Diablo 4 Necromancer Skeletal Mages
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Diablo 4 Necromancer Book of the Dead Skeletal Mages: Should you pick Shadow, Cold, or Bone?

Here are the best Skeletal Mages in Diablo 4.

The second group of minions you get as a Necromancer in Diablo 4 are the Skeletal Mages. These minions chill in the back with you, dealing Shadow, Cold, or Bone ranged damage. But what are the best Skeletal Mages to pick — Shadow, Cold, or Bone? They all have their pros and cons, but here are the best Skeletal Mages in Diablo 4.

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Note: Since you have all the Skeletal Warriors unlocked, check out what the best Necromancer Skeletal Warriors are in Diablo 4.

What is the best Necromancer Skeletal Mage minion in Diablo 4?

All Skeletal Mages are good; there isn’t a “best” Skeletal Mage. The best Skeletal Mage comes down to your specific Necromancer build.

If you are playing a Shadow Necromancer build, Shadow Mages is the obvious choice to maximize the amount of Shadow damage you deal. It’s the same with Bone Mages — choose those minions if you’re playing a Bone Necromancer build because their Bone damage attacks will be buffed by your passive abilities. There isn’t a good option for Blood Necromancers, but the Cold Mages are a great option if you’re building around making enemies Vulnerable.

Diablo 4 Necromancer Skeletal Mages – Pros and cons of Shadow Mages

Shadow Mages deal moderate Shadow damage. They are a really great choice if you want a constant source of Shadow damage that won’t need to be resummoned often, especially if you have Skeletal Warriors. As always, they have two upgrades and a sacrifice.

  • Upgrades
    • Shadow Mage attacks have a 10% chance to Stun for two seconds. This can’t happen on the same enemy more than once every five seconds.
    • Shadow Mages fire an additional shadow bolt every fifth attack.
  • Sacrifice
    • Increase your maximum Essence by 15, but you can’t summon Skeletal Mages.

If you want a steady stream of Shadow damage, go with the second upgrade that allows for additional shadow bolts. However, I think the 10% chance to Stun is a better option as Stun is a really great debuff that’ll make your Skeletal army have greater survivability. If you don’t like either of these options, gaining 15 Essence is good, but not the best — I’d recommend avoiding that.

Diablo 4 Necromancer Skeletal Mages – Pros and cons of Cold Mages

Diablo 4 Necromancer Skeletal Army

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Cold Mages are the last Skeletal Mage option I would pick, but if you want to make a powerful Vulnerable Necromancer build, they have a lot to offer.

  • Upgrades
    • Each time a Cold Mage damages an enemy with their primary attack, you gain two Essence.
    • Enemies who are Frozen by or damaged while Frozen by a Cold Mage are made Vulnerable for four seconds.
  • Sacrifice
    • Deal 15% increased damage to Vulnerable enemies, but you can’t summon Skeletal Mages.

Cold Mages are a solid pick if you want more control over the battlefield as they do freeze enemies. If your build relies on using Essence all the time, the first upgrade is a good pick. If you want to create more Vulnerable enemies, the second upgrade is a good get. However, if you already have a constant way to make enemies Vulnerable, the sacrifice option is very viable as it’ll make your attacks against Vulnerable enemies much stronger.

Diablo 4 Necromancer Skeletal Mages – Pros and cons of Bone Mages

Lastly, and my personal favorite, is the Bone Mage. Bone Mages deal heavy damage, but they use their own bones as projectiles which drains their life.

  • Upgrades
    • Reduce the life cost of your Bone Mages’ attacks from 15% to 10%. After being alive for five seconds, Bone Mages deal 40% increased damage.
    • Each time a Bone Mage dies from its own attack, they leave behind a Corpse and Fortify you for 11% of your base life.
  • Sacrifice
    • Your Overpower damage is increased by 40%, but you can’t summon Skeletal Mages.

In my opinion, Bone Mages are the best minion based on damage, upgrades, and their sacrifice. The first upgrade is good, but Bone Mages will still die after a while which means their 40% increased damage isn’t as good as it sounds.

Instead, I highly recommend the second upgrade because having more Corpses as a Necromancer is always a good thing, and Fortify can be really amazing if you have an Overpower-focused build. Speaking of Overpower, the sacrifice is truly amazing, especially if you are Blood Necromancer, because you can delete enemies with that 40% boost to Overpower damage.


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Noah Nelson
From his early days of blog-style music, movie, and game reviews to working as the Esports Writer at Coastline Community College, Noah Nelson now works fulltime as a Staff Writer for Attack of the Fanboy and PC Invasion. He has been helping gamers everywhere with Destiny 2 god rolls, Warzone 2 DMZ missions, and collectibles in any indie game for over a year and a half. His Bachelor's Degree in English Rhetoric and Composition with a minor in Journalism from CSULB has shaped him to be a strong writer and editor. His fondest gaming memory is playing Sly Cooper 2 after begging his mom (for hours) to play it before his birthday and he still cries myself to sleep remembering the time he accidentally saved over his 99% completion save file in Kingdom Hearts 2.