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[3.11] 4 Curse Poison BV Occultist | Curse Theorycrafting

I took this to level 100 with running only T17 maps for the final level. It was a blast, and this build is flexible for many different spells.

While the build is a lot of fun to play, hopefully it will inspire you to make your own. Add a bunch of curses on to a build and it's a lot of fun. Should be quite a bit stronger in 3.12 with Mark curses not reduced by boss penalty.

This isn't quite finished yet but I want to get it out there now to help you theorycraft your curse build. The guide is written for intermediate/advanced players and is lacking leveling information (among other things) at the moment. Happy to take questions from anyone.


Scale curses, giving great clear with occultist pops. Poison BV is solid single target to round out the build.

Pros & Cons

Occultist curse heavy builds generally

- Strong defenses
- Great against normal, magic, and even rare enemies
- Occultist pop explosions
- Curse effect scales both offenses and defenses
- Weak against unique enemies and end game bosses
- Vulnerable against off-screening and indirect damage

Poison BV synergies with curses

You can use curses to supplement any spell you want. I've tried this with others and have found a winner with BV. Other spells are covered later in this guide. I haven't tried this with attacks yet.
- Damage and defense positioning synergize. You want enemies to be within your curse range and your BV circle.
- Curses and BV both scale well with AOE.
- Scaling curse effect boosts your offense as well as your defense. Temp chains gives you longer curses. Despair gives chaos resistance reduction, increased damage taken, and a little flat damage.
- Transitioning to crit gives a late game damage boost.
- Poison BV is great for bosses while curses are great for mapping.

Poison BV variant

- Jack of all trades, can do all forms of content
- Tanky with several layers of defense
- Shares tankiness with other allies
- Decent at bosskilling
- Slow the monsters way down, don't get hit
- Still performs well when the monsters become more difficult
- Speedy speedy
- Can transition to self curse temp chains craziness
- No required uniques
- Run circles around the enemies
- Good with narrow maps like Toxic Sewer
- Doesn't scale well with other cursebots or aurabots
- Not as high single target damage as boss specific builds
- Vulnerable against off-scren projectiles (like Legion) and indirect damage (like corpse effects)
- Weak against totems, though totem enemies are weak themselves

Interaction with modes of play


Works fine, no required uniques. Coralito's Signature isn't required for the build to function but is a significant DPS boost. If you're playing this in SSF as a league starter, throw all your chance orbs at diamond flasks. As a second build, I would wait to get the flask before trying this out.
Another priority gear slot is amulets. Unfortunately, they are much easier to acquire in trade league than SSF. You can use a rare though, there are a lot of good mods available.
This build primarily uses Glorious Vanity and Incandesent Heart to convert elemental damage taken to chaos with 90% resistance. Even though we would otherwise be weak against elemental damage, it isn't necessary. In SSF, you might find success with a hybrid life/ES build. Life/ES recovery isn't a huge deal because we won't get hit too much.


I haven't played much hardcore and didn't take this build deathless, but it seems viable. One specific issue is that we don't have mitigation against lab traps. Fragile Bloom becomes helpful. I'll go over map mods in the leveling to 100 setion.


Curses are strong in delve. You won't go as deep as no HP builds, but I went to original delve 800 with a worse version of this build.

Custom mods

Lethal shouldn't be too bad, monsters within curse range typically don't hit us with attacks. Multi Proj can be tough for those monsters that offscreen. Turbo and brutal are mitigated by our slowing effets.
This is the build I would try in a guantlet league.

100% delirius

After hitting level 100, I tried a 100% delirium lvl 17 map solo. The biggest challenge was crashing. If you're partying up, you won't be as strong as a cursebot and won't benefit much from a cursebot or aurabut. But if you're joining a friend, they will feel a lot more tanky near you.

Post harvest

Harvest is a significant power creep. But none of the harvest crafting is necessary for this build to function.

Poison mechanics

Poison damage scales with chaos damage, chaos dot multi, poison damage. Most of our poison damage also scales with physical damage.
Poison damage does not scale with modifiers to spell damage.
Crits don't normally boost our damage. We change that with Coralito's Signature.
Poison duration scales with temp chains and increases to ailment damage or poison damage. Skill effect duration is great for our blade vortex but does not increase poison duration.

You do want to get your chance to poison at 100%. It's not too much of a challenge, with several sources:
- Poison support, 60%
- Herald of Agony, 20%
- Serpantine Spellslinger, 15%
- Toxic Strikes or Swift Venoms enchant, 10%
- Septic Spells cluster jewel notable: 20%
- Weapon suffix, 20-30%
- Coralito's Signature: 25% (though you may not have 100% flask uptime)



We are going 1H + shield for survivability.
Cold Iron Point is a priority early league. It gets outclassed by a well crafted rare later on. If CIP is expensive early on, get something with +1 level to all physical spell gems (if you can) and as much cdot multi as you can afford.


Shaper shields will likely get doubly nerfed, with losing Harvest crafting and nerfs to life gain on block. Life and resistances are good. +2 to all resistances is great with Divine Flesh to help us get 90% chaos res. The Int stat here does nothing, and spell block is a luxury. We already get so much reduced elemental damage taken we don't really need spell block.


You have a lot of options to go with on your enchant. I like Enfeeble curse effect because it's the best defensive option. Any of our 4 curses are good candidates, which is nice because BV enchants are $$$. The base type doesn't really matter. Get more life and resists. Dex is great, we need a lot of it. Phys taken as fire is great defensively. The increased duration of ailments while focused craft is the 2nd best mod you can get (behind life). There are 3 tiers of the craft, so pick up all the unveiled helmets you can get.

Body Armour

I went with Incandescent Heart to pair with Divine Flesh. If you go CI or hybrid you would want a rare chest. If the explody chest doesn't get nerfed, it will probably be your BIS. Lots of good options. Incandescent Heart will be much more difficult to color without Harvest.


Maligaro's Virtuosity is a big upgrade for our damage if we are also applying Assassin's Mark. Keep in mind that you need Coralito's Signature for crits to even matter. A lot of people corrupt this, and the Despair CoH isn't a high value target (yet). I got this for a couple ex mid league.
Before we transition to full crit, The Embalmer is ok for early league. Nothing crazy. I used them until lvl 98 but would transition sooner next time.
Decently rolled rares can compete with Embalmer.


The usual. Life, resists, movement speed, dex. Cool influenced mods. Or Windshriek/Windscream for +1 curse and some curse AOE.


There's 3 amulets which give us some free mana reservation. Despair Impresence, Solstice Vigil, and Malevolence Aul. All 3 are rare drops but are currently cheap. If one of them is cheaper than the rest, go for it. Malevolance is the most mana reduction, Impresence is the most damage, and Solstice Vigil is best with HH. If you're in SSF you'll be behind here. One option would be to craft an amulet; there are a lot of good mods like +1 level. Another option is to get a bunch of OK amulets, anoint them, and vaal for +1 curse.
Speaking of anoints, you have quite a few options. Fatal Toxins is the best with a lot of damage and some chaos resistance. Toxic Strike and Poisonous Fangs are both cheaper options which can work in a pinch even though they are better suited for attack builds.


Life, resists, dex. Assassin's Mark will be a priority for one ring. If you need leech, you can find that on a delve ring. Make sure it's phys leech rather than chaos leech. Because BV hits frequently, spell LGOH is also quite nice to keep you topped off.


Stygian with life and resists. If you're crafting a belt, go for the hunter base with % life and chaos damage.


Normal jewels

You don't have much space for normal jewels. Maybe one on your belt and maybe one on your tree. I'd prioritize Phasing, then Onslaught, then as much life as you can afford. Fragile Bloom is a good jewel for our build. We don't get hit often so we usually have the charges up. We are weak against degens which the jewel helps against. In trade league, you can even get a corrupting blood Fragile Bloom for cheap.

Special jewels (non-cluster)

Glorious Vanity with Xibaqua. With max chaos resistance, this gives us a lot of elemental mitigation. It also helps us against elemental ailments. Not required, we have a lot of other sources of mitigation. If you aren't going for Glorious Vanity, you might want to go CI or hybrid for a higher HP pool. Place between MoM and EE.
Thread of Hope, Large. Place near The Agnostic to grab Glancing Blows. Also, not required. I didn't add this and the next jewel until very late but felt the boost immediately.
Unnatural Instinct. This one is very much not required but can save us some passives. Place by Shaper near Scion. Pairs well with Thread of Hope, as Thread currently connects to Skittering Runes.

Cluster jewels

Early you can path without clusters. Eventually you'll want 1 group and if you're pushing for 100 you'll want a 2nd group. Here are some of the notables you'd like to grab one of:
A tier:
- Born of Chaos (with Glorious Vanity)
- Dark Discourse (S tier if scaling ES)
- Forbidden Words (S tier if you need the mana reduction), can use multiple
- Life clusters like Towering Threat
- Chilling Presence
- Overwhelming Malice (S tier with assassin's mark for consistent uptime)
- 3-passive life small clusters w/o a notable (S tier if well crafted)
B tier:
- Wish for Death (for culling strike)
- Wicked Pall (can use multiple)
- Wasting Affliction
- Brush with Death
C tier:
- Grim Oath (can use multiple)
D tier:
- All the ~30% damage nodes like Unwaveringly Evil and Unholy Grace


Coralito's Signature, Rumi's Concoction, and Atziri's Promise are good unique flasks. If you are using Glancing Blows I'd take Rumi and otherwise Atziri. You also want a Seething Divine Life Flask of Staunching, a Quicksilver flask of Adrenaline, and a warding flask.

Skill gems

This will depend on how you allocate your mana. I would prioritize mana reservations as:
1. Enfeeble
2. Temp Chains
3. Despair
4. Assassin's Mark (last priority without Maligaro's Virtuosity)
5. Malevolance
6. Herald of Agony

You'll get more mana to spend when you can get things for free, such as with your amulet, or curse on hit. Remember you also get a curse limit. +1 for your character, +1 for your ascendancy, +1 for Whispers of Doom, and the last +1 you will need to find somewhere.

