Guild Wars 2 Necromancer Death Shroud and Life Force Guide – How To

By   /   Aug 26, 2012


Death Shroud is an extension of your normal hot bar skills for Necromancer while Life Force is a fuel for your Death Shroud. These two mechanics are unique to Necromancer and even in the right hands, they are difficult to manage.

If you are to play Necromancer in Guild Wars 2, you have to understand how they work and how should manage these two. For more help on Necromancer, read our Necromancer Builds Guide.

Now that I have your interested, let’s look at each separately.

Death Shroud

Death Shroud is a game mechanic unique to the profession “Necromancer” in Guild Wars 2. You can think of Life Force as a fuel for your Death Shroud. Basically, Death Shroud is an extension of your normal hot bar skills in combat.

Death shroud also increases the necro’s survivability while active since incoming damage will deplete your available Life Force instead of your health.

Provided you’ve built up sufficient life force; you can enter death shroud at any time by pressing the [F1] key. Upon doing so, a new bar containing four skills will appear on-screen however keep this in mind that as long as your Death Shroud is active your weapon, healing, utility, and elite skills will be disabled. It will end once your available life force has been depleted, or you hit [F1] again.

It should be noted that your death shroud skills must be unlocked through the active use in combat the same way your weapon skills are. This process must be done twice since you will have a different set of death shroud skills while underwater, so those can only be unlocked via engaging in underwater combat.

When Death Shroud is activated, these skills replace the normal weapon skill bar. Although you can’t change them, they can be upgraded using traits.

Key:

  • Skill (Recharge)
  • Description

Life Blast (-)
Blast a foe with accumulated life force, dealing more damage the more life force you have.

Dark Path (15)
Send out a claw. If this attack hits a foe, you teleport to that foe and chill nearby foes.

Doom (20)
Make your foe flee in fear.

Life Transfer (40)
Damage nearby foes and steal their life force.

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End Death Shroud (-)
Leave death shroud and return to your normal form.

The skills change while underwater:

Life Blast (-)
Blast a foe with a plague that transfers one condition to them.

Dark Water (15)
Blind and poison foes near your target with a dark cloud.

Wave Of Fear (25)
Terrify all foes in front of you with a wave of fear.

Gathering Plague (30)
Draw conditions from nearby allies to yourself, and inflict weakness on yourself.

End Death Shroud (-)
Leave death shroud and return to your normal form.

When you are in Death Shroud form your character will appear as a dark, ghostly form for the duration. While this looks incredibly cool, the main thing to know is that this visual transformation will alert enemy players to the fact that you’re using death shroud and will react accordingly.

It’s important to note that you will need to unlock each set of death shroud skills independently through active use in combat. Likewise, you’ll also want to pay attention to the differences between the 4 death shroud skills you’ll have access to.

Building Life Force

To use death shroud, you must first build up some life force. The life force meter is displayed directly above your weapon skills.

You will build up life force in the following ways:

  • Whenever a nearby enemy creature or player is defeated
  • Through active use of certain weapon or utility skills (listed below)
  • Through the passive state of the Signet of Undeath utility skill

You will typically build up life force very quickly while participating in dynamic events that involve defeating creatures.

You can take advantage of this fact at lower levels to both unlock your death shroud skills, and get into the habit of entering and exiting death shroud in combat.

Once you enter death shroud, your available life force will slowly deplete naturally, and incoming damage will reduce your life force instead of your health.

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To increase the rate at which you generate life force, there are a number of skills that you will want to consider working into your build. They are listed below:

key:

  • Skill Name (Type)
  • Life Force Gain/Recharge (s)

Blood Is Power (Utility)
20%/30

Feast (Trident)
5%/12

Feast Of Corruption (Scepter)
+2% life force per condition on target/10

Ghastly Claws (Axe)
4%/8

Life Transfer (Death Shroud)
5% channeled/40

Necrotic Bite (Dagger Main hand)
5%/no recharge

Necrotic Grasp (Staff)
3%/no recharge

Reapers Scythe (Spear)
3%/no recharge

Signet Of Undeath (Utility)
1% life force every 3 seconds Passive signet state/180

Spectral Armor (Utility)
+3% life force on damage for 6 seconds/90

As you can see above, all main-hand weapons have an associated skill that helps you build the life force, so you will not be restricted to certain weapon sets to do so.

That said, as you go through the various Traits (listed below) that can enhance a life force gain, you’ll want to pay particular attention to any synergies with specific weapons.

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A perfect example here would be Soul Marks, which will build 3% life force whenever your marks are triggered. With that trait slotted, the staff can become one of your best weapon choices depending on how deeply you choose to factor death shroud into your overall build.

Traits that Impact Death Shroud and Life Force

As noted above, there are a number of different traits that can greatly enhance life force gain and death shroud. The traits that relate specifically to life force and death shroud can be seen below:

Key:

  • Trait (Points)
  • Description

Spiteful Spirit (10)
Gain retaliation for 3 seconds when entering Death Shroud

Reapers Might(10)
Life Blast and Plague Blast grant might for 15 seconds

Weakening Shroud (10)
Cast Enfeebling Blood when entering death shroud

Reapers Precision (10)
You have a 33% chance to gain 1% life force on critical hits

Furious Demise (15)
Gain fury for 5 seconds when entering death shroud

Shrouded Removal (10)
Lose a condition when you enter death shroud

Death Shiver (20)
Apply vulnerability for 10 seconds every 3 seconds to nearby foes while in death shroud

Transfusion (10)
Life Transfer heals nearby allies

Deathly Invigoration (20)
Heal in an area when you leave death shroud

Gluttony (5)
Life force fills 5% faster

Vital Persistence (10)
Life force drains 25% slower while in death shroud

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Path Of Midnight (10)
All death shroud skills recharge 15% faster

Speed Of Shadows (10)
Move 15% faster while in death shroud

Unyielding Blast (10)
Life Blast pierces and causes vulnerability

Soul Marks (20)
Marks generate 3% life force when triggered

Strength Of Undeath (25)
You do 5% more damage if you have more than 50% life force

Foot In The Grave (30)
Gain stability for 3 seconds when you enter death shroud

Near To Death (30)
Death shroud recharges 50% faster

As you can see here, there are multiple options for how you can enhance death shroud, and no one specific point spread you would want to focus on.

Likewise, there really isn’t any one “optimal” build specific to enhancing death shroud, as many of the traits you choose will depend on which specific gameplay type you’re participating in. For example, you probably wouldn’t want to use the same traits in sPvP that you would in dungeons.

That said, you will want to focus on improved life force gain and slower life force drain first, regardless of which specific death shroud enhancements you’re aiming for with your build.

You also have the option to skip over the traits listed here altogether, but be aware that you will be sacrificing a lot of survivability by doing so.