[3.20] Gryph's Burning Witch - CoC Volatile Dead Necromancer - Burn Yourself Through the Atlas!

You can also join my discord and ask questions there:
Gryph's Aerie


Hello everyone!
I'd like to introduce you to my beloved CoC.
This is a Cast on Critical Strike + Volatile Dead Self Igniting Cast When Damage Taken Necromancer.

For those unaware, I began this build at the rear end of 3.12 Heist League. In 3.13 Ritual this build was an absolute powerhouse and in 3.14 it was still quite strong. We lost a *lot* of power in 3.15 (like everyone else) and the build was pretty dead for a while.

THAT BEING SAID, mechanically, the build still works. So it really was just a matter of time before enough tools were made available to bring the build to life again. Did I do this because I was being asked league after league to? Nostalgia? Was I sent a POB and asked to help make it work? Yeah basically all that.

With that out of the way, I want to set some
It used to be that you could run this on a budget. I will see about making a budget adaptation but, at the moment, this is not budget friendly. Gearing the character can be painful with 159 require str+dex+int for gems/gear, wanting to reach up to 90% chaos resistance while capping elemental resists, and getting as close to 100% chance to hit as possible. Honestly, if you have a Mageblood this will be much simpler.
Character level:
I would suggest respeccing a high level character (95+) or joining a 5-Way rotation after finishing campaign to get up to mid-90's before trying to really tackle this iteration of the build. We voraciously desire passive points all the way to 100. Wish I could have a few more tbh.
DPS Ramp
My POB shows a pretty solid 60m dps. HOWEVER it should be made clear, that this is a ramping dps and 60m is at peak. This usually takes a few seconds to get rolling and drops off as you are out of combat. Kind of similar to how poison works. In reality it scales from about 10m initial dps (when you first encounter a boss) up to 60m after CWDT has triggered:
CWDT Triggers for us:
Elemental Weakness
Assassin's Mark

There is also Corpse Pact attack speed that scales up to 200% after consuming 100 corpses (admittedly, this does not take long at ALL as we consume up to 12 corpses per CoC Proc).

And lastly, we are utilizing wither with % chance on hit to reach 15 stacks. Again, this doesn't take long given our hits/second, but it's technically a ramp.


Waves 29-30 Simulacrum
Now that the character is complete, I will start recording and uploading some demo videos. Look for them here

Path of Building
This is level 100, my current character.

This is a level 92 character that I put together. The notes include a breakdown of the items and what they cost/how I acquired them. This is roughly a 35-40 divine budget.

Unfortunately, I do not think going much lower on budget will *feel* good, though you could certainly take a non-Divine Flesh approach and come up cheaper.

The Concept
The ultimate goal here is to simply...Spin2Win.

Self Ignite and CWDT
So basically, we use Eye of Innocence to deal fire damage to ourselves when we ignite enemies (happens when we crit).

We mitigate our self damage with the Watcher's Eye Modifier: "Gain 20-30 Life per enemy hit while affected by Vitality"

Then we combine that with Mokou's Embrace Ring to allow self ignites:

Which, while ignited we are given a number of bonuses:
50-70% Increased Damage (Amulet)
2% Fire damage leeched as life (Amulet)
up to 48% increased attack speed (Ring)
Ability to Cover Enemies in Ash (Wrapped in Flame cluster jewel notable)
Chill Immunity (also from Wrapped in Flame)

Alright, great, we set ourselves on fire. Now what?
Well, as it turns out, we inflict an enormous number of hits that all ignite and deal damage to ourselves. This lets us use Cast When Damage Taken Support to automate our utility spells.

We utilize two CWDT setups:
Our "big one:"
(Divergent) Cast When Damage Taken
(Anomalous) Ice Golem
(Divergent) Bone Offering
Assassin's Mark
(Anomalous) Flammability
Elemental Weakness

The second CWDT setup is our "little one:"

(Divergent) Cast When Damage Taken
Forbidden Rite
Ball Lightning

This setup is intended to help us get to the "Big One" faster as well as provide some nice recovery via Ball Lightning+Life Gain on Hit (Watcher's Eye). It's important to have a source of fire damage to spells (my helmet in this case) so that Ball Lightning can ignite as well.

Unique Trifecta
Now then, aside from the Self Ignite shenanigans we are making use of the Curse Changes and the fact that we don't have much access to elemental penetration in this build to really take advantage of some cool uniques:

As previously mentioned, we don't have access to a lot of penetration, so the downside to Abhorrent Interrogation does not apply to us. Instead, we drop our enemies' resistances via Exposure and Curses. Combined with our massive hits per second, these gloves will apply 15 stacks of wither almost instantly, applying 60% increased elemental damage taken to our enemies.
ADDITIONALLY, Replica Duskdawn + Incandescent Heart give us up to 40% of elemental damage as extra chaos damage which get further boosted by the wither stacks as well (90% increased chaos damage taken).
Basically, we're taking 3 individually strong uniques and combining them synergistically for even more OOMPH!


We layer defenses in a few ways:
First, there's the Incandescent Heart+Divine Flesh+90% Chaos Res combo.
We take 75% of elemental damage (from hits, 50% from DOTS) as Chaos Damage. Effectively giving us 82.5% max Ele resists.

4 Max Endurance Charges, Soul of Gruthkul+Soul of Lunaris, Determination Watcher's Eye, and Automaton Studies give us 34-41% flat physical damage reduction + 30k armour gives us a decent amount of physical mitigation.

High Block. Depending on your exact setup you can be attack block capped and up to around 60% spell block. I am, personally, sitting at 73%/45%. This is also *true* block. None of that Glancing Blows garbage. :P

Excellent Recovery. We have Life gain on hit from watcher's eye, life leech, life recoup, and some life gain on block (from attacks).

Cyclone is a defensive skill as it allows for constant mobility.

Fortify. We get 20 stacks while engaging in combat with multiple enemies. Only isn't up when dealing with singular, strong monsters (big boi bosses).

Plaguebringer. Enemies near our generated corpses deal 10% reduced damage.

