[3.12] Odif's Newbie League Starter, Electric Spectre-(Zombie or Skeleton) Necromancer, low cost.
The 3.13 nerf bat hit this build hard.
Hard enough that the changes I need to make on it, make it a different build.
So different, that I will be starting a NEW THREAD, with the new version of this build.
Here is a link to the new version:
I leave the old build guide unchanged here.
Complete Obsolete Build Guide Here
Have you always wanted to try minions, but did not know where to begin?
Are you relatively new to the game?
Have you struggled in red maps with your previous builds?
Have you not even gotten to maps because you were so confused, or you did not know how to build a character?
Do you just want a league starter that will get you dominating red maps and killing endgame bosses with minimal investment?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then this build is for YOU!
This build is a newbie friendly, super low cost, league starter build.
It will get you deep into red maps with minimal investment. (Less than 10c to start mapping, 40-80 c for red maps.)
It scales with currency.
With just the currency you accumulate as you progress through red maps you will be strong enough to kill all end game bosses. (Except deep delve)
(It is unknown if this build can do 10 boss fights in 3.13, but I doubt it.)
There is a General Information and Leveling Tips for Newbies section for those less experienced.
This build uses Spectres combined with either Zombies or Skeletons to do massive dps on a low budget.
It's a minion build, Spectres and (Zombies or Skeletons), so if you don't like minion builds this is not for you.
We use two types of minions to do damage. Spectres and (Zombies or Skeletons).
Both Spectres (Zombies or Skeletons) do a LOT of damage in this build, together they rain terror on the monsters of Wraeclast.
(Zombies or Skeletons) do physical damage, we use a 4 blue socket Triad Gloves to turn the (Zombies or Skeletons) damage into lightning damage.
We use Slave Driver spectres that inherently do lightning damage.
We use Elemental Equilibrium to lower enemy lightning resists by 50%.
We use Elemental Army Support in Spectres to lower enemy lightning resists another 10%.
And Conductivity curse to lower it even more. (Has a lesser effect on bosses, and has no effect on hex proof monsters and maps with hex proof mod.)
We use Skitterbots to auto shock enemies, so they take even MORE damage.
It's crazy how fast bosses melt with this set up, as it will take most bosses deep into negative lightning resists.
We use two golems for buffs, stone and chaos.
We use an animated guardian for buffs.
For defense we use Bone Offering with Mistress of Sacrifice, Glancing Blows, and Unwavering Stance to gain unlimited 66% attack block, and around 52% spell block. We also have good life gained on block, good life pool, high life regen, and are immune to stun.
All quotes taken from this thread.
Pros and Cons
Very newbie friendly, lots of details for first time players.
Very good boss killing.
Very Low currency to go deep into red maps.
Scales with currency.
Relaxed minion play style.
Does not need empower or enlighten.
No cluster jewels needed.
Only needs one unique, and it's very very cheap. (Triad Gloves)
Can be played Solo Self Found. (You have to chance the Triad Gloves.)
Good defenses with minions to absorb hits, high block chance (attack and spell), good life pool, high life regen, good life gained on block, cannot be stunned.
Cannot do elemental reflect maps, unless you get expensive rings.
Not much movement speed, you will need to be a Quicksilver Flask junkie to move fast. This means not the fastest clear speed.
Minion play style is not for everybody.
Skeletons vs Zombies: Which to choose?
Skeletons do more damage than zombies.
Zombies have a much higher base movement speed.
Skeletons allow the use of Vaal Summon Skeleton, an ABSURDLY strong boss killer....ABSURDLY STRONG.
Skeletons are not tethered to you, they move completely independent of you. They will not follow you. Convocation does not work on them.
Skeletons have to be resummoned very often, requiring a lot more clicking.
Skeletons are squishy, die often, but can be easily resummoned, they do not need a corpse, one cast summons many skeletons, and it costs less mana than raise zombie does. (Summon Skeleton summons 4 skels at a time at level 21 and above, 8 if you use From Dust unique jewel.)
Bottom line: If you don't mind all the extra clicking, skeletons are better than zombies.(In my opinion)
Normally, I play zombies because I want less clicking.
But for 3.13 Echo of Worlds and Ritual League, I will be playing the Skeleton version. I think Vaal Summon Skeleton will be SO good in the Ritual circles.
I highly recommend the Skeleton version for Ritual League.
Kill All Bandits
Mistress of Sacrifice
When you have a worthy amulet, ANOINT DEATH ATTUNEMENT on the amulet, and regret out of that part of the tree.
Poe Planner 3.12
15 Skill Points
33 Skill Points
50 Skill Points, Normal Lab
74 Skill Points, Cruel Lab with EE
98 Skill Points, Merciless Lab
113 Skill points, Uber Lab done
Assumes anointment of Death Attunement on amulet
After that put every point into life nodes.
12 Skill Points
29 Skill Points
46 Skill Points, Normal Lab
70 Skill Points, Cruel Lab with EE
97 Skill Points, Merciless Lab
112 Skill points, Uber Lab done
Assumes anointment of Death Attunement on amulet
After that put every point into life nodes.
But wait, where is the PoB link?
