A Natural Summoner is a Druid build that focuses on the Elemental and Summoning skill trees, forgoing the melee combat bonuses of the Shape-Shifting tree. As such, this build downplays melee combat in exchange for the ranged attack damage provided by spells such as Fissure and Molten Boulder, while at the same time keeping enemies at bay with Ravens, Dire Wolves, and the Grizzly. Summoners can also use ranged weapons such as bows, crossbows and throwing weapons to damage enemies from afar rather than spells (sometimes referred to as a Hunter Druid).
- This build allows for a fair degree of flexibility in terms of what skills you do and do not care to take.
- Makes for a strong PvM (Players versus Monsters) build.
- The Druid himself lacks significant melee strength, and may fall if the enemy breaches his protective barrier of Summoned creatures.
- It takes a continuous investment in the Summon Creatures to keep them relevant for much other than as meat shields leaving little skill points that can be expended to get a non-physical source of damage which makes Hell Difficulty fairly unplayable in solo mode.
- Builds that use Carrion Vine/Solar Creeper do not play well with Summonmancers, as the vines devour any corpses they come across.
You have to play specially around the Summoning Skills tree. Spend up to five in Spirit Wolf because it works as a synergy for the Dire Wolves and the Grizzly and they are useful early in the game. Spend just one point in Oak Sage and level the Spirit Wolves only to five before continue keeping all your points for Dires, Grizzly.
Strength - Enough to wear in-game armors
Dexterity - Enough to wear in-game Armors and Shields
Vitality - The remaining points
Energy - It is suggested to put little to no points into energy. Although early on in the game you will not have enough mana to summon all minions at once, this will balance out later in the game. And if you choose your skill points wisely, you will rarely have to re-summon any pets.
Max Spirit Wolf
Max Dire Wolf
Above is the Focus of the Build
You will want to have an active spirit. Debate on whether Oak Sage adding life to all your summons and yourself is more important than Heart of the Wolverine has been long debated. Certainly the shock of Oak Sage dying and reducing everyone's life is jarring. The AI for the spirits will not keep them out of trouble and they will die often at inopportune times. Which would bring my slight preference to play with Heart of the Wolverine. Either is valid. I've also seen people proclaim that you must max one of the spirits. I'm not that sure its true. You already will probably have a lot of +Skill items and charms and Spirits get buffed by your +Summons Tree items as well. If you don't expect them to be active all the time and are okay recasting them a few points is enough for most situations.
This can leave roughly 40 more points to assign.
Options of where to put them...
- This guide seems focused on your summons, so focusing on maxing Heart of the Wolverine and using a Bow as a weapon can make sense. You can try to equip items with crushing blow to help kill big targets quicker. This will leave you vulnerable to having no access to killing physical immunes, but this can be viable if you accept that limitation. You might put your last points in Ravens, at high levels, they aren't totally irrelevant, but consider them a one point wonder in this build.
- Another Physical Damage only build is the Werebear/Shockwave build. Shockwave is a one point wonder that allows you to keep disabling enemies and all for your Summons to finish them off. The Shockwave allows your Summons to seem much tougher. Werebear allows you to get Maul to increase your damage.
- Rabies adds a lot to this build. Its a non-Physical source of damage. You'll get a relevant Vine Summon. Your Rabies will whittle down opponents life while your Summons keep them at bay and finish them off. Rabies has huge damage numbers that are not as good as they appear on your damage screen, nevertheless, this is certainly viable. A little bit of Crushing Blow with flurries of Fury and Feral Rage even as one point wonders can help a lot. If you decide to also use Fury and Feral Rage, look for items that give large Attack Rating bonuses like a couple items from the Angelic Set or Hsurus Belt and Boots, but Rabies itself works just fine with very little Attack Rating.
- Firestorm and Fissure is viable. It is fire damage and they work, maybe not really well, but they will get the job done and your Summons will still have to be the focus.