Rathma Skeletal Mage Necromancer Guide

Disclaimer: There is no reason to play this build unless you got it from your Seasonal Journey reward. Please for your own sanity switch as fast as you can to the Legacy of Dreams Skeletal Mage "Rat" Necromancer.

Introduction

Come be the Lord of Mages with the Bones of Rathma set to vaporize your foes in an instant. This build is a complete "Glass Cannon" as it delivers incredibly high damage but struggles to stay alive. Come learn to be the true Commander of the Undead!

Very High Damage ✔
High Risk, High Reward ✔
Great For Speed Content ✔
Fall In Love With Shield Pylons ✔

❌ Hold Me!
❌ I'm Dead...
Very Squishy
Dependent on Long Cooldowns


Core Setup

Core Item Build

Items
This build is based around the Bones of Rathma set along with many key items discussed below that allow us to deliver incredible damage with Skeletal Mage.

  • Bones of Rathma grant our Skeletal Mage 1000% damage for each mage summoned up to a maximum of 4000%. It also gives 50% damage reduction once the mages have gotten some hits in. The set also buffs Army of the Dead, but we will not be utilizing that as it serves no purpose and does no damage.
  • Reilena's Shadowhook gives us .5% damage increase per point of maximum essence for a gigantic damage increase.
  • Scythe of The Cycle for a 400% damage increase to Skeletal Mage when Bone Armor is active.
  • Reaper's Wraps upon picking up a health globe restores our essence by 30% every 2 seconds.
  • Tasker and Theo give our Skeletal Mage 50% increased attack speed.
  • Haunted Visions allows our Simulacrum to last forever, which is very important for the maximum essence boost.
  • Circle of Nailuj's Evol gives us two Skeletal Mage per cast and makes them last four seconds longer.
  • Krysbin's Sentence for the 300% damage to stunned enemies, coming from Bone Armor Dislocation.
  • Convention of Elements for 200% damage during our Physical cycle.

Global Stat Priorities
Our offensive priorities are: Cooldown Reduction > Physical Damage > Critical Hit Chance/Critical Hit Damage > Attack Speed > Area Damage along with as much Skeletal Mage damage as possible. Cooldown Reduction is needed to bring back our Land of the Dead so we can have infinite essence to spam Skeletal Mage.

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. Goldwrap and The Witching Hour
  3. Tasker and Theo
  4. Steuart's Greaves
  5. Krysbin's Sentence, Circle of Nailuj's Evol and Convention of Elements
  6. Nemesis Bracers
  7. Any Legendary Phylactery, preferably Lost Time

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

  1. Scythes to get Scythe of the Cycle and Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang
  2. Two-Handed Scythes to get Reilena's Shadowhook
  3. Create a level 1 Demon Hunter and upgrade Swords to get In-Geom
  4. Amulets to get Haunted Visions and Squirt's Necklace
  5. Anything from the Gamble list in Step 3 that you haven't already acquired

5. Do Bounties to acquire the following item for this build:

  • Act 3: Avarice Band
  • Act 4: Can drop any bounty item from any act

Item Stat Priorities

SLOTITEMSTAT PRIORITY
Main-HandScythe of the Cycle
Reilena's Shadowhook (Cubed)
Messerschmidt's Reaver (Cubed)
1. Maximum Essence
2. Damage Range
3. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
4. Maximum Essence (Secondary)
5. Cooldown Reduction
6. Damage %
Off-HandLost Time
Any Phylactery Is Fine
1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Skeletal Mage Damage
4. Maximum Essence (Secondary)
5. Intelligence
HelmRathma's Skull Helm1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Skeletal Mage Damage
3. Intelligence
4. Socket Flawless Royal Diamond
5. Armor
GlovesRathma's Macabre Vambraces
Tasker and Theo (Cubed)
1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Attack Speed
ShouldersRathma's Spikes1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Intelligence
3. Area Damage
4. Armor
Chest Rathma's Ribcage Plate1. Intelligence
2. Sockets Flawless Royal Ruby
3. Armor
4. Reduced Elite Damage
PantsRathma's Skeletal Legplates1. Intelligence
2. Armor
3. Sockets Flawless Royal Ruby
4. Vitality
BootsRathma's Ossified Sabatons
Steuart's Greaves (Cubed)
1. Skeletal Mage Damage
2. Intelligence
3. Armor
4. Vitality
Ring 1Krysbin's Sentence
Circle of Nailuj's Evol (Cubed)
Ring of Royal Grandeur (A1 Bounties) (Cubed)
1. Socket
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Critical Hit Chance
4. Critical Hit Damage
Ring 2Convention of Elements
Avarice Band (A2 Bounties)
1. Socket
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Critical Hit Chance
4. Critical Hit Damage
BracersReaper's Wraps
Nemesis Bracers
1. Physical Damage
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Intelligence
4. Armor
AmuletHaunted Visions
Squirt's Necklace
1. Socket
2. Physical Damage
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
5. Cooldown Reduction
BeltThe Witching Hour
Goldwrap (Cubed)
1. Critical Hit Damage
2. Attack Speed
3. Intelligence
4. Armor

Gems

  • Enforcer gives Skeletal Mage a 60% damage boost.
  • Bane of the Trapped gives 60% increased damage.
  • Bane of the Stricken will be taken for solo pushing to kill the Rift Guardian.
  • Zei's Stone of Vengeance will be taken for our group build for the 80% damage buff at 50 yards away (which is about 1/2 a screen).
  • Boon of the Hoarder is used for the T16/Speed build for the 30% movement speed.

Skills

  • Skeletal Mage Singularity is our damage dealer and dumps all of our essence to summon super powerful mages. Regaining this essence back quickly with Devour and Dark Reaping is critical to our success.
  • Simulacrum Reservoir doubles our maximum essence providing a massive damage boost thanks to Reilena's Shadowhook.
  • Bone Armor Dislocation provides 30% damage reduction and activates our Krysbin's Sentence for a 300% damage increase.
  • Land of the Dead Frozen Lands is helpful when no zNec is around to do the freezing for you, in group play use Land of the Dead Shallow Graves.
  • Blood Rush Metabolism can be taken for mobility in T16 and speed group farming.
  • Devour Cannibalize helps to restore our essence and health throughout the rift, Devour Devouring Aura is often used for T16/Group play.
  • Frailty allows us to activate our Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang and helps us kill monsters easier.

Passives

  • Life from Death spawns health globes when we Devour, allowing us to generate essence from Reaper's Wraps.
  • Overwhelming Essence provides a essence boost for our Reilena's Shadowhook.
  • Extended Servitude makes our Skeletal Mage last 25% longer.
  • Dark Reaping allows us to generate essence faster to summon more Skeletal Mage.
  • Final Service allows us to cheat death.
  • For speed content you can drop Final Service for Fueled by Death for increased movement speed.

Paragon Points

CoreOffensiveDefensiveUtility
1. Movement Speed1. Cooldown Reduction1. Armor1. Area Damage
2. Maximum Essence2. Critical Hit Chance2. Life %2. Life per Hit
3. Vitality (Up to 750k Health)3. Critical Hit Damage3. All Resistance3. Resource Cost Reduction
4. Intelligence4. Attack Speed4. Life Regeneration4. Pickup Radius

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

This build depends on summoning fully powered Skeletal Mage as fast as possible and while Devouring corpses along the way. It's important to make sure your 10 mages stay up throughout the rift and you are using your Cooldowns like Bone Armor and Land of the Dead whenever they're available. Upon entering a Rift the player should:

1. Approach enemies then cast Simulacrum, Bone Armor and Land of the Dead. This will freeze all the monsters, activate your Scythe of the Cycle, and allow you to spam Devour to blast them all down.
2. Cast Skeletal Mage whenever your essence is full to take advantage of Singularity. Keeping up 10 fully-powered on the battle field is pivotal to being successful with this build.
3. Run over the corpses of your enemies to gain your essence back from Devouring Aura.
4. Use your Blood Rush to remain mobile and keep up with the group.

