Path of Exile


There’s a pretty good Leveling section in this Spectres guide. Boils down largely to using SRS for damage, until the spectres come into their own in the 40s-50s. Skeletons and/or zombies make decent shields but can’t compete with the SRS on damage during leveling. The only specific unique that really matters in leveling is a Reverbation Rod for early Spell Echo on SRS. I like getting Nomic’s Storm boots, too, 40% move speed is good for anyone.

As for the block, since they nerfed Mistress of Sacrifice you’ll need some extra sources of block. I like the Advancing Fortress claw and using Reckless Defense jewels, which is also laid out in that guide.


Thanks, some useful info there. I’ve kinda winged it for the first 40 levels and my tree is very close to that guy’s so I’ll be able to make the switch easily. I was mostly curious about when to swap to spectres, because as much as I enjoy using zombies and skeletons, they have travel time and pathing issues in closed spaces when large groups are involved.


@ineffablebob what’s your choice of specters these days? I’ve been trying out Solar Guards and Tukohama Vanguards (two most popular choices from what I can tell) and at least on a 4L TVs seem better - no green gems (no dex requirements), and they only have to be built for totem, rather than beam/thrown combo that SGs have.


Solar Guards are the clear winner for fast clearing, but Vanguards are a ton better at boss fights. I’ve never been a speed clearing guy so I like the Vanguards for a spectre focus build. But I used Solar Guards on my skeleton focus summoner last league, since the skeletons had the bosses covered.


And what links do you use on both? I’ve seen a lot of variation for SGs at least, TVs seem more clear cut in comparison.


Not playing flashback, but I am back to playing my Sab a bit after taking a few weeks off. Been debating whether to play flashback or not. It does sound fun.


Minion damage, GMP, Spell Echo for the guards. I like Elemental Focus for a fifth, but I’ve seen people use quite a few different options.

The Vanguards are best with Minion Damage, Burning damage, Elemental Focus, and Swift Affliction.


Thanks, GMP was a game changer. Previously I used Minion Damage, Spell Echo and Ele focus. I’ve switched to SGs full time, but I’ll eventually have to support them with Skeletons, because zombies won’t cut it. Speaking of which - do you play without zombies? Because I’m super hard pressed for slots. Right now I’m using

Gloves - arc with CoH
Boots - Stone golem + 2 auras
Chest - specters
Helm - zombies
Main Hand - Convocation + inc duration + flesh offering
Shield - shield charge

I could free up some slots by getting 2x unset ring and dropping the stone golem I suppose.

Just curious what your setup looks like.


Welcome to summoning in PoE. :) Slots are definitely a limiting factor with summoning builds. I often end up running two unset rings to give myself a couple extra spots, as you mentioned. Not required, but think about one or two if you can afford the slightly-less-impressive ring mods.

I personally prefer the zombies to skeletons when I’m relying on spectres as my primary damage source, because they rarely require resummoning. Especially if you put them in a +2 to minions helm and use both Minion Life and Fortify to give them hefty defenses. Plus you then have the option for a Decoy Totem if you want it, rather than using Spell Totem+Skeletons.

There are some slot-saving tricks I like to use that may help:

  • In the helm, I generally use Zombies + Minion Life + Fortify + (Animate Guardian/Stone Golem). Not much offense, but that’s the spectres’ job anyway. Keeps them upright most of the time, and if you can get a jewel with chance for minions to taunt, they make good tanks. And if you need to, you can drop the Minion Life and use that spot for Convocation instead.
  • If you’re using Advancing Fortress, it will save you a Fortify slot. Put Shield Charge+Faster Attacks + (Animate Guardian/Stone Golem) in it.
  • You can put Desecrate on weapon switch if you run out of room on your main setup. It’s nice to have it available in battle if you can find a spot for it, though.
  • You can get double-duty from an Increased Duration by linking up CwDT-Immortal Call-Increased Duration-Flesh Offering. Usually that ends up in either boots or gloves, easy to get the colors on a Armor/ES base.

You’ll have to make some choices on the auras. I generally don’t use any with spectres. On my last spectre build I went with no auras (well, a lvl 1 Clarity for Commander of Darkness but that hardly counts) and ran Mind over Matter for the extra effective HP. That gave me room for some extra defense, like Tempest Shield. On the other hand, Haste is really nice with the spectres so if you’re not going MoM you might prioritize that.


I would personally skip zombies. They don’t really tank and they do no damage. Skeletons do damage and you can have them up fast with the threshold jewel. You can actually forgo both (I did) and do very well once you have 4 spectres up. Also an good option for clearing is a swap in Phantasm on Kill in the spectre links.

Currently running flashback with a poet pen arc / lighting warp elementalist.


Thanks! Yeah I already dropped MoM after running with it for a couple levels. I never liked it so I don’t know why I thought this time would be any different. I’m using Purity of Elements + Haste right now but I’ve been considering going BM, not sure how that would work though. I have to admit that I love being res capped with absolutely garbage tier gear lol.

Good tip on Advancing Fortress, I totally missed that property when I checked it out earlier.

