LoD Corpse Explosion Necromancer Skills and Runes
On this page, we explain how to choose and use your skills when playing LoD Corpse Explosion Necromancer in Diablo 3. Updated for Patch 2.7.6 and Season 29.
|Grim Scythe Cursed Scythe Blood Rush Potency 1 Land of the Dead Frozen Lands 2 Bone Spear Blighted Marrow 3 Corpse Explosion Close Quarters 4 Bone Armor Dislocation|
This build thrives in density and works best when you hunt down elites and organize fights around them, clumping up as many enemies around them as you possibly can before executing your burst. Your first task on any given rift level is to scout around with Blood Rush, gathering monster aggro as you go, and finding priority targets — elites and champions — to start an actual fight with. Once you do, commence your Poison stacking rotation for the Nayr's Black Death buff — starting out with Bone Spear to aggro nearby monsters, then Bone Armor for damage reduction and procs, and cursing the enemy with a swing of Grim Scythe. At the start of the Poison rotation, activate Land of the Dead and demolish everything around you with Corpse Explosion. End your spam just as Land of the Dead is about to expire so you do not waste The Johnstone stacks on non-empowered explosions; save them up for your next LotD burst cycle.
Skills and Runes
Corpse Explosion is your main damage dealer, empowered by various legendary items across your gear and triggering the powers of Nayr's Black Death by using the poisonous rune Close Quarters. Each activation of Corpse Explosion detonates 5 Corpses over a 9 frames per animation cycle, essentially allowing you to stack Grasps of Essence over a singular cast. The skill is solely dependent on having Corpses at your disposal, having no associated Essence cost or internal cooldowns to account for; that being said, Corpses are a huge limiting factor for Explosion and Lance builds, therefore making them reliant on the Land of the Dead cooldown, which gives you limitless Corpses throughout its duration. As noted in the Rotation section above, The Johnstone is another important factor when dealing damage; its 50 stacks of Macabre Knowledge are consumed at a rate of 5 per cast of Corpse Explosion, and timing their use during the 4-second Poison window of Convention of Elements is crucial for the performance of the build. Optimization of The Johnstone benefits requires that you reach specific Attack Speed breakpoints, which are discussed in the Gear page of this guide.
Land of the Dead will grant you the single most important source of Corpses in the build during GR progression, as you gain unlimited use of your Corpse-related skills during its uptime, in turn allowing you massive spam of Corpse Explosion and producing the build's signature burst. The recommended rune is Frozen Lands, as it grants reliable crowd control — useful both for your survivability, as well as proccing the full bonus of Krysbin's Sentence. As stated before, use this just as your Poison Convention of Elements cycle comes up for maximum devastation. Note that in group play, the rune should be swapped out for Plaguelands for the extra stack of Nayr's Black Death.
Grim Scythe Cursed Scythe is one of the most utility-laden skills in the Necromancer arsenal. By default, it has a chance to apply the base effect of all three curses — Decrepify, Leech and Frailty — without the need to slot them on your bar. This will net you the damage reduction benefits of Dayntee's Binding to ensure your survival, and its Poisonous nature will bring you another stack of Nayr's Black Death. Due to the use of Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang in your hand, you guarantee the application of the Curses and attain a valuable damage multiplication bonus on top.
In a LoD build, Bone Armor simply acts as a damage reduction buffer, easily maximized in densely packed rifts. The more important half of the skill comes from the chosen rune, Dislocation — its 2-second stun will provide a moment of respite in the thick of battle, as well as an additional source of Nayr's Black Death, Krysbin's Sentence and Ancient Parthan Defenders (in the group version of the build) procs.
You have one extra skill slot for a Nayr's Black Death, and your most convenient tool will be found in Bone Spear. Its Blighted Marrow rune is Poisonous in nature, and the long reach of the skill will help you pull enemies from afar.
Last but not least, Blood Rush brings mobility to the build — which is vital, since you spend the vast majority of your time in the rift drawing monster attention, evading dangerous affixes and projectiles, and building up the next clump to unleash your cooldowns on. You have some freedom in your rune choice; the default recommendation is the extra defense of Potency, but you can also opt for the double charges of Metabolism, or Molting for the extra Corpse. Note that in group play, this slot will be swapped out for Death Nova Blight for the extra stack of Nayr's Black Death.
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 to trigger it. It works off an internal counter that is unaffected by your current Health state, and its 20% flat reduction of all cooldowns will apply once counter reaches your health reserve equivalent value. With an overarching goal of reducing Land of the Dead downtime at least to a 48 second downtime breakpoint, Blood is Power is all but fixed in passive selection.
Two interconnected passives — Eternal Torment and Spreading Malediction — will work off each other, with the former making curses applied by Cursed Scythe last indefinitely, and the latter — increasing your damage for each afflicted enemy with no apparent cap.
Lastly, since this spec falls into the category of zero minions builds, you can make full use of the Stand Alone passive and its massive Armor bonuses.
- 13 Sep. 2023: Skills and passives reviewed for Season 29.
- 22 Feb. 2023: Skills and passives reviewed for Season 28.
- 26 Aug. 2022: Skills and passives reviewed for Season 27.
- 14 Apr. 2022: Guide reviewed for Season 26.
- 08 Dec. 2021: Minor skill and passive revision.
- 22 Jul. 2021: No changes required for Season 24.
- 01 Apr. 2021: No changes required for Season 23.
- 19 Nov. 2020: Passives changed to accommodate S22-specific changes.
- 02 Jul. 2020: Guide added.
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