The Summoner Necromancer can be built in a multitude of ways, but the best by far is with Supernatural Sever. This proactive Core Skill is super-charged by our bony Minions and benefits from incredibly powerful Shadow passives that cyclically empower your undead horde! And this Undead Commando leads from the front-lines! Stand with your Minions in combat to boost their damage even further!
While you may think auto-including every Passive and active Skill that mentions your Minions is the play, many of these options are lack-luster at best (RIP to Army of the Dead). But the shrewd theory-crafters out there see amazing potential in Shadowblight naturally increasing our damage while empowering the Blighted Offensive Aspect Codex of Power Aspect.
With enough Crowd Control from Corpse Tendrils and Crippling Darkness to keep our bony-boys alive, this Summoner can truly control the battlefield!
This build guide takes you through the Campaign up to Level 50. Endgame guides will follow soon in our Necromancer Guides section. Stay tuned!
Fantastic AoE ✔
Great CC Options ✔
Strong Undead Army ✔
Good Boss Kill Speed ✔
❌ Minion Management
❌ Relies on Crowd Control
❌ Repetitive Gameplay Style
❌ Lack of Unstoppable Abilities
Season 2 - Season of Blood
Diablo 4 Season 2 introduces a new questline to hunt down the Shadow Vampire forces of Lord Zir across Sanctuary. With Lilith's blood still residing within our bodies, the infliction put upon us is harnessed throughout our leveling, granting access to new Vampiric Powers. Completing the seasonal questline, partaking in the seasonal Blood Harvest event and collecting Potent Blood are the main ways of obtaining and empowering these abilities. Check out the full Season 2 Guide from Chewingnom to learn more!
- There are 22 Vampiric Powers, separated into 2 different types:
- 15 Minor Vampiric Powers - Require 1 to 3 Pacts to be activated.
- 7 Major Vampiric Powers - Require 6 Pacts to be activated.
- There are 3 different types of Pacts:
- Ferocity Pact have a Crown icon.
- Divinity Pacts have a Chalice icon.
- Eternity Pacts have a Skull icon.
- Pacts can roll only on Armor pieces (Helm, Chest Armor, Gloves, Pants, Boots).
- You can apply a total of 20 pacts across your gear pieces.
- You can use Cleansing Acid - All to remove all Pacts from a piece of Armor and place new Standalone Pacts to meet your Powers requirements to activate. Cleansing Acid can be altered at the Alchemists to target 1 of the 3 Pacts only.
- Once you have equipped the right Pact Armor pieces, you can activate Vampiric Powers in the Sanguine Circle through the character screen. Powers require varying amounts of different types of Pacts, pay attention.
- You can use Potent Blood acquired from Blood Seekers to upgrade your Vampiric Powers from Level 1 to Level 3.
With this in mind, let's look at the top 5 best Vampiric Powers and how they impact this build:
Best-in-Slot Vampiric Powers
- Feed the Coven (Minor) - Used on the Starter version of the build when still relying on Minions for Essence managment.
- Prey on the Weak (Minor) - Increases Vulnerable damage and applies that status when an enemy has a Vampiric Curse.
- Coven's Fangs (Minor) - Gives us the ability to apply Vampiric Curse. Increases our Minion's damage.
- Hemomancy (Minor) - Adds another source of damage to your kit.
- Metamorphosis (Major) - Adds big damage and Unstoppable to your Evade.
Bone Splinters is our starter Generator due to its fast animation and ability to generate Resource quickly. It also has a decent chance to apply Vulnerable for our follow-up attacks to do even more damage. After level 22, we get access toCorpse Tendrils, which we need extra help to generate Corpses on demand from Reap to activate, enabling us to group enemies together to maximize our AoE damage.
The Summoner Necromancer starts by unlocking its primary Basic Skill and its first enhancement. During the first few levels, your Skeletons help to absorb damage and put out a little DPS of their own. We use Bone Splinters since it's the best Generator Skill. We eventually respec to Reap for more utility.
Point 1: Bone Splinters
Point 2: Enhanced Bone Splinters
Sever has quickly climbed my ranks for coolest looking Necromancer Skill by far. Not only is the aesthetic of a spectral-skeletal avatar quickly dashing to your enemies and slicing them to ribbons with a scythe, metal as all hell, but it's also an incredibly reliable and effective source of DPS for density and single targets! And it only gets stronger the more Minions we have, thanks to Supernatural Sever. We also pick up Initiate's Bone Splinters to apply Vulnerable.
