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Maelswarm Druid: Having Our Cake and Eating It, Too Build Guide (Beta 0.8.5)

Posted By Thqwib_Lord on October 25, 2022
Last updated on October 26, 2022

Overview

The Swarmblade Form in the Druid mastery is one of the most unique and engaging skills you may ever see in an ARPG. It is unique in its take on Druid transformations, taking the form of an insect instead of a beast found in nature. The skill itself has possibly the most synergies with other skills within Primalist; converting Summon Hive into a Summon Thorn Totem, Armblade Slash scaling off of Serpent Strike and proccing Tornado, Dive proccing multiple stacks of Maelstrom and activating companion skills through Inspiring Swarm.

This build came from the idea of using both Locust Swarm and Maelstrom for damage, as these will both scale off of cold DoT after taking Frost Bites. The idea here is we have incredible DoT aoe by stacking Bleed for Bloodlust Swarm and gearing our character to utilize Maelstrom effectively. This character also has strong defenses; Boar Heart and Impervious passives, along with Ironclad Beetle to give us a sizable amount of armor by scaling SuffixDodge Rating.

This build will require at least all uniques seen here; Eterra's Path is used to generate Rage, Frozen Ire and Legacy of the Quiet Forest will cap 2 resistances and enable scaling both a melee and spell skill, and lastly a Bleeding Heart for sustain.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Large aoe with Locust Swarm to clear monos quickly
  • Fast character; able to reach upwards of 90% increased movement and attack speed
  • Easy to play; stack Bleed on a healthy target, use Swarm Strike with Summon Locust nearby, and just go
  • Durable character; several defensive layers and good sustain

Cons

  • Needs several Idols with average rolls on resistances and Grand Resolve of Humanity to open affix slots on gear
  • Downtime on this build will leave you slightly vulnerable, as much of your damage and sustain comes from Locust Swarm with high stacks of Bleed consumed from enemies
  • Can be very gear dependent. If you do not have a well rolled Crystal Sword, Shard of the Shattered Lance and Undisputed (possibly Taste of Blood as a low level SuffixChance to Bleed on Hit option) are the only viable alternatives IMO for higher levels
  • You are subject to minion AI and must have some understanding of bosses/enemies to position your low health hives correctly

Gameplay / Mechanics

This build scales the majority of its damage by stacking Bleed on a target, and then using Swarm Strike to consume said Bleed via Bloodlust Swarm. It also utilizes Maelstrom's Windswept, Windfury, and Sleet-Footed nodes with Swarmblade Form's Water Strider for our defenses/speed. We do not scale any minion health, so you will need careful placement of Summon Hive to get the most out of it.

Skill Rotation:

Skill rotation starts with using all available Summon Hive charges on the opposite side of your target to ensure Summon Locust can survive during the fight. Then you will stack Bleed with Summon Locust, Armblade Slash, and Dive ( SuffixChance to Bleed on Hit is from the Death by a Thousand Wings node in Swarmblade Form and Serpent Strike's Blood Flurry) for a few seconds before consuming Bleed with Swarm Strike. You will also want to consume as many Summon Locust as you can to gain the maximum possible amount of base damage for Locust Swarm, since each locust consumed increases the base damage. You will continue to use Armblade Slash on tougher enemies and bosses to get damage reduction using Boar Heart from Primal Strength and Impervious, as well as inflicting cold resistance shred from Grand Rage of Winter.

If you choose the Release the Horde, you will want to begin stacking while the hives are in close range. This greatly increases QoL with the build as it will be easier to achieve a good swarm and helps alleviate the frustration of boss aoes by immediately spitting out your max locust count and consuming.

Skill Notes:

During any amount of downtime, you can maneuver through packs and maintain some damage with Dive and proccing Maelstrom. This will kill trash mobs easily so you can focus on finding a rare or large pack for a new Locust Swarm. You are tanky enough to survive in large packs of enemies to stack huge amounts of Bleed , but just watch out for aoe attacks from a Diamond Matron or a Gorgon.

Something to know with Locust Swarm is that it will scale its damage off the most recent use of Swarm Strike. If you have a strong Locust Swarm, then use Swarm Strike before the duration expires; a new Locust Swarm will be active. This causes us to lose all the possible damage and duration from the previous. You will want to wait until the duration of a good Locust Swarm expires before starting the loop again to use the skill as effectively as possible.

