[3.10] CI Golems (High DPS - All Content Viable)

Hello, Exiles! I'm on a quest to post each of the builds I actively play. Here we have a build that I've been lucky enough to play since 3.6, and I lucked into a piece of chest armour that made it a whole heckuva lot better, IMHO. So without further ado!

Ice Golems version Path of Building Pastebin
Flame Golems version Path of Building Pastebin

How this build works: Golems 101
This build is pretty simple. Cast your golems, get your auras going, and run around while your golems kill stuff, trying not to die yourself. Occasionally cast Flesh Offering for a dps boost. Specifically, this build runs 8 golems: 4 of ice or flame, 1 of the other, 1 each of lightning, stone, and chaos.

Pros and Cons
+All content viable
+Extremely customizable - there are lots choices to be made
+Purely a "damage by proxy" build, if that is your thing
+Chaos Innoculation is awesome if you can get it, and this build gets it
+If you get the right chestpiece, you can swap beween Ice and Flame golems fairly easily
-Not cheap if you go all in
-Difficult as a league starter - In every league I've played it (3.6-3.9), it's been a secondary build
-Can be difficult (in certain boss encounters) to control what your golems are attacking
-If you prefer to be the direct source of damage, a Golem build is *not* for you

Passive Skill Tree
The strategy employed filling out the skilltree is hopefully obvious.
Passive skilltree

Witch, Elementalist, In order:
Liege of the Primordial
Paragon of Calamity
Pendulum of Destruction or Shaper of Desolation. I prefer Pendulum because it gives me better coverage with my AoE. Shaper does *not* behave the way one might hope. It does not grant its ability to your minions, so it really is of limited usefulness.

Kill all. No debate, you need those skilltree nodes.

I'm a big fan of Lunaris and Garukhan here. Go with something you're comfortable with.

Fire or Ice
The questions of flame golems or ice golems is one of preference, really. They only differ in the gems they use, the Passive Tree is exactly the same. Flame golems have lower single target dps, but are ranged casters shooting ranged projetiles, hence can be supported by greater volley (my preference) or greater multiple projectiles. Ice golems have roughly 2.5 times the single target dps, but their AoE is much lower due to the fact that most of their damage is done via melee. Ice golems have a much harder gem profile to pull off (4 Red, 1 Green, 1 Blue) versus Flame Golems (4 Blue, 1 Green, 1 Red). Unless you get lucky with your Safehouse crafting (like I did) you're probably going to have to choose one or the other. I'll say generally that flame golems are better for clearing maps, and ice golems are better at boss fights. Actual mileage may vary.

The exact combination of gems depends on whether or not your using flame golems (likely) or ice golems (harder to pull off).
Ice golem gems:
6L - Summon Ice Golem + Minion Damage + Melee Physical Damage + Fortify + Ruthless + Maim OR Empower 4
3L - Flame golem + Minion Damage + Greater Volley OR Greater Multiple Projectiles
3L - Hatred + Generosity, Flame Dash
4L (Hands) - Vaal Discipline + Blasphemy + Frostbite + Enlighten
4L (Feet) - Inspiration + Increased Duration + Convocation + Flesh Offering
4L (Head) - Summon Chaos Golem + Summon Stone Golem + Summon Lightning Golem + Elemental Army

Flame golem gems:
6L - Summon Flame Golem + Minion Damage + Spell Echo + Controlled Destruction + Concentrated Effect + Greater Volley OR Greater Multiple Projectiles
3L - Ice Golem + Minion Damage + Added Fire Damage
3L - Anger + Generosity, Flame Dash
4L (Hands) - Vaal Discipline + Blasphemy + Flammability + Enlighten
4L (Feet) - Inspiration + Increased Duration + Convocation + Flesh Offering
4L (Head) - Summon Chaos Golem + Summon Stone Golem + Summon Lightning Golem + Elemental Army

Ice Golems:
Vaal Discipline + Blasphemy (Frostbite) + Enlighten, Hatred (Generosity)
Flame Golems:
Vaal Discipline + Blasphemy (Flammability) + Enlighten, Anger (Generosity)

Discipline + Hatred/Anger + Blasphemy = 120% reserved mana
To get that number down to less than 100%, we *either* need the Sovereignty passive + Reduced Mana Reservation nodes + enlighten L2 OR the Sovereignty passive + Enlighten L4. Those get that number down to about 98%.(We need a little bit of mana for convocation, flesh offering, and flame dash) Enlighten L4 means you can free up 2 passive nodes for more ES.

