[3.11] The Fortified Summoner: Dual-Herald MI Champion [3.11 Tree in Comments]

3.11 Updates (Latest Update 6/19)
Spoiler

First pass at a 3.11 tree posted in pg 13 of comments! Very similar performance to 3.10 overall, and more to follow.

3.10 Updates (Latest Update 5/9)
Spoiler

5/9/20

Whew, guide update/ground-up rework is complete! The guide as it stood just didn’t reflect the current state of the build, so I re-worked basically every single section. Skill gems, gear, leveling, tips and tricks, pob’s, it’s all updated! 3.10 league experience has been moved down to the bottom of the guide for reference. I hope this new guide works well; as always let me know if there is something missing or that doesn’t make sense!

Something you don't see every day: A Champion Summoner!



I made this build because I really enjoy the low-stress ease and dependability of the champion spec, and wanted to see if a 35k+ armour, perma-fortify melee class could make a summoner playstyle work. Turns out the answer is yes!


Pros:

A tanky summoner!
Can do ALL map mods
Endgame viability and consistency; easily get to 90+…we tend to just not die much
Vetted extensively: T16 maps, Deathless Sirus, 20/20 Simulacrum all shown below
Relatively inexpensive; 1<2ex will get you to red maps easily
More fun than it has any right to be :D



Cons:

Clearspeed is good but not great
Skill-swap needed after leveling
Several specific items needed-Not SSF-friendly
HoA AI can be funky; takes practice to optimize for mapping



The Basics

Changed for 3.10: 3.8 and 3.9 saw this build focused around MI SRS and the unique Tavukai ammy for angry exploding demon skull mayhem. While that variant is still perfectly viable, the 3.10 build has focused on exploding bigger and better minions: Sentinals of Purity! The new cluster jewel system is key to this; specifically the combination of 3x “Pure Agony” talents letting us boost our maximum summoned sentinels to 7, and the Heraldry talent which gives us the mana reservation to make this all actually work.

The other half of the build is HoA. Since we are stacking attack speed for many many many HoA spawns, we can easily keep up Virulence with minimal investment with cyclone, and this provides us with much needed mapping clear, as well as a damage source when no rares/uniques are to be had.

For defenses: 20-40k armor, perma-fortify, endurance charge generation, added flat physical damage reduction, and ridiculous life recovery from Maligaro’s Lense, this build is extremely tanky and forgiving, and just as importantly FUN to play, with an absolute minimum of the random deaths that are so frustrating in higher level content.

Plus, It's a Champion Summoner, and it can clear all content thrown at it without any weird workarounds like Writhing Jar. Just Cyclone into the thing(s) you want to die, and watch your minions melt the map (and heal you while doing it).


Skill Links

Spoiler

There is a fair bit going on here so I will break down our skill links sources point by point, as well as explaining the role they play in the overall build. Key mechanics will be included at the end.

Primary Support Links

This build can run multiple iterations of support links successfully. If using less than the full 6 links for a support, simply socket in according to the order listed. I will summarize the most popular combinations at the end.

6-Link Herald of Purity

Links:
Herald of Purity - Minion Life - Minion Damage - Infernal Legion - Combustion - Deathmark

If you are thinking that this is a strange list of supports for Herald of Purity well, you aren’t wrong. Unlike most builds using HoP, we are exclusively use them for their MI detonation. In good gear each Sentinal will be detonating for over 750k, and total health recovery can easily exceed 3.0k/sec. Add in the life gain on hit recovery from cyclone (820/sec)*N_targets, and you are around 3.8k regen/sec, rapidly scaling per mobs hit. This setup is only possible because of the unique shield Maligaro’s Lense+Necomantic Aegis keystone, and will be discussed further in the Mechanics section.

Note: this link is best socketed into an Elder helmet with Minion Life/Minion Damage support. They can get a bit pricy for a well rolled armor helmet with good life/ele resist, but you can generally find one for 10-20c if you aren’t picky. +2 to level of Minion Gems is an acceptable substitute for one of the supports if you are on a budget. Alternatively, it is relatively easy to fossil craft with bound fossils if you so desire.

Herald of Agony
Herald of Agony - Pierce (if not using Lioneyes) - Lesser Multiple Projectiles - Added Fire Damage - Damage on Full Life - Minion Damage - Vicious Projectiles (Drop if not using Lioneyes

Our secondary damage source, our only way to do damage when there are no rares/uniques around, our one stop shop for chaos resistance, and an amazing all around mappting tool for added clear speed; HoA has found a solid home in this build, and gone from a luxury upgrade option to a core skill. Lioneyes is the current preferred chest both for the large amount of armour and life, and the built-in pierce support.
Note: the AI on HoA is a bit funky. Get used to running ahead in a cyclone channel, convoking in your HoA, and then doing a little circle around it to prompt it to blast in a full 360. Getting used to the AI will be a big part of maximizing your mapping speed

5-link Gloves:
CyclonePoison - Faster Attacks - Life Gain on HitIncreased Area of Effect

The engine that makes the build work! Our cyclone does many things for us, so I’ll just list them out:

-Procs Sentinals of Purity, whose explosive deaths are the main damage source of this build
-Procs Elemental Equilibrium on hit for a sweet -50% enemy fire resistance, exploited by above-mentioned explosive sentinals
-Stacks Poison on enemies (useful for vile toxins support), and stacks Virulence on you, making HoA possible
-Taunts on hit for +20% damage taken, and cannot evade attacks (Worthy Foe)
-Provides stun/knockback immunity from channeling passive
-Gives us a good chunk of regen from life gain on hit+claw implicit, which scales to god-tier regen when moving through large packs

So yeah, a pretty important link. These should be socketed in the gloves slot, as you can easily find gloves supported by faster attacks or poison which enables the 5link, or even better: both! Getting the dual support is a luxury upgrade that frees up an additional gem socket for something like Blood and Sand.

Secondary Support Skills:
These links provide utility, defense, and support to our main damage dealers.

4 Link:
Cast when Damage Taken - Vaal Molten Shell - Flammability - Spirit Offering

Our workhorse utility/survivability link. Molten shell gives us great passive mitigation, and the Vaal portion gives us a nice on-use. Flammability provides a good damage boost to both HoP minions as well as HoA crawler, and Spirit Offering provides a large amount of extra damage to the HoA crawler.

0-link:
Convocation - Flame Dash - Determination

No links needed; these are just your standard buff/movement abilities, and our main armor buff. One thing to note is that we are using Convocation extensively, both to keep our HoA crawler in play during mapping, and to proc our Ghastly Eye jewels. This is a huge portion of our damage, so don't forget about it!

0-link:
Cast when Damage Taken - Wave of Conviction - Flesh and Stone

Wave of Conviction is the newest addition to this build. The idea is to cyclone in to a mob, proc EE off of hit, and then when Wave of Conviction is triggered the fire damage will hit harder than the lightning, applying a -25% fire exposure to all hit mobs. Flesh and Stone is always used in Sand stance, and gives us a blind on nearby enemies, as well as a –damage taken to attacks from distant enemies. Great defensive support and highly recommended; does not need to be linked.

0-link:
Blood and Sand

Provides a nice boost to area of effect in Sand stance. The only way to have a socket for this is to get a pair of gloves with both Poison and Faster Attacks, freeing up a socket. I would call this a luxury upgrade.


Skill Combination Summary:

I’ve done my best to put this all in the various PoB’s as well, but here is a quick summary of all the current skill links, as well as their recommended locations.

-HoP (Elder Helmet, 6 link)

-HoA (Chest, 6 link)

-Cyclone (Gloves, 5 link) + Blood and Sand (Gloves, if running both poison and faster attack glove suffixes)

-CwDT support (Boots, 4-link)

-Convocation/Flame Dash/Determination (Claw/Shield, no links needed)

-CwDT-Wave of Conviction, Flesh and Stone

Total mana reserved: 90-98%, depending on the quality of your rings, ammy, and if you are using Lioneyes



Key Mechanics

Spoiler

Minion Instability - a Keystone in the upper-left hand corner of the map; this is the talent around which the entire build is based. In a nutshell, any minion reduced to low life will explode for fire damage equal to 33% of their max life! Pair this with the support Infernal Legion, and the high base health of Sentinels of Purity, and we can deal upwards of 750k for every MI hit.
The number of summoned sentinals increases proportionally with our attack speed. This makes faster attack support an absolute must-have for cyclone, and makes increased attack speed on your claw extremely valuable.

NOTE: if you over-cap on summoned Sentinels, the oldest one will be refreshed in both health and duration! This is the worst possible thing that can happen to us as a refreshed minion is a minion that is not exploding, and thus maximizing our sentinel spawn rate while avoiding capping out is one of the main goals of this build.


Cluster Jewel passives—we rely on 2 key passives, 2x Heraldry and 2-3x Pure Agony. Heraldry allows us to lower mana reservation enough for our HoP/HoA links, and Pure Agony raises our HoP minion cap up to 7, dramatically increasing our maximum attack speed before capping out on HoP minions. My experience has shown that with 3x Pure Agony we can run up to 11 attacks/sec with cyclone before we start to regularly over-cap.
Further min/maxxing of this build will likely revolve around boosting attack speed even further, while running 4+ Pure Agony (though were to find the points in the tree for that is the million dollar question).


Elemental Equilibrium - our biggest single buff we can get for our MI damage. Basically, we use either lightning or cold damage (added through weapon/gloves/ring) to lower the fire resistance of every mob hit by our attacks by 50%.


Worthy Foe - a free 20% damage taken increase straight out of the Champion Ascendancy, and one of the main reasons to pick Champion (outside of Fortify of course).


Necromantic Aegis – Keystone that lets us apply all stats from our shield to our minions. We use this in conjunction with Maligaro’s Lense to lower minion resistances to the point that we can get reliable HoP MI detonations, as well as enjoy the constant regen from said detonations. Huge boost to both our damage as well as our bossing survivability.


Virulence—The key mechanic for HoA’s Agony crawler. Every time we poison an enemy we gain a stack of Virulence, which greatly increases the crawler’s damage. As these stacks degenerate over time, maintaining high virulence stacks are one of the main reasons we run faster attack support on cyclone.


