Necromancer Pestilence Master's Shroud Fresh 70 Starter Build (Patch 2.7.6 / Season 29)
This build is a starter build for fresh Level 70 Necromancers who have access to the Pestilence Master's Shroud set.
This guide is part of our Necromancer Seasonal Progress Guide, which also includes a leveling build and other early builds for fresh 70 characters.
The Pestilence starting build gradually moulds the leveling build towards a heavy emphasis on Corpse consumption, which the set requires in order to function and thrive. The suggestions below drop traditional Essence generator skills early on, but if you are uncomfortable with a purely cooldown-centric playstyle, you can keep such around for as long as you need to.
The following build assumes you will assemble the build in 2-piece increments, similarly to how Haedrig's Gift would dole the set out. Haderig's Gift is a seasonal participation reward that gives you a full class-specific set as you complete Chapters II, III and IV of the Seasonal Journey (accessible via the leaf-shaped icon in the top right corner). The cadence of early natural character progression is also not too far off the listed strategy, so even if the set is not part of Haedrig's Gift, you can put the advice below to good use.
Build at the 2-piece Bonus
|Grim Scythe Cursed Scythe Corpse Lance Ricochet 1 Command Golem Flesh Golem 2 Devour Devouring Aura 3 Blood Rush Molting 4 Land of the Dead Frozen Lands|
At the 2-piece Pestilence bonus, you gain a free Corpse Lance every time you consume a Corpse. You likely won't have any bonuses for the skill yet, but it will supplement your damage nicely as you clean up enemies with a combination of Grim Scythe and active use of Command Golem. The rune Flesh Golem will provide a steady source of Corpse generation on the battlefield while you wait for the considerable Land of the Dead downtime. Once LotD is up, you have a brief period of omnipotence on the battlefield, so use it to take down massive fights and/or important targets like the Rift Guardian.
At this point, no additional helpful legendary items are assumed. You might have lucked out during the leveling journey (especially if you followed the gambling and crafting advice in our Seasonal Guide), or in your first couple of farming sessions with items such as:
- Damage scaling Two-handed Scythes — if you followed our advice, there is a strong chance you upgraded a rare Two-handed Scythe into either Nayr's Black Death or Reilena's Shadowhook. These two will be your luckiest options, as they will scale a Corpse Lance build directly — Nayr by stacking Poison skills into your build, and Reilena's through your Essence reserve. Cube either of the two, ideally Nayrs, and your character immediately catapults ahead in difficulties they can handle.
- Skill-specific Two-handed Scythes — if you upgraded into Bloodtide Blade, you can use Death Nova Blight for a rotation-opening nuke to create Corpses for Corpse Lance. The same applies to Maltorius' Petrified Spike — simply change to Bone Spear Blighted Marrow.
- Razeth's Volition can be gambled at level 19 and while they are far more useful to a Skeletal Mage summoner considering the runes they provide, they are also a very solid damage reduction piece as long as you do not stay at full Essence. In an ideal case scenario, you will have a Nayr's Black Death cubed and will use Skeletal Mage Contamination as a Poison proc plus some additional damage, in the place of Command Golem.
- Circle of Nailuj's Evol can be gambled at level 1. If you luck into it, get Extended Servitude over Commander of the Risen Dead and use Skeletal Mage Contamination as a secondary source of damage in Command Golem's place.
Build at the 4-piece Bonus
|Bone Armor Harvest of Anguish Corpse Lance Ricochet 1 Command Golem Flesh Golem 2 Devour Devouring Aura 3 Blood Rush Molting 4 Land of the Dead Shallow Graves|
At the 4-piece Pestilence bonus, you get a massive increase in your survivability and can drop the stun proc from Dislocation for some additional mobility with Harvest of Anguish. Of course, depending on your confidence in your damage and/or the existence of Nayr's Black Death in your build, you can stick to the Poisonous rune and make up the mobility elsewhere.
A good candidate for these mobility gains is also in your Blood Rush rune, which you can swap from the protective Potency to the additional charge of Metabolism. Another speed-and-efficiency oriented swap is to exchange Command Golem for Bone Spear Blighted Marrow. You lose the extra Corpses but gain a long range skill that is very efficient in aggroing enemies, and will get you used to the Spear's synergy with your (future) 6-piece bonus. You also get a Nayr stacking skill, if applicable.
At this point, it is not unreasonable to assume you have lucked into In-geom, Messerschmidt's Reaver, or both. These items will massively improve the quality of life of any Land of the Dead-reliant build, such as this one. If you are not leaning heavily on Krysbin's Sentence to prop up your damage (if you even have one at this point), but you have the aforementioned CDR items, you can consider making an early swap into Shallow Graves for even more LotD mayhem.
Build at the 6-piece Bonus
|Bone Armor Harvest of Anguish Corpse Lance Ricochet 1 Bone Spear Blighted Marrow 2 Devour Cannibalize 3 Blood Rush Molting 4 Land of the Dead Shallow Graves|
At the 6-piece Pestilence bonus, you get a massive damage increase to both Corpse Lance and Bone Spear, as well as the empowering mechanic between Corpse consumption and throwing out Spears. In reality, all it does is encourage you to keep using a (perfected) version of the 4-piece build, as you lean more and more into Land of the Dead reliance to clear screenfuls of enemies.
