Porius's Bone Mage Guide (repost)

Porius

Diabloii.Net Member
Porius's Bone Mage Guide (repost)

The Bone Mage
Guide to Necromancer
Written by Porius

The Bone Mage is a necromancer build that makes use of the Bone Spells for killing. A Bone Mage may also use a merc and/or minions for tanking, but the focus of the build is the ability to cast high damage spells quickly. I have Patriarched my Bone Mage, Necundus, who got through the game without twinking or trading. There has also been an untwinked Guardian Bone Mage on the SPF HC Ladder.

Statistics:

Strength

Strength is really only useful for wearing/wielding items for this build. Therefore, one should know what is going to be used for equipment while planning this build. Most of the decent caster armors have a pretty low STR requirement. In addition, wands and necromancer shields have low STR requirements, as well. I would suggest 70 to 80 with all of the +stat items, which should allow most of the armor, helms, and shields that a caster would want to use.

Dexterity

DEX is used for equipment selection and blocking (as well as a little AR and defense). There is really one question that you should ask when it comes to DEX, do I want to get the blocking or not? In my mind, this question is an equipment question. This build is extremely mana intensive. So, if you know that you are going to have a SOJ or Frostburns to get you to the mana you need, you can go for the blocking. However, remember that the base blocking of the necromancer totems is pretty low. You may look at something like 50-60% blocking in lieu of the 75% max to keep your total investment low.

Vitality

A lot of points will go here. Necromancers don’t get a lot of hit points per point in VIT, but every little bit helps. Life is good, especially in 1.10.

Energy

This is another questionable one. Again, this is equipment sensitive. If you are going to use Frostburns or Stones of Jordon, you can reduce your expenditure here and go for DEX for blocking and VIT for more life. If you don’t have access to these, or just prefer the challenge of not twinking your characters, then more points in here is helpful. Just remember, though, that mana potions are sold at the store. Don’t go overboard here, or you may end up without enough life down the road.

Skills

Here is the basis of the build. Skills are the name of the game, and it is the thing that will make or break your character. Here again, there will be choices to be made.

Poison & Bone Tree

This is where most of your skill points will be spent. The following is a discussion of all of the skills:

Teeth

This skill got a lot of improvement in the new patch with the synergies. It is a very nice skill in the early part of the game, but will quickly lose pace with the monsters life, especially at high players settings. However, it is a synergy with your end-game attack spells, so it doesn’t necessarily hurt to put a few skill points here, initially. However, I would suggest only putting 4 or 5 at the most in here initially, and then only if you are going without minions. It is better to save your initial skill points for some of the later spells.

Bone Armor

This skill is truly a one point wonder. I highly recommend putting a point in this, and having it active all the time, but there really is no reason to put anything more into it. The synergies for this skill actually allow it to adsorb more damage than points in the skill itself. Since you will be maxing those skills, anyway, this skill will be pretty decent, without additional investment.

Corpse Explosion

This is a very nice skill, very useful for clearing out lots of monsters, especially if they aren’t fire or physical immune. However, I would again only recommend one point in it and let +skill items get it up to a usable level. More skill points just increases the size of the explosion, not the damage, and it doesn’t synergize with your main skills. It is quite easy to get this to usable level without putting a lot of points here.

Bone Wall

This skill is an absolute necessity, especially until you get Bone Prison. Not only is it a synergy with your attack spells, it is a synergy for Bone Armor and Bone Prison. This is a skill you will eventually max.

Bone Spear

At 18th level, you are ready to really start damaging some bad-guys. With your first point, you will be doing a lot of damage. This is where your big decision is made. Do you go for Spear as the primary attack? Or do you use the Spirit? Fortunately, you don’t have to make that decision for a little bit, so for now, use and enjoy Bone Spear, and know that no matter what, you will be maxing this anyway, so put as many points as you like in it.

Bone Prison

This is one of your crowd control skills. There are three really nice features of Bone Prison. First is that it is a synergy with Bone Spear, Bone Spirit, Bone Wall, and Bone Armor. The second is that its mana cost drops every level, while its life goes up. The third is that it completely surrounds your enemies, not allowing them to simply walk around your barriers. There is a couple annoying little drawbacks, though. The first is that it is possible to imprison yourself with the thing that you are trying to keep away from you. The second is that sometimes with close groups, the prison has gaps, which lets the bad guys out. However, the benefits FAR outweigh these little annoyances.

Bone Spirit

This is the spell that deals the most damage to a single opponent that this character has, excepting the possibility of Corpse Explosion. The best part of Bone Spirit is that it is self tracking, and it will pass through other opponents to hit its target. This means that if you are facing an aura-enchanted boss, it is a simple matter to take him down to weaken the rest of the pack. You also don’t have to worry about actually aiming with this spell, as you can simply hold shift down and spam it and the spirits will find their own targets to damage. This is definitely a skill you will max, even if you decide that it isn’t your primary skill.

This build will not make use of poison dagger, poison explosion, or poison nova. They aren’t prerequisites for anything, so no points need to go there.

The Spear/Spirit debate:

There has been a very long debate over which to use, Bone Spear, or Bone Spirit. The issue comes down the this difference: Spirit does more damage to an individual creature, Spear doesn’t do as much damage, but pierces, allowing it to hit more creatures, thereby having a higher damage potential.

Here’s my take on this:

Max both. They synergize each other, so this isn’t a waste. If you like Bone Spirit more, you still can use corpse explosion for doing damage to many enemies. If you prefer Bone Spear, you still have Spirit for dealing with individuals (like Act bosses). To me, it is a matter of playing style.

Curses

Most builds would recommend putting 1 point in every curse (or even just the non-AI curses) and letting +skills raise them to usable levels. I disagree with this approach in 1.10, and with this particular build. You simply don’t have the points. In addition, some of these curses will not ever really be useful to you, so there is no point in wasting your points on them.

Here’s the skinny, the only curse that I make a lot of use of is Decreptify with this build. The reason is that none of the other curses are really that helpful with my primary damage spell. If you have a merc who doesn’t have a lot of life leach, you might use life tap. Amplify damage is great for damage, but Decreptify has too many nice features for me to use it consistently. My suggestion is to put one point in Amp Damage, Weaken, Terror, and Decreptify. Lower Resist won’t help you, because it doesn’t work on Magic Resist anymore, so don’t waste you skill points getting it unless you plan on a lot of party play with Sorcs.

You can also make use of the AI curses for crowd control and dealing with magic immunes. I would still recommend only one point in these curses, and letting your equipment get them up to longer durations.

Minions

My builds haven’t used them. I do enough damage on my own that I really don’t need them. However, with as powerful as the summon tree became with this patch, it wouldn’t be impossible to play a hybrid. In addition, it is possible to use a Clay Golem as a tank for this build (this is exactly what Vex_Nemox used for his Guardian).

Gear

I am not going to go into specifics on what items to use. However, I will state what I think the focus of your gear should be.

Wand – There is nothing that will be better here than a good wand. Wizard Spike might be worth the sacrifice for the faster cast, but I really don’t think that anything would replace wands for this build. What you are looking for here is +skills, especially +poison and bone, +to necromancer skill levels, and +to your attack spell. If you have the runes, the White runeword (Dol+Io) is fantastic for this build, even better if you go with a hybrid, as it gets +3 to skeleton mastery. My dream wand is a Venomous Wand of the Magus, with a +3 to Bone Spirit, +3 to Decreptify, +3 to Bone Wall, but that would be a very rare find. Boneflame, one of the new unique wands deserves a special mention here, as it is pretty much perfect for this build.

Shield – Find yourself a decent necromancer head for the +skills. It is actually possible to find totems with +3 to trees, but they are pretty rare. My suggestion is to find one with +3 to your primary attack skill and socket it with the Rhyme runeword (Shael+Eth). Totems can only ever get 2 sockets, so none of the other runewords are possible.

For the rest of your gear, I would focus on resists, +skills, faster cast, mana, mana regeneration, and resists. Oh, and make sure that your resists are pretty high, too.

Strategy

Well, here is my strategy for skill placement from level 1-30. This gives a pretty decent balance between offense and defense, which is the best thing about this build.

Skill point Skill Placement
Level 2 Teeth
Level 3 Amp Damage
Den of Evil Bone Armor
Level 4 Teeth
Level 5 Teeth
Level 6 Corpse Explosion
Level 7 Weaken
Level 8 Teeth
Level 9 Teeth
Level 10, 11 Save
Level 12-17 Bone Wall
Level 18, 19 Bone Spear, Bone Wall
Level 20-23 Bone Spear
Book of Skills Terror
Level 24 Decreptify
Level 25-29 Bone Prison
Level 30 Bone Spirit

I would then start to look at my play style and what I want to do. If I am going to use the AI curses as part of my strategy for crowd control, Bone Wall makes a whole lot more sense to use as my barrier, since Bone Prison also prevents the monsters from attacking each other. I would also pick which attack spell I was going to focus on. I would then max my primary attack spell, max my primary defense spell, max my secondary defense spell, and then my secondary attack spell.

