Bone Spear Necromancer Leveling Guide

Last Updated: August 1st 2023

Season 1 - Malignant

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Welcome to the Bone Spear Leveling Guide. With a spear of bone in your hands, nothing can stand in your way! Bone Spear pierces all enemies it hits, then breaks apart when it collides with an object, reflecting back three shards of shrapnel. This incredibly strong skill alone allows you to snipe enemies, chase and defeat Treasure Goblins, defeat bosses, and do sufficient Area of Effect (AoE) damage to demolish anything in the game, even on World Tier 2 - Veteran. Terrifyingly powerful on its own? Yes. But this build guide equips you with every utility skill and damage increase to take the Bone Spear Necromancer build to its absolute limits.

Even better, we won't need to rely on an army of useless skeletons to help us out. We quickly sacrifice these minions for focusing all of our power through the power of pure calcium Critical Strike Chance with Bone skills.

The satisfying part of this build's leveling experience is that it does not depend on any random Legendary drops! Making use of the Codex of Power is enough to get you to the endgame, but if you find some key Aspects during your journey you can further double or triple your damage.

Best of all, this build prepares you for Necromancer's endgame builds, the Bone Spear Endgame Necromancer with a minor respec. Then, your enemies will truly know the terrifying power of Bone.

Leveling Bone Spear

Bone Splinters

Bone Spear

Corpse Explosion

Corpse Tendrils

Bone Storm

Blood Mist

Skeletal Warriors - Skirmishers


Skeletal Mages - Cold


Golems - Iron


This build guide takes you through the Campaign up to Level 50. Endgame guides will follow soon in our Necromancer Guides section. Stay tuned!

Good AoE
Fast Resource Gain
Instant Vulnerability

Best Single Target Damage ✔

❌ Corpse Reliant
❌ No Mobility Skills
Needs to Sacrifice summons
No Health Regen, Fortify, or Barrier

Season 1 - The Malignant

Players on the Eternal Realm should ignore this section of the guide. This build is designed to work without Caged Hearts, though it can be enhanced by them.

The most important change to Season 1 for Leveling with Bone Spear is that you can acquire Aspect of Exposed Flesh from Completing Chapter 2 of the Season Journey. Ensure you prioritize this aspect right away!

Diablo 4 Season 1 introduces a new questline to hunt Malignant Monsters across Sanctuary. Defeating them drops Caged Hearts that are placed in Jewelry infested sockets to gain build-altering powers. Check out the full Season 1 The Malignant guide from Chewingnom to learn more!

  • There are 32 Caged Hearts divided into 4 different colors, 1 color for each type:
    • Vicious: Orange, Offensive Power
    • Brutal: Blue, Defensive Power
    • Devious: Pink, Utility Power
    • Wrathful: Black, Super
  • The first 3 must be socketed into their respective infested socket color, while the 4th can be placed into any infested socket.
  • Once socketed, they cannot be removed. Instead they can be broken down into Invokers to target farm the Caged Hearts you want inside Malignant Tunnels.
  • Higher powered Caged Hearts drop at higher levels.

With this in mind, let's look at the top 3 best Caged Hearts (and alternatives) for this build:

Best-in-Slot Caged Hearts

  1. Caged Heart of the Malignant Pact - We can acquire this for free by completing the Seasonal Campaign, making it a guaranteed include for leveling.
  2. Caged Heart of the Decrepit Aura - Using this heart lets us remove Decrepify from our skill bar entirely, freeing up a critical skill slot.
  3. Caged Heart of the Sacrilegious - This heart gives us automatic Corpse Explosion and Corpse Tendrils. Corpse Explosion casts every second, and Corpse Tendrils casts every 3 seconds, and this doesn't even trigger your own cooldown! This heart is also used to trigger the amazing Flesh Eater Legendary Node on our paragon tree.

Alternative Caged Hearts

  • Caged Heart of Revenge - "Suppressed" means 20% less damage taken, and so this adds strong survivability! If you want to build more tanky, try this heart.


Bone Splinters

Bone Splinters is a fast and easy skill to start off our build, giving us decent Essence generation. Even at higher levels, this synergizes with other Bone skills and aspects quite well, and will be our primary source of generation for a long, long time.

Skill Tree & Gameplay


Imperfectly Balanced is currently bugged in game. You're only able to place a single Skill Point in. Place the two points further along the track described below. Once you've reached 56 or 58 Skill Points used, consider what Skills would feel best for your current play style. Great Skills that benefit from more Skill Points are Blood Mist and Corpse Tendrils to reduce their cooldown!

Getting Started

First, we need to unlock our Basic Skill and its enhancement. During the first few levels, your Skeletons help to absorb damage and put out some DPS of their own. We use Bone Splinters to apply single and multi-target damage while generating Essence.

Point 2: Bone Splinters

Point 2: Enhanced Bone Splinters

Unlocking Bone Spear

It's time to invest in Bone Spear. Ensure you take Supernatural Bone Spear right away for the extra Vulnerable, and your damage will ascend even higher than the High Heavens themselves. Don't forget about the second upgrade, Paranormal Bone Spear, however. Once we complete Guulrhan Slums, we gain access to the Splintering Offensive Aspect, at which point we swap upgrades.

Note: Guulrhan Slums must be unlocked through the campaign first before you can access it for first completion.

Point 3: Bone Spear

Point 4: Enhanced Bone Spear

Point 5: Supernatural Bone Spear

Point 6: Bone Spear

Blood Mist, Corpse Explosion, and Sacrifice Minions

First, open up your Book of the Dead and Sacrifice your Skeletal Warriors - Skirmishers. When you unlock them, you can also go ahead and sacrifice your Skeletal Mages - Cold as well. Then, we take only 1 point into Blood Mist, and then we pick up Corpse Explosion. Finally, we top out our Bone Spear to 5/5 points for maximum damage.

Point 7: Blood Mist

Point 8: Corpse Explosion

Point 9: Enhanced Corpse Explosion

Point 10: Blighted Corpse Explosion

Points 11-13: Bone Spear

More Essence and Corpse Tendrils

Have too much Essence now? No? Well let's change that! Now we pump up the Essence generation by grabbing Grim Harvest and Hewed Flesh. Then we pick up Corpse Tendrils for Crowd Control. Traveling to Champion's Demise for Resource Aspect of the Umbral, turns this skill into an insane Essence battery too.

Points 14-16: Grim Harvest

Point 17: Hewed Flesh

Point 18: Corpse Tendrils

Point 19: Enhanced Corpse Tendrils

Point 20: Plagued Corpse Tendrils


The Bone passives skyrocket our damage and nearly guarantee Critical Strikes 100% of the time. After that, Stand Alone and Memento Mori reward us for Sacrificing our minions even more. Make sure you use your Golem after unlocking it at level 25, and eventually Sacrifice Golems - Iron!

Points 21-23: Serration

Points 24-26: Compound Fracture

Points 27-29: Evulsion

Point 30: Stand Alone

Points 31-33: Memento Mori

Key Passive

The Key Passive gives a powerful boost to our already high damage output. In fact, Ossified Essence may be the strongest Key Passive in the entire game, and it continues to scale even as you gain more gear and levels.

Point 34: Ossified Essence

Bone Storm and More Passives!

Finally, we take our Ultimate Bone Storm and we start pumping our Maximum Essence and Essence generation as high as possible. For long fights, it's better to prioritize regaining Essence to maximize our damage potential due to Ossified Essence and Serration, but also don't be afraid to nuke down an Elite or Boss if you have them tucked into a corner to benefit from the Bone Spear shard reflections.

Point 35: Bone Storm

Point 36: Prime Bone Storm

Point 37: Supreme Bone Storm

Points 38-41: Corpse Explosion

Point 42: Unliving Energy

Points 43-45: Imperfectly Balanced

Points 46-47: Hewed Flesh

Point 48: Stand Alone


Final Renown

After gathering all Renown in Diablo 4 you have 10 extra Skill Points to spend on every character. Your first priority is to spend them toward the leveling progression we've shown above. Your progression through these points can vary highly based on your found Legendary Aspects. Once you've reached the end, put them into these nodes to build toward the Bone Spear Endgame Necromancer Build Guide.

Point 49: Stand Alone

Points 50-52: Fueled by Death

Points 53-54: Unliving Energy

Point 55: Acolyte's Bone Splinters

Points 56-58: Death's Reach

Check out our Renown Guide to unlock all your additional rewards efficiently. 

Bone Prison Variant

Targeting corpses with Corpse Explosion on Mouse and Keyboard requires pixel-perfect accuracy. However, with Bone Prison, we can take advantage of our ability to be more positionally accurate with the mouse instead of using auto-target with a controller. Instead of doing damage with Corpse Explosion, we simply take it for the value it provides for Essence generation. Then Bone Prison gives us even more Essence generation while also giving us a critical source of Fortify. Playing this on controller however is clunky, because it's easy to accidentally trap yourself with your own Bone Prison, so you may want to choose the standard variant instead. Once we have acquired Resource Aspect of Torment, Resource Aspect of the Umbral, and Splintering Offensive Aspect, we can really blast. This variant also gives you the option of entirely dropping Bone Splinters early, in favor of another skill. If you can't manage, then just keep Corpse Explosion off your bar until you have enough generation.

