When Season 21 introduced the new Masquerade of the Burning CarnivalSet, based on both Simulacrums and Bone Spear, Haunted Visions witnessed a rework that allowed Simulacrum to last indefinitely as well as enabling Grim Scythe as a duplicated skill. This change paved the way for the LoD Grim Scythe Necromancer to shred everything in sight with the amazing power of Grim Scythe Cursed Scythe, which you'll regularly hear referred to as "Poison Scythe" as this build is all about stacking Poison Skills and Nayr's Black Death.
The build however took quite a hit in Season 22 as a bug allowing Simulacrums to benefit twice from Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang got fixed. Yet, in conjunction with Leger's Disdain and its special interaction with Simulacrums (see Mechanics), the Grim Scythe Necromancer still scales its damage a lot with density and stays an absolute beast when surrounded by hordes of monsters! Season 23 allows this build to pick up Krelm's Buff Bracers without having to lose the benefits of using Nemesis Bracers since your follower now emanates the power!
The gameplay of the build is pretty straightforward and easy to engage with at first glance, it turns out that mastering the playstyle of perfectly positioning your Simulacrums to maximize their damage with the small AoE of Grim Scythe is actually challenging and requires some practice. With the ability to flatten an entire room of monsters in Greater Rift 150 while being relatively tanky and providing Curses, it is a very potent Trash Killer in group play. Pair that with its ability to perform at the top of the solo leaderboards and you have one of the best Necromancer builds. Let's dive in and learn what makes it so great!
Tanky ✔ Simple Rotation ✔ Insane AOE Damage ✔ Top Tier in Solo & Groups ✔
❌ Lacks Speed ❌ Sims Dying Can Hurt ❌ Positioning is Critical ❌ Low Single Target Damage
Haunted Visions allows Simulacrums to cast Grim Scythe when you do.
Leger's Disdain is the core damaging item of the build, providing us with a stacking 80% separate damage multiplier per point of Essence generated to Grim Scythe.
Nayr's Black Death for up to a 500% separate damage multiplier to Grim Scythe.
Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang for its 200% separate damage multiplier and to easily apply Curses for Dayntee's Binding and Decrepify damage reduction, Leech sustain and obviously Frailty.
Krysbin's Sentence grants us a 300% separate damage multiplier to stunned enemies, coming from Bone Armor Dislocation.
Convention of Elements is a staple because of its 200% separate damage multiplier during our Poison cycle.
Depth Diggers provides us with a 100% separate damage multiplier to Grim Scythe.
Razeth's Volition grants 50% damage reduction as long as Essence is not full.
Aquila Cuirass for further 50% damage reduction.
Season 25Soul Shards
Soul Shards are powerful socketable items that only drop during Season 25. There are 4 available for Weapons based on the Lesser Evils, with another 3 for Helmets based on the Prime Evils. They drop at Rank 0 and be upgraded three times with the brand new Hellforge Embers to unlock additional powers, or be used in the Kanai's Cube as Augments. Here's how they progress:
Rank 0: Soul Shards begin with a unique static Legendary Power. Creates a Rank 50 Augment.
Rank 1: Gives all powers from the normal gems. Creates a Rank 75 Augment.
Rank 2: Grants one additional powerful stat. Creates a Rank 100 Augment.
Rank 3: Unlocks 1 of 3 bonus Legendary Powers unique to that Soul Shard. Creates a Rank 125 Augment.
Warning: Leoric's Crown and Broken Crown do not work with Soul Shards!
Read our Soul Shards Guide for full details on how they work. What you should prioritize on them for Solo Pushing is the following:
The Correct Soul Shard& Rank 3 Power The best shards for Solo Pushing are:
Helmets: We want to use Sliver of Terror for the massive damage buff from our abilities on cooldown. For the Rank 3 power take the additional Attack Speed and Critical Hit Chance to further boost your character's power.
Weapons: We want to use Essence of Anguish for the Movement Speed and Cooldown Reduction. For the Rank 3 power take the 50% increased Poison Damage, which actually applies to all damage done!
The Rank 2 Stat The stats that come from the second upgrade are not equal. Here's what we're looking for on them:
Helmets: We want either Main Stat for damage or Melee/Ranged Damage Reduction to survive. Avoid Armor and All Resistance as their stat ranges are far too low compared to the other options.
Weapons: We want Poison Damage to boost our character's power the furthest, although % Damage, Attack Speed and Critical Hit Chance are not too far behind.
The Stat Ranges on the Rank 1 and 2 Powers This is just icing on the cake because the ranges will not make or break your build. Still, look for the Soul Shards with the best stat ranges, especially on the offensive stats.
For the other game modes, other Soul Shards can be used. Check the Variants below to see what's used there.
What about extra Soul Shards? Either salvage them for gems, or upgrade and use them in Kanai's Cube for Augments.
Global Stat Priorities
Our offensive priorities are: Poison Damage > Critical Hit Chance & Critical Hit Damage > Area Damage, along with as much Grim Scythe damage as possible. Attack Speed is helpful, especially for faster Bane of the Stricken stacking in solo, but you don't need to aim for any specific Attack Speed Breakpoint. Cooldown Reduction is useless for this build as you only cast Simulacrum at the beginning of a Greater Rift and if they die along the way.
For defensive rolls always take Armor > All Resistance, since we get All Resistance by default from Intelligence in our Paragon points. Crowd Control Reduction is an incredibly valuable secondary Affix to roll on both Rings, Amulet and Helmet as we are very sensitive to Hard Crowd Control effects and mitigating these will ease up our gameplay significantly. Make sure to get the Primary Affixes locked in before attempting to get CCR though.
Assembling the Build
1. Do the Challenge Rift for the materials to cubeLegendary Powers. You can complete this once a week for additional resources and we always update the guide for you!
2. This is a Legacy of Dreams build whose success is heavily dependent on this gem's rank. The first order of business is to equip a Legendary or Set item in every slot to take advantage of its power. Make sure to not have any Set Bonuses equipped or the gem will be nullified and you will deal no damage! Farm speed Greater Rifts (in under 5 minute clears) to find the items and get this gem as high as possible. Above Rank 25 ancient pieces of gear will give you even greater power.
Amulets to get Haunted Visions and The Flavor of Time
Anything from the Gamble list in Step 3 that you haven't already acquired.
5. Do Bounties to acquire several important items for this build:
Act 1: Ring of Royal Grandeur (for your follower)
Act 2: Illusory Boots and Gloves of Worship
Act 3: Avarice Band
Act 4: Can drop any bounty item from any act
Bounty Turn In: Recipes for Captain Crimson's Trimmings, Cain's Destiny and Sage's Journey (for your follower)
6. At this point you can somewhat comfortably farm Nephalem or Speed Greater Rifts where you can find all the remaining items you need for different variants of the build. Spend your materials getting items with better rolls and/or ancient quality.
Item Stat Priorities
Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang Nayr's Black Death (Cubed)
1. Socket Ramaladni's Gift 2. Area Damage 3. Damage % 4. Attack Speed
1. Critical Hit Chance 2. Grim Scythe Damage 3. Area Damage 4. Intelligence
1. Poison Damage 2. Critical Hit Chance 3. Attack Speed 4. Intelligence No Socket Needed!
Gloves of Worship (A2 Bounties) Stone Gauntlets St. Archew's Gage
1. Critical Hit Chance 2. Critical Hit Damage 3. Area Damage 4. Attack Speed
Razeth's Volition Homing Pads
1. Area Damage 2. Intelligence 3. Vitality 4. Armor
For breaking walls to pull enemies and increase DPS
Legacy of Dreams is the Legacy of NightmaresSet in a gem, which frees up two ring slots at the cost of a legendary gem. Due to the rings available to us this is a great trade-off to take.
Simplicity's Strength provides 100% increased damage and 4% life steal on our primary attacks (Grim Scythe), making it mandatory for all variants of the build.
