[3.0] Skeleton Mage build. 7 aura necromancer can both solo endgame maps and support party play

This build is a hybrid summoner/support that runs seven auras and uses summon skeleton mages as its main skill. The build is able to clear into end game solo quite effectively and provide support in party play without relying too much on other party members for damage.

While this build is yet to be completed, I wanted to create this guide anyways to both track my progress with it and help others who might want to do something similar to me.

*Build of the Week feature!!!*https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1983748

I am pleasantly surprised to see my build get Build of the Week. I am so happy my build was even considered. I had no idea it was going to be featured. I made the build guide since people were asking me about it and I wanted to help new players out. It is definitely not the best skeleton build out there and I appreciate all of the support from the community.

Build progress videos

Day 2 of Harbinger League showcase
T11 Bazaar - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBalU1jSIs0

T12 Crematorium - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McgigyjzDWs

T13 Waterways - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTI71PKB3H0

Week 1 of Harbinger League Showcase
T9 Poorjoy's Asylum -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfBRzfPJquk

T14 Volcano - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQbHZrAm88Q

T15 Abyss - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWjUmM2f53A

T15 The BeachHead - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVVAMJ4tjHg

Week 2 of Harbinger League Showcase

T16 Guardians - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK_h5S1Y0Ok
I'm pretty happy about this one. This is my first character I made that I was able to push to guardians with. I suck at fighting them since I never done it before but I'm glad I was still able to kill all 4 with no deaths.

Basic mechanics

How to get Skeleton Mages

Our build uses 10 skeletons so you will need two dead reckonings. Slotting them in any jewel socket near intelligence nodes should make them work. They are key to this build as it is the only way to get skeleton mages.

Queen's Decree and To dust Jewels

We take advantage of the up to 200% increased skeleton duration to run as many to dust jewels as we possibly can. With five jewels you receive on average 50% increased minion damage and 50% increased skeleton cast speed. Vaal haste gives roughly 30% cast speed while haste at level 20 gives 15% so as you can tell that is a substantial boost to dps.

Also with Queen's Decree you will be able to summon 10 skeletons and 9 zombies in total.

Eldritch Battery, Zealot's Oath, Mind Over Matter, and Summon stone golem
We use this setup for a couple of reasons:

1.With Eldrich Battery we are able to reserve 100% of our mana and still cast our minions
2.Zealots Oath + Summon stone golem gives us so much energy shield regen there will never be a time where you cant use your skills (besides no regen maps)
3.Eldritch Battery makes getting Mind Over Matter useful without investing heavily into mana.

Since our skeleton mana cost is so low and we regen energy shield fast thanks to stone golem and % life regen, mind over matter becomes a very powerful defensive option with little investment. The only thing you need be aware of is to make your energy shield is at least 30% of your life pool for maximum effectiveness.

Passive skill tree

Bandit choice
Kill all for 2 passive points

You can either get the two points or side with kraityn for the cast speed and movement speed. I would rather get two points since this build is really point heavy but if you want smoother clear you can go for kraityn.


Normal Labyrinth
You will want to first pick up Mistress of Sacrifice. You won't have any cast speed early on in the game and having flesh offering apply to you will be a huge increase in clear speed and progression. If you are having trouble surviving bone offering is a great alternative.

Cruel Labyrinth
Next, you will want to grab Commander of Darkness. By the time you get this node you should be already running 2-3 auras and this becomes a great damage boost. The resistances is a neat bonus too.

Merciless Labyrinth
Here you want to grab Spirit Eater. It is just a general offering buff and offensive node.

Eternal Labyrinth
While Flesh Binder is clearly a better node than Beacon of Corruption for this build, I chose to go with Beacon of Corruption here because of something like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_W4oMOFKtA

For some reason when I get Flesh Binder my game has lag spikes whenever I summon my minions. If that wasn't the case I would 100% get Flesh Binder over Beacon of Corruption.