You may be wondering, is the damage of Maelstrom any good? The answer is yes, as I will show in a clip below. It does not get scaled quite as high as Locust Swarm, but it is about 1/3 of our damage and is enough to kill trash mobs without Locust Swarm so the engine does not completely stop running. You may be able to achieve more damage than what you'll see in the video with more optimized rings and relic.

One last thing, Summon Locust will not come out of Summon Hive unless there is an enemy nearby they can target. You won't be able to pre stack a swarm of locust at the start of a mono or boss fight, so keep this in mind running around.

Skills

Passives

Stat Priorities

Equipment

Some bases seen here (Ivory Cowl and Wild Armor) are chosen because they're the most beneficial, as any other item base will provide nothing if you have appropriate Idols. If you do not have these, anything else will do.

PrefixElemental Damage Over Time and PrefixAttunement is what you want in every available slot to boost damage on Maelstrom. We do not explicitly need any melee damage affixes, as Bloodlust Swarm gives all the increased damage we need for Locust Swarm.

Slot
Items
Stats
Helmet

Ivory Cowl to get SuffixArmour from PrefixStrength. Other bases do not give much and Horned Cowl gives nothing as this is a DoT build.

PrefixAttunement and PrefixStrength for increased damage for our skills and armor. Ideally, you will want SuffixHealth and SuffixArmour as Druid gets tons of flat for both of these.

Body Armour

Wild Armor for movement speed, Heoborean Armor if you do not have appropriate Idols.

There is definitely a version of this build that has a Wings of Argentus, but I feel the health and armor loss is not worth it. The multiplicative damage reduction and +1 to Swarmblade Form is very nice, though.

Same as the helmet, but you can take PrefixLevel of Swarmblade Form instead of PrefixStrength if you get it.

Gloves

Crusader Gauntlets will finish capping our SuffixVoid Resistance. There is the option of something like Atrophy for damage, or even a Ravenous Void if you really don't want to die. If you choose either, rings are where you fill in resistances.

Standard glove setup, SuffixHybrid Health and SuffixHealth. PrefixMelee Attack Speed is higher priority if you have increased health on your Large Nomad Idol.

Belt

Legacy of the Quiet Forest because it will completely cover SuffixPoison Resistance while transformed, and some SuffixVoid Resistance.

If you get any LP, take SuffixHybrid Health. Otherwise, the belt itself is perfect for resistance caps.

Boots

Eterra's Path to cover our rage while in Swarmblade Form.

PrefixMovement Speed and SuffixHybrid Health if you have LP, otherwise this is fine. The additional movement speed for locusts is a nice bonus so they can catch up while you fly through a mono.

Relic

Ochre Antler for SuffixEndurance as this is the only slot we take it.

This slot is how we cover SuffixEndurance, so we take more of that. SuffixHealth is desirable, but you can swap it for any resistances you need.

Main-Hand

Frozen Ire is how we scale both a melee and spell damage skill. Also gives some QoL like capping our SuffixNecrotic Resistance at level 75.

If have any LP, would recommend PrefixMelee Attack Speed or SuffixChance to Slow on Hit.

Off-Hand

Shard of the Shattered Lance and Undisputed are viable alternatives if you do not have a well rolled Crystal Sword. Taste of Blood may work for SuffixChance to Bleed on Hit, but it has low base damage and no attack speed bonus; use only if you have nothing else.

This is where a lot of PrefixMelee Attack Speed is found, and SuffixChance to Bleed on Hit is needed to use over the other options. SuffixChance to Apply Frailty on Melee Hit will free up a blessing slot to take Grand Body of Obsidian. PrefixMelee Damage Leeched as Health will enable us to face-tank bosses, we can heal all lost health in between boss attacks. With enough health and a T5 roll, we can just straight up ignore some mechanics.

Ring 1

Silver Ring is easy to gamble for to fill the slot, but if you have a Siphon of Anguish with PrefixAttunement from LP, then use that.

As said above, PrefixAttunement and PrefixElemental Damage Over Time, SuffixHealth, then SuffixDodge Rating if your resistances are capped.

