[Bricked] Odif's Build Guides for Newbies: Skeleton Mage Necro

3.23 patch bricked this build.
Do not attempt it.


Odif's Build Guides for Newbies: Skeleton Mage Necro
We start off as Melee Skeletons, then later transition to Skeleton Mages

What did 3.22 patch do to this build?

It looks like our end game build lost some dps, with the nerf to anomalous faster projectiles support. This should not kill the build, but dps will be lower.
We replace anomalous faster projectiles with the new returning projectiles support.
The new tattoos SHOULD replace this loss of dps, time will tell. In any case there is still plenty of dps for t16 content.

On the plus side we do better on low gear skel mages, as returning projectiles is a vendor gem, and anomalous faster projectiles was expensive league start, not usually obtained until late. We can do returning projectiles as soon as we transition to skel mages.

What about the new Guardian Ascendancy?

I have tested the new guardian ascendency.
It appears stronger than the Necro version but....BUT
It is a LOT more button pushing, a LOT more micro managing, and harder to get res capped.

For that reason, I still recommend Necromancer for new players.
If you are an experienced player, and enjoy lots of button pushing and micro managing, go for Guardian.

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!

First post in this thread is the main guide.
Second post in this thread is "How to level with this build, for newbies", with a LOT of detail, what gems to use at what acts, and where to get them.
Third post has general info for newbies, and some info about how minions work in PoE.
Fourth post in this build shows my simulated league start, 2 months into 3.20, complete with gear snapshots.

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.


We start off as Melee Skeletons, then transition to Skeleton Mages after we get Dead Reckoning unique jewel.

This build is a newbie friendly, super low cost, league starter build.
It will get you deep into t16 red maps with just the currency you get on the way.)
It scales with currency.

It is NOT the strongest minion build with high end currency investment.
But you can easily transition into any other necromancer minion build, if you want to sink a ton of currency into a toon.
I am crushing t16 red maps with this build. Look at the 4th post in this thread to see the gear I am using to do it, nothing expensive.

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

Our main damage dealer are Skeletons doing melee physical damage at first, then later doing elemental damage after we transition to Skeleton Mages.

We use Zombies as meat shields.

We use Carnage Chieftains to generate Frenzy Charges for allies..

We use an Animated Guardian to provide buffs.

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.

We use Sniper's Mark for extra single target dps.

We use Tempest Shield to get more Spell Block and to be immune to shock

We use Determination Aura to have lots of Armor.

We use a Pantheon Power to be immune to Freeze.
We use a combo of Pantheon Power, ring crafts, and points on the skill tree to get 100% reduced effect of curses on us, making us effectively curse immune.

We use a Stone Golem to buff our life regen.

For more block we use Bone Offering with Mistress of Sacrifice, And with a good shield can get max spell block and near max attack block..

Can I do this build in SSF?

SSF (Solo Self Found)
You can do this build SSF.
The starter mapping gear is all rares.
The unique jewel to transition to Skeleton Mages is obtained via a vendor recipe, so easy to do SSF.
The gear I am using to dominate t16 uses one additional unique, but it is not required, any chest with + to socketed gems will do t16.

Pros and Cons

Very newbie friendly, lots of details for first time players.
Very good for "stay in place" encounters like, Breach, Blight, Rituals, etc.
Very Low currency to go deep into red maps.
Very few buttons to press.
Scales with currency.
Relaxed minion play style.
Decently tanky, minions absorb a LOT of hits, high block chance (attack and spell), good life pool, good life regen.

You will have to play melee skels until you get Dead Reckoning, which allows Skel mages.
Can't do No Regen Maps.
Avoid Elemental Reflect maps.
Minion play style is not for everybody.
At very high wealth investment, other minion builds do significantly better. (To make it newbie friendly, I compromised a bit on DPS)
(You can always transition, use this build until you are absurdly wealthy, then transition to another build.)
Can choke your computer. 70+ minions when you pop Vaal Skeleton, can lag you, depending on your computer's strength.

Dead Reckoning (unique that allows skeleton mages)

This jewel transforms melee skeletons into skeleton mages when socketed into your tree with at least 40 intelligence near it. (any of top 3 slots this build uses.)

Skelton Mages use a spell, a single bolt of either cold/lightning/fire damage.
It can be supported by any spell or projectile support.

It does not effect the number of skels summoned, only the type.
The 15 limit refers to Vaal Summon skeleton, which summons more than 15 warrior skels, so only 15 are transformed.
Vaal Skel also naturally summons some skel mages, so you wind up getting more than 15 skel mages.

Dead Reckoning is made via a VENDOR REDCIPE
a 20% quality Summon Skeleton gem.
a normal, magic, rare, and unique wand.
The wands must all be of the same base type.

PoB link

The PoB's do not have tattoos, which can improve it even more (+1 all intelligence skill gems.)

Level 73, Melee Skels, Stater mapping gear, cheap AG gear, Spectres, gems level 18
Note the over 1.9 million dps when vaal skels are up! On junk gear.

Skel Mage Endgame
Level 95, spectres, AG, decent jewels, +2 duration tabula
Note the 6.5 mill dps, when Vaal Skels are up.

NOTE: If you want leveling trees, see the below section for poeplanner.com links.

er...What is PoB?

PoB is Path of Building, a third party software, that lets you plan and share builds.
It is completely optional.
There will be browser based skill trees linked below.

If you want PoB, make sure you download the community fork
(google search "path of building community fork")

Ascendancy, Bandits and Pantheon

Necromancer Ascendancy order
Commander of Darkness --> Mistress of Sacrifice --> Mindless Agression --> Bone Barrier

Kill All

Major: Soul of the Brine King
(Make sure to capture the boss that gives you immunity to freezing)
Minor: Soul of Yugul
(Make sure to capture the boss that gives 30% reduced effect of curses)
(Which boss to capture changes every league.)

Anoint for Amulet

Anoint Deaths Attunement on your amulet, as soon as you have a valuable enough amulet to justify the expense of the anoint. (Costs a clear, crimson and silver oil.)
See the Gear Upgrades section for what to look for in an amulet.

What is Anointing?

Randomly, in maps you can find Cassia, she gives you a mission to clear some corruption from the map. The mission can drop oils, which can be traded. After the first mission you can (and should) invite her to your hideout.
She has the ability to "anoint" an amulet with a Notable from the passive tree, but it costs 3 oils. Some anoints are cheap, some are expensive. Silver is the second most expensive oil, it can cost 30c at the start of a league, so its silly to anoint a 5c amulet with 30+c of oils.

We anoint Death Attunement on our amulet, and save 7 passive skill tree points.

Skill Trees (Including leveling trees)
Browser based, no third party software needed.

poeplanner.com links
Updated to 3.22!

43 points
(assumes melee skels)

83 points
(assumes melee skels)

117 points
(assumes skel mages)

Skills and Gem Links

Melee Skels

(Note: 5B/G stands for 5 blue sockets one green socket)
Chest (Skeletons)
Colors: 4R/2B
Vaal Summon Skeleton linked to Multistrike, Brutality, Minion Speed, (Melee Splash, Ruthless
(Supports are listed in order of importance, in case you do not yet have a 6l chest.)

Helmet or Boots or Gloves (Spectres and Animated Guardian)
Colors: 3B/R
Raise Spectre and Animate Guardian both linked to Minion Life and Meat Shield.

Helmet or Boots or Gloves
Colors: 3B/R
Zombie linked to Maim and
Feeding Frenzy and Meat Shield

Helmet or Boots or Gloves
Colors: 2B/2R
Determionation, Stone Golem, Flame Dash and Skitterbots.
None Linked

First Weapon
Colors: R/G/B
Bone Offering
All Linked.
As a HUGE quality of life, use the bench craft mod "trigger socketed spells when you use a skill." If you dont have it, you can easily purchase it.
It needs a free suffix

Colors: 2B/R
Vulnerability, Tempest Shield, Convocation.
None Linked

SKel Mages
(Note: 4B/2G stands for 4 blue sockets 2 green socket)
Chest (Skeletons)
Colors: 4B/2G
Vaal Summon Skeleton linked to Pierce, Spell Echo, Elemental Penetration, Returning Projectiles, Minion Damage
(Supports are listed in order of importance, in case you do not yet have a 6l chest.)
(Returning Projectiles is a new support gem in 3.22 and is sold at the act 4 vendor after doing the quest line that unlocks gems in Act 4.)

Vendor Recipe to craft Elemental Penetration Support

Level 20 Cold Penetration Support
Level 20 Fire Penetration Support
Level 20 Lightning Penetration Support
Replica Bitterdream unique weapon.

Helmet or Boots or Gloves (Spectres and Animated Guardian)
Colors: 3B/R
Raise Spectre and Animated Guardian both linked to Minion Life and Meat Shield.

Helmet or Boots or Gloves
Colors: 3B/R
Zombie and Stone Golem linked to
Feeding Frenzy and Meat Shield

Helmet or Boots or Gloves
Colors: R-B B/R (Determination cannot be linked to Generosity
Determionation, Flame Dash....... Zealotry linked to Generosity.

First Weapon
Colors: R/G/B
Bone Offering
All Linked.
As a HUGE quality of life, use the bench craft mod "trigger socketed spells when you use a skill." If you dont have it, you can easily purchase it.
It needs a free suffix

Colors: 2B/G
Sniper's Mark, Tempest Shield, Convocation.
None Linked

Base Gear for Starting Maps

Helmet with +1 to all minion gems
Even with life and resists, these are crazy cheap, 2-3 chaos early league.
If it has a free prefix, you can benchcraft +1 max skeletons on it.
That benchcraft is unlocked via Syndicate missions.
It can also be purchased if you don't have it yet.

