(3.4) Physical skeletons + zombies. Great defence + clears. 1.4 mil shaper dps (5 link). All content

Tried and tested, this build makes a great league starter, Noob friendly, easy to acquire items and gems, and with a super relaxed playstyle.
Delve is now released, and despite a host of new tree nodes, items and gems, nothing seems able to improve on the synergy of this build. So kick it off, enjoy, and stay tuned for our lovely forum posters to provide new build variations, videos and bright ideas.


General Overview
A pure melee minion build using fast moving Skeletons and Zombies. Stay alive the easy way. Beefy life based defenses, with high regen and decent mitigation from all damage sources. Clear fast with 100% increased movement speed, and few button pushes.

3.4 changes
Spoiler

3.4 actually has zero suggested changes right now.
You have the choice of taking more damage nodes.
That new Righteous Aid (templar area) cluster is about 10 nodes for 14K damage per zombie, 23K damage per skellie, Plus 10% move speed and 1.4K health per zombie. All up about a 20% increase in damage, while forfeiting about 950 health and a bit of armour.


Path of Building Links + Alternate Builds
Spoiler


3.4 build tree - Standard build - https://pastebin.com/s7iQUgw2

3.4 Fun/Meme Build Guides
The Drunken Moonwalker Occultist Projectiles: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2228787

Lazy Totem SRS Tank: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2202060

Super Speedy SRS and Zombies: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2219721

Kitavas thirst SRS, with 'where the hell am I' flame dashes: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2200389


Old Trees
Spoiler

Current Build Level 93: https://pastebin.com/Ygx2KqLy

Cheaper build level 91: https://pastebin.com/Ty9w5NPG

Sample end build for the 'DPS bandits': https://pastebin.com/L2hrYHu5

Solo Self Found (SSF) version
https://www.pathofexile.com/account/view-profile/Binbiniqegabenik
https://pastebin.com/cWUthkqv

Aspect of the Avian version
https://www.pathofexile.com/account/view-profile/ojejku
https://pastebin.com/KAmPsfQK

Bloodlust version
https://www.pathofexile.com/account/view-profile/elmiq
PoB: https://pastebin.com/XnVQFK8q




Key Concept 1 - fast, physical melee minions
Spoiler
- Melee skeletons and zombies dealing pure physical damage with high damage single hits.

-This means that there are no reductions to damage from monster elemental resists. It also means the reductions to damage when facing large bosses is minimal. And finally, the way armour works (rapidly diminishing returns) in this game means that high physical damage hits are not reduced much, even by high armour.

- Our pursuit of high single minion hits mean we do not really need traditional DPS, and in fact our best support gems are not things like attack speed or multistrike. Even though they give better DPS, they reduce the average damage of each hit.

- For the same reason, I like running utility jewels rather than things like 'To Dust', which is why you'll notice my actual build uses cheap jewels even though the potential full build has lots of to dust in there.

- Unlike hatred builds, you do not need to be close to your minions to provide an aura. Almost all your damage remains even though you are safely running away from the enemy.

- Minion speed means that the damage is applied faster. You can project your damage further from yourself, and your clearspeed is improved.

- The awesome new ascendency - Bone Sculptor - means that your skellies will never miss anything.

- Zombie slams now never miss either, so enemy evasion is almost completely negated.

-The net result of all this is that even though other builds might have higher tooltip damage, this build has excellent effective damage, and you need not worry about facing 95% of map mods or boss types.

- You should always run your maps unidentified if possible for an extra 30% item quantity. Map mods you need to worry about are:
* reduced physical damage taken or players cursed with temporal chains (reduces clearspeed)
* physical reflect (your zombies will die and you'll need to summon skeletons more often)
* No mana or life regen (You'll need to pop a life or mana flask occasionally)
* Players are cursed with elemental weakness or players have elemental equilibrium (your resists might get lowered to below 75% which increases your chance of dying)



Key concept 2 - defenses
Spoiler

**On Minion mechanics: No minion skill can match a spell or attack for timing your damage. What I mean is, if you attack, you click and the damage happens, the monsters are dust. For minions, you move first, then you click, the minions appear, then they move, then the monsters go splat. The timing of your damage always has a delay (even with spectres or golems, which still have to follow you, move, then cast.). Because of this delay, summoners need better than average defenses, but can deal tremendous damage safely after this initial risky period. Here's how we deal with this situation:

- Kiting is easy. Since this build requires so few button pushes, any lengthy fights, or fights where you don't know wtf is going on, require a really simple playstyle: run away. If you have managed to get some skellies down, they will do the work. If you can run in circles nearby, the zombies will join in. Even though I personally play this build in the facetanking style and don't die, the safer way is always to kite.

