[3.1] Volatile Dead Assassin [Budget League Starter][SSF Viable]




INTRODUCTION

This is my first pass at a league starter for 3.1. I've always been drawn to builds that largely play themselves - summoner builds, totem builds, etc, relaxing builds where you don't have to do things like jump into a pack of monsters, or aim. I became fascinated with Volatile Dead the moment they spoiled it, and decided I wanted to try a budget league-starting mapping build using it as the core skill.

Since like a high school algebra teacher I am just as interested in the thought process behind a build as I am the results of a build, I am going to explain mine.

Thought process behind build

Crit or non-crit?
Crit, without a doubt.
Why?
Simply put, our resources are limited because we must have corpses for our primary skill to work. When resources are limited, you try and stretch them as far as they will go. As such, it is absolutely imperative that we make each and every single orb as effective as it can possibly be. Scaling damage is nice, but the obvious force multiplier here is our crit chance. By scaling crit chance and crit multi, we can get every last drop of potential damage out of every single orb.

Selfcast or totem?
Selfcast.
Why?
We're going to put a corpse creation spell on a totem (primarily for boss fights), which means that unless we seriously invest in totem nodes, our single naturally available totem is spoken for.

What keystones do we want?
Actually, none. Possibly MoM, but some playtesting will be necessary to decide whether or not it's needed.
Why?
The only keystones that really benefit us require serious coordination to use. EE seems like a shoe-in, for example, but that means we have to find a way to trigger it. Most of these either require getting close enough to monsters that one of the primary advantages of VD is effectively negated, or using a totem, which as previously stated, we already are, for another purpose.

What ascendency, therefore, do we want?
This was the bit I agonized over the most, but I eventually settled on Assassin.
Why?
Because we deal elemental damage, Elementalist and Inquisitor were obvious possibilities. I even toyed with Scion and cherry-picking the ascendency passives I wanted. Eventually, I settled on Assassin because my number one priority with this build is scaling our crits, and no build does that better than the Assassin. It also has the added bonus of being the INT/DEX class, which makes this build SSF viable due to all of our core gems being easily bought from vendors.


Pros and cons

PROS:

+ Cheap, zero uniques are required to make this build run, probably sub 10c budget at the start of mapping
+ SSF viable, all gems required to make the build run can be bought from vendors by a Shadow
+ Good league starter for above reasons
+ I'm predicting a decent clearspeed in maps

CONS:

- NOT built for endgame bosses by any stretch
- Limited resources, requires corpses to run, may make boss fights extra difficult
- Clearspeed is capped by movement speed of VD orbs, which, not being projectiles, can't really be sped up as far as I can tell


Gem links

These links are theoretical in nature and will be tampered with as I experiment with this build in 3.1.

Five- or six-link
Volatile Dead + Spell Cascade + Elemental Focus + Fire Penetration + Power Charge on Crit + Concentrated Effect
Playtesting will reveal whether we generate power charges well enough to stay at max charges without Power Charge on Crit.

Four-link
Cast when Damage Taken + Immortal Call + Phase Run + Summon Ice Golem

Four-link
Unearth + Spell Echo + Greater Multiple Projectiles + Faster Casting
UPDATE: Added this four-link for boss fights, since we had so many sockets unaccounted for, and after all, why not maximize our corpse creation potential? Here's ten more corpses per click. If short on sockets, Faster Casting may not be absolutely necessary here, since Spell Echo is already speeding us up quite a lot. I added Faster Casting because we're not really taking any cast speed passives, and return-per-click is already optimized for our other spells via totems or cascade.

Three-link
Desecrate + Spell Totem + Faster Casting

Three-link
A movement skill + and gems to + support it
One of the nice things about a build with zero mandatory uniques is it doesn't shoehorn us into a single movement skill. Chances are at endgame we'll want a pair of rare Golden Krises for the global crit chance, which gives us access to Whirling Blades, but certain shields are a good source of evasion and life (Shield Charge), a sceptre can give us elemental damage (Leap Slam), and of course we may just get stuck with a pair of wands for the spell damage (especially if playing SSF) with this build, so we may just get stuck with Flame Dash, so this slot is up to the player's best judgment.

The remaining four sockets can be used for QoL gems or auras, which will be felt out as the character progresses in my case. Personally, I get fussy if I have to carry around portal scrolls and open my inventory to go home, so a Portal gem is a staple for me. A way of applying Assassin's Mark wouldn't go awry, either. This also opens up the opportunity for socketless uniques like Kaom's Roots, which wouldn't be unwelcome in a build that likes big chunks of life thrown at it and doesn't necessarily need the boot slot for resists due to how easy it is to gear.


Passive tree, Bandits, and Ascendancy

Passive tree

LINK

I focused on, in order of priority:

1) Crit chance/multi (via crit nodes and power charge nodes)
2) Fire damage (via spell damage, elemental damage, and fire damage nodes)
3) Life

Rather than building around keystones, since we don't have any, I build instead around power charge nodes.

This tree will be reworked periodically as I hammer out the nuances of the build.

Bandits

This build stretches pretty far across the tree, so you could go for the two extra points, but I will be helping Alira for the crit multi. The resists and regen will be a nice bonus and make gearing easier.

Ascendancy

Ignore the DoT tree, as we don't scale damage over time. I recommend taking the other nodes in this order:

1) Unstable Infusion
2) Deadly Infusion
3) Ambush
4) Assassinate

We want to generate those power charges reliably more than anything else. Ambush won't really shine until maps, and Assassinate is our lowest priority as it won't really be relevant until we're killing map bosses.


Gearing

As stated above, no single piece of gear is mandatory for this build, so I'll just list priorities for states on gear:

1) Crit chance
2) Crit multi
3) Fire/elemental/spell damage
4) Life
5) Resists

Thanks to Alira, gearing to cap resists will be a little bit easier. Because we're focusing on dex and int and will have very little str, most armour gear is out, but evasion is probably a viable defense to find on gear, even though we're not really scaling it. Energy shield also wouldn't go amiss, but we're scaling life far more, so it'll be a higher priority.


This build will be updated as I flesh it out with actual in-game experience.

Please don't hesitate to share your thoughts on it, and let me know if you think of any uniques it would benefit from!
Last edited by sainthazard on Dec 8, 2017, 7:31:37 AM
Last bumped on Dec 16, 2017, 6:00:20 AM
looks pretty interesting - i have been stuck for a bit trying to decide what ascendancy to choose aswell. Would Trickster with frenzy + power charges (better access to MoM also) be a viable idea in your opinion?
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Completed 3 ChallengesKATAPLEXIA wrote:
looks pretty interesting - i have been stuck for a bit trying to decide what ascendancy to choose aswell. Would Trickster with frenzy + power charges (better access to MoM also) be a viable idea in your opinion?


I thought about it, but Trickster passives are often about speed as much as damage scaling, and that brought me back to how VD is sort of hamstrung by the speed of those orbs. That's why I spent less time focusing on move and cast speed. My vision of VD is more of a slow and steady - not fast, but also not choppy or stuttering - movement though maps. Good overall clearspeed but not stunningly fast pack-to-pack movement.

Not to mention how Assassin just scales crits so much better.
Chance Desecrate + Spell Totem + Faster Casting to Unearth+Spell Totem + Faster Casting
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Completed 6 Challengeseltas001 wrote:
Chance Desecrate + Spell Totem + Faster Casting to Unearth+Spell Totem + Faster Casting


I'm going to try both and see how they do. It seems like Unearth needs more supports to create more corpses quickly but has the benefit of not having a cooldown. I'm not sure which will create a better rhythm for mapping in the instances where it's actually needed. Some experimentation is necessary.
I've been trolling the wiki for good uniques for this build, and found Divinarius, which seems like an excellent choice due to it scaling crits globally like all daggers but also specifically for spells at much greater values than you normally find, as well as just scaling up spell damage as well. Increased AoE may also help with the actual orb explosions.

https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Divinarius

Will continue to update as I find more potential uniques to support this build.
Hey everyone, hope everyone is as hyped as I am for the release tomorrow.

Here is the build I am looking at as an assassin...

https://pastebin.com/e5w87Xdh

I am having real issues deciding between an assassin and an inquisitor. I plan on going self cast VD + Cascade + Concentrated Effect + Controlled Destruction + X + X. Not sure if I should be looking at power charge on crit, fire pen, or what for the X's. I might use orb of storms, increased aoe, increased crit chance, power charge on crit instead of power charge on crit for VD. It definitely seems like a waste to use power charge on crit in my main 6 link.

I will also be either self casting Desecrate + Cascade + Faster Casting + X, or replacing that X with a spell totem. I would like to keep a totem spot open for spell totem + scorching ray + faster casting for bosses though.

Anyone have any thoughts on the skill tree/build in particular?
Realized I derped in a big way regarding life nodes, tree has been updated to reflect me getting slightly smarter.
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Chirijaden_ wrote:
Hey everyone, hope everyone is as hyped as I am for the release tomorrow.

Here is the build I am looking at as an assassin...

https://pastebin.com/e5w87Xdh

I am having real issues deciding between an assassin and an inquisitor. I plan on going self cast VD + Cascade + Concentrated Effect + Controlled Destruction + X + X. Not sure if I should be looking at power charge on crit, fire pen, or what for the X's. I might use orb of storms, increased aoe, increased crit chance, power charge on crit instead of power charge on crit for VD. It definitely seems like a waste to use power charge on crit in my main 6 link.

I will also be either self casting Desecrate + Cascade + Faster Casting + X, or replacing that X with a spell totem. I would like to keep a totem spot open for spell totem + scorching ray + faster casting for bosses though.

Anyone have any thoughts on the skill tree/build in particular?


You found a crit wheel I totally overlooked over on the right, I need to rework my tree now to make sure I incorporate it!

I like the tree, but I worry that you'll have issues with survivability. I specifically added a good number of life nodes for that reason, but otherwise it looks pretty solid.

I think Fire Pen is a must for the links. I think it's even more of a must than Concentrated Effect, if I'm honest. I think when you're dealing 100% fire damage it's a greater net damage gain than Conc. Effect.
mhmhm.... just curious can we use mines for volatile for bigger dmg.... mhmhmhm...

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