Other popular choices are Bane of the Trapped as a Trash Killer for 60% increased damage, Boon of the Hoarder for torment farming and Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard for a shield in combination with Squirt's Necklace for double damage, increased toughness and insane healing.
Grim Scythe Cursed Scythe is our main damage dealing ability that applies Curses for our Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang and Dayntee's Binding bonuses.
Simulacrum Blood and Bone summons 2 Simulacrums that duplicate our swings thanks to Haunted Visions.
Bone Armor Dislocation provides 30% damage reduction and activates our Krysbin's Sentence on our PoisonConvention of Elements cycle.
The last 3 skill slots vary from version to version. For more damage you'll want more Poison skills to activate Nayr's Black Death, like Bone Spear Blighted Marrow and Death Nova Blight.
Blood Rush Potency can be taken for mobility and increased armor.
Frailty Early Grave can help kill monsters easier and synergizes with Conduit Pylon.
Spreading Malediction gives 1% additive damage for every cursed enemy.
Eternal Torment is useful to keep up the curses indefinitely.
Swift Harvesting provides a nice attack speed boost to Grim Scythe.
Stand Alone gives 100% additive armor with the 250% from Stone Gauntlets and the 25% from Paragon points.
Final Service allows us to cheat death.
For speed content you can drop Final Service for Fueled by Death.
1. Movement Speed
1. Critical Hit Damage
1. Area Damage
2. Critical Hit Chance
2. Life %
2. Life per Hit
3. Attack Speed
3. All Resistance
3. Resource Cost Reduction
4. Maximum Essence2
4. Cooldown Reduction
4. Life Regeneration
4. Pickup Radius
1 Add a bit of Vitality if you feel too squishy (a total of 750,000 Life is recommended). 2 You do not need Maximum Essence because Simulacrums ignores Essence generated for Leger's Disdain.
Patch 2.7.0 revamped the follower system giving all 3 hirelings new powers and the emanate system. The first thing you should do is read our complete follower guide and remember the key takeaways:
The emanation system allows followers to share certain legendary and set powers with you. The most important ones are: The Flavor of Time, Nemesis Bracers, Avarice Band, Sage’s Journey and Cain’s Destiny. Click the guide above for the full list.
Follower’s powers are based on their main stat (maxed at 25,000, but they have a 2.5x multiplier so you only need 10,000). This means we stack Intelligence on the Enchantress, Dexterity on the Scoundrel and Strength on the Templar.
Followers share 20% of their Experience, Magic and Gold Find stats with you.
Legendary gems do not work on followers, except Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard.
With Enforcer equipped on the player it's much easier to keep followers alive even without an immortality relic. The 90% damage reduction counts for them, too.
Cooldown Reduction does not work for any follower skill except the Templar’s Heal.
Followers never deal significant damage; you’re on your own to clear the content.
With these in mind, let’s get into our recommendations for this build.
For T16 we recommend this Enchantress setup because she is the only follower that gives Cooldown Reduction, allowing you to spam your abilities more. Since this is T16 content, she’ll stay alive with Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard and use Hand of the Prophet to gain all skills. This will give us Cooldown Reduction, Elemental Damage, Reduced Damage from Ranged Attacks, Armor, Attack Speed, and a Cheat Death.
Since we do not have the immortality focus, we need to stack survivability on our Enchantress.
Intelligence > Vitality > Life % > Armor > All Resistance > Life Per Hit > Attack Speed.
The Flavor of Time: For double duration on Pylons.
Nemesis Bracers: For extra Elites, Death’s Breaths and In-geom procs.
Avarice Band: For the insane pickup radius.
Ring of Royal Grandeur: To complete our sets.
Gloves of Worship: For 10 Minute Shrine Buffs.
Sage’s Journey: For double Death’s Breaths.
Cain’s Destiny: For 25% more Greater Rift Keystones.
GR Pushing Templar
For Greater Rift pushing we recommend this Templar setup for the sustain from Heal, 10% increased damage from Onslaught, and the very powerful cheat death mechanic from Guardian. This is the only follower build that stacks Cooldown Reduction because it works with Heal. Since we take the immortality relic, we do not need any survivability stats.
Since we have the immortality relic, we do not need to stack survivability on our Templar.
Strength > Cooldown Reduction > Attack Speed.
The Flavor of Time: For double duration on Pylons.
Nemesis Bracers: For more progression from Elites.
Oculus Ring: For 85% increased damage.
Unity: For 50% damage reduction if you're also wearing one.
Ice Climbers: To make your follower immune to Freeze and Immobilize effects.
Leoric's Crown and Captain Crimson's Trimmings: For more Cooldown Reduction on Heal.
While the rotation is fairly easy to perform with practice, it requires you to understand the multipliers in play. First with Nayr's Black Death in the cube, we need to rotate our Poison skills before the PoisonConvention of Elements cycle arrives. Finally and most importantly, finish with Bone Armor Dislocation at the start of Poison to activate your Krysbin's Sentence before using Grim Scythe.
When you are not dealing damage, use Bone Spear Blighted Marrow to attract enemies from far away, and use Blood Rush Potency for mobility. When dealing damage in groups, position your Simulacrum in the center of the Barbarian's Ground Stomp for maximum damage. Finally, your Simulacrum can die from things like grotesque explosions, so try to position them away from these attacks to avoid re-summoning them.
This build already takes nearly every major damage reduction item available to it. Make sure to use Blood Rush to get out of bad situation, and have Crowd Control Reduction rolled on your jewelry. You can also put more Paragon points into Vitality.
Concept For speed content we're pumping up our movement speed with Steuart's GreavesWarzechian ArmguardsRechel's Ring of LarcenyBlood Rush MetabolismDevour Devouring Aura and Fueled by Death. Rechel's Ring will be buffed by any further fear on hit secondary rolls you get.
The combination of Goldwrap + Avarice Band + Boon of the Hoarder will make us invincible once we kill an enemy and pick up some gold. Finally we take St. Archew's Gage and Krelm's Buff Belt for some shields and Movement Speed.
Gameplay Speed content is easy to play as we don't have to time anything with Convention of Elements. Summon your Simulacrum Blood and Bone at the start, use Blood Rush Metabolism to move, cast Death Nova Blight once every 15 seconds, and finally use Bone Armor Dislocation when encountering Elites to activate Krysbin's Sentence before cutting them down.
Setups If you are oneshotting everything and can afford to lose some damage, wear Echoing Fury for its high Fear on Hit chance to proc Rechel's Ring of Larceny, cube Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang and drop Death Nova Blight for Frailty Aura of Frailty.
In groups, replace Warzechian Armguards, Razeth's Volition and Squirt's Necklace with Nemesis Bracers, Homing Pads and Avarice Band. If you want Gloves of Worship, you can replace St. Archew's Gage but you will lose Krelm's Buff Belt Movement Speed buff as you have no shield to protect it anymore. Hence you can use Dayntee's Binding instead.
Concept This is the standard set up we covered above in the items section. Bane of the Stricken is needed as the third gem to kill the Rift Guardian. We will also pick up significant damage reduction from Stone Gauntlets, Dayntee's Binding and Unity. Ice Climbers will negate the negative effects of Stone Gauntlets so we aren't slowed.
Gameplay Solo is the most challenging version of this build as we have to pull everything, stay alive, and kill everything all on our own. Your Simulacrum will move with you, and you need to keep them out of gigantic hits like grotesque explosions and molten explosions. If they die you can re-summon them, but your damage will drop significantly if they die again before Simulacrum is back up.
Cast each Poison skill once every 15 seconds to build your Nayr's Black Death up, and use Bone Armor Dislocation on your Poison cycle of Convention of Elements. Try to save a pylon for the Rift Guardian so you can use Nemesis Bracers (on your follower) to proc Area Damage, but only spawn the Elite pack after you've stacked Bane of the Stricken on the Rift Guardian for awhile.
Setups At extremely high paragon levels you can take Frailty Early Grave with Briggs' Wrath over Unity if you can survive without it.
If your positioning and survivability are amazing and you think you can live without Blood Rush, drop it for Siphon Blood Power Shift for an extra Nayr's Black Death stack. Krelm's Buff Bracers can be switched our for Ancient Parthan Defenders for more toughness if desired.
Group Trash Killer
Concept In groups, we will have supporters to do most of the job for us. We just need to make sure to curse everything, position our Simulacrum well and swipe at the right moment. We'll take Ancient Parthan Defenders instead of Krelm's Buff Bracers for more damage mitigation. We play The Flavor of Time if we are playing with a zDH since we have no way to maintain Squirt's Necklace damage multiplier without a zMonk.
Gameplay Similar to the solo version, except we don't have to gather the monsters and staying alive is much easier thanks to the zBarb's pulling and stomping and the zDH's buffs (or zMonk if you have one). Just move to the zBarb's Ground Stomp and cut everything down. Make sure that your first swing in Poison has every buff up (using Bone Armor last for the stun) and correct positioning as all the little trash will die instantly, costing us Area Damage on successive swings. In other words, don't swing your scythe randomly, swing with purpose! If there is an Oculus Ring nearby, stand in it for 85% increased damage.
Setups You can take Blood Rush instead of Death Nova for speed farming in groups.
When you have great trust in your zBarb you can replace Ice Climbers with Blackthorne's Jousting Mail by cubing Depth Diggers.
Haunted Visions will make this skill drain 1% of your maximum life every second. If you are unable to pay this cost (i.e. you are below 1% HP when the cost is applied), the Simulacrums will despawn. In case you are running Final Service, this means you will very rarely have the event where your cheat death did not proc but you lost your Simulacrum and it will be on cooldown.
Simulacrums will cast your Secondary Skills and Grim Scythe when you do.
Simulacrums positioning is critical for this build! They move close to you whenever you are not casting an ability they can cast and warp to you if you are moving too far.
Simulacrums can proc area Damage but do not benefit from Pet Damage.
In combination with Leger's Disdain, Simulacrums do not care about your Essence generated, always getting the full benefit of the 12 Essence per enemy hit for the stacking 80% separate damage multiplier.
Extra curses can be applied from their Cursed Scythe, helping you to get all three of them on all targets.
When hitting enemies affected by Leech, your Simulacrums will also heal you. This provides insane recovery with some density.
Your Simulacrums scale with your character's toughness and can die from monster damage when it's too low. Especially large bursts of damage (e.g. Grotesque explosions) can rip them apart easily even when you could survive that damage yourself, so be mindful about such situations as the cooldown to resummon them is very long.
Simulacrum ignore how much current and maximum Essence you have. This is fantastic news because they will always get the full benefit of Leger's Disdain. That's why it's better to simply swing again at full essence (having 2 Simulacrums attacking at full power) than to waste time trying to dump essence to increase your own damage.
All three swings happen at the same time and deal full damage even if one swing is enough to kill some of the monsters.
Nayr's Black Death
Each stack of this item has its own duration (15 seconds).
As this is just slightly longer than the Necromancer's Convention of Elements rotation of 12 seconds, you want to make sure to activate all of your Poison skills at least once every cycle.
The stacks add up as one combined multiplier (100% per Poison skill used).
Put together the core items and level up the Legacy of Dreams gem.
Learn to position your Simulacrum in density, activate your Poison skills in order, and stun with Bone Armor Dislocation on your Poison Convention of Elements cycle to activate Krysbin's Sentence.
Gather large groups of enemies with Bone Spear Blighted Marrow to mow them down with Area Damage.
Enjoy one of the strongest builds Diablo III has ever seen!
Town Is Lava!
Written by Raxxanterax. Introduction by Chewingnom. Updated by wudijo.