- High life. In my opinion, far superior to any ES or MOM option, because you get full value out of your flasks, it's easier to keep track of your health status in a busy screen, and it makes better use out of any strength you stack for a build that prefers The Baron as a helmet.

- Phase run gives us movement speed, we can't be blocked, and monsters will lose interest in attacking/casting at you. For Quality of Life, this means we can spend time picking up items, move faster through maps and facetank most things. It also means if we hit that crazy mofo that fills the screen with death, just phase run past/around it. Your minions will catch up and destroy it, or this gives you time to plant a decoy totem and some skellies next to it.

- Decoy totem in voideye. This is optional, but gives you great specialist defenses. It makes opening sketchy chests much safer, provides a great meatshield, often redirects that insane boss's damage, and is great for QOL, because it can allow you to pick up items safely while your minions deal their damage. It can also help with annoying master missions like Vorici's 'open the chest' foolishness. The extra 5 levels from voideye gives the totem much better life stats, which makes the high cast time worthwhile. Additionally, taunted monsters will deal 10% less damage to you and your minions. At end game, casting this will make your clearpseed suffer, so most players will drop this skill in favour of a ring with raw stats.

- Purity of elements, commander of darkness ascendency node, and lots of resists from the tree. This makes it super easy to cap your resists while leveling, and gives you a huge range of item options, meaning you won't have to search for the right item to cap your resists, you can use a lot of cheap uniques, and if you find it, you have a lot of scope for helpful utility stuff like chaos resist on rings, belts, jewels.

- Purity of elements and commander of darkness also gives your minions high resists, keeping them alive to deal damage, and meaning a lot less micro managing, especially for a summoner who has a lot of minions active.

- Lots of minions active means a huge meatshield around you, drawing aggro, taunting the enemy, blinding them and blocking their movement towards you.

- Zombies and fleshbinder. This ascendency is so good for defenses. Your 12 or so zombies provide 12 % physical damage reduction for you and your minions. Being a flat reduction, this is waaay better than armour, for the same reason we are scaling pure physical damage: armour doesn't actually do much vs high physical hits for the amount of investment it needs. The net result is that when the tooltip says 33% physical damage reduction, the reality will remain close to this, regardless of the size of the hit you receive. If using armour to get the same tooltip of 33% reduction, a big physical hit will mean in reality you do not get the 33% reduction, you get far less.

- Enfeeble and blasphemy. This is just delightful. Everything around you will find it harder to hit, deal less crit, and less damage from all sources to you, your minions and your party. This works wonders with your high life regen.

- Temporal chains? This is a really good option, and will reduce monster DPS, and make kiting easier. Enfeeble is still first choice because it will reduce DPS and reduce the size of the hit you receive, making it easier to deal with this games insane oneshot potential.

* Dual curse is definitely an option. You can use doedres damning ring while still keeping resists easily capped, or you can get your second curse limit via whispers of doom from the tree. You can apply the curse in the CWDT setup, forgoing the increased duration on immortal call and phase run. The second curse will be either temporal chains or vulnerability. Any attempt to introduce a second curse will require a bit of tweaking, and will reduce your base stats for life a little.

- High life regen (700+): great for all damage over time effects. Partially reduces your penalty for having low chaos resistance, and does wonders for the speed of your lab runs. For my uber runs, I don't have to worry about most traps - by the time you get hit again, you have regened the life from the first hit. I don't worry about burning ground. Even if I get lost while hitting the switches on burning ground, a single flask drink gets your health going back the right way.


Items
Spoiler

My choices

Weapon 2H: Queen's escape. Love that minion movement speed. This is as close to a mandatory unique that this build has.


Helmet: The Baron. Gives minions extra damage and life via your strength. The + 2 helps the survival of your spectres, golem and Animate guardian.


Armour: Belly of the beast. Nice life, a bit of resist, decent armour and buff to your life flasks.


Boots: Alberons warpath. Buff to strength, some armour, moderate movespeed, extra skellie.
*** edit: just bought seven league step boots. These are awesome for movespeed, and make playing this build way more enjoyable. Expensive, but my new B.I.S. ***


Gloves: Meginoords Vise. Life regen, strength and armour


Belt: Anything you like.

