[3.6] [In-depth] Caustic Arrow CI Trickster - Tanky, fast mapper and delver, safe playstyle



Welcome to my Caustic Arrow Trickster guide. So, after my Scourge Arrow I decided to give a shot to another bow skill on new Trickster, and Caustic Arrow looked perfect, because I can fully abuse all defensive capabilities of this ascendancy. That is Ghost Shrouds and going ES and eva hybrid while getting insane recovery when something hits me, DoT on kill regen and recharge what basically keeps me always on full energy shield during mapping and also Soul Strike for very fast start of ES recharge. Trickster also has some huge DoT damage boost in ascendancy, what works really really well with CA. All this combined together results in probably the safest character I ever played with respectable single target damage and awesome clear speed.

Thanks to all points I mentioned above, this build is very viable for HC players, because we can fully focus on defense on our gear and in the end we can end up with over 10k EHP with multiple layers of defense and slows on top of that.

For people who want to use Toxic Rain check the Using Toxic Rain instead of Caustic Arrow section.

Here is my my current in progress Synthesis character (don't mind the name, it was supposed to be another WOrb character but I respecced it to this).

And here is my in progress Synthesis Flashback character

Changelog

Spoiler

21th May 2019
- Added setup without Solstice Vigil, what is slightly more tanky
- Moved some gems around to fit new alternative builds
- Added Faster Attacks to main Blink Arrow setup

20th May 2019
- Replaced Chaos Golem setup in Budget/QoTF version with Frenzy

16th May 2019
- Moved movement setup to body
- Moved auras to helmet
- Added Summon Chaos Golem for Budget and QoTF setups
- Added budget movement setup
- Removed flame dash movement setup
- Removed Main Skill gems sections

15th May 2019
- Replaced Enhance in movement setup with Culling Strike
- Added another movement skill setup to guide
- Added Queen of the Forest body gem variation and Item set

14th May 2019
- Replaced Storm Brand + COH + Temporal Chains with CWDT + Temporal Chains in budget setup
- Added less off-color (budget) setup for movement

12th May 2019
- Added leveling trees
- Added budget setup for body
- Removed Toxic Rain tree and setup

8th May 2019
- Added Uber Elder video

7th May 2019
- Replaced Granite flask with Quartz flask
- Added Malevolence Bleed Watcher's Eye to PoB (and prioritized it over DoT multi)

5th May 2019
- Updated Pantheon gods
- Replaced ES helmet with Eber's Unification

4th May 2019
- Added Shaper gameplay video
- Replaced faster start of ES recharge craft on ring with mana + damage as mana

3rd May 2019
- Added 2 new gameplay videos

2nd May 2019
- Added Toxic Rain section
- Added more info to Toxic Rain section
- Updated PoB to also contain Toxic Rain gem setup and passive tree

1st May 2019
- Created the guide
- Added Lava Lake preview video
- Cleaned up the post
- Optimized bow
- Added budget bow to PoB
- Replaced boots with slightly better ones
- Added Atziri preview video
- Replaced +1 to minimum frenzy charges with intelligence suffix on ring
- Replaced Synthetized bow with Elder Vicious Projectiles bow
- Replaced Intelligence suffix on ring with faster start of energy shield recharge prefix


Pro's & Con's

+ Awesome clear speed - At higher levels our DoT "one shots" packs and with extra pierce and multiple projectiles we can cover really big area with caustic clouds, and Mirage Archer is clearing anything that we miss
+ Decent lab runner (because of our high movement speed, damage, self-regen from Ghost Shrouds and super fast ES recovery)
+ 221% increased movement speed with flasks up, Phase Run and Onslaught
+ 10.6k Energy Shield
+ 1s delay to start ES recharge, and as we are DoT build and we also run Immortal Call with a lot of increased duration, this is super easy to trigger
+ 33k Evasion with flasks up - 11k without
+ 87% melee avoid chance, 87% projectile avoid chance, 32% spell avoid chance, 9% reduced damage taken
+ 1600 ES gained per Ghost Shroud on hit
+ Stun immune (because of Ghost Shrouds)
+ Chaos immune (because of Chaos Innoculation)
+ Freeze and Chill immune (because of Dream Fragments)
+ Bleed immune (thanks to Malevolence Watcher's Eye)
+ Enemies are permanently slowed thanks to Temporal Chains, Wither, Cold Snap and Aspect of Spider
+ Our buffs and flask last very very long thanks to Solstice Vigil, a lot of increased duration and Alchemist node
+ Very safe playstyle. Because we are DoT build we can focus only on dodging and avoiding attacks
+ Can do any content in the game (except Hall of the Grandmasters because some characters there are CI) - That means no worries about ES recharge, leech, mana leech, regen, any kind of damage reflection
+ Only 6 link required is Elder Bow (and it requires only 2 mods, rest is multi-crafted on bench)
+ Do not requires any uniques to function, ones used in this build are merely QoL, survivability and some extra cheap damage

