Skyforge Necromancer Beginner’s Guide by SilverBones
(AKA: How to Raise Friends and Necrotize People)
First Things First
This guide is simply based on my in-game experiences and feeling for the class. I have the class mastered, I use it primarily in a PvE environment (truthfully, I haven’t played a single PvP match, but I am told the Necro is beastly). So here’s the thing, I am putting this up to help the fellow players like me who love the Necromancer and want to know what to expect. If you know of a better way to play or a more optimal build for PvP or something, let me know and I will amend this post!
Necromancy and You: Your First (Shaky) Steps towards Undeath and Badassness
So here is the deal; Necromancers downright suck when you first unlock them.
If you are one of those guys who min-maxed your way to just scrape together a Necromancer on your first week, and don’t have enough sparks to put into any of your later-tree powers, you are going to be a contributor to the reason why people say to kick Necro players from parties. Your DPS will be abysmal, your skills will not be enough to generate enough Lich Points to regen and your rotation will be meh.
The Necromancer doesn’t come into its element until you are nearly half way through the tree and the skills start to pile up into a good rotation. For me, the Necromancer really started making a difference when I unlocked the Wall of Souls power and the associated talents. Once you get to around this level, you are going to start to freaking love this class.
So Why Do People Say to Kick Necro’s?
Because the Necromancer has a very steep learning curve and there are several nuances that would seem crazy if you were playing another class. Between inexperience in the class, a slow start and the fact that you seem to lose health to thin air, Necro players seem squishier than they actually are. However if you know the skills, the Necro can out-survive the party’s tank.
In a way, this guide is also for players of other classes, so you can understand how Necromancers work and what signs to look for.
Why Would I Play this Dark, Broody, Hunk of Edge?
Because Necromancer – when specced and leveled – can be an absolute late-game monster. I am currently at ~12K Prestige and that is probably because I hate grinding the Order stuff. I am running pretty much any dungeon I want and when I am not burning down bosses, I am CC’ing mobs for more bursty-DPS classes and soloing bosses on 7 bars of HP.
You won’t ever do as much immediate damage as a well-specced DPS class like the Archer or the Slayer, but when it comes to constantly laying into mobs, bosses and anything that strays into your Cursed Land area, you are going to find yourself maniacally laughing and commanding your minions to reap horrors like the rest of us.
That’s what happens when you do that, by the way.
The Basics: THE POWER
Here is a basic overview of your powers.
Your combination of LMB and RMB is going to be your bread and butter rotation. LMB will let you swing your scythe, throwing out a blade of green energy, a second press sends out another one and a third sends out a slightly more powerful projectile.
It should be noted that almost all of your powers are rooted, meaning you cannot use them on the move. This limits your movement greatly, so in solo play, this is a primary contributor as to why early Necro players absolutely, positively, suck. If you get swamped without your later CC powers or you are unable to blast down the mobs quick enough, you will die. Doubly so if your mobs are ranged auto-attackers.
Your RMB is your saving grace however. Hitting it without any LMB clicks before will give you a Cursed Land AoE that can be placed, slowing any enemy speed (apart from some bosses) by 50%. That’s super, super important to a Necro Player. One LMB followed by an RMB will cast Hellfire; a wide AoE that does Damage over Time in a good range. It doesn’t last long, so you will need to refresh it often.
Two LMB’s followed by an RMB will result in a Plague DoT that follows the target around, but it only affects them. This also needs to be refreshed and is often part of a good rotation. There are a couple of Talents to modify these basic powers, but the ones I suggest over the others are Ritual Fire and Accelerated Decomposition. Both of them add insane damage to Hellfire and Plague and those two skills are staple basics. Never remove them from your setup. Ever. Even for Money.
Other Powers – AKA: The Good Stuff
So here is a pretty simple run-down;
‘1’ – Either Wall of Pain or Wall of Souls. Both powers look the same thematically, and travel out in front of you to hit everything in a line. WoP does more damage, where as WoS does less damage, but leaves a damage debuff on the targets. Both can be used equally well and both can be augmented with Talents to either add a DoT or add more distance and remove debuffs on allies.
‘2’ – This little gem is Flaming Skull. It costs a small chunk of health to cast and is one of your highest damage powers. It has a decent cool down, but also has the ability to instantly reset its CD on a chance. When that happens you will get a contextual prompt (your ‘E’ key) to recast it. My suggestion; spam it if you can and have the health to do it. The damage is worth it.
‘3’ – Lich Form. This skill is your saving grace. When you use your skills that cost health, the purple bar below your health will fill. When you use this power, you will spend all of those ‘Lich Points’ and depending on how much you have, the longer you will stay in Lich Form.
It should be noted that if you hit 0 HP, you will automatically enter lich form. However in either case, once you enter Lich form you get a debuff that stops you from entering it again for a small time. If you reach 0 hp during this timer, then you are kaputski.
You can also cast Wall of Souls or Wall of pain, as well as your Ultimate skill in Lich form.
Changing into Lich form replaces your LMB attack with a ranged attack, Sickening Nightmare. This attack will stack a DoT on your target and leech health form them for 10 seconds, even if you change back. With 8-12 stacks of this debuff on an enemy, you are regenerating fast.
Your RMB gets replaced with one of two skills; either Reapers Sweep or Volley of Darkness, depending on what you select. The Sweep does a heinous amount of burst damage, healing you with every swing, and increasing the regained HP if you hit more targets in one swing. The Volley does a metric crap ton of damage to enemies at range and knocks them back, but only heals the Necro based on how many stacks of debuff you have out and functional with Sickening Nightmare.
There are pros and cons to both, but I will go over that later.
‘4’ – This absolutely vital skill is Shadow of the Past. This is a Necromancers bread and butter opener. When you cast it, you drop a statue down that lasts for a few seconds. When the statue is out, you can take as much damage as you like, cast health-fueled powers and all sorts. When the timer is up and you warp back to the statue, you return to the same amount of health you had when you cast the power. The exception here is if you die. Be super careful how much damage you take, because the warping animation take a couple seconds and your Lich form counter doesn’t pause. You can potentially waste a good Lich form with a poorly timed Statue.
‘Z’ – Hitting this will put you in Summoning Stance. When you are in this stance, you have the following choices of creature to summon;
- Ghostly Vipers – Three Tanking Minions that generate a lot of threat.
- Ghostly Mantide – An AoE blasting Mantide that is great for wiping out trash mobs.
- Ghostly Carrion – A large, single-target DPS melee summon that can do some exceptional damage.
The 4th option will cancel out of Summoning Stance.
Each summon is incredibly situational and is often used as a good opener after a statue. If you are up against a boss? Send the Carrion. Trash mobs? Spawn the Mantide. Need to take some pressure off your tank for a moment? Vipers will do the trick!
‘X’ – Is a skill you won’t unlock until much later. Even when you do, it will be greyed out for a majority of the fight. This skill comes into play when you have a summon out. Again, it is highly situational, but here is a small rundown;
- Possession buffs your current summons to do an extra 60% damage. This is great when fighting bosses and paired with the Carrion. This can also be augmented to restore the health of the summoned X and remove debuffs.
- Shield of the Banished will destroy your summons and give you a shield that absorbs up to 32% of your health. It can also be augmented to make you immune to things like stun and movement impairing effects.
‘C’ – This is probably the hardest skill to decide on, depending on your playstyle. I’ll get right into your choices here.
Grave grabs mobs (except bosses) interrupts their powers and sends them directly back a good distance. It does a decent amount of damage and although I cannot confirm this empirically, it seems to make you lose agro. It can also be modded to direct the mobs into the nearest Cursed Land AoE, making it very useful for CC centric players.
Rift of Horror is a powerful skill. It does a good deal of damage up front, it has a small DoT and causes enemies to panic for 4 seconds, making it a good way to burn down enemies deciding to swarm you. It can also be augmented to cause any hit to an enemy to be a critical for 5 seconds after being hit. This can be huge.
‘R’ – Finally, your Ultimate skill, Ghostly Flow, does continuous damage in a line in front of you. This damage is fairly moderate, but more importantly it fills up your Lich Points and resets the CD on your Lich form, making it a great last-ditch survival pop, especially since it increases in potency with every enemy you hit.
The Art of Edgelording: How to Build your Necromancer
There are several ways to build your Necromancer, and I am going to really only talk about 2 ways; Solo PvE and Group PvE. I am not a huge fan of PvP gaming (mainly because I am a casual scrublord) but in an effort to do my research, I will probably play some to put up my thoughts on this guide at a later date, or have you guys discuss PvP building in the replies below.
In both cases I use the following Talents;
- Fast Recovery
- Accelerated Decomposition
- Ritual Fire
- Funeral Lament
At my current level, I have two remaining slots to unlock, but when I get them, I will probably use them for Vampirism (for some extra regen) and Cursed Viper (because this will work well with your Master Symbol).
With that in mind, let’s start;
Solo PvE – AKA: Playing With Yourself and Corpses
For me, Solo PvE involves doing enough damage to wipe out mobs and surviving long enough to get past the ones you miss. Since nothing is tanking for you, keeping enemies at range may not always be your best bet. With that in mind, I use the following;
- Wall of Souls (Modified with Wall of Flames)
- Reapers Sweep (Modified with Veil of Death)
- Rift of Horror
- Shield of the Banished
At this point you want to focus on your openers. A good Cursed Land followed by a Hellfire and then a Rift of Horror when mobs get close will generally wipe out most solo trash in no time. Focus on the trash first, then drop DoT’s all over the harder enemies once they are wiped out. It cannot be emphasized enough that wiping out mobs before they get to you is super important. Even though you can turn into Lich form and Reapers Sweep does a metric ass-ton of damage, you risk being swarmed still if you don’t kill everything. Lich form should be your last line of defense or a tool to burst down harder enemies.
Summons are always going to be situational, but if you find yourself being pressured by a hard enemy as a solo player, drop some vipers, let them do some damage and then banish them for a shield when they get close to the end of their timer. That should give you some breathing room. Don’t rule out the Mantide for quick mob clearing though. Sometimes a Mantide summon can do most of the work for you before you even get a rotation off.
Group PvE – AKA: Awkward Tea Partying
Grouping up as either a Squad or a Group (potentially even a raid) means you can be put in a very hard situation. You could go full DPS, but that means you sacrifice a lot of your utility. For me, the abilities of the Necromancer makes it more of a support/DPS hybrid class when properly utilized. You can remove debuffs, you can slow enemies, take pressure off of your tank and sometimes, just sometimes, survive long enough to do that last bit of damage to a boss when the rest of the party has wiped. That’s on top of the constant stream of damage you are pushing out.
- Wall of Souls (Modified with Veil of Oblivion)
- Volley of Darkness
- Grave (Modified with Cemetery)
Good openers take a lateral place next to overall support. Your Cursed Land can drag mobs into controlled areas and Grave will do that from afar. This lets larger AoE classes hit everyone consistently. Staying at range and spamming your Hellfire and Plague on larger enemies should be your primary concern, slamming them with a Flaming Skull every now and then when it hits CD.
Summons can be used with more clarity when you are not under pressure. For some reason, Necromancers generate a very little amount of threat. Generally, I only get focused if I hit first or am the last one standing. (Which is often, given my cockroach-like survivability.) When the tank is getting slammed a bit too hard, I will send in some Vipers to remove some pressure and let him get health orbs. Every time you summon in group PvE, the first thing you should do is buff it with Possession. No exceptions. It costs a lot of health, so do it after dropping Shadows of the Past to gain it all back or when you are about ready to pop Lich.
Staying at range means you don’t need to worry about maneuverability as much. A good rotation to use is as follows;
- Cursed Land
- LMB > LMB > RMB (Plague)
- LMB > RMB (Hellfire)
- Flaming Skull (If it procs the immediate CD keep recasting it until it doesn’t).
- LMB > LMB > RMB (Plague)
- LMB > RMB (Hellfire)
- Wall of Souls
Then Rinse and Repeat, making sure to refresh Cursed Land when it runs out. When you hit about 1/3rd or 1/4th health, pop your Lich Form and blast the biggest enemy with 6 stacks of Sickening Nightmare, then pop a Volley of Darkness to pretty much refill your health. Use the rest of your Lich form to keep dropping stacks of debuff on your enemy of choice, then return to your rotation.
Use your summons when the situation demands for it. Generally it will only be as an opener to wipe mobs or a DPS to open on a boss, or the vipers to give the tank some space. If you find a moment to pop your Shadows of the Past mid-fight, follow up with the appropriate summon, use Possession, throw a Flaming Skull and if you are super-fast, you can drop another Cursed Land before you warp back to the statue.
Mastering the Necromancer – AKA: True Edgelords Only Wear Black
When you complete the Necro Tree, you are gifted with two symbol slots, the Necromancer Assassin outfit (which looks pretty freaking badass) and the Ghostly Viper class Symbol. All of these things are well worth mastering the class.
Ghostly Viper spawns a tanking worm that lasts for 20 seconds based on a % per attack. When combined with a class like gunner who attacks very quickly, you are spawning one of these little sods every few seconds (when it cools down). This also works with the Viper Talent, so you have a very potent buddy showing up to aid you if you need it.
If you want to see the armor, here it is!
(Note: I am using the CE hood)
Glorious isn’t it?
There are a couple of things I wanted to bring up.
Due to the limitation on edits, I am not doing any under-construction parts to this post. I am giving you the very basic nuances of being a Necro, and seeing as we are in beta and things are likely to change, I did not want to drill down into specific builds or stats or anything (since they will be changing in upcoming patches.)
Playing a Necro can be very rewarding. If you do it right and you stay with the class, you can be a great support DPS class as well as a solo survivor with no equal. Again, I didn’t play much any PvP, but after seeing all the ‘Nerf Necro’ posts about it, I am assuming they are fairly dire to fight against in the arena, and with good reason.
I am constantly finding out new ways to play the class so I may post amendments in the guide later, but as it stands, Necro is by far my favorite class and I look forward to seeing what great things and tactics you discover, so share them with me, damnit.
Welcome to the Order of Edgelords, Fellow Necromancers.
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