Build Guide - Fire Huntermentalist, updated and extended version d

Ed from Russia

Diabloii.Net Member
Build Guide - Fire Huntermentalist, updated and extended version

Here’s an updated version of the guide I posted about a week ago. I’ve added more on equipment, damage calculations and some other stuff, based on the comments the original guide received.




BUILD GUIDE – FIRE HUNTER (Hybrid Hunter / Fire Elementalist)

OVERVIEW

After building several druids, including a Hunter, Wind Druid, Fury Wolf and Fire Claws Bear, I have started building the Hunter-Mentalist GeoIgnitor. I have been looking around but haven’t found any guide that describes this build (though the build was inspired by the Hunter and Fire Elementalist guides at the Strategy Compendium).

This description is based on my experience in Normal, Nightmare and Act I of Hell. However, since I have created this character offline (due to temporary lack of decent internet access), I have to work with the equipment I can find, and doubt if I will manage to do well at Hell difficulty. I hope that this guide is inspiring enough for other players, with access to godly gear, to attempt this and report back on feasibility in Hell.

This guide is very skills-focused, and does not cover equipment in detail. See other Druid guides for help in this area.

The guide will cover the following items:
1. Introduction
2. Skills
3. Stats
4. Equipment
5. Mercenary
6. Strategy
7. Damage calculation



1. INTRODUCTION

Though I play other characters, I keep coming back to Druid builds – since the release of LOD about 40% of my builds must have been Druids. Druids may not be the most powerful or fastest, but they are the most versatile characters in the game. The only restriction is that you cannot cast (most) elemental skills in ww/wb form, but apart from that you can combine many different skills and still make a viable character. In addition, Druids are not restricted in their choice of weapon, and can be played melee or ranged.

This build is an attempt to combine the strongest skills from the Summoning and Elemental trees, while still making it safe and easy to play. The summons and mercenary are able to tank or at least distract monsters, while you can stay at a distance using bow and fire skills. The builds does not require you to use many hotkeys; apart from re-summoning now and then you will only use either Fissure or Volcano on right click and normal (bow) attack on left.



2. SKILLS

This build can be created in many various ways, but the skills can be separated into 3 types: core, specialization and support skills. Core skills are the ones that this build is created around. Without them your character will be seriously weakened, or you are simply building something different and should stop reading this guide. Specialization skills are optional – depending on the choice(s) you make you give your build a different focus. Support skills are skills that require few points but can give you a benefit you’re looking for.

Each type is described in the sections below, as well as an overview of the skills that are not recommended for this build.


CORE SKILLS – essential for each build

Summoning
Summon Dire Wolves – 10-20 pts
Summon Grizzly – 1-20 pts
For this build it is best to use both Dire Wolves and Grizzly, depending on your play style and the situation. Even if you use Dire Wolves during regular play to cover more monsters, you will still use your Grizzly whenever facing a Boss. By maximizing both Dire Wolves and Grizzly you will have summons with decent life and damage. However, if you prefer to use your creatures only as tanks, and instead focus on stronger fire skills, you can choose to place only one point in Summon Grizzly.

Fire Skills
Fissure – 20 pts
Volcano – 20 pts
Again, for this build you use each skill in a different situation. Fissure is an area spell that works best with packs of monsters, while Volcano is a single-point attack and your choice with bosses. The skills synergize with each other, so no points are wasted.


SPECIALIZATION SKILLS – choose one or two to focus your character

Oak Sage – 20 pts
Placing points in Oak Sage will significantly strengthen your summons, merc and yourself. You need to max this skill if you use it, otherwise Oak Sage will be too weak to survive at higher levels.

Molten Boulder, Firestorm or Armageddon – 1-20 pts
You can increase the damage of either Fissure or Volcano, depending on your personal preference, by boosting their synergies. Out of the three choices, Armageddon is probably the most useful since it can be used in combination with the other skills, and benefits from synergies from both Volcano and Fissure. However, if Fissure is your main skill, you probably want to max Firestorm because it is the only choice that synergizes with Fissure.

