[3.8] Necromantic Scribe - [6k Life] [All Content] [1M+ dps] [Fast Playstyle]


This build originally started as a remake of Neversink's 2.2 Poison Animator. I played it back then and it was possibly the most fun build I had played. It used Null's Inclination with volley fire barrage, full pierce, poison and SRS/AW summons.

With the changes to poison scaling, it needed to be built slightly differently. I had a Null's Inclination build ready for league start in Synthesis and through my testing while levelling and until now, it slowly evolved into this build. Poet's Pen is much better than Null's for triggering spell casts due to not requiring killing blows, and can be used on bosses, which was one of the major issues with the Poison Animator build.

Herald has been added to take care of boss dps and it does a very good job. For the most part though, this build is intended to be fast and smooth and fun to play in maps. I checked out a couple of HoA builds and I disliked the speed of clearing when using the herald's AI. I wanted something that clears on it's own with poison or degen, in the style of Neversink's original build.

I am at the point where all the big decisions have been finalised in the build, so I'm getting around to posting it here to share.

Despite the build no longer using AW/SRS summons or poison to clear, this iteration still has the same feel and playstyle and has been highly enjoyable for me to play so far.

3.8 UPDATES (in progress):

UPDATED 5/10/2019, 3.8 skill tree and PoB updated. Whispers of Doom dropped on the tree due to being able to pick this up via amulet this league.



+ Good league starter
+ High movespeed, fun playstyle
+ Great for delving and legion pillar mobs - massive life gain on hit against big packs of mobs
+ Basically zero budget to start, clear upgrade paths
+ Over 6k life, acro, phase acro, blind & flat damage reduction
+ Decent chaos resist
+ Lots of knockback
+ Can do all map mods easily
+ Non-meta requirements, gear is not high in demand
+ Low gear requirements, therefore can run a magic-find farming variant if you wish
+ Can use the two best MTX in the game, Celestial HoA and Cat Soulrend!

- Not as tanky as a 9k life max-block Gladiator or 16k ES Occultist herald build
- Still need to dodge big boss attacks and one-shots
- Soulrend damage drops off in groups as we aren't scaling it too high. Herald still one shots things.
- Single-target dps ceiling is not as high as a dedicated herald build
- Little room for scaling the build much further - this isn't a build you can throw 30 ex into


We use barrage with volley fire jewels to cover the screen. Flasks should be up always - I pretty much use them every pack out of habit.

Poet's Pen casts soulrends and we clear packs using this. Most packs should die from the DoT, the tanky rares that survive should get squashed by the crawler minion.

Note that momentum is a big deal with this build. The more smoothly you play and keep moving, the better it feels. You can stop and start if you need to loot, but try and keep the pace up and it will be very enjoyable.

I also find it incredibly fun to attack and "chase" your own soulrends, they lead you towards packs and will generally kill them as you phase run through.
The hit-and-run and stutter-stepping playstyle takes some time to get comfortable with, but once you know your damage it's an extremely satisfying way to play.

Vaal summon skeletons is great for breaches, abysses and map bosses. Flame dash gives an instant blink for dodging big attacks or jumping ledges.

Phase run allows phasing to run to the next pack and to prevent body-blocks, making the playstyle very interactive and pretty smooth.

The herald is very much a supporting pet while mapping, and on bosses we switch and support him. You can use convocation to pull him to you if he gets stuck or you need him to focus a specific target - he typically attacks what you are attacking anyway though.


Levelling tree (level 30): http://poeurl.com/cA5V
Levelling tree (level 50): http://poeurl.com/cA5X
Levelling tree (level 70): http://poeurl.com/cA50
Final tree: http://poeurl.com/cA5N

Bandits: Kill All

Ascendancy: Pathfinder
Nature's Reprisal -> Master Toxicist -> Nature's Boon -> Master Alchemist

PoB: https://pastebin.com/CjDEZZaL

Includes all trees, gear, and skill gems.


Major: Soul of Lunaris / Soul of the Brine King

Soul of Lunaris is very nice, especially with all the upgrades. Brine King is always a nice choice for the anti-stunlock effect, but that's really all it gives.

