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Path of Exile Hardcore Necro Witch Build

Path of Exile Hardcore Necro Witch Build by SpencerRelly

Hello everyone, my name is Spencer and I'm currently grinding maps on the hard-core ladder. I've been playing a summoner witch since closed beta and have thought long and hard about the best decisions for the build. There are already a few summoner guides on the forums however few that I have seen (if any) seem to be hard-core focused. I also feel that many of the popular summoner paths aren't as efficient as they could be. Hopefully I will be able to provide some insight into the already popular character build and explain my decisions clearly. I realize that I am only one person and do not know everything about the game/may have made inefficient decisions myself, so criticisms and questions are encouraged.

Section Overview

1. Build Basics
2. Passive Tree and Leveling Walkthrough
3. Bandit Rewards
4. Auras
5. Curses
6. Gem Links
7. Flasks
8. A Note on Uniques
9. My Current Gear

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1. Build Basics

-This build is very defensive. If you are playing soft-core or like to make risky decisions in order to feel more masculine, this build may not be for you
-This build focuses on being a pure summoner. Spectres as a source of DPS, Skeletons and Zombies as a source of damage mitigation. Late game this build does no damage from spells on the character
-Utilizes 3 auras, and 4 curses (two/three at the same time) to support minions
-HP/ES hybrid

Pros
-Scales well into late game
-Reflect in maps is not an issue
-High health pool and a combination of evasion and enfeeble make this a very safe build
-Having an army is fun

Cons
-Summons are weak until merciless
-Particle spam from Spectres can be hard on FPS
-Groups may not like you
-Potentially slower clear speeds compared to other popular builds
-Low armor can make for some sticky situations

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2. Passive Tree and Leveling Walkthrough

25 points - Acquiring HP
Skill Tree

At this point in the game all we want is HP. Grab a couple Bear Traps (level some shadows if you have to) and a Freezing Pulse to level up with. Buy a Lesser Multiple Projectiles gem off the trade chat when you hit 19 and support FP with it. Clarity will be the only aura that you need for now. Pick up Elemental Weakness as your curse. This is how we will play up until merciless Ledge. The dex node is picked up to level LMP and Bear Traps as we level, and for Grace later on.


46 points - More HP, dex, head over to templar
Skill Tree

Fairly straightforward, pick up more health. Why head over the witch tree rather than under or through the left side? This is something most summoner builds do. I don't for a couple reasons. I do not pick up the Leadership or Necromantic Aegis talents in this build, I do however pick up the mana nodes underneath Whispers of Doom (double curse) that lead to Deep thoughts (18% mana). While it's actually the same number of points once connected, going over rather than under allows for faster health nodes at the start and quicker access to Minion Instability, extra Spectre, extra mana, and Whispers of Doom.

66 points - Summons nodes
Skill Tree

I usually acquire the summons nodes in this order: Minion Instability -> Lord of the Dead -> health and extra minions on the left -> health and extra Spectre at the top -> health near LotD -> damage and extra minions on the far left -> remaining damage nodes -> life and extra minions on the right side.

You should be just using Zombies as meat shields as you pulse enemies down. While they won't be very useful at least you're getting some benefit. Summon Skeletons + Spell Totem is obviously useful as well. I wouldn't bother with Spectres until Merciless (more discussion on skills in a bit).

Merciless Ledge was where I could drop FP all together. For faceroll Ledge farming, go to Solaris Temple in Cruel and Spectre the Flame Sentinels (carpets that shoot fireballs).


82 points - Templar health, chaos resistance
Skill Tree

In preparation for maps you should pick up the health and regeneration nodes at templar, as well as the 16% Chaos Resist node near the witch.


91 points - Inner Force, Whispers of Doom, mana
Skill Tree

This is a good place to be before maps. You can also pick up one or two mana nodes at any point if you need it.


103 points - Remaining mana, remaining summons
Skill Tree

Depending on your gear you might not even need the extra mana but I think they are worth it for the quality of life change that they bring. It allows you to spam your Skeleton totem and
double curse everything in site without going OOM.


After this I haven't decided where I'm going. Probably more HP or the second Body and Soul node.

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3. Bandit Rewards

Normal: HP from Oak
Cruel: Passive point
Merciless: Passive point

These are what I took, however there are some options. I feel that HP is the safest and most useful reward and makes the most sense for normal however if you are feeling particularly manly you can take a skill point. Cruel is a no-brainer. Endurance charge in Merciless is an option (one that I probably should have took) if you plan on using Enduring Cry for hard maps.

