Poison Nova Summoner Necro Guide


Diabloii.Net Member
Poison Nova Summoner Necro Guide

As promised, here is my guide to one of the rarer char builds. It is not an uber build like ww, blizzard, or hammers. It will take more than 10 sec to clear the screen, but less than a minute. He is very party friendly, and in combo with most builds is very efficient and safe to play. A good necro playing with a good static sorc and a smart barb are just as powerful as a team of hammerdins.:clap: Pnova and some minions are known to be laggy to some other players, tho.


P/B: Max the entire poison branch, 60 skill points. Start with pnova when u hit lvl 30, and then fill up the rest. Bone armor should have at least a few pts + skills items ---> intermediate lvl of protection. Bonewall - one point, or can be used as an alternative to revives or attract. CE - u should bring this up to an intermediate level also, most powerful skill in the game! :surprise:

Curses: amp for barbs and bowazons.
decrep to keep revives alive, for fast strong monsters, barbs and hammerdins
attract is good if u dont want any minions, its like the conversion skill
lowerresist: interm lvl, -50% or so for yourself, sorc, javazons, foh'ers. This is ur standard pnova curse. Note: conviction from pallys will not help poison.

Summons: your choice - golem / skellies / revives. Clay golem is good now with the new 1.10 slowdown feature. Fire golem is weak even with lowres, although this has the highest life. A skill point in skel mast helps ur revives too, and a point in golem mast and summon resist are good. With +skills items these skills will still be weak, but adequate for your needs. Skellie mages with poison may interfere with ur pnova.

Items: +2 necro wand, resists, mana, energy and useful +skills
shield - Ward or 3-diamond tower
armor - rare mage plate w/ fhr, life, resists or silks
gloves - frosties for mana
rings - soj or more likely rares with resists, mana, life
ammy - +2 necro! res, mana
boots - 30% frw, hit recov, resists
belt - bladebuckle or rare with fhr, str, life, resists, mana
helm - wormskull or tarn for +skills
You CANNOT get a wand with +pnova skills in classic, because of this broken patch.:cheesy: You can start using a +2 rare at lvl 42 or so, or unique wands such as ume's earlier. Wormskull adds mana and nice pois res and looks cool for a necro, its a lvl 21 item and is excellent for melee in late normal with its 80 poison damage.

Stats. dex - base; str - 80 is good for goldskin, 55 for mageplate, 100 silks;
energy - can be base; vit - everything else. by lvl 90 u can have 400 vit with over 1100 life, before battle orders.

Mana - this necro uses up alot of mana, so thats why is useful on alot of items. Pnova needs 20 mana to cast. The spell lasts 2 full seconds. So u need to recast every 1.5-2 seconds. Faster casting than that wont help. You will be constantly cursing new monsters coming into range, which is most of the screen. You may want mana-hungry revives to protect u. And u will probably want corpse explosion to finish off the mob. This all takes alot of MANA. I get by with 400, before BO, and gulping mana pots.

Damage. With battle command warcry it will be over 2800 per cast per monster. So with lower resist bringing the avg monsters poison resist down to or below zero, ur actual damage will run about 10-20K per 2 seconds in a mid sized mob.

Defense. Use bone armor and minions as a meatshield, frw boots to run.

Resists: easy to max. Some of my items have weak resists, but good mana, and others have weak mana and good resists. It all adds up.

Faster cast rate and Mana regen. Fcr is useful for CE and bonespirits, but wont help pnova. If its on an item, like the wand, it wont hurt. Regen is useful if u havent found enough +mana items yet. Triple sapphire helms or pskulled helms help if u have a problem. Magefist is ok. Garb, eyeless and lenymo each involve tradeoffs that I think are not worth it...

Pois immune monsters. These are a real pain. Hopefully, just curse and leave them to someone else. Strong minions may be able to kill with amp. You might want to forget minions and try bonespirits if you play alone.

Tips. Since pnova is somewhat slow in classic, use revives or other minions to protect U. Use tp frequently to regroup ur minions before they get lost. If other party members complain of lag, let them be the meatshield. Pnova itself is laggy, dont cast every second. Want even more damage? then convert to LoD and get 7K+ damage and even lower resist items. Diablo - use a handful of revives, decrep or lowres, clay golem for slowdown. EZ. :bonk:

Corpse Explosion has the Last Word: just like many bone necros use it, u can too. It is 50% fire damage and 50% physical. It's good to wipe out the mob, pois immunes, and pesky pk barbs. Other chars may make the first kill with their uber skills, but u will finish the job. CE makes u near godly. KABOOM. KABOOM. KABOOM. KABOOM.
Interesting...my friend tried this build for pvp errr...didn't work out so well but wasn't too bad. Might be interesting for pvm though. First or second highest necro on west ladder lvl 92-93 Poison-Volex whom i think is a poison nec, although his name may be deceitful.....


