A Shield Throwing, Abyssal Orb detonating, Smite proccing Sentinel, or, how I learned to relax & love the low FPS…
04/06/20 - 0.7.8, big update to the Sentinel passive tree & Smite is now on the Sentinel passive tree rather than Paladin
06/04/20 - updated items for the Forgotten Knight set
04/03/20 - updated the guide for the idol bug fixes & Orb Master’s correct cooldown recovery.
30/03/20 - 0.7.7 changed around the Sentinel passive tree a bit, plus Smite’s Fissure node now works properly & has it’s proper duration so that’s a bit more damage, if it counts as a hit that would give us more heals per second due to Regenerator!
09/03/20 - Added in an updated passive tree for Forge Guard @ lvl 87, some experience with Ring of Shields nodes & thoughts on Smite nodes.
Do you like lots of black/purple explosions? Do you like auto-casting/procing skills & damaging effects? Do you like having low FPS (my record is 1 fps (rounded up!) in an Arena)? If so, this build might be for you.
By reading this guide you accept all liability for low single digit FPS. Potentially rounding up to 1.
My name’s Llama & I have a problem, I have alt-itis, I get more enjoyment out of starting new builds than I do finishing them off & taking them through end game. I also enjoy builds that are a bit on the arcane/obtuse side, with bonus points for abuse of aforementioned arcane/obtuse mechanics.
I started thinking about this build after playing around with a Warpath Void Knight (with warpath firing orbs & devouring orb firing orbs as well) but the down side for that was having to stop and cast Devouring Orb. And that’s why I started a new Void Knight using Shield Throw as then you can have Devouring Orb auto-cast more seamlessly (compared to Warpath). Then I heard about the Forge Guard’s Regenerator node (life on block & life on hit) & started a Forge Guard version…
What is this build all about?
It’s about proccing lots & lots of Future Strikes (Void Knight passive, requires 15 points in VK, any hit has a 10%-100% chance to inflict an attack of 50 void damage 2 seconds in the future) from range with Devouring Orb (Abyssal Emission node has the Devouring Orbs fire which explode for AoE) and Shield Throw (with the Eruption node for more AoE).
This is a melee range build with the option to go to range if the **** is hitting the fan & you need to get out of being hit by stuff. I say it’s ideally melee range because if you’re in melee range, you’ve got Devouring Orbs rotating around your character, whenever anything dies each Devouring Orb explodes doing AoE damage (not a huge amount but procs Future Strikes) on anything in range. Devouring Orb also “summons” rifts every few seconds & these then explode after a few seconds and that AoE can proc Future Strike. If a Devouring Orb passes through a mob (with the Cosmic Impact node) it will do damage, count as a hit & proc Future Strike. If a load of mobs are clustered round you, they’ll be hit by all of these AoE attacks plus Eruption from Shield Throw (again, proccing Future Strike) and the Abyssal Orbs from Devouring Orb also do AoE damage…
Stats & Future Strike damage
The most important attributes in this build are Strength (boosts Shield Throw damage) & Attunement (boosts damage for Devouring Orb & Smite).
Now, the damage from Future Strikes is a bit different. It does 50 void damage 2 seconds after the hit that proc’d it. It benefits from % global damage, % void damage** and the attribute for the skill that proc’d it!** So if Shield Throw procs Future Strikes then Future Strike’s damage will be increased by 4% per point of Strength you have. If Devouring Orb procs Future Strikes then Future Strike’s damage will be increased by 4% per point of Attunement you have, and you’ll be getting an ungodly amount of hits from Devouring Orb.
Devouring Orb (DO):
Casts a rift every ~2 seconds, fires an abyssal orb every 3-0.8s depending on points, with echos can get 4-8 DO out at a time, if you’re not a Void Knight you’ll have ~4 up at one time. It can be spec’d to fire out orbs at mobs as well as orbiting your character. All of the hits from it can proc Future Strikes.
How many points you put where in DO depends on how much mana regen you have (& this is why I have a wand).
For levelling it, I tend to go down to Dark Moon (DO orbits you) first, then 1 point in Void Adept (% global damage) to get to Hollow Orb (+50% duration & negates the size & damage malus from Dark Moon) and Abyssal Emission (DO fires Abyssal Orbs). Where you go from here depends on how much mana cost you can sustain. Dark Torrent increases the rate at which DO fires orbs, I’ve gone for 3 points here, then 1 point in Cataclysm to get to Orb Master which reduces the cooldown & allows you to have more DO out at any one time, but it will significantly increase the amount of mana you spend as you’re casting DO more frequently. I’ve also gone down from Dark Moon through Abyssal Rush (1 point), Cosmic Impact (DO now does damage when it passes through a mob, proccing Future Strikes) & 2 points in Sightless Star. Once I’ve got those, I then put another 3 points into Void Adept to open up Abyssal Juggernaut (+10 void & elemental protections per point & +10% void & elemental protections per point).
