[2.3] Animate Weapon Summoner featuring Cloak of Tawm'r Isley


This is my build guide for my animate weapon summoner using a slew of uniques, including the Cloak of Tawn'r Isley (The "animate weapon chest"!). I'm level 91 in ProphecySC "PropheticPrism".

In short, it uses animate weapons with poison, blasphemy with TempChain Enfeeble Vulnerability, Eldritch Battery, Mind Over Matter, Spirit Guards for 4 ranged animate weapons, Necromantic Aegis with Victario's Charity to give minions 3 frenzy and 3 power charges, Advancing Fortress to whirling blades, and an extra 35% aura (like Purity of Elements).


- Normal Atziri Run (~10min) - My 4th time killing her, and 6th time killing her EVER since she was introduced in Sacrifice of the Vaal, since usually my summoners can't beat her.
- Normal Atziri Run #2 (~8min) - 3rd time ever killing her.
- Village Ruin Boss
- Conservatory
- Gorge (6:43)


- Unbounded damage potential
- Army of weapons that tank and draw aggro from you
- Normal Atziri-viable
- Can do all maps and all map mods
- Usually strong against beyond bosses
- Enfeeble+Temporal Chains with extra effectiveness is broken powerful
- The ONLY Animate Weapon build that can stack Item Rarity for increased effectiveness
- Helps cap resistances thanks to Commander of Darkness +20% all ele res as well as a Purity aura
- Whirling Blades movement skill with Fortify
- Extra insentive to open chests, identify rare weapons, and pick up Gavels/Stone Hammers/Rock Breakers
- Good at surviving lag spikes thanks to Cast When Damage Taken + Convocation (rural internet sucks)
- The best build in the game at self-finding gear for your Hidden Potential characters
- Extra blue loot with Cruel, Glyphic, Flaring mods!
- Spends Orbs of Augmentation and Regal Orbs profitably


- Needs multiple unique items (Cloak of Tawm'r Isley, Doedre's Damning, Conqueror's Effeciency, Advancing Fortress, Victario's Charity, The Vertex). Cloak of Tawm'r Isley is unavailabe early in the league until players get level 8 Forsaken Masters leveled up. Maybe a month in it's around 1ex, dropping as low as 15c with two weeks left in the league.
- Unplayable without a custom loot filter
- Complex summoner build, shouldn't be your first build, or even your first summoner build
- Momentum-based so you have to gogogo
- Slow to start clearing a zone
- Looting is a required, honed skill for this build - not for clearspeed meta that skips looting
- Must carry weapons in your inventory
- Tight on gem sockets, not much room to even level up extra gems (like Empower, Enlighten, Enhance)
- Must keep Animate Weapon gem leveled up or it simply doesn't animate drops
- Squishy to anything curse immune (traps, bearers, desecrated ground, hexproof)
- Hexproof maps require swapping in Haste and Wrath and you lose your TempChains Enfeeble defense
- Can't portal out for trading or gear swaps without wiping your army; gotta bring your "just in case" stuff with you
-Whirling Blades isn't so great in a build with zero increased attack speed, and it also keeps your Eldritch Battry from regenerating
- The best build in the game at consuming the most Orbs of Augmentation (I run out often) so no Haku's discount on Alterations
- Loot explosions return - a map or Beyond boss will cover the screen in loot, for better or worse
- Hard to level up Vagan or Haku (and Vorici for all summoners) because they have portals in the wild that wipe your army
- Need an SRS staff on switch so you lose most of your "gem leveling" slots
- Can't cast spells when taking constant hits (against say Storm Heralds or some bosses) because ES won't regen due to MoM
- Can find itself in "hopeless" game states that you have to bail from, like if all your weapons die in a boss room with no exit. Many (most?) builds can run in big circles to heal life/mana to at least slowly wittle down a boss - this all-or-nothing build requires a fast kill or will wipe.
- Might simply be more expensive, squishy, and slower than a high-end pure Summon Raging Spirits build.


I suggest leveling with Summon Raging Spirits (in a Reverberation Rod, then a +levels to minion gems helm, then a 5link, then a Pledge of Hands). You get to keep the same passive tree and the SRS staff will eventually become your weapon swap to start zones. You MUST level up TWO Animate Weapon gems somewhere in your sockets (or off-hands) so you can eventually make Animate Weapon your main skill in your chest. The second AW gem is there for that you can use the level20 gem + 1 Gemcutter's Prism recipe for your Animate Weapon, getting a level 1 Animate Weapon with 20% quality (movement speed bonus!), then swap them so you can still animate high level weapons until the quality one levels up enough.