Claw Weapons - In addition to having decent attack speed, claws provide us with a very nice boost to our regen by life gain on hit, which is even more important than normal because we really can't leach worth crap as we do almost no damage ourselves.

From what is described above, it should become more clear why we choose to use Cyclone for our main skill. Cyclone does 6 key things with one button press (copied from skill link section above):

-Procs Sentinels of Purity, whose explosive deaths are the main damage source of this build
-Procs Elemental Equilibrium on hit for a sweet -50% enemy fire resistance, exploited by above-mentioned explosive sentinels
-Stacks Poison on enemies (useful for vile toxins support), and stacks Virulence on you, making HoA possible
-Taunts on hit for +20% damage taken, and cannot evade attacks (Worthy Foe)
-Provides stun/knockback immunity from channeling passive
-Gives us a good chunk of regen from life gain on hit+claw implicit, which scales to god-tier regen when moving through large packs

All while remaining fully mobile, with our only rotational ability being Convocation, which is an instant cast and thus does not interrupt our channel.


Gear

Spoiler
There are two required uniques, as well as several recommended pieces, go over the slots individually, and present budget/luxury alternatives as well.

Neck:



We want 3 things from our ammy: a good amount of dexterity, an open prefix to craft on -3 to cost of channeling skills, and a "determination has % reduced mana reservation" roll Beyond that, grab as much life and resistances as you can find/afford.
Budget/Luxury alternatives: drop the determination mana reservation affix. You will definitely need to drop some combination of Blood and Sand, Flesh and Stone, and HoA support links; PoB is your friend to simulate your available mana reservation.

Shield:



Maligaro’s Lens is the one absolutely required unique for this build, and fortunately it is also readily available and dirt cheap. Be picky and look for maxed attack speed and life rolls! The -%Elemental Resistance is key to getting consistent HoP detonations, while the % heal on death combos with Necromantic Aegis to turn our minion’s timely demise into massive sustained regen for us (as long as we are within proximity of the detonation; good thing we are a melee summoner!)

Budget/Luxury alternatives: None!

Helmet:

While not technically a required item, a helm with minion life and minion damage supports as shown below can be found for quite cheap and acts as a pseudo 6-link for eitour HoP. Very highly recommended.



This helmet is actually better than a correctly colored 6link chest due to the added minion life and damage affixes. Other stats to look for are a good life roll, resists, and an open suffix for resist crafting,
Budget alternatives: Any rare helm. If you can’t find/afford both minion life and damage supports, you can get by with just minion life and “+x lvl to minion gems” prefix, but this should be a very high priority to upgrade.
Luxury Upgrade: Rare with Life/Damage support, as well as the 30% increased elemental damage suffix (essence crafting, usually ridiculously expensive).

Weapons:



I prefer gemini claws, as the on-hit life and mana provides a nice additional regen, and the mana on hit makes no regen maps significantly less annoying. Preferred mods: Cold (preferred) or Lightning damage to attacks, increased attack speed (preferably 1.85 aps or better), as much dex/resists as you can find, and finally either a good +minion damage roll, or the hybrid minion life/damage crafted prefix (preferred).
Budget option: Probably a claw without attack speed, though you should be able to find a good one for cheap if you hunt around a bit.

Rings:

While we can get away with rare rings, this build really needs a circle of guilt and circle of nostalgia to shine. These are described below.
Note: Life/Mana (Fertile) catalysts have made the task of getting sufficient mana reservation rolls much easier, but I still recommend looking for as high a baseline reservation roll as possible so you can run some useful supports like blood and sand/flesh and stone



Circle of Guilt: Mandatory roll is reduced mana reservation, ideally 36%+ before quality upgrades. This mod is key to getting our mana reservation down to reasonable levels. Ideally your other mod will be increased Sentinel damage, but a budget (and defensive) option is % physical damage reduction while affected by HoP.



Circle of Nostalgia: Mandatory roll is reduced mana reservation, ideally 36%+ before quality upgrades. The other affix should be increased chaos resistance while affected by HoA; we can get upwards of 50% chaos resistance off this one ring!

Chest:



Lioneye’s Vision is the preferred chestpiece for this build. Not only does it have life and high armor, but it comes with a Pierce support, letting us pseudo-7-link our HoA! This does make mana reservation tight though, so I recommend you sim your gear/tree in PoB to make sure you have the reservation you need.

Budget Alternative: Any rare chest, look for life, lots of armor (like 1.5k+, preferably even higher), and ele resists (though don’t get used to them; you will loose them when you switch to Lioneyes).

Belt



My preferred belt is a Stygian Vise. Basically just find one with the best combination of armor, resists, and life you can afford. Preferred catalysts are prismatic if you need extra resists, else use fertile.

Alternative:



Onslaught for us translates into free 20% movement speed from our perma-fortify, but at the cost of the extra life/damage of a good Stygian Vise. You will also loose out on a fair amount of resistances which can be hard to make up elsewhere.

Jewels:



Ghastly eye jewels are amazing. They are wonderful. Get them and Love them; ideally with all the following rolls: “+xx to Maximum Life”, “Minions have xx% Increased Maximum Life”, and “Minions deal xx% Additional Damage if You’ve Used a Minion Skill Recently”. Look for as close to maxed rolls as possible



Watcher’s Eye is a fantastic jewel, and semi-required for getting to the %physical damage reduction needed for smooth play at high levels. Required mod is “+x% Additional Physical Damage Reduction while Affected by Determination”, and ideally the second mod will be “+xxx to Armor while Affected by Determination”. Keep a sharp eye out on the listings, as finding a gem with both these mods for a reasonable price can be tricky. You can get by with just the first mod though.

Those are the key gear considerations. For everything else, we want to grab as much health, resists, and ARMOUR as we can get our hands on.


Things to Aim For/Things I’ve Learned

Spoiler

1. Life target: 4500-5000 when entering red maps, 5900+ for endgame content (Simulacrum, 5 orb, UE, nasty t16's)

2. Physical Damage Reduction target: 80%+ for red maps, 85%+ for endgame

3. Resistances: all 75% min, 100%+ if you don’t want to worry about Elemental Weakness mod

4. Mana reservation: you will need to use life/mana (fertile) catalysts on HoA ring to bring mana reduction to 42-43%. HoP ring needs to be 37-38% which can be achieved with or without catalysts. Further reservation is advantageous as it lets you run the full suite of support gems including Flesh and Stone/Blood and Sand

5. Cyclone Cost: both "Channeling skills have -3 to total mana cost" as well as "allocates Lucidity" anoint are needed on ammy. You can get away with one or the other with a gemini claw, but it makes the experience much less smooth. Highly recommended you get both.

6. 160 Dexterity Requirement: you will need at least 97 dexterity on gear if you follow the tree. Keep this in mind when looking for gloves/ammy/rings. If you have to, you can pick up a +30 dex node (we have easy access to 2 of these), but it's always better to get the stats on your gear if you can.

7. Cluster Jewels: the number of passives on a cluster jewel is extremely important and should always be minimized. This means you want 8-count large cluster jewel, and 4-5 count medium cluster jewels (4 and 5 use the same number of points to grab both notable passives and the jewel socket at the end). NOTE: the small jewel sockets at the end of medium cluster jewels can, and absolutely should be socketed with Ghastly eye jewels! I went most of 3.10 before I realized this; learn from my mistake!

8. Cyclone is on a 5-link: Since we socket in gloves, this means gloves must have either faster attacks or poison support, or both. You only need 1 skill if you don't run Blood and Sand (which you probably won't have the mana for anyways early on). Faster attacks is the preferred support as you get an extra "xx% increased attack speed" affix, but either will do.


Leveling

Spoiler
I recommend leveling with Dominating Blow/Herald of Purity, and then performing a minor respec into the final MI tree once you hit maps. We do this because dominating blow plays well with easy-to-acquire strength gear, making it much less of a hassle to socket as you level. Minion instability; the cornerstone of the MI build, relies on multiple intelligence-based supports that makes finding off-color strength gear a pain.
Support gems are flexible while leveling, so feel free to mix and match as you like; the supports below are simply arranged in my rough order of preference.

Dominating blow: Melee Splash > Brutality > Melee Physical > Fortify > Ruthless

Multistrike can be a really good link as well, but some people don’t like how it feels. Use it if you like it!

Herald of Purity: Brutality > Melee Physical > Fortify

Ideal leveling setup would be to socket Dominating Blow into the highest linked chestpiece you can find, and Herald of Purity into any 4-link (or even one of your claw 3-links will work).

Leveling trees are shown below, designed to retain as much overlap with the final MI tree as possible. I recommend reaching at least lvl 80 before swapping to the final MI build, and with that in mind I have provided both lvl 80 Domination Blow and starter MI trees. Level 80 is where the MI build really starts to pick up steam, so I recommend some early mapping with Dominating Blow until you have gathered/purchased a good set of starting gear, then making the tree switch around 80.

Dominating Blow Leveling, with leveling path below in artfully-drawn freehand: https://pastebin.com/mDHecQjZ



And, below is the Lvl 80 Stater MI tree. This has what can be considered the absolute essentials of the MI build, including tree pathing, cluster jewels, and gear. Use this as a starting point as you gather gear for your MI switch: https://pastebin.com/EAf2b6be

Scroll down to the Path of Building section for the final MI trees.


Ascendancy:

Unstoppable Hero, Fortify, Conqueror, Worthy Foe, in that order.


Ammy Annoint:

Lucidity is our go-to anoint as discussed above, and is basically required.


Videos/Screenshots:
Spoiler


20/20 Simulacrum deathless: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REHJb6YlZXo
T16 Malformation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzsWvusN-24
T15 Acid Caverns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEWJ-bzvlqo


3.9 Videos (Old SRS build: for reference only as the build is much changed vs 3.9)
Spoiler

Mapping

https://youtu.be/H-sk-M6lU4w The HoA variant—my personal preference
https://youtu.be/ymAfR2urOSM The baseline variant— significantly easier to gear for; using Spectres instead of HoA.

Bossing

https://youtu.be/PYVttgl54PM Sirus Deathless, awakened lvl 5



Final MI Tree/PoB/Damage Potential:
Spoiler


Baseline 3.10 Tree, w/ Lioneye’s

This tree is a good starting point for endgame tree and gear. It also takes a path that picks up a significant amount of additional armor and elemental resistances at the cost of a couple extra points This greatly simplifies the task of getting to acceptable armor and resistance levels as you collect your baseline gear.

https://pastebin.com/CfmKjndY

Note: This PoB does not include the 3rd medium gem cluster with an additional Pure Agony/Cult-Leader passive set. This set is recommended as it is both a good damage boost and insurance against over-capping with HoP minions, but it can be difficult to pull together the points to make it work. Reference the Optimized build below for the 3rd cluster tree:


Optimized 3.10 build, w/ Lioneye’s

This is my current 3.10 tree, gems, and gear. It foregoes extra armor and resistance nodes in favor of maximum damage and life, and requires fairly well optimized gear to pull off. I am lvl 95 and consider this to be fairly close to optimized, and so this PoB can be used as a guide for what to aim for.
https://pastebin.com/RHg6gt1a

Damage can be calculated in PoB by the following formula: (HoP Damage)*(Cyclone hits per sec)*0.2 + (Combust dps) + (HoA dps). Running the numbers for the lvl 95 PoB above, we come out to 2.81M Shaper dps.

Old SRS PoB
Spoiler

I consider the current HoP-MI version of this build to be significantly better than the old CwC-SRS build as it does between 2-3x more damage when optimized, but for those interested here is the latest SRS PoB.
https://pastebin.com/xxJRds6i



Thank you for your interest in this guide! I had a lot of fun making it, and I hope others enjoy it as well. I am always happy to discuss questions; just leave me a message in the thread or PM and I will be happy to get back to you.


Old 3.10 and earlier Updates, history for the super-bored
Spoiler

4/26

Working on basically a complete re-write of the guide as much of it is obsolete with the 3.10 changes. For those interested in a summary: the current build is doing over double the damage and healing of the initial 3.10 build, and it does this by ditching SRS in favor of focusing on HoP MI. The build is better than ever, and until I get the full guide updated, below is my final 3.10 PoB, as well as a starter version to get you going.

Final 3.10 PoB: https://pastebin.com/Vj8T0ZUr
3.10 Starter PoB: https://pastebin.com/UzgxKqk6

Lastly, below is my Deathless Simulacrum run with this build, for your viewing pleasure!

20/20 Simulacrum deathless: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REHJb6YlZXo

4/20 MAJOR UPDATE

While the build as it existed prior to this update is capable of doing pretty much any content in the game, it was somewhat lacking in damage; topping out around 1M dps. This was on the low side for high level delirium content so, back to the drawing board we go!

Long story short: the new cluster gems gave us the answer. Stacking 2x Heraldry, along with 2x Pure Agony, we can dramatically up our attack speed and not over-cap on HoP minions. As we attack faster and faster, we get better at poison stacking too, and Heraldry+reduced reservation rings lets us have a full 6/7 link HoA for much improved mapping. The result: over double the baseline build dps, ~2x the MI healing, and ~3x the life gain on hit!

Current (Shaper) dps: 2.1M dps
PoB: This one depends on the chestpiece. I am currently favoring Lioneye's Vision, but requires good mana reduction rings, and so will be a bit more expensive option. A second, more versitile option is to get a Skin of the Lords with Minion Instability; this lets us save some points we can invest in life or damage, or a skin of the loyal with the "+2 to level of socketed Duration gems". More complete PoB to come but for now here is my current gear, tree, and cluster gem setup.

https://pastebin.com/SWYDPZcf

Can it lvl 20 simulacrum? Why yes it can!


Final note: damage can be calculated by: (HoP Damage)*(Cyclone hits per sec)*0.2 + (Combust dps) + (HoA dps)


4/5 Update, Videos Up!
I've been getting some questions about how the build plays in Delirium, so I went ahead and made some quick videos to showecase T15/16 mapping, as well as my first ever simulacrum attempt! I have not yet tried a 5 orb delirium run, but hopefully these videos will give a good idea about capability.

T16 Shipyard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0OGNlX4RrY

T15 Primordial Pool: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gxvqLdvx5A

Simulacrum! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcm1N4i7nVY

I ended up clipping the simulacrum run to the last 5 levels or so as it ended up being quite long, but it should give a good look at my general strat (basically, keep moving, keep your life/freeze immunity flasks rolling, and make sure to tag the rare spawns as you move to keep your HoP minions spawning.

Also, I had an incorrect "more" modifier on a ring in my last PoB. This is fixed now, and updated link is shown.

https://pastebin.com/xxJRds6i


3/30 Update!
I started off a bit slow this league, but as I am finally up and farming T16 maps, I wanted to share my updates, observations etc.

