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Zombies/Skeletons Necromancer Summoner Build

Zombies/Skeletons Necromancer Summoner Build

One of the most powerful and budget-friendly Summoner builds in Path of Exile

Summoner build

Updated for Patch 3.10

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Guide notes
March 24, 2020
-Updated for Patch 3.10


Patch 3.8 introduces major changes to Minion-related Skill Gems, Necromancer's Ascendancy class, and the entire Summoner build archetype gets a major rework. The major flaw of all Zombie/Skeleton builds lied in the Minions clunky behavior and how inconsistent their DPS is, lowering your clear speed and Boss farming potential. Removing those downsides were one of the main parts of Patch 3.8, putting this build in the highest Tier of builds. At the same time, this build requires no specific Uniques, making it a perfect pick for a Starter build as well. 

You can also check our other Path of Exile builds in this article: Best PoE Builds by Odealo


1. Gameplay

This is a typical Summoner type of build that relies on your Minions to deal insane amounts of damage and protect you from threats. Summon Skeleton Spell is used to summon Skeleton Warriors which deal massive Melee Damage, and by using Feeding Frenzy Support Gem, we make them more aggressive, which increased the radius at which they detect enemies and your overall clear speed. On the other hand, Zombies are used as Meat Shields, which linked to a Support Gem that shares the same name, makes their behavior Defensive and causes them to prioritize enemies near you, with a chance to Taun them on Hit. To further increase our defenses we rely on high Life pool, Mind over Matter Passive, and Plaguebringer Passive. This build also offers quite high Physical Damage mitigation for a Witch character

0:07 Tier 16 Maze of the Minotaur
0:51 Tier 16 Lair of the Hydra
1:17 Tier 15 Sepulchre
2:01 Tier 15 Coves
2:35 Tier 15 Estuary

This video was recorded on a level 92 Necromancer on Standard Softcore in Patch 3.9

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • very cost-effective with Millions of DPS at a very low budget
  • easy to level up with Minions doing the job for you
  • very high DPS with an insane burst when you cast Vaal Summon Skeletons Spell
  • great survivability based on multiple defensive layers
  • can do any Map Mod
  • Summon Items in Blight League will be very expensive


3. Leveling tips

The entire leveling as a Summoner is a piece of cake. This build relies on Skill Gems and Passives for the damage, so you shouldn't have any problems progressing through the campaign regardless of your equipment. Initially, this build may feel slow, so we suggest using Summon Raging Spirit initially, and switch to Summon Skeletons when you start mapping. Below you will find the recommended Gem setups for the leveling phase, and low-level Unique Items that are cheap and extremely useful on lower levels. 

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Raise Zombie
Raise Zombies Raise Zombie - you will get this Gem right after you finish the first Quest and enter Lioneye's Watch. Zombies are used to tank monsters right from the start and deal a moderate amount of damage
Minion Life Support Minion Life Support - core Support Gem for Zombie Minions
Fortify Support Fortify Support - increases your Zombie's defenses, as well as grants them a powerful defensive buff
Summon Raging Spirit setup
Summon Raging Spirit Summon Raging Spirit - your primary DPS during the leveling phase. They seem to do better at lower levels in terms of clear speed when compared to Summon Skeletons
Melee Splash Support Melee Splash Support - a mandatory Gem for leveling fast when using Raging Spirits
Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support - grants more Minion Damage to your Raging Spirits


We recommend killing all the Bandits for two additional Passive Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

37 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Lord of the Dead 2) Enduring Bond 3) Quick Recovery 4) Spiritual Command 5) Death Attunement

61 Points Passive Tree
Priorities: 1) Redemption - Spiritual Aid - Righteous Army 2) Gravepact 3) Purity of Flesh

Recommended leveling items:

Sidhebreath Sidhebreath - the single best leveling Item for this Summoner build. It grants very high Minion Damage and Movement Speed bonuses and helps you greatly with Mana Management on lower levels
(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
PraxisPraxis - if you are having problems with your Mana when spamming SRS you should consider getting this Ring. It greatly reduces Mana Cost of Spells and increases your Mana and Mana Regeneration Rate
+(20-25) to maximum Mana
+(30-60) to maximum Mana
(3-6) Mana Regenerated per second
-(8-4) to Mana Cost of Skills
8% of Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit
Reverberation RodReverberation Rod - a very decent low-level pick for the weapon slot. It gives your SRS setup a level 1 Spell Echo which causes more Spirits to be summoned with each cast
(15-19)% increased Spell Damage
+1 to Level of Socketed Gems
Socketed Gems are Supported by level 1 Spell Echo
+(10-30) to Intelligence
Victario's FlightVictario's Flight - grants very high Movement Speed bonus both to you and your Minions
+15 to Dexterity
+15 to Intelligence
(100-150)% increased Evasion Rating
5% increased Movement Speed
(5-10)% of Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit
10% increased Movement Speed
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
116 Points Path of Building(PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Mindless Aggression
  2. Unnatural Strength
  3. Plaguebringer
  4. Bone Barrier


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] Vaal Summon Skeletons
Vaal Summon Skeletons Vaal Summon Skeletons - allows you to summon Skeletal Warriors for a duration which are your primary source of DPS. The Vaal part of the skill should be used for extra burst against Bosses
Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support - increases your Minions DPS greatly
Feeding Frenzy Support Feeding Frenzy Support - increases your Minions DPS and makes them more aggressive which increases your clear speed even further
Fortify Support Fortify Support -  grants a high DPS bonus to your Skeletons. In our setup, this Gem appeared to give the best results, though you may do better with Maim or Awakened Multistrike
Melee Splash Support Melee Splash Support - grants a splash effect to your Skeleton's Melee Attacks
Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support - increases your Skeleton's Melee DPS
[UTILITY] Raise Zombie
Raise Zombie Raise Zombie - used as Meat Shields to soak up damage and taunt enemies that get close to you
Minion Life Minion Life Support - increases your Zombie's Life
Fortify Support Fortify Support - increases your Zombie's damage and grants them a powerful defensive buff
Meat Shield Support Meat Shield Support - makes your Zombies defensive and reduces their damage taken
Optional Gems:
Feeding Frenzy Support Feeding Frenzy Support - you can replace Meat Shield if you have over 1,000 Strength so that your Zombies are more "active" in fights and Leech more Life for your character
[UTILITY] Flesh Offering and Flame Dash
Flesh Offering Flesh Offering - increases your Minions Attack, Movement, and Cast Speed
Flame Dash Flame Dash - recommended Movement Spell which increases your mobility
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
[UTILITY] Convocation and Desecrate
Convocation Convocation - recommended Mobility Spell used in this build. Each cast will also trigger Arcane Surge
Desecrate Desecrate - creates a pile of Corpses which you can use for Flesh Offering and to summon Zombies
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
[CURSE] Punishment
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken - used to automatically cast the linked Curse whenever you take a certain amount of damage. Use a level 10 CwDT Gem
Punishment Punishment - the recommended Curse for this build which grants your Minions greatly increased Physical Melee Damage and Attack Speed
[UTILTY] Immortal Call/Carrion Golem
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - will cast supported Spells when a certain amount of damage is taken by your character
Immortal Call Immortal Call - reduces your Physical and Elemental Damage taken for a short duration
Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support
Carrion Golem Summon Carrion Golem - grants your Minions added flat Physical Damage making it the best Golem for a Summoner character
[UTILITY] Hatred
Hatred Hatred - the recommended Aura for this build which grants additional Cold Damage to all your Minions. You should Support it with Generosity for increased effect
Generosity Support Generosity Support - increases the effect of supported Auras, but makes it apply only to your Allies/Minions and not your character
[UTILITY] Aspect of the Avian
Aspect of the Avian Aspect of the Avian - grants very high Movement Speed and DPS bonuses to your Minions. You need to have it beastcrafted on one part of your rare equipment and it requires you to wear the Saqawal's Nest Unique Body Armour

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5. Gear Setup

Below you will find the recommended gear for this Zombie/Skeleton Summon build. As mentioned earlier, it can be played with any rare gear, so you can replace any Unique item listed with pretty much anything you want. 

