For a bit of a background, I played a lot of Diablo III when it launched, in those nefarious days when elite packs felt like today's Torment V and you died a lot. I got tired many months later and retired to focus on World of Warcraft.
Then, Reaper of Souls came out and I leveled a Crusader to level 70, and played for another length of time. Then Hearthstone came out, Heroes of the Storm came out, Warlords of Draenor, and Overwatch. My time got split between the other five games, and I barely had much Diablo III gameplay until now.
I attended the PAX East 2017 Rise of the Necromancer fansite summit, and played for about 15 minutes. It was a Greater Rift as the female Necromancer, and I got enamored. I mean, 10 minions, a Blood Golem, and Blood Nova. That was awesome.
Nowadays, in beta, Blizzard Entertainment added four Necromancer sets on Tue Apr 25th, and I decided to go with the Necromancer Bone Set. At first, it was bit difficult, and changed around some of my skills and runes to benefit from the Bone Set Bonus. You can view all the Necromancer Sets here.
Just before the Necromancer Sets were introduced for testing, Necromancer players had to craft the Cain Set to benefit from the intellect (which is its main DPS stat). I could only go as far as Torment III with the Cain set.
Then I started upgrading my legendary gems, and stacking Thorns. Today, out of the blue I was one-shot'ing elite packs. It took me a bit to figure out what happened. I started observing elite pack fights, and nailed the source. My Skeleton Mage was critting for 15-24 million damage, my pets were hitting stronger, and my last two enchanting thorn upgrades started to wreck without even lifting a finger. So a combination of all these choices made a big difference.
Before the sets were introduced, I would die nearly instantly in Torment IV. I decided to test-ride my Skeletal Mage in Torment IV. Wrecked. Greater Rift guardian died in less than 5 seconds. I cranked up to Torment V. Now I was dying if not too careful, but the Skeletal Mage was wrecking everything. Finished Greater Rift Torment V in under 6 minutes.
I was not satisfied yet. For giggles, I cranked up Greater Rift to Torment VI (Level 25). I died a few times to mobs that jump toward you or that shoot you from range, but overall the Skeletal Mage didn't disappoint. I played Torment VI (level 25) 3-4 times, and deemed it a success.
I am not by any means an expert. Most of these systems didn't exist last time I played a Crusader when Reaper of Souls came out. Right now I am using the Enforcer Legendary Gem (Rank 24 of 25), and Boyarski's Chip Legendary Gem (Rank 11).
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Enchanted the shoulders to have Chance to deal 17% Area Damage on Hit. Enchanted the Helm to Increase Skeleton Damage by 13%. Enchanted the Chest to Increase Command Golem Damage by 14%, and added 3 Flawless Royal Topaz (+280 Intelligence each). Added +2718 Thorns Damage to the Gloves, +2582 Thorns Damage to the Pants, and +2611 Thorns Damage to the Boots.
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My stats are probably not that great by any standards, but I have played the Necromancer in such a short lapse of time, that to get to do a Greater Rift Torment VI (level 25) solo in less than two weeks is amazing. The Rise of the Necromancer Beta started in April 11, and I haven't played everyday.
These are the Kanai's Cube Powers I am currently using: Azurewrath, Pox Faulds, and Oculus Ring.
These are my current Passive Skills: Aberrant Animator, Blood is Power, Extended Servitude, and Grisly Tribute. Using Aberrant Animator causes all your 7 Skeleton minions, the Flesh Golem, and the Skeletal Mage to gain 200% of my 35,708 Thorns damage. Add to that, the Azurewrath Kanai Cube's Power (Undead and Demons within 25 yards take 650% weapon damage per second), and the fact the Skeleton Mage increases the damage of your minions by 200% (as per the Necromancer Bone Set Bonus). I walk through the Greater Rift, sometimes one-shot'ing small demons and other type of minions.
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As per my skills and runes, unless the Skeleton Mage (Singularity) is currently bugged, it is just one-shot'ing everything. You can actually summon at least three at a time if you have the Essence. I am not sure if each of the three Skeleton Mages adds 200% damage (from the Bone Set Bonus) to each of the 8 minions, or even to the other two Skeleton Mages. That would be interesting (600% total). Taking in mind the Bone Set Bonus "Your minions have a chance to reduce the cooldown of Army of the Dead by 1 sec each time they deal damage," I picked the Command Skeletons (Frenzy rune). The active button makes them go into a frenzy, which means faster attack rate, and thus Army of the Dead cooldown decreases faster.
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Overall, I love the Necromancer, its viability, and survivability. As soon as mobs enter my range of view, I click Bone Spikes to stun the enemies, then click Command Skeletons so that all 7 minions jump on the target, I summon a Skeletal Mage, then cast Fraility (Scent of Blood), keep pressing Bone Spikes and more Skeletal Mages. Elite Packs die quick, and the Greater Rift Guardian explodes in yummy loot in a short time. I don't think I have felt more satisfied with a Diablo III hero than the Necromancer and his army of minions.
In the video below, I did panic at the beginning because of the odd stair letting ranged enemies hit me, and sure died a few times, but finished the Torment VI. Yesterday, I couldn't even start a IV, far less finish it. Check out the Skeletal Mage with Bone Set Bonuses in action.
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