Best Diablo 4 Necromancer build: Cast bones and explode corpses

Diablo 4 Necromancer build concept art
(Image credit: Blizzard)
Best Diablo 4 builds

Diablo 4 Necromancer build - A necro wearing armor with a sickle

(Image credit: Blizzard)

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The best Diablo 4 Necromancer build is all about blowing up corpses. Sure, there are builds that may be more optimal in the endgame, but there's nothing quite as fun as Corpse Explosion for Necromancer—it's hard to beat the joy of turning your enemy's bodies against their former comrades. The more you kill, the more corpses you create to then blow up or consume to summon fresh minions. Nice.

While Corpse Explosion isn't quite strong enough on its own, once you enhance it with some key passives, and throw in abilities that help you apply vulnerable, increasing its damage, it can be a surprisingly strong ability, especially as it's free, instant, and has no cooldown. This build will also help make your minions strong for extra survivability. That said, if you don't particularly like Corpse Explosion, I've also included a very good Bone Spear build lower down the page.

Corpse Explosion Necromancer build

(Image credit: Blizzard)
Try this if:

💀 You want excellent crowd control
💀 You don't want to generate essence through a basic skill
💀 You appreciate the wet thunk of a detonating cadaver

The Corpse Explosion build is a simple one: you make corpses and explode them, while also debuffing enemies with Corpse Tendrils and Iron Golem slam to take more damage from said explosions. While all this is happening, a combo of your minions and passives lets you generate corpses, essence, and Fortify, while your Bone Storm ultimate grants survivability in tough spots. 


Here are the six skills you need to equip for this build:

  • Bone Spear: This core skill is a good investment, letting you apply vulnerable at will for better explosion damage. It can also be made better with the Splintering Aspect and the Unique Deathless Visage helm in the late game.
  • Plagued Corpse Explosion: A key component of this build; this ability deals a stacking damage bonus to stunned, slowed, and vulnerable enemies, but can also generate essence with the Grim Harvest passive.
  • Plagued Corpse Tendrils: This ability slows, stuns, and makes enemies vulnerable, plus groups them up for more effective explosion damage.
  • Iron Golem Slam: This is your Iron Golem's core ability that stuns enemies in an AoE and makes them vulnerable
  • Raise Dead: Your classic way to re-recruit fallen minions.
  • Bone Storm: This ultimate provides great survivability for the Necro, especially once you get the Aspect of the Shielding Storm that allows it to create a barrier.

You'll also need to unlock a basic skill, so I recommend Decompose, which serves as a great way to create corpses and generate essence in the early game, before you unlock reapers, as well as essence and corpse generating passives.

Passives and Book of the Dead

The most important passives for this build are Hewed Flesh, Grim Harvest, Fueled by Death, and Necrotic Carapace. The first gives any attack a chance at creating a corpse, the second gives you essence when you explode one, the third gives a damage bonus for exploding a corpse, and the last gives you Fortify whenever a corpse is created, which is great for early game survivability. 

In terms of other passives, Skeletal Warrior Mastery, Skeletal Mage Mastery, Golem Mastery, Kalan's Edict, Bonded in Essence, Inspiring Leader, and Death's Defence are all about buffing your minions, whether in terms of health, healing, or attack speed. After all, your minions are vital for producing corpses, slamming enemies, and freezing foes in the case of your mages.

Reaper Skeletal Warriors second node gives them a chance to create corpses when attacking, Cold Skeletal Mages can either produce essence or make frozen enemies vulnerable for more explosions, while your Iron Golem's second node that makes slammed enemies vulnerable is vital.


There are six aspects that I consider core to this build:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Aspect of Grasping VeinsThis increases your crit chance and crit damage against enemies who are caught by your Corpse Tendrils, so is perfect for follow up explosions
Splintering AspectThis improves your Bone Spear's damage against vulnerable enemies
Blood Getter's AspectThis adds two extra Reaper Skeletal Warriors for more corpse creation
Viscous AspectThis adds two extra Cold Skeletal Mages for more freezes
Coldbringer's AspectThis lets your Cold Skeletal Mages create blizzards that freeze enemies every ten seconds. These seem to be cast by individual mages, so having more means more blizzards.
Aspect of Shielding StormThis is pretty vital for Torment and Nightmare Dungeon survivability, granting you a barrier when you damage enemies with your AoE Bone Storm. This gives you a brief period of almost invulnerability where you can get somewhere safe, bring minions back, or tangle your foes in Corpse Tendrils.

