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Old 11-15-2017, 03:53 PM
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Thumbs Up [1.0.2.1] The Night King: Pet/Vitality Hybrid Cabalist. 5s MQ, 3.5m Glad. Necro & Devotion Guides.


Quote:
RECENT UPDATES

19 December 2017
Patch 1.0.4.0 was released today! Updated "Necromancer Abilities" and "Pet Devotions" sections for patch changes.

7 December 2017
Added Equipment Priorities to "Player's Guide" section.

30 November 2017
Added new links to "FAQs from Discussion Thread" topic to "Analysis" section.

Spoiler!
Quote:
Gameplay Videos:

[1.0.2.1] MAD QUEEN: https://youtu.be/qGBszUBijys
No consumables used. First attack 5.8s, target death 10.9s, total=5.1s.
Minimum imputed DPS = 960k. Actual DPS is over 1M+ to offset the target’s passive regen, heal spell, and life steal shotgun retaliation.

GIF of entire fight:
Spoiler!

[1.0.2.1] GLADIATOR: https://youtu.be/hVwkoejhRNc
Waves 141-150, no consumables used. Start 0:10, end 3:42, total=3m32s. Title screencap taken at 3:41.


THE NIGHT KING

"Death is the enemy, the first enemy and the last."

I. Design
II. Build
III. Analysis
IV. Player's Guide
V. Updates
VI. Necromancer Abilities
VII. Pet Devotions
VIII. Addendum


I. DESIGN



Ever since the necromancer reveal, the GD community consensus was that cabalist would become the definitive class for AoM pet builds. That said, before AoM the GD community had also collectively decided that conjurer was the "best" (and some even insisted "only") pet build until Dracarris Incarnate was released, which goes to show how popular consensus can be changed once someone invents a better mousetrap. With AoM’s numerous class combos and additional content patches still to come, it’s therefore anyone’s guess as to what new and devastating pet builds will eventually be discovered.

With that in mind: our design goal is to harness the current consensus and create the standard reference build for pet cabalists, against which all future AoM pet builds can be measured. And we've set the bar high.


II. BUILD

V1.0: "Skeletal Instinct"http://www.grimtools.com/calc/bVAvzDlZ

"Skeletal Instinct" is the initial public version of this build, released for AoM v1.0.2.1. Key features include:
  • 26/16 max overcap on Raise Skeleton to exploit the base damage scaling on skeletons at Ultimate ranks.
  • Primal Instinct relic for even more pets, up to 23 max pets.
  • Double T3 devotion combo of Dying God and Aeon’s Hourglass for huge pet crits, fast resummoning of skeletons, and multiple DA-shredding blight fiends.
  • Pet lightning conversion via Stormbringer of Malmouth to turbocharge the build’s max pet DPS.
  • Vitality damage by player used for both sustain and to summon bound spirits using Mythical Bonescavenger’s Deathgrips.
  • Over 3k effective player DA (after OA shred) for enhanced Gladiator survival.




Equipment Notes (items not yet BIS)

A common misconception of newer players is that a top tier build requires some perfect combination of godly BIS equipment with exact matching MI affixes, etc. The reality is that, while most top builds do have certain pieces that are required for specific functionality, astute players can often make some different equipment choice without impacting a build’s core functionality, especially when it comes to passive defensive bonuses such as health or resistances. Builds are never set in stone!

To help illustrate this concept (and because I've yet to obtain or decide on what would be considered BIS for each slot), I’ve included some equipment notes for this build. Newer players might find it instructive to follow the thought process here to understand how to adapt the build for their own preferences and equipment availability. The key takeaway: Build performance is far more dependent on build design and synergy than simply collecting the rarest items, and "perfect" items are not required for top-tier performance. The items currently used by this build are clearly far from "perfect"!
  • Crafting: All crafting for this build should be done at Angrim for armor bonuses. With 5 craftable items (excluding relic), up to +35% additional armor bonus can be stacked. Pierce resistance bonus can also be crafted to help cap resists.
  • Weapon: The Plaguebearer’s Master’s Spellblade should be crafted by a low-level mule at around level 12 to match the lowest level of the Plaguebearer’s prefix. (Load up either the shared stash or a stash tool like GDStash/GDIA with rares/epics to sell for iron bits to craft with.) Two reasons to do it this way:
    1. At such a low level, the affix pool is far less diluted by affixes that only exist at higher levels. This results in a much higher chance of successfully rolling the Plaguebearer’s prefix. The decreased level has no impact on the strength of the RR effect.
    2. Many affixes have a larger deviation on rolls at lower levels. Because of this, it’s possible to roll up to +2/-2 on the RR effect of the Spellblade compared to crafting it at max level. Thus, equipping the best result from several successfully created Spellblades should yield +1 or +2 higher RR than crafting with a high-level character.
  • Off-hand: Craftable faction item, thus easy to obtain. Keep crafting until you have a 19 CDR roll.
  • Helm, Rings, Amulet, Shoulders, and Gloves: The mythical versions are all fairly minor upgrades to the non-mythicals. Start by using non-mythicals and upgrade as the newer pieces become available.
  • Shoulders: Substituting Mantle of Mogdrogen will make capping resists easier, although the Mythical Mantle of the Patron provides better DPS, especially with its OA bonus.
  • Chest and Medal: These two are temporary placeholders until successfully crafting a +5 Raise Skeletons BoM.
  • Chest: Yes, this build is using lowly faction vendor armor as a not-very-BIS placeholder. Take advantage of this by resetting the Coven vendor until a vestment with 36% chaos resistance and +6% pet offensive ability is available for sale. This will most likely be replaced by Mythical Dread Armor of Azragor once BoM has taken care of the Raise Skeletons requirement.
  • Medal: The MI is also a placeholder and thus not required – any medal with "of Caged Souls" or a "Ritualist’s" prefix with +2 to Raise Skeletons will suffice to hardcap Raise Skeletons at 26/16 for the massive additional base damage, which is the most critical part of this build’s functionality. Alternately, any +2 or +3 Raise Skeletons BoM can also be used.
  • Pants: A pre-AoM level 75 MI is being used until a higher-level version can eventually be farmed, at a penalty of lower health/armor in the interim. This MI is primarily used to make capping resists easier, and a variety of different affix combinations can be used. Optionally, this can also be replaced with Mythical Dread Knight’s Legplates or Mythical Wildshorn Legguards with components/augments adjusted for resists and/or different affixes used in medal and boots.
  • Boots: "Ancient" isn’t necessarily the best prefix to use here – better options such as "Stonehide", "Thunderstruck", or "Renegade" would provide more resists, which is what’s needed from this slot. Nevertheless, crafting an "Ancient" got the build close-ish to capping resists, and in any case it’s not the highest priority to obsess over perfect-looking resists when final BIS items are still yet to be determined, such as better MI pants. Stoneplate Greaves are expensive to craft, so stash all double rares and work around whichever affixes are rolled.
  • Relic: Bysmiel’s Domination can be substituted for builds that need more survivability, especially for those still underequipped. The relic can also make soloing Gladiator noticeably easier. In the hands of an experienced player, however, Primal Instinct will ultimately yield faster boss kills and Gladiator clears.
  • Components: There are additional 3 components (2x ring, medal) that available to be swapped for resists if necessary when using other item combinations. (For example, it’s easy to swap in an Aether Soul or Black Tallow if the current resists make you nervous.) Remember that when capping resists using green items, there are always multiple different combinations of affixes/augments/components that can work.

Assessment of Pet Cabalist Builds

Pet cabalist is a very synergistic combination, and can easily coast through all AoM campaign content on the raw strength of 26/16 Raise Skeletons. Since this is a popular class concept and there are many different pet cabalist builds floating around, here are some benchmarks for comparing different pet cabalist builds as of AoM v1.0.2.1:
  • Grade C (Adequate): Completing Ultimate difficulty (including AoM) using a pet cabalist should be a trivial challenge for most completed builds, and experienced players can simply improvise their builds while leveling without too much trouble.
  • Grade B (Good): Soloing Gladiator 150 (regardless of speed) is a reasonable expectation for a competent endgame-equipped pet cabalist build. Not being able to solo Gladiator is a sign of either design limitations or not yet being adequately equipped for the true endgame.
  • Grade A (Outstanding): Pet builds are primarily campaign builds that lack the AOE and defense for fast Gladiator clears. However, well-designed and well-optimized pet cabalists can dish out so much single-target DPS that they can actually become competitive with Crucible farmers in Gladiator. As of AoM v1.0.2.1, top-tier pet cabalists should be able to clear 141-150 without consumables in under 4 minutes. Slow Gladiator clear times by a pet cabalist is a symptom of low DPS, low survivability (forcing more conservative play), or both.
__________________
Pet/Vitality Hybrid Cabalist: The Night Kinghttp://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574127

Understanding Pet Damage: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=499409
Necromancer Abilities for Pet Builds: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574133
Pet Devotions for AoM: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574136

Last edited by DaShiv; 12-20-2017 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 11-15-2017, 03:55 PM
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III. ANALYSIS

Quote:
Calcs for V1.0 "Skeletal Instinct" (1.0.3.0)

Max Pet Damage Calc: https://goo.gl/1wzYLu
Resistance Reduction Calc: https://goo.gl/uT8UW1

Flat Damage is Best Damage

As detailed in Understanding Pet Damage, base damage is the first step of the damage process, and is in some ways the most crucial. Flat damage bonuses for all pets become especially important as pet count increases, since pet count acts as a pure multiplier of flat damage bonuses. Our build reaches its max of 23 pets as follows:
  • 9 skeletons (Raise Skeletons + Undead Legion)
  • 3 blight fiends (Summon Blight Fiend + Unstable Anomaly + Time Dilation + CDR)
  • 1 sundered wraith (Reap Spirit)
  • 1 raven (Summon Familiar)
  • 1 hellhound (Summon Hellhound)
  • 5 swarmlings (Primal Instinct)
  • 3 bound spirits (Mythical Bonescavenger’s Deathgrips)
Note that skeletons present a unique case study for flat damage: because they comprise so much of a skeleton build’s army, increases to skeleton base damage are analogous to flat damage auras. For example, Soul Harvest can provide +64 flat damage to all pets at max overcap; in comparison, as of V1.0.2.1 overcapping Raise Skeletons increases base damage by a whopping +223 to all skeletons. This makes skill points into Raise Skeletons VASTLY more powerful for increasing base damage (and thus DPS) than any flat damage aura or any other source. To pile on even more bonuses, skill investments will also boost skeleton stats bonuses and improve the mix of skeleton types summoned.

