[Leveling Guide] Speaker for the Dead | 74-minion Mass Summoner 💀

>>>{ CLICK HERE for 3.9 PoB pastebin and build UPDATES! }<<<

I ran out of room in my build thread, so I moved the leveling guide here to its own thread.

Build guide:
{3.9} Speaker for the Dead | 74 minion Summoner
League Starter, Leveling Guide | 4.7M Shaper DPS

Notice about Patch 3.8 Blight League Changes
I'll be providing as much as I can in the 3.8 Update post. Unfortunately for build creators, we only get the patch notes 2 days out from League start like everyone else, and no chance to test until the day of release. So it won't be possible for me to rewrite the leveling guide so soon.

The main differences are the new tree pathing (covering in 3.8 Update post), using Feeding Frenzy Support, and Ascendancy order (by level 38 in Act 4 get Mistress of Sacrifice with L1 CWDT + L1 Desecrate + L8 Spirit Offering = fantastic defense). Given that early minions are being buffed, and this build already levels up very smoothly, it'll just be that much harder to fail at leveling.

Most of the original leveling guide is still valid. We just skip Herald of Agony and Poison now, and can get Feeding Frenzy for Zombies/Skeletons @L31 in Act 3 after Siosa's quest.

Artwork - Necromancer

Art by Eudia Chae

The good news: You can't go wrong leveling a summoner. Just keep your gems leveled up, your elemental resistances as close as possible to the cap of 75%, and always stay moving to avoid attacks. You can booty-blast all Act bosses with Zombies and Skeletons with no special gear. The rest of the campaign is just a speedrun, so lots of movement speed is good to have.

As a disclaimer, don't worry about following this guide to the letter. Feel free to experiment with any skills along the way and make changes where you feel appropriate. Minions got your back. As long as you're having fun, that's what matters. The intent of this guide is to help players meet the challenge of leveling fast and efficiently, but you're under no obligation to stay on this blazed path. Just refer back to it if you ever get stuck.

The bad news: Because minions are so effective, you likely won't experience how dangerous some monsters really are. It's the affluenza of having your own personal army at the frontline doing all the dirty work for you. As a result, you might learn the hard way by waltzing straight into a tiger's one-shot mouth. Sorry! But that's okay: Just raise the cur as a Spectre and feed it to a suitable dragon as its just desserts. Mwaha! Revenge and corpses are best served cold.

Compared to other archetypes: Attack builds scale exponentially with good items, but because of that, in the beginning, they need strong twink gear or risk hitting a wall in progression. Spell builds scale with gem level like we do, so they'll always have appropriate base damage, but must manage their mana and stand still to cast, putting a big ol' bullseye on their forehead for monster attacks. Totems share our biggest advantage, mobility, except summoners double-up on it with persistent minions. We also have the unique defensive layer of diluting monster aggression across many disposable decoys. In the unlikely event that things go very south, we can always hide in a corner and wave our Skeletons off as they power-walk into battle.

For our downsides, we have limited ways to scale up our damage and have a slightly longer delay and ramp up to dealing full damage. This makes us great against long encounters, like bosses, but a bit behind other archetypes when it comes to one-click-booming the screen. So while leveling, don't get caught up killing every insignificant fodder mob. Take advantage of your mobility and run. Zip past those clowns and let your Zombies pick off stragglers, supplying free XP while you make progress toward the next area. Every now and again you just have to smack a few heads to get the Holy Relic to heal off the attrition damage your Zombies accrue.

(Note: The most efficient source of XP is blue-hued Magic monster packs, so gobble those up.)

Which League?
If you plan to trade with other players, go with the current Challenge League. This would be Legion League as of Patch 3.7.

In Standard League, you're dealing with people who have years upon years of stockpiled currency. It's just not worth their time to trade for small amounts, the kind you would find while playing normally. So prices inflate beyond what new players can sensibly afford. The much smaller player population (10-15% of total) further compounds this effect.

Solo-Self Found (no groups, no trading) and Hardcore (character transferred to Standard League on death) offer additional challenge and a separate leaderboard, but no additional reward. Only play here if you know exactly what you're getting into. Expect your progress to be much slower and hard-won.

Leveling Plan
Leveling Plan (GoogleDoc) - A quick, printable overview on when and how our skill links change over the course of the campaign. Format legend is at the bottom right.

For example, when a gem is first introduced on the list, I have it colored based on its gem color and use its full name, but after that I shorten the name to an acronym to save space. As you can see later down the line it starts to get very crowded. So if it's an acronym in black text, that means it has already been introduced earlier and there's no change.

Gems (~30% complete)
This section will serve as a list for those who can acquire all gems ahead of time, such as from an alternate character or by trading.

Level 1

Level 4

Level 8

Level 10

Level 12

Level 16

Level 18

Level 24

Level 28

Level 31

Level 34

Level 38

Useful Stuff
  • Gem Vendor List - Can't find a gem? See how to get it here!

