So, you feel like taking part in the Ziz x Shopify Gauntlet starting on the 14th to have a chance at all those juicy prizes, but don’t know which build to go with? (Let’s be honest here, we all want that RTX 3080 since the only way to get one seems to be winning a raffle.) In this post I’m going to give you some ideas on what to go with and how to get past the first runkillers.
Before you even create a character you should probably have a plan on what kind of a build you’re going to be playing.
“But… I don’t really know what can handle these mods and why I would go for X Y or Z”
Well, I’m going to list a couple of the builds that some of the top racers have been thinking about and some of the reasoning behind them.
The first two builds we’re going to be taking a cursory look at in order to help you in your decision making are the current favorites to win the entire race. After that, we’re going to be taking a look at a solid option if your goal is just to get to that level 90 and 200 depth delve to be in the running for those juicy raffle prizes.
Impale, Call of Steel Champion.
A very tanky and fast to get into build, abusing the new call of steel mechanic. The TL;DR of the build is hitting your war cries followed by a massive Ground Slam hit that applies impales onto your enemy, which you then consume with a Call of Steel for massive burst damage.
- Tanky and good recovery
- Extremely high burst damage, especially against bosses with adds
- Low gear requirement
- No mandatory uniques
- Doesn’t get a significant amount of block or dodge (this becomes a bigger issue than you would think with every monster having extra projectiles)
- Daunting to get into as you must study the sacred texts of Dance Dance Revolution in order to keep up with your flask piano and war cry rotations
Bladefall + Blade Blast Poison Assassin.
A nimble dodgy boy. This build has a deceivingly high damage output at a very low investment into gear. Zizaran and some of the other streamers/racers have been practicing this one and the aforementioned champion build in preparation for this race.
- Elusive: this buff along with the Acrobatics and Phase Acrobatics keystone are going to make your life so much easier when it comes to dealing with the extra projectiles some monsters have.
- Extremely high sustained boss damage and clear
- No mandatory uniques
- EXTREMELY easy access to elemental ailment immunity thanks to the pathing on the tree
- A relatively low HP pool, meaning that you have to rely more on your game sense than your face for surviving big hits.
- Early game as an east side dweller means that you will be significantly weaker than the western hemisphere alternatives until you get going.
A generic summoner.
This is the one build that has and probably always will be at least mediocre when you go for it. Sometimes it dominates the ladders, other times it hovers right behind the others with a rock in hand, ready to put the others out of their misery when the nerf bat leaves them writhing in agony.
- Minions that take aggro off of you, giving you grace periods to heal up or logout when you’re too distracted to play the game because a funny youtube video on your other screen requires your attention.
- You can run around like a headless goose most of the time and the minions are going to handle the killing.
- Unreasonably tanky, especially if you manage to craft yourself a life gained on block shield.
- Bone Offering. This thing will make you laugh in joy at the extra projectiles mod when combined with a life gained on block shield.
- Lots of freedom on auras. You can be running extremely offensive auras in generosity or triple purity for that juicy all resistance to be even tankier.
- Easy to transition to almost any kind of summoner build if you get a build enabling item such as Anima Stone or some Cold Iron Points
- Minions. “Wait what, wasn’t that the selling point of this build?” Well, yes and no. Minions can be extremely boring to play for some people, and more importantly, they will draw aggro onto themselves. “Wait, wasn’t that another selling point for them?” Yes, it was. But it is also one of their biggest drawbacks, especially with the extra projectile mod as this means enemies might be targeting a minion that is ahead of you and ends up unceremoniously shotgunning you in the face Doomslayer style.
- If you don’t get extra levels for your minions you are going to run into issues where your minions might end up dying on you.
- Scaling past the mid-tier maps is going to be demanding for gear.
- Getting a spectre chest from delve is extremely RNG heavy as you can only get it from the minion nodes.
So, now you’ve hopefully found yourself a build on the forums or on your favorite streamers youtube channel. Alternatively you can follow along with my summoner leveling process from my test runs to get past Weaver (The Run Killer Extreme).
Starting off this test run I’m going to go with Witch (you can follow along with my planned skill tree by importing it into Path of Building ), as I think the +2 level of minion gems and my offerings affecting myself are going to be invaluable down the line as my goal is just reaching 90 and delving to depth 200. The only worry is that it wouldn’t scale well enough for late game in the short duration of the league but that will not be a worry for me as I am not planning on racing for boss kills.
Things are not going to start off too pleasantly straight out of the gate because with the gauntlet mods, Hillock can one-shot you if he happens to crit or two-shot with normal hits. The way to defeat him reliably is by either standing near him and circling him counter-clockwise, only harming him after his attack animation has started or by running back down the beach and shooting at him as you keep stutterstepping up and down the coastline. Do not tank him.
