultist, fit summoners pretty well. Besides, Profane Bloom (look below) can stuck with you.

A quick overview of the class:

Vile Bastion
Regenerate 40 Energy Shield per second
Regenerate 1% of Energy Shield per second for each Enemy you or your Minions have Killed Recently, up to 10% per second
Cannot Be Stunned while you have Energy Shield

Not as great as it used to be, but still can supplement an ES-based playstyle. In the past it was a factor competing with The Baron for me. Easies the choice of the Pantheon powers [story spoiler] and opens up a possibility of a transition into a Chaos Inoculation character. Unlike the regular 50% chance to avoid being stunned while you have ES, this still applies if you pick Eldrith Battery.
Void Beacon
Nearby Enemies have -20% to Cold Resistance
Nearby Enemies have -20% to Chaos Resistance
Nearby Enemies have 100% reduced Life Regeneration rate

Quite helpful, as we utilize Hatred and one way or another Raging Spirits often end up dealing mostly cold damage. The Triad Grip gloves are particularly relevant in this context. Reduced life regeneration rate can be useful especially in the Metamorph encounters and in the Temple of Atzoatl.
Profane Bloom
Your Hexes can affect Hexproof Enemies
Cursed Enemies you or your Minions Kill have a 25% chance to Explode, dealing a quarter of their maximum Life as Chaos Damage

Noticeably improves the clearspeed when your minions don't use Melee Splash Support and can save from re-rolling maps or avoiding particular nodes in the Azurite Mine.
When you Kill an Enemy, for each Curse on that Enemy, gain 8% of Non-Chaos Damage as extra Chaos Damage for 4 seconds
You can apply an additional Curse
15% increased Effect of your Curses
Enemies you Curse have Malediction
(The Malediction debuff on cursed enemies applies 10% reduced Damage Dealt & 10% increased Damage Taken)

Unfortunately, the first part doesn't apply to minions. Other lines still make Malediction a solid passive skill though, both defensively and offensively.
(3.11) The Awakener (AL6)
https://pastebin.com/dQK38VBK, up to 150k DPS per Raging Spirit

(3.11) The Awakener (AL8)
https://pastebin.com/tK9ajc6q, up to 256k DPS per Raging Spirit

(3.11) T14/T16 maps
https://pastebin.com/4KTi1pU0, up to 297k DPS per Raging Spirit

Pastebin links contain build information that can be imported into Path of Building.
Energy Shield
I don't use every ability described here at the same time, but this an important pool I pick from what I need for a specific iteration.

ES recharges constantly, unless we take damage. If so, it won't recharge for a delay of 2 seconds by default. By reducing this delay and increasing the chance of avoiding taking damage, we make sure it will restart recharging as fast as possible. The Discipline aura gives us additional ES and increases ES recharge rate. Its gem can be corrupted to grant also Vaal Discipline, which can take away the delay completely in an emergency. The Wicked Ward keystone doesn't let ES recharge be interrupted by damage for 4 seconds after it starts, but cuts ES regeneration by half.

Thanks to the Occultist's Vile Bastion passive skill, we get up to 10% ES regeneration as long as our minions kill enough enemies and we can't be stunned. The Zealoth's Oath keystone applies any source of life regeneration to ES instead of life.

Chaos Inoculation is a passive skill that sets our maximum life to 1, but makes us invulnerable to chaos damage, which is the only type of damage that normally bypasses ES. In other words, it allows us to focus entirely on getting more ES.
My means for avoiding taking damage include:

- Evasion and block. The base evade chance here is usually provided by a Jade Flask. It gets amplified if you can make your enemies blind, for example by using a Stibnite Flask or at least one Ghastly Eye Jewel giving your minions a chance to blind on hit.

- Cast When Damage Taken Support (lvl 5) + Enfeeble or Temporal Chains (lvl 8). Enfeeble is a general defensive curse that has a synergy with evasion. Alternatively, Temporal Chains slow enemies down, providing a safer environment. Triggering one of them, combined with Malediction and Profane Bloom, provides a decent defensive mechanism.

- Arctic Armour. Any enemy that hits you with it on gets chilled for a short duration, which reduces their action speed. When you're stationary, it reduces physical and fire damage you take. While moving, you leave a trail of chilled ground, affecting enemies stepping onto it.

