[3.19] [SC+HC] Summon Homing Missiles (SRS) Necromancer: Starting, Leveling & Endgame Mapping

This build is all-new, written specifically for 3.19!

For the short of it, here's the PoB pastebin: https://pastebin.com/QGdDUhs7 (updated now that 3.19 is actually live)

Introduction

Summon Raging Spirit (SRS) is a bit of an oddball skill in Path of Exile. It's a minion-summoning skill that has a remarkably short duration, effectively making them very disposable. This guide will show you how to lean into this heavily, turning your "raging spirits" into "homing missiles." This will allow you to effortlessly power through the main campaign, as well as do mapping and a lot of other endgame content, all with minimal investment in gear. Aside from one or two key items, (that are still far from chase uniques) this is all but SSF-viable, as well as HC-viable.

Contrast to other common builds using SRS (and even exploding SRS) this build does not rely on anything else for its damage. Our other minions are there purely for defense.

This is meant to be a comprehensive guide, starting in Act 1, able to play the same build all the way through into the far endgame, and covers the aspects of passives, gems, gear, and playstyle strategies.


Why Summon Raging Spirit?

While Summon Raging Spirit in general is a fairly niche, low-popularity skill with some downsides, it has a number of established strengths as well:

  • + Ready to go from mid Act 1 onward; unlike other minion builds, there's no delay before you can really start doing your build.
  • + Strong "fire and forget" gameplay; raging spirits won't drop their target to come follow you as you run away, allowing for a far more mobile strategy than normal for a minion build.
  • + Fairly strong bossing potential, able to dump a very large amount of DPS onto a single target.
  • + Usually fairly tanky and survivable, similar to other minion builds.
  • + Very cheap to build: uses no chase uniques, and can start working on gems alone.
  • - Requires a lot more activity than typical for a minion build, as you constantly have to summon more.
  • - Somewhat mediocre clear ability outside of bosses.

In particular, taking this route adds a few more quirks as well:

  • + DPS scales much higher, reaching into the millions.
  • + Non-boss clear is more reliable, especially during leveling, allowing one or two casts to be trusted to kill an entire pack of monsters, leaving you to quickly advance.
  • + Technically an example of a "universal build," that can handle every type of content, ranging from Act 1 through the far endgame.
  • + The satisfaction of explosions that remove big, visible chunks of a boss's health bar (assuming the boss isn't just instantly deleted itself)
  • - Requires a couple of league-specific drops to truly show its full power.
  • - Distinct delay (of up to a few seconds) between casting and your damage coming out; this can leave you in a tight spot if you get swarmed.
  • - Much more hands-on than even normal SRS.


Basic Concept


Summon Raging Spirit is a spell that creates a short-lived minion that ignores your commands, and attacks whatever is nearest to it. Its base damage is physical, but it has 100% physical to fire conversion. Because this is inherent to the skill itself, it can't be overridden: SRS hits will always be 100% fire damage, even if you use something like a Triad Grip to convert your minions' damage.

Minion Instability (MI) is a keystone passive, that causes your minions to self-destruct should their life drop to 50% of their maximum or below. (i.e, "low life") This causes an explosion that kills them, and inflicts fire damage (to anything near them) equal to 33% of their maximum life. Do note that this does not activate should the minion die or be de-summoned (or otherwise disappear) before its life reaches 50%. Thus it will not activate just because the duration expired, or you summoned too many and it de-summoned your oldest.

To make Minion Instability work with SRS, we need to use something that will cause our raging spirits to take continual damage, and reach the 50% threshold before their duration expires. We have two tools to do this with: in act 1, we have access to the Infernal Legion Support gem, which inflicts area damage over time (AoT) around the minion, as well as make them take continuous fire damage. Later, we use the Legion League-specific unique, Tavukai, as it applies damage faster, buffs our SRS, and frees up a gem slot for a more useful DPS gem.


Everything else we do in the build will work off of this: since our damage scales with our minion's life, we stack as much as we can; each point winds up being slightly more valuable than minion damage. A pleasant side-effect is that this makes our other minions extremely durable.


Class and Passive Skills

For this build, we're going to be using the Necromancer ascendancy class. While many have asserted that the changes in 3.19 have made Necromancer unplayable, it's still incredibly viable for SRS, and the alternative other summoners have flocked to (Scion) is too focused on actively casting buffs, which doesn't work for this skill. We'll want to pick up our notables in this order:

  • Mindless Aggression: This is an all-around speed & damage increase for our minions. By the time we get to our first labyrinth, we'll still be relying a fair bit on the normal attack damage of our SRS, so this definitely helps.

  • Bone Barrier: Since life is also damage for our SRS, this 20% more (not increased!) is a big jump up. This also yields a fair bit of survivability for ourselves. Bone armour is a nice spell, even if later we'll prefer molten shell.

  • Commander of Darkness: This is a more modest damage increase; SRS won't be benefiting much from attack speed, but a mild bit of cast speed helps us. The main consideration here are the elemental resists: while it can truly help in dealing with the penalties after fighting Kitava, we want to try and avoid this while we're still relying on Infernal Legion, as giving our minions more elemental resists will make it take longer for them to explode.

  • Plaguebringer: this provides the least-significant benefit to us, so we take it last. An overall 10% more damage & 10% reduced damage taken is nice, but not critical.