  • NeverSink's Item Filter - A loot filter is practically mandatory with how much stuff can drop in this game. It hides the crap so you only see useful and valuable drops. Just hold ALT down if you ever want to see everything on the ground. A light warning: Sometimes the highlight and sound for a very expensive Unique drop will play, but then you find out later the Unique is cheap garbage. The reason for this is because the item filter can only see the item's base, not the actual item itself. Because of this, for the longest time, I thought Storm Prison was valuable. It's not. It just happens to have the same Carved Wand base as Poet's Pen. You can freely vendor all those horded Storm Prisons. I know, I cried a little, too.

  • Filterblade.xyz - Customize your loot filter here!

  • Vendor recipes - Hate trading? Playing Solo-Self Found? You'll need to learn how to be self-sufficient here!

  • New Player Resources - Links to many helpful video guides and information sources from the community, compiled by GGG themselves.

  • Poelab.com - See the layout and shortest route of each day's Labyrinths.

  • Poechecklist.com - Keep track of which passive quests, labyrinth trials, pantheons, and maps you need to complete.

  • Video Guides on each Act - A playlist of EngineeringEternity's Act and Leveling guides, which have simplified zone layouts.

  • Area Layouts (GoogleDoc) - A compilation of the simplified zone layouts from EngineeringEternity's video guides.

  • Guide to Currency while Leveling - Which currency orbs should you use or save while leveling? This Reddit post provides a nice little explanation on each type of Orb.

  • Things I Wish I Had Known Before - A compilation of helpful tidbits of knowledge for new players.

Last edited by Hercanic on Dec 15, 2019, 10:35:54 PM
Last bumped on Oct 20, 2019, 10:09:11 AM
ACT 1 - 14pt passive tree @ level 13
Our first major goal for the passive tree is to reach "Spiritual Command", so minion attack speed affects us and our Shield Charge; followed by "Sacrifice" for minion regeneration, so we aren't entirely dependent on the Holy Relic. This will take us until the end of Act 2. In the meantime, we grab "Practical Application" so we can meet the strength requirements of our red gems.

Quest Route


Red Border = Mandatory to advance
Blue Border = Optional
Green Border = Book of Skill reward
Orange Border = Book of Regrets reward
Dark Round Gem = Support Gem reward
Light Oblong Gem = Skill Gem reward
Spooky Scary Skull = Labyrinth trial

Zone (Level): Objective

  • 1. The Twilight Strand (1): Kill Hillock. He is at the other end of the beach, waiting in front of the entrance to Lioneye's Watch. You cannot leave this area until you slay him. You can never return to this area once you leave, either, so pick up anything you mean to keep.

  • 8. The Tidal Island (3): Kill Hailrake and retrieve the Medicine Chest. You can follow the shore right or left, it's a big loop and Hailrake is toward the other end. His Glacial Cascade ability can be dangerous due to its freeze, so circle-strafe around him to avoid it. Rewards a Quicksilver flask and access to several important gems, so don't skip this quest.

  • 2. The Mud Flats (4): Break three Rhoa nests. Find them by following the small streams of water that connect them. Collect the three Glyphs that drop from the nests and follow the northern cliffs until you find a patch of brightly colored graffiti tucked away near a waterfall. Click on the graffiti. If you had all the glyphs, the water level will drop and allow you to enter the Submerged Passage.

  • 3. Upper Prison (9): Kill Brutus. He's in the Warden's Quarters/Chambers sub-zone. In the preceding zone, the Lower Prison, is the first Ascendancy Trial.

  • 4. Cavern of Anger (13): Kill Merveil.

The rest are optional. 5 and 6 award passive skill points, and 7 gives respec points. You can always come back later when you need them.

Gem Vendor: Nessa in Lioneye's Watch

Some gems are not sold by Nessa ("Purchase Items", tab 2) until you complete certain quests. Phantasms, for instance, require you to complete the side quest Mercy Mission. Other gems are not available to the Witch from any vendor until Act 3's Siosa and Act 6's Lilly. The only way to get these gems before then is to buy them from other players, mule them with an alternate character class who has access to them (like a Templar), or luck out in finding them (such as a Gemcutter's Strongbox).

By spending ~5-10 minutes running a Templar alt through to Mercy Mission, you can get Elemental Proliferation Support, Smite, Ancestral Call Support, Onslaught Support, and a second Quicksilver flask. I recommend this approach for SSF (Solo Self-Found) players especially.