Item choices

We go with Queen's decree for many reasons. While the item doesn't provide a +1 level for skeletons, the increased skeleton duration allows us to use multiple copies of the unique jewel "To dust" which substantially increases our dps. Gaining an additional zombie and skeleton is also a big plus.

*note* This item is hard to get the right socket colors for. The most optimal gem socket colors are 4 Blue 2 Green but you should aim for 3 Blue 3 Green or 3 Blue 2 Green 1 Red. Only go for 4 Blue 2 Green when you have the currency to invest in it and a spare weapon in case you don't get it.

For leveling or early maps you can use items like sire of shards or pledge of hands which are easier to color as a substitute while you craft your Queen's Decree. A simple rare staff would work as well if you have no currency.

Any helmet with +2 level of socket minion gems will work. Prioritize Health and Resists while getting Energy shield and strength/dexterity if you can. While the Skeleton enchantment can be good, It will be easier to craft or buy a bone helmet with 40% minion damage and the stats you need.

Body Armour
This is what allows us to run seven auras with little investment. It is a must have if you want to be proficient in both supporting and solo play. It should be noted that it does not give any health or resists so you compensate that through other item slots.

You will want 30% movement speed, life, and resistances. Nothing special about this slot. If you are struggling to meet stat requirements an easy way to reach them is through rares.

Rings, Amulets, Belts and Gloves
There is nothing special about what you need in these slots. Just try to cap your resistances and maximize life. Again, Strength and dexterity can be beneficial in meeting item requirements. Energy shield will also be good stats to have as eldritch battery - mind over matter combo relies on it.

2 x https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Dead_Reckoning
& 5 x https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/To_Dust
You will need two Dead reckonings for the build to function. It is the only way for you to be able to summon skeleton Mages. To dusts are great damage boosts and should be bought asap. The reduced duration is inconsequential as the Queen's decree provides more than enough skeleton duration.

Aura choices

We run seven different Auras:
Anger, Wrath, Haste, Purity of Ice, Purity of Fire, Purity of Lightning, and a level 1 clarity.

We run 6 of these (excluding level 1 clarity) in our body armour in order to reduce the aura reservation and link it to a level 30 generosity.

You want to use auras that wil benefit your party members while also benefiting your skeletons. Anger and haste are perfect damage auras to use in this regard. The three purities give so much survivability to both party members and to your minions. I rarely see any of my zombies die because of these three auras.

With Wrath, it isn't as effective on skeleton mages as only 1/3 of them are lightning. It is still a significant damage boost for your lightning skeleton mages.

We run a level 1 clarity in order to get the bonus from the necromancer ascendancy. It reserves very little and gives us cast speed and 20% all res because of necro.

If you want more defense for yourself you can run arctic armour instead of Wrath.

Gem and link choices
Summon Skeleton - Minion Damage - Spell Echo - Lesser Multiple Projectiles - Pierce - Added Cold Damage

Please note that the weapon we are using is a str-dex item. While a 4 blue - 2 green setup would be optimal, it is very hard to get the right socket colors. There are better options than added cold damage but we simply can't get the right sockets for it without severe currency investment. If I had a 4B-2G I would use Elemental Focus instead of added cold damage.

With all of the increased cast speed we give the skeletons from the To Dust jewels, flesh offering, vaal haste, and our auras, Spell echo becomes a large dps increase.

Pierce and LMP are a must for clear. Pierce makes it so you can hit the entire pack and LMP provides the projectiles to do so. You could possibly have another gem to swap out during bosses but I didn't find that necessary.

In addition, if you are coloring your sockets and you get a 3 Blue - 2 Green - 1 Red queen's decree and don't have enough chromatics to continue to 3B3G/4B2G, an Empower gem can be a good substitute until you have the currency to chrome it again.