I am in the tiny minority of experienced PoE players, but I think people are overly reliant on PoB. It gives unrealistic damage numbers. It simulates things as if they were perfect, with minions having 100% uptime on enemies. I am not even sure it correctly calculates minions accuracy rating.
In short, I am deliberately boycotting it for this build.
After all, this build is for newbies, let them find PoB later, when they do some attack build, for which PoB is a more accurate representation of what actually happens in game.
If you are a newbie...
PoB is Path of Building, a 3rd party bit of software that can simulate a character, telling you exact dps numbers, life, ES, er...everything......If only you could trust it to be accurate.
Your Spectres can either go in the Helmet or the Chest.
Your (Zombies or Skeletons) go in the other.
I recommend Spectres in Helmet when you have starter gear, and Spectres in Chest when you have invested in some of the optional upgrades mentioned near the end of the guide.
Why this recommendation?
Spectres need to be level 25 to get the extra spectre, at low gear levels, you wont get this till gem level 21.
So the +2 gem helmet helps a lot, as you will only need gem level 19, which you should get early mapping.
Spectres suffer from diminishing returns on gem levels after level 25, so when you have the optional upgrades listed near the end of the guide, you can easily reach gem level 25 without the helmet + gem levels.
Zombies or skeletons do not get diminishing returns until level 30, so they are helped more from the gem levels in the helmet.
Spectres in Helmet
Helmet Colors: 4B
Summon Spectre linked to Elemental Army, Spell Echo, Elemental Focus
(Supports are listed in order of importance, in case you do not yet have a 6l chest.)
Chest Colors: 3B/3R
Raise Zombies linked to Multistrike, Predator, Fortify, Minion Damage, Melee Damage with Attacks.
Feeding Frenzy or No Feeding Frenzy on the Skeletons
Feeding Frenzy is a dps loss when socketed on skeletons instead of golems, BUT gives them the Dash ability, which allows them to quickly move to engage monsters. It is a choice on if you want FF in your skeleton linkage. Try both ways and see what you like best.
With Feeding Frenzy
Chest Colors: 3B/3R
Vaal Summon Skeleton linked to Feeding Frenzy, Multistrike, Elemental Damage with Attacks, Minion Damage, Melee Physical Attack Damage.
Without Feeding Frenzy
Chest Colors: 3R/3B
Vaal Summon Skeleton linked to Multistrike, Elemental Damage with Attacks, Minion Damage, Melee Physical Attack Damage, Elemental Focus
Spectres in Chest
Chest Colors: 6B
Summon Spectre linked to Elemental Army, Spell Echo, Minion Damage, Elemental Focus, Predator
Supports are listed in order of importance, in case you do not yet have a 6l chest.
Helmet Colors: 2B/2R
Raise Zombies linked to Multistrike, Predator, Fortify.
Feeding Frenzy or No Feeding Frenzy on the Skeletons
Feeding Frenzy is a dps loss on skeletons, BUT gives them the Dash ability, which allows them to quickly move to engage monsters. It is a choice on if you want FF in your skeleton linkage. Try both ways and see what you like best.
With Feeding Frenzy
Helmet Colors: 2B/2R
Vaal Summon Skeleton linked to Feeding Frenzy, Elemental Damage with Attacks, Multistrike.
Without Feeding Frenzy
Helmet Colors: 3R/B
Vaal Summon Skeleton linked to Melee Physical Attack Damage, Elemental Damage with Attacks, Multistrike
Other Skills listed by equipment slot
Armageddon Brand linked to Hextouch, Conductivity
Keep Armageddon brand at gem level 1, to save mana.
Flame Dash (Movement Skill)
Wrath linked to Generosity (big damage boost to minions)
This reserves 85% of your mana, no need for enlighten.
Bone Offering (HUGE defensive boost)
Summon Skitterbots (Shocks and Chills enemies)
Desecrate (To make corpses to use Bone Offering)
Keep Desecrate at level 1 to save mana.
Stone golem, Chaos Golem, and Animated Guardian, all linked to Feeding Frenzy
Note: If you are doing Skeletons AND if you have Feeding Frenzy in the skeleton link, swap out Feeding Frenzy in your boots and replace with Minion Life.
Triad Grip gloves, with 4 blue sockets.
These are VERY cheap, even at league start, and are easy to get 4 blue sockets on. Early league cost to buy AND get 4 blue sockets, 2-3 chaos.
That's it, that's the only required unique.
If you are running the Skeleton version, there is one optional unique, also VERY cheap.
For Skeleton QoL you can use the From Dust unique jewel.
It increases the number of skels summoned per cast by 4, but adds a 1 sec cooldown to summoning them.
Rare Jewel with "minions have x% chance to taunt on attacks"
Cost: depends, if that's the only mod, 1 alc, but if you want other good mods the cost can be many exaulted. You do need your minions to taunt, so buy what's in your budget.
Helmet with +2 to minion gems
Even with life and resists, these are crazy cheap, 2-3 chaos early league.
A corrupted 6l chest will cost 10-30 chaos early league.
Or you can buy a tabula
You should get enough chaos pretty quick, maybe before you hit maps.
