The Necromancer can can summon the dead, which never gets old, and is a very fun class to play. The class really shines with solo play and sustainability however, even though they do decent damage they are not the top damage dealers in the game. The class finds itself somewhere between a DPS class and a support due to lack of burst damage and its great utility abilities. So if you are looking to be the top DPS in a raid this might not be the class for you but don’t get discouraged because the class is very enjoyable to play. Another thing to note is the Necromancer in Skyforge can summon undead allies but you have little control over them and they just attack your target so if you wan’ted a “pet” class to control you may be disappointed.
This article is focused on PvE and group play, there will be a PvP focused guide in the future. Also, keep in mind that in the end you’re going to have to figure out what works best for your play style and in certain situations and I’m merely going to tell you what I use and why, however you may disagree and that’s OK.
Read everything or jump to a specific section.
Rift of Horror or Grave. To me Rift of Horror is the better option in so many ways. The initial damage of Rift of Horror and Grave are comparable however RoH continues to damage the enemy every .5 seconds for 15 seconds making it great during a boss fight because if you cast it under a boss they will just sit on top of it constantly taking damage. On smaller mobs I also like RoH because while the enemies are feared you can continuously damage them, Grave just send them away and during that time no one can target them until they re-appear. If Adds get out of hand you can sit on top of RoH and as they continue to run back to you they will keep getting feared, the +2 points of Necrotic Energy you get over Grave helps too. “Rift of Horror – Creates a rift that inflicts damage. Enemies in the area of effect take damage every 0.5 seconds for 15 seconds, as well as get into a panic for 4 seconds. Consumes 8% of Necromancer’s health and generates 8 points of Necrotic Energy.”
Volley of Darkness or Reaper’s Sweep. This is a ranged ability which makes it great when you somehow get oneshot from the boss or adds overwhelm you. This ability allows you to safely hit the boss or other mobs to maximize its DPS and heals from the stacks of Sickening Nightmare, the knock back can be also be very helpful. “Volley of Darkness – Inflicts damage and knocks the enemies back. The necromancer recovers health in proportion to the number of flies released by Sickening Nightmare.”
Wall of Souls or Wall of Pain. I take Wall of Souls because of the damage reduction from mobs to the Necromancer and I don’t see either one of these abilities as a major damage ability that I constantly cast, so why not have reduced damage. “Wall of Souls – Inflicts damage to all enemies along the line of attack and reduces their damage to the Necromancer by 28% for 20 seconds. If Wall of Souls affects more than one target, it inflicts 125% more damage. Can be used in the Lich form.”
Possession or Shield of the Banished. For group content I take Possession as it helps maximize your DPS and you don’t need an absorption shield, that’s what Lich form is for. There could be fights where Shield of the Banished and the talent Barrier that makes you immune to CC may come in handy but I haven’t found this scenario yet so I’m sticking with Possession. “Increases damage dealt by summoned allies by 66%. Consumes 7% of Necromancer’s health and creates 7 points of Necrotic Energy.”
Accelerated Decomposition. “Damage from Plague is increased by 65% if the enemy’s health is between 80 and 100%, by 130% if the enemy’s health is between 60 and 80%, by 195% if the enemy’s health is between 40 and 60%, by 260% if the enemy’s health is between 20 and 40%, by 305% if the enemy’s health is lower than 20%.:
Cyclone. This is great for add phases or controlling small mobs in general. “Pulls the enemies trying to leave the Cursed Land back into the center. For each target, this effect works no more than once every 20/16/12 seconds.”
Blood Poisoning. “The damage over time effect lasts 15 seconds longer, but the healing effect does not change.”
Ritual Fire. “Hellfire inflicts 130% more damage when it is used.”
Beyond. Personally I really like this talent and will always have it, there are times where you might be taking damage too fast and you need to end Shadow of the Past or you are going to pop you Lich form. This is great for dodging boss abilities or running from adds if needed, the utility this provides is great. “Shadow of the Past can now be used in 5 seconds and by pressing the key again. Shadow of the past cooldown is reduced by 33%.”
With Necromancer you want to grab your typical DPS symbols.
Lacerated Wound. “Critical damage applies an effect to the enemy that inflicts damage over time. Total damage is equal to 100% of the character’s Luck.”
Maximum Recoil. “Critical damage is increased by 10% for each level of this symbol.”
Ultimate Strength. “The effect of Strength on your base damage is increased by 10% for each level of this symbol.”
Mobilization. “Bonus damage is increased by 10% for each level of this symbol.”
Archer Symbol – Cold Calculation. “Damage inflicted to enemies with more than 50% health is increased by 12%.” This increases your damage for half the fight, seems good to me.
Paladin Symbol – Divine Intervention. “Incoming damage is completely absorbed if it is more than 10% of the maximum health. The character becomes immune to all damage and negative effects for 4 seconds. The effect is activated no more than once every 70 seconds.” This is one of the best symbols in the game and everyone should get it. This will save your life when the boss randomly targets you or you stand in a frontal when you weren’t supposed to.
Now Lets Play Necromancer!
The Necromancer can summon the dead which naturally adds some unique aspects to the class that you wont find in other classes, it’s because of this it takes time to fully understand the class. There is a lot to go over so lets just begin.
Lets start by understanding what you see on your screen. Underneath your health bar you will see the blue meter for you Necrotic Energy, this fills up as you use certain abilities like Skull Throw, summoning ghostly allies, Cursed Land, Rift of Horror, and Grave. This bar determines how long you will stay in your Lich form, the duration of Lich form is equal to 5 seconds + 1 second per 20% charge.
- 0 charge = 5 seconds
- 50% charge = 7.5 seconds
- 100% charge = 10 seconds
It is a good idea to build your Necrotic Energy up quickly so when you go into Lich form you have the full 10 seconds. When an enemy dies with Plague on them you will “pick up” their body automatically which you can then drop on to enemies by pressing “E” but you need to be careful because you can easily get your finishing move mixed up with the dropping body ability as they both pop up and ask you to press E, images of both of them are below. You will also notice on your health bar a small circle with a timer above it counting down from 14 seconds, this is how long you have to drop your body until it disappears.
The Necro’s Lich form is a big part of the class so you need to understand it well. When your health reaches 0 you will automatically transform into your Lich preventing you from dying and changing out your abilities for new ones. Keep in mind there is a 30 second cooldown between Lich forms that starts as soon as you become a Lich which is indicated by a skull above your health bar as well as how much time is remaining until Lich form ends.
If you have a full 10 seconds of Lich form that by the time you return to your normal self the Lich cooldown will only be 20 seconds, very beneficial. Once you are a Lich your main goal is to regain your health bar by stacking the Sickening Nightmare DoT on the enemy and then using Volley of Darkness as it recover health in proportion to the number of flies released by Sickening Nightmare. Please note, if your target is immune to damage when you cast Volley of Darkness you can’t do damage to them so you won’t get healed. If you are being targeted you can always cast Wall of Souls to reduce damage done to you and help you survive the situation. Also, your ultimate Ghostly Flow “reduces the cooldown of Lich form by 6 seconds for each affected enemy for each of the three waves of ghosts” which might give you a back to back Lich if you’re lucky and need it.
The Necromancer can summon the dead to fight with him and his allies through two different means: Cursed Land and Ghostly Allies. To summon Carrions the Necromancer needs to cast Cursed Land and have an enemy die on the land, immediately after the enemy falls a Carrion will appear; the Necro can control up to three Carrion’s. This is great for trash or even add phases of the boss when there may be some small, easily defeated mobs where you can quickly bring three more minions to fight by your side. Remember that this works when any mob dies on the Cursed Land, it’s just easiest to reach three with small mobs but don’t hesitate to use this on any enemy. Now when summoning Ghostly Allies you must choose the right one for the fight as each one is specialized.
- Ghostly Vipers. “Summons three snakes that take 45% of damage intended for the Necromancer and distract the enemies for 8 seconds.”Since these allies don’t do any damage they are very situational. If your tank dies or is in trouble or an add is loose and the tank needs time to pick it up this can be a great asset to the team as it distracts enemies for 8 seconds. Overall, you rarely use this.
- Ghostly Mantide. “Summons a Mantide that inflicts damage to several enemies every 5 seconds”Provides great AoE damage and is a caster which is great. Although the Mantide does less single target damage than the Ghostly Carrion it is ranged so it doesn’t have to chase the boss around and doesn’t get knocked backed or take additional damage some bosses do when you’re up close so it may be the best option.
- Ghostly Carrion. “Summons a Carrion that inflicts significant damage to a single target (X damage from Violent Attack every .5 seconds)”Great single target damage but you need to be conscious of the boss. Some bosses will run around and when the Ghostly Carrion is swinging his arms frantically he can be slow and miss the boss minimizing his effective damage.
You’ve summoned the dead, can you control them? The answer is not really. Whether you’ve summoned Carrions or Ghostly Allies the only thing you can do now is target a mob. The undead allies will attack whatever target you have selected and if you change target they will too, that is the only thing you can control once they are summoned.
Now that we understand Lich form and summoning allies lets get to the damage. The Necromancer is not a burst class and only has two real “big hitter” abilities, Skull Throw and Volley of Darkness, and the rest of the time uses DoT’s. In reality the Necro is really a mix between a support class and a DPS class so there is no standard “rotation” to maximize damage because as the fight changes what you do will change. I’ll do my best to explain some general ideas of the Necro.
A basic rule of the clas is that you should always have Plague up during a fight especially as the mobs health gets lower and lower since the damage of Plague is increased the lower the mobs health is. Keep in mind you can have plague on multiple mobs at the same time so switching between mobs to cast Plague isn’t a bad idea. If you look at your damage at the end of a fight most of the time Plague will be your top damage ability. Plague lasts for 8 seconds giving you time to either cast another Plague on additional targets, go through a standard DPS rotation, summon some minions to a fight, or make some support plays. Let’s review these options.
