I won’t get into how triggered I am regarding the Ring of Emptiness nerf that happened at the last second. That issue deserves a blog post on its own some day. Instead, I want to focus on modifying the Helltooth meta slightly and demonstrate an interesting variation that I’ve been testing out that you can use for Season 7 (especially if you hate last season’s meta).
The way this build works is by throwing out Piranhas for Zombie Charger: Zombie Bears and employing a Scrimshaw for reducing the mana cost of Zombie Charger and some increased damage with it as well as using a Belt of Transcendence for the fetishes. Most likely, you’ll be leveling an Enforcer gem, which means your Gargantuans, Zombie Dogs and Fetishes will receive the damage multiplier bonus as well as a bonus from a cubed Mask of Jeram. Zombie Charger helps proc your Belt of Transcendence quickly and at the same time receives bonus damage from your Helltooth as well as applying Necrosis. I ended up cubing my Sacred Harvester because I wanted the bonus damage from my Scrimshaw in addition to the resource reduction cost. Also, I tossed out Piranhas partly because of the increased crowd control nerfs which would render Piranhas a little less effective in gathering up groups of mobs.
This build does handle the infamous object blockage that occurs with doors but pretty much helps keep a reasonable up time on your defense from the Necrosis proc. You shouldn’t have any resource issues with Zombie Charger because you will be killing large groups of mobs and restoring your mana regularly. Quite often the way I’ll play this build is load up my Gargantuans and Zombie Dogs, hit Spirit Walk the minute I see the first group of mobs then quickly get 10 stacks of Soul Harvest to increase my defenses. From there, it’s mostly charging into larger groups of mobs with Spirit Walk active, placing down Wall of Death, followed up by Soul Harvest to keep my defenses high and spamming Zombie Charger while waiting for my other three abilities to come off of cooldown and building up my fetish army.
A few key items to note is my Uhkapian Serpent that I use with Zombie Dogs: Leeching Beast for more defense and a Convention of Elements in my cube. You possibly can exchange the Convention of Elements for a Ring of Royal Grandeur so that you can swap out your Helmet or Gloves for a Mask of Jeram or Tasker and Theo. I haven’t tried that combo for this build, but I suspect that the damage might be slightly smoother than a Convention of Elements since you’ll be more focused on attack speed for your pets.
Now, you can also swap out the Belt of Transcendence for a Witching Hour. In my case, I only had a very poorly rolled Witching Hour, which gave rise to me experimenting with the Belt of Transcendence. I suppose that if I had a well rolled Tasker and Theo, I might try that out instead. But right now I’m still in the experimental phase. Also, you can swap out the Uhkapian Serpent for a Henri’s Perquisition. Like the Convention of Elements, I suspect that the Uhkapian Serpent is more reliable for damage overall.
For stat priorities, the main thing I recommend is hitting as much cooldown reduction as you can on shoulders, gloves, weapon, off hand and possibly rings. You’ll only have to deal with Spirit Walk, Wall of Death and Soul Harvest with Wall of Death being the most important. So you’ll want to make sure your Wall of Death can be triggered frequently.
This build is quite tanky because of damage reduction from the Uhkapian Serpent, Zombie Dogs: Leeching Beast, high uptime on Necrosis, Soul Harvest and Spirit Walk. The main weakness is low mob density which can cause your fetishes to despawn and having Grave Injustice be less effective. The worst is dealing with being at a dead end and waiting for Spirit Walk to come back off of cooldown. Yet overall I found this build to be far more rewarding than Season 6’s more passive Gargantuan build. You probably won’t do as much damage since you’ll be missing out on the Furnace but I did find myself to be in less predicaments and even being able to stand in dangerous spots for longer periods than with the passive Gargantuan build.