First introduced in Patch 2.5.0 (Season 10), Primal Ancients are a new category of items intended to spice up the endgame character progression. These extremely rare items have the same power as Ancient Legendaries while also having perfect rolls on every stat. Thanks to this addition it became possible to acquire literally perfect items for your build, although it is still by no means easy.
In Season 16 Primals received a visual upgrade getting a shiny new red border, and a unique beam and minimap icon to make sure that you never miss a Primal when it finally drops. After that Primals remained unchanged for more than 4 years.
Season 28 introduces a new crafting material - Primordial Ashes, as well as a new Kanai's Cube recipe - Curiosity of Lorath Nahr. Now players are able to recycle unwanted or badly rolled Primals to try and craft one that actually fits into their build.
This article covers everything we know about Primal Ancients, their different types, conditions to obtain them, and more.
Primal items have the same stats as Ancient Legendaries but they always have maximum possible value on every stat. This includes special legendary affixes such as Multishot damage on Yang's Recurve or damage reduction on Band of Might. Additionally Primals have special rules for sockets:
- Primal Weapons never roll a socket. This includes even weapons that normally have a guaranteed socket, such as Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker. These weapons get a random primary affix instead.
- Primal Chests, Pants, Helmets, Rings, and Amulets always roll maximum amount of sockets. Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac is the sole exception to this rule as it has no random primary affixes.
- Primal off-hands (Shelds, Quivers, Mojos, etc.) roll sockets normally.
Primal items have a red border in your inventory that is visible even when the item is unidentified. They also produce a bright red beam and a unique minimap icon when they drop. Same as every other item, Primals have their stats locked in when they drop, not when they are identified. So you can't manipulate their main stat and elemental damage rolls by switching class.
In order to be able to find Primal Ancients you need to have completed Greater Rift (70 or higher) solo. Primals must be unlocked separately on Season and non-Season, as well as Hardcore and Softcore. A good way to check if you are eligible to find Primals is by looking at your Blood Shard cap. If you can hold 1200 Blood Shards or more then you're good.
When you complete high GR solo for the first time and unlock Primals, one of the items dropped by the Rift Guardian is guaranteed to be a Primal. After that every level 70 Legendary or Set item you obtain from any sources (drops, chests, gambling, crafting, Cube recipes) has a 0.25% chance to be a Primal. Unlike regular items, every Primal you find is guaranteed to be for your current class, there's no 15% chance to get an off-class item (except for the Primal you get for completing GR 70, which has a normal 85%/15% split).
Primordial Ashes & Curiosity of Lorath Nahr
Salvaging a Primal item gives you 55 Primordial Ashes. This resource is used only in one Kanai's Cube recipe - Curiosity of Lorath Nahr. It allows you to spend 100 Primordial Ashes to upgrade one non-crafted Legendary or Set item to a Primal. The stats on the Primal item obtained this way are rolled normally and are in no way connected to the stats on item used in the recipe.
Primals obtained this way are different from normal Primals. They have the same red border but also a reddish-pink tint in your inventory and are a subject to several restrictions:
- You can only equip one such Primal at a time.
- Your followers cannot equip these Primals at all.
- These items don't have any guarantees when it comes to sockets.
Primals' impact & Strategy
There's no denying that Primals are very nice to have and very exciting to find, but at the end of the day they won't make a huge difference for your character's power. With how rare they are you are unlikely to have more than a couple in your build by the end of a season and in many cases even those few Primals you do have are only better than your best Ancients by a 100 or so main stat. In general for items you should prioritize: corrects stats > ancient > high values, and Primals only help you with the last one. So keep your head cool and don't let yourself get baited by a juicy red border.
The situation is a bit different for faux Primals you can make in the cube. This recipe lets you reliably get a good Primal in a slot that is normally very difficult to find. In the worst case it will give you a Primal weapon, which typically contributes 3-5% damage just from having higher DPS. And in some builds you have these ridiculously hard to find items e.g. Shield of Fury or The Ninth Cirri Satchel. With those you often end up using a non-Ancient item even after farming it for entire season and in that case a good Primal becomes a significant upgrade.
The best way to use your Primordial Ashes varies from build to build, but in general you want to go for an easy but impactful item, such as your weapon or Convention of Elements or an armor piece with an important multiplier. And if you play long enough to stockpile thousands of Primordial Ashes then you can try to go for the most difficult to find items in your build (typically offhands, gloves, or jewelry). Keep in mind that you also need to stockpile normal versions of those items because each Primal you upgrade can be salvaged to get 55 Primordial Ashes back.
Primal Ancients are cool and exciting and starting from Season 28 they are more accessible than ever. Now you can recycle your bad Primals in environmentally friendly way and turn them into good Primals (with a bit of luck). But remember: right stats >> Primals, don't let the red border obsession get to you!
Written by Northwar.