[3.9] Holy Relics Guardian - League Starter + Boss Killer [All Content | Beginner Friendly]

Introduction
Hello everyone! I wanted to share with you and interesting build I started the Metamorph league with, revolving around scaling Summon Holy Relic for our main damage source and using Static Strike to activate them efficiently.

The build is well-rounded and features multiple layers of defence, including: attack and spell block, additional physical damage reduction, life regeneration, a large life pool, and (most importantly of all) the ability to move freely while dealing damage. We reach high damage with this build in addition to all of the defences we have.

The build is made to tackle all content, and therefore is invested in both bossing capability and mapping. We are able to defeat all bosses with this build, up to and including Sirus and Uber Elder (though Uber Atziri can be an immense pain). We also do not lack mapping ability and are more than capable of clearing Incursions and the like. That being said, the build's mapping speed pales in comparison to other builds.

Pros and Cons
Pros
+ High life pool (8K+)
+ High damage (3M+ DPS)
+ Easy to play
+ Low gear requirement
+ Great to level with
+ Useful in party play

Cons
- Limited scaling possibilities
- Mediocre mapping speed
- Vulnerable to Phys Reflect/No Regen

Beginner Resources
Path of Building
Path of Building (PoB) is an offline build planner for PoE. Many builds are created and shared using this tool, which you can get here. Be aware that some players may ask you to open their builds in a different fork of PoB. The link provided will lead you to Openarl's implementation, which is the most popular PoB version.

Loot Filter
A loot filter is going to make your Path of Exile experience much smoother, as it will help you understand what items are valuable and which are not so valuable. There are many loot filters available. I will be providing you with NeverSink's loot filter, which can be found here.

Path of Exile Wiki
Path of Exile is a complicated game with many variables. To make it more approachable and easier to grasp, I recommend using the PoE Wiki, which can be found here.

A quick search on the wiki is likely going to help clear up any confusion you may have about various topics. If you are still confused, you can ask questions either here on the forums, or on the Path of Exile Subreddit.

Skill Gems
Below are the skill gems used and the means of acquiring them. It is recommended that you socket all of the listed active gems (marked with #) and try to support them with as many support gems (marked with +) as you can, where the support gems that are listed earlier take priority.

Main Setup
# Summon Holy Relic (quest reward from Breaking Some Eggs [Act 1])
+ Minion Damage (bought from Nessa after The Caged Brute [Act 1])
+ Deathmark (bought from Yeena after Sharp and Cruel [Act 2])
+ Controlled Destruction (quest reward from Sharp and Cruel [Act 2])
+ Meat Shield (quest reward from A Fixture of Fate [Act 3])
+ Brutality (bought from Petarus and Vanja after The Eternal Nightmare [Act 4])

Activation Setup
# Static Strike (quest reward from The Siren's Cadence [Act 1]) Note: I recommend going with Smite until you get this (quest reward from Enemy at the Gate [Act 1]).
+ Ancestral Call (quest reward from Mercy Mission [Act 1])
+ Increased Duration (bought from Clarissa after A Fixture of Fate [Act 3])
+ Fortify (bought from Clarissa after A Fixture of Fate [Act 3])

Utility Setup
# Flame Dash (quest reward from The Caged Brute [Act 1])
+ Faster Casting (bought from Yeena after Sharp and Cruel [Act 2])

# Vaal Molten Shell (random drop from Vaal side areas) Note: use Steelskin until you can acquire this (bought from Nessa after Breaking Some Eggs [Act 1]).
+ Cast when Damage Taken (bought from Petarus and Vanja after The Eternal Nightmare [Act 4])

Note: Make sure you do not accidentally support Flame Dash with Cast When Damage Taken.

Aura Setup
# War Banner (bought from Nessa after Breaking Some Eggs [Act 1])
# Pride (bought from Clarissa after Lost in Love [Act 3]) Note: I recommend using Herald of Purity until you can acquire this (quest reward from Intruders in Black [Act 2]).
# Zealotry (quest reward from Lost in Love [Act 3])
+ Generosity (bought from Clarissa after A Fixture of Fate [Act 3])

Note: You may have noticed that this requires more than 100% mana reservation to run, we circumvent this by picking up Sovereignty on the passive tree as well as the reduced mana reserved nodes leading up to it. If you do not yet have these nodes, use Herald of Purity in place of Pride.

