Rathma Army of the Dead Necromancer BiS Gear, Gems, and Paragon Points
Below, we detail the items and gems that you should use for your Rathma Army of the Dead Necromancer in Diablo 3 and why. We also list your paragon points and Kanai's Cube items. Updated for Patch 2.7.5 and Season 28.
Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives
The build includes the complete set bonuses of the Bones of Rathma set, taking five of the six available pieces and mixing its powers with the craftable Captain Crimson set, which adds its own angle of damage mitigation and damage amplification to the build via scaling from resource cost- and cooldown reduction, respectively. In order to take advantage of the full powers of both sets you will have to, naturally, use a Ring of Royal Grandeur in the Cube to lower the required amount of worn set pieces by one.
Rolls-wise, this build relies greatly on Cooldown Reduction and Area Damage rolls, with a minor investment in both Resource Cost Reduction and Attack Speed to reach certain quality of life thresholds, as described in the breakpoints section below. Rathma's Ribcage Plate, Captain Crimson's Thrust and Rathma's Ossified Sabatons can be dedicated entirely to Toughness stats. Cooldown Reduction should be present on both Rathma's Spikes (alongside Toughness stats) and Rathma's Macabre Vambraces (alongside Crit stats) to match the steep CDR demands of the build. Rathma's Skull Helm is another immense source of Toughness with its massive Intelligence and Vitality rolls, but as usual — it should also feature Crit Chance.
Another set dedicated to summoner playstyles will occupy your weapon and off-hand slots; the Jesseth Arms armaments, Jesseth Skullscythe and Jesseth Skullshield. Their massive damage multiplier fits squarely with the Command Skeletons-wielding nature of the build, cementing their inclusion in the build. The innate Attack Speed roll on the Jesseth Skullscythe is quite helpful, as it brings half of the required IAS to the build by itself. A nicely rolled Jesseth Skullshield will be much harder to attain however, as a great one will include Crit Chance, Cooldown Reduction AND Resource Cost Reduction, with a potential godly roll coming with Elite Damage increase on top.
Your jewelry slots are best spent on a thoroughly damage-oriented triumvirate. Krysbin's Sentence is a Necromancer staple that multiplies damage against soft crowd controlled enemies, and amplifies it even further against hard crowd controls — a multiplier that will be under your control with carefully timed use of the Bone Armor Dislocation active effect. Convention of Elements is a timing sensitive damage multiplication staple that will bring massive burst during the appropriate (in this case, Physical) elemental cycle. Lastly, Squirt's Necklace adds another massive damage multiplier, albeit with a hefty drawback — its loss when you take a hit, plus a hefty increase in damage taken. This glass cannon favorite necessitates careful play and positioning to minimize potential threats to your Necromancer.
Lastly, Bonds of C'Lena is a Rathma-dedicated bracer that provides yet another damage multiplier for both skills that the set revolves around; in this case, you will be taking advantage of the Army of the Dead portion of its powers.
Desired Stats, Breakpoints and Other Notes
In your Offense stats, strive to obtain Cooldown Reduction on all the gear pieces that are able to roll it (Weapon, Off-Hand Shoulders, Gloves and both Rings) with the exception of the Amulet, as you will lose other, more valuable stats. Attaining Resource Cost Reduction can be considered gravy on top, but a roll on the Off-Hand or Shoulders can be considered beneficial. As previously noted, you should make a minor investment in Increased Attack Speed in order to reach the 1.6 APS breakpoint of Command Skeletons, since the Army of the Dead cooldown resets hinge on their attacks as well; thankfully, two items are sufficient, and both come naturally on desired items in this build — Jesseth Skullscythe (and remember, weapon attack speed rolls are multiplicative in nature) and Krysbin's Sentence. Area Damage will benefit the build, but can be hard to fit due to the already wide spread of beneficial stats.
For Defense stats, aim for a life pool of 700k and above, which should be attainable with a traditional spread of Vitality and Life % rolls on gear, as well as a generous helping in your core Paragon points section. This build is relatively squishy (like many Necromancers are) and will benefit from at least a single Life per Hit roll, i.e. on the bracer.
All augmentations on gear should be done with your main stat, Intelligence.
Note that the stat suggestions below portray an ideally rolled item with stats listed in relative order of importance. The first four of them are main stats, and the latter two — secondary stats. If your item lacks and is unable to be re-rolled into the primary stats outlined below, especially for a stat higher on the list, strongly consider its replacement. Perfecting Secondary stats is mostly a case of hyper-optimization and is not a case for discarding an item, except where noted.
To help you with farming the gear you need for your builds, we have two very useful guides that you can access by clicking the links below: a Salvage Guide to help you quickly check whether or not you can safely salvage a piece of gear and a Legendary Farming Guide to help you efficiently farm legendaries and set items.
Season 28: Altar of Rites
Season 28 comes with the theme of the Altar of Rites — a powerful new account-wide and Season-specific progression system that brings tremendous offensive and defensive buffs to every seasonal character. For virtually all builds and players of all skill levels — from casual to advanced — we recommend progressing through the Altar tree using the path outlined below. The suggested path is geared towards maximum quality of life first, then amplifying damage, and then mopping up the tree with defensive and edge case utility nodes.
Note that while they require reaching them with a Seal, Legendary Potion Powers are not part of the Seal cost system; Potions unlock with a separate resource called Primordial Ashes, obtained from salvaging Legendary or Set items of Primal (red bordered) quality. Upgrade them as soon as possible, and in the order shown below (courtesy of Caleko's Altar of Rites planner).
You can read more on the Altar of Rites, Seals and Legendary Potion Powers in our dedicated Altar of Rites Mechanics guide.
In the Core section, max out Movement Speed to the 25% cap. Normally this is done by dumping the first 50 Core Paragon points into Movement Speed, but if your boots have an imperfect roll with Movement Speed as a stat that you cannot replace, adjust the necessary point investment accordingly by simply subtracting your roll from the 25% max. After that, dump as much as you comfortably can into Intelligence, but feel free to invest into Vitality if you feel yourself lacking in toughness. Adding to Maximum Essence should not be necessary.
In the Offense section, max out Cooldown Reduction, Attack Speed, Crit Chance and Crit Damage, in that order. In Defense, prioritize Armor, then Life %, then All Resistance, and finish off with Life Regeneration. In Utility, build up Area Damage and Life on Hit first, then finish off with Resource Cost Reduction and Globe Radius.
Bane of the Trapped is a potent source of additional damage, as it is its own multiplier in your total damage calculation. You will attain its benefits from the gem's own level 25 property when in melee range (as you swing Grim Scythe, see Skills page), as well as the Bone Armor Dislocation stun and the myriad forms of crowd control spread by your follower.
Your second jewelry socket will be taken by Gogok of Swiftness, whose Increased Attack Speed, Cooldown Reduction, and scaling Dodge bonuses all bring massive value to the build.
You face some choices in your third and final jewelry slot; our base recommendation is to go all out on damage with the inclusion of Zei's Stone of Vengeance, which is another separate damage multiplier that scales your DPS based on distance from the enemy. If you decide the build is too glassy to be fun to play, you can swap this slot out for a protective option like Esoteric Alteration or Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard, which should make at least Squirt's Necklace maintenance not that big of a pain.
|Torso and Pants||
For more information about gems, please refer to our guide on gems.
Although other options are present (such as scaling your damage around Essence via Reilena's Shadowhook and around Poison with Nayr's Black Death), our base recommendation as the most well-rounded option is the Siphon Blood-dependent Funerary Pick. This item skyrockets the viability of Siphon Blood as an Essence generator, providing a massive 300% damage multiplier against affected targets, and double that against singular foes. It also amplifies the effects of the Power Shift rune and spreads its buff to all of your skills, resulting in a near-omnipotent Essence generation skill.
Another cornerstone legendary of the Army of the Dead build, Fate's Vow brings a sizable additive damage increase (hence the incentive to exclude skill damage rolls on gear, as it falls in the same category) to this skill, plus granting you the highest base damage rune, Unconventional Warfare, for free.
As previously mentioned, in order to take advantage of the amalgamation of the Bones of Rathma and Captain Crimson's Trimmings sets together, you will need to complete their bonuses with a Ring of Royal Grandeur in the jewelry slot of the Cube.
The Kanai's Cube can be used for much more than simply extracting Legendary powers from items. Please refer to our Kanai's Cube guide for more information.
The recommended follower for this build during solo GR progression is the Enchantress, due to her increased attack speed bonuses (helpful for the attack speed breakpoint-reliant methods of dealing damage in this build) via Focused Mind, as well as the cooldown reduction bonus from Prophetic Harmony and damage reduction from Powered Shield.
For more information regarding followers, we advise you to read our Follower Guide, which contains detailed advice for choosing the skills and the gear of your follower.
Your recommended potion is Bottomless Potion of the Unfettered, which renders you immune to Crowd Control effects for a brief time after consuming it — valuable bonus to a build that lacks means to break away from CC outside of straight up evasion via Blood Rush.
- 22 Feb. 2023: Added Season 28 Altar of Rites recommendations.
- 26 Aug. 2022: Guide revised to reflect Funerary Pick changes, and added Season 27 Angelic Crucible recommendations.
- 14 Apr. 2022: Guide reviewed for Season 26.
- 08 Dec. 2021: Added Season 25 Soul Shard recommendations.
- 22 Jul. 2021: Added S24 Ethereal recommendation.
- 29 Mar. 2021: Guide added.
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