[3.x - Discontinued for now] Burning Spectres - Torch the Atlas - HC Shaper, Elder, Uber Atziri

3.4 This patch spell block has been nerfed while minions have been buffed. I now fear classic summoners are beginning to fall behind defensively compared to the rest of the meta. I might be wrong, though! I will update the guide if VGs turn out to be really nice for Delves :) It will not be my starter build, though. Probably going to build around Herald of Agony or Slayer+X Scion. Enjoy Delve! I know I will! And die horribly :'D

Intro - Tukohama's Vanguard Spectre Summoner
Spectre based summoners plow through nasty maps and bosses with less investment than many other builds. Defense is relatively easy to scale, and offense scales with the level of your spectres, the number of links you can provide them, and to a lesser extent your gear. 9k EHP soaks up all but the most devastating one-shot mechanics, and in the end game you can max out both block and spell block. Need a cheap 6-link? A Tabula Rasa can take you all the way to Shaper.

This build focuses on two types of spectres:

Tukohama's Vanguards (TV) cast a tanky Scorching Ray totem that deals massive damage if the burning gets to stack up. The Totems also lower the fire resist of their targets by -1% per burn application, down to -24%. This stacks with the -50% fire resist from Elemental Equilibrium.
While the resistance penalty from the TVs' totems will not exceed -24%, regardless of the number of totems, each individual totem will contribute a separate damage over time system. So the more totems, the more damage. The TVs utterly out-perform Solar Guards vs bosses.

Solar Guards are the clear speed champions in the current meta. By swapping some gems and jewels around we can use these instead of TVs for great clear speed.

Wicker Men are giant bears that use Righteous Fire to deal AoE damage to everything around them. They used to be awesome for this setup but were nerfed hard in 3.1. To the point where it is now hard to justify using one over a TV.

1 - Videos

2 - Overview
+ Excels at doing hard high-level content including Guardians, Shaper, Uber Atziri, and Elder
+ Nice league starter. Safe enough to do most Vaaled maps, yay!
+ Extremely HC viable once your defenses get going.
+ 10k+ Effective HP with MoM
+ Max block and spell block, with 300+ life gained on block
+ Can do any map mod
+ Reflect immune
+ Crit immune with Reckless Defense setup
+ Spectres are close to immortal due to their HP and boosted life regeneration
+ Do Uber lab with ease (Except bleed traps. They wreck minions)

- Burning spectres have poor clear speed. However, change some gems around and use Solar Guards for excellent clear speed.
- The animated guardian can die if you play sloppy or neglect to give it the appropriate defenses
- Chayula's Domain with TVs is a bit difficult due to lack of clear speed. But the actual boss is a joke.

3 - Passives, Bandits, and PoB
The build is quite flexible, and what you see below is just what I found to be optimal for my own playstyle in Hardcore. If you are experienced you can change it up!

1: Invoker - Need it to get Soul Weaver, and it has a lot of juicy stuff!
2: Soul Weaver - 100% increased life and damage for our spectres. A game changer.
3: Mistress of Sacrifice - Offerings now affect you at 50%.
4: Commander of Darkness - Resistances and damage for you, your minions, and their totems. Get this if you need resists.
4: Puppet Master - More offensive than CoD. Lets you drop Clarity. Get this if you dont need the resists from CoD.

Soul of the Brine King /w Forgotten Soldier to avoid stun locks. Use if you dont wear Kaom's Roots.
Soul of Solaris /w Shadow of the Vaal vs one-shot bosses like Uber Atziri and Elder. Lets you be immune to crits after being crit recently! Thats great for Reckless Defense if you dont want to use Ahn's Contempt helmet.
Soul of Lunaris /w Lycius vs chain maps is a possibility. Less useful if you already have decent block.

Soul of Tukohama, Soul of Shakari, Soul of Ralakesh - all nice but situational


AtlazDDT - BHC char - ripped to Uber Elder - https://pastebin.com/nsntS39U

TV setup pastebin (for bossing)
Solar Guard setup pastebin (for mapping up to T15)

4 - Gem Links
Main link, chest:

For a 5L you can drop Swift Affliction (unless your spectres can get resistances from elsewhere).
Swap Minion and Totem Elemental Resist with Chance to Ignite if you dont need spectre resistances from the gem.

For Solar Guards swap Minion and Totem Elemental Resistance with Spell Echo, Swift Affliction with GMP/LMP/Slower Projectiles, and Burning Damage with Fire Penetration. You can also consider recoloring the chest piece to swap the red gem for Controlled destruction. If you want to watch the world burn simply swap out Elemental Focus with Combustion.

Wait, Spell Damage multipliers don't work for TVs?
That's right. For example, Controlled Destruction and the spell damage portion of Efficacy have both been tested and shown not to do anything for the Scorching Ray totems' damage.

There's a lot of room for flexibility when it comes to the remaining links. For example if you use Advancing Fortress you can put Stone Golem in it together with your movement skill and faster attacks, and both skills will get Fortify.

General recommendation:
4L: Animate Guardian + Combustion + Minion Life + MSplash/Empower
4L: Ball lightning/Arc + Curse on Hit + Curse + GMP/Culling Strike/Curse (Additional curse if you have +1 curse amulet)
4L: Flesh Offering + Bone Offering + Increased Duration + Faster Casting
3L: Whirling Blades or Shield Charge + Faster attacks + Fortify
1L: Convocation
1L: Stone Golem
1L: Desecrate
1L: Clarity or some aura of Purity if needed. Can be dropped if Commander of Darkness is not used.
2-3L: Cast when damage taken (Max lvl) + Bone offering (Max lvl) (+ Desecrate)
2L: [Very optional] Cast when damage taken (L1) + Desecrate (L6) to guarantee corpses around you at all times, for Bone Offering. Lets you AFK tank most content.

Note on Controlled Destruction

Controlled Destruction does not appear to be working for TVs' totems. Use Minion and Totem Elemental Resistance instead. It appears to do about as well as the other damage supports, and lets us drop the Herd the Flock passive and all minion resistance on jewels.

This was concluded after recording 16 consecutive kills of Avarius, Reassembled (65). Raise Spectre was used together with each of the listed support gems on a 2-link. 1 x TV was used, and all gems were Q19+ and L16+.

No supports: 43 and 42 sec
Minion Damage: 32 sec
Elemental Focus: 30 sec
Burning Damage: 28 and 29 sec
Efficacy: 30 sec
Minion and Totem Elemental Resistance: 33 and 32 sec
Chance to Ignite: 33 and 34 sec
Swift Affliction: 35 and 35 sec
Fire Penetration: 40 sec (Q0, not supposed to work, and doesn't)
Controlled Destruction: 44, 40, 43 sec

Disregarding gem quality bonuses, the expected time can be approximated as such: time_with_support = time_without_support / (1 + More multiplier).
Assuming time_without_support = 42 sec, then:

20% More -> time_with_support = 35 sec
30% More -> time_with_support = 32 sec
40% More -> time_with_support = 30 sec
50% More -> time_with_support = 28 sec

Bug report, although this might be intended: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1983002

5 - Gear
I find that at least in HC, one of the current best setups is to go for a crit immune Reckless Defense jewel build (subject to change). That means we need to use Ahn's Contempt, which is not really a minion-centric helmet. In SC you can drop the crit immunity uniques if you get the upgraded Soul of Solaris Phanteon. Other than that the best stats to get on your gear are life, mana, resists, +spectres, minion damage, and a bit of dexterity. You might also enjoy having some added Cold or Lightning damage on attack on one of your rings or on your gloves. Then you can apply EE with Shield Charge or Whirling Blades. That aside, each slot:

Chest: Vis Mortis is great for this build. It allows for one extra spectre, which basically means 1 more totem vs bosses. It requires a few more passive points to reach the same effective HP as Cloak of Defiance, but makes up for it with damage and clearspeed. The best option for softcore, and a very good option for the HC. Aye, Cloak of Defiance is also a very solid item that ends up giving you a very high effective life pool with reasonable investment.

Tabula Rasa is perhaps the cheapest option if you are just starting. A 5L Cloak or Vis Mortis is better, though.

Helmet: Ahn's Contempt is great in combination with the Reckless Defense jewels because of the crit damage reduction. Skullhead is a really solid option before that. It has all the right stats, and offers great survivability for your minions. It is also very cheap. Alternatively use an equally good rare helmet with a good enchant.

Boots: Bones of Ullr or Kaom's Roots. Kaom's is nice vs. some one-shotting bosses and the Elder's slow ability.

Shield: A good rare shield with high block chance is a solid all-round option. Rise of the Phoenix fire-proofs you vs. Uber Atziri and pesky Volatiles. Lioneye's Remorse is also a good option. Tukohama's fortress with Necromantic Aegis lets the TVs summon an additional totem, but they rarely do that after 3.1, and you will lose a lot of block chance.
Vix Lunaris is another option that will massively boost your AG's HP by socketing AG + Minion Life + Empower into the shield (this will give your AG +4 levels). In addition it absorbs cold hits.

Weapon: The Advancing Fortress has a hefty +15% block, +life and free fortify. The Scourge has superior damage, but I find it hard to justify unless you can get get block from other means.

Jewelry: Stone of Lazwhar, preferably with a nice corruption, helps bring up the spell block. A rare Shaper amulet with spell block can be godly. Rings can be anything, but you can't go wrong with some nice unset ones. Get a few Reckless Defense jewels to cap you block. Divine them for +4% block chance. Use Unending Hunger in your SG setup. Other jewels: % max Life > Minion Damage > Minion Life/Resists/Dexterity. Reckless defense can be used to cap out block.
The abyss league introduced Ghastly jewels. These are extremely nice. Get them with life + mana/minion damage/taunt/blind/life regen/resists/dex. Taunt is extremely useful.

Gloves and Belt: Get some rares with the usual stats. Remember gloves can get +% Minion Damage from Catarina. And Shaper belts can get -crit dmg taken. And some flask mods on the belt do wonders, or minion life for that matter. Belt of the Deciver is great in combination with Reckless Defense jewels. Bisco's Leash is also nice. Rampage in itself adds up to 100% movement speed and 200% minion damage.

Flasks: A defensive flask for every situation:

And for special occasions:

Boots: +2% life/mana regen, 16% cast/attack speed on kill, or +1 to gem levels corrupt and put AG in them with empower
Helm: +9% Bone offering block chance, +40% Spectre Damage
Gloves: X of Light. Drops consecrated ground on receiving a crit strike.

6 - Leveling
Passive point progression: Mana nodes -> Deep Wisdom -> Lord of the Dead -> Heart and Soul -> Occultist's Dominion -> Mind over Matter -> Inspiration -> Elemental Equilibrium (EE) -> Shaper -> Potency of Will -> Cruel Preparation -> Death Attunement -> Gravepact -> Herd the Flock -> The rest of the stuff as you see fit

1-8: Use a beginner spell like Frost Bolt and link it with Ele Prolif to slow and freeze entire packs of mobs. Possibly link with Phantasm. Pick up magic/rare items and vendor them for transmutes and alterations. Pick up Flame Totem at level 4. Check vendors at each way-point for recipe materials, Move Speed boots, and a Heavy Belt:

Try to get:
1x Iron Ring
1x Red skill gem
1x BBR 3L wand (vendor resets every level, and often sells this)
1x Orb of Alteration
3+ Transmutes

Iron Ring + Red Skill gem (Flame Totem) = Ruby Ring
Ruby Ring + Magic Wand + Orb of Alteration = +1 to Fire Gems Wand

Beastcraft: Boots with movement speed - Oozeback Bloom unique Rhoa in Mud Flats (act 1) + 3 normal Rhoa. Probably "10% inc movement speed".

Beastcraft: Quicksilver of Adrenaline - The Faun unique goatman that guards Navali in The Climb (act 1) + 3 normal Goatman.

8: Craft a +1 Fire Gem wand from the materials in the previous step. Socket in SRS + Minion Damage + Melee Splash. You can keep using your starter spell for a bit if you still lack some of the crafting components, but use SRS + Minion Damage for Brutus.

Socket Zombies + (Spell Totem/Minion Damage/Minion Life/Splash) in a 2L or 3L. The spell totem makes it effortless to resummon the zombies as they perish. Later on they will be tankier so we can drop the spell totem support gem.

Optional: Start leveling a Phantasm Gem. It might be really good, we don't know yet. Try it out in your minion links as you level. Might be really good in a 4-link with projectile based spectres: Spectre + Minion Damage + LMP/GMP + Phantasm

Optional: Get an extra BBR 3L with SRS + Minion Damage + Spell Totem. Will boost SRS uptime a bit.

10: Flame Dash.

12: Flesh Offering, Bone offering in secondary weapon set just to level it for later.

16: Desecrate (Put an extra one in your secondary weapon set. When they hit 20 you will Q20-flip one of them and use the other one until the Q20 catches up).
Use Orb of Storms to proc EE once you have it. If you still need more dex, pick the 20 dex/6 resist jewel from the Act 2 Golden Hand quest. Kill all bandits.

Life Flask + Bone Spirit Shield + Orb of Transmutation = Flask of Animation
Flask of Animation + Magic Helmet + Orb of Alteration = +1 to Minion Gems Helmet

Mid 20s: Get either a Reverberation Rod or make a 4 link BBBR +1 minion helm. For the latter switch to SRS + Faster Casting + Melee Splash + Minion Damage.

Optional: Make a Summon Skeleton totem for more minions. If you have a Zombie or SRS totem it's time to remove those. You'll still use Zombies, but socketed with Minion Life, and if you can, Minion Resist.

24: Aura: Hatred is best for SRS. Anger works better for spell based spectres. Haste is nice too, but doesn't really beat Hatred unless you use spell based spectres.

28: You should hit Death Attunement and the extra spectre right about the time you hit 28. Get Flame Sentinels in The Solaris Temple. Slot it in a BBG 3 link. Specter + LMP/GMP + Minion Damage. Level Animate Guardian in your secondary weapon set. Get Ball Lightning + LMP for Elemental Equilibrium (EE). Remember to hit mob groups with EE and use Flesh Offering.

31: Genrosity for better Hatred or Anger, but not if you use Haste. Remember to resummon your spectres to always have them the maximum level (limited by zone and gem levels).

Beastcraft: Rare boots with movement speed - The Hundred Foot Shadow unique bird boss in The Aqueduct (act 4) + 3 magic Vulture. Probably up to "20% inc movement speed"

Mid 30s: Do Normal Labyrinth - Get Invoker and notice a nice boost in minion survivability. Also, if you are lucky and get your hands on a Wraithlord Bone Circlet plus Bones Of Ullr, leveling with specters will just be a breeze from now. Put SRS in Wraithlord for the +2 levels, and try to get a 4L for your spectres.

34: Get a golem.

38: Replace faster casting with Spell Echo in your helmet, unless you are lucky and have a Reverberation Rod. You will now have close to 20 SRS most of the time.

Mid 50s: Consider a full transition into spectres. If so, remove your aura and spec out of Potency of Will unless you use Vaal Haste. Throw away your SRS/Skellies and get Solar Guards or TVs, or your personal favorite spectre. Remember to resummon your spectres to always have them the maximum level (limited by zone and gem levels). Get all the relevant support gems and start leveling them.
Try to have the following uniques when you transition fully into spectres; they should provide you with a good mix of defense and offense:

Before A10 Kitava: Do Cruel and Merciless Labyrinth

Maps: You can use Solar Guards until the point where you want to start doing bosses and other hard content. Then you make the swap into TVs and possibly a WM. I usually just go for the TV/WM setup.

The Lord's Labyrinth

Do Normal Labyrinth after farming the Dried Lake to level 35+, and pick up Mistress of Sacrifice.
Before killing Kitava and entering maps, do Cruel and Merciless Labyrinth for Soul Weaver's +100% spectre damage and life.
The Eternal Labyrinth doable around level 75 without much trouble.

Stay clear of the chopping block traps. The bleed is bugged and kills minions.

7 - Spectres
How to get spectres: Go to The Coast (45) and use Desecrate to summon a TV. Then go to the highest zone you have access to and spam Desecrate until you get high level versions of your spectres. Use the "A"-key for corpse targeting. The highest spectres you can get are lvl 84 and can be desecrated in all lvl 84 zones. That means Shaper's realm and some Lab Trials and Master mission dungeons in T16 maps. Remember, the level of you spectres is limited by the level indicated on your Raise Spectre and Desecrate gems.

Spectre Monster level: The higher the level of your spectres, the better their offensive and defensive stats. The level of a Spectre is based on the lowest of either the level of the monster they were raised from, or the maximum level allowed by the skill gem used. This is now indicated on the skill gem. If you use desecrate, the maximum level corpse allowed by the skill is again indicated on the skill gem.

TVs or SGs?: For boss killing (Guardians and above) it's best to use TVs. This will give immense single target damage and OK clear speed. For regular mapping I'd recommend Solar Guards.

Did you know?: In addition to Minion Damage, our TV spectre damage is scaled by any support gem with Burning Damage, Elemental Damage, or Damage over Time. Spell Damage however, does not work, not even for the Vanguards' Scorching Ray totems. It also appears that Spectres have a hidden duration tag. This means that any support with a duration tag will apply (Swift Affliction, Efficacy, etc.).
The base totem duration is 5 seconds. There is an approximate delay of 1.5 seconds from a totem expires until the re-summoned one starts dealing damage.

Spectre and AG resistances
Data-mined TV base stats
The Animated Guardian has 40/40/40/20 base resistances.

From the resist values above it is simple to determine how much additional resists your minions need. Minions do not get resistance penalties from act progression like players.

Sources of minion resistance:
+54% - Minion and Totem Elemental Resistances Support
+30% - Raise Spectre skill gem
+20%* - Commander of Darkness (Assumes minions are in range of aura. Can be buffed by aura nodes.)
+16% - Herd the Flock notable passive
+X% - Jewels
+X% - Gear, Animated Guardian only

8 - Animated Guardian (RIP)
After the Dyadus nerf in 3.3 I'd recommend equipping your AG with Zahndethus' Cassock, some boots with %life regen enchant, and some gloves and helm with resists. Give him a weapon with some utility, and with some fire damage (or get fire damage on gloves). Link the AG with Minion Life and Combustion. That will at least give enemies -19% fire resistance.

9 - Mind over Matter
Mind over Matter: 30% of damage is taken from mana before life.

So for example, if you take a hit of 1000 damage, then 700 damage is dealt to your life and 300 damage to your mana. That means your life/mana ratio should be no higher than 700/300, or else you will not reach your potential max effective health. However, only go for mana passives if they are more efficient than hp passives.

If you are using Cloak of Defiance, MoM works at 40% instead of 30%. The new life/mana ratio becomes 600/400. That is why I have about 6k life and 4k mana - to hit that ratio: I can now take a hit of 9k+ damage which is proportionately split between my life and mana pools

10 - Build Alterations: Flame Golems - more
Solar Guards + Vanguards with 2 six-links
This is a variation of the build that uses an Elder helmet mod-supported with Minion Damage and Burning Damage. This makes for a pseudo six-link for the TVs. Solar Guards go in the chest piece. Run two of each spectre type. It hits a nice spot between clear speed and boss meltage.

