The Nightmare: A Dream-using Meleemancer Build for Ladder Welcome to the Nightmare guide, an outline of a necromancer character whose style of play and . . . well, overall style is new, different, and effective! Be forewarned that this build is based around a LOT of expensive stuff, so it wonâ€™t be attainable for new players or those with limited trade â€œbank accounts.â€ Itâ€™s also based on ladder-only equipment â€“ moreâ€™s the pity, but we donâ€™t get the same cool toys off-ladder! As you may have all ready guessed, the main focus of this build is the ever-popular new ladder runeword Dream. Here are itâ€™s basic statistics: Dream Helms, Shields (3 sockets): Io, Jah, Pul 10% Chance to Cast Slvl 15 Confuse when Struck Slvl 15 Holy Shock Aura when Equipped +20-30% Faster Hit Recovery +30% Enhanced Defense +150-220 Defense +10 to Vitality Increase Maximum Life 5% +0.625 Mana Per Clvl All Resistances +5-20 15-25% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items Nice little piece of work, eh? Now hereâ€™s the trick: the Nightmare is based off of one simple idea: lowering resists. The key to lowering resists is twofold. With regular monsters, any lowering of their resists equals a raise in the elemental (or poison â€“ more on the difference between these two categories of damage later) damage you deal to a target. The twofold aspect of resists comes into play when dealing with immunes. Now as any Poisonmancer can tell you, there are two parts to â€œbreakingâ€ (the term used for making a normally immune monster vulnerable to an attack) an immune monster. Even with a perfect (-50% to enemy resists) Deathâ€™s Web socketed with a perfect poison facet (another â€“5%), the three-piece Trang Oulâ€™s set (gloves, shield, and belt, adding a set bonus of â€“25% to enemy poison resists to the shield), a perfect poison facet in the shield and another in a helm, you CAN NOT damage poison immunes. The secret is a little skill called Lower Resist. If you cast Lower Resist on an immune and THEN, using your â€œlowers enemy resistâ€ gear, cast Poison Nova, most Poison Immune monsters will turn green and, eventually, die (provided your poison skills are high enough to do decent damage, of course). The key is that skill damage is applied first, and can â€œbreakâ€ the immunity â€“ taking a monster from, say, 130% resistance to 100%. The key here is that when you break a monster, it always takes the critter to 100% - just under the immunity limit. Thus in order to damage it afterwards you need lower resist gear. All right! Lectureâ€™s over, so here comes the build! THE NIGHTMARE Since there are three different layouts Iâ€™ll detail here and the skills you use for each will depend on the equipment they use, Iâ€™ll start with equipment. I wonâ€™t go into extreme detail on the specifics of each item, as that information is easily available in a number of different places. I will try putting links to the information throughout, however. NIGHTMARE: VISION OF THE REAPER This variant is named for his appearance â€“ he wields a giant scythe for mowing his enemies down. His face is masked by an emotionless skull, its hollowed eye sockets emptily staring into his victimâ€™s souls. He is cloaked in a green mist, and the very sight of him saps his enemies will to fight, leaching the strength from their limbs, leaving them naked and helpless before the slicing arc of his blade. This version of the Nightmare is a new take on a Meleemancer, and will require the following: Helm: Dream I suggest putting this in a Bone Visage or Grim Helm â€“ the resulting effect with a scythe-wielding necromancer canâ€™t be beaten . . . as youâ€™ll soon see. The Holy Shock aura will add 1-648 lightning damage to your attack, in addition to doing a small amount in a pulse to everything within 13.3 yards of the character. It also adds a handy bonus to resists, faster hit recovery, good defense, and extra life â€“ whatâ€™s not to like? Weapon: Infinity (Giant Thresher) Though this runeword is commonly used as a mercenary weapon for elemental-damage based characters, this version of the Nightmare uses it as a primary weapon. Some of you may complain that the build will be more effective if this item is on a mercernary, allowing the Necro himself to equip skills boosting gear. This is true, but part of this build is style â€“ he looks awesome! Also, I have included two versions of the Nightmare build which use this item on a mercenary â€“ this is a build specifically designed for the Necro himself wielding it. Anyway, on to the description: this is a NASTY weapon! It will activate around your necromancer a level 12 Conviction aura, lowering your enemies resists by 85% and their defense by 83%. This will make all your enemies INCREDIBLY vulnerable to the lv. 15 Holy Shock aura from the Dream helm, especially as the polearm carries another â€“55% to enemy lightning resists above and beyond the aura! Further, it will up your hit rate as a Necromancer â€“ especially important as Necros, as often noted, have very few good ways of gaining enough attack rating to hit enemies with weapons. It also has 40% Crushing Blow â€“ a premium modifier for any melee weapon, a bonus to Vitality based on character level, and, last but not least, charges of level 21 Cyclone Armor (which, in combination with Bone Armor, makes for a very well-defended Necro!). I recommend building it in a Giant Thresher for two reasons: first, itâ€™s one of the fastest polearms around, and second (and more importantly, in my opinion), it makes you look like the Grim Reaper! Boots: Marrowwalks Another must-have. The reason is twofold â€“ first, the bonus to Skeleton Mastery, and second, the charge bug. The charge bug means that with a single skill point investment in Bone Armor your character, without ANY +skills equipment, has a 515 point damage shield between him and any melee opponents. This is the best choice you can make - period. Armor: Enigma This is up for debate, but I chose it for several reasons. First and foremost, Teleport is an indispensible skill for a necromancer. It allows for quick movement, for both getting where you want to go and escaping in a hurry. Furthermore, when you have summons, it provides an amazing benefit â€“ something commonly known as â€œsummon stacking.â€ Summon stacking refers to an effect that occurs when you teleport with a character who has a number of summoned creatures, and is a quality commonly exploited by dueling â€œwindy druidsâ€: when you port, your summons are all teleported with you, ending up in a group surrounding you. This means that whatever hits you right after a â€œbamfâ€ will hit your summons first. This seemingly insignificant bonus can make the difference between life and death when youâ€™re fleeing at low health from a nasty Hell boss pack. Finally, thereâ€™s the strength bonus Enigma offers, which, if in an appropriate armor (dusk shroud anyone?), can easily take care of all your stat point worries. Marrowwalks, the boots of choice for any necro, require 110 strength to wear, and Enigma can get you there without breaking a sweat. +2 skills and the other mods are just icing on the proverbial cake. Belt: Here we have some leeway. One of the top choices, as always, will have to be the ever popular Arachnidâ€™s Mesh, the only belt in the game that offers a plus to skills. Another top choice which might surprise some is Siggardâ€™s Stealth/Nosferatuâ€™s Coil, the handy belt which ups IAS, gives life leech, a bonus of 15 points to strength, and slows the target of your attacks. I like this one best, personally; especially since you can hit 13 fps with a total of +50% IAS (20 from gloves, 20 from Highlords, 10 from Nosâ€™s Coil). Other options include Goldwrap (IAS again), Trang Oulâ€™s Girth, T-Gods (for the lightning absorb and stat boosts), Verdungoes (if you go toe-to-toe a lot!), String of Ears . . . the list goes on. Use what you have here â€“ itâ€™s one of the few places this build wonâ€™t demand a certain item to the exclusion of all others. Amulet and Rings: These slots are slightly more open to debate. Due to their sheer skill bonus handiness, I recommend a Bul Kathoâ€™s, a Ravensfrost, and a Highlordâ€™s. The BK adds life, life leech, and skills, and the Ravensfrost adds much-needed AR, Dex, and the all-important â€œCannot Be Frozenâ€ modifier. Maraâ€™s is also an option, but the IAS from the Highlordâ€™s (in addition to the lightning damage â€“ deadly on a character wielding Infinity!) makes it an excellent choice for a Meleemancer. The effect will be quite nice! Of course, you can always swap stuff out for nice rares with +resist all, +skills â€“ whatever. Gloves: Once again, there are options here. My top choice is Lavagouts, for the IAS and the chance to cast lv. 10 Enchant (upping your characterâ€™s AR and damage nicely â€“ especially with how vulnerable to elemental damage your enemies will be). Of course, there are many other viable options â€“ if you donâ€™t mind a slower swing and want to cast more Poison Novas, you can always go with Trang Oulâ€™s Claws (good in combo with the belt!).