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[3.15] The Pestilent Viper | New vids : Cortex, Simulacrum | 3.16 tree beta > p11

Hi Exiles,

The Pestilent Viper is a melee Occultist build (yes, you read that right) with Pestilent Strike for farming and Viper Strike for bosses.

It uses a deadly cocktail of melee poison mixed with the chaotic power of Profane Bloom.

I got the idea of this build in Delirium when I saw these boots :

My goal was to get all the buffs from these boots, but without the debuffs.
Thanks to the Occultist, we poison all enemies and make them explode ! Welcome in the Glorious Madness... but without the madness ;)

Compared to a poison Assassin or Pathfinder, this build has less DPS but more tankiness. It has also easy access to maximum chaos resistance. And insane chaosplosions !

I was quite proud when someone told me on Youtube : "Wait, the character in the video is a male character. Almost looks like a Shadow."
But no, it really is a Witch. And even a Viper !


PoB links -updated for 3.16

* Mahuxotl's shield version : https://pastebin.com/5ng3TZ93 . My current setup.
* Apep's shield version : https://pastebin.com/4Y9DJNmt

Current gearing in Std

Updated 10/20/21

New videos in 3.15

#6 : Pestilent Champloo. A Ten-Boss Fight, all at once !

#5 : The Uncanny. The Simulacrum.

#4 : Cortex/Maven. Includes tips and tricks for the fight.

#3 : The Bite of The Viper. T16 Constrictor with Ritual.

#2 : Bad Karma, Catarina ! The Mastermind.

#1 : The Eradicatrix. T16 Eradicator


I want to pay tribute to Durimon (Bluewelkin on this forum) for his excellent Durimon's Defense. The original version of this build used a variant of it.

This build features :
- Poison dmg with Pestilent Strike and Viper Strike
- Plaguesplosions !
- Very high resistances against elemental and chaos damages
- Take no cold and lightning damage

- Efficient farming with Pestilent Strike
- Good bossing with Viper Strike
- Very tanky against elem and chaos dmg

- Poison melee is not to everyone taste
- Heavy on uniques



* Level 92, won several T16 Ultimatums.
* Alternate PoB, with suggestions from other players. Thx to AntiSkid, K1yo and Yingchin !

* Level 73, beginning Atlas.

* Level 52, act 6.

In 3.14 Ultimatum, I've come up with a new setup based on the new Mahuxotl's shield :

--> take no cold and lightning dmg : they are converted 50% fire / 50% chaos.
--> passive recharge of life
--> 80% fire / 85% chaos res possible
--> always leeching

All details about the shield.

ThisIsBadger's build competition for 3.14 : https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1024457022
The build is featured at 5h28. All details.

* Ultimatum 3.14 poison autobomber : https://pastebin.com/5mNNXBku
Poison autobomber setup with the Hidden Blade dagger.


Past videos


#7 : Creature of Havoc. T16 Ultimatum with just Withering Step and Plague Bearer.
#6 : Machine Gun. Poison autobomber setup with the Hidden Blade dagger.
#5 : The Harder They Fall. T16 Ultimatum.
#4 : Everlasting Sacrifice. Getting 100% uptime of the buff with Shadowstitch armour.
#3 : Mahuxotl's Machination. Explaining the mechanisms behind the shield, in a T13 no regen map.
#2 : Heart of Darkness. Ultimatum in Delirium before act 10 Kitava.
#1 : Birth of a Viper. Going from acts 1 to 4 with some tough Ultimatum encounters.


#6 : Snakebite. Sirus Aw 7.
#5 : Toxic Girl. Farming in Crimson Township, then a Ten Boss Fight.
#4 : Test Driving. Poison sextant mod + Rampage = ZOOM ZOOM !
#3 : Dodge Viper. Synthesis map with Maven.
#2 : Daft Girl. T16 Canyon with Harbinger Reinforcements.
#1 : Pure Chayula with Maven

#5 : The Shaper. Using Vaal Breach at the end for a grand finale !
#4 : Eternal Youth. T16 Abaxoth and Constrictor.
#3 : She Moves Like a Knife. T16 60% Delirious map with the sextant poison mod to get triple dmg.
#2 : The Toxic Avenger. T16 Enslaver with a fully optimized setup.
#1 : Void Sphere + Plague Bearer.

