LoD Poison Scythe Necromancer Guide

Introduction

Welcome to one of the strongest builds in Diablo 3: the Poison Grim Scythe Necromancer. With the ability to flatten an entire room of monsters in Greater Rift 150 without taking a single point of damage, it is the trash clearer of choice in group play. Pair that with the ability to perform at the top of the solo rankings and you have one of the best builds we've ever seen. Let's dive in and learn what makes it so great!

Tanky ✔
Simple Rotation ✔
Insane AOE Damage ✔
No Cooldown Required ✔
Top Tier In Solo & Groups ✔

❌ Lacks Speed
❌ Requires Ancients
❌ Sims Dying Can Hurt

❌ Positioning Is Important
Low Single Target Damage


Core Setup

Core Item Build

Items
This build is based around the Legacy of Dreams gem, meaning we need the most powerful legendary items without having any Set Bonuses. The critical items are:

  • Haunted Visions to allow Simulacrum to cast Grim Scythe
  • Nayr's Black Death for up to 500% damage to Grim Scythe
  • Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang for 200% damage and to apply curses for Dayntee's Binding
  • Krysbin's Sentence for the 300% damage to stunned enemies, coming from Bone Armor Dislocation
  • Convention of Elements for 200% damage during our Poison cycle
  • Depth Diggers for 100% damage to Grim Scythe
  • Leger's Disdain for 80% damage to Grim Scythe
  • Aquila Cuirass for 50% damage reduction

Global Stat Priorities
Our offensive priorities are: Poison Damage > Critical Hit Chance/Critical Hit Damage > Area Damage, along with as much Grim Scythe damage as possible. Attack Speed is helpful, especially for stacking Bane of the Stricken in solo, but you don't need to aim for any specific breakpoint. No cooldown is needed for this build as you only cast Simulacrum at the beginning of a rift and if they die along the way. For defensive rolls always take Armor > All Resistance, since we get All Resistance by default from Intelligence in our Paragon points. Also it's very helpful have crowd-control reduction rolls on jewelry for solo pushing as affixes like Nightmare, Jailer and Knockback are very annoying. In Season 22 we'll take Maximum Essence on our main and off hands to buff Reilena's Shadowhook in the cube.

Item Stat Priorities

SLOT ITEMSTAT PRIORITY
Main-HandTrag'Oul's Corroded Fang
Nayr's Black Death (Cubed)
Reilena's Shadowhook (Cubed)
Echoing Fury (Cubed)
1. Damage Range
2. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
3. Area Damage
4. Damage %
5. Attack Speed
6. Maximum Essence (Secondary)
Off-HandLeger's Disdain1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Grim Scythe Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Intelligence
5. Maximum Essence (Secondary)
HelmAndariel's Visage1. Poison Damage
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Attack Speed
4. Intelligence
No Socket Needed!
GlovesGloves of Worship (A2 Bounties)
Stone Gauntlets
1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Attack Speed
ShouldersRazeth's Volition1. Area Damage
2. Intelligence
3. Vitality
4. Armor
Chest Aquila Cuirass1. Intelligence
2. Sockets Flawless Royal Ruby
3. Vitality
4. Reduced Elite Damage
PantsDepth Diggers
Swamp Land Waders
(Witch Doctor only drop)
1. Grim Scythe Damage
2. Intelligence
3. Vitality
4. Sockets Flawless Royal Ruby
BootsIce Climbers
Steuart's Greaves
Illusory Boots (A2 Bounties) (Cubed)
1. Intelligence
2. Vitality
3. Armor
4. All Resistance
Ring 1Krysbin's Sentence
Rechel's Ring of Larceny
Avarice Band (A3 Bounties)
Unity (Cubed)
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Attack Speed
Ring 2Convention of Elements1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Critical Hit Chance
4. Area Damage
BracersNemesis Bracers
Ancient Parthan Defenders
Warzechian Armguards
1. Poison Damage
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Intelligence
4. Vitality
AmuletHaunted Visions
Squirt's Necklace
1. Socket
2. Poison Damage
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
BeltDayntee's Binding
Goldwrap
1. Grim Scythe Damage
2. Intelligence
3. Vitality
4. Armor

Gems

  • Legacy of Dreams is the basis of the build and should be leveled to 99 immediately for a ridiculous 9750% damage increase and 52% reduced damage taken if you have full ancient gear.
  • Simplicity's Strength provides 100% increased damage and 4% life steal on our primary attacks, making it mandatory for all variants of the build.
  • Other popular choices are Bane of the Trapped as a trash clearer for 60% increased damage, Boon of the Hoarder for torment farming and Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard for a shield in combination with Squirt's Necklace for double damage, increased toughness and insane healing.

Skills

  • Grim Scythe Cursed Scythe is our damage dealer that applies curses for our Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang and Dayntee's Binding bonuses.
  • Simulacrum Blood and Bone summons 2 sims that duplicate our swings thanks to Haunted Visions.
  • Bone Armor Dislocation provides 30% damage reduction and activates our Krysbin's Sentence on our Poison Convention of Elements cycle.
  • The last 3 skill slots vary from version to version. For more damage you'll want more poison skills to activate Nayr's Black Death, like Bone Spear Blighted Marrow, Death Nova Blight, and Siphon Blood Power Shift.
  • Blood Rush Potency can be taken for mobility and increased armor.
  • Frailty Early Grave can help kill monsters easier and synergizes with Conduit Pylon.

Passives

  • Spreading Malediction gives 1% additive damage for every cursed enemy.
  • Swift Harvesting provides a nice attack speed boost to Grim Scythe.
  • Stand Alone gives 100% additive armor with the 250% from Stone Gauntlets and the 25% from Paragon points.
  • Final Service allows us to cheat death.
  • For speed content you can drop Final Service for Fueled by Death.
  • For Season 22 we'll take Overwhelming Essence to buff Reilena's Shadowhook.

Paragon Points

CoreOffensiveDefensiveUtility
1. Movement Speed1. Critical Hit Damage1. Armor1. Area Damage
2. Vitality (to 750k health)2. Critical Hit Chance2. Life %2. Life per Hit
3. Intelligence3. Attack Speed3. All Resistance3. Resource Cost Reduction
4. Maximum Essence¹4. Cooldown Reduction4. Life Regeneration4. Pickup Radius

¹ You do not need Maximum Essence because Simulacrum ignores essence generated.

Follower

The Templar is recommended for this build due to his melee range and aggressive AI. When there's a monster in range he will always stand still and fight it, making him very predictable and easy to play around.

For the Skills pick Heal, Loyalty, Onslaught and Inspire. All the alternatives, except Intimidate, include AoE hard-CC, which makes mobs harder to manipulate.

Follower's damage is completely irrelevant, so we stack Attack Speed for more on-hit procs and Cooldown Reduction for more Heal. The Items are:

  • Enchanting Favor to make the Templar immortal.
  • Oculus Ring for 85% multiplicative damage boost.
  • Unity for 50% damage reduction.
  • The Ess of Johan to pull mobs together.
  • Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker for the Attack Speed slow.
  • Freeze of Deflection for extra survivability.

Gameplay

While the rotation is fairly easy to perform with practice, it requires you to understand the multipliers in play. First with Nayr's Black Death in the cube, we need to rotate our Poison skills before the Poison Convention of Elements cycle arrives. So you will use Bone Spear Blighted Marrow Death Nova Blight and Siphon Blood Power Shift to build up your stacks. Finally and most importantly, finish with Bone Armor Dislocation at the start of Poison to activate your Krysbin's Sentence.

When you are not dealing damage, use Bone Spear Blighted Marrow to attract enemies from far away, and use Blood Rush Potency for mobility. When dealing damage in groups, position your Simulacrum in the center of the Barbarian's Ground Stomp for maximum damage. Finally, your Simulacrum can die from things like grotesque explosions, so try to position them away from these attacks to avoid re-summoning them.

Hardcore

This build already takes nearly every major damage reduction item available to it. Make sure to use Blood Rush to get out of bad situation, and have crowd-control reduction rolled on your jewelry. You can also put more Paragon points into Vitality. For Season 22 make sure you take Final Service on any variation you play (drop Swift Harvesting in groups and Overwhelming Essence in solo.)


Variants

T16 Keys
T16 Keys

Concept
For speed content we're pumping up our movement speed with Steuart's Greaves Warzechian Armguards Rechel's Ring of Larceny Blood Rush Metabolism Devour Devouring Aura and Fueled by Death. Rechel's ring will be buffed by any further fear on hit secondary rolls you get. The combination of Goldwrap + Avarice Band + Boon of the Hoarder will make us invincible once we kill an enemy and pick up some gold. Finally we need to drop Stone Gauntlets for any other gloves so we don't get slowed.

