[3.12] MOM Popcorn Skeletons - great for Heist!

I started the league with Devon's build (great guide) and eventually built my own variant that works a lot better for me. The tl;dr is that his has more top-end damage and mine is more survivable.

Spoiler
I started just following his build strictly until I tried some lv83 Heists and decided I did not want to get gibbed anymore. My computer performance is imperfect and I'm no Kiwi Wonderboy, so a thicc defense would be needed. As soon as I allocated Mind Over Matter and The Agnostic it was a completely different game. From there you easily can grab several strong mana Notables and craft mods. Devon was probably better at dodging things than me!

Other significant changes can be found in the use of Zombies, Spectres, and other links




THE GIST
You summon Skeletons, they burn to death in 1 second and then explode for AOE from Minion Instability. Equip two Earandel's Embrace and link an Infernal Legion Support (Anomalous alternate quality when you can get one) so Skeles blow up quick. Stack Minion Life to get the big damage. Debuff enemies to increase the damage taken and cast Blood Ritual on rotation. Stack life and mana.
MOM and Agnostic means Mana is now extra life and a lot of regen. Drink your highly efficient mana flasks for overflowing health.
Drop Vaal Summon Skeletons like it's a nuke and watch bosses melt!

POB link ---> https://pastebin.com/mdi27Kma

Demolition Demo
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Surviving mega-DIE
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DEATHLESS Uber Elder + boss kill playlist including A8 Sirus

As a filthy casual with a full-time job and other commitments, with this build I've comfortably cleared dozens of lv83 Heists, A8 Sirus, and a deathless Uber Elder.

PROS & CONS
Spoiler
Pros
*not a glass cannon
*not a super expensive meta build
*fun, relaxing playstyle
*big boss damage on a fair budget
*clears any map mods
*low attribute requirements
*Blight destroyer
*hardcore viable
*vaal skeles nuclear launch detected

Cons
*trade league only, SSF would have a hard time getting all the specifics
*moderately expensive to top off, getting to t16 is still quite affordable
*can't get to streamer-level ridiculous damage, tops out around 8 million sdps


REQUIRED UNIQUES
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*2x Earendel's Embrace


*A 6-socket, 5-LINK Bloodbond

That's right, you don't technically need a 6-link. Your helmet will be your "6-link", more about that below.

*Either a Replica Siegebreaker or a Darkness Enthroned.
Your preference, I enjoy the Siegebreaker more but the latter is more straight boss damage.


GEM LINKS & GROUPS
Spoiler
*Helmet, 4-link 4-blue:
Vaal Summon Skeletons, Anomalous Infernal Legion, Elemental Focus, and one of the following:
Concentrated Effect, Minion Damage, or Minion Life (depending on helmet)
The new alternate-quality "anomalous" Infernal Legion increases the self-burn from 40% to 50%, making skeles pop sooner. Buy one as soon as you can!
To get to t16, you'll need a helmet that supports socketed gems with the other two of the above three "or" gems. Here's mine for example:

You can do fine in red maps with no + gem levels and lower numbers. You certainly want to buy a budget helmet to get started because a +3 with lv20 Minion Life will be quite costly. I was clearing t16s and lv83 Heists with a budget helmet before buying the above.

*Body Armour, 5-link 4-blue 1-red, 1 blue unlinked:
Raise Zombie, Feeding Frenzy, Elemental Army, Combustion, and Melee Splash
Zombies are your faithful support boys. See below for how Cluster Jewels will affect them, they will greatly increase fire damage taken by bosses and clear weak enemies for you. They will also taunt and keep Feeding Frenzy up.
Faster Casting in the sixth unlinked socket will only affect Blood Offering - this is important since you do cast it frequently mid-combat.
You're best off buying a Bloodbond with perfect life/minion life rolls, getting the quality up to 20% or higher (Hillock in Fortification can raise it to 28%), spamming Jewelers until it's 6-sockets, and then either recipe or fusings it to 5-link. If you get lucky and 6-link it, you might as well sell it for profit and start over.
To get 5b 1r, with the red in the 5-link, spam around ~100 chromatics. Don't use the 1r recipe, it's much more expensive.

