Defective build?


Diabloii.Net Member
Defective build?

20 Iron Maiden
20 Bone Armor
20 Bone Prison
20 Bone Wall

I think the idea is obvious... However when I tried this, it didn't work at all. Returning over 1k% damage with my IM, somehow translates to nothing at all.

Is this build screwed?

Eilo Rytyj

Diabloii.Net Member
Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Enemies in 1.10+ now have thousands of hit points in hell, but only average 100 or so damage, rarely doing over 150 damage. You may return 1000% damage, but if a monster has 5000 life and does 100 damage, and has 50% physical resist (as most monsters in hell have), that translates to around 500 damage returned. The monster will have to hit itself at least 10 times to kill itself. More than likely it's regen will restore it's life a few times over before it dies. Many monsters can't be killed this way due to massive life regen.

Also, each point in Bone Armor gives +10 absorb, but it's synergys (Wall, Prison) gives +15. Any more than 1 point in Bone Armor itself is horribly inefficient, and often considered a waste of skill points.


Diabloii.Net Member
I see. Well the only reason I was maxing bone armor was because prison and wall were already maxed in that setup. The idea was to reflect damage, not to actually be a bone caster. I guess it will not work.


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The same applies for Spirit of Barbs and the Thorns aura.

Don't go making a Barbs druid or a Thornadin.

Mad Mantis

D2/3 Necromancer & Witch Doctor Moderator
Stacking Thorns auras and using Amp can give some good damage return, but maxed IM won't.


Diabloii.Net Member
Moonflax said:
20 Iron Maiden
20 Bone Armor
20 Bone Prison
20 Bone Wall

I think the idea is obvious... However when I tried this, it didn't work at all. Returning over 1k% damage with my IM, somehow translates to nothing at all.

Is this build screwed?
I believe that the Bone Armour prevents the damage return from triggering. You haven't taken any damage so therefore there is nothing to return.

I respectfully disagree with every single other reply in this thread. They are either factually incorrect, or where they have the facts wrong, they draw the wrong conclusions.

For starters:
Damage return is better in 1.10+ than it was in 1.09. Removing the Global Physical Resistance in Hell more than makes up for the monsters increased hit points. Every skill that does physical damage is better in 1.10+ than it was in 1.09, even those without synergy bonuses.

@Mad Mantis: maxing IM can give over 1k damage return (more with more +skills), the Edge runeword + Amp gives 1.6k damage return.

If Edge + Amp is 'good', then Iron Maiden is better than 60% of 'good'

I note that my Amazon with Edge alone (no Amp) can kill with her Decoy, and that is only 0.8k damage return, equivalent to a level 25 Iron Maiden, or only 50% of 'good'.

With respect, although Amp + Edge is 'better' the numbers show to me anyway that Iron Maiden is 'good enough'.

@RealmOfTheWolf: monsters do have more life in this patch (double the previous patch), but they don't have the 50% global physical resistance, so that means that monsters with no base physical resistance are the same, and monsters which do have some base physical resistance are easier to kill.

@Frostburn: the reason not to make a Thornadin is not because Damage Return is 'weak', but because there are so many ranged attackers now with the guest monster thing. Also, if you want the Thorns aura there is a cheap (ladder only) runeword which gives it to you anyway.

@RealmOfTheWolf: and some builds which are thought to be defective which are not. Also there is some argument over terminology - eg is a Mojomancer only allowed to spend hard skill points on curses? Several proposed Mojomancer guides got shot down because they dared to put a point into Clay Golem.

@Moonflax: I think the problem is that Iron Maiden and Bone Armour don't work together, not that Iron Maiden doesn't work at all. There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to get the best possible Bone Armour, but it won't leave many points for other things, even maxing just Wall and Prison can be a big commitment (depending on your build).

@Eilo Rytyj: You raise a good point about the monster regen. Historically this was the main reason why people decided that Damage Return sucked. However I would say that ten hits for a monster in Hell to kill itself is pretty fast. Especially when you combine it with something like Attract, so that the monsters are all damaging themselves at the same time. If every monster on the screen takes ten swings and then they all drop dead at the same time, that is actually respectable killing speed. Also, most people's Skellies do way less than 500 damage, and people get excited about them. go start a thread suggesting that Skellies don't do enough damage to beat monster regen and you will be laughed at. Not to mention that monsters tend to have very high AR compared to their defence, so they will probably hit the Attracted monster far more often than a Skellie would...

