[ –] Build Overview - Wildblood Bleed Conjurer (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 build was designed to correct a great injustice. Across my overviews I’ve covered all sorts of damage types. In fact, with the exception of Chaos, I’ve overviewed at least two builds for each. Except I haven’t touched Bleed at all, not even as a secondary. That is despite the fact that of all the damage types I find Bleed by far the most interesting due to it having no flat counterpart. This build’s sole purpose was to make up for that.

Given that I’ve done absolutely nothing with Bleed, I had a wide range of options in what to focus on. There was a bunch of bleed skills in Soldier, Nightblade, Occultist and Shaman that I haven’t really used on anything yet. I decided to focus on Occultist and Shaman. As I may have mentioned somewhere else before, I’m a huge fan of skills that have their own AI, where you let them go and then just watch the chaos ensue. Chain Lightning, PRM, that sort of stuff. Bloody Pox definitely falls within that category, and is reminiscent of one of my favourite skills from past APRGs, namely Plague from Titan Quest. While I have used Bloody Pox before on one version of my Acid Cabalist, it was actually more for flavour reasons (and to pay homage to Plague) than for actual performance, cause without Bleed scaling, Bloody Pox doesn’t bring in much damage at all. This time around, I was going to give the skill the chance to truly shine. On the Shaman side, Grasping Vines and Devouring Swarm were skills I’ve barely touched at all except as 1-point devo proccers on my Beastcaller Conjurer. How they perform as actual damage sources I had no idea, so that was another bit of uncharted territory I wanted to explore on this build.

This was, incidentally, the very last build I managed to create during AoM. All builds I’ll be overviewing from this point on were created in the “modern era” of GD with the toys from Forgotten Gods.


1.2 UPDATE: Very minor gains. 40 extra OA, 50 extra DA. That’s it. Like everyone, the build gained some more regen but not enough to matter, the build isn’t focused on it properly. The build is very well suited to the Sunder environment, however, as it’s a cooldown caster. You do want to keep enemies within Grasping Vines, but that’s about all the space requirement the build has, it can kite Sunders and not lose damage otherwise. This is also pretty much the only build in my collection that really benefits from the addition of the debuff indicators on enemies. I used to overspam Pox, Swarm and CoF way more than I needed and kept running myself out of mana. With how little the build has to do to deal damage, it’s very easy to track debuff timers and reapply only when necessary. Despite actually losing some energy regen, the build’s energy situation is much better than before because of it. Runs 80-81 comfortably, the low DA and middling single target might make trying 85+ a bit more of a hassle than it’s worth, though.

Despite this being a completely unexplored damage type for me it was really easy to come up with a gear setup for this build. Doesn’t take a genius to realise that Wildblood is the perfect go-to here. Not only does it really juice the Shaman side of the build, where most of the Bleed sources are, it also covers sustain, which could have been a potential major weakness of the build given that DoTs are unleechable. Through Wildblood we got % leech and %WD on Grasping Vines, reduced leech resistance on the Devouring Swarm modifier and extra points in Wendigo Totem. That combined with the built-in leech on Devouring Swarm answers a major part of the sustain question very neatly in just a few slots.

The rest of the gear was no more complicated. There are no RR rings for bleed so the goal was to simply cap the biggest flat Bleed contributors in the three skill lines. Same then goes for the chest and pants. The amulet and medal bring in what additional flat Bleed is available for the three skills. The only real “weak points” in the gear lineup are the boots and the gloves. Weak points only in the sense that they don’t boost our Bleeding damage. The boots don’t do much for us except bringing in some extra healing from Wendigo Totem, but there aren’t really any useful skill bonuses to get on that slot anyway. With the % Vitality damage we’re at least doing something about the flat Vitality, which is what we’re going to be leeching from through Grasping Vines and Devouring Swarm. The gloves may not be bringing in any Bleed damage outside of the +2 to Bloody Pox, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any pair of gloves in the game that contributes more to survivability than Dark Ones. That’s the only source of %DR we’re ever getting on this build.

