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 Post subject: Necro Guide for 1.2.5
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:06 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:23 pm
Posts: 48
I was bored and sitting at the airport, so... this is as much an opportunity for people to say "what an idiot!" before I attempt harder things with Necro.

Necromancer guide:

Necromancer is a versatile class that can go several places along the spectrum of pure attack spell to pure summoner. The build recommended below is an "impure" summoner with some friendly-fire safe attack spells.

The specific build recommended in this guide is for Normal. Some decisions will be quite different at higher difficulties.


1. Higher - The last racial skill is a must-have that substantially reduces the complex resource management of this class, and the other racials are at least useful, so Higher is an easy pick for any summoner. There's a prodigy with a similar effect, so it's not mandatory, but it's very nice. The other racial abilities also mesh well with the class.
2. Shalore - Pure caster builds may want to use Shalore for the usual benefits of Timeless. Boosting your Forgery's duration is about the only skill extension that's granted to a caster, but cooldowns are another problem that Shalore fixes. Shalore summoners with Hidden Resources are in many ways better than Higher, but it ties up a prodigy. The lower life rating and higher experience penalty make it a lukewarm endorsement.
3. Ghoul - Ghoul's Retch ability is a handy way to heal minions, and the racial ability to make ghouls is at least worth mentioning. The speed penalty hurts less on a summoner and Ghoul is very sturdy, so it's not a terrible choice. Lamps of Corpselight can be used for the retch ability, so it's not unique to this race. Ghouls cannot go Lich, though they have many of the abilities anyway.
4. None of the other races has any effect which is terribly useful to Necromancers, though anything can nominally work. Skeleton is the only choice that does not make any sense.


Becoming a Lich means that you can't use infusions (Heroism and Movement are major losses), can only use the corrupted Sandworm Queen heart, and can't use the Blood of Life. If the Blood is active when you Lichform, it will be cancelled. The bonuses are well worth it, though they do mean 4 skill points invested. An item with +0.2 to Necrosis skills means you only need 3 points invested (4x1.5) to have talent level 6, but those items are very rare, especially by level 23. Once transformed the item can be removed without penalty. Having more than talent level 6 does nothing additional.

Pure casters have a big incentive to go Lich since the Star Fury skills use a different resource pool and Necromancer mana is limited. Summoners and hybrids are likely to ignore the Star Fury tree, but the immunities and bonuses still make it worthwhile to go Lich.

The steps to Lichdom are as follows:
0. Don't play Ghoul or Skeleton.
1. Activate Blurred Mortality to start the quest "From Death, Life."
2. (Optional) Early in the game, at or before level 15, walk to Last Hope and get access to the graveyard by talking to the alchemist. Walk downstairs and then leave. This sets the level of the boss to the minimum.
3. Claim the fortress and acquire enough energy. It may help to wait on transmogrification of gems until you can claim energy to give yourself a bump.
4. Kill Celia in the graveyard; she should be easy enough, especially at level 24. You can do this before the fortress, if you want. Remember to open all the coffins before triggering the boss fight.
5. Talk to the orb at the center of the fortress to complete the quest once you're level 20 and have 40 magic. This will put a point in Lichform.
6. Raise Lichform to an effective talent level of at least 6. Usually this is 5/5 at 1.3 per point, though skill bonus items could reduce it. Putting the 5th point in Lichform requires level 24. Unless you're doing something odd, the magic requirement should be easily met. If you're wearing an item like a lamp of Corpselight that makes you undead, you'll have to take it off.
7. Activate the Lichform sustain and die while it is active. Chill of the Grave is a handy tool for this and if you have points you can reassign there temporarily. The sustain rapidly drains mana, so trying to do the actual transformation in the field is dangerous.


Magic is the primary stat for Necromancers, and their only default tree that uses anything else is Cunning for Survival. Willpower helps mana, and Constitution and Cunning help health and critical rate, respectively. One of the Dexterity prodigies is useful to Necromancer, but the stat is otherwise worthless and gear can be used to qualify for the prodigy. Spend on Magic, then spend to taste. Constitution is any easy second, though extra mana is also welcome. Critical rate doesn't help your minions and Cunning may be of limited value.


The two build-defining skills are Create Minion and Lichform, and players should decide at creation whether they plan to use them. Summoned minions interact poorly with area damage spells; only one tree is safe for friendly fire, though there is a prodigy that fixes this. Lichform should be done at exactly level 24, maybe 23 if you're really lucky and find a skill item.

