Blood Wave Necromancer Build Guide – Season of the Malignant

Using the giant Blood Wave this often with your Necromancer and completely ignoring damage while in your Blood Mist feels like cheating.

Blood Wave Necromancer is built around an ultimate ability that deals an enormous amount of damage, but normally it is limited by it's long cooldown.

This build uses a lot of clever interactions to drastically reduce that cooldown and allow you to use Blood Wave on nearly every pack of monsters.

It also boasts great survivability due to an abundance of Blood Orbs being spawned and Blood Mist which can be used while dealing damage at the same time.

This build is perfect for high level Nightmare Dungeons and excels at destroying giant packs of monsters.

IMPORTANT: Because this build relies on particular combos and interactions between multiple endgame Aspects and Items, the Blood Wave Necromancer is not recommended for leveling.

It is advised that you would first assemble your gear playing a different build that is more suitable for leveling (for example, check out our Minion Necromancer guide!) and only respec in to a Blood Wave Necromancer once you have all of the important pieces.

Look to collect well-rolled versions of the Aspects which can more than double your damage compared to the low-rolled versions.

Gameplay Showcase

Skills Overview

Blood Wave

This is our most damaging ability and we use a lot of Aspects to transform how it works. When you press this button you're going to spawn 3 waves, that will Knock Back and Slow all of the enemies they hit, spawn a trail of Shadow Damage Over Time and generate 9 Blood Orbs. Each Blood Orb we pick up, reduces the cooldown of this ability.

Blood Mist

This ability will spawn Corpses, detonate them, heal you and deal damage to nearby enemies while keeping you Unstoppable and Immune to all damage. Our build has a great uptime on this ability allowing you to cast it all the time. One of the main ways we'll deal damage in this build is by simply activating Blood Mist and moving next to enemies to automatically detonate Corpses.

Bone Prison

Bone Prison is the silent hero of many Necromancer builds. It has many weird and unexpected interactions. One of them is the fact that each wall counts as a separate Minion. By combining it with Aspect of Plunging Darkness we're able to spawn a lot of Corpses with it through the Hewed Flesh passive. If your Blood Wave is not ready yet, your basic way of dealing damage with this build is to use Bone Prison and then explode the corpses it spawns for a lot of damage. It's also our main source of Vulnerable in this build.

Corpse Tendrils

This swiss army knife of a skill, gives us great control over the battlefield. We can group enemies together, Stun them and prime them for the rest of our kit to deal damage to them. With Corpse Tendrils , we're also gaining another way of generating Blood Orbs.

Corpse Explosion

Big chunk of our damage will come from Corpse Explosion. The Sacrilegious Heart will automatically activate it when we're next to Corpses. We can also use it manually wherever there are enemies standing near corpses. On top of that, Blood Mist will automatically use Corpse Explosion for us.


The last slot can be used for Decompose, Reap or Hemorrhage . Either one will help us by either spawning extra Corpses or Blood Orbs. You will very rarely use your basic ability, and most of the time if you have to use it, it means you've wasted a cooldown earlier when it wasn't necessary.

Book of the Dead

In this build, we'll be sacrificing all Minions in favor of the extra player bonuses.

  • Skeletal Warriors
    They are going to be sacrificed for the Reaper bonus which grants increased Shadow Damage, as most of our damage will be of this type.
  • Skeletal Mages
    These will be sacrificed with the Cold Mages option. This provides additional bonus damage to Vulnerable enemies, which will increase the effectiveness of our Bone Prison.
  • Golem
    Sacrificed in the Blood form for extra Maximum Life, since we don't benefit that much from extra Attack Speed provided by another option.

Malignant Hearts

Creeping Death

Our Wrathful Heart provides a huge bonus to Damage Over Time which increases for every Crowd Control effect active on the enemy. Our build reliably Slows and Stuns enemies with a chance to Immobilize them as well. That gives us up to 150% increased damage which is also the bonus we get against Unstoppable monsters and Staggered Bosses.

The Sacrilegious

This is a Vicious Heart which requires an orange Socket in your gear. It will periodically trigger your Corpse Tendrils and Corpse Explosion from nearby Corpses. This allows you to simply use these abilities more often and automate the whole process. This Heart is active while in Blood Mist . You can take advantage of that by simply moving next to enemies and their Corpses while in Blood Mist and getting extra Corpse Explosions to go off without pressing any buttons.

