[] The Wretched Army - A Poison Pet Cabalist [update for FG]

I have played Grim Dawn on and off, vanilla and Grimarillion, pet builds and non-pet builds, but there’s something about a decrepit army spreading Poison all around the region. I first made this build in early AoM thinking the Elemental conversion to Acid modifiers to Blood of Dreeg applied to pets as well (sadly, as I would learn later, it doesn’t happen that way). Then Blight Fiends and Unstable Anomaly finally became a viable way to play Blight Fiend, and the build evolved around it. Now, with FG and all of Crate’s glorious patch updates, I was more excited to test this build more than any other pet build I’ve made.

[] The Wretched Army
[] The Wretched Army - Combined Poison & Bleeding

I haven’t had the chance to fully play the new FG content yet, but this is what the build would fully look like once you obtain all skill and attribute points from quests. Gone is the gun + board waiting for Skeletons to apply Poison ticks; this is now a balls-to-the-wall offensive build combining Unstable Blight Fiends and Reap Spirit with 50% of Vitality and 25% of Cold converted to Acid. Getting Reap Spirit to 23/16 allows you to summon 3 Reap Spirits at once; as they are immortal, they are perfect for racking up Poison damage and body-blocking.

With the new-found focus on Reap Spirits, we now take Mythical Tome of the Arcane Wastes for the off-hand slot. What makes it stand out from the standard Cataclysm’s Eye is the fat Energy bonuses; maintaining 3 Blight Fiends and 3 Reap Spirits at once takes a ton of Energy, and if you’re not playing Crucible for the Energy Blessing, you need to use Energy Potions from time to time. The CDR is great to keep the pets running, alongside more frequent Blood of Dreeg heals and Call of the Grave + Mark of Torment. Ill Omen received a huge buff as it now reduces all damage, making the QoL much greater than originally having to cast Ravenous Earth and funneling enemies towards it.

I have fully revamped the FAQ section in the two posts below, so if you had not seen this guide in a while, this will be all new content for you.

Sources of Poison
With all buffs applied, the maximum Poison damage your pets will see is around 1,800% Poison damage with an 27.5% chance for an additional 600% on top of that. You won’t be able to see big damage numbers on your screen, as pet DoTs are not displayed in Grim Dawn. Therefore, I will list the sources of flat Poison damage this build contains:

  • Auto-attack from 19 pets from Mythical Viperfang’s Grips and 2 Venomtongue Augments.
  • Summon Blight Fiend’s auto-attack hits for 208 flat Poison per second at 22/16.
  • Summon Blight Fiend also has a Vomit auto-attack that should stack with its swipes attack.
  • Rotting Fumes generates 308 Poison Damage per second at 21/12.
  • Blight Burst hits for 240 Poison Damage per second at 22/12.
  • Acid Spray is bound to Summon Blight Fiend as having 2-3 Blight Fiends at once makes it a reliable Acid Spray proccer.

50% of Vitality is converted to Acid, as well as 25% of Elemental damage. Due to the low conversion of elemental damage and no pet sources of Vitality Decay, there’s not much contribution from the conversion side.

This is just counting the Poison damage. Flat Acid damage comes from 26/16 Blood of Dreeg and a small contribution from 12/12 Storm Spirit and 6 flat from Necrolord’s Aura. Our RR comes from Acid Spray or the Bysmiel’s Devotion pet (28 & 25 flat, the higher one applies), Vulnerability (-30), Rumor (-30), and Morguul’s Mortality gun (-10). As much as you’d want to use the Plaguebearer of Dreeg and Mythical Contagion for additional RR, you lose far too much in skill points for it to be useful.

Rumor to Raise Skeletons - Rumor now has a cooldown, but is still potent for the Legion of Skeletons to spread around the field
Acid Spray to Summon Blight Fiend - Blight Fiends are the main attacker, so it’s imperative to provide the main RR skill to these pets.
Bonds of Bysmiel to Ill Omen - Since Ill Omen has a 5 second cooldown, it’s more useful to have this skill for non-essential proccing.
Shepherd’s Call to Bloody Pox - Even if you don’t take the Occultist Conduit with -%RR, it is still useful for the OA reduction to somewhat counteract enemies’ -DA auras.
Hungering Void to Curse of Frailty - You want to keep this going as often as possible - 26/16 Blood of Dreeg counteracts the health drain and all of your pets are designed to be disposable and resummoned at a moment’s notice.
Time Dilation to Reap Spirit - Make sure you use this skill after you summon a Blight Fiend and use Call of the Grave + Mark of Torment

Never thought I’d see a pure poison/acid pet build around here…at least not a good one lol. Nice job again dude.