- Correct positioning. A lot of people like using Shield Charge for the defensive bonus of Fortify Support linked with it. It would be nice to squeeze in Fortify, but I don’t rely on that, I don't recommend Shield Charging right into packs of mobs at all.
I boost the minions in a few specific ways worth mentioning here. These include:

- Elemental Equilibrium. I focus my zombies and Raging Spirits on fire and cold damage. EE is a passive skill which in that case allows us to decrease enemies’ resistances to those types of damage by hitting them with lightning damage. My personal preference is to apply it with Arc, as it gives a lot of freedom for positioning.

- Flesh Offering. A spell that increases movement and attack speed of our minions by consuming corpses, which helps with dealing with some on-death effects, like corpse explosion. Alternatively, Spirit Offering is a similar, more defensively oriented spell that can help with keeping up elemental and chaos resistances of the minions.

- Elemental Weakness. A curse reducing elemental resistances, that one is rather straightforward. I apply it by using Hextouch Support + Arc.

- Reservation skills. Hatred provides bonus cold damage to our minions. In the Betrayal league I was able to use Aspect of the Avian as an additional source of movement speed/damage. In the Harvest league I used Aspect of the Spider instead.

- Profane Bloom. The Occultist’s passive skill that makes some cursed enemies explode on death, dealing chaos damage to other nearby enemies. It also allows us to make curses affect enemies with hexproof mod.

Also worth mentioning:

- Carnage Chieftain Spectres. They grant us and our minions Frenzy Charges, which increase speed and multiply damage. Overall it's a significant bonus, but there are issues with their survivability, not everyone has enough patience for managing them and the current build iteration is short on gem sockets. They still can be incorporated though. Alternatively, you can consider using Victario's Charity and Storm Brand instead of Arc. It's less reliable, but can improve your boss dps.
PoB Examples
Pastebin links contain build information that can be imported into Path of Building.

Hybrid version

Example from the Harvest league, last edited: September 17, 2020.

Official browser tree only (doesn't include Cluster Jewels)

Harvest enabled crafting options beyond what has been ever possible, but they're gone with the league. Because of that, some of the items represent rather a set of desirable mods than a reasonable target as a whole. More about that in the Gear section soon.

Note that this example reflects a point where I was experimenting with support spectres in the place of zombies.

This is a relatively low life/high Energy Shield hybrid version. It can play out well as long as you keep your chaos resistance high - preferably capped, at least 40% so that you can reach the cap with an Amethyst Flask. Otherwise you'll have to watch out for Al-Hezmin and maps under his influence, Incursions, and the Syndicate encounters. There are also some occasional chaos damage spikes, like nodes with chaos golems in the Azurite Mine. You can always consider picking Withering Presence instead of Vile Bastion, but that should be resolved by gear.

If you can't get Cluster Jewels, but have points to spare, allocate them for more Ghastly Eye Jewels (preferably) or just other minion/ES nodes nearby.

If your Cluster Jewels require more points than you have, you can save some on more situational nodes like Anointed Flesh and Mystic Bulwark or move them from Redemption/Righteous Army.

Chaos Inoculation version

Modification of the hybrid example, last edited: September 17, 2020.

Official browser tree only (doesn't include Cluster Jewels)

CI is gated by adequate ES gear. You need to get/craft it first. As a rule of thumb, CI characters need to have 5000 ES for t1 maps and 400 for each tier up. You're likely to have a bad experience if you try to level up aiming straightforwardly for this tree and ignore life nodes/gear & chaos resistance.

General notes

I use here various means to gain some form of immunity to particular ailments:
- Cannot be Frozen modifier crafted on the boots. You can unveil it on boots dropped by Rin Yuushu.
- Soul of Abberath from the Pantheon + the Anointed Flesh node with Ignite Resistance for 100% reduced ignite duration.
- Soul of Arakaali + the Anointed Flesh node with Shock Resistance + Darkness Enthroned with a jewel with a Harvest-crafted implicit for 97% reduced shock effect.

My Harvest character still can be chilled, so any flask of Heat can be handy. This all is an alternative to simply stacking chance to avoid ailments on your gear/tree.

