[3.12] Victor's Pure Phys Skelemancer

Welcome to my Pure Phys Skelemancer guide!

(For those of you worried about the MISTRESS OF SACRIFICE NERF. The nerf to that ascendancy will hardly affect this build as it was mainly overpowered due to the combination of Bone Offering with Glancing Blows to reach max block and also gain health on block. This build doesn't rely on that mechanic to survive as you'll find in the "Main Build Mechanics" section. Hope you enjoy this guide!)

This guide will likely be the most basic and beginner-friendly rendition of a classical Necromancer build in the forums. With this guide, I want to introduce both new players and old to what is now one of the most popular and meta playstyles in Path of Exile.

So let's get crackin'!

(Click on the Image Below to Check out a Brief Video Intro!)


This build was inspired by Viperesque's Pure Phys Skeleton & Friends guide that was made back in Blight League.

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Table of Contents
- Videos
- Path of Building
- Build Mechanics + Why Play this Build
- Leveling
- Passives/Ascendancy/Pantheon
- Skill Gems
- Gear
- Maps/Bossfights

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Videos Relevant to this Guide

A Brief Guide On Pure Phys Skelemancers
Zombiemancers VS. Skelemancers Discussion
T14 Map Run with ALL NORMAL GEAR Except Wands, Jewels, Flasks, and Tabula

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Path of Building (Community Fork)

PoB Link: https://pastebin.com/Sakahh5R

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Build Mechanics and Why You Should Play this Build
Pros/Cons
+ The easiest 1 Million DPS build you'll ever make (Over 100k DPS Per Skeleton with NO GEAR https://pastebin.com/1GcztzDf)
+ Inexpensive to gear up and reach Red-tier maps
+ Simple and Straightforward Setup (No Auras, Cluster Jewels, Timeless Jewels, Damage Conversions, or Animate Guardian... Just pure physical damage, and lots of it.)
+ Over 8000 Effective Health Points (EHP)

- The build is pretty damn basic
- Phys Reflect maps are difficult
- Everyone else playing PoE is also a Necromancer
Main Build Mechanics
> Why the build deals only Physical Damage: This support gem is the sole reason that the Skeletons in this build deal no non-physical damage, and is yet, one of the biggest damage boosters to the build.

> Minion Damage Scaling: Kind of a no-brainer, but the general damage scaling and the ease at which the Witch Passive Tree can access minions nodes are the main reasons why reaching 1 Million DPS is so easy for Necromancers to achieve. Over 300% increased Minion Damage can be acquired from Passive Tree Nodes alone (excluding jewels and other DPS modifiers like Onslaught, attack speed, or chance to deal Double Damage).

> Mind Over Matter: Since this build doesn't rely on Auras, mana reservation is not an issue that this build has to deal with. And with such a large reservoir of unreserved mana, there can be no better way to reach 8000+ EHP than with Mind Over Matter.

Allocating this Keystone Passive allows for 30% of damage to be taken from Mana before Life. This is effectively a whopping 30% reduced damage taken from all damage types so long as you have mana. With 30% reduced damage taken, the actual amount of Health Points (HP) that you need to reach 8000+ EHP becomes approximately 5700.

> Dynamo: Approximately 2400 mana is needed to fully cover the 30% reduced damage taken effect from Mind Over Matter. A useful notable passive that is close to the ring of health nodes that will be taken in this build is called Dynamo. Not only does this passive increase your maximum mana pool by 20%, but also recovers 20% of your mana when you use a guard skill.

This is effectively a mana potion that is used every time you use Bone Armor, a skill also obtained from the Necromancer Ascendancy, and will serve to sustain your Health and Mana in dangerous situations. The combination of a flat damage shield (Bone Armor) and mana recovery (Dynamo) makes this notable passive the perfect addition to the use of Mind Over Matter.

> Leveling Skill Gems beyond Level 20: In order to take full advantage of the minion damage scaling provided by the Passive Tree, this build aims to increase base minion damage by way of Minion Skill Gem level. By increasing the level of your Summon Skeletons beyond the soft cap of 20, you'll be able to increase your total damage output tremendously since you're guaranteed a MINIMUM of 300% efficiency on each point of base damage increase.

