Rathma Skeletal Mages Necromancer BiS Gear, Gems, and Paragon Points
Below, we detail the items and gems that you should use for your Rathma Skeletal Mages Necromancer in Diablo 3 and why. We also list your paragon points and Kanai's Cube items. Updated for patch 2.6.4 and Season 16.
1. Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives
To preface set roll recommendations, it is important to note that pet-based builds in Diablo 3 (such as this one) benefit greatly from reaching certain attack speed breakpoints, where the attack animation of the skill itself executes faster than it would at a lower Attack Speed rate. In simple terms, to reach the desired 24-frame breakpoint of attack speed on the Skeletal Mages, you will require two attack speed rolls on gear and maxed out Attack Speed in your Paragons, for a minimum of 1.61 Attacks per Second in your sheet. This can easily be achieved through your weapon, Jesseth Skullscythe (since Increased Attack Speed is a natural roll on the item), and a second Attack Speed roll on another suitable piece of gear (gloves or rings), resulting in a minimal loss of other important stats.
For Season 16 adjustments, please refer to our dedicated section below.
The build takes advantage of the Bones of Rathma 6-piece bonus, incorporating all six set pieces — Rathma's Skull Helm, Rathma's Spikes, Rathma's Macabre Vambraces, Rathma's Ribcage Plate, Rathma's Skeletal Legplates and Rathma's Ossified Sabatons — and leaving the jewelry slots for purely offensive options. Rolls-wise, this Skeletal Mage-centric setup works best with a spread of skill, attack speed and area damage bonuses. Skeletal Mage % increase is a possible roll on Rathma's Skull Helm and Rathma's Ossified Sabatons, and it is recommended to seek it out on both. Area Damage is the desirable fourth primary stat on both Rathma's Spikes and Rathma's Macabre Vambraces. Rathma's Ribcage Plate and Rathma's Skeletal Legplates can be dedicated entirely to toughness.
By taking all six pieces of the Rathma set, you can dedicate your jewelry to powerful damage combinations. Haunted Visions is a Necromancer-specific amulet that doubles the duration of your Simulacrum summon at a minor health cost — a paltry requirement for the damage bonuses you get out of Reservoir.
Your first ring, Convention of Elements, is a progression staple that provides damage bonuses for the various elements in cycles — so make sure to have as many Skeletal Mages out as possible during the Physical proc. Your second ring slot will ideally be taken by a Necromancer-specific legendary, Krysbin's Sentence, whose effect doubles your damage against targets affected by a Slow, and triples the bonus if you affect enemies with any other form of CC — a mighty effect that you will trigger with a combination of Sudden Impact, Freezing Grasp and Land of the Dead. Note that either of these rings is interchangeable with the cube recommendation, Circle of Nailuj's Evol, depending on your better rolled item.
The best-in-slot belt for the build when pushing Greater Rifts is the glass cannon favorite, The Witching Hour. What this belt lacks in unique properties, it makes up in unique rolls: it is the only item in the slot that can roll Attack Speed and Critical Damage. Both stats are immensely beneficial to your damage output, so seek as close to the maximum 7 IAS and 50 Crit Damage as you can.
Lacking a specific bracer and benefiting greatly from quick resource generation, the Singularity Necromancer offers the perfect environment for Reaper's Wraps. Notably, this bracer is crafted rather than dropped, making it somewhat easier to perfect. The recipe for its creation drops off the Act V final boss, Malthael.
The preferred weapon and offhand combination for the build is the Jesseth set, Jesseth Skullscythe and Jesseth Skullshield. The set's powers assist your resource management by requiring you to only activate Command Skeletons once per major engagement, and add a massive damage multiplication incentive to your minions in doing so. Note the ability of Jesseth Skullscythe to roll a bonus to maximum Essence in its secondary stats, and strive to obtain it to gain the most from Reilena's Shadowhook.
1.1. Season 16 Adjustments
During Season 16 (and in seasonal play only), you will be getting the benefits of Ring of Royal Grandeur passively, without the need to wear it. For the Skeletal Mage Necromancer builds, this allows you to double dip on offense and defense.
In order for that to happen, you will need to replace Rathma's Macabre Vambraces with Tasker and Theo — with as good of a roll of the latter as you can get, as its unique bonus is highly influential on your DPS. This change frees up your armor Cube slot, which can be taken by another utility legendary. In lower Greater Rifts, where speed trumps any other consideration, you can fill the slot with Nemesis Bracers; when high GR progression is on the line, however, you will do well to take Requiem Cereplate, a staple of Devour-heavy builds.
2. Paragon Points
Bane of the Trapped is a potent source of additional damage, as it is its own multiplier in your total damage calculation. You will be proccing this gem consistently with your Bone Spikes Sudden Impact stun.
Enforcer is a pet-oriented gem that both increases your summons' damage multiplicatively and lessens the damage they take. This secondary bonus grows in value during Greater Rift progression, where summons start taking considerable amounts of damage and die on a regular basis.
Zei's Stone of Vengeance is another independent multiplier, whose range-dependent amplification can be easily maxed out by the long reach of Skeletal Mages. The level 25 property will add some minor control and safety to the build, as well as another proc for Bane of the Trapped and Krysbin's Sentence.
|Torso and Pants|
4. Kanai's Cube
The Weapon slot in the Cube will be occupied by Reilena's Shadowhook, whose power scales your damage multiplicatively based on your maximum Essence. This places a strong emphasis on expanding your resource pool via Overwhelming Essence, maxing resource in Paragons and attaining a high max Essence in the secondary stats of Jesseth Skullscythe.
A long-standing pet staple, Tasker and Theo are cubed in the Armor slot for their 50% multiplicative Attck Speed bonus to your summons.
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.
- 18 Jan. 2019: Added suggestions for the baseline Ring of Royal Grandeur for Seasonal characters.
- 27 Oct. 2017: Revised belt and jewelry recommendations for Patch 2.6.1.
- 17 Jul. 2017: Guide updated with improved skill and gearing recommendations.
- 05 Jul. 2017: Gear recommendations updated.
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