[3.9] Gryph's Volatile Dead Necromancer || Fun, Budget Friendly, Tanky, Millions of DPS
Hello Everyone! I'm going to introduce my league starter from 3.8!
Current IGN: VolatileDeceased
This character has been one of the most fun builds I have ever played. As well as being able to destroy the endgame; she works on a budget, her ceiling is the sky, and I am forever evolving her to be the best that she can be.
Due to a rising number of people asking me for build help and the solutions to their problems being outlined clearly in the guide...I am implementing a password that you must know before I help you. I do this because I find it funny and because I don't have the time to answer the same questions with the same answers over and over again. Please read the guide and figure out the password before asking me questions in game.
Welcome to my guide and thanks for looking Exile!
This build is aiming to abuse the new Necromancer Corpse oriented Ascendancies in conjunction with Cast When Damage Taken (CWDT from now on) setups and Scold's Bridle
I began this journey by self-casting Volatile Dead to trigger all of my spells on CWDT (desecrate, Wave of Conviction, etc...). I deleted all content with this method and played most of Blight this way. I started having some issues when trying to carry Aul groups due to a lack of mobility. And so like any reasonable person would do, I changed to CWC+Cyclone, dropped to about 1/3 my previous DPS and well...I was still at over 10 million DPS.
This is inevitably where I have decided to take the build. Compared to self-cast, CWC has higher mobility and smoother gameplay overall at the cost of damage output.
-Feels faster and smoother
-Cyclone Mobility is also great for defenses
-Able to utilize more Physical damage mitigation as CWDT is not gated behind a single cast of VD
-Charging Offensive Noteable on Amulet for free Frenzy and Endurance Charges
-Spin2Win is not for everyone ...?
-Damage is much lower and needs more investment for the damage to really feel good.
-Lose glove slot to Doedre's Malevolence
-Harder to league start with this
How it works
It's easy! Right click...WIN!
Okay but really...
This is the bread and butter of the build. Every time we spend mana we deal four times that much damage to ourselves as physical damage. This counts as a hit which will trigger CWDT.
And how to deal with this self inflicted damage?
This skill, when paired with Mistress of Sacrifice Ascendancy, recovers 3% of our maximum life as maximum energy shield per corpse consumed. With a max of 5 corpses consumed at one time this is 15% of max life as extra ES. This counts as RECOVERY and so works to completely mitigate our self damage as well as provide over 1k extra es and 18% to all elemental resistances.
With the Necromancer Corpse Pact Ascendancy we continuously boost our APS for faster CWDT procs. It also applies Shock (15% increased damage taken) and Chill to enemies near corpses we generate.
It goes as such:
Cyclone -> deal damage to self -> trigger CWDT Desecrate+Spirit Offering -> VD makes balls and stuff dies. Repeat until everything around you is turned to ash.
So a lot of little nerfs coming our way, but ultimately, this will not result in any major changes for us.
The Block of Text from the Patch Notes and My Thoughts in Blue
Now has a limit of 60 Orbs.
This only will effect those supporting VD with Spell Cascade...which I advocate against for performance reasons anyways. Well, now it's nerfed so just don't do it. Little to no effect on us.
Supported skills now deal 5% more Damage per Inspiration Charge at gem level 1 (same as previously), up to 7% at gem level 20 (from 8%).
Supported skills now have 6% increased Critical Strike Chance per Inspiration Charge at gem level 1 (from 7%), up to 8% at gem level 20 (from 10%).
This is a minor nerf that just makes this particular support a lot less appealing over other options (Such as Empower 4 with +2 supports staff) or Hypothermia.
The 'of Crafting' crafted suffix which previously allowed you to craft any number of additional mods on the item now allows you to craft up to three mods on the item. This affects existing items (items with the mod will now be limited to 2 additional crafts), however any items with more than the allowed number of crafted mods will keep those mods.
Ahhh...This one makes me kind of sad. Alas, great items are still craftable, it will just take more effort/luck. Will probably recommend fossil crafting. Also we will have to see how the new influence modifiers will affect the build.
The Shaper and Elder Attack Speed and Double Damage modifiers on two-handed weapons now grant to (4 to 6)% chance to deal double damage (from 20%).
A damage nerf that makes this mod a lot less appealing. Only those going for extreme high end gear are effected, and if you're at this point...you're probably fine for damage anyways.
Hybrid Physical Damage and Support/Spell Damage and Support modifiers can no longer roll on two-handed weapons.
Can still roll Cast While Channeling Support. Lose the option for Power Charge on Critical Strike Support. Goal for Alt spam crafts will be:
Prefix: CWC Support
Suffix: Crit for spells+10% Chance to gain a Power Charge on crit
Imprint -> Regal for good third mod -> Repeat as needed -> Multimod
Many bosses with lengthy introductions (such as the Brine King) now take reduced damage for a short period immediately after becoming targetable.
Depending on how much the reduction to damage is...again it's a nerf to our damage--in this case the VD Ball build up before shaper-style fights where we instant kill/phase them is being being rightfully nerfed.
