The Baron Zombies & Skeletons Necromancer Build Guide (PoE Metamorph 3.9)

Vvckd

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Guide Format

This build guide is split over multiple pages, both to prevent it from getting too long, as well as to help you better find the information you are looking for. In addition to the current page, which presents general information about the build and also contains a Leveling and FAQ section, we have the following pages:

Introduction

The following build is a Necromancer that specializes in raising very strong zombies and skeletons in order to defeat foes. The Baron The Baron applies half of your strength to your minions while also giving you additional maximum zombies per 300 strength and your zombies leech life to you when you acquire 1000 strength. This is a strength stacking build. Considering strength gives a lot of flat hit points it is easy to reach great life pool without much effort. The build is able to reach 9-10k life by level 95 and due to recent changes the build only gets better. The leech that the helm provides is actually a great sustain since the zombies hit so hard. Stacking a lot of flat and percent strength makes the build what it is, this requires specific items which may not be obtainable in a solo self-found environment. Consider that even without The Baron and the strength stacking you can still play a variation of this build simply relying on skeletons to carry you through the game since they are so strong.

Build Summary

This build can be played as a league starter. In the beginning of leagues The Baron The Baron costs couple of Chaos Orb Chaos Orbs. The helm can carry you alone after level 28, simply put your Raise Zombie Raise Zombie setup in it so they can benefit from the +2 minion gem levels. Until then you can level with Summon Raging Spirit Summon Raging Spirit. Summon Skeletons Summon Skeletons should be mainly used for boss killings early on. Alberon's Warpath Alberon's Warpath unique boots provide huge percent strength that is required for the build to work, they should be very cheap. Astramentis Astramentis is a unique amulet that provides over 100 flat attributes, although it is recommended replacing it with well rolled rare amulet later on.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Great boss killer
+ Good sustain even without flasks
+ Simple play style

Cons

- Clear speed is on the low end
- Requires specific items in order to play
- Relies on minion AI

Playstyle

Offensively, you have more than enough damage to deal with anything, as long as you keep up your skeletons and apply offensive curse via curse on hit setup. 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 Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse. Makes sure to keep Flesh Offering Flesh Offering up at all times. If you want to be more skeleton oriented and want your minions to be faster in order to improve clear speed you can choose to play with Queen's Escape Queen's Escape. Deathmark Deathmark will allow you to target a specific mob you need to kill as quickly as possible.

Defensively, damage dealt by zombies leech to you as life takes care of most of the things. 9k+ endgame life pool makes most hits not relevant. Playing a minion build frees up space for defensive flasks. Use Convocation Convocation when you are all by yourself in order to summon your army to defend you.

For Playstyle, a single cast of skeletons should be enough to clear a pack of monsters. Make sure you stay behind your minions, they can be used as a “meat shield”. When you get low make sure your zombies are hitting the enemy so you can get your life leeched back.

Passive Tree

Here is an endgame version of the passive tree.

For more information, be sure to check out the Passive Skill Tree page.

Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheons

Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Power page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.

Gems

We go over all of the gem links this build uses in the end-game on our Gem Link page.

Gear Summary / TL;DR

These items provide a good balance between offense and defense and are enough to deal with the endgame, although there is definitely a room for improvement. Please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels and Flasks page in its entirety.

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head The Baron The Baron
Amulet Rare Amulet
Chest Rare Body Armour
Gloves Rare Gloves
Boots Alberon's Warpath Alberon's Warpath
Belt Rare Heavy Belt Heavy Belt
Rings Rare Rings
Weapon Rare Elder-based Two-hand

Leveling

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

Level up with Summon Raging Spirit Summon Raging Spirit until level 28, then you can sustain zombies with the additional levels from The Baron The Baron.

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. The Baron The Baron will make your zombies extremely strong and will ensure an easy leveling experience.

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 level 28, finally, you can socket Raise Zombie Raise Zombie in The Baron The Baron. This will allow you to obliterate the leveling content. At this point you will mostly rely on your zombies until you ascend into Bone Sculptor, until then, you should not be using Skeletons because they will be slow and weak.

