[3.14] Odif's Old Obsolete Skel Mage Guide, New one is in a new thread

This build is obsolete

I have created a new skel mage guide for newbies here:

The old build guide is still here for reference

Hello Exiles!
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!

Why did I make this build?

Over the years, with new league content continually added to the game, it has gotten harder and harder for newbies to get deep into endgame, it's all just too overwhelming.

So, I made this build, a simple and cheap build, with lots of details for newbies, that will allow newbies to get deep into endgame.

All my focus is to make this build the best possible build for newbies in the game.

Experienced users can use it also, of course.


All Testimonials are taken from this thread

KatKira wrote:


So I have been chaining semi-juiced t15s-t16s with this trash gear. Can easily do t16 blight maps, and conquerors are a joke.

Haven't done Sirus yet but I don't think it;s gonna be a problem.

Will also try Deli maps and report map.

10/10 map, especially with such a small investment. Basically league-start stuff.

Good job Odif.

Kloroad wrote:


I just came here to say that this was actually the 1st build i had that reached end game, and by end game, i mean killing sirius . First time in 3 years since i started that i actually killed the last guy from atlas. I hate spectres and zombies, always looking for a prue skellies build or at least something that looked like that, not too many minions. This build was what i searched all the time and i cant wait for the update to 3.14 because im definetely doing again, thank you for this excelent guide author!

evilmindcz wrote:


Current state of my version of the build, lvl 99. Lightning skeleton has over 2.5M Sirus damage now, with average 4/4/4 summoned mages its about 21M damage total (i dont count zombies, as they do pretty much zero damage). To get this number on perspective, thats enought damage for Cortex to do nothing, because every phase of his is instakilled! :-) The goal was to have enough damage for Maven, to be able to kill her after she does just one memory game in a last phase, which now works. Too bad i suck at that damn memory thing so i keep failing it, but we'll get there...

7k HP, resist are maxed for red version of ele weakness, immune to frozen, chill, 68/54 block. I'm currently testing Glorious Vanity for converting half of ele damage taken to chaos, because i have 80% max chaos resist. For some reason it looks worse in POB eHP pool, but i actually feel more tanky in juiced tier 19 delirium maps, needs more testing if its really worth the lose of that 3k ES shield you might get from spore. Anyway, I can do T16 100% delirium without any trouble, in T19 i must stay at 80% delirium, as its not worth to risk losing all that precious loot. Rampage really helps there, and its fun to watch! :-)

I bought these 2 wands for 80ex total, everything else i crafted/corrupted myself from scratch, all harvest craft farmed by me aswell. However i recrafted suffixes on them for my purpuse, still need to replace that last fire one.

WankershimX wrote:

Beat A9 Sirus deathless, Maven, most of Mavens challenges, decent delve depth, and level 94 approaching 95. Always enjoyed minion builds and when I saw this with Dead Reckoning I knew what I had to do. 10/10 would build again.

snowmittens wrote:


Maybe at one point the build will start falling short, but so far I'm having the strongest SSF run yet with these skelli mages. Only on AW5 but all T16 guardians/conquerors/Bosses go down fast enough for me. They are also very good on blight, breaches, heists and rituals. The build is also very tanky, so far Sirus is the only thing that give me a hard time with his death beam.

Also, it's should be fairly easy to switch to warrior skellis or zombies but so far I see no problems yet, especially when considering further upgrades to my current setup

Jobiality wrote:


Best FRICKIN build ever. Ive been playing for several years and have never gotten this far into after campaign content ever. So far its been nearly effortless. It took me a while to get reckoning but man after that this build really took off. I want to thank you soooo much for your work. I am finally have a good time playing and not sitting frustrated getting killed at every corner I turn.

Pruney wrote:


Been using this build from league start and now level 88

Not had any difficulty issues throughout the entire game, tier 13 map was easy enough too.

hotdays wrote:


well, i just killed a5 sirus with this build, never done it before. thanks odif for the build!

