[3.0] Self-Cast Dark Pact Occultist - over 3mil Shaper DPS

Hero Classes:
This build can be also run as a:

* Marauder (better QoL with non-curse leeches and life/mana heal via warcry, but bad starting area and lower end-game DPS)
PoB Link

* Scion (highest DPS end-game, requires some respec)
PoB Link

Main Skill:
In order of importance:
Using The Covenant:
Dark Pact - Spell Echo - Controlled Destruction - Concentrated Effort (or IAoE for non-bosses) - Void Manipulation - (read below for 6th)

6th link: I would suggest highly that you use Life Leech and then you no longer have to worry about "curse immune" maps/mobs. Also, Guardians/Shaper have very high curse resistance. With Life Leech Support, you can replace the Warlord's curse with Poacher's or Enfeeble or Temporal Chains as you see fit. If you are fine staying with Warlord's Mark then a good 6th is Increased Critical Strike Chance or Increased Critical Damage. It is also possible to use a Level 3-4 Empower as a 6th link. This has the added benefit of being a red socket that you can easily swap in a Life Leech gem for hexproof maps or Guardian/Shaper.

Other Gems:

Travel Skill: Flame Dash - Faster Casting - Arcane Surge (lvl 10) - Increased Duration OR Lightning Warp - Faster Casting - Lesser Duration - Arcane Surge (level 11)

Defensive Setup: Vaal Haste (lvl based on your Dexterity cap) - CWDT (lvl 3) - Immortal Call (lvl 5), Increased Duration

Debuff Setup: Wither - Spell Totem - Increased Duration - Faster Casting (if you are using Kaom's Roots, you will be hard pressed for sockets so keep this a 3-link in a weapon slot and drop Faster Casting).

If you are using Kaom's Roots - you don't have another 4-link left.
4) (up to you really) - Summon Lightning Golem - 2nd CWDT - defensive stuff - more defensive stuff
4) (if you have Kitava's Thirst helm): Essence Drain - Added Chaos Damage - Void Manip. - Controlled Destruction

Blasphemy - Assassin's mark - Warlord's Mark (lvl not important, based on your strength stat)

Summon Lightning Golem OR Vaal Lightning Trap. I prefer the latter since Golems don't live long in higher-tier maps.


If you are going to use The Covenant body armor go for 2-Passive Points.
Otherwise, Alira.

How it works:

Dark Pact, when self-cast, does 6% life damage to the caster and than the (gem chaos damage + 6% of that life) * (multipliers from passives & other items) is dealt as AoE damage around the caster. So we take damage using the skill. We solve this by leeching life back with each hit. As a Witch we do this by using Warlord' Mark curse which provides Life/Mana Leech of 2% each based on damage done. We take the Vaal Pact keystone to make the life-leech instant so we don't die as we have very fast cast rate with this build (7-8 casts per second).

At lower levels, pre dual wielding Apep's Rage (level 62), you might have an issue where you don't out-leech the self damage, specifically on solo mobs (like bosses without supporting packs/spawns). To mitigate this up your damage by linking in Increased Critical Strike Chance and/or popping a Diamond Flask.

For example:
If you have 2000 HP, self-cast damage is (2000 * 0.06) = 120 Health. To Leech 120 Health using Warlord's Mark (2% damage leeched assuming now curse resistance) you would have to hit for (120 / 0.02) = 6,000 damage

Act and Map Bosses have an innate 60% curse resistance. That same 6000 damage would now need to be (6000 / (1-0.6)) = 15,000 damage

Guardians and Shaper have an innate 80% curse resistance. That same 6000 damage would now need to be (6000 / (1-0.8)) = 30,000 damage

Another example:
A more realistic Shaper attempt is with a hero of 5000 HP. So self-cast damage is (5000*0.06)=300. Needed damage to out-heal the self-damage is: (300/0.02)/(1-0.8) = 75,000 damage

Things to avoid:
Obviously, hexproof mobs and maps are hard as we can't leech via curses. You can do it with swapping in a life leech gem into the mix (although red socket would mean you have a 2nd 5 or 6 link laying around) or you just take many hybrid flask and spam them. (Berserks don't have this problem as their life leech is not a curse). A single mob is not that bad as most things die in 1-2 casts so you won't even notice, but a hex-proof pack can surprise you.