  1. Raise Zombie Raise Zombie
  2. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  3. Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support
  4. Physical to Lightning Support Physical to Lightning Support

FAQ

Why would zombies and skeletons be chosen over spectres?

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 and skeletons melt bosses in matter of seconds.

Reaching 1000 strength seems hard, at what level should this be achieved?

If you have the right gear pieces 1000 strength should be reached by level 75 with no issues.

Conclusion

The Zombies & Skeletons Necromancer is as classic summoner as you can get in Path of Exile. Summon an army of undead and watch them obliterate enemies for you while you empower them with offerings. 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 interesting while at the same time it is endgame viable.

Changelog
  •   

    Revisited and updated for Blight 3.9. The build has been hit with a couple of nerfs but both Zombies & Skeletons are still able to carry very hard.

  •   

    Updated passive skill trees for Blight 3.8. The build becomes even stronger and more fun to play due to changes in passive skill tree, gems and the ascendancy class.

  •   

    Updated ascendancy recommendations for Blight 3.8. The build is stronger than ever before because of the changes to Necromancer, along with the buffs to summoner gems and passive nodes on the tree.

  •   

    Updated Passive trees and Gem sections for Legion 3.7. The build received a slight buff.

  •   

    Updated passive trees and recommended new passive tree pathing for Legion 3.7.

  •   

    Improved Gem and Gearing sections.

  •   

    Updated passive skill trees.

  •   

    Revisited and updated for Synthesis 3.6.

  •   

    Made the playstyle section more descriptive, and improved the gearing section by providing more detailed recommendations.

  •   

    Reworked Gem Link and Gem Progression sections for improved visibility

4
  1. Posts
    1

    This is gonna be a bit of a noob question as I haven’t been playing long. However, which class should be picked for this? I see a lot of strength being talked about so that suggests a melee class in my mind but summoning also suggests a caster.

    Additionally, I’m not sure how I should read the gem progression. Is it that I should get one of each of the gems at the level it’s listed under?

    Looking at the gems suggested and which gems are available to which classes through quests/vendor, it’s looking like the Templar is the choice for this? Correct me if I’m wrong

  2. Vvckd

    Moderator

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    668

    As in every other build guide you can see the Ascendancy class in the build title. Necromancer is an Ascendancy class of the Witch. When it comes to gem progression, the suggested levels indicate at what level a gem can be used. Most gems in this particular build guide can be bought of vendors. If you cannot find a particular gem you can simply buy it off poe.trade or complete the quests in Act III Library or Act VI Twilight Strand in order to have access to all gems.

    Edited by Vvckd on January 2nd, 2019

  3. Posts
    1

    Hi @vvckd, I also have a noob question for you or maybe more something I don’t really understand well.

    In your 7.3 chapter (gem progression), do you show us the level of the gem or the gem we should have and equipped at a certain level?

    Not totally sure because, when I see, at level 8 have 6 linked gem (I assume they are linked), it’s maybe difficult to reach.

    I also found myself that the onslaught support gem can’t be obtanaible with the witch until acte 3, if I remember well, so I cheat this part by doing a new character and reaching this gem asap to put it in the starch for the wich.

    Do you think you be a little more specific on these points in your guide? (when you have time of course). Could be very helpfull, especially for new player like me ^^

    Thanks for your sharing

  4. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    668

    Hello @djshivas, we have provided 6-Link example for low levels simply because you could be using Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa since level 1, which allows you to have these links. If you do not have the Tabula simply drop off some of the last gems in the gem sequence. When it comes to acquiring gems that are not given to your specific class as a reward, simply buy one off poe.trade, or ask a friend to buy it from a vendor. The other solution to the problem is as you mentioned to make a new character and run the specific quest for the gem, but that in my opinion is not efficient. Feel free to ask any other questions if you are wondering how the game works. Stay safe exile.

  5. Posts
    9

    Hi :) Where should I put Desecrate and Flesh Offering in my equipment? Should I get Unset Rings cuz no space for them in current gem setup. Also should I keep cwdt setup on lower levels or can max it?

