The Daggermancer is a variant of the Novamancer. It features Poison Nova along with other poison skills, curses and a few choice points out of the Summoning tab as well. Although it features Poison Nova as its main attack, it will use Poison Dagger and feature physical damage as another element of attack.

Stat Point DistributionEdit

This is a rather unique build for the Necromancer, but stock stat point placement should be sufficient

  • Strength: Strength should go high enough only to wear specific weapon or armor.
  • Dexterity: It is preferred to have enough dexterity to have a 75% chance to block.
  • Vitality: The remaining points can go into this stat.
  • Energy: Mana is problematic, a player should have enough mana to comfortably use all skills except for spamming Corpse Explosion. Until then, perfect sapphires in armor or helms, items that give mana per kill. mana leech or items that regenerate mana will help. One could opt also to construct an Insight polearm to be carried around by an Act 2 Hireling.


Focused SkillsEdit

  • Poison Nova: Poison Nova is going to be the main attack, it would also be recommended to have this skill maximized. All three skills synergize with each other, so it will benefit the player to max these skills out.
  • Poison Dagger: This is the build's secondary attack. This will be used to dispatch opponents more quickly. It is not, however, recommended to select it as the "left click button" as Poison Nova tends to be more effective if the player opts for causing poison damage. It can find use, however, if the player is finding it difficult to hit monsters, especially if they are immune to poison.
  • Poison Explosion: As a synergy for Poison Dagger, it is recommended to add to this skill. Despite its impressive looking damage, it is trouble to try using it in place of Poison Nova.

Secondary SkillsEdit

Poison and Bone Skills
  • Bone Armor (1): Since it is more effective to build on the synergy, only a single point needs to be invested here, if at all.
  • Bone Wall (1-5): This is a synergy for the Bone Armor skill. Can be used to break up mobs.
  • Bone Prison(1-5): This is a synergy for the Bone Armor skill. Like Bone Wall, it can have a place in breaking up mobs if they should prove to be overwhelming
  • Corpse Explosion (1-5): This is a very useful skill as it causes area effect damage based on a monster's hit points. It can also provide a third damage element for those times when poison or melee damage is not sufficient, an example being the boss area of the Maggot Lair. Although many people who play Necromancers insist that this skill should be maximized regardless of build, a skill level of 10 (including bonuses) should provide a good area of effect damage, and there is already an 80-point investment in the focused skills.
Summoning Skills
  • Golem (10-20): It is a matter of preference, but either Clay Golem or Iron Golem. Investing twenty points in the golem skill is most desirable for maximizing its abilities, but does leave little room for other skills. The player may wish to stop at five points and assess the effectiveness of the minion before continuing to put points in this skill.
  • Golem Mastery(1-10): Also a matter of preference. Putting at least one point in this skill is necessary to obtain the Summon Resist skill, but putting a few extra will benefit your golem.
  • Summon Resist(1): There is no need to give this skill higher status, since the returns on the investment in this skill diminish very rapidly. It is preferred to use skill bonuses to raise its effect.
  • Lower Resist (1): Unlike Conviction, this skill affects all resistances, including poison. However, the skill only grants a 2-3% decrease in a foe's resistances after level 2, so boosting this skill with hard points would be a poor choice.
  • Amplify Damage (1-5): Lowers an opponent's damage resistance by 100%. Can break immunities.
  • Iron Maiden (1): Taken usually as a prerequisite for the rest of the branch
  • Life Tap (1): Allows friendly units to leech 50% of their damage.
  • Weaken (1): Usually taken simply as a prerequisite
  • Terror (1): This skill can have use with breaking up groups of tough non-unique monsters
  • Decrepify (1-5): Not as effective for breaking physical immunity, but also has a side effect of slowing the victim.
  • Dim Vision(0-10): Although entirely optional, this can cause deadly long range monsters like willowisps to cease attacking until they are in melee range. Just remember to refresh the curse if they are still at range when it ends.


Every item that gives skill bonus, attack rating, poison damage, bonus to resistance, attribute bonuses are welcomed for this build. Since this Necromancer build focuses on the Necromancer as a fighter, the player must be aware that the Daggermancer will be able to wear heavy armors and large shields to survive hard battles.

  • Spirit: +2 to alll skills and resistance bonuses.
  • Stormshield: The big perk of this shield is the 35% physical damage reduction.
  • Gerke's Sanctuary: Resistance bonus, highest chance to block and integer damage reduction from both physical and magic at a level that makes a difference.
  • Homunculus: Blocking related bonuses and skill bonuses.
  • Trang-Oul's Claws is an excellent choice, as it gives extra poison damage.
  • Steelrend: Crushing blow and enhanced damage will add to the effectiveness of the physical damage aspect of the build. Venom Grips are an easy to find substitute with crushing blow and poison damage.
  • Soul Drainers: reduce monster defense and dual leech.
  • Laying of Hands: 350% enhanced damage versus demons and 50% fire resistance.
  • Gore Rider: These boots have properties valuable to the physical damage aspect of this build. Goblin Toes would also be viable and easier to obtain, but all they possess is the Crushing Blow aspect.
  • Sandstorm Treks: Although the stamina-related bonuses are a perk, the 20% faster hit recovery is the main reason to choose these boots.

Variant Build using Trang-Oul's SetEdit

Trang-Oul's Avatar set can be used to build an effective Daggermancer. Instead of relying on Iron Golem and Amplify Damage to deal physical damage to poison-immune enemies this build uses Lower Resist and Fire Golem, combined with the Meteor, Fire Wall, and Fire Ball spells granted by the set to deal fire damage.

The advantage of this build is that Lower Resist will improve the effectiveness of both fire and poison damage. Fire Golem consumes only mana, allowing you to conserve/sell/trade higher-end items.

The major disadvantage is that regardless of how much FCR the player stacks, the Necromancer will always have a slow casting rate. While in Hell mode fire immunity and poison immunity are both fairly common, but they are rarely found together, and in the rare case they are, a fully synergized poison necromancer can also rely on not only curses, but the physical damage aspect of the build.


Because this build relies on Trang-Oul's Avatar there is little diversity in the gear selections: once the complete set is equipped the player only has the weapon, rings, amulet, and boot slots left open.

These slots can be filled with the same equipment as the normal build listed above. The only real alternative is the additional optional choice to use The Rising Sun Amulet, which provides a bonus to fire skills, including Fire Golem and the spells granted by Trang-Oul's Avatar.


The skill distribution is very similar to the standard Daggermancer, with a few small changes:

Primary SkillsEdit

Secondary SkillsEdit

  • Lower Resist (1) Keep in mind that after level 2, the penalty to resistances is raised by 1-2% per point.
  • Poison Explosion (1+) Synergy skill for Poison Dagger and Poison Nova
  • Corpse Explosion (1+) Used to dispatch tightly-grouped crowds once they start dropping from poison/fire damage. One point is sufficient, but it may be increased if desired.
  • Bone Armor (1+) Useful for absorbing some physical damage. Because this build is very tight on skill points do not over-invest in this skill. Its main use is to absorb a blow or two as you run in to strike with Poison Dagger and retreat to safety.
  • Bone Prison (1+) Synergizes with Bone Armor. This skill is very useful when combined with Meteor and Fire Wall as it will hold the enemy stationary within the fires created by these spells.
  • Summon Resist (1) Makes your Fire Golem more durable. Due to the steep diminishing returns, investing more than a single point should be avoided.

Gameplay and tacticsEdit

General tacticsEdit

Unless monsters happen to be large in number and/or poison immune use the Golem (and hireling if a melee type was chosen) to occupy the monster's attention, cast Lower Resist and then Poison Nova, use Poison Dagger to get in attacks until the Poison Nova has worn off. Move to a safe distance, then re-cast Poison Nova.

Once a foe in the group has fallen, Corpse Explosion can be used to inflict area damage. Because there is both fire and physical damage, certain monsters will remain immune to fire even if their resistances are lowered. In this case, the player can choose to use Amplify Damage to magnify the physical damage aspect prior to activating Corpse Explosion.

Because the Daggermancer is a physical fighter, the player can choose to use Life Tap, Decrepify or Amplify Damage should it be more effective to do so.

When the groups are large enough to overwhelm or kill the golem and/or hireling then the player can either use Terror or Bone Wall/Prison to break up the group, use Life Tap to out-leech the damage or Decrepify to slow down the mob and apply the same tactics as mentioned above, using Corpse Explosion and Poison Nova where opportunity exists.

Tactics Using Trang-Oul'sEdit

Tactics are fairly straightforward, and largely similar to the standard Daggermancer tactics.

Against Crowds: Use Fire Golem and/or hireling as a lure to draw enemies into a crowd and use Lower Resist. Use Meteor, Fire Wall and Poison Nova to deal damage to them en-masse. Should the crowd appear to be overwhelming, Bone Wall/Bone Prison or Terror can be used to break them up. Once they start to drop use Corpse Explosion cause area damage. The player can also get in melee attacks to help facilitate this

Against Bosses/Uniques: Again, use Fire Golem and/or hireling as a lure. Use Lower Resist and Poison Nova/Meteor to begin to wear them down. Quickly run in and stab with Poison Dagger before falling back and continuing to use Poison Nova, Meteor or Fire Wall to deal fire damage while Poison Dagger does its damage. Repeat as necessary.

