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Summoner/Magic Find Necromancer by lMarcusl

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Summoner/Magic Find Necromancer
Summoner MF Necro.gif
Game Diablo II
Class Necromancer
Primary Attack Decrepify/Raise Skeleton/Skeletal Mage
Can Solo Hell? Yes
Creator lMarcusl

The Summoner/Magic Finder Necro (or Summoner MFmancer) is essentially a version of the Summonmancer using only Skeletons, Golems and the Mercenary to do their dirty work. Since this playstyle means the Necromancer isn't directly a very active part of combat, it opens up a huge amount of opportunities in the equipment area. While other characters have to focus on high armor, damage, attack rating, attack speed or resistances, the MFmancer can leave all these by the wayside and equip as many purely Magic Find items as they choose. This also means that the MFmancer's stats can vary greatly depending on what equipment the player decides to go for, without actually hindering the character's effectiveness. It is one of the most powerful and fun builds in the game as it can easily take one through Hell difficulty while also finding some of the most amazing equipment possible and run around with pockets literally full of gold. Since it relies solely on its skills and not on equipment, it is the perfect build for untwinked single player playthroughs. This build has been tested on single player across all difficulties with patch 1.13. This guide will assume that the character is untwinked and has to rely only on the equipment found while playing. Note that clvl I will be aiming for with this character is 84, i.e. the usual level for completing a Hell playthrough.

Playstyle[edit | edit source]

The MFmancer's playstyle doesn't vary much from the usual Summonmancer. Since the character has no other offensive skills beside Corpse Explosion, they have to rely on their Hireling and Golem to kill off the first initial monsters. Once MFmancer gets some corpses forming (the most important resource for this character) they can start growing an army. As the army grows the play becomes much less demanding as both you and your Hireling will be protected by the sheer amount of Skeletons moving across the field. It is important to note that though Skeletons do decent damage and greatly help even out the numbers when encountering enemies, they are NOT the main killing force for this character. The primary purpose of Skeletons is merely to provide protection for your Hireling so that they can kill everything. No matter how many Skeletons the player has, a well equipped Hireling will always be the one who deals the most damage, so it is essential that you keep them alive and safe at all times. Skeletons alone with their sheer number can of course kill off enemies as well, but your progress will be much faster with your Hireling intact. It is recommended that you use the Might Act 2 Mercenary, since spears and polearms generally do large amounts of damage, and the Might aura will greatly benefit not only your Hireling but your Skeletons as well.

Once you have maxed out your army, Decrepify and Corpse Explosion will be the name of the game. With your Hireling now safely killing off monsters by the dozens, corpses will be an expendable resource that you can blast your enemies with at will. Thanks to Decrepify's amazing ability of making even the most powerful and threatening monster fight like a wimp with one use of the spell, your Skeleton Warriors will hardly ever die so you need not worry about leaving some corpses for resummoning your army. A vulnerable spot of your army will be the Mages; however they usually stay safely in the back and attack from afar, no need to worry there. The only other vulnerable spot of your army is then of course yourself. With no offensive skills to speak of and oftentimes a wacky combination of fun items that you chose to equip, your character is left mostly defenseless. It is therefore vital that when progressing through a dangerous area, one does not rush into the middle of a room and get instantly killed. Progress gradually and always wait for your army to catch up, or you will be leaving yourself wide open for an easy kill. Also note that even with your army around you, there are enemies that will be dangerous to you at all times, as these are mostly enemies with piercing or AoE attacks. However, the list is quite short and goes as follows: Willowisp, Slinger in Nightmare/Hell Act 5, Cold Enchanted Uniques, Lightning Enchanted Uniques, Scarab Demon, Claw Viper in Nightmare/Hell Act V. Avoid the projectiles of these monsters at all costs as they can spell quick doom for your character, should your resistances/health be too low.

Attribute Point Allocation[edit | edit source]

Since your character does not have to worry about his combat performance, the stat point allocation is largely up to you. There is generally no reason for you to increase your Dexterity but the other attributes can vary greatly depending on your personal preference. As you can see on the picture, with my MFmancer I chose not to focus on Strength as my incredibly high Magic Find easily provided me with items that increased my strength sufficiently to equip the items I found. Whatever your preference though, it is a good idea to increase your Vitality at least over 170 so that you do not get one shotted by the problematic monsters mentioned above. The higher your Vitality, the less worries you will have towards the end of Hell as the game will start throwing gradually more and more threatening monsters at you like e.g. Gloams and Slingers. It is also a good idea to increase your Energy at least a little bit, as depending on your choice of Golem type, you might need as much as 240 Mana just for this summon alone. Generally speaking though, as long as you invest enough points into Vitality, the rest of your stat choices are entirely up to you.

Skill Point Allocation[edit | edit source]

Though your stats offer you a great amount of freedom, with skills you have to be a little bit more careful. The Skeleton army is the very essence of this build and thus the Raise Skeleton and Skeleton Mastery skills have to be maxed out in order for your character to be successful. Raise Skeletal Mage is also a very important skill to have, if not indeed vital to this build. Though the opinions on the Mage's effectiveness vary, I have found them a particularly useful asset when fighting against uniques and super uniques, especially ones with Immune to Physical modifier. Though Decrepify and Amplify Damage allow you to remove Physical Immunities, it is in fact not always the case. Should you encounter a unique monster that is Immune to Physical by default and in addition has the Stone Skin modifier added to it, not even the Amplify Damage curse is able to remove the immunity (speaking from experience). Also even if you are able to remove the immunity from the monster, its physical resistance will still be quite considerable and killing the monster might pose problem to your Hireling and Skeletons (don't forget that monsters regenerate quite quickly on Hell). Therefore having a group of Mages can help you dispatch these monsters much faster and also negate the regeneration abilities thanks to poison attacks. In addition, Cold Mages and Decrepify create a very deadly combination which renders even the most powerful Hell Super Uniques harmless. In fact the combination of Decrepify and Cold Mages is able to make Baal himself unable to properly cast his spells. See the video below this article (Baal's Hoarfrost and Teleport never actually work). Some prefer to choose Revive instead of Mages but I have found the skill to be largely useless. The Revived monsters have trouble following the character and they die if they get too far away from you. Also their damage isn't too great either. When fighting Baal for the first time with this character I actually had to unsummon my Revived because they were doing next to no damage to Baal and were blocking off my Skeletons. I immediately respecced out of Revive afterwards.

