So far people theorycrafting around the summoned creatures have discovered some very interesting information about how summons scale with gear. Big thanks to the people at Armada and Diabloinc.
Here's the summary:
Summon damage is based on weapon dps, not the damage range. For instance a 2-8 damage 1.0 speed weapon will see summons do the same damage as a 4-16 2.0 speed weapon.
Summon damage scales with your damage. If you equip a better weapon or gain a temporary INT buff your summoned creatures will do more damage.
Summons life does not scale with Vitality.
Summons armour does not scale with your armour.
OK, so the only way we can improve summons is by damage buffs? Well we have some of these.
Soul Harvest gives us up to +650 Int per cast.
Gruesome Feast gives us up to +50% Int from using health globes.
Provoke the Pack gives us +5% damage per dog sacrificed.
Here are two builds based on boosting our damage so that our summons become much much more dangerous.
The Hounds from Hell
This build tries to cast Soul Harvest as much as possible. The aim is to get many stacks of it going at once to create a positive feedback loop. You kill things fast because you have very high bonus damage. Your cooldowns are reduced because you are killing things fast. You can cast Soul Harvest a lot because its cooldown gets reduced causing you to have high bonus damage.
The build has 2 permanent summons following you about and the plan is that early in the fight you drop a giant toad and a giant spider. If it looks like a tough fight you can also throw in a Fetish army. You then cast Soul Harvest as much as you can. Its cooldown is reduced by 2 from one passive and reduced by 1 per kill from another passive so with enough mobs around you could be casting it every few seconds. Each cast gives you a 650 Int buff that lasts 60 seconds. We should be able to get 10 going at once for +6500 bonus Int as long as we can kill 7 mobs every 6 seconds.
So just how smart could you be? Well in theory given infinite targets
and 3 friends who kill infinitely fast you could spam Soul Harvest in
your fast cast gear at the fastest possible casting speed while
permanently being deluged with health globes. Assuming max cast is 3 per
second this would give you a total intelligence of:
Base Int for a naked character * 1.5
+ Int on gear * 1.5
+ 3 casts * 60 seconds * 130 Int buff per mob * 5 mobs * 1.5 gruesome feast bonus = +175, 500 Int Soul Harvest bonus.
That's a lot of damage and a +17k resist bonus!
Who let the dogs out?
This build is trying to generate Zombie Dogs so that we can Sacrifice them. In addition it will generate a lot of health globes. The idea is to use Sacrifice any time we have 3 dogs up and cast a dog generator any time we don't Summon Zombie Dogs, Mass Confusion and Big Bad Voodoo are all dog generators in this build. We also have passive dog generation.
The high throughput of dogs allows us to get stacks of Provoke the Pack up quite high. It also has the side effect of leaving a lot of health globes behind which feeds our Gruesome Feast passive. We cast Soul Harvest whenever it cools down and kill things with Explosive Beast when there's nothing else to do. The beast is a Zombie Dog and so may benefit from our health globes rune.
There's a variation on this build where you drop Circle of Life for Zombie Handler. This gives us up to 4 dogs out at a time. This is a very useful variant if you plan to make a Youtube video showing people your spectacular damage numbers.
For example if a mob is hit by all 4 zombie dogs when your buffs are up and it crits then damage could be:
* 4 zombie dogs
* 1.5 for 10 stacks of Provoke the Pack
* 1.2 for Big Bad Voodoo's attack speed bonus
* 1.5 (or higher with gear) because it crit
Adjusted by +650 * 8 Int for 8 stacks of Soul Harvest buff
and all Int, including the Soul Harvest stack, *1.5 for Gruesome Feast.
I imagine that will look rather spectacular :)
If you really wanted to get a huge number for a screenshot you could try the Slam Dance rune for another 30% damage and Hex for another 20% damage. But that wouldn't be a very viable build as you would lose dog generation.