We do struggle in raw HP numbers. At level 100 I have 4.1k life. I played this build a lot with only 3k life and while that seems pretty bad, with all the defensive layers it feels a lot tankier than you might assume.


This character requires (for level 21 gems):
159 Strength
159 Intelligence
159 Dexterity
90% Chaos Resistance
Be sure to gear accordingly.
Required Uniques


First thing's first, we are using Eldritch Battery without pathing to it. This means we have 1 of 2 options:

We can use devouring diadem (Str+Dex or Chaos res Unveil are best).

or 2:

You can put Eldritch Battery onto a Sanctified Relic and use a good rare:

Accuracy, Reservation Efficiency, and a res (ele or chaos) go a long way here.
Helmet Enchants

End Game best:
"Detonate Dead has a 45% chance to detonate an additional corpse"
The goal of the build is to eventually switch to CoC DD for single target (I always use VD for mapping). But this requires a woke spell cascade support to match VD in DPS. This helmet enchant will give an additional 45% more damage on top of that.
Pre Woke Spell Cascade:
Volatile Dead Consumes 1 addition Corpse

Pre CoC DD:
Volatile Dead does 40% increased damage


The Additional curse is mandatory for tri curse DPS setup. It's basically 25% more damage.
Thankfully, these are super common, so, while it's not "technically" required to function, getting an additional curse is neither expensive nor difficult.


A few things to note regarding Mokou's Embrace:
if you do not have 52% Cool Down Recovery Rate, this is the easiest way to come down on attack speed to be under 15.16 aps to avoid DPS loss. If you are able to get to 52% CDR, then the sky's the limit (20.2 aps)

You want an Unset ring.
You are looking for big STATS and ACCURACY here.
For the prefix slot, life is great of course, and if you are Unveiling at all, reduced mana cost helps a bit.
Bench craft -7 to total mana cost for non-channeling skills.


We like staves as there is a ton of crit chance+multiplier for them on the tree that is incredibly difficult to compensate for. We also have easy access to these wheels and the block wheels for staves.
Replica Duskdawn is BiS for its high base crit chance to ensure Cyclone is always critting, even before all our buffs are active. It also comes with an insane amount of generic elemental damage scaling and critical strike multiplier. The generic Ele scaling is especially good for the corpse explosion side of VD and DD as these are not affected by spell damage% or Battlemage/added flat damage to spells such as those found on Martyr of Innocence and the like.
Accuracy is hard to come by, so Harvest enchanting for % Accuracy is ideal. If you're capped in accuracy without it, Attack speed is always good.


These are technically a flex slot. These gloves will be 25-30% more damage than a GG pair of rares with temple mods, attack speed, and damage while leeching, etc...
That said, if you are having difficulty capping resists, getting enough dex/str, etc...You can always use some rares.


Suffix stats to look for:
Elemental Resistances
Chaos Resistance
Prefix Stats to look for:
Movement Speed
Open prefix for 100% chance to avoid being frozen bench craft
Searing Exarch:
Drop brittle ground while moving, lasting X seconds.
This stat is mandatory! It's basically a 7th link and gets scaled by ailment effect.
Eater of Worlds:
Cooldown Recovery Rate. The value for this depends on your gear. If you have a belt with open suffix for CDR, you do not need much on the boots. Or if you have a relic with CDR, same idea.
If you are going for Mageblood (no cdr on belt) you need 10% here, a 6/20 Awakened Cast on Crit, an Anomalous Temporal Rift (5% CDR) and a +1 socketed gems chest piece to reach 52%.
*Sanctified Relic with CDR% is invaluable to alleviate some gear strain. GL FARMING ONE

Body Armour

If you are not getting CDR on belt slot (Mageblood or other reasons) and you do not have a CDR Relic, then you will need a +1 Socketed Gems Incandescent Heart to reach 52% CDR.
4G2B for colors. Tainted Chromatics are a relatively easy way to color a corrupted chest.


Lots of options here really. Since we are going Divine Flesh and have 90% chaos resistance, Forbidden Taste is a great tool for survivability (and it's cheap).
Oriath's End is insane. Explodey flask for the win! Also ele resists.
For the utility flasks:
Reduced mana cost helps a lot when CWDT is proccing a lot (think Simulacrums)
Crit Chance as needed
Increased Armour%
Avoid Stun% as needed


Vitality Watcher's Eye is required for sustaining self damage. Pick a good secondary mod to go with it. I like Determination Physical Damage Reduction as large physical hits are our weakest point, defensively.

Impossible Escape:Pain Attunement allows us to allocate some excellent nodes:

The Glorious Vanity is in the name of Xibaqua for Divine Flesh. I also targeted Cult of Chaos for +1% Max Chaos res to reach 90% and Automaton Studies for phys damage reduction+Armour. This jewel is placed next to Eternal Youth keystone
You can custom search Glorious Vanity numbers based on what mods you want HERE
As for a quick cheat sheet list of numbers to get exactly these 2 notables:
Good luck!

Lastly, an abyssal jewel with stun avoidance in our stygian vise helps us reach 100% chance to avoid being stunned. Tolerance from the Impossible Escape is 30%, and another abyssal jewel or flask can cover the rest.


Rational Doctrine is an insane jewel. Ideally you balance Str+int to be equal to benefit from both sides, but if you have to choose, go for profane ground as it grants:
-10% all resistances (including chaos)
+1% base crit chance

Unnatural Instinct gives some extra reservation efficiency, 12% life recoup, some spell block, and damage. It's excellent and goes in the jewel socket directly north of the Witch start:

Cluster Jewels

Big Disclaimer. The cluster jewels carry this build pretty hard. We lean on these for resists and stats in addition to the actual notables we're after. Plan to get extra affixes with chaos res, res, str, and/or dex when possible.

Mage Hunter+Conjured Wall help bring up our spell block and give some passive power charge generation. Essence Rush gives us some ES leech to help with "mana" sustain and since we're always leeching ES this way, we get a nice bonus to damage. These are best for cluster jewel #1. Though you could use a 2 notable Essence Rush+one other if on a budget.