Seems like Blood of Dreeg is pretty essential for this build and it scales like crazy if you get it all the way to 26…I take it it’s pretty unreasonable to go for that?

Also to wear the Serpent helm and not be able to take unstable anomaly is such a bummer. I think a nice change from Crate would be to allow the Blight Fiend to live 2-4 seconds longer at base with that point taken. Maybe even make some items that makes that point more worthy. 8 seconds to do the summon animation, and have the pet make it to the enemies, and get potentially 2 or more abilities in, and get some auto attacks in, and you have to cast the thing every 4-6 seconds…it’s just so uncomfortable.

Again, really interesting build!


Why not just use Ghol’s Set?
Well, where’s the fun in that?

In all seriousness, I wanted to make a build that capitalized on the flat Poison in Viperfang Grip, and with Ghol’s Medal converting half of Vitality to Acid and the Blightshard Amulet converting some Elemental to Acid, I wanted to focus on getting to 23/16 Reap Spirits. The chest slot gives me much needed Elemental Resistance and free skill points in Undead Legion I can spread around.

Why 13 Points in Raise Skeletons? 66% of Physical and 50% of Vitality damage is converted to Acid, should we focus on them?

Raise Skeletons is used to add to the total number of pets that can inflict flat Poison through Mythical Viperfang Grips, as well as being a naturally great devotion proccer for Rumor’s -% Acid RR.

13 points is the number I chose for the skill points because at rank 13, the summon weight of grunt Melee skeletons drops from 48% to 34%, allowing the summoner to have more variety in having Archer skeletons, Mage skeletons, and Revenant skeletons.

How many points should I leave for Cunning and Spirit?

I currently have 11 points for Cunning to use the gun and 20 points in Spirit to use the off-hand. You may want to leave around 5 points open for both Attributes in the event that you need to allot more points. Make sure you craft all your equipment for %Physique, so that you can have enough DA to avoid getting crit.

What should I do for leveling?

Ceruleansong’s guide and ForgottenKane’s guide should give you a good sense of how to progress through the game. Raise Skeletons murderlizes the game up through Elite anyway, so pick up appropriate pet-related items and send them to town. As always, I owe a huge debt to DaShiv’s the Night King Necromancer guide for leveling tips and equipment priorities.

Is this build viable for Crucible?

This build is far my most impressive Crucible performer: with 3 blessings (+HP, Energy Reduction and Ulo for resistances), I was able to easily get to 150. This build hurts for lack of resist overcaps and Nemeses like Aleksander have 94% Acid Resistance while being capable of wiping your whole army with a Meteor. I will not be able to get to 170 as it’s a total piano build which is beyond my capabilities as a controller player, but a top-tier pilot may be able to surprise.

Is there video of this build?
One day, I will no longer have a laptop that would make video recording a potato, but until that day, I won’t bother with video making.

Very nice! I love all the summoner variety that AoM and subsequent patches have brought.i have been tempted to do a blight fiend centric build as I enjoy the strong pets like it and Briarthorn. How does this build fair vs late game content in general?

I forgot how good 26/16 Blood of Dreeg is compared to not overcapping it. You’ll need some luck at farming the amulet MI for something that gives Blood of Dreeg bonuses as guns don’t allow you to get class-related prefixes. Getting to 26/16 would require you getting the other Zantarin shoulders (what’s with Cabalists being so dependent on Zantarin shoulders when they can never get Nemesis status with that faction? :rolleyes:) and getting an Occultist’s or Heretic’s Putrid Necklace with +1 BoD, a very unlikely outcome.


That’s what it would look like with 26/16 Blood of Dreeg. You lose 29 flat Poison from Summon Blight Fiend, but gain 25 flat Acid for everyone with Blood of Dreeg. I’ll test it out (I have no qualms with using GDStash for figuring out optimal combos, lol) and see how I like it, but I’ll probably use the above for the Grimtools. Thank you for the reminder, Stentron!

As I test multiple pet builds through numerous iterations, I haven’t taken this one out to AoM yet, but I beat Iron Maiden who was equipping 96% Poison and Acid Resistance shoulders as shown in the picture above, and I remember fighting Fabius with 80% resistant shoulders as well. This build doesn’t have the pure DPS of a Lost Souls skelemancer, but since the main source of damage is Poison DoTs, you have the luxury of applying the DoTs and hauling yourself out until BoD is refreshed.

Why does every pet guide looks like a Economics Thesis compared to other build guides, lol

Is there a video of this build?

Really nice man.
Yeah, the new putrid necklace from update really open up some interesting options.
I am using it for my witch hunter myself, but it is interesting to see it in pet build.
Also. I agree you should overcap BoD, it will be a massive DPS increase.