Ring 2

This slot should hold a duplicate of desired Silver Ring or Siphon of Anguish.

See above, again.

Amulet

Bleeding Heart is the premium source of leech for DoT, and can easily have 1 or 2 LP for additional affixes.

The Health Leech is what we want the most from the amulet, and it also gives PrefixMelee Attack Speed. PrefixCold Penetration and PrefixElemental Damage Over Time is prioritized for LP, but if you can get SuffixChance to Apply Frailty on Hit here as well, then it will be easier to obtain a good Crystal Sword.

Idols

Idol
Stats

PrefixDamage Over Time and SuffixPhysical Resistance affixes. The Primalist specific DoT is essentially the same prefix so it will be easier to get the right Idol.

PrefixHealth and SuffixElemental Resistance While Transformed, this is going to cover most of SuffixElemental Resistance so we can take other affixes.

The two 1x1 slots can be whatever you need for rounding out a resist, or maybe a Singularity because you can.

More Hit damage from Singularity.

Blessings

Timeline
Blessings
The Black Sun

Grand Memory of Light, Grand Thirst of the Sun, and Grand Shadow of the Eclipse are all good options to scale defenses. Leech rate will give us our health back faster, but I would personally take Grand Memory of Light because it an be difficult to get high hp without good idols and high SuffixHealth on gear.

Reign of Dragons

Grand Resolve of Humanity is to round out resistances, mainly SuffixFire Resistance and SuffixPoison Resistance from a low roll Legacy of the Quiet Forest.

The Age of Winter
Spirits of Fire
Fall of the Outcasts
The Stolen Lance
Blood, Frost, and Death
Fall of the Empire

Honestly, take whatever you want here. Grand Remnants of the Living to get rings ASAP.

The Last Ruin

Memory of Masters to get PrefixLevel of Swarmblade Form, otherwise take whatever.

Leveling

I wouldn't level into this build, follow any other Primalist leveling guide on the forum involving Maelstrom. At the time of writing, this skill is the likely the fastest way to level in the game.

If Maelstrom gets nerfed in the future, Werebear Form and Swipe is smooth until you can equip the required gear to start the build.

Endgame

Once you reach Empowered Mono, you should be able to equip all necessary gear and have the passive points for Primal Strength and Impervious.

At this point, you should only need to optimize your Idols and Blessings, and grind for LP if you want. The build will be able to easily clear 200+ Corruption and at the very least T4 Julra.

This build is NOT compatible with the Soulfire Bastion. The final boss has too many aoe attacks, and the Summon Locust will not survive even one ignite at T3 or higher.

Lightless Arbor is a breeze, as Swarmblade Form has good mobility to dodge the final boss' attacks. Only thing to watch out for is the slams in phase 1, you just can't tank this one. Phase 2 is very easy as staying within melee range of the heart lets you passively avoid some attacks, while Dive can be used to cross to the opposite side for the lasers. Just keep your Locust Swarm up and consume locusts before an aoe to make this fight easy as possible.

Loot Filter

Check the planner for optimized gear.

During leveling for Maelstrom, take as much spell damage as possible to blitz through story.

FAQ

Dual-wielding

This enables max DPS. Taking a Bastion of Honour is possible, but you'll need different blessings and will feel QoL drop for stacking Bleed, but this might just make the build hardcore viable.

Why Not [Insert Unique Here]?

There are some viable options outlined above, but having the right bases with the right affixes adds QoL and thus far more valuable to me. The planner shows the minimum required uniques for the build to function, and nothing else. You can definitely take this build even further, just need appropriate LP.

What's The Difference Between This And Other DoT Swarmblade Builds?

Other DoT Swarmblade Form builds either use ailments to deal damage, or scales purely Locust Swarm. There have been a few builds with Locust Swarm seen here on LE tools, but they are either outdated or have a heavy reliance on other Primalist minion skills. As far as I'm aware, this should be something new to some readers. I wanted to make a Locust Swarm build that's different enough and is currently useable. Also, look at that name! "Maelswarm". No way that doesn't stick.

Video

Changelog

  • More typos, additional information in Skills and Endgame, changed Build Planner slightly to accommodate for LP and skill node changes.
  • Formatting and Typos.
  • Build guide was published

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