You can still keep as many Poisonous procs in your build as you feel the need to, referring to the iterations of the build above. You should, however, increase convenience factors in your build. With the dual CDR engine of In-geom and Messerschmidt's Reaver you can pump out Land of the Dead at an overlapping pace, assisted by the longer lasting Shallow Graves rune and the Blood is Power passive.
Please refer to our endgame Pestilence Corpse Lance Necromancer guide to get an in-depth explanation of the necessary rotation, skills, passives, gear and gems, as well as details like stat priorities and breakpoints that will get this beginner Corpse Lance build into endgame Greater Rift pushing.
How to Get This Build Going?
In this section, we will briefly go over how to kickstart this build into reality; which items you should aim for with priority when farming and gambling, and what is their relative priority for the functioning of this spec. Note that these suggestions are exclusively aimed at getting you up and running into endgame farming, and might not reflect the gear you need to wear for high-end Greater Rift solo or group pushing. This section also assumes a fresh Season's start, which usually is the point where most players work on assembling their first build with a particular set.
If the Pestilence set is part of the Haedrig's Gift for the Season, your simplest and most straightforward path to assembling the build is to complete the Seasonal Journey chapters up to Chapter IV. The Seasonal Journey chapters will gradually give you a complete class-specific set, giving 2-3 pieces for Chapters II, III and IV.
From the pre-game menu, choose and do this week's Challenge Rift. When successfully completed, this weekly event will grant you 5,1 million Gold, 475 Blood Shards, 370 Reusable Parts, 350 Arcane Dust, 125 Veiled Crystals, 35 Death's Breaths, and 15 of each Bounty cache material: Khanduran Rune, Caldeum Nightshade, Arreat War Tapestry, Corrupted Angel Flesh, and Westmarch Holy Water. This will allow you some early Seasonal leeway to extract and reforge items in Kanai's Cube, speeding up the assembly of this build with the items recommended below.
Having some materials at your disposal, either from farming or the Challenge Rift, is particularly important when you get duplicate pieces of your desired set. When you do, you can use Kanai's Cube Skill of Nilfur recipe (10x Forgotten Souls, 10x Death's Breaths, 1x Set item) to convert into another item from the same set. You should never salvage duplicate pieces of a desired set before you have it assembled.
In order to assemble an Pestilence Corpse Lance Necromancer, you should do the following.
- Gather the full 6-piece Pestilence set using the advice above, or by spending Blood Shards at Kadala. In order of gamble chance, you should spend for: Shoulders, Boots, Pants, Gloves, Helm, and Chest. A trick you can also use is to gamble for duplicate pieces with an easier gamble chance (i.e., Shoulders) and convert them into another piece from the same set using the Skill of Nilfur recipe in Kanai's Cube.
- Gamble or upgrade rare (Hope of Cain recipe in Kanai's Cube) Shoulders for Corpsewhisper Pauldrons. They are a build-defining piece for Corpse Lance Necromancers, and tie directly into the Corpse consumption mechanic of the Pestilence set.
- Upgrade rare One-handed Swords to get In-geom; doing this on a level 1 Demon Hunter alt will improve your chances due to their lowest loot pool of legendary swords. Then, upgrade rare Two-handed Axes for Messerschmidt's Reaver. Both these items are a massive boost to your farming due to the massive Land of the Dead cooldown.
- Upgrade rare One-handed Scythes for Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang and rare Two-handed Scythes for Reilena's Shadowhook and/or Nayr's Black Death. These are damage-scaling items that will take the build into GRs and allow you to progress the build on the leaderboards.
- Gamble Belts to get Dayntee's Binding and Goldwrap; both are cornerstone protective pieces that will keep you safe in GRs (the former) and standard rifts (the latter).
- Gamble Boots to get Steuart's Greaves for a massive speed boost during farming.
- Do Act I bounties to attain the act-specific Ring of Royal Grandeur from Bounty caches. This will be helpful either in completing the basic set bonus, or mixing other helpful sets in (Cpt. Crimson) as described in the Inarius Corpse Lance Gear page. Bounties will net you the craftable set recipes to begin with, so you will be killing two birds with one stone. Bounties will also net you Avarice Band (Act III), another farming-oriented staple for most builds and classes, this one included.
- While largely undesirable due to high costs, gambling or upgrading rare Jewelry is also possible; Krysbin's Sentence, Convention of Elements, Squirt's Necklace and The Johnstone will all bring massive damage bumps to the build, with other standout pieces that can also substitute or be temporarily helpful in the face of Briggs' Wrath, Unity, or Oculus Ring and The Flavor of Time for your Follower.
- 15 Sep. 2023: Reviewed for Season 29.
- 22 Feb. 2023: Reviewed for Season 28.
- 14 Apr. 2022: Revamped for Season 26.
- 10 Dec. 2021: Reviewed for Season 25.
- 23 Jul. 2021: Reviewed for Season 24.
- 02 Apr. 2021: Reviewed for Season 23.
- 13 Mar. 2020: Reviewed for Season 20.
- 22 Nov. 2019: Page added.
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