Hello! This is a repost of a write-up I did on Reddit, I figured I'd share it here too. This isn't really intended to be a guide, just my thoughts/experiences on the Summoner Necro rework.
Hey guys, after a little more than a week of casually playing with the new Summoner Necro, I thought I'd share my opinion with anyone who is interested in how the class fairs after the new update. Long story short: It rocks!
I was interested in the new minion summons, particularly the Night Hawks, as it seemed like a similar play style to Raging Spirits in Path of Exile, which I use on my Witch Necromancer when I play. Night Hawks are incredibly good...like scary good, especially against bosses. They are suicidal summons that die after hitting something once, however the hit has a small AoE effect, does massive damage and also hits multiple times. While it was frustrating during early and mid game due to the high mana requirement, once I was able to stop investing points into strength and dex to wear gear and throw a few into energy, it got better. It also got better the more Hawks I could summon at once due to the self-synergy the skill has. Also, being able to spam Hawks made aoe farming much easier, as that was also a difficulty in the early game.
The other summons are pretty self-explanatory. You have your skeletons which give a big damage buff to your army with more hard points invested. They also make decent meat shields in the later game when you have more minion life. You have Abyss Knights which are ranged aoe caster-type minions. I tried a build with abyss knights as main damage dealers with Jinn as the uber skill summon and it just didn't hold up to the Hawks build I started with and am currently using.
Last, you have the Iron Golem, which if any of you played D2 LoD vanilla (which let's be honest if you haven't, you really need to in order to fully appreciate Median and the D2 game as a whole), you'll notice it functions in a similar way. You use a metallic object (So no staves, crossbows, cloth armor, or any other non-metal things you can think of.) on the ground and create the golem from that. The golem gains the properties of that item and has a huge life pool and some hp regen. The golem stays summoned through games, but if the golem dies or you die, you'll need to find another item to create a golem with. An important word of advice regarding Iron Golems; Don't use an item that's too rare and you are not willing to lose, because with the way Median is and the way it's always been, you can die at literally any moment that you are not in a town. Be prepared to have to find backup items to summon new golems. I also just summon it from random blues and yellows on the ground if I don't have an interesting item to summon a golem with just to have that extra meat shield out.
The three uber skills are all summons that give some sort of buff to your party. Jinn are usually paired with an Abyss Knight build and imo are the weakest option. I have not tried Veil King, but it looks like it could have potential when used in conjunction with the Lazarus Summoner set, as you'd be able to have 2 Kings out. Rathma's Chosen is definitely the best option, as it buffs your party with attack speed and deadly strike, as well as total minion damage. I'm assuming that the "total" means it's multiplicative, so that makes it very strong. Also, Rathma's Chosen is the only Uber Summon that is invincible, so you never have to worry about it dying and having to re-summon.
The class plays great. Like I said before, I had trouble in the early-mid game due to mana issues and at one point, I was ready to give up and re-roll a different class and/or spec with the necro, but I am glad I stuck it out. I use skeletons and 1 pointer Abyss Knights (I get two with 1 hard pre req point invested.) as meat shields, a golem ideally made from a buff item so he can buff my minions with an on attack or striking proc (like bloodlust), Rathma's Chosen for the massive damage buffs, and use Hawks as my primary bread and butter damage dealer.
If anyone was curious about how the summoner does with ubers, I am currently level 121 and have done all of the ubers through lvl 120 including hell Baal. I did them without much issue. Hell Baal by far gave me the most issues, as I had to only use Hawks and no other minions to prevent him from summoning too many boss clones at once and being overwhelmed. Just for comparison sake, I had a 2H axe barb the last patch that did every uber except Laz and Samael, and some of the ubers that I had a lot of trouble on with him were cake on the necro. Unfortunately I play single player and the hard drive my character save and backups were on shit the bed and I lost the barb
Kabraxis was nothing, I stood there and spammed Hawks while he attacked the Hawks and they pummeled him. J-Day and the bonus was easy as well for the same reason. I stood out of harm's way and spammed Hawks until they died. Ureh was easy when I was able to get past the zombies and get to Juris Khan. I stood there, spammed Hawks while my Skeletons distracted the zombies, and profited. Those are just a few examples.
A quick rundown of my stat/skill plan in case anyone wanted to try it out:
Str: Enough for gear
Dex: Enough for gear
Energy: 200ish hard points should give you enough to be able to sustain your Hawks.
Vit: The rest goes here.
Max Blood Skeletons
Max Night Hawks
1 Pt in Abyss Knight and Golem for the prereq (Golem does fine with 1 hard point, as more hard points only improve the health regen effect it has and those points are much better spent elsewhere.)
20 Points into Resurgence (For the max 50% minion avoid)
Max Embalming (Life for you and minions AND mana regen for spamming Hawks is too good to pass up.)
1 pt into Sacrifices (prereq), Death Pact (prereq), and bane (great as a 1 pointer)
Leftover points go into Death Ward for the survivability boost (Your minions can't always meat shield you!)
No points into either the ennead or black road skills (They're both useless for a summoner, which feels kind of lame, but you get used to having less uberish skills.)
Max Rathma's Chosen
Thanks for taking the time to read this and I encourage anyone to post their questions/thoughts about the new summoner necro!
TLDR: Summoner necro is a great build if you can stick out the early-mid game.