This allows me to have ~5 DOs up all the time.
Shield Throw (ST):
ST is my main spammable attack, it has an AoE, slightly disappointing attack speed & single target but good clear from the ricochets. It can also be spec’d for zero mana cost without much difficulty. With the Eruption node, each ST hit counts as 2 hits for Future Strikes (the shield hit & the AoE from Eruption).
For levelling, I go down through Polished Steel (4 points, mana cost reduction) to Focussed Campaign & Shield Barrage which will completely remove the cooldown & make it free (for now) so you can spam it & having throwing attack speed will now actually benefit you. After that I usually go through Ricochet (more bounces) to Eruption (adds an additional AoE to each hit from ST, this will proc Future Strikes separately from the hit). I then usually go through Heavy Shield (added flat damage) to Iron Monger (awesome! Steals up to 30 armour on hit, with this you can get several thousand armour while spamming ST in a pack) & 2 points in Hemrin’s Technique (more bounces).
The last 3 points are up to you, I went for more AoE (Forceful Breaking, 2 points) & Spiked Plates (damage increased by 50% of your block chance). You could take those 3 points & put them into Crippling Throw (2 points) to get to Throwing Arm (25% increased throwing attack damage per point if you’ve used ST recently).
Another option is Aegis which for 1 point will allow your shield to target your allies (Ring of Shields). This will proc the AoE from Eruption & if you stand on top of the big bad single target that will increase the damage a fair bit. Unfortunately with Aegis Shield Throw seems to prioritise targetting your shields over mobs which decreases clear speed in the mid-range (where your Shield would have a choice of either going for a mob a bit further away or one of your Ring of Shields). While mobs can still be hit by the AoE, the AoE will be centred on your shields, not the mobs so it’s less likely to damage more of the pack (plus it’s missing out on the inital hit as well).
This is a very important part of the build due to there being an idol (2x2, Keen Adorned Rahyeh Idol) which will allow you to proc Smite on throwing attack & Smite has a node that grants 10-50% (global) attack speed which is awesome for ST as the amount of throwing attack speed you can get outside of ST & the passive tree is limited. Once Fissure & it’s duration node are fixed you’ll be able to keep the attack speed buff up for something like 10s (assuming a target stays in the fissure for the full duration). Additionally, Smite is currently bugged in that it can’t apply ailments (bleed, etc but also including Future Strikes) outside of it’s skill tree (so either ignite or shock).
For levelling, I go through Holy Wave (1 point), Righteous Fury (3 points) to get Righteous Flurry (+10% global attack speed per point for 4 seconds after something takes damage from Smite, this should count the damage from Fissure as well ). Then I put 1 point into Fissure & 5 into Aftershock (which is currently bugged & does nothing). You then have 5 points to put where you want, I put them into Blinding Flash (10% blind chance per point).
Edit: I’ve not tried going up to Panacea yet, but even at 5% (Smite goes off like an Orbital Ion Machinegun), it might be useful to get rid of poison stacks at the loss of 2-3 points on the blind node.
Ring of Shields (RoS):
Ring of Shields is a good defensive skill, you can have it up permanently (with 3 points in Enduring Defense), get heals (Healing Shields), % armour & elemental protections (Phalanx) & 5-25% increased block chance for 4 seconds on cast of RoS. The shields will also block ranged attacks & can get aggro.
For levelling I usually go down through Banding to Enduring Defense (+6 duration for 3 points) as this enables you to keep Ring of Shields up permanently. Then I usually head up through Reinforcement (2 points for 2 extra shields) to Healing Shields (3 points for 15 healing per shield every 3 seconds) and Phalanx (3 points for +30% armour & +30% elemental protections for 4 seconds when you get healed by Ring of Shields). You then have 7 points, I went down through Tempered Steel (-6 mana cost) to Defensive Shields (5-25% block chance for 4s on cast of Ring of Shields), but you could go up through Bastion to Amass (more shields = more heals) or potentially Molten Shields/Touched by Fire for the shields to do damage when the pass through mobs (ie, proc more Future Strikes).
Edit: I’ve had a play with the following nodes -
- Molten Shields/Immolate/Fire Spin, do very little, you get a small fire AoE that’s not a hit, also, since the Shields are minions, even if they did hit, they wouldn’t proc any Future Strikes or Regenerator since they aren’t you.