Level 90 - The rest of my point will go into 5% life nodes

As with a typical life-based summoner build, we want efficient life nodes, the best minion passives (Lord of the Dead, Herd the Flock, Gravepact), and most of the Aura Reservation nodes.
- Since we are using up to 3 Blasphemies, we don't need the "Increased effect of non-Curse auras" since we are using "Curse Auras". We get "Curse effectiveness" instead.
- Thanks to Eldritch Battery, we don't need to worry about mana or mana regeneration (but note that Heart and Soul are better than 5% life nodes).
- If you want a tankier version, you can remove Necromantic Aegis and equip a strong life + ES + resist + block chance rare shield or a unique like Rathpith Globe.

Labyrinth progression

1st Normal - Mistress of Sacrifice. This lets Bone Offering with Cast When Damage Taken give us block. We can cast Flesh Offering for speed or Spirit Offering for temporary energy shield and resistances.
2nd Cruel - Spirit Eater for minion damage.
3rd Merciless - Commander of Darkness - We should now run at least one aura so we get the 20% all resistance bonus (level 1 Clarity will do, or endgame a 35% one like Purity of Elements, or even Arctic Armor if your resistances are capped)
4th Uber Lab - Beacon of Corruption - Izaro is the best example of "kill the boss quickly or not at all". I have defeated him, with double buffs, as long as I animate 12-24 weapons outside his room and they DPS him while I run in a circle around him (without casting anything, casting stuff makes the weapons disengage Izaro and run to the spot your cast at.) I found it's suicide to run in circles trying to Summon Raging Spirits.

You will want a full tab of daggers/shortswords before entering the labyrinth.


You have access to your stash just before each of the 3 Izaro fights. Throw 12 or so daggers on the ground, animate them, then open the door and charge into the fight. You have about 60 seconds to kill him before your weapons cease.

He will be slowed from Temporal Chains. You are safest right next to him! When he winds up to attack, whirling blades through him to the other side! Do this maybe 6 to 10 times and your weapons should have killed him. Otherwise you have to audible to SRS and it gets dicey because you can't get hit if you want to regen ES to cast more SRS.

Unfortunately it's hard to control minions so I just don't engage in the mechanics around the room. Maybe charge disrupters...but running away from Izaro is dangerous! Walk too far and Blasphemy no longer curses him and he WILL 1-shot you with his horizontal ranged slash, dash attack, or leap slam. You also probably can't see him (on my bad screen resolution).

Here an aura calculator for the version running a level 1 Clarity for the Commander of Darkness bonus (you get a 4% reserve node by Sovereignty.

If you don't run Clarity (perhaps you don't have Commander of Darkness yet), then you can go with one fewer 4% reservation nodes:


Normal - Oak - +40 life
Cruel - Kill all - passive point
Merciless - Kill all - passive point


Here is my gear.


Our curses and Blasphemy go in our helm. There are a few options.

Geofri's Crest

Relatively cheap item with great all around stats, including +1 to all gems. Might be hard to get SUPER early in a league if Hierophants are popular.

Alpha's Howl

Most of my summoners use an Alpha's Howl. +2 aura gems, can't be frozen, and global -8% mana reserve (the "global" part is key). Sick auras mean sicker minions.

The Vertex

Drops from uber Atziri and not her best drop. Like a super Geofri's Crest. I used this for Prophecy league, cost maybe 35chaos with 1month left.

Heretic's Veil

A ridiculous Blasphemy-themed item, overpowered as long as Temporal Chains/Enfeeble keeps working on bosses. You get to use Enhance + TempChains + Enfeeble + Vulnerability with the same tree as The Vertex. Worse chaos resistance but better curses! These were about 7ex in Prophecy league because I think it's used to farm Uber Atziri, Uber Izaro, and similar end bosses.

Weapon Swap

Pledge of Hands

This build needs a startup/backup plan when Animate Weapon isn't carrying, so we use our weapon swap for a Summon Raging Spirits staff. I wrote an entire guide for using this item in a build by itself.



- Seething Divine Life Flask of Staunching - all of my life-based toons use one of these flasks.
- Catalysed Eternal Life Flask of Animation - A big, fast heal for you and your minions. Proper use of this should be more effective at keeping your army alive than a Vitality aura.
- Stibnite Flask of Warding - We need a curse immunity flask. Even though our weapons blind things thanks to Cloak, I still choose Stibnite because of the long duration and the guaranteed blind effect.
- Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline - Running quickly is important because the weapons are on a timer. You can't just Whirling Blades everywhere because it keeps your Energy Shield (with Eldritch Battery) from recharging, forcing you to wait for a recharge when it's time to animate more weapons.

