[3.9] Sayf's Safe And Lazy Skellymancer | 10M+ DPS | All Bosses + AL8 Content Easy
If you're looking for a summoner that uses a lazy playstyle while beeing able to clear reasonably fast and able to take a hit: here you go!
(I don't expect much interest so i'm keeping the effort low. Should interest rise so will my effort in this guide. Regardless, feel free to ask your questions below.)
I have about 3000 hours in poe now and by far most of it was spent with some kind of minion build. The last few years of leagues i kept on coming back to a variation of this summoner build. Now that i decided to stay in standard for a change i took the time to refine the build as well as i could while having some more resources at my disposal. Not that it's a big budget build or anything; picking the low budget options can still get you pretty far.
Also, i dislike the current meta of stat-stacking, baron-boosting and/or CWC spirit offering ("-abuse") but i do want an easy playstyle. That along with the fact that i'm an old man that doesn't have the fastest reflexes anymore makes this build and it's playstyle fit perfectly. I only hope it does so for you aswell!
Playstyle, Pro's and Con's
The playstyle is very similar to totems: for offence point your mouse to where you want mobs to die and press your Summon Skeletons button. For prolonged damage press at least two more times, preferably with a few seconds in between.
For defence there is alot more choice if you follow my exact setup. There's Bone Armour which you cast as soon as it's off cooldown or right before you expect to get some incoming damage. There's a movement skill to get out of the way (i prefer Phase Run). You'll have Vaal Discipline and Vaal Grace along with the flasks you choose to run (i consider these all utilities). Lastly there's convocation for when you run into that Cells map room and your meat shields decide to stay behind.
-No super expensive (meta) items required while still scalable to 10M+ shaper DPS with a little investment.
-Can take on all content.
-Very easy and laidback playstyle.
-Very respectable clearspeed
-Many layers of defence for the more gaming-impaired like myself. A more skilled and less casual player than me can easily take this to level 100.
-5k+ Life | 4k+ ES | 50%+ phys res | 70%+ attack block | 40%+ spell block | 40%+ evade | 20%+ attack dodge | 1k HP elemental shield from shield | periodic proximity shield from spectres | 2.2k shield from Bone Armour (for 6 out of every 9 seconds) | zombie/spectre meatshields
-Clearspeed isn't as high as the zoomzoom and meta builds.
-Because you're regularly casting skeletons gameplay might feel "interrupted".
-It's a minion build with all of its' inherent flaws. Some people just don't like that but i guess you're not one of them.
-Some map mods can get you on edge a little. You can run em all but be careful with ele/phys reflect, ele weakness and no regen. Like temp chains they can be annoying.
POB, Tree, Bandits, Pantheon
Path of Building:
POE Planner Tree
The pob and tree are for a level 100 character. If you need to lose some points go for the 3 from Utmost Intellect first (~20% increased ES). For more you might be able to lose 1 or 2 for mana reservation left of Sovereignty. Next you could scrap the 3 armour/ES points from the templar start. For even more scrap any points leading up to Constitution, including the increased duration points. That should get you to the low 80's level and able to work everything out.
Bandits: Kill all for 2 points
Major: Soul of Lunaris
Minor: Soul of Shakari (Soul of Abberath is also good, otherwise at your own discretion)
My current gear
(Disclaimer: I tend to experiment alot so this might not be fitting for this guide anymore)
Ideal would be a +1 skill gems and +1 minion gems wand but those are crazy expensive. The next best is a weapon with either of those and a few minion stats. Is that also out of your budget get a wand with just the minion stats. Whichever you end up using, be sure to have an open suffix for the "Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill" craft. Without that you can have a little more DPS but your fingers will be in a tangle pretty quick.
In order of importance:
+1 all skills
+1 minion gems
+% minion damage
+% minion attack speed
+% minion movement speed
(+% minion life)
(+% minion resists)
I love the Magna Eclipsis: high armour, decent ES, decent life, +2 to socketed gems and a 1k hp elemental damage (hit) shield for free. It's not mandatory but i'll call it "highly recommended".
You'll want +3 minion gems a decent life roll and the +zombie/skelly craft on it. As those are all prefixes so you can't get elder minion damage and/or minion life support on it. Try and get the + minion gems and life roll as high as possible and look for the suffixes you need (probably resistances and/or strength/dexterity).
An ES or ES hybrid base is probably best as we try to scale ES. The best lab enchant will be +40 skelly damage but there other options that work. I got a reservation reduction on there that saves me two mana reservation passives for instance.
