[3.13] Odif's Newbie Necro Skeleton Mage Build Guide: League Starter, Very Low Cost
Have you always wanted to try minions, but did not know where to begin?
Are you relatively new to the game?
Have you struggled in red maps with your previous builds?
Have you not even gotten to maps because you were so confused, or you did not know how to build a character?
Do you just want a league starter that will get you dominating red maps and killing endgame bosses with minimal investment?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then this build is for YOU!
This build is the major revamp of a previous build that was nerfed in 3.13.
It changed enough that I thought I needed a fresh thread.
Here is a link to the old build.
I made an error in the changes of 1/19/2021
I forgot to remove minion taunt jewels from the build guide.
The changes added Meat Shield Support to the zombies, which gives them taunt, so we no longer need taunt jewels.
I apologize if you bought taunt jewels.
Big Change to Build done late night 1/19/2021
I have made the build guide all in on Skeleton Mages.
I have reduced the role of zombies to just being meat shields.
I have reduced the number of golems to 1 (Stone Golem)
I have changed the dps aura to Zealotry
I have managed to fit in both Skitterbots AND Vitality.
I have gotten rid of Triad Grip unique gloves.
I have changed the movement skill to Flame Dash
I have added a Cast When Damage Taken linked to Immortal Call and Convocation
Why did I make this build?
Over the years, with new league content continually added to the game, it has gotten harder and harder for newbies to get deep into endgame, it's all just too overwhelming.
So, I made this build, a simple and cheap build, with lots of details for newbies, that will allow newbies to get deep into endgame.
All my focus is to make this build the best possible build for newbies in the game.
Experienced users can use it also, of course.
All Testimonials are taken from this thread
I heard 3.13 nerfed Necromancers BIG TIME!
Spectres got a big nerf
Carrion and Stone golems got a big dps nerf.
Necromancer Ascendency lost 20% of increased minion damage, by itself not that bad. Mistress of Sacrifice also lost some Minion Duration but gained a lesser amount of Skill Duration.
Since this build uses Skeletons for dps, it is relatively untouched, and will do just fine.
The loss of 20% increased minion damage will not be significant for this build.
I heard Skeleton Mages got a big buff in 3.13.
They got a HUGE buff.
According to the patch notes:
Summoned Skeleton Mages (from Dead Reckoning unique jewel or Vaal Summon Skeletons) now deal 50% more damage, and their projectile speed has been doubled.
Will this build be good for Ritual League?
It uses Vaal Summon Skeleton, which is VERY VERY powerful in any non moving enclosed situation, which is exactly what Rituals are.
This build will SHINE in Rituals!
This build is a newbie friendly, super low cost, league starter build.
It will get you deep into red maps with minimal investment. (Less than 10c to start mapping, 40-80 c for red maps.)
It scales with currency.
With just the currency you accumulate as you progress through red maps you will be strong enough to kill all single end game bosses. (Except deep delve)
(It is unknown if this build can do 10 boss fights in 3.13, time will tell.)
There is a General Information and Leveling Tips for Newbies section for those less experienced.
This build uses Skeleton Mages to do massive dps on a low budget.
It's a minion build, so if you don't like minion builds this is not for you.
Our main damage dealer are Skeleton Mages
We use Zombies as meat sheilds.
We use Vaal Summon Skeletons for Bosses and non moving events like Ritual, BLight, and Breach.
Vaal Summon Skeleton is one of the best "I WIN" buttons in the game. It is absurdly strong.
Skeleton Mages inherently do elemental damage. See the section below for more details on them.
We use Elemental Equilibrium to lower enemy cold and fire resists by 50%.
We use Elemental Weakness curse to lower it even more. (Has a lesser effect on bosses, and has no effect on hex proof monsters and maps with hex proof mod.)
We use Skitterbots to auto shock enemies, so they take even MORE damage.
It's crazy how fast bosses melt with this set up, as it will take most bosses deep into negative resists.
We use Vitality Aura to buff our life regen.
We use a Stone Golem to buff our life regen.
For defense we use Bone Offering with Mistress of Sacrifice, Glancing Blows, and Unwavering Stance to gain unlimited 66% attack block, and around 52% spell block. We also have good life gained on block, good life pool, high life regen, and are immune to stun.
How do Skeleton Mages work?
Skeleton mages require a unique jewel, Dead Reckoning. Before you aquire it, you will be using melee skeletons.
When you socket the jewel, Dead Reckoning, into your passive skill tree, instead of summoning melee skeletons, you summon skeleton mages, up to 15.
