3.12 ❆ iLL3aT’s Cold Skeleton Warriors/Archers ❆ League Starter ❆ All Content ❆ 40/40

@Keyen and wazzupdj - Thank you both for the insight on skitterbots and bonechill. Very interesting, I'll give it a try tomorrow - I think I will likely make this switch since a) damage goes up, and b) the chill on bosses is (probably) amazing. This makes sense - it's the same odd interaction as flesh and stone + maim it seems.

@Zelxx - Your best bet is going to be trade. Depending on budget, look for either +1 to spell gem levels, or +1 to spells and +1 to minion gem levels.

@wazzupdj - replies in blue:

As for the eye of malice, the item is worded super, super poorly. It doesn't give +50% to fire and cold resistance, it gives 50% INCREASED fire and cold resistance. If the enemy has 50% cold res, it jumps to 75%, 10% to 15% and so on. The idea is that this also increases negative resistances, so if the enemy has -20% cold resistance, it gets turned into -30% cold resistance. With the -9% cold res from the helmet, -50% from EE, and -25% from exposure, you can already push shaper's cold res from +60% to -24% cold res, with maybe another -26% res from curses (with shaper's/elder's 66% less curse effect accounted for) getting you to a total of -50% res on the shaper/elder. eye of malice would push this down to -75% res, which is a ~16.6% damage increased.

Very interesting in this case, and you could save a point from avatar of fire and change out frost bomb (clunky) for storm/armageddon brand (EE). Makes sense though, since there is a similar interaction with "Cleansed thoughts." If I do lose my AG, this will be worth a try for sure.

The damage increase gets proportionally bigger the more negative res you stack, and since you stack a whole lot of it, it definitely adds up. The exposure doesn't stack, but it's a nice QoL to have -10% res on enemies while your frost bomb hasn't applied yet. I know you lose a lot of AG survivability by giving up mask of the stitched demon, but there are other ways to make up for that, namely:

-Fortress covenant (+12 attack block/+12 spell block) boosts block chance for both from 37% to 49%, which makes your minions on average take 20% less damage. Factor into that the fact that bone offering gives over 800 health on block and your minions are extremely defensive. A good roll also gives 45% increased minion damage which is very nice.
-Anoint Decay ward. This gives another +10 attack block/+10 spell block, with an additional +2% of life on block. With an AG possibly reaching over 100k health, this means 2k life gained on block on top of the bone offering life, with 59% block/spell block (if you also run Fortress Covenant). This is probably overkill, but there is no way in hell that guy will go down.
-Swap out Carrion Golem for meat shield. Makes your AG take 26% less damage as well as sticking by you religiously, ensuring you are in the garb and kingmaker aura almost constantly. In this case I would recommend not fully linking your helmet, so your zombies are aggressive and your AG defensive as opposed to both being neither.

Fortress covenant is pretty interesting as well - pretty good damage and the effectiveness of block stacking the higher you go makes it a good jewel for sure. It's also easy to corrupt. Decay Ward I'm less sold on since the opportunity cost is pretty large.

For mapping/delving, I have meat shield on zombies and AG. For bossing, I move feeding frenzy in so that a) I can actually see my character, b) applying feeding frenzy so I don't have to link it to skeletons for bosses, and c) AG will apply elemental weakness on hit. I don't think there's a boss in the game (short of deep Auls - killer of spectres) that can kill AG even without meat shield.


Last point: You can put Frostbite on a CoH setup, or even get a ring with a "curse enemies with level 8 Frostbite on hit". Lose a little bit of damage, but saves reserved mana and gem sockets you can use elsewhere (if you go the ring option).

I have a frostbite/assassin's mark double curse on hit ring as the ideal ring in the tier 5 gear section. I tried my hand at crafting a few redeemer unset ring bases, but got sick of buying resonators (was using pristine/frigid fossils) before hitting something good.

Thanks to everyone who is theorycrafting with me, I really appreciate the discussions. This is what I love the most about this game!
3.12 ❆ Cold Skeletons guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2774965
hi i've been playing physical skellies build in blight and it was awesome strong and able to complete everything. I don't recall having so much high dps numbers even with end game gear.
Did anything happen to skellies during metamorph or you get so much dmg from the element conversion?
Hello, I've been playing poe since Blight and necromancer is currently my favorite class.
The last couple of days I am training and testing just how best to play at the beginning of the league and level as quickly as possible until the minions do enough damage.

my current setup:
Onslaught with frost bomb and stormblast mine.
From level 12 icicle mine and level 16 skitterbots.
Let's see when the minions can take over, my tests are currently running until act 3 and I suspect that from act 4 the minions can then take over slowly.
I hope the patch notes will be good for us.



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Develop Happiness
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Develop Happiness
Last edited by Eternaltier on Feb 29, 2020, 10:13:44 AM
Having never actually played with vaal summon skeletons, I keep wondering how it works :x How do you get the initial souls to use the skill? After the first use I figure they get enough for the next cast, but after finishing maps/relogging how do you get it rolling?
Prob a real stupid question..

How are the chances of a lvling guide/tree before 3.10 looking ^^?
Last edited by Loje on Feb 29, 2020, 11:01:49 AM
@loje as with most(all?) vaal skills, you also get the base skill alongside the vaal skill. Enemies killed by your minions also grant souls. Souls don't tranfer between maps. What I do is basically map with normal skeletons, and then pop vaal summon skeletons when I reach the boss. If you move too far from minions, they respawn at your feet, except for skeletons which despawn, so it's near impossible to use vaal summon skeletons for clearing. You basically pop them during a boss and use regular skeletons/zombies for everything else.

@itaizilca the answer is basically this:
1. The Hatred aura, with 100% cold conversion from triad grip double dips. This means you can scale Hatred effect/aura effect to such an extreme that the aura easily more than doubles your minions' cold damage.
2. There are a bunch of sources of reducing enemy elemental resistance (with EE, exposure, nearby enemies have -9% cold res helmet mod, Frostbite, and Elemental Weakness) which all stack with one another. It causes enemies to have negative resistances, meaning enemies take more damage than the minions deal.
3. Minions scale extremely well with gem level, with it being possible to scale to level 30 and beyond with global and local level modifiers.
4. Crazy good/expensive gear.

I was doing an eerily similar build this league, but was more focused on defense/convenience & Didn't have as much currency. Managed to reach a quarter of the damage output. Still crazy high damage, but nowhere near as roided out as this one.
"
wazzupdj wrote:
@loje as with most(all?) vaal skills, you also get the base skill alongside the vaal skill. Enemies killed by your minions also grant souls. Souls don't tranfer between maps. What I do is basically map with normal skeletons, and then pop vaal summon skeletons when I reach the boss. If you move too far from minions, they respawn at your feet, except for skeletons which despawn, so it's near impossible to use vaal summon skeletons for clearing. You basically pop them during a boss and use regular skeletons/zombies for everything else.


Wow... How have I put all that time into this game without actually knowing the mechanics of vaal skills .. that's just embarrassing.

Many thanks for clearing that up for me though, much appreciated!
"
itaizilca wrote:
hi i've been playing physical skellies build in blight and it was awesome strong and able to complete everything. I don't recall having so much high dps numbers even with end game gear.
Did anything happen to skellies during metamorph or you get so much dmg from the element conversion?


Basically, unlike what most people said, physical minion is far from being the best element, with cold outscaling it by far for less mana reserved.

I wrote a guide back in the days of 3.8, where I explained why Triad grasp (newly released at this point) was a meta changer for minions build. It's still fairly accurate except for some balance chance which happened since (like the skitterbot values which decreased a bit):

"
This build is built around one specific unique, introduced with 3.8, i mean Triad grip (4 green sockets)

This item grants an enormous amount of damage to minions.

Let's break it down:
-By having 4 green sockets, you convert 100% physical damage to cold. So basically, your minions are doing cold damage instead of physical (thanks captain obvious)
-If you combine it with hatred+ generosity (+ sovereignty), you add 40% physical damage as cold, and then you gives another 29% more cold damage multiplier. Hatred alone grants 81% more damage (1,4*1,29). It's the main thing which make cold conversion vastly superior to lightning, fire or chaos conversion (and that's why i consider it's an error to do anything else than cold). However, it's not the only thing in favor of cold.
-Instead of hitting 0% physical resistance (well, it actually depends on map mods), you are hitting against 40% elemental resistance (shaper mod). HOWEVER, you have two huge advantages. You can, for one, use elemental equilibrium (-50% resistance), cold resistance debuffing helmet (-9%) and frost bomb (-25%). So, against shaper, you are actually hitting at -44% cold resistance (actually -58% since we will add frostbite) fairly easily.
-While physical stacks the "increased physical damage taken" (maim, vulnerability, flesh and stone, war banner, pride), cold doesn't. It means than shock from skitterbots is an undiluted 24% more damage (Actually, skitterbots grant 36% more damage in the final version with bonechill), where it would be much lower for a physical build.
-I don't use this, for reasons explained later (and specific to DB build, so for a more generic skeletons/zombie build, it's a real option), but cold damage freeze and shatter, so it helps for mapping and for "on death" enemies.
-If you do the comparaison with another popular pair of gloves, Grip of the council, you quickly see that GotC doesn’t hold the candle either. Let’s say you have hatred. Grip is 20% added cold damage, *1,25 more cold damage from hatred, so 25% added cold damage in total. The 100% cold conversion from triad is also multiplied by 1,25 by hatred, and so it’s 25% “added” cold damage. However, it also allow a much better scaling as seen above since everything you do is cold damage (you don’t try to scale cold damage or cold resistance as much if you mainly do physical damage + GotC, and even if you did, the effectiveness can’t compare with a true 100% cold damage).

Basically, just using hatred + EE + frost bomb + frostbite (50% mana reservation + curse) is a 170% more damage against shaper. And we didn't ever start the links yet. Pride + flesh and stone + vulnerability + maim (on another skill) + war banner (60% mana reservation in total + curse), it's 124% more damage. If we add shock from skitterbots to both, it's 267% more damage for cold damage, against 158% more damage for physical. The difference looks quite clear. The only drawback is the necessity to hit once with lightning or fire damage (avatar of fire) and use frost bomb sometimes. It's really easy to do, we will do that without even thinking about it.

Physical damage has the advantage of brutality (59% more damage), but elemental damage with attacks is not far behind (54% more damage). It doesn't close the gap at all.

Fire and lightning conversion can use EE, fire can use combustion and fire exposure from scorching ray, but the lack of hatred make it very weak compared to cold (and combustion + scorching ray on minion build is very clunky to run, especially with EE). Chaos is cute with wither, but lack scaling outside of it.

That's why I believe that cold conversion is, by FAR, the best way to run minions in 3.8. Neither lightning, fire, chaos or physical can remotely compare with similar investment. The only drawback is how you are stuck with 4 green sockets, when you don't have that much possibilities for it. However, it's quite minor since we can still use every socket.


TL;DR Physical buffs are added to each other, while cold buffs are multiplying each other with higher base value and less mana reserved.
Last edited by Keyen on Feb 29, 2020, 6:32:27 PM
@iLL3at frost bomb is this really clunky skill that gives a big damage boost, but it doesn't have to be your only skill that hits. It gives pulses which give exposure before it explodes but don't hit, and then explodes 2 seconds later (scaling with skill effect duration, so in 2.8 seconds with the lowest skill effect duration). However, the exposure is applied essentially instantly with the initial pulse.

I currently run
Ethereal Knives - Faster Projectiles - Pierce in the gloves as they hit essentially everything in a pack every time. I instantly apply EE & curses with that, and apply Frost Bomb afterwards if needed. Works pretty good. You do lose portal & phase run (which I don't mind) and have to replace dash with flame dash somewhere else with this setup. Overall lose 1 non-green socket for some pretty good QoL, as you can apply EE as well as Curses very consistently.

You can also link Frost Bomb - Awakened Spell Cascade - Less Duration for a skill which hits in 1.3 seconds (with minimum skill effect duration) with a decently good area covered. Lose two non-green sockets, but get to keep Phase run & portal.

In both situations, you are trading convenience for sockets that aren't going toward more DPS so it depends on how socket-starved you are and what you are trying to do with your build, but I gotta say the ethereal knives have been doing great by me.
Last edited by wazzupdj on Mar 1, 2020, 9:01:27 AM
Thanks @ Keyen and @wazzupdj for answering their questions! Much appreciated.

@Keyen - That is a very good write up and I agree with pretty much everything. I would be interested in a link to your guide - I did not see it when I was looking to see if any cold skellies guide existed when I was about to put pen to paper.

The one good thing phys has going for it is impale - I did some math on it when I was about to write up the phys vs cold vs chaos section, but for some reason my math doesn't match what PoB (fork) has. I had impale support + dread banner/generosity at 94% more, whereas I believe PoB has it at 104% more. Impale is great on bosses but less good on trash mobs which get killed in a few hits anyways, not letting it ramp up.

Calcs here - if anyone can check my work on this one, that would be appreciated.

The "%" after the 0.7 is not supposed to be there - oops.

For phys, I would run pride (which I still don't like), dread banner + generosity, and flesh and stone + maim. The damage I calculated (with the same gear, but hatred mods changed to pride mods, minion damage on gloves, and the relevant gem changes) results in very good damage still (5.5-7m/skellie depending on pride's level), but lacks the chill and freeze that lets you go deep into delve.

@wazzupdj - I think you just need one more blue socket actually - armageddon brand. It has a super low cast time, can be pre-casted, and stays on the boss for five seconds (and EE lasts for another four). For mobile bosses (aka only Aul), I swap out carrion golem for a brand skill. Unfortunately the build is super socket starved and would either need to cut carrion golem or add an unset ring to get more sockets.

Phase run is more of a delve skill, though very helpful in speed mapping as well. Certain delve nodes are super rippy where pretty much any attack that touches you kills you - for these, phase run + adrenaline flask to run past long sections is very necessary. Staying around killing each pack does not work so well here either, since they kill spectres if you hang around too long. I also swap out portal for enhance 4 for delve, since it lowers the cooldown on dash and increases the movement speed for phase run.

I do like the less duration suggestion though - if skellies are still good by the time PoE2 and six linked everything becomes a thing, we may be able to experience this luxury!
3.12 ❆ Cold Skeletons guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2774965
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iLL3aT wrote:


@Keyen - That is a very good write up and I agree with pretty much everything. I would be interested in a link to your guide - I did not see it when I was looking to see if any cold skellies guide existed when I was about to put pen to paper.



It's because it wasn't a cold skellie build x)

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