Welcome to the longest lasting group XP farming build in Diablo III: the Legacy of Dreams Skeletal Mage "Rat" Necromancer. Season after season it has proven itself to be among the top tier in experience farming.
Initially "Rats" were played with Bones of Rathma, which is where its name originates from as people were too lazy to search for a "+1 Rathma" and simply referred to it as a "+1 Rat". While the main multiplier shifted from Bones of Rathama (6) Bonus to Legacy of Dreams the name "Rat" still persisted to depict this specific team composition for grinding experience (and gear for Necromancers).
The gameplay of a Rat is "High Risk, High Reward" as it’s purely offensive and dies to anything that hits it. Therefore, playing Rat DPS requires a decent amount of practice, dedication and the patience of an angel if your zNec is playing suboptimally. When Rats go well, they feel amazing, but when things go wrong it's one of the worst experiences you'll witness in any group setup. The guide at hand is a resource for you to succeed with your ratting!
Extremely Fast ✔
Best XP Farmer ✔
Mages Go Pew Pew Pew ✔
Rewards Excellent Gameplay ✔
❌ Difficult to Execute
❌ Sensitive Towards Supports
❌ Terrible for Solo Progression
- Haunted Visions alllows Simulacrum Reservoir to last forever, buffing Reilena's Shadowhook.
- Reilena's Shadowhook provides 330% increased damage based on our total Maximum Essence, which is why we need this specific secondary on our Main and Off-Hand.
- Scythe of the Cycle provides a 400% increased damage multiplier to Skeletal Mage.
- Circle of Nailuj's Evol allows you to get two Mages with every cast and make them last longer, great to get started with the build.
- Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan for 25% increased resource generation and damage while moving.
- Tasker and Theo for 50% increased attack speed to our Skeletal Mage.
- Requiem Cereplate for 100% increased life and essence on Devour.
- Reaper's Wraps for the resource gained on health globe pick up.
- Lost Time is the only Off-Hand that does something, however, any other Phylactery will do just fine. Bone Ringer is the only one pre-rolling with Critical Hit Chance, which is why it's most commonly used early in a season.
Season 25 Soul 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 Group Play 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 Dregs of Lies for the massive bonus damage to Pets. For the Rank 3 power, go for the stacking Pet Damage effect for another major power boost!
- 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 Physical 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: Skeletal Mage Damage > Critical Hit Damage > Physical Damage > Critical Hit Chance > Attack Speed > Area Damage > Cooldown Reduction (CDR). Cooldown, in comparison to previous iterations of LoD Rat, is absolutely not needed anymore. At best CDR helps you when you fail your Blood Rush or when you miss your Bone Armor. When Land of the Dead is up our Devour Devouring Aura will instantly refill our essence due to a bug with Requiem Cereplate and allow us to throw fully powered Singularity Mages.
Attack Speed does not make our mages cast faster, but it does let us summon mages faster and gives them higher damage. Area Damage does work with Skeletal Mage and can be taken on items, but it's better to prioritize the other offensive stats first as you cannot guarantee monsters will be grouped in such fast-paced runs. Lastly, Devouring Aura does scale with additional Pickup Radius, which is quite beneficial, however, make sure you first have appropriate primary rolls before aiming for more Pickup Radius.
- Put together the core items and level up the Legacy of Dreams gem.
- Learn the rotation and how to keep up 10 fully powered Skeletal Mage by always having enough essence between Devour and Land of the Dead.
- Practice staying alive on the squishiest build in Diablo 3 history.
- Enjoy being a higher paragon than everyone on your friends list!
Written by Raxxanterax with special help from Rob.
Updated by wudijo.