[3.10] Poet's Pen + Volatile Dead, Uber Elder deathless.

For any questions regarding this build, please use this thread. If you see any mistake in the guide, please notify me about it. Also if you have any suggestions for improvement, feel free to post them here. Do not PM me, others may have same question. Read FAQ!

Important, before you read the guide.
Spoiler

When i theory crafted this build, i totally forgot about existence of Essence of Insanity. Gloves crafted with it have 16% more attack speed. Placing Frenzy setup in such gloves makes it much easier to get good APS numbers.

This build was made in 3.7 Legion. 3.8 brought major changes. If you would like to play with Poet's Pen, i would recommend to switch to Necromancer. More about it below. Ascendant build profits form Poet's Pen buff also and will perform better, than it did in 3.7, if necromancer is of no interest.


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3.10 Update

This build, including all variations posted here, can be use as they are.

Cluster jewels:
Disciple of Kitava cluster keystone sounds interesting.

Blacksmith can replace leech from watcher's eye. Anger could be dropped in favor of spellslinger.

Spellslinger:
Potential buffs to Damage and QoL. Just theory crafting ideas:

1. Spellslinger + desecrate + spell cascade can be used to produce corpses for VD without spell cascade. This way a full damage skill can be used in 2nd wand or that wand can be replaced with a shield.

2. adding spellslinger + unearth + GMP and/or greater volley to 1. may enable VD + spell cascade.

3. A 6L spell in body armor linked to spellslinger can be used.

4. A variety of utility skills can be used by linking them to spellslinger. For example a curse.
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This is my take on Poet's Pen in Legion.
Index

1. Intro
2. Pros/Cons
3. APS, CDR & You
4. Videos
5. Gear + Gems
6. Passives
7. Necromancer
8. Leveling process
9. Other possible variations
10. FAQ
11. 3.9 Agnostic Necromancer


1. Intro

Since the nerf Poet's Pen needs investment in attack speed to get to proc cap. Before it needed 0 investment in attack speed, you actually needed to be careful and not to go over proc CD accidentally. Other OP interactions where nerfed and Volatile Dead it self got a slight nerf too in 3.6.

Many people declared Pot's Pen (volatile)dead. I decided to see for myself.

I chose Ascendant because it has the best combination of damage, survivability and utility for my taste. There are many more possible variations with in Ascendant(for example with Might of the Meek and Unnatural Instinct) and with other classes. For example Inquisitor, Trickster, Elementalist, Slayer, Raider, Chieftain. Each has it's own pros and cons. At the end they all should perform fairly similar. One has easier to get attack speed, while the other raw damage. Feel free to adapt. Main purpose was to show, that Poet's Pen is still a good item to use.

Since 3.8 Necromancer is by far the best ascendancy choice for DPS. More about it later int he guide.

2. Pros/Cons

Pros:
- relatively tanky
- mobile
- good dps(single target and clear speed)
- super fun to play
- does not need any stat investment on gear.

Cons:
- heavy flask usage(may strain your fingers)
- needs build enabling items(very cheap in Legion)

3. APS, CDR & You

DISCLAIMER! For scion it is very hard to hit the default APS cap. It requires near perfect gear. Necromancer can get to that APS relatively easy.

Poet's Pen has a proc cool down of 150ms. In theory it is possible to proc 6.65 spells per second by default. Because dual wielding 2 wands will alternate attacks and proc slotted spell only when said wand attacked, theoretical max default attacks per second (APS) is 13.3 to achieve 6.65 spells per second. In reality there is latency to server, which reduces that number slightly. Depending on the quality of the internet connection the number is usually somewhere between 12.9 and 13.1 APS.

Having too much APS is very bad. It will cause some attacks to no proc any spells and significantly lower the DPS.

It is possible to increase the APS cap by using items with cool down reduction (CDR). Currently it is possible to have up to 35% CDR, 20% on belt and 15% on boots. Max CDT would put theoretical APS cap at 18 (real a little bit lower, about 17.7).

The exact formula to calculate APS with CDR is below. It is for theoretical max APS, subtract 0.2-0.4 from it, depending on connection.




4. Videos
Videos

5. Gear + Gems

Must have items:

Wand with unearth goes in main hand and wand with VD goes in offhand. Attacks alternate weapons, so only 1 of the spells is proced per attack. So main hand creates corpses on 1st attack and VD can be created on 2nd attack.

