Hey everyone! This build has been a long time coming on the forums and in video form, and by a long time coming, I mean about two weeks. This is my current Albrecht’s Aether Ray character, he’s a continuation of the AAR build despite being a class change from the Sorcerer. The reason for this change is that the Spellbinder combo suits AAR much better than the Sorcerer combo and provides all the necessary defenses for running the beam.
So, before the explanation, the Grim Tools: http://www.grimtools.com/calc/pZrGBq1N
Video Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQ_KJAnmTrs
I’ve wanted to run something like this for a while and it was the first thing I knew I’d run with the expansion. Albrecht’s Aether Ray, despite its current drawbacks and weaknesses, is still probably my favorite ability in the game. Building it while building one of my favorite archetypes, the Necromancer, is something I’ve been wanting since the idea of a Necromancer being put into this game first came up.
I’ll start off with the Spellbinder’s amazing defensive set-up, as it is the cornerstone of making this build work. We’ve brought Maiven’s Sphere of Protection to its softcap, Mirror of Ereoctes to its softcap, Star Pact to an odd-numbered overcap, and Mark of Torment to its maximum overcap with the current gearing. These four abilities plus a caster off-hand, allow the Spellbinder to maintain an amazing amount of damage absorption over the course of a fight. You can start with casting either Mirror or Mark to get the absorption going depending on the situation, and with enough Cooldown Reduction, the Mythical Necrolord’s Gaze, or both, you can keep a rotation between Mirror and Mark, reducing the amount of damage coming at you by a crazy high degree. On top of all this, we have Siphon Souls, granting us a constant and reliable self heal. All around, the Spellbinder has a great defensive setup that allows for multiple builds to be made, with multiple variations within those builds.
The reason I’m using Albrecht’s Aether Ray isn’t because it’s a stellar ability as of writing this guide. I’d actually rate it as one of the worst in the game right due to the high number of drawbacks and its low damage output relative to said drawbacks. I currently have a whole thread detailing ideas on how to fix this, so I won’t bring a buff to AAR rant to this thread, beyond this sentence. I’m using AAR because it’s my favorite ability, plan and simple. It also helps that the Necromancer brings amazing synergy with its Aether damage support along with the reliable and consistent defense I mentioned above.
So, the main thing you have to understand about the skeletons in this build is that they are not a main source of damage or a main source of tanking. I have to stress that while this build uses hybrid elements between a caster build and a pet build, it is not a strict pet build and shouldn’t be considered a pet build beyond adding in a little support just so the skeletons can remain upright until they’re resummoned. The skeletons serve three primary purposes.
The first is that they’re a mobile, continuous DoT.
The skeletons will deal damage while they’re alive, regardless of their type, that damage won’t be higher than a couple thousand a shot, but there are eight of them. Think of them as eight, moving Mortar Traps, constantly chunking in their damage, adding that damage to your main damage.
The second is that they’re a distraction.
They’ll mitigate damage, provide a psuedo “bone wall” to keep enemies away from you, and they’ll soak damage. Despite not being true tanks, this role is important because the less damage you’re taking, the more often you’ll live through encounters.
The third purpose to the skeletons is that they act as a bomb delivery system.
I’ve attached Arcane Bomb to the skeletons and they love handing out these treats to all the enemies. You have eight skeletons ready to pass around these bombs, which will directly enhance your damage. It’s not uncommon for me to cast them next to the thing I want to kill, in full disregard for the skeletons’ re-lives just to get bombs planted so I can beam down the target.
I want to mention one last thing about skeletons.
They are disposable.
In this build, the skeletons are completely and utterly disposable. You should never, ever care about them. You should absolutely keep them as close to the number cap as possible, but they should never be treated like actual pets in this build. Skeletons aren’t like the Hellhound or Briarthorn, where you want them alive and healthy for as long as possible; they’re on a really short cooldown, they die easy, they are replaceable. In fact, I’ll often times cast the ability on cooldown even if I’m not in a fight just to refresh three of them because its three “fresh” bodies to use. Oh, and I don’t care about type, for the most part. Archers and mages are a little more prefered but ultimately, it doesn’t matter which skeletons come out, they have their jobs, as listed above, everything else is irrelevant.
Star Pact vs. Reckless Power
Despite this build being an Aether Ray build, I’m not using Reckless Power. For exclusive skills, especially for exclusive skills in the Arcanist class, the percent damage, to me, have become mostly irrelevant. When you’ve got 1800% in your main damage, another 140% doesn’t seem all that necessary compared to 12% more Cooldown Reduction. That’s the primary reason for that choice, CDR is incredibly important to Spellbinder survival, more than dealing a bit more damage. I’d actually consider stacking more if I didn’t have the Mythical Necrolord’s Gaze and its 2 second duration increase to Mark of Torment.
