Raise Spectre is the defacto builds, sporting the best clear and the best damage. Better yet, it is not gated by any expensive Uniques or items — you can be tearing apart your first Awakener kill or blitzing through red maps for less than a hundred Chaos Orbs. The main uniques incorporated, such as Victario's Charity or The Devouring Diadem, can be obtained easily on any league (such as SSF) or are entirely optional.
There are several types of Spectres that are commonly used, however, this build focuses on making use of the , an underutilized Spectre that actually puts the rest of them to shame. Boss killing, mapping, deep delving — all fall before the spectral army we can employ, giving this build a rare flexibility that few others can boast of.
In the Raise Spectre gem received yet another nerf:
Raised spectres now have a spectre level of 28 at gem level 1 (from 31), up to level of 72 at gem level 20 (from 76).
This will have a noticeable impact on Spectre survivability but shouldn’t influence damage greatly. I’ve compensated by adding 30% Minion Maximum Life on the tree plus some additional Minion Regeneration. Damage should not be too noticeable as this build was already overbuilt and stacked to the moon on that component.
+ Exceptional boss slayer — used for many Uber Awakener first kills upon Sirus’ release
+ Massive DPS from our cadre of Raise Spectres (5M+ Shaper DPS)
+ Strong all around defenses (high maximum life, regeneration, 9 Jewel sockets, Phase Acrobatics, high Evasion)
+ Excellent league starter
+ Reaches millions of DPS even with less than an Exalted Orb of investment
+ Delve to depths of ~650+ without trouble
+ Flatten all types of content from the safety of the backline — let your army do the work
+ High movement speed
– Summoner playstyle is polarizing — usually a “love it or hate it” type of build
Path of Building
Path of Building is available for my build here.
DPS is counted for each spectre individually — remember you have 4 (or 5, if you have a +1 gems item!).
We use the Path of Building Community Fork for all of our builds, which is highly recommended. If you are encountering errors importing the build, please ensure you are .
Playstyle and Build Mechanics
Many players find Necromancer to be a polarizing Ascendancy — the Summoner archetype is a fairly unique one in feel and gameplay, and while certain players fall in love with it from the get-go, others find themselves alienated by the differences. Our Raise Spectre Necromancer strikes a nice balance between a conventional build and a summoner — since Armageddon Brand is used as the main trigger for our Elemental Equilibrium, this build does have the combined feel of a spellcaster and a summoner.
This build makes use of the Slave Driver, an uncommon choice but our in Patch 3.12 Heist League. Unlike past iterations of the summoner, we do not need to make use of multiple types of spectres to maximize our potential in all areas of the game — boss killing, clear, and delve, the Slave Drivers are exceptional at it all.
Elemental Equilibrium allows us to deal massively increased damage with our minions for free and is easily applied using a self-cast spell. While this is not completely necessary for clearing standard mobs, it is an enormous increase for bossing and Legion rares, and helps us really power through targets that are a bit more beefy. Slave Drivers deal a heavy amount of Lightning damage and tear apart virtually everything.
Obtaining the Slave Driver Spectres
- Go to the Control Blocks in Act V.
- Cast Desecrate to spawn corpses.
- Cast Raise Spectre on a Slave Driver (holding “A” makes this process far easier).
, or you will summon twice in a row causing additional random spectres to spawn. We are using Spell Echo Support purely for influencing the Slave Drivers damage, not for the manual casting of Raise Spectre itself.
- Cast Raise Spectre on a Slave Driver (holding “A” makes this process far easier). Repeat this and the previous step until you have the maximum number of Spectres.
Passive Skill Tree
For more information and a late game juggernaut version of this build, be sure to check out the Passive Skill Tree page.
We go over all of the gem links this build uses in the end-game on our Gem Link page.
Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheon Powers
Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Power page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.
Gear Summary / TL;DR
These items strike a balance between power and cost-effectiveness. If you want to explore more options for Gear (both budget and high-end), Flasks, or get more information on alternatives and specialty items, please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels, and Flasks section in its entirety.
|Item Slot||Item Name|
|Head||+3 Minion Gems Bone Helmet or The Devouring Diadem (has separate gem setup and talent tree)|
|Chest||+1 to Maximum Spectres Rare Chest|
|Boots||+1 Raise Spectre Level Elder Rare Boots|
|Belt||Rare Stygian Vise|
|Rings||Rare Unset Rings|
|Weapon||Trigger a Socketed Spell When You Use a Skill Rare Wand|
|Shield||Victario's Charity or Rare Shield|
For much more detailed information on the best gear, jewels, and flasks to use, be sure to check out our Gear page.