Zealoth's Oath vs Wicked Ward - which one is better is pretty much situational. Initially, when both my chaos resistance and ES are rather low, I prefer the latter. Later on, when ES regeneration can become more significant, I rather switch to the former.

The order of Ascendancy passive skills: Vile Bastion -> Profane Bloom -> Malediction -> Void Beacon.
The build is rather flexible in this regard. In Harvest I used Soul of Arakaali and Soul of Abberath specifically for reduced effect of shock and reduced ignite duration, but all bonuses they provide are pretty useful.

Maps with "Monsters' skills Chain 2 additional times" can be dangerous for summoners though and Soul of Lunaris helps with those. Soul of Solaris can be helpful in some boss encounters that fight without adds. I recommend Soul of Ralakesh for the Labyrinth. Soul of Tukohama can be nice if you use Zealot's Oath.
Gems and Links
If you don't know when/how to get a specific skill gem, check https://poe-roadmap.com/build/40915. For leveling setups, check the Leveling section.

SRS + Unleash + X + Minion Dam. + Elem. Dam. with Attacks + Elem. Focus

I used to use Spell Echo instead of Unleash, but I think the latter works better overall.

X depends on your current stats.

Early on, before you have a few Ghastly Eye Jewels providing physical damage to your minions or increase the SRS gem level above 20 a few times, Added Cold Damage is probably optimal.

Later you can switch it to Melee Physical Damage or Multistrike. The latter provides higher dps, but requires better mana management - you can solve it for example by crafting "Non-Channelling Skills have -# to Total Mana Cost" on your rings/amulet. You can unveil that modifier on rings/amulets dropped by Elreon.

Alternatively, Damage on Full Life provides the same damage as Melee Physical Damage, but with a lower mana cost. It makes some sense to use it if you have a Cluster Jewel with Blessed Rebirth.
Raise Zombie + Minion Dam. + Feeding Frenzy + Empower/Fortify.

Empower is a drop-only support gem. Once it reaches level 2 or above, it will increase the level of the Raise Zombie gem. Before you get one, use Fortify instead. I think it's also worth to use Fortify if you don't need Empower to increase the number of zombies (details below), maybe unless you happen to obtain a level 4 Empower.

Feeding Frenzy is an important support gem modifying AI of supported minions - it makes them aggressive.

Since 3.8, the maximum number of zombies goes up with their gem level – it’s 6 at level 18 and 7 at level 25. Gems don’t gain experience once they reach level 20, but Raise Zombie can gain additional levels:
- by supporting it with Empower,
- by using a Vaal Orb on a level 20 gem (not guaranteed success),
- by "+(1 to 3) to level of socketed minion gems" modifier that can be found on helmets,
- by "+1 to level of all minion skill gems" and "+1 to level of all spell skill gems" modifiers that can be found on Convoking Wands (more about them in the Gear section),
- by "+1 to level of all intelligence skill gems" modifier that can be found on Hunter amulets.

The limit can be affected directly:
- by passive skills: Lord of the Dead and Death Attunement,
- by prefix that can be found on Elder amulets,
- by craftable prefix that can be obtained by unveiling helmets (not so good, it competes with Energy Shield).

For example, if we have Lord of the Dead, then using a level 3 Empower gem, a level 21 Raise Zombie gem, and a helmet with "+2 to level of socketed minion gems" allows us to raise up to 8 zombies.
The usual support spectres are Carnage Chieftains. They grant us and our minions Frenzy Charges, which increase speed and multiply damage. Overall it's a significant bonus, but there are issues with their survivability, not everyone has enough patience for managing them and the current build iteration is short on gem sockets. They still can be incorporated though. Alternatively, you can consider using Victario's Charity and Storm Brand instead of Arc. It's less reliable, but can improve your boss dps.

You can leave zombies only with Feeding Frenzy and use

Raise Spectre + Blood Magic

in the helmet.

Using Blood Magic allows Carnage Chieftains to grant Frenzy Charges more often.

If you feel comfortable with sacrificing your meatshields, you can even replace them with a Carrion Golem, moving the power further to SRS. Another option here is to use Culling Strike as end game boss fights tend to get more intense towards the end.

