Volatile Dead Hierophant - 1.5mil Non-Crit Shaper DPS


Build Thesis

Volatile Dead gates itself behind corpse consumption, and this barrier makes it clunky for self-casting. VD gained popularity when streamers paired it with Poet’s Pen and Indigon to create a break-neck ball-shitting machine. Now that Desecrate functions without a cooldown, we can resurrect VD with a few clever game mechanics.
We solve corpse creation with two Desecrate totems supported by Multiple Totems and Faster Casting. Cast speed on gear as well as the passive tree keep VD churning. Two Desecrate totems hit the corpse limit per cast which gives us roughly 40 corpses per second at .4 cast time. A VD cast time of .7 means we are casting 1.4 times a second, consuming 4 corpses a cast, which totals to 16 corpses a second across 3 totems. Desecrate produces corpses so quickly that VD should always have something to chew on.

Gear and Gems Explanation

Socketing VD into a chestplate with the Arcane Surge affix allows us to proc the effect without using a support gem. I also mastercrafted an additional curse for the damage boost. Round your chestplate out with flat and increased life if possible. If you land resistance, consider yourself lucky.
You can get funky with support gems in helmets, but I stayed traditional with life and resistances. If you get strength or dexterity, consider yourself lucky. Ensure you pick up a VD enchant that allows VD to consume an additional corpse.
Round out your stats and resistances with jewelry, boots, and gloves. Try to get life on all of them. A stygian vise would be better than a leather belt, but I am lazy. You might consider an opal ring, but this build lacks defenses, so I prioritized coral rings.
VD sources a large amount of power from your wands. The 170% damage effectiveness of VD amplifies flat damage from equipment, and the multiplicative nature of the skill further scales that damage even further. Look for large sources of flat damage as well as increased fire, elemental, and spell damage. Your wands must have increased cast speed. Totems inherently lack cast speed, and you must take care to increase cast speed wherever possible.
Use abyssal jewels to add flat fire damage to spells and flat fire damage to spells while dual wielding. Round out your life pool with flat life, but only use stat or resistances affixes if you get lucky with the prior three.
A budget version of this build wouldn’t use the additional curse master craft, so prioritize Flammability in your curse setup. I utilized Orb of Storms to proc Hextouch, seeing as Anger and Herald of Fire chew up most of my mana pool.

Passives and Ascendancy

Hierophant’s Pursuit of Faith and Ritual of Awakening continue the theme of boosting VD’s damage. RoA in particular benefits from our Desecrate setup. Arcane Blessing is a must, but your fourth Ascendancy passive isn’t important. Spell leech from Illuminated Devotion is useful but not instrumental as we are using Ancestral Bond.
I focused on ignite with my VD support gems, so 100% increased Damage with Hits against Ignited Enemies Fire Mastery is particularly useful. Early testing with Elemental Focus versus flat damage from Immolate suggests ignite proc beats out other forms of %more damage scaling, but play around in Path of Building to see what works best for you.
Elemental Overload offers yet another damage boost to VD. Since EO attaches to a skill generally and not one totem specifically, a lucky shot from any of them procs the effect.

Path of Building

Gameplay Exposition
Last edited by DE_BattleMage on Jul 22, 2023, 5:32:02 PM
Last bumped on Sep 5, 2023, 6:54:32 PM
Big fan of VD so I slapped together a horrificaly gimped version and it's clearing white maps ok with basically nothing but socket colors. Couple questions

For the curses any reason you prefer Hextouch over an Arcanist brand set up?

Any advice for defenses? It looks like basically health and dodging?

Thoughts on attempting to league start with it? You would need to run something else till A3 so you can get all your gems, but damage should be there? I suppose you could run Freezing Pulse totems to get through campaign and level gems offhand
El_Cody wrote:
Thoughts on attempting to league start with it? You would need to run something else till A3 so you can get all your gems, but damage should be there? I suppose you could run Freezing Pulse totems to get through campaign and level gems offhand

I plan to league start my own CoC VD Inquisitor, so was looking around for inspiration on the forums for leveling setups. This passive tree lines up really well with brand leveling. Just grab the Brand Equity, Runebinder and Runesmith as well as the brand ascendancy, and you can level with brand recall armageddon brand. 21 respec points needed for when you transition to totems!
Health and manual dodging are how I tackle most defenses. This build has trouble with pinnacle bosses like Shaper, but I have killed all 12 mini-boss encounters. I don't know anything about Arcanist Brand. My curse set up is using Orb of Storms because that's how I've done curse on hit since 2.2 LOL.

League start would involve using essence crafted gear until you could afford good wands and a curse chestplate.

I mainly created this because I desperately missed VD, but I loathe self-casting it.
Last edited by DE_BattleMage on Sep 5, 2023, 6:55:19 PM

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