(This limit only matters on Vaal Summon Skeleton, which at high level summons more than 15 melee skeletons, so only 15 of those get converted to skeleton mages. Vaal Summon Skeleton naturally summons a few skeleton mages, so you will get these plus the 15 converted ones.)
There are 3 types of skeleton mages.
Cold, Fire, and Lightning.
They each do a dart like spell, that hits a single target with the respective type of damage.
It counts as a spell projectile, and can be supported as such.
It is random which of the 3 types are summoned, so usually you get a mix.
Since we are using Elemental Equilibruim triggered by Storm Brand, we are buffing the damage of the fire and cold skeleton mages, and lowering the damage of the lightning skeleton mages.
In theory skeleton mages can walk around, but they rarely move very far. If they are aware of an enemy, they cast at an enemy.
Pros and Cons
Very newbie friendly, lots of details for first time players.
Very good for "stay in place" encounters like, Breach, Blight and RITUAL!
Very Low currency to go deep into red maps.
Scales with currency.
Can focus on clear or single target, by changing support gems of Skels.
Relaxed minion play style.
Does not need empower.
No cluster jewels needed.
OK defenses with minions to absorb hits, high block chance (attack and spell), good life pool, high life regen, good life gained on block, cannot be stunned.
Cannot do elemental reflect maps, unless you get expensive rings.
Minion play style is not for everybody.
At very high wealth investment, other minion builds do significantly better, like Kay's Necro build.
(You can always transition, use this build until you are wealthy, then transition to another build.)
Passive Skill Tree
Kill All Bandits
Mistress of Sacrifice
When you have a worthy amulet, ANOINT DEATH ATTUNEMENT on the amulet, and regret out of that part of the tree.
I don't know what annointing means!
In Blight league they added the mechanic to "annoint" your amulet.
Casia the npc lets you do this, you can invite her to your hideout after you do her quest. She randomly appears and gives it to you.
Take 3 oils and an amulet and put it in the annoint window.
It is completely deterministic.
Annointed amulets give you ONE "free" notable from the passive tree.
We annoint Death Attunement, which saves us points from having to path over there.
The 3 oils to get Death Attunement are: Clear, Crimson, Silver.
Wait until you have a valuable ammulet to do this.
No point in putting 30c worth of oils on a 3 c ammulet.
Passive Skill Trees: Poe Planner 3.13
15 Skill Points
33 Skill Points
47 Skill Points, Normal Lab
71 Skill Points, Cruel Lab with EE
97 Skill Points, Merciless Lab
114 Skill points, Uber Lab done
Assumes anointment of Death Attunement on amulet
After that put every point into life nodes.
But wait, where is the PoB link?
Against my better judgement, here is a PoB link.
It is a snapshot of my Ritual League starter, at level 87.
This is the "base gear" as outlined later in this guide WITH an amulet upgrade, so I could justify annointing it.
I don't trust the dps numbers, but the gear and skill tree should help.
I think PoB is DEMON SPAWN.
I am in the tiny minority of experienced PoE players, but I think people are overly reliant on PoB. It gives unrealistic damage numbers. It simulates things as if they were perfect, with minions having 100% uptime on enemies. I am not even sure it correctly calculates minions accuracy rating.
In short, I am deliberately boycotting it for this build.
After all, this build is for newbies, let them find PoB later, when they do some attack build, for which PoB is a more accurate representation of what actually happens in game.
If you are a newbie...
PoB is Path of Building, a 3rd party bit of software that can simulate a character, telling you exact dps numbers, life, ES, er...everything......If only you could trust it to be accurate.
Chest (Skeleton Mages)
You have two options here.
You can fill the screen with projectiles, making it difficult to see what is going on. This is better clearing, worse single target. Or you can not fill the screen with projectiles, see what your are doing, clear slower, better single target.
Don't fill the screen with projectiles. (Recommended)
Vaal Summon Skeleton linked to Pierce, Spell Echo, Minion Damage, Elemental Army, Elemental Focus.
(Supports are listed in order of importance, in case you do not yet have a 6l chest.)
Fill the screen with projectiles
Vaal Summon Skeleton linked to Greater Multiple Projectiles, Pierce, Spell Echo, Minion Damage, Elemental Army.
(Supports are listed in order of importance, in case you do not yet have a 6l chest.)
Helmet (Zombies and Stone Golem)
Raise Zombies and Stone Golem linked to Feeding Frenzy, Meat Shield.
