[3.5] DANCE WITH SPIDERS - Poison Blade Flurry Melee and Minion Hybrid Pathfinder /\/\(*^*)/\/\



Do you like spiders? Do you like scorpions? Do you like fancy looking poisonous daggers? Do you like watching your enemies' life draining away at an unbelievable rate? Congratulations, you might be qualified as a psychopath, and this build might be just for you!

Introduction:

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This is my first guide so please let me know if there are any suggestions to improve! I'm really excited because this is the first original build that works fairly well! This might be a long introduction, so please go to TL;DR if you don't have the heart to read through everything. For all the newer players, I'll try my best to go into depth about the mechanics that underlies this build so that you may try it! And please, if there are any questions, feel free to ask them here at the bottom of the forum.

This is a poison blade flurry build with the Pathfinder ascendancy with the ranger class. Originally, I started this build with the intent of using Flicker Strike, but since I am a full time student who (1) cannot invest too much hours into the week and (2) am dirt poor at POE (I usually earn about an exalt or two for each league), Flicker Strike may be a bit more difficult for higher maps and bosses without some expensive gears. I have tested some with cheaper gears, and for the most part, it works fairly well to quickly clear maps. I will post more information on Flicker Strike build for those who have the currency and might be interested in playing it.

Ever since Arakaali's Fang first came out, I wanted to try to make a good build off of it. For a dagger, it seemed to have a pretty nice melee DPS, and the design looked amazing. However, back then the spider AI was way too clunky to make viable builds. However, with the 3.5 update, the spiders were buffed up pretty considerably, and made the dagger into a fairly sought out item (I had the luck of buying one while it was still 7 chaos). With that said, this might not be the best league starting build, as now one of these daggers cost around 1 exalt or so.

At the heart of this build, I use both raise spider skill from Arakaali's Fang, and the Herald of Agony skill, combined with blade flurry to quickly mow down enemies with poison. The reason why I decided to pick the Pathfinder ascendancy is because Pathfinder has some really nice notable skills that focus on poisons and Herald of Agony. Also, once you get used to the play style of spamming flasks with Pathfinder, it's difficult to settle down for other classes. This build in particular uses the flask Writhing Jar often, so it's a win-win scenario. However, while I haven't tested it, this build could easily be done with Assassin with some tweaks in the tree (quite possibly more damage potential, but might be more squishy).

Please pardon me if not all the questions are answered yet. I'll try my best to further explain the mechanics in detail in the following sections.

TL;DR: A lot of fast poisons using combination of minions and fast attack skills. Lots of flask spamming. Can use Flicker Strike or skills other than blade flurry with the right equipment. Good alternative class might be assassin for more DPS but might be more squishy. Not recommended as a league starter as Arakaali's Fang got SUPER expensive this league. Made this build for the fun of working with interesting mechanics, so I haven't checked if it can be min-maxed to clear endgame bosses like Shaper and Elder.


Videos
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These videos are slightly outdated, since I now use Cast When Channeling and Bladefall to poison twice as quickly. Even without Bladefall before, I was able to clear some higher up maps, but now it is even better. I'll try to upload the most current videos soon!

Poorjoy's Asylum (Tier 6)
Arena (Tier 9)
Malformation (Tier 12)


Pros and Cons

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+ Fast clear speed
+ Fun hybrid play style of minion and melee that works off of each other
+ Except Arakaali's Fang, most of the gears are fairly cheap to get the build started
+ Can start the build as early as level 53
+ Can be hard to kill because of the life restored all the time with flasks
+ Around 3200 Life and 400 Energy Shield JUST BY THE TREE and the UNIQUE ITEMS ALONE
+ Can clear red tier maps without huge investments (didn't get to Shaper or Elder yet due to my crap gear)
+ Personal opinion, but looks pretty cool even without the MTX

- Some map mods like hexproof or phys reflected might not be the most ideal
- Arakaali's Fang is expensive now, not a league starter
- Like many other builds, end gears to min max can be costly
- Can rely heavily on flasks, especially when the build doesn't focus too much on leech/regen
- Without both minion and melee skills working together, this build might not generate enough poison to quickly kill everything.
- Not made for pure face-tanking, as you still have a chance to be one-shot


Mechanics Explained

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Poison: Poison is an ailment that depends on physical and chaos damage to inflict onto an enemy. Poisons can stack cumulatively, so the faster you can stack the poison within certain duration, the more damage it deals. We need to manually give the minions chance to poison so that the poisons could stack faster. Damage, damage over time, chaos damage, poison damage, increased poison duration, accuracy, and attack speed all helps increasing the poison DPS. Pathfinder allows poisons to spread to nearby enemies, making mob clearing relatively easy.

