[3.5] Tao's Soulwrest Necro - 5-Ascendancy Auto-Summoner - Off-screen ultra farmer.

I'm Tao, and this is my first written guide. I'm happy to share my development on a pretty popular build idea this league: the Soulwrest summoner! To give credit where it's due, my build started out based on Engineering Eternity's Phantastic Soulwrest Video Guide, and as I played it, it evolved into my own. I've completed almost all in-game content with this build; more than I have on any other character since I started playing before 2.0. I'm confident it is capable of killing uber elder, hitting level 100, or anything else you could ever want to do in Path of Exile.

What can you expect?
This is an EXCEPTIONALLY low-cost, high-value build that can carry you through essentially all* game content. At the time of writing, the 3 required unique items cost a total of 15c; no requirements for 6L or anything.
*See Disclaimer below.

This is a work-in-progress. I've done almost everything up to Uber Elder. I have accomplished a great deal more than I ever expected to with this build, but there is still a ton of room for optimization. I gladly welcome feedback, criticism, or optimization ideas/tips.

16 Jan 19: Initial post
27 Jan 19: Added pantheon + various optimizations, added end-game gear ideas, reworked chest links

T12 Map clear demo
T15 Map clear demo
Double T16 Phoenix + Vaal Temple
Delve 230+ demo
(More coming soon!)

Killed Shaper
Killed T15 Elder
155/159 on atlas (only 4 unique maps remain)
Died over 300 times
only at delve ~230, but it still feels as easy as delve ~50...


Pros & Cons

-Insane Clear Speed (wipes off screen at full tilt with flasks and phase run active.)
-Insane Single-Target (partially thanks to minion taunt/blind/hinder jewels)
-Smooth and FAST gameplay
-Low effort; 99% of the time you're just running and spamming phase run.
-Delving is a nearly-sexual experience (sprint to point, and afk, collect loot)
-DECENTLY tanky (by virtue of the fact that "they can't kill if you they're all dead)
-In party play, you pick up loot while your friends desperately fight for their lives, but you carry them too hard for them to complain.

-less life than a 100ex ES LL RF guardian/occultist
-No Fortify; phys damage can actually murder you if you're not careful
-party might cry about eye cancer cuz they are weak, just remind them it's not CoC ice nova shadow w/ screenshake on.
-No gap-close movement skill like flame dash or leap slam.


Build-Enabling Mechanics + Requirements
This build is a Necromancer-ascendancy summoner which utilizes the Soulwrest staff.

The staff

Upon consumption of a corpse, a phantasm minion is spawned; these minions fire little ghostly arrows that deal physical damage. We exploit a form of "double-dipping" here by socketing a Summon Phantasm of Kill Support Gem into this staff, which allows us to effectively double our number of phantasms. Other socketed gems support the phantasms, which means we don't necessarily require links to make them do insane amounts of damage!

Sustaining trash bags phantasms

So that staff is awesome, great... "But Tao, how do we 'consume corpses?'" you ask? Well buckle up, turbo, it's about to get wild.
Most soulwrest builds recommend the use of the Bubonic Trail unique boots, which grant us Death Walk, consuming corpses that we walk over... And that's neat and everything... but I'm exceptionally lazy... so I decided to use The Queen's Hunger body armor, which auto-triggers a random Offering every 5 seconds. This armor basically grants us the Mistress of Sacrifice Necromancer Ascendancy passive. This is effectively like having 5 big Ascendancy points, which is what I think really takes this build to the next level.


General mapping/Delving

You drop a few desecrates, walk over the bodies, or wait for Queen's Hunger to pop an offering. Once you have some phantasms, you can start rolling. Your phantasms shoot ranged attacks, and they'll kill stuff all around you off screen; you'll inevitably walk over some bodies, summoning more phantasms, or your armor will pop another offering, keeping you nicely topped off at 20/21 phantasms all the time.
The offering is random, but only 2 of the 3 offerings really help us: flesh offering makes the minions do more damage, and spirit offering really boosts our ES.

Boss fighting

You should be carrying your full team into most boss fights, since the tree gives us so much skill duration, they actually last a pretty long time (over 35 sec for my particular setup). In the case that the boss vaporizes some minions (he's going to be pissed because of minion instability) but you can just cast a desecrate, and summon 5 more (out of 10) skeletons every few seconds; the Queen's hunger will pop the bodies you desecrated under the boss periodically, keeping your phantasms up. The Skeletons are the REAL backbone of our single-target damage anyway, so make sure you keep as many as you can up at once (max: 10), and feel free to drop the Vaal skeletons at the start of the fight (or the the longest phase, if you know the boss has a phased fight).