This one is a little more flexible. Specifically, Master of Fire is just a way to get fire exposure. It could also be gotten on a medium cluster. or you can get fire exposure on Corrosive Elements notable, a Sanctified Relic, or Eater of Worlds glove implicit if you are not using Abhorrent Interrogation.
I would recommend getting Sadist and it is a huge damage boost.
Prismatic Heart is another good notable for the +10% all ele res as well. Play around in Path of Building a bit.


2x medium Clusters with Pressure points and Quick Getaway. You could go for Basics of Pain instead of Quick Getaway, but I like more movement speed.

This is mainly for Wrapped in Flame. Master of Fire can also get gotten here instead of Smoking remains.


We need 3x Born of Chaos notables stacked to get to 90% chaos res. I use 2 smalls for 2 of them. I advise getting 2 3 passives smalls with extra chaos res and some stats or res. Easiest way to get this is to fossil spam 1 socket resonators with Abberant Fossils (Chaos).


A Megalomaniac with Born of Chaos and 2 other good nodes is great to have. Overlord, in particular, is nice to have. We do maintain 20 stacks of fortification while mapping and even in the last waves of Simulacrum.
Wrapped in Flame is also a nice one to pair with BoC if you don't care about Overlord.
Otherwise, get another good notable.

Gems and Links

For now, look at my items, a more in depth explanation will come after I sleep. :D

Cast on Critical Strike Mechanics
Since we're a Cast on Crit built we need to talk about BREAKPOINTS

CDR/APS Breakpoints
There is a ton of information available with a simple google search, of course. However, we are using TWO spells in our CoC setup. This is important as our Attacks Per Second (APS) breakpoints will differ from single spell CoCs.

The TL:DR is this:
No Cooldown Recovery Rate allows for a Maximum of 12.12 APS

14%-51% Cooldown Recovery Rate allows for a MAXIMUM of 15.15 APS.

52%+ Allows for a Maximum 20.2 APS.

You'd think that these numbers are pretty insane/unattainable...BUT, remember, we are getting 200% increased attack and cast speed from Corpse Pact. Additionally, we are running Anomalous Blood Rage (15%) for Frenzy Charges (12%), Onslaught (20%), Mokou's Embrace (up to 48%), and some incidental increases from cluster jewels (15%).

While it would be very difficult to reach 20aps, we certainly exceed 15.15 aps with these buffs. To that end, it would be ideal to reach 52% CDR

Now, it's also understandable if getting that exact breakpoint is difficult/expensive. SO, we much then consider how to bring the attack speed in line with the 14% CDR breakpoint or 15.15APS cap:
TLDR of this section
You can have up to 104% additional increased attack speed and be good. Total of 304% increased attack speed with Corpse Pact will get to exactly 15.15APS for optimal attack speed.

The first way to do this is to drop Haste Aura and use a Minimum Roll Mokou's Embrace (25% attack speed). This brings you right to 15.15aps with full Corpse Pact online.

Another way is to replace Mokou's Embrace with Replica Reckless Defense jewel in your tree for self ignite and change out the 2x Quick Getaway Notables for Basics of Pain.

ORRRRR put another way, you cannot exceed 104% increased attack speed from all sources other than Corpse Pact.

You can tweak/adjust things like Blood Rage gem level as and your Cluster jewel notables as needed

Start asking. :P

Last edited by Gryphenprey on Jan 13, 2023, 11:24:24 AM
Last bumped on May 10, 2024, 4:50:08 AM
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Old Guide
I started this build about two weeks before Ritual league began and had an absolute blast tweaking, tinkering, and evolving her in preparation for 3.13 Ritual. She's fast, she's tanky, she obliterates bosses, and she's LITERALLY ON FIRE!

Updates for 3.16 READ THIS FIRST
I know that a lot of people are looking for some updated information for this build in 3.16, so let's get some information out there!

3.16 Update Video

Let me begin by saying a full and proper update to the guide will have to wait until I've played it or have gotten enough feedback from the community regarding it. It's a lot of work re-writing these things and I just don't have the time for a full guide write-up when I haven't experienced the scope of the changes yet.

Now that THAT'S out of the way! What you're actually here for:
skipped your rant TL:DR me plz

Here's a POB:

This is a level 95 character with gear from last league (I would consider this mid-tier aside from the watcher's eye) This was to reflect the TREE changes and gives an idea on what we can use for Masteries, which I will also outline below:

What Masteries do we want?
In no particular order these are the "must have" masteries:

When Allocating Mystic Bulwark, take the mana mastery
"10% of damage taken from hits is recouped as mana"
This was a desirable mod to begin with for managing mana. Now available on the tree and can allow us to craft -7 mana cost on our rings instead. EXCELLENT BUFF!

When Allocating Undertaker, take the Minion Offense Mastery
"20% increased effect of offerings"
Normally we go for this mod on our chests...now we can have both! OR just this and have more flexibility with chest piece. Between this and access to more staff spell block on the tree we are able to reach 75/75 block on this build. FANTASTIC!

I am now, more than ever, encouraged to go to the shadow side of the tree and it's partially due to this next mastery:
When allocating Soul Thief, take the Energy Shield+Evasion Mastery
"30% of Chaos damage does not bypass energy shield."
HOOOOOOBOOOOOOOOOY! I love this. It takes the biggest weakness of Hybrid builds utilizing Corrupted soul and mitigates 30% of it. I love it. Chaos Damage will be far easier to manage and trivialize with this.
Additionally, Soul Thief(EV%ES% Node) Grants 2% of ES on Kill. Blood Drinker (life wheel below it) grants 2% of Life recovery on kill. This effectively replaces the cinderswallow that we lost in 3.15. Woot woot!

When taking Sovereignty, take whatever you need. There is an additional 15% increased mana reserve efficiency. This is just great. Perfect. BEAUTIFUL to have access to that for just 1 point. Helps with the mana.