Raise Zombie - Minion Life - Fortify - Animate Guardian
We are mainly running Zombies as a meat shield and Animate Guardian for the passive auras you can get with certain items (explained below). You will want to socket this setup in your +2 minion gem helmet. at level 22 the zombies rarely die and your animate guardian will only be at risk with the worst bosses in the game.

Vaal Haste - Increased Duration - Flesh offering
Vaal Haste is a very good gem for summoners to use. We link it to Increased duration to increase the uptime. I chose to use flesh offering over the other offerings due to the nature of skeleton mages being disposable. You want the increased damage for them.

Leap slam - Faster attacks or Flame Dash - Faster Casting
Leap slam is a good movement skill even if you don't really get much movement speed on the tree and gear. With flesh offering and vaal haste up you actually leap slam around pretty fast.

An alternative is Flame dash. While Flame Dash has a 3 charge use and is gated by a cooldown, it is still a good movement skill for tight situations. I would recommend using Flame Dash if you are unable to get the right color sockets to link leap slam to faster attacks.

Desecrate & summon stone golem
These are our two unlinked gems we use. Desecrate is just good utility while we need summon stone golem for Eldrich battery and Zealot's oath to be effective.

Animate Guardian itemization guide
Your Initial Animate Guardian should be wearing these items:

Leer Cast and Dying Breath provide your minions with damage auras. Southbound provides a ton of life, Atziri's step helps with surviving spell damage, and Ambu's charge's life regen makes your animate guardian really hard to kill because of its high life pool

Once you have the base equipment for your Animate Guardian, there will be two upgrades you will want to purchase

Gruthkul's Pelt - https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Gruthkul%27s_Pelt
This Item offers decent life and a constant 2% life regen effect instead of only when hit. This makes it so that your Animate Guardian will be constantly at full health and will not depend on enemies for it's life regen to work.

Kingmaker - https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Kingmaker
This Item is king. It provides a pseudo 7th link for your minions in the form of culling strike and item rarity. While it may be expensive item for your Animate Guardian, it is definitely worth it. Just make sure you do not make this purchase until you are fully capable of keeping your guardian alive in most situations. I recommend de-summoning your guardian for risky fights you aren't confident in.

Currently my Animate Guardian is rocking: Kingmaker, Gruthkul's Pelt, Southbound, Atziri's Step, and Leer cast.

I have no issue keeping it alive through most of the endgame content. The areas that are dangerous I simply de-summon it.

Pantheon choices
Pantheon choices for this build are very situational. Your best bet would be to pick and choose depending on the situation. However, I think doing that is tedious and would rather pick two and never change it again. It may be less optimal but I am willing to lose that optimization for less micromanagement.

If you are like me I would recommend picking Soul of the Brine King for the stun and freeze lock protection and Soul of Ryslatha for the increase in life recovery when on low life. These two boost survivability quite a bit.

Another good pantheon to get would be Soul of Lunaris. The "Avoid Projectiles that have chained" is really good in maps with the chain modifier on it.

Leveling Guide
This is mainly for people who do not have the currency to outright buy all of the items and start off playing as a skeleton mage summoner. If you do have the currency to reroll this, simply level with anything you like and equip each item as soon as you are able to. Make sure you grab all the aura nodes early so you can run 7 auras as soon as you can wear Victario's Influence

For everyone else, the easiest way to level this build is the skill Summon Raging Spirits. It takes little investment and synergizes with your skeleton skill tree quite well. However, you could level with skeletons if you want and a lot of the methods will be exactly the same.

A +1/2 level to socketed fire gems wand or scepter will carry you to maps. Have your summon raging spirits linked to melee splash and minion damage. If you are leveling as skeletons you will want to instead find a +1/2 level to socketed minion gem helmet instead of a wand/scepter.

To craft a +1 level fire gem weapon you need to vendor a wand/scepter + Ruby ring + Orb of Alteration.

