When Necromancers got released in Season 11, they instantly became the top dog on the leaderboards using Corpse Lance with the Trag'Oul's Avatar Set, overshadowing pretty much every other skill the class had at its disposal. However, Necromancers have many skills with a strong identity, including the iconic Corpse Explosion!
When Season 21 introduced the new Masquerade of the Burning Carnival Set and buffed Grasps of Essence, players finally got a chance to play this skill at a competitive level. But it was only with the introduction of set leaderboards that Inarius really got a chance to shine!
Due to Diablo III corpse mechanics (16 corpse limitation), this build revolves around Land of the Dead rotations to unleash devastating chain reactions on its opponents!
This build is an Area Damage (AD) build, since Corpse Explosion can proc it. This is further enhanced by The Johnstone in conjunction with other cooldown and rotation based damage multipliers, allowing for a disgusting damage burst under specific circumstances (see Mechanics). If you like powerful all-around builds, massive explosions and seeing monsters' HP instantly drop from 100 to 0, you're in the right place. Let's go through how it works and show those demons who's boss!
Simple Rotation ✔
Crazy Burst Damage ✔
Rewards Good Gameplay ✔
❌ Low Mobility
❌ Rotation Playstyle
❌ Low Single Target Damage
❌ Heavy Cooldown Dependency
- Grace of Inarius grants us a 10,000% separate damage multiplier as well as up to 90% damage reduction through Bone Armor and Wisdom of Kalan.
- Grasps of Essence is our core item providing us with a 1,000% separate damage multiplier to Corpse Explosion.
- The Johnstone makes our next 50 Corpse Explosions do 200% more damage after our Land of the Dead ends.
- Nayr's Black Death provides us with an amazing 100% separate damage multiplier for every Poison skill we use.
- Krysbin's Sentence for the 300% damage increase against enemies under a Hard Crowd Control effect.
- Convention of Elements for 200% damage during our Poison cycle.
- Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang provides us with a 200% separate damage multiplier to Cursed enemies and procs our Dayntee's Binding.
Season 28 Altar of Rites
Season 28 brings a brand new progression feature called the Altar of Rites that grants tremendous powers to your entire account in exchange for sacrifices. It requires you to farm Bounties, kill the Ubers, craft the Staff of Herding, and more. Completing all 26 of these tasks, along with sacrificing 6 Primal Ancients grants you unbelievable Damage, Defense, Quality of Life, Increased Drops, 3 Potion Super Powers, and the juicy Wings of Terror. Read the full guides on Unlocking the Altar and the Altar Mechanics by Raxxanterax and Chewingnom to learn everything about this fantastic Season!
Note: The suggested path assumes you are playing Solo and used the Challenge Rift Cache to help you level up.
Node 2: Choose Anointed to gain a full set of 70 yellows from level 18-70!
Node 6: Rush to gain double Bounties to help unlock other Nodes in the Altar.
Nodes 7-14: These are the last Nodes you can gain until the Challenge Rift resets. Take at least 1 Node at the bottom of each path to unlock all 3 Potion Super Powers. Pick up the Mirror Node at the top for a colossal 41% extra XP all season. Remember to unlock Father once you clear GR70 solo and have your first Primal!
Nodes 15-26: Pick up the final Quality of Life, Damage, and Defense Nodes (in that order) to finish the Altar.
Potion Super Powers: Take Father first, then Mother, and finally Mortal.
Disclaimer: The Mortal and Mother Potions require you to salvage 2 and 3 Primals respectively. Unlock them as soon as you have those materials as they don't cost a point!
In general, not much changes for this build aside from various damage, toughness and utility buffs such as Omen and Revelation which make your life easier and enable a push setup without Blood Rush.
Global Stat Priorities
You want to stack damage stats wherever possible, especially Cooldown Reduction, Attack Speed, Critical Hit Chance and Damage, Poison Damage along with as much Area Damage and Corpse Explosion Damage as possible.
Our first priority is to aim for at least 53% Cooldown Reduction which allows us in conjunction with Blood is Power and Gogok of Swiftness to reach the 48 second Breakpoint on Land of the Dead. This way we can detonate every fourth Convention of Elements Poison cycle.
