(under construction, updates soon)
Welcome, all you faithful!
…I like Summoners.
With the Alpha well under way, this approach to building Summoners gets its own guide to avoid the comparative/expositional baggage that otherwise came with Alpha mini-guides.
Still, obligatory disclaimers!
Disclaimer: As 2038 progresses, much of the info in these guides is very likely to, or even bound to, not apply in the future. The purpose of these guides is to highlight how classes differ from their Global/SP counterparts, so as to provide leveling testers with more efficient ways to test later content.
Disclaimer #2: The builds outlined below are most often functional after lv30, as they do often use lv25-30 skills. It is noteworthy that not all such builds will be easy to start from lv1 with, either due to high gear dependency (ie Shrapnel) or a significant lack of AoE that would assist in leveling. Therefore, in such cases it is highly advised that testers either
- deviate from such builds in favor of more AoE-oriented ones early on, and later reskill to them, or
- account for the relative lack of AoE through the use of early/mid-game weapons that assist in that front, either by themselves or by providing AoE skills.
Why would one use guns?
Cabalist guns are underwhelming by most standards. However, Darkform may not be a suitable skill/approach to spearhead all builds; pushing a ranged class into melee range may not always be preferable, after all.
The old “zoo” builds (41-Elemental builds, or Elemental-heavy ones anyway) that facilitated a near-AFK playstyle before are not sustainable either; Elementals are far too fragile, and some enemies are just too powerful for the current form of the class to tank.
So guns become a necessary option to consider; be they AoE/nova guns for farming, crit guns for bosses, or sfx guns for specific scenarios that require them, some Cabalist guns may be modded/framed into viability.
Which builds can work with guns?
Using guns does not come with much cost in terms of build options. Darkform naturally doesn’t work with them (though one would probably want to avoid DF to resort to guns to begin with), and a few skills require a focus item to use.
Apart from those however, any traditional build that could work without guns can work with them.
A sample gunslinger build, lifted from my old mini-guide, can be found below:
Sample Warper/nova gunslinger"Note, this build takes for granted a +1 to All Skills helmet. This is much easier to augment compared to Global, and it's generally not a rare augment by any means.
Such gear as Tuskull, Balbi’s Ring, Remnants of Grregas and other +AS/+skill weapons and rings can also provide room to expand on such builds. They are not accounted for here, to ensure gear dependency is kept at a bare minimum.
1/10 Spectral, 10/10 Forces
As in the above build, the former is meant to provide a chance to phase enemies, while the latter are meant to be used as meatshields when needed. I’m using 10 Forces both for their synergy with Elemental Nova, and to maximize the number of diversions for enemies.
Fewer points in Forces and more points in other Elementals can be invested according to personal preference, of course.
10/10 Elemental Nova, 5/5 Master of the Elements
The latter is an absolute necessity due to the limited power pool, while the former is chosen for its short cooldown and decent radius/stun strength.
Fewer points can be invested in Elemental Nova. 1 is still needed for access to Master of the Elements.
3/6 Blood Link (4/6 with +1 AS), 10/10 Summoning Circle
Note: 3 points in the former are a prerequisite for the latter, despite the planner’s depiction.
Same as with the above build, both skills are meant to boost the Warper’s survivability.
10/10 Warper, 7/7 Spellstorm
The Warper is the focus of the build, so it is maxed for the damage boost. Spellstorm is meant to be used as a reliable way of phasing enemies.
Based on one’s power pool and/or personal preference, Spellstorm can be swapped with Spectral Strike or skipped entirely."
Traditional gear choices apply here.
Gear with +minion stats is always useful, and Feral gear does help most gun-based builds by providing +crit that boosts damage. Of course sfx builds could prefer sfx-specific Mythics instead.
Gear with +stats is also very useful, especially gear with +ACC/STA; ACC provides CDB that most guns can use, and STA is a usual feed requirement that should be covered.
If the focal point of a build becomes a set of guns, that’s what will determine how a build will be constructed.
In this vein, guns can be grouped together based on their intended use; vastly different guns can fulfill similar purposes as long as their inherent characteristics allow it.
Candidates in this group are Defilers(/Spoilers), Magma Cannons, Hive Shards(/Hive Crystals), Pyrosmashers, and Chaos Pistols.
A gun may be useful as an AoE option as long as it has
- good base radius,
- reasonable Rate of Fire,
- decent base damage,
- as many mod slots as possible.
Mod slots are invaluable, as they can be used to either increase base radius or buff damage/sfx strength (depending on what secondary purpose the player wishes to work towards).
The Mythic “Global” affix (+~100% radius) can either push a gun with low radius into viability, or push one further.
Candidates in this group are Baneblasters(/Scourgeblasters), Viridian Drakes(/Jade Hydras), Biotox Rifles, and Rebounders.
A gun may be useful as a nova gun as long as it has
- as high Rate of Fire as possible,
- as many mod slots as possible.
Range is also optional, as low range may endanger the player.
High Rate of Fire allows novas to trigger as often as possible, and a high number of mod slots increases the maximum amount of novas that a gun can carry.
Candidates in this group are Baneblasters, Pyrosmashers, Chaos Pistols, and Typhoon Rifles.
A gun may be useful as a crit gun as long as it has
- as many slots as possible, and
- optimal damage/RoF ratio.
Since CCM and +elemental damage are paramount to crit setups, mod slots provide more room to facilitate them. Mythics with dual +elemental damage affixes are likely ideal, with single ones being a close second.
CCM is also a top priority, since it boosts base crit chance tremendously, so augmenting it on weapons is highly advised.
Feral gear provides base +crit chance, and is the only armor line that provides it (excluding very few standalone Uniques like Balbi’s Ring and Veiled Threat). Thus, any crit build benefits massively from using it.
The Surgical Precision expertise is also invaluable, as it provides +crit.
#4: Utility and sfx
In terms of utility, Celestial Spikers(/Spectral Spikers/Ethereal Spikers) and Taskmasters(/Puppet Masters) can provide unique benefits.
A gun qualifies as a utility option in this list as long as it can
a) provide some unique option that other guns don’t, or
b) provide some unique benefit for the weapon slot, even if it’s not useful as a gun.
Spikers provide healing which is not interrupted by shock, and can also be used along with Brom’s Curse outside of shock.
Taskmasters may not be useful as guns, but many Unique variants of them provide unique bonuses for the weapon slot; The Master’s Hand is the most notable example of this, as it provides +1 to all Summoner Skills.
In terms of sfx, Lightning Leech Launchers and Bloodshards can be of use.
A gun (or focus item in this case) can excel at applying sfx as long as it has
- good Rate of Fire,
- as many slots as possible for +sfx mods, or
- some unique mechanic that facilitates sfx.
Lightning Leech Launchers come with a unique mechanic that makes them viable; leeches deal damage over time, and subsequent ticks all seem to carry the gun’s sfx strength.
Bloodshards’ unique autofire is very efficient at applying sfx as well. Being focus items, using one (or two) allows the use of such spells as Drain Life and Elemental Drain.
Tuskull is a very notable Unique Bloodshard, as it comes with phase attack strength, points in 2 healing skills, and 2 HP bonuses.
Using Bloodshards does allow combinations with guns from other categories to be considered, which will be covered next.
Sfx-focused builds can benefit massively from the following.
- Mythic variants of guns/Bloodshards that have a Mythic +sfx strength affix, or guns with Legendary +sfx affixes.
- Mythic mods that have a Mythic +sfx affix, or Legendary counterparts.
- Mythic armor pieces that have a Mythic +sfx affix.
- Rings and dye kits that have an inherent +sfx affix.
- The Affliction expertise.
To be added.