[3.9] Self-cast Detonate Dead |all content, Shaper, Uber Down | 12-17mill DPS minmaxed | Very Tanky

3.9 Detonate Dead [Self-cast, Indigon shenanigans]

3.9 UPDATE: Not much has changed, except that indigon is much more expensive to get. The core build (w/o Indigon) still works, where you should allocate fire damage nodes instead of mana nodes, depending on how defensive you want to be with MoM.

I didn’t league start it since I wanted to play with bows a bit, but I’ll follow up on any questions as best I can. I’ll most likely get around to building this again in metamorph, after I get a ton of currency.

Blowing up stuff is fun. Blowing up enemies is funner. Blowing up enemies’ corpses is funnest.
DD is incredibly satisfying to play, while being a bit more mechanically engaging than most other builds.

This build is the result of the new Necro ascendancy in 3.8, taking full advantage of each of the corpse points.

In fact, we abuse several really cool combos and mechanics to obtain insane damage with insane survivability.


Atlas completed (except HoGM)
Red Elder down
Shaper down
Uber Elder down

Shaper: https://youtu.be/HeCbLuev2Gc
T16 Haunted Mansion: https://youtu.be/0H-2ydjHhT4

Quick Notes

+ Great bossing
+ Great clear
+ Great survivability: 8k+ eHP with MoM, 75/57 block, 4k mana/sec (with flask, see below), 1600 life/sec (with flask, see below) (more if you get fire leech on gear, which is pricey), chilled enemies
+ Incredible for Blighted Maps and Delve
+ I league started this. It looks pricey, but you can start it on a budget, get through yellows with mostly rares, and work up your upgrades. Each upgrade feels very impactful.

+ Can breeze through no mana/life regen maps
- No ele reflect
- Until you obtain sufficient Mana and Mana regen, Indigon + MoM feels a bit clunky
- Filling out resistances and Dex is annoying when minmaxing
- Legions feel awful due to lag and lack of corpses
- Takes some getting used to, especially for dosing your spell casts in order to not overcharge your mana cost

Path Of Building

Two trees are present, one with and one without Unnatural Instinct. When leveling/saving up exalts, save Aqueous Accelerant area for last as it's the least efficient per point until you can get an Unnatural Instinct in the slot (Note: Unnatural Instinct is a luxury item and by no means necessary for this build to function in red maps)

I had to add in a lot of stuff manually, that were missing from my PoB (list is available in PoB notes).

12 million dps is a bit overkill and you can get by with less expensive gear. All the gear in the PoB is what my character is currently wearing.

I needed create an excel sheet to calculate my real dps (taking indigon, corpse pact, mana regen, needing to desecrate, etc. all into account) and DPS peaks at around 17 mill (after roughly 6 seconds) before averaging out at 12 mill.

Ascendancy, Bandits, Pantheon

Normal: Plaguebringer
Cruel: Corpse Pact
Merciless: Essence Glutton
Uber: Mistress of Sacrifice

Bandits: Kill all

Pantheon: Brine King + Gruthkul (Minor can be whatever you like)

Gem Setup

Unless otherwise mentioned, all skill gems are max leveled.

Detonate Dead

Vaal Detonate Dead + Spell Echo + Spell Cascade + Intensify (Concentrated Effect) + Controlled Destruction + Combustion

Lets you theoretically detonate up to 12 corpses with Pledge’s Greater Spell Echo. I say theoretically as realistically, it’s not the case. Not only are we capped to 10 from desecrate when bossing, but Pledge, though generally fantastic, poses what I call the “aoe problem”. What happens is that the aoe radius for spell cascade gets so large after the 1st/2nd echo that only the center cascade will be able to find a desecrated corpse, resulting in only 7-8 corpses being detonated. This isn’t a problem (quite the contrary actually) when clearing, but to counteract it for bossing we run intensify (for maps) and concentrated effect (for shaper/uber elder/whatever), reducing our aoe enough to get all 10 detonations in.
Vaal Detonate Dead is the nuke button.


Desecrate + Faster Casting + Spell Cascade + Arcane Surge

Spawn 10 corpses with cascade. Arcane Surge is max level since indigon will keep the mana cost high enough to have constant uptime on the buff.