Important items to have(not a must)

Helmet with enchantment(33% more DPS). That enchantment is much much better, than anything else. 2nd best would be just 4-5% more DPS.:

Flask(very good sustain for clearing and a DPS boost):

Jewel with leech(sustain):


Great items to have




Main Gems:
Offhand wand: Volatile Dead - Concentrated Effect - Elemental Focus
OLD Unearth - GMP - Combustion
OLD Frenzy - Faster Attacks - Curse on Hit - Curse of choice(Flammability, Elemental Weakness(if playing with poeple who use other elements), Enfeeble)
NEW Main hand wand: Desecrate - Spell Cascade - Wave of Conviction
NEW Insanity Gloves: Frenzy - Faster Attacks -Culling Strike/Barrage Support - Combustion (Barrage Suport gives more APS even if tool tip say otherwise, Culling Strike is basically 11% more multiplier for bosses)
Flame Dash - Arcane Surge (Body Swap can be used here instead)
Anger
Herald of Ash

!If you feel, that your attack speed is too high for Wave of Conviction to hit bosses from the distance, swap it with the curse in CwDT setup.

Support gems(can be easily swapped out and changed):
CwDT lvl 11 - Curse of choice lvl 14(Flammability, Elemental Weakness(if playing with poeple who use other elements), Enfeeble) - Steelskin lvl 16 - Increased Duration

My Gear(Uber Elder kill)





6. Passives
Passives

PoB 3.9 Aspect of the Spider -https://pastebin.com/PQ9MMNBX more dps and better defense. If needed, may take another 4% reduced mana reserved node.
PoB 3.9 - https://pastebin.com/ERvYqW6W
PoB(Old) - https://pastebin.com/dvxWFyzX

Ascendancy in order of progression
Pathfinder -> Path of the Ranger -> Inquisitor (best DPS and full ailments cleanse on one flask)

Inquisitor can be changed to any other ascendancy.

Bandits: Help Kraityn.

Pantheon:
- Major: Brine King
- Minor: Gruthkul, can be swapped for anything else.

7. Necromancer
Spoiler

In 3.8 Necromancer ascendancy got a revamp, making it the best choice for DPS. And the biggest pro, Necromancer can reach very high APS numbers with barely any attack speed investment with help from Corpse Pact.

Gear remains the same. Insanity gloves are still a must.

Gems

Gems undergo a major change for DPS increase. It is still possible to play with exact same setup, as before.

The following change is to better utilize Corpse Pact. It doubles the amount of corpses consumed and giving a lot of extra attack speed. With spell cascade Volatile Dead balls deal half the damage, but there are also twice as many of them. So the overall damage per attack remains the same. But the DPS is much higher.

In the main hand wand the setup changes from Unearth to Desecrate + Spell Cascade . In this wand there is a free gem socket now. It can be utilized by a gem, which can not be proced. For example Anger is a good choice, since it also benefits for +levels in the wand. If a procable gem is used, a significant DPS loss will occur. 10 corpses will be generated on every 2nd attack, but VD can consume on average without helmet enchant 7 corpses per attack. So every 2nd attack will fail to create at least 4 extra balls. The only acceptable procable gem is Bodyswap, to possibly increase clear speed at the cost of single target damage. While clearing, there are always extra corpses from dead mobs to offset the loss of corpse generation with Desecrate.. The extra damage for Unearth and better corpse explosions is neglectable, since the use of it is very low in day to day game play.

Off hand setup changes to Volatile Dead + Spell Cascade + Concentrated Effect. Concentrated Effect can be swapped out for Elemental Focus for clearing maps and only be used for very hard bosses.

Attack setup changes as well to Frenzy + Faster Attacks + Combustion. The 4th gem can be another support for Frenzy to increase the APS and/or give more utility to it. For example quality Culling Strike, quality Greater Multiple Projectiles or Enhance, preferably level 4. Or any other gem, like an Offering.

With Mistress of Sacrifice an Offering can be used. Flesh Offering to boost APS numbers and extra clear speed boost with movement speed increase. Bone Offering to boost survivability. It maybe be paired with Kiloava Lethal Pride Timeless Jewel.

Passives

Gear and gems in PoB are just a placeholder (from scion guide). Real Necro gear needs dex.
Here are 3 possible variants of necro builds:
1. Highest DPS - https://pastebin.com/Ja6aTLJA
tree

2. About 2k life more at a cost of 26% dps - https://pastebin.com/YyFK9ZHq tree
3. Acro and a little bit more life, then #1 at a cost of about 17% dps - https://pastebin.com/Ws7gz0vL tree

Can replace Zealotry with Aspect of the Spider(less dps, more defese) and remove Sovereignty cluster.