1. First off, I have been experimenting (and will continue to do so as the league continues, with the new cluster jewels, and my conclusion is overall you need some pretty specific and well-optimized jewels to improve over the standard tree. The exception to this is the new notable Pure Agony! This notable let's us have an additional Sentinel up, and dramatically reduces our trouble with over-capping on HoP sentinels. For this reason I have exactly 1 Medium cluster jewel with Pure Agony, and Cult Leader because well, it came with the jewel ;) I socketed it in to the armor node on the left as shown.


2. I've been running with Determination the entire league and really like the stability it gives the build, as well as opening up a much larger variety of chest pieces while still staying 30k+ in armor. As such I can't run things like skitterbots or aspect of the spider, and have been looking at ways to make up the lost damage. One technique I've come up with is using cwdt-Wave of Conviction-Added Fire Damage to apply a -25% fire exposure debuff, which is significantly better than the 10% exposure off of Elemental Army. The downside is, it will screw up your EE so you have to follow up with cyclone hits to put EE back to -fire after the wake hits. So far I'm really liking the results, and will probably be keeping that link for the rest of the league.

3. As a direct result of having up to 5 HoP minions due to Pure Agony, I have been looking to pump up my HoP minion spawn rate by upping my attack speed. I do this with a combination of Ammy annoint, a couple tree notables, and claw enchant, and cwdt-Blood Rage, and have my cyclone to .12 attack time, translates to 33% more HoP minion spawns over our baseline with no attack speed. Considering each minion can hit for 700k+ in good gear, this is a decent chunk of free damage! Just be careful not to overcap, or all that extra damage goes out the window.

For those who are interested, here is my current gear and PoB! I will keep the default PoB's as they are for now as it's nice to have a tree without the variability of the new cluster gems as baseline. As always if you have any questions or ideas to improve the build drop me a comment!



Pastebin:
https://pastebin.com/8yGxQGBT

Initial 3.10 Update
This build is completely unchanged for 3.10 (so far)! SRS and HoP escaped all nerfs. Aside from dedicating a portion of the tree to the new gems, I will also be experimenting with a spellslinger varient of this build the league progresses. That being said for a league starter, the build as-is will handle anything we throw at it.

Gem notables (in order of preference): Pure Agony>Invigorating Portents>Lone Messanger>Heraldry>Cult-Leader

Defensive options: Stalwart Commander>Hex Breaker

This section is definitely prone to change as the league progresses and I get the chance to math out the possibilities. Stay tuned!

1.21.20
Final 3.9 League Update
3.9 was a good test for this build. T15+Metamorphs (and Sirus for that matter) can be ridiculously hard on minions, and without the Necro ascendancy we don't quite have the added health to guarantee the consistent minion survivability I was looking for.

The latest build (PoB linked below) functions completely independant of any permanent minions! Yes I still have a Kitava's Herald Spectre 4link, but that's purely there for the Culling Strike link, and can be ditched for something else if you choose. The key to this latest build is the shield:

Not only does it lower minion resistances enough to get consistent HoP MI detonations (which are almost 1m PER HIT), but it also lets us heal from our minion detonations! This in turn lets us ditch our trusty claws in favor of this little beauty:

Pair that with MI Skellies on a spell totem, and we can proc the "covered in ash" debuff on bosses for some extra free damage, as well as extra skelly heal-on-death.

Overall the Maligaro's Lense build has similar to slighly higher boss damage as the original 3.9 build, but bossing is significantly easier because of the life gain on minion death. The only downside is our life gain tends to come in bigger chunks, and is delayed by a few sec after the start of channeling. I generally have a flask running when first engaging packs to give my first SRS/HoP minions time to tick down.

For those interested, here is my deathless Sirus kill (Awakened lvl 5), as well as some T16 mapping fun to show how it performs in a variety of content. Thank you for your interest as always, and if you've been running this build drop me a line in the comments and let me know how it's been working for you!

Sirus Awakened lvl 5:
https://youtu.be/PYVttgl54PM

T16 Promenade:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NwI31gvAs0

Final Gear List:


And....the PoB! Cheers :D
https://pastebin.com/Ev4nj7Wv

12.31.19
Happy New Year! The build is settling down; my gear is approaching a state I am satisfied with, so it is high time to give an update and show how we handle higher-end red maps!

Current gear at time time of this update:


I am happy to report we are fully capable in red mapping! I have been going back and forth between the two variations of this build (Zombie/HoP supports vs Zombie/Spectre), and have made the claim that you can use either one without issue, so I though I would do a little side by side comparison to show each version's capabilities.

Below are two 85-ish quantity T15 shore maps, both with Jun's mission. I run through each, including the metamorph at the end, and have no issues with either build. I personally have swapped back to zombies/spectres, as I feel the clear is slightly faster; and peak damage is about 10% higher, but it is somewhat more complicated to gear for, so pick whichever you like.

I hope those who are playing this build are enjoying it as much as I am; feel free to post your progress, and happy new year!

