[] The Budget Brigade: Ritualist Aether Pets starter build


I came back to the game after taking a break and wanted to do a pet build from scratch, with no shared stash gear or blueprints. The goal was to make something capable on SSF gear that could eventually transition into one of the high end pet builds, like a bleed spec or the “Ishtar” build by Maya. I think the result is solid enough to make a beginner’s guide out of it for anyone else looking for something similar.

Idle Buffs: Mog’s Pact, Primal Bond, Emboldening Presence & Presence of Might

Build Link: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/4NOLjj42

Edit for patch No direct changes other than a slight buff to Bysmiel-Sect pants (trap resists)

Skeletons are the main DPS in this build, so the focus is to boost them as much as possible. Our pets do damage mainly by converting all their physical damage to aether by way of the Warden’s Judgment weapon. This and all the other gear I’ll go over can be obtained from easy farming routes, common drops, vendor shopping, and cheap crafting. No challenge dungeon or superboss gear required. The result is that we are able to summon 12 ultimate rank Skeletons. With our other friends we can have up to 15 permanent pets and one temporary.


Weapon - Warden’s Judgment

  • Although the Warden is easy to reach and defeat, this can arguably be the hardest of our items to farm. Rolling 100% conversion in addition to one of the two available pet suffixes (Of Binding or Of Bestial Rage) will be a test of patience, but I wouldn’t concern yourself with that until you can farm the level 94 version.

Off-Hand - Bound Wraith

  • Has everything we need and is fairly easy to farm. The best areas to target wraiths:
    -Janaxia’s Den
    -Barrowholm cellars
    -Area south of Barrowholm Rift
    -Area northeast of Barrowholm (north of the mine)
    -Savage monster totems
  • Bloodsworn Codex can be used earlier and is a very common drop from Cthonic humans.

Amulet - Death-Watcher Pendant

  • Vendor farm this from Benevald’s secret shop in the Blood Grove.

Rings - Wendigo Conjuring Seal

  • Can be bought after reaching Barrowholm ‘Honored’ reputation. Slap on two of these and you’re good to go. Important Note : if you decide to go hostile with Barrowholm, you’ll lose access to their shop. It’s better to level up your rep with them in Normal or Elite, buy the gear and multiple copies of augments, then go hostile in Ultimate.
  • Bloodsworn Signet can be obtained earlier since Conjuring Seals can’t be used until level 90. Drops from Thall’Nosh, the boss of Darkvale Gate. Also can be vendor farmed in the Bastion of Chaos dungeon.
  • Gollus’ Rings can potentially be BiS due to the innate bonus to Mogdrogen’s Pact, but good luck farming some with pet rolls. Gollus is a chore to get to and his drop rate is terrible. Personally haven’t bothered.

Medal - Wendigo Gaze

  • The other item that can potentially be a pain to drop, due to wendigo enemies’ cluttered loot pool. If you decide to go hostile with Barrowholm, just farm the cellar. Otherwise, wendigo mobs can be targeted in the same areas as listed for the Bound Wraith off-hand.

Helm - Ascendant Cowl

  • Drops from Ascended humans in Malmouth. Another key item to boost our skeleton squad. Best place to target them is the northeastern section of the Candle District. Once you’ve completed the quest to drop the drawbridge, it’s a quick jog to farm this area.
  • Spectral Crown drops from Wraith of Sorrows. Can be used until you reach Malmouth later.

Chest - Elite Bysmiel Stormshroud Cuirass
Shoulders - Elite Bysmiel Flameshroud Pauldrons

  • Both acquired from Bysmiel faction vendor. There are level 65 and level 90 versions.
  • Kra’vall Shoulderpads can also be target farmed and comes with an innate flat damage bonus, but getting a pet prefix and suffix will be rare.

Gloves & Boots

  • Consider these your “flexible” pieces. Equip these slots with common rare drops or vendored rares. You’ll want to use these to shore up pet defenses as well as your character’s. I recommend having one with a Taskmaster’s prefix, and the other slot dedicated to caster stat boosts & defense. Stats are likely going to be tight for you, so bonuses to spirit, physique and DA will be a welcome addition.

Belts - Player choice. You don’t necessarily need +Shaman skills but it does help a lot to min-max skill points in the endgame. The Shaman belts are also much cheaper to craft than the +Necromancer versions.

Relic - Player choice. I think these three are the best options, but I don’t think there is a “wrong” choice. Just be aware than if you decide to use Primal Instinct, you’ll need additional +1 Necro skills or +Raise Skeletons elsewhere on your gear to keep them at max level and 12 summons. Personally I like my Skeletal Servant. I mean, just look at him. He’s adorable.

  • Crossroads blue
  • Imp (Raise Skeletons)
  • Crossroads purple
  • Shepard’s Crook (Ill Omen)
  • Crossroads red
  • Jackal, refund crossroads red
  • Raven
  • Behemoth (Mogdrogen’s Pact)
  • Manticore (Summon Briarthorn)
  • Crossroads white
  • Lion
  • Typhos, refund Lion
  • Empty Throne
  • Mogdrogen (Ravenous Earth)
  • Widow (Aether Corruption or other), refund crossroads blue
  • Last two points your choice. I put them in Bysmiel’s Bonds
  • Although this can be considered a “piano” build, it’s a comfortable rotation once you get in the rhythm. Start engagements with Ill Omen and Aether Corruption for the nice debuff combo, then drop Ravenous Earth, Call of the Grave, and summon your Primal. Drop your Wendigo Totem last. Then just cycle through the 1-2-3 combo of Ill Omen, Aether Corruption and Ravenous Earth to keep CC and devotion procs up. Reactivate CotG and your kitty when ready. Keep Mark of Torment at the ready when you get into trouble, or before certain telegraphed attacks.
  • Note: Seal of Corruption component is certainly not a requirement. I like it because Aether Corruption has a nice debuff and it’s good at proccing Arcane Bomb. If desired, you can use Grasping Vines and use a different component like a Wrathstone or something defensive.
Leveling Stat Distribution
  • Be aware that stat points are tight in late game with this build. We’re leaving Necro skill bar at level 32 and we don’t have any reduced Spirit requirements in our devotion setup. The max Spirit we need for a level 94 off-hand is 724. Max Physique needed is 992. You may need a spirit roll or two somewhere on your gear to equip a level 94 off-hand.

Early Game 1-35

  • Start with Necro, alternating between 2 points in Raise Skeleton and 1 on the skill bar. Once Skeleton is maxed, concentrate on Undead Legion. This will give 8 maxed skellies that will steam roll everything this early.
  • By level 18 or 19, I would stop the Necro bar at 25 for now. Raise Skeleton and Legion should be maxed and put a point or two each into Ill Omen, Call of the Grave, and Blight Fiend. Will of the Crypt can be ignored for now.
  • Start on Shaman skill bar until you can put some points into Mogdrogen’s Pact, Briarthorn and Heart of the Wild.
  • By level 35: Shaman bar at 32. 5 points in both Mog’s Pact and Heart of the Wild.
    A couple points in Briar.

Gear Checklist

  • Karvor’s Conjuring Bone can be obtained for an early game boost.
  • Farm a 100% conversion weapon from the Warden.
  • Purchase pet faction gear and blueprints from factions when unlocked.
  • Hysteria - craft relic after obtaining blueprint from Homstead.
  • Solar Belt can be crafted at level 35
  • After unlocking the Blood Grove rift, farm Benevald’s shop for a good Death-Watcher amulet.
  • Farm a Spectral Crown from Wraith of Sorrows.
  • Savage - can be crafted at 35 if you have the blueprint, but sticking with Hysteria is fine.
  • Farm a Bloodsworn Codex and Bloodsworn Signets from Darkvale.

