Skip to main content

Diablo 4 Necromancer best build, skills, aspects, gear and gems

Let’s stick with the classic combination of Skeletal Minions and blowing up corpses.

With Diablo 4 now on Game Pass, a lot of players will no doubt be jumping into the game for the first time, and no doubt the Necromancer will be a pick for many. With that in mind, it's great to learn about the best Necromancer build you can put together.

The fantasy and appeal for this Diablo 4 class is that the Necromancer is able to summon their own minions to fight alongside you in combat.

To assist you in your undead pursuits as a Necromancer, we've put together this guide running through the best Necromnancer build, how to play the Necromancer, as well as the best Necromancer skills, gear, aspects, and gems.

On this page:

How to play as the Necromancer in Diablo 4

It’s quite easy to realise that the Necromancer class, when examined and contrasted to all the other classes, such as Sorcerer and Barbarian, is an easy one to play with and comes with many useful tools for your Diablo 4 journey. In this build, we have focused on three major aspects of the Necromancer’s kit.

First, Minions. Necromancer has the capacity of raising Skeletal Minions from corpses that can be formed after killing enemies. There are more than one type – Warriors, Mages, and Golem – and their role is to be one of your main sources of damage. Because of that, try to always keep the maximum of Minions active and don’t forget you can use the raising skill on a corpse to buff them after you reach the cap of Minions raised.

When using this build, the corpses on the ground are as important as the minions you raise from them because of the Necromancer’s skill Corpse Explosion. With it, the battlefield becomes full of landmines since you can cast this skill and explode a corpse dealing damage to enemies. Thanks to some passive and upgrades, exploding corpses buff and Fortify you.

In Diablo 4, Necromancers command skeletal minions

The third aspect of this build focuses on is this class capacity of mitigating damage. In this build, we aren’t going for skills that heal you, so increasing survivability by reducing damage is an important tool.

Now that these three pillars of this build have been explained, we can start talking about the practical side of it. When running this build, you want to always have your skeletons active and use Reap to proc its passive that reduces the damage you take and forms corpses. Another skill you should always pop when is available is Decrepify.

Once you start generating Essence points, your top priority is to use Blight on enemies to buff your attacks against them. When the field begins to get filled with corpses, then, it’s time to use Corpse Explosion. Keep in mind that you should only use this skill if your Minions look healthy. Otherwise, prioritise raising a new Minion instead of exploding the corpse.

Your ultimate Army of the Dead is a great source of damage as well and should be used as soon as it’s available when facing multiple enemies or a boss.

Current meta and community picks for best Necromancer build in Diablo 4

Since Diablo 4's release in 2023, it's undergone various changes and overhauls, whilst also having tons of rebalancing, new gear, activities and more being added. On top of the season-specific systems, there's a lot to consider every season as to what builds are best to use.

When it comes to what's gaining traction right now, website Wowhead features a set of top-tier builds you can try, with builds for the Blood Surge ability - focused on area of effect attacks - as well as the Bone Spear ability, which they describe as a 'Super high-damage single-target build'. That is to say, it's a great build for damage output, so this might be one you'd want to take into boss battles or any similar content with lots of strong enemies.

The Necromancer skill tree in Diablo 4, with the Bone Spear ability.
Left: The Blood Surge ability on the Necromancer's skill tree. | Right: The Bone Spear ability on the Necromancer's skill tree.

Looking at the latest balance changes for the Necromancer, there are a number of changes the class saw in early March 2024 that boosted the damage dealt and health of several of summonable minions, including Skeleton Skirmishers, Defenders, Reapers, Shadow Mages, and more. Beyond this, there are various other buffs with only a couple of nerfs, and with this patch in particular, it results in one of the more extensive lists of balance changes out of the five classes.

With a consistently evolving game like Diablo 4, you can be sure that each class will continue to receive all manner of balance changes and adjustments as the months and years go on. This means however, that there's a ton of experimentation you can get stuck into, and along with the season-specific systems and additions, you'll have new ways to fight and customise your overall playstyle and build.

Diablo 4 Necromancer best skills

As explained, this Diablo 4 build focuses on the Necromancer’s capacity of dealing damage as well as receiving damage buffs by consuming corpses and using certain skills. At the same time, another important aspect of this class – and consequently of this build – are the minions you can summon. For this build, it’s important that you pick the Skeletal Mages as soon as you unlock them and select the Cold stance for them, picking the first effect which is generating Essence whenever the Mages hit an enemy with their primary attack.

Now, back to the skills!

Basic Node

  • Reap: As your basic attack, Reap allows you to deal a good amount of damage to single and multiple targets. In addition to that, it increases your Damage Reduction, assisting you in mitigating damage. Enhanced Reap raises briefly your Attack Speed when an enemy dies for this skill, and the Acolyte’s Reap upgrade forms a Corpse from time to time.

Core Node

  • Blight: When used, you shoot a concentrated blight that deals damage and spreads around enemies and that also deals damage over time. It’s important to get the Enhanced Blight right after to add the effect of Blight slowing enemies. Your next step is to upgrade this skill to Supernatural Blight which increases the damage you and your Minions deal to enemies affected by Blight.
  • Hewed Flesh: One of the passives of this node, Hewed Flesh increases the chance of creating Corpses, which is fundamental for this build.

