[3.3] In-Depth ED/Contagion build with Transition into Indigon Spec

This guide will take you through the transition from the normal variant of Essence Drain to a finalized end game variation which utilizes the Indigon Hubris Circlet.

Basically, we start out leveling and mapping as the normal variant of Essence Drain/Contagion utilizing the Shadows Trickster ascendancy.
I would strive towards buying a Skin of the Loyal with the desired sockets to have an Empower level 3/4 instead of Pierce Support as this will be our best DoT DPS increase until we can fully convert to the Indigon variant.

Table of Contents

-Pros and Cons
-Leveling Guide with skill trees to follow
-Gem-Link Breakdown
-Gear Breakdown for normal Variant
-Flask Setup
-Pantheon Choices
-Transition to Indigon
-Change Log

Pros and Cons

-Good League starter
-Budget Friendly
-Great Survivability
-Good early damage
-All Content viable (Only the Indigon version can do Uber Atziri/Elder)
-99% of map mods (No Life and Mana regen is doable with patience)
-Surprisingly fast clear speed

-Cannot utilize Magic find items efficiently
-Doesn't Benefit from a HeadHunter

Pastebin Link for Path of Building: https://pastebin.com/bhUjS587
This is a completed version of the normal Essence Drain/Contagion spec, each section is complete and serves as a good example of what to aim for.

I have colour co-ordinated the tabs so that Purple titles relate to the normal Essence Drain variation and Orange titles relate to the Indigon variation.

When starting out on a fresh character, I'll take Explosive Trap and have it linked with Lesser Poison Support as it scales nicely with the first few nodes you take on your tree and allows a smooth transition to Essence Drain/Contagion at Level 12.

In Act 1 you will have the option to receive a quicksilver flask, I strongly recommend taking it.

Tips for starting out as a fresh character/no uniques:

If you're starting on a fresh character there is a vendor recipe that will apply a +1 to Socketed Chaos Gems Prefix on a Wand, the Wand needs to Magic(Blue) and vendored with a Chaos Gem as shown below:

Recommended leveling uniques:

Whilst leveling these uniques improve quality of life but are definitely not required.
Fill out your other slots with Rare items that have some of the stat priorities mentioned below.

Stat Priorities on Rare items in order of importance for leveling:

-Maximum Life
-Elemental Resistances
-Movement Speed (On Boots)
-Maximum Mana
-Attack Speed/Cast Speed
-Chaos Resistance

To keep things short and sweet I have added 3 Skill Trees and what they should look like at specific accumulated Skill Points
Note: These should be followed in order to avoid lack of toughness or even damage on your journey through the storyline.

34 Skill Tree Points

76 Skill Tree Points

117 Skill Tree Points

Gem-Link Breakdown

I have composed this specific set of Gem-Links so that nothing here changes when using the Indigon Hubris Circlet, only the location of the Contagion setup will move from Allelopathy Gloves to your Indigon.

Essence Drain 6-Link:
Essence Drain, Efficacy Support, Controlled Destruction Support, Void Manipulation Support,
Swift Affliction Support and Pierce Supoort
Once you can afford an Empower Support, swap it with Pierce Support, it's your best DoT DPS increase untill you can transition to the Indigon variant.

Contagion 4-Link:
Contagion, Arcane Surge Support, Faster Casting Support and Increased Area of Effect Support
Leave Arcane Surge at level 1 to ensure the effect procs.

Cast When Damage Taken 4-Link:
Cast When Damage Taken Support, Immortal Call Support, Warlord's Mark and Firestorm
Leave CWDT at Level 1, Immortal Call at Level 1, Warlord's Mark at Level 5 and Firestorm at Level 1 to ensure this defensive setup works.

Shield Charge 3-Link:
Shield Charge, Fortify Support and Faster Attacks Support

Optional 3-Links:
For Bosses and longer fights:
Enfeeble, Blasphemy Support and Vaal Grace
For general Mapping:
Clarity, Increased Duration Support and Vaal Grace

Gear Breakdown for normal Variant

Note that these items are not perfect by any means and may or may not have the correct socket colours or Resistance cap you if you follow the same stats as I no longer had this build setup at the time of making this guide and had to find items in my dump tabs to use as an example of the stats you are looking for.

For your Mainhand and Offhand these will be your best option:

On your Helmet slot you want to prioritize:
-Maximum Life
-Maximum Mana

Item Base priority in order:
-Hybrid Evasion/Energy Shield
-Energy Shield


Unique chest items that fit our build
Skin of the Loyal will be our best chest item for raw Dot DPS coupled with an Empower Support Level 3/4, Cherrubim's Maleficence is great for a balance of Toughness and DoT DPS, The Perfect Form is also an option but in turn you sacrifice a large portion of DoT DPS.


Glove slot will be occupied by:
This is a versatile slot and a Rare set of gloves with nice Life Resistances and Mana will be just as good, Allelopathy gloves are more for the quality of life vs Bosses and high HP targets.

Boot slot will be occupied by:
Also a versatile slot, a pair of Rare boots with 30% Movement Speed, Adequate Life and Resistances will suffice.

On your belt slot you want to prioritize:
-Maximum Life
-Energy Shield

Item base priority in order:
-Leather Belt
-Crystal Belt
-Chain Belt

A shaped belt with Tier 1 Increased Mana Recovery Rate works well here if your budget allows.


On your Ring slots you want to prioritize:
-Maximum Life
-Maximum Mana
-Mana Regeneration

Since our main focus is defensive here, Two-Stone rings fill our resists here nicely.


On your Amulet slot you want to prioritize:
-Maximum Life
-Maximum Mana
-Mana Regeneration Rate
-Cast Speed

Atziri's Foible is a possible unique for this slot but lacks a lot of big stats this build requires.


Flask Setup

Following the Affixes I rolled onto my Flasks will ensure you have protection against Bleed, Freeze, and Curses.
Also having atleast 23% reduced charges used on your Silver and Basalt flask will give you atleast 2 uses before it's fully depleted.

Pantheon and Bandit Choices

Major God Soul of Lunaris and Minor God Soul of Gruthkul

Major God Soul of Solaris and Minor God Soul of Gruthkul

Uber Lab Farming
Major God Soul of Solaris and Minor god Soul of Ralakesh

Bandit Choice
We kill all here as the others don't really have as much of an impact on the build as 2 extra skill points.


The order of Ascendancy i have chosen are for quality of life and are as follows:

-Patient Reaper
-Weave the Arcane
-Swift Killer
-Prolonged Pain


So now you have reached the stage of Min/Maxing gear on the normal variation of Essence Drain and see very minimal increases in your damage/toughness.

Tread no further Exile, Indigon is here!

Transition to Indigon
Now onto the Indigon Variant, this is an old screen shot i took when i put the build together but as you can see it hits crazy DoT DPS numbers and it walks through all content available currently in patch 3.3

Skill Tree Transition to Indigon Variant
This transition is going to cost alot of Orb of Regret's so keep stockpiling them.


Required Gear and Explanation

The bread and butter of this build will be the Indigon Hubris Circlet.
To utilize this we take as much Mana, Mana Regeneration Rate and Mana Recovery Rate where ever possible.

Stat priority on Indigon:
58%+ Increased Mana Cost
58%+ Increased Spell Damage

Stat priority on mainhand:
-Maximum Mana
-Mana Regeneration Rate
-Attack Speed
-Cast Speed

Stat priorities on your Rings, Amulet, Gloves, and Shield:
-Maximum Life
-Maximum Mana
-Mana Regeneration Rate
-Cast Speed and Attack Speed

Stat priorities on your Belt:
-Tier 1 Mana Recovery Rate (Divined to at least 18%)
-Maximum Life


Flask Setup

Jewel setup - Intuitive Leap Location
Required Jewels:

Rare Jewels:
You will be taking 3x Rare Jewels and prioritize Maximum Life and Maximum Mana anything after that is just a bonus.


Possible additional Jewel affixs:
-Increased Damage
-Incrased Chaos Damage
-Increased Damage over Time
-Increased Attack Speed and Cast Speed

Recommended but not mandatory Jewels:

I would only recommend swapping your Rare Jewels to Mana Grand Spectrums once you hit a certain Life Pool threshold, for myself a 4.8K Life Pool after equipping all 3 Grand Spectrums felt like the right time to swap.

And finally the location of our Intuitive Leap Jewel, this is a very nice upgrade for us as it will generate Power, Frenzy and Endurances charges on kill. We will also be taking the full Mana wheel and Melding Notable within range also.


Current Gear in Incursion League [3.3]

Change Log
-Changed Order of Ascendancy choices.

Last edited by DeadlyPrawn on Aug 5, 2018 1:04:26 PM
Last bumped on Aug 19, 2018 6:42:42 PM
Awesome build! good work.
Looking forward to the full guide, man. And thanks for giving me the full run down in game!
A+ Build Great Work
Looks nice, gonna try it out in upcomming Flashback Event
Completed 11 ChallengesShisu wrote:
Looks nice, gonna try it out in upcomming Flashback Event

Thanks mate, if you have any feedback on the guide, I would appreciate it.

This is my first build guide so i will do what I can to improve it, and hopefully make it easier to follow for both new and experienced players.
Looks like it might be fun to have a stab at. Here is a PoB tree link https://pastebin.com/um4CR3iJ if anyone wants it. Easier for me than the pics
Last edited by Talanthas on Aug 4, 2018 11:13:32 PM
Completed 7 ChallengesTalanthas wrote:
Looks like it might be fun to have a stab at. Here is a PoB tree link https://pastebin.com/um4CR3iJ if anyone wants it. Easier for me than the pics

Thanks for the reply, there's actually a complete PoB setup for the NON Indigon variant at the very top of the page including the gear, flasks, jewels, bandits, and full tree with ascendancy :)

If you have any questions on the build feel free to comment and I will respond as fast as I can.
Last edited by DeadlyPrawn on Aug 5, 2018 2:17:19 AM
I'm going to change the order of the Ascendancy choices as I noticed I got the order wrong on my picture, was tired when I was doing the Ascendancy section >.< new selection will be as follows:

-Patient Reaper
-Weave the Arcane
-Swift Killer
-Prolonged Pain
Last edited by DeadlyPrawn on Aug 5, 2018 5:15:15 AM
I missed the complete PoB link at the top as I was skimming for a link and totally missed it. So used to them looking like https://pastebin.com/bhUjS587 rather than https://pastebin.com/bhUjS587 it didn't register.

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