End Game Mods
Once you acquire the 6-linked staff (see Gear), you will want to swap out Meat Shield for Empower. Usually you will want an Empower lvl 4, but even Empower lvl 3 is better at this point. You will also want to reach for lvl 21 Summon Holy Relic as this will noticeably increase your damage output.

Gear
Levelling Gear
This gear is recommended for levelling, it should be upgraded after you complete Act 10.

Helm

Goldrim can be equipped as soon as you enter Lioneye's Watch and provides a huge amount of resists. This allows us to shrug off elemental hits with ease.


Boots

Wanderlust can be equipped as soon as you enter Lioneye's Watch and offer a lot of movement speed as well as freeze immunity. They allow us to go fast from the start until the end.


Body Armour

Tabula Rasa can be equipped as soon as you enter Lioneye's Watch and allows us to socket our entire Holy Relic setup with 5 support gems inside it. You will definitely feel the power of those extra support gems would likely not have had otherwise.


Weapons

For our weapons, we will want to dual wield sceptres. Once we are high enough level that the sceptres which drop on the ground are equal to or greater than iLvl 55, we will be looking for sceptres which have +1 to Level of All Spell Skill Gems (Magister's). Alternatively, you can use Alteration orbs on a sceptre with iLvl 55 or above until the mod rolls on the item (making sure to use Augmentation orbs if no prefix rolls), and then use a Regal orb. Whatever the way you acquired your sceptre, if there is a prefix slot open on it, craft Minions deal % increased damage onto the sceptre via the crafting bench.


Other
For all other item types that are not listed here, pick up anything that has the highest life and/or elemental resistances on it that you can find.


End Game Gear
This is the gear you will want to be running when tackling the hardest content the game has to offer.

Helm

Geofri's Legacy doubles our damage by allowing us to have two Holy Relics instead of one, it is a mandatory unique for high tier maps and difficult bosses. You can obtain this item by running the Bishop's Legacy prophecy while holding Geofri's Crest. The prophecy will be harder to acquire than the item, so save up on silver coins if you are playing in SSF.

Make sure that you are running the aura setup in this helmet to benefit from the +1 to Level of Socketed Gems. For helm enchants, get 'Summoned Holy Relics deal 40% increased Damage' if you want to improve your bossing. You can alternatively get 'Summoned Holy Relics have 24% increased Area of Effect' to improve your mapping.


Body Armour

Kaom's Heart provides us with an incredible amount of life, but with the drawback of not having any sockets. Fortunately for us, we did not need those sockets anyway. The huge increase in life is going to make us die less.

If you are unable to acquire Kaom's Heart, try to get your hands on an Astral Plate and use a Deafening Essence of Greed on it for a temporary fix. If you are playing in SSF, feel free to pick any defensive option that is available to you (often times you will be using Tabula Rasa for a long time).


Weapon

For our end-game weapon, we will want to use a Warstaff. We will be running our Holy Relic setup here (unless you chose to go for a Skin of the Loyal).

A 6-linked Warstaff with +1 to Level of Socketed Gems and +2 to Level of Socketed Support Gems will increase the level of our Holy Relics by a lot (by scaling both the Relics gem and the Empower gem), increasing our damage tremendously. If you have the currency spare, you can craft on Can have up to 3 Crafted Modifiers suffix as well as Minions deal % increased damage prefix on top of the two prefixes already on the staff.

Check the crafting section for a tutorial on crafting this staff.


The rest of the gear is mostly about stacking as much life and resistances as possible on rare equipment. Listed for each item are the recommendations for the item base, the stats of the item, and any other additional information.

There is a lot of room for improvement when considering rare gear, but the build will function very well already if you only have the three items above and cheap rare gear with life and resists.

Gloves

Enchant: Commandment of the Grave
Mods: # to Maximum Life, % to Elemental Resistances, % to Chaos Resistance, increased Armour, Minions deal % increased damage (Crafting Bench / Redeemer).
Base: Titan Gauntlets

Notes
There isn't anything interesting going on here on the gloves. Getting as much life and resists while having an open prefix to craft Minions deal % increased damage is the best course of action. The enchantment will allow us to conditionally trigger the onslaught from Radiant Crusade without having to permanently summon more minions, and is therefore not to be overlooked.


