The Summoner Compendium

Disclaimer: This is a general guide aimed at helping new players figure out how to build a summoner on their own. There is not one true summoner build, there's a multitude of variants and it will be up to the players themselves to figure out what they want to do with their summoner aside from obviously summoning. I will discuss the core build, the defensive variants as well as some of the potential build options. Also, wall of text incoming.




Open Beta Revision 1: Fixed a lot of stuff in relation to Open Beta changes. Might have forgotten some, will update the post once I have more experience with the changes so probably a few days after OB launch.

The art of summoning

First off, let me describe each minion available to you and what their role and function is. I will also touch a bit on the mechanics of summons as well as their AI and monsters AI in relation to minions.

Spoiler
Raise Zombie

This will be your bread and butter summoning spell. This is both the most powerful and the most useful summon. Zombies are strong permanent summons that require a corpse to be raised. You cannot raise a zombie out of a dead zombie corpse, nor can you raise them out of ice shattered corpses(when you kill a monster with a cold spell). Detonate Dead or Devouring Totem will also remove corpses. Zombie are surprisingly not slow moving, they move at an average speed and will follow you around. If you run too far from them, they will teleport to you to reach you faster, even though they sometimes get stuck about a screen away and take a while to get back to you especially when you're using movement speed buffs. They will acquire targets on the screen and tend to attack the target you're actually attacking yourself, so you can control them to a certain extent. They have quite a lot of health which with the help of passive will make them into strong tanks while also doing very good damage per hit, however they attack very slowly. Monsters will tend to switch targets to your zombies if you run through them, generally if a monster is forced to path around a zombie, it'll acquire the zombie as its new target. You can summon a maximum of 3 zombies with the spell and you will get more only via passives, the spell leveling will only affect the zombie stats(health and damage) not the amount of zombie you can control. You can summon up to 8 zombies with passives and more if you use unique items designed for summoners.

Summon Skeleton

Summon Skeleton is a bit of a different spell. The biggest difference is that unlike Zombies, Skeletons can be summoned without any corpse around. That makes them perfect for a new game session when you don't have your army of zombies up already, as well as against strong aoe monsters which will wipe your zombies leaving you defenseless. Skeletons have a few particularities to balance the fact they're not raised but instead summoned. First, they have a limited life duration. They lose health fairly quickly over time, so eventually they will die regardless. The second point is that they do not really follow you, they kind of wander around. They will generally acquire targets close to them, however it's not uncommon for skeletons to just start walking away from an enemy that was next to where they got summoned. The third aspect is that they are very frail, they're not very good tanks unlike zombies even with the full spec. They do good damage however and even though they die quickly, they make good distractions for the enemy. They're best used in combination with Zombie to take hits for them or simply do their damage while zombies are tanking. They can also be used a shield against projectiles by summoning them in front of the enemy so they block the projectiles(and die instantly ^^). You can summon up to 4 skeletons with the basic spell and you summon two per cast of the spell. You will get up to 10 skeletons via passives, 2 more for a total of 12 via the gem leveling and even more with unique items.

Raise Spectre

Like Zombies, Spectres can only be raised from corpses. Spectres are quite a bit different from the other two minions however because Spectres have different stats depending on the monster you raise. By casting Raise Spectre, you raise a ghost version of the monster you cast it on. The spectre retains most innate abilities of the monster and will use them when needed. This means that if you raise a monster that casts a curse for example, then your spectre will also cast that curse. If you raise a monster with high health, then your spectre will have high health, on the contrary a spectre of a weak monster will also be a weak spectre. This property does not affect special champion and rare monsters abilities, instead you will raise the basic version of the monster. Spectres like Zombies last until they die, you can actually raise a Spectre in a specific zone and use it in another so it's important to take note of the good monsters to use as spectres. The spell lets you summon only one spectre and there is only one passive that increases that number to two spectres. As usual, uniques can increase it further.



