Purpose of this guide:
As transformation skills are associated with the Druid Mastery, I wanted to provide a look into a build that bucks that tradition and demonstrates how the other Primalist classes can benefit from transformed forms. Additionally, this build takes a look at the following:
-How well Spriggan’s Vale Spirits can provide damage, especially with Valeroot’s additional chance to spawn them.
-How well skills such as Ice Thorns benefit from Shaman’s passives that provide multiple bonuses based on number of totems.
-The viability (or lack thereof) of hybrid builds that incorporate some minion bonuses in a largely spellcaster build.
-The viability (or lack thereof) of one-companion builds and the bonuses that come from holding to that restriction.
Pros and Cons
Most totems out of all the Shaman specialties, maximizing protections and damage bonuses
High cast speed - especially with Frenzy Totem effect benefitting from Attunement - leads to many Vale Spirits being summoned - especially with Valeroot’s additional chance to summon on Ice Thorn or Vale Blast casts. Maximizes Spriggan Form nodes that grant additional Vale Blasts from Healing Totems and Vale Spirits.
Main damage ability (Ice Thorns) is spammable, even when returning to Human form, and includes 60% chance to retaliate with Ice Thorns on hit
Massive protections from one-companion bonuses and Bear is the tankiest pet to help stay alive to keep those bonuses going.
Requires max points in Shaman mastery as well as 15+ points in both Beastmaster and Druid Masteries, meaning you’ll need to be nearly at level 100 until you get all the passive points to fill up the skills you need.
Low on Minion Damage and low on damage if you’re not using a different leveling build and taking the skills once you get to the top of the Shaman mastery.
Bear can easily be overwhelmed when surrounded by multiple hulking Void enemies - Hard for it to get the kills necessary to get Claw Totems when faced with multiple tough enemies at once.
Leveling can take numerous different forms, depending on the type of caster you like to play. You can either play a minions based build that focuses on totems and supported by other minions, or you can hold off on the totems and play an Ice Thorns / Maelstrom / Avalanche build. How you play determines how you end up taking your passive nodes.
Totems + Minions build: Use the Totem guide created by AngryRolePlayer, get to the top of Shaman mastery, and respec from nodes like “The Chase” once you’re ready to go into Druid Mastery for Spriggan Form.
Spellcasting Build: Avalanche is one of the top-performing Shaman skills, so ignore the Beastmaster tree and get the Spell flat damage nodes from both the Shaman tree and the Druid tree. Sirrus has a Totems + Avalanche caster build designed for Hardcore ladder that can help get to the levels necessary to grab the top Shaman passive nodes.
The passive nodes you’re most interested in are the increased Armor and Cast Speed when you have a totem, flat Cold damage, increased protections per totem, base damage for you and minions, and increased Spell Damage per Totem for the Shaman, and the flat Physical Spell Damage, the Vale Spirit nodes, and the Armor & Protections when you have just one companion for the Druid. Beastmaster is simply grabbing the Strength + Increased Revive Range so you can grab Frenzy Totem; if more passive points are on the way, they would immediately go to “The Chase” to increase attack speed for Totems and your Bear.
Ice Thorns - It is not only one of the few Primalist skills that increases in damage depending on how many totems are out, it also has the option to retaliate with Ice Thorns when hit. That means that you can use the skill even in Spriggan Form; once you revert back from Spriggan form into human form, all of your abilities come on cooldown; Ice Thorns benefit of instant cast and no cooldown comes in spades in this situation. Take the totem bonuses, then scroll to 5:00 and grab the % to retaliate + Physical damage nodes. When you combine the Shaman’s natural Totem bonuses and Ice Thorns totem bonuses, a retaliation Ice Thorns can hit for a lot of damage.
Thorn Totem - The main Totem ability. Shoot for the ring of 5 Totems with maximum duration, then scroll down to grab the flat Cold damage nodes and the multiplicative damage increase at the cost of projectile speed. Projectile speed is not important as you’d like to place the totems close to the enemies for shotgun damage. There is a second multiplicative modifier that provides even more damage at the cost of Cast Speed, but since we don’t have the points to put in Beastmaster’s “The Chase,” I would hold off on it until more passive points come to us.
Frenzy Totem - Even though you’re not using multiple pets, Frenzy Totem has 1% frenzy effect per point of Attunement, so you will get your money’s worth just by the Cast Speed bonus alone. Shoot for increased effect, duration, then go on the right side and take 100% increased Healing Regen, Melee damage for your bear, and the node that resets Bear’s Healing Roar + Taunt cooldown.
Spriggan Form [Huge buff in 0.7.5]- The main focus of the build - Spriggan is entirely focused on Vale Spirits + Healing Totem. With Patch 0.7.4, Healing Totem now takes the bonuses of Thorn Totem, and once you have the ring of Totems, you can summon 5 Healing Totems alongside 5 Thorn Totems. New to 0.7.5, Thorn Totems can stack, so if you take the 100% Totem duration nodes, you can easily sustain having 10 healing totems at once. Combine this with the Shaman passives that give Spell Damage and Protections per Totem, and you have a potentially crazy powerful Spriggan in control.
Summon Bear - Though the Bear now has a nice Taunt + healing option, the Bear passive nodes have not been updated to provided additional healing or defenses, so instead I take the Swipe cooldown and a few Cooldown Recovery nodes for it. Take the muliplier bonuses first, then take the node that allows it to use Briar Thorns on Retaliation. Bear has the gift of being the only companion who can summon a totem on kill; though the percent chance isn’t great, Swipe + Thorn retaliation can get it a Claw Totem when faced with large packs of weaker enemies.
When preparing for gear, the required Unique is Valeroot: if you have this Unique, you can focus on the Vale Spirit summoning passive nodes, if you do not have Unique, focus on the Shaman Tree that provides protections per totem.
Equipment + Affixes
Weapon: Infernal Wand with Cast Speed Bonus: Minion Spell Damage + Mana Cost Reduction (Any Tier) / Mana + Elemental Protection
Shield: Kite/Solarum Shield: Block Chance (%) + Minion Health / Armor (flat) + Void Protection
Helmet: Gladiator Helmet: Attunement + Cooldown Recovery / Mana + Void Protection
Gloves: Noble Gloves: Cast Speed + Minion Health / Mana + Necrotic Protection
Belt: Bronze Belt: Chance to find potions + Minion Health / Armor (flat) + Poison Protection
Boots: Solarum Greaves: Attunement + Minion Health / Run Speed + Necrotic Protection
Ring 1: Turquoise Ring: Attunement + Spell Damage / Minion Damage + Poison Protection
Ring 2: Turquoise Ring: Attunement + Spell Damage / Minion Damage + Necrotic Protection
Amulet: Brass: Minion Health + Spell Damage / Minion Damage + Void Protection
Relic: Ancient Tome: Attunement + Spell Damage / Minion Damage + Poison Protection
Playing the game:
Make sure you have the ring of 5 Thorn Totems up before enemies come rushing to you; between the Thorn bursts and your Bear Companion’s taunt, there shouldn’t be much slipping through and hitting you. Bear’s Healing Taunt increase the more enemies there are, so it’s advantageous to have it Taunt, use Frenzy Totem to reset the cooldown, and then Taunt again. You can get around 120% Cast Speed easy between the Infernal Wand, Cast Speed passive nodes and fully Attuned Frenzy Totem - that makes it easy to spam Ice Thorns continuously so you can get good chances of summoning multiple Vale Spirits.
In testing the new 0.7.5.3 patch, I finally received a Valeroot! This edit removes the Glancing Blow items and focuses more on obtaining good minion damage, as healing / thorn totems + up to 10+ Vale Spirits and good minion damage can greatly help your build. I will have to re-do nearly all of my equipment as Glancing Blow will be phased out, and I want to be prepared when that happens. Expect picture updates sometime in January.