This high endgame build is completely designed around a Unique item called Blood Artisan’s Cuirass. Prior to obtaining this Unique item, you should instead opt to use our Bone Spear Necromancer build.
Bone Spirit Necromancer is among the best, if not exclusively the most efficient, Necromancer builds available in the current patch! With lots of Crowd Control, the ability to generate Essence-less Bone Spirits while still throwing out Bone Spears and applying Vulnerable, and doing respectable damage for the sake of clearing, this build just takes you to a whole new level of playing the class.
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Please note that the video guide is meant to illustrate gameplay and general build mechanics rather than act as a precise build guide. This written guide is always the most up-to-date and accurate version, since updating the video with new information is not possible.
Strengths and Weaknesses
- Fun to play
- Bone Spear makes the build fast & comfortable
- Huge damage numbers
- Somewhat squishy
- Requires a Unique item
- To automate Bone Spirits, you’ll need to pick up Blood Orbs
To see how this build compares to the other builds on our site, you can check out our build tier lists.
This build does not work without Blood Artisan’s Cuirass, as we do not want to self-cast Bone Spirit. Rather, we want our Unique Chest to trigger it automatically for us. This makes the Unique item a direct requirement to play this build.
Sadly, Diablo 4 does not offer any direct target farming possibilities, which means you will have to get lucky or rely on opening Armor chests in Helltides in the hopes of getting the item.
Season of the Malignant
Season 1 Patch Updates
The following list details the changes in the Season 1 Patch Update that are specific to this build. Check the Changelog for all the other guide updates.
- Aspect of Disobedience maximum stacks reduced from 100 to 60, reducing maximum Bonus Armor % from 25%-50% to 15%-30%.
- Raise Skeleton, Corpse Explosion, and Corpse Tendrils range for auto-targeting Corpses on mouse and keyboard increased by 50%.
- Evulsion bonus damage to Vulnerable reduced from 6/12/18% to 5/10/15%.
- Essence Glyph’s bonus now affects all damage instead of just Core Skills.
- Splintering Aspect Bone Shard damage bonus reduced from 50-100% to 30-60%.
- Osseous Gale Aspect bonus Bone Storm duration increased from 4-8 to 5-10 seconds.
- Aspect of Grasping Veins Critical Strike Damage bonus reduced from 30-60% to 20-40%.
- Enhanced Bone Spirit
- Cooldown reduction increased from 6 to 7 seconds.
Outside of the armor nerf from Aspect of Disobedience, Necromancer received rough nerfs to its generic clearing performance via the Splintering Aspect. Luckily, Bone Spear performs admirably despite the nerfs, making this build more than viable as a niche/different play-style to the original Bone Spear Necromancer Build. Some other buffs worth mentioning, the Essence Glyph now provides Critical Strike Damage to all our damage, previously just Core Skills, and increased duration for Bone Storm.
The 1.1.1 patch had next to no impact on the build making it just as strong as before.
The Season 1 theme introduces Malignant Hearts that provide build-altering bonuses. The hearts are divided into 4 categories, each with a color that needs to be socketed in the corresponding colored Malignant Socket on equipped jewelry. Wrathful Hearts are a special case due to their rarity, and can be placed in any Socket.
Listed below are the Malignant Hearts that are useful for this build, ranked by importance. Stats displayed reflect what a level 20 character would receive as a drop.
- Caged Heart of the Dark Dance (Vicious, Offensive-World Tier III): Every 5 seconds while above 60% Life, Core Skills cost 68-51 Life instead of your Primary Resource. Skills that consume Life deal 10-20% increased damage.
- Caged Heart of Tempting Fate (Vicious, Offensive-World Tier III): You gain 40-60% Critical Strike Damage but your Non-Critical Strikes deal 20-15% less damage. Do note that this demands 100% chance to Critical Strike which is very gear demanding.
- Caged Heart of the Sacrilegious (Vicious, Offensive): Walking near a Corpse automatically activates an equipped Corpse Skill every second, dealing 40-30% reduced damage.
Skill Tree Points
The following tables show the full allocation of Skill Points for the Summoner Necromancer build. The first table has the most important 48 points to start the build. The second table has the remaining 10 points that are allocated once you obtain all Skill Points from Renown.
|Reap, Enhanced Reap, Acolyte’s Reap||Basic Skill|
|Bone Spear Level 5, Enhanced Bone Spear, Paranormal Bone Spear, Hewed Flesh Level 3||Core Skill|
|Corpse Explosion Level 1, Enhanced Corpse Explosion, Blighted Corpse Explosion, Grim Harvest Level 3||Corpse & Macabre Skill|
|Death’s Embrace Level 3||Curse Skill|
|Bone Spirit Level 5 (not added to Skill Bar; automatically triggered), Enhanced Bone Spirit, Ghastly Bone Spirit, Reaper’s Pursuit Level 3, Crippling Darkness, Corpse Tendrils Level 1, Enhanced Corpse Tendrils, Blighted Corpse Tendrils, Serration Level 3, Compound Fracture Level 3, Evulsion Level 3||Summoning Skill|
|Bone Storm, Prime Bone Storm, Supreme Bone Storm, Stand Alone Level 2, Memento Mori||Ultimate Skill|
|Ossified Essence||Key Passives|
|Remaining Renown Points||Cluster|
|Blood Mist, Fueled by Death Level 3||Corpse & Macabre Skill|
|Memento Mori Level 3||Ultimate Skill|
Book of the Dead
Since we are focusing entirely on dealing brutal damage with our Bone skills, we have no interest in bothering our minions, so they will all be sacrificed in the name of Lilith.