Monster resistances throughout the game have been reviewed and made more consistent. In many cases this has resulted in more resistances on monsters. (50% from 40% on Shaper, for example)
Damage nerfs effecting everyone except inquisitors basically.
The default Shock magnitude for effects that apply Shock without damage (such as Skitterbots) is now 15% (from 20%).
Small DPS nerf #Unconcerned
Additional Maximum Spectres are now unlocked at gem levels 13 and 25 (from 11 and 21).
All this does is reduce our utility specters by 1...if you even use them to begin with. Not a big deal.
Overall there are several nerfs that I consider very minor overall. I will continue to innovate and find new ways to craft and build this character as even if I were to lose 50% of my DPS I'd have millions leftover. This build is still one of the highest DPS outputs available that combines itself with insane defensive possibilities on top of that. It really kinda feels like cheating.
Volatile Dead as a League Starter
Why, I'm glad you asked! .......
The short answer is, yes, you certainly can. It is not the easiest build to get started in the beginning of a league and you should probably consider making it your second character, but it's definitely very possible as Scold's tends to be relatively inexpensive after a couple days into the league. Until you get one, I recommend playing what I would consider to be the "Classical" VD style.
AKA: Cast Desecrate -> Cast VD -> repeat. It has a similar feel as ED+Contagion as a two-button skill and works plenty well enough for most content as is.
Some tips for league start with VD
By popular demand and because I'm going to be answering this question a lot if I don't put it here...What are some things to know for leveling in a FRESH league with VD?
First and foremost: expect to play without Scold's for some amount of time. It's a league specific unique so the drop rate is fairly low as it only drops from the various old league mechanics. It will take a couple days for these to enter the market in abundance. So with that in mind, if you are willing to play the self-cast VD style, you'll be fine. If you can't imagine playing without the required uniques...perhaps make this your second character.
Now, with that out of the way, here are some general tips that will help you get through the campaign:
Early leveling can be done in whatever method you prefer. I personally like using stormblast mine or freeze pulse from level 1 and adding in frost bomb at 4.
Summon Raging Spirits is also pretty smooth early on. SRS - Minion Damage - Melee Splash will go quite a ways. Do what you prefer to get through act 1.
Note: get 2 BBG 3L Wands from act 1 as soon as you can. With these, you will use a vendor recipe that gives Flat Added Fire damage to spells on them. VD has a good added damage effectiveness so this will give a VERY nice bonus to your damage. These should last you through the whole campaign if you fail to find better.
1 Magic Wand
1 Ruby Ring
1 Orb of Alteration
NOTE: If you have a rare ring you will have a higher tier roll with a level 20 requirement. If you find a random essence I would use it on the ring to get this higher tier roll for the extra damage. Just keep in mind that this will make your wand a level 20 requirement. Otherwise, use at least a MAGIC ring.
You will want to pick up rares to vendor to get some orbs of alteration for these recipes.
When to start VD-ing:
I would say level 16-18 is the earliest you would want to start. At level 16 you get access you Desecrate and level 18 you get Conc Effect and Faster Casting.
With your 2 BBG Wands in hand:
Volatile Dead - Concentrated Effect - Combustion - (4th link) Controlled Destruction
Desecrate - Spell Cascade - Faster Casting - (4th link) Arcane Surge
Your skills don't HAVE to be in the wands, so as you find 4L's in Act 3 and beyond you can add the 4th links.
A Parting Gift:
-Use Wave of Conviction to apply exposure on tougher enemies.
-Herald of Ash is your friend (acquired at level 16)
-Snag a jade amulet and a heavy belt for str and dex requirements early on.
-Kite. A lot. You are Squish. Don't let the Squish get squished.
-Flame Dash to get away from things. I will often: Cast Desecrate -> VDx2 -> flame Dash away from the monsters coming to devour my squish.
-VD has a delay before it actually goes to kill stuff. Again, don't stand still for too long.
-Complete your NORMAL lab as soon as possible for the Essence Glutton ascendancy to fulfill all of your mana needs. Prepare to spam your mana flask a lot before this. Roughly done around level 30-35.
-Should you feel like too much of a Squish, you may take Mind Over Matter for 2 passive points AFTER you've completed normal lab. Essence Glutton is OP.
-Save your Silver until maps. Then use them to try for The Malevolent Witch and Jeweller's Touch prophecies.
-Be your own Squish! I am not the be-all-end-all answer to all of your early leveling needs. Research, practice, and discover what works best for you.
Pros / Cons
- Fun as Hell to play
- Clears all content with ease
- Crazy Recovery mechanics
- Huge eHP pool, 10k+ achievable
- Uses interesting game mechanics to make you feel like a god
- Scales from Tabula budget to infinity and beyond so you always feel like you can do more to improve her
- CWC Cyclone extremely mobile
- Did I mention it's fun? :)
- Can achieve about 75%/50% Attack/Spell Block
- Your PC will hate you, but it's worth it.
- This build can lag you out when there's too much going on.
- Need to get lots of chaos res as it is a pure hybrid build.
- She can be hard to get going and requires a bit of knowledge about the mechanics to smooth her out.
This build was featured and constructed into a video guide by Path of Exile Builds.
That video can be found HERE
First build to receive a 5/5/5 score!
If you like video based guides and want a 20-minute jump start into the build, have a look. That said, he condenses and simplifies it to make it easier to follow cookie-cutter style and that comes with leaving out a lot of helpful information and options. Good place to start, but refer to my guide for more depth.
A note about the videos:
Please refer to the trees and links in the guide not the ones in the videos that I show. I do this to portray the evolution of the build as it develops and to give a reference point as to which variant I am on currently. For example, most of the 3.8 videos are from the self-cast version of the build from before my swap to CWC.
Awakener Level 8 Deathless Sirus Fight by dhan619
3.9 T16 Redeemer Fight
Fresh 3.9 Gameplay on about a 3ex Budget. T11 Colonnade
3.9 T14 Crusader+Map
3.9 T16 Summit with Ele Reflect, Monster Speed, -Max Res, Monster Crit...phat map. Still on a 5L btw:
3.8 Deathless Uber Elder Run. 2 map HP with CWC Setup and Animate Guardian
3.8 Deathless Shaper Run on a 50c Budget. Instant phasing on 5L damage
T16 juiced up Elder Burial Chambers with 56/42 Block chance and no FPS
Easy Mode Hall of Grandmasters.
Shaper at 94 as I progress further down the DPS rabbit hole. Instant phases. Instant death.
Uber Elder Kill. 2 deaths to carelessness. Pretty smooth otherwise.
Proof of Concept, only level 67 this is day one of league and I only have done Normal and Cruel Lab.
Better proof of concept! Decided to record half way through the first map after I finished Uber lab. Day 2, Check it out!
Solo T2 Blighted Map
Solo T12 Blighted Map Post 3.8.1 Patch rework!
Level 80 Mastermind Fight:
T16 Phoenix with CWDT frostwall gimmick test:
T14 Red Elder Deletion
First Shaper Run of the league. There was spot where I was distracted for a few seconds. You'll figure it out :P
There are many ways to build this and plenty of tree variations that work. If you look at this tree, then look at my tree, and find yourself wondering why there are differences...I'm constantly experimenting and trying new things. I also put a lot of thought into how to maximize my points with the gear I have etc...
Cast While Channeling+Cyclone
This is my current (roughly 3-4ex budget) character in 3.9
Please Refer to the leveling section below for progression.
You can level as plain old VD+Desecrate. It's pretty smooth and budget friendly, albeit a little slow.
Use whatever method you feel most comfortable with.
Follow the same tree by filling out all the life+ES nodes. Left side of the tree first. Take Elemental Overload until you're tree has been mostly filled out and you are ready to start taking the crit clusters.
Leveling Tree POB
This one is truer to the end tree as you level, but will feel much slower while leveling without leveling gear. It does use fewer Respecc Points though. Recommended for leveling when you can twink her out.
This tree progression focuses on making leveling through the campaign smoother in a new league. This will require 26-ish refund points to transition into crit but will make the leveling process smoother with no gear. You get up to 20 from quests so this method only requires you to use some 6 more.
Current POB for 3.9
Level 98 VolatileDeceased:
Added some text to Intuitive Leap to represent buffs that are always up, but not calculated by PoB
PoB From 3.8 Blight League
My Character, Stupidity, at level 98:
I have put the buffs that PoB doesn't calculate/see onto a custom made jewel labeled as Brutal Restraint.
10% Increased Effect of non-curse Auras from your skills
Minions deal 20% increased damage
+20% to cold resistance
Gain Onslaught for 8 Seconds on kill
10% Increased Movement Speed
+50% To critical Strike Multiplier
You Have Fortify
10% more Spell damage
====Ascendancy Shock Damage====
Nearby Enemies take 15% increased elemental damage
gain 15% of maximum life as extra maximum energy shield
+18% to all elemental resistances
===Consecrated Ground+Aul's Crit===
150% Increased Critical strike chance
That's it. Every other slot is pretty flexible.
Martyr of Innocence is the best option until you are able to get a good rare staff. And by good, I mean it takes a *very* good staff to beat out Martyr in most cases.
For the next step a staff with Cast While Channeling Support + 2 additional modifier is ideal:
75–82% increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells + 10% chance to gain a Power Charge on Critical Strike
Socketed Spells deal 20% more damage
+2-3 to all Fire spell skills
Crafting the staff
With the release of 3.9 crafting an end game staff gets a little harder...Of course you can just buy one, but if you want to craft one for yourself you have 2 methods:
Alt spam for CWC and Spell Crit+Chance to gain a Power Charge on Crit.
When you hit it as blue, purchase the Craicic Chimeral to beast craft imprint the magic item. then regal. If you hit a good mod, multimod. If not, use the imprint and try again. You can also just accept that you might end up with a wasted mod and just multimod anyways. This will highly depend on your budget.
I highly recommend analyzing your character in POB before crafting a staff as beating out a Martyr of Innocence can be difficult and not cost effective. It's good to know how good of a staff you need.
Otherwise, use 1 socket resonators with Aetheric Fossils. This opens up the option of getting 20% more spell damage prefix. Can also roll with Scorched Fossils as well to boost chances of +Fire Gems
Make sure your Staff is SHAPED and at least item level 80. I personally prefer block bases (with 1.3 APS) but Eclipse staves are a lot easier to sell when you hit something good, but not for you.
DO NOT CRAFT ON A WARSTAFF BASE!!!
Apparently warstaves cannot roll mods with caster tags even if it's a shaper mod unless it rolls the mod as a world drop. I have blown several exalts thinking I could get Cast While Channeling on a warstaff. Learn from my mistakes, craft on a regular staff base.
This is great if you're going Crit:
This is me flexing my self made creations!
And as of 3.9 a Hunter's Influenced Chest is BIS for the
25% Increased Effect of Offerings mod.
Additionally these chests can roll "Spell have X% to Critical Strike Chance" as Shaper Chests.
-> 21-25% Increased Effect of Offerings
-> 1.1-1.5% Spell Crit
You can use the following method to force these two modifiers onto one chest piece:
How to use Awakener Orb for chest craft
A direct quote from page 100 rant:
The following uniques are also very reasonable options:
Loreweave: An excellent all-rounder for defense and damage. its eHP is a bit lacking, but it's a solid choice for sure.
Carcass Jack: This is pretty basic. Comes with some ES, life, res, AOE, and Damage. The evasion can be nice as well if you stack some more of it.
Fenumus' Shroud: Only good if you are able to fit Aspect of the Spider. But the extra -10% all res and 10% reduced damage taken is a nice combo.
Any boots with Life/ES Movement speed and resists will work.
These are an option if you want fast cyclone without using a quicksilver flask of adrenaline. No resists or life, but can anoint them. Solid choice.
Tailwind+Elusive boots are BIS for clearspeed. Nothing comes anywhere close. These will outspeed Stampedes substantially. Also the elusive buff is great for defense by adding some dodge/spell dodge.
If you are having a hard time getting an ES on Hit Watcher's Eye (if you are on a budget), you can implement Aspect of the Spider into the build instead of Herald of Ash and use:
This is an excellent belt for those who wish to go for more defense. With it we can implement Bone Offering into the build for +26% Block and Spell Block (level 21 Bone Offering). it is required that you use an offering effect chest to use this belt.
Example of said Chest
Beside that, rares are simply fantastic if you don't want to mess with the Leash.
Life+ES+Resists Can get a ton of chaos res in this slot.
Leash VS Stygian Rare
Leash VS Stygian is the debate:
+20 All Attribute (dex yay!)
+26% Block and Spell Block-> with martyr 75/47 block, rare staff 59/47
483 Life gained on block is great for things like the vaal constructs who deal chaos damage, but can be blocked.
More life, more ES, lots of resists, some damage potential.
Using a 25% increased offering effect chest with Stygian gives 5% of max life as extra ES MORE than when using Leash. This is boosted ES recovery as well which can be really helpful for those who do not have an ES on hit Watcher's Eye.
Leash gets harder and harder to incorporate into the build as you upgrade into better and better end game items. Offering Effect+Spell Crit chest, Aul's, Elusive+Tailwind boots (or stampedes), Circle of Anguish, and even curse on hit rings. All of these lack resistances which the build can very quickly become starved of. At this point a good Stygian rare can fill in the gap with over 100 total res (and chaos res!!) as well as providing the jewel socket for damage, life, es and...yup! more res. This will also directly affect your ability to make substantial DPS boosts in the form of Circle of Anguish ring(s).
Leash is going to be...AMAZING for deeper delving though. You can get away with doing some disgusting juiced up maps and in general just provides a lot of wiggle room for surviving.
If you want to push your DAMAGE super high, you need to go with a stygian. just can't make it work otherwise. For reference, I have about 6 million DPS using Leash--more than enough for all content.
This is a good spot to get some Fire damage leeched as life. Can be gotten as an Elder mod, Temple mod, or a corruption.
Life, ES%, Attributes, resists. Get what you can.
If you are using utility Spectres, The Jinxed Juju is a very nice defensive choice. Mitigating a flat 10% of all hits coming in is very strong. it also comes with some Aura Effect and good Chaos res.
For super Endgame, Aul's For Anger or Zealotry is going to be BiS for damage.
Zealotry is better as the modifiers on the amulet for blue skills are much stronger for us.
Presence of Chayula is also an option as an easy way to obtain your chaos res.
Anointing Your Amulet
Charging Offensive -> Silver + Violet + Teal
This is the BiS enchant for the free endurance and frenzy charges. We hit ourselves while channeling so this is 100% uptime on those bonuses.
Battle Rouse -> Azure + Verdant + Sepia
Great on a budget and helps a lot with mana.
Weathered Hunter -> Teal + Amber + Sepia
Another budget option that provides us 10% All Res and 20 Dex
Nothing Else worth mentioning really. Charging Offensive is BIS and the other two are great budget options.
I highly suggest going for unset rings as sockets are incredibly starved.
Shaped rings Life gained for each enemy hit by your spells are quite nice. I recommend having at least 1 of the rings with this mod.