As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.
- 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.
It is you follow our Quick Reference Leveling Guide in tandem from this point onwards. It is the most efficient leveling guide available and will direct you exactly where you need to go to get through the Acts as quickly as possible while also obtaining all essential items and lab trials. This section is written assuming that you are following our optimal path.
20 Point Tree
Kill Hillock and enter Lioneye’s Watch. Collect Freezing Pulse from Tarkleigh and immediately purchase Raise Zombie from Nessa. Remove Fireball and replace it with Freezing Pulse linked to Arcane Surge Support. Keep your Fireball gem for now.
After you return to Lioneye’s Watch for the first time (assuming you are following the guide), collect:
- Summon Raging Spirit from Tarkleigh’s reward
- Frostblink from Tarkleigh’s reward
- Summon Phantasm Support and your Quicksilver Flask from Nessa’s reward
- Purchase Holy Flame Totem from Nessa
Now link together:
And socket your Summon Raging Spirit to begin leveling it up.
After you kill Brutus and return to town, collect:
- Infernal Legion Support from Tarkleigh’s reward
- Flame Dash from Tarkleigh’s reward
- Purchase Minion Damage Support from Nessa
- Purchase Combustion Support from Nessa
- If you can afford to, buy a second Minion Damage Support as well
Convert your Holy Flame Totem to a 3-Link as soon as possible:
Additionally, link Summon Raging Spirit when a second 3-Link is available:
When you return to Lioneye’s Watch after entering the Cavern of Wrath:
- Speak to Nessa and collect Flesh Offering
Recommended to bring at least one Sapphire Ring to kill Merveil, or two to make it super smooth. If you haven’t received any as drops:
- Purchase an Iron Ring (or two if you need a second ring)
- Sell your Iron Ring and your Fireball together
- Repeat this process with another Iron Ring and Freezing Pulse for a second Sapphire Ring
This recipe works for any Resistance ring — Iron Ring + gem — with blue gems for Cold Resistance, red for Fire Resistance, and green for Lightning Resistance.
38 Point Tree
In this Act we kill Oak, Kraityn, and Alira for the 2 Passive Points from Eramir.
After you kill the Weaver collect:
- Predator from Silk’s reward
- Purchase Melee Physical Damage Support from Yeena
After you have completed The Root of the Problem quest collect:
- Desecrate from Greust’s reward
- Purchase Summon Skitterbots from Yeena
- Purchase Melee Physical Damage Support from Yeena
Your new link, and first aura, will be Summon Skitterbots:
These links should be plenty to get you all the way through Act III.
61 Point Tree
It’s worth doing the Library quest if you are League Starting or Solo Self-Found, as there are several helpful leveling gems:
- Feeding Frenzy Support (quest reward)
- Added Fire Damage Support (purchase)
- Wrath (purchase) — do not use for now, but level it up in a gem slot or offhand
Make your Raise Zombie a 4-Link:
- Raise Zombie
- Minion Damage Support
- Melee Physical Damage Support (take from your Raging Spirit link if you don’t have it yet)
- Feeding Frenzy Support
And your new Summon Raging Spirit 3-Link will be:
Be sure to take Raise Spectre as your quest reward after killing General Gravicius to start leveling it up immediately.
Leveling with Raise Spectre
You can start using Raise Spectre to level in a 4-link from this point onwards, should you desire. This is much easier done with a Wraithlord and is usually slower than simply using zombies and raging spirits if league starting, but it is a viable strategy.
Head to Act I The Ledge and cast Desecrate. Use the “A” key to mouse over the corpses and raise 2 Cannibal Fire Eaters. Repeat Desecrate cast if you can’t find them in the pile of corpses. You should still keep your Holy Flame Totem and at least one other minion link, as the spectres do not have very impressive clear speed or tankiness at this level.
You can ascend in The Labyrinth to Necromancer whenever you choose at this point. Remember that we take first.
Act V and Onwards
89 Point Tree
This tree should be completed around the time you are finishing Act X and are ready for the Merciless Labyrinth.
