[3.4] The Skeleton Queen (12 skeletons / 60 seconds / over 250% minion damage) (With videos)

So, a VERY long time ago, I made a summoner. Turned out to be pretty powerful, but it was low-life so it died rather quickly. So I made a new one when the Warbands league started and passed all the gear from the previous one to the new one.

So I had a useless witch, until some time later.

I had plenty of Army of Bones jewel and someone gave me a Queen's Decree, so I had this sudden spark of idea: Making a Skeletons-only summoner.

Gear

As of 3.2 update, the rebalance done to Necromancer has buffed this build by a lot. More movement speed for skeletons, their hits can't be evaded and you get 2 more skeletons to summon. This, coupled with the Abyssal jewels now added to the core game, have made a significant improvement to the build, reason why I decided to go Life-based now.


Chabber Cairn and an Elder Amulet can be options for this build, as the extra levels will boost your skeletons even more. Bear in mind, unless you use Chabber Cairn instead of Queen's Escape, there's no need to acquire an amulet with +1 to skeletons. With all the items and passives shown here, you should reach 12 skeletons just fine.


ES Gear



Aside from Queen's Decree/Escape, No other uniques are actually mandatory. If you can afford them, they can be a great boost, but if not, you should do just fine.



Gems

1. Summon Skeletons - Minion Damage - Minion Speed - Melee Physical Damage - Melee Splash OR Ruthless (5L) - Empower(6L) (If possible, use quality skeleton, minion damage and physical damage).

If you have Queen's Escape, you can replace Minion Speed gem with whatever you see fit.

2. Ball Lightning - Curse on Hit - Vulnerability - Elemental Weakness (or Temporal Chains) (only if you wish to add a second curse)

The rest of the gems can be combined as you see fit.




Jewels


Bear in mind, the unique jewels are not necessary at all.

The rest of the jewels should have minion damage, along with some resistances or stats.
Rest in Peace

Your were the best.



Abyssal Jewels

This type of abysal jewels can boost your skeletons (and minions in general) by a lot. If possible, try to roll high physical damage and flat life for you.


Regarding Necromancer

1. Invoker
2. Bone Sculptor
3. Mistress of Sacrifice
4. Commander of Darkness



About Offering skills
You can use either Flesh Offering for more clearspeed or the new Spirit Offering to buff them with Chaos Damage and ES. I tested both and they work great.

Initially I used Bone Offering, when I wanted this army to be "impenetrable" and it worked fine as well, but the need for clearspeed made the change necessary.

The new Bloodbond chestpiece became the catalyst for the life-based version, so if you wish to go life-based, it must be a priority, as Blood Offering will add 50% inc damage to minions and a lot of regen to them and you.


Auras you can use
Clarity, Hatred & Discipline would be your major choices. Vaal Haste is also a great choice for Bosses or to boost your skeletons and yourself if in trouble.

Other options would be Vaal Discipline and Vitality(if you apply life regen to ES).


The videos

3.0 Video

10 skeletons video. Still powerful, stil useful, but I miss my 20 skeletons.
2.6 Videos

20 skeletons in unique maps.
20 Skeletons video.
24 Skeletons video.

Older videos

First 24 Skeletons video. The very first video of this build, which showed how everything worked when I started this. I used Bone Offering back then as I wanted skeletons to block attacks since they dealt high damage already.

The 30 Skeletons video which has a battle with Ephij (He killed me though).


Well, I guess that's it. If you took your time to read all of this, I thank you. This was an experiment that turned out quite good, but it can still be improved in MANY ways.

Special thanks to the user JorgeSantaMariaDeLaCruz, whom I met in Sarn Arena and helped me test that these skeletons can indeed kill players. Also to the user Crowcide, who's summoner build tree was useful to construct mine.

Thank you for reading this "build guide", if it can be called like that. Have a nice day.

Older updates (pre 2.1)
Update #1: Sacrificed more points to reach the minion block cluster + another jewel socket. This now leaves skeletons with 62% Block Chance (counting Bone Offering and Skullhead) and with 266% damage now.

Update #2: Got a 5-link Queen's Decree with BBBRG colors, passing Skeletons onto it. Double-Curse now possible by linking gems in chestpiece. Bone Offering replaced by Flesh Offering. Fortified Legion jewel has also been replaced. Replaced Skullhead with Alpha's Howl, still testing it. Removed Bone Offering section.

Update #2.5: Using Haste, Hatred and Vaal Haste on Alpha's Howl, increasing Skeleton's attack and movement speed. Increased Skeletons damage to 270%. Clearspeed now slightly faster with auras + Flesh Offering. Added Gems section.
Last edited by AlexGrindor on Nov 14, 2018, 7:01:21 PM
Last bumped on May 13, 2018, 11:26:35 AM
Updated with new video, at last.
Glancing at your video I can already see a major issue: where's the melee splash? and why culling strike?

Also I don't think it's worth it to keep skeletons alive with things like bone offering. Just use flesh offering, lord knows skeletons need more clear speed. skeletons are easy to summon again.

And what about minion instability? in my trials, it's actually useful for skeletons.

Vaal haste and haste might be something else you'll want to invest in.

I'm hoping to revisit a skeleton build sometime in the future with Dead Reckoning jewels, but unfortunately projectile supports dont work with skeleton mages yet.

Also there is a lack of 4-links in your gear. you could easily throw in zombies with life, minion res, and fortify for flesh walls, or spectres with spell echo, gmp and minion damage for more damage output
Last edited by sumding on Jan 14, 2016, 5:15:27 PM
I tried a build like this . It was fun. Build died around 90 with skeletons being so bad and GGG not trying to fix them.
"
Completed 6 Challengessumding wrote:
Glancing at your video I can already see a major issue: where's the melee splash? and why culling strike?

Also I don't think it's worth it to keep skeletons alive with things like bone offering. Just use flesh offering, lord knows skeletons need more clear speed. skeletons are easy to summon again.

And what about minion instability? in my trials, it's actually useful for skeletons.

Vaal haste and haste might be something else you'll want to invest in.

I'm hoping to revisit a skeleton build sometime in the future with Dead Reckoning jewels, but unfortunately projectile supports dont work with skeleton mages yet.

Also there is a lack of 4-links in your gear. you could easily throw in zombies with life, minion res, and fortify for flesh walls, or spectres with spell echo, gmp and minion damage for more damage output


1. I could use Melee splash, but I'd like to get a 6-linked chestpiece first for that, though I was gonna use that socket for an Empower gem or a Multistrike gem. Regarding Culling Strike, I found it very useful for skeletons, as it takes down enemies quickly (in the 30 skeletons video, you can see that Ephij was culled).

2. My idea was to create an sort of "impenetrable army" that could block most attacks while dealing huge damage, which is why I use Bone Offering and plenty of minion block chance. Still, I may change back to Flesh Offering, in time.

3. Since EE is triggered with fire, Minion Instability is not quite effective. I've tried it though, but that's something more useful with minions like Golems or Zombies.

4. Vaal Haste is useful, I've tested it plenty of times and it cannot be denied that it's a huge buff, but currently I don't have the required DEX to use it. Though I think I do have a low-level Vaal Haste somewhere...

5. There's a reason why I don't use Spectres or Zombies; I wanted to use ONLY SKELETONS. There's not even a Chaos Golem to help reduce the physical damage I get. I wanted to see how far I could take the amount of skeletons summoned (and I didn't realized that the minion damage was gonna be over 250% after using so many Army of Bones jewels until I checked later).
Minions exploding triggers EE? That can't be right. Your minion are hitting enemies for bonus cold damage thanks to hatred and they're not giving enemies cold res. Right? It's only from your hits.

And I suppose if this a skeleton themed build, then you certainly gotta roll with it. At least give vaal skeletons it's own 4 link setup. You didn't even link it to spell echo, why on earth?

I think if you were to switch to melee splash, flesh offering, add vaal haste and maybe even add in Haste aura with EB you would see a huge increase in clearing speed.

Basically, SRS-style is how I'd go about it.
"
Completed 6 Challengessumding wrote:
Minions exploding triggers EE? That can't be right. Your minion are hitting enemies for bonus cold damage thanks to hatred and they're not giving enemies cold res. Right? It's only from your hits.

And I suppose if this a skeleton themed build, then you certainly gotta roll with it. At least give vaal skeletons it's own 4 link setup. You didn't even link it to spell echo, why on earth?

I think if you were to switch to melee splash, flesh offering, add vaal haste and maybe even add in Haste aura with EB you would see a huge increase in clearing speed.

Basically, SRS-style is how I'd go about it.


I think I confused you a bit, so lemme try again:

1. I trigger EE with Fire. Arctic Breath deals Fire damage due to taking the Avatar of Fire passive, so this helps triggering EE with fire while still leaving Chilled Ground. This setup is to trigger Temporal Chains on hit, so it makes cursed enemies over chilled ground extremely slow. It's useful due to the fact that skeletons are terribly slow and because you can make some space between you and enemies that are closing in to you.

Due to trigerring EE with Fire damage, Minion Instability loses a bit of effectiveness and thus, I decided not to use it.

2. Vaal Skeletons doesn't have a 4-link setup because the amount of skeletons I can summon with it is severely stupid (up to 60) and I don't use Spell Echo due to the fact that, when using it with Echo, The Skeleton General (the big one) is not summoned. Still, since they have plenty of duration, and if you manage to kill enough enemies in time, you can reach a ridiculous amount of skeletons on screen.

Something like this:
Well I now understand why no MI now but

"
AlexGrindor wrote:
Vaal Skeletons doesn't have a 4-link setup because the amount of skeletons I can summon with it is severely stupid (up to 60)


I dont see why this necessarily means you should not support them. minion damage and speed and such. You have plenty of socket room. Yes, you have many skeletons out. why not give them damage too?

"
AlexGrindor wrote:
I don't use Spell Echo due to the fact that, when using it with Echo, The Skeleton General (the big one) is not summoned.


Is that a glitch or something?
Nice thematic build. But it seems only Temp Chains + Arctic Breath + Decoy Totem let your survive with this awful minion AI :(
"
Completed 6 Challengessumding wrote:
Well I now understand why no MI now but

"
AlexGrindor wrote:
Vaal Skeletons doesn't have a 4-link setup because the amount of skeletons I can summon with it is severely stupid (up to 60)


I dont see why this necessarily means you should not support them. minion damage and speed and such. You have plenty of socket room. Yes, you have many skeletons out. why not give them damage too?

"
AlexGrindor wrote:
I don't use Spell Echo due to the fact that, when using it with Echo, The Skeleton General (the big one) is not summoned.


Is that a glitch or something?


It seems the VaalSkeletons with echo is a glitch or perhaps it's intended to be that way, as summoning 2 Skeleton Generals can provide you and your other skeletons with 2 buffs.

Regarding linking Vaal Skeletons, I will do it, I just have way too much gem sockets used. I'm still trying to decide a third aura to use. I could go with Discipline or use Arctic Armour to reduce a bit the damage recieved.

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