Golem Necromancer Challenge Rift Guide

Introduction

The Corpse Explosion build makes quick work of a solo Challenge Rift. It maximizes AoE damage with its lingering poison granted by Rotspur. You produce those corpses with the 5 skeletons provided by Ever-Grasphing Vestments and by commanding your Molten Golem summoned by Desolatoria to stomp all over hell's minions.

For Group Challenge Rifts you take more of a supportive role. Focusing on using Bone Armor to protect your allies.

This build guide assumes you have a Character at Level 60. Check out the Necromancer 1-60 Leveling Guide and Complete Leveling Guide if you're not there yet!

Great Buffs ✔
Minions For All Situations
Best Ultimate In The Game
Rewards Tactical Play in PvP
Great AoE and Single Target Damage

❌ Lacks Mobility
Can Be Corpse Reliant
Frustrating Summons AI
❌ Vulnerability Without Summons
Many Short-Mid Range Abilities


Class Challenge Rift Builds

Solo Challenge Rifts

Soulfire (Primary) is an amazing source of damage and the Ultimate ability, Hungering Soulfire, is great for both burning down large groups of enemies as well as bosses. Baleful Trinity gives extra Area of Effect (AoE) damage for Soulfire.

Bone Wall combined with Ever-Grasping Vestments is a great source of crowd control and corpses.

Command Golem in its Molten Golem form via Desolatoria is a great tank and source of AoE damage. Use Visitant's Sign so it lasts a bit longer.

Command Skeletons are a great source of single target damage while being quite tanky at the same time.

Corpse Explosion is the main source of damage with its lingering poison granted by Rotspur.

Shepherd's Call to Wolves is the best Set for Necromancers by far! Since your summons are amazing for PvE and increase your Critical Strike Chance!

Alternative Setups

There are a few changes you can make depending on your preferred playstyle:

  • You can trade a bit of damage for a freeze on Corpse Explosion with Lone Preserver.
  • If you do not have at least Shepherd's Call to Wolves (4) Piece set bonuses, you should substitute Command Skeletons with Dark Curse plus Mournful Destroyer for an easy set-it-and-forget-it ground AoE damage ability.

Gameplay

Kite large groups of enemies, staying relatively close in order to explode the corpses of our fallen enemies and allies. The first corpse in a high level Challenge Rift is likely to be the corpse of your Molten Golem. Don't forget to explode it when it falls!

  1. Summon the Molten Golem with Command Golem and run into the rift until you can gather at least 15 enemies to kite in a suitable area that isn't too narrow. Alternatively, keep running until you find the first group of Elite monsters.
  2. Use your Bone Wall to push the enemies into a tight group.
  3. Command your Molten Golem to leap on the enemies.
  4. Kite the enemies in tight circles while spamming Soulfire and the occasional Corpse Explosion. It's hard to see the first corpses hit the ground within a large group.
  5. Continue kiting the enemies through the lingering poison while using every ability as soon as it's off cooldown: Command Golem and it's leap, Bone Wall, Dark Curse, Corpse Explosion, EVERYTHING while continuing to spam Soulfire.
  6. If the Hungering Soulfire is fully charged and the rift progress bar is less than 80% full, use the Ultimate on the next large group of monsters. Else, save it for the Rift Guardian since it's your highest damage skill!
Group Challenge Rifts

Soulfire (Primary) is an amazing source of damage and the Ultimate ability, Hungering Soulfire, is great for both burning down large groups of enemies as well as bosses. Baleful Trinity gives extra Area of Effect (AoE) damage for Soulfire.

Command Golem in its Molten Golem form via Desolatoria is a great tank and source of AoE damage. Use Visitant's Sign so it lasts a bit longer.

Command Skeletons are a great source of single target damage while being quite tanky at the same time..

Bone Armor enhanced by Parting Gift and Graven Bulwark will help keep you, your summons, and your party alive.

Dark Curse is a decent source of damage and blinds the enemies, preventing them from damaging your party. And Linger-Mantle makes the effect last even longer.

Shepherd's Call to Wolves is the best Set for Necromancers by far! Since your summons are amazing for PvE and increase your Critical Strike Chance!

Alternative Setups

There are a few changes you can make depending on your preferred playstyle:

  • If you need some extra damage replace Graven Bulwark with Soulchime and watch your enemies explode for massive damage on death!

Gameplay

For group Challenge Rifts you should take more of a support role and do your best to keep your party alive.

  1. Get close to your party and activate Command Golem to summon your Molten Golem.
  2. Immediately after cast Bone Armor while remaining close to your party and your summons. Reuse this on cooldown going forward.
  3. When you come across packs of enemies, use Dark Curse to damage and blind them.
  4. Activate the Command Golem ability to order your Molten Golem to leap on to the enemies.
  5. Activate the Command Skeletons ability to order your Skeleton Champions to charge toward the enemies.
  6. Use your Soulfire Primary Attack as filler.

Check out our Set Item, Equipment and Challenge Rift guides for more information.


Challenge Rift Tips

Use a build for Challenge Rifts that specializes in clearing groups of enemies and killing Rift Guardians. Bosses can take multiple minutes to kill at high levels. You need enough single target damage to kill them in time. Primary attacks are important for dealing additional damage while your other skills are on cooldown, so choose them wisely. You should be able to use your ultimate at least 3 times in a 10 minute Challenge Rift. Once while clearing and twice on the boss.Fervant Fang is one of the best Legendary Gems for single target damage.


Legendary and Normal Gems

Legendary Gems provide incredible attribute bonuses and unique effects. They are found as a reward after completing an Elder Rift that is enhanced with a Legendary Crest. Many of them are also crafted using Runes and Platinum at the Jeweler in Westmarch.

Read our Legendary Gems Guide for more information.

Starter Legendary Gems
  1. Berserker's Eye provides increased damage in all cases, and increases your damage taken slightly. It's a good trade-off.
  2. Follower's Burden increases both your damage and your summons' damage for each summon you have active. A must for this build!
  3. Everlasting Torment deals incredible damage over time after a Critical Hit. For a simple 1 star Legendary Gem, this packs a punch.
  4. Bloody Reach increases the damage both your and your summons deal the further you are from your enemy. Perfect for a Summoner Necromancer.
  5. Freedom and Devotion lengthens the amount of time both your Command Golem and Skeletal Mage decide to hang around with you. Lovely.
  6. Ca'arsen's Invigoration combines well with the Necromancer's strong primary attack and ultimate ability.
Best in Slot Legendary Gems
  1. Bottled Hope buffs the damage and movement speed for both you, your summons and your allies when you use Bone Armor. A must have in group activities!
  2. Seeping Bile has poison that is devastating in large densities, like in Elder and Challenge Rifts. It also slows enemies affected at higher ranks.
  3. Echoing Shade is a gem that is AMAZING once ranked up. At rank 1 it's a bit weak as it only summons one Shadow Clone, but at later ranks it can summon up to three clones.
  4. Zwenson's Haunting does some decent burst damage when your enemies perish.
  5. Howler's Call has a chance to call a Spirit Wolf while Primary Attacking, which we do a lot of as a Necromancer. It also has a chance to stun enemies when ranked up.
  6. Blessing of the Worthy provides some extra survivability. Another must have for our slow mid-range Necromancer.

Normal Gems

  1. Tourmaline is better than Ruby, since Damage is better than Life.
  2. Sapphire is better than Aquamarine, since Armor Penetration (Critical Hit Damage) is better than Armor (Increased Damage Reduction On Block).
  3. Topaz is slightly better than Citrine, but All Resistance and Potency are both underwhelming attributes. Prefer Topaz over Citrine since you will be hit by crowd controlling effects more often than you will be using them.

Attribute Priorities

Primary Attributes

The Necromancer's main attribute is Intelligence, giving +0.3 Damage per point. All other things equal, use gear with Intelligence to maximize the damage you deal. Vitality is also important for the boosts to your Life pool.

Necromancer's worst attribute is Strength because it only gives +1 OR/DR. If possible, don't use it.

  1. Intelligence +1 Combat Rating and +0.3 Damage.
  2. Fortitude +1 Combat Rating, +0.1 Armor, and +0.1 Armor Penetration. Armor increases damage reduced from a Block, which mitigates a base of 20% of incoming damage. Armor Penetration gives Critical Hit Damage, which is nice if you already have a high Critical Hit Chance.
  3. Vitality +1 Combat Rating and +3 Life. It never hurts to have more life, especially for end game pushes and PvP. Vitality is the best attribute after the damage-dealing ones.
  4. Willpower +1 Combat Rating, +0.1 Potency, and +0.1 Resistance. Potency increases the duration of harmful effects on enemies, while Resistance lowers the duration of harmful effects on you from enemies. Maybe one day in Diablo Immortal these durations will play a larger role, but currently they don't seem to matter much and are never prioritized.
  5. Strength +1 Combat Rating but gives nothing more, making it the worst attribute.

Check out our Attributes Mechanics Guide for more information.

