[3.3] The Grave Digger - Volatile Dead Auto-Miner / All Bosses, All Map Mods


This Guide, 3.4, and a Disclaimer

In terms of mechanics and damage, this build is still very much viable. However, I've not had a chance to stress test it myself. The 3.4 revisions, therefore, are speculative and presented without guarantee.

If you run into issues, please let me know!

3.4 Changes:

- Path of the Shadow instead of Path of the Ranger
- Zerphi's Last Breath now HIGHLY recommended
- Some itemization / link changes


End-Game Boss Reel [3.2]
Mapping Demo [3.2]
Alluring Abyss (Budget Gear) [3.2]

This is a Volatile Dead Miner using Scold's Bridle to collapse mine placement, mine detonation, and corpse generation down into a single right click.

3.4 POB (untested by myself):


Why Sabo / PF Ascendant?

Saboteur compensates for damage inflicted by Scold's Bridle. Pathfinder offers much-needed flask sustain. Both offer damage and utility. Ascendant as a whole permits us to reach health pools much higher than either pure Saboteur or Pathfinder can otherwise manage.


- One-button mining
- Batshit damage, batshit regen
- Run all map mods, clear all content


- Late bloomer (80+)
- Full regen has ramp time
- More balls = fewer frames
- Expensive to perfect


- 3.4 POB added


Essential / Entry-Level Items

Scold's Bridle is the build's linchpin item. Placing mines while Scold's is equipped will also trigger your Cast When Damage Taken gems, which in turn generates corpses and detonates existing mines. The result is a one-button miner: no detonate mines keybind, no spell totem.

Relevant enchants include:

- VD (damage)
- VD (additional corpse)
- Curse of your choice (curse effect)

Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit while affected by Clarity is the key mod here. Using this jewel along with Scold's Bridle will effectively refund mana from every mine placement. Look for relevant Anger mods if you have the budget for a two property jewel.

High mana usage ensures 100% uptime on the critical strike bonus of Kalisa's Grace.

Reaching resistance cap and an acceptable HP pool while dual-wielding Shimmeron requires the use of jewels with Maximum Life and Resistance. If possible, try for Mine Laying Speed as your second prefix.


Suggested / Advanced Items

The build's main chase unique. While not required to play the build, it is HIGHLY recommended!

Dying Sun generates two additional corpses with each activation of Unearth, effectively matching the corpse demands of Minefield.

In addition to max life, look for Increased Life Recovery Rate (Elder). Tier 1 begins at 16%.

Optionally, you can equip/unequip Ralakesh's Impatience prior to boss fights to get power charges rolling.

If you want to absolutely maximize your regen with Zerphi's, you can use a Fevered Mind. Recommended only for polished, end-game characters who are comfortable with how the build plays!


The "I'm Dying" Checklist

- Do you have the Saboteur ascendancy?
- Do you have sufficient mitigation for Scold's? Use Granite or Taste if not!
- Is Gruthkul active?
- Are you using flasks correctly? Hybrid can be used to compensate for initial ramp time.
- Are you playing aggressively enough once your Sabo regen is rolling?
- Zerphi's: are you pressing your Hybrid too often and capping your mana?
- Zerphi's: is your mana bottoming out, preventing mine placement?


The #1 mistake you can make with this build is to play too timidly. Since Volatile Dead homes in on monsters, we want to position ourselves in such a way that VD has as many available targets as possible when we stop to place mines.

The trick is to keep your momentum up in such a way that you are able to hop from pack to pack without either Saboteur or Zerphi's regen dropping off entirely. Momentum is incredibly important!

Map mods to watch for and flasks to counter them with:

- 60% Less Regen (use Blood of the Karui)
- No regen (use Eternal mana flask)
- Vulnerability / Reduced Armour (use Granite or Taste of Hate)


Generally, you want to get close enough that your VD orbs will rush the boss once you flame dash in, but not so close that the boss engages before you have a chance to ramp up your damage and regen. Finding that sweet spot takes a bit of practice.