Darthkip wrote:


so far, i am absolutely loving this build, i never had such a smooth league start! and ive got quite some leagues behind me, played lots of minion builds, tried lots of other builds but this, the sheer smooth leveling experience, easy mapping early game, its amazing!


thats again for this great build!, this is amazing and i hope to see more builds comming from you!, honestly, BEST MINION BUILD EVER TO START A LEAGUE WITH

kewmew wrote:

If anyone's on the fence about this build,just go and look at my character.
This build is an absolute breeze,going thru yellow maps and some reds with abyssmal gear,my resists are not even capped only cause im lazy...



...I just waltzed through a T15 corrupted unidentified zana mission. None of the maven fights have been even remotely challenging yet. I've never had a build move so smoothly into red maps before.
I'm using basically the same gear I was using at T7, and aside from a level 21 vaal summon skeletons, most of my gems are only level 17-18 because I've recently flipped them for quality. Otherwise I'm running the basic skeleton mages build. No changes aside from adding a Primordial Harmony for 5 chaos that makes the defensive golem buffs more effective.

What did 3.14 do to this build?

A few small nerfs, two small buffs and a nerf that will up the cost of a key upgrade item.

(Small Nerf) Vitality has about 20% less life regen at level 20.
No big deal, we have other sources of regen.

(Small Nerf) Trigger socketed spells craft now has an 8 second cooldown.
(It was 4)
When you get this optional craft, you will have to be more careful, watching to see the Bone Offering buff is up at all times. WIth 5 corpses, it has a 9 second base duration, and we have duration bonuses, so we should be ok.

(Small Buff) Vaal Summon Skeleton will now gain souls twice as fast when fighting bosses.

(Small Buff) Abyss Jewels that grant flat damage to minions now grant more of it.

(Big cost nerf, tiny dps nerf)
Vaal summon skeleton gem can no longer be 21/23, but can only be 21/20, and can only be obtained in the temple from a double corrupt gem altar, with a very lucky roll on a 20/20 skeleton gem. This means 21/20 VSS gems will be much more expensive.
This does not kill the build, as you can do fine with a 20/20 VSS gem, but does up the cost.
We will see just how expensive they will become.

I am basing this on the following from the patch notes.
Vaal Skill Gems can now only be obtained from a set of specific methods such as Corrupting Gems, Vaal Side Areas, Divination Cards (that specifically grant Vaal Skill Gems) and the Lapidary Lens in the Temple of Atzoatl.

It used to be 21/23 VSS gems could just drop from some league mechanics. My reading of this text says, that is no longer the case.

The build is fine, the nerfs are trivial other than costing more for a optional gem upgrade.

Will this build be good for Ultimatum League?

It uses Vaal Summon Skeleton, which is VERY VERY powerful in any non moving enclosed situation, which is exactly what Ultimatums are.
This build will SHINE in Ultimatums!

Ultimatums are VERY dangerous.

What about experienced players?

Experienced players should take this guide as a starting point.
I have left several strong mechanics out of the guide, in order to make it more newbie friendly.
Experienced players with currency can modify their builds using cluster jewels, support spectres, anmiate guardian, and such.
Due to the huge labor of maintaining a guide for newbies, I will not be ALSO maintaining an expert player version.
There are many people who have posted in this thread, their "experienced" versions of this build, more expensive, more complicated, more damage and/or defense.


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 single end game bosses. (Except deep delve)

This build uses Skeleton Mages to do massive dps on a low budget.

It's a minion build, so if you don't like minion builds this is not for you.

Our main damage dealer are Skeleton Mages

We use Zombies as meat shields.

We use Vaal Summon Skeletons for Bosses and non moving events like Ritual, Blight, and Breach.

Vaal Summon Skeleton is one of the best "I WIN" buttons in the game. It is absurdly strong.

Skeleton Mages inherently do elemental damage. See the section below for more details on them.

We use Elemental Equilibrium to lower enemy cold and fire resists by 50%.
We use Elemental Weakness 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 resists.

We use Vitality Aura to buff our life regen.
We use a Stone Golem to buff our life regen.

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.

How do Skeleton Mages work?

Skeleton mages require a unique jewel, Dead Reckoning. Before you acquire it, you will be using melee skeletons.

When you socket the jewel, Dead Reckoning, into your passive skill tree, instead of summoning melee skeletons, you summon skeleton mages, up to 15.

