Summonancer

DwayneGAnd

Diabloii.Net Member
Apparently Lysander is wrong. There are old bold summoners. And here's one of them!

This is a pure summonancer, the kind who relies primarily on his minions to deal damage for him. His only role is to raise new minions, curse his enemies, and use corpse explosion. For people who like to let others do their dirty work for them, for people who are lazy, this is a great build for you!

The bread and butter for any summonancer is Raise Skeleton and Skeleton Mastery. At the start, you should get three skeletons and then pump skeleton mastery, getting prerequisites for other important skills such as corpse explosion, and revive. In normal difficulty, the only curses you really need are amplify damage and iron maiden. As you get further into the game, you'll need to raise the size of your skeleton army and pump raise skeleton as eventually the increase to their damage is greater than investing in skeleton mastery. Once raise skeleton is maxed, finish maxing skeleton mastery. Revive should only be left at level 1 and let items that increase skill levels do the rest. This is due to the only thing improved by more skill points is more monsters. Currently, I only have one point in Skeleton Mage as well as one point in all four golems. When I enter higher difficulty levels, I plan to add Life Tap and Attract to my curse arsenal.

Here is my planned endgame equipment and hireling setup:

Act 2 Nightmare Offensive
Andariel's Visage (increased skill levels and life leech)
Treachery (increased attack speed and chance to cast fade)
Obedience Cryptic Axe (crushing blow)

Helmet: Harlequin Crest (increased skill levels)
Amulet: Mara's Kaleidoscope (increased skill levels and resistances)
Armor: Enigma Archon Plate (increased skill levels and teleport skill)
Weapon: Heart of the Oak Flail (increased skill levels, casting speed, and resistances)
Swap Weapon: Call to Arms Flail (prebuff purposes)
Shield: Darkforce Spawn (increased skill levels, casting speed, and mana pool)
Swap Shield: Spirit Monarch (increased skill levels of prebuffs)
Rings: 2 Stone of Jordan (skill level and increased mana pool)
Belt: Arachnid Mesh (increased skill level)
Boots: Marrowwalk (increased skill level of Skeleton Mastery)
Gloves: Magefist (increased casting speed)

According to my notes, with all the necessary skills and prerequisites, I'll have 55 skill points left. I've already spent one point to get the fire golem, so I'll have 54. Since this is a pure summonancer, I won't be using any bone or poison skills, only corpse explosion. Any ideas how where to spend all those leftover points? How does my equipment and hireling setup look? Should anything be changed?
 

peytron

Diabloii.Net Member
A few extra points in amplify damage, dim vision, and decrepify would be useful. Bone armour possibly?
 

krischan

Europe Trade Moderator
I don't think a necro needs CtA (unless it's about HC) because his minions are attracting most attacks. I would use +skills items as swap weapon+shield, like AoKL and Boneflame or +3 summon DF Spawn for summoning skeletons. When switching back after summoning, you might lose a skelton or revived, but the others will keep their strength from the higher level summoning.

You forgot to mention summon skillers.

Obedience is a pretty good weapon for a sommoner's merc, but I think if you have an ethereal Kelpie Snare, it might be an option idea to upgrade it and use that on the merc. It's slowing is no curse, so it would probably combine nicely with Amp and you would have something like amp and decrep at the same time. I'm not sure about details how it combines with other slowing effects, like from a clay golem or cold damage, however.

Suggested skills: Max summon skeleton, skeleton mastery, revive, corpse explosion, one point in each curse and summon resist (no more, you will get enough bonuses from your gear). Clay golem gomes as a prereq for summon resist and I would keep it at L1 as well. That's 85 skill points which you will have at L74 if all quests with skill point rewards are finished. I'm not sure if the other golems are worth having at low skill level, but whatever. Beyond that, I would invest into bone armor, but if not using it is a matter of principles, I would invest into a few curses that imrove well at higher skill levels.
 

Namtar

Diabloii.Net Member
This is all territory that has been covered many times over, but sure...

A few extra points in amplify damage, dim vision, and decrepify would be useful. Bone armour possibly?
Amplify Damage is pretty good even at low skill levels. Decrepify has an annoyingly short duration at low skill levels. Both get comfortable duration with +skills alone. No need for additional hard points.

I personally am not a fan of Dim Vision. I am in the minority on this one, but my problem with it is...

