Spellslinger VD (Volatile Dead) & Detonate Dead Necromancer Build Guide (PoE Heist 3.12)

TbXie

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About the Author

TbXie has been playing Path of Exile since the release of Open Beta, playing a variety of leagues in which he has played Hard- and Softcore, Standard, and Solo-Self Found. He has a background in racing, winning Demigods in the early race seasons as well as finishing high up in recent Flashback ladders, such as Rank 1 Guardian (9th Overall), Rank 2 Berserker. He has experience playing solo and both in push and MF groups, while being notorious for his WorldFirst Delve 6000 with his team & farming multiple Mirror of Kalandra Mirror of Kalandras every league. You can follow him on Twitch and Twitter or ask him your questions in the PoE Vault Discord.

The Demigod winning characters

Heist League and its Nerfs to VD / DD Spellslinger

Heist Patch Notes – TLDR: This build got heavily affected by the Heist Patch Notes. It made use of 3 of the things that were most heavily nerfed, yet still remains very playable. I guess that goes to show that those nerfs were warranted! First of all, Mistress of Sacrifice, Bone Offering Bone Offering, and Glancing Blows made up a huge part of our defensives. Whilst none of them got insurmountably nerfed, we need to drop a couple of damage nodes left and right to make up for the lost Block/Spell Block.

Next up, Divine Flesh (from Glorious Vanity Glorious Vanity) also got a 20% effectiveness nerf, but still is hands down the best mitigation in the game and thus will still be included and optimized for in the build.

The more severe nerf was given to the Spellslinger Support Spellslinger Support. Spellslinger used to reserve 20% Mana as a baseline at all levels. It now has a scaling Mana reservation starting at 30%, going down as far as 25% at level 20. This implies that our Spellslings will reserve 50% more Mana at level 28 when we started using it for leveling, and 25% more Mana at gem level 20. We have provided workarounds at all stages.

There are two ways around the Spellslinger Support Spellslinger Support nerf. You either have to drop your regular Anointment in order to anoint Charisma on your amulet, or you can go for the Helmet enchant “Skills Supported by Spellslinger have 15% reduced Mana Reservation”. Since people generally hate playing builds that got nerfed, I would argue that gearing this build now will be easier due to items not being in as high a demand as before.

Guide Format

This build guide is split over multiple pages, both to prevent it from getting too long, as well as to help you better find the information you are looking for. In addition to the current page, which presents general information about the build and also contains a Leveling and FAQ section, we have the following pages:

Passive Skill Tree & Gem Links

Gear, Jewels and Flasks Breakdown

Ascendancy, Bandits and Pantheon Powers

Introduction

Spellslinger Support 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 Volatile Dead is a prime example of this, as you had to manually cast Desecrate Desecrate to have corpses to consume before the introduction of Spellslinger Support Spellslinger Support. Another great example is the interaction between Essence Drain Essence Drain and Contagion Contagion.

After dominating the meta for 2 Leagues straight, Spellslinger Support 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 Oil 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 Spellslinger Support build relies on automatically casting Desecrate Desecrate and Volatile Dead 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 Oil 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 Spellslinger Support, the build also uses a Vaal Detonate Dead Vaal Detonate Dead because it is just outright better then an extra support gem could be. Vaal Detonate Dead 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 Bone Offering.

Build Summary

This Necromancer Volatile Dead Volatile Dead and Detonate Dead 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

Pros

+ Hardcore and semi Solo-Self Found viable (as of 3.12: requires 2 Golden Oil 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

Cons

+ 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

Playstyle, Mechanics & Strengths

A lot of people immediately think about Minion builds when they talk about Necromancers, but aside from a Summon Stone Golem Summon Stone Golem 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 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 Pride Lethal Prides. However, as the Keystone gained more and more popularity, it was removed from Lethal Pride 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 Spellslinger Support you will start a casting sequence between Desecrate Desecrate, Volatile Dead Volatile Dead, and Detonate Dead Detonate Dead when you attack with Frenzy Frenzy. On top of that, this enables us to make use of a lot of little benefactors such as using a Combustion Support Combustion Support on our Frenzy Frenzy to amplify our Fire Damage. Next up, since you will be using a “Trigger” Wand, you can automate Bone Offering Bone Offering and Flammability Flammability for further increase of Fire Damage dealt to our enemy and Wave of Conviction 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 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 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 Dead Volatile Deads and Detonate Dead 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 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 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 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 Dead Volatile Deads and 17 Detonate Dead 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 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 Frenzy key. That’s why we think this build feels very enjoyable and easy to play!

Passive tree

You can find an optimized Level 96 Path of Building here & A level 96 Passive Skill Tree here. If you’re seeking more information regarding choices and options, please check out our dedicated Passive Skill Tree page.

Passive Tree Page

Gem Links

All of the gem link choices are thoroughly explained on our Gem Page.

Gem Links 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.

Ascendancy, Bandits, Pantheons Page

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.

