Dominating Blow

BalorMage’s Dominating Blow Guardian

Important note!

A few undocumented changes in Harvest league has led to a few alterations to the build. We’re still testing to attain the best possible set-up and the guide will be updated when we’ve finished testing. In the meantime, you can see a progress update in the below video.

Intro

This is a zero budget, league start and hardcore viable build guide designed for all players veteran and new. If you’re a seasoned player and just want the POB link, you can find it below. If you require a more detailed guide then read on!

Videos

Changelog

v2.01 – 22/06/2020

  • If you’re having issues with getting the army out quickly, try Melee Splash instead of Fortify or Maim or Brutality. Awakened Melee Splash is cheap too.
  • Beware Baran and his mobs! They will make your minions appear to be made of paper.
  • Spectres are proving to be quite the liability and you’ll do fine without them. Try carrion golem or stone golem

v2.0 – 18/06/2020

  • Guide overhauled for 3.11 (Harvest League), including:
    • Updated tree (and leveling trees)
    • Added cluster jewels
    • Updated with new warcry skills

v1.0 – 11/03/2020

  • Guide Published

Overview

The written portion of this build guide is designed for new players who feel like they need some hand holding. As such some things that veteran players and experienced racers might do in the early levels have been left out as to not be too complicated. That being said, this should still be a smooth and quick leveling experience.

This build is a little more advanced than the other build guides, involves more important gems and a bit of balancing man reservations and such. We have done our best to cover this but if it is your VERY FIRST league I would suggest running one of the other guides rather than this one.

Path of Building

Not sure how to use Path of Building, or what it is? Engineering Eternity has a brilliant guide that you can check out here https://exiledguides.com/home/poe-tools/path-of-building/

Pastebin Import: https://pastebin.com/8mfpQyw9

Passive Tree, Ascendancy & Pantheon

Level 90 Tree

Link to tree

Ascendancies

  • Normal Lab: Radiant Crusade
  • Cruel Lab: Unwavering Crusade
  • Merciless Lab: Bastion of Hope
  • Eternal Lab: Time of Need

Pantheon

Major – Soul of the Brine King
Upgrading all of this pantheon is a low priority, as the most important part is given to you by default.
Minor  Soul of Shakari
Capture Terror of the Infinite Drifts

Gem Setup

Main Skills: Herald of Purity & Dominating Blow

  • Herald of PurityBrutality SupportMultistrike SupportMelee Physical Damage Support– (Minion Damage from the helmet)
  • Dominating BlowMultistrike SupportBrutality SupportFortify SupportFeeding Frenzy SupportMaim Support

4 Link: Support Spectres

  • Raise SpectreElemental Army SupportBlood Magic Support Meat Shield Support

Other skill gems:

  • Tempest Shield (level 8) – Cast when Damage Taken Support (level 2) – Vaal Molten Shell (level 10)
  • War Banner / Vulnerability / Convocation
  • Flame Dash / Summon Holy Relic / Summon Skitterbots / Rallying Cry or Enduring Cry (depending on whether you want offense or defense)

Gear, Flasks and Jewels

Gear

Gearing for this build is mostly about links; all of your rare gear should just have as much life as you can get while still capping resistances.


Elder Helmet:

  •  +2 /+3 to socketed minion gems.  
  • Any level of “Socketed Gems are Supported by Minion Damage”.

Uniques:

(Refer to the Mapping section for more information about these items)

Flasks

  • Seething/Bubbling Divine Life Flask
  • Alchemist’s Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline  (This is for speedy speed)
  • Quartz Flask
  • Granite Flask
  • Basalt Flask

On these flasks, we will need to roll some affixes when we reach maps.  It doesn’t matter which of the last three flasks has which affix, as long as all three affixes are covered.  
-Staunching, for bleed
-Warding, for curses
-Heat, for freeze
This combination will mean you cannot bleed, be frozen, or be cursed while your flasks are active. This is very helpful and strong, especially with certain map modifiers.

