3.10 ❆ iLL3aT’s Cold Skeletons ❆ League Starter to Endgame ❆ 100m+ Crit variant ❆ All Content

3.10 Commentary

Patch 3.10 brings with it a lot of nerfs, but nerf of one of the highest DPS summoner builds is…still half of the highest DPS summoner build. It will take some more time to get to the same level as 3.9, but a single one of our skeletons will still do more damage than most entire builds.

Nerfs first since that is what people are talking about most. Don’t take a shot every time I say nerf. You’ll die.

The effects of the nerf offensively: 40% less damage to skeletons, as well as losing up to two max skeletons. At 15 skeletons previously, this is a [1-(1/(15/13)) * (1-0.4)] = 48% damage nerf. At 12 skeletons previously, this is a [1-(1/(12/10)) * (1-0.4)] = 50% damage nerf. Considering that the starting point is 5 to 150 million dps though, this still leaves 2.5 to 75 million DPS which means…the build is still capable of all content. Feeding frenzy was nerfed by 14% for the socketed skill active gems only. For bosses, this changes nothing. For mapping, this lowers damage by 14% - not a big deal since monsters are typically not a big deal anyways.

Bone barrier was nerfed to provide no elemental resistances: This just means a little more difficulty in gearing. The spirit offering is a bigger deal since it no longer gives energy shield, going from the best offering to the worst. While I ran triple offering in 3.9 to great success, I do not think I will do so in 3.10.

We also lose two zombies (big deal) and our spectres lose four levels. Outside of deep delve, these extra minions do not die, so this should be a minor inconvenience at most.

Buffs: Dash gets a longer range, shoring up one of its biggest weaknesses. It also gains a green (and blue) support gem in second wind support, gaining cooldown recovery and second dash – it’s other biggest weakness. Dash has a super short delay, making it one of the most fluid movement skills already: This will make it a lot more usable.

Buffs: Cluster jewels: Not added to the build yet, but look promising! This is what will bring us to the promised land (100M). We are looking at the minion, aura, and life clusters for large, medium, and small jewels respectively. I have built a minion crit worksheet that I will share when it is done – the archetype is somewhat promising!

The Delirium Mechanic: The mechanic suits us very well, since it looks to be more of a focus on monster life rather than damage, like how metamorph was. Since we deal high damage and freeze, the extra monsters should not be an issue if we play safely.


This build features up to thirteen skeletons which can each deal over 6.2 million DPS, for a total of over 80m shaper DPS in 3.10 (156m in 3.9). Awakening level 8 mapping is smooth and safe, featuring over 6,000 life, 1,200 ES, fortify, five defensive flasks, chaos resistance, among other defensive layers. It is capable of killing all end game bosses, map at tier 19, and delving beyond 1,000. As more is known about the new jewels, the build is expected to change, but for now, most of the information is from 3.9.


High Level Table of Contents

1. How to read this guide
2. Build Overview
3. Videos
4. About the author
5. Pros and Cons
6. Path of Building and Passive Tree
7. Bandits, Ascendency, Pantheon, and Leveling
8. Gear
-------Post #2------
9. Gems
10. Spectres, Animate Guardian, and discussion on other minions
11. How to play the build
12. Advanced Mechanics
13. Boss, Delve, T19 Guides
14. Other setups worth considering
15. MTX Guide
16. F.A.Q.s
17. Update Log – Latest Update 03.31.2020
18. Credits


1. How to read this guide

The guide is split into sections, and then further into subsections (the bracketed numbers) – this is to help in navigation if a section points you to another. I would recommend reading through the guide rather than look just at the Path of Building (“PoB”), since some of my choices may seem odd without explanation. Some sections may also be marked as “Advanced,” and can be skipped by those just starting the game or do not care too much about in depth mechanics, but may enhance your knowledge of PoE, even if you are not playing skeletons.

I will be updating this build from time to time. The goal is to be a comprehensive guide to all things skeletons.


2. Build overview

This build is based upon using triad grips to fully convert the physical damage from the summon skeleton skill to cold. This allows for full abuse of the hatred aura – most useful when physical is 100% converted to cold, making for some absurd scaling that other variants of skeleton summoners or cold conversion attack/spell builds do not have access to. Defensively, it is a minion build which means there are many bodies taking hits meant for us. Due to how minions scale, we are able to add more defense as well. I would describe this build as more of an active minion playstyle compared to a normal skeleton, spectre, or zombie build due to having to summon skeletons, apply elemental equilibrium (“EE”), and optionally utilize other ways to increase damage.


3. Videos

3.10 Videos – Early League
A8 Sirus
Simulacrum, Waves 19 & 20

3.9 Videos – recorded when DPS was at about 80M.
Uber Elder in 1:35
640 Aul, the Crystal King with 100% increased AOE

Juiced T19 Map – no sound


4. About the Author

I have been around since the Abyss League, typically getting 24-36 challenges done per league and killing the league’s end game boss. I finished all forty challenges including 75 Sirus kills in Metamorph, and they were all done with this build. I have played a variety of summoners, including two golem characters and a totem build. I played a modified version of Viperesque’s Pure phys skeletons & friends necromancer in 3.8 and built this cold variant in 3.9. I will be playing cold skeletons again in 3.10, but likely with more experimentation and plan to play with cluster jewels extensively.

I am more than happy to help out with questions, but may not be able to help out with everyone’s specific character. As frequently asked questions come up, I will update the F.A.Q. section, so check there first if you think the question has been asked before!


5. Pros and Cons

(1) Pros
-League starter
-Able to transition from pure physical to pure elemental damage
-Stupidly high DPS on a low budget since skeletons are largely based on minion levels and gem links, but able to scale well with currency
-Sirus and Shaper kills on a 2 ex budget
-Tanky – A good eHP (7.5k for me after cutting life for more damage) pool and other layers of defense make it hard for you to die if you play fast and safe
-Freeze map bosses and monsters alike for additional safety – very useful while delving! The reworked shatter sound is also very satisfying
-Full mobility while maintaining maximum DPS
-Possibly a variant with mines. You get to combine GGG’s two most hated things: Minions and mines.

(2) Cons
-It is hard to see the boss and your character on certain boss fights with so many minions.
-Logging on and summoning minions is a chore. Don’t play this build if you crash a lot!
-The min maxed version requires good timing of frost bomb and button presses
-Delve gets hard past 800. It does have a hard cap at some point due to being life based.
-If this build gets too overpowered, GGG will nerf cyclone.


6. Path of Building & Passive Tree

(1) Guide to Using Path of Building
If you have not done so already, download Openarl’s Path of Building from the link below:
This is what allows for you to view my passive tree, and to calculate DPS, survivability, etc.

You will also need LocalIdentity’s fork version. This adds some more functionality into PoB such as correctly calculating multistrike DPS, impale DPS, etc. It is being updated by the community and adds more features and thus is a better tool than just the vanilla PoB. See below:

Install Path of Building and update to the newest version.
-Click “New” at the top middle to open a new build
-Click “Import/Export Build” at the top left
-Click “Import from Pastebin…” under “Build Sharing”
-Paste the Pastebin URL (see subsection 6(2) for the current pastebin) where prompted, and click “Import”
-Under “Build Sharing,” click “Import” once more

(2) Pastebin #1 – League Starter to Endgame (Recommended)
3.9 Final Tree: https://pastebin.com/j63vBAcQ
3.10 Tree: https://pastebin.com/r7ey6xdq

Alternate tree with a lot of armor and soul of steel by sKillmaTic: https://pastebin.com/y8wfVCEP

This version of the build can be played by anyone, is a strong league starter, and is able to get very far into the endgame. However, while it broke 100m DPS in 3.9, it is no longer able to in 3.10 after the skeleton nerfs.

Levelling trees are found in the leveling section.