Boots

Enchant: Regenerate 2% of life per second if you were hit recently.
Mods: # to Maximum Life, % to Elemental Resistances, % to Chaos Resistance, Movement Speed, increased Armour, % additional Physical Damage Reduction (Warlord)
Base: Titan Greaves, Two-Toned Boots

Notes
Not much going on with the boots here. Life, resists, and movement speed are the key stats for this item. The warlord mod makes us quite a bit more tankier, but can be difficult to fit in with all the mods we already want on the boots. The enchantment is nice to have, but can be overlooked.


Amulet

Anoint: Soul of Steel (expensive), Leadership (budget)
Mods: # to Maximum Life, % to Elemental Resistances, % to Chaos Resistance, Regenerate % life per second (Elder/Hunter), +1 to Minimum Endurance Charges (veiled), +1 to Level of all Intelligence Skill Gems (Hunter).
Base: Marble Amulet, Citrine Amulet

Notes
The amulet is quite interesting. We can consider sacrificing some defences here in order to try and get that +1 to Level of all Intelligence Skill Gems, which will noticeably increase our damage. On the other hand, both the life regeneration mod and minimum endurance charge mod provide us with a big increase in survivability. Anointing the amulet with Soul of Steel is going to make us much tankier too.

Getting an amulet with all of these mods is going to cost a fortune, so pick the ones which are the most important to you. Personally, I think that the level increase for Holy Relics is too big to pass up.


Ring

Mods: # to Maximum Life, % to Elemental Resistances, % to Chaos Resistance, +1 to Minimum Endurance Charges (veiled), Curse enemies with Level 5/8 Vulnerability on Hit (Warlord).
Base: Vermillion Ring, Two-Stone Ring, Coral Ring

Notes
The ring is also quite interesting. Mimimum endurance charges add up to make us quite a bit more tanky. Cursing enemies with Vulnerability on hit will make our Relics deal noticeably more damage. If your budget permits, I would personally try to get that curse on hit mod for more damage. Otherwise, just the regular combo of life and resists will suffice.


Belt

Mods: # to Maximum Life, % to Elemental Resistances, % to Chaos Resistance, % increased Maximum Life (Elder/Hunter)
Base: Leather Belt

Notes
The belt is likely going to be the single highest source of life for you after the chest. It can not be understated how much life you get from a belt with both the regular life mod and the increased maximum life mod from Elder/Hunter.


Jewel
Mods: % increased Maximum Life, Minions deal % increased Damage.
If budget allows, increased attack speed will make Static Strike feel better to attack with.


Flasks

Life Flask of Staunching with instant recovery (Seething, Bubbling, Panicked)
Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline (either Alchemist's or Experimenter's)
Experimenter's Quartz Flask (either Warding or of Heat)
Granite Flask of Iron Skin (either Alchemist's of Experimenter's)
Chemist's Basalt Flask (either Warding or of Heat)

You can use Forbidden Taste over a Divine Life Flask if your chaos resistance is high enough to mitigate the chaos damage from that flask. You should change to a Granite Flask of Staunching if you do this.

Feel free to experiment with flasks depending on the type of content you are doing! This is my recommended setup for general mapping.


Additional Info
No abyssal jewels are used in this build, but if you want to use one, look for life and minion modifiers.

If you don't like Kaom's Heart and want some more sockets, then you can use a socketed chest instead. I recommend using an iLvl 85 Hunter/Elder chest, with as much added life and increased maximum life as you can get. It is entirely up to you what you socket into this chest, there are a great number of supporting setups that can fit in here.

You can also consider using a corrupted Skin of the Loyal with the +1 to Level of Socketed Gems implicit. This will be the highest damage you can squeeze out of the Holy Relics if you socket the main setup here, but your life pool will plummet as a result (it is not a recommended setup for this reason). Use the sceptres from the levelling section as your weapons if you decide to do this.



Crafting Guide
Staff
I would begin with an iLvl 50+ Warstaff base (6-linked ideally).
An iLvl 50 Vile Staff seems like a good choice for a base; we avoid some of the higher tiers of unwanted rolls, as well as have the highest attack speed on a staff so that Static Strike doesn't feel too slow.

Then, we use Alteration orbs until we hit that +1 to Level of Socketed Gems prefix.

Now we use a Regal orb and hope the staff gains a suffix. If it gains a prefix, that prevents us from having 3 crafted mods with minion damage. If we want to have 3 crafted mods, we have to try and save the staff with an annulment orb, or scour and start over. If you are limited on currency I would recommend just keeping the staff if it rolls a prefix after using a Regal orb.

All that is left now is to apply the +2 to Socketed Support Gems craft, or the 3 crafted modifiers craft followed by +2 to Socketed Support Gems and Minions deal % increased Damage, if we have two prefixes open.

If possible, a decent attack speed suffix will make Static Strike feel even faster, but this is more for comfort than performance.

Delve crafting is a bit tricky, and I'm not sure what the best course of action here is. My recommendation would involve spamming Aetheric Fossils on the staff, hoping we get both +1 to Level of Socketed Gems and Socketed Skill deal 20% more Spell Damage, while also having a prefix open. There is also the consideration of using Faceted fossils for the +1 to Level of Socketed Intelligence/Strength Gems suffix, but that is both incredibly expensive and unlikely.

Overall, I would stick with the Alteration crafting method for simplicity's sake.

Passives
Passive Tree
Look at the provided PoB build, there are three trees; one for levelling, one for early mapping, and one for the final setup. If playing HC, you may want to prioritise life over damage on the tree.

For those who do not have PoB, here is a link to the lvl 95 passive tree.
Passive Tree

Ascendancy
We're going with Guardian for this one. It provides us with a good mix of survivability and damage. Necromancer will offer stronger offensive options, but may be lacking somewhat in survivability. Considering that we path very close to the Witch starting area, it should be rather simple to modify the build for the Necromancer ascendancy, if that is what you prefer.

Normal: Radiant Crusade - elemental resistances and damage make this the best point to pick up early
Cruel: Unwavering Crusade - more damage and area of effect allows us to clear better
Merciless: Bastion of Hope - block chance with stun immunity makes us avoid damage better
Eternal: Time of Need - if we do get hit, this will quickly recharge us up to safe levels

Pantheon
Soul of Lunaris is great for mapping as it provides us with a bunch of physical damage reduction and movement speed. Swap to Soul of Solaris when taking on bosses as Lunaris provides little to no benefit against single enemies.

Soul of Shakari or Abberath are good at mitigating pesky degens while mapping (especially upgraded Soul of Shakari). Swap to Soul of Ryslatha for bossing as the life flask charges are valuable in drawn out encounters.

Bandits
Oak provides us with three good stats, but the magnitude of those stats is too low to consider.
Alira provides us with some elemental resistances and mana regen, but the critical multiplier is wasted.
Kraityn provides only movement speed that is worth considering.
Killing all three gives us two passive points, which are very useful.

I suggest killing all three.

Gameplay
Playstyle

In the end-game, we have Static Strike up for just over 8 seconds with our setup. With 3 stacks of the buff, we hit enemies near us roughly 3 times every second. This activates our Holy Relics exactly as their cooldown finishes, maximising DPS. Ancestral Call allows us to immediately stack the buff to 3 stacks when attacking a pack of enemies.

All we have to do to play optimally is whack a pack with Static Strike, and then run around for the next 8 seconds, dodging all attacks, while our Holy Relics do the hard work and clear the area around us.

This is really useful for bosses as we only have to stop to attack once every 8 seconds, the rest of the time we can focus on dodging attacks.

Due to how much mana we reserve, you will not be able to cast Summon Holy Relic while using all the auras. If a relic does die, place down your War Banner and then re-summon them.

Be very careful with the map mods that you run. Physical reflect maps can theoretically be done, but your Holy Relic skill becomes more of a kamikaze bomber than an actual companion. No regen maps can also be done, but you lose the life regeneration portion of your defensive layers which makes these maps more deadly than usual. An Enduring Mana Flask will fix your mana problems in these maps, but you will have to replace your Basalt Flask with it.