Inner Focus, Iskandra’s Elemental Exchange, Nullification, Arcane Will, Mental Alacrity, Olexra’s Flash Freeze, Spectral Binding, and Spectral Wrath all serve to buff and enhance the characters in a variety of ways. Inner Focus and Spectral Binding for OA, Spirit, Health, and damage; Nullification for the self cleanse, enemy buff removal, and reducing enemy elemental damage; Arcane Will as a 1-point dps buff that happens virtually every fight; Mental Alacrity and Iskandra’s for energy management; and OFF for some close range crowd control.
The gearing for this character in incredibly flexible. Hell, I still have gear on him that’s going to probably get replaced in the future, but is there because I don’t have anything better yet. So, I’ll point out some of the gear I find more necessary.
Mythical Aethereach: Pretty much the BiS gloves for an AAR character.
Mythical Necrolord’s Gaze: This helmet is amazing for this character. The increased duration of Mark of Torment allows you to more easily rotate between it and Mirror. The rest of the stats are pretty good too, including that +1 to Necromancer skills. The alternative for this slot would be something with CDR on it, as you want to rotate your two damage reduction abilities as much as possible and as cleanly as possible.
Wrath of the Ascendent (dps) or Spark of Reality (defense): Depending on whether you want more damage or more defense, these two scepters are the options. Wrath for the resistance reduction and skill cost reduction, Spark for the armor on Spectral Binding (and OA on Arcane Will, which is also pretty sweet damagewise). I’ve run them both and both are really great.
Mythical Reaper of the Accursed: A great hybrid off-hand that hits all the right points. It’s got a +1 to Necromancer skills, it focuses your damage type, bonuses to Mirror, bonuses to pets, and it gives you 10% OA whenever you use Mirror, turning the defensive powerhouse into an offensive tool! It even comes with a Defy Death proc, which are always powerful.
Eternity: This relic is king for a build like this, possibly king for the Arcanist-combined classes. The cooldown reset is just too powerful to pass up on, shortening the times between your defense abilities. This couples excellently with your already high CDR as a caster running Star Pact.
Mythical Band of Eternal Haunt: This ring is not in the Grim Tools above, but I don’t have the Mythical one yet. It’s another stack of Aether resistance reduction.
This set could potentially work as a whole set. I’ve got the chest and shoulders but that’s more because I’ve got nothing better for those two slots presently (I’m thinking maybe Valdaran’s Shoulders for the +3 AAR bonus and the Necrolord’s Shroud for the chest piece). If I were to run this set, I’d probably put a greater emphasis on the pets. I think the set is more oriented towards doing a pet build in the Spellbinder combination that happens to be able to hit hard with burst damage from Devastation. I think I’d probably swap out AAR for Callidor’s Tempest in this case and maybe run Callidor’s with the Wrath of Agrivix transmuter. I’d also consider a weapon with CDR built in, just to make sure you can pour out more skeletons, rotate the burst damage, and keep yourself as protected (btw) as possible.
If you don’t want to run skeletons with a build like this, I recommend gearing in Iskandra’s Unification. The set has always worked well, it provides that CDR on its helmet and amulet, along with several self-buffs to enhance your damage. I’d probably shoot for a 4-piece set-up with it, using the chest, shoulders, and amulet as the core, and using the helmet or off-hand depending on what you have available. The mythical version of Outcast’s Secret would work here as an option as does the Mythical Tome of LIes and its Spellbinder focused +skills.
Black Scourge Covenant
I mean, you can run this, if you want.
I’ll be silently (and not so silently) judging you though.
In this build, I’m using a Devotion layout that supports the overall theme of the build.
Aetherfire (Devastation): Easily picked up early, potent throughout the game.
Arcane Bomb (Raise Skeletons): Skeletons love giving out gift boxes to all the nice little ghouls and boils of Cairn.
Raise the Dead (Albrecht’s Aether Ray): MOAR SKELINGTONS. These guys serve the same purpose as the undead listed above, though they scale with your damages and can’t quite get into the holiday spirit of gift box delivery. Total body count of dispoable re-people: 14.
Time Dilation (Siphon Souls): I’ve mentioned repeatedly how important CDR is to this build, so it should be no surprise I’m running this. It’s on Siphon Souls since that can hit bosses, unlike OFF, which means you can get a double Siphon off regardless of what you’re fighting, but you can also reset your defense options easily.
Shield Wall (???): I don’t have this ability, but I have a spare point for it. I haven’t done the Hidden Path as of posting this guide, but I’m thinking of taking one of the points from that and putting it in Ill Omen, specifically to be able to cast this and get the armor buff. The constellation, however, is great even without the ability being active.
2:1-ish, Physique:Spirit. You need Spirit up a bit to get more Energy Regeneration. Cunning is virtually useless here. Physique is, as always, the most important.
Don’t play it, so I don’t know.
Weapon: Deathguard Blade
Off-hand: Codex of Malligosta
Head: Necrolord’s Gaze
Shoulders: Fabius Shouldguard
Chest: Death’s Vestments
Gloves: Redeemer Handguards (I think)
Pants: Aleksander’s Legguards
Boots: Infantry Greaves
All of my friends are dead…and I have a laser.