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Cremation Archmage Necromancer Build

Cremation Archmage Necromancer Build

A powerful Spell Caster build which can face tank most Bosses thanks to insane Mana Regeneration and The Agnostic Passive

Archmage Necromancer Build

Updated for Patch 3.13

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Guide notes
October 12, 2020
-Build created
October 14, 2020
-Added gameplay video
January 18, 2021
-Updated for Patch 3.13


Archmage is a Support Gem which offers MASSIVE DPS boost for highly specialized and customized builds that rely on very high Mana levels. It makes Supported Spells cost a fixed % of your current Mana and add a ton of extra Lightning Damage based on the amount of Mana removed that way. By reaching thousands of Maximum Mana and high Mana Regeneration, you can get crazy DPS numbers. In this build, reaching 10,000 Maximum Mana is easily achievable without excessive investments in gear, making up for this builds astounding performance. At the same time, high Mana Pool allows you to quickly regenerate Life via The Agnostic Passive, which allows you to face tank most of the Spells and Attacks in the game (don't get it wrong, you can easily take Shaper's slam, but a group of high-level Heist monsters can easily take you down if you don't pay attention). Overall, this is a very complete build, which performs exceptionally well in all kinds of situations and allows you to easily kill all the Bosses in the game. The only downside is that apparently using Cremation with Intensify/Pinpoint Support may cause some performance/stability issues, and you may find the Skill dealing no damage or not creating Geysers correctly (hopefully by the time we publish this guide, those issues will be hotfixed already. 

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1. Gameplay

This is a very straightforward spell caster build where you carelessly run around Maps and face-tank Bosses spamming your core DPS and Utility Spells. You basically need to cast Desecrate to create corpses (if there are none in radius) and cast Cremation to create Geysers that deal massive Spell Damage with Projectiles. You should also spam Arcane Shroud for its' Protective Shield, Mana Recovery, and extra Damage. Don't forget to place down Sigil of Power whenever you are facing Bosses. It will add a lot of extra Lightning Damage to your Spells, and reduce the damage dealt by enemies in its radius. It increases its effect based on the amount of Mana spent inside, and since your Cremation should cost over 2,000 Mana per cast, those stacks will be built nearly instantly. By using Essence Glutton and most of the accessible Mana/Mana Regeneration Passives around, you will have simply insane Mana Regeneration, and if you combine Mind over Matter with The Agnostic Passive, you are nearly immortal. Most of the incoming damage will be instantly recovered through your Mana, just make sure not to play No/Less Mana Recovery Maps. This build is simply perfect for farming Bosses, Delve, and Labyrinth. 

0:08 Tier 16 Forge of the Phoenix
0:37 Tier 15 Channel
0:51 Tier 15 Sepulchre
1:14 Tier 16 Pit of the Chimera
1:41 Tier 17 Shaper

This video was recorded on a level 93 Necromancer on the Heist League with 5,500 Maximum Life and nearly 10,000 Maximum Mana. It allows you to easily take Shaper's slams 100% of the time, making it one of the tankiest characters we ever made. Video recorded in Patch 3.12 but the gameplay hasn't changed much since

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • insane defenses that allow you to face-tank most of the content
  • high DPS from multiple Cremation Geysers dealing increased damage from Sigil of Power, Archmage, and Intensify
  • requires no expensive Uniques
  • very good clear speed
  • all content viable
  • Cremation seems to be buggy sometimes with Intensify/Pinpoint Support
  • can't do No/Less Regeneration and Elemental Reflect Map mods


