Derba's Hardcore Ethereal Knives Witch [0.10.2][EB, IR, Unwavering]

Life is Fleeting! - so lets throw some knives!

This build is focused on utilizing the power of Eldritch Battery while minimizing the squishiness that can come from being a Shadow EK. Plus you get to be a witch. :D Late game physical reflect can be a huge problem if not handled correctly due to the scaling and the way that armor works. This build strays completely from ANY crit chance or crit multiplier to avoid reflect deaths while still doing massive damage. This is a Hardcore build so if you're looking for the "big numbers" this build is clearly not optimal. I am a lvl 84 EK Witch in the hardcore league. It may feel like a long way out of the way but I feel it is much stronger than just lazying over to the Templar and Shadow trees.

My Background:
I started relatively late into the closed beta in early december 2012. I usually start as a caster in any game and immediately fell in love with the witch (best dialogue ever). I achieved 2nd place Witch and 10th overall in the final 1 week race of Closed Beta. My passion has always been taking other builds and trying to fit it in to a witch build. I started EK in the open beta because it requires relatively low gear to be effective and is still a lot of fun. Currently I also have a rain of arrows witch and an upcoming dual axe berserker CI witch that I will write build guides on also.

Keystones of the Build:
Eldritch Battery - allows running of many auras due to es/mana talents double dipping"
Inner Focus - arguably one of the strongest passives in the game, applies to auras and flask buffs
Iron Reflexes - combined with grace and determination grants huge armor bonuses, also allows for some gear flexibility
Unwavering Stance - Iron Reflexes best friend, turns your base dodge chance to stun immunity

Bandit Rewards:
Normal - Oak hp
Cruel - Alira 4% cast speed, getting this now instead, don't need more phys dmg
Merciless - kill all = skill point

Build at 107 points:

Exile Pro Stat Summary:
Iron Reflexes: Converts all Evasion Rating to Armour
Unwavering Stance: Cannot Evade enemy Attacks
Unwavering Stance: Cannot be Stunned
Eldritch Battery: Converts all Energy Shield to Mana
+300 to Strength
+90 to Dexterity
+170 to Intelligence
2.5% of Life Regenerated per Second
272% increased maximum Life
60% increased maximum Mana
80% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
+20 to maximum Mana
10% reduced Mana Cost of Skills
Physical Damage
8% increased Melee Physical Damage
Spell Damage
18% increased Spell Damage
+15% to all Elemental Resistances
Cast Speed
9% increased Cast Speed
Endurance Charge
+1 Maximum Endurance Charge
18% increased Endurance Charge Duration
102% increased Armour
Energy Shield
10% increased Energy Shield Cooldown Recovery
34% increased maximum Energy Shield
30% increased Effect of Buffs on You
+2 to Melee Weapon and Unarmed range

Skill and Gem Usage:
Primary Attack (aoe): Ethereal Knives + FASTER PROJECTILES.
I consider Faster Projectiles to be a mandatory skill for all EK users. The distance that EK travels without a projectile boost is pathetic. Getting projectile speed on a wand is also a big bonus. From here you have choices of how to boost the damage of EK.
Added Fire Damage - the most common % addition to EK is added fire, comes with a 130% cost multiplier
Iron Will - because this build gets so much strength Iron Will becomes a major competitor for DPS increase
Fork - Increases AoE damage tremendously to large groups, can be removed for more single target dps and for mana leech when needed
Faster Casting - can be a big bonus but not recommended until you have at least a 5L and the mana to support it

Try out different combinations and see which you prefer / what your sockets can accomodate.

Single Target:
Bear Trap + Bear Trap + Added Fire Damage (+ Culling Strike)
Running two Bear Trap gems is the primary source of single target dps when just throwing knives won't do. Added Fire is the most common addition and Culling Strike will increase the damage even further.

Curses and Other Skills:
Projectile Weakness- Increased Damage and Knockback
Enfeeble - excellent defensive
Enduring Cry - This build gets and extra endurance charge on the skill tree why not use it?
Skeleton Totem- Spell Totem + Summon Skeletons. The go to mob tanking totem. Trivializes some hard single mosters and flicker mobs

Hatred- adds damage to EK
Clarity - increased mana regen
Discipline - gives more mana with EB
Determination - massive armor boost, also boosts granite flask
Grace - More armor with Iron Reflexes
I consider these to be the main 5, Haste and Purity are also recommended to level for party / swapping purposes. It is possible top run a 6th aura as a 40% but this requires at least 3K mana pool.
Run the Aura's connected to Reduced Mana gem whenever possible. Prioritize the % auras and clarity to save the most mana.

