[3.0] Dark Pact Berserker (9k life, MoM, 600k dps, cheapish)

Akmarum wrote:
14/08 update - updated guide, got 6L chestpiece, cleared half of guardians, will try Shaper soon

Hello there. Never tried this before, so do tell if I missed something.

Dark Pact. Its basically a chaos nova, it damages all nearby enemies on cast and takes 6% of caster's life to boost damage when self-cast.

This build I theorycrafted before 3.0 launched and now successfully tested it in-game. Its not quite as good as I theorized, but still very solid, probably better than some of my previous ones.

So far it cleared uber lab, normal Atziri, T15s, Minotaur and Hydra.

* Berserker, Cloaked in Savagery -> Aspect of Carnage
* MoM + Vaal Pact
* Life, mana and strength on rares
* Uniques are dual Apep's Rage, The Covenant, Atziri's Promise and optional Clear Mind jewel
* Links are Void Manipulation, Controlled Destruction, Faster Casting / Spell Echo, Increased AoE / Conc Effect and Iron Will (The Covenant provides Added Chaos already)
* lvl 100 tree: http://poeurl.com/bqIs

Pros and Cons
- Cheap. While 6L chestpiece is strongly recommended, the final support doesn't provide that much extra damage, so theoretically 5L is enough to do all content in the game.
- 100% chaos damage, so you are reflect proof and ignore enemy energy shields
- Good clearing speed. Big AoE, white packs die in a single cast, blue ones take less than a second, flame dash to quickly move around
- Good survivability. 7k life is easy, 9k life is within reach; MoM is great, saved me a lot of times now. 850+ ES, a small shield that can be useful as well.
- Blood Magic for just Dark Pact means if you take a lot of damage and burn your entire mana pool, you can still cast the spell and leech it back.
- ~60% Chaos resist from just tree and mandatory wands, so one less element to worry about
- High cast speed + Blood Magic + 6% life cost can make you lose half of your life pool in less than a second. Its a real problem when fighting mobile bosses, so you have to be careful to always hit enemies with the spell and not just the air.
- Not enough leech for single targets. Atziri's flask is a must because otherwise you will kill yourself before killing the boss.

Why use this build over other ones?
Out of all Berserker non-crit versions I've seen, mine has the highest dps w/o sacrificing survivability and not overly expensive.

Crit versions should be better overall, but will be much, much more expensive.

Hardcore viability?
Every build is a hardcore build if you are hardcore enough.

The build depends on the leech to keep itself alive. With Kaom's Roots,

Ascendancy and the Pantheon
I theorycrafted self-cast Dark Pact for Berserker and Occultist. Occultist did way more damage, but had less life, so I chose Berserker one because I kinda tired rolling glass cannons.

Berserker can leech from spells, so obviously he is a great spellcaster. And 40% MORE damage seals the deal.

Cloaked in Savagery -> Aspect of Carnage. Uber lab can be done safely with 6k life and MoM, just facetank Izaro, he can't kill you, so its only a matter of time before he dies. Bring two life flasks for traps.

The Pantheon

Solaris is my choice for major, simply because its the most survivable against bosses and crits. Normal mobs aren't really dangerous in most situations.

For minor, either choose Tukohama (for boss runs, 8% phys reduction is great, because this builds lacks armor), or upgraded Garukhan (extra move speed is useful for running between packs during normal mapping).

The Bandits

Kill them all.

With realistic gear, the build should reach around 8.5k life, 2k mana and 400k Shaper dps w/o wither stacks by lvl 90.

Current stats at lvl 91: 294k Shaper dps; 7.5k life; 1.9k mana.

Why such huge difference between theory and practice? Mainly because the only piece of gear I upgraded since entering T1 maps is the chest from 5L to 6L. My rares lack high strength rolls that are supposed to boost both life and damage.

Uniques and other gear

Why them? Because they give a lot of damage and damage is important. We already sacrifice a lot of damage by not going crit in order to get more life, so yeah, get them, they are cheap. As an added bonus, they help proc Arcane Surge and give a bit of Chaos resistance.

To not run out of mana, use the Covenant, its amazing (at least, for this build).

Blood Magic, free Added Chaos and 10% increased life, good stuff.

At this point, I think this flask is mandatory to solve leech problem against bosses.

Not for general mapping, but great against high tier bosses and running Temp Chains maps.

Clear Mind jewel gives up to 60% increased spell damage if no mana is reserved, so get it as well, but its not a priority.


For other gear, use rares with as much life, mana and strength as possible and Essence of Envy crafted jewelry if you can afford it.

Jewels should have at least either three damage mods or life and two damage mods, or they are not worth skill points.

Dark Pact + Void Manipulation + Controlled Destruction + Faster Casting / Spell Echo + Increased AoE / Conc Effect + Iron Will

I only use Spell Echo and Conc Effect for bosses. Iron Will is the 6th link.

Wither + Spell Totem + Faster Casting (+ Increased Duration, optional)

Flame Dash + Faster Casting + Arcane Surge (lv12) + Increased Duration

High level Flame Dash with two Apep's Rage equipped will proc lv12 Arcane Surge on every use.

CwDT + Immortal Call + Summon Flame Golem + Temporal Chains / Enfeeble

I don't really think IC is worth it w/o endurance charges, but eh.


I use two extra CwDT setups, so in case my game freezes for a second right after I jump into blue pack, I won't just die. They aren't needed if you are confident in your performance.

Passive tree: http://poeurl.com/bqIs

The tree isn't complicated, just go straight for Vaal Pact and grab life/damage nodes if needed.

The problem with that tree is how little damage nodes it takes on the path to Vaal Pact, so no matter what skill you use, it probably won't be great. Still, tabula should solve any issue with the lack of damage.

For Dark Pact, 1% life leech you get from normal lab is not enough to outheal self-damage against single targets. Use life leech gem and/or warlord's mark. In the worst case, use life flasks.

Or just, you know, throw your body at bosses until they die, its a sofcore after all. This problem should disappear almost completely after you get to maps.
could we use lightning warp and get insane movement speed that way?

Less Duration has anti-synergy with Arcane Surge, and Arcane Surge gives almost 20% more dps.

I guess its not really needed for mapping, so you certainty can use Lightning Warp to move around and proc surge in other way. Personally, I just run with quicksilver and go over ledges with flame dash, feels fast enough for me.

Okay, first, if you're using MoM, Pledge is just straight up better than 2x Apep.

For survivability - yes, for damage - no. I considered going kaoms+pledge, but decided against it. Less damage and twice as expensive. Can't really judge how important extra life and mana yet, but so far I'm feeling okay.

Next, melding is really bad, and I would not get the added chaos damage nodes that constitute shadow's starting path. I'd consider Nimbleness points better spent.

More cast speed for a build that already drowns in cast speed? And PoB says Shadow nodes give more dps.

Melding is bad, but life is more important than damage. I guess I could go for Revenge of the Hunted to get 1% extra life and some evasion, maybe that would be a better idea.

Iron Will is only better than a More multiplier when you have stupid amounts of strength. 232 does not qualify.

Tell this to PoB.

Atziri's Promise is silly when you're a berserker whose primary skill is already 100% chaos damage.

As I mentioned in the guide above, its for the extra leech against single targets with chaos resist as a bonus, not for conversion.

Kaom's Roots

As I mentioned in the guide above, I only use Kaom's Roots for stun/freeze immunity against high tier bosses and when running temp chains maps. I guess I should make it more clear.

Lightning golem gives more DPS than flame golem

The difference is under 1%. The build already drowns in the cast speed, so I chose damage.

Belt of the Deceiver

Its an option, I guess, but I felt a bit of extra life is more important than 10% more damage. Maybe when I upgraded my gear I will revise this decision.
Alright well I tried. It's your build.
I haven't seen anyone besides myself running carcass jack. I 10/10 recommend it. Mediocre flat life, mediocre resist all%, great AOE increase (dmg AND size), moderate ES and decent evasion. Relatively cheap. Besides maybe Apep's, this was probably the best piece of gear I've equipped. I've only gotten to T6 maps so far, but I cheese right through them; one-shotting entire screens (minus bosses and rares). I have no doubt that if I had any t10 maps, I could run through them with relative ease at current level of 77. The only major difference between my build and yours is I am Occultist, use carcass jack, and I run saffels shield (all resists capped at 79%, chaos resists pretty much break even). Thinking about switching to Rathpit down the road until I find a flat 99+ life spell shield. ES helps add some eHP, but the main focus is obviously life.

I am surprised to see nobody running around with Carcass, it seems to be perfect for any life-based AOE spellcaster.

My two cents. Thanks for sharing!

Perhaps people don't yet realize that carcass jack received a buff for 3.0. If this is the case...now you know.
caged_rage666 wrote:

Perhaps people don't yet realize that carcass jack received a buff for 3.0. If this is the case...now you know.

It's better than it was, but the only reason to use it over Cherub's in a chaos damage build is for the ease of coloring it if you're using it for your main skill. Cherub's is better and cheaper, and Kaom's Heart is better still.
caged_rage666 wrote:

Perhaps people don't yet realize that carcass jack received a buff for 3.0. If this is the case...now you know.

I considered it.

With my current gear, dps/life are practically the same when switching to Carcass Jack, but w/o blood magic I would need to drop either MoM or wands or get that Lavianga's flask.

With high str/life rolls on rares, the Covenant should provide almost the same life and higher dps. AoE of Dark Pact is already big enough to cover the entire pack, so I see little point in increasing it even further.

There are certainly builds that benefit more from Carcass Jack, but mine is not one of them.
I see you have several defensive CWDT + Dark Pact setups for extra leech.
I was wondering if we are also losing 6% life per CWDT trigger ?
Hi, awesome build. I love it so far.
I was reading the Nimbleness vs Melding argument.

What do you think about putting the Intuitive Leap jewel for socket #4 and get
Melding for 6% Life
Dreamer for 25% max mana + 15% regen rate (since we use MoM)
Overcharged for 8% gain Power/Frenzy/Endurance Charge on kill

instead of spending 3 skillpoints on the way to Melding.

It is a tradeoff for another jewel for sure, but with your build I thought it might be possible to sustain all the charges... just an idea haven't yet tried.
Crit version is not expensive at all. and MoM kinda sucks if you don't have Atziri's Acuity.

Check this out, my current PoB build: https://pastebin.com/yCgTbWDL

Level 92, 7900 life, 1.1M dps on bosses without Concentrated Effect, and with 10 stacks of wither .

1.5M with 20 stacks of Wither, and 670K DPS without Wither. But why not? you'll need only less than 2 sec of totem casting to reach 12 stacks.

You'll only be needing like 200-300C to achieve this (no 6L Carcass yet? just get a random 6L with some life and that's solid enough)

You can sustain perfectly with single target bosses, it's a Berserker overall, all you need is to get some more damage.
Last edited by diabloyd on Aug 20, 2017, 12:49:06 PM

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