Notes: Read these with the Pastebin, otherwise it may not make sense!
  • Actual DPS may not actually be 75M, but this is how all minion players calculate their DPS. Realistically with this much damage, the bosses are phased before the chieftains shout, so frenzy/power charges should be counted at 0,1 or 2 unless a writhing jar is used to get into combat early.
  • I make use of a medium sized thread of hope which drops from Sirus. More detail will be in the jewel subsection – 8(7), but it is essentially due to how skill point starved this build is
  • I use a Doryani’s Glorious Vanity in the jewel node to the right of the scion start area. That is why Pain Attunement is allocated – the jewel changes that to Corrupted Soul – gaining the player 20% of maximum life as extra energy shield. The travel nodes leading to this also get “corrupted.” The modifications to the jewel are specific to my jewel – losing the travel intelligence and dexterity to gain the Vaal modifiers. Almost no two jewels are the same, so your experience may vary – more below in the jewels section.
  • There is no animate guardian functionality in PoB yet – his stats have been added to the From Dust jewel. More on Animate Guardian below in subsection 10(2)
  • Grave Intentions is purely for Animate Guardian. If you are not running an AG with a Mask of the Stitched demon, the points could be better used elsewhere.
  • Avatar of Fire looks like a funny node at first glance. This is used to convert frost bomb from cold to fire. More on this in “How to Play This Build”: section 11.
  • We take all lesser value life nodes in this build – this is due to having either no life or crafted life on most of our gear
  • In the spiritual aid wheel, you will have to play with this to see which is better for your specific circumstances. Due to a flesh offering enchant on my helm, minion damage is better for me than minion attack speed.
  • Double curse is an option since we are close to the node.

(3) Pastebin #2 – 150 million DPS Crit Variant (Requirements: Level 95 & 100 exalts)
3.9 Final Tree: https://pastebin.com/UE7ZG3j5

Do not run this variant unless you meet the requirements listed above. Critical strike scales well when it is focused on, and barely adds anything if it is only partially added. A bottled faith and animate guardian with kingmaker, as well as perfect cluster jewels are required for this variant.

This hypothetical tree and gear is the results of my experimentation to see if we could get back the damage we lost between 3.9 and 3.10 through cluster jewels. With twelve skeletons at 13.1 million DPS per skeleton, that is 157 million DPS. This is made up of a combination of my 3.9 gear but scaled down, and some realistic pieces added. This is a glass cannon (still 6k life, 1.6k ES, fortify, blind, chill and freeze for maps) version. If you are not level 100, you will likely not have 6,000 life.

  • Very rough pricelist: Wands: 35 ex each, helmet, 30-50 ex, body: 4 ex, large clusters: 4 ex each, mediums, 1 ex, all awakened gems: 60 ex, belt: 30 ex, bottled faith: 20 ex, AG, 5 ex, boots: 5 ex, amulet: 20 ex
  • All the gear is realistic and not one of a kind in the league
  • I wanted to work in some small jewels (fettle), but points are too scarce.
  • Blessed rebirth and leech on a ghastly eye jewel will keep skeletons at 100% life
  • Thread of hope is broken in this PoB – allocated via thread of hope, and two points unused.
  • Steelskin in an unset ring is the chosen guard skill here since there is no armor stacking for vaal molten shell.
  • As mentioned in the main PoB, chieftain charges are not up all of the time, so keep in mind that DPS could be lower.
  • Frostbite is in the trigger wand, but I assumed that it missed - I did not check it off for this calculation but it could potentially increase DPS further.


7. Bandits, Ascendency, Pantheon, and Leveling

(1) Bandits
Kill them all. The two points gained are much more valuable than the benefits the other bandits provide.

(2) Ascendency

After the normal labyrinth, choose necromancer, and the following notables in this order:

Mindless Aggression – Gives offensive stats and opens up two more powerful nodes

Unnatural Strength – Scaling minion levels is super important. Essentially it’s about 20% more damage and 20% more minion life.

Mistress of Sacrifice - This is a good node with one offering (spirit offering – granting a lot of ES and resistances). With the triple offering setup, it is even better. More discussed below in the gearing section. I have this fourth since the Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill craft is not available early league and manually casting desecrate and an offering is not fun at best.

Optional: Pick one
Bone Barrier – Previously the merciless lab option, the removal of the 30% increased elemental resistances hurt this node a lot. It is still good, providing a good guard skill, increased healing, and 10% physical damage reduction. This is still a good defensive option.

Plaguebringer - For maximum DPS, Plaguebringer (10% more damage) with 10% reduced damage taken for survivability. The issue is that you need a corpse nearby, meaning for bosses, you would have to manually cast desecrate. If from a trigger wand, uptime would probably be only about 50%.

Commander of Darkness – The mixed option, granting elemental resistances to make gearing easier elsewhere, and minor minion damage and attack speed. Not amazing, but solid.

Personally I am planning to start with commander of darkness to help with gearing early, and then potentially re-speccing into something else later.

(3) Pantheon
Major god:
General play: Lunaris for the movement speed, physical damage reduction, and not taking damage from chains
Bosses (Optional): Solaris for more defenses against one enemy
Sirus only: Arakali for the 25% chaos DOT resistance if chaos resistance is not capped.

Minor god:
General play: Shakari for reduced chaos damage taken and immunity to poison
Uber Elder: Yugul for reduced cold damage taken
Burning ground delves: Abberath for immunity to burning ground

(4) Leveling
I personally like the leveling guides on this website: https://www.poe-vault.com/guides/quick-reference-leveling-guide-for-path-of-exile
List of all skill points from quests: https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Passive_skill

If you plan to level with minions, keep a DPS spell on hand (I like arc, but plan to try mines) as well. Zombies die easily early on but start to survive at around level 30. You get the option to pick up Summon Skeletons after killing Brutus in Act 1. They are not great early (like zombies), but also get better at around level 30. At 30 plus, minions are enough to bring you to maps, so the spell can either be dropped or just used occasionally.

Levelling Trees (3.10) – no changes to the tree affect us in the changeover from 3.9 to 3.10: 25 Points
50 Points
75 Points
100 Points
Final: See PoB – 6(2)

Note that I skipped ravenous horde since the end goal is to allocate it via thread of hope. The build is pretty flexible that you can aim for damage or life as you need it – no need to follow the trees perfectly. If you swap to elemental earlier for example, path to elemental equilibrium right away. If you acquire a Doryani jewel early, path that way. Some adjustments will have to be made if using sKillmaTic’s tree.


8. Gear

See below for my current gear. It is an example of very high level, but not maxed out gear in 3.9. 3.10 gear will be added once ready, but will likely not be as high tier. For gearing, just pick which level of currency you fall into. The gear tiers will be referred to a few times in the guide. Jewels and flasks will be in a separate section of their own. A progression summary will be at the end of this section recommending the order you acquire your gear.

(1) Mandatory Item

Triad Grips – These gloves allow for full conversion from physical to elemental or chaos damage based on the colors of the sockets. Elemental conversion is probably one of the most broken mechanics in Path of Exile, allowing for double dipping or taking full effect of items or auras. In our case, we get full benefit from the hatred aura, both the added portion as well as the more damage multiplier. At time of writing hatred is over half of my DPS. This is the only mandatory item for this specific build, as the rest are just recommendations.

Guide on how to get off colors on gear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kXPc8IomRI

(2) You have: Just reached maps and very little currency (Level 1 Gear):
The first goal would be to max resistances and to try to get some life on your gear as this build does not need anything special. Despite end game being a dual wield build, starting out with a shield will help out with resistances and life. Due to a Triad Grip being a unique item, it may not be available for cheap early league – there are no issues with starting out as physical skeletons and transitioning over to elemental conversion later on.

Your first major purchase should be a six linked chest – typically a tabula rasa or a corrupted rare with the correct six colors (3R3B). Life and other stats on top are nice, but may be too expensive at this point. A green socket (with hypothermia or impale if still physical) can also be substituted, but is not optimal for endgame for this build. While expensive, nothing in the game adds more DPS than an extra support gem for so little cost (relatively). The second purchase should be level 21 vaal summon skeletons. The 3.9 patch added a new divination card into the mix: “The Bones.” Six of these will give the level 21 vaal summon skeletons gem for a fraction of the price. Belt of the deceiver is a very nice unique early on due to intimidate (10% increased damage taken by monsters, resistances, and life.

