[3.6] Acid Molten Strike Assassin - Uber Elder-viable Poison Build
This is a poison build that I've used to clear Shaper/Elder and all of their Guardians on a budget (see gear section). Uber Elder is also possible, though requires better gear.
The idea is a poison character that builds a synergy around some of the strongest mechanics currentlpy in the game
The skill itself is top tier right now due to threshold jewels and Ancestral Call, but it also has some very good synergies with poison.
In particular, the support gems Greater Multiple Projectiles and Multistrike don't have a damage penalty for poison, but only for direct damage.
The whole ascendancy is based around poison, but one line makes it especially good when used with Molten Strike, as it has an absurd hit rate.
Life/Mana gained on hit:
Most builds can't run every map mod because they rely on leech or regen. By taking advantage of Molten Strike (again), we can ignore these map mods and recover faster than leech/regen ever could.
Hinder and Maim stack up to reduce enemies' movement speed by more than 60%.
With Fenumus' Weave, you can also add a Temporal Chains Aura or Arctic Armour on top.
This causes regular monsters to almost stand still, while still significantly slowing down bosses.
This especially makes Shaper's Guardians very easy, as they move around a lot.
Pros and Cons
Leveling is very smooth if you can afford a Tabula Rasa and Thief's Torment.
You can also use this build as a starter - many core uniques are rather cheap and none of them are specifically required.
If you have mana issues, use a mana gain on hit jewel or a flask.
You might feel a bit squishy at the start because most of the life passives are at the bottom left corner of the skill tree.
Molten Strike is available right after Hillock, although not for Shadow. You can buy it on poe.trade, with another character or later in act 3.
Use the support gems from the build section as you aquire them.
Herald of Agony is available in Act 2. I highly recommend linking it to Pierce and some damage supports (Minion Damage, Damage on Full Life, ...) because it shits on the entire storyline once you get GMP/Multistrike.
Try to keep your chance to poison at 80% or more, use Lesser Poison or Poison support gems if you have to. Once you reach maps, your chance should always be at 100%.
Your poison will take some time to deal good damage, but it should be noticeable after the first Labyrinth.
Cheap Unique Weapons you can use during leveling:
After that, Added Chaos Damage Support should provide enough damage until you get a Wasp Nest.
Endgame Gear with low level requirements (more expensive):
Recommended gear progression
1) Wasp Nest, Coralito's, Wildfire and Thief's Torment
2) 6-link body armour, rare (Tabula Rasa also works)
3) Fenumus' Weave or Volkuur's Guidance
5) Level 21 Added Chaos Damage and 20-quality gems
6) Well-rolled Stygian Vise and a blind jewel
7) (Delve) fossil-crafted rare claw
8) Enchanted helmet and unique 6l body armour
9) Good Elder rings with life gain on hit
10) Four-stat jewels
Wasp Nest is the go-to weapon for the build. Has good attack speed/crit and helps damage a lot with the Chaos Damage/Poison Chance. Life gained on hit is insane when combined with Molten Strke.
You can also craft some very good weapons with Delve fossils which can vastly surpass a Wasp Nest, though great ones are not easy to get. Do this by spamming Aberrant + Corroded fossils, the best base is an iLvl 83+ Elder Imperial Claw. Adding a 'hits can't be evaded' craft from Jun can also be used, in which case you can replace Lycosidae with a better shield.
As a rule of thumb, if your poison weapon has attack speed, then it's about as good as a Wasp Nest. If it has additional chaos (for Volkuur's: physical and fire) damage on top of that, it's better.
How to compare your Claw
Open up one of my two PoB pastebins, depending on the gloves you're using. They are already configured, so you don't have to import your own character.
Note that this means the damage gain isn't 100% accurate, but it's precise enough to know which claw is better.
After that, mouse over your own weapon ingame and press Ctrl + C to copy the text, then you can import it into PoB with Ctrl + V.
Replace the line
"60% chance for Poisons inflicted with this Weapon to deal 100% more Damage"
"60% more damage with poison"
After you created the claw, you can swap your weapons to compare the stats.
Also, make sure your poison chance stays at 100%.
If it's too low, you can pick up some points in the passive tree.
For every point used, you should subtract 4% from the rare claw's damage bonus.
The best shield we can use. Unevadable hits means we get more poison duration, more life on hit and more damage.
It's usually a bit expensive, so if you can't afford it use a rare shield with life, attack speed and/or accuracy until then.
On a low budget, get either a Tabula Rasa or a 6-linked rare.
You really want to have an early 6L, as it grants 65% more damage over a 5L.
Once you can afford an actual 6L, you have many options, like Belly of the Beast, Cherrubim's Maleficiencs or Yriel's Fostering.
