Familiars are pretty powerful little birds. They are good in campaign mode, but they really shine in the crucible where they have a much higher chance of hitting with more of their Storm Orbs.
Coupled with a lot of lightning damage bonuses, resistance reduction, and multiple sources of healing, this is a very effective pet build.
The Conjurer unsurprisingly outperforms the Deceiver, but the Deceiver is still quite capable.
The equipment setups are the same for both, but there is some variation in devotion based on resistance needs, etc.
I tried a LOT of variations of both equipment and devotions. For equipment, aside from a Mythical Mark of Forgotten Spirits which I don’t have, and unrealistic items like a +5 Familiar Badge of Mastery or double-rare MI legs, this is setup works best. For devotion, having Nature’s Guardian is far more important for a crucible pet build than anything else. Taunted nemesis die WAY faster than ones that chase you while you kite. After that priorities are lighting resistance reduction, enough resistances and movement speed to reach the caps, and then as many pet bonuses as possible.
I’m a big fan of the Deceiver set-up myself. It’s great to see some sort of Deceiver pet build do great in the Crucible. I can see how it’s better to stack the Raven than the build I was trying. For the Widow RR, what are you binding that devotion to?
For the Deceiver set-up specifically, if you can find a Warlock’s / Witchblade’s Salazar’s Blade for +4 Raven (I know, that’s very difficult to get), you can replace the jacket / medal with 3-pc Beastcaller’s for much better DA and a good amount of pet OA / resistances. I wouldn’t recommend it for the Conjurer because the Primal Spirit really benefits from the Spark of Ulto’s Conversion, but since you’re much more reliant on the Ravens in the Deceiver, it might be something I can try. Salazar’s RR aura may be worth not having Spark of Ulto’s Lightning Damage, it’s hard to say without full testing.
Either that, or try to get a green MI medal with +2 to Raven. Once you add greens to the mix, you can get a whole lot more flexibility while still keeping 26/16 Raven.
I bound Arcane Bomb to Curse of Frailty and Shepherd’s Call to Dreeg’s Evil Eye. Updated the GrimTools links to properly reflect that.
I tried using a regular +2 Summon Familiar Salazar’s while testing equipment variants and saw a pretty sizable drop in clear speed. The Swarmlings add an appreciable amount of damage damage, particularly against single targets where a lower percentage of the Raven’s Storm Orbs tend to hit. I can’t remember off hand what I swapped out in it’s place, I think I tried both Mantle of Mogdrogen and Legion Mark of the Void. 3-pc Beastcaller’s would be interesting and probably very useful in terms of durability, but I’m not sure if it would be worth the trade-off with the loss of damage/OA from both the shoulders and weapon.
I’m surprised that you find the Swarmlings good enough in the Deceiver set-up. They’re obviously worth it for Conjurers since +Shaman skills benefit you, but I was assuming the Swarmlings wouldn’t have enough oomph, though I suppose you do have around 100 Elemental RR, so the Swarmlings base damage isn’t going to waste.
Regarding Curse of Frailty and Widow, where are the Arcane bombs deployed when you use Curse of Frailty? If you’re focusing on a single target and suddenly adds surround it, do the bombs focus on your target or do they lie under the mob that spawned the bomb? It looks to me like a single-target skill would be more appropriate to spawn these things, but you’re more well-versed than I am, so I wanted to get your feedback as to how you think CoF does in spawning these Arcane bombs.
Additional note, Horn of Gandarr is perfect for Shepherd’s Crook for the Deceiver, as the cooldowns align and with Aura of Censure’s damage reduction, DEE is not really necessary.
If you had the luxury of going around until you could find said mythical Salazar’s Blade with an additional +2 Summon Familiar (either Witchblade’s or Warlock’s gives that), I was thinking of something like this:
Salazar’s would have to be coupled with Stormbringer of Malmouth, as it has a large Vitality blast that would be fully converted into Lightning. It also gives you the chance to use the Dirge of Arkovia relic, as its damage would be near fully converted into Lightning as well. Swarmlings probably edge it out due to the shear number of them along with the nice Fire RR, but Dirge gets the plus that it’s a very tanky pet that can crowd control mobs with a trap that also gives -10% Elemental RR.
Added mageguard pants, the sigil (which you are mentioned in the OP), and changed skills a small bit to get more points for arcane empowerment… should net more dps, as familiars often fly across or sit in inquisitor seals
Based on my actual items, with some scaling for temporary bonuses, and ignoring crucible blessings, the Swarmlings deal 62 chaos, 601 acid, 196 cold, 2862 fire, 3796 lighting, 550 physical. The Ravens deal 5671 lightning per Storm Orb, so the Swarmling damage is fairly significant, but I think at least as importantly the Swarmlings provide 5 extra bodies to disrupt pathing, hold general agro, and taunt enemies. That results in you taking less damage, kiting less, and enemies being more stationary which results in them dieing much faster.
During my equipment testing I tried both of the following equipment swaps and they were both much less effective, so the Swarmlings are definitely doing something good:
Primal Instinct -> Bysmiel’s Domination
Primal Instinct + Cataclysm’s Eye -> Mogdrogen’s Ardor + Stormbringer of Malmouth
First off, my general strategy is that if there is a mix of weak enemies and strong enemies, I clean out the weak enemies before attacking the strong ones unless I am able to fight the strong ones in isolation first, so the issue of the bombs targeting single enemies isn’t really an issue. Binding Arcane Bombs to Curse of Frailty does result in the bombs landing all over the place against hordes of weaker enemies, but since they take 1 second to arm anyways it wouldn’t be particularly useful to target specific individuals in that case. When fighting bosses/nemesises in small numbers, they tend to end up hitting what I’m fighting often enough to be pretty effective. Since the build already has 100 additional resistance reduction, they only make a large difference on enemies with very high lightning resistance. Still, on the whole I’ve found them to be more effective than respecting to use Panther + something else.
I hadn’t considered using Horn of Gandarr, but that’s definitely a good idea. I’ll try it out.
Thank you for sharing this build, I’m really enjoying it. Also I find it very remarkable that with this setup I reach 52% phys. resist without the crucible buffs!
While I was able to kill Ravager/Mogdrogen with your build I’m still struggling to do crucible 170 (4 buffs) reliably. Does anyone have any advice on how to run 150-170 consistently without dying (for example with a build like this)?
At some point I just get overwhelmed by too much damage or unlucky cc.
There are several ways to do it. One way (for a conjurer) would be to start with Shaman and pick up a couple of points in Devouring Swarm. It’s a good skill to level with. Then go for maxing Briarthorn and head for Primal spirit. Reduce Devouring Swarm to one point to proc Shepherds Call, or pick up one point in Dreegs Evil Eye for this (like in the final build presented here).
Pick up Emboldening Presence a long the way as well as the Occultist mastery for Curse of Frailty (physical resistance reduction) and Blood of Dreeg. You can also invest in Mogdrogens Pact to support your pets physical damage.
Maxing the Familiar and Lightining Strike is also very strong. Pick up Vulnerability (elemental resistance reduction) for Curse of Frailty if you do this.
Concerning devotions go for sigatrevs physical pet conjurer and respec into familiar/lightning route later. If you focus on the Familiar from the start and only pick up the Briarthorn for support you can follow the route from this build. Go for Shepherds Call and refund the ascendant point in Crossroads after that. Follow it up with raven to unlock Rhowans Crown for the Elemental Storm proc. It would head for Widow and the Arcane Bomb proc afterwards.
Again, there are others ways to go, this is just one of them. Should take you through Normal and Elite without difficulty. When you reach ultimate you’ll have a much better idea of how you’ll want to finish the build.