This can be done with the Unnatural Strength Ascendancy Passive, which provides +2 to Level of All Minion Skills, and by crafting mods onto your gear that increase the level of Minion/Spell/Intelligence Skill Gems.
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Leveling
How It's Done
Not much has changed in regards to the Acts, so Viper's Leveling guide is still perfectly relevant to the current League.
Act 1
First, you will want to get Freezing Pulse in Lioneye's Watch. Also grab Summon Zombie to start leveling the gem.

Once you reach the Submerged Passage, you can acquire Summon Raging Spirits to replace Freezing Pulse. Be on the lookout for a blue-blue-red 3-linked item.

After defeating Brutus, you will get Summon Skeletons. Assuming you have your 3-link, you can now link Summon Skeletons to Minion Damage Support and Melee Splash, and use this as your main damage spell. Also grab Flame Dash to use for mobility.
Act 2
Start looking for a Bone Spirit Shield from vendors or drops. When you get one, vendor the shield, a life flask, and an orb of transmutation in order to get a life flask of animation. This will be used in Act 3 for another vendor recipe.

Continue through the act and remember to upgrade life/mana flasks along the way.
Act 3
This is where the build starts to ramp up. Once you're in Act 3, you will begin to gain access to 4-link items. Try to obtain a 4-linked blue-blue-blue-red helmet with at least Magic Rarity.

Once you have this helm, vendor the life flask of animation, the helm, and an orb of alteration in order to obtain a helmet with +1 to Level of Socketed Minion Gems. This will be where you socket your skeletons to progress through all the Acts.

Also do the "Fixture of Fate" quest in the Library in order to gain access to Feeding Frenzy and Meat Shield. Linking Feeding Frenzy to your Skeletons will allow them to dash, gain increased damage and action speed, and behave more aggressively, which greatly improves your clear speed.

Link Meat Shield, Minion Life, and Fortify to your Zombies when you can, and Blood Magic and Meat Shield to your Spectres. At this point, you can raise the Carnage Chieftains from Act 2 Old Fields for a massive dps boost. Your minions will also stop dying so much now that they have life and damage reduction.
Act 4
This will be where you obtain your Carrion Golems upon completing the quest "Breaking the Seal". Link your Golems to Maim and Feeding Frenzy to give yet another huge buff to physical damage output.
Act 5-10
And that is all you need to level through the Acts! Minions scale in damage really well from just leveling the gems, so just focus on obtaining elemental resistances and life on gear from here on out and enjoy some smooth sailing through the Acts.
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Passive Tree/Ascendancy/Pantheon/Bandits
Passives + Bandits
Ascendancy Order
Mindless Aggression > Unnatural Strength > Bone Barrier > Mistress of Sacrifice
Pantheon Explanation
Soul of Solaris: The best major pantheon for surviving one-shots. Works even better when upgraded.
Soul of Ralakesh: The best minor pantheon for surviving sustained damage. Provides immunity to Blind and Maim when upgraded.
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Skill Gems
General Setup
Main Skill: (Body Armor)
Vaal Summon Skeletons - Brutality - Minion Damage - Melee Physical Damage - Feeding Frenzy - Melee Splash

Golems: (Helmet)
Summon Carrion Golem - Maim - Feeding Frenzy - Brutality

Spectres: (Wand)
Raise Spectre - Blood Magic - Meat Shield

Zombies: (Gloves)
Raise Zombie - Meat Shield - Minion Life - Fortify

Movement/Utility: (Boots)
Flame Dash | Desecrate | Convocation | Flesh Offering
Explanation of Gems
Main Skill:
If it hasn't been clear yet, the main skill that this build uses to deal damage is Vaal Summon Skeletons. The Vaal skill itself can be used for sticky situations, boss fights, Legions, Breaches, Incursions, you name it.

For the support gems, Brutality, Minion Damage, and Melee Physical Damage collectively give a 157% more damage multiplier at level 20, which is multiplied AGAIN with the increased damage multipliers from gear and passives. This provides your skeletons with more than enough damage to progress well into red maps. Now with Feeding Frenzy (allows skeletons to dash and increases their action speeds) and Melee Splash, your clear speed will be taken to a whole new level.

NOTE: For boss fights where you feel the boss is extremely tanky, replace Melee Splash with Ruthless to give a massive single-target DPS boost.

