SRS || scion/witch/templar || cheap&strong || in-depth guide || 2.0

Hi all!

I know there are a lot of good SRS builds out there. Yet, I'm adding another one to the forums, my first ever to be honest, to help new and experienced players build a strong and flexible SRS.
I'll try to be as neat and comprehensive as possible, then you guys will let me know your opinion!

Shall we start?


SRS changes in 2.1

2.1 changed A LOT about SRS.
I'm still gathering data to update this guide. I'm currently around lvl 80 and so far it's still a very solid build for trash mobs and magic finding, but it's weaker against single target. Atziri might need an important rebuilt and I need time to find the best setup.
my suggestion for 2.1 is:
- follow this guide until late game
- play around with auras and find a balance.
2.1 hints

in 2.1 Spirits do less damage, cost less mana but are cast much faster.
They also tend to target random enemies instead of focusing on the closest one only.
So new auras and support gems might be used.
Here is a list of possibilities you might consider for end game:
- Play around with Hatred and Anger.
- Haste might be dropped.
- Multistrike could be used with anger if you can bear its mana cost. As 5th or 6th link.
- Curses might be used against Atziri just like this build suggests. Go full offensive or mix Elemental Weakness and Enfeeble to save your Spirits. Use flasks to remove mirror curses.
- Spell echo might be dropped if you can summon a decent amount of Spirits, in favour of another offensive support gem.

It will take me some time to test all of these changes and find the best setup.
If you have any input I'll be more than glad to follow it!

Why SRS?
It's cheap. Really cheap. You can be really effective just with items you find and craft yourself.
It scales incredibly well. Most of its damage comes from gems, so you will be stronger and stronger as your gems level up.
It's flexible. You can carry a second set of items with socketed gems and switch it to change your playstile completely. It's not required at all, but you can do it if you want and you don't need to reallocate passive points or move gems around.
It's a boss killer. If your friends complain about Jungle Valley boss and you want to impress them, just take your SRS and kill it in a map with double boss, increased CC and CM, vulnerability etc... without taking any damage.
It's fun. Hella fun. You have to use a lot of skills, you run around with minions, you can have fun crafting your gear, you can play for achievements or for loot and more.
It kills Atziri. In like no time with common gear. It's uber capable with some investment.

Why not SRS?
If you like to be in the middle of the fight, just build something else. This is mainly a glass cannon, it can survive almost everything but doesn't like to be surrounded by monsters.

How about hardcore?
Due to my taste and a bad connection I don't play HC.
On a pure theory you might go for it with your SRS. I'm pretty sure you need a good equip ready before starting, and it won't be as cheap as in softcore. I know some players use it in HC with good results. I let them speak about it, this guide can be considered SC only.

Which maps can I run?
Almost all. My current setup can't run maps with blood magic. You will need to spend more currency if you want to run them as well. I will discuss them in a future update. I'll stick to a cheap build for the moment.
"No mana and life regen" are a bit tedious but can be done with a proper mana flask (increased mana recovered + slower recovery).

So far we had an intro. It's time to discuss the building process.
First of all:

Which class should I begin with?
Starting with Scion or Witch is recomended. You might start with Templar as well, losing some damage in favor of life. You might compensate the difference with your equip. Pick Templar if you know what you're doing.

Let's take a look at this tree:
This tree starts from the Scion, my current standard char, and it's the minimum tree that gets close to Witch and Templar.
If you study the tree you can see the differences you will get from the other starting points and decide which one suits better for you.

If you start with Witch you lose two points and gain mana regen and energy shield. You might want to save those points to compensate or do something else with them, like taking an extra jewel slot.

If you start with Templar you will have to spend two more points compared to the Witch, but you end up with more life and life regen. I wouldn't recomend that, but you might desire to start from that point depending on your equip. Again, you have to know what you're doing to start as Templar.

We can now see how to spend your points while leveling.
Let's start with Scion since it's where this guide is at.

If you want to use SRS as soon as possible, start hunting Skill Effect Duration:

Keep expanding life, mana and some cast speed around lvl 30:

It's time to use some auras. Let's make them stronger and save some mana:

Your auras are set. Time to think about your minions. Also, your tree now covers most of the "path" nodes. Let's take some notables:

Finally we do a giant leap and here's the final desired tree. You now have to kick in Elemental Equilibrium and curses, ang get that little more life you need.

Your build is done around lvl 88, and then you can use any extra point as you prefer, unlocking jewel slots, getting more cast speed or taking those dex and str nodes you need if you don't have them on your equip.

Help Oak at normal to get some life, then kill them all in Cruel and Merciless to get 2 passive points.

Good. It's time to take a look at the equip. I will start with an in-depth discussion about your weapon, how to get a decent base, how to craft it and its end-game variants.
Then we'll see the other pieces. I will show a decent all-around equip and later I'll show some variants. Let's make this a growing build.

