[Invasion] Sarah the Self-found Solo Summoner

Keep up the blogging
Braunar wrote:
Why not use unique sword on weapon swap for summoning zombs/spectres?

An interesting idea, that I hadn't really considered since I'm using the weapon swap for a couple of three socket wands. Have a few gems leveling up there for potential later use. Now that I think about it, though, the only one I really want is Fire Penetration, and the Queen's Decree could hold that just as well.

Right now, I'm not sure if the 13% life/15% damage is enough of a bonus to be worth the effort. I have to resummon at least one zombie pretty regularly, and the whole horde after most bosses. Plus I'd have to move my Spectre gem someplace else, since it's linked to LMP/Minion Damage in my shield right now, and there's no other BBG links available on my current gear. I don't think it's workable for now, but it's worth keeping in mind for possible use later.
Level 41-42

Realized I could actually use that Fire Penetration gem I've been leveling up on the weapon switch by linking it to Summon Raging Spirit, with minimal additional mana since the spirits are so cheap. Running out of mana is becoming a bit of an issue, so I took the Added Lightning Damage out of the Guardian/Zombies link. I really don't want to shut off Purity of Lightning since my gear isn't good enough to get along without it at the moment.

Defeated the All-Seeing Eye and Fire Fury on the way through the Coast, and stopped off to kill Hailrake in the Tidal Island. Spotted The Sunburst Queen also, but she spawned right next to a rare with Soul Conduit, and I really didn't want to have to kill everything twice so I just ran past. None of the stuff from Bestel for the quest reward looked particularly useful, so I took a Chance to Ignite on the off chance that I find a use for it.

Went through the Mud Flats without seeing anything more dangerous than Oozeback Bloom. Entered the Lower Submerged Passage, found the waypoint, then the Flooded Depths. Had a nasty time with Invasion bosses in there: first Nighteater, who killed all the minions and set me on fire with a Firestorm that I couldn't get out of due to the small tunnels; then Guardian of the Mound, who spawned in an open area so the fireballs were everywhere. All the fighting was good for XP, though, hit 42 along the way. Third time was the charm as the instance spawned Spinesnap, who was manageable. Also had to kill Eoin Greyfur before I finally got to the crab. Got Alacrity with the skill point; next stop, the life nodes leading to Written in Blood.

Back in the Lower Submerged Passage, found a Concealed Cavity corrupted area with mods to increase the boss damage/speed and chilled ground. Cleared that out fairly easily; the All-Seeing Eye went down quickly to a stream of spirits. Got a Sacrifice at Dusk, bleh.

Back to the passage again. On the way to the exit found Eoin Greyfur again, right next to Bladetooth. Ran away a bit to get the rogue exile alone, killed him, then went back for Bladetooth.

First attempt at the Upper Submerged Passage went poorly due to The Duchess, who spawned in a tiny tunnel so that all I could do was watch the horde kill her spawns and feed her Soul Eater. Reset. Second try was better, had to kill Brood Princess but didn't see an Invasion boss. Made it up to the Ledge and found the waypoint without seeing an Invasion boss.

I found a gloves with life, fire, and lightning resist on it and decided now would be a good time to revist my gear. Used a Vaal orb on a Fire/Cold Two-Stone ring and turned it into a rare with some good resists. (I find that's the best use for Vaal orbs in lower levels - use it on a white item, preferably non-socketed, and hope for a rare.) Grabbed that 4-linked Scarlet Raiment I've been saving in my stash, and swapped around my rings and amulet, and relocated a bunch of gems. Here's the current gear after all that:

Puts my defenses at 1229 life, 204 ES, 77/77/78/-12 resists, 12% armor physical reduction, 31% chance to evade, and 30% chance to block. I still need Purity of Lighting to cap the lightning resist, but I can live with that. I'd like a lot more life off my gear eventually, but we'll just have to see how kind the RNG is feeling. Also decided to try out Braunar's suggestion of using the Queen's Decree on weapon switch for initial summons, since my wand/shield no longer contain either spectres or zombies.
Level 42-43

Went through the Ledge and Climb quickly, no need to stick around when I'm already 6 levels above the zone. Killed off the totem and Ironpoint along the way, and saw Mother of the Hive but ran past instead of spending the time needed to take her out.

Spotted a Forgotten Oubliette in the Lower Prison, with extra fire damage as the only mod. Normally I'd skip this since Coniraya, Shadow of Malice has a nasty lightning-enhanced Rain of Arrows attack. But I've got 5 levels on the zone, plus the Purity of Lightning, so I decided it's feasible. Still had to run and re-summon twice to take down Coniraya, but he never did any serious damage to me. Vaal gem was Lightning Strike, meh.

