[3.0] Poison Nova Necromancer (SSF WIP) (Short video, more to come)

This guide is aimed at Solo Self Found players, as such it does not focus on any peculiar uniques other than the unique Jewels available as quest rewards. Since I'm building it in solo self found, I'm not all the way through the end game yet and my gear isn't quite there (only 1 five link...). As of writing this I've only found 1 Tier8 Map barely making a dent in the Atlas let alone the Pantheon system :p. But I'll update this post as I progress further.

It wouldn't be right to not mention Diablo 2 when click baiting with such a title. I won't hide my disappointment with D3's recent addition of the Necromancer, it took me a single week-end to get all three Sets and feel like I reached grinding territory...

When Dark Pact was announced my mind immediatley went to poison nova necro. Granted the mecanics are not the same as the original D2 necro... But nostalgia calls !

The build uses a self cast Dark Pact whilst having a pack of Zombies and a Stone Golem running around to help keep the DPS high and the Necro alive. It also uses 2 Violent Dead jewels to beef up those Zombies.

What does this build do?

Well I havn't recorded much, but here is just a quick peek. UnIDed Cell Map.

Excellent defense: 9So far :D )
-Mind over matter (30% of damage taken from mana before life)
-High Life regen
-Passive defense with minions distracting hits
-Warlords mark for life and mana leech, a few endurance charges and occasional stuns

Passive offense:
As with all summoner builds, you don't have to be actively attacking in order to do damage. This can be really useful in fights that don't let you stand still long enough to get off a few shots.

- Versatility: you simply need to change your offering in order to adapt to the difficulty you are facing. Switching to Bone Offering when defense is needing, to Flesh offering if you don't need the defense but would like more clear speed.
- Tanky: nothing is immortal in PoE, but this build will offer really good survivability
- Can do a decent assortement of map mods without to much difficulty.
- Easy leveling experience and little to no difficulty reaching end game.

- Zombies be stupid. 'Who told you you could stop hitting the Boss?'
- Damage over time can really stop you in your tracks. All though you might have the life regen to power through DoTs, your mana regen might not, leaving you OOM. This isn't always a problem as your minions will continue dishing out damage, but if you absolutely need your offering, to resummon a fallen zombie or anything of the sort you might find yourself caught out.
- There are definitely faster builds out there.
- No Life or Mana regen maps suck monkey balls.
- Phys Reflect and Reduced Life or Mana Regen are doable but painful. (this cold be a pro?)
- I've not tested this build past Tier7 maps. Only just found my first Tier8 today. That's SSF mapping for you... Or having to put up with a life outside of Wreaclast maybe? :) [/spoiler]

Current Passive Tree:

Gems and options:
Skills and supports in order of priority.

Dark Pact:
Void Manipulation
Controlled Destruction
Added Chaos Damage
Lesser Poison
Concentrated Effet / Increased Area of effect

Note on faster casting and Spell Echo: both will increase the toll on your life, they are an option, but so far I've found both to not really be needed and just made spamming hard to sustain. Not worth it so far.

(Currently I'm on a 4 Link, with lesser poison as I've yet to get my hands on added chaos damage and a 5/6 link chest)

Summon Zombie:
Minion Damage
Minion Speed
Attack Speed

We want them to hit a lot and hard, they'll get some Ele resist from Commander of Darkness and the tree and we are not using any elemental damage so we won't use Minion Ele resist. I theorise that the amount of life regen and leech available to them will keep them alive. I've yet to check if this theory holds up in the end game and update accordingly. So far sure I have to recast Zombies on bosses and rare DPS spikes but so far so good.

(Currently on a 5L Staff.)

Stone Golem:
Minion Damage
Minion Speed

I use maim for the double multiplier it provides in both multiplying the Golem damage and increasing the damage enemies take from physical damage, the later will also be exploited by your Zombie Pack.

On top of your actual Zombies, DP and Stone golem, you'll want the following:

Rejuvenation Totem: It's flat regen which is cool. It doesn't seem like much but it is actually decent in keeping your mobs alive. It also has a self sustaining quality to it since it regens its own life making it a little more resistant than your average totem.

Convocation: This is just a must for a summoner using minions that follow. On maps that have many corridors often you'll find your Zombies and / or Golem spazzing out on the other side of a wall. The regen can also help a little.

Bone / Flesh Offering
Faster Casting
Increased Duration

Bone / Flesh Offering: This is where your versatility comes from. I prefer Bone Offering simply because Path of Exile loves to kill you with surprise bursts of DPS. Clear speed is of the charts with Flesh Offering though so when ever you can risk taking a huge hit to defense, do it.

Desecrate: Since 3.0 has introduced even more monsters that don't leave corpses, I've found Desecrate a must to keep your offerings up even during map clearing situation, not just on bosses.


Warlords Mark
Vaal Haste

I'll be honest I'm lazy with by curses so I really like Blasphemy. Warlords mark is huge for the survivability of this build both for you and your minions. Since it allows you to leech both life and mana, it works perfectly with Mind Over Matter. The Endurance charges also help gather up that little extra physical resist.

If you are not lazy with your curses, you could use Vitality and Haste or determination, which ever.

