Using the weekend’s experience buff, I decided to hit the old Diablo 3 pretty hard. I managed in the end to hit paragon level 602, not intentionally but it was part of my holiday goals. The other thing I wanted to work on was striving for some better gear, mostly on my Witch Doctor pet build in the hope of landing a Tall Man’s Finger and possibly the much elusive Starmetal Kukri. Thus far, both items remain firmly out of my grasp but I did get a few Christmas presents that let me mess around a little more with a few builds.
For my Witch Doctor, I managed to find a far better rolled Rhen’ho Flayer, a physical Stone of Jordon from Kadala (when I was trying to grab a Tall Man’s Finger) and ironically Tasker and Theos gloves that dropped while my Wizard was farming. I even got a poorly rolled Mask of Jeram that I simply trashed. But the three items I did find gave a pretty nice boost to my Witch Doctor pet build. Having a Tasker and Theos gloves, even non-trifecta ones like that pair I found, is a monstrous boost for your fetishes. I found myself killing monsters at a far higher rate since the little buggers now can attack faster (mine rolled +50% attack speed for pets). With the Stone of Jordon’s physical and elite damage buff, that allowed me to completely deviate away from the poison build that I started from and move towards a purely physical build.
Unfortunately, I still find myself immensely squishy in T6 rifts. I’m still using Zunimassa’s along with 3 pieces of Blackthornes to give myself immunity to molten, plagued and desecrator effects while using Grave Injustice and Jungle Fortitude in the interim. Now, my build is slightly more defensive at this stage mostly because of the lack of a Tall Man’s Finger and the Uhkapian Serpent which help do a fair amount of damage mitigation. Pretty much I’m stuck with this build/style until I can find a Starmetal Kukri to help give a higher uptime with Fetish Army. Without the Starmetal Kukri, the cooldown on Fetish Army is just too long and generating fetishes from Fetish Sycophants can become very tedious. Even if I can get a Tall Man’s finger, I pretty much can’t use it straight away with the Uhkapian Serpent since I can’t get rid of the offhand and remove the bonus from Zunimassa’s.
So far the build has been more frustrating than anything else. Most of the items related to the build are super rare and I’ve managed to accumulate more Jade Harvester and Helltooth pieces than pet doctor pieces just by playing my pet doctor and gambling on certain items for so long. The positive part is that you’re mostly focused on two aspects which is building fetishes using Plague of Toads with Addling Toads as your rune and grouping/CC’ing large groups of mobs with Piranhado. The build at this stage feels more like a support role, especially if you swap out the last ability for a cooldown like Big Bad Voodoo. On it’s own, without the above items, it simply is too weak and the generation of fetishes can be a real pain. By far the worst aspect of this build is when you die and your Fetish Army goes on cooldown. 2 minutes can seem like an eternity and even Grave Injustice barely helps reduce the timer. All the work from generating fetishes gets wasted and if you’re on a single boss, you just won’t have the damage output.
Another build I mentioned was the Leapquake/Perma Call of the Ancients build. I did play this on T6 in a group setting and found that I simply wasn’t doing enough damage with it. On T4 solo, this is a very fun build. However, despite the novelty of getting two gear sets to combine, neither really have all that great of a synergy with the other to make the build viable for really high end rifts. Part of the issue is that your main ability which is Leap + Earthquake using Molten Fury as the rune inflicts a DoT. You pretty much are leaping three times to gather your opponents, thereby applying the earthquake, and after the 3rd one, you place a 4th Earthquake and hope that your opponents die to reset the cooldown on Earthquake as quickly as possible. The DoT itself in reality cannot inflict that much damage because of how you simply lack of a lot of stacking +% Fire damage.
At best, you can probably get four items to bear +% Fire damage with your amulet, bracers, a Cindercoat and a Stone of Jordon. So you’re looking optimally at +80% Fire damage with a small percentage dedicated to +% elite damage. Because you’re using the Immortal King’s Boulder Breaker as a weapon along with the belt and helmet, you’re losing out on more slots that can be dedicated to +% fire and/or elite damage. Also, you miss out on some cooldown reduction here because those slots are taken up in favor of having permanent pets.
I suppose if I want to optimize this build a little I can discard the Immortal Kings set entirely and hunt for other items that will help boost my damage up. Some ideas would be to use a cooldown reduced Maximus with +% elite damage. Another alternative would be to combine a Devastator and a Burning Axe of Sankis or possibly a Sun Keeper. The problem with the Maximus is that the +% elite damage is limited compared to a Sun Keeper, which I believe can roll up to +30%. So if I put a Sun Keeper in the offhand and rerolled a stat to cooldown reduction and made a Burning Axe of Sankis as the main hand with a reasonable damage roll, I could get a pretty good elemental elite damage DPS amount. Of course, I want to avoid stacking too much +% fire damage as I’ve read going over 100% starts to produce diminishing returns, which is why a Sun Keeper might be favorable here.
