The class I play most commonly in Diablo 2 is the Necromancer. I've always run the same build (below), but now I want to start trying some alternative builds to mix it up a bit and add some extra interest to my next playthrough.

I generally have stuck to this or similar:

  • Raise Skeleton (20)
  • Skeleton Mastery (20)
  • Summon Resist (8-10)*
  • Corpse Explosion (12-15)*
  • 1 point in each curse, 5 in Confuse.*
  • 1 in prerequisites

        * Extra points once I hit higher levels.

Works like a charm and gets me through all difficulties without much trouble.

This morning I had a close look at the Golem summons, thinking they might be cool to invest a fair amount of points in and then use Corpse Explosion + Lower Resist (For Fire Golem) or similar. I noticed however that all the golems as well as Golem Mastery are quite pathetic.

This makes me wonder.. Besides being a prerequisite for Summon Resist, are any of the Golems actually useful? If so, which one? They seem to die rather quickly and their damage seems to scale up extremely slowly (like 6% per point in an alternate Golem skill). Clay Golem honestly seems the most use with its slowing effect, but it requires 10+ points before it starts getting useful.

Any advice around using primarily a Golem summon and then a combination of other skills (bone and curses) is also helpful.

  • If you want to check out other builds, have a look at gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/5002/…
    – Sjoerd
    Jan 5, 2012 at 3:22
  • It's important to note that Amplify Damage and Decrepify can beef up your damage AND remove physical immunities (to a certain extent).
    – Krazer
    Jan 5, 2012 at 4:39

8 Answers 8


The Clay Golem is useful, as it slows down the attacker which allows you to interrupt their abilities (especially useful against bosses). You mentioned this yourself.

All it takes is one point. Resummoning is cheap, so there is no need to buff its health. Besides, +summoning skills will bring it acceptable levels anyway.

The cheap resummoning is also nice against bosses, as it allows you to summon an endless stream of new targets. Just buy enough mana potions beforehand.

So my advice: just invest that one point and resummon it when required.

Higher golems are not worth it. They die too quickly against bosses and don't do enough damage against normal mobs.

However, revived monsters are also useful in some cases. Again, just 1 point is enough as +summoning skill items will bring it to acceptable levels. And 1 point in all prerequisites, of course (I believe this includes some of the golems).

Around level 80, you'll have run out of other places to spend your points anyway.

  • 1
    I disagree, Iron Golem can be VERY useful. If you make an Iron Golem made from a decent weapon that has Crushing Blow (knocks a percentage of a mobs HP off per hit. Very useful for bosses when mercs and summons get a -hit/-damage penalty) or a Runeword like "Insight" that has an aura, the golem will inherit those item attributes. This way, you can have a merc with the "Infinity" runeword (gives Conviction aura, -all resist, except poison) and a golem made out of a weapon with the "Insight" runeword (gives Mediation aura, basically massive (575-700%) mana regen and some other cool attributes).
    – Krazer
    Jan 5, 2012 at 3:52
  • @Krazer Sounds great in theory, but it's too expensive in practice. Iron Golems can die, and in fact frequently do.
    – Sjoerd
    Jan 5, 2012 at 11:42
  • @Sjoerd. It works well in practice as well, if you use Teleport (Enigma or an item (a wand) with charges) to manage you army a retreat when your army of the undead. You don't have to use an expensive runeword if you don't want to. Insight (for mana) and Lawbringer (damage vs undead) are a very cheap and runeword to make that will benefit you (and your army). With ladders runs these days the more common uniques and set items pretty easy to get, given that you have sufficient Magic Find gear.
    – Krazer
    Jan 5, 2012 at 15:16

I'm very surprised no one has talked about the hidden features of Iron Golem. If you have enough to invest in a (metal) weapon/armor with decent attributes or runewords, the golem will inherit most of the attributes (very useful especially for runewords that give auras such as Insight).

The only real downside with Iron Golem is that you lose the armor/weapon you use to make it. It won't disappear when you log out,unlike the other golems. The Iron Golem even becomes ethereal if you use an ethereal item to create it.

Stacking Summon Resist (helps buff your skellies too) and Golem Mastery can help to keep your golem alive against bosses and mobs later on in the game (at the higher difficulties).

If you have time and money to invest in your Necromancer (+summon GCs, gear, etc), you can equip yourself with Beast (or Faith, if you want to forgo an offhand), an Act II Merc with Might with Infinity, and an Iron Golem made with an item with Pride or Insight (a very good and cheap runeword to start with), once you have you army (all the auras stack and will benefit your summons immensely) summoned you'll be nearly unstoppable!

If you can't afford a good runeword, any item with Crushing Blow can help a lot (especially against the Act bosses).

