[3.9] Zombiemancer 2.0 Build Guide – Path of Exile: Metamorph

[3.9] Zombiemancer 2.0 Build Guide – Path of Exile: Metamorph

Hello and welcome to another Path of Exile
build guide! With Blight league bringing a lot of changes
to summoners, it’s a perfect time to revisit and update one of my most popular builds,
the Zombiemancer. This 2.0 version of the build is way stronger
than the previous one and at the same time easier to play and gear up for. Recent improvements to minion AI also make
your zombies spend more time actually dealing damage to enemies rather than being some lazy
bums. Whether you’re already familiar with the older
version of the build or this is completely new to you, this updated guide will tell you
everything you need to know to play it like a pro. So, here’s the high level breakdown of the
build’s capabilities: This one of the most powerful summoner builds
of any kind out there! Once you have the 6 empowered zombies out
they will obliterate everything in their path. They are equally effective at quickly clearing
large packs of mobs as well as killing bosses all the way up to Uber Elder. Your minions are incredibly resilient, being
able to facetank pretty much everything thrown at them. They have very large health pools, capped
resistances and huge amounts of life regen, so even in the toughest fights it will be
enough to pull them back for a second or two in case they are in grave danger. The build is designed to be very easy to play
without having to cast specific sequences of spells or combos that are generally the
staple of minion builds. After summoning your small army, pretty much
everything after that is automated. While it does require quite a few mandatory
uniques, they’re all pretty common ones which are generally cheap even in the first days
of a league. As such it is a more than decent starter build
which can be easily funded as you progress through the game. End-game min-maxing and best in slot items
with very high affix rolls will be expensive, but I did manage to kill the Shaper with a
5-link and all my gear costing less than 2 exalts in total. With proper investment and a bit of practice,
you’ll be able to clear all content in the game. However there are two map modes that you should
avoid as they cripple the build too much: “physical damage reflect” will kill your
zombies quick and “no mana regen” makes it impossible for you to cast anything as
your mana pool is quite small. This being said, let’s see how you go about
getting all that. The guide is divided into seven main sections:
build overview, passive tree and leveling, ascendancy, pantheon, gems and links, gear
flasks and jewels and finally “pros & cons”. In the video description below you’ll find
a link for importing the entire build guide in the “Path Of Building” tool. It includes the passive tree broken down into
level brackets, example gear and a detailed “Notes” section on gearing, stats priorities
and gems. With that out of the way, it’s time to lay
out the build overview. The build revolves around summoning zombies
and then using specific pieces of gear, auras and other minions to greatly buff them. Zombies are a permanent type of minion, meaning
they do not expire or have a limited duration and they persist when changing zones. However they do not survive logging out and
will have to be re-summoned when coming back online. Summoning a zombie requires a corpse which
can belong to a dead monster or created with a spell such as “Desecrate”. The level of the corpse, the map where it
was created or the monster it belonged to, have absolutely no influence on the resulting
zombie – its stats depend strictly on the gem level as well as the support gems and
other buffs. By default zombies use a standard attack and
an area of effect slam skill, both dealing physical damage. As such most gems that affect attacks, physical
damage or area of effect can be used to support the zombie gem and in turn the summoned minions
themselves. For example when using “Ruthless” support
gem, every third attack of each zombie will be a Ruthless Blow, dealing more damage. Normally you are able to summon 7 zombies,
but through several passives and The Baron helmet that number is increased to 12. To get there you’ll need to stack up at least
900 strength, a completely realistic number which is not too difficult to achieve while
still maintaining very solid defenses and utility. The helmet also grants half of your strength
to all minions, thus also boosting their HP and physical damage. Moreover, when you get 1000 Strength, 2% of
the damage dealt by zombies is leeched back to you as life. This is an excellent defensive mechanism which
will help you survive a lot of incoming damage. Then by equipping Mon’Tregul’s Grasp sceptre
you end up with 6 zombies but each dealing twice as much damage. Even if it seems like the DPS output will
be the same, in reality you end up with much better applied damage since 12 zombies would
not fit around most targets, causing a lot of them to just stand around doing nothing. On top of that, this weapon also provides
large defence bonuses for the zombies as well as causing any enemies killed by them to explode,
dealing fire damage to other nearby monsters. That generally leads to a huge chain reaction
which clears entire packs in a split second. Gathering all this strength opens up the possibility
of using items such as Geofri’s Sanctuary Armour and Shaper’s Touch gloves to gain over
3000 energy shield. This is a huge amount considering you don’t
need to invest any passive points for it. In addition you’ll make use of several other
minions such as Spectres, Animated Guardian, Carrion Golem, Skitterbots and Holy Relic
which act as buff bots that further increase zombies DPS as well as defenses. Finally you top it all off with a few auras,
a pretty obvious choice for a build that revolves around minions. While it sounds like a lot to take it, don’t
worry, as always I will talk about all these in much greater details in the passives, gems
and gearing sections respectively. And speaking of that, let’s actually start
with the passive tree and leveling. As briefly mentioned in the build overview,
the main objectives are to increase the number of zombies and to gather as much strength
as possible. A large part of that will come from the passive
tree, especially through jewels so getting enough sockets will be a priority. Starting off as a Witch, in Act 1 you immediately
go for a few significant passives such as “Grave Intentions” and “Lord of the
Dead”. These will boost the max number of zombies
as well as their damage and defenses. However you’ll likely notice that at this
stage in the game your zombies tend to die quite easily and you need to resummon them
often. They also don’t deal too much damage yet and
this will be the case up to around level 25. As such I recommend you temporarily level
up using Freezing Pulse or Arc until then. You can have zombies and skeletons around
as meatshields but don’t rely on them to do much else yet. You can also use “Summon Raging Spirit”
if you prefer having a more summoner vibe from the very beginning. That being said, moving on through Act 2,
you’ll get some HP and resistances through “Cruel Preparation” and its adjacent nodes
while pathing towards the excellent “Death Attunement” minion wheel. This will grant you an additional zombie as
