[2.4] Mon'tregul's Grasp Defensive Necromancer

Summoners have been a staple of Path of Exile throughout its history. The necromancer ascendancy class has, by design, been a significant boon to this play-style. However, it has been my observation that the majority of necromancers are designed with raging spirits or specters as the primary feature in the vast milieu of tools available.

Of these tools, there is one in particular that infatuates me with its unholy necrotic power: Mon'tregul's Grasp. This is my favorite unique item due to the drastic changes that it enables. This item halves the maximum amount of zombies, but makes them larger, stronger, and more resilient.



Besides the focus on zombies, I also use Summon Raging Spirits as a secondary skill due to how the zombie targeting works. I find that if I cast spirits at a particular target, my zombies seem more likely to attack that target. Flesh and Bone Offering are used based on the situation depending on whether I think offense or defense is more important. Flesh Offering is used mostly for regular clearing.

In a fairly uncommon move, I decided to eschew spectres entirely. This is mostly because I did not want to deal with hunting for certain kinds of monsters. Rather, I wanted minions that were easy to re-acquire and could be regarded as largely disposable. While this is by no means the best possible necromancer build, I feel as though this build is certainly powrful enough to stand on its own while being unique.

My character in Essence League, Nequitae, is based on an old character I played in Dungeons and Dragons many years ago for an extraplanar campaign — a night hag in the service of Orcus, demon prince of the undead.

Advantages/Disadvantages

Advantages
• Powerful defenses: With all of these defensive mechanics and a cautious approach to threatening enemies, survival is more likely.
• Disposable minions: With only four zombies instead of eight they can be replaced quickly and easily.
• Good damage: The zombies pack a punch, and the explosions decimate entire packs quickly.
• Versatile. Offerings provide adaptability depending on circumstances.

Disadvantages
• Against a heavy onslaught of damage I can find myself in a position where all of my minions have been destroyed, and my mana is kept very low due to Mind Over Matter absorbing incoming damage. Under these circumstances, the best plan is to fall back and resummon all minions. This is a big problem when powerful enemies have rapid-firing area of effect abilities in a confined space, such as Atziri.
• Low dexterity: With only 44 dexterity a lot of popular options for necromancers become unavailable, such as Vaal Haste and poison.
• Sockets and the amount of active abilities are sparse. I had to make some sacrifices to be able to fit the abilities that I deemed to be essential. As such, I am forgoing use of curses and Convocation, not to mention spectres. I only have room for a single aura: Determination. The remainder of my mana is left unreserved to provide defenses with Mind Over Matter.


Offenses
The zombies function as the primary weapon for me. However, I also use a few extra tricks to deal damage in a more versatile manner:

Zombies: I have this set in a 5-link chest piece. I scale the damage of their attacks with a level 3 Empower, Melee Physical Damage, Minion Damage, and add Melee Splash for better damage application to packs. Mon'tregul's Grasp adds an effect similar to Infernal Blow to my zombies, causing enemies they kill to explode dealing 20% of their total life as fire damage. This scales from bonuses to minion damage from gear/passives and the more multiplier from the Minion Damage support. Ideally, I would have the zombies in a 6-link with a level 4 Empower and Added Fire Damage.
Summon Raging Spirits: Mostly useful for controlling the zombies, they still add to the total damage output. They are in a +2 to minion gems helmet. I have them linked with Minion Damage, Melee Physical Damage, and Melee Damage on Full Life because they are not targeted by enemies and thus are usually undamaged. I am not relying on these for a whole lot in the way of damage. It seems as though additive damage is the best way to scale them, however I want the extra armour from Determination and do not have the dexterity for Hatred anyway. Despite their limitations, enough raging spirits do contribute to the overall damage output, and they are useful for finishing off stragglers from packs of enemies. They also provide me with a skill to spam instead of just running around.
Flesh Offering: Consuming corpses for a temporary bonuses to attack, cast, and movement speed, This can be summed up as an effectively permanent Vaal Haste, with corpses conjured with Desecrate to ensure a constant up-time of offering spells.
Minion Instability: Against especially damaging concentrations of enemies and many bosses, zombies will inevitably be destroyed at some point. If they are brought down to low life that means they are not tanking the incoming damage per second. I allocated the minion instability keystone to make the most of the destruction of my minions. This is very helpful to deal a blow to powerful bosses, as all four of my zombies and the chaos golem explode on top of them. The raging spirits are also unstable, but I rarely see them destroyed rather than merely expiring, which does not trigger the explosion.
Beacon of Corruption: This causes destroyed or expired minions to exude a caustic cloud at their surrounding location dealing 10% of their life per second. A cool trick is that I can resummon my chaos golem to trigger this effect, and it happens when my raging spirits expire. Minion Instability also triggers it. While it is not a huge amount of damage, I often find heavily damaged or destroyed white packs ahead due to raging spirits wandering off and expiring on top of them.

