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"Grim Dawn": How to make the best Necromancer build?

Arc is a self-help author/speaker and AI thinker currently working as IT Manager in a tech company. He also make apps as a side hustle.


Grim Dawn Necromancer is my most viewed article. That’s why I’m creating another one for my readers. Because that’s what my readers wants and I will make profit from it as well. So it’s a win-win situation here.

Enough of my honest introduction, and let’s proceed to this another Necromancer focus article.


This section discuss the skills that complements well from two classes.

Cabalist: Necromancer + Occultist

Let’s start with the best class combination for Necromancer or Occultist. They offer the best skills for summoning pets. You can start combining their skills right away once you get both classes. Begin learning Raise Skeletons with Undead Legion, followed by Summon Familiar. Then get Summon Blight Fiend and Summon Hellhound, plus Reap Spirit for more offensive. Once you get all pets that can be summoned, it’s time to buff them up with toggled skills Master of Death and Manipulation from Bonds of Bysmiel. Call of the Grave is also a great active buff skill for the pets.

There are still a lot of good pet skills to learn here. But since you’ll only have a very limited number of skill points, it’s up to you on how to distribute them or which one to learn and not to learn, depending on your personal priority. Below are your choices:

Will of the Crypt

Rotting Fumes

Blight Burst

Mend Flesh

Storm Spirit

Lightning Strike

Ember Claw


Infernal Breath

Soul Harvest

Now if you’re tired of pet build, you can choose a vitality focus one. Recommended for Necromancer is Siphon Souls with Blood Boil for its ability to take some health. Ravenous Earth with Decay and Foul Eruption for continuous damage. Then Bone Harvest with Dread and Soul Harvest for solid attack. Occultist also has wide range of vitality damage skills to offer. It has the deadly Blood Pox with Wasting and Black Death. You may also modify it with Fevered Rage to make it more damaging but with the consequence of making enemies berserk while they’re still alive. Doom Bolt is a great finisher as it deals massive damage. Then Sigil of Consumption with Destruction can convert damage to health which is good for survivability.

When it comes to boosting the vitality damage, the Necromancer’s Harbringer of Souls works best, which also has convert damage to health. Then you can include the Solael’s Witchfire with Second Rite for more buff.

Apostate: Necromancer + Inquisitor

Cold damage basically works best for apostate. Bone Harvest especially with Harvester of death plus Dread and Soul Harvest is the first choice here. Of course, this requires your character to use two-handed melee weapon. Ill Omen also matches with this combo and Necrotic Edge is a good passive skill.

For Inquisitor skills, Word of Pain with Word of Agony are great starting skills for low levels letting you kill enemies fast. You can also add Death Sentence, but it’s optional. Rune of Haggard with Biting Cold and Chillsurge are good boss killers. The best passive is Deadly Aim, then you can also add Word of Renewal with Vigor as support skill. Word of Arms is a good option for it as well.

Reaper: Necromancer + Nightblade

Cold skills rule here as well. The difference is the approach for Reaper is more focus on melee skills due to Nightblade class.

Your primary choices for dealing damage are the following:

Amarasta’s Blade Burst with Lethal Assault.

Ring of Steel with Ring of Frost.

Shadow Strike with Nightfall

Bone Harvest with Harvester of Death (If planning to use two-handed melee weapon), Dread, and Soul Harvest.

Blade Spirit

With these range of skills that deals damage, it’s up to you on how you’ll distribute skill points depending on which you wanted to get stronger.

Recommended passive skills are Merciless Repertoire, Anatomy of Murder, and Necrotic Edge.

If you’re going to dual wield your melee weapon, Dual Blades and Execution is a great choice. As a reminder, these mentioned passive skills are not going to work on two-handed weapon.

Spellbinder: Necromancer + Arcanist

Let’s talk first about aether damage. Melee build focuses on Callidor’s Tempest with Inferno, Wrath of Agrivix is optional. Then Siphon Souls with Sear Souls to make the damage aether. Range build focuses on Albrecht’s Aether Ray with Disintegration. Drain Essence is good if you prefer survivability, but its damage is not as good as the other skills. Skill that works on any aether build is Devastation, but take note that it will only work if you equip a caster off-hand. On the other hand, you can also have Reap Spirit that also deals long range aether damage.

Combine all the available toggled skills for both class and spellbinder will deal a lot of aether damage. You can get Spectral Binding at early level and Reckless Power on higher level. That’s not all, passive skill Fabric of Reality is a good addition, and if you still have skill points to spare, get Inner Focus.

Yes. This is another combination that works well with cold damage. Star Pact will greatly increase your cold damage potential, making it great for all your cold skills. Recommended cold skills are Olexra’s Flash Freeze with Absolute Zero for quick wipe out of enemies. Trozan’s Sky Shard with Frozen Core for dealing massive damage. For Necromancer skill, you have the usual Bone Harvest with Dread and Soul Harvest. Get Harvester of Death if planning to use two-handed weapon. You can also use Ill Omen for early game killing and crowd control during late game.

Death Knight: Necromancer + Soldier

Thanks to Soldier’s Squad Tactics from Field Command, any skill from Necromancer will benefit from it. So whatever build you’re planning to do with Death Knight, Squad Tactics will work.

Defiler: Necromancer + Demolitionist

It’s hard to make a strong build for Defiler, because Necromancer and Demolitionist skills doesn’t match by default.

So how can you make a strong build for this?

The solution is in the items that can convert the element of your skills. So focus first on one class during early levels until you get items that can convert skill elements.

Ritualist: Necromancer + Shaman

Vitality is the dominant damage type for Ritualist. Devouring Swarm is a good early game skill since it can take out mobs really fast allowing you to progress with ease. Storm Totem is a great skill for dealing continuous damage. Don’t forget to include Corrupted Storm modifier to convert the lightning damage to vitality. Combine it with Wendigo Totem with Blood Pact which also heals your character. Of course Necromancer has Bone Harvest with the usual Dread and Soul Harvest. Then Siphon Souls with Blood Boil for damage and heal. Ravenous Earth with Decay and Foul Eruption for damage over time.

All of this vitality dealing damage skills works best when you have Harbringer of Souls.

You can also make a pet focus build for this which is by the way, a strong one. Start by creating a legion with Raise Skeletons with Undead Legion and Will of the Crypt. Next is pickup Summon Briarthorn from Shaman, then Summon Blight Fiend from Necromancer. Call of the Grave is your usual pet burst which is good for taking down strong foes.

For exclusive skills that increases your pet damage. I believe Primal Bond works better here than Master of Death for different pet’s damage type.

Since you only have limited skills points, below are your other choices for pet build:

Rotting Fume

Blight Burst

Reap Spirit

Soul Harvest

Ground Slam

Emboldening Presence

Conjure Primal Spirit

Oppressor: Necromancer + Oathkeeper

Necromancer is one of the good classes that can unleash the dark side of Oathkeeper (the other one is Occultist). To be exact, I’m pertaining to vitality damage. There’s not much skills that Oathkeeper has to offer when it comes to dealing vitality damage. But its Summon Guardian of Empyrion modified with Scion of Dreeg to make it deal vitality damage, is already enough. What makes the skill special is it doesn’t rely on pet bonuses so you can focus on non pet build while still having a strong pet by your side.

For Necromancer, the usual vitality skills that I recommend. Bone Harvest with Dread and Soul Harvest, Siphon Souls with Blood Boil, Ravenous Earth with Decay and Foul Eruption, and the ultimate Harbringer of Souls.


On this section we’ll discuss the individual skills of Necromancer to better understand its main individual purpose.

Raise Skeletons – Any pet build should have this first, max it, then rush the Undead Legion after so that you’ll have an army of skeletons early. Of course, Will of the Crypt is also an important buff for your skeletons. The obvious weakness of this skill is that the Skeletal Warriors will die easily on higher game difficulty. That’s why its important to boost your pets defensive stats as well such as health, armor, and all resistance.

Bone Harvest – I mentioned this skill a lot including Dread and Soul Harvest in this article, because of its versatility when it comes to dealing damage types. To be exact, it can deal 5 types of damage (physical, pierce, cold, vitality and vitality decay) and can buff 4 types of damage (cold, vitality, frostburn, and vitality decay).

Drain Essence – Honestly, I don’t find this skill damaging enough. But it’s good for survival since it lets you drain life from your enemies. Anyway, you can modify it with Gravechill to make the damage stronger at the cost of lesser life drain.

Reaping Strike – This skill is for aether or vitality based build that relies on basic attack.

Necrotic Edge – This skill is for cold or vitality decay based build that relies on basic attack.

Ill Omen – During early game, this skill can quickly kills enemies, but its damage potential is not good on later game. But still it can weaken enemies and cause crowd control so its still not useless on higher difficulty.

Spectral Binding – Toggled ability that is recommended for aether or tank based build. Spectral Wrath is optional if you have some extra skill points to spare.

Summon Blight Fiend – The big brother of your skeleton pets. The role of this pet is to tank damage via Rotting Fumes which also deals damage. Blight Burst is also a good area of effect skill that deals damage and crowd control.

Call of the Grave – Provides massive buff to your pets, especially their damage.

Ravenous Earth – This is a great damage over time skill that also debuffs enemies. Adding Decay and Foul Eruption makes it more effective.

Siphon Souls – Things to take note of aside from it can heal you when enemies are damage by this skill. Blood Boil’s bonus is not that great so it’s ok not to learn it unless you have some extra skill points. If your Necromancer focuses on aether damage, you can convert it with Sear Souls.

Mark of Torment – If you have some few skill points to spare, Mark of Torment is not that bad.

Reap Spirit – Skill works whether you’re using a pet build or not. It deals good damage but for single enemy only. Damage type is aether and vitality decay so its good for those mentioned build. If you’re pet focus build, Reap Spirit also summon wraiths that scales with pet bonuses.

Harbringer of Souls – This is the ultimate toggled skill for vitality focus build, due to its bonus stats. It also works with aether focus build.

Master of Death – Necromancer’s toggled skill for pet focus build.

© 2020 Arc Sosangyo

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