The state of the Necro has changed many times over the years, depending on the current meta. As of this writing (January 2020) GW2 Necro is not the strongest class overall.
Trivia: The stereotypical Necro wears Chaos Gloves and Reaper Hood. I don’t know why. My guild added “Take a shot when you see a Necro in Chaos Gloves and Reaper Hood” to our Guild Wars 2 drinking game. We had to remove it from the list because we got too drunk.
Best Necro Builds
Necro’s standing in the meta typically depends on the status of condition damage (“condi”), which is not as strong now as it was in years past. However, the Scourge specialization is popular as a niche class in WVW and raids.
Necro has some of the strongest Downed skills in the game. Necro may be a light armor class, but due to its Downed skills, the Necro is hard to kill.
For ideas on how best to play Necro, we recommend the Snow Crows and MetaBattle builds, as these are carefully-tested and kept up to date with the current meta.
As a general rule, minions are terrible. The AI is buggy, their attacks are inconsistent, they can’t be controlled or put on passive like a Ranger’s pets, several of them are effectively useless, and the cooldown is considerable. At best, each minion takes up a slot on your utility bar that could be used for something better.
That being said, minions are gross and fun and unique. Minions are particularly useful for new players, while leveling characters, and for tagging mobs. If you mainly plan to do PvE, and you like minions, by all means use them. (That sounds like sarcasm, but it isn’t. I use minions with my PvE Necro.)
Wells are arguably the best all-round utility for Necros. Wells in combination with staff creates an interesting gameplay style wherein you spend all your time clicking on the ground, but you kill a lot of things. It can be hard to get used to, but this is a good strategy for dealing with big mobs.
Farming Mobs With Necro
I rated Staff Minionmancer Necro as one of the three best builds for farming mobs.
Staff and axe/warhorn or dagger/dagger is a good, balanced loadout. You may also want to consult one of many build guides online for more detailed recommendations. We recommend QTFY builds, as these are carefully-tested and kept up to date with the current meta.
Necro Elite Specializations
Reaper: Reaper unlocks the Greatsword, which is fantastically useful, particularly Gravedigger (Greatsword 2).
Scourge: Currently, Scourge is in high demand as a niche build in WVW and raids as a healer.