Minion Instability Math
Zombies: 17,455 life * 3.05 (from 205% increased minion damage) * 1.48 (48% more Minion Damage) * .33 = 26,001 fire damage per zombie
Chaos Golem: 27,522 life * 3.04 * 1.48 * .33 = 40,862 fire damage



Beacon of Corruption Math
Zombies: 17,455 life * 3.05 (from 205% increased minion damage) * 1.48 (48% more Minion Damage) * .1 = 7,879 chaos damage per second over time
Chaos Golem: 27,522 life * 3.04 * 1.48 * .1 = 12,382 chaos damage per second over time
Raging Spirit: 8,240 life * 2.95 (195% increased damage) * 1.5 (Minion Damage) * .1 = 3,646 chaos damage per second over time


Defenses
In Path of Exile the best defensive approach in usually a mesh of overlapping defensive elements.

Armour: 21,969 using the Determination aura. With flasks active, I have 42,999 armour.
5 Endurance Charges: I use Enduring Cry to generate them, and I sometimes use this to take aggression off my more vulnerable party members. A sixth endurance charge is planned.
Mind Over Matter: 30% of damage is directed to my mana first, further softening the blows from hits. I also have an eternal mana flask to provide a constant infusion of mana during sustained fights. See flasks below. I have 1,142 maximum mana, with a moderate amount of increased mana regeneration.
Minions: My zombies form an undying wall of flesh and blood between the enemies and myself. I also have a chaos golem for the extra physical damage reduction.
Block: By default I have 23% block and 7% spell block. Bone Offering increases this to 57% block and 41% spell block. With Rumi's Concoction on top of that, I have the maximum block value of 75% with 56% spell block.
Fortify: I have this linked to Shield Charge which I use mostly for movement. It is surprisingly quick with Flesh Offering active, even without any other investment in attack speed. It is also handy for getting out of tight spots when surrounded. Besides the other points Shield Charge fits this character thematically, and I like the animation for this skill.

With all of the physical mitigation from armour and charges, I have the same defenses against elemental damage as most other characters (75% resistance), this is where block and fortify really helps.

Passives
Spoiler
Current as of level 89:
https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAABAMDAN-K6QL-s1crvYJtGRFQNbmnK30Ya9vsikyz0B_v65uKvk9Ijg3i7IPTjwj0wFS86mpDIvRsC8k9v5fyHkJLhcXfvgQHg9tVxjpYrJj318y8RAQQl025qsSFYJuhSOePRqcIna4abDbpJKoWb-Nq2QsqmPqA6-4y0UVHiECmrJAzwGYEs6IA8B9o8q9sC2HGrgxfHKdTpTwtg1-DzLc-_grYvTWS_o9N46ZXOuHE9q-nHM4rUA3N_lRyqayqWfMaOJBVJy-fPi3SmuBFnVNShTLyRUGH-eiCx9P7qH1akWqsBkkTbOvkXyo=


This build has a lot in common with typical summoner passive tree, as all of the minion damage and life notes are taken.
Currently, I have 188% increased maximum life, and 5 endurance charges. I have invested in some mana regeneration and the Deep Thoughts notable to help sustain defenses with Mind Over Matter, along with armour for defense against physical damage.

I would like to grab the Barbarism notable for the extra increased life and the +1% max fire resistance by level 91, bringing the total increased life to 198%. At level 94 I will have a sixth endurance charge, though I am not expecting to go that far.

Something that I feel is a little clever is the use of the Energised Armour unique jewel to transform energy shield nodes into armour at double their value. As you can see below, this changes an admittedly nice 40% increased energy shield from shield into 80% increased armour from shield. It also provides an excuse to grab 7% additional spell block chance. Besides this, I have also allocated the Arcane Focus notable and the two 8% energy shield nodes preceding it for an additional 74% increased armour.




Ascendancy

Mistress of Sacrifice is of course one of the best features of the necromancer, allowing excellent offensive and defensive capabilities with offerings.
Spirit Eater provides extra corpses from Desecrate, resulting in a fewer number of casts to provide an adequate number of corpses for my offerings. The extra attack and cast speed is a nice bonus. There is a good deal of minion damage too.
Beacon of Corruption is great for the extra chaos resistance for both my minions and myself. Further use is detailed in the offensive section above.
• The final ascendancy point would be Flesh Binder. I have not yet completed all of the trials for the endgame labyrinth, but I think this is the better choice over Commander of Darkness because I only use a single aura, though one could make an argument for that instead. Unfortunately, due to Mon'tregul's Grasp we are missing out on an extra 4% physical damage reduction. Despite this, it is still equivalent of an extra endurance charge, and that is always nice. This is the lowest priority of all, hence why it is last.

Equipment
Spoiler


I try to get the most amount of armour and life possible along with resistances. Fairly typical stuff. One could increase the maximum amount of zombies to five (10 without Mon'tregul's Grasp) by crafting Caterina's mod on body armour, and by using the Bones of Ullr unique boots. However, Caterina's mod uses a prefix slot, which are also used for increased armour and additional life. Bones of Ullr has a low amount of life, no armour, and some irrelevant energy shield. I opted to favor defense over offense and thus am limited to four zombies.

Flasks
Spoiler


Anti-bleeding and freeze flasks are very important. Rumi's Concoction is used for some quick extra block and the additional armour. The quicksilver flask is good for movement, and allows for very fast movement with Shield Charge when combined with Flesh Offering. The mana flask provides a decent amount of mana over 14 seconds along with increased armour. This is useful for providing extra sustained defenses with Mind Over Matter.

Leveling

I leveled as a typical summoner, taking minion nodes and life. I used zombies and raging spirits as soon as the gems were available and did not experience significant setbacks. I held off on armour and endurance charges until merciless difficulty because I had not invested into high armour equipment until that point. The socket colors consumed a lot of chromatic orbs as well. It is not worth making that investment until one knows they will be using those pieces of equipment for a while.

Essences were extremely helpful in gearing while leveling. I would just throw essences of anger/wrath/hatred on armour or armour/energy shield 4-link items that dropped. Most of the time I would end up with something decent that was at least an upgrade over what I was using in that equipment slot. Essences of fear were not that helpful, but they are certainly worth considering for the minion bonuses.

The main problem while leveling is to keep the zombies from being destroyed. A Rejuvenation Totem is helpful in that regard.

Some unique items of note include:


Videos

These are videos of typical mapping.
Light as a neutral force.

The new flesh emerges.
Last edited by Baronfuming on Oct 5, 2016, 8:56:32 PM
Last bumped on Feb 28, 2017, 2:34:29 AM
So a few questions:Leveling guide?I am not a very good player,especially when it comes to builds...
Also stuff to look out for,like uniques,rare stats and what not.

Thanks for the guide!It's amazing,really!
I used to play a build similar to this. I believe that it was the AngryAA Marauder build. It is kind of fun to see your zombies making mince meat out of your enemies. Very different. However there is a problem with the build - dealing with fast moving bosses and bosses that summon lots of aids. The zombies tend to aggro off to kill the aids, leaving the boss to wreck havoc on the player.
I added a section for the leveling process. This will be expanded in the future.

"
Completed 15 Challengessolidghost wrote:
However there is a problem with the build - dealing with fast moving bosses and bosses that summon lots of aids. The zombies tend to aggro off to kill the aids, leaving the boss to wreck havoc on the player.


While this situation certainly isn't ideal, it is not as much of a issue as it could be. With Flesh Offering my zombies move very quickly, and due to Melee Splash they are able to gradually deal damage to the preferred target. This also works for enemies with the Nearby Allies Cannot Die aura. I am able to whittle them down eventually. Fortunately, my character is defensive enough to be able to tank a substantial portion of incoming damage without much cause for concern.

Additionally, if I target a spell, such as Desecrate or Summon Raging Spirits at a certain enemy, my zombies regroup and attack towards that particular target. With some strategic use of skills, I am largely able to have them attack what I want them to.
Light as a neutral force.

The new flesh emerges.
Last edited by Baronfuming on Oct 5, 2016, 7:33:07 PM
Nice build. Montreguls is very cool. But how is the lvl process with zombies?

Im thinking since years to do a summoner/zombie build but ppl say always
zombies are terrible to lvl with. Is this still true ?
Hey, why not use Aegis Aurora?

Get Eldritched Battery, add some more Armor ( IR + Grace?), with EB you can reserve all mana.
Get some ES.

