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Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenary

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by maareek, Jul 22, 2009. | Replies: 17 | Views: 4270

  1. maareek

    maareek IncGamers Member

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    Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenary

    Introduction:

    I've been wanting to make this guy for a long time, and finally got around to it. The Lightning Wolf was chosen quite awhile ago when I saw someone in the Sorceress Forum talking about how it should be, theoretically, viable with really nice gear. Being in possession of nice gear myself, I decided to give it a shot.

    I was somewhat disheartened when Sirpoopsalot tried one out on his LuckyLucy build, and found it ineffective. Taking his findings into consideration, I felt I had a plan that would provide the Wolf with a much better environment to prove his mettle, and set out to see if I could make it work.

    The Character:

    Character name : Blighter
    Character type : Necromancer
    Character level : 88
    Character exp : 1460695859

    Strength : 95 (112)
    Energy : 25 (52)
    Dexterity : 26 (37)
    Vitality : 384 (401)

    Life : 1193 / 973
    Mana : 556 / 199

    Skills:

    20: Poison Nova (38), Poison Dagger (38), Poison Explosion (38) and Corpse Explosion (38)
    6: Golem Mastery (18)
    1: all curses except Attract and Confuse (17), Summon Resist, Iron Golem and required skills (13)

    Poison Nova does 7267-7501 damage, and under the effects of a Skill Shrine, Poison Nova's max damage was just shy of 8100.

    Corpse Explosion has a radius of 15 yards, which basically means I can cast it in the Pits and hit Andariel. Easily worth the points, and the 52 mana cost. The only issue I have with it should be fairly widely known to those who've maxed it before: the game for whatever reason underestimates the range of the skill and you'll often have to find and click on a corpse yourself to hit a monster a good distance away. Small thing, though.

    Level 13 Summon Resist adds 61% res all, which makes the IG immune to Lightning (base res of 50), as well as the base immunity to poison. It's awfully nice having a minion that can stand in the middle of gloam fire and not notice. He also has 4557 hitpoints, to back up those resistances.


    Gear:

    Code:
    Harlequin Crest
    Shako
    Defense: 119
    Durability: 12 of 12
    Required Strength: 50
    Required Level: 62
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 87
    Fingerprint: 0xab1ea076
    +2 to Strength
    +2 to Energy
    +2 to Dexterity
    +2 to Vitality
    Damage Reduced by 10%
    +36 poison damage over 2 seconds
    50% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
    +2 to All Skill Levels
    100% Chance to cast Level 23 Venom When You Level Up
    +132 to Life (Based on Character Level)
    +132 to Mana (Based on Character Level)
    +4% to Poison Skill Damage
    -5% to Enemy Poison Resistance
    Socketed (1: 1 used)
    
    Rainbow Facet
    Jewel
    Required Level: 49
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 87
    Fingerprint: 0xe4ec1bc2
    +36 poison damage over 2 seconds
    100% Chance to cast Level 23 Venom When You Level Up
    +4% to Poison Skill Damage
    -5% to Enemy Poison Resistance
    
    Mara's Kaleidoscope
    Amulet
    Required Level: 67
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 88
    Fingerprint: 0xa543c7e9
    +5 to Strength
    +5 to Energy
    +5 to Dexterity
    +5 to Vitality
    All Resistances +30
    +2 to All Skill Levels
    
    Skin of the Vipermagi
    Serpentskin Armor
    'Shael'
    Defense: 279
    Durability: 24 of 24
    Required Strength: 43
    Required Level: 29
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 59
    Fingerprint: 0xec2f34c
    +120% Enhanced Defense
    Magic Damage Reduced by 10
    All Resistances +33
    20% Faster Hit Recovery
    30% Faster Cast Rate
    +1 to All Skill Levels
    Socketed (1: 1 used)
    
    Shael Rune
    Inserted into a Serpentskin Armor
    
    20% Faster Hit Recovery
    
    Required Level: 29
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    
    Death's Web
    Unearthed Wand
    One-Hand Damage: 22 to 28
    Durability: 18 of 18
    Required Strength: 25
    Required Level: 66
    Staff Class - Normal Attack Speed
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 86
    Fingerprint: 0x453454dd
    +36 poison damage over 2 seconds
    +8 Life after each Kill
    150% Damage to Undead
    +2 to All Skill Levels
    +12 to Mana After Each Kill
    +1 to Poison and Bone Skills (Necromancer Only)
    100% Chance to cast Level 23 Venom When You Level Up
    +3% to Poison Skill Damage
    -48% to Enemy Poison Resistance
    Socketed (1: 1 used)
    
    Rainbow Facet
    Jewel
    Required Level: 49
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 87
    Fingerprint: 0xe1e08755
    +36 poison damage over 2 seconds
    100% Chance to cast Level 23 Venom When You Level Up
    +3% to Poison Skill Damage
    -5% to Enemy Poison Resistance
    
    Homunculus
    Hierophant Trophy
    Defense: 186
    Chance to Block:  72%
    Durability: 20 of 20
    (Necromancer Only)
    Required Strength: 58
    Required Level: 49
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 88
    Fingerprint: 0x4325df68
    +20 to Energy
    +162% Enhanced Defense
    +40% Increased Chance of Blocking
    Regenerate Mana 33%
    All Resistances +40
    +36 poison damage over 2 seconds
    +2 to Necromancer Skill Levels
    30% Faster Block Rate
    +5 to Mana After Each Kill
    +2 to Curses (Necromancer Only)
    100% Chance to cast Level 23 Venom When You Level Up
    +4% to Poison Skill Damage
    -5% to Enemy Poison Resistance
    Socketed (1: 1 used)
    