    Edited by Kaelos on March 20th, 2019

  6. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    668

    Hello Kaelos, the only two mandatory links are Raise Zombie and Summon Skeleton, other links are more of a guideline/recommendation. You can always drop something like the Golem/Raise Spectre setup in order to use Flesh Offering/Desecrate. When it comes to CWDT most of the time it is recommended to keep the gems low since you do not have Endurance charges and the gem levels will probably not make huge difference.

  7. Posts
    9

    Would be nice if mentioned in guides what lvl should these cwdt setups be kept at. People may not be aware :)

    Edited by Kaelos on March 22nd, 2019

  8. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    668

    Hello Kaelos, will do, thank you!

  9. Posts
    1

    I have been stareing my self blind on your skill tree, and i can’t find 2 places where i can have Violent Dead with 40 int close to it.
    Am i just blind, or dont you use em in your endgame skill tree anymore?
    So far i like the build, ty for that. =]

    Edit: so i’m starting to think that you maybe dont need to have 40int picked inside the radius.

    Edited by Doden on March 31st, 2019

  10. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    668

    Hey Doden, the intelligence does not have to be allocated indeed, you only need to have the intelligence in the radius of the jewel

  11. Posts
    8

    So I have a question… I finally got the Baron helmet and I’ve shot a ton of chromatics on it and it insists on having almost all red slots. How the hell do you get 3 blues on a STR helm? Halp!

  12. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    668

    On 06/04/2019 at 4:59 AM, Rhaevyn said

    So I have a question… I finally got the Baron helmet and I’ve shot a ton of chromatics on it and it insists on having almost all red slots. How the hell do you get 3 blues on a STR helm? Halp!

    Hey Rhaevyn, here is how you should off-colour items. Make it a two socket on the bench, then craft one or two blue until you have 2 socketed 2 blues. Then you need to craft 3 sockets and go back to two sockets until you hit the 3rd blue. Once you have 3 socketed 3 blues helmet then just craft 4 sockets. The other way is simply paying 125 Chromatics (or whatever the cost was) on the bench in order to craft 3 blue, the helmet is strength based and its very likely that the 4th will be red, as you need it to be.

  13. Posts
    8

    Wow, thanks for the fast response. I am still relatively new to PoE and haven’t really delved into crafting that much yet. I bought the helm for this build because I really like your guide and the playstyle suits me. I think I only have about 80 chromatics, so I’ll just keep looting chrom items until I have enough to do the second part of your suggestion because the first part made my brain bleed a little snicker – I’m a late comer but I’ve spent days reading up on things, perusing builds; have a ways to go before I get a handle on everything, but I’m enjoying this build already just spamming Raging Spirit!

  14. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    668

    On 06/04/2019 at 8:22 AM, Rhaevyn said

    Wow, thanks for the fast response. I am still relatively new to PoE and haven’t really delved into crafting that much yet. I bought the helm for this build because I really like your guide and the playstyle suits me. I think I only have about 80 chromatics, so I’ll just keep looting chrom items until I have enough to do the second part of your suggestion because the first part made my brain bleed a little snicker – I’m a late comer but I’ve spent days reading up on things, perusing builds; have a ways to go before I get a handle on everything, but I’m enjoying this build already just spamming Raging Spirit!

    Haha, glad you enjoy the guide, if you want to ask anything else about the game we will be happy to help.

  15. Posts
    8

    OK Vvckd, I’m gonna take you up on your offer to answer questions. I’ve been going bleary eyed trying to figure out how the hell to craft myself resists (mine are abysmal) and we won’t even talk about the socketing situation above. I’m barely surviving in Delve and I need to get to at least depth 24 before I can even dream of finding the 4 socket recipe… FML. My little toon is only 56 and even the level 35 spots are painful. I manage though.

