[ –] Build Overview - Custom Fire Mortar Trap Regen Elementalist (SR75-80+)


(this section will repeat between my build overviews; you can skip to Build Concept if you’ve read one of my overviews before and are familiar with my rating system and test criteria)

Patch 9.8 brought, among other things, major changes to the Shattered Realm. Given that SR is where I do my endgame build testing, with the release of the patch I decided to redo all the testing for all my builds. And since I’d be putting in the time and noting down all my results anyway, I thought I might as well post the builds and their scores publicly for others. Who knows, maybe you’ve been thinking of trying something similar and are curious if it even works. Or maybe you’re just morbidly curious and like that tickly feeling in your brainhole when you see someone play something utterly stupid.

Now, what exactly does this testing entail? Each character has to do 10 SR75-80 runs (I used to do 5 runs but I’m expanding it to 10 for this second wave). Every run completed within timer counts as a success. It takes 6 successes (over 50 % success rate) for me to consider a build complete. If a build keeps failing to meet that quota, I keep improving it till it works. Ergo, no build I post here will have a lower score than 6/10, because if it doesn’t have over 50 % success rate, I’m not done improving it and it doesn’t get posted.

Three rules were followed to make the results more representative:

  1. no consumables other than healing and energy elixirs can be used;
  2. no shrines can be taken; if a build has bad resists, it’ll have to make do with bad resists, Rattosh isn’t gonna be saving its ass;
  3. no mutator hunting; if I get shitty mutators, I’ll have to succeed with shitty mutators.

Other than that, it doesn’t matter in what manner the runs are completed. If a build takes twice as long to finish a run than others do, that’s perfectly fine as long as it successfully finishes. Doesn’t matter whether the build has to dodge Nemeses in shards like the plague or whether it hunts them for sport, doesn’t matter if it has to kite like crazy or stands its ground with ease, doesn’t matter if it completes the runs deathless or not. Only thing that affects the score is completion within timer. Generally, a weaker build that is slow, fragile, hard to play etc. will end up with a lower score regardless because its shortcomings will affect its reliability across the 10 runs.

Now, two final things before we get to the build itself:

  1. As mentioned in the title, this is a build overview, not a build guide. What’s the difference? Well, a build guide says “this is the way you should build this type of character”. What I’m saying is rather “this is what I did, here’s why I did it this way, here’s how it turned out”. It’s more of a documentary, a post-mortem, rather than an example to be followed. “Wait, that’s just a fancy way of saying you make shit builds,” you might say. No, not exactly. I try to make a strong character without deviating from the concept of the build. But the concept of the build might not necessarily be something one should even be doing in the first place :smiley: While my build concept and the in-game support will often align to create a reasonably predictable, almost cookie cutter build, just as often I’ll just be doing something abundantly demented for my own reasons. I’ll always endeavour to explain in the Build Concept section why I chose to do a thing a certain way, but I don’t want you to get the impression that what I’m presenting is a thing you should necessarily be doing.

  2. I’m also by no means hyperfocused on optimising the crap out of a build once it’s in a workable state. There will almost always be things to optimise on my characters, but frankly, I prefer spending an hour theorycrafting a new character rather than shuffling an existing character’s devo tree, gear, component and augment setup just to squeeze 5 % more damage out of it. I don’t care that much.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the build itself.

Build Concept


This character started as a complete throwaway. At one point, my brother (not an ARPG fan at all) figured if I’m spending so much time with GD, there has to be something worthwhile there, so he asked if I’d do a playthrough with him. I saw that as a perfect opportunity to experiment with something I’ve been hesitant to try before: building around a skill that just doesn’t work well with leeching, and trying to sustain off of regen instead. Going for Mortar Trap, a skill I’ve been in love with since I first briefly tried it on my FoI Purifier way back, seemed like the perfect fit. Though I could go with the standard “get Bat and convert it” route, which I despise, regen seemed a more natural option, especially if I supplemented with Shaman. With Mortar Traps being untargetable pseudo pets, all the aggro would normally go on me and I’d have to make sure that regen is good enough. But having had no prior experience with regen, I had no clue how much regen would be required. And so, having another player there to take some of the hits for me meant that the build might possibly work even if I borked the sustain. Plus, I’d be able to go really crazy on the regen cause the build wouldn’t have to be self sufficient. I didn’t have to worry about getting flat RR, or solid OA/DA on my own if there was another build supplementing those things through auras and such. I had every intention of deleting the character the moment we were done with multiplayer, though, as I just prefer levelling my characters on my own and getting to feel the power curve of the build.

But I didn’t end up doing that. Not so much because I was so impressed with the character; I mean, we did blow through everything, but that was because we had synergistic builds (both working with Elemental damage and stacking RRs). It was more that I did actually want to make a character like this at some point, and it didn’t feel like I’d want to try something different in my second attempt. The Elementalist made sense, the Mortar Traps made sense, so why waste time levelling the same character again if I can just make some tweaks to the existing one to make it self-sufficient?


