[Invasion] Sarah the Self-found Solo Summoner

Completed 2 Challenges1988288 wrote:
Something like this seems more appropriate, I guess, as it has 216% life and access to minion nodes.
Of course you can drop some HP nodes into +30 dex/str ones, if you lack.

Interesting passive build, thanks. I might head down into the Shadow area for those life nodes if I live another dozen levels or so. I wouldn't feel comfortable going without the Gravepact cluster, myself, though I could see dropping Grave Consequences. Don't think I'll make any wholesale changes right now, but appreciate the ideas.

Completed 2 Challenges1988288 wrote:
Also Elemental Equilibrium is a very useful tool, if you're using Fire Curtains as your specters. It's also good if you're using Searing Bond on top.

I'd considered that but I'm not sure what I'd use to trigger EE. The only cold/lightning skill I have available that does good area of effect is Ice Nova, and I have no desire to be that close to any monster big enough that it needs to be debuffed. I suppose if I found an Arc, but so far I only have the Vaal version.

Completed 2 Challenges1988288 wrote:
Well, if this was me playing Self-found, I'd farm Cruel Merveil for some time to get Trap boots + Bones of Ullr, that way you have a 5 Link + additional specter. And there's also quite high chance to get Summoner amulet.

Hadn't really thought about farming for items; XP, yes, but not uniques. Are the drop rates really good enough to get a unique in a reasonable amount of time? Something to consider on a future Sarah, perhaps; for now I'm not really interested in rolling those particular dice.

Completed 2 Challenges1988288 wrote:
Also I'd swap out that Fire Penetration for Remote Mine, if you have such gem.

No such luck yet. If I do get a Remote Mine, and decide I want to put up with the hassle of using it, I'm not sure if it makes more sense to to change out Fire Penetration, or Minion Damage.

Completed 2 Challenges1988288 wrote:
Zombies I'd make more tanky, and let the specters do the deepz, with Remote mine they should hit well hard, and if you can - add a Searing Bond + Burning damage in.
p.s. Your new body armour looks sexy.

I think that's a philosophical difference in playstyle; you're looking more at spectres for damage, while I'm mainly using the zombies and spirits. I didn't even have spectres active in my Cruel Dominus fight since they died so quickly, but the zombies/spirits were able to carry the damage load. To get the most out of the spectres you really need the gear to get 3 or 4 of them out, while with zombies you can get by without uniques; on the other hand, the zombie approach requires more passive points than focusing on spectres. Nothing wrong with either approach, I think, just a matter of where you want to focus your efforts.
Last edited by ineffablebob on May 9, 2014 4:52:08 PM
Level 57-58

Roamed the Gardens again, looking for the Hedge Maze. No Invasion boss, but two rare devourers decided to try to bite my ankles. Once I found the maze, got through to the tree area without incident, but Corrector Draconides was waiting right by the tree. Fortunately that area is pretty much self-contained, so I could wait around the corner in safety while sending in skeletons and raging spirits to put him down. Found an Aurumvorax with 57% to all resists which might come in handy once I move on to Merciless. Took an Onyx Amulet from Fairgraves, but the mods were horrible.

Headed over to the Catacombs to build a level or two before bearding Dominus in his lair. Did 4 runs to 58 and another 4 runs to get near 59. Notable encounters:

Shadow of Vengeance (twice): First one spawned in that big entryway room, so no other monsters to worry about. Second one had one pack of spiders nearby, but nothing else. Stayed off to the side to avoid his Spectral Throw and let the minions deal with him.
Docere Incarnatis: Another early spawn, just through the first door. Cursed him, dropped a totem, then ran around staying away from his storm calls while casting spirits at the other monsters in the room. By the time everything else was dead, he was too.
Ossecati in a Entombed Chamber (physical reflect): Cursed him and stayed out of his reach while the horde went to work. Vaal drop was Sacrifice at Dawn.
Thornrunner: Took his friends out pretty quickly and had him at about half, but then he started running away and aggroing more monsters. Ended up clearing four different rooms while chasing him around, with lots of run-and-resummon required, before he was finally cornered and killed.
Corpsestitch: Spawned just outside the end area, which was nice so I didn't have to fight all the end spawns at the same time. He's a wuss once you Flesh Offering all his corpses.
Cintiq, the Inescapable: Another spawn in the entryway. Stayed away from the Ethereal Knives, had no trouble.
Ossecati in a Entombed Chamber (many totems): Happy that the only totem spawned near Ossecati was one casting ice nova, which could be safely ignored until he was down. Vaal drop: Vaal Ice Nova. What, did they run out of sacrifice maps?

