Daggermancer

DwayneGAnd

Diabloii.Net Member
This is a variant of my favorite Necromancer build, the Poisonmancer. Since this build has more emphasis on melee than any other Necromancer, it needs to be geared as such. Poison Dagger unlike many melee skills does not increase attack damage, but rather, poison damage, thus we'll only be able to increase the physical damage we deal through our gear and hireling, but poison damage remains more important. Poison Nova is the main attack, with Poison Dagger as the secondary attack for when you need a secondary damage type.

First I pumped Poison Dagger, getting all the important skills I need for this build, including the prerequisites for Lower Resist and a Golem. Once Poison Nova became available, I pumped that. Once done, Poison Dagger will be finished maxing, and then Poison Explosion.

Here is the endgame hireling and equipment setup:

Act 2 Nightmare Offensive
Andariel's Visage (increased skills, life leech, attack speed)
Treachery (chance to cast fade, increased attack speed)
Insight Cryptic Axe (meditation aura which we'll need for fast mana recovery since we'll be using Poison Nova more often)

Helmet: Guillaume's Face (crushing blow and deadly strike)
Amulet: Highlord's Wrath (increased skills, deadly strike, and attack speed)
Armor: Bramble Archon Plate (Poison damage, thorns aura)
Weapon: Fleshripper (crushing blow, reduced enemy defense, slow enemy, prevent monster heal)
Shield: Stormshield (increased physical resistance)
Swap Weapon: Call to Arms Flail (prebuff purposes)
Swap Shield: Spirit Monarch (increased levels of prebuffs)
Ring 1: Raven Frost (cannot be frozen, dexterity bonus)
Ring 2: Bul-Katho's Wedding Band (increased skill levels and life leech)
Belt: Verdungo's Hearty Coil (increased vitality and physical damage resistance)
Boots: Gore Rider (crushing blow and deadly strike)
Gloves: Trang-Oul's Claws (increased curse levels and poison skill damage)

There is a variant I have for this build using the Trang-Oul's Avatar set.

Helmet: Trang-Oul's Guise
Amulet: Highlord's Wrath (increased skills, deadly strike, and attack speed)
Armor: Trang-Oul's Scales
Weapon: Fleshripper (crushing blow, reduced enemy defense, slow enemy, prevent monster heal)
Shield: Trang-Oul's Wing
Swap Weapon: Call to Arms Flail (prebuff purposes)
Swap Shield: Spirit Monarch (increased levels of prebuffs)
Ring 1: Raven Frost (cannot be frozen, dexterity bonus)
Ring 2: Bul-Katho's Wedding Band (increased skill levels and life leech)
Belt: Trang-Oul's Girth
Boots: Gore Rider (crushing blow and deadly strike)
Gloves: Trang-Oul's Claws (increased curse levels and poison skill damage)

Wearing three items of this set decreases the poison resistance of enemys by 25% according to Trang-Oul's wing.

According to my notes, for both builds, I'll have 38 skill points left. However, I've already spent three of those points to get Fire Golem. Should I respect to get rid of it? I've also been thinking of getting Bone Armor and maxing Bone Wall to increase the damage absorbed, and putting the rest into Clay Golem. What do you think? And how does my endgame equipment setup look?
 

Namtar

Diabloii.Net Member
This is a variant of my favorite Necromancer build, the Poisonmancer. Since this build has more emphasis on melee than any other Necromancer, it needs to be geared as such. Poison Dagger unlike many melee skills does not increase attack damage, but rather, poison damage, thus we'll only be able to increase the physical damage we deal through our gear and hireling, but poison damage remains more important. Poison Nova is the main attack, with Poison Dagger as the secondary attack for when you need a secondary damage type.
This strikes me as a bad idea, while also seeming pretty similar to my own idea for a Fleshripper-based necromancer. See this thread: https://www.diabloii.net/forums/threads/poison-dagger-against-unbreakable-poison-immune-monsters.848616/

I'm struggling to express properly what I find wrong with your version despite thinking that my own concept is a sound one. Maybe it's pretty much the same thing and I'm just being silly.

Notably, you've stated that Poison Nova is the primary skill you're using here. And then you expect to fall back on Poison Dagger for dealing with poison immunities. Of course, immune monsters are the ones Poison Dagger is definitely worst against. So even though we're both using Fleshripper, the distinction is that I'm falling back on the physical damage from Fleshripper to complement damage from Corpse Explosion and my mercenary, as well as to speed up killing bosses and such. All that while my Fleshripper physical damage is better than what you're presenting here (physical damage per-hit should be comparable, but I've got a 10-frame attack and you've got a 13-frame attack). You're falling back on physical damage from Fleshripper whenever Poison Nova won't work?