If for some reason you don't use Triad Grip, you can make a room for them in your gloves, probably replacing Dash with Flame Dash.

Similarly to zombies, we can have more spectres as the level of the gem goes up - 2 at level 13 and 3 at level 25. I suggest using two Carnage Chieftains and maybe an Undying Evangelist or a Host Chieftain if you can reach the limit of 3 spectres.

To raise a spectre, you need a corpse. Carnage Chieftains can be found in The Old Fields (Act 2). Undying Evangelists can be found in The Sceptre of God (Act 3). Host Chieftains can be found in The Riverways (Act 6).

Your spectres are assigned to every area you enter and using Desecrate in such area has a chance to spawn the corresponding corpses. Spectres do not disappear when you log out. Their level is determined only by the gem.
Note about the Shaper
If you use spectres and they die, don't try using Desecrate in The Shaper's Realm - it has a huge monster table, so it takes ages to get the right corpses. If you don't mind using a portal, you can go back to your hideout and raise them back there.
(Vaal) Arc + Hextouch + Elem. Weakness,
CWDT + Temporal Chains or Enfeeble.

The Vaal version of Arc is useful for particularly mob-density intense situations, like the Legion encounters, where it can immediately apply curses and the Elemental Equilibrium debuff to a large portion of monsters.

Some boss fights are a bit easier to maintain if you use Storm Brand instead of Arc to keep the high uptime of your curse and the Elemental Equilibrium debuff.

Remember that you can apply only 1 active curse by default. We increase this limit with Malediction. For leveling I prioritize Elemental Weakness, but the choice is up to you.
Reservation skills
(Vaal) Discipline,
Hatred + Generosity,
Arctic Armour.

If you can somehow deal with additional mana reservation, you can consider Aspect of the Spider (more damage + better defense) or Aspect of the Avian (generally considered worse on its own, unless you really like to stack movement speed). Usually it's hard to use them in ssf though. Bosses you need to catch in order to craft them on existing items are very rare. You can obtain items with Aspects as rewards from some mechanics, but you're likely to need meta-crafting to make them useful.

To solve the reservation issue in Harvest, I used a Cluster Jewel with Self-Control and a Redeemer-influenced amulet with reduced mana reservation of Hatred.
Dash + Second Wind + Enhance,
Flesh Offering,

Enhance is a drop-only gem effectively increasing the cooldown recovery speed of Dash. You should find at least one eventually, but if you want to consider something else, mind that this setup is strictly related to 4 green sockets in the Triad Grip gloves. Vaal Haste can be a good alternative, but using 3 Vaal skills at the same time can be clunky due to limited souls, so in that case I suggest regular Arc instead of its Vaal version or Storm Brand.

I recommend using a weapon triggering your Desecrate and Offering. You can unveil on weapons dropped by the Syndicate members. Alternatively, you can use Flesh Offering in a CWDT setup, but remember to not level it up too high.
This section is meant to be an overview of the gear I got in a few build iterations and a discussion about options which should be available currently in a mid/late ssf league.

I decided to not go through every single influenced mod that can be useful for the build, but in general you should expect Redeemer and Crusader items to offer some additional options related to minions, auras or Energy Shield.

Invaluable tools that will keep helping you with crafting include poedb.tw and craftofexile.com.

Crafting Recipes
Here's the list of sources of the most relevant recipes for the build. You can check the full list here or just on your Crafting Bench - missing ones will have assigned locations.

Energy Shield Modifiers
The Karui Fortress (Act 6):
- increased ES [armour pieces] (rank 1),
- to maximum ES [armour pieces] (rank 1).

The Feeding Through (Act 10):
- increased ES [armour pieces] (rank 2),
- to maximum ES [body armour, helmet, shield] (rank 2).

Waterways map (Valdo's Rest):
- increased ES [armour pieces] (rank 3),
- to maximum ES [body armour, shield] (rank 3).

Laboratory map (Lira Arthain):
- increased maximum ES [amulet] (rank 1),
- to maximum ES [amulet, ring] (rank 1).

Lava Lake map (Lex Ejoris):
- increased maximum ES [amulet] (rank 2),
- to maximum ES [amulet, ring] (rank 2).