Found a Wyrmscale Boots with great mods, pretty much everything I could ask for except life:

Unfortunately to use them, I have to rework gem locations. Have to give up on the snapshot use of Queen's Decree for now since the only place my zombies fit at the moment is on the wand. But my elemental resists are now such that I'll be in good shape when going to Merciless, plus I have 23% chaos resist. Kinda nice to actually be in positive territory on that.

I've also decided to move Desecrate onto my main skill bar, replacing Summon Spectre. They rarely die now (except in big boss fights, when I'm too busy to resummon them anyway), so I can afford not to have the skill always available, just switch it in temporarily when needed. I still don't use Desecrate very often, but it's handy when I know I'm about to engage in a fight: Desecrate then Flesh Offering to give my minions a boost from the start of the fight, rather than waiting until something dies.

Level 58-59

Nowhere to go now but up. With luck, I'll live through Dominus and avoid server errors. Hit the Sceptre of God waypoint and found the stairs without incident. Ran across Paradisae Venenum and killed him, but didn't see an Invasion boss in the Upper Sceptre. Looked carefully around the roof before triggering the first wave to make sure the Invasion boss hadn't decided to crash the party.

First boss wave was the usual minion slaughter as everything died to all the AoE. Got the fire dude down and resummoned while the minions ran around distracting the others, then took out the cold and lightning bosses. Second boss wave started out normally, but then Kali the Crazed ran off and I lost track of her. Killed everything else, which got me to level 59, then tracked her down in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Cursed Dominus as soon as his first form activated and then focused on keeping zombies upright, a skeleton totem out, and raging spirits on the job. He cast the explosive-miscreation curse a whole ton of times, so I had to run away from them a lot. Eventually he moved down to the bottom of the screen away from most of the miscreations, which let me really bear down on the spirits and finish him off. While giant-goat Dominus was animating, resummoned the horde, and was waiting for him with a full slate of zombies and spirits and an active Flesh Offering when he activated. They took him down quickly enough that he didn't even bother with the blood rain.

This time, no server issues; entered Merciless without difficulty. Defenses look like this: 2405 life, 63 ES, 4% armor physical reduction, 29% evade chance, 77/77/75/-17 resists, 32% block chance. Came across Shivershell on the way and killed him, although he did give me a bad moment when he cast Vaal Detonate Dead and wiped out half the horde. Fortunately, as usual I was standing well away from him and barely got hit. Hillock went down before having a chance to draw his sword. Tarkleigh gave me a horrible ring as a quest reward: situation normal.
Last edited by ineffablebob on May 9, 2014 4:45:49 PM
You can trigger Elemental Equilibrium with Cold Snap, which is Breaking Eggs quest reward, I think. Also it goes well together with Ele Prolif, if you have it of course.

What goes for uniques. Well, I'd equip some rarity definitely, but the drops really depend on RNG, personally I would have no problem spending 5 hours on that Merveil to get Ullrs or Trap boots.
"I accept Nujabes as my Savior."
Last edited by 1988288 on May 9, 2014 5:40:28 PM
You mean the one by the starting area? I'm still using that as a connector node. I could replace it if I took the +10 intelligence node just the right of the start, but I don't really see a reason to swap those.

Misread your skill tree. Thought you also went west up to Lord of the Dead.
Completed 2 Challenges1988288 wrote:
You can trigger Elemental Equilibrium with Cold Snap, which is Breaking Eggs quest reward, I think. Also it goes well together with Ele Prolif, if you have it of course.

I do have both Cold Snap and Elemental Proliferation. But I really don't have a place on either my gear or my skill bar for it. Something to keep in mind, though.

Completed 2 Challenges1988288 wrote:
What goes for uniques. Well, I'd equip some rarity definitely, but the drops really depend on RNG, personally I would have no problem spending 5 hours on that Merveil to get Ullrs or Trap boots.

To each their own. On self-found characters I tend to try to go with whatever drops rather than farm for specific things; makes each run a new adventure. Nothing wrong with the opposite, if that's your playstyle.

Completed 23 ChallengesStarxsword wrote:
Misread your skill tree. Thought you also went west up to Lord of the Dead.

No worries! Easy to miss things like that.
Level 59-60

Should be able to push through most of Act 1 pretty quickly given the level advantage. Did just that in the Coast and Mud Flats, taking out Mother of the Swarm and Oozeback Bloom along the way. Found Spinesnap in the Lower Submerged Passage, which was a bit more challenging; had to run and resummon a couple of times since the zombies were melting in his poison clouds. Spinesnap and Brood Princess both spawned just inside the entrance of the Upper Submerged Passage, and this time I didn't lose a zombie...the extra targets actually helped against Spinesnap, keeping more minions out of his poison cloud. Spotted and cleared a Concealed Cavity (35% monster pack size increase, rares have nemesis mod) and got a Vaal Haste...interesting, but I really don't have the place on my skill bar for it and I don't need another skill I have to switch out a skill bar slot to use.

Moved on to the Ledge and cleared both Corpsestitch and Kuduku without losing a zombie. In the Climb, found M'gaska and killed him, but not without losing half the horde to his gigantic fireblast. Ironpoint barely scratched the horde, though. Went through the Lower Prison without seeing anything dangerous, but fought both Sawbones and Nighteater in the Upper Prison. Lost the whole horde to the Firestorm/Temporal Chains combo from Nighteater, twice, before getting the kill. Spotted a Forgotten Oubliette also, but now that I'm in Merciless I have no desire to tempt fate with Coniraya's lightning Rain of Arrows if it's not necessary. Hit 60 along the way. No problems with Brutus, down in seconds, and he dropped a ring with slightly more life than my current one. Took Purity of Elements from the quest reward, although given that I already have Purity of Fire/Lightning levelled up and the zombies don't need cold resistance, I probably won't use it.

Level 60-61

Onward to the Prisoner's Gate, land of many fire dogs and goats. The invading monster group turned out to be cinder elementals, which is much better than additional fire dogs. Came across Corrector Draconides and lost the entire horde in the first skirmish, so had to run away and come back with a fresh horde to take him down.

In the Ship Graveyard, met Mammothcage shortly after the waypoint along with about two dozen of his closest friends. Had to do a lot of running back and forth to get the smaller stuff to move out of his cannot-die aura, but once that was taken care of, he went down quickly. Spotted a Sunken Shingle corrupted zone (monsters gain endurance charges) and decided to give it a shot. That was the single most crowded area that I've ever seen (barring fracturing maps), in large part due to the two static shrines in the middle of the tiny island. The carnage was epic. Perquil wasn't too difficult once everything else was down, but I had to do a lot of running around avoiding his storm calls until that happened. Vaal drop: Sacrifice at Dawn. I now have 11 of the Sacrifice at Dawn/Noon/Dusk and no Midnight; can't say I'm too impressed with the "Increased the relative drop rates of rarer Vaal fragments" 1.1.3 patch note.

Spotted Guardian of the Mound in the Coves. No good way to avoid him, so got close enough to curse him, dropped a skeleton totem, and then moved as far away as possible while still having the raging spirits aggro on him. Went pretty quickly, the five level advantage is helping. Got to the Cavern of Wrath waypoint and picked up Faster Casting from Nessa. Put it on weapon switch to level for now, but eventually will hook it up to the spirits once I have better gear socket options.

Returned to the Lower Submerged Passage to look for the crab. Spotted a Concealed Cavity (13% lower max resists) and took the opportunity to clear it. No issues with the All-Seeing Eye; stayed back far enough that he wasn't even on my screen and let the horde kill him. Vaal drop: Vaal Ice Nova. Found the Flooded Depths and shortly thereafter Wiraqucha, who was kind enough to spawn just across one of the little bridges so I could set up a skeleton totem there and not have to worry about getting hit while the horde destroyed him. Killed the crab off and got my skill point, used it to take Sovereignty. I've levelled up Clarity to level 5 to help with mana regen, but even so I have only just under half my mana reserved. Would be much better with a Reduced Mana gem, but no luck finding one of those yet.

Backtracked again to the Coast on my way to the Tidal Island, and met Perquil right inside the entrance. He didn't last long, but between storm call and spectral throw did decimate the horde. Resummoned and hit the island, no issues with Hailrake, though his Glacial Cascade was hitting pretty much the entire screen. Turned in the chest and picked up another Increased Duration from Bestel. Found a shield with triple the evasion rating of my current one, but can't afford to swap due to available sockets.

Back to the Mud Flats in search of the Fetid Pool. Killed Cintiq just off the waypoint. Rolled through most of the Fetid Pool without slowing down, but had a tougher time with Guardian of the Mound. Had to run-and-resummon a few times in order to clear out all the monsters around him, but once he was alone and cursed, the horde had their way with him. Hit 61 in the process and took a 10 strength node on the way down toward more life and mana regen in the shadow starting area. Current passive tree.