Diabloii.Net Member
Some pvp information here:

My pnova necro is also near the very top of that ladder. I've seen a few other pnova necros play, but often they dont even know about curses, even the ones with 60 skill points sunk into this build. Think I might have played with Volex early in the ladder, not sure. Many ppl started a pnova necro last ladder and dropped them cuz they werent uber enough. U must curse! It's less than 10 lousy skill points to get most of what that skill tree offers. And it doubles your damage and other players damage in the game. (This assumes that the avg monster has about 50% pois res, so u will double ur damage with lowres. Also, with physical resistance being around 40-50% on alot of monsters, u can double or triple damage by melee players when u cast decrep or even better, amp). Sorcies just clean up with lowres. Why won't more necros curse?!! :bonk:

I converted my pnova necro last year, and he was on both the classic and LoD ladders at the same time. He runs very very fast with a frw helm and trangs armor (20+40% run) + run charms. And can clear cs about 3x faster than a classic char can. So that just tells u that the truly uber builds are way overpowered there.

Pvp. Yeah, no way are they as strong as the uber chars in pvp. Bliz sorc, ww barbs, charging hammerdins, knockback zons, bs boneprison necros are all very hard to beat. This guide was meant for PvM, but here is some useful info for pvp and pk'ers:

cold sorc - hawkmail or deaths sash, load up on any cold res items u can substitute. Remember, cold mastery will lower ur resists to cold and wont tell u by how much. If u are hostiled by a bliz pk sorc, get a whole row of thawing pots in ur belt, in ADDITION to anti-chill item. This will all bring ur cold res up to 95% for 30 seconds or so, and items should give u a gross cold res over 150%, which will be brought down to 95% or less with a good cold mastery. They will tele about so wait until they are near a corpse that is just offscreen and blow it (and them) up.

fire sorc - use hotspurs

hammerdins - approach from the south and watch out for previous casts (creeping) hammers. Any charge is usually weak and used to get u boxed in a corner. Ur pnova has a GREATER RANGE than their hammers. :thumbsup: Hammers take out bonewalls and minions very quickly.

ww barbs - they can run faster than u, so possible decrep cast constantly and pnova can scare them off. Bonewalling urself in a box and casting IM on them as they start their ww may do the trick.

bone necros - boneprisons cant be harmed by poison, :eek: so exit game.

zons - unless they are dumb enough to stand by a pile of corpses, it will be hard to get close enough to them and kill with their fast arrows. Bonewalls and prisons may be of some help here. But with 60 skill points spent on poison, u may have to forget any summons to get a good lvl of bone skills.


Diabloii.Net Member
Just to add onto this some info about pois immunes. If monsters have 100-105% pois resist, lower res can easy bring them into killing range. But if they are 110% resistant, it will take alot of lowres to get them down well below 100%. Here is why...

Lower res and conviction on immunes do not lower the resistance of the monster by the stated %. The game takes 1/5 of the total resist lowering and then checks to see if that lowers it below 100%. If it does, then they are no longer immune, and the 'immune to whatever' will disappear from the monster. Once the resistance is below 100%, I guess this means 99%, then any further lowering is at the full % value.

Example: Ur pois necro is fighting a Maw Fiend in act4 hell, which is 110% pois resistant. A lower res of 51% will bring it down to 100%, still immune. It will take a lvl 10 lowres of 55% (55/5=11) to bring pres down from 110 to 99%. You still cant kill it unless u have other minions doing damage, I have tried and lag is a factor with ur casting. You will need much more than lvl 10 lowres, and prob should look for a +2 necro wand with +3 lowerres on it, if that +skill is possible.

LowerRes is very helpful for foh'ers and lightning sorcies/zons with storm casters who have 100% lightning res. Act4 maggot young can be cursed and killed with pnova, and then blown up, killing the adults.


Diabloii.Net Member
Nice guide. Ive experiemented with pnova necros in the past, i think they are more suited to pvp than pvm, although they are viable at both.



Diabloii.Net Member
Poison necs need to have maxed lower resist to be effective. As with most chars its not fully effective until around level 80.
The maxed lower resist curse, combined with the lagging effect of poison nova makes this a very fun CS pker. I use only against my enemies, never for random PK's because often it results in PvM deaths (Blizz is fun for just gold steal/fun PK)



Diabloii.Net Member
Zodijackyl said:
Poison necs need to have maxed lower resist to be effective.
Not sure if u really mean that. A few points in lower resist curse are good enough with some +skills items/ammy to get -51% or so. More than that u get sharply diminishing returns. Maybe u meant that the pnova synergies need to be maxed for a really effective necro. I sometimes see low lvl pnova being used in the party to prevent reheal, and thats nice. Even a lvl 1 pnova is effective in keeping uber diablo down in health.