Objective: Kill Hillock @ The Twilight Strand (Level 1)
  • 1. Raise Zombie (Quest Reward) - Your source of drive-by clearing. Put wherever they'll fit in your gear. You will need to frequently raise replacement Zombies until you get the Holy Relic to keep them healed. At level 4, we link Phantasms with Zombies so they will summon Phantasms for us. At level 9, Minion Damage Support will benefit both minions, but don't sweat it if you lack the links for it early on. Melee Splash Support would be nice, but Zombies have a special AOE Slam ability on a 5 second cooldown that covers them for pack clearing, so it's not necessary. At level 18, we swap Minion Damage for Minion Speed, since not being within range is the same as having 0 DPS and we want to clear faster. This change is optional, so either way is valid. By level 28, Spectres take ownership of Phantasms, and Zombies are demoted in importance. We pair them with Herald of Agony to share Maim Support. We don't do much else with them until the final build where we start level-stacking with Empower Support.
  • 2. Freezing Pulse (Vendor) - We use this for the first four levels, until we can use Holy Relic and Smite. It's a strong spell with good area coverage and potent freezes, which is why we prefer linking it to Elemental Proliferation Support. As additional optional links, Arcane Surge Support can help with mana management and Onslaught Support will give you superior movement speed.
  • 3. Smite (Unavailable) - Acquisition: Quest Reward for Templar. A very powerful melee attack that grants lightning damage to us and our minions after we hit with it. The flat damage means we don't have to worry very much about our weapon damage. We use Ancestral Call Support to help us target monsters, increase our range, and deal double/triple damage when the AOEs overlap. Onslaught Support makes an excellent third link to move us through zones faster. At level 12, we can swap to Static Strike for more mobility and Virulence stacking, or continue using Smite. We will finally drop Smite when we can use Charged Dash at level 28 or 30 by the latest.

Objective: Kill Hailrake and retrieve the Medicine Chest @ The Tidal Island (Level 3)
  • 1. Lesser Poison Support (Quest Reward) - You MUST take this as your reward, as it's unavailable to the Witch otherwise. I know, it's weirdly inconsistent to not be at the vendor, too. If you mess up, you can still get it for free with a Shadow alt from the Twilight Strand support gem chest. You will put this gem to the side until you have Herald of Agony, which will be level 16 at the earliest and 30 at the latest. You do not need to level Lesser Poison. You will use it with Ball Lightning to generate Virulence stacks. You can exchange this for Poison Support with Static Strike/Charged Dash if you are not yet using Ball Lightning, as well as when you have an Abyssal Jewel or other source that adds Chaos/Physical damage to Spells.
  • 2. Elemental Proliferation Support (Vendor) - You can get this earlier and for free with a Templar alt from the Twilight Strand support gem chest. You will only use this early on with Freezing Pulse, for protective freezes, until you have Holy Relic at level 4 and need to use an attack. After that, you can put the gem to the side in your second weapon set to continue leveling until you have Hatred and Phantasms on Spectres, which will be level 28 at the earliest and 30 at the latest. At that point, proliferated freezes and ignites are back on the menu!
  • 3. Summon Phantasms on Kill Support (Vendor) - Phantasms are Aggressive, meaning they will seek out enemies on their own in a much larger radius than Zombies, so they make great traveling companions for drive-by XP. Early on, we partner them with Zombies to automate their creation. You will move them to Spectres by level 28, where their physical projectile spell can be properly supported.
  • 4. Ancestral Call Support (Unavailable) - Acquisition: Quest Reward for Templar. You do not need this support, per se, it just makes hitting monsters with Smite and Static Strike so much smoother. I strongly recommend it, unless you use a different attack skill. You will drop this gem when you can use Charged Dash, which is level 28 at the earliest and 30 at the latest.
  • 5. Onslaught Support (Unavailable) - Acquisition: Quest Reward for Templar. You can also get it for free with a Scion alt (brand new players won't have this class unlocked, unfortunately) from the Twilight Strand support gem chest. This gem is purely optional and not used past early leveling, and relies on you getting kills every so often to keep the buff going. The 20% attack and movement speed from the Onslaught buff are really nice to have, though. Since you're the one who wants the buff, so you can go faster, it must be linked to whatever attack skill you're using, such as Smite. You will drop this for Lesser Poison when you can use Herald of Agony, which is level 16 at the earliest and 30 at the latest.

Objective: Open Submerged Passage @ The Mud Flats (Level 4)
  • 1. Summon Holy Relic (Vendor) - This little Imperium UFO ties everything together. It is the pivotal early game skill that our other skill choices revolve around. You must use an Attack skill of some kind to trigger its AOE spell. If you do, it can heal our prone-to-injury Zombies so we aren't burdened with constantly reviving them, bind our fragile low-level Spectres from escaping back to the afterlife, and even heal us! But most of all, the raw damage of its Physical AOE Spell is a real sleeper hit. It's stronger than a Solar Guard's Special Beam Cannon (1288-1932 vs. 1063-1594 @lvl68), so it's like having one on demand within your immediate vicinity. The DPS ceiling may be limited by its cooldown, but it hits hard and will clear nuisances around you when your other minions are derping. By level 8-9, you can link it with Minion Damage Support for added punch, but this is optional.