I have been playing with Soul of Lunaris permanently and I haven't had any issues, but if you want Brine King it's an option.

Minor: Soul of Garukhan

More evasion and movement speed is nice for us. We don't need Soul of Ryslatha for the life flask recharge as we're a pathfinder.


Act 1:
Start with Split Arrow or Shrapnel Shot (shrapnel works well for not getting body blocked, eg. in submerged passage). Look for 3-socket 1h weapons to pick up to put in your offhand weapon slots for levelling gems.

Take Lesser Poison support from the Mercy Mission reward (Medicine Chest).

Take Added Cold Damage from The Caged Brute (Brutus) reward, buy Blink Arrow from vendor.

Take Rain of Arrows from The Siren's Cadence (Merveil) reward.

Run a triple green 3-Link: Rain of Arrows + Lesser Poison + Added Cold.

Take Precision aura from quest reward (don't remember which).

Act 2:

Be on the lookout for 3-link +1 minion level helmets (GGB or GGR). That mod can appear from level 14 onwards.

Kill all bandits.

Take Herald of Agony from Intruders In Black (Chamber of Sins) reward.
Buy Herald of Ice from vendor.
Buy 6 more Herald of Agony from vendor, put these in your weapon swap green sockets - These will be used later for vaaling to level 21.

- DO NOT DO THIS IN 3.7: Herald of Agony is not expensive at all to buy (level 21 is currently 14c on day 3). Therefore level other gems for the build, or level some meta skill or support gems to sell instead.

Run double heralds (Agony, Ice) and Precision.

Take Faster Attacks from Sharp and Cruel (Weaver) reward.

Run a GGGG 4-link: RoA + Lesser Poison + Added Cold + Faster Attacks.

Act 3:

Take the Lapis amulet from the Ribbon Spool quest to help with intelligence requirements if you don't already have one.

Complete A Fixture of Fate (Library), then buy Minion Damage, Damage on Full Life, Added Chaos Damage and Soulrend from Siosa. Try and start levelling Soulrend now, so that when you switch to using it, it's not level 1.

You can skip this until Act 6 if you don't want to do library.

Run your Rain of arrows in a GGGB 4-link: RoA-Lesser Poison-Added Chaos-Added Cold.

Take Chain Support from The Eternal Nightmare (Malachai) reward. Link this to your Herald of Agony in a 3-link (GGB or GGR).

Early-lategame goals (in no particular order):

- Obtain three Volley Fire Jewels. This allows you to drop Rain of Arrows and start using Barrage. You may do this as early as you like, depending on whether you prefer Rain of Arrows or Barrage for levelling. Note that you want Barrage to stay at level 1 for our endgame setup, so if you do use it for levelling, level the gem and remember to buy another one once transitioning to endgame (much cheaper than trying to de-level the gem).

- Obtain a Poet's Pen. Once you have this, you can switch to Soulrend + Herald of Agony. This allows you to drop all your elemental heralds and run a 4-linked HoA (Herald of Agony-Minion Damage-Damage on Full Life-Chain).

- Obtain a Gluttony belt (req. level 48) or Mark of Submission ring. Alternatively, swap your Barrage (or RoA) setup to Curse on Hit + Poacher's Mark.

- Move your Herald of Agony setup into a +2 minion level, added minion damage helm. If you can only obtain one of these mods at the start, go for a minion damage 5L helm, it adds more than the extra levels.

- Obtain a second Poet's Pen for weapon swap bossing setup. Ideally, try and level your Herald of Agony gems to 20 so that you can vaal them for level 21 and free up the gem slots.

- Obtain a Witchfire Brew flask.

- Obtain a Cospri's Will ASAP (req. level 68).

- As you progress your atlas and obtain Divine Vessels, remember to keep upgrading your pantheon's components.

Mana Issues:
Either run a mana flask or take the three mana leech nodes in the Essence Sap wheel. My preference is the mana leech - these can be dropped once you have Poacher's Mark up and running.

To increase your poison chance early on, take the four nodes leading to Swift Venoms and run the Lesser Poison gem. With Herald of Agony, this gives a total of 80% chance to poison. At this point your 4-link herald damage can carry you comfortably even if your own damage is bad.