6l chest
Any 6 link chest with the right colors.
We use 4B/2G (Mages) or 4R/2B (melee skels) neither of which is popular, so even at league start, corrupted chests with these colors are cheap. If possible, life and resists.

After you get your chest, buy a weapon that has some of the following:

"+1 all spell skill gems" or "+1 all minion skill gems"
Minion Damage
Minion attack/cast speed.

+1 gem levels is most important, but may be too expensive when you first hit maps.
Buy what you can afford.

Convoking wands have an intelligence requirement of 242, which is more than you will have, so look for Convening wands.

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

A free suffix so you can craft "trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill"
Note: this craft is unlocked via Syndicate mechanic, or you can purchase the craft from a trusted crafter.
To find a trusted crafter go to the trade section of the official forums.
Here is the link to a trusted bench crafter that I have used before.
It's a Scourge SC league link, so you will need to find one in the right league for you.

A minion sheild with chance to block attacks and some minion damage.
Ideally with +1 all minion skill gems, but these are expensive, so not starter gear.

Bone rings!
These can have minion mods on them, minion damage and minion attack/cast speed. These are the 2 mods we like. Get what you can afford.

Everything else is rares with life and resists.
You will need dex on at least one item.

Optionally get 20% reduced effect of curses on BOTH ring (its a bench craft)
While this is optional, it is SO nice to be immune to curses.

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.
Sniper's Mark needs 155 dex at level 20, so you will need dex on your gear, somewhere.

What order should I prioritize for getting the above gear?

1) At least one minion ring
(You need at least one minion ring to cap the elemental resists of your minions.)

2) +1 minion gems helm with life and resists
Get when you start mapping

3) Minion Wand

4) Minion Shield

5) Second minion ring

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 t12 maps. See the UPGRADE section for gearing for high red maps.


This build uses high block, both attack and spell, OK life gain on block, a good life pool, high life regen and decent armor, and defensive flasks.

Block Explained:
Bone Offering effects you at 50% effectiveness only AFTER you get Mistress of Sacrifice.
We have a Mastery that gives a 20% bonus to offerings.
Bone offering benefits from gem levels.
With a few gem levels, it is enough to get 36% attack and spell block on minions, boosted to 43% with mastery, 50% of which effects you, so 21% spell and attack block.
Bone Offering also gives you 2.4% life regen for 4 seconds on block.

Minions will absorb a lot of hits, so the defenses are fine, unless you are doing something crazy dangerous like Uber Bosses.

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

Keep moving. Movement is a key defense


Life flask with anti bleed/corrupted blood
Quicksilver flask (+% movespeed is nice here)
Granite flask (+% armor is nice here)
Quartz flask
5th flask can be your choice, life flask, mana flask, or another utility flask.
I like Jade for some evasion.

Flasks can be crafted with Instilling Orbs which let you automate their use.
I like putting the granite and quartz flasks with "use when full".
This can be expensive depending on the price of Instilling Orbs, so probably not something you do right away.
Instilling orbs get very cheap later in a league.


Cast skeletons on each monster pack.

Cast Curse on any Rare on Boss.
(Vulnerability with melee skels, Sniper's Mark with Skel Mages)

Quicksilver flask is your friend.

Use Vaal Summon Skeleton on Bosses and other encounters that stay in one place, 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.

We get Bone Barrier as a free spell with our 4th Lab, you can put this on left click to auto cast as you move, a nice defense.

I advise turning on allied health bars.
When you see your minions start taking a lot of damage, cast Skels a few times.
We have a mastery that heals minions for 5% of their life on minion death.
Overwriting a minion when summoning counts as a minion death.
At high level we cast 4 skels at a time, that's 20% heal each cast, for each minion.

This is how we keep Vaal Summon Skeletons alive during boss fights....casting regular skels to heal the Vaal ones.


The spectres I recommend are not necessarily the best, but they are the easiest to get.
If you want to use harder to get, stronger spectres, go for it.

We get +1 spectre from annointing.
At spectre gem level 25, we get base 3 spectres
So 4 spectres when fully geared.

We use Carnage Chieftains as all of our spectres.
They generate Frenzy Charges for allies.
Frenzy Charges give 4% more damage, and 4% attack/cast speed per charge.
Carnage Chieftains can be found in the Old Fields in Act 2.

Some advanced spectres you MAY want to try, but are not found in the campaign: Pale Seraphim and Arena Master.
Spectre info for Newbies

To safely raise spectres:
If you have the Trigger craft in your weapon, you will have to remove the Bone Offering gem, and cast skeletons to trigger Desecrate, as spells in a weapon with the trigger craft cannot be self cast, only triggered.

If you have Spell Echo linked to summon spectre, you must remove it prior to raising a spectre, otherwise you summon 2 at once, and the second one might not be the type you want.

If you accidentally summon the wrong spectre, remove your spectre gem to unsummon all your spectres, put spectre gem back in, and try again.

When done, put removed gems back in place.
Remove raise spectre from your castbar, so you don't accidentally over write your desired spectre with some random lame spectre.

Cast or trigger Desecrate to generate corpses.
Use the "a" key to highlight corpses, when you have the right corpse highlighted cast raise spectre.

(You may have to cast desecrate many times, as it will not be a high chance.)

Once a spectre enters a zone, including a hideout or map, it gets added to the base pool of monster that can have corpses created via desecrate.


99.9% of monsters in the game, when raised as spectres, completely suck, but there are a few that are crazy OP.

Animated Guardian

Animated Guardians are made from gear you give them.
The gear can never be recovered.

The goal is to give the AG gear that buffs our other minions AND that make the AG very tanky, as AG death is expensive.

FYI: Gear that the AG has is locked to your toon. Swapping AG gems does not effect the gear. I.E. if you later on get a 21/20 AG gem, you can safely swap it in.

My AG gear recommendation

Leer Cast Helm (50% increased damage for allies)
Dying Breath Weapon (18% increased damage for allies, enemies have 18% increased effect of curses on them.)
Garb of the Ephemeral (nearby enemies cant crit, nearby allies cant be slowed below base action speed)
Gloves with Elemental Weakness on Hit Corruption (Only needed when after you transition to Skel MAGES)
Windscream Boots (lets AG cast an extra curse so it does not overwrite ours)

There are many opinions on what high end gear to get for your AG
Feel free to look at other's opinions on how to gear an AG.

Link to a Video Guide for the Animated Guardian by Ghazzy

Gear Upgrades

Get a Dead Reckoning

The swap over to Skel Mages will require recoloring your chest, and/or buying a new one.

Then upgrade your amulet
+1 all skill gems with as much life and resists as you can afford.
Your ammy should be your first upgrade, so you can justify spending the currency to anoint it with Death Attunement
Eventually you want a Replica Dragonflame's Flight ammy, with +3 to all summon skeleton gems.
These are quite expensive early league. In week three they went down to 4 divines

Then upgrade your body armor
Get a 6l chest with + to gem levels. I like Skin of the Loyal, but it is super expensive. A tabula with +2 duration gems, or +2 minion gems is very cheap. I bought one for 23c on day 6 of the league.

A moderate cost option, but time consuming, is to buy 6 link chests with ES/Evasion bases. Get the right colors with chromatics. Craft them up a bit with essence crafting/harvest crafting/bench crafting. Then throw a vaal orb on them. It will take many many tries, but eventually you will get a +2 minion gem or +2 duration gems corruption.

Another super expensive option is a corrupted Lioneye's Vision, corrupted to +1 socketed gems. It has the mod "socketed gems are supported by level 15 pierce" so we drop pierce as a support and use empower instead. We would then need 4b-1g-r sockets, but this item is a pure armor item, so very difficult to get the desired colors. It's a chase item if you want to throw currency at the build, in NO way needed. I was farming t16 maps with ease on a +2 duration tabby, and they are cheap after the 1st week of a league.

Then upgrade your shield
Get +1 all minion skill gems, minion damage, chance to block attacks, and anything else you can afford.

Then upgrade your weapon
Get a minion wand with (+1 all skill gems AND/OR +1 all minion skill gems) AND (% minion damage AND/OR minion attack/cast speed)
Get the best one you can afford.
Remember: It HAS to have a free suffix to craft the "trigger socketed spells when you use a skill."
If you want to put mega currency into your build, you can get a wand with BOTH +1 all skill gems AND +1 all minion skill gems, along with minion damage, and minion attack speed and a free suffix. These are hideously expensive.

Also, Convoking wands need 242 intelligence. Convening are better for us.

Get +2 to all minion skill gems, life and resists.
Free prefix to craft +1 to number of skels and zombies.

Level 21 Vaal Summon Skeleton


Desired jewel mods
Minion damage if you have used a minion skill recently
Minion attack and cast speed
Flat minion fire/lightning/cold damage
These can get VERY expensive, the more good mods it has, so buy what you can afford.
(Jewels need at least 2 good mods to justify spending 2 passive points to get the socket in the tree.)

Awakened gems
Only get if they are not very expensive.

Upgrades beyond the above mentioned might not be optimal.
Instead of investing massive currency into this build you might be better off transitioning into a minion build designed for high investment.
Kay's minion builds
Ghazzy's list of minion builds

Eater of Worlds and Searing Exarch Implicits on Gear

There are lots of good Eater of Worlds and Searing Exarch Implicits that can help this build.
The only one that I would say is near mandatory, is "increased mana reservation efficiency" on helms, with a eldritch Ichor.

For a complete list of what can go on what item slot see:

I am confused, what are you talking about?

Rare helms, Chest, Boots, and gloves can be imbued with special implicits, called Eater of World and Searing Exarch implicits.
They cannot be put on uniques, or rares that have influence (elder, shaper, etc)

Putting either an Eater of WOrlds or Searing Exarch implicit on a rare, removes the inherent implicit of the rare.

You can have both an Eater of Worlds and a Searing Exarch implicit on a rare.

Eldritch Ichors put an Eater of World implicit on.
Eldritch Embers put a Searing Exarch implicit on.

3.22 League Mechanic

3.22 league mechanic SEEMS like it will be good for skeleton mages, as it is one of many "stay in one place" kind of league mechanics that skel mages excel at. I have not taken the build very far in Tota, but at low reputation the skels are good. I hear at high reputation the skels are too squishy.

As far as rewards...
This league offers tattoos, among other things.
There is one tattoo that turns a +30 intelligence node in the passive tree into +1 all intelligence skill gems.
I don't know how rare/valuable this is, but it would be great for this build.
It would not be hard to fit the +30 int node "Ancestral Knowledge" into the passive tree.
There are also tattos that give Chaos resist, and tattos that give attack block, both can be good.

Global Chat Channel for this build
type "/global 8123" in chat (without the quotes)
This will let you discus this build with others.
I will be in this channel, when I am logged in.

Last edited by Odif on Dec 7, 2023, 1:12:54 PM
Last bumped on Jan 8, 2024, 6:55:57 PM
This leveling guide assumes you do NOT have a Dead Reckoning already

If you do, just change the support gems you use for skeletons.
(spell and projectile supports)
(see the above gem links for skel mages)
And use Sniper's Mark instead of Vulnerabilty as a curse.

I am not giving more detail because skeleton mages are so strong, that as long as you support it with some sort of spell/projectile supports you will be fine, and because I don't see a total newbie as having a Dead Reckoning right away.

How to Level with this build (for Newbies)

I recommend doing all quests as you level, along with league mechanics. This will cause you to be over leveled, which helps a lot. This is NOT necessary, if you want to rush, you can.

When you get to town at level 2, check the wand vendor (nessa) and the armor vendor (tarkleigh) for linked 2 BBB items.
(Three linked blue sockets.)
Do this EVERY time you go to town, until you get them.
BBB item is for zombies, BBB for Summon Raging Spirits --> Skeletons

I cannot stress this enough, DO THIS EVERY TIME YOU GO TO TOWN, until you have both.
At low level, gem links are more important than stats.

(This assumes you are league starting. If you already have a Tabula Rasa and other leveling gear, you don't need to buy 3 link items.)

You will need some strength on gear early on.
I suggest buying a Heavy belt from nessa.
You will need dex on your gear in Act 2
I suggest buying a Jade amulet from Nessa.

Even white items are ok, you NEED the stats.
When you get your crafting bench in Act 2, you can craft strength and dexterity on your gear as needed.

You just killed Hillock and made it to the first town.

Take Freezing Pulse as your first reward.
Get rid of Fireball, link Freezing Pulse to the Arcane Surge you got on the way to Hillock.
Buy Raise Zombie from the vendor (nessa)
Head out into Act 1. (remember to check the vendors)

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 Acts 1-3 gems in the game except the few that are drop only.
This vendor sells all gems at level 1.
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 sells all gems in the game that are not drop only. She sells them at level 1.


You will need wisdom scrolls to buy the first few skill gems.
Later you will need transmutation orbs to buy skill gems.
Still later you will need alteration orbs to buy gems.
Transmutation orbs are a bit scarce early on so...

Sell unidentified blue items for transmutation scraps.
Sell identified yellow items for alteration scraps.
You need several transmutation orbs, so sell LOTS of unidentified blue items early on.
I recommend picking up ALL blue items in Act 1 and selling them unidentified.
Once you have a surplus of transmutation orbs, stop picking up blue items.

Sell armor scraps and blacksmiths whetstones to get more wisdom scrolls.

Later in the game you will get more transmutation orbs and wisdom scrolls than you can deal with, so the above only applies to the first few acts of the game. Later on, save your armor scraps and blacksmith whetstones, and stop picking up blue items.

You will always need Alteration orbs.
(crafting good flasks at high level can take hundreds of alteration orbs for each flask)
So make a habit of picking up yellow items, identifying them, and vendoring them.
To make for less trips to town, you can choose to only pick up the smaller items, gloves, helms, boots, daggers, wands, rings, amulets, and belts.

NOTE: In the below details, only quests that give access to needed gems are listed. I still recommend you do ALL quests.

Act 1

Goals for Act 1
Summon Raging Spirit linked to Infernal Legion and Minion Damage.
Transition to Skeletons linked to Infernal Legion and Minion Damage.
Raise Zombie linked to Summon Phantasm and Added Lightning Damage
Movement: Frost Blink transition to Flame Dash
Auras: Vitality
Flesh Offering

(Only quests that give needed gem rewards are listed. Do all quests!