The Unholy Four - Delve 666
#4 : Delve 600, T3 azurite
#3 : The Viper Strikes Back (T14 Eradicator, shocking ground)
#2 : The Strike of the Viper (farming with Viper Strike + Plague Bearer)
#1 : Unredeemable (T15 Redeemer)

#8 : T15 Purifier, Beyond map + Breach and Abyss.
#7 : T17 maps - 600% movespeed + triple damage with awakened sextant poison mod
#6 : T16 Promenade - 400% movespeed + double damage with simple sextant poison mod
#5 : T17 Vaal Zone
#4 : T16 farming and bossing
#3 : T14 Hunter
#2 : Max slow
#1 : Plaguesplosions

Why Occultist ?

From the Occultist Ascendancy, we get some nice QoL features for a poison build :
- Second curse
- Curses apply to hexproof enemies
- Chaos explosions
- 60% chaos res
- Wither stacks

I want to know more about Plaguesplosions

Very simple :
- Withering Steps + Profane Bloom Ascendancy
- Activate Plague Bearer
- Run
- BOOM !


The following infos are for original version with Apep's shield. Some may be outdated. I'll review them for 3.16

How do you get these resistances ?

75% base resistances, including chaos (mandatory)
- With Apep's shield : +3% to all res while poisoned
78% chaos res
- Born of Chaos small cluster notable : +3
81% chaos res

- Crystal Skin : +1 all elem res
- Soul of Steel : +1 all elem res
80% elem res.

With Divine Flesh, 50% of elem dmg taken as chaos, +5% to max chaos res.
86% chaos res.
(80+86) / 2 = 83% elem res.

I drink poison for breakfast

- With the Apep's shield, we get +3% to all max resistances (including chaos) while poisoned.
- With the Golden Rule jewel, poisons we inflict are reflected back to us.
- With Maw of Conquest helmet, we are unaffected by poison.
Voilà !


Farming :
Pestilent Strike + Unbound Ailments + Deadly Ailments + Added Chaos Damage + Multistrike + Fortify

For bosses, put Viper Strike instead, same supports.

- Enlighten level 3 + Blasphemy + Despair + Temporal Chains
- Whirling Blades + Faster Attacks
- Plague Bearer level 21, Withering Step, Vaal Blight
- Aspect of the Spider
- Flesh & Stone / Sand Stance
- Enduring Cry
- Optionally : Cold Snap + Hypothermia

Detailed gearing

- Jewel : The Golden Rule is mandatory to self-poison yourself.

- Weapon : A good poison dagger or claw.

Uniques : Bino's Kitchen (poison prolif), Wasp Nest (fast, life gain on hit), Mortem Morsu (fast, phys to chaos conversion)

- Shield :

Apep's Supremacy is BiS.
Budget : Apep's Slumber. Already very good.

- Helmet :

Mandatory to not die when you self-poison yourself.

- Body armour : Nothing mandatory here.

Bought it for max life and chaos res.
Also, a Sacrificial Garb looks cool af for a Witch.

- Gloves : Fenumus' Weave to get Aspect of the Spider, if you don't have it on another piece of gear. Atm, I rather use :

Other option : rare gloves with "Strike skills target one additional nearby enemy"

- Boots :

Easy access to frenzy charges. I am unaffected by bleeding thanks to a Watcher's Eye/Malevolence.
In 3.14, we'll need a separate source of protection against Corrupted Blood.

- Amulet : Solstice Vigil is BiS

Other good choice : an Impresence with no mana Despair.
For the hipsters : an Aul's Uprising which grants level 15 Envy aura. But slightly inferior to the other.

You can also use Witchfire to get Despair without reserving mana for it :

- Belt : A Stygian Vise is BiS.

- Rings : Life, elem and/or chaos res, chaos dmg to attacks

- Flasks : Coralito's Signature is mandatory (and very cheap).