If you're struggling to tank Scold's damage before your regen starts rolling, begin by tapping your mines slowly at first, rather than just holding down the button. Once the regen ramps up, hit all your flasks and go hard.

On Zerphi's Last Breath & Fevered Mind

For those new to Zerphi's Last Breath, its Mana Cost as Life over 4 Seconds mod only works while Zerphi's is actively restoring mana. Reaching full mana will prevent new instances of life regeneration and instantly deactivate all existing Zerphi's regen stacks. This is bad.

To get the most out of Zerphi's, you can use Fevered Mind which has following benefits: first, it greatly increases your maximum life regen rate and shortens the time needed to reach it. Second, the hefty mana cost helps prevent mana from capping out entirely, reducing the likelihood that Zerphi's will deactivate.

Do not use Fevered Mind without Zerphi's, or equip it too early on! It is recommended only for polished, end-game characters.

Righteous Fire

With Zerphi's, the "more spell damage" bonus from Righteous Fire can be used to help burst down tanky or otherwise dangerous bosses. Using RF we can set up extremely deadly VD clouds prior to engaging the boss and frontload significant damage.

To activate RF safely, use the tap method: slower mine placements with Zerphi's active at first, then hit RF and start pumping out VD orbs with all flasks active. As of 3.3, we also have Vaal Righteous Fire at our disposal. Again, establish your regen before activating the Vaal version.


Path of Building Pastebin

While it is possible to transition to mines as soon as you can equip Scold's, it is highly recommended that you finish all your Ascendancies first and reach at least a 4K health pool. This build is a late bloomer!

Bandit: Aid Alira.


Major: Soul of Arakaali (upgraded)
Minor: Gruthkul (upgraded)


In Order of Acquisition

- Saboteur
- Path of the Shadow
- Pathfinder


There is no single flask load-out that is ideal for all situations. What's best will depend on content, gear, and play-style. That said, let's walk through some items of note and where they might find use.

These three are on my bar 90% of the time. Consider swapping in a Grounding version of the Diamond flask for fights where being shocked is a given.

A Catalysed Hallowed Hybrid Flask of Heat will supplement both mana recovery and life regen ramp time and is a solid choice for general mapping.

Zerphi's Last Breath enables the use of Righteous Fire and protects against the very occasional Shimmeron degen proc (incurred from Unearth critically striking an enemy). Zerphi's is NOT required to play this build—however, it is undeniably valuable once you reach the absolute end-game.

Catalysed Eternal Mana Flask enables sustained mine placement prior to and during prolonged boss encounters, particularly when using Fevered Mind. I swap this in over the Hybrid flask as needed.

Blood of the Karui helps immensely with the 60% less regen map mod. If you are running without Zerphi's, this may find a permanent home on your bar.

Quite useful generally, Divination Distillate is a particularly sound choice for minus max, added elemental damage, and dangerous elemental-based bosses.

Taste of Hate provides phys / cold mitigation and is especially useful for Elder / Uber Elder.

If your health pool is low and you're having trouble tanking Scold's damage, consider using a Granite flask temporarily.

If you want a third DPS flask in addition to Diamond Flask and Dying Sun, these are two strong options. Wise Oak has a narrow edge for raw damage, but Atziri's Promise is preferable in any scenario where high chaos damage is a consideration (e.g. Chayula, Alluring Abyss, etc.)

Helpful for reaching packs before your mana fills or Sabo regen dissipates entirely. Don't underestimate how much mobility can aid resilience.


With the revisions to trap cooldowns in 3.3, I recommend leveling with Fire Trap and transitioning to Arc Traps once you have Clever Construction.

Once you've done Merciless lab and have Path of the Shadow, respec the redundant pathing nodes.

If you're having a really tough time early on, just stick with traps until your character is filled out a bit more (particularly with respect to HP pool).


Q: Is this an appropriate league starter / beginner build?
A: Not really. In fact, really not!

Last edited by kechari on Sep 17, 2018, 5:49:46 AM
Last bumped on Jul 29, 2019, 5:18:50 AM
God damn,this build looks awesome
Nice, this seems like a fully decked out bosskiller version of my current build;
I severly underestimated the potential endgame damage output.

The biggest mechanical problem with this build is a bug with CWDT-detonate mines that leads to you taking double damage/spend double mana, wich happens randomly 2/3 times, so zerphi's last breath is what really enables this build lategame.

My current QotF is actually a good league starter / MF currency grinder, so I might update my current guide and make it into a early league budget guide that leads into your build for endgame.

My current QotF clearspeed/potential MF version (great as a league starter when scold's is available):

My guide is outdated but might still be helpfull for league starts:
predator0220 wrote:

The biggest mechanical problem with this build is a bug with CWDT-detonate mines that leads to you taking double damage/spend double mana, wich happens randomly 2/3 times, so zerphi's last breath is what really enables this build lategame.

Can't say that I've noticed this bug—Scold's damage feels consistent. Are you sure this is still the case?

Zerphi's is incredibly good, but I strongly disagree that it is required for end game. The only thing it enables is RF, which I do not use for Uber Elder anyway. I'd be confident dropping it for Uber Elder, too, if my framerate were more consistent for the fight.
Here's a recording of the bug,
first 500 damage (maybe IC blocks the bug), then 1000, then 500 and another 500 with a couple milliseconds delay (more clearly visible in original video)

Your build doesn't notice the bug with having high regen/life pool;

for my speed mapper I've tried linking Reduced Mana Support to get 66-100 mana spent per cast which then gets doubled to normal values due to the bug; it does work but to me the convenience was not worth the loss of damage.

That looks pretty gnarly. I can't reproduce this on my setup—Scold's is producing identical hits every time. The only variance I get is when Farrul's occasionally eats a Scold's proc during Cat's Stealth. Perhaps it has something to do with Tremor Rod?

In any case, interesting to see another take on the same concept.
I was using a rare staff for the test, but I just compared our skilltree and then refunded volatile mines, and now the bug is gone, and since CWDT casts instantly I'm only losing a bit of damage and aoe.

Also, Volatile Dead actually greatly benefits from AoE (especially in leagues with higher density and against "invulnerable allies" mobs), so you're probably better off using Inc. AoE instead of Conc. effect up to t15 maps.

Watching your video I see you casting about twice as many Volatiles as necessary while mapping, Volatiles explode on enemies that have just been killed if they can't find another target, so it's better to quickly run towards the next pack to aggro them and bring them in targeting range of your already existing Volatiles.

Since you're already running taste of hate and have more than enough regen, you could try to use winterweave ring + corrupted auxium belt (switch gloves so you have under 200 ES or use essence of horror chest and stay below 350 ES) for +30% more action speed (basically double tailwind, also Elders slowing attack is -80% action speed, so this puts you from 20% to 50% total action speed while elder is slowing you):
30% more mine laying speed , shield charge attack speed and 30% more movement speed to your 140% base, as well as chill "immunity" , but you need to get freeze immunity somewhere (either instant flask, wanderlust boots or purity of ice watchers eye)

The new summon phantasm on kill lets arcane surge trigger of shield charge, so if you get gloves with faster attacks support affix, you can link shield charge - fortify - summon phantasm - arcane surge

Agree to disagree on nearly all points, sorry to say.

I may record another mapping demo as the ball-leading doesn't come across well—you've a point there. Largely a consequence of Maze's layout and double beyond.
You might be right about Conc Effect vs inc AoE, since AoE gets better with density, which is low in red maps and bestiary in general, my opinion mostly came from minmaxing in abyss league.

During abyss I ran elder influenced shaped channel/toxic sewer with full sextants and there was a definite advantage with inc AoE (VD base area is the same as Vortex)

Basically, on any map an Autobomber or Inpulsa's user would like, inc AoE is better.
what about pantheon? which one you use ?

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