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D4 Necromancer Class Basics Guide | Should I Play Necromancer?

This guide has two main purposes! One: Learn all about the basics of the Diablo 4's Necromancer Class. Two: Help you answer, "Should I choose, or try out Necromancer" in D4. Hopefully by the end of this, you'll be more informed about the Necromancer class, as well as make a more informed decision if you wish to play one!

While this started out to be two separate guides, I ultimately combined them since they seemed served the same purpose...

Diablo 4 Necromancer Overview

Here, I TRY to describe Necromancer at a very high level. A summary of Necromancer in D4, in a nutshell...

Where do I start. Necro has been here since D2, and eventually appeared in D3 as well. They're basically Summoner Mages with a Death aesthetic subtheme. Forgive my use of humor a little in the coming segments.

The problem now is... while AESTHETICALLY the Necromancer can easily be identified with. I cannot say the same when describing their in-game function. Let's give it a shot:

Necromancer Is... uhh... a "Spellcaster and Minion Summer" with a "flexible average range". Playstyle wise, they're a... uhh... "Melee-ish Magic-user, that's surprisingly tanky, with lots of self healing options". And I still feel I missed a few bits there.

More seriously though, Necros have Bone magic (Damage heavily related to Essence), Blood magic (Self-healing, utility damage spells), Shadow magic (Damaging spells, with a bunch of subthemes). Curses, and of course Minions.

They do a lot of things both WITH the dead. Both causing it, and commanding it.

Necromancer Key Passives

Each class has a variety of Key Passives that somehow push you towards a certain build archetype. They are incredibly powerful passives for a single point, and can be build defining. Knowing about the Necromancer Key Passives might give you further info about the class, and if you should try the class out.

Kalan's Edict
After you have not taken damage for 3s, your minions gain 15% Attack Speed. Double this bonus if you have 7 or more minions.

Shadow Damage causes Shadowblight to enemies. You and your minions deal bonus damage to enemies with Shadowblight. Every 10 times an enemy gets Shadow Damage by you or your minions, they take an additional bit of damage.

Ossified Essence
Your Bone skills deal 1% increased damage for each point of Essence you have above 50 upon cast. (Let's say you have 100 Essence - you'll do 50% bonus!)

Rathma's Vigor
Increase your Maximum Life, and after being Healthy for 15s, your next Blood Skill Overpowers.

About as expected. A key passive for each of the main pillars of the D4 Necromancer! One for Blood magic, Bone magic, Shadow magic, and Minions.

Necromancer Unique Class Systems

Each class has their own "thing". These Class Systems are unique to the Necromancer, and may help you gain more insights on wether you should play one.

Minions (Book of the Dead)

The book of the dead is a little system that handles more than its fair share of Necro related shenanigans. Not only can you choose the "spec" of your summons here, but also choose to "sacrifice" them to gain a passive bonus.

Skeletal Warriors Have the Skirmisher, Defender, and Reaper spec. You can pretty much imagine what these guys do, and you'd be right. The super basic skeleton melee minion (Default cap 4).

Once you summon your maximum amount of minions, you summon a temporary Skeletal Priest which buffs and heals all your minions.

Skeletal Mages Have the Shadow, Cold, and Bone spec. The ranged version of the basic skeleton minion, you start summoning these (default cap 3), once you summon your max amount of Warriors.

It's a pretty funny chain eh? Warriors -> Mages -> Priests

Golems Have the Bone, Blood, and Iron spec. While only Bone was available in the BETA, this is your gigatank minion. Notably, summoning a Golem takes up another skill slot. They summon themselves after some time passes, and have an active ability.


Enemies killed by (or in a party with) a Necro leave a corpse behind. These corpses fuel various Necromancer skills, with many outright consuming them per cast.

Of course, Necromancers can "generate" corpses on their own through various means. Notably, the summoning skeletal minions cost a corpse each.

Other little mechanics

Blood Magic + Healing + Overpower Blood Magic is heavily tied to many self-healing, durability and Overpower mechanics. This makes sense aesthetically by "draining life force". From a gameplay perspective, I know quite a few people attracted by this "drain tank vampire mage" kind of power fantasy.

Bone Magic + Essence Bone Magic is heavily related to your Essence, and Essence Regeneration. Dealing more damage the more Essence you have,

Shadow Magic? Is sadly a little less defined, but it has its toes dipped into buffing and being buffed by minions, debuffs, and sustained DPS.

Fortify Stangely, Necros have Fortify available to them, which is primarily a mechanic for the tankier Druid and Barb. While surprising, this is pretty great since Necros can or will be in close to mid range often.

Outro & Summary

Well, that's all I can muster for an overview / summary of Diablo 4's Necromancer, for now at least!

Some important related links for D4 Necromancer:

Obviously, there's still a lot more to Necromancer, but I hope you gained some more knowledge here. I'll definitely add more as time goes by! And if you're here to answer if you should choose a Necromancer, with luck you've made your decision!

Some other related reading: