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[3.11/3.12] Dark Pact Necromancer - leaguestart friendly, melts bosses, all map mods viable

currently work in progress
sorry, if the formating is slightly screwed up. i currently need to take a lot of breaks due to being sick.
currently work in progress

Greetings Exiles!

I wanted to introduce you to my last build of Harvest league, which was fun to build for. And importantly, it is a viable leaguestarter with backup options, in case of nerfs. (But the backup version will be an Assassin.)

If you are looking for a build that melts bosses already on low budget and can run all map mods, then Dark Pact might be the choice for you.

The "downside" of this build is, that it requires multiple buttons. (Skeletons + Dark Pact)

I know that Dark Pact is no new thing, but I find that the skill is underrepresentated for it's power level. So I hope you enjoy the guide.

State of 3.12
We took some minor hits, but I still consider the build strong.

Mistress of Sacrifice is now weaker, but still usable.
Glancing Blows might be out of our reach, but despite that, our survival will be fine.

Assassin's Mark only applies to rares and bosses while being weaker, but we can live with that.

Video Guide

Build Summary

What is Dark Pact?
Dark Pact is a fast spell, which causes a series of explosions that chain between your skeletons.
If there are no skeletons, the explosion occurs at the player's position. Obviously without chain in that case.

The unique part is, that Dark Pact sacrifices a set percentage of your skeletons (or yours, in case of no skeletons) maximum life and gains that as extra base damage.

A necromancer benefits from that kind of scaling, as with little efford your skeletons can reach over 30k life.

Offensive Scaling
Given the explanation of Dark Pact above, we have the following attack vectors to scale our damage:

1. Minion Life
2. Cast Speed
3. Crit Chance and Multiplier
4. Spell Damage (and Minion Damage with Spiritual Aid)
5. Gem Level (of Minion Gems) as Dark Pact is classified as Minion spell
6. negative Resistance (e.g. curses, hunter helmet)

Defensive Scaling

1. Life and Energy Shield
2. Block Cap (+ Bone Offering)
3. High Leech and Life/Es on Hit
4. Overleech with Glorious Vanity
5. Skeletons blocking projectiles
6. Blind + Fortify


The obvious choices for Dark Pact are Necromancer, Occultist and Assassin. Each focussing on different aspects.
In my opinion the Necromancer is well rounded, easier to scale and has the least weaknesses. But due to their popularity, she might be a target of nerfs, so keep in mind that alternatives are existing.

We mostly use the Ascendancy to push our skeletons life pool and get access to Bone Offering and Bone Barrier as defensive option for ourselves.

I suggest the following order:
1. Mindless Aggression - Except for the Minion speed not too beneficial, but we have to go through it.
2. Unnatural Strength - Since Dark Pact is a minion skill, we benefit from the extra damage and from the increased skeleton life.
3. Bone Barrier - A nice boost to defence and it pushes our damage by increasing the life pool of our skeletons.
4. Mistress of Sacrifice - We get in combination with a trigger wand, Glancing Blows and Bone Offering block cap.

Passive Tree

Path of Building: https://pastebin.com/dB3B4KG6

All in-between steps are in the PoB.

We start with taking by personal preference either spell damage or cast speed nodes and work our way over the minion life node to the upper part of the tree.

Here we take the chaos damage node, which are the only ones, not polluted by damage over time effects, and while we are here, we can take the minion life nodes to get some nice base damage for our Dark Pact.

Work your way towards Spiritual Aid and decide for yourself, how many Life and Crit cluster you want to pick up on the way.

Now work your way to the Shadow area of the tree, aiming for the crit nodes.
If life is a problem, pick the nearby life nodes up.

Work your way to Doom Cast.

At latest now you need to get a minion life cluster jewel in, that has Blessed Rebirth.

Fill up the rest of the tree with life and jewel nodes and try to score a Thread of Hope.

Example Tree @ Level 93:

The Pantheon is always a situational thing. In the beginning Soul of the Brine King works well against stun locks.
Later you can consider changing it to another one, should you prefer.

As minor pantheon I highly recommend Soul of Abberath. Immunity against Burning Ground is huge.
Soul of Rhyslata might be useful for an early Uberlab or bossing in general.

We help Alira!

In the beginning the all resistance helps us out a lot and the mana regeneration is a nice feature.

Later the crit multiplier is the main deciding factor.


Chest 6-Link

If you are in the early stages, you want to switch out controlled destruction for increased critical strikes and awakened chain for power charge on crit.
This compensates bad equipment and you can get a +1 Chain with a unique amulet without the damage malus of the support gem.
Awakened Chain provides one more additional chain than the normal support gem.

Helmet 4-link
Because helmets can roll + socketed minion gem level, we plant here our skeletons
The setup is:

Another 4link is for our support minions

We use the monkeys from act 2 that provide frenzy charges as spectres. The blood magic support makes sure that they cast often enough, while meat shield lets them stay close to you to prevent dying.
The Animate Guardian is an entity that is build on equipment that you sacrifice. More details to it are in the equipment section.
Be warned. If the animated guardian dies, the equipment is gone.


Our Auras are straight forward and here we have space for a movement skill.


the wither totem is a nice damage multiplier against bosses.

Trigger Wand (3-Socket)
In a weapon with "trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill" we place

it provides through the ascendancy block cap and convocation heals our permanent minions.

CWDT Alternative (3-Link)
cwdt - immortal call - increased duration

Ring (1 Socket)

In the ring fits a lightning golem for more cast speed


We do not need any mandatory uniques for this build. Since crafting after havest league is again more limited, I thought is is best to provide for each slot a set of desireable stats.

In general we want the following stats:
1. Minion Life
2. Crit
3. Cast Speed
4. Resistance Cap
5. Life/ES

We want to use wands with some of the following stats, convoking wands are needed for minion stats, but not necessary, as they have no useful implicit.
1. Gem Level to all Skill Gems
2. Spell Damage
3. Crit Multi
4. Crit Chance
5. Cast Speed
6. Minion Stats

One wand needs the syndicate craft: trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill

An alternative can be the pledge of hands. It provides an additional repeat with greater spell echo, but at the price of having no trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill.

You want to have
1. + # level of socketed minion gems
2. minion life (warlord, elder, weak craft)
3. defensive stats
4. +1 maximum power charge (optional)

As enchant pick +40% Dark Pact damage.

Body Armour
1. +Spell Crit % from Hunter or Shaper
2. additional Curse (Hunter)
3. Power Charge on Crit (Crusader)
4. Explody (Crusader)
5. Life and resists

1. movementspeed
2. life
3. resists
4. elusive (hunter)
5. tailwind (redeemer)


1. life
2. resists
3. minion life (essence)
4. damage while leeching (craft)
4. crit
5. cast speed

pick a stygian vise and use again essence of fear for
1. minion life
2. flask charge on crit (hunter)
3. cast speed during flask (hunter)
4. chaos damage (hunter)
5. life
6. resists

Abyss jewel
ghastly eye
1. cast speed when minion has been killed
2. minion life
3. life
4. resist

As a low budget version, gloomfang is amazing

It provides an additional chain without any sacrifice in damage and it enables life leech with chaos damage.
But be warned, you will take damage per spell hit that you do and that is a lot.

The high budget version would be a hunter influenced amulet with:
1. dexterity
2. Crit Multiplier
3. Chaos Damage Leeched as Life
4. Increased Damage while Leeching (craft)
5. Life
6. Resist

1. A generic life flask by preference.
2. Diamond Flasks for effective increased crit chance with an ailment removal like anti bleed
3. Bottled Faith. It is expensive, but the damage boost from the additional crit chance is massive
4. Enduring Mana Flask with an Ailment Removal
5. Quicksilver Flask (of Adrenaline) or with an ailment or curse remove

6. Quartz Flask for ailment removal and phasing is a defensive alternative.
Rumi's Concoction is another honorable mention, as it can help you get closer to the block cap, when you can't reach Glancing Blows yet.

1. Thread of Hope with very large radius to enable the skill tree
2. Glorious Vanity in the name of Ahuana for overleech. Be warned, your energy shield starts at 0 and needs to be filled up by leech.
3. Medium Cluster Jewel with minion life. Blessed Rebirth is a must have. Take a Second node that provides a good boost to minion life, like hulking corpses.
4. jewel with minion life, life, crit, poison chance


Command of Steel provides a nice boost to our damage because of the synergy with bone offering.
Should bone offering or mistress of sacrifice be broken with a future patch, you can pick any crit node like true strike or +1 maximum frenzy charges.

My Equipment at end of Harvest (3.11)
Yes, I could have tried to craft better gear, but I preferred to learn for exams instead.

Equipment - Animated Guardian

The equipment of the animated guardian is aimed to make it survive and support us even more.

victarios flight
those boots provide more movementspeed for nearby allies of the guardian. that includes us.

a hunter influenced helmet with
-# chaos resistance for nearby enemies
and life + resists

alternatively you can get started with a leer cast to gain a little bit of damage by that aura

a redeemer chest with nearby enemies are blinded.
if you are rich, you can combine a chast like that with an awakener orb with a hunter base that has Every 5 seconds, Regenerate 15% of Life over one second on it.

the gloves are just to fill up life and resistance


Since we gain Dark Pact in Act 3 from killing Gravicious, we need a way to bridge the gap.

My recommendation may not be the fastest in the first levels, but it catches up.

We start with Blight - Infused Channeling at level 1 and Contagion at level 4.
Our goal is to be slightly above the zone level, that one cast of contagion kills everything. You might want to ignore rares.

At level 8 you get
Blight - Void Manipulation - Infused Channeling
Contagion - Void Manipulation

You might want to pick up Skeletons, but mostly just to level the gem already. Same for Increased Critical Strikes Support.

At level 12 you want to pick up in addition to your existing setup
Essence Drain - Void Manipulation

Now a combo of Essence Drain and Contagion spreads fast through packs and you get a lot of exp just by running by.

In Act 2 the Heralds are useless, but Summon Skitterbots can at least provide shock. Arctic Armour is a defensive option, but not necessary.

At level 18 you want to include at least one Controlled Destruction
Essence Drain - Void Manipulation - Controlled Destruction

You can already pick up Power Charge on Crit to level the gem, if you have space.

At level 24, you want to have Zealotry and Discipline as Auras.
If you have too less mana to play in a fluid way, turn of Discipline. Skitterbots and Arctic Armour can be discarded.

At level 28, switch to:
Dark Pact - Void Manipulation - Power Charge on Crit - Increased Critical Strikes
Summon Skeletons - Minion Life - Minion Speed/Feeding Frenzy

Alternatively, you can stay a bit longer with ED/Contagion, as Dark Pacts Damage starts to come, when you picked up the first ascendancy points.

Alternative Variations

I can also recommend a poison based version of Dark Pact:
Dark Pact Poison Assassin: https://pastebin.com/uG8xfj7S

I won't have the time to make a full guide for that version before the new league, but it combines the strengths of this build and my BV build.

The same build is also viable as crit based assassin with the only modification of replacing Bone Offering:
todo: insert pob


Q: Do you have other guides?
A: Yes, my video guides are in this playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHs1z6wAbUQCyZaJnoWYoJ80tHxWA89FA

Q: My question is not (yet) covered here?
A: Please ask your question in this thread. While I currently do not play a lot, I still have a look in here and try to catch up with questions.

I hope this guide may have inspired you to pick up a less popular skill, that still shines in power.
If you have any questions, I look at irregular timeintervalls into the forum. Otherwise you can also find me on Twitch. (www.twitch.tv/3xul)


-PoB added
-some formating changes in equipment
-released initial version (draft)


-insert items
-finish writing the guide
My Video Guides: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHs1z6wAbUQCyZaJnoWYoJ80tHxWA89FA
My Poison BV Assassin: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2784069
Last edited by exultheinsane on Sep 16, 2020, 4:05:45 PM
Last bumped on Sep 23, 2020, 1:21:11 PM
My Video Guides: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHs1z6wAbUQCyZaJnoWYoJ80tHxWA89FA
My Poison BV Assassin: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2784069
My Video Guides: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHs1z6wAbUQCyZaJnoWYoJ80tHxWA89FA
My Poison BV Assassin: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2784069
Hey, i've seen a similar build on reddit few months ago (maybe you?) and it looked so great !

Definitely gonna league start with this and trying to get 40/40 done with it !

Btw, are the POBs for FORK ?

Edit : What are the most important upgrades to get asap ?
Last edited by Lalatina_Sama on Sep 18, 2020, 10:38:56 AM
Waiting for updated pob
looks like an interesting build, most everything i was planning on this league got heavy nerf'd. enjoyed the guide video

have you played this build in any of 3.12 yet?
Enjoying the build so far, but since they moved Glacing Blow in the skill tree, should we still try to take it or just abandon it ?
Hi ! I'm really enjoying the build so far.
I've got a question tho : why do you leave the support gems on dark pact low lvl ?
Sorry if it's a dumb question, i'm not very good at the game but i'm wanting to improve :)

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