Nothing significant in the Upper Prison besides Sawbones, who barely had a chance to raise any undead before the minions had him down. Warden lasted just under 7 seconds against the horde. Found a Silverbranch; useless for this character but it goes in the guild stash. Picked up Flesh Offering from Tarkleigh; I considered Clarity instead, but I can get a Clarity in Act 3 while this is my last chance for a Flesh Offering from a quest reward. Flesh Offering takes the place of Vaal Arc, which has been fun but just doesn't have a place on my skill bar any more.

Level 43-45

Prisoner's Gate was its usual annoying self, although I did manage to use Convocation to save more zombies than normal from setting themselves on fire. Killed off the Burning Menace, but didn't see an Invasion boss. Spotted a Remote Gulch corrupted zone with added lightning damage and chilled ground modifiers, and cleared it without too much difficulty. Sheaq has learned GMP Fireball, which killed off a lot of zombies, but it didn't help him much against the spirits and skeletons. Got a Sacrifice at Noon. I'd trade all this map crap for a nice Vaal Summon Skeletons, but the RNG isn't feeling kind.

Got from the Ship Graveyard waypoint to the Coves easily, then ran into Wiraqucha, Ancient Guardian. Halted long enough for the horde to kill the other snakes then ran on past before the battle with Wiraqucha could get out of hand. Cleared the rest of the zone easily and got Spell Totem from Nessa. Linked that sucker up to Summon Skeleton. Hooray, less skeleton spamming and more casting of raging spirits.

Back to the graveyard in search of the cave. Found it without incident, and took care of both Shivershell and Stranglecharm without losing a zombie. Took a while, though, since both were surrounded by a bunch of Merveil's Chosen and their spawn. Minions cleared 'em out eventually. Smote Fairgraves and got my skill point.

Over to the Fetid Pool for a full clear. Kadavrus didn't last long; Flesh Offering has the nice side benefit of eating his corpses before he can revive them. Bladeback Guardian made an appearance and incinerated the whole horde. I dropped a skeleton totem just out of range and held down the raging spirit button until he died, then resummoned. He dropped a Deerstalker unique boots; very interesting but I don't have any skills that would make a good trap, plus I don't want to lose the 4-link on my current boots.

Went straight through the Cavern of Anger and Cavern of Wrath, only slowing down to kill off Amarissa, Ambrosia, and the Duchess. That last fight was possible mainly because the raging spirits killed her off before soul eater got out of hand, thanks to the skeleton totem and Flesh Offering. Merveil was even easier than the Duchess: skeleton totem, summon raging spirit, repeat as necessary until dead. No drops of interest from any of them.

Slaughtered monkeys by the dozen on the way through the Southern Forest, as well as Pewterfang. Found the encampment then continued the slaughter north through the Old Fields to the Crossroads waypoint, obtaining level 45 along the way.

Level 45-46

Went south through the Wetlands to the Blackwood waypoint, killing a few more monkeys but primarily Carrion Queens and fire dogs, who were absolutely everywhere. Had a bad moment when the whole horde disappeared under the alpha strike from three rares right next to a Diamond Shrine, but after running away to resummon, was able to deal with them in small chunks. Had another bad moment when Shrapnelbearer started shooting at me. Almost just ran away, but the minions already had him at half by the time the other monsters had died, so stayed around to finish him off.

Also found a Mystical Clearing corrupted zone in the Wetlands. Mods were endurance charges and physical reflect, which aren't too bad against the horde, so I gave it a shot. I'd forgotten just how annoying Simi the Nature Touched can be with his Soul Eater bonus, but I was able to pull large numbers of minions away from him initially, so it didn't get too far out of hand. Got a Vaal Spark; nice, but nothing I can fit onto my gear/skill bar.

Found the spider lair and discovered it to be infested with devourers. Only had them pop up right under my feet once, but of course it was when I was in a doorway and got locked in unable to move. Fortunately the horde made short work of them, but it was still a bit unnerving. After that the Weaver fight seemed like business as usual. Skeleton totem and zombies distracted the little spiders while the raging spirits broiled the big one.

Picked up Increased Duration from Silk for the quest reward. It's time I finally upgraded my wand, so I went to Yeena to buy something with three sockets. Lo and behold, she had a blue three-link wand with +1 to fire gems (and 8% cast speed). Some days, the RNG is kind. Linked up Summon Raging Spirit-Increased Duration-Flesh Offering in the wand, and moved Fire Penetration over to the chest armor to link with Summon Spectre-LMP-Minion Damage.

Got to level 46 on the way through the Blackwood to the Western Forest, and used the skill point to pick up Written in Blood. Current skill tree. Life is up to 1577 now. Mana is becoming an issue again, so I think I'll head toward Gravepact next, which requires taking some intelligence nodes on the way. Might get those life/mana nodes along the way also; depends on how I feel the mana supply is holding up.

Level 46-47

Explored the Western Forest without meeting any invading bosses, though I did have to dodge big spawns of those kamikaze dudes a few times. Took down Alira and the captain quickly and easily.

Back to the Crossroads waypoint and north to the Broken Bridge. No invasion bosses spotted, but lost a bunch of minions several times to those explosive arrow archers. Those things are deadly in big enough groups. Found Kraityn and deposed him without incident.

Crossroads again, this time left to the Chamber of Sins. Found a slightly better shield along the way with more life and better resists. Lots of annoyances in level 1 as usual, lightning arrows and poison zombies, but nothing really dangerous as long as I went slow. Nothing dangerous, that is, until I ran across the Invasion boss. I never even saw him on my screen but I assume it was Docere Incarnatis, since there were Blackguard monsters and a whole lot of Storm Call. The entire minion horde was wiped out instantly, and I ran the other way as fast as I could. Fortunately I found the stairs down on the other side of the map, so it wasn't necessary to reset.

Level 2 and 3 both went quickly, with no major hinderances, until I was walking down the hallway toward Fidelitus. Simi the Nature Touched was lurking in the corridor just outside the end room, so I had to take him out. Again, pulling away the initial spawn helped to keep his Soul Eater bonus down, and a skeleton totem kept him busy while the spirits took him down. Fidelitus was much easier, didn't have to bother with the pulling part, and I hit 47 once his room was clear. The quest reward from Gruest was pretty bad, but I did find a rare Sleek Coat with some nice mods. Unfortunately it only has one socket and I don't have the currency to roll it to something better; I could probably manage to get it to four sockets with the Jeweller's Orbs I have, but I only have one Fusing Orb.
Level 47-48

Back to the Riverways to find a tree to kill. Had to deal with Blood Morpher and Blood Stasis on the way, who wiped out the zombies but didn't do well against the raging spirits. Found the tree and went through the Vaal Ruins level 1 fairly quickly, beating up Grath along the way. Ran into Guardian of the Mound on level 2, in a corner room that made it fairly easy to toss spirits and skeletons at him until he died. Spotted a Forbidden Chamber corrupted area (chilled ground, extra lightning damage) and cleared it out. Haviri, Vaal Metalsmith summoned a lot of totems that destroyed the zombies, but with a skeleton totem just out of their range and constant raging spirit casting, he didn't last too long. Got a Vaal Cold Snap, another would-be-nice-if-I-had-a-place-for-it gem to add to the collection.

(Quick aside on Vaal gems. I think the developers did a good job making them powerful-but-limited in terms of the soul charges needed. But Vaal gems take up precious sockets/skill bar slots that could be filled by always-useful skills, even if those are less powerful. If the Vaal gems were enhancements to normal gems...say, Vaal Cold Snap could be used like a regular cold snap while it's gathering souls, maybe at half effectiveness...then they might be usable. As it is, Vaal gems are primarily just filler, used only until you get whatever you really wanted to use.)

Walked out of the ruins into the Wetlands and ran smack into Ossecati. He and his skeleton buddies were pretty rough on the minions, wiped them all out, but the raging spirits did their job. Found another Life Leech, still useless for Sarah. Killed Oak in short order; Flesh Offering really speeds up that fight.

Back to the Crossroads for one last time, heading to Fellshrine. Moseyed quickly through to the Crypt, not much point in staying too long since the zone is only level 42. No Invasion bosses spotted. Got to 48 just before entering the Crypt and used the point to pick up Shaper. The extra mana regen made an immediate and noticable improvement in mana availability; once I get Clarity in Act 3, I think I'll be in pretty good shape.
Right now, I'm not sure if the 13% life/15% damage is enough of a bonus to be worth the effort. I have to resummon at least one zombie pretty regularly, and the whole horde after most bosses.

