Each update I casually try a poison melee necro and they are always painful. The balance has simply not been there for this to be fun, viable, scalable, survivable.
Patch 7.10 version is a bit better. Not so fun I want to rave about it and keep grinding it (level 68 now and endgame is too drawn out for me), but enough that I wanted to share my thoughts.
Solo Self Found?
Yeah, since any gear would do, I thought I’d try to only use what I found, and also try to use no uniques.
Yeah, do not expect Power or min maxed stuff. If you want that try a Boardman21 build. I stop playing a build when I’ve done the same thing 50 times and it looks like being another 50 times with no changes.
Skeletons: Mainly here as meatshields and to apply as many poisons as possible.
Remove the archers so you only get melee minions, then it’s your choice what to finish with. I took health, attack speed and a bit of melee AOE. If the ‘bone armour’ was working this might be appealing but it seems bugged still for me (or at the very least, useless).
Skeleton Mages: more meatshields and poison appliers
Take poison, attack speed death knights and health
Bone Golem: A meatshield taunter
Take tower of bones for the taunt. Everything else on this tree is meh. I took move speed and health gain on hit for golem and us. The golem is surrounded my minions we want to keep alive, so “amalgalm of Primalists” (armour for nearby minions) would seem perfect, but it does nothing.
Summon Wraith: Our damage specialist
Take poison chance, attack speed and mana efficiency
Dread shade: Buffing the wraiths
Take all for one, which means the shade attaches to a minion. Then take damage and attack speed increases, plus mana efficiency.
Since we stay at range, defences are not super necessary. However our desirable affixes are:
- Minion Damage over Time
- Minion Damage
- Defensive affixes of your choice
Further, since minion damage over time is so rare, and we are SSF, this means we will take any half decent rare that drops to avoid spending hours crafting anything. For quality of life, you need a bit of mana or mana regen to cast 4 wraiths with 4 dread shades. Maybe with better gear we could reach 6 wraiths with 6 dread shades, but even with high investment in minion poison resists, minion health and minion health regen, the wraiths die very fast.
- Minion poison damage
- Apply Mark for death on minion hit
- Defences of your choice
31 points in acolyte, taking intelligence, vitality, minion attack speed and minion poison chance
50 points in Necro, taking minion attack speed, minion health, minion health regen, minion melee poison chance, then ‘empty the graves’ for some armour and life regen
I ran what I thought was a pretty relaxed filter. I was looking for rares with literally any defensive stat, or with minion damage. I found almost nothing, so it turned out that this was actually a really strict filter (just highlighting how miserly loot drops are, and how essential spending hours crafting is to reach end game). This means I can confidently say that these are reasonable SSF targets at level 68:
- 80 mana
- 1K health
- 100 regen per second
- 26% block chance
- 200 dodge
- 800 armour
- 30% resists, with 60% physical resist
- 0% glancing blow and crit avoidance
- 345% minion health
: 230% increased minion damage
: 270% increased minion poison damage
: 50% increased minion damage over time
: 9% minion chance to apply mark for death on hit
10K poison damage from skeletons, skeleton mages and golem
25K poison damage from skeletons, skeleton mages, golem and wraiths unbuffed (6 of them)
50K poison damage from skeletons, skeleton mages, golem and wraiths buffed with dread shade (4 of them)
(4 buffed wraiths do 20K damage on their own, suggesting that the skeletons and skeleton mages double the wraith damage by lowering poison resists)
Cast a wraith, then hit it with dread shade before it moves away. Cast your wraiths away from your other minions so you don’t kill them with dread shade accidentally. I like to leave the skeleton mob killing things behind me and some wraiths killing things ahead of me. You just stay away from everything and dodge all the AOE damage of this game. Despite investing 50% of passives and gear in minion defences, minions inevitably die. Resummon them as needed.
We get a little boost for life regen and armour per minion from the passive tree, so % increased life regen and % increased armour does a little bit.
Our only real defence is the taunt of golem, the wall of minions, and the ability to cast high damage wraiths a long way away.
Otherwise, we are mainly just stacking the survivability of minions and minion attack speed = poison chance to try to lower enemy resists by a lot (-2% each poison). For best results, all minions are hitting the same thing, so this is better at single target than AOE clears.
The worst part by far. It takes 65 points to get 100% chance to poison from the tree. All your early nodes are in minion attack speed or minion defences. The attack speed only synergises with the poison that comes later. The minion defences are not noticable early game where close to 100% of your gear is on minion health and they still melt like butter. About level 60 the build becomes fun.