Ascendancy in order of progression
Plague Bringer -> Corpse Pact -> Commander of Darkness/Mistress of Sacrifice, which one is 1st to take is personal preference.

Bandits: Help Kraityn.

Pantheon:
- Major: Brine King
- Minor: Gruthkul, can be swapped for anything else.


8. Leveling process
Spoiler

Suggested tree progressing by points - https://pastebin.com/QFjB1v4L

-flat mana cost items are very good for leveling process until mana nodes in ranger area are allocated.

Till lvl 12 anything goes to kill mobs.

At lvl 10
Clarity(if no -mana cost items avalible)
Flame Dash - Arcane Surge

At lvl 12
Poet's Pen
Volatile Dead - Added lighting - Combustion
Unearth - LMP - Combustion
Barrage

At lvl 16
Barrage replaced by Frenzy
Herald of Ash
Desecrate setup can be used for Necromancer. But until Corpse Pact is allocated, i would recommend to stick with Unearth.

At lvl 18
Volatile Dead - Concentrated Effect - Elemental Focus
Frenzy - Faster Attacks

At lvl 24
Anger (may not be possible to use yet, due to mana issues)
Curse

At lvl 38
Frenzy - Faster Attacks - Curse on Hit - Curse
Unearth - GMP - Combustion

Great starter helmet:


9. Other possible variations
Spoiler

Friend's variant
I gave my gear to a friend and he played with it and changed quite a bit to his liking. He said, it felt much better this way for him. Much more life + dodge. A bit less dmg.
Here is PoB of his character for inspiration/copy https://pastebin.com/PsTCa2K1

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bear in mind, this is just theory crafted and not experience optimized.

Might of the meek/Unnatural Instinct Inquisitor + Elementalist
For people, who don't like to spam flasks. Also can run ele reflect maps. Can also use any other ascendancy combo, just have either Inquisitor or Elementalist in it for witch or templar start. For example Inquisitor + Chieftain.
https://pastebin.com/tK63rj9B

Inquisitor + Chieftain/Juggernaut
For people, who care more about surviving(at expense of some dps). Also with Chieftain don't need Xoph's Heart. With Juggernaut switch Brine King for Solaris.
https://pastebin.com/aywzbw52

Inquisitor
For people, who don't like pants.
https://pastebin.com/Q69ewaVZ

Slayer
What, you don't have leech exile?
https://pastebin.com/H6tGGL8B

Raider
Probably the tankiest one due to good life pool and dodge, but requires a lot of passives.
https://pastebin.com/H9EwzrqF

10. FAQ
Spoiler

1. Why do you take minion nodes?
Spiritual Aid gives us the ability to benefit from increased minion damage(tree and gear) and Spiritual Command form minion attack speed.

2. Where to get leech, if i don't have/can't get the jewel?
Amulet with fire damage leeched as life.

3. Spellcascade vs. other supports for none necromancer builds.
On paper, Cascade DPS is much higher. In reality it is different.

- Boss DPS is about the same. Basically double the amount of balls with Cascade, but each ball does half the damage. The reason for this is, Desecrate has a limit of 10 corpses and 5 corpses are created each cast/repetition. So what happens with Desecrate + Cascade is, 5 corpses are created, then a little further next 5 corpses are created and then on the last cascade another 5 corpses, but due to the limit 1st 5 corpses disappear. So the 1st repetition of VD + Cascade usually does not have any corpses in it's area to create any balls. This means only 6 (8 with enchantment) balls are created per cast. Sometimes, due to corpse placement of Desecrate, 1st cascade of VD may create 1 or rarely 2 balls.

- prestacking on bosses is bad with Cascade, because VD has a limit of 60 balls at the same time. Balls linger for 4.5 seconds. VD without Cascade and no enchant reaches ball limit as 8.9 ApS, with enchant at 6.7 ApS. VD with Cascade and no enchant reaches ball limit at 3.8 ApS and with enchant at 3 ApS. Reaching 9 ApS is relatively easy. So for prestacking none cascade VD does double the damage.

- clearing maps can be better with Cascade, especially with awakened version. For white mobs, 1 balls is usually enough, even if does only half the damage. Creating more balls means more mobs can get hit. Killing mobs creates extra corpses, so cascaded VD can create max number of balls per cast. With awakened Cascade it can be up to 20 balls. This effect lessens the more ApS is available. There are just so many mobs to kill, the higher the ApS, the higher the amount of redundant balls will be created per unit of time.

- performance suffers greatly with VD + Cascade. Creating that many balls takes it's toll.