Cyclone Armor – 20 pts
Hurricane – 1 pt
Cyclone Armor gives you extra protection from elemental damage. This will allow you to focus your equipment more toward attack rating and damage, making your bow attack more powerful. A point in Hurricane (plus 2 prerequisites) will allow you to slow surrounding enemies (with a 50 seconds duration thanks for Cyclone Armor synergy). Its damage will be negligible but the slowing effect will make your Summons and your own attack more effective.

Poison Creeper – 10-20 pts
Poison Creeper is a highly underrated skill. It is great at distracting monsters, even act bosses, so you can attack freely. In addition, infected creatures cannot replenish life. At a higher skill point investment, Poison Creeper also gives you a way of dealing with Fire and Physical immunes. Note: you can also get a level-21 Poison Creeper from the ring Carrion Wind, allowing you to allocate your skill points elsewhere.


SUPPORT SKILLS – optional small investment for good extra properties

Carrion Vine – 1 pt
For one point you get two benefits: life replenishment and disposal of bodies. Since the vine is under ground most of the time where he is untouchable, you don’t need to worry about his low life.

Raven – 1-5 pts
Ravens are quite effective for their cost. They don’t do much damage, but they distract monsters and blind them. At the least you should cast them when approaching bosses, distracting them may give you the upper hand. One point is normally sufficient to get the maximum of 5 Ravens with +Skills from your equipment. Boosting it further for additional damage and hits is not necessary since the damage remains low and recasting is easy enough.


NOT RECOMMENDED – skills that don’t work for this build

Wind elemental skills
This build is based on Fire skills, which could in theory be replaced by Wind skills, e.g. Tornado. A combination is not possible since both require investment in synergies to be effective, and you need points for the Summoning tree. There are 2 reasons why I consider Fissure/Volcano better than Tornado for this build. First, Fissure and Volcano only need to be cast every 5-10 seconds to be effective, allowing you to do other stuff in between (i.e. shooting arrows, checking health of summons and recasting). In contrast, Tornado requires a lot of attention. Second, since your summons are already doing physical damage, Fire skills give you a way to deal with Physical immunity, while Tornado does not.

Spirit Wolves
1 to 5 points here is sufficient to get you through the first Acts of Normal. Dire Wolves are better, so you will never use Spirit Wolves after lvl 18. The bonus Spirit Wolves provides to Wolves/Grizzly is unnecessary (your minions do fine without extra AR and defense), and you’ll be better off spending your points elsewhere.

Heart of Wolverine
Although in other builds (shapeshifting, hunter) Heart of Wolverine is a good alternative to Oak Sage, in this build its benefits are lowered because you will rely for a large part on Fire damage, that is not increased by HoW.

Solar Creeper
This build is not mana-intensive, and therefore there is little need for extra regeneration once your mana pool is big enough (once you get to around character level 30).

Shapeshifting skills
Since Fissure and Volcano cannot be cast in ww/wb form, shapeshifting skills are not a good choice.


SKILL PROGRESSION

As soon as you can, get a point in Spirit Wolves (at lvl 6), 3 points in Dire Wolves (at lvl 18) and Grizzly (at lvl 30). This will be enough for them to shield you against attackers throughout Normal. Max Fissure as quickly as you can, since this skill will make Normal quick and painless. Next, max Dire Wolves to make your summons good tanks for Nightmare. The next step is to max Volcano as your 2nd Fire skill and synergy to Fissure. After that boost Summon Grizzly or the specialization skills you chose. Get the support skills as soon as they become available.


SAMPLE BUILDS

Each of these builds has about 90 skill points, so is achievable around lvl 80-82.