The weapon
Your weapon is possibly the real core of this guide as well as of this build.
You should be able to use SRS effectively around lvl 30, in combination with clarity and hatred.
At this point you should have enough "skill effect duration" to see your spirits last around 6 seconds.

I don't want to spend too many words about early leveling. There are many guides out there to help you race to mid-high levels.

I'll try to make it short. You might want to start with a wand and a shield. Get +1 to fire gems and stack cast speed. You might use Firestorm and Flame Totem in the very first levels.
Grind your way until level 44. At this point you can equip a staff with +2 fire gems.
The required item level is 55, so you have to buy one from higher level players if you want to use it as soon as possible.
Getting +2 to fire gems is pretty easy if you like crafting or if you're at the beginning of a season.
So, get your staff, craft +2 fire gems, craft 4 links and socket them with SRS, Spell Echo, Melee Splash and Melee Physical Damage.
These 4 gems will be your friends until endgame.

Once you proceed further, it's time to move to a 5 links staff.
Don't rush for it, you can easily get to level 60+ with just a 4 link one.
If you don't find any 5-link before, just save some Tropical Island maps. There you can find the Flora's Gift divination card which will give you a nice and ready 5-link staff.

Add Minion Damage to the equation.
You might want to get a new staff with 18% chance to block. A Serpentine Staff has fairly low strenght requirements, and will be possibly the best choice.
Get +2 fire on it and you will be able to run lvl 80 maps and Atziri already. No problem.

From now on, any upgrade is an extra.
Once you can afford (or find) a 6 link staff start adding Melee Damage on Full Life.
Again, if you're into crafting, you might want to add a nice mod to your staff.
Here's a good guide to help you craft a +2+1 staff:
Once you own it you can master craft Cast Speed and Mana Regen or waste some Exalted Orbs to yolo them with higher rolls.

If you can put your hands on a 6 link staff with +2 +1 then you definitely want to remove MDoFL for a level 4 Empower.

Let's summarize your steps for the weapon:
- Until level 44 go with wand and shield. +1 fire gems and cast speed will do the job.
- Once you're level 44 try to get a 4 link staff with +2 to fire gems. SRS + Spell Echo + Melee Splash + Melee Physical Damage
- Around lvl 55 get a 5 link staff +2 fire gems, add Minion Damage. Your weapon is now ready for Atziri.
- Next step get a 6 link staff. Add Melee Damage on Full Life.
- Pro weapon: 6 link staff +2 fire gems +1 all gems. Remove MDoFL and add a lvl 4 (or 3) Empower.
- Push to an even more pro level by master crafting 11 cast speed and mana regen.
- Be the toppest player by yolo exalting high cast speed (12+) and mana regen (49+).

Extra hints: you do want to have 18% block chance instead of 12. It makes a nice difference.
You might decide to use Item Rarity as sixth gem. Less damage but much better drops.

Before showing the rest of the equip, let's spend a few words about SRS.
The skill gem
SRS is a spell gem, and it scales extremely well with its level.
You definitely want to use a lvl 21 with 20 quality in your endgame. So just put 6 of them in your switch and once they're 20/20 vaal them for the best.
A 21/20 goes for 12-15 ex on the market, so you might also be lucky and make a huge profit.
SRS gets 10% more damage for each level. That's why you want to use a +2 +1 staff with Empower.
To make an example, let's say you're running with a 6 link staff +2 fire gems and a lvl 20 SRS.
You suddenly switch to a +2 +1 with lvl 4 Empower and lvl 21 SRS.
That means your gem goes from lvl 22 (20+2) to level 28 (21 +2 + 1 + 4). Gaining 6 levels means a net 77% MORE damage. That's simply amazing isn't it?

It's now time to discuss about the rest of your equip.
I will start with my current build, a hybrid (and pretty common) life and energy shield.
Spectres and a Chaos Golem will help you creating a "flesh wall" that will save your life oh-so-many times.
Immortal Call will kick in whenever your flesh wall isn't enough.
Later we'll see a few different variants.

Hybrid life/energy shield with minions. Some theory.
What you want here is to deal a lot of damage and die as few times as possible. Easy right?
Your survivability depends on your minions (Zombies and Chaos Golem), on your potions and on your playstyle.
Your damage depends on your skill gems, on your auras and on your tree (elemental equilibrium at first).
Atop of all of this you have curses. You can pick and combine two courses, aiming for more damage, for more survivability or for a combination of both.
You also need some room for utility skills, like Flesh Offering and Vaal Haste.

Time to show my current equip. A similar equip will make your life easy enough to run lvl 78+ maps, with harsh mods, and be really happy about your performance.
Keep in mind all that was previously said, and let's go.


Here you want to place your Zombie and Chaos Golem gems. Having +2 to minion gems helps A LOT.
This mod can be present only in our helmet, so you can't put those gems in a better place.
Extra cool mods are resistances (you need to overcap them a little to deal with Elemental Weakness mod in maps), life and high energy shield (possibly higher than mine).
Such a helmet is pretty cheap, just be patient with your trades and you will find one for like 5-6 chaos.
Minion Life and Minion Elemental Resistance will keep your minions alive for a longer time, saving your life and giving you enought time to cast SRS and clear the screen off monsters.