- Rumi's Concoction is the strongest defensive flask you can get, but a well-rolled one is pricey (mine was 50chaos)
- Taste of Hate is another overpowered defensive flask, especially if you use Purity of Ice
- Could consider the Divination Distillate for more/better item drops.

I've found that it's not such a big deal to get frozen since all your animated weapons keep fighting and monsters (even from a strongbox) are still tempchains/enfeebled.


Animate Guardian

When you've got most of the build together healthy and strong, you can begin using an Animated Guardian to increase your combat prowess for just a single red socket in your Advancing Fortress (automatic Fortify to the Animated Guardian). I also link Culling Strike so the guardian (and my whirling blades) cull bosses from 10%.

An animated guardian needs Dying Breath and Leer Cast (damage auras and curse effectiveness) then a chest, gloves, and boots to keep it alive:

Each item should only cost about 1chaos on poe.trade. The boots are just a rare boots with no movement speed (so guardian walks slower into battle) and biggest resists you can find, then some life if it's still just 1chaos.

These are also good chest armors giving survivability:

I used Ambu's Charge for multiple leagues, but I've never noticed getting an Endurance Charge EVER, and Death's Oath deals considerable Chaos damage over time which is helpful at the start of a map. It's also a natural combo with Southbound Gloves if for some reason you want your animate guardian to solo a monster. ;)


Some thoughts how I'd keep improving this build further and/or into Standard:
1 - Get similarly-rolled ES gear on my gloves and boots
2 - Complete uber lab for 2 more ascendancy points (Beacon of Corruption) - I keep dying in the uber lab
3 - 6-link my Cloak of Tawm'r Isley to add another link like Added Chaos damage or Multistrike. Then put Lightning Golem into my shield, dropping Increased Duration.
4 - Corrupt an amulet for +1 curses, dropping Doedre's Damning for a much stronger rare ring
5 - Corrupt gloves for +6% cast speed
6 - Get increased Temporal Chains effectiveness uber lab enchant on helm
7 - Test Heretic's Veil as a possible upgrade over The Vertex, maybe with Enhance support gem
8 - Rare jewels with life and minion damage
9 - 21/20 or 20/23 gems
10 - Six-link SRS staff on switch

Item Filter

Because this build is dependent on items on the ground, you need to use a custom item filter to play it optimally. The following code block is near the end of my item filter (just before the final "Hide" that hides all unshown items, aka garbage).


# Animate Weapon - reveal white melee weapons in big font so they can be targeted easier
Rarity = Normal
Class "One Hand Axes" "Two Hand Axes" "One Hand Swords" "Thrusting One Hand Swords" "Two Hand Swords" "One Hand Maces" "Two Hand Maces" "Claws" "Staves" "Daggers" "Sceptres"
SetTextColor 128 0 0
SetFontSize 45

# Animate Weapon - Spirit Guards - reveal white ranged weapons in big font so they can be targeted easier
Rarity = Normal
Class "Wand" "Bow"
SetTextColor 100 48 48
SetFontSize 45

# Animate Weapon WITH Cloak of Tawm'r Isley - reveal all blue melee weapons to animate them
Rarity = Magic
Class "One Hand Axes" "Two Hand Axes" "One Hand Swords" "Thrusting One Hand Swords" "Two Hand Swords" "One Hand Maces" "Two Hand Maces" "Claws" "Staves" "Daggers" "Sceptres"
SetFontSize 45

# Animate Weapon WITH Cloak of Tawm'r Isley WITH Spirit Guards - reveal all blue ranged weapons to animate them
Rarity = Magic
Class "Bow" "Wand"
SetFontSize 45

# Cloak of Tawm'r Isley - this unique item automatically identifies all blue items
Rarity = Magic
Identified True

Blue Loot

Cloak of Tawm'r Isley's unique modifier has magic items drop identified. In addition to making magic items automatically usable with Animate weapon (no time or scrolls of wisdom spent), it also means we can scan loot with our eyeballs for potentially amazing and valuable blue items. It takes some time getting used to this (as was the case with pre-item filter Animate Weapon), but it's potentially very rewarding.

Note: There's a unique jewel called Hidden Potential that gives up to 25% increased damage per equipped magic item. Because most players simply don't take the time to pick up and identify blue items (besides jewelery), it can be quite difficult and expensive to properly gear a Hidden Potential character. This used to be a powerful and expensive meta way to scale poison builds like Caustic Arrow (until Chaos got all its other scaling options), but if some other damage source are introduced without many ways to scale it (or more incentive for equipped magic items), there's demand for these blue items.

