Pestilence Corpse Lance Necromancer Guide


Pestilence Corpse Lance Solo Push
View all variants

Welcome to the Pestilence Master's Shroud Necromancer, a build that unleashes barrages of Corpse Lance at your enemies while you are able to nearly infinitely spam them due to the powerful combination of Land of the Dead and Devour.

This build primarily does well in speed content such as Nephalem Rifts and Speed Greater Rifts but relies on good timing and positioning as it's very squishy. Regardless, depending on the setup and content you're doing it's possible to through Corpse Lances in all directions permanently while freezing everything around you.

Combining this class set with other powerful sets such as Captain Crimson's Trimmings and Jesseth Arms will pump up your damage and other than that you just need to chase after Cooldown Reduction and Attack Speed so you'll be sending out as many Corpse Lances as possible!

Despite not being the strongest build in any game modes the Pestilence Master's Shroud has always been well received due to it's fast and chaotic playstyle in speed content - the famous Autolancer. While you might not be the strongest, you'll certainly have the coolest visuals.

If you're interested in becoming a high-flying, monster freezing, lance throwing machine - this is the guide for you. Let's dive in and see how to make the most of it.

Great for Speedfarming ✔
Utilizes three Unique Sets ✔
Great Nuke and Animations ✔
Stacks up Critical Hit Chance ✔

Falls off in higher Greater Rifts
Zero Damage during Downtime
❌ Needs a Complete Setup to work
Very dependent on Cooldown Reduction

Core Setup

Core Item Build

This build uses three different sets to maximize your damage with Corpse Lance and reduce your Cooldown on Land of the Dead as much as possible. To do this we'll pick up both pieces of Jesseth Arms, five pieces of the Pestilence Master's Shroud and two pieces of Captain Crimson's Trimmings while using Ring of Royal Grandeur to obtain the full set bonuses of each.

  • Pestilence Master's Shroud grants us 3300% damage, 50% damage reduction and the ability to fire a Corpse Lance every time we consume a corpse. Devour and Land of the Dead allow us to maximize this sets potential and really let the Lances fly.
  • Jesseth Arms gives a 400% damage buff when we have commanded our Command Skeletons on an enemy. This can also be swapped out for Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang and Lost Time while using a curse such as Frailty on the T16 build.
  • Captain Crimson's Trimmings is a great addition to this build since it provides a massive boost to damage, Cooldown Reduction and survivability.
  • Ring of Royal Grandeur is mandatory for this build as it allows us to wear Captain Crimson's Trimmings as well as Pestilence Master's Shroud without losing their full set bonuses.
  • Krysbin's Sentence for the 300% damage to enemies under a control impairing effect.
  • Reilena's Shadowhook 0.5% damage for every point of Maximum Essence we have, which synergizes with Simulacrum Reservoir.
  • Corpsewhisper Pauldrons lends a buff that increases our damage by 30% for each corpse we've consumed, stacking up to 20 times for a massive damage increase.

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.

Optimal Path

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!

Recommended Altar Path
Use the Scroll Bar to see Altar Progression

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 that can has more damage than usual.

Global Stat Priorities

Our offensive priorities are: Cooldown Reduction > Attack Speed > Cold Skill Damage > Critical Hit Damage > Critical Hit Chance along with as much Corpse Lance damage as possible. Less Critical Hit Chance is needed for this build if you are using Corpse Lance Brittle Touch as this rune stacks Critical Hit Chance debuffs with every hit. If you're using Corpse Lance Ricochet variant you'll need to prioritize Critical Hit Chance again. We are going to take enough Attack Speed to reach the 1.72 break point for Corpse Lance for a large damage increase. We're aiming for 62.5% Cooldown Reduction to reach the 36 second breakpoint of Land of the Dead.

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 Pestilence Master's Shroud 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:

  1. The full Pestilence Master's Shroud set
  2. Corpsewhisper Pauldrons
  3. Jesseth Skullshield
  4. Goldwrap and Dayntee's Binding
  5. Krysbin's Sentence, Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac and Convention of Elements
  6. Nemesis Bracers, Strongarm Bracers and Warzechian Armguards

4. Craft using Recipe 3 in Kanai's Cube in this order:

  1. Scythes to get Jesseth Skullscythe
  2. 2-Handed Axes to get Messerschmidt's Reaver and Reilena's Shadowhook
  3. 2-Handed Scythes to get Reilena's Shadowhook
  4. Amulets to get Squirt's Necklace and The Johnstone
  5. 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
  • Act 3: Avarice Band
  • Act 4: Can drop any bounty item from any act
  • Bounty Turn In: Recipes for Captain Crimson's Trimmings, Sage's Journey and Cain's Destiny

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. It's better to spend your materials improving your set pieces, getting ancient weapon etc.

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:

  • Jesseth Skullscythe
  • Krysbin's Sentence
  • Convention of Elements

Item Stat Priorities

Main-HandJesseth Skullscythe
Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang
Reilena's Shadowhook (Cubed)
Messerschmidt's Reaver (Cubed)
1. Damage Range
2. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
3. Attack Speed
4. Cooldown Reduction
5. Damage %
6. Maximum Essence (Secondary)
Off-HandJesseth Skullshield
Lost Time
1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Maximum Essence (Secondary)
3. Intelligence
4. Critical Hit Chance
5. Armor
6. Vitality
HelmPestilence Mask1. Socket Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Intelligence
3. Critical Hit Chance
4. Vitality
Pestilence Gloves
1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Attack Speed
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Intelligence
ShouldersPestilence Defense
Corpsewhisper Pauldrons (Cubed)
1. Corpse Lance Damage
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Intelligence
4. Armor
Chest Pestilence Robe1. Corpse Lance Damage
2. Intelligence
3. Sockets Flawless Royal Ruby
4. Armor
PantsCaptain Crimson's Thrust (Crafted)1. Intelligence
2. Vitality
3. Armor
4. Sockets Flawless Royal Ruby
BootsPestilence Battle Boots
Steuart's Greaves
1. Intelligence
2. Vitality
3. Armor
4. All Resistance
Ring 1Krysbin's Sentence
Ring of Royal Grandeur (A1 Bounties, Cubed)
1. Socket
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Attack Speed
Ring 2Convention of Elements1. Socket
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Attack Speed
4. Critical Hit Damage
BracersNemesis Bracers
Lacuni Prowlers
Warzechian Armguards (Cubed)
1. Cold Damage
2. Intelligence
3. Critical Hit Chance
4. Vitality
5. Chance to Knockback (Secondary)
AmuletThe Johnstone
Squirt's Necklace
1. Socket
2. Cold Damage
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Cooldown Reduction
Captain Crimson's Silk Girdle (Crafted)
1. Intelligence
2. Armor
3. Vitality
4. Life %
PotionBottomless Potion of the UnfetteredTo avoid Crowd Control effects
during your DPS phases


  • Bane of the Trapped provides 60% increased damage and is used in most damage-dealing builds in Diablo 3.
  • Zei's Stone of Vengeance provides up to 80% increased damage for every 10 yards we are away from the monsters, up to a 50 yard maximum (about half a screen away).
  • Gogok of Swiftness gives us as 15% Cooldown Reduction and Attack Speed to reach the 2.0 breakpoint for Corpse Lance.
  • Bane of the Stricken provides up to 2.3% increased damage on successive attacks to the same monster. This is needed to kill Rift Guardians in the RGK setup.
  • Boon of the Hoarder can be taken in place of Gogok of Swiftness for increased movement speed in T16 content.
  • Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard gives us a shield to protect our Squirt's Necklace buff.


  • Corpse Lance Brittle Touch is our main source of damage in this build and gains massive buffs from Pestilence (6) piece, Simulacrum, Corpsewhisper Pauldrons, The Johnstone and Reilena's Shadowhook.
  • Devour Voracious is a fundamental skill used in the Pestilence build as it allows us to shoot our Corpse Lance every time a corpse is consumed. This synergizes with Corpsewhisper Pauldrons for the 20 stack damage boost and Land of the Dead Frozen Lands and gives extra damage reduction from Captain Crimson's Trimmings.
  • Simulacrum Reservoir is used in conjunction with Reilena's Shadowhook to double our Maximum Essence, giving a significant damage buff.
  • Command Skeletons Dark Mending is another essential skill for this build as it taps into the 400% damage buff provided by Jesseth Arms. Make sure your skeletons are commanded onto an enemy to get the buff!
  • Land of the Dead Frozen Lands gives us the ability to use our Corpse Skills infinitely for 10 seconds after casting it. It also freezes all the enemies around you making them unable to attack during that time. This skill is the backbone of our build which is why Cooldown Reduction is so vital to this build.
  • Blood Rush is used for mobility. Three runes are useful depending on the content you're running: Potency for extra toughness, Molting for extra corpses and Metabolism for extra mobility.


  • Blood Is Power is helpful for it's Cooldown Reduction since we can spend our life using Blood Rush and Simulacrum Reservoir.
  • Final Service allows us to cheat death which is very important on a build where timing is everything. Dying right when you activate Land of the Dead can be very hard to recover from so having a safety net is recommended for this build.
  • Overwhelming Essence feeds us 40 more essence for our Reilena's Shadowhook giving us a significant damage increase.
  • Stand Alone doubles our armor which we are in need of as an intelligence class.
  • Swift Harvesting increases the Attack Speed of Grim Scythe so we can stack Bane of the Stricken faster.
  • Eternal Torment makes our curses last forever.
  • Spreading Malediction gives us 1% extra damage for every enemy cursed.
  • Fueled By Death makes us run faster after we've consumed a corpse.

Paragon Points

1. Movement Speed1. Cooldown Reduction1. Armor1. Resource Cost Reduction
2. Maximum Essence2. Attack Speed2. Life %2. Area Damage
3. Intelligence3. Critical Hit Damage3. All Resistance3. Life per Hit
4. Vitality14. Critical Hit Chance4. Life Regeneration4. Pickup Radius

1 Add a bit of Vitality if you feel too squishy (a total of 750,000 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Followers share 20% of their Experience, Magic and Gold Find stats with you.
  5. Legendary gems do not work on followers, except Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard.
  6. With Enforcer equipped on the player it's much easier to keep followers alive even without an immortality relic. The 90% damage reduction counts for them, too.
  7. Cooldown Reduction does not work for any follower skill except the Templar’s Heal.
  8. Followers never deal significant damage; you’re on your own to clear the content.

Select Follower


The most important thing to remember is that we can only do damage when we have our Land of the Dead going, and that this window lasts for 10 seconds at a time. So it's important to use it wisely in conjunction with your Convention of Elements Cold cycle and gather as many elites as possible before you unleash.

  1. Hunt for elites and gather enemies around them.
  2. Keep up Corpsewhisper Pauldrons and Gogok of Elements the best you can while dodging all incoming attacks. You spawn corpses with Blood Rush Molting for this purpose.
  3. Use Command Skeletons on a target to gain the damage buff from Jesseth Arms.
  4. Between mid-Physical to mid-Poison cycle of Convention of Elements, cast Simulacrum and Land of the Dead.
  5. Begin to spam Devour as fast as possible, kill a small target first to spawn an Oculus Ring then jump in and target Elites with your Corpse Lance skill.
  6. Once your Land of the Dead is over go find as many elites as you can before the next cycle is ready!

Certain Elite packs can be troublesome for this build such Elites with Illusionist and Shielding or blue packs with 5 mobs. Generally try to skip packs like this and focus on the Elites that can be blasted away quickly!

If you keep up Gogok of Swiftness well and have perfect Cooldown Reduction rolls, you will be able to alternate damage rotations with either 2 and then 3 cycles of Convention of Elements.


This build is not the most friendly Hardcore build because being caught with Land of the Dead down can get you into trouble fast. It can still be a great speed farming build as long as you have the proper Cooldown and position yourself well. A good way to get more defense without changing the core build is to put more Paragon points into Vitality and use Esoteric Alteration in place of Zei's Stone of Vengeance.

Check out our dedicated Hardcore Survival Guide to learn more about how to succeed in this game mode!


Nephalem Rifts
T16 Rifts

This is the famous "Autolancer" build used for T16 farming. For speed content we want to maximize our Cooldown so that we always have our Land of the Dead up and the Pestilence Master's Shroud (2) Bonus will take care of most of the damage.

The gameplay is easiest in T16 because our Land of the Dead should always be up. Spam Devour and Blood Rush as you fly forward and everything should die easily! To help with cooldown management and keeping the Jesseth Arms buff up, Numlock or otherwise spam Command Skeletons permanently and hover over enemies as much as possible while rushing through the rift to proc Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac. On elites and the boss, you can also cast Corpse Lance manually to help with DPS.

Once you reach a high enough kill speed, it becomes possible to play the same build without Jesseth Arms and the need to spam Command Skeletons all the time by equipping Reilena's Shadowhook, dropping Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac for Haunted Visions and replacing the Skeletons with Simulacrum Reservoir.

At high Paragon levels (4000+) you can drop Jesseth Arms for In-Geom and Lost Time. This will guarantee essentially no downtime whatsoever and give you even more mobility.

Greater Rift Solo Push
Solo Push

Pushing solo you are an Elite hunting machine with this build. Short periods of massive single target damage allow you to melt the enemies you target. The main idea is to gather several Elites together between your Land of the Dead cooldown to maximize your effectiveness when it's ready to be used.

Solo pushing on this build can be quite challenging and requires excellent Cooldown management as well as the ability to weave between enemies during dire times without dying. The rotation is:

  1. Keep up Corpsewhisper Pauldrons and Gogok of Elements with corpses spawned by Blood Rush Molting.
  2. Gather enemies and use Command Skeletons on a target.
  3. Between mid-Physical to mid-Poison cycle of Convention of Elements, cast Simulacrum and Land of the Dead to be able to spam and Corpse Lance onto the target. Best case, spawn an Oculus Ring before.
  4. Spam Devour as much as possible during this time.
  5. When Land of the Dead has expired, gather more elites until it's ready to be used again.

If you have too much trouble keeping your Squirt's Necklace active, you can also go with The Johnstone but timing your Convention of Elements rotation will become extremely important, as the amulet provides a damage bonus for a limited amount of attacks that will be used up quickly. Moreover you won't be able to deal any significant damage at the start of the run or after a death until you have cast Land of the Dead at least once and you also won't be able to keep up Corpsewhisper Pauldrons between your damage rotations. All in all this is just an emergency option.

It's possible to play a similar setup using Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang instead of Reilena's Shadowhook by replacing Simulacrum with Decrepify Borrowed Time. This allows you to stay alive more easily because enemies will be slowed, doesn't require Maximum Essence rolls on your items and you can replace Overwhelming Essence with Spreading Malediction. The damage potential is slightly reduced but your survivability goes up immensely and with enough targets cursed the additional Cooldown Reduction will allow you to reliably cast Land of the Dead every 2 Convention of Elements cycles. The big downside is that you will deal almost no damage to targets you didn't get to curse in time.

Empowered Shrine Version
Solo Push + Shrines

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 24sec rotation without even trying. This frees up various rolls on your gear for more damage and you can run with Bane of the Powerful instead of Gogok of Swiftness.

In principle, this setup works without the shrines, but you will have way fewer nuke phases and deal less damage overall if you don't get it soon. Make sure that with Frenzied Shrine you still remain above 2.00 Attacks per Second for the best breakpoint.


Reilena's Shadowhook

  • Reilena's Shadowhook provides a very significant damage increase based off our Maximum Essence. Make sure your weapon and off hand both have Maximum Essence as secondary rolls and that you're using Simulacrum Reservoir and Overwhelming Essence to get it even higher.

Corpse Lance

  • Attack Speed only affects your manual manual lances, at 6 frames you cast 100, at 5 frames you cast 120 (+20%) and at 4 frames you cast 150 (another +25%) during Land of the Dead. But you have 200 lances from Devour so your total damage is only increased by 6.67% on 2.0 APS and by 16,67% on 2.4 APS.


  • Consumes 20 corpses a second, giving us 200 uses of Corpse Lance during Land of the Dead.

Corpsewhisper Pauldrons

  • The bonus is dynamic and Corpse Lance has a lengthy travel time, meaning by the time the first lance hits you'll already have 13+ stacks from Devour + Corpse Lance spam.


  • Focus on obtaining the Pestilence Master's Shroud set as well as the Jesseth Arms pieces first, then dive into some bounties so you can obtain your Ring of Royal Grandeur as well as getting the necessary materials to craft your Captain Crimson's Trimmings set.
  • Maximize Cooldown Reduction on your gear and get to the 2.0 Attack Speed break point for maximum Lancing.
  • Pick your elite targets well and learn to fight around your Cold cycle of Convention of Elements .
  • Stay mobile, gather large packs of enemies and utilize your Land of the Dead to do maximum damage when the time is right!

Town Is Lava!


Original Guide by Raxxanterax.
Reworked & Updated by wudijo.


Feb 14th 2023
Updated for Season 28 / Patch 2.7.5.

Aug 18th 2022
Updated for Season 27 / Patch 2.7.4.