The Decrepit Aura

This is a Brutal Heart which means it requires a blue Socket. The highest level version of this Heart will have a permanent aura around you even when there are no enemies nearby. Aim for at least Level 4 Heart which will activate once there is at least one enemy nearby. That way you'll always be cursing nearby enemies and lowering all of your cooldowns through Decrepify . Using Blood Mist in the middle of a big pack is going to trigger this passive many times.



  • Aspect of Disobedience
    Because this is a Damage over Time build, we're dealing damage in frequent increments. This is perfect for stacking Aspect of Disobedience and keeping our Armor value high while in combat. It's an excellent defensive Aspect. You should look for gear with a lot of Armor in order to maximize it's benefit.

Chest Armor

  • Aspect of the Protector
    The chest slot is intended for the Blood Artisan's Cuirass unique, but before you find it, you should simply use a Chest with any good defensive aspect. Aspect of the Protector is a decent generic option that will increase your survivability in the early game.


  • Tidal Aspect
    This Aspect will spawn two additional Blood Wave 's behind the first one. This adds extra Crowd Control in the form of a Knockback and it will extend the duration of lingering Slow and Shadow Damage Over Time. It also triples the Blood Wave passive, which normally would spawn only 3 Blood Orbs, but with this Aspect, it spawns 9.


  • Aspect of the Embalmer
    Generating Blood Orbs is very important for this build and this Aspect will help you do that. It's a defensive Aspect so we can put it on Pants and keep the more valuable Aspect slots free for our offensive options.


  • Aspect of Explosive Mist
    This Aspect turns our Blood Mist into another damage ability. Even if there aren't any nearby Corpses, it will generate them through Blood Mist passive and detonate them while lowering the Blood Mist cooldown. Combined with the Decrepify aura, you will often be able to chain consecutive casts of Blood Mist.


  • Blighted Aspect
    The default version of the build uses a Two-Handed Scythe as the weapon. This allows us to double the effectiveness of one offensive aspect. A well-rolled Blighted Aspect is a great choice because when it's active you will gain up to 240% increased damage. An absolutely massive number.


  • Aspect of Ultimate Shadow
    This Aspect allows our Blood Wave to deal Shadow Damage Over Time. The Aspect comes with a flat numerical value for the base damage, which normally tends to be a drawback, because it doesn't scale from your weapon. However the base damage on this Aspect is absurdly high. My current Amulet with this Aspect gives the Blood Wave extra 45 000 base Shadow Damage over 4 seconds.


  • Aspect of Plunging Darkness
    This Aspect will allow us to utilize the Blight , without having to manually use it. Instead it becomes attached to the Bone Prison . With it, our Bone Prison not only applies Vulnerable and traps the enemies inside, but also deals damage, Slows them and allows us to benefit from the Blight passives.
  • Fastblood Aspect
    Crucial piece of this build that helps us reduce the Blood Wave cooldown by a huge amount. Instead of waiting almost a minute for another cast, we can simply pick up the Blood Orbs spawned by our Ultimate and reduce the cooldown to about 20 seconds. We can further reduce this cooldown by hitting enemies affected by Decrepify , and spawning Blood Orbs with other skills as well.

Unique Items

Blood Artisan's Cuirass

This Unique Chest Armor takes advantage of the constant Blood Orb supply and turns it into free Bone Spirit casts. With the extra Ranks to Bone Spirit we can have a very high level skill that helps us clear the packs, by just running around the battlefield. It's a fairly common unique that's not very difficult to find, however it is not mandatory for the build to work. You can also use a defensive legendary Chest Armor as a replacement.

Howl from Below

The Unique Gloves are completely optional. They add quality of life to our Corpse Explosion 's and boost it's damage, however they require that you use a One-Handed Weapon and a Shield or Focus in the Off-Hand slot because we can not lose any of our Aspects. With that you'll also lose half of your Blighted Aspect 's effectiveness. If you have these Gloves and a great One-Handed Weapon plus Off-Hand combo, you can try both options and see which one works better for you.

Item Modifiers

The Blood Wave Necromancer is a Shadow Damage over Time build, so we do not care at all about Critical Strike Chance and Critical Strike Damage.