Do Medicine Chest quest
Take Quicksilver Flask and Summon Phantasm Support as reward.
Link to Freezing Pulse

NOTE: Zombies are super squishy at first, until you get Vitality aura after killing Brutus.
I don't even bother summoning them until then, as it uses too much mana to keep resummoning.

Do Breaking some eggs quest
There are two rounds of rewards.
Take Summon Raging Spirit as the first round reward
Take Frost Blink as a reward in second round.
Link SRS to Arcane Surge and Summon Phantasm
Get rid of Freezing Pulse

Enter Lower Prison and take Way Point back to town
Take Minion Damage as reward
Buy a Infernal Legion from the vendor.
Buy a Added Lightning Damage from vendor.
Link SRS with Infernal Legion and Minion Damage
Link Zombies with Summon Phantasm and Added Lightning.

Brutus kills your zombies right away, don't bother resummoning.
Just kill him with the SRS.

After you kill Brutus
Take Flame dash as reward, replace Frost Blink.
EITHER buy Summon Skeleton from vendor
OR trade with another player to buy Vaal Summon Skeleton.

(It normally costs 1 chaos orb early league, which you may have.)
(If you do not, trade for it as soon as you can)
Remove SRS and put skeletons in it's place.
Buy Vitality from the vendor.

With Vitality aura up, you can easily keep your zombies up, they will still die, but rarely enough so it's worth the mana to resummon them.

Enter Cavern of Wrath and take waypoint back to town
Take Flesh Offering as a reward

Merveil (Final boss of Act 1) does only cold damage.
Buy 2 saphire rings from nessa, if you can, to make her fight much easier.
She will likely kill your zombies, but your skels will carry the day.

At some point, get a shield.
You should be using weapon + shield from now on.

Keep an eye out for a BBR item.
In act 2 you will need your 2 BBB items AND a BBR item.


Minion Gear can start dropping as soon as act 2.
Minion gear can have increased minion damage, increased minion attack/cast speed, minion resists, etc.

It's very important to look for this gear, even buying white versions and essence crafting them.
If the implicit gives a bonus to minions, the item can roll minion mods.

Shields can drop as low as ilvl 15
Wands as low as ilvl 20 (can buy from act 2 vendor if you over level 20)
Rings as low as ilvl 25 (can buy from act 3 vendor if you over level 25)

Act 2

Goals for Act 2
Raise Zombie linked to Minion Speed, Summon Phantasm
Skeleton linked to Minion Speed, Melee Physical, (Melee Splash)
Auras: Vitality, Summon Skitterbot linked to Infernal Legion and Minion Damage.
Movement: Flame Dash
Desecrate level 1
Flesh Offering

Binding orbs can be found as early as Act 2.
When used on a white item, they turn it yelllow, and FORCE 4 linked sockets on it.
If you should find some, use on a hybrid Armor/ES chest, for your Skeletons. It may be worth using chromes early on, on a 4 link, to get desired colors, BUT only if the item is the proper base. I.E. Armor/ES base items are more likely to get red and blue colors.


Do Sharp and Cruel quest
Take Minion Speed as reward, swap into zombies replacing Added Lightning.

Do Intruders in Black quest
Take Desecrate as reward, leave as level 1.
Buy Summon Skitterbots from Vendor.
Link Skitterbots to Infernal Legion and Minion Damage.
Buy Minion Speed and Melee Physical Damage from vendor.
Link Skeletons to Minion Speed and Melee Physical Damage.
(You will need a BBR linked item for this.)
(At this point you have BBB zombies, BBB skitterbots, and BBR skeletons.

Act 3

Goals for Act 3
Raise Zombie linked to Meat Shield, Feeding Frenzy , and (Minion Speed)
Skeleton Linked to Minion Speed, Melee Physical, (Ruthless).
Raise Spectre
Movement: Flame Dash
Auras: Vitality, Skitterbots linked to Infernal Legion and Minion Damage.
Desecrate level 1
Flesh Offering

4 links start dropping in Act 3 and can sometimes be found in a Vendor. Keep your eye out for the right colors, Supports in parenthesis are the 4th gem for a 4 link.


Do Lost in Love quest
Take Convocation as reward

Do Sever the Right Hand quest
Take Raise Spectre as a reward.
Carnage Chieftains can be found in Act 2, The Old Fields.
See the section on SPECTRES (first post of the guide) for specifics on how to summon them.

Do Fixture of Fate quest (Library)
Meat Shield as a reward.
Buy from Clarissa in town: Feeding Frenzy
Buy from Siosa in the Library the following gems: Ruthless, Vulnerability.
You will need to have the currency in your inventory to buy from Siosa in the Library.
If you don't have sockets for everything, that's ok.