Wands: stats in order of importance
+%spell damage
cast speed
projectile speed
mana, mana regen, resists, etc

Shield: Typically the 24% resist base Kite Shield is used because all of the stats are optimal, resists/ armor/ es.
it is fine to use a different shield though, in fact better if you don't need the mana or resists and want to get more armor
Pure E/S shields are usable though can be a bit dangerous.

Armor: Iron Reflexes allows a lot of flexibility here
Life- if you're playing HC you pretty much want max life on every piece of gear possible
Mana- first priority is having enough mana to run the desired auras and be able to spam EK. Get as much ES on gear as is necessary, preferably through hybrid gear with + es flat rolls. Even + intelligence can help a lot here. Once you have enough mana try to get as much armor as possible.
Bonus Things to look for:
+Dexterity - on gloves or armor or accessories. You need ~150 dex to level bear trap and grace to their max.
+Move Speed - personally can not live without MS on boots
+Life - obligatory

Leveling Guide and Videos soon to come!

My gear and DPS

EK DPS: 4.7k 6k without fork
Bear Trap 22k
Life- 4600
Mana- 2800
Armor: 12000
capped elemental resists, -8 chaos
IGN: Derba_
Last edited by BrentQuest on Mar 12, 2013, 8:12:30 PM
reserved, lots of formatting and tidying up to come
IGN: Derba_
dual axe berserker CI witch

Off topic, but that REALLY got my attention. I too adapted a few EK builds into my own (IMHO) more efficient one, and a witch on top of that, because let's face it, totally agree with the witch having the best story. And then saw that quote, and was really excited, beucase I started a dual sword build as well which was about Iron Will and making use of all the skills in the bottom area of the passive tree, but a berzerker CI version would be really cool to read. Melee, HC, dual wielding witch. Sounds like a blast. Looking forward to it!

Otherwise excellent guide, nice and concise.
IGN- Vyvanne | Voxxvi (Tempest League)
Vyvanne's Odds and Bods Boutique -
Last edited by Vyvanne on Feb 27, 2013, 4:12:08 PM
Thanks.haven't had as lot of time to play in the last week and will flesh it out more when I have time
IGN: Derba_
I like the build. I played this build to level 78 at the start of OB and 1 shot myself. At that point I had 4800 health with no pice having more than 65 max health on it. I was at 80% capped resistances...I had 54% dmg reduction and 72% with a granite. I had the cast speed and spl dmg nodes in the beginning of the witch tree and I had the cold dmg and cast speed nodes in the beginnning of the shadow tree. I casted 1 EK which crit. After the initial crit I immediately hit a granite and my instant pot. Unfortunately I already had another cast q'd up so I casted that one too. I died right there. The frist ek crit and chained which crit also, and the second ek was a normal hit. With minimal dmg talents invested I was at 2850 dps on ek. More than enough to 1 shot everything and 2 shot champion packs.

Because of this I think that this build could be optomized a little more by not going up the left side of the witch starter, and going across the top from deep wisdom. For the same amount of points you can get another toughness node and a 30 str node. All you are losing is the potential to kill yourself since at higher levels you need to watch how much dmg your ek is doing. You get 10% more life, 10 more str.

Just a thought.
I hadn't thought of that, good suggestion. Were you running chain? One of the reasons I don't is because the damage can still be unmanageable on really big packs with reflect. I can see a crit still one shotting you in that circumstance. Fork keeps the damage relatively predictable and more effective on single targets.
IGN: Derba_
Last edited by BrentQuest on Feb 28, 2013, 10:08:16 PM
I notice all your gear is not verified...

I also notice you aren't on the hardcore ladder.....

You die?? I'm interested in what happened. Reflect?!
MulletMoustache - GMT timezone
Pretty ironic the day after I got my 6L died. Was bored and decided to solo Temple map. Ran in front of Piety and saw nothing was happening. DC'ed and returned in the default league. :(((( Not sure if I will reroll EK yet. I do miss the build and feel like it's something I will always want to have around.
IGN: Derba_
Can I haz that 6L in scrubcore? ^^

Solid build, pretty much the one Kripp was thinking about just before OB.

I feel your pain, losing it - let's face it EK is still really badass. Maybe try the dual totem EK build? That's what I'm doing now. Gives you a chance to finally not worry about EK dealing too much dmg. Which is the "burden" of this kind of build sadly (especially for you HC guys).
Last edited by Unimatrix on Mar 1, 2013, 2:14:32 PM
Oh no! RIP fellow Exile, RIP.
IGN- Vyvanne | Voxxvi (Tempest League)
Vyvanne's Odds and Bods Boutique -

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