Objective: Kill Brutus @ The Upper Prison (Level 9)
  • 1. Summon Skeleton (Quest Reward) - The boss killer skill. With Minion Damage Support and Melee Splash Support linked, you can cast a few Skeletons on big monster packs if you'd like, then run off saying "teh-heh" while they greet the surprise party guests. Keep the gem in your helmet if you can for a future "+1/+2 to Level of Socketed Minion Gem" affix (you can make your own with a vendor recipe). You can share sockets with Zombies if need be. At level 18, we drop Melee Splash Support for Melee Physical Damage Support, so you won't want to use them on monster packs anymore. By level 28, you want to have a fourth socket for Minion Speed Support, as Skeletons walk rather slowly until you get the Bone Sculpter ascendancy. At either level 38 or 45, you will trade speed for Vile Toxins Support. As our boss-feller, we want their single-target to be as high as possible to keep dangerous boss fights brief.
  • 2. Minion Damage Support (Vendor) - You'll want two of these. One for Skeletons, and the second for Zombies which is then transplanted to Spectres at level 28. You can use a third on the Holy Relic if you have the spare sockets.
  • 3. Melee Splash Support (Vendor) - Optional if you don't care to give Skeletons better pack clearing early on. We drop this by level 18 for Melee Physical Damage Support.
  • 4. Flame Dash (Vendor) - Optional, but saves us time teleporting over cliffs and gaps. It's especially useful in the Labyrinth for bypassing traps, and is a decent alternative movement skill if you can't get Shield Charge. Be sure to toggle on "Always Attack Without Moving" for this skill. Otherwise instead of casting the skill immediately to go as far as it can, your character will try running into range of the targeted location. This makes the skill feel clunky and delayed.
  • 5. Lesser Multiple Projectiles Support (Vendor) - Put this to the side until you have Spectres at level 28. We use it until level 38, when it is replaced by Greater Multiple Projectiles Support.
  • 6. Shield Charge (Unavailable) - If you can't acquire the gem, don't worry. It's fine to wait on this until Siosa in Act 3 at level 30. It feels best when you can use Faster Attacks Support at level 18 and have more attack speed from the passive tree. Early on, Charged Dash is actually faster than Shield Charge, but it's obviously not as good for reactive dodging like Shield Charge. Like with Flame Dash, be sure to toggle on "Always Attack without Moving." In fact, I set all of my abilities this way, since I value responsiveness far above accuracy, but movement skills are where it'll feel the worst when you don't have it on.
  • 7. Maim Support (Unavailable) - Put this aside, we won't need it until level 28 for Herald of Agony and Zombies. As such, it's fine to wait until Siosa at level 30.
  • 8. Life Gain on Hit Support (Unavailable) - Entirely optional, it works best with Static Strike (level 12) and Chain (level 38) for near immortal-level recovery while clearing, especially in Delves where darkness-immune monsters cannot be damaged but can still be hit.

Objective: Enter the Cavern of Wrath (Level 12)
  • 1. Spirit Offering (Vendor) - Put aside until you can use Cast When Damage Taken Support at level 38. You're free to use it normally until then, of course, but don't level it past 8. You want it to be able to work with a level 1 CWDT so it triggers frequently to destroy corpses.
  • 2. Static Strike (Unavailable) - Optionally replaces Smite. Tap a monster once, and for the next four seconds you'll automatically attack monsters with beams, which will constantly trigger your Holy Relic. You are then free to run around while the buff attacks for you. Even if you're stunned or frozen it'll keep zapping away, which makes Life Gain on Hit Support very nice for it. You continue to use Ancestral Call Support, for ease of targeting monsters. Chain Support at level 38 is great, but by then you want to switch over to Charged Dash.

Early on, when it comes to rares you will be discarding, save your Jewelers, Fusings, and Chromatics. Prioritize items with links, rather than rares with nice stats. Vendors often sell fully linked white items. You can use an Alchemy orb on them and just accept whatever stats it gives.

When deciding between two items, take a look at the gem colors you want to put into it. When using a Chromatic Orb, the color roll for sockets is weighted based on the stat requirements of the item. Items with an Intelligence requirement (Energy Shield) roll more blue sockets, Dexterity (Evasion) items roll more green sockets, and Strength (Armour) items roll more red sockets. Hybrid items roll more of the corresponding colors of its two stat requirements. So if your gem set has a lot of red and green, you want a STR/DEX (Armor/Evasion) hybrid item. If it has mostly blue gems and maybe one red or green gem, an INT (Energy Shield) item would have the highest chance to give you the right socket colors with the fewest Chromatic Orbs.

In terms of STR/DEX/INT, you just need to match gem requirements. The only one to really keep an eye on is Desecrate, since of all gems you want that one leveled up for your Spectres. We don't get much DEX on the tree until we start going for Acrobatics, so a bit on gear until then will help.

We don't focus on any particular defense type. Minions themselves protect us from most things. You just want life and elemental resistances. Rather than Evasion/Armour/Energy Shield, what you want is whichever base will make rolling the colors you want cheaper, so we end up with a mix. You want as many fully linked items as possible, because unlike other builds that are done at one skill, we use all of ours simultaneously, so the more the better.

These are helpful leveling items. Unique items must be found, traded for from other players (trade guide can be found in the Shopping List section), or gambled for using Chance Orbs on the same item base. Some, like the six-linked white-socketed (means any gem color can go into the socket) Tabula Rasa chest armor, have what's called a Divination Card that drops in specific areas. These are like finding a piece of an item.

The Humility divination card drops in Act 4's Aqueducts (just after Dominus and before Highgate), Act 9's Blood Aqueducts, and any maps based on these tilesets (e.g. Channel). When you have a full stack of those cards (9 in this case), talk to the NPC Navali or Tasuni. They have a special Divination Card exchange option, where you can receive the item listed on the card set.

It can take several hours of farming, but it's a reliable way to eventually get the item if you are playing SSF (Solo Self-Found) or lack the going rate of 10-20 Chaos Orbs to trade for one from other players (gets cheaper over time in a new league).

What makes those leveling items good?
  • 1. Tabula Rasa: Six linked white sockets. You normally can't find a 6L item until level 50, in Act 6, and even then it's absurdly rare. Let alone the white sockets, which allow any gem color. You can freely experiment with gem combinations without recoloring any sockets. Its downside is that it offers no other stats, but it's still usable even into endgame.
  • 2. Quicksilver flask: 40% movement speed. You want to reach maps quickly, so more sources of speed are welcome. The magic suffix "of Adrenaline" can add another 20-30% movement speed, but it requires an item level of 5 or greater. The Quicksilver flasks you get from Mercy Mission are ilevel 3. You can check the ilevel of an item in its window by holding ALT. It will usually be the same level as the zone it dropped in.
  • 3. Goldrim: Up to +40% elemental resistances. Please beware, though, Goldrim is like a lamprey. Once it attaches itself to your head it's very hard to pry off. Because we eventually seek to use Wraithlord, I don't want you to get spoiled by Goldrim's huge amount of resistances. It can be very hard to make up the resist deficit unless you had actively strived for good resists on your other gear. Only if you're mentally and physically prepared to rip that toothy bandaid off should you use Goldrim.
  • 4. Wanderlust: 20% movement speed.
  • 5. The Screaming Eagle: 10% movement speed.
  • 6. Victario's Flight: A combined 25% movement speed for you and 10% for your nearby minions.

Leveling Notes from Betrayal League
I've run my new character through Act 1 and made notes for the guide while leveling:

  • 1. Templar alt run is great. It's fast, easy, and you can use Smite immediately on the Witch instead of Freezing Pulse. You can also buy Phantasms, Zombies (higher XP than Witch quest reward), and Ruthless, too. Having Ruthless as an early red gem for Zombies is nice, especially the stun.

  • 2. Vendors update their inventory every time you level, so you can use this to your advantage early on with how quickly you level. You want to fill up with 3-links of different color combinations, allowing you to switch out to the right colors as needed. 1R-1G-1B chromatic items are especially good to buy because after you're done using them their resale is something valuable.

  • 3. Two Iron Rings will help Smite's damage, and a Paula Amulet helps sustaining mana.

  • 4. Smite with Ancestral Call feels like melee Arc. Its "AOE shape" adjusts to however monsters are spread out, a great advantage compared to static AOE shapes that'll miss various monsters outside its shape.

  • 5. Spawning Phantasms with Holy Relic works, but it's more consistent with Zombies. Sometimes your limited links necessitates one approach over the other (because I wanted to keep using Ruthless on Zombies).

  • 6. Quest reward Quicksilver ilevel is level of quest completion. Does it cap at 4? Or could we get an ilevel 5 if we leveled the Witch to 5 before doing the Mercy Mission quest? If so, we'd be able to add "of Adrenaline" to it.

  • 7. We need Strength sooner than I realized, for Smite and AC. Witch starts with 14 STR and this only covers up to lvl4 Smite. From character level 9 to 11 you want to grab Practical Applications.

  • 8. I wasn't paying attention and underestimated a Betrayal Escort Mission leader in The Climb. My first death was entirely avoidable. Learn from my mistake, don't get cocky with these new encounters!

  • 9. I am loving the tiny zoomed out Overlay Map. Use + and - to adjust its zoom to your liking.

  • 10. Chances are you'll have a pesky unused green socket in one of your minion links. You can fill it with Lesser Poison on Zombies, Phantasms, Holy Relic, or Skeletons. Better than nothing!

