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Big Bad Zombies Vacuum Champion Build - Odealo's Crafty Guide

Big Bad Zombies Vacuum Champion Build - Odealo's Crafty Guide

Our Big Bad Zombies Vacuum Champion build is the only one of its kind. Suck in enemies while Zombies do the job

Big Bad Zombies
Champion-Duelist build

Updated for Patch 3.5

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Guide notes
December 21, 2018
-Updated for Patch 3.5
-Added Support for Impale mechanic

Big Bad Zombies Vaccum Champion build is the only one of its' kind. This build is not your ordinary Minion build - it's quite expensive, but it allows clearing almost any Map tier and all the Map mods. It is one of the most durable Minion builds, but at the same time, it provides decent clear speed and amazing damage. High Strength bonuses from Duelist and Marauder's part of the Skill Tree make it easier to reach over 1000 Strenght to grant the Baron's buff and allow summoning additional Big Bad Zombies.

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1. Gameplay

Big Bad Zombies Vacuum Champion build is based on:

  1. Reversed-knockback mechanics provided by the Empire's Grasp gauntlets. Ground Slam with increased Area of Effect will be great at "sucking in" enemies. It will also Taunt enemies thanks to the Champion's Conqueror Ascendancy passive and Impale them on Hit. This mechanic is made for fun, to have this build a little bit more interesting, but using other skills is also viable
  2. High Life, Strength, and Armour stats provide fantastic sustainability and additional damage to your Minions (thanks to The Baron Helmet). Since you are supposed to "suck in" and Taunt all enemies, you need to be quite durable 
  3. Extremely high frenzied Zombie's DPS gained by six-link setup, Mon'tregul's Grasp Unique Mace, and additional damage from Impale stacks
  4. Great Supporting role of Champion Ascendancy class and the additional damage from Impale mechanic introduced in Patch 3.5

Full gameplay video:

0:07 T13 Ghetto Map
1:38 T14 Colosseum Map
5:17 T16 Pit of the Chimera (no boss fight)

Video recorded pre 3.5. Please hang on a little, this build deserves an update on the video part, because of the immense gap in performance compared to back then

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • extremely durable with high Armour, Life and Strength stats
  • great damage provided by powerful Zombies and Impale mechanic
  • very enjoyable to play
  • good clear speed
  • can do all Map mods and all content
  • end-game gear is expensive
  • requires a lot of specific gear with bonuses to Strength attribute to reach the build's full potential

3. Leveling tips

Leveling as Duelist is rather straightforward. You should use high DPS two-handed weapons and the Sunder skill. You will be getting the Zombie/Minion nodes later, and it's not worth bothering about them until you can wear all the required gear. You will pick up mainly defensive Passive Nodes, so regarding equipment, you should look to maximize your Physical DPS.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Sunder setup
Sunder Sunder - great Melee/AoE leveling skill
Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support - great buff to Sunder's DPS
Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support - grants additional fire damage to attacks
Increased Area of Effect Support Increased Area of Effect Support - will increase the radius of Sunder skill, allowing faster leveling
Leap Slam setup
Leap Slam Leap Slam - mobility skill that can be used while leveling
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support - increases the movement speed of Leap Slam
Utility Gems
Summon Stone Golem Stone Golem - provides extra life regeneration
Punishment Punishment - a good curse that increased your physical damage
Hatred Hatred - offers extra DPS based on your Physical Damage
Clarity Clarity - increased Mana Regen. Might be helpful because of the lack of Mana/Int. nodes early on


We recommend killing all the Bandits for two additional Passive Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

31 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Art of the Gladiator 2) Master of the Arena 3) Destroyer 4) Butchery 5) Constitution

62 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Retribution 2) Resolute Technique 3) Barbarism 4) Redemption 5) Devotion

Recommended leveling items:

BlackheartBlackheart - the best rings for the earlies levels. Get it as soon as you enter the town for the first time
Adds 1 to 4 Physical Damage to Attacks
5% increased Physical Damage
Adds 1 to 3 Chaos Damage to Attacks
+(20-30) to maximum Life
(2-4) Life Regenerated per second
10% chance to Cause Monsters to Flee
Belt of the DeceiverBelt of the Deceiver - great leveling belt for melee classes
+(25-35) to Strength
(15-25)% increased Physical Damage
You take 30% reduced Extra Damage from Critical Strikes
+(30-40) to maximum Life
+(10-15)% to all Elemental Resistances
Nearby Enemies are Intimidated
DeidbellDeidbell - amazing DPS buff at early levels
Adds 10 to 20 Physical Damage to Attacks
+(20-30) to Strength
+(20-30) to Dexterity
+(200-300) to Armour
20% increased Melee Damage
Cannot Leech when on Low Life
WideswingWideswing - potent weapon at early levels. Grant additional Support Gem for your Sunder setup so you can replace the Inc. Area of Effect Support with some other Gem of choice
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 20 Increased Area of Effect
(120-160)% increased Physical Damage
+10 to Strength
+(50-80) to Accuracy Rating
+10 Mana gained on Kill
+2 to Weapon range

