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Review - Ydwin as a Beckoner/Soulblade Spiritualist (Grave Calling)


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This may have been my least favorite build in this playthrough.  The idea was to build around Grave Calling's Chilling Grave enchantment (Cast Chill Fog on killing Vessel) by killing your own skeleton vessels and then reap the damage in the form of lots of focus for big Soul Annihilation attacks or other Cipher spells.

 
Beckoners summon twice as many skeletons at half health so they are easier to kill and there's more of them to proc more Chill Fogs.  You can also enchant for Grave Bound (when you get 10 stacks of Frosted Edge you paralyze on crit) which can get crazy as crits from Chill Fog ticks count towards the paralyze and those Chill Fogs also stack for some reason.  I didn't go for Grave Bound because I thought it would be overpowered (maybe I should have and it would have been more fun).  I went 1-handed with Grave Calling to make sure I didn't accidentally kill a skeleton with an off-hand weapon- I had never gone 1-handed before so that was a nice change of pace.
 
The first problem with this build is that Beckoner/Soulblade is pretty bad until you get Grave Calling and start using this synergy.  You can probably get Grave Calling pretty darn early in the game, though, so maybe it's not such a big deal (it's just at Crookspur for sale).
 
My actual experience using this synergy in fights is that it often got hard to kill my own skeletons.  You want them to be positioned such that when they die the Chill Fog will hit enemies but they are so fragile that they often get killed by enemies before you can get them into position and hit them.  Their half HP from the Beckoner trait was really helpful to make sure you could 1 hit your skeletons but it also makes them fragile to enemy damage.  This was especially true in boss fights where there is a prevalence of AoE damage going on.  And even if the skeletons didn't die from collateral AoE you would sometimes have trouble just getting to them to attack them.  Any enclosed space made it difficult to maneuver the skeletons and then get close enough to hit them.
 
When you could get it going it seemed fairly powerful, though.  A few Chill Fogs hitting multiple enemies can give you focus in a hurry that you can put toward big Soul Annihilation hits or spamming high cost Cipher spells.  But even then it felt rather tedious to try to zoom in and target your hard to see skeletons.  And if you missed a swing at a skeleton, or couldn't get to your skeletons, or the skeletons died from enemy AoE you were contributing very little to the fight.  I guess it felt really high risk but high reward and the times when things didn't work right were so annoying as to ruin the whole build for me.
 
Others had suggested running Troubador with the single skeleton chant and maybe that would have been better.  There were also suggestions to use Berserker instead of Soul Blade because with the confusion from Berserker your Chill Fogs would hit your other skeletons and help you more efficiently kill them without having to rely on auto attacks.  In hindsight this seems like it would have been much more reliable as you probably just need to kill 1 skeleton and the cascade of Chill Fogs would probably wipe any others out.  I wish I had tried that instead though there were warnings that if you get too many Chill Fogs going at once it can ruin your framerate and even crash POE2 😂
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