For early game auras you should run clarity + any offensive aura of your choosing. For summon raging spirits Hatred is the best. You will be leveling this clarity but will need a level 1 version to run when you switch over to Eldritch Battery. Add more auras as you get more aura reservation nodes.

For the skill tree, prioritize minion nodes, life, and aura nodes before anything else. Try to path towards Eldritch Battery, Mind over Matter, and Zealot's Oath while doing so. You do not need to follow a strict skill tree path for leveling to be smooth, your minions will carry you to endgame regardless of how you path.

Once you reach act 4 and get summon stone golem you will want to switch over to using energy shield as mana. Do not switch over until you get both Eldritch Battery and Zealot's Oath

You can pick up the +30 Str/Dex nodes if you are having trouble maintaining enough stats. However I would rather get those on amulets and rings.

For both leveling as Summon Raging Spirits and Skeleton Mages, you can pick up a cheap 5 link staff to level up through mid tier maps while you try to acquire your 5L/6L Queen's decree.

Once you have obtained two Dead Reckonings and a Queen's Decree you can switch over to skeleton mages.

Example Skill Trees

If you are having trouble pathing then here are some examples that you could follow. The path changes when you already have certain items like dead reckoning, where you will want to rush a couple jewel slots first. Note that I am labeling these by points and not levels. You receive skill points from certain quests. I'll change them to level brackets soon just too tired to calculate it all out right now.

14 Points
Early on you want to grab the two closest minion clusters and life/mana cluster. It will help with leveling.

43 Points
Next you will want to make your way torwards Eldritch Battery and Zealot's oath. Don't actually get those nodes untill you reach act 4 and can get summon stone golem. If you have dead reckonings you can get those jewel slots to the left and right of witch. If you are struggling with stats you can get the +30 str/dex on the way to Eldritch Battery.

75 Points
Next you will want to grab most of the aura clusters next to you and go for the scion life rectangle and templar life nodes. If you do not have a 6 sockect Victario's Influence yet, then prioritize the life nodes. If you do then prioritize the aura nodes.

105 Points
From here, grab the last aura cluster in the middle of shadow and ranger. Pick up the jewel slots that only take 1 skill point. If you have To dusts and Dead reckoning already then slot them in.
If you don't you can use generic rare jewels in the meantime.

Grab the life nodes above witch, in the middle of witch and templar, and the life/es nodes next to the aura cluster near CI. If you are having dexterity problems and can't get it on gear, the Templar node Precision gives dexterity while also giving good stats you will use.

113 Points

Please be flexible with these example skill trees as you should fit them to your needs at the time and not follow a strict path.

Path of Building info

For use with the Path of Building program.
Updated as of 8/18/2017 7:08 P.M.

Character profile link

Current items

Build progression goals
My current goals on improving the build:
- 6-Linked Queens Decree
- Solo Uber lab
- 4 blue 2 green 6 link socket
- level 21 summon skeleton gem
- 5k life
- T15 maps shaped
- Reach level 96
- Guardians killed

Work In progress:
- Shaper
- 1.5k energy shield
- T16 maps shaped
- Level 21 auras
- Level 21 Raise zombie
- Level 21 Animate Guardian
- 5.5k life

Alternative build options
What are some suggestions on how you could make this build differently?
I'll add any suggestions here.

Some alternatives other people have tried using are:

- Sire of Shards for the free projectiles
- Femur of the Saints is a good alternative if you can't get to dust jewels. It can be laggy for those playing in lockstep however.
- User Aklyon notes that the unique jewel From Dust could be a good alternative way to play this build. With spell echo you summon 6 with one cast and he states the cooldown is irrelavant.
- Stacking strength and using the baron helmet is an option. However, note that this will be a survivability increase but not an offensive one as skeleton mages don't get increased damage from str. Also the passive skill tree would need to be massively changed.
- Pledge of Hands is a good alternative weapon to use. It is relatively cheap right now in Harbinger compared to the to dust jewels and gives a free spell echo support.

