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Curses/Dark Pact Necromancer PD2 Build

Curses/Dark Pact Necromancer PD2 Build

A powerful Necromancer build that offers one of the most unique playstyles in Project Diablo 2

Curse/Dark Pact
Necromancer Build

Updated for Season 2
 

Build notes:
April 14, 2021
-Build created

 

Build Overview

Project Diablo 2 has introduced a plethora of changes to all Class skill trees, but changes to Necromancer's Curses were by far the most substantial. Firstly, the limit of one active curse per monster was effectively abolished with the addition of Curse Mastery which has changed the nature of Course-based Necro builds completely. And secondly, the Curses Skill Tree as a whole has received a complete rework which has made it much, much stronger, and fun to play with. 

The featured version of Curse Necromancer is fully capable of solo-clearing high-end content but can still successfully support teammates while in a group (after all, it's a Curse Necro). There are some hard-to-make choices when it comes to Skills as you can't have them all - you would need ~20 more levels for that, however, this is not necessarily a bad thing as it allows you to finetune the build to your needs. 

You can also check our other Best Project Diablo 2 Builds

 

 Pros  Cons
 Great team player - a welcome addition to any group   Using the build's main offensive ability (Dark Pact) removes Curses which can be dangerous (monsters who survive are no longer debuffed) 
 Fully capable of carrying its weight - viable for end-game solo play as well   Constantly re-applying curses can get quite tedious after a while 
 Great utility and survivability   Starved for Skill Points - you will have to make some difficult choices that will affect your playstyle, strengths, and weaknesses 
 Actually very good at dealing AoE Damage   

 

Skills

ATTRIBUTES
  1. Strength - All you want, in terms of Strength, is enough of it to equip everything you will want to use on your character. 
  2. Dexterity - Get enough Dex for your gear unless you can achieve max block by spending some more points on it (this will mostly depend on your gear, however). 
  3. Vitality - You should put all your remaining points here - main stat. 
  4. Energy - Adding points to Energy is an extreme waste - don't do it. 

CURSES

This skill tree is the main focus of this build. The general idea is to apply multiple curses to monsters and then nuke them with Dark Pact, and repeat the whole process if any of them survive. Core Skills include Dark Pact - the main damage source; Curse Mastery, and Iron Maiden - strong Dark Pact Synergies, and three Curses - we'd say that Weaken and Decrepify are mandatory, but the third one chosen should depend on your party composition. 

Skills:

  1. Amplify Damage [X/20] - A Curse that lowers the monster's physical resistances making it take more damage from physical attacks. Handy to have while playing in a group with physical damage dealers. Depending on party composition, you may want to leave this at 1 point and go for Lower Resist or spend some of your remaining points here. 
  2. Curse Mastery [20/20] - This passive skill makes our curses much stronger and allows us to apply additional curses for every 10 of its base levels (for 3 Curses at base level 20). With this, our Dark Pact hits incredibly strong. 
  3. Dark Pact [20/20] - A Skill that consumes the curses placed on enemies within an area, dealing damage for each curse devoured. This powerful Skill is our main source of Damage. The more unique curses we apply, the harder this hits; you should try to use it only after you've applied three curses to your enemies. Also, it scales very nicely with Curse Mastery levels and all Curse levels. 
  4. Iron Maiden [20/20] - This skill synergizes with Dark Pact, which is the main reason we max it out. 
  5. Weaken [X/20] - A Curse that makes groups of enemies deal much less Damage which is life-saving, to say the least. This Skill is essential as it greatly increases your overall survivability. Also, it's very nice for group play. 
  6. Decrepify [20/20] - This Curse cripples your enemies and makes them move and cast spells much slower. Moreover, it will make them miss more by reducing their attack rate. If you want to play Curse Necro solo, this Skill is a must-have. If you want to focus on party play, however, it's up to you if you want to grab it. 
  7. Lower Resist [X/20] - A Curse that lowers the monster's elemental resistances making it take more damage from elemental attacks. Handy to have while playing in a group with casters/elemental damage dealers. 

Important: Dark Pact consumes all curses you've applied to targeted monsters, which means that you have to re-apply them before casting Dark pact again. 