(This limit only matters on Vaal Summon Skeleton, which at high level summons more than 15 melee skeletons, so only 15 of those get converted to skeleton mages. Vaal Summon Skeleton naturally summons a few skeleton mages, so you will get these plus the 15 converted ones.)

There are 3 types of skeleton mages.
Cold, Fire, and Lightning.
They each do a dart like spell, that hits a single target with the respective type of damage.
It counts as a spell projectile, and can be supported as such.
It is random which of the 3 types are summoned, so usually you get a mix.

Since we are using Elemental Equilibruim triggered by Storm Brand, we are buffing the damage of the fire and cold skeleton mages, and lowering the damage of the lightning skeleton mages.

In theory skeleton mages can walk around, but they rarely move very far. If they are aware of an enemy, they cast at an enemy.

Can I do this build in SSF

SSF (Solo Self Found)
In 3.13 a player in SSF found a Dead Reckoning jewel, rerolled and followed this guide and had a great time, did all content.

But the Dead Reckoning jewel has too low a drop rate to try this build in SSF without already having it.

Pros and Cons

Very newbie friendly, lots of details for first time players.
Very good for "stay in place" encounters like, Breach, Blight, Rituals and Ultimatum!
Very Low currency to go deep into red maps.
Scales with currency.
Relaxed minion play style.
Does not need empower.
No cluster jewels needed.
OK 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.

Struggles with elemental reflect maps, unless you get expensive rings. (I did some elemental reflect maps with this build to test it out, you can do them, but its slow, recasting skeletons constantly.)
Minion play style is not for everybody.
At very high wealth investment, other minion builds may do significantly better, like Kay's Necro build.
(You can always transition, use this build until you are absurdly wealthy, then transition to another build.)

Passive Skill Tree

Kill All Bandits

Ascendancy Order:
Mindless Aggression
Unnatural Strength
Mistress of Sacrifice
Bone Barrier

When you have a worthy amulet, ANOINT DEATH ATTUNEMENT on the amulet, and regret out of that part of the tree.

I don't know what annointing means!

In Blight league they added the mechanic to "annoint" your amulet.
Casia the npc lets you do this, you can invite her to your hideout after you do her quest. She randomly appears and gives it to you.

Take 3 oils and an amulet and put it in the annoint window.
It is completely deterministic.

Annointed amulets give you ONE "free" notable from the passive tree.

We annoint Death Attunement, which saves us points from having to path over there.

The 3 oils to get Death Attunement are: Clear, Crimson, Silver.

Wait until you have a valuable ammulet to do this.
No point in putting 30c worth of oils on a 3 c ammulet.

Passive Skill Trees: Poe Planner 3.14

15 Skill Points

33 Skill Points

47 Skill Points, Normal Lab

71 Skill Points, Cruel Lab with EE

97 Skill Points, Merciless Lab

114 Skill points, Uber Lab done
Assumes anointment of Death Attunement on amulet

After that put every point into life nodes.

PoB (Path Of Building)

Against my better judgement, here is a PoB link.
It is a snapshot of my Ritual League starter, at level 89.
This is the "base gear" as outlined later in this guide WITH an amulet upgrade, so I could justify annointing it.


I don't trust the dps numbers, but the gear and skill tree should help.

I think PoB is DEMON SPAWN.

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.


Chest (Skeleton Mages)
Colors: 5B/G
Vaal Summon Skeleton linked to Pierce, Spell Echo, Minion Damage, Elemental Army, Elemental Focus.
(Supports are listed in order of importance, in case you do not yet have a 6l chest.)

Helmet (Zombies and Stone Golem)
Colors: 3B/R
Raise Zombies and Stone Golem linked to Feeding Frenzy, Meat Shield.

Colors: 2R/2B (2R/B linked, B unlinked)
Cast When Damage Taken linked to Immortal Call and Convocation.
Flame Dash NOT linked.
Keep CWDT at level 7
Keep Immortal Call at level 9
Keep Convocation at level 10
(The higher level CWDT is, the more damage you must take for it to proc. Level 7 has a 1k damage threshold. At level 7, CWDT can only trigger spells usable at level 50 and below, hence Immortal Call at level 9, and Convocation at level 10.)

First Weapon
Colors: G/B/R
Bone Offering (HUGE defensive boost)
Vitality (Life Regeneration)
Desecrate (To make corpses to use Bone Offering)
Keep Desecrate at level 1 to save mana.

Second Weapon (or Shield)
Colors: 3B
Storm Brand linked to Hextouch and Elemental Weakness.

Boots (Auras)
Colors: 3B/R
Zealotry and Summon SKitterbots both linked to Generosity and Enlighten.
Enlighten is not needed, but mana is a bit tight without it.
You only need Enlighten to be level 2 to get enough free mana.
Until you get a level 2 Enlighten, drop zealotry and run Skitterbots linked to Infernal Legion, Burning Damage, and Minion Damage. (Same colors!)

Base Gear

Required Unique
Dead Reckoning

That is the only unique item needed for this build.

OMG Dead Reckoning is SO expensive this league.
What do I do?


Use Melee Skeletons until you can afford the Dead Reckoning
Skel links in order of importance
Skel/Multistrike/Minion Damage/Impale/Melee Physical/Ruthless
If you use impale, you need to use Dread Banner, a 10% aura.
You dont need Stormbrand and Hextouch, so you save a gem link.
Use self cast Vulnerability aura.
Do not use Zealotry with melee skels, stick with skitterbots linked to infernal legion/minion damage/burning damage.

Helmet with +2 to minion gems
Even with life and resists, these are crazy cheap, 2-3 chaos early league.

6l chest
If they are not too expensive, get one with +2 duration gems corruption.
If they are expensive (like they are in Ultimatum League, its best to invest your currency elsewhere.

You should get enough chaos for a chest 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 weapons 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. They must both be melee weapons, or both wands. You cant mix the two.

If you can afford it, get some minion damage/minion attack speed mods also, this will up the cost, so it's optional. (only avalable on wands)

Do NOT get + fire or cold damage to spells on your wands, it will mess up EE.

Optional benchcraft for one weapon, that is a HUGE quality of life increase

Craft "Trigger socketed spells when you use a skill" onto the weapon 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.

Rare Jewels: Mods include, Life, Minions hinder on spell hit, % increased minion damage, minion cast speed, added damage to minions (fire and cold are best)

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 a jewel with minion damage mods on it.

If possible, get gear with armor, the more the better.

What order should I prioritize for getting the above gear?

1) Dead Reckoning unique Jewel (enables Skeleton Mages)

2) +2 minion gems helm with life and resists
Get when you start mapping

3) 6 link chest
(A Tabula with +2 duration gems corruption is highly recommended.)

4) +1 all spell skill gems weapons (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.


Defense is SO important in Ultimatum league.
When you can afford it, buy a 6l Femurs of the Saint staff.
Spec out of Glancing Blows, and any shield nodes you might have.
Spec into the Staff Block nodes Whirling Barrier
Put your Skeletons in the Staff
Put what was in the wand and shield into the body armor.
This means you dont need to 6l the body armor, and can buy a high defense body armor.
You will need to hand cast Bone Offering.


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.
Bone Barrier ascendency gives us 10% physical damage reduction, which is additive to flasks and armor.

76% max ele resists.

Block Explained:
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.

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.

We have Cast When Damage Taken linked to Immortal Call and Convocation.
After taking 1k damage, Immortal Call absorbs damage for a short time, and Convocation brings the Zombies and Golem to use to body block.

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.


Cast skeletons on each monster pack.
Cast storm brand on each pack.

Quicksilver flask is your friend.

Use Vaal Summon Skeleton on Bosses and other encounters that stay in one place, Ultimatums, Rituals, Breaches, Blights, etc.

Keep Bone Offering up at all times, it's key to defense.

Keep moving. Flame Dash to avoid danger. Defensive flasks as needed.

If you want more DEFENSE, use a Shield

Get a shield, give up one of the weapons.
Less offense, more defense. It's a choice.

Two ways to go with a shield, a higher armor shield, or a spirit shield with spell block.
Either way, get LOTS of life, life gained on block and/or % life gained on block.
You can also take shield nodes in the tree, like the sanctuary cluster.