Golems:
In the build mechanics section, I talked about how the build also aims to increase damage output by increasing the base damage of your minions. Well the Carrion Golem accomplishes exactly that. Carrion Golems give a flat physical damage boost to ALL minions' damage, which is huge for your skeletons' DPS.

With Feeding Frenzy and Maim also linked to the Golems, they will mow down droves of enemies as well as apply the Maim debuff, which both increases the physical damage taken and reduces the movement speed of enemies affected by Maim. Perfect for boosting DPS and creating a safer environment for you!

Spectres:
The Spectres of choice for this build will be Carnage Chieftains (Act 2 The Old Fields) and Host Chieftains (Act 6 The Southern Forest). These Spectres generate Frenzy Charges (Carnage) and Power Charges (Host) for all your minions, which provide an incredibly massive damage boost. (~30,000 DPS Per Skeleton when no gear is equipped)

A caveat to their charge-generating abilities is that they run out of mana quickly and so we mitigate this issue by linking them with Blood Magic, which allows them to continue generating charges and maintain max charges on all minions.

Linking them with Meat Shield also alters their behavior so that they stick closer to you and protect you from nearby enemies and incoming projectiles. By sticking close to you, they will also be less likely to die, so you won't have to go back to the Acts to retrieve another corpse.

Zombies:
The purpose of the Zombies is to tank damage for you. Lots of it. As such, they are equipped with Minion Life, Meat Shield, and Fortify support gems, which increase their life and reduce their damage taken. This layer of defense is further improved by equipping a Ghastly Eye Jewel that gives your minions the ability to taunt and blind.

Movement/Utility:
Flame Dash is your typical dashing ability that allows to cover distance quicker and dodge boss mechanics.

Desecrate allows you to raise corpses of mobs available in your current zone. This is used to obtain the desired Spectres.

Convocation is very useful defensive ability that recalls all Spectres, Zombies, and Golems to your location; either to block incoming projectiles or fend enemies off of you. One thing to note is that it DOES NOT recall Skeletons, which allows them to continue clearing while the recalled minions can defend for you.

Flesh Offering increases the action speed of your minions. With Mistress Of Sacrifice allocated, this offering also effects you. This substantially increases your clear speed.

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Gear
Budget Version (Clears Red-Tier Maps for very little investment)
Flasks and Jewels:
Flasks are the most important part of your survivability. So do yourself a favor and get yourself a Divine Mana Flask of Staunching, Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Heat, Alchemist's Granite Flask of Iron Skin, Alchemist's Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline, and Basalt Flask of Warding. (This is my recommended setup, you're welcome to change up the flasks however you will based on your preference.)

As for Jewels, you will need one Ghastly Eye Jewel that gives your minions a chance to Taunt on hit and chance to Blind on hit. The rest of the jewel sockets can be filled with the unique To Dust Cobalt Jewel (Best Option), or any rare Cobalt Jewel with 10-15% Increased Minion Damage.

Weapons:
For your weapons, you will want 2 Convoking Wands with roughly 50% Increased Minion Damage on each of them. These don't usually cost more than 20 Chaos in the first week of the League and will drop to 1-5 Chaos within the following weeks. These wands and the jewels above are really all the gear you need to clear the vast majority of maps on the atlas.

The Rest of Your Gear:
For the rest of your gear pieces, you will want to max out your elemental resistances and have a minimum of 50-60 HP on all of your gear pieces. Be sure to use your amulet to meet any stat requirements you may need. Also, I like to anoint my amulet with Indomitable Army (Silver oil, Violet oil, Crimson oil) so that my minions have better survivability too.

Proof That This Gear is Enough
Here is a short video of this build running a T14 Map with ALL NORMAL GEAR except for the above flasks and jewels, a Tabula Rasa, and 2 Convoking Wands each with 50% Increased Minion Damage.

NOTE: If you find that your build is lacking damage at this point and is unable to perform this well, LEVEL YOUR GEMS. Most players generally reach the mapping phase with their gems around level 17! The difference in damage between level 17 gems and level 20 gems is phenomenal, so please be sure to farm out easier maps so that your gems reach level 20.
With ~100-200 Chaos Invested (Equipped to fight Endgame Bosses)
- Convoking Wands with +1 to Level of All Minion Skills on each wand, 50% Increased Minion Damage, and 15% Increased Minion Attack Speed

- Bone Helmet with +2 to Level of Socketed Minion Gems

- 80+ HP on all pieces of gear except wands

- 75% Elemental Resistance

- Have at least 0% Chaos Resistance

- 20% Quality on all gems in Summon Skeleton Setup except Feeding Frenzy

- Gloves bench-crafted with Increased Minion Damage

- Rings bench-crafted with Increased Minion Movement Speed

- Awakened Melee Splash Support Gem
Min-Maxed Build (Unnecessary Power for Unnecessary Reasons)
- Convoking Wands with Chance for Minions to Deal Double Damage, +1 to Level of All Minion AND +1 to Level of All Spell Skills, 50% Increased Minion Damage, 15% Increased Minion Attack Speed

- Elder-influenced Bone Helmet with +3 to Level of Socketed Minion Gems, Minion Life Support, Minion Damage Support, 20% Increased Minion Life, 20% Increased Minion Damage

- Hunter-influenced Amulet with +1 to Level of All Intelligence skill gems

- Awakened Minion Damage Support Gem, Awakened Brutality Support Gem, Awakened Melee Physical Damage Support Gem

- 23% Quality Level 21 Vaal Summon Skeletons

- Rare Corrupted Body Armor with +1 to Level of Socketed Gems, +2 to Level of Socketed Duration Gems (getting a piece like this with good life and resistance rolls is damn near impossible, but I commend you if you happen to get your hands on one)
Sample Gear
This is the gear I was able to acquire in softcore Harvest Trade League.
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Maps+Bossfights
Mapping
For mapping, having a minimum of 4000 HP and capped elemental resistances should make map progression pretty easy for this build.

Some map mods to be wary of are Physical Reflect, Chance to Attract Monsters from Beyond, and Monster Crit Multiplier.
Bossfights
Bossfights are highly mechanical and their difficulty depends on the skill of the player. Here is a link to POELab's breakdown of endgame boss mechanics if you ever get the chance to encounter them and want to learn how to fight them.
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Final Thoughts

Thank you so much for checking out my guide! This was a project that I poured 300+ hours into making (and many more hours to come as I try to improve and update it). I really hope that some of you guys got something of value from this post.

If any of you have any questions or concerns that you feel need to be brought to my attention, feel free to drop me a follow on Twitter (@TheVictor003) and shoot me a message! Again, thank you for your attention, and I hope you all enjoy Path of Exile to its greatest extent. Stay safe Exile!


Last edited by TheVictor003 on Sep 18, 2020, 3:54:59 PM
Last bumped on Sep 18, 2020, 4:15:19 PM
I'm running a variation of this build. Self made.

End game is a joke. I've invested a lot more into survivability than you have, I'm at 75/70 block and I'm running Jynex Juju instead of +1 amulet and 3 endurance charges using enduring cry(it's free, why not), Glorious vanity with Xibaqua for Divine Flesh with about 5.2k life.

It's more expensive than your build. It also does more damage.

Here's a pastebin if you're curios https://pastebin.com/BcrvY0Xf (for bossing dps you can switch from splash to melee damage)
Last edited by junkypic011 on Aug 14, 2020, 1:52:19 PM
"
junkypic011 wrote:
I'm running a variation of this build. Self made.

End game is a joke. I've invested a lot more into survivability than you have, I'm at 75/70 block and I'm running Jynex Juju instead of +1 amulet and 3 endurance charges using enduring cry(it's free, why not), Glorious vanity with Xibaqua for Divine Flesh with about 5.2k life.

It's more expensive than your build. It also does more damage.

Here's a pastebin if you're curios https://pastebin.com/BcrvY0Xf (for bossing dps you can switch from splash to melee damage)


Just took a look at your build, and it's freaking awesome man. Although my guide was geared towards newer players, which was why I didn't implement any auras, and also excluded cluster and timeless jewels, your build just about takes advantage of all of these in almost every way currently possible.

