[3.8] Elementalist Carrion Herald Summoner

The main goal of this build is to use the Elementalist's increased effect of golem buff and Carrion Golem to give a large amount of flat physical damage to all non-golem minions, for which we primarily use Herald of Agony and Herald of Purity, and a few others thrown in for fun.

Path of Building

Online Skill Tree

Video of Shaper Kill

Detailed Description
The main goal of this build is to scale the added flat damage from Carrion Golem as much as possible. To that end there are two main ways of doing it, by increasing the effect of golem buffs, and by increasing the gem level.

For the increased effect of buff we have a few sources, 3 nodes on the passive tree in the Golem Commander wheel give a total of 70%. We are using 3 Primordial Eminence jewels
(and optional 4th) that give 30% each for 90% additional. We can also get 150% increased effect of buff specifically for the Carrion Golem from it's lab enchantment and finally the two nodes in the Elementalist ascendancy give 25% each per golem, with 6 golem that is 300%. So in total we are looking at 70 + 90 + 150 + 300 = 610% increased effect of buff (or 640% if you get the 4th primordial, not a huge difference though).

Next we want to scale the level of the gem itself. Starting with a corrupted level 21 gem, we put it in a +3 level of minion gems helm, supported by corrupted level 4 empower (for +3 levels), and dual wield Cold Iron Points (+3 levels each) gets us a level 33 Carrion Golem. This provides a base of 56 to 84 physical damage to non-golem minions. Which when you factor in the increased effect of buff above yields a nice:

341 - 512 additional physical damage for non-golem minions

Next, we need some non-golem minions to take advantage of this damage. Since we are using two Cold Iron Points to boost our Carrion Golem (since it has the Physical and Spell tags) a great choice is to use the minions from Herald of Purity and Herald of Agony as those also have the required tags to benefit from Cold Iron Points. We throw those two gem in The Coming Calamity (+2 level of Herald gems) and support it with another level 4 empower and we have some nice level 32 Heralds to work with.



We dual wield Cold Iron Point for the combined +6 to physical spell gems. This boosts our Carrion Golem, Stone Golem, Herald of Purity, Herald of Agony, Vulnerability, and Punishment. Optionally it does also boost Molten Shell which can be a nice defensive boost for the build. The weapons are also currently pretty cheap, going for around 2c each.

Body Armour

We use a Coming Calamity for the +2 level of Herald gems, and the 70% stun avoidance is a nice benefit. By locking the Heralds mana reservation at 45% it means we can go crazy adding support gems and know we’ll always have enough mana, but it also means that the Elementalist’s Mastermind of Discord becomes pretty bad, the only thing it would give the build is “25% increased effect of Heralds on you” which since we don’t deal damage ourself the only benefit from that would be increasing the poison chance from HoA. But overall the +2 levels is definitely worth it to scale the minions base stats. It’s also very cheap to pick up.


This is the most expensive piece of the build. Ideally you are looking for an item level 86+ Elder helmet with the “150% increased Effect of the Buff granted by your Carrion Golem” lab enchant. You then want to roll +3 level of socketed minions gems and either Supported by Minion Life or even Supported by Minion Damage. The +3 level is what’s important, if you’re on more of a budget then forgo the Elder helm and just go for the lab enchant with a +3 roll. Otherwise you're just looking for life and resists. It does NOT need to be a bone helmet since we want a lab enchant which would overwrite the small minion damage mod anyway.


For gloves you want rare Elder gloves with Supported by Level X Poison, and the level of Poison doesn’t matter at all, we just need the 60% chance to poison to keep our Agony Crawler up. Getting some Dex on the gloves is nice as the build is quite starved for Dex, otherwise you’re just looking for life and resists. Optionally you can look for gloves that have been rolled with an Essence of Insanity for the 16% more cast speed. Since we don't have much cast speed it does add a decent quality of life.


Any rare boots with move speed, life, and resists will work. Ideally you can get a small damage boost by using a pair of Elder boots with Socketed Gems Supported by Level 20 Fortify. We can throw any melee minion in there for a free 5th link. Zombies make a good choice as they will rarely go down. I opted for a pair of two-toned boots for the resist and got really lucky with a Shrieking essence of Sorrow for a high dex roll.


Mostly we just want a rare amulet with Dex, life, and resists.