3. Leveling tips

For leveling, we recommend using Spellslinger Support with either Cremation or Volatile Dead. The latter will offer better clear speed, but with Cremation, you should be able to understand the skill a bit more before switching to use it entirely for high Tier content. Sadly, it's impossible to level up with Archmage, as you won't be able to get enough Mana on lower levels to make it viable. You have to options when you level up this build, either you use two Spellslinger Supports with Desecrate and Cremation (Volatile Dead if you want to make it faster) or Spellslinger Cremation, Desecrate in Poet's Pen, and an additional Aura/Herald for damage increase - Anger, Herald of Ash, Herald of Ice, will all work. Either way, you will also need to work on your Mana Regeneration, in order to spam your Attack while having most of your Mana Reserved.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Cremation/Volatile Dead setup
Cremation Cremation - the primary Spell used in this build. It makes a targeted corpse explode and creates a Geyser that fires projectiles around it dealing high Area Damage. In most cases, you will have to create the corpse yourself with Desecrate
Spellslinger Support Spellslinger Support - you will cast linked Spell (Cremation) automatically whenever you attack with your Want. You need to active Spellslinger which will Reserve Mana in order for it to work
Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support - adds a lot of Lightning Damage 
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - greatly increases Elemental Damage of Supported Skills
Desecrate setup
Desecrate Desecrate - creates Corpses for your Cremation (or Volatile Dead) Spell. It has to be triggered automatically by a second Spellslinger setup, or via Poet's Pen Wand
Spell Cascade Support Spell Cascade Support - makes supported AoE Spell repeat itself in two extra Areas. For Desecrate it basically makes you create a lot of additional Corpses
Spellslinger Support Spellslinger Support - if you don't have a Poet's Pen Wand, make sure to trigger Desecrate via Spellslinger Support
Frenzy setup
Frenzy Frenzy - it's the recommended Attack which will trigger your Spells. There is no actual need to Support it with anything, but you can add Faster Attacks to help it trigger Spells faster
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
Utility Gems
Herald of Ash Herald of Ash - increases your Fire Damage and causes AoE Explosions when you kill enemies
Clarity Clarity - grants increased Mana Regeneration Rate. It's very useful on lower levels, and you don't have to increase its level at all
Flame Dash Flame Dash - recommended mobility Spell


We recommend killing all the Bandits for two additional Passive Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

33 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Heart and Soul 2) Light of Divinity 3) Devotion 4) Cruel Preparation

65 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Spiritual Aid 2) Elemental Overload 3) Quick Recovery 4) Constitution

Recommended leveling items:

Poet's PenPoet's Pen - an amazing leveling Wand that can help you trigger Desecrate
12% increased Elemental DamageAdds (2-3) to (5-6) Fire Damage to Spells
Adds (2-3) to (5-6) Cold Damage to Spells
Adds 1 to (10-12) Lightning Damage to Spells
(4-6)% increased Cast Speed
(100-140)% increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells
PraxisPraxis - it reduces the Mana Cost of all your Skills by a huge amount, allowing you to spam most of your Spells while a lot of your Mana is Reserved by Auras/Heralds or Spellslinger Spells
+(20-30) to maximum Mana
+(30-60) to maximum Mana
Regenerate (3-6) Mana per second
-(8-4) to Total Mana Cost of Skills
8% of Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit
Le Heup of AllLe Heup of All - perfect choice for the whole leveling process. Adds a fair amount of Attributes, extra Damage, and Resistances
(10-30)% increased Damage
+(10-30) to all Attributes
(10-30)% increased Rarity of Items found
+(10-30)% to all Elemental Resistances
GoldrimGoldrim - the best leveling Helmet in PoE which adds a ton of extra 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)
Victario's FlightVictario's Flight - a great leveling pair of Boots that has high bonus Movement Speed and extra Mana Recovery mechanic
+15 to Dexterity
+15 to Intelligence
(100-150)% increased Evasion Rating
15% increased Movement Speed
(5-10)% of Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit
10% increased Movement Speed for you and nearby Allies


4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

116 Points Final Skill Tree (does not include Passives from the Cluster Jewel)
116 Points Path of Building(PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Plaguebringer
  2. Corpse Pact
  3. Essence Glutton
  4. Mistress of Sacrifice


Major God: Soul of Lunaris 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%; 1% increased Movement Speed for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%. Optionally, you can also pick Soul of the Brine King for some additional Stun resistance