Herald of Ash, Precision (lvl 1) , Vaal Clarity (lvl 1)

Herald of Ash, especially with the Circle of Anguish ring, gives us the most damage and clear for the least mana reservation. Precision gives us some minimal crit to work with for triggering and maintaining Elemental Overload. Clarity lets us have the OP Watcher’s Eye mods.
Vaal Clarity itself is your reload button: if your mana cost gets too high yet you still need to cast (during Blights for example), activate it to not only be able to spam high powered DDs, but also reset your Indigon level once its duration elapses.

Offensive Setup

Cast when Damage Taken (lvl 1) + Wave of Conviction (lvl 7) + Curse on Hit + Flammability

With a low level CwDT, Wave of Conviction procs often enough to keep Fire Exposure up on everything near you. We use a Curse on Hit in order to be able to use a high level Flammability, which will also be up along with the exposure. If you have an extra link (if you’re not running Righteous Fire for example), you can put in a Blind support in this setup for some extra defensive layers.

Righteous Fire

If you’ve got the Agnostic and sufficient mana regen, you can slot in a Righteous Fire for a juicy 40% more multiplier on DD.

Defensive Setup

Cast when Damage Taken + Steelskin + Bone Offering + Increased Duration
Self-explanatory. The inc. dur. Gem can be swapped out for an Unearth or Desecrate for Bone Offering (make sure it’s placed before the offering in the link order so that it triggers first), though I feel this isn’t necessary since it’s highly unlikely you don’t have corpses out already when it triggers. You can consider self-casting Bone Offering, or even Steelskin, if you want it to be more reliable.



Really good QoL for clearing and very nice DPS. You would need an absurdly expensive perfectly crafted rare staff to match this.


Indigon eliminates the clunkiness of having two buttons to self-cast. It lets you “trade” cast speed in for increased damage, and so each button press becomes more valuable. This also means you need to properly aim your Desecrates so that every cast counts.
Defensively, Indigon lets your mana flask also count as a life flask. With the new Enduring Mana Flasks, this results in a persistant overleech-esque effect.


Best bang for your buck, offers a stronger MoM and some very nice mana and % mana regeneration


Try to find a shaper belt with increased mana recovery rate, it makes a huge difference as its multiplicative on all sources of mana regeneration. Then focus on getting life and resistances.


Fill out life, resistances, dex (if needed), and movement speed as a luxury. For the enchant, 70% increased mana regeneration if you’ve cast a spell can’t be beat.


Same as boots. If you’ve got good gear in other slots, you can try to get a temple crafted one that adds fire damage vs burning foes for a considerable damage boost.


A very nice, but expensive amulet providing us with life and damage. This can be replaced by a rare amulet with the following stats, in order of priority:
-Resistances (if missing on other gear)
-Dex/Strength (if missing on other gear)
-Fire damage leeched as life
-Mana regeneration

Circle of Anguish for minimal mana reservation from HoA. You want a version with buff effect and reduced mana reservation. If you can’t get this, an alternative would be an Essence Worm with Anger instead of Herald of Ash socketed in.

Nothing special for the other ring, use it to cap resistances, dex, etc.


Suffix here can be anything you like, I prefer move speed but an argument can be made for cast speed, curse/freeze immunity, life regen, or even stun avoidance. This flask provides a ton of extra mana regen, and isn’t wasted by spamming as it will automatically refresh (see videos). Finally, it removes elemental ailments thanks to Essence Extraction on the passive tree.

The mana and life on kill gives you a more comfortable mapping experience, and the increased damage is nothing to scoff at.

Cap out attack block and get some extra spell block. Pretty self-evident here

For the other flasks, take whatever you want, I recommend Basalt/Quartz + Quicksilver. Quicksilver can be swapped out for a Wise Oak for extra damage when bossing.


Abyssal jewels with Life, Mana, Fire Penetration and/or flat Fire Damage. Phasing is a nice QoL to put on as well

Intuitive leap is great to save us a lot of pathing nodes north of Witch, in particular the 10% chance to gain frenzy/power charge when you block an attack/spell, which gives us a source of frenzy generation.

A clarity watcher’s eye is BiS, with, in order of priority:
-% increased Mana Recovery Rate while affected by Clarity
-% chance to Recover 10% of Mana when you use a Skill while affected by Clarity
-% of Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit while affected by Clarity

If you’ve got the cash, Unnatural Instinct has a great spot right of Witch to let us have charges on kill, mana, and some extra increased life.

Finally, putting in a Militant Faith, dedicated to Venarius, preferably with % increased effect of non-damaging ailments per 10 devotion, gives us a great survivability boost, letting you trade some mana regeneration for insane life regen when needed. This lets us comfortably sustain Righteous Fire for a nice 40% more Spell Damage boost.


[To be developed]
When leveling, and until you get your Pledge, replace spell echo with unleash. Don’t bother using DD until you get Desecrate unless you’re a masochist (Unearth feels really bad). Get a weapon(s) with +level to all fire skills, it will carry you pretty far.


Isn’t VD better?
Probably. I think it looks stupid so it loses simply on cool factor. Plus VD's been rehashed thousands of times.

Isn’t self cast clunky? Why not triggered?
No more clunky than ice nova, mines, or essence drain. If you want triggers you can look up the dozens of already existing Poets Pens and CwDT builds.

Why not spell totem support on Desecrate?
Unfortunately, the corpses spawned by totems do not chill and shock, and don’t have added life from Corpse Pact.

Last edited by cbasz on Dec 30, 2019, 9:02:42 AM
Last bumped on Jun 19, 2020, 10:21:23 AM
Looks very nice. I'll give a try. Ty.
Last edited by Cubinho1 on Oct 7, 2019, 11:28:21 PM
Cubinho1 wrote:
Looks very nice. I'll give a try. Ty.

Thanks, really happy to see others taking an interest in DD :)
I don't check my posts. Once I post 'em, they're staying as-is. Best way to contact me is through the PM system.

bvanharjr wrote:

It’s my first build on the forum, so aside from the leveling section and perhaps a mid- budget version (which I will get around to as soon as I find time), I’d love to get your constructive feedback on what’s missing :)
Last edited by cbasz on Oct 10, 2019, 10:54:31 PM
Going with your build this league. Nice write up
Want to play this in the next league in December, do you know if it will work with POE2?
IGN :Rippones
Having played arc for many years looking for another build.

Even after playing PoE for many years I really don`t understand much of the mechanics of this game. Things rarely do what their name implies it should.

In order for Detonate Dead dead to work the name would imply that you need to kill something first. Is this the case? And if so how do you kill them? If not how does it work?

How does Detonate Dead work against a solo boss if there is nothing else there to detonate?

Also why do you have a spell echo gem in a staff that has lvl30 spell echo?

Sorry for probably silly questions but as I said I really don`t understand the mechanics.
mikemann90 wrote:
Want to play this in the next league in December, do you know if it will work with POE2?

POE2 I have no idea since that’s super far ahead and everything is changing. It’s looking good for 3.9 (next league) though, in particular with spell cascade plus (5 detonations per cast that all overlap) which gives us a potentially much better alternative to Pledge of Hands. Indigon will be much harder to obtain though, but I’m looking into the new Manastorm shield which could let us build the character a bit differently. I’ll definitely try to update the guide for 3.9 !

AnyNick wrote:
Having played arc for many years looking for another build.

Even after playing PoE for many years I really don`t understand much of the mechanics of this game. Things rarely do what their name implies it should.

In order for Detonate Dead dead to work the name would imply that you need to kill something first. Is this the case? And if so how do you kill them? If not how does it work?

How does Detonate Dead work against a solo boss if there is nothing else there to detonate?

Also why do you have a spell echo gem in a staff that has lvl30 spell echo?

Sorry for probably silly questions but as I said I really don`t understand the mechanics.

No worries, no such thing as silly questions. I’ll warn you though that this build uses many different (and niche) mechanics that work well together, it’s definitely not an easy build to understand.

Yes. you need a corpse, though you’ll notice that we have “Desecrate” slotted in which generate corpses for us. Traditionally people automate the corpse generation but it’s self cast in this build, so for bossing you’ll be using two spells consecutively: Desecrate, then Detonate Dead. You do the same on packs, though you don’t have to desecrate as often as you can also use the recently killed corpses.

In Pledge of Hands, skills are supported by Greater Spell Echo, which is a completely different support than Spell Echo. Greater repeats an extra 2 times. It comboes nicely with the normal Spell Echo as GSE’s bonuses per repeat counts with spell echo’s repeat. I hope that makes sense? Otherwise it’s nicely detailed in Greater Spell Echo’s wiki page. Do note that I’m considering changing Pledge of Hands to something else in 3.9, as we get some juicy new stuff to play with (like manastorm shield and spell cascade plus). I’ll update the guide when I figure out the best way to go with it!
Thanks for the reply I understand now.

Af4er the simplicity of arc not sure how well I would get on having to use 2 spells.

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