Mechanics

Spoiler
Minions behave as separate entities from the player. They have their own crit chance, their own damage, their own health. While they benefit from the player's auras(assuming they're in range obviously), most of the other stats from the player are irrelevant for minions unless they're minion specific stats. One exception is the Keystone passive Necromantic Aegis which will give your minions all your equipped shield stats, at the cost of removing them from yourself. This lets you give minions resistances, armor, evasion, energy shield, damage reflect and all kind of stats you can find on shields.

Similarily, stats that affect minions won't affect the player. If you link Lifeleech to a minion gem, you will not gain health when your minion does damage, instead the minion will gain health for the damage it does.

Minions have no natural regeneration, instead they have to be healed via other means, such as Rejuvenation Totem, Reanimation Flasks or by linking them Life on Hit or Lifeleech gems.

When summoning a minion while at the cap already, the oldest minion is destroyed to make room for the new one.

Minions have no collision for the player, so they can't block you, however you as the player have a collision box for the minions, meaning standing in a doorway or on a small bridge will prevent your minions from getting past you.

Minion Instability, which is a major Keystone passive that makes minions deal damage when they die is not affected by any of your passives, as the ability is considered cast by the minions. That means getting increased burn chance will not increase the chance for it to burn. However, using the Flammability curse for example will work because it increases the chance the enemy burns when receiving fire damage, instead of your chance to burn. That also means things such as increased aoe will not work with this passive, unless you use an increased aoe support gem linked to your minions, in which case they will cast an increased aoe. In general, besides Necromantic Aegis, nothing will work on what minions do unless it's specifically linked to the minion gem. Minion Instability seems to not proc when minions die in one hit from a lot of damage, they will only blow up when they're at low health, which a one shot bypasses completely.

Necromantic Aegis is another major Keystone passive. I talked about it a bit already, but it basically give to all your minion the stats of your shield instead of you. That means that you do not benefit from anything on your shield anymore, but all your minions do. That includes evasion/armor/es/resists on the shield, chance to block, damage reflected, spell block(if using a unique shield) and so on.





How to build a summoner

Building a summoner is actually fairly easy. The build tends to be done with as little as ~45points invested and then it's purely a matter of choice. One of the major decision before you start is to decide which sort of defense you will use as well as which class you want to play.
Spoiler


Defense

Defense wise, summoners don't need all that much, their undead army will take care of absorbing 99% of the damage done by monsters, so you will rarely if ever take any damage. That means that going for too much defense will tend to be a waste, however it is certainly useful if playing on Hardcore mode. The two main ways to build a summoner is either to go for Chaos Innoculation, which makes you immune to Chaos Damage at the cost of only have 1 health. This means that if for some reason your Energy Shield comes to be depleted, you will die. This also means you cannot use Health flasks to heal you anymore, you instead have to not take dmg for a few seconds for Energy Shield to regen. The second way is to simply get health instead of CI, as well as Energy Shield. This will be a more balanced approach and you can keep using Flasks to heal yourself up in case of an emergency, however this also means you won't be immune to Chaos Damage(which goes through Energy Shield) so you'll have to be careful of these specific abilities. In general that'd be a "safer" build.

Class

On the class, I would avoid Marauder, Ranger and Duellist because they're very far from the summoning nodes. You should focus your choice on the Witch, the Templar or the Shadow. The Witch has arguably the best position for a summoner since she starts right next to one of the strongest node, and all the other nodes are in her area. The only issue of the Witch is that if you do want to go for a health build, the health nodes are fairly spread out and it will take a while to get all of them. On the other hand if going for a CI build, you can finish your core build the fastest out of any other class. For the Templar build, the big advantage of the templar is doing Life builds, as they start around many health nodes. The second advantage is getting easy access to the Body and Soul nodes, which give both Armor and Energy Shield, which is very good even for a CI build. The downside of these advantages however is starting further away from the summoning nodes so the build will take longer to complete. Finally the Shadow doesn't really have much advantages over the other 2, it is viable to make a summoning shadow but there isn't really much of a point. I guess their main advantage would be if you want to make a nuking heavy summoner, as the shadow starting area is very useful for nukes. You could also get Ghost Reaver which along with a Lifeleech support on your nuke would let you replenish ES for a CI build.