Do not use Dendrobate, it's a trap.
In my opinion, the best one right now is a well-rolled Loreweave.
By using Thief's Torment, we're giving up the potential stats from two other rings, yet I still think it's worth using for the majority of players. Just like Wasp nest, it adds a large amount of life on hit. Both of these - together with Molten Strike's hit rate - make it possible to facetank most of the game. Mana gained on hit also removes all mana issues during leveling.
Item quantity is a very powerful bonus on top of all.
Once you have a lot of currency, you're better off using Elder rings with life gain on hit, although those are very expensive.
This will allow you to get life or damage on your rings, aswell as higher resistances than a Thief's Torment can provide.
In the endgame your mana leech and regen should be enough to sustain Molten Strike, but I still recommend getting one jewel with mana gain on hit just to be safe.
Note that you don't necessarily need to get LgoH on rings, but doing so will double your life recovery.
Since Molten Strike converts some of your physical to fire damage (which cannot poison), there are essentially two ways to scale your damage:
1) Use added chaos damage, which doesn't get converted. In this case the best gloves by far are Fenumus' Weave, they add a huge amount of damage, cause an AoE slow to nearby enemeis and have life on top of it.
They can be replaced with rares (which is why this is the regular build version), but if you don't think you can obtain them on your character, you should always go with the next option.
2) Make your fire damage poison with Volkuur's Guidance. Doing this with maximum efficiency requires you to do some small changes in your gem setups, which is why you should only play this version once you actually have the gloves.
A rough summary of both versions would be:
•Safer due to Hinder and either a Curse-Aura or Arctic Armour
•Spider Web debuff also increases damage output for Agony Crawler and party members (15%)
•about 35% more upfront poison DPS with similiar gear, usually kills enemies faster
•higher gear ceiling (can use additional damage mods, such as added fire damage, elemental damage with attacks or non-chaos damage gained as extra chaos)
•only half the poison duration (=half the total damage). Most of the time this won't be too much of an issue because you can still get pretty long poisons.
Helmet, Belt, Boots, Amulet
These item slots are mainly there to increase your life and resistances.
Some of them can roll damage mods, but they are more of a bonus than a necessity.
Your Enchantment of choice should be the one with 3 additional MS projectiles. Since it is extremely expensive, see it as a luxury that you can get for endgame.
Other enchants can be helpful, too, but won't have much of an impact.
If you ever plan on fighting Uber Elder, you should definitely wear Kaom's Roots, so you should balance your resistances accordingly.
With Coralito's Signature we don't have to skill Perfect Agony ourselves, saving a lot of passive points. The fact that it's a diamond flask makes it perfect for the build.
Other flasks are flexible and up to your choice, but I highly recommend the mods Staunching, Heat and Warding for general mapping.
If you don't know what to take, you can just copy this setup.
-Atziri's Promise only if you're using Volkuur's Guidance, you won't get much damage out of it otherwise.
-Dying Sun is a 20% damage bonus if you have the maximum amount of obtainable projectiles (10)
-Witchfire Brew is a pretty good damage flask. You can expect a total damage bonus of ~55% against trash and ~21% against Shaper/Guardians. Note that it will overwrite Enfeeble unless you raise your curse limit.
Self-explanatory, Wildfire is a must have.
Rare jewels should always have a life mod and other mods that increase your damage, though resistances are also fine.
If you're not using Thief's Torment, I recommend one jewel with mana gain on hit.
You should also get one Abyss jewel with blind on hit, since Molten Strike will cause it to proc very often.
If you're using Volkuur's Guidance, added fire damage is one of the best mods you can get on jewels.
My 3.4 Delve Character (Volkuur's)
This is a full endgame setup, and the gear I used for all the 3.4 Videos except for the claw, which was a Wasp Nest in the earlier videos.
•I originally planned to craft -chaos resistance on the helmet, but the life rolls on this one were so good that I kept it, so I could've gotten another 10% more damage.
•In my passive tree I took Phase Acrobatics to have an easier time with Shaper and Elder.
•I don't have any resists on my boots so I can have an easy gearswap to Kaom's Roots, which is very important for the Uber Elder encounter.
•The rings are not amazing, they were made myself with ilvl 75 Elder bases, using only alts, regals and master crafting.
•The claw I'm using is pretty insane and I got it for 2.5ex, it grants me more than 40% damage over a Wasp Nest. I only used it in the videos tagged with it.
For Uber Elder:
My 3.2 Bestiary Character (Fenumus')
Mid-Maps Sample Gear
Endgame Sample Gear
Once you get this level of gear, you can facetank most of the endgame content.