Your damage will be boosted by bonus Ranks to Skills, Damage over Time modifiers, Damage to Crowd Controlled enemies and Vulnerable Damage. You should also highly prioritize Cooldown Reduction on your gear.

Defensively you want to stack as much Armor as you can, and supplement it with Damage Reduction and Maximum Life. You don't need any Life recovery because that will be taken care of by Blood Orbs and your Scythe's Life on Kill.

EquipmentBest-in-SlotGood Stats
Helm- Cooldown Reduction
- Maximum Life
- Total Armor
- Intelligence
- All Stats
- Willpower
- Damage After Picking up Blood Orb
Chest- Maximum Life
- Total Armor
- Damage Reduction
- Damage Reduction While Fortified
– Intelligence
– All Stats
- Willpower
– Damage Reduction From Close Enemies
– Damage Reduction From Distant Enemies
Gloves- Lucky Hit Chance
- Shadow Damage Over Time
- All Stats
- Chance to Heal on Lucky Hit
- Intelligence
- Willpower
- Attack Speed
Pants- Maximum Life
- Total Armor
- Damage Reduction
- Ranks Of Corpse Explosion
- Intelligence
- All Stats
- Willpower
- Damage Reduction From Close Enemies
- Damage Reduction From Distant Enemies
- Damage Reduction while Fortified
- Dodge Chance
Boots- Movement Speed
- Ranks of Bone Spirit
- Intelligence
- All Stats
- Damage Reduction While Injured
- Dodge Chance
Amulet- Movement Speed
- Ranks Of All Corpse Skills
- Cooldown Reduction
- Damage Reduction
- Damage Reduction From Close Enemies
- Damage Reduction From Distant Enemies
- Total Armor
Rings- Lucky Hit Chance
- Vulnerable Damage
- Maximum Life
- Shadow Damage
- Damage Over Time
- Damage to Affected by Shadow DoT
Weapon- Intelligence
- All Stats
- Damage to Affected by Shadow DoT
- Damage to Crowd Controlled Enemies
- Damage to Close Enemies
- Damage to Distant Enemies

Weapon Base

Two-Handed Scythe is the ideal choice of a weapon for the Blood Wave Necromancer build.

A slow but hard-hitting weapon is great for a Damage Over Time build. The Scythe also gives us a lot of Life Recovery On Kill, which can heal us through a lot of damage.


  • Armor: Sapphire
    This build has access to Fortify, which makes the Sapphire a good choice for our armor sockets. Sapphire provides an extra 3% Damage Reduction while Fortified which adds to this build's already impressive durability. If you find yourself often without the Fortify buff active, you can also use the Ruby, for extra Maximum Life.
  • Weapon: Amethyst
    The only gem enhancing our damage well is the Amethyst, providing 8% increased Damage over Time. You might be tempted to use Diamond with the extra damage to our Ultimate ability, however the Blood Wave will already do more than enough damage to destroy everything in its path, so it's better to buff our other skills to be on par with it.

Skill Tree

Because Blood Wave Necromancer build is not intended for leveling, we won't be covering the order of Skill Point allocation.

You will be simply transitioning into this build from another leveling setup and immediately specializing into the entire Skill Tree. In this section of the guide we'll briefly go over the reasoning behind each of our choices.

You can find the Skill Tree HERE (powered by, under the “Skill Tree” tab.

  • We put two points in one of the basic abilities. You will not be using them much, but ideally you want to use Decompose or Reap for extra Corpse generation.
  • Next we take Blight for Blight and Blight . This is going to work with Aspect of Plunging Darkness and provide extra Crowd Control for Creeping Death Malignant Heart damage multiplier.
  • Hewed Flesh will generate Corpses for our other skills and Fueled by Death will simply boost our damage after we've consumed a Corpse with any ability.
  • Corpse Explosion is the ability we max out, investing 5/5 points into it and picking Corpse Explosion to deal Shadow Damage over Time with it.
  • Bone Prison can be used with just one rank in the main skill passive, however if you're doing very challenging content you might need to put more points in it for increased Maximum Life of the walls. Bone Prison is important for Vulnerable application.
  • Blood Mist requires only one rank, after which we pick Blood Mist to generate more Corpses.
  • Decrepify is granted automatically by The Decrepit Aura Heart, but we need to put a point in it in order to select the Decrepify passive which will lower our cooldowns if we damage Cursed enemies repeatedly.
  • Corpse Tendrils plus Corpse Tendrils will provide massive utility and spawn additional Blood Orbs.
  • Bone Spirit is an ability which we will max out, but only if you have the Blood Artisan's Cuirass Unique Armor. We do not cast this skill ourselves.
  • Max out Reaper's Pursuit , Gloom and Terror and put one point in Crippling Darkness . This Shadow synergy cluster gives us a lot of utility and damage.
  • Because we sacrifice all of our minions, we can take the Memento Mori and Stand Alone passives, for better Sacrifice bonuses.
  • Finally we pick Blood Wave with all it's passives and Shadowblight Key Passive which the entire build is based around.

Paragon Boards & Glyphs

The Blood Wave Necromancer build uses a total of five Paragon boards and utilizes the Legendary passive in every one of them, including the newly buffed Wither node, which boosts our Shadow Damage over Time.

You can find the full Paragon setup you can follow HERE (powered by

Starting Board

In the starting board we'll have a lot of generic bonuses coming from Magic passives and a lot of Intelligence in the Glyph radius. That's why we're using the Blood-drinker-necromancer Glyph here. The extra Armor, attributes and damage from Magic passives are very nice, but the main benefit of this Glyph is the ability to gain Fortify through our Blood Orbs. This will allow you to maintain Fortify throughout most of the combat.

Flesh Eater

This board and it's Legendary passive - Flesh Eater - gives us 40% multiplicative damage increase after we've consumed at least 5 corpses. Since this build generates a lot of them, we'll have this buff working a lot of the time. The Glyph we use in this board is Exploit-necromancer , which simply increases our damage against Vulnerable targets. This will help your single target damage and will increase the effectiveness of Bone Prison .

Blood Begets Blood

From the previous board, we'll be branching off into two other boards. The first of them is Blood Begets Blood with its Legendary passive that grants us up to 15% multiplier to our damage after we pick up a Blood Orb - which we do all the time. We'll use the Control-necromancer Glyph in this board. Since we naturally apply a lot of Crowd Control effects to our enemies, it's very easy for us to benefit from the increased damage and the damage multiplier against Slowed enemies.


This board has been buffed in Patch 1.1.1 and the Legendary passive lets us deal even more Shadow Damage over Time based on how much Willpower we have. The board itself features a lot of smaller Magic and Rare passives that give us Shadow Damage Over Time increases. The Glyph slot is surrounded by a good amount of Willpower, which helps the Scourge-necromancer Glyph. It's a must have in this build and it should be one of the first Glyphs you level for this build.

Scent of Death

The last Paragon Board in our setup features the Legendary passive Scent of Death which will either increase our damage or provide us with 15% damage reduction depending on the number of nearby corpses. It takes very few Paragon points to pick up this node, so it's an easy choice. The last Glyph we'll use is the Darkness-necromancer . We actually benefit from both parts of this Glyph because the walls of Bone Prison-necromancer count as minions.

Gameplay Tips

  • Let a pack of monsters follow you and drag it to the next pack, then cast Blood Wave at an angle that will hit both packs. Blood Wave does incredible damage, has giant Area of Effect and repeats two more times, so take full advantage of it.
  • Utilize Corpses to deal damage whenever possible with Corpse Explosion and Corpse Tendrils which can be used manually despite the automatic trigger.
  • When Blood Wave is down, initiate with Bone Prison and either cast Corpse Tendrils followed by Corpse Explosion from a safe distance or just use Blood Mist and get into the Bone Prison on top of the monsters.
  • You can cancel the Bone Prison and Blood Mist by pressing the hotkey again after they're active.

Many people are unaware of the massive power of the Blood Wave Necromancer Build. It requires a few key pieces to function and it's unintuitive to play at first, but once you get the hang of it after a dungeon or two, it becomes incredibly fun.

Harnessing the power of this build will allow you to farm high level Nightmare Dungeons with ease. You can feel truly overpowered when you obliterate gigantic packs of monsters while being completely immune to their damage and Crowd Control.

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