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[Scourge] PoE 3.16 Witch Cold Skeleton Necromancer Starter Builds

PoeCurrencyBuy Date: Oct/18/21 07:06:08 Views: 9003

Skeleton builds have always been great characters for beginners to learn the game, as well as for veterans who want an efficient league starter and/or a strong build that can clear all content. For beginners, skeletons offer a simple playstyle with few gear requirements and impactful, incremental upgrades.

[Scourge] PoE 3.16 Witch Cold Skeleton Necromancer Starter Builds


Pros & Cons

+League starter
+Versatile – phys, elemental, melee, ranged, attack, spell
+High DPS on a low budget but able to scale well with currency
+Sirus and Shaper kills on a budget
+Tanky – 6k+ EHP, plus other defensive layers
+Chill, freeze, and corpse destruction
+Can do reflect maps with blessed rebirth
+Full mobility while maintaining maximum DPS

-Poor visibility
-Freezing phased map bosses is a pain (might have to use elemental focus on phased bosses)
-Gets nerfed every league


Skill Tree


Choose necromancer, and the following notables in this order:

Mindless Aggression – Offensive stats and opens up:

Unnatural Strength – Scaling minion levels is super important. Essentially it’s about 20% more damage and 20% more minion life.

Commander of Darkness – Helps with capping resists, and adding some damage. Not amazing, but solid.

Bone barrier – With the nerf to mistress of sacrifice and with heist needing defenses, bone barrier is now the uber lab choice.

Optional: Commander of Darkness can potentially be replaced once resistances are sorted out for:
Mistress of Sacrifice – Previously the uber lab option, this is a glorified 15% movement speed node with some utility. If bone offering is favored over flesh offering though, take this node instead.


Major god:

General play: Lunaris for the movement speed, physical damage reduction, and not taking damage from chains
Bosses (Optional): Solaris for more defences against one enemy
Sirus only: Araakali for the 25% chaos DOT resistance if chaos resistance is not capped

Minor god:

General play: Abberath since burning ground means no ES
Optional: Shakari for reduced chaos damage taken or Yugul for reduced cold damage taken


Kill All

Passive Tree & PoB

Note the changes in 3.16 skill tree, please wait for the update after 3.16 is released 

League Starter to Endgame (Recommended): https://pastebin.com/t1PUW1w3

Skeleton Warriors Endgame: https://pastebin.com/VJV2GC0N

Skeleton Archers Endgame: https://pastebin.com/zsrP1y48



Below is a rough progression idea for gem links and suggested skills while leveling. 

Act 1 

Pick raise zombie after clearing the twilight strand, and purchase Stormblast mine from Nessa. Purchase dash after completing the Breaking some Eggs Quest. After killing Brutus (The Caged Brute), you can pick up Summon Skeletons, and buy from Nessa up to two minion damage supports. Be sure to complete the labyrinth trial in the lower prison.

The playstyle will be to summon minions, while supplementing their damage with stormblast mine’s aura (non-detonated). You can also detonate the mines for additional burst damage. You do not have to use all minion types, nor support them all – pick your favorites! The mines are also optional.

Note: If you are leveling with a friend and they are able to (based on class), have them pick up dash, enduring cry, and vitality for you. Vitality in particular makes life very easy! 

Act 2 

After completing Sharp and Cruel, you can purchase faster casting (for dash/flame dash), predator and melee physical damage (for zombies/skeletons) from Yeena. After completing The Root of the Problem, purchase Summon Skitterbots from Yeena. You can link infernal legion (from act 1) to them for some additional damage. Be sure to complete the two lab trials located in The Crypt Level 1, and the Chamber of Sins Level 2.

Act 3 

You can pick up Raise Spectre after completing Sever the Right Hand. For now just raise any monster while leveling up the skill gem. Finish up the last three lab trials in the Crematorium, Catacombs, and the Imperial Garden. If you have about 1,000 life, you should be able to clear the first labyrinth and pick Mindless Aggression.

An ideal four link for skeletons/zombies would be: Summon skeletons/zombie-Minion Damage-Melee Physical-Predator

Act 4 

You get another minion in Carrion golem after completing Breaking the Seal. After The Eternal Nightmare, pick Spell Echo or Multistrike.

Act 5 

In The Control Blocks, raise some Slave Driver Spectres, and put them in a four link if possible with minion damage, spell echo, and predator. Remove damage supports from zombies/carrion golem to make room for spectres (better clear speed). Link maim and feeding frenzy to either of these minions for them to act as support. Damage at this point will come from both spectres and skeletons.

Acts 6-10 

At this point, skeletons and spectres will carry you through the rest of the acts with no issues. Keep up with gear, picking up life and resistances where possible. A good rule of thumb is 300 life per act (e.g. 1,800 life in act 6). Completing Fallen from Grace allows you to purchase almost all gems from Lilly, so do that as soon as you reach act 6. The Cruel Labyrinth trials are located in The Prison (Act 6), the Crypt (Act 7), and the Chamber of Sins Level 2 (Act 7). Recommended for the Cruel Labyrinth is 2,000 life and level 55.