By the end of Level 1 Gear, you should have a six linked chest, level 21 vaal summon skeletons, 4,000+ life and capped resistances. This should take you through to yellow maps or so.

(3) You have: 1 to 5 exalts (Level 2 Gear)
Starting in this section, the gear will be broken down by slot. In general, as resistance per piece of gear goes up, start to switch some elemental resistances for chaos resistance, as chaos damage is far more prevalent in this league than in leagues past.

Helmet – Rare helmet - This is where we will be parking some of our non-skeleton minions which we want to keep alive. They are not here to do damage so Look for an elder helmet with +(1-3) to level of socketed minion gems and/or socketed gems are supported by level (16-20) minion life or minion damage. Other useful stats would be life, resistances, and an open prefix for a +1 to maximum number of skeletons craft. Minion life is for keeping the socketed minions alive longer, and minion damage is for all minions to deal X% increased damage – your preference/availability of gear here.

Body – Six linked rare, with high life, possibly percent life and resistances. Since 3.9, it is no longer possible to craft an extra skellies onto the chest piece.

Weapons – Drop the shield from Level 1 Gear, since the best in slot will be two convoking wands. Look for either +1 to level of all spell skill gems, or +1 to level of all minion skill gems. Both together is the set-up for Level 3 Gear, but so far is out of this level’s budget. You will also want other minion stats on the wands including minion damage, attack speed, minion movement speed, and life – in that order of preference. One wand should either have an open suffix for crafting Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill, or already have that mod crafted. The Trigger wand may potentially cost double that of a full suffixes wand.

Gloves – Triad Grips – Four greens is best, but four blues will work in a pinch. The lightning variant is not quite as powerful as cold, but does good damage still.

Boots – Rare boots with life, resists, and movement speed. A nice enchant would also help.

Amulet – One of your bigger purchases at this level – a rare amulet with +1 to level of all intelligence skill gems. Depending on your budget, the other stats could be life, dexterity, or resists. Craft either life, a resist + chaos resist, or minion speed.

Rings – Rares with life, dexterity and resists. Prioritize chaos resistance.

Belt – Stygian Vise (or other belt) with high life and resistances

By the end of level 2 gear, you should have triad grips (4g), two +1 to skill gem convoking wands, a +1 to all intelligence skill gems amulet, 5,000+ life, and capped resistances including some chaos resistance. This is more than enough to kill awakening level 8 Sirus and Uber Elder.

(4) You have: 6 to 50 exalts (Level 3 Gear)
You’ll start trying to consolidate resistances into fewer pieces at this point, focusing more on damage and/or survivability. The triple offering offshoot is outlined in subsection (10), but unlike in 3.9 where it was the best option, may not be in 3.10.

Helmet – Rare redeemer/elder influenced helmet (bone helmet base preferred) – Nearby enemies have -9 to cold resistance, +3 socketed minion gems, socketed gems are supported y level X minion life or damage, and an open prefix for a +1 to maximum number of skeletons craft. Minion life is for keeping the socketed minions alive longer, and minion damage is for all minions to deal X% increased damage. To craft one of these, use frigid and bound fossils on iLevel 86 redeemer/elder bone helms.

Body Option 1: Non-triple offering setup: Six linked rare, with high life, possibly percent life, resistances, and an open prefix for the +1 to maximum number of skeletons (and zombies) craft. Alternatively, you could go for a +2 to socketed duration gems chest. Either mass corrupt chests, or purchase a decent, already corrupted with +2 duration gems chest, and then do the corrupted six socket and then six link recipe. All together, this would likely cost less than ten exalts but may depend on the time in the league. +2 to gems on your chest takes you to the level 30 skeletons unlocking an additional skeleton.

Weapons – Look for wands with both +1 to level of all spell skill gems, and +1 to level of all minion skill gems. You will also want other minion stats on the wands including minion damage, life, speed, and attack speed. One wand should have the Trigger a socketed spell crafted mod. Look for other minion mods.

Gloves – Triad Grips – Four greens is best – either corrupt them, or look for one with a nice corruption. These nice corruptions are the leftovers from people trying to roll four white sockets so they should be rather plentiful.

Boots – Rare boots with life, resists, and movement speed. Prioritize chaos resistance.

Amulet – Use an awakener orb to combine a hunter amulet with +1 to level of all intelligence skill gems and an elder amulet with +1 to maximum number of skeletons. Make sure there are no other hunter or elder mods on the base amulets! Craft life or a suffix to finish. Another option with an open prefix & suffix is to craft prefixes cannot be changed, use a scouring orb on the amulet, and then multimod for life and a suffix of your choice (resistance + chaos resistance or minion speed usually).

Rings – Rares with life, dexterity and resists. Prioritize chaos resistance. If you’re happy with a certain ring, use some catalysts.

Belt Option 1: Stygian vise with 90+ life, and high resistances. Use a fertile catalyst and then slam a hunter orb – you might just hit % life!

The upgrade over level 2 mostly comes from the two wand upgrades, as well as a few more skeletons and some more life. Damage at this point should likely be over 25m on PoB.

(5) You have: 50 exalts+ (Level 4 Gear)

Hard to describe since there are so many variations – essentially this is anything between level three and perfect gear (level five) so read through both subsections. The 80 million PoB DPS is achievable in gear level 4. Luxury items like bottled faith and awakened multistrike (among other awakened gems) support also fall into here as well.

(6) You want and can get: Perfect gear and perfect double corruptions (Level 5 Gear)

It is hard to describe the perfect gear in text, so I put together a PoB (3.9 still) with the goal of maximum damage while maintaining the level of defenses discussed in that section (See 12(3)). See the PoB below for what I feel is ideal gear given infinite currency and infinite re-tries for double corruptions. Most of this gear is for reference only, though a few pieces (wands, belt, gloves) are actually achievable. This build has fifteen skellies x 23.5 million DPS = 352 million DPS. There is a bonus of thirteen zombies x 872k DPS = 11.3 million DPS. As a side note – for experienced players, creating a theoretical max build is a good way to see how your build can improve, and how close or far you are from “perfection.” Note that the double resistance ring is no longer achievable, and that the 3.10 nerfs are not accounted for yet. This PoB will be re-made (it’s a very time consuming one) in a later update, once cluster jewels are figured out..

PoB: https://pastebin.com/6Hv0kVHf

(7) Jewels
This build features five jewel sockets, all of which cost two points are less. Due to how the scaling of this build works, gems are much less valuable to us than to many other builds out there. The five below are suited to my playstyle, but can be replaced by ghastly eye jewels if you prefer. The opportunity cost of one unique jewel is about 90 life and maybe 2% damage, so it is not too bad. One jewel will need to be corrupted to have “Corrupted blood cannot be inflicted on you” to have an easy time on Sirus.

