Diablo 3 Necromancer Guide: Diablo 2 Differences, Leveling, Sets, and Playstyles

How to Play the Necromancer in Diablo 3The Rise of the Necromancer Pack is Now Live

The Rise of the Necromancer content pack is now available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One for $14.99 on the Blizzard Shop. The pack includes the new Necromancer class, a non-combat pet, cosmetic wings, additional character slots, additional stash tabs for PC, and more. To help you begin your new journey with the Necromancer, we've created a guide detailing everything you need to know about the class.

Necromancer Differences from Diablo 2

In Diablo II, the Necromancer had a wide range of skills, including ranged spells in the form of Bone Spears, conjured spirits, and the ability to unleash noxious poisons to kill swaths of foes. Additionally, the class became known as a pet class commanding an army of skeletons. While many players did enjoy playing summon Necromancers, the spec was little more than a wrangler casting curses while you minions mindlessly attacked enemies, with the occasional corpse explosion thrown in. The new Necromancer takes a very different approach to the game than the Necromancer of old.


Necromancer - Diablo 2 to Diablo 3


The new Necromancer is a very different beast, not only from the Diablo II Necromancer, but from the other classes in Diablo III as well.

  • Every build is incredibly active. It's likely one of the most engaging classes to play, with very little in the way of equip-and-forget skills.
  • Every skill slot has a use, and you'll find yourself mashing away at all active skills for most sets.
  • The new Necromancer has been designed with many long cooldown skills that define builds and act as huge power amplifiers.
  • Corpses have returned, and they can be used for a wide range of effects including damage spells and summoning Revived minions.
  • Like the Demon Hunter, the Necromancer will have a dual resource system in the form of Essence (much like a Crusader's Wrath) as well as the new corpse system. 

Leveling Your First Necromancer

There is nothing different for leveling the Necromancer than any other class. If you're starting a Necromancer as a non-seasonal character, you can:

  • Craft a Hellfire Amulet and Hellfire Ring
  • Throw on a high-leveled Gem of Ease and some level-reduced gear
  • Run a couple of rifts to get to level 70 in no time

Once your Necromancer is level 70, use any crafting and bounty materials you have saved up to get yourself a good baseline of gear. If you have other well-geared characters, you can use them to farm more crafting materials and blood shards to gear up your Necromancer until you have a decent set of gear for the set/playstyle you're looking to try out. Speaking of sets...

Sets and Playstyles

Wondering which set you'd like to try out first? We'll discuss the various playstyles associated with the Necromancer sets and provide viable build information. Now's the time to decide if you'd rather master an Army of the Dead or focus on sacrificing health for harder-hitting abilities.


Bones of Rathma

Bones of Rathma: Controlling Skeletal Mages and an Army of the Dead

The Bones of Rathma is the Necromancer's pet set. All of your builds will focus around Skeletal Mage, as this is the skill that increases the damage buff for your pets and Army of the Dead. In the Beta, this set had heavy usage of Essence and needed to incorporate loads of resource generation and cost reduction. Most of the builds that you will find for this set at the moment are focused around a broken skill interaction that allowed the Necromancer to be immune to damage 100% of the time, and these builds no longer function due to a last minute change at the end of the Necromancer Beta. With these changes, Rathma builds will focus on proper resource management, as Skeletal Mage costs a lot of Essence. Making sure you have all 10 Mages out is essential to maintaining maximum damage output. 


Because of the changes mentioned above, we're not linking any Rathma builds, as most of them are now invalid. But, the Bones of Rathma will be the Haedrig's Gift set for Season 11, so expect many awesome builds within the coming weeks leading up to the new Season.




Grace of Inarius

Grace of Inarius: Mastering Melee Damage and Survivability

The Grace of Inarius set is centered around using Bone Armor to greatly boost your damage to enemies within melee range of you. One of the set's top builds from the Beta focused on its interaction with the Mirinae legendary gem. Since the buff from the set increases all damage done by the Necromancer instead of just specific skills, it buffs the damage from Mirinae. Additionally, there's a selection of skills that have a decent proc chance. With that, this build has a lot of damage potential while still being able to focus on gearing for survivability.


The Inarius has a very wide range of uses, as the only stipulations of the set require you to be in melee range and to use Bone Armor. Non-Blood Death Nova builds use this set, and if you're looking to experiment with a thorns based build, this will likely be the best set to try it.




Trag'Oul's Avatar

Trag'Oul's Avatar: Sacrificing Health for Extra Damage

Another new mechanic introduced with the Necromancer is the concept of 'Blood' runes. These runes cause their skill to now cost a fixed percentage of your health in addition to other resource costs, but they offer greatly increased damage compared to other runes of the same skill. Trag'Oul's, the Blood set, increases the damage and health costs of these Blood-runed skills. You'll need to take great care when using Trag'Oul's set, as you can quickly find yourself with no health if you're not careful. Health regeneration stats on items will be required to compensate for the increased health costs of your skills.


While health regenerating stats and passives are usually not at the top of most class builds, the Necromancer has an extremely powerful selection of skills that increase your Life per Second regen by a few 100%. When properly geared out and in the thick of battle, you should find yourself with a few 100k per second of life regen, allowing you spam your Blood skills while surviving the incoming damage for your enemies.



 Pestilence Master's Shroud

Pestilence Master's Shroud: Focusing on Corpse Skills and Consumption

 The Pestilence set revolves around consuming corpses to generate free Corpse Lances and gain stacks to buff Bone Spear. In addition to Corpse Lance and Bone Spear, Land of the Dead and Command Golem: Flesh Golem are important for on-command corpse generation for damage boosts and getting the build started at the beginning of a game. Devour rounds out the last of the essential skills, as it provides the best way to consume corpses and replenish Essence for spamming Bone Spear. Below is a good build to shoot for if you want to try out the Pestilence set. Whenever you cast Land of the Dead, do not stop spamming Devour, as it can be cast while moving and can even be cast while using some other skills as well.


Additional Necromancer Content

Still want to learn more about the new Necromancer class? We have plenty of content to get you started.

Patch 2.6 Roundup

To learn more about the new zones, Challenge Rifts, and other changes from Patch 2.6, check out our Patch 2.6 Roundup Post.


Patch 2.6 Diablo 3

Neinball (@NeinballGamer) is a content creator for Diablo Fans and a horadrim in training. Whether he's relaxing on Zegema Beach, fighting servants of the Corpse-God in the 41st millennium, or quelling Rebellions in the Outer Rim, his passion always brings him back to slaying Demons in Sanctuary.


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