The final piece of gear left to discuss is the helmet. Now, Abyssal Mask is the easy and obvious choice. RR for both damage types, extra Bleed, points to cap Devouring Swarm and Bloody Pox, what more could we ask for, right? Technically, though, there is another option in the form of Gargoyle Visage. Gargoyle Visage may be bringing more RR in through the modifier, but without the +2 to Devouring Swarm on Abyssal Mask, we can’t hardcap DS so what extra RR we’d be getting on the modifier we’re then losing on DS. Plus, extra points in DS means extra flat Vitality to leech from, extra % leech, extra Bleed. Gargoyle Visage also doesn’t bring in any Bleed damage modifier to Bloody Pox like Abyssal Mask does as of 9.8. What Gargoyle Visage does have as a plus, though, is that it’s green. Depending on what rolls you get on your medal, you might have a hole in your Chaos res, which Gargoyle Visage solves inherently even before affixes. What affixes you do end up getting on the helmet might then potentially heavily boost your survivability through %DA or major health bonuses. There’s also the matter of the Feral Hunger modifier on Gargoyle Visage. Now, this isn’t an autoattacking build by any means. We don’t have the points for Savagery, nor do we have anything even remotely resembling attack speed. However, we also don’t exactly have a whole lot to do on our rotation. Once Bloody Pox, CoF and Devouring Swarm are applied, all the build does is stack Grasping Vines over and over to layer flat Vitality ticks for leech. And Grasping Vines have a cooldown, which we’re not really reducing. So, with just a point in Brute Force and Feral Hunger we can get a decent extra source of Bleed with Gargoyle Visage that would surpass the Bleed brought to Bloody Pox by Abyssal Mask. In theory. Thing is, first we’d need to proc Feral Hunger, which with our attack speed might take a while, and there’s also the matter of Bloody Pox spreading like wildfire among enemies to capitalise on that extra Bleed much better in crowds than Feral Hunger ever will. So Abyssal Mask is the better option, at least as of 9.8. But if you want to be a bit experimental, or maybe just want to boost your single target a little bit, Gargoyle Visage is very much usable. So usable, in fact, that it’s what I originally tested the build with in one of the prior patches and it performed to a 4/5, even without using Feral Hunger. The reason I was using it then was that my Visage rolled with some pretty nice defensive bonuses (Stalwart prefix), and the build isn’t exactly overendowed on DA for SR80. And secondly, like I mentioned the extra Bleed damage to Pox on Abyssal Mask only came in this patch. So before that, Gargoyle Visage was a much more competitive option. With the way the gear is now, though, you do need to get a point in Feral Hunger in order for Visage to make sense over the Mask, so for this testing I dropped the Visage.



Bloody hell! Get it? Bloody! Hah. What joke isn’t made better by explaning it, right?

This is a pretty damn solid build. But like a few of my previous 10/10s, it’s not quite flawless. When it comes to dealing damage, it does a really great job. Bleed is very poorly resisted. The only nemesis that even attempts to resist it is Kaisan, cause of course, he’s resistant to everything. Despite the fact the build is only stacking a handful of sources of Bleed, and the flat Vitality is a bit of an afterthought due to low % Vit damage, bosses die at a decent enough pace. What the build does to hordes, though, is absolutely filthy. Bosses may feel like they’re taking a while, cause you’ll apply your Pox, Swarm, CoF and Vines and then you don’t really have a way to ramp your damage anymore outside of recasting Vines for extra flat Vit and maybe getting your Prismatic Diamond procced for 10% TDM. So you’ll just be sitting there waiting for the boss to bleed out for a bit and it may feel like not much is happening. In hordes, by the time you’re applying your second Grasping Vines almost everything is dead already. That includes heroes. And in a large area, too. Your devos will be proccing very quickly against big groups, so Rend and Falcon Swoop will be going off all the time, giving this DoT build a surprising amount of early “burst”. In addition, since hordes will be susceptible to the immobilise from Vines, you’ll be fairly safe as the group tries to swarm you. In fact, the immobilise does an excellent job at neutralising dangerous hero types like Arcane, cause they’ll be repeatedly trying to get closer to you to activate some of their skills and the entrapment will keep repeatedly interrupting them. This makes the build both a damage monster and a crowd control monster against hordes.

