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"Grim Dawn": Necromancer Build Guides for Beginners

Arc is a self-help author/speaker and AI thinker. He also make apps as a side hustle.

Copyright Crate Entertainment

Copyright Crate Entertainment

Necromancers have always been epic in any RPG games. Since Crate Entertainment announced this class, it has been the most awaited mastery in Grim Dawn, just like the necromancer class in Diablo 3.

Most builds that you will encounter in this article focus on pets since necromancers have always been known to summon allies. As a general rule in playing a pet build. The pets will take care of dealing damage to enemies. Your primary job is to keep yourself alive and to re-summon any pets that have fallen in battle.

By the way, in case you don’t prefer pet builds, this article also contains references for non-pet types of build.

Here are the builds that will be discussed in this article:

  1. Pet Cabalist Variant 1
  2. Pet Cabalist Variant 2
  3. Dark Mage Cabalist
  4. Grim Reaper
  5. Range Blade Reaper
  6. Pet Death Night
  7. Grim Death Night
  8. Pet Ritualist
  9. Life Drainer Ritualist

Note: Recommended Devotions are not in order, meaning, it is up to you what constellation you should learn first. Just in case you don’t know, devotion points can also be re-assigned in order to meet certain requirements.

When it comes to gear components, resistance to different damage types should be the priority for your character to survive on higher difficulties.

1. Pet Cabalist Variant 1 (Necromancer + Occultist)

Our first pet build focuses on full power of necromancer’s pets, plus buffing it with Blood of Dreeg.

Attributes

Defense is your main priority here. Since your pets will deal damage for you, 90% or 95% of your attributes should be placed on physique.

You should still put points on spirit to be able to equip high-level enchanted items.

Don’t bother putting attributes on cunning, unless you are planning to equip something that requires cunning.

Necromancer Skills

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Raise Skeletons (16 points) – Undead Legion (12 points) – Will of the Crypt (12 points)
  • Summon Blight Fiend (16 points) – Rotting Fumes (12 points) – Blight Burst (12 points)
  • Reap Spirit (16 points)
  • Master of Death (12 points)
  • Call of the Grave (10 points)
  • Mark of Torment (3 points)
  • Bone Harvest (1 point) – Soul Harvest (12 points)

Occultist Skills

  • Mastery Bar (32 points)
  • Blood of Dreeg (16 points) – Aspect of Guardian (12 points)

Devotion

  • Jackal
  • Eel
  • Panther
  • Lion
  • Raven
  • Shepherd’s Crook
  • Empty Throne
  • Bysmiel’s Bonds
  • Staff of Rattosh
  • Typhos, the Jailor of Souls
  • Behemoth
  • Rattosh, the Veilwarden
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Equipment Priorities

Use equipment that grant bonuses to your pets, especially the one with add to a pet’s All Damage. Equipping items that let you summon more pets is also a good idea.

It all comes down to personal preference whether you want to equip caster’s off-hand for cooldown reduction or shield for better defense.

How to Play?

Follow the general rule in playing a pet build.

Also, never forget that you have Blood of Dreeg to buff and heal the whole group.

2. Pet Cabalist Variant 2 (Necromancer + Occultist)

This build variant lets you summon pets from both necromancer and occultist mastery and buff them with multiple toggled skills that increase their damage.

Attributes

Same as Pet Cabalist Variant 1.

Necromancer Skills

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Raise Skeletons (16 points) – Undead Legion (12 points) – Will of the Crypt (4 points)
  • Summon Blight Fiend (16 points)
  • Bone Harvest (1 point) – Soul Harvest (12 points)
  • Reap Spirit (16 points)
  • Master of Death (12 points)
  • Call of the Grave (10 points)

Occultist Skills

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Summon Familiar (16 points)
  • Summon Hellhound (16 points)
  • Bonds of Bysmiel (1 point) – Manipulation (12 points)

Devotion

  • Jackal
  • Lion
  • Raven
  • Shepherd’s Crook
  • Sailor’s Guide
  • Eel
  • Panther
  • Empty Throne
  • Bysmiel’s Bond
  • Staff of Ratosh
  • Behemoth
  • Dying God

Equipment Priorities

Same as Pet Cabalist Variant 1.

How to Play?

Follow the general rule in playing a pet build.

3. Dark Mage Cabalist (Necromancer + Occultist)

A non-pet cabalist build that deals major vitality damage with some chaos damage. This build also has great survival capabilities because it converts a lot of attack damage to health.

Attributes

Spend 60% or 75% of your points on spirit and the rest on physique. You may also put some points on cunning if you want more offensive ability.

Necromancer Skills

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Bone Harvest (16 points) – Dread (12 points) – Soul Harvest (12 points)
  • Siphon Souls (12 points) – Blood Boil (12 points)
  • Harbinger of Souls (12 points)
  • Reap Spirit (16 points)
  • Reaping Strike (10 points)
  • Mark of Torment (1 point)

Occultist Skills

  • Mastery Bar (40 points)
  • Solael’s Witchfire (12 points) – Consecrated Blade (3 points) – Second Rite (12 points)
  • Sigil of Consumption (12 points)
  • Doom Bolt (12 points)

Devotion

  • Gallows
  • Sailor’s Guide
  • Eel
  • Jackal
  • Bat
  • Empty Throne
  • Toad
  • Wendigo
  • Affliction
  • Typhos, Jailor of Souls
  • Dying God

Equipment Priorities

Get gear with bonuses affixed to Vitality damage and Chaos damage.

How to Play?

Use Sigil of Consumption and Doom Bolt on long-range enemies.

