[3.12 HC] Dominating Blow Guardian (Mayhem HC #3 Guardian, #1 solo build)

Posted for your enjoyment at the urging of my friends:

Concept: Hardcore Guardian focusing on dominating blow supported by Vaal summon Skeletons and your choice of spectres. Summon Skels at the first pack you meet, swing dom blow once and you are off running through the rest of the map convocating your sentinels of dominance, periodically swinging to keep up fortify and recharge the sentinels, summoning skellies for rares and bosses while your spectres run defense.

Why This build?

Because it is fun, durable, and can run on almost no gear.
Getting to level 90 on four links is not a problem.
Took it delving down to 425 in the week long hc delve on a five link with no access to the crafting bench.
It is my current favorite league start because of this. It requires exactly 0 uniques or cluster jewels (Which I had no access to) to function well. (though I am looking forward to the three week to see what I can do with it with some real equipment).


Bossing is doable, but not the build's strongest point. Conquerors were all fine, if a little slow and requiring some practice. Confident that Sirus will also be fine with a little more practice.

If you are going to run this build, it's important to love it for what it is: A super-low budget league start capable of running all the way up to T16 maps while spending next to no currency.

Video Links

1. T17 Abyssal Depths (Playstyle) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjKAlQMXnSQ

Gem Links with explanations:

Below I list the gem links I actually used for the lvl 98 Mayhem version. I have also experimented further with other options, discussed below

6L: Dom Blow>Melee Splash>Multistrike>Foritfy>Brutality>Maim
4L: Vaal Summon Skel>Multistrike>Brutality>Minion Speed
4L: Raise Spectre>Meatshield>Feeding Frenzy>Culling Strike
4S 2L/2L: Molten Shell>Inc Duration, CWDT (20)>Steelskin (20)
3S 2L: Pride, Blasphemy>Enfeeble
3S Vitality (9-12), Flame Dash, Convocation

Dom Blow Notes:
I have also experimented with subbing Impale for Maim and subbing Dread Banner and Stone/Flesh for the Blasphemy Enfeeble. Felt like better dps (particularly against anything with phys res), with the defense still feeling close.

Skelly notes:
If you have minion speed gear, you might sub Feeding frenzy here for Minion Speed and make your spectres wholly defensive.

Spectre Notes:
The giant gladiator statues just before the marketplace waypoint in A3 are easy to get solidly tanky defensive spectres for a long, long time. My upgrade was to Stoneskin Flayers (Found in the Blue delve cities below 156. There are many others--I do not claim to be a spectre expert.

Aura Notes:
Note that Vitality is deliberately under-leveled to allow enough mana to run your character. What precise level you will run vitality at will depend on your actual gear, but it will likely be in that 9-12 range.

While leveling, I use flesh and stone instead of Pride. I don't think pride was added until I reached late red maps, to give the build that bit of extra oomph.

If you are running impale in the 6L, you'll want dread banner and flesh and stone in place of blasphemy Enfeeble (same overall mana cost).

Additional possibilities could open up here with access to enlighten (which I did not have during the 1-week Mayhem).

Utility Notes:
Self-Cast Molten shell gets up to a 7 second duration and is great for getting in and out of more dangerous fights/bossing. lvl 20 CWDT steelskin was there as my stop-gap against having done something stupid while failing to press molten shell. Very sure it saved me at least once during Mayhem. Might have been more, but once for absolute sure. That said, you might consider a holy relic linked to minion damage in this spot, which can be particularly helpful while leveling.

Gear actually used and wish list discussion:

Here is the gear actually used on the lvl 98 Mayhem char. Understand that absolutely nothing pictured is required. The build will run reasonably on a full set of garbage rares so long as you are capping your resists and getting sufficient life for the content you are running.

Not pictured are 2 Anatomical knowledge jewels and two jewels with life and minion res totalling 25% (to reach cap).

Wish list items for a real league:

Claw: While Advancing Fortress is both common and BIS defensively, I would probably switch it out for Scourge in the late endgame, which I believe would be a large dps boost.

Shield: I was very happy with how Magna Eclipsis performed, and it wins the low budget prize because it can be farmed deterministically in the Twilight Temple. With a budget, one could also consider using The Surrender or a well crafted Shaper shield with % life recovery on block in this spot.

Helm: Until you have access to Elder helms to craft, a random +2 minion helm with some life is not hard to come by and gives the skellies a nice boost. The elder helm is crafted using bound fossils to get supported by minion damage and potentially also +minion levels. An alternate method is essences of insanity, looking primarily to roll supported by minion damage.

Chest: While a well rolled rare is more than fine here, other candidates I might consider include Craicean's Carapace, Lightning Coil, Brass Dome, and Blunderbore.

