Fishymancer - Version 2.1 Well, I was bored for 2 hours and had nothing better to do than update an old guide so here we go. Changes are not as major as they were the last time but I still feel they're a good improvement. Generally the guide is a bit more streamlined, a few things were clarified and a couple things were added that I previously overlooked. Also I did a better job of explaining your options after the core build is finished. That alone would probably warrant a repost, I guess. Skill progression is more streamlined, too. Gear choices got a small workover, too. Merc section received some attention. Basically I went through the whole thing and did a little bit everywhere. Fishymancer 2.1 0. Introduction 1. The Build 2.a) Stat Points - Target Values 2.b) Stat Points - Progression 3.a) Skill Points - Target Values 3.b) Skill Points - Progression 3.c) Skill Points - Analysis 3.d) Skill Points - Comparison of Curses 4.a) Gear - Untwinked 4.b) Gear - Twinked 5.a) Hireling - Choice & Gear 5.b) Hireling - Comparison of available Mercs 6. Hardcore 7. Tactics for specific Monsters and Areas & frequent problems 8. Revives 9. Hotkeys Appendices: A. Magic Finding and Boss Running B. MF Gear C. NF's Crushing Blow Setup (tm) D. Multi Player Games E. Where to post your questions / comments F. Credits 0. Introduction: Well, I'm not sure this was actually necessary but I went and updated this guide once more. The changes are not as major as they were the last time but it still needed doing since there were still a few cranks to iron out. So, in case you haven't read this previously, what is a Fishymancer? Basically this necro relies on plain skeletons and corpse explosion to kill things. This is probably the safest and least item dependant build in the current patch and it is probably capable of beating hardcore without using any items at all. (feel free to use items, though. Most people do) Aside from being easily capable of beating the game with no specific gear this guy also makes an excellent MF character. Not so much for mephisto where sorcs still reign supreme (not to say he can't kill meph, sorcs are just a bit faster), his domain are the alvl 85 areas like the WS K and the Pit. He has no problems running Hell WS K and Baal with >700% MF on him while maintaining his original killing speed. If you are looking for something in particular, I'd suggest using crtl+f to bring up the search function and enter what you are looking for there. (for example if you are having trouble with duriel, enter "duriel" and run the search) Disclaimer: When I say "put no points in skill X" or if I don't mention skill Y, then that's because they are not needed for this particular build, not because those skills "suck" for every Necromancer build. 1. The Build: I'll try to sum up in a few words what you can expect from your Fishymancer. He is very well up to beating Hardcore untwinked (the definition of untwinked varies from player to player, I take it to mean, "Using only items he finds himself.â€ (Some people call this "pure".). Apart from that, he is also very handy as an MF char, but more on that later. This build is probably the safest character you can play in 1.10, especially if you don't have any gear at all. He is very strong in the field of crowd control. Between his AI curses and the army of undead he is rarely in any real danger. Since I've seen a couple people say stuff like "I'd like to play a skelliemancer but I have no beast runeword", let me say it once again: You need no items. Period. No items. If you're into stuff like that you can beat the game naked. 2.a) Stat Points - Target Values: Here, I'll only provide a rough guideline, as you may need more or less points in certain stats depending on your gear. You will also notice that you don't really need stat points with this build, so it's not really a big deal if you waste a few. Strength (Str) : Strength lets you wear equipment. How much you need depends strongly on available gear. I'd shoot for 115 after items if you want to wear Guillaume's Face (check out the section about Baal running to see why you will want to wear this helmet), or 156 if you want to use Stormshield. Dexterity (Dex) : Here you will want enough for blocking (with a good shield, of course, don't aim for 75% chance to block with a shield that has 30% base chance to block...). Why? Simple: More points in Dex mean less in Vit, and thus, less life. Now, why is it a good idea for a Necro to sacrifice Vit for dex? The Necro receives only 2 Hit points (HP) per point in Vit. This is the low end of what chars get, meaning that he loses less life than other classes that get 3 or 4 points life per point in Vit. Good shields for this build are the Homunculus (72% chance to block), a rhyme (runeword) Tower Shield or Sigon's Guard (64%). Don't try to reach max blocking with a shield that has a lower base chance to block than Sigon's, and even in the case of Sigon's I'd craft an ammy to help with blocking. (More on that later). Bottom line is that you will need around 200 Points of Dex at level 92 (trust me, in 1.10 you won't get a lot higher than that anytime soon.). There is a formula to calculate the needed dex at a certain level but I think it's easier to just hover your mouse button over your defence value (this shows you your chance to block) and see if you reached 75% blocking yet. Vitality (Vit) : All the rest. Not much more to say here. Everything you don't need otherwise goes here. Energy (En) : Don't get Energy higher than 70. I think you could even get away with no points spent here, but normal difficulty will be pretty tedious because you'll need to quaff a lot of potions. 2.b) Stat Points - Progression: There's not much to say here. At low levels I'd work on energy and strength, then on vitality. Most likely you won't need blocking in normal at all, so I'd not worry about dex until later. Blocking gets important in Hell, so be sure you've got enough points saved to add them as needed. Don't be afraid to keep stat points saved if you don't want to spend them, there's nothing wrong with that. I've seen a lot of people beat the game with a few hundred points to spare. (I did that, too) 3.a) Skills - Target Values: Updated this section with a "core build" and several possiblities what to do with points gained beyong that. Core Build: Summoning: 20 Raise Skeleton (RS) 20 Skeleton Mastery (SM) 1 Raise Mage 1 Clay Golem 1 Blood Golem 1 Iron Golem 1 Fire Golem 1+ Revive 1+ Golem Mastery 1+ Summon Resist (SR) Poison & Bone: 1 Teeth 20 Corpse Explosion (CE) Curses: 1+ Amplify Damage (Amp) 1 Dim Vison (DV) 1 Attract 1 Decrepify (Decrep) The core build can be completed with only 76 Skill points. Skills that are marked with a "+" are likely candidates for further skill points. I suggest reading what I have to say in the skill analysis before adding a lot of points to any of those, though. Note: If you have spare skill points, the damage your skellies deal is displayed as lower than it should be. I do no know if the bug is in the display only and your minions to the right damage in game or if they actually deal less damage. At any rate, the difference is not large but it deserves mentioning. Remaining Skill Points: If you plan on doing a lot of runs with your necro you can probably get him into his mid ninties sooner or later. So, if you go with just the minimum values on your core build you can save up enough skill points to max another skill. This will usually mean that you need a decent amount of +skills or you will find your curses' radius (amp damage, mainly) so small that your overall efficiency will suffer. You don't really need anything specific, whatever you decide to do with your points will most likely just have a very minor impact. Let's consider our options anyway: Bone Armour: In the current patch each point in bone armour absorbs 10 damage while points in the synergies absorb 15 points. So, you could get 1 point in BA and dump the rest into a synergy. (or you can use the marrowwalk bug to beef BA up even more) Either way, this can help you survive, not bad in HC. I usually don't have survival problems so this is not really my first pick. If you chose this and add points to a synergy this will give you access to bone wall or bone prison, both extremely useless to you, detrimental even. Blocking your army's path isn't in your best interest so you might want to not use those skills. Raise Mage: Well, I've pretty much said it all before. Personally I have no use for mages. They don't really synergise well with your curse, your merc or the rest of your army. If you can get a point in LR and max mages they might be somewhat helpful but it's nothing to write home about. If you cast LR you can't have amp active which means you lose more damage than you gain. I can see this being mildy useful against PI enemies that cannot be broken with amp. Bone Spells You can probably max one of these spells like Bone Spear or Bone Spirit. That in itself is pretty much useless but if you have marrowwalk boots on you can get somewhat decent damage. Then again, exploiting a bug like that may be too cheesy for you, I know I don't really want to use stuff like that. At any rate, I think that a bonespell wouldn't add too much anyway. You'll be spending a lot of mana that would be better spent on CE. If you don't mind quaffing a lot of blue pots you might be able to help getting the first corpses with bone spear. Poison Dagger Again, something for the rich and famous (and the cheesy): If you have a Venom Runeword (TalDolMal) you can make use of the charges to synergise poison dagger. Again you might want a point in lower resist to help out and again the damage won't be anything to write home about. But this might be helpful in killing the unbreakable PIs that I keep mentioning. Golems If you max golem mastery you end up with extremely durable golems... that don't really kill anything. If you're just using clay and fire this is really a waste of points. But if you chose to make an iron golem out of something moderately useful yet common this might be nice. Once you start MFing a lot you will find more IK Mauls, Windhammers, etc than you could ever want so you can afford to make a good iron golem every now and then which can be pretty helpful. Only recommended if you expect to get rich and have an item surplus, though. Iron Maiden You can also max iron maiden which might be useful against hard hitting melee monsters. The reason why this isn't a primary skill for a skelliemancer is because it isn't nearly as universal as amp damage. Dealing damage works against everything, which is why the combination of might and amp damage is so useful. But if you have the points to spare and want to try something else... Go for it. Don't worry about not having thorns, thorns doesn't make iron maiden any stronger. (unlike might & amp damage which boost each other) Allround Approach This is what I've favored on my past necromancers. I put more points in my favorite curses and revives. Getting more than 10 revives is pretty much only useful when you can get ranged ones and can teleport them around a little (Naj's Puzzler). More in amp damage means you need to curse less often which means you can start using CE sooner which means you save time. I also put a few more in golem mastery and summon resist. A few points in LR can also help revives with elemental attacks. 3.b) Skills - Progression: Basically this is very simple, you will want to max your three main skills in this order: - Raise Skeleton - Skeleton Mastery - Corpse Explosion Put the very first skill point you get in amplify damage and make sure you get 1 in Skeleton Mastery pretty early, too. One point early on in corpse explosion might be useful for clearing the maggot lair and the arcane sanctum. Make sure you get decrepifiy before fighting Duriel and get summon resist (and as a consequence clay golem and the mastery) before fighting diablo. You don't really need the other golems, curses or revives before you enter hell. And that's basically it. Simple as that. Deviate from the suggested skill progression at your own risk. I wish I had a nickel for every person that complained about getting his ass kicked by diablo after spending skill points randomly. Yes, the final result is the same but your journey until level 70 might look differently. 3.c) Skills - Analysis: The whole purpose of this section is to explain why I used the skills I used and why I spent as many points on them as I did. There are also a few hints on how to use the skills here. Seasoned players may want to skip this. 1) RS and Mastery: Not much to say here. More points mean more skellies and more damage for the skellies and your revives. Skellies will start having trouble with hard enemies in Act 4 Hell and beyond. If you have enough + skills items you will most likely be able to beat the game using only skellies and your merc. Points added to RS increase damage a lot more than points added to mastery. Note about summoned creatures: If your skill level changes, your skellies retain the level they were summoned at. So, if you have 20 RS and are under the effect of a shrine (+2 to all skills) you will summon at skill level (slvl) 22 and those skellies will remain at slvl 22 even after the effect of the shrine wears off. You can use this to your advantage by having a lot of + skills gear on switch. Note that this works the other way around, too: If you put more points into RS you will need to resummon your skellies for them to be at your new slvl. 2) Raise Mage: Mages are not useful for this build as it is geared towards physical damage. The merc and main curse (amp damage) don't aid the mages at all. For this skelliemancer, mages do more harm than good. Especially in tight areas like the maggot lair or the arcane sanctuary where they will block your skellies' path. They also like to block doorways. I heard that some people like using cold mages against act bosses, but personally I never needed them and resummoning mages until you get enough cold ones is tedious. Still, if you have problems with an act boss it might be worth a try to summon as many mages as your slvl 1 with + skills allows. 3) Clay Golem: The slow effect makes the clay golem useful against single enemies like act bosses but not so useful that I'd want to spend more than 1 pt. Usually you will have 8-10 skellies, your merc and 4-10 (or more) revives. You don't need another tank. 4) Blood Golem: Don't bother casting this one. He does nothing for you the Clay or Iron Golems don't do better. 5) Iron Golem: Interesting if you have access to a steady supply of high-end items. Using the IK Maul to create Iron Golems worked fine for me when I was running Baal. (IK Maul has ~40% Crushing Blow and is very easy to find. At any rate, I found them faster than my golem used them up) 6) Fire Golem:: This is the most useful golem for questing, especially in HC. It's Holy Fire aura draws enemies to him and away from you. Don't expect him to cause damage, that's not what the golem is there for. It's only there to gather enemies and keep them from bothering your necro. 7.1) Revive: Despite the (relatively) poor AI revives are far from useless. Especially since you can only have a limited number of skellies adding a few revives can be a great help. Just pick your revives carefully. In general it's a good idea to revive fast monsters or monsters that are dangerous to you and deal physical damage. More on that later, in the section about revives. 7.2) Strategy for using Revives: Having an item with Teleport helps a lot. Enigma would be ideal but something with charges works, too. (An Amulet for example) Use that to gather your forces (teleporting next to Baal, Diablo, or into Coldworms chamber). Move a bit after you teleported as sometimes your monsters don't move if you're standing right on top of them. 8) Corpse Explosion: As you will most likely play normal and nightmare on players 8 almost exclusively I'd suggest not investing more than 1 pt here until later in the game. Once you reach hell and switch to players 1 it is extremely useful if you want to kill in a hurry. You don't have to have it, but if you intend for your char to be used for MF you will probably want it. Well, and it's not like there was anything better you could do with 20 skill points. Trust me, max this skill. Yes, it does seem that additional points don't do that much for CE but that is not true at all. The area your CE covers increases by a larger amount for each skill point you add (Remember geometry in school? If you do you can calculate by how much it goes up. In your face everybody who said maths was useless! ) At any rate, I can't stress enough how useful this is for clearing areas. If you're running the pit or the WS K you will wan this. Especially in the WS K where you can kill gloams from far away it's very handy. Remember that CE is 50% fire and 50% physical. So, amp damage or lower resist can increase the damage it does. On a side note, CE is not useless on players 8, don't let the fact that it doesn't scale blind you to that. It does not get a bigger penalty than any other skill. (the only spell that is stronger on p8 is static field, everything else gets the same "penalty") Monsters on players 8 have 450% life. Assuming an amp'd monster with no resistances, CE does between 90% and 150% damage. 3-4 casts would still be enough in that case. 9) Amp Damage: The most often used curse. Lowers physical resistance by 100%, which doubles the damage your skellies deal and increases the damage you do with CE by 50%. It also breaks nearly every Physical Immunity you will encounter in the game. I like having more than 1 point here because it lets me amplify whole crowds in a hurry and I can get back to doing other things, like casting attract or CE. You'll be pretty slow if you need to cast Amp 4-5 times before you've got every monster. Time is money. 10) Decrepify: Another great curse. Monsters are slowed by 50%, their damage is reduced by 50% and their physical resistance is lowered by 50%. This is extremely handy against act bosses but is _not_ recommended against normal enemies. At first glance it might seem that it does more than Amp but if none of your skellies die why would you need stuff to be slowed and weakened? That's right, you don't need that. Do not forget to cast this curse against act bosses, though. You will notice a huge difference in your troops' performance. But even against act bosses you can probably make do without it once your clay golem starts working on the bad guy. Then you might want to overwrite your decrep with amp for another 50% more damage. 11) Dim Vision: Handy to use at the start of a battle or to stop ranged attackers. It also keeps reviving monsters from raising their dead, as they can't see them anymore. Itâ€™s also great to stop Gloams from frying you. I almost never used this curse, though. Using Attract in combination with Amp is far, far superior to using DV. The only real use I have for this is to blind ranged attackers if there's a really big horde of them.