[2.3] Necromancer SRS - 1H + Shield. Max Block. Extreme Defense & Offense. [T15 + Atziri viable]

Build Overview:

I have done SRS countless times before and this has been my most successful attempt. This isn't your typical SRS with staff. It's a new take with 1H + Shield for maximum defense. Therefore, it's obviously for HC leagues in mind because you lose some dps to gain massive defense. If you play softcore leagues, you're better off sticking with the staff builds (unless you're fairly inexperienced with the game who needs a tanky budget build).

Currently I am close to level 94 in Perandus Hardcore League. I could easily go after level 100, but I just don't have the time and patience for it. I have done all tiers of maps with ease. Passive tree takes a new path which hasn't been done before. I wasn't planning on revealing this build, but I think it's the last time I'm doing SRS so I don't care at this point. Enjoy.

Build Highlights:

- Insanely cheap and perfectly viable for a first character in new league. Even cheaper than staff SRS builds because you don't need to invest on staff crafting.

- Extremely high defense for a summoner. 8k armour, 277% Life Increase (before jewels), nearly 500 life regen and Max Block with Bone Offering.

- Can handle pretty much all map mods. No life regen is probably the only exception.

- Face tank most bosses!

- Open to further theorycrafting with different gear options.

Patch 2.3 Thoughts: No skill tree changes, but I have updated the link with PoE Planner. This build will be slightly stronger in 2.3 because of Necromancer Ascendancy buffs. It's all the more reason to try 1 Hander because you will have the dps. Even in 2.2, I could do any content with this build.


Passive Tree
Full Level 100 build:

Official Website Link
PoE Planner Link

Alternate Options:
- You can switch the minion life regen node with something else. I take it because it helps with Golems and Animate Guardian survivability.
- You can skip the whole "Bloodless" cluster and instead take couple more jewel sockets if you want more damage. Or perhaps the skill increased duration nodes.
- No need for "Death Attunement" node if you use Multistrike on SRS and not running Spectres.
- Don't need "Diamond Skin" once you have enough resists to run Ele Weakness maps.

Ascendancy Nodes:
- Mistress of Sacrifice
- Spirit Eater
- Commander of Darkness
- Beacon of Corruption (take it last)

Passive Trees for Leveling:
Level 38 -
This is when you should switch to SRS as 4L with Spell Echo and recommended level for attempting Normal Labyrinth.

Level 58 - Recommended level for attempting Cruel Labyrinth.

Level 75 - Recommended level for attempting Merciless Labyrinth.
Refund "Deep Thoughts" and "Righteous Decree" nodes because you should be switching to Blood Magic. If you don't own Essence Worm rings at this point, then keep using those nodes to help with mana problems.

Level 85 - All major nodes taken at this point. From here on out, you'll be prioritizing jewel sockets to help boost your damage. Attempt Endgame Labyrinth at around 85 - 90.

Staff Version (less block, less armour but more damage):

Leveling Guide/Tips
Many players prefer to switch to Summoner build in Cruel or Merciless difficulty, but I think it's perfectly doable to go Summoner by Act 3 or 4 Normal. You do need a couple of items to make it happen though. Optional, but they make life easy.

If you're going to use Zombies/Spectres, look up Skullhead unique helm. It gives a great amount of defense for minion survivability, so you won't have to re-summon zombies/spectres too often. Also get Bones of Ullr for +1 Spectre until you can use Vis Mortis.

For strictly SRS play, if it's your first character in a new league, you might want to wait until level 38 so you can 4L it with Spell Echo. If it isn't your first character or have enough currency, you can purchase "Reverberation Rod" which provides Spell Echo at level 24. Socket SRS + Minion Dmg + Melee Splash into it and you're all set.

What to do till I can use SRS?
Personally I use Freezing Pulse + LMP (maybe add another gem) until level 12.
Then switch to Firestorm until level 24 (if I have the Reverb rod) or level 38 for 4L SRS. You can use any other skill you're comfortable with, but Firestorm is my personal favorite. Insert it onto a +1 to Fire Gems wand/sceptre or Lifesprig unique. It has the dps to keep you going and maybe even better than early game SRS dps.

Use Hatred + Generosity and Clarity for leveling. Switch to Blood Magic in early endgame once you have enough life regen (150-200+) and of course, the Essence Worm rings. They're not exactly cheap, but not too expensive either. Their demand is high at start of new leagues, so watch out. Just don't switch to BM until you have them.

