This build is the golden peak of how a hybrid build works in Path of Exile. It works wonders as a league starter but in SSF it still requires a source of chaos damage leeched as life which is either from Delve dropped rings or hunter influenced amulet, it’s still “alright” but for end-game you can’t survive without a source of life leech. You can level with Dark Pact once you are able to pick it up which is done at level 28 allowing you to use the same abilities whilst leveling as you will be for the end-game.
Since this is a very niche play-style I would strongly recommend watching the video linked below to see if it’s something you’d find enjoyable to play.
Below you can see the build in action from my YouTube Guide. Do note that the video might be outdated in terms of information, and you should always look at this guide to make sure you have the updated version.
In this section I will outline the pros, cons, & the general play-style. This will allow you to determine if the build is for you or not!
+ High Sustaining – Due to the nature of the hybrid approach we use in this build you will consistently be over-leeching your life pool as well as having energy shield leech.
+ League Starter – The only mandatory item is to have a source of chaos damage leeched as life which is accessible very early on and is very cheap as well.
+ Bosser – The damage output this build can achieve even in low budget is completely absurd.
+ Unique Play Style – You will summon skeletons and then cast Dark Pact which is chaining between your skeletons which not only offers a unique play-style but also a unique approach in terms of gearing.
– Unique Play Style – Due to the nature of this build’s play-style, it is a build that not everyone will find enjoyable (I strongly recommend watching the gameplay video before starting this build)
– Cluster – For end-game it is crucial that you get yourself a medium cluster jewel with minion life to get the node Blessed Rebirth, this is very easily crafted and/or super cheap to purchase but is absolutely required for the higher end-game content to avoid having your skeletons die before you get to dish out some damage with your Dark Pact
The play-style is based around summoning your skeletons on the field and then directly connect that with casting Dark Pact which will chain between your skeletons and deal massive amounts of damage.
DAMAGE SCALING AND DEFENSIVE LAYERS
The build focuses on achieving an over-leech state for your life pool whilst having nodes on the tree allowing for high sustain of energy shield leech. On top of this we have a layer of skeletons in-front of you which enemies will target rather than yourself. The way we deal damage is to cast Dark Pact on our skeletons which will make the spell chain between the skeletons and each chain can hit the same target(s) per chain making Chain Support an incredibly strong support gem. Since Dark Pact deals a base chaos damage based of the max life our skeletons have, we will want to ramp up minion life across our skill-tree as well as support gems & gear.
The defensive layers on this build is VERY tricky to grasp, the easy part is the high block chance against both attacks & spells. However, we are using Petrified Blood which works in this way:
Our life is cut in half putting us at “low-life” this allows for the use of Pain Attunement increasing our damage dealt. The only way we can go above 50% of our life is with the use of a life flask, upon doing so all our spells gains a life cost on top of the mana cost to cast, this goes away when we are back down to 50% of our life. As long as we don’t reserve our life pool this will create an over-leeching state of our life pool if we leech life as we never hit 100% life. Any damage over time effect(s) we take will then be countered by the fact that we are consistently leeching HP.
Besides the nifty mechanic on forcing us down to low-life it might sound daunting that we just lost 50% of our life, but Petrified Blood takes away 40% of all hits we take then proceeds to put a life degeneration based of #% of that over the next 4 seconds, this ultimately means that some damage is completely mitigated and the remaining damage we take as a degen is countered by us consistently leeching. This combined with high Energy Shield which we are sustaining with nodes on the tree providing leech to energy shield allows us to reliably be very tanky with a very high effective life pool.
A quick note on this defensive layer is that chaos damage over time can be somewhat scary with low chaos resistance making that a desired stat to have if possible on your gear.
PoB AND PASSIVE SKILL TREE
The PoB community fork created by Localidentity is the only version being kept up to date, so make sure you have the correct version: PoB Community Fork.
For high budget approach I would suggest taking a look at this link: Dark Pact Necromancer High Budget PoB
You can find more information on our dedicated page.
A lot of the end-game gear can easily be crafted, to learn how to craft as well as learn how to craft specific items check out my crafting guides here.
You can read more details about our gearing recommendations on the dedicated page, but for now you can see a summarized version below.
|Item Slot||Item Name||Rarity|
|Head||Life then res/attributes as needed (For high budget you can get a helmet with “+ level of socketed minion gems)||Rare|
|Amulet||Life then Res/Attributes as needed||Rare|
|Chest||Life then Res/Attributes as needed (or a Tabula Rasa||Rare/Unique|
|Gloves||Life then Res/Attributes as needed||Rare|
|Boots||Life then Res/Attributes as needed||Rare|
|Rings||Life then Res/Attributes as needed||Rare|
|Weapons||Rare with + level of minion and/or spell skills||Rare|
ASCENDANCY, BANDIT & PANTHEON RECOMMENDATIONS
You can read about the recommended Ascendancy, Bandit choice, and Pantheon Power recommendations for this build on our dedicated page.
You can easily level with melee skeletons till you reach level 28 for the Dark Pact skill and then start casting that on your skeletons instead. An important note to remember when playing this build is that mana problems are very common, there are a few solutions to this that are both easily accessible and cheap. One solution is to use a mana flask during the campaign acts and later get an “Enduring” prefix rolled mana flask. Another easy solution is to in the end-game bench-craft “Skills Cost no Mana while Focussed” which has a short cool-down but lasts 4 seconds allowing you to spam your spells during this window rather than your mana flask.
BEFORE YOU ENABLE SKELETONS
The best way to start of leveling would be to equip yourself with a bow and use Caustic Arrow linked with Pierce Support ( You can get the Pierce support gem by creating a level 1 Ranger and dump the gem in the the stash after Hillock is dead).
- Stormblast Mine for single target
- Freezing Pulse for clearing
- Frost Bomb for clearing when you get it instead of the Freezing Pulse
- Minion Damage Support
- Melee Splash Support
- Added Fire Damage Support or Added Cold Damage Support or Added Lightning Damage Support
In Act 2 you can switch the added elemental gem for Melee Physical Damage Support
Do note that if you feel that you’re lacking single target damage whilst you’re leveling you can always switch out the Melee Splash for any other red gem granting damage, such as Added Fire or Ruthless Support.
For more general leveling advice, we recommend the following guides.
- Our step-by-step leveling walkthrough, which allows even more experienced players to save time and speed through the leveling process.
- Our guide to Unique Items for leveling, which helps you gear up your characters for the leveling process.
- Our beginner leveling guide, which answers many of the questions new players might have and will set you on the right path.
To guarantee that my guides are tools you can utilize to enhance your experience in Path of Exile, all you need to do is post your question in the comments and I will personally attend to them as soon as possible.
As much as I love making build guides, it is very crucial in a game like Path of Exile that you play the game the way you enjoy playing it. With that said, if you’ve made any tweaks to the build compared to what I’m showing in this guide I would love if you’d posted it in the comments! It’s an effective way to show other approaches and it helps me grow as a build guide creator!
I hope you found the build guide useful and I wish you all many Exalted Orb drops!