-Category points

Unlocking an additional generic tree is recommended, as Necromancer has a limited number of useful generics. Curses from the Corrupter quest, Stone Alchemy or Sun from adventurers, or Vile Life from the Corrupted Heart are all options.

Otherwise, Shades is a highly recommended tree for any Necromancer, and Advanced Minions is good for summoners. The Ice tree, which only appears after the Cryomancer achievement, is dubious as Necromancers lack an innate way to get opponents wet.

Inscription slots are always useful, and Forgery of Haze can use those inscriptions, so a heavy Forgery user may want all five.

-Primary skills: 42 used.

Consume soul - 1/5 is plenty as a heal and a bit of mana restoration.
Animus Hoarder - 1/5. Convenient skill, but there are better uses for skill points and 50 mana isn't cheap.
Animus Purge - 1/5. Big soul cost and unhealable minion make this situational at best. Worth having if you can tag enemy summoners and other "back row" enemies.
Essence of the Dead - 1/5. Useful for preparing for big fights. Cast, rest, as it lasts until a relevant spell is cast. More points improves efficiency, but for a prep spell that may not matter. Pure casters may want 5/5 here as a fight-starting buff. Two bone giants is the main draw for the skill in this build, that only requires one point here.

Necrotic Minions-4+/4+/1+/1+
Create Minions - 4+/5. Four points at 1.3 is skill level 5 for five minions, the last point only increases minion level by all of one and slightly improves the possible summons. The skill summons up to your current limit, so other minions (e.g. an escorted adventurer) may reduce the number.
Aura Mastery - Boosting the radius of the aura vastly simplifies collecting souls and also reduces the chance that your minions will die just from walking around. In general, keep this skill equal to or higher than Create Minion.
Surge of Undeath - This buff increases the damage dealt by your minions based on your spell power. It's unimportant if your minions are primarily meat shields. The first point is sufficient for a while, but summoners will want more.
Dark Empathy - This passive increases the resists on your summons. Since your own resists are likely low at first, it can wait until late game for points. Unless you have excellent resists, it won't help much anyway. Avoiding damage from your summons is mostly about skeleton mages, which can be killed off if summoned (phase door them at enemies).

Invoke Darkness - 4+/5 A simple bolt that turns into a ray, this spell has a one turn longer cooldown than other similar effects but is still an excellent basic attack. At skill level 5 (4 points at 1.3) it makes Nightfall a safe tree to use in your groups of summons, so it's a must-have for any but the purest summoners or purest casters.
Circle of Death - 1/5 This spell does pitiful damage and additional points primarily improves duration. The random curses are useful for disrupting groups, and the damage over time is great against bone shields.
Fear the Night - 1+/5 Fully upgraded, this spell is an effective way to damage groups potentially without damaging your minions. It's not as good as the final spell in Nightfall, though, so there are higher priorities. The knockback is unreliable, but the spell sometimes also inflicts brainlock.
Rigor Mortis - 5/5 Excellent damage, slow, and bonus damage from minions make this a no-brainer. The range is not as long as could be desired and the small radius is unimpressive, but this is a great spell for fighting hard enemies.

Necrosis-2+/1/1/(see below)
Blurred Mortality - 2+/5 Incredibly useful in the early game as it's effectively big extra health. Late game it's not as impressive and there are so many other skills that need points and it's not as impressive a percentage, so consider spending points here temporarily. Activating the skill starts the Lichform quest. The quest also gives you another reward (a reusable item that gives you souls) so even if skipping this tree entirely it's worth dropping a point here and taking it out again.
Impending Doom - 1/5 Could spend more here as it's not a bad skill for fighting bosses, but it's reasonably effective at one point and there are higher priorities.
Undeath Link - 1/5 Harsh cost, but a big heal panic button.
Lichform - 1+4/5 Completing the quest gives you a point in this skill, so it'll cost you four. It does nothing if you don't plan on using it, so non-Liches will have a point here they can't remove. See the "Lich" section of this guide for further information.

Star Fury (Lich) - 0/0/0/0
Moonlight Ray - 0/5 Another beam spell, this one with a lower cooldown. Unlike Anorithil, Liches regenerate dark so this is an easy spell to spam. This will damage minions, so this is a pure caster ability unless Through the Crowd is taken.
Shadow Blast - 0/5 Area of effect damage over time. The damage is better than Circle of Death, but it's just damage.
Twilight Surge - 0/5 Area of effect centered on the caster. That this has a negative cost is far less important for Liches than it is for Anorithil.
Star Fall - 0/5 Area of effect stun and damage. Great spell, but this build doesn't use it.