Crits: Critical chance and multipliers are two different things. Chance allows more probability to crit, while the multiplier increases the damage IF you crit. In this build, the multiplier is far more important than the chance because of the keystone Perfect Agony.

Perfect Agony: 30% of the critical multiplier can also be applied to damage multiplier for ailments for the cost of 30% less damage with hits. Worth it only when you have enough critical multiplier to offset the 30% less damage with hits.

Herald of Agony: An interesting herald minion skill that relies on what's called virulence. More you poison an enemy, the more virulence your agony crawler will have, and more damage it will give. Other minions cannot stack virulence, so you have to do the actual poisoning to stack it. Virulence disappears fairly fast, but Pathfinder allows the stack to go down more slowly. Once the stacks of virulence disappears, so does the agony crawler minion.

Raise Spiders: A skill exclusive to the unique dagger Arakaali's Fang. Putting support gems in the weapon will affect the spiders that you summon. You can summon 2 spiders when you (1) kill an enemy and (2) have a corpse to consume. This means that when there are 10 corpses nearby before you kill an enemy, you can spontaneously summon 20 (the maximum) number of spiders. This can be easily done through the skill Desecrate, and the use of the flask Writhing Jar.

Flasks: Flasks give a variety of utilities such as buffs, debuffs, life, mana, etc. With certain flasks, you can bypass ailments, stuns, and curses, which makes them super useful. Requires reduced flask charges and increased flask recovery rate to charge up the flask faster. Pathfinder ascendancy allows you to pretty much spam your flask so that you have the flasks' benefits most of the time.


Path of Building
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Here! This is the first time using Path of Building instead of POE Planner, so I think I might have made some mistakes (I can't show all the jewels I put into the tree for example). I'll update it once I upgrade and raise quality of the gems and get better gears in general to show more optimal numbers.


Passive Tree

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Leveling

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Oh boy...I'm not the best at leveling, but this guide made by Yagamai seem to work really well. For this build, you can quickly try to go to Scion nodes and try to grab the minion nodes, then re-spec once you reach level 53. Honestly, you can level with pretty much any skill you want to use. If you want to level without the guide posted above, I recommend using Frost Blades or Sunder until you can use Blade Flurry.


Ascendancy

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Nature's Boon: Normal Labyrinth. This notable skill makes leveling much easier; simply spam quicksilver flasks to get through everywhere faster. Once you get this notable skill, you may want to start focusing more on the flasks you'll use to level, since you'll be spamming those for next few acts before changing to higher level flasks like the Writhing Jar.

Nature's Reprisal: Cruel Labyrinth. At this point, you should start to gear up for poison related build. If you are at around level 53, you can equip Arakaali's Fang and Victario's Charity and start leveling at a much faster pace.

Master Toxicist: Merciless Labyrinth. After this notable skill, you are done with the core ascendancy nodes. This will help you to maximize your poison damage to the enemy, and keep your virulence level above 30 majority of the time for your agony crawler.

Nature's Adrenaline: Eternal Labyrinth. This notable skill is a purely optional one, but boy is it worth it. The attack speed definitely helps the poison to stack faster, and the movement speed paired up with a good quicksilver of adrenaline allows you to zip through the map.


Pantheon

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Soul of Solaris (Major): Recommended for maps with hard bosses, or labyrinth. The extra powers help out significantly, so try to get them as soon as possible.

Soul of Lunaris (Major): Great for farming mobs and clearing maps fast. Since worms from Writhing Jar counts as enemy, you can get physical damage reduction from this (for a brief moment).

Soul of Shakari (Minor): Extra chaos resistance never hurts. When you get the extra power, you will be immune to poison as well.

Soul of Ralakesh (Minor): Extra power helps out this minor god power pretty well. Cannot be blinded and cannot be maimed helps to poison more efficiently.

Soul of Tukohama (Minor): Can be useful when playing with Blade Flurry. May make you slightly tankier, but still recommended that the minions can either blind or taunt before choosing this god power.


Gears

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Dagger:

Arakaali's Fang is the core of the build. This unique dagger allows you to summon 2 spiders when you kill and consume a corpse. You can summon up to 20 spiders at a time. Since each spider uses the skill Viper Strike, when you put support gems into the dagger, you end up having a mini army of poison stacking spiders that uses a 4-link skill.


Shield:

Victario's Charity gives your spiders and your agony crawler Frenzy Charge and Power Charge as you hit and kill your enemies. This means that the minions will have faster attack speed and better critical chance, both of them which are beneficial to stacking stronger poisons.


Body Armour:

Dendrobate is a great body armour for any poison build. When you 6-link this item, you also get level 10 lesser poison, essentially making it into a 7-link item. The difficult part about this item is trying to get your dexterity and intelligence high enough to use it to the fullest potential, but this can be done through other items quite easily.