*Gloves or Boots, 4-link 4-blue:
Cold Snap, Hextouch, Flammability, and Faster Casting
This will apply Flammability and Elemental Equilibrium for great boss damage and supply endless Frenzy charges, which grant cast speed and can be burned for recasts.
Make sure you wear nothing that adds Fire damage to spells - mouse over the Cold Snap tooltip to ensure it mentions no Fire damage. If it does, you're wearing something that needs replaced.
Another option ulraththeunclean's been enjoying is Cyclone, Cast while Channeling, Flammability, and Fortify with some cold or lightning added to attacks.
What's important is that you get your curse and EE out comfortably.

*Boots or Gloves, 4-link 4-blue:
Raise Spectre, Lightning Golem, Meat Shield, and Minion Life
My choice of Spectre is Frenzy Apes, like Stygian Silverback. Feel free to try out any Spectres you like, they're there for support.
You can spring for an expensive lv4 Empower instead, which would grant you one more Spectre and 1% more cast speed. I found my spectres or golem would occasionally die without Minion Life so I don't think it's worth.

Pure dex boots or gloves will be very hard to get 4-blue and may have too high of Dex requirement.

*Weapon 1, 3-link 2-blue 1-green:
Desecrate, Faster Casting, and Clarity
It doesn't matter if Clarity is linked. You can buy a lv21 Clarity for cheap.
Only quality on Desecrate matters, feel free to leave it at lv11.

*Weapon 2, 3-link 2-blue 1-red:
Flame Dash, Faster Casting, and Blood Magic
Blood Magic on Flame Dash is important so you can still move if heavy damage drains all your mana.

Yes, that's four Faster Castings. They all help. No need for Unset Rings.


PASSIVES TREE, ASCENDANCY, AND CLUSTER JEWELS
Spoiler
Here's my passives tree, but I recommend loading up POB Fork with the pastebin link for better detail: https://pastebin.com/mdi27Kma

Start on the right and work your way straight to Minion Instability as soon as possible. Grab all the minion nodes, feel free to take % damage and Regret them later when you get the Skeles blowing up quickly. Hold off on the mana nodes until you at least have Mind Over Matter. You don't need Elemental Equilibrium until you have at least one Earendal's Embrace equipped. You can just grab all the travel nodes for a while since Skeletons are so strong to level with. Grab life nodes whenever you start to feel vulnerable.

"Minions deal % increased damage" is maybe half as good as "Minions have % increased maximum life". A 10/12% damage node is not worth spending points on if you can skip it. Minion Life is the best damage stat!

Here's a reddit with good information about building Mind Over Matter

You'll notice Sacrifice and Indomitable Army are untaken despite granting minion life, this is because they also add fire resistance to Skeletons which slows down the boom.

Gravepact will be your Anoint, there's too many bad nodes on the way to it.

By lv91 you can have all four regular jewel sockets, the good mana notables Battle Rouse, Dynamo, Mystic Bulwark, Arcane Will, and Deep Thots. You want at least two Hulking Corpses and a Life From Death from Medium Clusters and two filled Small Life Clusters. The whole Life wheel with Constitution in the Scion area.

Ascendancy snapshot
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Ascendancy order goes Mindless Aggression -> Bone Barrier -> Unnatural Strength -> Plaguebringer
The Bone Armour skill combined with Dynamo is a powerful defensive tool. Pop it anytime you anticipate damage.
Don't grab Commander of Darkness even temporarily because it adds fire resistance to Skeletons.

You want to start on your Cluster as soon as you can afford a Medium.

CLUSTER JEWELS
Spoiler
Filling out your cluster setup is crucial to the full build. In short, you need the following:

1. A large Minion Damage cluster with the following:
*Adds only 8 passives, this reduces the amount of points you must spend
*Three notables, two of which must be Raze and Pillage and Feasting Fiends. It doesn't matter what the third one is since it'll be in the back untaken.
Spoiler
You do need a third notable to push the good ones up front.

2. Two medium Minion Health clusters with the following:
*One with both Notables Hulking Corpses and Life from Death
*Adds only 4 passives - you can buy a bigger one later, but won't be able to fill out two full Mediums until lv95
*The second medium with both Notables Hulking Corpses and Feasting Fiends.
*One Jewel socket for your smalls

3. Two small Life clusters with the following:
*Adds only 2 passives
*One small passive is Fettle. These can be expensive, so feel free to go with Holistic Health or Blessed temporarily for budget, but nothing compares to Fettle for raw numbers.