Once you have decided, you now have to grab the skills. There's a few things to keep in mind: If you go for an ES build, you will have to grab the ES related passives around CI itself in the witch area. If you don't, you will want to make sure to grab the Divine Toughness health node near Minion Instability. In general for a summoning build, you will want to get all the minion passives but Necromantic Aegis which is optional since it has severe downsides, especially in Hardcore(it reduces your survivability since you do not get the effects of your shield anymore). If you make a templar you absolutely want to make use of the Body and Soul nodes in the starting area, it's one of the main reason to start as a Templar.

Here are some build examples(temporarily removing all builds but health builds until the Open Beta tree is up)


This is a health variant of the Witch



This is a health variant of the Templar
Spoiler
[urlhttp://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAAAgUABVvkIilP7Dg62E3YjHaePIFvBLMUTaIA8B8aOKeEkFVmnnFNms9DY7cxWPWdxBpspqyIQJAzGYUkqjbp42qdrqcI2QsqmPqAwBqPRtDQz2VVxhZvm6FI5_fXzLyFYKrEEJdEBLiT6-4o-oLH0_uofVqRaqyVIEZxtAyTJ7-XyT3yHhzcf8YnqVptJDynXElRoqPB88NtbRk74eL3pyuLegj0eQPAVHNTa9t9GOyKi4zhc-0gRtddxt3zYG2dgIM4AnE=[/url]



As you can see, all the Templar builds cost more points to make, that's because they start further away from the Witch area obviously. On the other hand, they get a lot more of the defensive related passives early on. If you used the point difference on the Witch build, you could easily reach similar Templar areas, and in the end the builds would be extremely similar. The main difference in my opinion is the Witch summoning is viable earlier even if a bit more dangerous and her starting area is actually good with stuff like mana% and mana regen%, while the Templar actually has to avoid his start area if he wants to maximize summoning. You can take those but they won't do you a whole lot of good as a summoner and delay further your summoning related passives. As such, I'd recommend a Witch in all cases, but if you prefer the Templar looks and voice, then it's a very viable build too. As for the Shadow, I'm not exactly sure how you'd build it to make use of the Shadow stuff which is very damage oriented. The summoning related stuff should be obvious as it's basically the same as every other build.





Options

Now if you noticed, none of these builds use anywhere close to the maximum amount of points. The health Templar variant uses a lot but still not everything. That's because Summoners are viable without a full build. That leaves a lot of options to use more points.

It is also very important to note that this core is not something you need to acquire as soon as possible. You can easily skip some minion nodes early in the game to grab more survivability or more damage as you see fit and I would recommend doing so in many cases, especially the pure damage% minion nodes. Taking only the minion health% nodes(along with +minion cap nodes obviously) is generally going to be enough for a summoner to do well. Not even taking all of these is also fine and while you will eventually get them all, they are not an absolute priority.

Spoiler
The first possible choice is the Spectre passive. I left it untaken as Spectres are a bit of a personnal preference. Some people will prefer not taking them to save themselves a gem slot as their efficiency is highly dependant on the type of monsters you can raise so they're not always useful. Having 2 doesn't make it much better especially since a lot of the best spectres do not stack(the curse ones, since you can only have one curse on a given monster unless using the passive or uniques). Assuming you do have the gem slots and want to use Spectres though, this one is a very easy single point that'll make your build stronger.

Another option is to go for the Curse node. The curse node is next to the spectre node, it's a 5 points node that will make your curses cast faster, last forever and let you use up to two curses at the same time. This is fairly strong as curses themselves are strong. It lets you use Vulnerability and Enfeeble for example, to make every monsters weaker to your army attacks as well as doing a lot less damage to your army. You might instead get an elemental curse to increase your personnal damage(more on this a bit later). Curses are strong and for a small investment since you're already very close, this is a solid choice.

You might also want more mana, and in this case going for the large Deep Thoughts mana node could be useful. Do note that if you only need a bit of mana, there are mana % nodes under the witch starting area that you have direct access to. Going for the Deep Thoughts node means you want even more, for example to run another aura.

On Auras, there are two 3pts nodes that will help with them, the Inner Force node and the Leadership node. The leadership one increase the range of your auras by 50%, which will let you share your auras with your minion from a very safe distance. However, auras already get an aoe increase as they level, so it'll eventually be superfluous and I wouldn't necessarily recommend this one(or maybe as a temporary thing then you unspec it once your auras are leveled enough). Inner Force on the other hand is a very good passive that will increase your aura power by 30%. This is especially good(and almost mandatory) in CI build, to make your Discipline aura give a lot more ES, which in turns makes you a lot tankier. I definitely recommend this node is you run at least one aura(and you probably should in any build anyway).

One other key option is to go down the Templar area via the Minion Instability line to reach the totem node which gives access to a second totem. This has multiple uses but it is mostly done to use two damaging totems which will increase your overall damage a lot and help you clear areas faster. You could also use totems to support your minions, or even totems to summon them! Using skeletons on a spell totem, you will not have to spend time summoning and resummoning skeletons all the time, instead a single cast and your totem will summon skeletons on its own. A second totem could then be used to cast your curses or simply to do damage. It's important to note that if you take the dual totem keystone, you will not be able to do damage yourself anymore. Using mines and traps as well as minions and totems is your only way to kill things, so keep that in mind when planning for this.

Yet another possibility is to take Eldritch Battery in a non CI build(taking it in a CI build would be suicide obviously ^^). The main point of this build is to have so much mana that you can run a large amount of auras, generally 6-7of them. You'll want to focus on all the auras that reserve a static amount of mana instead of a % as they work the best with the large mana pool.

Finally the last option is to simply take whatever you like to increase your own damage or own survivability. This comes in many forms, from elemental damage %, status ailments specific nodes to shield block and the templar far Body and Soul nodes. There's many ways to go there. You could also consider the resist nodes or go toward Ghost Reaver and link Lifeleech to a spell to leech ES or Zealot's Oath and a few Life Regen% nodes to regen ES passively even when taking damage. You can do extremely offensive nuking builds with a solid summoner core for example, which will provide damage close to a pure nuker with the safety of minions.

Really once your core is done(and even a bit before), it is up to you to customize your summoner to the way you want to play the game. Summoner is a very adaptive build that will work regardless of what else you decide to make. Do you want to make your minions even stronger so they crush the enemies? Do you want to instead take an active role into defeating those enemies? Or do you prefer making yourself into a quasi immortal being and progress slowly but surely?





Gems setup

A common question about the summoner build is how to set up your gems. This is actually fairly simple. For choice specific gems you should setup like in other builds such as auras with reduced mana and possibly increased aoe, curses with increased aoe and possible faster casting or reduced mana, main nuke spell with normal supports, spell totem with a nuke and its normal supports etc... For minion related gems, a few reminder. Most of the gem effects will only apply to the minions, not yourself. Putting mana leech on your zombies will not give you mana back, it will give them mana but since they have no mana/no spell it's useless.

Spoiler

The general setup is to link at least zombie with minion damage and minion health. You can also link skeletons to those, remember you can link supports to more than one spell at the same time if they're all linked, so in this case you'll need a 4L(four link) blue and link zombie+skeleton+minion health+minion damage and both will benefit even with only one dmg and health gem. Similarily, you could also link Spectre to that. Other good options for your minions include Minion Speed(increase their movement speed, not that useful but not terrible either), Faster Attacks(increases attack speed of your minion, good for their DPS), Melee Physical Damage(more damage, similar to Minion Damage but doesn't affect Minion Instability), Added X Damage(useful along with elemental specific curses to proc status ailments such as Shock or Ignite, however the low value of the damage means you won't get big returns out of it), Life Leech/Life on Hit(so the minions gain life everytime they attack, to make them tankier), Fire Penetration/Chance to Ignite(to help with Minion Instability damage). Also remember that you can use non minion centric supports, such as Reduced Mana and Faster Casting to help you with the summoning instead of helping the minions perform better. Faster Casting is especially useful for Skeletons.