Fire damage focused, summons as tanks with low damage
20 Fissure
20 Volcano
10+ Armageddon or Firestorm
20 Dire Wolves
20 Oak Sage
1 Grizzly
1 Carrion Vine

Summons damage focused, with Fire Skills as support
20 Dire Wolves
20 Grizzly
20 Fissure
20 Volcano
10+ Oak Sage
1 Carrion Vine

Balanced build, with ability to deal with Physical and Fire immunities; build of GeoIgnitor. If you are using Carrion Wind for the level-21 Poison Creeper, replace this by Oak Sage.
20 Fissure
20 Volcano
10 Dire Wolves
20 Grizzly
20 Poison Creeper


Interesting variant: Melee build, with protection from Cyclone Armor and (weak) Hurricane, effective Armageddon, Fissure for taking out ranged monsters and wolves/grizzly merely as tanks.
20 Fissure
20 Volcano
10 Dire Wolves
1 Grizzly
20 Cyclone Armor
1 Hurricane
20 Armageddon



3. STATS

Strength – enough for equipment
This depends on the armor and bow you intend to use, and how much bonus you expect your gear will give you. Planning for around 120 (including bonuses) will give you decent flexibility.

Dexterity – at least enough for bow
170 is a good point to aim for as it will allow you to equip any bow you find. There is no reason to increase this any further because (1) there are better sources of AR than dexterity, (2) you will focus on elemental damage that is not boosted by increasing dexterity, and (3) you need your points for Vitality.
Yossarian adds: “… for your dex on bow. Think 146 for Widowmaker.â€

Vitality
Everything else. Aim for 250+.

Energy
Base. This Fissure and Volcano are not mana-intensive, and you rarely need to re-summon your minions. You will experience shortage of mana only early in Normal, but this can be overcome by socketing Sapphires, by drinking potions, or by not casting Fissure too often and instead relying on your minions and bow.



4. EQUIPMENT

You should look for the following attributes in your equipment:

Fire / Summoning enhancement
+ (Druid / Summoning / Elemental / Fire) Skills, +mana, mana steal, mana regeneration

Bow attack enhancement
(Elemental) damage, attack rating, increased attack speed, knockback

Safety
Resistances, defense, cannot be frozen, fast run/walk, replenish life, life steal, +life


WEAPON (Thanks to Strid for the overview of good bows & crossbows)

First choice: Faith (runeword) in great bow or Blade Bow
The Fanaticism aura will work for yourself, your mercenary and your minions, and you get +1-2 skill bonus. A drawback is that it does Fire and Physical damage, so it does not give you a way to deal with dual immunes. Keep another bow on switch for this, e.g. socketed with PTopazes or Ort runes.

Other options:
Widowmaker - Fires magic arrows, giving you an additional source of damage.
Kuko Shakaku - Fires explosive arrows and always hits.
Witchwild String – Chance to cast Amp Damage, which will help your minions
Buriza Do-Kyanon – high damage, high speed, piercing …
Demon Machine – Fires explosive arrows, high weapon speed, piercing


ARMOR

First choice: Chains of Honor (runeword) in Archon Plate or other 4-socket armor
Gives +2 to all skills, 8% life leech and +65 to resistances

Other options:
None.


HELM

First choice: Ravenlore
Gives +3 to elemental skills, and reduces fire resistance of monsters. The +7 to Raven will make this skill more playable.

Other options:
Jalal’s Mane – Almost as good as Ravenlore: +2 to all skills and other useful attributes


BELT

First choice: Arachnid’s Mesh
Gives +1 to skills.

Other options:
Verdungo’s Hearty Cord – boosts vitality and replenish life.
Razortail - +dexterity and piercing attack
String of Ears – life leech.


BOOTS

First choice: Waterwalks or Gore Rider
Both have good attributes, differences are minor.


GLOVES

First choice: Magefist
Gives +1 to Fire Skills.

Other options:

Lava Gout - 20% IAS and extra fire damage.
Laying of Hands – 20% IAS


RINGS

Ring 1: Ravenfrost
Strong boost to AR and Cannot Be Frozen.

Ring 2: Carrion Wind
By using Carrion Wind to cast Poison Creeper (lvl 21), skill points can be allocated elsewhere.

Other options:
Bul-Kathos Wedding Band – Gives +1 to all skills.


AMULET

First choice: Highlords’s Wrath
+1 to all skills, 20%IAS and lightning damage.