As for tree pathing, I didn't take any different paths for leveling. Only took couple of mana nodes temporarily to help with mana problems (such as "Deep Thoughts"). Just make life nodes and minion nodes your priority. Take what you need more. Make sure to have 1.5k HP for normal Malachai and 2.5k for Cruel Malachai to be safe.

Perfectly doable with this build since it has more life nodes than majority of other builds. For Ascendancy nodes, take Mistress of Sacrifice first, so you can use flesh offering for leveling. Leave Beacon of Corruption for last. Start using Bone Offering once you have a full shield setup going with the block nodes taken.

At some point in late campaign, look into purchasing a white 5L chest or 5L staff for cheap because you'll need it for decent clear-speeds for early endgame. Craft them and use it until you can 5L your Vis Mortis chest. Then attempt 6L on another Vis Mortis on the side because that's pretty much the only investment you'll do for this build.

Oak / Kill all / Kill all

Gem Links
Summon Raging Spirits
4L: SRS + Spell Echo + Minion Damage + Melee Splash
5L: SRS + Spell Echo + Minion Damage + Melee Splash + Melee Phys Dmg
6L: SRS + Spell Echo + Minion Damage + Melee Splash + Melee Phys Dmg + (One of the 3: Added Fire dmg, Multistrike or Empower lvl 3 or 4)

Summon Chaos Golem + Lightning Golem + Summon Stone Golem + Minion & Totem Resists
Note: I'd suggest running Chaos & Lightning Golems for normal runs. Replace Chaos with Stone golem for maps that have 60-80% life regen penalty.

4L: Multiple choices. Personally I run this to spread more caustic with Beacon of Corruption:
Spell Totem + SRS + Faster Casting + Minion Damage

If you don't like that, you can do one of the following:
Raise Zombie + Animate Guardian + Fortify + Minion Life
Raise Spectre + Greater Multiple Projectiles + Spell Echo + Minion Damage
Spell Totem + Arc + Faster Casting + Chain (use with Elemental Equilibrium)

CWDT lvl 5 + Enfeeble lvl 8 + Immortal Call lvl 7 + Increased Duration

Bone Offering + Vaal Haste + Increased Duration

3L or 3S:
Lightning Warp + Vaal Summon Skeletons + Level 1 Clarity
Note: We use Clarity for an additional damage gain from "Commander of Darkness".

Keep on the side: Desecrate! Highly useful in some fights such as Izaro.

Rings (Essence Worm uniques):
Anger or Haste. Don't need Haste if running Lightning Golem and Multistrike on SRS.

Gear Guide

Weapons and Shields:
For 1 Hander weapon, I prefer: Clayshaper

Why? +1 to Golems is quite helpful with defense/offense. It adds a slight minion dps boost and more importantly, 30% minion life increase. Makes up for the loss of Minion HP on Vis Mortis chest. Also buffs Beacon of Corruption + Minion Instability.

More Options:

Singularity (unique sceptre) - This was my first choice for testing because it has cast speed, reduced mana cost for skills and a special effect that hinders nearby enemies with increased damage towards them. Turns out the radius was too melee range for my taste, so I couldn't keep using it.

Advancing Fortress (unique claw) - This has HP, evasion and block chance. Really nice for your defense and the extra block helps with cap if you aren't planning to use Bone Offering.

Amplification Rod (unique wand, exclusive to Prophecy) - Excellent for socketing in spectres to make it technically 5L. Should make a good difference in map clear-speeds.

Mon'tregul's Grasp (unique sceptre) - This could be a good option if you want to modify the build to have 8-10 zombies. Then you could also run spectres as 4L to make it a full Summoner build. For strictly SRS, don't bother.

Profane Wands (rare) - If you want the best cast speed item, look up these rare wands that have 30-35% total cast speeds. Make sure to craft "intelligence" on it because you'll need it to equip the wand. Other stats such as resists are a nice bonus.



Rare shields - They're my preferred choice for maximizing on defense, life and resists. Find one with 30+% block if you want to cap for Max Block with Bone Offering. Shields are one of the best options for raising armour, so pick something high.

Lioneye's Remorse (unique) - Awesome shield if you can manage with its lack of resists.

