Choose the Necromancer class if you relish in the practice of dark arts — crushing bone with your grim will and sharpening it against your enemies, spilling blood in calculated dosage to empower your spells, and all the while raising massive hordes of the dead from their very graves. With debilitating curses and ample ways to control the battlefield, you are the embodiment of the commander in Diablo 3.
To go in-depth with the possible playstyles of the Necromancer class, refer to our specific build guides below. If you are looking for some quick tips and tricks on learning the Necromancer, please keep on reading.
The Big Spenders
In general, Diablo 3 builds revolve around a certain highly damaging skill or alternate form to slaughter hordes of monsters with. In the case of the Necromancer, this is the entire Secondary skill category ( Skeletal Mage, Bone Spear and Death Nova), and half of the Corpses category ( Corpse Lance and Corpse Explosion). Get a feel for these skills — do you like the way they play out? Do you sense the pattern in their resource management? Can you predict the positioning required to deliver the most damage possible from your selected skill?
Pick one of the listed skills above that you like the most, then take a peek at our endgame build for said skill; try to play out in your head how the full rotation works. Early on, you might have to take an endgame build and adapt it a little — lacking the necessary legendary and set bonuses, you might suffer from lacking Essence and long cooldowns. Taking out a utility skill and adding a generator like Bone Spikes might be a better route.
Land of the Dead
Unusual in his lack of a transformational buff skill, the Necromancer class nevertheless has a massive, crucial cooldown that most builds adhere to: Land of the Dead. With an imposing 2-minute downtime and a mere 10-second uptime, this ability provides a game-altering effect for Necromancers: allowing Corpse-related skills to be used at will under the time limit. This allows for devastating spam of skills like Corpse Lance, Corpse Explosion and Devour (the latter of which fuels gluttonous spells like Skeletal Mage Singularity).
Necromancers throw everything at their disposal to counter Land of the Dead's humongous cooldown; from passives like Blood is Power, through active skills like Decrepify Borrowed Time, to CDR items like Leoric's Crown and In-geom.
There is a duality in Corpse-related skills, but they share a common bond: the usage of Corpses, a Necromancer-specific resource generated largely through combat. Devour is the utility-oriented skill in the group, and is the more universal inclusion; when you use this skill nearby Corpses are consumed for Essence (and potentially health, with runes like Cannibalize and Satiated). Damage-oriented skills in the category, like Corpse Lance and Corpse Explosion, convert this limited resource into highly damaging effects.
Note the interaction of Corpse skills with Land of the Dead, which makes their use essentially limitless while it is up. This interdependence enables entire builds — limitless Essence from Devour spam allows Skeletal Mage Singularity builds to exist, and the synergy for Corpse Lance and Corpse Explosion is obvious. Learning how to make the most out of your Corpse skill-based burst periods is a vital part of the Necromancer playstyle.
All three Necromancer curses — Decrepify, Leech and Frailty — have their situational use in the Necromancer arsenal. Decrepify is a protective and utility-driven Curse, with a highlight rune in the form of Borrowed Time, which shaves extra seconds off your vital Land of the Dead cooldown. Leech is highly situational, but sees occasional use in Thorns Necromancer builds, as they hurt for sources of healing. Frailty is the all-out offense curse, killing enemies outright once they reach 15% health; Scent of Blood is particularly favored by summoner builds, while Aura of Frailty is a great addition to speedfarming.
All three Curses are indisputably used to reduce overall damage taken via their interaction with Dayntee's Binding, a cornerstone legendary for the class, as well as a general damage increase via the Spreading Malediction passive.
Learn the Arsenal of Items
Builds and skill choices are obviously important, but at the end of the day Diablo is a game about farming and equipping the right items. Learning which items will benefit your class the most, and then target farming them through gambling, upgrading rares into legendaries at the Cube and even reforging them into better rolls is crucial.
All 6-piece class sets (Rathma, Inarius, Trag'Oul, Pestilence, Masquerade), as well as the 2-piece weapon set Jesseth Arms, bring a valuable and powerful playstyle to the class. Necromancers also have class-specific scythes and phylacteries, which are suitably valuable for the class — Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang, Scythe of the Cycle, Nayr's Black Death, Reilena's Shadowhook, Bone Ringer, among others. As previously mentioned, Dayntee's Binding is a staple protective legendary for the class, making it a priority target during early farming and gambling to solidify your survival.
A Final Tip
- 29 Oct. 2019: Page added.
- A Different Kind of Letter from Activision Blizzard Executive Fran Townsend
- Which Class to Play in Season 24?
- All Diablo 3 Season 24 Guides (Patch 2.7.1)
- Behind Ethereal Items in Season 24
- Patch 2.7.1 Now Live on All Platforms
- Diablo II: Technical Alpha Learnings
- Has the Final Diablo 4 Class Already Been Revealed?
- Diablo 3 Season 24 Preview and Start Date