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Abomination's "Devour" & "Repugnant Presence" Nodes

I like the idea of “insta-casting” Abomination with the cost of only allowing 5 minions to be consumed. The first thing I thought of was having it consume Skeletal Mages to cast the Devouring Souls spell. After all, you can summon 5 Mages, and having the Abomination devour all of them to become a super-mage sounds cool, especially as with “Age of Undeath,” we can have it permanent without decay. It’s also possible to use this with Zombies for that big tail slam. What I’d like to bring up is that it’s gated behind 5 skill points, and all of them are awful.

You need 2 points in “Hulking Mass” (general +Health) and 3 points in “Unholy Command” just to get to Devour. Firstly, what is this obsession with giving minions “armor?” I haven’t seen it used much at all with the Bone Golem, and that minion is explicitly designed as the “bone protector” minion. Secondly, why are we sacrificing X many minions just to give armor to the rest of the minions we didn’t consume? The whole point is to sacrifice all of your minions to create the Abomination. Meanwhile, putting 5 points in Engorgement gives a total of 225% MORE damage assuming you consume 15 minions. That’s a much better deal for much less investment than going through these hoops just to get devour.

Secondly, there’s the “threat generated” nodes. I like the increased threat effect, and it would be nice to check it out on a permanent tank. However, in order to get to that node, you have to go through that stupid “Skeleton Vanguard” node, and the maximum of those pets you can get in any capacity is 3. Firstly, why are there so many Skeleton Vanguard nodes everywhere? I see them in the Necromancer Tree, the Lich Tree (?), and on random things like Bone Curse (???). Secondly, if you want to have an undying tank, you need to ensure the Abomination does NOT die, which instantly defeats the purpose of having to take these nodes to get there.

So what to do with these nodes? Firstly, I think the Engorgement + Epicurean nodes make it so that you so easily get so many MORE damage multipliers that it renders everything else obsolete. I’d recommend not nerfing the damage, but instead gating them behind a less useful node so that it’s not trivial to grab even more damage multipliers on top of it. Secondly, I think the “devour” node should be where the “quick of the dead” or “consume” nodes are, since you’re naturally drawn to using the 5 Minions on either Mages, Zombies, or Wraiths to get the nice abilities (which hopefully does a lot of damage to make up for the lack of damage multipliers that you can get on regular attacks). Thirdly, place “Fractured End” (if you just can’t live without Skeleton Vanguards) in a location that revolves around giving it increased drain effects, like “Imprisoned Horror”.

I don’t know what to do about “Unholy Command,” it’s honestly such a bad node. With many pets being temporary, giving them Armor boosts isn’t going to help anything, Giving them a full heal or temporary Frenzy when the Abo dies doesn’t sound too awful, but again, that’s meant to be designed around it naturally dying, and not taking something like “Age of Undeath” to make it permanent.

I don’t know that I’d call it an obsession, but I do want to know why somebody thinks minion armor, in the quantities it’s handed out, is a stat anybody wants to trade damage for. Maybe if it made a massive survivability difference, it’d be worth considering, but I’ve never taken it and never noticed that I don’t have it. Pathing to Devour nets you a whopping 375 minion armor and I can’t imagine caring.

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But, to be honest, I don’t know why I would take Devour to begin with. I don’t know what the use case and playstyle are supposed to be.

There’s no reason to ever take it if you’re taking Age of Undeath, for one, because its benefit (instant summon) has no value to an Abomb that doesn’t die from decay, and it’s left with only drawback (5 minions max consumed and huge mana cost). So that’s already out for me because a decaying Abomination is a non-starter.

Even if it weren’t, though, what is the scenario? Instant cast as the benefit suggests a mid-combat summon, but why? You lose 5 minions that you also have to resummon. Are they imagining a combo with Wraiths using Echoes Inside and Army of Wraiths, or with Summon Skeleton and Empty the Graves? Are they imagining that I want to blow away a ton of mana to summon a weak Abomb, and then immediately even more - or worse, sitting around waiting on mana regen while being weaker - resummoning the minions it just ate? I don’t get what build is supposed to want this.