You may also like my other builds :
- The Nightblade Assassin
- The Infused Trickster
- The Unholy Knight

Cheers and have fun :)
Creator of the Nightblade Assassin build.
Last edited by rahsaan on Oct 20, 2021, 7:01:27 AM
Last bumped on Oct 20, 2021, 3:11:26 AM
Just added two new videos :

#4 : T16 farming and bossing
#5: T17 Vaal Zone

I'm planning to do a demo with the Arakaali dagger, which fits this build very well.
Gl & hf :)
Creator of the Nightblade Assassin build.
Advanced setup : max chaos and elemental resistances

The build still feels squishy, so I've read several Poison / Pestilent Strike builds, mainly to improve the defenses of this build. Some have great ideas and thx to them, I've found a way to further capitalize on the Occultist Ascendancy bonuses.
This setup requires several uniques, so it's more expensive and not-SSF friendly.
But with it, you can get 88% chaos res and (up to) 83% all elem res.

PoB @lvl 92 : https://pastebin.com/qj8qTtMG


This setup is inspired by Durimon's Defense for his Pestilent Strike Assassin.

I have adapted it to the Occultist like this :
- Get 45% chaos res. Should be fairly easy thanks to +60% chaos res on the Ascendancy

- On the amulet, anoint Cleansed Thoughts : chaos res is doubled. Now you have 75% (90%) chaos res. Anointment : golden – blue – clear. A bit expensive, I know.

- Get Apep's Supremacy shield (budget: Apep's Slumber) : +3% to all max res while poisoned. The wording is precise, it includes chaos res. Now, let's poison ourselves with...

- The Golden Rule jewel : Poisons you inflict are reflected back to you / +1% chaos res per poison on you. Since we poison all the time, we now have 78% to all max res.

- With Maw of the Conquest helmet, we are Unaffected by poison. Not to be confused with Immune to poison from Pantheon. Unaffected = you are poisoned but take no dmg.

- Let's add Soul of Steel on the tree : +1% all max elem res, that's 79% fire/cold/lightning res

Then, the icing on the cake : we put a Glorious Vanity / Xibaqua timeless jewel to get Divine Flesh : all dmg penetrates ES, +10% max chaos res, 50% of elem dmg taken as chaos dmg.
Now, you have 88% max chaos res and 79% elem res. So your actual elem res are : (88+79)/2 = 83% !

If you're not familiar with how the elem res works, you may think it's not much of a difference for a big investment. But here is how it works : if you have 75% res, for 100 dmg the enemy inflicts, you actually take 25. With 83, you take only 17. → 17/25 = 0.68, so that's 32% less elem dmg taken ! Nearly a third.

Additional infos
- Divine Flesh "50% elem taken as chaos" includes DoT dmg, like burning ground.

- With 88% chaos res, you won't feel Desecrated ground, even in t16 (I've tested).

- With Apep's Supremacy shield, you also take bleeding as chaos dmg. In another words, with 88% chaos res, you will barely feel bleeding and corrupted blood.

- Thx to Apep, poison expire 50% slower. It is further slowed by Shaper's Presence aura from Solstice Vigil : effects on you expire 20% slower. This guarantees permanent poisoned status. Maybe 2 or 3 times longer than normal, I don't know exactly how it calculated.

- Since all dmg penetrates ES, we always have ES, so we have a natural 50% chance to avoid stun :
As long as a creature has greater than 0 energy shield, it has a 50% chance to ignore a stun. This is calculated independently of the creature's chance to be stunned. First the chance to stun is calculated as normal, and if the stun check succeeds and would cause a stun, there is then a 50% chance that the stun can be ignored.


- To reach the hard cap of 90% chaos res, you'd need the Born of Chaos notable on a small cluster jewel : +3% max chaos res.

Plus, who wouldn't look pretty with this helmet ?
Creator of the Nightblade Assassin build.
Last edited by rahsaan on May 14, 2020, 12:20:48 PM
Tbh if you want to keep the -9 res helmet you can get "unaffected by poison" from small cluster jewel "Antivenom".
True, but the Maw helmet has this mod "20% of dmg taken gained as life over 4sec" which is awesome.
Here is a new video where I can facetank twinned bosses in a T17 vaal zone + twinned bosses in T16 Promenade :

The Pestilent Viper #6

On top of that, I'm using the sextant mod "8% inc dmg and 4% movespeed / poison on you".
With 72 poisons (easily sustainable), the DPS is actually doubled !

(And that was just the Simple sextant mod. The Awakened sextant mod with 100 poisons would triple it.)
Creator of the Nightblade Assassin build.
Last edited by rahsaan on May 15, 2020, 5:26:38 AM
I have looted this ring in a Synthesis map :

This was a good occasion to continue my transition to full chaos defense, with the Incandescent Heart :

In conjunction with Divine Flesh, now I take 75% of elem dmg from hits as chaos dmg !
Elem res = 79%
Chaos res = 88%
So, my actual elem res against hits are : (88*3 + 79)/4 = 86% !

I've lost life in the process, 4.8k down from 5.1k. The build feels squishier against phys dmg. So I gotta see how to defend this weak point. Maybe a Granite or Jade Flask (I'm currently using Acrobatics).

Also Enduring Cry. I can get Vigour notable in 2pts (+1 End charge). Maybe rework the skill tree by adding cluster jewels for Warcry effects and/or phys dmg reduction.
But first, I need to see how the cluster jewels will work in 3.11.

PoB @ level 92 : https://pastebin.com/NNy7HnRu

* +10% max chaos res manually added on the Glorious Vanity jewel.
* Corrected the Temp Chains mod on the Solstice amulet : removed "when cast as an aura", which isn't recognized by PoB.
* Also, for some reason I can't find, my res are indicated as lower in PoB.
But I can assure you they truly are 76/76/76/85 in hideout, with +4 when poisoned.

And now, I know why I'll never get a prize in Oriath next beauty contest !
Creator of the Nightblade Assassin build.
New video. This time, I'm using the Awakened sextant for the poison mod : that's 6% movespeed and 12% inc dmg / poison.
With 100% : 600% speed and 1200% inc dmg = triple damage ! (PoB numbers)

I've tested it in some spicy T17 maps and here is the result :

Pestilent Viper #7

Hope you like it :)
Creator of the Nightblade Assassin build.
Very cool, man. I'm thinking about this for 3.11.

How confident do you feel about Incandescent Heart? It looks good, but I'm wondering if there are better options out there than this, given the ele as chaos dmg mod is wasted.

Acrobatics also looks like a mistake at this point now that you're losing block, armour and ES all to get dodge.

Exceptional Performance still an ideal anoint?
Last edited by Gescom on Jun 15, 2020, 9:47:38 AM
Now we possibly can take Elusive, would you drop some points to grab that?
Would you recommend some league starter layout or maybe rather start with toxic rain?

Thx guys for the questions and sry for the delay.

Gescom wrote:
Very cool, man. I'm thinking about this for 3.11.

How confident do you feel about Incandescent Heart? It looks good, but I'm wondering if there are better options out there than this, given the ele as chaos dmg mod is wasted.

Acrobatics also looks like a mistake at this point now that you're losing block, armour and ES all to get dodge.

Exceptional Performance still an ideal anoint?

Actually, I have felt that Incandescent Heart makes us too squishy.
I have gone back to my Sacrificial Garb which has a good chunk of life and chaos res :

Dunno about Acrobatics. I know it nukes ES and Armour but 30% dodge still feels good while mapping.

For the anointment, Dirty Technique is better.
Then Poisonous Fangs and Hunter's Gambit are actually good, even though they are claw and bow notables respectively.

Didn't have much time to think about the new tree in 3.11 but I'll check that in details soon.

thedarkbobo wrote:
Now we possibly can take Elusive, would you drop some points to grab that?
Would you recommend some league starter layout or maybe rather start with toxic rain?

As league starter, seems to me that Venom Gyre is good. But i would quickly swap to Pestilent at level 28.

For Elusive, maybe. As they've nerfed Soul of Steel, I won't go to it now, better get Crystal Skin for +1% all max res. That saves some points to grab the Elusive cluster.

Also Wind Dancer is too good to pass.

I'll rework the tree ASAP.

* PoB [beta] 3.11 tree, 83% elem, 88% chaos res : https://pastebin.com/RU624gB6 . Wind Dancer, Dirty Techniques anointment, new Elusive cluster. 60/30 dodge.


Meanwhile, here is a new video : a juicy T15 Coral Ruins with Beyond, a Breach and an Abyss, almost all at the same time :D
Then the Purifier as a boss.
It shows that this naughty girl has some tankiness.

Pestilent for farming, then swap to Viper for the boss. Btw, I've forgotten to put Fortify instead of Ancestral Call for the boss :D

#8 : T15 Purifier

Hope you like it :)
Creator of the Nightblade Assassin build.
Last edited by rahsaan on Jun 19, 2020, 5:44:40 AM

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