[3.9] Lily's Elemental Undead - Summon Skeleton Mages - Boss Killer - Good Map Clear - All Content!



Hello, I'm MiniLily97, this is my first guide so hopefully it's okay ^^
Please give me any suggestions or ideas and I'll add them if they work, feel free to message me ingame or on discord for any help as well :)
discord: 𝕃𝕚𝕝𝕪#0420 (weird font so you have to copy and paste)
ign (metamorph): LilysHarem

I made this build wanting to play as a minion character but not liking the melee minions that much, even though they were strong it just felt boring. I always wanted to try skeletal mages but could never find a good guide or anyone that actually got them to do damage. After a lot of trial and error I came up with this build, which as of right now is quite cheap to gear, strong and really fun to play (at least for me). I hope anyone that tries this out enjoys it ^^

Special thanks to TheWizzzard for helping with the final touches to the build, as well as the format for this guide, their guide for their toxic rain miner boss killer build is here: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2688059

Thanks to: Grimlock9999 for their suggestions for the build.

Videos:
Spoiler
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxxTC2thEzw
Shaper fight, skip to 3:36 to see burst dps (that's without vaal haste activated, which would make it go even higher). Sorry for poor video quality, was the best I could manage for now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJNlPo3jt-U
Elder fight, I lagged really hard at the start I think because I was recording, but hopefully it shows how fast he goes down. (note the first part is without me using vaal summon skeletons or vaal haste).


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Pros:
-Good map clear, although may take getting used to
-High boss dps - 6-8M+ shaper dps minimum, should go to around 15M with vaal summon skeletons active and all buffs/debuffs applied.
-Fun to play
-Pretty cheap to gear, and then scales well with a bit more currency invested
-Safe playstyle allowing you to keep your distance and focus on dodging
-Amazing at blighted maps, we are the ultimate minion tower
-Half aura-bot, we run 3 auras as well as skitterbots and aspect of the spider
-7.5k eHP (5k+ life, 2.5k+ ES)
-All content viable, killed awaken 8 sirus with ease.

Cons:
-Can drop FPS, if your pc is low end you may not be able to play this build
-Skeletons don't follow us, so they'll have to be cast again, however we spawn 8 at once, so it's kind of like placing a totem.
-Can get smacked for 100% of your health if you're not careful, we have very little phys damage reduction, although you could experiment with a higher armour setup.
-Not beginner friendly
-No cast when damage taken setup, we have bone armour which is stronger but has to be manually cast which takes getting used to, however this can be better than a cwdt setup once you've mastered it.


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Why play this build?

Spoiler
Because it's fun to play and deals a ton of damage without much investment. I personally find the playstyle a lot more enjoyable than a build focusing around zombies or melee skeletons.


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How are we doing damage? How do we survive?

Spoiler
Firstly, we link our skeletons with a bunch of gems that give MORE damage multipliers. MORE damage is waaaay better than increased damage, and we want MORE, MORE, MORE.
Then we have our auras and debuffs, zealotry and haste increase our minions dps. Skitterbots apply shock and chill, and we have a curse on hit armageddon brand which applies both elemental weakness and elemental equilibrium, both massively reducing enemy elemental resistances. As a final aura we go aspect of the spider, to apply a MORE damage taken modifier to the enemy.
By popping vaal summon skeletons, flesh offering and vaal haste, we can do insane single target dps, or wipe out every mob on screen (and some off).
We also use our shield as a statstick with necromantic aegis, giving our minions spell damage and more importantly minimum frenzy charges. This means all of our minions have 2 frenzy charges, all the time, from the moment they're spawned.
Finally, we have an animated guardian that gives nearby allies fortify and culling strike (at endgame, early on it gives increased damage and curse effectiveness).