Rings: any unset ring and Voideye - the only thing that makes decoy totem worthwhile. Unset ring keeps your purity of elements away from mana multipliers

Amulet: Astramentis - covers all stat requirements, nice boost to strength


Other options

Helmet: There are some nice helmets going around. Anything with minion damage can replace the Baron if you choose. This would mean that your boots, gloves, belt and amulet would now have less value from any strength boosts.
Boots: I love the look of Atziris step boots. The extra movement speed, the spell dodge, and the extra evasion make up for losing a skellie and some strength with Alberons warpath. Windscream works too if you love your curses.
Ring: Doedres' damning can replace one of these rings if you run curse on hit or curses in your CWDT.
Chest: Ambu's charge is nice for the endurance charges and the life regen. Bloodbond is nice for extra life for you and minions, and allows you to cast an offering for more minion damage. Tabula Rasa is great for easily reaching that 6th link.
Belt: Stygian vise is great with the right jewels. For example, 2 X strength, life, minion blind, minion taunt ghastly jewels with the 50% increased effectiveness would be fantastic in here.
Weapon: Mon'tregul's grasp and a defensive shield is a great option. With the incursion buff to vaal skills, femur of the saints provides and even bigger boost to damage than before because your 35 vaal skellies can be cast more frequently, buffed by a flask, and get supported by more gem links.

Flasks

Spoiler
Essential: At least 1 quicksilver flask, preferably with increased speed and reduced charges used
Essential: 1 X 'of heat' and 1 X 'staunching' suffix to negate freeze and bleed. Almost certainly you'll want these on life flasks.
Essential: In no regen maps, you will need a mana flask (I also turn off enfeeble)
Optional: Elemental flasks like 'taste of hate' (protects from cold damage) that can be used when you know you're facing that element



Gem Setup
Spoiler

Vaal Summon Skeleton (in Weapon) Brutality > Minion Damage > Melee Splash > Melee Physical Damage > Maim

* For boss fights swap melee splash with ruthless or multistrike, but really this is optional, it only shaves a short time off already fast fights.

* If you manage a 6 link, I recommend minion speed. While this does not give maximum tooltip damage, it keeps your effective damage high, because they will start hitting the enemy sooner, will be harder for fast enemies to kite, and will switch targets faster.

* Why not ruthless? You will rarely get 3 hits on anything, and it is not in line with our quest for 'effective damage'. That being said, I love the ruthless stun for defenses, and I love the stun animation, so I run with this gem in a lot of the time! It really is just up to your preference.

* Why not multistrike? It is still great for bosses, I just prefer the 'hinder' part of maim for defence, and see the earlier explanation of why a larger hit is better than more hits of lower damage due to how armour works.

Raise Zombie (In chest) Minion Life > Brutality > Minion Damage > Melee Physical Damage

* If you manage a 6 link, solid options would be minion speed, empower, fortify, faster attacks, ruthless.

Purity of Elements in an unset ring

Enfeeble with Blasphemy + Desecrate and Summon stone golem (in boots or glve)

CWDT with incresed duration, phase run, immortal call (in boots or glove)

Animate Guardian + Raise Spectre + Minion Life + blood magic (in helmet)

***the blood magic gem is for the carnage and host chieftans who have a really low mana pool. With blood magic they spam mass frenzy and mass empower a lot more frequently.

Decoy totem *optional* Set in a voideye ring for preference.



Animate Guardian
Spoiler

If you are new to summoner mechanics, don't worry, Animate Guardian is definitely worth getting used to. I suggest:

Weapon 2H: Dying Breath - increases the effect of curses, and provides a damage aura
Chest: Ambu's charge - For life regen and endurance charges for the guardian. Any life rolled chest is fine too.
Boots: Victario's flight boots for movement speed aura
Helmet: Leer cast for damage buff
Gloves: Meginoords Vise for a bit of armour and life regen
Gloves: Southbound for a bit of life and cold damage

This thing should be sitting on 35K plus health with immense life regen, high resists and armour. Unsummon this for Shaper and Elder. Do not try Acid Lakes until they fix the bug/unblanaced boss

Alternate setup for AG: Giving more life regen to your party via consecrated ground:
Weapon: Singularity for extra slow enemies
Shield: Sentari's answer for occasional extra curse and to proc more consecrated ground
Chest: Zahndethus Cassock for consecrated ground on block
Helmet: Leer cast
Gloves: Meginoords Vise
Boots: Victarios flight


Jewels

Spoiler

For DPS, I don't think anything can beat 2 X violent dead and the rest to dust jewels.

For strength, Use efficient training and brawn jewels

However, I think this build does enough damage without them, and for the reasons outlined in the defenses section, I lean toward utility jewels, rather than dps. Another consideration is that the drop rate of decent jewels has plummeted. As a result, there are a huge range of jewel mods that you can, and should consider.
Some of the one's I get most excited about are:
Minion Damage, Minion Additional physical damage, Minion Life, Minion speed, Life, Minion chance to taunt, Minion chance to blind, Minion chance to dodge, Minion chance to block, strength, resists, avoid ailments, minion life regen.

