Diablo 4: Season 5 PTR Companion Druid Build Thoughts

I didn’t go too heavily into playing the PTR. Mostly, I was interested in checking out the Companion Druid build since they added a few key new Aspects that caught my attention. Previously, I had leveled a Companion Druid in S4, which wasn’t bad but I can’t say that I loved the experience. The main thing was that the S4 version had very good single target damage once you activated your Wolves. Outside of that, the build felt spammy because you were concentrating on using Shred and Maul to keep fortify up and dash around the screen. So with three new Aspects and having access to a few Uber Uniques early on, how does the Season 5 Companion feel?

First, I want to talk about three key new Companion based Aspects for the Druid:

  • Moonrage Aspect (Offensive) – Kills have a 5% chance to summon a Wolf Companion to your side for [2035] seconds. This effect is a Lucky Hit against bosses. Maximum 3 additional wolves.In addition, gain +3 Ranks to Wolves.
  • Spirit Bond Aspect (Defensive) – [10.0 – 17.5]% of the damage you would take is redirected across your Companions. Your Companions cannot die.
  • Aspect of Rushing Winds (Mobility) – Casting a Companion Skill grants 5-15% Movement Speed for 5 seconds, up to 15-45%.

Of the three, only Moonrage and Spirit Bond will probably be any good. Aspect of Rushing Winds would be useful if it granted Unstoppable. However, without Unstoppable, the Companion build Druid won’t have an alternate source and resort to continuing the usage of Metamorphosis for Unstoppable. If Activating Wolves allowed a Druid to also become Unstoppable, then we probably could switch here. Otherwise, Aspect of Rushing Winds would be useful early on if Metamorphosis isn’t available for the Companion synergy.

There’s several builds for Companion Druid. One emphasizes boosting your Wolves’ damage and you do that through getting a +8 Masterworked Greater Affix Wolves skill on the helmet and +13 from the unique pants. Supposedly, you can get +2 more points but I’m not sure where. So at the very least, you can guarantee around a level 26 Wolves ability. Part of this build uses Rabies, Damage over Time via X’Fals with the Alpha aspect to cause your wolves to spread rabies. But it does force you to add Rabies to the bar, which I’m not a fan of since your Companion multipliers aren’t going to be as big.

With a more pure Companion Druid, you retain Ravens and Poison Creeper. So with Moonrage, you can get 6 wolves, 2 poison creepers and 4 ravens for a total possible number of 12. That’s a huge group where you combine this Shepherd which now changes to:

Companion Skills deal an additional 20% damage for each Companion you have.

So that’s a 240% bonus. How does a decked out Companion Druid look then?

  • Shako for Helmet – You will be missing out on +8 wolves and be forced to settle for just +4, but the general +4 to ALL skills boost up everything you else you do as well as all the other bonuses and damage reduction.
  • Chest – Spirit Bond Aspect – This is an absolute MUST HAVE for this build. Normally, Vigorous occurs in this slot but you can get up to 17% of passive damage resistance since all of the damage is redirected to your Companions. Better yet your Companions can’t die (think Followers + Double Unity from Diablo 3). This effectively ensures that your wolves’ prior problems of getting cannibalized at higher tiered difficulties won’t happen.
  • Gloves – Wildrage – Your companions get double bonus from Beastial Rage.
  • Legs – Storm’s Companion – Besides the lightning infusion to increase your wolves’ damage, the big thing here is the massive boost to your wolves’ skill. There’s nothing better once you find one of these. Also, Companion Movement might help, but I find the AI to be really wonky for Wolves, so I wouldn’t rely on this part.
  • Boots – Metamorphosis. Aspect of Rushing Winds sounds tempting but without the Unstoppable portion factored in, there’s no other Aspect to place here especially once you get very good movement speed.
  • Amulet – Stampede. Massive damage boost to all your Companion skills.
  • Ring – Alpha. The increase in damage as Werewolves is what makes this great. From what I know you don’t need to have Rabies on your toolbar for that portion to work. But I don’t like scaling damage over time and find Rabies to be a waste of a slot.
  • Ring – Starless Skies. I ended up going with this because of the various boost to critical chance etc as well as the +20% all resistance. With Shred and a Shako, your Shred damage actually feels reasonable. So this is my preference here.
  • One Hander (Dagger) – I like the bonus to Close Enemies which is why I ended up going with a Dagger. But the aspect is Stampede for the boost in Companion numbers and multipliers to damage.
  • Offhand – I might actually be using Alpha here and Unsatiated on the ring slot for the bonus damage to shred and spirit regeneration. But I prefer the offhand to get another aspect since you’re slot starved.

One note: I did level with a Tyrael’s Might and no Storm’s Companion. So the bonus damage with the Shrine Artillery effect was really nice. But eventually, I had to give up Tyrael’s Might for Storm’s Companion. I probably could eventually ditch the Ring of the Starless Skies and move somethings around but I like my current setup.

Another thing is that the guide for the Rabies version emphasizes putting increased Rabies duration on the weapon slot. In my version, since I use Packleader which depends on Critical Hit Chance, I change Rabies to Shred + critical hit chance boost. In doing so and having 40-50% critical hit chance, I’m lowering the cooldown of my companions, especially something useful like Poison Creeper, which I find great in very crowded AoE situations. And Ravens also offers some middle ground single target and a small radius AoE.

But how does this play out overall? While I do emphasis Wolves damage and attack speed for the bulk of my gear, you get some flexibility for trading Companion damage if you’re not min/maxing all your slots. Same thing for cooldown on rings. And what that means is that you have more abilities to choose from. I did take Debilitating Roar for healing and more Fortify but it does have a longer cooldown than Blood Howl. In general though, I’ve found this build to really work well in an open area setting. The smaller, more claustrophobic settings like cave tunnels, the build ends up shitting on itself because things get too crowded and your wolves can’t gang up on enemies. Or they end up paralyzed in different rooms where you wonder what the hell they’re doing.

AoE is really timed based because most of that comes through your Poison Creeper. But you can keep a very low cooldown value on that by constantly Shredding. With the Ring of the Starless Skies, I find that it’s easy to swap between Maul and Shred. With a little +spirit/second, you rarely run out of resources and Shred becomes a reasonable damage dealer to random mobs.

However, as I stated, the thing that kills this build more than anything is the bad Wolf AI. With three additional werewolves, I don’t think improve that much outside of more damage. Boss damage still is very good if you can activate your Wolves and one shot the boss. I think that the only way they can solve the wonky AI issue is if they have an ability or aspect that forces your Wolves to attack the same target you’re trying to hit. That might solve the AoE problems with something like a wall-like mega Shred. Without that type of ability, this build will continue to feel awkward. It does a good job leveling but you really need more to really make this thing work.

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