The arrival of the Necromancer in Diablo 3 has rekindled interest in Blizzard’s top-down jaunt through hell. Newer players have been looking for the fastest way to level a Necromancer, while veterans have been relentless poring over the class’s many activated and passive skills in order to discover the optimal build for end-game T13 play.
Of the Legendary sets available to the Necromancer in Diablo 3, however, one has been lagging behind quite badly. Many gamers have dismissed the Necromancer’s Pestilence set as being largely unplayable, at least on a T13 level, and as a result the set has become something of a laughing stock in the competitive Diablo 3 community.
Luckily, however, the Necromancer’s Pestilence set may yet be liberated from obscurity thanks to renowned Diablo 3 YouTuber Lord Fluffy. The visually appealing set has drawn some of Diablo 3‘s more creative minds to it in an attempt to make it viable during high-end Torment runs, and it appears that Fluffy has finally had a breakthrough. Here, we’ll breakdown exactly how and why this Pestilence set build stands out among all the others. Keep in mind that this build is meant for completing Torment runs as fast as possible – those looking to powerlevel through Diablo 3‘s earlier content can check out our separate guide for help there.
Pestilence Set Skill Layout
The most important skill for the Pestilence set is, without a doubt, Bone Spear, which will be the primary source of damage for players looking to make the gear work. Bone Spear should also be paired with the Shatter rune for maximum effect, and the central part of this configuration is the way the gear interacts with Bone Spear as a primary damage-dealing mechanic. Because Bone Spear doesn’t naturally deal with a wide range of enemies all at once, the Pestilence set has been dismissed as too slow for T13 runs – until now.
Players will also want to make sure that Bone Armor is constantly online while using this build. It is a necessity in maintaining optimal DPS, and will have its duration cut by 4 seconds thanks to the logistics of the most optimal Pestilence gear. This will be the biggest stumbling block for players new to Necromancer play early, but is relatively easy to maintain once players get a feel for the skill.
To round the most important things out, players will want to use Frailty and assign the Volatile Death rune to it, which causes cursed enemies to explode for 100% weapon damage on death.
The Gear Makes the Necromancer
The first part of the build requires players to have Maltorius’ Petrified Spike as their weapon. The Scythe increases Bone Spear’s damage by 449%, and because this build revolves almost entirely around that skill, the damage increase is a necessity. Next, Necromancers will want to equip the Scythe of the Cycle, which increases secondary skill damage by 300% while Bone Armor is active. Of course, this build also includes Krysbin’s Sentence, which has become a staple for all Necromancers at this point and states that players deal 100% bonus damage to slowed enemies or triple the bonus against enemies with any other control-impairing effect.
This build also uses the Endless Walk set, which is comprised of the Compass Rose and Traveler’s Pledge accessories. This set gives a 50% damage reduction bonus while moving and a 100% damage increase while standing still, giving the Pestilence set a bit more flexibility than it might otherwise have.
The obscure piece of gear that ties the entire Pestilence set and build together, however, is the Briggs’ Wrath legendary ring. Essentially, players will use the ring’s passive “gimmick” ability, which states that uncursed enemies will be pulled to the target location when a curse is applied to them.
Players familiar with the gear and skills described above likely know where this is going – the Pestilence Necromancer needs to just apply a curse to an enemy and watch as all of the enemies within a certain radius of that one all get sucked into the same spot. Then, Bone Spear hits the cursed enemy for an incredible amount – and because it has the Shatter rune applied to it, it also deals 500% weapon damage to all enemies within a 15 yard radius.
That isn’t all, though. Thanks to Frailty and the Volatile Death rune, enemies will also explode for an additional 100% weapon damage upon death – and because they were all sucked into the curse to start the encounter, it will set off a series of chain reactions where any surviving enemies take extra damage from each dying one, which is usually enough to completely wipe any group of enemies in a single Bone Spear.
For more difficult fights – including the Juggernaut, which is immune to stun and thus highly limits the amount of damage a Necromancer can deal it – this build also employs Simulacrum with the Blood and Bone rune. This allows the Necromancer to create two copies of themselves which both use Bone Spear as well. That’s usually enough single target damage to make Juggernaut fights more manageable.
Finally, this build should also use Dark Reaping passive skill. This gives players a 2% Essence and Life gain after killing an enemy while wielding a scythe, and given the intense amount of Essence that Blood Spear requires with Maltorius’ Petrified Spike, it’s an essential passive to have.
That’s our introductory guide to playing an actually fun and competitive Pestilence set Necromancer in Diablo 3. The build could likely be refined even further by those dedicated to making Pestilence work at the highest difficulties the game has to offer, but this is an excellent starting point that should help establish the Necromancer as a varied and fun class to play, even in late-game Torment levels. That being said, this build still isn’t likely to be a Necromancer’s best choice for Greater Rifts, so keep that in mind depending on the playstyle you are most interested in.
Pestilence Set – Final Build
- Frailty – Volatile Death
- Bone Spear – Shatter
- Blood Rush – Molting
- Simulacrum – Blood and Bone
- Devour – Cannibalize
- Bone Armor – Dislocation
- Dark Reaping
- Final Service
- Spreading Malediction
- Stand Alone
- Pestilence Mask
- Pestilence Defense
- Pestilence Robe
- Pestilence Gloves
- Pestilence Incantations
- Pestilence Battle Boots
- The Traveler’s Pledge
- Nemesis Bracers
- The Witching Hour
- The Compass Rose
- Briggs’ Wrath
- Krysbin’s Sentence
- Maltorius’ Petrified Spike
- Scythe of the Cycle
- Requiem Cereplate
- Krysbin’s Sentence
Diablo 3: Rise of the Necromancer is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.