The gist is that boss killing speed is not really an issue with the build, so why not make things more pleasant by blinding more, taunting more, making the minions go faster, or live longer, using cheaper jewels, and buffing your own defences?


Pantheons

Spoiler
Soul of Solaris gives the best mix of defences
Soul of Lunaris is good also if you plan on hanging back and kiting projectiles

Soul of Garukhan is the best minor god, for a bit of move speed and evasion.


Enchants

Spoiler

Gloves - 'of the grave' is best, but not worth too much effort
Boots - 'Life and mana regen after being hit' is my favourite, but any defensive option is good
Helmet - 'reduced purity of elements mana reservation' would be my favourite, i'd then add in an arctic armour in the desecrate slot. Good luck rolling something decent though, or even finding a baron to buy with any useful mod. Overall though, aim for any minion style enchant on the baron helm.


Spectres Discussion
Spoiler
For spectres my favourite combo is 2 X carnage chieftan and 1 X host chieftan in the helmet. These spectres give your zombies and skellies the best stats via frenzy and power charges. With minion life and our defences, they should stay alive for days.

To raise these:
For Host chieftans (Power Charges), go to the Riverways in Act 6.
For Carnage Chieftans (Frenzy Charges), go to the Riverways in Act 2.

Raise one of each. Now go your hideout and open the highest level map you can. Enter the map and cast your high level desecrate. Raise the corpse you want with raise spectre, using the A key to help targeting. It may take many casts, but eventually you will get 2 carnage chieftans and one host chieftan.

If all this is too much trouble, the host chieftan does not add too much dps, so just raise the carnage chieftans and use your 3rd spectre for anything else you find.

Blood magic should be enough, but if you love charges, you could skip AG and go increased area of effect or increased duration for almost 100% uptime of charges on you and minions. The frenzy charges help minions go faster, do more damage, as well as increasing the duration of your phase run.

Other options:

* these would replace the 4 link setup in the helmet with situational support gems for a new source of damage and utility effects *

I have tried undying evangelist, but am already facetanking everything except nasty bosses, so didn't notice a difference to defence. Still, I think this build best suits defensive spectres, so I'd rate these second best option.

Kitava's heralds are wonderful meatshields and will apply bleed if you want to go that road. They also give good interactions for positioning/taunting/meatshielding/applying maim if they use their leapslam: They will get to mobs before even your fast zombies at times.

Sandworn slaves from the vastri desert are also great meatshields, move fast, and can apply blind/taunt easily if you have the right abyssal jewels. These are great for breach mobs I found.

You can also free up 2 jewel slots and some mana by using a curse spectre, but I have not tested this much. I tried a trapping/temp chains cursing option for a while, but since you are one shotting most mobs, this has no noticable effect.

I have also used undying ravagers for their bladefall spell. This does physical damage, so works well with your baron helmet and iron will. If you are aiming for 1000 strength, and don't value minion speed, try replacing the queen's escape with doon cuebyari for a 4 link aoe damage spectre that can apply mass maim in your off hand.

For critical spectres, you can try a soul wick jewel and keep raising what you can find in that level, or combine with unearth to raise skeletal bowmen. I have tried this, but not much because it adds a lot of button pushes..

Another good choice is merveil's blessed and/or frost heralds for applying mass chill, which I consider a wonderful defensive mechanic.

And finally, knitted horrors. They can't be desecrated, but are good tanks, apply puncture for decent single target damage, and are ranged for long range bleed/maim/blind/taunt.



Leveling
Spoiler

I am a firm believer in leveling with the skills you want at the endgame. I found leveling with skellies quite pleasant, so will recommend the same to you, even though other options (like SRS) might be more efficient if you are in a rush.