In general, there's six categories I'm looking for in blue items:
- Armor with defense affix (LIFE, resistance, energy shield, armor, evasion)
- Weapon with damage affix (physical, elemental, chaos, attack speed, crit strike, crit multi)
- Caster weapon with highest tier spell damage roll (wand, dagger, or staff with spell damage, critical strike chance with spells, critical strike multiplier
- Caster gear with mana (energy shield gear or jewelry with mana or mana regeneration)
- Staff with +2 to elemental gems, +1 to chaos gems, or +1 to all gem levels
- Single or double Item rarity roll (Dragon's ... of Excavation)

Best Magic affixes

Here is a quick list of the best affixes you can find on magic items. Check out ExileMods.com for a complete list. Soon you will naturally memorize them.

Anything on this list is worth picking up and immediately spending an Orb of Augmentation. If you hit another good mob it's a keeper, otherwise throw it right back on the ground (and Animate it if it's a weapon!).

Later in the league I'll be dumping all my regals into my double max roll gear to see what happens.


Dragon's - max item rarity

Virile - max life on rings
Athelete's - max life on amulets, gloves, boots
Fecund - max life on belts, helm
Vigorous - max life on shields
Rapturous - max life on chest

Merciless - max +% physical

Flaring - max +flat physical

Dictator's - max +% accuracy and physical (a "hybrid" roll)

Overpowering - Max +% elemental damage, good on 1h fast base

Cremating -\
Entombing - The best "added elemental damage"
Electrocuting -/
Malicious - max (and only) chaos roll, very strong and meta now

Weaponmaster's - +2 to melee gems, currently no builds actively want this

Paragon's - +1 to all gems, only good on staves

Lava Caller's -\
Winterbringer's - +2 to [color] gems, only good on staves
Tempest King's -/

Nihilist's - +1 to chaos games, only good on staves

Runic - spell damage

Lich's - spell damage and mana

Zaffre - max mana roll

Cheetah's - max movement speed (boots only)


of Excavation - max item rarity

of the Magma
of Tzteosh - fire resistance

of the Ice
of Haast - cold resistance

of Lightning
of Ephij - lightning resistance

of Exile
of Bameth - chaos resistance

of Variegation
of the Rainbow - all elemental resistance

of Fame
of Celebration - Max attack speed. Best on a foil base hitting over 2.00 attacks per second

of the Ranger
of the Assassion - max accuracy

of Penetrating
of Incision - critical strike chance (attacks)

of Ruin
of Unmaking - critical striek chance (spells)

of Ferocity
of Destruction - crtical strike multiplier

of Euphoria
of Nirvana - max mana regeneration

of Sortilege
of Finesse - max cast speed

of Mastery
of Grandmastery - max attack speed (gloves only)

Here is some of the blue loot I have picked up thanks to Cloak of Tawm'r Isley's unique modifier that makes magic items dropped identified.

And yes, I HAVE animated items that a split second later I'd rather pick up and potentially craft or sell (or use on a Hidden Potential character), such as a Flaring weapon, a Glyphic sceptre of Calamity, and a Cruel weapon.

Tips and Tricks

- While all builds like the linear maps (Tropical Island, Mountain Ledge, Strand, Gorge, Plateau), this build in particular doesn't like to spend time backtracking.
- You can carry a Spell Totem Support gem in your inventory. Swap it with Melee Splash and summon it and the totem will animate all the weapons on the ground (slowly, but for no mana cost). You loot other things while this is happening. Useful after a boss exploded. Swap the Melee Splash back in and all your weapons have Melee Splash again (I think) since "snapshotting" was replace with "hot-swapping."
- If you are running lower level content that's very safe,, swap in a Flesh Offering for your Spirit Offering so you run faster, and skip animating so many weapons.
- You can run this build on mana if you use a 5link Animate Weapon (I have found that 6link Animate Weapon simply costs too much mana to forgo Eldritch Battery)
- If you have a REALLY important fight (like a Twinned boss or Atziri or Uber Izaro) and you are dropping weapons onto the ground to animate, you can get a little more damage by spending a dozen Orbs of Transmutation on those white weapons turning them into blue weapons. Orbs of Transmutation are CHEAP and it's really important to get a successful boss kill. Even resists are good to roll on animated weapons in a boss fight. It could make the difference with the extra damage rolls helping your DPS. I do this after my first attempt at a boss wipes.

Last edited by NorrYtt on Sep 19, 2016, 10:25:37 PM
Last bumped on Aug 26, 2016, 5:38:51 AM

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