3.11 ❆ iLL3aT’s Cold Skeletons ❆ League Starter to Endgame ❆ 100m+ Crit variant ❆ All Content

3.11 Updates incoming - Very few changes from 3.10, so it's ready for the Harvest League, even when updates are not ready yet!


Skeleton builds have always been great characters for beginners to learn the game, as well as for veterans who want an efficient league starter and/or a strong build that can clear all content.

For beginners, skeletons offer a simple playstyle with few gear requirements and incremental upgrades that you can feel the impact of. It is also great to learn boss mechanics on, since you can focus on dodging while your minions do the work. A skeleton focused build can bring you to the endgame (Shaper and Sirus) at a cost of around two exalted orbs worth of currency. A few players have killed their first awakener ever using this build!

For veterans, skeletons are a cheap league starter that is also able to tackle everything in Path of Exile. With enough investment, DPS can go over 100 million from skeletons alone. Awakening level 8 mapping is smooth and safe, featuring over 6,000 life, 1,200 ES, fortify, blind, five defensive flasks, chaos resistance, among other defensive layers. It is capable of killing all end game bosses, mapping in tier 19 or 100% delirious maps, deathless 20 wave Simulacrums, and delving beyond 1,000. The build format is very versatile with many chances to personalize your own version of it!

Big build update in progress. Post 1 is almost done, but post 2 still needs a lot of work.

High Level Table of Contents

1. How to read this guide
2. Build Overview
3. Videos
4. About the author
5. Pros and Cons
6. Path of Building and Passive Tree
7. Bandits, Ascendency, Pantheon, and Leveling
8. Gear
-------Post #2------
9. Gems
10. Spectres, Animate Guardian, and discussion on other minions
11. How to play the build
12. Advanced Mechanics
13. Boss, Delve, T19 Guides
14. Other setups worth considering
15. MTX Guide
16. F.A.Q.s
17. Update Log
18. Credits

1. How to read this guide

The guide is split into sections, and then further into subsections (the bracketed numbers) – this is to help in navigation if a section points you to another. I would recommend reading through the guide rather than look just at the Path of Building (“PoB”), since some of my choices may seem odd without explanation.

For beginners, I recommend starting with the PoB in 6(2), and then going through the gear and gems sections before reading through the whole guide. For everyone else, the guide is structured in what I believe is a good order to read through. Some sections may also be marked as “Advanced,” and can be skipped by those just starting the game or do not care too much about in depth mechanics, but may enhance your knowledge of PoE, even if you are not playing skeletons. There is a lot of math in the guide since that is how my brain works, but if you don’t care about the reasoning, just skip that part.

2. Build overview

This build is based upon using the unique Triad Grips gloves to fully convert the physical damage from the summon skeleton skill to cold. This allows for full abuse of the hatred aura by taking advantage of both parts of it, making for some absurd scaling that other variants of skeleton summoners or cold conversion attack/spell builds do not have access to. While there are many minions, the main damage dealers will be the summoned skeletons.

Defensively, it is a minion build which means there are many bodies taking hits meant for us. Since there is only one required unique, it is easy to add lots of life through rare gear, much of it can be self-crafted. I would describe this build as more of an active minion playstyle compared to a normal skeleton, spectre, or zombie build due to having to summon skeletons, apply elemental equilibrium (“EE”), and optionally utilize other ways to increase damage.

3. Videos

3.10 Videos
Early League Shaper
Early League A8 Sirus
Early League Simulacrum, Waves 19 & 20
Cortex (Crit variant build)

3.9 Videos – recorded when DPS was at about 80M.
Uber Elder in 1:35
640 Aul, the Crystal King with 100% increased AOE

Juiced T19 Map – no sound

4. About the Author

I have been around since the Abyss League, typically getting 24-36 challenges done per league, killing my first Shaper in Bestiary and my first Uber Elder in Incursion. I finished all forty challenges including 75 Sirus kills in Metamorph with this build, and will have 40 again in Delirium after some more grinding. I have played a variety of summoners, including two golem characters and a totem build. I played a modified version of Viperesque’s Pure phys skeletons & friends necromancer in 3.8, built this cold variant in 3.9, and further improved it in 3.10

I am more than happy to help out with questions but would prefer if you post a reply in this thread rather than DMing me or whispering me in game. If this build has helped you kill an endgame boss or achieved something new for you, I would love to hear it!

5. Pros and Cons

(1) Pros
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-League starter
-Versatile – phys or elemental? Other minion types?
-High DPS on a low budget but able to scale well with currency
-Sirus and Shaper kills on a 2-3 ex budget
-Tanky – 7.5k+ EHP, plus other defensive layers
-Freeze map bosses and monsters alike for additional safety
-Full mobility while maintaining maximum DPS

(2) Cons
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-It is hard to see the boss and your character on certain boss fights with so many minions.
-Zombies, carrion golem, and Animate Guardian do not stay summoned upon re-log.
-Delve gets hard past 800. It does have a hard cap at some point due to being life based.
-Zombies growl in 3.10 and it’s annoying.
-If this build gets too overpowered, GGG will nerf cyclone.

6. Path of Building & Passive Tree

(1) Guide to Using Path of Building (Beginner)
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If you have not done so already, download Openarl’s Path of Building from the link below:
This is what allows for you to view my passive tree, and to calculate DPS, survivability, etc.

You will also need LocalIdentity’s fork version. This adds some more functionality into PoB such as correctly calculating multistrike DPS, impale DPS, etc. It is being updated by the community and adds more features and thus is a better tool than just the vanilla PoB. See below:

Install Path of Building and update to the newest version.
-Click “New” at the top middle to open a new build
-Click “Import/Export Build” at the top left
-Click “Import from Pastebin…” under “Build Sharing”
-Paste the Pastebin URL (see subsection 6(2) for the current pastebin) where prompted, and click “Import”
-Under “Build Sharing,” click “Import” once more

(2) Pastebin #1 – League Starter to Endgame (Recommended)
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PoB: https://pastebin.com/mP1hBuh5

This version of the build can be played by anyone, is a strong league starter, and is able to get very far into the endgame. I have revamped it so that instead of focusing on max DPS, it is easier for everyone to understand and play.

Leveling trees are found in the leveling section.

Notes: Read these with the Pastebin, otherwise it may not make sense!
  • DPS is about 23M without including host and carnage chieftains. With those added on, it is about 42M.
  • Thread of hope: see subsection – 8(7)
  • Level 94 Tree – should be achievable for most players.
  • I use a Doryani’s Glorious Vanity in the jewel node to the right of the scion start area. That is why Pain Attunement is allocated – the jewel changes that to Corrupted Soul – gaining the player 20% of maximum life as extra energy shield. The travel nodes leading to this also get “corrupted.” The modifications to the jewel are specific to my jewel – losing the travel intelligence and dexterity to gain the Vaal modifiers. Almost no two jewels are the same, so your experience may vary – more in 8(7).
  • There is no animate guardian functionality in PoB yet – his stats are added to my Basalt Flask. Disable this flask to see stats without an AG.
  • Grave Intentions is purely for Animate Guardian. If you are not running an AG with a Mask of the Stitched demon, the points could be better used elsewhere.
  • Enemy Cold Resist -10 is from elemental army support.
  • We path to soul of steel for Vaal molten shell purposes – this adds a lot of survivability.
  • The weaker minion nodes have been replaced with one large cluster jewel and two medium cluster jewels – these are super efficient in terms of damage/point. More in 8(9).
  • Blessed Rebirth + leech on a ghastly eye jewel will keep skeletons at 100% life
  • The scion life wheel is available if you would rather spec into more life than damage.
  • Intelligence – the PoB is missing about 30 – if you cannot get it from gear, path to “Ancestral Knowledge”

(3) Pastebin #2 – 100 million DPS Crit Variant (Requirements: Level 95 & 50+ exalts)
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Pastebin: https://pastebin.com/jRagxYji

Do not run this variant unless you meet the requirements listed above. You will need sufficient currency for jewels alone, and for good stats on gear to have enough life and resistances.

This hypothetical tree and gear is the results of my experimentation to see if we could get back the damage we lost between 3.9 and 3.10 through cluster jewels (See 8(9). The end result is: 13.1M per skeleton x 12 skeletons with frenzy and power charges checked. 3.98M per skeleton x 12 skeletons with frenzy and power charges checked. This is made up of a combination of my 3.9 gear and 3.10: It is more of a glass cannon but still has 6.5k life, 1.7k ES, fortify, blind, chill and freeze for maps.

