[3.11] Decaf's Brand Detonate Dead Necromancer (SSF HC viable)

Welcome to this build guide, the general idea of this build is using Detonate Dead (DD) as the primary offense attached to arcanist brand support to proc. Arcanist brand support is the new support gem introduced in 3.11 that can support a trigerable skill. In this case, Detonate Dead
The current meta uses spellslinger to proc both desecrate and DD, however we use brands to automatically proc DD and self cast desecrate. This is the upgraded DD build to enable auto targeting like VD does. Defensive wise, this build abuses the Eternal Youth, Supreme Ego, Mortal Conviction, and Discipline. This gives us a lot of regen and deent ES pool to add our eHP pool. In general, this build has a good clear speed and very tanky.
This build is perfect for league starter since there are no major investment needed to get to mapping. A scaled DD/VD has enough damage through act 1- act 10. And most of our gear investment will go to the bulk of this build.

3.11 Patch Notes Remarks
-Unwavering stance is moved, so inaccesible to us, however the crab pantheon will help with stun
-Brand rework in general makes this build feels more clunky, however it now has more control on the targets
-addition of Undertaker notable for additional damage when using corpse boosts our DPS

Pros & Con

- very tanky
- cheap gear
- not a lag build
- can do all content (including reflect and no regen)

-might be clunky to play self cast and brand
-cant push end game bosses (Uber elder, Uber atziri, etc)

Build Mechanics
Offensive Mechanics

Offense is straight forward, we used DD as our primary skill and desecrate to provide us with corpses. DD will be attached to the new brand support, while we self cast desecrate. Fighting against mobs shouldn't need repeated cast of Desecrate since the dead mob due to DD could be use to damage the other mobs.
Other gem setup that is used to boost our damage is:

1. raise specter --> gives you a pool of specter minions that has a higher base health than the avg mobs in the map
2.Orb of storm in Malachai's artifice will be useful to proc elemental equilibrium. This will lower the enemy's fire resistant by 50%
3.Waves of conviction + Combustion, with this combination we will give enemies fire exposure which lower their fire res by addition 25% from exposure + addition 20% from combustion support if our waves of conviction burn the enemy.
note : DD can't burn the enemy since we use elemental focus, however we socketed immolate on DD relying on the burn from wave of conviction.
4.From the Necromancer Ascendancy we got Plague Bringer, which gives us dmg by perma shocking enemies and additional corpse life.
Defensive Mechanics

This build will stack a lot of health, ES, Block, and Armour. this will give us a substantial amount of eHP and damage mitigation.

1.With an average budget gear we could easily reach 5k hp and 2k Eshield
2.One aura is used in this build, which is Vaal Discipline. Vaal Discipline will be buffed by the Supreme Ego keystone. this contributes to the high ES pool.
3.This build uses Blood magic, however no mana reservation for discipline since we use Mortal Conviction Keystone

4. Max block chance is easily obtainable with about 50% spell block chance. This comes from having to use shield, our skill tree, tempest shield, flask, and bone offering
5. Armour plays a important roll in this build, we can reach about 8k Armour which gives as around 25% phys dmg mitigation.
6. Continuing on armor, we use vaal molten shell on CWDT to gives us more bulk, with that amount of Armour we can easily get around 2k molten shell shield.
7. Fortify is accessible by using shield charge.
8.on end game, we could generate endurance charge either by kill (Red nightmare jewel) or by being hit (inexorable notable)
9.Necromancer ascendancy will give us chills to nearby enemy, resistances, and dmg reduction
10. Vaal Summon Skeleton with meat shield will be used to taunt enemies and generate more corpses

11.The eternal youth keystone will convert our Eshield recharge to life regen. since we are aiming to have at least 2k Eshield, we will have around 600 life recharge.
12. by allocating Heart of flame, we will get Eshield leech. This is the primary way we will recharge our Eshield.

Kill all bandits to get 2 passive points

Major: Stun mitigation
Minor: I personally prefer poison immunity

Passive Skill Tree & POB
Skill tree preview can be seen in the leveling section

go for Necromancer
I recommend using this order:
1.Commander of Darkness
3.Corpse Pact
4.Mistress of Sacrifice

In general, any life, ES, and Armour can be useful in this build. Prioritize getting life > ES > Armour. Make sure that your resistance is capped. With shield like aegis aurora, it'll make your capped resistance to 81%.
As for offensive stats, there are some crafts that lets you penetrates or reduce enemy resistance or you can find mods that increase fire, ele, or area damage to scale the corpse explosion better. There are no required uniques, however here are some uniques that can help
Gear Overview
Will Update

Usefull Uniques
Shield : Aegis Aurora, The surrender
Boots : Kaom's Root
Jewelery: Head Hunter, Malachai Artifice, Circle of Anguish*
Flask : Rumi's Concotion, Cinder Swallow, Wise Oak
Jewel : Might of the meek, Red nightmare

Detailed Gear
DD/ VD corpse explosion dmg scales out of Area dmg, fire dmg, and corpse life. So we need a rare wand that gives us a lot of ele dmg, fire dmg, and area dmg. However, it is better to find rare weapon with "trigger socketed spell" to enable constant burns with wave of conviction and flammability.
-Gain #% of Fire Damage as Extra Chaos Damage (Shaper)
-Damage Penetrates #% Elemental Resistances (Shaper, Hunter, Fossil, Jun)
-Damage Penetrates #% Fire Resistance ( Warlord, Fossil)
-#% increased Area Damage, Socketed Gems are Supported by Level # Increased Area of Effect (Elder)
-Trigger a Socketed Spell when you Use a Skill

Best in slot for shield is Aegis aurora, since it gives use ele dmg, Armour and e shield. Additional benefits including max cold res.
The surrender is also a solid choice since it will gives us a lot of Armour.
If both unique options are hard to get, any rare shield that gives eshield and Armour with high life and res can be used
-#% to maximum Cold Resistance (Shaper, Elder, Guardians) (Or any other Elements)
-#% increased maximum Life (Elder, Hunter)
-#% increased Damage per #% Chance to Block Attack Damage(Elder)
-Gain #% of Fire Damage as Extra Chaos Damage (Jun) (Or any other Elements)

Good helmet Enchants : #% Increased Detonate Dead Damage, Detonate Dead has a #% chance to detonate an additional corpse, #% increased Flammability curse effect
High life, with high elemental resist. Any ES or Armour is also useful. Craft for "Nearby enemies has -#% fire resistance" is also good.
-#% increased Elemental Damage (Warlords)
-Nearby Enemies have #% to Fire Resistance (Warlords, Fossil)

Body Armour

High life, with high elemental resist. Any ES or Armour is also useful. Craft for "life as maximum ES to maximize" the value of the eternal youth keystone. Bases like astral plate/ vaal regalia is recommended.
-#% increased maximum Life (Elder, Hunter)
-# to Level of Socketed Support Gems(Redeemer)
-+1 to maximum number of Specters (Fossil)
-Gain #% of Maximum Life as Extra Maximum Energy Shield (Jun)

Similar to the other gear, high life, with high elemental resist. Any ES or Armour is also useful.
-#% to maximum Cold Resistance (Shaper, Elder & Guardians)( Or any other elements)
-Culling Strike(Warlord)
-#% increased Elemental Damage if you've dealt a Critical Strike Recently
#% increased Global Critical Strike Chance(Jun)


Similar to the other gear, high life, with high elemental resist. Any ES or Armour is also useful. Find any boots with movement speed since we don't have any movement speed modifiers.
If you need more life, the minion 4 links (spectres and skeletons) can be traded for the kaom's root. which will free our flask slot from anti freeze flask
-#% chance to gain Elusive on Critical Strike (Redeemer)
-Cannot be Frozen (Jun)
-You have Tailwind if you have dealt a Critical Strike Recently


This build will be lacking DEX, so a high DEX amulet is needed. If DEX is still not enough, try to find other gear with dex or allocate some +30 Dex in your skill tree. Other mods you should be aiming for is Life, spell dmg, and fire res pen.
Allocate "Heart of Flames" to increase dmg and gain energy shield leech from DD
-Damage Penetrates #% Elemental Resistances (Shaper, Hunter)
-Damage Penetrates #% Fire Resistance(Warlord)
-#% increased Fire Damage(Fossil)
-#% chance when Hit for double Armour effect (Fossil)
-#% increased Fire Damage (Jun)


On one slot, Malachai Artifice is a good offensive ring, since it will provide us with access to Elemental Equilibrium. Elemental Equilibrium will be proc by Orb of Storm, make sure there are no flat global flat fire dmg to spell in other gears for this to work.
For the other slot, Any rings with good life and resist roll is good.
-#% increased Armour (Warlord)


For budget option, leather belt with a life and resist roll is sufficient, you can upgrade to a stygian vyse and slot it with good jewels that can give onslaught or ele pen. With more investment, you can slot in Head hunter. Since it will give use dex, this will give us more flexibility tot he amulet slot.
-#% increased Elemental Damage (Shaper)
-#% increased maximum Life (Elder, Hunter)
-#% chance when Hit for double Armour effect(Elder)
-#% increased Fire Damage(Warlord)

2x might of the meek will be placed near the scion starting location. Do not take the jewel socket if you don't have might of the meek. the socket near the life regen can boost both ES and Life. Watcher's Eye with the ES on hit mod can be used but not mandatory in this build.
Red nightmare can be placed on the left side of the tree for bonus block chance and endurance charge on kill.
For Rare jewel, search for life, fire damage, ele damage, and area damage. If you are using Malachai Artifice, don't equip any flat fire damage since it will mess with the elemental equilibrium.

Cluster jewels
This build does not need any cluster jewel to function, and was made without cluster jewels in mind. however cluster jewel can be acessed by pathing towards the top side from Elemental Overload. Primarily, Cluster Jewel will help in gaining more offensive stats.


The Wise Oak : Gives Ele dmg pen when uncapped fire res is highest
Rumi's Concotion : To max out Block and additional Armour
Cinderswallow : Gives life when ignited enemy killed and gives movement speed
Rare Instant anti freeze divine flask
Any other rare utility flask of with anti bleed. Dont pick jade/stibnite since we cant evade attack. I personally prefer Basalt or Quicksilver.

The leveling guide will consist of 2 parts, and aimed at players that have experience in playing path of exile. the first part is the skill tree progression and the second is compiled videos of leveling tips.
Skill Tree Priority
General pathing idea

Red colored arrow is the main passive for the build to run
1. grab Heart and should then EleOverload
2.path towards Templar tree and get more life
3. I assume that DD setup is complete so take undertaker for more damage
4. Grab the scion life
5. grab more damage by Templar side (Spiritual Aid)
6.Finish up by grabbing life& Armour nodes on the marauder side

Grab light blue nodes when switching to brands

White arrows are allocated when build is ready to transition to eternal youth + ES setup
1.Grab eternal youth + supreme ego
2.blood magic + mortal conviction should be taken at the same time with supreme ego.
3 & 4 is supplemental eShield

grab green nodes when you have might of the meek to put in the socket
General leveling
There are two ways to level this build.Since this is a hybrid of DD and brand we can level with either two arche-type. However, I recommend using the spellslinger leveling guide since it is very powerful and easily convert able to our end game build. but keep in mind that when using spellslinger we wouldn't be able to use Discipline combo for the defensive capability.
Here is a video made by Zizaran on leveling a VD spellslinger build from start to act 8 :
the video is well made and very detailed, i recommend to watch the video before league start so you'll get a general idea to level the build.
Last edited by Decafcoffe on Jun 17, 2020, 9:05:52 AM
Last bumped on Jun 18, 2020, 2:33:35 AM
Hello !

I'm planning on something very similar, but i haven't chosen yet how to generate corpses. With the cast speed (and therefore the tickrate) of the brands we get through Corpse Pact, I fear that casting manually desecrate won't be sufficient.

I thought maybe linking them both to arcanist brand, or making another arcanist brand set up with desecrate would add a lot of QoL and Damage ? (Maybe we could try to buff the brand duration as high as possible etc.)

There is also the new Holy Conquest cluster node that is "spreading" your brands, and therefore your corpse generations. So less maintenance "needed".

What do you think of all this ?
I am pondering the same thing. I'm not sure, if it is possible to provide enough corpses for matching the brand's cast speed. Boss fights will become very difficult, I think. Only few corpses and most likely little time to cast desecrate while trying to avoid being hit by the boss. Even if it is possible, is this fun to play?

Adding desecrate to the brand spell chain will cut the explosion rate in half. In addition you loose one gem slot for adding damage. You will gain more corpses with higher life and shock effect on monsters more often, if you skill Corpse Pact.
Here the very rough calculation:

Self cast desecrate
Damage: 100 *
Cast rate: 1 *
Additional damage support gem: 1.5 *
Efficiency in boss fight: 1
= 150

Desecrate in brand spell link chain
Damage: (100 + 50 more health of corpse)*
Cast rate: 0.5 *
Efficiency in boss fight: 2 or higher
= 150 at least

So I think, placing the desecrate in the band link chain will have a similar or higher DPS output in boss fights, which only really matters in my opinion.

What do you think?

Last edited by Susram on Jun 17, 2020, 8:45:28 AM
ssf wanna tryyy
Considering something like this but going a bit differently on the self cast desecrate...

Atm I'm considering a totem doing desecrate:
spell totem + multiple totems + desecrate + faster casting will give you close to 2 casts per second, which means with 2 totems (+2 from mult. totems -1 from runebinder) you will get quite nice corpse spawning while allowing you to run around on bosses

Still worried about the clunkiness of the build though...
As i was making this build, i know self casting would feel clunky and i do take cast speed into account. I was making this towards a clear build so i was thought corpse generation wouldn't be a problem (desecrate kills a pack then corpse can be use), unless you are fighting end game bosses, which requires a constant generation of corpses. However, i read all your comments and decided to delve further into tackling the issue.

so here is what I found:
1. brands has a base activation speed and is affected by cast speed. (looking at current brands) so assuming that base cast speed of desecrate and brands are similar (have not found base cast speed for desecrate). Brand activation and self casting should have a 1 to 1 ratio. So with brands active + constant self casting desecrate we shouldn't have any issues with corpse generation. If desecrate casting limits our dmg, you can add faster spell cast to enable more corpse generate in comparison to corpse used.

2. one cast of DD would consume 1 corpse, in comparison to VD which consumes 3 corpse each cast. This would help us maintain corpses on the ground so we don't have to cast as often since one cast of Desecrate + spell cascade would give us 10 corpses, 2 activation rotation for 4 brands (currently max number of brand in the build). So this gives us a ratio of 2 brand activation to 1 desecrate spell cast.

3.Regarding using triggers to cast desecrate, i was gonna experiment on the league run. I do feel attaching desecrate on totems or arcanist brand could could improve on the enjoyability of the set up (I like the idea btw). Note that, the 4 links that includes vaal summon skeleton can be change, and can be used to experiment on this topic. If you decided to use totems or brands please let me know if it is working for you. (swap desecrate to the 4 links, and spectre to the 2 links. Vaal summon skeleton can be discarded)

4.I made this build before the patch notes came and i was not aware about the changes to the brands becoming more immobile. This surely affects the "clunkiness" of the build. I am not sure yet how to mitigate this but i'm gonna try the build first then I'll let you guys know if there's any changes.

5. @Anuwiel mention about a cluster jewel notable. I was gonna make a cluster jewel section listing notables that will compliment the build. There are a lot of synergies when it comes to notables in cluster jewel with the build, However i am still thinking of a way of incorporating cluster jewels into the skill tree. Right now i was thinking of eliminating the whole eShield setup for more dmg from cluster jewels.

Thankyou guys for the feedbacks and comments! This build is not perfect by any means and I really do wanna improve this build (my first build guide btw). Hope you guys enjoy the build and feel free to ask anything!
Last edited by Decafcoffe on Jun 17, 2020, 12:11:10 PM
I am thinking of something similar as well. I’m still debating between VD and DD.

Edit: I just thought of this and have no idea if it’s viable or not, but what if you used Raise Zombie + Aukuna’s Will to generate corpses. It will cause a 1:1 ratio, but I’m pretty sure you can scale Zombie hp much higher, even without scaling the minion ascendencies and passives.

Edit 2: Well dang, 1 second activation frequency...
Last edited by Aldonés on Jun 17, 2020, 10:56:40 PM
Yeah the Arcanist Brand support gem is a 3% more damage factoring two brands attached to the enemy and without quality (increased frequency). So quite bad for Detonate Dead. I'm not even talking about the area of effect.

If we use it to cast both desecrate and DD, it's just going to be halved. (Because they trigger in a sequence order, not at the same time)

The only upside I see is that, with just the cast speed and duratoin from my tree, i'm at 12 activations per duration. So if we use swiftbrand support, we'll have 12 activations over 2 seconds. (The better the cast speed is, the more activations we can have. I'm too lazy to calculate the breakpoints ATM.)

This means that the ascendancy might be super valuable. It's just 6 corpses consumed per second with two brands attached though. But while mapping it might get a little crazy.
Last edited by Anuwiel on Jun 18, 2020, 2:35:26 AM

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