[3.9] The Fortified Summoner: CwC Raging Spirit Champion [Final League Update, Sirus/Mapping Vids]

Changelog: Last Update 02.04.20
Spoiler

Final 3.9 Update:
Major re-work of the skill gem, gearing, and videos section for 3.9. Updated PoB links, and damage prediction. Moved my 3.9 league updates to the end of the guide for reference. Basically, went through the entire guide with a fine-tooth comb and brought it up to snuff.

12.23.19 Major revision of the Skill Links/Mechanics section to reflect 3.9 build updates. Minor gear/leveling updates, and updated PoB with all links.

12.12.19 Added 3.9 update, as well as ascendancy/leveling section.

Final 3.8 Update:
After playing this build extensively, I have decided to go ahead and post my finalized build for 3.8, which addresses what I consider the two main issues with the original build, listed below. For those who have been following along, or are just interested in my logic read on, for everyone else you can safely skip down to the meat of the build after "The Basics"
Spoiler

Issue 1: Curse dependence
I played around a lot with flammability/elemental weakness curses, and how to effectively implement them. While on paper they are a great damage increases, tying them to CwDT both bloats our gem slots, as well as making it a non-factor on boss fights where you need it the most (soaking a shaper orb just to get a curse off is not generally a great idea). Blasphemy will get around this but requires a fair mana reservation. Overall just not worth it.

Solution: Drop Determination (we really don't need the extra armor with the investment we have already made in tree), and fill it with blood and sand, flesh and stone, and Aspect of the Spider. In sand stance (default for us), this gives us increased aoe, blind/damage reduction, and increased damage taken from Spider which is completely passive. Much better use of mana reservation and equivalent overall survivability.

Issue 2: Movement Speed
As this is a cast-while-channeling build, we really would like to spend as much time as possible in a cyclone channel for maximum SRS generation. The original build just felt a bit on the slow side without frequent interruption of cyclone to move between packs, which exaggerates the ramp issues with SRS in general.

Solution:


This belt is wonderful, and it fits perfectly with the Champion ascendancy. Because we have permanent fortify, we also get permanent Onslaught, which translates into a free 20% extra movement speed, just because we are a champion and we are awesome that way. Final touch was bringing back the keystone Art of the Gladiator, which combined with some 35% boots puts us at PERMANENT +58% movement speed. Look for a good life corruption on the belt and you can even come out ahead on HP vs a stygian, which is just icing on the cake.


11.11.19 Build tweaks, mostly shifting damage away from curses into buffs, and major boost in clear speed. New guardian and UE videos posted as well

10.23.19 Name update, hopefully for the final time (or until someone thinks of a better one)

10.22.19 Guide update, lots of new content

10.16.19 Build update/tweak, summary of changes in page 2 of comments

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 on T16 maps, Deathless Sirus, 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


The Basics



At the heart of this build are two very dear and beloved minions: Raging Spirits and Sentinals of Purity. Raging spirits we summon with “Cyclone-Cast While Channeling” link, while Sentinals are summoned off of rare/unique hits from Cyclone. I hope you don’t get attached to your minions, because we then proceed to light our summoned minions on fire, and send them to carpet-bomb our foes into submission!

For defenses: 20-30k armour, perma-fortify, endurance charge generation, and immunity to bleed and poison, 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/Mechanics

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
Spoiler


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.

SRS

Links:
Summon Raging Spirit - Cast While Channeling - Cyclone - Combustion - Minion Life (From Helm) - Minion Damage (From Helm)
Alternate gems: None.

Our main offensive skill; Summon Raging Spirits, paired with Cast While Channeling and Minion Instability, provide a huge chunk of our single target damage in the form of the large up-front fire hit from MI, as well as a substantial fire dot from Combustion. Most of the rest of our build revolves around buffing this and MI-HoP damage as much as we possibly can.


Herald of Purity

Links:
Herald of Purity - Minion Life - Minion Damage - Infernal Legion - Elemental Focus - Concentrated Effect

Note: if using HoA, swap Concentrated Effect for Vile Toxins…similar damage without the decreased aoe, and a lower mana multiple to boot

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 700k, and healing you for 1.5k every second. While we use Maligaro’s Lense+Necomantic Aegis to achieve this and loose the option of running the higher damage fire spectres and zombies in the process, the tradeoff is completely worth it as the addition of MI-HoP to this build dramatically improves our bossing damage, as well as sustain.