For survivability, we have 5k+ health with 2.5k+ ES so we have a decent effective health pool. Our ES largely comes from our Aul's Uprising amulet, giving us free discipline with some nice life and % ES.
We also have bone armour which is a 2.2k damage shield that has to be manually activated, however this is very strong once you get used to using it.
Our zombies are there purely as tanks, we have a good amount of them from the passive tree and gear so it'd be a waste not to use them. They're linked with meatshield and extra life, to taunt on hit and survive for a long time.
Finally we also have aspect of the spider, which aside from applying the more damage taken debuff to enemies, also hinders nearby enemies reducing their action speed by 30% (which makes dodging certain attacks a lot easier)


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Path of Building

Spoiler
https://pastebin.com/myDNHcxY

While levelling, fit in whatever auras you comfortably can, once you get into maps you can pick up the rest of the mana reserve nodes. There is a basic levelling tree in the PoB, I'll update that when I make this my league starter next league.

To check DPS for mapping/bossing, switch between LMP and slower projectiles and check configs to make sure everything is enabled correctly for the gear and skills you currently have.


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Important Info - Please read!
Spoiler
If you can't get enough mana reserved from your gear and skill tree, then drop aspect of the spider until you can.


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Gear:

Spoiler


Helmet:
Spoiler


Rare helmet with high life, reduced mana reserve, and + level of socketed minion gems with whatever resistances you can grab, aspect of the spider can go on any rare gear with a free suffix.

Enchant - Zealotry has 15% reduced mana reservation
Fossil craft for helmet is Pristine + Bound


Body armour:
Spoiler

Vis mortis is a great and cheap body armour that gives us a bunch of extra damage for our minions (as they do 100% elemental damage). It's also a good amount of ES which helps us because we're hybrid. There are probably several good variations of crafted body armour which would be better, but vis mortis is easy and cheap.
Shroud of the lightless is a good early choice giving us a cheap "6-link" with an additional abyssal socket.


Wand:
Spoiler

This is a decent engame minion wand, however you can work your way up to it, just focus on minion damage and cast speed early on.


Shield:
Spoiler

This shield is insane, with necromantic aegis our shield basically becomes a stat stick for our minions. Giving them minimum frenzy charges is the most important, which is an ilvl 80 redeemer mod. After that, get any spell damage, cast speed and elemental damage as extra chaos damage craft (lightning is most dps). I was lucky and also got increased effect of auras, which is a nice little boost.


Boots:
Spoiler

Early on you should go with rare boots with life, movespeed and resists. However for the endgame aura setup you'll need a level 4 enlighten, which is pretty expensive. I picked up these +1 atziri's step for 7c pretty late in the league, and then got the 4 offcolour sockets with the crafting bench, which cost like 100c.


Gloves:
Spoiler

Rare gloves with life and resists, I also got some dex for my atziri's step as well as vaal haste.


Rings:
Spoiler

An unset ring for our vaal haste, look for + level of socketed gems, life, ES, and resists if needed.
2nd ring just use to cap resists and any attribute requirements you may need, with life and ES.


Amulet:
Spoiler

Early on just get life, any attributes you need and an extra skeleton with elder mod if you can get it. Later on you want a discipline Aul's Uprising for discipline as well as a nice amount of life and ES.

Anointments:
Death attunement - Cheap and gives us minion cast speed and an extra skeleton.
Charisma - Expensive but gives a large amount of reduced mana reserved, which is needed to fit in the 5th aura.


Belt:
Spoiler

Life, ES and resistances.

Jewels:
Spoiler

Dead Reckoning - build enabler, you 100% need this item
Thread of hope - Needed to save a lot of points picking up Cruel preparation and ravenous horde. You need a medium sized ring, placed in the middle of the top part of the tree, right above the witch starting point.
To dust - DPS jewel
Quickening covenant - DPS Jewel, socketed to avoid the reduced movespeed. We use this instead of another to dust because this way we don't sacrifice more duration, which is really nice to have for vaal skellies.
Ghastly eyes - DPS/life
Watcher's eye - Utility, best mods would probably be mana as extra ES with discipline, along with phasing and temp chains immunity from haste. I got my phasing/spell dodge with haste jewel pretty cheap. Without this you want some form of phasing.
GET AS MUCH REDUCED MANA FROM JEWELS AS POSSIBLE.


