[] Laser and Explosions Returns! - The AAR Sorcerer is Back!

Hey everyone!

Welcome to the Albrecht’s Aether Ray Sorcerer guide! He’s back! My main character has returned due to a few changes in the game; specifically AAR’s buff, the retuning of the expansion content, and figuring out exactly how I’d like to handle his defenses.

So, before the guide, here are the links:
Grimtools: http://www.grimtools.com/calc/62azyzmV
Video Guide: https://youtu.be/pvqqDOBhmAk
Leveling a Sorcerer Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsmjnpeOgYQ&list=PLZgbv9keJuEfWPtm68liKNChbYYDlO_rg
History of the AAR Sorc Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZgbv9keJuEf2i6FuQcMmXNCHCoY75OM_
Five Hour Stream VOD of this Build: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrBXfBx5OMI
The Old Version from Vanilla: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30239

Damage Mitigation
I’m starting with the defenses of this character since in my view, building up the defenses of a character are the key to making the character work. Once the defenses are up, you can build in any attack skills and skills to support that attack freely. In this case, we’re heavily focused on reseting Mirror of Ereoctes. The Sorcerer is great at this, beginning with a caster off-hand and Star Pact. Overcapping Star Pact to its odd-numbered levels results in greater cooldown reduction and the caster off-hand (required for AAR and Devastation anyways) provides the second source of it. Beyond that, you can get small amount of CDR on weapons, helmets, and amulets. Stacking CDR is important, but it doesn’t require tight precision in this case, due to the Time Dilation Devotion skill, Aldanar’s Vanity, and Eternity. These three cooldown reseting procs will keep this character up and healthy, allowing for Mirror to rotate in something like every 5 seconds between casts, sometimes faster, including have it chained cast to itself!

Secondary to this are the other forms of mitigation the Sorcerer has access to in its class and in the Devotion layout. The Arcanist/Demolitionist combination is possibly the most crowd control heavy combination in the game. It’s got Olexra’s Flash Freeze for a freeze; Callidor’s Tempest with Wrath of Agrivix and Grenado for knockdowns; Stun Jacks, Canister Bomb with Concussive Bomb, and Heavy Ordance for stuns; Flashbang for, well, Flashbang things; and a variety of slows sprinkled throughout. Crowd control is a key factor in its defenses, even though crowd control is a bit weak right now. So, we’re running OFF with Absolute Zero, Canister Bomb with Concussive Bomb, and Flashbangs, all to control and debuff the enemy hordes. Additionally, Blackwater Cocktail, though only a 1-pointer here, with its High Potency transmuter, can also help mitigation damage, reducing the physical damage of attacks by 18%. While not huge, it does help. BWC is also a great Devotion proccer, which is the main reason it’s here.

From Devotion we’re bringing in Dryad’s Blessing, Shield Wall, and Giant’s Blood, all of which provide much needed sustain. The Sorcerer combination’s big weakness is the lack of sustain, so I sought out Devotion constellations to help with that. Tree of Life was an alternative but I feel it may require a bit too much to get into and I didn’t want to take away other options from this character. Dryad’s Blessing is a quick and reliable self-heal which helps immensely, especially given that the Sorcerer is one of the three classes that doesn’t have that feature (the other two being Commando and Battemage who can both tank easily due to being Soldier combos). Targo the Builder and Shield Wall provide armor and health, something this class doesn’t easily generate on its own. Lastly, Giant’s Blood is essentially freely accessed by this character and provides a provenly solid counter damage style heal.

Lastly, good ol’ Maiven’s Sphere of Protection is run at 12/12 for the solid 20% damage absorption, as is the case with pretty much every Arcanist I’ve ever played. Blast Shield is run in the same manner, for its great burst defense.

All of these things come together to form the core of this character’s defensive kit.

Energy Regeneration and Skill Energy Cost Reduction
I’m going to make a note here on energy regen. Most of these abilities and items will be mentioned in other parts of this guide, but I feel I have to bring it up.

To get usable energy regeneration, you need a caster chest piece. These tend to have about 7 energy regen on them and serve as a core of regeneration. Additionally, you’ll need a caster off-hand. You need one for AAR, which means this part is taken care of, but for the purposes of a regen talk, it’s a core piece of the puzzle that bears mentioning. (Anyone using Drain Essence or Flames of Ignaffar may want to consider a caster off-hand as well, even though those abilities don’t require one.)

On top of this, you can add about 20 points of Spirit and Iskandra’s Elemental Exchange. At 12/12, you get 65% additional regen and 22/12 you get a full 100% more. Other places you can get more are from caster helmets, Aethereach, rings, amulets, components, and augments. Mythical Clairvoyent’s Hat, the helmet I’m using, has it; one of the rings I have has it as well; and I’ve got Arcane Heart Powder from the Malmouth Resistance faction on my rings.

If you need more, you can pick up the Mark of Illusions or Ectoplasm for your rings.

For skill energy cost reduction, there are several component options including Arcane Lens, Focusing Prism, and Mark of Annihilation, which can obviously be paired with Mental Alacrity.

For either of these, you can find some throughout the Devotion map. Easy to get regen includes the Candle and Raven, while with more investment you can get the Bard’s Harp, Harvestman’s Scythe, and/or Oklaine’s Lantern.

Albrecht’s Aether Ray
This is the main damage ability, obviously.

It deals more Fire damage now and the Vitality damage on Disintegration was replaced by Lightning damage. Disintegration also gained Electrocute damage, which was a surprise, but a welcome one to be sure. More importantly, the energy cost scaling was reduced in Ultimate ranks, which means the skill is much easier to manage now, opening up gearing and Devotion, allowing this character to be like the other kids and actually utilize new gear (like Runebound Topazs on the rings instead of needing Marks of Illusion).

We’re running the beam at 26/16 and 22/12, squeezing as much damage as we can from the stone of AAR. The energy costs are countered by stacking above 200 energy regen and 47% skill energy cost reduction.

Supporting Skills
Most of the skills in this build are based around the need to mitigate damage and control enemies, as noted above. However, there are skills in here for buffing and enhancing the giant laser and for dishing out more damage.

Iskandra’s Elemental Exchange and Elemental Balance are awesome for this character. IEE for the energy regen and Elemental Balance for the crit damage (and Electrocute damage, how wild is that). Both are capped and overcapped as high as possible. Mental Alacrity has finally found a reason to be overcapped, eeking out all the cost reduction we can get from it. Inner Focus and Flame Touched are also overcapped for the Offensive Ability, Spirit (aka energy regen), and damage support.

Thermite Mines are at cap, granting us resistance reduction to two of the damage types on our main attack and Devastation is, as always, a big, bright, beautiful star at 1 point.

Various and sundry other abilities are also run as 1-pointers, seen in the Grim Tools link above and most of which fill obvious roles.

Notable Gear
Here follows the gear I find especially good for this character. A sub-theme of this character is stacking +1 to all skills, which results in +6 to Arcanist and +4 to Demolitionist.

Mythical Warpfire
: One of the best Sorcerer weapons, a weapon I’ve been using in its non-Mythical form since Legendaries were added to the game, is here in mythical form. It’s got everything you’d want in a caster-oriented weapon, whether it’s the stats, the +1 to Sorcerer skills, or the debuff.

Mythical Aldanar’s Vanity: Part of our cooldown reset suite, this off-hand’s proc matter more than anything on it. I mean, it helps that everything on it is really good anyways. Another +1 to Sorcerer skills piece, as well.

Eternity: This relic’s stats are okay. The really stand-out bits are the Aether damage and the skill energy cost reduction. The +1 to Arcanist skills is great, as you would expect. The real reason we have it is the cooldown reseting proc.

Mythical Aethereach: Now that the Mythical version of this item has its proc, it is the best AAR piece of gear in the game again. That proc deals a lot of damage and helps to ping enemies the beam may not be reaching immediately. The stats are really good too, including the additional cost reduction.

Valdaran’s Shoulderguards: The +3 AAR, +3 Flashbang shoulders make these BiS for this character, even when they’re only okay rolled shoulders.

Mythical Clairvoyant’s Hat: This helmet is a stat generating powerhouse, both for the stats themselves but also the +1 to all skills line.

Mythical Rage of Agrivix Amulet: I’m mentioning the amulet here because of the +1 to Sorcerer skills. The stats are nice too, especially the bonuses to Vindictive Flame. That armor really helps make this character more robust.

Fateweaver’s Raiment: This chest piece pushes Elemental Balance to 22/12 and frees up points from Flashbang. This chest’s stats and the defenses it provides are amazing.

Odds and Ends: Rounding out the gearing includes Mythical Albrecht’s Duality, Mythical Band of Eternal Haunt, Mythical Phantom-Thread Girdle, green pants (I need good Aleksander pants!) and boots, and Mark of Divinity.

