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Summon Skeleton Mages Necromancer Build

Summon Skeleton Mages Necromancer Build

A Necromancer build that summons Skeleton Mages instead of Skeleton Warriors with insane DPS and clear speed

Summon Skeleton Mages
Necromancer Build

Updated for Patch 3.15

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Guide notes
May 26, 2021
-Build created
May 27, 2021
-Added gameplay video|
August 19, 2021
-Updated for Patch 3.15

 

Summon Skeletons is a very popular Minion Skill Gem due to how versatile it is. For example, Skeletons can be turned into Skeleton Mages by putting Dead Reckoning Unique Cobalt Jewel in the right spot on your Skill Tree - and this is the gist of this guide. You'll be able to have up to 15 Skeleton Mages, but capable of summoning up to ten or eleven with the non-Vaal version of this Skill Gem. The difference between the default Skeleton Warriors and Mages is that Mages shoot projectiles at the enemies from a distance. Their Projectiles are of three types - Fire, Cold, and Lightning and they are randomly assigned, so you won't have much control over which of the Skeleton Mage you'll spawn, and what damage type he will be dealing.

It is mandatory to use the Vaal version of Summon Skeletons, the minions summoned by this gem won't be all Skeleton Mages but the sheer amount of them will overwhelm bosses. Combined with Life from Death Notable from Cluster Jewel it will also keep your other Skeletons alive as the ones in the front line die. The obvious advantage of Skeleton Mages is that they are ranged, not melee. It makes them more responsive to enemies, for they don't need to approach them. It's a standard Necromancer build, you pick some Minion nodes from a Skill Tree and you try to increase their life and damage. Your main layer of defense will be your Life pool, it's important to look for Maximum Life on your Skill Tree as well as Gear. Other Minions that will be used are Zombies, Spectres, and Skitterbots. 

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1. Gameplay

With a considerable defense in the form of a meat shield formed by your Specters and Zombies, you should be quite untouchable. Use Flame Dash for dodging and have a Guard Spell - Immortal Call to be cast automatically by linking it with Cast When Damage Taken. Your Maximum Life should be at least 5k. Roam the Maps by spawning Skeletons ahead of you. Zombies will attack opponents that will appear on your screen tearing any enemy that's able to come too close to you. For Boss fight and on encounters such as Breach or Legion, use Vaal Summon Skeletons. It quadruples the number of skeletons you normally have hurting enemies as well as increasing your performance. 


This video was recorded on a level 94 Necromancer on Standard League. The gear consisted of random Rares, Breathstealer, Fleshcrafter, and Alberon's Warpath. We ended up killing most of the Bosses without any issues - this character offers very high DPS while maintaining high defensive stats. Staying a bit further away and avoiding big Hits and AoE basically guarantees you stay alive


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2. Build's PROS & CONS

PROS
  • relaxing gameplay
  • inexpensive making it a good League Starter
  • no need for aiming as Minions do the job for you
  • great for mapping as well as Boss fights
  • can run any type of Maps
CONS
  • Minion builds can be costly if you want some high-end upgrades
  • all the Minions and their projectiles can obscure your screen so that for example you can get killed by Minotaur's Burrow if not careful

 

3. Leveling tips

You can comfortably complete the acts using your Summon Skeletons. You'll invest in Minion-related nodes in your tree from the start so that's an obvious choice. Get the Dead Reckoning Jewel as soon as you can so you'll have more time to get used to this alternate playstyle. There are Unique Items that will help you during the leveling process, most of them are listed below. In general, you shouldn't have any problems with leveling, it is not an elaborate build that requires switching skills or respeccing points.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Summon Skeletons setup
Summon Skeletons Summon Skeletons - it's not only your main skill in the later stages of the game, but it's also great for leveling
pierce Support Minion Life Support - The type of damage your Skeleton Mages are dealing is assigned with a Projectile tag, use this Gem so they can pierce enemies
multiple projectiles Support Lesser Multiple Projectiles Support - Skeleton Mages will shoot more Projectiles
Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support - your Skeletons will deal more damage
Curse setup
Elemental Weakness Elemental Weakness - it will lower enemies Elemental Resistances, all of them
Aura setup
Zealotry Zealotry - offensive aura for more Spell damage for your Minions
Generosity support Generosity Support - your Minions need that buff much more than you do

Bandits:

Kill all three Bandits for two additional Skill Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

