[2.5] Animate Weapons of Mass Destruction

Why fight yourself when you can have your foes' own loot do it for you?

Changes for 2.4
None at all! It's as powerful as ever.

Changes for 2.5
No major changes aside from all minions getting higher base resistances. I haven't looked at the numbers but you probably don't even need a jewel with minion resists anymore.

Changes for 2.6
AW can now have a max of 50 active weapons. Spirit Guards jewel now grants 8 ranged weapons and limited to 2 jewels. This very likely affects clearing by a great deal.

My current AW build

From the time of making and playing this life-based build I've progressed a lot since then. While I do still have my witch her gear and build are now very different. And much more expensive. The build guide is kept intact, unedited because there might be others who look at it for inspiration or such, despite my own aw build having changed.

___[ Introduction ]___
Start a map, drop some weapons, animate, charge headfirst into a pack, convocation, things die and drop more weapons to animate. Rinse and repeat until they grow into alarming numbers - at which point it becomes a hyper aggressive tidal wave of death metal. Imagine a swarm of angry demon wasps with an insatiable bloodthirst, only worse.

AW costs lots of mana to cast and the two auras this build uses to power AW, Anger and Wrath, reserve almost all mana. To get around the mana costs the build uses Eldritch Battery and Zealot's Oath combined with Stone Golem and Rejuvenation Totem to grant enough ES regen to be able to cast it without running out of mana/es when animating lots of weapons. If you use a ES chest armour then mana won't be so much of an issue. Using a non-ES chest is fine.

You could quickly switch a red support with Spell totem and let it do all the work for you and then change back once they're all animated.

Animated Weapons aren't affected by ground effects like chilled ground or lava floor in the labyrinth. They also last for 82.50 seconds. 57.75s with Jorrhast.

ZO means no life regen so you are very dependant on your life flasks to stay alive. Labyrinth sucks.

There is a massive caveat with this skill:
Animated Weapons, just like any other temporary buff, expire when you change zones. Meaning that if you have 20 weapons and find a vaal side area you'll lose all of them upon entering. You will want to carry extra weapons in your inventory like daggers for this purpose.

Non-map areas have no increased IIQ and packsize modifiers resulting in smaller number of enemies that drop less amount of weapons for you to animate. The enviroment that is Act1-4 is just not even remotely reliable for continuous AW summoning.

For maps this is no problem but leveling is going to be a tough journey.

Required items

Victario's Charity -> wiki

Advancing Fortress -> wiki

Any of these depending on budget. Must be colours RRRB:
-- Geofri's Crest -> wiki
-- Black Sun Crest -> wiki
-- Alpha's Howl -> wiki
-- The Vertex -> wiki

-- Sorrow of the Divine -> wiki
(This is if you want to skip the passive and instead go for manual ZO when you might need it the most)

A jewel with at least +6% minion resistances

Gear with +dexterity so you can use Vaal Haste. Putting points in +30 dexterity passives is not the end of the world and is a good substitute if gear is unavailable.
Vaal Haste needs 155 dex at level 20. Faster Attacks (for whirling blades) needs 111 at lv20.

And in your chest armour, regardless what base type you use, you need these socket colours:
GRRB - B - R

___[ Passive Tree ]___

Level 92, 114 points:


Level 40
Level 60
Level 80
After that just fill out the rest with whatever you need first, like life and resistance. When closing in on 65-70 you might want to get ready to maybe start using the spell your build is built around and have grabbed stuff like EB, MoM, ZO and such that make the build playable with both auras running. Up until you make that switch you either play wannabe SRS or some miserable caster setup. It's not fun at all.

If you want to put points into something else then it's possible to get six points extra by using Conqueror's Efficiency and not going for the reduced mana reserve to the right of Eldritch Battery. You lose 20% increased aura effect however. Maybe use five of those to get Whispers of Doom (+1 curse) and equip Windscream so you can have three curses? Only problem is you're out of sockets for additional skills.