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Our recommended items will:

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

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Strength
  4. Cast Speed
  5. Mana/Mana Regeneration Rate
The Baron(Helmet) The Baron - mandatory Helmet for this setup. This build will work without it, though our Skill Tree is heavily oriented on using Baron to maximize your Minions' DPS and grant us extra Leech from Zombies
+2 to Level of Socketed Minion Gems
+(20-40) to Strength
Minions have 20% increased maximum Life
Half of your Strength is added to your Minions
+1 to maximum number of Raised Zombies per 300 Strength
With at least 1000 Strength, 2% of Damage dealt by your Raised Zombies is Leeched to you as Life
Helmet enchantments:
Flesh Offering grants an additional 21% increased Attack Speed
Skeletons deal 40% increased Damage
Saqawal's Nest(Body Armour) Saqawal's Nest - works great with the Baron as it grants the highest possible Strenght on the Body Armour slot. It also allows us to use Aspect of the Avian for various bonuses to our Minions
+(25-75) to all Attributes
+(30-40)% to Lightning Resistance
(10-6)% reduced Mana Reserved
100% increased Aspect of the Avian Buff Effect
Aspect of the Avian also grants Avian's Might and Avian's Flight to nearby Allies
+(120-150) to Evasion Rating and Energy Shield
Rare Body Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - preferably an Elder base with level #1 Maim Support and increase to the level of Support Gems. This can be the BiS item for your Summon Skeletons, but at the same time, it can cost quite a bit
Min. requirements:
85 maximum Life
40 Strength
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
+1 to Level of Socketed Support Gems
Convoking Wand(Weapon) Convoking Wand - the new Wand type introduced in the Blight League which can have new Minion-related modifiers. Should be dual-wielded for the best performance
Min. requirements:
Cast Speed
+1 to Level of All Minion Skill Gems
Minions deal increased damage
Optional affixes:
Minions have #% increased Movement Speed
Alberon's Warpath(Boots) Alberon's Warpath - grants the highest possible Strenght bonus, making it much easier to reach 1000 Strength for extra Leech (and 1200 for the extra Zombie)
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
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - preferably Elder base with the extra Fortify Support for your Raise Zombie setup
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
25% increased Movement Speed
35 Strength
70% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Socketed Gems are supported by level # Fortify
Boot enchantment:
Regenerate 2% of Life and Mana per second if you were Hit Recently
18% reduced Mana Cost of Skills if you've been Hit Recently
Stygian Vise(Belt) Rare Belt - preferably Stygian Vise for the extra Abyssal Socket. You can also use Studded Belt for maximum Strenght bonus
Min. requirements:
80 maximum Life
70% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Armour Rating
Chaos Resistance
Rare Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - with the highest possible Strenght bonus
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
60 Strength
Allocates Ravenous Horde/Death Attunement
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Mana/Mana Regeneration Rate
Rare Ring(Rings) Rare Rings - with high Life, Strength, and Elemental Resistances bonus. 
Min. requirements:
65 maximum Life
45 Strength
85% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Grants Level 20 Aspect of the Avian Skill
Rare Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - mainly for defensive stats
Min. requirements:
80 maximum Life
40 Strength
80% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Grants Level 20 Aspect of the Avian Skill
Glove enchantment:
Commandment of Frost
Efficient TrainingEfficient Training - socketed right above Witch's Starting point, it will grant over 110 Strength bonus
+(16-24) to Strength
Intelligence from Passives in Radius is Transformed to Strength
Ghastly Eye Jewel(Jewels) Rare Abyss Jewels - since Skeletons gain 50% more added Damage, I would recommend getting Abyssal Jewels over the regular ones
Recommended affixes:
maximum Life
Minions deal additional Physical Damage
Optional affixes:
increased Minion Damage if you have used a Minion Skill recently
Rumi's Concoction(Flask) Rumi's Concoction - grants bonus Armour Rating and Block/Spell Block chance, giving you extra defenses and Mana Regeneration Rate thanks to the Mystic Bulwark Passive
+3000 to Armour
+(14-20)% Chance to Block Attack Damage during Flask effect
+(6-10)% Chance to Block Spell Damage during Flask effect
Suggested Flasks:
  1. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching (Bleeding immunity)
  2. Experimenter's Silver of Heat (Freeze and Chill immunity)
  3. Experimenter's Basalt Flask of Warding (Curse immunity)
  4. Ample Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline (increased Movement Speed)
Rumi's ConcoctionDivine Life FlaskSilver FlaskGranite Flask Quicksilver Flask

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