The Shadowmancer is designed entirely around Shadowblight by using Sever, Blight and Blighted Corpse Explosion to consistently deal Shadow damage to enemies while ramping up big layers of defense and crowd control. This results in an effective, high-damage dealing and safe Necromancer build, capable of dealing with the Capstone dungeon with ease.
Since Shadowblight has the ability to ramp up in longer single-target boss fights, Necromancer can reach crazy damage output when fighting world bosses or harder boss encounters in general. The endgame Legendary Aspects will further scale this mechanic as well!
Thanks to making enemies Vulnerable and providing effective crowd control in the form of both slowed and stunned enemies, this build is effective in solo play as well as in party with your friends.
You are able to level with this build, however, we would strongly recommend checking out the Necromancer Leveling guide for the smoothest experience going through the campaign before switching to this build.
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With no mandatory items or requirements to play this build, you can lean back and enjoy yourself.
Please note that the video guide is meant to illustrate gameplay and general build mechanics rather than act as a precise build guide. This written guide is always the most up-to-date and accurate version, since updating the video with new information is not possible.
Strengths and Weaknesses
- Safe & Comfortable to play
- Crowd controls your enemies easily
- Consistent damage output
- Somewhat slow
- Wants to transition to the Exploding Shadow Mist build for higher end-game
- No big damage numbers
To see how this build compares to the other builds on our site, you can check out our build tier lists.
Season of the Malignant
Season 1 Patch Updates
The following list details the changes in the Season 1 Patch Update that are specific to this build. Check the Changelog for all the other guide updates.
- Aspect of Disobedience maximum stacks reduced from 100 to 60, reducing maximum Bonus Armor % from 25%-50% to 15%-30%.
- Amplify Damage increased from 3/6/9% to 4/8/12%.
- Paranormal Sever casts required for Vulnerable reduced from 4 to 3.
- Raise Skeleton, Corpse Explosion, and Corpse Tendrils range for auto-targeting Corpses on mouse and keyboard increased by 50%.
- Aspect of Decay: Damage increased from 20-40% to 25-45%.
- Wither Legendary Board
- Willpower requirement for bonuses reduced from 50 to 40.
- Bonus damage per 40 Willpower increased from 2.5% to 4%.
We lost some armor from our Aspect of Disobedience then we’re given a lot of quality of life with corpse targeting as well as increased damage output for the build. These changes & the available Malignant Hearts are making this build insanely effective!
The 1.1.1 patch brought us nothing but higher damage output, which we will gladly accept!
The Season 1 theme introduces Malignant Hearts that provide build-altering bonuses. The hearts are divided into 4 categories, each with a color that needs to be socketed in the corresponding colored Malignant Socket on equipped jewelry. Wrathful Hearts are a special case due to their rarity, and can be placed in any Socket.
Listed below are the Malignant Hearts that are useful for this build, ranked by importance. Stats displayed reflect what a level 20 character would receive as a drop.
- The Dark Dance (Vicious, Offensive-World Tier III): Every 5 seconds while above 60% Life, Core Skills cost 68-51 Life instead of your Primary Resource. Skills that consume Life deal 10-20% increased damage.
- The Great Feast (Wrathful, Super-World Tier IV): Each Minion drains 1.0-2.0 Essence per second but deals 50-75% increased damage. With no Minions, this bonus applies to you and drains 5 Essence per second. Do note that this should only ever be used in combination with the Determination heart.
- Determination (Devious, Utility): Resource draining effects are 40-50% less effective. In addition, gain 3.0-8.0% increased Resource Generation.
- The Sacrilegious (Vicious, Offensive): Walking near a Corpse automatically activates an equipped Corpse Skill every second, dealing 40-30% reduced damage.
Skill Tree Points and Skill Bar
The following tables show the full allocation of Skill Points for the Shadow Necromancer build. The first table has the most important 48 points to start the build. The second table has the remaining 10 points that are allocated once you obtain all Skill Points from Renown.
|Reap Level 1, Enhanced Reap, Acolyte’s Reap||Basic Skill|
|Sever Level 5, Enhanced Sever, Paranormal Sever, Hewed Flesh Level 3, Blight Level 5, Enhanced Blight, Supernatural Blight||Core Skill|
|Corpse Explosion, Enhanced Corpse Explosion, Blighted Corpse Explosion, Grim Harvest Level 3, Fueled by Death Level 3, Blood Mist||Corpse & Macabre Skill|
|Decrepify Level 1, Enhanced Decrepify, Amplify Damage Level 3||Curse Skill|
|Reaper’s Pursuit, Crippling Darkness Level 3, Terror Level 3, Gloom Level 2||Summoning Skill|
|Stand Alone Level 3||Ultimate Skill|
|Remaining Renown Points||Cluster|
|Decrepify Level 2, Death’s Embrace Level 3||Curse Skill|
|Memento Mori Level 3||Ultimate Skill|
|Gloom Level 3||Summoning Skill|
Book of the Dead
The Shadowmancer is mainly focused on damage-over-time effects, necessitating that enemies are inside our sources of damage. This is the main reason, out of many, as to why we will be sacrificing all of our minions. Wasting time and corpses to raise our minions just is not worth it.
