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Animate Weapon Necromancer Build

Animate Weapon Necromancer Build

A very powerful, yet underestimated, Minion setup for the Necromancer class

Animate Weapon
Necromancer build

Updated for Patch 3.18

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Guide notes
May 24, 2022
-Build created
Build overview



Boss DPS:



As a Necromancer your playstyle is almost always directed towards summoning Minions and letting them do the work for you. Summoner's playstyle is often unengaging and lacks player agency gameplaywise. This build offers a different, fresh approach to such an issue, as your most prized Minions last less than a minute and have to be re-summoned constantly. Animate Weapon is an often-overlooked skill because of that, it requires you to cast a Bladefall and turn the lingering blades into Minions one by one, which slows you down during mapping. Around 17 of them can be summoned at one time. Their performance will be enhanced by many utility tools which Necromancers usually use for such Physical Damage Minion builds. In this instance, all the damage will be converted to Chaos, which results in better damage output, not to mention the additional Poison Damage.

It's a rather niche build that follows the same principles as many others of its kind. We've decided to make it an Energy Shield variant with Chaos Inoculation for full Chaos Immunity. It's capable of reaching up to 8k or more Energy Shield, over 50k Armour, Divine Shield Keystone, and a small Block Chance. It's not a particularly tanky build, but it can be rated as an above-average one. By summing a Minion from Lingering Blades you don't have to worry about equipping your summons with a weapon, the blades have fixed flat damage based on the Gem's level. The damage doesn't stray far from that of a standard Minion Builds of a similar purpose. This one can be valued high by the players who enjoy an off-meta archetype for one of the best-performing ascendancies in the game.

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1. Gameplay

Animated Weapons are the main source of damage, these Minions are much faster than your character so mapping is usually a smooth process. To Summon them use Lingering Blades from Bladefall. To support them in the way wielding the best results is to summon additional Minions such as Animated Guardian, Carrion Golem, and Spectres. We've used monkey Chieftains to generate Charges of all kinds and Undying Evangelist for Proximity Shield. Flesh Offering is the best Offering to pick for offensive purposes, it increases Attack and Movement Speed for you and your summons. This build uses a lot of Auras - Precision, Vitality, Clarity, Defiance Banner, Determination, Discipline, and Envy. Envy cons from a unique item and grant your Minions additional flat Chaos Damage. Use Flame Dash for a movement Spell and Molten Shell as Guard Spell.

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • Minion builds are often performing very well, as is this one
  • Your Minions are very fast and deal a TON of damage
  • damage ramps up thanks to the multiple poisons, making it great against Bosses
  • Animated Weapons last less than a minute and have to be re-summoned constantly


3. Leveling tips

We recommend leveling with Absolution. It's a Spell that summons Minions on kill, most of the Necromancers use it now and it's a well-established way to quickly level up. It doesn't require any Unique or Specific Items. You can transition to Animate Weapon later in the game after you will be able to specialize more in the playstyle this skill offers. We recommend switching after acquiring Triad Grip with four white sockets - this item will be required later on in the build. Your Items should increase your minion's damage as well as that of your own Lightning Spell Damage, as you will have to kill with Absolution. You should also use other Minions such as Spectres and Carrion Golem.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Absolution setup
Absolution Absolution - A Spell that summons Skeletons after you kill an enemy with it, or when you hit a rare or unique opponent
Onslaught Support Onslaught Support - Onslaught makes you faster and grants increased Cast Speed
Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support - adds Lightning Damage to Spells for more damage
Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support - out of all Spells this one can increase the damage by a lot while being available early on
Utility Gems
Frost Bomb Frost Bomb - reduces Life Regeneration for your enemies which is sometimes useful, cast it manually or via Arcanist Brand linked to a Curse too
Conductivity Conductivity - a Curse that lowers Lightning Resistance
Wrath Wrath - Wrath adds Lightning Damage to your Skills and grants more of it
Clarity Clarity - use for faster Mana Regeneration
Herald of Purity Herald of Purity - Creates Minions, and grants you more Physical Damage
Carrion Golem Summon Carrion Golem - Golem that grows stronger the more Minions you have, and increases the damage of all your other Minions


You should kill all the Bandits and take two more Passive Skill Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

35 Points Skill Tree
Go for more Maximum Life, Minion nodes, and the large Minion Cluster on the left.

70 Points Skill Tree
Allocate the Masteries. Take more Maximum Life, Elemental Damage, Mana Reservation Efficiency, and Minion Damage.

Recommended leveling items:

Le Heup of AllLe Heup of All - increased Damage, added Attributes, and additional Elemental Resistances
(10-30)% increased Damage
+(10-30) to all Attributes
(10-30)% increased Rarity of Items found
+(10-30)% to all Elemental Resistances
GoldrimGoldrim - it gives you tons of Elemental Resistances
+(30-50) to Evasion Rating
10% increased Rarity of Items found
+(30-40)% to all Elemental Resistances
Reflects 4 Physical Damage to Melee Attackers
Level Requirement reduced by 100 (Hidden)
Tabula RasaTabula Rasa - it's a great leveling tool, you can six-link the main setup from the start, but it will require an increased Mana Regeneration
Item has no level requirement and Energy Shield (Hidden)
Item has 6 White Sockets and is fully linked (Hidden)
SidhebreathSidhebreath - great leveling Amulet for various Minion builds
(20-30)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
+25% to Cold Resistance
Minions have (10-15)% increased maximum Life
Minions have (10-15)% increased Movement Speed
Minions deal (5-9) to (11-15) additional Cold Damage
(15-10)% reduced Mana Cost of Minion Skills
SkullheadSkullhead - This Helmet grants you and your Minions tons of beneficial defensive stats
(60-80)% increased Armour and Evasion
+(50-70) to maximum Life
+(50-70) to maximum Mana
+(10-20)% to all Elemental Resistances
Minions have +10% Chance to Block Attack Damage
Minions have +(300-350) to Armour
Minions Regenerate 2% of Life per second


4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

110 Points Final Skill Tree (doesn't include Cluster Jewels)
117 Points Path of Building (PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Mindless Aggression
  2. Commander of Darkness
  3. Mistress of Sacrifice
  4. Unnatural Strength


Major God: Soul of the Brine King: You cannot be Stunned if you've been Stunned or Blocked a Stunning Hit in the past 2 seconds

Minor God: Soul of Gruthkul: 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each Hit you've taken Recently up to a maximum of 5%


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Animate Weapon setup
Animate Weapon Animate Weapon - Summons a Minion which wields a Melee Weapon. It lasts for some time and requires a weapon or a Lingering Blade from skills such as Bladefall or Ethereal Knives.
Withering Touch Support Withering Touch Support - Hits will apply a stackable Withered Debuff - enemies affected by it  take increased Chaos Damage
Added Chaos Damage Support Added Chaos Damage Support - adds Chaos Damage to your Minions' Attacks
Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support - Minions deal more Damage but have less Maximum Life
Melee Splash Support Melee Splash Support - Melee Hits have an Area of Effect which makes them deal damage to the enemies surrounding the target
Increased Critical Damage Support Increased Critical Damage Support - Critical Strikes Multiplier is increased
[UTILITY] Aura setup
Determination Determination - adds and increases your Armour
Discipline Discipline - you gain an additional and increased Energy Shield
Clarity Clarity - increases Mana Regeneration Rate, it can be kept at a low level
Vitality Vitality - increases Life Regeneration Rate, Energy Shield with Zealot's Oath
Defiance Banner Defiance Banner - increases Armour and Energy Shield, nearby foes are less likely to deal Critical Strike
[UTILITY] Precision and Envy setup
Precision Precision - Precision increases Critical Strike Chance and adds Accuracy
Envy Envy - Envy is a Skill obtainable by equipping United in Dream Unique Sword, it adds Chaos Damage to Attacks and Spells
Generosity Support Generosity Support - Both Auras should be linked to Generosity as you won't profit from them, this setup should be socketed in your weapon
[UTILITY] Minions setup
Animate Guardian Animate Guardian - Guardian can be equipped with many various Unique Items to enhance your performance, but if he dies the items are lost. It's an expensive addition.
Raise Spectre Raise Spectre - We recommend having some Spectres which would generate Charges and/or provide you with Proximity Shield
Minion Life Support Minion Life Support - Minions have more Maximum Life
[UTILITY] Carrion Golem setup
Summon Carrion Golem Summon Carrion Golem - Carrion Golem grants a lot of physical damage to all of your other Minions, while itself being very powerful
Feeding Frenzy Feeding Frenzy - Golem will grant all of your other Minions a Frenzy Buff on Hit making the more Aggressive and dealing more damage
[UTILITY] Molten Shell
Molten Shell Molten Shell - Molten Shell creates a protective layer around you that mitigates incoming Hit Damage for some time
[MOBILITY] Flame Dash
Flame Dash Flame Dash - A Movement Spell that holds three charges which can be used to dash
[UTILITY] Assassin's Mark
Assassin's Mark Assassin's Mark - Marked Enemy is more likely to receive Critical Strike and the Critical Strike Multiplier against it is increased
[UTILITY] Bladefall
Bladefall Bladefall - Cast it to generate Lingering Blades and spawn Animated Weapons out of them
[UTILITY] Desecrate
Desecrate Desecrate - Spawns corpses to be used with Flesh Offering
[UTILITY] Flesh Offering
Flesh Offering Flesh Offering - You and your Minions have increased Attack Speed, Cast Speed, and Movement Speed

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5. Gear Setup

The build requires you to convert your Minions' Physical Damage into Chaos Damage. The easiest way to do so is by equipping Triad Grip Gloves with four White Sockets. A great way to increase your Minion's Chaos Damage is then to equip United in Dream Sword, it grants you the Envy Skill and makes your Minions much more resilient. Besides Unique Jewels, we've also used Whakatutuki o Matua Unique Shield and Ancient Skull Unique Helmet. Your Body Armour, Boots, and Jewelry can be all Rare Items. Prioritize stats such as Energy Shield, Elemental Resistances, Armour, and enough Attributes for your other Items and Gems. You can use up to two Large Cluster Jewels in this build.

Our recommended items will:

  1. Cap your resistances 
  2. Give you enough DPS/Life to start mapping successfully

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Energy Shield
  2. Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  3. Minion's Skill Gem Level
  4. Dexterity
  5. Strength
  6. Minion Damage
  7. Armour
  8. Reduced Mana Cost of Skills
  9. Block Chance
  10. Life/ES Regeneration Rate
Ancient Skull(Helmet) Ancient Skull - Ancient Skull has all the mods that your build needs - it heavily improves your Minions' performance, alters their behavior to more aggressive, and grants you Armour and Energy Shield.
Minions deal (15-20)% increased Damage
(150–200)% increased Armour and Energy Shield
Minions have (40-20)% reduced maximum Life
Minions have (15–25)% increased Movement Speed
Minions have 50% increased Critical Strike Chance per Maximum Power Charge you have
Minions can hear the whispers for 5 seconds after they deal a Critical Strike
Helmet enchantments:
Animate Weapon enchantment
United in Dream(Weapon) United in Dream - A one-handed Sword that is perfectly suited for builds where your Minions are set up to deal Chaos Damage with Hits, as is the case here. It grants you the Envy Skill.
Grants Level 25 Envy Skill
Minions deal (60-80)% increased Damage
Minions have +29% to Chaos Resistance
Minions have 60% chance to Poison Enemies on Hit
Minions Leech 5% of Damage as Life against Poisoned Enemies
Whakatutuki o Matua(Weapon) Whakatutuki o Matua - This Shield grants you a lot of Energy Shield and increased Non-Curse Aura Effect. You're using a lot of very powerful Auras making it one of the best choices. Socket your Spectre and Animate Guardian or Carrion Golem Here for extra Gem Level.
+3 to Level of Socketed Minion Gems
+(40-80) to maximum Energy Shield
(40-80)% increased Energy Shield
+(15-25) to maximum Mana
20% increased effect of Non-Curse Auras from your Skills on your Minions
20% increased effect of Non-Curse Auras from your Skills
Spreads Tar when you Block
If you have Blocked Recently, you and nearby Allies Regenerate 5% of Life per second
Body Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - Get as much Energy Shield and Elemental Resistances as you can afford. Some of Hunter's Affixes could be very useful.
Min. requirements:
600 Energy Shield
Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Armour and Energy Shield
increased effect of Offerings
+1 to Level of Socketed Active Skill Gems
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - Energy Shield, Movement Speed, Elemental Resistances, and some kind of Immunity to Elemental Ailments such as Freeze are what you're looking for
Min. requirements:
25% increased Movement Speed
100 Energy Shield
+80% Toteal Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Freeze Immunity
Chance to Avoid Elemental Ailments
Triad Grip(Gloves) Triad Grip - Use these Gloves with all four Sockets colored White. It can be done by using Voirici's maximum rank Crafting Table when he's assigned to Research, or by corrupting them. You want your Minions to deal Chaos damage.
(80-120)% increased Armour and Energy Shield
Minions convert 25% of Physical Damage to Fire Damage per Red Socket
Minions convert 25% of Physical Damage to Cold Damage per Green Socket
Minions convert 25% of Physical Damage to Lightning Damage per Blue Socket
Minions convert 25% of Physical Damage to Chaos Damage per White Socket
Minions have (5-10)% chance to Freeze, Shock and Ignite
Rare Belt (Belt) Rare Belt - Crystal Belt or Stygian Vise with bonuses to Energy Shield is the way to go. Additionally, seek Strength and Elemental Resistances.
Min. requirements:
Energy Shield
+100% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Life Regeneration
increased Energy Shield from Body Armour
increased Energy Shield Recovery rate