Flasks:
Spoiler



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Gem links:

Spoiler

Skeletons:
Spoiler

Swap out LMP for Slower projectiles for tougher bosses (although keep in mind some bosses are better with aoe for minion phases).
Awakened controlled destruction is more dps than damage on full life, and doesn't require the skeletons to be on full life which is even better, however this may be an expensive upgrade. Other awakened gems to get: minion damage, spell echo, elemental focus.


Golem + Spectres:
Spoiler

Socket these in your helm with + level of socketed minion gems.
Spectres should be a Carnage Chieftain and a Defiler for additional frenzy charge generation and additional ele weakness application. We use a stone golem because we don't really benefit from any of the others, and the life regen is really nice.
Carnage Chieftain: https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Carnage_Chieftain
Defiler: https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Defiler


Auras:
Spoiler

For lategame, you either need a level 4 enlighten or these need to be socketed in +1 to socketed gem boots.


Zombies + Animate guardian:
Spoiler

Socket these into your gloves.

Animate Guardian gear:

Cheap:
Leer Cast - helm that gives nearby allies increased damage.
Belly of the beast - Life and resistances.
Dying Breath - Aura which gives nearby allies increased damage, and increases the effect of curses on nearby enemies.
Southbound - Life.
Victario's flight - Aura which gives nearby allies increased movement speed.

Expensive:
Mask of the stitched demon - Gives AG massive life regen when combined with the body armour.
Crafted body armour - With 10% of maximum life gained as extra ES crafted modifier. This gives out AG an insane amount of ES, which is converted into life regen with the helm.
Kingmaker - Gives nearby allies fortify and culling strike. A very nice upgrade.
Southbound or corrupted curse on hit gloves - Life or more curse application.
Victario's flight - Because there's no way we're saying no to that movespeed.


Curse on hit:
Spoiler

Socket these into your wand or shield. We use armageddon brand because it applies the curse AND Elemental equilibrium, if there was a good cold skill to reapply curses we'd use that instead for more DPS from EE.
You could also use projectile weakness instead of elemental weakness if you'd be more comfortable with that, and if you can get an extra curse somewhere then run both!


Flame dash + Desecrate:
Spoiler

Socket these in wand or shield.


Vaal Haste:
Spoiler

Socket this in an unset ring, preferably with + level of socketed gems. You could swap discipline and haste around if you wanted, which would give you a little more ES.



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Bandits, Ascendancy and Pantheons:

Spoiler
Bandits: Kill all.

Pantheons: Soul of Lunaris and Ralakesh, but go with whatever feels best for you.

Ascendancy: Mindless aggression - Unnatural strength - Bone barrier - Commander of Darkness


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Levelling tips and Gear:

Spoiler
Will update this section once I've levelled a character through with this build, as I switched from an already levelled different summoner build.
Last edited by MiniLily97 on Feb 5, 2020, 11:26:55 PM
Last bumped on Feb 15, 2020, 7:58:31 AM
Reserved.
Actually looks pretty decent, will look into making this tomorrow! Thanks for the guide.
Ok so I changed my other Witch character to this and it's actually really fun, really hoping I can finally beat Sirus awakened 8 as I have been having a few issues with him of late.

It's nice it can be done for cheap also as I don't really have much currency since I took a break from burning out but this is honestly giving me that revitalisation to go on and beat Sirus this week!.
Hi OP, thanks for the build guide, it was super helpful. I had no idea shields could be found that gave permanent frenzy charges! And can you really get value out of the damage on full life gem? surely things are bringing you below full life all the time?

I've been looking for cheap ways to scale skelly mage dps for a while now. This build has some truly impressive DPS, but looks too costly and not enough defences for my preference. I've found that the armour from lioneyes vision is amazing for quality of life, and that the extra projectiles from summon phantasms combined with projectile weakness knockback is an amazing layer of defence. Just wondering if you've tried those?

I can also highly recommend shroud of the lightless as a first chest piece. Super cheap, and you only need to 5 link it to get close to the dps of a 6 link vis mortis.