*Note* The Quicksilver Flask could also have any of these suffixes initially if you are okay moving through maps a little more slowly. This is just the ideal setup; what’s really important is you have the Enduring mana, Staunching, Heat, and Warding on utility flasks by the time you enter maps – in that order

Jewels

Primary jewel stats:

  • Life
  • Minions Have chance to taunt
  • Minions have chance to blind

Secondary jewel stats:

  • Minions have increased movement speed
  • Minions have attack speed
  • Minions have # to # increased physical damage

Leveling

There are some good general leveling guides that can be found here for specifics on how to get through the acts: https://exiledguides.com/home/beginner-guides/leveling-guides/ 

Got GemSourceQuest
SmiteRewardEnemy at the Gate
Frost BlinkRewardBreaking Some Eggs
Summon Holy RelicRewardMercy Mission
Ancestral Call SupportNessaMercy Mission
Raise ZombieNessa Enemy at the Gate
Added Fire Damage SupportReward The Caged Brute
Flame DashRewardThe Caged Brute
Minion Damage Support NessaThe Caged Brute

After killing Hillock, choose Smite as the quest reward. While this isn’t specifically a minion skill,  it will be used from here until level 28 to supplement our minions.  Remember you’ll need to use melee weapons with this skill (sceptres are the best option).

Check Tarkleigh for movement speed boots (you can use the search function at the bottom right of the trade window with Ctrl+F and type “move” to search his inventory quickly – this will highlight anything with movement speed).

As we move through the first act, keep an eye out for 3-links dropped on the ground (or from the vendors in town) with the colours Blue Blue Blue. These links can be in any gear slot, though we try to avoid wearing body armour if possible for the first few acts (for speed), and we do prioritise movement speed on boots ahead of sockets or links.

After completing the quests ‘Mercy Mission’ and ‘Breaking Some Eggs’, return to town at the next way point. Pick up Frost Blink and Summon Holy Relic as your quest rewards, along with a Quicksilver Flask. Purchase Ancestral Call Support and link it to Smite, this will increase our clear speed.

Holy Relic is our first useful minion, it provides extra damage whenever you hit something with smite, as well as some flat life regeneration for both you and your other minions.

If you have a spare Scroll of Wisdom, also buy a Raise Zombie from Nessa. Our Zombies may die occasionally at this point, but as we invest more points into minion life regeneration and level the skill gem, they will become tougher.

Once you’ve killed Brutus, select Flame Dash as your quest reward. Don’t forget to left click Flame Dash on your bar and set it to ‘always attack without moving

Buy an Added Lightning Damage Support and two Minion Damage Support gems from Nessa and link these to your Raise Zombies gem (you only need to link one Minion Damage Support gem to your zombies; the second one can be put anywhere in your gear to start levelling it. If you can link it to Holy Relic, that’s even better – but not necessary).

Note: Zombies have a built in AOE slam which means we don’t require Melee Splash for good clear. Also, our own Smite is good for clear anyway.

Complete the passive point quest ‘The Marooned Mariner’ (in the Ship Graveyard). Grab the way point in the Cavern of Wrath and kill Merveil!

Gem links at the end of Act 1:

  • Raise ZombieMinion Damage SupportAdded Lightning Damage Support
  • SmiteAncestral Call Support
  • Flame Dash
  • Holy RelicMinion Damage Support
DomBlow End Act 1 Tree
Tree at the end of Act 1
GotGemSourceQuest
Herald of PurityRewardIntruders in Black
Melee Physical Damage SupportRewardSharp and Cruel
Minion Speed SupportYeenaSharp and Cruel

In this build we Kill all the Bandits for the 2 passive skill point reward. If you haven’t already got a 3-link item with the colours is RedRedBlue, make sure you’re watching out for these, as we’ll need them later this act.

Once you’ve completed ‘Intruders in Black’ (in the Chamber of Sins), Gruest will reward you with Herald of Purity. Link this with the spare Minion Damage Support gem that you bought in Act 1.

Once you complete the quest ‘Sharp and Cruel’, choose Melee Physical Damage Support as your reward and link it to your Herald of Purity gem. At this point you can also purchase a spare Melee Physical Damage Support gem (for the next act). Also buy a Minion Speed Support and swap it with the Added Lightning Damage Support in your Zombie links.

Ideally by the end of this act we have links for our damage abilities, along with other things:

  • Raise ZombieMinion Damage SupportMinion Speed Support
  • Herald of PurityMinion Damage SupportMelee Physical Damage Support
  • Smite Ancestral Call Support
  • Flame Dash
  • Holy Relic
DomBlow End Act 2 Tree
Tree at the end of Act 2
GotGemSourceQuest
Feeding Frenzy SupportRewardFixture of Fate
Fortify SupportVendorFixture of Fate
Summon SkitterbotsVendorFixture of Fate
Maim SupportVendorFixture of Fate

Kill General Gravicius and complete ‘Sever the Right Hand’ to receive Dominating Blow.

