Basic Zombie Necromancer Build Guide (PoE Blight 3.8)

Vvckd

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Introduction

The Basic Zombie Necromancer is a summoner that only relies on heavily investing into Raise Zombie Raise Zombie in order to both clear and deal single target damage. The clunkiness of summoner builds comes from mostly trying to build different types of minions in order to use ones for clearing, some for single target and maybe even have some other type of minions simply for the utility they provide. Not to say that is an inefficient way to play a summoner, but all the different skills you have to use can be overwhelming at times and may not suit everyone’s playstyle.

The following build guide uses a simple army of zombies in order to deal with any content the game has to offer. In the Blight league, we are getting some new tools that are very useful for summoners, which fixes the main issues with this type of build, and mainly minion AI and targeting. In the past, sometimes your zombies would not attack at all and only run around you while nearby monsters are approaching; by making your zombies aggressive via the new Feeding Frenzy support gem, this minion AI problem will be fixed, and your zombies will also not feel as clunky, as they will gain a lot of extra speed, which will improve the clear speed significantly.

The other main problem (of the past) with summoners is targeting; before, you were simply not able to control your minions and they would attack whatever they wanted, which is not efficient at all simply because in some fights you need to prioritize and eliminate different targets before others. The new Deathmark support skill grants you the Deathmark skill, which allows you to mark a target for your minions to prioritize.

Build Summary

The build is not expensive at all and can be a great league-starter. We focus on acquiring gear with Life, resistances, and needed attributes. For this particular guide, we choose to use a Two-handed weapon, in which we will have our Raise Zombie Raise Zombie in basically a 7-Link.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Great boss killer
+ Fun to play

Cons

- You need to use multiple skills in order to empower your minions and to overall be efficient

Playstyle

Offensively, Elemental Equilibrium can be very useful if you use added damage and converting part of the physical into elemental damage for your minions like Physical to Lightning Support Physical to Lightning Support and Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support while cursing with Ball Lightning Ball Lightning. Make sure to keep Flesh Offering Flesh Offering up at all times. The Triad Grip unique gloves allow you to fully convert your minion’s damage to different type, we recommend fully converting to Cold and cursing with Ball Lightning Ball Lightning, this will allow your minions to deal tons of Cold damage and Freeze and Shatter enemies; keep in mind it might be hard to make these Gloves with 4G sockets early on.

Defensively, staying behind your minions will ensure they block incoming projectiles. The build also reaches a good amount of survivability via decent Life pool along with defensive utility flasks. Use Convocation Convocation when you are all by yourself in order to summon your army to defend you.

For playstyle, you are mainly rushing forward while your zombies obliterate any nearby packs of monsters. When you encounter tougher enemy simply make sure your Flesh Offering Flesh Offering is up and active, hit the target with your offensive skill of choice in order to apply curses and Elemental Equilibrium and use the Deathmark skill on them.

Ascendancy, Passive Tree, Bandits, and Pantheons

Ascendancy (Witch – Necromancer)

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

Mindless Agression provides a great amount of movement speed and offensive stats for your minions.

Unnatural Strength increases the gem level of all active minion gems, which improves both the survivability and damage output of your minions by a great deal.

Bone Barrier is an amazingly strong defensive ascendancy node, which improves your physical damage mitigation by a considerable amount along with a Life multiplier for your minions.

Plaguebringer allows you to greatly utilize Desecrate Desecrate in order to gain even more damage output while at the same time reducing enemies’ damage by 10%. The increased area of effect on your minions also helps while clearing.

Note: Plaguebringer can be replaced with Mistress of Sacrifice if you choose to do so. We simply prefer to use Plaguebringer because it has higher potential in the endgame content, it also requires some consideration when playing with your corpse-spawning skill.

Passive Tree

Here is an endgame version of the passive tree.

Basically early on you should focus on Life and Minion nodes like Spiritual Command and Sacrifice, then you should go for some increased maximum number of zombies from nodes like Lord of the Dead, Grave Intentions, and Death Attunement. The main keystone notables we use are Elemental Equilibrium, which allows you to weaken certain resistance of the enemy, and Minion Instability, which allows your zombies to explode on death dealing 33% of their maximum Life as Fire damage and this can result in a lot of extra damage in certain fights.

Bandits

Considering the build does not benefit from helping any specific bandit we choose to kill them all in Act II.

Pantheons

Major: Soul of Lunaris – This major god can be upgraded in order to avoid chained projectiles, which a problem for every summoner build. Additionally the other upgrades and defensive stats prove to be very useful.

Minor: Here it is up to personal preference. Poison immunity via Shakari is always handy. Use Ralakesh when running labyrinths. Other gods can be used too whenever you feel like they can be useful.