@Moonflax: yes, your build is screwed :D You need to add Attract whenever you have Iron Maiden. :p Also consider a Golem. Someone else reported that they had a lot of killing power with a Blood Golem*. Which is an interesting idea, that you don't necessarily want to go with a Clay Golem (normally the default) for a Damage Return build, since the Clay Golem slows monsters down, and slowing the monsters down means less damage returned per second.

*Before anyone asks, no, the way way way old Iron Maiden + Blood Golem bug doesn't work. But he was saying that Hell Mephisto was killing itself with 4 swings against his Blood Golem!!!** Which was way more damage than the numbers suggested. The only reasonable explanation I've come up with is perhaps the damage to the Golem was multiplied by a large factor because of the bosses inherent bonus damage against mercs and minions, and that massive damage was multiplied and reflected right back at Meph...

**I think he may have been using stacked Edge + Bramble + Amp for about 3000% damage returned

I'm not sure about the Blood Golem, I quite like the Fire Golem.


Diabloii.Net Member
rickcarson's post is actually very persuasive. I for one completely forgot that the extra dmg that bosses inflict upon minions/hirelings would work with return dmg. I beleive that bosses have a 5x dmg bonus against minions (correct me if im wrong), and lets use uber mephisto as an example. He does around 500 dmg per hit. So 3000% dmg return with edge-bramble-amp would be around 15k dmg return. Now multiply this by 5 and you get 75k dmg per hit. This is where i draw the line...... with a good merc you could take down uber mephisto in around 8 to 9 of his own hits. If you switched out iron maiden for clay golem and bone wall or bone prison for maxed golem mastery, you would have a 40-50k hitpoint clay golem with +skills. Im not so sure even uber meph could take that down in a small amount of time. Just sit back and watch him kill him, recast golem if he gets in trouble. Im really going to try a dmg return necro now. With edge and bramble, you could get sick dmg return. For regular monsters though, 3000% return might not be enough. Lets use hell pitlords as an example. They have around 12k hp and do about 120 dmg per swing. 120 x 30 = 3600 dmg returned per blow. That means that a hell pitlord will go down in 4 swings. Thats pretty fast. With monster regeneration if might be more, but regardless, its still alot. Though......... why wouldnt you simply use revives rather than bone walls etc? Many people are remarking that the massive hps of monsters in starting in 1.10, so why not use it to our avantage? With maxed Skeleton Mastery and +skills, your revives should have 8x the normal hp of the monster. Lets see........ 12k hp x 8= 96k hp. THATS INSANE! As this shows, revives are strong tanks in 1.10 and 1.11, so dont use them as direct dmg dealers, but as tanks to return dmg. Possible build setup
1 Raise Skeleton
20 Skeleton Mastery
20 Clay Golem
20 Golem Mastery
2 to other golems
4 to curses (amp and right side)
1 Summon Resist
1 to Mage
1-10 Revive (major tanks, +skills should raise it to large lvl, 25-30 is easily attainable and all you should need)
1 Teeth
1 Bone Armor
1 Corspe Explosion (useful skill that goes with amp, can clear crowds once first few guys drop)
1 Bone Spear
1 Bone Spirit
20 Bone Wall (synergy for Bone Spirit which will be used to kill(slowly) most ranged attackers along with corspe explosion).
Total of 95 skill points, extras can go into Bone spirit or Bone Spear (to tired to do the math, not sure which will help you more).
The point of Spirit is that +skills will raise it to around 20, and around 25-30 synergy points will make it useful. A lvl 20 Spirit does roughly 400 dmg. 6% synergy per lvl with 30 points is 180% thats around 1120 dmg from the spirit. Not alot, but spammed it can take down attackers in due time.
Final Thoughts: This setup is potentially hell viable and DEFINATELY worth looking into, after i test this type of necro i might make a post on it.:jig:

Note: I was arguing with myself as i wrote this, therefore in many instances this post will be contradictory. :rolleyes: I did the research as i wrote and therefore did not know what my results would be in the beginning of the post.:shocked: