Path of Exile

[Invasion] Sarah the Self-found Solo Summoner

It was a very nice read. I never knew there was so much strategy involved in being a summoner. I'm a melee type of guy myself.
Arguing on the Internet: What's the point when you can't punch them in the face when they really piss you off?
Nice post OP ! Im thinking of going summoner next time in Invasion, so very interesting too. Actually rerolling a solo sf Ranger - 3rd attempt - but I might go into summoner to try something new and something maybe less RNG-dependant ( do you agree?) .
Btw, being really lucky with unique drops, this char is lvl22 and found 3 so far : Fairgraeves'Tricorne, Goldrim and Wurm's . Capped res, not much life though...

...and stay dead!
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fazlez1 wrote:
It was a very nice read. I never knew there was so much strategy involved in being a summoner. I'm a melee type of guy myself.

At low levels there's certainly quite a lot of strategic thinking involved. Once you get up into the high 40s and above, regular fights don't require a lot of effort, but bosses can still need some thought. Not that different from most builds, I suppose, but the type of strategy involved is certainly different from melee.

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Wazz72 wrote:
Nice post OP ! Im thinking of going summoner next time in Invasion, so very interesting too. Actually rerolling a solo sf Ranger - 3rd attempt - but I might go into summoner to try something new and something maybe less RNG-dependant ( do you agree?) .

In general, I think summoners can get by with pretty much any gear you find, and unless you get very unlucky it's possible to escape bad spawn placement/ugly bosses without dying. So yeah, with the proper playstyle a summoner is not very dependent on good RNG rolls. On the other hand, a summoner also has trouble with some things other builds breeze through. Most notably, going up against anything higher level than you is asking for trouble (certainly in the low-mid game, and even to some extent in the late game) so a summoner will usually have to grind more than other builds.

"
Wazz72 wrote:
Btw, being really lucky with unique drops, this char is lvl22 and found 3 so far : Fairgraeves'Tricorne, Goldrim and Wurm's . Capped res, not much life though...

Nice! Wurm's Molt especially is incredibly good for low-to-mid level physical damage dealers, with that dual leech. I'm looking forward to grabbing one from the race rewards once season 7 starts, so I can use it on any new characters I decide to roll up.
Last edited by ineffablebob on March 28, 2014 2:19 PM
Level 33-34

Back to the Battlefront to get the last bit of level 34. Also ducked into Solaris level 1 to grab Flame Sentinels, although they're still dying often enough that it's probably not worth the time to go over there just yet. I miss Desecrate for easy corpse-retrieval, but it wasn't worth delaying Raise Spectre and passing up Enfeeble to get it from a quest. Maybe I'll get lucky and get a drop.

At 34 I picked up the minion life regen node just before Grave Expections. I feel firmly planted in the summoner mid-game now. Unlike the early game, I'm not having to resummon minions after every battle, and I do almost no damage at all myself any more. I can't just summon stuff and watch it eat everything, though; casting decoy totems and curses in the appropriate spots is still very important, even against non-boss groups. In the late game minions will be strong enough to kill pretty much any non-boss without any help, but I'm not there yet.

Ah, the Docks, even more beloved of farmers than the Ledge. Found the entrance and then, in succession, Corrector Draconides (who died after only two minion wipes), the Sulfite, Fairgraves, and the waypoint. Grabbed the Talc and did the sewer purge, but I'll wait to proceed any further until I get a few more Docks levels. Found a BBBG 4-link white Festival Mask and hit it with some armorer's scrap and an alchemy orb, resulting in this:

Not great but workable for this level, and it's basically the same evasion as my previous helm but more energy shield. Quite a bit more mana, too, which is nice as I do find myself running out in longer fights. The four links let me link both zombies and spectres to my one minion life support gem, plus LMP for the spectres (it does nothing to the zombies). Later on I'd like to be using minion damage instead of life, but I don't have one yet, and even if I did the survivability is the more important thing right now.