Other options:
Mara’s Caleidoscope: +2 to skills and resistances
Rising Sun - +1 to Fire Skills and Fire damag



5. MERCENARY

Like most builds, the Act II Mercenary is the best option. It is a good tank, and gives an aura to your minions. Out of the possible auras, Might will boost damage of yourself and your minions, and is therefore the best option. Holy Frost is also a decent option.

Equipment for mercenary:
Pride (runeword) in any exceptional / elite polearm gives yourself and your minions a Concentration aura, and adds lightning damage to your merc’s attack (to deal with Fire and Physical immunes). There are several options for armor and helm, but look for life leech, increased elemental damage and resistances.



6. STRATEGY

Groups of monsters
The easiest way to deal with groups is to wait for your wolves/bear and mercenary to engage and keep the group in one place. Next, cast Fissure under the group. Aim Fissure at the group leader, especially if he can resurrect minions. You can take out ranged monsters simply by casting Fissure under them, and/or by casting a bear/wolf close to them. For fast monsters, cast Fissure in between your character and the group. To make this easier, keep the mouse pointer close to your character whenever you are walking/running. The moment you see a group approaching you cast Fissure, step back a bit to get behind your minions and you start shooting arrows. This build is really made for dealing with groups – you’ll be able to do the Flayer Jungle with your eyes closed.

Bosses
Summon your Grizzly – Dire Wolves will die too quickly with bosses. Before you get close cast Fissure in front of you in case the boss rushes toward you. Let your Grizzly and merc engage, and cast Volcano under the boss’ feet. Keep recasting Grizzly when his life is almost gone and cast Volcano every 5-10 seconds. Shoot arrows in the meantime. As is the problem with all non-shapeshifting Druid builds, your variety of skills lacks real ‘punch’, an attack that deals good damage to a single target, which means that killing bosses is slow. In particular Diablo and Baal will take effort, though you are quite safe as long as you keep re-summoning your Grizzly on time. If applicable, do not forget to cast your Ravens, Oak Sage, Poison Creeper, Armageddon, Cyclone Armor and/or Hurricane. However, do not get confused with recasting them; your Grizzly and Volcano are most important.

Fire and Physical Immunes
If your build is decently balanced you can deal with Fire immunes through your minions (and Volcano, which does 50% physical damage), and with Physical immunes through your Fire Skills. Dual immunes are rare, and can be taken care of with a bow with high elemental damage (if necessary keep a bow with Perfect Topazes and/or Ort runes on switch), and possibly with Poison Creeper.



7. DAMAGE CALCULATION

Here are some indicative numbers on damage from fire skills Fissure and Volcano. For both skills totals are calculated at skill level 30, 35 and 40, depending on the number of +skills from equipment and charms you have. The list shows number for 20 synergy points (achieved by maxing both Fissure and Volcano) and 40 synergy points (which can be reach by maxing another synergy for either Fissure or Volcano)

The damage depends on:
- Base damage, depending on number of skill points incl. equipment bonuses
- Synergy bonus = number of hard skill points * bonus per point
- Bonus to fire damage (from Fire Facets).

The Fire damage is calculated as follows:

Damage = Base Damage * (1 + synergy%) * (1 + fire damage bonus%)

For simplicity, I have ignored the effect of Facets. To calculate the total damage, multiply the numbers listed below with 1.1 for one facet, 1.2 for 2 facets, etc. This assumes 5/-5 Facets.


FISSURE

Fissure gives pure fire damage. The numbers indicated below are based on listed damage figures. However, Fissure damage has a number of unknown effects:
- Faster monsters suffer more damage
- Over the 6 second duration, the damage is highest in the middle 2 seconds, and less at the beginning and end.
- The faster the hit recovery of a monster, the higher the damage

Lvl 30 Fissure, 20 points in synergy: 1100 Fire
Lvl 35 Fissure, 20 points in synergy: 1300 Fire
Lvl 40 Fissure, 20 points in synergy: 1500 Fire

Lvl 30 Fissure, 40 points in synergy: 1900 Fire
Lvl 35 Fissure, 40 points in synergy: 2250 Fire
Lvl 40 Fissure, 40 points in synergy: 2600 Fire


VOLCANO

Volcano does about 50% Fire damage and 50% Physical damage. Both are listed, as well as the total.

