Ultimatum League Updates
Other than a tiny nerf to Harvest Spectre life, the build largely remained untouched by the ton of nerfs in the Balance Updates. Therefore, I think it will pick up a little bit more popularity once again and will be reinstated as one of the strongest Spellslinger Support builds out there.
Spellslinger Support is a relatively new build-enabling support gem that was added in 3.10 Delirium League and immediately rose in popularity. It was (and still is) mainly used to facilitate builds that required multiple skill interactions before. Volatile Dead is a prime example of this, as you had to manually cast Desecrate to have corpses to consume before the introduction of Spellslinger Support. Another great example is the interaction between Essence Drain and Contagion.
After dominating the meta for 2 Leagues straight, Spellslinger Support finally got a hit from the hammer in 3.12 Heist League. This build has got hit a little bit left and right and now requires a couple of Golden Oils or a Helmet enchant to fully come online. Certainly not the worst of nerfs from a Trade League perspective, but rather annoying if you were planning to leaguestart this in a Solo-Self Found environment.
This Spellslinger Support build relies on automatically casting Desecrate and Volatile Dead, making it very convenient and easy to play. It also requires hardly anything to get going, which makes it an exquisite League Starter and perfectly Solo-Self Found viable as long as you are satisfied with a 5-Linked setup until you find the necessary Golden Oils. The most important piece of gear is a Trigger socketed skill gems when you use a skill Wand, which is obtained through unveiling Betrayal items and crafting it on your Crafting Bench.
Additionally, because of the nature of Spellslinger Support, the build also uses a Vaal Detonate Dead because it is just outright better then an extra support gem could be. Vaal Detonate Dead has incredibly high damage and explodes the remainder of corpses which you’re not consuming for VD.
As for our ascendancy choice, the Necromancer was an easy pick. It gives us a higher level on all our important Skill Gems and scales the monster life of our corpses, providing us with higher damage. On top of that, it makes us incredibly tanky through Mistress of Sacrifice and Bone Offering.
This Necromancer Volatile Dead and Detonate Dead build really requires no high-end gear or any endgame experience, and still is rather easy to get going in Trade Leagues. It is very strong throughout the endgame whether you want to level, map, or kill bosses. It is possible to go through the acts as a Spellslinger but its leveling potential has been nerfed severly. We recommend using this as your second build when you have access to some leveling gear.
Obviously, as with most of the builds in Path of Exile, there are different variations to builds and this one is no exception. We will be covering both the most standard LIfe-based variation, as well as a higher budget Low-Life version. The Low-Life version is generally a little bit more tanky whilst dealing even more damage.
Pros & Cons
+ Hardcore and semi Solo-Self Found viable (as of 3.12: requires 2 Golden Oils to work)
+ Easily doable on a very tiny budget
+ Almost completely automated build and thus very easy to play
+ New player friendly
+ Incredibly high Life pool and Automatic Life or Energy Shield recovery
+ Vulnerable to a couple of map mods (Elemental Reflect, No Regeneration)
+ Uneasy on the eyes as there is a lot of clutter and visual effects
Map Modifiers to be Avoided
You will one-shot yourself to Elemental Reflect so this map mod should be avoided at all costs. On top of that, running No Regeneration maps is incredibly annoying to deal with and should just be avoided too.
Echoes of the Atlas Expansion Updates
Even though there were a couple of small nerfs to the Necromancer Ascendancy, a recently discovered mechanic actually does help out the build more than it got nerfed! Overall, should we not change anything, I think the build loses about 5-6% DPS, of which it already didn’t have an absurd amount. That wouldn’t have been pleasant. However, since we’re using both Detonate Dead and Volatile Dead we’re going to be able to use their Corpse Explosions better starting with the Ritual League. This is because 3.13 introduces the comeback of Harvest League and therefore the Primal Crushclaw Spectres!
As we had some free sockets, we’re going to be looking to add a couple of those Spectres into our build as they have ridiculous amounts of Health. Because of them being our spectres, they’ll get added into the pool of Corpses that can get spawned by Desecrate. Therefore, when this gets triggered, there will be at least a couple of these guys among the created corpses, allowing Detonate Dead & Volatile Dead to blow them up. Since both these explosions scale off of Monster Life, that will add a sizeable amount of damage to the build!
Due to the availability of gear (Harvest Crafts) and this extra addition of Primal Crushclaws, the build probably is close to what it was prior to the big Spellslinger nerf in 3.12! Definitely something I think is going to make a comeback in terms of top tier builds!
Playstyle, Mechanics & Strengths
A lot of people immediately think about Minion builds when they talk about Necromancers, but aside from a Summon Stone Golem and a few spectres just so you can get them from Desecrate you really don’t use any Minions. You’re really just a Necromancer in the most literal meaning. We’re using Corpses to activate our skills, unlike regular Summoners. These Corpses also enable us to use the insanely strong Bone Offering in combination with Glancing Blows. This keystone was introduced in 3.9.0 Legion League and was available as a Keystone on Lethal Prides. However, as the Keystone gained more and more popularity, it was removed from Lethal Prides and added as a Keystone in the Passive Skill Tree in 3.11.0 Harvest League and immediately became a cornerstone for all the most popular builds to build around.
Glancing Blows doubles our chance to block both Attacks and Spells but makes us take 65% Damage from Blocked Hits. While it sounds like it would be stupid to still take 65% of the Damage of Blocked Hits, the combination of these mechanics makes it incredibly easy to cap your block chance. The entirety of this combination gives us around 25% Damage Reduction as well as enabling us to use either Life or Energy Shield on Block modifiers.
