The Shepherd of Lost Souls set allows you to summon 2 Hellhounds at once. I generally consider Hellhounds to be one of the least useful pets, so I naturally wanted to see if I could manage to clear Gladiator with a build that used them as the main source of damage. I’ve long suspected that Hellhounds had the potential to be decently powerful, through their speed and skills, but most pets are not really worth investing heavily in if you can only have one of them and Hellhound is no exception. Shepher of Lost Souls is really inconvenient to use because it blocks weapon, helm, and amulet slots which prevent the use of a lot of items that seem like they would pair nicely with Hellhounds, but I was determined to do it anyway.
I initially tried this with the Conjurer and it wasn’t too bad. I then tried with the Necromancer, first using Skeletons which failed horribly, and then using Blight Fiends which worked okay but wasn’t great. Since Necromancers offer almost nothing to pet builds outside of the pets themselves (compared with Occultist and Shaman which both have much more useful passives/buffs), I figured that I could probably do it with every class combo, so I did!
There is very little variety in terms of equipment and devotions. You could make some adjustments but there is not a lot of room for optimization. I tried to focus my gear entirely on Hellhounds, as that was the point of the build, but did use Primal Instinct because I thought I’d need the extra kick from the swarmlings.
Gladiator 151-170 - 11:10
Unsurprisingly, the Conjurer did the best of the bunch. Originally I took Primal Spirit instead of Infernal Breath and used more defensive devotions and had a clear time of 13:35. I revisted this build playing the Witchblade and realizing Infernal Breath was pretty good.
Gladiator 151-170 - 13:40
I switched my devotion setup at this point, because I no longer had a third permanant pet to trigger Acid Spray. Overall the Deceiver build worked really well, as far as Hellhounds are concerned. This first time I tried this I used Word of Pain for the Chaos RR instead of Aura of Censure, but that didn’t work out very well.
Hellhound Witch Hunter
Gladiator 151-170 - 25:00
I was really excited to get to use Veilpiercer along with 2 Hellhounds, but I found rather quickly into the second half that I really needed the cooldown reduction and ended up swapping it out.
Gladiator 151-170 - 21:30
I tried this initially using Stronghold Defender, Overguard and Menhir’s Will, but like the Witch Hunter I found that once the hounds started dying things got way too slow. On my first attempt, I reached wave 170 with less than a minute left on my buffs, and lost shortly after they ran out. I got unlucky with modifiers on that run but decided to try something different, and invested in Infernal Breath. The skill is actually much better than I had initially thought, specifically against single targets.