Unkillable Necro - Detonate Dead Necromancer Build Guide (PoE Expedition 3.15)

TbXie

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Expedition League “Updates” & “Disclaimers”

While I generally put a lot of emphasis on updating all of my guides before a new league starts, I have decided against doing so at the moment. Many of the changes that came with PoE’s 3.15 Expedition league launch have pretty severe gameplay impact, which is incredibly hard to predict without having the appropriate software updated (like Path of Building). Therefore, I will give all my guides a pass and point out the obvious changes. Everything outside of this paragraph will stay untouched for 3.15 for now and will be updated accordingly over the course of the next weeks. This means that the information in this paragraph always supersedes anything written in the guide. Build updates will be prioritized in order of their popularity.

These are the changes I would undoubtedly make to this build:

  • Remove Second Wind Support Second Wind Support from your Flame Dash – It’s atrociously bad.
  • Don’t care about Ailment Immunity anymore since the investment is way too high.
  • Replace Basalt Flask Basalt Flask with a Jade Flask Jade Flask. Make sure to at least have a Heat Suffix (probably instead of the Iron Skin suffix)

Summary

Losing damage isn’t great for this build as it already didn’t have excess of it when fighting end game bosses. Additionally, not being ailment immune isn’t amazing but it’s something every build will have to deal with. However, it will remain one of the most tanky builds with acceptable DPS (especially considering everyone is getting nerfs). I think Detonate Dead will be completely fine and will remain fairly dominant in the META.

Introduction

While I personally would have never considered the possibility of Detonate Dead Detonate Dead being a viable skill outside of some special shenanigans, this build in particular caught my eye during one of the Shopify races that was organized by someone in the community. When I saw how insanely well this build was clearing maps and killing bosses, in a Hardcore private League with every single extra damage modifier enabled, I immediately knew I wanted to share this with you guys!

Luckily for me, Waggle and me have some history so I immediately hit him up and asked him to elaborate a lot of the mechanics behind the build, as I obviously needed to understand everything there was to know about interactions before being able to transfer over this knowledge and write it into a guide. The build originally was played by another Hardcore resident in PaakHC which this build was undeniably based off of. After getting through all of the hurdles I had to take to understanding all of the ins and outs of this very special build, we have arrived at the point where I present to you a build guide that offers enough damage to very comfortably clear the highest tiers of maps and bosses while getting over 11000 effective HP Pool.

Important to note is that at the time of writing the profile of gear I used was gear being used in a Hardcore Solo Self-Found race that had been going on for Six Days. While I’d argue that the player in question most likely has a better understanding of how to acquire gear in Solo Self-Found than the average player, that should go to show how acquirable all of this is even for you! If you’re looking for a very tanky build that packs a decent chunk of damage and clear speed, this is what you should be reading about!

Build Summary

Pros and Cons

Pros

+ Strong bosser with amazing clear
+ Requires no uniques to function whatsoever
+ Therefore SSF viable – Leaguestarter viable
+ Loads of HP Pool / Block Chance to make for a smooth playstyle

Cons

You don’t use this build until after act 10
Pretty heavy on buttons to press (2 Button Build + Warcries)

Map Modifiers to be Avoided

No regeneration is incredibly annoying to run, as you’re relying on life/mana/es regeneration quite a bit. If you insist on doing it anyhow, you need to bring an Enduring mana Flask to fix your Mana Regeneration. Otherwise Elemental Reflect is a no go. Even though the Corpse Explosion part of Detonate Dead Detonate Dead is unable to be reflected to you, the lesser spell part will definitely still kill you. If you’re running Physical Reflect maps, that’s fine, but you have to either un-socket your Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction or swap in a Level 1 version of the Gem to not die to its reflect.

