[3.5] BRO, DO YOU EVEN SUMMON? Skeleton crit Dark Pact BOSSKILLER

************************3.6 SYNTHESIS LEAGUE INFO************************

Another patch and another buff to this build. Now my Betrayal char has 21mil Shaper dps (up from 16mil if I remember) and it's despite the fact, that bone helmets and vaal rf got nerfed. Area of effect is also better now. I've made an update to this guide, DL;DR: use Intensity support, it's now the best support gem for Dark Pact. Throw out Power Charge on Crit since it provides the less dps boost.

Since patch 3.5 Energy Shield recharge is no longer interrupted by a) self-casting Dark Pact, b) hitting enemies with Gloomfang equipped. However, hitting enemies with Gloomfang will insta kill you if you are a CI char as long as the life gain on hit does not compensate the life lost on hit (thank you Jalkar for pointing that out).

-millions of dps with affordable gear (10mil with 3-5ex budget shouldn't be a problem if you follow my guide right)
-can run any combination of any map mods
-interesting mechanics
-cheap to start with
-good league starter
-decent clearspeed
-great delver (depth 1000 achieved)
-doesn't rely on flasks

-maxing your gear may sink some currency
-not super tanky

Assassin is also a good option for this build. It has higher dps potential but doesn't provide +1 curse bonus and cannot apply curses on Hexproof enemies so you will need to spend +3 points on Whispers of Doom and you may struggle with running Hexproof maps.

I recommend the following Ascandancy order for the Assassin:
2.Ambush and Assassinate
3.Unstable Infusion
4.Deadly Infusion

3.6 Path of Building
Some things you should keep in mind when working on your char in PoB:

-check 'Do you use Power Charges' window [Configuration]
-set 'is the enemy a Boss' at Shaper/Guardians [Configuration]
-set '# of Intensity' at 4 [Configuration]
-set Wither stacks at 15 [left side panel]
-set Dark Pact at 'Cast on Skeleton' [left side panel]
-check all your flasks [Items]
-check 'Show Minion Stats' window [Calcs\Summon Skeleton]
-manually type in Skeleton Life value into 'Skeleton Life' window [Configuration]
-manually multiply Total DPS value [left side panel] by 3 (by 4 if you have a Gloomfang) to get the real value of your dps



3.5 SHaper 1 second kill






Your videos:

If you have a video of you playing with my build and want it to be featured here, let me know! However, I don't know yet if I want to put here every single video you submit or just the selected ones.

3.5 Elder Armoury MF run:

3.5 Delve depth 1000:

3.6 Gear

This section is often confusing to you since over the time I've been making various changes to the gem links so I will just type here the link setup I currently recommend:

Chest: [Dark Pact + Intensity + Spell Echo + Void Manipulation + Concentraded Effect/Increased Area of Effect + Controlled Destruction]

Helmet: [Summon Skeleton + Minion Life + Arcane Surge + Empower]

Boots or Gloves: [Blasphemy + Warlord's Mark + Temporal Chains] [Flame Dash]

Boots or Gloves: [Phase Run + Vaal Righteous Fire + Vaal Blight + Increased Duration]

Weapon: [Wither + Spell Totem + Multiple Totems]

Weapon: [Cast When Damage Taken + Immortal Call + Cold Snap]

3.5 Gear progression in Betrayal league

3.5 Gear after 1 month of Betrayal league

I bought wands for 20 and 25c; craft is 3c so let's round it off to 50c in total.
6L chest cost me 30c regarding one Shrieking Essence of Fear and % life craft cost.
Gloves also self essence crafted - 10c in total.
Belt 25c.
Abyssal Jewel 15c.
Cobalt jewels 35c in total. Those without resistances I've slammed in Syndicate Safehouse.
Helmet - base was 20c. I've used an equivalent of 1ex in alt/regal/scour. Multimod is 2ex. Other crafts are 12c.
3rd curse setup (curse on hit ring, +1 curse amulet and +1 curse Gloomfang) was 5ex.
Empower lvl 4 was 3.5ex.
Any other items and crafts are no more than 10c.