Also, the poison component of my PD attack would easily be stronger than what you're presenting, since I'm using a source of Venom. However, if I'm eyeballing this correctly, your Poison Nova should be stronger than mine, for what that's worth.

Act 2 Nightmare Offensive
Andariel's Visage (increased skills, life leech, attack speed)
Treachery (chance to cast fade, increased attack speed)
Insight Cryptic Axe (meditation aura which we'll need for fast mana recovery since we'll be using Poison Nova more often)
Hey, your merc is wearing my necromancer's armor! :p

Using an Obedience weapon lets a merc kill most monsters much faster than Poison Dagger can, which helps generate corpses for CE chains or for summoning Revives. I found that hitting monsters with Lower Resist and Poison Nova to soften them up first before switching to Amplify Damage and Corpse Explosion often meant that I only needed to stab stragglers and particularly beefy monsters when clearing areas. Insight is more convenient for spamming CE and for keeping up constant Poison Nova applications, but I just didn't think that it was worth the tradeoff.

Helmet: Guillaume's Face (crushing blow and deadly strike)
Amulet: Highlord's Wrath (increased skills, deadly strike, and attack speed)
Armor: Bramble Archon Plate (Poison damage, thorns aura)
Weapon: Fleshripper (crushing blow, reduced enemy defense, slow enemy, prevent monster heal)
Shield: Stormshield (increased physical resistance)
Swap Weapon: Call to Arms Flail (prebuff purposes)
Swap Shield: Spirit Monarch (increased levels of prebuffs)
Ring 1: Raven Frost (cannot be frozen, dexterity bonus)
Ring 2: Bul-Katho's Wedding Band (increased skill levels and life leech)
Belt: Verdungo's Hearty Coil (increased vitality and physical damage resistance)
Boots: Gore Rider (crushing blow and deadly strike)
Gloves: Trang-Oul's Claws (increased curse levels and poison skill damage)
This gear seems like it should offer solid defenses, but your Poison Dagger is going to be weak and you don't really augment your Poison Nova very much to make up for it. Most PN builds I've seen just use mobility and crowd control to keep safe, rather than building tanky, since you don't need to be in melee to use PN anyway, and you can devote gear slots to improving Poison Nova. Other than your gloves and body armor, you're not really doing that.

Meanwhile, other than having a very strong base dagger, the right gloves, and some good body armor, you're not doing much for your Poison Dagger either. No Venom. No Trang-Oul's Wing. Your melee attack would be much better off with some other weapon. And perhaps someone would say the same of my build as well, but I contend that there's some nuance there. The Fleshripper PD I used packed enough poison to play a second-rate version of Onderduiker's "Scorpion" concept (running around poisoning each monster once or twice so that they'd die from huge damage over time), while also being able to strike quickly with Fleshripper for stabbing poison-immune monsters to death without needing to switch weapons. As I reported on finishing Hell with the build, there was a kind of flow I found where I learned "when to run around and poison monsters, when to throw a Poison Nova at them and let them converge on my merc, when to start a CE chain, when to go stab-happy, when to reapply poison on tough monsters."

I could be wrong, but I don't think your build strikes that kind of balance.

There is a variant I have for this build using the Trang-Oul's Avatar set.

Helmet: Trang-Oul's Guise
Amulet: Highlord's Wrath (increased skills, deadly strike, and attack speed)
Armor: Trang-Oul's Scales
Weapon: Fleshripper (crushing blow, reduced enemy defense, slow enemy, prevent monster heal)
Shield: Trang-Oul's Wing
Swap Weapon: Call to Arms Flail (prebuff purposes)
Swap Shield: Spirit Monarch (increased levels of prebuffs)
Ring 1: Raven Frost (cannot be frozen, dexterity bonus)
Ring 2: Bul-Katho's Wedding Band (increased skill levels and life leech)
Belt: Trang-Oul's Girth
Boots: Gore Rider (crushing blow and deadly strike)
Gloves: Trang-Oul's Claws (increased curse levels and poison skill damage)

Wearing three items of this set decreases the poison resistance of enemys by 25% according to Trang-Oul's wing.
Perhaps I'm too biased by my own testing, but my conclusion with full Trang-Oul's was that Blackbog's Sharp was fine for Poison Dagger (you'd still need a source of Venom, though). But the set doesn't offer much support for Fleshripper.

According to my notes, for both builds, I'll have 38 skill points left. However, I've already spent three of those points to get Fire Golem. Should I respect to get rid of it? I've also been thinking of getting Bone Armor and maxing Bone Wall to increase the damage absorbed, and putting the rest into Clay Golem. What do you think? And how does my endgame equipment setup look?
If you're not going to max Corpse Explosion, I'm not sure why you'd want Insight on your merc. Clay Golem makes the slow from Fleshripper redundant, which in turn makes the non-Venom PD usage of Fleshripper look inadequate compared to so many other weapon options you could be using.
 

Namtar

Diabloii.Net Member
Oops, double post there. Thought for sure we had a "delete" option on this software, but I can't see it... :(
 

DwayneGAnd

Diabloii.Net Member
Well, it says on this page why Poison Dagger should not be used as a left-click attack and is more useful as a secondary attack:

 

Namtar

Diabloii.Net Member
Well, that's a load of crap, though. You can't bind Poison Nova to the LMB ordinarily and even if you did set it up to do that, it's only cast every couple of seconds, not rapid-fire. Poison Dagger is the only skill such a necromancer would actually want to use that binds to the LMB. Unless you're a bone hybrid caster or really want to use those Trang-Oul's fireballs...

Yeah, no. That's garbage.
 

Namtar

Diabloii.Net Member
still, Poison Nova deals its damage much faster than Poison Dagger.
Yes, exactly! And with that in mind, what good is Poison Dagger? I think the best answer is to direct you to this post: https://www.diabloii.net/forums/threads/poison-skills-information.712653/#post-7079838

It's not too long and I'd contend that it's the definitive guide to the use of Poison Dagger as a primary endgame skill in D2. Onderduiker explains how it isn't too hard to get a setup that, apart from poison immunities and curse immunities, kills every monster in the game with a single application of Poison Dagger. Stab once, move on to the next monster, stab, move, stab move, and so forth. In fact, such a setup is easy enough to pull off that it could be further augmented or adjusted for other purposes, such as still being able to kill most monsters in one stab at higher player counts, being able to one-shot most broken poison immunities, or being able to kill almost all monsters in two stabs each on /players8.

A dagger-focused necro along those lines offers a unique kind of melee playstyle, definitely very different from a traditional Poison Nova necromancer. So it is, depending on taste, something worthwhile. I've tried it and personally, I think it's great fun. My one qualm with Onderduiker's "Scorpion" concept was that it falls rather flat against unbreakable poison immunity.

So there I was, in Act V Hell on /players8, and I got separated from my merc. You know those doors and towers in the fortifications on Mount Harrogath? The ones that are immune to poison and fire. Do you have any idea how long it takes to stab your way through those doors with a dagger when your necromancer is geared almost all-in on poison damage? I did. I timed it. Multiple times. I've since forgotten the answer, but I can assure that the task is tedious. Some reasonable individual would probably point out that I should just portal to get back together with my merc and let him break down those stupid doors, but I'm not a reasonable man. And this inspired the question: "Can I build a melee necromancer capable of using Poison Dagger to easily bring down most monsters like the Scorpion, but with enough physical damage capability to use the dagger as a weapon even against unbreakable poison immunities?" The answer was yes, but it only worked because Fleshripper is so bonkers and because such a huge portion of the killing power of Poison Dagger comes from Venom that I was able to focus most of my gear on fast-attacking melee combat, sacrificing only a few melee optimizations for poison. I mean, mostly it's just the shield. The gloves and belt from the Trang-Oul's set are already pretty good for a melee necromancer anyway (Verdungo's would be better for pure melee fighting purposes, but Trang-Oul's Girth is still pretty decent).

I think that in both of those two contexts, Poison Dagger makes sense and does something interesting for gameplay. In the one approach, you get to run around assassinating monsters with one stab. Poison them and move on: they're already dead and just don't know it yet. In the other approach, you have to stab some monsters multiple times, but throwing in Corpse Explosion and Poison Nova to hit most of them from a distance drastically shrinks that number, and you get to stab the really tough and/or immune monsters to death with Fleshripper.

In contrast to those two methods, using Poison Dagger as a mere backup skill to Poison Nova doesn't really make sense. If the monsters aren't dying to Poison Nova, it's probably because they're immune to it, in which case the poison contribution from Poison Dagger isn't doing anything. So you're just using Fleshripper and I guess you have Poison Dagger for the AR boost. The AR boost is only helpful if you're already geared for a decent base AR. And at that point, you'd be better off with whatever the best melee weapon in your collection happens to be. Why bother with a dagger?

It looks like with your setup, you'd be happier just rolling with your best melee weapon and using that weapon as a backup to your Poison Nova. You'd be killing with Poison Nova at the same rate, but your results when switching to melee combat would be much better than they would with Fleshripper. Don't get me wrong: I love Fleshripper. But you didn't really build around it with this setup. 10 FPA is fine for the way my setup used Fleshripper. 13 FPA when it's just a backup to Poison Nova? Seems like you'd prefer a Grief phaseblade or something.
 
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