well as boost their damage and life. This act also brings with it the “Deal with
the Bandits” quest and the decision here is simple: kill them all. The bonuses they would provide are entirely
useless for summoners so the two passive points are clearly the way to go. In acts 3 and 4 continue buffing your zombies
by taking notable passives “Spiritual Command” and “Sacrifice”. Then stop by and grab “Quick Recovery”
to get a bit of life and mana regen for yourself. Lastly, invest into “Ravenous Horde” cluster,
greatly improving minions’ movement speed and granting them a chance to gain Onslaught
when killing enemies. This buff further increases their attack and
movement speed. Going through acts 5 and 6, take “Enduring
Bond” wheel, “Retribution” and “Aligned Spirits” for some overall minion damage. As encounters get a bit tougher, “Discipline
and Training” comes in handy as a significant boost to your own HP. At this stage in the game you should be more
or less in full summoner mode and not dealing any direct damage yourself. As such it is a good time to take “Elemental
Equilibrium” keystone. This is quite a straight-forward passive:
when you deal damage with a certain element, let’s take for example fire; so when you deal
fire damage to an enemy, Elemental Equilibrium increases that monster’s fire resistance while
lowering their cold and lightning ones by a very large amount. So how is this useful? When you pair your zombies with Hatred Aura
they deal additional cold damage on top of the default physical. If you, the summoner, deal fire or lightning
damage to enemies, Elemental Equilibrium lowers their cold resistance, greatly boosting the
damage dealt by zombies. Thankfully minions themselves do not trigger
Elemental Equilibrium in any way but they DO benefit from its effect. I will however talk a bit more about triggering
Elemental Equilibrium in the gems and gearing sections respectively. In acts 7 and 8 continue buffing your zombies
both defensively and offensively with “Indomitable Army” and “Gravepact”. The first brings a large amount of life, resistances
as well as physical damage reduction while the second will take care of your bois’ accuracy. Finally, balance it out with a bunch of Strength,
Life and Energy Shield for yourself through “Devotion” and “Sanctity”. As you approach the end of story mode and
difficulty starts ramping up, it’s a perfect time to invest in some HP through “Purity
of Flesh”, “Heart of the Warrior” and “Warrior’s Blood”. Then take the first two jewel sockets of the
build, at the top and left side of the starting area on the passive tree. Drop an “Efficient Training” jewel in
each of them and this will convert all Intelligence from their radius into Strength. It is critical to understand that you cannot
simply move these jewels somewhere else in the tree. Since they only work on passives inside their
radius, the goal is to place them in optimal sockets and obtain as much strength as possible. If you can’t yet find or afford these, then
temporarily use some random jewels that buff your defenses or minions DPS. Progressing towards level 80, first get the
jewel socket at the right side of the starting area, dropping yet another “Efficient Training”
jewel in it. Then grab two more sockets where you can use
regular jewels. As you approach level 90 you need to focus
on your defenses as well and “Melding” cluster as well as “Constitution” will
take care of that. You also get a decent amount of strength on
the way, which is always welcome for this build. Finally, by level 95, “Barbarism” and
an additional jewel socket are pretty much the best options. If you feel like pushing to level 100 then
“Fearsome Force” wheel is likely your best bet. And that’s about it for the passive tree and
leveling. In the next section I’ll be covering the Ascendancy
class which improves pretty much every single aspect of this build. Summoning dead stuff to fight for you is clearly
the signature of a Necromancer so that is what you’ll be picking as the Ascendancy class. First points go to “Mindless Aggression”,
a clear-cut and efficient passive: it simply buffs the damage as well as attack and movement
speed of your minions. Nothing really complicated. After completing Cruel Labyrinth spend the
points on “Unnatural Strength” which grants +2 levels to all active minion gems you’re
using. While this doesn’t seem like a big deal, bear
in mind that minions actually gain most of their damage and HP from gem levels. Even if this bonus doesn’t apply to support
gems, having higher level zombies, spectres and animated guardian will make them much
more resilient. The third passive is “Bone Barrier”, a
really strong defensive layer for both yourself and your minions. First, you get a whole bunch of physical damage
reduction, life and energy shield recovery and elemental resistances. This will make it much easier to focus your
gear on strength rather than wasting affixes on resistances. In addition you also get the “Bone Armour”
skill – when activated it creates a shield on yourself and each of your minions, absorbing
up to 22 hundred damage from hits. It also removes bleeding and provides immunity
to it for the buff’s duration which means you can even save an affix on your life flask. With the final Ascendancy points grab “Mistress
of Sacrifice”. This might be a bit surprising but thanks
to it you’ll be able to survive huge hits that would otherwise instantly kill you. With this passive, Spirit Offering will apply
to you as well, at a 75% efficiency. In practice it acts as a very strong, instant,
Energy Shield heal. I will go into greater details about it in
the Gems section, but for now I just need to add that this is one of the most important
defensive mechanisms of the build. With the ascendancy out of the way, we can
take a quick look at the Pantheon choices. Generally speaking Pantheon choices are situational
and there isn’t a “best” pair that will outperform all others in any scenario. However, there are certain options that complement
specific builds quite well in a wide range of situations. For this particular case, here are my recommendations: For the major god, Soul of Lunaris: it’s probably
the best defensive pantheon for builds which operate mostly in melee range. Since you’ll be using Shield Charge to apply
Elemental Equilibrium, you’ll end up in the thick of things quite often. As for the minor god, the optimal choice is
Soul of Shakari: chaos damage bypasses Energy Shield and poison in particular is encountered
quite often while mapping so it is always a good idea to reduce a type of damage that
can ignore about half of your effective HP. Having covered the pantheon choices, we can
now focus on one of the most important aspects of any build: gems and links. As usual I’ll start with the main skill, Raise
Zombies, and its support gems. First in line is a very simple and obvious
choice: “Minion Damage” support adding a huge amount of damage without any downside. The second support is “Melee Physical Damage”
yet another clear-cut DPS boost. By default zombies deal only physical damage
so this gem will have excellent effectiveness. Third in line is “Feeding Frenzy”, an
interesting addition to a summoner’s arsenal. Its first benefit is that it makes linked