Optionally you could get rid of the Stone Golem and have a Curse on hit set up in that 4 link. I've been enjoying this set up so far.

As this build is meant for Solo Self Found there are no gear requirements.

I personally chose to go for a Staff in order to have 2 six links. As the damage is coming from both sources: DP and the Zombies, having both six linked just seems to be the right way to go about this. So far this has worked out, but I may end up needing to switch out to a shield...

Unserted rings are an important addition as you need so many sockets... The summoners plight.

Leveling guide: These are just guide lines on how I leveled this character.

You will not be able to play this build strait out of the box, you'll need to reach certain land marks before being able to actually play a self cast dark pact, after all, it cost 6% of your maximum life per cast.

Early leveling:

Pick up a skill that suits you like Freezing Pulse or Spark, whichever you prefer and use that until you can actually switch into a summoner. Link it with Arcance Surge but keep an eye on the mana cost of your skill to not over level your arcance surge. Ideally you want it to proc every four seconds so keeping the level of the gem low will ensure this happens.

Pick up your Zombies early but just keep them socketed, they might die to often for your liking in the early game until you can give them some % life from the tree and some form of sustain (life regen or leech)

Initial goal for the passive tree:

Going up to the top of the tree early to get the life regen and leech for your minions isn't a bad idea, your Zombies will stay alive longer making them a decent passive defense as they will be taking hits for you.

Once you can pick up Summon Skeletons do so and place them in a Spell Totem. This will give you optimal distracting ability whilst you simply stand back and spam away.

Early on you can get away with the below gem set up:
Freezing Pule / Arcane Surge (or whatever you chose as your early leveling skill)
Zombies / Minion Damage / Ruthless or Maim
Skeletons / Spell Totem / Minion Damage

I've kept it at a minimum as 4 links aren't necessarily an option this early in the game.

Help Oak! Life regen and physical damage reduction. We need these. You could also go for the skill points if you think you can get away with slightly less defense.

When you get passed Grivicius pick up Dark Pact. Immediately replace your current spamming skill with Dark Pact. For now keep using it on your Skellies leaving them in their spell totem so that you can concentrate on spamming Dark Pact.

On the passive side, you'll want to get your Zombie Count up as well as getting Life and Mana Regen for yourself to set yourself up for MoM and Self Cast DP.

You can also start to get your life regen up through Auras: Vitality and a Rejeuvination Totem.

Having helped Siosa in a Fixture of Fate you can pick up Blasphemy and using Warlords Mark you can start using Dark Pact self cast. But keep the skelly totem socketed for now. You'll still struggle against dangerous packs and using the squeletons is both safer and offers a surprising amount of DPS.

Pick up a Stone Golem once passed Breaking the Seal. An other option would be a Choas Golem for the additional Physical damage reduction, but I chose the Stone Golem for all out life regen. We'll get the physical reduction elsewhere.

If you havn't done so allready, get into the labyrinth and Ascend into a Necromancer, your first option should be Mistress of Sacrifice: Offerings affect yourself, you can socket both Flesh Offering and Bone Offering and use which ever suits the situation bast. IE: Bone for boss fights, Flesh running through zones.

Lab order is:
Mistress of Sacrifice: for the Offerings ASAP
Flesh Binder: because phys resist.
Commander of Darkness: Damage that is always up, a small cast/attack speed boost and ele resists for you and your minions
Beacon of Corruption: Chaos resist, Chaos Dmg and anything big enough to actually kill one of your minions will die quicker. Which is good.

Keep on going for Zombie Count, Mana and Life regen on the tree, once you've got the extra mana regen you can pick up Mind over matter and then, for comforts sake, some increased Area of Effect and Area Damage: Also note that as Maximum life determines Dark Pacts base damage, increasing your life benefits both defense and offense.

One important note, Violent Dead is a unique Jewel that can be obtained as a quest reward in Act5. If playing SSF, you can level a character up to this point to pick up a second jewel for your necromancer. I would highly advise in doing so as 200% reduced cool down and 60% increased damage on your Zombie Slam will help immensely, especially in making your Zombie party better at dealing with multiple mobs at a time. Pick up the Jewel sockets as soon as you can if you have got the jewels. There is no level requirment on unique Jewels, so leveling a character prior to leveling your necromancer will allow you to pick up the Jewel and use Violent Dead really early on. I wouldn't call it indispensable, but I did just that and I feel like it certainly helped me.

How do I know when I can switch to full time Dark Pact and be rid of my Skeletons?
This question will answer itself as you play. You'll get to a point where you are Gem starved and will need to get rid of your skellies, this is the time. The true answer is anytime you feel confident in doing so. Try it out from time to time, just note that initally you won't actually be doing tons of extra damage when you switch to self casting. The fact that casting DP on your skellies chains 3 times, has the ability to stack and any damage your skellies are deeling means it does work out to do pretty high DPS. The issue is that your skellies are slow, and you can't really grantee which skelly DP will chain to. Against packs that love to spread out, it just ends up being painfully awkward at times.

I'll be back to update and add to this post. I'm open to any suggestions both on the build and the post :p
Last edited by SicNNasty on Aug 15, 2017, 11:43:11 AM
Last bumped on Aug 15, 2017, 11:42:50 AM

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