Belly of the Beast might be a good alternative if you want a more defensive build with higher life pool. It also provides 50% increased life recovery rate from flasks, which pairs up really well with the Pathfinder notable skills. However, this will significantly decrease the poison damage, so I would still recommend Dendrobate over this.


Gloves:

The Embalmer goes along really well with a poison build because of the increased poison duration that it grants. These gloves are perfect to put the Herald of Agony gem into, since it will make the skill into a 5-link. For a cheap item, the Embalmer provides a lot of poison damage, life, and chaos resistance.

Rare Shaper or Elder gloves with life, elemental resistance, attributes, attack speed and/or "socketed gems are supported by" mods can be a great alternative. If you are able to come across really good ones, I recommend replacing the Embalmer.


Amulet:

Maligaro's Cruelty is a great amulet since it grants you Frenzy Charges and Power Charges, which means more and stronger poison stacks. Not only that, but the charges directly increases the poison damage and the duration, making it a very strong yet cheap poison amulet.

Rare corrupted amulet with "you can apply an additional curse" is a great alternative, as long as it has a lot of life, elemental resistance, and/or attributes. The reason for the additional curse is that one unique flask grants a powerful curse for poison, but it's always nice to have a secondary curse for additional offensive/defensive/utility purposes. I happened to be lucky and got a Maligaro's Cruelty with additional curse for a very cheap price.


Boots:

Rare boots with a lot of life, elemental resistance, movement speed, and/or attributes are a good choice. If you have the currency, try to get a Shaper or an Elder boots, as they may give additional benefits to the socketed gems.


Belt:

A good rare belt with life, resistance, and flask related mods would be preferable. Stygian Vise belt allows you to socket an eye jewel for additional benefit, which helps with the lack of jewel sockets allocated on the skill tree.

Cylopean Coil can be a great replacement, since this build primarily focuses on dexterity, and secondarily focuses on intelligence. This means that you cannot be frozen or shocked, ultimately preventing both elemental ailments that causes a lot of death. Also, the increase in attributes can make it easier to get 300 dexterity and 150 intelligence.


Helmet:

Bone Helmet gives minions increased damage, so it's a solid base. If you can get Shaper or Elder helmet, that could be even better. Like most other equipment, focus on life, elemental resistance, attributes, etc.


Rings:

Rare rings with life, elemental resistance, attributes, and/or other mods are usually the best. Shaper and/or Elder are good optional rings, especially if you decide to use Mark of the Shaper or Mark of the Elder ring. If you decide to do this, make sure that both of the rings are either Shaper rings or Elder rings, since this makes you immune to stuns.


Flasks:

Flasks are very important since you get to spam them 90% as a Pathfinder. I highly recommend getting a silver flask of adrenaline, as that makes leveling and mapping so much faster. You also might want a good instant recovery life flask that gets rid of bleeding. The writhing jar is a vital flask, as it spawns easy enemies to kill to summon spiders. Kiara's Determination is an excellent flask to prevent being frozen, cursed, and stunned, all while giving you an onslaught buff. Witchfire Brew is an amazing offensive and defensive flask, as it not only increases your poison and ailment damage, but also increases your evasion and blinds nearby enemies.

Good alternate flasks would be Sin's Rebirth, Taste of Hate, Atziri's Promise, and The Overflowing Chalice. Feel free to change some flasks depending on the situation, as each of these flasks have unique strengths.

Jewels:

Focus on jewels with increased maximum life, attack speed, accuracy, increased damage over time, increased poison duration, minion have chance to blind, and/or minion have chance to taunt. We want a combination of regular jewels and abyss jewels here, especially if you plan to equip a Stygian Vise belt.


Gem Setup


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6-link (chest): Blade Flurry - Vile Toxins - Deadly Ailments - Bladefall - Cast When Channeling - Added Chaos Damage

*We want to stack as many poisons as possible. That means that just the attacks with Blade Flurry won't be enough. When we have the Blade Flurry combined with Bladefall through Cast When Channeling, we can stack almost twice as fast poisons. Since this chest technically counts as a 7-link chest, we can afford to add a linked spell skill.*

4-link (gloves): Herald of Agony - Vicious Projectiles - Poison - Unbound Ailments

*Keep in mind that since Herald of Agony reserves mana, the support gems will increased the mana reserved (even more so if you are using the Embalmer, or Shaper/Elder gloves with "socketed gems are supported by" mod). The key to continuously use our main skill like Blade Flurry is to leech or restore enough mana so that we can manage to reserve most of our mana.*