I tried leveling as one in Essence league and you're pretty much forced to play as something else till you get high level. Dual sceptre and freezing pulse until cruel. Try to get SRS working at some point once you have auras up. The build is really slow and weak until you and your gems get to higher level. It's not a great league starter.

Necromancer Ascendancy

136% max life (+35% from jewels)
74% increased ES (+64% from 322 base int)
3.5% life regen (converted to ES regen)
170% increased minion damage
5 jewel slots
Zealot's Oath
Eldritch Battery
Necromantic Aegis
Mind over Matter
Elemental Equilibrium

(five keystones!)

It is possible to skip Zealot's Oath and instead go with a Sorrow of the Divine whenever you need more ES regen for summoning.

__Bandit Rewards__
Oak (life)
Eramir (skillpoint)
Eramir (skillpoint)

This is needed if you don't yet have the mana reserve passive close to Necromantic Aegis.

You need to have one jewel with a total of at least +6% minion resistances.

The other four remaining jewel slots can be filled with whatever. Max life% is recommended.

___[ Gear ]___

Gives ES and chaos res, and +1 to gem level. Alpha's Howl works too but offers no ES. Geofri's Crest too if you're being really cheap. Getting RRRB on will be troublesome and maybe cost a bit.

Any chest armour will do, really. You want the basics. Life, resistances and maybe some dex or strength. GRRB - B - R

Now you might be thinking "why are you using these?" but that I'll explain further down. If you don't want to wear these then anything will do. Use whatever you feel like. "of the Grave" lab enchant spawns three frost-SRS minions that deal pretty decent amount of damage. It's nothing to rely on but it's a small nice bonus.

Same thing here like with the gloves. Use anything you wish. Windscream if you want a second curse or something. Perhaps Rainbowstride for more block.

I'm using a belt like this to give me the strength I need for all gems and stuff.

BiS. This thing has it all. Built-in fortify, blockchance, enables use of WB, some life and ES, and is dirt cheap.

This is the part where things go from 10 to 11 real fast.
Power and Frenzy charges give

+200% chance to crit
15% increased attack speed
5% increased movement speed
4% more damage

to minions and they can have max three of each.

Anything with life, resistances and possibly dexterity.

An unset ring with a red socket so I can fit Stone golem somewhere.
Second one is a legacy IIQ% ring from ancient times.
Life, res, dex.

Rumi bundled with your weapon's block chance and Bone Offering give you 75% block for attacks with zero investment in shield nodes!

___[ Skills ]___

Main skill, AW, in your chest armour:

--- 5L -------- 6L --

For applying Elemental Equilibrium and Ele.Weakness curse:

Auras in the helmet:

Guardian and Vaal haste:

In your weapon:

And finally, sockets in the shield:
<third socket anything, like desecrate>

___[ Gameplay ]___

__General flow__

Playing in Predictive mode is recommended. Lockstep will cause stutter and lag.

When at or close to my power level (lv4 empower, 20/20 gems, 21 anger, etc.) it's entirely possible to switch multistrike for spell totem and let it do all the summoning while pressing forward, drastically increasing the QoL and overall feel of the build. It's funny how AW keeps being so strong even with s.totem's 26% less damage and with IIQ instead of WED. I keep multistrike in my inventory and switch whenever it's boss time.

AW's A.I works so that they try to follow your cursor where you last clicked to attack or cast a spell; including AW. If you hold <loot button> and animate something at the edge of the screen your current animates will go there and swarm whatever's in the vicinity of where you clicked - even if those enemies are way outside your screen. My screen resolution is 1920*1080

Minion Speed, Vaal haste, 20%q on AW, ascendancy passives, flesh offering, all stack up to make the animated weapons move and attack _very_ quickly. The faster they move the more effective they can be.

Cast Flesh offering, activate vaal haste, and go nuts with whirling blades.

GMP on Freezing Pulse(quality on FP is relatively important) lets you hit most of the screen in one cast. EE and the curse puts normal rarity enemies' resistances at -93% assuming they have 0%.

