Rathma Army of the Dead Necromancer Guide


Rathma Army of the Dead Solo Push
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With Season 23, the Bones of Rathma Necromancer has been re-imagined to create a completely new playstyle for the Necromancer.

While the set gave the name to the famous 'Rat Runs' (and the 'Rat Necro') that have been dominating the XP META almost entirely since the introduction of the class in Season 11, it has been completely reworked around Army of the Dead instead. Minions (including Revive) are still part of the build but only act as meatshields and to activate your set and item bonuses.

The build revolves around summoning a bunch of minions that will reset your Army of the Dead cooldown very quickly through the Bones of Rathma (2) Bonus and mow down enemies with it. Instead of the 120 seconds cooldown this ability usually has, you will be able to cast it once every few seconds to keep up a near continuous stream of damage.

While the build works with Area Damage (AD), Army of the Dead has a better scaling with Cooldown Reduction, since the build relies on CDR and Rathma (2) Bonus for Army of the Dead to be spammed (see Mechanics). With the buff in Season 25 the build has been lifted up to a competitive level with a unique playstyle unlike anything else the game has to offer. The build offer two different setups: Poison with a lot of melee action and Physical that is more ranged and strategic. The core guide describes the Physical push variant, but you can see all of them further below!

Flavourful ✔
Impactful Nuke
Has an Army of Minions ✔
Good AoE & Single Target ✔

❌ Very Squishy
❌ Pet Dependent
❌ Lack of Mobility
❌ Heavy Cooldown Dependency

Core Setup

Core Item Build


  • The Bones of Rathma set adds a total of 29,750% damage bonus to Bone Spirit and Army of the Dead when you have 17 minions out. 7 come from Command Skeletons and 10 from Revive. This can be boosted to 31,500% with Command Golem. Skeletal Mages won't work for this set bonus.
  • Jesseth Arms gives you a massive 400% damage bonus that synergizes well with the Command Skeletons you're already using.
  • Fate's Vow is the core Army of the Dead item, giving a 250% additive damage bonus to that skill and enabling the Unconventional Warfare rune for all setups.
  • Krysbin's Sentence is a staple in every Necromancer build, adding either 100% when the enemy is slowed or 300% damage when stunned (activated by Bone Armor Dislocation).
  • Bonds of C'Lena give another 100% damage increase and allow Army of the Dead to deal 50% extra damage to a single target.
  • Captain Crimson's Trimmings give more Cooldown Reduction, toughness and provide extra damage.
  • Ring of Royal Grandeur is required to make the two sets work together.
  • Squirt's Necklace provides up to 100% damage bonus if you haven't taken damage recently.
  • Convention of Elements is a great DPS boost, giving up to 200% damage bonus when abilities are timed correctly.

Season 26 Echoing Nightmares

Echoing Nightmares are a new rewarding endgame activity set within the memories of fallen Nephalem. You must first acquire a Petrified Scream from a Greater Rift Guardian, and then cube it to enter. Once inside you'll be challenged with an endless wave of enemies until you are either overwhelmed or killed. Your goal here is to reach Wave 125 for the highest possible Whisper of Atonement with extra XP rewards added for going higher. Read our complete Season 26 Echoing Nightmare Guide for full information on how it works, and check out our brand new Echoing Nightmare Build Tier List and our META post for the best strategies!

Echoing Nightmare Setup
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This build is bad for this game mode. Typically we utilize a Greater Rift pushing build with a few tweaks.


  • We play the Poison-variant for its higher damage.
  • Swap Bane of the Stricken for Gogok of Swiftness since we are fighting hordes of enemies.
  • Stack as much Cooldown Reduction as possible so you can use Land of the Dead more often.


  1. Reach Wave 100 and click Speed Pylon to boost your mobility and dodge Green Meteors.
  2. When you are more than 40% overwhelmed click Channeling Pylon and Power Pylon.
  3. When you are more than 60% overwhelmed click Conduit Pylon.
  4. After all Pylons expire, run away from monsters and dodge everything to squeeze out an extra 3-5 tiers.

Revive at least 10 minions at the start. Keep up your Jesseth Arms bonus with Command Skeletons at all times and make sure to use every Poison ability at least once per Convention of Elements cycle. Spawn Oculus Rings for your main nuke. Swing your Cursed Scythe to apply curses whenever possible.

Global Stat Priorities

Our offensive priorities are: Cooldown Reduction > Poison Damage > Critical Hit Chance/Critical Hit Damage > Area Damage > Intelligence > Attack Speed. Attack Speed doesn't have a high priority as it doesn't increase the damage output of Army of the Dead, but it does give faster swings to Command Skeletons, allowing you to reset the cooldown faster. Make sure to reach at least 1.60 Attacks per Second (usually 1-2 rolls, which naturally come on Jesseth Skullscythe and Krysbin's Sentence).

For variants using Reilena's Shadowhook, we also want Maximum Essence on our Weapon and Off-Hand to boost its damage multiplier. Your overall cooldown without Gogok of Swiftness should reach above 65% to ensure a smooth DPS cycle with fast resets on Army of the Dead.

Defensively you want to stack Vitality > Life % > Life per Hit > Armor > Elite Damage Reduction > All Resistance. Getting at least two Crowd Control Resistance rolls really helps when fighting Frozen, Nightmarish or Jailer elites, so keep an eye out for it for them.

Assembling the Build

1. Do the Challenge Rift for the materials to cube Legendary Powers. You can complete this once a week for additional resources and we always update the guide for you!

2. Gather the full Bones of Rathma set. Each piece can be gambled from Kadala for Bloodshards. Do not salvage any duplicate pieces you find! Instead convert them to another part of the set with Recipe 4 in Kanai's Cube. If you have extra materials you can use Recipe 3 to craft the remaining pieces, but this is expensive and not recommended for new players.

3. Gamble from Kadala in this order:

  1. The full Bones of Rathma set
  2. Fate's Vow
  3. Bonds of C'Lena and Nemesis Bracers
  4. Krysbin's Sentence and Convention of Elements
  5. Jesseth Skullshield

4. Craft using Recipe 3 in Kanai's Cube in this order:

  1. Scythes to get Jesseth Skullscythe and Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang
  2. Two-Handed Axes to get Messerschmidt's Reaver
  3. Two-Handed Scythes to get Reilena's Shadowhook and Nayr's Black Death
  4. Amulets to get Squirt's Necklace, Haunted Visions and The Flavor of Time

5. Do Bounties to acquire several important items for this build:

  • Act 1: Ring of Royal Grandeur
  • Act 2: 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, Sage's Journey and Cain's Destiny

Item Stat Priorities

Main-HandJesseth Skullscythe
Reilena's Shadowhook (Cubed)
Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang (Cubed)
Messerschmidt's Reaver (Cubed)
Nayr's Black Death (Cubed)
1. Damage Range
2. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
3. Cooldown Reduction
4. Damage %
5. Attack Speed
6. Intelligence
Off-HandJesseth Skullshield1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Intelligence
4. Elite Damage
5. Resource Cost Reduction
6. Elite Damage Reduction
HelmRathma's Skull Helm
Fate's Vow (Cubed)
1. Socket Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Intelligence
4. Vitality
GlovesRathma's Macabre Vambraces1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Area Damage
5. Intelligence
ShouldersRathma's Spikes1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Area Damage
3. Intelligence
4. Vitality
5. Armor
6. Life %
Chest Rathma's Ribcage Plate1. Intelligence
2. Sockets Flawless Royal Topaz
3. Vitality
4. Armor
5. Elite Damage Reduction
PantsRathma's Skeletal Legplates
Captain Crimson's Thrust (Crafted)
1. Intelligence
2. Vitality
3. Armor
4. Sockets Flawless Royal Topaz
BootsRathma's Ossified Sabatons
Captain Crimson's Waders (Crafted)
1. Intelligence
2. Vitality
3. Armor
4. All Resistance
Ring 1Krysbin's Sentence
Ring of Royal Grandeur (Cubed, A1 Bounties)
1. Socket
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
5. Attack Speed
Ring 2Convention of Elements
Briggs' Wrath
1. Socket
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
5. Attack Speed
BracersBonds of C'Lena1. Poison Damage
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Intelligence
4. Vitality
AmuletSquirt's Necklace
Haunted Visions
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Poison Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
5. Intelligence
BeltCaptain Crimson's Silk Girdle (Crafted)
1. Intelligence
2. Vitality
3. Life %
4. Armor
PotionBottomless Potion of Kulle-AidFor breaking walls to pull enemies
and increase DPS


  • Bane of the Trapped gives 60% increased damage against slowed and crowd-controlled enemies.
  • Gogok of Swiftness gives a 15% Attack Speed and Cooldown Reduction bonus with some Dodge Chance for defense.
  • Zei's Stone of Vengeance is the third gem for maximum dps, adding up to 80% extra damage.
  • The third gem changes a bit depending on the exact setup. In Nephalem Rifts you want to include Boon of the Hoarder for the extra Gold and Movement Speed.
  • Esoteric Alteration or Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard are alternatives that provide some more defense or protection for your Squirt's Necklace.


  • Army of the Dead Death Valley is our main source of damage. It has a base cooldown of 120 seconds and is reduced by 0.5 seconds every time one of your permanent minions hits and enemy. With both Command Skeletons and 10 Revives out and enough Cooldown Reduction, you will be able to cast this twice per Convention of Elements cycle.
  • Command Skeletons adds 7 out of 17 required minions for the Bones of Rathma set and activates the Jesseth Arms bonus. The Frenzy rune allows faster cooldown resets.
  • Revive grant another 10 minions for the Bones of Rathma bonus and a bit of damage reduction.
  • Blood Rush Potency is used for mobility and provides valuable toughness.
  • Decrepify Borrowed Time enables Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang while providing slow, damage & cooldown reduction. There are other variants replacing this with either Grim Scythe Cursed Scythe for a more melee-oriented playstyle (required for the Poison build) or Simulacrum Reservoir with a cubed Reilena's Shadowhook to go around the curse requirement completely.
  • Bone Armor Dislocation gives damage reduction and activates the double bonus from Krysbin's Sentence to improve your nuke.


  • Grisly Tribute is great for healing and survivability. You have lots of minions that will passively heal you up with this.
  • Final Service is a great tool for better survivability.
  • Spreading Malediction adds a bit of damage depending on the amount of enemies you have cursed. With Reilena's Shadowhook this will be replaced with Overwhelming Essence.
  • Rigor Mortis is useful to apply a slow debuff for Krysbin's Sentence when no other slows are available (in setups without curses).
  • For Cursed Scythe variants: Eternal Torment helps keep up all three curses in long fights. Swift Harvesting improves your ability to stack curses on enemies.

Paragon Points

1. Movement Speed1. Cooldown Reduction1. Armor1. Area Damage
2. Maximum Essence12. Attack Speed2. Life %2. Life per Hit
3. Intelligence3. Critical Hit Damage3. All Resistance3. Resource Cost Reduction
4. Vitality24. Critical Hit Chance4. Life Regeneration4. Pickup Radius

1 Only add these points when using Reilena's Shadowhook.
2 Add a bit of Vitality if you feel too squishy (a total of 800,000 Life is recommended).


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Followers share 20% of their Experience, Magic and Gold Find stats with you.
  4. Legendary gems do not work on followers, except Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard.
  5. 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.
  6. Cooldown Reduction does not work for any follower skill except the Templar’s Heal.
  7. Followers never deal significant damage; you’re on your own to clear the content.

Select Follower

T16 Enchantress

Speed GR Enchantress

Gr Pushing Enchantress

T16 Enchantress

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.
Stat Priorities: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.

Key Items:

  • 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.


  1. Keep up Command Skeletons at all times. Typically they will auto target after you have activated them once as long as there are nearby enemies. Cast it again when you run out of enemies to re-activate the 400% damage bonus.
  2. Apply Decrepify for the damage bonus from Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang. Don't spam this ability unnecessarily or you will run out of Essence.
  3. Use Army of the Dead to mow down your enemies. With the right cooldown values you can cast this spell twice per Convention of Elements rotation. Your main nuke will be at the start of Physical. Try to spawn Oculus Rings by finishing off a low HP target before your main nuke to improve its damage.
  4. Activate Bone Armor Dislocation after casting Army of the Dead to apply a stun to all surrounding enemies to boost your damage bonus from Krysbin's Sentence.
  5. After getting the first initial kills, Revive 10 extra minions. Which minions you got actually matters for the cooldown resets, focus on small, fast enemies if possible.
  6. Use Blood Rush to move between fights and into Oculus Rings. In dangerous fights, use it often for Potency uptime.


This build is not very well suited for Hardcore and it's very difficult to stack additional toughness aside from Paragons without making huge concessions in DPS. Make sure to take the Final Service passive and stack extra Vitality to take some hits reliably without proccing. Otherwise replace one or even two legendary gems with defensive options like Esoteric Alteration or Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard.

Check out our dedicated Hardcore Survival Guide to learn more about how to succeed in this game mode!


Nephalem Rifts
Army of the Dead T16 Nephalem Rifts

This setup uses the Physical Dead Storm to automatically deal damage around you. The idea is to run very fast keeping it up all the time to vaporize everything in your path. To achieve this, Messerschmidt's Reaver is included alongside the typical T16 items like Boon of the Hoarder and a follower with Avarice Band, Nemesis Bracers, Sage's Journey and Cain's Destiny.

Summon all your minions, keep up Command Skeletons at all times and use Army of the Dead Dead Storm to kill all enemies around you. Move quickly from pull to pull to ensure smooth cooldown resets.

If you are overkilling everything easily and feel comfortable without the extra Cooldown Reduction, you can replace Captain Crimson's Trimmings with Goldwrap and Steuart's Greaves for invincibility and more speed. In groups run the same setup but cube Nemesis Bracers instead of the boots and wear Avarice Band instead of Briggs' Wrath. To get extra toughness run with Esoteric Alteration or Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard instead of Bane of the Powerful.

GR Solo Speeds
Army of the Dead GR Solo Speeds

This version focuses on a ranged playstyle using the Physical Death Valley rune. The basic idea is to stay back and blow up enemies with a single Army of the Dead cast.

At the start of a run, immediately summon Simulacrum Reservoir for the bigger Reilena's Shadowhook multiplier. Mow down the first enemies and get your minion army going, and make sure to keep up Jesseth Arms at all times. With the right Cooldown Reduction values Army of the Dead can be used twice per Convention of Elements cycle. Mow down trash in the downtime and focus on elites with the Physical buff active.

There are a variety of setups depending on your preferences and ability to play around your chosen jewelry. You can use Squirt's Necklace for a more challenging playstyle with a slightly higher ceiling. You can also drop Convention of Elements to run with both amulets and have more consistent damage instead (by equipping Ring of Royal Grandeur instead of cubing it). In both cases you should run with Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard instead of Bane of the Powerful and switch Grisly Tribute to Draw Life to protect the buff.

GR Solo Push (Poison)
Army of the Dead GR Solo Push (Poison)

This is an alternative version to the Physical build based around the massive Nayr's Black Death multiplier. Due to the massive single target damage coming from Bonds of C'Lena and the Unconventional Warfare rune, this build can comfortably push to its GR limit without using Bane of the Stricken.

Revive at least 10 minions at the start. Keep up your Jesseth Arms bonus with Command Skeletons at all times and make sure to use every Poison ability at least once per Convention of Elements cycle. Spawn Oculus Rings for your main nuke and stun enemies during it with Bone Armor Dislocation for extra damage from Krysbin's Sentence. Swing your Cursed Scythe to apply curses whenever possible.

If you are having a lot of trouble staying alive, drop Zei's Stone of Vengeance for Esoteric Alteration. If you want to use a cheat death, replace Swift Harvesting with Final Service. Another option is to drop Captain Crimson's Trimmings to gain Aquila Cuirass and Dayntee's Binding for massive amounts of extra toughness at the cost of Cooldown Reduction and around 3-4 Tiers worth of damage.

GR Solo Push (Phys)

Select Build Version




Army of the Dead GR Solo Push (Physical)

This setup chooses a ranged approach with the Physical Death Valley rune. This is safer as you never have to enter melee range to swing your Grim Scythe, always slow all enemies with Decrepify and you can group up enemies better.

Summon all your Revive minions and keep up Jesseth Arms at all times. Apply Decrepify to all enemies for the Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang damage bonus, then decimate them with Army of the Dead Death Valley. With the right Cooldown Reduction, you can cast this skill twice per Convention of Elements rotation. Try to spawn Oculus Rings to boost your damage.