Programming note: I'll probably be playing more of the 2-week race league than Invasion for a while, so I may not be doing much updating until it's over. Had I known it was coming up when I started Sarah II, she probably would have been created there.
Well, that didn't take too long. Upon re-reading the 2-week race details, I decided the only prizes of interest were the level 25/30/35 tiers. Don't have any need for a headset, don't really care about Seraph pieces, and getting to 65 or 85 is a crazy time investment for only a small chance to win the top tiers. If I'm going to work on a character outside the prizes, it might as well be either Sarah or someone that can benefit from my stash in Ambush or Invasion. So I spent a few hours getting a split arrow ranger up to 35 and called it quits for the 2-week race. Be back to Sarah in the next day or two.
Level 61-62

Into the caverns for some squid-killing. Easy trip through the Cavern of Wrath, no bosses spotted. Killed Ambrosia in the Cavern of Anger, and also cleared a Strange Sinkhole (fast monsters). Mother of the Hive wasn't nearly as annoying to fight as I was expecting; the Melee Splash on the spirits really helps against the cannot-die-aura bosses. Of course the Vaal drop was a Sacrifice of Dawn, why wouldn't it be? Again no Invasion boss on the way to Merveil. The fishwife herself was no problem: totem-curse-desecrate-flesh offering-spirit-spirit-spirit until dead.

Ran into Balus Stoneskull in the Southern Forest; no real danger but it took a good long while for the horde to eat through all his hit points. Destroyed the monkeys (and a few snakes) on the way to the Forest Encampment. Rolled through the Old Fields quickly, demolishing Gneiss on the way, and into the Crossroads. First monster group there was Mother of the Swarm, so set up the totem, cursed her, then threw in some spirits while dodging her projectiles while the horde killed everything. Got the Crossroads waypoint, then headed south.

Interesting trip through the Riverways that made me happy I had a four-level advantage. Immediately out of the gate ran into three rares together, two of which were carrion queens, so it took a while to work through their minions and focus enough to take them down one at a time. There were a bunch of invading fire dogs running around, including a couple of rares that hurt the zombies fairly badly. Saw a good number of invading devourers also, including one rare that popped up under my feet and hit me for around 1000 HP before I could get away and let the minions have at it. And Mammothcage spawned near a rare ape with the cannot die aura, so I had to run and pull the minions with me so they'd separate enough to kill individually.

Made it through the Blackwood without seeing an Invasion boss, although the invading voidbearers and vomit birds took their toll on the minions. More devourers, too, including another rare that took a bite out of Sarah's ankles. Moved on to the Western Forest and immediately saw Guardian of the Mound, so turned around and reset the zone. Another interesting trip, with lots of devourers and goats as well as the usual kamikazes and poison archers. Had to resummon several times after a rare or two would give the minions fits. Found and killed Alira easily enough, hit 62, then was nearly at the blockade when I saw the dreaded green projectiles of death. Sarah vs Judgement Apparatus, round 2! I almost left to reset the zone, but in the end decided to fight since I figured I'd never be more likely to beat it up than now, with the four-level advantage and decent terrain. Killed off the blockade guards and circled around so the blockade was between me and it, then let the minions work over all the construct escorts before walking out to re-aggro the Apparatus. Got a weird massive lightning effect on the screen when I did, which scared the heck out me and caused a quick retreat, but it turns out it was only that weird graphical artifact you get sometimes when you move on the screen with something that's done a bunch of offscreen attacks recently. No damage done, and once I set up the totem and tossed a bunch of spirits around the blockade, the Judgement Apparatus was dismantled.

Since I was back in Act 1 anyway to get my skill point from clearing the blockade, decided now would be a good time to get the Fairgraves skill point as well. Found the cave easily enough, but it was rough going inside. Lots of invading skeletal beasts, who hit hard enough in groups to take out zombies, and are especially bad as rares. Fought one with Soul Eater, who chewed through two full resummons of the horde before he finally died. Invasion boss was Perquil the Lucky, who is getting more dangerous as his spectral throw and storm call level up. Had to run-and-resummon several times before taking him out, and had one bad moment when Sarah was hit by several of the spectral throws and a storm call strike all at the same time. Fortunately my life total held up and I could hit the evasion flask and run before anything worse happened. After eventually taking out Perquil, the rest of the zone was easy. As for Fairgraves, to quote Black Widow in Marvel Heroes: "I will be generous and call that a fight."

Got all the way down one of the 12% life nodes with the level and quest skill points; will take the other one next level. Here's the current passive tree.
Level 62-63

Took a walk through Fellshrine to get the Crypt waypoint, an easy trip with no dangerous bosses spotted. Found my first map (grotto) along the way. Headed back to the Crossroads and north to the Broken Bridge, and killed Glassmaul when he made the mistake of wandering into a battle as the horde was wiping out some archers. Found a Hidden Patch (increased monster life) and cleared it, easy except for Thornrunner, who required a couple of run-away-and-resummon cycles to take out. Found a Vaal Ice Nova; not as nice as skeletons, but at least it's not a map fragment. Found Kraityn without further incident and destroyed him with ease.