You can do white and yellow maps easy with a 4l, which you can find/craft as you go. So don't worry if you dont have a 6l when you start mapping.
After you get your chest, buy 2 wands that have "+1 all spell skill gems"
These run 5-30 chaos early league. It seems to vary a lot each league.
Save up to buy these, 2 of them make a huge difference.
If you can afford it, get some minion damage/minion attack speed mods also, this will up the cost, so it's optional
Do NOT get + lightning damage to spells on your wands, it will mess up EE.
Optional benchcraft for one wand, that is a HUGE quality of life increase
Craft "Trigger socketed spells when you use a skill" onto the wand with Desecrate and Bone Offering.
This will (mostly) automate the casting of Bone Offering, which is a quality of life bonus.
This is one of the crafts unlocked by Jun.
Everything else is rares with life and resists.
You will need dex on at least one item.
Chaos resist is very nice, but not necessary. Try and get as much as possible, but its a lower priority than elemental resist capping and life.
It's preferable to get a stygian vice belt, it's a great place to socket in the jewel with "minions taunt on attack"
If possible, get gear with armor, the more the better.
What order should I prioritize for getting the above gear?
1) Triad Gloves
Buy as soon as you hit level 32 if you can.
2) Abyss Jewel with "minions taunt on hit"
Get when you start mapping
3) +2 minion gems helm with life and resists
Get when you start mapping
4) 6 link chest
(tabula or corrupted chest with some nice stats.)
Get as soon as you can afford it after you get above items.
5) +1 all spell skill gems wands (x2)
Get as soon as you can afford it, after you get above items.
Remember, in the last few acts and definitely for mapping, you need your elemental resists capped, so buying yellows to do that takes priority over the above list.
The above items, along with yellows that have life and resists is all you need to easily do t15 maps.
There is a section below for what upgrades to this base gear to buy as you gain wealth.
Snapshot of my level 91 gear in Harvest
DO NOT LOOK AT THE GEMS.
I have changed the suggested gems a LOT since Harvest.
Note that this is a bit after the above described starter mapping gear, I had already begun to replace with more expensive items, like an amulet with +1 all intelligence gems, but it should give you an idea of what starter mapping gear is like.
FYI: The vast and overwhelming majority of monsters in this game make TERRIBLE spectres.
If you raise a random monster as a spectre, it will likely be total garbage and do almost no damage.
We use Slave Driver spectres in this build.
They do INSANELY good damage.
These are found in act 5, in the Control Blocks (first area after act 5 town)
Just go into the area, desecrate until you see a Slave Driver corpse, (hold down A to see corpses)
REMINDER: if you have spell echo in your spectre link, TAKE IT OUT before summoning a spectre, as with it IN the link, the summon will cast twice, often getting the wrong spectre. Put the Spell Echo gem back in after you have max spectres.
The monster level of raised Spectres is ONLY determined by the gem level of the summon spectre gem.
This build uses block, both attack and spell, good life gain on block, a good life pool, high life regen and whatever armor you can get on your gear, and defensive flasks.
Chaos golem with 70% increased golem buffs, gives you 8% phys dam reduction, 10% from ascendancy is 18% phys dam reduction before flasks and armor.
76% max ele resists.
Bone Offering effects you at 50% effectiveness only AFTER you get Mistress of Sacrifice. (Merciless Lab)
Bone offering benefits both from ascendancy +2 minion gem levels, and from +1 gem levels on wands.
A level 19 gem, thus goes to level 23, which is enough to get 36% attack and spell block on minions, and 18% attack and spell block on us with Mistress of Sacrifice.
You get 15% Attack block from dual wielding wands.
You get around 18% attack block from Bone Offering.
This 33% attack block gets DOUBLED by Glancing Blows Keystone on the skill tree. This gives you 66% chance to block attacks.
Glancing Blows doubles block chance, but makes it so you only block 35% of the damage.
Similarly, you get 8% Spell Block from the skill tree.
You get around 18% spell block from Bone Offering.
This 26% spell block is doubled to 52% Spell Block by Glancing Blows.
Unwavering Stance makes us immune to stuns. While immune to stuns, there is NO COOLDOWN on blocking, no block animation, we can block infinitely fast.
It's VERY POWERFUL.
We also gain 371 life every time we block (gem level 23), which we can do infinitely many times a second! This 371 life per block goes up to 445 with Bone Barrier once you complete Uber Lab, and goes even higher as you level Bone Offering past level 19, or buy expensive wands with +1 all gem levels and +1 all minion gem levels.
Minions will absorb a lot of hits, so the defenses are fine, unless you are doing something crazy dangerous like Sirius. But you can do Sirius if you are good at manually dodging.
Keep Bone Offering up at all times, it's crucial to your defense.
Keep moving. Movement is a key defense
Really you can choose what ever you like.
I usually run...
Major: Soul of Lunaris for damage reduction and move speed in a crowd.
Minor: Soul of Ryslatha for the life flask charges.
I often change them for situational reasons.
Flasks are for defense!
Life with anti bleed
Quicksilver for movement
Quartz for dodge
Basalt for phys damage reduction
Granite for more armor
(If you want, you can use a Rumi's Concoction to gave more block. Swap out Granite.)
