[3.9] NecrooKeeper - Tanky & Cheap Spectre/Skellies/Zombies LeagueStarter + Endgame Farmer

If you have questions, DO NOT PM ME, but post here on the thread instead. I will not respond to PMs.


This is my league starter "zoo summoner", aka NecrooKeeper. I've used it as my league starter for 5+ leagues now and I've farmed every endgame boss (Shaper, Uber Elder, Sirus, Aul, etc) and can breeze through fully juiced t16s and deep delves. My favorite part is that there are no “required” items, but the ones that give the best improvements are cheap which still allows you to do all endgame content on a starter budget (<10c + some selfcrafted stuff). However, the build scales very well as more currency is put into it.

Pro's & Con's

+ Can clear T16s easily, farm endgame bosses (Uber ELder, Shaper, Sirus) with minimal investment.
+ Can do literally all map mods (no regen is annoying but still very doable).
+ No "required" items but good ones are cheap, and build scales well with currency. Very SSF viable!
+ Very tanky and very high movespeed.
+ Can run with a 5L (or even a 4L) to endgame if you're poor.

- Summoner playstyle is not for everyone.
- Can get laggy if you have a weak PC, especially if you hit vaal skellies.

Path of Building Stats
Note: I use LocalIdentity1's Path of Building fork, so be sure to use that to successfully import this pastebin.
~4.6m DPS against Shaper (anti-POB-warrior explanation)
6-7k Life (221% inc)
>50% evade (blind aura)
80% all ele resistances
38% phys reduction
+155% movement speed with flasks (+90% without)


Endgame Gear

The total cost of this gear was around 10ex and change, but the wand was 6ex, chest was 1ex, and helm was 3ex. All gems were self-corrupted, but not at all necessary. This is pretty much the definition of "unnecessarily expensive". My cheap gear (which I still was farming t16s on and endgame bossing) had each item be between 1-10c max, and could just have easily been SSF.

Gear Details

The general theme of this build's gearing strategy is "get whatever stats you need (life, resistances, and dex) because minions are OP without anything". The items below are ordered by how important they are to focus on obtaining, starting with the most important. You should get the basic version of all items before trying to upgrade one to the endgame version. For example, if you're using a +1 minion helm with a 4L, go for a 5L/6L before you try for the +3 helm.

Shield: I always go Saffel's Frame. +4% max res is way too good to pass up, and you get some nice allres from it too. We are running blind aura, so losing the ability to block attacks isn't a big deal for this build, and the added spell block is a nice additional layer of defense. In theory you could swap in a second +gems wand, but I discourage it as you'd be giving up a lot of tankiness for it. This should be one of your earliest (if not THE earliest) purchases - it's usually a few chaos in the first few hours of a new league which you can get quickly with a few chaos recipe. It will also be your endgame shield.

Helmet: This is where you'll be slotting your spectres, so your eventual goal should be a +3 Minion Gem elder helmet with at least Minion Damage Support. The budget option is to get fewer +levels (+1 minions is dirt cheap and you can actually get it from a vendor recipe while leveling) and to cut back on the level of the Minion Damage Support. Even more budget (we're talking low single digit chaos or SSF/vendor recipe) would be to get only one of those two mods. If you drop the Minion Damage Support mod, you should use that as a regular support gem. I'd get a +1 gem with Minion Damage Support first, upgrade some of your other gear, and then come back for the +3 helm. You could get a +2 in the middle too. Remember that at Raise Spectre level 25 you get +1 max spectres, and we have a ton of ways to increase gem level in this build.

Body Armor: Any body armour that fits your needs works here. I only needed life on mine, so I picked up a cheap corrupted 6L (with the right colors!) that had a bunch of life on it. My cheap/shitty chest actually was fine for endgame, but if you're looking to burn currency, other good mods are life regen and % increased max life. 6L is obviously best, but you can actually get really far on a 5L or even a 4L.