Two unique rings work quite well for the build, Brinerot Mark and Circle of Nostalgia. We put our Summon Chaos Golem in the Brinerot Mark, in part just to free up a gem slot elsewhere, and also because the Chaos Golem doesn’t benefit much from boosted level. Once you get the gem to level 22 it provides a base 5% physical damage reduction (which does get scaled up by increased buff). You don’t see another increase in the base value until level 32, and since this golem doesn’t have the physical tag it isn’t boosted by our Cold Iron Points, so just the +3 from the ring is fine. The extra 30% increased buff from the ring does get us another 1% physical damage reduction, so overall this is a pretty good choice.
The Circle of Nostalgia gives is a good boost to our chaos resistance as well is further increasing the damage of our Agony Crawler. The ring comes with two random mods, we are looking for +x% Chaos Resistance while affected by Herald of Agony, and Agony Crawler deals x% increased Damage. The + to all attributes is also nice to help us fill out our Dex.


Any rare belt with life and resists will work. With a very high level Stone Golem and all of our scaling we do end up with A LOT of life regen. So getting an Elder belt with the X% increased Life Recovery rate can definitely help the build. An open suffix can help for crafting Dex which can be difficult to get enough of since we're using two unique rings.


If you want to maintain higher Virulence stacks during boss fights you can pick up a Coralito’s Signature Diamond Flask to cap your poison chance at 100% during the flask effect. Otherwise feel free to use whatever life and utility flask you want. With the Elementalist Ascendancy we are immune to Freeze, Shock, and Ignite so we don’t need to roll those modifiers onto flasks. A Granite Flask of Iron Skin does work very well for the build as our Physical Damage reduction from the Chaos Golem gets applied after armour, getting a decent base of armour during the flask effect works well. Plus it pairs very well with Molten Shell, which as mentioned above does gain levels from the Cold Iron Points.


Body Armour
Herald of Agony + Herald of Purity + Minion Damage + Damage on Full Life + Deathmark + Empower

We want both our Heralds in our Body Armour to benefit from the +2 levels, so we need to use supports that benefit them both (so no Melee Phys for Sentinels as it doesn’t scale the Crawlers ranged attacks, and no Vicious Proj for Crawler as it wouldn’t scale the Sentinels’ damage. The crawler will always be on full life and the sentinels will quite often be topped off as we hit rare or unique enemies. So overall it’s a pretty good support. Deathmark provide good damage for single target and provides control to focus your minions. The sixth link is Empower, preferably level 4. If you’re on more of a budget and have a means of generating Power Charges for your minions (detailed later) you could swap it out with an Increased Critical Damage support. This will also help with coloring the body as the above setup is 4 off color.

Summon Carrion Golem + Summon Stone Golem + Raise Spectre + Empower (level 4)

For this setup you do really want to level 4 empower to boost the level of these gems as high as you can. The Carrion golem is the crux of the build as explained above, a very high level Stone Golem provide a very nice chunk of life regen (1600 life per second in PoB with an elder belt) and is our primary means of sustain. Lastly the Raise Spectre is in here mostly for some utility spectres, and with a very high gem level we get high monster level spectres with the 3.8 change. If we do get the Elder helmet with Minion Life support our spectres should be able to live through most things. As for which spectres to use I’ve been using:

Carnage Chieftain (https://poedb.tw/us/mon.php?n=Carnage+Chieftain) for Frenzy Charges

Host Chieftain (https://poedb.tw/us/mon.php?n=Host+Chieftain) for Power Charges

Ruins Hellion (https://poedb.tw/us/mon.php?n=Ruins+Hellion) for very nice Inspiring Cry. It provides a nice little damage boost, but also taunts all enemies and has “Enemies Taunted by you deal 30% less Damage with Hits and Ailments against other targets” which is a very nice defensive buff. The main downside is he will taunt everything all the time, and can go down.

Heretical Guardian (https://poedb.tw/us/mon.php?n=Heretical+Guardian) for a Proximity Shield. I know many people use Undying Evangelists for this, but from what I can tell on poedb it looks like these Heretical Guardians have more life. Not sure how much it matters but I’ve been using one of them and it’s worked well for me so far.

Once I got into T16 the Ruins Hellion and Heretical Guardian weren't cutting it and occasionally started dying. I dropped them for two Kitava's Heralds (http://poedb.tw/us/mon.php?n=Kitava%27s+Herald). Just very high physical damage brutes. Plus this is a "Herald" summoning build, so technically very on-theme.

Divine Ire (Level 1, 20% quality) + Curse on Hit + Vulnerability + Punishment
Ball Lightning (Level 1)

We use divine ire to hit things as much as possible, summoning our Sentinels of Purity when we hit rare or unique mobs, and our Agony Crawler when we poison anything. We put this setup on our Elder gloves with Supported by Level X Poison (60% chance to poison) plus our Herald of Agony 20% for 80% chance to poison on hit. You could also run Coralito’s Signature flask as mentioned above to hit 100% in boss fights with few other targets. But for most map clear the 80% has been fine for me to keep my Virulence stacks into the 30s without issue.

We also have a dual curse setup here of Vulnerability and Punishment. Since all of our minions do all physical damage these two curse work quite well, but furthermore, they both have the spell and physical tags, so they get boosted by our dual Cold Iron Point, becoming level 26 curses (or 27 total with corrupted 21 gems, not needed, but they weren't very expensive to just buy). We keep Divine Ire at level one simply so that we don’t have to worry about its mana cost. Since we haven’t scaled any of our own damage a level 20 gem doesn’t do enough damage to make it worth it, you couldn’t even clear with it. It seems to be only enough damage to make reflect maps annoying, so we just keep it at level 1. It is a physical spell gem though so it becomes level 7 from our daggers, but the mana is still low so it’s not a problem. The 20% quality is nice as it increases the AoE of the gem allowing us to hit more at once.

Instead of Divine Ire you can also use Ball Lightning. I've tried both for a while and ended up using Ball Lightning in higher tier maps (T12 and above) just so I could hang back more and let my minions do their thing from a safer distance. The cast speed can feel pretty painful if you don't of Essence of Insanity gloves. I do still use Divine Ire for delving. The near instant hit of everything around me just feels nicer, and being able to just stand and channel at the end of each delve is really nice.

Raise Zombie + Minion Damage + Deathmark + Brutality

You could really put anything here. I went with zombies as they provide a nice boost of extra damage, plus provide some extra bodies to absorb hits. Overall works pretty well. As mentioned in gearing, getting some Elder boots with Fortify would be nice, I just couldn't fit it in with trying to get enough Dex and res capped.

Convocation + Flame Dash + Molten Shell

Animate Guardian + Deathmark + Brutality

Convocation and Flame Dash are just nice utility skills, definitely recommend. Molten Shell ends up being quite good because it does gain levels from our weapons, so a level 26 (or 27 if you corrupt a level 21) Molten Shell is a nice defensive button to have.

Lastly, I threw in a 3 link Animate Guardian for a few nice utility things and a pretty decent chunk of damage. The guardian is using:

Perepiteia (as high of attack speed and move speed as you can get)
The Bringer of Rain (helps keep it alive)
Zahndethus’ Cassock (Creates consecrated ground, 6% life regen for you and minions)
Victario’s Flight (10% move speed boost to you and minions nearby, nice QoL)
Facebreakers (This take are huge flat phys and scales it VERY well with little support)

This gives him around 267k shaper DPS, plus he’s providing consecrated ground and a speed boost, so overall quite nice for a 3 link.

Optionally you can swap out the Perepiteia for The Oak to ensure the guardian stays up.

IMPORTANT: Do NOT have your guardian out on Physical Reflect maps, he will kill himself. I just unsummon him to run those.

Finally, as mentioned above we put a Summon Chaos Golem in our Brinerot Mark ring. See the gear section for details.

Ascendancy and Passives
The main ascendancy nodes we want are Liege of the Primordial and Elemancer. This is was gives us all of our increased effect of Golem buffs and is why we choose this ascendancy over necromancer.

Unfortunately the Elementalist doesn’t have much else to offer. Since we’re using Cold Iron Points we don’t do ANY elemental damage, plus we don’t focus on boosting any of our own damage anyway. Personally I opted for Shaper of Desolation and Beacon of Ruin. The conflux allows our purely physical damage hits to chill, shock, and/or ignite, and Beacon of Ruin allows shocks and chills to have a noticeable affect even though we have next to no damage.
Alternatively you could take Paragon of Calamity and Pendulum of Destruction. The only thing we get out of Paragon of Calamity is the 8% reduced damage taken of an element you’ve been hit by recently, and the only thing we get out of Pendulum of Destruction is 75% increased area of effect, but only 50% of the time. The reduced elemental damage can be nice for survivability, and the periodic increase in AoE is nice for keeping high virulence stacks while clearing maps, but I think the chilling and shocking is overall nicer.
Even though we are using heralds we don’t take Mastermind of Discord as we don’t get or even want ele pen, we don’t get the reduced mana reservation since we’re using The Coming Calamity, and the increased effect of Herald buff doesn’t boost our minions from them (I believe, I could be wrong), so would only give us a little more phys damage on our Divine Ire and 5% more chance to poison on hit. Overall I don’t think it’s worth it.