The CauteriserThe Cauteriser - grants extremely high damage. Since you do not get all the major melee/physical damage nodes, you should prioritize high damage weapons, and this is one of the best choices for the leveling phase

+1 to Level of Socketed Strength Gems
(80-100)% increased Physical Damage
Adds 5 to 10 Physical Damage
Adds (30-40) to (70-80) Physical Damage
+(15-30) to Strength
Gain 70% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage
Culling Strike

4. Final Skill tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

116 Points Final Skill Tree
116 Points Path of Building(PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Master of Metal
  2. Conqueror
  3. Worthy Foe
  4. Inspirational


Major God: Soul of Lunaris 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%; 1% increased Movement Speed for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%

Minor God: Soul of Gruthkul 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each Hit you've taken Recently up to a maximum of 5%

5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Raise Zombie setup
(Body Armour)
Raise Zombie Raise Zombie - your main DPS minion spell. With the recommended items you should be able to summon 5 Big Bad Zombies (or ten smaller ones) which deal insane damage
Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support - increases your Zombie's damage
Melee Splash Support Melee Splash Support - great buff to clear speed and AoE DPS
Multistrike Support Multistrike Support - a great addition to Zombie's DPS
Fortify Support Fortify Support - grants increased Melee Physical DPS and the Fortify buff for your Zombies
Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support - your Zombies are 100% Melee/Physical Damage based, so this is an obvious choice
[UTILITY] Animate Guardian setup
(Baron Helmet)
Animate Guardian Animate Guardian - the Animated Guardian is a Minion, that will be carrying Unique Items listed below. Guardian "consumes" the items(by using the spell on unique items that are on the ground), and those items will perish if he dies, but you and your Zombies benefit from their powers while the Guardian is active. In this setup, Animated Guardian should be nearly immortal with over 25k Life and high Resistances.
  1. Leer CastLeer Cast - grants extra damage to all Allies (you and your Zombies)
  2. Ambu's ChargeAmbu's Charge - grants Endurance Charges to himself and nearby allies
  3. Dying BreathDying Breath - grants increased damage to nearby Allies, and also increases the effect of Curses on enemies
  4. SouthboundSouthbound - provides a lot of bonus Life for your Animated Guardian
  5. Kaom's RootsKaom's Roots - for the defensives bonuses for your Guardian
Minion Life Support Minion Life Support - boost to Animated Guardian's Life
Minion and Totem Elemental Resistances Support Minion and Totem Elemental Resistances Support
[VACUUMING] Ground Slam
(Empire's Grasp)
Ground Slam Ground Slam - this skill provides the highest AoE coverage among all Mace/Melee skills. Also, it has a high chance to Stun and grant Endurance Charges
Endurance Charge on Melee Stun Support Endurance Charge on Melee Stun Support - generates Endurance Charges
Increased Area of Effect Support Increased Area of Effect Support
Blood Magic Support Blood Magic Support - makes Ground Slam cost Life instead of Mana
[UTILITY] Herald of Purity
Herald of Purity Herald of Purity - adds Physical Damage to your Attacks and creates Sentinels on Purity for some extra DPS and utility
Maim Support Maim Support - increases Physical Damage from Supported Skills and makes your Sentinels of Purity Maim enemies on Hit
[UTILITY] Dread Banner
Dread Banner Dread Banner - a new Aura Skill which grants increases chance to Impale on Hit to your and your Allies. Plant it versus Bosses for even better results and increased effects of the Fortify buff
[UTILITY] Vaal Haste
Vaal Haste Vaal Haste - Aura which increases Attack, Movement, and Cast Speed of you and your allies. You should use the regular Aura all the time, and Vaal Haste against Bosses
[MOBILITY] Shield Charge
Shield Charge Shield Charge - your main mobility skill
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support - provides a faster movement with SC 
Fortify Support Fortify Support - will grant defensive buffs on melee hits with SC
[UTILITY] various utility Gems
Desecrate Desecrate - creates several corpses that can be consumed by Flesh Offering
Flesh Offering Flesh Offering - consumes corpses for greatly increased Movement and Attack Speed for your Minions
Punishment Punishment - the recommended Curse for this build. It increases Physical Damage taken by affected enemies, and grants increased Attack Speed to Melee attackers
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support - makes auto-casting Supported Spells much easier as a Champion

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5. Gear Setup

Big Bad Zombies build is quite exceptional, which makes it fun, but also limits the possible gear options. The only diversity it offers is with the Jewels and Body Armour slots. This build is also not a budget one. It will cost a minimum of 20-25 Exalted Orbs to get all the required gear and allow you to do end-game content.

Our recommended items will:

  1. Cap your resistances 
  2. Give you enough DPS/Life to start mapping successfully
  3. Save you at least a couple of hours, as it's already all planned out for you!