If you go with a high armor shield, put the CWDT set up in the shield, and the Brand/curse/hextouch in the gloves.

General Information 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.

Loot Filter

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.
Some exceptions:

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.

Chromatic Orbs
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.
Energy Shield items are more likely to roll blue sockets.
Evasion items are more likely to roll green sockets.
Armor items are more likely to roll red sockets.
If you try to put blue sockets on a Armor 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.

Vendor Recipies

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.

Bench Crafting

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.

Be careful
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.

Beast Crafting

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.

Misc. Hints

Here is a link to a reddit list of TONS of newbie info.

There is a search bar in the passive skill tree.

You can sell a level 20 gem, with a gemcutter's prism, to a vendor and get back the same gem at level 1 with 20 quality. This is worth doing!

Trading up currency

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.
Endurance charges:
+15% to all Elemental Resistances per Endurance Charge
15% additional Physical Damage Reduction per Endurance Charge

Frenzy charges:
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

Power charges:
200% increased Critical Strike Chance per Power Charge

Last edited by Odif on Jan 15, 2022, 1:48:32 PM
Last bumped on Jan 31, 2022, 5:41:13 AM
How to Level with this build (for Newbies)

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.

When you get to town at level 2, check the wand vendor for linked BBR and BBB wands.
Do this EVERY time you go to town, until you get one of each.
(BBB wand is for zombies, BBR 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.)

This leveling section assumes Melee Skeletons, as I don't think you will get the Dead Reckoning jewel early.
If you do, the only thing that changes is the colors of the sockets on your chest, and the support gems you put in it.

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.
3 notes....
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.

Act 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 the Quicksilver Flask as reward.)
Take Summon Phantasm support as the reward. Link to zombies.

For early leveling you will have two minion links, one with SRS/Skeletons and one with Zombies
Support each with Minion Damage (quest reward on reaching prison, buy second one from vendor) and SRS/Skeletons with Melee Splash (buy from vendor after reaching prison)

Note: Zombies are very squishy at low level. You will be depending on SRS (and skeletons) 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.)
Once you get Vitality aura, your zombies will stop dying.
You can stop using Holy Flame Totem at that point, or keep using for more dps.

After you kill Brutus you get Summon Skeleton gem.
Swap out SRS and put Summon Skeleton in its place.

NOTE: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.

After you kill Brutus buy Vitality gem.
It will be HUGE in keeping your zombies and yourself alive.
Vitality is pretty OP at low level.

Use FLAME DASH as your movement skill 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.
Before you leave Act 1, buy an Infernal Legion gem and start leveling in your weapon swap. We use it in Act 2, when we get Skitterbots.

Act 2:

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 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 Skitterbots to Infernal Legion and Minion damage that you bought in act 1.

You will use Vitality and Skitterbots for a long time as your two auras.
With Infernal Legion, Skitterbots do an AMAZING amount of damage.
When you get the mana reservation cluster in the passive tree, you can add Burning Damage support to the skitterbots, in your boots.

When you get 4 links on helm and chest you can move your zombies and Skeletons there.
Orbs of Binding force a 4 link on an item. If you are lucky enough to get one of these, use it on helm or chest early on.

Act 3

You get Auras and Curses in Act 3.
Remember to do the optional Library Siosa Quest in act 3 to unlock the gem vendor.

Zealotry aura is a big DPS buff for the Skeleton Mages. It does nothing for Melee Skeletons. Only use it after you have Skeleton Mages AND a level 2 Enlighten support.
You cannot run Zealotry, Skitterbots AND Vitalilty all at once, for now.
Use Skitterbots and Vitality for now.
Skitterbots linked to Infernal Legion and Minion Damage is crazy good dps at low level.
Level up Zealotry and Generosity in your weapon swap, to be used MUCH later.

Until you have Skel Mages, you are doing pure phys damage, so use Vulnerability curse.

Until you get Hextouch, self cast your curse.
You wont get Hextouch support till act 4, but Stormbrand is in act 1

Don't use Elemental Equilibrium proc'ed by Storm Brand until you have Skeleton Mages.

You get Meat Shield and Feeding Frenzy in Act 3, these are your Zombie supports now.

Act 4

You get Stone Golems early in act 4.
Socket in with the Zombies when you have the links.

You get Spell Echo support later on in this act, this is a HUGE dps increase. USE IT. (if you have Skel Mages, if you still have Melee Skeletons use Multistrike.)

You also get Hextouch in Act 4.

Act 5 and beyond

After Act 4, just get gear with sockets linked with the right colors, life and resists and any stats you may be lacking.
Try to get your elemental resists capped.
Remember, you lose 30% to all your resists after killing Kitava in Act 5, and it happens AGAIN after killing Kitava in Act 10.

You will need some dexterity on gear.
You can annoint an ammulet with 3 clear oils for 30 dex. (very cheap)
You can bench craft dex on gear.

Once you get Skeletons in 4 a link, you will steamroll the rest of the campaign.
You will be shocked at how easy it becomes.

To run Skeleton Mages, just buy the Dead Reckoning jewel, and find a chest with the proper colors for it, and you are good to go.

I recommend not using Zealotry until you get a level 2 Enlighten Support gem.
Vitality and Skitterbots linked to minion damage, Infernal Legion, Burning Damage, will take you a LONG ways.


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
Alteration Orb
Life flask of ANIMATION

To craft a life flask of animation:
Life Flask (Any rarity or size)
Transmutation orb
Bone Spirit Shield (any Rarity)(keep a lookout for these, they start dropping in act 2)

As you get more currency, what to upgrade.


Defense is SO important in Ultimatum league.
When you can afford it, buy a 6l Femurs of the Saint staff.
Spec out of Glancing Blows, and any shield nodes you might have.
Spec into the Staff Block nodes Whirling Barrier
Put your Skeletons in the Staff
Put what was in the wand and shield into the body armor.
This means you dont need to 6l the body armor, and can buy a high defense body armor.
You will need to hand cast Bone Offering.

First off, I would not invest more than 20 or so exaulteds in this build.
Other minion builds do better with huge investments, like Kay's Necro Build.

Some of the below upgrades are much less than 20 ex, I also include super expensive ones, just in case you want to go for it.

Buy a level 21 Vaal Summon Skeleton gem. Get one with 20% quality of you can afford it.

A rare ammy with +1 to all intelligence gems.

Breathsealer unique gloves
They leave pods on the ground that buff you and your minions.
Note the spores ONLY come out on the deaths of rare mobs, so uptime will be limited. BUT you can annoint them, so they are good even with no rares in a fight.

I highly recommend these gloves.

You have several options:
Corrupted +2 socketed duration gems.
Corrupted +1 socketed gems.
(Note: If you get a +1 gems chest, and you can afford a corrupted level 4 empower, then Empower becomes your best support gem.)
Or a Lioneye's Vision unique.
This gives Pierce level 15 for free, so its a pseudo 7 link, but its a evasion chest, effectively impossible to get 6 blue sockets with chrom orbs. You would have to get the socket colors with Harvest crafting, very tedious. If you plan on corrupting it, get at least one white socket, because if you get +1 socketed gems as a corruption, you will want to use a level 4 empower as a support.

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.
Ghazzy made a video on how to craft the wands

If you use a shield, you can get one with 12% spell block, life gained on block, life % gained on block, life and resists.

If you want to do elemental reflect maps, 2x rings with the mod "you and your minions take x% reduced reflected elemental damage"

Cannot be frozen craft

+3 socketed minion gems, socketed gems are supported by level 20 minion damage, nearby enemies take #% increased elemental damage. Crafted +1 skels/zombies

Rare abyss jewels with life and minion mods: minions hinder on spell hit, % increased minion damage, flat added minion damage (Fire and Cold are best), minion attack and cast speed.

Awakened Gems:
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 <your favorite curse> on hit".
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 Breathstealer gloves.

Get a +2 duration gems corrupted Tabula.

Get an amulet with +1 all intelligence gems first. Annoint it.
Then get a level 21 Vaal Skel gem.

Upgrade your +2 duration Tabula to a chest with either +1 gems or +2 duration gems that has life and resists

Then save up for the super expensive wands with +1 all skill gems, +1 all minion gems, some other minion damage mods.

Why no Spectres?

It is possible to use support spectres with this build, BUT, support spectres found in the campaign are too squishy with the nerfs to spectres in 3.13. And as a newbie focused build, I don't want to have newbies chasing hard to get rare spectres.
Feel free to add spectres if you want. I leave it up to you how you rearrange things to fit it in.

Why is there no Animate Guardian?

Animate Guardians are only powerfull at VERY high currency levels, otherwise they die, and you lose everything.
As this is a newbie oriented build, I decided not to use them.
If you want to invest in the build, get an unset ring, put the Stone Golems in the unset ring, and put the AG in the helmet.

What to buy for leveling if you are not league starting

In Order of Importance:
Dead Reckoning Jewel
Vaal Summon Skeleton gem (level 1)
Tabula (+2 duration gems on it means you cant use until level 16)
Goldrim Helmet
Wanderlust Boots
2x Lifesprig wands

Starting out with Dead Reckoning, you want to get a jewel socket in the passive tree by level 10. Path up to the one above the Witch starting area, and if you do the Dweller of the Deep quest, you will get the jewel socket at exactly level 10. It's ez mode at that point.

RealToothMan's MoM Version of this build (Very Defensive, but Expensive)


RealToothMan has run this build two leagues in a row.
He takes it as far as anybody I know, farther than me.
He wrote a short guide on what he does to take this build to a high cost, high defense build that can do all content.

Global Chat Channel to Discus this Build

Channel 798
Type /global 798
I will be on this channel whenever I am on.
It can be a place where people can discuss the build, offer help to each other, etc.
If it gets spammy, I will change the number to a new number.

If you use this guide, please leave feedback.
Last edited by Odif on May 14, 2021, 9:23:16 PM
I'll give your guide a try this league.
IndyColts wrote:
I'll give your guide a try this league.

Thank you.

I too will be league starting with the build, following it closely.

The build has changed too much from previous versions, for me to make the claim that I have used it many times.

I have a LOT of experience league starting minions, so I am confident that it will work, but I have not actually done it.

The huge 3.13 nerfs to spectres make past experiences not totally reliable now.

Please leave feedback as you level up using the build.

Can this build still works in 3.13? I want to find a low price build to fight against the sirus or even the t20.Looking forward to your reply.
roylfeilei wrote:
Can this build still works in 3.13? I want to find a low price build to fight against the sirus or even the t20.Looking forward to your reply.

After reading about the HUGE nerf to Spectres in 3.13, I mothballed my old Spectre-(Skeleton or Zombie) build guide, and rewrote it to be a Skeleton AND Zombie guide.

We lose a little clear speed, but gain some single target dps.

It will do Sirus, and any other boss from the past.
(Except deep delving)

I have no idea if it will do Maven, or if it will do 10 boss fights, but nobody knows about those fights yet.

It will take you from league start to end game bosses with just the currency you find along the way.

It is NOT the fastest.
This build guide is to get newbies to endgame, not to provide a zoom zoom killer for experienced players.
Last edited by Odif on Jan 11, 2021, 11:52:36 PM
is it possible to get pastebin for this build for lvling? even if ur boycotting it? i just need it for lvling btw

i created it dont know how accurate it is https://pastebin.com/A5SCj2bJ
check notes if u want short info
Last edited by DanteDevilHunter4 on Jan 12, 2021, 1:29:30 AM
is it possible to get pastebin for this build for lvling? even if ur boycotting it? i just need it for lvling btw

Part of the reason I have not made a paste bin for PoB is that it is a lot of work to make one from scratch.

After I level up my Ritual league starter to maps, I can import one into paste bin, but then so could anybody, as I always have my characters public.

Plus, I have provided extensive Poeplanner.com links in the skills section, and in the leveling tips, i have provided the gear my Heist toon was wearing at level 44.

That should be enough for leveling.
In act 3 you mention taking out skitterbots, but no where in the other acts did it say to use it?
Codeine wrote:
In act 3 you mention taking out skitterbots, but no where in the other acts did it say to use it?

There is a bit about switching back to skitterbots when you feel the need for more offense, and when you feel you have enough life regen without vitality.

Seems I need to make that clearer.

Thanks for the feedback, I will alter it to be more clear.

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