This is an option for the absolutely...INCREDIBLY late game. I seriously do not suggest using this as a general rule. Sockets are THAT important. I use it because it ALSO has Arcane Surge on it, which is essentially saving me a socket. It's great for damage, it can save a couple passive points, but don't feel like you HAVE to have it.
Rare Jewels are easy:
%Life, %ES, Crit Multi, Resists as needed.
Intuitive Leap in the Witch area jewel to the Power Charge, Mystic Bulwark, Prodigal perfection, and Enigmatic Defense noteables.
Alternatively you could place Unnatural Instinct in this spot and spend those points elsewhere.
Brutal Restraint is not a necessary jewel, but it is nice for the massive boost to dex that it provides. This should be enough to get you to 100dex
On the noteables you want some number of the following mods:
20% Increased Elemental Damage
20% Increased Minion Damage
10% Increased effect on non-curse auras from your skills
Gain Onslaught for 8 seconds on kill
10% Increased Effect of non-damaging ailments
5% Increased Movement speed
20% Cold Resistance
Watcher's Eye Mods
I highly recommend the ES gained on Hit while effected by Discipline. This mod combined with all of our CWDT taken spells (particularly Ball Lightning) makes us almost unkillable in most scenarios.
Other mods to try and pair with it:
Zealotry "Consecrated Ground you create while affected by Zealotry causes enemies to take #% increased Damage"
Zealotry "Critical Strikes Penetrate #% of Enemy Elemental Resistances while affected by Zealotry"
Zealotry "#% increased Critical Strike Chance against Enemies on Consecrated Ground while affected by Zealotry"
The consecrated ground oriented zealotry mods are especially strong if you have Purifying Flame on CWDT. This will cover every inch of your screen in Consecrated ground.
Gain a Flask Charge when you deal a Critical Strike while affected by Precision
#% to Critical Strike Multiplier while affected by Precision
Anger Fire pen/%Increased Fire Damage Both good for obvious reasons
Anger Fire Damage leeched as Life, this can be used as the singular source of Fire leeched to life. Replaces amulet mod.
Clarity %Mana Gained as extra maximum Energy Shield. This should be good for at least 1k Energy Shield. Very strong.
Clarity %Damage taken gained as mana over 4 seconds when hit This should be enough to cover your mana needs. Frees a flask slot.
Corruptions, Enchants, and Aspects
Scold's is not the most popular item for people to enchant so it can be hard to find good enchantments and when we do, they're expensive. Therefore let's looks at this list of useful enchantments to keep an eye out for:
Discipline has 20% reduced Mana Reservation
Anger has 15% reduced Mana Reservation
Herald of Ash has 30% reduced Mana Reservation
40% increased Volatile Dead Damage
Volatile Dead Consumes up to 1 additional corpse
Wave of Conviction's Exposure applies -6% Elemental Resistance
Consecrated Ground from Purifying Flame applies 9% increased Damage taken to Enemies
These are all useful enchants to keep and eye out for.
IF you want to run Aspect of the Spider, you will need this corruption:
With a Level 4 Enlighten and either another 4% Mana Reserve node or a
Is it worth it? Sure is! Is it needed? Not at all!
Other good corruptions:
+1 Maximum Power Charge
1.6-2% Life Regen
.5% of Fire Damage leeched as life
25-30% Increased Effect of Shock (translates to 5-6% increased damage taken)
%Life or %Energy shield
+2 To level of Socketed Aura or AOE Gems
I highly recommend getting some kind of curse on hit here.
Other good options:
+1 maximum Frenzy Charge
+0.5%-0.8% Spell Crit
%Max Life or %Max ES
For this build I really like these ones:
.6% of Damage leeched as life if you've killed recently
2% of life regenerated per second if you're been hit recently
Damage Penetrates 10% of Enemies Resistances if you haven't killed recently
Gem links for Volatile Dead:
Cast While Channeling (from staff) - Cyclone - Volatile Dead - Concentrated Effect - Controlled Destruction - Elemental Focus - (6th Link see below)
About the 6th Link
There are a few good options for a 6th link. Of course if you don't have a CWC Staff, then Cast While Channeling Support is your 6th link....
That said with the buffs to monster and boss resistance, as well as taking into consideration +%Res and Ele Equilibrium Map mods,
Fire Penetration is my top pick for 6th link.
Awakened Fire Penetration is obviously stronger and also not too expensive (90-100c or so for level 1)
The actual damage multiplier boost varies based on how much Fire Pen you currently have. But in general I get 40-50% more damage with this gem and even more so with resist boosted maps.
Increased Critical Strikes Support This will likely be the go-to while you are still working towards all the crit nodes on the tree and otherwise boosting your crit chance with rare crafted chest and so on. Not the biggest damage multiplier, but will make your damage *feel* good if you're crit chance is otherwise lacking.
Hypothermia This is a fairly safe option for a clean 40% more damage with level 21 gem. Everything relevant is going to be chilled by the corpses we produce. However not everything is going to be near the corpses all the time and the damage will drop off on those mobs. Also has a dex requirement of 114--further increasing our dex needs. Not my #1 Choice, but worth a mention.
Empower level 4 empower is good for a 41% more damage multiplier on a staff that ALSO has +2 to level of Socketed Support gems but honestly, it's not even worth the cost in my opinion. Worth mentioning because if I don't, people will ask about it.
This one is a little complicated as there are many ways to do it. We'll start with the must have 4L CWDT that you will ALWAYS need:
CWDT - Desecrate - Spell Cascade - Spirit Offering
This 4L is what makes the whole build tick. I have exactly 1 6L leftover to use. In this setup we will have all the skills linked to Combustion to apply its debuff. Consider the following spells to use on CWDT and find what you like best:
Wave of Conviction
Wave is always going to be slotted for the Fire Exposure debuff
This is used to provide yourself and your minions a constant 6% life regen per second. And since it ALSO covers every inch of the screen with Consecrated ground you get a reliable 100% increased crit chance with it as well
This spell is deceptively powerful. I love how it interacts with ES and Life gain on hit effects such as those found on shaper/crusader rings and Discipline ES on hit watcher's eye. By far the best spell for bursts of recovery.
If you want to use utility specters, you will want this. Keeps the Proximity shield Specters on you at all times.
With only Desecrate+Spell cascade you will notice your ES fluctuate a little as Spirit offering fails to ALWAYS consume 5 corpses. If you are not utilizing Leash of Oblation and Bone+Flesh Offerings then you can use: Unearth + Greater Multiple Projectiles + CWDT in another set of links to give you more bodies on da floor.
The following 3L is for those utilizing Leash of Oblation. Level this setup as high as possible (ideally level 21)
CWDT - Bone Offering - Flesh Offering
It's a little bit clunky if you don't have phasing, but is great for blocking out projectiles and pushing melee monsters away
This is nice if you don't have Charging offensive anointed to generate frenzy charge yet (costs a Silver) otherwise not worth using.
Curse on Hit
can be used if you don't have Curse corruption on gloves or a ring with a curse on hit (assassin's mark on shaper ring, Flammability on Delve/Warlord ring). use with Enfeeble or Temp Chains for defense, Assassin's Mark if you need power charges and crit, or Flammability for raw damage. make sure to level the curse gem all the way. Awakened Curse on Hit can be used to dual curse and apply to hexproof enemies.
You can also just use a low level curse instead and put it with your desecrate CWDT setup for the free Spell Cascade support
Pick a golem and fit it in somewhere if you want one. Chaos, Stone, and Ice are the best for this build. Doesn't even need to be on CWDT as Spirit Offering will keep it alive. if you use Unnatural Instinct in the witch socket you get 40% increased Buff Effect from it as well.
Use the Following Auras:
Herald of Ash
Unless you are wearing an Aul's you must choose between Anger and Zealotry
I would default to Zealotry for the crit. Anger adds a lot of damage to your CWDT skills. If you don't have another global source of flat fire damage to spells (from staff for instance) then you need it so that ball lightning can ignite for combustion debuff.
Of course, use whichever one you want. If you have a watcher's eye with Zealotry mods, use zealotry, if you have one with anger mods, use anger.
If you don't care about the damage boost, you can also choose to use Flesh and Stone instead of Herald of Ash.
In this order:
Essence Glutton -> Mistress of Sacrifice -> Plaguebringer -> Corpse Pact
Bandits: Help Alira (recommended) or Kill All
For Minor Pantheons, Soul of Gruthkul will give you 5% Phys mitigation all the time.
Soul of Shakari for extra defense against chaos damage and poison immunity
Upgraded Soul of Yugul is good vs Uber Elder and Aul for 5% reduced cold damage taken.
Soul of Lunaris fully upgraded is a good all-purpose choice. Especially if you are using an Animate Guardian and/or utility specters
Soul of Arakaali for additional defense vs chaos dots
Managing Scold's Damage and Mana Sustain
As previously stated in the guide, the primary method of managing scold's is via a level 8 Spirit Offering skill on a level 1 Cast When Damage Taken Support
When max (5) corpses are consumed we recover and gain 15% of Maximum Life as Extra maximum energy shield. CWDT requires 528 damage to trigger.
If you have the socket space for a level 1 Clarity, this watcher's eye modifier will take care of your mana needs.
Alternatively, you can use one of the new Enduring mana flasks. These things are truly OP because you can spam the flask charges and each instance of mana recovery enters a queue. This means that your mana recovery can last for several minutes. When I enter a map I empty the flask as I approach the first pack on monsters and then just keep it going from there. For bosses with no adds beforehand such as Uber Elder and Elder Guardians, you just have to manage the flask until adds are spawned or charges are gained. It's not hard as you will instant phase guardians and even Uber Elder goes to his first portal phase almost instantly.
Lastly, here's a calculator to help you find your ideal attack rate with Cyclone. The idea is to balance physical damage mitigation with attack rate to know how fast you should be going and how much mitigation you can afford.
Thanks to xHavoCx for creating this tool
Thank you for looking, I will continue to update this throughout 3.9 Metamorph League
Please check the FAQ section below before asking any questions. It's possible that I've answered it there.
[3.8] Gryph's CI Vortex + Coldsnap Trickster || Uber Elder+Everything Else
Last edited by Gryphenprey on Jan 24, 2020, 2:13:26 PM
Last bumped on Feb 17, 2020, 8:12:08 PM
on Sep 7, 2019, 2:02:40 AM
Frequently Asked Questions
I'm going to start compiling these here:
Why am I having trouble sustaining Energy Shield?
There's a mechanical reason behind this: CWDT has a cooldown of 250ms and does not count damage you take towards its next proc in this time.
basically you need to recover enough ES on your Spirit Offering Proc to make up for the 528 damage required to proc CWDT and the damage you take in the 250ms downtime. And since we attack quite quickly with Cyclone a lot of damage can be dealt in 1/4 of a second.
Things that help:
First and foremost. Increased Effect of offerings on your chest will boost your recovery by 350-450 ES per trigger. This alone is probably good enough.
Physical Damage Mitigation.
IF you can get some amount of mitigation, this will make the CWDT proccing smoother. IF you're cyclone costs 59 mana, you'll be taking 236 damage per attack. This requires 3 spins to trigger CWDT and you end up taking 708 damage--180 more than you need to--to trigger CWDT. This also means that the subsequent damage taken during cooldown is quite high.
Now let's say you are Anointing your amulet with Charging Offensive and thus have 3 Endurance Charges at all times. You have now 12% reduced damage taken from Scold's.
Now instead of taking 236 per hit, you take 207 per hit. Still takes 3 spins to trigger CWDT. But now you take 621 damage instead.
You can get up to roughly 25% physical damage reduction before it starts negatively impacting your CWDT triggers (at 59 mana cost) and any that you do have will boost your effective recovery.
"I'm a derp and use Leash of Oblation without an Offering Effect chest."
This is the last and most common reason. Read the gear section of the guide before putting on the belt. :)
Why can't I sustain my mana???
You don't have enough of that mod "X% of damage taken gained as mana over 4 seconds when hit." Aim for a minimum of 15%. Clarity Watcher's Eye can roll 15-20%.
or Use an Enduring mana Flask.
I'm following your POB but it's different than your trees/guide? Why?
In the words of a fellow exile that I know:
Okay seriously, I make little changes constantly because I am forever trying new things and making little tiny min-maxes to my character. Please refer to the guide, or ask me if you have a question.
H I N T
To ask me a question in game...you will need to know the C O D E. To find it, you will need to search for the wisdom of the green man.
How can I do better with X,Y,Z boss fight? I get 1-shot a lot...?
Learn fight mechanics. For more on this, I shall refer you to page 128 where I go into some depth on this. You'll also want to look there for the w o r d(s) to have your questions answered.
Why does my damage feel bad?
This is going to be just me listing off things you may have overlooked and that will give noticeable boosts to your damage output:
Culling Strike in CWDT links - 10% more damage
Level 10 Arcane Surge on Flame Dash - 15% more spell damage
Diamond Flask - please...just...use it.
Vaal Righteous Fire - good to have if you need burst damage for metamorphs
Level 21 VD - gem levels matter
Awakened Fire Penetration cheap and better than regular fire pen. Boosted monster resists make this very appealing
You have a 6L...right??? - obvious reasons are obvious.
Circle of Anguish Buff Effect + Fire Damage is a massive DPS boost. Cheaper alternative to Aul's amulet. Prioritize Herald of Ash buff effect.
Character levels and therefore all the crit+crit multi clusters on the tree...
Anointed Amulet - Charging Offensive gives 3 Frenzy Charges at all time. 12% more damage.
Combustion Support make sure it's on your CWDT links.
Bottled Faith - Expensive but massive DPS boost.
Spell Crit on chest - Good DPS booster.
If you're still having damage problems, we can talk. See page 128 for the password.
A Relic of the Past
This build started off as a self-cast VD build. I eventually made the transition to CWC+Cyclone for the mobility. So, if you want to do self cast because you hate cyclone....
Self Cast Variant
Self Cast Tree
My character with this setup at level 93
Budget version as seen here and here
This is my "classic" take on the build. It is much easier to scale damage but the lack of mobility If you don't like CWC with Cyclone you can go this route, though at this point I don't recommend
Animate Guardian & Specters
In 3.8 I ran an AG with Kingmaker and Garb of the Ephemeral...and he was unkillable. Now, in 3.9 with the new end game bosses I cannot recommend an AG for that content. If you want to use it for Mapping and Delving deep, then an AG is still fantastic. At this time I suggest unsummoning him before Conqueror Fights as they do insane damage to minions it seems.
That aside, it turns out spamming Spirit Offering constantly is a great way to keep your beefy boi alive. 20% of 20k-30k life as extra ES 4x/s is a lot of recovery.
Why use an Animate Guardian?
Let's more or less assume that the AG is never gonna die due to the aforementioned reasons.
We run Animate Guardian because he requires no investment from the tree to keep alive and the buffs we can get off of him are more powerful than what can be used in those sockets instead. Fortify, Culling Strike, Movement Speed, Enemies Can't Crit you, Action speed cannot be reduced below base speed, various boosts to damage....OP Minion is OP.
What a Beefy AG uses
Kingmaker - Culling Strike, Fortify, and 50% Crit Multiplier make this an insane damage and defensive boost.
Victario's Flight - for 10% Movement Speed buff. Encahnted with Life Regen when hit.
Rare Gloves - T1 Chaos Res, Chaos Res+Ele Res bench craft, and some amount of the other res to cap him. With so much recovery on ES I wanted to make sure his chaos resistance is very high. Currently has 68% Chaos Res.
Rare helmet - fossil crafted for -9% to nearby enemy Fire res. Can be pristine+scorched for life regen if you want to invest into that as well. (mine does)
Garb of the Ephemeral - If you feel like dumping another 6-7ex on your AG then this is BiS. Nearby Enemies Can't Crit and Nearby Allies cannot have their action speed reduced below base speed. Congratulation, now you're a juggerboi. :)
You can use whatever specters (or none) that you want. I would use:
1x Heretical Guardians from Act 10 Desecrated Chambers for the Proximity Shield. at a base they have an 8 Second duration and 18 second cooldown (shields down for 10 seconds). I frankly couldn't tell you how much damage they actually prevent, but hey, with Convocation on CWDT they stay pretty close to me.
1x Ruins hellion from Act 8 The Quay. This little pup casts Rallying Cry that boosts damage, mana regen, and most importantly, taunts enemies further protecting me and my Animate Guardian. Puppy boi is also the only minion that ever dies....ever. And only in Uber Elder and Aul fights.
I have (in 3.8) AG and Raise Specter Linked with Meat Shield
Please do yourselves a favor and UNSUMMON (remove gem) your AG before entering Hall of Grandmasters. I shall hear no complaints that your 10ex AG died in seconds to this map. You have been warned.
Now...let us have a moment of silence to the poor exile who learned this the hard way and let him find peace in that others will learn from this tragedy...
Last edited by Gryphenprey on Jan 23, 2020, 7:51:28 PM
on Sep 7, 2019, 2:02:54 AM
Ok. This is epic.
Trust your mind and strengthen your abilities!
on Sep 7, 2019, 3:41:33 PM
Yes, yes it is!
Added a better gameplay video of post-uber lab on day 2.
Updated the Gem Links section to include the 3 major CWDT setups
Added a note in the gear section regarding Cooldown Recovery
will continue to update!
on Sep 7, 2019, 8:49:00 PM
Thank you for the update.
After playing it a bit, it feels kinda clunky? Unearth doesn't really go at the cursor but rather at your feet, and if your not keeping up with the VD, you wont get more corpses to keep VDing.
I end up having to cast desecrate pretty often, or get hit to trigger CWDT to continue VDing.
Perhaps it'll feel better after Uber Lab.
Last edited by FaytePGN on Sep 8, 2019, 3:20:14 AM
on Sep 8, 2019, 1:41:12 AM
This looks pretty awesome. I played your Trickster Vortex/CI build all last league and loved it; he got me my first 40/40 league. I just reached maps with it again but was having a tough time getting it off the ground. Was feeling like I wanted to join the Necro meta and bam! This guide shows up!
So, I spent most of my currency, bought a Scold's and am on my way. Looking forward to seeing how this develops!
on Sep 8, 2019, 3:07:34 AM
Nice! It's still a work in progress, but has been a blast to play and tinker with. Always happy to see people enjoying my Trickster guide too. =)
Yes, After having played this now for a while I can say a few things:
You have to self cast the unlinked desecrate often because VD requires a target to trigger. Mostly this is while mapping.
As for CWDT Triggers, everything is targeted at your feet, never at the cursor. This is because you are the source of the damage. It's weird.
I have found a nice rhythm to this, the trick really, is to keep your cursor close to yourself or, more accurately, the bodies you produce. When I'm mapping there's a lot of "Move forward, click where I came from" movement. I've gotten a feel for it (I got my rhythm) so it feels smooth, but it can definitely feel clunky until you get used to the play style.
And Uber Lab does make a big difference. The cast speed bonuses are huge.
Hope that helps a bit!
Last edited by Gryphenprey on Sep 8, 2019, 7:07:24 AM
on Sep 8, 2019, 7:05:43 AM
This build is nuts! Super fun to play. Just got to maps and working on uberlab which is when this build will truly shine.
Things to note;
Voidbringers are good if you haven't 6 linked your VD yet and don't need to 100% increase from fevered mind.
Arctic armor messes up the initial cwdt desecrate if you're on the cusp of the threshold.
Last edited by gosumui on Sep 8, 2019, 12:47:16 PM
on Sep 8, 2019, 12:34:22 PM
I did uber lab, it was amazing. I got increased cooldown recovery speed boots and the belt.
I was successfully able to crash my instance during a blight encounter, perhaps I spammed VD too hard.
on Sep 8, 2019, 6:18:11 PM
Yeah I think going on the Pros and Cons list is:
CON: Not potato PC friendly.
I've crashed a couple blight maps with this. Solo'd a T2 with no crash though so there's that.
on Sep 8, 2019, 6:21:39 PM