As you start Act V you can ditch your Summon Skitterbots link with Infernal Legion Support and start running both Summon Skitterbots and Wrath at the same time. If you are using spectres in your leveling setup you can also get Slave Drivers from Act IV now, but be aware they are somewhat squishy, so don’t hesitate to invest in some additional Minion Life if necessary (or link them to Minion Life Support).
If you are using Summon Raging Spirit as a form of primary damage, you should upgrade to a 4-Link at this point:
- Summon Raging Spirit
- Minion Damage Support
- Added Fire Damage Support
- Melee Physical Damage Support or Melee Splash Support
Melee splash allows you to use your raging spirits to clear; you can simply fire a few off and keep running through the area. Melee Physical will be helpful for burning down bosses and will gain value as you get deeper into the Acts. Choose one or feel free to swap between them if you want to try hard.
Improving the Animate Guardian
Animate Guardian is similar to having your own personal [budget] aura-bot, following you and your undead army around and keeping them buffed up and strong. You can equip the Animate Guardian with powerful items and gear, however, if the guardian dies .
One of the primary factors behind the survival of the Animate Guardian is . Your Animate Guardian gem level should be before you start to equip it with proper gear, especially if they are items you fear to lose. Additionally, there are a few ways of improving your Animate Guardian‘s gem level:
Your Animate Guardian wants as much Life Regeneration as possible to ensure it always stays healthy, even with constant use of Convocation. One of the main Uniques that is excellent for fulfilling this purpose is Gruthkul's Pelt, which gives it a large injection of Life, Resistances, and a healthy .
Kingmaker is also an exceptional upgrade for damage and survivability, and ensures that a mobility skill like Shield Charge (which can procure Fortify Support) is not at all necessary. It grants you and all your minions Fortify Support in perpetuity, Culling Strike, +50% to Critical Strike Multiplier, and a nice Rarity bonus. Kingmaker is the best possible upgrade, but not the most essential out of the gate — you want to ensure that your Animate Guardian will always survive before you start investing too heavily.
Upgrading the Rainbowstride boots to a pair with the enchant Regenerate 2% of Life and Mana per second if you were Hit Recently is also ideal. Alternately, you can get a Rare pair of boots with Elemental Resistances, Life, and Life regeneration, although this is a larger investment and commitment and not necessary.
Life is one of the best stats for the Animate Guardian, as we want as much Regeneration on it as possible, creating a nice synergy.
Animate Guardian End-Game 4-Link
These are your options for improving your Animate Guardian in the end-game. Even without Empower Support and Minion Life Support the Animate Guardian will be extremely difficult to kill. There are some attacks, however, that it may not survive such as Sirus’ meteor attack if you forget to use Convocation. It is highly recommended to use either Minion Life or Empower if you are delving past ~250, as the physical damage from monsters starts to become extremely high. Avoid taking the guardian any deeper than around 450, as it will likely be killed if the wrong combinations of mods arises.
- Animate Guardian
- Empower Support (Level 3/4) or Summon Stone Golem
- Elemental Army Support
- Minion Life Support or Raise Zombie
- Gruthkul's Pelt
- Leer Cast or Nearby Enemies Have -9% to Lightning Resistance Rare Bone Helmet (Delve Crafted with Metallic Fossils)
- Rainbowstride (Regenerate 2% of Life and Mana per second if you were Hit Recently Enchanted)
Remember that having a Bone Helmet equipped on that has +# to Level of Socketed Minion Gems is enormously beneficial to your Animate Guardian‘s ability to survive (providing you have your link in the helmet, of course).
Which Annointment is Best for My Amulet?
Our current preferences are:
- Ravenous Horde ( Opalescent Oil + Opalescent Oil + Verdant Oil) is far and away the best choice, even with the nerfs in Patch 3.9.0 Metamorph.
My Spectres Are Dying
There are a few additional Minion Survivability nodes on the tree you can take if you find you need them, however, with the Ascendancy and Passive Recommendations we provided your minions should be extremely durable. Ensure you are casting Convocation often if this process is not already automated.
How Can I Run Two 50% Auras?
As we note on the Passive Skill Tree Page, you will need to acquire the reduced Mana in the __Sovereignty_ wheel up in the top-left of the skill tree before being able to run both of your auras.
What Map Mods should I avoid?
Elemental Reflect is the only Map mod that is not possible/majorly inconvenient for this build, so avoid it at all points.
Check out the other pages of our guide for more information: