3.10 Pure Physical Animate Weapon - Farm Bosses With Ease

With the update to Animate Weapon and "Blade" skills Animate Weapon is finally playable, without the use of "Chain of Command". This build utilizes the ability to get up to 19 swords for a lot of physical damage and pretty decent clear speed. With just a little of currency investment this build will allow the player to farm any boss or content they please. Some maps can be difficult, especially with this new One Shot League, but with a little kiting and good player placement you should be able to clear most content easily.

Here are some videos:

Deathless Shaper - https://youtu.be/gekGxAQe6Ds

Awakener Level 6 Sirus - https://youtu.be/Nh2jLtd6OJw

Al-Hezmin, the Hunter i83 - https://youtu.be/1AcWg999ogw

Deathless Uber Elder - https://youtu.be/lxU0yuWgOpo

+Fast Mapper
+Great Single Target Damage
+Moderately Tanky (Permanent Fortify, high armor, Minions blind)
+Cheap Start Up
+Few Uniques

-Can Easily get one shot in end game maps if you're not careful
-Doesn't have a very high life pool, unless you dump currency into the build.
-Animate weapon spawn isn't automatic. You have to stop every now and then to spawn them.
-Can be a bit clunky early.
-Isn't hardcore friendly

Combat Statistics

+Animate Weapon(Single Target): 529,000 Impale Dps per minion = 10,051,000 dps

+Animate Weapon(Mapping):217,000 non impale Dps per minion = 4,123,000 dps

Other Minions: Around 418,000 dps (depending on abilities and other factors)

The damage portrayed here should be higher due to the fact that Path of Building doesn't show the added damage from Animate Guardian nor does it include the 2 other curses(Vulnerability and Enfeeble/Assassin's Mark).

+34% physical damage reduction without flask.
+~77% physical damage reduction with flask up.
+50% evade chance if enemy is blinded.
+Permanent Fortify (20% less damage from hits)
+Minions Taunt
+Bone Armor


[Animate Weapon] is a skill that focuses on reanimating weapons on the ground or in our case, animating blades created by Bladefall, Blade Vortex, or Ethereal Knives. For this build we focus on trying to create as many minions as possible. In our case we can get up to 19 blades! The amount of blades are important for a build like this because each blade increases our damage significantly. To increase the damage for this build further, we look for #% increase to minion damage and on our jewels we look for added physical damage to our minions. There are a few other ways to increase our damage further, but we will look at that in the gear section. With damage we focus on life, resist, and defensive sources.

[Raise Specters] For our Raise Specters, there is a large selection of monsters that can support this build in numerous ways. The two main specters that really push the damage on this build are Host Chieftain and Carnage chieftain. These two specters add frenzy and power charges to our minions. The other two specters I use are: Merveil's Retainer which curses enemies with Vulnerability and a Diabolist which curses enimies with Enfeeble. Another interesting specter is the Sin Master which curses enemies with Assassin's Mark.
Note: With the update to specters in 3.10 there may be some other really good specters that would benefit this build. Just look around for them.

[Animate Guardian] Essentially, Animate guardian is a minion that you can equip with gear. For our purposes we want the guardian to grant auras to our minions to help boost our damage further. There are a couple of ways to do this.
First Setup:

Second Setup: Just replace the weapon with Dying Breath.

Note: I haven't testing Dying Breath, but considering we are using 4 curses it might be nearly as strong if not stronger than King Maker for only 1 Chaos.

Important! If your Animate Guardian dies you loose all the gear. Its GONE FOR EVER!!!

[Golems] For our golems, with use a Carrion Golem and a chaos golem. Make sure to put your carrion golem in an Unset ring with +3 to socketed gems. This will boost the damage this golem grants to our minions by a good margin.

[Auras] We use Dread Banner, Pride. and Flesh and Stone. These auras only grant their benefits if the minions are inside the aura's area of effect, so make sure you are next to your minions!


For your gear you mainly want to look for Life, resist, minion damage, minion life, minion speed, and some dexterity (The tree doesn't provide enough to use some gems). If you can get some mana regeneration, then you won't need a mana flask. You're gonna have to see how much you will need.

My Gear:

The Cold Iron Point Daggers are extremely cheap and provide nearly the same damage as mirror tier weapons. They each boost Animate Weapon's level by 3 allowing us to have 19 minions.

For your jewels you want to look for life, minion life, and adds physical damage to minion's attacks.

Its important to get cluster jewels similar to the ones I have here. The mod "Renewel" allows our minions a 10% chance to deal double damage if they are at full health. If we stack multiple of these, then our minions will have a 40% chance to deal 100% more damage!
Note: If you rearrange the build to get two sets of these cluster jewel setups, you may be able to get near 100% chance to deal double damage. I have yet to test this.

Make sure the Fortress Covenant jewel is placed in a jewel socket away from any major notable passive. I have mine near "Melding", the life/energy shield node.


Make sure, if you don't have enough mana regen, to get a mana flask that has those mods above. It will allow you to continually cast Animate Weapon without delay.
Gem Links

Single Target Damage: Animate Weapon - Melee Damage - Brutality - Multistrike - Deathmark - Minion Damage

Mapping: Animate Weapon - Melee Damage - Brutality - Melee Splash - Minion Speed - Minion Damage

Flesh and Stone - Clarity - Pride - Enlighten lvl 3/4
Dread Banner - Precision - Generosity

Helmet: Raise Specter - Animate Guardian - Minion Life - Blood Magic

Other Gems: Movement Skill - Bladefall - Punishment - Faster Casting

Ring: Carrion Golem
Weapon: Chaos Golem - Miam support - portal(if you choose to)

Note: If you have an enlighten lvl 4 or/and enough mana regeneration to sustain Animate Weapon without a mana Flask then connect a Miam Support gem to Dread Banner and get rid of Clarity.

Ascendancy & Bandits

1st - Commander of Darkness
2nd - Mindless Aggression
3rd - Bone Barrier
4th - Unnatural Strength

You can either kill all or going Alira might be beneficial for the mana regen and for the resistances.


General Info:
Leveling can be a bit cluncky early, but the moment you get a "Blade" skill and Animate Weapon you should be able to start playing the build. Make sure to start off with some Minion life and damage reduction (Resists and Physical Damage Reduction), then once you feel like your minions are staying alive, move onto getting damage. Don't bother with getting an Animate Guardian yet, since the chance that it will die may be high early.

Once you get the Raise Specter skill, especially if you have the sword, Queen's Decree/Escape, you'll be able to have 2 specters. Get both the Host Chieftain and Carnage Chieftain. You can find these two specters in the Riverways in Act 6 or you can get the Carange Chieftain in the Old Fields in act 2. If you have a friend that is using the same specters, then you should be able to use Desecrate to find them in their hideout.

Some good Leveling Uniques:
+Mark of the Red Covenant
+Queen's Decree
+Queen's Escape - Better version of the Queen's Decree
+Brinerot Mark - For the Carrion Golem if you don't have a +3 Ring.
+Tabula Rasa
+Darkness Enthroned

Last bumped on Mar 30, 2020, 11:57:23 AM
your dps is significantly lower than you expect, but otherwise a solid build.

you can't gaurantee your minions have 100% life... although it is safe to assume that they are generally pretty close to having 100% uptime due to regen and leech

the big issue is that PoB calculates minion impale damage as if they have 100% chance to impale (for the most part), your minions certainly do not have 100% chance to imaple. you have just shy of 30% due to dread banner generosity.

in order to hit a decent impale chance, you need to use the gem (40%), rotten claws (20%), dread banner-generosity (30ish%) at 90% impale feels good. Dread banner enchant on your helm puts you at 99%, but i'm not convinced that final 9% is worth losing 150% carrion Golem effect.
Everything you do is sub-optimal.
Last edited by xThreads on Mar 28, 2020, 8:15:49 AM
Thanks for the information. I was wondering why it didn't seem like my damage was as high as the math showed. I'll look into trying to raise the impale chance without a loss to damage.

One thing on the 100% life thing. So, for maps I'd definitely agree with you about not getting 100% up time, but for bosses I specifically chose a group of notables that grant minions 10% life as extra energy shield. These notables defiantly help maintain that up time, because by the time those shields drop; the boss phase is over. I'm still testing a few things out with this build in order to maximize the damage without delving into too much currency.

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