For our passive tree, I've provided examples of our tree at numerous points in the game (including for each act) but there's also some explanation for the important things we take and why:

Passive trees by level
PoB Pastebin: (includes all 12 trees) https://pastebin.com/QGdDUhs7

(Old PoB pastebin written pre-launch:) https://pastebin.com/EKfHrCA2

Level 11 (end of Act 1): https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.18.1/AAAABgMDDCWyLR9I50yzYoZr220ZfRiVIJ6934rpAgAA

Level 22 (end of Act 2): https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.18.1/AAAABgMDGgQHCPQlsiycLR8vXTpYSOdMs1XGYoZjQWpDa9ttGXHzeX99GIPblSCevaEJvOrfiukC7IoAAroaL12piKEJ

Level 32 (end of Act 3): https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.18.1/AAAABgMDKAQHCPQRLRzcHgglsiycLR8vXTpYOulFnUjnTLNTUlXGVi5ihmNBakNr220ZcfN5f3yDfRiD24b4lSCa4J69oQm4k7zq04_fiukC6-7sg-yKAAO6Gi9dokiG-KmIoQk=

Level 40 (end of Act 4): https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.18.1/AAAABgMDMQQHCPQRLRzcHgglsij6KlMsnC0fL106WDrpQYdFnUjnTLNTUlXGVi5ihmKVY0FqQ2vbbRlx83l_fIN9GILHg9uG-JUgmuCevaEJsnC3PriTvOrTj9-K6QLr7uyD7Ir4R_noAAS6Gi9dokiG-KmIoQkvV_hH

Level 45 (end of Act 5): https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.18.1/AAAABgMDOAQHCPQRLRzcHgglsij6KlMsnC0fL101kjpYOulBh0WdSOdMs1NSVcZWLmKGYpVjQWpDa9ttGXHzeA15f3yDfRiCx4PbhviVIJrgnr2hCalusnC18rc-uJO86sAa04_Yvd-K6QLr7uyD7Ir4R_no_goABLoaL12iSIb4qYihCS9X-Ec=

Level 50 (end of Act 6): https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.18.1/AAAABgMDQAHnBAcI9BEtFE0b-hzcHgglsiXfKPoqUyycLR8vXTWSNug6WDrpQYdFnUjnTLNTUlXGVi5Yr2KGYpVjQWpDa9ttGXHzeA15f3yDfRiCx4PbhviVIJrgnr2hCaQZqW6ycLXytz64k7zqwBrTj9i934rpAuvu7IPsivhH-ej8S_4KAAS6Gi9dokiG-KmIoQkvV_hH

Level 54 (end of Act 7): https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.18.1/AAAABgMDRwHnBAcI9BEtFE0YkRv6HNweCCWyJd8o-ipTKpgsnC0fL10y0TWSNug6WDrpQYdFR0WdSOdMs1NSVcZWLlivYoZilWNBakNr220ZcfN4DXl_fIN9GILHg9uG-IhAkDOVIJrgnr2hCaQZqW6ycLXytz64k7yfvOrAGtOP2L3fiukC6-7sg-yK-Ef56PxL_goABLoaL12iSIb4qYihCS9X-Ec=

Level 60 (end of Act 8): https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.18.1/AAAABgMDUgHnBAcEswj0C2ERLRRNGJEb-hzcHgglsiXfKPoqUyqYLJwtHy9dMtE1kjboOQs6WDrpQYdFR0WdSOdMs1NSVcZWLlivWpFihmKVY0Fo8mpDa9ttGXHzeA15f3yDfRiCx4PbhviIQJAzlSCa4J69oQmiAKQZqW6vbLJwtfK3PriTvJ-86sAawGbTj9P72L3ZXt-K6QLr7uyD7IrwH_hH-ej8S_4KAAS6Gi9dokiG-KmIoQkvV_hH

Level 64 (end of Act 9): https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.18.1/AAAABgMDWAHnBAcEswj0C2EMXxEtFE0YkRjXG_oc3B4IJbIl3yj6KlMqmCycLR8vXTLRNZI26DkLOlg66UGHRUdFnUjnTLNTUlXGVi5Yr1qRYoZilWNBaPJqQ2qsa9ttGXHzeA15f3yDfRiCx4PbhviIQJAzlSCa4J69oQmiAKQZqH2pbq9ssnC18rc-uJO8n7zqwBrAZsau04_T-9i92V7fiukC6-7sg-yK8B_yKPhH-ej8S_4KAAW6Gi9dokiG-KmIoQkmlPIoL1f4Rw==

Level 67 (end of Act 10): https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.18.1/AAAABgMDXgHnBAcEswj0C2EMXxEtFE0VJxiRGNcb-hzcHgglsiXfKPoqUyqYLJwtHy9dMtE1kjboOQs6WDrpQYdFR0WdSOdMs1NSU6VVxlYuWK9akWKGYpVjQWjyakNqrGvbbRlx83gNeX98g30YgseD24b4iECMsY9GkDOVIJrgnr2hCaIApBmnCKh9qW6vbLJwtQS18rc-uJO8n7zqwBrAZsau04_T-9i92V7fiukC6-7sg-yK8B_yKPhH-ej8S_4KAAW6Gi9dokiG-KmIoQkmlPIoL1f4Rw==

Level 75 (after Eternal Labyrinth): https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.18.1/AAAABgMDagHnBAcEswj0C2EMXxEtFE0VJxZvGJEY1xv6HNwdFB4IJbIl3yj6KlMqmCycLOItHy9dMtE1kjboOQs6WDrpQYdFR0WdSOdMs1NSU6VVxlYuWK9akWKGYpVjQWaeZrpo8mpDaqxr220Zbztx83gNeX98g30YgseD24b4iECMsY8aj0aQM5UgmuCevZ_LoQmiAKQZpwiofalur2yycLUEtfK3PriTvJ-86sAawGbGrtAf04_T-9i92V7fiuNq6QLr7uyD7Irv6_Af8ij4R_no-tL8S_4KAAW6Gi9dokiG-KmIoQkmlPIoL1f4Rw==

