Help, I can't stop exploding corpses in Diablo 4

Necromancer character in Diablo 4
(Image credit: Blizzard)

What makes Diablo 4's corpses so explodeable? It seems like all my Necromancer has to do is gesture vaguely at them and they spontaneously burst into clouds of red mist like they've been stuffed with C4. I can't say that I expected a skill called Corpse Explosion to be my favourite thing about Diablo 4 when I started playing the beta, but there's a certain je ne sais quoi to weaponizing the bodies of your foes and detonating them deep in the ranks of their former comrades. If Necromancer is a class that's thematically about subverting will, Corpse Explosion is pretty fitting—I know I wouldn't want my body to randomly blow up.

Consuming cadavers is a big part of being a Necro in Diablo 4, letting you summon skeletal soldiers and mages who protec, attac, and just generally distrac big bosses and enemies while you weave your death magic in the background. Before long your screen is overflowing with corpsey goodness, but having hit your max number of skelly servants, there are few ways to harness these excess bodies beyond summoning a one-off priest to buff your soldiers. The answer? Explode those corpses.

All you really need is one corpse to start. As you kill enemies with explosions, they'll become corpses, too, and since the skill has no cooldown, you can keep up your display of gory pyrotechnics for as long as there are fresh bodies to feed it. That's powerful enough in itself, but there are extra layers you can add to this, too. The Grim Harvest skill grants essence when you consume—or explode—a corpse, letting you farm the combat resource while dealing AoE damage. You can also throw down an Iron Maiden, cursing enemies caught in the AoE so they take damage whenever they attack. The upgraded version removes its essence cost, grants essence for each enemy you curse, and refills your health when you kill them. The result is a skill that feels pretty off the wall to me.

I found myself dropping Iron Maiden on groups of enemies, quickly picking one off with the Sever spectral scythe ability, then just corpse-exploding the lot for bountiful essence and healing. My favourite thing of all is taking part in events where you have to protect a caravan or a wounded adventurer, and watching as enemies brave my corpse minefield only to detonate and join it themselves. Maybe I'd feel guilty if I wasn't playing a soulless defiler of the dead.

There are some situations where Corpse Explosion is less powerful, namely because you're lacking corpses to explode. Bosses are a good example since only some call down minions that you can corpsify and consume, but even then your trusty Necro has the skill chops to deal with it. If you're using Reaper minions, they have a 15% chance to create a corpse when they're attacking, and you can use the basic Decompose ability to form corpses. Then there's the Hewed Flesh skill that gives your attacks a 4% chance to create a corpse, which is doubled when fighting bosses. Needless to say, you can still create plenty of bodies.

Corpse Explosion"

Necromancer has so much going for it as a class, to the point that I think you could get rid of the minions and it would still be viable, though that would defeat the entire point of being such a glorious glass cannon. It's fun to stand behind an army of skeletons, performing a mad death dance as you throw curses, bones, and spectral scythes, melting flesh and bursting bodies. It's easy to forget that you, too, are a delicate meatbag who must find ways to cope with fragility and balance your aggression, and that's part of what makes it an enjoyable playstyle—you can quite easily die if you get too wrapped up in your whirlwind of destruction, and that's fitting for a class centred around dabbling in dangerous magic.

While I had a great time playing Barbarian, clubbing werewolves into insensibility and cleaving through hordes of ghouls, something about it ultimately felt too mundane. In this warring purgatory of angels and demons, religious zealots and fanatical cults, where Blizzard has so successfully established the tone, I want to play a class that's part of the madness. If everyone was damned from the start, why not revel in it? Necromancer feels perfectly unbalanced to me and I pray they don't change a thing; please let me continue this delicate dance of exploding cadavers.

Sean Martin
Guides Writer

Sean's first PC games were Full Throttle and Total Annihilation and his taste has stayed much the same since. When not scouring games for secrets or bashing his head against puzzles, you'll find him revisiting old Total War campaigns, agonizing over his Destiny 2 fit, or still trying to finish the Horus Heresy. Sean has also written for EDGE, Eurogamer, PCGamesN, Wireframe, EGMNOW, and Inverse.