Gear, Jewels & Flasks Page

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head A Rare Bone Helmet 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 Inpulsa's Broken Heart for Clear or an Elder Astral Plate Astral Plate for higher Life
Gloves A Rare pair of e.g., Titan Gauntlets Titan Gauntlets with High Life & Chaos Resistance
Boots A pair of Rare Two-Toned Boots (Cold and Lightning Resistances) Two-Toned Boots (Cold and Lightning Resistances) with Movement Speed, Life & Resistances
Belt A Rare Stygian Vise Stygian Vise or Leather Belt Leather Belt with High Cooldown Recovery Speed
Rings Two Rare Vermillion Ring Vermillion Rings with High Life and a Non-Channeling Skills have – to Total Mana Cost
Weapon A Rare e.g., Prophecy Wand Prophecy Wand with Spell or Fire skills levels, Flat Fire Damage to Attacks and a Trigger a Socketed Spell when you use a Skill

Leveling

Leveling as a Spellslinger Support Spellslinger Support build sadly no longer is possible. Therefore, we suggest you level up with Arc Arc or Ball Lightning Ball Lightning by using the following guides.

FAQ

What Map Mods are Impossible to Do?

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.

What Anointment Should we Go For?

Arcane Swiftness gives you a whopping 75% Spell Damage and is therefore really hard to beat. To use this anointment, however, you must use a Helmet with the “Skills Supported by Spellslinger have 15% reduced Mana Reservation” enchant. If you are unable to acquire such a Helmet, you must anoint Charisma instead.

Conclusion

This Necromancer Spellslinger Support 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 Volatile Dead and Detonate Dead Detonate Dead build.

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  1. Posts
    1

    Hey,

    this build sounds awesome. How much does it´s damage rely on Incinerate? I´d like to use Cyclone as the Channel-Skill later on. Could you reccommend a way to make that possible? All other builds I found with a Cyclone set-up needed much more investment and I want to try it as a starter.

    Thanks for your input,

    Tosc0

  2. Vvckd

    Moderator

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    1737

    On 10/12/2019 at 10:02 AM, Tosc0 said

    Hey,

    this build sounds awesome. How much does it´s damage rely on Incinerate? I´d like to use Cyclone as the Channel-Skill later on. Could you reccommend a way to make that possible? All other builds I found with a Cyclone set-up needed much more investment and I want to try it as a starter.

    Thanks for your input,

    Tosc0

    Hey, there is no problem in replacing Incinerate Incinerate with Cyclone Cyclone at all. The main reason I chose Incinerate is because it is more defensive, you can deal damage from a range and although Incinerate’s damage is not that much it is still better than Cyclone. Overall both channelling skills’ main purpose is to utilize the Cast while Channelling Support Cast while Channelling Support gem and are not used as a main way of dealing damage.

  3. Posts
    1

    would love to see a PoB-Link of this guide.
    As a newbie I don’t get any idea of how to setup the gems to fit this guide properly without running into problems

  4. Vvckd

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    1737

    On 12/01/2020 at 12:29 PM, DaveReed said

    would love to see a PoB-Link of this guide.
    As a newbie I don’t get any idea of how to setup the gems to fit this guide properly without running into problems

    Hey, unfortunately we do not create PoBs for now since we spend most of our time on keeping text guides updated. I’d be glad to check your character and help out.

  5. Posts
    1

    How it exactly works with desecrate? I put desecrate gem into shaper influence staff with “socketed gems are supported by X lvl cast while channeling and icon of skill is faded out and is not casted when channeling incinerate. Am I doing something wrong?

    Edited by majky666 on January 18th, 2020

  6. Posts
    3

    Quick question. I noticed in the gear page you mention a wand but not plural. And I don’t see a section for a shield. Is this supposed to be a dual wand build or a shield to synergize with the block node?

    Also, thank you for all the work in putting this together. It’s of great help to us newer players!

  7. Posts
    2

    On 25/06/2020 at 6:26 PM, Babsda said

    Quick question. I noticed in the gear page you mention a wand but not plural. And I don’t see a section for a shield. Is this supposed to be a dual wand build or a shield to synergize with the block node?

    Also, thank you for all the work in putting this together. It’s of great help to us newer players!

    Definitely want to use a shield since the builds defenses rely on block and spell block.

    Though I have a question of my own. I feel like i’m losing health at an alarming rate at times and the only thing that saves me is spamming instant health flask. My resistances are capped (other then chaos) and with all the all resist nodes I am heavily overcapped with some of the resistances over 120% with gear that I got from finishing the 10 acts. My block chances are 44% attack and 40% spell with no buffs active. 3.3k health and 1.1 ES which is low since I pretty much just started the character. I’m wondering should I be getting hybrid armor ES item bases or something? Since I literally have 0 armor without the granite flask.

  8. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    1737

    On 25/06/2020 at 6:26 PM, Babsda said

    Quick question. I noticed in the gear page you mention a wand but not plural. And I don’t see a section for a shield. Is this supposed to be a dual wand build or a shield to synergize with the block node?