For our final primary support link, we choose of the two options listed below:

a) Spectres

4-link Gloves:
Raise Spectre - Culling Strike - Elemental Army - Feeding Frenzy

Because we have essentially zero elemental resistances on our minions due to Maligaro’s Lens, I have only found 1 spectre that is tanky enough to not get annihilated to bosses/metamorphs: Kitava’s Heralds. Their sole purpose here is to provide a reliable source of culling strike, the Elemental Army “Exposure” debuff, and Feeding Frenzy.

b) Luxury Upgrade: Herald of Agony

4-link Gloves:
Herald of Agony - Pierce (mapping) or Culling Strike (Bossing) - Added Fire Damage - Maim

This is a bit of a weird link! Originally this 4link was my Kitava’s Herald Spectre slot, but the more I looked in to it the more Herald of Agony looked like the better option. Using HoA in this build will give you:
1. An invulnerable source of instant AoE while mapping
2. Culling Strike support
3. 50-60% increased Chaos resistance (with Nostalgia ring)
4. A cheaper and more effective link to replace Concentrated Effect in your HoP link (discussed above)
The downside is you do need to run a Circle of Nostalgia ring with 38%+ reduced mana reservation as well as “+x% Chaos Resistance while Affected by Herald of Agony” to get full benefit.


Secondary Support Skills:
Spoiler


These links aren’t the main damage dealers, but improve the effectiveness of the build nonetheless. Not all these links may be in your build depending on what you pick for your primary support skills above.

2-4 Link:
Cast when Damage Taken - Vaal Molten Shell - Blade Vortex - Poison

Our workhorse utility/survivability link. Molten shell gives us great passive mitigation, and the Vaal portion gives us a nice on-use.
If using HoA:Blade Vortex with Poison support gives a nice boost to HoA Virulence stacks, as well as triggering extra life-gain on hit. Note that gloves can come with the Poison support, allowing you to socket Increased Duration, which which will benefit both Blade Vortex and Molten Shell. I've found the sweet spot for this CwDT is level 4; there's really not much point in raising it above that.

Convocation - Flame Dash

No links needed; these are just your standard buff/movement abilities. One thing to note is that we are using Convocation extensively, both to keep our Sentinals/Zombies 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!

Carrion Golem - Minion Life
This is a nice free damage bonus to our minions, if you have the gem slots to use it. I recommend the minion life support, as without it tends to die a lot. Nice to have but a lower priority to other supports.

Luxury Upgrade: Skelly Buff Bots
Summon Skeleton - Elemental Army - Feeding Frenzy
Use this link if you are running HoA, ideally in combo with “Trigger a Socketed Spell When You Use a Skill” craft on claw. Because HoA is taking the place of our Spectres, we need another vehicle for Exposure/Feeding Frenzy, and these little guys do the job quite well.


THE PART YOU REALLY WANT TO READ: Skill Combinations:
Spoiler


The 3.9 PoB has all the links discussed above, but there are 2 primary skill link combinations that I have found most effective, and are summarized below. Follow either of these and you will be fine; mixing and matching is also viable, just make sure to incorporate the Key Mechanics (next section).

A) HoP+4-link Spectres (Cheaper/Easier to Gear, recommended to start with this version)

-SRS (Helmet/Chest, 5-6 link)
-HoP (Helmet/Chest, 5-6 link)
-Spectres (Boots/Gloves, 4-Link) Kitava’s Herald highly recommended
-CwDT support (Boots/Gloves, 4-link)
-Convocation/Flame Dash (Claw/Shield, no links needed)
-Aspect of the Spider (from gear) - or - Skitterbots

Total mana reserved: 80-90%


B) HoP+HoA (More expensive, moderatly better mapping/survivability, no Spectre-summoning hassle. Recommend transitioning to this over time from option A as you assemble the needed gear/gems)

-SRS (Helmet)
-HoP (Chest, 5-6 link)
-HoA (Boots, 4-link)
-CwDT/Molten Shell&Blade Vortex support (Boots/Gloves, 4-link)
-Skellies (Claw, 3-link)
-Convocation/Flame Dash (Shield, no links needed)
-Aspect of the Spider (from gear)

Total mana reserved: about 95%


Key Mechanics (Skip if you aren't interested in the theory)
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 Tavukai Amulet which acts as a consistent degen source, and our SRS are transformed into ticking time bombs of doom.