Possible gem choices
  • From Dust – cheap jewel that allows for 4 extra skeletons to be summoned per cast. Not required, but a nice quality of life addition that is easy to corrupt for the corrupted blood implicit.
  • Thread of Hope – This is my favorite jewel for a lot of other characters that I have theorycrafted, usually able to get three or four keystones for next to nothing skill point wise. For this build, it is just used to save points when going for ravenous horde since it costs seven to path to ravenous. Try to get one with as little resistance reduction as possible. If you are willing to cut some life, it is possible to save three points from the minor nodes of cruel preparation as well.
  • Ghastly Eye Jewel – prioritize 30+life and minion attack speed. One jewel should have “minions have X% chance to blind on hit with attacks” for another layer of defense. Other useful stats are “minions have X% chance to taunt on hit with attacks,” “minions deal X% increased damage if you’ve used a minion skill recently,” and flat damage. Flat damage does not add a lot of damage to minions and is often grossly overpriced, but if you can get one, every little bit helps. For those: phys>cold>lightning>chaos>fire.
  • Cobalt jewel with increased life %, minions deal X% increased damage, minions have X% increased attack speed, and an additional suffix. These are technically better than ghastly jewels, but cost much more from what I have seen.
  • From dust – cheap alternative to ghastly jewels. They are not as good since they do not have life on them but are fine when starting out on a budget.
  • Glorious Vanity with “Doryani” in the description. The Doryani keystone changes pain attunement into corrupted soul, which gives 20% of maximum life as extra maximum energy shield. At 6,000 life, this is 1,200 energy shield, nothing to scoff at. As a bonus, it also corrupts all of the minor travel nodes on the way as well, some of which are minion damage, aura effect, life, resistances, and movement speed. The full list of possible corruptions can be found here: https://poedb.tw/us/unique.php?n=Glorious_Vanity
  • The jewel can be divined, but the name may be change, so it will take three divines on average to land another Doryani jewel. The Xibaqua jewel is very nice as well, but is too hard to gear for compared to a Doryani, so it is not recommended unless you already have that much chaos resistance.

(8) Flasks
Due to not needing flasks for damage (with one exception), this build is allowed to run five defensive/utility flasks to maximize playability and survivability. You will need to have at least three magic flasks in order to be immune to bleeding, freezing, and curses. I recommend the three “required” flasks and two “optional” ones. Where possible, try to get 26% on these via Hillock in research (betrayal content) My flasks, followed by the write-up:

  • Life flask – We are life based and without any crazy regeneration mechanisms, so a life flask could be a lifesaver. The best prefix is “bubbling” and the best suffix would be “of staunching” for bleed immunity. Blood of the Karui is an option to those who prefer it, but you would not have the staunching effect.
  • Quicksilver flask – Movement speed is a huge layer of defense, since if monsters cannot hit you, they cannot do damage. For maximum movement speed, the best prefix is “Alchemist’s” and the best suffix is “of adrenaline.” The adrenaline suffix has a range of 20-30%, with the 30% being quite expensive. If two unique flasks are run, then the suffix may have to be changed for one of the defensive ones.
  • Quartz flask – Two reasons for this – 10% dodge for both spells and attacks is another defensive layer, and phasing – super important so that you do not get stuck on enemy hitboxes. Roll heat or warding as a suffix, and increased duration as a prefix.

  • Basalt flask – We do not have a lot of physical damage reduction. Get freeze immunity and either reduced charges or increased duration.
  • Rumi’s concoction – For the triple offering version, this stacks on top of the bone offering block, taking you to almost max attack block while adding some spell block.
  • Granite Flask with increased armor, increased duration: For the molten shell/Vaal molten shell variant you will need this flask.
  • Silver flask – if you want more movement speed
  • Mana flask – Not required outside of no regen maps – I keep one in my inventory as a swap for those maps.
  • Bottled faith – enemies take 10% increased damage while on the consecrated ground created by this flask. This is for the rich guys who want to min/max damage.
  • Forbidden Taste – possibly as a panic button for those who like this flask.
  • Ruby/Sapphire/Topaz/Amethyst flask – for fighting certain bosses that do mostly one element
  • Taste of hate – lots of cold resistance – for fighting Aul
  • Atziri’s Promise – We run avatar of fire so you can equip a promise for the memes. It’s actually useful due to the chaos resistance funny enough.
  • Writhing Jar – for max DPS runs to get the Chieftains to cast their frenzy/power charges early.

(9) 3.9 gear explained
Helmet – Elder bone helmet with the purpose of keeping my minions (mostly AG) alive since spectres and zombies have started to die in delve depth 800+.

Body – The most insane part of my gear for sure. The crafting process was an awakener orb with the hunter and warlord affixes isolated on an 86 golden plate base. It had rolled two additional suffixes, but luckily the annul hit one of them (30 fire resistance) From there, it was just multimodded and taken to the temple, where I was looking for one of two mods (or the dream: both): +1 all gems or +2 to duration gems. Luckily this one worked out. This chest is legacy because of the skeletons craft now.

Weapons – Two +1/+1 convoking wands. The left wand was purchased as is and divined, and the right had good prefixes and an open suffix. I tried to metacraft it to have attack speed, at which point I would use a redeemer orb for the hatred mod. Unfortunately it did not work out, so it was left as is for currency reasons.

Gloves – Triad Grips – I used to run dual curse with enfeeble and life on the triads, but cut the enfeeble for more damage since it was only about a 4% damage decrease on bosses.

Boots – Just a nice boot with chaos resistance, movement speed, crafted life, and dexterity.

Amulet – This was just a lucky awakener orb craft. The baseline I was okay with was the +1 to all intelligence gems, +1 to skeleton count, and room to craft life.

Rings – Right ring needed to have elemental resistances and life. I figured a ventors would be nice for the extra item quantity. The left ring was supposed to just fill all the holes in the build: chaos resistance and life. I vaaled over 100 rings to get the hatred corruption.

Belt – Leash of oblation with the hatred corruption for triple offering.

(10)Triple offering variant explained

Credits to Bainand from the pure physical skeletons and friends thread for coming up with this variant. The core of the build is the belt introduced in 3.9, the Leash of Oblation, which allows for all three offerings to be active at the cost of 25% reduced effectiveness and 50% less duration. The reduced effectiveness would be countered by a hunter influenced body armor with the “25% increased effect of offerings” mod for a net reduction of zero. Offerings at 20 quality also have a base duration of eighteen seconds while the offerings have an internal cooldown when triggered via wand of five seconds, so cutting the duration in half does not have too detrimental of an impact while mapping.

Upside: The offerings are all very powerful and high leveled due to being tagged with “spells” and “minions.”. Flesh offering is offensive in nature, offering about ~10-15% more damage, increased movement speed, as well as having the best helmet enchant. Spirit offering is defensive, offering elemental and chaos resistances, and 33% of physical as extra chaos damage (It is effective at lower levels of gear, but drops down to ~2% of skeleton DPS). Bone offering gives high block and spell block chance, as well as significant life (750 for me) when you block. With no investment but bone offering and Rumi’s, I have 64 attack block and 38 spell block. Overall, this is a massive boost in defense and offense.

Downside: Without casting desecrate while mapping, there may not be enough corpses to get a full strength offering at times. On bosses, there are also no corpses so desecrate must be cast manually. You also do not get the full benefit of the elemental resistances from spirit offering since it is risky to run uncapped resistances when there is a possibility that spirit offering is not active. The body armors also become more expensive once a specific stat becomes required and losing the belt slot means some loss of life/resistances/utility. With the nerf to spirit offering, the best offering in my opinion, I would not recommend triple offering in 3.10 unless you craft a good body armor for it.

Body Armor Replacement: Six linked hunter rare, with (21-25%) increased effect of offerings, high life, possibly percent life, resistances, and an open prefix for the +1 to maximum number of skeletons (and zombies) craft. Alternatively, use an awakener orb on a +1 to level of socketed active skill gems warlord chest to combine with a (21-25%) increased effect of offerings hunter chest.

Belt Replacement: Leash of Oblation – possibly with a hatred corruption up top.

Trigger wand: Flesh, Spirit, Bone offering. Triad Grips: Desecrate

While it was probably the best option in 3.9, the 3.10 nerf to spirit offering means this is an option rather than a recommendation now.

(11) Enchants, catalysts, and anointments

Helmet: The best enchant with the triple offering setup is “flesh offering grants an additional 21% increased attack speed”, about 1.5% better (for my build) than the second best, and 2.7% better than the third best. The second best, but best for non-flesh offering users, is “skeletons deal 40% increased damage” and the third best is “150% increased effect of the buff granted by your carrion golems.”

Gloves: Whatever to be honest. Just make sure it does not do cold damage if you are not using avatar of fire.