To rein in the scaling on Raise Skeletons, I’ve proposed splitting the scaling of skeleton base damage across two separate skills to make the returns on skill point investments more comparable to other investments. As it currently stands, boosting Raise Skeleton to max overcap is ridiculously more effective than any other possible investment.

PATCH 1.0.3.0 UPDATE: Crate has updated the scaling on skeletons in a similar way to my proposal. Will evaluate and present findings after further playtesting.


Theorycrafting note about lightning conversion:
Spoiler!



The Best Defense is a Good Offense

One look at the pet character sheet for this build and it’s obvious that our pet +% health and pet resists are far lower than most other pet cabalists posted to date. How can anyone win battles using pets with such terrible defensive stats?

The answer: it’s not the +% defensive bonuses on the pet character sheet that’s important, it’s the underlying pets and how their stats are modified by bonuses. Skeletons only have 20% of a briarthorn’s health and 26% of its armor – they are designed to die easily. Because skeletons have such terrible base values, it’s impossible to stack multiplicative bonuses like +% health or +% armor high enough to make them comparable to other permanent pets. For example, even with 22/12 hardcap for both Bonds of Bysmiel and Will of the Crypt, max buffed skeletons will still be far, far less survivable than a base briarthorn with no bonuses (i.e. from a non-pet build). Similarly, resistance and healing simply can’t sustain such limited health against a serious endgame assault, especially from bosses and heavy AOEs.

But lack of defenses doesn’t mean lack of usefulness. Dracarris Incarnate proved that it’s absolutely feasible to clear content using swarmlings despite their completely nonexistent health pool. Likewise, pet cabalists should follow the same ethos of prioritizing pet offense above any other pet stats.

For example: A skeleton that inflicted 300k damage within 5 seconds before dying has done a far better job than a skeleton that only inflicted 200k damage while lasting the entire battle. Skeletons are graded based on damage output, not survival, and it's a futile effort to maximize skeleton defenses. Crate designed skeletons to be NEVER tanky enough to endure the true endgame challenges!

For any skeleton-based build: the more resources that are wasted on pet defense instead of pet offense, the longer that fights will be drawn out, the more heavily pet defenses will be taxed, the more casualties will be suffered, and the more vicious this cycle will become. For example, in the 5s Mad Queen fight our build didn’t lose a single skeleton, because Rashalga could only unleash a single volley of her devastating retaliation burst before dying. Compare this result against more defensive skeleton builds that take longer (virtually always far longer – 100% or more) to finish her off with heavier casualties, and it becomes clear how lengthening the fight will dramatically increase the danger to both summoner and pets.

For a skeleton-based build, pet offense needs to remain the primary focus, and only the cheapest and most cost-effective pet defensive bonuses should ever be used.

Suggestion: If you want to play a character that maintains a static army of permanent pets with high health/resists to tank for you, play a conjurer instead. Skeleton builds are specialized for maximum pet DPS regardless of casualties, and these builds operate best as offensive machines for which ALL pets are treated as expendable resources. The primary job of skeletons is to inflict damage as fast as possible, and NOT to survive indefinitely or to protect you! If you’re investing into making your skeletons tanky, then you are GUARANTEED to underperform compared to an offensively-optimized skeleton build.

Quote:
Case Study: Offensive Bonuses from Pet Relics

The vast majority of pet cabalist builds posted to date have picked Mogdrogen’s Ardor, in part due to the relic’s excellent pet defensive bonuses: aether and chaos resistances, +% health, and +% armor. These would be great bonuses if they were free, but instead they come at a hidden and extremely steep opportunity cost to pet offense. Disregarding pet defensive bonuses and focusing purely on offense, the offensive bonuses for Mogdrogen’s Ardor are:
  • +1 to all skills: approx. 12 flat damage (varies by skill levels) spread across 6 different damage types, with other minor bonuses to OA/+% damage/etc from skills.
  • 14% crit damage
  • 6% total speed
  • 80% damage
This doesn't look so bad... except it falls FAR short of the offensive bonuses offered by the 3 endgame relics that endgame pet cabalists should consider:

1) Primal Instinct:
  • +5 pets (a direct multiplier of +20-40% to total DPS due to increased pet count – a huge increase)
  • 15% attack speed
2) Bysmiel’s Domination:
  • Proc: 60% total speed (a direct multiplier of +25%-35% to total DPS due to increased pet speed – a huge increase)
  • Proc: 22 flat damage
  • Proc: +200% damage
  • +15% offensive ability (as much as Raven, Panther, and Huntress combined – almost as much as Mogdrogen the Wolf, a T3 devotion)
  • +10% crit damage
  • +45% damage
3) Dirge of Arkovia:
  • +1 pet with max crits of over 150k when used with this build; also has a huge health pool to counterbalance skeletons' vulnerability to AOE damage
  • +1 necro skills if needed to cap Raise Skeletons, etc.; also provides minor pet bonuses
  • +10% total speed
  • +50% damage
This comparison illustrates just how much offense is being forfeited by choosing Mogdrogen’s Ardor, and therefore how costly its pet defensive bonuses truly are. Keep in mind as well that those defensive bonuses don’t even work very well on skeletons, due to their abysmal base stats. This same logic applies to every item, not just to relics!


Resummon is the New Heal

As previously mentioned, skeletons only have 20% of a briarthorn’s base health and 26% of its armor bonus. Skeletons were designed with stats to ensure that they’ll frequently die at endgame, especially against bosses and in Gladiator. Therefore: skeleton management via effective resummoning is a core requirement for top-DPS endgame skeleton builds.

To achieve sufficient skeleton resummoning rate at endgame, skeleton builds should include at least 2 or 3 of the following:
  • High CDR, not just a caster focus but also CDR bonuses on both helmet and amulet.
  • Star Pact.
  • Time Dilation.
  • Multiple sources of "X% Chance for Y% Skill Cooldown Reduction".
  • Other reliable sources of CDR, such as the Eternity relic.
  • Item skill modifiers for both "-X Second Skill Recharge to Raise Skeletons”"and "+X Summon to Raise Skeletons".
Fast resummoning also works extremely well with temporary pets. For instance, our build has blight fiends at only 5.3s cooldown (with additional summons from full resets via TD) and sundered wraiths at 4s cooldown after CDR. This allows our temporary pets to soak up tons of damage since they’re immediately replaced at full health upon resummoning, and blight fiends can especially draw tons of aggro with their high threat generation. Fast resummoning essentially turns temporary pets into unlimited damage sponges, which provides a much-needed counterweight to fragile skeletons and swarmlings.

Note that whenever time you’re playing a fast resummoning build (especially with Unstable Anomaly), the still-uncorrected problem of targeted summons will rear its ugly head in a major way. Failed summons and/or unwanted movement can kill you when the action becomes especially frantic – hardcore characters beware! For more information, refer to this thread: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?t=56841

PATCH 1.0.3.0 UPDATE: Crate has updated behavior of targeted spells (including targeted summons). Will evaluate and present findings after further playtesting.

Quote:
Playing Tip: Effective Use of Raise Skeletons with Time Dilation

Time Dilation (TD) introduces an entirely new dimension of skeleton management, one that is highly active and demanding of player attention, reflexes, and judgement. Some key tactics for using skeletons with TD include:
  • Fast resummoning: TD will reduce (and often completely reset) all CDs, and it’s critical that whenever you’re at less than max skeletons, new skeletons must be resummoned the moment that TD resets Raise Skeleton’s CD.
  • Double resummoning: Sometimes you’ll suddenly lose multiple skeletons to major AOE damage, but you happen to have a TD ready to be triggered. In this case, you’ll want to summon BEFORE triggering TD, trigger TD, then re-summon again afterward to immediately put 6 new skeletons back on the battlefield (or even more with skill mods).
  • Pre-summoning: TD should also be triggered as often as possible to reduce non-skeleton cooldowns, such as Call of the Grave and Giant’s Blood. This means that whenever you have a TD ready to trigger but you’re already at full skeletons, resummon your skeletons anyway to replace your oldest and most injured skeletons, then trigger TD. This will reduce the rate of skeleton casualties from attrition.
Effective use of TD as a skeleton management tool is a player skill with a very high skill ceiling, and there’s a massive difference in performance that a skilled player can extract from TD compared to a less-skilled player. Thus, this build will reward you immensely for practicing and improving your playing skill to be able to make the most out of TD resets. Remember that when using TD combos, correct casting order is critical!


Vitality Hybrid

Thanks to Dying God and various necromancer bonuses (including the huge OA boost from Master of Death), our build can inflict nontrivial amounts of direct vitality damage via:
  • Bone Harvest: used for RR, pet buffing, and devotion proc
  • Reap Spirit: used for pet summon and devotion proc
  • Ravenous Earth: used for enemy damage reduction and devotion proc
  • Twin Fangs: used for sustain
In particular, Bone Harvest and Reap Spirit benefit from % Weapon Damage combined with stacked flat bonuses from Soul Harvest and other sources, resulting in crits of up to 30-50k. For example, a single casting of Bone Harvest landed crits of 53k, 43k, and 26k on 3 different targets at 0:38 in the v1.0.2.1 Gladiator video. These hits are enough to randomly finish off injured trash and thereby summon bound spirits: in the same Gladiator video, there’s almost always at least 1 bound spirit active, and sometimes even 2-3 depending on trash density and luck.

The most important part is that these skills are already being used for their listed purposes, and all inflicted vitality damages are purely incidental side-effects. Thus, being rewarded with extra damage and additional pets for using regular combat skills is a valuable perk for simply possessing some hybrid damage capabilities.



Debuff All the Things

Enemy damage debuffs are functionally equivalent to party-wide defensive buffs. Pet builds enjoy far more bang for the buck from this than any other build type, and thus pet builds should always incorporate as much OA shred and damage reduction into their builds as possible. For example:
  • Our build’s -315 OA shred (Rend, Arcane Bomb, Seal of Annihilation) is effectively worth 315 extra DA for you and all your pets. Incorporating Wasting into our build would have stacked this bonus even higher.
  • Our build’s damage reduction from Decay is equivalent to providing Maiven’s Sphere for you and all your pets. Because of this mechanic, every pet build should include one form of damage reduction or physical damage reduction, such as Decay, Ill Omen, Focused Gaze, High Potency, etc. Remember that damage reduction stacks multiplicatively (not additively) with resistances and %-based damage absorption.


Simplify with the Max Pet DPS Devotion Path

Pay close attention to the quickbar activity during the Gladiator video and it becomes obvious that this is one of the most active builds in Grim Dawn. (The stereotypical “lazy” pet builds are almost always some combination of low DPS, and/or poorly optimized; top-tier pet builds tend to be very active.) Our build’s heavy use of buffs, debuffs, and short CD summons, along with regular TD resets of the entire quickbar, can combine to make this build too overwhelming for some players. As an alternative, this build can be simplified as follows:
  1. Remove Unstable Anomaly and Call of the Grave.
  2. Use the Max Pet DPS Devotion Path. For any pet build, this is a brute force devotion path that simply combines both of the highest-DPS T3 pet devotions for an unmatched amount of pet OA, crit, and speed. (Fiend can be substituted with Bat for additional survivability.)
This simplified build will be easier to play and can be effective for the main campaign, especially for tasks such as MI farming or multiplayer. However, it loses the utility to handle the highest tiers of content, including solo Gladiator.



FAQs from Discussion Thread

Q: Why not Flame Torrent on skeletons?
A: Flame Torrent is primarily used by skeleton builds to help supplement low single-target DPS, whereas our single-target DPS is already extremely high and allows us to bind other devotions to our skeletons. See post #60 for details.

Q: Which skills do Time Dilation reset?
A: See post #81 for a chart of all CDR effects.

Q: How do you manage so many hotkeys? And how do you stay alive against enemy aggro?
A: See post #121 for playing tips.




__________________
Pet/Vitality Hybrid Cabalist: The Night Kinghttp://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574127

Understanding Pet Damage: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=499409
Necromancer Abilities for Pet Builds: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574133
Pet Devotions for AoM: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574136

Last edited by DaShiv; 11-30-2017 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 11-15-2017, 03:57 PM
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IV. PLAYER'S GUIDE


Devotions



[Add: Crossroads Ascendant – Purple]
1. Shepherd’s Crook (Bind: Curse of Frailty)
[Remove: Crossroads Ascendant – Purple]
[Add: Crossroads Chaos – Red]
[Add: Rat – all 4 nodes]
[Add: Crossroads Eldritch – Green]
2. Huntress (Bind: Raise Skeletons) – 5 nodes for proc only
[Add: Crossroad Primordial – Blue]
3. Lizard
[Remove: Crossroad Primordial – Blue]
4. Behemoth (Bind: Master of Death)
[Remove: Rat – all 4 nodes]
5. Eel
6. Viper
[Remove: Crossroads Chaos – Red]
7. Bat (Bind: Ravenous Earth)
[Remove: Crossroads Eldritch – Green]
8. Wretch
9. Dying God (Bind: Reap Spirit)
10. Widow (Bind: Summon Blight Fiend)
11. Aeon’s Hourglass (Bind: Bone Harvest)
12. Player’s Choice (1 point) – suggested options:
  • Crossroads: 5% health
  • Empty Throne: 15% stun resist
  • Bysmiel’s Bonds: 30% pet damage
  • Huntress (middle node): assorted bonuses


Equipment Priority

1. +% pet damage until at least 600-800% fully buffed. Keep in mind that your pets will have end up with higher final damage than listed since bonuses to individual damage types are unlisted.
2. Pet +% attack speed bonuses until at least +50% fully buffed. Don't worry too much about hitting this threshold until you've maxed Manipulation. Keep in mind that "total speed" will also increase attack speed.
3. Pet +% offensive ability bonuses until at least +25% fully buffed. Don't worry too much about hitting this threshold until you've maxed Master of Death.
4. Large player health bonuses.
5. Resistances (starting in Elite) until capped.
6. Health regen (starting in Elite) to offset Hungering Void.
7. Other pet offensive bonuses, including bonuses greater than thresholds set above.
8. Player DA.
9. Player +% vitality damage.
10. Any other useful bonuses.

Keep in mind that larger bonuses in lower-priority areas can be more cost-effective than smaller bonuses in higher-priority areas, depending on your current need.

Low priority: Pet defensive bonuses, since our build doesn’t use pets to hold aggro. Swarmlings and skeletons also have minimal health, rendering defensive bonuses ineffectual. Only pick up pet defensive bonuses with the lowest opportunity costs.


Leveling Guide

Invest your first 85 attribute points into physique. Split the remaining points between physique and spirit to meet endgame equipment requirements as needed. You'll need 724 spirit for endgame caster off-hands.

Factions: Side with Order of Death’s Vigil, The Outcast, and Barrowholm in all difficulties.

In Normal/Veteran, proceed in Act 5 up until allying yourself with Barrowholm, then move on to Elite. In Elite, skip Acts 5 and 6 entirely. You’ll level faster and gain more loot by jumping up immediately to the next difficulty.

Leveling: Milestones below may differ by 1-2 levels depending on your quest progression. Additional skill points are available from "Kasparov's Experiment" and "The Hidden Path" in all difficulties (6 total), and "The Other You" in Ultimate difficulty only (1 total).

Levels 1-13:
Take Necromancer mastery to 1 and max out Raise Skeletons, then continue to mastery 10 and max out Undead Legion. Once available, bind Rend to Raise Skeletons.

Level 13-46:
Take Occultist mastery to 50, maxing out the mastery bar. Add the following skills along the way:
  • Level 13: 4 points into Curse of Frailty (CoF). Once available, bind Shepherd’s Call to CoF.
  • Level 18: 3 points into Vulnerability.
  • Level 20: 1 point into Summon Hellhound. Apply Enchanted Flints to both your weapon and off-hand for 2x Burning Weapons (add both buffs to 2nd quickbar and always toggle on). Once available, bind Giant’s Blood to Burning Weapons.
  • Level 21: Max out Blood of Dreeg (BoD) and make sure that BoD is always active.
  • Level 25: Equip Guile (relic) if available.
  • Level 26: 1 point into Summon Familiar and max out Storm Spirit.
  • Level 35: Equip Deathchill (relic) if available. Shop for pet gear from Rovers and Order of Death’s Vigil.
  • Level 42: 1 point into Bonds of Bysmiel and max out Manipulation.

Levels 46-74:
Take Necromancer mastery to 50, maxing out the mastery bar. Add the following skills along the way:
  • Level 46: 1 point into Bone Harvest. Once available, bind Time Dilation to Bone Harvest. Craft and equip an Adept’s Spellblade; ignore the affix for now.
  • Level 48: 1 point into Summon Blight Fiend. Once available, bind Widow to Summon Blight Fiend.
  • Level 48: 1 point into Ravenous Earth. Once available, bind Twin Fangs to Ravenous Earth.
  • Level 51: 1 point into Dread.
  • Level 51: 1 point into Will of the Crypt.
  • Level 54: 1 point into Rotting Fumes.
  • Level 55: Shop for pet jewelry from Black Legion.
  • Level 65: Craft and equip a Master’s Spellblade. From this point through endgame: whenever you have the iron bits and crafting materials available, keep crafting additional Master’s Spellblades until you have one with the Plaguebearer’s prefix to use. Then, continue with the crafting until you have a Plaguebearer’s prefix with 33 RR or higher. Always use whichever Spellblade you have with the highest RR value – the other stats are not important.
Quote:
Spellblade Crafting:

The Plaguebearer’s Master’s Spellblade should be crafted by a low-level mule at around level 12 to match the lowest level of the Plaguebearer’s prefix. (Load up either the shared stash or a stash tool like GDStash/GDIA with rares/epics to sell for iron bits to craft with.) Two reasons to do it this way:
  1. At such a low level, the affix pool is far less diluted by affixes that only exist at higher levels. This results in a much higher chance of successfully rolling the Plaguebearer’s prefix. The decreased level has no impact on the strength of the RR effect.
  2. Many affixes have a larger deviation on rolls at lower levels. Because of this, it’s possible to roll up to +2/-2 on the RR effect of the Spellblade compared to crafting it at max level. Thus, equipping the best product from several successfully created Spellblades will usually result in +1 or +2 higher RR than crafting with a high-level character.
  • Level 65: Shop for pet items from Coven and Barrowholm.
  • Level 67: 1 point into Reap Spirit. Once available, bind Hungering Void to Reap Spirit.
  • Level 68: Max out Master of Death. Re-bind Giant’s Blood to Master of Death.
  • Level 70: Equip Primal Instinct (relic) if available. Shop for elite pet gear from Rovers and Order of Death’s Vigil.

Level 74-100:
Max out Rotting Fumes, then Soul Harvest, and finally Hellfire.

As your close in on endgame, you’ll want to refer to the Grimtools link for the final build as a reference. Try to keep your flat damage pet bonuses (BoD, Hellfire, Storm Spirit, Soul Harvest) overleveled and your primary resist reductions (CoF, Vulnerability) at softcap to support your pets.

Have fun! And if you have any questions that haven’t already been answered in all the posts above, feel free to post them in the comment thread below.


__________________
Pet/Vitality Hybrid Cabalist: The Night Kinghttp://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574127

Understanding Pet Damage: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=499409
Necromancer Abilities for Pet Builds: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574133
Pet Devotions for AoM: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574136

Last edited by DaShiv; 12-07-2017 at 03:07 PM.
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V. UPDATES


Patch 1.0.3.0 Analysis - Build Impact

Overall, a sizable but not unexpected nerf from this patch - about 20% reduction to overall DPS. (Keep in mind that this was by FAR the fastest single-DPS AoM build in 1.0.2.1 with a 5s Mad Queen time, so the build had a LOT of DPS to spare.) However, build survivability and utility have actually improved a little bit, and the build remains fully functional. Everything will just take somewhat longer, but that's relative - this remains a very high DPS build, and maybe even still the highest for single-target.

[Major New Features]
  • (Bugfix) The casting mechanic for all skills has been updated to be much more responsive. Casting a skill will now make the character cast it immediately in the targeted direction rather than forcing the character to run up to the skill's casting distance. If you prefer the classic casting mechanic, you can toggle it back in the game options.
[Tech]
  • (Bugfix) Fixed a bug where extra pets would follow the player incorrectly when the player had more than 6 pets.
  • (Bugfix) Fixed Pet Bonuses on relics not being randomized.
[Game]
  • (Buff) Performed a tuning pass on various Ashes of Malmouth encounters across all difficulties as well as monster scaling at levels 85+, overall incoming Physical damage should be a little lower.
[Itemization]
  • (Buff) The disparity between heavy and caster/light armor has gotten a bit too large with the increased level cap, though it won't hurt to bring them closer together at low levels as well. To address this, all light and caster armor pieces have had their armor values significantly increased. If you find a Heavy armor that had its armor increased, or a Light/Caster armor that did not, please report it as a bug.
  • (Nerf) Faction: Stormbringer of Malmouth: reduced % Lightning damage for pets to 220% (Note: Was +300% lightning damage.)
  • (Major Nerf) Blueprint - Master's Spellblade: reduced All Resist Reduction to 15 (Note: Was 25 base RR.)
  • (Nerf) Legendary - Mythical Glyph of Kelphat'Zoth: reduced % Lightning damage bonus to pets from skill proc to 80% (Note: Was +100% lightning damage.)
  • (Nerf) Epic - Mythical Mantle of the Patron: removed % Crit damage bonus for pets (Note: Was +16% crit damage.)
  • (Buff) Component - Mark of Mogdrogen: increased % Move Speed to 6%
  • (Nerf) Component - Seal of Might: removed erroneous Aether bonuses for pets on the granted skill (Note: Was 8 aether damage, +75% aether damage.)

[Class & Skills]
  • (Buff) All pet bonus-scaling pets now have an inherent 33% resistance to Leech effects.
  • (Buff) Increased flat Attribute bonuses in all Constellations. Some new Attribute bonuses have been added to stars that previously had none, or added to stars that previously only had a bonus to one attribute.
  • (Buff) Eel: increased % Move Speed to 6%
  • (Buff) Lizard: added 3% Move Speed
  • (Major Nerf) Raise Skeletons: reduced Vitality damage scaling at all ranks, reduced Physical damage scaling at ultimate ranks, reduced Archer and Mage Skeleton damage scaling at all ranks. Some of this damage has been shifted to Will of the Crypt, a minimal shift when stacking both.
  • (Buff) Will of the Crypt: added flat Vitality damage bonus
  • (Nerf) Ravenous Earth: corrected an error in this skill's scaling that had it stop at rank 22. It now scales correctly up to rank 26. Reduced the rate at which the skill deals damage and reduced Vitality damage scaling with rank (Note: This decreases proc frequency for Decay and for bound devotions.)
  • (Buff) Reap Spirit: fixed an issue with the % Weapon damage part of this skill not dealing its damage. Reduced Energy Cost, increased Vitality Decay damage and improved Wraith attack rate and movement. Increased % Weapon damage to 100% by rank 16, 120% by max ultimate rank. The Sound Effects for this skill have been updated.
  • (Buff) Spectral Wrath: added % Physical Resist Reduction
__________________
Pet/Vitality Hybrid Cabalist: The Night Kinghttp://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574127

Understanding Pet Damage: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=499409
Necromancer Abilities for Pet Builds: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574133
Pet Devotions for AoM: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574136

Last edited by DaShiv; 11-18-2017 at 08:05 AM.
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VI. NECROMANCER ABILITIES



Necromancer Abilities for Pet Builds [Updated: 1.0.4.0]

No mastery in Grim Dawn is as well-tailored for pet builds as the necromancer. Here’s what you should know about the mastery abilities for any necromancer-based pet build, regardless of your specific pet build or selected second mastery. For each ability, a link to all relevant item skill modifiers will also be provided

Note: The following analyses are from the perspective of pure pet builds only. Melee, caster, and hybrid builds should assess these abilities based on their own needs.



Reaping Strike and Necrotic EdgeAvoid

These two weapon pool skills (WPS) only trigger from the player’s default attacks/replacers, which pure pet builds never use in combat.



Siphon Souls

An AOE ability that applies leech-over-time to all affected enemies, similar to the Wendigo’s Mark devotion proc. Unfortunately the AOE is far too limited for pet builds at lower skill ranks, thus requiring significant skill investment for use. With high vitality %damage and RR, this ability can help keep the player alive against large crowds of trash, but it’s less effective against a single strong hero/boss.

Item skill modifiers: http://www.grimtools.com/db/items/skill-modifiers/2141
  • Blood Boil (modifier): The stackable OA debuff can be useful, although other masteries offer much more effective alternatives (such as BWC, Wasting, etc). Health is not leeched from the extra DOT damage.
  • Sear Souls (transmuter): Avoid. Pet builds generally have much higher vitality +% damage (from necromancer abilities and/or Dying God) than aether +% damage.


Drain Essence, Hungering Reach, Decomposition, and GravechillAvoid

Channeling abilities require stationary continuous casting and are a poor fit for pet builds, because pet builds rely on mobility for survival and need to constantly cast CD-based buff/debuff abilities. For health leech and OA debuff, use Siphon Souls or devotions instead.



Harbinger of SoulsAvoid

An exclusive ability that’s strictly worse than Master of Death for all pet builds, and for most non-pet builds as well.



Ravenous Earth

An AOE damage ability with good uptime and lots of multiple hits. This makes it very useful as a 1-pointer to proc both devotions that require continuous refreshing (such as Shepherd’s Call) or devotions with low/no cooldowns (such as Twin Fangs). Ravenous Earth’s high hit frequency will also draw a lot of aggro, which can be helpful to keep aggro off of more fragile pets or harmful for a passive taunt build.

Item skill modifiers: http://www.grimtools.com/db/items/skill-modifiers/2132
  • Decay (modifier): Extremely useful for the reduced target damage debuff, since this reduces damage received by both summoner and pets. This is the only part of the skill that warrants heavy investment by pet builds.
  • Foul Eruption (modifier): Avoid. Pet builds will almost never land kills using the base ability to trigger this death proc. Use something else for flat RR.