Lets start with the basics, if everything is on cooldown and you don’t need to get fancy you have 8 seconds until you need to cast Plague again so you can rotate through two left/right click abilities, I choose two Hellfire. It’s my experience that Hellfire hits harder even for single targets and when you include the ground DoT it works out pretty well. So Plague, Hellfire, Hellfire is my go to rotation while I’m waiting on cooldowns.
Summoning allies and using Shadow of the Past at the same time is the difference between a Necro who understands the class and one that doesn’t, although your timing might get thrown off due to unforeseen circumstances most of the time you use them together. Because the Necro sacrifices health to use a lot of his abilities it’s good to combine those abilities with Shadow of the Past so you can regain that health when Shadow of the Past ends. My rotation is cast Plague first then Shadow of the Past, Ghostly Allies, choose the ally appropriate for the fight, Possession, Skull Throw. At the end of that rotation you won’t be able to cast anything else before being brought back to Shadow of the Past. If Skull Throw proc’d you should keep casting it until you can’t cast it anymore and then immediately cast Plague back on the target.
Speaking of summoning allies, don’t forget about Cursed Land! When clearing trash mobs or during add phases of boss fights throwing a Cursed Land to not only keep them grouped but to summon Carrions for you is great added damage. Also if the boss picks targets at random to eat they aren’t picky, they can choose an undead ally instead of an actual player which really helps the team.
During boss fights, especially if there is a burn phase, you should run up to the boss and use Rift of Horror directly on the boss. The boss won’t get feared but they will sit on top of it for 15 seconds and take damage as long as the tank doesn’t move them and this damage adds up quickly!
Something I’ve experimented with and sill have my reservations about but want to mention it is that you can use Lich form on purpose during boss fights for more damage. If you check your numbers at the end of a fight where you’ve used Lich form you will see that Sickening Nightmare actually does decent damage when you use the talent extending the DoT time to 25 seconds. We also can’t forget that one of our big hitter abilities is Volley of Darkness that can only be used in Lich form. So if you know the fight and are positive there is no chance you will accidentally take fatal damage you could use Lich form as soon as you get 100 Necrotic Energy to maximize your damage.
Use Skull Throw. Hopefully you’re using amulets that increase your Skull Throw damage making it hit like a truck so you should use it as often as you can. With that said there is a delicate dance that you have to do on the Necro of maxing your DPS with skills like Skull Throw and keeping yourself alive so just use your best judgment during the fight because you don’t want to die in a fight as a Necro, that’s never good.
You’re hard to kill, keep it that way. I see a lot of Necros trying to maximize their damage with Skull Throw and other abilities and they completely negate their health bar. Keep this in mind, the Necro is far from the top DPS class so don’t try to push yourself to the point where you die. Although the cooldown of Shadow of the Past is long and you abilities are off cooldown make sure it’s safe to get to 0 health and have to pop your Lich form, don’t just keep popping it from using Skull Throw and Ghostly Allies and be completely oblivious to the fight. If you are a Necro and you are one of the first people to die in a boss fight you’re doing something wrong. Most of the time I’m the last one alive, take your time learning the class and utilize Shadow of the Past until you know your limits.
What the Necromancer lacks in damage they gain in CC. I’m sure most people who have played Necromancer wish they did more damage but they don’t so lets work with what we have. The Necromancer offers a lot of utility to the team and you need to be sure you use it. Always be quick to cast a Cursed Land when there are multiple mobs or someone is being chased, summon your allies wisely so they benefit the group the most, and fearing mobs using Rift of Horror can save lives.
The only way to fully understand the class is to play it, I’ve tried to lay out as much information I could here and I hope it’s helped. The class offers decent damage, has a variety of usefulness, and is very fun to play. Now go and start raising your army of undead!
- [Recommend] Attacks in Lich form inflicts 12/22/X/X % more damage
- Summond Carrion inflicts 42/65/X/X % more damage
- Using Claws of Death will make the next two Impulse Charges restore immediately
Additional Weapon (off-hand)
- Statue created by Shadow of the Past will throw the enemies in a 8 yard radius into confusion for 1.5/3/X/X seconds
- Hellfire has 12/24/X/X % more chance to inflict critical damage
- Shield of the Banished absorbs 33/66/X/X % more damage and lasts 20/40/X/X % longer
- [Recommend] Skull Throw inflicts X more damage
- Plague inflicts X more damage over time
- Hellfire inflicts X more damage directly and Y more damage over tiem
- Wall of Souls and Wall of Pain inflict X more damage over time
Accuracy. “Brings the minimum base damage closer to maximum and increases your Strength’s influence on the base damage”
Critical Chance. “Increases your critical hit chance”
Crushing Blow. “Has a certain chance to increase base damage two times”
Temper. “Increases bonus damage and the chance that the ability will inflict maximum bonus damage regardless of the target’s health”
Solidity. “Increase Might by the following percent of your Stamina when calculating base damage”