[3.8] The Fortified Summoner: CwC Raging Spirit Champion [All Affixes, Guardians/UE Videos]

Latest Update: After playing this build extensively, I have decided to go ahead and post my finalized build for 8.3, 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.


Changelog:
Spoiler

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 (That's not Dominating Blow).



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
Elder/Shaper/UE capable (See vids below)
Relatively inexpensive; 1<2ex will get you to red maps easily
More fun than it has any right to be
It's a Champion summoner that actually works



Cons:

Clearspeed is good but not great (More of a Yellow; this has been greatly mitigated with latest update)
Skill-swap needed after leveling
Not SSF-friendly


The Basics



This build revolves around cyclone paired with cwc-summon raging sprits. Combine that with elemental equilibrium, curse on hit flammability, minion instability, and loads of minion damage/health, and the playstyle is pretty much cycloning into the heart of the biggest nastiest packs of mobs you can find and watching your angry little demon skulls cluster-bomb the map around you!

For defenses: 20-30k armour, perma-fortify, endurance charge generation, blinding enemies, defensive zombies, and immunity to bleed, ignite, poison, shock, and maim, 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 the fireworks.

Damage Sources/Mechanics/Gem Links

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

Spoiler
1. SRS

Links:
Summon Raging Spirit - Cast While Channeling - Cyclone - Combustion - Minion Life - Minion Damage
Our main offensive skill; Summon Raging Spirits, paired with Cast While Channeling and Minion Instability, provide the bulk 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 skills revolve around buffing this damage as much as we possibly can.

One major point to keep in mind is that although MI-SRS does more than enough damage by itself to clear all content, it does come at the cost of an initial delay until our SRS degen really starts kicking in. This becomes obvious when mapping, especially with lots of start/stops for looting etc. Because of this weakness, all our other damage sources will fill two roles:

a) Buffing SRS Instability damage
b) Adding instant aoe for mapping clear

Keep those 2 goals in mind when going over the other damage sources below!

2. Zombies

Links:
Raise Zombie - Meat Shield - Feeding Frenzy - Faster Attacks
While we do run zombies, here they act primarily as a vehicle to trigger feeding frenzy for the global minion damage buff, as well as some nice instant damage! Yes, we run both Feeding Frenzy and Meat Shield. this is simply because we want the feeding frenzy buff, but aggressive zombies tend to become dead (again) zombies. Meat shield cancels out their aggressive behavior, and gives them extra survivability in the bargain!


3. Spectres

Links:
Raise Spectre - Elemental Army - Greater Multiple Projectiles - Spell Echo - Damage on Full Life/Minion Damage

I recommend running Spectres in at least a 5 link, and as with zombies they serve both as a source of instant added damage for mapping, as well as applying the Exposure debuff from Elemental Army. I also highly recommend GMP+Spell echo with Flame Sentinels; good damage, easy 100% exposure buff on everything, and they look great too :D. Note that for the 5th and 6th links there is a lot of flexibility. In my experience, what you socket will depend on what you can find as far as gear. As we run high armor gear, off-coloring can be a challenge. Decent red gems to consider:

Damage on Full Life
Fire Penetration
Empower

4. Utility Links:

Summon Skitterbots - Blood and Sand - Flesh and Stone
Skitterbots are not just for trap builds! they provide a pseudo chill/chock aura wherever you go; are extremely quick, invulnerable, and never fall behind. Easy win for the extra damage taken to boost our MI damage.

Blood and Sand and Flesh and Stone work in conjunction to buff your area of effect (great for tagging more minions and boosting your life gain on hit), blind nearby enemies, and reduce damage taken from the ones further away. Great deal for only 35% reserved mana total. We are always in sand stance; blood stance does nothing for us as we don't deal any physical damage of note.

Cast when Damage Taken - Vaal Molten Shell - Spirit Offering - Desecrate
Our workhorse utility/survivability link. Molten shell gives us great passive mitigation, and the Vaal portion gives us a nice on-use. Desecrate provides us with consistent corpses to use in Spirit Offering, which gives your non-SRS minions a nice survivability boost and some added Chaos damage as well. 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!

5. Key Mechanics (Skip if you aren't interested in the theory)

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).

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 4 key things with one button press:

a) Summons SRS
b) Applies EE
c) Applies curse on hit-Flammability (through ring)
d) 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 is really only one required and one recommended piece, so I will work down the list in order of importance to the spec.

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 to minions, to ensure the timely demise of our SRS.


Helmet:

You can go two different routes here. The budget option is to socket your SRS into a chestpiece, and your zombies into helmet. In that case just pick up a helmet with armour, life, resists etc; the standard things. I have found however, that it can be difficult to off-color a strengh-based 6-link how we need it, and it turns out, we don't need to!



This helm is actually better than a correctly colored 6link chest due to the additional +lvl to minion gems, which dramatically scale our SRS life, and minion instability damage as a result. Because these items are somewhat pricey in the current league, I recommend the budget conscious to start with a +2 to socketed gems, as the +3 is the real cost adder.


Weapons:



I prefer claws, as the on-hit life and mana provides a nice boost to the regen we get from the tree. We need this because we don't really leech (we don't do hardly any damage from 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.


Rings:



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. Highly 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.


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?). Note that if you choose to socket SRS in your chest, you will have to deal with a pretty dramatic off-colour effort. Not recommended.


Belt

My preferred belt:

Onslaught for us translates into free 20% movement speed from our perma-fortify, and is just too juicy to pass up. For those wanting a bit more damage look into a good Stygian for the socket. Alternatively, the belt is a viable place to pick up extra resists, dexterity, minion life crafts, or aspect of the spider (though I prefer the ring slot for spider if you can find one).


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.


For gem links, refer to my complete gearset below:


Videos/Screenshots:

Bear with me; 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

Latest Videos, all 4 guardian maps and UE shown for a mix of mapping and bossing

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

Quick note: life gain on hit from claws does indeed work against immune targets! Quite handy for UE.

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



Path of Building/Damage Potential:
Spoiler


Latest PoB:
https://pastebin.com/trvwUqkC

Defensive, high-armor PoB:
https://pastebin.com/E17tdmy5

Per request: Alternate Jugg version (more movespeed, less damage, roughly equal survivability)
https://pastebin.com/66midEhX

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. This makes actual dps calculation difficult. If I add the instability hit, ignite dot, and the regular attack dps of a nominal 10-12 SRS minions out at any given time, I get to about 1.5M Shaper dps. Add in zombies and it should get up to about 2M with my current gear, add in Flame Sentinel Spectres and you should be well over 2M Shaper dps.

Note that you could swap in Skellies for Zombies for substantial extra single target burst if needed; I just have yet to have that need. Regardless, it is more than enough for all content.



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.
Last edited by Peterrabbit_01 on Nov 12, 2019, 1:21:14 AM
Last bumped on Nov 12, 2019, 1:05:07 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™:
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2087746
☛ ♨ ♂ ✌ www.youtube.com/captainwarlord ♂ ♨ ✌ ☚
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

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