Season 24 Ethereals Mechanics Guide
This page contains an overview of Ethereal items that were added as a seasonal mechanic in Season 24, going in-depth with explanations of their mechanics and inner workings.
Overview and General Introduction
The Ethereal items are introduced as a Seasonal Theme mechanic in Season 24 to honor the release of the Diablo II: Resurrected remaster on September 23rd 2021. Ethereals in Season 24 are not reproducing the ethereal item mechanics from the venerated Diablo II game, but present a supremely powerful item tier in their own right, one that is is a nod to the past in name only.
This guide goes over the mechanics of Ethereal items; if you are interested in learning about the possible strategies for their acquisition, check out our Ethereal farming guide.
The Ethereals in their current form are 21 signature weapons from Diablo's past, reimagined as (mostly) BiS items for the duration of the Season. The irreversible durability loss mechanic that is associated with D2 ethereals will be emulated with the disappearance of the S24 ethereal items at season's end. Collecting all 21 items will reward the patient player with a Feat of Strength, Ethereal Recollection, and will unlock the transmogrification options for these weapons for all future Seasons and non-seasonal adventures.
Ethereals in Season 24 are a unique, season-specific weapon type with unique art, assets and sounds that evoke their Diablo II appearances. To emphasize their unique appearance, Ethereals cannot be traded or transmogrified. Rolls-wise, Ethereals are able to roll from a subset of fixed item affixes, and will also include a random legendary weapon power and random Passive skill power of the respective class. Upgrade-wise, they cannot be re-rolled at the Mystic, but can be socketed via Ramaladni's Gift and augmented with Caldesann's Despair recipe for additional stats. A character is only able to equip one Ethereal item at a time.
There are three Ethereals per class, with an average drop chance of 1%, with minor variance between the classes; it is important to note that Ethereals are not a rarity tier like Ancients or Primals, and are subject to the regular drop table of items, with a lessened drop chance. Due to that fact you can abuse a low level farming strategy to force their drop, since lower level characters have a smaller pool of loot to draw from.
- The Grandfather
- Astreon's Iron Ward
- The Redeemer
- Khalim's Will
- Buriza-Do Kyanon
- Bartuc's Cut-Throat
- Jade Talon
- Shadow Killer
- Blackbog's Sharp
- Soul Harvest
- Blackhand Key
- Arioc's Needle
- The Gidbinn
- Mang Song's Lesson
- The Oculus
Sadly not all classes benefit from Ethereals equally, and certainly not all builds can benefit from their existence — i.e. Impale Demon Hunters rely on a melee weapon, and Demon Hunters do not have a melee Ethereal. With that being said, most builds do gain considerable power from the introduction of this item subtype, so most classes have a strong incentive to join the Ethereal hunt!
Ethereal Item Mechanics
Weapon Type Explained
Despite their naming conventions which follow the Diablo II counterparts, Season 24 Ethereals use weapon bases from the standard Diablo III arsenal enhanced with significant local modifiers. In practice, this means that a standard Diablo III weapon template (which defines the item's minimum and maximum damage values, as well as its base attack speed and possible item affixes) has been modified with massive flat damage affixes and attack speed modifiers that improve it beyond the usual item capabilities associated with that weapon base.
Ethereal Weapons do not have a distinction between Primary and Secondary item affixes, much like Diablo II and Diablo III vanilla items. They also do not abide by the rules that encapsulate most Diablo III items, including stat allocation (Ethereals are able to roll traditionally non-weapon stats), stat ranges (Ethereals are able to roll higher on certain stats), and even include new affixes altogether. We have included a rundown of the affixes that you can encounter on an Ethereal weapon.
Increased Damage to Overall/Specific Class Skills
This is one of the strongest Ethereal weapon affixes, and is present on all of them in some form. It acts as an independent damage multiplier to the character's weapon damage, and is reflected as such in the overall damage calculation of the character sheet. This means it not only applies to the abilities of your character, but also any damage dependent on the weapon damage modifiers, such as Thorns.
The strength of this affix mostly depends on the weapon type, with One-Handed Ethereal weapons having a +100% Damage to [X Class] Skills" affix, and Two-Handed Ethereal weapons sporting anywhere between +150% (Demon Hunter's Buriza-Do Kyanon), to 200% (Barbarian's The Grandfather), to +300% damage (Wizard's Mang Song's Lesson) to make up for the off-hand stat loss.
Interestingly, some Ethereal weapons only enhance a single skill category — i.e., Witch Doctor's Ethereals all enhance particular skill clusters, with Arioc's Needle enhancing Decay Skills, Ghostflame enhancing Secondary Skills, and The Gidbinn enhancing Voodoo Skills. Another such weapon is Demon Hunters' Windforce, which enhances Archery skills.
Additional Damage per Paragon Level
This Ethereal weapon affix grows in strength alongside the character's Paragon levels, up to a Paragon 800 cap. It functions similarly to an Average Damage roll on jewelry, and its maximum damage value of 800 translates to a +400 Average Damage roll. This affix is present on The Grandfather, Buriza-Do Kyanon, Windforce, and Arioc's Needle.
Consecutive Hits Increase Damage
This Ethereal weapon affix is reminiscent of the power of the Bane of the Stricken legendary gem, as it provides a stacking damage multiplier against the first enemy hit by an attack with a proc coefficient, using an identical internal cooldown (0.9/ApS) to the gem. Much like its gem counterpart, Ethereal weapons with this affix are best suited to solo Greater Rift progression and Rift Guardian Killer builds. This affix is present on Bartuc's Cut-Throat (Monk), Blackbog's Sharp (Necromancer), and Wizardspike (Wizard).
Consecutive Hits Increase Attack Speed
This Ethereal weapon affix is an additive Attack Speed buff that reaches up to 30% in 3% increments, lasting for 3 seconds and refresh-able with continued attacks. As you can expect, this is a powerful boon to Attack Speed-dependent builds and can greatly ease reaching desirable IAS breakpoints. This affix is present on the Crusader's The Redeemer, the Monk's Jade Talon, the Necromancer's Soul Harvest, and the Witch Doctor's Ghostflame.
Increased Damage to Monster Type
This Ethereal weapon affix is similar in effect to Pig Sticker, Monster Hunter, Corrupted Ashbringer, and other items with that affix. It provides a separate damage multiplier against enemies from the respective monster category. In a Greater Rift with monster composition that fall under that particular enemy type, this can be a decisive affix in the success of the clear. This affix is present on the Crusader's The Redeemer (+Damage to Demons and Undead), the Necromancer's Blackhand Key (+Damage to Undead), and the Wizard's Mang Song's Lesson (+Damage to Undead).
Resource per Critical Hit
This Ethereal weapon affix functions similarly to the Arcane Power on Crit affix on Wizard hats, wands and sources, and obeys the same rules as APoC — most importantly, its dependence on the proc coefficient of the skill used. The better the proc coefficient of the skill, the more resources you will regain. This affix is present on Jade Talon and Shadow Killer for Monks, and Ghostflame for Witch Doctors. It is also (technically) present on The Oculus, which has the traditional Arcane Power on Crit stat.
Increased Movement Speed
This Ethereal weapon affix either depends on killing an Elite pack (30% MS buff for 7 seconds, found on the Barbarian's Gimmershred and DH's Doomslinger), or picking up a Health Globe (40% MS buff for 7 seconds, found on WD's The Gidbinn). This bonus goes over the 25% movement speed cap of characters and is a great boon to speed farming builds.
Reduce Damage of Enemies Hit
This Ethereal weapon affix is a non-stacking (by itself or multiple sources) 25% debuff to the damage dealt by enemies affected by your attacks, with a 5-second duration. It can be a helpful addition to some Support character builds, which are meant to keep their DPS teammates alive. This affix is present on the Barbarian's Doombringer, the Monk's Shadow Killer, and the Wizard's The Oculus.
Unique Ethereal Affixes
Some Ethereal weapons have brand new or unique affixes, of varying strength:
- Killing an enemy reduces the Steed Charge cooldown by 1 second — this affix is present on Khalim's Will, mimicking some of the powers of Norvald's Fervor set, Flail of the Charge and Shield of the Steed. This makes it a great addition to speed farming setups.
- Hits Against Frozen enemies are always Critical Hits — this affix is present on Buriza-Do Kyanon, and is complemented by a 35% Chance to Freeze on Hit affix on the crossbow. This is a very powerful affix, allowing the DH to temporarily make full use of the Crit Damage stat. It incentivizes DHs in Season 24 to itemize differently and lower Crit Chance in favor of other stats when using this weapon.
- Chance to Knockback on Hit and additional Movement Speed — these two affixes are present on Windforce as a nod to the Diablo II item. Thankfully, the weapon also has a slew of other helpful stats and damage bonuses that make it more attractive.
- Cursed enemies are Feared in place for 7 seconds — this is effectively a hard crowd control effect that roots enemies in place when the Necromancer curses them, making for an excellent proc for Krysbin's Sentence. This affix is present on Blackhand Key and makes it a wonderful speed farming item that both disables your enemies and makes them greatly susceptible to damage via the ring's buff.
Ethereal Legendary Item Affixes
Ethereal weapons roll with a random weapon legendary power of the respective class, alongside a handful of cross-class, generically useful item powers such as The Furnace, In-geom, and Messerschmidt's Reaver. Ethereal legendary powers do not depend on the type of weapon you wield, meaning you can get powers from One-Handed legendary weapons on a two-handed Ethereal weapon, and vice versa. The legendary powers available to all seven classes are as follows:
- One-Handed Weapons: Ambo's Pride, Echoing Fury, Fjord Cutter, In-geom, Oathkeeper, Remorseless.
- Two-Handed Weapons: Bastion's Revered, Blade of the Tribes, Fury of the Vanished Peak, Messerschmidt's Reaver, Standoff, The Executioner, The Furnace, The Gavel of Judgment.
- One-Handed Weapons: Darklight, Gyrfalcon's Foote, In-geom, Johanna's Argument, Swiftmount.
- Two-Handed Weapons: Akkhan's Leniency, Blade of Prophecy, Faithful Memory, Fate of the Fell, Messerschmidt's Reaver, The Furnace, The Mortal Drama.
- Shields/Crusader Shields: Akarat's Awakening, Denial, Eberli Charo, Frydehr's Wrath, Guard of Johanna, Ivory Tower, Jekangbord, Shield of Fury.
- One-Handed Weapons: Dawn, Echoing Fury, Fortress Ballista, Karlei's Point, Lord Greenstone's Fan, Valla's Bequest.
- Two-Handed Weapons: Manticore, Odyssey's End, Wojahnni Assaulter.
- Quivers: Bombardier's Rucksack, Dead Man's Legacy, Holy Point Shot, Sin Seekers, The Ninth Cirri Satchel.
- One-Handed Weapons: Echoing Fury, In-geom, Kyoshiro's Blade, Lion's Claw, Rabid Strike, The Fist of Az'Turrasq, Vengeful Wind, Won Khim Lau.
- Two-Handed Weapons: Balance, Flying Dragon, Incense Torch of the Grand Temple, Messerschmidt's Reaver, The Flow of Eternity.
- One-Handed Weapons: In-geom, Scythe of the Cycle, Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang.
- Two-Handed Weapons: Bloodtide Blade, Maltorius' Petrified Spike, Messerschmidt's Reaver, Nayr's Black Death.
- Phylacteries: Bone Ringer, Iron Rose, Leger's Disdain, Lost Time.
- One-Handed Weapons: Echoing Fury, In-geom, Sacred Harvester, Scrimshaw, The Barber, The Dagger of Darts.
- Two-Handed Weapons: Staff of Chiroptera, The Furnace.
- Mojos: Gazing Demise, Henri's Perquisition, Shukrani's Triumph, Spite, Ursua's Trodden Effigy, Vile Hive.
- One-Handed Weapons: Aether Walker, Deathwish, Echoing Fury, Fragment of Destiny, In-geom, Serpent's Sparker, The Twisted Sword, Unstable Scepter, Wand of Woh, Wizardspike.
- Two-Handed Weapons: Messerschmidt's Reaver, The Furnace, The Grand Vizier, Valthek's Rebuke.
- Sources: Cosmic Strand, Etched Sigil, Orb of Infinite Depth, Triumvirate, Winter Flurry.
Ethereal Class Passive Affixes
Ethereal weapons also roll with an additional random class passive. While the Ethereal's other stats, especially its random legendary power, are far more decisive of the quality and usability of your drop, a helpful fifth (or even sixth, if you are wearing a Hellfire Amulet of Strength!) passive is never unwelcome in a build. Some suggestions on what to look out for are:
- Barbarian — You can always get whichever is missing from the non-essential damage passives like Weapons Master, Brawler, or Berserker Rage. Alternatively, you can lean into survivability and take a cheat death from Nerves of Steel, or mitigation from Relentless or Tough as Nails. Extra movespeed from Pound of Flesh is also decent.
- Crusader — Top picks would be Holy Cause or Long Arm of the Law, as they provide almost universal usefulness across all Crusader builds. Survivability from Indestructible or sources of sustain like Wrathful, Vigilant, and Renewal are also decent. Lord Commander can be helpful for speed farming.
- Demon Hunter — The class has a plethora of decently valuable damage passives, so you can stack up with either Ambush, Archery, Single Out, or Steady Aim. Survivability and utility passives like Awareness, Tactical Advantage, or Perfectionist are also great.
- Monk — You can add a smattering of damage to the build via situational passives like Determination, Relentless Assault, Momentum, or Unity. Monks also have some of the strongest defensive passives such as Harmony and its Sixth Sense counterpart, the actively applied Resolve, or a plain old cheat death with Near Death Experience.
- Necromancer — You can almost always count on Spreading Malediction to be a damage boost in a Necromancer build, but the class does not have many cross-build, generically useful passives. Other potential inclusions include the improved sustain from Life from Death, Draw Life, or Dark Reaping. Cheating death with Final Service is also decent.
- Witch Doctor — Offense-wise, your best rolls would be either Gruesome Feast or Confidence Ritual, since all WD builds can benefit at least a little from their generic increase. You can always benefit from plain defensive passives like Jungle Fortitude and Swampland Attunement, and Spirit Vessel is a staple inclusion in any progression build. Grave Injustice is another amazing utility tool to potentially get for free.
- Wizard — The class can always benefit from bolstering its defenses with Blur, Unwavering Will, or Dominance. The best utility gains would come from Illusionist or Galvanizing Ward. You can also luck out on your build using one of the range-dependent damage boosts, Audacity or Power Hungry, or one that benefits from both! More generic damage boosts, like Elemental Exposure and Glass Cannon, can also be decent.
- 20 Jul. 2021: Page added.
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