- Melee Skeletons; Skirmishers are the sacrificial choice here, providing extra Critical Strike Chance.
- Mage Skeletons; Cold Mages sacrificed provides extra damage against targets that are Vulnerable.
- Golem; Iron Golem sacrificed provides tons of extra Critical Strike Damage.
The Paragon progression system unlocks at Level 50 and provides a vast amount of character power. On the Paragon Board, bonuses range from minor stats on Magic Nodes to more powerful Rare Glyphs and Legendary Nodes.
As you path towards Glyph Sockets and Legendary Nodes, you should prioritize Damage, Intelligence, Resistance, and Life for Normal and Magic Nodes. Glyph radius increases as you level them up. Therefore, if you cannot fulfill Additional Bonus requirements early on, skip allocating extra Nodes for now. It’s also important to point out that you might not have the Glyph you want when you reach your first socket; if that is the case, simply slot in any Glyph providing any beneficial stats for you until you get the correct one.
Listed below are images of the pathing you should take along with the locations of the Glyphs and order you should choose your Paragon Boards past the initial Starting Board.
For the Starter Board, we will path along the right side, skipping only two of the Magic Nodes as we grab three Rare Nodes and the socket slot to get the Exploit Glyph to scale damage against Vulnerable enemies. If you are able to collect enough Dexterity within radius, depending on the level of your Glyph, you should. Once done with the board, we will head on north.
Bone Graft (2nd Board)
The second board should be the Bone Graft board, which should be rotated to have the Legendary Node easily accessible on the left-hand side. We begin the route by rushing that Node and picking up both Rare and Magic Nodes, as we do a diagonal push to the top right corner moving in to the socket slot. Optimally we want the Essence Glyph slotted in here, and only pick up extra Dexterity Nodes within radius if the Glyph level has enough within radius. The next step from here is to path upward for our third board; we will come back to this board to path to the right side once the third board is finished.
Scent of Death (3rd Board)
Our third board is the Scent of Death, which will need to be rotated so you have the Legendary Node located as close to your starting point as possible as we will be rushing it before we pick up any and all Rare and Magic Nodes. Finally, finish the pathing with the socket slot in which we will use the Imbiber Glyph. Similar to previous boards, we will only be going out of our way to pick up extra attributes enabling the bonus modifier if we can, based of the Glyph level. Once done here, we will circle back to our second board and connect to the right-hand side to enable our fourth board.
Flesh-Eater (4th Board)
The fourth and final board is Flesh-Eater, which will be positioned so the Legendary Node is again located as close to our starting point as possible. We are going to be picking up the Rare Node Stifle and the surrounding Magic Nodes. Next, we actually skip the Legendary Node and rush towards the remaining Rare and Magic Nodes. The socket slot here will be used for the Blood-drinker Glyph; this is only worth picking up after the surrounding Magic Nodes are purchased. You should take the extra surrounding intelligence nodes to reach the bonus modifier from this to fully sustain being Fortified within the Glyph radius based on its level.
Paragon board images courtesy of d4builds.gg.
Mechanics and Playstyle
The general playstyle is all about clearing packs of enemies using Bone Spear, and generating Essence back in the form of crowd control, coming from both Aspect of the Umbral and Corpse Tendrils. We will consistently generate corpses thanks to our Lucky Hit and Blighted Corpse Explosion hitting twice per second, with extra Essence being generated from Hewed Flesh.
All of these mechanics are then focused around the idea of spawning Blood Orbs that will, thanks to the Unique chest Blood Artisan’s Cuirass, let us cast 0 Essence cost Bone Spirit, dealing an insane amount of damage. This will happen regularly during clearing, as well as against a single target. To make sure we consume enough corpses consistently we are also using Osseous Gale Aspect, which makes our Bone Storm consume more corpses to further push the mechanical approach of this build.
Gear Choice and Stat Priority
Prioritize a higher total damage output when it comes to your weapon, as the higher it is, the better. It should be kept in mind that if you find a higher Item Power 1-Handed weapon, that it could very well be better than a 2-Handed weapon if coupled with an Off-hand or even a Shield, as Shields scale your main-hand weapon by 80%! For endgame, you’ll want to make sure your Legendary power on your weapon is on a 2H weapon for that 100% scaling effect!