The single flaw I’ve been able to identify on the build is some of the defensive aspects. The build has a VERY solid chunk of health, so you’d expect it to do pretty well against bursts. Not quite because a lot of the build’s defenses are conditional. Without the Stalwart I had on my Gargoyle Visage, the defensive ability is nothing to write home about. You need to apply Wasting to enemies in order for your DA to be good enough for a safe SR75-80. Additionally, the only source of %DR the build has is also tied to Bloody Pox through the gloves. And Pox takes some time to spread, so if you’re getting rushed, you might not be working with your max defenses against a lot of the enemies. Even when Pox is applied, that %DR isn’t particularly high. Between the mere 12% DR and 16% absorb, that 19k+ health can still disappear fairly quickly, and things only get worse if the DR and OA shred from Pox is missing. Traps in particular are a bad time. Across the 10 runs I got shotgunned to death by a single fireball nova trap twice, cause traps can’t have Pox on them. There were another 3 occasions where a trap left me with just a sliver of health as I was passing by. That HP pool can go down very quickly if you don’t have all your debuffs applied. And may C’thon have mercy on your soul if you get dispelled, cause then your phys res disappears along with your absorb and % health. That’s pretty much all the things that make up your defenses gone.

This creates a particularly nasty combination with the other weak aspect of the build’s defenses: CC res. There…isn’t much of any? The stun is barely ok and the freeze is still low enough that Moosi can chainfreeze you if you park in the wrong spot. Though your stun or your freeze can be helped by crafting bonuses on amulet and helmet (no set crafting bonus though), they still won’t be great. And you got nothing against trap or petrify. Now, the saving grace here is that this is a DoT build. As long as you applied your damage and have a stack or two of Grasping Vines going, you can get disabled and the offending enemies will still die and you will still have healing coming in between your persistent flat Vit leech sources and Wendigo Totem. But though the build can weasel its way out of these situations, the fact it’s in danger of getting into them is not exactly ideal. You have to be a bit careful around the Moosi crystals, as that’s the biggest source of permanent lockdown you’ll encounter, and you also might want to watch out for enemies that apply entrapment if there’s a Diseased or Arcane hero running around, cause you might be stuck in that troll web for a while. In that regard, the fact you pay the enemies back in kind with your own permatrap from Vines can be a real life saver.

Thankfully the offensive side of the build is so solid the defensive weaknesses are not enough the bring the build down in performance. You will have some nasty yoyo effects happening on your health bar but those grumpy natives won’t be pummeling you for long. Most of them won’t even be able to move. One other thing I have to caution you against, though, is your own movement. First off, your mobility skill is another Bleed source, so you will want to be using it as a part of your damage rotation. That can mean you won’t have it ready when you need to quickly relocate, so try to not overspam it, the build has enough bleed duration that you don’t need to pop your mobility on cooldown. Secondly, since this is a DoT build you might be tempted to give each enemy their prescribed dose of bleed and then move on and let them tick down on their own. Against hordes and heroes this is fine, due to the immobilise and the rate at which they die. But don’t do it against bosses. I thought I was gonna look so cool while recording the footage below, I moved from one boss to another before the former was quite dead yet and I almost ended up looking like an idiot. You’re just risking some “final goodbye” projectiles chasing you to the next encounter, or a last spiteful debuff, DoT or IM Blitz tanking your survivability for the start of the next fight. And all of that just to start the next encounter 2 seconds earlier. Not worth it. Treat this as any other build, wait for the boss to die, then move on. Don’t try to be cool.

Here’s the SR75-76 and SR80 parts of one of my runs to showcase the build in action and demonstrate the lessons of that cautionary tale: