Come Season 22, Necros are going to eat the world alive. If you have not heard, it's because of two factors:
Masquerade of Burning Carnival, a new Necromancer set that was added in the last patch, got a complementary bracer, Gelmindor's Marrow Guards. The set had no matching bracers, so the only real option was to combine it with Aughild's Authority, which… ate up the Kanai jewelry slot as Ring of Royal Grandeur was required.
One of Season 22's seasonal effects is the fourth wildcard Kanai slot. Necros can throw in Reilena's Shadowhook, which applies a universal damage boost based on maximum Essence… which Simulacrum doubles due to MoBC's all runes effect.
MoBC was seriously lackluster in S21. It performed adequately, but it wasn't exciting enough to draw in much attention. The fact that Gears of Dreadlands ate the world alive back then didn't help either. Well, the set looks like it's finally going to work! This is an excellent time to try it now, no?
Well, I'm a weirdo who tried so hard to make MoBC "work" in S21. I tried to make it as competitive as I could manage. Once S21 ended and my Necro moved to Standard, I pushed it a little further with the new Bracer.
I looked up how others are making MoBC work. All the builds I've seen were theoretically correct. But my quest was — are they practically correct? (Snakesfoot: every build is correct if it's fun for you, but I'm a weirdo.)
So here's some insight I've gotten from my months of playing a MoBC Necro, or "Bone Spear Necro" as the build has been named.
Right now, without S21 effect boost, I've managed to place my Necro at around Rank 550 on Asia's standard Necro leaderboard. You might say that's rookie numbers, but if you do that – this guide isn't for you! I'm writing this guide for people who don't know what CC resistance and such are.
The same character managed to reach Top 30 during S21's starting weeks. Of course, Poison Scythe Necros devoured the leaderboard soon after as they found their gear. Welp! While it lasted, I was the top MoBC Necro on the board. But that's because it wasn't so popular. Everyone expected Poison Scythe Necro to rule the board.
For who am I writing this guide?
Before I picked up MoBC, I didn't really "get" Necros. The class seemed clunky and under-designed. So I leveled up a few Necros to play around and got bored with them soon after. That's where I started to study up on Necro mechanics – as someone who just didn't get Necromancers.
I'm writing this guide so that people unused to Necromancers don't have to spend 4 months to learn hidden mechanics. I'll try my best to spell out as many things with as much detail as I can.
Also, be mindful that this guide is writtne with Greater Rift pushing in mind! If people would like, I'll also post something alike on speed/farming set-up at a later time.
(Snakesfoot: If you haven't noticed yet, English isn't my native language. If I make a typo or sound funny here and there, don't complain unless it makes the text literally illegible. If it does, I'll appreciate a warning!)
Masquerade of Burning Carnival: the item set
So this is the new Necromancers set that will ruin everyone else's day in Season 22. I think the rumors are true – it's going to destroy the world and one other when S22 hits. The set's centerpiece skill is Simulacrum – a long-cooldown Necromancer skill that creates copies of your Necro that mimic Secondary Skills. All three set effects work with it.
2-piece: Simulacrum casts with all runes. Its cooldown also resets on character death. This means that Simulacrum's five runes are in effect when you cast it: any curse applied triggers all (runeless) Curses, maximum Essence is doubled, your simulacra die instead of you when receiving fatal damage (only if Final Service cannot save you), life-spending skills cost only 25% Health, and two simulacra appear instead of one. Neat! Cooldown reset is just a convenience feature – at base it's a 2-minute cooldown skill and if simulacra die before it refreshes, you will not be able to do anything but die. How considerate.
4-piece: While Simulacrum is up, damage you receive is reduced by 50%. On top of that, remaining damage is split evenly across you and your simulacra. Damage reduction here is multiplicative. 50% is gone outright, and you receive only 1/3 of remaining damage (because you'll always have two simulacra active due to the 2-piece effect). In total, damage you receive is reduced by approximately 83%.
6-piece: Text is unclear, but roughtly – Bone Spear you cast is 10,000% stronger. Bone Spear your simulacra cast (because BS is a Secondary Skill) are three times stronger-er. Under ideal conditions, this boosts Bone Spear damage by ~700 times. But this is wonky! I'll explain this in depth later.
Some big numbers here, if somewhat bland. But because of Simulacrum's idiosyncracies, you might be having more fun or "fun" than expected.
At base, however, MoBC has one giant gaping hole: it does nothing about the centerpiece skill's duration. By default, Simulacrum lasts only 10 seconds per 120 seconds. Buh.
Which is why you absolutely need this item to make MoBC Necro work.
Haunted Visions makes your simulacra last forever once cast and allows them to mimic Grim Scythe. It's a Legendary Amulet which requires character level 70 to drop or be up for purchase from Kadala. The item has two catches:
While Simulacrum is active, you will lose 1% of your maximum Health per second. This can be mitigated with base Life per Second options from items, but it does hurt your sustain.
Your simulacra won't cast Skeletal Mages anymore. A scary quirk, but irrelevant to MoBC.
Without Haunted Visions, MoBC is a pretty dress. You still get 10,000% increased damage to Bone Spear, but that's the only effect that sticks. If you are farming for MoBC pieces, do make it a priority to get this Amulet as well.
The Necromancer Haedrig's Gift for Season 22 is Masquerade of Burning Carnival. It does not come with Haunted Visions. Hopefully you'll run across one while doing the seasonal journey!
Another complementary gear, meant specifically for this set, is Gelmindor's Marrow Guards. It's a Legendary Bracer that requires character level 70 to drop or be up for purchase from Kadala. Its Legendary option is simple: Bone Spear cast by your simulacra do 300-400% more damage. It does not affect your own. However, this means that your simulacra's Bone Spear is now 150,000% stronger than base.
The last one I'll add here is Maltorius' Petrified Spike, which simply increases Bone Spear damage by 550-700%, with the catch that it now costs 40 Essence. It's not specific to MoBC Necro, but with this BS from your simulacra gets really weird. Its behavior stays the same – it just does weirdly high damage.
Masquerade of Burning Carnival: what it is
With this set and complementary gears, you are a tank. I don't simply mean that in game parlance — you are a war machine advancing on the battlefield, impervious to small arms, launching shells that wreck havoc on everything in front of you.
MoBC, once completed with complementary gear, has three highlight features, in order of descending importance by my judgment:
Profoundly weird toughness. With nothing else, MoBC's damage reduction is already ~83%. Other class sets, even combined with base class damage reduction (30% for Barbarians, Monks and Crusaders), don't even compare.
Piercing high-damage attacks. Your simulacra's Bone Spear is doing something like a million percent increased damage already. You have two of them. Their blasts plow through trash monsters.
Player rage. You can't control where your simulacra go. Rare and elite mobs with Waller will be scary.
To be fair, what MoBC lacks is playstyle diversity. Your sole damaging attack is Bone Spear. Its runes change things up significantly, but you may find your options limited. Be mindful before you commit to MoBC – you will be a heavily armored battle tank and little else.
How to maximize MoBC Necro: DPS
If you haven't played a Necromancer before, you will need to learn about Krysbin's Sentence. It's a Lv 52 Legendary Ring that increases damage against Slowed enemies by 75-100% and triple that for enemies affected by all other Crowd Control. Basically, enemies slowed down by anything (including the slow aura from Bane of the Trapped) receive increased damage and enemies affected by basically any other CC effect (such as Frozen, Stunned, Bone Prison, etc.) receive increased damage by a factor triple the item's displayed value. Krysbin's Sentence is the most reliable DPS boost item you can equip.
But to make use of its powerful effect, you need to be able to apply CC. Coincidentally, Necromancers have a Passive Skill called Bone Prison. It imprisons enemies struck by bone-themed attacks, including Bone Spear, at a 30% chance. Enemies remain stuck in a cage of bone for 3 seconds at start. This triggers Krysbin's Sentence bonus! By choosing that Passive, you have a reliable way to trigger the ring.
Though, this is a good time to bring up the issue of Crowd Control resistance. The gist of it is that, the more often a monster is affected by a CC effect other than Slow, it will suffer from it less. Frex, if your Bone Spear has a 30% chance to cage a monster for 3 seconds when it first triggers, it will have a smaller chance to do the same to the same monster for a decreased duration. Your Bone Prison will get less and less effective the more it applies to the same monster.
Until you hit mid-high Greater Rifts, this won't matter much as everything will die before it matters. However, I've noticed that this becomes a significant factor after GR 100, beginning with (of course) Rift Guardians.
