[3.14] Cold Crit SRS (or Skeletons) Necromancer / ~40m DPS
Hey everyone! It's my first time making a "build", sorry if it's lacking in delivery/elaboration.
This build is influenced by Woolfio's Crit Skellies build wich made me aware of Ancient Skull's existence, along with some ideas.
I should probably state it outright - this is not a tanky/safe build. I've tried playing this game with different tanky builds, but I always get tilted by random one-shots, overstacked rare monsters in Ultimatum/Delirium, barely visible abilities, monsters with not-yet-loaded textures, etc. etc., you get the point. I've given up on most defensive layers, except for flasks and Bone Armour.
And past that - it's my love for SRS as a minion and the desire to push it to endgame with comfortable (for myself) DPS.
This build can be played with Summon Skeletons (warriors). Skellies have more reliable boss dps in dynamic boss fights since they're easily summoned/sustained at max. count than SRS, but at a cost of much worse mapping/clear speed even with Feeding Frenzy linked (wich allows them to use Dash ability to move around). Simply respec out of Enduring Bond notable cluster into Death Attunment, and swap Unleash Support gem for Predator Support. 10 skeletons easily cut down every endgame boss and majority of map bosses remain frozen until death.
This is an attack-based SRS minion build that utilzed several mechanics to boost it's critical strike chance and multiplier: Ancient Skull helmet, +2/+2 to minimum frenzy/power charges shield with Necromantic Aegis, Assassin's Mark hex and an Animated Guardian equipped with a Kingmaker.
If you're unfamiliar with SRS (Summon Raging Spirit) - you summon an uncotrollable minion that has an insanely agressive AI, wich then rushes ahead to any enemy within it's field of view. Due to how their behaviour is coded - they usually avoid attacking the same target if there's several "available" targets. Such behaviour leads to a smooth mapping experience where your SRS independantly select packs of monsters to attack, and move on to the next visible pack of monsters.
3. Pros and Cons
- Can run any map mod with varying levels of comfort, althou I usually avoid overstack damage mods/damage reductions
- Fast mapping/bossing with a single gem swap
- Majority of map monsters are chilled/frozen/shattered
- Few buttons gameplay
- SRS are very agressive and usually clear a screen or two ahead of you, as you pick up loot
- Very little defenses aside of Bone Armor and Flasks, encounter knowledge and good reflexes are required to avoid frequent deaths
- Vulnerable to degens like ignite/poison/ground effects due to low HP pool and hard-to-cap chaos resistance
- Prone to one-shots in the end-game maps from random projectiles during Bone Armor downtime
From my calculations, as of 3.14 mid-league, you should be ready for endgame content with ~30ex investment, or maybe less, depending on how far you want to push the DPS:
1. A +2 wand with some minion stat bonuses and "trigger socketed spells" - 8ex+
2. A 6-link "The Covenant" armor - around 20c, or around 2ex if you look for "+1 to socketed gems" corruption
3. +2/+2 charges shield - 2ex to buy off someone, ~3ex to craft one yourself with a chance of a free suffix for "5% chance to deal double damage"
4. 4-green socket "Triad Grip" with "Ele. Weakness on hit" - ~3ex
5. +1 int gem amulet with some dex/resistances - ~3ex (+1ex for "Whispers of Doom annoint)
6. "Trigger level 12 Assassin's Mark" ring - ~1ex
7. Two Large cluster jewels - 6ex total
8. Set of medium cluster jewels - ~2ex total
9. Ancient Skull with good enchant - ~1ex
10. Good ring with to cap out dex/resistances - ~1-2ex
11. Over 130% total res. boots with life/ms - ~2-3ex
12. Ghastly eye jewels - this is an open avenue for improvements, close to endless in both dps gains and exalted orb losses.
5. IMPORTANT: Ancient Skull degen mechanics and Animated Guardian
Build utilizes Ancient Skull helmet, it grants our minions 50% increased critical strike chance per maximum power charge we have (meaning 150% static), also whenever one of our minions deals a critical strike - all of our minions start to "hear whispers" - wich translates into +50% minion attack speed, +50% minion damage and a downside of our minions taking 20% of their max life as chaos damage per second. This degen doesn't matter to neither our SRS nor Carrion Golem, SRS can sustain themselves somewhat through leech and Blessed Rebirth immunity and Carrion Golem is resummoned each 8 seconds and rarely has any down-time.
The only minion we should worry about is our Animate Guardian, if it dies - wave goodbye to your Kingmaker. In order to keep AG alive we need to top off it's elemental and chaos resistances, it has 40% elemental and 20% chaos resistances by default, that leaves us with a goal of +10% to each elemental resistance (it gets +29% all elem. res. and +4% to maximum elem. res. from "Elemental Army Support") and 55% chaos resistance.
With that information in mind, you need to equip your AG with the following:
- A body armour with a MANDATORY mod of "Gain 12-14% of Maximum Life as Extra Maximum Energy Shield" + preferrable some chaos/crafted chaos res
- A MANDATORY helmet: "Mask of the Stitched Demon" - in conjuction with the aforementioned body armour this helmet will grant our AG an insane amount of life regeneration, far outweighting the degen that it recieves during "Whispers" mechanic. This is the only option I'm aware of to keep AG safe.
- For gloves I recommend "Southbound" - it overcaps AG's cold resistance and grants it up to 16% increased life bonus.
- For boots: find a rare pair of boots with life/ms and chaos resistance.
- On one of the piece of gear craft a "fire and lighting resistances" so AG can cap the elemental resistance.
With such a setup your AG should regen around 15% of it's hp every second, after the "Whispers" 5% per second chaos degen, on top of it all it will frequently recover 4% hp from "Life from Death" notable that we allocate on a medium cluster jewel.
6. Gear explanations
For a more detailed gear overview - proceed to PoB, I'll try to explain some bits in this section.
Helmet enchants, best as follows:
1. 150% increased Effect of the Buff granted by your Carrion Golems
2. Flesh Offering grants an additional 21% increased Attack Speed
3. Summoned Raging Spirits deal 40% increased Damage
"The Covenant" armor is the best option I found, since I've got almost all of my mana reserved, just enough to "Dash" around.
Cold-attuned buckler - not a mandatory item, but if the Brittle effect procs during a sweaty boss fight - the dps skyrockets and the fight usually end within that 4s Brittle window.
One "Fortress Covenant" is good to give our minions some Spell Block in order to have a chance to proc Brittle on caster bosses.
Darkness Enthroned grants an insane DPS boost if you socket good Ghastly Eyes in it (flat phys. to minions + #% minion damage if you used a minion skill recently)
Ghastly Eye Jewels - I was planning on using them to purely ramp up my dps, but they ended up as my saviours on getting DEX and elemental resistances.
Build's DPS can be greatly improved with investment into items like:
- Bottled Faith with it's 100% inc. crit. strike chance and +10% damage taken by the enemy.
- Crazy Ghastly Eyes jewels with high-tier flat phys and "minion damage if you've used a minion skill recently."
- A high-tier +2 wand with proper minion damage mods.
- A "+2 to level of socketed duration gems" corrupt on body armor
- A level 20/20% Anomalous Assassin's Mark in an unset ring if you're not too lazy to self-cast it.
- Awakened Multistrike and Elemental Damage with Attacks are a good option.
... but all of it requires a good investment, and I've already reached the desired performance bar and do not feel the need of pouring more currency into an already satisfying build.
8. PoB and some mechanics explanations
- Ancient Skull's unique properties aren't read by PoB yet, so I've added them onto Quicksilver flask, along with Animate Guardian's Kingmaker that grants crit multiplier.
- Since the minions use our shield (Cold-attuned Buckler) - they have a chance to proc Brittle on enemy monsters and bosses, in that case their crit chance against that Brittle target skyrockets to 100% for 4s, and 4s is enough for 20 SRS to shred any boss in this game. I didn't tick it on in PoB, sicne it's a conditional and not a guaranteed debuff.