Mid Game 35-70

  • Take Shaman bar to 50.
  • Couple points in Primal Spirit
  • Work on maxing Mog’s Pact and Heart of the Wild
  • Remember to add a point to Ravenous Earth and Grasping Vines when necessary (for Devotion procs)
  • Start working on Emboldening Presence and Primal Bond
  • Points in Oak Skin
  • Return to Necro and work on Will of the Crypt and the skill bar again (stop at 32)

Gear Checklist

  • Proceed to Ashes of Malmouth content after defeating Loghorrean.
  • Farm a Bound Wraith, Wendigo Gaze, and Ascendant Cowl
  • Follow the Hidden Path questline to farm Bysmiel-Sect pants
  • Solar Waistguard can be crafted at 50
  • Proceed to Forgotten Gods content
  • Work on Bysmiel Faction rep until you can purchase the level 65 chest & shoulders
  • Farm higher level versions of current gear (if desired)

Late Game 70-100

  • At this point just concentrate on filling out what’s left. Wendigo Totem, Primal Spirit, Ill Omen, Call of the Grave, etc.
  • I feel only 1 or 2 in Spectral Binding is necessary. Spectral Wrath is more important for the Aether reduced resist debuff.
  • Remember to refund any points for skills that don’t need to be overcapped
  • Remember to finish all your extra skill/attribute quests like Hidden Path

Gear Checklist

  • Work on maxing faction rep (priorities are Bysmiel, Barrowholm, Coven and Malmouth)
  • Purchase level 90 versions of Bysmiel chest & shoulders
  • Purchase 2x Wendigo Conjuring Seals
  • Craft late-game Shaman (or Necro) belt
  • Farm ultimate versions of gear (level 94+)
  • Farm monster totems for component blueprints
  • Apply high end components and faction augments as they become available. Poison damage pools in particular can wreck your skellies quickly in Ultimate, so buy the poison resist augments from Coven faction.
  • Craft mythical relic of choice once available
  • So what to do now? Whatever you want! Well, within limits of course. This is obviously not a celestial killer or able to go deep into the Shattered Realm. Provided you’ve got gear and stats close or better than mine, you shouldn’t have too much trouble in the main campaign or challenge dungeons (Morgoneth can be a tough customer though).
  • I would avoid the Crucible as this is not well suited for it. Shattered Realm is certainly recommended as a good place to farm. Just find your sweet spot of survivability and completion speed. With the gear listed above, I have completed SR75 within the time limit, but it’s not a sure thing. A lot of it is dependent on modifiers and who you run into. Avoid Fabius and Grava’thul whenever possible. Rashalga is the bane of your existence as she can wreck your entire army in seconds.

Budget Brigade gameplay - short compilation vs random stuff


Aether pets turned out better than I thought it would, but it very clearly has a limited damage ceiling. The lack of any gear to convert pet vitality into aether really hurts it in higher end play, unfortunately. However, I believe the build accomplishes what it needs to, which is to go from nothing into an ultimate-capable build on cheap gear. It has certainly been a learning experience and a lot of fun along the way.

Well that’s all I got for now. Feel free to ask questions or make suggestions. By no means am I a pet expert so any input from the veterans around here will be welcomed. Thanks!


Reserved just in case.



Looks very fun! I am kinda pet noob myself, but is not blood pact one point worth it for life steal on the pets?

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Ah yes, thanks for noticing that. I had been messing around with min-maxing beforehand and forgot to put one back in for Blood Pact. I’ll fix the link later.

And I saw your Budget Bleed guide. Nice work!

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Thanks, I did not have as much time as I anticipated to finish it because I got buried in work (damn corona)

Well beautiful color

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Small update:

-Fixed Grimtools link to include Blood Pact. Removed one point from Rotting Fumes.

-Included a Videos section with a short compilation vid. I’ll get around to recording some SR footage soon.

Now that I’ve got some gear (again), I’ll also take a look at making an “expensive” version with some legendary support, although I don’t think there’s much I can do to improve the build without it looking like a hybrid (it already is, kinda). Really need some pet vitality to aether conversion gear. hint hint Crate :wink:

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