Arcane Potency, you can choose more crit multi, reduced damage taken from crits, or +3 to Critical Support Gems(if this works with Awakened Cast on Crit it'll be very good as it turns out)

For Life Masteries:
+50 Life. The only one to take really.
2% Life Regen While Moving(optional, but nice)
100% Vitality Reservation Efficiency is nice if you have the watcher's eye for it and want to benefit from the higher level gem.

Elemental Mastery from relocated Snowforged Wheel:
15% All Elemental Res
Minimum Exposure is -18% res. This one is great if you rely on a -10% exposure source (Master of Fire for example). Less good when you are using Wave of Conviction.

Let's talk about new nodes on the tree

There are a lot of new toys to play with in the passive tree. let's talk about it.
I already mentioned Soul Thief. 2% ES on kill and access to a fantastic mastery node for Hybrid characters.

This wheel is right next to the Undertaker wheel, for 3 points we get:
30 Life gained on kill
2% of Life recovered on kill
20% of damage taken from hit recouped as life.
I used to use Maw of Conquest as a budget helmet primarily for that recoup mod. Now it's on the tree. This works incredibly well for a build that is all about HITTING HERSELF! We fully mitigate that damage already...so this is just constant life recovery on top of that. 10/10 wheel imo.

Snowforged got a huge buff to damage and is conveniently located. Gained -5% to res to enemies ignited or chilled by us.

If you need Mana leech, we have pretty easy access to it by traveling down to Clever Thief. 2-3 points depending on if you've taken the life nodes right there as well.

Safeguard. New block node for shields AND STAVES.
Recovers 50es on spell block and gives 6% chance to block spells. 8% all ele res as a bonus. Can be easily taken while using a Very Large Radius Thread of Hope in the Templar Socket.

Purity of Flesh life+chaos res wheel is now Life+ES...That's pretty awesome to be honest. Lost some chaos res there but that hardly matters.
Lethe Shade Keystone
50% less damage taken from damage over time if you've started taking damage over time in the last second.
100% more duration of ailments on you.
Ignite is an ailment. We can make it last 8 seconds for some very nice QoL with Hotheaded jewel(movement speed) and potentially turn it off and on with an instant life flask of dousing.
Will have to test it, but it IS only 1 point to take. :)

So...what's the bad news?

Yeah okay it's not all good. For some STUPID @#$% REASON, GGG decided to REMOVE the channeling wheels from the tree. This means we lost one of my favorite perks of going self hitting:
Anointing Charging Offensive. No more free Frenzy+Endurance charges. RIP
That said, if you want to keep the Endurance Charges with the same (better even) uptime for Immortal Call purposes (recommended) then you can instead, anoint Inexorable for 25% chance to gain an endurance charge when hit. Blood Rage or Frenzy Chest can replace Frenzy charges easily enough.

I'm still salty about it though.

The other thing is that this build was already starved for passive points and this new system is making that even harder. The way they changed the passive tree messed with Thread of Hope's ability to get us some really great point savings. Basically we now need to use a Very Large Radius TOH and manaully path to Counterweight. Combine that with all the new masteries and wanting to path to the shadow side of the tree and fitting a Large Cluster Jewel (let alone TWO) is very VERY hard to do.

There are more things to cover of course. But that's the pertinent information for now.

By the way, I don't really recommend league starting this build in general. Can you? Of course, if you know what you're doing you'll be fine, but I'm not holding your hand to do so. :P
Generally you will be better off trying to collect the necessary pieces beforehand and making this as a 2nd or 3rd character for the league. That's my 2 cents.

Path of Building
If you do not have it, you will want the Path of Building Community Fork
Link to it here
Please note that this, and future, POBs should not be viewed as guides but rather reference points to look at:
My Character as of 8/17:

-Fast Clearspeed
-5M+DPS very doable
-VERY Tanky with a high combined life pool (7k+), 75/50+ block/spell block, and excellent recovery mechanics
-1 FPS Gameplay is the best kind of gameplay. KEKW
-Scales very well with investments
-Stun Immune
-Can run No Regen maps thanks to 0 mana cost cyclone and mana leech
-One button playstyle #spin2win
-Suuuper fun and lazy playstyle :D

-Due to the nature of ignites and VD spamming, this build gets very laggy in zones with extreme pack density. If you've layered your defenses properly this won't be too much of an issue as far as dying is concerned (I've had some pretty epic 1 fps gameplay :P) To help mitigate this you should run with Predictive networking mode instead of Lockstep...for this build only.
-You will be squishy and die a lot prior to getting the end game gear setup (Watcher's Eye and Glorious Vanity in particular)
-Requires a small amount of "ramp up" time to get max DPS due to the nature of Corpse Pact ascendancy. This may take 1-2 seconds against a single boss (Sirus, Shaper, Elder)
-Somewhat susceptible to elemental ailments as we cannot make use of 100% ailment avoidance. Freeze+Chill immunity is easily obtained however.

The Concept

Gonna put this here because some people are LAZY! (me :P)

We ignite others, we ignite ourselves, we proc ALL THE SPELLS! #onebutton

Cast on Crit VD is not a new idea. My biggest issue with it has always been that I am lazy and like my buffs from utility spells. The biggest and most impactful, one being Bone Offering for the massive Attack+Spell Block chance and the life recovery gained when you block buffs. CoC VD/DD builds do not typically have a way to automate this reliably(if at all) and that is not appealing to me.

And so, inspired by my love of Scold's Bridle and inflicting damage on myself, I am utilizing Eye of Innocence for self damage to trigger my spells while I spin and spin and spin.
Just Keep Spinning Exile

*Disclaimer: when you are doing maps with very high pack density you will lag the server. It's okay I promise just do as Dory does and you'll be fine thanks to our multiple layers of defenses.