  • 11. I feel we need minion regen earlier. Holy Relic isn't always enough. I took the 1% regen node in the Death Attunement cluster for a 2 point detour.
Last edited by Hercanic on Mar 8, 2019, 4:22:41 AM
ACT 2 - 27pt passive tree @ level 22
At this point we swap "Practical Application" out for the two notables "Might" and "Agility", giving us an additional 10 strength and dexterity for the same two points. Once we start going to the right side of the tree we'll get plenty of dexterity naturally, but that won't be until Acts 9/10. We really want "Sacrifice", but we resist the urge and take "Retribution" for more strength. If you need even more, equip a Citrine amulet. Dexterity is going to fall short in Act 3.

If you have any really good jewels, take that jewel socket between "Quick Recovery" and "Elemental Equilibrium" earlier.

Kill all the bandits for +2 Skill Points.

Quest Route


Red Border = Mandatory to advance
Blue Border = Optional
Green Border = Book of Skill reward
Orange Border = Book of Regrets reward
Dark Round Gem = Support Gem reward
Light Oblong Gem = Skill Gem reward
Spooky Scary Skull = Labyrinth trial

Zone (Level): Objective
Gem Vendor: Yeena in The Forest Encampment
Level 16 - Chamber of Sins (Intruders in Black: Rescue Helena)

Level 18 - The Weaver's Chambers (Sharp and Cruel: Kill the Weaver)

Last edited by Hercanic on Dec 29, 2018, 7:23:57 PM
ACT 3 - 39pt passive tree @ level 32
We finally get "Retribution" and fill in more life. You want your percent of increased life to be roughly equal to twice your level.

The two notables, "Quick Recovery" and "Heart and Soul", give us mana and mana regeneration to cope with reserving 75% for Hatred and Herald of Agony.

Halfway into Act 3 we'll be able to get Spectres! So we take "Death Attunement" for another Spectre. We won't have access to the Wraithlord helmet until Act 4, or Frost Sentinels and Solar Guards until Act 8, but we can still make use of Flame Sentinels from Act 3's Solaris Temple!

Be careful you raise the right Spectre! There's another similar looking monster called a Galvanic Ribbon that zaps with weak lightning, while Flame Sentinels shoot a volley of fireballs. To tell the two corpses apart, know that Flame Sentinels have bull-like horns and brass balls at the tips of their four ribbons. Galvanic Ribbons have anchor-shaped horns with streamers hanging off them.

Hold the "A" key down so you can target the right corpse. Read the name and confirm the silhouette outline. Don't slip! Sometimes you have to target a weird random part of a monster to target it. If you mess up and summon the wrong Spectre, you can pop out the Raise Spectre gem to desummon.

Speaking of that, always swap gear around in town! If you are out in the wild or in your hideout you can accidentally unsummon all your Spectres if their gem is ever deactivated for even a split second. You'll have to raise them all over again if this happens. You can upgrade the item they're socketed in without losing them so long as you do this in town and the new socket is the exact same place as the old one. If it was in the first socket of a 4L and you put Raise Spectre in the second socket of a new 4L, you will lose your Spectres. They must stay in the same socket position.

Once you've successfully raised one Flame Sentinel, go to the highest level zone you can and use Desecrate until you spawn Flame Sentinel corpses. Raise two new ones, replacing the first low-level one. Now your Flame Sentinels are the level of that zone. Do this again every few zones to update their level and thus increase their damage and life, or else they might fall too far behind. Watch your Dexterity so you can keep leveling Desecrate.

Toward the end of Act 3, you can complete the sixth trial and run Normal Labyrinth. The entrance is in the Sarn Encampment, up the spiral staircase that the Stash and Noticeboard are next to.

For your Ascendancy points, take these nodes in order: 1. Invoker > 2. Bone Sculptor > 3. Soul Weaver > 4. Flesh Binder (or your choice).

Quest Route


Red Border = Mandatory to advance
Blue Border = Optional
Green Border = Book of Skill reward
Orange Border = Book of Regrets reward
Dark Round Gem = Support Gem reward
Light Oblong Gem = Skill Gem reward
Spooky Scary Skull = Labyrinth trial

Zone (Level): Objective
Gem Vendor: Clarissa in The Sarn Encampment
Level 24 - The City of Sarn (Lost in Love: Rescue Clarissa)

Level 28 - The Ebony Barracks (Sever the Right Hand: Kill General Gravicius)

Level 31 - The Library (A Fixture of Fate: Find the four golden pages)

Last edited by Hercanic on Dec 23, 2018, 11:45:55 PM
ACT 4 - 48pt passive tree @ level 40
With Spectres and Hatred, it is time to take "Elemental Equilibrium". Just make absolutely sure none of your gear adds fire or cold damage, or EE won't be worth taking until you replace those items.