Beside these skills, it is also a good idea to invest heavily into Golem. Not only will Golem be the tank for you and your Hireling until you manage to summon up a large enough army and also help you obtain those first crucial kills that you need to get your army going, it is also a decent source of damage and gives you various effects which would be hard to obtain otherwise e.g. additional slow (Clay Golem), Lifesteal (Blood Golem) or other random attributes (Iron Golem). As you can see on the picture I chose to go for the Fire Golem because of the large amount of elemental damage he deals when attacking, just standing around and even when dying. This is however up to personal preference. To increase the golem's effectiveness, once you have maxed out your Skeletons and your Golem, you might invest the few remaining points into Golem Mastery to make your grumpy companinon even more potent.

Ideally you should progress your skills equally, e.g. your Skeleton Mastery should be on the same level as your Raise Skeleton, with Raise Skeletal Mage only a few levels behind. You need not max out any of the skills outright. Once you feel your Golem is at a decent level and doesn't die all that much, you can leave him be and max him out in Hell once your Skeleton skills are maxed out.

Last but not least it is necessary to mention the Corpse Explosion and Decrepify skills. These will of course be your bread and butter, since after you have summoned up your army there is absolutely nothing else for you to do except for casting these two spells constantly. However, do not invest skill points into these skills. Your Magic Find will most likely provide you with decent enough +skills to get these two spells off the ground. These skills do not really increase in potency that much and the few skill points you will have left will be much better spent in e.g. the Golem Mastery than here. Note: even though Teeth do pretty much no damage, it is a good idea to have the skill on the left mouse button. Should you accidentally misclick, instead of running to your death right towards your enemy, your character will stay safely where he is and cast Teeth.

Gear[edit | edit source]

Since we are going for a single player character there isn't much we can do about the gear we get. You may have heard me say that in my other guides. Well, that's not the case here. At all. Uncharacteristic as it may be for a caster character, here we get to the most fun part of the whole build because this character offers you more freedom with your equipment than any other build out there. Since what you will be doing most of the time is avoiding combat instead of runing headfirst into it, you don't need high armor, health, resistances or block chance nearly as much as other characters would. Though it is best to keep your resistances on the plus side later on, especially in the lightning and fire department, you don't necessarily have to max out your resistances if you are at least decent in not running directly into projectile attacks. You should try to have as much +skills as you can so that you don't have to worry about your Skeleton's health, resistances or damage at any point during the game. Buying a wand with +2 to all necromancer skills shouldn't be a problem, since your character will be literally swimming in money as you need almost no potions or repairs. That is however pretty much the only thing you can truly buy for your character. You have to find the other items yourself...and that's the best part.

Since your equipment doesn't need resistances and similar survival stuff you can be head to heels covered in Magic Find items. If you find a +20% better chance of finding magic items ring which does absolutely nothing else, you better damn keep it. Crappy boots with 2 armor that give absolutely nothing except for +10% MF is the kind of item you are looking for. The moment you find your first socketable armor, feel free to put a topaz into it for magic find bonus because this is what your character can afford to do. Finding the best equipment possible and having as much fun with this build as we can is what we are aiming for here. You might think I'm just trying to oversell this build but there is actually a good reason for all this nonsense.

There are generally speaking no non-MF attributes you might require from your items besides +skills, some decent resistances and perhaps extra health. From these only +skills actually increase your combat effectiveness. However +skills can be only obtained on certain slots...e.g. it is unlikely you will find +skills boots or belt or a ring. What you can do is increase your chances of finding some of the best equipment the game has to offer for your character AND MORE IMPORTANTLY for your hireling. Gradually you might slowly start replacing the MF gear with something more useful but you should always at all times keep your MF very very high. The combination of survival/+skill gear and MF gear in one item is the ideal for MFmancer - therefore if you find a Shrunken Head with some +skills and two sockets, you should create the Rhyme runeword (ShaelEth) which gives you bonus to resistances, MF and cannot be frozen all in one item. The only charms you should be carrying are MF charms and health charms, the latter only if they provide a truly significant bonus. Finding as much unique gear as you can directly influences the amount of +skills gear you will be able to find in your playthrough and also will allow you to get the best of the best items for your hireling which is MFmancer's killing force. Therefore your main goal with this character should be to stack up your hireling with the best survival/damage gear your MF allows you to find. You may perhaps want to keep a few items for special occasions (e.g. Open Wounds, high elemental damage, high resistances etc.) in your stash to equip your hireling better for any given situation. If you feel like your resistances are lacking too much, you need more health or you should increase your strength slightly to equip some nice unique piece of armor, you should have no problems finding the items you need thanks to your MF capabilities. Therefore it is much easier to switch your equipment from pure MF gear into more survival oriented items if you feel you are lacking in any department.


Well, folks, that's all for this build. Hope you enjoy playing it;-)