For a budget PvPer there’s only one Necromancer build that can be recommended, and that’s a bone Necromancer. You won’t reach the huge amounts of damage fully synergised sorcs can do, but this doesn’t matter as all the bone spells do magic damage, which is unresistable, giving you a big advantage over other casters. Even with some quite cheap items you’ll be able to win duels against most characters of equal wealth, with a few exceptions.
As with virtually all PvP builds blocking is essential. This requires a large investment in dex, but as each point in vita only gives you 2 life it’s not a huge sacrifice to make. The main source of damage comes from +skills gear that, and is similar to most other casters, with a few significant differences. Generally you’ll spend a lot of time staying as far away from people as possible. For this reason FRW is very important and the more you have of it the better.
Invisible Bone spirit (IBS): After a certain distance bone spirits will sometimes turn invisible, which is obviously very dangerous. This is similar to the way guided arrows can turn invisible as well.
- Strength: Enough to use your gear. Usually this will be 156 for Stormshield or 133 with a –requirements jewel, but 156 is preferable.
- Dexterity: Enough to have max blocking with SS after all bonuses from equipment:
- Level 80: 194 Dex
- Level 85: 205 Dex
- Level 90: 216 Dex
- SS socketed with Eld:
- Level 80: 177 Dex
- Level 85: 187 Dex
- Level 90: 197 Dex
- Vitality: Everything else
- Energy: None
- 20 Bone Spear
- 20 Bone Spirit
- 20 Bone Prison
- 20 Bone Wall
- 1-20 Teeth (max this one last)
- 1 Clay Golem
- 1 Golem Mastery
- 1 Summon Resist
The only curse that helps you, Decrepify, is a banned skill, so no points are needed in the curse tree
The extra damage gained from more +skills is useful, but there are more important mods to look for on items first, that often come on items with +skills anyway. FCR, FRW, FHR and resists are some of the more important things to look for on items, and these can be added through socketing in many cases.
- Harlequin Crest: +2 skills, +1.5 life/mana per level, +2 to all attributes, 10%DR.
One of the best caster helms there is, it’s probably the best all round choice, it’s also quite easy to find. Can be socketed with a Shael for 20% FHR to help you reach the 86% BP
- Peasant Crown: +1 skills, +20 Energy/Vita, +15FRW, +6-12 replenish life.
A good substitute if you don’t have a Harley
- Rare/Magic Circlet:
In some cases these can be better than a harley, but the ones that are better are also very rare. The main mods that they can give you that aren’t on a harley are resists and FCR. Whilst this is useful for reaching the last FCR breakpoint it is not essential.
- Mara’s Kaleidoscope: +2 skills, 20-30 resist all, +5 to all attributes.
Can be hard to find, and expensive, but it’s also hard to find an amulet to beat it, without a very lucky craft
- Rare/Crafted amulets: Look for ones with +skills, str/dex and resists, as well as FCR on crafted amulets.
- Skin of the Vipermagi: 20-35 to all resists, +1 skills, 30 FCR and 9-15 magic damage reduction.
A well known caster armour, and also quite common. Very useful against elemental characters in particular if you need the resists.
- Stealth runeword (Tal Eth) — 25 FCR, 25 FRW, 25 FHR, 30 Poison resist, 15% mana regen.
This is best made in a light armour, as your defence doesn’t matter and it won’t affect your movement speed. One of the best all round choices, and my preferred choice against just about every class. The main problem is the lack of resists which makes Vipermagi a better option against elemental attackers if you can’t reach good resists without it.
- Que-Hegan’s Wisdom: +1 skills, 20 FCR, 20 FHR, 10 MDR.
- Shaftstop: 30% DR, +60 Life, 180-220%ED.
If you don’t want to use SS for some reason this armour can help make up for the loss of DR, and if combined with Whitstan’s Guard could save a lot of stat points. However if you do this then you don’t leave yourself much room for flexibility, and the Stealth/SS combination is better in general.
- Stormshield: 67% CTB, 35%DR, 60 cold res, 25 light res, 35% FBR
Great shield against physical damage characters, it gives everything you need on a shield against them. Shael it to reach the next block rate BP if you have the strength to use it without a –req jewel. Or you can put an Eld in it for 7% more CTB and save putting a reasonable number of points in dex. Getting the full 156 strength required for it can be useful though as it allows you to use socketed Monarchs against elemental characters.
