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Blood Surge Necromancer Leveling Build Guide

Last Updated: May 23rd 2024

Season 4 - LootS-Tier

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The Blood Surge Necromancer begs the question, "How much Area of Effect (AoE) Damage is too much?" The answer is... "Yes!". You make use of both Necromancer Resource types, Essence and Corpses, to keep the screen shaking with MASSIVE DPS output!

Did we mention the awesome army of glowing skeletons? No? Well, you also get to surround yourself with tireless skeletal minions for the majority of your leveling experience. You can eventually sacrifice them when you have enough Essence sustain and damage output to make better use of the Corpses they are raised from.

The satisfying part of this build's leveling experience is that it rarely depends on any Legendary Aspects! Making use of the Codex of Power is enough to get you to the end-game, but if you find some key Aspects during your journey, the potential for this build absolutely sky-rockets!

Starting as Blood Surge Necromancer also allows you to pivot easily and seamlessly into the multitude of other Necromancer builds, depending on the Aspects you acquire.

Blood Surge Necromancer Leveling Gear

This build guide takes you through the Campaign and Early Game up to Level 50. Check out Endgame Guides in our Necromancer Guides section!

Pros
  • Massive AoE
  • Great CC Options
  • Dependable Undead Army
  • Multiple Resources For Damage
Cons
  • No Mobility Skills
  • Low Single Target Damage

Season 4 - Loot Reborn

In Season 4, the Season Theme revolves around helping out the Iron Wolves. Compared to past themes, this one does not offer any borrowed power as the entire game has been redesigned with new itemization and crafting options, increasing player power substantially across the board. Instead, you can gather reputation similar to the Vampire Bounty Board from Season 2 to unlock rewards that supercharge your leveling journey to 100 with extra items, crafting materials and eventually even a Resplendent Spark to craft an uber unique.

We recommend to follow the seasonal questline until you unlock the reputation system, check which rewards suit you most and then follow your regular leveling path. To learn more, check out our full Season 4 guide for more information.

Skill Showcase

Raise Skeleton

Raise Skeleton must be on your Skill Bar to summon your Skeletal army. You can summon Skeletons by targeting and consuming a Corpse. This summons your Warriors and your Mages. Once all of your Skeletons are summoned, consuming a Corpse with this Skill raises a Skeletal Priest that heals all of your summons and giving them a damage buff for a small amount of time. In many scenarios, we can consume Corpses this way to gain the benefits of certain Passives in our Skill Tree.

Blood Surge Necromancer Leveling Guide Skill Usage Demo

Skill Tree & Gameplay

Generators

Iron Maiden is an incredible Essence generator in high density encounters but can only generate Essence when it hits a non-cursed enemy.

Grim Harvest also generates 4 Essence every time you consume a Corpse with Raise Skeleton.

Raise Skeleton summons 3 Skeletal Mages - Cold which restore 3 Essence with their primary attack.

Blood Surge

Whenever you hit an enemy with Blood Surge while being Healthy you gain one stack of Overwhelming Blood. At five Stacks of Overwhelming Blood your next Blood Surge Overpowers.

Blood Surge Necromancer Leveling Skill Tree
Use the slider on the bottom to see the Skill progression

Corpse Tendrils

Corpse Tendrils may be the best source of Crowd Control (CC) in Diablo 4. It Slows, Stuns, applies Vulnerable or generates Blood Orbs and pulls every monster (except Bosses) into a single space so that all of your AoE damage becomes infinitely more effective. With a few of your modifiers and Passives, these statuses become great sources of damage scaling as well. NOTE: Corpse Tendrils does not consume Corpses.

Bone Storm

Bone Storm mainly functions as an awesome buff that gives you 15% Damage Reduction and 20% Critical Strike Chance during its duration. You do not really care about the damage it provides.

Blood Mist

Blood Mist makes you Immune in dangerous situations but is has a long 24 second cooldown. Only use it when absolutely necessary!

Key Passive

Unlocking the Rathma's Vigor Key Passive massively increases your damage by providing more guaranteed Overpowers. The time between guaranteed Overpowers can be reduced by 2 seconds each time a Blood Orb heals or overheals.

Check out our Renown Guide to unlock all your additional rewards efficiently.

Book of the Dead

The Blood SurgeNecromancer utilizes the Essence generation of Skeletal Mages - Cold while sacrificing the rest of the available Minions. Once you have achieved sufficient Essence sustain, sacrifice Skeletal Mages - Bone. During leveling you can choose between sacrificing Skeletal Warriors - Skirmishers and Skeletal Warriors - Defenders depending on how your Elemental Resistances look like.

Blood Surge Necromancer Leveling Book of the Dead

Unlocking the Book of the Dead

You're able to summon Skeletons as early as level one, with the ability to customize your Skeletal Skirmishers starting at level 5, when the Book Menu unlocks. From there, you unlock more types of Skeletal Warriors, Skeletal Mages and eventually Golems as you gain levels. The Golem requires you to complete a Quest, which is detailed in this resource post. You must put the Raise Skeleton and Golem skills on your skill bar to summon them.

Learn more details in our full Book of the Dead Guide.

Gear Progression & Stat Priorities

Ultimately, the best weapon for leveling a Blood Surge Necromancer is a Two-Handed Sword or Scythe for as much damage as possible. Always go for higher DPS (Item Level) over the rest of a weapon's stats during leveling.

If you have multiple weapons with the same DPS prioritize the one with these stats:

  • Intelligence
  • All Stats
  • Core Skill Damage
  • Damage to Close
  • Vulnerable Damage

Hint: Press SHIFT over an item to compare it to what you're wearing!