Be weary with the boss of the Tier 9 Crypt Map - he does a huge AoE damage spike at time when he is cursed (and we run dual-curse and are in melee range). Avoid this on HC.

The Tier 15 Dark Forest Map boss is "curse immune". You can still kill him and heal through damage while Atziri's Promise is running, but port out in between. This is the one boss I think you should trigger Vaal Haste + Atziri's Promise + Diamond Flask (while having Wither Totem running) all at the same time, instead of cycling them.


I'll level up as Firestorm or Freezing Pulse until Act 3 when we get Dark Pact. Once you switch to Dark Pact remember it is all about spell damage, not elemental dmg so switch out your Scepters for Wands.

Your First 20 pts

Next we rush for Vaal Pact (43 pts)

Dark Pact will feel clunky at first until you get good DPS numbers (meaning you will not out heal the 6% health hit). Get a Doedre's Ring when you can (they are less than 1 chaos) so you can run Warlord's & Assassin's both. Then just use life flasks as you see fit. I highly, highly recommend a Diamond Flask for boss fights. Initially your Dark Pact won't be hitting hard enough to out-heal the damage it does, Diamond Flask will highly improve this, if not fix it all together.

Vaal Haste should only be used once your Dark Pact damage is sufficient that 2% of it is greater than 6% of your health (meaning you out-heal via Vaal Pact the self-inflicted damage from it). Otherwise, you are just killing yourself faster.

Buy 2 x Apep's Rage Wand at level 62 (they are typically around 4-5 chaos on PoE Trade). These are your end-game weapons until you are really farmed and can afford Void Battery (x 2) which are BiS.

Your Level 62 tree - when we get Apep's

Spec out of MoM once you hit Act 10!!!

Level 85 Tree
We add lots of life and prep for major Power Charge upgrades (they are most important once we get Void Batteries.

Your Level 100 Tree
Everything dies


Major: Soul of the Brine King - if you don't have Kaom's Roots
Stuns/Freezes can be the death of us as we need to be hitting things so we continually heal.
This is the first one you should be upgrading with Divine Vessels (1-2 chaos on PoE Trade)

Major: Soul of Arakaali - since our lowest resist is Chaos and Chaos AoE will hurt us the most. Although, not set in stone and you could go with something else.

Minor: Soul of Abberath
With Vaal Pact we don't life regen - not taking burn damage is a QoL improvement. This is the one to use on Burning Ground maps for sure.


Body Armor:


A 6-linked The Covenant is BiS (for Witch) b/c it's an effective 7-link armor for our setup that solves many problems with Mana we have. It still allows us to reserve 70% mana for dual curses and then not worry about mana for Dark Pact casting. A 5-Link is still a very good (effectively a 6-link for us) starter. I bought the one linked above for 35 chaos.


2x Void Battery is BiS but very expensive (125 chaos for the one linked above). 20% Cast Speed and 40% implicit Spell Damage are way way way more important then a 65% Global Critical Strike roll.

Apep's Rage is an excellent budget-friendly alternative. Do not pay more than 8 chaos for one (typically you can get them for 4-5 chaos). These can carry you all the way through Tier 15 maps no problem. Void Battery is not needed to beat the game, they are just BiS once you have spec'ed into the extra Power Charge nodes on tree.


+40% Dark Pact Damage Enchant is BiS





We have 3 options here. #1 & #2 are fairly similar in DPS so up to you; #3 is more defensive (lower DPS by about 2% then #1 and #2, but much more life)

1) Maligaro's Virtuosity

Reason: +50% Crit Chance, up to +30% Global Crit Multiplier, +Dex (which we need for higher lvl Vaal Haste)

2) Voidbringers

Reason: up to +150% Crit Chance for Spells, decent Energy Shield, Mana Cost helps reach higher Arance Surge levels

3) Rare Fingerless Silk Gloves
Reason: +16% Spell Damage (implicit), Can Roll Up to +117 Health, Energy Shield, Resists


Kaom's Roots are in my opinion, BiS. Stun Immunity is very very important to us. We heal by leeching, we can't do that when stunned. Our health pool is not that big until very high level and very well geared so you will get stunned often without these boots or other stun-reduction methods.

Two Good Enchants exist:
More Leech (as in example above), Faster Cast Speed after kill






So this is variable and depends on some decisions you make.