Switching to Predictive Networking mode will help with this immensely

Mechanics, The Rundown

Every time we ignite an enemy, we take 100 fire damage. This is reduced by our fire resistance and other reduced/less damage taken effects. In practice, that means with 75% Fire resistance and Fortify Buff you will take 20 damage per ignite inflicted on an enemy. This may not sound like a lot but...consider the following:
15 attacks per second on a single target=300 damage per second from Cyclone
7.5 procs of VD casts with an average of 9-11 balls per proc (we'll say 10)=1,500 fire damage taken per second.
This is not counting the fact that these are AOE spells, the corpse explosions, or that we have spells proccing off of the self damage that will also ignite.

it is a lot of damage and it works wonderfully.
We DO need to mitigate this damage of course. Easiest way to do that is to use:

We ignite, we take 20 and recover up to 30(roll dependent)
For the rich bois

Life Gained on Hit Vitality Watcher's Eye will also work for this, but we NEED ES on hit mod as well, so getting both tends to be quite expensive.


The next trick in the hat is to take this fire damage we inflict and allow it to ignite us for the juicy bonuses we can have from that:
The perks to burning the witch

Eye of Innocence alone gives:
2% of Fire Damage Leeched as Life while ignited
50-70% increased damage while ignited
From there we use the Medium Cluster Notable Wrapped in Flame to gain immunity to chill as well as the ability to cover enemies in ash (a huge damage boost)

There are other items that give bonuses for being ignited, but these are the important ones.

There are two main ways to add chance to ignite to ourselves. The best way is to use

This increases our chance to be ignited by 10%. This is plenty.
Alternatively use these boots

That's all there really is to the Self-Ignite shennanigans.


What we have for defenses (and why I love this build!)
-7k+ Combined Life and ES pool is very doable at end game and can reach 8k if you're commited.
-75% Chance to Block Attacks with no flasks
-50%+ Spell Block depending on cluster jewels, number of spell block nodes taken, and offering effect on chest. Can also use Rumi's for another 6%
-300-450+ life on block
-30 life when we ignite/hit an enemy
-Life Leech
-21-30% Physical Damage reduction before any armour scaling.
-Fortify 100% uptime
-ES on hit from Watcher's Eye
-ES leech
-And the best of them: DPS! because mobs can't kill you if they're dead!


For bandits I recommend helping Alira for the resists+crit multiplier
Kill all for +2 Passives. This is best if you can cover your resistances effectively.


You may choose to take Commander of Darkness third rather than first if you don't need the resistances while leveling.

Also, you may need to use Essence Glutton to manage mana until mana leech/other sustain is acquired.


Major Pantheon:

Minor Pantheon:

Upgrade these at your leisure of course. You can also use Arakaali and/or Shakari for a buffer against chaos damage.

My Gear

3.15 Expedition Gear

3.13 Ritual Gear

3.12 Heist Gear


Colors in items listed are not necessarily correctly colored. Be sure to check the "Gems and Links" section for correct setups.
Required Items
There are 3 uniques that you need to make the self-ignite portion of this build work (and thus the automation of CWDT skills).

This is what deals damage to us to trigger CWDT spells

This keeps us alive by fully mitigating the fire damage we take when we ignite an enemy by recovering that much+ at the same time. Look for 25+ life recovery roll.
or have one of these/expensive option

You need one of these two items to allow the fire damage from Eye of Innocence to apply ignite on us. The jewel is preferable, but the boots may be used until it is acquired as the Replica Reckless Defense is a Heist only drop.

When looking at rare gear to buy, here are some stats you will want to prioritize:

-Dexterity, we don't need a TON of it but we also get almost none from the tree (Literally 20 dex from the tree), you need 100 Dex for level 21 Volatile Dead and 119 Dex for level 20 Precision. This means you will need another 66 Dexterity for Volatile Dead (incidentally this is how much you get from a max T1 Dex roll on a ring with catalysts) or 85 for level 20 Precision.
A non-corrupted Eye of Innocence will give you 24(28 w/ catalysts) Dex as well. So factor that in when buying/crafting gear.

-Accuracy. Get lots of it. Ring, Helmet, and Gloves all can roll Accuracy. need to get to 100% hit chance.

-Resists. Obviously get yourself res capped and get AS MUCH chaos resistance as you can afford. We are a little weak to chaos damage as we are a hybrid build.

-Life. Duh. :P


The Best in slot item here is Martyr of Innocence. It adds MASSIVE damage that rares cannot even compete with and also gives us freeze immunity.
Replica Duskdawn was previously the better option. However, after the changes to crit flasks in 3.15 get crit capped on our spells becomes problematic and thus Increased Critical Strikes Support becomes almost as strong as any other support gem...and if we're using increased critical strikes for our spells we don't need the huge base attack crit from Rep Duskdawn and are just better off using Martyr staff instead.


Of note: this build NEEDS a 6L, so at bare minimum I would say: use a tabula or corrupted rare.

Beyond that, the next step would be an Inpulsa for the explosions (Shock everything thanks to Corpse Pact Ascendancy), damage, and modest life that it provides.

For endgame you'll want a Hunter Chest with iLvl 84+
You can Harvest craft one to get dual crit fairly easily via the "reforge a rare with a crit modifier, crit modifiers are more common" craft.

You then need an open prefix to craft "Suffixes cannot be changed" for 2ex. If you don't have a free prefix, then you need to use Harvest craft "Reforge a rare, keeping all suffixes" until you have one.

Once you have a suffixes cannot be changed craft you can use the Harvest craft:
"reforge a rare with caster modifier" and this will guarantee Extra Curse prefix and 0-2 other prefixes.

Worth Noting: If you have T1 attack or spell crit, T1 offering effect, and an open suffix you can add the missing crit mod by locking suffixes and using harvest "reforge a rare with a critical modifier" to get the missing crit mod. 50% chance to get T1.
big money chest craft

This is for the following type of stats:

P:Crafted Life as Extra ES
P:Extra Curse
P:kinda random.
S:Elevated Increased Effect of offerings
S:Elevated/regular Attack Crit
S:Spell Crit/Random Mod

The steps for this process are the same as above but are more expensive to start.

You will use an Awakener's Orb to combine an Offering Effect chest and an attack crit chest to have those two suffixes. If you have an open suffix after the combination, you're golden. Use the aforementioned method to add spell crit.

From there do the above steps.