That then frees up a belt and helmet slot. The Leapquake build is primarily a cooldown reduction build. Right now, my build only gets cooldown reduction from the helmet gem (+12.5%), gloves (+8%), shoulders (+8%), my Immortal Kings Boulder Breaker (+10%), the Gogok of Swiftness and Paragon Levels (+10%). Added up, I’m looking at roughly +50% cooldown reduction, making Leap roughly 5 seconds. Those 5 seconds add up fast though and are pretty much a must have in emergency situations (such as leaping away from a mess of effects on the floor). I could bring down the cooldown further using things like the Leoric’s Crown (~+25%), a Vigilante’s Belt (+8%), a Stone of Jordon with a socket (and rerolling another stat like Strength into cooldown reduction) and/or a better Ring of Royal Grandeur (again rerolling a stat into cooldown reduction). I could go up as high as +85% which would make Leap into a near 1-2 second ability. So maybe on a theoretical level, I can gain up to say +100% fire damage and +60% elite damage, which doesn’t seem that bad. Not sure how it would play out. Gem-wise, I would probably get rid of the Enforcer legendary gem and use something like Bane of the Trapped since I’m stunning enemies already. This might allow me to get away with more damage overall but I’m not sure how survivability will end up playing out compared to Raekors without the natural CC.
Another build I tried to push as I mentioned in a previous blog is the Vyr’s/Tal Rasha build. Another little present I received over the holidays was a Shard of Hate. I did find a Thunderfury but I wanted to see how the Shard of Hate performed along with my Vyr’s/Tal Rasha build. On paper, Vyr/Tal Rasha seems really cool. You get Archon with all the runes and you get autoproc’d meteors from elemental damage. In practice though, the build pretty much hits its limits at T4.
Just like the Leapquake/Perma-Call of the Ancients build, this build suffers from the ability to output enough damage and some level of survivability. Your real source of damage in this build ends up sadly through Black Hole. While Archon can do a fair amount of damage, you simply lack too much cooldown reduction from the set gear to make permanent Archon a thing. Also, you cannot use Black Hole in this form and your Mirror Ball loses out since you do not fire Magic Missiles in Archon form. The meteors themselves proc too infrequently and mostly miss their targets because either you already have killed them or that they move too fast before they can impact.
I’ve read that even doing a pure Vyr’s build alone is worthless since Archons lack survivability. Your only means of defense are teleport (which doesn’t seem to be affected by Wormhole in Archon form) and Slow Time. The Beam from Archon itself does mediocre channeling damage. The other two damage dealing abilities are more melee ranged so the risk is far higher than Firebirds. Overall, this build is just a novelty build but in practice it doesn’t scale well. I don’t think Tal Rasha’s 4 piece set bonus is any good and Archon with Vyr’s is just too weak, even if you can get enough cooldown to make it have a very high uptime.
Lastly, I’m working on my Raiment of A Thousand Storms monk. I gave her a run through on T2 just to see how it felt and the sheer damage with all my bonus lightning damage (and some elite damage) melted everything around me. So naturally, I decided to push her a bit with some T4 action and immediately found that without Jawbreaker, the build is worthless. The main thing about the Raiment of A Thousand Storms build is that despite being about lightning damage, you really need both cooldown reduction and a Jawbreaker to make it work. Even with lightning based weapons like a Thunderfury and Odyn Son aren’t enough because you simply are not able to dish out enough Dashing Strikes, which is the real key in this build. Without enough cooldown reduction and a Jawbreaker, this build just becomes a plain, heavily spammy lightning build.
Right now, this monk has +134% lightning damage, which is pretty amazing on paper over on daibloprogress. In effect, these modifiers don’t do much since your Dashing Strike is the thing that does +3000% damage. So the big question is figuring out what pieces of gear I can swap out or add cooldown reduction. Currently, my only pieces are my shoulders and a diamond gem in the helmet socket. I can get an additional +8% on the gloves if I manage to find a pair with all the usual stats so that I can reroll vitality (or some other useless stat) into cooldown reduction. Possibly, finding something like a Flavor of Time amulet to move movement into cooldown reduction is another possibility. Or I can swap out the Thundergod’s Vigor for a Vigilante Belt. Another thing would be to seek out a better Odyn’s Son and reroll a stat into cooldown reduction. And lastly replace the helmet with a Leoric’s Crown. At best then, I might be able to get up to 56-64% CDR and get more charges every 3-5 seconds. For boss fights, this still feels kinda crappy just because you won’t have CC like a barbarian with Raekor’s although with a Jawbreaker you might be able to refund your charge.
Either way, the build still is experimental and I can’t judge it fully until I get a Jawbreaker and start procuring more cooldown gear. I do know that T6 and some Greater Rifts are possible with this build but it might be a while before I can know it’s potential.
Lastly, I’m still working on getting the Angelic Hair belt for my Roland Crusader. I swear prior to the revamp of that belt, it was far easier to get. Now, it never drops. The only other thing I’m wondering is which weapon to use. Some may say a Furnace but outside of that weapon, I wonder what other feasible weapons would work here. I do have a decently rolled Golden Flense but I’m not a fan of Sweep Attack and want to pursue a Shield Bash build (mostly to gain movement speed). Right now, it feels that without the Angelic Hair belt, the build suffers as you won’t have a power enough generator. I might just give this build without the belt a try on a T2-4 setting to see how far I go. Obviously, it’ll never be as powerful compared to the Stampede builds but this is just an experiment.