minions act aggressively. Instead of just hanging around you they will
actively seek and attack enemies from greater distance. This solves one of the main issues that summoner
builds had in the past, the overall passiveness of minions. On top of that, your zombies will grant you
the aptly named Feeding Frenzy buff which further increases all minions damage, movement
and attack speed. Next support gem,“Minion Speed”, is a
mix of damage and utility. While there are better damage gems on paper,
zombies have to actually get in melee range to hit anything. In practice, every second they spend traveling
between targets is a second they are not dealing damage. This gem will greatly minimize this downtime
and significantly boost your clearing speed. And the last one is “Ruthless” which will
transform your zombies’ every 3rd hit into a ruthless blow, dealing vastly more physical
damage than normal. If you find your zombies dying quite often
then you can replace this 6th gem with “Fortify Support” which should take care of their
survivability. The next gem setup brings five additional
minions whose sole purpose is to buff the zombies and yourself. This must be socketed in the helmet slot in
order to get the +2 levels to minion gems bonus. First is Animate Guardian, one of the most
interesting minions in the game. It is summoned by using items dropped on the
ground which the resulting minion will actually equip and use. As such you’ll want to give him gear that
grants bonuses to allies, aka you and the other minions. I will go over the best items to be used by
the Guardian in the Gearing section. For now I’ll mention that it can use weapons,
shields, helmet, body armour, gloves and boots. However be warned that if the Animated Guardian
dies all its gear is permanently lost. While leveling only give it random rare items
or cheap uniques that you don’t need or would otherwise vendor. Later in the game with enough minion defense
and health passives as well as leveling the gem itself, the Guardian will have over 70
thousand HP and survive pretty much anything. At that point it’s worth giving it more expensive
and better items that will greatly buff the other minions. Then 2nd gem in this setup is “Raise Spectre”,
another really cool minion which is summoned using the bodies of dead monsters. As the name suggests it, this minion is a
ghost of that respective monster and, unlike zombies, it will inherit all the attributes
and skills it had while it was alive. Since you’re not looking for damage dealing
spectres but rather ones that will help the zombies, the best options are 2 Carnage Chieftains
and 2 Mortality Experimenter. The chieftains periodically cast a spell which
grants Frenzy Charges to all allies. These provide a great deal of damage and attack
speed, excellent for both yourself and the rest of the minions. As for Mortality Experimenters, they curse
enemies with Temporal Chains, drastically reducing action speed, a great defensive tool
in your arsenal. On top of that they also blow up corpses,
negating some of the more dangerous on-death effects of certain enemies. Carnage Chieftains can be found in Act 2,
Old Fields area and the experimenters in Act 3, Lunaris Temple level 1. Bear in mind that it’s not necessary to actually
go kill these mobs to obtain their corpses. It is sufficient to teleport in these areas
and cast Desecrate. This will spawn corpses that belong to that
zone. Hold “A” key pressed and select the appropriate
corpse, then cast Raise Spectre. And that’s about it. The good part is that once a certain monster
has been added to Desecrate’s “corpse pool”, it will appear when using the skill in other
areas as well. Anyway, don’t worry too much about this entire
process since spectres will die very rarely, if at all, unless you really mess something
up. Now, coming back to the gems setup: so far
you have Animated Guardian and Raise Spectre. The third gem is “Blood Magic” – this
allows your spectres to spend a small amount of HP instead of mana to cast their spells. This is quite an important piece of the puzzle
since you want them to constantly spam their abilities. The last gem in this setup is “Minion Life”
support – these summons are not there to deal damage but only as sort of buff bots,
so you need to make sure they survive. You also don’t want to go through the hassle
of re-summoning them too often or losing gear from Animated guardian. Next you have the movement skill setup and
for this build it will be Shield Charge. Apart from the obvious purpose of moving around
faster, this is also used to proc Elemental Equilibrium by dealing a small amount of lightning
damage and thus decreasing monsters’ fire and cold resistances. It is also an additional way to herd your
zombies and tell them what to attack: normally they go about their business on their own
but if YOU attack a monster they will immediately prioritize that target as well. Then you link this gem to “Fortify” support
which will grant you the buff with the same name, providing 20% damage reduction from
hits. Lastly, add “Faster Attack” support to
make charging significantly faster. Up next is a “Cast When Damage Taken”
setup. The first triggered gem is Convocation, a
spell which will summon all your minions around you and grant them a life regen buff. This is a great defensive mechanism as you
practically gain a zombie meat shield around you and they will also quickly kill whatever
was hitting you. Then add “Desecrate” to spawn a whole
bunch of corpses, acting as fuel for the next gem. This last gem is “Spirit Offering” which
will be using these corpses to grant a large chunk of Energy Shield to minions, based on
the number of corpses consumed. They also get a whole bunch of resistances
and a big added chaos damage buff. And since you took “Mistress of Sacrifice”
passive from the Ascendancy these buffs will also apply to you with 75% effectiveness. Combine these with “Bone Armour” and you
and your bois will be nearly invincible. Up next are the Auras: first is “Hatred”
which provides a large amount of cold damage to zombies, based on their physical damage. This is then linked with “Generosity”
support. The first obvious reason is that it further
increases Hatred’s damage bonus. The second is that it prevents the aura from
adding cold damage to your own attacks. As I mentioned earlier in the guide, you want
to deal only lightning damage so that Elemental Equilibrium lowers the cold and fire resistances
of monsters you hit. If you had Hatred aura active on yourself,
it would completely ruin this mechanism. Then add Dread Banner, an aura which gives
your minions a small chance to Impale enemies. Without going into details, Impale is a sort
of physical damage-over-time debuff, with some extra steps. Since physical is your zombies’ main damage
type, this aura is really powerful for a such a small investment. The last aura is the very interesting “Summon
Skitterbots”. In practice this summons two permanent and
invulnerable minions. The first one generates a chilling aura, reducing
enemies movement and attack speeds while the second shocks nearby enemies, greatly increasing
the damage they take from any source. A great 2 in 1 defensive and offensive aura
for a decent mana reservation cost. Do note that this aura is not affected by
Generosity so it’s not necessary to link it with the other gems. It can even be placed in a separate item,
