Welcome to the longest lasting group XP farming build in Diablo III: the Legacy of Dreams Skeletal Mage "Rat" Necromancer. Season after season it has proven itself to be among the top tier in experience farming.
Initially "Rats" were played with Bones of Rathma, which is where its name originates from as people were too lazy to search for a "+1 Rathma" and simply referred to it as a "+1 Rat". While the main multiplier shifted from Bones of Rathama (6) Bonus to Legacy of Dreams the name "Rat" still persisted to depict this specific team composition for grinding experience (and gear for Necromancers).
The gameplay of a Rat is "High Risk, High Reward" as it’s purely offensive and dies to anything that hits it. Therefore, playing Rat DPS requires a decent amount of practice, dedication and the patience of an angel if your zNec is playing suboptimally. When Rats go well, they feel amazing, but when things go wrong it's one of the worst experiences you'll witness in any group setup. The guide at hand is a resource for you to succeed with your ratting!
Extremely Fast ✔
Best XP Farmer ✔
Mages Go Pew Pew Pew ✔
Rewards Excellent Gameplay ✔
❌ Difficult to Execute
❌ Sensitive Towards Supports
❌ Terrible for Solo Progression
- Haunted Visions alllows Simulacrum Reservoir to last forever, buffing Reilena's Shadowhook.
- Reilena's Shadowhook provides 330% increased damage based on our total Maximum Essence, which is why we need this specific secondary on our Main and Off-Hand.
- Scythe of the Cycle provides a 400% increased damage multiplier to Skeletal Mage.
- Circle of Nailuj's Evol allows you to get two Mages with every cast and make them last longer, great to get started with the build.
- Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan for 25% increased resource generation and damage while moving.
- Tasker and Theo for 50% increased attack speed to our Skeletal Mage.
- Requiem Cereplate for 100% increased life and essence on Devour.
- Reaper's Wraps for the resource gained on health globe pick up.
- Lost Time is the only Off-Hand that does something, however, any other Phylactery will do just fine. Bone Ringer is the only one pre-rolling with Critical Hit Chance, which is why it's most commonly used early in a season.
Season 24 Ethereals
Ethereals are powerful rare weapons that can only be found during Season 24. They have incredible stats, a random Legendary power, and a free passive for your class. Read our Ethereal Mechanics Guide for full details on how they work and our Ethereal Farming Guide to learn how to acquire them. What you should prioritize on them is the following:
- The Legendary Power
This build requires Scythe of the Cycle and Reilena's Shadowhook to be functional. We need our Ethereal to roll one of these powers so we can cube the other. We also want a good roll on our Legendary power if it has a range. For speed content it is always helpful to have Ethereals with In-geom or Messerschmidt's Reaver powers, so keep those if you find them.
- The Ethereal Itself
There are 3 different weapons available to us, each with its own benefits:
- Soul Harvest - This is by far the best Ethereal for most variations of this build. The extra Essence, Attack Speed and other stats all provide great bonuses.
- Blackhand Key - This is the next best option and very useful for solo farming. The fear effect allows you to crowd control enemies without Frozen Lands. See more about the setup in the solo variants below.
- Blackbog's Sharp - This is a back-up option in case you haven't found any of the other two.
- The Ethereal Stat Rolls
Each Ethereal comes with its own fixed set of powerful affixes. While some have a static value, many have a wide stat range. This means the difference between good and bad rolls is significant and something you should look for.
- A Useful Passive
This is just icing on the cake because a fifth passive is not going to make or break your build. You're better off hunting for the things above. Check out the Passives section down below to see which ones you're looking for.
Global Stat Priorities
Our offensive priorities are: Skeletal Mage Damage > Critical Hit Damage > Physical Damage > Critical Hit Chance > Attack Speed > Area Damage > Cooldown Reduction (CDR). Cooldown, in comparison to previous iterations of LoD Rat, is absolutely not needed anymore. At best CDR helps you when you fail your Blood Rush or when you miss your Bone Armor. When Land of the Dead is up our Devour Devouring Aura will instantly refill our essence due to a bug with Requiem Cereplate and allow us to throw fully powered Singularity Mages.
Attack Speed does not make our mages cast faster, but it does let us summon mages faster and gives them higher damage. Area Damage does work with Skeletal Mage and can be taken on items, but it's better to prioritize the other offensive stats first as you cannot guarantee monsters will be grouped in such fast-paced runs. Lastly, Devouring Aura does scale with additional Pickup Radius, which is quite beneficial, however, make sure you first have appropriate primary rolls before aiming for more Pickup Radius.
- Put together the core items and level up the Legacy of Dreams gem.
- Learn the rotation and how to keep up 10 fully powered Skeletal Mage by always having enough essence between Devour and Land of the Dead.
- Practice staying alive on the squishiest build in Diablo 3 history.
- Enjoy being a higher paragon than everyone on your friends list!
Guide by Raxxanterax with contributions from Rob. Updated by wudijo.