[1.2] The Wretched Army - A Poison Pet Cabalist [new UPDATE with videos]

This is a build I’ve had since the launch of AoM - the wrath of stacking pure Poison damage with pets was something I’ve tinkered with since Skeletons were a thing. Now with the 1.2 patch, item granted pets are given 50-60% Weapon damage, so they are no longer suitable for applying Poison ticks. Skeletons, on the other hand, provide full weapon damage, and by stacking various sources of flat Poison damage, we can use them to unleash a full barrage of Poison damage onto Cairn.

1.2: The Wretched Army GRIMTOOLS

This post hasn’t been updated since the start of Fallen Gods, so I’ll give a quick recap as to what’s changed since I’ve last touched this build:

  • With the 1.2 patch’s emphasis on increased survivability, I’ve switched the devotions to emphasize pet resistances. Now the lowest resistance is Bleeding at 67%, so make sure to watch out specifically for Kuba.

  • I am no longer running partly converted Reap Spirits to inflict more Poison. As much as I want to have them, the swap in gear no longer gives me in the required points in the skill to grab 3 Wraiths.

  • Instead, we fully invest in the Raven, as the amulet now provides 100% Elemental to Acid conversion, and each of the Raven’s Orbs has Electrocute damage we can convert to Poison. It happens that Necrolord’s Shroud and Rotdrinker’s Crest give points to Summon Familiar, so might as well make the best of the Raven.

  • Both Circlet of the Great Serpent (new to 1.2) and Rotdrinker’s Crest give flat CDR to Summon Blight Fiend, making Unstable Anomaly easier to use than ever before.

The new gearing and devotion layout provides a total of over 2,100% pet Poison damage with a 27.5% chance of an additional 600% on top of that. As with all variations of this build, Viperfang Grips are selected for the 10% to inflict a flat 540 Poison damage over 5 seconds with each pet auto-attack.

This used to be a FAQ section for applying pet Poison damage, but instead, I’ll use this post to bring forth videos of this build’s performance:


SR 75-76:

This build is not really meant for SR speedrunning, but careful positioning and good use of your Blight Fiends / Skeletons will allow you to run past the trash chunks to get to Heroes / Nemeses easier. I’d personally prefer 2-3 rounds of Crucible over SR75-76 if you want to farm loot quickly.

Ravager of Minds:

This is where the extra DoTs from Skeletons shines the most, especially as Ravager will focus on the Blight Fiends and mostly leave the Skeletons alone.


A very hard battle - I’ve died multiple times due to tornadoes / sands double-teaming me to take down all of my health. Skeletons and Raven will die frequently, so the Blight Fiends have to do extra work to take this one down.

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!

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!

This build is now up-to-date for the update - Unstable Anomaly is now great, so go ahead and use the multiple Blight Fiends. Equipment is the same, but devotions were overhauled to accommodate the multiple Blight Fiends.

Time Dilation is now mandatory to keep up the Blight Fiends (plus everything else), and Tsunami is bound to Blight Fiends as both the Cold and Lightning damage from the proc is converted into Acid.

Thanks to the changes, this build received a very nice buff.

EDIT: I switched my relic from Primal Instinct to Mogdrogen’s Ardor and swapped around the optimal MI’s to reflect this. It’s a lot easier using this to get 26/16 Blood of Dreeg than hoping to get an Occultist amulet or something more crazy. Besides, Primal Instinct Swarmlings require a lot of attacks to summon frequently, and you’ll have your hands full in keeping your Blight Fiends up and at 'em.