[3.5] Emperor's Auto/Instantcast Decay Brand Occultist


Hi there! Thanks for dropping by. If you're interested in a build that aims to clear maps on a 3l, requires very little player action, and regularly makes enemies explode in packclearing chainreactions, then perhaps this build is for you!

It's also pretty cheap to get started as of the time of me writing this, and has been my league starter. I reached T8 T9 T10 T11 T12 maps with the only issue being that I can't seem to get anything above that to drop. Uber Lab was done with ease. There's videos below, showcasing the build in action. So take a look! (Only a look though, the audio quality of my recordings is absolutely awful.)

I've run into the issue of being too squishy to handle red maps (T13 and above) without dying at least once per map. Gearing up could probably fix this, but for the time being I cannot state that this build is certain to progress beyond that.

- For the sake of respeccing into having more survivability, I'm playing a another build until it generates enough currency for me to do so, for the time being.

Basic Concept, Playstyle, Pros and Cons:
Its in the name - we use Brands to apply Decay to kill stuff. The amazing part is that we don't actually have to cast the brands - that's automated! To do that, a dagger like the one below is more than enough to get started.

To ensure that we always have some degree of control over where our brands are, Brand Recall is used. Linking it with Empower in our shield will in turn make sure that the Skill has virtually no cooldown.

For those mobs that take too long to die, we can just press the "clear screen" button (vaal blight) - blight also serves as a single target skill if need be.
The playstyle is shield charge and go! Just press Brand Recall and Vaal Blight as needed, and mobs around you should melt, explode, and take those that still didn't melt yet with them in their demise. If something takes a bit too long to die in spite of that, channel Blight.

If something seems like you want to be far away from it (ahem, hordes of geared out Syndicate members), just go away - after dropping a brand in its proximity. The brand will fulfill its duty so long as you don't Recall it. Even if you do, it will still have applied Decay, which in many cases should be enough. If not, rince and repeat.
- Easy to use. 4 Buttons for clear: Shield charge, Brand Recall, Flame Dash and Vaal Blight.
- Map-mod friendly. We deal chaos DoT, after all.
- Can deal damage from the other side of the screen.
- (open to suggestions)

- Currently feels kinda squishy still. Only ~5k ehp. PoB tells me that will be better with investment, but it isn't likely to ever go past 8k ehp.
- May have to weaponswap for better single target? (Testing)
- (open to suggestions)
There are no required uniques. I would however heavily recommend "The devouring Diadem".

- it provides EB for free (among other nice things), and since we only need a single point to get MoM there's virtually no downside to this.

For boosting our damage Spreading Rot jewels are an obvious choice. I use two. They're cheap and can be obtained as a quest reward so they really shouldn't be an issue to acquire.

Other uniques that I'd recommend are Fenumu's Shroud (even though I haven't tested it yet), Invictus Solaris (+gemlevel shield), and the Aylardex (ideally with +1 Curse corruption) or Impresence for the amulet slot.

Additionally, Command of the Pit would probably be nice to have, but it's far from required and doesn't benefit our Decay dps anyway. So I've opted to go with faster attacks rares. Alternatively, Allelopathy provide a dps stat in addition to a built-in blight that can be used with storm barrier to generate power charges if desired. So far I think that decent rares are the best option for the gloves slot, especially since non-ailment chaos damage over time multiplier can be rolled on them too.

On another note, I'm currently testing if a Cane of Unraveling with 6l ED on weaponswap is worth it.
The Build: PoB, Skill Tree, Ascendancy, Gem Links...

Minion Damage Setup (currently testing - seems better?):
- Not sure if Spiders are worth it. (VS more frequent Brand Recall)
- Overall damage seems better regardless.
- More Life too.
Original Setup (successfully tested up to T12 maps):

PoB - Pastebin: https://pastebin.com/FSp4Fy15

Skill Tree: Node Priority and Ascendancy order:
Node Priority is Life > Damage/Jewel Socket > Curse Effectiveness > Power Charge. MoM is for whenever you feel it would not longer put you at risk of being unable to cast.

As for the order in which to pick your ascendancies, I personally went for Profane Bloom and Malediction first (for the +1 to number of curses), then Void Beacon, and then lastly Withering Presence.
Gem Links:
Unless stated otherwise, aim for highest possible level and quality. The gems for which this is the most important are Decay, Blight and (if you use the weaponswap) Essence Drain. To provide an example, Flame Dash (>=10) means Cast when damage taken should be level 10 or higher in that setup.

Storm Brand(1) - Decay - Swift Affliction
Brand Recall - Empower - (Portal / Golem of Choice)
Blasphemy - Despair - Enfeeble - (Enlighten)
Vaal Blight - Efficacy - Controlled Destruction - Swift Affliction - Void Manipulation - Empower
Command of the Pit setup:
Shield Charge(1) - Faster Attacks - Fortify
Rares with faster attacks support setup:
Shield Charge(1) - Fortify [- Faster Attacks]; Faster Casting - Flame Dash
setup depends, your choice. A few options below:
CWDT(2) -
Contagion(11) -
| if you intend to use ED without pierce and worry about bodyblocking, I guess
Flame Dash(>=10) -
| assuming it's not in your Gloves
Arctic Armour(>=1) -
| assuming you have enough mana
Immortal Call(4) -
| a staple of CWDT setups
Power Charge on Critical - Storm Brand(1)/ Other Spell
| 2 sockets for reliable charge generation
Using Storm Brand can interfere with your damage dealing, so use another suitable spell (like blade vortex) if you feel that it's messing you up. I only went with it for the "flavor".
Essence Drain - Controlled Destruction - Swift Affliction - Efficacy - Void Manipulation - (Decay/ Empower)
I don't really know what would be best here. I decided to go with Brine King and Tukohama for the time being.
Fairly standard and simple: Equip the Uniques you intend to use, fill out the other slots with rares that grant resistances and life. (And movement speed on boots.) - if it's possible to do while keeping your resistances maxed, maybe try to get some dps stats on your gear too (non-ailment chaos damage over time multiplier, chaos damage, damage over time, generic damage, ...). Don't forget to equip a piece of gear that grants Aspect of the Spider. That's all. For jewels, the same principle applies.
About Power Charges:
There's a good reason those have lowest priority for me - it's difficult to generate them. Or rather, it's difficult to justify generating them. Assassin's mark on hit on a ring will help during clear but is an otherwise useless curse that could have been temp chains, storm barrier drops our blight dps... but there are ways. And they can provide some nice utility through some of the uniques we might use. So if you can generate them, use them. If not, no matter, just spend those 2-4 points somewhere else.
(Thoughts on the) Current Status (& My Profile):
- Character is "Herald_of_Decay"

Ramblings concerning the current state of the build:
- I really want a level 22 decay gem...
- a 6l for chestpiece and weaponswap would be nice too
- still kinda squishy vs syndicate (forts), lot's of kiting there

No real problems so far, though damage during clear is starting to notably drop of. Doesn't change the clearspeed itself much though, since it's still enough to apply decay once. The mobs just actually melt instead of instantly dropping dead.

I'm also taking more damage than I'd like to - though it's fine so long as I pay attention to my screen. I should probably start to use flasks? Maybe loreweave would be better than Fenumu's? Nah, we'd run out of ES for skills. A version of this build without EB would benefit from it though. Hybrid or pure ES? Can't test yet, would have to make a new char for that, no time. PoB testing seems to imply both could work though. Xirgil's instead of Cane for the pure ES version? Never played CI...

Damage vs bosses is also falling of. Then again both ED and Blight are currently on a 4l, so that's a problem that will fix itself in time.
"Quality Assurance:" & tested content viability:
Even at worst, the build still can be played as pure Blight and/or Contagion + ED. So aside from deep delves, (...and overgeared Syndicates, and ridiculous rares) it should be able to handle all content in the game and all map mods, although elemental reflect can be annoying if you leveled Storm Brand for some reason.

Tested content viability:
Current maximum (solo) Delve Depth: 79

Uber Lab (1 key run): done
Uber Lab (full key run): not tried yet

White maps: done
Yellow maps: done
Red maps: done (up to t12)

Atziri: done
Uber Aziri: not done yet

Shaper Guardians: not yet done
Shaper: not yet done

White Elder Guardians: not yet done
Yellow Elder Guardians: not yet done
Red Elder Guardians: not yet done

White Elder: not yet done
Yellow Elder: not yet done
Red Elder: not yet done
Uber Elder: not yet done

Seriously, just turn of your audio for those. Your ears will thank you. Also, if one of the videos is not working for you, please leave a reply - I'll try to get it fixed.

On the same note, if you have any specific video requests, I'll try to get them done so long as I'm able.

With Automation:

Recordings of T11 and above maps should be up by the end of the week.
Feedback and suggestions on how to improve both build and guide would be much appreciated- I'll also try to answer any questions you might have.
Last edited by EmperorIzaro on Dec 16, 2018, 1:02:27 PM
Last bumped on Dec 20, 2018, 7:23:06 AM
I'm currently looking for a build with brands, and your take on it looks very interesting, looking forward to some more input from you end. I'm no pro or anything but if you need someone to help you out testing stuff lemme know i could level one myself and we could try out some different scenarios.

Really interested in your build, good work
Thanks! I'm currently trying to figure out the most ideal single target setup.

Issue atm is that if I weaponswap for ST, the brands vanish - meaning I lose my seeking area covering decay appliers. To fix that I'm now trying out how Blight feels like in a (so far) 4l chestpiece. (As to avoid weaponswap) Also really important is getting hold of a Fenumu's Shroud and Spinnerets for the ES regen, it should help make me feel less unable to take hits (goodbye, exalts I don't even have yet). Maybe swap to full life and/ or MoM and/ or EB, would have to sacrifice some damage in the process but eh.

Another thing on the to-do is looking into getting both ED and Contagion integrated. If at all it has to be both though, since I feel like investing into pierce just for the sake of ED wouldn't be worth it. And as one can see from how much dps I'm willing to sacrifice for automation, I don't really want to have to cast contagion myself. Maybe I can find a setup to automate the whole ED + Contagion deal. I'll have to test how reliable a low level cwdt + contagion setup would be (contagion for dealing with ads bodyblocking the boss and ganging up on me). Should be done testing later today. Will report back once done! (Worst case... I'll have to push one more button, I guess)

In the meantime, I'd very much appreciate if you could help find an optimal setup, so feel free to experiment. The build should be solid regardless, given that I have no real issues (syndicate and stupidity aside) in yellow maps with my current gear.

UPDATE: The devourning Diadem seems like it could be awesome! Freeeeeeeeeeee EB (and ES regen)! So many points saved! And MoM is a single point, so that's pretty nice.

UPDATE 2: The Aylardex is a better option (compared to Impresence, since with Diadem we can afford reserving mana for all our stuff) - also easier to get a +1 curse corruption on!
Last edited by EmperorIzaro on Dec 10, 2018, 6:34:43 AM
UPDATE 3: Updated the PoB
UPDATE 4: More Videos, updated PoB - will be posting more videos as I get material. Purchasing actually good gear aside (and maybe figuring out if ED + contagion is worth it vs another decay brand setup), I'm done.
UPDATE 5: Updated the whole guide.
Hi ive got a question.

which skill gems do you level up and to which level do you level them.
Completed 5 Challengesamdrag wrote:
Hi ive got a question.

which skill gems do you level up and to which level do you level them.

Thanks for asking! Guess I wasn't specific about that in the gem links sections. The description has been updated.
Hey you didnt say anything for ascendancies, its my first time playing a occultist so i have no idea on what i should focus first, sound like a great build im excited to get to maps !
Completed 13 ChallengesFrozen_Goosy wrote:
Hey you didnt say anything for ascendancies, its my first time playing a occultist so i have no idea on what i should focus first, sound like a great build im excited to get to maps !

Thanks for the feedback! Added a working link to the online skilltree, including ascendancies (previous one was bugged for some reason), and also wrote out the ascendancy order. It's in the PoB/Skill Tree/ Ascendancy/ etc. section.
Last edited by EmperorIzaro on Dec 12, 2018, 11:44:15 AM

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