LIVE

Rathma Army of the Dead Necromancer Guide

Introduction

Rathma Army of the Dead Solo Push
View all variants

While the Bones of Rathma set gave the name to the famous 'Rat Runs' (and the 'Rat Necro') that have been dominating the XP META almost entirely since the introduction of the class in Season 11, it was reworked for Army of the Dead in Season 23.

The build revolves around summoning a bunch of minions that reset your Army of the Dead cooldown very quickly through the Bones of Rathma (2) Bonus, which you use to mow down enemies. Instead of the 120 seconds cooldown this ability usually has, you are able to cast it once every few seconds to keep up a near continuous stream of damage.

This build is relatively slow, extremely Cooldown-hungry and has little toughness, all of which makes it difficult to play. On the other hand it rewards you with massive damage and works as a formidable Rift Guardian Killer (RGK). This role was further enhanced by the Season 27 update that reworked Funerary Pick, which consolidated the many different variants into pretty straightforward, similar playstyles around Siphon Blood. The core guide describes the solo push variant but you can find all of the variants further below.

Flavorful ✔
Impactful Nuke
An Army of Minions ✔
Good AoE & Single Target ✔

❌ Very Squishy
❌ Pet Dependent
❌ Lack of Mobility
❌ Cooldown Dependency


Core Setup

Core Item Build

Items

  • The Bones of Rathma set adds a total of 29,750% damage bonus to Army of the Dead when you have 17 minions active. 7 come from Command Skeletons and 10 from Revive. Theoretically this can be boosted to 31,500% with Command Golem, although that's impractical. Skeletal Mages don't work for this set bonus.
  • Jesseth Arms gives you a massive 400% damage bonus that synergizes well with the Command Skeletons you're already using.
  • Fate's Vow is the core Army of the Dead item, giving a 250% additive damage bonus to that skill and enabling the Unconventional Warfare rune for all setups, improving single target damage.
  • Bonds of C'Lena give another 100% damage increase and allow Army of the Dead to deal 50% extra damage to a single target.
  • Funerary Pick gives us a 200% bonus multiplier with Siphon Blood Power Shift and another 300% or 600% multiplicative bonus against 1-3 targets.
  • Krysbin's Sentence is a staple in every Necromancer build, adding either 100% when the enemy is slowed or 300% damage when stunned (activated by Bone Armor Dislocation).
  • Captain Crimson's Trimmings give more Cooldown Reduction, toughness and provide extra damage.
  • Ring of Royal Grandeur is required to make the two sets work together.
  • Squirt's Necklace provides up to 100% damage bonus if you haven't taken damage recently.
  • Convention of Elements is a great DPS boost, giving up to 200% damage bonus when abilities are timed correctly.

Season 27 Sanctified Items

Angelic Crucibles are new consumables that drop anywhere once you're Level 70. Using them on items reforges them into Sanctified Items with Primal Ancient stats, and adds one of three new unique Class Powers listed below. For full details on how they work, check out this Seasonal Guide by Chewingnom!

Let's look at our Class Powers and see how they apply to our build:

  1. The best power for us is the Sanctified Army of the Dead. It gives us a permanent Unconventional Warfare in our vicinity. While it doesn't contribute much most of the time, it improves single target damage by roughly 30-40% and makes farming a bit more smooth.
  2. The Sanctified Command Golem power doesn't help us, so go for the one listed above.
  3. The Sanctified Death Nova power doesn't help us, so go for the one at the top.

Since you can only equip one of them, choosing the right item to craft it on matters! Great candidates are Weapons, Offhands, Jewelry or any item with an important multiplier. With that in mind, we recommend Sanctifying one of the following items:

  • Krysbin's Sentence
  • Bonds of C'Lena
  • Convention of Elements

Global Stat Priorities

Our offensive priorities are: Cooldown Reduction > Physical Damage > Critical Hit Chance/Critical Hit Damage > Area Damage > Intelligence > Attack Speed. Attack Speed doesn't have a high priority as it doesn't increase the damage output of Army of the Dead, but it does give faster swings to Command Skeletons, allowing you to reset the cooldown faster. Make sure to reach at least 1.60 Attacks per Second (usually 1-2 rolls, which naturally come on Jesseth Skullscythe and Krysbin's Sentence).

Defensively you want to stack Vitality > Life % > Life per Hit > Armor > Elite Damage Reduction > All Resistance. Getting at least two Crowd Control Resistance rolls really helps when fighting Frozen, Nightmarish or Jailer elites, so keep an eye out for them.