SUMMONING SPELLS

Summoning Spells are not the focus of this build, but some of them are still essential to have (Blood Warp). Others are optional (Golems) but still quite strong - you'll have to make some Skill Points compromises if you want them as well. 

Skills:

  1. Clay Golem [1/20] - Optional. If you feel like you require an additional personal tank/meat shield, putting one point here might be a good idea. If you decide to go for it, we recommend that you also spend 10 points on Golem Mastery. 
  2. Golem Mastery [10/20] - Optional. Putting 10 points here gives us 2 additional Clay Golems (for a total of 3) which improves our survivability by a lot - with this and Clay Golem Skill, we have 4 meat shields instead of one! 
  3. Blood Warp [1/20] - Necromancer's equivalent of Sorceress' Teleport. It has a mana cost of 10 and will drain 8% of our max HP each cast. Additional Points only reduce its Cooldown. This Skill is essential for our survival - being able to teleport out of trouble is unbelievably strong. 
POISON AND BONE SPELLS

Our Skill Points are needed in the Curses Skill Tree, but there is one skill in the Poison and Bone tree that might come in handy and is worth at least some consideration. 

Skills:

  1. Teeth [1/20] - Optional. Prerequisite. 
  2. Bone Armor [X/20] - Optional. Surrounds the caster with a protective shield that absorbs incoming damage. This can come in handy while playing solo, but it's not that strong without synergies (Bone Wall and Bone Prison) so it's up to you to decide if it's worth taking. We'd say that Golems are a much better survivability option. 

 

Items

As per usual with PD2 Builds, you want to get as many Skill levels (Necromancer/Curses in this case) as possible to increase the build's overall power level. Resistances are also important, but they should never come before the offensive power. A faster cast rate is necessary for faster application of Curses (the higher the breakpoint, you can achieve, the better - 56 FHR and 75 FCR breakpoints are rather easy to achieve and you should aim for them). Defensive stats, like faster hit recovery and life leech/life on each kill, are a nice addition but you should not choose gear for them specifically. 

HELMETS

[BIS] Harlequin Crest (Shako) - One of the strongest Helmets in the game. It gives you everything you might want - +2 to all skills, damage reduction, magic find, and some attributes (mana is especially welcome). 

Harlequin Crest

  • Defense: 98 to 141 
  • Required Level: 62
  • Required Strength: 50
  • Durability: 20
    • +2 to All Skills 
    • +1-99 to Life(1 per character level) 
    • +1-99 to Mana(1 per character level) 
    • Damage Reduced By 3-5% (varies) 
    • 50% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items 
    • +2 to All Attributes 

[Alternative] Delirium (Rune Word) - Solid boost to Magic Find and +2 to Skill Levels. A good budget alternative that will also help you make some more money. 

Delirium

  • Defense: Depends on base Helmet
  • Required Level: 51
  • Required Strength: Depends on base Helmet
  • Durability: Depends on base Helmet
  • Lem + Ist + Io 
    • +261 Defense 
    • +10 Vitality 
    • +2 to All Skills
    • Level 17 Attract (60 Charges) 
    • 11% Chance to Cast Level 18 Confuse on Striking 
    • 6% Chance to Cast Level 14 Mind Blast When Struck 
    • 14% Chance to Cast Level 13 Terror When Struck 
    • +50% Extra Gold from Monsters
    • 25% Better Chance of Finding Magic Items 

WEAPONS

{BiS] Blackhand Key (Grave Wand) - This is the single best item you can have on a Curse Necromancer. It gives us up to 5 (yes, FIVE) Curse Skill Levels (1-2 Necro Skills and 2-3 Curse Levels) which makes it an incredibly strong offensive choice. It also increases our Cast Rate by 30% (which is amazing) and provides some nice Health after each kill. If you can afford it, go for it - there are no substitutes. 