Level 100 (fully filled out): https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/3.18.1/AAAABgMDgwHnBAcEswj0C2EMXxCXES0UTRUnFm8YkRjXGjgb-hzcHRQeCCSqJbIl3ycvKPoqUyqYLJws4i0fL10y0TWSNug26TkLOlg6xjrpQYdEBEVHRZ1I50qfTLNTUlOlVcZWLlivWfNakWKGYpVi9GNBZlRmnma6Z3Fo8mpDaqxr220ZbztxsnHzd8J4DXl_fIN9GILHg9uFYIV7hviIQIm8jLGPGo9GkDOQVZUgmE2a4Juhnr2fy6DmoQmiAKQZpwiofaluqsSvbLJwtQS18rc-uJO8n7zqwBrAZsauzLzQH9OP0_vYvdle34rjaukC6-7sOOyD7Irv6_Af8ij4R_no-tL8S_4K_o8ABboaL12iSIb4qYihCSaU8igvV_hH
Passive Explanations

Keystone Passives

  • Minion Instability: This is critical and what we base our build on. You want to grab this as soon as you can. You should have this by your 14th passive point, (not level!) and possibly earlier. Get this before you finish Act 1!

  • Unwavering Stance: if you get swarmed, you can get stunlocked and die You won't have appreciable evasion anyway, so this will help you survive fringe dangerous situations. You can potentially put this one off until you reach maps, but if you find yourself getting stunned a lot, take it no earlier than Act 7. (make sure to see if the Soul of the Brine King is sufficient)


Masteries

  • Minion Defense - Minions have 30% increased maximum life/minions have 15% reduced life recovery rate: rather than double-edged, this is win/win, as the former boosts our SRS' damage, and the latter slightly blunts the effect of minion regen. (which is hard to avoid, but just slows our SRS' explosions down) We want to take this one early on.

  • Life - +50 to Maximum Life: for any life-based build, this is generally an obvious pick. You can delay taking this, but it will be the second-available mastery here.

  • Minion Offense - Minions have 30% increased Area of Effect: this new mastery is useful in how accessible it is, and since ultimately all our damage is area damage, this helps us.

  • Mana - 10% Reduced Mana Cost of Skills: Constantly casting SRS can get very costly, especially with the mana cost bump it received in 3.19. This will help us manage that.

  • Minion Offense - Minions Penetrate 8% of Cursed Enemies' Resistances: In spite of the relatively modest strength, this is tied to the enemy being cursed. Still, we will be cursing enemies, and this will help with rare monsters & bosses. Take this one last, generally.


Jewels


These are not critical for the build, but as you will path right by several sockets, these will maximize how much power you get for your passive points. The jewel Fortress Covenant provides the most possible DPS from one jewel, while also giving our supporting minions a bit of block. We need to socket it away from any notable passive we want, however, so it'll go on the bottom part of our tree.

After that, we'll rely on rare jewels. The ideal one is a Rare Ghastly Eye Jewel, with the suffixes Minions have 12% increased maximum life and Minions deal 20% increased damage if you've used a minion skill recently. Since we are near-constantly casting SRS, the latter will always be in play. This leaves our prefixes free to, preferably, get +40 to maximum life and any other defensive mod we want, such as mana, mana regen, or flat armour. Getting all of this on one jewel will be extremely difficult & expensive, however, so don't be afraid to use sub-optimal jewels; even just one of the correct suffixes will make it a good investment for 1 passive point.

Note that will will not be needing a Watcher's Eye: the limited range of effects we get out of that don't really help us that much here for the investment.


Gem Setup & Progression

This build is relatively flexible with what other skills you have, but there's a very clear ideal progression to use for SRS. Fortunately, it does not absolutely need maximum gem sockets early on; even a 2L or 3L will work in the early acts. Use the following support gems with SRS:
Support Gems for SRS

Order of Priority While Leveling:

Order of Priority for the Endgame:

Final Setup Order of Priority:

Explanations for each gem:

  • Infernal Legion: until you get a Tavukai (which requires level 54 and will cost a bit) you need this as a source of degen so your SRS explode. Grab this in Act 1 the moment you take Minion Instability. Thanks to the burning damage effect, this is the best DPS you can get in a jewel as well even without MI. You will keep this at least until you get Tavukai, and potentially by the endgame; after the main campaign, this will cease to provide enough DPS to meaningfully keep up with the explosion damage.

  • Combustion: Take this as your third gem. It's a little weak at first, but Act 1 provides not many options. Later on, you'll want this to synergize with the Mark of the Red Covenant helmet. You will want to keep this until you can replace it with an Awakened Elemental Focus Support gem.

  • Minion Life: This will initially be your fourth selection, but later replaced and placed fifth. While it actually provides more explosion damage than your fire penetration, during the main campaign you'll have to weigh it against the damage of their attacks, which won't benefit from this gem, but do benefit from fire penetration; thus you'll replace it with Fire Penetration once you get it in Act 3, (unless you already have a 5L or 6L) and reinstate it once you have 5 or more linked sockets. Once you reach that point, you will never replace this gem.

  • Fire Penetration/Awakened Fire Penetration: This will be your fourth gem; if you only have a 4L, it will replace Minion Life until you get a 5L or better. Minions get precious few ways to bypass elemental resists, so a penetration gem is crucial. When you can, upgrade to an Awakened Fire Penetration.

  • Concentrated Effect: This is your sixth gem: it will replace Infernal Legion if you didn't already have a 6-link available. During leveling, the extra damage won't make much of a difference at this point, so it's low in priority.

  • Elemental Focus/Awakened Elemental Focus: This is your seventh gem. It will always replace Combustion; do not use both at the same time as it eliminates half of the benefit of Combustion. Normal Elemental Focus is only about as strong as Combustion at high level, and worse at low level. However, once the Awakened version hits level 5, it gives us +1 level to SRS, which is a substantial increase.

  • Empower/Awakened Empower: this is your final gem. Note that as you stack more levels, the effect of each level does shrink, so this will need to provide at least +3 levels (so level 4 Empower) to be worthwhile.