Before I continue on the above issue, Convention of Elements is naturally nice for MoBC Necros. Necromancers have access to three elements only – this means that CoE cycles will align with your chosen element 1/3 of the time instead of 1/4 for others (or 1/5 for Monks). During that time frame, your damage will increase by 150-200%.
So to boost your DPS at high GRs, you actually need to shoot less often. Why? Because you want your CoE boost and Krysbin's Sentence boost to happen at once. If you were to spam BS at a single target, it will continue to build CC resistance. BP will become less and less effective and the amount of time it spends stuck in bone cage will grow shorter and shorter. You want to avoid this!
Instead, conserve and build up your Essence while CoE cycle is not your BS rune element (perhaps afflicting Bane of the Stricken stacks with other non-CC attacks?). When CoE's element is about to hit your rune's element, spam BS then. Since you attack three times at once, your chosen CC effect is likely to trigger. This is a great way to get a boost of damage, while conserving your Essence or other resources.
Other than Bone Prison, I've discovered that Frostburn is surprisingly effective. Bone Prison triggers by 30%, but Frostburn's Freeze triggers by 50%! However, I believe the duration is shorter. Higher chance might mean that it could trigger too often. This requires further research, however.
How to maximize MoBC Necro: Toughness
MoBC's ~83% damage reduction can be boosted further. It can reach absurd heights. Here are some options:
Dayntee's Binding, a Legendary Belt, offers up to 50% damage reduction, as long as there is anything affected by your curses.
Razeth's Volition, a Legendary Pauldron, offers up to 50% damage reduction, as long as your Essence is less than full.
Non-class-specific options like Unity and Aquilla Cuirass still apply.
Bone Armor, a Necro skill, offers up to 30% damage reduction on top of other nifty benefits. It can be boosted further with Wisdom of Kalan, bringing the factor to 45%.
There might be more! But if one were to apply all these, total damage reduction for MoBC Necro reaches around ~99%. I seriously doubted I'd see something like this even in Diablo III, but here we are.
On top of this, you can lay on two Passives: Stand Alone, which doubles your Defense when there are no minions; and Final Service, a cheat-death skill. Mention of which, your Simulacrum offers an additional cheat-death effect.
MoBC Necro refuses to die. In my opinion, this can be driven further by a weird Legendary Gem: Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard. For other classes, this Gem isn't that good. I've never seen it in common non-Hardcore builds. However, with ~95% damage reduction easily achievable, MWG's effect multiplies by vast degrees. If you can bring its rank to meaningful points, it will restore your Health to full in less than a second as long as you do not die in a single hit.
A less-known mechanic of MWG is that it heals you more frequently than per second – with it, I've seen my Necro recover serious damage by what I believe to be several frames. If all that damage was sustained over up to a second, I'd have died easily, but MWG was recovering lost Health at weird rates.
Another reason I recommend MWG is because it synergizes well with a Bone Armor – Thy Flesh Sustained. With that rune, each stack of BA increases per-second Health regen by 10%. At full, MWG's regen plus others is doubled (or more if WoK is in the kit). At the time of this posting, I've seen my Necro's Health regen per second match her maximum Health.
Other defensive Legendary Gems work mostly by reducing damage further, but with MoBC's scale of damage reduction, they are actually less effective than for other classes or sets. Using MWG eats up a Legendary Gem socket that could boost offense, however. Personally, I believe MWG is a meaningful commitment.
Another quirk of MoBC Necro toughness is simulacra having hitboxes. With the complementary gear, your simulacra simply do not die, but still have hitboxes. Getting rammed by a big monster is one of the few ways my Necro would trigger Final Service, but sometimes a simulacrum simply facetanks it. It's near impossible to use intentionally, but it's a nice bonus.
How to maximize MoBC Necro: Active Skills
Clearly Bone Spear is the most meaningful choice, since the centerpiece skill has all runes applied. Most guides and recommendations I've seen on the set uses Bone Spear – Blighted Marrow. It's a neat rune – 15% increased damage per enemy penetrated. I've toyed with it and it's good at clearing trash, which may sometimes line up by 10 or more. I believe it's a pretty reliable choice, especially in terms of gear freedom.
There are two other DPS runes that I consider, however. One is Bone Spear – Crystallization and Bone Spear – Blood Spear. Neither has increasing damage bonus of Blighted Marrow. However, Crystallization is useful in that it increases attack speed per hit. With the above-mentioned CoE + KS deal cycle strategy, shoving in as many BS's within the cycle is important. Further, as it is cold damage, it triggers Frostburn's freezing effect!
Blood Spear is probably only tenable with MWG. With that rune, BS's damage increase by roughly 1/3. Each cast, however, eats up 10% of your maximum health. Even with Simulacrum's 75% Health cost reduction, that can pile up to quite a bit! But of course, with MWG's scary Health regen, the cost doesn't even register on screen.
The benefit I see on these alternative runes is that they are better for single-target fights. Crystallization hits faster and Blood Spear hits harder without needing other monsters. But in Greater Rifts, if your time sink is trash clearing, Blighted Marrow would help you more!
Another skill to consider Grim Scythe. Since Haunted Visions makes your simulacra swing scythes, it is now the fastest way to regain Essence when you've run out of corpses. Frost Scythe is probably the most easily applicable rune – it increases your attack speed for a short while. However, if you have Frostburn on somewhere, this gets in the way of CC resistance mitigation!
Other slots (aside Simulacrum, which is mandatory) are probably up to your gear choice. There really isn't a good Belt for MoBC Necro other than Dayntee's Binding, which means you will want to be able to apply curses. A single curse skill will suffice, as Simulacrum applies all three at once now. I use Frailty – Aura of Frailty in order to ensure a curse is always on and to save casting time and Essence.
Bone Armor will probably make its way to the skill bar somehow – its life-regen-boosting rune synergizes fantastically with MWG and it is mandatory to trigger Scythe of the Cycle, which is the most heavily recommended weapon for MoBC Necro.
With these recommendations, only one skill slot remains. I use Devour – Satiated. There really isn't another way to use corpses in this build! It's a powerful way to regain Essence quickly. Plus, with Satiated, your maximum Health increases so Health regen matters more. Finally, eating your fallen enemies is great.
You might want to put in Blood Rush somewhere. With my recommendations, MoBC Necro is slow. It can eat hits to the face, but sometimes you need to run when monsters explode. Blood Rush is a Necro teleport that costs Health.
How to maximize MoBC Necro: Passive Skills
Despite MoBC Necro's absurd toughness, you are more than likely to want Final Service. The reason is that Simulacrum's cheat-death effect kills the simulacra. Remember that it's your simulacra that do damage, not you. If you can recast the skill, it's all good – but if you cannot, the game will progress faster if you died. Final Service activates before Simulacrum's cheat-death effect! If you see the tombstone icon pop up, reposition yourself so that your simulacra won't have to die and your DPS won't die too.
Another defensive Passive is Stand Alone, which doubles your Defense as long as you have no minions. Oddly enough, simulacra do not count as minions. Doubled Defense is too good to pass up, espcially since it reinforces in the weakest link in MoBC Necro's ironbound toughness.
The issue, now, is the other two.
The more convenient combo is Bone Prison and Serration. BP applies CC for Krysbin's Sentence and Serration increaes BS damage by distance.
Another combo (that I'm using) is Spreading Malediction and Eternal Torment. This combo requires a curse on your skill slots. With Aura of Frailty, I've enjoyed reliable close-range damage boost. Toughness means I don't need to reposition myself for evasion. This requires Frostburn somewhere, however. This Gauntlet becomes irreplaceable.
For S22, Overwhelming Essence may make its way there. With the fourth Kanai slot featuring Reilena's Shadowhook, this Passive now increases RS damage boost by 40%. RS provides 0.5% damage boost per maximum Essence. OE increases it by 40… but Simulacrum doubles it! With this, Bone Prison may be the other Passive, allowing more gear freedom.
Other combinations, of course, will make sense. For more offense, Stand Alone could be dropped for Serration or such.
How to maximize MoBC Necro: other gear
For MoBC Necro, especially in S22, two 2-Handed Scythes need to go into Kanai's Cube: Maltorius' Petrified Spike and Reilena's Shadowhook. MPS is nigh mandatory. RS gives a flat bonus that is doubled by Simulacrum.
So what do you hold on your hands? On your right, you will probably want Scythe of the Cycle. It increases your BS damage by up to 400% as long as Bone Armor is up. However, each time you cast BS, the remaining time on BA will reduce by 4 seconds. BA, when refreshed, lasts for 60 seconds and has a cooldown of 10 seconds by default. Remember to cast BA every once in a while!