Grave - "0"/0/0/0
Chill of the Tomb - "0"/5 See early game strategy section. This spell casts impractically large ice bursts and is not minion friendly. It's also a great way to kill yourself.
Will o' the Wisp - 0/5 Dead minions become frost bombs. Potentially useful, but not what this build does.
Cold Flames - 0/5 Creates random areas of freezing damage. Too random to be excellent.
Vampiric Gift - 0/5 Great ability, but a summoner build shouldn't need it. If shields are down and you're taking hits, it's time to leave.

Advanced Necrotic Minions (Category point) - 1/5/1/0+
Undead Explosion - 1/5 Detonates a minion for blight damage based on their health. Not a terrible skill, but the friendly fire issues are problematic.
Assemble - 5/5 Bone golems are mighty minions, especially with blighted summoning. They're much sturdier than anything else you can make, and high level ones will self-resurrect once. Resurrected bone Giants are friendly but aren't your minions, so you can have (theoretically) as many as you want.
Sacrifice - 1/5 Again, when it's them or you, they're disposable. The duration on this is such that you could cast it to prepare for a fight. It's also a convenient way to kill golems you want to have resurrect.
Minion Mastery - 0+/5 Improves quality of minions summoned. More or less a way to spend more points in the basic summon skill.

Ice (Locked by Cryomancer, Category point)- 0/0/0/0
Ice Shards - 0/5 With no innate way to wet enemies, this spell lacks full potential.
Frozen Ground - 0/5 Not a terrible spell, though unlike the Alchemist version this takes time to cast.
Shatter - 0/5 A devastating spell against enemies you could defeat rapidly anyway. Does synergize with Cold Flames.
Uttercold - 0/5 Piercing cold resist is quite useful, but irrelevant to anything but a dedicated ice caster.

Shades (Category point) - 1/1/3+/0+
Shadow Tunnel - 1/5 Mostly a way of bringing your minions along when you teleport, but also gives them a temporary evasion bonus.
Curse of the Meek - 1/5 With the heart and a large aura, this spell becomes less important as soul income. If using an ability to remove costs, this becomes even less important.
Forgery of Haze - 3+/5 Critical for caster builds as it's another cast of all of your attacks. The forgery can be kind of foolish, but it's still really useful. Further points mostly increase the duration and are marginally useful.
Frostdusk - 0+/5 Not too many things resist darkness, and you have your minions, so not that critical, but does help deal damage.

-Generic skills: 17 spent
(Expect to pick up an escort tree or curses or just take a lot of the optionals, even once racials are spent).

Survival - 1+/1+/1+/0
Heightened Senses -1+/5 This skill gives you the ability to detect traps, and 1 point is usually enough unless you expect to disarm them. More points might be useful for the sight ability if you have poor light radius.
Charm Mastery - 1+/5 Not a useless ability, but better used on other characters. Still, if you have good charms to use, it may be worth it.
Piercing Sight - 1+/5 Not that many enemies use stealth or invisibility, but the Orc assassins can be quite lethal and seeing them is important. One point works surprisingly well in normal.
Evasion - 0/5 Necromancers shouldn't be trying to tank damage.

Conveyance - 5/1+/1/1
Phase Door - 5/5 Useful as both an escape and as a way to toss minions at enemies.
Teleport - 1+/5 Being able to teleport yourself to a specific area isn't so important, but teleporting enemies away (4 points) is a nifty tactic for dealing with problematic fights. Otherwise a one point panic button.
Displacement Shield - 1/5 Because all other shields get used first, you have to use this as your primary shield, and unreliable primary shields are dangerous. With short range and nontrivial cost, it's also dubious for other reasons.
Probability Travel - 1/5 Another escape button. Rarely used, but having a plan "C" after plan "B" fails is handy. That it has no chance of failure or randomness is a big plus.

Divination - 0+/0+/0+/0
Arcane Eye - 0+/5 Scouting tool. The final ability to see invisible is nontrivial, though it's much more tedious to use than Piercing Sight and relies activity, which is problematic if you're getting jumped. If you have points, 5/5 makes for a great scouting tool.
Keen Senses - 0+/5 Just not high enough numbers to justify a sustain cost, though potentially a place to dump excess points.
Vision - 0+/5 There are some usable items that do this much better, but as a 1 point skill it still helps.
Premonition - 0/5 Too expensive a sustain for the mana hungry Necromancer, though some might still use it.