    So in order to survive in there I need to craft more resistances. And I just don’t have the currency (or levels, or prerequisites, or somesuch) to get anything decent, and I am also using several uniques, which we know we can’t alter. That lead me to thinking that I would – sadly – swap them out for handmade rares with the stats I need. Now we’re full circle. I can’t even do that because I don’t have the sockets recipes and I can’t give up my entire build to this point by losing all the gems I have setup.

    The character I made for this build (this guide) is shelved for now until I can sort out the sockets. The one I’ve decided to limp through with is another Witch necro that was following a different build, but I liked yours better and started it out. In any case, I wanted her to be the farmer, recipe acquirer, currency collector, you get the gist. But she’s in Act VI now and you can’t just go back to lower acts. And it’s been challenging. Sort of like playing the lowest difficulty on Nightmare mode haha. Hey, it’s certainly teaching me to learn how to move my ass, I can tell you!

    The “mess” I’m playing was at least lucky enough to stumble on a Wraithlord Bone Circlet, so that’s a bonus. I should cut this short, sorry for the novel. In any event, I am just completely at a loss and find myself looking for yet another build for any kind of character that is survivable, doesn’t require uniques, can get max resists and just be playable (not great, just alive) so I can build up a good base of currency and recipes. So, umm, halp?

  16. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    668

    On 08/04/2019 at 2:31 AM, Rhaevyn said

    OK Vvckd, I’m gonna take you up on your offer to answer questions. I’ve been going bleary eyed trying to figure out how the hell to craft myself resists (mine are abysmal) and we won’t even talk about the socketing situation above. I’m barely surviving in Delve and I need to get to at least depth 24 before I can even dream of finding the 4 socket recipe… FML. My little toon is only 56 and even the level 35 spots are painful. I manage though.

    So in order to survive in there I need to craft more resistances. And I just don’t have the currency (or levels, or prerequisites, or somesuch) to get anything decent, and I am also using several uniques, which we know we can’t alter. That lead me to thinking that I would – sadly – swap them out for handmade rares with the stats I need. Now we’re full circle. I can’t even do that because I don’t have the sockets recipes and I can’t give up my entire build to this point by losing all the gems I have setu

    Your confusion is understandable, considering you are a newer player. Here is what I recommend doing. If you cannot run 3Blue1Red on The Baron The Baron, simply go for 2R2B for now and use the following link.

    Raise Zombie Raise Zombie Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support
    Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support

    When it comes to capping out resistances, you can easily craft most of your gear on your own. I recommend using Orb of Alchemy Orb of Alchemys on Two-Stone Ring Two-Stone Rings and use the crafting bench in order to craft Life/Resistances on all the gear pieces you can.

    I do understand you love the summoner archetype, but keep it mind it might be rough early on. Summoners’ power in Path of Exile start kicking in around level 70+, when you start doing maps. The Dominating Blow Guardian is probably one of the easiest, most straight forward and powerful summoners early on you can start playing if you choose to make a new character, we have a guide on the build up. For now, good luck and keep grinding gear friend. :D

    Edited by Vvckd on April 8th, 2019

  • Posts
    8

    Haha, well… it’s kinda too late on the helm. I already F’d that up good. It has 2 linked slots and one solo. I don’t have the recipe for 4 slots, even if I had all the currency. Live and learn :(

    I’ll check the other guide for sure. For now I’m just stumbling by with my Frankenfried summoner and we’ll see how far I can get. Ya never know. Thanks so much for being so kind to this granny gamer. Much appreciated!

  • Posts
    1

    Thanks for the build. I found out that I don’t need the intelligence nodes allocated for Violent Dead to be active. Is this true for Efficient Training as well?

  • Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    668

    On 13/04/2019 at 9:59 AM, null said

    Thanks for the build. I found out that I don’t need the intelligence nodes allocated for Violent Dead to be active. Is this true for Efficient Training as well?

    Sadly, for the Efficient Training Efficient Training it has to be allocated, if you put it in the jewel slot left from Witch, you will transform a lot of Intelligence to Strength, since you pick it on the way anyways.

  • Posts
    1

    Firstly great guide.
    My question is it only goes to level 28 so it’s somewhat restricted.
    What do I use spell and tree wise after level 28?

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