The following build is designed to guide you through your first playthrough, or simply offer you a decent and reliable Core build if you are on Free to Play account. Core builds are not advised to be used later in the game due to superiority of elite specializations.
Core Necromancer is a highly self-sufficient build that can supply itself with Might, Fury, and Quickness for good damage output. Additionally, Core Necromancer generates great sustain from life-stealing and absorbing damage using the necromancer profession mechanic Death Shroud which shields your health bar with life force generated by using abilities or from nearby deaths!
Note: Dread reduces the cooldown of Doom by 50% whenever you kill an enemy, when fighting multiple enemies in the open world you’ll be able to use this ability a ridiculous amount of times for incredible crowd control and Quickness uptime! This combined with Fear of Death causing Fear to generate life force (even while in shroud) can allow you to stay in Death Shroud pretty much forever as long as you keep killing enemies!
Death Shroud is the necromancer’s profession mechanic. Necromancers generate life force from using abilities and being near things when they die, they can then use this life force to enter Death Shroud and shield their health with the power of death and gain access to new abilities. Watch out though, while in death shroud you can’t be healed except by stealing life!
Life Blast: powerful ranged attack that will be the key ability to use for consistent damage!
Dark Path: utility ability, excellent for chasing enemies down as if you hit something it turns into Dark Pursuit allowing you to teleport to the enemy you hit!
Doom: long duration Fear, perfect for shutting down enemies.
Life Transfer: very powerful area attack that also restores some life force while in shroud, because this ability strikes so many times it has amazing synergy with Vampiric and Vampiric Presence from blood magic which cause your attacks to steal life. These two traits will cause Life Transfer to restore a large amount of health when striking multiple targets.
Tainted Shackles: this ability tethers you to nearby enemies, applying Torment and after a few seconds any tethered enemies will be struck with moderate damage and will be affected by Immobilize for a few seconds. However, if you move away from enemies the tether will break somewhat nullifying the skill.
On staff, skills 2-5 are called ‘marks’ these are trap-like area of effect abilities that explode when an enemy walks into them or if you just directly cast them on your opponents. They all do great damage and have some nifty utility too.
Chillblains will Poisoned and Chilled enemies, slowing them down and reducing healing, Putrid Mark transfers 3 conditions from you to each target hit, this can easily remove all conditions on you in one go, additionally it’s a blast finisher which you can combo with the poison field from Chillblains for area Weakness which will further reduce the offensive capacity of your foes!
The staff autoattack Necrotic Grasp deals reasonable damage and is very good for building up life force if needed. However instead of sitting around on staff too much, either swap over to dagger or leap into Death Shroud to unleash shroud abilities!
Dagger is a strong melee weapon that also has a very good self healing ability: Life Siphon! Life Siphon has a very short cooldown and is pretty much a second heal skill – it’s also ranged which makes it perfect for regaining health at a safe distance. Dark Pact brings a lot of utility to the dagger toolkit, casting it will Immobilize a target and remove two boons, boons are very strong so removing them from your opponents can make it significantly easier to defeat them!
Summon Blood Fiend attacks your enemies and heals you with every attack, you can kill this minion to heal yourself using Taste of Death which is good for emergencies but if possible leave this minion up so it continuously heals you over time!
Spectral Grasp is an amazing tool for instantly refilling life force and gathering up enemies to blast down immediately!
Well of Power converts conditions on you and your allies into boons, applies Might, and will break you out of stuns too – all of that with a very short 25 second cooldown!
Well of Darkness deals high area damage and applies pulsing Blinded and Chilled. Using this on a pack of enemies will usually completely prevent them from hitting you while you destroy them!
Summon Flesh Golem is a monstrous minion that can be an effective tank in open world and story content and can be commanded to Charge at enemies knocking them down!
This build has massive crowd control, your opponents won’t be able to do anything and defiance bars will melt away!
Lich Form is an epic elite skill that will transform you into a powerful lich capable of summoning exploding minions, sending out a wave of fear in front of you and launching deadly projectiles at any who stand in your way!
Since this build is designed to be your entry point to Guild Wars 2 world, let’s start with the basics, if you haven’t checked the guides below, give them a read to make yourself familiar with game basics.
Don’t try to invest in Runes and Sigils before you acquire proper level-80 Exotic gear with Berserker’s stats as transferring upgrades is not possible without destroying the item, and retrieving them during the process has a small chance with most salvage kits.
From drops, crafting and level-up rewards pick items with Power, and on later levels supplemented by Precision and Ferocity.
If you’re looking up this build as you’re leveling through the wide world of Tyria we recommend unlocking wells and minions early on!
The first specialization at level 21 should be Spite as it offers the most useful traits in early levels. At level 45 get Soul Reaping and finally at level 71 unlock Blood Magic.