- To comfortably get more than 10k ES we use Clarity Watcher's Eye and Energy From Within, what can be quite expensive (depends on current meta), can be easily replaced with cheaper Watcher's Eye and more regular jewels
- We use 6linked Elder Vicious Projectiles Bow, what by itself can be quite expensive (can be replaced with a lot cheaper base)
- Single target is not that awesome. With optimized gear and gem swap we can get up to 2M effective DPS, what is pretty decent, but it can't really compete with meta builds
- Clearing is not that satisfying as we are still DoT skill, so everything dies with very small delay, so no fancy explosions
- For maximum damage and clear effectiveness we need white socket on bow (for Concetrated Effect/Mirage Archer swap). Alternatively we can just swap to Void Manipulation, so it's not that big of a deal
- No corpse removal, so things like Porcupines can be dangerous. If you have mirrors to spare you can get +1 lvl and explosion implicit synthetized bow, but it's usually fine
- We need plenty of strength from gear to meet gem stat requirements
- Min-maxing the build can be quite expensive, but the build itself is very flexible and do not requires a lot of investment to make it work

Content Done
- All guardians
- Atziri
- Mastermind
- Shaper
- Uber Elder

Path of Building

Path of Building is tool for PoE to plan gear, skill tree and calculate effective damage. It also contains Bandits choice. You can download it here. Then simply import below Pastebin URL. Alternatively use the web preview.

Pastebin (Web Preview)

Navigating through PoB (important, read carefully)

There are 5 trees, for level 100, 90, 80, 70 and 60. Use dropdown in bottom left corner of Tree section in PoB to cycle between them

There are 3 item sets:
- Default: This is regular version, using Solstice Vigil and rare hybrid body with extra curse
- No Solstice: This version is not running Solstice Vigil, and instead it is using nice rare ES amulet for around 1k more ES, better body armour without extra curse (as it's not that important when we don't have Solstice)
- QoTF: This setup is using Queen of the Forest as body for maximum clear speed. It is also using Sin Trek boots for their hybrid stats to reach 45k QoTF cap faster

There are 3 weapon skill gem sets:
- Bossing: Here, we are using Concentrated Effect as 6th link for maximum damage
- Mapping: Here, we are using Mirage Archer as 6th link to optimize our clear speed. Bossing/Mapping are basically gem swaps, swapping Concentrated Effect and Mirage Archer (requires white socket on bow)
- Budget: Here, we are not using Empower, and instead we socket in Vicious Projectiles, assuming on budget we will not have Vicious Projectiles elder bow

There are 2 body skill gem sets:
- Default: This setup is for min-maxed and plan-to-be min-maxed builds, utilizing lvl 1 Clarity for our Watcher's Eye
- No Aspect: This version assumes absence of Clarity Watcher's Eye and Aspect of the Spider, so it's instead using Arctic Armour

There are 2 boots skill gem sets:
- Default: This setup is optimized for min-maxed version running both Solstice Vigil and Aspect of the Spider, running free Blasphemy + Temporal Chains thanks to Solstice and Phase Run + Increased Duration
- No Solstice/QoTF: This setup is altered Default version, running Efficiacy and Summon Chaos Golem instead of Blasphemy + Temp Chains. Important! Either run Summon Chaos Golem unlinked here or move it to body armour and move Discipline here for some extra duration, otherwise you will not have enough mana to summon golem (it will cost 98 mana, and we only have around 77 mana unreserved)

Pantheon

For major god Soul of Lunaris is good safety pick for mapping and some extra damage avoidance. Another great option is Soul of Solaris for extra safety on bosses.

For minor god Soul of Gruthkul is great choice for even more phys reduction (what we kind of lack in this build) and another slow.

