The content of the article
- Bat Runs Bone Spear and Rat Necromancer
- Rat Runs with LoD Necromancer
- Bird Runs: Flame Blades Mirror Image
- AoV Heaven's Fury Crusader Triple Support
- GoD Demon Hunter Speeds
- WW Rend Barbarian Speeds
We already have a guide on how experience works and how to farm it effectively here. In this article we will talk about the 4-Player most effective tactic available (META) for experience (exp) farming. There are different ways to farm experience efficiently in groups but they all have one thing in common: Playing Greater Rifts as high and as fast as you can! This method yields the most exp by far as you can see in our Greater Rift Scaling Guide. We farm in groups because we are much stronger with more players and get nice group experience bonus.
Group experience META's generally include synergies that exeed normal support buffs, like Movement Speed buffs with Standoff for Furious Charge META or Land of the Dead combined with Life from Death & Reaper's Wraps for Rat runs. Here is a list of experience META's we had in past patches:
|2.6.3||15 (Boon of the Horadrim)||RATS / LoN SB WD / Star Pact Wiz|
|2.6.4||16 (Season of Grandeur)||Charge Barb / RATS / Bazooka Wiz|
|2.6.5||17 (Season of Nightmares)||Vyr Wiz / RATS|
|2.6.6||18 (Season of Triune)||Vyr Wiz / RATS|
|2.6.7||19 (Season of Eternal Conflict)||WW Rend Barb / RATS / HF Sader|
|2.6.8||20 (Season of the Forbidden Archives)||RATS / Spirit Barrage WD|
|2.6.9||21 (Trials of the Tempests)||GoD DH / RATS / 150 LoD PSN Scythe|
|2.6.10||22 (Shadows of the Past + 4th Cube)||RATS / BATS|
|2.7.0||23 (The Disciples of Sanctuary)||RATS / BATS / BIRDS|
As you can see above there has been one constant META since the Rise of the Necromancer release: The Rat Runs! Patch 2.7.0 is now different so let us start with these. Let's look at how the new 2.7.0 patch is shaping up for exp farming.
1. Bat Runs with Bone Spear and LoD Necromancer
This setup combines the crazy single target power of the LoD Mage Necromancer with the tremendous Area of Effect power of the Masquerade of the Burning Carnival Bone Spear Necromancer. Since there is a Bone Spear and a Rat Necromancer these runs are known as "Bat runs" in the community. The Synergy between the zNec doing Pixel Pulls with Briggs' Wrath and the large explosion radius of Bone Spear Blighted Marrow allows even Elites to be one-shotted.. Even with the loss of the 4th Cube slot and items like Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang for the LoD Mage and Reilena's Shadowhook for the Bone Spear Necromancer this still remains the strongest experience farming META.
Overall very similar to normal Rat runs with better survivability on the Bone Spear Necro. They can even reset their Simulacrum cooldown on at least the Bone Spear on death thanks to the Masquerade of the Burning Carnival (2) Bonus.
The zNec leads the group cursing every monster with Briggs' Wrath and applies the Critical Hit Chance debuffs from Brittle Touch on the enemies. They also freeze everything with Land of the Dead Frozen Lands to proc Krysbin’s Sentence and protect the damage dealers. The zBarb adds buffs, scouts and picks up the Health and Progression Globes as soon as possible! The most important buff to keep up is the crowd control immunity from Ignore Pain Mob Rule. The Rat Necromancer stays close to slain enemies to get Essence back from Devouring Aura. They summon fully powered Skeletal Mage Singularity onto the Elites by hovering the cursor over them for focused damage. The Bone Spear Necromancer keeps its distance initially to fully benefit from Blighted Marrow, Zei's Stone of Vengeance and Serration, but then Blood Rushes to keep up Voracious and gain Essence back.
Feel free to play the Physical version with Bone Spear Shatter for improved Area of Effect damage. Remember to switch your Element % roll on Amulet and the Bracers! In the end it is hard to say which of the 2 element types is better in a long session. Just play with whatever feels more comfortable to you!
