[2.4] Totem + 2 Essence Worms Animate Weapon Necro


- This build is not for those who directly correlate fun with fps.
- This build can and will crash you or party members on occasion.
- This build is hardcore viable to an extent. Lag hurts it in this regard, but it functions otherwise.

What even is Animate Weapon

Animate Weapon is a dex based minion which destroys an identified melee weapon off the ground in order to raise that weapon to fight alongside you. The main thing to note is the massive amount of base damage given by the gem, allowing it to gain almost all of its damage from added damage to attacks on auras or gems. Quality on the gem gives a ton of movement speed, making the play much smoother and removing the desire for things like queens escape or fear essence on jewelry. There is no upper cap to the number of weapons you can animate, but the skill has a duration after which the minion disappears, similar to SRS, though the duration is much longer.

Pros and Cons

- AW scales with quantity of items found on the map, so the harder maps you run, the more damage you dish out.
- It snowballs through maps, ramping up damage until you hit the boss or complete the map.
- The clearspeed is amazing once you've reached a critical mass of weapons.
- AW will absolutely melt bosses (it's quite satisfying).
- Party synergy. Assuming you aren't kicked because of lag, the party will carry the first few packs where you amass an army, then you carry from there and oneshot the boss. Parties also mean more weapons to animate, so larger parties mean more dps to make up for the extra hp enemies have. As necro you also give allies some extra damage, which is cool.
- You get to be a summoner without getting the "Metaslave" srs treatment or the "DansGame" classic summoner treatment.

- Lag
- Lag
- No seriously, expect 1/10 the frames you normally get with latency spikes while running between packs. Moving in an out of arena rooms will chug for a second as well.
- Having an aoe damage hit all of your weapons will do a lot of calculations as well and can cause lag.
- It's hard to see certain ground effects beneath your army like herald of lightning.
- It can be hard to get the first few weapons rolling to start the snowball, especially in low tier maps.
- You can't leave the map zone once you're in until you've cleared. You snowball, but zoning kills every weapon you have up and resets the army.
- Heavy looting is not recommended. Pick up some daggers and jewelry on the way, but stopping every pack to sort inventory will kill your dps.
- Lag
- You are "that guy" in the zana or shaped mesa rotation if you actually animate anything. Just run around and be an aura bot in pub parties so people don't complain about the frames.



Starting (lvl 75)
Don't take Minion Instability yet. You minions don't have enough life for it to be meaningful, and they won't die at this level anyway.

Current (lvl 89)
Start looking into minion instability. If you notice that minions are getting oneshot by bosses, pick it up because at least then they get some extra damage in. If they are slowly losing life and happen to die, don't take it. A slow death means the damage they do while losing that last bit of life will be more than the damage of an explosion.

Planned (lvl 95)
At this point, you should be doing high enough maps that instability is usually worth it. It's still a highly debated pick though.

Planned (lvl 100)
Get another jewel and the last bits of life.

Build toward the lvl 75 tree and use srs in a 3/4 link with + to gems till maps.
Realm ender will give +3 to srs gem in a cheap 4 link, so its the best choice.

SRS + Melee Splash + Spell Echo + Minion Damage
(Sub splash for added fire or multistrike on bosses)


Master of Sacrifice : Duration makes the army bigger. Offerings on you are a nice bonus.

Commander of Darkness : Damage and attack speed on minions, cast speed for you. Good stuff.

Spirit Eater : Damage for minions, cast speed for you. Good stuff. Desecrate is a bonus.

Beacon of Corruption : Chaos res is nice for desecrated ground and poison. Degen on death does a bit of extra dps if a boss manages to take down the weapons or if they time out. Also is hilarity in pvp.



Elemental Equilibrium is a must. -50% ele res to the two elements your minions will do is too strong to pass up (see gems:auras and gems:curses and elemental equilibrium to see how to proc it)

Eldritch Battery is a must. Completely reserve all your mana for better damage and still be able to use your skills


Minion Instability : HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if you have some minion life. If something brings your weapons down to low life, having them pop is usually for the best since they were going to die in a second anyway. Against bosses with aoe damage, having all your weapons get trucked is usually a bad thing, but with MI, at least the boss also gets decimated in the process, and not every minion might die if a couple pop before the others and kill the boss in the process. Without minion life, weapons pop too easily against trashier enemies and it's less effective for oneshotting stubborn bosses.

Mind Over Matter : get a bigger life pool. I don't currently have enough ES to make this worthwhile. I would find myself out of ES to cast totems after every encounter, slowing down clear speed. If you have enough ES to keep your mana pool healthy, go ahead and pick it up for one point.

Zealot's Oath : it's a bit further away than MOM, but can help with sustain in conjunction with it.

Ancestral Bond : twice the totems = twice the cast speed while animating. I haven't encountered any issues with my totem animating too slowly, but with more item quantity and Cloak of Tawm'r Isley (See gear:uniques) there's a chance that my totem won't be able to animate a pack's worth of weapons while on the move to/while killing the next pack.

Necromantic Aegis : Certain unique shields (Victario's Charity) have good synergy. Not recommended, but a possibility.



Essence Worms are a must for my build. They save so many other passive points and possible gear sockets which other builds might take.

You're EB and sometimes you can run out of ES to cast with. It's not needed, but I had one drop for me while levelling, and I put it to good use.

-Cloak of Tawm'r Isley

I'd like one of these, but they are so rare, especially at the start of a league. None exist at the time I'm writing this, let alone a 5 or 6 link. It sacrifices a life roll on your chest for more weapons to animate, blind immunity (blind is rare, but annoying when you do encounter it), and life leech to keep weapons alive for longer.


Notice the helm enchant. Get one, this one. Nobody really plays AW, so they won't be too expensive even though it's best in slot. 24% more damage on average, and double weapons at the start of a map when you don't have any really helps the ball get rolling. The duration enchant is ok too, but it's less effective overall.

Everything else are stat sticks.
- Life
- Resistance
- ES
- Dexterity
- Cast speed
- Minion Damage
- Minion Speed


- Player Life
- Minion Damage
- Minion Ele Res (+14% total)
- Minion Life
- Cast Speed
Why 14% ele res?

With base, passives, and Necro aura node, your minions have a total of (25% + 16% + 20%) 61% all res. Getting this up to 75% at least really keeps them alive in maps with extra damage


Instant flask keeps you alive.
Animation flask keeps weapons alive.
Quicksilver of adrenaline to go fast.

The remaining flask slots can be allocated in any way you feel helps you work best.
Stibnite (blind is a surprisingly good defensive boost and it's always up)
Silver (cast srs faster at the start of maps, run faster between packs, animate weapons faster)
Sorrow of the Divine (keep your ES pool topped off during less recovery maps and high paced casting)
Any of the OP defensive unique flasks (broken things are still broken)
Quartz (don't get body blocked by enemies, sometimes you dodge)
Aquamarine (chilled ground is a pretty good defense)
Basalt (armor is so 2000 & late)


Main Setup

AW + Spell Totem + Melee Splash + Minion Damage + WED

Why pick XYZ gem?

AW : It's the build... Actually make sure to get 20% on it for the massive move speed buff.

Spell totem : self casting AW is very painful. It slows down your clear speed and is not fun to do in general. Using a totem (or two) sacrifices a support gem for the ability to clear the map while still animating the weapons. Tooltip dps does goes down, but clear speed goes up. Quality for ease of use.

Melee Splash : Hit everything instead of just one thing. Quality makes them hit even more everything.

Weapon Elemental Damage : Your minions with this build do ele damage primarily. They use the weapons you animate to attack, so you get a massive more multiplier out of it. Quality for dps.

Minion Damage : The next best DPS gain for weapons. Quality for dps.

Swaps and 6th link

6l: Added Lightning Damage and Elemental Focus give almost identical buffs to the damage.

With no passives, Light Damage beats out Ele Focus by a couple percent, and slightly more because the minions keep the damage even when they wander outside of aura range, making it a better pick.

With around 25% aura effectiveness on the tree, Ele Focus starts taking the cake in terms of per-hit damage.

With minion instability, Ele Focus is the clear winner.

Swaps : Multistrike and Empower can swap places with Spell Totem and Melee Splash if you need that extra single target dps. I haven't swapped gems for anything other than atziri, and even then it is overkill.

note that swapping gems with more than a few weapons out at once will lock up the game for a second or two while recalculating damage, so do it in a safe location.

SRS kickstarter

SRS + Minion Damage + Spell Echo

You need something to get the first few kills in a map. 3 link srs does the trick.


As the build title would suggest, I run two essence worms:

In the first I have Wrath, and in the second I have Haste.

Anger on Generosity. This reserves 90% of my mana.
Clarity. This reserves as much of the remaining 10% as possible.

Vaal Haste + Inc duration

Why This Gem Setup?

Elemental Equilibrium.

I need to hit with pure cold for it to work, and this setup solves it. Haste gives no damage, Wrath doesn't give flat damage to your spells (only more to spells and flat to attacks), and Anger is on generosity, so it gives no flat damage. Any cold spell I use now procs the perfect EE for my build, reducing resistance to the damage my minions hit with (fire and light), and raises resistance to the one thing they dont (cold).

Clarity is just there because it gives some extra free stats through necromancer passives for the cost of mana we weren't using anyway. Lvl it up as much as you can without over-reserving your mana for the extra aura radius.

Vaal Haste is a staple for any summoner.

Supporting Skills

Flesh Offering
Flame Dash


Convocation : it allows you to focus fire your weapons (who usually run around pretty aimlessly once inside a pack) onto one target. It enables your single target melt, and solves issues like "allies cannot die" on an enemy hiding behind the front line.
Convocation is also what you use to save your dumb minions from standing inside things like herald of the obelisk or bearers. Every weapon saved this way is dps gained for later.

Flesh Offering : it gives minions attack speed (synergy with all the flat elemental damage we give them) and movement speed to run faster between packs.
Flesh Offering also gives you cast speed, allowing your totem to animate much faster when it's needed and move speed to run between packs or to dodge.

Flame Dash : with Flesh Offering, a quicksilver, and a silver flask, Haste, and Vaal Haste you run fast enough, but sometimes you just have to get over a little ledge or gap. You have too much increased duration to use Lightning Warp.

Curses and Elemental Equilibrium

<Cold Spell>
Elemental Weakness
Without Ancestral Bond

Freezing Pulse + GMP + Curse on Hit + Ele Weak

With AB

Ice Trap + Inc AoE + Ele Weak
Self cast your curses.
Possibly use Trap Cooldown or Multi/Cluster Traps as a 4th link.

Defensive Gems

CWDT + Immortal Call (low level)

Stone Golem


Temp chains is fun.

Another quick temp chains map.

Dark Forest T15
Apparently every map I run now has temp chains... Rigwald gets dunked on.

Changes will be made as needed. Let me know if I should make any edits to this.
Last edited by OxidisedGearz on Jan 30, 2017, 6:38:52 PM
Last bumped on Jan 7, 2017, 5:12:19 PM
Nice variation of an AW Build. Personally i am not a Fan of Spell Totem. It Animates Randomly and can eat up the one and other 6s/5l/6l and the Damage is significantly less, especially when in 6link setup, combined with Elemental Focus, you loose a lot compared to Selfcast. Also the Summoning Range of the Totem is
pretty small (i didn't test Spell Totem with the recent Changes to AW´s cast range, it might be better now). But the Mana is easier to manage.

The Lag you notice was never a Problem for me and my Party. It might be the same with the current SRS Lag issues, while recalculating the Damage of Minions while Leaving/Entering Aura range. I have a lot more Radius on Auras too, that might be the "solving" of this issue. At the moment, no one has complained about this in my Party, even with 70+ weapons up.

Your Build is very well created, thumbs up for this

NurbelST Level 97 Low Life Animate Weapon (Standart)
DerNurbler Level 96 Low Life Animate Weapon (Talisman/Standart)
Animate_Weapon_for_Life (Essence)

anyway to get that item filter. i have ziggy's but it won't show all dropped weapons
anyway to get that item filter. i have ziggy's but it won't show all dropped weapons

I was using a very slightly modified version Neversink's "Strict" filter with the animate weapon section enabled. Heres a link to it

Open it in a text editor, ctrl+f for the animate weapon section, uncomment it.

If you want to just add the AW section to an existing filter you like, just copy paste that section, but make sure to put it at or around the top just to make sure it overrides all other sections.
Last edited by OxidisedGearz on Dec 14, 2016, 12:43:31 AM
After playing King of the Forest to lvl 95 I want to try your Build as second.

Only thing I'm missing is what Bandits did you choose? Guess it's Oak / Kill all / Kill all ?

Thanks in advance.
Last edited by Emdra on Dec 28, 2016, 8:01:32 AM
Just wanted to say, thanks for this well put together build writeup. I just reached level 80 and am having a blast with this character. Like you said, it melts bosses, and I've run more than a few maps where I honestly had no idea I even encountered the boss until I saw the enemy count was 0; the minions took care of it before I could even get close. If anyone else is trying this and struggling to get enough weapons going, know that it gets much better in the harder maps with higher loot quantity. I regularly get 30 weapons following me, and in some cases have reached up to 65.

I have noticed the occasional lag, and my client has crashed twice.

A couple tips for others trying this build:

- I had a lot of trouble with the final boss of Merc Labs since I had recently switched to focusing on AW. My solution was to bring an inventory full of identified rare weapons, drop them before the boss arrives and animate them.

- If you encounter Vaal Zones or Masters that have their own areas (ie: Haku, or one of Vagan's duel arenas), wait to do them until the map is cleared. You lose your weapon minions every time you enter a new instance.

- I like to do a breach right before bosses if possible. The amount of weapons you get after those is insane.

- My bandits: Oak / Kill / Kill

Here's my gear at level 80 in Softcore Breach:

The Severed in Sleep was a lucky self-found drop in a Tier 1 or 2 map.

I also saved up for a 5L Cloak of Tawm'r Isley:

However I ran into an issue, and would be interested in any advice. The Cloak is pure ES, and I'm unable to get it to roll the colors needed for this build (red-red-red-green-blue). I see some 5L out there that are red-red-green-blue-blue. I really like the QOL that the spell totem brings, but that means I lose either WED or Melee Splash, and it means an extra blue slot. Would Elemental Focus or Added Lightning Damage be a good blue alternative to WED?

Last edited by JPOnion on Jan 7, 2017, 5:20:42 PM

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