Bone Spear with Bone Prison Variant

Hardcore: This variant of the leveling build is safer for Hardcore. Although Necromancer has a tough battle ahead compared to other classes, prioritizing skills that give you Fortity and stun enemies give you an edge against the forces of darkness.

Click and expand the Accordion below to see the skill point breakdown.

Bone Prison Variant Skills Breakdown

Essence Generation

Every build will eventually need to generate enough Essence to use its skills. There are many ways of generating resources, but below are some of the most important and relevant ones for the Necromancer.

Aspect of Exposed Flesh

Season 1 Journey, Chapter 2

Every enemy that is Vulnerable can serve as a Essence generator for us with this incredible Aspect. This is only available for a limited time from Season 1's journey, so make sure you pick it up! Next season will be a much rougher start for Bone Spear build as it's likely we won't have access to this aspect right from the start.

Resource Aspect of the Umbral

Codex of Power Dungeon: Champion's Demise
Each Crowd Control effect that you inflict upon enemies triggers this aspect. This means that you can stack multiple different Crowd Control Effects in order to get incredible Essence generation. You can acquire this from the Codex of Power, but it only gives you 1 Resource. If you're lucky you can find a 4 Resource version. If not, then make sure you diversify your Essence with other options. Try to gamble rings at the Purveyor of Curiosities to get this critical item. Important effects that can trigger the Resource Aspect of the Umbral include:

  • Corpse Tendrils slow, stun

Resource Aspect of Potent Blood

Codex of Power Dungeon: Betrayer's Row
During leveling this is your best bet for instantly regaining your Essence during a long fight. You can generate the blood orbs to power it when combined with Defensive Aspect of the Embalmer and Blighted Corpse Tendrils.

Resource Aspect of Torment

Codex of Power Dungeon: Black Asylum
This is easily available to us during leveling, but may be difficult to trigger until you can begin to stack Critical Strike Chance. If you have nothing else, pick this one up for a ring, but make sure you're correctly hitting your crits.

Bone Prison

Our Bone Prison Variant of the leveling build includes this awesome skill because of the incredible capability of the wombo-combo. First cast Corpse Tendrils, then once you have many enemies in one spot, gain tremendous Essence with a Bone Prison, alongside Fortify.

Grim Harvest

This skill might look like a powerful source of Essence but it is wildly inconsistent and does not perform well against elites or bosses. Ultimately this makes you dependent on Corpses, which won't always be there for you to use. Use this to top up on Essence from time to time but it is more useful to trigger effects like Defensive Aspect of the Embalmer or your Corpse-oriented damage multipliers. Make sure you diversify your Essence or else you'll find yourself without important resources!

Basic Skills

As a last resort, your basic skills Bone Splinters, Hemorrhage, Reap, and Decompose can add to your Essence pool. Hopefully you won't need to use these much. If you do, try to acquire some of the above Resource Aspects to help you on your leveling journey.

Book of the Dead

The Book of the Dead gives us access to Raise Skeleton and Golem skills, which let us summon our hordes of undead Minions to fight by our side. We can also elect to sacrifice these Minions, gaining a unique passive bonus for each type we choose to sacrifice. You can mix and match which ones to summon vs sacrifice, with any combination being viable for different builds.

Unlocking the Book of the Dead

You can summon Skeletons as early as level one, with the ability to customize your Skeletal Skirmishers starting at level 5, when the Book Menu unlocks. From there, you unlock more types of Skeletal Warriors, Skeletal Mages, and eventually Golems as you gain levels. The Golem requires you to complete a Quest, which is detailed in our Book of the Dead guide. You must put the Raise Skeleton and Golem skills on your skill bar to summon them.

How the Book of the Dead Impacts Leveling

Skeletons and our Golem are primarily useful for Sacrifice with this build, but we don't do this right away. Which Skeletons and Golem to choose and ultimately when to sacrifice them is detailed below:

Level 1: Use Raise Skeleton

Level 5: Use Skeletal Warriors - Skirmishers

Level 8: Sacrifice Skeletal Warriors - Skirmishers

Level 18: Sacrifice Skeletal Mages - Cold

Level 25: Use Golems - Bone

Level 32: Sacrifice Golems - Iron

Learn more details in our full Book of the Dead Guide.

Gear Progression & Global Stat Priorities

Leveling up in Diablo 4 is similar to most other ARPGs and MMOs - we're at the mercy of what drops. For the most part this means replacing Rares with better Rares all the way up to 50. We also prioritize certain specific Codex of Power Legendary Aspects for imprinting. If you're lucky enough to find some Legendaries or Uniques they can provide a significant power boost (discussed in the next sections). Assuming you don't find any of those, let's look at some key stats to look for along the way:


The Bone Spear Necromancer specializes in constant Critical Strikes, and so ignores all other weapons for Two-Handed Sword since it gives implicit Critical Strike Damage.