Get anti freeze and anti curse on two of the above, your choice of what other mods on the other 2 flasks.
What if I want to use different spectres?
As long as it's base damage is either lightning or physical.
At the very hardest content of the game, like juiced t16 100% delerium maps, Slave Drivers may be too squishy. They may die.
This guide is designed for newbies, and it's doubtful a newbie will get far enough to see Slave Drivers starting to die.
If your Slave Drivers start dying on the endgame, you can change to a different tankier, harder to get spectre:
Syndicate Operatives are the best spectre in the game right now. Use 'em before they get nerfed.
They are currently bugged, in a OP high dps way.
They do pure physical damage, which we convert to lightning damage with the Triad Gloves.
Syndicate Operatives ONLY DO GOOD DAMAGE AT RANGE.
If they are in melee range, they do a feeble melee attack that does no discernable damage.
You must use convocation to keep them at range.
Support with Greater Multiple Projecties, Spell Echo, Minion Damage, Predator, Elemental Army.
(Some people prefer Greater Volley over GMP, its up to you.)
Syndicate Operatives can only be found in some syndicate maps.
The corpses of killed syndicate operatives despawn after 1 second, making them incredibly hard to get.
If you lose your Syndicate Operatives by accident, you will have to get them again, as unlike other spectres, having them will NOT add them to the list of monsters you can desecrate.
Because of the difficulty of getting them, and the need to keep them at distance for any dps, stick with Slave Drivers unless the Slave Drivers start dying.
Or go with another super tanky lightning spectre: options are Scinteel Synthete (Sythesised maps) or Risen Vaal Advocates (Delve, vaal outpost zone)
Both of these get added to the list of monsters you can desecrate, once you have them. They do not do as much damage as Slave Drivers, but are still very good, and they are both VERY TANKY.
Run around maps, often your spectres will kill things before (zombies or skeletons) get to them.
If Skeletons, cast skeletons on each pack.
Cast armageddon brand on each pack.
Quicksilver flask is your friend.
Cast Signal Prey on Yellows, Uniques and Bosses.
(If you are using Predator support)
If playing skeletons, use Vaal Summon Skeleton on Bosses and other encounters that stay in one place, Rituals, Breaches, etc.
Convocate when you need to move your minions to you.
Keep Bone Offering up at all times, it's key to defense.
Keep moving. Flame Dash to avoid danger. Defensive flasks as needed.
General Information and Leveling Tips for Newbies
But wait, I am so confused I don't even understand stuff in this guide!
PoE has an EXTENSIVE in game help system.
There is a little yellowish icon just to the left of your left click skill button.
Press it, read everything.
More stuff unlocks in the help as you progress, so keep referring back to it.
It has video explanations and is amazing.
Some basic hints for newbies, no matter what the build
Loot filters are fully supported by Path of Exile.
You NEED a loot filter to play this game, really.
I recommend Neversink's loot filters.
You can click "follow" to one of his filters, then it will show up in your list of possible filters in game.
Where in game is that, you ask?
Options-UI-near the bottom.
Start with NeverSink-1regular-softcore
As you get more wealthy and want to filter more stuff out, you can go to level 2, 3, 4, etc.
Attacks vs Spells
In PoE almost all damage dealing abilities are either SPELLS or ATTACKS.
These are distinct.
Increased Spell damage will NOT help attacks.
Faster Attack Speed will NOT help spells.
Know what your main damage dealer is, ATTACK or SPELL, and buff it accordingly, with gear bonuses, passive skill tree bonuses, and support gems.
There is no gold in this game.
There is a barter system, both when selling to NPC vendors, and for trading with other players.
Chaos orbs are the main trading currency in the game for most purchases.
You will likely find several as you level up.
Save them to buy gear when you are about to start mapping.
Exaulted Orbs are the trading currency for high end expensive gear. In league, exaulted orb prices vary, but are often worth over 100 chaos.
You will be lucky if you find one while leveling, but if you do, jackpot.
Save your currency when leveling.
Seriously, save it for mapping and/or gearing up for mappping.
Essences are level capped, the ones you find leveling are near useless at high level, so USE them. Best use is to use them on a white item with good linked sockets, or to use on rings and amulets with a good implicit.
Essences come from those frozen statue like mobs you see on occasion. Click 3 times on them to unlock them, then fight them and their guards. An essence will ALWAYS drop, sometimes more than one.
If you find a really nice rare, with great mods and linked sockets, you MAY want to use chromatic orbs on it.
The colors that a chromatic gives are not fully random, they are weighted by the stat requirement of the item.
Intelligence items are more likely to roll blue sockets.
Dexterity Items are more likely to roll green sockets.
Strength items are more likely to roll red sockets.
If you try to put blue sockets on a strength item, you will use up all your chromatics and not get what you want.
In general, it is better to save your chromatics for end game, and just use the items that already have the colors you want. See the essence paragraph above.
The game has certain vendor recipies, things you sell to a vendor, that give you back something valuable.
These are hidden, but luckily, there is a handy list of all known vendor recipies in the Wiki
The two most useful beginning recipies are:
Sell 3 flasks of the same type, and get back 1 of a higher type.