Notes – Read through the League Starter to Endgame notes first:
  • Level 98 Tree. Lose some life if at a lower level.
  • Very rough pricelist: Wands: 30 ex each, helmet, 10 ex, body: 5 ex, large clusters: 5 ex each, mediums, 100c, all awakened gems: 60 ex, belt (with res as you need it): 30 ex, bottled faith: 20 ex, AG, 5 ex, boots: 5 ex, amulet: 20 ex. Cheaper items can be substituted but you will be out 15 ex on jewels alone.
  • All the gear is realistic and not one of a kind in the league
  • Steelskin in an unset ring is the chosen guard skill here since there is no armor stacking for vaal molten shell – Vaal molten shell can be used if bottled faith is dropped and a granite flask substituted.
  • Host and Carnage Chieftain charges are not up all of the time, so keep in mind that DPS could be lower.
  • Frostbite is in the trigger wand, but I assumed that it missed - I did not check it off for this calculation but it could push DPS past 150M. Alternatively, get frostbite on a ring.
  • Avatar of fire is to get both exposure and EE from frost bomb.
  • Note that this version is min-maxed and is thus harder to play than the one listed in 6(2). More in the how to play this build section, 11.

(4) Pastebin Legacy Trees – For reference only
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3.9 Final Tree: https://pastebin.com/j63vBAcQ - 150M DPS in 3.9
Proposed 3.10 Tree by sKillmaTic: https://pastebin.com/y8wfVCEP

7. Bandits, Ascendency, Pantheon, and Leveling

(1) Bandits
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Kill them all – especially with cluster jewels, we need the skill points.

(2) Ascendency
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After the normal labyrinth, choose necromancer, and the following notables in this order:

Mindless Aggression – Gives offensive stats and opens up two more nodes.

Unnatural Strength – Scaling minion levels is super important. Essentially it’s about 20% more damage and 20% more minion life.

Commander of Darkness – Helps with capping resists, and adding some damage. Not amazing, but solid.

Mistress of Sacrifice - I have this fourth since the Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill craft is not available early league and manually casting desecrate and an offering is not fun. Provides increased duration for skills such as phase run, bone barrier, vaal molten shell, as well as movement speed for you.

Optional: Commander of Darkness can potentially be replaced once resistances are sorted out.
Bone Barrier – Previously the merciless lab option, the removal of the 30% increased elemental resistances hurt this node a lot. It is still good, providing a good guard skill, 20% more minion life, increased healing, and 10% physical damage reduction. This is still a good defensive option.

Plaguebringer - For maximum DPS, Plaguebringer (10% more damage) with 10% reduced damage taken for survivability. The issue is that you need a corpse nearby, meaning for bosses, you would have to manually cast desecrate. Probably only viable for the triple offering option.

(3) Pantheon
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Major god:
General play: Lunaris for the movement speed, physical damage reduction, and not taking damage from chains
Bosses (Optional): Solaris for more defenses against one enemy
Sirus only: Arakali for the 25% chaos DOT resistance if chaos resistance is not capped.

Minor god:
General play: Shakari for reduced chaos damage taken and immunity to poison
Uber Elder: Yugul for reduced cold damage taken
Burning ground delves: Abberath for immunity to burning ground

(4) Leveling
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I personally like the leveling guides on this website: https://www.poe-vault.com/guides/quick-reference-leveling-guide-for-path-of-exile
List of all skill points from quests: https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Passive_skill

Below is a rough progression idea for gem links and suggested skills while leveling.

Act 1
Pick raise zombie after clearing the twilight strand, and purchase Stormblast mine from Nessa. Pick Summon Raging Spirit (“SRS”) after completing the Breaking some Eggs Quest, and purchase Dash. After killing Brutus (The Caged Brute), you can pick up Summon Skeletons, and buy from Nessa up to three minion damage supports, one per minion, as well as Blastchain Mine Support. Be sure to complete the labyrinth trial in the lower prison.

The playstyle will be to summon minions, while supplementing their damage with stormblast mine’s aura (non-detonated). You can also detonate the mines for additional burst damage. You do not have to use all three minion types, nor support them all – pick your favorites!

Act 2
After completing Sharp and Cruel, you can purchase faster casting (for dash/flame dash), deathmark support, melee physical damage (for zombies/skeletons), and minion speed support (SRS) from Yeena. After completing The Root of the Problem, purchase summon skitterbots from Yeena. You can link infernal legion (from act 1) to them for some additional damage. Be sure to complete the two lab trials located in The Crypt Level 1, and the Chamber of Sins Level 2.

Act 3
You can pick up Raise Spectre after completing Sever the Right Hand. For now just raise any monster while leveling up the skill gem. Finish up the last three lab trials in the Crematorium, Catacombs, and the Imperial Garden. If you have about 1,000 life, you should be able to beat the first labyrinth and pick Mindless Aggression.

An ideal four link for skeletons/zombies would be: Summon skeletons/zombie-Minion Damage Support-Melee Physical Support-Deathmark Support

Act 4
You get another minion in Carrion golem after completing Breaking the Seal. After The Eternal Nightmare, pick Spell Echo Support.

Act 5
In The Control Blocks, raise some Slave Driver Spectres, and put them in a four link if possible with minion damage, spell echo, and deathmark. Sell SRS and remove damage supports from zombies/carrion golem to make room for spectres. Link maim and feeding frenzy to either of these minions for them to act as support. Damage at this point will come from both spectres and skeletons.

Acts 6-10
At this point, skeletons and spectres will carry you through the rest of the acts with no issues. Keep up with gear, picking up life and resistances where possible. Completing Fallen from Grace allows you to purchase almost all gems from Lilly, so do that as soon as you reach act 6. The Cruel Labyrinth trials are located in The Prison (Act 6), the Crypt (Act 7), and the Chamber of Sins Level 2 (Act 7). Recommended for the Cruel Labyrinth is 2,000 life and level 55.

The Merciless Labyrinth Trials are located in the Bath House (Act 8), the Tunnel (Act 9), and Ossuary (Act 10). Recommended for the Cruel Labyrinth is 3,000 life and level 65. Complete the Cruel Labyrinth before beating Kitava in Act 10 to have some more resists.

Leveling Uniques
See below for a few uniques which may make the leveling process easier. Most are pretty cheap even at league start, but some are only accessible for second characters and on:

General Tips
I typically play with a non-strict loot filter, and keep an eye out for items with the links I want (e.g. four blue links). Use an essence on these to turn them rare and probably usable. Keep essence of fears for wands, as they add a pretty significant amount of damage for your minions.

Levelling Trees (3.10)
25 Points
50 Points
75 Points
100 Points
Final: See PoB – 6(2). In between 100 points and the final tree, you will be trying to obtain a good set of cluster jewels, a medium thread of hope, and anoint Death Attunement onto a worthy amulet (generally +1 intelligence skill gems or better). A few regrets will be required.

The build is pretty flexible that you can aim for damage or life as you need it – no need to follow the trees perfectly. If you swap to elemental earlier for example, path to elemental equilibrium right away. If you acquire a Doryani jewel early, path that way.

8. Gear

See below for my current gear in 3.10. For gearing, just pick which level of currency you fall into. The gear tiers will be referred to a few times in the guide. Jewels, cluster jewels, and flasks will be in a separate section of their own. A progression summary will be at the end of this section recommending the order you acquire your gear. Note that you will require some dexterity and intelligence from gear.

(1) Mandatory Item
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Triad Grips – These gloves allow for full conversion from physical to elemental or chaos damage based on the colors of the sockets. Elemental conversion is probably one of the most broken mechanics in Path of Exile, allowing for double dipping or taking full effect of items or auras. In our case, we get full benefit from the hatred aura, both the added portion as well as the more damage multiplier. In both PoBs, turning off hatred loses the build over half its damage.

Guide on how to get off colors on gear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kXPc8IomRI

(2) You have: Just reached maps and very little currency (Level 1 Gear):
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The first goal would be to max resistances and to try to get some life on your gear as this build does not need anything special. Despite end game being a dual wield build, starting out with a shield will help out with resistances and life. Due to a Triad Grip being a unique item, it may not be available for cheap early league – there are no issues with starting out as physical skeletons and transitioning over to elemental conversion later on.

