Hi there, GD community. I’m BOG, and i want to present you a tanky Lightning AAR Mage Hunter build & guide.
The idea behind my build was to make an AAR caster as tanky as possible, strong and beginner-friendly at the same time. This build lets you slice through game content like a hot knife through butter, even in your first playthrough. It doesnt rely on any hard-to-obtain gear, so you’ll never be screwed up by RNG. Everyone can play it straight away. You wont have to kite enemies - you’ll facetank them all instead.
I’ve started this build from scrach myself, deleting save folder. I’ve got all items self-found, without any cheats, et cetera. Even though i still lack some decent items, i can clear 151-170 Gladiator Crucible and SR75-76. This build is meant to use a lot of “greens” but dont be afraid of them. Green is good.
Grimtools link (current setup):
*lacking Glyph of the Storm Witch.
Crucible run 161-170 video:
SR 76 run video:
Pros of the build:
- Tankiness. Having 3k+ armour & DA with decent (not BiS even) gear, all res overcapped, damage absorb and decent ADCTH + damage reduction from aura, this build is meant to stand still and disintegrate enemies.
- DPS. Despite being tanky, damage is there too. My current setup has 150k DPS before procs, and up to ~185k after, high OA, crit damage, etc…
- Range. AAR is a long-range skill, so you can eliminate enemies without the need to come close.
- AoE. AAR hits several enemies at the time, so killing packs is relatively easy.
Cons of the build:
- Prone to skill disruption. Yes, sadly, that’s the weak spot for most caster builds. And even more - for facetanking ones. Sure, you can obtain skill disruption resistance, but it always comes at the cost, and doesnt solve matters entirely (due to "disruption pools). Your nemesises will be not Iron Maiden or Kaisan, but Vileclaw, Pulv’Daroth, etc.
- Due to shape of AAR skill (long narrow “ray”), it takes some time to kill multiple surrounding enemies at once.
- Hard to point BiS gear setup.
- Being too tanky is liable to cause over-confidence .
Questions and answers:
- Q: Why lightning? A: Lightning version of AAR is the easiest to gear up and the tankiest at the same time. Fire version relies on several great legendaries, which arent guaranteed to obtain. Aether and chaos versions - even more so, and on top of that, they dont benefit from Aura of Censure.
- Q: Why Inquisitor as second mastery? A: Because of Inquisitor’s Seal and Aura of Censure. Inquisitor’s Seal is a spectacular defensive skill, that negates lion’s share of incoming damage and allows you to facetank. Aura of Censure is an automatic resistance reduction (RR) skill, that also reduces enemy damage. On top of that, Inquisitor provides decent resistance boost.
- Q: What is Storm Box for? A: It’s for Alladrah’s Phoenix proc (extra damage absorb). It also grants some RR with Aetherbolt Pendant.
- Q: Are resitance overcaps really neccessary? A: Yes, definetely. You should aim at 40+ overcap on every damage resistance. It’s not hard to achieve. Elemental, vitality, bleed and chaos res would come to you naturally, so care about pierce, poison & aether.
- Q: Are CC resistance cap necessary? A: Stun, Freeze & Slow resist caps are mandatory. Skill disruption resist is great too (though obtaining it comes with a cost). Trap and Petrify resists are not neccessary.
- Q: Does armour and physical resist matters? A: Armour DOES matters. The tankiness difference between 1.7k and 3.3k armour is as vast as between heaven and earth. Physical resist, on other hand, doesnt matter much.
- Q: Is Nullification really good? A: Yes, it’s definetely worth its points. It allows you to dispel nasty debuffs from yourself (reduced damage, in particular), and remove buffs from enemies. It also reduces enemy elemental damage. Sure, it requires skill and knowledge to get maximum benefit.
This build is based on Albrecht’s Aether Ray skill (AAR) from Arcanist tree (as main damage dealer).
This small guide assumes you have a bit of knowledge about GD and its mechanics - you can find that in various generic beginner’s guides. This guide allows you to start with AAR build, and will point you all required details.
Starting (~1-17 levels).
You start with Arcanist. First get Callidor’s Tempest skill and level it up to ~3-6. It’s a decent AoE skill to kill enemy packs quickly. Put 1-3 points into Iskandra’s Elemental Exchange for better energy sustain. Max out Inferno. Put 1 point into Arcane Will. This is enough till ~15-20 level, until you transition to AAR.
Use caster weapon with +% to fire damage and caster offhand with +% energy regen bonus. Put Enchanted Flint into both. Use 2x Scaled Hide for your armour, along with Antivenom Salve and other components to boost resistances. Dont save up those - you’ll find/buy more later. Use items with decent armour, resistances and energy regen. Keep an eye for items with “of Insight” suffix - this one skyrockets both your DPS and energy sustain, and it’s particulary easy to obtain at early levels (1-20). Always check vendors for it. With 3+ of said items you can transition to AAR. Dont forget to get Slith Primal Ring from quest.
Early game (~17-32 levels).
At this point (having few “of Insight” items), you can transition to AAR. First, downgrade Callidor’s Tempest to lvl1 and put skillpoint into “Wrath of Agrivix”. This way, Calidor’s Tempest turns into strong secondary skill for boss-killing (due to strong burn damage) while spamming AAR. Then, put few skillpoints into AAR, depending on your current energy sustain. Dont put too many points - AAR is a very energy-hungry skill, so dont chew more than you can swallow. Do note, that putting points into Disintegration is more benefitial, than into AAR itself. At this point, your AAR with deal mixed fire/lightning/aether damage. Use Mark of Illusions/Ectoplasm/Soul Shard for jewelry. Be careful - at this stage you’re pretty vulnerable, cause you still dont possess ADCTH. Dont forget to keep a relic from Rover’s elder - it’s a nice early item.
First, slay Amalgamation to get Pulsing Shard. You can take your time to get one with decent rolls - maybe, it would even stay with you for the rest of the game despite being low-level item (like mine). Pusing Shard is essentially a build-enabler item, that allows to heal from damage dealt. With it, game gets very easy quickly. You may want to switch to Veteran even.
Then, proceed to Conclave of the Three, get friendly with Dreeg’s Cult (of the key factions for this build) and proceed to Infernal Wastes. Go to Tomb of Sethan and get Crimson’s Arcane Sceptre from Sister Crimson. Again, you can spend some time to get one with decent mods. Then, you can finish expansion or proceed with main campain - whatever you like.
After main campain i advice to get to AoM content. You can get acquitance with Coven of Ugdenbog and Malmouth Resistance factions (another 2 key factions), while also raising rep with Black Legion (the last key faction). You can also get there Ugdenbog Waisguard, Valaxteria’s Skytorn Robes and buy relic recipes (Haunt/Vendetta, in particular).
This is how my char looked like after completing Normal:
After normal, i suggest to quickly complete Elite (without AoM and FG content, and without most side quests). Dont forget to visit shrines, though. Cult of Dreeg sells good shoulders for AAR builds, while Coven of Ugdenbog sells some decent helms.
At this point, you get rid of Callidor’s Tempest completely, and start investing points into various secondary skills. I’d suggest to max Inquisitor’s Seal first, then max Overload and Steel Resolve. Put more points into Word of Renewal, if you lack move speed. Then get to Aura of Censure, and start gradually maxing other skills.
First, get max rep with Cult of Dreeg & Coven of Ugdenbog. Craft Aetherbolt Pendant and buy shoulders and helm (if needed). Then, get max rep with Black Legion & Malmouth Resistance and update your gear bit by bit. Farm Sister Crimson for sceptre, etc. At this point, you should gradually improve your overall armour with heavy armour chest, helm and shoulders. For helm and chest, Light’s Defender set pieces are the best, and for shoulders - Iron Maiden’s Shoulderguard.
(+) Eldrich Crossroads
(+) Ascendant Crossroads
(+) Rhowan’s Crown
(-) Eldrich Crossroads
(-) Ascendant Crossroads
(+) Primordial Crossroads
(-) Primordial Crossroads
(+) Order Crossroads
(+) Bard’s Harp
(+) Alladrah’s Phoenix
(+) Sailor’s Guide
(+) Solemn Watcher
(+) Ishtak, the Spring Maiden
(+) Obelisk of Menhir (5/7)
- Royal Hive/Amalgamation run. Yields: Serrated Spike, Battered Shell, Pulsing Shard.
Start with Rotting Croplands rift, run to Royal Hive, full-clear Royal Hive, run to Amalgamation, slay Amalgamation.
- Sister Crimson run. Yields: Crimson’s Arcane Sceptre.
Start with Infernal Wastes rift, run to Tomb of Sethan, run to Sister Crimson with right path. You may just skip her, if she doesnt hold the sceptre (it’s clearly visible, whether she holds in her hand that large teal mace or not). This way you save some time, but wont get as much loot and reputation.
- Ugdenbog run. Yields: Ugdenbloom, Ugdenbog Waistguard, Living Ring.
Start with Coven’s Refuge, run towards Ugdenbog rift according to path below, killing all hostile flora & ghostly crabs on your wake and checking all stumps:
- Tomb of Korvaak run. Yields: Chtonic Seal of Binding.
Start with Asterkarn Valley rift, run to Tomb of Korvaak, clear first half of an area with cultists in it.
- Immolation run. Yields: Aether Crystal, Aether Shard, Aether Cluster, Dynamite.
Start with Deadman’s Gulch rift, run to Immolation (use teleport skill, mirror and HP potion to make it alive), clear all crystals in area. You may skip Herald of Destruction - it has high lightning resistance and isnt worth your time.
- “Shopping” run. Yields: Kymon’s Badge, Searing Ember, Scavenged Plating, Roiling Blood and several other valuable components.
Use Blood Grove rift and run to Benevald. Open a rift near him.
“Loot” his wares. TP to Homestead rift, run to Isaiah, “loot” his wares, run back to Homestead rift, TP to Benevald, “loot” his wares, …
Dont perform shopping too quickly - their wares might not update, if you’re too fast.
I will improve this guide over time, this is just the beginning. Feel free to leave a feedback.