Skeletons are also commonly linked to a Spell Totem support, which lets you cast a single totem that will then summon skeletons non stop. Do note that the totem does not stop once it reaches the maximum amount of skeletons you can summon, it keeps summoning, overwriting the older skeletons. If used on a totem, this is best combined with Faster Casting to make sure the totem really gets a lot of skeletons out. Other than that usual minion supports. Remember however that linking your skeletons to a Spell Totem will reduce their damage by a whole 40%, so while a lot more convenient, it is also weaker.

Depending on your choice of gear and your gems, you might want to spread the minions into two groups of linked gear as putting them all on one requires at least 5blues for the basics(the 3 minions and minion damage+minion health), leaving very little room for customization. You could for example link your spectres and zombies together with minion damage+health+faster attacks to make sure they do a lot of damage, then link skeleton with minion damage, fire penetration and chance to ignite to make use of their frail aspect by making them into Minion Instability bombs. As a general tip, remember that only the chest and 2H weapons can have 6sockets, everything else is limited to 4 with 1H weapons and shields only having up to 3 sockets. Also 6L gear(6sockets all linked) is very rare.

For non minion related skills, some good options include Discipline, Clarity, Grace and Purity auras, Vulnerability, Enfeeble, Punishment Flammability/Conductivity/Frostbite curses and potentially anything you might find useful otherwise





Offensive options

If you feel you just don't want to summon minions all the time and instead want to do some damage while your minion tank, this is a viable option as I pointed out before. There is a few different ways to do it and I'll mention a few.
Spoiler

First, generally you'll have to choose an element for your offensive spells. There are two exceptions, you might want to go for a Power Siphon build instead and focus on wand damage and maybe power charges. This combines well with a 1pt investment into Conduit for group play. I'm not very knowledgeable about these builds but the wand nodes are all fairly obvious and accessible so it should work fine. The second exception is a spell that deals physical damage, Ethereal Knives. This is a decent option however it requires a decent amount of Dex to use and the supports you want on it will also require a good amount of dex(faster projectiles and fork/chain). This is doable and the spell itself is very strong and synergyzes well with a Vulnerability curse that helps your undead army too.

Assuming you want more standard spells, you have a choice between the usual 3. There's pros and cons about them so choose based on those, however regardless of the downsides all 3 perform well enough, since as I said before, summoners don't need anything else to be viable, so everything else is a plus.

If you pick Fire, the advantage is that you could use Flammability as your curse, which will synergyze well with Minion Instability. The downside is that fire is generally considered the weakest element in terms of status ailment and a lot of annoying mobs are resistant to fire. Still I used Firestorm as my main spell on my summoner for a long time and it worked just fine, especially since it has no projectile so you can target monsters behind others to take them out(for example Necromancers). Fire damage potential is the highest of the 3 on mobs that are not very resistant to fire and quite possibly the best at damaging very large health pool monsters such as bosses.

If you pick Cold, the advantage is the usual Cold advantages, it freezes stuff so that means less damage taken by your army, mobs won't reach you easily and such. The downside is mobs that are killed by strong Cold hits shatter and don't leave corpses, meaning you won't be able to Raise Zombies or Spectres out of them. A special note, Ice Spear is very powerful at killing bosses as a summoner since you will often be able to stand at the 2nd form distance, which means you'll get a lot of crits. Cold is the strongest element at reducing damage taken by yourself/your minions and controlling monsters.