Volley Fire jewels need to be socketed in the Scion jewel socket and the two sockets on the right side of the tree. They will not activate in the templar or witch areas.

Your options for applying curses are as follows:

- Mark of Submission. Can be used fairly early to apply Poacher's Mark. Later, can be used alongside a Gluttony belt to apply a second curse (eg. Despair).

- Gluttony for Poacher's Mark.

- Witchfire Brew. This is our endgame mapping setup for Despair but it's not necessary until you're using Soulrend.

- Barrage-Curse on Hit. This is our endgame setup. Once you have Soulrend up and running, this is the way to go.

Curse Limits:
Poacher's Mark is important for us. When you have only one curse available, always use this.

Once you can use Poet's Pen with Soulrend, you can start using Despair as well.

To apply a second curse, you can use either use Doedre's Damning or take Whispers of Doom on the passive tree.

If this is not available to you, just stick with Poacher's Mark only. It's the only absolute must-have curse while levelling.

We use a Cospri's Will, Whispers of Doom and a corrupted amulet (or Doedre's Damning) to provide our 4 curse endgame setup.






Two Poet's Pens are used. This league they are very cheap because they are "trash", so they are definitely affordable for anyone wanting to play with them.

Our boss setup uses a Victario's Charity to provide substantial dps for our spider via frenzy charges.

Our mapping setup uses a rare shield with life (and ideally some spell damage). Try and get a lightning resist roll to match Victario's Charity so that you can optimise your gearing more efficiently between the two weapon sets.


Early on, run any old +2 minion helm you can get.

For mapping, you want to upgrade to an elder helm with +2 minion levels and supported by Minion Damage support.

This allows you to drop the minion damage gem from your links and add a 5th damage support (Maim). You can quite comfortably do endgame content with just this.

Late game, the goal is to craft (or buy) a +3 gems, 5L helm. Note that THIS IS NOT REQUIRED, it provides approx. 10% more boss dps over a +2/minion damage helm.

For enchants, we can't really be picky. The chance of getting your hands on an ilevel 86 Elder base helm with the enchant you want is almost zero, especially at league start.

Reduced HoA reservation would be nice, but it's very expensive due to the other Herald of Agony builds that really require it. Trying to buy this enchant on an ilevel 86 elder helm is mirror-tier crafting and will have a pricetag to match.

The +3 level/minion damage rolls are more important than an enchant. I enchanted my helm a handful of times before crafting it and if I hit a good enchant, I could sell it and re-buy another helm.
One additional soulrend projectile is just one of a handful of enchants that are at least somewhat useful for us, so I stopped there. If you don't get any good enchant don't feel bad, it's much more important to roll the helm properly.

Late game crafting process:

For this you require a level 86 (not 84!!) ELDER helmet base. Evasion bases are good for us but we generally have the stats to equip any helmet base so go with what you can get. Try to avoid a pure ES base as we need to roll green and red sockets.

Start with an ilevel 86 elder helm, you can quality fossil craft it up to 30% if you like.

Then you can either:

1. Fossil craft it using Bound and Frigid fossils in 2-socket resonators (Frigid cancels out quite a few unwanted modifiers and is very cheap).


2. Alteration spam until you hit +3 to minion gems (prefix). If you get a good suffix on it's own (eg. high resist roll), you can augment for the chance at +3 levels.
Once you have a +3 roll, augment (if possible) and regal for minion damage prefix. Note that if you hit one of the other supported gem affixes (immolate, burning damage, minion life) the helmet is BRICKED and must be scoured.
If you miss, scour and repeat. Note that minion damage is much more common than +3 gems, so it's important to roll the +3 mod first.

Once you get both +3 and minion damage on the helm, you can craft +life and then it's complete. Note that I do not recommend filling out the remaining affixes using Leo slams, as you run the risk of bricking the helm by rolling another linked gem (minion life, immolate, burning damage). They are actually quite common and make the helm unusable by our build as they increase the mana reservation of Herald of Agony.

Body Armour:

The body armour used is a Cospri's Will. This is a super cheap unique. It provides us +1 curse, replaces the Poison gem and allows us to curse Hexproof mobs. This is important because Curses are a huge part of our build - they provide damage, more damage, knockback, healing, mana sustain, and frenzy charges. Guaranteeing our use of curses allows us to run every map mod in the game without issue.

These gloves have replaced Haemophilia for us when mapping. They provide corpse explosions, high life and Temporal Chains on hit (see below for discussion about this).

Curse Priority:

When using 4 curses on hit with a 3-curse limit, only 3 will be applied. It would be great if these gloves came without curse-on-hit, as we need our other 3 curses. However, curses in this game follow a priority system as follows:

aura curses ⇒ CoH ⇒ triggered curses ⇒ normally applied curses (newest overrides oldest)

Due to the above order, our Despair aura from Witchfire Brew will always be active (if in range). If enemies are out of range of our Despair aura, then they will be cursed with Projectile Weakness, Poacher's Mark and Temporal Chains, and there is no issue.
However if they are close to us, Despair will take one curse slot and this leaves Temporal Chains, Projectile Weakness and Poacher's Mark to compete for 2 curse slots. All three of these are in the Curse-on-Hit category for the purposes of the order above.
According to the trigger order, if multiple trigger sources are used the order will be:

Main hand ⇒ Amulet ⇒ Helm ⇒ Off hand ⇒ Body armour ⇒ Gloves ⇒ Boots

Note that this is NOT priority, but order of application - therefore the most recent will override the oldest. This means that Temporal Chains (gloves) will override one of our Barrage curses (Body Armour).

Which one it overrides is again dependant on the order of application. Curses are triggered from top-left link to bottom-right, following this pattern:

This means that whichever curse is placed "earlier" in the body-armour links will be overridden.

Alternatively, run a pair of rare gloves to help with resistances.

For the boss swap below, I just keep both my mapping and boss gloves socketed with gems. Buy duplicates of the gems to keep two sets - it's too tedious and annoying to bother with moving around individual gems.

Either The Embalmer gloves, or rare elder gloves with Additional Accuracy and Faster Attacks (optionally Poison as well, but it only adds about 15% skeleton dps - the other two links are much more important). Ideally find gloves with a high life roll, and at least one open prefix. This will allow you to craft on 10-20% minion damage.

These gloves are cheap, despite their rarity. The 2-mod version with high life and an open prefix are very cheap, and I picked up one with all three mods (shown above) for 20c. Don't try and craft this yourself, it is incredibly difficult and expensive. These type of gloves are garbage for most builds as they are very niche, therefore you can buy them for next to nothing.

Because of their rarity, they may not show up at the start of the league for a little while. You can use The Embalmer as a budget/early alternative.

This should increase Vaal Skeleton dps substantially and adds more total boss dps than Grip of the Council (at the cost of some reliability, as skeletons can get blown up if they stand in explosions or AoE). Still, you should be able to get multiple Vaal Skeleton summons off over long fights.

Gem Choices:
If you don't have the Poison gem mod, use Ruthless (most damage) or Maim (helps maim enemies quicker for the Maim bonus on HoA) as your 4th link.
If you do have the poison mod, you may use either Ruthless (most unconditional damage, but only effects melee skeletons), Maim (helps maim enemies quicker for the Maim bonus on HoA) or Vile Toxins (requires poison stacks on target, but also buffs the skeleton archers). PoB doesn't seem to have the skeleton archers modelled correctly, so I'm unsure if they do significant damage.

Previous info (2.6 Synthesis):

On hard bosses (shaper, uber elder) Asenath's can be swapped out for Grip of the Council. This isn't a huge damage increase (roughly 7% more damage) as we have no elemental penetration or elemental resistance reductions, but it's still substantial and worth doing for the top tier encounters.


Windscream/Windshriek are a good early option for adding an additional curse.

The endgame goal is a pair of rare boots with 30% movement speed, high (100-110+) life roll, and some resistances. Try to get the movement speed lab enchant as well.

While levelling, you can use a rare amulet with intelligence to help reach your stat requirements.
An early endgame option for the amulet is a rare with life and whatever resistances you need.