As for the tree the PoB link is posted at the top of the guide. We are primarily focusing on getting life and minion damage, with a little bit of Minion life + regen so our zombies and spectres stay alive in harder fights. The only thing that is really required is picking up 4 jewel sockets so we can have 3 Primordial Eminence and an Anima Stone that will give us +2 Golems.

The PoB tree does show a 4th Primordial Eminence (jewel socket behind two elemental damage nodes), but this is optional as it’s a pretty marginal damage increase, something to pick up if you hit 91.

If you can afford it you can get a little bit of damage boost from Anointing Ravenous Horde on an amulet. Otherwise Diamond Skin is always nice to help with resistances and the increased armour from it isn’t completely worthless if you’re using Molten Shell.

The Numbers
Let’s look at what PoB says this build can do against the shaper. We have a lot of different sources of damage from our army of minions, but with Deathmark we can be sure that all of our minions will focus on a boss. This will also be a low-ball estimate as I’ll just use each minion’s default attack DPS to keep things simple. In total we have:

Chaos Golem: 35,806
Stone Golem: 84,201
Carrion Golem x4: 31,824 x 4 = 127,296
(Note I don’t think PoB factors in the non-golems nearby buff of up to 80% more damage, so they will likely be closer to 57,186 per golem for 228,744)
Animate Guardian: 267,365
Zombies x8: 104,669 x 8 = 837,352
Agony Crawler (at 20 stacks): 737,540
Sentinel’s of Purity x4: 520,113 x 4 = 2,080,452

For a grand total of: 4,170,012 Shaper DPS

Again, that’s a low ball estimate just looking at minion’s default attacks and ignore spectres (they are mostly there for support so won’t add much anyway). That’s also not factoring in the shaper occasionally be shocked by your conflux. The damage could be even higher if you can get more virulence stacks, but I'm not really sure what's capable for a single target encounter like Shaper. (For example having 35 virulence stacks increases the crawler's damage by over 1.7 million DPS.)

The only really expensive part of the build is getting a +3 helm with the Carrion Golem enchant, so if you can manage that the rest of the build is pretty cheap for over 4 million shaper DPS.

Below are a few leveling trees.
Level 30

Level 60

Level 91

Mostly start by picking up minion nodes and life. We want to make sure we have both Death Attunement for the +1 spectre and Golem Commander for +1 golem by level 30, around when you get those skills. After that we prioritize traveling the tree to get the 4 jewel sockets we need. Feel free to pick up minion nodes and life as needed along the way. Lastly we fill out the rest of the minion and life nodes.

For leveling skills I used SRS, and as always it's very smooth playing. I didn't switch to the divine ire dual curse until I got into mapping. You can follow pretty much any SRS guide for leveling. I did this as a league starter without any specific leveling gear and as with any SRS build really had no issues.

Ascendancy order is: Liege of the Primordial -> Elemancer -> Shaper of Desolation -> Beacon of Ruin

I’ll fill this out more as any questions come in from the comments below but a few questions you might have:

It looks like Stone golem is higher DPS than Carrion (even with their more damage buff), why not run 4 of them and 1 Carrion?
The damage difference is minor and the bone spikes of the Carrion Golem is really nice for clearing.

Because of how many different gems we use are all buffed by the Cold Iron Points and because we already have up to 640% increased golem buff effect, getting two more golems from dual wielding Clayshapers is really not worth it.

Why Divine Ire?
I initially chose it because it hits a lot of things very quickly so it stacks virulence high. It also deals physical damage so I know it can poison. Although more recently I realized that with Herald of Purity ANY spell I use will deal some physical damage so any spell can poison. As mentioned above Ball Lightning does work well and I did start using that in the end game. It's a slightly safer play style, but ultimately up to you.

If I see any other relevant questions that I think could get asked a lot I will but them below.

This is my first attempt at a build guide so please let me know if you have any questions or just want to offer any feedback or improvements you might see.

Changed Virulence stacks in DPS section from 35 to 20 for more realistic numbers.
Added online skill tree planner link.
Added leveling section with leveling trees.
Updated gear with current set.
Update skills for use with Ball Lightning.
Updated spectres used.
Added video of Shaper kill.
Last edited by Thamior_The_Great on Dec 9, 2019, 12:39:56 PM
Last bumped on Oct 23, 2019, 10:17:11 AM
I'm very doubtful that you can keep 35 agony stack in singletarget with only divine ire, no cast speed at all and not even 100% chance to poison.