Attack Speed is very important in order to maximize The Johnstone stacks efficiency by reaching an appropriate Corpse Explosion Breakpoint (see Mechanics). We focus on 1.88 Attack Speed to reach the 32 frames Breakpoint, allowing us to cast up to 7 Corpse Explosions during our Convention of Elements Poison cycle. We get that Attack Speed from 7% Attack Speed on the Weapon, Gogok of Swiftness, the guaranteed Krysbin's Sentence roll and the Enchantress' Focused Mind.
Assembling the Build
1. Do the Challenge Rift for the materials to cube Legendary Powers. You can complete this once a week for additional resources and we always update the guide for you!
2. Gather the full Grace of Inarius set. Each piece can be gambled from Kadala for Bloodshards. Do not salvage any duplicate pieces you find! Instead convert them to another part of the set with Recipe 4 in Kanai's Cube. If you have extra materials you can use Recipe 3 to craft the remaining pieces, but this is expensive and not recommended for new players.
3. Gamble from Kadala in this order:
- The full Grace of Inarius set
- Grasps of Essence
- Any Legendary Phylactery, preferably Lost Time
- Krysbin's Sentence, Convention of Elements and Brigg's Wrath
- Nemesis Bracers and Warzechian Armguards
- Goldwrap and Dayntee's Binding
- Steuart's Greaves
4. Craft using Recipe 3 in Kanai's Cube in this order:
- Create a level 1 Demon Hunter and upgrade Swords to get In-geom
- Two-Handed Axes to get Messerschmidt's Reaver
- Scythes to get Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang
- Two-Handed Scythes to get Nayr's Black Death
- Amulets to get The Johnstone and Wisdom of Kalan
- Anything from the Gamble list in Step 3 that you haven't already acquired
5. Do Bounties to acquire several important items for this build:
- Act 1: Ring of Royal Grandeur
- Act 2: Gloves of Worship (for your follower)
- Act 3: Avarice Band
- Act 4: Can drop any bounty item from any act
- Bounty Turn In: Recipes for Aughild's Authority, Sage's Journey and Cain's Destiny (for your follower)
6. At this point you can somewhat comfortably farm Nephalem or Speed Greater Rifts where you can find all the remaining items you need for different variants of the build. Spend your materials getting items with better rolls and/or ancient quality.
7. Use Primordial Ashes in Kanai's Cube with the new Curiosity of Lorath Nahr recipe to obtain a free Crafted Primal Ancient. Since you can only equip one of them, choosing the right item to focus matters! Great candidates are Weapons, Offhands, Jewelry or any item with an important multiplier. With that in mind, we recommend getting one of the following items:
- Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang
- Krysbin's Sentence
- The Johnstone
Item Stat Priorities
Trag'Ouls Corroded Fang
Nayr's Black Death (Cubed)
Messerschmidt's Reaver (Cubed)
|1. Damage Range|
2. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
3. Cooldown Reduction
4. Attack Speed
5. Area Damage
6. Damage %
Any Legendary Phylactery
|1. Cooldown Reduction|
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Corpse Explosion Damage
4. Area Damage
5. Elite Damage
|Helm||Inarius's Understanding||1. Socket Flawless Royal Diamond|
2. Critical Hit Chance
Grasps of Essence (Cubed)
|1. Cooldown Reduction|
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Area Damage
|Shoulders||Aughild's Power (Crafted)|
|1. Cooldown Reduction|
2. Corpse Explosion Damage
3. Area Damage
|Chest||Inarius's Conviction||1. Corpse Explosion Damage|
3. Sockets Flawless Royal Ruby
4. Life %
|Pants||Inarius's Reticence||1. Intelligence|
4. Sockets Flawless Royal Ruby
4. All Resistance
|Ring 1||Krysbin's Sentence|
Ring of Royal Grandeur (A1 Bounties, Cubed)
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Attack Speed
4. Critical Hit Damage
|Ring 2||Convention of Elements|
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
|Bracers||Aughild's Search (Crafted)|
Ancient Parthan Defenders
|1. Poison Damage|
2. Critical Hit Chance
Wisdom of Kalan (Cubed)
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Poison Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
3. Life %
|Potion||Bottomless Potion of the Unfettered||To avoid Crowd Control effects |
during your DPS phases
- Bane of the Trapped is a staple that grants us a 60% separate damage multiplier.
- Bane of the Stricken helps us kill the Rift Guardian. As long as you don't need more than 2 minutes to kill it you can equip Bane of the Powerful instead.
- Gogok of Swiftness allows us to easily reach the 48 second Breakpoint on Land of the Dead and a good Breakpoint on Corpse Explosion while granting us a hefty 30% dodge chance.
- For Nephalem Rifts, Boon of the Hoarder is always used due to its amazing synergy with Avarice Band and Goldwrap.
- Corpse Explosion Close Quarters is our primary damage dealing skill.
- Blood Rush Transfusion is needed for mobility and recovery.
- Bone Armor Dislocation is our only source of damage reduction and allows us to get an additional Nayr's Black Death stack.
- Land of the Dead Frozen Lands allows us to cast our Corpse Explosion at will while also freezing enemies on our screen to proc Krysbin's Sentence.
- Grim Scythe Cursed Scythe applies curses for our Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang and Dayntee's Binding bonuses while helping us to stack Bane of the Stricken.
- Bone Spear Blighted Marrow is purely used to get an additional Nayr's Black Death stack.
- Spreading Malediction gives us 1% additive damage for every cursed enemy.
- Blood is Power helps reduce our Land of the Dead cooldown by 20% based off damage taken, allowing us to reach the 48 second Breakpoint on Land of the Dead.
- Stand Alone is an incredible defensive passive as we have no minions, providing us with a 100% Armor buff.
- Eternal Torment makes curses cost 50% less and last forever.
- Final Service allows us to cheat death.
- For speed content you can drop Eternal Torment for Fueled by Death.
|1. Movement Speed||1. Cooldown Reduction||1. Armor||1. Area Damage|
|2. Intelligence||2. Attack Speed||2. Life %||2. Life per Hit|
|3. Vitality1||3. Critical Hit Chance||3. All Resistance||3. Resource Cost Reduction|
|4. Critical Hit Damage||4. Life Regeneration||4. Pickup Radius|
1 Add a bit of Vitality if you feel too squishy (a total of 900,000 Life is recommended).
Patch 2.7.0 revamped the follower system giving all 3 hirelings new powers and the emanate system. The first thing you should do is read our complete follower guide and remember the key takeaways:
- The emanation system allows followers to share certain legendary and set powers with you. The most important ones are: The Flavor of Time, Nemesis Bracers, Avarice Band, Sage’s Journey and Cain’s Destiny. Click the guide above for the full list.
- Follower’s powers are based on their main stat (maxed at 25,000, but they have a 2.5x multiplier so you only need 10,000). This means we stack Intelligence on the Enchantress, Dexterity on the Scoundrel and Strength on the Templar.
- Guardian's Jeopardy (2) Bonus works for followers by improving their inherent stat multiplier from x2.5 to x3.5, making it slightly easier to hit the 25,000 main stat threshold if needed.
- Followers share 20% of their Experience, Magic and Gold Find stats with you.
- Legendary gems do not work on followers, except Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard.
- Cooldown Reduction does not work for any follower skill except the Templar’s Heal.
- Followers never deal significant damage; you’re on your own to clear the content.
GR Pushing Enchantress
For T16 we recommend this Enchantress setup because she is the only follower that gives Cooldown Reduction, allowing you to spam your abilities more. Since this is T16 content, she’ll stay alive with Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard and use Hand of the Prophet to gain all skills. This will give us Cooldown Reduction, Elemental Damage, Reduced Damage from Ranged Attacks, Armor, Attack Speed, and a Cheat Death. Ideally, you want a Cold Damage Range on her Weapon as it procs your Lost Time effect.
Stat Priorities:Since we do not have the immortality focus, we need to stack survivability on our Enchantress.
Intelligence > Vitality > Life % > Armor > All Resistance > Life Per Hit > Attack Speed.
- The Flavor of Time: For double duration on Pylons.
- Nemesis Bracers: For extra Elites, Death’s Breaths and In-geom procs.
- Avarice Band: For the insane pickup radius.
- Ring of Royal Grandeur: To complete our sets.
- Gloves of Worship: For 10 Minute Shrine Buffs.
- Sage’s Journey: For double Death’s Breaths.
- Cain’s Destiny: For 25% more Greater Rift Keystones.
While the rotation is fairly easy to perform with practice, it requires you to manage timings properly. You need to use the time between your Land of the Dead rotations (synchronized with Convention of Elements Poison cycle) to scout, pull and gather as many monsters as you can together. Make sure to always Grim Scythe to curse enemies, heal yourself through Leech and keep Gogok of Swiftness stacks. Similarly, never let your Bone Armor stacks drop.
When you are ready to perform your rotation:
- Use Land of the Dead Frozen Lands right before (about a second) your Poison cycle.
- Cast 1 Corpse Explosion in order to stack your Grasps of Essence, to proc an Oculus Ring and to jump into it.
- At the start of Poison cycle, immediately unleash with Corpse Explosion Close Quarters to blow everything up.
- Make sure to stop spamming Corpse Explosion 1 second before Land of the Dead ends to avoid consuming The Johnstone stacks for your next rotation.
- Drag the Elites forward and pull as many monsters as you can.
- When your Land of the Dead is back up, repeat the rotation.
Grace of Inarius is decently tanky when using Wisdom of Kalan but it lacks life recovery. The stop and go, high-risk high-reward playstyle is also not the best fit for Hardcore. One of the best ways to increase defenses for Hardcore is to put more paragon points into Vitality and never forget the Final Service passive. You can take a look at the Legacy of Dreams variant (see Guide), which is way tankier!
Check out our dedicated Hardcore Survival Guide to learn more about how to succeed in this game mode!
Corpse Explosion is not the best skill in T16 Nephalem Rifts but it synergizes very well with Grace of Inarius melee playstyle.
Upon entering a Rift, get some Bone Armor stacks before you start to run. Use Land of the Dead as soon as you find an Elite pack to get your In-geom buff and start blasting through the Rift. Try to move quickly with Blood Rush to reset your cooldowns more easily.
In groups, swap Warzechian Armguards with Nemesis Bracers and rotate out Stone of Jordan for Avarice Band.
This is the standard setup we covered in the sections above.
Solo is the most challenging version of this build as we have to pull everything, stay alive, and kill everything all on our own.
Use the 48 second downtime on Land of the Dead to gather up gigantic groups of monsters to burn down. Save your Land of the Dead for when you have a big pack together to get the most from your Area Damage. For a step-by-step gameplay description on how you should sequence your skills, check out the "Gameplay" section above.
At higher Paragon (4,000+) you can go for a setup with more damage, replacing Wisdom of Kalan and Ancient Parthan Defenders with Aughild's Authority and Ring of Royal Grandeur. This is a damage gain equal to around 3 Greater Rift tiers but at the cost of more than half your toughness.
This build is similar to the standard solo push version, but relies on Empowered Shrine from the Father Potion upgrade. This means that you have to fish a lot more because you need to proc the Empowered Shrine on the first or second Potion use and you also need to finish the rift without dying. Nonetheless this version is much stronger than the normal one so that's what you have to do if you want to compete for high ranks.
With extra 50% CDR this build can comfortably play a 36sec rotation without even trying. This increases your overall damage output by ~33% and frees up a lot of rolls for more Area Damage to get even higher.
In addition, you can drop Blood Rush to get in another Poison skill for Nayr's Black Death, further buffing your DPS by 25% and include Zei's Stone of Vengeance for another 16-32% buff.
In principle, this setup works without the shrine, but you will have way fewer nuke phases and deal less damage overall if you don't get it soon. Be aware that this setup without Wisdom of Kalan is incredibly squishy, so if you're dying to much, drop Aughild's Authority for the amulet as seen in the Standard Push Version.
Currently none available.
In-Depth Corpse Explosion Explanation
Corpse Explosion is complicated when trying to maximize your damage output, due to The Johnstone mechanics. First of all, here are a few simple key points to be aware of:
- Corpse Explosion costs no essence and does not have any sort of internal cooldown. As long as you have corpses at your disposal, you can keep firing it.
- Each cast of Corpse Explosion triggers 5 corpses in a quick chain reaction over 45 frames, one corpse every 9 frames. This means a single cast of Corpse Explosion is enough to fully stack Grasps of Essence after 45 frames.
- Close Quarters makes corpses explode around your character instead of where your mouse cursor is, so it is important to stand in the middle of the monsters.
As it is not possible to produce enough corpses to sustain Corpse Explosion, Land of the Dead has to be used and creates a rotation-based playstyle. It is easy to understand why Cooldown Reduction becomes an active damage stat for Corpse Explosion: the less you wait your Land of the Dead cooldown, the more rotations you can do. As usual, those rotations are synchronized with Convention of Elements for a maximum damage output.
The Johnstone is where things become interesting. This item grants you 50 stacks of Macabre Knowledge after your Land of the Dead expires that you'll use on your next rotation. Macabre Knowledge buffs the damage of Corpse Explosion by 200%. Each corpse consumed by the skill will consume one stack, and each cast consumes 5 corpses, which means 10 casts of Corpse Explosion are going to consume all our Macabre Knowledge stacks.
Understanding this last point is the key to maximizing your damage, we have a rotation burst playstyle based on Convention of Elements meaning all our damage is concentrated into a 4 second window, or 240 frames. It now becomes obvious that being able to cast all 10 Corpse Explosions buffed by Macabre Knowledge during the Convention of Elements window is going to be a tremendous damage boost.
The answer to that is Attack Speed and Breakpoints. Corpse Explosion has FPA Breakpoints and does not have any Attack Speed Coefficient so that you can get your Breakpoint by rounding up the result of the formula
FPA = 60 ÷ APS.
For instance with 2.33 Attack Speed, you have a
60 ÷ 1.88 = 32 frames Breakpoint on Corpse Explosion, meaning you can cast
240 ÷ 32 = 7.5 Corpse Explosion during the 4 second window of your Convention of Elements cycle. This means you should not cast Land of the Dead more than 1 second before your CoE cycle and not cast Corpse Explosion more than twice. Remember that corpses explode in a quick chain reaction, starting after 9 frames and then every 9 frames over 45 frames, so the higher Breakpoint you reach, the more casts will overlap. In that case the last two corpses of your second cast before Convention of Elements will happen during CoE.
Reaching 2.61 Attack Speed allows you to get the
60 ÷ 2.61 = 23 frames Breakpoint which enables you to perform 10 Corpse Explosion casts within 230 frames or 3.8334 seconds. In that case, you should cast Land of the Dead right when your CoE cycle starts to get 100% efficiency from The Johnstone.
Unfortunately, some corpses from your last casts are always going to be out of the Convention of Elements cycle. In order to get full efficiency on both The Johnstone and Convention of Elements you would need to get 3.16 Attack Speed to reach the 19 frames Breakpoint on Corpse Explosion, allowing you to cast your 10 Corpse Explosions in less than 195 frames (3.25 seconds) so that the very last corpse explodes within the 240 frames window. Unfortunately it is unrealistic and not worth it to get that much Attack Speed especially with Nayr's Black Death giving more value to a 4th Poison skill than Skeleton Archers.
Nayr's Black Death
- Grants 100% damage bonus for each Poison skill you've used in the last 15 seconds. Each skill has its own timer, meaning you have to hit each Poison skill once every 15 seconds to keep maximum stacks.
- The stacks add up as one combined multiplier (100% per Poison skill used).
Blood Is Power
- As you spend life with your skills or take damage from enemies, you stack up a hidden counter towards 100% life spent.
- Each skill has a separate counter. The Blood Is Power counter is reset when the skill has fully cooled down or you die.
- After you reach the threshold, a skill's cooldown will be cut by 20% flat of its base cooldown (after Cooldown Reduction has been applied).
- Focus on obtaining the Grace of Inarius set and Corpse Explosion items first.
- Pull and gather large groups of enemies when Land of the Dead is on cooldown.
- When ready, use Land of the Dead to spam Corpse Explosion to flatten enemies!
- Enjoy killing enemies with the corpses of their fallen comrades!
Written by Chewingnom.
Updated by wudijo.
Updated for Season 28 / Patch 2.7.5.
Updated for Season 27 / Patch 2.7.4.