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] Cremation setup
Cremation Cremation - your main all-purpose Spell which deals a high Area Damage with projectiles. You need Corpses for it to "work" which will be created manually by Desecrate. You can also get Phantasmal Cremation which will have a chance to detonate additional Corpses
Archmage Support Archmage Support - adds a lot of Lightning Damage based on the amount of Mana Spent to Cast Support Spells. It's the single-best DPS Support Gem in the game and the build-defining one
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - grants very high bonus Elemental Damage to linked Skills
Intensify Support Intensify Support - you gain Intensify stacks with each consecutive Cast, greatly increasing the damage of Cremation
Pinpoint Support Pinpoint Support - reduces the number of Cremation projectiles but greatly increases its' damage for each Intensify stack
Lightning Penetration Support Lightning Penetration Support - your enemies have lower Lightning Resistance. You can also use an Awakened Gem here
[UTILITY] Flame Dash/Sigil of Power
Flame Dash Flame Dash - recommended Movement Spell for this build. It allows you to travel faster and avoid big attacks
Sigil of Power Sigil of Power - a newly added Utility Spell which adds extra Lightning Damage, and reduces your damage taken from enemies that are in the radius of this skill. It builds stacks to increase the effect based on Mana spent, and since your Cremation should cost over 2,000 extra Mana per cast, it will be nearly instantly obtained
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
Second Wind Support Second Wind Support - adds extra Charge to Sigil of Power and Flame Dash and reduces its cooldown
[UTILITY] Spells in "Trigger" Wand
(triggered automatically by your Wand)
Bone Offering Bone Offering - increases your Chance to Block and recovers your Life whenever you Block
Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction - applies Lightning Exposure to enemies affected, reducing their Lightning Resistance by 25%
Elemental Weakness Elemental Weakness - the best Curse for this build which reduces monsters' Elemental Resistances
[UTILITY] Tempest Shield/Vaal RF
Tempest Shield Tempest Shield - Tempest Shield increases your Block Chance. It's triggered automatically by a low-level Cast when Damage Taken Gem. Do not upgrade this Gem above level  7
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - use at level 1 for more frequent casts. It will trigger your Tempest Shield
Vaal Righteous Fire Vaal Righteous Fire - the Vaal part of this skill grants increased Spell Damage for a brief duration. Do not use the regular part of the Skill
Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support
[UTILITY] Desecrate
Desecrate Desecrate - Desecrate is a must-have or you may be unable to cast your Cremation properly. It has to be cast manually whenever you enter combat
Spell Cascade Spell Cascade Support - makes Supported Spell repeat itself in two additional areas, which for Desecrate means it simply creates more corpses
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
[UTILITY] Arcane Cloak
Arcane Cloak Arcane Cloak - a must-have Guard Spell for this build. It grants a very strong protective shield, adds extra damage, and grants Mana Recovery and Arcane Surge buff. You should spam it whenever it's off cooldown
Arcane Surge Arcane Surge Support - grants the Arcane Surge buff whenever you spend enough Mana on Supported Spells. Arcane Surge grants increased Spell Damage, Mana Regeneration, and Cast Speed
Second Wind Support Second Wind Support - reduces the cooldown of Arcane Cloak
Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support

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5. Gear Setup

Below you will find the required and recommended equipment for our Cremation Archmage Necromancer build. Basically, you can play it with only Rare equipment with Maximum Life, Maximum Mana, and Resistances, however, several Uniques are just hard to replace and are highly recommended to be chosen over any possible alternative item you can possibly try to use. These would be Atziri's Foible, Crown of the Inward Eye, and Cloak of Defiance. 

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Stat priorities on items:

  1. Maximum Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Maximum Mana
  4. Intelligence
  5. Spell Damage/Lightning Damage
Rare Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - just aim for the highest Life/Mana/Resistances. You could also get a piece which reduces the Lightning Resistance of nearby enemies, however, we will still recommend Crown of the Inward Eye as the BiS item for this slot
Min. requirements:
70 Maximum Life
65 Maximum Mana
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Nearby enemies have -#% Lightning Resistance
Crown of the Inward Eye(Helmet) Crown of the Inward Eye - the BiS Helmet for this build. It grants very high bonus damage and very high bonus Life and Max Mana
333% increased Armour and Energy Shield
(9-21)% increased maximum Life, Mana and Global Energy Shield
Transfiguration of Soul
Transfiguration of Body
Transfiguration of Mind
Helmet enchantments:
Cremation can have up to 1 additional Geyser at a time
40% increased Cremation Damage
Rare Wand(Weapon) Rare Wand - you can get a lot of Mana from a Rare Wand and that's what you should primarily look for here. Also, it needs to have (or you should be able to craft it) the "Trigger Socketed Spell when you use a Skill" affix
Min. requirements:
90% increased Lightning/Spell Damage
120 maximum Mana
Trigger Socketed Spell when you use a Skill
Optional affixes:
increased Cast Speed
Added Lightning Damage to Spells
Rare Shield(Shield) Rare Shield - just aim for high Life, Mana, and Spell Damage. Plain and simple
Min. requirements:
60 Maximum Life
65 Maximum Mana
90% Lightning/Spell Damage
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Chance to Block Spell Damage
Cloak of Defiance(Body Armour) Cloak of Defiance - the BiS Body Armour for this build. It adds a lot of extra Mana and gives you the Mind over Matter Passive, saving an extra Passive Point
(300-400)% increased Evasion and Energy Shield
+(100-150) to maximum Mana
Regenerate 1% of Mana per second
10% of Damage is taken from Mana before Life
Mind Over Matter
Atziri's Foible(Amulet) Atziri's Foible - the best Amulet for this build which grants tons of extra Mana and Mana Regeneration. Make sure to use Mana Catalysts on it
(20-30)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
+100 to maximum Mana
(16-24)% increased maximum Mana
(80-100)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
Items and Gems have 25% reduced Attribute Requirements
Recommended Anointments:
Mind Drinker
Primal Spirit
Arcane Swiftness
Rare RingRare Ring(Ring) Rare Rings - just aim for high Mana, Life, and Resistances. You can also get some extra Attributes (Dexterity mainly) to get all the required stats for your Items and Gems
Min. requirements:
70 Maximum Mana
60 Maximum Mana
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Mana Regeneration Rate
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - again; Life, Mana, and Resistances. You also want at least 25% bonus Movement Speed here
Min. requirements:
70 Maximum Mana
60 Maximum Mana
25% Movement Speed
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Chaos Resistance
Boot enchantment:
70% increased Mana Regeneration Rate if you've cast a Spell Recently
Stygian Vise(Belt) Rare Belt - preferably a Stygian Vise for an extra Abyss Socket
Min. requirements:
80 Maximum Life
60 Maximum Mana
100% Total Elemental Resistances
Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - mainly for defensive stats and extra Mana
Min. requirements:
80 Maximum Life
60 Maximum Mana
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Chaos Resistances
Clear Mind(Jewels) Clear Mind - since we don't reserve any Mana, this is one of the best budget Jewels you can use
(20-30)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
(40-60)% increased Spell Damage while no Mana is Reserved
Healthy Mind(Jewels) Healthy Mind - socketed it to the very left of your Skill Tree to grant approximately 1,000 extra Mana, converting Devotion and adjacent Life nodes to Mana
(15-20)% increased maximum Mana
Increases and Reductions to Life in Radius are Transformed to apply to Mana at 200% of their value
Cobalt Jewel(Jewels) Rare Jewels - simply get extra Mana and DPS bonuses
Recommended affixes:
increased Maximum Life
increased Maximum Mana
Optional affixes:
increased Spell Damage/Lightning Damage
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewels) Large Cluster Jewel - we have used one Large Cluster Jewel in our build for high Lightning Damage bonus and extra Mana. Third Passive it grants (if you can get the third) can be almost anything that increases your Lightning, Spell, or Elemental Damage
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Scintillating Idea
1 Added Passive Skill is Supercharge
Optional affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Prismatic Heart
1 Added Passive Skill is Doryani's Lesson
1 Added Passive Skill is Disorienting Display
Watcher's Eye(Jewels) Rare Abyss Jewels - just aim for Life/Mana bonuses and possibly the chance to Hinder enemies on Spell Hits
Recommended affixes:
Maximum Life
Maximum Mana
Optional affixes:
Chance to Hinder enemies on Spell Hits
Increased Damage if you have killed recently

Dying Sun(Flask) Dying Sun - increases the number of your Cremation's projectiles, making it one of the best Utility Flasks for this build

+50% to Fire Resistance
20% less Fire Damage taken
(-10-10)% increased Charges used
Skills fire 2 additional Projectiles during Flask Effect
(15-25)% increased Area of Effect during Flask Effect
Suggested Rare Flasks:
  1. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching (Bleeding Immunity)
  2. Enduring Eternal Mana Flask of Warding (Curse Immunity)
  3. Experimenter's Quartz Flask of Adrenaline (Dodge and Movement Speed)
  4. Ample Quicksilver Flask of Heat (Freeze immunity)
Dying SunLife FlaskMana FlaskQuartz FlaskQuicksilver Flask

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Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Grinding Gear Games.