Flame Golems
Thanks to Ezekiel5 and Purdurabo12 for this tip!
Several people report a hard-fix to any clear speed related issues you might run into with this build: Get an Elder helmet with +2 or +3 to minion skills and the Elder mod "Gems are supported by Minion Damage". Put the following gems in it: Flame Golem + GMP + Spell Echo + Controlled Destruction/Ele Focus. Then replace four of your jewels with: The Anima Stone, Primordial Might, and 2x Primordial Harmony. You might have to drop some other links somewhere in order to do this.

Orkiliyem's Path (3.1)
Check out the character _Oakies_ for account name Orkiliyem. He is currently running a very clever variation of the build that uses the unique shield Ahn's Heritage for +3% max resists. The downside is that it also reduces max block by 10%, so he goes south-east in the passive tree and picks up Acrobatics and Phase Acrobatics. This will actually further reduce his block chance, but the added dodge will put him back at a high effective avoidance. Dodge is rolled before block, so there is less HP gained from Bone Offering's secondary effect.

GGG wrote:
We heard you like ranged skills, so we put a ranged skill on the ranged skill of your ranged skill!

Last edited by Natt on Aug 30, 2018, 8:51:46 PM
Last bumped on Apr 1, 2020, 11:15:46 AM
Impresive. Looking forward to trying these Spectres.
This is great many cool spectre builds from these new 3.0 mobs.

Man I am excited at the thought of tukuhama's shield + 5 spectres = 10 totems.
Necronomicon: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1617098
Build: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/409940
Summoner Dischord: https://discord.gg/XwWdSUa
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/zhoukon
I'm assuming you took the Passive Points from bandits? Also, your Pastebin isn't working for me.
mattc3303 wrote:
This is great many cool spectre builds from these new 3.0 mobs.

Man I am excited at the thought of tukuhama's shield + 5 spectres = 10 totems.

Thanks to an amazing idea, I decided to try it out in the name of science! 13 ex in standard spent but who cares?


Works like a charm :)
lol. I had a feeling it would work.

Hey I heard your spell summon something that summoned a totem that cast a spell ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Necronomicon: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1617098
Build: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/409940
Summoner Dischord: https://discord.gg/XwWdSUa
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/zhoukon
Just thought I'd mention it, minion life support does not increase the damage of spectre RF.
Hey mate!
Thanks for your build.
As always great one! (Remember the good old Chrono-miner ;) )

So respecd my summoner today to this one and just amazing survivability and also good clear speed.

I hope they will change the Spectre mechanic in the future as it's so fu**** anoying since years if you got a disco or have to relog.

Keep going the good work!

As I play softcore I will try uber when I get a bit more lvls for my gems and maybe I can record it.
Also I will add a Vis Mortis to see the dmg and HP from the pets.

Have a good one!

I`m new one in poe. Does spectres scale with lvl of the map where we get them? I mean spectres in Forge of the Phoenix are stronger and deal more dps then if we found and summon them in Ravaged Square 64lvl map? Or mechanic are simple and we need only Tukohama Vanguards and Wicker Men and it doesn`t matter where we find them and the maps you list above just for faster summoning?
Shiba_Eji wrote:
I`m new one in poe. Does spectres scale with lvl of the map where we get them? I mean spectres in Forge of the Phoenix are stronger and deal more dps then if we found and summon them in Ravaged Square 64lvl map? Or mechanic are simple and we need only Tukohama Vanguards and Wicker Men and it doesn`t matter where we find them and the maps you list above just for faster summoning?

Yes they scale with the map lvl.
So the higher the map, the more HP they have and dmg they do.

That's the annoying thing when you logout or have a disco. You have to go back into a high tier map to get high lvl spectres. (also pay attention that your dececrate has also high lvl)

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