Game Mobalytics

Top Summoner Necromancer Build for Diablo 4 (Season 1)

Introduction

This comprehensive guide focuses on the beloved playstyle of controlling an army of Skeletal Minions to decimate your enemies. However, it’s crucial to note that this Minion-focused Necromancer build has certain drawbacks in terms of clear-speed, damage output, and survival until you reach Level 50+. We recommend switching to this build only after progressing the Paragon Boards to fortify your army with layers of defense and offense. In addition to commanding minions, this build employs Decrepify to Curse enemies and slow them down, as well as consistent damage output using Bone Spear.

While it is possible to level with this build, we strongly encourage you to check out the Necromancer Leveling guide for a smoother experience through the campaign before adopting this build. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to join the livestream and ask us!

Build Requirements

The beauty of this build is that it has no mandatory items or aspects to function, allowing you to play it right from the start!

Video Guide

Please note that the video guide serves to demonstrate gameplay and general build mechanics rather than providing a precise build guide. For the most up-to-date and accurate information, always refer to this written guide, as updating the video with new information is not possible.

Strengths and Weaknesses

To understand how this build stacks up against others on our site, consult our build tier lists.

Season of the Malignant

Season 1 Patch Updates

The Season 1 Patch Update introduces various changes specific to this build. For a complete list of all guide updates, refer to the Changelog.

Patch 1.1

  • Increased the range of Raise Skeleton, Corpse Explosion, and Corpse Tendrils for auto-targeting Corpses on mouse and keyboard by 50%.
  • Increased the bonus damage of Raise Skeleton Skeletal Priest from 20% to 30%.
  • Increased the healing of Raise Skeleton Skeletal Priest from 10% to 15%.
  • Increased the healing of Transfusion Minion from 15/30/45% to 20/40/60%.
  • Increased Amplify Damage from 3/6/9% to 4/8/12%.
  • Necromancer’s minions will now automatically re-summon after respawning during a World Boss fight.
  • Increased the bonus Bone Storm duration of Osseous Gale Aspect from 4-8 to 5-10 seconds.
  • Reduced the maximum stacks of Aspect of Disobedience from 100 to 60, resulting in a reduction of maximum Bonus Armor % from 25%-50% to 15%-30%.
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Patch 1.1.1

  • Reduced the damage dealt to Druid Companions and Necromancer Minions by the following attacks:
    • Balrog:
      • Fire Breath.
    • Elite Affixes:
      • Fire Enchanted.
      • Electrified Obelisks.
      • Shock Lance.

The buffs to our minions’ damage and the defensive buffs to our minions offered by the 1.1.1 patch greatly enhance this build. We’ve also received quality-of-life improvements such as improved corpse targeting and increased damage output through Amplify Damage.

Malignant Hearts

The Season 1 theme introduces Malignant Hearts that provide highly impactful bonuses. Each heart is categorized by color and needs to be socketed in the corresponding colored Malignant Socket on your equipped jewelry. Listed below are the Malignant Hearts ranked by importance for this build. The displayed stats reflect what a Level 20 character would receive as a drop.

  • Caged Heart of the Great Feast (Wrathful, Super-World Tier IV):
    • Each Minion drains 1.0-2.0 Essence per second but deals 50-75% increased damage. With no Minions, this bonus applies to you and drains 5 Essence per second. Combine this heart with the Determination heart.
  • Caged Heart of Determination (Devious, Utility):
    • Resource draining effects are 40-50% less effective. Additionally, gain 3.0-8.0% increased Resource Generation.
  • Caged Heart of the Sacrilegious (Vicious, Offensive):
    • Walking near a Corpse automatically activates an equipped Corpse Skill every second, dealing 40-30% reduced damage.

Skill Tree Points

The following tables provide the full allocation of Skill Points for the Summoner Necromancer build. The first table covers the most important 48 points required to start the build, while the second table accounts for the remaining 10 points to be allocated once you obtain all Skill Points from Renown.

(Include images of the Skill Tree allocation tables)

Book of the Dead

For this build, it is important to keep all minions alive and not sacrifice any of them. Here are the recommended choices:

  • Melee Skeletons and Reaper Skeletons:
    • Focus on generating corpses to trigger Hewed Flesh, which fortifies you.
  • Mage Skeletons and Cold Skeletons:
    • Provide a significant amount of Essence per hit.
  • Golem and Bone Golem:
    • Offer additional layers of defense by taunting enemies and shedding corpses when taking damage.

Paragon Board

The Paragon progression system becomes available at Level 50 and grants significant character power. When allocating points on the Paragon Board, prioritize Damage reduction for your Minions, Minion damage and Attack Speed, Intelligence, Resistance, and Life for Normal and Magic Nodes. As you level up Glyphs, their radius increases. Therefore, if you cannot meet the Additional Bonus requirements initially, postpone allocating extra Nodes. It’s worth noting that you may not acquire the desired glyph when reaching your first socket. In such cases, temporarily slot in any Glyph that provides beneficial stats until you obtain the correct one. Below, you’ll find images detailing the recommended pathing and the locations of Glyphs and the order in which to choose your Paragon Boards after the starting board.

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Starting Board

The focus of the starting board is to reach the socket slot on the left-hand side, aiming for the Mage Glyph. If the radius allows for it, pick up extra Intelligence Nodes. Proceed upwards to the next board by taking all Magic Nodes and the Rare Node on the right side.

Cult Leader (2nd Board)

Cult Leader, the second board, is crucial due to its significant scaling modifiers for your minions in both offensive and defensive aspects. Rotate the board to rapidly reach the Legendary node on the left side, picking up the Rare and Magic nodes adjacent to it. From there, meticulously collect every Rare and Magic node on the entire board. When you reach the socket, slot in the Deadraiser Glyph. Similarly to the starting board, take the extra Intelligence if its radius meets the bonus modifier requirement. Finally, path towards the right-hand side for the third board.

Hulking Monstrosity (3rd Board)

The third board, Hulking Monstrosity, follows a similar pattern to the previous board. Rush towards the Legendary Node, gathering the Rare and Magic Nodes on the way. When you reach the socket, slot in the Control Glyph and allocate extra Nodes for Intelligence if the Glyph radius permits the bonus modifier. Remember to acquire the displayed Rare and Magic nodes before moving upward to the fourth board.

Scent of Death (4th Board)

Rotate the last board, Scent of Death, to secure the socket slot first, using the Warrior Glyph. As before, collect additional attributes if the radius qualifies for the bonus modifier. Finally, complete your progression by obtaining the remaining Rare and Magic nodes.

Paragon board images courtesy of d4builds.gg.

Mechanics and Playstyle

The primary objective is to keep all your minions alive. Use the Raise Skeleton skill every 5 seconds to maintain the damage buff and healing on your minions. Additionally, Curse enemies with Decrepify and utilize Bone Spear to apply Vulnerable and deal increased damage. Thanks to your Mage Skeletons, you’ll have access to abundant Essence. When running out of Essence, spam the Summon Skeleton skill to generate more Essence via Grim Harvest.

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For boss battles or encounters with tougher elites, unleash Bone Storm, your potent damage cooldown. This provides a significant boost to Critical Strike Chance, of which 30% is granted to your minions.

The last slot on your Skill Bar is reserved for the Golem.

Avoid using Bone Splinters on the Skill Bar; allocate points to it only due to the requirements in the Basic cluster.

Gear Choice and Stat Priority

When it comes to your weapon, prioritize a higher total damage output as it directly correlates with your performance. Keep in mind that a higher Item Power 1-Handed weapon, when paired with an Off-Hand or Shield, can potentially surpass the effectiveness of a 2-Handed weapon, thanks to the 80% scaling factor with Shields. In addition, keep an eye out for the following modifiers (not in any particular order, though the bolded ones are especially important):

    • Critical Strike Damage
    • Critical Strike Damage with Bone skills
    • Movement Speed
    • Movement Speed for X seconds after killing an elite
    • Movement Speed
    • Movement Speed for X seconds after killing an elite
    • Minion Attack Speed
    • Critical Strike Chance
    • Critical Strike Damage

Legendary Aspects and Codex of Power

The following Aspects, which can be found in dungeons or on Legendary Items, are essential for the Summoner Necromancer build. To ensure the build functions properly, it is crucial to prioritize the survival and high attack speed of your minions. Aspects such as Aspect of Hardened Bones and Aspect of Frenzied Dead are pivotal.

(Include images of the Legendary Aspects)

Unique Item

The unique Ring of Mendeln greatly enhances this build as its Lucky Hit causes your Minions’ next attack to explode, dealing substantial damage. With this Unique, you can elevate your damage output to new heights.

Gems

To maximize the potential of your gear, consider socketing the following gems:

  • Weapon: Royal Emerald to increase damage dealt against Vulnerable targets.
  • Armor: Royal Ruby to boost your life.
  • Jewelry: Royal Skull for increased Armor.

Elixirs and Health Potions

To gain an edge during your adventures, visit the Alchemist and craft Elixirs that enhance your stats and experience gain for 30 minutes. Remember to collect the necessary crafting materials by foraging plants. Choose an Elixir that provides the resistance most needed or try the Assault Elixir to increase your Attack Speed.

Upon reaching Level 20, 30, 45, 60, 70, 80, and 90, revisit the Alchemist to upgrade your potion. The additional healing provided is crucial for survival.

Changelog

  • August 7th, 2023: Guide updated for Patch 1.1.1.
  • July 19th, 2023: Guide updated for Season 1, including Malignant Hearts.

(Include images of the Changelog)

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