Bleeding Pets Feedback (Heart of Sand King and Mark of Bloody Ends)

Pets are a topic I’m much more familiar with than the other playstyles, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting any change notes that target pet builds. Both Mythical Heart of the Sand King and Mythical Mark of Bloody Ends are receiving quite nice defensive buffs in, but I wanted to see if they continued to be outclassed by the Zaria’s Amulet and taking the Beastcaller’s (or Ghol’s) set for the medal.

I tried stacking as many pets as possible to make the most use of these items. Here is the result:

9 Skeletons, a Briarthorn, a Primal Spirit, 3 Reap Spirits, 2 Blight Fiends, 5 Swarmlings, and the Eldritch Hound pet for a total of 22 pets. If stacking bleed damage with this amount of pets doesn’t work, nothing will. It can reach a million DPS which is nice, but the main issue is survivability. I’ve tried Crucible numerous times with this set-up and I have not been able to win once.

The major problem I’ve noticed is that when there are a lot of enemies swarming the player at once, each pet seems to go after a different target, leading to a lot of enemies receiving small amounts of damage while doing nothing to stop them from swarming the player. This is most apparent in Waves 161-162 when a ton of Heroes swarm the player at once, blocking any avenue of escape. Pack clearing (both in Crucible and the non-boss chunks of SR) really rely on big chonky AoE abilities to knock them all out in a single hit, something this type of build really, really struggles with. Beastcaller builds do so much better since the Briarthorns are capable of those meaty AoE hits thanks to stacking total damage multipliers and devotion abilities. Same with Blight Fiends with Ghol’s Set.

It may just be that these 2 items are fundamentally obsolete since the pet sets do this sort of job much better, but I’m determined to find a way to make these items useful for a build. It should be noted that trying to balance getting Devouring Swarm on the enemies, keeping up with Blight Fiend uptime, and keeping the Skeleton count at maximum is a lot to ask for the player to manage at once, which other builds have the luxury to ignore. It’s a whole lot of piano for not very good results.

If I were to get my wish of buffs for this type of playstyle, I’d ask for the following:

  • Add 50% to 90% Bleeding damage for pets in the Huntress devotion.
  • Add more sources of pet %speed. There isn’t such a thing as too much pet speed.
  • Increase the Weapon Damage in some of the T1 devotions like Falcon so that pets can make use of it as well. I’ve tried a more offensive devotion route with Falcon, Scorpion and Bull and it doesn’t make much of a difference in clear.

I’ve only played around 5 pet builds so far. But what I´ve learned from that is:
If you want survivability, you either

  • Pick Briarthorn and pump up Ground Slam until it taunts or
  • Pick Ishtak devotion

Pet builds arent realy suited to run the Crucible. They excell at high-tier SR and superboss kills.

Man, they’re super suited for crucible.
Take pet build X (using ishtak or ground slam), start crucible and dodge attacks - all you gotta do.
I can do that and have no single clue about crucible.

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The same problems with pets in the Crucible are present in regular SR (not even high-tier SR, I’m talking basic farming SR 75-76) - outside of Healing Rain or Blood of Dreeg, there’s not a real way to keep your pets capable of surviving enemy clusters (unless you give your pets ton of ADCTH, which I’ve done in another build, but I feel barely makes a dent in keeping something like Skeletons alive). Thanks to the Beastcaller’s buffs, the gap widens between any build with 3-pc Beastcallers (like the double birds pet build) or full set Beastcaller with the only thing different is the weapon and every other pet build. As it stands, the set medals make all the other pet medals obsolete, and it’s not even close.

On the plus side, I was actually able to beat Crucible, so you can see the pain that goes into piloting something like this. It’s really a matter of hoping your pets can take down enemy chunks before they get to you, because you can’t see what each pet is doing, so you can’t save anyone if it gets into trouble.