it doesn’t really make any difference. There are 3 other mandatory gems that also
do not need to be linked with anything and you can just squeeze them wherever you have
any free sockets. First is “Summon Carrion Golem” which
provides a strong physical damage buff to your other minions. The golem itself also deals decent damage
but that’s just icing on the cake. Then you have “Summon Holy Relic”, a tiny
minion who follows you around and casts a nova spell whenever you hit an enemy, granting
life regeneration to all allies. This buff has increased effectiveness on other
minions, helping them survive even more damage. Third gem is “Flame Dash” – while some
might consider this optional, the impact it has on map clearing speed is so large that
you can’t really drop it. The simple fact that it can be used to bypass
obstacles and climb ledges is sufficient to earn its socket. Finally, if you have any free sockets left
add another high level “Convocation” spell for manually recalling your zombies and making
them follow you more easily. This is only a quality of life addition to
the build and only fits if you have an unset ring for the extra socket. In this section for each gear slot I will
outline three tiers: basic, mid-tier and best-in-slot. As a general rule of thumb prices increase
significantly with each tier, but so do the benefits that the items bring. You don’t care at all about any kind of affixes
that add damage to yourself, but only ones granting attributes, defenses and maybe some
minion damage or movement speed, if you can afford those. The absolute number #1 priority however is
to gather at least 1000 strength for the full benefit of the Baron Helmet. This is the build’s linchpin item and completely
mandatory. As its description is saying, you are allowed
to summon an additional zombie for each 300 Strength you have. Half of all your strength is added to each
minion, increasing their life and melee physical damage. Also, when reaching the 1000 Strength mark,
2% of the zombies damage will be leeched to you as life. On top of that it grants 2 levels to minion
gems socketed in it, perfect for Animated Guardian and Spectres along with their supports. For the weapon slot, as hinted in the build
overview the best and only option here is “Mon’Tregul’s Grasp” sceptre. While it halves the number of zombies, when
well rolled it also doubles their damage so nothing really changes here. In addition, it also gives them a huge amount
of HP and resistances. Lastly, it causes enemies killed by zombies
to explode and deal fire damage in a small area around them. This actually scales with all the minion damage
modifiers so in practice it will single handedly clear entire packs after a single monster
dies. One thing you need to keep in mind here is
that the halved number of zombies is always rounded down, so if you could normally summon
11 of them, when using this sceptre you would only get 5. In the offhand a basic shield should have
35+ Strength, 70+ maximum life and 50 total elemental resistances. A mid-tier shield is also a rare one with
pretty the same affixes as the basic version, but with higher numeric values. Ideally it should have an Energy Shield base
to further boost your effective HP. For best-in-slot the optimal choice is “Whakatutuki
o Matua”, which greatly increases the effect of your auras on minions. Considering a lot of their damage comes from
auras, this is quite a strong DPS bonus. It also grants +3 levels to socketed minion
gems and for this reason you should place Skitterbots, Holy Relic and Carrion Golem
in this shield. Each of these gems gets a solid effectiveness
increase with additional levels and they don’t need to be linked anywhere else anyway. Finally, every time you block, you and your
minions get a life regeneration buff amounting to 5% of max HP. And last but not least, a well rolled one
will add about 600 Energy Shield, which is always more than welcome. A basic body armour should have a bit of strength,
60 or so life and 50+ total elemental resistances. For both mid and best-in-slot tiers the only
real option is the magnificent “Geofri’s Sanctuary”. Apart from a solid amount of all resistances
and life, it provides 2 Energy Shield for each 5 Strength you have. And it just so happens that you are stacking
about a thousand of those so you end up with a huge amount of Energy Shield from this item
alone. You also get “Zealot’s Oath” keystone
which will convert all life regen into Energy Shield regen. In practice this will make it so you very
rarely drop all the way to HP and when that happens the zombies’ leeching will keep you
alive. Similar to other gear pieces, on basic gloves
you’re looking for some strength and 60+ life and elemental resistances. Mid-tier and best-in-slot are one and the
same item: The Shaper’s Touch gloves. These provide a somewhat similar benefit as
the body armour, namely “2% increased maximum energy shield for each 10 Strength”. All in all, more energy shield for no real
additional investment. Look for some with as much base energy shield
as you can afford. With boots the choices are quite simple: basic
and mid-tier ones are a pair of “Bones of Ullr”. They improve your zombies and spectres but
keep in mind that these boots are by no means the optimal or final item for this build. The best-in-slot choice is a pair of “Alberon’s
Warpath” for the insane amount of Strength that it provides through its unique bonus
of up to 18% increased Strength. In practice this translates to about 150 strength,
way more than any other single item would normally have. Without these it’s almost impossible to reach
the 1000 mark so look for them early on. They also come with a decent 20% movement
speed and some chaos resistance, both more than welcome additions. Moving on to the belt slot, a basic tier one
needs about 50 strength, 60+ life and resistances. A mid-tier one has pretty much the same affixes
but with higher numeric values and some energy shield as well. Finally, for best-in-slot you want all these
on a Stygian Vise belt which comes with an extra Abyssal Socket. Jewels are a great way of boosting your minions
damage or HP, as well as plugging any resistance hole you might have. However the top priority remains stacking
up strength and you should not sacrifice that just for obtaining an additional socket. With basic amulets it’s the same familiar
story: strength, life and resistances, as much as you can afford for each. Similar for mid-tier, same affixes, higher
numeric values and some additional Energy Shield. And as best-in-slot your optimal choice is
“Astramentis”. This will provide a huge amount of Strength,
but also Dexterity and Intelligence, each very useful for this build. Beyond pure attributes, these also translate
into about 250 life, 600 energy shield, as well as around 10000 DPS for each zombie. Also, Blight league has introduced a new crafting
method called “anointing” which uses oils dropped from Blight encounters to add a notable
passive to amulets, without changing the item in any other way. For this particular build the best option
is “Utmost Strength”, helping you get more than 100 strength, life and energy shield
as well as a hefty amount of DPS for your zombies. If you don’t need any additional strength,