T15 Shore Mapping

Zombies/Spectres Support Build:
https://youtu.be/pySgb8HxRZc

Zombies/HoP Support Build:
https://youtu.be/qs9SmCL5has



12.23.19
Current Gear/links at the time of this update:


After a weekend of mapping, getting some gear and a few more points on the tree, I believe I have settled on the final form of this build moving forward, at least for 3.9. The SRS core remains unchanged; what has been in flux is the support talents; we have 2 main options. They are:

a) HoP (4 link)+Zombies (6 link)
b) Zombies (4link)+Specters (6-link):

I took a more serious look at HoP in this build because of several comments left (thank you!), and I was pleasantly surprised on the uptime; basically 100% on any boss fight of note, and good during mapping as well. In my current gear, HoP with Infernal Legion nets me ~200k extra dps, along with providing a nifty vehicle for applying the Elemental Army debuff! But how does damage stack up?

In my current gear, option a) comes out to 418k dps, and option b) clocks in at 360k, including the aspect of the spider and skitterbot shock. This is relatively close and when you throw in the shock/spider multipliers on our core SRS damage option b) will actually win out, but I am proceeding with option a) for now for the not-very-scientific reason that specters a bit of a pain! Also not having to find a good aspect of the spider piece is nice too. Both options are perfectly fine though and I will have PoB for both soon.

Note! Be careful using zombies until you can get them to around 15k+ health. Less than that and you will find them dying, and constant re-summoning is a pain.


12.18.19
First serious evening of mapping: with around 40c total invested in gear, I am comfortably into yellow maps. Here is my current gear for reference, as well as a couple takeaways from the leveling process this season.


a) Zombies are underwhelming during the gem leveling process. Constant re-summoning, little actual utility. I am investigating swapping them with something else that I can use feeding frenzy with; possibly HoP (although I really don't want to reserve the mana as it will mean dropping either skitterbots or aspect of the spider; and potentially both).

b) As I hit maps around level 72, it didn't really make sense to swap over completely to the final SRS tree; the points just aren't there yet. I ended up going with a hybrid of the leveling dominating blow tree, grabbing EE and MI, and dropping most of the wheel around Spiritual Aid and Spiritual Command.

c) ASAP invest in the gem slots, and prioritize "Minions have %# increased maximum life" as well as "Minions deal #% increased damage if you've used a minion skill recently". We trigger the second with Convocation, and those gems make up a huge amount of our baseline damage.

Here is a video I made of a typical tier 5 map; this is with <50c total gear investment and should serve as a good baseline for what you can expect in the early times as you transition into the final SRS build.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YccF-HOrZSU


Initial 3.9 Summary:
Very little has changed in 3.9! No tree changes whatsoever, so I am leaving the PoB links as they are from 3.8. Our main damage source SRS got a minor QoL targeting buff, while specters and zombies got nerfs. Fortunately this makes little difference to us as we use both minions in support roles; mostly as vehicles for Feeding Frenzy/Elemental Army buffs. Skitterbot baseline shock got a slight nerf as well; overall minor changes. I will be using this build as my league starter, and will update the guide periodically as I level and progress into maps.


Last edited by Peterrabbit_01 on Jun 19, 2020, 8:20:36 PM
Last bumped on Jun 26, 2020, 9:25:58 PM
Interesting stuff. I'd be interested in more details about your gear choices, like Tavukai.

Do you have any idea of the DPS this build achieves ?
Thank you for the interest! I added a quick explanation on gearing, as well as an overview of damage potential in the PoB spoiler. Let me know if you have any questions; I will attempt to be as prompt as possible.
Cool, thanks for the update. Tavukai is obvious indeed I did not get at first that this was a minion instability build xD

Might give it a try in a future league.
Yeah, I realized after you made the comment that I never specifically said it was minion instability; fixed now.

I did find that while srs/instability has plenty of damage potential, the drawback is the delay while they tick down. This is a big part of why spectres/zombies are included; to give the build a healthy dose of instant damage outside of srs ramp. Most mapping pulls involve cycloning into packs, applying EE and flammability in the process, convoking in the middle, and letting the combination of zombies, spectres, and srs wreck everything in sight :) . Anything that is missed in that initial hit is mopped up by instability explosions.

Bosses are actually perfect for Instability, as almost all have either RP in the beginning or some form of proximity pull, allowing you to get the full complement of srs out and ticking down before you engage. The ramp is effectively zero for bosses.
I kind of wanted to do a build like this too. But I thought the whole idea was to use the Aura buffs you can get from the Champion such as Inspirational from your ascendancy and use that to benefit the minions. I see you don't care much for the aura's in this build. Plus you are really close to Spiritual Aid in your tree, it would help with the Cyclone damage, no?
Builds
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2149153
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2245701
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2664371
Shaper Guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2252008
Last edited by 0piate on Oct 15, 2019, 5:20:30 PM
Thank you CaptainWarlord, some great points as always. At work now so will have to go over them in more detail tonight. I really do like the idea of skitterbots and feeding frenzy; those are two damage modifiers I did not know existed! I remain hesitant to use skellies though; interrupting cyclone channel for casting really mucks up the smoothness of the build. Thanks again!
"
0piate wrote:
I kind of wanted to do a build like this too. But I thought the whole idea was to use the Aura buffs you can get from the Champion such as Inspirational from your ascendancy and use that to benefit the minions. I see you don't care much for the aura's in this build. Plus you are really close to Spiritual Aid in your tree, it would help with the Cyclone damage, no?