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).

Feeding Frenzy/Elemental Army: Two good buffs to our damage. Feeding frenzy is a buff on the player which increases minion damage, and Elemental Army acts as a mini- Elemental Equilibrium, lowering fire resistance on the debuffed enemeny by a further 10%.

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.

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. Wands can provide more theoretical minion damage, but in my opinion claws do the job just fine and are much safer.

From what is described above, it should become more clear why we choose to use CwC-Cyclone for our main skill. Cyclone does 5 key things with one button press:

a) Summons SRS
b) Summons HoP
c)Applies EE
d) Applies curse on hit-Flammability/Elemental Weakness (through ring, if using it)
e) Proccs life gain on hit from claws for sustain

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:



Tavukai. This is the piece around which the entire spec revolves. By adding chaos damage taken per second to our SRS. This allows us to consistently reduce our SRS health to below the minion instability threshold before their duration expires. We want to grab a Tavukai with at least -10% chaos resistance (but the more negative the better) to minions, to ensure the timely demise of our SRS.

Budget/Luxury alternatives: None!

Shield:



Maligaro’s Lens is the other required item for this build, and it is also significantly easier to find as we don’t need any special combination of stats like with Tavukai. 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! This is a cheap unique though.

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 either our SRS or HoP. Very highly recommended.



This helm 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 (or an open suffix),
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, or with the “+x lvl to minion gems” prefix
Luxury Upgrade: Rare with Life/Damage support, as well as the 30% increased elemental damage suffix (essence crafting).

Weapons:



I prefer claws, as the on-hit life and mana provides a nice boost to the regen we get from the tree. This kind of regen beats out leech stats, as we don't do hardly any damage with our own attacks. Don't forget the minion damage! This can be a craft or a drop, but it's a good chunk of added minion damage.
Budget option: Gemini Claw, without minion damage. This can be a good place to slot some resistances/dexterity in as well.
Luxury upgrade: Minion damage+chance to poison gemini claw for HoA build varient

Rings:


Circle of Guilt with a decent %Reduced reservation is highly recommended. Without this we have very little available mana to work with.

For the other ring slot, while not required, a curse on hit flammability ring is a cheap and powerful damage adder, and fits well with the theme of a tanky melee summoner, empowering their minions with their presence! A good ring with "minions deal #% increased damage" will also work just fine. Recommended: an open prefix on one ring to craft on -3 to mana cost of channeled skills. This makes your cyclone free, and makes it much easier to reserve most of your mana.

Finally, a great affix for us on rings is "Cannot be Shocked or Ignited while moving". As we are always moving with Cyclone, this one affix can grant us both shock and ignite immunity. Very powerful if you can find it.

Budget option: Any ring with good life/resist rolls. Just make sure to run gemini claw and leave at least 5-10% of your mana or so un-reserved so you aren’t constantly going dry in between packs.
Luxury Upgrade:

Circle of Nostalgia with a good reduced mana reservation is required for HoA build. Look for 38% or better. Ideally the other affix will be increased chaos resistance while affected by HoA; we can get upwards of 50% chaos resistance off this one ring!

Chest:



Any high armour chest will do; nothing special here. I am partial to Craiceann's because of the insane amount of armour (which this build loves), + the bleed immunity (corrupted blood? What is that?). Whatever you choose to socket into your chest, off-coloring is going to be a challenge with a strength-based chestpiece. Because HoP and SRS links use somewhat different colors, I recommend socketing whichever you find a color match for into the chest, and re-color the helm for the other link accordingly.

Belt



My preferred belt is a Stygian Vise. Basically just find one with the best combination of armor, resists, and life you can afford. This is also a potential spot for Aspect of the Spider crafts.

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.



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, as well as minion life/damage on gloves, boots, rings etc where we can. Don't forget minion speed too; they really help get your SRS to melee range and noticeably speed up clear.