Gems

Raise Zombie Raise Zombie is the build’s signature skill, which should ideally be used in a 6-Link. For mobility, use Flame Dash Flame Dash. Summon Carrion Golem Summon Carrion Golem can improve the damage of your zombies by a decent amount. Convocation Convocation is a utility skill that allows you to reposition your while army quickly. Ball Lightning Ball Lightning should be used in order to trigger Elemental Equilibrium and apply curses via Curse On Hit Support Curse On Hit Support. Hatred Hatred should be used in combination with Generosity Support Generosity Support.

For all the gem links we provide below, keep in mind that we list the gems in order of priority, meaning that if you lack the required number of sockets to fit all the gems, the first ones to drop are the ones at the bottom. Also note that in-game, as long as the sockets are linked, it makes no difference at all what order the gems are placed in.

Raise Zombie (6-Link)

Raise Zombie Raise Zombie is the skill we rely on for both clearing and single target. The zombies we raise are melee minions that have a Slam ability with short cooldown. We recommend one link that works great for both clearing and single target.

  1. Raise Zombie Raise Zombie
  2. Feeding Frenzy Support Feeding Frenzy Support
  3. Deathmark Support Deathmark Support
  4. Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support
  5. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  6. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support

Ball Lightning (4-Link)

Ball Lightning Ball Lightning is used in order to curse enemies with 2 curses via Curse On Hit Support Curse On Hit Support, we also use the skill in order to trigger Elemental Equilibrium.

  1. Ball Lightning Ball Lightning
  2. Curse On Hit Support Curse On Hit Support
  3. Elemental Weakness Elemental Weakness
  4. Frostbite Frostbite

Other Gems

Desecrate Desecrate is useful in every summoner build. It is needed in order to Raise Zombie Raise Zombie and simply to provide corpses for your Flesh Offering Flesh Offering. Convocation Convocation is a great utility skill, every so often your minions run away from you and you get exposed to enemies, simply use Convocation to teleport your minions next to you in these situations. Flame Dash Flame Dash can be used to improve build’s mobility. A single aura can be used, we recommend choosing between Haste Haste and Hatred Hatred; if you choose to run Hatred it should be linked with Generosity Support Generosity Support.

Gearing

Capping your elemental resistances is essential and it should always be your top priority in any build; it should be the first thing you do when gearing up a character. Obtaining a 6-link, while very powerful and certainly recommended, can potentially be very expensive (requiring an average of 1500 Orbs of Fusing, obviously depending on your luck); as such, this should not really be a goal for you while gearing up, and you should instead settle for a 5-link until you have enough resources.

Helmet

A well-rolled rare Helmet is a great choice for the build, we are looking for as much Life, resistances and attributes as possible, Bone Helmet Bone Helmet is the best base choice. The Baron The Baron can be used but it requires a different passive tree approach and specific gear in order to reach the 1000-1200 Strength mark; if you choose to go that route we recommend checking out The Baron Zombies & Skeletons Build. Any Raise Zombie Raise Zombie enchant can be used. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least 80)
  3. +#% increased maximum life (Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)
  4. # to Strength/Dexterity

Body Armour

If you choose to play with Queen's Escape Queen's Escape you can use Kaom's Heart Kaom's Heart. Otherwise, Belly of the Beast Belly of the Beast is a great choice. Well-rolled rare Body Armours work well too. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least 100)
  3. +#% increased maximum life (Elder Mod; Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)
  4. # to Strength/Dexterity

Gloves

Triad Grip will allow you to fully convert your minion’s damage to Cold while the Gloves’ have 4 Green sockets. Grip of the Council Grip of the Council are another pair of great unique Gloves for the build. Command of the Pit Command of the Pit provides a lot of flat Accuracy Rating to your minions, which can greatly increase their hit chance. A pair of rare well rolled rare Gloves can also be used. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least 80)
  3. +#% increased maximum life (Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)

Boots

Rare pair of Boots are best in slot. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. % increased Movement Speed
  3. +# to maximum life (at least 80)
  4. +#% increased maximum life (Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)

Belt

A rare Stygian Vise Stygian Vise is best in slot simply because Ghastly Eye Jewel Ghastly Eye Jewel are strong in every summoner build. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least 80)

Amulet

We are looking for well rolled rare Amulet. Use this item slot in order to fill attribute gaps. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life ( at least 70)
  3. # to Strength/Dexterity

Rings

Two well rolled rings with basically the same mods as Amulet are needed. Doedre's Damning Doedre's Damning can be used if you choose to apply 3 curses instead of 2, the additional curse we recommend is Enfeeble Enfeeble. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life ( at least 50)
  3. # to Strength/Dexterity