Level 34-37

All Docks, all the time. Kinda boring, but the safest way to get through these levels, and the XP can't be beat. From L34 (53%) to L37 (17%) in 6 runs. Fairly straightforward execution. Summon skeletons and/or decoy totem ahead to draw out the mobs, allow minions to kill them (add curse/totem/raging spirit as desired), repeat. (Remember: a summoner tired of summoning skeletons to scout ahead is a summoner tired of life.) Revived Voidbearers when I could, since they do crazy damage with LMP, or the archer Dockhand Wraiths if no fire dogs were available. Amused myself with the rare boss names; my favourites were Hairytooth and Brutalbeard the Unspeakable. Sadly, no drops worth mentioning.

Invasion bosses were as follows:

Harbinger of Elements - who has apparently learned Elemental Weakness
Glassmaul - who has apparently learned Lightning Strike
Pewterfang - first time I've seen this giant spider, gave me no trouble
Pewterfang - again, she's a glutton for punishment
Mother of the Swarm - who lived about 10 seconds, fire dog breath for the win
The Book Burner - mildly annoying that he spawned in the middle of some crates, so I had to kite him out of there so the minions could surround him; easy kill after that

Now at 6 zombies after picking up Grave Expectations, and happy to see that 16% to minion elemental resists as well. Also at 977 life after a couple more life nodes. Passive tree currently looks like this.

Level 37-38

Back to the sewers and under the river. Invasion boss was Tailslinger, who does not seem to have learned any new tricks, and didn't even kill a zombie - the benefits of being 5 levels higher than the zone. He dropped a rare ring, but the mods were pretty useless for my build. Other than one room with a half-dozen blue poison-bombers, which required a bit of resummoning, steamrolled through the zone.

On to the Battlefront, where all those charging guards and arcing mages killed off my spectres quickly, but the zombies pretty much shrugged it all off and kept on trucking. Revived the mages - if they weren't so fragile they'd be great, with their shocking arcs and lightning thorns, but as it is they're really only useful in their own zone where they can be revived often. Found Gravicius and used the old decoy-totem-pull to get him alone; as long as you personally don't step forward from the top of the stairs, he won't aggro and a totem and/or minions can pull his guards. The General himself didn't manage to kill even one zombie. All I did was cast decoy totem to one side and enfeebled him, then just watched the carnage.

Got Minion Damage from Maramoa's quest reward and shuffled gems around so I now have Raise Zombie-Minion Life, and Raise Spectre-LMP-Minion Damage-Summon Raging Spirit. This way both the spirits and spectres get the minion damage bonus, and spectres still have LMP as well. A build note here: you may notice I haven't mentioned auras, and that's for two reasons. First, I haven't seen any drop and I've had more important things to grab from quest rewards. Second, I can't really afford the mana to run anything (unless I happen to get a Clarity) since I haven't been taking much in the way of +mana on the passive tree. If I live into the 50s and 60s that will probably change, but for now auras aren't part of my build picture.

Wandered over to the Imperial Gardens to grab the waypoint before I move on to the Lunaris Temple. Annoying maze of a zone, the gardens, but at least it has the Avian Retch birds to revive. They don't have the sustained damage output of Flame Sentinels or Tentacle Miscreation, but LMP on that projectile vomit attack does some pretty decent burst damage. They tend to live quite a while since they like to run around at superspeed looking for a corpse to eat, rather than standing in one place to get smacked around. Plus I'm just immature enough to enjoy watching my minions vomit on everything. Found the waypoint without running into any unique bosses.

Back to the Battlefront and forward to the Lunaris Temple. Who designed all these doors and empty rooms in this zone, anyway? Defeated Fleshrend handily in the battle of the necromancers, by the simple method of summoning zombies to deny him corpses and watching them eat him. Found The Raging Mask (Flame Sentinel) invasion boss and had to resort to summoning skeletons in his face, since his Firestorm melted the zombies and spectres. He had no answer for the exploding skeletons, though, and was kind enough to drop a chaos orb and give me just enough XP for level 38.

Level 38-39

Lunaris Temple level 2 started out with Bladetooth the invading Flame Hellion in the very first room. First time I'd seen him, so didn't realize at first that the poison was coming from him and was looking around for a bomb-thrower. Figured it out once all his friends were dead, though, and lost only a couple zombies finishing him off. Found the waypoint, then Kole fairly soon after. Dude is a menace to pretty much every other build, but short of desync he's no threat to a summoner. Enfeeble, decoy totem, skeletons, dead.

