Tuesday 27 August 2019

Guide Compendium for the New Season - patch 2.6.6

So this one is a little late, isn't it? I truly apologize, but a pesky goblin named Gamescom whisked me away and stole my attention for much of the week! :) Now that we're here though - welcome to Season 18, with the theme of the Triune! Throughout Season 18, circles of power will spawn during combat, which empower characters in various ways; they affect combat from the humblest character beginnings, all the way to the highest of Greater Rifts. These newfound effects will cause you to reposition, shift and weave through combat more than you might be used to - and personally, I find it a great incentive to try out some of the more mobile builds.


(No, really!)


Patch 2.6.6 brings some unexpected and exciting changes, introducing jewelry that rivals some of the most popular staples, reworks crafted sets into very powerful and enticing options for builds, and brings the usual round of reworks and additions of legendary powers to items - some of which are incredibly potent! Amulets like the Flavor of Time and Squirt's Necklace will shake the position of Hellfires in many builds, while legendary powers like Echoing Fury and Messerschmidt's Reaver will surely bring out new builds, as well as enhance older ones. And by the way, Mortick's Brace came back. Hell, it was about time.


Before moving on to class impressions and recommendations, I just want to give a quick pointer to the new basics and conquest guides that I compiled recently. If you are new to the game, returning after a long break, or simply have friends that you want to get into Diablo, give those a read:

Beginner Seasonal Guide

Bounty Farming Guide

Regular "Nephalem" Rift Farming Guide

Greater Rift Farming Guide

Conquest Guides for Season 18

As a guide hub, Icy Veins receives a ton of messages on a regular basis for topics like these - I hope they are of use to the community and answer a lot of questions for Seasons to come!


Haedrig's Gift Beginner Build: Legacy of Raekor

A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your seasonal Barbarian. Some of my personal endgame build highlights for this Season include:

Might of the Earth - Earthquake

The Earthquake is one of the steadiest performers in the Barbarian roster; an AoE-heavy, visually satisfying playstyle with a rock-solid rotation. In Season 18, the build is improved with the addition of Mortick's Brace - much like other Barbarian builds, of course, since you can't argue with the addition of all Wrath of the Berserker runes - which helps with the troublesome survivability of the build. The addition of Messerschmidt's Reaver is another curious option for the build, vying for the Kanai slot to bring you steady WotB uptime.

Legacy of Dreams - Hammer of the Ancients

Hammer of the Ancients is a signature Barbarian playstyle that revels in melee destruction, slamming down the mighty Gavel of Judgment onto the demonic hordes with unrelenting precision. Turning the Legacy from a Nightmare into a Dream (see what I did there?) does wonders for the legendary-based HotA build, as it is now free to keep the triumvirate of Convention of Elements, Band of Might and Zodiac Ring at the mere cost of a legendary gem slot. WotB performance is assisted not only by Mortick's, but also the addition of the revised Echoing Fury and its insane attack speed bonuses - directly feeding into your Zodiac CD resets.

Wrath of the Wastes - Whirlwind

You can't get a more clear description than "Whirlwinding" for what this build does; a spin-to-win, medieval lawnmower of a playstyle, this is by far the smoothest and most satisfying farming build. A long-standing lament of Barbarians is its lackluster performance in GR pushing, and while it's not quite solved yet, the Whirlwind barb is greatly boosted by Mortick's Brace (solving some of the survivability issues) and Echoing Fury (which is now a fixture to IAS-dependent builds). Add The Flavor of Time on top of it all for the delicious doubled duration of Pylons, and Whirlwind gets a much needed spike of power.


Haedrig's Gift Beginner Build: Armor of Akkhan

A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your seasonal Crusader. Some of my personal endgame build highlights for this Season include:

Legacy of Dreams - Blessed Shield

Empowered by their resource-free playstyle, Blessed Shield Crusaders cover the battlefield in Captain America-like barrage of fiery steel. Exchanging the Legacy of Nightmares for a Legacy of Dreams, this mighty Crusader build gets to keep a potent jewelry combo of Convention of Elements, Justice Lantern and Unity, and even adds The Flavor of Time on top. I'm sure you can imagine what doubled pylon duration does to a build that is already rock-solid in most fighting situations.

Invoker - Thorns

Where this build lacks in flashiness, it more than makes up with approachable and easy-to-grasp, yet top tier performing playstyle. Despite its somewhat subdued visuals, the devastating efficiency of the Invoker Thorns Sader is undeniable. Staying true to its 'understated powerhouse' reputation, Invokers simply adds an Echoing Fury to its lineup - and will proceed to decimate high tier GRs once again.

Rolands - Sweep Attack

Affectionately called the 'Janitor Crusader', Sweep Attack-based Rolands quite literally clean up battlefields in precise, blindingly fast arcs (on top of the most satisfying ASMR 'whoosh' of the sweeps, you can't deny). The newest addition to the build is the craftable Captain Crimson, which plays wonderfully into the needs for cooldown and resource management of the build, and even empowers you for it. And then there's the prospect of running Messerschmidt or Echoing fury into the Cube (or just play it straight with Furnace), enhancing different aspects of the build... quite promising for an underdog.


Haedrig's Gift Beginner Build: Embodiment of the Marauder

A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your seasonal Demon Hunter. Some of my personal endgame build highlights for this Season include:

Legacy of Dreams - Rapid Fire

The emergence of the Rapid Fire build finally brought the close range, Tommy gun-like fantasy of the Demon Hunter class to life - all in a destructive, methodical playstyle that isn't afraid to get into the thick of fights and chaingun-and-grenade its way out. In Season 18, the swap from Legacy of Nightmares into Dreams allows the Rapid Fire DHs to keep their protective powerhouses - Elusive Ring and Unity, while bringing extra devastation with Convention of Elements and The Flavor of Time on top.

Unhallowed Essence - Multishot

The Multishot build embraces the long-range powers of the Unhallowed Essence set, bringing the "lone archer eclipsing the sun with arrows" archetype to life. The screen-wide decimation of Multishot has never been sweeter, now that it adopts Squirt's Necklace and Captain Crimson's set into the setup - extra incentives to stay alert, on the move and always shooting your (now stronger) volleys of death.

Shadow - Impale

The ninja-like, assassin playstyle of Shadow Impale ramps up in power so fast, that it often sits at the top of the leaderboard for a week, waiting for slower builds to catch up. Impale DHs vault in, plant a dagger in an elite's back (usually ending its life outright), and then disappear in the shadows, onto their next target. I'll be honest, this build hasn't budged much - but it's so damn satisfying that I can't help but point it out.


Haedrig's Gift Beginner Build: Inna's Mantra

A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your seasonal Monk. Some of my personal endgame build highlights for this Season include:

Inna - Wave of Light

Although not particularly exciting, this is a purposeful highlight; Inna is the free set of the Season, and the (relative) ease of starting an Inna Wave of Light build can take you very far into the Season with relatively minor time investment. Inna WoL is a tried and tested build that combines the inherent screen-clearing AoE of Explosive Blasts with the forgiving, easy-to-play Inna set. If you're looking for something to breeze the Season with, this is a strong contender.

Legacy of Dreams - Wave of Light

Roll your eyes as you might at another WoL season, you simply can't argue with the skill - from the relative safety that Tzo Krin's Gaze provides, you can obliterate the screen with Wave of Light spam, dropping blazing clusters of holy power on demon upon unsuspecting demon. The transition of Legacies - from Nightmares to Dreams - allows you to keep all S17 toys, and the trio of Convention of Elements, Unity and Zodiac (DPS, protection and utility staples respectively) is now strengthened even further by The Flavor of Time. Double duration of Pylons on a build that benefits from pretty much all of them? Yes, please!

Legacy of Dreams - Lashing Tail Kick

Lashing Tail Kick builds are the counterpart of their WoL bretheren; getting into the fray where WoL keeps to the side, and melting the enemy in a flurry of Chuck Norris spin-kicks. You might argue this is a weaker build - and it is - but similarly to its WoL brother, it gets to keep all synergistic legendary jewelry from S17 and add The Flavor of Time on top, plus the option to deviate into Echoing Fury if the cubed Flying D isn't consistent enough for your tastes.


Haedrig's Gift Beginner Build: Pestilence Master's Shroud

A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your seasonal Necromancer. Some of my personal endgame build highlights for this Season include:

Legacy of Dreams - Singularity

Love them or hate them, you can't deny Singularity Necromancer is one of the most ruthlessly effective summoner builds in the game; cold, calculating and intensive to play (both in terms of resource management and, befitting of Necromancers, frailty of the character). Replacing The Legacy of Nightmares for that of Dreams, Singularity Necros stay at the peak of their offensive power through Convention of Elements, Krysbin and the Circle of Nailuj rings.

Legacy of Dreams - Skeleton Thorns

Let's get one thing out of the way: this is a quirky and slow-to-construct build. But there is an undeniable appeal to an army of undead minions that cripples - and eventually destroys - the enemies through their own attacks. In Season 18, Thorns Necros get to add Squirt's Necklace, adding another massive source of damage to a build that already benefits so much from its deliberate, calculated pace.

Legacy of Dreams - Blood Nova

Nova Necromancers are an evocative playstyle, spilling fountains of (literal) bloody destruction from their bodies, which grow in efficiency the more enemies you throw at them. In reality, the build has its issues (the mechanics and numbers on items like Bloodtide Blade are a culprit), but the build is damn fun, and I wanted to give it a little spotlight just for that.


Haedrig's Gift Beginner Build: Zunimassa's Haunt

A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your seasonal Witch Doctor. Some of my personal endgame build highlights for this Season include:

Zunimassa - Carnevil DoD

The Carnevil Witch Doctor summons an army of swarming minions at his side, whose adorable mimicking of his blowdart attack - and positively horrifying attack speed - are a sight to behold. This has been a long time coming; Zunimassa has been building up in power over the course of a few patches, with set and item changes that slowly inched it up in viability. Season 18 will be the triumph of this oldschool build, with the Zuni Fetishes empowered by the craftable Aughild set (fitting just right into the vacant slots of the setup) and the Attack Speed madness of Echoing Fury in the Cube.

Jade Harvester WD

With power to match his imposing name, the Jade Harvester is a force to be reckoned with - crippling the enemies with damage over time effects, and then recklessly diving in to 'consume' and apply their entire duration instantly with a well placed Soul Harvest. This build now benefits from the Captain Crimson craftable set, as well as The Flavor of Time amulet, keeping it high in the WD pantheon of builds.

Helltooth - Gargantuan

Keeping a trio of overprotective, lumbering, undead giants at your side is the signature of this build - another take on the summoner fantasy, this time relying on stitched-corpse voodoo dolls to pummel your enemies to the ground. This setup, while still in need of buffs, got a nice addition in the form of the craftable Spite ceremonial knife; granting you the Humongoid rune for free, its legendary effect opens you to experimentation both in GRs and speedfarm with this build.


Haedrig's Gift Beginner Build: Delsere's Magnum Opus

A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your seasonal Wizard. Some of my personal endgame build highlights for this Season include:

Vyr - Archon

Transforming the Wizard into an unstoppable being of Arcane destruction, the Achon build simply has it all - power, mobility, versatility. For the modest investment of two relatively easy-to-obtain sets - Vyr and Chantodo - this build will take you into the highest of Greater Rifts, and with a relatively simple to grasp playstyle to boot. One of the strongest builds in S18. Definitely the one with the best power-to-time-invested ratio.

Legacy of Dreams - Star 'Bazooka' Pact

The Star Pact Wizard has a rather complex rotation and playstyle, but rewards it with a monstrously powerful punch - arguably, the strongest one in the game right now. In a densely packed fight, no other build will deliver comparable punishment as the arcane juggernauts dropped by the (fittingly nicknamed) Bazooka Wiz. Oh, and now it gets to play with extra Pylon duration from The Flavor of Time, as if what it had wasn't enough. Geez.
Thank you so much for reading this and my guides! Good luck and have a great Season 18!

P.S. There is a ton of work I am doing in the background at the moment, but in the coming weeks you can expect a massive revision to the way our builds are presented, as well as another clean sweep of old artifacts - I think you will be very pleased! :) Stay tuned!