Leveling

Spoiler
I recommend leveling with Dominating Blow/Herald of Purity, and then performing a minor respec into the final CwC-SRS 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 SRS build, relies on multiple intelligence-based supports that makes finding off-color strength gear a pain. For a league starter, SRS gems are also not available until late into the leveling process.

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

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). I recommend leveling Spectres/copies of HoP and SRS in your secondary weapons, as you will want to corrupt them for a lvl 21 version.
Leveling trees are shown below, designed to retain as much overlap with the final SRS tree as possible. I started out with the usual 30/60/90 point trees, but the more I thought about it the more those numbers seemed arbitrary, so I changed it up a bit to show the priority for your tree as you level. Let's get in to it!

Stage 1: Roughly speaking, you want to hit Spiritual Aid keystone by the time you get access to Dominating Blow midway through Act 3. Spiritual Aid, Righteous Army, and the associated minors give Dominating Blow the oomph it needs to carry you through your leveling process. Note that mana will be an issue while leveling; make sure to have a good mana flask in your loadout; you will need it!

Stage 2: Shore up your defenses. Because we went straight to the minion damage wheel with Spiritual Aid, we skipped a lot of the health/armor nodes that makes this build so tanky. Now is the time to pick them up.
Note: you can go straight to step 3 if you want more damage instead of defenses as you level; or mix and match the two; there is no one right answer.

Stage 3:
Extra Damage. This is pretty straightforward; we swing around and grab up most of the minion damage nodes we can. Stage 3 should be sufficient to take you into mapping, where you can prepare for the switch to the final SRS build.

Stage 1: Beeline to Spiritual Aid


Stage 2: Shoring up Defenses


Stage 3: Extra Damage


Scroll down to the Path of Building section for the final SRS tree. I recommend some early mapping with Dominating Blow until you have gathered/purchased a good set of starting gear, then making the SRS switch. Somewhere around level 80-85 worked well for me


Ascendancy:

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

Ammy Annoint:

Mana reservation generally gives the best bang for our buck. Sovereignty is the more affordable of our options, and should be sufficient. If you don't need the extra reservation, go for Lord of the Dead or Ravenous Horde.

Videos/Screenshots:

These videos cover multiple different iterations of the build, so details will vary, but the core is consistent across them and they show how the build plays across a variety of content. Definitely let me know if you want to see anything else!

Spoiler

3.9 Videos

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


Older Videos, using Specters+Zombies. Bossing significantly weaker due to no Lense, but still fun for reference :D
Spoiler

Chimera: https://youtu.be/uZASxrIngMg
Hydra: https://youtu.be/xaGC_zIrC-s
Minotaur: https://youtu.be/X6yvAZAiImU
Phoenix: https://youtu.be/uezPg03vH7I
UE: https://youtu.be/RkzZG6JbkQs

Even Older Videos….

T16 Phoenix, Spell Echo + Skitterbots implemented
https://youtu.be/UwITTSDru7E

T15 Canyon (intermediate version of build)
https://youtu.be/c7fUADLlEus

Shaper
https://youtu.be/0xa9qln5Y68




Final SRS Tree/PoB/Damage Potential:
Spoiler


Baseline PoB (3.9 updated, SRS-HoP-Spectres):
https://pastebin.com/Eu25jKbN

Alternate PoB (3.9 updated, SRS-HoP-HoA, more expensive and moderately faster mapping):
https://pastebin.com/Qmu0dnXc

Note that both versions linked above use the same exact tree! The difference is completely in gearing and gem selection.
For those that don't run PoB, here is the screenshot for the latest PoB below:



One thing to note is that PoB does not appear to accurately calculate minion instability dps. It appears to be using the explosion damage*the minion hit rate, when it should be using the spawn rate from CWC. HoP MI is even more difficult as it is based off the hitrate of our Cyclone. This makes actual dps calculation difficult. If I add the instability hits, ignite dot, HoA, and the regular attack dps of a nominal 12 SRS minions out at any given time we get to 1.81M Shaper dps in my current gear.



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.


3.9 experiences, read if you want to see the nitty gritty of my progress
Spoiler

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 Feb 4, 2020, 8:53:10 PM
Last bumped on Feb 4, 2020, 4:31:02 AM
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.
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.
Proud creator of Hank the Tank™:
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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!
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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

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