- Homunculous: 72% CTB, 30FBR, +2 Skills, +20 Energy, Regen mana +33%, res all 40%, +2 Curses
A great shield to use against casters, or when you need blocking without the DR from SS, such as against a WW sin. Socketed with a Pdiamond it goes a long way towards getting your resists up to a good level.
- Whitstan’s Guard: CTB 87%, 40%FBR, Half freeze duration
Very good blocking, not much else though. You could use this instead of SS, getting DR from somewhere else, such as Shaftstop, to save on putting points in dex for blocking.
- Spirit (Tal, Thul, Ort, Amn): +2 all skills, 25-35FCR, 55FHR, +22 vita, 89-112 mana, 35 Cold/Light/Poison res
Another good shield against casters, the FHR is very useful against trappers, and the FCR might help you reach the next BP, but Homunculous is a better choice most of the time. The other drawback is the strength requirement.
Lots of choices here, most relatively common:
- Heart of the Oak (Ko, Vex, Pul, Thul): +3 skills, +40%FCR, +30-40 resistances, +10 dex, 15% maximum mana, replenish life
Gives you just about everything you could ask for in a caster weapon. Vex runes are rare though, and this can be difficult to obtain without a few lucky HF drops.
- Boneshade: +2 Skills, +1-2 To Bone Spirit, +2-3 To Bone Spear, +2-3 To Bone Wall, +4-5 To Bone Armor, +4-5 To Teeth, +25% FCR.
Good wand if you don’t have a HotO, but it does lack resists.
- Wizardspike: +2-198 To Mana (Based On Character Level), +50%FCR, regen mana 15%, Increase Maximum Mana 15%, All Resistances +75
Another very good weapon, loads of mana, the FCR lets you reach the 9 frame BP (125% FCR) much more easily than most other weapons. Great resists too.
- White Wand (Dol, Io): +3 To PnB skills, +3 To Bone Armor, +2 To Bone Spear, +4 To Skeleton Mastery, 20% FCR
Made in a +3 spear/spirit wand this can add a lot of damage to your attacks. Drawbacks include no resists and low FCR
- Suicide Branch: +1 skills, +50%FCR, Max Mana +10%, +10 res all, +40 life
No resists, but the high FCR, and +1 to all skills can make it a good alternative to a Wizardspike if you can cope without the resists from it.
- Blackhand Key: +2 skills, +30%FCR, 50 life, 37 fire res, 20% damage goes to mana.
An ok wand to use if you can’t get anything better
Not as many choices here, mainly comes down to these 3:
- Trang Oul’s Claws: +20%FCR, +30 cold res. Good gloves, the cold res helps a bit against a Sorc’s CM
- Magefist: +20%FCR, 25% mana regen. If you don’t need the cold res from Trang-Oul’s Claws then the mana regen’s nice
- Frostburn: +40% max mana. Big mana boost if you need it
- Arachnid’s Mesh: +1 skills, +20%FCR, +5% max mana.
Best all round caster belt.
- Thundergod’s Vigor: +20 light absorb, +10% max light res, +20 str, +20 vita.
The light absorb and the max light res make this one of the best items to use against any form of lightning damage. It does count as 2 sources of max res/absorb however.
- Crafted caster belt: Always spawns with 5-10FCR, +4-10% mana regen and +10-20 mana. Can also get resists, str/dex and FHR.
- Gloom’s Trap: Max Mana +15%, +15% mana regen, +15 vita.
Adds mana and life, not bad, but a crafted belt can be better
- Nightsmoke: 50% damage goes to mana, +10 res all, +20 mana.
The resists are nice, but again, Arachnind’s or a crafted belt is better
- Rare boots:
In theory these can be some of the best boots around, but the best ones are very rare. Mods to look for: FRW (up to 30), resists, str/dex
- Sandstorm Trek: 20 FRW, 20 FHR, +10-15 str, +10-15 vita, 40-70 Poison res.
Lots of good mods, the FHR is very useful, as is the strength.
- Waterwalks: 20 FRW, 45-65 life, +15dex, +5% max fire res.
Nice life boost, and the dex can be useful if you plan for it, but overall I prefer the Treks.
- Natalya’s Soul: 40FRW, +15-25% light/cold res.
