3.6 CI Soulrend Trickster (League Starter/SSF/HC viable) - No MoM/EB shenanigans :^)

After being asked on my stream I decided to make a build guide for my Soulrend Trickster. The build is super simple and is actually super effective. As stated in the title, this build can be used as a league starter (I did too) and is viable for Solo-Self-Found (no mandatory uniques) and/or Hardcore.
ATM I am easily running corrupted rare T15 maps with a 5L and 6 ascendancy points.

General Information
My idea of this build was to get the most out of the new Soulrend ability and the updated Trickster ascendancy. That being said, the goals to achieve this were:

- Utilize built-in energy shield leech from Soulrend by stacking energy shield and energy shield leech in skill tree, therefore also going Chaos Inoculation (CI) in long term.
- Utilize the updated ascendancy nodes "Ghost Dance" and "Escape Artist" by also stacking as much evasion as possible.

- Stack as much chaos damage and damage over time as possible :)

So far I was able to easily run through maps up to tier 10 without any difficulty.
After playing this build for a while, I feel like these are the good and bad things about this build:

- Insanely good map clear, especially on open terrain, due to large travel range and homing missile like mechanic of Soulrend
- Super fast due to movement speed and cast speed from Trickster ascendancy
- Super tanky so far due to big energy shield leech and energy shield recovery through "Ghost Dance" ascendancy node and Vaal Discipline as Life Flask replacement
- Immune to chaos damage due to CI
- Infinite mana without mana flask and "Weave the Arcane" once you have all required passives
- Reflect mods are irrelevant since chaos damage is neither physical nor elemental damage
- Proximity shields are irrelevant. Now the boss of Whakawairua Tuahu is a piece of cake :)
- Decent boss DPS with Wither/Blight totem and swap from GMP to Swift Affliction
- SSF viable; I am currently playing with Sin Trek as my only unique equipped.
- Pretty cheap due to using hybrid evasion/energy shield items and pure evasion body armour (due to "Escape Artist" ascendancy node) without maximum life affixes.

- Hard mana management in longer, pure single target fights (Shaper, (Uber) Elder, ...) before you got most of the mana regen nodes (which you should get very late aka when you actually want to do those bosses) due to missing mana recovery through "Patient Reaper" ascendancy node when killing things and no mana leech.
- A little squishy when out of Ghost Shroud stacks ("Ghost Dance" ascendancy node)
(- not sure if this is a con, but you have a smaller energy shield pool compared to Occultist, but probably better energy shield recovery thanks to "Ghost Dance" ascendancy node)

Skill Gems
Skill Gems are ordered by priority!

Body Armour
1. Soulrend
2. Greater Multiple Projectiles
3. Efficacy
4. Controlled Destruction
5. Swift Affliction
6. Void Manipulation
Note: Ideally you want to have a body armour with 3 blue sockets, 2 green sockets and 1 white socket (via Vorici in Research safehouse) so you can swap Greater Multiple Projectiles with e.g. Energy Leech for pure single target fights.

Helmet/Gloves/Boots #1
1. (Vaal) Discipline
2. Malevolence
3. (Vaal) Clarity
4. Enlighten (Lv. 2+)
Note: As long as you still need mana flasks for boss fights, you can swap Clarity for a Flame/Lightning Golem.

Helmet/Gloves/Boots #2
1. Bane
2. Despair
3. Enfeeble/Temporal Chains
4. Arcane Surge (Lv. 6)
Note: For clarification (in case you didn't know already) - Arcane Surge is left at Lv. 6 because it is its highest level where the mana spent threshold to trigger it covers a single Bane cast.
Choose your second (defensive) curse by personal preference or given socket colours (green vs. blue). Keep in mind that Temporal Chains also increases the duration of our Soulrend DoT!

Helmet/Gloves/Boots #3
1. Wither
2. Spell Totem
3. Faster Casting
4. Flame Dash
Note: Very important! Flame Dash must not be linked with Spell Totem, so you only want a 3L.
You may replace Wither with (Vaal) Blight in combination with the Spreading Rot Jewel (quest reward in Act 5). I still prefer Wither because of the greater range which allows me to place the totem further away, thus potentionally increasing its lifespan :)

Weapon #1
1. Immortal Call (Lv. 3)
2. Cast When Damage Taken (Lv. 1)
3. Increased Duration
Note: For clarification (in case you didn't know already) - Cast When Damage Taken is left at Lv. 1 because the damage threshold to trigger the supported spell (Immortal Call) is lowest. Immortal Call on the other hand is left at Lv. 3 because it is its highest level supported by Lv. 1 CWDT.