Weapons

Queen's Escape Queen's Escape is a tremendous boost to minion’s movement speed. A well rolled 6-Linked weapon should be used when dealing with endgame content. Ideally, we are looking for a Shaper-based Two-hander. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. Socketed Gems are Supported by Level # Maim (Shaper Suffix)
  2. +1 to Level of Socketed Gems
  3. +2 to Level of Socketed Support Gems (Betrayal Prefix)
  4. Minions deal (111–130)% increased Damage (Bound Fossil Bound Fossil)

Flasks

Quicksilver Flask Quicksilver Flask preferably with additional movement speed, since the build is not very mobile. Stibnite Flask Stibnite Flask‘s blinding cloud comes in handy, it can be replaced with another flask if you do not like it. Granite Flask Granite Flask should be rolled with percent Armour, which will result in giving a ton of Armour when the flask is active. Blood of the Karui Blood of the Karui is a good unique Life flask that can be used, a half-instant Divine Life Flask Divine Life Flask with Bleeding removal also works great. Basalt Flask Basalt Flask provides additional physical damage mitigation is always good.

Note: Rolls that you must have on your flasks are Bleed, Curse and Freeze immunity, beyond that it is up to you.

Be sure to check out our Flask Crafting Guide to learn everything you need to know about how to set up your non-Unique flasks.

Jewels

There are no mandatory Jewels for the build. Well rolled rare Ghastly Eye Jewel Ghastly Eye Jewel are very beneficial though.

Regular rare Jewels

  1. % increased maximum Life
  2. Minions deal #% increased Damage
  3. Minions have #% increased maximum Life
  4. Minions have +#% to all Elemental Resistances

Abyssal rare Jewels

  1. +# to maximum Life
  2. Minions have #% increased Movement Speed
  3. Minions Leech #% of Damage as Life
  4. % increased Minion Damage if you’ve used a Minion Skill Recently
  5. Minions have #% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you or your Minions have Killed Recently
  6. Minions have #% chance to Blind on Hit with Attacks
  7. Minions have #% chance to Taunt on Hit with Attacks
  8. Minions have #% increased Attack Speed

Leveling

As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.

Leveling Trees

Here is a passive skill tree that will get you comfortably into maps.

Useful Leveling Uniques

As you begin a new character there are few unique items that can boost your power exponentially. Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your leveling that much more efficient. Goldrim Goldrim provides a lot of elemental resistances, this will let you worry less about gearing when approaching certain Act encounters.

Gem Progression

Using Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa will allow you to have 6-Link gem setups early on, which is why we show such examples below. If you cannot get Tabula Rasa (or another item with a 6-Link), then simply prioritize the first gems in each link provided below.

In order to acquire gems that are not available to your class as a quest reward, simply ask a friend to buy them off vendors for you, or buy them yourself from Sioasa in The Library in Act III Library.

From level 1, you should use the following link.

  1. Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support

At level 8, replace your Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse with the following Summon Raging Spirit Summon Raging Spirit gem setup.

  1. Summon Raging Spirit Summon Raging Spirit
  2. Melee Splash Support Melee Splash Support
  3. Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support
  4. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support
  5. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  6. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support

At level 10, you are able to add Flame Dash Flame Dash, which will help with your mobility. You should also pick up a Vaal Summon Skeletons Vaal Summon Skeletons gem, which can be useful in boss fights.

At level 12, you should add Flesh Offering Flesh Offering.

At level 16, you should add Desecrate Desecrate.

By level 18, your Summon Raging Spirit Summon Raging Spirit link should look like this.

  1. Summon Raging Spirit Summon Raging Spirit
  2. Melee Splash Support Melee Splash Support
  3. Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support
  4. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support
  5. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  6. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support

At level 24, pick up a Convocation Convocation gem, this will become useful once you start using your zombies. At this point you should also have picked enough minion Life Regeneration and elemental resistances in order to sustain zombies, at this point you should start using the following link.

  1. Raise Zombie Raise Zombie
  2. Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support
  3. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  4. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support

FAQ

Why would zombies over any other minion?

Spectres are great when it comes to clear speed, but they rely on being fed from Unending Hunger Unending Hunger. When it comes to tough single boss encounters spectres lack in single target damage, while zombies melt bosses in matter of seconds. Skeletons on the other hand have insane single target damage potential and good clear speed, but you have to swap Melee Splash Support Melee Splash Support and Multistrike Support Multistrike Support, the other issue with Skeletons is that they sometimes die in a single AoE hit and you have to resummon your whole army. Zombies do not need gem swapping because of their slam ability, easily reach over 20 000 Life, have good Life sustain via minion Life Leech and Life Regeneration and deal excellent single target damage.

