Information, tips and strategies about how to build a starter Necromancer on a budget with the goal of finishing Normal difficulty as quickly and easily as possible.
There are three main builds for the Necromancer - Summonmancer, Bonemancer and Poisonmancer. While Summonmancer is our personal favorite for its easy of use and survivability, the Poisonmancer - with the right gear - is awfully good at clearing high aLv areas with Poison Nova. Alas, neither the Summonmancer nor Poisonmancer are great early-game, as the Summonmancer requires too many Skill Points to be spent before it’s running smoothly and the Poisonmancer… well, Poison Nova requires you to be Lv30, and Poison Dagger is… well, let’s just say insufficient, unless dropping a lot of Stat Points into Dexterity so you can needle one enemy at a time is your idea of a good starter build.
Process of elimination, our starter build is going to be a Bonemancer. It’s not the best starter build, and if you’re playing with a group we suggest just sucking it up and running a Summonmancer - you won’t contribute much at first, but once you’ve maxed out Raise Skeleton and invested some into Skeleton Mastery, your minions will at least serve as a decent meat (or rather, bone) shield. If you’re going solo, the Bonemancer will function well enough as an almost pure caster, capable of Bone Spearing his way through Normal mode, at which point you can respec into something better.
Bonemancer - Skills
Things start out well enough with Teeth, which fires numerous small, low-damage projectiles with each cast. While the number of projectiles increase as you spend points into the skill, the damage remains anemic. Even maxed, the skill will do a fraction of the damage per projectile that other spells deal at much lower levels. Sure, the AoE spread is nice, but the kill rate and Mana cost mean this won’t be a viable option for long.
Fortunately we’ll unlock Bone Spear at Lv18, which is much more impressive, damage-wise, and while it takes a while to reach, Teeth are a synergy, so the points you spend on Teeth aren’t going to waste. While it packs a decent punch, the real boon to Bone Spear is that it pierces foes, which will give you sufficient crowd control.
Other than those two skills, you’ll want to get a point into Corpse Explosion (a required purchase between Teeth and Bone Spear), Amplify Damage (will boost the effectiveness of Corpse Explosion) and Clay Golem, the latter of which is mostly just a distraction for enemies. This simple build will get you to Nightmare difficulty, but you can also just grind Eldritch and Shenk until you’re in the mid-30s and respec.
Bonemancer Suggested Skills
|Teeth||10+||Basic attack spell. Use it until Bone Spear is up to snuff.|
|Corpse Explosion||1||A great spell for other builds, use it and Amplify Damage to neutralize advantageously placed mobs.|
|Bone Spear||20||Primary attack, pierces enemies.|
|Clay Golem||1||Basic meat shield. Don’t expect too much out of it with only a point invested. Best used as bait after Act 2.|
|Amplify Damage||1||Boost damage from Corpse Explosion, should all but ensure kills.|
Bonemancer Level-by-Level Skills
|2 - 5||Teeth (4)|
|6||Corpse Explosion (1)|
|Den of Evil||Amplify Damage (1)|
|7||Clay Golem (1)|
|8 - 17||Teeth (14)|
|18||Bone Spear (1)|
|Radament’s Lair||Bone Spear (2)|
|19 - 34||Bone Spear (18)|
|The Fallen Angel||Bone Spear (20)|
Bonemancer - Stats
Like other casters, the Bonemancer is interested in two things - just enough Strength to wear gear, and the rest of their points can go into Vitality. Since we plan to respec around the end of Normal mode, you don’t need to worry about higher-tier gear like a Spirit Monarch, and while a Spirit sword would be nice, you probably won’t be playing this build long enough for that to become an issue, either. Getting up to 40~ Strength should be sufficient - if you’re incredibly lucky and find something like Magefist or Frostburn, boost your Strength up to equip them, otherwise, just spend everything else into Vitality.
Bonemancer Level-by-Level Stats
|2 - 6||Strength +25 (40)|
|Lam Esen’s Tome||Vitality +5 (100+)|
Bonemancer - Gear
The Bonemancer has pretty simple needs at the start: Mana fuels his offense, so the moment you can do Countess runs, you should. Accumulate as many Tir runes as you can, as sticking them in socketed gear will help you recover Mana after each kill. The defense of the gear itself doesn’t matter, and you can buy most of this from Charsi (helm, armor) and Fara (weapon, shield) in Act 1 and Act 2, respectively. Every Tir rune will give you +2 mana/kill, so five of these can make a huge difference.
Other than that, you just want to stock up on jewelry with Faster Cast Rate and any item that gives you mana/kill, +Mana/Life/Energy/Vitality. Boots with Faster Run/Walk will make travel quicker, and once you outgrow the Tir gear you can replace it with runewords like Lore (Ort + Sol) and Stealth (Tal + Eth), although unless you get incredibly lucky and find something like Frostburn gauntlets, Mana will be an ongoing concern.
|Helmet||2-socket helmet w/Tir runes - Lore runeword (Ort + Sol)|
|Amulet||+Faster Cast Rate amulet|
|Weapon||3-socket weapon w/Tir runes - +skills Necromancer wand|
|Armor||3-socket armor w/Tir runes - Stealth runeword (Tal + Eth)|
|Shield||3-socket shield w/Tir runes - +skills Necromancer totem (can also be socketed with Tir runes)|
|Ring 1||+Faster Cast Rate ring|
|Ring 2||+Faster Cast Rate ring|
|Boots||+Faster Run/Walk boots|
- Play normally until you reach the Black Marsh.
- Find the Forgotten Tower and kill the Countess repeatedly - she’ll frequently drop runes. You want Ral, Tal, Eth and as many Tir runes as you can get.
- Purchase or find 3-socket armor, 2-socket helmets, 3-socket one-handed weapons and 3-socket shields. Most of this gear should be socketed with Tir runes for +2 Mana/kill per rune (these will make great hand-me-down gear for new characters).
- Play through the rest of the game until Act 5 - do runs on Eldritch the Rectifier and Shenk the Overseer from the Frigid Highlands Waypoint to level up to the mid-30s.