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Diablo II: Summoning Necromancer
Skill Point Allocation

For the first points you should allocate, I recommend this order:

  1. Bone Armor (Poison and Bone Spells)
  2. Raise Skeleton (Summoning Spells)
  3. Skeleton Mastery (Summoning Spells)
  4. Amplify Damage (Curses)

You may want to take bone armor after Raise Skeleton, or even after Skeleton Mastery, but I like not having to drink any potions right from the start :). I've been able to get out of Act 1 without ever having to drink one of those pathetic Minor Healing potions with this strategy.

The order after the first four or so levels is up to you, but I recommend making sure you take a golem at each level you can get a new one. I also recommend saving skill points for the gateway levels (6, 12, 18, 24, and 30) so you may put one point in each new skill you're going to need.

Here's the level of skills you should go for:

Summoning Spells

Raise Skeleton: 1
They're useless later, but put a point in to it for the skills that come after it. Quite useful when you first get them.

Skeleton Mastery: 20
It increases the Damage and Hit Points of all of your skeletons and revives. Start putting points in to this one right away to help you with your crappy skeletons, and later on, your already powerful revives.

Clay Golem: 1
Just one point so you can get to the other golems... Useful at level 6 though.

Golem Mastery: 5-20 1-20
Increases the hit points, and speed of your golem. Five points should do it with some plus to skills. You basically just need enough points so that your golem can survive killing one creature in Act 4 Hell difficulty, and stand up to Diablo for a little while. Also, you'll want your Blood Golem to be able to take a couple hits from Duriel in Hell difficulty. Personally, I only put 5 points in to this.
Revision: In retrospect , you only really need one point in this to be effective. Having decent plus to skills will increase your golems health enough to be effective.

Raise Skeleton Mage: 1
They're useless later, but put a point in to it for the skill that comes after it. Quite useful when you first get them.

Blood Golem: 1
Just about the most powerful golem in terms of simply having a cool ability. When he gets hit, you take some of the damage. When he hits back, he steals life for the both of you. And there's a great trick with Iron Maiden. When a monster cursed with iron maiden hit's something it is damaged by it. So when it it hits your golem, and your golem damages it from Iron Maiden, it steals life, meaning that instead of taking damage, you and your golem are healed. However, with the recent gameplay changes this isn't quite as powerful as it used to be. More information on this is explained in the curse section where it talks about Iron Maiden.

Summon Resist: 1
With plus to skills one point will go a long way. Only one is needed, since it's being on a curve makes any extra points wasted.

Iron Golem: 1
Create a golem out of an item. The item can be armor, weapons, and I believe boots, helms, gloves, and possibly belts will work. But it only works with metal items. (So no making an Iron Golem out of Quilted Armor :) These are quite power full if you find a nice item that you don't want to use, and doesn't make much selling money. Such as a Superior Lance, or a Superior Martel de Fer. A Martel de Fer would be a better choice, since weapon speed and range are ignored when you make a golem, so just go with the weapon that has better damage, or enchantments. Iron Golems also heal rather quickly, and have an automatic weak version of Thorns that is applied separately of Iron Maiden.

Fire Golem: 1
Some people don't like Fire Golems, because everybody has them, but that's for a good reason!. They absorb Fire Damage and turn it in to health, have a weak version of Holy Flame (the Paladin's fire damage Aura), and when they die they do a ton of fire damage to the monsters in melee range (the damage is based on your golem's hit points, which should be quite a bit). Extremely useful when fighting a lot of fire attack monsters like Vampires, Fallen Shaman, Fetish Shaman, and plenty of other Monsters.

Revive: 10-20 5-20
Since this skill revives monsters based on their power, your revived monsters in Act 4 Hell difficulty are still just as powerful as they are when you first get them. The number of points in to Revive determines how many you can Revive. Ten can be enough, but twenty wouldn't hurt.
Revision: With decent plus to skills, just five points in to Revive can go a long way. (as much as level 14, not counting if you get a wand that has a special + to Revive)


Poison and Bone Spells

Note: I didn't say anything about the Poison Dagger > Poison Explosion > Poison Nova skills, since they're not worth it. Don't put any points in to any of those skills.

Teeth: 1
It's useless, but put a point in to it for the skills that come after it. Doesn't even help enough on level 1 to be worth wasting Mana on.

Bone Armor: 5-20
A necessity for any Necromancer, but many points are not needed if you have enough items with plus to skills. Increasing to level twenty wouldn't be a bad idea, but if you really want you can get by with five all right, or even one if you're really crazy. Always keep this up when headed in to battle.

Corpse Explosion: 1-?
I personally only put one point in this, and let my plus to skills do the rest. You may want to put as many as three points in to it for a good radius. Good for Getting rid of corpses so other monsters can't revive them, while doing some damage at the same time. More powerful in games with less people in them, devastating if you're the only one there.

Bone Wall: 1
With plus to skills one point will be plenty to be helpful even in hell. Use it to block off creatures in to an area, block you're self in to an area until you're minions deal with them, or use it to stop lightning from lightning enchanted enemies.

Bone Spear: 1-20
Helpful when you first get it, and it may remain so for a good long while. If you're going to max an attack spell decide between this one, and Bone Spirit. They both do respectable damage in Act 4 Hell difficulty. This one does less damage, but can go through enemies, and hit multiple targets.

Bone Prison: 1
Same as bone wall, except it makes a complete prison around the enemy. Useful against enemies you don't want to move, like Diablo.

Diablo Strategy:
Make a Bone Prison around Diablo and your Fire Golem while Diablo is cursed with Iron Maiden. He'll take out plenty of golems though, so you'll probably run out of Mana constantly from recasting your golem inside the prison, and either have to go to town a lot or use a lot of Mana potions. Eventually he'll have killed so many of your golems, he'll have died of it :) . If you don't have a Fire Golem yet, or can't stand the Mana cost, make Iron Golems out of stuff you find in Diablo's Chaos Sanctuary. If you don't even have an Iron Golem, use a Clay Golem. And, as always against bosses, try to team with a Sorceress who is intelligent enough to use Static Field.

Bone Spirit: ? 0-20
This one is debatable. You may want to put no points in to it, or you may want to max it out. Once you've maxed out all of the good stuff, on really high levels you'll have plenty of extra points to put here, or you may want to max it right away, or just completely ignore it. You're call, although I personally don't use it. It does more damage than Bone Spear, and turns to seek enemies, but only attacks one at a time.


Curses

Note: I didn't mention the curses that I didn't recommend taking: Weaken, Terror, and Decrepify. Lower Resist is mentioned, however.

Amplify Damage: 1
This is the only level one spell that is worth using throughout the game. So much so, that I keep it bound to a hot key. Extra points only increase the radius, but plus to skills will increase it plenty, and even if you have to cast it a few times, it's quite a cheap curse, so it's not a problem.

Dim Vision: 1
This should be self-explanatory. It's like casting "stop attacking me" on ranged attackers. They see you if you get within melee range, but it's quite helpful when you don't want to deal with a lot of enemies simultaneously.

Reviving Monsters Strategy: Dim Vision is also good for keeping Shamans, and Mummies from raising their monster brethren from the dead, although I would suggest simply making use of the corpses instead with Corpse Explosion or Raise/Revive a minion from it. For that purpose skeletons are handy even in hell.

Iron Maiden: 20
A great curse, get this one to twenty as soon as you can. Don't altogether stop putting points in to the other skills, but make this the first to hit twenty. This has become especially important with the recent gameplay changes where the power of the Blood Golem/Iron Maiden combo is weakened (and with good reason, it was way too powerful of a strategy), but it still works wonderfully once you get Iron Maiden higher. The problem is that with the recent changes low level Iron Maiden will still steal life for you and your golem, but not as much, and when combined with elemental damage that your Iron Maiden doesn't effect, your golem will eventually die. The solution is not more points in to Golem Mastery, since that just means he'll still die, just take a longer time of doing it. For him to steal enough life from Iron Maiden get Iron Maiden up higher, eventually to level twenty. This is not the main purpose of Iron Maiden however, although it is a reason to increase it's level. The main purpose of having level 20+ Iron Maiden is that when you join a Hell difficulty game with eight people, and go to Act 4 with your fire golem, Amplify Damage and attract won't be enough to get that vital first kill to make your first revive, but high level Iron Maiden will cover it well. The reason why is must be first to reach twenty, is that Necromancers typically play well ahead of their level in quest games, and they can reach Act 4 in Hell difficulty, and even kill Diablo there to become a Baron before hitting level 30 if they wanted. (Although I don't recommend going that far without revives! :)

Confuse: 1
Only works properly when the Monsters don't see you first, and as such doesn't work too well. But it is necessary to get to the Attract curse. I think it may work well if you cast Dim Vision, and then Confuse, but I haven't tried this yet.

Life Tap: 0-1
It's quite possible to get by without it, but any melee characters you party with who don't have enough life steal would be grateful. :) It can also work well if you're not using a Blood Golem, and you want to heal him without going back to town. If you decide to get Lower Resist, then you'll need this one.

Attract: 1
One of the more under-appreciated skills. If you're fighting a huge swarm of monsters, and don't have enough minions to keep them from attacking you, cast Attract on one of them. Another example is this: once when I was running ahead of my minions looking for the stairs down (I was in Act 1, Catacombs Level 3, Hell difficulty) I came across a group of four zombies, and my minions were stuck on a corner, as usual, so I cast Iron Maiden on all of the zombies, and then cast Attract on one. The other three zombies attacked him, and died from the Iron Maiden, and the one who I cast Attract on died from taking all of the hits.

Lower Resist: ?
This one is debatable. You may want to put no points in to it if you plan on partying with a friend who has a Sorceress a lot (a powerful team, since the Sorceress has not minions to distract the enemies from killer her mercilessly, and the Necromancer has no way of doing as much wide area damage as a Sorceress.) The main drawback to this one is that you would have to put points in to Weaken, Terror, and Decrepify, all of which are nothing terribly great for a Summoner.

DeadPete's Email: deadpete@iname.com


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