Blackhand Key

  • Damage:  13-29
  • Required Level: 41 
  • Required Strength: 25
  • Durability: 15
  • Fast Attack Speed  
    • +50% Damage to Undead 
    • +1-2 to Necromancer Skill Levels (varies) 
    • +2-3 to Curses (Necromancer Only) (varies) 
    • 20% Damage Taken Goes To Mana 
    • +30% Faster Cast Rate 
    • Fire Resist +37% 
    • +30-60 to Life (varies) 
    • Level 7 Grim Ward (30 Charges) 
    • +4-7 Life After Each Kill (varies) 

Heart of the Oak (Runeword) - This is a solid alternative to the Blackhand key that gives +3 to All Skills, provides a nice cast rate boost, and some resistances. Place it in a Flail for the lowest attribute requirements. 

Heart of the Oak

  • Damage:  Depends on base Weapon
  • Required Level: 55
  • Required Dexterity: Depends on base Weapon
  • Required Strength: Depends on base Weapon
  • Durability: Depends on base Weapon 
  • Ko + Vex + Pul + Thul 
    • +3 To All Skills 
    • +30% Faster Cast Rate 
    • +75% Damage To Demons 
    • +100 To Attack Rating Against Demons 
    • Adds 3-14 Cold Damage, 3 sec. Duration (Normal) 
    • 7% Mana Stolen Per Hit 
    • +10 To Dexterity 
    • Replenish Life +20 
    • Increase Maximum Mana 15% 
    • All Resistances +20-30 (varies) 
    • Level 14 Raven (60 Charges) 
OFF-HANDS/SHIELDS

Homonculus (Hierophant Trophy) - A powerful Class item that increases Necromancer's Skills by 2, and provides some much-needed bonuses to mana. 

Homonculis

  • Defense:  177-213
  • Required Level: 42 
  • Required Strength: 58
  • Durability: 20
  • Block: 72% 
    • +150-200% Enhanced Defense (varies) 
    • 3-5 Mana After Each Kill (varies) 
    • 40% Increased Chance of Blocking 
    • 30% Faster Block Rate 
    • +2 To Necromancer Skill Levels 
    • +20 To Energy 
    • Regenerate Mana 33% 
    • All Resistances +25-35 (varies) 

Lidless Wall (Grim Shield) - A very strong all-around Shield. It not only provides solid defenses but also grants +2 Skill levels and a 20% Faster Cast Rate. 

Lidless Wall

 

  • Defense:  271-347
  • Required Level: 41 
  • Required Strength: 58
  • Durability: 70
  • Block:  P: 50% Am/As/B: 45% D/N/S: 40%  
    • +80-130% Enhanced Defense (varies) 
    • +1-2 to All Skills (varies) 
    • Increase Maximum Mana 10% 
    • 20% Faster Cast Rate 
    • +4-6 to Mana After Each Kill (varies) 
    • +10 to Energy 
    • +1 to Light Radius 

AMULETS

Mara's Kaleidoscope - This is one of the best Amulets in PD2 overall and it fits most of the builds, which makes it a good investment. It provides a great combination of offensive (+2 to all skills) and defensive (+20-30 to all resistances) properties.

Mara's Kaleidoscope

  • Required Level: 67
    • +2 To All Skills 
    • All Resistances +20-30 (varies) 
    • +5 To All Attributes 

[Alternative] Rare/Magic Amulets with + Necromancer/Curses Skills are great budget choices and solid fillers before you are able to get Mara's Kaleidoscope. 

Amulet Amulet

  • Required Level: varies. 
  • In Magic Amulets, look for:
    • +3 to Curses. 
  • In Rare Amulets, look for:
    • +2 Necromancer Skills 
    • Magic Find 
    • Resistances 
    • Attributes 

ARMORS

[BiS] Enigma (Runeword) - A solid all-around choice; it provides pretty much everything you might want from an item, including 3 charges ob Blink (they recharge quite quickly which makes them extremely useful to have). Because of the Jah • Ith • Ber runes required to complete it, it is very expensive, however. 

Enigma

  • Defense: Depends on base Armor 
  • Required Level: 65 
  • Required Strength: Depends on base Armor 
  • Durability: Depends on base Armor 
  • Jah + Ith + Ber  
    • +2 To All Skills 
    • +25% Faster Run/Walk 
    • Blink Charges 3/3 [Recharges 1 per 6 sec]
    • +500-775 Defense (varies) 
    • +(0.5*Clvl)-(0.75*Clvl) (varies) To Strength (Based On Character Level)
    • Increase Maximum Life 5%
    • Damage Reduced By 4%
    • 15% Damage Taken Goes To Mana
    • +(0.5*Clvl)-(0.75*Clvl) % (varies) Better Chance of Getting Magic Items (Based On Character Level) 

Atma's Wail (Embossed Plate) - A solid defensive choice with very high defense, replenish life, +1 to All Skills, and a nice bonus to magic find. 

Atma's Wail

  • Defense: 670 to 988
  • Required Strength: 125
  • Durability: 105
  • Required Level: 41
    • +120-160% Enhanced Defense (varies) 
    • +2-198 Defense (+2 per Character Level) 
    • 30% Faster Hit Recovery 
    • Replenish Life +10-20 (varies) 
    • Increase Maximum Mana 15% 
    • +15 to Dexterity 
    • +20% Better Chance Of Getting Magic Items 
    • +1 to All Skills 
    • 30% Faster Cast Rate 

[Alternative] Skin of the Vipermagi (Serpentskin Armor) - A solid budget choice that gives you +1 to all skills and provides some nice resistances. 

Skin of the Vipermagi

  • Defense: 279
  • Required Strength: 43
  • Durability: 24
  • Required Level: 29
    • +120% Defense
    • +1 to All Skills
    • 30% Faster Cast Rate
    • Magic Damaged Reduced by 5-8 
    • All Resistances +20-30 

RINGS

[BiS] The Stone of Jordan - One of the most iconic items in Diablo 2, which increases the level of all your Skills and your max Mana. A solid offensive choice. 

The Stone of Jordan 

  • Required Level: 29
    • +1 to All Skills
    • Maximum Mana to 15-20% 
    • Adds 1-120 Lightning Damage 
    • +20-40 to Mana (varies) 

[BIS] Raven Frost - This ring provides Freeze immunity which is extremely important to have. If you have freeze immunity from another item, you can choose a different ring. 

Raven Frost

  • Required Level: 76
    • +150-250 Attack Rating (varies) 
    • 15-45 Cold Damage 
    • +15-20 Dexterity (varies) 
    • +40 Mana 
    • Cold Absorb 5-10% (varies) 
    • Cannot be Frozen 

Wisp Projector - Even though it's a Druid Ring, it is very solid for every Class. Also, the Lightning Absorb is a great addition to your defenses. Plenty of your deaths will be caused by Lightning Damage, so this one is definitely worth picking up. 

Wisp Projector

  • Required Level: 76
    • Lightning Absorb 4-6% (varies)
    • 8-12% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items 
    • +1-3 to Spirit of Barbs 
    • +1-3 to Heart of the Wolverine 
    • +1 To All Skills 

GLOVES

[BIS] Trang-Oul's Claws (Heavy Bracers) - These gloves offer an amazing faster cast rate boost (for gloves, that is). Moreover, they provide +2 to Curses which makes them the best choice, by far. 

Trang-Oul's Claws

  • Defense: 67 - 74
  • Required Level: 45
  • Required Strength: - 58
  • Durability: 16
    • +20% Faster Cast Rate 
    • Cold Resist +30% 
    • +30 Defense 
    • +10-15% Poison Skill Damage (varies) 
    • +2 To Curses (Necromancer Only) 

BOOTS

Waterwalk (Sharkskin Boots) - A very strong pair of boots and the most optimal choice for this build. A top pick if you're after Faster Block Rate, especially. They also provide a solid boost to Run/Walk Speed and Stamina. 

Waterwalk

  • Defense: 112-124
  • Required Level: 32
  • Required Strength: 47
  • Kick Damage: 28-50
  • Durability: 14  
    • +180-210% Enhanced Defense (varies) 
    • 40% Faster Run/Walk 
    • 20% Faster Block Rate 
    • +15 to Dexterity 
    • +5% to Maximum Fire Resist 
    • Heal Stamina Plus 50% 
    • +40 to Maximum Stamina 
    • +45-65 to Life (varies) 

Aldur's Advance (Battle Boots) - This pair of Boots offers very high bonus Movement Speed and Life. Also, they have a very high bonus to Fire Resistances, which should help you cap it @75 without having to find additional small charms for it. 