then “Written in Blood” or “Influence” are two other good choices. Do note however that it’s not yet confirmed
if “anointing” will become a standard crafting method once Blight league is over. Moving on to rings, for the basic tier, you
know the drill, 40+ Strength, 60+ life, and over 50 total elemental resistances. In addition to that, on one of your rings
you’ll need an extra mandatory affix: “Adds X to Y lightning damage to attacks”. This will cause your Shield Charge to deal
a small amount of lightning damage to enemies, triggering Elemental Equilibrium and lowering
their fire and cold resistances. Since a large portion of your zombies damage
is fire and cold, this small affix has a huge impact on your overall DPS. This can also be easily crafted using the
hideout bench, as long as the ring has an open prefix. If you’re unfamiliar with these concepts,
check out my basic crafting video guide by clicking on that “i” thing in the upper
right corner. However bear in mind that the opposite is
also true: if you deal any kind of fire or cold damage yourself, then you’ll increase
the enemies’ resistances to those elements, directly lowering your zombies’ DPS. Check Shield Charge’s tooltip and if it deals
any fire or cold damage, replace whatever item provides that. Mid-tier rings are pretty similar to basic
ones, but with some additional Energy Shield and higher numeric values for these affixes. Finally, best-in-slot ones should have all
these on “Unset Ring” bases. The extra gem socket is really useful for
some additional good-to-have utility skills such as Convocation or Desecrate. Up next are jewels, a very important component
of this build. First you have 3 pieces of “Efficient Training”,
placed in the sockets located North, East and West of the Witch starting area. Their positioning is really important as these
jewels transform the Intelligence from the passives you have actually taken into Strength. So it’s not enough for those passives to be
present in the jewel’s radius, they need to have actual points invested in them. This is completely different than the way
other jewels normally work in respect to attribute points inside their radius. The 3 locations that I’ve indicated are the
absolute optimal in terms of Strength gains for this build so don’t place them anywhere
else. The rest of the sockets in the passive tree
should be filled with “Brawn” jewels until you reach 1000 strength. Look for ones with 6% increased Strength and
the lowest amount of reduced Intelligence. Depending on how good your gear is and if
you’re already able to get the thousand strength, you can replace a few or all Brawn jewels
with “Ghastly Eye”. The most important stats on these are “minions
life leech”, “minions have a chance to blind on hit” and “minion movement speed”. Other useful stats such as life or various
minion damage affixes are always welcome. Moving on to flasks, there aren’t unfortunately
any minion specific ones for some strange reason, so you’ll be using them mostly as
utility and defensive tools for yourself. The first flask is a Bubbling Eternal Life
flask of Staunching. Instant healing is a real life saver and bleeding
removal is absolutely mandatory while mapping. Second one is “Rumi’s Concoction”: increased
block chance is always welcome and if you pair it with “Whakatutuki” shield you’ll
trigger its huge life regen buff far more often. Up next is a Chemist’s Quicksilver flask of
Adrenaline to help you move around faster. Since your boots only have 20% movement speed,
this flask will offset that downside to some extent. 4th is an Experimenter Sulphur Flask of Warding. This is pretty much the only flask which provides
some benefits to minions through Consecrated Ground, mostly for life regeneration. Warding suffix is also mandatory while mapping,
for curse removal and immunity. If you’ve ever crawled around on maps with
Temporal Chains curse, you understand exactly why. For the last flask I recommend a Chemist’s
Basalt Flask of Heat for some additional physical damage reduction as well as Freeze immunity. Now, as promised in the Gems section I will
also briefly cover the best gear for your Animated Guardian: The cheap setup is made out of Leer Cast helmet,
Dying Breath staff, Victario’s Flight Boots, Meginord’s Vise gloves and any rare or cheap
unique body armour that provides large amounts of life and resistances. For the optimal gear replace the weapon with
Kingmaker axe and the body armour with Gruthkul’s Pelt. Add a rare helmet with “Nearby enemies take
9% Increased Physical Damage” affix which can be obtained through crafting using a Jagged
Fossil. These items are clearly more expensive but
with this gear your Animated Guardian will have around 80 thousand HP and I haven’t seen
one die until now so I feel like the investment is worth it. To wrap up the gearing section, here are some
excellent levelling uniques that will help you easily progress through the campaign: With the gearing out of the way, it is time
to take a final look at the pros and cons of the build so you can better understand
if it’s what you’re looking for. Starting off with the pros: a very tanky build; between life and energy
shield you end up with over 10 thousand effective HP. Add Fortify buff, zombies life leech, significant
energy shield regen and the fact that you have an army of bodyguards around and you
obtain something really hard to kill. One of the easiest summoner builds to play. Many players that would like to try out a
minion build are generally taken aback by their complexity. With this build you get to experience that
play-style without much hassle. If anything it’s easier to play than most
builds of any kind. An excellent Hardcore build, you have to play
really carelessly to get even close to dying. It can run all the current game content, including
Uber Elder with a bit of minion micro-management through Convocation. Really cheap build considering its performance. For similar defenses and DPS, most builds
need to invest 3 or 4 times as much currency in high-end items. As for the cons: minions AI is not exactly brilliant. While it has been improved significantly with
Blight league, there are still some pending issues. The labyrinth feels quite awkward with all
the minions covering traps and getting in the way. They make very quick work of the boss itself,
but getting there is sometimes a bit of a challenge. It is not able to run two map modes; more
specifically physical damage reflect will kill your zombies and no mana regen prevents
you from using shield charge. That means no elemental equilibrium, no fortify,
no holy relic explosion and so on. You can power through these maps, but I strongly
recommend to reroll or skip. Finally, there’s the summoner play-style;
this is not everyone’s cup of tea as it might seem a bit lazy or uninvolved. On the other hand some people want exactly
that and since you’ve made it so far, I’ll assume that you’re one of them. Learn anything new, exile? If you did, then you’ll probably be happy
to hear that there are more videos coming up in the near future with more exciting builds
to try. Make sure not to miss them by subscribing
to the channel so you get notified when that happens. And while you’re at it why not like this video
as well or drop a comment down below to let me know your thoughts. Thank you all for watching and see ya next