Passive Tree
The tree should look pretty straightforward.
We are grabbing the big minion damage, a ton of ES, and as many jewel slots as is convenient.
Minion Instability helps on big bosses that kill our skeles, which is nice.

Level 94 Passive Tree

Ascendancy: Necromancer
Commander of Darkness -> Invoker -> Bone Sculptor -> Puppet Master

Taking Commander of Darkness first gives you the resistances you probably need first, Invoker into Bone Sculptor is the single-target sauce, and Puppet Masters is that final icing on the cake to really push your clear speed to the next level. Read more in the Gear section about why we don't take Mistress of Sacrifice!

Bandits: Kill 'em all.

Major: Brine King
Minor: Gruthkul
Possible alternatives include Solaris (for boss killing), Lunaris+Garukhan for general mapping QoL (movement speed).


Start with a 6 socket Soulwrest, any socket Queen's Hunger body armor, and any Bubonic Trail boots. Once you've got those three, you can start rolling, and everything else in the build is icing on the cake.

My Gear


We take one From Dust for the skeleton QoL improvement.
The Energy from within goes near Melding.

The rest of the jewels should be T1 ES (46-50), Flat phys, and on at least 3 of them, get the abyss mods: Blind, Taunt, and Hinder.
Other solid affixes include the "Minions have #% increased attack and cast speed if you or your minions have killed recently" or "Minions have #% increased movement speed."
Minion life does NOT help us here, since we're indefinitely renewing the phantasms, their life is irrelevant.

"What stats should I be looking for?"

For the rares, you want to meet your dex/str requirements and cap out your res (obviously).
Besides that, you should be looking for as much ES as you can get, both flat, %, as well as Intelligence. Super easy, right?!

Getting the right helmet can be a HUGE quality of life improvement for single-target.
Ideally, you should look for:
- +2 to minion gems
- socketed gems are supported by level X minion damage
- #% increased Minion damage

"But y tho?"

Staff: it's the fuckin' build

Chest: because 5 ascendancies is OP af (read the Mechanics section), also if you're wondering why it's only 5L, check the Gems Section.

Boots: they are like demon Doc Marten's???

Gloves: Minions gain 20% of phys as extra cold damage

Helmet: Strong as fuck for Skeletons, which are our Single-target

Jewelry: Just to fill Stats and res... and the extra socket

Belt: Stats, res, and the minion abyss jewels are fuckin' sweet.

God-Tier/Fuck-you-money end-game gear ideas:

-23/23 gems would probably be insane?
-2x +2 unset rings (if you can manage the dex/int/base ES requirements) would -allow you to run the discipline in a second ring, for a lvl 25 disc, and put minion and totem ele res in the chest as a 6th Link.

Gems and Links


General (Links are irrelevant)

Corrupted Level 21 Summon Phantasm on Kill gives us a 21st trash bag. Not necessary by any means, but neat.

Optional Single-Target (Links are Irrelevant)

totally optional:

This just helps us keep the Spectres, AG, and Golem alive.
Spectres are 1x Stygian Silverbacks from Act 2, as they grant Frenzy charges, and 1x Host Chieftan from Act 7 for power charges. Find them in their native zones, then desecrate and resummon them in the highest tier map/delve/zone you are working in. Blood magic allows the monkeys to keep frenzy and power charges maxed out; pull the BM gem to summon the spectres, AG, and golem.

Note about summoning Spectres
Summoning Spectres is quirky as hell, since the spectre gem is in the chest, and the chest auto-consumes bodies every 5 seconds... that means that you have to desecrate, and target the body you want to raise as a spectre, and summon it all within 5 seconds. This can kinda be a pain in the ass, but it's not so bad once you get accustomed to it. It's just worth noting that it's just a quirky consequence of the build.



CWDT Level 1
Immortal Call Level 3
Projectile Weakness Level 5
Convocation level 5


These can go anywhere, and it doesn't matter, so long as you don't link Discipline with Generosity.

Animate Guardian Gear

Leer Cast (Gives damage)
Dying Breath (Gives Damage)
Victario's Flight (gives move speed)
Southbound gloves(Improves AG Survivability)
Gruthkul's Pelt (Improves AG Survivability)

The Southbound gloves and Gruthkul's chest could theoretically be swapped for something more offensive, but because we get the MAJORITY of utility from the first 3 items (dying breath, leer cast, and vicatrio's flight), we just really need the AG to stay alive. I've experimented with a variety of setups, and this one is the most consistent; anything else in the chest and he just dies. Ambu's charge doesn't help because endurance charges don't mean anything to the trash bags.