Weapon #2
1. Shield Charge
2. Fortify
3. Faster Attacks

Move around with Shield Charge for speed and Fortify, shoot Soulrend everywhere, use Bane on targets with more Life (e.g. Rares) and weave it in every few seconds to keep up Arcane Surge, place your Wither totem for bosses.

Skill Tree and other configuration
<Path of Building Code>

Please note that this PoB build contains several different skill trees (found in the bottom left corner of PoB)

Kill all!

1. Patient Reaper
2. Ghost Dance
3. Escape Artist
4. Prolonged Pain

Pick what you feel like :D
I'm currently using Soul of the Brine King to have some stun lock protection in case my Ghost Shrouds drop - dealing damage with Soul Rend to leech energy shield is our biggest defense when Ghost Shrouds is gone :)
Regarding minor gods: Soul of Gruthkul is always good. Others may be used situationally (e.g. Soul of Yugul for Uber Elder)

Leveling and skill tree advancement

First off: For general leveling tips you should look up other sources. This leveling section only guides you on how to level this build in particular.

Right at the beginning, pick up Freezing Pulse for your Hillock quest reward and follow the "Until Bane" PoB skill tree. Until Bane, use any useful Support Gems for Freezing Pulse that you can acquire. Right away you can use your Lesser Poison Support. When you bring the Medicine Chest for Nessa, you have access to Arcane Surge Support (not as quest reward, but you can buy it from her) - use it as well. Once you kill Brutus, pick Flame Dash as quest reward and switch your Arcane Surge from Freezing Pulse to Flame Dash (don't level Arcane Surge above level 5 until you get Faster Casting Support in Act 2). You can fill the open support slot on Freezing Pulse with Added Cold Damage, which you can buy now from Nessa. You can also pick up Void Manipulation Support from here for later and start leveling it.

Once you get Bane (early Act 3), make sure to get the "Whispers of Doom" passive asap and use it as your main skill together with Despair, Temporal Chains (or Enfeeble) and the Void Manipulation Support from before. Then fill up the missing passive skill nodes from the "After Bane" skill tree. After that you can follow the "Before CI" skill tree..
At this point (early Act 3) you also have access to Discipline and Malevolence. You should get both and use Discipline right away. Atm I'm not sure about this and need to test it, but I remember having severe mana problems using Discipline and Malevolence simultaneously. If you feel that way as well, just play without Malevolence (you may keep it in your gear and level it though).
Also in Act 3, you can get Soulrend as a quest reward for "Sever the Right Hand" - do so, but don't use it as your main skill right away (you may level it though). IMO you should keep playing with Bane as your main skill until you get the Greater Multiple Projectiles Support from the Act 4 quest "The Eternal Nightmare", then you may swap to Soulrend.

In the endgame, once you have found some decent energy shield items and start to easily get killed by chaos damage, switch to CI and follow the "Final (with CI)" skill tree from then on. When I switched to CI, I had somewhere between 4-5k ES and it was fine.
How you advance through the rest of the skill tree is up to you for the most part. I would get the mana regen nodes last because you pretty much only need them for boss fights (going mana regen isn't bad though because you don't need mana flask anymore and can get another utility flask for more offense/defense). If you feel like you need more defense, get the energy shield nodes. Otherwise get the few damage nodes we have first :)

General Gearing Priority
1. Cap resistances
2. Get as much energy shield as possible
3. Damage increases (spell damage, chaos damage, increased cast speed, ...)
4. Get as much evasion as possible
Important: Once you have the "Escape Artist" Ascendancy node, you want to wear a pure energy shield base Helmet and a pure evasion base Body Armour.

Flasks by priority
1. Life Flask (replace by any utility flask once you go CI, I recommend a Silver Flask)
2. Mana Flask (replace by any utility flask once you have enough mana regen, I recommend a Sulphur Flask offensively or a Granite Flask defensively)
3. Quicksilver Flask (replace by any utility flask once you use Shield Charge, I recommend a Basalt Flask (Granite Flask if you chose Sulphur Flask in 2.))
4. Stibnite Flask
5. Jade Flask
Note: You should cover several immunities with your flasks, at the very least bleeding and freeze/chill; After that I would get shock and curse immunity. For the last flask you can decide between burning immunity or reflexes (60-100% increased evasion) - I prefer the evasion.