While I'd say those above are optimal, this build will benefit from any crowd control or stun related aspect, such as Aspect of Retribution or Exploiter's Aspect. For example, Aspect of the Umbral grants essence when you crowd control enemies, so works very well with Corpse Tendrils. I personally also love Aspect of Shared Misery; you hit a crowd controlled enemy, and there's a chance for that debuff to spread. This works very well using Corpse Explosion on a group of enemies who have been crowd controlled by Corpse Tendrils, slammed by your golem, or chilled and frozen by your mages.

The two best aspects for this build come from Unique items, namely; Deathless Visage helm, and the Black River scythe. The first greatly enhances the power of your Bone Spears, while the second supercharges Corpse Explosion, letting it consume up to four extra corpses for more damage and radius, making it far more viable in the endgame.

How it plays:

💀 Use Bone Spear to create a corpse or wait for your reapers to make one.

💀 Activate Corpse Tendrils to pull in a group of enemies, applying stun, slow, and vulnerable.

💀 Use Corpse Explosion to kill the enemies, detonating their corpses in turn, and earning essence for each.

💀 Your Iron Golem slam can prolong the stun so you can keep exploding.

💀 Hurl your Bone Spears when you're at full essence to spend it.

💀 Activate Bone Storm if you're in a bad spot to give you time to raise new minions, or stun an elite pursuing you with Corpse Tendrils or Iron Golem slam.

Gems and Affix Priority

Paragon levels and Glyphs

Diablo 4 Necromancer build - Control glyph

(Image credit: Blizzard)

In terms of Paragon levels, I'd suggest strengthening your minions with the Cult Leader board. The Control Glyph is also a great addition to this build, giving you and your skeletal servants more damage against crowd controlled enemies.

Now for the nitty gritty; I'd recommend damage bonuses against slowed, stunned, crowd controlled, and vulnerable enemies. The good thing about this build is that you're applying so many different debuffs that no matter what you have it's bound to give your damage a boost. I'd also suggest improved crit rate or damage for bone skills, and of course, extra ranks for corpse skills, or specific skills like Bone Spear or Corpse Explosion are pretty valuable. It's also good to get some extra evade charges on the feet so you can escape dangerous situations.

In gem terms, Emeralds or Sapphires boost crit damage against vulnerable or crowd controlled enemies, but otherwise I'd prioritise getting decent all round resistance, and the Sapphire's damage reduction while Fortified, which due to the Necrotic Carapace passive, you should almost always have.

Bone Spear Necromancer build

(Image credit: Blizzard)
Try this if:

💀 You want to deal big damage
💀 You're not too fussed about minions
💀 You like throwing bits of bone around 

Bone Spear is honestly a bit broken for Necromancers at the moment, and is one of the most powerful builds for high-level content due to its ability to throw some absurdly high damage numbers. The build itself is also pretty straightforward: you use Bone Spear and Corpse Tendrils to deal effective damage, Decrepify to reduce ability cooldowns, while keeping Bone Storm and Blood Mist in your back pocket for survivability.  


There are six skills to use in this build: 

  • Acolyte's Bone Splinters: This is your primary way of generating Essence for your Bone Spear casts early on, especially once combined with the Aspect of Exposed Flesh that has a Lucky Hit chance to generate Essence when you hit vulnerable enemies with bone skills.
  • Paranormal Bone Spear: This is the main way you'll deal damage, gaining those extra break-off bone shards whenever you manage to crit.
  • Ghastly Blood Mist: This keeps you alive when you find yourself in a dangerous spot, and provides a few corpses so you can cast Corpse Tendrils.
  • Abhorrent Decrepify: Honestly, one of the best Necromancer skills. This slows enemies, giving you an easy source of crowd control, but also has a chance to reduce ability cooldowns when you hit enemies that have been Decrepified.
  • Plagued Corpse Tendrils: The best version of Corpse Tendrils gives you an easy source of stun, slow, and vulnerable provided you have a corpse to use.
  • Bone Storm: Another great tool of Necro survivability; Bone Storm's damage will benefit from you strengthening your bone skills, but once you get Aspect of Shielding Storm it'll also provide a barrier.

