Ethereal Farming Guide

Content of this article:

  1. Introduction
  2. Strategies
  3. Video Guide
  4. Summary

Introduction

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. This article, however, isn't interested in any of that. We're following the famous Pokémon slogan Gotta Catch 'Em All because although Ethereal items disappear after Season 24, you can keep their transmogs forever if you find all 21 Ethereals (3 for all 7 classes including the Necromancer). Unless you are a die-hard Diablo 3 blaster, you probably won't have the time to endlessly hunt on all classes for this achievement. That's where we come in, let's dive into the strategies and builds you'll need to find them as fast as possible!

The Beautiful Windforce Transmog

Let's review how Ethereals drop:

  • They are account bound (cannot be traded), so you have to find them yourself.
  • They only drop from monsters, chests and destructibles.
  • They cannot be crafted at Kanai's Cube or gambled from Kadala.
  • They can drop at any level (the lowest we've seen is level 5), but at a reduced power level.
  • They follow normal Smart Loot rules, meaning you have a small chance to find Ethereals for other classes.
  • They are not an item rarity like Ancient and Primal Ancient; they are unique items in the loot table.
    This means you have a much higher chance to find one at low levels (~16% chance) than at 70 (~1% chance). Notice with this Loot Table Resource that there is a large spike in legendary drops at level 31, making it harder to find Ethereals beyond that point. We will explain how to take a ridiculous advantage of this down in the strategy section.
Level 12 DH has 13 possible Legendary drops, while a level 70 has 196

Strategies

There are two main methods to find Ethereals based on your objective for them. One method will find them in the blink of an eye for your transmog achievement, but the Ethereals themselves will be low level and underpowered. The other method will give you the ultimate weapons of destruction you'll want for your end-game pushes, but they'll be harder to find. Either way we have you covered!


The "Snapshot" Method
This is the fastest way to find Ethereals, but they will be low level and underpowered. You should only use this method if you're trying to complete the transmog achievement and have no desire to use these Ethereals at level 70. Remember how we can find more Ethereals if we can stay a low level and reduce the loot table? We can actually snapshot the game at whatever level we want (we'll choose level 12 because it worked the best for us on PTR), switch to another character, and farm them effortlessly.

The only downside is you'll need the assistance of another person to pull this off. Time to call up those friends and tell them to blast Season 24 with you! Or just ask someone kindly in chat as it only takes 1 minute of their time. Let's walk through how it works step-by-step:

  1. Player 1 makes a brand new level 1 character on Normal difficulty, and levels themselves to exactly 12 with a Gem of Ease. This should take no longer than 1 minute to do.
  2. Players 1, 2, 3, 4 make characters they'd like to farm Ethereals on and levels them to 16+. You must be at least 4 levels higher than the game level (12) so the snapshot stays in place. You don't have to go higher than 16 if you don't want to, it won't matter much. Make sure you all have a 70 weapon equipped with a Rank 25 Gem of Ease to smash the content.
  3. Player 1 makes a game on their level 12 character on Torment 6, and invites Players 2, 3, 4 to join on their 16+ Ethereal farming characters.
  4. Player 1 leaves the game on their level 12 character, and rejoins on a character they'd like to farm Ethereals.
  5. The game is now snapshotted at the level 12 loot table, giving you a FAR better chance of finding Ethereals!
  6. Once everyone has found their Ethereals in that game, repeat steps 2-4 until you have every Ethereal for all classes.
ClassLevel 12 Snapshot Ethereal ChanceLevel 70 Farming Ethereal Chance
Barbarian9.0%~1%
Crusader10.1%~1%
Demon Hunter15.9%~1%
Monk8.6%~1%
Necromancer11.5%~1%
Witch Doctor9.7%~1%
Wizard10.5%~1%
An Ethereal Farmer Example


Here is an example of a character you can make to farm Ethereals. The first step is to level a Gem of Ease to 25. At this point it can be inserted into any level 70 weapon to be used at lower levels. With a weapon this powerful in a level 12 game, you will one shot everything even on Torment 6 difficulty. Throw in 3 powers into your cube, like Messerschmidt's Reaver, Warzechian Armguards, and Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac. You shouldn't need any other items to farm all the Ethereals your heart desires. Don't forget to spend all of your Paragon points too!

