Diablo 4 Necromancer class guide - Best skills, minions, and builds

picture of the necromancer in diablo 4

picture of the necromancer in diablo 4
March 25, 2023: Struggling to make a start with your Necromancer? Check the Diablo 4 error codes page for a little help.

One of the most popular classes in Diablo is the Necromancer. If you want to command the powers of the undead, then read on as our Necromancer class guide will give you all the details that you need to be able to rock this class in Diablo 4, including some Open Beta build ideas.

The Necromancer has been a fan-favorite class across all Diablo games, and this version of the class is shaping up to deliver in this new game as well. With the changes coming to Diablo 4, the Necromancer could be one of the most powerful classes in the game with the right build.

While you're here, if you're looking for more Diablo 4 content, then be sure to check out our other guides, such as our Diablo 4 Sorcerer guide, our Diablo 4 beta guide, as well as our Diablo 4 seasons roadmap guide.

Diablo 4 Necromancer class guide - What to know for Open Beta

To start off, let's talk about how the Necromancer works at a baseline. The Necromancer has a few different classes of skills, being Blood, Bone and Darkness skills.

In addition to these skills, the Necromancer also has the ability to summon three kinds of minions. We'll talk through those in a little while. Here are the different categories of skills that you'll see as you progress through the skill tree.

  • Basic
  • Core
  • Macabre
  • Corruption
  • Summoning
  • Ultimate

Here's a list of each skill and augment node, as well as each passive node you'll find on the skill tree. At the moment there may be some missing numbers, as a lot of this information was data mined, but we'll be sure to update it with hard numbers once Open Beta goes live.

Diablo 4 Necromancer skills

Basic

  • Bone Splinters: Fire 3 Bone Splinters, dealing 22.5% damage each. Each subsequent
    • Enhanced Bone Splinters: Bone Splinters has a 30% chance to fire 2 additional projectiles if cast while you have 50 or more esssence.
      • Initiate's: Bone Splinters has a 20% chance per hit to make enemies Vulnerable for 2 seconds
      • Acolyte's: Hitting the same enemy at least # times with the same cast of Bone Splinters grants +# Critical Strike Rating for # seconds
  • Hemorrhage: Burst an enemy's blood, dealing #% damage. Hemorrhage has a #% chance to form a Blood Orb.
    • Enhanced Hemorrhage: After picking up a Blood Orb, your next Hemorrhage also deals damage to enemies around your target and grants # additional Essence per enemy hit.
      • Initiate's: Hemorrhage grants #% Base Life (#) as Fortify each time it hits an enemy, and has a #% chance per enemy hit to Fortify you for #% Base Life (#).
      • Acolyte's: Hemorrhage gains an additional #% Attack Speed while Healthy.
  • Decompose: Tear the flesh from an enemy, dealing #% damage per second and forming a usable Corpse with the flesh every # seconds.
    • Enhanced: If an enemy dies while being Decomposed, you gain # Essence.
      • Initiate's: Decompose Slows enemies by #%.
      • Acolyte's: You and your Minions deal x#% increased damage to enemies who are being Decomposed.
  • Reap: Sweep an ethereal scythe in front of you, dealing #% damage. Hitting an enemy with Reap increases your Damage Reduction by #% for # seconds.
    • Enhanced: If an enemy hit by Reap dies within # seconds, you gain #% Attack Speed for # seconds.
      • Initiate's: Reap instantly executes non-Bosses below #% Life.
      • Acolyte's: Reap forms a Corpse under the first enemy hit. Can only occur every # seconds.

