Volatile Dead Necromancer Build - Path of Exile: 3.24

28.03.2024 - 17:59:21
Game Guides , Path of Exile , POE build guides

Volatile Dead Necromancer Build - Path of Exile: 3.24

Do you want to try a build in Path of Exile that utilizes nearby corpses to kill enemies? If so, the Volatile Dead Necromancer is a build that is easy to put up and deals considerable damage, so much so that you can use it as a competent league starter.

If you are interested in trying it out, be sure to read this article in its entirety. This is our comprehensive build guide for the Volatile Dead Necromancer!

Learn to Craft the Best Items for This Build


The Volatile Dead Necromancer is a build in Path of Exile that makes use of nearby corpses to defeat enemies. While that may sound easy, there are actually multiple mechanics at play here.

One of the spells that this build uses is Desecrate. This spawns corpses so that you can utilize Volatile Dead. This spell is automated because it is linked to Spellslinger Support, which triggers the linked skill by firing projectiles from a wand attack. This is where The Poet's Pen and Frenzy come in.

The Poet's Pen is a wand that has a unique effect where you trigger a socketed spell by initiating attacks with this weapon. Frenzy is a projectile attack skill that allows you to gain Frenzy Charges on hit.

So how does Frenzy factor into the equation? Using Frenzy will trigger not only the active skills linked to The Poet's Pen, but other spells that are linked to Spellslinger Support as well.

In other words, when you are mapping, you simply have to use Frenzy to attack enemies and all of the other spells that are important to the Volatile Dead Necromancer will be triggered without user intervention. Pretty neat, isn't it?

The star of the show is, of course, Volatile Dead. This spell actually deals damage twice. Once activated, it consumes up to three nearby corpses to cause an explosion, dealing damage in the process. After that, flaming orbs will spawn that move toward monsters within their vicinity and explode upon contact, dealing fire damage based on the corpse's maximum life.

Hence, if you want to maximize the damage output of Volatile Dead Necromancer, you should look for the following mods on your gear:

  • Increased Fire Damage
  • Increased Spell Damage
  • Increased Elemental Damage

In Patch 3.23, Volatile Dead has received two transfigured versions, but they are not worth using. Volatile Dead of Confinement deals a bit more damage than the base version, albeit the flaming orbs that spawn from corpses do not move to nearby targets. Instead, they just explode after a set duration, which is not good for mapping.

How about the Volatile Dead of Seething? Well, it does hone in on targets and consumes a total of 10 corpses in one cast (as opposed to three in the base version). But, the problem is that this transfigured gem only allows you to have a maximum of 10 flaming orbs at a time - a far cry from the 60-orb limit of the original.


Despite the many active skills used in this build, the Volatile Dead Necromancer is surprisingly easy to play. All you have to do when you spawn into a map is to use Shield Charge or Flame Dash to find groups of monsters and then attack them with Frenzy. This activates Desecrate and Volatile Dead to make quick work of the enemy.

Wave of Conviction is slotted into The Poet's Pen, which is triggered automatically when you hurl projectiles at monsters using Frenzy as well. This spell inflicts fire exposure that causes affected enemies to take even more damage from Volatile Dead.

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As a build that utilizes corpses to defeat monsters, there is no better ascendancy class that supports this archetype better than the Necromancer.

Plaguebringer is taken as the first notable ascendancy passive because it increases your damage and area of effect, allowing Volatile Dead to affect more enemies per explosion. On top of that, nearby enemies deal 10% reduced damage to you, which is great for survivability, especially early in the league.

Then, you will take arguably the best node for this build - Corpse Pact. This notable ascendancy passive increases your attack and cast speed significantly. Furthermore, monsters that are near the corpses you have spawned recently are affected by Chill and Shock. This means that they not only have their action speed reduced by 10% but they also take 15% increased damage from your spells.

Next, allocate points to get Essence Glutton. This enables you to regenerate a hefty amount of mana and energy shield, particularly when there are corpses nearby. This node is great for overall sustainability.

For the last notable ascendancy passive, you should take Mistress of Sacrifice. That is because you will be replacing The Poet's Pen with a self-crafted wand. You can slot an Offering skill into the said weapon, which is then amplified by this notable passive. This allows you to gain the effects of the Offering skill, though at a 50% reduced effect. Still, the effects of the Offering skill are beneficial to you, especially when you tackle PoE's more difficult content later down the line.


Notable Ascendancy Passives for Volatile Dead Necromancer


The Volatile Dead Necromancer can work with minimal investment. However, the most important piece of the build is The Poet's Pen, especially during league start. In the endgame, you can populate your character with unique items that take its damage output to the next level.


The Poet's Pen is what makes this build feel comfortable. Its unique effect allows you to trigger the socketed spell just by initiating an attack with the wand equipped (in this case, Frenzy).

While The Poet's Pen is great in the early game, you definitely need to switch to a much better weapon later on. That is why you will use a self-crafted that also allows you to trigger a socketed spell, albeit at a much higher mana cost.

Anyway, to craft the weapon, get an ilvl 84+ Prophecy Wand, preferably with the mod, "+1 to Level of Socketed Spell Skill Gems" already fractured to make it easier to obtain the other desired modifiers.

Then, spam the wand with Deafening Essence of Woe until you get "+1 to Level of All Fire Spell Skill Gems". After that, go to the Crafting Bench and add the metamod,"Prefixes Cannot Be Changed".

Next, go to the Horticrafting Station and select "Augment Speed" for a chance to get attack speed. The reason why you go for attack speed over cast speed for this build is so that you can throw Frenzy projectiles a lot faster.

Although you can opt for the Harvest Reforge Speed option, doing this is risky because it can populate your suffixes with unwanted mods. Of course, it is up to you if you want to go this route, though you'll have to use an Orb of Annulment if all of the suffixes get filled.

Once you get attack speed, go to the Crafting Bench and put the mod, "Trigger a Socketed Spell When You Use a Skill, with an 8-Second Cooldown. Spells Triggered This Way Have 150% More Cost". If you still have an open suffix, use an Exalted Orb and call it a day.


Self-crafted Wand (Endgame)


At the start of a new league, you can use any Spirit Shield you can get your hands on, but Thorium, Harmonic, or Titanium Spirit Shields are recommended for their higher energy shield values. You can use Essence of Greed until you get good modifiers on it, including elemental resistances, mana, and even the "+1 to Level of All Fire Spell Skill Gems" prefix, among others.

However, once you have enough PoE currency, you should definitely acquire the Prism Guardian. This shield has a unique effect where gems that are socketed into it reserve life instead of mana. Furthermore, socketed gems gain a 30% increased mana reservation efficiency, giving you more mana to work with. Because Spellslinger reserves a portion of your mana to trigger the spell it supports, having some mana reservation efficiency mods certainly helps.

Body Armor

There are a couple of unique body armors you can use at the start of the league. The cheapest option is the Belly of the Beast, which is a unique body armor that provides up to 40% maximum life and 200% increased armor. This thing increases the life recovery rate of life flasks as well.

Another great budget armor you can purchase at league start is Inpulsa's Broken Heart. This is typically what most people would use when playing "explodey" builds in Path of Exile. Inpulsa has a unique effect that causes shocked enemies to explode, dealing lightning damage to nearby monsters. Since Corpse Pact automatically inflicts enemies around you with the Shock status effect, Inpulsa is definitely a viable body armor, especially if you want to go more on the offensive.

In the endgame, however, you should opt for a self-crafted body armor with the veiled modifier that greatly increases your life and mana. Another reason why you want to use this type of body armor is so that you can put some nifty Eldritch implicit modifiers. Refer to our crafting guide to learn how you can create this yourself.


Self-crafted Body Armor


The Crown of the Inward Eye gives you a huge boost to your armor and energy shield. It provides a considerable amount of life and mana as well. But more importantly, it grants three "Transfiguration" buffs that increase your flat damage, attack damage, and spell damage, which are definitely welcome on this build.

If you want to take things a step further, you should craft a Hubris Circlet with mana reservation efficiency mods to allow you to activate more auras. To do this, you simply have to use Deafening Essence of Loathing until you get good mods that can benefit the build. Additionally, use Grand Eldritch Ichors to obtain the mana reservation efficiency implicit modifier for maximum effect.


Self-crafted Hubris Circlet


Get an ilvl 85 Crusader Gloves (Armor/Energy Shield) or Fingerless Silk Gloves (Energy Shield) and spam it with Essence of Zeal (attack speed) until you get some useful modifiers. Leave a prefix slot open so that you can add the mod, "+28% Increased Damage During any Flask Effect".

For the Eldritch implicits, spam the gloves with Eldritch Ichors to obtain "Inflict Fire Exposure on Hit" and Eldritch Embers for "% Chance to Unnerve Enemies for 4 Seconds on Hit".


