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Classic Summoner Build (melee minions, no Sacrifice) - got to Arena wave 228

Just wanted to boast a little.
This is a build for those who doesn’t want to use Sacrifice for some reason.

Skills: Skeletons, Golems, Wraiths, Mark for Death, Rip Blood
Gear: 100% Glancing Blow, Intelligence, Minion Health/Dodge/Damage, Health (added/increased),
Passives: see video; all subsequent points should go into Intelligence.

Video: Arena 201-205; Skills & Passives

At wave 228 my minions were sill doing okay, I was just caught off-guard by a fresh spawn, and one-shot by a volley of 10 or so fireballs.

There are 2 unique items that would help this build greatly with melee DPS:
The Fang
Doublet of Onos Tull
I don’t have either yet, sadly.

My first character was a Beastmaster but started an Acolyte to see what it’s like.

So far, I like it better. :slight_smile:
I use Skeletons (6 archers, so good for DPS), Golems (2 blood golems), Wraiths, Mark for Death, and the movement skill (to help go faster, and for when I get stuck because…bugs). I did have Rip Blood and that skill that drains life from all marked for death, instead of Wraiths and teleport thingy, but I realized that my damage output is so low compared to my skeleton archers and blood golems that I just decided to go for Wraiths instead, and they seem to be working better.

I’m only level 31 though so let’s not get carried away. I’m nowhere near your level! But, I love this more than Beastmaster so far. skeleton archers do more damage than wolves, I can stay at range and “safer”, the move skill has quicker cooldown. But yeah, I love theorycrafting and, well, it’s good to see that my build is probably pretty darn good in the late game. Is Rip Blood really necessary? Do you use it for the heals? I have the node for golem where they heal me with their attacks. Do you think that’s enough? I mean I know in arena, the teleport thing probably isn’t really useful either, but idk.

I used Rip Blood to give buffs to my minions (attack speed and health leech), but the more arena I played, the more I felt it wasn’t that good.
Sometimes I also use it for gaining health, though you have to anticipate incoming damage and start spamming in advance, because you only gain health when the orb returns to you.
I tried different summoner builds, like Aura of Decay + poison minions (wraiths and archers), Lich summoner with strong spell damage (sacrifice, Marrow Shards).
But so far I feel like Primalist Zookeeper (Beastmaster pure summoner, who doesn’t go into melee) is the strongest. I play with Cat, Bear, and 3 wolves. 98% minion glancing blow and ~2000 minion dodge rating mean they can only die to DoTs. Got to Arena wave 300 on first try (actually died at wave 298 due to lags, but hey, close enough).

Cat, Bear, Wolf…what are your other 2 skills, then? (I use Scorpion instead of cat cuz cat is super squishy) but my other 2 is Fury Leap and Serpent Strike. With Serpent Strike, I get a free snake too…and I don’t have to go into melee and use it either, technically, if I don’t want to. But I’m curious what you used since you said you don’t go into melee.

Fury Leap, with maxed Vines to distract enemies.
Storm Totem, specced as Blizzard (cold DoT), doesn’t do that much damage, mostly I use it for crowd control, chill enemies. Originally I wanted this totem for the damage buff (+15 lightning melee damage to allies), but it seems that this buff is bugged and doesn’t work.
Maybe totem is not a good idea, I’m thinking about trying Entangling Vines for crowd control.

Why do you feel Primalist is better than Acolyte? I seem to do much more damage with Acolyte.

I had more trouble at Arena waves 200+ with Acolyte that with Primalist.
The minions seem to do comparable damage, but Primalist’sones are much more survivable and self-sufficient. You can concentrate on your own survivability rather that baby-sitting.
Primalist’s companions’ default attack hits several enemies, and they can be built to be much more durable than Acolyte’s minions (98% glancing blow and +100% dodge). Cat and Bear also have retaliatory AoE spells they cast when taking damage, and there’s no cooldown, so they spam them quite a lot.

Yeah that makes sense it would be because Acolyte’s minions are way too squishy. I even told my brother about how you did with each class (he’s going to start playing soon too) and told him I bet it’s because of that.

I do realize that Beastmaster gets “100 minion dodge” (erm, 98?) from the passive tree, but didn’t you say you say you had 2000+? That’s only 5% of that number; surely that’s not a big factor.

I have the Bear’s AOE retaliate thorn thing, but I didn’t get any nodes improving it. Should I? I instead chose to improve tankiness, etc.

I still don’t like the cat, but does it really have more survivability? I mean, if not the scorpion I would AT LEAST prefer the Serpent because at least you can heal it.

Oh, I also assume you don’t have the node that gives you 1 more companion but at the cost of them doing half damage unless you hit with melee recently, right? And you instead have the helmet that gives an extra companion? I don’t have that, though I do have the amulet for an extra wolf. But even so, I can still have 3 wolves without it as I took both the skills in their tree to give one more. So wolf x3 + bear = 4, the max I can have without that node in the tree that reduces their damage if I don’t melee hit. (Getting Serpent for the 5th instead of Sabretooth would work, because it doesn’t count.)

Back to the Acolyte, though. I wonder if I could get the minions tanky enough, prioritizing tankiness passive nodes over damage ones. Or I wonder if I could somehow tank for them? I have double Arboreal Circuit (and they stack) which seems to make me more survivable than without…I don’t know man, I think Arboreal Circuit is sleeper OP, maybe I’m crazy.

