[3.9]Semi-Auto Self-Cast Volatile Dead, Tanky, Easy Awakener lvl8.

For any questions regarding this build, please use this thread. If you see any mistake in the guide, please notify me about it. Also if you have any suggestions for improvement, feel free to post them here.


1. Intro
2. Pros/Cons
3. Videos
4. Mechanics
5. Gear + Gems
6. Passives
7. Leveling process
8. Possible upgrades.

1. Intro

I bring to you, dear non meta players, another quality and fun build.

I started this build with an intention to use Poet's Pen all the way through. To try an relive, at least somewhat, the glory days of Zerphi's PP. But since 3.9 update my PC can't handle VD + Cascade and Desecrate + Cascade spam, when i really need it. Slide shows when metamorphs spawn mobs with allies can not die aura or proximity shields, opening legion and similar. So i decided to refurbish that build into this one. If you are interested in PP build, you can find it here.

This is very synergistic build, which requires quite a bit of specific items and tree progression. But will reward you for sticking with it till endgame.

2. Pros/Cons

- tanky. Can face tank at least 95% of the game with ease.
- good clear.
- uses a lot of synergies

- to feel good, needs significant tree progression and with it higher level (at least 80)
- strong gear requirements. Not SSF friendly.
- without Corpse Pact rolling, roots the character in place for at least 1.3 sec, when VD is used.
- boss dps is not top tier

3. Videos

4. Mechanics

Both videos (Shaper and Awakener) highlight the tankieness of the build.

- 63% Dodge, 50% Spell Dodge, 31% Block, 23% Spell Block
- A LOT of regen
- some evasion
- Good HP pool through MoM, 8-9k, 50% MoM (if i could get more MoM, i totally would)

Main defensive mechanic is the High Templar Venarius Militant Faith Timeless Jewel. This jewel transforms any Keystone in range into Agnostic (in this build Elemental Equilibrium). It does: "While not on Full Life, Sacrifice 20% of Mana per Second to Recover that much Life". Buy stacking mana, this build gets quite a bit of life regen. 50% of damage is transferred to mana. High mana regen + mana flask recover lost mana very fast. Life usually gets recovered so fast, that no life flask is needed.

Mana regen comes from a lot of sources, this is main cause for gear and tree requirements.


I chose to use Volatile Dead as my main damage skill, because it is good with out full dps investment and synergies very good with necromancer ascendancy by constantly consuming corpses.

By utilizing Scold's Bridle everything else is automated. Only at start of the fight 1 cast of Desecrate is needed. Most of the time VD balls from 1 pack will travel to the next and kill it and this dead pack can be used to summon more balls for the next pack and so on.

This build could probably be done with other spells also, but how effective, i can not tell.

5. Gear + Gems

Necessary Gear

This staff gives very good mana boost, while providing good damage as well.

Great mana and mana regen boost, extra 10% MoM, saves 1 point on the tree by not needing to allocate MoM keystone.

Automates most of the stuff. Makes play self cast VD actually nice.

Huge mana boost. Budget anoint is Dreamer notable.

Increased mana recovery is the important mod here. Flask recovery rate is not needed.

Enduring prefix is the important part. Suffix can be something else.

Clarity jewel with extra MoM.

Damage rolls or resist are a nice bonus. Need to be careful with those jewels, they can transform important Notables into something useless. But also may transform not used Notables into something very nice. Best slot for it is between Witch and Templar, right under MoM. Alternatively scion start slot can be used, i use it myself, since this jewel i have bricks Essence Extraction for me.

Great Gear to have

20% Dodge and Spell Dodge is amazing. Permanent Onslaught is very nice too.

Socketed in Ranger area, this jewel provides nice mana boost and 10% movement speed for extra mobility.

Current Gear

Swap in for ele reflect maps, if i really need to run them. Also need to allocate MoM on tree for that.

Awakener flasks.