Colors: 2R/2B (2R/B linked, B unlinked)
Cast When Damage Taken linked to Immortal Call and Convocation.
Flame Dash NOT linked.
Keep CWDT at level 7
Keep Immortal Call at level 9
Keep Convocation at level 10
(The higher level CWDT is, the more damage you must take for it to proc. Level 7 has a 1k damage threshold. At level 7, CWDT can only trigger spells usable at level 50 and below, hence Immortal Call at level 9, and Convocation at lvel 10.)
Storm Brand linked to Hextouch and Elemental Weakness.
Bone Offering (HUGE defensive boost)
Vitality (Life Regeneration)
Desecrate (To make corpses to use Bone Offering)
Keep Desecrate at level 1 to save mana.
Zealotry and Summon SKitterbots both linked to Generosity and Enlighten.
Enlighten is not needed, but mana is a bit tight without it.
You only need Enlighten to be level 2 to get enough free mana.
You can buy a corrupted level 2 Enlighten quite cheaply.
That is the only unique item needed for this build.
Helmet with +2 to minion gems
Even with life and resists, these are crazy cheap, 2-3 chaos early league.
A corrupted 6l chest will cost 10-30 chaos early league.
Or you can buy a tabula
Or you can buy a corrupted Tabula with +2 to socketed duration gems. (Recommended)
You should get enough chaos for a chest pretty quick, maybe before you hit maps.
You can do white and yellow maps easy with a 4l, which you can find/craft as you go. So don't worry if you dont have a 6l when you start mapping.
After you get your chest, buy 2 weapons that have "+1 all spell skill gems"
These run 5-30 chaos early league. It seems to vary a lot each league.
Save up to buy these, 2 of them make a huge difference. They must both be melee weapons, or both wands. You cant mix the two.
If you can afford it, get some minion damage/minion attack speed mods also, this will up the cost, so it's optional. (only avalable on wands)
Do NOT get + fire or cold damage to spells on your wands, it will mess up EE.
Optional benchcraft for one wand, that is a HUGE quality of life increase
Craft "Trigger socketed spells when you use a skill" onto the wand with Desecrate and Bone Offering.
This will (mostly) automate the casting of Bone Offering, which is a quality of life bonus.
This is one of the crafts unlocked by Jun.
Rare Jewels: Mods include, Life, Minions hinder on spell hit, % increased minion damage, minion cast speed, added damage to minions (fire and cold are best)
Everything else is rares with life and resists.
You will need dex on at least one item.
Chaos resist is very nice, but not necessary. Try and get as much as possible, but its a lower priority than elemental resist capping and life.
It's preferable to get a stygian vice belt, it's a great place to socket in the jewel with "minions taunt on attack"
If possible, get gear with armor, the more the better.
What order should I prioritize for getting the above gear?
1) Dead Reckoning unique Jewel (enables Skeleton Mages)
2) +2 minion gems helm with life and resists
Get when you start mapping
3) 6 link chest
(tabula or corrupted chest with some nice stats.)
Get as soon as you can afford it after you get above items.
4) +1 all spell skill gems wands (x2)
Get as soon as you can afford it, after you get above items.
Remember, in the last few acts and definitely for mapping, you need your elemental resists capped, so buying yellows to do that takes priority over the above list.
The above items, along with yellows that have life and resists is all you need to easily do t15 maps.
There is a section below for what upgrades to this base gear to buy as you gain wealth.
This build uses block, both attack and spell, good life gain on block, a good life pool, high life regen and whatever armor you can get on your gear, and defensive flasks.
Chaos golem with 70% increased golem buffs, gives you 8% phys dam reduction, 10% from ascendancy is 18% phys dam reduction before flasks and armor.
76% max ele resists.
Bone Offering effects you at 50% effectiveness only AFTER you get Mistress of Sacrifice. (Merciless Lab)
Bone offering benefits both from ascendancy +2 minion gem levels, and from +1 gem levels on wands.
A level 19 gem, thus goes to level 23, which is enough to get 36% attack and spell block on minions, and 18% attack and spell block on us with Mistress of Sacrifice.
You get 15% Attack block from dual wielding wands.
You get around 18% attack block from Bone Offering.
This 33% attack block gets DOUBLED by Glancing Blows Keystone on the skill tree. This gives you 66% chance to block attacks.
Glancing Blows doubles block chance, but makes it so you only block 35% of the damage.
Similarly, you get 8% Spell Block from the skill tree.
You get around 18% spell block from Bone Offering.
