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GW2 Meet the Reaper Necromancer’s Elite Specialization

GW2 Necromancer’s Elite Specialization was revealed today and it is called the Reaper.

Greetings, mortals and immortals alike. Today we’ll be talking about the highly anticipated greatsword-wielding necromancer elite specialization, the reaper. This devastating melee brawler is at home in battle when surrounded by as many enemies as possible, cleaving through hapless foes for life-force sustainment. Once the reaper has enough life force, they can transform into a devastating avatar of destruction that leaves enemies frozen in terror.


The Horror

The reaper’s thematic roots come from classic movie monsters and survival horror games. We pulled elements from slow but seemingly unstoppable horror monsters like Pyramid Head and Jason Voorhees to try to craft the feeling of a relentless pursuer who becomes extremely deadly once they close the distance to their prey. The greatsword is the ideal weapon for expressing this sense of dread due to its size and weight, but there was one thing that was missing—what’s a reaper without a scythe?

The reaper’s first minor trait is called Shroud Knight, and it gives the necromancer a completely new set of melee-focused skills while in Death Shroud. Additionally, when activating the new Reaper’s Shroud, they also equip a giant shadowy scythe and gain some additional particle effects to signify to opponents to watch out. The skills available while in Reaper’s Shroud share some similarities with their Death Shroud counterparts and—where applicable—inherit traits that are normally applied to them. Because Reaper’s Shroud is focused on melee combat, it centers much more on skills that allow reapers to get close, stay close, and cleave enemies. Here’s one example:

Death’s Charge—Spin your scythe and dash forward a moderate distance, damaging foes in your path. When the dash ends, release an explosive poison cloud.

Death’s Charge replaces Death Shroud’s Dark Path, which is a movement skill that allows a necromancer to close distances to opponents. Death’s Charge also closes distances, but uses slightly different properties. Both of these skills also benefit from the trait Path of Corruption, which causes Dark Path to convert boons on struck foes to conditions. If you’re wondering where the chill effect on the original Dark Path went, don’t be alarmed—it just moved to a different skill. In fact, the reaper is quite adept at utilizing this particular condition.

Chilling Victory

The chill condition has always been thematically tied to the deathly feel of the necromancer, and the reaper takes this a step further. Many of the reaper’s traits gain benefits from chill or chill effects in some way. With any elite specialization, we try to build a theme using the minor traits and expand on different aspects of that theme using the major traits. Besides Shroud Knight, here are the other two reaper minor traits:

Shivers of Dread—When you inflict fear on an opponent, you also inflict chill.

Since the reaper’s special weapon is melee focused, we wanted to make sure that players wouldn’t feel bad about using the necromancer’s iconic fear condition. It’s no fun to inflict fear on an enemy only to have them run away from your attacks. By adding chill to fear, the reaper can easily close the gap on a helpless victim. Reapers may not be light on their feet, but that doesn’t mean their enemies will be able to escape!

Cold Shoulder—Chill lasts longer, and chilled foes deal less damage to you.

By extending the duration of chill effects, the reaper is able to stay in close where their threat is the most potent. Chilled foes also have a harder time dealing damage to the reaper, making the reaper an imposing foe for enemies without proper condition removal.

Both of these traits work together with the reaper’s other chilling skills to wear down foes until they succumb to the cold touch of death.


Big Windup, Big Payoff

One of the most immediate things you’ll notice when you take charge of the reaper inGuild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™ is that the greatsword attacks are slow. In fact, most of the reaper’s attacks have a fairly sizeable cast time. Drawing on the themes of horror monsters, we wanted to express a sense of dread and weight behind each blow. This means that while the reaper doesn’t swing a greatsword as fast as other professions do, the damage modifiers and effects for each blow are much more pronounced.