When you run Atziri you don't really need minions, so just use something like this:

Just put an extra Vaal Haste, Desacrate and Increased Duration.


I chose to put my curses here.
Cast a Ball Lightning and your curses will be cast toghether with Elemental Equilibrium.
You can cast two curses. Best defensive are Temporal Chains and Enfeeble. Best offensive are Elemental Weakness and Vulnerability. I chose the first of each group and I'm happy with it.
Try them and pick what suits your playstyle better.
It's really nice because I can switch them for these when I run Atziri:

With them I avoid curse reflect and I can rely on Culling Strike with Item Rarity for a better loot. I also use them outside Atziri, when map's monsters can't be cursed and when I just want to play for loot.

Grab some more resistances here and life. You won't need much more. Again, the higher energy shield the better.

Cool hint: once your Ball Lightning reaches 20/20 yolo vaal it and put a new one in your slot. You don't need that gem to have any level or quality so just try to make some profit out of it. A 21/20 goes for 10-13 Ex at the moment.


Here I'm using the common Immortal Call combo. I don't manually cast Enduring Cry so I put Haste in the fourth slot.
Again, go for resistances, movement speed, life and energy shield.

Body Armour

You need Generosity with Hatred.
You need Flesh Offering and Vaal Haste liked to Increased Duration.
I placed them here. The sixth socket here is a free one, and I use it to level up an extra gem (Minion Damage in this case).
Your body armour again needs resistances, life and as high energy shield as possible. I self crafted this one. You can try to do the same or look on the market. Won't be expensive.
Painting your sockets with some many offcolors might be expensive. A good idea is to color the best you can and THEN link them.

Belt, rings and amulet
You need to grab as much cast speed and mana regen as you can from rings and amulet.
Other mods will be life, resistances, extra shield, extra mana... combine them the best you can.
You might like some extra dex and str points here to equip your gems and weapon.
Here's my current equip:


These potions are just fine for any map. The most important ones are the life potion that removes bleeding and the Quicksilver flask that removes freeze.
A flask that removes curses is a good idea to avoid being silenced by curses.
Those will save your life a lot, especially the Quicksilver when you open some chests or on frozen ground...

Remove the mana potion if you have enough mana regen from Clarity and items.
If you are running Atziri remove the last two and use these:

If you find one or can afford one, Rumi's Concotion is an extremely good potion.

That's pretty much all you need to know.
Before discussing some variants, let me give you some advices about the playstyle.

Don't run too much. Make sure you know where you're going. Finding yourself suddenly in the middle of a group of monsters might be lethal.
Once you see monsters just cast a Ball Lightning, spam SRS and let them do the job. Kite if you need to.

Keep an eye on monster's mods. Really. Always double check.
You might be oneshotted by a Volatile Flameblood, you might kite a Soul Conduit in the middle of a pile of corpses. You might be killed by Bringers of Flames after they're dead.
Learn every mod and have a solution ready for each of them.

Learn maps. That will help you decide when it's time to save souls for your Vaal Haste to take down the boss, or when it's ok to abuse it for faster clearing.

Move, a lot. Changing your position often will let you avoid more damage than you think.
Move when you see Plummeting Ursas fall. Move when you see Undying Alchemists launch their green blob. Run when you see Devourers. If you're fast enough they won't damage you at all.

That is all for the moment.
I will update this guide with variants as soon as I have enough time :)
Last edited by Pope_touched_me on Dec 16, 2015, 4:20:33 AM
Of course, pressed "submit" instead of "preview"...

poedb is down atm can you post screenshot from your skill tree?
Last edited by Kingpave on Sep 1, 2015, 5:28:57 PM
For some reason I am unable to see the passive skill trees
passive skill trees still wont work
Looks promising. The links needs to be updated though.
He was kind enough to PM his skill tree, so I will post it here until he has time to update his original post. I think this is my new build for darkshrine.

Hi all guys!

Thanks for your feedback, I updated the guide to my current version and fixed the trees.

Let me know how it looks and enjoy it!

a 4l +2 staff is just garbage, i wouldn't use it even for leveling.
i would put SRS in the +2 helm instead and move zombies and golem somewhere else until you get a 5l staff. this way you can run with wand/scepter and shield and get better offensive and defensive stats from them (double cast speed roll, mana regen, life, res, more block...).

i also see you haven't crafted minion damage on your gloves.

helping alira (cruel) could be a good option.

other than that it looks like a pretty solid build. :)
regarding item trades: i don't check the forum often so don't send me PMs about the items i have for sale, just add me ingame and contact me when i'm online.

i'm usually online for a few hours after 20.00 UTC and a lot more during weekends.

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