Choose a face up, non-Duration Action card in the trash. Turn it face down for the turn, and play it, leaving it there.|
Setup: Put the 3 Zombies into the trash.
Necromancer is an Action card from Nocturne. It allows you to play Actions that are in the trash. Three Actions (the Zombies) are added to the trash for Necromancer to work with when it is in the game. If you play multiple Necromancers in one turn, you have to choose a different trashed Action each time.
- This plays a non-Duration Action card from the trash.
- Normally it can at least play one of the three Zombies, since they start the game in the trash.
- It can play other Action cards that make their way into the trash too.
- The played cards are turned over, to track that each can only be used once per turn this way; at end of turn, turn them back face up.
- Necromancer can play another Necromancer, though normally that will not be useful.
- The Action card stays in the trash; if an effect tries to move it, such as Encampment (from Empires) returning to the Supply, it will fail to move it.
- Necromancer can be used on a card that trashes itself when played; if the card checks to see if it was trashed (such as Pixie), it was not, but if the card does not check (such as Tragic Hero), it will function normally.
- Since the played card is not in play, "while this is in play" abilities (such as Tracker's) will not do anything.
Other rules clarifications
- Face-down cards in the trash can still be interacted with by cards other than Necromancer, such as Lurker, and you can still look at them if you want to know what they are.
- The restriction on movement only applies to effects that would have moved the card out of the play area if it were played normally, for example, Island will fail to move itself out of the trash and onto your Island Mat, although any other effect will still apply, such as moving a card from your hand onto your Island Mat; if a card is looking to move a card out of the trash, it may move itself - thus, if you choose to play a Lurker, Graverobber or Rogue in the trash, it can gain itself out of the trash as a result.
- If a face-down card in the trash is gained, and then later trashed in the same turn, it is returned to the trash face-up, meaning another Necromancer may play it.
- Attempting to trash a card in the trash doesn't count as trashing. So if you try to trash a Tragic Hero in the trash, you won't gain any from Tomb, and it won't activate Sewers.
- If Necromancer plays a Throne Room variant that then plays a Duration card, the Necromancer stays in play as long as the Duration does.
- Unlike Band of Misfits, Necromancer can play Command cards from the trash.
Necromancer is a flexible card whose strength varies greatly depending on what cards are in the trash. The presence of Zombie Spy means that a single copy of Necromancer is not a stop card and generally won’t make your deck worse, but Necromancer will typically only make your deck significantly better if you can use Zombie Mason productively for thinning, or if there are likely to be strong Action cards in the trash. Since Zombie Mason and Zombie Apprentice both provide benefits in exchange for trashing Action cards, it is always possible to power up your Necromancers even in the absence of other enablers; however, cards in the trash can be used by your opponent’s Necromancers as well, so improving Necromancers is only a benefit to the degree that you can take advantage of them to a greater extent than your opponent.
While none of the Zombies is individually very powerful, they do give Necromancer consistent access to some abilities:
- As a trash-for-benefit effect and thinner that is unreliable because you cannot pick its target, Zombie Mason is most effective in the early game, when your deck is almost entirely junk. Occasionally, in Kingdoms that otherwise lack thinning but greatly reward it, it can be worth opening with Necromancer in order to thin your Coppers and upgrade your Estates into better cards. Later in the game, you can sometimes try to use Zombie Mason on more valuable targets, most notably to mill Provinces, although usually this will require support such as Zombie Spy to line up a target.
- Although Zombie Apprentice offers non-terminal draw, it is mostly situational and difficult to use sustainably, as you need collision with and a supply of Action fodder, and can only play a single copy per turn. It can occasionally be useful to avoid a dud, or with good trash-for-benefit targets such as Fortress, or against an opponent junking you with Ruins.
- As a cantrip with a slight sifting effect that does very little, Zombie Spy is usually a fallback option. Most often, it is useful to resolve Necromancer colliding with another terminal.
