Necromancer Skeletal Mage Build Guide for Dungeons and Group Farming
This build for the Necromancer class in Diablo Immortal may rely a bit more on others to gather up enemies for you to destroy, but still allows you to stay relatively safe at range and take advantage of your many summons like Skeletal Mage while you build up to moments of overwhelming damage.
This build is designed to tackle the vast majority of PvE content done by a Necromancer in a group — contributing with considerable single-target damage, as well as competent AoE to supplement it. The spec is very versatile and flexible according to your group's needs, and you can easily scale up your damage output or your support capabilities as necessary.
If you are interested in approaching a different type of content, please see our other Necromancer builds below.
The core skill to grasp while playing the Necromancer is playing around the strengths of your mighty Soulfire Primary Attack, which should be interwoven in your movement as you step ever forward to the next objective and the next fight. This is done to load up your Hungering Soulfire ultimate, which allows for brief periods of omnipotence on the battlefield as you decimate everything with homing missiles. Monster pulls should be formed, and you can either contribute to them with Soulfire potshots as you draw the aggro of individual monsters into bigger clumps, or you can rely entirely on the group's dedicated pullers for the task. Once a pull has been formed, target your Command Golem summon right in their midst; the Molten Golem DoT will start ticking. (Note that forcing the Golem to leap while it's active is only a DPS gain when you fight multiple enemies, and not single targets.) Spread Skeletal Mages in key positions around the battlefield — not directly in the monsters' line of fire, but also not too far from the brawl. Then, sic your Command Skeletons on top of the priority target. Finish the rotation off by encircling your minions with a Dark Curse to enhance their damage (via Guided by Maggots); try to time its use so you can get the most Skeletal Mages under its active effect, possibly delaying it for a second or two if necessary. Remember to spam Soulfire all the while. Rinse and repeat the process from one pull to another.
Skills and Alterations
Primary Skill: Soulfire is an AoE-oriented Primary Attack that detonates upon impact, damaging enemies in proximity to its main target. Its homing nature and splashing effect make it the preferable choice for PvE environments, especially for content where farming speed trumps other considerations. This Primary Attack also contains the supremely powerful Hungering Soulfire Ultimate, which is quite competent for both AoE devastation as well as burning down singular targets.
Single Target Damage Dealer: Command Skeletons have the undeniable advantage of a targeted summoner ability, allowing you a great deal of control over the behavior and enemy prioritization of your minions. There are several notable supporting legendaries for the skill — Coals For Eyes, Mirrorictus, and especially Crown of the Gilded Leash — but it's worth mentioning that the base, un-enhanced skeletons are excellent on their own, and are a source of massive single-target damage to any summoner setup.
AoE Damage Dealer: Command Golem is one of the Necromancer's most versatile tools, with the ability to be adapted into tanking, crowd control, pure damage dealing, and anything in between with the plethora of supporting legendaries. Don't underestimate the baked-in crowd control aspect of the skill, which can be used at range to temporarily disrupt any group of enemies. The follow-up Taunt is just icing on the utility cake, and can make the difference between life and death in progression content. In this particular build, you will be using the Golem for pure DPS through Desolatoria.
Supplementary Damage Dealer: Skeletal Mages are hard-hitting summons whose stationary nature is both a blessing and a curse. With a respectable cast of supporting legendaries and a solid, item-independent baseline effect, they are a strong addition to any summoner-heavy skill lineup. They have an especially beneficial impact on farming builds with the ability to hold a position, and finish off stragglers as you leave for the next fight — keeping Massacre bonuses going. Careful placement of Skeletal Mage summons is imperative to make the most out of this ability. At best, they will be stationary sources of damage spread across strategic points of the battlefield, and you will use them to chain fights together and keep kill streaks going. At worst, they will get swarmed and overwhelmed before they can make a difference.
- Alternative: Another amazing option for a the slot is Bone Armor, which provides an excellent survivability boost as a baseline, and its group-wide effect make you a welcome addition to any party — especially during progression-oriented content like Challenge Rifts or Raids, as well as nuke-prone PvP matches. Bone Armor can be further tailored to your needs, most notably with crowd control immunity enhancement from Gravedirt's Weight, the charge-based immunity of Parting Gift, or the DPS inversion of Flickering Warmth (which is recommended for this particular build).