9. Leveling / Leaguestart
I must warn you - I'm not a giga-brain, ultra-fast act runner that gets to maps in 6 hours time, this is more akin to a set of recommendations and advices based on personal experience.
- Push the act1 with Freezing Pulse or any other skill you like. You can switch to SRS when you have atleast 3 links for SRS + Melee Splash + Minion Damage. If you're planning to start off with SRS early - rush Enduring Bond cluster near the witch start, then rush Elemental Equilibrim and trigger it with lighting damage (Storm brand or Orb of Storms). This will make most Act bosses a joke. The playstyle really start to flow once you get Unleash at the end of Act4. I also recommend getting Fearsome Force cluster early, since it greatly improves SRS AoE with Melee Splash.
- Don't forget Carrion Golem and keep it alive during leveling/early mapping, it grants a good damage bonus to your SRS. It will be socketed in a "trigger" wand later and won't require any maintaining.
- Once you hit level 32 - try getting a Triad Grip gloves, it's a BIG damage increase for the build. It will convert the remaining 50% physical damage of SRS into elemental damage and make them take full benefit of EE. If it's a league start - make sure it has atlest two sockets that are red or green (fire or cold conversions). Make sure it doesn't have blue sockets, those will convert SRS damage to Lightning - and that's bad for our EE. Get them to 4 green sockets at earliest convenience.
- Don't shy away from life nodes once you're in acts 3 and 4, because the monster damage skyrockets in act 5 and further.
- Get your zombies linked with Elemental Army, Minion Life and Feeding Frenzy, they will be our "support minions" until we can get the crit-enabling gear and deck out our AG with expensive gear.
- Once you get atleast a 5-link The Covenant - you can reserve most of your mana with both Hatred + Generosity and Skitterbots + Bonechill.
- At the start of the league you can use some cheap wands/daggers/sceptres that come from temple of atzoatl (incursion), with mods granting "+1 to level of all fire spell skill gems" and "minions have +25-28% increased attack and cast speed", those usually go for 10-30c at the leaguestart, often with open affixes for crafts.
- The crit enabling parts of build: shield with +2/+2 charges, set of cluster jewels with Vicious Bite/Precise Commander are going to be expensive to craft/buy at the start. I suggest using a second wand or Victario's Charity shield, and dumping free talents into life until you're able to afford buying the aforementioned gear.
- Kill all bandits.
- Lab points progression: Mindless Agression > Unnatural Strenght > Mistress of Sacrifice > Bone Barrier
- Use https://poe-roadmap.com/ to track required gems and uniques.
P.S. As I've said at the beginning - it's my first build writeup, I have most likely missed some key points that need explanation. So, feel free to leave any questions in the comments, I'll try answering at the earliest convinience!
Last edited by ktoto666 on Jun 1, 2021, 5:54:41 AM
Last bumped on Jun 1, 2021, 5:38:54 AM
on May 27, 2021, 11:12:59 AM
Fun-looking build, good writeup and videos - nice to see an SRS build that's not a MI bomber or auramancer.
on May 28, 2021, 7:39:25 PM
Awesome work, thanks a lot OP. The guide is superbly explained.
I have actually been testing the ancient skull a lot the past few leagues - it's a very interesting item. I can confirm it feels bad to try to build defensively. I tried the raider, maxing dodge and spell dodge (https://pastebin.com/4s4i9rqv), and it was super fast, but dodge/spell dodge felt terrible as a defence - better, as you say, to just stack damage and accept the inveitable deaths!
I also found that all the gear you use to stack cold damage was pretty expensive (way outside my budget of 2 EX. per build), so if anyone is playing more casually, poison damage works well instead - you get really nice AOE clear using occultist. https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/3034485
on May 29, 2021, 6:41:17 PM
First, thanks for the build!
I probaably try this build next. But, I have a couple of questions. As you said, is not a tanky/safe build. So, how ti managed the ultimatums? Maybe, is better not to do them? Or depending or the typr of ultimatum? OR you just try our best? xD
I guess that you only use Storm brand for bosses, right? (Or tough enemies)
Also, is a good build for Delve?
Edit: For boots: find a rare pair of boots with life/ms and chaos resistance. ---} What's ms?? (maximun energy shied?)
Last edited by Sanfear on May 30, 2021, 7:36:32 PM
on May 30, 2021, 4:52:09 PM
Last edited by Sanfear on May 30, 2021, 5:38:00 PM
on May 30, 2021, 4:56:11 PM
It can somewhat manage ultimatums. I do "protect the altar"/"slay enemies" ones, sometimes I accidentally do "survive" ones, and I always skip "stand in stone circles." There's no guarantee you're not getting oneshotted at the start of wave 1 or end of wave 9, I honetly despise how unbanced the encounters are. Usual deaths are from small skitterbots that fire cold projectiles in random directions and chonky bois that use sunder or something. The issue is that a wave can spawn around 6-8 rare monsters with auras that all buff one another and just slap your face. And yeah - you run in circles like madman, no standing still from more than 0.5s.
Storm brand is usually for bosses/betrayal rogues/delirium bosses/red beasts/etc., I also often place 3 of them in a triangular pattern during Ultimatums, it's crucial for the rare monsters to die asap and not buff up the entire thing. Especially when you run "+% monster elem. resistances" or "#% increased monster life" or even worse - both, since it significantly reduces the potency of your SRS's feezes and chills, meaning monsters have more time to perfrom any action.
"ms" stands for movement speed, you're not very fast outside of Quicksilver flask and Dash, so atleast 20% ms is required for quality of life.
I'll try recording some Ultimatums for you. I've done trialmaster two or three times with a weaker version of this build, it took ~3-4 seconds to take him out without even swapping out melee splash, just be sure to move out of the cascades if he casts them.
Last edited by ktoto666 on May 31, 2021, 2:27:39 AM
on May 31, 2021, 2:27:02 AM
Thank you very much for the prompt reply and the info. Its really helpful!!
on May 31, 2021, 3:15:16 AM
Added some Ultimatum clips to Video section. I must say that a skellie build with Vaal Summon Skeletons makes Ultimatums a breeze, since vaal skellies usually persist long enough for you to wait for them to cooldown and charge the vaal skill again. A big plus is that skellies have much more potent freezes, since they hit less often, but deal much more damage with given hits.
on May 31, 2021, 4:43:41 AM
Thanks for the video!!
Do you mean this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmsXZkcc30Q, right? (the one you posted at the beginning)
Im guessing it could be "easy" to change from this build for that one, correct?
What im seeing is that the Cold-attuned buckler shield is really hard to get o really expensive atm, so which one do you recomend instead?
Im kind of testing a couple of builds for next leagues. So i want to see how this one works. Bc i always wanted to play a good SRS buils
BTW, what is scout towers?
Last edited by Sanfear on Jun 1, 2021, 3:41:25 AM
on May 31, 2021, 4:49:18 PM
No, that's Woolfio's build that inspired me to try out crit-oriented minions, hsi build is a bit safer, but has much less dps. I mean just changing my build a little and using skeletons instead of srs. Read the last bit of 1.Introduction.
Cold-attuned buckler is craftable for ~3ex and some alters. If you don't want to dabble in crafting - get yourself a shield with "% increased movement speed" so your SRS move a bit faster, or any other, it doesn't really matter. Brittle is just a nice addition to possible dps limits, but not required.
SRS/Skellies are a breeze to start off, but it's gonna feel bumpy to transition for Act10 > white maps > yellow maps, up until you get 6-link, +1 (+2) wands, cluster jewels, Blessed Rebirth, etc. etc. You'll have to play a non-crit version first, Influence bases going to cost alot, awakener orb is going to be expensive, so a +2 power/frenzy shield is out of options at the league start, probably gonna resort to another +1 wand or Victario's Charity. A "cheap" transition into a crit version will probably be possible in the end of week 2 or week 3, I can't say for sure. I really should plan out and write up a "league start" section...
on Jun 1, 2021, 3:05:23 AM