[2.3 Build Guide] Lurifaxx's Soul Ward Occultist! [HC/SC/Atziri Viable]

I have been getting alot of questions regarding my build lately, so I tought I should create this build guide to explain things in a little more detail.

First of all, what is the build?

This is a build which revolves around the synergy between the unique quiver Soul Strike and the Occultist Ascendancy node Wicked Ward. I call it Soul Ward.
Soul Strike

Wicked Ward

+100 to maximum Energy Shield
Energy Shield Recharge is not interrupted by Damage if Recharge began Recently (4 seconds)

The most important attribute of Soul Strike is the "150% faster start of Energy Shield Recharge" modifier. When Energy shield starts to recharge, it will continue to do so for 4 seconds, thanks to Wicked Ward.

These two mechanics become incredibly strong together. It allows us to be almost immune to physical damage, face tank bosses and afk in traps in the end game labyrinth.

The quiver puts some limitation on us however, either we have to use a bow or go unarmed. For me the choice stood between Caustic Arrow, Explosive Arrow or some spell caster with Doryani's Fist. My choice was Caustic Arrow (CA), because I love the hit and run playstyle and the Damage over Time effect is very satisfying.

Too see the build in action I have recorded some videos (please excuse my friends speaking in the background and the sometimes failing quality. The videos are casually recorded just for demonstration purposes).
Face tank: Face tanking Über Argus
AFK in trap: Tanking traps in endgame lab
Atziri: Atziri final fight (helping friend)
T15 Core: Core Malachai boss fight
T14 Plaza: Plaza map clear
T13 Waterways: Waterways map clear


Pros and Cons
- Incredibly safe
- Can do any content (I have not tried Über Atziri)
- Hardcore Viable
- Can do any map mod (Except Blood Magic)
- Cheap with room to grow
- Reflect Immune (with CA)

- Does not benefit from party play

Defense Mechanics
The defense of this build lies in high amounts of Energy Shield and stacking "#% Faster Start of Energy Shield Recharge". A high ES pool enables you to prevent 1-shots and increases the flat amount of regeneration, enabling us to soak through higher sustained damage. The faster start of ES recharge enables us to face tank everything that does not hit us quicker than the cool down for ES recharge (If it hits quicker we have to manually sidestep and actually play the game a little). To enhance this ability we use Temporal Chains on Blasphemy and preferably a chill effect (Through atleast one of the following: Word/Edict/Decree/Commandment of Spite gloves enchant, Arctic Armour, CwDT + Arctic Breath/Ice Nova or Ice Shot).

But, what about packs of monsters that hit us all at once?
The answer is CwDT - Immortal Call (IC). With fast enough cooldown on ES recharge and long enough duration on IC our regeneration will start, even when attacked by countless mobs.
Important to note: This does not work against spells, if the attacks do some elemental damage or if you are affected by bleed/ignite. I usually don't face tank packs of monsters on purpose, as the results can be very unreliable.

What about stun?
Vile Bastion (Occultist Ascendancy notable passive skill) provides stun immunity on full ES as well as 0.5% ES regen per enemy killed for 4 seconds. With Vile Bastion regen and Soul Strike, we pretty much always have full ES and stun doesn't pose any serious problems. The only cases where I have noticed problems related to stun are during tough boss fights, like Core Malachai's Tentacles.

What about elemental status ailments and bleed?
It is very important to have flasks that can remove elemental status ailments such as freeze and ignite, and also bleed. Here are the flasks I currently use:

(They could be rolled better, but I am lazy)


Let r be the sum of #% faster start of Energy Shield Recharge modifiers (as percentage). The delay period in seconds is given by:
200 / (100 + r)

With Soul Strike (150%), Essence Surge (15%), Ring Leo craft (2x 10%-20%) we will have:
185%-205% faster start of Energy Shield Recharge.
Using the above formula, the delay period in seconds is:
200 / (100 + 185) = ~0.7 seconds
200 / (100 + 205) = ~0.66 seconds

For packs, and also single monsters, the CwDT often guarantee that our ES recharge will start. The duration of IC has to be longer than the cool down for ES recharge to be 100% reliable (OBS! only vs. pure phys).
Cast when Damage Taken (CwDT lvl 1) + Immortal Call (IC lvl 3) + Increased duration (ID lvl 20/0Q/20Q):
0.4 * 1.64 = 0.656 seconds (ID lvl 20)
0.4 * 1.74 = 0.696 seconds (ID lvl 20/20Q)
0.4 * 1.79 = 0.71 seconds (ID lvl 20/20Q + Entropy node, 5% inc duration)

To finalize:
If you have 2x 10% Leo Crafted Rings you need lvl 20 ID with 20Q and Entropy node.
if you have 2x 20% Leo Crafted Rings you only need lvl 20 ID.
I currently have 15% and 17% on my rings, and a 20/20 ID with Entropy Node (A little bit more than required).

Important mechanics that might not have such obvious effects:
1. ES Recharge cannot start while ES is recharging.
2. Wicked Ward gives ES recharge for 4 seconds.
3. The CD of Immortal Call is 3 seconds.
What this means is that if you face tank a pack of mobs (with physical damage), the initial attacks will proc both IC and Wicked Ward, and you will propably be just fine for 4 seconds. However, the attacking monsters are most likely to proc Immortal Call again after 3 seconds, but this time Wicked Ward wont proc, since our ES still have 1 second left to recharge. When the 4 seconds are up, Immortal Call will be on cooldown, and Wicked Ward most likely wont proc and you might risk dying.

TL;DR: Don't face tank packs of monsters for more than 4 seconds
(Shouldn't be a problem, since most stuff should be dead by then, and the hit and run game style never puts you in such a situation).


Offense Mechanics (CA)
Since Caustic Arrow is my skill of choice, I will elaborate abit about how it works and how you scale it.
Caustic Arrow:
"Fires an arrow which deals additional chaos damage to enemies it hits, and creates a caustic cloud. Enemies in the cloud take chaos damage over time."
It is the cloud we are interested in. When used with pierce, the projectile will leave a cloud for each enemy hit.
The damage is scaled by gem levels, damage, chaos damage, damage over time, area damage and projectile damage.

"Casts a debilitating effect on enemies in an area, Hindering their movement and applying a stacking debuff that increases the Chaos Damage they take. This effect can stack up to 20 times."
By using Wither + Spell totem during prolonged fights we can effectively double our damage output, while still maintaining an agile play style.

Skill-gems and setups
Primary damage setup:
Caustic Arrow - Pierce - Void Manipulation - Rapid Decay - Slower projectiles - Empower / Conc Effect
Secondary damage setup:
Wither - Spell totem - Faster casting - Increased duration
Defensive setup:
Cast when Damage Taken (lvl 1) - Immortal Call (lvl 3) - Increased duration (max lvl) - Vaal Discipline (max lvl)
Defence and utility:
Blasphemy - Temporal Chains - Discipline - Clarity
Blink arrow

Skill-tree & Ascendancy class
Ascendancy Class: Occultist
Ascendancy Points: Wicked Ward, Vile Bastion, Profane Bloom. For the last point, Void Beacon or Malediction are both fine. I use Void Beacon because I am lazy and wont use a 2nd curse (self applied).

Skill tree, 109 points:


Skill tree, 115 points:


Skill tree, 121 points:



Normal: Kill all for 1 extra skill point
Cruel: Kill all for 1 extra skill point
Merciless: Kill all for 1 extra skill point

My current gear


My current stats
12k ES

This is with Discipline lvl 20.

~35k dps

The DPS is in reality a little higher than displayed in the tooltip, since area damage isn't properly shown.


Lvling/Budget gear
For lvling I would recommend firetrap/flametotem/firestorm or ED/Contagion until you can use a 4L Silverbranch with CA - Pierce - Void Manipulation - Rapid Decay.

In the higher lvls a 5L bow with +2 to socketed bow gems should work just fine until you have the currency for a 6L +3 bow. There is a trick for crafting these that costs 2-3 exa I think. Search for +3 bow crafting on youtube.

Stat priorities
Defense, in priority (on gear)
1. ES
2. Elemental Resistances (75% on merciless)
3. Dexterity (need alot of dex for bow and high lvl CA)
4. Strength (need 111 str for lvl 20 ID)

Offense, in priority (on tree/jewels)
1. Chaos damage / Area damage
2. Projectile damage / Damage over time / Damage
(The reason for this is that Chaos / Area damage also scales the explosion damage from Profane Bloom).

Preferably jewels that has atleast 3 of the following mods:
- Chaos damage
- Area damage
- Damage over time
- Projectile damage
- Damage

Energy from Within, unique jewel:
Energy from Within



Feel free to ask me any questions about the build.

Thanks for reading and stay safe!


Last edited by LuriFaXx on Jul 3, 2016, 8:30:33 AM
Last bumped on Mar 19, 2017, 2:23:11 AM
ty for share
LOVE the soul strike+wicked ward synergy.

Not sure about Caustic Arrow, but there are lots of other ways to make chaos damage on bows shine.
Mind sharing your leveling trees? Wanna give it a go in HC leagu (hc noob here) but not sure about leveling tho
Damn what a nice build too bad i hate Es base:)
In order to get rid of clearspeed meta cap global movement speed at 100% but make all skills instant so everything feels great.
I played something similar a year ago, Soul Strike is funny.

Surprised you're not rocking curse effect on helm or tree.

Grats on making it to such high level on HC.

That build looks wicked! I hope they don't nerf it.
LuriFaXx wrote:

The most important attribute of Soul Strike is the "150% faster start of Energy Shield Recharge" modifier. When Energy shield starts to recharge, it will continue to do so for 4 seconds, thanks to Wicked Ward.

Is that how it works? I always thought this meant that if ES regen started within the last 4 seconds, it will continue to regen to full ES without the possibility of an interruption.
Sevaloc wrote:
LuriFaXx wrote:

The most important attribute of Soul Strike is the "150% faster start of Energy Shield Recharge" modifier. When Energy shield starts to recharge, it will continue to do so for 4 seconds, thanks to Wicked Ward.

Is that how it works? I always thought this meant that if ES regen started within the last 4 seconds, it will continue to regen to full ES without the possibility of an interruption.

Yeah, it works like Vaal Discipline :)

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