Levelling targets
*help with crafting here:(https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Vendor_recipe_system)

Spoiler

ASAP - Find or craft boots with movement speed. Keep getting more movement speed on boots forever :)
Level 1 - Get Raise Zombie. This skill gets you to level 4, and then sits in any nicely rolled 3 or 4 link item until you get Invoker ascendency. At this point your zombies should become way more persistent (not having to resummon them all the time)
Level 4 - Get Summon Raging Spirits
Level 8 - Get minion damage and melee splash and link those with summon raging spirits in a 3 link item (coloured RBB)
Level 10 - Get Vaal Summon Skeletons, or second best is getting plain summon skeletons. Start levelling this gem but continue using SRS.
Level 18-26: Find or craft a + 1 to minion level helm (4 linked with RRBB) Add in melee physical damage gem.
Level 26: Find or buy a Baron helm (second choice is a +2 minion helm). Craft it with 4 links coloured RRBB. (While you can level up to 55 with SRS, now would be a great time to switch to skeletons. Put them in the helmet.)
Level 38 onwards: Find, buy, craft a 5 Link chest or 5 link weapon. Best is Queen's escape and Belly of the beast. Add in Maim, Brutality, Minion life, minion speed, etc as your 5th gem to zombies and skeletons
Final Targets: overcap resists, find a 6 link chest, and get a 6 link queens escape, get awesome jewel rolls, and life rolls on gear, get 20% quality gems and level 21 corrupted active skill gems.



Leveling Ascendencies
Spoiler

Commander of Darkness > Invoker > Bone Sculptor > Flesh Binder
This is very optional, but I just love having those early resists from commander of darkness. It means your defences are in place and your item choices are much wider for the early game.
*edit: For incursion league, if you plan on running incursions while you level, rush bone sculptor.. you'll want the early damage boost.


Leveling Item Options
Spoiler

* for rings, belts, gloves, shields the priority is: Enough stats for your gems > Capped resists > Life > life regen > armour


Weapons Instead of queens escape = An incursion corrupted rare with + Minion Damage, Femur of the Saints, Chober Chaber, Dying Breath, Aurumvorax (for resists), The scourge, Mon'treguls grasp, or any 5 or 6 linked 2 hander you find until you can get a better one!

Helmets Instead of Baron = Wraithlord, Skullhead, rare +2 helmet

Body armour Instead of Belly of the Beast = Tabula Rasa, Lightning Coil, Ambu's charge, Perfect Form, Loreweave, or any well rolled rare.

Boots Instead of Seven-League Steps = Bubonic Trail, Victario's Flight, Alberons Warpath, Any rare with 30% movespeed should be good

Gloves Instead of Meginoords Vise = Kalisas grace, Wyrmscale, Any rares that help you with resists, stats, defence.

Amulets instead of astramentis = Sidhebreath or any Rare/Unique that helps you cap resists, get stats, and defences

Belt options = Darkness Enthroned, Strings of Servitude (with increased resistances is fantastic for levelling), Belt of the deceiver, or any rare that helps you cap resists, get stats, get defences.


Leveling tree

https://www.pathofexile.com/build/qz3Ouz

Details

Spoiler
Lord of the dead > Spiritual Command > Death Attunement > Shaper > Grave Pact
From here, I like to rush to Barbarism which means you have collected all the resists and most of the passive strength/dex from the tree really early. This simply makes your item choices much wider, basically anything you find with good stats can be used. Your last 30 levels collect the life and jewel slots turning you into a the tank you need to be to survive late game. Although you are best off adapting your passive tree choices to the gear you are wearing, here is a sample that should work with most gear choices:

https://www.pathofexile.com/build/qz3Ouz

20 points - https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.4.1/AAAABAMDAASzES0snDLRRUdFnVNSaPJr23yDjr6SwZrgogC86sBm37Dr7uyK8B8=
40 points - https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.4.1/AAAABAMDAAQHBLMLYREtLJwy0TpYPC1FR0WdTLNNuVNSVcZo8mpDa9t8g4PMg9uFYI6-ksGa4KIAqsSsmK9stz686sBmxq7MvNAf37Dr7uyK7-vwH_fX
60 points - https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.4.1/AAAABAMDAAQHBLMLYREtGjgc3CcvLJwy0TpYOtg8LUGHRUdFnUyzTblTUlXGWpFmVGjyakNqrGvbfIN8u4LHg8yD24VghXuOvo8akFWSwZrgogCofarErJivbLc-vOrAZsWKxq7MvNAf0_vYvd-w6-7sOOyK7-vwH_fX-ej-Cg==
80 points - https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.4.1/AAAABAMDAAQHBLMLYREtFCAaOBzcJy8snDLRNZI6WDrYPC1Bh0VHRZ1Ms025U1JVtVXGVw1akV8_ZlRo8mpDaqxr2287dqx4DXlofIN8u4LHg1-DzIPbhWCFe46-jxqQVZLBmuCezaIAqH2pbqrErJitja9stfK3PrzqwBrAZsEExYrGrsy8z37QH9Ih0_vYvdlh37Dr7uw47IrvDu_r8B_31_no_go=
100 points - https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.4.1/AAAABAMDAAHcBAcEswUtCPQLYREtFCAaOBzcJy8snC5TMtE1kjpYOtg8LUGHRUdFnUd-TLNNuVNSVbVVxlcNWpFfP2EhZKNmVGhlaPJqQ2qsa9tvO3Ttdqx343gNeWh8g3y7ggeCx4Nfg8yD24TZhO-FYIV7jr6PGpBVksGa4J7NogCofaluqsSsmK2Nr2y18rc-vOq9NsAawGbBBMRYxYrGrsy8z37QH9Ih02_T-9i92WHawd-w6-7sOOyK7w7v6_Af8kHzm_ZI99f56P4K
117 points - https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.4.1/AAAABAMDAAHcBAcEswUtBkkI9AthES0UIBhWGjgc3CcvKpgsnC5TMtE1kjpYOtg64TwtQYdEBEVHRZ1HfkyzTblN41NSVbVVxlcNWpFfP2D4YSFko2ZUaGVodGjyakNqrGvbbzt07Xasd-N4DXlofIN8u4IHgseDX4PMg9uE2YTvhWCFe4hAjM-Ovo8akDOQVZLBmuCezaIAplemrKh9qW6qqarErJitja9stfK3PrzqvTbAGsBmwQTEWMWKxq7MvM9-0B_SIdNv0_vYvdlh2mLawd-w6-7sOOyK7w7v6_Af8kHyRfOb9kj31_no_gr-jw==