All in all, this build has a lot of Life and Life recovery through restoring portions of your effective Health pool when you Block. This makes it so it almost trivializes most of the endgame, defensively. The damage you output is still incredibly high though, considering how strong it is on the defensive side.
As far as the playstyle of this build goes, it’s incredibly convenient and easy to play. Through Spellslinger Support you will start a casting sequence between Desecrate, Volatile Dead, and Detonate Dead when you attack with Frenzy. On top of that, this enables us to make use of a lot of little benefactors such as using a Combustion Support on our Frenzy to amplify our Fire Damage. Next up, since you will be using a “Trigger” Wand, you can automate Bone Offering and Flammability for further increase of Fire Damage dealt to our enemy and Wave of Conviction for Fire Exposure.
All of these little increases, that are possible because you’re automating your Spell casts, really help in the end when it comes to our throughput, which is exactly why this build has a damage output that stays very competitive. The reason why this build has such an insane tankiness is because you are able to pick up a lot of Life nodes, capping both your Block and Spell Block and having a way to recover Life on Block through Bone Offering. On top of that, given there’s no pressure on gear whatsoever: you get to use different mechanics like Divine Flesh from a Glorious Vanity, for example, to even further mitigate the damage you take. Divine Flesh functions as another 25% Damage Reduction if optimized for.
Offensively, you mainly rely on maximizing your Attack Speed and Cooldown Reduction to get as many Volatile Deads and Detonate Deads off as possible. I’d like to refer to Psychomap’s reddit post about Cooldown Tresholds. This post contains all the math necessary to optimize your Frenzy Attack Speed and match it to your Cooldown Recovery Speed. The most convenient numbers to go for are 38% Cooldown Recovery Speed (after the Spellslinger Support, this requires you to get 19% Cooldown Recovery Speed on gear which is available on just a belt) and use an Attack Speed of around 2.75 on Frenzy. Be careful not to go over that too much, cause that might make it so Server Ticks miss out on some of your procs.
If you end up optimizing for those numbers, you’ll Spellsling 2.75 times per second, spawning 15 corpses per sling. I’ll save you the napkin math but this means 24 Volatile Deads and 17 Detonate Deads are cast per second. At a very conservative amount of Damage Nodes / Gear this would mean you would cap out at 7.000.000 DPS on a cheap Life-based variant.
The best part about all of this is that everything about this build is automated. Besides using Flasks and attacking with Frenzy, there really is nothing else you need to do. All of your spells, both offensive and defensive ones, will be automatically triggered when you’re running around holding your Frenzy key. That’s why we think this build feels very enjoyable and easy to play!
Passive tree, PoB, and Gem Links
You can find an optimized Path of Building here. Every build I release will use the community fork of Path of Building, which is maintained and updated in a much more regular fashion than the original one. You can find PoB’s Fork, by LocalIdentity, here.
If you are not comfortable with Path of Building, we also have a PoePlanner for you. Do note that PoE Planner does not support Cluster Jewels and some specific unique jewels and it is highly recommended you install Path of Building to follow builds most optimally.
More information about the Passive Skill Tree, as well as all the Gem Links can be found on our dedicated page.
Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheons
Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Power page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.
Gear Summary / TL;DR
A lot of this is explained more in depth in the Gear Page, however we will provide you with a basic idea of what gear you’re looking for in this short summary.
|Item Slot||Item Name|
|Head||A Rare Bone Helmet with a Nearby Enemies have -9% to Fire Resistance modifier|
|Amulet||A Rare Amulet with Life, Resistances & for example a +1 to Level of all Dexterity Skill Gems modifier|
|Chest||Either a Inpulsa's Broken Heart for Clear or an Elder Astral Plate for higher Life|
|Gloves||A Rare pair of e.g., Titan Gauntlets with High Life & Chaos Resistance|
|Boots||A pair of Rare Two-Toned Boots (Cold and Lightning Resistances) with Movement Speed, Life & Resistances|
|Belt||A Rare Stygian Vise or Leather Belt with High Cooldown Recovery Speed|
|Rings||Two Rare Vermillion Rings with High Life and a Non-Channeling Skills have – to Total Mana Cost|
|Weapon||A Rare e.g., Prophecy Wand with Spell or Fire skills levels, Flat Fire Damage to Attacks and a Trigger a Socketed Spell when you use a Skill|
Questions & Support
I made it a habit to check all comments in my guides on a daily basis. Obviously, there might be occurrences where getting a reply might take longer but I really do try to get back to you as soon as possible. I prefer you making remarks, suggestions or asking questions that way as it allows others to read through the comments, providing them with a potential answer to their question, without having to wait for me again. If I have somehow missed your question, you can try reaching me on our Discord.
If you enjoy my content to such an extent that you’d like to support me and my work, I have a Patreon you can check out. At no point should you feel pressured to contribute, but if you do, your support means more to me than you will ever imagine.
- Our step-by-step leveling walkthrough, which allows even more experienced players to save time and speed through the leveling process.
- Our guide to Unique Items for leveling, which helps you gear up your characters for the leveling process.
- Our beginner leveling guide, which answers many of the questions new players might have and will set you on the right path.
This Necromancer Spellslinger Support build really is a jack of all trades. It is very suitable for new players to take their first steps in endgame content, as well as giving more veteran players the option to enjoy the game and feel super tanky while dishing out tremendous amounts of damage. Even though this build requires virtually no gear whatsoever, it is very fit to be optimized to levels where it completely trivializes the game.
It is incredibly strong in both League-Starting and Solo-Self Found environments yet still offers a sense of character improvement as your gear evolves. We highly recommend you try out this Volatile Dead and Detonate Dead build.