Last edited by KTMetis on Sep 1, 2017, 12:33:54 AM
Last bumped on Nov 21, 2018, 3:18:32 PM
Update 8/11/2017 :
- Basic mechanics & item choices updated'
- Bandit choices added
- Path of Building info added

To do:
- Update Animate Guardian info
- Update Aura Info
- Submit week 1 videos
- Explain Pantheon choices
- Add Leveling Guide
Last edited by KTMetis on Aug 11, 2017, 6:19:04 PM
Hey does this build work as a starting build? All of the other starter builds don't really interest me that much but skelemancer seems cool.

Can you play this build without the legendary items?
Seeing as this was my starter build for Harbinger league I would say yes. While you can't play this build without first getting dead reckonings, you can level as a generic summoner with summon raging spirits and zombies in the mean time. You could level using normal summon skeleton as well.

Queen's Decree, To dust, and Victario's influence are all upgrade uniques that you do not need for the build to function
Okay thanks, I guess I'll try out leveling first to see how it goes. Is it expensive?
Last edited by AgentHempz on Aug 11, 2017, 6:43:50 PM
Been enjoying my skeleton mage necro a lot and have been toying with doing an auramancer version. This gave me the push to do so. Thanks :)
Gonna try mine with sire of shards, though, and 3 points in duration nodes.
Reimur: even though you're wrong, why would you have faith in diamond supporters? you're talking about a group of people that are so autistic that they would spend 1000 dollars on pixels. we're almost the most idiotic group of people in this community. second to hardcore players.
Last edited by thelordrahl on Aug 11, 2017, 7:59:10 PM
Okay thanks, I guess I'll try out leveling first to see how it goes. Is it expensive?

Not at all, Getting it started is pretty cheap. Of course upgrading the build to a 6-link, getting lvl 21 gems, getting all the uniqueness can be expensive however.

Been enjoying my skeleton mage necro a lot and have been toying with doing an auramancer version. This gave me the push to do so. Thanks :)
Gonna try mine with sire of shards, though, and 3 points in duration nodes.

I'm glad to hear it. :)
The projectiles looks pretty neat with shire of shards. Tell me how it goes or maybe even make a video for it.
Last edited by KTMetis on Aug 11, 2017, 8:22:27 PM
KTMetis wrote:
I'm glad to hear it. :)
The projectiles looks pretty neat with shire of shards. Tell me how it goes or maybe even make a video for it.

Will do once I get to sire. Should be sometime tomorrow. Got to 26 tonight; spent more time trading for quality gems than playing XD

Got a 5l/6s sire for 20c, managed to get 5b/1g in 30 chromes and the 1g is in the 5link. So that's set for now. Will save up for a 6l if I like it.

Leveling is super easy and enjoyable for me, at least. 4-link skel mages right at 10, then 6link at 18.
Skels-minion damage-lmp-pierce-faster cast-controlled destruction
desecrate-flesh offering-faster cast

Killed the vaal oversoul in about 3 seconds lol
Reimur: even though you're wrong, why would you have faith in diamond supporters? you're talking about a group of people that are so autistic that they would spend 1000 dollars on pixels. we're almost the most idiotic group of people in this community. second to hardcore players.
Last edited by thelordrahl on Aug 11, 2017, 11:36:23 PM
8/11/2017 8:37 P.M. update

- Added header image
- Added video: T9 Poorjoy's Asylum showcase
- Added video: T14 Volcano showcase
- Added video: T15 Abyss showcase
- Updated Path of Building info
- Updated Skill tree
- Animate Guardian info updated

To-do list

- Leveling guide
- Pantheon guide
- Week 2 showcase videos
- Bandit choice explanation

Last edited by KTMetis on Aug 11, 2017, 11:54:35 PM
At what level do you switch over to skeletons? I am leveling with zombies and firestorm. I tried out leveling skeletons but they are slow compared to zombies.

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