    Rainbow Facet
    Jewel
    Required Level: 49
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 87
    Fingerprint: 0xe45c3045
    +36 poison damage over 2 seconds
    100% Chance to cast Level 23 Venom When You Level Up
    +4% to Poison Skill Damage
    -5% to Enemy Poison Resistance
    
    Trang-Oul's Claws
    Heavy Bracers
    Defense: 71
    Durability: 16 of 16
    Required Strength: 58
    Required Level: 45
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 99
    Fingerprint: 0xedce7205
    +30 Defense
    Cold Resist +30%
    20% Faster Cast Rate
    +2 to Curses (Necromancer Only)
    +25% to Poison Skill Damage
    
    The Stone of Jordan
    Ring
    Required Level: 29
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 86
    Fingerprint: 0xb5e5d7e5
    +20 to Mana
    Adds 1-12 lightning damage
    Increase Maximum Mana 25%
    +1 to All Skill Levels
    
    Arachnid Mesh
    Spiderweb Sash
    Defense: 136
    Durability: 12 of 12
    Required Strength: 50
    Required Level: 80
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 87
    Fingerprint: 0xa4317188
    +116% Enhanced Defense
    Increase Maximum Mana 5%
    20% Faster Cast Rate
    +1 to All Skill Levels
    Slows Target by 10%
    Level 3 Venom (11/11 Charges)
    
    The Stone of Jordan
    Ring
    Required Level: 29
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 88
    Fingerprint: 0xdd693e17
    +20 to Mana
    Adds 1-12 lightning damage
    Increase Maximum Mana 25%
    +1 to All Skill Levels
    
    War Traveler
    Battle Boots
    Defense: 123
    Durability: 48 of 48
    Required Strength: 95
    Required Level: 42
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 88
    Fingerprint: 0x746f9fd7
    +10 to Strength
    +10 to Vitality
    +158% Enhanced Defense
    +15 to Minimum Damage
    +25 to Maximum Damage
    +30 Maximum Durability
    Attacker Takes Damage of 5
    46% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
    25% Faster Run/Walk
    40% Slower Stamina Drain
    
    Naj's Puzzler (on switch)
    Elder Staff
    Two-Hand Damage: 200 to 232
    Durability: 35 of 35
    Required Dexterity: 37
    Required Strength: 44
    Required Level: 78
    Staff Class - Normal Attack Speed
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 86
    Fingerprint: 0x781868e2
    +35 to Energy
    +70 to Mana
    +150% Enhanced Damage
    Adds 6-45 lightning damage
    30% Faster Cast Rate
    150% Damage to Undead
    +1 to All Skill Levels
    Level 11 Teleport (68/69 Charges)
    Charms:

    Code:
    Gheed's Fortune
    Grand Charm
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 62
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 87
    Fingerprint: 0xf1ca2ced
    114% Extra Gold from Monsters
    40% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
    Reduces All Vendor Prices 12%
    
    Fungal Grand Charm of Balance
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 42
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 99
    Fingerprint: 0xb5ce1daf
    12% Faster Hit Recovery
    +1 to Poison and Bone Skills (Necromancer Only)
    
    Fungal Grand Charm of Dexterity
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 42
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 82
    Fingerprint: 0x4e0c84fb
    +4 to Dexterity
    +1 to Poison and Bone Skills (Necromancer Only)
    
    Ruby Small Charm of Balance
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 32
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 72
    Fingerprint: 0x57081415
    Fire Resist +10%
    5% Faster Hit Recovery
    
    Coral Small Charm of Good Luck
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 33
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 88
    Fingerprint: 0x99a1b31b
    Lightning Resist +9%
    7% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
    
    Emerald Small Charm of Balance
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 32
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 82
    Fingerprint: 0x8556fc91
    Poison Resist +11%
    5% Faster Hit Recovery
    
    Shimmering Small Charm of Storms
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 37
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 88
    Fingerprint: 0x35d55041
    All Resistances +5
    Adds 1-20 lightning damage
    
    Shimmering Small Charm of Good Luck
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 33
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 66
    Fingerprint: 0x90d35ed0
    All Resistances +4
    6% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
    
    Shimmering Small Charm of Inertia
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 27
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 74
    Fingerprint: 0x41688368
    All Resistances +3
    3% Faster Run/Walk
    
    
    Fungal Grand Charm of Fire
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 42
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 88
    Fingerprint: 0xeb50a7d4
    Adds 1-3 fire damage
    +1 to Poison and Bone Skills (Necromancer Only)
    
    Fungal Grand Charm
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 42
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 86
    Fingerprint: 0x761e21cc
    +1 to Poison and Bone Skills (Necromancer Only)
    
    Fungal Grand Charm
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 42
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 83
    Fingerprint: 0x932a0451
    +1 to Poison and Bone Skills (Necromancer Only)
    
    Amber Small Charm of Vita
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 39
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 99
    Fingerprint: 0x4a023ff8
    +17 to Life
    Lightning Resist +10%
    
    Ruby Small Charm of Vita
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 39
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 80
    Fingerprint: 0xdc04266c
    +20 to Life
    Fire Resist +10%
    
    Emerald Small Charm of Vita
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 39
    Item Version: Expansion
    Item Level: 99
    Fingerprint: 0x5dc2e8fc
    +17 to Life
    Poison Resist +10%
    
    Amber Small Charm of Fortune
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 32
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 85
    Fingerprint: 0x1e9f2d13
    Lightning Resist +10%
    5% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
    
    Russet Small Charm of Good Luck
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 33
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 81
    Fingerprint: 0xd8bdc1f7
    Fire Resist +6%
    6% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
    
    Ruby Small Charm of Fortune
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 32
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 66
    Fingerprint: 0xa4bd86fc
    Fire Resist +11%
    4% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
    
    Jade Small Charm of Good Luck
    Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
    Required Level: 33
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 80
    Fingerprint: 0x72e91888
    Poison Resist +8%
    7% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
    The Inventory was completely stuffed; I wanted to force in every last bit of assistance I could. In questing gear he has 171 MF, which I don't think is bad at all considering his damage numbers.

