Skulla: Introduction

Building off the success of my character Meatbag, I intend to try again at D2 Single Player. This character will be a Necromancer, and he will be Hardcore.

Although it may be hard to believe, I've never played a Necromancer in D2. It's one of the characters I've always wanted to try, however, and no time better than the present, right? The Necro is undoubtedly one of the hardest characters to play; you deal almost all of your damage indirectly, through minions or curses, and must have a firm grasp of the game's mechanics to figure out the most effective response to each situation. Yet at the same time, the curse tree is extremely powerful in the hands of a skilled user - you wouldn't believe some of the situations that curses like Terror and Dim Vision have pulled my online teams out of, and that's only with the low-level versions available on item charges.

I intend to play this character the way that the Necro class was meant to be played: leading an army of minions backed by curse support. I won't be using the Revive skill, however; just too powerful, and not that interesting overall. Therefore I forsee this character investing heavily into Skeletal Mages, with a few Skeletal Warriors to serve as blocking dummies, along with a low-level golem to help with the tanking. In other words, this is going to look a lot like Sirian's legendary Skeletorr character, which it should because it's one of the character builds I've always most wanted to try! There will be several important differences, however. The first and most obvious is that this is D2X and not D2 Classic, with many of the rules of the game being very different. The second is that I don't plan to limit myself to Clay Golem, but will put one skill point into each of the four golem types and use as appropriate. Only the one point in each though, and only one in Golem Mastery. (This isn't so much for variant purposes as to save skill points, which will have to be spread around fairly thin.) Beyond those issues, hopefully the gameplay will look rather similar.

I plan to keep strength low, very low - there's not much point in piling on dozens of points for a casting character. I'll peg 34 strength as the initial target for a 3 Diamond shield, and see what items drop from there. Dex is irrelevant and will be ignored completely. I won't be able to block for beans, so no point even worrying about it. Defense is similarly pointless. If you can't get Defense up into the thousands, don't even try. There's very little difference in Hell between 10 Defense and 500 Defense. Everything will be going into Vitality and Energy, in what ratio I'll have to figure out while playing. Skill points will have to be spread around both the Summoning and Curse trees. I'll take Raise Skeleton to slvl 3 early on, to get the initial 3 skeleton warriors - best bang for the buck there. Both Skeleton Mage and Skeletal Mastery will be maxed eventually, so that's where a lot of the early points will go. I'll hold the curses to slvl 1 throughout Normal, then add to them further in Nightmare/Hell as appropriate. Going to be knocking out a lot of prerequisites in Normal, that's for sure. +skill items will be extremely important for this character; I should be able to count on at least +4 if I make it to Hell (+2 from wand, +1 from amulet, +1 from helm) with the possibility for more from uniques. No character build benefits more from +skill items than the summoning necro, so those will be very hot commodities.

My character is named Skulla, after his creator. Since the necromancer is able to avoid close contact with the enemy, I have hopes of taking him very far indeed. It goes without saying that Skulla will be full-clearing all areas on one pass through the game, with no tweaking of items. We'll see what happens though. This being Hardcore, he'll have to survive to test any of these grandiose theories.