Suffixes cannot be changed.
Harvest Craft: Reforge a Rare with a caster modifier to get Extra Curse

Repeat that process until happy with 2nd prefix.
Use Harvest craft "Reforge a rare, keeping all suffixes" as needed to free a prefix for "Suffixes Cannot be Changed" craft


A generic rare with:
Life, Resists, and an open Suffix for Stun Avoidance Craft (if you need it)

Other great stats to look for:
Warlord Influence mods:
Crit Multi
-9% to nearby enemy fire resistance
Increased Elemental Damage
+1 Maximum Power Charges
Hunter/Elder Influence Modifier:
Adds Fire Damage to Spells

This one is fairly cheap and has a very unique set of stats that synergize very well with the build.

10-20% of damage taken from hits is recouped(recovered) as life over 4 seconds. AKA: A nice chunk of life recovery to help against pesky DOTs and the like.

Unaffected By Poison: This is a nice bonus.

Helmet Enchant
Try to get "Volatile Dead Consumes up to 1 Additional Corpse"
This improves our ramp up time and DPS by a fair amount. It's not as impactful as you might think though since we DO have a 12 corpse limit on desecrate.

Other useful Enchants:
40% increased Volatile Dead Damage
Consecrated Ground from Purifying Flame applies 9% increased Damage taken to Enemies
30% increased Assassin's Mark Curse Effect
Wave of Conviction's Exposure applies -6% Elemental Resistance
150% increased Effect of the Buff granted by your Ice Golems
Any Mana Reserve Enchant for Anger, Discipline, Precision, Herald of Ash, or Zealotry.


Rare gloves with Life and useful stats.

There are a number of very useful stats that can be used here.
The resistance temple mods for example:

Gloves can also roll a substantial amount of accuracy rating and dexterity.
If you want to save a socket in CWDT you can go for Walordlord Culling Strike Gloves

One alternative to rares would be Asenath's Gentle Touch for the physical explosions and blind. These require that you have a 3rd curse or drop flammability. They are very strong, however keep in mind that you will need to make up res+dex+accuracy somewhere else if you choose these.


If you do not have Replica Reckless Defense you will need to use Sunspite for the chance to be ignited.

Rare boots with Tailwind + Life + resistances. I would consider this the ideal. If you can't afford tailwind don't worry about it too much, it's better to have boots with good stats than bad tailwind boots as TW doesn't even give attack speed to channeled skills.

I like +1 Endurance Charge Synthesized rare boots or Fugitive Boots for the chaos res.

The Stampedes are solid for the constant 50% movement speed while cycloning. These are great for starting off but you really want to get some life+resists on your boots eventuall. Big upside is the second anoint and travel skill cooldown.

Boot Enchants

I would suggest NOT getting attack and cast speed enchant We surpass the 15.14 CoC attack speed breakpoint with only 15% increased attack speed.

I would instead go for:
"65-80% chance to Avoid being Stunned if you've Killed Recently"

This provides an easy means of Stun Immunity while mapping. Highly recommend.

If you have other means of stun immunity then you can use of of these:
2% Life regen if you've taken a hit recently
10% Ele Pen if you haven't killed recently
18% Reduced Cost of Skills if you've been hit recently

Do not use any of the enchants that are disabled if you haven't been hit recently (10% MS I'm looking at you). They are useless since we hit ourselves.

If you decide to use The Stampedes, you won't enchant them since you get an anoint :P


You will need one of these Try to get 25+ on the recovery. Life on hit for spells effects work pretty well to mitigate the damage you self inflict. That said I can speak from experience that it's not always enough in maps where you have massive pack density. I have "committed suicide" a few times like this. Do not try to rely on life gained on hit for spells.

The ONLY Exception to this is if you get a Watcher's Eye with the Vitality life on hit modifier as it applies to ALL our hits and not just spells or attacks. This includes explosions, corpse explosions, cyclone, CWDT spells, etc...

For the other ring, a rare with Life+Resists+Dex+Str and/or whatever you need. If you have extra curse you can get flammability on hit here.


Mandatory for late game setup.
We are constantly Channeling AND hitting ourselves, so I like Charging Offensive for free Frenzy+Endurance charges. It's also fairly affordable requiring only Teal-Violet-Silver oils


Life+Resists+Whatever else you need.
You need a belt with 13% or more CDR% if you do not have a level 3+ Awakened CoC Support.

HH is fantastic on this build if you can afford it. It even comes with a TON of Dex.
Just keep in mind that the Grasping Vines mod is incredible obnoxious since we self hit.


You want to make sure that you have Bleed (Corrupted Blood Specifically)+Freeze Immunity somewhere on your gear. If you don't have it, get it on a flask.

Now that Cinderswallow and Quicksilver of Adrenaline are nerfed...Rotgut is actually a pretty great option! We generate frenzy charges almost instantly so we'll be able to take advantage of the onslaught this way (saving us a flask slot!)



Rumi's gives some more spell block and some armour to help with mitigation


Replica Reckless Defense

Best way to get chance to self-ignite. Spell Block is the more important stat as we should be attack block capped anyway.

Replica Conqueror's Efficiency

The -9 to man cost for non-channeling skills helps reduce the cost of all of our triggered spells by a lot. Would recommend getting this and/or the same mod on your rings.


Very cheap, very zoom, and a good place for Corrupted Blood Immunity

Watcher's Eye

Because we can use either Anger OR Zealotry you can choose between those two auras for watcher's eye mods.

ES on hit with Discipline is an expensive BUT VERY POWERFUL mod to recover our ES more or less instantly. THIS SHOULD BE YOUR TOP PRIORITY BIG PURCHASE

Seriously, it's night and day difference.

Otherwise look for 1-2 damage mods across our auras:
Zealotry OR Anger

If you get one like this (Vitality+Discipline) then you can safely drop Ngamahu's Sign Ring.

Glorious Vanity

Look for "Doryani" for the Corrupted Soul Keystone. THis is a HUGE buff to our eHP and allows us to take advantage of ES and Life recovery simultaneously.

Thread of Hope

As of 3.16 you will want a Very Large Radius Thread of Hope
This is another very big upgrade as it allows us to shave off a lot of passives to then invest into a proper cluster tree at high levels.

Cluster Jewels

With the changes to mana we really need to have some mana leech. This is the best way to get it: Fuel the Fight

Can be conveniently combined with Overlord for permanent Fortify:

Get any suffix notable on this jewel to save 2 passive points (EXPENSIVE!!!)

I do understand that getting this cluster jewel is very hard and expensive. You can, instead, use a mana small cluster jewel with

Or use a megalomaniac with Fuel the Fight or Daring Ideas on it.
If using Stampede boots you can anoint Mind Drinker or Essence Sap.

If you're high enough level for a second Large cluster then I'd recommend:

Any one of the three suffix notables will place both of these at the front for some decent damage and a whopping 10% Spell Block. There are plenty of other options for a Large Cluster jewel if you don't care as much about block chance, but you can do the research for those if you want to here. :P

This one is a HUUUUGE damage buff and I would use this jewel for Wrapped in Flames notable alone.

This is superb for Corpse Removal=Good Stuff.

Gems and Links

6L Main, NOTE: Desecrate should be placed FIRST in the gem link sequence so that it triggers before VD.
(Divergent) Cyclone - (Awakened) Cast on Critical Strike Support - Desecrate - (Divergent/Anomalous)Volatile Dead - (Awakened) Spell Cascade - Increased Critical Strikes Support

Regarding Awakened Cast on Critical Strike Support:
If you have this of at least level 3 you will not need CDR on any other gear.
Anger/Zealotry - Herald of Ash - Discipline - Enlighten 3+
Precision(Max Level) in open socket (Unset ring for example)
Vitality(low level) - use this if you have an appropriate watcher's eye mod.

CWDT 5-6L, utility spells: Keep all spells at required level 38 or less.
Cast When Damage Taken Support (lvl 1) - Wave of Conviction - Combustion - Culling Strike - Ball Lightning - Arcane Surge
Gems Explained

-Wave of Conviction for -25% Enemy Fire Resistance Exposure
-Combustion support to apply up to -20% Fire Resistance at gem level 21
-Culling Strike: Self Explanatory :P Can be dropped if you have it elsewhere.
-Arcane Surge can now support triggered skills. We spend a TON of mana in a very short time from even these low level triggered skills. Use Divergent Arcane Surge for nearly 11 second duration thanks to our ascendancy's increased duration.

CWDT 4L, Max Level. Match linked spells' required level to the CWDT support.
Cast When Damage Taken Level 20-21 - Ice Golem - Assassin's Mark - Bone Offering

Movement+Utility 4L:
Flame Dash - Immortal Call
Leap Slam - Faster Attacks
use whatever you like best. Frostblink is also pretty good as it doesn't interrupt cyclone. Particularly appealing with Stampede Boots' Travel Skill Cooldown Recovery
Advanced Setup

This setup is for those who have invested into gear that allows you to drop gems from sockets, thus opening up more utility (Culling Strike from 2nd Cluster Tree for example) we can Add just a little more with our sockets:

Raise Specter

Specters can be used to add specific monsters to our desecrate pool. High life monsters add an insurmountable amount of damage to the explosions of Detonate Dead and Volatile Dead. Stoneskin Flayer and Lithomancer are the specters of choice. They have 800% increased life. These do not require links and will (mostly) never die. However if they do it's not a big deal as once you've entered an instance they stay in the desecrate pool of that instance. Simply resummon from map or hideout afterward and move on with your life. Make a specter bank to conveniently get them back if lost completely.

Cast on Critical Strike, things to know
First of all, here's a great post explaining Cast on Crit Attack Speed and Cooldown Recovery breakpoints in detail
Reddit Post

The short version:
We get more than 12.12 aps because of Corpse Pact and so need at least 14% Cooldown recovery rate somewhere on our gear. The "easiest" (albeit expensive) way is to use an Awakened CoC Support of at least level 3.

Alternatively, you can get it on boots or belt slot.

Getting Stun Immunity
Wasn't exactly sure where to include this bit of information so it's getting its own brief section.

In 3.11 cyclone was nerfed to no longer provide stun immunity while channeling. While this was a fair nerf it means we definitely want to make sure we get immunity somehow.

The easiest way to do this is to farm lab for the enchant. Merciless lab variant is perfectly acceptable

Alternative Stun Immunity: PICTURE EDITION

40% from Lucidity notable that we also use for the -3 mana cost.
With Harvest you can craft implicits on jewels. One of which is 10% chance to avoid stuns. These can be crafted onto all jewel types including timeless and cluster jewels!

Gloves and Helmets can have 21-25% Stun avoidance crafted as a suffix

Elder boots can roll up to 35% with a T1 roll and up to 50% Elevated.

Abyssal Jewels can roll up to 20% to fill out any missing.

Of course, if you're okay with somewhat conditional Stun Immunity you can farm Merciless lab for the "65% chance to Avoid being Stunned if you've Killed Recently" Enchantment. This is probably the easiest way to do it for most people and situations.

Worthy of note: Phantasmal Cyclone does NOT contribute to stun avoidance. It only gives a chance to avoid interruptions from stuns.


This is where I say "level however you want!" You can typically start CoCing at around level 68-70.

Any generic spellcaster should work fine. Minions as well.

I'll add more to this later when I have something a little more concrete. My previous guide for this is very outdated. :)


What items should I prioritize first after I have the essential pieces?
-Get a watcher's eye with ES on hit and a Glorious Vanity (Doryani). +/- 10ex investment and will make a WORLD of difference. Then go for a splodey chest.
When should I make the transition from Spellslinger VD/leveling setup to CoC VD?
-You should be able to reasonably make this transition around level 70 after completing Merciless Lab (for Corpse Pact) and after a 6L is available (tabula or corrupted rare).

How do you generate power charges?
-I have 20% chance to gain a power charge on block from Whirling Barrier notable and Assassin's Mark provides power charges on hit (5%) and on kill (100%)

Can I use XXXXX item?
-Probably. it might not be BIS but probably. :P

Can Blade Blast unnerve enemies if there are no lingering blades to explode?
-Yes. Blade Blast has its own singular aoe explosion not tied to exploding any lingering blades.