This 26% spell block is doubled to 52% Spell Block by Glancing Blows.
Unwavering Stance makes us immune to stuns. While immune to stuns, there is NO COOLDOWN on blocking, no block animation, we can block infinitely fast.
It's VERY POWERFUL.
We also gain 371 life every time we block (gem level 23), which we can do infinitely many times a second! This 371 life per block goes up to 445 with Bone Barrier once you complete Uber Lab, and goes even higher as you level Bone Offering past level 19, or buy expensive wands with +1 all gem levels and +1 all minion gem levels.
Minions will absorb a lot of hits, so the defenses are fine, unless you are doing something crazy dangerous like Sirius. But you can do Sirius if you are good at manually dodging.
Keep Bone Offering up at all times, it's crucial to your defense.
We have Cast When Damage Taken linked to Immortal Call and Convocation.
After taking 1k damage, Immortal Call absorbs damage for a short time, and Convocation brings the Zombies and Golem to use to body block.
Keep moving. Movement is a key defense
Really you can choose what ever you like.
I usually run...
Major: Soul of Lunaris for damage reduction and move speed in a crowd.
Minor: Soul of Ryslatha for the life flask charges.
I often change them for situational reasons.
Flasks are for defense!
Life with anti bleed
Quicksilver for movement
Quartz for dodge
Basalt for phys damage reduction
Granite for more armor
(If you want, you can use a Rumi's Concoction to gave more block. Swap out Granite.)
Get anti freeze and anti curse on two of the above, your choice of what other mods on the other 2 flasks.
Cast skeletons on each monster pack.
Cast storm brand on each pack.
Quicksilver flask is your friend.
Use Vaal Summon Skeleton on Bosses and other encounters that stay in one place, Rituals, Breaches, Blights, etc.
Keep Bone Offering up at all times, it's key to defense.
Keep moving. Flame Dash to avoid danger. Defensive flasks as needed.
If you want more DEFENSE!
Get a shield, give up one of the weapons.
Less offense, more defense. It's a choice.
Two ways to go with a shield, a higher armor shield, or a spirit shield with spell block.
Either way, get LOTS of life, life gained on block and/or % life gained on block.
You can also take shield nodes in the tree, like the sanctuary cluster.
General Information and Leveling Tips for Newbies
But wait, I am so confused I don't even understand stuff in this guide!
PoE has an EXTENSIVE in game help system.
There is a little yellowish icon just to the left of your left click skill button.
Press it, read everything.
More stuff unlocks in the help as you progress, so keep referring back to it.
It has video explanations and is amazing.
Some basic hints for newbies, no matter what the build
Loot filters are fully supported by Path of Exile.
You NEED a loot filter to play this game, really.
I recommend Neversink's loot filters.
You can click "follow" to one of his filters, then it will show up in your list of possible filters in game.
Where in game is that, you ask?
Options-UI-near the bottom.
Start with NeverSink-1regular-softcore
As you get more wealthy and want to filter more stuff out, you can go to level 2, 3, 4, etc.
Attacks vs Spells
In PoE almost all damage dealing abilities are either SPELLS or ATTACKS.
These are distinct.
Increased Spell damage will NOT help attacks.
Faster Attack Speed will NOT help spells.
Know what your main damage dealer is, ATTACK or SPELL, and buff it accordingly, with gear bonuses, passive skill tree bonuses, and support gems.
There is no gold in this game.
There is a barter system, both when selling to NPC vendors, and for trading with other players.
Chaos orbs are the main trading currency in the game for most purchases.
You will likely find several as you level up.
Save them to buy gear when you are about to start mapping.
Exaulted Orbs are the trading currency for high end expensive gear. In league, exaulted orb prices vary, but are often worth over 100 chaos.
You will be lucky if you find one while leveling, but if you do, jackpot.
Save your currency when leveling.
Seriously, save it for mapping and/or gearing up for mappping.
Essences are level capped, the ones you find leveling are near useless at high level, so USE them. Best use is to use them on a white item with good linked sockets, or to use on rings and amulets with a good implicit.
Essences come from those frozen statue like mobs you see on occasion. Click 3 times on them to unlock them, then fight them and their guards. An essence will ALWAYS drop, sometimes more than one.
If you find a really nice rare, with great mods and linked sockets, you MAY want to use chromatic orbs on it.
The colors that a chromatic gives are not fully random, they are weighted by the stat requirement of the item.
Intelligence items are more likely to roll blue sockets.
Dexterity Items are more likely to roll green sockets.