Bone HarvestCore Ability: 1 point+skills

Extremely useful AOE attack. A single point can apply all weapon-based RR effects and other debuffs at 100% (>100% for non-debuff weapon effects, such as flat damage) across a wide AOE. Keep in mind that weapon-based RR isn’t only found on weapons, but also on other items (such as Mythical Open Hand of Mercy) and devotions (such as Viper). Even if not using weapon-based effects, Bone Harvest use is still required to maintain the pet bonuses from Soul Harvest. Avoid wasting additional points to increase this skill's slow effect – CC effects suffer dramatically reduced effectiveness beyond Normal difficulty. The base ability inflicts a surprising amount of damage with high investment and can be a starting point for hybrid pet builds.

Item skill modifiers: http://www.grimtools.com/db/items/skill-modifiers/2137
  • Harvester of Death (transmuter): Avoid. Pure pet builds have no use for the increased %WD, damage, or conversion.
  • Dread (modifier): A single point is useful to extend the AOE. As with the base ability, additional points for terrify are not effective beyond Normal difficulty due to significantly reduced duration.
  • Soul Harvest (modifier): Core Ability: 12 points+skills. The only Necromancer ability to provide all pets with additional flat damage, making this an absolute requirement due to the large number of pets available to Necromancers. Overleveling provides even better flat damage. For additional details on the important role that flat damage plays in pet DPS, refer to the article Understanding Pet Damage.


Reap SpiritCore Ability: 1 to 16 points+skills

A direct damage spell that also summons a temporary wraith upon impact. Hybrid builds can benefit from the direct damage portion's high %WD+base damage. Because the wraith’s uptime (10s) is much longer than its base CD (6s), it’s easy to maintain 1-2 wraiths, with additional sources of CDR and/or item modifiers allowing for the maximum 3 wraiths. However, significant skill investments are also required to unlock the additional wraiths, with breakpoints at 17/16 (2nd wraith) and 23/16 (3rd wraith). Skill investments improve both the initial direct damage and stats of temporary wraiths.

Even for builds planning on investing heavily elsewhere, a single point should be spent here to pick up a cheap temporary pet that benefits from flat damage bonuses.

Quote:

Sundered Wraith

Abilities (skill level 16):

1. Wraith’s Touch
  • Default melee attack, 100% weapon damage
  • 124-213 vitality damage, 160 cold damage (51%/49%)
2. (unnamed teleport attack)
  • 1 target maximum, +500% movement speed
  • 124-213 vitality damage, 160 cold damage (51%/49%)
  • 1.5s stun target
3. Vitality Nova
  • 283 vitality damage, 4m target radius
Item skill modifiers: http://www.grimtools.com/db/items/skill-modifiers/2136

Note: Item skill modifiers and devotion bindings apply to the direct damage portion of the ability, not the resulting wraith.



Raise SkeletonsCore Ability: 8 to 16 point+skills

The quintessential pet ability for Necromancers. Four different types of skeletons can be summoned, with probabilities determined by skill rank. Due to skeleton mix for each skill rank, at least 8 points (after skills) should be invested when using this ability.

Quote:

Skeletal Warrior
Combat: Melee
Health/Armor: No bonuses

Abilities (skill level 16):

1. Ancient Weapons
  • Default melee attack, 100% weapon damage
  • 60-76 physical damage, 20 vitality damage (77%/23%)
2. (unnamed charge attack)
  • 1 target maximum, +120% movement speed
  • 60-76 physical damage, 20 vitality damage (77%/23%)
The basic skeletal warriors have a very fast charge attack to open combat and clog enemy pathfinding, but otherwise they are completely mediocre. Their main saving grace is their ability to make full use of flat damage bonuses, especially since they lack any spells to distract from their melee attacks.


Skeletal Archer
Combat: Ranged
Health/Armor: No bonuses

Abilities (skill level 16):

1. Ancient Weapons
  • Default ranged attack, 100% weapon damage
  • 44-60 physical damage, 18 vitality damage (74%/26%)
2. Deathbolt
  • Projectile spell: 80% chance to pierce (scales with skill rank)
  • 60 piercing damage, 27 vitality damage (69%/31%)
Skeletal archers are the best skeletons for pure DPS. Their fast-firing ranged attacks can track moving targets, such as enemies chasing a kiting player and/or struggling to find pathing through pets and other obstacles. They can also focus fire while ignoring the max limit on melee attackers against a single target, which is especially important against smaller human-sized bosses like Anasteria, Fabius, and Iron Maiden. Because of target tracking and focus firing, archers can utilize their damage very effectively under any circumstances, even as army size increases.

The primary drawback to using skeletal archers is that after patch 1.0.3.0, archers have about 20% less base damage than their melee counterparts. This means that effective use of archers will require stacking lots of additional flat damage to help offset their lower base damage.


Skeletal Arcanist
Combat: Ranged AOE
Health/Armor: 25% Increased base health

Abilities (skill level 16):

1. Fire Shard
  • Bombardment spell: 3m target area, 2m projectile radius
  • 119 fire damage, 106 burn damage over 2 seconds
2. Firebolt Nova
  • Radial projectile spell: 12 projectiles, 1.5m projectile radius
  • 252 fire damage, 150 burn damage over 2 seconds
Skeletal arcanists provide fire damage as AOE support. Arcanists are very strong in the early-to-mid game and their AOE makes them great for leveling, but because their spells don’t benefit from flat damage bonuses, their damage starts to lag behind after reaching Ultimate. (Players using non-%WD spells such as PRM often face similar scaling problems.) Also, arcanists’ fire spells don’t have much synergy with other Necromancer abilities, and their damage is unaffected by physical conversion. This means that at endgame, arcanists are generally the lowest single-target DPS skeletons.

Due to how powerful arcanists are at early-mid game, the damage of their primary Fire Shard spell was decreased by about 12% with patch 1.0.3.0. However, this makes them even less effective in Ultimate than before.


Skeletal Revenant
Combat: Melee
Health/Armor: 25% Increased base health, 48% increased armor bonus

Abilities (skill level 16):

1. Ancient Weapons
  • Default melee attack, 100% weapon damage
  • 60-76 physical damage, 20 vitality damage (77%/23%)
2. Undeath Missiles
  • Projectile spell: 3 projectiles, 1.5m projectile radius
  • 107 vitality damage
3. Undeath Aura
  • Passive damage aura: 4m radius
  • 43 vitality damage, 8% reduction to enemy health
Skeletal revenants are the most versatile of all skeleton summons, with high (relative) tankiness and extremely effective abilities for proccing devotions. Their main drawback is that they require high skill ranks in Raise Skeletons to summon, and even at 26/16 their summon weight remains relatively low.

The increased frequency of revenants and arcanists from overleveling can effectively increase a skeleton army’s durability, since these two types have better health (and in the case of revenants, better armor as well). This may be of interest to builds utilizing pet taunts or concerned about pet survivability in general.


Probabilities by Skill Rank

Skeletal archers and revenants are generally the most useful and most preferred skeleton types, but it’s impossible to summon them 100% of the time since summons are random and probabilities vary by skill ranks. Thus, skeleton armies are virtually guaranteed to be a mix. Here are the probabilities to summon each skeleton type for every rank of Raise Skeletons:



Item skill modifiers: http://www.grimtools.com/db/items/skill-modifiers/2151

Note: For item skill modifiers, "+X Summon to Raise Skeletons" increases how many skeletons are summoned per cast (i.e. summoning more than 3 at once). "X Summon Limit to Raise Skeletons" increases maximum skeletons allowed (additive with Undead Legion).
  • Undead Legion (modifier): Core Ability: 12 points+skills. Increased pet count is one of the best bonuses for any pet build, and 12 points (after skills) for increased skeleton limit and resummon speed is the minimum requirement in Undead Legion for any build using skeletons. Overlevel breakpoints for additional skeletons are at skill ranks 16 and 20.
  • Will of the Crypt (modifier): This modifier looks great on paper, but all the bonuses provided are actually fairly lackluster in importance. In most cases, it’s not worth investing more than 1+skills when using skeletons, unless hardcapping for maximum base damage.
    • Flat vitality damage provided is far less than from Soul Harvest, and scales extremely poorly before Ultimate ranks.
    • +% damage bonuses are generally poor investments for skill points compared to other ways of improving DPS.
    • The provided vitality resistance bonuses do not scale well with additional points, are already obtained elsewhere (Master of Death), and vitality damage is not a major AoE threat to skeletons.
    • Skeleton base armor is so low that the effectiveness of +% bonus to armor is negligible.
    • Partial skill-based vitality conversion is an inefficient mechanic – see below.
Technical Analysis: The Inefficiency of WotC Conversion
Spoiler!



Ill Omen

An auto-spread debuff ability primarily used for CC, not damage. Ill Omen’s main endgame use is as a Bloody Pox substitute to spread and proc devotions such as Wendigo’s Mark and Will of Rattosh. Ill Omen’s physical damage reduction is strictly inferior to Decay’s all damage reduction, and physical damage reduction can also be obtained far more cheaply from other masteries via Focused Gaze or High Potency.

Ill Omen’s high hit frequency will also draw a lot of aggro, which can be helpful to keep aggro off of more fragile pets or harmful for a passive taunt build. The continuous terrify effect can also improve pet survivability against large packs of trash.