Is it possible to go CI/LL with this build?
-Yes, you can technically do this, but you will *need* ES on hit Watcher's eye to make it work and even then you may end up killing yourself to the Eye of Innocence in the hardest possible content (thinking 100% delirious juiced maps). It's also about half the damage output if you choose to use a shield, but if you like CI, here's a POB for a CI build that i_louis and I put together to such an end: https://pastebin.com/AD02EJj0

Other than block, high eHP, Fortify, 32-40% phys damage reduction and chaos resistance...how do I avoid dying?

That's all for now! Thanks for reading!
Last edited by Gryphenprey on Jan 3, 2023, 10:02:45 AM
This build is going to be big ^^
Trust your mind and strengthen your abilities!
Yepp, New leage hype :)
How on earth are you generating charges? There is no way Whirling Barrier is consistent enough. I feel like I'm missing something obvious.

Also considering you have Corpse Pact, wouldn't elemental focus be better than woke fire pen? On that same link of thinking, I wonder if there is a better spot for the Glorious Vanity so that EE could be utilised, that would be huge.

I loved you're previous spin to win build, I'll be eagerly following this along.
Last edited by Scarecrow1990 on Jan 6, 2021, 1:53:18 AM
Scarecrow1990 wrote:
How on earth are you generating charges? There is no way Whirling Barrier is consistent enough. I feel like I'm missing something obvious.

Also considering you have Corpse Pact, wouldn't elemental focus be better than woke fire pen? On that same link of thinking, I wonder if there is a better spot for the Glorious Vanity so that EE could be utilised, that would be huge.

I loved you're previous spin to win build, I'll be eagerly following this along.

I have Assassin's Mark on a level 20 CWDT which will generate power charges on hit(5%) and on kill. I also have a total of 40% chance to gain a power charge on block from Whirling Barrier and Mage Hunter (Large Cluster)

Also, I cannot use Ele Focus because we want to ignite with the Volatiles and Cyclone for Eye of Innocence procs. That is an excellent question though! I will make a point to mention that as I update the guide.

As for EE, there's no real way to make use of it unfortunately.
Your new build looks great! Thanks for all the work and testing. :)

I cant wait to test it out in the new league, but there is one thing that worries me.

The cost!

Duskdawn is expensive (even the non 6 link).
An awakened spell cascade gem is very expensive.
Armour which let you have an additional curse you cant even buy atm.
Is an expensive 5 off color armour needed?

Will the build still be good in endgame without the expensive stuff?
Without an awakened spell cascade gem you only generate half the amount of VD's.
Will it be enough?

Sorry for being critical but ive seen so many builds which looked great on first sight but
got extremly expensive (way too expensive for me) to be any useful in endgame.

I hope you have a budget version in mind, which still works great in endgame.

Xirce wrote:
Your new build looks great! Thanks for all the work and testing. :)

I cant wait to test it out in the new league, but there is one thing that worries me.

The cost!

Duskdawn is expensive (even the non 6 link).
An awakened spell cascade gem is very expensive.
Armour which let you have an additional curse you cant even buy atm.
Is an expensive 5 off color armour needed?

Will the build still be good in endgame without the expensive stuff?
Without an awakened spell cascade gem you only generate half the amount of VD's.
Will it be enough?

Sorry for being critical but ive seen so many builds which looked great on first sight but
got extremly expensive (way too expensive for me) to be any useful in endgame.

I hope you have a budget version in mind, which still works great in endgame.

All excellent questions! I haven't had a chance to talk about league start yet in the guide (I will, I promise!) but what I CAN say is:

You can use any of the "lesser uniques" or even a pretty mediocre rare.

The extra curse chest is an end game piece that adds about 14-15% more damage to trash mobs and roughly 7% to uniques while also boosting ignite chance via Flammability curse on a curse on hit ring. And while I'd say it's pretty important to have it's not *vital*

Regarding Awakened spell cascade:
For VD it's not doubling our ball output. It adds maybe 1-3 balls per proc because of the desecrate corpse limit. It's MUCH more important if you're going for Detonate Dead where you have an abundance of corpses left to consume. It's still a pretty big upgrade but not very high on my priority list.

For the armour, you do not need to use an astral plate. I did because I could and I own the base to split for crafting purposes. It was just easier for me to do it that way.

I would say the best early-late game GOOD chest would be an inpulsas. It's still expensive early in league but very doable and adds a lot for clearing, damage, and aesthetics (blue pops!). Otherwise a Tabula or generic rare will suffice for a while.

So yes, I think the build will be plenty end game viable without all the expensive stuff. You might not be farming T16 tropical island delirium mirrors for 100+ splinters per map on a 5ex budget but your typical atlas grind and early conquerors should be a breeze.

A really strong start would be a 6L chest with the appropriate colors, a Martyr of Innocence (usually 1-2ex on the first few days) and using an Increased Crit Strikes Support gem instead of fire pen/energy leech.

A good an and reasonable start (and how I plan to start) is to just get a staff with useful stats and a tabula/6L and just go from there. The nice thing about this setup is that the build will operate fine in maps while you are getting uber lab trials together (no bone offering yet) which will give time for the amulets to appear on the market. We don't need to self ignite to function early on at all.

Also, leveling with spellslinger can take you into maps for a while as you cash in chaos recipes n such to build up some currency for any initial investments that you feel comfortable with.

I'm rambling I think at this point.

If I didn't think the build would be league start viable I wouldn't suggest it. You can start doing CoC Cyclone+VD as soon as you have enough crit chance for cyclone to proc reliably (crit gem works wonders, don't sleep on it), a 6L (tabula), and have Corpse Pact from Lab allocated. I am also going to write up something a little more comprehensive to help people do so if that's what they want to do.

You can start at 38 if you just go with Cast While Channeling until you've funnelled enough points into crit to go CoC. I'm currently testing it, and it felt really nice. Literally just Flame Wall > Holy Totem > CWC VD. Really smooth transition.
Last edited by Scarecrow1990 on Jan 6, 2021, 10:33:05 AM

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