Strength items are more likely to roll red sockets.
If you try to put blue sockets on a strength item, you will use up all your chromatics and not get what you want.
In general, it is better to save your chromatics for end game, and just use the items that already have the colors you want. See the essence paragraph above.
The game has certain vendor recipies, things you sell to a vendor, that give you back something valuable.
These are hidden, but luckily, there is a handy list of all known vendor recipies in the Wiki
The two most useful beginning recipies are:
Sell 3 flasks of the same type, and get back 1 of a higher type.
I.E. sell 3 small life flasks, and get back 1 medium life flask.
Sell an item that has a blue, red, and green socket linked together and get back a chromatic orb.
Your loot filter will highlight RGB linked items.
In Act 2 you will be given a quest to get a Hideout.
This is player housing.
Inside your hideout, you will be given a quest to install and use a CRAFTING BENCH!
Using the crafting bench will GREATLY help you leveling.
You can add an affix to a rare item with the crafting bench.
(As long as it does not have 6 affixes already.)
(A rare item can have at most 3 prefixes and 3 suffixes.)
The most common use of this while leveling is to add life or a resist to an item.
This is how you can cheaply and easily cap your elemental resists.
Don't use expensive crafts on leveling items, I.E. if it costs a chaos orb.
Best use crafts that cost transmutes or chance orbs on low level items.
Note the level requirements.
Don't put a craft that has a level 24 requirement on an item when you are level 23. It will make the item unusable for you until you level up.
You will find more recipes as you progress through the campaign.
In later acts and in mapping you will meet Jun, who will send on you Syndicate missions. These yield "veiled items"
When you unveil an item, you gain progress to getting more recipes.
In Act 2 you will meet Einhar, who will give you a quest.
After doing that quest, he will give you a quest to go to the beast area, and do one beast craft.
After that, he will randomly pop up in zones, helping you, and capturing beasts.
Do these quests, capture as many beasts as you can while leveling.
At some point in the campaign, and opinions differ as to when, but certainly by mapping, you will NEED a flask with anti bleed, and a flask with anti freeze.
You can easily beast craft such flasks, assuming you have enough beasts captured.
Any non unique flask with a free suffix can be beast crafted to have anti bleed or anti freeze. (Also you can get anti poison, anti curse, and anti ignite.)
Anti bleed is called "of Staunching"
Anti freeze is called "of Heat"
There are many other very nice beast crafting recipes, but getting anti bleed and anti freeze flasks is HUGE for late campaign. And in mapping you will want anti curse too.
Here is a link to a reddit list of TONS of newbie info.
There is a search bar in the passive skill tree.
You can sell a level 20 gem, with a gemcutter's prism, to a vendor and get back the same gem at level 1 with 20 quality. This is worth doing!
Trading up currency
You may not have enough chaos to buy what you need to start mapping, immediately after finishing the campaign.
One way to get those needed chaos is to trade lesser currencies for chaos.
Alterations are always in demand, and you may have a lot at this point.
See what you have and see what the prices are.
Some Basic Information on Minions
Unlike some games, like Diablo 3, the player's dps has NO effect on minions dps.
The only things that effect minions, are things that SPECIFICALLY say minions. (or Allies, minions count as allies, but NOT party members.)
Most minions scale REALLY well off of gem levels.
Most minions have a point of diminishing returns on gem levels. They will still get better, but only by a little.
Spectres get diminishing returns after gem level 25.
Skeletons, Zombies, and Golems get diminishing returns after gem level 30.
The monster level of Spectres, Zombies, Skeletons, and Golems is ONLY based on the gem level of the summoning gem.
Minions get much of their dps off of support gems.
Minions can be supported by Minion Damage Support AND any support gem that would work for the ability that they use.
Examples: Zombies do melee physical damage, so zombies can be supported by Melee Physical Damage Support or Multistrike Support. Slave Drivers use a lightning spell ability, so they can be supported by Spell Echo Support or Elemental Focus Support
Minions have a base resistance of 40% elemental resistance and 20% Chaos resistance. This is NOT effected by the killing Kitava resistance penalty that players get.
Minions are NOT effected by map mods that say "player". Such as "-12% to maximum player resistances" or "players are cursed with enfeeble" or "players have elemental equilibrium"
Minions that use attacks have a chance to miss. You need to get enough accuracy bonus for them, usually from the skill tree or jewels socketed into the skill tree. Zombie slam attack cannot miss.
Players gain no benefit from on kill or on hit effects from minions kills or hits. There are some uniques that grant minions on kill or on hit effects, and these effects will only be granted to the minion that made the hit or kill.
Minions can get charges, frenzy, endurance, and power.
They get additional bonuses, more than what players get.
Each individual minion gets it's own charges.
+15% to all Elemental Resistances per Endurance Charge
15% additional Physical Damage Reduction per Endurance Charge
15% increased Attack Speed per Frenzy Charge
15% increased Cast Speed per Frenzy Charge
4% more Damage per Frenzy Charge
5% increased Movement Speed per Frenzy Charge
200% increased Critical Strike Chance per Power Charge
Ok, On to the details specifically for THIS build.
This build dominates from act 5 onward. If it seems a bit pedestrian before that, stick with it. It gets stronger in act 4, and starts to dominate in act 5, and dominates for the rest of the campaign and in maps.
I recommend doing all quests as you level, along with league mechanics, if it is your first toon in a league. This will cause you to be over leveled, which helps a lot prior to act 5. This is NOT necessary, if you want to rush, you can, just be aware that in act 2 and 3 its like a regular build, not like the insanely OP, I can't believe how strong this is, build that it is from acts 5 on.
IMPORTANT - IMPORTANT - IMPORTANT!!!!
When you get to town at level 2, check the wand vendor for linked BBR and BBB wands.
Do this EVERY time you go to town, until you get one of each.
(BBB wand is for zombies, BBR for summon raging spirits/summon skeletons.)
I cannot stress this enough, DO THIS EVERY TIME YOU GO TO TOWN, until you have both wands.
(This assumes you are league starting. If you already have a Tabula Rasa, you don't need 3 link wands.)
This leveling section assumes Melee Skeletons, as I don't think you will get the Dead Reckoning jewel early.
If you do, the only thing that changes is the colors of the sockets on your chest, and the support gems you put in it.
You just killed Hillock and made it to the first town.
Take Raise Zombies as your first reward. Buy your favorite skill from Nessa, I like ethereal knives, but whatever you like, you wont use it long.
Head out into Act 1.
How do I buy gems?
In acts 1-4, the vendor that sells wands and flasks also sells gems (tab 2)
They sell all gems that are offered to you as quest rewards PLUS some others.
These gems are sold PARTIALLY LEVELED, so when you can buy from them do so. They do not sell all gems, which ones they sell are class dependent. I.E. if you are a Witch they sell mostly caster gems.
In act 3 there is a side quest in the Library. When you do this, you unlock a gem vendor in the library that sells all gems in the game except the few that are drop only.
1) This vendor will only sell gems from act 4 after you have done the appropriate act 4 quests.
2) This vendor sells all gems at level 1.
3) this vendor requires you have the currency in your inventory, which can be annoying.
In act 6, after you do some quests, a in town gem vendor is unlocked, She sell all gems in the game that are not drop only. She sells them at level 1.
Rush to Mud Flats, find the 3 quest items on the ground, go to underground passage and waypoint back to town.
Quest reward is Summon Raging Spirits (usable at level 4)
Buy Holy Flame Totem from vendor.
Then go get Nessa's Medicine Chest.
Take Summon Phantasm support as the reward. Link to zombies.
For early leveling you will have two minion links, one with SRS and one with Zombies
Support each with Minion Damage (quest reward on reaching prison, buy second one from vendor) and SRS/Skeletons with Melee Splash (buy from vendor after reaching prison)
Note: Zombies are very squishy at low level. You will be depending on SRS (and skeletons) to kill hard stuff.
Later, zombies get very tanky.
Use Holy Flame Totem unlinked, or if you have the links, you can link to Summon Phantasm and/or Infused Channeling (purchase from vendor). HFT will heal zombies that are near it. Place it in a pack of zombies to get their health up. It will also do a bit of damage. (With links it will do a significant amount of damage, but cost more mana.)
Once you get Vitality aura, your zombies will stop dying.
You can stop using Holy Flame Totem at that point, or keep using for more dps.
After you kill Brutus you get Summon Skeleton gem.
Swap out SRS and put Summon Skeleton in its place.
NOTE:BUY a Vaal Summon Skeleton gem asap. (Usable at level 10)
Vaal Summon Skeleton is crazy OP... no really... it is... I can't believe it has not been nerfed.
After you kill Brutus buy Vitality gem.
Vitality is an aura that got changed in 3.12
It now does a flat life regen for a flat amount of mana reserved.
The higher the level, the more mana it reserves, and the more it heals for. You may want to stop leveling it at some point, so as to not reserve too much mana.