Item skill modifiers: http://www.grimtools.com/db/items/skill-modifiers/2126



Summon Blight FiendCore Ability: 1 to 16 points+skills

A pet with multiple taunt abilities to draw aggro. Blight fiends have much better health and armor than skeletons, and thus can be useful to draw aggro away from them. Every attack from a blight fiend will also inflict surprisingly large amounts of poison, and thus blight fiends cause a lot more damage to enemies than it might seem since their poison DOTs will heavily stack but are not displayed.

Quote:

Blight Fiend

Abilities (skill level 16):

1. Blighted Claws
  • Default melee attack, 100% weapon damage
  • 202-286 physical damage
  • 750 poison damage over 5 seconds (Note: Pet DOTs are not displayed)
2. (unnamed vomit attack)
  • Cone-shaped AOE spell: 4.5m range
  • 202-286 physical damage, 184 acid damage (57%/43%)
  • 750 poison damage over 5 seconds (Note: Pet DOTs are not displayed)
  • 1s confuse
3. Virulent Death
  • Ground damage AOE spell: 5s duration, 3.2m radius
  • 154 acid damage
  • 338 poison damage over 2 seconds (Note: Pet DOTs are not displayed)
4. MODIFIER: Rotting Fumes (skill level 12)
  • Passive damage aura: 3.5m radius
  • 338 poison damage over 2 seconds (Note: Pet DOTs are not displayed)
  • 212 reduced target’s DA for 2 seconds
  • 15% chance of fumble and impaired aim
  • Generates additional threat
5. MODIFIER: Blight Burst (skill level 12)
  • AOE radius spell: 10m radius
  • 300-394 acid damage, 168 vitality damage (67%/33%)
  • 625 poison damage over 5 seconds (Note: Pet DOTs are not displayed)
  • 2s confuse, generates additional threat
Item skill modifiers: http://www.grimtools.com/db/items/skill-modifiers/2147
  • Unstable Anomaly (transmuter): The skill description suggests using this transmuter to trigger the blight fiend’s Virulent Death, but its real use is to turn blight fiends into damage sponges that can be quickly resummoned to absorb even more punishment. With enough CDR (such as from Time Dilation or Mythical Circlet of the Great Serpent), multiple blight fiends can be maintained for additional threat stealing and debuffing via Rotting Fumes. Keep in mind that due their short lifespan from Unstable Anomaly, blight fiends will no longer hold aggro for extended periods, and their aggro draw will instead serve to cause chaos and misdirection rather than maintaining undivided enemy attention.
  • Rotting Fumes (modifier): Core Ability: 12 points+skills. This passive debuff aura is the strongest ability of blight fiends. All of its effects are extremely useful, especially the DA shred to support other pets. Overleveling helps to compensate for its small AOE. Since this ability also acts as a constant damage aura, it can be used to very effectively proc any devotion bound to the blight fiend.
  • Blight Burst (modifier): AOE attack with great radius, but cooldown limits its damage potential. Its radius, confuse, and threat effects can all be fully unlocked with a single point. The ability’s base poison duration may look great, but keep in mind that pets won’t benefit from the player’s extended poison duration bonuses.


Master of DeathCore Ability: 12 points+skills

This is the best pet exclusive from any mastery, especially for hybrid pet builds. The massive pet OA bonus is the main draw, with very generous amounts of DA, resistances, and pet +% damage being additional icing on the cake. All pet builds should invest least 12 skill ranks after skills. Master of Death scales poorly beyond rank 12, but for builds who are desperate for more pet OA, additional OA breakpoints can be reached at ranks 16, 19, and 22.



Spectral Binding

A great player-only passive buff for aether builds, but pure pet builds will only benefit from its flat health bonus. For hybrid builds, Spectral Binding's flat OA bonus has excellent synergy with the %OA bonus from Master of Death. This ability’s flat aether damage and health bonuses also scale exceptionally well when overleveled.

Item skill modifiers: http://www.grimtools.com/db/items/skill-modifiers/2145
  • Spectral Wrath (modifier): An automatic, proc-based, stackable RR ability with dramatically improved coverage (proc cooldown, duration, radius) with additional ranks. The proc targets both melee and ranged attackers. Most pet builds will benefit from reaching the first breakpoint at 4 ranks to support Master of Death’s vitality conversion, while builds centered around vitality and/or aether damage should aim for at least the second breakpoint at 8 ranks. Builds focused on other elements (such as fire- or lightning-based pet builds) will likely invest elsewhere.


Call of the Grave

A short-duration buff for all pets, and one of only a handful of abilities from any mastery to provide pets with crit damage. High CDR is a must when using this ability due to its lengthy cooldown and poor uptime. Most pet builds should aim for the breakpoint at 5 skill ranks, and Call of the Grave scales especially poorly beyond the 11th skill rank.

Item skill modifiers: http://www.grimtools.com/db/items/skill-modifiers/2125

Note: Despite the fact that Call of the Grave only provides pet bonuses, bonuses from item modifiers are applied to the player, not pets.



Mark of TormentCore Ability: 6 to 10 points+skills

The must-have mitigation ability for Necromancers, similar to Mirror of Ereoctes, Blast Shield, and Overguard for other masteries. Compared to Mirror, it has lower %absorption and an inconvenient target requirement, but also has advantages in better uptime ratio and more useful overlevel scaling. Due to the targeting requirement, this is ability is primarily used for boss and/or hero fights, rather than other uses such as trash or ground damage. The most logical breakpoint for endgame use is 6 points, but overleveling can be very useful for improved uptime, especially for high CDR and/or Time Dilation builds. Ignore the reflected damage bonus – this ability’s only use is mitigation.

Item skill modifiers: http://www.grimtools.com/db/items/skill-modifiers/2144


__________________

Special thanks to Ceno, Superfluff, and TomoDaK for providing input and feedback during closed testing, and to Dammitt for extensive updates to pet data on Grimtools.

__________________
Pet/Vitality Hybrid Cabalist: The Night Kinghttp://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574127

Understanding Pet Damage: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=499409
Necromancer Abilities for Pet Builds: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574133
Pet Devotions for AoM: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574136

Last edited by DaShiv; 12-20-2017 at 04:14 AM.
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Old 11-15-2017, 04:01 PM
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VII. PET DEVOTIONS



Pet Devotions for Ashes of Malmouth [Updated: 1.0.4.0]

Pet builds derive more of their power from devotions than any other build type, so plotting the most effective devotion path is an essential step toward crafting a successful pet build. AoM brings new devotions, a new pet mastery, and new items/modifiers, the combination of which requires a thorough re-evaluation of the devotion choices available for the new setting.


Tier 3 (T3) Devotions
  • T3 devotions can be found along the outer edges of constellation map. They require at least 10 affinities of a single color, but provide no affinities upon completion and therefore can never self-sustain.
T3 devotions are the heart of any devotion plan. Node for node, they can provide better bonuses and stronger unique effects than are available to T1 or T2 devotions. Experienced theorycrafters can even combine multiple T3’s in extremely powerful ways.

Pet builds are fortunate to have multiple T3 devotions to build toward. Here’s an analysis of their different options, in order of preference.


Rankings of T3 Devotions for Pet Builds
  1. Dying God
  2. Mogdrogen the Wolf
  3. Aeon's Hourglass
  4. Ishtak, the Spring Maiden
  5. Tree of Life
  6. Light of Empyrion

1. Dying God

Pet bonuses:
  • +66% crit damage
  • +290% to all damage
  • +289% vitality damage
  • +289% chaos damage
  • +15% attack speed
  • +10% movement speed
  • 10% chance to stun for 1s
  • 56% chance of 30% slow for 3s
  • 70% chance of terrify retaliation for 3s
  • 720 chaos retaliation
The combined pet bonuses from this devotion are unbeatable, especially for pet vitality or chaos conversion builds. AoM’s introduction of additional sources of +% OA for pets – from mythical items, new devotions, and the Master of Death exclusive – makes Dying God’s massive crit bonus even more valuable than it was before. This is because the higher the rate of critical hits, the more important it is to increase critical hit damage. Endgame pet builds in AoM can easily reach 60-100% OA or more, and at that OA level it’s imperative to make the most of crit damage.

Note that Dying God is the only devotion with a serious penalty: the constant health drain from Hungering Void will force pet builds to divert resources away from pets and invest into health sustain instead. This can be a harder task than for most other build types, since pet builds can’t simply equip an item or component to heal themselves using ADCTH from their pet’s attacks. Thus, the cost of Dying God is actually higher than implied by its affinity requirements. Nevertheless, paying this price of admission is well worth the results from the strongest pet devotion available.

Any cabalist pet build should automatically take Dying God over Mogdrogen, because cabalist provides easy +% pet OA (Master of Death), +pet speed (Manipulation), and regen (Blood of Dreeg) to complement Dying God.

Patch 1.0.4.0 Update: Crit bonus was reduced from +72% to +66%.


