Passive Skill Tree
This build can achieve a lot of power early, since a lot of the surplus points are invested towards tying Jewel Sockets together. Not only can we quickly stack up a really healthy amount of Life, but Phase Acrobatics adds a degree of elusiveness that underscores the overall fortitude of our build. Elemental Equilibrium is triggered by our Armageddon Brand, however, it should not be used before reliable triggering can be employed.
Since our build utilizes both Wrath and Zealotry, the reduced Mana reservation node in the Sovereignty notable wheel is taken. Jewels should be invested towards as soon as you have them — since this build makes exclusive use of Ghastly Eye Jewels, which are typically not expensive or difficult to self-craft, this can usually be done fairly early on.
Passive Tree Progression Advice
Due to a fair amount of allocation being invested towards Jewel sockets, you can easily acquire all the core notables and keystones by the time you reach maps. Most of the end-game points are used to pick up additional Jewels and Maximum Life.
In addition to the Raise Spectre link for our Slave Drivers, we also use Armageddon Brand as a means of procuring the Elemental Equilibrium effect, as well as applying our curse of choice and Blind Support. Brand skills are excellent to suit this purpose, as they stick to targets, can be cast at range while repositioning, and do not need to be re-applied if the target moves. This makes Armageddon Brand the ideal candidate versus other skills that are often used to fulfill a similar purpose.
Auras are relatively flexible, but our preferences are Wrath and Zealotry. We also make good use of Vaal Haste as a damage steroid, but the actual Haste aura itself is not used. Wrath adds a huge amount of Lightning damage to our Raise Spectres. Zealotry also adds a lump of straight damage as well as extra regeneration for you and your minions from Consecrated Ground, which can be enormously beneficial during encounters where your Spectres are taking heavy damage.
A classic combination of Desecrate and Flesh Offering gives all of our minions a massive injection of attack, cast, and movement speed, and these can be auto-cast to eliminate any frustration — see the Gear section for more information.
Raise Spectre Slave Drivers 6-Link
Many players have complained of the Slave Drivers having “twitchy” AI, and not behaving as predictably as other spectres. Having Feeding Frenzy Support in our Animate Guardian link helps address this issue. With some of the nerfs to Raise Spectre in Patch 3.9.0 Metamorph — specifically gem level 25 becoming necessary for another additional spectre — Empower Support (Level 4) is now the default recommendation as our last gem.
- Raise Spectre
- Spell Echo Support
- Minion Damage Support
- Concentrated Effect Support
- Empower Support (Level 4)
Options for the sixth link before Empower Support (Level 4):
- Elemental Focus Support — our default recommendation and a large damage booster at the expense of Shock.
- Elemental Army Support — good all-purpose option that also beefs up your spectres. Only recommended to use if it is not in your Animate Guardian link already.
Remember to , or you will summon twice in a row causing additional random spectres to spawn. We are using Spell Echo Support purely for influencing the Slave Drivers damage, not for the manual casting of Raise Spectre itself.
Armageddon Brand 4-Link
As we mentioned earlier in the guide, Armageddon Brand is a self-cast skill that is used to trigger the Elemental Equilibrium effect. In addition to being a straight damage boost for that aforementioned reason, it can also be used as a means of applying a Curse of Choice as well as Blind Support.
Our default recommendation for your curse is Conductivity, since our build has fairly potent base survivability and most players look to maximize their damage output. For this purpose, Conductivity is an ideal candidate, adding further chance to shock and further reducing enemy Lightning Resistance alongside Elemental Equilibrium. Other options can be more defensive, especially for players on the Hardcore servers, or for those who want to give themselves the best chance of reaching Level 100. Good options for defense are Temporal Chains and Enfeeble.
Vaal Haste is only used for the active effect, and Haste itself is not employed. Generosity Support is a very important gem for maximizing the damage of our Raise Spectres. Quality on the aura gems is actually beneficial, unlike most builds, because having a healthy area of effect ensures that your spectres are always benefiting from your buffs.
Animate Guardian 4-Link
Animate Guardian is an important support minion that can equip items and even Uniques to help buff you and your Raise Spectres. Summon Stone Golem grants Life Regeneration and acts as a distraction in many situations. If you are struggling to keep your Animate Guardian alive early on, consider replace the golem with Minion Life Support until you are able to better equip your guardian. It is also very important that your Animate Guardian is Level 20 before making any significant investment as this has a very large influence on survivability of the guardian.
- Animate Guardian
- Summon Stone Golem or Summon Chaos Golem
- Feeding Frenzy Support
- Elemental Army Support
The most important items to equip your Animate Guardian with are typical support Uniques. These are commonly used for this purpose and very cheaply obtained, and perfectly viable for leagues such as Solo Self-Found:
We will go into more detail about the Animate Guardian and more ways of optimizing it later in the guide — check the Improving the Animate Guardian section on the main page to learn more.
Desecrate and Flesh Offering 3-Link
This link should ideally be socketed in a wand with the crafted affix “Trigger a Socketed Spell When You Use a Skill” if possible, as it removes the need to cast any of these skills.
Blade Vortex can be an alternate means of procuring Elemental Equilibrium while clearing, as stopping to cast Armageddon Brand constantly is simply not worth it. You will need to have Cold or Fire damage to spells on your wand for this to work, and Blade Vortex is not worth using unless this setup is being employed. Replace it with a gem of your choosing if this is the case; Enduring Cry, your Curse of Choice, and Convocation are examples of options.
- Cast when Damage Taken Support (Level 10)
- Immortal Call (Level 12) or Guard Skill of Choice
- Phase Run (Level 12)
Unset Ring(s) 1-Link(s)
If you are not using Convocation in your Wand, it can be helpful to have a second Unset Ring with Convocation socketed. If you have Convocation elsewhere, you can opt for another ring base, or add a golem in the unset ring slot.
Similar to Armageddon Brand, it can be beneficial to keep these gems at Level 1 to avoid running out of Mana if you are casting them often.