    Flux, Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenary:

    Code:
    Skin of the Vipermagi
    Serpentskin Armor
    Defense: 279
    Durability: 24 of 24
    Required Strength: 43
    Required Level: 29
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 49
    Fingerprint: 0x775f06d6
    +10 to Strength
    +120% Enhanced Defense
    Magic Damage Reduced by 10
    All Resistances +33
    30% Faster Cast Rate
    +1 to All Skill Levels
    Socketed (1: 1 used)
    
    Perfect Amethyst
    Inserted into a Serpentskin Armor
    +10 to Strength
    Required Level: 18
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    
    Griffon's Eye
    Diadem
    Defense: 208
    Durability: 20 of 20
    Required Level: 76
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 88
    Fingerprint: 0x7abdaa02
    +154 Defense
    Adds 1-74 lightning damage
    25% Faster Cast Rate
    +1 to All Skill Levels
    100% Chance to cast Level 41 Nova When You Level Up
    +18% to Lightning Skill Damage
    -25% to Enemy Lightning Resistance
    Socketed (1: 1 used)
    
    Rainbow Facet
    Jewel
    Required Level: 49
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 88
    Fingerprint: 0xd1c52425
    Adds 1-74 lightning damage
    100% Chance to cast Level 41 Nova When You Level Up
    +5% to Lightning Skill Damage
    -5% to Enemy Lightning Resistance
    
    Crescent Moon
    Crystal Sword
    'ShaelUmTir'
    One-Hand Damage: 14 to 44
    Durability: 13 of 20
    Required Strength: 43
    Required Level: 47
    Sword Class - Fast Attack Speed
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 41
    Fingerprint: 0x2b599f7f
    +197% Enhanced Damage
    20% Increased Attack Speed
    Ignore Target Defense
    25% Chance of Open Wounds
    +2 to Mana After Each Kill
    +11 Magic Absorb
    10% Chance to cast Level 17 Chain Lightning on striking
    7% Chance to cast Level 13 Static Field on striking
    Level 18 Summon Spirit Wolf (30/30 Charges)
    -35% to Enemy Lightning Resistance
    Socketed (3: 3 used)
    
    Spirit
    Monarch
    'TalThulOrtAmn'
    Defense: 210
    Chance to Block:  42%
    Durability: 44 of 44
    Required Strength: 146
    Required Level: 54
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 81
    Fingerprint: 0x1461a314
    +22 to Vitality
    +108 to Mana
    +250 Defense vs. Missile
    Lightning Resist +35%
    Cold Resist +35%
    Poison Resist +35%
    Attacker Takes Damage of 14
    55% Faster Hit Recovery
    35% Faster Cast Rate
    +2 to All Skill Levels
    +4 Magic Absorb
    Ethereal (Cannot be Repaired), Socketed (4: 4 used)
    The Spirit took 26 Hel runes to roll, which was all I had. Prior to the current helm, he used my +15/-16 Griffon's socketed with a Perfect Amethyst. With that and the Vipermagi, he could equip the shield at level 77. Kept that hat until 83, when he could wear the current one.

    Iron Golem:

    Code:
    Kelpie Snare
    Fuscina
    Two-Hand Damage: 77 to 142
    Durability: 19 of 35
    Required Dexterity: 25
    Required Strength: 77
    Required Level: 33
    Spear Class - Normal Attack Speed
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 88
    Fingerprint: 0x521658c3
    +10 to Strength
    +150% Enhanced Damage
    +30 to Minimum Damage
    +50 to Maximum Damage
    Fire Resist +50%
    Slows Target by 75%
    +1 to Life (Based on Character Level)
    Questing

    Normal:

    Started off with gemmed crystal sword, envy jeweled mask and breast plate, with arctic belt and gloves and hsarus' boots and shield. Swapped in Sigon's boots+belt+gloves at lvl 6. Switched to Iratha's + Treads + Ravenclaw and 2 rare leech rings at 15. p8 all the way to act 4, then p1 throughout that act, returning to p8 in act 5. Leveled from 29 to 30 in act 4 (leveled up after popping the third seal), switching into caster gear at start of act 5. Peasant Crown, rare amulet (+1 necro skills, 15 res all, mana), Skin of the Vipermagi, Spirit sword, Rhyme shield, magefist, nightsmoke, nat's boots and 2 SoJ's until 42. Made first Iron Golem after switching into caster gear, created from an IK Maul.

    With one point in IG and Golem Mastery, you'd expect the Golem to be fairly weak, but he stood up well. The hydras from wave 3 got him, but the only other time he really took damage was when he was surrounded by 5 frenzytaurs in the WSK. Didn't remake him until I could swap Homunculus in for the Rhyme, then twinked in a CV Insight (always hated CVs, but now they seem almost useful) and some low level unique polearm for IGs during Baal runs, but Lister kept owning them and I finally just made the golems from shopped weapons until I moved on to NM.