Aegis Aurora (unique) - An option for rich folks. High block chance and it provides ES regen that synergizes well with some ES-based equipment this build can use. Don't bother if you have little or no ES at all because you can manage without its other bonuses.

Saffell's Frame (unique) - Really good for capping on Spell Block without "Stone of Lazhwar" amulet and face tanking elemental damage. But be aware that you can't block attacks while this is equipped, so it's win and lose with this one.

Matua Tupuna (unique) - If you don't care about defense, its +2 to Minion Gems can help boost your offerings and other minion gems such as Golems, Vaal Summon Skeletons, etc.

If you want to cap block with a Staff, Xirgil's Crank is an easy option and it has +1 to gems mod. I prefer shield setup for higher defense.

Look for +2 to Minion Gems Helm. High armour with life and resists.

Vis Mortis. Really helpful with dps since we aren't using a staff. Also +1 to spectres if you decide to use them. Infernal Mantle is probably the second best option because of +1 to Fire Gems mod and decent ES. Haven't tested it though.

Or if you are rich, any well rolled armour chest corrupted with +1 to Socketed Gems beats the above two options. For strictly more defense, Lightning Coil is your best bet.

Rare with high life and resists. Make sure to craft minion damage mod from Catarina!
or "Grip of the Council" unique (exclusive to Prophecy league).

Rare with high movement speed priority! Try to find them with Dexterity. Life & resists.
Out of unique ones, Rainbowstride is a good option.

Leather Belt. High Life and Resists! Armour optional. Flask life recovery optional.

Few choices. A rare amulet with lots and lots of Dexterity. Cast speed. High Life.
"Stone of Lazhwar" unique corrupted with Minion Dmg to cap on Spell Block.
"Sidhebreath" unique corrupted with additional Minion Dmg for more damage gain.
Or if you played Talisman league to death, its top tier amulets are another option.

Essense Worm unique rings! No question here. You need them because you're Blood Magic.

Minion Dmg and Cast Speed. Even better, Mnion Dmg with 2-3x Cast Speed or Resists.
Find these two with life increase once you're ready to invest more. If you're using a unique amulet, Fluid Motion unique jewel can help resolve Dexterity problems.

If you want to buy a unique flask, Rumi's Concoction is a good option.
Otherwise, just stick with regular stuff like Silver Flask, Basalt, etc.

Animate Guardian Gear:
Dying Breath (unique Staff)

Leer Cast (unique)

Zahndethus' Cassock, Death's Oath or a rare of your choice.

Rare with life and resists. HP Gain on Kill. Life regen.

Rare with life and resists. Life regen. Avoid movement speed if possible.


My Current Gear


Defense Screen

Note, not capped on block here because of my shield linked above.
Also not using Rumi's Concoction.

Springs Map (Tier 11) - Rare - Average Difficulty

Sorry about the cut borders! Accidentally recorded at a different resolution than what my game was at. Couldn't showcase anything higher because this was the highest tier map I had at the time of this writing. Might add more videos later if I get a chance!

Tips & Tricks
- First one is an obvious, keep Bone Offering up at all times, especially important for tough maps. With HP gain per block, you would hardly have to use HP flasks. Plus the damage boost from "Spirit Eater" node is too good to miss out on.

- With Desecrate and Bone Offering, you can face tank Merciless Izaro and finish him off within 5 seconds. Labyrinth itself is super easy with this build due to high life and life regen.

- As I said under gem links, use Chaos Golem and Lightning Golem to go with Clayshaper. Your default life regen is really high from passive tree, so don't need Stone Golem unless there's a 60-80% life regen penalty mod on a map.

Will add more tips later.

1. What makes this build close to Staff SRS dps?
A. There are quite a few things that make up for the lack of Staff. First, you get to use two 50% mana reserve auras instead of 1. Second is the Unholy Might on Vis Mortis chest. That grants 30% of physical damage as extra chaos damage, which is almost like having another Hatred.

Then we have other small boosts like second golem and higher spreads of caustic clouds (Beacon of Corruption) with spell totem SRS setup on the side. These caustic clouds alone can take out mobs on lower maps. Personally I find it hard to miss the staff with the huge amount of Minion Dmg added on Necromancer Ascendancy and Labyrinth enchants.