Your first major purchase should be a six linked chest – typically a tabula rasa or a corrupted rare with the correct six colors (3R3B). Life and other stats on top are nice, but may be too expensive at this point. A green socket (with hypothermia or impale if still physical) can also be substituted, but is not optimal for endgame for this build. While expensive, nothing in the game adds more DPS than an extra support gem for so little cost (relatively). The second purchase should be level 21 vaal summon skeletons. The 3.9 patch added a new divination card into the mix: “The Bones.” Six of these will give the level 21 vaal summon skeletons gem for a fraction of the price and is the cheapest way to get level 21 vaal summon skeletons. Belt of the deceiver is a very nice unique early on due to intimidate (10% increased damage taken by monsters, resistances, and life. For a weapon, use the highest tier of Essence of Fear on hand on a convoking wand. The Jinxed Juju is a good budget amulet early on.

By the end of Level 1 Gear, you should have a six linked chest, level 21 vaal summon skeletons, 4,000+ life and capped resistances. This should take you through to yellow maps or so.

(3) You have: 1 to 5 exalts (Level 2 Gear)
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Starting in this section, the gear will be broken down by slot. In general, as resistance per piece of gear goes up, start to switch some elemental resistances for chaos resistance, as chaos damage is far more prevalent in this league than in leagues past.

Helmet – Rare helmet - This is where we will be parking some of our non-skeleton minions which we want to keep alive. They are not here to do damage so Look for a helmet with +(1-3) to level of socketed minion gems, life, and an open prefix. Other useful stats would be resistances, dexterity, and intelligence. The prefix is for a +1 to maximum number of skeletons craft, unlockable by unveiling veiled helmets.

Body – Six linked rare, with high life, possibly percent life and resistances. Alternatively, purchase a tabula rasa corrupted with +2 to level of socketed duration gems to raise the level of skeletons by +2. In 3.10 and on, it is no longer possible to craft +1 skeletons on bodys.

Weapons – Drop the shield from Level 1 Gear, since the best in slot will be two convoking wands. Look for either +1 to level of all spell skill gems, or +1 to level of all minion skill gems. Both together is the set-up for Level 3 Gear, but so far is out of this level’s budget. You will also want other minion stats on the wands including minion damage, attack speed, minion movement speed, and life – in that order of preference. One wand should either have an open suffix for crafting Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill, or already have that mod crafted. The Trigger wand may potentially cost double that of a full suffixes wand but will greatly increase quality of life and clear speed.

Gloves – Triad Grips – Four greens is best, but four blues will work in a pinch. The lightning variant is not quite as powerful as cold, but does good damage still.

Boots – Rare boots with life, resists (and/or dexterity), and movement speed. A nice enchant is a bonus.

Amulet – One of your bigger purchases at this level – a rare amulet with +1 to level of all intelligence skill gems. Depending on your budget, the other stats could be life, dexterity, or resists. Craft either life, a resist + chaos resist, or minion speed. The preferred base is either jade or turquoise.

Rings – Rares with life, dexterity and resists. Prioritize chaos resistance.

Belt – Stygian Vise (or other belt) with high life and resistances

Cluster Jewels – See if you can get cheap versions of the ones in the PoB in 6(2) – these typically have more small passive points, so they are less skill point efficient, but still better than the non-picked minion nodes on the tree.

By the end of level 2 gear, you should have triad grips (4g), two +1 to skill gem convoking wands, a +1 to all intelligence skill gems amulet, 5,000+ life, and capped resistances including some chaos resistance. This is more than enough to kill awakening level 8 Sirus, Shaper, and other bosses depending on your skill level.

Rough break down of costs for 2-3 exalteds for shaper
Helmet: 10c, Body, 40c, Wands: 20c and 40c, gloves: 50c, Boots: 20c, Amulet, 1 ex, Rings, 20c, Belt, 20c. Cluster jewels are optional.

(4) You have: 6 to 50 exalts (Level 3 Gear)
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You’ll start trying to consolidate resistances into fewer pieces at this point, focusing more on damage and/or survivability.

Helmet – Rare redeemer influenced helmet (bone helmet base preferred) – Nearby enemies have -9 to cold resistance, +3 socketed minion gems, life, and an open prefix for a +1 to maximum number of skeletons craft. To craft one of these, use frigid and bound fossils on iLevel 86 redeemer bone helms. The -9 is hard to hit, so you may have to settle for one without.

Body: A body armor with +2 to level of socketed duration gems is ideal here. Your search will start with this, either six linked, or not (if the stats are sufficiently good to six link it yourself at the bench). Stats to look for are high life, possibly percent life, and resistances. You can recolor corrupted body armors at the crafting bench with both vaal orbs and chromatic orbs. Stay away from body armors with an evasion base, otherwise it will be near impossible to get 3R3B for colors at a reasonable price. An armor, energy shield, or armor/energy shield base is preferred.

Weapons – Look for wands with both +1 to level of all spell skill gems, and +1 to level of all minion skill gems. You will also want other minion stats on the wands including minion damage, life, speed, and attack speed. One wand should have the Trigger a socketed spell crafted mod. Look for other minion mods.

Gloves – Triad Grips – Four green sockets – Look for a corrupted pair with 5-6% increased maximum life. You can recolor them with the method from 8(1), except that it will cost vaal orbs as well.

Boots – Rare boots with life, resists (and/or dexterity), and movement speed. A nice enchant is a bonus.

Amulet – Use an awakener orb to combine a hunter amulet with +1 to level of all intelligence skill gems and an elder amulet with +1 to maximum number of skeletons. Make sure there are no other hunter or elder mods on the base amulets! Craft life or a suffix (elemental + chaos resistance or minion movement speed) to finish. Another option with an open prefix & suffix is to craft prefixes cannot be changed, use a scouring orb on the amulet, and then multimod for life and a suffix of your choice (resistance + chaos resistance or minion speed usually).

Rings – Rares with life, dexterity and resists. Prioritize chaos resistance. If you’re happy with a certain ring, use some catalysts to either boost life or resistances.

Belt: Stygian vise with 90+ life, and high resistances. Use a fertile catalyst and then slam a hunter orb – you might just hit % life!

Cluster Jewels – Pick a up a copy of the jewels on the left side of the 6(2) PoB.

The upgrade over level 2 mostly comes from the two wand upgrades, a body upgrade, and just generally better gear with more life. At the pinnacle of this stage, you should be able to do everything in the game comfortably.

(5) You have: 50 exalts+ (Level 4 Gear)

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While there are many variations, here are some general goals to aim for. At this point, I would suggest swapping over to the setup in 6(3), or a mix between 6(3) and 6(2). Two large cluster jewels is the way to go for sure though. Read through level 3 before you read this section as it refers back often.

Helmet - Rare redeemer influenced bone helmet – Nearby enemies have -9 to cold resistance, +3 socketed minion gems, life, and an open prefix for a +1 to maximum number of skeletons craft. To craft one of these, use frigid and bound fossils on iLevel 86 redeemer bone helms. The difference though, is that you want one with a nice enchant on it. Alternatively, if running a throwaway AG (see subsection 10(2)), you can save a lot of money on not needing the -9 to cold resist mod.

Body: Either the same body from level 3 gear, or just one with better stats. An alternative is to awakener orb a body, likely warlord for +1 level to active gems, and either +1 curse, 25% increased effect of offerings, or for Xibaqua players, 15% of physical damage taken as chaos. Unless you corrupt +1 gems or +2 to duration gems though, these will not offer as much damage as a simple +2 chest.

Wands: +1/+1 wands with minions deal 50+% increased damage. For those with open suffixes, you can potentially metacraft them and slam them with a redeemer orb to try to hit hatred.

Gloves – Triad Grips – Four green sockets – Corrupted pair with 6% increased maximum life.

Boots – Rare boots with life, resists (and/or dexterity), and movement speed. A nice enchant is a bonus. If resistances are covered by other slots, consider one with +2 to socketed AOE, Aura, or +1 to all socketed gems to get hatred to level 25.

Amulet – Same amulet as level 3 but with life and generally better stats.

Rings – Rares with life, dexterity and resists. Prioritize chaos resistance. If you’re happy with a certain ring, use some catalysts to either boost life or resistances.

Belt: Stygian vise with 90+ life, and high resistances. Use a fertile catalyst and then slam a hunter orb – you might just hit % life!

Cluster Jewels – Two ideal large clusters and four ideal medium clusters. See cluster jewel section.

(6) Impossible Perfection: Perfect gear and perfect double corruptions (Level 5 Gear)

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It is hard to describe the perfect gear in text, so I put together a PoB (Patch 3.10) with the goal of maximum damage while maintaining the level of defenses discussed in section 12(3). See the PoB below for what I feel is ideal gear given infinite currency and infinite re-tries for double corruptions. Most of this gear is for reference only, though a few pieces (wands, gloves) are actually achievable. This build has twelve skellies x 126.9 million DPS = 1.52 BILLION DPS. Read the notes for explanations on configuration, etc. As a side note – for experienced players, creating a theoretical max build is a good way to see how your build can improve, and how close or far you are from “perfection,” and you may discover some cool interactions, or improve your build in a way you did not think of originally.

