Corpse Lance Necromancer Skills and Runes

Last updated on Jan 18, 2019 at 09:00 by Deadset 20 comments
General Information

On this page, we explain how to choose and use your skills when playing Corpse Lance Necromancer in Diablo 3. Updated for patch 2.6.4 and Season 16.

Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Corpse Lance Icon Corpse Lance Brittle Touch Brittle Touch Right Mouse Button Blood Rush Icon Blood Rush Molting Molting 1 Devour Icon Devour Satiated Satiated 2 Decrepify Icon Decrepify Borrowed Time Borrowed Time 3 Simulacrum Icon Simulacrum Reservoir Reservoir 4 Land of the Dead Icon Land of the Dead Frozen Lands Frozen Lands
Passive Skills

1. Rotation

The Pestilence Corpse Lance build spends the majority of a GR progression run scouting with Blood Rush Blood Rush, exploring the rift layout and building up density before activating your major cooldowns. To protect yourself as well as buff your damage, you will debilitate the enemy packs you have rounded up with the Decrepify Decrepify curse. The massive Land of the Dead Land of the Dead and Simulacrum Simulacrum cooldowns (used simultaneously) open a period of brief omnipotence on the battlefield, which you will use to dominate any major fight. This is done simply by spamming Devour Devour, which consumes a large amount of nearby Corpses and sends out automatic Corpse Lance Corpse Lances at all enemies via the Pestilence set 2-piece bonus.

2. Skills, Runes and Passives

The solitary damage dealer of the build, Corpse Lance Corpse Lance, launches a powerful homing missile at the expense of consuming a Corpse — a precious resource generated from fallen enemies and limited passive means (discussed below). You have two viable rune options to choose from, the single target-oriented Brittle Touch Brittle Touch (generally preferred for higher end content) and the consistent AoE of Ricochet Ricochet. Regardless of your choice, you will further amplify their damage with the dedicated Corpsewhisper Pauldrons Corpsewhisper Pauldrons legendary and the skill-agnostic Reilena's Shadowhook Reilena's Shadowhook and Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang.

Similarly to the older Trag'Oul spec, Blood Rush Blood Rush remains a strategically important scouting tool that you will use extensively to uncover multiple elites before popping cooldowns, grabbing pylon powers, or simply skipping unfavorable layouts. With the Pestilence set however, you are limited to a single rune, and considering the Devour Devour-heavy nature of a Lance build, you will do best to slot Molting Molting for the extra Corpse.

While Corpse Lance Corpse Lance will not cost you Essence, you will have to pay for it in fresh carcasses. Although they will be generated from felling your foes, you will generally avoid fighting individual enemies and rely on an important Corpse-generating cooldown instead. Land of the Dead Land of the Dead is one of the Necromancer's longest cooldowns, and with good reason — while it is active, you can use Corpse skills at will for a massive spike of damage. We recommend the Frozen Lands Frozen Lands rune for its dependable crowd control (despite the rune wording). Playstyle-wise, make sure to have a good pull of enemies and/or lured elites, as well as an active Simulacrum Simulacrum to gain the most out of this massive cooldown.

As mentioned above, you will be incorporating a second long cooldown — Simulacrum Simulacrum — solely to buff up your damage. While the clone copies your Secondary skills, notice that none of them are taken in this build; the skill is simply taken for the short-term doubling of your Essence pool via the Reservoir Reservoir rune. Do your best to synchronize the activation of Simulacrum Simulacrum and Land of the Dead Land of the Dead, considering their matching downtimes and similar active length.

Two more of your slots will be taken by utility skills. The mirror to Corpse Lance Corpse Lance, Devour Devour, will consume Corpses for the Necromancer's sustain; and due to the Pestilence 2-piece bonus, it will also fire your main damage dealer, making for an absurdly potent combo. Unlike the older Trag'Oul spec, your Lances do not cost you health, so you can focus on amassing a large health pool shield with the rune Satiated Satiated. Finalizing your utility picks, Decrepify Decrepify will bring a sizable damage reduction wall to the build when coupled with the Dayntee's Binding Dayntee's Binding belt. The rune Borrowed Time Borrowed Time will add a significant chunk of cooldown reduction to aid your Land of the Dead Land of the Dead resets. Make sure to constantly refresh and maximize the number of cursed enemies on the battlefield.

This concludes the overview of the Active Skills, now let us look through the Passives.

Stand Alone Stand Alone is a staple passive of non- or low-summoner builds. This Corpse Lance Necro variant will take full advantage of the lack of permanent minions on its side, and enjoys the full 100% armor bonus.

As you upgrade Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard to very high levels and grow accustomed to your overall toughness, you should finalize this slot into the additive damage increase of Spreading Malediction Spreading Malediction, easily stacked with your frequent Decrepify Decrepify casts. At earlier stages of gearing and experience with the build, you can temporarily slot Draw Life Draw Life here: a powerful sustain tool, especially considering the monster grouping tendencies of Lance builds — making it a great tool for the survival of the frail early game Pestilence Lancer.

Blood is Power Blood is Power is the Necromancer's take on passives such as Evocation Evocation and Beacon of Ytar Beacon of Ytar — along with the significant drawback of needing to lose your health reserve equivalent to trigger it. Since it counts off pre-mitigation values however, this passive will trigger from the very flow of gameplay (constant, high damage hits) in any meaningful Greater Rift progression difficulty. With an overarching goal of reducing Land of the Dead Land of the Dead and Simulacrum Simulacrum downtimes, Blood is Power Blood is Power finds a deserving place in your passive selection.

You have a degree of freedom in your final passive slot. Due to using Reilena's Shadowhook Reilena's Shadowhook as means of scaling your damage, our default recommendation is Overwhelming Essence Overwhelming Essence to expand your resource pool. Alternatively, Final Service Final Service is the Necromancer's approach to cheat death passives — a chance to evade a lethal outcome once every 60 seconds, along with a 10% healing proc per minion consumed in the process.

3. Changelog

  • 18 Jan. 2019: Information was reviewed and approved for Season 16 with no changes required.
  • 26 Nov. 2017: Spreading Malediction is now a default choice and Decrepify its alternative.
  • 12 Nov. 2017: Added a passive alteration for an endgame optimized character.
  • 27 Oct. 2017: Guide shifted to suggest Pestilence set as the main setup, and Trag'Oul as a variation.
  • 12 Jul. 2017: Guide updated to reflect the meta shift to Simulacrum.
  • 07 Jul. 2017: Skill recommendations updated.
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