Once more unto the Crossroads and off to the left toward the Chamber of Sins. Came across Droolscar and barely had to slow down. Did a lot of slowing down in the Chamber of Sins level 1, though, with all the poison clouds of zombie death. Made liberal use of Convocation to pull the horde back out of the clouds, and the extra life regen makes a nice bonus. Had a bit of a scare against Spinesnap when he jumped on me as I rounded a corner, but the Quicksilver flask helped me overcome his Temporal Chains and get away from the danger. Once I had a full horde resummoned, cursed him, and positioned myself around a corner, he didn't last too long.

Chamber of Sins level 2 was inhabited by invading chimerals, both the croaking and plumed variety. Pains in the rear, both of them. Found and cleared a Secret Laboratory (more rare monsters) without significant trouble, although the pack of blue snakes that spawned with Atziri's Pride made that an interesting fight. Took several resummons to take them all down. Vaal drop: Sacrifice at Dawn. Found a Culling Strike which I'll start levelling, as it's useful for the skeletons. Back in the Chamber, found and killed Black Death easily enough, but had a rough time with Corpsestitch because he spawned just inside a doorway where he could keep my horde bottled up. Found a way around and had a much easier time coming at him from the other way.

More chimerals in Chamber of Sins level 3. Had a pack of blues jump on Sarah's head and knock out about 2/3 of her life, but a quick retreat kept her alive and the horde made quick work of them. Found a Flammability which I'll level up for possible future use. Saw another Secret Laboratory, but one of the mods was twinned (two unique bosses) and I have no desire to fight two Atziri's Pride at once. Found Strangledrift just before the end room, and other than having to dodge a ball lightning or two, made quick work of him. Same for Fidelitis, who just isn't that scary when you have a horde of undead supported by Purity of Lightning. Horrible wand from Greust for the quest reward. Hit level 63 on the Fidelitis kill and took that last 12% life node; now at 2806 life.
Level 63-64

Into the Crypt. Saw the Firestarter in level 1 and the Shadow of Vengeance in level 2, both easy pickings. Found and cleared an Entombed Chamber (extra lightning damage), with Shrapnelbearer going down fairly easily once I got some minions behind him to confuse his aim. Vaal drop: Sacrifice at Dusk. Finished up the Crypt with an easy Archbishop kill; he didn't bite on the totem-at-the-top-of-the-stairs trick, but all his blue friends did, so he was easy to finish before the spiders all arrived. Got the Hand and my respec points.

Found a new chest armor along the way. It doesn't have life, unfortunately, but there's a boatload of EV/ES on it, and the links are better. Reorganized the gear/gems so it looks like this:

I'm now running both Purity of Fire and Purity of Lightning, as well as Clarity. Leaves me with only 128 mana free, but that's plenty as long as I'm not chain-casting spirits or resummoning spectres. If I need the spirit stream (against bosses, mainly) then I can use a flask, and I'm only resummoning spectres between fights anyway. Should be able to improve the mana situation in the next few levels.

Back to the Blackwood waypoint and on to the spider lair. Found the Weaver without encountering any Invasion bosses. Beat up the spider in short order; plenty of targets to keep the minions busy but raging spirits with melee splash plus flame sentinel spectres thrive on a target-rich environment. Got a useless wand from Silk.

South to the Riverways one more time to find the tree. Mammothcage was right outside the gate, together with a spawn of blue monkeys and another dozen or so monsters. Thought about resetting the zone, but decided I'd rather fight than run the risk of something worse spawning. Did several iterations of run-a-couple-of-screenlengths-past to get all those monsters to move around and out of the cannot-die aura, eventually getting down to just Mammothcage and a couple of monkeys, then killed him off. Found the tree without further incident.

Found the waypoint and stairs in the Vaal Ruins level 1 without seeing an Invasion boss. Land of snakes in level 2, making me very glad for Flesh Offering, since it gives the horde the speed needed to keep up. Found the giant ball o' doom and way out, again with no Invasion boss making an appearance.

Cleared a good portion of the Wetlands, including Oak, to get to level 64. No Invasion boss again; must be their day off. Headed down the passive tree toward more life/mana nodes, and later the Grave Intentions cluster. Current passive tree. Defensive stats are now 2699 life, 371 ES, 3% armor physical reduction, 28% evade, 79/77/79/-17 resists, and 32% chance to block.
Last edited by ineffablebob on May 14, 2014 11:57:21 AM

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