[1.0.4.1] AAR Spellbinder (Gladiator wave 150 capable)

[1.0.4.1] AAR Spellbinder - My first caster character to beat Gladiator wave 150

[Important note]
I did not build this character to beat Gladiator 170. I do not like Gladiator 170, though I may attempt it for the sake of doing it. The idea of the build is to be able to play pure casters with survivability, and not be limited to a specific CT CDR build. I’m more interested in traditional casters. This was an idea to test out what armor can do for a caster, using a character I already had.

I’ve always enjoyed playing pure casters in all my years of playing RPG’s and ARPG’s. I recently got into playing the crucible, where I’ve found casters are rather fragile, and have been playing melee and gun builds since. After someone on these forums told me that 2200 armor is key to be successful with a caster in the campaign, I decided to see just what I could do with a caster with as much armor as I could get. As it turns out, I couldn’t get my armor all that high, but I did hit 2199 with +53% armor. A little disappointed with only getting 2199 armor, I was still hopeful and set out to see what I could do with it on my AAR Spellbinder.

Prior, I had about 1500 armor, and low armor absorption. When I attempted to beat Challenger, I failed around wave 130 due to just being too squishy, but with 2199 armor and 99% armor absorption, Challenger was a breeze. I then fired up Gladiator, with a bit of hope to succeed, and manage to beat wave 150 my first try, and 3rd try. My 2nd attempt left me laying at Iron Maiden’s feet on wave 150. I learned to deal with some of the trash before engaging her after that. She takes way too long to kill.

>> Grimtools <<

[Principles of the build]
Beating Gladiator to 150 was a success and I owe it mostly to a few principles; 2199 armor, 12/12 Mirror or Ereoctes, 10/10 Mark of Torment and a respectable cooldown reduction (-34%). To aid in the CDR, I’m using the Eternity Relic, which will reduce all my cooldowns by 1 second every 4.5 seconds, if I crit.

To gain all that armor, which may not seem like a lot to non-casters, I used crafted armor recipes with the blacksmith Angrim. Angrim gives up to +7% armor as a bonus. But the real winner here is the Mythical Hammerfall Girdle. With Angrim’s bonus, I crafted one that reach +41% armor. I added to my armor with a crafted Mythical Clairvoyant Hat and Conduit of Arcane Whispers with AAR bonuses. With more work, and desire, you could also improve the armor with a crafted medal and boots.

[Damage and resist reduction]
Another great benefit to this build is high single target DPS. Or at least respectable ranged, single target DPS (just over 200K self buffed, and 260K with crucible buff). Almost all of it is Aether damage. The fire and lightning damage is being converted to aether (53%) with the aid of the rings from the Magelord set.

To make the most of my DPS, I’m relying on -101% aether resist reduction.
-38% from Spectral Wrath
-35% from Arcane Bomb
-20% from Mythical Wrath of the Ascendant
-8% from Aether corruption from the component Seal of Corruption

I often do not cast aether corruption, as it can be a nuisance to cast all the time, but I do on important groups, or once I’ve got things under control.

[Fighting technique]
My general strategy is to clear out the trash fast, or a boss/nemesis if presented with one that is easily taken down in a few seconds. When presented with trash, I cast Devastation, then run up to the group and cast Siphon Souls. Siphon Souls lasts 9 seconds, and every tick will keep your health up. With your increased armor, you can withstand some mild hits as you run in and out to cast Siphon Souls. I will assist some with AAR on the trash, but when they are large groups, I tend to conserve energy, and let my area damage do its thing.

If you see any heavy hitters, bosses, heroes or Nemesis, cast Mark of Torment on them, but do not directly attack them, they are there to absorb half the damage you take. If they die too soon, you leave yourself vulnerable to more damage. Even if you don’t see any hero or greater around you, and you are afraid you may take a few big hits, cast Mark of Torment on the most durable thing you see, or just manage to be able to click easily. But try not to use it unless you need it, as it can be needed at any moment some boss or nemesis crashes the party. If you find yourself getting surrounded, use Mirror or Ereoctes, and high tail it away, somewhere safe and in a way that funnels the mobs towards you from one direction.