The build is very squishy so it's important to play defensively and let your mages clear a path or stay out of harms way while they take out the enemies. If you die and don't have Simulacrum or Land of the Dead try backing up a bit and getting some mages up again once your Cooldowns are back.

Hardcore

Do not play this in Hardcore.


Variants

T16
T16 Bounties and Key

Concept
The idea in T16 is essentially the same as doing solo and group content with the addition of items that add more Cooldown Reduction and Movement Speed. We'll fly around 1-shotting all the monsters and using Devour and Land of the Dead to get our essence back.

Gameplay
Summon your Simulacrum Reservoir at the start and cast Bone Armor Harvest Anguish and Land of the Dead Frozen Lands. Use Blood Rush Metabolism to stay mobile, cast Skeletal Mage whenever you reach maximum essence. It's important to know the mages will target whoever your mouse cursor is over when you summon them. For this reason you always want to mouse over an elite to kill them before the trash. Once you have that down it's simply flying from elite to elite mowing everything down.

Setups
If you are resource-starved you can drop Nemesis Bracers for Reaper's Wraps and pick up the Life from Death passive.

Solo Push
Solo Push

Concept
We're all on our own out here so we need to adjust a few things to be successful. We need to use Land of the Dead Frozen Lands so we don't get murdered by everything as well as grabbing our Bane of the Stricken for higher greater rift pushes. We won't be as mobile without our Blood Rush Metabolism in solo so it's important to position yourself well and mow everything down as we go.

Gameplay
As usual in solo we have to pull everything, stay alive, and kill everything all on our own. We rely on Land of the Dead to generate Essence. The Sudden Impact rune will also activate our Krysbin's Sentence. Skeletal Mage Singularity. We now have to spam Devour because we've taken the Cannibalize rune over Devouring Aura to help us stay alive. On the Rift Guardian kite the boss and stack Bane of the Stricken with Bone Spikes while your Land of the Dead is down.

Setups
When pushing high solo greater rifts you'll want to bring Bane of the Stricken but if farming mid tier solo content Zei's Stone of Vengeance will be a better option to get through the rifts faster.

Group Speeds
Group Speeds

Concept
In groups we'll be a bit more offensive with our itemization because we have supports keeping us alive and we'll want to make sure we're able to go fast as this build is best suited for fast paced greater rifts. The primary change here is grabbing Squirt's Necklace instead of Convention of Elements for 100% increased damage.

Gameplay
Similar to the solo version, except we don't have to freeze the monsters if we have a zNec with us and staying alive is much easier thanks to the zBarb's giving us Ignore Pain and War Cry. As usual just keep your 10 mages up at all times and stay with the zNec, they will freeze the entire room when you enter it and it's your job to kill everything before they have a chance to attack you. Make sure to stand in any Oculus Ring for 85% increased damage.

Setups
Squirt's Necklace comes with a price and can make an already squishy build even more difficult to play, dropping it and using Convention of Elements is fine if you cannot survive.


Video Guide

Coming soon.


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 location.
  • Simulacrum Reservoir doubles our maximum essence which is a big because of the damage boost from Reilena's Shadowhook.

Tasker and Theo

  • Is the only item that actually increases Skeletal Mage how fast our mages attack. Attack Speed increases our sheet damage, which in turn increases how hard the mages hit, but it won't make them attack faster.

Reaper's Wraps

  • Now have a 2 second internal cooldown for the essence bonus you can gain. They're still useful, but you will definitely feel this nerf. This is why we need Dark Reaping and Devour to release fully powered Singularity mages.

Summary

  • Keep your Simulacrum up at all times and use your other Cooldowns whenever they're available.
  • Learn to keep up 10 fully-powered Skeletal Mage and spam Devour to refill your essence.
  • Stay behind your mages as you progress through the rift. Be mobile and defensive as we cannot easily recover from death.
  • When in a groups love your zNec, cherish your zNec, and buy them presents to keep them happy. Without them we will be nothing but a Necro carcass.

Town Is Lava!

Guide by Raxxanterax, updated by wudijo.