Sent from my Redmi Note 3 using Tapatalk

It is in fact possible to have Shepard’s Crook, Dying God, and Tainted Eruption all in the same setup.

I do not know if this setup is superior to what you have (I highly doubt it considering I threw it together in 15 minutes), but it is possible. You do lose Manticore’s proc for it, though, but I did manage to fit Murmur’s proc in there, and if we could find one more point we could swap her out for Manticore.

Build looks interesting and I have a level 100 pet cabalist, will give it a shot in a bit.

So is this build viable for Ultimate content?
Don’t want to dismantle my cabalist for nothing lol

I create English lit papers (let’s be real, DaShiv writes all the PhD theses) for pet build guides precisely because I have no video recording abilities and have zero desire to do so.

Small correction - the Putrid Necklace had its conversion ability ever since AoM came out. What changed in update was that Crate introduced the gun alongside it so that the paltry 45% conversion was now a build-defining 90%.

RR and Crit Damage are both damage multipliers; as pet builds often have around 175% Crit damage bonuses, losing RR is much more damaging than losing Crit Damage. I tried multiple spreadsheet calculations to determine how much you lose by taking Tainted Eruption: TE may be great for AoE, but for single target damage, the extra Crit damage and RR being applied to every other source of Poison damage makes my above devotion set-up superior.

Poison pets are a weaker damage type compared to something like Lost Souls Skelemancer or Lightning pets, there’s no doubt about that. That being said, once you get a good MI gun + amulet (also the Aegis Defender, that shield is seriously amazing), there should be nothing stopping you from taking on whatever Ultimate content you want. I usually call being able to beat Fabius and Iron Maiden with no danger of dying (as a pet build, that is) a good marker of Ultimate viability, and that test hasn’t proven me wrong yet. I’m not sure how it’d handle the second secret quest, but I have the spoils from the first secret quest to prove its worthiness.

appreciate the idea, made a very similar build but changed it up based off what I have and made it more HC friendly as I play HC. Only thing thats really annoying is the pets dying, but I changed up some things to get Time Dilation. Helps with uptime on a lot of the skills, Dying God uptime is almost 100%. Kinda feel like ADCTH from Toad would have been nice (especially since the %oa is on the way) but this is the best I could come up with

This is what I’m at now:

grimtools.com/calc/RVvqpbm2 (can’t post direct links cause fresh account)

Obviously a lot of the gear is temporary, I’m just working with what I have, but it seems to work great so far. I’ve stacked up on a bunch of jewellery augments so I can just change that out when I need to (using pet aether/chaos res augments for end of act 5/entirety of act 6 seems to help a lot, otherwise my minions would just instadie before doing any damage)

Feeling pretty tanky with 37% phys res (67% with bysmiel’s proc) and it’s weird that this summoner feels more tanky already than my ultos warder, lol

This thread is amazing. Uber is my fav PoE summoner theorycrafter and OP will make my dream come true one day (cold summoner/hybrid).

We gonna incorporate Deathstalker in this build (for the debuff)?

I wish we had more posts with changes to this build for hardcore. !seen sfhobbit

If you’re playing Hardcore, you’d definitely try and get Mark of Torment as high as possible, especially when you have Time Dilation to chain 2 close together. Definitely a good touch to swap around jewelry augments until you have a good sense of what you’ll be using for your pets.

I tried an Time Dilation Unstable Anomaly Blight Fiend build with the Deathstalker relic pet to tank damage while the Blight Fiends get constantly summoned to the field; it sadly didn’t accomplish anything but deplete my Energy as quickly as possible. Constantly having to cycle through Blight Fiends and Time Dilation is a chore. If there’s an offhand down the road that helps Poison builds, it may help with the cycling problem, but I don’t see anything that can compete with the Aegis shield.

11/10 Creativity

This looks like fun! I am leveling up a Cabalist for it now. Maxing Blight Burst early is fun. I wish we could get total damage conversion on one item and in a less vital slot. Not being able to use Blight Shard is thematically disappointing. I think I will do a few things differently. I tend to avoid uptime management when possible and prefer Mogdrogen to Dying God. I am going to try using Lightning Strike as I figure it might be pretty potent with the conversion. It is worth at least a point to me though as I like the minor cc it offers. I do look forward to having the double heal proc with this build. Should make for less resummoning.

Here is what I am planning for: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/dVbx5y8N

Thanks for posting!

A few things to consider:

[li]You can shift the Purified Salt to the gun and replace the Lightning Ammo with the Gallstone for pure Poison bonuses.[/li]
[li]I know you like Mogdrogen more than Dying God, but Poison DoTs are much more reliant on high Crit values than other damage types because if you get a high Crit multiplier for the initial DoT application, the crit multiplier stays for the entire duration. Not having Dying God or Call of the Grave sounds like it will affect your DPS quite a bit.[/li]
[li]The amount of speed your pets have is nuts; however, using that speed with the Viperfang grips just ends up reapplying the Poison DoTs without adding additional damage. I suppose that’s why you put Raise Skeletons to 18/16 and stacked Hellfire?[/li]
[li]Since you have Mogdrogen, you have more than enough pet OA to get decent crits, so I find Rend to be very inefficient. There’s two options I like a lot better for those 5 devotion points: Solael’s Witchblade to jack up the Chaos damage you get from Hellfire + Flame Torrent, or Leviathan for the DA, Pierce Resistance, and Poison Whirlpool. Your call as to which one you like better.[/ul][/li]
EDIT: Just saw that you’re using the Fiendmaster Raiment. Venomancer Raiment provides the same resistance coverage (+3% Physical Resistance) while also providing your pets 18 flat Acid damage with the 25% of 250% Acid damage along with it. Fiendmaster probably still edges it out, especially if you’re using Solael’s Witchblade for the Chaos RR, but it’s nice to give recognition to a chestpiece that’s specifically designed for Poison pet builds. Too bad we can’t fit the Dreeg pet mace for that juicy Poison and Acid + Chaos RR.

[li]That’s a good idea![/li]
[li]Call of the Grave just annoys me because I really dislike high cd low uptime skills. I mean, I realize it is probably more efficient build wise to just use it anyway, but I find it a hassle, and prefer an always up bonus like Hellfire. Dying God is good on paper sure, but I don’t prefer to build that way Devotion wise. I’m not even arguing it’s better my way, though I don’t think my way is terrible either since Mogrdrogen is still very strong.[/li]
[li]Yeah, I like the speed for engaging faster and devotion procs. I did go for max skeletons because with their numbers they get a good boost for every bit of power they get. Hellfire is still strong even though it doesn’t fit with the overall push of the build. There’s still 789% pet damage without having Shepherd’s Call up. When I get to high levels I will probably try a few different things. It might be better to drop those points in Blight Fiend.[/li]
[li]Hm, you’re probably right about Huntress. I do like the OA and the OA debuff on Rend, but I have used Whirlpool in the past on a Conjurer and it was strong even when not built for. I need to test if Whirlpool is attacker targeted or target targeted though as I will likely have it on Familiar. Both it and Eldritch Fire have a nice move speed debuff too[/ul][/li]
I see what you mean about the armor. That flat acid damage would likely be pretty potent. I am not sure which I would go for ultimately. It is a bummer we can’t use that mace. Mythical Blightstone Invoker would be a great weapon too. I hope at some point we can achieve damage conversion for this build through one item. It would be nice if it was boots or another slot with less awesome pet options.

Have you tried having Rumor on a pet? It seems a shame to proc it yourself without all of those pet damage bonuses, but I know from trying it before that Blight Fiend was pretty terrible at triggering it. So maybe it is more important to ensure that it is up. Skeletons could use it well, but they are so strong with Fiend.

I have passed 50, so far so good. I need to get to act 5 and farm a weapon.

I’m surprised you think Blight Fiend is awful at proccing devotions; with its aura up 24/7, it should be the best pet at proccing devotions out of all. Regardless, if you’re doing Mogdrogen, I think an Acid / Chaos mix would be more appropriate; here’s what I did with your equipment / devotions:


Grim Harvest Boots are probably better for general survivability, but Serpentine Boots are the only boots that grant bonuses to BoD, and a +2 to BoD is worth 10 flat Acid; getting 26/16 BoD nets you an extra 15 flat Acid on top of that, but that would require you getting Zantarin shoulders to make that up, and I like your Mogdrogen shoulder idea too much to interfere with that.

Guardian’s Gaze should proc like crazy on your Blight Fiend, and with both Skeletons and Blight Fiend using Chaos devotions, Eldritch Fire becomes a necessity for your build. That leaves 1 Extra Devotion point that you can put anywhere you’d like.

That’s my thoughts on the matter, best of luck with your build- I’m intrigued at how it turns out.

You would think right! In practice though, I had Rumor on my basic Cabalist build (I am a sucker for a good OA debuff) and it was not triggered often by the Blight Fiend. I wonder if the Blight Fiend’s aura can trigger devotions, I should probably test that. I don’t believe Deathstalker’s aura triggers devotions from my limited testing of that.

I do like those shoulders. 21 flat damage from one item that will largely be converted is handy! Those extra points in BoD are pretty powerful though, that’s a good idea.

Guardian’s Gaze is a good idea since it plays well with the rest of the build. I used it on my pre-AoM Conjurer and enjoyed it then. I will have to try that.

Thanks! Now I just need to finish the slog to 100!