On your left… whatever's good, really. MoBC has no complementary Phylactery, which is sad. I intend to experiment with Lost Time since I'm using Crystallization + Frostburn, but I just have not found a good Lost Time yet. 🙁 Really, any Phylactery with good stats will do. Alternatively, Lidless Wall could serve since it provides elemental damage boost, as well as maximum Essence, despite being a Shield.
Once recommended gear is taken, only slots that remain are: Kanai's Armor and Kanai's Jewelry. So much for gear freedom!
Most MoBC guides recommend Razeth's Volition in Kanai. For early progression, this will serve fantastically – however, when CoE + KS combo becomes necessary, this will become less ideal. The reason is that, for 2/3 of your cycle, you will be at maximum Essence as you are swinging Grim Scythe to stack Bane of the Stricken or Devouring corpses to prepare for elemental burst. (Though this means Aquilla Cuirass serves a similar goal now.)
Jewelry slot has some freedom. Flavor of Time is always nice. Wisdom of Kalan boosts Bone Armor defense and other benefits. Or Ring of Royal Grandeur will help you equip another item on you, if it feels better than those two.
How to maximize MoBC Necro: Legendary Gems
Due to the build's dependence on Krysbin's Sentence, you will want to use Bane of the Trapped. I mean, even without KS, it's already good. Aside the point, but BotT is too good. Gah.
Another offensive LG may be Bane of the Stricken or Bane of the Powerful. The former will help you deal with Rift Guardian. The latter will help with trash clear. Your choice!
I've seen Zei's Stone of Vengeance be recommended. I am super against this. Perhaps it's because of my lazy playstyle, but MoBC Necro simply isn't mobile enough to benefit from it too much. Further, additional CC doesn't feel necessary in the presence of Bone Prison or Frostburn. In its place, I've been using Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard for impressive effect as said before! If that's not your vibe, I'd go for another generally offensive Legendary Gem.
Tying it all up: Strategy
When you enter a GR, remember to cast Simulacrum. Run around, looking for a crowd of monsters, and then cast Bone Armor. Now, depending on difficulty, either you simply kill everything with Bone Spear or prepare for CoE + KS onslaught.
One odd thing about MoBC Necro as how I recommended it here is that it uses five different resources: Essence, Health, corpses, Bone Armor, and monsters.
Essence (and maybe Health) is used to cast Bone Spear, the main and only damage dealer. Health is used to maintain Simulacrum and other skills. Corpses must be Devoured to replenish your Essence quickly. Bone Armor duration is used to empower BS via Scythe of the Cycle. Finally, monsters need to be dragged along or culled in order to draw Bone Armor from.
That's a lot to manage!
However, after some practice, it can become methodical without getting boring. If you are timing CoE + KS, there's another dimension of time to consider, which intensifies combat – but by that point, you probably aren't a Necro newbie.
One thing to remember is that MoBC Necro is rather sensitive to elite affixes.
Juggernaut will not die. Juggernauts are immune to CC, which is the most reliable damage boost for MoBC Necros.
Wallers will make you angry. You cannot tell your simulacra where to go. When Wallers appear, your main cannons will be shooting at walls.
While not an elite affix, remember to run for your life when you run across enemies that deflect projectiles – those twirly stringy ribbony spinny thingies (can't recall their name in English) and such. Your Bone Spear damage is probably as expected. Your simulacra's Bone Spear is about a hundred thousand times stronger. You will die in a single hit and your simulacra will die in two.
Uh. Masquerade of Burning Carnival is pretty dang fun. I hope more people experiment with it. I don't know what else to say here, but a section like this felt appropriate.
Q. Does Enforcer work with Simulacrum?
A. Nawp. Simulacra aren't independent from you, so perhaps that's why they do not count as minions. I've tested this with ~30 GRift runs and having an Enforcer on had no real difference than not having a Legendary Gem filled in.
Q. If CC is so good, why not Zei's + Frostburn + Bone Prison?
A. Uh. I don't think that's a good idea, but I don't know why. I think KS checks only whether there is hard CC and not how many of them are there? Someone more well-versed in Necro mechanics might be able to answer this better.
Q. Your guide sucks lollipop.
A. I've never written anything like this before. 🙁 Let me know what needs to be fixed or improved.
Q. I have a question!
A. If you leave them in the comments, I'll try my best to answer. Also, if you are on Asia server, find me at 현세의식빵#3723. I'm okay with both Korean and English!
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