Ascendancy

Get Patient Reaper first. Then get Ghost Dance and Escape Artist for some survivability and finally get Prolonged Pain from Uber Lab.

Using Toxic Rain instead of Caustic Arrow

You can alternatively play this build with Toxic Rain for better bossing potential (the total damage output on bosses is a lot higher than CA), but much worse clear and less safety (because you will need to constantly attack instead of shooting and dodging). The whole tree and gear is same, except that you will want to respec whole Piercing Shots cluster and path to Aspect of the Eagle instead.

The current total DPS with Toxic Rain in this build is around 4M, what is pretty nice (with Mirage Archer, +1 quiver and +1 arrow enchant).

To calculate your DPS with Toxic Rain, use this calculator.

Leveling

Spoiler

As you can use Caustic Arrow from level 1, just use it the whole time. For smoother leveling try to get fast AS bow early and just craft some chaos damage to it. If you can, get Silverbranch and then Silverbought and just socket your Caustic arrow inside of it for some nice level boost, otherwise you can just use Tabula Rasa.

You can start with Caustic Arrow + Pierce Support + Onslaught Support links. Pierce is very nice for CA because it creates additional clouds for each target pierced and Onslaught is decent for fast leveling

At lvl 4 socket Mirage Archer to your Caustic Arrow, then your leveling should feel pretty smooth.

Keep socketing supports that main build is using as soon as they are available.

Focus on getting Piercing Shots node very early as it improves your clear a lot and gives you some decent damage. After this you can ignore pierce anywhere else (for example now you can drop the Pierce support.

At start just play as Life/ES hybrid. When you will reach at least 4k ES with ES gear you can start thinking about moving to CI.

If you can't afford Elder Thicket/Grove Bow, simply use 6l ilvl 64+ bow with +1 to socketed gems and +2 to bow gems, or even cheaper, 6l ilvl 50 Short Bow what is super cheap thanks to divination cards, and can be farmed if SSF.


Media

Mapping
Dig Lvl 76
Lava Lake Lvl 77
Defiled Cathedral Lvl 80
Temple of Atzoatl Lvl 81
Core Lvl 86 (GMP test)

Delving
Delve Depth 188 Beyond Lvl 83

Bossing
Atziri Lvl 78
Shaper Lvl 81 (Very scuffed run)
Nexus Boss Lvl 88
Pit of the Chimera Lvl 88
Forge of the Phoenix Lvl 88
Lair of the Hydra Lvl 88
Maze of the Minotaur Lvl 88
Uber Elder Lvl 90
My builds:
[3.6] Caustrick - Caustic Arrow CI Trickster - Very tanky, awesome clear, respectable single target
[3.6] Scourgster - Cold Scourge Arrow CI Trickster - Very simple and tanky
[3.6] CoCPact - CoC Dark Pact Assassin - 35 casts/s - 5M Shaper DPS
Last edited by thedeathbeam on May 22, 2019, 4:38:12 AM
Last bumped on May 25, 2019, 9:08:13 AM
Added new preview video of Lava Lake. I died once by accident (standing in DoT) but it was probably the smoothest t15 run I had with any character so early in progression (I am still just leveling the char). So here is the video (I also already added it to main post):

Lava Lake Lvl 77
My builds:
[3.6] Caustrick - Caustic Arrow CI Trickster - Very tanky, awesome clear, respectable single target
[3.6] Scourgster - Cold Scourge Arrow CI Trickster - Very simple and tanky
[3.6] CoCPact - CoC Dark Pact Assassin - 35 casts/s - 5M Shaper DPS
Last edited by thedeathbeam on May 1, 2019, 9:06:48 AM
Small update:

- Optimized best bow: Replaced +2 to level of socketed bow gems to +1 to level of socketed gems.
- Added budget bow to PoB: Basically just ilvl 64+ 6 linked bow with +1 to socketed gems and +2 to socketed bow gems with +2 to socketed support gems craft


Here is updated PoB:

https://pastebin.com/8Zd7KZT7

I also already updated main post (both PoB and web preview links)
My builds:
[3.6] Caustrick - Caustic Arrow CI Trickster - Very tanky, awesome clear, respectable single target
[3.6] Scourgster - Cold Scourge Arrow CI Trickster - Very simple and tanky
[3.6] CoCPact - CoC Dark Pact Assassin - 35 casts/s - 5M Shaper DPS
Another preview video:

Atziri Lvl 78

As you can see, it was really simple and straightforward. As we do not need to care about reflect at all, there is not really anything that can kill us here.
My builds:
[3.6] Caustrick - Caustic Arrow CI Trickster - Very tanky, awesome clear, respectable single target
[3.6] Scourgster - Cold Scourge Arrow CI Trickster - Very simple and tanky
[3.6] CoCPact - CoC Dark Pact Assassin - 35 casts/s - 5M Shaper DPS
As Synthesis is not going core and I want to keep this build future-proof, I removed Synthetized bow from guide and replaced it with +1 Vicious Projectiles multimodded bow. This loses us around 150k DPS, but it's fine.

Here is updated PoB (main thread is already updated too):

Pastebin (Web Preview)
My builds:
[3.6] Caustrick - Caustic Arrow CI Trickster - Very tanky, awesome clear, respectable single target
[3.6] Scourgster - Cold Scourge Arrow CI Trickster - Very simple and tanky
[3.6] CoCPact - CoC Dark Pact Assassin - 35 casts/s - 5M Shaper DPS
Added section about Toxic Rain as it can almost be played as drop-in replacement in this build, with better DPS but much worse clear. For more details check the Using Toxic Rain instead of Caustic Arrow section in main post I just added.
My builds:
[3.6] Caustrick - Caustic Arrow CI Trickster - Very tanky, awesome clear, respectable single target
[3.6] Scourgster - Cold Scourge Arrow CI Trickster - Very simple and tanky
[3.6] CoCPact - CoC Dark Pact Assassin - 35 casts/s - 5M Shaper DPS
Updated the Toxic Rain section. I did some calculations, and with this build the actual Toxic Rain DPS is over 4.5M, what is pretty nice (that is with +1 quiver and +1 helmet enchant and Mirage Archer instead of conc effect).

I also added link to DPS calculator for Toxic Rain to main thread.
My builds:
[3.6] Caustrick - Caustic Arrow CI Trickster - Very tanky, awesome clear, respectable single target
[3.6] Scourgster - Cold Scourge Arrow CI Trickster - Very simple and tanky
[3.6] CoCPact - CoC Dark Pact Assassin - 35 casts/s - 5M Shaper DPS
Added budget item set to the PoB that is not using Dying Sun, Solstice Vigil and +1 curse high rolled chest. Instead it is using Carcass Jack, Vixen's Entrapment and Bane to apply Temporal Chains.

You can see this new item set simply by switching to Budget in PoB in items section.

Here is updated PoB:

Pastebin (Web Preview)
My builds:
[3.6] Caustrick - Caustic Arrow CI Trickster - Very tanky, awesome clear, respectable single target
[3.6] Scourgster - Cold Scourge Arrow CI Trickster - Very simple and tanky
[3.6] CoCPact - CoC Dark Pact Assassin - 35 casts/s - 5M Shaper DPS
Made small changes to PoB again:

Pastebin (Web Preview)

- There are now 2 item sets, Default and Budget. Budget item set contains cheaper item alternatives and less uniques.
- There are now 2 passive trees, Caustic Arrow and Toxic Rain. Toxic Rain tree is just pierce nodes changed to some accuracy and damage nodes.
- There are now 3 weapon skill gem sets, 2 are for gem swaps for bossing/mapping with Caustic Arrow and 3rd is for Toxic Rain if you want to play it
My builds:
[3.6] Caustrick - Caustic Arrow CI Trickster - Very tanky, awesome clear, respectable single target
[3.6] Scourgster - Cold Scourge Arrow CI Trickster - Very simple and tanky
[3.6] CoCPact - CoC Dark Pact Assassin - 35 casts/s - 5M Shaper DPS
Added 2 new gampleplay videos:

Defiled Cathedral Lvl 80
Temple of Atzoatl Lvl 81

Had to cut Temple right after boss because ad on YouTube started playing so it's not full run.
My builds:
[3.6] Caustrick - Caustic Arrow CI Trickster - Very tanky, awesome clear, respectable single target
[3.6] Scourgster - Cold Scourge Arrow CI Trickster - Very simple and tanky
[3.6] CoCPact - CoC Dark Pact Assassin - 35 casts/s - 5M Shaper DPS
Last edited by thedeathbeam on May 3, 2019, 2:05:52 PM

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