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Necromancer Minion Master Traits

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August 10, 2012 - 5:59am -- Sardu
Grenth's Grog on GW2Hub

Last week I dove into the many mysteries surrounding playing the necromancer profession as a Minion Master in Guild Wars 2. While that build offers a very unique play style, it's one that has typically taken somewhat of a back seat to those that capitalize on the strengths of Death Shroud, or the necro's ability to manipulate and spread multiple conditions.

As noted at the end of that column, this week I'm going to go over the traits that focus wholly on minions with a few key things in mind. First, it will give prospective minion masters (MM) a better understanding of which trait lines they'll need to invest in. Secondly, it will help give you some baseline understanding of any inherent strengths of playing an MM build. Finally, some of the information contained here will serve as a "sneak peak" of the Complete Guide to Minion Mastery that I'll be publishing in the near future.

Minion Master Traits

Rather than ramble out another of my trademark epic preambles, today I'm going to dive right into the nuts and bolts. In the following table, I've put together a comprehensive listing of all traits that are directly linked to minions, with plenty of notes and explanations below.





Training of the Master


Minion damage is increased by 30%







Death Magic






Summon a jagged horror whenever you kill a foe. 30 second cooldown.

Minion Master


Minion skills recharge 20% faster

Protection of the Horde


Gain +20 toughness for each minion under your control

Flesh of the Master


Minions have 50% more health

Death Nova


Whenever a minion dies, it explodes in a cloud of poison that lasts for 3 seconds

Necromantic Corruption


Minions have a 10% chance to remove a boon when they attack

Blood Magic




Vampiric Master


Minions siphon health and transfer it to you

Soul Reaping






As you can see, the traits directly relating to minions form a very clear path for you to take with your traits. You'll want to pay particular attention to a few things and how they relate to your overall build:

1. You will be spending your trait points as follows:

  • 20 Spite
  • 30 Death Magic
  • 20 Blood Magic

2. Doing so will also provide you with the following attribute gains:

  • +20% Condition Duration
  • +200 Power
  • +300 Toughness
  • +30% Boon Duration
  • +200 Vitality
  • +200 Healing

3. Death magic is the only line where you will need to make a choice between two minion traits. Once you reach the Grandmaster level, you can have your minions cause a 3 second poison cloud when they die or grant them a 10% chance to remove boons when they attack.

A part of your decision here is going to boil down to which minions you intend to bring, and how intent you are on keeping them alive. Most minions attack from range, so you may not see as much consistent benefit from Death Nova.

If you're using a staff as your primary weapon, your Mark of Blood will also be able to keep a fairly regular Regen on your minions to help keep them alive longer. Since you're already spending points in Blood Magic, you can also take the Mark of Evasion trait which will occasionally create an additional Mark of Blood when you dodge.

While you "could" approach the MM as a quasi minion bomber, there are other benefits to keeping your minions alive...

4. The more minions you keep active, the greater your survivability thanks to an additional +20 toughness per active minion. This will be on top of the +300 toughness you gain through investing 30 points in Death Magic.

Factoring in having a Jagged Horror active via the Ranimator trait, you can potentially have a maximum total of +140 toughness through minions, for a total of +440 toughness not counting any armor, accessory, or weapon upgrades.

5. While you'd be sacrificing +20 toughness, you'll likely still want to consider bringing Well of Blood for your heal, at least in group situations such as sPvP or dungeons. It's consistently a better heal, and grants yet another source of Regen to help keep your minions alive. On top of that, it also heals allied players, and creates a Light combo field which can assist with condition removal.

6. MM traits will only enhance the survivability of you and your minions, or base damage of your minions. They will not alter or enhance the 'active' skill for your minions in any way. Instead, the active skills will benefit directly from the attributes you gain from each line. Namely, you'll be gaining +20% condition duration which will impact the majority of your active minion skills.

Stitching it All Up

I've watched the MM traits go through a fair amount of iteration, and they're now at a point where there is a very clear path for the traits you'd be taking for that particular play style. In many ways, MM is one of the most clearly defined builds available for necros as a result.

There are a lot of subtle elements to MMs that I haven't touched on here, but as noted above I will be publishing a more complete guide to minion mastery in the near future. While it will contain much of the information outlined above, it will also go into more detail on things like sigils, runes, and accessories to consider in your MM build, and ways you may want to approach it differently depending on which game type you're most interested in playing.

Next week, I'll be shifting gears a bit and discussing one of the necromancer's most offbeat skill lines: Spectral. So be sure to check back for the next thrilling installment of Grenth's Grog!


Wedge7's picture
Submitted by Wedge7 on

Useful guide, thank you. I hadn't realised how linear the MM trait progression was. It makes it easier to make an MM, but on the flip side, if you see an MM, you'll pretty much know exactly what traits they have. 

whoresbane's picture
Submitted by whoresbane on

Nice read man, now im interested in necro's as well.

"The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists."

sylvinstar's picture
Submitted by sylvinstar on

They really put the necromancer 'in order' since BWE1.  I think there are pluses and minuses to the way they are now verses the way they were then.  I did figure out during the last stress test that my dagger/dagger - scepter/warhorn build played absolutely crappy for me.  Most likely I lack the skill to play it, or it's just a crap buildblush

I have yet to play a MM necro in the game.  I guess I may give it a go.

Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

Dagger / Dagger is still a good weapon set, but I've found it works best a) paired with spectral skills and b) when grouped. It's particularly effective if you intend to "tank" in dungeons, but then not something you'll ever use if you'll be playing a lot of WvW outside of maybe smaller skirmish stuff.

A breakdown of some core necro build concepts is also in the works (not just MM), along with plenty of other expanded guides for necros and some of the other professions. :)

sephblades's picture
Submitted by sephblades on

The guide is outdated. Many traits have been moved so as it is impossible to get all the traits listed above.


i.e. Training of the Master now requires 30 points in Spite along with Vampiric Master

Beta is beta and many things are subject to change from one time to another :)


Goof effort though.

Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

This info was taken directly from the game client this Thursday (August 9th) during the stress test. So unless there was another major pass on necro traits between the Thurs. and Fri. stress test, the info here should be accurate.

And yes, I do have screenshots to prove it. ;)

Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

Going through my data collected on the 9th and the build tool revision from the 10th, traits have not moved as you describe here. Any chance you have a link / source for your info?

Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

I'm cross-referencing the trait data I collected on Thurs. (the 9th) with what's on the build tool (claims to have been updated for the test on the 10th) and so far everything I have listed here is accurate.

Remember folks: The official wiki is often wildly inaccurate because a) it might not have been updated with the newest gameplay data and b) there's always room for user error when you have thousands of editors involved.

sephblades's picture
Submitted by sephblades on

I was looking at a wrong builder m8. Sorry.

sylvinstar's picture
Submitted by sylvinstar on

I tried using dagger/dagger paired with wells and traited for wells to siphon health.  I figured with the defense gained from some of the conditions from the wells and the life taps I traited in that I would be fine, but I just got squashed compared to my ranger with his higher armor and protection/dodge abilities, even though my ranger had a MUCH lower health pool.

It may be that the ranger just works with my playstyle better, or that the ranger is just more forgiving of my meager sPvP skillscheeky

It doesn't help that I am doing uncoordinated 8 V 8's either.  Maybe the Ranger is just better suited to that.

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