Components and Augments: The Malmouth Aether damage oriented jewelry augments (Arcane Heart Powder) are needed for the energy regen, at least on the rings. Creed’s Cunning on the weapon/off-hand for its solid stat array alongside a Seal of Resonance for the effect protection. Seal of Annihilation is opaf, both the stats on the component and the proc. Otherwise, everything else is about setting up resistances.

80 Physique, 25 Spirit. I think he may need to take about 5-10 out of his Physique and put it in Cunning though in case Mythical Warpfire’s Cunning requirement can’t be met.

Aetherfire (Devastation): Aetherfire on Devastation essentially creates a field of, well, aetherfire.
Arcane Bomb (AAR): Putting the bomb on the beam gives it a small AoE and lets it self enhance.
Dryad’s Blessing (Flashbang): Throwing out Flashbangs regularly is something I’ve alway done, so using this to proc the heal means the bangs will additionally sustain us while befuddling enemies.
Time Dilation (Canister Bomb): The C-Bomb is great for proccing the Time Dilation ability. I try (and usually forget due to Early Access, pre-Devotion finger memory) to throw them after I cast Mirror, so it gets the reset as well.
Shield Wall (BWC): This is used to grants the character a large armor boost. The constellation itself also gives a direct health and armor boost, which is necessary in my opinion for a class like this.
Giant’s Blood (Maiven’s): Pretty standard issue reverse damage proc.
Other Constellations: The other constellations are used for getting to the big ability ones. For the Primordial stuff we need for Aeon’s Hourglass, I mostly stick with Sailor’s Guide and the Eel for the defenses and movement speed they provide.

Don’t know, don’t care, don’t play it.

Don’t worry everyone will get a chance to ride the beam!

2017/11/24: Added the Speedy Leveling Guide playlist for the Sorcerer.
2017/11/19: Added the video guide link! Added a link to the vanilla thread, in case anyone cares to see the old version.

Another reserved post, but also a question.

Should I do a Druid AAR build and a Mage Hunter AAR build?

I’ve been experimenting with gear setups on my own mage hunter and came to the same maxed mirror with clairvoyant hat, that chest and star pact. I don’t think I have that relic print buf if it works as I think with mirror you should be able to facetank iron maiden and similar mofos with no issues, no clusters, crucible or not.

I hope it doesn’t get nerfed though, just when things like this appear for non-dot casters someone does something gamebreaking with it and in the following patch its gone.

I’m working towards a Lightning Ray Mage Hunter based on the new Aetherbolt Pendant and I’d love to see your take on that version.

In my opinion Mythical Wrath of the Ascendant is much better than Mythical Warpfire for Aether caster builds. Stronger debuff, flat health, energy cost reduction and damage against humans.

You do lose the +1 to Demo skills, which is something to consider.

I’m not worried about it. If it gets nerfed though, I’ll definitely raise a stink over it, especially given how Soldiers are right now.

Anyways, I like how clever it feels, if that makes sense. Like, you have to use your game knowledge coupled to your gear to know how to make this defense. It’s really neat that it exists compared to something like the Soldier where it feels more basic when it comes to building a defense.

That’s what I was thinking about doing and combining it with the Allagast set’s weapon (possibly the whole set) to have the Lightning/Aether beam with the Lightning/Aehter Shards.

I don’t disagree with you, but part of the reason for Warpfire for me is tradition. It’s one of the first legendaries I ever got and the non-mythical version I have has been the character’s weapon practically since legendaries where a thing.

I also wouldn’t discount the conversion on the weapon, even with OFF being a 1-pointer now, it becoming fire can really help clear out trash mobs.

Hello, i am starting aar character from scratch but i am not sure which class to choose. I want my character to be as tanky/self sustainable as possible. I dont care about dps too much. Which second mastery do you recommend? I dont want to play necromancer so my options are shaman, inquisitor and demolitionist. Which one do you think gives most survivability? And just to note i will start this character with no gear. Ty.

For sustain, I’d probably say the Arcanist/Inquisitor (Mage Hunter) or Arcanist/Druid (Druid). The Mage Hunter has a self heal and the Inquisitor’s Seal to keep themselves up and running. Druid has Wendigo Totem for self healing and Mogdrogen’s Pact for a health, health regen buff, and armor buff. However, Sorcerer does have Blast Shield, which can make it more tanky. Flashbang too, as what it brings will make it be able to survive.

Sorcerer’s big problem is the lack of a self heal coupled to not having a lot of tanky passives (opposed to the Battlemage and Commando who don’t have self heals but are Soldiers). There is Maiven’s Sphere, Mirror, and Temper, of course, but beyond that it’s mostly a disable-y and crowd control type of defense which isn’t as reliable. So, you need the sustain elsewhere, like from Devotion.

