GhazzyTV's Mage Skeleton Guardian Build Guide (PoE Affliction 3.23)



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Due to the latest balancing changes, we do not recommend playing this build anymore, as it does not meet the high standards we apply to our guides in terms of fun and performance. We are leaving it up as a reference and it might be revived in a later patch.

%{color:red}This build is not league-starter friendly as it requires a transfigured Summon Skeletons Summon Skeletons gem to get access to the mage skeletons. This is no longer a recipe item with the removal of Dead Reckoning Dead Reckoning, and we do not know exactly how difficult it will be to acquire a Transfigured Skeleton gem of the mage variant.
Besides that it underperforms compared to other minion builds on the lower budget. We are keeping the low budget PoB available for 3.22 Trial of the Ancestor league in the guide. The build catches up in terms of damage output in medium+ / higher budget and is up till to that point carried entirely by Vaal Summon Skeletons Vaal Summon Skeletons%

Important note

This build has returned to the big screen thanks to the Guardian ascendancy changes in 3.22 which allows for some really nice medium & high budget options. With that said, the build is slightly underperforming in terms of single-target DMG output compared to other minion builds in the low budget state. You tackle this by having a Vaal Summon Skeletons Vaal Summon Skeletons which you can find in Vaal side zones and later you can get a cheap level 21/0 Vaal gem via the The Bones The Bones divination card!


This build uses a transfigured gem, which transforms your skeletons from the Summon Skeletons Summon Skeletons skill into spell casting mages! You are able to use this for leveling all the way from Act 1 using a Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa, however. There are multiple ways to play this build. I’ve made sure to showcase the lowest budget end-game destroying version in this written guide & there are also a handful of different PoB links showcasing medium as well as high budget options!

Since this build has a very niche playstyle, 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 Do note that the video might be outdated in terms of information, you should always look at this guide to make sure you have the updated information. Another thing to point out with the video below is that we used to play this build as a Necromancer and now days we are playing it as a Guardian ascendancy instead. Playstyle remains the same though!

Build Overview

In this section, I will outline the pros, cons, and general playstyle. This will allow you to determine if this is the right build is for you!


+ Bosser – The damage output this build can achieve is absolutely insane in the higher budgets.

+ Unique Play Style – You will summon skeletons that will cast a fire, cold or lightning projectile spell which is a very unique play-style in Path of Exile.


Low Budget – In the low budget state this build underperforms vs single-target fights compared to many other minion builds and catches up very quickly with some investments. You tackle this by having a Vaal Summon Skeletons Vaal Summon Skeletons which you can find in Vaal side zones and later you can get a cheap level 21/0 Vaal gem via the The Bones The Bones divination card!

Unique Play Style – Due to this build’s playstyle, it is a build that not everyone will find enjoyable. I strongly recommend watching the gameplay video before starting this build.

Cluster – Since it is essential to keep our skeletons alive to let them deal their damage we are going to want to use a VERY cheap & easily accessible cluster jewel which is only really needed against the highest end-game content.

Variant – This build absolutely requires a Transfigured gem in order to enable the mages and cannot be played without that.


The play style is based on summoning your skeletons on the field and then letting them kill everything for you. Since it takes a second for them to start casting their spells (similar to totem play-styles) you have to get used to staying in the back line on the lower budget versions of this build.

To enable the build you must first get your hands on a Transfigured gem which is done via the labyrinth.

Damage Scaling and Defensive Layers

Minion damage is the bread & butter for our damage output since it all comes from our skeletons destroying our enemies. Defensive layers come in the form of life, high block & recovery of life when you block. You can invest more in defence at the cost of offence if you feel the need for it.

PoB and passive skill tree

All my guides use Path of Building. We have a simple guide for you that shows how to import my build into Path of Building, you can find the guide here

Here is the Mage Skeleton Guardian Low Budget PoB:

Since the higher budget versions are using other configurations they are separated from the low budget PoB, it is highly recommended to new(er) & casual players alike to stick to the low budget PoB first before moving into the following 2:
Medium Budget:
High Budget:

You can find more information on our dedicated page, along with all the recommended gem links.

Mage Skeleton Guardian PoB, Passive Skill Tree & Gem Links

Affliction Ascendancy

The recommendation is to start with the Warden of the Maji in which we more or less only have use of 1 of the nodes which is Oath of the Maji allowing us to avoid putting gems in our boots for a significant increase in speed as we clear the campaign and early maps.
After this we don’t care for the other nodes but we do want to keep our eyes open for proper Charms that will allow us to move over to the Wildwood Primalist. This is something you’ll do either when you have charms and you’re ready to do the switch or when you become so socket starved as you progress that you no longer benefit from the Maji anymore. The type of Charms we utilize can be a large variety of modifiers a full comprehensive list of these can be found here: My personal recommendation is to aim for the “Onslaught” providing one (Guardian’s prefix) which is located on Intelligence or Strength based Charms, this will give you and nearby allies if 5 or more are in range the 20% attack, cast and movement speed increase! Second priority would be any sort of attributes and/or resistances which will help alleviate pressure on your gearing. This will fit on all budgets for this build.

Affliction Spectres

The recommended Spectres in this guide will work perfectly fine, however, Affliction league is offering a very specific mechanic that allows us to purchase corpses from a vendor, these range from different qualities and different type of monsters. As this entire topic is a very complex one I’ve decided to instead list the recommended options that could replace the original list in the guide should you chose to. Since these bad boys are a bit harder to get your hands on or can be expensive it’s hard to pin-point what budget they fit in. They are also not shareable. That said, feel free to join my in-game global channel by typing “/global 6666” in-game in which you can receive help with any questions just as much as in my stream channel over at twitch or the PoE-Vault Discord server for direct assistance with any guides.

  • Hulking Monstrosity – These provide an insane buff of damage increase, though the higher quality one (Perfect) is absolutely an improvement providing extra added lightning damage on top of this insane buff!
  • Perfect Guardian Turtle – These can directly replace the need to run your Determination aura and instead offer you the possibility to add other auras not in the build guide such as Purity of Elements Purity of Elements which further boosts your defensive scaling to name one example.

My personal opinion is to keep the Arena Master and use the 2 options listed above and if you’re able to get 4 Spectres I would add another aura providing purchasable corpse. You can then run either a defensive or offensive one, make sure to check out the video below.

There are plenty of other options most of which I talk about in this video that I’d recommend taking a look at if you want to try some different combinations our yourself:


A lot of the endgame gear can easily be crafted.
You can read more details about our gearing recommendations on the dedicated page. You’ll find a summarized version below.

Mage Skeleton Guardian Gear, Jewels & Flasks

Item Slot Item Name Rarity
Head Life then Res/Attributes as needed (For higher budget you can get a helmet with “+ level of all minion skill gems) Rare
Amulet Life then Res/Attributes as needed Rare
Chest Fleshcrafter Fleshcrafter Unique
Gloves Life then Res/Attributes as needed Rare
Boots Life & movement speed then Res/Attributes Rare
Belt Darkness Enthroned Darkness Enthroned Unique
Rings Life then Res/Attributes as needed Rare
Weapon Rare with + level of minion and/or spell skills Rare
Shield High life, preferably with %life recovery on block or The Surrender The Surrender Rare

If you still have trouble gearing, please see the video below.

Ascendancy, Bandit & Pantheon Recommendations

You can read about the Ascendancy, Bandit choice, and Pantheon Power recommendations for this build on our dedicated page.

Mage Skeleton Guardian Ascendancy, Bandits & Pantheon Powers


We’ll be using minions to level with prior to getting the build enabling gem. With that said the following suggestions for levelling makes sure you don’t have to use any Orb of Regret Orb of Regret to change your build when you have access to the gem. Do keep in mind that if you get the transfigured Jewel during the campaign you can very well start using your Mage Skeletons to level with. It’s also strongly recommended to pick up the Summon Skeletons Summon Skeletons gem before you reach level 45 and socket that in your off-slot weapon/shield to make sure it is kept up in level as you progress.

The PoB covers most of this in detail, below you’ll find a TLDR of how to get started early on.

Levelling Progression

Depending on if you’re playing Hardcore or Softcore, you will have to adjust your route depending on the quality of gear you’re able to obtain. For example, if you have lots of Life and Resistance from drops you get during the Acts, you can focus on taking damage-providing nodes over the defensive ones and vice versa. The links below are trees that should fit in almost any situation no matter the drop RNG.

Before you enable minions

Before you are able to utilize minions for your leveling experience you will need to reach level 12, to get there you can use a large variety of skills including Summon Skeletons Summon Skeletons or Summon Raging Spirit Summon Raging Spirit as an example which all become viable leveling options from level 8 thanks to Melee Splash Support Melee Splash Support.

Once you reach level 8 you are able to purchase Melee Splash Support Melee Splash Support which cost 1x tOrb of Transmutation Orb of Transmutation. This can then be combined with Summon Skeletons Summon Skeletons or Summon Raging Spirit Summon Raging Spirit. Starting with the Skeleton/SRS approach the links should look like this: (Do note that this will replace the previous damage set-up)

Absolution becomes available at level 12 which will carry you all the way to maps. Use generic damage support gems until you acquire the below setup. (Do note that this will replace the previous damage set-up)

For the remaining acts please follow the skills recommended in the PoB, as it has a detailed explanation of all the skills you can use per act of the campaign.

For more general levelling advice, we recommend the following guides.


To guarantee that my guides are tools you can utilize to enhance your experience in Path of Exile, you may have questions. Please join the PoE Vault discord and they will attend to them as soon as possible.

Final Notes

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 it if you share in my discord! 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 Divine Orb Divine Orb drops!

For any questions or support please join our Discord (PoE-Vault Discord)