The Necromancer class in Elder Scrolls Online brings out all of the undead skills you could think of using in an MMO. In this article, we’ll explore the best races for crafting your Necromancer character to maximize gameplay potential as well as fit into the Elder Scrolls lore. Necromancers raise the dead to fight alongside them, empower themselves with skeletal armor, and siphon energy from the living and the dead alike to heal themselves and party members. These abilities match up with the Necromancer skill trees Grave Lord, Bone Tyrant, and Living Death.
Specific races excel at using the Necromancers toolkit more so than others, while other races have lore that perfectly meet the Necromancer class identity. It’s difficult to pick ESO’s best race for Necromancer overall, so we’ll highlight which race fits best into each type of Necromancer gameplay — Magicka DPS, Stamina DPS, Healer, and Tank. We’ll dive into Meta race choices first for the best Necromancer possible, and then follow it up with which races are the most lore-appropriate.
The Best Races for Necromancer Class in ESO
To kick off our ESO best race for Necromancer list, let’s check out the ideal option for a fan-favorite — the Magicka Necromancer!
The best race for Magicka Necromancers (DPS)
For building the Magicka Necromancer, the benefits of the Khajiit passives outway the raw Micka bonuses you would get from High Elf or Breton. As a Khajiit, you gain an extra 915 health, magicka, and stamina, along with bonus recovery in each (100 for health, 85 for magicka/stamina) to help you sustain the resources you will burn throughout fights.
The most important passive benefit from Khajiit will be the extra 12% critical damage and healing, spiking up the damage of your AOE skills. To get the most out of the Khajiit’s critical damage bonus, you’ll need to use sets like Mother’s Sorrow or Medusa, which give you spell critical to increase the likelihood of setting off those big crits. Using the Thief mundus will further boost your critical chance, and should be used if you are not using the Shadow mundus to further increase your critical damage and healing. The general rule of thumb is to use Thief if your critical chance is below 50%, and to use Shadow if it is above. Necromancers’ passive Death Knell makes it so your critical strike chance increases by 4% for each Grave Lord ability slotted to enemies under 25% health, so this should be taken into account when making your build choices.
The Grave Lord skills give Necromancers many damaging AOE abilities to use at their disposal, the key one being blastbones. This is a delayed skill, so you can cast it on an enemy before engaging in actual combat with them, allowing you to time your other damaging abilities to hit at the same time for huge burst damage. The Grave Lord ultimate, Glacial Colossus, deals damage in a huge area, stunning enemies within at the end. It also applies the Major Vulnerability debuff on enemies hit by it, increasing their damage taken by 30%. If your group follows up this ultimate with their own ultimates and highest damaging abilities, the amount of damage can be truly colossal. When bosses drop below 25% health during the execute phase, make sure that your execute abilities are on the same skill bar that your Grave Lord skills are on to ensure your consistently hitting critical hits.
The best race for Stamina DPS Necromancers
Raw Stamina stats will get you a long way when building a Stamina Necromancer, and the best way to get them right now is through the Dunmer (Dark Elf). As a Dark Elf, you gain an extra 1950 stamina and Magicka alongside 258 weapon and spell damage. These two major passives allow for the Dark Elf to scale all of their damaging abilities upwards with these raw stat multipliers.
Using an Orc is still a great choice, but in the highest levels of play, the Dark Elf and Khajiit top the charts for best consistent damage. Khajiit may offer better burst potential, but the Dark Elf gives better consistent damage throughout fights without having to depend on critical hits. The Necromancer passive Rapid Rot increases damage with damage over time effects by 15%, so you’ll want to make full use of skills that grant the diseased, poisoned, or bleed status effect on enemies. Blastbones, Twin Slashes, Trap Beast, and Poison Arrow (to name just a few) will all deal bonus damage over time.
Stamina Necromancers make use of the Grave Lord skills, but the morphs change the skills into doing either disease or poison damage. Disease applies the Minor Defile debuff that reduces healing taken by 15%, while poison deals extra damage over time. The Grave Lord ultimate, morphed to Pestilent Colossus, grants you the same benefit of applying Major Vulnerability to enemies hit, and deals more damage overall. As far as essential skills go, make sure to keep your Skeletal Archer up not only for the consistent damage it brings, but also for the corpse it will leave behind for your other abilities to play off of.
Blighted Blastbones is also something a Stamina Necromancer must keep casting on cooldown to maintain their consistent AOE burst damage, and leaves behind a corpse as well. Detonating Siphon is another key skill that will use the two skills mentioned before, draining a corpse to deal damage to enemies around it over time, detonating for a burst of damage at the end. Another plus to having Detonating Siphon on your main weapon bar is that you will do 3% additional damage simply for having it on your bar.
The best race for Necromancer healers
In building a Necromancer healer, the main things you need are a high Magicka pool and Magicka sustain. As a High Elf, you gain an extra 2000 Magicka, 258 spell and weapon damage, and 625 Magicka/stamina recovery every six seconds from activating a skill (depending on which resource is lower). With higher Magicka and spell damage, your healing abilities will be more effective, keeping your allies alive during even the most difficult veteran content.
Normally, a Breton would be better for the needed Magicka recovery healing requires, but with the Necromancer’s Death Gleaning passive, you recover 200 Magicka/stamina whenever an enemy you are in combat with dies, meaning you won’t have to worry about sustaining your resource pools as much. On top of that, the Necromancer’s Undead Confederate passive will increase your Magicka/stamina recovery by an additional 200 while you have a necromancer summon active.
The Living Death skills will passively increase your healing potency as well, with the spirit mender summon healing your lowest health allies without you having to cast a spell. Necromancer healers often hold onto the Living Death ultimate, Reanimate, giving them the ability to resurrect the dead teammates, which saves them the trouble of having to restart a fight when it gets out of hand. If a Necromancer healer can stay alive during a difficult boss mechanic, they can bring the group back into play immediately by having this ‘get out of jail free’ card in their toolkit.
Braided Tether is a skill that (while slotted) increases your healing by 3%, but also heals you and allies near you, serving as a great heal to buff your other heals. Necromancer healers excel at fending off close brushes with death with their passive aptly named Near-Death Experience, which increases your critical strike chance with healing skills up to 20% in proportion to the severity of you or your allies’ health loss. If your timing is right, you can use your strongest heals knowing they will critically strike and bring your teammates’ health bars back to full in no time.
The best race for Necromancer tanks
What’s the ESO best race for Necromancers who prefer the tank role?
With high resource pools and cheap ability costs, the Imperial is the definitive choice for crafting the best Necromancer tank. As an Imperial, you gain an extra 2000 health and stamina, and all of your abilities will cost 6% less.
The Imperials are considered great for tanking in any class right now, and as Necromancers will excel at providing both a mix of damage and debuffs to increase your groups’ overall damage output. The Necromancer’s ultimate costs are massive, so reducing the ultimate cost will let you use them more readily and consistently. Your group will never complain about you being able to use Aggressive Warhorn more frequently either, which is still the necessary tank staple ultimate.
The Bone Tyrant skills will give your increased armor and health while mitigating the damage enemies deal to both you and your party members. In a pinch, you can use the Bone Goliath ultimate from this skill tree and transform into a huge skeleton, restoring and increasing your max health by an absurd 30,000. This will make you practically unkillable, and will get you through fights when the healer can’t outheal the damage being done or is focused on keeping themselves alive.
Beckoning Armor will give you Major Resolve and Ward, increasing your physical and spell resistance by 5280 while pulling in any enemies that attack you from range, helping you group up ads for your team much more quickly.
Deaden Pain is also one the Necromancer’s Strongest tanking abilities, passively reducing damage taken by 3% while it is slotted in your skill bar. When you use it on a group of corpses (enemy or from your skills), it will give you ultimate generation, health, and Major Protection, which reduces incoming damage by 30%.
Imperial – Also our pick for the best race for Necromancer lore-wise
Another interesting consideration is that the Imperial also stands out when looking for best race for Necromancer when being mindful of the lore of the Elder Scrolls world. That’s because Necromancer is looked down upon in almost every culture and race (though there are groups in every race that break this code and perform necromancy just the same). The Imperials, however, have the least amount of boundaries and laws outlawing necromancy, giving it a stronger foothold within the Empire.
Mannimarco (a High Elf), known as the King of Worms, is the most popular Necromancer in the Elder Scrolls Lore, and was very present in the Imperial Empire before the alliance war began. Necromancy is legal within Cyrodiil, making it the ideal place to practice without being prosecuted. The second best spot to practice necromancy is Elsweyr, given the Khajiiti peoples’ relatively detached stance on the topic, a Khajiit Necromancer would not come as a huge surprise there. There is a reason the Necromancer class was released with the Elsweyr chapter, after all.
The best race for PVP Necromancers
What’s the ESO best race for Necromancers focused on PvP?
Well, with the current meta and updates to come, Stamina characters in PVP are looking very strong right now. The best race for stamina necromancer? Suffice it to say, the passives the Orc gives is very strong for sustaining yourself in fights while still dealing great damage. As an Orc, you gain an extra 1000 stamina and health, 258 weapon and spell damage, and restore 2125 health upon dealing damage once every four seconds.
This allows an Orc Stamcro to focus on dealing high amounts of damage without having to worry about regenerating health in fights. You’ll need 225 ultimate to cast Pestilent Colossus (your damage ult), and 250 ultimate for Ravenous Goliath (your defensive ult), so consider using abilities that will help you generate ultimate more quickly and play around your high burst potential with the delayed damage from Blastbones.
Become a High Grounder
Necromancer is one of the most rewarding classes to play in Elder Scrolls. We hope this guide helped you choose the ESO best race for your ideal Necromancer. Take a look at some of our other articles here at High Ground Gaming to help better your gaming experience. If you enjoyed this article and want to stay up to date with the best insider gaming knowledge, subscribe to the HGG newsletter.