Aldur's Advance

  • Defense: 39-47
  • Required Level: 45
  • Required Strength: 95
  • Kick Damage: 37-64
  • Durability: Indestructible  
    • Indestructible 
    • 40% Faster Run/Walk 
    • 10% Damage Taken Goes To Mana 
    • +180 Maximum Stamina 
    • Heal Stamina Plus +32% 
    • +50 To Life 
    • Set Bonuses: 
      • +15 To Dexterity (2 Item) 
      • +15 To Dexterity (3 Items) 
      • +15 To Dexterity (Completed Set) 

BELTS

[BIS] Arachnid Mesh (Spiderweb Sash) - Grants extra Skills and FCR which makes it the best DPS-wise belt for a lot of builds. It also allows you to slow down enemies, which is useful in terms of survivability. The downside is it's the extremely high price - buy it only if you can afford everything else you might need. 

Arachnid Mesh

  • Defense: 119-138 
  • Potion Slots: 16 
  • Required Level: 80
  • Required Strength: 50
  • Durability: 12
    • +90-120% Enhanced Defense  
    • Slows Target by 20% 
    • +1 To All Skills 
    • +10-20% Faster Cast Rate 
    • Maximum Mana 5-10% 
    • Level 3 Venom (31 Charges) 

[Alternative] String of Ears (Demonhide Sash) - A top-level defensive option that provides up to a 15% damage reduction bonus which is just amazing for this Item slot. 

String of Ears

  • Defense: 102-113
  • Potion Slots: 16 
  • Required Level: 29
  • Required Strength: 20
  • Durability: 22
    • +150-180% Enhanced Defense 
    • +15 Defense 
    • 6-8% Life Stolen Per Hit 
    • Damage Reduced By 10-15% 
    • Magic Damage Reduced 10-15 

CHARMS

  1. Annihilus - This fabled Charm boosts your Skills, Stats, and Resistances. It's the best Unique Small Charm, and it's limited to just 1 in your equipment. 
  2. Gheed's Fortune - The secret to Gheed's wealth and prosperity. Pretty much a must-have if you're after the best available charms. It adds 80-160% extra gold from monsters, reduces vendor prices by up to 15%, and gives up to 40% better magic find. 
  3. Hellfire Torch - The BiS Unique Large Charm that increases your Vitality, Skills, and more. You should, of course, go for one that gives +1 to Necromancer Skills. 
  4. Grand Charms - These should have +Curses (mandatory) and +Life/+Faster Run/Walk Speed. 
  5. Small Charms - With these, you should get your desired Resistances, bonuses to Life, or bonuses to Magic Find - whatever suits your needs, basically. 

MERCENARY

We recommend picking up Act 2 Defiance Mercenary for extra damage mitigation bonuses. He should be equipped with: 

  1. Insight Rune Word in Ethereal Elite Spear for Meditation Aura which increases your Mana Regeneration. Pretty much a must-have as a Curse Necromancer is very mana-hungry. 
  2. Fortitude Rune Word in Armor - This will ensure that your merc doesn't die (it will make him almost immortal). 
  3. Steelrend Gloves - For massive damage bonus and Crushing Blow. 
  4. Vampire's Gaze - For high Life Leech and damage reduction. 
  5. String of Ears - Very high damage reduction and excellent survivability boost. 
  6. Gore Rider Boots - For Deadly Strike and Crushing Blow greatly boosting the merc's DPS. 

 

END NOTE

This is our premiere Project Diablo 2 build where we tried to include all of the important information on how to set up this character while keeping the guide as compact as possible. If we've missed something of importance, please let us know! 

If you have any Build requests, please post them in the Comments section below. We will be happy to cover your most requested builds in the future! Also, we hope that you have found this guide useful and informative. Also, we will be happy to receive constructive criticism that will help us improve our future work, so don't hesitate to give us your feedback.