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Synergized Iron Golem

Discussion in 'Necromancer' started by Namtar, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. Namtar

    Namtar IncGamers Member

    May 1, 2012
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    Over the years I've run into a lot of contradictory accounts regarding what happens if a necromancer focuses on Iron Golem. I've seen wild claims about it being overpowered and claims that it is weak and useless. Just looking at the numbers, I figured the truth was somewhere in between, but I had never actually seen someone try it out. I've been wanting to, but one that held me back, even after the advent of the respec in 1.13, has been that I typically build my characters up from the beginning, preferably on /players8, and clear every area in Normal, then take out some bosses (sometimes Cows too, but I don't usually do that) and gain a few levels if it can let me equip better gear, do the same for Nightmare, and then take them through Hell. An Iron Golem necromancer seems like something that pretty much requires a respec (that or wasting lots of items early on before the build starts to come together), so it loses a lot of its appeal for me due to that problem.

    Well, I finally did some testing anyway, just to answer the question for myself. I took an obsolete, very high-level necromancer that I was using to test some other things, stripped him of the gear he'd been testing before, and loaned him equipment from some of my other characters, mainly +skills stuff, but most notably Enigma. I got the points for Amplify Damage and Corpse Explosion, then dumped the rest into Iron Golem and synergies. I then copied a bunch of unique and runeword weapons and put them in my necromancer's stash to try them as Iron Golems (I'm not going to waste my real items on some silly experiment).

    This necromancer had a Thorns merc because I'd previously been testing some damage-return concept. I traded him out for a Might merc, kept the armor and helm (Fortitude and Crown of Ages), but switched out his weapon for a Pride, figuring that might help the Iron Golem. Really, I'd figured the merc would probably get killed at some point and stop being a factor, but I underestimated Pride as a merc weapon: he actually killed a lot of things without any help from me or the golem and wasn't in danger that often. I Teleported him to safety when he did get badly hurt, so he ended up sticking around the whole time. That confounds testing a bit, since I was planning to look at how strong a synergized Iron Golem can be, but I also think it's mostly fair: if I were actually playing such a character I'd still use a mercenary.

    I tested all of the weapons I'd grabbed in the Worldstone Keep and against Baal, and some of them I took to other areas afterward. All of the Iron Golems I made survived. They did get surrounded and sometimes took considerable damage. However, I always had enough warning to save them with Teleport. One of them did randomly vanish on me, but none of them got killed. Clay Golem is a better and more practical pure tank, but a synergized Iron Golem is definitely robust.

    Like I said, I usually play on /players8. All of this testing was on /players1. I knew this meant that even if this character seemed stronger than some of my others, that might not be the case in reality, but I wanted to give synergized Iron Golem a shot because I wasn't even sure if it would work at all. With that in mind, here are my impressons...

    -First of all, it works. It definitely works. I wasn't standing around in awe of my super-powered pet smashing through everything with ease, but Iron Golem can kill things. It attacks slowly, but it can still do a lot of damage. I forget which item my golem was, but in one of my tests, Lister's pack hurt my merc, so I used Teleport to back off. The Iron Golem advanced on the monsters by itself, got surrounded, and killed one of the Minions of Destruction without them putting a dent in it, allowing me to initiate a Corpse Explosion chain and kill the others.

    -Baal took a very long time to kill with the Iron Golems made from uniques and in some cases it was probably mostly just my Pride/Might merc hitting him enough to eventually kill him. But the golems made from runeword polearms actually fared a lot better there. While it wasn't "Baal-running" speed, it was still easily good enough for "beating the game without falling asleep" speed. Baal didn't pose a threat to my Iron Golem at all really, so the main issue was when he'd teleport himself next to his clone and the two of them together would nearly kill my mercenary. I drank a few potions against Baal, but the Iron Golem was totally fine with anything Baal threw at him.

    -I'm not really sure what the ideal skill distribution is here. I focused almost entirely on Iron Golem synergies, which might not be necessary. For a real golemancer, it might be preferable to drop one synergy and have some skills to distribute elsewhere.

    -The Iron Golem made from a Beast berserker axe noticeably improved the Pride/Might merc's killing power. While I don't think Beast is actually the best item for an Iron Golem that is intended to be used to actually kill things, the demonstration did help convince me that for a summoner, I don't think I'd choose any weapon over Beast. I'd already switched from using other weapons to Beast on my summoners, but this helped convince me even more.

    -Based on my admittedly limited testing, the Iron Golem that seemed to have the easiest time was made from an ethereal Obedience Cryptic Axe. If I do more testing, Obedience will be the golem to beat. This seems to be good news for the concept, as the runes for Obdedience are pretty readily obtainable, although wasting a good socketed base on an Iron Golem is an unappealing prospect.

    -While I was watching the combination of a a Might merc wielding Pride an an Iron Golem made from Obedience, which did work reasonably well in the WSK, it became pretty apparent that I'd really prefer the items to be switched: an Obedience merc with a Pride Iron Golem would be even better (and giving the merc Breath of the Dying would be better still). Building a necromancer around Iron Golem could yield a viable character, but it just isn't as powerful or as versatile as one that builds around a Might merc. There's no reason to try to make Iron Golem the primary killer unless one is just really determined to for some reason, and I guess I'm not.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  2. Mad Mantis

    Mad Mantis D2/3 Necromancer & Witch Doctor Moderator

    Jun 24, 2003
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    Thanks for taking the time to test these things. Interesting read. I'd definitely be interested in further tests on higher player numbers and ideal weapons for the creation of IG dependent on /p#.

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