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[0.8.4] Serpent Milk's Thorn Totem Beastmaster [Video]

I had not seen Serpent’s Milk showcased in a build before, and with the apparent lack of synergy of combining 200% Poison chance with a 0.1 Poison modifier for minions, it’s a difficult Unique to build around. This build uses the Thorn Totem node that grants 4% more mulitplier for every Poison stack on the enemy.

This build is run as a Beastmaster, as the most important passive is “The Chase,” which grants 32% Attack and Cast speed for minions. Aspect of the Viper passively grants 50% Companion Attack Speed as well. Patch 0.8.4 provided some big updates to this build. Firstly, Spriggan Form is a much better Totem/Mana generator than Tempest Strike, so we take Spriggan Form and focus on Ranged Vines with 100% Poison chance, and having Healing Totems take the Thorn Totem Tree and providing more Maximum Totems. With our Thorn Totem tree, that allows us 3 casts of Healing Thorn Totem for a total of 9 totems. Additionally, Spriggan Form grants us 3 Rage (Mana) for every Vine on the field, and we want to have maximum Vines up since they’re applying Poison stacks as well.

Since we’re in Spriggan Form practically all the time now, we replace Frenzy Totem with Summon Scorpion, and go for the “Poison Pool on hit” ability, as it grants an extra 40% Cast Speed to our Vines/Totems as well as additional Totem Poison chance. The only bad thing about our new setup is that we have no melee ability to proc Aspect of the Viper, but with each Vine having 300% Poison Chance with Serpent’s Milk, and with Healing Totem producing 3 Thorn Totems at a time with no worries about Mana, I think it’s much more worth it in the long haul.

Serpent’s Milk Beastmaster [0.8.4]

With the new patch, gearing up is easier to get class affixes to a high level, so I was able to get a T4 Adaptive Spell Damage. Between the Wolves, Vines, and Totems, the overall speed of this build is much better in Empowered Monos with much less danger of death than the previous patch. Once I get a decent boss fight, I will record it and have it ready to supplement the build guide.


Have you thought about moving some points from somewhere (I thought maybe Primal Strength &/or Call of the Pack) into Rattlesnake Rattlesnake (Aspect of the Viper duration & most importantly Aspect of the Viper effectiveness which is more modifier to all of it’s effects)? And if you could fit it in Aspect of the Shark with the Hunters of the Deep node for yet more attack speed & Circle of Life/Dragon Slayer for Aspect of the Shark on boss/rare hit. Though that would require you to be hitting the boss, not your minions.

Rattlesnake Rattlesnake Text says that it increases Viper Duration and Poison Effectiveness; we are not focusing on Poison Effectiveness since we have the -90% Poison Effectiveness Multiplier from Serpent’s Milk. The only thing that specifically increases all of Aspect of the Viper’s effects is the rare affix called “increased Aspect of the Viper effect.” That would increase the %Poison chance, which is good, but not worth replacing things like Adaptive Totem Damage or getting to 100% Totem Crit chance.

I’ve thought about Aspect of the Shark, but I think it takes up too many passive points to use effectively, especially as it only concerns Companion melee damage and attack speed. The totems would not benefit from it, and the attack speed bonus is too low for it to be useful, especially when you get a ton of Attack Speed from other sources.

Bugger, I misread that…

I’ve been playing with this build throughout the weekend, and checking out the new Druid trees. For Beastmaster, it’s definitely worth it to take the Spriggan pet, as its Healing Aura provides all allies (which includes minions) with a +8% Crit Chance and nearly 100% Crit Avoidance. That allows a lot more flexibility with the idols as between Frenzy Totem + Wolf Howl, you have more than enough Crit chance for the Totems to reach 100% Crit.

Patch 8.4 also brought a revamped Entangling Roots, and the new spell provides a whole slew of bonuses if you play it with Totems. Druid sounds like it could compete with Beastmaster, as you’re replacing Wolves + Frenzy Totem with Scorpion + Entangling Roots. Here’s what I see as the major points between them:

4 Wolves with 125% increased Attack Speed for many more Poison stacks (Wolves Tree + Aspect of the Viper + Frenzy)
150% More Poison Chance from Aspect of the Viper + Frenzy Totem
Frenzy Totem for more control over Companion abilities + 250% Crit Chance for Totems
More reliable Haste due to Wolf Howls

50 flat spell damage from Entangling Roots
Another 10 flat damage from the Druid Passive “Force of Nature”
Scorpion + 3 Babies replaces the Wolves (Spriggan replaces the Scorpion in my Beastmaster build)
90% Extra Cast Speed between Entangling Roots “Frenzying Thorns” and Scorpion’s Poison Pools (compared to 30% speed from Frenzy Totem)
Much more Health and Mana compared to the Beastmaster version
With the extra 60 flat damage, you can afford to drop the Primalist nodes that grant 15 spell damage with an Axe, and go with a Scepter + Shield Combo and roughly the same damage if you get the “Minion Physical Damage” and “Minion Spell Damage” on the same weapon.

Potential Druid Tool Planner

It looks like it’s a clear case of Beastmaster being much more offensive, while Druid is more defensive. The extra flat damage for Druid is somewhere like double the total flat damage for Beastmaster, but Beastmaster’s Wolves with huge attack speed means that you’re getting many more Poison stacks to ramp up the damage multiplier from the Thorn Totem node.

The Beastmaster can easily rack up Poison stacks while I summon the Totems, while Druid would need a much more precise set-up to effectively rack up damage. It’s a tough choice, to be frank. I have a video of Lagon that demonstrates how the Beastmaster handles Empowered Monos, but Druid’s extra tankiness is hard to ignore.

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