Late game, our goal is a +1 curse corrupted Winterheart.
We don't need much from the amulet slot, so it's a perfect target to corrupt for +1 curses. All we really need is life and resistances, which makes this an easy option compared to buying and corrupting 1c rare amulets.

If you want to attempt to corrupt this yourself, there are 27 possible corrupted implicit mods that can roll on amulets.
The chance of corrupting an amulet to have an implicit mod is 25%, therefore on average, (4*27) = 108 corruptions are needed to hit +1 curse. Obviously this exposes you to the variance of RNG, but it gives an approximate cost to the item:

- Assuming you can buy uncorrupted Winterhearts for 1 alch each
- Assuming Vaal and alchemy orbs are worth 0.5 chaos each

Then the total cost of buying and corrupting a Winterheart amulet is 1c, and the average cost of obtaining a +1 curse Winterheart is 1*108 = 108c.

Usually you will be able to purchase them substantially cheaper as they are not wanted by many people - I bought mine for 50c and there are multiple listed well under 100c.


We need one elder Poacher's Mark on hit ring, with a decent life roll (or an open prefix to craft life yourself). If you're settling for a crafted life roll, try to get some other good stats on the ring as well like resistances or a high (15+) life gain on hit roll.

For the other ring, start with a Doedre's Damning ring if needed, then replace this with any other decent rare ring once you have a corrupted +1 curse amulet.
I recommend an elder ring with a high life roll and a high life gain on hit roll (15+), as well as whatever resists you can get. This life gain does not get reduced by curse effectiveness against bosses (unlike Poacher's Mark) so it's quite valuable.
At least one unset ring base is a bonus, as it allows us to run a golem in our CwDT setup. This isn't a big loss, so don't worry if you can't fit one into your gear.


Early on, a Gluttony belt is very useful for applying Poacher's Mark.

Lategame you want a rare belt with high life and resists. A stygian belt is best if you can get one, but a good rare leather/heavy belt is better than a crappy stygian vise. This is a good slot to really boost your resistances if you need to.


These are very cheap and are a good target for corrupting for implicits. You can either corrupt a bunch yourself or just buy corrupted ones already. Immune to corrupting blood is the best one and you should try and at least get this one.

Take care placing these Volley Fires. They must be socketed somewhere where the Dexterity requirement is fulfilled. For this build, there are only 3 valid sockets - The scion socket, the socket near Duelist, and the socket over near Ranger.

The remaining jewels can be anything. Get life on all of them (either % from normal jewels or +flat from abyssal jewels).
If you are short on a few resistances, this can be a good place to patch them up.
Increased minion damage is nice because it scales our own damage due to Spiritual Aid.

Instant life flask, silver flask and quicksilver are our staples.
Note that we still require a remove-bleed flask even with a "immune to corrupting blood" jewel, as this doesn't make us immune to rupture and other bleeds.

Witchfire Brew is used for mapping and most content. I only swap it out for Uber Elder because when swapping to our single target setup, we don't use Soulrend. The single target boss setup applies Despair and doesn't require the despair aura.

This frees up a flask slot and can be used to run a situational flask specific to the boss (eg. Sapphire flask for Uber Elder). For easier bosses, even Shaper, I don't bother swapping it out because I'm lazy.

The last flask is optional. A Jade or Basalt is a good addition. We don't require any elemental status removal due to the Pathfinder ascendancy, so I chose a jade with an increased evasion roll.

Stat Priorities:

We don't need many stats on gear. Therefore aim for high life on everything (t1 rolls if possible) and elemental resistances.
Watch out for your intelligence requirements - especially while levelling, you might need quite a lot of intelligence on your amulet.

- Life
- Minion damage
- Resistances (if needed)
- Any other on-hit/on-kill effect you would like


You can start this build on zero budget. I used it as a league starter in Synthesis and Legion and it worked well.

Before you can afford a +1 curse corrupted amulet, you can use a Doedre's Damning ring.
Before you get a Poacher's Mark on-hit ring, you can use a Gluttony belt.