Couple more questions - do you find zombies sufficient for damage in combination with Solar Guards, especially if they’re built for GMP (I assume you don’t slot in Slow Proj for bosses)? I’m only up to t7 so far with plenty of skill gem levels to go, but the damage doesn’t seem THAT bad, even when specced for aoe. For tougher bosses like Shaper I’d probably have to fit in skellies I guess. Also, have you tried using Pierce as 5th link for Solar Guards? I’m trying it now and it feels great, better than Ele Focus even (links are echo, minion dmg, gmp, pierce). And finally, how many Reckless Defense jewels do you usually take, especially if you’re playing without Mistress of Sacrifice?

edit: Bonus question - do you take Elemental Equilibrium or not? I’m finding it pretty good to be honest, but with skellies I could probably drop it since they do phys dmg and would be the main source of single target damage anyway.


Skeletons have gotten better in the last few leagues, certainly, so I see where @fdsaion is coming from. Using skeletons requires some investment, though - at least a couple of support gem slots if you want decent damage from them, at least one jewel slot (and usually more), and you have to take time to cast them on a regular basis. Zombies require no supports (though I usually give them Fortify, shared with my golem, to minimize resummoning) and no jewel slots, and you don’t have to do anything in battle for them other than occasionally Convocation when they get stuck on the wrong side of some terrain. In either case, skeletons or zombies, fitting in a jewel with minion chance to taunt on hit will make them much better tanks.

I wouldn’t go Blood Magic. Your mana costs as a summoner are dirt cheap, since the biggest cost stuff is summoning zombies/spectres and that’s out of combat anyhow. You’re better off either keeping the auras, or using MoM for the eHP. Purity of Elements is nice for gearing, as you mentioned, and it’s also helpful in keeping the spectres from croaking when you get to heavy elemental damage bosses (Hydra and Shaper come to mind). Even better if you took Commander of Darkness.

I’ve never bothered switching in Slower Projectiles, but it would make sense against tough bosses where adds aren’t a big deal. I’m too lazy to gem swap. :) And I took down the Shaper with no skeletons on Niekramant last league, so it’s certainly possible. Though I should point out that was with Vanguards, not Solar Guards.

As for zombie damage, they’re not gonna do much against bosses, and even with no offensive support gems they can clear trash mobs. So there’s no need to really consider zombie damage in your aura/jewel/gem planning. All you really want from them in boss fights is to provide extra targets so the boss is less likely to hit the spectres.

Never tried it, but for clear speed I can see how Pierce would be a winner. I’ve never used it largely because clear speed hasn’t been an issue when using Solar Guards, so Pierce always felt like overkill while Elemental Focus would speed up taking down rares and uniques. But hey, if it’s making a difference, more power to ya!

You’re going to have a tough time capping block if you skip Mistress of Sacrifice (and use Bone Offering instead of Flesh Offering). Three is probably the ideal number of Reckless Defense, for 12% block (assuming you can get 4% jewels).

If your primary damage source is spectres, absolutely take EE. Makes a huge difference when all that damage is fire-based. For skeletons, it’s still pretty good if you’re running sources of elemental-on-top-of-physical (Hatred, Grip of the Council). I used it on both Charming Ossifier (skeletons) and Niekramant (spectres). You could drop it for a pure physical skeleton build, but it’s only one skill point on the way to Gravepact/Shaper/Constitution so it seems like a no-brainer if there’s any elemental damage on your build at all.


New expansion announcement: Delve

"In Path of Exile: Delve, you will delve into the Azurite Mine’s infinite depths to extract treasure and discover its subterranean secrets.

Our latest expansion features an infinite dungeon and socketable currency items, as well as a bunch of new unique items, skill gems, balance changes, graphics engine improvements and more!

The Azurite Mine is Path of Exile’s first infinite dungeon. The deeper you delve, the harder the game gets. In Delve, you’ll find encounters that are much harder than end-game Maps. Your progress is only limited by the power of your character build. The Depth Ladder tracks who has delved the deepest into the mine.
Path of Exile: Delve will launch on August 31st (PDT) on PC and September 3rd on Xbox One."


Wow that is huge.



My first thought upon reading the first couple paragraphs was “really, they made a whole league around a repeating escort mission? no thanks.” But upon further research it looks like it might actually work, and I’m now at moderate hype level.

I switched to standard for the flashback because I hadn’t seen much endgame this league; currently level 91 Ascendant trying Elemental Hit for the first time. Last time I checked I had 22 deaths. The joys of standard, opening an abyss and a breach while in a beyond map and watching the carnage unfold.

I didn’t use EH at all during the league so that it would be fresh if they did another long race. Also in SSF so I can’t do the super overpowered conversion tricks so it just feels like a strong skill rather than stupidly broken.


They look to be adding a lot in Delve but I personally hate darkness-themed stuff like this. It’s hard enough for me to see stuff, why you gotta shove me in a mine with very low lighting.

I saw in a ZiggyD video that they improved the water effects and it’s now “fully physics based” or some such. My immediate thought was… why?

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll play, at least a little.


Currently not enough stuff in game that makes the engine chug?..I kid, I kid…


They confirmed the new water is optional.


35 challenges down. Guess it’s time to try Uber Elder again. Last couple times I tried I just didn’t understand the fight mechanics well enough to keep up. I’ve upgraded my dps significantly since then and gotten better at the Shaper solo fight, so hopefully I’ll have better luck. Other option would be to try to get the omnitect challenge, but I’ve only had the lightning room tier three twice, and I fat fingered the challenge for it both times (I really suck at bullet hell).

This has definitely been my best league for progression, by far. Really looking forward to the endless dungeon in Delve to push further.