Uber Elder Setup
This is what I used to defeat Uber Elder for the first time at level 92. Kaom's Roots and Purity of Ice were really important. Wither totem wasn't needed as it kept dying most of the time.
Since Kaom's Roots effectively make Soul of the Brine King useless, you should swap to Lunaris if you want to min-max.
Molten Strike - Added Chaos Damage - G. Multiple Projectiles - Multistrike - Ancestral Call - Deadly Ailments
The first five gems are pretty much required to have, Deadly Ailments is the best DPS gem we have left.
Level 21 Added Chaos Damage is very desirable because it's the main source of base damage.
A 6-link is very important for your damage, as the final link is another 60% bonus.
I recommend getting a Tabula Rasa or 6-linked rare item for a cheap start.
Replace Added Chaos Damage for Immolate because it has higher numbers (you can ignite with critical strikes).
Frost Blades - Added Chaos Damage - Chain - Multistrike - Ancestrall Call - Damage on Full Life
If you want, you can try out Frost Blades It produces less lag than MS and has better area coverage, but significantly worse single target damage.
The gem colours are the same as Molten Strike, so you can easily swap between both skills.
Threshold jewels are not needed.
Shield Charge - Fortify - Faster Attacks, Arctic Armour
As Movement Skill I highly recommend Shield Charge, as it's more precise than Whirling Blades and costs less mana.
With Fenumus' Weave, these gems have to be in the gloves because every other setup would support Aspect of the Spider, increasing the mana reservation.
Replace Arctic Armour for Anger for some extra fire damage.
Spell Totem - Wither - Increased Duration - Multiple Totems
The totem pretty much doubles our damage and should only be used in bossfights. The Hinder debuff does not stack with Aspect of the Spider, but overwrites it for a stronger effect instead.
Cast When Damage Taken (level 1) - Immortal Call (level 3) - Increased Duration - Enfeeble (level 5)
Just the usual IC/Curse setup to protect you.
Note that you can use any curse you prefer, but Enfeeble is the most defensive.
Herald of Agony - Pierce - Minion Damage
Adding support gems to the Agony Crawler will increase you mana reservation to a total of 85%, which is still fine.
If that's too low for you, you can swap Minion Damage for Additional Accuracy (which doesn't have a mana multiplier).
Note that the Crawler starts extremely strong, but falls off the further you progress through maps.
A level 21 Crawler with 40 stacks will end up dealing ~120k single target DPS, which makes it sufficient for packs, but relatively weak against bosses. If that's not enough for you, feel free to consider another setup.
Level 21 on the Herald is highly recommended, as is 20% quality.
On both gloves variants, you can exchange the Herald/Crawler to gain access to a Blasphemy Aura.
My recommendendations for curses are:
•Temporal Chains (Slow + Poison Duration)
Herald of Agony, Blasphemy - [Curse]
For the Fenumus' version it's enough to remove some damage supports from the Crawler.
However: you'll also need to disable your Arctic Armour or else you won't have enough free mana.
Blasphemy - [Curse]
Since the Volkuur's version already has 120% poison chance, you can completely remove the Herald, which only results in a damage loss of 10%.
In both cases, you'll end up with two free gem slots.
1) because your CWDT + Enfeeble will now be useless (curse limit of 1)
2) the extra slot gained from either this setup (Volkuur's) or by removing Arctic Armour (Fenumus').
In the CWDT setup, I recommend using a Vaal Skill (Haste, Grace or Blight).
The other slot is up to your own creativity.
Of course, there are many other ways to reserve your mana which include Impresence, Malevolence or a beastcrafted Aspect of the Spider.
Cast When Damage Taken - Summon Lightning Golem - Blood Rage
Both of these buffs boost our attack speed. Blood Rage can be sustained with our life regeneration, so it actually helps survivability by increasing our hit rate.
These gems are on CWDT because I'm too lazy to activate them myself (Blood Rage is instant so you could also manually activate it if you want).
Skill Tree, Path of Building, Calculations
Path of Building:
Fenumus' Weave: https://pastebin.com/kidFe3Mu
Volkuur's Guidance: https://pastebin.com/MZuVr1wY
Only use this as a reference for gear/tree comparison.
These pastebins don't have the best gear you can get, but serve as a general guideline instead. You can check my characters in the gear section for additional examples. (The Delve character has the best equipment)
Since I regularly get comments calling me a PoB warrior (it returns very misleading numbers), please refer to the videos to get an accurate representation of DPS.