How do you survive with not much physical mitigation - For example, the syndicate members who appear on top of you with no way to dodge, and whack you?

And finally, have you tried faster projectiles and greater multiple projectiles with a swap to added cold and slower projectiles? It loses DPS, but gains a lot in the way of defences (knockback) and clearspeed, plus you get value from ailments without elemental focus.

Thanks again

"
grimlock9999 wrote:
Hi OP, thanks for the build guide, it was super helpful. I had no idea shields could be found that gave permanent frenzy charges! And can you really get value out of the damage on full life gem? surely things are bringing you below full life all the time?

I've been looking for cheap ways to scale skelly mage dps for a while now. This build has some truly impressive DPS, but looks too costly and not enough defences for my preference. I've found that the armour from lioneyes vision is amazing for quality of life, and that the extra projectiles from summon phantasms combined with projectile weakness knockback is an amazing layer of defence. Just wondering if you've tried those?

I can also highly recommend shroud of the lightless as a first chest piece. Super cheap, and you only need to 5 link it to get close to the dps of a 6 link vis mortis.

How do you survive with not much physical mitigation - For example, the syndicate members who appear on top of you with no way to dodge, and whack you?

And finally, have you tried faster projectiles and greater multiple projectiles with a swap to added cold and slower projectiles? It loses DPS, but gains a lot in the way of defences (knockback) and clearspeed, plus you get value from ailments without elemental focus.

Thanks again




Thanks for your reply! I'll address each thing you mentioned individually.

Firstly the cost of the build is actually pretty cheap, a 6L vis mortis has been around 70c for a little while now, at the start of the league it may be a little harder to get. I love the shroud of the lightless suggestion as an early option though, I didn't consider it for long because we're not stacking abyssal jewels like a lot of other minion builds, and it has a lower amount of ES, which we do want to have. The rest of the gear is pretty cheap too, some cheap uniques and then normal rare gear, the most expensive items are the Aul's (2ex) and the helm enchant, which varies in price depending on the base. The build works without these items, and they're easy upgrades once you've made a little currency.

Next up is the damage on full life gem, this is applied to our skeletons so what matter is if they're on full life. Because we respawn our skeletons pretty much constantly and we run discipline, they're normally on full life and this is a massive dps boost.

Lioneye's vision looks like a very interesting choice if you wanted to try an armour scaling version of the build, however I really struggled grabbing the nodes needed to really make it work, and losing a ton of ES really hurts us because we go hybrid (there's a lot of good HP/ES nodes near stuff we need, plus we run discipline). You could try changing around the passive tree to make an armour version, but I was struggling to find a good option that still gave good eHP.

You could easily swap the elemental weakness curse for projectile weakness, skeletal mages spells are projectiles, you wouldn't need summon phantasms for that to work. I tried going for an additional curse so i could get projectile weakness in there as well, and am still considering trying to force it in somehow. So yeah if you want the extra layer of defence you could switch ele weakness for proj weakness.

As for how I survive, I did list the builds main defences in the guide, however for situations like what you're describing, i pop bone armour and flame dash a little away, zombies taunt and i can pop vaal summon skeletons whenever i'm in a shady situation. We also have aspect of the spider which slows nearby enemies, and if you're running the more expensive animate guardian setup then you have fortify as well. I don't have too many issues with surviving most content, however you do need to be relatively cautious and i have been smacked for 100% hp on several occasions. A lot of it will come down to how you position yourself, I only ever die when I accidentally charge headfirst into a situation i shouldn't be in, but with bone armour, phasing and our flasks, positioning and surviving isn't as hard as you might think.