Your priority for upgrades should be as follows:

- Obtaining a +2 minion level/minion damage elder helmet (should be very cheap)
- Buying a Witchfire Brew flask
- Level 21 Herald of Agony

At this point you can look into the following options:

- Amulet upgrade - see Amulet gear discussion
- Crafting or buying a +3 minion level/minion damage elder helmet (approx. 10% more damage - all content can be completed without one)
- Level 21 soulrend for slightly higher clear speed
- Buying jewels


5th link add:

Pierce can be run prior to using Projectile Weakness curse.

Keep Barrage level 3 or lower to reduce the mana cost. We don't lose any damage from this as our damage comes from Soulrend.

Make sure to turn on "Always attack without moving" for Barrage (click the skill on your bar, click on the toggle at the top).

Flame Dash

When colouring your Cospri's Will, your goal is GGGRB(R/B), where the unlinked socket is either red or blue. This is a bit awkward to do, so take whichever one comes first. You can either put Flame Dash, Convocation (both blue) or Flesh and Stone (red) into this socket.

Tip: click Flame Dash on your skill bar, and make sure "Always attack without moving" is selected. This makes Flame Dash feel much better!

Herald of Agony

Herald of Agony must go in the helmet!
After getting a helm with "supported by level x Minion Damage", drop the minion damage gem and add Maim.

Once you start running Projectile Weakness, drop Chain and replace it with Vile Toxins. Chain is very nice for levelling, especially when you are relying on the spider to clear for you. Once you're running Projectile Weakness, attacks can no longer chain as they have 100% pierce, so it can be replaced for a damage gem.

Note that Vile Toxins does not need quality (it only increases poison damage). However, level 21 gem adds 5% more damage. Therefore try and get a level 21 Vile Toxins if possible.

CwDT (Steelskin + Golem, Convocation, Flesh and Stone)

- Level 14 Cast when Damage Taken
- Level 18 Steelskin
- Level 16 Summon Stone/Chaos Golem

3+1/4L. Make sure convocation is not linked, or level it to level 18 or higher so that it won't automatically trigger.
Flesh and Stone does not need to be linked, but it also doesn't matter if it is. Leave Flesh and Stone on Sand stance for defenses.

Depending on your Chest armour colours, put either Convocation or Flesh and Stone in the 6th socket there.

You can leave out the golem if you're unable to use an Unset ring.

Soulrend + Phase Run

Level 4 Arcane Surge, two separate 3-links. Make sure to put Soulrend in the Poet's Pen and the Phase Run setup in the Shield.

Boss Setup + Wither Totem

Two separate 3-links. Make sure to put the offering setup in the Poet's Pen and the wither totem in the shield. This Poet's Pen does not need to be linked.

Quality on multiple totems and spell totem makes a huge difference on the smoothness of placing the totems. Try to level them early to flip them with the vendor recipe asap, or alternatively buy quality gems.

Vaal Skeletons

For mapping, I like to use Portal, and the remaining sockets to use a 3-link Vaal Summon Skeletons. These aren't very important, a 2-link Vaal Summon Skeletons + Withering Touch works fine - very good to pop during a Legion pillar phase, during Betrayal ganks, or any time you need more bodies on your side.
You can use the last socket for Flame Dash or some other skill if needed.
We can also (as of 3.7) use Shield Charge with wands. This is probably very nice to use as we get a lot of attack speed. I haven't tried it out but I've had feedback that it's very smooth, so feel free to fit it in.

In the boss glove setup, a 6-link Vaal Summon Skeletons should provide up to 1.6m additional shaper dps if they are allowed to attack unhindered (likely less). Alternatively they can be used defensively to meat-shield for you and absorb quite a lot of damage and attention.


Herald of agony has low base damage, but extremely high scaling (level 21 gem values):
- 2041-3760 added physical damage at 40 virulence stacks (!!!)
- 480% increased physical damage
- 160% increased attack speed

For this reason, adding 15% increased minion damage, or 9-15 added physical damage, or 8% attack speed to the herald has very little impact on it's final dps.

The best way to scale the herald's damage is by multiplying the damage it deals:

- "more" multipliers, eg. support gems:

- "% phys damage added as x" damage bonuses, eg.

- gem levels, especially 20->21 as this hits a new scaling breakpoint on the attack speed modifier.

- increasing damage taken by the target:

Minion accuracy is not as important for Herald of Agony as it appears to have very high base accuracy. It's still worth taking the % increase nodes on the tree, but minions like SRS or Animate Weapon benefit far more from accuracy. Therefore flat accuracy items such as Command of the Pit are not worth stacking on this build.
Last edited by Bobblybook on Oct 5, 2019, 9:05:07 AM
Last bumped on Oct 5, 2019, 8:48:14 AM


[3.7] 3.7 Red Elder
[3.7] 3.7 Elder guardians (Constrictor)
[3.7] 3.7 Elder guardians (Enslaver)
[3.7] 3.7 Elder guardians (Eradicator)
[3.7] 3.7 Elder guardians (Purifier)

[3.7] Legion bosses (2 stones)
I didn't know what I was doing here so there was a lot of running around, and server lagged at the start. I'll record a 4-stone one when I do it.

[3.7] Crystal Ore (t14, juiced up)
This boss fight is annoying because it's hard to control who the crawler attacks when there are immune enemies. This map also had '60% chance to avoid poison' which I didn't even notice until I uploaded the video, and you can see my Virulence stacks still capped out.

The following 3.7 videos were done with a 4L, level 20 HoA with no additional minion levels, a 4L Barrage without Life Gain on Hit and a level 19 Soulrend.
[3.7] Caldera (t15)
[3.7] Crystal Ore (t14)
[3.7] Terrace (t13)
[3.7] Park (t12)

[3.6] Defiled Cathedral (t15)
[3.6] Lava Lake (t15)
[3.6] Shaper
[3.6] Red Elder - This video is a bit glitchy, sorry. Something messed up with the encoder.

I have also killed quite a few 8-mod twinned cores in Synthesis. The only one that really caused any issues was one with so many damage mods that the boss would one shot me with any hit of anything at all. The rest were fairly easy, as long as you're able to dodge relatively well.

FAQ (in progress):

Why soulrend and not ED/x spell?

The difficulty with Poet's Pen is that you get to use a spell that gets spammed, but has relatively low links. It's a 3L, but it has +3 bonus levels to the socketed spell so you can think of it as a 3.5/4L. This means that you need to use a spell that benefits from being spammed.

Pretty much any direct damaging spell is good to use. ED is not, because with ED you cannot stack the debuff multiple times. Therefore only your hardest hitting ED debuff will be damaging an enemy.

This means you want to scale the damage as high as possible, and not invest much into the cast rate as it doesn't do anything for the dps. This is the opposite to what Poet's Pen is all about.

Soulrend is a similar idea, however the debuff time is so low that it doesn't really overlap itself in the same way as it would if you used ED.

Also, the base damage is very high, which is great for us as this scales well with gem levels, which we get from Poet's Pen.

If you swap in ED in Path of Building, you will see that it really doesn't do a whole lot of damage without actually investing into spell damage. If a future update introduces a direct-damaging chaos spell (some sort of chaos bolt or similar), it will probably be even better than soulrend for this build.

15 Wither stacks?? Someone contact Bullshit Builds™!!!!111
With multiple totems and skill duration on the tree, wither stacks incredibly fast. It's fairly trivial with this setup to reach maximum stacks of wither very fast and maintain it easily on bosses, so I don't think it's an unreasonable configuration.

The wither totems have a cast time of 0.28 sec, for a cast rate of 3.57/sec.
The wither debuff has a duration of 3.3 sec.
With three totems up, this is a total of 10.57 stacks of wither/sec. Therefore it takes 1.42 seconds to stack wither from 0 stacks to maximum (15).

If using just a single drop of totems (two), this becomes 7.14 stacks/sec for a total ramp time of 2.1 seconds.

If you want to drop wither stacks to 5 or 10 to check the numbers, go ahead.

Why no withering touch on either barrage or Herald? surely it's OP!

Withering Touch is a nice concept and I desperately wanted to fit it into either of these. Either into barrage, where the on-hit aspect would keep it up, or on herald, where you get the added-as-chaos bonus as well, which is very good. Unfortunately, the gem sucks.

