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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 3.22

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Guide notes
May 26, 2021
-Build created
February 05, 2022
-Updated for Patch 3.17
May 20, 2022
-Updated for Patch 3.18
August 25, 2023
-Updated for Patch 3.22
Build overview



Boss DPS:



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 and Block Chance; 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 fights and against 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

  • 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
  • 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, but the best result wields Absolution. Use our Witch Leveling Guide using Minions, it fits this generic Minion build perfectly. You have to be level 12 to equip it, before that you can use any other Spell. You'll invest in Minion-related nodes in your tree from the start. Use Spirit Offering to increase Minions' Damage. Get the Dead Reckoning Jewel as soon as you can so you'll have more time to get used to this alternate playstyle and start using it after quipping Fleshcrafter - no sooner than level 59. 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.


Kill all three Bandits for two additional Skill Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

38 Points Skill Tree
Take Lord of The Dead and Enduring Bond. Go for Discipline and Training and the large Minion Cluster on the left.

73 Points Skill Tree
seek more Maximum Life, Elemental Damage, Mana Reservation Efficiency, and Minion Damage. allocate Masteries.

4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

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

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

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


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 Yugul: 50% chance to Reflect Hexes; You and your Minions take 50% reduced Reflected Damage


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Summon Skeletons setup
Summon Skeletons Spirit Summon Skeletons - You'll be constantly summoning Skeleton Mages. 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 Ailments upon enemies.
Greater Multiple Projectiles Support Greater Multiple Projectiles Support - Greatly improves clear speed. You can use Volley Volley instead.
Pierce Support Pierce Support - Projectiles will pierce enemies.
[UTILITY] Raise Zombie setup
Raise Zombie Raise Zombie - Zombies will act as 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's 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. Use Animate Guardian Animate Guardian if you can afford to equip him with powerful support items.
[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 that offers 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 or linked with Arcanist Brand)
Bone Offering Bone Offering - Combined with Mistress of Sacrifice this Offering increases Block Chance for Spells and Attacks for you and your Minions.
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 Ailments 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.
[UTILITY] Defiance Banner setup
Defiance Banner Defiance Banner - This banner will increase your Armour and Evasion Rating while reducing critical strike chance for nearby enemies.
Determination Determination - You can use it for more and increased Armour.

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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 more significant portion of your budget will go towards Rare gear, especially Wand and Helmet.

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. Gem Level of Minion Gems
  3. Elemental Resistances
  4. Minion Damage/Cast Speed
  5. Dexterity and Intelligence
  6. Block Chance
  7. Chaos Resistance
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, and 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
Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - Get the simplest pair of Boots with Maximum Life, Movement Speed, and Resistances.
Min. requirements:
30% increased Movement Speed
+70 to maximum Life
+70% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Chaos Resistance
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, 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
+1 to Maximum Number of Skeletons
Optional affixes:
+1 to Level of all Intelligence Skill Gems
Minions have 28% increased Movement Speed
Chaos Resistance
Ashes of the Stars(Amulet) Ashes of the Stars - it's a lot of value for its price, it's really hard to find a better Amulet - the Level and Quality of Gems are important.
+(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:
Ravenous Horde
Spiritual Command
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
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:
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.
Commissioned (2000-160000) coins to commemorate (Cadiro-Caspiro-Victario)
Passives in radius are Conquered by the Eternal Empire
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 inside a Cluster Jewel to completely disable its negative effect (or somewhere with no notables around).
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 with as few small nodes as it is possible 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.
+1500 to Armour
+(8-12)% Chance to Block Attack Damage during Flask effect
+(4-6)% 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
(30-15)% reduced 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. Alchemist's Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline
  2. Perpetual Quartz Flask with random ailment removal
  3. Life Flask with Bleeding immunity/removal
Rumi's ConcoctionLife FlaskBottled Faithquicksilver flaskquartz flask

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If you have any other build requests please leave them 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.

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