Empower your Bone Offering. Now you gain good Life and ES on Block and you can spam your skills.

You need 14% reduced Reservation (Templer) and lvl 5 Enlighten or 16% reduced Reservation (with unique jewel) and lvl 4 enlighten.

Run Determination + Discipline + Haste/ Hatred/ Grace.


When Mana(ES) Problems -> Zealot's Oath + Stone Golem. Stone Golem taunts enemies and has more HP than chaos golem.


Dex and Strength shouldnt be problems.


:)
ign: fanimala
Last edited by fanimala on Oct 9, 2016, 1:36:09 PM
"
DiamondSnake wrote:
Nice build. Montreguls is very cool. But how is the lvl process with zombies?

Im thinking since years to do a summoner/zombie build but ppl say always
zombies are terrible to lvl with. Is this still true ?



I found act 1 Normal to be somewhat annoying. Zombies are difficult to keep animated and mana costs pose a problem. However, by act 2 Normal things were working out much better. Rejuvenation Totem and investment into minion leech and regeneration work very well to keep zombies topped-off in their blessed unlife.

Additionally, the use of Summon Raging Spirits works very well to supplement to zombies in their assault. I had no problems leveling overall. Besides this, essences are very useful in creating equipment upgrades during the leveling process. Just keep an eye out for white 4-link items.


"
fanimala wrote:
Hey, why not use Aegis Aurora?

Get Eldritched Battery, add some more Armor ( IR + Grace?), with EB you can reserve all mana.
Get some ES.

Empower your Bone Offering. Now you gain good Life and ES on Block and you can spam your skills.

You need 14% reduced Reservation (Templer) and lvl 5 Enlighten or 16% reduced Reservation (with unique jewel) and lvl 4 enlighten.

Run Determination + Discipline + Haste/ Hatred/ Grace.


When Mana(ES) Problems -> Zealot's Oath + Stone Golem. Stone Golem taunts enemies and has more HP than chaos golem.


Dex and Strength shouldnt be problems.


:)


That's certainly an acceptable way to approach a build, but I feel that those changes would result in something entirely different than what I envisioned for my character. Most significant is the lower amount of armour from equipment and the moderate amount of energy shield gained from using str/int equipment. Iron reflexes requires too pronounced of a diverted course away from the area of the passive tree that I have selected. Heavy investment of reduced mana reservation is also not something I can make sacrifices for. To make use of your suggestions, while certainly valid and effective, would require a rebuilding of this character from the beginning.

My mana situation is stable with the use of this flask:

I can use it 3.5 times before it empties, and its effect lasts for almost 15 seconds. The result is that there are always plenty of charges and 100% uptime if I am playing actively. Mind over matter is a very helpful defensive mechanism as long as enough mana is present to absorb damage from blows.

I have seen defenses centered around Aegis Aurora and they are quite strong and reliable. I would be very interested in seeing a variant using that mechanism. Additionally, due to the higher dexterity, one could be oriented more to using zombies as a means of applying damage over time effects, such as ignite, poison, and scaling the caustic cloud from beacon of corruption. In this instance it might make more sense to be using one or more blasphemous curses, such as Vulnerability rather than the Grace/Determination with iron reflexes.

Just opening up these alternative ideas paves the way for an entirely different variant of the overall build. This is one of the reasons why Path of Exile is such a great game.
Light as a neutral force.

The new flesh emerges.
I understand.

I always want to make sure to be able to stay alive in t12+ maps in situations where i can't get flask charges but high amounts of damage.



As I look into your gear I see that you have got rare items only which results in more than ele weakness overcapped res. What would you think about Essence Worm? You will have more free mana available!

Your mana pool is more than insufficient for MoM. You will need atleast 43% of your max life as mana to make full use (for 1 shots). In your video you have multiple occasions where you run out of mana due to your very very low pool.

Why do you use SRS + Melee on full life? Isn't it better to use added fire/ spell echo?
Every enemie with atleast 1 area dps will reduce you SRS damage significantly.
And if you want to make use of the chaos dmg on death -> minion life?

For SRS dmg you could take Elemental Equilibrium too (2 points). and use arc / tempest shield to activate.



You might want to use a curse. Vulnerability would be the choice for offense, Enfeeble for defense.
I always thought Curses allow you to target specific enemies.


You still have a lot effective DPS potential for your build.
ign: fanimala
shaper / guardians / uber atziri viability?
hoping with the new zombie's jewel, it'll help Mon'tregul's zombies clear speed better
IGN: ExtraCrisby

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