I'm playing with a necromancer (84 exp) in hell difficulty with the following skills:

  • Skeleton mastery: 20 (for revived monsters stats)
  • Corpse Explosion: 15 (for quick cleaning of small monsters pack)
  • Bone Spear: 20 (main attack)
  • Bone Spirit: 20 (for bosses)
  • 1 skill point for the rest, coupled with a +6 all skills from various items

I get the impression that even moderate level monsters are not killed fast enough, even when using lower resist or decrepify (the latter has the nice effect of slowing down enemies and is the most used spell).

I didn't find any updated guide for hell difficulty (for patch 1.12 or later), is there a better combination of skills/spells?

  • 11
    Lower Resist and Decrepify don't actually help your Bone skill damage output, so that's probably why you aren't seeing any difference.
    – Grace Note
    Commented Aug 10, 2010 at 17:23

3 Answers 3


I've referred to this for my source on necromancer skills: http://classic.battle.net/diablo2exp/skills/necromancer-curses.shtml

Lower Resist decreases an enemies elemental resistances and Decrepify decreases their physical resistance. Unfortunately, bone spells do magic damage, so I don't think either curse improves your bone spell damage (as Grace Note pointed out). They are only useful for your minions; Lower Resist helps your skeletal mages and Decrepify helps your skeletons. Also, if you are using Revive then those minions will do more damage when you use those curses (most monsters don't do magic damage).

Unless you totally focus on them and skills that synergize (see my sidenote), Bone Spear and Bone Spirit are ineffective because they do not scale up in Hell difficulty. However, Bone Prison and Bone Wall do. Also curses and revives scale up because they are based on the strength of monsters in Hell.

For a summoner, playing heavily to revive is a good plan. Look at some revive necromancer guides, this being a short example: http://diablo.incgamers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=707530. I recommend maxing Revive and Iron Golem, so that you have plenty of summons to work with and a golem for killing monsters to get that first revive. I also think you're better off replacing Bone Spear with Bone Prison and Iron Maiden. Then you can lock monsters in with your minions and have them damaged by both their own attacks and your minions, while boosting with other curses you have. Iron Maiden has the nice property that an increase in skill level increases the damage taken, not the spell radius like many other curses. Bone Spirit is appropriate to some extent for helping your Iron Golem take down monsters, but certainly not worth focus.

Sidenote: To get an idea of how much damage a pure bone necromancer does, I'm in Hell difficulty with my necromancer right now using an all bone build, around level 76, roughly these skills (I can update values tonight when I check):

  • Teeth: 10 (about +6 with items)
  • Bone Spear: 20
  • Bone Spirit: 20 (about +4 with items)
  • Bone Wall: 10
  • Bone Prison: 20
  • Some other misc. skills

And I only do over 3000 damage per spirit. That's very little in Hell difficulty.

  • 1
    Wow. I've always wondered why among all the characters I've made, I couldn't get my bone necromancer past 50. Apparently bone spells really don't scale well.
    – Jonn
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 12:39
  • Thank you for the tips, I was really missing the basics.
    – alexandrul
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 14:41
  • @alexandrul: I don't know a whole lot about Diablo 2 (played for only 3 months) so I missed the basics too until friends who were deep in the game explained things to me.
    – Sadly Not
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 14:50
  • 1
    @John: From what I can tell bone necromancers are better for PvP, because the bone spell damage is enough to kill most player characters and bone prison + curses proves nasty for someone without teleporting. Even with teleporting there's plenty of ways to whittle their health down.
    – Sadly Not
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 14:52
  • 4
    @thethinman Not only that, but Bone Spirit is powerful in that it's a homing missile. Very few skills perpetually home for the duration of the spell. Albeit slow, it still puts continuous pressure on the enemy to keep moving and watch that they don't teleport into a previously cast spirit.
    – TheQ
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 16:07

The most efficient build for the Necromancer (maybe even for the entire game), is the "Fishymancer". It allows you to go through Hell and back without much/basic gear, perfect for first characters with the intent of magic finding better items for future characters. You could even go through the game naked.

In summary, the skill build:

  • Raise Skeleton (20+)
  • Skeletal Mastery (20+)
  • Corpse Explosion (20+)
  • Amplify Damage (1+)
  • Clay Golem (1+)
  • Deceprify (1+)

(Clay Golem + Deceprify to help with bosses)

Merc: Act II with Might aura

Ideal items: +resistance, +skills, +mana per kill, magic find, +runspeed, +life/vitality

Those are all the skills you need. That leaves for a lot of skill points to put in any skill you want, and it wouldn't really matter since the above skills synergize perfectly. And Corpse Explosion doesn't have a lot of immune monsters.

  • 1
    So far, nightmare is a walk in the park.
    – alexandrul
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 0:46

A Poison Nova based build works nicely, and allows one to stack +skills and MF.

Max Poison Nova and its synergies, get Decrepify and CE. Between decrepify, the clay golem, and a cold-based act II hireling, most bosses barely move anymore.

  • 3
    When I used to play unmodded D2, this is the build I went with. I'd suggest using Lower Resist over Decrepify though, as Lower Resist DOES affect the damage done with Poison Nova. Decrepify is great for those Extra Fast mods and bosses, but Lower Resist will make your poison hit that much harder.
    – TheQ
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 18:42
  • 2
    @JN Web: I used to play hardcore, thus valued safety higher.
    – Sjoerd
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 21:45

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