Amulet: Solid rare is also great in this slot. that said, The Jinxed Juju may be BIS. Adds a large amount of EHP with the tanky spectres the build uses plus extra curse & aura effectiveness and chaos res. Replica Atziri's foible and The Anvil are also worth considering.

Flaks: Rumi's is on the wish-list.

Ring/Gloves: If not using enfeeble or if you get a +1 curse corruption, a ring or glove with vuln on hit will add some significant dps.

Otherwise it's really just about life and rezzes. Maybe some move speed on the boots. That's all that is important.


Solaris and Abberath

I love Solaris for the way (once upgraded) it makes the critical modifier on maps and delves much less dangerous.

Abberath is important, because when combined with the Annointed Flesh wheel it makes us entirely immune to ignites.

Ascendancies, in order:

Radiant Crusade
Bastion of Hope
Time of Need
Unwavering Crusade

POB link for tree: https://pastebin.com/V2i1ZrXC

Leveling Guide in steps:

For leveling 1-28 (Where you pick up dominating blow) Use Smite>Ancestral call>anything>anything, and Summon Holy relic>minion damage>Controlled destruction. Use Zombies until you add Skellies at lvl 10.

Direction for the tree:

1. Proceed out of Guardian directly to Enduring Bond

2. Collect Gravepact, Sanctury, and Tireless

3. Quick Recovery and the Heart and Soul area

4a. If you are short on resists, head down to the Marauder start area and spec into solidity (and Diamond Skin if you need to) This is likely your path on league start. Otherwise save this area for late endgame.

4b. If your resists are already solid, head through Lord of the Dead to Mystic Bulwark.

5. Resolute Technique, Devotion nodes, and the Minion wheel all the way around to Redemption

6. Cruel Preparation, Constitution, Dynamo (in no particular order)

*7. Sacrifice, Spiritual Command, Annointed Flesh, two jewel Nodes for life/minion resses. If your minions seem to be dying too much, this step can come earlier.

8. Arcane Guarding, combat Stamina, and remaining life nodes and jewel sockets.

I should be around at least intermittently to answer questions--I plan for this to be my starting build for the three week flashback. Hope some of you enjoy it as much as I have!


Last edited by Orion72 on Dec 17, 2020, 6:29:37 AM
Last bumped on Feb 20, 2021, 10:38:13 PM
Video added from the HC Mayhem showing playstyle in T17 Abyssal depths.

First off, congratulations on getting #1 in Mayhem and this looks like a cool build. Not the fastest, but certainly a tank.

Any particular reason why you didn't take shield charge or whirling blades on your Advancing Fortress to get Fortify? I know that Flame Dash is nice for jumping across gaps, but I'm a wimp and like as many defenses as possible. :)

Buddha Bunny
Re: shield charge/whirling blades for fort:

We have fort almost permanently up anyway because it is linked to dominating blow, Other than that, it is entirely a matter of taste on which movement skill you prefer.


PS: 3rd place Guard overall. Don't want to claim glory I'm not entitled to. Just the first two were supports. :)
Last edited by Orion72 on Dec 18, 2020, 2:55:48 PM
Orion72 wrote:
Video added from the HC Mayhem showing playstyle in T17 Abyssal depths.


the clear speed seems so atrocious you must have probably played 21/24 ... 22/24? Anyway, hope you have thanked Rory for unforgettable life experience :)?
Clear speed didn't actually feel bad at the time for an hc low currency build, no I didn't play close to 20/day and I have no idea who Rory is, but thanks for your helpful feedback?

Last edited by Orion72 on Dec 21, 2020, 4:50:07 PM
How would you compare this to skeletons at league start?
muir wrote:
How would you compare this to skeletons at league start?

Skeletons are one component of the build, so at league start when you are using 4Ls for both skills, it will look like skeletons+. As to whether skeletons or dom blow are better in the 5L or 6L when you get it, I spect this will be a matter of feel and personal preference.

Sorry if that wasn't particularly helpful.

Well, thanks for the Build. I will start testing it for today's last day of HC Heist.

My goal is to reach safe all HC achievements :)

Meanwhile this post maybe get edited or deleted.... but in my opinion trolls like
should just get hunted and purged from an Templer/Knight/Paladin perspective.

So I have to downstep to his trashy meta level mindset.


You fucking donkey!(As Gordon would say)

Take your wannabe pogChamp Account with zero lvl 100 and get OUT!
Why you even talking here with NO high level Templer you little Trickster Snitch Player!

You like an small kiddo rogue player from WoW: Only crying about nerfs on your unhonored and snitchy class you play and shitting/trolling in other class threads.
Go to your scum poggers brotherhood like Payo and stay there!

As the Emperor protects, so must we,

Last edited by Orion72 on Jan 11, 2021, 4:56:13 AM

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