- no extra utility spell can be used in the corpse generating wand, if VD is linked to cascade. This is main reason for me to not suggest using cascade.

TL;DR: none cascade VD is better all-round. If a powerful PC and good budged in game is available, a weapon swap with VD + Cascade setup can be used for clearing.

11. 3.9 Agnostic Necromancer
Spoiler

This actually deserves it's own guide. But since i didn't really finished it, as said at the beginning of the guide, i'm not gonna make a full guide. However i refurbished that character to self cast/ CwC char and made a guide about that. If you are interested in it, can check it out here.

This variant is based on the interaction between Agnostic(from Militant Faith Timeless Jewel, High Templar Venarius), Enduring Mana Flask and Indigon. Agnostic sacrifices mana to regenerate life, Enduring Mana Flask is permanently on to replenish lost mana and Indigon tops it off by applying mana regen from flask to life. This gives the build so much regen, that it is possible to run Righteous Fire even in -max or no regen maps (but nor recommended).

Important remarks.
1. Indigon is NOT used for damage. Consuming all the mana with it will kill the character. It is possible to utilize the damage from spending mana to some extend(using Cremation to ramp up mana cost), but requires a lot of careful play and mana management. This is the reason for the need of -mana cost rings, so Frenzy does not ramp up mana spending.

2. This build variant starts to feel good only after all the gear is acquired and is about level 85+.

3. For my taste, boss DPS is too low, that is why i used Cremation.

4. High gear(not currency) requirement to make this build work. Budget can be kept pretty low.

5. Relatively hard to cap resist. I used rare boots at start until i could replace resists on them with jewels.

6. If i would get double Clarity Watchers Eye with -mana cost on top, i would replace Culling Strike with Barrage Support for higher APS.

Must have gear.
Spoiler


Only the increased area damage is utilized. A jewel with resist or elemental damage insted of minion attack and cast speed would be even better.

Anti freeze is also great suffix for that flask.

Only the increased mana is important roll.


Budget anointing node is Dreamer.

As a 6L Controlled Destruction can be added.

At least 2 items with at -mana cost.

Must have gear for endgame.
Spoiler


Extra MoM from the jewel is very important. For me it gives extra 1500 HP pool.

20% dodge and spell dodge is awesome and permanent Onslaught as well. This boots i got after i stopped playing this build. I used the base version (Dance of the Offered).

Increased mana recovery is the most important mod.

Essence of Insanity crafted gloves. Huge DPS boost.

My gear with gem setups.
Spoiler





Passives.
Spoiler

PoB - https://pastebin.com/WaPqwAmL
Base tree for lvl 79 is also inside.

Bandits:
- Kraityn or kill all

Pantheon:
- Major: Solaris with Eater of Souls(no extra damage for crits)
- Minor: Gruthkul or any other.


Last edited by 1337fun on Mar 31, 2020, 7:17:38 AM
Last bumped on Apr 17, 2020, 11:41:15 AM
Reserved
I've wanted to do a poet's pen build again for so long after the indigon nerf and this looks pretty good, how does the map clear compare to where it was previously?
"
Karriane wrote:
I've wanted to do a poet's pen build again for so long after the indigon nerf and this looks pretty good, how does the map clear compare to where it was previously?

I would say, it's the same as before. Easy cleared chayula's domain.
Last edited by 1337fun on Jul 10, 2019, 10:50:46 AM
How important to the build would you say Xoph's Blood is or could it be easily changed for a good rare amulet?
"
1337fun wrote:
"
Karriane wrote:
I've wanted to do a poet's pen build again for so long after the indigon nerf and this looks pretty good, how does the map clear compare to where it was previously?

I would say, it's the same as before. Easy cleared chayula's domain.


Is bodyswap integrated into the build somehow for map clear?
"
Fitzpup wrote:
How important to the build would you say Xoph's Blood is or could it be easily changed for a good rare amulet?

It can, but at a significant DPS cost. Amazing shaped amulet with penetration and high spell/fire dmg is about 10-12% less dmg.
"
Karriane wrote:
"
1337fun wrote:
"
Karriane wrote:
I've wanted to do a poet's pen build again for so long after the indigon nerf and this looks pretty good, how does the map clear compare to where it was previously?

I would say, it's the same as before. Easy cleared chayula's domain.


Is bodyswap integrated into the build somehow for map clear?

No, 177% movement speed is good enough for me. If you like, you can replace flame dash.
Why scion instead of other ascendancy's?
"
Miochan wrote:
Why scion instead of other ascendancy's?

From all i tried in PoB, ascendant has by far the most DPS.

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