2. Minion Instability viable with this build?
A. Minion Instability + Beacon of Corruption were originally part of my build plan, but I still haven't tested Minion Instability yet. If you do decide to use both, make sure your gems are at least level 18+ and stack up on minion HP. All the more reason to use Clayshaper.

3. What passive tree nodes should I skip for level 85 build?
A. You can skip Bloodless cluster, the first 4 starting nodes of Marauder, any of the 4% HP nodes and perhaps a jewel socket. See an example under passive tree section.

(will add more Q & A later)
Last edited by FierceAgent on Jul 5, 2016, 10:43:10 PM
Last bumped on Jan 9, 2017, 4:13:44 PM
* Reserved *
Build looks solid, make a video though, a lot of people want to see a glimpse before they go into making the build themselves. Goodluck.
Nice one, interesting take on the SRS. With 2.3 we have some buffs for the Necromancer also :)
Shavronne wrapped Kaom's waist,
with her gilded purple boots.
"You want my sockets?"
looking forward to a leveling section when u get the time as ive never played srs before. im looking to try it though this new league and i want a high life/defensive character since i play HC mode.

curious as to why no desecrate ground or flesh offering? just no room for them? would u recommend them for leveling over bone offering? what auras till u get the rings? just clarity/hatred with genorsity till u pick up the BM keystone?

thanks for the guide. build looks great

Build looks solid, make a video though, a lot of people want to see a glimpse before they go into making the build themselves. Goodluck.

I would love to add a video, but not been playing the game lately. I'll bump the topic once it's up.

Jadran wrote:
Nice one, interesting take on the SRS. With 2.3 we have some buffs for the Necromancer also :)

Oh yeah, the Necromancer will be too OP in 2.3 and it was already OP. With all that minion dmg increase, who needs a staff? I feel like I posted my build right on time, lol.

godhand456 wrote:
looking forward to a leveling section when u get the time as ive never played srs before. im looking to try it though this new league and i want a high life/defensive character since i play HC mode.

curious as to why no desecrate ground or flesh offering? just no room for them? would u recommend them for leveling over bone offering? what auras till u get the rings? just clarity/hatred with genorsity till u pick up the BM keystone?

thanks for the guide. build looks great

Added a leveling guide.

Are you referring to my linked gear? I keep Desecrate and Flesh Offering in off-hand. There are enough corpses when you do regular map runs, so don't need Desecrate for that. I switch to it for some boss fights like Izaro when there are no corpses around.

I don't use flesh offering because I spam bone offering instead. With Vaal Haste and Haste, I can cast about 40 SRS. That's good enough for me. But you can use flesh offering for leveling, definitely helpful. Note that in 2.3, each corpse consume will also provide cast speed increase so just switch to Bone Offering once you have both Mistress of Sacrifice and Spirit Eater nodes.

Yes to your auras question. Clarity/Hatred are the way to go.
Last edited by FierceAgent on May 26, 2016, 10:36:48 PM
Finally got the build video up and running -


Also updated some sections of the guide above.
why vis mortis? that chest lacks so many defences
and have you considered aegis aurora?
evilch3n wrote:
why vis mortis? that chest lacks so many defences
and have you considered aegis aurora?

As I explained in the guide, this build uses Vis Mortis because of Unholy Might which means 30% physical damage granted as Chaos Damage. That's a great buff which makes up for the lack of Staff. It may lack defenses, but you can easily make up for it in other gear pieces. I can run maps with elemental weakness and stay capped on resists still.

Aegis Aurora is awesome, but its two main benefits - Ele Dmg and ES gain aren't meant for this build. Therefore, you're better off using a rare shield with 30% block (ideal), high armour, life and resists. Your shield armour will be the main source of buffing your armour because of shield nodes taken on passive tree. That's why you'll benefit more from rare shields and they're much cheaper.

Edit: Actually on second thought, I think Aegis would be a good option because I was forgetting we do have some ES in this build. But the HP gain on block with Bone Offering is just as good, so it's still optional if you want take the more expensive route.
Last edited by FierceAgent on May 28, 2016, 6:07:07 PM
Is it too early say or will 2.3 make this build stronger/stay same?

Thinking of rolling with this one but unsure if its efficient with like 1-2 groupies ?

Ill go either this or bladefall totems depending what the patch notes bring..

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