Lunaris level 3...yay, Tentacle Miscreations. Like the Flame Sentinels, they can be dangerous to your minions (and you), but only if you stand still in their crossfire. Putting skeletons/totems behind them or off to the side distracts them nicely, enfeeble limits the damage they can do, and once revived with LMP they make great artillery. Fought to the end of the zone without seeing the Invasion boss, though I did kill Spinecrack (the unique Whipping Miscreation). Found a Regal Orb along the way, which I'll probably save in case I find a decent blue Summoners (+1 minion level) helm.

Piety was a bit of a joke, really; she didn't manage to kill a single zombie (though her lightning storm did kill the spectres), and all I really did was enfeeble her and watch the show. Down in seconds - again, the benefit of being higher level (4 levels in this case). I remember back in beta when she owned me on a regular basis (even in Normal); presumably I've gotten a bit better, but I think mainly the passive tree improvements for minions have really made the difference. She didn't drop much of use, but one item was good: boots with 94 armor, 57 evasion, +13 dex, +69 life, and 18% fire resist. I'll miss the 15% movement speed on my old boots, but survivability comes first. Spent my two passive points on Holy Strength (now up to 1234 life) and started down the intelligence node path toward Shaper and Gravepact.

Back to the gardens, and a trip up to the Sceptre of God to get rid of this key. Not going in yet, though. Turned around and went in search of the Library, and found it without seeing a unique.

First two rooms of the library contained 3 (!) Colossal Bonestalker rares and an Invasion boss I hadn't seen before, Evocata Apocalyptica. Very glad I was moving ahead slowly, since that meant the first two rares were down before she aggroed. That fight got the heart rate up; her spell totems killed the spectres almost immediately, and the zombies didn't last much longer. Blew through most of my mana flasks resummoning zombies and pulling up skeletons, and had to retreat once to the first room to do a full zombie resummon when I ran out of corpses near her. That last minion horde was enough to do her in. Not looking forward to seeing her on higher difficulties! Hit level 39 and found the Library waypoint very shortly thereafter.
Really love your narrating, and let me say that it gets easier as you become stronger. Just continue to be careful and grind your levels out. Just note that Invasion is extremely difficult and one false step with an Invader will send you straight to Softcore.

EDIT:

I must say that I disagree heavily with the Witch being the best Summoner. Personally, my preference is for the Scion as an HP based Summoner who receives quite an attractive array of minion gems herself for quest rewards. Her placement to HP nodes, dex nodes, and minion nodes maker her very attractive indeed.

The witch on the other hand I believe is a better Summoner for late game if you are going heavy on ES.
GGG listens to its fans!!! Thank you!
Last edited by Catchafire2000 on March 28, 2014 6:46 PM
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Really love your narrating, and let me say that it gets easier as you become stronger. Just continue to be careful and grind your levels out. Just note that Invasion is extremely difficult and one false step with an Invader will send you straight to Softcore.

I hear that! Generally I'm fighting the Invasion bosses at a 3 or more level advantage, and they're still a pain even in normal. I suspect in higher difficulties I'll do a lot of running.

"
I must say that I disagree heavily with the Witch being the best Summoner. Personally, my preference is for the Scion as an HP based Summoner who receives quite an attractive array of minion gems herself for quest rewards. Her placement to HP nodes, dex nodes, and minion nodes make her very attractive indeed.

The witch on the other hand I believe is a better Summoner for late game if you are going heavy on ES.

The main thing I dislike about Scion summoning is the lack of a Summon Skeletons reward gem. Per the wiki, only Witch, Templar, and Shadow get that gem as a quest reward. If you're not playing self-found and can get one from elsewhere, then that's a non-issue, but for this particular character it wasn't really an option. Skeletons are crucial to the playstyle I'm running, both for killing off particularly nasty bosses with Minion Instability, and for using as forward scouts to avoid having my personal self be the initial target that the mobs aggro on. Aside from the skeletons, though, I certainly do agree that you can do some interesting things from the Scion start on the passive tree.
The name "The SS Summoner" is a bit unfortunate, but ... :p Nice read!
Dual Flame Totem build for Scion: http://pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/827006 (Witch/Templar, too).
It's such a good read it ALMOST makes me want to try a summoner build :). I can't see it happening though because 1. I'm not a strategic thinker in anyway shape or form. 2. I really like the sound of the bones crunching beneath my mace.
Arguing on the Internet: What's the point when you can't punch them in the face when they really piss you off?
TLDR; Cool story bro.
Level 39-40

