Summon Necro Build Introduction

Summonmancers are amongst the most popular ladder starter builds, as they are very effective in budget gear and allow for a wide variety of skills and items to be utilized. While necromancers are usually fragile, this build is a good fit for hardcore as the summons act as a “Meat Shield”. Summoners can clear the whole game as the summons deal all kinds of elemental and physical damage. The main attacking skill is Corpse Explosion, but most of the damage will be dealt by your army. The main curse you should be using is Amplify Damage, but Attract comes handy on the Cow level, and Lower Resists can be very effective in parties.

Their mob clear speed is decent, but single target damage is not super high. Having an Enigma greatly improves your mobility and movement speed, and by teleporting you drag your entire army with you. By teleporting on a boss, the whole army will be attacking it. For Mobs, most of the damage dealt will come from your Corpse Explosion skill, but for single targets, your main source of damage will be your mercenary. Parties welcome summon necros, as the army will act as a meat shield for the whole party, and Lower Resists or Amplify Damage are both beneficial curses for damage output. Due to needing a lot of corpses in order to be effective, summon necros are not the best fit for magic find. You will be able to solo the whole game, but in order to do so, first you will need to cast your army which is time consuming. They are also able to deal with Uber Diablo and Uber Tristram, making them even more preferable at new seasons.

Pros and Cons


  • Awesome survivability for the whole party due to your army. Your curses are also very beneficial for party members.
  • Playstyle is unique and very fun to most players.
  • Necros are fragile, but summoners are a great fit for hardcore.
  • Awesome survivability, a good choice for Hardcore players.
  • Fast teleportation speed, can get to bosses quickly.
  • Many Budget-friendly options are available, it’s an awesome starter.
  • Can solo the game.


  • Not a good fit for Magic Find
  • Doesn’t deal immense damage to Bosses


Playing solo: Have a Merc and an Iron Golem with as high damage as possible, so you can start killing weak monsters and create your army. Once your summons are alive, you can start clearing any area. Use Revive for the strongest monsters (Urdars are the best). Coordinating your monsters will be difficult, so i suggest wearing a Naj’s Puzzler for Teleport charges until you can afford an Enigma in order to carry your army with you. Alternatively you can use magic items with Teleport charges.

Playing in a party: In parties, members can take advantage of your army’s protection. Having a Merc with Infinity will help both your and your party’s damage. Iron Golems can be casted from a variety of items, having an Insight Iron Golem will grant your party the Meditation Aura. Curses will help deal damage for all the party members.

Survivability, Hardcore: The necromancer itself is very fragile, but with a big army surrounding it, summoners are a great fit for hardcore. Make sure to always have Bone Armor on, and have your belt stacked with Full Rejuvs. Have 75 all resists, and try to avoid physical attacks. Wearing a Stormshield and Crown of Ages or a Verdungo Belt are good options to improve your physical damage reduction. Get a Call to Arms as secondary weapon as soon as possible to boost your life. Use a Raven Frost ring if you want to avoid being frozen. Make sure to walk instead of running, and use teleport for movement if you can afford an Enigma.

Damage output: Area damage output is great, but single target damage is not the best. To deal massive damage to single targets, teleport on them.

Where to farm: The build is fit to farm any area, but it’s not ideal for quick Boss runs or quick Chaos/Baal runs..

Magic Find: Summoner necros are not the best option for Magic Find, but once you have an army up, efficient farming in high % magic find gear is possible. You can give it a shot for MFing if you like farming several areas and having long MF runs. Make sure to have 7% Magic Find SCs and a Gheed’s Fortune in your inventory.

Budget: It’s one of the most budget friendly characters and one of the best ladder starters. Highend gear will be expensive, as it requires you to have expensive runewords.

Mana/Life: Use potions to recover life and mana. You can cast an Iron Golem from Insight to gain Meditation aura, which will solve any mana issues immediately. In hardcore, having a belt stacked with Full Rejuvs is a must!

Movement/Mobility: The character moves fast with Teleport in case you have an enigma. It doesn’t have fast run speed, however it won’t be necessary, since most of the navigation is done via Teleport.

Ubers: You will be able to deal with all the Ubers if you cast Urdars as Revives. Use Decrepify on them in order to lower their damage, and kill them one by one.

Skill panel: You can spam any skills by holding down the shift button and clicking simultaneously. For the left skill panel, i suggest using Corpse Explosion (F1). For the right skill panel, use Raise Skeleton (F2), Raise Skeletal Mage (F3),  Revive (F4), Iron Golem (F5), Teleport (F6), Amplify Damage (F7), Bone Armor (F8). Cast Battle Orders, Battle Command and use town portals manually.

Mercenary: Use Nightmare Act 2 Offensive Merc for it’s Might Aura. If possible, equip him with an Infinity Eth Great Poleaxe.


During leveling, our aim is to maximize damage output for quick progression, have decent survivability so you won’t die frequently, and have decent movement speed.

Skills: Start by putting skill points on summoning skills (Skeleton, Golem and Skeleton Mastery skills). Put at least on skill point on each summoning skill once they become available, except for Fire Golem. Put at least one point on Bone Armor and use it from the beginning. Put a skill point on Corpse Explosion once it becomes available, and use it to blow up corpses if you face bigger mobs once your army is raised. Use the Amplify Damage curse on enemy monsters to deal more damage to them.

Stats: Have enough strength and dexterity to be able to wear useful gear. Put all the remaining stat points on Vitality.

Useful Gear: Lore Helm (Ort-Sol), Bone Armor (Sol-Um-Um), Stealth Armor (Tal-Eth), Smoke Armor (Nef+Lum), Spirit Sword, Spirit Shield, Ancient’s Pledge Shield (Ral-Ort-Tal), Rhyme Shield (Shael-Eth), Trang Oul’s Set items, Peasant Crown helm, Moser’s Blessed Circle shield, Nightsmoke Belt, Boots with % Movement Speed.

Important breakpoints

How it works: Each second in the game consists of 24 frames or “ticks”. Your breakpoints decide how many frames it will take until you can attack/cast a skill/recover from a hit/ block a new hit.

Faster Cast Rate Faster Cast Rate in Vampire Form Faster Hit Recovery Faster Block Rate
0% – 15 Frames 0% – 23 Frames 0% – 13 Frames 0% – 11 Frames
9% – 14 Frames 6% – 22 Frames 5% – 12 Frames 6% – 10 Frames
18% – 13 Frames 11% – 21 Frames 10% – 11 Frames 13% – 9 Frames
30% – 12 Frames 18% – 20 Frames 16% – 10 Frames 20% – 8 Frames
48% – 11 Frames 24% – 19 Frames 26% – 9 Frames 32% – 7 Frames
75% – 10 Frames 35% – 18 Frames 39% – 8 Frames 52% – 6 Frames
125% – 9 Frames 48% – 17 Frames 56% – 7 Frames 86% – 5 Frames
  65% – 16 Frames 86% – 6 Frames 174% – 4 Frames
  86% – 15 Frames 152% – 5 Frames 600% – 3 Frames
  120% – 14 Frames 377% – 4 Frames  
  180% – 13 Frames    


Faster cast rate effects the re-casting speed of both teleport and Corpse Explosion, so reaching higher breakpoints will help your mob clearspeed. 56% FHR can be reached by wearing a Spirit shield and and FHR boots or charms with FHR.

Build versatility and modifications

To build can be made in a variety of ways depending on what you put your skill points on. The standard is to max out every important summoning skill in order to have as many skeletons and revives as possible, but once you are in end-game gear, the number of summons won’t effect your clear speed significantly, so you can spare points by only putting one on Raise skeletal mage and one on Revive.

In case you want to increase your Corpse Explosion’s damage, it’s a good idea to have the same range for it as you have for Amplify damage, so put skill points on both in accordance to their radious. You can also put skill points on your Bone Shield in order to improve your survivability. You can also put points on your Iron Golem instead to improve it’s survivability.

Survivability and Hardcore tips

Survivability can be boosted by a variety of items to help you survive difficult situations.

Useful skills: Bone Armor is your primary defensive skill. You should have it up at all times.

Useful items: Call to arms is the obvious secondary weapon of choice due to it’s Battle Orders and Battle Command skills, which can increase your life tremendously. Stormshield for shield can be used for increased block rate and physical damage reduction, alongside a Verdungo belt. Harlequin Crest Shako can be utilized as well.  If you want to make yourself almost immune to elemental damage, use Guardian Angel armor to increase your maximum resistances, and for elemental damage absorption, The rising sun amulet (fire absorption), Dwarf star ring (Fire absorption), Hellmouth gloves (fire absorption), Wisp projector ring (lightning absorption), Thungergod’s Vigor belt (lightning absorption) or Raven Frost ring (cold absorption) can be used.