Your body armour will be a great source for life, resists and defensive stats. Try and get these as high as possible and if you can get an open prefix for the 10% of life as ES craft. As for all armour pieces i recommend an ES or ES hybrid base. (for socket coloring an armour/es hybrid body armour would be cheapest)
For a nice DPS boost and some helpful stats get yourself a Grip of the Council. If you can get corrupted ones with +2 aura or AoE gems you put some aura gems in here and get an extra boost.
These too are "highly recommended but not mandatory. Rares with some life, resists and maybe +% minion damage can start you out fine.
Nothing really special here. Get at least some life and resists on an ES or ES hybrid base. Movement speed isn't mandatory but as you probably know a good QoL thing. This could also be used to get some dexterity/strength if you need it (both 159). Since my character is in standard i can use legacy attack/spell dodge versions. Even when lower now i still think +dodge chance is good to have in league. Also, rather spell dodge than attack dodge.
As for most builds a Stygian Vise will be best because of the extra jewel slot. Again try and get a high life roll with resists and strength as needed.
As we (still) never have enough gem slots both rings will need to be unset rings. Use these to complete your resistances and dexterity/strength requirements (both 159). High life and ES rolls are a bonus and don't forget both prefixes and suffixes have good and useful crafts. For a small bonus to ES try and get a +to gems affix so you can slot Discipline in it.
Again an item i like alot: Aul's Uprising. Next to a high damage wand this is probably your second expensive item. We use this to get ourselves a free high level aura (level 28 if you use a level 4 empower with a level 21 aura gem). I use (and recommend) Grace but you can use others like Haste or Determination. It 'll depend on your tastes and playstyle what you do. Just make sure to get the matching Aul's Uprising.
Your annointment should be for Death Attunement (Clear - Crimson - Silver). If that's too expensive you could go for Gravepact (Azure - Black - Black) which will cost you an extra passive point to get Death Attunement naturally.
There aren't any mandatory jewels but i have two i can recommend. First a watcher's eye. These can get expensive quickly but can also provide some very good boosts. You'll have Discipline and Grace (your Aul's aura) on you which both have some very good options. Second is either a Fortress Covenant or Quickening Covenant which you can slot to the left of the witch starting point. They both provide about the same DPS bonus so whichever you choose doesn't really matter.
The rest of your jewels can be any mix of life/ES/resists/stats/minion stats. You won't need defensive stats for your minions themselves but getting some blind on hit can be very helpful. As for offensive minion stats there is alot of choice of which i find "+% damage if minion skill used recently" to be the best.
Beeing the old man that i am i never really got the high flask usage into my gameplay. For what it's worth though i use a Blood of the Karui for the fast/extra heals, a big/slow anti-bleed life flask, a big/slow anti-freeze life flask, a Taste of Hate for some extra physical damage mitigation and a Rumi's Concoction (legacy) to max out my block chance. With me they're mostly for decoration though..
When collecting your gear be sure to cap your elemental resists to at least 75% as usual. Chaos res is a bonus but not high priority. Also keep in mind you'll need 159 strength for the shield and 159 dexterity for a level 21 Grace gem. If you can't get that at first remember you can take a +30 strength and a +30 dexterity node in your passives, right of the witch starting point. Jewels and crafts can also help you with stat requirements.
*Any of the gems listed here can be replaced with an awakened version if it exists for an upgrade.
You'll need to socket your weapon with Desecrate, an Offering and a Curse so they'll be cast automatically by the trigger craft.
-Desecrate can be lvl 1 and doesn't need quality.
-For offerings i prefer Bone Offering which is your pure defensive option with +27% spell and attack block and some life on block. You could also go with Spirit Offering which gives some defense in the form of ~1500 extra ES, +23% all resist and offence in the form of ~15% more skelly DPS. Flesh Offering is also an option but that only gives you 15% movement speed and ~13% more skelly DPS. Remember that these bonusses will be on you pretty much permanently as long as you regularly cast something (with me the buff lasts about 18 seconds which means casting 3 skills within 18 seconds for 100% offering uptime).
-For curses Punishment gives you the most extra DPS but only after the cursed mob hits your minions. As thats mostly out of your influence you're better off with Frostbite as an offensive curse. Frostbite gives a little more DPS than Vulnerability with the added bonus of some freeze chance and duration.
Your best defensive option will be Enfeeble reducing overal damage done by enemies. Temporal Chains is also an option if you prefer its' slowing effect.
Raise Spectre + Blood Magic + Animate Guardian + Meat Shield
The Meat Shield will keep your spectres and (eventually) valuable animated guardian safe while Blood Magic allows your spectres to regularly buff your minions. More on spectres and the animated guardian further on.