Echoes of the Atlas Expansion Updates

While Echoes of the Atlas is trying to nerf Necromancers Summoners hard, they unintentionally hit Detonate Dead as well. Worry not though. The nerfs are immediately turned into buffs when we consider the return of the Primal Crushclaws and Blisterlords as Spectres. First of all though, the build lost 20% Increased Maximum Mana from Essence Glutton, which implies that you’re going to need about 70 more maximum Mana on Gear to make up for this lost amount of Mana. However, with the return of Harvest League, gearing up will be made a chunk easier than it was in Heist League. Therefore, I think the small “nerf” to Essence Glutton will easily be made up by a single Mana roll on gear somewhere. As per post Ritual League, Crushclaws & Blisterlords are replaced with Heist or Delve Spectres now for optimal damage.

If you look at the damage the build puts out in a vacuum, it has lost about 8% of its damage due to the nerfs to Corpse Pact and all the small nodes you pick up in the Ascendancy.

The build overall will be stronger than it was in Heist League, as it will be easier to get all the gear together and you will have higher HP corpses to explode, vastly increasing your damage output.

Playstyle, Mechanics & Strengths

Since Detonate Dead Detonate Dead scales mostly off of the monsters it detonates, you’re looking for ways to create monsters with as much Health as possible since the corpse detonation is based on monster Health. This is why many people are confused when they see Detonate Dead players run around with spectres that initially seem useless. The underlying story here is that those specters, while seemingly random, are specifically summoned because they have a really high % increased Heath modifier. If you have certain monsters as spectres the Desecrate Desecrate gem will add those spectres to the monster pool significantly increasing the average Health your detonated corpses will have, thus vastly increasing you damage output.

Comparatively if we’re looking at random monsters we encounter in the game, the average increased life modifier you’ll find is around 80%. If you target summon specific spectres, you can go up to as much as 750% (or more in specific scenarios). This equates to a 500% more damage multiplier for Detonate Dead Detonate Dead and Vaal Detonate Dead Vaal Detonate Dead and obviously is an important part of your damage. Additionally, Necromancer scales corpse life by quite a significant amount and you’re picking up increases to your spawned corpses’ Health in the tree as well making it so Detonate Dead has such high base values to go off of that you really don’t need any damage on gear.

So since the damage we deal mainly gets taken care of by spawning incredibly tanky corpses, what do we do with gear & passives is the million dollar question. The answer is fairly simple, we become an unkillable tank. The means through which we achieve this are a couple of layers on top of one and other. Again, I feel like this is worth mentioning again, all of the builds stats are based off of gear that was acquired in 6 days of playing Hardcore Solo Self-Found (by an exquisite player however) but the build fairly easily reaches about 6300 Health. On top of that, it uses the Mind over Matter keystone and around 2500 unreserved mana to further increase that Health Pool. Lastly, it also runs about 2000 Energy Shield which gets sustained by Necromancers Essence Glutton. This effectively comes down to just over 11000 maximum Health Pool to play with which is then further amplified through a bunch of mitigation mechanics.

First of all, without any spectacular gear the build reaches around 70%/68% block and spell block chance (effectively meaning you’re not going to get hit 70% of the time) and life on block through Bone Offering Bone Offering. This means you’re automatically regenerating Energy shield, Mana and Life and don’t have to worry about doing any of that manually. Lastly, through using General's Cry Support General's Cry Support linked to Vigilant Strike Vigilant Strike and a The Vigil The Vigil Jewel you will spawn minions that Vigilant Strike enemies and grant you a 30 second Fortify buff because of the Vigil Jewel. This combination makes it so through 1 General’s Cry every 30 seconds you’re sustaining Fortify, which is insanely strong at this levels of maximum HP pool.

This build honestly puts out some of the most ridiculous defensive stats you have ever seen. While being able to take maximum hits that are in the 20’s of thousands, it rivals builds that are absolutely broken that bring stuff like 90% All Elemental Resistance, a ton of Auras and whatnot such as Aurastackers or Low-Life Golemancers. Those builds are most definitely getting nerfed while this is easily flying under the radar and probably wont get hit for a while. For a build that brings those defensive numbers, its damage is unrivaled. It does sufficient DPS not to feel slow on almost any endgame boss, one-shots literally everything but the boss in maps and kills that boss in a couple of casts all while being on day 5 SSF gear.