The application rate is too low. Even if it were 100% chance, you would have to hit the target 15 times to stack wither. This is annoying to ramp during messy boss fights, especially if you're at range and your barrage is spraying all over the place.

However, the proc chance is only 25%. This means you have to hit a target 60 times to get your wither stacks to 15 (and that's only an average - if you get an unlucky streak it could easily be way more). It's just never going to realistically work - the wither stacks will always be low and nowhere near full. This gem is only really useful when the gem provides good damage by itself, and the wither effect is just an extra bonus. For this build it's much better to get reliable, fast wither via the totem, use the extra gem slot for barrage for LGoH, and buff your herald with other better damage support gems.

It's sad because this gem seems like it's basically made for this build, and even then it's woefully crap. Maybe if they do something about it in the future, it could be a contender.
Last edited by Bobblybook on Jun 15, 2019, 1:54:10 AM
I have done this build with help from OP messaging him questions and such. It is a very good build. You do feel a bit squishy but it's manageable. I just hit lvl 90 with it today and have done up to t15 maps and a t13 elder no problem. I did all the guardians and elder himself deathless.

I've played poets pen the past 2 leagues and was looking for a build to replace my last 2 since the poet's pen nerfs. Decided to also give Herald of Agony a try so this build was a nice fit for me and what I wanted.

Can't be inflicted with corrupted blood Volley Fire, and Poet's Pen is cheap so give it a try.:D
What pantheons are you using? I felt squishy while levelling, but once I had a cwdt ic setup, jade flask, stibnite (witchfire), endurance charges, lunaris pantheon, immunity to elemental status ailments (ascendancy), knockback, and my life sorted out, it's one of the least squishy rangers I have played.

Life gain on hit 6th link should add a lot of healing as well if you feel that it's needed.
Last edited by Bobblybook on Mar 28, 2019, 12:31:20 PM
Specced into this yesterday. Very smooth gameplay with good single target.

Btw, Empower 4 is better than maim for herald of agony. Barrage is best kept at lvl 1 to minimize mana costs.

Thanks for guide.
nebel wrote:
Btw, Empower 4 is better than maim for herald of agony. Barrage is best kept at lvl 1 to minimize mana costs.

Thanks for guide.

This is true, but Maim beats Empower level 3. They are both red gems so if you can get your hands on an empower 4, by all means use it.

Empower also has a higher mana multiplier (125% vs 115%) which may cause some problems, especially if you have a 6L with LGoH.

I didn't think about the level 1 barrage, thanks. I initially was trying to scale poison so I levelled it up, but I will make a note of that somewhere in the guide.
Last edited by Bobblybook on Mar 29, 2019, 2:30:05 AM
Good build, any idea how to make Master Alchemist more useful other than immune elemental ailments?
mithras001 wrote:
Good build, any idea how to make Master Alchemist more useful other than immune elemental ailments?

Get flat fire on some jewel/ring. Use cinderswallow urn flask. Ignited mobs will take 10% increased damage.
mithras001 wrote:
Good build, any idea how to make Master Alchemist more useful other than immune elemental ailments?

You can't really. 40% increased ele dmg is not a lot even for ele builds since it's increased, not more. So don't feel bad about not making use of that portion of the node.

If you want more damage, Nature's Adrenaline is better to take over Master Alchemist, but then you have to roll an anti-freeze flask. I think you get more damage from taking Master Alchemist and freeing up a flask slot for a unique flask instead.
Last edited by Bobblybook on Apr 24, 2019, 10:12:04 AM
For the first time in my 2.5k hours of PoE, that I have spent playing other peoples builds, I have to comment to a build I play. This build is awesome!
This is not the easiest build to get going at the very beginning, but once it starts (around lv16 when you get HoA running) it gets super fun! As a note, I had my poet's pen equipped at the lvl 12, right when you can start using it.
For the first time ever I think I found a build I'll be playing another round in next league. Thank you for this!
Edit: Red elder down, Shaper down, and no problem whatsoever in neither of them.
Last edited by henjoi on May 10, 2019, 1:05:28 PM

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