1.2 UPDATE: The custom version has lost some of its appeal. To be clear, it is still perfectly viable and can closely match Pyran, at least on Elementalist. However, the main motivation to go for the custom version over Pyran was that Pyran took much longer to set up its Mortar Traps, while the custom version could churn them out at blistering speed. Well, with 1.2 Mortar Trap just had its cooldown cut from 4.5 seconds to 2.5 seconds. That means that with just the pistol, a Pyran Mortar Trap setup has a 0.5 second cooldown on Mortar Traps, which is what the custom setup used to have. The custom setup, meanwhile, has no cooldown on Mortar Traps, which is overkill. In addition, both setups now plant Mortar Traps in multiples. Pyran in groups of 3, meaning it only takes 0.5 s to set up its full set of 4 MTs (where previously it took 7.5 s). The custom version sets up 2 traps at a time, meaning it went from taking 2.5 seconds to set up 6 traps to taking…well, as little as casting speed allows. Either way, the setup time that the custom version was trying to resolve isn’t really an issue anymore for Pyran. In terms of DPS, after a brief dummy test of just summoning MTs and commanding them to shoot, and, on the Pyran version, spamming Pyran’s Pyre in between, the Pyran version was veeeery slightly faster. Not enough to really matter, but still. In addition, the Pyran version has a bit more phys res and more health regen. Speaking of regen though…oh boy. Regen has been globally boosted to a massive degree. The custom version’s base regen went up by around 40 %, peak regen by about 70 %. If the build was immortal before, now it’s possibly more immortal than it needs to be. Could mean some space could be opened up for more damage, e.g. by dropping one of the Gollus rings and slotting in Combustion Band for RR. Purely theoretically, the build could cut Tree of Life and maybe try heading for Ulzuin’s Torch, but that may be going a bit too far. Either way, even without any changes to the setup, the Custom version does SR80-81 with ease and could definitely push to 85+.

Aside from building around regen, the only stipulation I had for the build is that I wanted to go really, really ham on Mortar Traps as the sole focus, cause I just loved the skill so much. That meant there was a choice to be made in how to go about it. Even on the skill’s core damage type of Fire, there were two options: to Pyran or not to Pyran. I chose not to Pyran, for a number of reasons.

To start with, Pyran is only available at endgame, so until then I’d have to make do with MIs and lower level legendaries anyway. And once I had those MIs and lower level legendaries, namely Terrnox’s Arcane Tome and Anderos’ Amplifier, it was really hard to let go of that. When you start with MT, it takes 4.5 seconds to place two of them. And then Terrnox and Anderos turn that to 0.5 s instead. Having to suddenly go back to 2.5 s because Pyran locks out the offhand slot was just painful. The second reason was…what does Pyran even really do for Mortar Trap? MT consists of three damage types: Physical, Fire, Lightning. If we’re sticking with Fire, then the only thing Pyran does for damage typing that can’t be done otherwise is full Lightning to Fire conversion. Cause the Phys to Fire is already present on Anderos’ Amplifier, and hell, it’s also accessible on Hexflame, were I so inclined. So I don’t need Pyran to get that conversion going. The Lightning conversion I’d miss out on, but there are ways to get that conversion globally. And when that’s taken into account, what does Pyran do? It provides extra flat and DoT, making what Traps it does summon a good bit stronger. But it locks out the ability to vomit out Mortar Traps at offensive speeds, and it locks out the ability to essentially get a 50 % total damage modifier for MT by just getting access to moar Mortar Traps. Because with Pyran not only is there no Terrnox with its cooldown reduction and extra Trap, there’s also no Mask of Infernal Truth with an additional Trap on top of that. Even if Pyran makes each trap worth more, even if the damage bewteen 4 Pyran Traps vs 6 non-Pyran Traps were about even or maybe even in favour of Pyran, with the non-Pyran setup there’s also 50 % more Big Ones being fired too. So between the questionable damage benefits and the undeniable setup time issues when going for Pyran, I chose to simply stick with the MI/legendary setup that I was already levelling with. I then worked to achieve the Lightning to Fire conversion through what means I could afford, namely the shoulders and the chest slot. There is technically also a ring I could be getting some more from, namely Band of the Eternal Pyre, but I couldn’t afford to take it for defensive reasons.

So let’s get to those defenses then. The top priority was, of course, to get that regen as high as it needs to be. Issue is, I had exactly zero idea how high it needs to be as I’ve never done a regen build before. And having done one now, I still have no idea. Cause it’s quite possible I’m way overdoing it. I know that the build feels good to play and survivable (as in, pretty much immortal) with what regen it has now but would it still be good with 30 % less? No clue, haven’t tried it. And so it’s quite possible I’m set up way too defensively, with more regen than is needed, and I could sac some to do other things, like take that Eternal Pyre on the ring slot (even though I can’t with my current setup because of lack of Elemental res) or maybe take Combustion Band for RR. Or swap the amulet for one with % damage on it. Or maybe go less ham on regen on the devo tree and take some more damage there. It’s worth pointing out that in 1.2 regen is going to go up globally, I don’t know the exact numbers but I imagine it’ll be by quite a good bit. With that in mind it’s likely after 1.2 this build will be able to open up a lot of space for more damage on the gear, as it’ll be able to maybe shed one of those rings or the amulet, or cut out Tree of Life (maybe that’s cutting back a bit too much). I’m not an expert on regen so I don’t know. What I do know is that currently cutting either one of those hard-farmed Gollus rings costs the build about a quarter of its total regen, so I just chose to stick to what works rather than threaten to unravel the whole thing. In the past I was actually even more defensive and ran Salvation in the Relic slot, but I decided to cut it for this testing cause, well…



…once you’re functionally immortal, how much more immortal do you need to be?

I’ll pat myself on the back, for a first go at regen, making something this fucking resilient ain’t bad at all. Admittedly, it would be pretty weird if the sustain failed, given how much damage I’ve sacrificed on the build and how much MI faming I’ve done just to get that regen going. Since there were no Fire damage regen rings or pants I had to get some the hard way, but it paid off. With just a hair under 4k health regen at rest and over 10k regen peak, it takes some serious effort to get this character killed. The only thing on the survivability front that’s letting it down is the phys res, so some physical hitters or combos of all res debuffs can get this build in some hot water. But unless the character gets nuked for all of its 24k(!!) health in a split second, it recovers health so well, regardless of anything that you are doing, that it can reliably rebound, through disables, disrupts, the whole shebang. That said, even though the character technically doesn’t care about cc much, because as long as all the Traps are down, all the damage the build has is going out and all the health is coming in even if it’s disabled for 10 s straight, I’d still highly recommend to craft every single piece of gear for Freeze res, those being the helmet, the medal and the belt. With that you can take the 15 % base freeze res and get it to more like 50 % without having to sacrifice the ring components. Petrify does still suck for the build though so maybe steer clear of those Basilisks if there’s an Arcane around.

Because of the sacrifices made on the altar of regen, there is, unfortunately, a slight gap in damage. The build does have the advantage of having essentially no ramp up time, unlike Pyran or, say Storm Totem builds, and its peak damage is decent, but not stellar because of the low % damage. The Traps are excellent at AoE, provided you direct them properly, so when it comes to timer the build always has plenty, so much so it can die to someone like Korvaak phase 3 when he only has a sliver of health left and it can come back to the boss room and work through that whole health bar again without running out of time. But it’s not going to be setting speedrunning records. I’d say the run I had below was more the exception than the rule as I ran into Nemeses very consistently and very early every chunk. The more expected SR75-76 run time is anywhere between 10 and 12 minutes because the % damage is low and the DA isn’t high enough for comfortable Spirit dumping.

I guess I should touch on why I didn’t put in any filler on the build. Though with the current setup I could have the excuse of not being able to afford to drop the Seals of Might for the Bleeding res cap, that didn’t use to be the case, as I originally didn’t use the MI chest and used the Pyran chest piece and shoulders, which gave me the Bleed res I needed. And I still didn’t use a filler then. The reason was, first, the filler was doing about as much DPS through constant spamming as a single Mortar Trap shot. And that’s if I could spam it, which given the need to reposition or cast RR skills, Flashbang or BWC on cooldown, wasn’t possible. Another thing was that, as I mentioned, the build’s weak spot is phy res. So if I replaced one of those Seals of Might with a Seal of Destruction, I was making that weakness worse, and making it more likely that the one thing that can actually stop the build, that being one-shots, happens more often. And in exchange all I was getting was a smidge of % damage and a single Mortar Trap shot’s worth DPS, or less because I couldn’t spam all the time. Seemed better to just stay alive more reliably and let the Traps do their work. On that front I guess Pyran does bring an additional advantage through its free spammable skill at no slot cost.

So I got an absolute, nigh immortal regen monster and a wonderful Mortar Trap cannonade out of what was meant to be a throwaway build. All the goals I’ve set for this build it’s met. The only bad things I could say about the build is, it could be a little faster, and with the extra regen coming in 1.2, maybe it yet will be, we’ll see how much extra damage can be sqeezed in after. And second, it can be a bit tiring on the eyes. There’s a lot of flashing, big explosions, Big Ones going off, it’s like you’re staring directly into a rave for hours on end, and nobody wants to do that. On that front maybe one of the other damage versions of MT might be a better choice just to protect your precious eyeballs. I’d have to look into that. Hah! Get it?

Here’s the usual SR75-76 and SR80 parts of one of my runs.


Ooooooh, I think all my testing in SR has graced me with that very offhand. And some golus rings. Hmmn, might have the bits to legit build this rather than GDstash my way to outfitting it.

Nice use of gear though + regen to turn what should have been a very deads build, into a very deadly one :3

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