Necromancer Leveling Build Guide (Patch 2.6.8 / Season 20)
Welcome to our Necromancer leveling guide, where we give you an efficient build for easily leveling to Level 70, with plenty of explanations.
This guide is part of our Necromancer Seasonal Progress Guide, which also includes early builds for fresh 70 characters.
|Bone Spikes Sudden Impact Skeletal Mage Singularity 1 Blood Rush Potency 2 Frailty Scent of Blood 3 Command Skeletons Frenzy 4 Devour Devouring Aura|
Note that while the skills and runes recommended in the build are specifically chosen to be available at an early level and remain a solid pick throughout the leveling and early character progression, you will have to temporarily work with other skills as the build gradually unlocks. To familiarize yourself with the class, experimentation is strongly encouraged.
The primary dynamic of the leveling and fresh 70 build revolves around building up power through Corpses and releasing it through minion summons. Weaving Bone Spikes into the constant Corpse consumption from Devour Devouring Aura will top your Essence off at regular intervals and allows you to dump your entire reserve into powerful Skeletal Mage Singularity summons. In the meantime, sic your Command Skeletons on larger, more resilient targets and enfeeble as many targets as you can with the Frailty curse. Remember to reposition as needed with Blood Rush to stay safe from the minion frontline.
Skills, Runes, and Passives
The basis of every build lies in its chosen damage dealing skills. As they invariably require resource or cooldown management mechanics of some sort, and such are scarce for low level and less geared characters, you will focus on fewer damage dealing abilities early on. The typical early game build will feature a dominant damage dealer, a mobility skill, buffs and/or shields, and resource generators (either active or passive). The recommended split is:
- Slot 1 — Damage dealing ability: Playing into the class fantasy of a powerful summoner, the leveling Necromancer build leans on the power of the Skeletal Mage minions for the bulk of its damage. You acquire the base Skeletal Mage as early as level 5, and rapidly acquire the majority of its runes by the mid-leveling point. While you can experiment with them as you see fit, it is recommended that you swap to Singularity as soon as you acquire it at level 29. This rune enables the resource buildup and dump interplay and results in fewer, but mightier summons — a better strategy for the questionable pet AI in the game.
- Slot 2 — Generator: Essence is not the easiest resource to come by, as it does not replenish on its own and has no passive sources of regeneration from skills or items. Thus, it is recommended that you keep an active genertor on your bar. While any of the three Necro generators will do, Bone Spikes has a long reach, indomitable 24 Essence per cast, and some great utility runes to boot. You get Bone Spikes at level 1 and acquire the stun rune Sudden Impact at level 6, ensuring a solid start. You can swap this rune later into leveling for Path of Bones' superior damage (level 43), or experiment with Siphon Blood Purity of Essence at level 51.
- Slot 3 — Mobility skill: The Necromancer's solitary movement skill is Blood Rush — a long range, blink ability most closely resembling the Wizard's Teleport. It will take some time unlocking, as the base skill comes all the way down at level 30; up until that point, you can bolster your summon army with Command Golem Flesh Golem. Once Blood Rush becomes available, you can look forward to unlocking its first rune, Potency, at level 34. Using it strategically can provide you with a toughness spike that will invalidate most hard hitting attacks coming your way. Significantly later on (level 60), look into the Metabolism rune to further speed up your leveling.
- Slot 4 — Supplementary Damage: Cementing your mastery over the dead, Command Skeletons will provide some very needed single target DPS and a grunt frontline to protect you. Acquired at level 9, the skeletons require no upkeep, except when called for — you can sic them on a target of your choosing, instilling the skeletons with Frenzy at level 19 for even better damage output.
- Slots 5 and 6 — Utility: Corpses are one of the core resource mechanics of the Necromancer class, and you can either focus on using them for damage or utility. This Necromancer leveling variant chooses the latter, slotting Devour when it unlocks at level 16. This turns Corpses into a massive source of Essence sustain, one you can practically automate at level 38 with Devouring Aura. If you do not mind a proactive approach at the cost of convenience, the rune Cannibalize (level 53) comes with the highest recommendation. Finally, the Necromancer's signature curses are a no-brainer inclusion; slot the offensive Frailty at level 22, and augment its utility with pets with Scent of Blood at level 26.
- Passives: Your earliest synergistic passive comes at level 10 in the face of Fueled by Death — even though you will start Devouring slightly later, this passive offers invaluable movement speed to speed up the leveling process. Depending on your confidence, you can even keep it over the safety of the Final Service cheat death, acquired at level 41. You then get a string of minion passives in the early 20s, and we recommend both Commander of the Risen Dead (level 20) and especially Extended Servitude (level 24) to get the most out of your summons. At level 30, swap out Commander of the Risen Dead for Overwhelming Essence to further empower your Singularity mages. You will all but finalize the leveling build's passive selection by level 38, when you get Spreading Malediction to add to the benefits of your Frailty curse.
Gear and Stats Priorities
As the leveling process in Diablo 3 is relatively quick, specific legendary recommendations are impossible. During leveling finding upgrades is frequent, so your gear will be swapped in and out within the span of a few minutes. Following the in-game comparison system and the stat priorities outlined in the tables below will result in a solid character throughout the leveling journey.
Note that skill damage and elemental damage recommendations only apply if the majority of your damage is done through that skill or element. For alt characters however, sockets take priority above all other attributes, since you can slot high level gems and benefit massively from their stat increase. For the purposes of an alt character, leveling a Gem of Ease to level 25 and socketing it in a level 70 weapon will be the single biggest boost you can provide to the leveling process.
- 13 Mar. 2020: Reviewed for Season 20.
- 22 Nov. 2019: Page added.
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