4-link (helmet): Desecrate - Convocation - Blasphemy - Warlord's Mark

*Convocation can save your life when you need enemies to be blinded, taunted, or at least be blocked by your minions. Press it before going into a group of monsters. Warlord's Mark combined with Blasphemy allows you to gain additional damage reduction via Endurance Charges, and is very useful when combined with Immortal Call. This curse however is not necessary, especially if you don't have the additional curse amulet. Feel free to change it to Discipline or any other skills that reserve less than or equal to 35% of your max mana. The Desecrate in the helmet is casted manually in case there are no enemies nearby, and you are in need of a corpse quickly.*

4-link (boots): Cast When Damage Taken - Immortal Call - Increased Duration - Desecrate / Flesh Offering

*Keep Cast When Damage Taken at level 1, Immortal Call at level 3, Desecrate at level 7 or Flesh Offering at level 8. Feel free to level up Increased Duration as much as you want. I recommend Desecrate for bossing and Flesh Offering for mobs, since during the boss fights, it sometimes is a pain to have enough corpse lying around, especially when the boss doesn't summon any minions. Flesh Offering works wonders when fighting mobs, since there are plenty of bodies to kill and consume. Immortal call gives a brief physical damage immunity, and the duration can be increased through Increased Duration and Endurance Charges.*

3-link (dagger): Poison - Vile Toxins / Blind - Multistrike

*The reason why I put Poison Support is because while Viper Strike has 60% to poison, it's not enough to quickly stack the poisons. With the support gem, the spiders will poison with EVERY SINGLE HIT, so I put Multistrike in to further quicken the pace of poisoning. Vile Toxins can be used for extra damage, or Blind if you want safer way to poison tough enemies.*

3-link (shield): Faster Attacks - Whirling Blades / Shield Charge - Fortify

*Movement skills to...well, move more quickly. While the quicksilver flask of adrenaline should give more than enough speed, these skills allow better movement while in battle. You can weave in and out of the enemies and also gain damage reduction thanks to Fortify.*


Extra Notes

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While not fully tested, there are other ways to play this build. Like I have mentioned above, I started this build using flicker strike, which is really fun to play for lower to mid tier maps. It works surprisingly well, considering that I really had not too many ways of recharging the Frenzy Charges. If you want to play this, you would need to re-spec the map so that you grab the two "+1 to Maximum Frenzy Charge" nodes on the tree. You would have to replace the Blade Flurry with Flicker Strike, and also put in Multistrike and Melee Splash as well. Maligaro's Cruelty becomes a very important item, and it is highly recommend that you get the extra curse corrupted mod. You will have to replace Warlord's Mark with Poacher's Mark, and replace the manual Desecrate in helmet with Blood Rage. You might need to have at least two Writhing Jars, since killing the worms help gain Frenzy Charges.

For higher tier maps and bosses, you will definitely need to invest in some expensive gears to make it work. Precursor's Emblem with the mod "% chance that if you would gain Frenzy Charges, you instead gain up to your maximum number of Frenzy Charges" would allow you to flicker almost constantly even in boss fights. Another way would require us to replace some equipment with unique items: we would need a Voidheart ring for chance to bleed (we can save some nodes on chance to poison if we get this), then add Red Trail boots and the Golden Rule jewel to self-inflict bleed to generate Frenzy charges. Of course, since the self-inflict bleeding will cause a lot of damage, we will need to convert physical damage into cold damage with the gloves Hrimburn. I didn't fully test this idea yet, but it seems viable as long as all the conditions are met.

Another possible way to play might be using Viper Strike for even more poison damage. Not only will we save a lot of chance to poison nodes, but with the unique jewel Growing Agony, we will be inflicting much more damaging poisons. Keep in mind that this jewel does not support the Viper Strike that the spiders use, and only works with yours. However, since it increases your poison damage for each poison applied, the minion poisons will certainly help increasing the damage of your Viper Strike. The only problem that I see with this is that you might have to get close and personal with bosses and mobs, resulting in a greater risk, but the damage might definitely be worth while.

Please let me know if anyone tries these methods, and ends up working pretty well. I will update my guide to support these builds as well if they seem to do well with higher tier maps and/or endgame contents.
Last edited by MensisXIII on Feb 4, 2019, 3:28:22 AM
Last bumped on Feb 12, 2019, 12:14:33 AM
Hey !

thanks for the build mate. Look very interesting to me :).

By anychance, have you a PoB Link for us ?

Thanks mate.

Hi Pym! *Oh my gosh, first comment ever!* I updated it so that it has a Path of Building link now! I hope I did it mostly right! Pardon the low quality and level gems and the not-so-optimal gears I am using right now. I'll update it once I improve them and learn how to use Path of Building better. Hopefully the numbers will go up a lot more then!

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