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4. Auras

For this build I run the auras Grace, Discipline, and Clarity

Clarity is obvious, Discipline is an HP boost to you and your minions, and Grace synergizes very well with the Enfeeble curse and energy shield cool-down. The thought behind Grace is to help ease the pain of the abysmal physical reduction this build provides. It will also help keep your minions alive.

Why not go Elderitch Battery and run more auras? For hard-core I do not think it is viable. Going into maps with ~3K health and practically zero armor is absolutely insane. In my opinion, that ES buffer is a must have.

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5. Curses

I have four curses on my gear: Enfeeble, Elemental Weakness, Temporal Chains, and Vulnerability

Enfeeble (as talked about before) synergizes well with Grace and ES and helps prevent that insane spike damage that comes from maps. I usually double curse Enfeeble and Elemental Weakness on most mobs. If the Spectres I have deal physical or chaos damage I substitute Vulnerability for Elemental Weakness. Vulnerability provides a reduction in enemy armor and increased DOT damage (great for chaos). Temporal chains is useful in difficult maps and for bosses.

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6. Gem Links

These are what I personally believe would be the ideal end game links. However I haven't reached the point of six link (or even a five yet) so I'm sure the following could be up for debate.

It's also important to note that this build does not need a five link. Just choose the gear that gives you the most defense early on.

In general, support gems go from most important to least important.

Spectres (6 link): Raise Spectre + Greater(or Lesser) Multiple Projectiles + Minion Life + Minion Damage + (Faster Casting or Faster Attacks or Added Chaos Damage or quality Culling Strike) + (Faster Casting or Faster Attacks or Added Chaos Damage or quality Culling Strike

Spectres are intersting, and various other guides have gone in depth with Spectre tier guides and the like, I'm not going to do that. My favorite Spectres are Flame Sentinals (carpets from Solaris Temple that shoot fireballs), Undying Alchemists (chaos shooters from Sarn sewers), and Burned Miscreations (Righteous Fire casters from Lunaris level 2). You can choose to gem specifically for a certain type of spectre (i.e. if you are primarily going to use Flame Sentinals use faster casting), but I think personally having an all purpose set of links is more beneficial and lets you raise a variety, which is why I included quality Culling (quality adds cast speed and attack speed) and Added Chaos. If you love Burned Miscreations, Increased Area of Affect is also a decent choice.

Zombies (4 link): Raise Zombie + Minion Life + Minion Damage + Minion Speed

Skeletons (4 link): Summon Skeletons + Spell Totem + Faster Casting + (Minion Damage or Minion Life)

Do you want your skeletons to punch harder? Minion Damage. Do you want them to Explode for more damage when they die? Minion Life.

Auras (4 link): Clarity + Discipline + Grace + Reduced Mana

And then curses and whatever else you want can go in the remaining two 3 links.

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7. Flasks

The notable flask is the first one: A Perpetual of Animation. Getting one of these and spamming it will add a lot to the survivability of your minions. The rest are pretty straightforward: Seething of heats for WTF moments, perpetual QS of adrenaline for travel and perpetual granite of warding for physical reduction and curse removable. I will probably replace one of my seethings with a well rolled perpetual granite of iron skin eventually.

In my opinion, everyone should invest heavily in their flasks shortly after hitting level 53 and gaining access to hallowed flasks.

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8. A Note on Uniques

Bones of Ullr are the only summoner unique I use and the only one that I personally believe is necessary for hard-core. Losing a well rolled amulet is not worth using Sidhebreath, and losing the benefits of a shield is not worth using Queen's Decree (sword). Midnight Bargain (wand) is interesting, but losing 30% of your already non-insane life pool in a one death league? You make the decision.

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Once I find a decent +2 to minion gems helmet I will be four linking it and putting my Raise Zombie links there. My amulet is also garbage, just waiting on the right Onyx to come along. Also, the random Faster Castings in my shield I was leveling in case I wanted to use them with Spectres or curses but I probably won't. The remaining minion gems are in my off weapon.

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That's about it. Thanks for reading, and feel free to post any questions. I'll try to check back here often. Good luck!

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3 comments:

Andrei Georgescu said...

Hey Spencer, fantastic build. I'm new so I can't give you any constructive criticism. Also feel free to add me, my character name is Strigoaica

Andrei Georgescu said...

Hey Spencer, fantastic build. I'm new so I can't give you any constructive criticism. Also feel free to add me, my character name is Strigoaica

Andrei Georgescu said...

Hey Spencer, fantastic build. I'm new so I can't give you any constructive criticism. Also feel free to add me, my character name is Strigoaica