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. Go check them out below!
Impactful Nuke ✔
Has an Army of Minions ✔
Good AoE & Single Target ✔
❌ Very Squishy
❌ Pet Dependent
❌ Lack of Mobility
❌ Heavy Cooldown Dependency
- 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 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 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! Hint: Make sure to get a Poison Damage Range on your Weapon so it can proc the shard automatically.
- 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 and Critical Hit Chance are not too far behind. Avoid Attack Speed since it does not work with this build.
- 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: 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.
- 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' Poison cycle. Make sure to activate all your Poison skills at least once every cycle.
- Summon 10 Revive minions as soon as possible when you first produce corpses.
- Swing your Cursed Scythe as much as possible to apply curses.
- Stay mobile, dodge attacks during downtime and blast away during your nukes!
The new 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.