It will be HUGE in keeping your zombies and yourself alive.
Vitality is pretty OP at low level.
Use FLAME DASH as your movement skill at low level.
Get Flesh Offering AND Bone Offering after you get to Cavern of Wrath.
Use Flesh Offering. Level Bone Offering in an weapon swap.
You start using Bone Offering when you get Mistress of Sacrifice after doing Merciless Lab.
You will have the opportunity to buy Melee Physical support after doing Sharp and Cruel quest.
Swap it in for the melee splash in the skeletons.
Make sure to get Desecrate after you do the quest Intruders in Black.
It makes keeping your offering up at all times easier, and for resummoning zombies if they die.
Also buy Summon Skitterbots from the vendor after Intruders in Black.
When you get 4 links on helm and chest you can move your zombies and Skeletons there.
You get Auras and Curses in Act 3.
Remember to do the optional Library Siosa Quest in act 3 to unlock the gem vendor.
Zealotry aura is a big DPS buff for the Skeleton Mages. It does nothing for Melee Skeletons. Only use it after you have Skeleton Mages. Link Zealotry to Generosity.
You cannot run Zealotry, Skitterbots AND Vitalilty all at once, for now.
Melee Skels: Skitterbots and Vitality
Skel Mages: Zealotry and Vitality.
Until you have Skel Mages, you are doing pure phys damage, so use Vulnerability curse.
Until you get Hextouch, self cast your curse.
You wont get Hextouch support till act 4, but Stormbrand is in act 1
Don't use Elemental Equilibrium proc'ed by Storm Brand until you have Skeleton Mages.
You get Meat Shield and Feeding Frenzy in Act 3, these are your Zombie supports now.
You get Stone Golems early in act 4.
Stone Golems auto taunt, which is huge as you likely wont have a minion taunt jewel yet.
Socket in with the Zombies when you have the links.
You get Spell Echo support later on in this act, this is a HUGE dps increase. USE IT. (if you have Skel Mages, if you still have Melee Skeletons use Multistrike.)
You also get Hextouch in Act 4.
Act 5 and beyond
After Act 4, just get gear with sockets linked with the right colors, life and resists and any stats you may be lacking.
Try to get your elemental resists capped.
Remember, you lose 30% to all your resists after killing Kitava in Act 5, and it happens AGAIN after killing Kitava in Act 10.
You will need some dexterity on gear.
You can annoint an ammulet with 3 clear oils for 30 dex. (very cheap)
You can bench craft dex on gear.
Once you get Skeletons in 4 a link, you will steamroll the rest of the campaign.
You will be shocked at how easy it becomes.
To run Skeleton Mages, just buy the Dead Reckoning jewel, and find a chest with the proper colors for it, and you are good to go.
Bonus Vendor Recipie to Craft a helmet with +1 to socketed Minion gems:
If you find a white or blue helm with the colors you want, you can craft +1 minion gems on it.
(If it is white, transmute it to blue)
After you craft it, regal it to make it rare and benchcraft either life or a needed resist.
For the +1 minion gems helm:
Any MAGIC (blue) helm
Life flask of ANIMATION
To craft a life flask of animation:
Life Flask (Any rarity or size)
Bone Spirit Shield (any Rarity)(keep a lookout for these, they start dropping in act 2)
As you get more currency, what to upgrade.
First off, I would not invest more than 20 or so exaulteds in this build.
Other minion builds do better with huge investments, like Kay's Necro Build.
Some of the below upgrades are much less than 20 ex, I also include super expensive ones, just in case you want to go for it.
Buy a level 21 Vaal Summon Skeleton gem. Get one with 23% quality of you can afford it.
You can dump a LOT of currency into wands. +1 all skill gems, +1 all minion skill gems, bonus to minion damage, bonus to minion attack/cast speed.
On the wand with desecrate and bone offering, getting crafted "trigger socketed spells when you use a skill", is a HUGE quality of life bonus.
A rare ammy with +1 to all intelligence gems.
If you want to do elemental reflect maps, 2x rings with the mod "you and your minions take x% reduced reflected elemental damage"
Corrupted +2 socketed duration gems.
Corrupted +1 socketed gems.
(Note: If you get a +1 gems chest, and you can afford a corrupted level 4 empower, then Empower becomes your best support gem.)
Cannot be frozen craft
Benchcraft % increased minion damage (up to 20%)
Redeemer influenced gloves can get up to 30% increased minion damage on them.
+3 socketed minion gems, socketed gems are supported by level 20 minion damage, nearby enemies take #% increased elemental damage. Crafted +1 skels/zombies
Rare abyss jewels with life and minion mods: minions hinder on spell hit, % increased minion damage, flat added minion damage (Fire and Cold are best), minion attack and cast speed.
These are crazy expensive for the bonus they give, but if you want to take this build to the "spend more than 100ex" limit, you can use awakened gems.
Awakened Hextouch lets you curse hexproof enemies, and you can put on a second curse. (Corrupted triad gloves with "curse enemies with <your favorite curse> on hit".
Personally, I don't think awakened gems are worth the cost, unless you are insanely rich.
What order should I do the above upgrades?
It does not matter that much which order you upgrade things.
The below is only a suggestion.
Get an amulet with +1 all intelligence gems first. Annoint it.
Then get a level 21 Vaal SKel gem.
Chest with either +1 gems or +2 duration gems
Then save up for the super expensive wands with +1 all skill gems, +1 all minion gems, some other minion damage mods.
Why no Spectres?
It is possible to use support spectres with this build, BUT, support spectres found in the campaign are too squishy with the nerfs to spectres in 3.13. And as a newbie focused build, I don't want to have newbies chasing hard to get rare spectres.
Feel free to add spectres if you want. I leave it up to you how you rearrange things to fit it in.
Why is there no Animate Guardian?
Animate Guardians are only powerfull at VERY high currency levels, otherwise they die, and you lose everything.
As this is a newbie oriented build, I decided not to use them.
Global Chat Channel to Discus this Build
Type /global 798
I will be on this channel whenever I am on.
It can be a place where people can discuss the build, offer help to each other, etc.
If it gets spammy, I will change the number to a new number.
If you use this guide, please leave feedback.
Last edited by Odif on Jan 22, 2021, 1:16:53 AM
Last bumped on Jan 22, 2021, 8:48:19 AM
on Jan 11, 2021, 8:23:28 PM
on Jan 11, 2021, 8:34:44 PM
I'll give your guide a try this league.
on Jan 11, 2021, 10:39:22 PM
I too will be league starting with the build, following it closely.
The build has changed too much from previous versions, for me to make the claim that I have used it many times.
I have a LOT of experience league starting minions, so I am confident that it will work, but I have not actually done it.
The huge 3.13 nerfs to spectres make past experiences not totally reliable now.
Please leave feedback as you level up using the build.
on Jan 11, 2021, 10:48:41 PM
Can this build still works in 3.13? I want to find a low price build to fight against the sirus or even the t20.Looking forward to your reply.
on Jan 11, 2021, 11:24:00 PM
After reading about the HUGE nerf to Spectres in 3.13, I mothballed my old Spectre-(Skeleton or Zombie) build guide, and rewrote it to be a Skeleton AND Zombie guide.
We lose a little clear speed, but gain some single target dps.
It will do Sirus, and any other boss from the past.
(Except deep delving)
I have no idea if it will do Maven, or if it will do 10 boss fights, but nobody knows about those fights yet.
It will take you from league start to end game bosses with just the currency you find along the way.
It is NOT the fastest.
This build guide is to get newbies to endgame, not to provide a zoom zoom killer for experienced players.
Last edited by Odif on Jan 11, 2021, 11:52:36 PM
on Jan 11, 2021, 11:51:09 PM
is it possible to get pastebin for this build for lvling? even if ur boycotting it? i just need it for lvling btw
i created it dont know how accurate it is https://pastebin.com/A5SCj2bJ
check notes if u want short info
Last edited by DanteDevilHunter4 on Jan 12, 2021, 1:29:30 AM
on Jan 12, 2021, 12:57:56 AM
Part of the reason I have not made a paste bin for PoB is that it is a lot of work to make one from scratch.
After I level up my Ritual league starter to maps, I can import one into paste bin, but then so could anybody, as I always have my characters public.
Plus, I have provided extensive Poeplanner.com links in the skills section, and in the leveling tips, i have provided the gear my Heist toon was wearing at level 44.
That should be enough for leveling.
on Jan 12, 2021, 1:17:58 AM
In act 3 you mention taking out skitterbots, but no where in the other acts did it say to use it?
on Jan 12, 2021, 1:55:54 AM
There is a bit about switching back to skitterbots when you feel the need for more offense, and when you feel you have enough life regen without vitality.
Seems I need to make that clearer.
Thanks for the feedback, I will alter it to be more clear.
on Jan 12, 2021, 2:04:16 AM