After making a quick math I can say the cost of this gear was approximately 12ex. The most expensive was 3rd curse setup, Empower lvl4 and a multimod-crafted Bone Helmet. With this setup I have 12.7 mil dps (15m with 3 Frenzy Charges) and over 6.2k hp at lvl 96. 3rd curse steup is basically for a quality of life and the dps bonus it provides is marginal so you may give up with that and save you 5ex. Also instead of buyin Empower lvl 4 you may get a lvl 3 one and save you another 3ex. Also multimod on a helmet isn't nessesary if your other gear provides you enough life and resists so another 2ex less to spend.

Depending on current trends in a market and your luck with crafting you should be able to reach 6k hp and 10 mil dps with 5ex budget.

Secondary weapon slot:

3.5 Gear after 2 weeks of Betrayal league

The approximate cost was 2ex including crafts. The Betrayal league brought us a ton of fantastic crafting options. The Agony Chant Imbued Wand (bought for 20c and cratfed for 4c) turned out to be almost as good as an average rolled Void Battery (VB is maybe 5%-10% better) in terms of dps bonus. Also a chestpiece with +110 life and 8% inc life should gie you almost the same life bonus as a perfect Bloodbond.

3.5 Gear after 4 days of Betrayal league

I bought 6L chest for 50c. It already had +88 life so I crafted 8% life.
I have crafted Stygian Vise at Tiny's trial in Sindicate hideout from scratch in 8 seconds. That was fun ;)
The other items so far are typical self-found.

3.5 Current Standard 3-curse gear

I'm using +1 curse amulets again since I got an Assassin's Mark on hit ring and I'm being able to add Temporal Chains to my Blasphemy setup.

The cost of this gear I would say is something around 25ex. No legacy items included.

If you want to maximize your dps you may swap some gems in your boots:

I don't recommend swapping out all movement gems. For the best dps boost maintaining good mobility replace Faster Casting with Vaal RF. For better defence and a little lower dps boost replace Faster Casting with Vaal Blight. Replacing Phase Run with Vaal Haste makes sense only if you want to help yourself with killing some dangerous boss before it manages to pretend anything dangerous (basically if you want to avoid fight mechanics).

3.4 2-curse gear

I recommend to follow this setup if you don't have enough currency to build it around a curse on hit ring.

Most of the gear is from the Incursion league and it cost 10ex (13ex if we count lvl4 Empower). After migrating to Standard I did 2 sucessful exalt slams on my jewels. The total cost of my gear is 15ex but it may differ depending on the actual trends in the market.

3.3 Gear after 1 month of Incursion league:

3.1 How I have been progressing my gear in 3.1 Abyss league:
3.1 Gear after 2 weeks of Abyss league

I was using self found rare wands until I could afford Void Batteries. 6L chest cost me 72c. Other gear is either 1-25c or self found. With 100c budget you should afford about 5.1-5.4k hp, 1k es, 1m dps and 75% resist cap.

3.1 Gear after 3 weeks of Abyss league

3.1 Gear after 4 weeks of Abyss league (same as in Shaper fight)

3.6 Tree and levelling

lvl 97 tree:

Whispers of Doom - go for it if you cannot afford +1 curse Gloomfang

I recommend to start with any of the skills available from the begenning like Freezing Pulse, Arc, Volatile Dead or Firestorm. At 28 get the Dark Pact gem.

Start off with a right side of the passive tree in order to get enough dexterity to use Phase Run as soon as possible. Life nodes are the highest priority. At around lvl 85-90 start picking power charge nodes. This is also the right time to get Void Batteries and Brinerot Flag.