Against bosses and nemesis, things are generally very simple. Cast Mark of Torment on them and if you can, cast aether corruption first, then Siphon Souls and damage them with the full force of AAR. Keep an eye on your buffs for the Mark of Torment icon, which will start counting down for the last 3 seconds of its 5 second duration. When that runs out, you can either cast Mirror of Ereoctes, and keep damaging them, or run for a few seconds to reposition yourself and conserve your mirror for emergencies. Due to the Eternity Relic, much of the time, Mark of Torment and Mirror of Ereoctes will not have much of a break between them, if any.

[Devotions]
I really don’t have a lot to say about my devotions. I stuck to standard Aether damage choices, and tried to improve my OA and DA the best I could. Arcane bomb was a given, for the Aether -RR. I picked up Giant’s Blood for some healing and HP. I did not pick up Time Dilation because I had no good place to bind it, but the rest of Aeon’s Hourglass is very useful for survival. I also picked up Fiend as a recommendation from better builds than I as a good way to add DPS to the build. I haven’t really paid a lot of attention to it, but it’s good, low cost added DPS as I deal with large groups of mobs as Aether Corruption spreads. I’ve considered putting Time Dilation on Aether Corruption instead, but when I need that the most, it doesn’t give a good reliable chance to proc, but I might change my mind and test it out in the future.

[Final thoughts]
This character has been surprising durability for a caster. I’ve avoided playing casters in the crucible due to how they fall over from just a few hits, but now I can see a future for playing casters again. It’s still not like playing a tank by any means, but with Mirror and/or Mark or Torment, they can be pretty sturdy with good armor, though I’m surprised that +53% armor only resulted in 2199 armor rating with all caster gear. I even tried it with Krieg’s set for the shoulders, gloves and boots, and it didn’t make a lot of difference, as your chest and leg pieces makes up for the lions share of your armor.

I am just happy to be able to play AAR, which has always been one of, if not my most favorite skill to play with. Even if it doesn’t feel as high damage as I think it should considering its draw backs.

You could use the Myth Codex of lies (the proc quite good) or Myth Aldanar vanity (more cdr to standstill). I suggest use 4/5 Iskandra set (well 16% physic res is huge). Arcane will one point, then spend points left on CT, for a SB trust me you dont need OFF, also he/she is not thirsty for armor, as most of the time you can chain mark + mirror.

I did look at using the Codex of Lies, but it was a 40K DPS loss and I’m already at 101% -RR, so I chose not to use it.

I do have 4/5 Iskandra’s, but not the shoulders. That would require me to use the Iskandra Amulet, which is a DPS and resist loss.

And when I did try to deal with low armor, every little misstep was death. With 2200 armor, I can be careless and not die. I already chain mark+mirror due to the Eternity relic, though I sometimes have a small break. That said, I will be looking to improve this aspect.

I do have 1 point in OFF. While not needed, it does make things easier. I sometimes use it to hold mobs under Devastation, and to freeze the Shamblers before they drop boulders on my head.

I’m also curious about something you said. Do you have a CDR Spellbinder and if so, can you really tank Iron Maiden, Fabius an other high damage nemesis with Mark of Torment without much armor? When I had 1500 armor, they shredded me with mark of torment. I assume that those who get away with it, have been using CDR attacks, so they aren’t standing still, so they aren’t taking so much damage as they move around with mark or mirror up.

What’s your experience on this?

This is mine (well Im not a fan of AAR), char can farm 170 solo with no problem, mostly facetanking, 13-16 mins depends on mutators/mobs, hope it can help you.
https://www.grimtools.com/calc/62a6d7bV

But can you face tank fabius, valuran, and Iron Maiden in pairs or more with Mark of Torment? As an AAR build, there is no choice on them, and I was getting shredded, although I did have less armor, and physical resists than you. I also don’t have ravenous earth. It’s difficult to use with AAR, as it lasts so short a time.

Edit:
Anyway, thanks for the help, but I did not make a CDR CT build. I made an AAR build. There are different obstacles to over come, and I’m not going to make her a different style of character at this point. If I want to play a CDR CT build, I’ll make a different character and take your build under advisement.