  1. It doesn't actually help boost your damage output or help protect you or your minions in direct combat. Using Dim Vision provides insurance against being swarmed, but it basically wastes your curse option, one of the most valuable features of the Necromancer class, on not fighting stuff. I play the game to fight stuff, not to not fight stuff.
  2. Dim Vision doesn't work on all monsters. Actually, it's worse than that. The monsters it doesn't work on can be some of the most dangerous monsters in the game. Since the selling point of Dim Vision is safety/survivability, I dislike relying on a crowd control curse that fails when you need it most.
However, that's just my take. And like I said, I'm in the minority on this one. Dim Vision has been pretty popular and well-regarded by most Necro enthusiasts. If you do want to use it, then it's fine as an auxiliary skill point dump. The curse has poor range at low skill levels and gets much better with additional points.

Bone Armor is also unreliable, but I like it anyway and concur that it's worth a hard skill point. Do not use this skill as a point dump. Bone Armor is somewhat notorious in this regard. Each additional skill point in Bone Armor gives +10 to its damage absorption. But each hard point into either Bone Wall or Bone Prison gives +15 to the damage absorption of Bone Armor. If you want better Bone Armor, you're better off dumping points into Bone Wall or Bone Prison than into Bone Armor itself.

I don't think a necro needs CtA (unless it's about HC) because his minions are attracting most attacks. I would use +skills items as swap weapon+shield, like AoKL and Boneflame or +3 summon DF Spawn for summoning skeletons. When switching back after summoning, you might lose a skelton or revived, but the others will keep their strength from the higher level summoning.
CtA is good on anything, but you're right, it's not necessary. I found that for summoners I prefer AoKL for raising skeletons and Beast as a switch weapon.

HotO works here, as it does everywhere else, but a summoner is the one type of build where AoKL actually shines. Not a huge difference either way, but I prefer it.

You forgot to mention summon skillers.
With so much high end gear, I'm guessing that there's inventory space for them without compromising elemental resistances, so I guess one might as well. I skimped on skillers for most of my summoner playthroughs, more because they're annoying to hunt for than because I didn't want them. But they're not that important anyway. Use them if you have them?

Obedience is a pretty good weapon for a sommoner's merc, but I think if you have an ethereal Kelpie Snare, it might be an option idea to upgrade it and use that on the merc. It's slowing is no curse, so it would probably combine nicely with Amp and you would have something like amp and decrep at the same time. I'm not sure about details how it combines with other slowing effects, like from a clay golem or cold damage, however.
Ethereal upped Kelpie Snare would be a decent weapon for an Act 2 merc ordinarily. Its slowing effect is redundant with the slowing effect of Clay Golem, so this is one case where its big advantage is somewhat diminished. Now, its slowing effect does stack with Decrpify. So if you're not using Clay Golem, Kelpie Snare might become more attractive. I've found Clay Golem to be too good not to use, though.

I think I'd prefer Obedience anyway. It's just such an amazing weapon. I think mine is in an ethereal thresher, but CA should work fine too.

Suggested skills: Max summon skeleton, skeleton mastery, revive, corpse explosion, one point in each curse and summon resist (no more, you will get enough bonuses from your gear). Clay golem gomes as a prereq for summon resist and I would keep it at L1 as well. That's 85 skill points which you will have at L74 if all quests with skill point rewards are finished. I'm not sure if the other golems are worth having at low skill level, but whatever. Beyond that, I would invest into bone armor, but if not using it is a matter of principles, I would invest into a few curses that imrove well at higher skill levels.
Revive gets its improvements from the Skeleton Mastery synergy. Additional points to it just raise the cap on the number of simultaneous revived monsters. +skills and boosts to summoning skills from equipment will get this to a comfortable level easily. Additional hard points are unnecessary.

I concur with the Corpse Explosion suggestion. I advise maxing it due to the way its physical damage has a much shorter range than its fire damage. The more area you can cover with physical damage, the faster you can kill groups of monsters.

I advise against multiple hard points into Bone Armor for the reason I stated earlier. The skill gets more mileage out of points into Bone Wall/Prison than from points invested directly into it.

It looks like Golem Mastery hasn't been mentioned in this thread. While not as important for Clay Golem as it is for Iron Golem, the skill does help keep your golem alive. And of course, if you're going with Clay Golem, you can always invest points into that skill itself. At high skill levels, Clay Golem gets a lot more life and its slow effect becomes more potent.

Notably, an Act 2 merc with a Might aura, supported by necromancer curses, with a clay golem to slow and tank bosses, and the gear described in the original post is sufficiently capable of shredding monsters so as to make the value of skeletons paltry by comparison. You can have them with you, but they don't really do very much compared to your merc.
 

DwayneGAnd

Diabloii.Net Member
I've made some changes to the endgame equipment:

Weapon: Arm of King Leoric (skill bonuses)
Swap Weapon: Beast War Scepter (fanaticism aura to increase the damage of minions)
Swap Shield: Homunculus (skill bonuses and resistances)

Should I also exchange Magefist for Trang-Oul's Claws for the bonus to curse skills?
 
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