Special Attributes

Because the total amount of primary attributes is so important, you rarely prioritize special attributes on gear. Still, several special attributes can make a difference, here are some of the best ones you can find:

  1. Critical Hit Chance to proc Everlasting Torment attack speed effect at Rank 6.
  2. Damage done by your summons increased to slay even faster!
  3. Damage taken by your summons decreased to increase your summons' survivability.

Check out our full Attribute and Magic Affix Guide and Upgrading and Reforging Guide for more information.

Bonus Attributes, Family Bonus, and Reforging

Family bonuses are hard to change so picking a powerful option is important. Here are some of the best Family Bonuses available for the Necromancer:

  1. Ravager's Family Bonus has a chance to make your enemies corpse explode and deal AoE damage, making it virtually useless in PvP and mediocre at best in PvE. The Family Bonus Attributes on the other hand are great for a Summoner Necromancer, because they have 2 important attribute rolls: Damage done by your summons increased (3.0% - 4.0%) and Damage taken by your summons decreased (3.0% - 4.0%).
  2. Vengeance's Family Bonus is AMAZING for classes that heavily use their Primary Attack, each said attack has a chance to increase All Damage by 100% for 1s. Its Family Bonus Attributes are not ideal though.

For more details, see our Upgrading and Reforging Guide.


Awakening

Focus on Awakening your gear with 1 star Gems at first (Freedom and Devotion, Berserker's Eye, Everlasting Torment etc.). For the Necromancer, we recommend Awakening your items in this order:

1. Legs

  • Sacral Chausses - Bone Wall cooldown decreased by 10%.
  • Graven Bulwark - Bone Armor cooldown decreased by 10%.

2. Shoulders

  • Gravedirt's Weight - Bone Armor cooldown decreased by 10%.
  • Linger-Mantle - Dark Curse cooldown decreased by 10%.
  • Rotspur - Corpse Explosion damage increased by 10%.

3. Chest

  • Exhumant's Backbone - Bone Wall cooldown decreased by 10%.
  • Parting Gift - Bone Armor cooldown decreased by 10%.

4. Off-Hand

  • Pyre's Allure - Bone Wall cooldown decreased by 10%.
  • Life in Balance - Command Skeletons summons Life increased by 10%.

5. Main-Hand

  • Desolatoria - Command Golem damage increased by 10%.
  • Clotburst - Corpse Explosion damage increased by 10%.

6. Head

  • Visitant's Sign - Command Golem cooldown decreased by 10%.
  • Skullveil - Skeletal Mage cooldown decreased by 10%.

Check out our Awakening Guide for more information.


Paragon

For Paragon Points, always prioritize Damage and Life. Remember to activate the Paragon Tree that you want to use. Vanquisher is the best for damage, and Treasure Hunter can be used for a small Experience boost. Avoid activating the Gladiator Tree since its active nodes only work in PvP.

Note: This path is used for all PvE content, but is subject to change on launch as we achieve higher Paragon and see the finalized trees.

Use the Slider to see Paragon 1-150 progression

Once you hit Paragon 150 respec your Paragon Points so you can utilize the more powerful Mastermind tree. Remember to activate the Paragon Tree! From here continue to pick up Life and Damage nodes in the other Paragon Trees.

With this setup you can also activate the Gladiator tree when you PvP. Once you have Mastermind filled in and active you can prioritize picking up the Gladiator tree sooner or later, depending on how much PvP you plan to do.

Use the Slider to see Paragon 150-200 progression

Check out our Paragon Guide for more information.


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Summary

  • Dominate Challenge Rifts, solo or in a group using these builds.
  • Group up your enemies with Bone Wall, then annihilate everything with Corpse Explosion, Command Golem, and Dark Curse.
  • Equip Desolatoria, Mournful Destroyer, Ever-Grasping Vestments, Baleful Trinity and the Shepherd's Call to Wolves set for maximum power.
  • For the Group build pick up Bone Armor, Command Skeletons AND Dark Curse to help your team.
  • Rank up Normal and Legendary Gems for huge bonuses while hunting for a Wildfire Family Bonus.
  • Seek out Critical Hit Chance and Damage Special Attributes with Intelligence and Fortitude Primary Attributes.
  • Awaken gear slots to boost your Corpse Explosion and Command Golem to another level.
  • Accumulate Paragon and invest in all the Damage nodes you can find while picking up key active nodes.
  • Blow up ALL the corpses!

Credits

Written by Gregg2G
Contributions by Facefoot
Reviewed by Facefoot, Raxxanterax


Changelog

Apr 12th 2022
Published Guide.

Jun 15th 2022
Updated from Beta recommendations to Release recommendations.