Besides our main skill, we'll be using the following other skills in support of it.
Supporting Skills
Extra Minions (3L)

Movement (2L)

Defensive (3L)

Aura Gems (4L)

Curse (1L)

Explanations:

  • Flammability: this is the best curse we can use, as we have a limited number of ways to boost minion damage, especially to overcome monster fire resistance. If you have Elemental Equilibrium, you can support this with Hextouch and a cold or lightning spell.

  • (Optional) Elemental Weakness: if you anoint Whispers of Doom to your Tavukai, we can apply a second curse. Again, overcoming enemy fire resistance is the most useful thing we can do here, so we stack this. (Do not take this unless you have Whispers of Doom!)

  • Determination: overall this is the best defensive aura in the game. It provides some flat armour, as well as a more armour modifier. Since we take some passives for armour and also gear for some of it, it's quite possible to get well over 10k here.

  • Clarity: SRS can be mana-hungry. This is one of the easiest ways to get extra mana regen. Level this until you have no problems sustaining mana.

  • Precision: Early on, this helps ensure our minions keep hitting. Later on, this provides a cheap way to get +3% cast speed. Leave this at level 1.

  • (Optional) Vitality: A bit of life regen doesn't hurt, but it's also a way to get another 3% cast speed for just 28 mana. Leave this at level 1; can also be used instead of Precision on a 4L setup.

  • Cast When Damage Taken + Molten Shell: when you build armour, Molten Shell provides a very powerful layer of defense. Using the Cast When Damage Taken Support (CWDT) with it makes it largely hands-free: it will proc pretty frequently when you get hit. Leave CWDT at level 1 to keep the threshold low, and to work with it, Molten Shell should not exceed level 10. You can support it with an Increased Duration Support gem of any level; even level 21 will work with a level 1 CWDT.

  • Flame Dash: for casters, (this includes us!) this is the most useful travel skill. Support it with Faster Casting.

  • Raise Zombie: You're a summoner, but not a zookeeper. Your minions won't deal much damage, but will instead provide a durable barrier between the monsters and you. Support this with Minion Life.

  • Summon Carrion Golem: this is the ideal golem, and will give a bit more damage output not tied to your minions exploding. Support this with Minion Life; it can share a 3L (such as on a wand) with your Raise Zombie.


Gearing the Build

While the outright requirements of this build are mild, there are a few things to keep in mind and stay on top of, especially as you level through the acts of the main campaign. On a slot-by-slot basis, this is what you'll want to do:

Weapon Slots
Very few uniques can even help us compared to what we can get out of rares. You will want to go with dual wands. You want mods to increase your gem levels, as well as increased minion life & damage, and when possible, cast speed. Keep in mind that as SRS is a fire spell gem, +1 to level of all fire spell skill gems is as good for your DPS as +1 to level of all minion skill gems. Depending on your supply of alteration orbs and your RNG, you can craft yourself a pair of +1 fire wands in act 1. Coupled with benchcrafted mods, these can carry you through even red maps.

Because of this, this slot is actually very SSF-friendly; you can either alt to get the prefix +1 to level of all Fire Spell Skill Gems, or use a vendor recipe: any white wand, plus enough gems with the "Fire" tag that combine up to at least 40% quality, will also get you this wand. That with two benchcraft mods, (as shown) this is sufficiently powerful to tackle all content.

(Optional) On one of your mods, you can benchcraft the mod Trigger a Socketed Spell when you Use a Skill, with a 8 second Cooldown/Spells Triggered this way have 150% more Cost onto one of your wands, and use that to apply your curses.
Body Armour


While we don't have many accessible choices here, we still do have some:

  • Bloodbond is the only appreciable pre-endgame unique item for this slot, and its relatively high (53) dexterity requirement means we'll have to get some dexterity on gear to use it.

  • Skin of the Lords is an endgame-only (and, realistically, trade-league-only) item that gives us +2 to the level of our gems. If we're using Empower, this basically double-dips to add +4 levels to our SRS. The tricky part is getting the right socket colors: ideal DPS requires 2 red + 4 blue. Lastly, if we get a version of this to also provide us with the Elemental Equilibrium keystone, (not shown) this gives us a powerful source of fire exposure. However, the correct socket colors take priority over the right keystone; it is not necessary for this build to succeed, but rather serves as a potential "chase item" for this build.

  • Rare chests can provide us instead with a better defensive arrangement. Since we path down to grab armour nodes, we have a lot of strength and can equip Astral Plate (resists) or Glorious Plate. (no movespeed penalty) We can stack on a lot of armour and life mods, ultimately giving us more survivability than we'd get with a Skin of the Lords. If we're lucky, we can get it corrupted for more gem levels, getting us nearly the same offensive power, too. This can also be a "chase" option as well, particularly for hardcore characters.
Helmet

This has a very straightforward progression, including one of our few near-mandatory Best-in-Slot (BiS) items.

  • Mark of the Red Covenant is a unique helmet that provides unparalleled power for SRS: up to 250% increased damage, free splash damage on our SRS attacks, and 100% ignite chance. You will want to grab this as soon as possible at level 26. The main caveat is that because it caps you to 5 summoned at once, you want to be careful to not summon more when you're at the cap, as this will de-summoned those closest to exploding, without them exploding. If you can manage that, this provides you with insane damage that will carry you from Act 3 all the way into mapping.