Raze and Pillage guarantees Ele Army and Combustion. Hulking Corpses is a nice 25% minion health and gives Zombies taunt. Life from Death keeps non-Skeles alive, but it does heal Skeles so you don't want a second. Feasting Fiends is just good stats, the leech is negligible.

Feel free to grab one Medium with Life from Death and Raze just to get started, you can save up for the full deal later.



GEAR & JEWELS
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My current gear:
See the first reply below for explanations of the differences in what's linked vs the core guide.

Helmet
Spoiler
A Shaper helmet with "+3 to socketed Minion Gems" and two of the following:
*"Socketed Gems are Supported by level # Minion Life"
*"Socketed Gems are Supported by level # Minion Damage"
*"Socketed Gems are Supported by level # Concentrated Effect"

Minion Life is the best of these, so if you use its actual gem be sure to buy a lv21/23% and it will benefit from the +3.
It makes little difference which supports are actual gems.
Some resists are preferred but not essential. Prefer at least half-int base because 4 blue sockets will be rough if it's all off-color.
You do want to pick up a budget helm with just the two pseudo-links asap to get rolling. All the content can be cleared on a budget.


Body Armour
Spoiler
As stated above, Bloodbond with 25% life and 30% minion life is a necessity since you can get it 6s/5l with colors pretty cheaply.


Weapons
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As stated above, 2x Earandel's Embrace with ~30% fire damage taken is mandatory asap. The damage and attributes are luxury stats.


Gloves
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Just look for life and resists at first, you can later shop for one with Minion Life but those only come from Essences so it's kinda rare.


Boots
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30% movespeed, life, and resists, maybe some Dexterity. You do want to eventually get something with 35% movespeed since there's nothing else to speed you up.


Belt
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As stated above, Replica Siegebreaker or Darkness Enthroned. The Siegebreaker damage isn't amazing but it does help in a lot of situations. Darkness Enthroned with a couple great Ghastly Eyes is bis in straight stats.


Rings
Spoiler
To start, you can grab some cheap rings with life and resists. Remember that Mana is good! For endgame, you want specifics:
*High life roll
*High resists, Topaz/Ruby/Sapphire/Two-Stone/Prismatic base
*An open prefix and no natural mana (blocks craft)
*~30% minion damage
*Craft "+ Max Mana and Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds" onto the open prefix - you can get up 18% total between rings & amulet

To unveil the above mod sooner, you can buy cheap rings or amulets with a veiled prefix.


Amulet & Anoint
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A Paua, Blue Pearl, or Marble amulet with the same requirements as rings. If you use a lower-level Desecrate you can get away with as little as 70 Dex, so upgrading it to a t3 Talisman eventually is an option.
Your best Anoint is Gravepact by far since there's too many bad nodes in the way.


Jewels
Spoiler
A Gastly Eye abyssal jewel is bis for all your jewels. An ideal one would have + life, +mana, % minion life, and % minion damage if you've cast a minion skill recently. Put your best two in Darkness Enthroned if you're wearing it.
I recommend slotting a From Dust early because it syncs up the playstyle nicely. It's like training for the cast, wait, cast rhythm. Replace it eventually, or get one with Silence/Corrupted Blood immunity if you want.


Flasks
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With MOM you get the advantage of using Mana flasks defensively, which are more efficient than Health flasks. Feel free to play around, but here's what I roll with and explanation:

Spoiler


*2 "emergency flasks" to pop together after taking heavy damage: 1 Mana flask with "Concentrated" prefix, which increases amount recovered, and "Dowsing" suffix that removes Ignite. 1 Health flask with "Bubbling" prefix, which grants partial instant recovery, and "Staunching" suffix that removes Bleeding. These will heal you back up quick and remove most dots.
The Concentrated Mana flask should be your go-to to pop by itself anytime your mana drops to about 50% but your health is still full.

*1 Quicksilver with increased duration and curse immunity

*2 defensive flasks to pop on rotation anytime you start a fight: 1 Taste of Hate, which greatly mitigates physical and cold damage. 1 Mana flask with "Enduring" prefix, which lowers the amount recovered but lets the flask run for full duration even if your mana fills up, and "of Heat" suffix which grants Freeze immunity.

You'll want to stock up some alternative flasks for more dangerous maps or specific encounters, such as a Ruby flask for Phoenix.

Sirus is a special case since you get no chances to refill. He uses no curses, but may inflict all three elemental ailments and his storms apply Corrupted Blood. So you need all three immunities and bleed removal. I bring a Health flask with at least +15 charges and Ignite immunity, a "Concentrated" Mana flask with Bleed immunity, a "Foreboding" mana flask with increased movespeed (next paragraph), and two "Enduring" mana flasks, one with Shock and one with Freeze immunity.

The "Foreboding" prefix makes your flask recover nothing until the end of its 7-second duration, then get it all at once in increased amount. This means the suffix effect, such as increased movespeed, will last all 7 seconds. I replace my Quicksilver with this for Sirus since a Mana flask can be used seven times whereas a Quicksilver can only afford two. It's less movespeed but you need the extra uses for Sirus.




LEVELING UP
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If you pick up gems and uniques as early as you can you'll have a grand time leveling. Prioritize links over stats while in Acts, you can get away with some pretty trash gear all the way to white maps.

By the end of Act 1 you can link Infernal Legion to Skeletons, the burning damage will actually be most of your damage. Pick up gems and level them as you go. Your first 4-link should be Skeletons, Infernal Legion, Minion Life, and Combustion. You can roll with Minion Damage for a while if you like. Don't forget to use your weapon swap to level more gems!

lv2 Raise Zombie, first quest reward
lv8 Melee Splash, Act 3 Siosa
lv8 Combustion and Infernal Legion, Act 1
lv10 Summon Skeletons, Clarity, and Flame Dash, Act 1
lv16 Desecrate and Cold Snap, Act 2
lv18 Faster Casting x4, Concentrated Effect, Elemental Focus, and Minion Life, Act 2
lv24 Flammability, Act 3
lv28 Raise Spectre, Act 3
lv31 Elemental Army, Meat Shield, and Feeding Frenzy, Act 3
lv31 Blood Magic, Act 3 Siosa
lv34 Lightning Golem, Act 4
lv35 Earendel's Embrace and Bloodbond, trade
lv38 Hextouch, Act 3
lv44 Replica Siegebreaker

Before finishing Acts you can already have the core build assembled. If you struggle with Izaru, try Spell Totem support on Skeletons so you can spend more time dodging.


Thanks to Devon752 for his awesome guide that got me started, and thank you for reading. Remember the first rule of handling explosives: have fun!

Last edited by therealtoothman on Oct 21, 2020, 5:20:34 PM
Last bumped on Oct 21, 2020, 2:02:05 AM
High-end Tips
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Your first big expense should be the +3 "6L" helmet. There are plenty of other good upgrades beyond that and experimentation is always worth your time and currency. Below are my recommendations for getting to that next level:

* Shop patiently. Here's an example of how I shopped for rings. In results, sort by "total resistance" and buy something you know you'll keep. I got my jewelry for about ~50c each, it doesn't have to be very expensive. One good resist suffix on both rings should be enough to work with.
Learn the filters and stick with your budget items until you get a smart buy.

* A lv1 Vitality reserves almost no mana and lets you buy a nice Watcher's Eye. The best mods are "% damage taken gained as mana while affect by Clarity" and "% increased life recovery rate while affected by Vitality". The % life recovery affects The Agnostic, turning you into an absolute sponge.
Remember to keep your unreserved mana to 43% or more of your max life.

* Anomalous alt-quality Clarity boosts your mana flasks, a nice affordable bonus.

* You can eventually squeeze in an Animated Guardian for a passive Fortify effect! If you haven't used AG before, read the wiki page and know that you will need to plan carefully or you might waste valuable items.
I equipped mine with Kingmaker, Victario's Flight, and Enfeeble-on-Hit gloves. Note that your AG will need +35% Resists from the gear you equip it (starts with 40%).
Here's a quick demo of planning item sets for your AG in POB
Silly me thought that AG needed to meet Attribute requirements, so you don't have to shop for Str/Dex like I did at first.
Here's another video with a lot of good general information about AG
Note that as long as you have 1x Life from Death in your Medium Cluster, AG and all your other minions will have incredible regen inherently.
AG has his own curse limit! Feel free to experiment. Kingmaker is expensive, so be careful.

Since Kingmaker has a short range, a Convocation over a Faster Casting will let you keep him close. Note that Convocation and Bone Armour both have instant cast speed; I'm not saying you should glue a popsicle stick on your keyboard, but you can cast instant things at the same time as anything else.

I stuck my AG in the 4L with Lightning Golem, Meat Shield, and Minion Life so he's tanky and (usually) stays close. I moved my Spectres in with the Zombies, next point below.

* Tukohama's Vanguard Spectres bring a better Exposure of -25% than Elemental Army. They drop a totem that uses Scorching Ray, which needs to build stages to apply Exposure. Multiple Totems Support lets them drop more totems that stack stages, reaching and maintaining Exposure on bosses very efficiently.
You still want Zombies because they taunt and keep your passive minion count at 10+, maxing out the phys resist you get from Bone Barrier Ascendancy.


FAQ
Spoiler
* What about just 6-linking Bloodbond instead of getting an expensive helmet?
Since a 6-link Bloodbond with mediocre rolls is cheap, this isn't a bad option. BUTT a budget helmet with just the two extra supports is about the same cost. The advantage here is that you can buy a perfectly rolled (your life and minion life) and 5l/6s it cheaply. Additionally, if you just used a 6l Bloodbond, you'd be wearing a helmet with resists, which will need replaced when you upgrade later.
And you do want to upgrade later, the +3 adds a lot of damage.
You could 6L the Bloodbond in addition to the Helmet, but I haven't seen any worthwhile 6th link that beats out Faster Casting for Blood Ritual.

* What Spectres to use?
I'll still tell you 3/3 Frenzy Apes is the core build default, but you can go right to Tukohama's Vanguard if you want the extra boss damage sooner. You can also go with They of Tul, Hairy Bonecrushers, or anything else you'd like to try.


Getting higher levels
Spoiler
Getting close to lv100 requires the ability to clear tons of high-end content without dying. Work on your toughness and flask management. You should have a variety of optional flasks in your stash for various situations.

When pushing for the next level, avoid rolling more than one dangerous mod at a time. You're tough but it takes a lot of time to get in the high 90s.

t16 Blighted Summit maps with +45% experience anoint are great XP when you get practiced at Blight. Note these ring anoints:
Scorch is like a second Exposure, this being the only time you can use it. Glacial cages are just good crowd control; Temporal and Stone Gaze towers are also strong.

You're safe enough to farm lv83 Heists for XP, they can get very dense.
Last edited by therealtoothman on Oct 21, 2020, 7:18:53 PM
I switched from Devon's build to yours. I'm a lot tankier now, so thanks for this build guide. It's a massive improvement for a small trade off.

My skellies are popping a bit slow though, is this because of minion leech, regen or the recover from Life from death? Right now enemies have too much time to target me.
"
Pearlo wrote:
I switched from Devon's build to yours. I'm a lot tankier now, so thanks for this build guide. It's a massive improvement for a small trade off.

My skellies are popping a bit slow though, is this because of minion leech, regen or the recover from Life from death? Right now enemies have too much time to target me.
It's your Infernal Legion gem! Quality on the regular version gives them Reduced Fire Damage taken. You want 0% quality on that until you switch to an Anomalous one.
"
It's your Infernal Legion gem! Quality on the regular version gives them Reduced Fire Damage taken. You want 0% quality on that until you switch to an Anomalous one.


Just dropped 5c on an anomalous legion gem and the difference is enormous.
Well Spotted!
"
Pearlo wrote:
"
It's your Infernal Legion gem! Quality on the regular version gives them Reduced Fire Damage taken. You want 0% quality on that until you switch to an Anomalous one.


Just dropped 5c on an anomalous legion gem and the difference is enormous.
Well Spotted!
I'm about to start leveling 6 at a time just to try and corrupt a 23% one!
This looks fun, Imma try this build :)
Your past bin link doesn't seem to be working.

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Damonvile wrote:
Your past bin link doesn't seem to be working.

Aww I'm sorry, pastebin's fucked

https://old.reddit.com/r/pathofexile/comments/j8wfzh/pastebin_is_starting_to_remove_newly/

Should be fixed now.
Had to create an account and paste manually... gross.
Last edited by therealtoothman on Oct 13, 2020, 12:06:13 PM
Tried your approach and it works very well. Much better survivability. Thanks

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