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Patriarch Polonium, Hunter Druid


Well-known member
Dec 23, 2007
Change of Plans

Polonium started as a Rabies druid in 1.14d. This was a reference to Polonium tea. I'm not sure if this was way back around 2010 or more recently in 2021, but either way, I think I got bored of Rabies. I don't have any really good poison damage gear, and I think I was going to use Grief for the -enemy poison resist.

When the druid summons got buffed, I knew that I wanted to make a summoner. I'm not sure why I didn't just forward the hunter druid I've already patted in 1.14d, but I do know that I left my Faith Blade Bow in 1.14d intentionally. In general, I don't move much forward as I'm still wary of major changes turning me off of D2R and I don't want my 1.14d stashes to be missing all the good stuff.

Anyway, I respecced him to be a Hunter Druid wielding Harmony so that the summons and Barb merc would zoom around at high speed and ludicrous speed, respectively. That boy sure can run! When I dusted off the druid, the merc had this in the off-hand:

Hustle (armor)
Conquest Sword

One Hand Damage: 160 - 230
Durability: 17 of 17
Required Level: 58
Required Strength: 132
Required Dexterity: 102
Fingerprint: 0x69c6fd1d
Item Level: 81
Version: Resurrected
5% Chance to cast level 1 Burst of Speed on striking
Level 1 Fanaticism Aura When Equipped
+30% Increased Attack Speed
192% Enhanced Damage
+75% Damage to Undead
+50 to Attack Rating against Undead
+10 to Dexterity

There was also an empty spot where Grief was once held. He had Frenzy, Burst of Speed, and the Vigor aura all at once. He was fun to watch. Anyway, I suspect that the patch that added Mosaic distracted me and he sat forlornly in Act 3 Hell for a while. Once I made Faith recently in D2R, I knew it was time to pat him. Here's what that weapon looks like:

Superior Diamond Bow

Two Hand Damage: 146 - 178
Durability: 34 of 40
Required Level: 65
Required Strength: 89
Required Dexterity: 132
Fingerprint: 0x7147534
Item Level: 80
Version: Resurrected
Level 15 Fanaticism Aura When Equipped
+1 to All Skills
345% Enhanced Damage
Ignore Target's Defense
300% Bonus to Attack Rating
+75% Damage to Undead
+50 to Attack Rating against Undead
Adds 120 - 120 Fire Damage
All Resistances +15
10% Reanimate as: Returned
75% Extra Gold from Monsters


The Build

This is a pretty standard (for D2R) hunter build.
Grizzly: 20/38
Dire Wolves: 20/38
Spirit Wolves: 20/38
Heart of Wolverine: 20/38
Raven: 17/35

Future points will go toward maxing Raven, and then after that I'm not sure. Maybe poison creeper?

I think most people will want to max Raven first, but since I had respecced from something else, I maxed that last.

Gear and Gameplay

Main: Faith DB
Switch: CtA, Spirit
Chest: Enigma
Head: CoA, Ral Ort
Belt: Razortail
Gloves: LoH
Boots: War Travelers
Ammy: Highlords Wrath (Atma's Scarab in the stash)
Rings: Ravenfrost, BKWB
Charms: torch, anni, 5 summoning skillers (one with +4 max), AR/FRW/Life small charms

Merc: Act 2 Might
Weap: The Reaper's Toll, shael
Chest: Fortitude
Head: Andy, fire res and ias jewel

When I picked this character up again, I started with a Wisdom diadem so that I could get 66% pierce. The other mods aren't useful though, and my resists were garbage, so I switched to Kira's Guardian. I eventually changed it to Crown of Ages. With Ral and Ort, the resists that matter most are very similar and CoA has so many other good mods. While using Kira's, I didn't need Ravenfrost, so I used this:

Doom Hold

Required Level: 35
Fingerprint: 0x7f681b2e
Item Level: 99
Version: Resurrected
Adds 4 - 1 Damage
+97 to Attack Rating
6% Life stolen per hit
Lightning Resist +21%
Poison Resist +9%

Running around with Fanaticism + HoW + Might + Decrepify is a pretty strong combo. From the Great Marsh to Baal, I ran at /p7 and the kill speed was fine, but I think that I'd run at /p5 for levelling in TZs, if I decide to level him more.