Sorcerer’s great though! I think, the Druid and Mage Hunter are probably easier to get a bit more tanky, tbh.

I saw your video before the patch hit, quite surprise that they changed Disintegration damage type at first, but it’s a good change for all AAR builds.

I’m curious, how is Blast Shield nerf affecting the build?

Druid, even though has healing for sustain, is gonna be hard for new player. Good healing is good when you already have good defense, caster shaman will suffer from no OA/DA buff/debuff from skills and no defense skill like Blast Shield/Inquisitor Seal or Mark of Torment, which means it will be more gear dependant. It’d be a struggle as Druid. I’d actually reccommend Druid as last class for beginner.

I, for one, would love to see you do an AAR Mage Hunter

Thats just plain wrong. Blast shield is better than seal and you won’t be using aura of conviction, or endless flame to replace flashbang. You overvalue heal, if you have some from devotion its good enough. Then BWC is such a load of debuff its strange you do not try to max it.

I’d prefer Druid so I can post a MH ARR build even though I am a filthy casual and will need months for it. :stuck_out_tongue:

I didn’t notice a change with the Blade Shield nerf because of the armor buff.

I don’t disagree with you on some of the Druid’s weaknesses. I wasn’t thinking about Blade Shield as a factor, so I’ll rethink the first post.

Wendigo Totem, to me, is like Seal and a heal together. It’s negating the damage coming in in a different way than Seal. Same concept though.

I’m also thinking of other abilities the Druid has, not just the heal when I say I think it’s a little easier to get going.

I could try it after I get my Panetti’s Mage Hunter maxed out, I could change his abilities after I do that.
Zars actually did one here: http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?t=63306

Let me rephrase, and I’ll actually add this into my previous post, “I think, the Druid and Mage Hunter…”

Having a heal is like having a second potion with a cooldown you can control and reduce. It’s one of the most powerful abilities in the game, in my opinion. I wouldn’t say Blast Shield is overrated, but I think a heal is straight up better, and the heals in the game usually carry some added defensive benefit of some kind, be it movement speed or evasion or resistances. You can also control when its activated.

I can do the Druid more easily than the Mage Hunter. Maybe I’ll adjust and show it off on stream this week.

One of the cool things about the Spellbinder version is you get Aether Siphon soul, that heals. Ill Omen, that procs twin fangs like crazy (or what ever you put on it), and Mark of Torment to reduce damage, along with Mirror. You add it all up, and you can survive quite well.

Yeah, Spellbinder is, I think, still the strongest AAR combo in the game. The damage mitigation is so insane crazy in it!

Also, I added a link to the video guide to the main post!
Additionally, I added a link to the old Lasers and Explosions thread, just for fun.

Hey Wolf, I’m glad that you’re back on your Sorc and were able to make it work and have fun doing it! You kind of convinced me to fiddle with a build utilizing AAR thanks to your Spellbinder.

A question that is not pertaining to the Sorc version, but to the potential Druid version that can be made. I’m trying to do that right now, and I was considering the Stormseer Sapphire neck so AAR is cold/lightning, and then using Trozan’s so I can add in TSS to the build. Is that similar to what you, or others, would envision for the Druid?

My Druid plans are to use the beam with Storm Totems, Wind Devils, and Wendigo Totems. Basically, the way a Druid normally does it, throwing out the artillery while running through things then stopping and using AAR to burst things down. I’d definitely be using that amulet so the damages align, then I’ll use the various elemental resistance reduction things in devotion and gear.

I’m thinking for the Mage Hunter of doing TSS and AAR with the Allagast set for Aether/Lightning meteors and the Aetherbolt amulet for Aether/Lightning AAR. I don’t know how that’d ultimately work but I want to try it.

I’ve considered similar with a Mage Hunter, but I wanted to do it on Druid for two reasons. First, is I have enough aether oriented characters. Second, I originally wanted to roll with Druid when I first picked up Grim Dawn cause TSS looked so damn cool, but I was swept away by all the other combinations I could create.

In the build I am planning, I’ll have all the totems plus Wind Devils as well, but I want to try using Storm Totem as a means to proc its assigned devotion as opposed to being a more significant damage source. With my current plan on gear, I did my best to invest into whichever defensive devotions I could while still aiming for Ultos. At this point, it’s a wait and see if this version will pay off as I got some ways to go. I can’t wait to see how this build, and other builds of yours, will shape up now.

Crucible is funny, why not?