Lvl 30 Volcano, 20 points in synergy: 550 Fire + 550 Physical = 1100 total
Lvl 35 Volcano, 20 points in synergy: 700 Fire + 700 Physical = 1400 total
Lvl 40 Volcano, 20 points in synergy: 900 Fire + 900 Physical = 1800 total

Lvl 30 Volcano, 40 points in synergy: 950 Fire + 950 Physical = 1900 total
Lvl 35 Volcano, 40 points in synergy: 1200 Fire + 1200 Physical = 2400 total
Lvl 40 Volcano, 40 points in synergy: 1500 Fire + 1500 Physical = 3000 total
 

MaxMax

Diabloii.Net Member
Hi thx for this...

I can see you also focus on oak as main spirit, and I noticed with mine(How) that life is very low.

Will I have enough AR, just from the Fana aura, if i'am not using HoW. I don't plan on using ravenfrost either, and will approx. have 130 dexterity...any thoughts?
 

Ed from Russia

Diabloii.Net Member
Keeping spirits alive is always an issue - monsters seem to target them all the time. Nothing you can do but recast them when necessary.

Your AR will probably be quite low - that's a general problem with Druids I think (unless you use certain ss skills). Fanaticism should give a good boost. But I'm not sure if it really matters - your bow is only one of 3 damage sources (fire, summons, bow).
 

safetypro

Diabloii.Net Member
Hi Ed,
Thought I should revive this thread with an update from my Hunter Fire Mentalist. I'm presently level 83 in act 4 Hell and have not experienced any insurmountable difficulties to this point. I went ahead with my idea of using Pride on my mercenary with great success. Here is a recap of my build:

Summon Tree:
20 Oak sage
20 Dire Wolves
15 Grizzly (still lvling)
Elemental Tree:
20 Fissure
20 Volcano
...and all prerequisites of course

Equipment:
CoH AP
Ravenlore with 5/5 Fire Facet
IK Gloves, Belt and Boots
Mara's
Ravenfrost
Carrion Wind
Faith Great Bow (+2/15)
HOTO and Spirit (switch)
Torch, Anni
4 Summon GC's
2 Elemental GC's (2 more coming)
2 AR GC's

Might Merc:
Andariel's
CoH
Pride CV

The lvl 21 poison creeper (from Carrion Wind) was useful in nightmare but soon became ineffective in hell. The Ravens have been very helpful and I keep them summoned as much as possible.
The wolves and grizzly are very effective, especially with the fanatism, might and concentration auras combined.
The most effective strategy has been to use fissure for most monsters and let the wolves do their job. I found that the volcano was helpful in tight spaces or narrow corridors like the Arcane Sanctuary or the Maggot Lair. I only use my bow to help out with tough monsters and especially PI's. The additional fire damage from the arrows helps. I've met up with a few FI/PI's and found them tough but doable. Volcano works fine on bosses in conjunction with my merc, grizzly and bow and is also helpful vs. PI's. Someone doubted the volcano's effectiveness without the molten boulder synergy however, it works quite fine. Have cleared act 4 up to the river of flame and intend to do chaos sanctuary within next couple days.

All in all this has been a fun build and I have enjoyed playing this character a bunch. This is not a highly overpowered build like a zealot or hammerdin however, I have not yet died with this character. I highly recommend it to anyone else who wants to try a new druid build.

safetypro
 

Ed from Russia

Diabloii.Net Member
Tnx for the feedback. Since I made this build untwinked I did experience problems in Hell. I haven't found a proper bow or runes to make one, and I've actually switched to Javelin & shield, but like you I rarely use this. I always use Fissure except on bosses, when I use Volcano. Also, I put my skill points in Poison Creeper so don't have Oak Sage, but I don't really miss it because 'm pretty safe behind my wolves and shield.
 

safetypro

Diabloii.Net Member
I imagine that this would be tough untwinked. I am fortunate that I was able to gather a bunch of +skills gear to make the fire skills and summons more effective. How useful is the poison creeper in Hell? I stopped casting mine back in act 1 as it kept dying and costing me 4000 gold every cast to regen the carrion wind ring. What skill level would poison creeper have to be in order to be viable in hell?
 

