Diablo 4 Shadow Summoner Necromancer Build Guide

The Shadow Summoner Necromancer build revolves around your Shadow Mages and boosting your Shadow damage in Diablo 4.

If you want to Swarm your enemies with an army of undead, the Shadow Summoner Necromancer build is perfect for you in Diablo 4. All the moves in this build are hand-picked to synergize with each other.

The multiple regeneration options that this build provides improve the survivability factor a lot when compared to other builds. Thus, this build is ideal for solo players who like to venture alone.

Having multiple options to deal damage grants you the ability to bring down bosses fast. However, as a tradeoff, this build doesn’t offer any escape option in case all your minions fell in battle.

Being able to target specific enemies is also diminished. You can direct your minion horde to move in a specific direction and that’s all.  

Do note that you can build several types of Summoner Necromancer builds in Diablo 4. This one specifically focuses on using your Shadow Mages and Shadow damage to boost your undead army.

If you understand the role of each one of your skills, you can become a force to be reckoned with while using the Shadow Summoner Necromancer build in Diablo 4.


Shadow Summoner Necromancer skills and unlock order

The following are all the skills that you need to acquire in your Shadow Summoner Necromancer build. Understanding the skill tree is essential for understanding the role of each skill in this build.

  • Decompose (Basic Skill)
  • Blight (Core skill)
  • Golem (Summoning)
  • Raise Skeletons (Summoning)
  • Blood Mist (Macabre Skill)
  • Army of undead (Ultimate skill)
  • Shadowblight (Key Passive)

After reading the description of each skill for the skill tree, we will discuss the order in which you can unlock each of them. The upgrade unlocks are included in the list below too.  

Unlock OrderSkill (Rank)
1Decompose (Rank 3/5)
2Enhanced Decompose
3Acolyte’s Decompose
4Unliving Energy (Rank 3/3)
5Imperfectly Balanced (Rank 3/3)
6Blight (Rank 4/5)
7Enhanced Blight
8Supernatural Blight
9Blood Mist (Rank 1/5)
10Enhanced Blood Mist
11Ghastly Blood Mist
12Spiked Armor (Rank 2/3)
13Skeletal Warriors (Rank 3/3)
14Decrepify (Rank 1/5)
15Enhanced Decrepify
16Reaper’s Pursuit (Rank 1/3)
17Gloom (Rank 2/3)
18Terror (Rank 2/3)
19Golem Mastery (Rank 3/3)
20Bonded in Essence (Rank 3/3)
21Deaths Defense (Rank 3/3)

Each of these skills is unlocked by expanding skill points. After unlocking all the skills above, you might still have some skill points left. You are free to use them as you want.

Our main objective is to boost our minion’s damage by applying effects on large hordes of enemies. The DPS is further boosted with the use of Shadowblight and Decompose.

Book of the Dead upgrades

In Diablo 4, Necromancer has an exclusive mechanic known as Book of the Dead. This allows you to customize your undead summons following your play style. Choosing the right options here is essential.

  1. Skeletal Reapers: 
    • On Damaging enemies, cooldowns can be reduced by 2 seconds. However, these enemies must have either Stun, Slow, Immobile, or vulnerable status effects inflicted upon them.
    • On sacrifice, shadow damage is buffed by 15%.
  2. Shadow Mages:
    • Gain an extra shadow bolt every time you regenerate 5 bolts.
    • On sacrifice, grant +15 Max Essence.
  3. Bone Golem:
    • A free corpse is spawned every time the golem deals cumulative damage equal to 20% of its max health.
    • On sacrifice, attack speed is buffed by 10%.

Shadow Summoner Necromancer playstyle and skill rotation

Our build is focused on dealing large amounts of damage to enemy hordes collectively by weakening them with status effects and then unleashing our minions on these enemies. The minions are further buffed using the Book of the Dead.

While this build is excellent at dealing massive amounts of damage, if all your minions happen to die, you will become a stilling duck as you don’t have an escape skill. Making sure that some of your minions survive is essential for your own survival.

Damage rotation

First, you need to group up a large number of enemies in one place. This can be done by moving around them in circles as they will start to chase you like a horde. Now, you must cast the Blight skill to allow your minions to deal extra damage.

Blight will create a lot of defiled areas as the enemies move around. These enemies will receive extra damage while they stand in this defiled area. Now your minions can make quick work of these weakened enemies.

Now cast the Decompose Skill to deal shadow damage. While your minions attack enemies inflicted with Decompose, extra corpses are spawned. The minions that die can easily be replaced by casting Raise Skeleton.

Once you have exhausted all the available corpses, use Blood Mist to get new corpses.

Gear, Gems, and Stat Priority

For Stats, your focus should be intelligence. That is because all the skills in this build gain a damage boost from an increase in intelligence. Try to max out this stat as much as possible.  

Gems for the most part will remain the same for all the Necromancer builds. You can also select the gems you want but if you want to min-max all your stats, go for the following Gems:

  • Weapons: Emerald to increase damage dealt to vulnerable enemies
  • Armor: Rubies to increase max health points for increased survivability.
  • Jewelry: Skulls to get increased armor points. This will give your build an additional defensive element.

As for the gear affix, we will provide a general guideline to select the ones that are most effective for this particular build. Select the affixes that increase the following stats.

  • Increase in Damage to crowd-controlled enemies.
  • Increase in Base Skill Damage/Ranks
  • Increase in Core Skill Damage/Ranks
  • Increase in summon stats
  • Damage to enemies at range
  • Increase in Shadow Damage

Paragon Boards

On reaching level 50, you will gain access to the Paragon Boards. Using it, you can gain access to bonuses that can buff your character stats by a considerable margin.

For Shadow Summoner Necromancer build in Diablo 4, our main objective will be to boost intelligence, Health, Armor, and Damage. Hence, we will be selecting Glyphs to cater to the aforementioned stats.

The following are the Glyphs that you need to be on the lookout for.

  • Prime (Max HP and Damage)
  • Knowledge (Intelligence and Damage)
  • Preservation (Intelligence and Armor)

Our focus is to increase intelligence as our build is extremely dependent on this stat. We also need to further increase the survivability in case you run out of minions for protection.

With the increase in intelligence, both the basic and core skill with being significantly more effective.

Unique Items

Doombringer is an appropriate choice for one of the best necromancer unique items in this build.

This is due to this sword’s unique property that allows you to perform an AOE at deals shadow damage. This effect also grants a reduction in damage taken by the inflicted enemies.  

Greaves of the Empty Tomb boots also carry a similar effect. With these equipped, enemies can be inflicted with shadow damage on lucky hits. A damage reduction of 3.5% is applied to all the damage taken for said enemies.

Legendary Aspects

Legendary aspects can be obtained by completing a dungeon or extracted from an item using an Occultist. These are one of the key components that make a build better at a desired task.

  • Aspect of Might: All your Basic Skills will grant 20% more damage reduction.
  • Aspect of the Expectant: On Dealing direct damage with a basic skill, your next attack has 30% more damage provides it’s a core skill.
  • Flesh-Rending Aspect: Extra Essence is gained on each corpse spawned by Decompose.
  • Aspect of Protector: Gain a barrier that protects you from damage each time you damage an Elite enemy. This effect lasts for 10 seconds and has a 30-second countdown.
  • Aspect of Reanimation: For every 10 seconds your skeletons survive, they gain a 20% damage boost.

Elixirs and Potions

Healing Potion is the most important consumable that you can carry in Diablo 4. Carrying as many of these as possible is of utmost importance if you want to survive in the later stages of the game.

The healing potion can be upgraded to heal more HP at levels 10, 20, 30, 45, 60, 80, and 90. Each upgrade increment the HP healed by a larger amount.  The number of potions that u can carry can also be upgraded by gaining more Renowns through quests.

Elixirs can be crafted if you visit the Alchemist NPC which is available in all major towns and settlements. Try carrying either Precision or Shadow Resistance Elixirs for this Shadow Summoner Necromancer build in Diablo 4.

Muaz is a veteran in Counter-Strike and a sucker for the Souls-Borne genre. He is a guides writer on SegmentNext and continues to write about his favorite video games.