Listed below are the affixes to prioritize on gear for Bone Spirit Necromancers. Affixes for each gear slot are listed in order of importance. Bolded stats are the most important and sometimes vital for the build to function properly.
|Gear Slot||Important Affixes|
|2H Sword||+ Critical Strike Damage|
+ Critical Strike Damage with Bone skills
+ Vulnerable Damage
+ Core Skill Damage
|Helm||+ Maximum Essence|
|Chest (Unique)||Blood Artisan’s Cuirass: High level of Ranks to Bone Spirits & low roll of # Blood Orbs required to trigger Bone Spirits is desirable.|
|Gloves||+ Lucky Hit: Up to 5% Chance to restore primary resource|
+ Critical Strike Chance
+ Lucky Hit Chance
+ Critical Strike Damage
+ Ranks of Bone Spear
|Pants (Unique)||Temerity: High Barrier % roll in combination with a mid or higher rolled Life healed on lucky hit is desirable.|
|Boots||+ Movement Speed|
+ Movement Speed for X seconds after killing an elite
+ Essence cost reduction
|Amulet||+ Movement Speed|
+ Essence Cost reduction
+ Ranks of Imperfectly Balanced or Evulsion
+ Ranks of all Macabre skills
|Rings||+ Critical Strike Chance|
+ Critical Strike Damage
+ Lucky Hit
+ Resource Generation
+ Critical Strike Damage with Bone Skills
Legendary Aspects and Codex of Power
The Bone Spirit Necromancer is all about Bone Spirit and making enemies Vulnerable. However, this specific guide is designed entirely around the Unique Chest, Blood Artisan’s Cuirass, which allows us to create a playstyle involving the spawning of Blood Orbs to get free casts of Bone Spirits. Since the guide is fully designed this way, it’s not recommended to play this build without access to the entire list of powers and gear the guide is showing. Listed below are the Codex Powers and Aspects found on Legendary Items that are crucial for the Bone Spirit Necromancer build.
Aspects from the Codex of Power can be used if you cannot find the proper Legendary drops, but they have weaker effects. Extract Aspects from the lower level Legendary Items and imprint them onto better Rare Items with preferred stats.
|Gear Slot||Aspect Name||Legendary Aspect Power|
|Helmet||Aspect of the Embalmer||Consuming a Corpse has a 20-30% chance to spawn a Blood Orb.|
|Gloves||Aspect of Grasping Veins||Gain 10-20% increased Critical Strike Chance for 6 seconds when you cast Corpse Tendrils. You deal 30-60% bonus Critical Strike Damage to enemies damaged by Corpse Tendrils.|
|Pants||Aspect of Shielding Storm||Each time that Bone Storm damages an enemy, gain a Barrier equal to 2-5% of your Base Life for 10 seconds.|
|Boots||Wind Striker Aspect||Critical Strikes grant 8-16% movement Speed for 1 second, up to 6 seconds.|
|2H Weapon (100% scaling)||Splintering Aspect||Bone Spear’s primary attack makes enemies hit beyond the first Vulnerable for 1.5-2.5 seconds. Bone Shards from Bone Spear deal 50-100% bonus damage to Vulnerable enemies and pierce them.|
|Amulet (50% scaling)||Aspect of Serration||The Ossified Essence Key Passive also increases the Critical Strike Damage of your Bone Skills by 1% per Essence, up to 30-40%.|
|Ring||Osseous Gale Aspect||Bone Storm consumes up to 8 Corpses to increase its duration by up to X seconds.|
|Ring||Aspect of the Umbral||Restore 1-4 of your Primary Resource when you Crowd Control an enemy.|
This build guide is entirely designed around the Blood Artisan’s Cuirass. If you do not have this item it is strongly recommended to follow our guide for the Bone Spear Necromancer instead.
Another great option would be the Temerity pants, which provide an insanely effective generation of both Life Recovery and Barrier based on Lucky Hit Chance, which we are already focusing on with this build.
Listed below are the best Gems to socket into gear for each slot type.
- Weapon: Royal Emerald for increased +#% Critical Strike Damage to Vulnerable enemies.
- Armor: Royal Ruby to increase our life.
- Jewelry: Royal Skull for increased Armor.
Elixirs and Health Potions
To gain an edge in your adventures, head to the Alchemist and craft Elixirs that enhance your stats and experience gain for 30 minutes. Remember to gather the necessary crafting materials by foraging plants. Select an Elixir that provides the resistance you need most, or try the Assault Elixir to boost your Attack Speed.
Return to the Alchemist again when you reach Level 20, 30, 45, 60, 70, 80 and 90, to upgrade your potion. The extra healing is essential to survival.
- August 7th, 2023: Guide updated for Patch 1.1.1.
- July 19th, 2023: Guide updated for Season 1 including Malignant Hearts.