2. Mogdrogen the Wolf

Pet bonuses:
  • 24 bleeding damage over 3 seconds (8 bleeding dam/sec)
  • +20% offensive ability
  • +110% to all damage
  • +46% attack speed
  • +46% movement speed
Although prior to AoM this devotion had reigned supreme as the best for most pet builds, Mogdrogen slipped down to second place post-xpac due to +% pet OA and +% pet speed being more easily accessible from new sources (such as Eldritch Mirror). That said, this can still be the best T3 devotion for some pet builds that meet one or more of the following criteria:
  • Builds that must sacrifice too much to meet the sustain for Hungering Void.
  • Builds without Master of Death that are short on pet OA.
  • Builds without Manipulation that are short on pet speed.
  • Builds already having high pet crit, such as from Primal Bond and/or Elemental Balance.
  • Builds that synergize better with other green/purple devotions.
  • Hybrid builds that also utilize player-based bleed damage.
With the addition of the Quill and Toad for cheap green/purple, Mogdrogen is far easier to squeeze into devotion plans than ever before, opening up many new combinations. It can be especially devastating when paired with another T3 devotion, such as when coupled with Dying God to create the Max Pet DPS Devotion Path.

Patch 1.0.4.0 Update: Added 8 Bleed damage / 3s for pets.


3. Aeon’s Hourglass

Pet bonuses: none.

It’s unusual for a devotion with zero listed pet bonuses to be listed among pet devotions. However, with AoM’s increased devotion cap, devotion plans using multiple T3s are far more viable than ever, and Aeon’s Hourglass is undoubtedly the best second (or third) T3 devotion for pet builds.

As previously explained in Understanding Pet Damage: "CDR is extremely helpful for pet builds to maintain devotion procs and skill effects." With the new summons and effects introduced by AoM, the CD reduction from Time Dilation (TD) now has an even larger impact on pet builds:
  • Army maintenance via faster resummoning, which is especially important for pets with multiple summons such as Raise Skeleton and for mastery summons (such as briarthorn or hellhound) with increased summon limit via skill modifiers. Every single summon has an associated cooldown, and reducing that cooldown allows for quick replacement of combat casualties and easy "healing" by resummoning injured pets.
  • Increased number of pets from new temporary summons such as blight fiend (with Unstable Anomaly) and sundered wraith (Reap Spirit). Maximizing their numbers requires some combination of TD, CDR, and/or skill modifiers.
  • Persistence of pet devotions and temporary pets such as buffs from Hungering Void and Howl of Mogdrogen, as well as temporary pets from Bysmiel’s Command and Conjure Primal Spirit. TD can easily make these effects effectively permanent with over 100% uptime.
  • More frequent use of temporary and/or instant party buffs such as Call of the Grave and Blood of Dreeg’s instant heal.
  • Weaken more enemies using CD-based debuffs such as Decay, High Potency, and Focused Gaze.
  • Improved summoner survivability by improving uptime of abilities for mitigation (such as Mark of Torment and Mirror) and sustain (such as Giant’s Blood and Tree of Life).
  • Free resets of offensive devotion procs and better synergy with direct damage abilities for hybrid pet builds. Both of these can be very potent with duration-based AOE effects, especially those with longer cooldowns such as Reckless Tempest and Devastation.
Although Aeon’s Hourglass can’t compete with the "Big Two" devotions in terms of raw pet DPS, its devotion nodes provide very strong defensive bonuses and the sheer scope of TD’s utility is unparalleled. Almost every facet of pet builds is governed in whole or in part by cooldowns, and pet builds can have literally dozens of cooldowns running at the same time (most of them invisibly). Thus, having all cooldowns being frequently reset by TD dramatically increases overall build performance.

Aeon’s Hourglass is especially effective for necromancer-based builds to help with resummoning of skeletons, and its red/blue affinity pairs extremely well with Dying God.


4. Ishtak, the Spring Maiden

Pet bonuses:
  • 33 physical damage
  • Taunt target
  • +130 offensive ability
  • +130 defensive ability
  • +3% defensive ability
  • +4% attack speed
  • +4% movement speed
  • +120 health/s
  • 25% fire resistance
  • 20% bleed resistance
  • 25% poison & acid resistance
A build-defining devotion, Ishtak is one of several methods of creating a taunt build that allows pets to steal aggro away from the summoner. Ishtak also provides flat physical damage for physical conversion builds and/or builds that are low in flat damage, and its damage absorb is especially helpful for masteries without a primary mitigation ability (i.e. Mirror, Blast Shield, etc). Shamans fit all of these criteria perfectly, and the physical resistance from Emboldening Presence also greatly complements pet taunts. Further, Heart of the Wild has superb synergy with Ishtak’s massive flat health bonuses.

Taunting lends itself to a passive and/or defensive playstyle, because a DPS-centric active playstyle that relies on aggro-causing debuffs (such as Curse of Frailty) would thoroughly undermine the effectiveness of pet taunts. Therefore, Ishtak is primarily a pet utility devotion and not a max-DPS devotion, even though its OA, flat damage, and speed bonuses improve pet DPS to some extent. Ishtak’s absorb proc can also allow the devotion to act as a secondary defensive T3, especially due to its strong blue synergy with Dying God.


5. Tree of Life

Pet bonuses:
  • 10%+700 health restored
  • +10% health
  • +80% health regeneration
  • +150 health/s
  • +55% energy regeneration
  • +12 energy/s
Tree of Life finishes a distant 5th place, far behind the other T3 pet devotions due to its purely defensive and highly niche nature. Healing Rain is the only devotion proc that can heal pets, which can complement pet healing via mastery (Blood of Dreeg, Wendigo Totem, Word of Renewal) or items. Taunt builds in particular may consider whether this has a place in their devotion plan. Alternately, Healing Rain can also help offset the health drain from Hungering Void for builds that lack better alternatives, and/or provide energy for casting-hungry builds.

Pet builds that don’t fall into one of these specific use categories should use one of the higher ranked T3 devotions instead.


6. Light of Empyrion

Pet bonuses:
  • +6% health
  • +5% max all resistance
  • 15% aether resistance
  • 15% chaos resistance
  • 15% vitality resistance
  • 15% elemental resistance
Don’t let the pet bonuses fool you: this is not an actual pet devotion. The provided resistance bonuses don’t come anywhere close to being enough to help reach the increased resistance cap, and the proc’s AOE is far too small and too negligible in damage to be of use for a pet build. This T3 should be completely avoided by pet builds.

Patch 1.0.4.0 Update: Corrected pet Elemental Resist bonus to be 15% Elemental Resist instead of 15% Increased Current Elemental Resist.


Patch 1.0.4.0 Update: Pet bonuses were removed from Rattosh, thus it was also removed from this T3 list. Its previous entry has been archived below:
Spoiler!




Tier 1 (T1) and Tier 2 (T2) Devotions
  • T1 devotions can be found near the center of the constellation map. They require 1 affinity point to unlock, but provide multiple affinity points upon completion. All T1 devotions can self-sustain (i.e. fulfill their affinity requirement using their own completion affinity), allowing for the removal of any prerequisite affinities originally used to unlock the T1.
  • T2 devotions can be found sandwiched between T1 and T3 devotions on the constellation map. They require multiple affinity points to unlock, and provide less affinity than T1’s upon completion. T2’s cannot self-sustain on their own without the help of additional affinities from other completed devotions.
The lower tier devotions provide the affinity needed to reach T3 devotions, so for T1-T2 devotions, affinity points-per-node and the type of affinity provided can be just as important as the actual player and pet bonuses themselves. Remember that the T3 devotions should be doing the heaviest lifting for pet builds, so the goal should be to meet those T3 requirements first and foremost, rather than trying to collect every T1-T2 devotion with pet bonuses.

Note that T1 devotions are actually more important than T2 devotions, because most of a devotion path’s affinity points will come from T1 devotions. Also, taking too many T2 devotions will make it difficult or impossible to complete multiple T3’s; in that way, T2’s actually compete with T3’s indirectly. Pay close attention in choosing the best T1’s to provide the necessary affinity for T3’s, then add/substitute in whichever T2’s that affinities permit.

For pet builds, these are the best T1’s and T2’s to pay attention to:


Top T1 Devotions for Pet Builds
  1. Shepherd's Crook
  2. Raven
  3. Panther
  4. Toad
  5. Hawk

1. Shepherd’s Crook

Pet bonuses:
  • +28% crit damage
  • +210% to all damage
  • +13% health
  • +5% defensive ability
  • 15% elemental resistance
  • +300% to all retaliation
Shepherd’s Crook provides enormous pet bonuses for a lowly T1 devotion, and is usually the first priority for any build that uses pet scaling. The only drawback is that both CDR and some type of spammy attack ability are needed to maximize uptime on the devotion proc.


2. Raven

Pet bonuses:
  • 6 lightning damage
  • +5% offensive ability
  • +15% to all damage
  • +60% lightning damage
Raven’s flat damage makes it a terrific bargain for a T1 devotion, especially when coupled with a very useful OA bonus as well. The devotion provides fairly good affinity efficiency, but having all of its affinity awarded as green makes Raven a tough fit for devotion paths using blue-red and/or blue-yellow T3’s.


3. Panther

Pet bonuses:
  • +5% crit damage
  • +5% offensive ability
  • +15% to all damage
A deceptively understated T1 devotion, Panther’s crit and OA bonuses continue to scale extremely well into endgame. Just as valuable, however, is Panther’s excellent affinity value; the yellow affinity provided is especially helpful to meet requirements for devotions such as Bard’s Harp and Staff of Rattosh. Even for builds not aiming toward the blue T3’s, Panther is well worth picking up for its top-shelf combination of affinities and pet bonuses.