  • 1
    Iron Golems die too often to use anything expensive to create them.
    – Sjoerd
    Jan 5, 2012 at 11:44
  • 1
    @Sjoerd They don't die easily if you manage your army (Use an item with Teleport (Enigma runeword or an amulet with Teleport charges) to move your minions and mercs out of danger). If you supplement +summon skills to buff up your army of skellies and revives, you wouldn't need to worry about your golem, because mobs will be dying so quickly. You can buff up it's health with golem mastery.
    – Krazer
    Jan 5, 2012 at 14:59

this will give you a little enlightment on how golems are useful in hardcore games

You can't kill Diablo on Hell difficulty in hardcore without a Clay Golem, this will be a pain in butt on killing Duriel too, and on Baal he will never have time to summon Image or cast spell if you have clay Golem on your side.

Clay Golem will act as an element of slow in your army of summons and this strategy need you have invest skeleton army to Max+iron maiden and clay Golem in your hand, while boss are slow to zero act per 5-6 sec you cast Iron Maiden on them so if they could attack by any chance they will damage themselves, stay back and be alert on re-casting iron maiden Or on dodging spells like Diablo flame and shock, because of slow effect you will clearly see them coming and you shall have the plenty of time to dodge them easily.

If you want to judge clay Golem vs any other, I have to say Clay Golem is the cheapest and easiest way you can use Golem.


Back in the day when I was playing this a lot, I ran a Necromancer with Blood Golem + Iron Maiden that seemed to work pretty well. Pumping points into Iron Maiden was especially useful once you got to Act 3. Those annoying natives would throw themselves at the Blood Golem and quite literally fall down dead.

Of course, it became a little bit of a problem when I got to Big D, with several of his moves causing me to die via proxy (stupid golem) instantaneously.

  • 2
    Damage to the Blood Golem does no longer harm you.
    – Sjoerd
    Jan 5, 2012 at 3:08
  • Really...? WOW. That seems a little OP...
    – Albort
    Jan 5, 2012 at 3:33
  • The Golem gains 70% of the health it steals while the Necromancer gains 30%. If the current life + stolen life is greater than the maximum life of the Blood Golem, the HP overflow goes to the Necromancer. If the current life + stolen life > maximum life of the Necromancer, the HP overflow returns to the Golem up to the maximum life for each target.
    – Krazer
    Jan 5, 2012 at 4:12

Hum interesting post. You guys need a guide to summon necros.

K the aura thing;

Make your iron golem out of eth beast. Put a pride on your act 2 nm offencive merc.

You now have all 3 group-damage-adding paly auras (fanat, might, conc) - good to go (and you can still hold your gfg white or leoric - whichever is better)

You need spend all 110 allocated point on a summon necro and more points would be better, whoever said you run out of places to put them is completely lost - no offence.

Your curses need only be amplify damage and decrep - and pre-reqs - that's it. Mobs/Bosses

Curses = 4 pts

One point in bone armor - one in CE

Pnb = 2 pts

Summon skills require the remaining 104 points (77 more could be used with ease on just the summoning skills - pfft run out of places to put them what planet are you....)

Skellies = 20 Mastery = 20 Magi = 1 Revive = 20 Clay golem = 1 Blood golem = 20 Iron golem = 1 Golem mastery = 20 Summon resist = 1

Summon = 104

Golem explained.

The goal here is to have the highest possible life on an iron golem (points in the skill itself just boost the things defence - not what we are looking for)

Blood golem gives a 5% life per level bonus to all other golems. That combined with golem mastery and 10-15 + to all skills will leave your eth beast iron golem with 12-18k hp BEFORE bo. If he dies (with that caliber of health), he dies due to your negligence, and in that case you deserve your (expensive) lesson in army management :P.

Happy playing.


As a Necro-maniac in-game i find that the golems serve primarily as your "tank" so to speak, of your summonable creatures. Whenever you lean dominantly towards the summoning aspect of necromancy, i find that golems are basically the "taunt" so to speak. In most occasions I have found that the golems simply eat the damage you, as a rather squishy character (without bone armor) do not wish to take, and leave room for your godlike skeletons to run in and demolish the enemy entirely. Mind you, i'm thinking about a boss scenario here, and whenever i run around looting, etc. i typically just summon a clay golem for the extra head.


Not since they decided to fix the Iron Maiden bug that had made Golems godly since launch. For some reason after a decade they randomly decided to fix this bug, even though it wasn't game breaking or anything, and in fact it made summon Necros viable in PvM


Put 1 point in both Iron and Clay golems -- both are very useful. Put the rest into Skellys and Mastary then split point in Summon res and Revive. You'll will end up with more Revives than you can keep up with. Those are your main killers.

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