Ashes of the Stars(Amulet) Ashes of the Stars - It got all the necessary components for a vast majority of the builds in the game. It might be expensive, so you may use a substitute Rare Amulet which can grant you a Maximum Level for your Animate Weapon Skill Gem and some defensive stats.
+(10-16) to all Attributes
(5-10)% increased Experience Gain of Gems
(10-20)% increased Reservation Efficiency of Skills
+1 to Level of all Skill Gems
+(20-30)% to Quality of all Skill Gems
Recommended Anointments:
Champion of the Cause
Ravenous Horde
Ring(Ring) Rare Ring - Energy Shield, Elemental Resistances, and Attributes are the most prized affixes. You might want to craft the mod for reduced Mana Cost of Skills too.
Min. requirements:
+80% Total Elemental Resistances
Strength and Dexterity
Energy Shield
Optional affixes:
Mana or Life Regeneration Rate
Non-Channelling Skills have -7 to Total Mana Cost (crafted)
Abyss(Jewel) Rare Abyss Jewels - Default Jewels are not as good as Ghastly Abyss Jewels which are specifically designed for Minion Builds. You can try to get the missing stats and gain a lot of other offensive and defensive modifiers.
Recommended affixes:
increased Energy Shield
Elemental Resistances
Minions deal  increased Damage if you've used a Minion Skill Recently
Minions have a chance to Taunt on Hit with Attacks
Minions deal additional Physical or Chaos Damage
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Large Cluster Jewel - Vicious Bite is the best Notable here, it increases Minions' Critical Strike Chance and Multiplier. Renewal works only on Minions that are on Full Life.
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Vicious Bite
1 Added Passive Skill is Renewal
Medium Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Medium Cluster Jewel - You can go again for Renewal or Feasting Fiends, which increases Minions' Life, Damage, and Life Leech.
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Renewal
1 Added Passive Skill is Feasting Fiends
Small Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Small Cluster Jewel - Small Cluster Jewel can be used for Enduring Composure, which generates Endurace Charges after being hit and increases Armour
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Enduring Composure
Fortress Covenant(Jewel) Fortress Covenant - socket it into one of the Cluster Jewels, it will make your Minions deal increased Damage and grant them increased Block Chance.
Minions deal (35-45)% increased Damage
Minions have +(10-12)% Chance to Block Attack Damage
Minions have +(10-12)% Chance to Block Spell Damage
Notable Passive Skills in Radius are Transformed to
instead grant: Minions take 20% increased Damage
Quickening Covenant(Jewel) Quickening Covenant - It works similarly to Fortress Covenant, it improves your Minions' Attack Speed, Cast Speed, and Spell Suppression Chance
Minions have (12-16)% increased Attack Speed
Minions have (12-16)% increased Cast Speed
Minions have +(20-24)% chance to Suppress Spell Damage
Notable Passive Skills in Radius are Transformed to
instead grant: Minions have 25% reduced Movement Speed
watcher's eye(Jewel) Watcher's Eye - Seek some Aures related to Determination, Discipline, Clarity, or Vitality. These will usually be defensively oriented.
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>
Energy From Within(Jewel) Energy From Within - Socket it near Pain Attunement to gain more Energy Shield from the melding Cluster.
(3-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
Increases and Reductions to Life in Radius are Transformed to apply to Energy Shield
Bottled Faith(Flask) Bottled Faith - It increases Critical Strike Chance and Damage against enemies standing on the created Consecrated Ground.
40% increased Damage
Creates Consecrated Ground on Use
(20-40)% increased Duration
Consecrated Ground created by this Flask has Tripled Radius
Consecrated Ground created during Effect applies (7-10)% increased Damage taken to Enemies
(100-150)% increased Critical Strike Chance against Enemies on Consecrated Ground during Flask effect

Other suggested Flasks:

  1. Basalt Flask with Immunity to Poison during Flask Effect for increased Armour
  2. Granite Flask of Staunching for Bleed removal for additional Armour
  3. Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline for Movement Speed
  4. Silver Flask with random ailment removal for Onslaught
Quicksilver FlaskBottled FaithGranite FlaskSilver FlaskBasalt Flask

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If you have any other build requests please leave that in the comments below. We are always open to suggestions and constructive feedback.

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