Armor + Weapon

Here are the important stats to look for:

  • Helm:
    1. Maximum Life
    2. Essence per Second
    3. Intelligence
    4. Cooldown Reduction
    5. Resistance to All Elements
  • Chest:
    1. Maximum Life
    2. Essence per Second
    3. Intelligence
    4. Resistance to All Elements
  • Gloves:
    1. Ranks to Blood Surge
    2. Critical Strike Chance
    3. Maximum Life
    4. Intelligence
    5. Critical Strike Damage
    6. Vulnerable Damage
  • Pants:
    1. Maximum Life
    2. Intelligence
    3. Resistance to All Elements
  • Boots:
    1. Movement Speed
    2. Maximum Life
    3. Essence per Second
    4. Intelligence
    5. Resistance to All Elements
  • Weapon:
    1. Maximum Life
    2. Resource Cost Reduction
    3. Intelligence
    4. Critical Strike Damage
    5. Vulnerable Damage

Jewelry

Pay close attention to the rolls as higher leveled pieces aren't always better:

  • Amulet:
    1. Ranks to Tides of Blood
    2. Ranks to Coalesced Blood
    3. Resource Cost Reduction
    4. Maximum Life
    5. Cooldown Reduction
  • Ring 1:
    1. Maximum Life
    2. Critical Strike Chance
    3. Intelligence
    4. Critical Strike Damage
    5. Vulnerable Damage
  • Ring 2:
    1. Maximum Life
    2. Critical Strike Chance
    3. Lucky Hit: Vulnerable
    4. Intelligence
    5. Critical Strike Damage
    6. Vulnerable Damage

Read more about itemization in our Damage Explained, Defense Explained, and Stats Explained articles.

Legendary Aspects

The Codex of Power is a collection of Legendary Aspects you can imprint onto Rare or Legendary items at the Occultist. They unlock after completing specific Dungeons located around Sanctuary. For leveling, there are a few Aspects that can significantly help you if you have the funds to imprint them:

Top Codex Legendary Aspects

Learn everything about the Codex of Power here.

Helpful Legendary Aspects

Here are all helpful Legendary Aspects for the Blood Surge Necromancer that can either be found in the Codex of Power, Extracted from an item drop or gambled for at the Purveyor of Curiosities.

  • Rathma’s Chosen - Gamble Focus.
  • Juggernaut's - Gamble Pants.
  • Hardened Bones - Gamble Pants.
  • Shielding Storm - Gamble Pants.
  • Slaughter - Gamble Boots.

How To Level

In Diablo 4 you level by completing the Campaign, collecting Grim Favors for the Tree of Whispers, completing Helltide activities, grinding Dungeons, or interacting with the Seasonal mechanics. While there are many ways to level up in Diablo 4, not all of them are made equal.

Campaign Leveling

  • For your first character in Diablo 4, completing the Campaign provides the best gameplay experience and gives you access to key unlocks like your Mount.
    • If you don't have your Mount, you MUST progress the Campaign until you complete the quest Donan's Favor at the start of Act 4.
    • After obtaining your Mount you can skip the remainder of the campaign at any time.
    • The Campaign is the slowest way to level, but it's worth experiencing the Campaign and Diablo 4's storyline at least once.
    • To play Seasonal Content you need to have completed or skipped the Campaign.

Seasonal / Alt Leveling

  • Complete the Seasonal questline, progress your Seasonal Journey to unlock Legendary Aspects and work on your Seasonal powers.
  • If your account is below Rank 5 Renown in each zone, focus on completing your Renown.
    • This only needs to be done once per realm (Softcore / Hardcore).
  • Complete the Dungeons needed for any Legendary Aspects from your Codex of Power.
  • From level 1-50 you should focus on getting experience in Helltides by combining Helltide activities with Grim Favors for the Tree of Whispers or complete Gathering Legion Events.
  • After level 50 you need to balance leveling up, Glyph Experience and participating in Endgame activities like Helltide, Tree of Whispers and Bosses. The fastest experience possible after reaching World Tier 3 is completing Nightmare dungeons with monsters exactly 10 levels above your current level. Check out our Nightmare Dungeon Tier List for the best Nightmare Dungeon layouts!
  • Around level 30-45 you should move to World Tier 3.
  • Around level 50-65 you should move to World Tier 4.
  • Alternatively: Get boosted by a friend to World Tier 4 then leech experience/loot and Glyph exp (post 50), in Nightmare dungeons.
  • Find the most efficient way of leveling your character in detail in our Speed Leveling Guide.

Leveling Tips and Tricks

Let's look at some tips and tricks to remember when leveling up!

  • Level Up Your Potion. You need to farm materials to upgrade your character's potion.
    • Make sure you collect all materials as you explore Sanctuary, especially Gallowvine which is used in many Elixir recipes!
  • Compare your Items... Literally. Press Shift over an item in your inventory to compare it to what you're wearing.
    • This makes it easy to determine what is and isn't an upgrade.
  • Don't Imprint Your Best Aspect Onto Your Weapon. The most critical piece of gear while leveling up is your weapon, which gets replaced constantly.
    • It is a better idea to put your best Offensive Aspect on your Amulet, which can be used for a long time.
  • Sacred is just better. Between level 30 and 50 you're able to beat the Capstone Dungeon and enter World Tier 3, you gain access to powerful Sacred items which have higher item power and better stats. Getting a Sacred weapon significantly improves your farming speed.
    • The same happens with World Tier 4 and Ancestral gear.

Summary

  • The Blood Surge Necromancer has incredible Area of Effect (AoE) damage, clearing the whole screen without much effort.
  • Essence is kept high by Skeletal Mages - Cold and Iron Maiden.
  • Start off with a few Skeletons, but quickly Sacrifice them. Where we're going, we're going alone.
  • Happy blasting 🚀!

Credits

Maintained by Chronikz.

Originally written by Macrobioboi.
Reviewed by Macrobioboi.

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