I.E. sell 3 small life flasks, and get back 1 medium life flask.
Sell an item that has a blue, red, and green socket linked together and get back a chromatic orb.
Your loot filter will highlight RGB linked items.
In Act 2 you will be given a quest to get a Hideout.
This is player housing.
Inside your hideout, you will be given a quest to install and use a CRAFTING BENCH!
Using the crafting bench will GREATLY help you leveling.
You can add an affix to a rare item with the crafting bench.
(As long as it does not have 6 affixes already.)
(A rare item can have at most 3 prefixes and 3 suffixes.)
The most common use of this while leveling is to add life or a resist to an item.
This is how you can cheaply and easily cap your elemental resists.
Don't use expensive crafts on leveling items, I.E. if it costs a chaos orb.
Best use crafts that cost transmutes or chance orbs on low level items.
Note the level requirements.
Don't put a craft that has a level 24 requirement on an item when you are level 23. It will make the item unusable for you until you level up.
You will find more recipes as you progress through the campaign.
In later acts and in mapping you will meet Jun, who will send on you Syndicate missions. These yield "veiled items"
When you unveil an item, you gain progress to getting more recipes.
In Act 2 you will meet Einhar, who will give you a quest.
After doing that quest, he will give you a quest to go to the beast area, and do one beast craft.
After that, he will randomly pop up in zones, helping you, and capturing beasts.
Do these quests, capture as many beasts as you can while leveling.
At some point in the campaign, and opinions differ as to when, but certainly by mapping, you will NEED a flask with anti bleed, and a flask with anti freeze.
You can easily beast craft such flasks, assuming you have enough beasts captured.
Any non unique flask with a free suffix can be beast crafted to have anti bleed or anti freeze. (Also you can get anti poison, anti curse, and anti ignite.)
Anti bleed is called "of Staunching"
Anti freeze is called "of Heat"
There are many other very nice beast crafting recipes, but getting anti bleed and anti freeze flasks is HUGE for late campaign. And in mapping you will want anti curse too.
You may not have enough chaos to buy what you need to start mapping, immediately after finishing the campaign.
One way to get those needed chaos is to trade lesser currencies for chaos.
Alterations are always in demand, and you may have a lot at this point.
See what you have and see what the prices are.
Some Basic Information on Minions
Unlike some games, like Diablo 3, the player's dps has NO effect on minions dps.
The only things that effect minions, are things that SPECIFICALLY say minions. (or Allies, minions count as allies, but NOT party members.)
Most minions scale REALLY well off of gem levels.
Most minions have a point of diminishing returns on gem levels. They will still get better, but only by a little.
Spectres get diminishing returns after gem level 25.
Skeletons, Zombies, and Golems get diminishing returns after gem level 30.
The monster level of Spectres, Zombies, Skeletons, and Golems is ONLY based on the gem level of the summoning gem.
Minions get much of their dps off of support gems.
Minions can be supported by Minion Damage Support AND any support gem that would work for the ability that they use.
Examples: Zombies do melee physical damage, so zombies can be supported by Melee Physical Damage Support or Multistrike Support. Slave Drivers use a lightning spell ability, so they can be supported by Spell Echo Support or Elemental Focus Support
Minions have a base resistance of 40% elemental resistance and 20% Chaos resistance. This is NOT effected by the killing Kitava resistance penalty that players get.
Minions are NOT effected by map mods that say "player". Such as "-12% to maximum player resistances" or "players are cursed with enfeeble" or "players have elemental equilibrium"
Minions that use attacks have a chance to miss. You need to get enough accuracy bonus for them, usually from the skill tree or jewels socketed into the skill tree. Zombie slam attack cannot miss.
Players gain no benefit from on kill or on hit effects from minions kills or hits. There are some uniques that grant minions on kill or on hit effects, and these effects will only be granted to the minion that made the hit or kill.
Minions can get charges, frenzy, endurance, and power.
They get additional bonuses, more than what players get.
Each individual minion gets it's own charges.
+15% to all Elemental Resistances per Endurance Charge
15% additional Physical Damage Reduction per Endurance Charge
15% increased Attack Speed per Frenzy Charge
15% increased Cast Speed per Frenzy Charge
4% more Damage per Frenzy Charge
5% increased Movement Speed per Frenzy Charge
200% increased Critical Strike Chance per Power Charge
Ok, On to the details specifically for THIS build.
This build dominates from act 5 onward. If it seems a bit pedestrian before that, stick with it. It gets stronger in act 4, and starts to dominate in act 5, and dominates for the rest of the campaign and in maps.
I recommend doing all quests as you level, along with league mechanics, if it is your first toon in a league. This will cause you to be over leveled, which helps a lot prior to act 5. This is NOT necessary, if you want to rush, you can, just be aware that in act 2 and 3 its like a regular build, not like the insanely OP, I can't believe how strong this is, build that it is from acts 5 on.
IMPORTANT - IMPORTANT - IMPORTANT!!!!
When you get to town at level 2, check the wand vendor for linked BBR wands.
Do this EVERY time you go to town, until you get two.
