In this guide we’ll go over the various builds for each type of game mode. We’ll be covering Dungeon builds, PvE Builds, PvP Builds, and WvW Builds. The build calculator used is the fantastic GW2Build.com simulator, which is precise yet has everything you need.
Do note that gear, sigils and amulets are NOT included in this build; the builds focus solely on the weapons, utility skills, and traits. For more help on Guild Wars 2 Necromancer, read our Necromancer Profession, Death Shrouds & Life Force and Character Progression.
Necromancer Dungeon Builds
This is an offensive Necromancer build that focuses on DoT skills. Because of this nature of the build, it can be considered as a passive-aggressive style of play for the Necromancer.
DoT skills are an essential part of your arsenal as a Necromancer, but their application can really depend on the play-style. I myself prefer burst damage instead, so this build wouldn’t be for me, but it would work great for those looking to constantly pressurize enemies with Conditions and other gradual damage sources.
Scepter and Dagger work well together for the Condition-based and CC skills they provide – something very essential for DoT based Necromancers. The Staff usage gives the Necromancer a tad bit of utility and healing with the Marks and the life-steal abilities.
As a DoT based build, the Curses tree will be your primary focus, with focus on amplifying your conditions. You might want to change Reaper’s Precision to something else, depending on your style of play, but Critical Hits and associated triggers always seem to attract my attention.
There’s no real room for Blood Magic in this build because this one isn’t based on leeching and life-steal; we’re looking for ways to constantly make the enemy struggle instead of keeping the character in shape – we already have the Blood Fiend for that purpose.
This is a support-focused build for team-play in dungeons. Note that though the primary role of this build is of a support, it does have quite a few offensive applications.
The reason why a staff and double-daggers weapon set is preferred as a support Necromancer is because of the shortened Marks CD. The Traits that are effective the Wells in this build provide a good amount of protection and healing, and there are lots of options for Dark and Poison Field combos.
Note that this is an AoE-focused support build, meaning that it is best effective when facing large groups of enemies. This works well with the fact that support is needed most against large mobs of opponents.
The only downside that this build might have is the balanced play-skill of your team. A bad team is useless even with a good support, and a bad support can destroy his/her team. Therefore, things like AoE placements etcetera are necessary when it comes to a support Necromancer.
This build focuses on the most iconic aspect of the Necromancer: to raise minions to fight alongside you. Majority of the skills and traits of this build will focus on strengthening the Necromancer’s minions, and strengthening the character him/herself through life-steal.
Because of this, 60 of the 70 points will go into Blood Magic and Death Magic. We’re adding filler points to Spite just for the sake of it. You might want to instead invest points in Soul Reaping, but that wouldn’t really go well with the nature of this build. Reaper’s Might seems to be the only decent choice in the Spite tree.
The Double-dagger combination is amazing for the life-steal it gives and the associated damage and conditions. If you’re looking for more DoT-like damage, you can switch to the Scepter and Warhorn combination.
The Utility skills are entirely based on minions. The Blood Fiend is an obvious choice, and to go with it you’ll be summoning some powerful minions of different types to give you a large variety.
For the Elite skill, many would opt for the Flesh Golem over the Lich to compliment the nature of this build. The only reason I chose the Lich form is because the idea of transformation attracts me. The rest is obviously your own choice.
This is an extremely effective build that can actually be used for any type of game mode. Personally, this seems to be the ideal way to play a Necromancer, utilizing the best aspects of the profession.
Life-steal is the focus of this build, and the Dagger-dagger weapon set shows. This will be the primary weapon setup for the Necromancer, with particular attention on Life Siphon.
Life Siphon is further boosted with the Dagger Mastery and Bloodthirst in the Blood Magic tree. Some would say that 10 additional points would be useful in the tree, but the above to skills are all you need.
The Axe and Warhorn setup is there for the added flat damage and CC, and should be your secondary choice when stealing life isn’t a priority.
The Utility skills also compliment the life-steal and self-oriented aspects of this build. The Blood Fiend is obviously a no-brainer, and Spectral Grasp is ideal for preventing kiting.
Signet of the Locust is fantastic for both its passive and active – it gives the Necromancer a deadly assassin-like aspect with the combination of the enhanced speed and the dual-wielded daggers, and the active is superb for doing what this build is meant to do.
The Spectral Armor and Lich Form both give added versatility to this build, making it all-in-all one of the simplest and most reliable possible builds of the Necromancer.
This build can be considered as a hybrid support-offense type, with lots of options available to the Necromancer for almost any type of situation. Mostly though, the build aims to utilize the profession’s minions to deal damage while taking advantage of Marks.
We’re taking points in Spite and Soul Reaping for the sake of health and Life Force, but that’s about it. Obviously, the main focus of the build is minions and Marks, and so we’ll be investing most Trait points in the Death Magic tree.
The first two traits are there to increase the effectiveness of the Necromancer’s Marks, while the last one increases the minions’ health by a considerable amount.
The reason we’re going for the Staff as the primary weapon here should now be obvious. The utility skills are also quite self-explanatory, taking use of different types of minions.
The Signet of the Locust is an excellent skill by itself, and its generic application makes it viable for almost any type of Necromancer. You could swap it for something else, but I prefer some speed over an extra minion type.
Scepter and Daggers seem to do well together because of the crippling effect and the Condition damage they do, due to which reason they will be the primary choice in this build.
Wells, life-steal, and a decent amount of conditions are the core aspects of the Necromancer using this build. The main objective is to constantly keep your live pool up, while applying conditions to your enemies and using Wells for an offensive-defensive gameplay.
The only reason we have 5 points in the Spite tree is because it gives you health when you kill something. This is quite an efficient investment for what it’s worth, because in PvE you’ll kill things more often than you would in PvP or WvW games.
The point investment in the Curse and Blood Magic trees are for enhancing the ‘feeding’ part of the build, while also adding some attributes to the Wells.
The Utility skills are self-explanatory – you’ll be using all kinds of wells to do that work, while using Signet of Spite’s active to inflict a large amount of conditions on single-target enemies. Lich Form is, once again, just a fantastic Elite by itself, and is the obvious choice among the three for this build.
This is the second form of the PvE Cripple and Feed build. There is very little difference, except that the 5 points in Spite have been removed and added into Curses instead. Withering Precision is the final trait in the Curses tree, because it gives more conditions and additional crit for life-stealing.
This is a fun build to play with meant to surprise both allies and enemy players. Most people would expect a Necromancer to be either a minion Necro or a condition Necro, but this build is different, way different.
The signature part of this build is its reliance on alternative abilities of the Necromancer, which also may make it one of the tougher builds to play with. The dual-dagger setup with dagger-oriented Blood Magic Traits definitely depicts that this Necromancer is looking for dealing damage up-close.
This is particularly dangerous for a profession that relies so much on conditions, but can actually be rewarding if one is witty about the Combos and chosen skills.
The additional movement speeds allows the Necromancer to be both more aggressive and harder to constrain. Additionally, the Spectral skills allow the Necromancer to use the deadly Spectral Wall + Spectral Grasp combo for some serious control. This would immediately intimidate enemy players.
The Traits in the Soul Reaping tree are obviously meant to enhance the Spectral Utility skills, and the Spectral Armor is always present to defend oneself in difficult situations.
Plague is generally a much underrated Elite skill. Though the Lich Form is fun, it works best with minions and Wells and isn’t quite ideal for situations in which one is relying on weaponry as a Necromancer. Therefore, Plague not only seems to be appropriate for this build, but also very viable because of how good it goes with the melee aspect of this kind of a Necromancer.
The name of this build obviously depicts that we’re looking for a condition-based Necromancer. Once again, Scepter and Dagger seem to be the ideal choice in order to get as many condition-based abilities as possible.
The Axe and Warhorn secondary weapon set is more or less a filler, but can do a lot of damage when something alternative to conditions is required.
The rest of the build is very obvious. You’re investing 10 points in Spite to take advantage of the Signet CD reduction trait. The Curses tree traits are meant to enhance the skills and conditions of the Scepter and Warhorn weapons, though you may want to change the Warhorn-associated Deep Breath trait if you are looking to use a different sort of secondary weapon combination.
The Soul Reaping tree is optimized to give you massive utility boost for the Death Shroud ability. The objective of this build is to spam conditions till Death Shroud, and then enjoy the added utility from the Soul Reaping skill in this form.
The Utility skills are using Signets and the Elite skill Plague for spamming more conditions on foes. However, in PvP games, you are likely to get struck by a heck lot of conditions yourself, which is why Consume Conditions becomes a must-have for such a build.
This is the same build mentioned in the PvE Builds section of this guide, and works fantastically well for WvW games.
It was all dagger-dagger, scepter-dagger, and staff till now, but we’ll do things slightly differently this time around, and equip an Axe with Focus as the main weapon set and Staff as the secondary weapon set.
This build is all about speed and aggression, while relying on Death Shroud for doing most of the damage.
Mobility is your best friend with this Axe and Focus setup, and because of that the Signet of Locust is an essential choice, along with the Signet of Undeath for Death Shroud. Also, the Speed of Shadows in Soul Reaping is the major trait of the tree for this very purpose.
Though secondary weapons are often neglected and just kept for the ‘in-case’ situations, with this build we’ll be using the Staff as the initiating weapon, and then switching to the Axe and Focus combination for the core part of the battle.
The Marks are a great way to start a fight, as they can cause a large variety of effects that are can form an ideal situation for the Necromancer once he/she switches to the Axe and Focus.
Coming back to the Utility skills, the reason we’re taking condition skills is because this is mainly a condition-based build that revolves around speed as well. The Signet of Spite, Plague, and Consume Conditions abilities work wonders and are a great way of retaliation when under conditions yourself.
There is also quite a bit of survivability added into the build with the various traits. This should provide with a fast-paced, healthy and heavily damaging/crippling Necromancer.
This build combines the two iconic Necromancer traits of raising minions and stealing life. For such demands, the obvious choice of weapons is the dual-wielded daggers and perhaps a dagger-and-focus for the ranged buff and debuff abilities that come with it.
In Death Magic, we’re taking armor because this is WvW, and that means a hell lot of other enemies to fight, which also means a lot of required defense. Perhaps strengthening the minions with something else is a better idea, but this seems to work well in combination with the other skills of the build.
The Blood Magic trait line is more or less self-explanatory, as it focuses on life-steal through your minions, and improves general siphoning skills.
The Spite tree’s first major trait is mainly for increase the effectiveness and range of Reaper’s Touch and Spinal Shivers that come with the offhand Focus. They can be swapped for something better if one desires, but the Focus skills are pretty handy in WvW games, and thus it seems appropriate to have something that would enhance them in a way.
The Utility skills shouldn’t be too surprising – we’re taking up the obvious-choice Blood Fiend and a few other minions, including the Flesh Golem. All in all, it’s a simple hybrid build that should prove useful in WvW games.