With its rework in Patch 2.7.0 (Season 23), the Bones of Rathma Necromancer has been re-imagined to create two completely new playstyles for the Necromancer. While the 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 has been completely reworked around Army of the Dead instead. Minions (including Revive) are still part of the build but only act as meatshields and to activate your set and item bonuses.
The basic idea of the build is to summon a bunch of minions that will reset your Army of the Dead cooldown very quickly through the Bones of Rathma (2) bonus and mow down enemies with it. Instead of the 120 seconds cooldown this ability usually has, you will be able to cast it once every few seconds to keep up a near-continuous stream of damage.
Right now the build is not one of the best on the Necromancer class, but it has a very distinct, unique playstyle unlike anything else the game has to offer. Not only that, but it actually has two almost equally strong solo pushing variants with varying playstyles: one around Poison including a lot of melee action and one around Physical that is more ranged and strategic. The main sections of the guide will cover the Poison variant, but adjustments for Physical are also described in the variants. Go check them out below!
Impactful nuke ✔
Variety of playstyles ✔
Has an army of minions ✔
Good mix of AoE and single target ✔
❌ Relies on pets
❌ Low toughness
❌ Outclassed by other builds
❌ Heavily cooldown dependent
- The Bones of Rathma set adds a total of 8,500% damage bonus to Bone Spirit and Army of the Dead when you have 17 minions out. 7 come from Command Skeletons and 10 from Revive. This can be boosted to 9,000% with Command Golem. Skeletal Mages won'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.
- 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).
- Bonds of C'Lena give another 100% damage increase and allow Army of the Dead to deal 50% extra damage to a single target.
- 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 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 Jesseth Arms and either Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang, Reilena's Shadowhook or Nayr's Black Death 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 Echoing Fury, 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:
- Blackbog's Sharp - This is by far the best Ethereal for us. It has great stats and a Stacking Damage effect that will immensely help against Elites and Rift Guardians.
- Blackhand Key - This weapon is great for T16 and useful in Physical variants due to the curse effects.
- Soul Harvest - This is the second best option for Poison and also good for Physical, but will leave you in danger without Crowd Control.
- 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: Cooldown Reduction > Poison 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).
For variants using Reilena's Shadowhook, we also want Maximum Essence on our weapon and offhand to boost its damage multiplier. Your overall cooldown without Gogok of Swiftness stacks should reach above 65% to ensure a smooth DPS cycle with fast resets on Army of the Dead. 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 it for them.
- Keep Jesseth Arms up at all times using Command Skeletons.
- Use Army of the Dead to mow down enemies during the Convention of Elements' Poison cycle. Make sure to activate all your Poison skills at least once every cycle.
- Summon 10 Revive minions as soon as possible when you first produce corpses.
- Swing your Cursed Scythe as much as possible to apply curses.
- Stay mobile, dodge attacks during downtime and blast away during your nukes!
The new Bones of Rathma rework has breathed some new life in previously underused skills and Necromancer mechanics. It has a very unique playstyle and can be a great change of pace from other builds. Good luck!
Guide by wudijo with reviews and suggestions from Northwar & Raxxanterax. Updates by wudijo.