The Conjurer (Summon/Curse necromancer)

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The Conjurer (Summon/Curse necromancer)

Post  OniNeko on Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:41 am

Okay, confession up front. I just thought up the name. I feel it fits well, though. Not only does he conjure up spirits to possess the lifeless bones of his fallen enemies to aid him in battle, but he conjures illusions of fear, debilitating darkness, and ravages the minds of his opponents to further aid himself and his allies.

Since I started playing Diablo 2, I've loved the necromancer. I've always been drawn to the darker ways of doing good things, so he fit me very well. Throughout my classic and into my LoD career there is one thing I struggled with, though. Summoners on their own are not very survivable. Most basic summoners on LoD spam amplify damage and rely on their sheer numbers to overtake their opponent.

What if you're not getting rushed? What if you don't have any gear? What if *GASP* you're not even playing Lord of Destruction? Can a classic necromancer survive? Can he be self-sufficient and start with no gear? Could he really get to a4 hell BY HIMSELF?

Wait for it............. no, really....... it's coming......... yes, yes and YES.

The point of the waiting is you're going to be doing a lot of it. Almost everyone knows the necromancer is far from a killing machine, but he is definitely the thing of the enemy's worst nightmares.

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This guide is a style synopsis and not a build guide. I will lay out the basics, and give you an idea of what I did, but I will not be stepping you through the evolution of the character. Also, I've found a huge range of gear to be effective, be they maximizing +skills or maximizing resistance and survivability, so I leave that up to you. I do not take credit for this either. I'm merely reproducing here what I've researched and found to be tried and true. Oh, I do take credit for the name. Twisted Evil
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So you're probably wondering, "What sets apart the Conjurer from any other Summoner?" Well, actually you probably aren't. It's right in the subject title. CURSES! Not just any curses, either... but some serious crowd control skill comes into play when you take out your conjurer.

Basically you can build him like you would level up a standard summoner, but take time to place skills into your curses. I ignore corpse explosion until I get squeezed into some very tight spaces, maggot lair in act 2 especially. Most curses are self-explanatory, and many people are familiar with their use. I shall go through the main curses first, and probably won't say much about them, and I'll save the less conventional ones for later.

Amplify Damage: Level 1; Reduces physical resistance by 100%. This can break immunities on physical immune enemies.

Weaken: Level 6; Only here because I'm getting it out of the way. With only a 33% reduction in enemy damage, decrepify is much better even if it is available at level 24. Better to use Amplify Damage and double your damage than reduce theirs by a mere 1/3.

Iron Maiden: Level 12; This somewhat overlooked spell returns damage to the attacker when they are cursed by it, and it increases with each level. This spell can be incredibly effective - I've used it to take down Andariel, Duriel and Diablo in normal mode a few times. Use it in conjunction with a clay golem until your opponent takes enough damage to go down. Not going to post the whole damage returned per skill chart, but it can be found here. This skill functions at reduced effectiveness in nightmare and hell, but can still be somewhat useful. More on that later.

Terror: Level 12; This little gem can break apart groups of monsters very well. The enemy will turn and run until it hits an obstruction or the effect wears off. Enemies always run away from the spot terror was cast on, so you can use this to herd enemies if you do well enough. Use this against Oblivion Knights to stop their cursing temporarily.

Life Tap: Level 18; Returns 50% physical damage to health. This can be great to help your minions survive against certain enemies like act bosses. You'll probably want to alternate it with one of the more debilitating curses like decrepify, but is great to help your minions survive.

Decrepify: Level 24; Reduces physical resistance by 50%, reduces speed by 50% and reduces attack strength by 50%. Some use this completely in place of amplify damage, and it truly fits the spirit of this play style. Can break physical immunities. Also, considering speed AND attack power are reduced 50%, that's an effective 75% reduction of their damage output. Only downside is a limited range, but that could be a good thing. More details on that soon.

Lower Resist: Level 30; Some monsters are too tough for amplify damage and your skeletal warriors. These can sometimes be taken care of with your skeletal mages and a healthy dose of Lower Resist. Lowers resistance to cold, lightning, fire and poison. Higher ranks give higher reductions, with some pretty steep diminishing returns.

And now for the more interesting and overlooked...

Dim Vision: Level 6; Reduces the cursed monster's awareness to melee range. I'm guilty of overlooking this one... for 5 years. This is pretty much the reason for this guide, and the main thing that makes him stand apart. Few people see the value in this initially, but consider the following scenarios:

You've run across a pack of fallen backed up by 3-4 Shamans and Bishibosh. With only a handful of skeletons at level 6, this would be something to run from typically. However, using dim vision on all the shamans stops them from resurrecting their minions while you focus on Bishibosh. Recast the curse on the shamans to keep the fallen numbers low before you can move in to finish them off. Much simpler this way.

Act 2 sewers features the Burning Dead and Burning Dead Archers. The Dead themselves are no problem, but facing down a pack of archers can make short work of your warriors while they're dealing with other enemies. A couple bursts of Dim Vision will halt their attacks and let your minions survive long enough to actually engage them at melee range.

This spell is recommended to be leveled high, so its radius is high. You can cast it at the edge of your screen to control the AI of your opponents and choose which ones you engage, and when! Believe me, you have a summon necromancer veteran here singing the praises of this curse. That in itself is a testament to its effectiveness, and well worth the 4 paragraphs it took to explain it away.

Confuse: Level 18; This spell is a dream to fall back on in a jam! I've had huge packs of cows meleeing one another while party members retrieved corpses. It can also be used to help fell a few initial enemies for summoning. Unlike the other conversion skills, the enemy can still be attacked, and will attack the closest target, friend or foe... but it prefers foe, so don't wander too close!

Attract: Level 24; This is a great curse for trying to gather your army in later difficulties. Casting Iron Maiden on a pack and Attract on one in the pack will cause the attracted monster to turn against his former allies, and his allies to attack him... thus taking damage from the iron maiden while they take out the other monster! Use this on a few before summoning, as a single skeleton won't last long.

That pretty much sums it up. Refer here once again for more information on the curses.

In closing, I'd like to say that this style is not only used to support his skeletal minions, but also to support other player characters as well. In a situation where your group doesn't have a great deal of decent starting gear or a good leg up, this fellow will make sure to keep Baal's minions plunged in a world of confusion and debilitating delusion and insanity while they are beaten, scorched, frozen and fried into oblivion.
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OniNeko

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