I just made another such necro in the past 2 weeks. It should be mentioned that if u get pnova at char lvl 30, it may be quite a few more lvls before he becomes fun to play. U can try to sink in alot of synergy skill pts early to boost damage. But i found that i was still using amp curse and swinging at monsters with a civerbs cudgel and raising revives to keep from getting swarmed well into nightmare. If u plan to get LR curse early AND get a nice wad of skills used on summons for protection, then ur pnova is going to be WEAK until u get to late char lvl 40's. From late nightmare to early hell, the pnova necro is a very powerful, fun char to play. Some later areas of the game, durance, river can be tedious.


Diabloii.Net Member
I'm going to make psn nova summoner and I have few problems and questions to ask. I have already eq for him, which brings +4 skills, max res (f/l stacked), and nice hp/mana. As for wand, I'll be using ume's lament. I want to make him viable on PvM (more important) and PvP.

It's my first nec ever, so need advices in these few points:

1. Revies or skeletons? I have two alternatives on mind:
- 20 skeleton mastery, 1 revive;
- 20 raise skeleton, 1-10 skeleton mastery;
In both I'm going to spend three additional points: on clay, golem mastery and summon resist. Which would better work? Have you any experiences? Or spending ~25 points in this branch is too little?

2. Nova/lower resist.
With +4 skills I'll have -47% on lr while giving 1 point into it. Should I give 2 more points (and have -51%) to be effective on pvm? Or -47% can work fine? As for duels, it isn't big difference, I guess.
And points in p/b branch:
20 pnova, 20pexp, 1CE - of that I'm sure. But bone wall/bone armor.. are they really so useful to spend this two points on them?
Poison Dagger - points given here depend on how much I'll give on summon tree, about which I asked in point 1.

I'd like to end this char on lv 85, so I have 96 points to spend.

All advices and helpful information really appreciated.


Diabloii.Net Member
More questions than answers...

Here is my answer to Thruster's inquiry -

1. 20skelmast and 1 in revive: you are expecting these 5 revives to do alot of damage? or as a long lasting meatshield...
20raiseskel and 1-10 skelmast: you are making alot of skellies to do some damage. Are your goals damage or meatshield or long lived minions?

2. -47% lowerres is ok. 1 pt in CE can get you by. Bone armor: you spend 2 lousy skill points to get 100-150 life protection with +skills items. Scrimping on poisdagger - as you know, that means a lot less damage from pnova. You have to get your priorities in order here. Are you using pnova to stop reheal and let minions make the first kills? Going to use CE to finish off the mob? Playing in single player or one person games or solo?

I use all the minions to keep the monsters off me while I am casting pnova. They can do respectable damage too(with the right minions and the right curse!), as a backup skill or primary. Choosing where you are going to be playing in the game is important too. Late hell is very demanding, pnova is slow to kill and so are any minions unless you make them just right.

Here are some nice threads in the past year on other players experiences.
One well known moderator's solo effort at a build configuration- http://forums.diabloii.net/showthread.php?t=504363
another by a confused person- http://forums.diabloii.net/showthread.php?t=513622
and efforts to make a Summoning build- http://forums.diabloii.net/showthread.php?t=538269.


Diabloii.Net Member
First of all thanks for answering and giving helpful links.

To clean some things up, I'd like to add that I'm playing on euscl and I want my nec be able to:
- help my friends in making 2- (me + baba/hammer) or 3-players cs hell (me, hammer and baba/hammer);
- be useful in 8players public cs;
- don't have big troubles in making cs alone or just going through acts mfing/killing monsters;
- win duel from time to time :F

Here is my answer to Thruster's inquiry -

1. 20skelmast and 1 in revive: you are expecting these 5 revives to do alot of damage? or as a long lasting meatshield...
20raiseskel and 1-10 skelmast: you are making alot of skellies to do some damage. Are your goals damage or meatshield or long lived minions?
As for summon tree, my goal is to have minions which can make me quite safe (meatshield) and kill psn immune monsters. As I said before, I'm going to spend ~25-30 points in this tree. And I still don't know which minions are best for me.

-47% lowerres is ok. 1 pt in CE can get you by. Bone armor: you spend 2 lousy skill points to get 100-150 life protection with +skills items. Scrimping on poisdagger - as you know, that means a lot less damage from pnova. You have to get your priorities in order here. Are you using pnova to stop reheal and let minions make the first kills? Going to use CE to finish off the mob?
I have +4 skills, so giving one point in aromor brings me 60 abs. One point in arm and one in wall = 75 abs. I'm not sure that wall will be useful for psn-summoner, but if you say that yes, I will put that two points. But if wall isn't necessary, does bone arm worth that 1 point to have 60 abs?

I will have 1 CE, 1 amp dmg and my build is 0% fcr. I don't know it will be strong enough to finish off the mob - if yes, I'm going to use CE.

To sum up: nova > summons.

As you can see, I still need some advices and problems to be solved ;)