(One wand is for zombies, one for summon raging spirits/summon skeletons.)
I cannot stress this enough, DO THIS EVERY TIME YOU GO TO TOWN, until you have both wands.
(This assumes you are league starting. If you already have a Tabula Rasa, you don't need 3 link wands.)
You just killed Hillock and made it to the first town.
Take Raise Zombies as your first reward. Buy your favorite skill from Nessa, I like ethereal knives, but whatever you like, you wont use it long.
Head out into Act 1.
How do I buy gems?
In acts 1-4, the vendor that sells wands and flasks also sells gems (tab 2)
They sell all gems that are offered to you as quest rewards PLUS some others.
These gems are sold PARTIALLY LEVELED, so when you can buy from them do so. They do not sell all gems, which ones they sell are class dependent. I.E. if you are a Witch they sell mostly caster gems.
In act 3 there is a side quest in the Library. When you do this, you unlock a gem vendor in the library that sells all gems in the game except the few that are drop only.
1) This vendor will only sell gems from act 4 after you have done the appropriate act 4 quests.
2) This vendor sells all gems at level 1.
3) this vendor requires you have the currency in your inventory, which can be annoying.
In act 6, after you do some quests, a in town gem vendor is unlocked, She sell all gems in the game that are not drop only. She sells them at level 1.
Rush to Mud Flats, find the 3 quest items on the ground, go to underground passage and waypoint back to town.
Quest reward is Summon Raging Spirits (usable at level 4)
Buy Holy Flame Totem from vendor.
Then go get Nessa's Medicine Chest.
Take Summon Phantasm support as the reward. Link to either zombies, srs, or holy flame totem.
For early leveling you will have two minion links, one with SRS and one with Zombies
Support each with Minion Damage (quest reward on reaching prison, buy second one from vendor) and Melee Splash (buy from vendor after reaching prison)
(You can use summon phantasm support instead of minion damage before you get to prison.)
Note: Zombies are very squishy at low level. You will be depending on SRS to kill hard stuff.
Later, zombies get very tanky.
Use Holy Flame Totem unlinked, or if you have the links, you can link to Summon Phantasm and/or Infused Channeling (purchase from vendor). HFT will heal zombies that are near it. Place it in a pack of zombies to get their health up. It will also do a bit of damage. (With links it will do a significant amount of damage, but cost more mana.)
When your zombies stop dying, stop using Holy Flame Totem. This usually happens when you get the Sacrifice skill cluster filled out. (There is a search bar in the skill tree, to help you find specific things.)
After you kill Brutus you get Summon Skeleton gem.
Swap out SRS and put Summon Skeleton in its place.
NOTE: If you are opting for the Spectre-Skeleton variant, you should BUY a Vaal Summon Skeleton gem asap. (Usable at level 10)
Vaal Summon Skeleton is crazy OP... no really... it is... I can't believe it has not been nerfed. In fact it's so strong you might want to buy it even if you are doing the zombie variant, just to use it through act 5.
You will use Summon Skeleton and zombies until act 5.
After you kill Brutus buy Infernal Legion Support gem from the vendor.
Level it in your weapon swap, for use in act 2.
Also buy Vitality gem after Brutus.
Vitality is an aura that got changed in 3.12
It now does a flat life regen for a flat armount of mana reserved.
The higher the level, the more mana it reserves, and the more it heals for. You may want to stop leveling it at some point, so as to not reserve too much mana.
Use vitality until you need the mana reservation for dps auras.
It will be HUGE in keeping your zombies and yourself alive.
Vitality is pretty OP at low level.
Get Flesh Offering AND Bone Offering after you get to Cavern of Wrath.
Use Flesh Offering. Level Bone Offering in an weapon swap.
You start using Bone Offering when you get Mistress of Sacrifice after doing Merciless Lab.
You will have the opportunity to buy Melee Physical support after doing Sharp and Cruel quest.
Swap it in for the melee splash in the zombies, keep melee splash for skeletons.
Make sure to get Desecrate after you do the quest Intruders in Black.
It makes keeping your offering up at all times easier, and for resummoning zombies if they die.
Also buy Summon Skitterbots from the vendor after Intruders in Black.
Link it to Infernal Legion support that you have leveling in your weapon swap.
Choose Predator support as one of your quest rewards. Link it to zombies.
Use Signal Prey skill to keep zombies locked on bosses.
When you get 4 links on boots/helm/chest you can move your zombies and Skeletons there.
At level 32 you can equip Triad Gloves, so buy them and wear them.
I recommend buying them with 4 sockets, to save on jeweler orbs.
You NEED them to have 4 sockets.
Getting them 4 blue can wait, if you are short on chromes.
Solo Self Found note: If you are doing SSF, you can set your filter to highlight all white mesh gloves. Use a chance orb on ones you find. It should not take you too long to chance a Triad Gloves, as they are a very high chance drop unique.
You get Auras and Curses in Act 3.
Remember to do the optional Library Siosa Quest in act 3 to unlock the gem vendor.
Wrath aura is needed as soon as you get Triad gloves with 4 blue sockets. Link it to Generosity.
You cannot run Wrath, Skitterbots AND Vitalilty all at once, drop skitterbots. At some point, perhaps not until mapping, you will want the extra dps that Skitterbots provides, and you will have enough life regen without vitality.
It's a judgement call when to swap out Vitality for Skitterbots.
After you have the Triad gloves with 4 sockets, Elemental Attack Damage is a good support for zombies and skeletons.
(Can purchase from Siosa after doing his quest in act 3 in the library)
When you get the triad gloves to 4 blue, start using self cast conductivity.
You wont get Hextouch support till act 4, but armageddon brand is in act 3.
If for some reason you still don't have 4 blue sockets by the time you get Hextouch, use elemental weakness until you do get 4 blue on your triad gloves.
Elemental equilibrium is great once you have the Triad Gloves.
It's ok if you don't get 4 blue sockets right away (rng of chromes)
If you have a combo of blue and green sockets just use elemental weakness instead of conductivity.
If you have a combo of red and blue sockets, use WINTER ORB instead of armageddon brand. Elemental weakness instead of conductivity.
Don't use triad with a combo of red and green sockets, as your spectres do lightning damage.
Don't use triad with all 3 colors of sockets, it's not good with Elemental Equilibrium.
You get golems early in act 4.
First golem you should use is Stone golem.
Stone Golems auto taunt, which is huge as you likely wont have a minion taunt jewel yet.
You get mulstistrike support later on in this act, this is a HUGE dps increase. USE IT.
You also get Hextouch.
Snapshot of my Heist League starter gear, level 44, late Act 4
Most of the gear was found or crafted.
Picking up white 4 links and throwing essences at them is my main method for getting 4 links.
I bought the Triad Gloves, spent over 20 jewelers to get 4 sockets, only 3 fusing to get 4 link, only needed 3 links.
I bought a From Dust jewel for easier skeleton summoning.
It may take you longer to get 4 links in helm-chest-boots, but this will give you an idea of mid campaign gear.
In Act 5
Slave Drivers are found in the Control Blocks, the first zone after the act 5 town.
Once you can summon 2 spectres, Drop either Skeletons or Zombies.
If you are doing the Skeleton variant, when you get 2 Slave Drivers remove Melee Splash from the skeletons and replace with an end game support. See the skeleton section in the Skills section for end game supports.)
It should be EZ mode from here on out.
Support Slave Driver spectres with Elemental Army, Spell Echo, Minion Damage, Elemental Focus, Predator, for a 6l, and Elemental Army, Spell Echo, Elemental Focus, for a 4l. Supports are listed in order of importance.
Act 6 and beyond
After Act 5, just get gear with sockets linked with the right colors, life and resists and any stats you may be lacking.
You will need some dexterity on gear.
Once you get Slave Driver Spectres and (Skeletons or Zombies) in 4 links, you will steamroll the rest of the campaign.
You will be shocked at how easy it becomes.
Bonus Vendor Recipie to Craft a helmet with +1 to socketed Minion gems:
If you find a white or blue helm with the colors you want, you can craft +1 minion gems on it.
(If it is white, transmute it to blue)
After you craft it, regal it to make it rare and benchcraft either life or a needed resist.
For the +1 minion gems helm:
Any MAGIC (blue) helm
Life flask of ANIMATION
To craft a life flask of animation:
Life Flask (Any rarity or size)
Bone Spirit Shield (any Rarity)(keep a lookout for these, they start dropping in act 2)
As you get more currency, what to upgrade.
You can dump a LOT of currency into wands. +1 all skill gems, +1 all minion skill gems, bonus to minion damage, bonus to minion attack/cast speed.
On the wand with desecrate and bone offering, getting crafted "trigger socketed spells when you use a skill", is a HUGE quality of life bonus.
A rare ammy with +1 to all intelligence gems.
Increased minion movement speed essence crafting
If you want to do elemental reflect maps, 2x rings with the mod "you and your minions take x% reduced reflected elemental damage"
Corrupted +1 socketed gems.
+1 level of all spectre gems
Cannot be frozen craft
Another "sky is the limit" slot
+3 socketed minion gems, socketed gems are supported by level 20 minion damage,
Nearby enemies take #% increased elemental damage. Crafted +1 skels/zombies
Unending Hunger is great for clear speed.
Rare abyss jewels with life and minion mods like minions taunt on hit, minion movement speed, minion attack and cast speed.
These are crazy expensive for the bonus they give, but if you want to take this build to the "spend more than 100ex" limit, you can use awakened gems.
Awakened Hextouch lets you curse hexproof enemies, and you can put on a second curse. (Corrupted triad gloves with "curse enemies with elemental weakness on hit".
Awakened Multistrike is the highest dps boost awakened gem for zombies, but all awakened gems are better than their non awakened versions.
Personally, I don't think awakened gems are worth the cost, unless you are insanely rich.
What order should I do the above upgrades?
It does not matter that much which order you upgrade things.
The below is only a suggestion.
Get an amulet with +1 all intelligence gems first.
(This helps you get to that important level 25 spectre gem threshold.)
Then save up for a helmet with +3 minion gems, socketed gems supported by level 20 minion damage. Craft +1 zombie/skels on it.