Prioritize the stats below, in order:

  • +xx% Vulnerable Damage
  • +xx% Core Skill Damage
  • +xx% Critical Strike Damage
  • +xx% Critical Strike Damage with Bone Skills
  • +xx% Damage to Distant Enemies
  • +xx% Damage to Crowd Controlled Enemies
  • +xx% Damage to Slowed Enemies
  • +xx% Damage to Stunned Enemies

Socket your Weapon with Emerald.

Don't Forget: Upgrade your weapon at the Blacksmith at least 1-2 times when you use a new weapon.


Armor typically grants us Defense and Utility stats, except the Gloves, which offer a multitude of Offensive options. Here are the important stats to look for:

  • Helm: Intelligence, Maximum Life, Resistances
  • Armor: Maximum Life, Total Armor, Damage Reduction
  • Gloves: Bone Spear Ranks, Critical Strike Chance, Attack Speed, Damage, Intelligence
  • Pants: Maximum Life, Intelligence, Damage Reduction
  • Boots: Movement Speed, Corpse Tendrils Ranks, Fortify Generation, Movement Speed on Evade (Implicit)


Jewelry provides powerful Offensive stats that help us on our leveling journey. Pay close attention to the rolls as higher leveled pieces aren't always better:

  • Amulet: Damage, All Stats, Bone Spear Skills Ranks, Damage Reduction, Critical Strike Chance
  • Rings: Vulnerable Damage, Critical Strike Chance, Critical Strike Damage, Physical Damage

Do not upgrade Armor or Jewelry while leveling (except for Hardcore). Socket Armor with Rubies and Jewelry with Skulls.

Read more about itemization in our Damage Explained, Defense Explained, and Stats Explained articles.

Codex of Power

The Codex of Power is a collection of Legendary Aspects you can imprint onto Rare or Legendary items at the Occultist. They unlock after completing specific Dungeons located around Sanctuary. For leveling, there are a few Aspects that can significantly help us if we have the funds to imprint them:

Top Codex Leveling Aspects

1. Splintering Offensive AspectGuulrahn Slums
2. Aspect of Exposed FleshSeason 1 Journey, Chapter 2
3. Resource Aspect of TormentBlack Asylum
4. Wind Striker Mobility AspectShivta Ruins
5. Aspect of Grasping VeinsCorrupted Grotto

Warning: DO NOT imprint your Weapons as they are constantly replaced as you level and are expensive to imprint. Put Offensive Aspects on your Amulet and Gloves instead.

Learn everything about the Codex of Power here.

Leveling Tips and Tricks

Let's look at some general tips and tricks to remember for all classes and specs!

Complete the Campaign or follow our Leveling Guides. Follow the Campaign if you haven't completed it yet. If you have, use our Alt Leveling Guide and Renown Speedrun Guide to progress your character quickly!

Level Up Your Potion. Many players don't know that you need to farm materials to upgrade your character's potion. Make sure you collect all materials as you explore Sanctuary, especially Gallowvine which is used in many recipes!

Alchemist location in Kyovashad

Compare your Items... Literally. Press Shift over an item in your inventory to compare it to what you're wearing. This makes it easy to determine what is and isn't an upgrade.

Renown is your Friend. While exploring the different zones, take time to gather Renown along the way. It has long-term benefits for your entire account, including more Skill/Paragon points and Potion charges. Renown is gained by activating Waypoints, finding Altars of Lilith, completing Side Quests/Dungeons and liberating Strongholds.

Be Careful with Gold. A lot of endgame processes, like extracting and imprinting Legendary Aspects, are extremely expensive for a brand-new character. Don't spend all of your Gold along the way!

Don't Imprint Your Weapon. The most critical piece of gear while leveling up is your weapon, which gets replaced constantly. This makes imprinting a Legendary Aspect on it a waste of resources. Instead, put your best offensive Aspect on your Amulet, which can be used for a long time.

Next Steps

Video Guide


  • The Bone Spear Necromancer specializes in single target damage, and can annihilate enemies when their back is against a wall.
  • Keep your Essence high so that Serration and Ossified Essence function at peak capacity.
  • Resource Aspect of Torment, Resource Aspect of the Umbral, Splintering Offensive Aspect are key to ensuring this build achieves its true potential.
  • Start off with a few Skeletons, but quickly Sacrifice them. Where we're going, we're going alone.
  • Read the Next Steps above to continue your journey.


Written by Echohack.
Reviewed by Macrobioboi.

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