- Martyr Shields/Collateral Damage, the heal is a bit on the small side but might be useful, the damage from Collateral Damage is also small, doesn’t count as coming from you & basically spreads sideways from your shields, rather than in all directions. Kinda odd, but it’s either this or more points in Defensive Shields or Phalanx.
- Shield Spike, no idea if it’s doing anything, but it reflects 10% of the damage shields take (eg, from ranged mobs) so it’s probably useful.
0.7.8 bought some changes to the Lunge tree, we’re missing the +8 strength & 25-100% void & elemental protections for 4s but gain 40% increased (global) damage & up to 240% increased crit chance from the Initiative & Avenger’s Charge nodes & the increased damage & crit chance will affect all the damage we do. The other 6 points you can put wherever you want, I went with increased AoE (Into the Fray) & some life on hit (Blood Rush), but neither of them are particularly important.
This is the base class & you need (at least) 20 points in here to be able to unlock the masteries. At 15 points you also unlock ST & 20 points you unlock Smite (new in 0.7.8 ).
As I like tankiness, I went with 5 points in Fearless (though you could do 8, vitality = necrotic/void/poison protections = good), 5 points in Gladiator (5% block chance & 150 block effectiveness), 5 points in Juggernaut (Strength, fire & void protection) though you could go for Armour Clad (flat armour & % armour) or Relentless (% damage & stun avoidance), then 5 points in Aegis of Renewal (health on block, you’ll be blocking a lot).
When levelling as a Forge Guard I then started putting points into Void Knight to get Devouring Orb & Future Strikes.
The Void Knight tree is a bit more flexible:
- Temporal Corruption converts Smite (& Fissure) to void damage, which is good as then all our skills benefit from % Void damage, and it adds +2 flat void damage to spells & attacks (not sure if that includes Shield Throw, but it should buff Future Strikes & everything else, so that’d good).
- Abyssal Endurance (flat health & void protection).
- Sorrow and Steel is good since it gives +% void damage which buffs all our damage (if you go for Temporal Corruption).
- Void Corruption is excellent for 1 point, it’ll add 25% crit multi. For 1 point.
- Devouring Blade (+10% increased damage per point for 4s on kill) could be a good node since it’ll be up all the time apart from bosses, but it doesn’t stack, so if you’ve killed in the last 4 seconds, you get up to 100% increased damage.
- Void Bolts could also be a good place to put points as it adds flat Void damage to void spells (Devouring Orb & Smite) & Throwing Attacks and does appear to buff the Future Strikes from those skills.
- Void Blades is not good as we don’t use melee attacks & it doesn’t buff Future Strikes from melee attacks…
- Dark Maw might be useful as it gives a 5-25% chance to absorb 5% of a killed mob’s hp, but there are probably better nodes to put points in.
- Umbral Attunement would be good but it’s “too high” as we only need to get up to Future Strikes, though if you have spare points, it will buff the damage for Smite, Devouring Orb & Eruption (ST node) plus their Future Strike, so that’s the majority of your damage.
After getting Devouring Orb & maxxed Future Strikes, I then start putting points into Forge Guard but I’ll go over the Paladin first.
Because Smite has been moved over to the Sentinel tree, you don’t need to put any points in Paladin, but there are some useful low-hanging fruit…
5 points in Honour (block chance, block armour & stun avoidance) then 8 points in Defiance (+8 attunement & +24% elemental protections).
0.7.8 update - Not much has changed in Forge Guard, though I’ve moved the 2 points in Peltast to Iron Attunement, you don’t need to.
Forge Guard is growing on me. For mastery bonus you get 30% more armour & fire protection (multiplicative with other bonuses) & you take 3% less damage for each hit you’ve taken recently (4s) up to 30%.
Steel Aegis is a nice node for +8% block chance & 480 block armour at 8 points, plus it unlocks Rallying Block which is obscene, 5-50 additional armour & elemental protections for each hit taken in the last 4 seconds, when you’re in a pack that’s hitting you you can easily get several thousand extra armour/elemental protections given all the % armour & elemental protection we’re also getting…
Prime Fighter is nice (+1-5 strength & attunement for damage bonus to everything you do), Peltast is ok (5% increased throwing damage & 2% increased throwing attack speed) but personally I’d only put 2 points in it initially to get higher in the tree, you can come back later & put more points in it.
That should get you up to 25 points & you can take Regenerator (2 heal on block & 2 heal on hit)
With a small amount of experience in arenas (got to wave 175 & died to a death scream that I couldn’t see coming because it all looked like this (if you can work out what’s going on in the middle there, please let me know) & the fps was somewhere between 1 & 5), your Ring of Shields are quite squishy at the higher waves, therefore I’d definitely put some points in Shield Crafter (1% chance per point to cast ring of shield when hit, 75% increased health for your Ring of Shields shields).
This is my Forge Guard tree at lvl 87:
The highlights are
Regenerator (16 health gained on hit & block @ 8/8 points) gives stupid amounts of recovery, there were a few times when I saw my hp drop to very small numbers & then immediately flash back up to full so that’s healing ~700 hp in a fraction of a second
Rallying Block (50 additional armour & elemental protection for each hit you have taken in the past 4 seconds @ 10/10 points) gives massive amounts of armour & elemental protection, I was seeing my armour hit between 15k & 20k while in packs due to Rallying Block & the armour steal on Shield Throw (30 armour per hit, includes hits from Eruption)
Retaliation (150% increased global damage if you have been hit in the past 4 seconds @ 10/10 points) is going to be a significant dps increase as it affects everything, Shield Throw, Devouring Rob, Smite & Future Strikes
I’m intending to max Retaliation and Shield Crafter which will take me up to the mid-80s.
Edit: With a bit more experience with maxxed Shield Crafter in arenas, I think it’s definitely a useful node, as without it your Ring of Shields dies fairly quickly at higher arenas, plus since you’re getting hit so frequently the 4% chance to cast Ring of Shields goes off quite a bit. I’ve had 30 shields from Ring of Shields at one point…
Idols & Gear
You only require 2 different idols, a Keen Adorned Rahyeh Idol to proc Smite on throwing attack & if you’re going to take the Void Knight leech passives a Blackfire Large Rahyeh idol (converts all Shield Throw damage to void, gives the Shield Throw skill a void tag rather than a physical tag & overrides Shield Throw’s Molten Shield passive that converts the damage to fire).
The damage conversion idols are somewhat easier to find than the Smite proc idol. Smite proccing feels a lot nicer if you have at least 10% chance (either from 1 max rolled idol or 2 lower rolls).
If you are going Void Knight, you will probably want one Spiteful Adorned Rahyeh Idol (30%-80% increased damage for 4 seconds when a skill echoes), prior to 0.7.7 it was bugged & didn’t work, but it’s fixed now. )
If you aren’t going Void Knight, you’ll probably want an Annihilating Huge Rahyeh Idol instead (22%-60% increased damage for 4 seconds if you have cast Devouring Orb recently), this will be up all the time as Devouring Orb has a <4s cooldown.
Any other idol slots you can fill with defensive idols (health, protections, etc).
I’ve not min maxxed it, but you’ll want the usual affixes,
100% chance for glancing blow (glancing blow reduces the damage taken from a hit by 50%), there are 2 types of affix for this, a suffix (of deflection) that grants from 4%-5% at tier 1 up to 12-13% at tier 5, there is a much more superior version which gives 1% at tier 1 up to 6%-7% at tier 5 glancing blow per item with the affix equipped which makes it possible to get 100% glancing blow in fewer affix slots.
throwing attack speed, you can get this as a prefix (Slinger’s) on gloves or rings, 5%-7% at tier 1 up to 20%-25% at tier 5 and as an amulet implicit (Jade amulets).
throwing attack damage, you can get this as a prefix (Catapult’s) on shield, gloves, relic and amulet, it gives a % damage increase, 18% - 25% at tier 1 up to 60% - 90% at tier 5.
throwing attack damage and mana cost, this prefix (Ballista’s) adds flat damage to Shield Throw (ST has a +250% added damage effectiveness, so +3 flat damage actually gives you either 10.5 if the devs have their maths correct or +7.5 base damage if they don’t) that is then multiplied any & all other % damage modifiers you have. You can only get it on rings & it gives 3-4 flat damage & -3 mana cost at tier 1 up to 11-14 flat damage & -3 mana cost at tier 5, you will want at least 1 of this affix in order to get a zero cost Shield Throw. Depending on how many % modifiers you have adding a second flat damage affix may give you more damage than a % throwing attack damage.
critical strike avoidance, you probably want this at 100% as well, then at higher wave arenas & higher tier monoliths you can ignore any +% crit modifiers which is nice. It is a suffix (of Sanctuary) and gives 5% - 9% at tier 1 up to 25% - 37% at tier 5. You can get it on boots, gloves, belt, ring & helmet.
protection, since we get quite a lot of physical & elemental protection (from being hit with Rallying Block), I’ve chosen to go with Necrotic & Poison protection on gear as those are the only ones we won’t get much of from skills & passives, I’d probably prioritise poison as that can’t be blocked so you’ll never get the benefit of block protection when the damage is calculated.
health, more health = better, though protections are more effective at reducing the amount of hp we loose, we get a lot of elemental, armour & some void protections from passives & skills. 1 shots are bad. There are two types of health affix, both suffixes (of the Giant) that adds flat health (5 - 15 at tier 1 up to 51 - 80 at tier 5) that can be added to any armour, jewelery shield or relic and one that adds % health (of the Ox) that adds 3% - 4% at tier 1 up to 11% to 15% at tier 5, it can be added to chest, shield, helmet and belt. Which is better for you depends on how much flat hp you’re getting from the passive tree (and idols).
damage dealt to mana before health. This should be useful & I’ve got 1 of it on my chest, but I’m not sure it’s working as I’m not seeing my mana move while taking damage. It’s a prefix (Indigo) & diverts 4% at tier 1 up to 8% - 10% at tier 5 of damage to mana instead of health.
There’s only really one slot I’d talk about regarding gearing, and that’s the weapon. At the moment there are no weapons that provide us with anything for throwing attacks, therefore I chose to go with a wand (can have the mana regen suffix but for some reason can’t have the % void damage prefix) as it would boost the damage of Devouring Orb and Smite (from the % increased base spell damage implicits wands get). Alternatively you could go with a scepter (also provides % increased base spell damage, plus the -spell cost implicit) or any other one handed weapon, you’d be giving up a mana regen suffix but gaining a % void damage prefix.
Additionally, there’s a pair of unique gloves called Riverbend Grasp which can give 50% - 100% increased throwing attack damage, 30 - 60 life & 15% chance to throw an axe on hit. But you’d be giving up a crafting slot which may help you with attack speed & protections, plus more hp.
There aren’t really any other uniques I’d suggest wearing, so use what you’ve got.
Iskra1986 has rightfully pointed out that there is the Forgotten Knight set (weapon, shield & amulet) that would provide some additional void damage as well as some other benefits such as a chance to gain haste on hit (weapon), chance to apply Time Rot on hit (shield), chance to create a Time Rift on hit (amulet) & 40% less void damage on block.
The shield is an interesting one, as you can craft up to 11-15% less damage taken on block on a shield which would apply to all non-dot damage rather than 40% less void damage. Apart from the shield, I think the amulet is probably the most interesting offensively as it gives 15-20% chance to create a Time Rift on hit (2s cooldown), so that should be up every 2 seconds which is additional AoE. Having said that, the weapon is probably the only weapon that can give you global attack speed.
If you can get your Glancing Blow & Crit Avoidance up to 100% without using any of those slots, they are probably decent options to try.
When you are in a pack, stand yourself next to the champion so that whenever a smaller mob dies it gets hit by as many of the Devouring Orb death AoEs as possible.
If there’s an Imperial Eye around, leave it for last as the large number of small hits will increase your armour & elemental protections by a very large amount.
You really want Devouring Orb & Ring of Shields cast on cooldown, so go into LE’s option, map your skills to number pad keys 2-5 then when you cast Devouring Orb/Ring of Shields press the NumLock key at the same time. This will force LE to cast Devouring Orb & Ring of Shields on cooldown. You can do the same with Lunge.
If you’re taking a lot of damage, move to range then hold shift & fire shields near the mob, they will auto target & Devouring Orb will also fire automatically at mobs.
Under no circumstances should you do a monolith with the “enemies reflect xx damage per hit”, you do so many hits you’ll kill yourself in very short order.
Attacks to avoid -
Avaline Chimera deaths creams (the green AoE, probably necrotic, it hurts).
Ice elemental (the unique version of the mob is Splitting Frost) cone attack, it’s charged/telegraphed so you should be able to avoid it, if it crits it’ll hurt, another reason to get crit avoidance. Best engaged at range where all their range attack will do is buff your armour & elemental protections…
Voidstone Scorpion’s big attack places a void degen area on the floor, you can leech though it while there are lots of mobs to hit but once stuff has died you want to move out of it, plus it’ll kill your Ring of Shields so no healing or increased armour/elemental protections from that.
Voidfused Earth’s big slam
Hulking Overgrowth, may possibly kill your Ring of Shields with it’s big stampy attack which will make you squishier.
Don’t let poison stack up too high in an arena, you’ll be fine while you have things to kill & leech off but as soon as the mobs die you’ll start taking massive ticks of poison damage.
What will kill you in Arena will be a big hit you don’t see coming because the center of the screen has turned into a pixel soup running at low single digit fps. Keep holding down your RMB, spam Lunge & hope the big hit comes while you’re lunging & invincible and just pray. You can even close your eyes, as long as you’re hitting stuff, it won’t really make much of a difference.