So here's an example of why you want to be multiple levels higher than the zone you're entering in Invasion. Walked into the Imperial Gardens in search of some birds to revive, and just south of the waypoint saw a rare snake. No big deal, let the minions go to work on him...oh, look, here comes Grath out of the shrubbery. All right, we can do this, a little decoy totem, target Grath with the Raging Spirits...oh look, here comes freakin' Minara Anemina out of the shrubbery on the other side. So she starts throwing arc around, the snake is still poisoning everyone, Grath is running around hitting skeletons and the totem, there's about four auras (including everything-but-Grath cannot die) buffing them and a dozen or so other monsters of various kinds. A smart player would probably have run away, but being not one of those I stayed, and with enfeeble on everything and a lot of skeleton/totem/spirits-at-Grath, cleared them out. Wouldn't have even considered it had I not been +6 level to them, though. I was rewarded, though, with the first rare ring I've found worth using.



Ventured back into the Library, and who should I find but Evocata Apocalyptica again. Another rough fight with several full minion wipes, and she dropped a rare shield, but unfortunately it wasn't quite good enough to replace my current one. Also found a corrupted area, the Restricted Gallery of Stasis (no life or mana regen), but I wasn't going into a no-regen zone even with a 5-level advantage. Also fought Tyrannursus Maximus (love that guy) who dropped a 5 socket bone armor linked BG and BBG. Rolled that up with some armorer's scrap, alchemy, and a couple of chaos. (Feels weird using chaos to roll instead of buy stuff, but such is the self-found life.) Got a decent roll, no resists but extra life and much more evasion/ES than I have currently, which I'll keep for now. Used a Vaal orb on it too but got nothing, oh well.



Found the loose candle and down into the Archives. Love the ambient art pieces in there, especially the mermaid skeletons. Demolished Trinian, Intellectus Prime without any trouble; he's one of the weaker uniques, never had an issue with him on any character. Hmm, maybe I shouldn't say that, the devs will probably buff him now. :) Anyway, found all the pages without running into the Invasion boss and took them topside to Siosa. Sheesh, those quest rewards are awful. Took a Purity of Lightning, as I suppose I might use it against a lightning boss someday.

Roamed the gardens a bit more to find the Hedge Maze; only went through about a quarter of the zone to find it, which is pretty good in my experience. Invasion boss there was The Duchess, and with the 5 level advantage I figured I could take her. Success, but barely; she'd wiped out my minions several times and I was down to my last bit of mana flask charge by the time she finally went down. Good thing I'd been leading my minions from the rear, because as soon as I walked up to her corpse, The Conqueror Worm popped up and bit me. Ran away, got the minions in order, and went back up there to kill it. Those devourer worms are my least favourite enemies on a summoner, since they always pop up and attack your personal self before being distracted by the minions. After those uniques, the rest of the zone was fairly simple. Took the plum to Fairgraves and got a ruby flask; normally I take an amulet from him, but in this case I'm still hanging on to Sidhebreath for a few more levels. Will probably have to think about swapping it out in the next difficulty.

Nothing for it now but to head into the Sceptre, unappealing as that may be. Level 35s in the first area, so I'm still 4 levels up. There are no easy monsters in this area; fireblast and lightning nova from undying, leaping and chilling frogs, piercing barrage from chimerals. I suppose the statues aren't that bad. No minion is going to survive long whenever a bunch of those attacks go off at once. The Undying Evangelists make decent revives; no bonus from LMP, but the fireblast does decent damage and the proximity shield can be helpful occasionally, although it's near impossible to stay inside it since they run around so much. Found my way to the waypoint without seeing an Invasion boss, but of course I did run across Caliga, Imperatrix. Fortunately I'd just hit 40 because those Lightning Traps are crazy. Three minion wipes (and stray lightning got me down to about half) before I killed her, and that's with a 5 level advantage! Definitely not looking forward to seeing her again in Cruel; might break out the Purity of Lightning for that.

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