If you pick Lightning, the advantage is that Shock will increase the damage your minions do to the target, leading to hilarious "instant" kill possibilities where a mob that is shocked once or twice and get hit by a bunch of zombies will crumble right away due to the high damage per hit of zombies. The main downside of Lightning is the vast damage variance(sometimes it hits hard, sometimes it doesn't) as well as the spells being a bit peculiar in their usage since Spark works best at close range but does a bit of random damage patterns(on top of random damage on the sparks themselves) while Arc is very mana intensive and the damage is balanced on hitting 2 targets so it does fairly poorly at killing bosses. Lightning is the best element at killing tougher targets and large groups of weaker mobs when used in combination with Static Blows passive as well as Conductivity and totem(s) also casting spells, to create as many Shock states as possible.





Early game tip and tricks.

For the summoner, early game is probably the hardest point. In fact, the more you level, the easier the game gets. Normal Difficulty is harder than Merciless(assuming you don't play recklessly). That is because early game, the summoner doesn't have access to most of the minion nodes, making it hard to sustain an army and the army itself is fairly weak both in terms of damage and surviability.

There is a few tricks however to make this easier.

Spoiler
First, you should probably make a 2nd witch to get a few early spells that are useful for leveling. Here is the list of the quest rewards by class: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/lv?key=0Anunpnd0-mAudHIxazRvZGpqLXdlQ3JfT0hkWVRjV2c&toomany=true#gid=0 OUTDATED
You won't have to level it too high but for example you could use Fire Trap along with one of the nukes, so making another witch and quickly rushing the Medecine chest quest is a good idea. For the Brutus quest, you might be tempted to get both Clarity and Summon Skeletons. While generally skeletons can wait at that point since they're weak, the next spell reward is very far and they'll become decent before you reach that point. Also if you take skeletons then(Blackguard quest), you will then have to wait longer for spectres again and while I commented on spectres not necessarily being optimal before, they're very good early game if only as an additional zombie. So you might want to level the 2nd witch up to Brutus, which takes about an hour if you're doing it quickly. You could also have someone else invite you in a party and open a portal to Brutus directly which will let you get the reward very easily. This someone could be yourself, if you have the means to log two accounts at the same time ^^. Or you could simply trade for Clarity, but remember that a lot of builds use Clarity, so you might have better luck trading for a Summon Skeleton.

When you check the builds, you might notice that Minion Instability is taken very late. That's because the direct path isn't very efficient in terms of skill points used. However, it is a possibility that will make your early game stronger. You rush MI, then later on you use your respec points to change the build to the more optimal way. This will cost you 6 respec points but will save you 2skill points in the process. Here is the MI rush build for an easier early game:http://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAAAgMAVysHY3NTa9vmgRFQu9Y74W0ZLR9MswQHHwI2xdgkpwiPRtDQm6FI5w== As you can see, it only requires 20points, and you get 2 bonus points from quest(Crab and Pirate) so that's at lvl 18. Later, once you have linked both sides via the bottom area, you can remove all these int nodes. You could get it even earlier by not taking Lord of the Dead before MI, which would let you have MI for Merveil or even much earlier by doing a straight line to MI avoiding any of the good passives at the start, which will give you MI with only 14points(lvl 12 if you do the 2 skill points quests). This isn't particularily useful though as minions will still be useless versus Merveil due to not procing MI.

On that note, here are some Act1 normal tips. Act1 Normal is a part of the game where you will mostly play like a normal caster witch(or templar if you made that). That means that you should get a good nuke and only use zombies as a distraction, not as your main spell. If an enemy has a powerful aoe that kills all zombie in one hit(like a rare Siren's Daughter), don't bother resummoning them and instead focus on nuking. That means you should pick one or two nukes out of the starting spells, preferably of opposite elements to deal with the various type of resists better. Freezing Pulse is a really good spell early game for example as it freezes enemies and does a lot of damage. Firestorm is also very good at killing packed groups of mobs or static ranged mobs. Spark is ok when used at point blank and can also be used to kill stuff without having to aim too much. Fireball and Icespear are pretty good spells to kill single target mobs at range.

For Brutus, you will want a long ranged spell, such as Ice Spear, Fireball, Firestorm or Spark(kinda) and simply stay away from him, moving back and forth to the sides waiting for him to throw his hook. When he throws it, quickly cast a single spell on him then resume moving until he hooks again. Simply repeat the process until he dies, he's very easy as long as you don't get greedy and cast only one spell per hook. Alternatively use your wand to do the same thing.

For Merveil, make sure to get 2 sapphire rings from Nessa in town, they will increase your cold resist a lot. If you're not lucky with the vendor, you can sell an Iron Ring and a blue gem(any gem) to get a sapphire ring in return. Then the trick to Merveil is to simply get fairly close to her and spam nukes in her face while tanking her cold nukes. If she gets into melee range, you might want to step back a bit so she resumes casting as her spells damage is lower than her attack damage, but do not go too far otherwise her Ice Spears will do A LOT of damage. Make sure to have lvl 14 req health flasks and drink them non stop, while spamming spells. Most likely you'll run out of mana before the end, so open a portal, go to town to refill your flasks and come back and resume. This is an easy fight as long as you don't stand far enough to get the Icespear crits and that you have enough Cold Resist to not die too quickly(50+%) or get frozen.

You shouldn't have much of an issue in Act2, besides maybe Oak. Oak is a particular bandit that is extremely good at dealing with Summoners because he uses a lot of AoE attacks. For Oak I suggest the same sort of technique as against Merveil, you simply want to stand still in melee range and unload your spells. His damage output in Normal is actually fairly low. If you don't have Clarity however it might be very tough to not run out of mana and the fight resets if you TP out unlike Merveil. Summoning skeletons generally does very little damage because if they die in one hit they will generally not proc MI. It is however possible yet very tedious to kill him by kiting him around the tent to reduce damage taken and let ES regen kick in. You can just group with someone else to kill him however as he's very easy to kill with any other build that doesn't rely on summons.

"When to take CI?" This is a very common question and the answer varies depending on the people you ask. However it is my opinion that you should only consider CI once you have at least 2500ES. Potentially even more. You probably shouldn't consider picking CI before you're in Merciless when Chaos dmg does get a bit harsh, and even then you might even wait until you start doing maps(70ish). You could take it earlier if you don't play HC and don't mind dying every now and then to burst but there isn't much point.



Last edited by PyrosEien on January 23, 2013 2:49 AM
Alright first draft of this, I tried to make it more easy to read by splitting everything but it still has a lot of text. If someone sees something wrong or wants to add something feel free to comment. I was thinking of adding gems links and such but I'm not entirely sure how they work I need to look into it, especially if it's linked to the account it might be annoying.
I had a few questions regarding Spell Totem Skeletons. The Spell Totem support specifically states that "totem deals 40% less damage" but in this case the totem isn't actually dealing any damage, it is summoning skeletons that are dealing the damage. So does this mean the skeletons don't get the 40% penalty?

Also since it keeps summoning even if max skeletons is reached, does this reduce damage efficiency? For example there are 2 skeletons about to attack a target and then they get overwritten and poof before striking. How drastically can this behavior effect the damage of your skeletons?
Amazing work buddy. This thread is a reason to hope that there won't be another abundance of "summoning" threads. You only missed an aura summoner, but this is anyway an advanced option... :)
Joined 07.08.2011 as Arebor

I played when minions lost damage over time. There were neither auras nor totems nor curses. No chaos inoculation (100-50% more es), or ghost reaver. Dual totems destroyed everything. Mealström of chaos = endgame. Phase run = gem. Sweet nostalgia!
"
Completed 2 Challengesnoremac13 wrote:
I had a few questions regarding Spell Totem Skeletons. The Spell Totem support specifically states that "totem deals 40% less damage" but in this case the totem isn't actually dealing any damage, it is summoning skeletons that are dealing the damage. So does this mean the skeletons don't get the 40% penalty?

