Rift 61 Necromancer Guide by Inixia
Why Play Necromancer?
Do you like sending out hoardes of undead minions? Sowing chaos among enemy batteries and overwhelming key targets with streams of black magic? Then necromancer is your class.
Necro is a lot of fun, but also has a few quirks too that are less apparent to someone glossing over its ability list alone. Its definitely viable though in general warfronts (B-Tier), and even stronger in organized pvp.
Its strength is its ability to focus and build dmg on sturdier targets (usually healers and esp on its cooldowns), and put out a lot of overall damage (st + splash) in denser group combat. (total dmg is usually the leaderboard stat you will look at if anything)
Aside from this its also very viable at playing backlines better than many specs because of its disjointed pet attacks (as well as decent on line of sight on its pet cds). Its surprisingly mobile, and it has a dmg reduction you can use to help healers stay alive and help out your group.
Its weaknesses, however, are that its not a class with a lot of front end dmg, its burst takes time to buildup (you need to weave it together rather than just blasting someone), and this means that in situations where enemies are scattered around or enemies are just dying quickly in general its very hard to get out your dmg reliably. The dot based nature of its attacks (in partnership with your pets) also means its susceptible to cleanses, and its easier in general to heal through individually. Necromancer isn’t a kb class, but it can get some kbs as a side effect, and you need to be able to pay attention and multitask to keep your pet healthy and your dots going. Necromancer is also fairly group oriented because it lacks defensive options… it basically has one trick which is essentially playing dead and then hoping your opponent has trouble picking up the target when you reanimate.
If you are familiar with FPS, necromancer is sort of the suppression fire class, its not the rambo like class that is running around picking off people like pyro, but it provides a lot of cover to make that happen, its great at locking down healing (even if you arent’ killing them you can often get them to focus on themselves or back off) and can ultimately make or break the momentum of another team.
If I’d give any single tip for the class its to not be overly aggressive, stick with your group and play the backlines/line of sight/corners, if someone starts to focus fire you don’t be afraid to back off or feign death, don’t be brave- drag them into your team and stretch their heals, get away from situations where you are overwhelmed. 90% of necro is putting yourself in the right situations (a figure I just made up, but yes its important).
is 61 Necromancer / 13 Elementalist / 2 Harbinger
(real necros use 61 necro ;) )
(The last two points aren’t crucial in my exp, putting them in harb gives you slightly more dmg from yourself, putting the 2 in ele gives you slightly more on the side of your pet, I like having harbinger as the side soul because of the lightning blade buff which will proc alongside last gasp)
Other requirements: You want to use the Shadow Revenant in most cases, dress for valor if possible, and also try to look dark and badass in general. This is Necromancer afterall.
There is one really useful macro for the class which contains most of your dots and cd based dmg and ending in plague bolt. It also helps to manage who your pet is attacking without having to repeatedly redirect it. It goes something like this (I’m not sure how important the dot order is):
Cast Corpse Talon
Cast Reaper’s Touch
Cast Last Gasp
Cast Plague Bolt
But its also wrong to think of necro as a 1 macro class, there is a lot of multitasking and attention to details that people can take for granted- pretty much its entire moveset has some use.
Corpse Talon has a larger cast time and it can sometimes be incovenient so you can move or jump around to set off the instant casts and plague bolt procs instead. You can also place condemn on the side to better use it with deathly callings (the stacks that build up on enemies and increase your dmg- the icon is located under their name), and last gasp is good to have individually as well to tag people with if needed.
Reaper’s Touch has a small snare attached which helps your pets from being kited, but its not esp useful to have on its own.
You can also use #show [ability] to get the picture for an ability in the macro (and then delete that line after it renders)
The other good Macro to have is
#show grave rot
cast @gtae grave rot
cast grave rot
this will cast grave rot directly onto an enemy without needing to place it on the ground (or if no enemy will still give you the ground circle). As of the latest patch grave rot the macro no longer gets around line of sight, so grave rot doesn’t get used much except for some tacked on aoe dmg and to throw another dot on someone without facing them. Grave Rot is also a good ability to have if you need to flush out stealthers or keep dmg on something like the objective in black garden to keep opponents from picking it up. I don’t include it in the main macro because its dmg is usually wasted and active opponents will run out of the cloud.
How to Play:
Before you start make sure you have Bone Armor, Infection, and Lightning Blade up. Also A weapon pvp powerstone if you have it, and possibly blood thirsty or any other releveant consumables. Hard cast your shadow revenant pet before the fight (try to conserve exhume) if its not up already. Be sure to recast Infection each time you summon a pet or zone in (it falls off during zone ins). And from time to time check on the status of bone armor, since it is especially vulnerable to purges. If you are in an open world or 5v5 situation where splash dmg is not much of a factor and your pet doesn’t have trouble getting to a target its ok to summon zealot in place of revenant.
A few Targeting and Mark macros are also very useful to have setup.
Soul Bond- place this on one of the stronger healers at the start of the game and recast it on them as you or they die (or its purged). If you are very comfortable multitasking your pet and your dots and your buffs and your health, you may also try to shift soul bond around some to teammates who are in immediate need of protection to help out your healers. But having it on a single strong healer is fine for most games.
summary: (Putrify if off cd)->Ignite->necrosis->crystalline missiles->spam your macro add in essence link for cds/heavier targets) Maintain Bone Frenzy as soon as you have charge (if not going for ETC first), and then use excess charge on Lich form
For basic attacks you want to try to Putrify if its up as you are heading towards a target (you can use this from out of range since its self cast) and then apply Ignite, Necrosis, and Crystalline Missiles (CM)(necrosis and ignite share a cd so you can keep them up together- and make sure you keep the pet buffs from ignite and CM up as much as possible) after these are up you can spam your main macro. The buff for CM shows up under your pet’s bar which can make it a little harder to manage (while your dots show up under the opponents name), if its too difficult you can also substitute CM in place of Plague Bolt in the macro and it will come up more often for only a slight drop in dmg. As you gain charge you want to use it on Bone Frenzy and then maintain that buff as you go forward. Excess charge can be used on lich form (provided you don’t need to use it for Empty the Crypts- try to plan ahead so there isn’t gaps in bone frenzy)- but lich form also can make you more noticeable.
Be aware of dots when there are cleanses going, and try to reapply (ignite esp) if it gets removed. Depending on how dense people are stacked in that warfront.
Its a good idea to try to pick out key targets like healers and try to stick on them instead of target switching too much, but don’t chase too if they start moving back too far. If you know your target is going to stay up a bit you should think about putting essence link on them as well, especially after unloading your cooldowns, its a slight raise to dmg with some small self heals.
Last gasp can be a little buggy since while its up it can constantly proc dmg shield which makes it hard to mount or drink out of combat potions at times (its also reflectable each time a stack is added), but its still a very powerful move, because its stays up on well healed enemies a long time and is hard to cleanse through (which helps protect your other dots)
You can cast most of your dots without needing to face an enemy (ignite, necrosis, the dots in your macro and grave rot…). But in general if you need to space out an enemy its good to know how to maximize how much you can run away while casting, say for plague bolt procs. Try to run slightly away from 180 degrees and then jump, and while in the air turn towards the enemy cast and then turn back (you won’t lose direction by turning while airborne). It takes a bit of practice but is a good tool to have.
Some less important stuff:
Corpse Explosion- as of the latest patch the spread mechanic has been removed and stacks have been limited to three- its dmg is low and if you put it on an opponent it will make an explosion around them after they die. Its very situational and doesn’t have a strong impact- it can still be worked in as a total dmg increase, however, if you are reasonably certain that the opponent will be in range of opponents when they die (keep in mind it will likely be cleansed some if you try to build stacks early on), you can also tag an enemy with it right before they die, or place it on an npc in port scion (which has a greater chance of dying if the other team’s healing is strong)
You also have a single target purge, but its on a 6s cooldown. It can come in useful for getting rid of defiler links or certain rb or nb buffs. Its hard to work in sometimes, just because its fairly hit or miss whether you will get rid of the right buff. For some classes, like nb/rs, this seems to take forever (maybe I’m just not lucky)
I never use Desecrate but it can be used as a finisher if you have DC stacks built up… its not that good and will remove your Deathly Calling stacks (which increase your overall dmg on a target) and has to be spaced out with condemn, but it has a small edge on instant dmg on most of your spells if you are reasonably certain the enemy is going to die as a result of it.
Knowing how to work around your cooldowns is one of the major keys to the class, you have three that are really relevant:
Mass Graves (MG), Empty the Crypts (ETC) and Possession
CD use in general- you want to use them often enough that you can get them out quite a bit in a match, don’t hold them back only for emergencies, at the same time don’t summon them immediately off of cd either, you will want to have them for dicier situations, and in general its good to summon after you have some dot buildup on an enemy first (at least your opening/petbuffs just to help maximize cd burst), make sure you have chosen a sturdier target which it won’t be wasted on (and maybe with a few targets surrounding them too so they can move to someone else).
Try to time out Mass Graves and ETC together when other team’s healing is strong, but sometimes its beneficial to split them up if healing is weak and you want to cause a wider range of dmg. Possession is a great balance to the cooldowns of the other abilities, (don’t use it while the other cds are up or it will make them disappear) and is very powerful against enemy groups.
MG and ETC pets are uncontrollable and don’t allow you to exert direct control of their movements so its important to cast them carefully on targets. Luckily you can cast them from out of line of sight provided the enemy is in range (this makes ETC especially good at getting to people who are on ledges because the zombies spawn on them). MG is a little harder to cast from ledges though because the zealot needs to path to enemies and get within melee range. You can also use Exhume with Mass Graves to turn it into an instant cast spell (but if your main pet is threatened try to reserve it for that). If the opposing team healing is very strong and you are comfortable with target switching you can try to rift tomb another healer while focusing on your main target.
When you have these cds running on an enemy you really want to latch onto them and go all out provided you have a reasonable amount of healing to do it. If your opponent runs away though or starts kiting your pets you do have one trick up your sleeve. Try to run up to a nearby and separate target from the one you are attacking. You can feign death and this will cause your pets to teleport back to you, then attack the new target, the pets should attack him as well (based on proximity).
Possession is more reserved for group combat, each pet has its own version, but for this guide I will mainly focus on the revenant moveset. Possession isn’t as important as your other cooldowns to have a specific target with since its mostly aoe, its more important to keep attacking enemies within a specific area (where opponents are closer together). Its really good for hitting chokepoints such as the bridge and the paths into the bridge in Port Scion and the side paths of Karthan Ridge.
While under Possession you are given 4 abilities, and if you time it right you can unleash 3 of your most powerful ability (Rage of the Master) in a single cooldown.
Rage of the Master is your fourth ability and the one you will likely start off with, its a channel that does heavy dmg on each tick (so place it on someone who isn’t likely to line of sight you or run out of the group while its going)
the 3d ability is an aoe based DOT that also places necrosis on everyone in the group. Since its instant cast it also makes it your only movement friendly spell.
the 2nd ability is an aoe based direct dmg spell that is slightly more dmg than the first ability-
which is basically your 0 cooldown filler move, but with the side effect of also lowering the cooldown of Rage of the Master. The first and second abilities are also castable under the effects of certain ccs (like stun and transmorgify I believe)
Ideally you can work with a priority of 4-3-2-1, but occassionally if you are cc’d (silenced for example) or interrupted you may want to forgo the 2nd and 3d spells and focus on the 1st spell so you can make sure that you can start the third Rage of the Master before the effect wears off.
Its also important to know how to end Possession early and protect yourself as needed (or if your pet is starting to run low on health in the background due to bone armor). Because being a scary lich undead shooting a purple beam onto the other team that does heavy dmg tends to get you a lot of attention, and focus fire. There isn’t currently an easy way to do this, you need to manually right click off the buff under your buff listing. And then you can feign death as needed.
How to Protect Yourself
Ideally you want to not draw too much attention, stay with your group and in range of your healers. But when that doesn’t work, you have two defensive moves: Feign Death, and Rift Tomb (which is the PVP soultree ability non exclusive to necromancer).
Feign Death is the most important defensive move for necro for a lot of reasons- it brings back your main pet and detargets enemies from it which is useful for pet management, its allows you to redirect your uncontrollable cooldowns, and most importantly it detargets enemies targetting you.
You don’t actually need to hold it long (unless you are very close to death and need to actually risk fooling someone into thinking your are dead), and moving or attacking will break your laying down position. Its especially useful in group combat because you have a lot of allies to distract attention off of you. You need to be careful to wait before re attacking too quickly or your offensive abilities will cause them to retarget you (if they don’t have anyone targetted yet), last gasp also makes this a bit hard because if it adds a stack (and it does each time they are healed) it counts as the “first tick” of a dot which means it will cause them to target you as well I believe. Having said that if you are by yourself you have a fun trick at your disposal… your ONLY trick really.
Say you get stealth attacked- you want to try to summon your MG and ETC cooldowns as soon as you can, then feign death and move slightly forwards (or backwards) – this will cause all of your pets to spawn and become visible. At this point they’ve hopefully lost you in your pets, wait til they have one targetted, then you can run off to the side or stay within your pet clump and attack them. Hopefully this buys you the time needed to take them out. If they catch on quick though, all that’s left is to try to rift tomb them and run away or try to get out of line of sight of them and have your pet(s) attack them. try to keep on the opposite side of the tree or pillar, line of sight will work to your advantage as long as your pets stay up.
Feign death (and feign death with pets) is also important if you get pulled (most often by warriors) into an enemy group. Feign Death as soon as you can to cut off attackers and immediately either try to get out of sight, jump off a cliff or run back to your healers. The one thing that helps here is to detarget everyone after FD, that way you will automatically retarget whoever starts attacking you first. If that person hits you accidentally by aoeing hit escape to clear your target again… eventually someone will hit you who you will see has you targetted, then you can rift tomb them. You can cast rift tomb on enemies without needing to face them.
Finally, if you are near a ledge and a melee ranged class starts attacking you, you can run towards the edge, as the enemy closes in on you can jump backwards suddenly and rift tomb them when they are nearer to the ledge sending them over.
You have Break Free and Loyal Minion as well which act as cc breaks, break free is usually my first choice. Loyal Minion is a cc immunity shield, however, it also very risky because it takes off half your pet’s health (be very careful not to kill it this way). Also it doesn’t seem to stop certain ccs atm, so be cautious using it, especially if you are fairly new to the spec. (I mean, unless you are desperate). the shield portion of loyal minion is really bad (and drops on 1 tick of most dots)
How to Manage Your Pet
Managing your pet takes a bit of practice, mainly you need to keep an eye on its health. And if you are having real trouble you can put soul bond on the pet, but ideally this is reserved for healers. The mage pet is a bit squishy and can sometimes go into dangerous areas trying to get to a target. Your main tools for pet management are Soul Purge and Feign Death.
Soul purge is a channelled low dmg spell that heals your pet for 10% per tick. The self heal portion is really low (don’t use it to that end its not worth it and puts you in range of attackers). So its your main ability to heal your pet.
Other than that feign death will remove your pet from dmg by porting them to you (or if you need to reposition them). The pet will also be removed with possession, however, it will still take damage in the background from Bone Armor (which transfers some dmg to you to the pet) so be careful its not killed during this period.
Exhume is a high cooldown ability that allows you to instantly summon your pet again if it dies (provided you didn’t use it for mass graves), but if this isn’t up, or if there is not a lot of pressure, I recommend just ducking out of combat or behind or pillar and hard casting it. Be sure to recast Infection once its up.
In 5v5s I will save exhume and if the other team is attacking my mage pet too hard I will bring up one of the tankier pets (Zealot or Knight) after it dies- its extremely difficult to find space to resummon it in 5v5s.
-Before the match summon your pet and buff up, place soul bond on a strong ally healer
-Try to stick with your group movements and don’t expose yourself too much on the frontline. (be smart/prudent not brave)
-Don’t focus on stragglers, focus on main targets like healers (especially. If your team’s healing allows you to reach their backlines well) or people focus attacking you unless they move out too much. Target switching too often and preying on weaker targets, unlike more kb focused classes, is not great for necro.
-(Putrify if off cd)->Ignite->necrosis->crystalline missiles->spam your macro add in essence link for cds/heavier targets) Maintain Bone Frenzy as soon as you have charge (if not going for ETC first), and then use excess charge on Lich form
-Keep dots up through cleanses (mainly ignite), CM every 10s.
-Watch your health and do not be afraid to feign death or drag enemies into your backlines and los.
-Watch your pet’s health and feign death or soul purge as needed.
-Use your MG/ETC cds on key targets and try to focus on them. Use possession against more clumped together groups and try to go for 3 rage of the masters.
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