Very soon, Dominating Blow will replace Smite and should be in at least a 3 link, Red Red Blue. Most builds do not bother to do the library quest ‘A Fixture of Fate’ – however, a Templar minion build benefits from the ability to buy every gem this early, so don’t skip this quest! (It’s the one where Siosa asks you to find four golden pages).

After completing A Fixture of Fate, select Feeding Frenzy Support as your reward and purchase Fortify Support , Maim Support and Summon Skitterbots from Siosa.

TIP: unlike most other vendors, you’ll need to have the currency in your inventory to buy things from Siosa, as he has no access to your stash – so it’s useful to have the currency on you when you go to do the quest. There is a waypoint very close to the vendor, however. At the time of writing, Fortify costs 1 Chance Orb and Maim costs 1 Orb of Transmutation.

From this point out we are looking for 4-link items for our Dominating Blow, and (depending on your mana) Herald of Purity. Once we have both of these in 4-links, we can drop our Zombies. The links we are after for both of these are 3 Red1 Blue

*Note: Depending on your luck with flat mana you may not be able to afford to use Maim in the Herald of Purity setup. If this is the case, continue with just a 3-link for that skill until we pick up some mana reservation nodes.

The ideal links here will list what you can change into once you have two 4-links.

  • Dominating BlowFeeding Frenzy SupportMelee Physical Damage SupportFortify Support
  • Herald of PurityMelee Physical Damage Support Minion Damage Support Maim (If your mana allows, otherwise leave off maim)
  • Raise ZombieMinion Damage SupportMinion Speed Support (If you still have space)
  • Flame Dash / Holy Relic / Summon Skitterbots
DomBlow End Act 3 Tree
Tree at the end of Act 3
GotGemSourceQuest
Multistrike SupportRewardThe Eternal Nightmare

During Act 4, we unlock Multistrike Support. This is the last big gem setup change for a while. We should keep this gem and level it somewhere in our gear, as we cannot afford to use it till the end of act 5 – but it will be a massive damage increase at that point!

Complete your Normal Labyrinth and ascend to Guardian during this act (generally the best time to do this will be after killing Kaom and Daresso but before killing Malachai). Take Radiant Crusade While there is at least one nearby Ally, you and nearby Allies deal 10% more Damage
While there are at least five nearby Allies, you and nearby Allies have Onslaught
+20% to all Elemental Resistances
with your first ascendancy points. 

This will be a very noticeable increase in power, as well as improving the survivability of your minions. This should also allow us to retain our zombies for the next few acts without a problem,  though we will eventually drop them so don’t get too attached!

From this point on you should only hold onto Raise Zombies until the gem links become to much to handle. Simply drop them whenever you need gem space, as they are not part of the end game build and we will eventually not have room for them at all.  When you complete the quest ‘The Eternal Nightmare’, select Multistrike Support as your reward and begin levelling it.

Ideal gem setup at end of Act 4:

  • Dominating BlowFeeding Frenzy SupportMultistrike SupportFortify Support
  • Herald of PurityMelee Physical Damage SupportMinion Damage Support
  • Flame Dash / Holy Relic / Summon Skitterbots

DomBlow End Act 4 Tree
Tree at the end of Act 4

It is important to note that helmets can roll +1 (and later on +2) to the level of socketed minion gems. So from this point on we should pay extra attention to 4-link helmets that might fit our Herald of Purity colours, as we get mana reservation this act and can now 4-link our Purity. (Minions scale exceptionally well with extra levels so gaining an extra level for Herald of Purity is invaluable.)

DomBlow End Act 5 Tree
Tree at the end of Act 5

Ideal gem setup at end of Act 5:

  • Dominating BlowFeeding Frenzy SupportMultistrike SupportFortify Support
  • Herald of PurityMelee Physical Damage SupportMinion Damage SupportMultistrike Support
  • Flame Dash / Holy Relic / Summon Skitterbots

Be sure to complete Fallen from Grace here – Lily sells all the same gems as Siosa, but you don’t need the currency in your inventory, making it far more convenient.

DomBlow End Act 6 Tree
Tree at the end of Act 6

Keep progressing through the quests, improving your gear along the way, and follow the passive tree. Keep an eye out for linked gear with the right colours if you are missing any. During this act we get the instant warcry keystone. This allows you to pick either an offensive or defensive warcry. Eventually (in mid to late maps) you will want Rallying Cry as an offensive tool, but while leveling if you feel you want more defense you can go with Enduring Cry. This will just be a single link, and should be bound to left click so that it happens automatically as you walk around. You never need to think about the warcry as an active skill, as the keystone turns this into a passive buff.

DomBlow End Act 7 Tree
Tree at the end of Act 7

Nothing changes here – again, keep an eye out for any left-over socket links that you’re missing, and start looking out for decent life/resist gear as we move closer to maps. Be on the lookout for a 5-link chest piece as well.

Complete the Cruel Labyrinth at some point during this act, and choose Unwavering Crusade Nearby Allies deal 30% increased Damage
Nearby Allies have 15% increased Attack, Cast and Movement Speed
Nearby Allies have 30% increased Area of Effect
Nearby Allies Intimidate Enemies for 4 seconds on Hit
Nearby Allies Unnerve Enemies for 4 seconds on Hit
with your second ascendancy points. This is once again a massive buff to both our damage and clear speed.

DomBlow End Act 8 Tree
Tree at the end of Act 8

At this point, make sure you’ve completed any passive point side bosses you may have missed or skipped. Keep an eye out for map worthy gear upgrades, especially jewellery.

One of the first uniques we want for this build is a unique ring, called Circle of Guilt. So, if possible, aim to have a single ring that you can drop and still be resistance capped. (The unique ring will not be available on day 1, but should start showing up regularly on trade from about day 3 onwards..)

DomBlow End Act 9 Tree
Tree at the end of Act 9

By the end of this act, we can get away with a 4-link chest – however we will need to find or buy a 5- or 6-link eventually. (A Tabula Rasa is fine to start with.)

This is our last chance to fix up resistances, so keep an eye out for more gear. Important stats are:

  • higher movement speed boots
  • elemental resistances
  • life

If we happen to come across an additional 4-link item during this act, we can start using support spectres. (Don’t go out of your way looking for the item, as you’ll almost definitely find one in early maps.) If you happen to get the full 4-link you will raise Carnage Chieftain Spectres, which grant you and your allies frenzy charges. These can be found in The Ashen Fields in Act 7.

Do not bother with this until you have the correct 4-link set up though, as the spectres will not survive long enough (or use their frenzy charge skill often enough) without the proper links: Raise SpectreElemental Army SupportBlood Magic SupportMeat Shield Support

Complete the Merciless Labyrinth and choose Bastion of Hope before killing Kitava. This should increase our survivability due to the spell block and block chance. At this point, if you haven’t already, you’ll want to equip a shield in your off-hand. A great unique choice that is often cheap is Ahn’s Heritage – it can also provide additional maximum resistances. We will be replacing this with an Armour base shield that gives % of life on block (a Shaper mod) when one becomes available, however.

DomBlow End Act 10 Tree
Tree at the end of Act 10

Make sure to check and fix your resistances, then proceed to maps and the end game story line!

Mapping

There are a few key items that enable this build to start pushing higher maps. One is a unique claw The Scourge, this drops from Shaper guardians so unless you are farming those early on days 1 to 3,  you’ll want to buy this from trade.

Our next upgrade involves turning our Herald of Purity into a 5-link. In order to do this, we need an elder helmet that has the modifier “Socketed Gems are Supported by Level XX Minion Damage”. The catch, however, is that adding this extra link will make Herald of Purity cost more mana than we have available, so we also need to acquire a Circle of Guilt unique ring to reduce the mana reservation at the same time. 

Helmet:

The elder helmet will likely be self crafted – you can do this with any Elder helmet and a Bound Fossil. The rolls we are after are:

  •  +2 to socketed minion gems (if you can afford to buy an ilvl 86 helmet, then +3).  
  • Any level of “Socketed Gems are Supported by Minion Damage”. (The difference between a level 16 minion damage and a level 20 minion damage is negligible.)
HoP Helmet
Example of a well rolled helmet

Ring:

There are a few different modifiers this ring can have, we need one with the following mods:

  • Herald of Purity has (15–20)% reduced Mana Reservation. NOTE: This needs to be 20% – but you can buy it at a lower roll and use divine orbs. Fertile Catalysts can also add quality which will make the value higher.
  • Sentinels of Purity deal (40–60)% increased Damage

Note that the implicit values of the ring are random, there’s nothing you especially need in the implicits, so buy whatever you can afford (the mods that best synergise with our build will also be the more expensive rings).

Example of Circle of Guilt ring
DOMBLOW End Game (no cluster)
End game tree (after obtaining a HoP ring)

Further Improvements

Once you obtain a second Circle of Guilt ring, and some appropriate cluster jewels (the details of these are in path of building), you can respec your tree to gain more offensive and defensive power.

Tree for high tier maps (2 HoP rings required)