Point 3: Sever
Point 4: Enhanced Sever
Point 5: Supernatural Sever
Point 6: Initiate's Bone Splinters
We prioritize Sever's base skill damage and empowering our Skeletal Warriors at this point, so everything else scales well and we have the best minions at our disposal!
Point 7-10: Sever's
Point 11-13: Skeletal Warrior Mastery
What Do We Do With All These Corpses?
Our build could use more consistent Shadow Damage output, as well as Crowd Control (CC) and Damage output. We don't have to look very far because we're able to pick up Corpse Explosion, Corpse Tendrils, and Imperfectly Balanced. Blighted Corpse Explosion turns our normal Physical AoE nuke into a huge area of Shadow Damage over time. This becomes a lot more relevant later on. Corpse Tendrils helps to drag every monster into one area, drastically increasing our Sever efficiency and then Imperfectly Balanced adds a ton of damage as well.
Point 14: Corpse Explosion
Point 15: Enhanced Corpse Explosion
Point 16: Blighted Corpse Explosion
Point 17: Corpse Tendrils
Point 18: Enhanced Corpse Tendrils
Point 19: Plagued Corpse Tendrils
Point 20: Unliving Energy
Point 21-23: Imperfectly Balanced
Respec 1: Bone Splinters -> Reap
Respec 2: Enhanced Bone Splinters -> Enhanced Reap
Respec 3: Initiate's Bone Splinters -> Acolyte's Reap
That's a Lot of Passives!
We've finally made it to the Shadow Damage Passives that help us to benefit from all of these sources of Shadow Damage we're applying. This gives us Movement Speed, big damage boosts and good CC/Stagger. These Passives reward us for having continuous applications of Shadow Damage, and also gives the maximum benefit from the CC we can apply with our build.
Point 24: Grim Harvest
Point 25: Fueled by Death
Point 26: Reaper's Pursuit
Point 27-29: Gloom
Point 30-32: Terror
Point 33: Crippling Darkness
While none of the Ultimate Skills are very beneficial for the Summoner Necromancer right now, the Key Passive is a powerful boost to our damage output. Shadowblight has a few key features. The first is a straight up x10% damage increase for our Minions and Skills. On every 10th application of any Shadow Damage to a target affected by Shadowblight, it deals 20% weapon damage for free. So with our multi-hit Sever, constantly ticking Corpse Explosion and Skeletal Mages - Shadow, we quickly rack up a ton of free damage on the target. This is especially good for Boss kill speed!
Point 34: Shadowblight
We buff up our Corpse Explosion damage, and add the important Passives we need to keep our Essence battery and Sever engine churning.
Point 35: Golem Mastery
Point 36-39: Corpse Explosion
Point 40-42: Hewed Flesh
Point 43-44: Grim Harvest
Point 45-46: Fueled by Death
Point 47: Inspiring Leader
Point 48: Skeletal Mage Mastery
Renown (10 Skill Points)
After gathering all Renown in Diablo 4 you have 10 extra Skill Points to spend on every character. Your first priority is to spend them toward the leveling progression we've shown above. Once you've reached the end, put them into these nodes to build toward the Sever Necromancer Build Guide:
Point 49-50: Inspiring Leader
Point 51: Death's Defense
Point 52-54: Hellbent Commander
Point 55-56: Golem Mastery
Point 57-58: Skeletal Mage Mastery
Check out our Renown Guide to unlock all your additional rewards efficiently.
Book of the Dead
The Book of the Dead gives us access to Raise Skeleton and Golem skills, which let us summon our hordes of undead minions to fight by our side. We can also elect to sacrifice these minions, gaining a unique passive bonus for each type we choose to sacrifice. You're able to mix and match which ones to summon vs sacrifice, with any combination being viable for different builds.
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.
How the Book of the Dead Impacts Leveling
The Summoner Necromancer starts off weak and reliant on its Skeletons for single target damage. Eventually swapping them to more utility options and ultimately sacrificing them for their bonuses. The same goes for our Golem. Which Skeletons and Golem to choose is detailed below:
Level 1: Use Raise Skeleton
Level 5: Skeletal Warriors - Skirmishers Upgrade 1
Level 15: Skeletal Mages - Shadow Upgrade 2
Level 18: Skeletal Mages - Cold Upgrade 1
Level 25: Golems - Bone Upgrade 2
Learn more details in our full Book of the Dead Guide.