Passive Skill 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.

Passive Skill Tree, PoB & Gem Links

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, Bandit & Pantheon Power 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 Page

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head Energy Shield Based Helmet with Life, Mana & Resistances and Ailment Avoidance
Amulet Citrine Amulet Citrine Amulet with Life, Mana, Energy Shield & Resistances
Chest Hunter Chest with Increased Effect of Offerings, Life, Ailment Avoidance and Life as Maximum Energy Shield
Gloves Energy Shield Based Gloves with Life, Mana & Resistances and Ailment Avoidance
Boots Energy Shield Based Boots with Life, Mana & Resistances and Movement Speed
Belt Stygian Vise Stygian Vise with High Life and Resistances
Rings Vermillion Ring Vermillion Ring with High Life, Mana and Resistances
Weapon Rare Sceptre with Fire Damage, Fire Damage as Extra Chaos, Cast Speed and Trigger Mod
Shield Energy Shield Based Shield with Life, Fire Damage as Extra Chaos, Spell Block, Life and Resistances

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.

Leveling

Even though we are very adamant about trying to give you a leveling experience that lies as close to your endgame playstyle as possible, we will recommend you to use the standard leveling setups until after act 10. Detonate Dead Detonate Dead just doesn’t function that well until you have all of your stuff going. For more information about leveling, we refer you to the following guides:

Getting to Brutus & Merveil

For starters, create a Witch in whichever league you want to start. If you want to make use of the Onslaught Support Onslaught Support you’ll need to make a Scion to quickly run to town and store one as Witch doesn’t get access to this gem until act 3.

Pick up an Explosive Trap Explosive Trap from the vendor to start your journey and go to kill Hailrake and clear Mud Flats. Set up the following links after Mud Flats:

  1. Frost Bomb Frost Bomb
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  1. Explosive Trap Explosive Trap

After killing Brutus, you will be adding an Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support to your Frost Bomb.

Level 12 and Onwards Setup

From level 12, after killing Merveil, you’ll be setting up for your road to level 28. You should be breezing through content at this point as these skills are really strong while leveling.

  1. Storm Brand Storm Brand
  2. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  3. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  4. Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support

At level 28, swap your Storm Brand Storm Brand for Armageddon Brand Armageddon Brand as it scales better with the passives you are picking up in the skill tree.

Credits

Massive credit goes to Paak and Waggle for letting me write about a build they created and tweaked in the first place and helping me out figuring out what exactly was important information to pass along and how specific mechanics in the build interacted.

Questions

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.

FAQ

What spectres can be recommended ?

Honestly, this is best manually checked on websites that include Corpse increased % life modifiers. As of 3.14, the best Spectres for Life are Stoneskin Flayers and Lithomancers from Primeval Ruins in Delve which have 800% increased Life. Before you get your hands on those, Rusty Crushers & Auto-Enforcers (found in Tunnel Heists) are the easiest to get very high health spectres. For the best and most optimal minmax though, you should pick them up!

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  1. TbXie

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    On 25/12/2020 at 6:21 PM, korn0413 said

    Nah, purifying flame shreds and HFT is just there for bosses/rares. WoC for exposure obviously although some people like to replace PF with WoC I don’t find it necessary at all as PF keeps you healthy and has plenty of damage.

    I will try to get around and find half an hour to level this to 28, see how it feels! If it’s good, I’ll definitely gladly put it in cause leveling Fire Skill is kinda sh*t usually.

  2. Posts
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    Hi! First off I want to say I absolutely love this build. It’s the first build that I’ve enjoyed and been successful with the majority of heist.

    However I’m having some trouble with single-target dps. I have all the links and gems in the guide, however I still find that my single-target, especially against bosses like Drox, is lacking. Any tips?

  3. TbXie

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    On 30/12/2020 at 9:48 PM, Ignitis said

    Hi! First off I want to say I absolutely love this build. It’s the first build that I’ve enjoyed and been successful with the majority of heist.

    However I’m having some trouble with single-target dps. I have all the links and gems in the guide, however I still find that my single-target, especially against bosses like Drox, is lacking. Any tips?

    Are you running High HP spectres? Do you have all damage mods on gear? What level are you & what content are you doing?

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    On 31/12/2020 at 1:40 AM, TbXie said

    On 30/12/2020 at 9:48 PM, Ignitis

    Hi! First off I want to say I absolutely love this build. It’s the first build that I’ve enjoyed and been successful with the majority of heist.

    However I’m having some trouble with single-target dps. I have all the links and gems in the guide, however I still find that my single-target, especially against bosses like Drox, is lacking. Any tips?

    Are you running High HP spectres? Do you have all damage mods on gear? What level are you & what content are you doing?

    I’m currently level 90. The spectres I’m using are the auto-enforcers. It might be that i don’t have the damage mods on my gear, I’ve just been going for life and energy shield. I’m doing maps at the moment, like i said the clear is amazing, no problems with clearing maps, it just feels a little weaker with boss damage. I’ll try and search for more damage gear and see if that helps a lot. Thanks for the quick reply!

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    Hi, i’m having major issues in leveling procress, currently at act 4, clearing speed good with Armagedon brand, but 0 dmg to boss, theres no specification about what to use in the leveling guide, plz i’d use some help, otherwise ill probly give up on that build. TY

  6. TbXie

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    On 01/01/2021 at 10:53 PM, raktol1 said

    Hi, i’m having major issues in leveling procress, currently at act 4, clearing speed good with Armagedon brand, but 0 dmg to boss, theres no specification about what to use in the leveling guide, plz i’d use some help, otherwise ill probly give up on that build. TY

    There’s a lot of things you can use for single target. Flamethrower Trap isn’t horrible (link to Trap & Mine Damage, Elemental Focus, Controlled Destuction) but people have also used Cremation a decent amount lately. Could link that to Controlled Destruction, Elemental Focus, Concentrated Effect for example

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    I just want to point out that the best spectres aren’t the ones mentioned, though it looks like they’re the easiest to come by.

    By far the best spectre for corpse life are Primal Crushclaw from Phantasmal quality Desecrate (formerly from Harvest) at 1200% life. After that both Stoneskin Flayer and Lithomancer from Primeval Ruins in Delve have 800% life. Auto-enforcer from Heist has 750% and Rusty Crusher has 715% for comparison.

  8. TbXie

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    On 04/01/2021 at 10:58 PM, cognificent said

    I just want to point out that the best spectres aren’t the ones mentioned, though it looks like they’re the easiest to come by.

    By far the best spectre for corpse life are Primal Crushclaw from Phantasmal quality Desecrate (formerly from Harvest) at 1200% life. After that both Stoneskin Flayer and Lithomancer from Primeval Ruins in Delve have 800% life. Auto-enforcer from Heist has 750% and Rusty Crusher has 715% for comparison.

    Yeah, you’re correct. However, getting Primal Crushclaws is very annoying for most people. I should perhaps put this in the FAQ though. (Also, there’s a fairly big chance 95% of people don’t see a single Primeval Ruins for the entirety of a league so theres that – and I personally didn’t even know about these to be quite honest)

  9. TbXie

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    On 04/01/2021 at 10:58 PM, cognificent said

    I just want to point out that the best spectres aren’t the ones mentioned, though it looks like they’re the easiest to come by.

