Necromancer Guide

Necromancer PvP Guide

Sun 9th Sep 2012 - 4:58pm Necromancer Necromancer PvP Guide

Necromancer Guide



So you’re a creepy fella. Minions and excessive crippling of your opponents is what you enjoy. If you’re into dark magic, versatile play, minions and lots of control through conditions, then the Necromancer is exactly the profession you are looking for.



This is a Necromancer-specific guide containing general information about the Necromancer and its play-style. There are a few builds included in order to get you started in the game, the first one being based around Heavy Conditions and Supportive capabilities while the second one is focused around being extremely Tanky, having Minions supporting you and dealing a lot of power damage yourself.

At the end of this guide you will also find some tips and tricks which I came up with through my time of playing the beta and early release, which might assist you during certain situations.



1.            Profession overview

2.            Builds

3.            Tips / Tricks


1. Profession overview



The Necromancer is a class which is rarely seen in MMO’s. One could say it is similar to the more commonly seen Warlock from other games; however I personally feel that it has a very unique touch in direct comparison.

While both classes/professions rely on Dark or even Death Magic, the Necromancer actually does not possess the Fire Magic abilities of a Warlock and also does not include a controllable pet as a companion.

Even though the Necromancer has minions to summon – which one could call pets – they, in reality, are not pets at all due to the simple fact that you can’t control them manually.

This basically means that if you are interested in a pet heavy class, the Necromancer will offer you a lot of variety in different kind of minions to choose and use from, but you will not be able to give each of them an individual touch of skill by sending it to attack, or making it stop and back off. Considering the amount of minions you are able to summon, you will definitely have a less Warlock, but a more Necromancer a-like feeling in-game.

The main strengths of the Necromancer are as follows:


High Health Pool: Being one of the few professions with the highest level of a base Health Pool makes this profession a very durable survivalist.

Out of the three health pool stages, the low amount, the medium amount and the high amount – the Necromancer shares the highest amount together with the Warrior.


Death Shroud: This very unique profession based mechanic brings many different tools to the table while making you either absolutely love or hate the Necromancer.

This ability is completely designed around a special bar – called the Life Force bar. This bar may range from 0% up to 100% and above if traited into the Soul Reaping tree.

In order to be able to pop into the Death Shroud, one needs to have Life Force which is generated through either killing an enemy (which by the way includes pets, minions or illusions), using special abilities which generate life force on hit, or be in the utility skill called “Spectral Armor” which simply generates life force depending on the amount of direct damage you are receiving excluding conditions / dots.

Currently the Death Shroud does not break stuns but may be tapped into while being so. While this might get changed it still remains a very strong ability due to the fact of you being in the position to decide when exactly you wish to tap into it.

When Taping into the Shroud, you will get your current Health Bar – regardless of how high or low your current health is – replaced with your Life Force bar and considered your “new” Health Bar. This also means that any damage you take from now on will instead drain your current Life Force pool until it drops to zero or you decide to tap out of the shroud manually by pressing the default hotkey F1 again.

If your Life Force bar contains less than 11% you may not enter the Death Shroud. The Life Force fee to be paid for entering the Shroud is 4% which is drained instantly the moment you enter.

During the Death Shroud effect, all your current abilities will be replaced with four completely new and unique ones, these are:

Managing your Life Force pool is crucial. Having a low amount will make you much squishier than if you were to be mindful and keep an eye on it.  Wasting life force is something you should avoid at all costs as it may be considered your most valuable resource of survival, due to the fact that you may avoid damage by tapping into it just before taking a big damaging blow by the enemy.

Anticipating a spike by your opponent and answering timely by entering the Death Shroud will make you lose no health at all before depleting your Life Force bar. This also helps the Necromancer to survive in between the Healing-Utility Recharge timer by keeping your health at a more steady level.

Leaving Death Shroud puts it onto a 10 second recharge before being able to tap back into it again.