Magic Immunes

There are three Magic Immune creature types in the game that I have encountered in Hell. They were the Plague Bearers in the Lost City, all Horadric Mummies (Guardians, etc.), and then Yeti in Act V. Since your primary attacks deal all magic damage, you need a way to take down these nasty little beasties.

The first way will pretty much only work for the Horadric mummy type monsters. They always spawn with undead around them. These undead are not magic immune, so you run around trying to get the skeletons near the Mummies, then prison them all together, and explode them all to death.

Another way is to use Bone Wall/Prison and Iron Maiden. Once you get one down, explode them to death. This is very slow, though.

The third way is to let your merc take them down, then explode them to kill the rest of the group. This can work with prison and an ACT II merc, since he reach over your prisons and attack, as long as there aren’t too many of them. Once he has a couple down, corpse explosion the rest. However, it is much easier to do with a Rogue merc.

A fourth way is to let minions take them down, if you went for a hybrid. This shouldn’t be terribly difficult to do, if you have the minions to do it.

A fifth way is to use the AI curses and let them kill each other.

Mercenary

I would pick the Fire Rogue merc from Act I as my merc for this build. The reason for this is the strategy for this build is to keep the baddies away from you and nail them with ranged attacks. Keeping the monsters away from you is easy with Bone Prison, Bone Wall, the AI curses, and possibly a golem. There really isn’t any need to have another tank. The Rogue adds depth to your damage, being able to deal physical and fire damage in addition to your magic damage. Remember, Decreptify will remove physical immunity, so if you found a Physical Immune/Magic Immune creature, you can still get your Rogue to do damage to them beside the fire damage.

I could also go with an Iron Wolf Merc from Act III. I personally don’t like these guys as much, but if you prefer, they will work. I would pick the lightning guy, as they have okay damage, all of their attacks are ranged, and they don’t have an issue with shattering corpses.

Let me know if there are things I should add or change.

Porius
 

Porius

Diabloii.Net Member
I couldn't find my most recent version of this guide, so I took my first one and modified it with what I remembered of the thread discussing it. Let me know what you think!

Porius
 

ricrestoni

Diabloii.Net Member
I think it is great. I would just add the following:

- something about Marrowalks
- something about Homunculus or the other unique heads
- something about Trang Ouls set
- Edit: Sry, skipped the line about what to look for in items
- something about difficult areas/monsters
- something about MF capabilities
- maybe numbers from a successful Bonemancer

That is all I can think ti make it better at the moment.

Good job, keep it coming!
 

Randall

Diabloii.Net Member
Hi Porius,

thx for reviving the guide.

I think of building one for the HC Ladder. I do have a bit of twinking items there and my barb has plenty of gold for a few shopping tours. So I should have enough gear to start with.

I think I try the version without blocking and with the clay golum. (and with bone spear as main) I am not sure about to AI or not to AI. But that can be decided a bit later on.

One question about the rogue merc (as this build likes using them).
EDIT: I need to learn how to do that counting thing, this looks more like 4 questions :)

Is the merc hitting the walls ? (For example a helm with Crushing Blow, does it do more damage to my walls/prisons or is it helpfull for killing ?)

I have a Kuko Shakaku, does anybody know if the spreading of the fire damage in the explosion works for mercs to ? (And again, is this bad for the wall/Prison ?)

Randall

http://www.rpgforums.net/showthread.php?t=130817 (the older thread discussing bonemancers)
 

Porius

Diabloii.Net Member
Your merc will not hit walls or prisons. Your summons won't either, if you use them.

Splash damage/fire damage, and the like won't hurt them either.

I don't multiplayer, but I believe that if you are partied with ranged attackers, they don't hit your walls/prison either. Note, though that you can imprison them in the walls/prison, and they won't be able to get out.

Porius
 

Ravenforce3

Diabloii.Net Member
They've basically changed the way that prisons/walls work. They are actually allied with your party now, so no one can destroy them other than maybe a Extra Fast, Extra Strong, Fanat/Might Enchanted Moon Lord. I've heard about one of those taking it out in less than three seconds (this was maxed synergies in Hell.)
 

strijdje

Diabloii.Net Member
great guide, when i got some spare time on my hands, this is of the builds i'm going to try :thumbsup:

robin
 

SuperSavage

Diabloii.Net Member
Porius said:
Boneflame, one of the new unique wands deserves a special mention here, as it is pretty much perfect for this build.
Just an error I noticed... Boneflame is the new unique necromancer shields not wands.

Boneflame
Succubus Skull


Defense: 323-367 (varies)(Base Defense: 100-146)
Required Level: 72
Required Strength: 95
Durability: 20
Chance To Block: 30%
(Necromancer Only)
+120-150% Enhanced Defense (varies)
+20% Faster Run/Walk
+2-3 To Necromancer Skill Levels (varies)
All Resistances +20-30 (varies)
15% Chance To Cast Level 3 Terror When Struck
(Only Spawns In Patch 1.10 or later)
 

Quicksilver

Diabloii.Net Member
Porius said:
Boneflame, one of the new unique wands deserves a special mention here, as it is pretty much perfect for this build.
I should probably make one of these Necros in the future: I've got the runes to make a 'White' wand, and I've got a Boneflame :D

I definitely like the sound of the Bone Necro :thumbsup:
 

NSXdreamer

Diabloii.Net Member
SuperSavage said:
Just an error I noticed... Boneflame is the new unique necromancer shields not wands.

Boneflame
Succubus Skull


Defense: 323-367 (varies)(Base Defense: 100-146)
Required Level: 72
Required Strength: 95
Durability: 20
Chance To Block: 30%
(Necromancer Only)
+120-150% Enhanced Defense (varies)
+20% Faster Run/Walk
+2-3 To Necromancer Skill Levels (varies)
All Resistances +20-30 (varies)
15% Chance To Cast Level 3 Terror When Struck
(Only Spawns In Patch 1.10 or later)
I'm sure he meant boneshade the wand.
 

Noodle

Moderator
This looks like a really fun build, and a great guide. I may give this a shot once I finish Pat'ing my Fishy. One (very) minor thing - isn't it "Decrepify", without the "t"?

- Noodle
 

Vajar

Diabloii.Net Member
He meant this:

Boneshade
Lich Wand
One-Hand Damage: 10 to 31
Durability: 11 of 17
Required Strength: 25
Required Level: 79
Staff Class - Fast Attack Speed
Item Version: 1.10 Expansion
Item Level: 99
Fingerprint: 0x726d465d
+2 to Necromancer Skill Levels
25% Faster Cast Rate
+5 to Bone Armor (Necromancer Only)
+2 to Bone Wall (Necromancer Only)
+3 to Bone Spear (Necromancer Only)
+2 to Bone Spirit (Necromancer Only)
+5 to Teeth (Necromancer Only)
150% Damage to Undead
 

Kaysaar

Diabloii.Net Member
Before I made the computer switch I made a very successful bonemancer, largely following this guide. I don't remember anything about the build, but it was a lot of fun! :thumbsup:
 
Yeah, Bone Necro's rock. I made one before this guide and liked it so much I began writing a guide for one but Porius beat me (by about a day :D).
 

Porius

Diabloii.Net Member
Wow! I'm glad people are still reading and enjoying this guide. Since my massive computer crash, I've lost Necundus, the character I based the guide on. So, I'm remaking him, using some of the suggestions by those on this board.

Someday I'll redo the guide with a little more gear information, since some of it is obviously wrong :bonk: but I do need to put more information on the Trang-Oul's set and other odds and ends.

Porius
 

Uzziah

Diabloii.Net Member
I think you will like my approach to the bone and poison tree only necro. I will be using mostly bone skills with 1 point in poison dagger and wielding a kris with "venom" runeword in it. It should be effective enough for the entirety of the game. Yes I agree the 1 point in all curses is bullcrap you don't even need 1 point in the curse tree to make it through the game.

Oh and I like your guide its well thought out though I think mention of the charge synergy bug with marrowwalks is warranted. also a bit more explaination of strategy in play style may prove to be quite worthwhile.

:thumbsup:
 

ron

Diabloii.Net Member
I prefer making a white wand out of a +3 bonespear wand. I also prefer Homonculus as the shield..although the rhyme or splendor +3 bonespear heads are great. I have played bonemages on bnet, but still havent made one on SP yet. That will be my next project after I finish my wind druid.
 
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