Corpse Lance Necromancer Skills and Runes
On this page, we explain how to choose and use your skills when playing Corpse Lance Necromancer in Diablo 3. Updated for Patch 2.7.4 and Season 27.
|Corpse Lance Brittle Touch Blood Rush Molting 1 Devour Voracious 2 Command Skeletons Dark Mending 3 Simulacrum Reservoir 4 Land of the Dead Frozen Lands|
The Pestilence Corpse Lance build spends the majority of a GR progression run scouting with Blood Rush, exploring the rift layout and building up density before activating your major cooldowns. To replenish health as well as buff your damage, you will sic your Command Skeletons with every new engagement. The massive Land of the Dead and 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, which consumes a large amount of nearby Corpses and sends out automatic Corpse Lances at all enemies via the Pestilence set 2-piece bonus.
Skills and Runes
The solitary damage dealer of the build, 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 (generally preferred for higher end content) and the consistent AoE of Ricochet. Regardless of your choice, you will further amplify their damage with the dedicated Corpsewhisper Pauldrons legendary and the skill-agnostic Reilena's Shadowhook and Jesseth's Arms set.
Similarly to the older Trag'Oul spec, 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-heavy nature of a Lance build, you will do best to slot Molting for the extra Corpse.
While 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 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 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 to gain the most out of this massive cooldown.
You will be incorporating a second long cooldown — 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 rune. Do your best to synchronize the activation of Simulacrum and 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, 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 resource cost reduction with the rune Voracious, which in turn reduces damage taken with its interaction with the Cpt. Crimson set. Finalizing your utility picks, Command Skeletons will be added to the build to trigger the skill-agnostic damage bonuses of the Jesseth's Arms set, Jesseth Skullscythe and Jesseth Skullshield. You will also gain a healing side benefit from the Dark Mending rune.
Blood is Power is the Necromancer's take on passives such as Evocation and 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 and Simulacrum downtimes, Blood is Power finds a deserving place in your passive selection.
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 currently active minion.
Your last passive slot is a little more flexible, with our general recommendation being the mobility increase after Corpse consumption from Fueled by Death.
- 26 Aug. 2022: Skills and passives reviewed for Season 27.
- 14 Apr. 2022: Guide reviewed for Season 26.
- 08 Dec. 2021: Minor revision for S25.
- 22 Jul. 2021: No changes required for Season 24.
- 20 Apr. 2021: Minor fix to the skill and passive selection.
- 01 Apr. 2021: No changes required for Season 23.
- 19 Nov. 2020: Adapted skill recommendations for the 4th Cube slot in Season 22.
- 12 Mar. 2020: No changes necessary for Season 20.
- 22 Nov. 2019: Reviewed for Season 19.
- 23 Aug. 2019: Reviewed and approved for Season 18.
- 12 May 2019: Guide was reviewed and approved for Season 17.
- 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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