Buff: Dark Curse has a somewhat underwhelming power at first glance, although it can be quite annoying in PvP situations even as-is. When loaded up with legendary powers however, the solitary curse of Immortal's Necromancers becomes a fearsome tool to behold — ranging from the DoT of Mournful Destroyer, to the Corpse Explosion replica of Soulchime, to the frenzied effect of Guided by Maggots — coveted by all summoners.
Equipment is split into Primary (right side of character screen) and Secondary (left side).
Primary equipment includes the Main-hand, Off-hand, Head, Shoulders, Chest, and Legs slots of your character sheet. These slots can — and should — be filled by Legendary items, since their legendary powers and ability to be socketed with Legendary gems vastly overpowers lower tier gear. Of course, these slots will be temporarily filled with Common (Grey), then Magic (Blue), and then Rare (Yellow) gear, before graduating into Legendaries (Golden).
The suggested Legendaries for Skeletal Mage Group Necromancers are:
- Main-hand: Desolatoria — This legendary main-hand dagger exchanges the base crowd control properties of Command Golem — the Stun and Taunt — for a powerful Burning DoT, turning it into a Molten Golem of considerable strength.
- Off-hand: Baleful Trinity — This legendary off-hand shield can be easily acquired by the Battle Pass. It further improves the (already considerably powerful) Soulfire Primary Attack with an additional projectile, strengthening your damage output in the downtime periods of your cooldowns.
- Head: Visitant's Sign — This legendary helm increases the duration of Command Golem by 20%, cutting the base downtime roughly in half. It can be further Awakened to reduce the skill's cooldown by 10%, further improving the availability of this powerful summon. An alternative for this slot is Crown of the Gilded Leash, which provides a singular, more durable Skeletal Captain out of your Command Skeletons.
- Shoulders: Linger-Mantle — These legendary shoulders increase the duration of Dark Curse by 30%, cutting its base downtime by roughly a third. It can be further Awakened to reduce the skill's cooldown by 10%, further improving the availability of this versatile and powerful Necromancer tool.
- Chest: Any Good Roll A summon-centric build has no specific legendary chest pieces to strive for, so simply use your best rolled item in this slot. If you opted for a Bone Armor variation of the build, use Flickering Warmth in this slot; this legendary chest alters the base defensive properties of Bone Armor into a source of damage that orbits around you, which synergizes well with the short-to-mid range of Necromancers, as well as the overall "push forward" playstyle of general farming.
- Legs: Guided by Maggots — These legendary pants offer a build-defining power to summoners by altering the base effect of Dark Curse. The skill loses its crowd control aspects, but now grants a tremendous Attack- and Movement Speed buff for minions caught within its range.
Secondary equipment includes the Amulet, Rings, Hands, Waist, and Feet slots of your character sheet. These slots can — and should — be filled with Set items, since the bonuses they form once completed vastly overpowers lower tier gear. Of course, these slots will be temporarily filled with Common (Grey), then Magic (Blue), and then Rare (Yellow) gear, before graduating into Sets (Green). Secondary equipment can only be socketed with Normal gems.
The recommended set for Skeletal Mage Group Necromancers is Shepherd's Call to Wolves, which greatly increases the Damage and Attack Speed of your summons, as well as scaling Crit Chance according to the number of currently active minions. The set consists of:
- Shepherd and Begetter (Waist) — Farmed at Kikuras Rapids in difficulty Hell I and above.
- Shepherd and Leader (Feet) — Farmed at TempleofNamari in difficulty Hell I and above.
- Shepherd and Beastmaster (Hands) — Farmed at DestructionsEnd in difficulty Hell II and above.
- Shepherd and Architect (Neck) — Farmed at Tomb of Fahir in difficulty Hell II and above.
- Shepherd and Mother (Ring 1) — Farmed at Mad King's Breach in difficulty Hell IV and above.
- Shepherd and Father (Ring 2) — Farmed at Forgotten Tower in difficulty Hell IV and above.
The set bonuses of Shepherd's Call to Wolves are as follows:
- 2-piece Set Bonus: Your summons deal 15% more damage.
- 4-piece Set Bonus: Critical Hit Chance increased by 3% for each of your summons, up to a maximum of 18%.
- 6-piece Set Bonus: Your summons enter a frenzied state for 10 seconds each time one of them critically hits. The frenzied state increases their damage and Attack Speed by 100%. Cannot occur more often than once every 40 seconds.
Improving your attributes in Diablo Immortal generally revolves around increasing the total amount of Combat Rating, or CR. Every primary attribute point (Strength, Fortitude, Vitality, Willpower, and Intelligence) grants you 1 point of CR.
The priority attribute for Necromancers is Intelligence, which gives +0.3 Damage per point; given otherwise identical options, use the one with higher Intelligence to increase your DPS. Second in the priority order is Fortitude, which adds to your Armor Penetration — indirectly increasing damage dealt by also improving your crit chance. This attribute suffers from diminishing returns due to crit caps, but is still quite valuable. Third in the priority order is Vitality, which simply increases your Life total; the longer you can stave off death, the better.
Stat priority order and stat benefits for Necromancers are as follows:
- 1. Intelligence — Grants +0.3 Damage to Necromancers, and +1 to your total CR.
- 2. Fortitude — Grants +0.1 Armor Penetration, which affects your crit chance. It also grants +0.1 Armor; Armor increases your Block chance, and blocking attacks mitigates 20% of the damage dealt. More mitigation is never amiss, and even more so when dealing with riskier content like the Helliquary. It also adds +1 to your total CR.
- 3. Vitality — Grants +3 Life; the more you can add to your total health pool, the better. With a reasonable investment in Vitality, an alrady durable class like the Necromancer can become unstoppable. This attribute also adds +1 to your total CR.
- 4. Willpower — Grants +0.1 Potency and 0.1 Resistance. Potency increases the duration of harmful effects that you inflict on your foes. Resistance lowers the duration of harmful effects inflicted by your enemies on you. This attribute also adds +1 to your total CR.
- 5. Strength — Grants +1 CR. This attribute does nothing else for Necromancers, and should be avoided as much as possible.
Secondary (Special) Attributes
You should not put an emphasis on Special Attributes when considering between gear pieces. This is due to the overpowering importance of Primary Attributes and your CR total. That being said, the better Special Attributes are the two Crit Stats (Critical Hit Chance and Critical Hit Damage), Cooldown Reduction, Beneficiary Effect Duration, and Movement Speed. You can also consider Increased Damage to Players for PvP gear.
Pieces of Primary Gear that you upgrade at the Blacksmith attain up to three additional Bonus Attributes for Reforging at Ranks 6, 11, and 16. These Bonus Attributes belong to "families" (outlined and ranked below); a Family Bonus can be unlocked if all three Bonus Attributes are from the same family. Multiple Primary Gear pieces can have the same Family Bonus to improve your proc chance. The process of Reforging is done with the Reforge Stone consumable. Note that only Primary Gear pieces can be reforged; Secondary Gear pieces cannot. For Necromancers, priority Bonus Attributes are:
- 1. Ravager Stone offers summoner-oriented innate attributes that are of great use to a minion-oriented class like the Necromancer. Its Family Bonus requires enemies to be slain to proc, significantly diminishing its usefulness when doing progression content like Challenge Rift bosses and Helliquary.
- 2. Wildfire Stone is mostly valuable due to its innate attributes, as it brings valuable Critical Hit Chance to the table. The Hydra summon from the Family Bonus is mostly an extra minion to soak up damage.
- 3. Vengeance Stone brings a single target-oriented Family Bonus that becomes increasingly important as you push the difficulty of the content you are doing, i.e. Challenge Rifts. Its ability to enhance all damage dealt with a Primary Attack proc is an excellent boon to any build.
- 4. Barrier Stone has a Family Bonus that brings some much needed mitigation to Necromancers, as they fight at a much closer range than other ranged classes. The absorption shield is paired with some excellent innate attributes like Damage Taken Decreased and Block Chance, which further reduce incoming hurt.