One final warning: These Ethereals will be level 12, making them unusable for level 70 content. This method is simply a way to gather them all on every character so you can have the beautiful transmogs on your account forever.

Now simply blast Torment 6 Rifts, Cow Sticks, and even Ancient Puzzle Rings if you've been lucky enough to find them. Remember that if you make a new game that you have to re-snapshot the level to get the boosted Ethereal chance.


Level 70 Farming Method
If instead you're looking to find powerful Ethereals for end-game pushing, you'll need to farm them in a level 70 game. The goal here is to assemble the best speedfarming builds for both Torment 16 Nephalem Rifts and Greater Rifts to maximize your Legendaries/Ethereals per hour. Do the highest Greater Rifts you can clear reliably in under 2.5 minutes every time.

Note that Greater Rift 90 drops the maximum amount of items, so you should not turn the difficulty higher than that if it's costing you time. See the best builds for each class in the accordions below (and remember in each full written guide there is the lovely Assembling the Build section toward the top on how to put it together as fast as possible).

Barbarian

Concept
This is the standard T16 Nephalem Rift build from the Waste Whirlwind Rend Barbarian Guide. It has tremendous speed and power with one of the easiest playstyles ever - holding down right click.


Stat Priorities

  1. Cooldown Reduction
  2. Rend Damage
  3. Damaging Stats (CHC, CHD, Physical Dmg)


Gameplay

  1. Spam Ignore Pain and Wrath of the Berserker all the time.
  2. Cast Sprint once every 4 seconds.
  3. Hold down Whirlwind to kill everything. Never cast Rend as it's automatically applied from Ambo's Pride.
  4. Cast Furious Charge to cover more ground. This will also help generate Fury so you can keep Whirlwind up.
  5. If you're having problems keeping your Fury up, drop Sprint for Warcry Charge and spam it all the time.
T16 Nephalem Rift Setup
Speed Greater Rift Setup


Concept
This setup is similar to the one above, it just stacks additional power in place of movement speed for Speed Greater Rifts.


Stat Priorities

  1. Cooldown Reduction
  2. Rend Damage
  3. Damaging Stats (CHC, CHD, Physical Dmg)


Gameplay

  1. Spam Ignore Pain and Wrath of the Berserker all the time.
  2. Cast Sprint once every 4 seconds.
  3. Hold down Whirlwind to kill everything.
  4. Cast Furious Charge once every 8 seconds to proc your Band of Might and to cover more ground. This also helps generate Fury so you can keep Whirlwind up.
  5. If you're having problems keeping your Fury up, drop Sprint for Warcry Charge and spam it all the time.

Crusader


Concept

This is the standard T16 Nephalem Rift build from the AoV Fist of the Heavens Crusader Guide.


Stat Priorities

  1. Cooldown Reduction
  2. Fist of the Heavens Damage
  3. Damaging Stats (CHC, CHD, Holy Dmg)


Gameplay

  1. Spam Iron Skin, Akarat's Champion and Provoke all the time.
  2. Press Laws of Hope once every 5 seconds.
  3. Use Steed Charge to proc Norvald's Favor and to cover more ground.
  4. Kill enemies using Fist of the Heavens.
T16 Nephalem Rift Setup
Speed Greater Rift Setup


Concept
This setup is similar to the one above, it just stacks additional power in place of movement speed for Speed Greater Rifts.


Stat Priorities

  1. Cooldown Reduction
  2. Fist of the Heavens Damage
  3. Damaging Stats (CHC, CHD, Holy Dmg)


Gameplay

  1. Spam Iron Skin, Akarat's Champion and Laws of Valor all the time.
  2. Use Steed Charge to proc Norvald's Favor and to cover more ground.
  3. Cast Justice once every 5 seconds to proc Bastions of Will.
  4. Kill enemies using Fist of the Heavens.