Nothing mandatory! Cerberus Limb can be really nice, and you don't even need the 30% block requirement for extra leech because you should already be on leech cap, so just get most benefit out of the armour/energy shield rating on your shield. Also, Sin Trek is great :)
Pass me your ideas! :D

Theorycraft, FAQ and other tips
Here are some aspects to think about or to keep in mind:

- A few things about Soulrend and PoB: In general, Soulrend damage consists of 2 parts - the initial projectile damage and the DoT. PoB is pretty misleading regarding your actual DPS. The "total DPS" in PoB only shows you the projectile damage portion and the "DoT DPS" shows you only the DoT damage and, very importantly, per second. The base duration of the DoT portion is only 0.4 seconds. So you will have to apply your DoTs back to back to actually reach the shown DoT DPS.
Because of the "problem" in PoB, e.g. Cast Speed only shows you a slight increase in total DPS aka your projectile DPS. Technically, cast speed does indeed not increase your DoT DPS per se, though it helps you getting closer to the back to back DoT application and therefore closer to actually reach that DoT DPS. So cast speed is actually a proper DPS gain, which is only not correctly shown in PoB.
In case you want to calculate your actual total DPS, you will have to use following formula:

If [1 second] / [Cast Rate] < DoT duration
Actual total DPS = "Total DPS" (projectile DPS) + Cast Rate * DoT DPS * DoT duration

If [1 second] / [Cast Rate] >= DoT duration
Actual total DPS = "Total DPS" (projectile DPS) + DoT DPS

What does "[1 second] / [Cast Rate]" mean? This is the number of applications of the Soulrend DoT you do per second, respectively how much time goes by between 2 Soulrend casts. If you overlap your DoT because your Cast Rate is too high, you are wasting DPS (since you can only have one debuff of the same type simultaneously on any target). Say we have the base duration of 0.4 seconds of the Soulrend DoT; Then [1 second] / [Cast Rate] must not be lower than the 0.4 seconds. In this example, your Cast Rate must be equal to or lower than 2.5. With increases to cast speed and increases to DoT duration, we can actually reach the point where we can apply our DoTs back to back very easily (again, implying we hit the target with every cast).
With that being said, you can maximize your DPS by tweaking the behaviour of your cast rate and DoT duration, for example by swapping Swift Affliction Support in and out or by changing your passives at the Shadow starting area from "Attack and Cast Speed" to "Physical and Chaos Damage" and vice versa.

- Temporal Chains increases the duration of our Soulrend DoT on enemies! Keep that in mind after reading what I wrote just before.

- Why not take "Potency of Will" when you already have "Shaper" next to it? Also because of the correlation between DoT duration and cast rate. If your cast rate is that low (which should never really be the case), it might be better to get it.

- Soulrend provides 4% of its damage done leeched as energy shield. Thus it offers better defense by better offense. That being said, Efficacy and Controlled Destruction may even defensively outperform Energy Leech. This should be calculated for your current setup.

- The damage reduce of Greater Multiple Projectiles (or Lesser Multiple Projectiles) only applies to the projectile portion of your damage. The DoT DPS of Soulrend is untouched. Therefore, GMP does not reduce our damage by 26% (it is in fact somewhere around 5%).

- Keep an eye on your mana management; Check your current mana status regularly on PoB. Once you have enough mana regen, every bit more is wasted. PoB shows your mana regen per second on the left panel. To find out how much mana you spend per second, multiply your cast rate with the mana cost of Soulrend (you can find it under "Calcs" in the "Skill Damage over Time" frame). So if you already have enough mana regen, feel free to shift some mana regen passives to something else.

Feel free to ask questions or suggest changes that might benefit this guide, especially regarding uniques and leveling :)

I hope you enjoy this build as much as I do! You can watch me play it for a while on <Twitch> (German btw).
Last edited by almarux on Mar 23, 2019, 10:54:14 AM
Last bumped on May 28, 2019, 11:31:05 AM
Update Mar 16, 2019
- Apparently my PoB link was bad and didn't show the full final skill tree. Fixed now!
- Made improvements to the Theorycraft section.
- Big improvements in the Leveling section.

Update Mar 17, 2019
- Fixed the Skill Gem section because with "Weave the Arcane" you can't proc Arcane Surge with your movement skill. Arcane Surge provides a better damage increase than Energy Leech as your 6th skill gem in the Soulrend setup, though until then the mix of Energy Leech and Arcane Surge from Flame Dash works as well.

