[3.6] Volatile Dead Mines - A Scold's Bridle Corpse Spawning (CI) Saboteur - All Content Viable
This build started out as kind of a joke and me wanting to try something with Scold's Bridle. I never expected it to work this well and I even killed my first Uber Elder ever with it.
This is my first build guide, which is the result of my friends (special thanks to Nandiris & UltimateEnergy) pushing me to write one, so any criticism is welcome :).
The main skill of this build is obviously Volatile Dead.
It explodes up to 3 corpses and spawns a ball of fire for each that seeks out enemies and explodes on contact with them. Linked with the Remote Mine Support gem we place a mine that casts the spell when activated.
Because we can't rely on corpses from enemies in bossfights and spawning them manually is annoying we do something else. And that is where Scold's Bridle comes into play.
Laying mines now damages us and we use that by having multiple Cast when Damage Taken setups.
We have 2 setups that spawn alot of corpses for Volatile Dead.
And we have the Detonate Mines gem linked with it.
This allows us to do everything we need by only casting our main skill and still play Volatile Dead on a 6-link (unlike the Poet's Pen version). To counteract the self damage we need to get a bunch of regeneration, but i'll get to that later.
Disclaimer: we need to build differently depending on whether we use a 5- or 6-link chest and if we play Ascendant or Saboteur because of the now lower mana cost in Patch 3.6. I'll explain this in detail later.
PROS & CONS
+ Can do all content
+ High damage output
+ Tons of regen
+ Very high range + auto target (~1.5 screens)
+ One-shot bosses with a spawn animation/monologue
+ Not GC mines or VD Poet's Pen :)
- Susceptible to one-shots
- Doesn't work while leveling
- Specific gear/stat requirements
- Not a league starter
For 3.6 we need to make a few changes to the build because the mana cost of Volatile Dead got lowered quite a bit.
As a result we need to increase it by using Voidbringer, or the Ascendant Ascendancy. This is explained further in the corresponding sections of the guide.
Also the damage of Volatile Dead got nerfed by about 5%, but we got some nice buffs to ES this league to compensate for that and damage was never an issue anyway.
For 3.5 Betrayal league nothing really changed.
Since the master-crafting got reworked and we get a lot new mods on rare gear, i will update the recommended gear section if I find anything thats notable.
SKILL TREE & PATH OF BUILDING & PANTHEON
Link to my Lv. 90 skilltree.
Path of Building pastebin: https://pastebin.com/PiBG0Ra1
Before I explain the skilltree, these are my current (Lv. 90) path of building stats. In the following I will explain how I calculated the damage.
UNBUFFED/SUSTAINED DAMAGE & DEFENSES
I calculated the minimal sustained dps only with the shown buffs active which all should be very easy to sustain. No flasks and Arcane Surge isn't active.
Since the damage shown is per Volatile Dead ball we spawn we have to calculate the dps ourselves.
We place 3 mines per cast (ignoring the 20% for an extra mine from the ascendancy) which each spawn 3 balls. That makes 9 balls per cast. For the minimal DPS calculation we consider Desecrate having no charges at the beginning, which means we only spawn 7 corpses with Unearth alone. This means our damage gets limited by the amount of corpses we spawn. Every 3 seconds we get a Desecrate charge back which spawns 5 additional corpses (1.6 corpses per second). With a mine laying speed of 0.36 seconds we place mines 2.7 times a second and spawn about 20.5 corpses a second (18.9 from Unearth + 1.6 from Desecrate).
So we have to multiply the shown damage number by 20.5 to get our minimum DPS.
58,900 * 20.5 = 1,207,450
BUFFED/BURST DAMAGE & DEFENSES
The fully buffed damage number includes all shown effects aswell as all flasks and Arcane Surge.
With the calculation from above it is easy to calculate the fully buffed DPS (119,100 * 20,5 = 2,441,550)
For the burst damage calculation we calculate the damage for 4.5 seconds and add it up, because thats how long a Volatile Dead ball can stay before exploding. At the start of a bossfight, where the burst damage calculation is most relevant, we usually have all 3 Desecrate charges and regenerate 1 additional charge over the 4.5 second. This means we get 20 corpses from Desecrate and 85 from Unearth (4.5 * 18.9 per second) which makes a total of 105 corpses over the whole duration. Now we can calculate the maximum burst damage.
105 * 119,100 = 12,505,500
Since this is CI build we get the Chaos Inoculation and Zealot's Oath keystones to give us chaos immunity and apply all our regeneration to energy shield. We take as much of the major ES nodes as possible. The damage is scaled mostly through mine and crit nodes, aswell as the fire damage wheel above the Witch starting point. Lastly we need alot of mana and mana regeneration to not lose damage when we start spamming.
The Most important ascendancy node is Pyromaniac. Without it we could never counteract our self damage. The mine specific nodes give some damage and a lot of quality of life stats. For the uber-lab ascendancy I chose Born in the Shadows for some defense against attacks since we have to avoid physical damage mitigation. If you want more damage take Explosives Expert instead.
Past Lv. 90 im going to put my points into the remaining 6% increased energy shield nodes.
Alria is by far the best option here. The mana regeneration helps tremendously and the critical damage multiplier and the resistances are really good for us too.
For the major pantheon we pretty much have to take Soul of the Brine King since we get stunned from every hit from enemies because of CI.
For the minor pantheon you can either take Soul of Ralakesh, which is especially useful in Izaro's labyrinth, or Soul of Gruthkul for a little bit of physical mitigation but only if you have enough mana cost, for example through a Lv. 21 Volatile Dead gem, to not lower our self damage too much.
GEMS & LINKS
The main skill setup is pretty straightforward. Just make sure your Volatile Dead gem is at least Lv. 17 so it costs enough mana.
CAST WHEN DAMAGE TAKEN
One of two link setups to spawn corpses. Leave Cast when Damage Taken at Lv. 1 to make sure it activates every cast.
Pretty much the same as the above. Since we can't have a second Unearth setup we need to use Desecrate. Additionally link a Detonate Mines so we don't have to do it manually when we start spamming.
The last setup uses a Lv. 20+ Cast when Damage Taken. That way we can have a Lv. 20 Stone Golem and a Lv. 20 Flammability curse that gets cast about every 2.5 seconds.
It should be obvious by now, but no immortal call setup so we don't stop ourselves from playing the game.
AURA & MOVEMENT
For auras I use Clarity, Discipline and Anger. Clarity for extra mana regeneration and enabling the Watcher's Eye, Vaal Discipline for more ES and the option to activate it for extra regen, aswell as Anger for more damage. I needed a Lv. 3 Enlighten to reserve all auras and still have enough mana to cast Volatile Dead. If you don't want to use an Enlighten you can use Herald of Ash instead of Anger.
Flame Dash linked with Faster Casting makes for a good movement skill. Adding a low level Arcane Surge with Increased Duration gives us a nice damage, cast speed and mana regen buff everytime we use it. I recommend getting a Flame Dash with quality to reduce the recharge time.
I started leveling with Explosive Trap and switched to Glacial Cascade mines at Lv. 28. These should carry you all the way to maps.
Good uniques for leveling are:
I recommend leveling as a life based build and respec when you can equip your ES gear. When you respec take Chaos Inoculation and Zealot's Oath. I felt comfortable using Scold's Bridle when I hit around 5000 energy shield. When you equip Scold's Bridle you can start using Volatile Dead mines and setup your Cast when Damage Taken links.
Take Alrira in act 2 for extra mana regeneration and critical damage multiplier.
For the ascendancy take Bomb Specialist first followed by Demolitions Specialist. Pyromaniac is third, unless you feel like you need more regeneration or have heavy mana problems. In that case you can take it as first or second choice too. The last points go towards Born in the Shadows (or Explosive Expert if you'd rather have more damage).
IMPORTANT BUILD MECHANICS
If you want to customize your build I strongly recommend to read the next parts as the build requires you to hit certain life- and manaregen thresholds aswell as other things to work/feel good.
REQUIRED ITEMS / THRESHOLDS
The centerpiece of the build, without it nothing would really work.
A 5- or 6-linked The Beast Fur Shawl is needed because of 2 reasons:
1.) We need high enough mana costs so we can trigger our spells. Since the damage threshold for a Lv. 1 Cast when Damage Taken is 528, we need to deal that much damage to ourselves per cast. Because of that the minimum amount of mana our mines are allowed to cost is 126 (x4 from Scold's Bridle and x1.05 from the 5% increased damage taken mod from The Beast Fur Shawl). This also means that the Volatile Dead skill gem has to be high enough level!
2.) The second reason is the 40% increased energy shield recovery rate mod. This applies to all our regeneration from the Ascendancy, the Passive Tree and items. This helps alot to counteract the 1408 to 2047 damage per second we deal to ourselves (depending on gem level, mine laying speed and choice of Ascendancy).
The Voidbringer gloves are needed* because of the same reason we need at least a 5-link: to get our mana cost high enough. Try to get a low as possible roll on the "increased mana cost of Skills roll (preffered 40%) so you don't have too much problems sustaining mana and ES.
*Note: The Saboteur ascendancy gives us 25% reduced Mana Cost of Skills that place Mines or throw Traps which is the reason for the Voidbringer requirement. The Saboteur node from the Scion ascendancy doesn't have this effect. The resulting mana costs of a Scion 6-link are roughly equal to a Saboteur 6-link with Voidbringer and fit the requirements. This makes the Scion a good alternative option.
At least 2 of these 3 items are required to keep up with the extreme mana costs of the build. We need to regenerate about 322 to 487 mana per second (again depending on gem level, mine laying speed and choice of Ascendancy). Note that for the boots only the enchant is important, you can play any other boots too. For the Watcher's Eye the important mod is the increased mana recovery rate while affected by Clarity. In my case I use the boot enchant and the Watcher's Eye and a rare amulet with master crafted increased mana regeneration rate. The boot enchant also helps alot with counteracting the self damage because it counts as a hit and activates the effect.
OTHER RECOMMENDED/IMPORTANT THINGS
Since the damage we deal to ourselves is a fixed amount, and our regeneration is apart from Stone Golem a percentage of our maximum energy shield, having more ES gives us more regeneration too. This means we want as much ES as possible on our gear. I recommend to get to atleast 6000 ES.
Since even our movement skill damages us, we cant rely on ES recharge. For that reason getting as much regen as possible is key to surviving. If you only get enough to counteract the 1408-2047 self damage you will be very vulnerable as soon as you take damage from any other source.
Because we need to deal at least 528 self damage per cast it is important that we not only manage our mana cost accordingly, but also avoid too much physical damage mitigation. This means that Armour and any other mitigation from gear and flasks should be avoided (Pantheons are mostly ok). If your mana cost is high enough you can have a small amount physical mitigation, for example from the Pantheon, to mitigate a little of the self damage.
We place 3 mines with each cast, which each spawn 3 volatiles. This means we have to create 9 corpses per cast. This is not possible to sustain because of the charge/cooldown mechanic from the Desecrate skill, unless you were to play a staff with a 5-link Cast when Damage Taken Unearth setup with an additional Volley Support gem. In that case we would have to sacrifice the shield slot which is in my opinion too valuable for defences. But that's up to you. For that same reason the Volatile Dead destroys up to 1 additional corpse helmet enchant is not a damage upgrade.
What items you should look for and my gear as an example.
HELMET & BODY ARMOUR
Core-uniques for the build, for further explanation see above (IMPORTANT BUILD MECHANICS).
The best offensive helmet enchant would be Desecrate summons 3 additional corpses, followed by 30% increased Desecrate Cooldown Recovery Speed because we can more easily sustain corpses when we spam.
Another good helmet enchant is 150% increased Effect of the Buff granted by your Stone Golems which gives us 200+ extra ES regeneration (increased by The Beast Fur Shawl).
Do not bother with the Volatile Dead destroys up to 1 additional corpse enchant as we do not generate enough corpses so it doesn't increase our damage.
WEAPON & SHIELD
A dagger with good increased critical strike chance for spells and increased spell damage is the best in slot. If you have the option get either a shaped dagger with additional damage penetrates X% elemental resistances, or a fossil crafted with damage penetrates X% fire resistances. Both are huge upgrades.
A cheap alternative is the Divinarius unique dagger.
For the shield you should prioritize a high amount of ES. If you don't need too many resistances on it, or can afford one with both, get some extra increased critical strike chance for spells and/or increased spell damage.
GLOVES & BOOTS
Since 3.6 Voidbringer with a minimal roll on increased mana cost of skills (40% if possible) are required in the following situations:
-If you play Shadow (Saboteur) on a 5- or 6-link.
-If you play Scion (Ascendant) on a 5-link.
If you play Scion (Ascendant) on a 6-link i would recommend you the following options.
Nothing special needed on the gloves. Just try to get a good amount of ES and the resistances you need. Since you need quite a bit of dexterity, thats also a good stat for the gloves.
If you don't need any resists or stats on your gloves, and can afford to lose some ES on the gloves you can go for Kalisa's Grace. While these don't have the highest ES, they give a flat 2% critical strike chance for 2 seconds when we spend a total of 800 mana. While spamming Volatile Dead it should have a 70-80% uptime depending on the mana cost.
For the boots I went for Sin Trek because they give alot of ES aswell as 30% movement speed and some dexterity. If you have problem capping your resistances you can go for rare boots instead.
I used a combination of the Mark of the Shaper unique ring and a rare elder ring. A rare elder ring with the stats you need might be hard to get and its not nessecary to play this combination, but I strongly recommend it if you can. If you choose to play rare rings, prioritize getting the resists and stats you need and some ES.
If you dont play Atziri's Foible (see above) this is your most variable item slot. If you need to get additional dexterity or strength you can get it on an amulet. If you don't need stats a marble amulet with as much ES as possible is probably the best. With delve fossil crafting you can get the increased energy shield from body armour mod which can give you over 70 flat ES.
A crystal belt with alot of es and the resistances you need is perfect. If you dont need any resistances on the belt you can go for a well rolled Bated Breath unique belt for even more ES.
Another good alternative is The Flow Untethered. It gives us damage through the Harbinger of time skill and the increased cooldown recovery rate, aswell as a good amount of energy shield recovery rate.
The most important mod on the Watcher's Eye is the increased mana recovery rate while affected by Clarity. This is incredibly helpful for sustaining mana. Additional good mods are:
-X% increased energy shield recovery rate while affected by Discipline
-X% of maximum energy shield regenerated per second while affected by Discipline
-Gain X% of maximum mana as extra maximum energy shield while affected by Clarity
-X% increased fire damage while affected by Anger
-X% to critical strike multiplier while affected by Anger
-Damage penetrates X% fire resistance while affected by Anger
Note: I am not sure if and how the X% of damage taken gained as mana over 4 seconds when hit while affected by Clarity stacks. If it doesn't it is too slow to replace the other clarity mod, if it does it is a good alternative.
The Pure Talent jewel helps with the mana regeneration when you connect to the Witch starting point, and gives good amount of critical strike chance when the Shadow starting point is connected.
An Energy from Within jewel in the jewel socket near the Melding Notable gives you the most energy shield. You can also go for a rare abyss jewel with ES and some damage or stats/resistances if you need.
For offensive flasks go for Atziri's Promise, Wise Oak and a Diamond flask. If you can't balance your resistances for the Wise Oak try to get fire resistance as the highest to get the penetration.
A sulphur flask creates consecrated ground which helps counteract the self damage so I use it whenever I start spamming and haven't stacked up the regeneration from the ascendancy yet.
On the non-unique flasks try to get bleed- and freeze-immunity as they can both be pretty deadly otherwise. A curse-immunity flask allows you to play any curse map mods.
In Betrayal League we can craft 3% of life regenerated during flask effect of our flasks. This makes for really strong Sulphur Flask that can be used for bosses and maps where we dont need the curse removal.
Avoid Basalt and Granite flasks, aswell as other flasks that give physical mitigation like Taste of Hate to not reduce your self damage to much!
ALTERNATIVES (ASCENDANT & LOW-LIFE)
I haven't played a low-life based version and I haven't tried Ascendant, but I know of some players that did and their versions performed really good aswell.
Since 3.6 i think Scion is a very strong choice for this build since we need to invest less in mana related stats and can invest more in damage or ES.
I will share my thoughts on low-life and Scion and add a sample build.
Note: this version also need Voidbringers as of 3.6!
For the (much more expensive) low-life version I would obviously swap The Beast Fur Shawl for a Shavronnes Wrapping and not skill CI. When we add Presence of Chayula we gain about 800-1200 ES compared to the CI version (optional, a good rare amulet works too but gives less ES). Also we are able to reserve auras with life and as a result skill the Pain Attunement keystone. This gives us a lot of extra damage.
Xanvast made a nice low-life version of this build and shared it:
I belive there is a life-based version of the build on the Scion forums.
I don't know exactly how it work, but i assume there is a signifcant difference to this build. I wouldn't recommend to build a life based character with this build, instead use the other one mentioned. If you want to try to make it work anyway here is how I think it might work.
Since the Shadow has not that many life nodes around it's starting area, the rather low amount of total life would make it hard to sustain the self inflicted damage. It might be possible to gain a decent amount of regeneration with the Vitality Aura and a Watcher's Eye with the increased life recovery rate while affected by Vitality mod.
Mind over Matter sadly is not an option, because it prevents us from doing enough damage to ourselves.
The Scion is a very viable option since we have to invest less in mana and can invest more in damage. Also you can utilise for example the Might of the Meek Jewel. But in turn we would sacrifice quite a bit of quality of life for mines.
The Gear is the same as before except that you can meet the mana cost requirements without Voidbringers if we play on a 6-link. For the Ascendancy we have multiple choices. We obviously have to take Sabouter and have the following options for the secondary:
-Occultist: This gives you quite a bit more survivability through regen, an extra curse and stun immunity.
-Elementalist/Inquisitor: Best options for pure damage
-Chieftain: Good in both aspects, gives us some life regen and some damage
This passive-tree would be my recommendation if you play with might of the meek, otherwise it's the same as the Saboteur tree. Passive-Tree
MAPPING & ENDGAME CONTENT
The map clear isn't the fastest out there but it's decent enough to feel good. The only map mod we cannot play at all is reduced/no energy shield and mana regeneration. Also a scary mod to look out for is players are cursed with Vulnerablity as it amplyfies our self damage.
Map bosses usually have no spawn animation/monologue like the Shaper but we can still stack damage before the fight. When you enter the boss arena you can start spawning Volatile Dead balls and then run further into the arena. When the boss activates all balls spawned before will target him at once.
For most endgame bosses we can stack some damage before the start fights. After that we have to be more careful as we don't have that many defenses apart from regen. This means that on the one hand we want to spam as much as possible to keep up the regeneration from the ascendancy, and on the other hand dodge any attack that gets thrown at us. This is especially difficult in the Uber Elder fight so I usually run around and place 1 mine and detonate it manually while avoiding the next attacks. This keeps up our regen and, while we do not do as much damage as we could, is alot safer.
Last edited by DerFun on Mar 22, 2019, 4:02:29 PM
Last bumped on Nov 19, 2019, 1:08:55 PM
on Sep 21, 2018, 12:01:01 PM
- Added Patchnotes Section
- Moved Alternatives Section and added Alternatives
- Added some Recommended items
- Added a Budget Ascendant option to the Alternatives
Last edited by DerFun on Dec 25, 2018, 6:20:07 PM
on Sep 21, 2018, 12:15:37 PM
Certified #NICEBUILD :)
on Sep 21, 2018, 12:43:41 PM
I think adding a new and original twist to Scold's Bridle mechanics worked out really well for you. Very interesting and unique build idea. Looking forward to try this myself someday!
on Sep 21, 2018, 1:10:32 PM
the best build, as i thik. but 6l ummmmmmmm. cant try w/out much ex spend
on Sep 23, 2018, 1:28:58 PM
Completely agree with this, first time I've really enjoyed using scold's, and I got a green shiny one with max rolls :D
Having a ton of fun with the build, and not having to detonate my own mines makes the game play for a miner 100x smoother, thanks a ton @DerFun
on Sep 23, 2018, 7:55:55 PM
so ive tried to do this build, spent waaayyy too much sadly, and i cant seem to make it work properly, my gear is similar not 100% the same but i either cant make enough volatile dead like you or i regen/get life way to slow and i die fast... watched the vids n what not and saw your uber atziri and i tried normal atziri(ive done on 2-3 diff builds now successfully 0-1 deaths) yet i got to the second boss and failed horribly... not sure 100% why... can check my characters(borkborkins) for tree and gear, ill try to link it here if i figure out how...
not same amulet just couldnt find any worth grabbing, ive been mostly lvlving gems at blood aquaduct to get the lvls up for bosses
on Sep 23, 2018, 8:20:37 PM
Well I can tell you that it would help tremendously if your Unearth was it the correct socket and gaining those additional 6 projectiles...
on Sep 23, 2018, 8:54:34 PM
Last edited by 9876 on Sep 23, 2018, 9:12:55 PM
on Sep 23, 2018, 8:57:48 PM
ok i fixed that but testing in hideout, and i still cant sustain mana+es at all, i dont get es til my mana is out, not sure if it changes in combat
on Sep 23, 2018, 9:12:40 PM