  • Rare Bone Helms will provide us with, ultimately, the greatest power for SRS in the endgame. Getting +2 to level of all Minion Skill Gems on this slot will be the core of what we're looking for. Additionally, we can get some further minion mods through influence, namely Elder prefixes, and the Warlord Minions have 35% Increased Maximum Life suffix. While in theory it's possible to create a pseudo-7L setup here (through Elder + Essence of Horror mods) instead of socketing SRS in our chest, the payoff is minimal for an absurdly large investment. (such a helmet would be fully mirror-tier at least in cost)

  • Enchantments will undoubtedly come very late in the build. There are two we care about: Summon Raging Spirit has 24% chance to summon an extra Minion Is by far the stronger, as it's practically a "24% more damage" multiplier for our build: though keep in mind that it is partly incompatible with the limits imposed by Mark of the Red Covenant. Summoned Raging Spirits deal 40% increased Damage Is still a DPS boost, however, and still acceptable; the main reason to take it is if you find it and you're still using a Mark of the Red Covenant.
Amulet
This is the most mandatory slot of the entire build.

Sidhebreath is a level 1 unique that provides modest minion power & mana. If you can find it early, by all means use it to improve your leveling speed. But it's not essential, and you will want to replace it before you finish the main campaign.

Tavukai is the most important item in this build. While you can level without it, it's required to make do in the endgame. Overall it's very powerful, providing up to 40% increased life & damage, and critically, provides a source of chaos-based degen. You will want one with a negative chaos resistance roll to ensure faster degen, and then after that prioritize life over damage. Once you get noxious catalysts, use them to increase the degen effect, further accelerating it. For anointment, Mental Rapidity provides a good combination of cast speed & mana regen; late in the game you can also anoint Whispers of Doom to allow you to stack Elemental Weakness with your Flammability.
Belt
After the amulet, this is the most critical slot.

Siegebreaker is a unique belt that, among other effects, causes our minions to drop caustic ground on death, dealing damage over time scaled with their maximum life. This scales perfectly with how we're building for Minion Instability, adding substantial extra lingering damage. Fortunately, this particular belt has no drop restrictions and is generally affordable. (it'll probably be 1 chaos or less) You should try to find and equip one as soon as possible (level 44) unless you can get a Replica version instead. When you can, upgrade to the Replica version.

Replica Siegebreaker is a unique that is very similar to ordinary Siegebreaker, but most notably makes minions drop burning ground on death instead of caustic. While at face value it seems to be the same, the change in damage type means it'll benefit from reduced resistance (from Flammability & Fire Exposure) as well as all support gem affecting your SRS that scale fire or elemental damage. (yes, support gems apply to this effect!) Ultimately, it does more damage than normal Siegebreaker, so we'll want to use it instead. However, it will be substantially more expensive and harder to get, so don't be afraid to stick with the normal Siegebreaker for a while. When you get the Replica version, use a Turbulent Catalyst to increase the damage of the burning ground.
Gloves
There's technically a more DPS-oriented option here, but this isn't recommended for Hardcore.

Command of the Pit: The actual effects of the gloves themselves are mild, (the explosion from Minion Instability cannot miss) but if we can get 2 abyssal sockets, we can cram in two well-rolled Ghastly Eye Jewels for a lot more damage. Only take this if you can easily fit your resists on your other slots.

Rare Gloves: There are some offensive mods we can take here, notably the Essence of Fear & Redeemer prefixes, and suffixes for increased cast speed. Beyond that, this is mostly a chance to fill out yours resists (especially chaos) as well as stack more armour & life.
Boots
There are no specific boots that provide a big bonus to our damage and clear speed here, so this is basically a "free" slot. As usual, you will want high Increased Movement Speed, which can be accomplished during the main campaign through various leveling uniques such as Wanderlust, Nomic's Storm, and Seven-League Step, and fairly easily on later rare boots... But past that, feel free to seek out defensive mods. As we're using a unique belt, we'll need to fit resistances on other slots.
Rings
While GGG introduced new "Bone Rings" in 3.19, depending on our resources, we might not care as much here, and will instead want to focus more on defenses. (there are no good unique rings for this build)

Keep in mind that while using Infernal Legion Support, anything that increases our minions' elemental resists will slow down the degen, and thus increase the delay before they explode!

You will rely on your rings for a substantial amount of your resists. Also, don't forget to unveil the "Elreon's" mod Non-Channeling Skills have -7 to Total Mana Cost prefix, as this will be one of the most useful ways to manage your SRS cost.
Jewels
As mentioned above, these aren't 100% critical. Fortress Covenant provides the best damage for a jewel socket, so take one of those first. Ghastly Eye Jewels actually can provide us with more damage & life than Cobalt Jewels, so we'll prefer them instead. Lastly, we don't really benefit as much from cluster jewels; they don't much to offer our build beyond basic life & damage, and their scaling is weak enough that the extra cost of pathing to a socket outweighs the benefit.
Flasks
Since our SRS' goal is to lose life and explode, we don't need to worry about flasks for them. Instead, focus entirely on flasks for yourself. Take standard life flasks (with bleed & CB immunity) as well as a granite flask with increased Armour during Flask effect; this will provide a lot of survability. For more offence-orientation, you can take a standard quicksilver flask and a silver flask with increased cast speed.

The Pantheon

As usual, the Pantheon provides some critical survivability here:

  • Major Power: Soul of the Brine King. Defensively, this is hard to beat for any build; protection against stunlock can make Unwavering Stance more optional, and importantly, you can get the upgrade for Cannot be Frozen & 50% Reduced Effect of Chill on You, largely eliminating those grave threats. Grab the first upgrade as soon as you can, and the latter not long after.

  • Minor Power: Soul of Shakari. With the Archnemesis rework, chaos DoTs (through the "Toxic" mod) are incessant. Though this will require the upgrade 5% reduced Chaos Damage taken/25% reduced Chaos Damage over Time taken while on Caustic Ground to actually help here.

  • Minor Power: Soul of Abberath. Another DoT that we see a lot from the Archnemesis rework, this is basically the same thing but for fire DoTs. It'll help with ignite right away, and Unaffected by Burning Ground may prove better once you have enough chaos resistance.
Rufalius, hybrid Aura/Arc/Mana Guardian | Hemorae, TS Raider | Wuru, Ele Hit Wand Trickster
Last edited by ACGIFT on Aug 19, 2022, 8:24:57 PM
Last bumped on Sep 30, 2022, 6:01:57 PM
Leveling through the Main Campaign

Though a lot of this is already covered above, here we'll break down our "step-by-step" instructions for what to keep track of as you go through each act. But first, some basic gameplay tips to keep in mind while doing this:

  • The goal is to try and get through as fast as possible. Don't worry about trying to clear side-content. Feel free to skip quests that don't offer something useful, like a passive point or a quicksilver flask.

  • This goes double for loot; try not to spend too much time looting.

  • Once you have SRS, your basic strategy is to cast it once or twice near a pack of monsters, and then immediately move on (running, using Flame Dash, etc.) to towards the next pack, casting a couple times, etc. You can trust that between their attacks, the Infernal Legion DoT, and their explosions, that they will kill most or all of the packs. This will easily keep you leveled enough to survive content.

  • Try to avoid getting sources of minion elemental resistance until you have Tavukai; up before then, you are relying entirely on your Raging Spirits taking fire damage to trigger their explosions, so giving them more fire resistance slows this down. Likewise, avoid any passive that would grant them chaos resistance, such as from the Grave Intentions cluster.

  • Once you have Mark of the Red Covenant, be mindful of how many Raging Spirits you have out at once: if you summon a 6th, it will just de-spawn the oldest without it exploding. The quicker your Raging Spirits explode, the more rapidly you can keep summoning more, but at first it's best to pace yourself and only summon one every second or so at most.

  • As you build gear & passives, one of your goals is, by the end of each act, have a maximum life equal to 300 times the current act; e.g, 300 life at the end of Act 1, 600 by the end of Act 2, etc. This will ensure you're fairly survivable. If you find yourself falling a bit short, make sure you're grabbing the recommended life nodes, and look for gear that grants life.


With that in mind, these are the instructions to keep in mind for each act. If you over-level and have finished every passive listed for an act, proceed onto the instructions for the next act. If you're under-geared (or somehow under-leveled) at the end of an act, just keep following its instructions in that area until finished, then proceed on following the respective instructions for the next act.

Act 1
There will be a bit of setup to pay attention to, but once you have it, you'll notice you start to steamroll already.

  • Gems: Complete the "Breaking Some Eggs" quest, and take Summon Raging Spirit as your reward. Then take Infernal Legion Support & Combustion Support once you kill Brutus. Don't forget you can also buy other gems too: Flame Dash, Clarity, Raise Zombie, etc.

  • Passives: grab Deep Wisdom, (taking the minion minor passives) then Lord of the dead. Then, from Lord of the Dead, take the 3 Intelligence nodes to grab Minion Instability around the same time you get the Infernal Legion Support gem.

  • Gear: As with other leveling builds, make sure to try and get the fastest boots you can, and a quicksilver flask. Make sure you find a good multi-link item to socket your SRS in; if you can't go for a Tabula Rasa, start with any 3-link you can find. If you can find one, grab a Sidhebreath. Start using your Orbs of Alteration & Augmentation on wands until you get +1 to level of all fire spell skill gems. With low-iLvl wand, this should only take around 50-60 alts on average.
Act 2
We start to get more gems here, and our build fleshes out a little.

  • Bandits: During the "Deal with the Bandits" quest, kill all 3 bandits to get +2 passive points.

  • Gems: Once you complete the first major quest to open the Vaal Ruins, you'll have to buy Minion Life from Yeena; she will not offer it as a quest reward, only for purchase afterwards. Do pick up Faster Casting for your Flame Dash as well. You can also pick up Elemental Focus & Concentrated Effect for leveling for later. If you have a 6L, do not socket Elemental Focus yet, but do socket Concentrated Effect.

  • Passives: Take the Indomitable Army cluster, and then the Mastery for Minions Have 30% Increased Life/Minions have 15% reduced Life recovery rate. Then grab Heart & Soul, Arcanist's Dominion, and then Cruel Preparation. (then take the mastery for +50 to maximum Life) After that, start working your way towards the Enduring Bond cluster. (you might not reach it by the end of the act)

  • Gear: you might start to find Muttering Essence of Woe; if you have suitable base gloves, you can use these on them to get some more minion damage. Or use them on a belt. Keep using alterations on the lowest-level wands you can find to try and get a pair of +1 to level of all fire spell skill gems wands.
Act 3
This is where some of our special uniques finally become available, and our power keeps growing fast.

  • Labyrinth: You should be capable of taking on The Lord's Labyrinth by the time you've completed the sixth trial; do so, and take Mindless Aggression.

  • Gems: defeat Piety in the Crematorium to get Flammability. Complete the quest in the Library to get Fire Penetration; you can then also buy Determination from Siosa once you've completed his quest.

  • Passives: Take the Enduring Bond cluster; take the mastery for Minions have 30% increased area of effect. Take Quick Recovery, and then work your way down towards taking Dreamer.

  • Gear: The big part here is finally trying to get and wear your Mark of the Red Covenant. This is worth stretching for: you'll be using this for a long time, and it's extremely powerful. You should also be able to find a 4L by now, (use Fire Penetration) and might have more luck with getting your +1 wands. If you have some dexterity on your gear (craftable using an Essence of Sorrow) you can consider Bloodbond. Beyond that, keep working on building up your resists.
Act 4
This is where the last new gems come in.

  • Gems: we can pick up Summon Carrion Golem once we open the Mines. While later we'll be offered Cast When Damage Taken Support as a reward; it might not be level 1, making it useless for our needs. If it is level 1, you can accept it, but we won't be able to use it yet. And do not allow it to go to level 2.

  • Passives: Grab the Dreamer Notable, (but do not take Forethought) and take the Mastery for 10% Reduced Mana Cost of Skills. Next, proceed further down, taking Shaper, and heading towards Constitution.

  • Gear: Just work on your resistances & defenses mostly. Likewise, if you still don't have your +1 wands, just keep trying as you find alterations. (do remember to try and use them on wands from Act 1, as this improves your odds!) If you're still having trouble, do remember to keep onto of any superior gems with the "fire" tag; a combination of such gems adding up to 40% quality can be vendored with a white wand to get your +1 to level of all fire spell skill gems mod.
Act 5
Our offensive power should be really strong at this point, so mostly we're now looking to fill out more defenses.

  • Passives: Grab Constitution, and then keep going down, taking the strength nodes down between the Duelist & Marauder areas. You are headed towards the Soul of Steel cluster. We're mostly going to rack up strength here, which we'll need to keep leveling our Determination aura.

  • Gear: At level 44 we can equip Siegebreaker or Replica Siegebreaker. If at least the former is affordable (or available if SSF) you should equip it ASAP.
Act 6
This will be where we just got hit with -30% to all resists, so recapping your resists will be a major priority.

  • Gems: by the end of this act you should have around 1,800 life, and at least 1,600 armour. This will make it practical to set up Molten Shell with Cast When Damage Taken Support. Don't level CWDT past 1, or Molten Shell past 10.

  • Passives: Take the Soul of Steel cluster, and start working on the Bloodless cluster. The former will give us armour (which starts being very useful in Part II of the main campaign) as well as helping counter the loss of resists we suffered at the end of act 5.

  • Gear: If you weren't capped enough to keep up with the -30 penalty, make sure to seek out better resists.
Act 7
This is when you should hit level 54, and can finally equip Tavukai. If you can't afford one, don't sweat it: this build can still power through the remaining acts without it.

  • Gems: You can easily finish out the acts with a 4-link SRS. But make sure you have all your other skills largely set up: your two permanent minion skills (Raise Zombie & Summon Carrion Golem) with Minion Life Support, your Flame Dash with Faster Casting, and all your other skills.

  • Passives: Once we've gotten both Soul of Steel and Bloodless, go all the way back up to the top side of the tree: taking the travel node right off of the Quick Recovery Cluster, start pathing left, towards the Templar's starting area. Reach up to grab Sacrifice, (take only the minion life minor nodes, and ignore the regeneration ones) and then go down towards Retribution.

  • Gear: You should finally hit the level where you can equip Tavukai. This may be too expensive to afford, (especially very early in league, as it is a Heist-exclusive drop) forcing you to put it off; you CAN finish Act 10 without it. Just remember to avoid anything that grants your minions elemental resists until you get it; this includes bone rings!
Act 8
By this point your build will be "complete" so instructions are much simpler.

  • Labyrinth: you should be capable of tackling the Cruel Labyrinth by the time you complete the final trial for it, so do it; take Bone Barrier.

  • Passives: Keep going down through the Templar area: take Retribution, Discipline & Training, and Sanctity, and go further, going towards Gravepact.
Act 9
Very little goes on here; you're almost done!

  • Passives: Take Gravepact, and then take your final mastery: Minions Penetrate 8% of Cursed Enemies' Elemental Resistances. Next go down a bit further, and towards Combat Stamina. (in that cluster, take the minor node with increased armour & maximum life, not the node with armour & life regeneration)

  • Gear: Act 9 will introduce us to Jun & the Syndicate. Certain unveiled mods will provide our first craftable upgrade to the +1 wands we made earlier: use a regal orb to make them rare, and then craft on the prefix Minions have xx% increased Maximum Life/Minions deal xx% Increased Damage. Once done, these wands can take you all the way past level 90.
Act 10
By this point if you've been following this guide, this normally-tough act should be an absolute breeze.

  • Labyrinth: assuming you were able to at least get most of the gear you needed, you should be able to tackle the Merciless Labyrinth before fighting Kitava. If you have Tavukai, by all means take Commander of Darkness, as this will cleanly counter the extra resist penalty you're about to get.

  • Passives: You'll mostly just be pathing here. Once you've got Combat Stamina, return back to the top of the tree near Quick Recovery, and start taking the INT nodes up. Then follow along the left edge: you're finally aiming for the big cluster with Righteous Army & Redemption.
Epilogue Progression
  • Labyrinth: I would recommend holding off on the Eternal Labyrinth until you have at least 4,000 life and 5,000 armour. But once you do, it should be relatively easy.

  • Gems: work your way to getting a 6L of some form; (including a level 4 Empower) this is your priority over getting upgraded gems. After that, get a level 21 Summon Raging Spirit first, followed by Awakened Fire Penetration & Awakened Elemental Focus. While the latter is more potent, it will be likely be a good deal more expensive. Again, your ultimate set of 5 supports will be Minion Life, (Awakened) Empower, (Awakened) Elemental Focus, (Awakened) Fire Penetration, and Concentrated Effect.

  • Passives: fill out the remainder of the PoB's recommended tree. At this point, you should be able to use your judgment on whether to take more defensive nodes or more minion nodes first.

  • Gear: At this point you might start getting limited by your Mark of the Red Covenant; the whopping increase in damage will less and less make up for how frequently you can summon minions, so start looking for an upgrade. After that, survivability probably takes top priority: getting strong armour, as well as at least getting positive chaos resistance.


Endgame Content & Strategies

While mechanically SRS plays a bit different from most other builds, it can handle a wide variety of content surprisingly well. The following are some things to keep in mind:

  • General Strategy: Once you finish Act 10, the strategy of "cast near a pack of monsters, and move on" doesn't become less important. In fact, it becomes more critical for a different reason: staying mobile is how you will stay alive, especially with the buff to Archnemesis Rare damage. Make use of your Flame Dash, quicksilver flasks, and anything else to stay fast. Unless you are freezing in place to cast a spell (such as SRS) you should never be standing still. In maps, I recommend skirting around the edges of each monster pack, rather than wading right into the middle. Cast a single time, and then move on. If you do this fast enough, this will safely avoid them before they can try and connect a hit on you. This is a technique that will take practice to get right, but will pay off tremendously with substantial improvements to both clearspeed and survival.

  • Map Mods: In theory, this build can handle every single map mod in existence. The closest to a no-go is Players Cannot Regenerate Life, Mana, or Energy Shield, simply because we rely so much on mana regen. You can work around this by swapping for a mana flask, but this will be a miserable time. Curse mods, for instance, don't affect your minions. And because you deal no damage yourself (unless you're using a spell like arc to apply Elemental Equilibrium and/or curses) you do nothing that can be reflected.

  • Incursion: this build works surprisingly well for incursion; it can get a little scary if some incursions place you surrounded by monsters and running for cover before your summons can take things out, but you clear fast enough, (even though kills by minions award less time) though I recommend the "Time Dilation" Atlas Passive for this; without it you can find it difficult to clear some rooms in time if you aren't durable enough to play aggressively.

  • Betrayal: As expected, the only remotely difficult part here are research encounters, as they require a degree of speed that means you generally outpace your minions. (and thus damage) Everything else is very easy.

  • Delve: This build can handle delve, but given the nature of the darkness and the delay on your damage, you generally can't go terribly fast; if the crawler leaves your raging spirits in the darkness, then their explosions won't do much of anything. Barring the speed, it works well: it's solid on Delve encounters, but overall I would not use this for farming Delve.

  • Strongbox, Essence, Harbinger, Abyss, Blight, Metamorph: all of these are rather easy as you can hang back and spam SRS. Like most other minion builds, this makes an excellent choice for doing Blighted & Blight-Ravaged Maps. For blighted maps you also need to worry less about damaging towers, as the caustic/burning ground from your Siegebreaker or Replica Siegebreaker will generally be sufficient to wipe the vast majority of monsters.

  • Legion: this one mechanic is the one that this build is pretty weak at. Given the delay on your explosions and the way your minions target, it's difficult to get more than a handful of monsters or chests revealed. Strangely, it does passably okay (or rather, not any worse than most fast builds) at the Domain of Timeless Conflict. I would not use this build for mass-farming 4-way & 5-way domains, but it'll do for unlocking your 5th map slot. (which requires completing a 4-way Domain)

  • Breach & Ritual: these are the two encounter types most likely to kill you, given the cramped confines and the chance of being swarmed. If you have favorable geography & positioning however, you can generally just sit in place and spam and be fine. Otherwise I recommend avoiding these at higher tiers until you've got a fair bit of practice at mobile casting with this build.

  • Map Bosses & Maven Invites: This build will delete map bosses within a handful of hits, often before you can realize there's even a fight going on. This build likewise handles Maven Invites pretty strongly, though given the lack of corpses for Plaguebringer & replenishing your zombies, I recommend packing along a Desecrate gem for these even if you don't normally use it.

  • Pinnacle Bosses: this build is strong enough to generally handle your initial encounters for the Epilogue quests. However, given how rippy they can be when at level 85, that might mark the one true limit for this build.


Final Thoughts

I originally set out to write this as an example to prove that the Necromancer ascendancy class wasn't dead; a rebuttal to the countless players wailing that the 3.19 patch had rendered her unplayable.

It was only as I went along that I realized that this actually marked perhaps a true "universal build," that could be thrown at all content and still fair decently. This versatility, coupled with the accessibility of its gear, makes this something that should see a lot of play in 3.19, and hopefully this guide will help spread it.

A special thanks to b0moodc, whose insight & inspiration was instrumental in this guide ever happening.
Rufalius, hybrid Aura/Arc/Mana Guardian | Hemorae, TS Raider | Wuru, Ele Hit Wand Trickster
Last edited by ACGIFT on Oct 1, 2022, 2:54:20 AM
very helpful! thanks
hi , can you upload it on pob
"
oyoya wrote:
hi , can you upload it on pob

Whoops, I knew I was missing something!

I've fixed that; there's links to the PoB in the guide, as well as one right here: https://pastebin.com/EKfHrCA2

The PoB includes all 12 passive trees, maxed gems, (minus no awakened empower) and a selection of the gear shown. I didn't bother including any particularly high-tier gear, though I did edit the stats on Tavukai (nerf) & Mark of the Red Covenant (buff) to reflect their stats as they'll drop in Kalandra League.
Rufalius, hybrid Aura/Arc/Mana Guardian | Hemorae, TS Raider | Wuru, Ele Hit Wand Trickster
I think SRS needs to be reworked, too clumsy ability. Relative to other summons, SRS has too specific map clearing. But the guide itself is very detailed, good job.
Can u verify the PoB? I can't import
"
EhoBafio wrote:
Can u verify the PoB? I can't import

You might need to update your copy of PoB. I made that PoB on the latest version of the Community (aka LocalIdentity) fork. I have tested repeatedly, and it works with the current version.

I did also just update it once the 3.19 patch game live; in practice the two PoBs are exactly the same, just that the trees in the old one are tagged for 3.18. (they do not change when updated for 3.19, however)
Rufalius, hybrid Aura/Arc/Mana Guardian | Hemorae, TS Raider | Wuru, Ele Hit Wand Trickster
For ANY POB right now, you need to use the latest release of the Path of Building Community Fork.
The POB made by OpenARL is not supported, nor recommended, as it has not been updated in many years.

That link will auto update whenever a new stable (not pre-release!) build comes in.

Edited for grammar and better quotability.
Last edited by bvanharjr on Aug 28, 2022, 12:47:00 AM
Is there a video?

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