Combat (purchased in Last Hope)
Toughness 5/5 You have the points, and while you shouldn't be taking much damage as a summoner it's still better to have a chance to survive the big hits.
Armor 1/5 Not very useful, but gives more options in wearing gear. Putting two points here to allow shields, or even more for greater armor, is not insane, though fatigue penalties and Necromancer's already high costs might become prohibitive.


Healing Light is a welcome addition to a Lich's arsenal since they won't have healing infusions, and Vitality is similarly beneficial. Bathe in Light is a tedious way to heal minions, but it's useful nonetheless. Chant of Fortress is also helpful.

The Necromancer has enough generic points to make use of another generic skill set, but the category point is a trade off. Sun as an entire group is well worth learning, and Stone Alchemy isn't a bad pick.


Through the Crowd: Given that with the right talents you can have nine minions, plus more from activated items, this prodigy can give ludicrous save bonuses. More importantly, it lets you use minions with any of the Necromancer's spells. That said, there are minion-safe spells by default and saves are dubious after Normal, so it's not that good in the end.

Spine of the World: Prevents physical status. Given how devastating Stun can be, this isn't a bad pick in general, but it's not especially important for Necromancer. Getting full stun immunity is often an objective anyway (Lich gives 50%), and blindness immunity is available on several artifacts, so it's not as useful as it sounds.

Blighted Summoning: Makes your minions better, which is important if they're your main source of damage. Highly recommended.
Cauterize: Avoids death. It's sometimes a little hard to qualify for the fire damage by level 30, but letting faeros in Spellblaze Scar burn you for a while gets the job done. Highly recommended since getting one-shotted is rage-inducing.

Draconic Will - Immunity to status ailments is great, though the timing on this can be tricky.
Hidden Resources - Critical to any non-Higher playing other than a pure caster, as it allows soul-free summoning. It's a better talent than Highborn's Bloom, but it does take a prodigy.
Meteoric Crash - Extra damage and stun. Good for a pure caster, useless to a summoner.
Unbreakable Will - Situationally useful, but there are better prodigies.

Endless Woes - Arguably useful to a darkness-based caster or hybrid, but unreliable chance to inflict blindness isn't comparable to the other available prodigies.
Eye of the Tiger - Pure casters may find this useful for dealing with cooldowns, but it's a lower benefit for spells and is unlikely to be game-changing.


Acquiring a shield rune to replace your default Manasurge rune is important. For Shalore that start with the shield, there's an equal rush to get something that cures physical status. Don't get rid of Manasurge until you have Consume Soul.

Long term choices depend heavily on whether Lichform is used. Given that most Necromancers either are ghouls or liches, the assumption is that infusions are out, though they may be useful in the short term.

Long term priority is for two shields, preferably one as the rune of reflection.

Blizzard, acid and heat runes are of marginal value for their damage, but do cure status ailments. Physical cures tend to be the critical effect, though silence as a mental may also be important to be able to cure. The choice between these is largely dictated by the other options that are available as cures.

Lightning runes give the ability to avoid attacks and are reasonably intelligently used by the Forgery, so they're a great choice for hit and run tactics.

Since Necromancer has Conveyance, additional movement abilities such as targeted phase door are not critical, though they may be welcome anyway.


Throughout the game, Necromancers need life, spell power, and status immunities. Resistances are handy, especially if you know what's coming (e.g. blight in the crypt), but most of your gear should be chosen for its ability to keep you alive and functional from whatever the game throws. Keep in mind that Lichform grants some immunities, and going over 100% is useless.

Given the long cooldowns on many abilities and the high costs, items with activated abilities are desirable. Items that give even more summons are also welcome for summoners, especially in long fights where a first wave of minions may fall.

Because of the diminishing returns on spell power, it isn't as high a priority as survival, but it is important as it affects abilities that inflict status conditions. Pure casters will, of course, also want percentage damage bonuses, though any and all Necromancers will be using a staff. A one handed staff and shield would be an unusual option, though not undesirable, especially in case of a shield that allows wards or Time Shield.

Early game a wand of conjuration or torque of mindblast may also smooth some situations as Invoke Darkness has a fairly long cooldown.

Lamps of Corpselight can be activated for the Retch ability, which is one of a very few ways to reliably heal minions. While this isn't critical, especially for characters that can summon without using souls and just replace a minion instead of healing it, it's an important capability even if it's only used as an out-of-combat switch.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:49 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:31 am
Posts: 45
This seems pretty sensible.

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