Lookout map (Lex Proxima):
- faster start of ES recharge [ring] (rank 1).

Belfry map (Lex Proxima):
- faster start of ES recharge [ring] (rank 2).
Minion Modifiers
The Lunaris Temple level 2 (Act 8):
- increased maximum life [helmet] (rank 1),
- increased movement speed [ring, amulet] (rank 1),
- increased damage [weapon] (rank 1),
- increased damage [gloves] (rank 1).

Burial Chambers map (Haewark Hamlet):
- increased maximum life [helmet] (rank 2),
- increased movement speed [ring, amulet] (rank 2),
- increased damage [weapons] (rank 2).

The Temple of Atzoatl (Hatchery, Automaton Lab or Hybridisation Chamber):
- increased damage [weapons] (rank 3).

By unveiling weapons:
- increased damage & increased maximum life [weapon] (ranks 1 - 3),
- increased attack speed & increased cast speed [weapon] (ranks 1 - 3).
- "Can have up to 3 crafted modifiers" [any item]. You can obtain it by defeating the Pale Council in a battle which is accessible after completing four special chains of prophecies.

- "Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill" [weapon]. You get it by unveiling weapons.

You can improve the quality of your armour pieces to 28% via the crafting bench obtained by putting Hillock in the Fortification division at rank 3.

Convoking Wands have a special "Can roll minion modifiers" implicit, which enables a list of chasable modifiers on them. They drop in the region of the Atlas named Lex Ejoris.

In regard to crafting them, you can find that a combination of Jagged, Shuddering, Corroded, and Metallic Fossils excludes almost all unwanted prefixes. Resonators with 4 sockets are uncommon though and you're still likely to fail a lot before you obtain a nearly perfect item, so you might be better off just trying your luck with some Bound Fossils. Those can be found in Petrified Forests and Abyssal Depths in the Azurite Mine. You can use Essences of Fear to have at least a guaranteed modifier to minion damage too.

You might find items with Citaqualotl's affixes in the Temple of Atzoatl (or other sources of Incursion rewards, like Legions or Metamorphs) - they can constitute good starting points for crafting as well.
Body Armours, Gloves, Boots, Shields

I treat the body armour as the primary source of Energy Shield. You can try to craft them for this purpose with Dense Fossils - a life roll isn't necessary here even in the hybrid version. The example presented above is a result of Harvest crafting and it's very hard to duplicate it after the Harvest league.

Triad Grip is a pair of gloves that allows our minions to have their physical damage fully converted to elemental. It's very effective from the offensive point of view, but comes with a trade off - they basically don't offer any other benefits and require using a specific gem configuration. I'd say they are moderately rare, but they're not a boss drop or a league-specific item, so in ssf you can try to obtain them via Orbs of Chance. Alternatively you may consider Grip of the Council, the boss drop from The Unbreathing Queen V prophecy. However, they're not guaranteed to drop and I think they're harder to obtain.

'Recover (3–5)% of Energy Shield when you Block' on Crusader and Shaper shields seems to me to be worthy chasing even with a restrained investment into block.

"+(1 to 3) to level of socketed minion gems" is an important modifier which you can get on your helmet. The max roll is reserved for helmets that have at least ilvl 86. One way to obtain them is to farm high monster level zones in the Azurite Mine that have modifiers affecting the level of dropped items. You can also try crafting Armourer's Strongboxes in maps with monster level 81 or above. Those "of Ascendance" have +(1 to 5) chest level.
Rings, Amulets, Belts

You can obtain rings and amulets increasing movement speed of minions by using Essences of Fear.

As for amulet anointments, I recommend Gravepact.

Darkness Enthroned can offer a very valuable mix of offensive and defensive modifiers if you can obtain useful Ghastly Eye Jewels. It's a common drop from Abyss bosses.

Bated Breath is a rather common unique with a good defensive value for Energy Shield-based characters.

Crystal Belts are distinguished by their implicit providing 60-80 to maximum Energy Shield. They can be found in the natural (discovered by upgrading the region) yellow and red maps in Tirn's End.

Rumi's Concotion
is a popular choice for a defensive flask. It's not restricted by any specific league mechanic or bosses and it can be obtained by farming Earth Drinker divination cards.

As long as you don't use Chaos Inoculation, it's important to have access to instant life recovery through a flask.

I find Enduring Mana Flasks quite convenient in case of insufficient mana regeneration.

Check this page about Abyss Jewels if you're not familiar with them. Here are some examples of useful modifiers. Please note that the Energy Shield value is legacy (in 3.12 it's up to 40).
Adjustments for the Awakener
A general tip - if you strongly rely on Energy Shield, then you're probably vulnerable to elemental ailments, as due to the way they work, you're easier to freeze and shock, while every ignite holds back your ES recharge. I think this is especially important in the fight.

Hybrid int/dex shields can naturally have both a chance to avoid elemental ailments and a chance to block spell damage. Shaper boots can provide a chance to avoid elemental ailments as well. You can also craft it on your helmet and gloves if you unlock the recipe in a Bazaar or a Siege map.
Here's the breakdown of the routine which emerged from my hc ssf runs.

If you're a new player, check out Brittleknee's guide through the acts; it can help if you feel a bit lost and contains very useful boss fight descriptions. You can find it here.

Pastebin links contain build information that can be imported into Path of Building. Every PoB link includes all leveling trees, they're just configured a bit differently. I didn't include setups with more than 4 linked sockets or any uniques. If you don't know when/how to get a specific skill gem, use https://poe-roadmap.com/.

PoB link: https://pastebin.com/pfYpqzbX - 25 points/lvl 23/The City of Sarn (Act 3).
Tree only: http://poeurl.com/c1yo.

My leveling setup is based on SRS linked with Infernal Legion. In Act 1 zombies are not really tough yet, but picking the Sacrifice wheel helps a lot later on.

In Act 2 you can help Alira for mana regeneration and elemental resistances or kill all bandits for 2 passive skill points.

PoB link: https://pastebin.com/RGMk8c5x - 47 points/lvl 41/The Control Blocks (Act 5).
Tree only: http://poeurl.com/c1yn.

In Act 3 I pick Anger as opposed to Hatred in the final version. Early on it's better, but you can go with the final setup if you don't want to be bothered by swapping. In any case, remember about Generosity from the Library quest.

PoB link: https://pastebin.com/Zf5eseyQ - 78 points/lvl 61/The Oasis (Act 9).
Tree only: http://poeurl.com/c1ym.

After you complete Cruel Labyrinth, you can drop Infernal Legion and focus your Raging Spirits on single target damage more.

Usually it looks like this at the time of the first maps:
- I finish Act 10 with about 2.5k life, 2k Energy Shield and I make sure I have at least some positive chaos resistance.
- I use my Vaal Orbs to get Vaal Discipline if I didn't get it from Vaal side areas.
- I use a Bubbling Divine Life Flask, a Jade Flask of Reflexes, a Quicksilver Flask, a Granite Flask, and a Stibnite Flask. They need to remove bleeding, freeze, curses, and for some maps, burning.
- I try to avoid maps with more than 2 mods resulting in more damage taken.
- I move. I assume I'm being targeted if I stay in the same place for longer than 3 seconds.
- If I want to use Chaos Inoculation, I level up as a hybrid life/ES character until I get gear providing 6-7k ES, then I switch. You should aim for at least 9-10k in the late endgame though.
Last edited by Aeui on Oct 2, 2020, 1:20:49 PM
Last bumped on Sep 19, 2020, 6:52:59 PM
end-game viable? (softcore)
Last edited by dollygm on Mar 7, 2019, 11:32:51 AM
dollygm wrote:
end-game viable? (softcore)

[edit; September 21, 2020] In the Harvest league my character was able to fight all end-game bosses and complete the Hall of Grandmasters (the latter with some help from Balefire).
Last edited by Aeui on Sep 21, 2020, 3:51:26 AM
Trying SSFHC for the first time in 3.6. Saw this guide and gonna give it a shot. One of the few, well written SSFHC guides. I'm sure I'll be messaging you to pick your brain at some point lol.

Could you maybe add some level progression passive trees? I'm sure I could wing it prioritizing life and whatnot, but that would be super helpful..

Also I assume you kill all bandits? And what pantheons do you utilize?
Last edited by ruth1ess on Mar 8, 2019, 10:21:09 AM
How viable would this build be without using Raise Specter? I don't really like having to hunt down specific mobs to raise myself.
ruth1ess wrote:
Trying SSFHC for the first time in 3.6. Saw this guide and gonna give it a shot. One of the few, well written SSFHC guides. I'm sure I'll be messaging you to pick your brain at some point lol.

That's cool, good luck!

ruth1ess wrote:
Could you maybe add some level progression passive trees? I'm sure I could wing it prioritizing life and whatnot, but that would be super helpful..

The plan is to add the details as I level up in Synthesis. Unfortunately, I won't have much time in the first days. For now, I just added a short description in the Leveling section, check it again please.

I'd like to emphasize on the fact that zombies and spectres are fragile early on.

You probably shouldn't even bother with spectres until Act 6. You can use some random offensive ones earlier, if you don't mind raising them now and then.

Before you get Mon'tregul's Grasp, your zombies need rather defensive support gems like Fortify, Minion Life, and Minion and Totem Elemental Resistance. Especially, burning damage just deletes them if you don't raise their resistances. Minion life leech on the tree or Ghastly Eye Jewels can help a bit.

If you happen to find some uniques, like Wraithlord or Skullhead, that can significantly change things though.

I haven't tested using Bone Offering instead of Spirit Offering early on, but I'm curious if that works better during leveling.

[edit; June 13, 2019] I tested it and it doesn't seem to be better.

ruth1ess wrote:
Also I assume you kill all bandits? And what pantheons do you utilize?

I help Alira for resistances and mana regeneration. You can change that decision later if your gear allows you.

From the minor gods, Tukohama. In the Labyrinth you can switch to Rakalesh.

From the major gods, Solaris, but I guess Lunaris isn't a bad choice either.

SimianChaos wrote:
How viable would this build be without using Raise Specter? I don't really like having to hunt down specific mobs to raise myself.

They're rather a significant support. You don't really need to hunt them: when you don't have them, using Desecrate in the right area will eventually spawn their corpses. When you have or just had them in your current area, it will do that too. And they aren't gone when you log out. So, you need to repeat the process from scratch only if they die and you loose the last area you had them in.

Using Spirit Offering helps a lot with keeping them alive in maps. It may be a good idea to not use Blood Magic during leveling though, at least not before you grab enough minion life nodes and level up the gems.
Last edited by Aeui on Jun 13, 2019, 8:27:45 AM
having fun with the build :D thx for the guide.

can you talk about the setups for srs? cyaa
dollygm wrote:
having fun with the build :D thx for the guide.

Great to hear!

dollygm wrote:
can you talk about the setups for srs? cyaa

Both setups have similar DPS on paper.

But first of all, the one with Immolate + Combustion is more aesthetically pleasing (single elemental damage type). Then, Combustion introduces a synergy with zombies - they will deal more fire damage to every enemy ignited by Raging Spirits.

The downside is that I think it requires a 6-link. You should also be worried if they can ignite smoothly enough in maps in which monsters have a 90% chance to avoid elemental ailments. That can be annoying to some degree, but if you give 5-6 those Spirits a second to ignite the target, it will burn in over 90% of trials anyway.

The other one is just more reliable in comparison. You can cut out the last socket or two, if you can't use them at the moment, and it still makes sense.

[edit; June 13, 2019] In 3.7 I decided to remove from the guide the first setup referred in this message, the one based on Immolate + Combustion.
Last edited by Aeui on Jun 13, 2019, 8:35:30 AM
What Order Do you Get your ascendancies in.
I can't imagine doing maps without Vile Bastion.
But the extra curse seems pretty important too.

I've never done a minion build before. this one looked cool. so i'm giving it a go.
DeathSabre wrote:
What Order Do you Get your ascendancies in.
I can't imagine doing maps without Vile Bastion.
But the extra curse seems pretty important too.

I've never done a minion build before. this one looked cool. so i'm giving it a go.

[edit; September 21, 2020] The original answer was by far outdated. In 3.12 I recommend:

Vile Bastion -> Profane Bloom -> Malediction -> Void Beacon.

Last edited by Aeui on Sep 21, 2020, 3:55:14 AM

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