Demon Hunter


Concept
This is the standard T16 Nephalem Rift build from the GoD Hungering Arrow Demon Hunter Guide.


Stat Priorities

  1. Cooldown Reduction
  2. Hungering Arrow Damage
  3. Damaging Stats (CHC, CHD, Cold Dmg)


Gameplay

  1. Spam Vengeance, Smoke Screen and Preparation at all times.
  2. Press Shadow Power once every 5 seconds.
  3. Hold down Strafe at all times when you want to attack, and press Hungering Arrow every 3 seconds. Don't drain yourself of Hatred when no enemies are around.
  4. Keep your Momentum stacks high by attacking with your Hungering Arrow at least 5 times at the start of a run, and then refresh it back to 20 (maximum) whenever you reach 17.*
T16 Nephalem Rift Setup
Speed Greater Rift Setup


Concept
This setup is similar to the one above, it just stacks additional power in place of movement speed for Speed Greater Rifts.


Stat Priorities

  1. Cooldown Reduction
  2. Hungering Arrow Damage
  3. Damaging Stats (CHC, CHD, Cold Dmg)


Gameplay

  1. Spam Smoke Screen, Preparation, Fan of Knives and Vengeance at all times.
  2. Hold down Strafe at all times when you want to attack, and press Hungering Arrow every 3 seconds. Don't drain yourself of Hatred when no enemies are around.
  3. Keep your Momentum stacks high by attacking with your Hungering Arrow at least 5 times at the start of a run, and then refresh it back to 20 (maximum) whenever you reach 17.*

*As of Patch 2.7.1, Momentum stacks are somewhat buggy and don't always give you the stacks even after you attacked. Keep an eye on your buff bar to see when that happens and shoot another Hungering Arrow.

Monk


Concept
This is the standard T16 Nephalem Rift build from the Inna Mystic Ally Monk Guide. If you don't have a Jade Talon or another Ethereal, use Echoing Fury.


Stat Priorities

  1. Cooldown Reduction
  2. Attack Speed
  3. Mystic Ally Damage
  4. Damaging Stats (CHC, CHD, Cold Dmg)


Gameplay

  1. Spam Epiphany and Mystic Ally.
  2. Use Dashing Strike to fly through the rift.
  3. Use Cyclone Strike to gather enemies and to teleport forward.
  4. Use Way of the Hundred Fists if you encounter Elite Primordial Scavengers (or just skip them).
T16 Nephalem Rift Setup
Speed Greater Rift Setup


Concept
This setup is similar to the one above, it just stacks additional power in place of movement speed for Speed Greater Rifts. If you don't have a Bartuc's Cut-Throat or another Ethereal, use Echoing Fury.


Stat Priorities

  1. Cooldown Reduction
  2. Mystic Ally Damage
  3. Damaging Stats (CHC, CHD, Cold Dmg)


Gameplay

  1. Spam Epiphany and Serenity.
  2. Cast Mystic Ally at the beginning of the rift, and only re-cast it when the waves transform into blue men.
  3. Cyclone Strike enemies to proc Bindings of the Lesser Gods.
  4. Use Way of the Hundred Fists every 5 seconds to proc Bastions of Will.
  5. Use Dashing Strike for mobility.

Necromancer


Concept
This is the standard T16 Nephalem Rift build from the Masquerade Bone Spear Necromancer Guide.


Stat Priorities

  1. Cooldown Reduction
  2. Attack Speed
  3. Bone Spear Damage
  4. Damaging Stats (CHC, CHD, Physical Dmg)


Gameplay

  1. Cast Simulacrum, which will last forever unless you die.
  2. Spam Devour.
  3. Activiate Bone Armor near enemies.
  4. Kill enemies using Bone Spear.
  5. Use Blood Rush for mobility.
  6. Use Grim Scythe if you run out of essence.

T16 Nephalem Rift Setup
Speed Greater Rift Setup


Concept
This setup is similar to the one above, it just stacks additional power in place of movement speed for Speed Greater Rifts.


Stat Priorities

  1. Bone Spear damage
  2. Damaging Stats (CHC, CHD, Physical Dmg)
  3. Area Damage
  4. Attack Speed


Gameplay

  1. Cast Simulacrum, which will last forever unless you die.
  2. Spam Devour.
  3. Activate Bone Armor near enemies.
  4. Use Decrepify to pixel monsters and proc Krysbin's Sentence.
  5. Kill enemies using Bone Spear.
  6. Use Blood Rush for mobility.

Witch Doctor


Concept
This is the standard T16 Nephalem Rift build from the Mundunugu Spirit Barrage Witch Doctor Guide.


Stat Priorities

  1. Cooldown Reduction
  2. Spirit Barrage Damage
  3. Damaging Stats (CHC, CHD, Cold Dmg)


Gameplay

  1. Cast Summon Zombie Dogs and Spirit Barrage, which will last forever unless you die.
  2. Spam Big Bad Voodoo, Horrify, and Soul Harvest.
  3. Use Spirit Walk for mobility.
T16 Nephalem Rift Setup

Speed Greater Rift Setup


Concept
This setup is similar to the one above, it just stacks additional power in place of movement speed for Speed Greater Rifts.


Stat Priorities

  1. Cooldown Reduction
  2. Attack Speed
  3. Spirit Barrage Damage
  4. Damaging Stats (CHC, CHD, Cold Dmg)


Gameplay

  1. Activate Soul Harvest near enemies to boost your damage and survivability.
  2. Attract monsters with Locust Swarm, then group them with Piranhado.
  3. Cast Spirit Barrage on top of the grouped monsters to kill them.
  4. Use Spirit Walk before the monsters die to reset its cooldown from Grave Injustice.
  5. Use Big Bad Voodoo on Elites.

Wizard


Concept
This is the standard T16 Nephalem Rift build from the Typhon Hydra Wizard Guide.


Stat Priorities

  1. Attack Speed
  2. Hydra Damage
  3. Damaging Stats (CHC, CHD, Cold Dmg)


Gameplay

  1. Cast Energy Armor, and Familiar at the start of your run.
  2. Use Black Hole to gather enemies.
  3. Use Hydra to kill enemies.
  4. Spam Teleport for mobility.
  5. Use Blizzard to proc Winter Flurry if you need extra damage.
T16 Nephalem Rift Setup
Speed Greater Rift Setup


Concept
This is the standard Speed Greater Rift Build from the Firebird Mirror Image Wizard Guide.


Stat Priorities

  1. Arcane Power on Crit (Off-Hand)
  2. Cooldown Reduction
  3. Damaging Stats (CHC, CHD, Fire Dmg)


Gameplay

  1. Cast Magic Weapon at the start of your run.
  2. Spam Explosive Blast near enemies to proc Orb of Infinite Depth.
  3. Channel Disintegrate the entire time to proc Deathwish. You will only pause to refresh Bastions of Will, cast Mirror Images or dodge a Hard Crowd Control like Frozen.
  4. Cast Flame Blades right before you launch your Mirror Images to proc Bastions of Will.
  5. Teleport to move to the next Elite quickly.


Video Guide

A Demonstration of the Snapshot Method

Summary

Blizzard is bringing one of the most exciting themes we've ever seen to Season 24. The combination of loot hunting, insanely powerful items, amazing transmogs, and preparing us for Diablo 2 Resurrected has fans of the franchise begging for the season to start. We hope this guide will carry you to victory as you show off all 21 of the glorious Ethereals you found. Stay tuned for our continued coverage of all things Diablo and remember the most important rule of all - Town is Lava!

Guide by Raxxanterax.