Videos
Awakening 8 Sirus Deathless
T16 Underground River
Awakening 8 Hunter citadel
Shaper Deathless
Elder Deathless
Uber Elder
Mastermind lvl 83
T15 Estuary (No Regen + Phys Reflect)

PoB Code
https://pastebin.com/HM61pjAD
Note: The DPS in PoB is not calculated properly for holy relics. To calculate manually, take the shown Average Damage, divide by Skill Cooldown, and multiply by Active Minion Limit.
Last edited by Moosseolini on Jan 9, 2020, 1:52:06 AM
Last bumped on Jan 17, 2020, 6:28:37 AM
Change Log

30/12/19: Videos added (Sirus and T16 Underground River)
03/01/20: PoB Modified with improved passive tree and additional flask options. Modified suggested gear, and added spoilers to reduce clutter. Added a crafting section, currently featuring how to craft the staff. Generally polished the guide a bit. (thanks to Propht and Smerte for the contributions!)
04/01/20: Added more videos (Hunter citadel, Shaper, Elder, Uber Elder). Made the guide more approachable to new players. Changed to a more suitable title. Sneaked this easter egg into the change log.
05/01/20: Added even more videos (mastermind encounter).
07/01/20: Explained the gear in a little more detail.
09/01/20: Added a clear video of a map with physical reflect and no regen.

Last edited by Moosseolini on Jan 9, 2020, 1:53:26 AM
Thanks for sharing your build, I'm going to try this for Metamorph.
good bild
Last edited by Wanainau on Jan 1, 2020, 4:39:14 AM
If I am using a slotted chest piece, do I want to do static strike as a five or six? I could then maybe use a curse on hit OoS set up in the gloves?
"
Schnoodlez wrote:
If I am using a slotted chest piece, do I want to do static strike as a five or six? I could then maybe use a curse on hit OoS set up in the gloves?


You don't even need to support Static Strike with anything if you don't want to. The supports that are currently on Static Strike are there more for convenience/utility than anything else. The skill will activate Holy Relics with 0 supports just fine, but it might feel a little annoying to maintain.

If using a slotted chest, I would just put whatever supporting setups you want in the chest (assuming you've already got Holy Relics on a 6-link on your weapon).

Hope this helps.
Carrion golem + power/frenzy spectres w/ + minion life + meat shield + blood magic + maim doesnt seem like a bad idea
Last edited by hijacker979 on Jan 2, 2020, 4:23:35 PM
thnx guys
Hi!
I made some changes to my tree for a bit more tankiness (mainly for 25% spell block and also more consistent attack block)
You can check out the changes in PoB: https://pastebin.com/c9JwChtH
I suggest looking at this amulet aswell. It might not have that much hp, but it definitely is nice.

Also, I'm using Forbidden Taste for the instant max hp heal and with capped chaos res it only takes 2% of maximum hp/s which is taken care of by natural regen.
Thanks for the build, really enjoying it!
Last edited by Propht on Jan 2, 2020, 6:49:34 PM
"
Propht wrote:
Hi!
I made some changes to my tree for a bit more tankiness (mainly for 25% spell block and also more consistent attack block)
You can check out the changes in PoB: https://pastebin.com/c9JwChtH
I suggest looking at this amulet aswell. It might not have that much hp, but it definitely is nice.

Also, I'm using Forbidden Taste for the instant max hp heal and with capped chaos res it only takes 2% of maximum hp/s which is taken care of by natural regen.
Thanks for the build, really enjoying it!


Hey.
I do like those changes made to the passive tree, that increased spell block for barely anything lost is quite impressive. If I find that the relics are still fast enough to keep up while using this passive tree, I think this is superior to what is currently in the guide. Good find!

The amulet does seem rather incredible too. Could you verify for me whether it does in fact increase the level of Holy Relics? The +1 to Level of all Intelligence Skill Gems doesn't seem to be doing anything in PoB when I look, but I suspect it's actually providing you with a very strong benefit in-game.

Forbidden Taste is also a clever addition to the build. Especially when chaos res capped, it seems better than any life flask we could use (probably even worth running in no-regen maps).

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