Ed from Russia

Diabloii.Net Member
You need about slvl 20 for Poison Creeper to be somewhat effective, including equipment bonus. Mine is lvl 23 (15 hard points + 8 from equipment), and works ok. It still dies a lot, but is a great distraction and even does some damage. And it's not really a problem to cast it frequently.
 

spatula

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Build Guide - Fire Huntermentalist, updated and extended version

bumping an old post I know, but I'm just wondering how crucial it is to make it in a four socket great or blade bow? I've collected the runes, but I only have lower quality bows like double and composite etc. I'm obviously not wanting to waste these high runes so I just want to make sure I get this right. Is it worth roaming around searching for the suggested bows? Or will it not make THAT much of a difference? (I completely new to bows...)
 

Ed from Russia

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Build Guide - Fire Huntermentalist, updated and extended version

I'm assuming you're talking about Faith. I haven't tried a non-elite bow for this, but I expect the damage to be a problem with exceptional types. Your bow is not your main attack skill, but you still want it to be effective when you use it. Another point is that if you ever want to use the bow for another characters, or if you want to trade it, making it in an elite bow just makes a lot more sense.

If I were you I would stick with an elite bow, though you could go with a Crusader or Shadow bow as well. They are a bit slower, but do more damage per shot. This means you will need to do a bit more MFing (without MF gear). Also note that with the horadric cube formulas you can make sockets in normal weapons, so a white bow may also work (if you're lucky with the number of sockets you get).
 

safetypro

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Build Guide - Fire Huntermentalist, updated and extended version

I chose a Great Bow for it's speed. Only the Blade Bow and Great Bow are -10 and the Great Bow did the highest damage of the two. Revisting my gear selection choices, I used IK gloves which would have given me 25% IAS. It's been a while since I made this build so I can't remember what my speed caculations were however, I am a stickler for details so I'm sure I was reaching a decent frame rate.

I'm glad someone resurrected this guide. It was a challenging build but was a lot of fun to play. I highly recommend it for someone with wealth enough to go with the good gear choices.
 

spatula

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Build Guide - Fire Huntermentalist, updated and extended version

Cheers for the replies.

I'm currently up to Diablo on normal with a maxed fissure... Using a wizendraw and destroying everything but that's not amazing for normal. Proof will be when I get to the FIs in Hell....

Will go and do some tunnels with my blizzard sorc to find me some nice bows. I have a few Larzuk quests on some characters so I'll utilise them if I need to.

It'll be nice to have OIAS actually do something for once! Will go and check the breakpoints on the German calc once I find a suitable bow..

Still not 100% sure where I'm going with the skill points. Think i might go for fissure/volcano + strong summons since having sweet as dogs and bears are what makes me a "hunter" :alright:

cheers
 

grislum

Diabloii.Net Member
Hi Ed :) Ive been working on a couple different of your builds, a fully synergized fire druid, minus Armageddon that you talk about on your other guide, and a fissure/volcano dire wolf/grizzly hybrid, and they are both fun..Ive always thought a fire druid could be fun, and is :D I feel like in a weird way a druids fire and wind and summoning skills especially, are one big sliding scale of possibilities, and Ive worked out yet another in my head, and I have no idea if itd work, does anyone have experience in a fire/wind hybrid: what I'm talking about is max fissure/volcano, and cyclone armor/tornado, with a bear to tank. Extra points could be put in either firestorm for a stronger fissure, or twister for a stronger tornado, or a third route, into bear for more damage, or some in oak sage or really just a mixture to taste. You could spam tornados during a volcano since you cant use any other fire skills for that 4sec, and even get a few off during a fissure cast. Anyway, I appreciate if anyone has any insight or advice into this possible variant :) I suppose you could even put a point into hurricane and Armageddon, or more, depending..youd have both cyclone armor and fissure maxxed, as they are the time-extender skills for those, and one synergy of each maxxed also, so anyway :)
 
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