So I toyed around with this as well, as inspirational seems on the surface to be a great pick. Problem is; it doesn't fit that well with minion instability, which is the main workhorse of this build.

To boost minion instability damage, we can look at 3 main components:

1. Minion life. The higher the life of SRS, the bigger the hit. Pretty straightforward, and you can see basically all minion life nodes in easy reach have been picked

2. Minion damage. This is where you would think things like aura support would come in. Thing is, herald of ash mucks up EE, even with generosity support. Even if it didn't, because we are scaling the instability explosion, the actual attack damage of our SRS and other minions are of only secondary importance. This is why I've put so much focus into minion damage adders on my gear and in the tree, as that does work with instability.

3. Increasing enemy damage taken. This comes in two main components: the first being +% damage taken modifiers (like the Worthy Foe ascendancy talent), and the second is through reductions in enemy fire resistance. The most important source of this is Elemental Equilibrium, and is also why herald of ash can't be used--you can't add fire damage to your attacks or you screw up EE for your minion instability.

Additionally, we are running Flammability+Elemental weakness, +Exposure from my Spectres, and Combustion from SRS, all combine to around a 1.8 damage multiplier on all fire damage (which minion instability is). Huge deal for damage potential. Compared to this benefit, it's hard to justify spending resources on the various auras.

I guess you could run one of the curses with blasphemy for the aura increase, but then I would have to drop Worthy Foe which is hard to argue with as it gives a flat 20% damage taken increase, without having to reserve mana on a blasphemy curse.


Finally, we don't really care about our cyclone damage. Without proper gem and tree supports, it hits like a wet noodle. it's only purpose is to spawn SRS, and debuff the enemy with EE, and curse on hit. Think of the cyclone as the enabler and buffer of our damage, not the damage itself.
Last edited by Peterrabbit_01 on Oct 15, 2019, 7:05:10 PM
I see, looks like a well thought out build, good work.
Builds
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2149153
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2245701
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2664371
Shaper Guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2252008
"
In response to your message:

I took a sweep over the build, and I noticed a few things.

Whispers of Doom imo isn't worth it. The lvl 5 Flammability ring barely adds anything.

You could instead grab Quick Recovery for the same 3 points for another 290 HP.

You could also grab another jewel socket near Devotion (2 points) for Life and Minion Life. This is about the same DPS as your 2 Curses, with the bonus of a little more HP or whatever.

You could save another passive point between Spiritual Command and Purity of Flesh. The 4% minion AS can be skipped if you ask me.

You can also scrap a few passives and pick up another 2 Endurance charges instead, if you feel like it. It seems you could use some work on defenses/speed. Damage is already there.

Flame Sentinels barely add anything, both noticable in PoB and your Shaper video. I'd skip them altogether and instead maybe go for skellies with Feeding Frenzy. The buff adds damage and skellies are expendible.

I don't really see the point of going MoM, despite using Gemini claws. MoM requires a free Mana pool of 40% of your total HP to be useful. I'd suggest to rather use Skitterbots or something.

That about covers it, I think. Hope I could help :) Build looks solid. Good job.


Finally got some time to go through your comments, and thanks again! Going point by point cuz that's how my brain works :p

Whispers of Doom: Agreed. looking into PoB it was only about a 10% damage adder. Thanks to your other comments I more than make up this loss. Removed and put toward life.

Endurance Charges: I feel like my endurance charge generation is not consistent enough to really warrant boosting the max number. Ideas for improving generation?

Flame Sentinals: I agree their single target damage is pretty insignificant. They are there for 2 reasons:
1. Mapping: they give some nice instant aoe. Nice but not vital.
2. Debuffing targets. I was already using them for the Exposure debuff from elemental army for a free -10% to resists on targets. Your comment about feeding frenzy got me to thinking though; since the spectres are mostly there for debuff application, why not use them to proc feeding frenzy too? I tested it and turns out ranged minions don't tend to wander off and get themselves killed with feeding frenzy, unlike melee units. Tested it out on Chimera/Shaper and had pretty much 100% uptime. Really good note about feeding frenzy!

Side note: This leaves zombies as just an extra damage source; there may be something better to do with that chest slot. They are extremely helpful for mapping, but not so noticeable on bossing.

MoM/Skitterbots: Let's just say I had no idea whatsoever skitterbots did what they did. Took me a hot second to swap that in; the perfect substitute for the discarded 2nd curse sockets! As I am now reserving basically all my mana (and have more life now too!), MoM is useless. Dropped, and invested the points into that last gem socket.

I'm a little skeptical of PoB's calc on the shocked damage taken modifier, as it's just a toggle in the config and doesn't seem to have any relation to the actual shock applied by the skitterbots, but going from the description it should be a 24% increased damage taken modifier, which puts it well ahead of the curse it was replacing; and got 500 life in the process! Will update the PoB now, and thanks again.
Last edited by Peterrabbit_01 on Oct 16, 2019, 4:06:57 AM

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