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Strength
  4. Minion Damage
  5. Attack Speed
The Baron(Helmet) The Baron - mandatory item for this build. It makes the Zombies extremely powerful with high Strength bonuses
+(20-40) to Strength
+2 to Level of Socketed Minion Gems
Minions have 20% increased maximum Life
Half of your Strength is added to your Minions
+1 to maximum number of Zombies per 300 Strength
With 1000 or more Strength, 2% of Damage dealt by your Zombies is Leeched to you as Life
Helmet enchantment:
40% Increases Raise Zombie Damage
15% Increased Raise Zombie Attack Speed
Mon'tregul's Grasp(Weapon) Mon'tregul's Grasp - grants huge Life and damage bonus to your Zombies. It is required for high tier map farming and dealing with end-game Bosses
40% increased Elemental Damage
50% reduced number of Zombies allowed
+5000 to Zombie maximum Life
(25-30)% increased Zombie Resistances
25% increased Zombie Size
Enemies killed by Zombies explode dealing Fire Damage
Zombies deal (80-100)% more Physical Damage
Brightbeak(Weapon) Brightbeak - it is a great pick for low/mid tier mapping when you don't need that many defenses on your Zombies
10% reduced Enemy Stun Threshold
(50-75)% increased Physical Damage
50% increased Attack Speed
25% increased Critical Strike Chance
+(20-30)% to Fire Resistance
+(20-30)% to Lightning Resistance
Victario's Charity(Shield) Victario's Charity - the best in slot item for this build. Will provide Frenzy Charges for your Zombies which greatly buffs their DPS
3% reduced Movement Speed (Hidden)
+8% to all Elemental Resistances
+(50-70) to maximum Life
+(20-30)% to Lightning Resistance
+11% to Chaos Resistance
20% increased Area of Effect of Aura Skills
10% chance to grant a Power Charge to nearby Allies on Kill
5% chance to grant a Frenzy Charge to nearby Allies on Hit
Demigod's Dominance(Body Armour) Demigod's Dominance - a good choice for Body Armour slot, however, available only to Standard League players
+(15-25)% to all Elemental Resistances
+1 to Level of Socketed Gems
+(30-50) to all Attributes
Astral Plate(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - the best in the slot. The higher the stats the better
Min. requirements:
1400 Armour
70 maximum Life
40 Strength
35% Fire Resistance
35% Cold Resistance
Alberon's Warpath(Boots) Alberon's Warpath - mandatory Boots for this build. Provide the highest Strength bonuses among all your items
Adds 1 to 80 Chaos Damage to Attacks
+(180-220) to Armour
+(9-12)% to Chaos Resistance
20% increased Movement Speed
+1 to maximum number of Skeletons
(15-18)% increased Strength
Boot enchantment:
Regenerate 2% of Life and Mana per second if you were Hit Recently
Empire's Grasp(Gloves) Empire's Grasp - required for the reversed-knockback mechanics. If you don't want to use it, feel free to equip a Strength-based Rare pair. It will be much easier to cap Elemental Resistances and get the 1000 Strength for extra Leech
+(400-600) to Armour
Knockback direction is reversed
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 10 Knockback
Rare Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
40 Strength
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
High Armour Rating
Heavy Belt(Belt) Rare Belt
Min. requirements:
75 maximum Life
65 Strength
40% Fire Resistance
40% Cold Resistance
Astramentis(Amulet) Astramentis - for the highest attribute bonuses in the game
+(10-16) to all Attributes
+(80-100) to all Attributes
-4 Physical Damage taken from Attacks
Coral RingCoral Ring(Ring) Rare Rings - you need to cap Elemental Resistances with the Rings and get as much Life and Strength as possible
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
35 Strength
35% Fire Resistance
35% Cold Resistance or 35% Lightning Resistance
Violent Dead(Jewel) Violent Dead - great DPS buff for your Zombies. Socket it in the slot on the top/left of your Skill Tree (above Devotion)
Minions deal (10-15)% increased Damage
With at least 40 Intelligence in Radius, Raised
Zombies' Slam Attack has 100% increased Cooldown Recovery Speed
With at least 40 Intelligence in Radius, Raised Zombies' Slam
Attack deals 30% increased Damage
Efficient Training(Jewel) Efficient Training - makes reaching 1,000 Strenght much easier with two of these
+(16-24) to Strength
Intelligence from Passives in Radius is Transformed to Strength
Emperor's Mastery(Jewel) Emperor's Mastery - the best in slot Jewels for this build. They are expensive, but greatly increases all the important stats in this build
4% increased maximum Life
3% increased Character Size
5% increased Global Defences
(5-7)% increased Attributes
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - they should provide extra Life and Damage bonuses
Recommended affixes:
increased maximum Life
increased Minion Damage
Optional affixes:
missing Elemental Resistances
Lion's Roar(Flask) Lion's Roar - mandatory Flask for this build. Provides extra knockback chance and Armour Rating
(-10-10)% increased Charges used
(15-25)% increased Area of Effect during Flask Effect
2 additional Projectiles during Flask Effect
Other suggested Flasks:
  1. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching (immunity to Bleeding)
  2. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Heat (immunity to Chill and Freeze effects)
  3. Ample Basalt Flask of Iron Skin (Physical Damage Reduction)
  4. Ample Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline (increased Movement Speed)
Lion's RoarDivine Life FlaskDivine Life FlaskBasalt FlaskQuicksilver Flask

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