If you choose to use Soul Tether Cloth Belt do not go Wicked Ward -> Vile Bastion (they don't work together well). Instead go for 2nd curse from Profane Bloom & Malediction. You can then drop the Doedre's Ring (it's really a crap ring in all stats except we need it early for 2nd curse) and get quality ring.

If you have a good +1 curse corrupted amulet then go for Wicked Ward -> Vile Bastion with good ES gear for heavy ES defense. If you are fine with going end-game with Doedre's Ring same stands (although you have the option to take just Profane Bloom and then at uber lab just Wicked Ward if you don't need Vile Bastion).

If you chose to go for Whispers of Doom (keystone within 4 passive points of our path) you can take above advice and do as you please as you don't need Malediction - unless you really want to go creative and go tri-curse.

You will be taking these:
Void Beacon & Forbidden Power (order doesn't matter - up to you)

For new players I recommend: head for Malediction first, then Void Beacon, then ultimately Forbidden Power


In order of Priority for each mod:

Maximum Life is paramount!!!

Prefixes: (hope to get at least 1 of these, ideally 2)
7% increased Maximum Life (5-7%)
16% increased Spell Damage while Dual Wielding (14-16%)
13% increased Chaos Damage (9-13%)
5% increased Cast Speed while Dual Wielding (3-5%)

Suffixes: (hope to get at least 1 of these, ideally 2)
15% to Critical Strike Multiplier for Spells (12 - 15%)
12% increased Area Damage (10-12%)
14% increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells (10-14%)
4% increased Cast Speed (2-4%)

Here is the conditions on PoE.Trade I use (unfortunately you can't have logical ORs or ANDs) so you still have to filter manually the results (i.e., you really really want maximum life on it plus other conditions). If you ever see one that meets your price approval, buy it.
PoE.Trade Search URL


Jungle Valley Boss (T1)
Just a boss kill on a 4-link to show speed - not the most ideal as the boss doesn't spawn right away.

Acid Lakes Boss (T4)
Just a boss kill on a 4-link

Racecourse Boss (T6)
Just a boss kill on a 4-link

Full Strand Run (T6)
Full run on a 6-link with no life/mana regen. Wanted to show how you can get in trouble if you don't use Dark Pact properly to target as you won't leech mana and have to drop gems (or use portal). Easy boss kill.

Full Bog Run (T8)
Full run on a 6-link. Nothing special, double bosses. Forgot to enrage them. Sorry I'm new to making videos...

Full Maelstorm Unique Run (T8)
Enjoy the breach at the end...

Poorjoy's Asylum Breach Fun

Full Terrace Run (T10)

Precinct Run (T11)

Baazar Run (T11)

Ivory Temple (T12)

Maze (T14) Full Clear
Mistakes were made...

Colosseum (T15) Clear
Boss mistakes as I was rushing... stupid

Beachhead T16 Full Run
Longer video as it was my first time there and I explored a bit. Still working on getting more health, just need levels now.

Example Gear to Start Mapping:

Path of Building Link:
Currently Recommended

My current gear (I'm still highly experimenting so things change):

Best of Luck
Last edited by Nostrademous on Aug 22, 2017, 8:23:25 AM
Last bumped on Jun 24, 2018, 8:58:25 AM
Level 43 thus far (normal labs done). Super trash gear but clearing mobs super easy. Boss fights are harder as less "total dmg" per cast so I don't outheal the self-cast dmg. With dmg scaling we will get there but for now I am rushing Vaal Pact and then focusing on +Chaos Dmg nodes and Life
Any chance you could unlock your profile so I can see your character/progress.

[1.1.0] Invasion/Ambush - Exiled Fiery Dragons (self-found / newbie friendly / invasion tested)
Character tabs should be unlocked
How's the build going? I'm very interested in this.
im also interested in the build,anyone higher lvl with this build? how is it
I'm currently lvl 50 with the build. It works very well for everything up till act 7 where I am now. I haven't really had trouble killing anything. Make sure you get vaal pact early.

other than that, I use a Granite flask so I can easier take a few hits while I leech from my warlords mark.
nice idea!

For what is the code in pastebin?
I was curious about this spell when i saw it and I was wondering if it worked with totems at all. I wanted to see if you could make a chaos version of RF totems like this.
IANF1 wrote:
I was curious about this spell when i saw it and I was wondering if it worked with totems at all. I wanted to see if you could make a chaos version of RF totems like this.

It does work with totems.

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