The lack of defense of not having a shield sucks, but the extra duration may be useful if you ever get Vaal Skeletons.
Level 48-49

Found Simi again in the Crypt level 1 and knocked him down. As long as you keep a skeleton totem out of his reach and keep up the raging spirit attack, he's fairly straightforward. Also found an Entombed Alcove corrupted zone (shocked ground, physical resist) and cleared it. Only Shrapnelbearer posed any threat, and I was able to stay out of the line of fire for the most part while the minions took him out. Another Sacrifice at Dawn, sadly.

No Invasion boss in the Crypt level 2. Archbishop Geofri never made it onto the screen; used the old totem-at-the-top-of-the-stairs trick to send the minions ahead and kill him before triggering the spider ambush. Picked up the respec points from Yeena.

One last trip to the Old Fields to find the Den. Cleared a Hidden Patch (-13% max resists) along the way. Had to resummon the horde a couple of times against Thornrunner, but was never in any significant danger. Got a Vaal Burning Arrow. In the Den, found the White Beast after only one dead end tunnel and without seeing another boss...might be the fastest I've ever gotten through that zone. The ring Yeena gave me has +73 max life, but no resists so it's not really usable.

Time for a bit of Wetlands farming to get to 49. Found a Narrow Ravine (more magic monsters) to clear, which cost me many minions due to those frog chimeras leaping out of nowhere. Took out Kamaq Soilmaker after only one run-and-resummon; sadly, yet another Sacrifice at Dawn. Found the Dread Thicket and had to leave immediately due to an unfortunate spawn of a rare bear and Marrowcage together at the entrance, with no room to maneuver them apart. Second try was better, cleared half of it before Rima Deep Temptress made an appearance. Ran away from that one.

Level 49-50

More Wetlands. Ran through 4 times, plus 2 incursions into the Dread Thicket, on my way to level 50. Interesting encounters:

Torr Olgosso: Killed a couple of zombies with all his jumping around, but otherwise a straightforward skeleton-totem-and-spirits fight.
Kall Foxfly: Had one bad moment when he Lightning Warped right on top of me, but otherwise straightforward.
Cintiq the Inescapable: She spawned in some trees right next to a group of Oak's Devoted, which meant she was getting life leech from Warlord's Mark and the minions couldn't surround her. Bad combination, so I ran away and circled around so she'd move out of the trees and I could take out the other monsters first. Easy pickings after that.
Tailslinger: Spawned in a narrow passage in the thicket, but never really did much damage since I was able to drop the skeleton totem behind him and the minions surrounded him quickly.
Harbinger of Elements: Spawned right out in the open, not near any other monsters besides his skeleton minions. Bad move on his part, didn't last long.

Killed Oak a couple more times, too...with the horde supported by Flesh Offering, he's a pushover.

Level 50-51

Into the Caverns. Found a Covered-up Hollow (enfeeble curse) and cleared it. Cintiq killed a few zombies but never got a clear shot at me as I was able to hide behind some rock formations while she fought the horde. Sacrifice at Noon...sigh. Back in the Cavern level 1, Ossecati and Ion Darkshroud teamed up against me, so I moved to a spot where a narrow corridor formed a bottleneck and dropped a skeleton totem there. That kept them busy while the rest of the horde killed them.

In the Cavern level 2, Wiraqucha Ancient Guardian ambushed me in a narrow corridor. Running past wasn't really an option since I had no idea what was ahead, so I dropped a totem and held down the raging spirit button. No idea how many clones came and went, and I had no idea where Wiraqucha was most of the time, but eventually a bunch of items popped out of nowhere so the horde must have killed him.

Cleared the majority of the Ancient Pyramid without incident, although a large contingent of invading necromancers made it slow going in places. Found a Rejuvenation Totem, which would have been a huge boost back before the summoner passives got upgraded, but now is not really necessary. Was nearly at 51 when I found the last stairs, so went back to the Wetlands for a bit to get the level before heading up to face the Oversoul. He didn't last long against the horde: summoned once, dropped rocks once, tossed out some freezing ground, and dead. He dropped a Solaris Lorica copper plate, one of the more useless uniques.
not sure how experimental you are feeling.

putting zombies or skellies on a trap would boost their damage.

so you would have a 4L summons with a trap damage boost.

Now this is what a build post is all about, excellent write up and explanation(s) all the way through your build.

Well done. Good read....
To Die Is Not An Option, To Fight Until DIESync Is The Only Answer. ☺☻☺

Happy Hunting Exiles.

Found a Life Leech along the way, which would make me very happy on most characters but is fairly useless for this one.

Life Leech is my favourite spectre support - link it to ranged spectres and they'll almost never die.

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