If you got all the way to the end... Congrats! and Thanks for reading!
I have REALLY loved playing this build this league, and I hope that my guide has helped shed some light on the fun and interesting mechanics used in the Soulwrest Summoner build. I'll try to check back on this thread periodically to clarify any confusion, or consider critiques. I'll also try to keep updating this as I optimize it, and share my experience. Don't hesitate to ask questions, or share feedback or comments! Good luck, and have fun!

Last edited by TaoInTheShell on Jan 27, 2019, 11:44:07 PM
Last bumped on Feb 3, 2019, 11:30:31 AM
A delightful Build Guide! 10/10 would build if I was thirsty for Exalts!
Nice build. Did you killed uber elder?
Hi Tao, thanks for the guide!

I notice you are not running discipline in PoB, but have the mana for it, do you use this in game?

I'm wondering how you find late game defences using this ES version? I'm trying to compare it with my life/dodge variant here:: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2253282

Also wondering how often minion instability is proccing? Does it wear down those AOE bosses that kill a whole screen full of minions?
BatGlare wrote:
Nice build. Did you killed uber elder?

I tried it a few times, but failed. The damage output of the build is overwhelmingly sufficient, if not overkill. I think I just don't know the fight mechanics well enough, but I believe the build is capable of it. PEBCAK /shrug.

grimlock9999 wrote:
Hi Tao, thanks for the guide!

I notice you are not running discipline in PoB, but have the mana for it, do you use this in game?

I'm wondering how you find late game defences using this ES version? I'm trying to compare it with my life/dodge variant here:: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2253282

Also wondering how often minion instability is proccing? Does it wear down those AOE bosses that kill a whole screen full of minions?

I've updated the PoB, it should reflect the use of discipline. In regards to Minion Instability, I don't know. It "FEELS" pretty good, and I just subjectively tested both with, and without it, and decided to keep it. Having taken all the defensive nodes on the tree, there isn't much left to grab with those points anyway.

Regarding defenses:
I think the playstyle difference between the build probably affect how "tanky" one might feel over the other, but I very strongly prefer 100% chaos immunity, it makes just general QoL very high. The glaring weakness of the defensive setup of my build is the lack of fortify. Besides that, I think the higher base EHP pool of ES + CI is my preference over life/dodge, but for very specific situations, the consistent life regen might be preferable, though there are only a few cases where I think that'd be so.
Additionally, with my armor choice, the auto-cast of Spirit offering makes ES absolutely superior to a life, and has saved my bacon on multiple occasions.
Overall, after comparing our builds, I think my CI configuration is probably tankier, though requires more investment in late-game T1 ES jewels to really squeeze as much out of ES as possible. At a substantially lower budget, life is higher value, though I've made no accommodation for dodge in my tree.
No chaos damage does sound nice. Thanks for your reply.
Trying this build out, witch is lvl 28. A leveling guide would be nice :)
Edit: Made it to 78 and getting 1 shot by syndicate. But easily clearing maps my level. Either Im missing something defensively in the build or I need more ES, it is 5500 currently.
Last edited by vagrentlord on Jan 30, 2019, 10:15:42 AM
vagrentlord wrote:
Trying this build out, witch is lvl 28. A leveling guide would be nice :)
Edit: Made it to 78 and getting 1 shot by syndicate. But easily clearing maps my level. Either Im missing something defensively in the build or I need more ES, it is 5500 currently.

First of all, thanks for trying the build!
I apologize; I didn't include a leveling guide because... I didn't level with it, I actually converted another witch over to this build at around level 75.

To address the defenses:
The build is particularly susceptible to one-shots if you're unphased or not "kiting." The syndicate fortresses are especially problematic if they contain Cameria, as running over just a few of his ice spikes can basically kill you, even me, with 7.5k ES. My first recommendation is to just prioritize T1 ES rolls on the abyss jewels (46-50 flat ES) as damage is essentially a nonissue for this build. I think the build feels a LOT better around 6-6.5k ES, most of which is acquired in the tree between level 85-95, so you have a lot of ES left to get, being only level 78.

Secondly, try to include a phasing flask so that during the cooldown of phase run, you can stay phased, and basically never stop moving. If you feel like there's a lot of incoming damage, kite away, and do some "gun runs" with the trash bags by blasting back through the syndicate area a few times. You can trigger a convocation-like effect with the ghosts by running quickly away from them so they are forced to spawn on your location, since there's effectively a "leash" or distance limit your summons can be from you. Doing this will ensure that your ghosts are mobbed up, and is about as good as it gets for "target focus."

I hope this helps! Let me know how it goes!
Why are you using lightning golem? The golem buffs don't transfer to your minions as far as I know, and you don't seem to cast that much that you would need the extra cast speed. Wouldn't chaos golem be better for the extra damage reduction?

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