Weapon: Any weapon here that gives whatever stats you need is fine. The best stats are +1 Minion Skill Gems (from Convoking Wand) or +1 All Skill Gems, and getting both on one wand is what your end goal should be. Any additional +minion stats are a bonus (though a high roll minion attack/cast speed can add a significant amount of DPS, but it'll be expensive with +2 gems). Don't forget you can craft damage/speed onto a wand too, so it's often possible to find a wand with an open affix for significantly cheaper. In 3.9, GGG nerfed the chance to roll +1 Minion Skill Gems on Convoking Wand, and so the early league prices of that item correspondingly went up. The +2 wand should probably be one of your later upgrades as they're very expensive for a league starter (for pricing context, my +2 wand cost me 6ex a few days into the league, and about 3 weeks into the league they're sitting at 7ex+).

Jewels: To Dust Cobalt Jewel improves the quality of life of our casting of summon skeles a bit. We reserve a ton of our mana and so waiting for it to regen before being able to cast a second time already introduces a "1 second cooldown" of sorts, so why not just summon a bunch more skeles? Other jewels can be Ghastly Eye or regular cobalt jewels that have life affixes and things that improve minion attack/cast speed. Flat damage doesn't do much for minions as we already have a ton. Ele res for minions might also be useful if you've swapped off of Purity of Elements.

Amulet: Life and stats. Get as much life as possible, and try to get a bunch of dexterity on it (if you're going to run Atziri's Step, you'll need 120 total dex, and we're sort of dex starved). When you have currency and you feel like it, anoint your endgame amulet with Ravenous Horde (2x opalescent + verdant). If you're rich, you can go for the +1 Intelligence Skill gems affix.

Rings: Life and resistances. Stack up the remainder of your elemental resistances here, with however much life you can get. Crafted life is OK so don't be afraid to buy a high total ele res ring with an open prefix and craft life onto it. You can also see if you can get ones with open affixes to craft +minion speed for quality of life, but it's not necessary.

Gloves: Life. It's (and often cheaper) to stack life on gloves (rather than life+resists) because most people want a lot of resists here. We don't, because we're necro and have a lot of other sources of ele resists. If you need some minor resistances, you can grab them here (or even craft them on; glove craft resists actually go pretty high).

Boots: Previously, incursion boots with 10% dodge, life, and max ms were good (and often cheaply snipeable), but then the dodge was nerfed pretty heavily in 3.9. You can still use those if Atziri's Step is expensive (for some reason). Now, Atziri's Step are better, so we use that. Get any defensive enchant on them (+spell dodge, regen, etc) which you can self-farm. Really budget (or SSF), you can use whatever you want.

Belt: Life and resists. Same story as usual. You can try using a stygian vise base to get an extra abyssal jewel slot, or just a classic leather belt for the +life. An endgame upgrade (but not at all necessary) might be an elder belt with +life recovery rate as that'll multiplicatively improve our base regen/panic flasks. You could also get some flask quality of life affixes here (e.g. craft on flask duration, etc).

Flasks: We have the luxury of using all defensive flasks. Seething flask for "oh shit", a quicksilver, a quartz (dodge OP), a basalt (we don't invest in armour so phys reduction is better), and a "luxury" Taste of Hate (for more phys tanking). If you can't afford the Taste of Hate, just any other defensive flask is fine (jade or granite). You don't need a bleed flask (Bone Offering provides bleed immunity), so just keep freeze, curse (for mapmod curses), and movespeed during flask effect flasks.

Important Stats

Skill gems
Vaal Summon Skeletons - Minion Damage - Deathmark - Brutality - Melee Physical Damage - Multistrike
Raise Spectre - Spell Echo - GMP - Pierce (Solar Guards from Part 2 Solaris Temple)
Raise Zombie - Meat Shield - Minion Life
Summon Skitterbot
Enfeeble - Blasphemy
Flesh and Stone (always sand stance)
Summon Stone Golem - Feeding Frenzy
Flesh Offering
Phase Run (only as high lvl as your dex allows, I use 10)
Flame Dash

Switchables: Culling strike can go on spectres instead of GMP when bossing, and you can swap in elemental purities for more +maxres depending on what boss you're fighting instead of blasphemy (reduced curse effect vs bosses) or skitterbots. I always keep Flesh/Stone running, though.