Map mods to avoid
There are no map mods to explicitly avoid. But! Watch out for melee reflect if you're running ice golems, and elemental reflect if you're running flame golems. Those will eat through your golems like nobody's business. Also watch out for no mana regen. Replace your quicksilver flask with a mana flask if you run it, it shouldn't be a problem.

My Equipment

Equipment Notes
Technically, the only hard requirement are the 2 x Clayshapers.
If you want to run 4 x Ice Golems, gloves BiS is Grip of the Council.
Budget waist is Bated Breath. Until a few leagues ago, this was clearly BiS. Still, not too shabby if you're not able to synthesize better.
I'm convinced that Death's Door is BiS for feet. Solid ES, Bleed immunity (which is huge), decent movement, +All Resists, +Strength, no negative elemental statuses because you're a friggin' elemancer. There is literally nothing not to love about these shoes, other than the price. 2-3 Ex in league play is pretty standard. (The shoes give +1 Endurance charges, so you're competing with melee types as well) If you can't afford them, get shoes with great ES and strength that will help you max out your resistances (and run fast).
On the helm, you'll want +level of socketed minion gems (get +3 if you can, +2 if you cannot).
Rings / Amulet: These are a great source for resists.

Anointed Amulet
I chose Gravepact. For 2 black and an azure oil it seemed really good value. You can choose something else if you wish.

Quicksilver (Rotgut for me), Basalt, Jade, Granite, Quartz

1 x Anima Stone
1 x Primordial Might
4 x Primordial Eminence
5 x Primordial Harmony

You'll probably want to fiddle with the Harmony to Eminence ratio to find what works best for you. In general, a good rule of thumb is this: Primordial Harmony = offense, Primordial Eminence = survivability. Primordial Eminence boosts the golem buffs and speeds up the attacks/casting of your golems as well. Zealot's Oath with 4 x Eminence and a Level 21 (+3) Stone Stone Golem provides upwards of 1000/sec ES recharge that is outside of the normal delayed ES recharge.

3.10 Notes

The biggest change in 3.10 affecting CI Golems is the addition of Cluster Jewels. A lot of these were added to League play, and have been trickled out in Standard. Since I retired the idea of playing Golems in League play in Delirium (having played it in 3.6 - 3.9), I refuse to pay Standard prices for Cluster Jewels. 1 exalt for a Large minion jewel seems excessive. So, until either GGG ups the drop rate in Standard, or 3.11 is released in three and a half months (!!!) I'll just have to imagine what their effect on CI Golems is. Just know that I've played the build in Standard and nothing has changed from 3.9 to 3.10 .

Final Notes
The quickest way to die is to outrun your golems. Make sure you keep cognizant of where they are, cast convocation in a pinch, and know you won't have time to cast it as maps get higher level. Mobs will eat through you like nobody's business.
Another quick way to die is to get impatiet against boss mobs and stop running around to hover your mouse over the boss to see how much life it has left. Stopping running while out in the open leaves you vulnerable, so be careful.

3.09: Initial Version (Located here)
3.10: I've fixed some of the "gems" section, cleaned up some of the wording in the "auras" section, did a little bit better job of separating ice and flame golem versions of the build, and added thoughts about cluster jewels.

If you have suggestions and/or questions about this build, please post in the comments below. I'll try to respond to all.
Last bumped on May 11, 2020, 11:57:21 AM
So I dug out my Flame Golem gems after having exclusively playing Ice Golems for a while. It was rather revealing in T11+ maps: Ice Golems in this build are superior to Flame Golems in almost every way. PoB backs me up on this. I'll post some numbers on this (and some theorycrafting) in the near future.
Last edited by AAAWalrus on Apr 3, 2020, 7:42:45 PM
Just a friendly followup with some Path of Building numbers to share (as promised), and some thoughts. First off, we'll start with the dps of the three "non-essential" golems, who are here primarily for their aura effects.

Stone Golem
Default Attack (melee): 41,000 dps
Slam (melee AoE): 65,600 dps
Roll (melee Movement AoE): 14,400 dps

Chaos Golem
Default Attack (melee): 39,800 dps
Chaos Aura (aura AoE): 16,600 dps
Cascade (melee Line AoE): 28,700 dps

Lightning Golem
Storm Orb (spell AoE): 8,800 dps
Lightning Projectile (spell Projectile): 28,100 dps

The dps of the Ice Golems and Flame Golems depends entirely on the focus of our build, Ice or Flame.

Ice Golem (focus Flame Golem)
Default Attack (melee): 70,600 dps
Cyclone (melee movement AoE): 112,800 dps
Ice Spear (spell Projectile): 22,600 dps

Flame Golem x 4 (focus Flame Golem)
Magma Ball (spell Projectile AoE): 131,700 dps
Immolate (aura AoE): 22,000 dps
Flame Wave (spell AoE): 143,600 dps

Flame Golem (focus Ice Golem)
Magma Ball (spell Projectile AoE): 22,400 dps
Immolate (aura AoE): 6,300 dps
Flame Wave (spell AoE): 21,400 dps

Ice Golem x 4 (focus Ice Golem)
Default Attack (melee): 285,000 dps
Cyclone (melee movement AoE): 455,800 dps
Ice Spear (spell Projectile): 40,400 dps

The main thing to remember is that the dps number being reported by PoB are single-target only, and obviously cannot account for the Greater Multiple Projectiles gem socketed for Flame Golem, which greatly improves the overall dps of Magma Ball.

So! A rough estimate of the build is to add up all of the dps items, knowing that (a) it's only measuring single-target dps, and (b) it doesn't make sense for two particular attacks to happen at the same time (Stone Golem's Slam and Roll attacks, for instance).

Cumulative dps:
Stone golem (both): 121,000 dps
Chaos golem (both): 85,100 dps
Lightning golem (both): 36,900 dps
Ice Golem (focus Flame Golem): 206,000 dps
Flame Golem x 4 (focus Flame Golem): 297,300 x 4: 1,189,200 dps
Flame Golem (focus Ice Golem): 50,100 dps
Ice Golem x 4 (focus Ice Golem): 781,200 x 4: 3,124,800 dps

Flame Golem focus:
Stone + Chaos + Lightning + Ice Golem (focus: Flame Golem) + Flame Golem x 4 (focus Flame Golem) =
121,000 + 85,100 + 36,900 + 206,000 + 1,189,200 =
1,638,200 dps

Ice Golem focus:
Stone + Chaos + Lightning + Flame Golem (focus: Ice Golem) + Ice x 4 (focus Ice Golem) =
121,000 + 85,100 + 36,900 + 50,100 + 3,124,800 =
3,417,900 dps

So there is our rough estimate of dps:
Flame golems: 1,638,200 dps
Ice golems: 3,417,900 dps

There are two more things to take into account with this: (1) Ice Golem's cyclone ability is pretty powerful, depending on the melee reach of the ability. If you've ever played a cyclone melee character, you know how awesome the AoE clearing capability is. (2) Ice Golems do melee damage and Flame Golems are ranged casters. Meaning, Ice Golems are going to jump into the fray, and Flame Golems are going hang back. It's much easier to outrun your coverage with ranged attackers, which may be a problem depending on your playstyle.

So there are some numbers. Given Ice Golem's cyclone ability, I wouldn't hesitate to play Ice Golems over Flame Golems 10 out of 10 times. I would also consider dropping Lightning Golem for another Ice Golem. I'll save that for a future post.

I am playing IC golems but with a little bit of differences. So, talking about upgrades (weapon wise) any recommendations?
Thank you for the guide, i found it interesting. Especially cause it's my first time playing a golems build.

Best regards.

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