Self-crafted Gloves


For boots, you can settle with the Corpsewalker until you have enough currency to craft a better pair in the future. What makes the Corpsewalker the best option in the early game is that it allows you to spawn corses behind you, which you can use to activate Volatile Dead. These boots also grant up to 120% increased evasion and energy shield to improve your survivability.

When you are ready to craft, get an ilvl 85+ Shaper-influenced Crusader Boots for a chance to obtain the modifier, "(10-15)% Increased Cooldown Recovery Rate". This mod is great for the build as it helps you trigger the spells supported by Spellslinger at a much better rate.

Use any essence that you want that guarantees a suffix. If you ask us, we recommend Essence of Chaos (Chaos Resistance), Anger/Hatred/Wrath (Fire/Cold/Lightning Resistance), or Sorrow (Dexterity).

Once you have the cooldown recovery mod, the essence mod, and another useful suffix, head to the Crafting Bench and lock your suffixes. Then, use a Veiled Chaos Orb and bench craft "+ to Maximum Mana" before you unveil. The last prefix can be filled using an Exalted Orb.


Self-crafted Boots


There are a few viable amulets you can use for the Volatile Dead Necromancer. Xoph's Heart increases your fire damage, but the neat part is that it also covers nearby enemies in Ash. As a result, they will take increased fire damage, making Volatile Dead even more effective.

If you want to make sure that you deal only fire damage, you can equip Xoph's Blood. This unique Amber Amulet increases your maximum life and strength by 10%. It enables you to penetrate the enemy's fire resistance by 10% as well. However, the main draw of Xoph's Blood is that it grants you the effects of the Avatar of Fire keystone, which ensures that you do not deal non-fire damage. In addition, this thing covers enemies in Ash, though they have to attack you in order to be affected by the debuff.

When you have amassed some wealth, you have the option of getting the Presence of Chayula. This unique Onyx Amulet grants a significant boost to your chaos resistance, which is quite helpful in red maps where enemies that deal chaos damage are common. Besides that, it converts a portion of your maximum life to energy shield, which makes this thing the best option to improve survivability when taking on the endgame content in Path of Exile.

For the anointments, you can go for Snowforged (Amber Oil, Teal Oil, Golden Oil) early on to increase your damage output. However, as soon as you activate more auras, you should put Charisma (Opalescent Oil, 2x Golden Oils) for that increased mana reservation efficiency.

When you use Elemental Weakness and Flammability at the same time, you can anoint the amulet of your choosing with Whispers of Doom (3x Golden Oils).

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This build utilizes a couple of self-crafted rings, with one of them having the "Curse Enemies with Flammability on Hit" mod. To do this, get an ilvl 84+ Warlord-influenced Amethyst Ring (Chaos Resistance) or Opal Ring (Elemental Damage), and then use Harvest Reforge Caster until you get the desired mod.

The other ring can be used to sort out your elemental resistances, provide mana or HP, and even increase your fire damage by spamming it with Essence of Anger.

It's important to note that each of these rings should have an open prefix so that you can put "Non-Channeling Skills Have -7 to Total Mana Cost" from the Crafting Bench. This is so that you do not run into any mana issues.

When you have come to the point that you no longer have any problems sustaining mana, you can replace the non-influenced ring with Circle of Anguish, specifically one that comes with the following mods:

  • % Increased Fire Damage While Affected by Herald of Ash
  • Herald of Ash Has % Increased Buff Effect


The Burden of Truth is a great belt that you can use during league start. Although it can be expensive a few days into the league, its price falls quite dramatically afterward. Anyway, The Burden of Truth allows you to survive better because using a life flask recovers your energy shield as well. On top of that, a percentage of chaos damage you take does not bypass energy shield, making you a lot tankier as you take on the white and yellow maps.

However, the best belt for the Volatile Dead Necromancer is a self-crafted Shaper-influenced Stygian Vise with the cooldown recovery mod.

To craft the belt, get an ilvl 84+ Shaper-influenced Stygian Vise. Spam it with Essence of Envy (Chaos Resistance) or Sorrow (Dexterity) until you get the cooldown recovery mod. As mentioned earlier, cooldown recovery helps improve the trigger rate of the spells supported by Spellslinger Support. The other affixes can be anything so long as it benefits the build in some capacity.