Pick up blues, rares and chromatic items for currency as you go, you will be needing them down the line and thanking yourself for gathering them before you need them.
Now, we’re going to pick up a freezing pulse from Tarkleigh as our first reward and head out into The Coast. You might think this is a fairly chill zone as long as you don’t do anything stupid but this is actually one of the deadliest zones in the entire leveling process. Keep moving between casting spells as the Cannibals in this zone become extremely deadly with the extra projectiles mod. If you run into Fire and Fury, just keep running and she shouldn’t be able to catch up to you.
Mud Flats is simple enough, try to keep sidestepping the Rhoa charges and don’t mess around with the unique boss in the area. After mudflats take the waypoint back home and grab Summon Raging Spirits and Frostblink. This is a good point to grab a Summon Zombie gem into your gear to level it up early. They’re not really worth summoning at this point as they will be falling over but you will thank yourself later for leveling them early.
Take the waypoint back to the Coast and go deal with Hailrake, take Summon Phantasm Support from the quest reward and link it with your Summon Raging Spirits. After you hit the Prison, go back and deal with Granddaddy crab for that extra skill point. Grab yourself a Summon Skeletons and Infernal Legion Support, 2x Minion Damage Support and a Spell Totem Support.
Our links are going to be:
Summon Skeletons – Infernal Legion Support – Minion Damage Support
Summon Raging Spirits – Spell Totem Support – Minion Damage Support
Summon Zombie – Summon Phantasm Support (we’ll start summoning these guys at around level 20)
Summon Skeletons is going to be our main damage dealer and clearing ability, just drop a couple of Skeletons on each pack as you walk past them and a Summon Raging Spirits totem whenever you face a boss or a tankier monster.
This is where our first mechanics abuse comes in. Head over to the heist area and talk to all of the npc’s and get yourself the level 2 ‘green’ contract. You want to run this contract over and over until you have a decent amount of currency from the items you didn’t want and a good amount of HP and resists, enough to make you comfortable. “How do I run it over and over?” Enter the heist, go and open all of the chests inside then walk out in shame without taking the heist target (important: you will not get this contract again if you return the heist target and will have to migrate all and restart the league to abuse this again, should you choose to do so). You can reset the run by simply speaking to Kurai again and pressing the “Take Contract” dialogue option. They will keep giving you this contract for as long as you want. You can even farm a Loreweave here if you feel inclined to, I personally skip this.
When you feel comfortable with your gear(Keep in mind you want to have a very high cold resistance for Merveil) you should head out and go deal with Brutus. He isn’t significantly scarier, just keep walking around him as you drop your spell totem and burning skeletons on his head while he’s busy attacking nothing.
After Brutus, grab yourself a Vitality (this gem is godlike for leveling any character) and swap your Frostblink over to a Flamedash. Head over to Merveil(If your cold resistances are still low, you can get yourself a pair of Sapphire Rings from Nessa, if they’re in stock or by selling an iron ring and a blue(int) skill gem to a vendor). Her skills get significantly scarier with the gauntlet mods but as long as you don’t panic and keep moving behind her (a little bit further away while she screams in the second phase) you will be fine. Her scariest abilities are the adds in the first phase and the mortar(Very similar to weaver in how it behaves) in the second phase. You can ignore the mortar by sticking close to her.
Now we get to the “fun” part of the early game. Head over to Chamber of Sins and farm the first level of it to level 21-22 (my preference) by resetting at the stairs or at the door (ignoring the waypoint in the center) The reason we want to farm this zone is because both of the broken stairs host a guaranteed champion pack, giving us a nice boost of exp.
After you are done leveling up in sins, you can go clear out everything in the act leading up to Weaver, I recommend helping Alira on almost every build as it is cheap to respec down the line and helps offset the resistance reduction of the gauntlet mods.
Grab summon Skitterbots once you’re done with Fidelitas, it will help you a lot against Weaver even if you are not running it in late game.
When heading to Weaver I recommend having around 700-750 hp and as much resistances as you can get your hands on. If you are scared of the boss fight you can keep resetting the zone until you get Einhar to accompany you. When you go into the boss fight, close the gap between her and yourself IMMEDIATELY as her cluster bomb will kill you in one hit with the gauntlet mods. Defeat her by staying near her at all times, dashing behind her if you need space to breathe. If it feels like you are being overwhelmed or you have to logout, the safest thing to do is to restart the entire instance as she has a tendency of mortaring you as soon as you re-enter the arena.
At this point I recommend you take a break, give yourself a nice pat on the back and get ready for what’s to come. If you feel like you need more information on what to prepare for past this point, take a look at this excellent video from Zizaran. I wish you good luck on your adventure to qualifying for the prizes and as always, stay safe!