Four clusters can boost damage over 2 billion, but leaves survivability and quality of life behind.

PoB: https://pastebin.com/07XEM7M1

(7) Jewels
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Cluster jewels are described in subsection 8(9)

Possible gem choices
  • Thread of Hope – This is my favorite jewel for a lot of other characters that I have theorycrafted, usually able to get three or four keystones for next to nothing skill point wise. For this build, it is just used to save points when going for ravenous horde since it costs seven to path to ravenous and to get Cruel Preparation for cheap. Try to get one with as little resistance reduction as possible. A large thread of hope above Devotion is able to pick up life and aura nodes for cheap as well.
  • Ghastly Eye Jewel – I refer to “generic ghastly” a few times in this guide: This means 31+life and minion attack speed at minimum, with a third utility stat on top. One jewel should have “minions have X% chance to blind on hit with attacks” for another layer of defense, and another should allow minions to leech. Other useful stats are “minions have X% chance to taunt on hit with attacks,” “minions deal X% increased damage if you’ve used a minion skill recently,” flat damage, minion movement speed, chaos resistance, chaos resistance for minions, and resistances/attributes as needed. Flat damage does not add a lot of damage to minions and is often grossly overpriced, but if you can get one, every little bit helps. For those: phys>cold>lightning>chaos>fire. Most of your non-cluster jewels will be these generic ghastly.
  • Cobalt jewel with increased life %, minions deal X% increased damage, minions have X% increased attack speed (delve drop only), and an additional suffix. These are technically better than ghastly jewels, but are near impossible to get.
  • From Dust – cheap jewel that allows for 4 extra skeletons to be summoned per cast. Not required, but a nice quality of life addition that is easy to corrupt for the corrupted blood implicit. For those with mana problems due to skitterbots, this may make life easier.
  • To dust – cheap alternative to ghastly jewels. They are not as good since they do not have life on them but are fine when starting out on a budget and offer a little more DPS.
  • Fortress Covenant – Some like this jewel since it gives minions block and good increased damage. However, it does not have life on it.

Highly recommended:

Glorious Vanity with “Doryani” or “Xibaqua” in the description. Doryani is the recommended one unless you can get over 88 chaos resistance. The Doryani keystone changes pain attunement into “Corrupted Soul, which gives 20% of maximum life as extra maximum energy shield. At 6,000 life, this is 1,200 energy shield, nothing to scoff at. As a bonus, it also corrupts all of the minor travel nodes on the way as well, some of which are minion damage, aura effect, life, resistances, and movement speed. The full list of possible corruptions can be found here: https://poedb.tw/us/unique.php?n=Glorious_Vanity

The jewel can be divined, but the name may be change, so it will take three divines on average to land the jewel with the same name.

The Xibaqua jewel is very nice with the addition of cluster jewels in 3.10 since you can now get to 88, or even 90 chaos resistance. It corrupts the keystone to Divine Flesh with the upside of basically +5-7 maximum elemental resistances, at the cost of zero energy shield (it’s still there, but useless). I’m running one of these in 3.10, and feel extremely tanky, probably more so than if I ran a Doryani. However, you need 88 chaos resistance which is hard to achieve.

My 3.9 Doryani Jewel illustrated:

(8) Flasks
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Due to not needing flasks for damage (with one exception), this build is allowed to run five defensive/utility flasks to maximize playability and survivability. You will need to have at least three magic flasks in order to be immune to bleeding, freezing, and curses. I recommend the three “required” flasks and two “optional” ones. Where possible, try to get 26% on these via Hillock in research (betrayal content) My flasks, followed by the write-up:

  • Life flask – We are life based and without any crazy regeneration mechanisms, so a life flask could be a lifesaver. The best prefix is “bubbling” and the best suffix would be “of staunching” for bleed immunity. Blood of the Karui is an option to those who prefer it, but you would not have the staunching effect.
  • Quicksilver flask – Movement speed is a huge layer of defense, since if monsters cannot hit you, they cannot do damage. For maximum movement speed, the best prefix is “Alchemist’s” and the best suffix is “of adrenaline.” The adrenaline suffix has a range of 20-30%, with the 30% being quite expensive. If two unique flasks are run, then the suffix may have to be changed for one of the defensive ones.
  • Quartz flask – Two reasons for this – 10% dodge for both spells and attacks is another defensive layer, and phasing – super important so that you do not get stuck on enemy hitboxes. Roll heat or warding as a suffix, and increased duration as a prefix.

Optional – Choose two
  • Basalt flask – We do not have a lot of physical damage reduction. Get freeze immunity and either reduced charges or increased duration as a prefix.
  • Rumi’s concoction – For the triple offering version, this stacks on top of the bone offering block, taking you to almost max attack block while adding some spell block.
  • Granite Flask with increased armor, increased duration: Activate this flask before you cast vaal molten shell to get a huge amount of “guard.” 10,000+ is easily possible.
  • Bottled faith – enemies take 10% increased damage while on the consecrated ground created by this flask. This is for the rich guys who want to min/max damage and is especially helpful for crit variants.
  • Silver flask – if you want more movement speed
  • Mana flask – Not required outside of no regen maps – I keep one in my inventory as a swap for those maps.
  • Forbidden Taste – possibly as a panic button for those who like this flask. You will want max chaos res.
  • Atziri’s Promise – We run avatar of fire so you can equip a promise for the memes. It’s actually useful due to the chaos resistance funny enough.
  • Writhing Jar – for max DPS runs to get the Chieftains to cast their frenzy/power charges early.

(9) Cluster Jewels

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New in 3.10, cluster jewels offer a lot of DPS and utility at the cost of mostly minion life. The passive tree is full of weak minion nodes that had to be taken before due to a lack of choices, but cluster jewels offer a way around that. These have to be placed in the jewel sockets at the six outside jewel sockets of the passive tree. Large, medium, small clusters or any normal jewel can be put in these sockets. Mediums, smalls, and normal jewels can branch from a large cluster’s jewel sockets, and only smalls or normal jewels can be placed in a medium’s jewel socket. Due to these jewels going from moderately expensive to very expensive depending on rolls, one cluster is recommended for the base build, two for the crit build, and three (no PoB) if damage is more important than survivability. Four is the maximum possible but will result in a near unplayable build.

PoB 1: First Cluster Jewel Branch: One large jewel into two medium jewels into two generic ghastlys
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The large cluster jewel should be the socket to the left of the tree since the pathing nodes give armor, an actually useful travel path.

Large Cluster Jewel: Added small passive skills grant: Minions deal 10% increased Damage
Important notables: Renewal, Vicious Bite, and two jewel clusters, ideally on a jewel that only has 8 passive points. To save on costs, a jewel with 9 or 10 passive points can be substituted, or another notable instead of Vicious Bites. For min-maxing, you want Renewal, Vicious Bite, Rotten Claws, and two jewel clusters on a jewel with 8 passive points. We do not pick Rotten Claws, but refer to the image above – by not picking it we save a passive point. Note that this jewel is very expensive.
Medium Cluster Jewel 1: Added small passive skills grant: Minions have 12% increased maximum life
Important notables: Renewal, Blessed Rebirth, one jewel socket: This should be pretty cheap. Blessed rebirth gives skeletons four seconds of invincibility upon being summoned, which means that Renewal’s double damage is active. Get one with 4 or 5 passive points.
Medium Cluster Jewel 2: Added small passive skills grant: 6% increased effect of non-curse auras from your skills
Important notables: vengeful commander, precise commander, one jewel socket.

Put a generic ghastly into each of the medium’s jewel sockets.

PoB 2: First Cluster Jewel Branch: One large jewel into two medium jewels into two generic ghastlys
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The two sockets on the tree for large clusters should be the left and top left ones. Since two jewel sockets is for richer players, no substitutes for the below will be offered.

2 x Large Cluster Jewel: Added small passive skills grant: Minions deal 10% increased Damage
Important notables: Renewal, Vicious Bite, Rotten Claws and two jewel clusters, ideally on a jewel that only has 8 passive points. See the above images, but we do not pick rotten claws – it is just to save on passive points since it is always between the two jewel sockets.
1 x Medium Cluster Jewel 1: Added small passive skills grant: Minions have 12% increased maximum life
Important notables: Renewal, Blessed Rebirth, one jewel socket: This should be pretty cheap. Blessed rebirth gives skeletons four seconds of invincibility upon being summoned, which means that Renewal’s double damage is active. Get one with 4 or 5 passive points.
3 x Medium Cluster Jewel 2: Added small passive skills grant: 6% increased effect of non-curse auras from your skills
Important notables: vengeful commander, precise commander, one jewel socket. This jewel is more expensive so on a budget, drop precise commander for either Replenishing Presence or First Among Equals.

Put a generic ghastly into each of the medium’s jewel sockets.

Image with descriptions of all passives noted above:
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(10) Additional Cluster Jewel Discussion (Advanced)

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1. Why not fettle or other small jewels? Fettle gives 10% increased maximum life and +20 to maximum life, and the small node gives 4%. On a jewel with two passives (include the jewel socket), this is an average of less than 5% per node, making fettle a below average life node on the tree. A ghastly eye jewel gives roughly the same life as one node, with attack speed and other stats on top.

2. Megalomaniacs? All the content in the game can be completed without the use of megalomaniacs, but this jewel allows for large, medium and small jewel notables to appear on one jewel. The best megalomaniacs are shown off in the perfect gear setup in 8(6), but these will be (near) impossible to find in league. Even two notable megalomaniacs command ridiculous prices. I’ve tested what is theoretically the best combination: Vicious bite and Precise commander against an aura medium setup above, and the damage is about the same, but without the life and utility given from the ghastly eye jewel. My conclusion? Unless you get a great megalomaniac, they’re too expensive for what they give.

3. Born from Chaos You need this node either on a small jewel or on a megalomaniac if you are running a Xibaqua Glorious Vanity. It brings maximum chaos resistance from 85 to 90. It is possible to run a second to reach the cap of 90, but the opportunity cost is not worth it.

(11) Enchants, catalysts, and anointments

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Helmet: The best enchant with the triple offering setup is “flesh offering grants an additional 21% increased attack speed”, about 1.5% better (for my build) than the second best, and 2.7% better than the third best. The second best, but best for non-flesh offering users, is “skeletons deal 40% increased damage” and the third best is “150% increased effect of the buff granted by your carrion golems.” Other useful enchants would reduce skitterbots’ or hatred’s mana reservation.

Gloves: Whatever to be honest. Just make sure it does not do cold damage if you are not using avatar of fire.

Boots: Movement speed, attack or spell dodge, or life regen per second

Ring Anoints: Whatever you like – I like meteor towers personally

Amulet Anoint: Death attunement until you path to it. After that, influence to further boost hatred or charisma for less mana reserved.

Catalysts: Either life or resistance catalysts for all pieces, whatever makes the most sense. These are expensive however, so ensure that you are using catalysts only on items that will not be replaced quickly.

(12) Progression summary
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-Cap resistances with all rare gear
-Six link body – 3R3B
-21/0 Vaal Summon Skeletons
-+1 to all spell skill gems convoking wand
-+1 to all spell skill gems convoking wand with trigger
-General gear upgrades – more life and resistances
-Buy some cluster jewels
-+1 to all intelligence skill gems amulet
-+2 Duration corrupted body
-Cheap awakened gems (get a start on leveling them)
-Cheap animate guardian setup
-+1/+1 wand without “trigger”
-+1/+1 wand with “trigger”
-Awakener Orb crafted amulet
-21/23 vaal summon skeletons
-Better cluster jewels: Two larges
-Expensive animate guardian setup
-Awakened melee physical damage support
-Other awakened gems
-Upgrade wands again
-Vaal/altar rings for hatred enchant
-Awakened multistrike & bottled faith
-Vaal/altar amulets for hatred/+1 Curse
-Mirror level wands
-Finish decorating your hideout

The guide continues in the following post!
3.10 ❆ Cold Skeletons guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2774965
Последняя редакция: iLL3aT. Время: 18 июня 2020 г., 22:50:01
Last bumped on 2 авг. 2020 г., 16:53:16
Build Guide Part II


9. Gems

Due to the item choices, there is not much flexibility in where the gems are socketed. Gem levels are the suggested level at endgame, though if you can get a higher level/quality version, use that instead. Where there is 0 quality listed, it means that you can cut costs to get a 21/0 version for a lot less currency, though there may still be value in getting a 20 quality version.

(1) Chest - Skeletons:
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Mapping: (Vaal) Summon Skeletons (21/23) | (Awakened) Minion Damage (21/20) | Feeding Frenzy (21/0) | (Awakened) Melee Physical Damage (21/20) | (Awakened) Melee Splash (21/20) | (Awakened Elemental Damage with Attacks (21/20)

If on a four link, drop the last two, and if on a five link, drop elemental damage with attacks. Damagewise, this could be considered a 4 link, since melee splash does not add damage and feeding frenzy only gives the feeding frenzy buff (damagewise). Melee splash speeds up clearing significantly while freezing groups of mobs – try running maps without it, it does not feel nearly as good. Feeding frenzy can be put on other minions, but for mapping, it gives skeletons a charge skill. Despite the loss of damage from the 3.10 patch, the utility and charge makes this still recommended for mapping. Change to another gem if damage is lacking. This puts them in front of you rather than behind you, again adding another layer of safety. Due to how conversion works in PoE, melee physical damage support is fully converted to cold damage.

Bossing: (Vaal) Summon Skeletons (21/23) | (Awakened) Minion Damage (21/20) | (Awakened) Elemental Focus (21/20) | (Awakened) Melee Physical Damage (21/20) | (Awakened) Multistrike (21/20) | (Awakened Elemental Damage with Attacks (21/20)

This setup is optimal for bossing since it gives five high tier support gems. If you are early on in the build and struggling with bosses, or just straight up want to delete them, I would suggest to swap to this variant. This build does not lack damage even when in the mapping setup, so if you do not want to gem swap, you can just use the mapping set up for end game bosses as well. Elemental focus has no downside since the end game bosses have too much life to freeze, though for delve bosses, I would suggest leaving feeding frenzy in since the freeze is great during the mob phases. For other freezable bosses that you want to swap or, deathmark is a good option.

(2) Helm – Support minions
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Raise Zombie (21/20) | Meat shield (21/20) | Carrion Golem (21/0) | Animate Guardian (21/0)

The main purpose here is for your support minions to stay alive, and with level 3 gear, you should end up with level 31 zombies and carrion golems, and a level 30 animate guardian all supported by meat shield and extra life. An alternative gem instead of carrion golem would be elemental army for an easy 10% cold exposure if frost bomb is not used.

(3) Gloves – Green gems
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Dash (12/23) | Phase Run (6/23) | Second Wind (21/20) | Enhance (4/0)

All gems here have to be green in order to fully convert minion damage to cold. Since getting enough dexterity is a hurdle for this build, I limited each gem to 100 dex – the same as a level 21 hatred gem. If your gear can handle it, phase run and dash can be leveled further. . The new second wind support is very nice for fixing dash’s problems – enhancing survivability greatly and increasing mobility. Portal can be substituted for enhance or phase run if preferred.

(4) Boots – Auras, Spectres – Be sure to keep this as 2 two links and not a four link!
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]Hatred (21/20) | (Awakened) Generosity (21/20) | ]Raise Spectre (21/0) | Blood magic (20/0)

Since your character does not need hatred for its attacks, generosity increases the effectiveness of hatred greatly for your minions. For the second two link, spectres are linked to blood magic to enable the chieftain spectres to cast their abilities more often. I used to keep spectres in my wand, but found that too annoying since you could not weapon swap without having to re-summon all spectres. If this is kept in a full four link, then hatred will reserve half of your life instead of mana.

(5) Wand without “trigger a socketed skill” – Curse (or skitterbots), Exposure & EE
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Frostbite (21/0) | (Awakened) Blasphemy (21/20) | Frost Bomb (1/0)


Summon Skitterbots (21/0) | Bonechill Support(21/0) | Frost Bomb (1/0)

Two choices here: Frostbite is nice because it lowers monster resistances, which can get high when monsters gain an endurance charge on hit and have a +40 elemental resistance mod on top of the natural resistances that rare and unique monsters have. Since it is usually not worth your time to frost bomb these enemies, frostbite is nice.

Skitterbots is the more offensive option, since skitterbots shock enemies for 15-20%, and chill enemies for 10%. The chill procs bonechill support’s line: “Enemies in Chilling Areas from Supported Skills have Cold Damage taken increased by Chill Effect.” Since skitterbots gives increased chill effect and bonechill increases this further, this results in about 15% additional damage – combined with the shock, this is about 36% increased damage taken by enemies, and works on bosses. Credits to Keyen and wazzupdj for this suggestion. The downside is that this reserves more mana than the other setup – I recommend a mana regeneration roll somewhere on your gear since a mana flask is not worth it.

