As I mentioned, I decided to try building my own version of the build that Mathil1 has been doing on his stream these past few days, except as a Scion/Ascendant. I was starting to encounter some issues just as I was approaching Cruel lab in terms of squishiness and overall damage issues. So I decided to use another Scion who was past Merciless lab and see how it would feel.
The result at the moment is pretty bad overall. I scrounged up some existing gear and 5-linked a shaper bow with the Critical Strike support modifier (along with a few other stats) to see how the build would function. Part of the problem is that the gem levels were mixed but mostly low level. That made even T1 maps feel awful.
I spent a bit trying to level up the gems to around 9-11 using Blood Aqueducts just to get the build off the ground then switched to T1-2 maps once leveling slowed. I tried doing some blue Mausoleum maps but found those to be rough then just swapped to plain white maps. I figured I would avoid anything besides basic mobs because the goal was to rush leveling the gems to at least 15-16.
However, even T2 white maps felt bad. Part of the problem was having 3.8k life and 400 ES. There’s no real ES regeneration for this build. And my amulet and helmet prevent me from getting more life. The helmet is practically irreplaceable for this build but the amulet I had to sacrifice life for mana cost reduction.
Another thing that happened was becoming gem socket starved. I thought I could try using golems and heralds with this build. But that turned out to be a really bad idea. The problem with using Elementalist as an Ascendant is that you don’t get the scaling of buffs per golem that you would as a pure Elementalist. So the two golems that could provide a great boost to defense in chaos and stone were mediocre.
I tried to compensate by using a Primordial Eminence. And I thought that I could be smart in using both an Anima Stone and a Primordial Harmony. Truthfully, I think those two jewels are worthless here and that the lightning golem and potentially a fire golem won’t add much. I think if I want to scale golems in this scenario, I would be better off just using more Primordial Eminence jewels.
Now, I did manage to sneak in a Herald of Thunder in addition to a Herald of Ice. While it seems novel, again without a way to reduce the cost of mana, Heralds can’t do much here. Maybe the Ice one but having more just isn’t all that great.
I did try to use an Enlighten level 4 with the Herald of Ice, Vitality and Zealotry. But Zealotry eats up way too much mana. I did try reducing the cost of heralds in placing points into Discord Artisan but honestly, the 20% didn’t make a dent to Herald of Ice’s base 25% cost. So instead, I’ve been trying to just go for general mana reservation reduction because that will affect everything.
But that puts a huge damper on Vitality. Even though Vitality had been revised to be a flat mana cost, it still eats up a good chunk of mana. In turn, you’re forced to keep the level of Vitality low, which is immensely frustrating as it’s one of the key components to helping with regeneration alongside your stone golem.
The addition of Pathfinder doesn’t feel like anything. The 3 second charge is kinda meh. You don’t really get much defense beyond being able to spam your flasks more frequently. But most of your flasks are offensively oriented (I chose a Granite Flask for the additional armor out of desperation) so I don’t know what’s really gained here.
Truthfully, I’m not sure if I should’ve gone this route. Elementalist sounds really good on paper but I think the idea of heralds and golems just make a build like this less focused. But again, I think there are other problems in general with this build.
The main two issues that I mentioned before was just the sheer flimsiness of this build as well as being able to correctly hit your target. This build doesn’t really have good damage mitigation and your real helpers are small bits like freezing enemies, tiny life leech, some regeneration and slight physical damage mitigation. But none of these are great.
I just found myself getting my life knocked to nothing too frequently while trying to aim. Stupid obstacles would block me all the time even though it felt as though my enemies could hit me. And the awful tiny screen makes it impossible to see anything along with your mouse getting lost all the time.
A build like this really is more novel and cool sounding than it is practical. Sadly, minions and mines still probably win out just because of how you can more easily rely on blind aim. But I think that’s just a major issue with bow characters in PoE.
The other thing is that it really is impossible to aim well in this game. The monsters tend to have far better speed than you and you never can see anything since the monsters’ life bar only shows up when you start damaging them. Worse yet the game is so buggy monsters just appear out of nowhere because of asset loading issues.
It’s a real shame because I so dearly wanted to try this build and I wanted to like it. The concept is really exciting but in practice, it sucks. The Asenath’s Chant item itself really seems better off being used as a way to cast curses and debuffs like Wave of Conviction rather than being used for a DPS dependency. If your aim is off, the item won’t solve the issues you’re looking to get around.
As for the combination of Barrage, Cast on Critical Strike, Ice Spear and Blazing Salvo, I feel it’s just too much going on. I tried adding the second Ice Spear for Asenath’s Chant and the clear was literally hit and miss. But Blazing Salvo never felt as though it was being activated that frequently compared to Ice Spear. Also, the range felt so short. I think there’s better options like Fireball.
Barrage in general outside of being used as a trigger for some Poet’s Pen or Spellslinger builds just feels like something you shouldn’t use. I know people use it for single target in a lot of bow builds but I’ve never had any positive experiences with it. You can’t see where you’re shooting and it feels lame almost like a micro penis sputtering out needles of ejaculation.
The one place I have seen Asenath’s Chant used in a more sensible manner is Toxic Rain builds. I noticed a few Toxic Rain builds with that item and Maloney’s Mechanism for applying curses, energy drain, soulrend and Caustic Arrow. Those seem a lot better just because you have Toxic Rain being supported with Mirage Archer, leading to a lot of automation. And with more automation in PoE, you just have a better chance of success.
Overall, it’s a little disappointing. I probably will scrap that new scion and repurpose a lot of my gear. The pure Pathfinder characters with Asenath’s Chant honestly look a lot more fun to play so I might just go that direction instead. But this time, I think I might just reuse one of my existing Pathfinders since I already have a few Toxic Rain builds with them.