What map mods should be avoided?

No Regeneration and Chain can be a big problem and should be skipped. Reflect mods can also result in your zombies killing themselves.

Conclusion

The Basic Zombie Necromancer is a summoner type of character that only relies on its Raise Zombie Raise Zombie in order to deal with any type of content; having only one minion type results in a simple and satisfying summoner playstyle that many can enjoy. The build has been able to do Shaper guardians, Shaper, and red Elder with ease. The damage is enough for Uber Elder for sure. Over all the build is simple, fun, budget-friendly and endgame viable.

Changelog
  •   

    Updated passive skill trees for Blight 3.8.

  •   

    The build is overall buffed with the changes in Blight 3.8.

  •   

    Updated ascendancy recommendations for Blight 3.8. The build is getting even stronger with the new changes to the gems, passive tree, itemization and the rework of the Necromancer ascendancy class.

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  1. Posts
    2

    Patch notes: Violent Dead: Can no longer drop or be obtained from quests. Does this kill the build?

  2. Vvckd

    Moderator

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    467

    On 05/09/2019 at 2:33 PM, Goldfinger said

    Patch notes: Violent Dead: Can no longer drop or be obtained from quests. Does this kill the build?

    Not at all, this is compensated with the Slam cooldown reduced from 5 seconds to 4, there are also nodes on the passive tree and Necromancer nodes that increase minion’s AoE drastically; another thing worth mentioning is that a great amount of Cooldown Recovery for the Slam is added to the Raise Zombie Raise Zombie gem itself. Now with our minions being able to gain Unholy Might and Onslaught on kill (via Grave Intentions and Ravenous Horde), the build looks even stronger than before. Fixes to AI via thinkgs like Deathmark Support and Feeding Frenzy Support complement the build even further.

    Edited by Vvckd on September 5th, 2019

  3. Posts
    2

    Thanks, any recommended jewels to replace them with, or just go with rares?

  4. Vvckd

    Moderator

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    467

    On 05/09/2019 at 5:32 PM, Goldfinger said

    Thanks, any recommended jewels to replace them with, or just go with rares?

    Just having decently rolled rares will definitely do the work, you can also choose to stack more Strength via Brawn Brawn and Efficient Training Efficient Training.

  5. Posts
    1

    Starting from lvl 1, which skills should i pick first? all i can see is all the skills for when you are max lvl, i have no idea which branch i should go for first to make my leveling as smooth as possible, help please :D

  6. Vvckd

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    467

    On 10/09/2019 at 3:41 PM, dynablade said

    Starting from lvl 1, which skills should i pick first? all i can see is all the skills for when you are max lvl, i have no idea which branch i should go for first to make my leveling as smooth as possible, help please :D

    Hey, I am assuming you are talking about the passive skill tree. Here is an example of a very early passive skill tree that allows you to start using Zombies as soon as possible, it will also require you to respec few points later on, which should not be a problem at all.

  7. Posts
    2

    Is violent dead still a good option for the build? despite not being needed anymore the bonus to slam damage and minion damage seem usefull

  8. Vvckd

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    467

    On 12/09/2019 at 6:01 PM, DonutMuncher said

    Is violent dead still a good option for the build? despite not being needed anymore the bonus to slam damage and minion damage seem usefull

    Hey, Violent Dead Violent Dead does not excist in the game any more, the Jewel got removed, most of its benefits were added to the Raise Zombie Raise Zombie itself.

  9. Posts
    2

    oh. I should maybe actually read patch notes lol. thanks for the reply

  10. Vvckd

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    467

    On 13/09/2019 at 4:24 PM, DonutMuncher said

    oh. I should maybe actually read patch notes lol. thanks for the reply

    No problems, always glad to help.

  11. Posts
    7

    I think Violent Dead jewel should be removed from guide to prevent confusion then.

  12. Vvckd

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    467

    On 14/09/2019 at 11:38 PM, Kaelos said

    I think Violent Dead jewel should be removed from guide to prevent confusion then.

    Hey, fixed now, thank you!

  13. Posts
    1

    The Violent Dead jewel has NOT been removed from the game; it just no longer drops, or is given as a quest reward. So the question is still relevant to those of us who have them, or can pay the (now) exorbitant prices to get them. Are they better than other options?

  14. Vvckd

    Moderator

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    467

    On 16/09/2019 at 2:01 PM, Venomous said

    The Violent Dead jewel has NOT been removed from the game; it just no longer drops, or is given as a quest reward. So the question is still relevant to those of us who have them, or can pay the (now) exorbitant prices to get them. Are they better than other options?

    Hey, if you are playing Standard or Hardcore Violent Dead Violent Dead is definitely worth picking up.

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