I do realize that Beastmaster gets “100 minion dodge” (erm, 98?) from the passive tree

You seem to have missed a node that gives +100% dodge rating. Also there’s item prefix that gives up to 300 increased minion dodge rating. 3 of these affixes plus 98 from Glancong Blow node, increased by +100% give 2000.
I don’t have perfect rolls on these affixes, so only have 1741 minion dodge.
Any other class spec besides Beasmaster would have to devote 7 item affixes to minion dodge to get comparable result.

I have the Bear’s AOE retaliate thorn thing, but I didn’t get any nodes improving it. Should I? I instead chose to improve tankiness, etc.

Bear doesn’t have much to take in terms of tankiness. 100 health/armor per point is meh. I maxed “more damage”, crits, claw totems, thorns bleed chance, that’s 19 points. I don’t understand the point of Swipe, when bear’s default attack can AoE, and Swipe does less damage.

Ah I see; thanks for the clarification.

I updated my previous post, added paragraph about bear.

For Cat I just maxed DPS and rely on leech.

Yep, I didn’t take the half damage node. I use helmet and amulet. Summon Wolf skill has nodes that give extra wolves (but it’s not worth it to take both, too many points) and an extra companion as well, so for me it’s 3 wolves and 5 companions.

regarding acolyte’s minions, I don’t think you can make them tanky by stacking health/armor. Leech is the only way. Golems can gain health, and spectral node gives them +500 dodge. Skeletons can leech physical damage, this includes bleed. I built my melee skelilies for max health leeched per second (DPS multiplied by % of physical damage leeched). Doublet of Onos Thul helps a lot.
ranged minions like archers can survive allright if you make other minions tank for them. like wraiths.

In Path of Exile, the last time I played (like 2 or 3 leagues ago) I played a Necromancer that had skeleton archers (the ones from Unearth, if you play PoE and know what that is…just in case you don’t though, people don’t use Unearth the way I do, I’m just weird lol) and I actually took a node on the passive tree that made it so I couldn’t even do damage with my skills, but also focused on “curses”, so similar to Mark for Death, I could make mobs take more damage from my minions. I guess you could say I “have a type” of character I like to play? xD (but that’s not the reason I like Acolyte more; I just feel it does more damage…though maybe not important in arena when they die too quick). I think it would be cool if we get more skills with “curse-like” effects so I could mayeb use 2 different ones on minions (like I did on my PoE character). That’d be fun.

I think trying to get the wraiths up all the time to tank for the archers would be hard. The golems I have, the blood ones are melee and…kinda tanky? But no health regen. Thought about getting the health regen nodes for them. Though Necromancer also has some passives for it, I saw.

For the bear, ok, I don’t remember what I took. There was a bunch of armor and then something else by it which I thought was maybe health but can’t remember. I also took the Swipe stuff which you said you didn’t take. lol I’m not real fond of the bear’s tree (or the storm totem, or entangling vines, or even really the wolves…just…don’t like the trees as much as the Acolyte ones. And I don’t like sabrecats at all. But the skeleton archers are fun and the golems and mark for death…haha. And even the wraiths.

I can usually keep about 20-30 wraiths summoned. Take the nodes that make 7 wraiths summon per 1 spell cast.

I played several necros in PoE, years ago. There were 2 unearth ones (lightning spiders, flame hankies) and a Baron necro (6 big tanky zombies). But I like totems. So many different totem builds in PoE, between flame, melee, ranged and spell totems!

A general advice regarding what skil/passive nodes to take: effectiveness of protection/armor/penetration depends on the amount of hit points a minion or enemy has. Because minions can be built to have thousands of hp, and enemies have even more at high levels, penetration and minion protections are are usually useless.

I used Unearth with Summon Spectres and just had permanent Skeleton Archers like in Last Epoch. XD

I had The Baron too, and 1k STR, and a bunch of zombies. Zombies in my top, Raise Spectre in my weapon. (Unearth heavily supported in my boots/gloves depending on when it was).

I tried a totem build but I preferred zombies…because I refused to play Heirophant and “necromancers aren’t supposed to use totems” lol. I’ll probably try a totem build again someday.

Anyway back to LE, yeah, I use that node with 7 from one cast as well. But my archers still manage to die xD

But my archers still manage to die xD

You should try to hold the line, but if you fail, just recast them at a safer position. It’s fine as long as you have mana to spare.

Keep in mind I’m talking about “story/campaign” mode or whatever, Act 3. Not arena. In arena it might be easier? Not sure.

Should I get the node that makes wraiths stay in one place? Hmm…

Also, what are your thoughts on Arboreal Circuit, have you used it? Tried using 2 at once? Haha. It could lead to annoying instances of my line getting messed up if used in arena, but what do you think of it in general?

Should I get the node that makes wraiths stay in one place? Hmm…

Never tried it, sounds pretty silly.

Also, what are your thoughts on Arboreal Circuit, have you used it? Tried using 2 at once? Haha.

In campaign it’s nice for leveling, huge boost to movement speed. I use 2 on every new character, lol. 300 minion armor helps at low levels, when your minions don’t have that much hp yet. Tree is more of an annoyance. Most of the time it makes minions run past you, so you have to either return to the tree or ignore them.
In arena, run speed is not worth a ring slot, and 300 armor is almost useless. Tree might be useful, but I’ve yet to conceive a build that would rely on it.

I’ve done a variation of this but using mages instead of archers and it’s still the same in that minions either do fine, or they all get nuked with a single void AoE so I tend to spec them for dps and raw health rather than protection from X.

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