30 Points Skill Tree
Take Lord of The Dead and Enduring Bond for more damage and then some Maximum Life

63 Points Skill Tree
Glancing Blows Keystone works well with Mystic Bulwark, take it and then some more Minion Damage and Maximum Life

 

Recommended leveling items:

SidhebreathSidhebreath - affordable Amulet that summoners like to wear during leveling
(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
Perandus SignetPerandus Signet - use it to get more experience and for additional Mana.
+(20-30) to maximum Mana
+(25-30) to maximum Mana
(45-65)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
2% increased Experience gain
2% increased Intelligence for each Unique Item Equipped
3% additional chance for Slain monsters to drop Scrolls of Wisdom
SkullheadSkullhead - good Helmet for Summoners, it increases your Minions survivability and gives you some defensive bonuses as well
(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
Tabula RasaTabula Rasa - there is no better leveling Body Armour for this and many other builds
Item has no level requirement and Energy Shield (Hidden)
Item has 6 White Sockets and is fully linked (Hidden)


4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

117 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. Bone Barrier
  3. Commander of Darkness
  4. Unnatural Strenght

Pantheon:

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 Garukhan: +5% chance to Evade Attack Hits if you've taken a Savage Hit Recently

 

5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Summon Skeletons setup
Summon Skeletons Spirit Summon Skeletons - You'll be constantly summoning Skeleton Mages. You don't want to link it with Feeding Frenzy, Skeleton Mages can't dash. Use Support Gems for Minion Damage, Spells, and Projectile enchantments
Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support - The Best Support Gem to increase Minion Damage
Spell Echo Support Spell Echo Support - with one cast it will be possible to summon 8 Skeletons
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - Elemental Focus for more Elemental Damage of your Minions. You are going to Use Skitterbots to inflict Elemental Alignments upon enemies
Greater Multiple Projectiles Support Greater Multiple Projectiles Support - greatly improves clear speed
Pierce Support Pierce Support - Projectiles will pierce enemies
[UTILITY] Raise Zombie setup
Raise Zombie Raise Zombie - Zombies will act as a protection against enemies that will try to approach you
Minion Life Support Minion Life Support - makes the Zombies more reliable and durable
Feeding Frenzy Support Feeding Frenzy Support - it makes you Zombies aggressive - they'll seek enemies to kill. It also gives you a small buff that empowers your Minions
Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support - Use it to increase damage dealt by Zombies
[UTILITY] Raise Spectre setup
Raise Spectre Raise Spectre - Find yourself a Spectre that suits you. Thanks to Meat Shield Support, your Spectres will stay close to you so I recommend picking ones with Proximity Shield from act 3
Meat Shield Support Meat Shield Support - makes your Spectres act defensively, making them sturdier, faster, and able to Taunt enemies
Elemental Army Support Elemental Army Support - Minions lower the enemy Elemental Resistance, applying Exposure on Hit, it also raises Elemental Resistance of the Spectres
Lifetap Support Lifetap Support - your skill will cost Life instead of Mana
[MOBILITY] Flame Dash and Immortal Call setup
Flame Dash Flame Dash - recommended mobility spell, it's instant and you can use it three times in a rapid succession
Immortal Call Immortal Call - Guard Spell offering a huge reduction to the damage you take for a very short time, keep it at level 3
Cast When Damage Taken  Cast When Damage Taken - keep it at level 1, so it will trigger your Immortal Call after you take only 528 damage
[UTILITY] Bone offering, Desecrate and Sniper's Mark setup
(in "Trigger" Wand)
Flesh Offering Flesh Offering - improves your minions Attack, Movement, and most importantly, Cast Speed. All the Gems in this setup should be triggered automatically by a Crafted Wand with 8-second cooldown
Desecrate Desecrate - Summons corpses. It's useful in long boss fights where you lack dead bodies to raise Zombies and use Flesh Offering
Sniper's Mark Sniper's Mark - Curses enemy with Sniper's Mark - Projectiles are more potent against Cursed enemies
[UTILITY] Aura and Minion setup
Summon Skitterbots Summon Skitterbots - Use Skitterbots to inflict Elemental Alignments upon enemies - Chill and Shock
Zealotry Zealotry - Huge bonus to your Minion's Spell Damage and Spell Critical Strike Chance
Generosity Support Generosity Support - Your Zealotry Aura will affect only your Minions with increased effectiveness, but you will gain nothing from it
Enlighten Support Enlighten Support - Reduces the amount of Mana Reserved by linked Spells


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6. Gear Setup

Your Weapon, Shield, Helmet, and Jewellery will consist of Rare Items. You'll need to seek as much Life, Elemental Resistances, Minion Damage, and Attributes as you can. Sniper's Mark and Projectile Support Gems will require a decent investment in Dexterity and Your Convoking Want will require a lot of Intelligence to wield. Mandatory Uniques are not that expensive, the bigger portion of your budget will go towards Rare gear, especially Wand.

Our recommended items will:

  1. Cap your resistances at 75%
  2. Provide you with enough DPS and Life to start mapping

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Maximum Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Minion Damage
  4. Dexterity and Intelligence
rare helmet(Helmet) Rare Bone Helmet - You'll put your Spectres setup here, that's why you don't want to link it with Minion Life - you can find it in Rare Helmet as an Elder Prefix. Find +3 to Level of Socketed Minion Gems as well, however, it might make it quite expensive

Min. requirements:
+3 to Level of Socketed Minion Gems
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 20 Minion Life
+50 to Maximum Life
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Chance to Block Spell Damage
Chaos Resistance

Helmet enchantments:
Skeletons deal 40% increased Damage
Raised Zombies deal 40% increased Damage
wand(Weapon) Rare Wand - Use Wand with +1 to Level of all Minion Skill Gems - it would be an understatement to say it's useful - it's mandatory. Look for other offensive mods such as Minion Damage and Minion Cast Speed. Craft automatic triggering of Spells, use it for Offering, Curses, and corpse spawning
Min. requirements:
+1 to Level of all Minion Skill Gems
Minions deal 50% increased Damage
Trigger a Socketed Spell when you Use a Skill, with a 8 second Cooldown (crafted)
Optional affixes:
+1 to Level of all Spell Skill Gems
Minions have 15% increased Attack Speed
Minions have 15% increased Cast Speed
Quiver(Shield) Rare Shield - With Glancing Blows you have a high Block Chance, look for Life Recovery on Block and additional Chance to Block. Try to find a Shield with a lot of Life and Elemental Resistances
Min. requirements:
+100 to maximum Life
+100% to Elemental Resistances
Recover 5% of Life when you Block
Optional affixes:
Chance to Block
#% increased maximum Life
increased Effect of your Curses
additional Physical Damage Reduction
Fleshcrafter(Body Armour) Fleshcrafter - Your Minions will convert a small percentage of their Maximum Life into Energy Shield, which will block Chaos Damage as well. While the ES will remain, their Hits will ignore the Elemental Resistance of your opponents increasing the damage by a lot
(100-150)% increased Energy Shield
Minions Convert 2% of their Maximum Life to Maximum Energy
Shield per 1% Chaos Resistance they have
Chaos Damage does not bypass Minions' Energy Shield
Minions have (50-100)% faster start of Energy Shield Recharge
While Minions have Energy Shield, their Hits Ignore Monster Elemental Resistances
Alberon's Warpath(Boots) Alberon's Warpath - use Alberon's Warpath for extra maximum Skeleton. These boots offer somewhat decent defenses and Movement Speed as well
Adds 1 to 80 Chaos Damage to Attacks
+(180-220) to Armour
+(9-12)% to Chaos Resistance
20% increased Movement Speed
+1 to maximum number of Skeletons
(15-18)% increased Strength
Breathstealer(Gloves) Breathstealer - Blighted Spores offers you and your Minions a random Aura for 10 seconds. There are a lot of beneficial Auras your Skeleton Mages can get, for they use all the Elemental Damage types, Spells and Projectiles. Additionally, this pair of Gloves can be anointed
(100-150)% increased Armour and Evasion
+(30-50) to maximum Mana
+(10-16)% to all Elemental Resistances
(5-10)% increased Attack and Cast Speed
Create a Blighted Spore when your Skills or Minions Kill a Rare Monster
Stygian Vise(Belt) Stygian Vise - Stygian Vise is the best choice for a belt when no Unique seems to fit. Look for Maximum Life, Resistances, and Minion Maximum Life. Hunter's influence allows you for even more Maximum Life
Min. requirements:
+70 to Maximum Life
+50% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
#% increased maximum Life
Minions have #% increased maximum Life
Chaos Resistance
Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - Use a base that grants you Dex or Int, or both. An Elder Prefix that allows you to have more Skeletons is highly desirable, besides that look for Maximum Life and Elemental Resistances
Min. requirements:
+70 to Maximum Life
+40% to Elemental Resistances
Attributes
+1 to Maximum Number of Skeletons
Optional affixes:
+1 to Level of all Intelligence Skill Gems
Minions have 28% increased Movement Speed
Chaos Resistance
Recommended Anointments:
Ravenous Horde
Ring(Ring) Rare Ring - Rings are the best slots to look for Attributes, you'll lack Dex and Int so try to get some here. Maximum Life and Elemental Resistances are still important, get as much of them as you're able to afford
Min. requirements:
+60 to Maximum Life
+50 to Dexterity and intelligence
+30% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
+#% to Chaos Resistance
Minions have #% increased Movement Speed
Minions deal #% increased Damage
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - They should provide extra Life, Elemental Resistances, Minon Damage, and Attributes. Look for immunity against Corrupted Blood on Corrupted Jewels
Min. requirements:
7% increased Maximum Life
Optional affixes:
Minions deal 15% increased Damage
Elemental Resistances
Minion's Attack and Cast Speed
Attributes
Abyss Jewel(Jewel) Abyss Jewels - Exact same case as with other Rare Jewels focus on Life, Resistances, and Attributes. Minions deal #% increased Damage if you've used a Minion Skill Recently is a highly recommended mod
Min. requirements:
+30 to Maximum Life
Minions deal #% increased Damage if you've used a Minion Skill Recently
Optional affixes:
Attributes
Elemental Resistances
Dead Reckoning(Jewel) Dead Reckoning - the core item in this build, it allows you to summon Skeleton Mages instead of the regular Skeletons
Minions have +(7-10)% to all Elemental Resistances
With at least 40 Intelligence in Radius, Summon Skeletons can Summon up to 15 Skeleton Mages
elegant hubris(Jewel) Elegant Hubris - You're not interested in any Keystone from that Timeless Jewel, you want a good roll on it - one that gives you "Slum Lord" notable - Minions deal 80% increased Damage. You can get more than one of them so try different jewel sockets. To find one is a hard task - you can't exactly look at a seed of an Elegant Hubris and tell which notables are changed to Slum Lord, moreover, there are no tools for it so far. You can buy them in bulk or find a community-based initiative specialized in such trades
Commissioned (2000-160000) coins to commemorate (Cadiro-Caspiro-Victario)
Passives in radius are Conquered by the Eternal Empire
Historic
Fortress Covenant(Jewel) Fortress Covenant - Noticeable damage bonus for your Minions at a small cost of making them take more damage for each Notable Passive Skill in Radius. Put it somewhere on your Passive Skill Tree where this negative side effect won't affect you too much
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
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Large Cluster Jewels - Minion Damage type Large Jewels witch as little small nodes are what you're looking for. Get at least two of the recommended affixes, prioritizing Renewal
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Renewal
1 Added Passive Skill is Call to the Slaughter
1 Added Passive Skill is Raze and Pillage
Medium Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Medium Cluster Jewels - once more, Renewal is the most important Notable. Life from Death will help you and your Minions to stay alive while Dread March will increase their defenses - that includes Chaos Resistance, which means more Energy Shield for your Minions
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Dread March
1 Added Passive Skill is Life from Death
1 Added Passive Skill is Renewal
 Rumi's Concoction(Flask) Rumi's Concoction - one of the best defensive flasks in the game, it increases your Armour and protects you from Hits
+3000 to Armour
+(14-20)% Chance to Block Attack Damage during Flask effect
+(6-10)% Chance to Block Spell Damage during Flask effect
Bottled Faith(Flask) Bottled Faith - use Bottled Faith for more Critical Strike Chance, More DPS, and Life Regeneration, it's an expensive Flask but it is worth its price
40% increased Damage
Creates Consecrated Ground on Use
(30-50)% increased Duration
Consecrated Ground created by this Flask has Tripled Radius
+(1-2)% to Critical Strike Chance against Enemies on Consecrated Ground during Effect
Consecrated Ground created during Effect applies (7-10)% increased Damage taken to Enemies
Blood of the Karui(Flask) Blood of the Karui - With a high Block Chance and Maximum Life around 5 to  6k it becomes a decent option for a Life Flask. It recovers a lot of Life but if you're afraid of being one-shotted, take Seething or Panicked Life Flask.
100% increased Life Recovered
(5-20)% increased Recovery rate
Recover Full Life at the end of the Flask Effect

Other suggested Flasks:

  1. Alchemist's Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline (increased Mobility)
  2. Perpetual Quartz Flask of Warding (Immune to Curses)
Rumi's ConcoctionBlood of the KaruiBottled Faithquicksilver flaskquartz 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.

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