100 thoughts on “[3.9] Zombiemancer 2.0 Build Guide – Path of Exile: Metamorph

  1. nice guide! thank you. i am playing it right now! =) how about a league starter uber lab farming build? something tanky that cannot be killed ona budget.

  2. Hi i have been playing the last 4 days non stop following this guide to the T. i have about 400 strength at the moment… what are your main sources of strength?

  3. Bro I’m mad at you the build anchors on strength but you had us put points into intelligence to be converted later by efficient jewels which are urber expensive. You should have put in the title “Uber expensive build”

  4. i am having problems getting 1000 strength :/

  5. How come flame golem is not used? You get a flat % increase vs the add to physical dmg from the carrion golem?>

  6. in acendancy you say that we are immune to bleed and that we can save affexis in our flasks. in flasks you say take bleeding its "Absolutly" mandatory.

  7. Id like to use this but its too expensive

  8. Dear Navandis, thank you very much for your various guides making POE so accessible and fun to new players. Started playing POE in June this year and have built up four well-gearded high-level characters with 3 of them using your builds. Played your molten strike juggernaut (Lvl 97), contagion essence drain trickster (Lvl 98, tweaked it at some point to become really hard to kill with aspect of the spider, 75% dodge + 75% evasion with flasks up) and the witch necromancer (Lvl 93). Was trying a tornado shot deadeye build (Lvl 91) from other sources but your build guides are the best and easiest to follow for me. Was playing only Standard until now but might start with leagues in 3.9 or 3.10. Really looking forward to your recommendations for the upcoming 3.9 league. Thanks again and keep up the great work 🙂

  9. started back after quite a while away from poe was playing an archer elemental arrow build but decided i want to play something a little more fun. I have to say this guide hit the nail on the head. After following it step by step i finally beat Kitava for the first time and i'm mapping now and having an absolute blast. thank you for all your hard work you put into this guide it really helped me as a new player have fun and start to slowly understand the way the game plays.

  10. Thank so much! I am a noob playing throough for the first time. Obviously I am struggling with all the info one needs to absorb just to play POE but I think I am having fun! Do you have a written guide somewhere? If not thank you once again!!!

  11. To be fair for me, the 2% of zombie damage is leeched back as life is not really helpful but reaching the 1000 strength has it's point on making the zombies way too strong.

  12. i have a 4link but cant use the animate guardian skill. does the gem order matter?

  13. Hi , can u help me , i have whit this build only 5 zombies (1000str i have, all passive too , items the same like u )

  14. For the lab enchantments, would Commandment of the Grave work for the build?

  15. The most detailed guide I have ever seen, from start to the end

  16. Best Guides out there. Looking forward to your 3.9 videos !

  17. Beginner's question. I wonder if your 6 zombie build matches all these 18 zombie builds in terms of damage. Less minions = less lag on my medium PC. Greetings 😉

  18. You could add a timeless jewel with corrupted soul (giving you an extra 1k ES and maximizing your life regen) I normally use it on pain attunement

  19. I just started out as a Necromancer/Zombies and it's a fun build, i have -0- unique items so far, lol. but spamming Raging spirit and Skeletons adds to the DPS… not that my zombies are near immortal at this point and one shooting all mobs outside of elites or boss's. This guide is awesome. Explains a lot. Thanks. 😀

  20. For some reason, I couldn't understand him and was about to not give this video a chance, but after turning on subtitles and restarting the video, wow, I was super impressed with the thought and detail that went into this. Great video.

  21. Awesome build ,killed everything in the endgame with no major problems .

  22. No one uses mon'tregul's any more, it's literally just a huge dps nerf. You can even find single handed weapons with 80%+ minion damage on them. 6 x 100% dmg vs 14 x 80% dmg

  23. How do the zombies get fortify when the gem is equiped in the shield?

  24. jeez….so every time I start the game I need to assemble a guardian. That's even worse than "raise specter". Is there a build which focuses on Zombies doing their thing and me just summoning them? I don't like lazy builds, but I mean, if I am going to make a lazy build, I want maximum laziness 😁

  25. @Navandis Gaming Great video! Very in-depth. Just subscribed! 🙂 Two Questions: 1.) I am wondering why you don't use Multistrike for your Zombies? 2.) Why do you use Ruthless over Brutality for your Zombies? Thank you.

  26. for mapping should i switch "minion speed" with "splash dmg."?

  27. You are prolly the only poe yt channel that explains shit in great detail while still using a language that noobs like me understand.
    Great guy, great videos.

  28. ===== CHANGELOG =====

    [3.9] Mask of the Tribunal unique can now be found quite easily and it's incredibly cheap so it's back as best-in-slot item for Animated Guardian gear! You can use it to boost your own and minions' defenses
    [3.9] Feeding Frenzy will be slightly nerfed so there are two choices here:

    a) Replace "Feeding Frenzy" with "Multistrike" in Raise Zombie setup. Replace "Holy Relic" with Feeding Frenzy and link it with "Carrion Golem" so the buff will still be UP. DO NOT link Feeding Frenzy with any aura (such as Skitterbots) as it will increase its reservation cost. You lose the extra aggressiveness quality-of-life perk but you gain more DPS to cover the nerfs.

    b) Keep the setups as they are with slightly lower DPS but aggressive zombies.