Necromancer is likely to become a highly valuable card in several situations:
- Trashing attacks are a powerful enabler for Necromancer, as these often send valuable Action cards to the trash. Knights are particularly notable, as Necromancer significantly extends the period in which players can attack, which can potentially last until all the Knights and all the Necromancers are in the trash.
- Trash-for-benefit effects can set up Necromancer targets if they are used on Action cards. This is particularly likely to happen with effects that only work on Actions, such as Procession or Advance. Less commonly, you may be able to make profitable use of Necromancer with Actions that are good targets for trash-for-benefit effects; this includes high Actions (e.g. Peddler) and those that have an on-trash benefit (e.g. Squire) or an on-gain benefit (e.g. Lackeys).
- One-shots and other self-trashing Actions (like Tragic Hero) are especially good targets for Necromancer, as you can repeatedly benefit from their effects without losing access to them. For example, Necromancer can consistently generate Villagers with a single Acting Troupe in the trash. Way of the Horse is a particularly notable enabler: cards played from the trash remain in place and so are not returned to the Supply, allowing Necromancer to play Zombies or other trashed Actions for non-terminal draw throughout the game. Similarly, Horses that end up in the trash can be used as sustainable draw.
One noteworthy dynamic of Necromancer is that all players have equal access to and control over its targets in the trash. Most importantly, this means that setting up good targets for your own Necromancers can give your opponent a similar advantage for free. For example, if you invest resources in gaining, playing, and trashing a Tragic Hero, your opponents will be able to play that same Tragic Hero without expending any of their own resources. This should be considered while deciding how to build up your deck, but might be a smaller concern if you will play more of them than your opponent, whether that’s because you have more copies of Necromancer, because you have a better engine that plays Necromancers more reliably, or just because you can trash an Action and still play it with a Necromancer later on that same turn. On the other hand, cards that gain from the trash like Graverobber can undermine Necromancer by removing its targets. They also allow Zombies to be gained from the trash: although Zombies are rarely strong cards to have in your deck, denying Zombies to your opponent can render their Necromancers useless.
External strategy articles
Note: Article(s) below are by individual authors and may not represent the community's current views on cards, but may provide more in-depth information or give historical perspective. Caveat emptor.
| Play a face up, non-Duration Action card from the trash, leaving it there and turning it face down for the turn.
Setup: Put the 3 Zombies into the trash.
| Choose a face up, non-Duration Action card in the trash. Turn it face down for the turn, and play it, leaving it there.
Setup: Put the 3 Zombies into the trash.
|Nocturne (2021 printing)|
Other language versions
Necromancer lets you play Action cards from the trash. And just to ensure that you always have some options there, the trash starts with three Action cards in it, the Zombies. And two of the Zombies can help you get other Action cards into the trash. Somehow it all works out.Each Action card in the trash can only be used once per turn, though if there are multiple copies of a card in the trash, you’ll be able to play each copy within the same turn. When you play a card in the trash, you flip it over to indicate that. So if you play three Necromancers in a turn, one could play Zombie Spy, the next could play Zombie Apprentice to trash a Skulk, and the last could play the Skulk you just trashed. If you use Throne Room to play Necromancer twice, each play of Necromancer will have to play a different card from the trash. Necromancer can’t play Duration cards, and cards that try to move themselves (like Reserve cards from Adventures) fail to do so; they’re stuck in the trash.
Why isn't Necromancer a Command card?
After the release of Plunder, players found an infinite loop that exploits Necromancer's lack of the Command type. Specifically, Necromancer plays a Reckless Band of Misfits (turning it face down); on the 1st iteration, the Band of Misfits plays a Sentinel, which trashes a Lich and a 2nd Band of Misfits (which enters the trash face up), and then the Lich discards itself and gains the face down Band of Misfits. Then on the 2nd iteration of the Band of Misfits, it plays a Necromancer, causing the whole combo to loop forever (for infinite Tomb ).
Alternative to turning cards face down