Core

  • Blight: Unleash concentrated blight that deals #% damage and leaves behind a defiled area, dealing #% damage over # seconds.
    • Enhanced: Blight Slows enemies by #%.
      • Paranormal: Blight has a #% chance to Immobilize enemies for # seconds on impact.
      • Supernatural: You and your Minions deal x#% increased damage to enemies within Blight.
  • Sever: A specter of you charges forward and attacks with its scythe for #% damage then returns to you and attacks again for #% damage.
    • Enhanced: Sever damages enemies along its path for #% of its damage.
      • Paranormal: Every 4th cast of Sever makes enemies Vulnerable for # seconds.
      • Supernatural: Sever deals x{#}% increased damage for each Minion you have upon cast.
  • Blood Surge: Draw blood from enemies, dealing #% damage, and expel a blood nova, dealing #% damage. Blood Surge's nova damage is increased by x#% per enemy drained, up to x#%.
    • Enhanced: Draw blood from enemies, dealing #% damage, and expel a blood nova, dealing #% damage. Blood Surge's nova damage is increased by x#% per enemy drained, up to x#%.
      • Paranormal: If an enemy is damaged by Blood Surge's nova while you are Healthy, then gain 1 stack of Overwhelming Blood. When you have 5 stacks of Overwhelming Blood, your next Blood Surge Overpowers.
      • Supernatural: Each time an enemy is hit by Blood Surge's nova, you are Fortified for #% Base Life (#). While you are Fortified for over #% of your Maximum Life, Blood Surge deals #% increased damage.
  • Blood Lance: Throw a blood lance that lingers in an enemy for # seconds, dealing #% damage to the enemy and all other lanced enemies.
    • Enhanced: Blood Lance Pierces through enemies who are currently lanced, dealing #% reduced damage to subsequent enemies after the first.
      • Paranormal: While at least # enemies or a Boss are affected by Blood Lance, you gain #% Attack Speed and Blood Lance's Essence cost is reduced by #.
      • Supernatural: After casting Blood Lance # times, your next cast of Blood Lance is guaranteed to Overpower and spawns a Blood Orb under the first enemy hit.
  • Bone Spear: Conjure a bone spear from the ground, dealing #% damage and Piercing through enemies.
    • Enhanced: Bone Spear breaks into # shards when it is destroyed, dealing #% damage each.
      • Paranormal: Bone Spear has a #% increased Critical Strike Chance. If Bone Spear's primary projectile Critically Strikes, it fires # additional bone shards upon being destroyed.
      • Supernatural: Bone Spear makes the first enemy hit Vulnerable for # seconds.

Macabre

  • Corpse Explosion: Detonate a Corpse, dealing #% damage to surrounding enemies.
    • Enhanced: Corpse Explosion's radius is increased by #%.
      • Abhorrent: Instead of exploding, Corpse Explosion releases a vile miasma dealing #% Shadow Damage over # seconds.
      • Horrid: Corpse Explosion deals x#% increased damage to enemies that are Slowed, Stunned or Vulnerable.
  • Blood Mist: Disperse into a bloody mist, becoming Immune for # seconds. Your Movement Speed is reduced by #% and you periodically deal #% damage to enemies, healing for #% of the damage dealt.
    • Enhanced: Blood Mist's Movement Speed penalty is reduced to #%.
      • Ghastly: Blood Mist leaves behind a Corpse every # second.
      • Dreadful: Blood Mist Fortifies you for #% Base Life (#) each time it hits an enemy.
  • Bone Prison: Unearth a prison of bone with # Life that surrounds the target area for # seconds.
    • Enhanced: Gain # Essence each time an enemy hits your Bone Prison.
      • Ghastly: Enemies inside of Bone Prison are Vulnerable.
      • Dreadful: Fortify for #% Base Life (#) for each enemy trapped by Bone Prison.

Corruption

  • Iron Maiden: Curse the target area. Enemies afflicted by Iron Maiden take #% damage each time they deal direct damage. Lasts # seconds.
    • Enhanced: Iron Maiden no longer costs Essence. Instead, gain # Essence for each enemy Cursed. Does not work with enemies who are already cursed with Iron Maiden.
      • Horrid: When at least # enemies are afflicted by Iron Maiden, its damage is increased by x#%.
      • Abhorrent: Heal for #% of your maximum Life when an enemy dies while afflicted with Iron Maiden.
  • Decrepify: Curse the target area. Enemies afflicted by Decrepify are Slowed by #% and deal #% less damage for # seconds.
    • Enhanced: Lucky Hit: Enemies hit while afflicted with Decrepify have up to a #% chance to be Stunned for # seconds.
      • Horrid: When you or your Minions hit an enemy afflicted with Decrepify below #% Life, they are instantly killed. Does not work on Bosses.
      • Abhorrent: Lucky Hit: Enemies hit while afflicted with Decrepify have up to a #% chance to reduce your active cooldowns by # seconds.

Summoning

  • Corpse Tendrils: Veins burst out of a Corpse, pulling in enemies, Stunning them for # seconds, and dealing #% damage to them. Does not consume the Corpse.
    • Enhanced: Enemies who are in range of Corpse Tendrils are Slowed by #% before being pulled.
      • Horrid: Enemies Stunned by Corpse Tendrils take x#% more damage from Corpse Explosion.
      • Abhorrent: Enemies slain while Stunned by Corpse Tendrils have a #% chance to drop a Blood Orb.
  • Bone Spirit: Consume all of your Essence to conjure a spirit of bone that seeks enemies. Upon reaching an enemy, the spirit explodes, dealing #% damage to the target and all surrounding enemies. Damage is increased by #% for each point of Essence spent casting Bone Spirit.
    • Enhanced: If Bone Spirit Critically Strikes, its cooldown is reduced by # seconds. This effect can only happen once per cast.
      • Ghastly: Bone Spirit has an additional #% Critical Strike Chance.
      • Dreadful: After Bone Spirit hits an enemy, you generate # Essence over the next # seconds.

Ultimate

  • Army of the Dead: Call forth the deep buried dead. Volatile undead emerge over the next # seconds that explode when around enemies, dealing #% damage.
    • Prime: When Army of the Dead's Skeletons explode, they have a #% chance to leave behind a Corpse.
    • Supreme: Army of the Dead also raises your Skeletal Warriors and Skeletal Mages.
  • Blood Wave: Conjure a tidal wave of blood that deals #% damage and knocks enemies back.
    • Prime: Blood Wave Slows enemies by #% for # seconds.
    • Supreme: Blood Wave leaves behind 3 Blood Orbs as it travels.
  • Bone Storm: A swirling storm of bones appears around you and your Golem, dealing #% to surrounding enemies over # seconds.
    • Prime: Your Damage Reduction is increased by #% while Bone Storm is active.
    • Supreme: While Bone Storm is active, you consume nearby Corpses. Each Corpse consumed adds # seconds to Bonestorm's duration, up to # seconds.

Now let's take a look at each of the Necromancer's passive nodes that you can get in the tree. They are scattered throughout the tree, and provide some very nice benefits.

Diablo 4 Necromancer Passives

Core

  • Unliving Energy: Your maximum Essence is increased by {#}.
  • Imperfectly Balanced: Your Core Skills cost {#}% more Essence, but deal x{#}% increased damage.
  • Reconstitution: Lucky Hit: Your damage has up to a {#}% chance to create a corpse at the target's location. This chance is doubled against bosses.

Macabre

  • Grim Harvest: Consuming a Corpse generates {#} Essence.
  • Fueled by Death: You deal x{#}% increased damage for {#} seconds after consuming a Corpse.
  • Necrotic Carapace: When a Corpse is formed from your Skills or your Minions, Fortify for {#}% Base Life ({#}).
  • Skeletal Warrior Mastery: Increase the damage and Life of your Skeletal Warriors by {#}%.

Corruption

  • Skeletal Mage Mastery: Increase the damage and Life of your Skeletal Mages by {#}%.
  • Amplify Damage: You deal x{#}% increased damage to Cursed enemies.
  • Death's Embrace: Close enemies take x{#}% more damage from you and deal {#}% less damage to you.
  • Death's Reach: You deal x{#}% increased damage to Distant enemies.

Summoning

  • Reaper's Pursuit: Damaging enemies with Darkness Skills increases your Movement Speed by {#}% for {#} seconds.
  • Gloom: When you damage enemies with Darkness Skills, they take x{#}% increased Shadow Damage for {#} seconds, stacking up to {#} times.
  • Terror: Darkness Skills deal x{#}% increased damage against Immobilized, Slowed, or Stunned enemies. This also applies to Shadow Damage dealt by your Minions.
  • Crippling Darkness: Lucky Hit: Darkness Skills have up to a {#}% chance to Stun for {#} seconds.
  • Blood Begets Blood: While below 50% Life, you receive {#}% more healing from all sources.
  • Coalesced Blood: After being Healthy for {#} seconds, your next Blood skill Overpowers.
  • Transfusion: Blood Orbs also heal your Minions for {#}% of the amount.
  • Tides of Blood: Your Blood Skills deal x{#}% increased Overpower damage. This bonus is doubled while you are Healthy.
  • Drain Vitality: Lucky Hit: Hitting enemies with Blood Skills has up to a {#}% chance to Fortify you for {#}% Base Life ({#}).
  • Serration: Your Bone Skills have a {#}% increased Critical Strike Chance for each 10 Essence you have upon cast.
  • Rapid Ossification: Every {#} Essence you spend reduces the cooldowns of your Bone Skills by {#} seconds.
  • Evulsion: Your Bone Skills deal x{#}% increased Critical Strike Damage to Vulnerable enemies.
  • Compound Fracture: After Critically Striking {#} times with Bone Skills, your Bone Skills deal x{#}% increased damage for {#} seconds.
  • Spiked Armor: Gain {#} Thorns.