If you're wondering how I got the 560 poisons recently number, it's a single target estimate using:
attack speed (10) * Ancestral Call (2) * recently (4) * number of projectiles (14) * chance for a projectile to hit (0.5, estimated)
It can be lower, but also higher - depending on what you're fighting. In either way it does not affect the way you build your character (poison duration is never worth getting).
Calculating your single target DPS/recovery
Since the poison duration is so highly variable (and let's be honest, nothing's going to survive the time it takes to reach a full ramp up anyway), it's a better idea to calculate how your poison ramps up. The first thing you'll need for that is your projectile hit rate.
Projectile Hit Rate:
Can be calculated by multiplying your melee attack speed with 2 (Ancestral Call clone) and the number of projectiles that are going to hit.
Here is a calculator for the hit rate. Against bosses this is somewhere between 40-50%.
Using my Delve character with 14 projectiles and a 50% chance to hit, this is:
9.39 * 2 * 14 * 0.5 = 131.46 hits per second
I'm leaving out direct hit damage here because it doesn't really matter.
To calculate your damage ramp, multiply the Projectile poison DPS with the number of hits per second, then add your Melee Poison DPS multiplied with your attack speed on top (to account for the Melee clone). Again, using my character:
5972.5 * 131.46 + 9955.4 * 9.39 = 878626.06
This is the DPS after 1 second of ramping up, this means damage while continuously attacking would ramp up like this:
after 1 second: 878626
after 2 seconds: 1757252
after 3 seconds: 2635878
etc., until your poison starts running out.
Once again using my character, add up your Projectile Hit Rate, the one Ancestral Call clone and multiply it with your Life Gain on Hit to get your LgoH per second:
(131.46 + 9.39) * 94 = 13239.9
You could add leech here too, but it's not very powerful anyway.
•Normal Lab: Noxious Strike
•Cruel Lab: Toxic Delivery
•Merc Lab: Unstable Infusion
•Eternal Lab: Deadly Infusion
Bandits & Pantheon
Kill them all for 2 passive points.
Major God: Soul of the Brine King is very important, as getting stunned is a major weakness/annoyance.
Minor God: doesn't really matter, I prefer Soul of Ryslatha.
This is so important that I think it deserves its own section.
For smooth gameplay set it to predictive.
For safety (i.e. in important bossfights) use lockstep.
If the performance issues are getting too bad for you, read the FAQ.
Why the hell does this lag so much?
There are two reasons for that:
1) FPS/Hardware lag
This only really happens if you have an older PC. If your Network Mode is on predictive and you still get FPS drops, it's this.
If you don't want to upgrade your PC, the only thing you can do is lower your graphics options and the amount of projectiles generated (mainly by swapping out GMP for Vile Toxins).
Belly of the Beast's extra gore can also cause lag, so you might want to use another body armour.
2) Server-side lag
This is the issue most players have when fighting against large packs of monsters. You know you're experiencing this when your game "stutters" on lockstep OR you're having desync on predictive.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not caused by poison calculations per se, but the fact that each hit caused by Molten Strike is a separate calculation. The reason this is so bad on this build specifically is because the upfront damage is very low, which means enemies tend to take much more hits before they die.
To reduce this kind of lag you can either increase your direct damage or compress your damage into fewer projectiles, which will sadly make the build a little bit weaker.
There are several ways to do this, i.e. by using a Despair curse, or by swapping your GMP gem for Vile Toxins.
I would not give up Multistrike, the gem is just too good because it's essentially a 90% more multiplier. Swapping out Ancestral Call will probably have the most impact, but also turn your AoE into garbage.
Point Blank on the passive tree also boosts your direct damage by ~37%.
How can you have all 3 buffs active?
Aspect of the Spider reserves 25%, Herald of Agony 25% and Temporal Chains 35%.
This means you'll have 15% unreserved mana with all buffs active.
If you don't, check your gem links. Shield Charge HAS to be in the gloves or else Aspect of the Spider will have increased mana reservation.
Can I change something in the passive tree?
The tree is not set in stone, you can make changes based on preference.
I never felt like I needed more damage, so I just took a lot of life.
Look at PoB for the most efficient nodes (check "Show Node Power")
Phase Acrobatics is pretty good if you want more spell defense.
Point Blank is not worth it because it doesn't affect poison.
Is Despair a good curse?
Yes. It usually increases your damage against trash by more than 50%, but is only 1/3 effective against endgame bosses (Shaper, Elder, etc.).
If you want an easy way to fit it into the build, try out a Witchfire Brew.
Should I swap Ancestral Call with Melee Physical Damage for single target?
If anything, you should swap it for Damage on Full Life, since Melee Physical doesn't affect your projectiles.
Ancestral Call is still the best single target gem if you use it correctly.
By moving just a little bit away from your target, you can cause your own and the clones' balls to overlap to get twice the hits in. This means it doubles your damage, poison duration and life recovery.
However, this can be a bit clunky against melee bosses that want to stick to you (i.e. Phoenix, Minotaur). In these cases it's a good idea to gem swap and stand right in their face.
Builds and Guides:
Last edited by SHEPUUURD on Apr 26, 2019, 1:44:04 AM
Last bumped on Jul 20, 2020, 12:38:38 PM
on Mar 9, 2018, 10:06:07 AM
thanks for the build, reserved!
on Mar 9, 2018, 12:47:28 PM
This is very similar to poison strike WIP assasin build posted in the forum. People were saying they were having a hard time surviving. It looks like you already got a 6 link and a lyco shield. What level maps are you doing now?
on Mar 9, 2018, 8:23:37 PM
"Oh wow, I've actually looked around for similiar build but haven't found anything. Survivability isn't really an issue for me. The only problem I've found is that getting stunned can be pretty dangerous. There are ways around that but I think it's best to just live with it.
I've been doing up to T14 maps now, plus some Red Elder Guardians. I'm pretty confident I can go further.
Edit: T13 Elder down; Shaper shouldn't be a problem either but I'm too poor to get a set right now.
Builds and Guides:
Last edited by SHEPUUURD on Mar 10, 2018, 8:33:15 AM
on Mar 10, 2018, 3:53:51 AM
A few questions ('cause I've always wanted to make a poison character).
Why molten strike? I presume it's for as many (smaller) hits of poison as possible?
Why not use a fire Volkuur's Guidance as then the entirety of the hit would poison rather than just the phys damage.
on Mar 10, 2018, 1:04:33 PM
"1) This should be answered by reading the Build Concept section.
I think that Molten Strike, Barrage and Tornado shot are the best poison skills for that reason.
2) Fenumus' Weave (gloves) are way too good to give up in my opinion.
The majority of this builds' damage actually comes from chaos, which is not converted by Molten Strike. The only thing that gets converted is the small physical portion of Wasp's Nest (which is a loss).
Additionally, Volkuur's Guidance pretty much halve your poison DPS (duration). This wouldn't be that noticable because our duration is already very long, but still.
Thera are builds that utilise this, but they require adding damage to your weapon via jewels/gems. Fire is not a good element to get added damage on because the sources are very scarce. Lightning is the best for that.
Builds and Guides:
Last edited by SHEPUUURD on Mar 10, 2018, 2:04:31 PM
on Mar 10, 2018, 2:03:19 PM
"It didn't seem clear in that section hence my question. *shrugs*
I didn't notice the duration reduction on Volkuur's. :(
I'm probably being stupid, but I don't see any chaos conversion. You're getting flat chaos from the claws, flat chaos from the gloves (per web), flat chaos from the support gem & some extra chaos from Toxic Delivery multiplied by a ****ton of poisons on each mob. Am I missing anything else?
Out of curiosity, how does poison duration work? If you have increased duration from passives/ascendancies/etc, are they all additive with the reduction from Volkuur's? So would you need +50% duration or +100% to negate the reduction from Volkuur's (though you'd obviously still be worse off duration-wise than using any other glove)? Does it really matter?
on Mar 10, 2018, 2:32:33 PM
"It's mainly good because Molten Strike iself is very strong itself and you can use support gems that reduce damage on hits (Multistrike, GMP), but not for poison.
Assassin benefits from faster hits, mainly because of Noxious Strike and Toxic Delivery. One problem with poison is also that leech tends to be very weak, which is then solved with life gain on hit.
"That's the point, chaos damage does not get converted to fire damage (physical damage does).
Fire damage can't poison without the gloves so we don't want that :p.
In general, increased/decreased means something gets added up and then multiplied by the base whatever (in poisons case, 4 seconds).
More/Less means it always gets multiplied.
So let's say we have 200% increased duration (from any source) and the gloves (50% less).
This means that the duration first gets tripled (12 seconds) and then cut in halve by the gloves (6 seconds).
Builds and Guides:
Last edited by SHEPUUURD on Mar 10, 2018, 2:58:26 PM
on Mar 10, 2018, 2:43:55 PM
I'm definitely enjoying this, balls all over the place... Though I think it will become smoother when I can equip a wasp's nest (for the mana on hit & higher life on hit).
on Mar 12, 2018, 6:58:20 AM
Loving the build so far! Trying to decide if I should switch from a Belly to a Cherrubim. I'm happy with the damage output so far, so I may stick with the Belly.
Last edited by Jamibl on Mar 13, 2018, 12:11:47 AM
on Mar 12, 2018, 11:37:28 PM