Then get boots with +1 spectre gem level
Then get a chest with +1 number of spectres
Then save up for the super expensive wands with +1 all skill gems, +1 all minion gems, some other minion damage mods.
I don't understand Animated Guardian!
You drop identified gear on the ground, cast Animated Guardian while mousing over the item on the ground, and the Animated Guardian equips that item.
There is no way to get the item back.
If the Guardian dies, all gear is lost, you have to regear it.
Summoners use Guardians as a buff bot, equipping it with gear that buffs the other minions, plus some gear to keep the Guardian alive.
The Guardian is persistent, but you can unsocket the Animate Guardian gem to temporarily unsummon it.
The gear on the Guardian is tied to the character, not the gem. You can swap out Animate Guardian gems, move the gem to a new slot, and keep the gear.
Animated Guardian helps a little at low currency levels, and is VERY strong at high currency levels.
Animate Guardian Gear
Helm-Rare with life/chaos res/nearby enemies take % increased elemental damage
Gloves-rare with life/chaos res
Boots-Wake of Destruction
(There are other nice items for Animated Guardian, you can do a google search to see what others use.)
Kingmaker on your AG gives all nearby allies, including you, the fortify buff, a HUGE defensive bonus. If you have this, you don't need fortify gem in your zombie links, swap it out for Elemental Damage with Attacks support. Kingmaker also gives all allies culling strike, an effective 10% more damage buff on bosses.
If your Animate Guardian dies, YOU LOSE ALL THE GEAR!
If you think a boss may kill your AG, you can unsocket the gem, resocket it to temporarily unsummon it.
Not League Starting? What to buy to level easier.
Leveling with this build is easy no matter what.
To make it ever easier, these 3 items, usable at level 1.
Tabula, or if you have lots of currency, +1 gems tabula
I have leveled this as my first toon in several leagues.
Even after the 3.10 nerfs to zombies and spectres it is still a GREAT SUPER CHEAP league starter.
If you use this guide, please leave feedback.
Last edited by Odif on Jan 11, 2021, 8:27:07 PM
Last bumped on Jan 11, 2021, 8:28:26 PM
on Jun 24, 2020, 1:34:17 PM
thanks for you work on this build, I'm looking forward to trying it out.
Last edited by castellian on Jun 24, 2020, 4:53:12 PM
on Jun 24, 2020, 4:15:51 PM
Why do the Triad gloves need to be four blue if we are only using Armageddon Brand, Curse on Hit, and Conductivity? Wouldnt we only need three blue?
Edit: I am totally blind and didnt notice skitter bots. If we are using skitter bots is it worth trying to get four link or just stick with three link and have skitter bot on its own?
Last edited by SquadleaderJoey on Jun 24, 2020, 8:43:21 PM
on Jun 24, 2020, 8:41:12 PM
The colors on the Triad Gloves were not chosen for what skill to put in them.
The skills were chosen to put in them based on the color of the gloves.
We need 4b in triad to turn zombies into lightning damage minions, so all our minions do lightning damage.
on Jun 24, 2020, 9:21:13 PM
If you get Animate Guardian with Kingmaker drop fortify in Zombies (since guardian is giving fortify to all nearby allies, including you!). AG is AWESOME, but better to get him later on when his HP pool will be enough to survive. In last league i was using it, it even survived without ANY hp bar drop first sirius ;) This minion is hard to kill moth*******r ;)
In that case i would swap Fortify on zombies for Feeding Frenzy - easier clear.
Also i would add minion life linked to animate guardian (instead of feeding frenzy, since spectres and zombies are main offense here, not golems).
Last edited by misiooo0 on Jun 25, 2020, 6:09:36 AM
on Jun 25, 2020, 3:48:41 AM
Would it be better to replace one of the other golems with Carrion golem? Seems a waste if we don't use its bonus to minions
on Jun 25, 2020, 4:48:26 AM
It would add some damage to minions (but not much) but you will loose quiet a bit of defense. Try it and see how it plays - if it will be good for you then go ahead with Carrion :) I myself prefere defense (because we already have here HUGE offensive power).
on Jun 25, 2020, 6:11:12 AM
Yes, if i ever get that rich, that i can afford a kingmaker AG, then I would take fortify off of zombies, but i would replace with melee physical attack.
Feeding frenzy has no damage bonus on it to the socketed mob,, too much dps loss.
I don't need zombies to clear, thats what the spectres are for.
Zombies kill bosses, and stand in place content like harvest and metamorph
With all the +gem levels I will have, hopefully the AG can survive without a minion life gem.
on Jun 25, 2020, 12:15:18 PM
The eternal tradeoff....offense vs defense.
Carrion Golem would add offense.
Removing either chaos golem or stone golem would lose defense.
It's a value call.
I choose defense, because you cant dps while dead.
And the bonus from Carrion golem is not very strong for spectres or zombies.
(its better for "many small minions", like SRS or Arakali spiders.
on Jun 25, 2020, 12:17:15 PM
Makes sense. I'll give it a go and see how it work out. Thanks.
on Jun 25, 2020, 3:03:34 PM