Stay at a safe distance from the pull and let your minions tank for you. Right before you trigger Death Valley and it's safe to do so, move in for Bone Armor Dislocation to boost your Krysbin's Sentence effect as you start your nuke, then Blood Rush away immediately to maximize the Zei's Stone of Vengeance bonus (at 40 yards, ~2/3 of a screen). Whenever possible (i.e. without the presence of a lot of ranged monsters or dangerous elites) dodge enemies and projectiles to keep up Squirt's Necklace. Don't overuse your Essence as you only regain it very slowly through Dark Reaping. In other words, use Decrepify and Command Skeletons sparingly.

If you feel too squishy replace Bane of the Stricken with either Esoteric Alteration or Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard. The latter can also help you to protect the Squirt's Necklace buff.

Trash Clearer

In groups we'll fill the trash clearer roll taking down large packs of monsters with Area Damage. We can be more offensive with our itemization because we have supports keeping us alive and grouping up enemies for us. To start we'll drop Bane of the Stricken for Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard to keep our Squirt's Necklace up. We'll also drop Final Service for Serration for more damage.

The gameplay here is slightly different than the other set ups. We will relax in the sanctuary until just before our Poison Convention of Elements cycle comes up. Right before it hits we'll throw a Bone Spear to try to spawn an Oculus Ring. Once Poison hits, refresh Bone Armor, then Blood Rush to the furthest Oculus Ring to take advantage of Serration and Zei's Stone of Vengeance. Finally throw as many spears as possible at the center of the mobs and watch them fall to pieces!

If you want to try a triple support set up, you can drop Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard for Bane of the Stricken. You will now be the Trash Clearer AND the RGK. With this set up it's completely normal to ask your teammates: Do any of you do ANYTHING around here?! At high paragons you can drop Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard for Bane of the Powerful as you won't need it to protect your Squirt's Necklace anymore.

Video Guide


Fate's Vow

  • The 250% damage bonus from Fate's Vow is an additive bonus rather than a separate damage multiplier to Army of the Dead. This means most personal or group buffs (such as Spreading Malediction) have a rather small effect on this skill.
  • With another rune on your skillbar and Fate's Vow equipped, you will receive both effects at the same time. The Unconventional Warfare effect lasts 4 seconds, so casting your main nuke at the start of your Convention of Elements cycle is crucial to getting the most out of it.
  • Unconventional Warfare will deal the same elemental damage type as the chosen rune.
Unconventional Warfare + Blighted Grasp

Army of the Dead

  • The amount of hits done by this skill depends on the chosen rune. Unconventional Warfare's 50,000% weapon damage is the total of all hits combined, meaning it's especially strong on single target and very weak in AoE pulls. All other runes deal their total damage to all enemies in the area.
  • The total amount of hits and damage done per rune is:
    • Blighted Grasp: 10x 1,400% weapon damage (per target)
    • Death Valley: 7x 1,714% weapon damage (per target)
    • Unconventional Warfare: 40x 1,250% weapon damage (total)
    • Frozen Army: 5x 2,400% weapon damage (per target)
    • Dead Storm: 10x 1,550% weapon damage (per target)

Blood is Power

  • As you spend life from your skills (from Blood Rush and Dead Storm casts) or take damage from enemies, you will stack up a hidden counter towards 100% life spent. After you reach the threshold, a skill's cooldown will be cut by 20% flat of the total (after Cooldown Reduction).
  • This counter is reset when the skill has fully cooled down or you die.
  • Each skill is counted separately.
  • Spending life on skills doesn't scale with damage reduction, so you will still lose life in the invincible variations of the build.


  • Put together the core items and acquire the full Bones of Rathma set.
  • Keep Jesseth Arms up at all times using Command Skeletons.
  • Use Army of the Dead to mow down enemies during the Convention of Elements' Physical cycle.
  • Summon 10 Revive minions as soon as possible when you first produce corpses.
  • Stay mobile, dodge attacks during downtime and blast away during your nukes!

The Bones of Rathma rework has breathed some new life in previously underused skills and Necromancer mechanics. It has a very unique playstyle and can be a great change of pace from other builds. Good luck!


Written by wudijo.
Reviewed by Northwar & Raxxanterax.
Updated by wudijo.


Mar 20th 2022
Updated for Season 26 / Patch 2.7.3. Rewritten for Physical Variant as main setup. Added Scythe setup.