Diablo 2 – PvM / Singleplayer Builds

This is a list of Diablo 2 Builds used to clear all stages of the game (Normal, Nightmare & Hell) playing at /players 8 difficulty. If you want to complete the game, play on the hardest difficulty or need a good, solid character to start with, this list will help you out.

Obviously it is in its infancy and will expand overtime as I research and test out these builds against the desired criteria. In general, there seems to be a lot of incomplete information amongst the community. This and other resources (Diablo 2 Mastery Guide) will aim to reduce these.

Necromancer Builds

Sorceress builds



Necromancer Summoner (Summonmancer) Build

Summoner/Summonmancer is often a great place to start for the beginners or those less familiar with the games mechanics. It’s a powerful and build that will allow you to learn more about the game, while still enjoying yourself. It’s not very gear dependent and therefore great for singleplayer and self-funding players. And as you will see, it can complete the game at /players 8, Nightmare and Hell difficulty.

Starting Out

From the very beginning the majority of your skills will go into Raise Skeleton. You’ll need one point in Amplify Damage to increase the damage your skeletons do. And the remaining going into Skeleton Mastery to increase the damage, life and defense of your skeletons. When you reach level 6, put one point into Clay Golem. Since your Golem will act as your tank and a key ingredient in your army.

Diablo 2 Necro Summoner Build

Core Skills – Skill Point Distribution

Summon Tree

  • Raise Skeletons – 20
  • Skeleton Mastery – 20
  • Golem Mastery – 10
  • Clay Golem – 5
  • Blood Golem – 5
  • Iron Golem – 5
  • Fire Golem – 5
  • Summon Resist – 1
  • Skeleton Mage – 1
  • Revive – 10

Curse Tree

  • Amplify Damage – 1
  • Weaken – 1
  • Terror – 1
  • Decrepify – 1

Poison & Bone Tree

  • Teeth – 1
  • Corpse Explosion – 1
  • Bone Armor – 1

Total remaining points 21

Which you can distribute as you see fit. However, it is recommended that you distribute a minimum of 4 additional skills into each Golem type (total of 5). Which is superior to having all in one Golem type (refer to Golem Guide). While expanding on the curse tree for further crowd control options or the Golem Master/Summon Resist if you find your summons dying too often.

Besides Amplify Damage, Terror is used to open the way for your army when you get stuck in door ways, between groups of enemies or when simply overwhelmed by them. Decrepify is your boss killer, which slows them down dramatically and increases the damage your army does to them. Make sure to use your Clay Golem against bosses like Duriel and Diablo as they seem to attract the bosses attention and are easily resummoned when dead. Previously bosses such as Duriel and Diablo were very problematic for summoners. However, using this tactic they become far less challenging (regardless of the difficulty).



Core Playstyle

Assuming your army is already up and running. It basically comes down to you applying Amplify Damage to the monsters, while allowing your army to hold them. Once they begin to die you can use Corpse Explosion for some serious AOE damage that melts away the enemy. Note: Corpse Explosion is perfectly viable at 1 skill point (since damage always remains at 70–120% Monster’s Total Hit Points) and is really your main source of damage regardless of difficulty. Shifting between Golems also becomes important for their situational benefits. Refer to Golem Guide.

Revive your final summon investment then allows you to resummon the fallen enemy. This becomes especially handy when used on the more difficult enemies that you come across, which allows you to supplement your army with the very creatures that give you grief. And a requirement when farming more difficult and hard hit bosses.


Strength = As much as is needed for gear (100-156)
Dexterity = As much as is needed for gear
Vitality = All other points go into vitality
Energy = No points will be put here, relying on gear for mana


During normal /P8, the Act2 – Combat Mercenary (Pray Aura) was used which increased the general survivability of the army. Skills such as Skeleton Mastery, Golem Mastery and Summon Resist were not yet available or were not yet maxed. And +skills items were not as plentiful so the Pray Aura helped sustain the army. With the addition of +skills gear and Maxed Skeleton Mastery, the Act2 Nightmare – Offense Mercenary (Might Aura) was used thereafter to increase the armies damage output and reduce the time it took to kill off the enemy.


Early on use any items that give the needed mana, Magic Find and regeneration to allow the Summonmancer to maintain his army and deal the needed damage. While seeking out better gear with higher MF. Use Necromancer specific items to gain increase in summoning skills and curses, or fill in the gaps in skills that are yet to be attained. As progress is made with the access to the needed runes, Runewords such as Stealth, Lore, Spirit & Insight will be items that will improve the power of the Summoner. Allowing him to taking on Nightmare even at /players8 and making him viable for Hell.

A very cheap and easily attained combination regardless if you’re playing singleplayer or online. Is duel Spirit weapon and shield to give you +4 skills points and an Insight polearm weapon on your Act II mercenary so that you will never have mana issues, given the Meditation Aura that it provides.


Necromancer Golem Guide

Diablo 2 Necro Golem

Which Golem should I put my points into?

The Golem is the Necromancers main tank. Doing research you may have come across different people recommending one Golem over the other, including the recommendation of maxing one type out.

The truth is that out of the four Golems three are equally beneficial when used for different circumstances. The Clay Golem, is excellent at attracting boss attention while slowing them down. The Iron Golem is strongest in terms of tanking damage (Thorn Aura) and takes on the stats of the items used to summon it. And lastly the Fire Golem provides the highest damage and is able to absorb fire spells (fire resistant). Which becomes critical when taking on difficult mobs that deal fire damage during Nightmare/Hell. Or When starting up your army.

Therefore only using one type and maxing it out will leave you at a disadvantage. The best alternative being to equally distribute those points between the four types for maximum synergy and effectiveness. Keeping in mind that Golem Mastery and Summon Resist are also needed in making your Golems effective.
Your build should look somewhat like this:

Golem Related Skills

  • Clay Golem – 5
  • Blood Golem – 5
  • Iron Golem – 5
  • Fire Golem – 5
  • Golem Mastery – 10
  • Summon Resist – 1

With 5 +skills

  • Clay Golem – 10
  • Blood Golem – 10
  • Iron Golem – 10
  • Fire Golem – 10
  • Golem Mastery – 15
  • Summon Resist – 6

This style of skills distribution will allow the Golem synergy to take maximum effect, while still only distributing 20 points into Golems. Creating well rounded Golems that have higher impact and survivability. That are actually useful all around and give you the situational benefits needed as the game becomes progressively more difficult.



Lightening Sorceress Build

Diablo 2 Lightning Sorceress

The Lightning Sorceress is a very powerful caster and sorceress spec. Not only is she relatively easy to build, gear up and play with. She is just outright devastating on the hardest of game modes. P8 normal is a breeze once she attaints Chain Lightning, Nightmare can also be completed for most parts under a P8 setting. She is fun to play and equally as powerful and that’s important when you’re playing HC or a singleplayer game.

Starting Out

With all sorceress builds, the beginning is a little bit difficult and it takes time to get some momentum going. Given that most of your hard hitting skills come later in the trees. So it is recommended to go whatever you need to until reaching the desired level when you can respec and reinvest those points into Chain Lightning and the rest. Personally I found going the fire tree the most useful because I was able to build a Leaf Runeword very early on to supplement the skills. But you can just easily go into the lightning tree if you aren’t attempting to complete Normal on the higher difficulties, such as players 8.

Diablo 2 Lightning Sorceress Build

Core Skills – Skill Point Distribution

Lightning Spells

  • Chain Lightning – 20
  • Lightning Mastery – 20
  • Lightning – 20
  • Charged Bolt – 20
  • Static Field – 1
  • Nova – 1
  • Telekinesis – 1
  • Teleport – 1

Cold Spells

  • Frozen Armor – 1

Fire Spells

  • Warmth – 1

Total remaining points 24

Putting remaining points into Nova would be ideal to maximises the damage that you do with your lightning spells, as it is your final synergy skill. However, if you aren’t going for P8 perhaps it may be overkill and those remaining points can be used in another tree so that you could better deal with lightning resistant mobs. 1 Additional point can be used for Energy Shield but it was not found to be useful as you needed as much mana as possible.

In fact the biggest issue that was faced when playing the Lightning Sorceress was the high reliance on continues use of mana potions. So having Energy Shield eat into your mana pool was often not worth the gamage mitigation. Frozen Armor did the job in most situations and a Holy Freeze mercenary can be used later on for additional crowd control. But given how quickly groups of enemies fall to your Chain Lightning, the differences aren’t that huge.



Core Playstyle

The gameplay is quite simple. Cast your Frozen Armor and then cast Chain Lightning while watching the demons and dark forces melt. You will be needing to spam CL, as with all lightning spells they have have huge min-max damage range and sometimes you do hit quite low. One of the best things you can do is to learn to kite and group up your enemies before casting Chain Lightning and making sure that you are always stocked up on the mana pots. In the cases that you are running low or dealing with fewer or single targets you can switch to Lightning instead to conserve mana.

Another great find, was the usefulness of Static Field which reduces the hp pool of surrounding enemies and best used for difficult bosses and mobs before going for the kill. It is important to know that Static Field is spammable, but there is a limit on how much hp is reduced based on difficulties. As with any casters. Switching between weapon sets using W is very helpful and a good way to have skills such as Teleport without having put a point into it.


Strength = As much as is needed for gear (100-156)
Dexterity = As much as is needed for gear
Vitality = All other points go into vitality
Energy = Some points do help especially early on 40-60 doesn’t hurt


During normal /P8, the Act2 – Defense Mercenary (Defiance Aura) was used which increased the general survivability of both the mercenary and the sorceress, given situations where she was hit. Later on Act2 Nightmare – Offense Mercenary (Might Aura) or the Defense Mercenary (Holy Freeze) can be potential upgrades. Whichever you choose, the Act II mercenary is ideal as they are the only ones capable of running the the two polearm runewords. Insight, which solves your mana regeneration problems during normal and nightmare. And the Infinity Runeword, which you can use to break the immunities of enemies in Hell, though will require some farming to attain. Because of the rare Rune combinations BerMalBerIst.


Early on use any items that give the needed mana, Magic Find and mana regeneration to allow the Lightning Sorceress to maintain her casting ability and deal the needed damage. While seeking out better gear with higher MF. Use a one-hander and shield when possible, as it does increase your overall survivability.

As progress is made with the access to the needed runes, Runewords such as Leaf, Stealth, Lore, Spirit & Insight will be items that will improve the power of the Sorceress. Allowing her to taking on Nightmare even at /players8 and making her viable for Hell difficulty. Faster Cast Rate is also an important stat to increase in the later levels of the game.

The Act II mercenary Polearm upgrade is also a very important one to make and will make life much easier. Insight for mana regeneration and Infinity to break spell immunity and allow the Lightning Sorceress to crush through hell, even if she chooses to be a pure spec.


Additional Information

Make sure to checkout my Diablo 2 PvM Mastery Guide. This has tons of little tips and findings that will really benefit your gameplay and knowledge base. And is a great supplement to the things mentioned in this Diablo 2 Build Guide. There is much we didn’t know in the early days and there is still much to know, even today.

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