Gear Progression & Global Stat Priorities
Leveling up in Diablo 4 is similar to most other ARPGs and MMOs - we're at the mercy of what drops. For the most part this means replacing Rares with better Rares all the way up to 50. If you're lucky enough to find some Legendaries or Uniques they can provide a significant power boost (discussed in the next sections). Assuming you don't find any of those, let's look at some key stats to look for along the way:
The Summoner Necromancer has many weapons options and combinations available to it. We recommend the 2-Handed Sword for the largest bonus to damage and ease of access.
- +xx% Core Skill Damage
- +xx% Damage to Close
- +xx Intelligence
- +xx% Vulnerable Damage
- +xx All Stats
Socket your Weapon with Amethyst and Upgrade at the Blacksmith at least 1-2 times whenever you find an upgrade.
Armor typically grants us Defense and Utility stats, except the Gloves, which offer a multitude of Offensive options. Here are the important stats to look for:
- Helm: Maximum Life, Total Armor, Cooldown Reduction, Basic Skill Attack Speed
- Armor: Maximum Life, Total Armor, Damage Reduction, Damage Reduction from Close Enemies
- Gloves: Sever Ranks, Attack Speed, Critical Strike Chance, Shadow Damage Over Time
- Pants: Corpse Explosion Ranks, Maximum Life, Intelligence, Damage Reduction
- Boots: Movement Speed, Corpse Tendrils Ranks, Essence Cost Reduction, All Stats
Jewelry provides powerful Offensive stats that help us on our leveling journey. Pay close attention to the rolls as higher leveled pieces aren't always better:
- Amulet: Movement Speed, Ranks to Gloom, Essence Cost Reduction, Cooldown Reduction
- Rings: Critical Strike Chance, Lucky Hit Chance, Damage to Close Enemies, Maximum Life
Do not upgrade most Armor pieces or Jewelry while leveling. You SHOULD upgrade your Boots and Amulet if you find Movement Speed, to increase its bonus. Socket Armor with Ruby and Jewelry with Diamond.
Codex of Power
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 us if we have the funds to imprint them:
Top 3 Codex Leveling Aspects in Order
|1. Blighted Offensive Aspect||Akkhans's Grasp - Hawezar|
|2. Offensive Aspect of Grasping Veins||Corrupted Grotto - Kehjistan|
|3. Offensive Aspect of Reanimation||Aldurwood - Scosglen|
Warning: DO NOT imprint your Weapons as they will be constantly replaced as you level. Put Offensive Aspects on your Amulet and Gloves instead.
Leveling Tips and Tricks
Let's look at some general tips and tricks to remember for all classes and specs!
Complete the Campaign or follow our Leveling Guides. Follow the Campaign if you haven't completed it yet. If you have, use our Alt Leveling Guide and Renown Speedrun Guide to progress your character quickly!
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 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.
Renown is your Friend. While exploring the different zones, take time to gather Renown along the way. It has long-term benefits for your entire account, including more Skill/Paragon points and Potion charges. Renown is gained by activating Waypoints, finding Altars of Lilith, completing Side Quests/Dungeons and rescuing Strongholds.
Be Careful with Gold. A lot of endgame processes, like extracting and imprinting Legendary Aspects, are extremely expensive for a brand-new character. Don't spend all of your Gold along the way!
Don't Imprint Your Weapon. The most critical piece of gear while leveling up is your weapon, which gets replaced constantly. This makes imprinting a Legendary Aspect on it a waste of resources. Instead, put your best offensive Aspect on your Amulet, which can be used for a long time.
- The Summoner Necromancer makes the best of a bad situation. We turn our brittle bony Minions into a powerhouse to be reckoned with by juicing them up with Shadow Damage!
- Your Golem has an activated ability that can help with initiating combat and directing your swarm effectively. Use it whenever it's off cooldown!
- Remember that Sever has multiple damage steps per Skill use. Try to target enemies in a cluster and make sure that the path from you to them is full to get the maximum damage output!
- Reap generates your Essence and extra corpses when you want to start a fight with Corpse Tendrils, or empower your Skeletal army.
- Corpse Explosion becomes an AoE Shadow Damage over time vehicle to help empower the rest of our build and keep perpetual triggers of our Shadowblight Passive.
- Look out for helpful Legendary Powers in the Codex of Power, especially those that increase your damage and survivability!
- Read the Next Steps above to continue your journey.
- In Bocca al Lupo, Nephalem!
Written by Macrobioboi.
Reviewed by Echohack.