Boots: Movement speed, attack or spell dodge, or life regen per second

Ring Anoints: Whatever you like – I like meteor towers personally

Amulet Anoint: Death attunement until you path to it. After that, influence to further boost hatred or charisma for less mana reserved.

Catalysts: Either life or resistance catalysts for all pieces, whatever makes the most sense. These are expensive however, so ensure that you are using catalysts only on items that will not be replaced quickly.

(12) Progression summary
  • Cap resistances with all rare gear
  • Six link body armor – 3R3B
  • 21/0 Vaal Summon Skeletons
  • +1 to all spell skill gems convoking wand x 2
  • General gear upgrades – more life and resistances
  • +1 to all intelligence skill gems wand
  • Cheap awakened gems (get a start on leveling them)
  • Cheap animate guardian setup
  • Craft triple offerings body armor
  • +1/+1 wand without “trigger”
  • +1/+1 wand with “trigger”
  • Awakener Orb crafted amulet
  • Awakened melee physical damage support
  • 21/23 vaal summon skeletons
  • Expensive animate guardian setup
  • Other awakened gems
  • Upgrade wands again
  • Vaal/altar endgame body armors (+1 all gems or +2 duration gems)
  • Vaal/altar rings for hatred enchant
  • Awakened multistrike & bottled faith
  • Vaal/altar amulets for hatred/+1 Curse
  • Mirror level wands
  • Finish decorating your hideout

(13) Cluster Jewels, Crit Minions Variant

---To be added later---

The guide continues in the following post!
Last edited by iLL3aT on Apr 4, 2020, 10:01:45 PM
Last bumped on Apr 6, 2020, 1:46:29 AM
Build Guide Part II


9. Gems

Due to the item choices, there is not much flexibility in where the gems are socketed. Gem levels are the suggested level at endgame, though if you can get a higher level/quality version, use that instead. Where there is 0 quality listed, it means that you can cut costs to get a 21/0 version for a lot less currency, though there may still be value in getting a 20 quality version.

(1) Chest - Skeletons:
Mapping: (Vaal) Summon Skeletons (21/23) | (Awakened) Minion Damage (21/20) | Feeding Frenzy (21/0) | (Awakened) Melee Physical Damage (21/20) | (Awakened) Melee Splash (21/20) | (Awakened Elemental Damage with Attacks (21/20)

If on a four link, drop the last two, and if on a five link, drop elemental damage with attacks. Damagewise, this could be considered a 4 link, since melee splash does not add damage and feeding frenzy only gives the feeding frenzy buff (damagewise). Melee splash speeds up clearing significantly while freezing groups of mobs – try running maps without it, it does not feel nearly as good. Feeding frenzy can be put on other minions, but for mapping, it gives skeletons a charge skill. Despite the loss of damage from the 3.10 patch, the utility and charge makes this still recommended for mapping. Change to another gem if damage is lacking. This puts them in front of you rather than behind you, again adding another layer of safety. Due to how conversion works in PoE, melee physical damage support is fully converted to cold damage.

Bossing: (Vaal) Summon Skeletons (21/23) | (Awakened) Minion Damage (21/20) | (Awakened) Elemental Focus (21/20) | (Awakened) Melee Physical Damage (21/20) | (Awakened) Multistrike (21/20) | (Awakened Elemental Damage with Attacks (21/20)

This setup is optimal for bossing since it gives five high tier support gems. If you are early on in the build and struggling with bosses, or just straight up want to delete them, I would suggest to swap to this variant. This build does not lack damage even when in the mapping setup, so if you do not want to gem swap, you can just use the mapping set up for end game bosses as well. Elemental focus has no downside since the end game bosses have too much life to freeze, though for delve bosses, I would suggest leaving feeding frenzy in since the freeze is great during the mob phases. For other freezable bosses that you want to swap or, deathmark is a good option.

(2) Helm – Support minions
Raise Zombie (21/20) | Meat shield (21/20) | Carrion Golem (21/0) | Animate Guardian (21/0)

The main purpose here is for your support minions to stay alive, and with level 3 gear, you should end up with level 31 zombies and carrion golems, and a level 30 animate guardian all supported by meat shield and extra life. An alternative gem instead of carrion golem would be elemental army for an easy 10% cold exposure if frost bomb is not used.

(3) Gloves – Green gems
Dash (12/23) | Phase Run (6/23) | Second Wind (21/20) | Enhance (4/0)

All gems here have to be green in order to fully convert minion damage to cold. Since getting enough dexterity is a hurdle for this build, I limited each gem to 100 dex – the same as a level 21 hatred gem. If your gear can handle it, phase run and dash can be leveled further. . The new second wind support is very nice for fixing dash’s problems – enhancing survivability greatly and increasing mobility. Portal can be substituted for enhance or phase run if preferred.

(4) Boots – Auras, Spectres – Be sure to keep this as 2 two links and not a four link!
]Hatred (21/20) | (Awakened) Generosity (21/20) | ]Raise Spectre (21/0) | Blood magic (20/0)

Since your character does not need hatred for its attacks, generosity increases the effectiveness of hatred greatly for your minions. For the second two link, spectres are linked to blood magic to enable the chieftain spectres to cast their abilities more often. I used to keep spectres in my wand, but found that too annoying since you could not weapon swap without having to re-summon all spectres. If this is kept in a full four link, then hatred will reserve half of your life instead of mana.

(5) Wand without “trigger a socketed skill” – Curse (or skitterbots), Exposure & EE
Frostbite (21/0) | (Awakened) Blasphemy (21/20) | Frost Bomb (1/0)


Summon Skitterbots (21/0) | Bonechill Support(21/0) | Frost Bomb (1/0)

Two choices here: Frostbite is nice because it lowers monster resistances, which can get high when monsters gain an endurance charge on hit and have a +40 elemental resistance mod on top of the natural resistances that rare and unique monsters have. Since it is usually not worth your time to frost bomb these enemies, frostbite is nice.

Skitterbots is the more offensive option, since skitterbots shock enemies for 15-20%, and chill enemies for 10%. The chill procs bonechill support’s line: “Enemies in Chilling Areas from Supported Skills have Cold Damage taken increased by Chill Effect.” Since skitterbots gives increased chill effect and bonechill increases this further, this results in about 15% additional damage – combined with the shock, this is about 36% increased damage taken by enemies, and works on bosses. Credits to Keyen and wazzupdj for this suggestion. The downside is that this reserves more mana than the other setup – I recommend a mana regeneration roll somewhere on your gear since a mana flask is not worth it.

If frost bomb feels too clunky, Armageddon brand and dropping avatar of fire is an option. We need some way to reduce elemental resistance otherwise certain bosses which can have random mods can become much too tanky.

(6) “Trigger a socketed skill” wand – Offering and Optional
Flesh Offering (21/20) | Desecrate (1/0)| Vaal Molten Shell (21/20)

Make sure desecrate is above flesh offering since the trigger wand goes from top to bottom. The last gem slot is variable. I’m personally planning to get some armor and am putting vaal molten shell in here. Other recommendations include frostbite (skitterbots setup), armageddon brand, convocation

(7) Unset rings (optional)
Various options here – convocation, portal, armageddon brand (for easier EE procs), even enduring/rallying cry. Summoners are notoriously socket starved, and an unset ring may help out.


10. Spectres, Animate Guardian, and discussions of other minions

(1) Spectres
Three spectres are normally available via gem levels and death attunement, but a fourth becomes available at gem level 25. Personally, I prefer to use two host chieftains and two carnage chieftains for greater uptime on both power and frenzy charges respectively. Charges are much greater effectiveness on minions than on players. Some other setups would have two carnage chieftains, on host chieftain, and another spectre – options listed below:

Carnage Chieftain – grants frenzy charges (needs blood magic), found in the ashen fields (act 7)
Host Chieftain – grants power charges (needs blood magic), found in the ashen fields. (act 7)
Death Bishop – curses enemies with a -40% frostbite (6 second duration, 10 second cooldown), found in the catacombs (act 3)
Ruins hellion – uses rallying cry (10%? Increased minion damage), found in the quay (act 8)
Undying Evangelist – Proximity shield, found in the (upper) scepter of god (act 3)
Slave Drivers – High DPS and fast clear, but we do not scale lightning and has low life. Excellent for leveling, found in the control blocks (act 5)
Redemption Sentries – High DPS, high life, Physical to cold attacks with AOE. Found in redeemer influenced maps
Arena Master – Beats its shield granting 40% movement speed, 40% attack speed, and 40% cast speed (4 second buff, 12 second cooldown). High life, but the sound is very annoying. Found in warlord influenced maps
Baranite Cleric – Aura that grants nearby allies 20% of physical damage as lightning. Tested – about 5% more damage so probably not worth it. Found in Crusader influenced maps.
They of Tul – Defensive spectre: Casts a swirling cloud that gives 15% reduced damage taken, 20% dodge each of attack and spell hits. Downside is that the visual is VERY annoying, especially stacked with delirium. Found in Tul breaches and Tul breachstones.

To summon a spectre, first kill the monster that you have chosen (you may have to put in elemental focus to avoid shattering them, and take out your offerings to avoid blowing up the corpse you want). Hold “A” on your keyboard and move around until you have the chosen spectre selected. Press your summon spectre button, and you will have your spectre! If your spectre ever needs to be resummoned, it should be in your desecrate pool in your hideout for a quick resummon.

Spectres used to be difficult to handle due to having to re-summon them at high monster areas, but this has changed with the 3.8 patch. Spectre levels are now tied to the gem level. In this set up with level 3 gear, the spectres at gem level 28 have a monster level of 88. They are pretty difficult to kill short of deep delves, so don’t shy away from spectres like I did when I first started!

(2) Animate Guardian
The animate guardian (“AG”) is made up of scarified piece of armor, keeping the stats and special effect of the armor, but cannot equip gems, jewelry, nor trigger most skills from gear. It can equip either two one hand weapons, a one hand weapon and a shield, or a two handed weapon. For armor, it can equip a helmet, body armor, gloves, and boots. The AG can be unsummoned by removing the gem from its socket, and resummoned with a click of the skill. If it dies however, all gear that it was wearing is lost forever, so it is recommended to gear to keep the AG alive.

There are two options for the AG: Cheap, and expensive. At level 2 gear, it may make sense to invest in the cheap AG, and at the higher ends of level 3 gear, invest in the expensive version. The grave intentions node on the passive tree (three points) does a lot to keep the AG and other minions alive by providing chaos resistance, as well as 10% of their life as extra energy shield. Considering the high life totals of all non-skeleton minions, this is pretty significant.

Cheap AG - ~10c:
Weapon: Dying breath – Cheap weapon that gives increased effect of your curses plus grants nearby (75 units of distance) allies 18% increased damage.
Helmet: Leer cast – Grants 15% increased damage to nearby allies (75 units of distance)
Body Armor: Belly of the Beast – Gives life, elemental resistances, and looks cool
Gloves: Southbound – Gives life
Boots: Victario’s Flight – Gives you 10% increased movement speed

Expensive AG:
Weapon: Kingmaker – Expensive but amazing weapon that gives your minions +50% to critical strike multiplier, culling strike, and fortify. It gives the player fortify and +30% increased item rarity.
Helmet: Mask of the stitched demon – the key line is the phase “regenerate 1% of life per second per 500 maximum energy shield.” Some math: My level 30 animate guardian supported by level 20 minion life has 140,000 life on PoB, and has grave intentions allocated. 140,000 x 10% from grave intentions = 14,000 energy shield. Mask of the stitched demon gives 1% life regen per 500, or 28% of life as life regeneration per second. 28% x 140,000 life is 39,200 life/second. This makes the AG virtually immortal outside of some exceptions to be discussed below.
Body Armor: Two options here: Rare chest with the crafted mod “Gain 9-10% of maximum life as extra energy shield,” or a garb of the ephemeral. The first option takes the 39,200 life/second from the mask of the stitched demon, and doubles it. The garb is more defensive for the player, since in a small (maybe 30 units?) radius, it provides immunity to enemy critical strikes and does not let you get slowed below your base speed.
Gloves: Vixen’s entrapments with elemental weakness on hit. With windscreams, a double corrupted vixen’s is an (expensive) option.
Boots: Victario’s Flight, or Windscreams for +1 curse.

Despite the expensive animate guardian being virtually invincible, there are a few places that the AG should be unsummoned for: Hall of Grandmasters and the Acid Caverns Map. Acid Caverns has a boss called Morgrants, the Deafening, which casts a variant of storm call of hit. With how many minions this build runs, the damage can potentially reach the billions, easily annihilating your AG. Against metamorphs, it is important to read all monster mods as well, since storm call on hit has appeared there before, wiping out my first AG in seconds.

(3) Other minions
This build also features up to eleven zombies and a carrion golem. The zombies’ role is to protect the player character from projectiles and stray monsters that wander too close. They add a decent amount of damage (in the millions), but next to nothing compared to skeletons. As such, no damage support gems are linked to them.

The carrion golem adds a small amount of DPS to all minions (about 2.8% on my PoB). It can be cut for other gems if you prefer.


11. How to play the build
The playstyle is like a hybrid of a summoner and an aurabot.

Mapping: Run as fast as you can, while summoning skeletons in front of you. If monsters are ranged, run in a zigzag pattern. Casting dash, phase run, and skeletons will be enough for you to proc your offerings. There is no need to cast frost bomb as mobs are typically not tanky enough to be worth the effort.

Metamorphs: Against scary metamorphs, it may be a good idea to cast Vaal summon skeletons, maximize your skeleton count, and then run away. Not the most elegant solution and the minions do not get your auras, but it let me level up safely as I was still gearing.

Bossing: Before the boss fight starts, summon all of your skeletons, drop a frost bomb under the boss’ feet, and then cast desecrate four times. Drop frost bombs often, and cast desecrate periodically. Use Vaal summon skeletons as necessary. It is ideal to not resummon skeletons too often (I have a bad habit) so that they can keep their frenzy and power charges.

Frost Bomb: This is our skill used to proc both exposure (-25% elemental resistance) and elemental equilibrium (-50% elemental resistance, “EE”). The first part of the skill, about four seconds of pulses, applies the exposure, and the explosion itself applies EE in its radius. The skill in this comes from having the explosion occur right after the boss becomes vulnerable so that it is also hit by one pulse of exposure. For mobile bosses, this may be a challenge so it may be better to drop the exposure and just focus on elemental equilibrium via an easier skill – Armageddon brand. Frost bomb does not usually allow for EE due to being a cold skill, but we have fully converted it to a fire skill by the keystone, avatar of fire.


12. Advanced Mechanics

This section is more advanced, so newer players do not have to read it. I have done quite a bit of math for this build, so some players may benefit from it, even for other non-minion builds.

(1) Hatred
As the core of the build, hatred deserves a section of its own. The gem at level 3 gear will be either level 23 or 24, and there is no difference between the two. Two levels come from +1 spell wands, one from awakened generosity, and a level 21 hatred is the last way to get over level 20. At level 23, the hatred gem grants 27% of physical damage as extra cold damage, as well as 19% more cold damage. The second part applies to the extra cold damage from the first part.

See the spreadsheet above. Since there is no other element converted to and chaos damage from spirit offering is negligible, the added portion of hatred is essentially a 27% more multiplier on its own. The full 127 is multiplied by the more multiplier (1.19) to get the total damage of the base minion plus hatred = 1.51. This means that a base level hatred with no increases to its effect is more or less a 51% MORE multiplier for our minions. Once you add some more effectiveness via generosity, corruptions, the skill tree, and redeemer suffixes on weapons, hatred’s effect can be increased to around from the 100% base effectiveness to somewhere around 340% (depending on glorious vanity). At that point, hatred is a 240% more multiplier instead.

I also ran another test, and compared a level 23 hatred vs. a level 25 one, when it hits the next breakpoint (28% phys as cold, 20% more cold). The increases can be seen in the final tab, and are pretty minimal considering the only way to get this would be either empower (the mana multiplier reserves an additional 12.5% mana) or a corruption for the boot. My conclusion was that it was not worth chasing for such a small increase.

(2) Distance

I lifted this image from the Path of Exile’s wiki page on distance (credits to rkiga). There are a few key distances to keep track of: hatred’s range, frostbite’s range, and the -9% to cold resistance on the helm.

Hatred: No real numbers despite my research from the internet. I had a friend test the distance with me and based on the above chart, hatred’s range is between 50 and 70.

Helm: Per the wiki, it has a range of 60

Frostbite: See the work done by rkiga: https://imgur.com/a/tBhn2. It looks like the radius of frostbite is probably somewhere around 40-50 units.

Kingmaker: Again, no concrete numbers, but from repeatedly running away from my animated guardian, the radius looks to be around 40 units.

Victario’s Flight: Per the wiki, it has a range of 50

Dying breath and leer cast: Per the wiki, it has a range of 75


For reference, the player character is 15 units tall in this graphic.

In summary, for maximum damage, the player should be around 40 units away from the monster. Animate guardian may not be on top of you, so it may be better to be 20-30 units away for the skeletons to receive all kingmaker buffs.

(3) Layers of defense summarized
  • 6,000+ Life
  • 2,500+ ES with glorious vanity and spirit offering
  • 60+% block chance and 30%+ spell block chance
  • 10+ non-skeleton minions to absorb hits and projectiles
  • Fortify from kingmaker
  • No damage taken from monster critical strikes from garb of the ephemeral
  • Minions have a chance to taunt enemies on hit
  • Minions have a chance to blind enemies on hit (50% less chance to hit)
  • Bone armor skill – six seconds uptime, three seconds downtime
  • 10% physical damage reduction from bone barrier, 15% from basalt flask
  • Option to add enfeeble/temp chains to the main build via glove corruption (three points for whispers of doom), and the other to the animated guardian
  • Flasks to prevent bleeding, chill, freezing, curses, as well as 10% attack and spell dodge
  • Chilling and freezing enemies. Bosses up to conquerors can be chilled.
  • Corpse destruction (anti-detonate dead) from freezing and shattering.
  • 50% reduced visibility when phase run is up
  • 198% increased movement speed when phase run is up, 154% when it is not

(4) Cold vs Lightning vs Fire minions

Math to come at some point – it is pretty complicated

Cold vs Lightning vs Fire
Of the elemental variants, most of the scaling is pretty similar since all skill gems are generic for elemental conversion, and all curses are the same except for the name and ailment. Cold gets chilling and freezing, lightning gets shock, and fire gets ignite – the least useful of the three.

One major advantage of cold is frost bomb – it is the only source of exposure (outside of elemental army) that does not mess up EE. This is an extra 15% (25 – 10) in reduction of the enemy’s resistance. Furthermore, all three variants still use hatred as the aura after testing wrath and anger for their respective elements. Cold is the only one that takes full advantage of the “more damage” part of the aura – once again proving it is the best for scaling.

The downside for cold is the gems since you have to use the shorter ranged dash instead of flame dash & faster casting combo for lightning builds, though the advantage is phase run. Fire builds are again the worst of the group since I cannot think of a useful set of four red gems.

(5) Damage Pools

---To come later---


13. Boss, Delve, T19 Guides

I personally like poelab’s boss guides for a quick reference for certain attacks. There are multiple full boss guides to be found on YouTube as well. If a boss is not specifically mentioned here, treat it as a generic boss (see the How to play this guide section) except you may need to look up their specific mechanics.

(1) Sirus
Try to have as close to 75 chaos resistance as possible – use the Arakali Pantheon if necessary. If you are already chaos capped, Solaris is best but Lunaris also works if you are lazy to change. You will want a corrupted jewel (usually a from Dust) that has the implicit “corrupted blood cannot be inflicted on you” so that the four clones mechanic does not become an instant kill.

For Sirus himself, summon minions, cast frost bomb and desecrate as necessary in between his attacks. Run circles around him, while staying perhaps 10-30 units of distance (see subsection 12(2)) from him to dodge lasers easier. If he teleports, move in an unpredictable pattern to him – never lose sight of him for more than a second.

Die Mechanic (Sirus says: “DIE”) – When Sirus says die, activate bone barrier, and run/dash to his left or right.
Meteor mechanic – try to run out of the maze, following the red glowing indicators. If you cannot escape in time, activate bone barrier, heal, and your defensive flasks – this build can tank the meteor if it does not block it.
Corridors Mechanic –teleport through him and out of the corridor since he takes 80% less damage during this phase now. Skeletons and zombies no longer absorb the projectiles.
Four clones (Sirus says: “Everlasting fire”) – Phase four only: Position yourself beside the main Sirus (follow your minions), and follow the spinning laser beams while dodging his attacks.
Circle clones (Sirus says: “Feel the pain of the void”) – Keep running circles, and right before the says “the void”, teleport to the left or right of Sirus since the beam just fires straight.
Storms – Let them fully spawn, then run back under Sirus once they are out of the way.

(2) Aul
Deepest Aul killed by this build: 838

Aul is by far the hardest boss in the game, unable to be instantly phased at deeper depths. This is due to his high health, high mobility, high damage, and punishing mechanics that scale very hard with delve mods. Some items to make the fight easier may be boots with the “cannot be frozen” mod, as well as a Taste of Hate flask to reduce cold/physical damage taken. Unlike normal bosses, I would recommend the boss gem setup, except that feeding frenzy is left on skeletons and meat shield on the zombies link. This is for two reasons: to freeze mobs during the mobs phase, as well as to chase the very mobile Aul to actually do damage.

General tips: Remain mobile throughout the fight while dropping frost bomb and desecrate to keep auras up. Against increased AOE and faster Auls, it may make sense to sacrifice a portion of the room during the pillar phase if you are bad at dodging his projections like me. His most dangerous attack is the “crystalline arc” – watch Aul for when he puts his sword in front of his left arm on stops. This is your cue to either get behind him or to get far away to dodge in between the projectiles.

(3) General Delve Guide
This build is capable of delve depths of 1000+. It is a strong delver due to being cold based, with the freeze affecting multiple enemies with melee splash. With so many minions, a majority of the enemies hit will be frozen, making delve much safer than with a non-cold build. When moving between nodes, the goal is not necessarily to kill them all at lower depths but to just get through them. This is done through killing, freezing, and sometimes just running through them. For particular difficult nodes (extra projectiles, tons of damage/speed mods), the best strategy may be to just use a quicksilver flask with phase run and run to a relatively safe spot to wait for cooldowsn, before doing it again.

For most lower level (sub 600) nodes, it is possible to just activate vaal summon skeletons, summon skeletons, and then find a place to hide until the node is over. At deeper depths, the monsters are able to kill the vaal skeletons, so it requires a more active playstyle – summoning while running around with all defensive flasks activated. With the layers of defense we have, especially the freeze from our minions, this is very safe most of the time.

Stay away from fungal cavern biomes if your chaos resistance is not high – the when the zombies die, they deal high amounts of chaos damage.

(4) Tier 19 Maps Guide
Patch 3.9 introduced ivory watchstones to the game, three of which add +1 to monster levels in the area (terror, stalwart defenders, and misinformation). For tier sixteen maps, in addition to the general monster scaling for life and damage, the three ivory watchstones also have their own mods, increasing monster damage, life, and “modifiers” – essentially all of the affixes on a rare map. When combined with awakening level eight, map mods are essentially 1.5x as hard, but with item quantity to match. The purpose of these are usually to farm high level shaper and elder bases such as iLevel 86 elder bone helmets, though some do it for experience. Since the ivory watchstones are expensive, it is a good idea to add on a fourth ivory watchstone (War Among the Stars for shaper/elder mobs, or Booming Populace for larger mobs), sextants, scarabs (typically Breach, Harbinger, Elder/shaper, and one other – divination cards, unique, strongboxes), and Alva.

Regular mobs are not much different from a tier sixteen, though with more health – have your skeletons freeze them like any other mob. Rares and bosses are tougher, and may have to be treated as if you are fighting an end game boss except without the gem swap. The metamorph is the biggest difference (see the fight in videos), as it has a ridiculously high amount of HP, on top of spawning mobs and moving around. I suspect some T19 metamorphs have more HP than shaper. This is where the advantage of playing minions can come in handy – summon your minions and retreat to a safe distance, until the metamorph is dead.


14. Other setups worth considering

(1) Magic Find Variant
With a lot of flexibility in gear and the fact that skeletons scale largely due to minion levels, gems, and hatred, some items can be swapped out with item quantity gear if you so choose.

Both rings can be replaced with Ventor’s Gambles (the resistance is needed, otherwise Pariahs would be better)
The necklace can be replaced with a shaper/hunter awakener orb’d necklace with +1 to intelligence gems, 10% item quantity(IIQ), and crafted life.
The belt can be replaced with a string of servitude with IIQ. The triple herald setup would naturally be dropped, in favor of flesh offering for speed.
The boots can be replaced with Goldwyrms.
Rumi’s (since we no longer run bone offering) can be exchanged for a divination distillate.

(2) wazzupdj’s Mines:

wazzupdj wrote:
Each stormblast mine emits an aura that causes enemies to take 3% increased damage. These bonuses stack with each other. With minefield support, you can have up to 19 mines at once, which gives a total of 57% increased damage taken. Since these aura mines are aura's, they scale with aura effect. With breakpoints of 34% and 67% increased aura effect, you can push the effect of each individual mine to 4% and 5% respectively, with the total aura effect going up to 76% and 95% increased damage taken, respectively. There is also a helmet enchant which gives 40% increased stormblast mine aura effect. With this, it is just barely possible to reach 101% stormblast mine aura effect, for 104% increased damage taken by enemies.

The skitterbots pop the mines without you having to activate them and then re-arm them, maintaining the aura effect. Since you don't have to detonate them yourself, the skill auto-applies EE while maintaining the mine effect in full. With a CoH ring and/or EW from gloves corrupt, the mine applies those too. Since it is a mine, reflected damage doesn't hurt you, so you can effectively scale level and damage if you want to, and you probably will want to.

The full write up can be found on page 13. I personally would not scale the damage, but played with it a little and it is a really cool interaction that should be considered further. Icicle mine can alternatively be used once we start playing with critical strike builds with the new jewels. Minions and mines in the same build? GGG will not like that!

(3) Physical Skeletons Variant

---To come later---

---Work in progress---


15. MTX Guide

Yoga pants and Yeezys. That is all.


16. F.A.Q.s


What is the use of Avatar of Fire?
Frost Bomb: This is our skill used to proc both exposure (-25% elemental resistance) and elemental equilibrium (-50% elemental resistance, “EE”). The first part of the skill, about four seconds of pulses, applies the exposure, and the explosion itself applies EE in its radius. The skill in this comes from having the explosion occur right after the boss becomes vulnerable so that it is also hit by one pulse of exposure. For mobile bosses, this may be a challenge so it may be better to drop the exposure and just focus on elemental equilibrium via an easier skill – Armageddon brand. Frost bomb does not usually allow for EE due to being a cold skill, but we have fully converted it to a fire skill by the keystone, avatar of fire.


17. Update Log


Feb 23. 2020: Added 12(4), comparison of elemental minions, 13(1-4), Sirus, Aul, Delve, and T19 maps. Added 14(1): magic find variant, a few pictures, and two new videos (T19 map, Cortex). Added 8(12) & 8(13): progression guide and an optional wand to mirror. Some general formatting.

March 5, 2020: Added 3.10 discussion spoiler up top, leveling skill trees, and option for skitterbots instead of frostbite.

March 12, 2020: Updated the guide for 3.10!

March 31, 2020: Added the 150M crit variant to the PoB section, as well as 3.10 Sirus and Shaper videos. New specres added, new title!


18. Credits
Brokensaint7 – Guild leader of “<°v°>”, PoE encyclopedia, and person who introduced me to the game. He says “bodies”
Keyen and wazzupdj: Suggested skitterbots and bonechill interaction found in subsection 8(5)
Wazzupdj: Stormblast mine suggestion
sKillmaTic: Alternative tree with armor and soul of steel.
Viperesque – for the original skellies guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2108003/page/1
Bainand – Triple offering setup in viperesque’s thread: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2108003/page/270
Dawnz – for the guide on post formatting: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1913874
Enki91 – I took a lot of formatting from the Arc Witch guide, which I consider the gold standard for guides on the forum: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1147951

Last edited by iLL3aT on Apr 1, 2020, 2:36:01 AM
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IGN- Brokensaint
Well, I know what I'm playing next league.

This is a stellar guide - elemental scaling is completely and utterly absurd.

Are you able to skip phases on bosses reliable with this DPS? I noticed that when playing Physical/Impale Skeles there was a "wind-up" of sorts while vulns/curses/impales/multistrikes applied and, as a result, damage started slow and then over about five seconds or so, would ramp up very quickly to max.

The problem being, of course, that this gives bosses plenty of time to invuln - with only 25m DPS, and without a lucky crit or a very early impale, I almost always end up getting forced into phase transitions (especially obnoxious on, say, Shaper).

Has this been your experience with this build as well?
drewmcduffy wrote:
Well, I know what I'm playing next league.

This is a stellar guide - elemental scaling is completely and utterly absurd.

Are you able to skip phases on bosses reliable with this DPS? I noticed that when playing Physical/Impale Skeles there was a "wind-up" of sorts while vulns/curses/impales/multistrikes applied and, as a result, damage started slow and then over about five seconds or so, would ramp up very quickly to max.

The problem being, of course, that this gives bosses plenty of time to invuln - with only 25m DPS, and without a lucky crit or a very early impale, I almost always end up getting forced into phase transitions (especially obnoxious on, say, Shaper).

Has this been your experience with this build as well?

Thank you for the kind words!

In regards to bosses - mostly yes, and you can refer to that Sirus video. Sirus usually does not get a chance to do meteor, walls and bowling balls, or the four clone mechanics. Shaper is more tricky though - for phase two in particular it seems he always does a red bubble phase at the start of it, and sometimes during phase three as well.

For fast DPS, it depends on how well you hit the frost bomb - if you get EE and exposure down very quickly, then the boss should melt. The scale up portions mostly come from the monkeys being pretty slow to cast their shouts for charges.

On a side note, I like the way you managed to get Xibaqua working and the additional layer of safety that provides. I believe you can get +1 chaos res as a corrupted notable on the glorious vanity.
Very detailed and strong build! Thank you for it !!!
One question, what is it for, Paine Attunement?
ssHozjaina wrote:
Very detailed and strong build! Thank you for it !!!
One question, what is it for, Paine Attunement?

Thank you!

The Doryani glorious vanity changes pain attunement to corrupted soul, adding 20% of max life as extra ES. Here is a wiki page on corrupted soul


For more details (I’m on my phone), refer you the passive tree notes - 6(3) and the jewel section 8(7)).
This build is the most insane boss killer I saw in action, the endgame is turned into a joke, Good job on the build bro <3.

Looking foward to play it in 3.10
Last edited by Senti3nt on Feb 20, 2020, 10:58:06 PM
Thanks Senti3nt - always a good time playing with you =)

Feb 23. 2020: Added 12(4), comparison of elemental minions, 13(1-4), Sirus, Aul, Delve, and T19 maps.
Added 14(1): magic find variant, a few pictures, and two new videos (T19 map, Cortex).
Added 8(12) & 8(13): progression guide and an optional wand to mirror. Some general formatting updates
Cool builds and very nicely written guide, thanks.

Might play league as 3.10 leaguestarter :-)

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