We officially have one jewel socket! Hurrah! Be sure to buy an Unending Hunger jewel as soon as you can. Otherwise, if you haven't found any useful jewel yourself by this point, you'll have to wait until Act 5's Death to Purity in order to receive a Violent Dead jewel as a quest reward. We don't need this particular jewel in the long run, but it's a nice boost to Zombies until we get something better. Survival Instincts, an Act 2 reward from Yeena for completing Through Sacred Ground, can also be a useful Dexterity and Elemental Resistance stopgap.

Finally, we curve over to "Purity of Flesh" for more strength and in anticipation of the giant leftmost minion cluster.

"Discipline and Training" is a huge life boost, so we'll be getting that in a jiffy!

Quest Route


Red Border = Mandatory to advance
Blue Border = Optional
Green Border = Book of Skill reward
Orange Border = Book of Regrets reward
Dark Round Gem = Support Gem reward
Light Oblong Gem = Skill Gem reward
Spooky Scary Skull = Labyrinth trial

Zone (Level): Objective
Gem Vendor: Petarus and Vanja in Highgate
Level 34 - The Dried Lake (Breaking the Seal: Open the Mines)

Level 38 - The Harvest (The Eternal Nightmare: Kill Malachai)

Last edited by Hercanic on Dec 30, 2018, 7:06:03 AM
ACTS 5 - 10
Nothing specific to say here. You can now use all gems, so try to follow the main build beyond this point. If you are lacking any gems and cannot trade for them, you can buy all but Empower from Lilly in Act 6 after you complete her quest. Before that point, Siosa from The Library in Act 3 sells all level 28 and lower gems. As for Empower, it's a rare drop, so it'll take a while unless you buy it.

[L61] Blood Aqueducts Leveling - Video example of how the build performs at low level, by DieKao.

Quest Route
ACT 5 (PART 1)

ACT 5 (PART 2)





ACT 10


Red Border = Mandatory to advance
Blue Border = Optional
Green Border = Book of Skill reward
Orange Border = Book of Regrets reward
Dark Round Gem = Support Gem reward
Light Oblong Gem = Skill Gem reward
Spooky Scary Skull = Labyrinth trial
Gold Descry Symbol = Pantheon God
Last edited by Hercanic on Mar 10, 2019, 9:25:53 PM
EPILOGUE - 92pt passive tree @ level 69
"Devotion" is particularly nice because of its 20 strength. We go to "Constitution" for the same reason, we need more strength!

Once the left half of the tree looks like this, with all minion clusters checked, we can begin the long trek of dexterity to "Acrobatics". Feel free to start earlier if you are hurting for DEX. The minions will understand.

3.5 Map Reference Guide (GoogleDocs)

Quest Route
Did you complete all the Passive Skill Point quests and Labyrinth trials? Type /passives in the chatbox to see which quests you've completed, and go to Sarn to check the Trial plaque.


(Note: Map of Tsoatha is no longer correct. You must complete Vilenta's Vengence instead.)
Going forward, your priorities on what to invest in are:

#1 is elemental resistances (and chaos this league), so items with big resist values are important to get squared away. A solid budget belt, ring, and amulet will carry much of your resistance burden. Boots are also a good source of resists, though 30% movement speed takes precedence.

This depends on market prices, but offhand I'd recommend items with two high 45-55% resists over an item with three low 20-30%. Triple resists usually cost more because of rarity and you don't have to balance so much.

After Kitava, we start at -60% in all resistances, so we need 135% to reach the cap of 75%. Victario's Charity has 30% Lightning Resistance, so we're ahead here right off the bat compared to Cold and Fire. We get another 8% Elemental Resistance from the shield, 5% from Cruel Preparations on the passive tree, and 12% Chaos Resistance from the Purity of Flesh cluster. That comes to 13%/12% Elemental/Chaos Resistances, so we need at least 122% Fire/Cold and 92% Lightning from gear.

You'll need a minimum of four other items with resistances (1. Belt, 2. Boots, 3. Ring, 4. Gloves, 5. Helmet, 6. Amulet, 7. Body Armor, 8. Jewels, 9. Weapon): Two with 45%/45% Fire/Cold, one with 32%/46% Fire/Lightning, and one with 32%/46% Cold/Lightning. Overcapping by an additional 40% is fine, as it will protect you against an Elemental Weakness curse.

Chaos resistance does not need to be capped, reaching 0% is more than adequate, but any you can get will help with Syndicate encounters. An Amethyst Flask is another option.

#2 priority is Life. You can settle for less life if it gets you more resistances. You eventually want to upgrade to the best of both worlds, but in budget land we can only look at the cake.

Your aim is to surpass 200% life and 2000 flat life, which becomes 6000 total life. You gain 12 flat life per level, so every five levels is another 60 flat life. At level 70, you'll have 180 less flat life than I do at 95, which at 200% life becomes 540 total life (or 572 @ my 218% life). I have seven jewels granting 317 flat life altogether, which becomes 951 total life (or 1008 @ 218%). So if you were to take away fifteen levels and all my jewels (including the skill points to get the sockets), my 6671 life drops by 1580, I'd have 5091 total life. My flat life would drop by 497, taking me from 2098 to 1601. That would mean Belly of the Beast would only give 640, instead of 839 life. So if I traded Belly for a Tabula Rasa, I'd lose another 640 life, taking me down to 4451 total life. This should give you a better idea on how everything stacks to raise your life.

For an easy way to think about it, at 2000 flat life a 5% life node on the tree is worth 100 total life. A 50 flat life jewel at 200% life is worth 150 total life. So three skill points in 5% nodes is worth a total of 300 life compared to 150 life for a 3-point jewel socket.

If you cannot afford T1 life jewels with great stats to make up the difference of -150 life, then you would gain more from investing into life nodes rather than jewel sockets. You'll need 1 point of Dexterity on your gear to make up for not taking the Dexterity of the 3-point socket in the Shadow's starting area, and Shield Charge will need to be level 12 instead of 16 to make up for not taking the Strength of the 3-point socket by the Scion life wheel. You should also be able to get by without the mana nodes of the 3-point socket in the Scion's starting area. With those nine points you can have 221% life without a Belly of the Beast.

#3 is Minion Blind, Taunt, and Hinder on ~two Ghastly Jewels. You can settle for ~30 life to start, but eventually you want to upgrade to T1 life (46-50). You will also want two 10% minion elemental resistances to cap Skeleton resistances, nearly doubling their effective life against elemental damage, so they can survive endgame bosses like Uber Elder.

For big items, we first want a 6L so our main clear skill can do its job properly, as well as protect us with reliable freezes. I'd go 10-20c for 6L Tabula Rasa, upgrade to a 40-80c 6L rare with high life/resists and maybe a +1/+1 Skeletons/Zombies craft, then finish off with non-linked Belly of the Beast.

Do not use Chromatic Orbs on the Belly, as getting so many blue sockets is way too hard. Instead, use the socketing trick at your crafting bench. You will find the socket crafting recipes in Delve. Craft 2 sockets, then set them to blue to with "Two Blue Sockets" recipe. Now add a third socket. If it's not blue, craft the Belly back to two sockets. Only the newly added third socket will be removed. Now you can keep trying until you get a third blue socket. Repeat this process for the fourth socket. The fifth and sixth sockets are the same procedure, only now instead of blue we want the last two sockets to be green. We do green last because Belly has a Dexterity requirement, so it rolls greens much easier than blues. The fifth and sixth socket recipes are the most expensive, so we don't want to have to repeat it too much. Once you have your 4B2G Belly, all that's left is to link it. No special trick there. Gamble by spamming Fusing Orbs on it, or fork up 1.5k Fusings to craft it. I prefer the craft to save my mouse button.

Once you have a 6L chest, you want a +1 w/ Minion Damage Support Elder helm, then a +2 w/ Minion Damage Support, and eventually a +3 w/ Minion Damage Support later into the league. Life and resists are important as well, but don't break the bank unless it's for a perfect helmet that won't come along very often. A +1/+1 Skeletons/Zombies craft exists for the helmet slot, too.

Gloves with just a Poison Support affix and high life should be super easy to get. That's all you need at first. You don't need a Chance to Bleed Support affix until you have your helmet situation finished, since Skeletons won't have a socket for Bloodlust until you do.

A Shaper ring with any amount of +LoH from Spells that also has solid life and resists will go a long way toward protecting you while mapping. Ball Lightning hits an absurd amount of times, and with GMP it covers the whole screen. Your life will rarely appear to drop, as you can see from my videos, and part of that is because of freeze and minion body blocking, but the other part is the huge incoming recovery you're constantly getting. But you need to have your Gloves with Poison before you can use GMP and take full advantage of screen-wide LoH.

A Shaper claw with Maim is a good starter. That gives you the protection of Maim's slow and boosts Skeleton DPS. The +1 to gems isn't as impactful until you can afford an Empower Support. Minion Damage Support can sub in for it until then.

You can now start investing more into your jewels. T1 life, T1 minion attack/cast speed, T1 minion attack/cast speed on kill. You do not need any flat damage on jewels. That's just a bonus if it has one, or something you end up with after you try exalting your own T1 3-property jewels.

All that's left are +1 Spectre boots. These are not a priority. Two Frost Sentinels are enough. But once you have a few exalts burning a hole in your Currency tab and everything else is on the higher end of your budget limit, then you can think about luxury boots. Don't compromise on life or resistances and especially not on movement speed.

You're pretty much done, anything more is icing. Eventually you'll want a +1 curse amulet and a curse corruption on gloves.
Last edited by Hercanic on Apr 15, 2019, 11:21:31 AM
After this point, follow the main guide.
Last edited by Hercanic on Apr 15, 2019, 11:21:40 AM

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