So how come it feels like the archamge talent for skeleton mages, and the dread phalanx talent for summon skeletons were designed for a non necromancer to use a minion?
Logically, you’d expect that any talent choice would gain your character power or survivability, however, mathematically, both of these choices are fundamentally flawed specifically for necromancers.
why is that you might ask? well because these talents reduce the amount of minions you can have in exchange for the fewer minions being stronger, which is all well and good, however, necromancers can have A LOT of minions. so lets look at them individually:

## Archmage

What it does: You can only summon ONE skeleton mage, but it has 130% more health and damage, 30% larger, and fires 2 extra projectiles (it claims to fire double projectiles, but this is false for pyromancers and cryomancer archmage variants, which fire 3 projectiles with the preceding talent, and only 5 with archmage)

Why it’s bad for necromancers: We can have 5 skeleton mages (i’ve heard someone claim they had 6, but i’m not sure where the extra one came from, so i’m doing the math from 5) which amounts to 500% mage damage (100% per mage)
an archmage amounts to 230% mage damage, with a best case scenario of an additional 66% if all projectiles manage to make contact with an enemy (~382% mage damage) so on the front of it, having even 4 normal mages is just better, on top of gaining the extra talent point to put wherever you want and increase the power of the 4-5 mages slightly.
so who does this benefit? Of course, there’s an argument to be made that a necromancer doesn’t HAVE to grab the 2 talents which increase our maximum mages, but why wouldn’t you if: A) you’re a NECROMANCER, or B) having 5 mages is just a solid increase over gimping yourself with a single archmage.
the answer, of course, is that a lich, who has only 2 skeleton mages by default (only requiring 5 points in necromancy to unlock mages anyways) would see this as an absolute gain, as even if they took the only mage increasing talent available to them, the archmage would still be stronger.

## Summon Skeletons

so this one’s a bit closer in terms of damage gained vs minions lost, however there’s a catch.
What it does: Your summon skeletons deal 80% more damage and are 20% larger, but you can only summon half as many, rounded up.
that last part is key, as there are many talents and even an item which allow us to increase our maximum skeletons, but landing on an even number of max skeletons means this is just a flat 20% nerf across the board for no real gain. however, landing on an odd number of max skeletons means gaining an extra big boy skeleton, and so that’s when the math comes in:

so as with the mages, each normal skeleton is 100% of our skeleton damage, and to the best of my knowledge we can get up to 11 skeletons (luckily an odd number for this exercise) so at each amount of big boy skeletons, double the number and subtract one for the amount in normal skeletons:

2 Big skeletons (the smallest amount possible, as the default skill has a cap of 3): 360% skeleton damage (a 20% increase over 3 skeletons)

3 Big skeletons: 540% skeleton damage (only an 8% increase over 5 skeletons, something which necromancers almost have by accident due to class passives)

4 Big skeletons: 720% skeleton damage (a measly 2.9% damage increase over 7 skeletons)

5 Big Skeletons: an even 900% skeleton damage (breaks even with 9 skeletons, at this point you’d only take the talent to reduce screen clutter if that’s important to you, but for throughput it’s already become worthless)

6 Big skeletons (the max that i know how to get): 1080% skeleton damage, which is a decrease in damage of about 1.8% over 11 skeletons.

now these numbers might seem close enough to not really matter, but there is one massive key element that i didn’t bother to address until now: on hit effects.
minion damage aside, having less minions means that they’re proccing less poison on hit, less bleeds, less bone curse, and any other effects which your minions might have on hit. this results in a tremendous net loss in damage for any necromancer build, and means that these talents, while neat in theory, do not actually benefit any build which focuses on the minions that they supposedly buff.

## How to Fix

For the skeletons Dread Phalanx, the fix is pretty straight forward: Boost the damage bonus to 100% so that, at the very least, it breaks even and people don’t have to worry about landing on an odd number of max skeletons, and then increase the attack speed of those skeletons by 100% to make up for the procc loss for poison, bleed, and etcetera.

For mages the easiest fix would make it too strong for liches and eventually warlocks (which would just be tuning up the numbers to make it better than 5 mages) so the fix i propose is this:
Summon a single archmage with 70% increased health and damage for each mage you could have otherwise summoned (350% increase @ 5 mages) this archmages spells fire 2 additional projectiles, and all projectiles now seek enemies. with this change, a maximum power archmage would effectively have 581% mage damage, marginally spread over the amount of enemies it’s able to hit.

i don’t want these talents to be so godly that they have to be taken, but i want them to at least be an option for necromancers and not just for the off specs.

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I tried making a Necro with Archmage and Dread Phalanx but I gave up on it as it was so much worse than having the full complement of minions. What you have to remember too is things like 100% minion damage on gear would be applied to 5 mages but only applied once to an archmage for example. So with increases to minion damage the disparity is even worse.

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i mean, technically true, but the math would still come out to be the same difference since it’s multiplicitive

(a normal mage doing 100 damage with 100% minion damage would now do 200 damage, so 5 would do 1000 damage collectively, while an archmage doing 230 damage would now do 460 damage, with up to 66% more from the extra projectiles, or 763~ damage, so still more than 3, but less than 4, as stated in the original post)

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