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Skeleton Mages Summoner Scion - Odealo's Crafty Guide

Skeleton Mages Summoner Scion - Odealo's Crafty Guide

Summon and lead the army of the Undead! Try our new budget-friendly and shaper-viable Summoner Scion build

Skeleton Mages
Summoner Scion build

Updated for Patch 3.5

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Estimated budget: medium
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Guide notes
December 21, 2018
-Updated for Patch 3.5

This time we would like to present a different approach to the Skeleton Mage Summoner build. In this build, we suggest using the Scion/Ascendant class, which will provide a better balance between defense and offense, while still being able to maintain five Auras for your Minions. With proper gear and proper understanding of boss fights, this build is Shaper/Guardians and Uber Atziri viable. Since most of the items are inexpensive rares, and Skeletons should do more than enough damage for low/mid tier mapping with barely 4 links on Pledge of Hands, it is also a great pick for a League starter build.

You can also find the full list of our other Path of Exile Builds right here: Odealo's Crafty Guides - Full List

1. Gameplay

This build is similar to regular Necromancer/Witch Skeleton Mages build out there. The only difference is that we will be using Scion class in order to maintain higher Life pool and benefit from Guardian Ascendancy class passives to your Auras. Summon Skeletons is a minion spell that calls forth a small army of undead skeletons to fight for you for a brief duration. Using 2 Dead Reckoning unique jewels you are able to summon up to 10 Skeleton Mages instead, who are very powerful spellcasters. 

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • great DPS with 6L Pledge of Hands, the additional Spell Echo makes a lot of difference in this build
  • Five auras which allow you to play this build both solo and as a supporting character
  • high Life  
  • budget-friendly can easily clear low/mid-tier maps with just four links on your Summon Skeletons setup, with rest of the items being unexpensive Rares and Uniques
  • Skeleton Mages do all the job so it's not the most exciting type of build
  • can feel squishy if you can't afford high Life gear
  • mediocre clear speed

3. Leveling tips

Using Minions is a very easy way to level up your character. Both Raise Zombies and Summon Skeleton Gems are available very early in the game, and both provide good defense and DPS. The main idea is to focus minion/Life nodes early on and get the recommended items that benefit your minions as soon as you reach their level requirements. We also suggest using SRS (Summon Raging Spirits) linked with Spell Totem Support Gem. That way you will get some additional DPS, and be able to focus on summoning your Skeletons and Zombies.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Raise Zombies
Raise Zombie Raise Zombies - your meatshield, both when leveling and later on. Zombies are not exactly heavy-hitters, so you should link them with mainly defensive gems
Minion Life Support Minion Life Support - great defensive support gem
Fortify Support Fortify Support
Life Leech Support Life Leech Support - another decent option if you have a four-linked item
Summon Skeletons Setup
Summon Skeletons Summon Skeletons - one of your leveling DPS spells (until you reach end-game of course when it becomes the only DPS spells). It could possibly work alone, but since the Skeleton's damage isn't that high, and you have a lot of spare mana, we suggest using some spells to help you out in fights
Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support - great DPS boost to your Skeletons, if you can afford a high-quality gem right away just get one, you will be using this gem till Shaper anyway
Minion Speed Support Minion Speed Support - another decent option (and accessible early on)
Multistrike Support Multistrike Support - a great boost to Skeleton's DPS (second only to Minion Damage Support gem)
Summon Raging Spirit Setup
Summong Raging Spirit Summon Raging Spirit - raging spirits are extremely fast minions that behave like homing missiles. They expire after a short while (or die) so this spell is of the "spammable" type, that is why we suggest using it linked to Spell Totem Support gem so you can focus on kiting and summoning the other minions
Spell Totem Support Spell Totem Support - this gem will allow you to spawn a Totem which will cast the SRS spell for you
Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support - great DPS boost
Melee Splash Support Melee Splash Support - gives a decent AoE damage boost in this setup


We suggest killing all the Bandits for two additional Passive Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

32 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Grave Pact 2) Spiritual Command 3) Sacrifice 4) Constitution

60 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Lord of the Dead 2) Death Attunement 3) Heart and Soul

Recommended leveling items:

Sidhebreath Sidhebreath - BiS Amulet for the build during leveling phase, and one of the best Amulets for mapping as well
(20-30)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
+25% to Cold Resistance
0.2% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana
Minions have (10-15)% increased maximum Life
Minions have (10-15)% increased Movement Speed
(15-10)% reduced Mana Cost of Minion Skills
Minions deal (10-15)% increased Damage
Wurm's MoltWurm's Molt - inexpensive leveling belt, accessible as early as level 8. Grants good Life/Stats bonuses as well as additional Life and Mana Leech
+(25-40) to maximum Life
+(20-30) to Strength
+(20-30) to Intelligence
+(10-20)% to Cold Resistance
0.4% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Life
0.4% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana
Leer CastLeer Cast - grants amazing damage reduction bonus, as well as 15%, increased damage to all nearby Allies (including your Minions)
30% reduced Damage
+(20-30) to Dexterity
+(20-30) to maximum Life
+(20-30) to maximum Mana
You and nearby allies gain 15% increased Damage30% reduced Damage
Queen's DecreeQueen's Decree - great sword for every Skeleton build. This can possibly be your main end-game weapon as well, so if you plan on doing that you might just get a six-linked one right away at level 27
+185 to Accuracy Rating
Minions have (10-15)% increased maximum Life
(150-200)% increased Skeleton Duration
Minions deal (10-15)% increased Damage
+1 to maximum number of Zombies
+1 to maximum number of Skeletons
+1 to maximum number of Spectres
25% increased Strength Requirement
From DustFrom Dust - gives a cheap boost to your Summon Skeleton spell at the cost of increased cooldown
Summon 2 additional Skeleton Warriors with Summon Skeleton
+1 second to Summon Skeleton Cooldown

4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

116 Points Final Skill Tree
116 Points Path of Building(PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

1. Witch Ascendancy - Necromancer
2. Templar Ascendancy - Guardian
3. Path of the Guardian or Path of the Necromancer


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%

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] Summon Skeletons
(preferably Pledge of Hands)
Summon Skeletons Summon Skeletons - your main DPS spell. This will summon the Skeleton Mages with the unique Dead Reckoning Jewels equipped. Up to ten of them can be active at a time
Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support - grants the highest direct DPS boost to your minions
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - again, a straight DPS boost for Skeleton Mages
Greater Multiple Projectiles Support Greater Multiple Projectiles Support - spells cast by Skeleton Mages are projectile based so this Gem is a must-have
Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support - another great DPS Support Gem
Pierce Support Pierce Support - projectiles shot by your Skeleton Mages will pierce enemies
[AURA] Multiple Auras
Anger Anger - adds extra Fire Damage to Spells and Attacks
Haste Haste - increases Attack, Cast, and Movement Speed
Wrath Wrath - adds extra Lightning Damage to Spells and Attacks
Purity of Elements Purity of Elements - grants All Elemental Resistances
Discipline Discipline - grants increased Energy Shield. Provides a nice boost to your Minion's defenses
Enlighten Enlighten Support - reduces the amount of Mana Reserved by supported skills
[CURSE] Elemental Weakness
Ball Lightning Ball Lightning - great Spell Gem for applying Curses
Curse on Hit Support Curse on Hit Support - linked with Ball lightning will make it apply your Curse
Elemental Weakness Elemental Weakness - our suggested Curse for this build. Will lower monster's Elemental Resistances
Greater Multiple Projectiles Support Greater Multiple Projectiles Support
[UTILITY] Zombie and Animate Guardian setup
Raise Zombie Raise Zombie - zombies will act as your meatshield, taking most of the enemies damage. That's exactly why we suggest linking it only to defensive gems
Minion Life Minion Life Support - it's one of the best minion defensive gems
Minion and Totem elemental resistances Support Minion and Totem Elemental Resistances Support - same as above
Animate Guardian Animate Guardian - is another good supporting minion. It can equip items that grant additional stats to you and your party members. However it might lose them on death, so if you can't afford to replace them, or have problems keeping him alive, we suggest just adding another support gem to your Zombie setup (for example Fortify Support). Below you can find suggested items you can equip the Animate Guardian with.
Leer CastLeer Cast - will grant 15% additional damage to nearby allies (including minions)
Dying BreathDying Breath - increases Curse and Auras effects and their radius, and grants additional damage to nearby allies
Ambu's ChargeAmbu's Charge - grants the Animate Guardian extra endurance charges when hit, and allows him to share them with nearby part members
[UTILITY/MOBILITY] Offerings and Flame Dash
Flame Dash Flame Dash - your recommended mobility skill. Could possibly be replaced with Leap Slam, however, you won't benefit from the Faster Castin Support gem's effect
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support - grants extra casting speed to Flame dash(in other words faster movement), as well as to the Desecrate and Flesh Offering linked to it 
Flesh Offering Flesh Offering - grants amazing damage boost to your minions. Try to keep up at all times when dealing with tough monsters and Bosses
Desecrate Desecrate - will create corpses for your offering spells. Comes in handy during Boss fights

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5. Gear Setup

Let's get down to the most interesting part of this Crafty Guide. You will find the minimum stat requirements for each recommended. If you follow this guide it will cap your resistances and grant enough Life to start mapping efficiently. This is a budget-friendly build and most of the items should be easily obtainable. 

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Our recommended gear will always:

  1. Cap your Resistances
  2. Grant sufficient Life for mapping
  3. Give you more than enough damage to mid/high tier map farming
  4. Save you at least a couple of hours since it's already planned out for you!

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Maximum Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Minion Damage
  4. Mana/Intelligence
Bone Helmet(Helmet) Rare Life/res Bone Helmet - that grants great damage boost. We suggest saving up on the helmets triple resistances and just grab two of them here. We will cover it up with latter gear pieces
Min. requirements:
35% increased Minion Damage
80 maximum Life
25% Fire Resistance
25% Cold Resistance
Victario's Influence(Body Armour) Victario's Influence - will allow you to equip all the recommended Auras
3% reduced Movement Speed (Hidden)
+1 to Level of Socketed Aura Gems
Socketed Gems are Supported by level 30 Generosity
Socketed Gems have 30% reduced Mana Reservation
(120-150)% increased Evasion and Energy Shield
(20-40)% increased Area of Effect of Aura Skills
(10-15)% increased effect of Non-Curse Auras you Cast
Pledge of Hands(Weapon)  Pledge of Hands - this Staff will provide the highest Skeleton Mages DPS. However some builds might suggest using Queen's Decree in order to extend Skeleton's duration, allowing you to equip more To Dust jewels - this is also a good option. You might need to check up on your total Mana bonuses when swapping to Queen's Decree (you will be missing the 100% Increased Maximum mana from Pledge of Hands that way)
18% Chance to Block
Socketed Gems are Supported by level 30 Spell Echo
(120-160)% increased Spell Damage (irrelevant stat!)
100% increased maximum Mana
Leather Belt(Belt) Rare Belt - simply get one with the highest Life bonus you can afford
Min. requirements:
90 maximum Life
30% Fire Resistance
30% Cold Resistance
30% Lightning Resistance
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - preferably Int based in order to easily get three blue Sockets
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
30% Lightning Resistance
25% Chaos Resistance
25% increased Movement Speed
Boot enchantment:
Regenerate 2% of Life and Mana per second if you were Hit Recently
Rare gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves -  preferably Int-based in order to get the required socket colors
Min. requirements:
80 maximum Life
40 Dexterity
25% Fire Resistance
25% Lightning Resistance
Sidhebreath(Amulet) Sidhebreath
(20-30)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
+25% to Cold Resistance
0.2% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana
Minions have (10-15)% increased maximum Life
Minions have (10-15)% increased Movement Speed
(15-10)% reduced Mana Cost of Minion Skills
Minions deal (10-15)% increased Damage
Coral RingCoral Ring(Rings) Rare Rings - possibly with bonus max. Mana and Intelligence. Also having an empty prefix is recommended to craft the increased Minion Damage (Master Catarina)
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
40 maximum Mana
25% Fire Resistance
25% Lightning Resistance
20 Intelligence
Optional affixes:
increased Minion Damage (crafted)
Dead ReckoningDead Reckoning(Jewel) Dead Reckoning - a must have for this build. You need two of them to summon ten Skeleton Mages - otherwise, you will be missing a lot of DPS
Minions have +(7-10)% to all Elemental Resistances
With at least 40 Intelligence in Radius, Summon Skeleton can summon up to 5 Skeleton Mages
To Dust(Jewel) To Dust - optional Gem. You can socket as many of those as you feel comfortable with - they will grant amazing DPS buff to your minions, however, it will reduce Skeleton's duration
Minions deal (8-12)% increased Damage
(3-5)% increased Skeleton Movement Speed
(7-10)% increased Skeleton Attack Speed
(7-10)% increased Skeleton Cast Speed
(20-10)% reduced Skeleton Duration
Suggested Flasks:
  1. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Heat (immunity to Freeze and Chill)
  2. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching (immunity to Bleeding)
  3. Ample Basalt Flask of Iron Skin (increased Armour Rating)
  4. Chemist's Granite Flask of Curing (immunity to Poison)
  5. Experimenter's Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline(increased Movement Speed)
Divine Life FlaskDivine Life FlaskBasalt FlaskGranite FlaskQuicksilver Flask

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