[2.3] DD Elementalist / Safe, Powerful, Budgetfriendly, No Reflect

Welcome! This is the first show off of one of my characters, so take it easy.
Note: I have always been a casual Standard league player. I don't play temp leagues.
Still work in progress for the guide.

AdNauseam - Detonate Dead Elementalist

Intention behind this build was to make a safe and powerful character without abusing conversion mechanic, mirror & legacy items or a Shavs and that doesn't rely on crit. Proliferation used to be dead, the once so powerful Detonate Dead gem rotting in oblivion, but with the introduction of Elementalist class I wanted to give it a try. Turned out to be a very straight forward and viable character.
Had a great time so far, so I wanted to share this build with you.

Pros & Cons

- Damage scales with area level, no need to worry about damage in end game maps
- Huge AOE, ignites half of the screen with one explosion
- No reflect! DD has the advantage of "Damage cannot be reflected", no more offscreen suicides.
- Budgetfriendly: two Doryani scepter + Carcass Jack is all you need
- No offensive auras, so we can focus on defense
- No manual cursing, no great micromanagement
- Safe! 6k life, Arctic Armor, Dual Curse Temp Chains and Enfeeble via Blasphemy, Fortify
- Kills packs with one shot, damage over time takes care of fast incoming monsters, bosses and everything else. Good single- and multitarget skill
- No legacy or mirror items
- Better mobillity than Flameblaster
- Can do any map mods and unique maps
- Atziri viable (deathless) / Uber not tested (yet), couldn't get my hands on a tier 15 map (yet)

- Not as fast as Spark builds
- You need to precast Desecrate to blow things up. Sometimes, if monster density isn't that high, you have to wait for it to regenerate
- Igniteproof bosses (Atziri, Argus) take some more time than regular foes, but are completly doable
- Map with full elemental status ailment avoidance kill the clear speed, you can still run those maps
- Curse immune monsters and maps are dangerous but again doable
- Not the fastest build to level
- No BAZILLIONk tooltip dps to show off

My Tree @ LVl 93

Went for AOE, Life, Elemental & Fire Damage, Ignite & Burn, some Mana Regen.
No need to pick up spell damage, Detonate Dead is not a spell. No crit, Elemental overload just for some boost once in a while, not needed.
What the tree is lacking: Dexterity! I needed to pick up Practical Application and some dex nodes, rest from gear.

Bandits: Oak - Kill - Kill
Another option is to kill Oak in merciless for one more endurance charge.

Ascendancy: Elementalist

Liege of the Primordial - Great dmg boost for every fire caster!

Shaper of Desolation - Shock with a monster lvl 80+ corpse explosion? Yes, please!

Beacon of Ruin - Core element of this build. Radius of 9 seems to be small, but with Inc. AOE from tree and gear this clears pretty well. In addtion we can drop elemental prolif support gem and gain more dmg and a free support gem slot for our main skill. Strongboxes are a walk in the park, if you manage to place some recently killed burning corpses around it before opening.

Gems & Links

Main Skill
Detonate Dead - Concentrated Effect - Increased Area of Effect - Chance to ignite - Fire Penetration - Increased Burning Damage

For 5L drop IncBurnDmg. Still oneshots packs, rares just take one second more to burn down, bosses probably need a second or third corpse exploded. Didn't saw the need for a Trap gem here, would be another cooldown that we might have to wait for and the dmg is not needed.

Blasphemy - Enlighten - Temporal Chains - Enfeeble

Leap Slam - Fortify - Faster Attacks

For smashing barrels, get over gaps and add some extra defense if needed.

Cast when damage taken - Immortal Call - Increased Duration - Molten Shell

Level of Cwdt is up to, I went for lvl 12.

Utility 1
Arctic Armor - Summon Flame Golem - Minion Life - Culling Strike

Flame Brolem for great damage boost! Maybe I will drop the culling for a second golem with the upcoming 2.3 changes for elementalist. Arctic Armor for more defense vs. fire and phys attacks.

Utility 2
Faster Casting - Enduring Cry - Desecrate

Desecrate without trap is fine, no need for multitrap corpse generation or faster construction, cooldown of Desecrate slows clear speed just in cases of very scattered enemies. Most time the big AOE of DD is enough to keep on blowing up corpses.

For Atziri
Elemental Focus & Spell Echo

Level those two gems up in your alternate weapon slot. Combine Desecrate with Spell Echo.
Switch DD Chance to Ignite for EF for Atziri, swap it back in Split Phase to burn again.
I usually swap IAoE for Faster casting in addition. See the vid for a demonstration.

Gear Example

Two Doryani's Catalyst for maximum dmg boost. DD just benefits from elemental & fire damage increases, not from spell dmg. Leech is nice to have.
Carcass for AOE and area dmg, the 6th link is optional.
Rest is simple life, resistance and dexterity. Belt can be swapped for life&res belt. We dont need spell dmg (DD is not a spell!) or high cast speed.
Defense is neglected, took a hybrid helmet for some more EHP. Main defenses are both Blapshemy curses, some life regen from tree and leech from all Doryani items.


Life and Area Damage. Much potential left here, did not spent much time looking for good jewels.
Nice adds would be: Dexterity, inc. Fire Damage, Resists

How to burn maps to the ground

Activate your curse auras and AA for defense, keep your golem up for offense.
Spot a monster pack at the edge of your screen, cast desecrate right in the middle of it and cast Detonate dead. What isnt killed from the first blow burns in milliseconds. With a 72% chance to ignite we just need to hit about 2 monsters to get an ignite, burn proliferation via Beacon of Ruin spreads the burn and helps vs. incoming monsters.
The AOE of DD is big enough to kill/ignite a whole pack and generate new corpses for the killchain. Click, boom, proceed. Drop in a desecrate once in a while to restart and bomb off scattered foes. No need to stand still like a flameblaster.
Hop around with Leapslam to keep Fortify up, use Enduring Cry for Endurance charge generation.
Bosses are usually guarded by a magic pack. Good for us, those packs have more life => more damage for DD => faster boss kill. If you get Elemental Overload and Elemental Conflux buffs you usually need to pop about one corpse for a boss. Spam DD around the boss till your buffed and to speed up the kill.
For burn immune monsters (Argus & Atziri, are there any more?) switch Chance to Ignite for Elemental Focus support gem. In addition I switch IAOE for faster casting. Desecrate + Spell Echo helps a lot with corpse generation for Atziri. Switch Chance to Ignite in again for Split Phase, those copies burn in 2-5 seconds. Whilst they burn, you can dodge all their attacks.

Leveling Process

DD is related to monster health: the higher the monster level, the higher its health, the better is our damage. Therefore this skills starts to get really viable as a main skill in cruel difficulty and really shines in merciless & maps. I recommend to start of with the regular fire leveling skills like Firestorm and Flame Totem. I started with Flame Totem and used DD for more AOE dmg, Firestorm with Concentraded effect for single target.

I wrote in the Pros & Cons that this build doesn't need any legacy items. That is a fact. But I did use some legacy items to speed up during leveling:

Used this until I switched to Doryani's catalyst. The +2 has no great effect for DD itself but for the support gems like Chance to ignite. You still can use the actual version from lvl 60 until you hit 75.

This item alone combined with flame totem can carry you through normal difficulty.

I paired DD with Chance to Ignite, IncAOE an Elemental Proliferation. Drop EleProlif for Concentrated Effect for bosses and once and for all after Cruel Labyrinth when you get Beacon of Ruin.

The chance to ignite endgame is just improved by the support gem and tree nodes. At the beginning, you can use some items to buff it like:

Clarity helps with mana issues at the beginning. With growing mana regen from tree and gear you can drop it. Used AA from the beginning paralell with a blasphemy curse. I prefer Temp Chains over Enfeeble. Asenaths Gentle Touch Unique gloves are nice when combined with Flame Totem.
You can use Flammabillity for faster killing in the beginning. I switched to Temp Chain and Enfeeble dual curse as prime defense layer late cruel Act 3.

For all the Temp league players: For the leveling process normal caster gear with fire and spell is recommended. No crit. Once you switch to DD, you drop the spell damage gear and just focus on elemental damage and fire damage. Best items for max output would be dual wielding two scepters like:

Skill Tree progress
Starting in the witch area I moved up the tree via Deep Wisdom, Blast Radius and Cruel Preparation to Whispers of Doom.
Afterwards I went down to the Templar area for Amplify. After that I grabbed Chance to ignite- and Life-Nodes, picked Elementalist and Discipline and Training. If you need, get dex nodes, Elemental Overload is a nice bonus.
Next step was Breath of Flames for ignite and burn. After that I chose life and fire/burn damage in the north west tree area.
The last step would be the path down to the scion life wheel.

For Ascendancy
Normal: Shaper of Desolation
Cruel: Beacon of Ruin
Merciless: Liege of Primordial

2.3 Preview

DD Elementalist will get a nice buff with the current prospect Patch 2.3! Proliferation radius of Beacon of Ruin will increase from 9 to 12, that's a big deal.

I think I will spend to two extra points in Pendulum of Destruction. We dont need the reflect reduction of Paragon of Calamity. You still can take it as it is the more defensive choice.

Still indecisive about the extra golem from Liege of the Primordial. We dont need crit boost from Ice golem. Lightning golem cast speed increase would only be good for Atziri. Chaos and Stone Golems are both a good defense buff. Will do some testing when the patch is live, Stone Golem seems to be a good option.

In acceptance of a bid, plz PM me.

IGN: AdNauseam
Last edited by the_Bur on Jun 3, 2016, 6:18:19 AM
Last bumped on Sep 15, 2016, 9:15:40 AM

- First videos added
In acceptance of a bid, plz PM me.

IGN: AdNauseam
Last edited by the_Bur on May 27, 2016, 4:30:59 AM
New videos in better quality added.
In acceptance of a bid, plz PM me.

IGN: AdNauseam
Looks interesting, would like to see more, if you could make some guide, it would be great. Thanks.
I remember when ProjectPT put a bunch of corpses around a detonates nearby corpses box.

And promptly got blown up.
Update: Added Atziri video.

lakyljuk wrote:
Looks interesting, would like to see more, if you could make some guide, it would be great. Thanks.

Thx, I will add some leveling and gear tips.

IlyaK1986 wrote:
I remember when ProjectPT put a bunch of corpses around a detonates nearby corpses box.

And promptly got blown up.

Usually this character is pretty safe for strongboxes. Place some regular monsters around the box and kill em, the burn proliferation will take care of the spawning foes from the box.
Except for boxes with the Putrifying prefix. Those can be a really pain in the arse. I usually drop a desecrate before opening a strongbox => more incoming damage if you get corpse detonation. Even worse, if there is a delay and you use described method above. Spawned monsters might die instantly due to the burn, leaving more corpses that explode afterwards. Identifying the box before opening can help, just detonate everything in reach before you open it. Instantly leaping out of the area can help to, but I admit I died one or two times opening a unidentified box with said mod.
In acceptance of a bid, plz PM me.

IGN: AdNauseam
Hi man, thks for sharing this build. Nice to take advantage of the prolif buff!
I'm planning to use this build as my first character in the nexte league, do you have any tips for leveling, how did you proceed? At wich level this build become to be effective? Ty
Why use increased burning damage over rapid decay? Seems like the more multiplier would be way more damage, even with the reduced duration
interesting. I haven't played dd for a long time and it's really nice to know one does not need a ROtF shield now.
waiting for your level tips now :)
Update: Added video of Death and Taxes map.

simpleMystery wrote:
Why use increased burning damage over rapid decay? Seems like the more multiplier would be way more damage, even with the reduced duration

Unfortunatly Detonate Dead is not a Duration skill. So Rapid Decay won't work, same as why it doesn't
for RF. Quote from GGG:
Mark_GGG wrote:
Donut_Harvest wrote:
More interested in how rapid decay works with RF. Or if it does. There is no "duration" to RF, so no "downside"
Rapid Decay is restricted to supporting Duration skills in exactly the same way as Concentrated Effect restricted to supporting Area skills.

@all the leveling requests:
Thx for your interest, will add some of my experiences during leveling. Though DD isn't the smoothest build to level, imho you dont need to respec your whole tree at level x like for some builds.
In acceptance of a bid, plz PM me.

IGN: AdNauseam
Last edited by the_Bur on May 30, 2016, 4:07:10 AM

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