If frost bomb feels too clunky, Armageddon brand and dropping avatar of fire is an option. We need some way to reduce elemental resistance otherwise certain bosses which can have random mods can become much too tanky.

(6) “Trigger a socketed skill” wand – Offering and Optional
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Flesh Offering (21/20) | Desecrate (1/0)| Vaal Molten Shell (21/20)

Make sure desecrate is above flesh offering since the trigger wand goes from top to bottom. The last gem slot is variable. I’m personally planning to get some armor and am putting vaal molten shell in here. Other recommendations include frostbite (skitterbots setup), armageddon brand, convocation

(7) Unset rings (optional)
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Various options here – convocation, portal, armageddon brand (for easier EE procs), even enduring/rallying cry. Summoners are notoriously socket starved, and an unset ring may help out.


10. Spectres, Animate Guardian, and discussions of other minions

(1) Spectres
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Three spectres are normally available via gem levels and death attunement, but a fourth becomes available at gem level 25. Personally, I prefer to use two host chieftains and two carnage chieftains for greater uptime on both power and frenzy charges respectively. Charges are much greater effectiveness on minions than on players. Some other setups would have two carnage chieftains, on host chieftain, and another spectre – options listed below:

Carnage Chieftain – grants frenzy charges (needs blood magic), found in the ashen fields (act 7)
Host Chieftain – grants power charges (needs blood magic), found in the ashen fields. (act 7)
Death Bishop – curses enemies with a -40% frostbite (6 second duration, 10 second cooldown), found in the catacombs (act 3)
Ruins hellion – uses rallying cry (10%? Increased minion damage), found in the quay (act 8)
Undying Evangelist – Proximity shield, found in the (upper) scepter of god (act 3)
Slave Drivers – High DPS and fast clear, but we do not scale lightning and has low life. Excellent for leveling, found in the control blocks (act 5)
Redemption Sentries – High DPS, high life, Physical to cold attacks with AOE. Found in redeemer influenced maps
Arena Master – Beats its shield granting 40% movement speed, 40% attack speed, and 40% cast speed (4 second buff, 12 second cooldown). High life, but the sound is very annoying. Found in warlord influenced maps
Baranite Cleric – Aura that grants nearby allies 20% of physical damage as lightning. Tested – about 5% more damage so probably not worth it. Found in Crusader influenced maps.
They of Tul – Defensive spectre: Casts a swirling cloud that gives 15% reduced damage taken, 20% dodge each of attack and spell hits. Downside is that the visual is VERY annoying, especially stacked with delirium. Found in Tul breaches and Tul breachstones.

To summon a spectre, first kill the monster that you have chosen (you may have to put in elemental focus to avoid shattering them, and take out your offerings to avoid blowing up the corpse you want). Hold “A” on your keyboard and move around until you have the chosen spectre selected. Press your summon spectre button, and you will have your spectre! If your spectre ever needs to be resummoned, it should be in your desecrate pool in your hideout for a quick resummon.

Spectres used to be difficult to handle due to having to re-summon them at high monster areas, but this has changed with the 3.8 patch. Spectre levels are now tied to the gem level. In this set up with level 3 gear, the spectres at gem level 28 have a monster level of 88. They are pretty difficult to kill short of deep delves, so don’t shy away from spectres like I did when I first started!

(2) Animate Guardian
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The animate guardian (“AG”) is made up of scarified piece of armor, keeping the stats and special effect of the armor, but cannot equip gems, jewelry, nor trigger most skills from gear. It can equip either two one hand weapons, a one hand weapon and a shield, or a two handed weapon. For armor, it can equip a helmet, body armor, gloves, and boots. The AG can be unsummoned by removing the gem from its socket, and resummoned with a click of the skill. If it dies however, all gear that it was wearing is lost forever, so it is recommended to gear to keep the AG alive.

There are two options for the AG: Cheap, and expensive. At level 2 gear, it may make sense to invest in the cheap AG, and at the higher ends of level 3 gear, invest in the expensive version. The grave intentions node on the passive tree (three points) does a lot to keep the AG and other minions alive by providing chaos resistance, as well as 10% of their life as extra energy shield. Considering the high life totals of all non-skeleton minions, this is pretty significant.

Cheap AG - ~10c:
Weapon: Dying breath – Cheap weapon that gives increased effect of your curses plus grants nearby (75 units of distance) allies 18% increased damage.
Helmet: Leer cast – Grants 15% increased damage to nearby allies (75 units of distance)
Body Armor: Belly of the Beast – Gives life, elemental resistances, and looks cool
Gloves: Southbound – Gives life
Boots: Victario’s Flight – Gives you 10% increased movement speed

Expensive AG:
Weapon: Kingmaker – Expensive but amazing weapon that gives your minions +50% to critical strike multiplier, culling strike, and fortify. It gives the player fortify and +30% increased item rarity.
Helmet: Mask of the stitched demon – the key line is the phase “regenerate 1% of life per second per 500 maximum energy shield.” Some math: My level 30 animate guardian supported by level 20 minion life has 140,000 life on PoB, and has grave intentions allocated. 140,000 x 10% from grave intentions = 14,000 energy shield. Mask of the stitched demon gives 1% life regen per 500, or 28% of life as life regeneration per second. 28% x 140,000 life is 39,200 life/second. This makes the AG virtually immortal outside of some exceptions to be discussed below.
Body Armor: Two options here: Rare chest with the crafted mod “Gain 9-10% of maximum life as extra energy shield,” or a garb of the ephemeral. The first option takes the 39,200 life/second from the mask of the stitched demon, and doubles it. The garb is more defensive for the player, since in a small (maybe 30 units?) radius, it provides immunity to enemy critical strikes and does not let you get slowed below your base speed.
Gloves: Vixen’s entrapments with elemental weakness on hit. With windscreams, a double corrupted vixen’s is an (expensive) option.
Boots: Victario’s Flight, or Windscreams for +1 curse.

Despite the expensive animate guardian being virtually invincible, there are a few places that the AG should be unsummoned for: Hall of Grandmasters and the Acid Caverns Map. Acid Caverns has a boss called Morgrants, the Deafening, which casts a variant of storm call of hit. With how many minions this build runs, the damage can potentially reach the billions, easily annihilating your AG. Against metamorphs, it is important to read all monster mods as well, since storm call on hit has appeared there before, wiping out my first AG in seconds.

(3) Other minions
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This build also features up to eleven zombies and a carrion golem. The zombies’ role is to protect the player character from projectiles and stray monsters that wander too close. They add a decent amount of damage (in the millions), but next to nothing compared to skeletons. As such, no damage support gems are linked to them.

The carrion golem adds a small amount of DPS to all minions (about 2.8% on my PoB). It can be cut for other gems if you prefer.


11. How to play the build
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The playstyle is like a hybrid of a summoner and an aurabot.

Mapping: Run as fast as you can, while summoning skeletons in front of you. If monsters are ranged, run in a zigzag pattern. Casting dash, phase run, and skeletons will be enough for you to proc your offerings. There is no need to cast frost bomb as mobs are typically not tanky enough to be worth the effort.

Metamorphs: Against scary metamorphs, it may be a good idea to cast Vaal summon skeletons, maximize your skeleton count, and then run away. Not the most elegant solution and the minions do not get your auras, but it let me level up safely as I was still gearing.

Bossing: Before the boss fight starts, summon all of your skeletons, drop a frost bomb under the boss’ feet, and then cast desecrate four times. Drop frost bombs often, and cast desecrate periodically. Use Vaal summon skeletons as necessary. It is ideal to not resummon skeletons too often (I have a bad habit) so that they can keep their frenzy and power charges.

Frost Bomb: This is our skill used to proc both exposure (-25% elemental resistance) and elemental equilibrium (-50% elemental resistance, “EE”). The first part of the skill, about four seconds of pulses, applies the exposure, and the explosion itself applies EE in its radius. The skill in this comes from having the explosion occur right after the boss becomes vulnerable so that it is also hit by one pulse of exposure. For mobile bosses, this may be a challenge so it may be better to drop the exposure and just focus on elemental equilibrium via an easier skill – Armageddon brand. Frost bomb does not usually allow for EE due to being a cold skill, but we have fully converted it to a fire skill by the keystone, avatar of fire.


12. Advanced Mechanics

This section is more advanced, so newer players do not have to read it. I have done quite a bit of math for this build, so some players may benefit from it, even for other non-minion builds.