Bandits

Kill all



Current stats
Spoiler

Level 91 With 5 links and crappy gear
Capped resists
5.8K life
33% physical damage reduction
Enfeeble Curse Aura
900K life regen
11 x fast skeletons with 62K damage melee splash for clearing and 82K single target damage for bosses (about 900K shaper dps)
12 X fast zombies with lots of life regen, high resists, 18K life, 17K melee damage, and 42K low cooldown slams (about 500K shaper dps)

Level 93 With 6 link queens escape and better gear
Capped resists
7K life
33% physical damage reduction
Enfeeble Curse Aura
1000 Life regen
11 x fast skeletons with 92K damage melee splash for clearing and 125K single target damage for bosses (about 1.3 million shaper dps)
12 X fast zombies with lots of life regen, high resists, 18K life, 17K melee damage, and 42K low cooldown slams (about 500K shaper dps)
Aspect of the spider for slows and extra 15% total damage.
Estimated 2 million + shaper dps with all minions hitting the same target


Viability, cost and playstyle
Spoiler

The build is viable for all map mods and game content. <EDIT> (Acid lakes boss is broken and should be avoided, it may oneshot even your animated guardian.)

Very few button pushes required and lots of options for build costs, ranging from super cheap to moderately expensive.

While not a specialist lab farming build, it is excellent for farming uber lab. You can run to atziri without paying attention, set your skellies down and zoom in circles while they kill him. End chamber takes about 5-10 seconds.

The expensive version for the build would be a 6 link queens decree, and a 6 link chest, say about 8 exalt each. These are not necessary, but fun to work towards.

You can easily switch the focus from tankiness to damage output. Vulnerability for enfeeble, and to dust jewels can dramatically change your DPS without the need to change any items or gems.

Suitable for SSF and Hardcore: All your damage is dealt while you are not around and your defenses are well-rounded.

Options for playstyle range from aggressive to defensive.

The basic playstyle is really simple:
1 - walk forward
2 - see anything, press summon skeleton
3 - fear anything, press decoy totem then phase run. Mash flasks if you panic. Run away to think about why you were scared.
4 - realise you are nicely tanky, and your skellies killed whatever it was. Collect loot.

The facetanking playstyle:
1 - cast phase run and pop quicksilver flask, run right into mobs. Zombies join you real soon.
2 - standing in the midst of mobs, bosses and mean beasties, summon skellies, collect items, open chests.
3 - flask or decoy totem if health drops

The Hardcore playstyle:
1 - skellies ahead of you. If they move, there are monsters there, so follow up with more skellies and a decoy totem.
2 - move forward after the carnage

Party playstyle:

Since you are a damage dealer, tank, provide meatshields, taunty totems, and even a damage reduction curse, you are a great party member. I play party style as the lead. You run in, cast some skellies and a totem, and run on. Your friends get most of the loot (you're ahead by the time it drops), but map completion time is excellent.


Videos

Spoiler

Here is Apex of Sacrifice: https://youtu.be/DxZBDW7I_lk
Here is a T12 map run: https://youtu.be/D1642Rto4wQ
T14 map run (with 6 link Queen's escape and aspect of the spider): https://youtu.be/YbuY3t5w5VY
T15 sunken city map run https://youtu.be/auswUCKxqJs
Red Elder by : https://www.pathofexile.com/account/view-profile/Binbiniqegabenik
https://youtu.be/EXEbjVjTYvA


Frequently Asked Questions

Spoiler


Q: I can't get enough Dexterity for Phase run
Spoiler
A: Use low level phase run to match your current dexterity. You only lose a small amount of movement speed. Increase the level of phase run if your dexterity increases (you find better gear, or you equip astramentis)


Q: I see Decoy totem in the guide at some times, but not at others
Spoiler
A: Decoy totem is optional. In the early game, when you are moving slow, the high cast time of the totem matters less. At late game, when you and your minions are moving fast and killing faster, casting the totem gives you less value, so many players drop it in favour of a good rare ring, or redblade band for a golem slot


Q: My zombies are dying
Spoiler
A: Yes, the zombies will die to physical reflect maps, some bosses, or some crazy powerful rares. If this annoys you, put more minion life into the tree and take less for yourself. Or Link empower (level 3 or 4) to the zombies as a 6th link.


Q: My spectres are dying
Spoiler
A: While levelling, your spectres will die. They take a few things working in synergy before they get properly tanky. Even now, your spectres will die every few days of playing. There are just too many types badass enemies around!
Please check the following:-
- Are my spectres linked to blood magic, minion life, in a plus 2 minion helm?
- Is my desecrate and raise spectre gems at level 20? If not, then yes, your spectres will be less tanky
- Did I raise my spectres from a high level area or map? Raising spectres in an instance of high level monsters gives them much more base stats (including life)


Q: A lot of players are talking about getting 1000 strength. Do I need this?
Spoiler
A: Aiming for high strength is a part of the build. Aiming for over 1000 strength takes a lot of good jewels, and is a little difficult to do easily/cheaply, so it is not included in the build recommendations.

If you do choose to aim for this, you will eventually get the benefit from the baron helm that your zombies damage will leech life to you, making you more tanky.
If you are aiming for this amount of strength, you'll need to use Efficient training Jewels in the right slots, just one violent dead, high strength on gear and ghastly eye jewels, and maybe a brawn jewel or two


Q: Why do we not take the big minion damage wheel near the templar?
Spoiler
A: The build guide recommends flat life instead of the damage nodes. This is because at end game, your damage will be high enough just from a 5 or 6 link weapon. But this games insane damage means your health will never be high enough!

At level 94, taking those nodes (10 skill points) will give you approximately a 20% damage increase, at the cost of about 15% total life. The choice is optional, and amounts to about 400K dps or 1000 life.


Q: My 5 or six link gem colours are different to the guide. Do I really need to try to roll for colours?
Spoiler
A: Save your Chromas! There are a lot of gem options for most colour setups, except perhaps a lot of green. For your 5th and 6th links on zombies and skeletons, you have the choice of using faster attacks, minion speed, ruthless, multistrike, minion life, empower, minion speed, culling strike, concentrated effect.
So no matter what colours your 5th or 6th link are, you can adjust your support gems accordingly.


Q: What about convocation?
Spoiler
A: If you like it, use it in a utility slot, no problems. I just don't think it's necessary in high minion speed builds.


Q: Can I use an offering skill?
Spoiler
A: By all means go ahead, put this in a utility slot. This guide just aims to minimise button pushing, not maximise damage!


Q: I'm underwhelmed with the damage, what's the deal?
Spoiler
A: The suggested tree takes a lot of scaling health tree nodes to start with. Until you get better gear, these nodes will not be as useful, and they are taken to make your item choices easier, not to give you crazy early damage.

Skeletons do enough damage to brainlessly clear early game, but they are not super fast. This build guide is based on a league starter with zero cost gear, and relaxed playstyle, not for racing to end game, then re-speccing.

Synergy points where the build takes off are:
- Getting the bone sculptor ascendency (about level 55) for a huge boost to skeleton DPS, movespeed and 1/3 of the cast time
- Getting the zombie and skeleton gems to level 20.
After your second ascendency, you will power through content, and will most likely end up in high level maps before your skill gems have a chance to level up. At this point you will be a victim of your own success ... trying to take on high level bosses with low level gems will make you feel underpowered. You just need a bit of patience - getting the active skill gems to level 19, and 20 respectively add a lot of DPS and minion life, and just take a bit of time to get enough XP.

Last edited by grimlock9999 on Sep 29, 2018, 5:01:03 AM
Last bumped on Jan 7, 2019, 2:09:22 AM
Sweet, thanks for the guide, you legend.
one of the best guides i have read in years, precise and tells in a honest way how does it work what to expect and how to reach end game.