In the early game, you'll be using Bone Splinters for resource generation, but once you get Aspect of Exposed Flesh and Aspect of the Umbral, you likely won't use it as much.

Passives and Book of the Dead

The most important passives for this build centre around buffing damage and gaining benefits based on your Essence. Unliving Energy increases your max essence, while Imperfectly Balanced, Serration, Rapid Ossification, and Ossified Essence provide extra damage, crit chance, and cooldown for your bone skills based on your Essence. Evulsion and Compound Fracture add a further layer to this, dealing extra damage when you crit lots and increased crit damage against vulnerable enemies.

You can further buff your overall damage with Amplify Damage, Death's Reach, and Death's Embrace, plus you won't be using minions, so Stand Alone and Memento Mori can buff those sacrifice-based bonuses, and give you a nice chunk of damage reduction. Lastly, Hewed Flesh will give you a Lucky Hit chance to create corpses on hit so you can use Corpse Tendrils often.

This build has no room for summoning skills, so I suggest sacrificing all three minion types, specifically Skeletal Skirmishers for the increased crit chance, Cold Mages for more damage against vulnerable, and Iron Golem for more crit damage.  


There are a fair few aspects that are great with this build:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Aspect of Grasping VeinsThis is a great source of bone-based crits, since it increases crit chance against enemies caught by Corpse Tendrils and buffs your overall damage.
Aspect of Exposed FleshHitting vulnerable enemies with bone skills has a chance to give you Essence; pretty great for a build where you're doing just that constantly.
Aspect of the UmbralSince both Decrepify and Corpse Tendrils slow and stun enemies with ease, getting Essence for applying crowd control is very easy.
Aspect of Shielding StormA must-have for any endgame Necromancer; this lets Bone Storm provide a barrier when it hits enemies, so can keep you alive in tricky spots.
Splintering AspectThis Bone Spear-based aspect makes it easier to apply vulnerable with the skill and deals more damage to enemies that have it.
Aspect of DisobedienceAnother must-have Necro survivability aspect. This one increases your armour when you deal damage, which you should be doing all the time.
Aspect of SerrationThis one provides a secondary effect for your Ossified Essence passive, increasing bone-based crit damage as well.

In terms of Unique items, the Deathless Visage helmet would be a good pick since it creates mini-explosions along the path of your Bone Spear that deal extra damage, though it might not be worth it endgame-wise if you're having to sacrifice one of the powerful aspects above. 

How it plays:

 💀 Use Decrepify to crowd control enemies and ensure you have a chance to reduce all ability cooldown with hits

💀 Hurl Bone Spear to deal damage and create corpses

💀 Cast Corpse Tendrils to stun, slow, and make enemies vulnerable for increased damage

💀 Use Blood Mist periodically to gain immune and create corpses

💀 In tough spots, Bone Storm can create a protective barrier 

Gems and Affix Priority

Paragon levels and Glyphs

Diablo 4 Necromancer build - Control glyph

(Image credit: Blizzard)

For your Paragon Boards, Bone Graft should be your first priority for its bone skill buff, then Scent of Death. The Control, Exploit, and Essence Glyphs are all very good for this build, granting extra damage against crowd controlled and vulnerable enemies, plus extra crit damage for your Bone Spear core skill. 

In terms of Affixes, I'd recommend buffing Bone Skill Damage, but most importantly, Critical Strike Chance, Critical Strike Damage, and Lucky Hit Chance. The performance of this build relies heavily on you getting a steady stream of crits and lucky hits in terms of increasing your damage, creating corpses, reducing ability cooldowns, and generating Essence.  If you have extra space, then more damage to Crowd Controlled enemies will provide a lot of benefit, particularly for slowed or vulnerable enemies.

With gems, you'll want Skull on your jewellery for extra armor, an Emerald on your weapon for more crit damage against vulnerable enemies, and either Diamond or Ruby on your armor for increased Barrier Generation or Maximum Life.

Sean Martin
Guides Writer

Sean's first PC games were Full Throttle and Total Annihilation and his taste has stayed much the same since. When not scouring games for secrets or bashing his head against puzzles, you'll find him revisiting old Total War campaigns, agonizing over his Destiny 2 fit, or still trying to finish the Horus Heresy. Sean has also written for EDGE, Eurogamer, PCGamesN, Wireframe, EGMNOW, and Inverse.

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