    Baal was tough early on (first run took forever), but after I switched the merc (then a prayer merc) over to eth Kelpie + Guillaume's(Ias jewel) + Twitchthroe I didn't have problems with him. Still wasn't blazing fast, but poisonmancers aren't good boss runners, anyway. Leveled to 49 before entering Nightmare.

    Nightmare:

    Started off by popping the facet into the homunculus and making another Insight IG, out of a Colossus Voulge (finally found a use for an otherwise useless base, yay) and set to work. Act I was a cakewalk, save for Andy, who plowed through the merc and IG in very short order. Managed to finish her off solo easily enough and proceed. Found a Wasp Nest bosspack along the way, though. Act 2 was similarly easy, though I did lose the IG to a ES cursed Mummy bosspack in the Staff room. Couldn't find a good item in the shops, so I went with Gumby vs Duriel, with no issues. Twinked in two more CVs, made Insight and formed another IG. Lost him to cursed ES Thrasher pack and then had another poof in the Flayer Jungle. Shopped a Ferocious Great Axe for a base. Mephisto required a couple trips to town, but no real danger.

    Act 4, was a pain. At least in the beginning. Venom Lords are Poison Immune in NM, and with only the -5 from the Homunculus kills were slow in coming at p8, so I dropped to p5 until the RoF. Hephasto was no worries, and the forge dropped a Lem, which was nice. Got to the waypoint at level 65, so I did a full clear plus a little bit of the CS to hit 66 then twinked in Death's Web (and Mara's, though that's rlvl67), Harley, War Trav's and Mav's belt, as well as putting Spellsteel on switch in case of IM, and hit the CS for real. Venom Lords spawned, but with the DWeb in hand were no match for the massive damage, even at p8. Lost the merc twice to IM, but the golem remained intact. Diablo was kind enough to use, almost exclusively, his lightning attack (which is useless against the LI Iron Golem) and was polished off with little fuss.

    The Ancients started out looking rough, as I quickly had to feed half my reds and a purple to the merc, but a teleport and a change in position later they lost their luster and fell quickly. Decrepify + Kelpie makes even the stoutest fighters impotent. Lost 2 IGs in the WSK: the first to a bosspack of frenzytaurs, the second to IM. A third died at the hands of wave three's hydras on my second Baal run.

    Speaking of the minions, waves 4 and 5 were quite a pain because of their high health. Had to take a fighting retreat approach, which isn't easy because the IG has very similar AI to a barb merc: he always goes looking for a fight and he almost refuses to retreat once he engages. Waheed's happily staying away from the action, but the golem keeps jumping back into the fray before I can get back in nova range. Lots of TP's taken to heal through that part.

    Took Baal on at p8, and he wasn't a problem (again, Decrep + Kelpie are imba) but took awhile. After that second run, I went back to Normal and hired the act 3 merc before proceeding to Hell. At this point Blighter was level 74 and the merc was level 72. Gave him Spirit + Lidless + Skin of the Vipermagi and Harley. Let him show off in Pindle's garden, and saw potential.

    Hell:

    First death for the char came in the first Pits run, on level two. Got caught by the arrows from an ES LE archer pack. Died another three times, most from just not drinking a potion in time. Lost at least four Iron Golems due to D2 not saving teleport as my default skill on switch, which was extremely annoying.

    Ran the Pits from level 75 to level 88. From 75 to 80 I ran at p7 in questing gear. From 80 to 87 I ran at p5 in MF gear (after swapping in Arachnid's I changed an SoJ for a 30% Nagel and 3 skillers for a Gheed's and several mana/resist SC's of MF). At that point, I had re-cemented my previous feelings about running the Pits and changed back into questing gear.

    I probably lost over 10 IG's in the Pits to various things (mostly to Amp/ES or other bad spawns archers, or to multiple bosspacks including EF, ES and amp) and by the end was really feeling bad over the loss of Rals. Switched over to a Kelpie Snare Golem (making him immune to Fire/Light/Poison) and used DV a lot more. Runs slowed down, but no more deaths. Blinded packs with the golem adding the 75% slowdown from Kelpie to the boss made things almost boringly easy.

    Leveled up til 88 in the Pits before moving on. Technically the build finished at 87 (counting in the skill adding quests) but I wanted to see how he could do running in killing gear. Very well, indeed, was the answer.

    Took on Act I at p7, with no troubles. Dropped to p1 for Andy, and it still took a little while. Decrep+slow from Kelpie kept her manageable while the merc and I whittled her down (to be honest, we were probably doing almost equal damage; poison sucks hardcore vs Andy). One trip to town was required to heal the IG, but only because I was overly cautious. She dropped crap, and we moved on.

    Took on Act 2 at p7, as well, until I got almost to Radament. Then I dropped to p1, and decided to keep it there. I've already taken a poisonmancer through Hell at high psettings, so I didn't feel the need to do it again. Easily could, but time is short until the MFO and I have other projects to complete and a new runner to get in shape, so I decided to stay at p1 and hurry through. Radament spawned with Conviction, was surrounded by horror mages - including a bosspack - and really didn't want to die. I had to drink a couple potions while I was running around poisoning everything, and shove a few more to the merc (he does love to follow you into trouble) but after the minions fell it was just a matter of time.

    Teleran through Act 2 quickly. Ported right on top of AT, so I did a p7 full clear before pressing on (back at p1). Summoner was on the first branch I looked. Had to search all of the tomb before I found the entrance to Duriel. I don't think he managed to really land a hit on anybody, and went down quickly.

