The Fall of the Nephalem – Top 3 classes to begin your next adventure
This is my personal list of favorite classes to begin the next season 26 – The Fall of the Nephalem based on the Patch notes (2.7.3) and Haedrig’s gift rewards. This guide is not intended for the mid-end season and only aims for the fresh day one/level 1 start
Season 26 Start Date is April 15, 2022. (confirmed post here)
In case you are new to seasonal themes, you can check out my old video here where I show one little trick on how to get free bounty materials to ease your fresh start with level 1 character.
Echoing Nightmares Theme
This Echoing nightmares theme is not bringing any new game-changer features like Ethereals, 4th cube slot or Soul Shards for the existing sets. instead, This Echoing Nightmare provides a new seasonal activity that strongly reminds me of trials back when the first Greater Rift system was introduced and honestly it was quite painful.
Now in Season 26, Blizzard is returning to the roots, but adding a few extra flavors to this trials activity (like random arena-shaped maps from the story mode, pylon spots and elites). After finishing this activity, players will receive random rewards with some legendary items, shards and new legendary gem, which is used only for augmenting gear. Its level is also based on the performance and how many waves you have completed.
So, basically, this means that the current season has nothing to do with the current stuff going on and all of the starter sets from the haedrig’s gift remain mostly untouched, except for one starter set, that was changed recently – Raekor, but let’s talk about the list first.
Rank 7 – Necromancer
The last place number 7 is occupied by Pestilence Master’s Shroud necromancers. This set, despite its high mobility with certain items and corpse lance ability, is lacking damage and toughness compared to the other classes.
Even once you equip all the required items for this set like Krysbin’s Sentence ring, Trag’Oul’s Fang or some two-handed scythes (Reilena’s Shadowhook, Maltorius’ Petrified Spike or Nayr’s Black Death) in cube, it is struggling to reach high greater rifts. And another big -No to me is Land of the Dead itself which is important to cast your corpse abilities like Corpse Lance, because Land of the Dead lasts only 10 seconds, and in order to maintain this spell at all times you need a lot of cooldown reduction in gear, Zodiac ring, In-geom and Crimson set. That is alot to take in for fresh character, and it won’t even pay off.
Basically this tweaking and rolling routine is not worth your time and pretty much once you switch to other sets like Rathma or Burning Carnival, or Legacy of Dreams, you will see a huge difference almost instantly. So, consider checking out other sets first, before choosing this class, unless you are a die-hard Necromancer.
Rank 6 – Wizard
Moving next, place number 6, is Delsere’s Magnum Opus starter set for Wizard.
This is unfortunately another clunky set that is probably not worth your time, unless you want to try something different or just enjoy playing solo as a caster. Delsere set is by far the worst set among the other wizard’s sets in the matter of Mobility, output damage and toughness.
Despite the buffs and insane damage dealt inside the Slow time bubble, it takes much time to spread this bubble all over the place to later kill the enemies. Of course there are some workarounds to gather enemies in one place with Energy Twister, Black Hole and Ranslor’s Folly bracers but personally, it is not my favorite playstyle. Many gear and stats prerequisites must be done before actually doing the damage. As a result, it drastically reduces your efficiency in comparison to other sets like Tal Rasha or even Firebird.
Plus, for the last two seasons, Wizards have no place in a group play (at least for now). This class is an outcast right now, and all wizard’s sets right now have no specific role in meta play. If you want to choose this class for some reason, i’d recommend you to switch delsere set later on to something like Vyr, Firebird or Tal Rasha as they have much more output damage and mobility than this starter set.
Rank 5 – Witch Doctor
Next position is Witch doctor with the Zunimassa’s Haunt set. Zunimassa itself has not received any new changes in the recent patches and it stands at the same spot as before. Although it is kinda clunky at first, but you can certainly rely on your pets damage and just stand at long range while your minions finish the job.
The downside for this set is that you have to apply mana spender abilities, so the enemies will receive 15,000% more damage from your pets. This may sound easy, but it is actually challenging to fit all 6 abilities on your panel as they are all mandatory for this build. Plus your pets will tend to get stuck in the walls or other mobs and they will not be able to kill them without your mana spenders. Plus you will have to reposition yourself in order to teleport your minions to the right place.
Despite these annoying drawbacks, Zunimassa is relatively easy to complete, all you need is Dagger of Darts and two helms – Carnevil and Mask of Jeram. The other benefit of this set, is that it consists of 7 pieces instead of 6, like other starter sets.
As for the mobility in general, it is quite fast but the mana spenders requirements may significantly slow you down and pets AI can be annoying at times.
Overall, it is quite average, you will need to apply mana spenders each time you want to deal damage to certain enemies, and it can be really hard to survive a hit from specific elites and bosses. If your goal is to play greater rifts, consider switching it to Arachyr, because right now Arachyr set has high changes to be in the meta as a trash killer, but if you want to just play solo and farm rifts fast, then i recommend you to try out Mundunugu Set.
Rank 4 – Demon Hunter
I have placed Demon Hunter’s Embodiment of the Marauder set to place number 4 for several reasons.
This starter set is fun for pushing high greater rifts, plus these sentries can deal the damage on their own as they were before. Marauder is by far the best Demon Hunter’s set for solo pushers and probably meta play (including the seasonal activity – Echoing Nightmares) in the mid and late season, but i cannot recommend this set for beginners, because this set is not obviously designed for early game farming Nephalem rifts or bounties.
It lacks mobility skills, it lacks discipline resource, the abilities cost much hatred, plus you have to place sentries every time you move to the new spot, and it can be really annoying for fast farming keys where you have to move constantly until the boss spawns.
But yes, Marauder can totally annihilate bosses and elites early on with just their Cluster Arrows or Multishot Sentries thanks to the Yang’s Recurve bow or Manticore crossbow. Some other extra important items include Bombardier’s Rucksack or Dead Man’s Legacy.
Once you have all these items, you should be fine to go higher. So in the long term, during mid and late season, Marauder can easily benefit for farming high tier greater rifts and echoing nightmares thanks to the sentries and mass area damage abilities. Crafting Captain Crimson’s set, finding Focus and Restraint rings or Endless Walk will also increase your damage even further.
Pretty much after some point, you can later switch this set to the Gears of Dreadlands and begin your farming adventure properly, or even make Support ZDH with the pieces you have already found.
Overall, Demon hunter is in a good sweet spot. Solo and group players will probably find this starter set an interesting, and quite challenging choice to start the new season.
Rank 3 – Barbarian
Place number 3 is the Legacy of Raekor, Barbarian.
There is definitely an improvement to this set, specifically reworked ancient spear legendary items that can certainly boost your output damage and provide some distance to the targets. Although it is relatively hard to complete this set early on, because to deal an insane amount of damage with the ancient spear you need 3 essentials here – Three Hundredth Spear, Arreat’s Law, and Salvation Bracers. This will certainly take some time to find these but it is definitely worth it.
The build itself might be really complex and annoying at times, as Ancient Spear, specifically Boulder Toss may not hit enemies properly and miss, plus it requires plenty of area damage to destroy the enemies next to each other.
There is certainly another build variation for Raekor that utilizes Hammer of the Ancients or Seismic Slam but, right now Ancient Spear is possibly the best option we have.
Raekor is also super mobile because Furious charge is refreshed every time you hit an enemy. Obviously, Raekor is not the best farming build to play, as there is another best lazy build alternative as Whirlwind Wrath of the Wastes Barb.
Another big plus is that Barb is obviously will be playable as Support in Meta, and you will obviously need raekor pieces to make a proper Zbarb.
Overall it is quite a good choice to pick Raekor this time to try something new, specifically bolder toss and attempt to destroy solo greater rifts, until you find a replacement to farm rifts faster.
Rank 2 – Crusader
Place number 2 is Crusader with the Armor of Akkhan set.
This is quite a strong set that consists of 7 pieces and can be played differently depending on your playstyle. There are many choices for Akkhan builds, that can also utilize recently nerfed but still viable Norvald’s set for Bombardment, or played as Blessed Shield (Aka. Captain America).
Despite the low chances to be a part of the current meta, Crusaders, specifically in Akkhan set, can make their way to medium and high solo greater rifts without changing much.
As for farming, akkhan is in the middle spot, it is easy to complete the build and easy to play, just roll cooldown, and you are good to go. Even the thorns build can be used to farm rifts easily just by riding the horse and applying bombardment from time to time.
The only downside I see here is the Akarat’s Champion which lasts only 20 seconds. So to make This set work properly, you will need to maximize your cooldown reduction in every possible piece, because if your Akkarat’s Champion is down, you will deal a pathetic amount of damage and die almost instantly.
Rank 1 – Monk
And the final place number 1 is unsurprisingly Inna’s Mantra monk, which despite the nerf of the bracers can still stand strong and completely destroy all the activities at ease.
Inna, just like Akkhan has 7 pieces, which also includes Two-handed weapon which is really cool to obtain early on, because this daibo has embedded Mystic Ally bonus for up to 120% damage and it can also proc with Spirit roll in secondary.
Pretty much, once you complete the set, you can deal damage inside rifts with your Water or Fire allies. As for the Greater Rifts, the choice is variable but most monks right now use Earth Ally as they can roll over enemies for the insane amount of 4,500% physical damage, but their AI can be a little irritating.
The set itself has not changed at all, except for the bracers I mentioned before, so i’m confident that this starter set will be viable for absolutely everything – Echoing nightmares, Rifts, Greater Rifts and even bounties.
Another big advantage to this set, is that there is no need to find many other legendary items except for The Crudest Boots and the nerfed Bindings of the Lesser Gods. Once you find at least one of these, you are good to go higher to conquer new heights and finish the rest of the seasonal chapters faster.
As for the meta, it is hard to tell right now what will happen in the mid and late season, but despite the nerf, Inna shenlong monks can still compete for the trash killer or the boss killer role and may also take place in XP farming runs.
Class table Performance (personal preference)
Time for some summary. I have provided a table below which shows what classes are most efficient in farming and playing certain activities in Season 26. One plus (+) represents the possibility to run a certain activity and up to Three pluses (+++) for strongly capable classes.
This table is just my prediction of certain classes. It is based on their set performance, previous PTR tests, and leaderboards. This table may not reflect the actual s26 capabilities.
|Class||Speeds||Meta play||Solo Push|
Ideally, you can start any class, that has a certain role in Meta play (Demon hunter, Monk, Barbarian or Witch Doctor) to farm paragon points fast and achieve new records in the Leaderboards. But if you are going to play solo, or casually with your friends, then the choice is purely yours. Pretty much any class nowadays can reach level 75 solo to beat the Divinity conquest and finish Nephalem Rifts in 2 minutes for Speed Demon conquest by just playing the game. Fishing the rest of seasonal chapters for additional rewards shouldn’t be a problem too.
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Thank you for reading this Season 26 Starter Guide article. Have a nice day!