Use Siphon of Souls when surrounded by melee to midrange.

Use Bone Harvest for dealing damage to multiple enemies in a straight line.

4. Grim Reaper (Necromancer + Nightblade)

For those who want to play like a Grim Reaper, I believe this is one of the closest builds that you can get. Grim Reaper is a melee type build that can deal heavy amounts of damage while converting a percentage of it to health.

Tip: To look exactly like a Grim Reaper, refer to an illusionist to transform your two-hand weapon into a scythe of your choice, your head armor into a hoodie of your choice, and finally, your chest armor into a robe of your choice.

Attributes

Since this build is a melee type, having high amounts of physique is your main priority. Spirit is your next priority because your main attacks are magical damage. Getting some cunning is also a good idea for better offensive ability.

Necromancer Skills

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Bone Harvest (16 points) – Harvester of Death (1 point) – Dread (12 points) – Soul Harvest (12 points)
  • Siphon Souls (12 points) – Blood Boil (10 points)
  • Reap Spirit (16 points)
  • Harbringer of Souls (12 points)
  • Spectral Binding (12 points) – Spectral Wrath (10 points)
  • Reaping Strike (10 points)
  • Necrotic Edge (10 points)
  • Mark of Torment (2 points)

Nightblade Skills

  • Mastery Bar (20 points)
  • Shadow Strike (1 point)
  • Pneumatic Burst (12 points)
  • Blade Barrier (10 points)
  • Anatomy of Murder (12 points)

Devotion

  • Lion
  • Gallows
  • Bat
  • Toad
  • Wendigo
  • Behemoth
  • Typhos, the Jailor of Souls
  • Kraken
  • Affliction
  • Rattosh, the Veilwarden

Equipment Priorities

For damage types, vitality, vitality decay, and aether are your top priorities. Cold and physical are secondary choices.

How to Play?

To survive in melee, don’t stop attacking enemies so that you can continuously recover your lost health.

I put a single point on Shadow Strike so that I have the ability to dash quickly from one enemy to another.

5. Range Blade Reaper (Necromancer + Nightblade)

This range build’s damage balances physical and magical while converting a portion of it to health.

Attributes

For this hybrid build, spend 25 or 30 points on cunning, and another 25 or 30 points on spirit, and the remaining points on physique.

Necromancer Skills

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Bone Harvest (16 points) – Dread (12 points) – Soul Harvest (12 points)
  • Harbinger of Souls (12 points)

Nightblade Skills

  • Mastery Bar (40 points)
  • Phantasmal Blade (16 points) – Frenetic Throw (1 point) – Heart Seeker (12 points)
  • Blade Trap (12 points) – Devouring Blades (12 points)
  • Pneumatic Burst (12 points) – Breath of Belgothian (1 point) – Shadow Dance (12 points)
  • Blade Barrier (12 points)
  • Anatomy of Murder (12 points)

Devotion

  • Assassin’s Blade
  • Gallows
  • Bat
  • Empty Throne
  • Toad
  • Crane
  • Blades of Nadaan
  • Wendigo
  • Affliction
  • Unknown Soldier

Equipment Priorities

Equip gear that increases damage to vitality, pierce, or bleeding. It is also advisable to equip a caster’s off-hand for energy regeneration and cooldown reduction.

How to Play?

Your primary damage dealing skill is Phantasmal Blades. Use it like your normal attack. Then cast your blade trap whenever available, especially to hold off melee enemies.

6. Pet Death Knight (Necromancer + Soldier)

Having Soldier’s Field Command provides good damage and defense buff to both your pets and party.

Attributes

Refer to Pet Cabalist Build.

Necromancer Skills

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Raise Skeletons (16 points) – Undead Legion (12 points) – Will of the Crypt (12 points)
  • Summon Blight Fiend (16 points) – Rotting Fumes (12 points) – Blight Burst (12 points)
  • Reap Spirit (16 points)
  • Master of Death (12 points)
  • Call of the Grave (10 points)
  • Bone Harvest (1 point) – Soul Harvest (12 points)

Soldier Skills

  • Mastery Bar (32 points)
  • Field Command (12 points) – Squad Tactics (12 points)
  • Menhir’s Will (4 points)
  • Military Conditioning (3 points)

Devotion

Refer to Pet Cabalist Build.

Equipment Priorities

Refer to Pet Cabalist Build.

How to Play?

Follow the general rule in playing a pet build.

7. Grim Death Knight (Necromancer + Soldier)

This is a variant of the Grim Reaper build. Grim Death Knight is a good choice for those who prefer better toughness.

Attributes

Refer to Grim Reaper build.

Necromancer Skills

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Bone Harvest (16 points) – Dread (12 points) – Soul Harvest (12 points)
  • Reap Spirit (16 points)
  • Harbinger of Souls (12 points)
  • Spectral Binding (12 points) – Spectral Wrath (10 points)
  • Reaping Strike (10 points)

Soldier Skills

  • Mastery Bar (32 points)
  • Blade Arc (16 points) – Clean Sweep (1 point) – Laceration (12 points)
  • Field Command (12 points) – Squad Tactics (12 points)
  • Menhir’s Will (9 points)

Devotion

Refer to Grim Reaper build.

Equipment Priorities

Your main damage type priority for this build are vitality, vitality decay, then aether.

Once you reach level 94, it is mandatory to equip Howl of the Wendigo. It converts your Blade Arc’s physical damage into vitality damage making it suitable for this build.

How to Play?

Refer to Grim Reaper build.

Regarding what skill to learn last, choose Blade Arc as last priority since it won’t deal that much damage for this build until you get How of the Wendigo.