    Act 3 involved more teleport action. Everything at p1 except LK (gieb Lo plz) and Meph, which were p3. Was glad I had the Kelpie IG when I got to the Council - fire immune minions need not fear bugged hydras - and had to rely on the merc to kill a champ pack of dolls as soon as we entered the Durance, which he did well. Level 3 was packed - there were either three or four bosspacks right through the large door - but nothing proved dangerous. Went to p3 for Meph after seeing how easy Duriel had been. He went down as easily as the last boss, just took a little longer. The armor rack in Durance 3 dropped a Lacquered Plate, so I went back and got Durance 2 waypoint just in case I want to try to rack a Tal's armor for the novelty of it.

    The merc got a little more action in Act 4, finishing off corpse spitters and creating the first corpse with the maggots. Had gloams in the Plains of Despair, and they hurt. Dim Vision is imba, though. Izual dropped in seconds, as did Hephasto. Um from the Forge made sure the char paid for himself in rune terms that really matter. Got through the Chaos Sanctuary without the golem taking any damage from IM, though he got into the low yellow from Lord De Seis's pack. Diablo got me in a bone prison and almost took out myself and the merc with an early lightning hose (both bars barely showing any red), but after that he went down quietly. Forgot to up it to p3 before he spawned, but still got 6 items so it worked out.

    Slingers and archers greeted me at the start of Act 5. Had 2 NDEs at their hands. D2 obviously had it out for me now, since they spawned in every outdoor area, and vipers spawned in every underground area. Can't believe I didn't drop to one bosspack of vipers I spawned from an urn (can't explain why I ever click those things) which hit me with somewhere between 5 and two million shots at the same time. If not for my "Oh, excrement" rejuv reflexes he'd have bought it. No gloams at Anya, but 2 types of witches and more vipers. More NDEs than I care to count. Lost the Kelpie golem at Anya, Frozenstein's pack wore him down and a pack of witches behind them ate him up before I could teleport him out. Made another Insight one. Almost lost him to a dual bosspack of Cursed/ES lancer rogues.

    Stopped at Ancient Way waypoint, which was across the map from the Summit. When I started back, the spawn was skeleton mages + vipers + Frenzytaurs. Lost the Insight golem to a cursed, ES bosspack of frenzytaurs, switched back to Kelpie base and went a little more carefully. No issues getting to the Ancients. They spawned with Conviction and little else. The leaper wanted to focus on the Wolf, so I used teleport to split him from the pack and dropped him swiftly. Took the other two as a team, but they dropped in short order. WSK 1 had poison immune vipers. Level 2 had poison immune defilers (including one unbreakable PoI/LI boss; the second such monster I had seen [Griswold]) and level 3 had witches and Oks plus some not very dangerous spawn. Throne had witches, OKs and unbreakable poison immune dolls. Merc mowed down a champ pack of the latter near the door and DV took care of the witches. Throne room was stuffed with OKs, but the enormous radius of CE cleared it quickly. Waves 1-3 were no issue (lost the merc to the hydras, but the immune golem was sturdy), then came wave 4. The bane of poisonmancers. Unbreakable immunity, plus high fire resistance, plus extra fast equals a real pain. Separated the pack into, roughly, two groups, and had the merc fire away while I waited for a corpse. Ventar forced one retreat to town to heal the IG, but other than that we got through with little problem. Lister an crew don't pose much threat, and dropped in no time. Went into Baal's chamber, teleported on top of him so the IG could get to work. He cloned himself right off, so that made things tougher, but we started slugging away and made good progress. We had the clone almost dead when disaster struck ... the power went out. ... ... ... ... Feck. Insert random five pages of obscenities here. In a humorous turn of events, I had found an ethereal socketed unearthed wand in the WSK shortly before, and was, given the situation, now happy it hadn't rolled unique.

    Most annoying part was that I was trying to finish up so I could write up what happened before I left for work. Not enough time left after that, and my will was sort of crushed. Came back later and started back. Fortunately the Ancients and the WSK waypoint were saved before the sudden stoppage of play, so I set back out from the waypoint, and noticed my maps were saved, which was nice. Level 2 had poison immune Vipers, exploding boars and bats. Level three greeted me with OKs and witches again, with boars and their herders. Almost lost the golem twice to bosspacks of OKs backed up by witches (those stars hurt when amped, 4.5k hp or not) but he pulled through. Stairtrap with bosspack of frenzytaurs in the throne, but handled it fairly easily. Around the corner? Bosspack of OKs. At the entrance to the throne room had a clump of gloams + 2 packs of Oks and a bosspack of Frenzytaurs. Gloams are poison immune, but gigantic CE beats them every time. Throne room was almost barren.

    First 3 waves were no issue, barely a scratch between the three of us. Ventar again forced a single retreat to town, but the merc finally brought one (then another) down, and CE cleared up. Lister and company were a joke. Baal was taken at p1. Teleported to him so the golem could get going, and cast decrep in the meanwhile. No clone this time, and I switched over to LR after the golem got going. He's still able to do a little damage with just the Kelpie, but his resistances are just too high to not use LR on him, and he's not really dangerous when slowed, anyway (as opposed to, say, Diablo).

    Finds:

    -Normal HF: Ort
    -NM HF: Lem
    -Hell HF: Um
    -Hand of Broc in Normal Catacombs
    -Blinkbat's Form from Normal Diablo
    -Lum rune from NM Summoner
    -Blackbog's Sharp in NM Great Marsh (just seems fitting for a poisonmancer to find, no?)
    -Titan's Revenge in NM WSK
    -Dracul's Grasp in the Pits
    -Failed set Scourge in the Pits
    -+4/-4 Fire Facet from a corpse in the Pits
    -Ethereal Ginther's Rift in the Pits
    -Taebaek's Glory in the Pits
    -Hexing skiller in the Pits
    -String of Ears from Hell Radament
    -Gheed's from a corpse in Harem level 2
    -Ethereal Spire of Lazarus in Plains of Despair
    -Naj's Light Plate from Eyeback the Unleashed
    -M'avina's Embrace from the Barbarian corpse outside the Ancient's Way
    -Lots of socketables (0os eth CV, 0os eth GPA, 14% Superior +3 Matriarchal Bow...0os :(, etc.)
    -Plenty of low/crafting runes (including several Hel runes, which I was very happy to see), though I'd say he burned up more than he found.

    Thoughts:

    Merc:

    He outperformed my expectations. Granted, my expectations had gotten pretty low after hearing sirpoopsalot's experience with his, but I was hoping with Lower Resist and the tanking golem it would work. And I was right. He's capable of killing in higher player setting games (and not in the barely out-pacing monster regen way, either). That said, he didn't reach my hoped level of ownage. Not surprising, though. What popped into my head after testing him out a little bit still sounds right to me: he kills about as fast as my (mostly) untwinked blizzballer did when I was first starting (though the blizzballer was at p1). After dropping to p1, I discovered that the merc was considerably stronger than my old blizzballer; I just let him and the golem handle packs from time to time.

    As for his overall AI: he likes to stay close to you. Not right on top of you, but, say, similar to the "leash" a unique has on its minions. This is very handy when he's doing his one notable stupid merc trick: firing lightning into a solid obstruction, but troublesome when you're running through the middle of a pack to poison shamans, OK's, etc. He does quite well at getting himself out of these spots most of the time, but when he can't he drops in about half a second. Which is true just about any time he's getting hit. He has very low hitpoints (barely more than the character) and abysmal hit recovery (to give you an idea, he's at 10 frame recovery with the 55% FHR from spirit) so he's going nowhere fast if anything gets to him.

    While he likes to stay near you, he also really likes to stay away from monsters. Coupled with his affinity for casting Charged Bolt this results in a lot of lost damage potential. You can use his AI to force him close to monsters to increase CB damage, but he'll only cast 1-3 times before running away and it's too tedious to do against anything but poison immunes. If you're careful, however, this is one of the best ways to deal with champ/boss dolls with this build.

    The frustrating part is the Lightning Wolf merc could be very powerful if he cast Lightning more often. He can take half a bar of life off a p5 monster with one cast of Lightning, but only casts it maybe 1/3 of the time (I've read and been told 30% and 40% by different sources, and definitely agree that the frequency is somewhere between those two). The rest of the time it's Charged Bolt. That wouldn't be a problem, except his AI keeps him well away from the actual monsters, meaning his bolts do precious little damage (still more than the golem, for the most part) in comparison. If the frequency were changed on those attacks, he could definitely be a powerhouse with the proper gear.

    Just in case you're curious, the CtC Nova when you level up from the facet in the Griffon's does work on the merc. Proced a few times, and owned whatever happened to be around him at the time. Come to think of it, if they changed the skills on the Wolf to Lightning and Nova I'd be very thrilled.

    Since I knew that sirpoopsalot had some experience with the Lightning Wolf, I talked to him early on in this project, and he gave me one rather empathic piece of advice: teleport. I had been planning on having Harmony on switch before this, but changed over to Spellsteel as a mid-game source and Naj's as a late game source of teleport. I have to thank poops for his advice, as having the teleport has saved me lots of headaches - but not really with the merc. He does well at keeping himself out of danger (it's without a doubt his highest priority; he disengages and runs away whenever anything gets in striking distance) but the golem definitely requires a source of teleport to keep with you. Don't get me wrong, I've had to save the merc a few times, but the golem has taken by far more charges.

    With all that said, I guess the question remaining is if I'd recommend using the Wolf to others. No, I wouldn't. Frankly, most people don't have the wealth to blow on him - with lower gear than this he's pretty crappy, even just using Spirit instead of CM makes for a large dropoff - and he doesn't provide any real advantages over the other mercs. I'm glad to have used him once, and especially glad to have seen that he can be viable, but I doubt I'll ever use one again.

    Iron Golem:

    I love the ability to have Insight without the merc holding it, and I love having him there as a customizable tank, a job he does well...90% of the time. Against normal monsters and most bosspacks he's sturdy as can be, but that last 10% of the time he goes from upright to horizontal in about half a second. This could almost certainly be corrected by adding more points in the Mastery or using a more defensive oriented base, but maxed CE speeds up runs by quite a bit and I wasn't convinced enough that a better base would improve things to use more expensive stuff.

    Rusty's AI is very, very similar to the barb merc - if there's anything around he's running right at it and swinging away - which is definitely a two-edged sword. On the one hand, he never runs away from combat or avoids monsters like the desert merc, but, in contrast, he doesn't get the concept of retreat. Before using the teleport switch I lost several IG's on Normal Lister because I couldn't get him to disengage in a fighting retreat. He does do a good job of leaving what he's attacking to follow you if you're running through, though. Just be careful to pause every now and again so he has a chance to make up a little group (casting a nova works nicely).