    Also, thank you for all the work in putting this together. It’s of great help to us newer players!

    Hey, you should be wielding a Shield. Please check out the Gear page again, it is now fixed. Thank you!

  9. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    1737

    On 25/06/2020 at 7:05 PM, Cerbenix said

    On 25/06/2020 at 6:26 PM, Babsda said

    Quick question. I noticed in the gear page you mention a wand but not plural. And I don’t see a section for a shield. Is this supposed to be a dual wand build or a shield to synergize with the block node?

    Also, thank you for all the work in putting this together. It’s of great help to us newer players!

    Definitely want to use a shield since the builds defenses rely on block and spell block.

    Though I have a question of my own. I feel like i’m losing health at an alarming rate at times and the only thing that saves me is spamming instant health flask. My resistances are capped (other then chaos) and with all the all resist nodes I am heavily overcapped with some of the resistances over 120% with gear that I got from finishing the 10 acts. My block chances are 44% attack and 40% spell with no buffs active. 3.3k health and 1.1 ES which is low since I pretty much just started the character. I’m wondering should I be getting hybrid armor ES item bases or something? Since I literally have 0 armor without the granite flask.

    Hey, make sure your Bone Offering is active as much as possible. At that point you can get some Armour but it is not necessary. Get other defensive utility Flasks like Basalt and Jade. You will be fine once you get more Life and Gear in general. The Shaper-based Shield will provide a ton of Recovery also.

  10. Posts
    2

    Thanks Vvckd I’ll make sure Bone Offering is working. Might be overleveled for my cwdt.

    Another question. Is there a reason why you don’t use a wand with “Trigger a Socketed Spell when you Use a Skill”

  11. Posts
    3

    Two questions on gems.

    Not to be too literal but I am. :) What level should Arcane Surge Support be locked around?

    Also, normally I see a level lock on CWDT. Is it implied this should level to 20?

    Edited by Babsda on June 26th, 2020

  12. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    1737

    On 26/06/2020 at 9:42 PM, Babsda said

    Two questions on gems.

    Not to be too literal but I am. :) What level should Arcane Surge Support be locked around?

    Also, normally I see a level lock on CWDT. Is it implied this should level to 20?

    Hey, keep the Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support low, so it procs at a low treshold. The gems it supports should also not exceed its level requirement in order for the setup to work. Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support should be level 3-5 max.

  13. Vvckd

    Moderator

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    1737

    On 26/06/2020 at 3:44 PM, Cerbenix said

    Thanks Vvckd I’ll make sure Bone Offering is working. Might be overleveled for my cwdt.

    Another question. Is there a reason why you don’t use a wand with “Trigger a Socketed Spell when you Use a Skill”

    Hey, it is a great suggestion but it becomes way more non-budget friendly in the long run. It also rips off some possible damage mods.

  14. Posts
    3

    On 27/06/2020 at 8:01 AM, Vvckd said

    On 26/06/2020 at 3:44 PM, Cerbenix said

    Thanks Vvckd I’ll make sure Bone Offering is working. Might be overleveled for my cwdt.

    Another question. Is there a reason why you don’t use a wand with “Trigger a Socketed Spell when you Use a Skill”

    Thank you! For now, I will keep CWDT at level 1 and Bone Offering at 7. And see if I need to adjust down the road. Appreciate your responses and it’s helping me to learn the mechanics as I go.

    Edited by Babsda on June 27th, 2020

  15. Posts
    6

    Hey

    If I may ask, to what level do you upgrade your Volatile Dead?
    And the same for Desecrate, it already needs 26 dex at lvl 1?
    Cause I see you’ve only got 24 dex in your skill tree.
    Do you just keep it at level 1 or..?
    I’m pretty sure I’m missing something but I can’t see what exactly.
    Thanks in advance

    Edit: Nvm I already found my mistake XD

    Edited by Tyras1997 on July 1st, 2020

  16. Posts
    1

    It seems the mana reservation is too much for those links. Is there anything that I might be missing?

  17. Vvckd

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    1737

    On 04/07/2020 at 8:14 AM, zerolife said

    It seems the mana reservation is too much for those links. Is there anything that I might be missing?

    Hey, I assume you are talking about the leveling setup. You can simply drop one of the skills if that is the case. Sovereignty is a cluster that also helps out by a great deal.

  18. Posts
    3

    Hi, What is the best anoint you advice for the Amulet? thanks in advance

  19. Vvckd

    Moderator

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    1737

    On 07/07/2020 at 4:06 AM, Ironic_kast said

    Hi, What is the best anoint you advice for the Amulet? thanks in advance

    Hey, Undertaker is the best notable to anoint on your Amulet.

  20. Posts
    1

    Great guide. The build is doing great for me so far. I have a question though, can I use this build along with Ziz’s Volatile Dead Spellslinger? Is it possible?

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