4. Toad

Pet bonuses:
  • +4% Attack Damage Converted to Health (ADCTH)
  • +3% offensive ability
Already one of the best T1's for completion affinities, Toad becomes an automatic pickup for any green/purple pet build with its new pet bonuses in 1.0.4.0. The OA bonus on its own is useful for all builds, while the ADCTH bonus can be a major survivability boon for skeleton builds but becomes much less useful for slow tanky pets such as briarthorns.

Patch 1.0.4.0 Update: Added 3% Offensive Ability and 4% Damage Converted to Health bonuses for pets.


5. Hawk

Pet bonuses:
  • +4% crit damage
  • +2% offensive ability
With the 1.0.4.0 update, Hawk becomes a notable pet T1 devotion. The combination of solid OA/crit bonuses for both player and pets makes Hawk a decent T1 for hybrid pet builds, but its completion affinity bonus is rather mediocre.

Patch 1.0.4.0 Update: Added 4% Crit damage and 2% Offensive Ability bonuses for pets.



Top T2 Devotions for Pet Builds
  1. Bysmiel's Bonds
  2. Manticore
  3. Bard's Harp
  4. Huntress
  5. Staff of Rattosh

1. Bysmiel’s Bonds

Pet bonuses:
  • Summon Eldritch Hound (physical/acid damage)
  • +70% to all damage
  • +8% attack speed
  • +8% movement speed
  • +10% health
  • 20% vitality resistance
This T2 devotion is the only one to provide a pet-scaled pet – all other devotion pets are player-scaled. This makes Bysmiel’s Bonds especially valuable for non-necromancer builds with low pet counts. Builds without Mogdrogen (devotion) and/or Manipulation (Occultist passive) will also find the pet speed bonus extra useful.

Patch 1.0.4.0 Update: Health bonus increased from +8% to +10%. Eldritch Hound summons closer to enemy and has slightly increased attack speed.


2. Manticore

Pet bonuses:
  • 28 Reduced Target's Resistances for 5 seconds
  • +3% offensive ability
  • +60% poison damage
  • +5% health
Already an important T2 devotion to provide supporting RR for the wide variety of damage types that pet builds must deal with, Manticore leapfrogs the competition to become even more essential with added pet bonuses from 1.0.4.0. Even elemental pet builds should generally pick Manticore over Rowan's Crown.

Patch 1.0.4.0 Update: Added 60% Poison damage, 5% Health and 3% Offensive Ability bonuses for pets.


3. Bard’s Harp

Pet bonuses:
  • +110 offensive ability
  • +110 defensive ability
  • 25% energy restored
  • +7 energy/s
  • 45% reduced entrapment duration
  • 45% slow resistance
Although there are other devotions that increase pet %OA, this T2 devotion is unique in providing pets with a large chunk of flat OA. Considering that endgame pet builds in AoM can reach very high +% pet OA values, flat OA bonuses can offer much better returns for pet builds than simply stacking +%OA even higher. Bard’s Harp also buffs the summoner with lots of DA, health, resistances, and especially energy regen; the latter is very useful to support continuous resummoning of pets (especially temporary pets) or to power expensive attack abilities such as Reap Spirit. Uptime for the Inspiration proc is significantly improved for high CDR and/or TD builds.


4. Huntress

Pet bonuses:
  • 18 bleeding damage over 3 seconds (6 bleeding dam/sec)
  • -32% enemy bleeding resistance
  • +5% offensive ability
  • +8% health
An already solid pet T2 devotion with a very well-rounded proc, Huntress becomes even more competitive with additional flat bleed damage after 1.0.4.0. Skeleton builds can stack the flat bleed damage especially effectively, and Huntress becomes the only devotion to be granting pets flat damage while simultaneously inflicting RR to amplify that damage as well as all other bleed damage, such as from Rend, Conjure Primal Spirit, etc.

Patch 1.0.4.0 Update: Added 6 Bleed damage / 3s bonus for pets.


5. Staff of Rattosh

Pet bonuses:
  • +6% crit damage
  • +3% offensive ability
  • +80% to all damage
  • +3% defensive ability
  • 15% aether resistance
  • 10% vitality resistance
A T2 devotion with a solid set of both offensive and defensive pet bonuses, Staff of Rattosh also provides some great defensive bonuses for the player as well (+5% health, +200 health, +20 DA, +15% aether resistance, +10% vitality resistance). Builds without Dying God should especially consider Staff for the extra crit damage. The main drawback to Staff is competition from other devotions, especially from its cheaper T1 rivals that also provide similar offensive bonuses.



Quote:

Special Topic: Devotions for Raise Skeletons (Necromancer Mastery)


A devotion proc bound to Raise Skeleton can be triggered by any of its skeletons, with up to 10 max skeletons (up to 12 max with skill modifiers) all making use of the same proc. This can greatly increase devotion proc frequency! Choosing an appropriate devotion based on the build’s RR profile can also significantly improve proc performance.

Note that all skeletons will also share the same devotion proc cooldown. However, the shorter the proc cooldown (CD), the more efficiently it can be shared among all skeletons. With short enough CD (especially with high CDR), multiple skeletons can continuously spam devotion procs to provide significant additional DPS. Keep in mind that devotions that inflict damage on a per-tick basis (such as Aetherfire, Rend, Wendigo’s Mark, etc) won’t stack when multiple instances are applied to the same target.

No-CD AOE devotion procs:
  • Aetherfire
  • Flame Torrent
  • Rend
Very low-CD (<1s) AOE devotion procs:
  • Bull Rush
  • Guardian’s Gaze
  • Twin Fangs
Low-CD (<1.6s) AOE devotion procs:
  • Acid Spray
  • Blind Fury
  • Elemental Storm
  • Fissure
  • Hand of Ultos
  • Maul
  • Scorpion Sting
  • Tsunami

Alternatively, no-CD devotions without AOEs can also be bound to Raise Skeletons to provide numerous iterations of direct damage and/or debuff effects. High skeleton count can help make up for the devotions’ lack of AOE.

No-CD non-AOE devotion procs:
  • Assassin’s Mark
  • Eldritch Fire (auto-spread)
  • Rumor (auto-spread)
  • Wendigo’s Mark
  • Will of Rattosh

Note that conversion affects damage from devotion procs, including skeleton-specific conversion bonuses from Will of the Crypt. Flat damage bonuses for pets are also applied to devotion procs based on the %WD of the proc. Therefore, the following reduced-CD devotions may be of special interest:

Physical/IT devotions (for conversion builds):
  • Blind Fury
  • Bull Rush
  • Maul
%WD devotions (for builds with very high flat damage):
  • Blind Fury
  • Bull Rush
  • Flame Torrent
  • Maul
  • Scorpion Sting
  • Tsunami
  • Twin Fangs

Lastly, certain devotion procs are centered on the attacker instead of the target. This can cause wasted cooldowns if the devotion is accidentally triggered by skeletal archers or arcanists outside of melee range, rather than by skeletal warriors or revenants. To mitigate this issue, some attacker-centered devotions are restricted to only proc from melee attacks, which prevents wasted cooldowns by ranged skeletons.

Attacker-centered devotions that are melee-restricted (remains efficient when used by mixed skeletons):
  • Blind Fury
  • Bull Rush (unlisted melee restriction)
  • Maul
Attacker-centered devotions that can be procced at range (thus CDs are effectively longer than listed due to misfiring):
  • Flame Torrent
  • Guardian’s Gaze
  • Scorpion Sting
Devotion effects centered on the target instead of the attacker will not suffer from this issue.

__________________
Pet/Vitality Hybrid Cabalist: The Night Kinghttp://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574127

Understanding Pet Damage: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=499409
Necromancer Abilities for Pet Builds: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574133
Pet Devotions for AoM: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574136

Last edited by DaShiv; 12-20-2017 at 03:54 PM.
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  #7  
Old 11-15-2017, 04:03 PM
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DaShiv DaShiv is offline
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Reserved (7/7): Addendum
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Pet/Vitality Hybrid Cabalist: The Night Kinghttp://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574127

Understanding Pet Damage: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=499409
Necromancer Abilities for Pet Builds: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574133
Pet Devotions for AoM: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574136
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  #8  
Old 11-15-2017, 04:03 PM
Pareto Pareto is offline
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I was hoping to see another Cabalist build based on the Stormbringer of Malmouth and the mythical Mantle of the Patron.

Thanks for the outstanding work! Excellent build, excellent analysis, and excellent guide.
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  #9  
Old 11-15-2017, 04:04 PM
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DaShiv DaShiv is offline
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All sections will be soon posted piecemeal. The first part is up now, but it'll likely take a day or two to finish edits and format all content into forum-friendly posts. Thanks for your patience!
__________________
Pet/Vitality Hybrid Cabalist: The Night Kinghttp://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574127

Understanding Pet Damage: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=499409
Necromancer Abilities for Pet Builds: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574133
Pet Devotions for AoM: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=574136
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  #10  
Old 11-15-2017, 04:05 PM
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Superfluff Superfluff is offline
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Deleted my original message for reserved.
"You finally did it and posted!!! and you used that off hand"

Btw your gear choice says a lot about some of the new skelle sets
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