Raise Zombie + Vaal Grace + Empower
With a level 4 Empower and level 21 Raise Zombie and Vaal Grace gems the Magna Eclipsis will boost your zombies to level 31 and your grace to level 28. That's 3795 evasion rating for free with Aul's Uprising and 12 meat shields with 51k health.
You can use a normal (non-Vaal) Grace but that would mean you don't have a very strong defensive cooldown skill that can save your (and friends') life.
Summon Skeletons + Minion Damage + Melee Physical Damage + Hypothermia + Ruthless + Maim
When still on a 5-link drop the Maim gem. While mapping (non-single target) you're better off swapping Ruthless with Melee Splash. In standard i do all my mapping with an Item Quantity gem swapped in for Maim aswell which effectively makes it a 4-link and still it's no sweat.
You can go for Vaal Summon Skeletons but for stable DPS it's better to have a level 21/20q gem and a level 21 Vaal gem is generally quite expensive.
Gloves / Boots
Next are your aura's in a 4-link. If you have either gloves or boots corrupted with +2 aura's or +2 AoE put these in there.
Summon Skitterbots + Hatred + Generosity + Enlighten
The Skitterbots are there to make sure everything that needs to gets shocked and/or chilled. Hatred with Generosity is a big damage boost for all your minions. The enlighten is needed to be able to run Discipline aswell.
Your other 4-link will be your preferred golem and movement skill:
Summon Chaos Golem + Feeding Frenzy + Elemental Army | Phase Run
For my golem i prefer Chaos Golem for the extra Physical damage mitigation and it's own survivability (it's agressive because of Feeding Frenzy). A Carrion Golem buffs your skeletons with a little extra damage (~20k DPS per skelly) but tends to die sometimes.
Feeding Frenzy is there to buff all your minions with damage, attack- and movement speed. The Elemental Army gem makes your golem apply a little cold penetration on enemies while buffing his resists so he can survive his agressive fits.
The 4th socket is for your movement skill. I use Phase Run myself (your dex can support it) but you can use whichever you prefer.
You'll need two unset rings for the last two gems:
Vaal Discipline | Convocation
If you have a +x to gem level ring put the Discipline in there. Convocation is not mandatory but definately good to have. Use it to pull your meat shields to you instantly when they're stuck or you need them to avoid a boss mechanic or something. The small (~8%) heal it does is an added bonus.
Spectres and Animated Guardian
With a +1 wand, a +3 helmet and a level 21 gem your Raise Spectres gem will be level 27. For your 4th Spectre you'll only need level 25 so you have some room there. Either way, your first two spectres should be a Carnage Chieftain and a Host Chieftain (both can be found in Act 7 - The Ashen Fields).
Your 3rd spectre can be anything basically but remember your spectres aren't setup to do any meaningful damage. I recommend getting an Undying Evangelist (Act 3 - The Sceptre of God) who'll periodically cast a big yellow bubble that 'll make you immune from any damage coming from outside that bubble. It's not something to work your gameplay around but i'm confident it saved my life more than once without me knowing.
Your 4th spectre should be another Carnage Chieftain. The Frenzy Charges it provides grant alot of extra damage and since you're regularly summoning new skeletons they tend to miss out on more than 1 or 2 charges with just one Chieftain.
Animate Guardian is a very unique and interesting skill that opens up many options for boosting a party. Many people more clever than me have come up with all kinds of combinations of gear to give him but i'll stick to just a few suggestions that have worked for me (and still do).
First, in case a newer player reads this: Animate Guardian is a skill that lets you build your own minion to spec by casting the skill on (identified) gear laying on the ground. You can equip him with a weapon (1x 2h or 2x 1h) and full set of armour that way and he'll gain all the mods that are on the gear you give him. When he dies though all the items you gave him will be lost! Therefore make sure you only equip him with the more expensive items when you're sure he won't die. Don't come crying to me when you lose 15ex in gear to him dying ;)
With that said, i think it's been several leagues ago that my AG last died and that was in a time where we didn't have the layers of protection we have today. I have to admit though that i still don't dare take him when killing Sirus (even though he'd probably survive).
So, for some low-budget/try-out suggestions:
Weapon: Dying Breath (small damage and curse effect aura)
Helmet: Leer Cast (small damage aura)
Body Armour: Belly of the Beast (decent life and resists)
Gloves: Southbound (decent life)
Boots: Victario's Flight (movement speed aura)
For high-budget suggestions:
Weapon: Kingmaker (aura for: culling strike, crit multi, fortify and rarity)
Helmet: Crown of the Tyrant (ele penetration and added ele damage aura)
Body Armour: Gruthkul's Pelt (high life regen)
Gloves: Southbound (decent life)
Boots: Victario's Flight (movement speed aura)
Thanks for reading and i hope you have as much fun as i have with this build! Feel free to ask your questions if you have any.
Last edited by Sayf79 on Feb 19, 2020, 11:37:18 AM
Last bumped on Feb 19, 2020, 11:36:51 AM
on Feb 14, 2020, 4:31:05 AM
Just came from mage skeles to this build. dying way less and seeing more dps. much thanks friend. hoping to make this my next league starter :)
on Feb 15, 2020, 3:47:19 PM
That's good to hear man, thanks for letting me know! At least i got to make one person happy haha.
I didn't include any leveling info but it's pretty straightforward if you have a little experience in the game. I usually do it by building the endgame tree from the get-go (IE: no respec later or anything) while picking up all the gems i'll need later on. The only thing is to use raging spirits instead of skeletons until you feel your skeletons can handle it on their own. You can link SRS with the same supports in the meantime (not optimal but good enough).
Did you have any issues re-building your character? Anything in the guide that's unclear?
on Feb 16, 2020, 4:02:39 AM
still testing it out. breezing through t14 maps without any issues so far. only issue im seeing is legion encounters but thats the bane of most of the summoners.
What spectres should I be running? I see the chieftens and evangelist, but i find it really hard to stay inside the shield given it runs around all the time. Thoughts on defiler instead for the debuff?
Last edited by Dixi3_N0rmous on Feb 16, 2020, 1:38:54 PM
on Feb 16, 2020, 1:19:39 PM
Nice, legion can be a pain yer. The best i think you can do is pre-cast 3x so your offering is up and refrain from summoning too many new skeletons while freeing mobs. Just to make sure they keep busy so to say.
The same thing for your spectre to a certain extent. If you spam skeletons alot they won't get the charges from your chieftains. If the shield is too much micro just go for 3x carnage chieftain and 1x host chieftain. That way your skeletons will have more frenzy charges on average which give a massive DPS boost.
A Defiler for cursing EW is an option but you'd better go with a Death Bishop (Act 3 - The Catacombs) then which curses Fosotbite. Either way you don't really need a curse spectre as you're cursing thing yourself without effort. If you really want to you could also go for a Reanimator (Act 3 - Lunaris Temple) which curses Enfeeble. Your two curses won't stack but plenty mobs would have either.
on Feb 17, 2020, 1:10:02 AM
What do you think about ele equlibrium, is it profitable for this build ?
Like, some lighting spell + chance on hit + curse + ele equlibrium effect ?
on Feb 18, 2020, 1:08:44 PM
Sure, EE would give a nice boost if you can work it in. I don't like playing with EE myself (lazy you know..) so i never tried to put it in. You're already doing quite some minus-coldresist but as far as i know there's no limit to how far you can lower enemy resists.
As you're already socket-starved you'd better limit the number of extra gems as much as you can. I wouldn't use curse on hit or anything but just replace Elemental Army with a pure non-cold damage aoe skill like ball lightning or something. Your minions' hits won't proc EE so don't worry about their damage types.
on Feb 19, 2020, 8:37:52 AM
Isnt it more profitable for this build to go on the right at first points ?
In this case we are trading spell damage for minor shield buff.
Would like to experiment with frost bomb curse on hit and avatar of fire, so frost bomb 25% + curse% + 50% EE must be a really cool burst for cold damage, yet doubt i can handle that tryhard stuff.
Last edited by myataiko on Feb 19, 2020, 11:09:48 AM
on Feb 19, 2020, 11:06:04 AM
Wow thanks! I thought i corrected that while making the pob/planner for the guide but didn't check. Seems it didn't get saved. I fixed it again and updated the PoB and planner links:
POE Planner Tree
And yer, EE for extra penetration wil give alot of extra DPS. How you do it exactly is up to you of course. Just remember that the Elemental Army gem that i've linked in with the golem applies Exposure already which doesn't stack with that of Frost Bomb. Because of that i'd still recommend using just a single gem for EE application like Ball Lightning or a Brand (and keep Elemental Army in though). That saves not only gem sockets but also doesn't need extra points for Avatar of Fire.
Last edited by Sayf79 on Feb 19, 2020, 11:37:57 AM
on Feb 19, 2020, 11:36:51 AM