Update Mar 19, 2019
- Dropped "Weave the Arcane" again for "Prolonged Pain" and increased mana regen from skill tree. Detailed explenation in my comment below (Mar 19, 2019, 12:53:30 PM).

Update Mar 20, 2019
- Optimized skill tree, giving us 2 more skill points. Shoutouts to ljoborges!
- Swift Affliction turns out to be better than Void Manipulation when Cast Rate is high enough

Update Mar 23, 2019
- Made changes to skill gem setup so we can use Shield Charge
- Minor changes in skill tree (PoB)
Last edited by almarux on Mar 23, 2019, 10:52:20 AM
Interesting build! Think I might try this out.

What do you recommend for higher end (more expensive) unique gear to push DPS and defense?

Last edited by diablomix on Mar 18, 2019, 2:42:25 AM
This is flawed on so many levels. Extremely inefficient pathing and general gameplay mistakes. Here's a pob link that achieves more of everything at level 89 than your lvl100 tree. Let me list some of those mistakes:

1. Arcane surge in the main link - you can get it on your flame dash, it's pointless to waste gem socket, get better dps increase gem

2. Weave the Arcane - looks cool, doesn't work, won't solve the mana problem. It's efficient when you have high attack/cast speed ability and can proc it all the time. You have 150 mana, after 2 casts your mana will be drained, the cast speed of soulrend isn't enough to justify taking this notable. By doing this you are losing Prolonged Pain, which is the highest dps increase in the whole ascendancy. A huge no-no.

3. Faster es recharge - leave this mechanic to the occultists, it's good with the uninterrutped es rechrage from wicked ward. You don't need this on trickster.

4. Ethereal Feast and Ghost Reaver - you don't need them. The hit portion of the spell isn't high enough to justify taking those nodes. You will never reach the doubled max es rec/s Ghost Reaver gives you, no matter what you do. The Light Eather cluster is enough to reach the cap.

5. Arcane Guarding - same thing, inefficient cluster. Spend your points on something else, you can stretch to zealoth's oath+spiritual aid+faith and steel for level 100.

5. You don't have Grace - the whole point of going trickster is to play as an evasion character. It's kewl that you want more damage from malevolence, but when you get hit, you won't recover anything from ghost dance with no evasion.

6. Energy leech - this gem is a noobtrap. Don't take it. You have so many better choices out there.

The whole problem of going CI Soulrend is the mana regen. Its really hard to fix without significant investment, which is beyond the resources casual players have. The MoM/EB shenianigans let those players play soulrend in a cost-efficient manner, by losing a tiny bit of survivability. People want to play it now, at lvl 70, with leveling items, they don't want something that works at lvl 90 after 20ex investment. Those guys who can farm that amount of currency are experienced enough to do CI version by themselves. I like that you are trying to do something on your own, but it simply doesn't work. Hope that you can handle constructive feedback. Cheers! =)
[3.8][HC/SC] Soulrend Trickster - Fast mapper with great defenses - forum/view-thread/2333153
Last edited by Syreith on Mar 18, 2019, 4:02:33 AM
Thanks for the feedback. I will evaluate it in detail once I'm back home from work.

What I can tell and want to tell right now is this:

At first I also intended to get Prolonged Pain as it is obviously an insanely good DPS increase. But when I fought against my first "real" boss (memory nexus) and ended up without mana flask charges I knew I had to do something about it. And even though it hurts so much to drop Prolonged Pain, I chose to go for Weave the Arcane. I have to admit I couldn't try it out so far because I'm unlucky with trials (4 out of 6 at level 93...), but it sounded like it would solve my problem. I will try it out for sure, but I'm eager to figure out a way to get back Prolonged Pain.
Arcane Surge in the Soulrend setup comes from Weave the Arcane decision, as mentioned in the guide. From what I've seen, Arcane Surge provides the biggest DPS increase (compared to Energy Leech and Decay). I had to look it up manually though because PoB doesn't sort Support Gems by DoT DPS, only by "total" (projectile) DPS. So feel free to give me more ideas.
Now to the MoM/EB shenanigans... as a player interested in playing hardcore, I prefer to go the safe route instead of the maybe more efficient/convenient way. With that being said, my thinking was following: With Soulrend you have very good ES recovery from leech. Why play with MoM+EB, where you can recover only 30% (at most) of damage taken with that leech, when you can as well recover 100% of it? Obviously I'm now stuck with the mana issue but I am still not convinced to go MoM and/or EB.