Kudos OP in respect of your post and if its ok for you i wanna keep posting about my progress whit this build.

Now is time to start! THX!!!
I need help POB doesent work in my pc (some strange crash i dunno) Pls can u upload your skill tree or make public your profile to see the tree?


Thx a lot Im stuck here
:S:S:S:S:S
"
Pls can u upload your skill tree or make public your profile to see the tree?

Sorry, didn't realise it was hidden. Should work now.
"
if its ok for you i wanna keep posting about my progress whit this build.


Thanks a lot! Please do keep posting. The build is far from optimized. I just made a few tweaks and got an extra 800 life, as well as fitting aspect of the spider in there. I'm now sitting at 6800 life, doing 15% more damage and slowing enemies too. I just realised you can't add aspect of the spider to Pob, but here is how it looks (the aspect is on the belt): https://pastebin.com/hVJgARQX
Last edited by grimlock9999 on Apr 10, 2018, 2:14:42 AM
Hey Grimlock, looks like a really cool concept. Currently running Ghazzy's melee skellies/spectre build but sort of over Solar Guards by now haha. I might give this a shot if i can get the currency for a 6l Queens together! :)
"
if i can get the currency for a 6l Queens together! :)


I just rolled a 6L yesterday, and yippee!, but honestly it is not necessary. The build was pretty solid as a cheaper league starter. It turns out the thing that made a huge difference was switching the boots to seven league steps. That move speed rocks.

Things I've spent currency on that have made little differences include:

1) getting good life rolls on jewels and gear.

2) getting an enlighten and rolling 4 blue links on the seven league step boots to run:
enlighten, purity of elements, blasphemy, enfeeble.
This allowed me to buy a high life belt with aspect of the spider. I really love the long range slow on that for just 25% mana reservation!

3) getting 20% quality gems

4) I dropped the voideye and put in a life/resist ring, then refunded some resistance nodes and put in life nodes. For very end game I didn't want the long cast speed of totems, it's better to phase and run.

I also shy away from those great looking, but very meta builds like solar guards. Please let us know how it goes for you, or how it compares in your opinion!
Last edited by grimlock9999 on Apr 10, 2018, 10:00:23 AM
"
I just rolled a 6L yesterday, and yippee!, but honestly it is not necessary. The build was pretty solid as a cheaper league starter. It turns out the thing that made a huge difference was switching the boots to seven league steps. That move speed rocks.

Things I've spent currency on that have made little differences include:

1) getting good life rolls on jewels and gear.

2) getting an enlighten and rolling 4 blue links on the seven league step boots to run:
enlighten, purity of elements, blasphemy, enfeeble.
This allowed me to buy a high life belt with aspect of the spider. I really love the long range slow on that for just 25% mana reservation!

3) getting 20% quality gems

4) I dropped the voideye and put in a life/resist ring, then refunded some resistance nodes and put in life nodes. For very end game I didn't want the long cast speed of totems, it's better to phase and run.

I also shy away from those great looking, but very meta builds like solar guards. Please let us know how it goes for you, or how it compares in your opinion!


Thanks for answering! :) I actually tried to do my own thing with my 92 Necro and am also enjoying it a faaair bit right now! Very close to your build but a little less defensive, it's pretty much just a classic srs (except bonebros) build with sytgian ape spectres for some charge generation haha. I am probably going to level your version aswell though just to see how it compares! I feel like people underestimate the clear skeletons can pull off if you just stack enough move/atk-speed for them. SG's etc. just seem a little unnecessary in comparison, after dropping them, i feel far better off since most of the time they were either lagging behind or did that charged beam-attack and just stood there for a second or two not doing anything. I'll keep an eye out for your build for next league aswell! What i can say for sure though is that i'm not touching Solar Guards anymore, it feels - to me atleast, to each their own - very clunky and unbearably convoluted for the fact that they don't provide anything skeletons don't also have.
Last edited by DoomHammer_Zozobra on Apr 10, 2018, 4:00:47 PM
Very nice build and good explained but ...

- You say, we should take minion speed as our 6th gem for Skeletons but its not in the list of the 6 gems. Which gem should i replace with minion speed and what exactly is your recommend 6 Link setup for clear / bossing?

- Your video's at the bottom are (im sorry) crap. 480p really? I can barely see anything.

- I guess you are not running Convocation because we can just summon skeletons where ever we need them, right?


And some questions (well one):

- Did you try Uber Atziri / Uber Elder / Shaper ? Is it good or are the minions missing life or damage?

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