Act 4

Goals for Act 4
Zombie and Stone Golem both linked to Meat Shield, Feeding Frenzy
Raise Spectre. Carnage Chieftains, no link is needed.
Skeleton linked to Multistrike, Minion Speed, Melee Physical
Movement: Flame Dash
Auras: Vitality, Skitterbots linked to Infernal Legion and Minion Damage.
Desecrate level 1
Flesh Offering


Do Breaking the Seal quest
Take Stone Golem as a reward

Do The Eternal Nightmare quest
Take Multistrike as a reward, link to skeletons.
Buy Spell Echo from vendor, level in weapon swap for later (mages).

Acts 5-10

At some point you will need more defense.

At that point, remove Minion Damage and Infernal Legion from Skitterbots.
Drop Vitality.
Along with some aura nodes on the tree, this should give you enough free mana
to run Determination and Tempest Shield.
Buy Determination from Library in Act 3 and Tempest Shield in Act 2.

You now have your base leveling skills, and its time to focus on life and resists on gear.
Killing Kitava at the end of act 5 will give you a permanent -30% to all resists, and Killing Kitava at the end of act 10 will give another permanent -30% to all resists, so you need to start looking for gear with the right sockets that also has life and resists on it. Elemental resists are more important than chaos resist.

The other thing is to start looking for is flasks with good mods, like a life flask with anti bleeding or an enduring mana flask.

You should do the rest of the campaign without difficulty, as minions will kill all enemies with ease.

Save up your currency, so you can gear up after act 10

You have killed act 10 Kitava, what now?

Do the questline that gives you access to maps.

If you can afford a Dead Reckoning, get it now.
It is likely cheaper to craft it, than to buy it.
The recipie is in the first post.
Otherwise get it later.
It will effect what colors you get on your chest.

Try and get all the gear listed in the Base Gear section.

It's important to have a least one minion ring to cap your minions elemental resists.

Make sure your elemental resists are at 75% or higher.
If you can, get chaos resist to 75, but this is optional.
You can use your crafting bench to supplement the gear you buy.
We switch over to Bone offering, dropping Flesh Offering.

Only put a Leer Cast and a Dying Breath on the Animated Guardian until later, too much risk of it dying until the gem is at least level 18

Start Mapping!

Last edited by Odif on Mar 29, 2023, 7:53:54 PM
General Information for Newbies

Do not use the PoE wiki pathofexile.fandom.com
Use the following one instead, it is being supported.

Set your Left Click to MOVE ONLY

But wait, I am so confused I don't even understand the stuff in Odif's Build 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.

Not all Play Styles are equal for newbies

For Newbies, and I emphasize for Newbies, I can only recommend the play styles, Minion and Damage over Time, totems and brands.
You CAN play a "hit" build, but it will be much much much harder.
Just know what you are getting into.
(Hit builds mean you scale the damage of hits you do yourself.)

Why are Minion , brands, totems, and DoT builds better for newbies?
Simple: Damage while moving.
Hit builds only do damage while you are standing still.
Minion, totems, brands, and Dot builds do damage while moving.
Standing still in this game is dangerous, even more so for newbies who are still figuring out defenses and boss fights.

Cast and move, cast and move. With minions and DoT builds, this is what you can do.

Loot Filter

Loot filters are fully supported by Path of Exile.
You NEED a loot filter to play this game
You NEED a loot filter to play this game
You NEED a loot filter to play this game, really.
I recommend Neversink's loot filters.
(There are many others you can use, but Neversink is best for newbies, IMO)

You can click "follow" to one of his filters, then it will show up in your list of possible filters in game.

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.


A common newbie mistake is to wear all the unique items you find, as in most games, uniques are better than rares.
In PoE, most uniques you find are garbage.
They lack life and resists.
Life-resist-linked sockets
That is the trifecta of leveling gear, and most uniques you find can only have the linked sockets.
There are a small number of useful leveling uniques, but out side of those, you are better off wearing rare items (yellows)
The three most valuable and useful leveling uniques are:
Tabula Rasa https://www.poewiki.net/wiki/Tabula_Rasa
Wanderlust https://www.poewiki.net/wiki/Wanderlust
Goldrim https://www.poewiki.net/wiki/Goldrim

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.

Most Attacks use weapon damage as their base damage. A better weapon means more base damage.
Spells use the spell gem level as their base damage. A higher gem level means more base damage.

Buying Stash Tabs

If you are going to play PoE alot, you will need to buy stash tabs.
Free to Play, really means Free to Play for hours, but not days.
If you play PoE alot, you will NEED a currency tab and at least one premium tab.
Map tab is highly recommended.
Divination, Fragment and Essence tabs are recommended.
At least one quad tab is recommended.

One weekend a month, there is a sale on stash tabs.


Path of Exile is balanced around Trading.
As a newbie, you will need to sell stuff as you level through the campaign to have enough currency to buy the gear you need to start mapping.
Yes, you CAN play without trading, but it requires an expert level knowledge of crafting, something I doubt newbies have.

While you CAN sell stuff without a premium stash tab, its hard.
You have to make a post in the trading forums, format it so GGG's trade bot picks it up and lists it in their browswer based trading search function.

Or you can buy a premium stash tab, set it to public, and set prices on each item in the tab.

Knowing what is valuable is hard at first.
Most people use 3rd party software to price items.
Such software is NOT supported by GGG, but if the software is used ONLY to price things, it does not violate the ToS.

I used Awakened PoE Trade to price things.
(Remember, it only tells you the price things are LISTED at, not what they SELL at.)

Trading specifics:
The buyer should go to the sellers hide out, and wait for the seller to initiate a trade request.


There is no gold in this game.
There is a barter system, both when selling to NPC vendors, and for trading with other players.

The currency that is used to trade with other players, what is used to buy things from vendors, what vendors give you when you sell stuff, is CRAFTING MATERIALS.

So you can craft with your currency, or use it to buy stuff.

What should you do with all the currency you find?


Chaos orbs are the main trading currency in the game for most purchases from players.
You will likely find several as you level up.
Save them to buy gear when you are about to start mapping.

Divine Orbs are the trading currency for high end expensive gear. In league, divine orb prices vary, but are often worth over 200 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 white 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, and more recipies in maps.
Often recipies are found at major boss fights. Keep an eye out in your mini map for recipies, they are IMPORTANT.

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 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 Sealing" or "Lizard"
Anti freeze is called "of Convection" or "Deer"

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.

Sell Unidentified blue and yellow items in early Act 1 to get transmution orbs.
You will likely need transmutes to buy skill gems.

Also in early Act 1, sell Armor Scraps an/or Blacksmith Whetstones to get Wisdom Scrolls.

Sell identified yellow items to get Alteration Orbs.
You will need a LOT of them later in the game, or you can sell them. They are always in demand.

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.

Alteration Orbs 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.
There is a unique gloves that gives players the on kill of minion kills.

Note on Fleshcrafter unique chest.
If you use this, you CANNOT let your minions have more than 49% chaos resist.
If they get to 50% or higher, they instantly die, as they have no life.

Last edited by Odif on Feb 14, 2023, 8:28:14 PM
Simulated league start testing of this build guide, 2 months into 3.20.

Snapshot taken just before killing Kitava 10 (melee skels)

The gear:

A PoB of what I used to kill Kitava 10 (Melee Skels)

Note how pathetic the gear is, most of it was gathered in act 2 and 3, yet the journey through the campaign was SUPER smooth, act bosses dying super fast, ez mode. (not fast, but smooth and easy, skels are a bit slow moving)

Snapshot of Staring Maps (Melee Skels)

The gear:

This gear might be a bit too much to expect just starting maps, but could easily be obtained after a few hours of white maps.
It's hard to judge exactly what i could have afforded at league start, but nothing other than the shield is any good.
Perhaps it has more chaos resist than i could realistically afforded right away.

I used this gear until t12 maps.
I could have gone higher, but it was slowing down, so I bought some upgrades, see below.

Snapshot of Endgame Gear, moderate investement (Other than the awakened spell echo) (Skel Mages)
(The awakened spell echo is NOT needed.)

This is probably over kill on spending, as it cut thru t16 maps like a hot knife thru butter.
Last edited by Odif on Feb 19, 2023, 12:03:08 PM
-- deleted --

sorry wrong topic
Last edited by Arcanous7 on Feb 16, 2023, 10:42:34 PM
Thank you for the guide. I havent played a summoner or HC in years so it has been very helpful. I'm lvl 72 on my 3rd day. I'm shooting for that lvl 90 hc achievement. Hope I didn't jinx myself!

Update: I hit lvl 90 pretty easily on a 5 Link in HC. I just avoided rippy maps and topped out at t10 maps. We'll see how far i can take it once I get my 6L.
Last edited by Hamrfall on Mar 4, 2023, 5:32:44 PM
Hamrfall wrote:
Thank you for the guide. I havent played a summoner or HC in years so it has been very helpful. I'm lvl 72 on my 3rd day. I'm shooting for that lvl 90 hc achievement. Hope I didn't jinx myself!

Good luck!

I have never played HC, so I don't know if this build is tanky enough.

Let me know how it goes.
FYI: I won't be playing PoE until 3.21 comes out.
I will check in occasionally with this thread until then.

I will update the guide for 3.21 after patch notes come out.

On March 9th I will be playing Last Epoch, as that is their launch of multiplayer.
It's a great game to play when you are done with the league in PoE.
What atlas skills tree build would you recommend for this?
it is in the skill tree, it shows the points to use. You just have to make it bigger

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