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.
I have moved my skeleton mage guide over to Guardian. You can find the link here: Mage Skeleton Guardian()
This build uses the Dead Reckoning which transforms your skeletons from the 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, however, it is more than fine to league start this character in a fresh league as well as use it as your very first character in a new league. 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 Do note that the video might be outdated in terms of information, you should always look at this guide to make sure you have the updated information.
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!
+ League Starter – The build demands 1 specific unique item which is the Dead Reckoning which can be collected via a vendor-recipe. Since every other gear piece for this build is extremely easy to get a hold of the build works perfectly fine for a league starter build.
+ Bosser – The damage output this build can achieve even on a low budget is completely absurd.
+ 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.
– 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.
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 Necromancer Low Budget PoB: https://pobb.in/R2yjdaBfqLXL
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: https://pobb.in/t9uyta86vDOV
High Budget: https://pobb.in/WJEJi8xnY8T4
You can find more information on our dedicated page, along with all the recommended gem links.
A lot of the endgame gear can easily be crafted. For a general overview of crafting and to learn how to craft specific items, check out my crafting guides
You can read more details about our gearing recommendations on the dedicated page. You’ll find a summarized version below.
|Life then Res/Attributes as needed (For high budget you can get a helmet with “+ level of socketed minion gems)
|Life then Res/Attributes as needed
|Life then Res/Attributes as needed
|Life & movement speed then Res/Attributes
|Life then Res/Attributes as needed
|Rare with + level of minion and/or spell skills
|High life, preferably with %life recovery on block or The Surrender
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.
We’ll be using minions to level with prior to getting the build enabling jewel. With that said the following suggestions for leveling makes sure you don’t have to use any Orb of Regret to change your build when you have access to the Dead Reckoning. Do keep in mind that if you get the Dead Reckoning 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 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.
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.
- Levelling skill tree with jewel, 13 points
- Levelling skill tree with jewel, 34 points
- Levelling skill tree with jewel, 78 points
- Finished skill tree with jewel
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 or Summon Raging Spirit as an example which all become viable leveling options from level 8 thanks to Melee Splash Support.
- Stormblast Mine for single target
- Freezing Pulse for clearing
- Frost Bomb for clearing when you get it instead of the Freezing Pulse
Once you reach level 8 you are able to purchase Melee Splash Support which cost 1x t Orb of Transmutation. This can then be combined with Summon Skeletons or Summon Raging Spirit. Starting with the Skeleton/SRS approach the links should look like this:
- Summon Skeletons or Summon Raging Spirit
- Melee Splash Support can be replaced with Infernal Legion Support
- Minion Damage Support
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.
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 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.
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.
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 drops!