A core skill for the reaper’s greatsword is the Gravedigger execution skill. When activated, the reaper draws upon dark energy to deliver a slow but devastating blow to all the foes around them. This skill has a very high damage modifier and can easily take a huge chunk out of an unwary foe. If any of the foes struck by this skill are below 50% health, the skill’s recharge time is dramatically reduced. This skill fits with the overall feel of the reaper by allowing you to easily grind down groups of enemies that are already close to death.

Not all skills are single-hit powerhouses like Gravedigger. Some hit more than once, and others don’t do as much damage, but they are all tuned to deliver a satisfying payoff for the wait.

Death Wail

To fit in with the area-of-effect theme of the greatsword, the reaper gets a full set of shout skills. All of these shout skills act as attacks that can hit up to five enemies and scale in effectiveness based on the number of targets struck (and yes, you read that right—reaper shouts deal damage!). In this way, the reaper is rewarded for diving into the thick of battle to engage as many foes as possible. Reaper shouts differ from warrior and guardian shouts in that they focus more on harming foes than they do on bolstering allies.

“Rise!” is an example of this new type of shout. When activated, it strikes up to five foes in a large radius, dealing a small amount of damage and summoning a jagged horror for each foe struck. While it’s not especially powerful when going toe-to-toe with a single enemy, it scales in power very quickly with more foes. Additionally, one of the reaper’s traits allows a tactical player to reduce the recharge of any shout based on the number of foes it strikes. Reapers with this trait and several shout skills can become dangerous powerhouses over prolonged encounters.


Fear the Reaper

That’s all for today’s glimpse into the dreaded reaper specialization. If you’re not scared off yet, tune in tomorrow for the Points of Interest livestream at noon Pacific Time (UTC-7) on theofficial Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel, where we’ll be going over more of this deathly specialization.


By Dulfy

MMO guide writer and blogger. Currently playing and covering SWTOR, GW2, and TSW.

51 replies on “GW2 Meet the Reaper Necromancer’s Elite Specialization”

Looks cool overrall thanks to awesome effects, though spinning attacks is lamest thing ever imagined and implemented into video games.

Guardian went from best all around, to best all around,
Mesmer went from… weak (PvE), Strong PvP and annoying as hell to ultra annoying still weak in PvE and even stronger in PvP…
Necro went from.. why do people even play necro outside of PvP? to Necro OP PvE… standing duck PvP (long cast times)

hopefully they add traits to block stuns and knockback cause those long cast times might be troublesome…

Well have it build stacks in death shroud with the max being 5 would fit the theme and be practical imo.

by no means am I saying anything bad, I am just saying what is given to a class based on elite specialization. Of course you can still condi drop in PVP and reap pve, but it’d be cool if some elites other than guardians can hang in both pve and pvp.

and i called it with necro and shouts, although i was thinking more boon sharing.

yeah guardian is a bit of jack of all trades……. I think what would help the necros core set is a bit of an overhaul (like what they are doing to the engineer). the elite spec i need to see in action to see if the “wind ups” are too bad or they have some compensation to them ( stability set up and what not)

finally necro got some love! becoming the most epic specialization to introduce for now. i wonder what name warrior will be given.

“a giant shadowy scythe “? don’t see it in the video. At least Great Sword has the same damage as Staff. Still good choice for Shroud

In French, the translation is “Fauchemort”, “Reaper of the Death”. The only disappointment here xD. But otherwise, quite excited about it ! (As a Main Necromancer~)

From what i can tell its account wide. So the necros hood and gs, the guardians gauntlet (and bow?), and mesmer shoulder and sheild.(as far as we know now).

If that’s been confirmed by anet then it’s awesome…getting those class-specific items as guaranteed rewards or similar.

Hooolllyyy Ssshhiioott!!!! Ok so far this looks way kool. Have to get used to the shout aspect and slow wind up times, but damn.

They have to compensate for the wind ups some how (stab, minion taunt, something to counter interrupts)

“Reaper shouts differ from warrior and guardian shouts in that they focus more on harming foes than they do on bolstering allies.” This is sad, the reason the nec is not popular in dungeons/fractals is the lack of team support.

If by team support you mean generate the now nerfed might, sure. But not if you want protection with wells or condition cleansing.

Well of corruption (i think) turns all enemy boons to condis and all ally condi to boon. Seems pretty supporty to my.

So do they mean if you take Reaper, the utilities all change to the Shouts, or those are just skills they are adding and any Necro will be able to use them?

All classes specializations get a new set of utility skills and a HEAL and a ELITE utility, so no they only added new stuff, if you saw devs playing with the Dragonhunter spec. at one point they did bring up the utility list. Old stuff is still there with new added to them which i believe will only be accessible if you have the specialization equipped, in the future they will add more specs. and personally i think the utilities of Reaper will only be available to the reaper. You have your base class utilities and then others depending on the specialization.

ok…I see…so you’ll get all the Necro Utilities, and IF you take the Reaper, you’ll have the shouts to choose from also…they won’t be locked in place…that would be cool…makes for lots of possibilities if they keep it that way. Thanks.

Necrosis have never been a support class people they are a control class manipulating boons and conditions to keep themselves and allies alive well killing foes so get over it. I just hope these shouts also aid them in melee steeling boons and giving them stability they really need it with them being more front line.

I haven’t met a PUG necro that can take down a 5% hp Lupi, so Idk about the killing part.

I am sure its possible, and I am sure you can do it, but I never had you in my team so I will not vouch for it.

Most necros are played by newbies, because they feel having an extra lifebar saves them, but they also fail at bringing damage.

Lol, they really mention Pyramid Head? Yay for Silent Hill fans at Anet.
“Now is the end of days, and I am The Reaper”

Looks cool. 🙂 Hope it Synergises well with OP Dagger main-hand.

U has a good point. Pyramid Head’s vibe is a much better goal then the Grim Reaper, which is used to much its watered down into oblivion.

Looks really cool. While perhaps not OP for organised dungeon groups (can’t tell without details), I will be amused if the straight forward beserker reaper out damages the straight forward beserker greatsword warrior. And then I will cry, because crafting an entire set of ascended cloth armor fills me with tears and woeful intent.

The necro isnt bad for groups.
He s “bad” for REAL speedrunners, yes. Because of the lack of boons he can share.
But thats all.
A power necro has a huge burst, the sustained DPS is very much the same as ranger/guard without uc or ea warrior.

Its only this bullsh*** that all the fans from pro speedrunners will do the same as there idols but without any sense of tactics or real gameplay.
And then they search in LFR… and with a info like “only warriors, no necros”, very funny.
Real speedrunners dont search for a group. >_>
And in such random”speedrun”groups is a necro as good as any shi**y played warrior or elementalist or any other class.

But im interested in this elite.
I hope they give him more support for a group. Then he will be perfect.

Necros are pretty bad for groups unless they are really good at playing. Necro class develops bad habits for new players and they carry it to a group… what bad habits?

They dont dodge, because lifeforce.
They dont cleave/aoe, because 2 target isnt cleaving. (not their fault, just a class mechanic)
They dont support, because necro.
They dont die easily, yet they usually have trouble taking down bosses with even less than 5% hp… I dont know why this is, but I’ve not seen one pull it off in PUGs, if the team wipes at 5% for any boss and the necro is left, they just run in circles and go into and out of death shroud until they die. its weird.

I have not played with 1 good necro yet, but the PUGs I play with usually has one, and they get carried, I dont kick necros, but I feel its a 4.5 player in a dungeon instead of having 5.

Newbies are giving Necros a really bad reputation in PvE.

Gotta agree, i farmed a few pieces in Orr and the Dredge mine, not dodging because of Life-force is just dumb.

Im running a Staff (aoe/ranged) and Dagger/focus build (melee single target), it always worked for me.

Usually the last one to die kitting the boss through at least 15% HP, it’s so easy to kite on certain fight and still do damage.

I would say you are probably one of the better necro players I have never met yet.. Due to rising new player population…

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