    [3.9] Replace "Ruthless" with "Deathmark" in Raise Zombie setup. This will give you something extra to do (after shield charging to apply Elemental Equilibrium) and increase your DPS. This will also offset the downside in zombies aggressiveness if you're dumping Feeding Frenzy
    [3.9] Raise Spectre will no grant an additional minion at gem level 25 rather than 21. With the current setup, with +2 from Baron helmet and +2 from "Unnatural Strength" ascendancy passive the gem is level 24. To get the 4th spectre out you'll need to get the base gem level to 21 through corruption. Otherwise keep 3 spectres with 2 Carnage Chieftains + 1 Mortality Experimenter.

    Most recent PoB: https://pastebin.com/j7stbDPU
    Most recent PoePlanner Level 100 passive tree: http://www.poeurl.com/cAUl

  29. With the new nerfs to zombies and everything else in 3.9, i've heard a summon rage spirit build is the new ''best'' necromancer build. Maybe look into it and make a build video about it if you feel like its worth it. I would love to watch it personally

  30. Navandis, i played ur physcial cyclone impale as league starter in 3.8, after that a variety of Esoro builds. I must say, ur builds are much more suited for beginners like me. The summary of can – and cannot do, holds true over time. And ur choice for defensive skills in on point. I have come to trust in ur opinion. And so im glad to announce: This zombiemancer will be my league starter for 3.9!

  31. Very nice guide, I liked summoner in the last league , ill start metamorph with this one!GJ

  32. This lvl of detailed guide in 30 min is insane buddy. Realy good job and keep it up. Deserved sub!

  33. You need to update this now that the patch notes are out. 🙂

  34. I am trying to find a build that's the most viable. Scourge Arrow Ranger seems to have the highest viability. I don't care about melee build or hardcore viability.

  35. Subscribed. I like the detailed explanation of your builds. Good job man!

  36. Hi! Thanks for this great guide. I was playing a necro with a +1zombie chest last league and was wondering if using Geofri and Zealot's Oath, stacking some chaos resistance would be needed for some content? (chayu, syndicate, some bosses…) – 40% chaos res without any life regen seems rippy.
    Wish all a good start of the league tomorrow!

  37. Zombiemancer essa build compensa fazer ela no 3.9 ? e ela d apara fazer o end game todo ? ..

  38. Tyvm this. I still dont follow all of it, Im brand new at the game but I am going to have a go with this build. Or the Molten Strike Juggernaut….I still am in doubt….I have 1 more day to decide lol

  39. You can also take Host Chiftain 1x 2x Carnage chiftain 1x 1x merveils works strong too (if nobody can get merveils later on u can also take 2x host chiftain ) thats what i do if i dont have merveils but 2x merveils are not bad eather 🙂

  40. Im kinda new to poe, question about gem links. Does it matter which gems go where, just as long as they're actually linked or do you have to have them linked in a specific order. The game doesn't explain anything about this for new players

  41. Great build explanation. I am a fan.

  42. What u think about this build after zombie nerfs? Is it as bad as it seems?

  43. I like your format for this video.

  44. is there a written guide for this?

  45. What I find difficult to understand is how you get the gems, I mean is that early in the game, later? The raise Zombie gem I already have so I just keep leveling till the other drop?

  46. i think this build still gonna be sick.. i sticked with it and made this as a league starter. fingers crossed 😛

  47. great guide and video, just curious if you had any suggestions for an alternative to shield charge to generate EQ? I play on console and its quite a bit harder to control shield charge compared to PC and am just looking for possible alternatives.

  48. Another new commer question…do you pick up all gear and sell it for other stuf or dont bother?

  49. Great in-depth guide. I'd like to draw peoples attention to the 'Notes' tab in PoB too, an often overlooked feature which you have entered tons of info into, meaning a quick answer to some questions without resorting to the vid. Excellent! You earned a new subscriber!

  50. any update for 3.9 pob tree?

  51. this build still viable for 3.9?

  52. Hi again…perhaps I am doing something wrong but I notice that the path you follow in you video in the passive tree isnt the same as the imported version.
    From Cruel Preparation in your video you go up till the next intell then left till you reach Death Attunement. In the import code that path instn there. It stops at life just above Cruel Preparation. Its proberly my mistake Im new so if its so just tell me. So the main questrion now is what path to follow cause in the import code it eventuely will go till Death attunement but via a complete different road. So hopefully you can enlighten me a bit?


  54. Why having Spirit Offering linked if it is not affected by CWDT? Other than that, this guide is PERFECT for any league starter unless GGG gives it the nerfhammer.

  55. Hi Navandis! how do u use hatred, dread banner and skittlebot at the same time? I activated dread and hatred, by the time i activate skittlebot ive no mana left :/

  56. outstanding video

  57. Which effects have you bought for auras?

  58. Which spell is it you use on "E" ?

  59. What benefit do provide Mortality Experimenters as spectres?

  60. This is a great video, so in depth I can't thank you enough for going into this much detail

  61. This is great! Would you consider making this a written guide?

  62. Is there any beginners gear for lvl 72 thats possible because all the gear yu display on here is OverPriced and they dont have the links connected wit the color yu have btw im on the ps4

  63. Hi,when you say to do not link "feeding frenzy" with "skitterbots" you mean in the same item?Because I was holy relic with skitterbots and carrion together in the shield.. maybe stupid question….

  64. Im confuse what gem slot goes with what ???

  65. As usual.
    "cheap to build"…
    Man, a single one of the jewels you say I need three is not under 100 chaos…
    Anyone able to create a good build that is NOT totally dependant on some specific special items?
    Seems that no one is playing PoE for the story or the fun of achieving success all by himself.
    It's only about stuff, stuff, stuff…

  66. My first summoner ever and its so much fun :D. Thank you

  67. Honestly I don't see the weakness in Raise Zombies in Act 1. Any time I start leveling a Necro the minutes I get Zombies and Raging Spirits I feel OP. They almost never die for me.

  68. Why did you recommand this ring in "LEVELING UNIQUES" called Hearthbound Loop, Moonstone Ring ? As soon as i equipped it, i died within 2 sec, cause minions keep dying around me and on level 20 i have 450 hp, i take 350 phys dmg from each minion = instant death…What is the catch can u please explain and help out? Cheers and thanks !

  69. how do you get permanent fortify ?

  70. Efficient training = 40c each nice

  71. Ok I just stopped playing this game. First of all its very difficult to follow the guide cuasde it seem,s iot more targeted to end game and not while lvling. Just turning 50, had to kioll a god, failed, no 2nd chance and all my defence are dropped to -30% so I get 1 shotted all over the place. I dont critisize thje video or your guide, Its me to blame I suppose. Th elearning curve of PoE seems to steep for me. BAck to D3 🙂

  72. How the F are you res capped??? 2 rings and a belt???

  73. why are the items in the pob link so much different from those in the video. And which one should i follow

  74. This build looked pretty promising, until I looked up how much the gear costed on PoE Trade… 🙁

  75. 14:30 for summon spec maps

  76. for a some reson my desecrate doesnt work . i m doing that you have told in the video but when i mark them holding the A and then perform raise specter doesnt come up .any suggestion?

  77. Hey! Love this build for starters! Lvl 90, and T16 maps + Conquerors still getting melted. I have a question though. I removed Elemental Equilibrium because I don't see how Shield Charge is doing lightning damage. Says "chaos damage" on the gem. Or am I missing something? I also switched the CWDD chain to Cyclone and CWC for permanent buff.

  78. If i place my skitterbots and my carrion golem in the shield then im overcapped on mana since skitterbots take 45 instead of 35% ???

  79. Thanks for a great build video! It's my first ever minion build, and I just hit maps. This seems to a really good build for metamorph (for someone inexperienced with minions)

  80. It's strong, thanks for the build

  81. IS there a Text version of this guide so I don't have to keep hopping around diff timestamps all awkward like this ?

  82. which 4th Spectre should i raise?

  83. Why i have no Lifereg ? i

  84. …bro this is stupid there's a few important things he doesn't tell … first off A LOT OF ITEMS COST OVER 1EX ! second…DO NOT PUT ON THE FUCKING ARMOR unless you have 1k STR…it removes life regen so you need to get 1k str before you can even start using the armor or else you can't get life back apart from using flasks

  85. Hi, How u manage to get 4 spectres i got baron and 20/20 quality gem and still got only 3?? do i need gem lvl 21 or smth?

  86. Great guide! I'm using it on PS4. Only issue is I can't get a third Efficient Training jewel. I got 2 last week at 25c a piece now everyone is asking for 1-5 exalted or something insane. I still have 1009 str, though. I have been experimenting with a different weapon: Midnight Bargain. The zombies lose the AOE explosion but you get one more zombie, spectre, skeleton and their dmg is 50-70 percent higher.

  87. Amazing guide man. Trying it out right now, and leveling is quite difficult, most of my damage is coming from skeletons that I'm using as a temporary replacement for the late game gems. What setup would you recommend for leveling until you get enough passives/gems to make minions work? I know you said to use freezing pulse but I'd love it if you could elaborate on that. Thanks!

  88. How do I get Dread banner as a witch? NVM old wiki jacked me up I found it.

  89. I follow the build and i would say is awesome no problems with t16 maps and shaper/elder/sirus guardians.
    But is there anyway to keep my minions hp in good health for sirus? My animated guardian and minions have 63k and 43k hp and still get melted for some reason.

  90. do you use maim on your build cause i find at the pastebin you have info about that gem ? also is there any way i can find what gems you have up in the armor parts weapon etc ?

  91. Basic question: does the exact gem order matter in the chest after raise zombie? I finally got a 6l and it's being stubborn with gem color order.

  92. Hey Nav! I've been rocking this build and I love it. In saying that, I can't seem to get the dps figures even close to yours. Do you mind checking it out and let me know what's lacking? https://pastebin.com/sKW2jmaq

  93. Is there a PathofExile build guide that details this video informaiton?

  94. Got all the gear, pew pewed my way to sirus, and that is when things started to go the wrong way for my charecter. Navandis, I love the build, are you brewing on something new and stronger soon?

  95. What is ur Spell on E ? And ur spell on R u are using him on CWDT so u are using him on a socketed ring ?

  96. This build cannot clear Sirius, your Animated Guardian and specters get destroyed by the chaos storm. and the fact you cannot regen life is a problem, u need another life flask … beside that on PoB you dont have summon holy relic sooooo summon holy relic or desecrate? anyway I believe the only summoner build capable of clearing Sirius is a skeleton summoner all the others fail to the chaos storms. But the build is pretty strong, t16 and all the other bosses including metamorphs are no problem.

  97. I have played lots of PoE in 3.9 and gotta say this amazing build still can handle many situations: Guardians are ok, Tier 15-16 bosses are np, Shaper is pain in the ass because of his HUGE life pool. Managed to kill everything pretty easily in HotGM except TheGrandHamster and some other offscreen kill hunter. Swapped elemental equilibrium to minion instability and Animate Guardian to Raging spirits. Ofc had frostbomb+balefire in second weapon swap.

  98. stupid question does anyone know which items needs specific red/green blue gem sockets links i only know the chest one on the first 😛 ty

  99. wish there was a leveling items guide tbh

  100. everything is quite EZ with a good gear but i got problems with high level blighted maps

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