Gameplay
Speed content is easy to play as we don't have to time anything with Convention of Elements. Summon your Simulacrum Blood and Bone at the start, use Blood Rush Metabolism to move, cast Bone Spear Blighted Marrow once every 15 seconds, and finally use Bone Armor Dislocation when encountering elites to activate Krysbin's Sentence before cutting them down.

Setups
If you are 1-shotting everything and can afford to lose some damage drop Bone Spear Blighted Marrow for Frailty Aura of Frailty.

Solo Push
Solo

Concept
This is the standard set up we covered above in the items section. Bane of the Stricken is needed as the third gem to kill the Rift Guardian. We will also pick up significant damage reduction from Stone Gauntlets, Dayntee's Binding and Unity. Ice Climbers will negate the negative effects of Stone Gauntlets so we aren't slowed.

Gameplay
Solo is the most challenging version of this build as we have to pull everything, stay alive, and kill everything all on our own. Your Simulacrum will move with you, and you need to keep them out of gigantic hits like grotesque explosions and molten explosions. If they die you can re-summon them, but your damage will drop significantly if they die again before Simulacrum is back up. Cast each Poison skill once every 15 seconds to build your Nayr's Black Death up, and use Bone Armor Dislocation on your Poison cycle of Convention of Elements. Try to save a pylon for the boss so you can use Nemesis Bracers to proc Area Damage, but only spawn the elite after you've stacked Bane of the Stricken on the Rift Guardian for awhile by itself.

Setups
You can drop a Poison skill for Frailty Early Grave if you have the damage to kill enemies without the extra Nayr's stack and want to play for a Conduit Pylon. At extremely high paragon levels you can take Frailty Early Grave with Briggs' Wrath over Unity if you can survive without it. If your positioning your positioning and survivability are amazing and you think you can live without Blood Rush, drop it for Siphon Blood Power Shift for an extra Nayr's Black Death stack.

Group Trash Clearer
Groups

Concept
In groups we can be far more offensive with our itemization because we have supports keeping us alive. Dropping Ice Climbers and wearing Illusory Boots allows us to wear Swamp Land Waders after cubing Depth Diggers to pick up 20% Poison Damage (this is possible because the support Barbarian will give us Ignore Pain which makes us immune to the slow from Stone Gauntlets). We can also pick up Squirt's Necklace instead of Unity for 100% increased damage. Finally we'll take Ancient Parthan Defenders instead of Nemesis Bracers so we can keep our Squirt's Necklace buff up from the support Barbarian's Furious Charge and the Monk's Crippling Wave Tsunami.

Gameplay
Similar to the solo version, except we don't have to gather the monsters and staying alive is much easier thanks to the zBarb's pulling and stomping and the zMonk's healing. Just move to the zBarb's Ground Stomp and cut everything down. Make sure that your first swing in Poison has every buff up (using Bone Armor last for the stun) and correct positioning as all the little trash will die instantly, costing us Area Damage on successive swings. In other words, don't swing your scythe randomly, swing with purpose! If there is an Oculus Ring nearby, stand in it for 85% increased damage.

Setups
You can take Blood Rush instead of Death Nova for speed farming in groups.


Video Guide

Guide Video

Mechanics

Simulacrum

  • Will move with you after you've traveled a short distance. Use this to position them out of gigantic attacks like grotesque explosions. If you're using Blood Rush the sims will follow you to your new location.
  • Duplicated attacks proc Area Damage.
  • Do not benefit from Pet damage.

Leger's Disdain

  • Simulacrum ignore how much current AND maximum essence you have. This is fantastic news because they will always get the full benefit of Leger's Disdain. That's why it's better to simply swing again at full essence (having 2 sims attacking at full power) than to waste time trying to dump essence to increase your own damage.
  • All three swings happen at the same time and deal full damage even if one swing is enough to kill some of the monsters.

Nayr's Black Death

  • Give 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.

Summary

  • Level your Legacy of Dreams to 99 immediately and hunt for ancient items.
  • Learn to position your Simulacrum in density, activate your Poison skills in order, and stun with Bone Armor Dislocation on your Poison Convention of Elements cycle to activate Krysbin's Sentence.
  • Gather large groups of enemies with Bone Spear Blighted Marrow to mow them down with Area Damage.
  • Enjoy one of the strongest builds Diablo 3 has ever seen!

Town Is Lava!

-Raxxanterax