(1) Hatred
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As the core of the build, hatred deserves a section of its own. The gem at level 3 gear will be either level 23 or 24, and there is no difference between the two. Two levels come from +1 spell wands, one from awakened generosity, and a level 21 hatred is the last way to get over level 20. At level 23, the hatred gem grants 27% of physical damage as extra cold damage, as well as 19% more cold damage. The second part applies to the extra cold damage from the first part.

See the spreadsheet above. Since there is no other element converted to and chaos damage from spirit offering is negligible, the added portion of hatred is essentially a 27% more multiplier on its own. The full 127 is multiplied by the more multiplier (1.19) to get the total damage of the base minion plus hatred = 1.51. This means that a base level hatred with no increases to its effect is more or less a 51% MORE multiplier for our minions. Once you add some more effectiveness via generosity, corruptions, the skill tree, and redeemer suffixes on weapons, hatred’s effect can be increased to around from the 100% base effectiveness to somewhere around 340% (depending on glorious vanity). At that point, hatred is a 240% more multiplier instead.

I also ran another test, and compared a level 23 hatred vs. a level 25 one, when it hits the next breakpoint (28% phys as cold, 20% more cold). The increases can be seen in the final tab, and are pretty minimal considering the only way to get this would be either empower (the mana multiplier reserves an additional 12.5% mana) or a corruption for the boot. My conclusion was that it was not worth chasing for such a small increase.

(2) Distance
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I lifted this image from the Path of Exile’s wiki page on distance (credits to rkiga). There are a few key distances to keep track of: hatred’s range, frostbite’s range, and the -9% to cold resistance on the helm.

Hatred: No real numbers despite my research from the internet. I had a friend test the distance with me and based on the above chart, hatred’s range is between 50 and 70.

Helm: Per the wiki, it has a range of 60

Frostbite: See the work done by rkiga: https://imgur.com/a/tBhn2. It looks like the radius of frostbite is probably somewhere around 40-50 units.

Kingmaker: Again, no concrete numbers, but from repeatedly running away from my animated guardian, the radius looks to be around 40 units.

Victario’s Flight: Per the wiki, it has a range of 50

Dying breath and leer cast: Per the wiki, it has a range of 75


For reference, the player character is 15 units tall in this graphic.

In summary, for maximum damage, the player should be around 40 units away from the monster. Animate guardian may not be on top of you, so it may be better to be 20-30 units away for the skeletons to receive all kingmaker buffs.

(3) Layers of defense summarized
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  • 6,000+ Life
  • 2,500+ ES with glorious vanity and spirit offering
  • 60+% block chance and 30%+ spell block chance
  • 10+ non-skeleton minions to absorb hits and projectiles
  • Fortify from kingmaker
  • No damage taken from monster critical strikes from garb of the ephemeral
  • Minions have a chance to taunt enemies on hit
  • Minions have a chance to blind enemies on hit (50% less chance to hit)
  • Bone armor skill – six seconds uptime, three seconds downtime
  • 10% physical damage reduction from bone barrier, 15% from basalt flask
  • Option to add enfeeble/temp chains to the main build via glove corruption (three points for whispers of doom), and the other to the animated guardian
  • Flasks to prevent bleeding, chill, freezing, curses, as well as 10% attack and spell dodge
  • Chilling and freezing enemies. Bosses up to conquerors can be chilled.
  • Corpse destruction (anti-detonate dead) from freezing and shattering.
  • 50% reduced visibility when phase run is up
  • 198% increased movement speed when phase run is up, 154% when it is not

(4) Cold vs Lightning vs Fire minions

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Math to come at some point – it is pretty complicated

Cold vs Lightning vs Fire
Of the elemental variants, most of the scaling is pretty similar since all skill gems are generic for elemental conversion, and all curses are the same except for the name and ailment. Cold gets chilling and freezing, lightning gets shock, and fire gets ignite – the least useful of the three.

One major advantage of cold is frost bomb – it is the only source of exposure (outside of elemental army) that does not mess up EE. This is an extra 15% (25 – 10) in reduction of the enemy’s resistance. Furthermore, all three variants still use hatred as the aura after testing wrath and anger for their respective elements. Cold is the only one that takes full advantage of the “more damage” part of the aura – once again proving it is the best for scaling.

The downside for cold is the gems since you have to use the shorter ranged dash instead of flame dash & faster casting combo for lightning builds, though the advantage is phase run. Fire builds are again the worst of the group since I cannot think of a useful set of four red gems.

(5) Damage Pools

---To come later---


13. Boss, Delve, T19 Guides

I personally like poelab’s boss guides for a quick reference for certain attacks. There are multiple full boss guides to be found on YouTube as well. If a boss is not specifically mentioned here, treat it as a generic boss (see the How to play this guide section) except you may need to look up their specific mechanics.

(1) Sirus
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Try to have as close to 75 chaos resistance as possible – use the Arakali Pantheon if necessary. If you are already chaos capped, Solaris is best but Lunaris also works if you are lazy to change. You will want a corrupted jewel (usually a from Dust) that has the implicit “corrupted blood cannot be inflicted on you” so that the four clones mechanic does not become an instant kill.

For Sirus himself, summon minions, cast frost bomb and desecrate as necessary in between his attacks. Run circles around him, while staying perhaps 10-30 units of distance (see subsection 12(2)) from him to dodge lasers easier. If he teleports, move in an unpredictable pattern to him – never lose sight of him for more than a second.

Die Mechanic (Sirus says: “DIE”) – When Sirus says die, activate bone barrier, and run/dash to his left or right.
Meteor mechanic – try to run out of the maze, following the red glowing indicators. If you cannot escape in time, activate bone barrier, heal, and your defensive flasks – this build can tank the meteor if it does not block it.
Corridors Mechanic –teleport through him and out of the corridor since he takes 80% less damage during this phase now. Skeletons and zombies no longer absorb the projectiles.
Four clones (Sirus says: “Everlasting fire”) – Phase four only: Position yourself beside the main Sirus (follow your minions), and follow the spinning laser beams while dodging his attacks.
Circle clones (Sirus says: “Feel the pain of the void”) – Keep running circles, and right before the says “the void”, teleport to the left or right of Sirus since the beam just fires straight.
Storms – Let them fully spawn, then run back under Sirus once they are out of the way.

(2) Aul
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Deepest Aul killed by this build: 838

Aul is by far the hardest boss in the game, unable to be instantly phased at deeper depths. This is due to his high health, high mobility, high damage, and punishing mechanics that scale very hard with delve mods. Some items to make the fight easier may be boots with the “cannot be frozen” mod, as well as a Taste of Hate flask to reduce cold/physical damage taken. Unlike normal bosses, I would recommend the boss gem setup, except that feeding frenzy is left on skeletons and meat shield on the zombies link. This is for two reasons: to freeze mobs during the mobs phase, as well as to chase the very mobile Aul to actually do damage.

General tips: Remain mobile throughout the fight while dropping frost bomb and desecrate to keep auras up. Against increased AOE and faster Auls, it may make sense to sacrifice a portion of the room during the pillar phase if you are bad at dodging his projections like me. His most dangerous attack is the “crystalline arc” – watch Aul for when he puts his sword in front of his left arm on stops. This is your cue to either get behind him or to get far away to dodge in between the projectiles.

(3) General Delve Guide
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This build is capable of delve depths of 1000+. It is a strong delver due to being cold based, with the freeze affecting multiple enemies with melee splash. With so many minions, a majority of the enemies hit will be frozen, making delve much safer than with a non-cold build. When moving between nodes, the goal is not necessarily to kill them all at lower depths but to just get through them. This is done through killing, freezing, and sometimes just running through them. For particular difficult nodes (extra projectiles, tons of damage/speed mods), the best strategy may be to just use a quicksilver flask with phase run and run to a relatively safe spot to wait for cooldowsn, before doing it again.

For most lower level (sub 600) nodes, it is possible to just activate vaal summon skeletons, summon skeletons, and then find a place to hide until the node is over. At deeper depths, the monsters are able to kill the vaal skeletons, so it requires a more active playstyle – summoning while running around with all defensive flasks activated. With the layers of defense we have, especially the freeze from our minions, this is very safe most of the time.

Stay away from fungal cavern biomes if your chaos resistance is not high – the when the zombies die, they deal high amounts of chaos damage.

(4) Tier 19 Maps Guide
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Patch 3.9 introduced ivory watchstones to the game, three of which add +1 to monster levels in the area (terror, stalwart defenders, and misinformation). For tier sixteen maps, in addition to the general monster scaling for life and damage, the three ivory watchstones also have their own mods, increasing monster damage, life, and “modifiers” – essentially all of the affixes on a rare map. When combined with awakening level eight, map mods are essentially 1.5x as hard, but with item quantity to match. The purpose of these are usually to farm high level shaper and elder bases such as iLevel 86 elder bone helmets, though some do it for experience. Since the ivory watchstones are expensive, it is a good idea to add on a fourth ivory watchstone (War Among the Stars for shaper/elder mobs, or Booming Populace for larger mobs), sextants, scarabs (typically Breach, Harbinger, Elder/shaper, and one other – divination cards, unique, strongboxes), and Alva.

Regular mobs are not much different from a tier sixteen, though with more health – have your skeletons freeze them like any other mob. Rares and bosses are tougher, and may have to be treated as if you are fighting an end game boss except without the gem swap. The metamorph is the biggest difference (see the fight in videos), as it has a ridiculously high amount of HP, on top of spawning mobs and moving around. I suspect some T19 metamorphs have more HP than shaper. This is where the advantage of playing minions can come in handy – summon your minions and retreat to a safe distance, until the metamorph is dead.


14. Other setups worth considering

(1) Magic Find Variant
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With a lot of flexibility in gear and the fact that skeletons scale largely due to minion levels, gems, and hatred, some items can be swapped out with item quantity gear if you so choose.

Both rings can be replaced with Ventor’s Gambles (the resistance is needed, otherwise Pariahs would be better)
The necklace can be replaced with a shaper/hunter awakener orb’d necklace with +1 to intelligence gems, 10% item quantity(IIQ), and crafted life.
The belt can be replaced with a string of servitude with IIQ. The triple herald setup would naturally be dropped, in favor of flesh offering for speed.
The boots can be replaced with Goldwyrms.
Rumi’s (since we no longer run bone offering) can be exchanged for a divination distillate.

(2) wazzupdj’s Mines:
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wazzupdj написал:
Each stormblast mine emits an aura that causes enemies to take 3% increased damage. These bonuses stack with each other. With minefield support, you can have up to 19 mines at once, which gives a total of 57% increased damage taken. Since these aura mines are aura's, they scale with aura effect. With breakpoints of 34% and 67% increased aura effect, you can push the effect of each individual mine to 4% and 5% respectively, with the total aura effect going up to 76% and 95% increased damage taken, respectively. There is also a helmet enchant which gives 40% increased stormblast mine aura effect. With this, it is just barely possible to reach 101% stormblast mine aura effect, for 104% increased damage taken by enemies.

The skitterbots pop the mines without you having to activate them and then re-arm them, maintaining the aura effect. Since you don't have to detonate them yourself, the skill auto-applies EE while maintaining the mine effect in full. With a CoH ring and/or EW from gloves corrupt, the mine applies those too. Since it is a mine, reflected damage doesn't hurt you, so you can effectively scale level and damage if you want to, and you probably will want to.

The full write up can be found on page 13. I personally would not scale the damage, but played with it a little and it is a really cool interaction that should be considered further. Icicle mine can alternatively be used once we start playing with critical strike builds with the new jewels. Minions and mines in the same build? GGG will not like that!

(3) Physical Skeletons Variant

---To come later---

---Work in progress---


15. MTX Guide
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Yoga pants and Yeezys. That is all.


16. F.A.Q.s

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What is the use of Avatar of Fire?
Frost Bomb: This is our skill used to proc both exposure (-25% elemental resistance) and elemental equilibrium (-50% elemental resistance, “EE”). The first part of the skill, about four seconds of pulses, applies the exposure, and the explosion itself applies EE in its radius. The skill in this comes from having the explosion occur right after the boss becomes vulnerable so that it is also hit by one pulse of exposure. For mobile bosses, this may be a challenge so it may be better to drop the exposure and just focus on elemental equilibrium via an easier skill – Armageddon brand. Frost bomb does not usually allow for EE due to being a cold skill, but we have fully converted it to a fire skill by the keystone, avatar of fire.


17. Update Log

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Feb 23. 2020: Added 12(4), comparison of elemental minions, 13(1-4), Sirus, Aul, Delve, and T19 maps. Added 14(1): magic find variant, a few pictures, and two new videos (T19 map, Cortex). Added 8(12) & 8(13): progression guide and an optional wand to mirror. Some general formatting.

March 5, 2020: Added 3.10 discussion spoiler up top, leveling skill trees, and option for skitterbots instead of frostbite.

March 12, 2020: Updated the guide for 3.10!

March 31, 2020: Added the 150M crit variant to the PoB section, as well as 3.10 Sirus and Shaper videos. New specres added, new title!


18. Credits
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Brokensaint7 – Guild leader of “<°v°>”, PoE encyclopedia, and person who introduced me to the game. He says “bodies”
Keyen and wazzupdj: Suggested skitterbots and bonechill interaction found in subsection 8(5)
Wazzupdj: Stormblast mine suggestion
sKillmaTic: Alternative tree with armor and soul of steel.
Viperesque – for the original skellies guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2108003/page/1
Bainand – Triple offering setup in viperesque’s thread: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2108003/page/270
Dawnz – for the guide on post formatting: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1913874
Enki91 – I took a lot of formatting from the Arc Witch guide, which I consider the gold standard for guides on the forum: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1147951

3.10 ❆ Cold Skeletons guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2774965
Последняя редакция: iLL3aT. Время: 1 апр. 2020 г., 2:36:01
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IGN- Brokensaint
Well, I know what I'm playing next league.

This is a stellar guide - elemental scaling is completely and utterly absurd.

Are you able to skip phases on bosses reliable with this DPS? I noticed that when playing Physical/Impale Skeles there was a "wind-up" of sorts while vulns/curses/impales/multistrikes applied and, as a result, damage started slow and then over about five seconds or so, would ramp up very quickly to max.

The problem being, of course, that this gives bosses plenty of time to invuln - with only 25m DPS, and without a lucky crit or a very early impale, I almost always end up getting forced into phase transitions (especially obnoxious on, say, Shaper).

Has this been your experience with this build as well?
drewmcduffy написал:
Well, I know what I'm playing next league.

This is a stellar guide - elemental scaling is completely and utterly absurd.

Are you able to skip phases on bosses reliable with this DPS? I noticed that when playing Physical/Impale Skeles there was a "wind-up" of sorts while vulns/curses/impales/multistrikes applied and, as a result, damage started slow and then over about five seconds or so, would ramp up very quickly to max.

The problem being, of course, that this gives bosses plenty of time to invuln - with only 25m DPS, and without a lucky crit or a very early impale, I almost always end up getting forced into phase transitions (especially obnoxious on, say, Shaper).

Has this been your experience with this build as well?

Thank you for the kind words!

In regards to bosses - mostly yes, and you can refer to that Sirus video. Sirus usually does not get a chance to do meteor, walls and bowling balls, or the four clone mechanics. Shaper is more tricky though - for phase two in particular it seems he always does a red bubble phase at the start of it, and sometimes during phase three as well.

For fast DPS, it depends on how well you hit the frost bomb - if you get EE and exposure down very quickly, then the boss should melt. The scale up portions mostly come from the monkeys being pretty slow to cast their shouts for charges.

On a side note, I like the way you managed to get Xibaqua working and the additional layer of safety that provides. I believe you can get +1 chaos res as a corrupted notable on the glorious vanity.
3.10 ❆ Cold Skeletons guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2774965
Very detailed and strong build! Thank you for it !!!
One question, what is it for, Paine Attunement?
ssHozjaina написал:
Very detailed and strong build! Thank you for it !!!
One question, what is it for, Paine Attunement?

Thank you!

The Doryani glorious vanity changes pain attunement to corrupted soul, adding 20% of max life as extra ES. Here is a wiki page on corrupted soul


For more details (I’m on my phone), refer you the passive tree notes - 6(3) and the jewel section 8(7)).
3.10 ❆ Cold Skeletons guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2774965
This build is the most insane boss killer I saw in action, the endgame is turned into a joke, Good job on the build bro <3.

Looking foward to play it in 3.10
Последняя редакция: Senti3nt. Время: 20 февр. 2020 г., 22:58:06
Thanks Senti3nt - always a good time playing with you =)

Feb 23. 2020: Added 12(4), comparison of elemental minions, 13(1-4), Sirus, Aul, Delve, and T19 maps.
Added 14(1): magic find variant, a few pictures, and two new videos (T19 map, Cortex).
Added 8(12) & 8(13): progression guide and an optional wand to mirror. Some general formatting updates
3.10 ❆ Cold Skeletons guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2774965
Cool builds and very nicely written guide, thanks.

Might play league as 3.10 leaguestarter :-)

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