Curse usageEdit

The necromancer has a lot of flexibility in regards to the Curse tab, and although Amplify Damage and Lower Resist will be the most popular curses to use, others such as Life Tap, Decrepify, Dim Vision and Terror can also come into play, especially on multiplayer.

In large crowds and with groups of ranged attackers, Terror and Dim Vision have use, although given how many points a player will have invested in the Poison Dagger and its synergies as well as his golem, it may be difficult to if at all worth having Dim Vision skill high enough to be effective.

The bottom line with curse usage is effectiveness.

  • Bosses such as Baal and Andariel are much easier to handle with Decrepify because their attacks can be interrupted.
  • Most of the time Amplify Damage is the default curse to use before Corpse Explosion, but if something is Physical Immune, it may be more effective to use Lower Resist to boost the fire aspect of the damage, as a broken immunity will only allow 1/5 of the damage to affect the victim.
  • Terror can be used to disperse mobs should they prove to be too much for you and your minions. You may have to cast it several times, however, to make it effective.
  • Do not underestimate the effectiveness of Life Tap, as there are monsters such as many varieties of skeleton that are not leechable without it.


Although many players solo with their characters, Hirelings can certainly increase the survivability of any character if maintained properly. Typically, most choose the Act 2 Defensive Mercenary in Nightmare Difficulty (the "Holy Freeze Merc") or the Offensive version (the "Might Merc"), but the others have plenty of potential if geared properly. Act 3 Hirelings with cold attacks used to be popular, but are rare now due to many monsters being immune to their attacks. Although Barbarian Warriors are quite rugged, they can be overcome by large mobs. On the other hand, properly equipped, he can definitely play a major factor in increasing the character's survivability. And the Rogue Archer should not be counted out either, although without particular gear her ability to assist in later stages of the game diminishes by quite a bit.


Although the weapons vary, the armor and helmet choices are mostly stock, with some variance in regards to armor.

  • Fortitude: 300% Enhanced damage against everything.
  • Duress: Features 15% chance of Crushing Blow.
  • Gladiator's Bane: Cannot be Frozen and integer damage reduction at a level that actually makes a difference.
  • Treachery: may be of more benefit to a Rogue for the Increased Attack Speed.
  • Skin of the Vipermagi: Iron Wolves can make better use of the Faster Cast Rate as they usually attack from range.
  • Duriel's Shell: For Hirelings, this armor is prized much for being relatively easy to find, its Cannot be Frozen attribute and Vitality bonus.
  • Rogue
    • Faith: The Fanaticism aura and obscene damage are the big perks of this bow.
    • Ice: The chief reason for this selection is the Holy Freeze Aura.
    • Witchwild String: Amplify Damage proc and two sockets to customize it with.
    • Riphook: Slows opponent and Open Wounds.
  • Desert Mercenary
    • Hone Sundan: Crushing Blow and three sockets.
    • The Reaper's Toll: Decrepify Proc.
    • Obedience: Crushing Blow and an Enchant Proc.
    • Infinity: Boasts a Conviction aura. A very popular rune word for those specialized in elemental attacks as it will break many elemental immunities. However, unless the player plans to have a main aura other than Conviction, this item is a waste of time for an Avenger's Mercenary.
    • Insight: Has a Meditation Aura that will help alleviate mana demands.
    • Once could also add Breath of the Dying, Last Wish, Death or Doom as well, as these are very powerful. They are also equally difficult to create.
  • Iron Wolf
    • Spirit Sword and Spirit Shield: This combination will give the hireling excellent resistance bonuses as well as a total +4 to their skill levels.
    • Lidless Wall: Has +1 to all skills and a Faster Cast Rate bonus.
    • Rhyme: Has Cannot Be Frozen and Faster Hit Recovery.
  • Barbarian Warrior
    • Bloodletter: Fast, and has life leech. The sword will likely be obsolete by early Hell, however.
    • Headstriker: Level dependent Deadly Strike as well as level dependent maximum damage.
    • Azurewrath: The base damage is a bit low, but the added damage makes this blade frightening once it can be equipped.
    • The Grandfather: Very high damage and Attack Rating bonus.
    • Lawbringer: a relatively cheap rune word with a Decrepify proc.
    • Breath of the Dying, Grief, Death are also options, albeit difficult ones considering the runes required.
Popular Necromancer builds
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.