Here is the list of key skill gems you should know when to pick as a Witch:

-Dark Pact (requires lvl 28, available from act 3)

-Summon Skeleton (requires lvl 10, available from act 1)
-Minion Life (requires lvl 18, available from act 2)

-Wither (requires lvl 10, available from act 1)
-Spell Totem (requires lvl 8, available from act 1)

-Flame Dash (requires lvl 10, available from act 1)
-Phase Run (requires lvl 34, available from act 6)

-Faster Casting (requires lvl 18, available from act 2)
-Increased Duration (requires lvl 31, available from act 6)

-Warlord's Mark (requires lvl 24, available from act 3)
-Assassin's Mark (requires lvl 22, available from act 3)
-Temporal Chains (requires lvl 24, available from act 3)
-Enfeeble (requires lvl 24, available from act 3)
-Blasphemy (requires lvl 31, available from act 3)

It's up to your preference which curse you choose, however Warlord's Mark should be always your first pick.

3.6 A bit of theory

We scale our damage mainly by three things: minion life, critical strike chance/multiplier and power charges. All the rest is typical like spell damage, chaos damage, cast speed etc. We generate power charges by dealing critical strikes (10% chance of getting power charge on crit Ascendancy - if you choose Assasin instead of Occultist then it will be 10% of getting power charge on non-crit), by casting a warcry socketed into Brinerot Flag and by killing enemies cursed by Assasin's Mark.

For faster clearing you can cast Dark Pact on yourself instead of casting on skeletons. However, it's less safe so I do not recommend self-casting on high tier maps with some nasty mods. In case you accidentally teleported yourself straight into some pack of monsters - don't summon skeletons but pretend a self-cast immediately before the monsters could hurt you.

Items explaination:

Void Batteries - they increase your spell damage per power charge you have. If you have no power charges your spell damage will be decreased so try to keep them up all the time especially on boss encounters.

Brinerot Flag - grants 2 power charges on casting a warcry. You should have it on your secondary slot once you get Void Batteries. Socket a war cry gem into it and cast it every time your power charges are about to expire.

From Dust - allows you to summon 3 skeletons at once (6 if you link Summon Skeleton with Spell Echo)

Bloodbond - boosts our dps by increasing life of our skeletons. It's also good thanks to the increase to our life as well as the 1% regeneration.

Witchfire Brew - grants Despair aura

Writhing Jar - triggers "if you've killed recently" bonuses

Helmet - get one with +3 levels of socketed minion gems and if you can afford Minions have #% increased maximum life in addition to that. The best base is Bone Helmet since Spiritual Aid makes that increased minion damage implicit affects our damage. Never aplly an enchant on a Bone Helmet if you play this build

Gloves - they can have either essence (of Fear) or master crafted Minions have #% increased maximum life mod. Crafting good gloves with essences is not an easy process (unless you are blessed by RNGesus) but you can get way higher roll compared to the gloves with bench crafted minion life. However, the game doesn't allow you to have both essence and bench crafted inc minion life on the same pair of gloves.

Gloomfang - +1 chain increases our dps significantly. However, Lose (15-10) Life for each Enemy hit by your Spells may kill you really fast if you go too hard on monsters affected by 'Enemies cannot die' aura or Proximity Shield. You may consider buying some random +1 curse amulet for 1c for safer levelling and swap for Gloomfang only for high hp bosses.

Bloodgrip - the reason why I'm using it in my Standard char is that I wanted some alternative for a Gloomfang for mapping and this was the best +1 curse amulet on poe.trade with good amount of life. Increased life recovery from flasks is just a nice bonus in addition to that.

Jewels - look for these providing a good amount of life, minion life, cast speed, crit multi, chaos damage, spell damage etc.

Rings - first go with the ones providing life and resists. If you earned some money you may look for a ring with Warlord's or Assassin's Mark on hit - it will allow you to reserve mana for Temporal Chains.

Belt - get one with life and Minions have #% increased maximum life. The best base is Stygian Vise.

Some other mechanics:

Warlord's Mark - grants life and mana leech and endurance charges.

Temporal Chains - slows down enemies.

Assasin's Mark - grants mana on kill, chance to get power charge on kill and increases the damage monsters take from critical strikes as well as the chance of dealing critical strike to cursed monsters.

Despair - makes you deal higher damage to cursed monsters.

Wither Totem - slows down your enemies and applies short debuff on them. It can stack to maximum number of 15. Each stack results in receiving 6% increased chaos damage by your enemies.

Immortal Call - makes you invulnerable to physical damage for a short time (it can consume endurance charges you have resulting in a longer duration).

Abyssal Cry - I recommend this certain warcry because it prevents Porcupines from exploding with a spike nova on death.

Desecrate + Devouring Totem - Desecrate creates a few corpses on the ground. Devouring Totem can eat corpses and leech some life and mana to you.

Phase Run - it grants movement speed and makes you harder to detect by monsters (warks also on volatiles, anomalies etc.).

Cold Snap - slows down enemies and grants Frenzy Charges for us.

Vaal Blight - slows down the movement of enemies and makes them take increased chaos damage.

Vaal Righteous Fire - removes a bit of our life and Energy Shield and grants a huge damage boost.

3.6 Ascendancy

I would probably go for a Malediction first, than for a Void Beacon and lastly for a Forbidden Power.

3.6 Bandits

Help Alira

3.6 Pantheon

Major - Soul of the Brine King. Choose your minor depending on a boss you gonna fight against.


Exile: I'm dying too much on higher maps.
Me: Try to get as much life and strength on your gear as you can. Take all life nodes and jewel slots on Passive Tree as early as possible. Put life jewels into that slots. Use Temporal Chains, Phase Run, Warlord's Mark, Cast When Damage Taken setup and Vaal Blight. Pre-cast Cold Snap on bosses before they activate to slow them even more. Swap out Spell Echo and put Faster Casting into your 6L to prevent being locked by casting animation.

Exile: Which gems use for 4L/5L?
Me: You should always check it in Path of Building. As you progress, certain supprt gems become more or less effective than others (e.g. Power Charge on Critical is pretty useless at the begining of your adventure, but it becomes really powerful once you have picked all +1 Power Charge nodes on a tree and you have 2 Void Batteries).

Exile: My dps is't satisfying.
Me: Show me your gear and Passive Tree so I could help you.

Exile: I'm confused what scales my dps the best.
Me: It depends on your current gear/tree. Let me quote my representation when I was having 8.4mil dps and my skeleton hp was 15210:

10% increased spell damage gives me 100k dps.
10% increased cast speed gives me 330k dps.
10% increased crit multi gives me 190k dps.
10% increased crit chance gives me 44k dps.
10% increased minion life gives me 218k dps.

It may vary depending on your current gear, e.g. if your crit chance is low then crit multi won't be that effective. Or if you maybe have low cast speed, any cast speed modifier will be godlike for your dps. You should always import your char into Path Of Building and compare all increases there.
Last edited by brant09081992 on Mar 16, 2019, 3:59:34 PM
Last bumped on Mar 26, 2019, 6:53:43 PM
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Thanks for listing Kwitch! I have added Uber Atziri fight and Gorge full run.
Good stuff.
⚑ Lightning Golems:
β›„ Ice Golems:
Hi this really looks like a fun build and one I want to test for next season when my Harbinger chars move to standard.

Just wondering how you feel about its mapping speed? From the Gorge run video it looks a bit slow when it comes to mapping.

edit: Just found out about the VP nerf, ouch!
Last edited by Eathb on Nov 18, 2017, 4:10:35 AM
Hey! I'm not a big fan of fast clearing but you can self-cast DP if you want to make it faster and use skeletons once you reached to the boss. However, VP changes will push us now to use skeletons in most encounters I think. I messed a bit into PoB yesterday and made a CI concept of this build based on fast ES recharge and that's how I'm gonna probably play in upcoming league. I don't know how reliable would self-casted DP be without insta leech. I'm gonna play the current variant of my build on Mayhem HC to enjoy the last days with current VP mechanics and I recommend you to do so if you want to try that one ;)
I have something like u, but in video u kill much easily despite my items are a bit better. I think its because of Onslought and Sulphur flasks. Vaal Clarity which allows u to fire from distance and dont aggro helps a lot too.

I do with Power Charges 160k dps (without golem and Arcane Surge`, 7 Poweer Charges), hp is 4.8k and minions hp is almost 7.9k. 5.5k hp when minions life 6.8k.

I like idea of Vaal Clarity as mana is problem if out of leech range.

Main problem is with aggro: exile aggro instead of minions almost all time; while outside of curse range(?), minions are usually attacked first (but this theory fails if something is shooting out of screen like spiders, harbingers totems, demons..).

I was using Lightning Warp, but its really bad if have to play in range of aggro. Maybe if Vaal Clarity is present than Lightning Warp can be more useful. But maybe I just lack of skill, but its not Whirling Blades and even Flame Dash is faster.

Problem with this build is mainly that skeleton do almost no aggro, u have to press too many buttons to start shoot, u fire stationary with possibility of not leeching and can be under fire while dp is "casted" from minions. Heavily flask dependent. Sustain of Power Charges is also tricky.

But hey, at least we gave a try..

I have another Dark Pact on Scion totems and is much better overall: better hp, better dps, better dodge, no flask dependent at all, but lucky flask is useful, much faster clear speed, and much better survival ability overall.
Last edited by Rexeos on Nov 22, 2017, 11:55:03 PM
Rexeos wrote:
I have something like u, but in video u kill much easily despite my items are a bit better.

That's a bummer to read, your damage looks like it should be even better than the video with your gear, which should more than compensate for the flasks you mentioned.

You aren't using Vaal Summon Skels for bosses, are you? That seems like it would totally tank your DPS as DP dmg is based off skel life, and lvl 24 skels + lvl 24 minion life has to be a gigantic boost over unbuffed VSS.

I was considering this build so hopefully the OP can weigh in.
Is 7 your maximum number of charges? I have 9 max and 2 charges more = 108% increased damage with my setup. Also flasks make a difference indeed as well as the boot enchant. The rest of your gear is comparable or better than mine. I think the biggest difference could be into your passive tree.

I don't have any problems with exiles either meele or ranged ones. I sometimes find regular monsters more dangerous when one of them comes close to me in a very moment I just spawned my skeletons a few meters away and I can't attack it until skeleton cooldown expired. I keep Vaal Clarity mainly to always have a possibility to spam DP while keeping a distance from any danger. Atziri's Promise does its job when it comes to leech from an out of curse range.

I have started playing with this build when it was already levelled which resulted with dps being good enough that I didn't have any issues with having lightning warp as my movement skill. But if I played it from scratch Flame dash would be a better option if it comes to sustain longer boss fights and mechanics avoidance but it actually all depends on the content you face. While Whirling blades is being a top tier movement skill, it cannot be used with void batteries. You can use Brightbeak in addition to the Brinerot Flag and Whirling Blades into one weapon slot for fast clearing and Flame Dash with Void Batteries into another and swap on them only for bosses and that's something which I also probably should consider when I will be playing at the next league.

To be honest my build is not flask depentend and I could do all the endgame content without flasks. After a few days of playing with DP I have already got used to its playstyle and now I can minimize the risk caused by bad skeletons placement.

The thing with power charges sustain is that you always gonna call a warcry when they are about to expire. I have no problems with it but I understand some players may find it uncomfortable.

I don't like totem playstyle but I have to admit that totems are indeed really strong and safe option. I bet most of HC players gonna play DP with totems on the Abyss League especially after the Vaal Pact changes.
i can't view any of your gear or anything

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