(parenthesis represents optional/gearing specific)
Main: Vaal BV-Poison-Unleash-Deadly Ailments-Vile Toxins-Void Manipulation
Curses: Blasphemy-Temp Chains-Enfeeble-(Despair)
Movement: Shield charge-Fortify-Faster attacks (Flame dash is quicker but doesn't give Fortify)
Totem: Wither-Spell Totem-(Multiple Totem)-(Faster Casting)
Warcry: Enduring Cry
HoA: Herald of Agony-Blind-(Enlighten)-(Maim)
Aura: Malevolance-(Enlighten)
CWDT: (CWDT)-(Immortal Call)-(Tempest Shield)

Skill tree

Ascendancy: Profane Bloom, Malediction, Void Beacon, Withering Presence (or Vile Bastion for ES builds)


Leveling to early maps

Leveling to 100

Map mods to avoid:

- Less curse effect is less damage and less defenses
- Action speed cannot be reduced cuts out a layer of defenses
- Additional projectiles is always dangerous
- Phys reflect can be run deathless, but not a good idea at this point
- Minus max resistances cut out a lot of our elemental tankiness


Toxic sewer and waste pool are good layouts for us. Toxic Sewer was a T16 so I chose that. The boss in the map provided extra loot without too much threat. As long as you run around the spider it can't hit you.
I would chisel and alch the maps. Didn't want to run 8 mod maps so I didn't vaal them. Rerolled them if I got a bad mod. Reflect can be avoided with sextants.
I did apply all 4 awakened sextants and didn't have much need to reroll mods.
Scarabs were cheap in harvest. My choice was Polished Cartography, Rusted Metamorph, Polished Shaper, and Rusted Harbinger.
Almost all league content was fine to run except for Legion. Didn't have any issues running metamorphs every map with all the damage mods. Again, just run around the boss and they can't hit you.
Watchstones are also a good source of XP at a relatively cheap price. They usually paid for themselves in loot:
- Booming Populace for more density
- Stalwart Defenders to make the map t17
- Territories Unknown is fairly safe. There is only one bad suffix (- max resist), and it can be run in a pinch.
- War Among the Stars for density and loot.

Other variants

## Low life
Low life has potential for more damage and higher HP, but much less elemental mitigation. You can also run more auras. Because poison doesn't scale with spell damage, you'd want a different damage type so you can use Pain Attunement.
Other spells

Because curses are weak against single target, you want a good close range single target spell for this. Skills like Arc feel great for mapping, but even map bosses become more challenging. The old magma orbs with gloomfang was a strong boss skill, but you wanted to offscreen mobs which ended outside the range of your curses.
Hit-based BV is a little worse for bosses, and the increased up front damage isn't necessary for clear.

Impending Doom

Will this work with Impending Doom? There is some hype, but so far it seems just like a worse Bane. We haven't covered Bane here because that's a different build. But Bane is a fine skill.
In brief, Bane already does most of the same things Impending Doom does but with one click per pack rather than two.
With our build, we want a good single target skill which doesn't seem to be Impending Doom. Some builds might use Impending Doom, but we won't.


Further research is needed here. The Witch is next to wand nodes as various elemental nodes. You might be able to use weapons other than wands, and most damage types other than pure physical can work. If you really wanted pure phys, you'd need a different class. Punishment can give you explosions. You can annoint Whispers of Doom on your amulet, but you'll want 2 other sources of +1 curse for vulnerability and enfeeble/temp chains.


Like with attacks, I need to try this one out. Could be quite nice. Running Temp Chains + Enfeeble + Punishment auras should give safety and good clear. Not sure how self casting marks will be, but one of them might be spicy for single target. The best damage option might be sniper's mark paired with minions firing projectiles. New skeleton archers look spicy, too bad I'll be playing SSF. You could also use the flame wall if you're not going pure phys. If you are building pure phys and can get a 5th curse, self cast vulnerability might be very nice.

3.12 Mechanics

I already discussed why we won't use Impending Doom. The other noteworthy changes so far are self-cast curses and mark mechanics. If you have a more passive build, you could add self-cast curses as a productive use of your time. They will be stronger and won't take up mana reservation, but they will use up a curse slot.
Some curses got categorized as Marks. They will only apply to single targets, but they will have full effect against bosses. This is a huge buff to our single-target DPS. We don't really need the damage against mobs, so the downside won't hurt us much.
Assassin's mark becomes a priority for us earlier, rather than a capstone piece. I'd prioritize Maligaro's Virtuosity earlier. We also want another source of +1 curse. You can get that with a rare chest, Doedre's Damning ring, Windshriek shoes, or a +1 curse amulet. On a budget, I would get either the shoes or a decent curse amulet.
Last bumped on Sep 12, 2020, 4:11:54 AM
Waiting. Reserved.
I made a build similar to this many leagues ago and it was far and above my favorite build that I've ever made, but not the best build I've ever made.

I utilized Kitava's thirst to cast my curses, so it was not optimal by any means, although we didn't have a lot of the things we have now to apply curses.

Thinking about reviving this character for Heist.

Have you actually played the char or did you just make the POB?

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