Ultimate

  • Bonded in Essence: Your Minions gain {#}% of your Resistances.
  • Death's Defense: Your Minions can't lose more than {#}% of their maximum Life from a single damage instance.
  • Hellbent Commander: Your Minions deal x{#}% increased damage while you are Close to them.
  • Inspiring Command: After you have been Healthy for at least {#} seconds, you and your Minions gain {#}% Attack Speed.
  • Stand Alone: Increases Damage Reduction by {#}%, reduced by {#}% for each active Minion.
  • Memento Mori: Sacrificing both Skeletal Warriors and Skeletal Mages increases their Sacrifice bonuses by {#}%.
  • Golem Mastery: Increase the damage and Life of your Golem by {#}%.

Capstone

  • Ossified Essence: Your Bone Skills deal x{#}% increased damage for each point of Essence you have above {#} upon cast.
  • Shadowblight: Shadow Damage infects enemies with Shadowblight for {#} seconds. Every {#}th time an enemy receives Shadow Damage from you or your Minions while they are affected by Shadowblight, they take additional {#}% Shadow Damage.
  • Rathma's Vigor: Increase your maximum Life by {#}%. While Healthy, you deal x{#}% increased damage.
  • Strength in Numbers: While you have at least {#} Minions,

What is the Necromancer Book of the Dead in Diablo 4?

As we mentioned earlier, Necromancers have access to summon undead minions. This is done through a mechanic via the Book of the Dead. There are three types of minions that you'll have the ability to summon: Skeletal Warriors, Skeletal Mages, and Golems.

For each of these minion types, you'll have a few different talent choices to how each of them play, or you can even have the option to forego using them to gain passive buffs for your character instead.

Here are the passives for each of the minion types.

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Diablo 4 Necromancer Book of the Dead

Skeletal Warriors

  • Skeletal Skirmishers: Sword-wielding damage dealers that deal 30% increased damage but have 15% reduced Life
    • Upgrade 1: You can raise an additional Skirmisher.
    • Upgrade 2: Each time you critically strike, your Skirmishers next attack critically strike as well. Can only happen every 3 seconds.
    • Sacrifice: Your critical strike chance is increased by 5%, but you can no longer raise Skeletal Warriors.
  • Skeletal Defenders: Durable shield-bearers with 15% increased Life
    • Upgrade 1: Every 8 seconds, your Defenders negate the next instance of direct damage they would take.
    • Upgrade 2: Increase the amount of thorns that Defenders inherit from you from 30% to 50%.
    • Sacrifice: You gain 15% non-physical resistance, but you can no longer raise Skeletal Warriors.
  • Skeletal Reapers: Deals area damage with a slow and powerful scythe, and has a special wind-up attack, dealing heavy damage every 10 seconds.
    • Upgrade 1: Reaper attacks against enemies who are Immobilized, Slowed, Stunned or Vulnerable reduce the cooldown of their powerful wind-up attack by 2 seconds.
    • Upgrade 2: Reapers have a 10% chance to carve the flesh off enemies, forming a corpse. This cannot happen on the same enemy more than once every 5 seconds.
    • Sacrifice: You deal x10% increased Shadow Damage, but you can no longer raise Skeletal Warriors.

Skeletal Mages

  • Shadow Mages: Deals moderate Shadow Damage.
    • Upgrade 1: Shadow Mage attacks have a 10% chance to Stun for 2.13 seconds. This cannot happen on the same enemy more than once every 5 seconds.
    • Upgrade 2: Shadow Mages fire an additional shadow bolt every 6th attack.
    • Sacrifice: Your maximum essence is increased by 15, but you can no longer raise Skeletal Mages.
  • Cold Mages: Chills and Freezes enemies
    • Upgrade 1: Each time your Cold Mages damage enemies with their primary attack, you gain 2 essence.
    • Upgrade 2: Enemies who are Frozen by or damaged while Frozen by your Cold Mages primary attack are made Vulnerable for 3 seconds.
    • Sacrifice: You deal x15% increased damage to Vulnerable enemies, but you can no longer raise Skeletal Mages.
  • Bone Mages: Uses its own bones as projectiles, dealing heavy damage for a Life cost.
    • Upgrade 1: Reduce the life cost of your Bone Mages attacks from 15 to 10%. After being alive for 5 seconds, Bone Mages deal 40% increased damage.
    • Upgrade 2: Each time a Bone Mage dies from its own attack, they leave behind a corpse and Fortify you for # seconds.
    • Sacrifice: Your Overpower damage is increased by 30%, but you can no longer raise Skeleton Mages.

Golem

  • Bone Golem: Taunts enemies in a wide area.
    • Upgrade 1: Each time your Golem takes up to 20% of its maximum Life as damage, it sheds a corpse.
    • Upgrade 2: Your Golem gains 10% maximum Life and the amount of thorns they inherit from you is increased from 30% to 50%.
    • Sacrifice: You gain 10% increased attack speed, but you lose the ability to summon a Golem.
  • Blood Golem: Drains Life from nearby enemies.
    • Upgrade 1: Your Golem absorbs 15% of the damage you would take.
    • Upgrade 2: While healthy, your Golem gains 25% damage reduction and x25% increased damage.
    • Sacrifice: Your maximum Life is increased by 10%, but you can no longer summon a Golem.
  • Iron Golem: Slams the ground and Stuns enemies.
    • Upgrade 1: Every 5th Golem attack causes a shockwave, dealing 16% damage to the primary enemy and to enemies behind them.
    • Upgrade 2: Your golem slam attack also makes enemies Vulnerable for 3 seconds.
    • Sacrifice: You deal x30% increased critical strike damage, but you lose the ability to summon a Golem.

Now we don't know 100% at what point you'll be able to have access to this, but given that the rest of the classes get their special mechanic at level 15, it would make sense that this is the case.

Diablo 4 Necromancer gearing tips

Diablo 4 has some new and unique systems when it comes to gearing your characters. While there's a lot of flexibility to gear and play how you want, there's a few tips that we have for you to make sure that will help you along the way.

  • Save your Legendary items that you come across. You're able to extract Legendary Powers from items and put them on Rare pieces of gear.
  • Be on the lookout for any +1 Level of skills pieces of gear. If you find the right skills, you'll be able to save points on your tree for additional passives. This also can allow you to also unlock an extra skill to be used in your Enchantment slots. These are prime candidates for applying legendary powers to.
  • Bigger Number isn't always better. While you may be tempted to slap on anything that has a green up arrow, it may not be beneficial to your build. Stats such as Strength won't be very useful for you, so it may be worthwhile to use slightly lower level gear with better stats.

Diablo 4 Necromancer builds for Open Beta

Once we get some hands-on time with the Necromancer during the open beta test in March, we'll update this with some quick and simple Necromancer builds. We'll work out the best builds for the D4 Necromancer while we're at it, but the beta level cap will make it difficult.

Diablo 4 Necromancer FAQ

What stats do Necromaners use?

You'll want to aim for both Strength and Intelligence when kitting our a Necromancer in Diablo 4, but the specifics depend on your overall build.

What resources does the Necromancer use?

You'll be using the slowly-regenerating resourece Essense to power most of your Necromancer skills, but Corpses play a major roll, too. These are generated from fallen foes.

What creatures can Necromancers use?

With the Book of the Dead feature, Necromancers can not only raise the dead, but customize them to fill in any weak points of their own build. Skeletal Warriors, Mages, and Golems can be tweaked to act as skirmishers, defenders, reapers, and more.

And that's what we have for you about the Diablo 4 Necromancer! While you're here, why not check out our other Diablo 4 guides, such as our Diablo 4 classes guide, our Diablo 4 Multiplayer guide, and our Diablo 4 PvP guide.

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