Gems(links in order of importance):

Volatile Dead - Spell Echo - Arcane Surge - Concentrated Effect Elemental Focus - Fire Penetration

CwDT lvl 20 - Bone Offering - Curse of choice(Flammability, Elemental Weakness(if playing with poeple who use other elements), Enfeeble)

CwDT lvl 1 - Unearth max lvl 8 - Greater Multiple Projectiles - Greater Volley

CwDT lvl 1 - Desecrate max lvl 7 - Wave of Conviction max lvl 7 - Combustion

Leap Slam - Faster Attacks - Fortify

Clarity, Vaal Righteous Fire, Desecrate, Herald of Ash.

Optionally Aspect of the Spider from gear. If it is used, Clarity should be lvl 1 extra HP pool is more important, then gained mana regen.

6. Passives

PoB - https://pastebin.com/Cjzg10fZ
PoB minimum base tree - https://pastebin.com/XMazHVLe

Ascendancy in order of progression
Plague Binder -> Corpse Pact -> Essence Glutton -> Mistress of Sacrifice(alternatively Commander of Darkness).

Bdandits: Help Kraityn. Alternatively kill all.

- Major: Solaris, 2nd upgrade, Capture Eater of Souls, very important.
- Minor: Shakari, can be swapped for anything else, accept Ryslatha.

7. Leveling process

Disclaimer: This is just a suggestion.

Tree Progression:
1. Straight to Elemental Overload.

2. Quick Recovery.

3. Straight to Heart of Flame.

4. Straight to Phase Acrobatics.

5. Fill up necessary life and mana nodes as shown in base PoB

6. Fill up rest of the nodes.

Progression in PoB - https://pastebin.com/qMKVgjVH

Gear and Gems:

Acquire 2 Pot's Pen wands.

Till lvl 12 anything goes to kill mobs.

At lvl 10
Clarity(if no -mana cost items avalible)
Flame Dash - Arcane Surge

At lvl 12
Poet's Pen:
Wand 1: Unearth - LMP - Combustion
Wand 2: Volatile Dead - Added lighting - Combustion

At lvl 16
Barrage replaced by Frenzy
Herald of Ash
Wand 1: Desecrate - Spell Cascade
Wand 2: Volatile Dead - Spell Cascade - Combustion

At lvl 18
Wand 2: Volatile Dead - Spell Cascade - Concentrated Effect
Frenzy - Faster Attacks - Combustion - Culling Strike

At lvl 24

At lvl 68
Can swap to staff.

8. Possible upgrades.

The list is in order of Magnitude of upgrades.

1. Volatile Dead consumes up to 1 additional corpse helm enchantment. Huge DPS boost of 33% more. It ss very expensive. My enchant is 2nd best for DPS and gives only about 4.5% more DPS. Herald of Ash has reduced mana reservation is a good defensive enchant, if Aspect of the Spider is used. Can utilize full 50% MoM and have Clarity higher level.

2. A Agnostic jewel with 2 damage or 1 damage 1 resist mods, which doesn't brink any notables around the socket between witch and templar.

3. Replace Ruby Ring with Opal Ring, similar to what i have already. Requires resists from jewels, tree, and/or respec from Mistress of Sacrifice to Commander of Darkness.

3. Doeuble/Tripple Clarity Watcher's Eye for even more mana regen.

4. Flat cold damage when hit or ele pen if didn't killed recently boot enchant form eternal labyrinth.

5. Awakened Spell Echo, slight DPS boost. Not worth buying.
Last bumped on Jan 17, 2020, 5:45:26 AM
this build looks tanky from the videos. I was wonder why are you not using spell cascade support on volatile dead and desecrate.

I kinda want to try this build but have a important question. have you ever tried using Doedre's Malevolence glove and use cyclone + cast while channeling in your volatile dead link. I want to know if your mana regent will be about to sustain that setup.
xjia0012 wrote:
this build looks tanky from the videos. I was wonder why are you not using spell cascade support on volatile dead and desecrate.

I kinda want to try this build but have a important question. have you ever tried using Doedre's Malevolence glove and use cyclone + cast while channeling in your volatile dead link. I want to know if your mana regent will be about to sustain that setup.

Because you can not produce enough corpses per cast to have cascade running with pledge of hands. With this setup i need at least 12 corpses per cast, with cascade i would need 36 corpses.

I did not tried that setup.

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