Love the the extra investment in survivabilty with Glancing Blows, Bone Offering, Divine Flesh, Jinxed Juju, etc. (I'm especially partial to the Glancing Blows and will probably be implementing that in another one of my builds)

I do realize that there's a pretty substantial dps boost in swapping Feeding Frenzy for Impale in my build, but I personally prefer the extra quality of life and clear speed that Feeding Frenzy offers in the earlier stages of gearing the build.

It was super cool of you to share your build dude. I really hope more people start trying out Necromancer builds and finding the enjoyment of progression with them. Cheers!

Last edited by TheVictor003 on Aug 14, 2020, 6:19:28 PM
Having an absolute blast with this! Taking bits from junkypic011's build too. I really need to get some better life gear though. And better gear in general! I absolutely LOVE how customizable this is!

Here's my progress so far, I know it isn't that good (I just stole the helmet off my other necro for the time being, also ignore the amulet allocation), but I'll get there eventually. :) I'm thinking I want to put a trigger spell enchant on a wand when I finish getting it, just so I can put desecrate and flesh offering there. I know it'll give me less dps but I just want to play around with it.

https://pastebin.com/Sey23WYb

I've done a lot this league that I haven't before. Have a lot still to try, like actually doing bosses and completing the atlas. I have a tendency to play a lot of builds to maps but then I find another build that looks fun, rinse and repeat. The crafting is definitely something I haven't really done at all, and I'm still figuring a lot out. So this has been an exciting league all around, and such a fun build to do it for!
Last edited by Sirielia on Aug 16, 2020, 7:49:58 PM
"
Sirielia wrote:
Having an absolute blast with this! Taking bits from junkypic011's build too. I really need to get some better life gear though. And better gear in general! I absolutely LOVE how customizable this is!

Here's my progress so far, I know it isn't that good (I just stole the helmet off my other necro for the time being, also ignore the amulet allocation), but I'll get there eventually. :) I'm thinking I want to put a trigger spell enchant on a wand when I finish getting it, just so I can put desecrate and flesh offering there. I know it'll give me less dps but I just want to play around with it.

https://pastebin.com/Sey23WYb

I've done a lot this league that I haven't before. Have a lot still to try, like actually doing bosses and completing the atlas. I have a tendency to play a lot of builds to maps but then I find another build that looks fun, rinse and repeat. The crafting is definitely something I haven't really done at all, and I'm still figuring a lot out. So this has been an exciting league all around, and such a fun build to do it for!


Always awesome to hear someone enjoying the Necromancer build. :) Even though the ascendancy is super popular, I think that it's appealing to a lot of people for good reason.

Taking a look at your build from your link, I'd say you're all set in terms of damage for your progression. Since your gems aren't even level 20 yet, the damage is only gonna be ramping up from here on out. If you take the jewel slots on the passive tree wherever you can and start slotting in To Dust Cobalt Jewels, the damage will just start shooting off the charts.

In terms of survivability, you're on the right track in looking for better life rolls for your gear. Your flask setup is definitely good enough to bring you to endgame maps, and you don't seem to have any problem with capping elemental resistances.
Last edited by TheVictor003 on Aug 17, 2020, 4:17:04 PM
Awesome, I'm glad I'm on the right track. Thanks so much for the advice. :)
Hi Thevictor

Did you craft both your wands or did you buy them as i am attempting to craft them atm ?

I am just starting out on this build !

Thanks

Andy
"
Andyb1981 wrote:
Hi Thevictor

Did you craft both your wands or did you buy them as i am attempting to craft them atm ?

I am just starting out on this build !

Thanks

Andy


Hey Andyb1981! For this league, I bought both wands for around 4 Exalts where they had only +1 to all Minion Gems and +1 to all Spell Gems. Then I used the multimod bench craft (2 Exalts) and then bench crafted the Minion Damage and Minion Attack Speed.

If you're looking to craft the +1 to all Minion/Spell Gems yourself, you can do so with fossil crafting. I would suggest using Jagged + Shuddering + Corroded + Metallic fossils in a Prime Resonator. This will block all possible mods on your wand except for: Spell Damage, +1 to all Minion Gems, +1 to all Spell Gems, and Minion Damage. It'll be down to RNG to decide whether you will get your desired mods out of this pool and how expensive your crafting will be. Hope this helps!
For helmet, is 20% minion damage better or +1 minion skill better?
Oh bless you, I missed this build so much in Delirium

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