Finally you mentioned gem link setups. Skeletal mages are hard to get decent damage out of, and the vast majority of the damage we get comes from the skill gems used here. Stacking as many MORE damage multipliers as possible is the best way to scale their damage. I use LMP instead of GMP because the mages have enough clear already with LMP, and GMP costs us an extra like 15% LESS damage, faster projectiles would be nice, but you'd be sacrificing one of the ~50% MORE damage support gems, which doesn't feel worth it. With how the gem links are now, pierce isn't needed, nor is gmp, because the mages have so much cast speed and damage that pretty much any non-boss enemy dies instantly. The only time not having pierce is annoying is with the "nearby allies can't die" stuff, for that you have to cast your skeletons on top of whatever has that mod, same with proximity shield but neither feels like that much of an effort at all. I feel like a lot of people have played skeleton mages and haven't had enough damage or cast speed on them, so instead they go with utility gems like pierce etc to try help their clear. Instead if you get their damage insanely high with really high cast speed, the utility just isn't needed, it feels like you're dropping 8 really high damage, high attack speed, long ranged totems with every cast. Also skeletal mages can't crit and don't have any chance to shock or ignite by default, so the only ailment they can inflict is chill, which doesn't feel worth it compared to 50% MORE elemental damage.

Thank you again for your reply, I'll work in some of your suggestions into the guide when I have a chance and add a thanks to you! :)
Also I'm also now going to add a short video of the build in action, and will aim to upload a few more so people can get a feel of how the build plays.
Yup, great guide.
Last edited by wilystoat on Feb 4, 2020, 1:30:44 AM
"
wilystoat wrote:
Yup, great guide.


"
Ok so I changed my other Witch character to this and it's actually really fun, really hoping I can finally beat Sirus awakened 8 as I have been having a few issues with him of late.

It's nice it can be done for cheap also as I don't really have much currency since I took a break from burning out but this is honestly giving me that revitalisation to go on and beat Sirus this week!.


Thank you both! ^^
Thanks for the detailed answer, it is all clear!

FYI - Swapping in a lioneyes vision gives the same damage, 1K less ES and 18% phys reduction vs 2% or 34% vs 24% with flask up. It's just preference of armour and pierce vs chaos damage and ES.

Or if you want to sacrifice a lot of damage, you can become a very tanky witch: https://pastebin.com/17p1TSrZ
which would suit the slow players like me who watch TV while playing, and dodge like a sloth.
But I expect you'd then have to give up the full life gem for something else if you have no ES.

Thanks also for the videos and the credit in the guide!
(In the Uber video, what is she saying at the end? Sounds like "F#@K this sentence"..)
"
grimlock9999 wrote:
Thanks for the detailed answer, it is all clear!

FYI - Swapping in a lioneyes vision gives the same damage, 1K less ES and 18% phys reduction vs 2% or 34% vs 24% with flask up. It's just preference of armour and pierce vs chaos damage and ES.

Or if you want to sacrifice a lot of damage, you can become a very tanky witch: https://pastebin.com/17p1TSrZ
which would suit the slow players like me who watch TV while playing, and dodge like a sloth.
But I expect you'd then have to give up the full life gem for something else if you have no ES.

Thanks also for the videos and the credit in the guide!
(In the Uber video, what is she saying at the end? Sounds like "F#@K this sentence"..)



Hey, glad the reply was clear enough :)

I like the look of the defences in the PoB you sent, just a couple of things that I noticed:

Be careful switching back to storm brand, configs were still set to "enemy has taken fire damage" which made the dps look a lot nicer, lightning damage is most dps so try not to sacrifice that damage.

Awakened controlled destruction is better than damage on full life, for both versions of the build, however is a very expensive upgrade. I will add it into the guide as I was planning to anyway ^^

Not sure why you're using Unbound Ailments, I'm guessing it's to boost the shock effect from skitterbots but I'm not sure if it works.

My main worry is that you've dropped the DPS of the skeletons much lower, and the clear is probably not going to feel great. With the lower dps of skeletons you may have to stand still a lot to wait for them to clear packs, and the single target on bosses has taken a massive hit.

One thing I do like about that build is there's still a lot of gear that needs to be switched, like the amulet, boots and gloves, which could maybe give you some more added armour and life, pushing over 7k.

Also yes, that's Bex from GGG and I believe she is saying "F#@K this sentence" ^^

Please let me know if you try either version out and how they play, I'd be interested to see if the armour version plays comfortably at endgame content :)

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