The build runs pretty smoothly. I either run or teleport around looking for packs, then hang back and plink away. I didn't bother with trying to reach any specific FCR bp. The HoW dies pretty rarely, and I can always teleport to reposition if needed. The Spirit Wolves die with some frequency, but the Dire Wolves rarely die, and I think I only had to resummon the Grizzly once.

Perhaps surprisingly, bosses are no big deal even with no CB on the build anywhere. I think Diablo went down without killing a single summon. This was on /p7, ofc. With high level summons and all of those auras, the total DPS of the pack is pretty substantial, so bosses don't live long. This also means that telestomping is an effective way to deal with elites, casters, and healers. If there was more room for MF, this build might make a passable pit runner. I think that even at /p5, elites would get vaporized. But, the character has no block, around 1600 defense, but a respectable 20% DR. All that to say that the character is no tank. I tried telestomping in /p7 a few times, and it sometimes resulted in a hasty retreat. I think /p3 would be very safe and /p5 might be fine. Two Sol runes in the helm could help with that.

Act 5 has some natural physical immunes, so I kept an Atma's Scarab amulet in the stash for those cases. I have to wonder if it'd be better to just use it all the time. I might try Atma's on the druid and either Obedience or Conviction on the merc. Hmmm, maybe there's another weapon that would suit this build, but I'll have to give that some thought.

Recently, I've tried a couple of builds that require a lot of swapping and prebuffing. I respecced my Fire sorc to be a Ranged Enchantress, and she required Memory, Eschuta's Temper, The Rising Sun, and 3 skillers for prebuffing. It was a hassle, but also a powerful and fun build. I also respecced my light sorc to Nova/ES, so she needed some prebuffing too. It's been nice with the last few characters not needing any gear swaps for the prebuff. The occasional BC/BO is a small price to pay for tougher summons. A bigger health pool also is nice.

I'm considering leaving the 5 summoning skillers in the stash during runs and only putting them on for prebuffing. This would allow me to fill the inventory with damage charms, and I have a few pretty decent ones, though I don't have crazy 1.07 charms in D2R. If I do much levelling/mfing in TZs, I'll try the enhanced prebuffing out. Maybe the benefits will be marginal, or maybe I can just keep a mostly empty inventory for picking up items? Or, just fill it with MF charms. Would the physical Sunder charm benefit druid summons? I'd guess not, but maybe I can test that to be sure.


There was one in the Frigid Highlands. I don't recall if it was carelessness, but that's what I suspect. The character is a bit squishy, so while telestomping is a strong offense, it's risky, so I don't do it often.


On the plus side, since druids don't need corpses to make the summons, you can have your full retinue (albeit at base level) when you go to get your body.


Nothing too amazing, but I did find a perfect 15 all res grand charm, so that's pretty good, though there's no suffix. There were some elite uniques, but nothing really worth typing out. I'll take it, though. I've had very good luck with runes recently. :D

Future Plans

The last and next few builds are all item driven. "What can I do with this runeword I just made?" I've already started the next one. Noether will be a Blade Fury/Sentinel assassin wielding Breath of the Dying. I've been putting off working on a couple projects that need to be ready by the beginning of July, so her mat needs to be slower.
Last edited:


Guide Author
Aug 5, 2005
Congratulations @snickersnack.
That is a lot of summons now with the D2R changes, nice. Did plinking away with the bow do much, or were the summons doing most of the hard work?
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Well-known member
Dec 23, 2007
Congratulations @snickersnack.
That is a lot of summons now with the D2R changes, nice. Did plinking away with the bow do much, or were the summons doing most of the hard work?
Yeah, the druid's DPS is not very high at all. According to maxroll, the DPS of each unit/group was about (assuming all buffs are active):

merc: 40k
druid: 12k
grizzly: 14k
dire wolves: 15k
spirit wolves: 7k
ravens: 11k

This is part of why I was considering filling the inventory with damage charms. My strongest attack was definitely telestomping since that brings most of that DPS to bear* on a single target. You could even that out by putting Fortitude on the druid, but then you lose telestomping altogether. Really, I think maybe +max damage charms are the way to go to up the DPS, but even then, it wouldn't make a huge difference.

* :rolleyes:
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