Defensive requirements:

To have high survivability, i suggest the following:


Necessary / Useful skill tree points

Summoning skills

  • Raise skeleton (20 point)
  • Skeleton Mastery (20 point)
  • Clay Golem (1 point)
  • Blood Golem (1 point)
  • Iron Golem (1 point)
  • Golem Mastery (1 point)
  • Raise Skeletal Mage (20 point)
  • Revive (20 point)
  • Summon Resist (1 point)
Poison and Bone skills

  • Teeth (1 point)
  • Bone Armor (1 point, additional points are optional)
  • Corpse Explosion (20 point)


  • Amplify damage (1 point)
  • Additional curses for the party’s benefit are optional. The most useful ones are Life Tap in survivability situations and Lower Resists in case your party members deal elemental damage.

Attacking Skills

Corpse Explosion

This is our primary attacking skill.

Amplified Damage Curse (additional points are optional) – Cast it on enemies whenever it’s possible.

Other Active Skills


This is our main skill for movement. Wear an enigma or items with Teleport charges.

Call to Arms Skills

Battle command (CTA) – Always use it if you have a CTA. Make sure to cast it twice. Battle orders (CTA) – Always use it if you have a CTA. It provides immense Life and Mana boosts.


Strength ► Just enough to be able to wear your items. With Hellfire Torch, Annihilus and stats on other items you might not even have to put stat points on it.

Dexterity ► Just enough to wear your gear. Consider putting extra points on it if you aim for better survivability and Block Chance.

Vitality ► Spend all your remaining points on it.

Energy ► Don’t spend any points on it.

You can re-stat your character by the quest reward of Akara’s Act1 Den of Evil Quest, or by using Token of Absolution

Item setups

Ladder starter setup

Cost-effective build to start out at a new ladder season

Helm: Magic Circle with +2 to necro skills / Peasant Crown

Amu: Any amulet with + necro or all skill

Weapon: White wand

Switch Weapon: Naj’s Puzzler

Shield: Spirit

Switch Shield: none

Body Armor: Stealth

Belt: Trang Oul’s belt / Nightsmoke

Rings: Any ring with useful stats like fcr, resist, allresist, life

Gloves: Trang Oul’s gloves

Boots: 30% FRW boots with additional resists


Charms: Any charm with +summon skill, +poison and bone skill, life, mana, resist or FHR


Mercenary Type: Nightmare Difficulty Act 2 Offensive (Might Aura)

Helm: Tal Rasha’s helm, or any helm with 3 Perfect Amethyst

Body Armor: Treachery (Eth bugged armor base preferred)

Weapon: Insight in an elite two-handed ethereal Polearm

Advanced setup

Decent dps, fast movement speed, one of the best overall builds

Helm: Harlequin Crest Shako (Socket it with Um rune)

Amu: Mara’s Kaleidoscope

Weapon: Heart of the Oak Flail

Switch Weapon: Call to Arms

Shield: Spirit

Switch Shield: Spirit

Body Armor: Enigma

Belt: Arachnid Mesh

Rings: 2* Rare rings (10% faster cast rate, possibly with life and resists) / Raven Frost

Gloves: Trang Oul’s Claws

Boots: Marrowwalk


Charms: Annihilus, Hellfire torch, Magic Grand Charms (+1 to Summoning skills), Magic Small Charms (with +all resistances, or +life)


Mercenary Type: Normal Difficulty, From Act 2, Combat or Defensive (Prayer / Defiance Aura)

Helm: Guillaume’s Face (Ethereal base is preferred, socketed with 15% IAS jewel)

Body Armor: Treachery (Eth bugged armor base preferred)

Weapon: Ethereal Bonehew (socket it with Shael+Amn)

Top tier setup

Decent dps, clear and movement speed, one of the best overall builds ◆

Helm: Rare Circlet with +2 to necro skills, 20 FCR and 2 socket 

Amu: Mara’s Kaleidoscope Crafted Amulet with +2 to necro skills, 20 FCR

Weapon: Beast Scepter

Switch Weapon: Call to Arms

Shield: Spirit

Switch Shield: Spirit

Body Armor: Enigma

Belt: Arachnid Mesh

Rings: 2* Rare rings (10% faster cast rate, possibly with life and resists)

Gloves: Magefist

Boots: Marrowwalk


Charms: Annihilus, Hellfire torch, Magic Grand Charms (+1 to Summoning skills and +life), Magic Small Charms (with +all resistances, or +life)


Mercenary Type: Normal Difficulty, From Act 2, Combat or Defensive (Prayer / Defiance Aura)

Helm: Andariel’s Visage (Ethereal base is preferred, socketed with 15% IAS + Enhanced Damage jewel)

Body Armor: Treachery (Eth bugged armor base preferred)

Weapon: Ethereal Infinity (Great Poleaxe base is preferred)

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