    As I mentioned, at the end of my Pit running I switched over to a Kelpie Snare base instead of the Insight. I was hoping that being immune to fire and having 75% slow would keep him safe enough that I'd have time to save him with a teleport if things got bad. I must admit that the fact, which should have been obvious, that this would also solve the biggest problem of a poisonmancer (namely, killing act bosses) didn't occur to me until I was in the situation. I think this is a finding that has uses elsewhere - fishymancers, for instance - and it makes me strongly wish that the charges of IG on Metalgrid worked properly (melee build with Kelpie + Reaper's, anyone?). I think the Kelpie Iron Golem needs a little more exploring, though I don't know if I'll be able to get around to it. We'll see.

    Wrapup:

    I feel a little bad about not going through at p5 or higher, but I just couldn't justify the extra time (mostly the muling time with the extra drops and no inventory space).

    I like the Lightning Wolf, I really do, and I think he's certainly viable if you have a lot of wealth to spend on him, but I just don't think there's any build he really belongs with. That, sadly, includes this one. I think the Insight Golem would be much better paired with either a Harmony Rouge (added foot speed is extremely helpful for a poisonmancer, and the elemental damage is complimented very nicely by LR) or a Prayer merc (I'm not a fan of Prayer mercs, but in this case I'd use it). Personally, I would lean strongly towards the Harmony merc for the high FRW, as that, combined with teleport on switch, would greatly speed up both the safety and speed of runs with the char. Might's an option, as always, but if you have an act2 merc you should be getting the damage from him and with big hurty stick it's worth giving up that extra damage to help keep your Insight going with the life regeneration.

    Both of these minions have very good AI. I never had to wonder what had happened to either one (save the 2 times the golem poofed) like sometimes happens to Waheed. In that way, I think they're quite complimentary, not to mention the more obvious complimentary aspect. If, as previously mentioned, the merc's attack skills were changed, or, at least, the lightning frequency was raised, I think this could be as good, or better, as any poisonmancer setup out there.

    Despite my previous statements, one possibly viable alternative for the Iron Wolf would be using him as the merc for a char like my previous poisonmancer, using the skeletons as tanks, which would provide 3 elemental damage types for the party. Wouldn't have to worry about losing the Iron Golem and the wall of skeletons should keep the merc fairly safe. The fire skills would also give you a way to help the merc with unbreakable poison immunes. You're still probably better off with one of the alternatives, though.

    Thanks to:

    -Sirpoopsalot, for the helpful advice and the consistently inspiring builds
    -NagisaFurukawa and nualum, who traded me Insight bases for the Golem
    -maxicek, for one of the +4/-5 facets
    -Ravenlord, for the +3 Shimmering SC of Inertia
    -Ashmer Amadeus, for the Fungal of Balance
    -bassano, for the ilvl88 SoJ
    -Fabian, for giving away the Amber and Emerald SC's of Vita

    and thanks, lastly, to you, for reading this. I hope you got something worthwhile out of it. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Comments, suggestions, and accusations of loss of sanity are, as always, welcome.

    As for my upcoming plans, I have two more projects fleshed out, but I'd also like to make a new char for the MFO (as good as Blizzy has been to me, I think she's earned a rest). I might have time to finish one of those projects beforehand, but no promises.

    Thanks, again, and good luck with whatever you are working on.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2009
  2. buckies

    buckies IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    Good read thanks. You're pretty darn wealthy to be wearing all that on SP :)

    Surprised you didn't find more running the pits for 13 levels with 170 odd MF. I personally prefer running AT with my necro as pits has too many narrow areas to clog my skellies and the Shaman's really tick me off. Guess with a poison mancer though all such issues are mitigated.

    Would he be a better pit runner than a Sorc if he had enigma?
  3. NagisaFurukawa

    NagisaFurukawa IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    Nice character and very comprehensive writeup, maareek. You never do skimp on the details. Here's to hoping those next couple projects go well for you as well.

    P.S. Between the 26 Hel runes and all the expensive -%ELR gear, that mercenary had darn well better have been productive. :D. Nice to see you made him work.
  4. Low Key

    Low Key IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    Always wanted to use an set up like that on a Iron Wolf. Pretty impressive!



    ...Oh and I guess the necromancer is pretty neat, too. :p
  5. Aylear

    Aylear IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    Thoroughly enjoyable read, been waiting for this since you mentioned it. Thanks for your insights on the IG and the Iron Wolf lightning merc. It's too bad the IG does die a fair amount, but I wouldn't trade CE for GM on a Poisonmancer, either.
  6. Moonfrost

    Moonfrost IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    Good read. Having a Death's Web collecting dust in ATMA, I'm tempted to try out a similar poisonmancer myself at some point (perhaps one wearing Trang-Oul's).
  7. Pijus

    Pijus IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    What a wall of text! Very informative and clearly written though.

    I guess this writeup is a little inspirational, since I've recently re-geared my poisonmancer, and am about to beat Hell Baal. Using a harmony rouge since hell act1 :)
  8. Starving_Poet

    Starving_Poet IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    Iron Wolf, I would have never thought to use one with a poisonmancer - but I'm really glad you tried it. It gives me some ideas for when I'm a bit more gear-rich.
  9. maareek

    maareek IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    Thanks for the comments, all.

    @buckies: I've been rather lucky with items, but I've also put in a lot of effort to get so wealthy. Sad thing is, I'm still pretty poor compared to some of the members we have here. Does keep you striving for more, though.

    I was a little disappointed with the Pits finds, as well (and, actually, he had over 200 MF during most of those runs) but so it goes. With an Enigma, a poisonmancer is probably as good a Pit runner as there is (Lightning sorc with Infinity would be close - faster in speed, lower on MF), you should check out these two videos, both of poisonmancers made by folks from this forum.

