[] Guardian of Death's Gate Death Knight - 1 weapon! 2 builds!

The Guardian of Death’s Gate is an odd weapon that grants both pet bonuses and Soldier skill bonuses, giving the impression that pets Death Knight is somehow possible. The weapon has plenty of juicy bonuses - including flat RR on weapon hit and 180% Vitality damage on top of the 250-300% Total Damage this weapon provides. This makes it a suitable weapon for both pet and non-pet builds, and I will showcase one of each.

First is the pet Death Knight. Now with the additional pass on pet resistances, this build is very similar to the Skelemancer Ritualist I created except it foregoes damage from having Primal Bond and a Primal Spirit for much more sturdiness and less buttons to push. Cabalist will still reign supreme for Skeleton builds, but this Death Knight has carved out a niche in becoming a decent pet build.

I should give a shoutout to Gargobolo, who attempted a hybrid Death Knight’s pet build using Urobrook’s Reaping. While the results are impressive in their own right for a hybrid pet build, it highlight’s the problems that hybrid pet builds tend to have: pet gear provides no damage, hampering the player scaled part of it, and pet resistances are tanked by the lack of gearing options, hampering the pet scaled part of it. This build foregoes going hybrid and sticks to being a pure Skelemancer.

Current Playtest GRIMTOOLS

Pet stats are with permanent buffs only and do not include Call of the Grave + Soul Harvest

The key to the build is combining Guardian of Death’s Gate with Spectral Crown to arrive at a 4-second recharge time to Raise Skeletons. Note that I need a double-rare MI just to approach capping pet resistances, and even close to the cap, your Skeletons are going to die in bunches. We take the Zap Brannigan approach of throwing more men at the enemies than they can consume until you come out on top, but the pet stats are suitable enough that the Skeletons can chew through a horde in decent shape, especially when Mogdrogen the Wolf & Call of the Grave is active.

Sustain is decent enough with our large health pool - when in SR, definitely don’t be afraid to step back and leash the enemies until they return to their spawn point - SR is notorious for throwing massive amounts of enemies at once, which is enough to wipe all the Skeletons at once. If you stick to not biting off more than you can chew, you can replenish your Skeletons and have them whittle down enemy hordes until you complete the chunks.

EDIT: Now with a Crucible completion - this build is actually approaching good, please send help.

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Now for the non-pet version of the build: this build is similar in that it seeks to hardcap Call of the Grave with the Death-Watcher Pendant to provide a small heal to CotG as well as maximize the player bonuses to the skill (more Vitality damage and Crit damage). This time, we’re going the Urobrook’s Reaping route and maximizing our flat Vitality damage alongside our healthy sustain.


Note that the Coven Lifebinder Vestments are the only ones that provide Vitality damage and Call of the Grave bonuses, so we keep that in common with the pet build version. Also like with the pet build version, you can use the flat RR to automatically reduce your enemies resistance with Reaping Arc, allowing you to take both Rattosh and Abominable Might in the devotions, while having room for some Circuit-breakers like Ghoul and Turtle.

The gear shown provides a whopping +6 to Necromancer skills, so we can provide hefty bonuses to the Necro skills and hardcap things like Soul Harvest. The Chaos to Vitality conversion is mainly for Abominable Might conversion, while the other equipment is mainly for more damage and resistance covering. With a healthy 36% ADCTH supplanted by Ghoul and a 20K+ Health pool, you’re going to keep yourself topped off and only break the circuits in an emergency situation.

Now, here’s a Crucible performance of 7:25


In my eyes, you are playing a hybrid build. The way I see and play hybrid Pet builds isn’t to make the player and Pets equally as strong. That’s just not possible. The Pet portion of hybrid should remain the priority with player damage being mostly used for clearing weaker enemies and heroes with the main objective of concentrating Pet damage on strong foes through the Pet attack command (I kill the trash, they kill the rest). Necromancer can accomplish this very easily because it already tends to invest points into an offensive skill (Bone Harvest) and it also has the option of using Reap Spirit which is a single target nuke whose damage is still strong enough to kill things. Your build does this very well, so it just shows that these kinds of builds are far from the unplayable status they have been branded with for a long time.

I’m not satisfied with the one i’m currently making because I went for Blood Knight for extra RR, but player damage ended up far out scaling Pet damage. At that point, it is no longer a Pet build: it is a build with Pets, something that just happens to waste precious skill points and items slots on Pet support. Regardless, I’ll see what I can do with it. Congratulations on your build! :smiley:

What pet resists are you missing exactly from going Soldier? Pet masteries aren’t exactly raining down pet resists compared to what you get from gear/devotions.

If you want a concise answer to this question, the resistances you miss out the most are Elemental (not capped in my build), Pierce, Bleeding (only covered because of double-rare MI that most people won’t get), Aether and Chaos (the same as Bleeding).

Elemental pet resistance is a particularly tricky one to get - it’s covered somewhat by devotions, and gearing has quite a bit of it if you look really closely, but it’s hard to get the skill bonuses you want while also getting this resistance capped. In this build specifically, I could go for Necrolord’s Shroud to cap Elemental resistance, but Call of the Grave points are hard to get in general, so I went for the gear that would grant me that hardcap.

Pierce in particular has precisely three pieces of gear that grants that resistance (and two of them are belts that directly compete with each other) and a little sprinkling in devotions.

Here’s a more detailed answer to the question:

The best source of pet resistances is the ring/amulet augments:
Rifthound Salts for Chaos / Elemental
Mender’s Powder for Aether/Chaos
Ateph’s Will for Bleeding
Sylvarria’s Essence for Poison/Acid

There’s a lot of competition for those 3 slots, and the pet masteries help out a lot in the resistance shuffle by granting one of these important resistances so you can focus your gearing on covering the other resistances.

  • Occultist covers Elemental resistance through Storm Spirit and Aspect of the Guardian provides so much Poison resistance that you don’t need to cover it with gearing at all and you’ll still turn out alright.

  • Shaman provides Pierce and Aether resistances, which fill particularly vital slots that allow you to cover Elemental / Acid resistances by using augments. Bleeding too if you’re using Briarthorn + Empowering Presence.

  • Inquisitor (often cited as the third best pet support class) provides Chaos and Aether resistances for free, which allows you to cover your other resistances with augments.

A little nitpick, but going 2H means you can only equip 1 Seal of Might (making capping Pierce resistance that much harder), and there are no weapon augments that provide pet resistances, so you can’t replace Potent Ravager’s Eye with something that can help out in the pet resistance department.

One other aside - there are very few builds that I would actually use the Light of Empiryon for pet bonuses, since the trinity of Ishtak + Tree of Life + Light of Empiryon requires so many skill points that it’s near impossible to add your RR devotion (Physical damage is the only one I can find that allows you to get both Scales for flat RR and Assassin’s Mark for your stacking RR). Allowing more ways to have pets stack flat RR (like what you’ve done for Bysmiel’s set amulet) can open up some possibilities for devotion stacking.

Or it may just make it easier to stack Mogdrogen the Wolf since that devotion does far more for pet builds than anything the blue/yellow constellations can do. I cannot stress enough how important pet speed is, and having 40% + the speed you get in the other green/purple devotions is critical to making a pet build work.

you’d could think about doing a reaper DK variant build wise peace.

I wish I knew what you meant by this statement. Do you mean the actual Reaper class (Nightblade + Necromancer) or this Death Knight with a Reaper theme? Because Reaping Arc is as close to a Reaper theme as possible.

Updated the OP with the latest playtest changes (including 22/12 Squad Tactics) and a Crucible run.

the reaper class variant of the Death Knight via Necro w NB masteries and all