Nerfs aside, one of Diablo 4's strongest Necro builds is even better this season

Diablo 4 Necromancer with skeletons and golem
(Image credit: Blizzard)

What do you reckon is the strongest Necro skill in Diablo 4? Pre-season patch, I probably would've said Bone Spear—I don't think anyone was surprised when it received such a big nerf after dealing millions of damage to bosses. But for my money, the best Necro skill is Blood Mist, or at least, Blood Mist in combination with Decrepify. The former turns you into an invincible cloud of gore that can produce precious corpses, while the second lets you curse enemies and has a Lucky Hit chance to reduce ability cooldowns when you hit them.

It's a simple synergy that forms the heart of the Infinimist build, and if you throw in Aspect of Explosive Mist, too, you'll detonate the corpses you produce, gaining a further Blood Mist cooldown reduction for each one. Provided there's a decent density of enemies, you can effectively keep using Blood Mist without having to worry about cooldown, giving the build some amazing survivability in Nightmare Dungeons and hard activities.

I was surprised to discover that despite the all-round nerfs, Infinimist is not only stronger in Diablo 4's first season, but even more accessible—mainly due to two Malignant Hearts and how they function. These are:

  • The Decrepit Aura: When at least 1-5 enemies are near you, gain an aura that automatically curses surrounding enemies with Decrepify for 7-19 seconds.
  • The Sacrilegious: Walking near a Corpse automatically activates an equipped Corpse Skill every second, dealing 38-28% reduced damage.

If you haven't played any of the new season yet, it's pretty straightforward: you kill Malignant monsters, steal their hearts, and shove them into jewellery for special effects. While some of the most powerful Wrathful Hearts are locked behind World Tier, these two are available right from the beginning, and honestly, I'm not sure why you'd ever replace them.

Where, previously, you'd have to cast Decrepify on a group of enemies before using Blood Mist to get that cooldown reduction, The Decrepit Aura constantly casts Decrepify around you when you're in close proximity to a few enemies—which is basically all of the time. While this is active, provided you have Abhorrent Decrepify unlocked, every enemy you hit close range has a chance to reduce your cooldowns, even in Blood Mist form. You don't need to have Decrepify equipped in your skill bar, either; it's an absurdly powerful way of staying in mist form and getting your ultimate back quickly.

The second heart, The Sacrilegious, may sound a bit gimmicky, but it's super strong with the Infinimist build for three main reasons;

  • It uses corpse skills in a priority order
  • It casts corpse skills even in Blood Mist form
  • It ignores ability cooldowns

As far as I can tell, the priority order for The Sacrilegious seems to be: Raise Minion/Corpse Tendrils/Corpse Explosion. If you're missing a minion it'll passively raise a new one, it'll periodically cast Corpse Tendrils every few seconds, and any other time it'll explode corpses—provided you have those three skills equipped and there are corpses to use. This is amazing for essence regeneration if you have the Grim Harvest passive since it's constantly using up corpses, but more importantly, it means you can use three different Corpse Skills while safe in Blood Mist form. 

If you want to start a fight by casting Corpse Tendrils but need to produce a corpse, cast Blood Mist and the first corpse it makes will activate it. Did you lose minions while fighting but have no spare corpses? Use Blood Mist and the corpses produced will automatically raise new minions. And at any other time, the corpses it makes will explode nearby in your Decrepify field, giving you that Lucky Hit chance of further cooldown reduction. You also no longer need to rely on finding the Aspect of Explosive Mist to make the build work; in fact, having that aspect often blows up the corpses before your other corpse abilities have time to activate.

It's a really strong build that allowed me to get into Nightmare World Tier at level 40 and start doing Helltides ten levels under, because even if enemies have a lot of health, provided there's enough of them, you can stay in mist form most of the time while still casting Corpse Tendrils to stun them, raising new minions, and exploding corpses for damage. Of course, this all works best if you spec towards Blighted Corpse Explosion and shadow/darkness damage, especially when shadow DoT got a big buff in the season one patch.

For my part, not needing to have Decrepify equipped or a corpse-producing skill like Reap has meant I've been able to use minions again, so I've been running Cold Mages—damage to Frozen enemies and Coldbringer's Aspect also got a big buff in that patch—and I've been using all that cooldown reduction to activate Army of the Dead constantly. It's even stronger than the solo shadow build I was running last season, which was already pretty damn good, plus the invulnerability from constantly using Blood Mist is pretty helpful when some of the best survivability aspects were recently nerfed.

I have a sneaking suspicion that those Malignant Hearts would also be very strong with Blood Surge, Deathspeaker's Pendant, Ring of Mendeln, plus Aspect of the Embalmer and Fast-Blood Aspect, producing Blood Orbs from corpses and reducing ultimate cooldown when you pick up a Blood Orb. Blood Surge's AoE fits perfectly with the Decrepify field you cast around yourself, and since Blood Surge, Blood Orb minion healing, and minions in general got buffs in the season patch, it'd go a long way to keeping everyone alive.

Either way, it's nice to know there are still some viable builds, and some that feel even stronger than before despite the overall nerfs.

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.