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Best Diablo III Necromancer builds guide and beginner's tips

A returning class from Diablo II, the necromancer brings a powerful array of undead magic and abilities to the game. Here are some suggested builds to help you make the most of this commander of the dead.

Necromancer primer

Diablo III Necromancer Xbox One

The necromancer is a dark priest that can summon undead minions and draw power from blood and death. Although necromancers were a playable class in Diablo II, they play a bit differently in Diablo III. For instance, they now have more active combat options that reduce the need to depend on minions in battle.

Most of the necromancer's abilities rely on the class's primary resource, "essence," which she draws from enemies. Attacking with her primary attack (assigned to the A button by default on Xbox One) replenishes essence. The maximum storable quantity of this life-based resource is 200.

The necromancer has an even more unique secondary resource, and that's corpses. Enemies she kills turn into dead bodies that can be used for further means. With the right skills, you can explode corpses like bombs, turn them into projectiles, drain them for essence, and revive them as minions.

Whichever way you want to play the necromancer, you'll be safest doing so at a distance. This class relies on ranged attacks and minions, so close combat can be extremely dangerous for our dark priest.

Diablo III Necromancer Xbox One

Some of these builds use two skills from the same category, thus foregoing another skill category. To equip multiple skills from the same category on the console version of Diablo III:

  1. Select Options.
  2. Head to Gameplay Options.
  3. Enable Elective Mode.
  4. Return to the game and access the Skills menu.
  5. Select the button to which you'd like to assign a skill from a duplicate category.
  6. Scroll left or right until you reach the duplicate category and choose the desired skill.

Beginner build

Diablo III Necromancer Xbox One

For this build, we've chosen skills that become available at early levels and remain worthwhile as you work your way up to 70.

This build uses Bone Spikes and Devour to keep the essence coming in. Summon Skeletal Mages and use Command Skeletons to provide yourself an army, augmenting your attacks with the Frailty curse. When things get too hectic, use Blood Rush to teleport away from the fray (at a small cost to your health).

  • Primary: Bone Spikes – Rune: Sudden Impact
  • Secondary: Skeletal Mage – Rune: Singularity
  • Corpses: Devour – Rune: Devouring Aura
  • Reanimation: Command Skeletons – Rune: Frenzy
  • Curses: Frailty – Rune: Scent of Blood
  • Blood & Bone: Blood Rush – Rune: Potency
  • Passive I: Extended Servitude
  • Passive II: Overwhelming Essence
  • Passive III: Spreading Malediction
  • Passive IV: Fueled by Death

Bone Storm build

This build was created by Deadset, a professional Diablo III player. You'll play with a melee style here, thanks to the Grim Scythe ability. It's recommended that you use the Inarius armor set for maximum effectiveness.

  • Primary: Grim Scythe – Rune: Cursed Scythe
  • Corpses: Corpse Lance – Rune: Brittle Touch
  • Reanimation: Land of the Dead – Rune: Frozen Lands
  • Curses: Decrepify – Rune: Dizzying Curse
  • Blood & Bone: Blood Rush – Rune: Potency
  • Blood & Bone: Blood Rush – Rune: Potency
  • Passive I: Stand Alone
  • Passive II: Spreading Malediction
  • Passive III: Blood is Power
  • Passive IV: Overwhelming Essence

Corpse Explosion build

Diablo III Necromancer Xbox One

Another build intended for use with the Inarius armor set. This build revolves around the Corse Explosion ability, allowing you to take down living foes by blowing up the fallen ones. It's a good solo build, but the limited mobility limits its effectiveness for Bounties.

  • Primary: Grim Scythe – Rune: Cursed Scythe
  • Secondary: Death Nova – Rune: Blight
  • Corpses: Corpse Explosion – Rune: Close Quarters
  • Reanimation: Land of the Dead – Rune: Frozen Lands
  • Blood & Bone: Blood Rush – Rune: Potency
  • Blood & Bone: Blood Rush – Rune: Potency
  • Passive I: Stand Alone
  • Passive II: Spreading Malediction
  • Passive III: Rigor Mortis
  • Passive IV: Blood is Power

Corpse Lance build

Diablo III Necromancer Xbox One

This build focuses on getting the most from the Corpse Lance ability. You'll use fallen enemies to generate projectiles, hurling them at anyone who stands in your way. The armor set that best complements this build is the Trag'Oul set.

  • Corpses: Corpse Lance – Rune: Blood Lance
  • Corpses: Devour – Rune: Cannibalize
  • Reanimation: Command Golem – Rune: Flesh Golem
  • Reanimation: Land of the Dead – Rune: Frozen Lands
  • Curses: Decrepify – Rune: Dizzying Curse
  • Blood & Bone: Blood Rush – Rune: Potency
  • Stand Alone
  • Passive II: Draw Life
  • Passive III: Blood is Power
  • Passive IV: Overwhelming Essence

Skeletal Mages build

Diablo III Necromancer Xbox One

For the player who likes to summon minions, this build focuses on acquiring a hoard of Skeletal Mages and Skeletons and keeping them around to fight in your place. You'll want to equip the Rathma armor set and use the Jesseth Skullcythe and Skullshield for your weapons.

  • Primary: Bone Spikes – Rune: Sudden Impact
  • Secondary: Skeletal Mage – Rune: Singularity
  • Corpses: Devour – Rune: Cannibalize
  • Reanimation: Command Skeletons – Rune: Dark Mending
  • Curses: Decrepify – Rune: Wither
  • Blood & Bone: Blood Rush – Rune: Potency
  • Passive I: Extended Servitude
  • Passive II: Overwhelming Essence
  • Passive III: Spreading Malediction
  • Passive IV: Swift Harvesting

The eternal battle

Diablo III Necromancer Xbox One

Diablo III is the largest and most popular loot-hunting action-RPG on Xbox One and PC. On console, up to four players can team up locally or online to battle the forces of Diablo. While you'll find many Diablo-style games on Xbox One such as Victor Vran and Marvel Heroes Omega, the original game still has unmatched atmosphere, scale, and production values.

The Rise of the Necromancer DLC is available for $14.99. You can also pick up Diablo III: Eternal Collection, which bundles Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition with the Rise of the Necromancer DLC for $59.99. See our Rise of the Necromancer review for more details!

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

10 Comments
  • I'm enjoying the Bine Storm build, I have a feeling we may see a nerf on it. I've yet to get the final ring for the set and have 0 ancient items and I'm able to destroy through T13 like it's nothing, maybe that's how its suppose to be but my WW Barb and Charge set have almost a perfect roll ancient sets and I can barely touch T13. Maybe its the Barb that needs a buff? Anyways I'm loving this play style a lot and have already put 40 hours into the class.
  • I haven't gotten that high in Torment yet but I'm using the set bonus from pestilence that gives me a free corpse lance on corpse use and rolling around with revive+corpses, skeletal mages+corpses, golem+corpses and just letting my army of zombies do the work, with the occasional free corpse lance thrown in lol. Think I'm on T8 atm.
  • The easiest way to finish your set if you're having a hard time finding the items needed is just upgrade your rare items in the cube until you get the items needed. That's been so far the easiest way for me to complete my sets so fast. Once I hit 70 I just kept upgrading the rare items in hoping for a chance I got my set and sure enough it didn't take long since most items it has the chance to upgrade to is not very many items so you have a much better chance of getting the one you need. Either way this has helped bring me back into Diablo (not that I've really left putting in close to 600+ hours).
  • Thanks for the tip!
  • I'm probably going to go crazy with a Bone Spear (sorry, "Corpse Lance") build.
  • Great guide! I'll have to keep these tips in mind when I get the chance to try out this new character :D 
  • Did not looked up at any build yet, gonna try something my self before I gave up on copying others build 😜
  • Thanks for this guide, playing with the Skeletal Mages build currently
  • This guide is missing few important aspects of inarius set, that are explained here : https://odealo.com/articles/top-d3-necromancer-build-july-2017 you could possibly try adding the info about the importance of legendary gems in your guide
  • I didn't give Diablo III much of a chance when I had it on Xbox 360 but I have played a lot on Marvel Heroes on PC. I should probably get back into this game. I think i would start with the Skeletal Mages build.