Also since it keeps summoning even if max skeletons is reached, does this reduce damage efficiency? For example there are 2 skeletons about to attack a target and then they get overwritten and poof before striking. How drastically can this behavior effect the damage of your skeletons?



I've used both totem to summon and not. The skeletons DO LESS DAMAGE when summoned by a totem for both reasons you stated above. Personally because I have crackhead APM, and because I use double totem, I summon them myself.

To OP: great post. Not a fan of my summoner anymore but glad someone threw this up on the forums.
Hello!
Nice post. After playing with summoners in HC until level 60 or 65 a couple times before dying, I have to say this is a nice post.

I don't know the "recent stuff" about this game, because I played more than a year ago, when beta started and the game has change a lot since them (for example, when I first played, minions died because they lose health overtime; months later, the were permanent, but didn't travel from one to another place, you have to kill and resummon all of them everytime you cross a portal or entrance; so it made the game almost impossible for summoners in merciless & ruthless and also against bosses; there were not also auras nor totems nor skeletons; they also got lose when find a monster, they were slow, and you lose them all while moving, they didn't teleport to you). Fortunately, I see developers have made summoners more playable recently, great news.

So thanks for make a compilation.

I have always prefer these kind of real guides, more complex and general, than a bunch of stats/skills/gear with little or not explaination pretending to be guides.

It's very useful both for new ones and for guys like me which were obsolete and were waiting to come back to PoE for the Open Beta and play again.

Streams and videos HC (actually OFF since months):
http://es-es.twitch.tv/valmar123

Last edited by Valmar on January 2, 2013 6:13 PM
Jesus Christ, you Sir rock!

A tremendous help for all those people seeking advice! And it should indeed free us of all the new created threads about summoners (hopefully :P).

Thank you very much for the time and effort, really awesome contribution to the community.

Must-have sticky imho!
"
Lachis wrote:
"
Completed 2 Challengesnoremac13 wrote:
I had a few questions regarding Spell Totem Skeletons. The Spell Totem support specifically states that "totem deals 40% less damage" but in this case the totem isn't actually dealing any damage, it is summoning skeletons that are dealing the damage. So does this mean the skeletons don't get the 40% penalty?

Also since it keeps summoning even if max skeletons is reached, does this reduce damage efficiency? For example there are 2 skeletons about to attack a target and then they get overwritten and poof before striking. How drastically can this behavior effect the damage of your skeletons?



I've used both totem to summon and not. The skeletons DO LESS DAMAGE when summoned by a totem for both reasons you stated above. Personally because I have crackhead APM, and because I use double totem, I summon them myself.

To OP: great post. Not a fan of my summoner anymore but glad someone threw this up on the forums.


Yeah I mentionned the skeleton totem because I saw a lot of people either playing it or talking about playing it, personally I summoned them by hand. While slightly annoying on certain sustained fights like Vaal where you'll spend a lot of time resummoning, it has some decent uses the rest of the time such as placing the skeletons where you want. For example summoning them directly around you to form a "skeleton wall" or spawning them behind a necro to prevent it from running away and eventually boxing him or to use them as scouts by summoning them on the edge of the screen to take initial aggro from monsters off screen and advance a hard map by summoning them on the edge, moving in and so on. You can do this kinda with the totem but you have a lot less control on it.

I'll have to redo a large part of the guide for OB I guess but it should still be relatively useful unless there's massive changes to minions. I'll also add videos and such later on even though summoner gameplay isn't really the most interesting to watch ^^.
Hi guys,
1st of all: this thread should be displayed always on the top of the list. It is great thread gathering all the information required for summoner.

Now id like to ask you a question. I'm going to play summoner/cold witch in OB, and there are some things i need to clear out:

1) Does the effect of Tempest shield stuck with Necromantic aegis?

2) I plan to go for zombies only + some cold spell. I dont like very mana expensive spells, so most probably ill end up supprting this skill with critMultypl, castSpeed, reduced mana and maybe critChance. What spell do you think would be the best?
Last edited by HelmsDeep34 on January 3, 2013 1:05 PM

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