The Merciless Labyrinth Trials are located in the Bath House (Act 8), the Tunnel (Act 9), and Ossuary (Act 10). Recommended for the Cruel Labyrinth is 3,000 life and level 65. Complete the Cruel Labyrinth before beating Kitava in Act 10 to have some more resists.

Leveling Uniques 

See below for a few uniques which may make the leveling process easier. Most are pretty cheap even at league start, but some are only accessible for second characters and on:

Buy Cheap 3.16 Scourge Levleing Item Now!



Key Item

Triad Grips – These gloves allow for full conversion from physical to elemental or chaos damage based on the colors of the sockets. We need all green sockets – no other colors will work for the base cold build.

Guide on how to get off colors on gear: https://www.poecurrencybuy.com/news/how-to-craft-cheap-4-green-sockets-triad-grip

New to maps (Level 1 Gear)

The first goal would be to max resistances and to try to get some life on your gear as this build does not need anything special at this tier. Some prefer a shield for resistances/life. Due to a Triad Grip being a unique item, it may not be available for cheap early league – there are no issues with starting out as physical skeletons and transitioning over to elemental conversion later on (see 8(13) for league start tips). 

Your first major purchase should be a six linked chest – typically a tabula rasa or a cheap corrupted rare with the correct six colors (3R3B, or 3R1G2B at league start). Life and other stats on top are nice, but may be too expensive at this point. While expensive, nothing in the game adds more DPS than an extra support gem for so little cost (relatively). The second purchase should be level 21 vaal summon skeletons. Six of the divination card “The Bones” will give the level 21 vaal summon skeletons gem and may be cheaper than buying the gem.

Other good choices (dependent on league):Belt of the deceiver. For a weapon, use the highest tier of Essence of Fear on hand on a convoking wand, or price permitting/league dependent, purchase a temple wand/sceptre (Minions have 5% chance to deal double damage). The Jinxed Juju is a good budget amulet early on. The rest should be rares.

By the end of Level 1 Gear, you should have a six linked chest, level 21 vaal summon skeletons, 4,000+ life and capped resistances. There are many cheap upgrades in level 2 gear.

30c to 5 exalts (Level 2 Gear)

Starting in this section, the gear will be broken down by slot. In general, as resistance per piece of gear goes up, start to switch some (excess) elemental resistances for chaos resistance.

Helmet – Rare helmet - This is where we will be parking some of our non-skeleton minions which we want to keep alive. They are not here to do damage so Look for a helmet with +(1-3) to level of socketed minion gems, life, and an open prefix. Other useful stats: resistances, dexterity, and intelligence. The prefix is for a +1 to maximum number of skeletons craft, unlockable by unveiling veiled helmets. An offensive alternative is a helmet with a great enchant (see 8(11)) on it and then harvest craft it yourself.

Body – Defensive: Six linked rare, with high life, possibly percent life and resistances. Offensive: tabula rasa corrupted with +2 to level of socketed duration gems to raise the level of skeletons by +2. Skeleton warrior colors: 3R3B; Skeleton archer colors: 2R2B2G, or 1R3B2G

Weapons – Two wands. Look for either +1 to level of all spell skill gems, or +1 to level of all minion skill gems. Both together is the set-up for Level 3 Gear, but so far is out of this level’s budget. You will also want other minion stats on the wands including minion damage and attack speed otherwise it is better to use the temple wands from level 1 gear. One wand should either have an open suffix for crafting Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill, or already have that mod crafted. The Trigger wand is a game changer, so get one ASAP.

Gloves – Triad Grips – Four green sockets.

Boots – Start by purchasing a rare base boot with the mana regen lab enchant (super important!). Then craft until you have some combination of life, resists (and/or dexterity), and movement speed. 

Amulet – One of your bigger purchases at this level – a rare amulet with +1 to level of all intelligence skill gems. Depending on your budget, the other stats could be life, dexterity, or resists. Craft either life, a resist + chaos resist, or minion speed. The preferred base is turquoise (due to lacking dex/int on tree). If this costs over 1 ex, consider the cheaper, more defensive alternative: a Jinxed Juju. Be sure to anoint this amulet with Death Attunement.

Rings – Rares with life, dexterity and resists. Prioritize chaos resistance. Resistances permitting, pick up a redeemer ring with “Curse enemies with frostbite on hit, with X% increased effect” – this is a nice DPS increase.

Belt – Stygian Vise (or other belt) with high life and resistances. An alternative is Darkness Enthroned with two decent ghastly eye jewels.

Cluster Jewels – Dependent on league, the jewels in the 6(2) PoB may be affordable.

By the end of level 2 gear, you should have triad grips (4g), two good weapons, a +1 to all intelligence skill gems amulet or anointed Jinxed Juju, 5,000+ life, and capped resistances including some chaos resistance. This is more than enough to kill awakening level 8 Sirus, Shaper, and other bosses depending on your skill level.


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