Trag'Oul Corpse Explosion Necromancer Skills and Runes
On this page, we explain how to choose and use your skills when playing Trag'Oul Corpse Explosion Necromancer in Diablo 3. Updated for Patch 2.7.6 and Season 29.
|Grim Scythe Cursed Scythe Command Skeletons Dark Mending 1 Land of the Dead Frozen Lands 2 Corpse Explosion Final Embrace 3 Blood Rush Metabolism 4 Devour Cannibalize|
Your time when Land of the Dead is on cooldown and/or you haven't formed a good pull should be spent scouting and attracting enemy attention with a combination of bodypulls and Grim Scytheing packs; the latter will keep your Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang damage amplification active on the current pull, and will also keep your Gogok of Swiftness stacked (if you choose to socket one). You will survive through continuous use of Devour Cannibalize and Command Skeletons Dark Mending, as well as your limitless mobility from Blood Rush (empowered by the Trag'Oul set with all the runes).
You should engage in combat when Land of the Dead is off cooldown and your pull is prepared. Right as the Cold cycle of your Convention of Elements is about to end, you should pop a singular Corpse Explosion to stack your Grasps of Essence and proc the effects of your (follower-worn) Oculus Ring, and jump into its damage amplification area with Blood Rush. This should happen right as the Physical CoE cycle starts; synchronize it with a Land of the Dead activation, sic your Command Skeletons on the pack to proc the Jesseth set, and spam Corpse Explosion throughout the cycle — in an ideal case scenario, it will be supremely empowered by your The Johnstone stacks, the Jesseth set, the Oculus proc, Krysbin's Sentence, and the endless Corpses of LotD. 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 the Trag'Oul set by using the solitary blood-spending rune, Final Embrace. 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 Physical 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 is one of the most impactful cooldowns of Necromancers, with a humongous cooldown to match. For its full duration of 10 seconds, you will be able to use Corpse skills at will, allowing you uninterrupted burst of Corpse Explosion. You will be adding the rune Frozen Lands on top, which will apply hard Crowd Control onto the entire screen's worth of enemies and render them helpless against your onslaught. Note that the hard CC is also required for the full benefits of Krysbin's Sentence.
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. Due to the use of Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang in the Cube, you guarantee the application of the Curses and attain a valuable damage multiplication bonus on top.
Serving a dual purpose in the build, Command Skeletons gets a health sustain angle from the rune Dark Mending. Its other, and far more important use, is its use as a proc for the Jesseth set, Jesseth Skullscythe and Jesseth Skullshield.
Mobility cooldowns are a GR pushing staple inclusion, and Necromancer's solitary tool for the job — Blood Rush — is even better in a Trag'Oul setup, where you attain all the runes at ones via the set 2-piece bonus. You gain another utility-laden cooldown with the toughness of Potency, health restoration of Transfusion, extra Corpse from Molting, and doubled charges of Metabolism — all at a removed blood cost due to Hemostasis.
You have some freedom of choice in your final slot. Our default recommendation is to take Devour — a Corpse consumption mechanic, which restores Essence by default and gets a considerable health sustain aspect with the rune Cannibalize . Interestingly, Devour's animation is canceled by movement, allowing you to freely spam it on the move or while using other skills. You can take advantage of this quirk and either Num Lock to autocast, or macro its use. Another option for the slot is to use Skeletal Mage Skeleton Archer, which — when used prior to your burst — will boost your Attack Speed, ideally helping you reach a better IAS breakpoint that will allow you to fit more Corpse Explosion spam within the Physical CoE cycle.
Reilena's Hook / Essence Scaling Variation
A notable and viable alteration of this build is to scale your damage by using Reilena's Shadowhook instead of Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang in the Cube, meaning you will transfer your damage multiplication from your Curses to your Essence pool.
Skill-wise, this allows you to swap Grim Scythe for Decrepify Borrowed Time (you still want extra CDR for Land of the Dead), and Devour for Simulacrum Reservoir (time its use with LotD). In your passives, swap Eternal Torment for Overwhelming Essence. Make a point to get extra Essence in your weapon's secondary stats and your Paragons.
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.
Final Service is the cheat death available to Necromancers, allowing you to dodge a death screen once every 60 seconds and making you temporarily invulnerable, giving you some time to re-assess the situation and reposition. In this spec, it also gains a 70%+ health restoration angle due to the presence of minions in the build.
- 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: Guide reworked for the CE pushing meta.
- 22 Jul. 2021: Added S24 Ethereal recommendation.
- 01 Apr. 2021: No changes required for Season 23.
- 19 Nov. 2020: No changes required for Season 22.
- 02 Jul. 2020: No changes required for Season 21.
- 12 Mar. 2020: No changes necessary for Season 20.
- 22 Nov. 2019: Reviewed for Season 19.
- 23 Aug. 2019: Reviewed and approved for Season 18.
- 12 May 2019: Guide was reviewed and approved for Season 17.
- 18 Jan. 2019: Information was reviewed and approved for Season 16 with no changes required.
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