2. Rat Runs with LoD Necromancer
(5% less exp than Bat Runs)
This is the most figured out META with 2 LoD Mage Necromancers as Damage Dealers, a zNec and a zBarb. There have been a lot of variations in the past with Bones of Rathma (which gave the name to this META) Legacy of Nightmares, Legacy of Dreams (LoD) and many more. Rats have been the top tier experience farming META since its introduction in 2.6.0 with the Necromancer as a new class. This META is extremely fast and relatively easy to play once you reach around 3,000 Paragon levels!
The zNec leads the group cursing every monster with Briggs' Wrath and applies the Critical Hit Chance debuffs from Brittle Touch on the enemies. They also freeze everything with Land of the Dead Frozen Lands to proc Krysbin’s Sentence and protect the damage dealer. The zBarb adds buffs, scouts and picks up the Health and Progression Globes as soon as possible! The most important buff to keep up is the crowd control immunity from Ignore Pain Mob Rule. The damage Necromancers stay close to slain enemies to get Essence back from Devouring Aura. Finally they summon fully powered Skeletal Mage Singularity onto the Elites by hovering the cursor over them for focused damage.
3. Bird Runs: Flame Blades Mirror Image Speeds
(5% less exp than Bat Runs)
The setup revolves around two Mirror Images Wizards supported by a zBarb pulling Elites and grouping monsters together so you can hit many targets at once, with a zDH tremendously buffing your damage.
Rush to Elites and big pulls of monsters, kill them and move onto the next pull quickly. Luckily, you won't have to care about Crowd Control Effects since the zBarb is providing you with Ignore Pain Mob Rule.
As there are two Mirror Images Wizards in the party, the Wizard with the least damage should replace Elemental Exposure with Conflagration to provide everyone with a 6% Critical Hit Chance debuff.
Reverse Archon Mirror Image is a possible setup with 67.5% Cooldown Reduction to get a 39 seconds Archon Cooldown and Dominance to sustain shields for Squirt's Necklace but can be widly inconsistent due to Pet AI in comparaison to a Reverse Archon Flame Blades setup found here.
4. AoV Heaven's Fury Crusader Speeds / 150s Triple Support
(5% less exp than Bat Runs)
This setup is designed for 3-4 minute runs in mid-tier GRs (around 120-125). The Crusader is the only damage dealer here with 3 supports: a zDH, zBarb and zMonk. In these runs most of the targets will be dead long before the Crusader can hit them 10 times, so Shield of Fury is not optimal. Instead we use Echoing Fury to get a ton of Attack Speed which boosts our DPS. It also lets us cast Fist of the Heavens and Justice faster and makes runs smoother.
In this version we don't have permanent Akarat's Champion, so you need to pay more attention when it's down or you’ll lose your Squirt's Necklace buff.
The gameplay is pretty straightforward: Rush through the rift with Steed Charge looking for Elites and juicy packs of trash mobs. When you arrive cast Fist of the Heavens once and (if there's elites in the pack also Justice) and start blasting with Heaven's Fury.
Your supports need to pay attention to the hard crowd controls (CCs) they are using. Ideally only the zMonk uses it in the rift as they need to group up the mobs with Cyclone Strike once and use Blinding Flash when you are ready to attack. zBarb is never allowed to Furious Charge into mobs and zDH shouldn't have any hard CC equipped at all.
When all buffs are up you should kill most trash in 2-3 hits, while Elites will need 5-10. You need to stop to kill something often to keep Echoing Fury stacks. It's critical to keep moving and killing as it can all go downhill really fast. You start losing buffs, mobs become CC immune, your Attack Speed drops, and finally you lose Squirt's Necklace buff as well. What should've been a 3-4 second fight will instead take you 20.
While it's best to play in 4-player party, this build functions very well with just one support. It can be any support that does two things: group up mobs and blinds, immobilizes or stuns them. Any support can do it (Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash on zBarb, Cyclone Strike and Blinding Flash on zMonk, Bolas with Leonine Bow of Hashir and Caltrops Torturous Ground on zDH), although if you had to pick one, zMonk is probably the best. You will need to adjust the build a little bit depending on which supports you are missing and also run lower tiers:
When playing without zMonk you'll have to drop Squirt's Necklace for The Flavor of Time.
Without zBarb's War Cry and Ignore Pain you need more defense to keep Squirts Necklace, so you have to switch Bastions of Will to Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac plus Convention of Elements and Leoric's Crown to St. Archew's Gage.
zDH mostly provides damage buffs, so you just need to go 3-4 tiers lower if you're playing without one.
5. GoD Demon Hunter Speeds
(20% less exp than Bat Runs)
2.6.9 introduced the Gears of Dreadlands (GoD) set which can finish GRs below the 3 minute mark to farm experience using 2 GoD Demon Hunter as Damage Dealers together with a zBarb and a zDH. This combination works because the GoD DH deals massive damage while moving at the same time. Furthermore the single target damage is decent which makes a pure RGK unnecessary, just like in the Rat Runs! In Patch 2.7.0 this Speed META was buffed with the Gears of Dreadlands (6) Bonus now at a whopping 15,000% increased damage. The new Hungering Arrow cap of 4 on The Ninth Cirri Satchel doesn't matter much in these Speed runs as there isn’t enough density and the monsters die instantly.
The GoD Hungering Arrow Demon Hunter utilizes all the damage multipliers available and relies on toughness buffs from supports to survive. The build cannot aim its damage; Strafe is always firing at the closet enemy. For this reason you should focus on your positioning, which can be tougher than expected due to all the Movement Speed you have. You should (in order of importance):
- You’re next to enemies in a pull
- Stay out of dangerous ground effects
- Stay inside Oculus Ring zone
- Stay inside Bait The Trap AoE
- Stay 10yd away from all monsters for Steady Aim
Other than that you just need to keep up your Momentum stacks, spam Smoke Screen and cast Preparation and Vengeance when they come off cooldown.
Alternatively you can drop one of the GoD DH's to fit in a zMonk for more pulling, toughness and Shield buffs to further increase uptime on Squirt's Necklace.
6. WW Rend Barbarian Speeds
(30% less exp than Bat Runs)
Concept & Gameplay
Patch 2.6.7 brought us Ambo's Pride and the Lamentation buffs to make this fan favorite WW Barb META viable. This combination usually consists of a WW Rend Barb, an AoV Crusader, a zBarb and a zMonk and uses the same principle as many speeds META listed here. Move with Whirlwind while dealing damage with Rend in the process!
The WW Rend Barb as trash killer deals good Area of Effect Damage with Rend Bloodbath. This rune together with Lamentation allows the Barb to stack up to 4 Rends on the target (2 normal ones and 2 Bloodbath procs). We usually add an Impale Demon Hunter or a Heaven's Fury Crusader for their single target damage to kill Elites and the Rift Guardian while providing awesome buffs to the group like Companion and Marked for Death. The zMonk maintains our Squirt's Necklace with their shielding. The Monk is basically like a 2nd Rend Barb as you gain double damage from Squirt's Necklace alone, while also providing providing massive toughness and damage buffs. The zBarb is the other standard support that provides the full package of toughness, damage buffs and pulling abilities. A zNec is not very useful because Rend, as all other damage over time skills, does not work with any Critical Hit Chance debuffs on enemies. That means Iceblink does not work with DoT skills either, it is just used to buff the Demon Hunter or Crusader Rift Guardian Killer.
Overall there are plenty of options to farm experience in an efficient way in groups. Always communicate with your teammates to optimize Greater Rift times, Pool of Reflection uptime and town rotations. Rat & Bat Runs have been a consistent part of the exp META for many years and will dominate in patch 2.7.0 yet again!
Let us hope we get more builds and classes up to speed in the future - Happy farming!
META report by Rob