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I use these skills in certain situations:
Spined Dart: if intelligence is low (like hardcore) can do decent Skorn bleed damage in tandem with Acid Rain
Pyrogeist: high life steal in 1v1 situations
Grasping Spirit: PvP vs. melee
Rabid Dogs: best pet procs
Severance: can break doors in speed runs if not using Firewalkers
Hedge Magic: can heal follower in low damage builds
Angry Chicken: amazing skill all around, many uses
Provoke the Pack: can sometimes help hit a breakpoint for 1-shotting monsters in higher MP speed runs
Manitou: high life steal in 1v1 situations
Creepers: high life steal in 1v1 situations
Nice thorough post Vaidency. I haven't checked this in awhile but have been meaning to add to the convo. Actually before making this post I wanted to check out some of the things in this list to play around with (and still currently am).
Haven't used corpse bomb enough to comment, but I'm currently using Cloud of Bats and I love it so much. Only thing I don't like is enemies always seem to be on the cusp of my radius taunting me. I wish the radius increase like the damage did.
Mass Confusion runes: Mass Confusion is not used because it has too long a cooldown, we don't need crowd control skills for the kind of low MP farming that most of us spend our time doing and it's not very reliable anyway. We just have better options.
The cooldown is horrible but tolerable when using Grave Injustice with some +radius. Still not as appealing as other choices but I mainly use to get mobs to clump up so I can go bat sh*t crazy literally.
I was using it for ZD and it worked ok...but I'm really digging Paranoia
Big Bad Voodoo runes: This is another skill with a cooldown that's really too long for what it does. Also the fundamental design on the three unused runes just sucks. It's already hard to stay in the radius for the full duration so the increased duration rune is unappealing. The cooldown makes it a terrible way to generate Zombie Dogs (whether you're using Sacrifice or not) so Boogie Man is unappealing. Ghost Trance is a bad way to try and heal yourself because it forces you to stay in the radius.
Yeah, cooldown is stupid long. Again Grave Injustice helps...but its feels so dumb to have to save skill usuage to mainly elites. I'm using Slam Dance for extra damage combo'd with Paranoia. Really helps in public games to just melt elites.
Fetish Army: this skill is not used because its cooldown is way too long for the effect it has.
I so badly want to use this and Fetish Sychophants but...there just a waste of passive/skill for lackluster damage mainly b/c 60% of the time they are dancing...lol
Spirit Barrage runes: Spirit Barrage is a somewhat slow projectile that only modestly outdamages primary skills like Poison Dart and Corpse Spiders. It's got some uses, especially for piercing walls, but it's just a mediocre skill and won't ever be very popular unless Blizzard buffs the damage again. That's why the only popular rune is Well of Souls.
Using this as my primary...it just takes so much mana for eh damage. It's not bad damage but its single target (minus well of souls) and just doesn't work as a good decay skill compared to others. I wish it worked more like Arcane Torrent where you could hold the button and unleash an actual barrage on enemies. Some splash damage would help too....oh well
Gargantuan Wrathful Protector: Just read the tooltip. It looks terrible. This is another of those, "How did they think this would be useful with those numbers?" kind of skills. The Big Stinker rune gives some nice sustained damage even when the thing is wandering around without swinging, though, and works just fine.
It's a joke, for 15s duration and 60s cooldown it should do great damage and a lot of knockback. If anyone uses this I would love to know why b/c I don't seem to get it.
Zombie Charger runes: Zombie Bears is so much more powerful than every other Zombie Charger runes it's not even funny. I have no idea what Blizzard was thinking when they set the numbers for this skill.
this one stands out so much. Its progressive but I thought the point of runes wasn't to progress as much as have options. Again if anyone uses the other ones I'd love to know why.
Acid Cloud runes: like Locust Swarm and Fire Bomb, Acid Cloud is used to get good coverage for rapidly AoE'ing packs of monsters in low MP situations. That means the increased area rune is inherently the most useful for supporting that playstyle. Kiss of Death and Corpse Bomb significantly alter the mechanics of the skill, but not in a way that actually supports its primary role. Lob Blob Bomb is good for tanking higher MPs, though.
I love acid cloud but Kiss of Death forces players into melee range and does like 27% more damage. Why would you pick this for melee when you have better options?
Locust Swarm runes: Locust Swarm is just like Ghost Bomb. It has excellent coverage but poor damage. It's great for low MP farming where you kill most things in one hit anyway so your main concern is just hitting them fast. I have no idea why you listed all five runes as largely unused because I thought a lot of people used Pestilence for low MP farming. (And it they don't, they should. It's a very good skill for that.) Devouring Swarm is a pretty good mana regen skill for higher MP's, too. The other 3 runes aren't used because they're just worse versions of Pestilence.
Yeah but its DoT that doesn't stack and doesn't do very good damage over 6s, kind of a waste of a slot. Though I will say I haven't played around with this enough...I've thought about trying out Devouring Swarm but I don't have a huge issue with mana
Hex runes: Hex, like Haunt, is just not a skill that is well suited for this type of game. It's a single-target crowd control skill that we can't even aim in a game where we are almost always fighting multiple targets at once. The only real use for the skill is against champion packs in high MP, and even then it's not very impressive. This skill will never be popular without major changes.
Actually not bad, but it def has it faults. If you could aim it would be amazing. I think painful transformation is pretty good depending on the enemy type. But unstable form and angry chicken I can't find any use for
Wall of Zombies runes: Wall of Zombies is not used much because it's a kiting skill and that playstyle isn't popular/necessary anymore, and the cooldown has always been too long to boot.
I don't why they reduced the cooldown for Pile on but none of the others...and Pile On never hits where I want it too.
Plague of Toads runes: This skill is difficult to use and produces mediocre results even under optimal conditions. It's just not efficient. Rain of Toads is the only really useful rune for this skill because it completely changes the targeting mechanics. Blizzard would have to boost the damage up to the level of most secondary skills to get players to seriously try using this.
Rain of Toads was my favorite for awhile but I want to change it up. I agree the animation for the other frogs is weak. If they let you spawn them on cursor, or maybe increased speed of frogs or jump distance. I think they are supposed to be like landmines that hop...but they mainly hop into walls and explode. Addling Toads could probably awesome for proctor with high AS. Toad of Affinity should have been changed when they changed the skills mana cost. Huge Toad has potential for awesomeness but being a CC that doesn't CC the stuff that matters really doesn't help its cause. I mean at least have the tongue grab enemies if he can't eat them or give him a poison aura or something. I also thinks its strange that the tooltip says 50% per second when most of our DoT seem to say total damage for total duration?
I think that's all I got for now /rant. Again if anyone uses these skills let us know how you use them: with what gear, with other skills, certain game types (party, pvp, solo). Thanks everyone that commented.
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