Like I said, I appreciate your feedback as I'm interested in optimizing my build. Though, in terms of PoE, I wouldn't say "(this build) simply doesn't work" is constructive feedback, especially because it is wrong. Depending on what you focus on, this build actually works really well already. It's been a long while since I played a build as tanky as this one, especially without mandatory uniques. I think fights where you don't have infinite mana from Patient Killer are the only weakspot so far. I easily run through fully modded red-tier maps. With that in mind, I would say this build is suboptimal at most and is (depending on how Weave the Arcane turns out) not ready to be used as a boss killer yet.
Last edited by almarux on Mar 18, 2019, 11:19:13 AM
I already shared my CI variation in 2 other topics, but since u r focused on CI maybe ill help (or u will help me ;))
I use SR in vortex on 4l + dying sun for clear, still looking for +1 helmet. solves SR mana issues, dps is still insane. clear is not that much worse.
heres how it looks atm:

Still can improve my jewelery, maybe shield/gloves/boots if ill somehow gather TONS of exalts.

Tree can be changed in few ways too propably , but im done with testing for now. im satisfied with current results.

Today killed red elder with 0 survi problems, decent dps and shaper alive.

Last edited by 3ryk on Mar 18, 2019, 3:11:41 PM
3ryk wrote:
I already shared my CI variation in 2 other topics, but since u r focused on CI maybe ill help (or u will help me ;))
I use SR in vortex on 4l + dying sun for clear, still looking for +1 helmet. solves SR mana issues, dps is still insane. clear is not that much worse.
heres how it looks atm:

Still can improve my jewelery, maybe shield/gloves/boots if ill somehow gather TONS of exalts.

Tree can be changed in few ways too propably , but im done with testing for now. im satisfied with current results.

Today killed red elder with 0 survi problems, decent dps and shaper alive.

how are you running all those auras?
twiskt wrote:
how are you running all those auras?

Malevolence is 50%, disci is 35% and clarity is flat reserve(14lvl in my case). Got enlighten lvl2 aswell. And my Sr is in 4l Vertex to lower costs so i can spam it with no problems
Yesterday I also came up with the idea to get Clarity. I will try to drop Weave the Arcane again for Prolonged Pain and get as much mana regen from the tree as possible. PoB says I will have enough regen to sustain 6L Soulrend spam.

Regarding the other feedback by Syreith:
1./2. Since I go Prolonged Pain again, Arcane Surge returns to Flame Dash.

3. The faster ES recharge was actually bad and I reverted it.

4. PoB says I actually do reach the ES leech cap with Ghost Reave - I don't care if it's from DoT damage or projectile damage - therefore I'll stick to it.

5. I dropped the few nodes leading up to Arcane Guarding to have more skill points for mana regen (as described above).

6. (5.) Would be cool to run Grace, but I prefer to stick to Malevolence; Fully flasked, Grace would push me (iirc) from 36k to 48k evasion, which is not insignificant, but that's a sacrifice I am willing to take - and given that it changes my ES recovery of Ghost Shroud from like 1,5k to 2k, that's what I'd call "losing a tiny bit of survivability", especially because we already have that huge ES leech and hits that trigger the Ghost Shroud and are actually dangerous proc Immortal Call and give us a bit time to catch up with that leech.

7. (6.) Can you please elaborate on how this gem is a noobtrap or not worth taking? Obviously we don't care for the leech effect, but even the damage increase when on full ES is similar to other support gems, getting huge when not on full ES (as we are basically constantly leeching). I can see that there might be stronger or more useful support gems, and I'd appreciate to see your suggestions, but Energy Leech for this build is not bad at all.

With that being said, I will soon update my guide again with all those changes. Don't get me wrong, this build already works amazing for 95% of the content as it is right now. Real boss fights like Shaper, Uber Atziri or (Uber) Elder require more mana regen than offered by a mana flask. To tackle that, I'm changing the skill tree as described. Besides those boss fights, everything can be easily done without the mana regen passives, for map guardians you might need a mana flask though.
I will also try to update the gearing section with interesting unique items.

Thanks for all your feedback so far, guys. Keep it coming!
Last edited by almarux on Mar 19, 2019, 7:59:40 AM

Made a small change on the tree. Saved 2 points.

Report Forum Post

Report Account:

Report Type

Additional Info