Passive Tree

Level 94: https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.9.0/AAAABAMDABzcm6H-jxRNCPQB5w3NSp-PGv5U_Ev-ClqRGJFqQxBRJbIrUJuKNZK-Txps-tL31xcv9khihpAz8B8czu_r6QI64T38VcbYva-ng9ssnOyDqsRo8uyKPC3jaozPXz_fitOPaqyeve8O0_sEswthYvSLdtle0B9Ms1BHrJhnm2D4NumJvMauxPbBBMBmiEA6xrzqWGO8n7c-RZ0lIWaeVi6uPsy8ns1tGaqpqH2a4CqYJKqmrINfplcRLVW1MtEb-jrpogCg5nGyR4WnMIVg5FGDzHyDOlhk51NSr2wEBxZva9seCBQgRUc5C03jJd9Nuf6B8kVncevupBk=

Bandits: Kill All

Major: Arakaali
Minor: Shakari
Upgrade everything that gives you DoT/Chaos defenses.

The tree is actually completely usable way before 94, since you're just grabbing more life nodes.


Disclaimer: The exact levels for trees may not match up because of the passive quest rewards.

The way I leveled this character as a league starter was to run as arc mines up until Solaris Temple 2 in Part 2 (basically when you can get Solar Guard spectres). Arc mine leveling is very smooth with the latest arc buffs, and since you run straight for the Spiritual Aid node, we don't even need that many passive respec points to switch over to minions.

Link skitterbots with infernal legion, it's free damage (they are invulnerable but still do AoE fire damage).

Also, use Purity of Elements when leveling (and I actually used it in for a while endgame too) for even easier gearing. Swap out the blasphemy for this.

Level 35:

Level 65:

Mindless Aggression
Unnatural Strength
Bone Barrier
Mistress of Sacrifice

Cast desecrate+flesh offering, pop all your flasks, phase run, and run around. Let spectres do the map clear while you loot, and cast skeles for tankier mobs (rares/bosses) and make sure to deathmark them. For very tanky bosses (metamorphs, t16 bosses), use vaal summon skeles. Use bone offering to remove bleeds or if you're taking a lot of damage. That's it!

Gameplay Videos
NecrooKeeper - Tanky & Cheap Spectre/Skellies/Zombies LeagueStarter + Endgame Farmer: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2724230
Last edited by OmniDefenestrator on Jan 2, 2020, 3:08:50 PM
Last bumped on Jan 11, 2020, 10:48:02 AM
NecrooKeeper - Tanky & Cheap Spectre/Skellies/Zombies LeagueStarter + Endgame Farmer: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2724230
Not CI, you will suffer from chaos degen. 75% Resistance won't cut it here.
Which spectres do you run? Solar Guards?
Weisshuf wrote:
Which spectres do you run? Solar Guards?

Yep Solar Guards. I've updated the post.

bvanharjr wrote:
Not CI, you will suffer from chaos degen. 75% Resistance won't cut it here.

The Pantheons and a little bit of chaos res on your gear actually helps a lot. Without them, metamorphs with chaos ground would wreck me, but after swapping (I think I'm sitting at ~30% Chaos DOT resistance), it's very easy to hit a life flask and flamedash out. If CI was the ONLY way to survive chaos degen, more than a mere 11% of the top builds (poe.ninja) would be using it.
NecrooKeeper - Tanky & Cheap Spectre/Skellies/Zombies LeagueStarter + Endgame Farmer: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2724230
I just respeced from an arc witch and i love the build, those solar guards gives you some nice suppressing fire as you march in, only have to back track for loot.

3 thumbs up!!!
Life goes by like a fart in the wind.

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