It is highly recommended to get a loot filter that makes normal rarity melee weapons easy to distinguish among the rest. I'm using a filter I made myself.
Now with added Cloak of Tawm'r Isley support for those who play with that.
Get it here if you want to try it -> Dropbox

Rarity = Normal
Class "Two Hand" "One Hand" "Staves" "Claw" "Sceptre" "Dagger"
SetTextColor 222 93 227
SetBackgroundColor 0 0 0
SetBorderColor 222 93 227

There's one small thing though. It displays Overgrown Shrine Map as Red tier when it's infact just of Yellow tier. Minor annoyance but I dunno how to fix it.

Animated Weapon's physical damage is kind of bad, really. All their damage and potential come from your Anger and Wrath auras. Increasing the AoE on your auras increases the potential reach of your animates. With around 130% increased aoe the reach is so vast it extends just outside the screen. You can potentially and safely offscreen enemies this way.

__Minion Resists__
Minions by default have 25% in elemental and 0% chaos in res. To make them reach the cap of 75%, which these days isn't all that difficult, we do the following:
25% base ele res
+16% from "Herd the Flock"
+20% from necromancer ascendancy "Commander of Darkness"
+8% from the shield
+6% from a jewel.

which totals in 75% elemental resistances. Minions also get 26% chaos res from the shield and ascendancy passive.

__Animated Guardian__
This stage is optional but if you have a few chaos orbs to spare then it might be fun to try.

You need: Dying Breath Leer Cast
Basically gives nearby allies 33% increased damage.
Dying Breath has 18% implicit block, then additional 24% from NA keystone which makes it 42%. With Bone offering that's 75%. This animated guardian has higher block chance than you!

With that much block and life (around 14k) and max res it becomes rather durable. I've brought it with me to atziri, merciless labyrinth and even uber labyrinth and it survived without a scratch.

This thing's A.I is nowhere near as aggressive as AW's. Which is good because it helps it keep itself alive, and you from losing invested currency.

This thing helps tremendously when preparing for a boss like atziri (if you ran out of animates somehow) or just outside Izaro. It also helps building initial momentum when starting a new map. This weapon however is not exactly common. It's possible to skip NA and just go with this one. You lose wb, some life, 15% block, and your minions lose crit chance and speed.

This weapon's drawback, less duration on animates, applies the moment you switch to this weapon. Meaning, if you have a swarm going already chances are half of them are going to die when you change weapon sets due to their duration being updated to reflect the added %less duration modifier. Use with caution. If playing with Lockstep mode switching weapon sets also causes severe hickups and freezes.

__Victario's Charity__
This shield is crazy good for the purpose of using it with Necromantic Aegis. The power charges minions gain from this give them a decent amount of crit. A weapon with 5% base crit gets 35% crit with three charges, and a 7% base crit weapon 49%. Minions only have 130% crit multiplier though. Certain weapons with a crit multi% implicit do of course even more damage.

Interestingly, this build benefits from increased item quantity modifiers as they make enemies drop more items, and as such there'll be more for you to animate. This is why I run with IIQ items and the quantity support gem. Damage is good enough anyway without the WED support. Also yay slightly more currency drops and stuff. On my witch I have in total +106% IIQ.

___[ Media ]___

Defensive stats
Defensive stats without any buffs. Note this is with gloves and boots that have no +life on them at all. Potential mana pool will of course be much bigger with a proper ES chest.
E.g I put on a 540 ES chest and my total went from 1131 to around 2300.

1 weapon vs dried lake voll

Crematorium 2.3(twinned, ele weakness)

Normal Atziri 2.3
No Weapon Elemental Damage support, so damage can be exponentionally higher.
Check video description for time stamps.

Build guides for my characters:
Last edited by Angerelic on Apr 12, 2017, 10:18:28 AM
Last bumped on Apr 2, 2017, 7:13:28 PM
Great build, thanks alot!
I love the guide, clean and clear. Have made some adjustments - took dual curse and curse on hit setup (had to drop some gems for it). The curses are temp chains and enfeeble, trigger depends on the context.
Orb of storms to drop and run, FP/frostbolt for EE maps.
Also I keep srs in a +2 helm along with guardian for some starting momentum and for bosses that melt the weapons like Dom. Could have them in a swap weap though, just need a 6l staff.
Mapped with him, strong build, easily overpowers many other builds in clear speed, can hold its ground even in a six man group in red maps. Great experience overall, seems like a cheap but very efficient build.
I'm a nub so please tell me why we take Eldritch Battery. Is it to be able to use all the auras and still have mana left to use? And then is it really so mana hungry that it needs Zealot's Oath on top of that? When you use Zealot's Oath and you don't get mana regen anymore do you just chug potions nonstop for health regen?
I'm a nub so please tell me why we take Eldritch Battery. Is it to be able to use all the auras and still have mana left to use? And then is it really so mana hungry that it needs Zealot's Oath on top of that? When you use Zealot's Oath and you don't get mana regen anymore do you just chug potions nonstop for health regen?

Anger and Wrath reserve 99% mana with Empower.
Eldritch Battery moves ES from protecting HP to protecting Mana.
Any skill cost drains ES before it drains any mana (of which you have none).
Zealot's Oath converts "% life regen" to "% ES regen".
Passives, Rejuv Totem and Stone Golem give you hundreds of ES regen per second. Regen, not Recharge.
AW costs anywhere between 100 to ~250 mana per cast. Completely unsustainable on regluar mana pool without heavy investment.
Hey Angerelic, i'm really thankfull for the build. Made some adjustments myself but im having trouble with the loot filter. Whould you mind to share your version ?
phideki wrote:
Hey Angerelic, i'm really thankfull for the build. Made some adjustments myself but im having trouble with the loot filter. Whould you mind to share your version ?

The lootfilter setting I use for highlighting normal rarity weapons on the ground is as following:

Rarity = Normal
Class "Two Hand" "One Hand" "Staves" "Claw" "Sceptre" "Dagger"
SetTextColor 222 93 227
SetBackgroundColor 0 0 0
SetBorderColor 222 93 227

Or if you specifically wanted to use or try the one I've made myself, here you go.


edit: Added the AW item filter code and link to dropbox to the guide.
Last edited by Angerelic on Sep 29, 2016, 9:40:55 AM
I just wanna ask how do you use all the skills, bone offering, desecrate, (5 skills is locked whirling blades, animate guardian, freezing pulse, animated weapon, summon stone golem)

Convocation aint locked if I get this right though I can't have it in my other weapon swap as the guide says?
cause its also locking skills its troublesome at the moment to say the least.

Its like when I switch the weapon then I can't change them cause it overrides the skills so im having trouble to be able to cast all the skills so too say.

the skills I can currently have and use is: Animate Weapon, Freezing pulse, Stone golem, Animate guardian rejuv totem, whirling blades, convocation) and desecrate in the weapon swap. SO the bone offering and desecrate (main problem meyby) is in the shield also convocation but its in the "first weapon swap" of two.
Please help I don't understand this cause I can't just have all the skills that im supposed to.

Sorry if I have duplicated message / meanings I have edited this post several times though.

Also in the guide somewhere you say "flesh offering" but clearly mean bone offering right?
Thanks in advance.
Last edited by fichi on Sep 29, 2016, 11:56:04 AM
fichi wrote:
I just wanna ask how do you use all the skills, bone offering, desecrate, (5 skills is locked whirling blades, animate guardian, freezing pulse, animated weapon, summon stone golem)

It's simply up to preference which one you want to use. Flesh for clearing or speed, and Bone for defence or help prevent a boss kill your weapons. The skills I use are no different.

Mouse1 - Walk
Mouse2 - AW
Mouse3 - Rejuv Totem

Q - WB / Smoke mine
W - Convocation
E - Offering
R (Mouse4) - Freezing Pulse
T (Mouse5) - Vaal Haste

An alternative to WB is to skip WB and use Smoke Mine with Inc Duration, a double movespeed quicksilver and Overflowing Chalice (and vaal haste) to then just run really fast.
Desecrate I pretty much never use. I changed the shield to BBB and put both offerings and convocation there so I can alternate offering whenever I feel the need to.

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