That's an average of 4 stacks/s...
Last edited by Keyen on Sep 29, 2019, 2:54:17 PM
You're right about the stacks. I had just used what I was seeing during mapping but forgot to factor that during shaper there is only one target. While channeling Divine Ire does have 5 casts per second. I'm not really sure how to calculate stacks of Virulence from poisons per second with its reduced duration at higher stacks, but even at 20 stacks the Agony Crawler is still doing 737,540 shaper DPS. And as mentioned you can always use Coralito’s Signature to go from 80% to 100% chance to poison for some bursts of virulence stacks while bossing.

Something I'm not sure of, does Skill Effect Duration improve your ability to maintain Virulence stacks? The build does gain some from Enduring Bond. Potentially even more from that wheel if Minion Skill Effect Duration affects Virulence stacks.
This guide is great, thank op. Creative build, cheap, thorough explanations.

Could you please raise some spectral tacticians to see if that huge physical damage buff transfers to their minions they summon? Thanks.
I could test out that spectre, I have been trying find interesting spectres in general with the new change of monster level being determined by gem level.

What do you think would be the best way to determine? Take some of those spectres into a map without any golems summoned, see how quickly they kill stuff, then summon some golems and see if there's a difference? In general to minions of your minions get your minion modifiers?
In general do minions of your minions get your minion modifiers?

No. Your minion modifiers only affect the spectre, not the spectres minions.

It's unclear in 3.8 what changes affect the spectral tacticians. Mostly, since their elementals (little SRS's) are their minions, then they do not get modified by any of your own passive trees or minion augnments.

Spectral tacticians have previously only been able to get modifiers from linking raise spectre with:
minion damage
minion speed
faster casting
spell echo
increased duration

Since their base damage was so low, spectral tacticians needed to have any buffs to 'allies' that could be found. This meant running hatred, wrath, anger, haste, proccing EE and being way too squishy.

But we know the base accuracy of minions got buffed in 3.8 - did this apply to spectre's minions too?
Carrion golem is new and the wording is unclear - do non-golem minions include the tactician's SRS?
Will a tacticians SRS linked with feeding frenzy buff the tactician or you or neither?
Will the changes to spectre levels mean that really high level spectres cast better SRS's?

Your build seems like it could test some of these things fairly easily..

What do you think would be the best way to determine? Take some of those spectres into a map without any golems summoned, see how quickly they kill stuff, then summon some golems and see if there's a difference?

The act 6 hillock is easy to not die to, and is alone, so that is a good place to test. unsummon all other minions except unlinked golems. time how long the tacticians take to kill it with golems vs without.

If you have the time and inclination you could check

- With spectres in a plus level helmet vs not in
- with feeding frenzy linked to raise specre vs without
- If the golems buff seems to work, try with a victarios influence and auras, then link raise spectre to minion damage, minion speed, faster casting, spell echo, increased duration, plus the auras, and run a map to see how clearspeed goes.
Mines better.
Hi bud, I like your build. I had a similar idea, but I didn’t like that the 3rd and 4th ascendancy options didn’t do much for me, so I gave up on it early.

An alternative late game glove option could be some shapers gloves with the vulnerability on hit corruption and slower proj mod socketed with ball lightning, poison, curse on hit, punishment. Might be easier to stack poison on single targets this way, and would still have the two curses because of the corruption. Let me know what you think :)
Interesting idea, the only downside I see is by dropping the Vulnerability gem itself you no longer are getting the +6 levels from the two Cold Iron Points. Plus the corruption implicit can only be level 12 at most, so you're trading a level 26 (really 27 as 21 vulnerability is pretty cheap) for a level 12 at best, and need to get lucky with corrupting Shaper gloves.

I had also used Divine Ire because it did some physical damage, so I didn't have to worry about adding phys or chaos to spells so that they would be capable of triggering poison. Once you get the Circle of Nostalgia that does give some chaos so we should be able use any spell.

(I believe as long as you are doing 1 chaos or physical damage and have a chance to poison then poison can be applied. Let me know if I'm missing something about poison mechanics.)

I'm not really sure if it would be worth the effect for slightly higher poison stacks.

However, I had honestly forgotten about the chaos damage from the Circle of Nostalgia until I started looking into your comment. I think even without the Slower Proj Ball Lightning might be all around better. I wouldn't have to stop to channel while clearing and the added mobility during boss fights might be nice (in very high tier maps, in yellow maps bosses are just instantly deleted). I think I'll give it a try tonight and see how it compares for generating virulence stacks.
Last edited by Thamior_The_Great on Oct 23, 2019, 10:51:35 AM

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