Corpse and Macabre Node

  • Corpse Explosion: To cast this skill, you need to have a Corpse formed on the ground. If so, you can explode it to deal damage to enemies surrounding it. While Enhanced Corpse Explosion increases the explosion’s radius, the Plagued Corpse Explosion upgrade buffs the explosion’s damage to enemies that are Slowed, Stunned, or Vulnerable.
  • Grim Harvest: This passive prevents you from running out of Essence since it generates some points when a Corpse is consumed.
  • Fueled by Death: To take advantage of the fact that you want to explode Corpses constantly, you should pick this passive which increases your damage for some time after you consume a Corpse.

Curse Node

  • Decrepify: Places a curse on the ground slowing enemies in the area as well as decreasing their damage. By unlocking Enhanced Decrepify, you have the chance to stun enemies affected by the curse. The Abhorrent Decrepify upgrade gives you the chance to have your active Cooldown reduced by some seconds when enemies afflicted by the curse are hit.
  • Skeletal Mage Mastery: Because we are prioritising Skeletal Mages as your minions, this passive is quite important since it increases their damage and life!
Necromancer's Skill tree in Diablo 4 gives access to a good number of different types of skills

Corpse and Macabre Node

  • Necrotic Carapace: This is another passive that helps you capitalise on Corpses. Whenever a Corpse is formed, whether as a result of a skill of yours or of Minions, you get Fortified for some percentage of your Base Life.

Ultimate Node

  • Army of the Dead: When used, this skill summons Skeletons that explode dealing damage to enemies. With its first upgrade, Prime Army of the Dead, you increase the chance of forming Corpses. The last upgrade called Supreme Army of the Dead adds to the skill the effect of also raising your Skeletal Warriors and Skeletal Mages.
  • Stand Alone: This passive increases your survivability by increasing Damage Reduction based on how many Minions are active.

Key Passives Node

  • Kalan’s Edict: Considering how important your Minions are for your damage output, this passive becomes extremely important, because it increases their Attack Speed after you spent a brief time avoiding damage.

Diablo 4 Necromancer best gear

When it comes to picking the best pieces of armor, jewels, and weapons for this Necromancer build, there are a few elements you should look for in Diablo 4. Gear with Damage to Slow Enemies, Damage Over Time, and Damage to Close Enemies are extremely useful to this build, synergizing well with Reap and Blight. Next, we have less specific affixes, such as Basic Skill Damage, which is a solid option.

Now, if you’re in doubt about which main attribute you should look for in your pieces of gear, then, you should focus on Intelligence and Willpower to increase Skill Damage and Resource Generating.

Diablo 4 Necromancer must look for pieces of equipment that improves the class's skills

Diablo 4 Necromancer best aspects

Aspects are a great system in Diablo 4 and they can improve exponentially this your damage, survivability, and crowd-control capability. Because Blight plays a key role in this Necromancer build, the Aspect of the Void is great, since it adds to the skill the effect of pulling enemies into the area affected by it. Another good aspect that synergizes well with this build is the Aspect of the Frenzied Dead that increases Minions’ Attack Speed when they damage an enemy.

A couple of solid options that work for you, in general, are the Aspect of Hardened Bones that increases Minions’ Damage Reduction, the Coldbringer’s Aspect that gives to your Skeletal Mages the capacity of casting Blizzard causing Cold damage and Chilling enemies, and the Cadaverous Aspect that increases the damage of your core skills after consuming a corpse.

Diablo 4's aspect system comes with great options for Necromancers

If you're struggling to keep your Necromancer alive, then you might also want to consider equipping the Aspect of the Embalmer, as it adds the chance to spawn a healing Blood Orb when a corpse is consumed.

Diablo 4 Necromancer best gems

Among all the types of gems one can find in Diablo 4, there are some good options for this Necromancer build. Sapphire, when used in a weapon, increases Critical Strike Damage to Crowd Controlled Enemies. Another good option for weapons is the Amethyst which increases Damage Over Time.

Now, for armor pieces, Sapphire is also great because it increases Damage Reduction when Fortified. A second option is Ruby which increases your Maximum Life when used in an armor piece.

In Diablo 4, gems are important to improve the Necromancer build

How Seasons affect Necromancer builds in Diablo 4

As with many other live service titles, Diablo 4 features a seasonal model that rotates in new content and features, as well as a variety of new rewards to hunt down for each of the classes.

Of these new additions, there's a selection of new items to acquire that you'll be able to collect, equip, and continue to use into the future for as long as you want. However, other content - such as season-specific features and rewards - won't persist into future seasons.

As an example of this, during Season of the Construct, you can acquire and upgrade a spider-like Construct companion that'll join you in combat with a suite of abilities and perks to utilise, but once the season comes to a close, that will no longer be usable.

An example of one of the season-specific systems - this is for Season of the Construct, and shows the customisation and upgrades that can be applied to the Construct companion you can utilise during the season.
This is Season of the Construct's seasonal system that focuses on the upgrading and utilisation of a spider-like Construct companion that aids you in combat. | Image credit: Activision Blizzard

Despite that though, certain season-specific items have later returned in a new form, whether that be some of the Malignant Hearts from Season 1 being reprised as Rings, or a select few Vampiric Powers from Season 2 coming back as Legendary Aspects.

With the ongoing nature of Diablo 4, and its upcoming expansion, there's no doubt plenty of new builds and items to try and a meta that'll likely always see a fairly sizeable shakeup every few months.

For more on Diablo 4, be sure to check out our full page of various tips and guides you'll want to look into, as well as our guides on other best class builds for the Sorcerer, Barbarian, and Druid.

Read this next