    By far the best spectre for corpse life are Primal Crushclaw from Phantasmal quality Desecrate (formerly from Harvest) at 1200% life. After that both Stoneskin Flayer and Lithomancer from Primeval Ruins in Delve have 800% life. Auto-enforcer from Heist has 750% and Rusty Crusher has 715% for comparison.

    Added FAQ section!

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    Hi, At what level do you suggest to start using Detonate Dead will feel strong after early leveling?

  11. TbXie

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    On 11/01/2021 at 12:40 AM, ezhamad said

    Hi, At what level do you suggest to start using Detonate Dead will feel strong after early leveling?

    Blood Acquaduct or later :)

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    Hello, I have never played Necro so two questions in regards to this build.

    1. Do I need to go find the spectres to summon each time I load into the game or is there ever a time I will need to go find the proper ones again.

    2. How dependant is this build on the Trigger mod for the weapon, I am unsure how much it will either cost early on (trade) or how long it will take to find (SSF). Depending on which league I end up playing it.

    Thank you!

  13. TbXie

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    On 11/01/2021 at 9:17 PM, semerhage said

    Hello, I have never played Necro so two questions in regards to this build.

    1. Do I need to go find the spectres to summon each time I load into the game or is there ever a time I will need to go find the proper ones again.

    2. How dependant is this build on the Trigger mod for the weapon, I am unsure how much it will either cost early on (trade) or how long it will take to find (SSF). Depending on which league I end up playing it.

    Thank you!

    1. Spectres remain with your Character until killed.

    2. Fairly reliant – You’re going to want to press Bone Offering 24/7 and Flammability / WoC on every Boss (and even rares should you have issue with damage early on) – It’s almost free though in trade league after a few days as there’s a ton of trusted crafters who offer crafts for free / or small tips

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    What are the best spectres for this build besides the primal crushclaw, i.e. what I can use until I get this one.

    Thanks.

  15. TbXie

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    The Spectres you want to summon are Auto-Enforcer & Rusty Crusher from robot heists just because they have the most Life possible right now as of the Passive Gem Section.

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    Hi, In 3.13 the Necromancer Ascendancies were reworked with removal of “20% increased maximum Mana” and of “30% increased Damage if you have Consumed a corpse Recently” . How does these affect the build?

  17. TbXie

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    On 12/01/2021 at 12:58 PM, ezhamad said

    Hi, In 3.13 the Necromancer Ascendancies were reworked with removal of “20% increased maximum Mana” and of “30% increased Damage if you have Consumed a corpse Recently” . How does these affect the build?

    Updates will be pushed before leaguestart (and I foresee a lot of them going out VERY short after Patch notes). While I think the Changes will affect the build slightly, I don’t think any of them are significant enough to make them a dealbreaker. The build will more than likely be just fine.

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    thanks for the post @TbXie. looking forward to seeing if any build changes. any thoughts on making spectres a 2 or 3link with elemental army / meat shield? maybe a +fire damage abyss jewel would give us an extra bit of resist shred?

    also wondering your thoughts on badgers conclusion that number of different spectres in the pool drastically improves DD damage. Would you recommend any kind of scaling with this? +1 spectre gem boots / +1 spectres chest maybe? (a + spectre and + offering effect chest might be cheap this league LOL)

  19. TbXie

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    On 12/01/2021 at 7:47 PM, malm123 said

    thanks for the post @TbXie. looking forward to seeing if any build changes. any thoughts on making spectres a 2 or 3link with elemental army / meat shield? maybe a +fire damage abyss jewel would give us an extra bit of resist shred?

    also wondering your thoughts on badgers conclusion that number of different spectres in the pool drastically improves DD damage. Would you recommend any kind of scaling with this? +1 spectre gem boots / +1 spectres chest maybe? (a + spectre and + offering effect chest might be cheap this league LOL)

    I’m not sure about that – I don’t think that’s the play as the investments are probably more than they should be.

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    what would you add/swap in a trade league environment?
    i played around with some uniques in PoB but didnt really find anything must-have yet.

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