Act 2 Hell - Summoner

Hey everyone,

I’m just wondering what your strategies are for Act 2 Hell and beyond. I’m struggling really, really hard - and I’m not sure if it’s my lack of gear, or the way I’ve built up my character.

I’m around level 70 and have maxed Skeleton, Skele Mastery, 10 points to revive, 1 point to amp damage / corpse explosion, golem mastery, summon resist, and then the rest in Clay Golem.

I find that (for the most part) my summons don’t do any damage, and end up getting obliterated before they can make any sort of dent.

What am I doing wrong?

Re-create your character in the planner on; skill-wise all looks more or less fine, though lv1 Amplify Damage, without +skills bonus, lasts too short and its range is atrocious.

I love CE over revives. The most challenging areas are when the army gets bottlenecked in narrow passage ways. Maxing CE in Hell is a game changer because of the radius, it really helps with clear speed. I really don’t invest much in the golem at level 80 and earlier because I like to cast him in doorways to lure out the enemies before I walk in the door.

Also, are you using an Act2 Might Merc? Huge help.

The question isn’t really your build but more your + to skills you are running and your merc. It needs to be Might merc, with basic, very basic gear you should have at least +3 to all skills at this point, ideally +5 if you can’t do better. This is easily attainable, Spirit sword, Lore helm, and at least a +1 to skills amy by now.

The issue with Act 2 is the Maggot lair. Best advice is join a party that someone else goes into the Lair and gets the staff for you. You can volunteer to run ahead to get the amy while they do the staff! If you have to do it yourself, unsummon all your skellies, make sure your merc has the best gear you can give him. Your tactic is move forward till you see a monster, then run behind your merc. Once he drops a body, CE. If you need, cast a golem further in to help your merc out.

Arcane can be done similarly if you don’t have a telly staff. Speaking of Telly staff, go shop one.

You don’t seem to have Decrep?

That’s my gear.

Your gear should be fine for getting through the end of the game, your merc on the other hand…

All you need to do for him is upgrade his weapon. The Impailer is only slightly better than insight in a Scythe. You should be able to find a better base weapon and make a better weapon.

Impailer damage is 24-90
A Bec-de-Corbin Insight (nightmare tier) would have damage of: 55-306
A Great Poleaxe Insight is: 174-457

Insight is a great runeword not only for the meditation but the 200-260 ED that you can’t get on many other places. If you can’t find a base for it, get the best damage weapon you can.

Bec isn’t a top tier weapon but I like Bec’s so I decided to give you those numbers. As your merc is your main source of killing things, his damage is the most important, not your skellies. He gets you the bodies to CE, and CE is the room clearer.

As to your gear: You can beat Baal with this set up and upgrade as you find better. For low end look for a 2 socket shrunken head with good + to skills and you can make rhyme in it. Upgrade as you can. Stealth is still a good armor, although you are probably loving the resists on that Breast Plate. Your gear isn’t the problem, your merc needs a new weapon. After that Maggot lair and Arcaine tactics is what you need to deal with.

Shop a Telly Staff for your weapon switch.

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The gear looks barely acceptable. You could upgrade armor to Smoke(Nef+Lum). Next, the amulet, at this stage it’s very easy to gamble +1 All Necromancer skills, or +2 Summons tree. For shield you have options - Splendor(Eth+Lum) in a shrunken head for cheapest possible +1 All skills, faster cast rate and decent magic find; Ancient’s Pledge(Ral+Ort+Tal) for massive all resistances, sadly can’t be created in shrunken head; or Rhyme, no +All skills, worse resistances than Ancient’s Pledge, but has cannot be frozen, mana regeneration and a bit of magic find. Belt is also something which could use an upgrade. Your boots are pretty good though.
For the merc, replacing Impaler with Insight, as Rondel pointed, will make your life waay easier thanks to mana regeneration - and Corpse Explosion, which is main damage dealer is rather expensive.
The last piece of gear which will immensely help is staff with Teleport charges on 2nd weapon slot; using it you can reposition your army, and preforming teleport on an enemy(you point him with a cursor then teleport onto him) you’ll cause ALL your minions immediately start to attack the chosen enemy, without having to surround him.

Skill distribution however…that’s where you could make some adjustment.
1st, 20 points in Clay Golem is a waste, the guy even with so much investment won’t do much damage. It’s core role is to slow enemies, and to do that 1 point +All skills stuff is enough.
2nd, lv4 Corpse Explosion has just 3.6 yards radius; that’s more or less like waypoint circle, laughable at best.
3rd, same for Amplify Damage, at this level it just does too little to be really viable.
4th, Skeletal Mages are not worth investment other than being prerequisite for Revive.

Consider such changes; btw, by clicking shield slot then choosing All items>Left Hand you’ll see Rhyme, Splendor and Ancient’s Pledge, and you’ll be able to change the shield to see how stats change.
About abilities - by removing 19 points from Clay Golem, and 3 from Skeleton Mage I was able to raise level of Corpse Explosion and Amplify Damage to make them have some reasonable range. Spare points I’ve put into:

  • Decrepify - wonderful curse against bosses/tougher enemies, its slowing effects adds to that provided by Clay Golem.
  • Bone Armor - because it’s good to have a point there so +All skills equipment can raise it, and extra protection against
  • Summon Resists - minions don’t have resistance penalty in Hell difficulty, but having 0 resistances they won’t last long. Just one point gives them +44% all resists.

The main reason I haven’t replaced my shield yet was because I found the +skill to raise skeleton to be invaluable - but I definitely see your point.

I do have a teleport staff, I just didn’t put it into the build since it wasn’t really stat thing - Wholeheartedly agree with you that it’s incredibly useful. :smiley:
I’ll give your adjustments a shot - I honestly never really use CE, that’s why I didn’t put points in to it - I assumed that the skeleton/revive army would be able to handle the killing. That must be where I’m going wrong. :frowning:

Rhyme and Splendor you can create in +3 Raise Skeleton head, you just need to make 2 sockets in it; not the one you currently have, it has to be white or gray item.
Army is capable of killing enemies, however it requires more +All skills, additional damage auras from Pride/Beast/Infinity whose are expensive runewords. Usually, it is used mainly for softing and keeping enemies away of you, and once a single enemy dies Corpse Explosion will create a chain reaction almost instantly killing the rest of pack. And speaking about Corpse Explosion, a hint - Amplify Damage increases its damage too.

Does CE blow up multiple corpses? or do you just spam it?

Most encounters go: Cast Amp, Merc kills 1 monster (with a good weapon he one shots them), CE, this kills 50% of the monsters out there, CE again everything is dead.

Each CE blows up one corpse, since everything has amp on it, you will most likely create another corpse to CE.

CE is by far better to max than clay golem or revive. I wasn’t picking on your build as you can finish the game with what you have, my normal runs at the start of ‘ladder’ etc, I finish Hell Baal with Spirit, Lore, Rhyme, Stealth. Naturally when you use CE you fly through things faster. I hadn’t thought you were waiting for skelly’s to kill things.

The +2 Skelly head isn’t bad, but I usually look for a +3 skelly +3 mastery WHITE 2 OS shrunken head. You can make rhyme in that, have good +25 resists all, CBF, MF and the +3 skelly +3 Mastery. Those are great shields until you get Homu or Spirit, whichever is your preferred end game shield.

As Rondel said, CE theoretically is spammable, but with high enough level, and backed up by solid Amplify Damage its enough to cast 2-3 of them to clear up whole group.

Also a note on picking up Revives - because your skeleton warriors will block access to enemies due to surrounding them either use teleport stomp technique(though rechaging teleport staff is expensive), or try to pick as revives ranged-type monsters.

Oh I didn’t think you were picking on me or my build at all - I’m just fairly new to the necro life. :slight_smile:

I’ve been looking for a better head since this one dropped in act 1 normal, (same with a 2 os white armor for Smoke, etc) - but nothing viable has dropped, which is very strange xD

To get 2 socket white armor you can go back to Nightmare, act II/I, and reset Fara or Charsi till they’ll show something decent. For shrunken head sadly you have to find one in the field.
Also focus on gambling to get better amulet, at character level 71 it won’t be hard to get blue +1 All necro skills(got these kind of amulet for my Druid when it was on level ~41-45), or +3 Summons tree. And still you have a chance for a rare with these stats.

I’ll give it a go and see what I can find. At what level is it okay to gamble circlets for stuff like that - or is it worth it on a necro?

Gambling circlets is worth for all characters, and +2 class skill appears since iLvl50 - so definitely you’ll be able to hit +2 Necromancer skills. However, as they are very expensive, it’s recommended to create Edge(Tir+Tal+Amn) in simplest possible 3socket bow for a discount; the discount will also be handy for gambling amulets.

Gotcha. I’ll give all of this a go and see how it goes!

Good luck mate :slight_smile: Let us know if your game experience increased thanks to our hints^^

Definitely noticing a difference. :slight_smile: Gonna have to keep grinding to get useful gear, but at least I’m not stuck!

Great we were able to help :slight_smile: After you’ll defeat Diablo/Baal feel free to write some update what difference in plus you’ve noticed^^.