    @Nagisa: Thanks. I try to make sure people leave my writeups with a good sense of how the char plays out. The hope's always to get others to try things out, after all. As to your PS...my thoughts exactly. Luckily there's not a lot you need Hel runes for, so it's easy to stockpile more, and the Crescent Moon can be reused on my light sorc (from whom I snatched the Griffon's).

    @Low Key: Thanks. I think the set up I used is about as good as you can reasonably hope for, maybe a 4os Monarch stuffed with perfect facets would be better, but considering the loss of 2 cast frames and 2 skills, I doubt it. Let's be honest, though, the necro is basically just a big, overpriced bulldozer with a couple of unusual toys packaged with it. ;)

    @Aylear: I think your char level affects the golem's chance to be hit, as well, so if you're planning on doing a lot of running it should get much more manageable (I lost the majority of those golems in the Pits before level 83). Also, if you're planning on running Pits into the 90's with the char you could put more points in the Mastery early on and finish off CE later.

    @Moonfrost: I hope you do give a poisonmancer a go. In my opinion, with good gear they're about the most fun build out there.

    @Pijus: Glad to hear that, especially the part about using a Harmony rouge. Hope you enjoyed the char!

    @Starving_Poet: I was originally thinking of pairing the Wolf with a barb, but decided against it after reading sirpoopsalot's thread. From his experience, I decided a char with a skill that reduced enemy resistances was key, and that really only left the poisonmancer and a paladin. The poisonmancer seemed like it'd be much more enjoyable.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2009
  10. sirpoopsalot

    sirpoopsalot IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    I'm glad my advice on having teleport helped - even if it's biggest help wasn't where I intended. :thankyou:

    :D


    Very nice write up, especially the info about the Lightning Wolf. I'm glad you went to the trouble of trying it and recording the results in that level of detail. It'll save me from trying to figure out the right build to try one with just to figure out how they can do with LR/Conviction to help them out.
  11. Zylo

    Zylo IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    Nice toon, and awesome rightup. Your A3 Merc may have been not the best possible option, but you get massive style points in my book for rockin' him. :thumbup:

    I was thinking of making a similar build, but substituting CE for Skellies. Do you think that would work, or is CE a crucial part of the build. I know CE is super handy, but could PSN Nova do it alone?
  12. nualum

    nualum IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    Thanks for the detailed writeup - makes for a great read. My poisonmancer (bound for pit running someday) is just envy-twinking his way toward level 15 and ravenclaw... I haven't settled on the exact skill distribution yet: balancing skeletons, golems, and corpse explosion. Without some nice luck between now and then he'll be scraping by with pretty meagre equipment, so I'm leaning toward 15-20 points into summons and 5-10 into CE.
  13. Starving_Poet

    Starving_Poet IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    I played a pure poison mancer - no CE - you just need to find a way to deal with PI/PI
    :ponder::rolleyes::p:D:grin::rolf:
    *teehee* peepee



  14. maareek

    maareek IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    @poops: Thanks, again. As for all the details, I figured if it was worth doing it was worth doing right.

    If you, or somebody else, ever do decide to try the Lightning Wolf with Conviction, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know. I've come up with some ideas I think would work well given the added -eLR of the aura, though I don't think I'd have enough patience with the paladin to test it out.

    @Zylo: Thanks. As for your question, skellies work pretty well, but you don't really have enough points for them to be powerful, even with a might merc. As long as you're ok with them being little more than meatshields, it'll work just fine. You'll have 1 point in CE anyway, and with your +skills and skillers it should be a decent level, which gives you some leeway.

    There's not really anything you have to kill that's poison immune, so it'll work alright.

    @nualum: If you don't have pretty good gear I'd suggest putting most of your spare points into skeletons to use as meatshields. They're more forgiving to lesser equipment than using the golem/high level CE. Good luck.
  15. buckies

    buckies IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    Damn, that's some seriously quick venom. Wish I had the wealth for CTA and Enigma on my necro :)


  16. maareek

    maareek IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    Yeah, those guys are pretty insanely overpowered, but the good thing about the poisonmancer is he does just fine with more attainable gear. Full Trang-Oul's set will give you a very powerful char, and the hat and belt aren't especially difficult to find with relatively frequent MF runs. If nothing else, it'd give you something fun to play while you're working towards the Enigma. ;)
  17. Arkardo

    Arkardo IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    *Casts Revive*

    So how would Stealth instead of Skin of the Vipermagi for the Iron Wolf? You lose about 30% resists to fire/lightning/cold, but you gain:

    so the Iron Wolf needs less time to walk around. Would that help out?
  18. maareek

    maareek IncGamers Member

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    Re: Patriarch Blighter, Poisonmancer with Iron Golem and Lightning Iron Wolf Mercenar

    Not really. That would drop a skill point and a casting frame, as well as the +Strength from the PAmmy in the Vipermagi which would mean you can't use the facet in the Griffon's until level 92. And I'd strongly suggest using teleport on switch or gear for this build, anyway, so I don't see much use in trying to give him FRW as he kept up well enough while I was moving.

    I really don't see any way to improve the gear here for the Iron Wolf (save for leveling him high enough to use a facet in the armor). A 6x 5/5 light facet sword would probably give a small improvement over Crescent Moon, but that wouldn't be worth it. Even a 2 skill armor would mean a loss in FCR and a loss of a facet that I don't think would be worth it. Anyone who can't replicate that gear should probably just use a different merc (I'd definitely suggest going with an act 2 merc with Crushing Blow gear, as poisonmancers do not do well versus bosses) and anyone who can replicate the gear should probably just go with the act 2 merc, anyway.

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