Minions: While not controllable, the Necromancer has a large variety of minions to summon if they so choose. One minion type has a healing ability which – to put it bluntly – is very bad right now in direct comparison to one other healing ability called “Consume Conditions”. Four of these minions are utility based of which you may have up to three chosen ones at the same time, if you decide to that is. Lastly there is an elite minion of which you may have one. The Lich Form elite also has an ability called “Mark of Horror” which places a mark/circle on the ground - which if triggered by a foe – summons five small jagged horrors. Each pet has different kind of usage; one may deal more damage, while the others are simply more defensively used or even utility based to control. Here is a full list of the minions:

While not controllable, The Necromancer has a large variety of minions to summon if wanted. The “Blood Fiend” is a healing type of utility skill. Currently – while being a minion – is a very weak choice of healing for competitive PvP as it requires two casts, One to summon it and then another one to actually sacrifice it for burst heal. This pet is very fragile and may die in a few hits, putting it on recharge without granting any kind of burst heal, not to mention the fact that you may be interrupted during the summon of the pet as well as the actual consume attempt, therefor making this a very bad choice of a healing ability while making “Consume Conditions” by far the most attractive choice.

Now that I’ve covered your special Healing Minion, I’d like to cover the four utility minion choices, remember you may only have a maximum of three chosen as Guild Wars 2 limits the utility slots to a maximum of three.


Sidenote: Here you can find the Necromancer's minions while I cover all of them:


Bone Fiend (Utility): The “Bone Fiend” is a ranged type of minion, which has a rather slow attack speed and low damage, though attacking twice each time. This minion offers you an immobilize as on-use effect, which will immobilize your own “Bone Fiend” as well as the target of choice for a brief period of time, making this a complete control minion. Keep in mind that this ability has a long recharge timer of currently fifty seconds.

Bone Minions (Utility): The “Bone Minions” are some-what of a rat type creature, which upon summon grants two of those. They also have a slow attack speed with about the same damage of a “Bone Fiend”, which remember attacks twice to make up for it. These rats may be exploded one at a time for some quick burst damage, which scales with your current power level, making this a situational burst type of minion.

Shadow Fiend (Utility): The “Shadow Fiend” is also a melee type of minion with a moderate attack speed and high damage. This minion excels at dishing out great damage-per-second while giving you the on use effect option of teleporting it towards your current location, and blinding enemies around it. This ability has a slight delay, so planning a-head is necessary. The on use effect is also on the currently lowest recharge timer of twenty seconds, which makes it regularly usable and is a great way of negating damage taken.

Flesh Wurm (Utility): The “Flesh Wurm” is the only ranged type minion of which the Necromancer may choose from. It has a slow attack speed with however the highest damage outside of the elite minion called “Flesh Golem”. It is a stationary ranged shooting, one could say “turret a-like” minion with a great on use effect. While this effect will destroy the “Flesh Wurm”, it gives you the option of instantly teleporting back to its location, giving you the opportunity of extra mobility and avoidance. This is a very tricky pet with lots of potential, experimenting with it will grant the best results while opening up new possibilities.

This covers the utility type of minions; lastly there is an elite type of minion, which is:

Flesh Golem (Elite): This is a warrior type of minion, while dealing slightly less damage than the “Shadow Fiend” as well as the “Flesh Wurm” it by far has the highest amount of attack speed bumping it to the highest damage-per-second dealing minion of all. Other than that it also has a passive effect merged into each attack which cripples the target for one second each hit. It may not sound like a much, but considering its attack speed it pretty much gives you a great amount of kiting possibilities. The “Flesh Golem” also has an on-use effect, which makes it charge an enemy, as well as through any foes for a fixed amount of distance, knocking each target hit down for a brief period of time. This makes it a great way of interrupting important abilities, such as a heal or a burst type of ability, or simply to create some breathing room when necessary.

Lastly – while not exactly a full time minion – the “Lich Form” elite ability grants you a special type of mark called “Mark of Horror”, which creates a radius type of zone on the ground, which when triggered by a foe summons five jagged horrors. These take little decay damage while being alive, until their health drops to zero and therefore expire, though they can be healed by allies. They are similar to the bone fiend, small rat type creatures with a different kind of model. Their attack speed and attack damage matches a bone fiend, however they have no on use effect. They do provide a passive on attack effect which puts one stack of bleed on the target ticking for a fixed amount of eighty per tick, same as the decay damage each jagged horror receives while being alive.



Wells and Poison Clouds:  Condition your enemy while dispelling them from boons. Blinding foes or simply dispel your allies while buffing them with boons. Spreading Poison and Vulnerability – all of these are possibilities with this awesome mechanic.

Unless traited, each “Well” will be casted on top of your current location while “Poison Clouds” can be placed at a location of your choice similar to a “Mark”.

Keep in mind that while the Poison Cloud works like a Well, it actually is a Corruption type of ability of which topic I'll cover next

Using these grant you powerful tactical advantages, restricting space in which enemies want to be standing in while fortifying difficult locations for yourself and allies.

Each “Well” gives you a different kind of possibility, “Well of Power” on top of a capture point will practically make you and your allies immune to conditions, while a “Well of Darkness” will blind foes inside every two seconds making them miss their next attack.
This can greatly reduce direct damage taken if ignored, or give you the opportunity or capping a point uncontested.

“Poison Clouds” are exactly the same mechanic, just completely offensive based. Putting a stacking poison duration for people standing inside will reduce their healing taken and therefore negate supportive effects or simply shorten fight durations by quite a bunch.

Keep in mind that “Wells” are completely situational, deciding on which “Well” or “Poison Cloud” to use is crucial and can greatly change the pace of a game if done correctly.

Here you can find more information about Wells.



Corruptions: Dispel and replace beneficial boons on foes with conditions. Spread conditions from a foe to all foes around or simply bleed your target while generating Life Force. Corruptions are one of the key mechanics for the Necromancer and allow you great control in a battle.

While a warlock in “World of Warcraft” – just as a common example - would mostly spam dots on a target for direct damage and have special utility effects (i.e. Curse of Tongues or CoT), this mechanic is completely utility based. Corruptions literally debuff your opponent of choice. The “Corrupt Boon” ability is sucking in any beneficial boons (buffs) while replacing them with a counterpart condition (debuffs) in order to harm your foe.

You may spread these conditions in a radius around the target with “Epidemic” or simply generate yourself some Life Force while bleeding you target as well as yourself as a trade-off with an ability called “Blood is Power”.

Corruptions are entirely offensively used and are designed to control and limit your opponent’s supportive effects.

As a small example, corrupting a swiftness effect on a target will replace it with a cripple while corrupting a regeneration effect will replace it with poison.

Despite the Poison Cloud working like a Well, it is actually a Corruption type of ability.

Lastly all corruptions have a side effect depending on which one you choose. You will self condition yourself for a given amount of time which sounds worse than it actually is, after all you may transfer or consume those to heal yourself for an extra portion of health.

Here you can find more Information about Corruptions.


2.      Builds


I will list you a few of the most effective builds I was able to come up with to help you fill out different kind of roles in a fight. You of course may adjust certain things for your own liking, however these are the ones I personally found to be most effective as of now and by no means is final.

Remember that these following builds are made up for Conquest PvP and may or may not be as effective outside the 5v5 bracket.


2.1    Condition damage / Staff Support Tourney Build

Heavy Condition damage Scepter+Dagger/ Staff

Currently this is one of the most versatile builds for the Necromancer, the amount of pressure through conditions is amazing and you also have a great way of keeping your Life Force bar filled through most of the match. Control and Freezes benefit you extremely much in group fight situations.

This build is very strong against or for holding secondary mechanics on a map, excluding killing gates or trebuchets. Controlling the trebuchet of your team is very likely, while being able to melt down and punish anyone who lacks condition removals makes it a very aggressive build.

Strengths: Very strong in team fights and against condition line ups, decent capability in 1v1 situations, decent Life Force generation thanks to Soul Marks, great control and interrupts. Amazing conditions and control capability through cripple, chill, weakness and an extra fear. A lot of condition pressure thanks to Epidemic spreading.

Weaknesses: Low amount of pressure against condition removals. Not good at killing trebuchets or gates due to objects being immune to conditions. This build shines in team fight situations much more than while being on your own.


You can find the link to this build here and as a back-up also here.

2.2    Minion / Power Damage Build


Well rounded Axe+Focus / Staff Control

This build makes you a lot more difficult to kill, minions protect and soak hits by other pets/minions/Illusions very well. Your main damage comes from direct power attacks amplified through your staff conditions as well as minions.

You have a great amount of utility for solo defending difficult positions on the map if necessary.

Strengths: Shines at defending nodes on your own, great support by your minions which add great amount of damage. Boon removals through Spinal Shivers (Focus #5), condition transfers for your minions and yourself thanks to your Putrid Mark (Staff #4) and lots of vulnerability to increase the damage output by your minions and yourself. Very strong conditions thanks to weakness chill and poison allowing you to control the fight greatly.

Weaknesses: Tanky builds can greatly shut down the direct damage. Not removing retaliation may result in a lot of damage taken. Not a great choice for team fights due to your minions chasing random targets instead of what you truly want to focus. Suspect to AoE which can kill your minions very quickly.


You can find the link to this build here and as a back-up also here.



 3.0   Tips / Tricks


- Keeping your freezes rolling will increase your opponents recharge including their Healing, so try to keep it up without overlapping in case of a dispel to maximize its potential.

- Remember that you have a lot of crowd control abilities to choose from, you can interrupt a stomp/resurrect as well as your opponents their heal ability by coordinating your Daze/Fear or Pet Charge.

- Your Lich Form can knock foes out of the capture point with its “Chilling Form”, utilizing that will guarantee you the necessary success to capture or defend a node.

- Keep in mind that abilities which transform you can break your elite skills such as Plague Form and Lich Form, i.e. the Mesmer his “Moa Morph” ability will almost instantly counter these elites and there for should be used with caution.

- You have a big variety of wells to choose from, make sure that you adapt to your team’s needs accordingly. Blinding, offensive or defensive dispels, poison and weakness are great tools to choose from when and if needed.

- Death shroud tapping traits have an invisible internal recharge, spam tapping your shroud for these effects might not get your desired effect, if not kept in mind.

- Your Fleshgolem’s “Charge” and Lich Form’s “Chilling Wind” are also great tools to knock people off hills and even the Clocktower, position yourself accordingly and you will find great success with it.

- The “Summon Flesh Wurm” its active ability is a great tool to keep mobility around less open places. I.e. the Clocktower, placing one on the top while assisting somebody below will give you access to instantly port yourself back up again. There are so many possibilities, be open minded!

- Poison is not simply a condition which deals damage, it also decreases the targets healing received by 33% - keeping it up or simply re-applying just before a healing ability is received is key to efficient fights and the recipe to success.

- Using one of your fears around the edge of a high ground or simply difficult to reach position may force the target to jump off. Just like the knockback abilities, this can be used to great effect to gain yourself an advantage and make opponents think twice whether they should take the risk of chasing you or not.


         Written by ReYoN of Team Paradigm

Your Comments

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  • Wed 27th Mar 2013 - 8:11pm


    Thomas Christiansen

    In 2-3 weeks I have been trying diffrent builds for my necro. I could have spared my self for diffrent builds and the time, if I just have found this site first :) I really dig the heavy condition build you have made. At first look I was thinking the health pool was too small and was unsecure in the "corrupt boon signet" I was thinking to reaplace it with the "blood is power" which I always have seen as strong spell to take. But I tried your build out and it went amazing and I refound the love for my necromancer. So thank you very much for the build. In the large maps in spvp I have tried the "run speed signet" instead of "the plague signet" I miss a bit the run speed, so I can catch up with the bad guys or run away and not get caugt in bad situation.

  • Mon 24th Sep 2012 - 6:19am


    Erik Bäckman

    "The Necromancer is a class which is rarely seen in MMO’s"` ? :P EverQuest 1 and 2, Rift and Age of Conan to mention a few.

  • Thu 20th Sep 2012 - 3:37am

    Weakening Shroud has an internal cooldown of 15 seconds.

  • Tue 18th Sep 2012 - 8:12am



    Great guide ReYoN, one question though. In the tips you mention the internal cooldown of DS-related traits, do you know the exact recharges on Weakening Shroud (which is probably the most important one & only one I use :D).

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