This build is one that uses both minions and high damage bone spells to kill the enemy. There are two important variations on this build, one using Revives and one using Skeleton’s only. Throughout the guide I will explain both of them and how they work compared to each other as well as in general.
The only curse that’s really necessary for this build is Amp, and that for one point, however; 1 pointt into Decertify and Attract/Confuse/Dim Vision are all useful. Lower resist is only good if you party with sorceresses a lot, or other characters dealing mass elemental damage like Javazons.
So either just:
1 pt into Amp
or 1 pt into Amp, Weaken, Decertify, DV, and the rest of the curses as you choose. I tend to use all of the curses except weaken, and life tap so I put a point into everything. If you’re optimizing this build for bone and/or using skeletons you probably only want one point into Amp and DV, and maybe Decertify.
+20 Bone Spirit/Spear (Depends on personal choice, both are equally useful)
+20 Bone Prison – (only costs 1 mana at high level and has insane amounts of life, great for tying up all sorts of annoying enemies and especially LEB’s and Baal’s minions as well as bosses, This is also really good for bone walling out any party members who cant teleport or leap attack so that you get a better chance at the boss drops, it pretty much ensures an amazon cant get anywhere near Baal when he dies)
– I don’t advocate abusing the marrowalk bug at all, and this build doesn’t need it to be effective. However, if you are going to, then no points into Bone Prison and max out Bone Wall for the extra synergy
Nothing into Poison
All extra Skills into other bone synergies as you see fit.
2 different ways to do this. Originally I used this selection:
+20 Skeleton Mastery
+3 Skeleton Mage
+5 Golem Mastery
+2 Clay Golem
+1 Summon Resist
+1 Blood/Iron Golem (perhaps not necessary except for clay golem synergy)
(the rest of the summons are fleshed out by plus to skill and give you a fairly substantial and undying army if done correctly)
However, after playing through again, I discovered you can optimize the build in 2 different ways.
For mostly revives as your tanks and damage dealers, with a lot of extra skills for pumped up Bone Spells. Hell revives are also the strongest minions in the game IMO, even if you must use Teleport and TP scrolls to keep them alive.
+20 Skeleton Mast
+1 Skeleton Mage
+1 Golem Mast
+1 Summon Resist
+1 Blood and Iron to get Revive
For Skeletons only, and arguably stronger minions, though not necessarily as long as you have the patience to deal with revives or teleport capability.
+20 Skeleton Mast
+1 Clay Golem
+1 Golem Mast
+1 Summon Res
I have all 16 skills allocated on my keyboard in this arrangement to allow easy use of almost anything for me.
BS on Left Click
F1 – Amp
F2 – BA
F3 – CE
F4 – Decrepify
F5 – CG
F6 – RS
F7 – RM
F8 – Revive
F9 – BP
F10 – Attract
Then on the Insert- Pg Down keypad I have 6 more curses I use for party play or when bored
Strength – As much as needed for gear 60 for vipermagi/frostburns, more if you have a higher strength enigma (103 for archon plate probably the heaviest) or however much you need for Trangs
Dexterity – Either enough for max blocking for whatever head you have or none at all. With this build you will have very substantial Bone armor and block won’t help against elemental attacks so it might just be good to with none. My necromancer has max block for Homunculus and has no problems however.
Vitality – The rest of your points after Strength/Dexterity/Energy
Energy – I would recommend at least 50 pts into here since this build relies on Bone Spirit a lot and I use Trangs gloves instead of frostburns, but someone with a lot of mana charms could probably get by without any.
Several things to note before I get into this:
Max Resists are very very nice for this build, but Cannot Be Frozen isn’t necessary since you will be standing behind a wall of minions or bone prison most of the time. I will also put a special section into MF gear at the end since he can be used quite well for MF.
Fast Cast is nice, but isn’t critical, therefore I would suggest taking gear for resists and + to skill over Fast Cast in this case. You tend to run out of mana and chug blue potions fast enough as it is.
FHR is also nice but not critical since your Bone Armor will usually protect you until you can run behind you minions again as well.
Trangs Set probably works well for this build though I haven’t tried it, I’ll be listing the Trangs set pieces as choices for gear. Then uniques and Rune words I use, I like better than Trangs and I don’t look like a stupid blood lord.
(I’ll be listing an ideal candidate and then several other useful ones as well, some cheap and some good for low level)
Ideally Harlequin Crest, Um’ed, Perfect Topaz, or Perfect Skull all work well
+2 Circlet with good Mods
Ideally Enigma so you can teleport your army
Also Vipermagi is especially good
Chains of Honor
Ideally Arachnid Mesh
Also Nightsmoke mesh belt (upgraded)
Gloomstrap for extra mana
Crafted Caster belt
Lenymo for really low levels
Trangs Gloves Ideally (the +2 to curses is nice)
Ideally Marrowwalk for the + to Skeleton mastery and the other good mods or if you don’t use bone prison and just use bone wall, though I think that getting to use bone prison outweighs the Bone Spirit synergy
Good rares with mana 30% FRW and Resists
Ideally Homunculus, Preferably with an um rune for more resists. You just can’t beat this shield
1.10 Necromancer heads
a good rare +1 or +2 head
Rhyme head with good + to skill
Splendor head with good + to skill
All sorts of choices here, I’m partial to Blackhand for the extra curses, but Umes with its big boost to decrepify is nice, The Arm of the King works well, Gravenspine is good at low levels, as is the Torch of Iro which can be used at level 5, and the new wands or a magical +2 to skill wand are all good choices.
HOTO is also an option here, but it’s not necessary really. Just something for the rich.
Ideally 2 SoJs, otherwise Ravenfrost, especially if you go for blocking or a Bahamuts ring of the apprentice with a sick amount of mana and 10% fast cast works well too. Dwarf star if you want fire absorb is also an option, as is a BK ring too.
IMO Ideally Maras for the resists and the + to skill, otherwise any sort of +2 to necromancer skill amulets with good mods like mana, fast cast, resist all, life, strength, dexterity are very useful, as is the eye of etlich at low levels, or a +2 caster amulet.
You will want a mix of PB and Summon Charms depending on how the rest of your gear shakes out, mixed with 10-11% res small charms or 5% res all small charms to shore up resistances you don’t have maxed. The annihilus is awesome for those lucky buggers who managed to get one as well.
I know everyone always uses Act 2 mercenaries, but I highly recommend an act 1 Fire Rogue mercenary for this build if you use revives.
My reasoning behind this is that she does really good damage with a decent bow, She doesn’t die, and she does wonders in getting you that first corpse either for CE or for Revive, Skeleton, etc. Did I mention she doesn’t die? You don’t really rely on your minion damage enough in this build to merit a might mercenary IMO. If you do decide to go act 2 Mercenary, then go for might, as he is the best one of them for this build. If you are playing with just the skeletons and no revives then a might mercenary will be useful because you will need the aura to increase your skeleton’s damage to an acceptable level. I don’t suggest cold because shattered corpses are useless to a necromancer.
Gear for the A1 mercenary
Helm – Rockstopper, Stealskull, Gaze, Valkwing, Nat’s Helm are all useful, with my suggestion being the rockstopper since its cheap and has resists.
Armor – Duriel’s shell, Crow Caw, Twitchthroe, Skin of the Flayed one. Basically resists, attack speed, life leech, Dexterity are things to look for
Bows – Start with a 3 chip gemmed hunters bow, then get rares or whatever you can find until she can use skystrike or riphook. Both work well. Then Cliffkiller or Goldstrike being great choices, and Eaglehorn or Windforce for the rich.
Gear for the A2 mercenary
Helm – Tal Rasha’s Helm, Vamp Gaze, Crown of Thieves, Rockstopper, any helm with leech, resists, damage reduction
Armor – Shaftstop, Gladiators Bane at really high level, Good rare high def armor with resists, Any sort of ethereal like eth Duriel’s Shell, eth Spirit Shroud etc. Shaftstop is idea because of the DR on it. Rattlecage is also fun to give your mercenary crushing blow. Ed. Iron Pelt works *really* well at lower levels too, that thing is great.
Weapon – Life leech and damage are the 2 most important things here. Amn/Amn or Amn/Hel Bonehew is probably the best weapon out there, followed by things like Ariocs, Steel Pillar, Amn Spire of Honor, or good cruels, you don’t want Tomb Reaver or Blackleech blade because you don’t want your mercenary overriding your curses. I always use a battlebranch at low levels and then either an impaler war spear or something like Pierre before I get my endgame mercenary weapon.
I generally play a melee necromancer with a 3 socket chipped gem spear through act 1 normal and use clay golem and iron maiden to kill off Andariel, or level up significantly with the skeletons and have them kill Andariel. (Power leveling strategies include getting a Khalim’s Flail or a hellforge hammer with another char and murdering everything everywhere in act 1 and 2)
By act2 I have enough of an army to start playing like a Skelemancer. 3-6 skeletons, 0-3 mages, a golem and mercenary at the very least make a pretty good army for going through act 2. (with good gear by level 25 you should have +2-3 to skill and your minions just run though and destroy everything, otherwise you will just have to be patient, keep recasting, and keep a melee weapon on switch) Decrepify works wonders on the bosses and they should die pretty fast to your buffed out minions. You might also use attract or confuse on groups of monsters here since it is very effective in normal.
Normal Diablo/Baal will probably be the biggest problem for this build, my suggestions are either to get in a party, or use iron maiden and clay golem, or decrepify them and hope your minions are strong enough to do it. Also at this point you should have a few points into bone spirit/spear and be able to support them that way.
Corpse Explosion is a great skill to use in 1-3 player games, and after that its better to just revive the corpses for use as meat shields for the party rather than wasting them on blowing them up for negligible impact.
Killing magic immunes is pretty easy, as they die to the rogue generally, or amp+CE and minions.
Once you get to nightmare and hell, the bosses should be pretty easy to take on, decrepify and clay golem and bone prison usually renders all of them as easy meat to your army, provided you have high resists and can stand up to any elemental attacks. Diablo and Mephisto die especially fast to this. Baal running takes a little while but is generally pretty safe behind the wall of minions.
To kill Black Souls, max resist is nice, but its also good if you just cast your golem near them, decrepify them or dim vision them, and let your mercenary shoot them from a distance while you send Bone spirit’s their way and the rest of your army attacks, Dim Vision is pretty much the best way to go since it prevents them from shooting.
Shako with Perfect Topaz
:: see the rest of the gear
I really cant justify sacrificing anything more than this for the purposes of MF since the idea is to not die, and if you lose plus to skills with the Necromancer your killing speed drops quite a bit.!