The extra FRW boost from these can be very helpful if you have to play more defensively against a caster such as a blizz sorc, and more resists are always useful.
- Aldur’s Advance: 40FRW, +50 life, +40-50% fire res, 10% damage goes to mana.
A good alternative to Nat’s boots if you need extra FRW
- Stone of Jordan: +1 skills, +25% max mana, +20 mana.
More damage and more mana, very rare, but if you can get them they are also one of the best rings you can use
- Ravenfrost: CBF, +15-20 dex, 20% cold absorb.
A good source, and likely to be you only source, of CBF, and the cold absorb is very useful
- Rare rings:
These can spawn with 10 FCR, as well as all the useful stuff you get on rares. Extra mana and stats are always good to have
- Bul-Kathos’s Wedding band: +1 skills, +0.5 life per level.
Good to use if you don’t have a SoJ, but these are also rare
Charms can make up for a lot of the things you lack in equipment, and are very important. Plain PnB skillers are useful for increasing your damage, but apart from that they don’t do much else for you. Per square of inventory space used SCs nearly always beat large and grand charms. Things to look for on them are FRW, FHR, life (up to 20), mana (up to 17) and resists (up to 11 for a single element, or 5 res all).
It’s important to be able to switch items around to get the best setup to deal with specific builds. A lot of the items you should have in here are to deal with elemental damage. Being able to overstack some elements, particularly lightning and cold, is more important than other ones.
Things to consider keeping in there, split into countering different damage types:
- 4 Ptopaz Monarch:
Normally used to counter FoH/conviction. The 160% Light res nicely cancels out the effect of conviction, and combined with Tgods will massively reduce the damage you take.
- Thundergod’s Vigor:
To use against characters doing lightning damage. This alone helps a lot against characters that can’t lower your resists, but against ones that can, such as FoH pallies, a 4Ptopaz Monarch to counteract conviction is normally needed. Counts as 2 sources of max resist/absorb for lightning
- 4 Psapphire Monarch shield.
Useful against cold sorcs to counter their CM, which is likely to take off around 170-210 cold resistance
- Ravenfrost rings.
2 of these combined with a Psapphire Monarch can help to greatly reduce cold damage, but remember that you’ll take the damage before absorb is applied, so a blizzard sorc could still one hit kill you if they do a lot of damage
- Death’s Hand: PLR 75%, +50 Poison Res.
Always good to have these just in case there’s a poison damage dealing character
- Venom Ward: +90 Poison Res, PLR 50%, +15% max poison resist.
A good alternative to Death’s Gloves. Counts as 2 sources of max resist/absorb for poison
- Nokozan Relic: +10% max fire res, +50% fire res.
In general fire damage is easier to counter than cold or lightning as you don’t need to stack resists. Either this or Hotspur are good choices to counter it
- Hotspur: +15% max fire res, +45% fire res.
Adds more max resist than Nokozan, but at the cost of losing all the good mods off your boots.
- Stormshield (assuming you’re not using it already):
The 35%DR is incredibly useful against all physical attackers
- Verdungo’s Hearty Cord:
The DR lets you use a different helm than a Harley and still reach a good level of DR. The life boost is nice too, but not overly useful to a Necromancer .
Faster Hit Recovery
- FHR% Hit Recovery (frames)
- 0 13
- 5 12
- 10 11
- 16 10
- 26 9
- 39 8
- 56 7
- 86 6
- 152 5
- 377 4
The best BP to aim for is 86% if you can manage it, 56% if not. One way of getting there is: Stealth (25%), Sandstorm Trek (20%), Shael socketed in Helm (20%), 5 5% FHR small charms (25%) for a total of 90% FHR
Faster Cast Rate
- FCR% Cast Rate (frames)
- 0 15
- 9 14
- 18 13
- 30 12
- 48 11
- 75 10
- 125 9
Hitting the 10 frame breakpoint is very important, the faster you can cast the faster you can do damage. This is easily possible with many combinations of equipment, eg Boneshade (25%), Trang-Oul’s Claws (20%), Stealth (25%), Arachnid’s Mesh (20%). Hitting the 9 frame cast BP is useful, but without very good gear it isn’t worth it unless you use a 50%FCR weapon, such as Wizardspike (50% from weapon, 20% from gloves and belt, 25% from stealth and 10% from a rare FCR ring)