- Melee Skeletons; sacrificing the Reaper Skeletons will provide us with increased Shadow damage dealt and is the obvious choice here.
- Mage Skeletons; sacrificing Cold Skeletons will make us deal more damage against Vulnerable enemies. Seeing as we are making enemies Vulnerable with our Core skill, Sever, this is the best choice for the build.
- Golem; the Golem offers two choices. We prefer to sacrifice the Blood Golem as it will provide increased health. However, the Bone Golem is the better choice for higher damage output by providing increased Attack Speed!
The Paragon progression system unlocks at Level 50 and provides a vast amount of character power. On the Paragon Board, bonuses range from minor stats on Magic Nodes to more powerful Rare Glyphs and Legendary Nodes.
As you path towards Glyph Sockets and Legendary Nodes, you should prioritize Damage, Intelligence, Resistance, and Life for Normal and Magic Nodes. Glyph radius increases as you level them up. Therefore, if you cannot fulfill Additional Bonus requirements early on, skip allocating extra nodes for now. It’s also important to point out that you might not have the Glyph you want when you reach your first socket; if that’s the case, simply slot in any Glyph providing any beneficial stats for you until you get the correct one.
Listed below are images of the pathing you should take along with the locations of the Glyphs and order you should choose your Paragon Boards past the initial starter board.
The Starting board is very straightforward: we rush on the right-hand side skipping 1 of the Magic nodes, but getting both Rare nodes around the socket slot, in which we use the Amplify Glyph. If the radius of the glyph allows for the Additional Bonus to be met, you should get the extra Intelligence nodes. After this, we will head out north to our second board.
Wither (2nd Board)
The second board is the Wither board, and this is the most important one due to the power of the Wither Legendary node, which we will be rushing. Since this board is so important we will be spending a lot of resources here, picking up all of the displayed Rare and Magic nodes, as seen in the image above. For the Glyph slot, you want to use Darkness. Only after having all of those nodes will we path out to the right-hand side to work on our third board.
Scent of Death (3rd Board)
The third board is Scent of Death, which will be rotated to make sure the socket slot is closest to our starting point. The socket will be used for the Control Glyph and, if you have enough Intelligence within the Glyph radius (based on its level), you will pick that up as well. Once that’s done, we’ll pick up the Legendary node and head back to our second board, path upward, and connect our fourth board.
Flesh-Eater (4th Board)
Our fourth board, Flesh-Eater, is literally only here to get another socket in while picking up two more Rare nodes with some Magic nodes. The socket is used for the Scourge Glyph. Similarly to previous boards, we’ll take the extra attributes if the Glyph level/radius allows for it. Once done, we will yet again circle back to our second board and connect out to the left-hand side for our fifth board.
Bone Graft (5th Board)
Similarly to the previous board, we will use the Bone Graft board to rush the Rare node on the bottom and pick up the socket and use it for the Territorial Glyph, as well as picking up extra attributes, enabling the Additional Bonus if possible.
Paragon board images courtesy of d4builds.gg.
Mechanics and Playstyle
The core mechanics of the build is all about slowing enemies, making sure they are Cursed, and generating corpses consistently. This provides efficient, high-ramping damage output and safety, as well as generating Essence to allow for an onslaught of Sever spam.
Initially, you’ll want to Curse enemies with Decrepify followed up with Blight to slow them. Next up is Reap, as this will guarantee a corpse underneath the enemies. Once you’ve done your initial setup with this opening combo, pop Corpse Explosion to further ramp up damage dealt. From here, just finish the mobs off with Sever spam. When you run out of Essence, there should be plenty of corpses thanks to Hewed Flesh, allowing you to keep Corpse Exploding to generate Essence. Worst case scenario, you’ll have to weave in another Reap hit.
It’s important to note that the highest upfront damage ability you have is Sever and that the highest DPS ability you have for longer fights is Shadowblight. With this in mind, you’ll want to make sure in longer fights that there’s always consistent damage ticking from multiple sources such as Blight and Corpse Explosion before you spam Sever.
For back-up defenses we have access to Blood Mist to avoid hard-hitting abilities from bosses!
Gear Choice and Stat Priority
Prioritize a higher total damage output when it comes to your weapon, as the higher it is, the better. It should be kept in mind that if you find a higher Item Power 1-Handed weapon it could very well be better than a 2-Handed weapon if coupled with an Off-Hand or even a Shield, as Shields scale your main-hand weapon by 80%!
Listed below are the affixes to prioritize on gear for Sever Shadow Necromancers. Affixes for each gear slot are listed in order of importance. Bolded stats are the most important and sometimes vital for the build to function properly.
|Gear Slot||Important Affixes|
|2H Sword||+ Critical Strike Damage|
+ Vulnerable Damage
+ Damage to affected by shadow damage over time enemies
+ Core Skill Damage
|Helm||+ Fire, Cold and Lightning Resistance|
+ Shadow Resistance
|Chest||+ Damage Reduction, DR from Close, Distant or Burning Enemies|
+ Fire, Cold and Lightning Resistance
|Gloves||+ Ranks of Sever|
+ Critical Strike Chance
+ Critical Strike Damage
+ Lucky Hit Chance
+ Lucky Hit: Up to 5% Chance to restore primary resource
|Pants||+ Damage Reduction, DR from Close, Distant or Burning Enemies|
+ Ranks of Blood Mist
|Boots||+ Movement Speed|
+ Movement Speed for X seconds after killing an elite
+ Essence cost reduction
|Amulet||+ Movement Speed|
+ Movement Speed for X seconds after killing an elite
+ Ranks to any of the Darkness passives
+ Essence cost reduction
|Rings||+ Critical Strike Chance|
+ Critical Strike Damage
+ Vulnerable Damage
+ Lucky Hit
Aspects, Powers and Uniques
Listed below are all the recommended Codex Powers and Aspects found on Legendary Items that are important for the Shadow Necromancer build. Aspects from the Codex of Power can be used if you cannot find the proper Legendary drops, but they have weaker effects.
Extract Aspects from the lower level Legendary Items and imprint them onto better Rare Items with Preferred stats. The main powers you’ll want to make sure you always have access to are Aspect of Disobedience and Aspect of Empowering Reaper.
|Gear Slot||Aspect Name||Aspect Power|
|Helm, Chest, Pants, Shield or Amulet (50% scaling)||Aspect of Might||Basic Skills grant 20% Damage Reduction for 2-6 seconds.|
|Helm, Chest, Pants or Shield||Aspect of Disobedience||You gain 0.25-0.5% increased armor for 4 seconds when you deal any form of damage, stacking up to 25-50%|
|Helm, Chest, Gloves, Boots or Shield||Aspect of the Void||Blight‘s defiled area, when spawned, Pulls in enemies around the affected area.|
|Helmet, Chest, Pants, Shield or Amulet (50% scaling)||Protecting Aspect||When hit while not Healthy, a magical bubble is summoned around you for 3-5 seconds. While standing in the bubble players are Immune. Can only occur once every 90 seconds.|
|Helm, Chest, Gloves, Boots, Shield or Amulet (50% scaling)||Eluding Aspect||Becoming Injured while Crowd Controlled grants Unstoppable for 4 seconds. This effect has a 40-20 second Cooldown.|
|1H Weapon or 2H Weapon (100% scaling)||Aspect of Decay||Each time the Shadowblight Key Passive deals damage to enemies, it increases the next Shadowblight’s damage within 10 seconds by 20-40%, stacking up to 5 times.|
|Gloves, Off-hand, 1H Weapon, 2H Weapon (100% scaling), Ring or Amulet (50% scaling)||Aspect of Empowering Reaper||Critical Strikes from Sever have a 10-20% chance to spawn a pool of Blight under the target that deals 20-60% bonus damage. This effect can only happen once every 3 seconds.|
|Gloves, Off-hand, 1H Weapon, 2H Weapon (100% scaling), Ring or Amulet (50% scaling)||Sacrificial Aspect||Your sacrifice bonuses are increased by 15-25%.|
|Gloves, Off-hand or Ring||Blighted Aspect||You deal 50-120% increased damage for 6 seconds after the Shadowblight Key Passive damages enemies 10 times.|
There are two very nice Unique items this build can utilize. If you don’t have access to them, you can simply replace them with any Legendary power you see fit.
First and best one is the Harlequin Crest, which, besides the damage reduction also provides an insane +4 to ranks of all your skills.
The second Unique item is Greaves of the Empty Tomb, which makes our Lucky Hits apply a damage over time effect and reduced damage taken from enemies that are inside Shadow damage over time effects. Besides this, it also creates desecrated ground beneath your Sever, damaging enemies for Shadow damage over 2 seconds.
Listed below are the best Gems to socket into gear for each slot type.
- Weapon: Royal Amethyst for +#% Increased damage over time.
- Armor: Royal Ruby for +#% Maximum Life.
- Jewelry: Royal Skull to help increase our Armor for more damage mitigation.
Elixirs and Health Potions
To gain an edge in your adventures, head to the Alchemist in any major town, and craft Elixirs that enhance your stats and experience gain for 30 minutes. Remember to gather the necessary crafting materials by foraging plants. Select an Elixir that provides the resistance you need most, or try the Assault Elixir to boost your Attack Speed.
Return to the Alchemist again when you reach Level 20 and 30 to upgrade your potion. The extra healing is essential to survival.
For the end-game it’s important to make sure you have the highest level health potion as well as an active elixir as it provides increased experience gained and can either compensate low resistances or increase your damage output in the form of attack speed.
- August 7th, 2023: Guide updated for Patch 1.1.1.
- July 19th, 2023: Guide updated for Season 1 including Malignant Hearts.