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An Introduction to Necromancers in Guild Wars 2

Updated on July 23, 2014

Why a Necromancer?

What draws attention to this particular class? The answer is Death Shroud, minions, and conditions. An ability to have a second health bar with a new set of skills with it intrigues players and entices them to explore the many perks of the necromancer. This class can be tanky and take some damage while still being a light armor class while summoning several minions to fight by his or her side. They are also in the higher health tier and with the right build, can have up to 27,000 health or more. Some go as far as saying necromancers are overpowered, but with the right knowledge, one can see the disadvantages to this class as well as the advantages.


This class has a wide range of AoE skills that attack multiple enemies at once as well as melee/one target skills. Necromancers can use a variety of weapons, including staff, axe, scepter, focus, dagger, and warhorn. Each of these weapons serve a different purpose, but it is up to the player's preference which weapons to choose.

  • Staff - AoE damage while applying conditions
  • Scepter - Some AoE damage while applying conditions
  • Axe - Straight damage
  • Main-hand Dagger - Straight damage
  • Off-hand Dagger - Some AoE damage while applying conditions
  • Off-hand Warhorn - Daze enemies and apply swiftness
  • Off-hand Focus - Straight Damage and strip boons

Each weapon set serves for different builds such as high burst damage, or condition based damage. The build depends on the player, but it is up to the player to choose how to be effective in game.

Using Death Shroud

Use Death Shroud to its fullest potential. This ability is a powerful tool necromancers can use either defensively or offensively, and it is the most effective weapon a necromancer possesses. When in a tight spot, one can enter Death Shroud to activate that second health bar and take more damage. Life Blast, which is the first skill in Death Shroud does immense damage to enemies, especially when a necromancer chooses to specialize in this skill later in the game.

While using the skill, the bar slowly decreases until it runs out. This process occurs more quickly when taking damage from enemies, but once a necromancer exits Death Shroud, he or she can build it up by hitting enemies with weapons and deaths occurring in the surrounding area. When a player becomes more comfortable with using this skill, one will learn when to jump in and out of Death Shroud. This is mostly important in end game activities rather than for beginners.

Death Shroud


Some people may be drawn to a necromancer's ability to summon minions to fight by their side. Some would say this is all a necromancer is about, however minions are not the strongest skills this class can have. So what skills should a player use while leveling? For a player looking to do a lot of damage, wells are generally popular skills to use for taking down large amounts of enemies. Necromancers have several well skills including:

  • Well of Suffering - Damage while applying vulnerability
  • Well of Corruption - Strips boons from enemies
  • Well of Power - Gives stability and removes conditions
  • Well of Darkness - Applies blindness to enemies

Each of these wells is extremely effective, and when placed, they pulse several times. In each method of leveling, whether it be PVE or Edge of the Mists, wells are AoE pressure against enemies and can take down a great amount of health from those attacking a player.

Another skill a new necromancer can consider is Spectral Walk. This gives a player several seconds of swiftness while gaining Life Force if hit by enemies. This skill also allows a necromancer to teleport to when the skill was first activated. Spectral Armor is also a useful skill as it protects a necromancer from some incoming damage.

Here is an example of Well of Corruption, although this well is mainly used for stripping boons.

Spectral Walk


Early in the game, it is not completely necessary to use specific builds, especially when one is slowly discovering skills and playing around with what a necromancer can do. However, it is wise to begin thinking what direction to take the class. Necromancers are capable of:

  • Power Builds - Investing in berserker gear and putting trait points into power, precision, and ferocity.
  • Condition Builds - Investing in condition damage gear and putting trait points into condition duration and condition damage.
  • Minion Mancer Builds - Investing in gear for toughness and vitality and putting trait points into trees for the most minion damage and usefulness in the toughness and vitality trees.
  • Terror Builds - Investing in applying fear to enemies with multiple skills and making one essentially untouchable.

Depending on the goal for a necromancer, builds will change with time. However, one does not need to worry about builds until level 30 considering traits are not unlocked until that level. Builds will be dependent on the end game goal, whether it be PVE such as map completion, dungeons, and temples in Orr; WvW/GvG; PvP.

Disadvantages of a Necromancer

Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages to playing a necromancer.

  • Very few movement skills - Unlike other classes in Guild Wars 2, the necromancer does not have many movement skills available except for Death Shroud 2. Even this skill does not provide a safe getaway for a necromancer in case situations get sticky.
  • No stability - When in WvW, there are many skills being used against a player to catch them in a daze or knock them down. Necromancers do not have the stability to become immune to these control skills. The only cure for this is to be in a party with a guardian who is running a build to support teammates with stability.
  • Not popular for dungeon groups - Necromancers are seen as a low DPS class and are sometimes frowned upon for participating in dungeons. Other classes like warrior and elementalist are preferred unless the necromancer is built for heavy damage.
  • Heavy condition availability but weak condition builds - Many skills this class can use place conditions on enemies, but the class is considered the weakest for builds based on condition damage. However, some necromancers use condition builds and are able to use them effectively against opponents.

© 2014 Samantha Partin


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