Self-crafted Stygian Vise (with Shaper Mod)


The Volatile Dead Necromancer does not have any mandatory jewels, but you can use some that can improve the build in many ways.

Watcher's Eye is always a good idea to include in any build in PoE. That said, Anger is an aura that is always present whether you are using the budget or the endgame versions of the build. That is why you are going to look for any of these modifiers:

  • Damage Penetrates % Fire Resistance While Affected by Anger (Best)
  • % Increased Fire Damage While Affected by Anger
  • Gain % of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage While Affected by Anger

Another great way to improve your damage early on is to get a Glorious Vanity. Use the Timeless Calculator to help you search for this jewel that provides you with the most number of fire damage nodes if it's inserted into the jewel slot adjacent to the "Cult of Ice" notable passive. 

In the endgame, you can insert multiple cluster jewels to improve both your offense and defense. Get a Large Cluster Jewel (spell damage) and use Harvest Reforge Caster until you get Conjured Wall, Mage Hunter, and another notable passive. The last one should be situated at the middle so that you can save two passive points when allocating Conjured Wall and Mage Hunter.

For the Medium Cluster Jewel (critical strike chance), use the Orb of Alteration spamming method to obtain Basics of Pain and Pressure Points.

Acquire a couple of Small Cluster Jewels. On the armor base, spam it with Orb of Alteration until you get Enduring Composure. For the other Small Cluster Jewel (energy shield), spam it with Orb of Alteration until you obtain Energy from Naught.

That Which Was Taken is a new unique jewel that was added in Patch 3.23. What makes this jewel a top choice is that it grants you some pretty cool Charm modifiers that enhance various aspects of the build. Anyway, here are some of the Charm modifiers we recommend:

  • (6-8)% Increased Effect of Your Curses
  • (130-160%) Increased Critical Strike Chance Against Enemies on Full Life
  • (71-100)% Increased Critical Strike Chance if You Haven't Dealt a Critical Strike Recently
  • (20-30)% Chance to Create a Consecrated Ground When You Hit a Rare or Unique Enemy, Lasting 8 Seconds
  • Exposure You Inflict Applies an Extra -% to the Affected Resistance
  • Damage Penetrates % of Enemy Elemental Resistances
  • Cursed Enemies You or Your Minions Kill Have a 12% Chance to Explode, Dealing a Quarter of Their Maximum Life as Chaos Damage
  • % Increased Area of Effect if You've Killed Recently
  • Gain % of Maximum Mana as Extra Maximum Energy Shield
  • % Chance to Block Attack Damage
  • Regenerate % of Energy Shield per Second
  • Your Offerings Have % Increased Effect on You
  • % of Damage Leeched as Energy Shield

The rest of the jewel slots can be populated with base jewels that provide useful modifiers, such as:

  • +% to Critical Strike Multiplier for Spell Damage
  • % Increased Energy Shield Recharge Rate
  • % Increased Maximum Energy Shield
  • % Increased Spell Damage While Holding a Shield
  • % Increased Attack Speed While Holding a Shield
  • Gain Energy Shield per Enemy Hit with Attacks
  • % Increased mana Reservation Efficiency of Skills
  • Corrupted Blood Cannot Be Inflicted on You (corrupted implicit mod)


Welcome to the gem section for the Volatile Dead Necromancer! In this section, we will provide you with the best possible combinations so that you can deal the most amount of damage, while maintaining some defense and utility as well.

Weapon (The Poet's Pen)

  • Wave of Conviction
  • Added Fire Damage Support
  • Inspiration Support

If you are using The Poet's Pen, this is your gem setup. Wave of Conviction applies fire exposure to enemies that are hit. This makes them take more fire damage as a result. Inspiration Support just makes it so that Wave of Conviction is cast without you having to worry about your mana.

Weapon (Endgame Wand)

  • Wave of Conviction
  • Bone Offering
  • Assassin's Mark

This setup is only for the endgame wand. Bone Offering grants you additional attack and spell block chance for improved survivability. Assassin's Mark causes you to gain increased crit chance and critical strike multiplier against cursed enemies. Remember that these are activated automatically thanks to the bench-crafted suffix.

Body Armor

  • Volatile Dead
  • Spellslinger Support
  • Awakened Elemental Focus
  • Awakened Spell Cascade
  • Increased Critical Strikes
  • Inspiration Support

Spellslinger Support is an important part of the build as it automates the casting of Volatile Dead whenever you use Frenzy. It works well with Awakened Spell Cascade by causing multiple explosions at the same time, provided that there are enough corpses nearby.

Awakened Elemental Focus, Inspiration Support, and Increased Critical Strikes all contribute to amplifying the damage of Volatile Dead, including the initial explosion and the damage done by the flaming orbs.


  • Desecrate
  • Spell Cascade
  • Spellslinger
  • Tempest Shield

Desecrate acts as an opener for the Volatile Dead Necromancer. Basically, this spell provides you with the corpses you need to activate Volatile Dead. Spellslinger automates the process of casting Desecrate for you, while Spell Cascade allows multiple casts to occur on a single activation.

Tempest Shield gives you a considerable boost to spell block chance and it grants immunity to Shock as well.


  • Frenzy
  • Power Charge on Critical Support
  • Combustion
  • Barrage Support

Frenzy is responsible for triggering the other spells used in this build. Barrage Support lets you fire additional projectiles and do so in a sequential manner. This alleviates the need to spam the hotkey just to throw projectiles at the enemy.

Power Charge on Critical is pretty self-explanatory. It enables you to gain Power Charges to gain a slight boost in damage and crit chance. Combustion empowers your Frenzy projectiles to ignite enemies on hit. Monsters that are ignited this way have their fire resistance reduced by 10%.


  • Herald of Ash
  • Immortal Call
  • Clarity
  • Flame Dash

Herald of Ash provides a nice increase to your fire and spell damage. But more importantly, killing a monster with this buff active causes nearby enemies to be burned based on the overkill damage.

Clarity is an aura that can help you recover a lot of mana per second. Immortal Call is a guard skill that you should activate when you are in a bind.

Flame Dash is a good movement skill that allows you to perform a series of dashes to move around the map as quickly as possible. You can replace this with Shield Charge if you are more comfortable with it.


  • Anger
  • Zealotry
  • Vaal Discipline

Anger enhances your fire damage, so its inclusion in the build is a must. Zealotry also increases your spell damage and spell critical strike chance. Furthermore, it creates a Consecrated Ground that allows you to deal more damage against enemies that are standing on it.

Discipline is an aura that grants you a ton of energy shield. Besides that, the "Vaal" portion of the skill is something that you can use whenever you need to quickly recharge your energy shield.

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Secondary Ascendancy

In 3.23 Affliction League, you have a chance to choose one of the three new Wildwood Ascendancy classes. These act as secondary ascendancies that work on top of your primary one, which is Necromancer.

Having said that, go for the Warden of the Maji as it gives you certain bonuses depending on the pieces of gear that do not have any socketed gems in them. Barkskin is also a nice defensive ability that you can use in tough situations.

Ultimately, you will choose the Wildwood Primalist for its three Charm slots. Charms are new items introduced in Patch 3.23 that give amazing modifiers. Look for any of these modifiers when purchasing from the trade website:

  • % Increased Effect of Marks
  • Culling Strike
  • Damage Penetrates % of Enemy Elemental Resistances
  • % Increased Effect of Non-Damaging Ailments You Inflict with Critical Strikes
  • % Increased Mana Reservation Efficiency of Skills
  • % Chance to Recover 10% of Mana When You Use a Skill
  • You and Nearby Allies Have +% to Elemental Resistances
  • Corpses You Spawn Have % Increased Maximum Life
  • If You've Attacked Recently, You and Nearby Allies Have +% Chance to Block Attack Damage
  • +% to Critical Strike Multiplier Against Burning Enemies
  • Consecrated Ground You Create Applies % Increased Damage Taken to Enemies

Passive Tree


Passive Tree for Volatile Dead Necromancer


Budget Version

Endgame Setup

Final Thoughts

The Volatile Dead Necromancer is an incredibly fun build in Path of Exile that utilizes multiple triggers to obliterate enemies with ease. This build is incredibly tanky for a Wizard class thanks to its considerable amounts of armor and energy shield.

You only need a few uniques to start enjoying the build, most notably The Poet's Pen. After that, you can slowly earn enough currency to purchase the upgrades later down the line.

If you want to have a blast in PoE, then the Volatile Dead Necromancer will not disappoint!


+Cause a series of explosions to eliminate monsters

+Incredibly tanky for a Wizard class

+Can work with a minimal investment

+Fun league starter

+Easy to play despite the many mechanics it uses


-Not necessarily as damaging as the other spell builds in the game

-Requires crafting for endgame gear

-Build archetype might not be to everyone's liking

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