[2.6 Video Guide] LOW BUDGET Essence Drain & Contagion Trickster [HC/SC/Atziri & Uber Atziri Viable]

For a more detailed explanation of the build check out the video guide: Trickster: Essence Drain & Contagion Build Guide Video Low Budget [HC/SC & Atziri Viable]

Regarding Uber Atziri:
Thank you @Killerdamage for providing confirmation of Uber Atziri viability :)

If you have any questions you can always come to my twitch stream to get them answered or just to enjoy some rock / metal music:

Ghazzy's Livestreaming Channel



Is this build for you?

1. If you are looking for a build with insanely high exp/h gain, not only in Dried Lakes but also when doing maps.

2. A build that allows you to level as itself without any external abilities required

3. If the build you seek can start with a very low budget with possible upgrades for higher currency

4. If you enjoy having too much currency due to the higher budget version of this build is too cheap

5. If you prefer a build guide that has a video linked to it.


Defence & Utility

The main defence comes from using the Grace Aura combined with Iron Reflexes to mitigate incoming damage. We also have the addition of the Fortify buff. The Fortify is added with our speedy utility option of Whirling Blades which currently is the absolute fastest way to move about in the game. This obviously enhances our clearing speed to hilarious levels. We also have the addition of a Flame Dash just to make the labyrinths easier to manage with the traps as Flame Dash allows you to "skip" certain traps where whirling blades would still let you take the damage.

Outside the directly mitigating options the build also uses Enduring Cry to generate Endurance Charges which are then fully used with a high level Immortal Call for that sweet sweet extra long duration of physical damage immunity.

The build has a few last options to decide for when it comes to utility where you can decide to use Tempest Shield for additional block chance which is nice for a slightly higher budget input using a Rathpith Globe shield to further enhance defensive blocking. Or simply use Increased Duration gem to make that Immortal Call even sexier!


Skill-gems & Setups:

Essence Drain:

- Essence Drain, Void Manipulation, Controlled Destruction, Rapid Decay, Slower Projectiles, Pierce or Empower LvL 3+ for higher budget


- Contagion, Faster Casting, Increased Area of Effect, OPEN (I would suggest using Flame Dash here)

Cast When Damage Taken:

- Cast When Damage Taken, Immortal Call, Summon Chaos Golem, OPEN (Tempest Shield vs Increased Duration imo)


- Spell Totem, Increased Duration, Wither

Whirling Blades:

- Whirling Blades, Faster Attacks, Fortify

Unset Rings:

- Clarity & Enduring Cry


- Grace, Vaal Haste, Increased Duration, OPEN (I would suggest using either another Vaal Haste, or a Vaal Lightning Trap to speed up boss kills. Personally I prefer Vaal Haste for faster mapclearing).


Skill-tree & Ascendancy Nodes:

Ascendancy Nodes:
Start with taking "Walk The Aether" and after those 2 points it comes down to a matter of personal taste.
You'll chose from these nodes: "Swift Killer", "Patient Reaper", & "Weave the Arcane". I personally prefer to use Swift Killer and Weave the Arcane as the mana gain gives you the possibility of completely removing the need for a mana flask with the build which is very smooth. The Swift Killer is not only speeding your character up for clearing but also does provide much more damage than that of Patient Reaper if you take an extra frenzy charge from Merciless difficulty bandits as well as an additional 2 frenzy charges from the tree which also increases their duration.

Ultimately, it will come down to what you'd prefer to play as!

Leveling skill-tree, 37 points

Leveling skill-tree, 68 points

Leveling skill-tree, 92 points

Without Frenzy Charges / Swift Killer:
Finished skill-tree

With Frenzy Charges / Swift Killer:
Finished skill-tree

A few notes:

1. If you feel it to be more effecient you can go for the nodes around the Templar: Quick Recovery (Life+Mana Regen) as well as the Life nodes & spell damage nodes: Retribution / Discipline & Training before taking all spare life nodes around the Scion life wheel tree as well as Golem's Blood / Thick Skin at the bottom of the skilltree.

2. Sniper node at the start of Shadow tree is only taken after you've reached a comfortable ammount of HP and feel that you can smoothly apply more damage.

3. The jewels can have both life as well as damage increasing modifiers but I honestly believe that going 100% focus on damage modifiers is a better go for this build and completely ignore life gains on jewels.


Leveling Tips:

1. Use Fire Trap / Freezing Pulse till you can equip yourself with Essence Drain & Contagion then use those to level with all the way.

2. Items such as Goldrim, Lifesprig, Wunderlust helps a lot to speed up the leveling process.

3. If you get a Tabula Rasa early on, I'd recommend using Elreon jeweleries early on to ease up on the mana cost.


- Normal: Help Oak: 40+ Life.
- Cruel: Kill them all for 1 extra skill point.

Without Frenzy Charges / Swift Killer:
- Merciless: Kill them all for 1 extra skill point.

With Frenzy Charges / Swift Killer:
- Merciless: Help Kratyn for that extra max Frenzy Charge.


Gearing & Stat Priorities

Defensive Stats:

1. Life
2. Resistances
3. Armour & Evasion
4. ES

Offensive Stats:

1. Chaos Damage
1. Spell Damage
1. Projectile Damage
1. Damage over Time

They are all worth equally much for this build.

My current gear:
Current Gear


1. Chaos Damage
1. Spell Damage
1. Spell Damage Whilst Wielding a Shield
1. Projectile Damage
1. Damage over Time
2. Life


2x Seething Divine Life Flasks <w/e sufix>
1x Ample Eternal Life Flask of Staunching
1x Ample Granite Flask of Iron skin
1x Ample Jade Flask of Reflexes


Recommended Unique Items:

Recommended LvLing Uniques:



This build thread is merely a rough guide to lead you in to the builds basics. If you wish to see more details about this beautiful build check out the video guide: Trickster: Essence Drain & Contagion Build Guide Video Low Budget [HC/SC & Atziri Viable]

Before you start posting questions I would recommend checking the video. I am as always avaialble in my stream!

Hope you guys will enjoy the build! Below you can access my other build guides:

Build Guides

Last edited by Ghazzy on Mar 29, 2017 8:47:09 AM
Last bumped on Jun 28, 2017 5:03:46 PM

2.6 Update Notes:
* Nothings changed, go ham!
Last edited by Ghazzy on Mar 24, 2017 11:11:20 AM
Man, ED looks so strong, and I've been wanting to look into it. Thanks for the guide!
Completed 20 Challengesiorganic wrote:
Man, ED looks so strong, and I've been wanting to look into it. Thanks for the guide!

My pleasure bro!
Glad you like it :)
--nvm answered in video
Last edited by taion809 on Mar 20, 2016 11:01:25 AM
What would be the best chestpiece for this ?
thorgal89 wrote:
What would be the best chestpiece for this ?

+1 LvL of Socketed Gems Tabula Rasa, or if you're crazy or rich enough to get any other piece with +1 gem lvl 6 socket with proper colors that gives you stats then w/e item works.
Love the build, and really enjoy ED as a skill!

A couple quick questions!
* How does Contagion compare with Abyssal Cry at higher levels? I hear a lot of ED folks swapping and enjoying it.
* In higher-level maps (T11+), how does the damage/clear speed compare? Is this a viable 'high end' build, or does it plateau somewhere?
* What sort of single-target/boss damage solutions do you have? I sometimes feel like my group DPS is amazing, but my single-target damage is severely hindered.

Thanks again!
Running lightning coil for even moar mitigation. Works great
I'm currently leveling with your build, and I had a quick question for you.

In your video, it seems like your ED+Contagion spreads in such a large radius and clears rooms out so efficiently. What I am experiencing is that I can put Contagion on a group and then hit a mob with ED, but it doesn't spread nearly as greatly as yours.

Is the spreading of the dots based on the radius of my contagion? Or is it based on aoe nodes or something?

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