That pic was taken with very bad mutators: +40% hp OA 2 times, also 160 wave had 2 reapers + 1 kuba, wave 170 1 reaper 1 alex kuba and someshit I couldnt remember. And aether is not a dot type, also my build heavily relies on devastation, so yes I have to facetank. Fabi and maiden are joke compares to reaper/kuba.

I appreciate the help, though without ravenous earth, it just doesn’t work. Unfortunately, Ravenous earth just doesn’t work with AAR so well. This was not meant to be a CDR CT build.

Forgot to mention with codex of lies sb has skill disruption capped, which is very useful.

This is not helpful. Telling someone to take completely different skills to the build they want to play is asinine. I get you are trying to help but he isn’t build a CT build he is building and AAR build. If you don’t like AAR builds then you probably don’t have much experience with them.

He’s trying to make a build around a specific skill, it doesn’t help to give him advice about skills that are completely different. That’d be like if someone posted a build where they wanted to use cadence and someone gave them advice about using forcewave instead.

Man did you read his guide? Im just suggest him, not forcing. Taking advices/feedbacks is normally when you post a guide. He wants to solve the tanking problem, which I think iskandra set may suit. Also I see his sb is thirsty for skill points, need dmg when kiting (aar is a standstill skill) so some points on CT sounds good, etc… at least the purpose of us is the same, to beat 150-170 crucible. Your post is all about criticizing and insult, making me vomit, ignorant ppl like you.

Anyway, my purpose was to make an AAR build. Not to beat gladiator 170. Although I am going to give it a try once I get my tribute points up. I tested out Challenger first, which while I succeeded, I still need some tribute points before I give Gladiator a go.

It’s clear the only way you can tank, based on my experience in challenger at 170 and Gladiator at 150, is to have ravenous earth and CT. As an AAR character, you need the armor. Period. I can’t heal back chunks of lost health, or debuff their damage with Ravenous earth (requires you to keep casting it every 3 seconds).

It would be cool if you had advice for an AAR build. I’ll be more open to that.

Grats on completing crucible with AAR

I am not into the skill but here’s a setup from Ptirodaktill

https://www.grimtools.com/calc/aZqmWnvZ

So I’ve gone back to play the character some more. It’s clear I’m not a very good player, like all you guys, so I make mistakes a lot. The awesome part of having armor, is that I can survive mistakes. I’ve not played a caster that can last so long without mirror or mark. It’s quite impressive to me at least and opens the doors for many other casters that do not rely on a perfect CDR cycle.

The other nice thing, is this can be done with 1 specific crafted item, the Mythical hammerfall girdle and crafting your helm and amulet with Angrim. It might cost some DPS, but it’s quite minor compared to what you gain.

You realy should use 4piece Krieg set with this belt. Its awesome, you can push your armor to 3k and feel unvulnerable. BTW Decay is a huge survivability boost and RE+Fiend proc chainsaw do a lot of dmg with some AoE.

I did look to use all but the chest (I don’t have it). I didn’t get that much armor out of it (I think I saw 2600 off the top of my head). I assume I need to swap the chest and legs to see large increases (that would make sense, as it makes up almost half the calculated armor). The unfortunate part was I also lost a ton of DPS (2x% on gloves, skills on hat). I may try it again with the added armor. Losing the Hat and Chest will be especially difficult, as that also includes energy regen, but I’d really like to see the survivability with 3K armor. If only as a test.

Now ravenous earth/decay is intriguing to me. I was even contemplating trying it out this morning. However, I’m really trying hard to not be a massive button pusher. I really don’t like casting Aether Corruption for the same reason. And for the purpose of this character, I really wanted to see what 2200 armor could do, although more would also be exciting to see, but it was Superfluff or Stupid Dragon that made the claim that 2200 armor was needed for the new content, and I wanted to see how true that was. I did a few more Gladiator to 150 runs today, all successful, and all full of crappy timing on my part, but he’s right, 2200 armor really makes a big difference.

The exciting thing to me, is this opens up other caster options, other than just Spellbinder. They may not all be Gladiator capable, but I’m happy as long as my characters can manage Challenger. Though I do have 5-6 Gladiator capable builds as of now.