- 5. Jolt Stone offers situationally valuable bonuses; it has Beneficial Effect Duration Increased as an innate attribute, which is decent for groups, and a Cheat Death proc which is never amiss when soloing content. Its Family Bonus brings soft CC to attackers, which is decent mostly for PvP.
- 6. Tremor Stone offers some marginally useful bonuses when doing PvP, but since its (otherwise excellent) Family Bonus only functions in melee range, it is all but lost on Necromancers.
Normal and Legendary Gems
As per tradition for Diablo games, socketed gear allows you to insert beneficial gems according to your needs. In Diablo Immortal, gems are divided between Normal Gems (socketable in Secondary Gear) and Legendary Gems (socketable in Primary Gear).
Normal Gems can only be socketed in Secondary Gear. Normal gems are divided into Red, Blue and Yellow sockets, and their priority is listed below. Priority-wise, gems are decent power increases to your character, but should never come at the cost of Primary Attributes and your CR score. Go for Red and Blue gems over Yellow if possible, as they provide a stronger bonus overall.
- Red Sockets: Prioritize Tourmaline as it provides a straight Damage increase. Ruby is also decent for the Life increase, but only if you lack Tourmalines.
- Blue Sockets: Prioritize Sapphire, which increases your Armor Penetration, and your Critical Hit Chance stat as a result. Note that Crit Chance provided from Sapphires has diminishing returns, capping out at 33%; when benefits from ArPen get too insignificant, swap to Aquamarine. Aquamarine provides Armor, which is a decent source of damage mitigation.
- Yellow Sockets: Prioritize Citrine for the Potency gains, increasing the duration of harmful effects you inflict on enemies; however small its benefits, they trump the Resistance effects provided from Topaz.
Legendary Gems can only be socketed in Primary Gear. They provide unique and very powerful bonuses on top of a robust stack of stat increases. Legendary Gems are found in Elder Rifts enhanced by the Crest consumables, as well as through crafting at the Jeweler in Westmarch.
Early on in Necromancer character progression, you should use common, 1- and 2-Star Legendary Gems like:
- Fervent Fang — Can be obtained from the Battle Pass, saving you some Crests. Provides a stacking damage increase against a target with successive attacks; great for single target damage.
- Ca'arsen's Invigoration — Half of the Primary Attack-Ultimate combo, this gem increases the speed and damage of Primary Attacks, getting you back quickly to spamming the supremely powerful Hungering Soulfire.
- Zod Stone — The other half of the Primary Attack-Ultimate combo, this gem increases the duration and damage of Ultimate skills, allowing for unparalleled uptime of Hungering Soulfire.
- Everlasting Torment — For the mere cost of a critical hit, this gem inflicts a considerable DoT and an Attack Speed increase to boot. Even at a low quality, this gem starts off with incredible stats and fits nicely from the get-go.
- Chained Death — This is a great early game gem, especially during farming where you usually pull hordes of enemies to maximize your AoE skills. It amplifies your damage the more enemies you fight, encouraging chaining fights together.
- Berserker's Eye — This gem increases damage dealt at the cost of an increase in damage taken. For most of the farming PvE content, this is a reasonable trade-off that you can feasibly mitigate with the Necromancer's ample sources of mitigation.
When perfecting your character for endgame content, the 5-Star Best-in-Slot Legendary Gems for Barbarians include:
- Blood-Soaked Jade — With its Damage and Movement Speed increases, it is largely considered to be the best legendary gem in the game for pretty much all forms of content.
- Seeping Bile — The value of this gem scales with the number of attacks you inflict, fitting well into Rotspur-enhanced Corpse Explosion builds. With a considerable damage proc and a spreading effect, it is one of the best additions to your legendary gem lineup.
- Frozen Hearth — With percentage-based mitigation against ranged damage, this is one of the strongest defensive legendary gems you can support your character with.
- Echoing Shade — This gem has a percentage-based chance to spawn Shadow Clones that inherit some of your abilities and — perhaps more importantly — will draw some of the enemy's attention away from you, allowing for short periods of uninterrupted slaughter of your foes.
- Howler's Call — Triggered off Primary Attacks — a constantly spammed aspect of Necromancer builds — this legendary gem supplements the mid-range barrage of the class with a hard-hitting, long-ranged proc.
- Chip of Stone Flesh — This is a PvP powerhouse of a gem, inflicting hard CC and increasing damage dealt on affected targets. It also provides decent value for progression content.
Paragon Points are character-specific progression system that allows you to advance in power after you reach maximum level. Each level gives you a Paragon point to spend into currently available nodes on the five Paragon Trees. While Paragon Trees are specialized for certain tasks, you should always keep in mind the tenets of character building — increasing damage and mitigation as much as you can. With that in mind, focus down the Vanquisher tree first, pick up the experience bonus from the Treasure Hunter tree, pick up whatever is useful from the Gladiator tree, and finish off with the group powerhouse of the Soldier tree. Always keep in mind that the (circular) Persistent Attributes are always active once leveled, but the (square) Specialization Skills are only applied when their respective Paragon Tree is active.
- Vanquisher Tree: The offense focus of this tree makes it the best starting point for all characters. It is recommended that you start with the middle row, maxing out Damage and picking up Zeal. Go down the bottom row, maxing out Damage and picking up Wrath. Finally, go along the top row, maxing out Potency, putting the point in Exorcism, and finishing off with Deeper Pockets and Heart of Wrath. This puts you at Paragon level 49.
- Treasure Hunter Tree: This tree unlocks at Paragon 50 and focuses on rewarding you more for your grinding efforts, making it an attractive mid-progression pickup. Go through the middle row, maxing Armor to attain Swift Learner. Then go on straight by maxing out the Damage node. This puts you at Paragon 70.
- Go back to the Vanquisher Tree. Max out the Life nodes in the mid row that follow Zeal, and put one point in Judgment to finish off that row. Then, go to the bottom row and put 3 points into Armor Penetration, which puts you exactly at Paragon 99.
- Right around this point, you have a decision to make. If you focus on PvE content, you should divert your attention back to the Survivor Tree — the other tree unlocked by default. Start out by maxing Life, picking up a point in Unyielding and progressing downwards. Max out Armor, then through the middle row — taking Escape Artist, additional Life, and Precognition along the way. Finish off with the coveted Damage increase. If you focus on PvP content, you should focus on the Gladiator Tree instead; this tree unlocks at Paragon 100, and offers brawling-oriented bonuses. Start off with maxing Armor Penetration, picking Uncontrollable right after it and continuing upwards. Max out Life, attain Quick Witted, and go into maxing Resistance and the second Life node. Get the Cheat Death right above the Life node. Finish with the consistently desirable Damage.
- At this point, you are hovering around the Paragon 180-185 point. One thing to consider is going back to the Vanquisher Tree to finish off the bottom right Armor Penetration node. You can also divert to the Treasure Hunter Tree to grab Gold Find and its subsequent Armor Penetration node. Alternatively, if you group up a lot, you can tab over to the Soldier Tree. This tree unlocks at Paragon 150 and is focused on grouping bonuses and provides tremendous utility for most modes of play. Take Hold Formation and head down to Resistance, then even further down into Damage. Attain the full bottom row — Battle Morale into Armor Penetration into Sacrifice. Then, finish off the middle row with Combat Veteran and Potency. Finally, go through the top row of Life and First Aid.
It is important to reiterate that your utmost priority is picking up all the damage nodes you can, deviating into one tree or another only to further that goal. Secondary valuable pickups are found in Armor Penetration and Life nodes. Once you are done with leveling all the Damage nodes, you are free to fill out Paragon trees as you see fit, as well as to activate specific Trees for the needs of the content you are doing.
When you turn in Bestiary pages, you will receive a class-specific consumable. For Necromancers, this item is the Shining Skull, which summons a Soul Keeper to recharge an empty resurrection stone. This is a very underwhelming consumable; still, it can be occasionally useful, so don't hesitate to use it.
- 30 May 2022: Guide created.
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