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 Bones of Rathma 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 Bones of Rathma set
  2. Fate's Vow
  3. Bonds of C'Lena and Nemesis Bracers
  4. Krysbin's Sentence, Briggs' Wrath and Convention of Elements
  5. Jesseth Skullshield

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

  1. Scythes to get Jesseth Skullscythe and Funerary Pick
  2. Two-Handed Axes to get Messerschmidt's Reaver
  3. Amulets to get Squirt's Necklace and The Flavor of Time

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 Captain Crimson's Trimmings, Sage's Journey and Cain's Destiny (for your follower)

Item Stat Priorities

SLOTITEMSTAT PRIORITY
Main-HandJesseth Skullscythe
Funerary Pick (Cubed)
Messerschmidt's Reaver (Cubed)
1. Damage Range
2. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
3. Cooldown Reduction
4. Damage %
5. Attack Speed
6. Intelligence
Off-HandJesseth Skullshield1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Intelligence
4. Elite Damage
5. Resource Cost Reduction
6. Elite Damage Reduction
HelmRathma's Skull Helm
Fate's Vow (Cubed)
1. Socket Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Intelligence
4. Vitality
GlovesRathma's Macabre Vambraces1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Area Damage
5. Intelligence
ShouldersRathma's Spikes1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Area Damage
3. Intelligence
4. Vitality
5. Armor
6. Life %
Chest Rathma's Ribcage Plate1. Intelligence
2. Sockets Flawless Royal Topaz
3. Vitality
4. Armor
5. Elite Damage Reduction
PantsRathma's Skeletal Legplates
Captain Crimson's Thrust (Crafted)
1. Intelligence
2. Vitality
3. Armor
4. Sockets Flawless Royal Topaz
BootsRathma's Ossified Sabatons
Captain Crimson's Waders (Crafted)
1. Intelligence
2. Vitality
3. Armor
4. All Resistance
Ring 1Krysbin's Sentence
Ring of Royal Grandeur (Cubed, A1 Bounties)
1. Socket
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
5. Attack Speed
Ring 2Convention of Elements
Briggs' Wrath
1. Socket
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
5. Area Damage
BracersBonds of C'Lena
Nemesis Bracers
1. Physical Damage
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Intelligence
4. Vitality
AmuletSquirt's Necklace1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Physical Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
5. Intelligence
BeltCaptain Crimson's Silk Girdle (Crafted)
Goldwrap
1. Intelligence
2. Vitality
3. Life %
4. Armor
PotionBottomless Potion of Kulle-AidFor breaking walls to pull enemies
and increase DPS

Gems

  • Bane of the Trapped gives 60% increased damage against slowed and crowd-controlled enemies.
  • Esoteric Alteration gives a massive amount of damage reduction against non-physical hits, which this build dearly needs.
  • The third gem changes depending on the setup:
    • Zei's Stone of Vengeance adds a lot of damage in GRs.
    • Boon of the Hoarder for the extra Gold and Movement Speed in T16.
    • Bane of the Powerful can be used in speedfarming.
    • Bane of the Stricken in groups to kill the boss.

Skills

  • Army of the Dead Death Valley is our main source of damage. It has a base cooldown of 120 seconds and is reduced by 0.5 seconds every time one of your permanent minions hits and enemy. With both Command Skeletons and 10 Revives out and enough Cooldown Reduction, you are able to every seconds. Additionally, it has a powerful pulling effect to stack up enemies for Area Damage while protecting us from their attacks.
  • Command Skeletons adds 7 out of 17 required minions for the Bones of Rathma set and activates the Jesseth Arms bonus. The Frenzy rune allows faster cooldown resets.
  • Revive grant another 10 minions for the Bones of Rathma bonus and a bit of damage reduction.
  • Siphon Blood Power Shift enables the bonuses from Funerary Pick and heals us.
  • Blood Rush Potency is used for mobility and provides valuable toughness.
  • Bone Armor Dislocation gives damage reduction and activates the double bonus from Krysbin's Sentence to improve your nuke.

Passives

  • Grisly Tribute is great for healing and survivability. You have lots of minions that passively heal you with this.
  • Final Service is a great tool for better survivability.
  • Rigor Mortis is useful to apply a slow debuff for Krysbin's Sentence.
  • Rathma's Shield sometimes allows us to dive in without worry while protecting Squirt's Necklace.
  • Swift Harvesting is used in for RGK variants to stack Bane of the Stricken faster.
  • Fueled by Death, Dark Reaping and Blood is Power make a great combo for farming T16.

Paragon Points

CoreOffensiveDefensiveUtility
1. Movement Speed1. Cooldown Reduction1. Armor1. Area Damage
2. Intelligence2. Attack Speed2. Life %2. Life per Hit
3. Vitality13. Critical Hit Damage3. All Resistance3. Resource Cost Reduction
4. Maximum Essence4. Critical Hit Chance4. Life Regeneration4. Pickup Radius

1 Add Vitality if you feel too squishy (a total of 800-1000k Life is recommended).

Follower

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 (3) 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

Gameplay

  1. At the start of a run, carefully approach the first pack of enemies and cast Bone Armor to get the damage reduction buff and stack your Bones of Rathma (4) Bonus.
  2. Keep up Command Skeletons at all times, preferably on big targets like elites. Typically they will auto target after you have activated them once as long as there are nearby enemies. Cast it again when you run out of enemies to re-activate the 400% damage bonus.
  3. If you engage elites right at the beginning of a run, skip them and look for weak enemies. Without your Revive minions active you do way less damage than usual. Gather 10 enemies and use their corpses to summon minions. Which minions you got actually matters for the cooldown resets, focus on small, fast enemies if possible.
  4. Use Army of the Dead to mow down your enemies. Before (to stack up Power Shift) and right after you cast it, channel Siphon Blood on the biggest targets in the pull. Use the Physical Convention of Elements cycle to improve your damage whenever possible. Try to spawn Oculus Rings by finishing off a low HP target before your main nuke.
  5. Activate Bone Armor Dislocation after casting Army of the Dead to apply a stun to all surrounding enemies that boosts your from Krysbin's Sentence.
  6. Use Blood Rush to move between fights and into Oculus Rings. In dangerous fights, use it often for Potency uptime.

Hardcore

This build is not very well suited for Hardcore and it's very difficult to stack additional toughness aside from Paragons without making huge concessions in DPS. Make sure to take the Final Service passive and stack extra Vitality to take some hits reliably without proccing.

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


Variants

Nephalem Rifts
Army of the Dead T16 Rifts

Concept
This setup uses Dead Storm to automatically deal damage around you after casting it. The idea is to run very fast keeping it up all the time to vaporize everything in your path. To achieve this, Messerschmidt's Reaver is included because we have more than enough damage. Stack up extra Pickup Radius where possible to increase the radius of Briggs' Wrath with Aura of Frailty.

Gameplay
Summon all your minions, keep up Command Skeletons at all times and use Army of the Dead Dead Storm to kill all enemies around you. Move quickly from pull to pull to ensure smooth cooldown resets.

Setups
If you are overkilling everything easily and feel comfortable without the extra Cooldown Reduction, replace Captain Crimson's Trimmings with Goldwrap and Steuart's Greaves for invincibility and more speed.

In groups, run the same setup but cube Nemesis Bracers instead of the Boots and wear Avarice Band instead of Briggs' Wrath. Without the Ring you can also replace Frailty with Devour Devouring Aura combined with Fueled by Death for more speed.

GR Solo Speeds
Army of the Dead GR Solo Speeds

Concept
This variation is very close to the solo push setup described in the main sections of the guide. The main difference is that we prioritize Area Damage less and Cooldown Reduction more and try to play around Squirt's Necklace as much as possible. Farm GR tiers that you can complete in around 3 minutes and where the Rift Guardian dies in 1-2 casts.

Gameplay
Activate Bone Armor right at the start and carefully kill the first 10 enemies for Revive. Keep up Jesseth Arms at all times. Stack up Power Shift and target the biggest enemies in a pull after you released Army of the Dead.

Stay at a safe distance and let your minions tank for you. Right before you pull enemies together with Death Valley, move in for Bone Armor Dislocation to boost your Krysbin's Sentence effect as you start your nuke.

Try to use Rathma's Shield to your advantage whenever it's ready. You can rush in and do a way more powerful nuke while keeping up Squirt's Necklace.

Setups
If you cannot survive at all, replace Zei's Stone of Vengeance with Gogok of Swiftness, Bane of the Powerful or Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard.

At low Paragon (1500 or less) you can consider replacing Captain Crimson's Trimmings with Guardian's Jeopardy. This gives you roughly similar damage, less recovery but more raw toughness to survive oneshots. In that case, put an even bigger focus on Cooldown Reduction rolls on your items to make up for the loss from Crimson.

GR Solo Push
Army of the Dead GR Solo Push

Concept
This is the setup described in the main sections of the guide. We stack large amounts of Cooldown Reduction and Area Damage to time our nukes around the Physical Convention of Elements cycle.

Gameplay
Activate Bone Armor right at the start and carefully kill the first 10 enemies for Revive. Keep up Jesseth Arms at all times. Stack up Power Shift and target the biggest targets in a pull after you released Army of the Dead. Try to spawn Oculus Rings right before Physical to boost your damage.

Stay at a safe distance from the enemies and let your minions tank for you. Right before you pull enemies together with Death Valley, move in for Bone Armor Dislocation to boost your Krysbin's Sentence effect as you start your nuke.

Try to use Rathma's Shield to your advantage whenever it's ready. You can rush in and do a way more powerful nuke while keeping up Squirt's Necklace.

Setups
If you cannot survive at all, replace Zei's Stone of Vengeance with Gogok of Swiftness or Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard.

At low Paragon (1500 or less) you can consider replacing Captain Crimson's Trimmings with Guardian's Jeopardy. This gives you roughly similar damage, less recovery but more raw toughness to survive oneshots. In that case, put an even bigger focus on Cooldown Reduction rolls on your items to make up for the loss from Crimson.

GR Group RGK
Army of the Dead RGK

Concept
This setup works similar to the solo push version, but you don't contribute much until the boss spawns. Instead, you assist the team by trying to pull enemies from all directions and using Frailty Early Grave instead of Bone Armor. As a Rift Guardian Killer we run without Area Damage.

Gameplay
Wait for your team to defeat the first enemies, then summon your Revives. Help them out as much as you can by aggroing monsters from around the area and applying your Curse on everything.

When it's your time to DPS, activate Jesseth Arms with Command Skeletons. Stack up Power Shift and target the biggest targets in a pull after you released Army of the Dead. Coordinate with your team so that they can apply a stun for your Krysbin's Sentence. On bosses, try to dodge incoming attacks to keep up Squirt's Necklace.

Setups
If you cannot survive at all, stay closer to your team to better profit from their party buffs until the boss spawns. If toughness is a problem for the whole party, replace Frailty with Decrepify Wither.

At low Paragon (1500 or less) you can consider replacing Captain Crimson's Trimmings with Guardian's Jeopardy. This gives you roughly similar damage, less recovery but more raw toughness to survive oneshots. In that case, put an even bigger focus on Cooldown Reduction rolls on your items to make up for the loss from Crimson.


Video Guide


Mechanics

Fate's Vow

  • The 250% damage bonus from Fate's Vow is an additive bonus rather than a separate damage multiplier to Army of the Dead. This means most personal or group buffs (such as Spreading Malediction) have a rather small effect on this skill.
  • With another rune on your skillbar and Fate's Vow equipped, you will receive both effects at the same time. The Unconventional Warfare effect lasts 4 seconds, so casting your main nuke at the start of your Convention of Elements cycle is crucial to getting the most out of it.
  • Unconventional Warfare will deal the same elemental damage type as the chosen rune.
Unconventional Warfare + Blighted Grasp

Army of the Dead

  • The amount of hits done by this skill depends on the chosen rune. Unconventional Warfare's 50,000% weapon damage is the total of all hits combined, meaning it's especially strong on single target and very weak in AoE pulls. All other runes deal their total damage to all enemies in the area.
  • The total amount of hits and damage done per rune is:
    • Blighted Grasp: 10x 1,400% weapon damage (per target)
    • Death Valley: 7x 1,714% weapon damage (per target)
    • Unconventional Warfare: 40x 1,250% weapon damage (total)
    • Frozen Army: 5x 2,400% weapon damage (per target)
    • Dead Storm: 10x 1,550% weapon damage (per target)

Blood is Power

  • As you spend life from your skills (from Blood Rush and Dead Storm casts) or take damage from enemies, you will stack up a hidden counter towards 100% life spent. After you reach the threshold, a skill's cooldown will be cut by 20% flat of the total (after Cooldown Reduction).
  • This counter is reset when the skill has fully cooled down or you die.
  • Each skill is counted separately.
  • Spending life on skills doesn't scale with damage reduction, so you will still lose life in the invincible variations of the build.


Summary

  • Put together the core items and acquire the full Bones of Rathma set.
  • Keep Jesseth Arms up at all times using Command Skeletons.
  • Tread carefully at the start of a run when you don't have Bone Armor and the damage reduction from the 4-piece bonus.
  • Use Army of the Dead to mow down enemies during the Physical Convention of Elements cycle.
  • Summon 10 Revive minions as soon as possible when you first produce corpses.
  • Use the power of Funerary Pick for more damage and an even bigger boost on single targets.

The Bones of Rathma has a unique playstyle and can be a great change of pace from other builds if you overcome it's main weakness of being very squishy. Just don't get hit, good luck!


Credits

Written & Updated by wudijo.


Changelog

Aug 18th 2022
Updated for Season 27 / Patch 2.7.4. Rewritten for Funerary Pick Rework. Added RGK Setup.

Mar 20th 2022
Updated for Season 26 / Patch 2.7.3. Rewritten for Physical Variant as main setup. Added Scythe setup.



Pages: 1 2