[2.3 Video Guide] Tanky Beginners Contagion/Essence Drain Occultist [HC/SC & Atziri Viable]

Video Guide: Path of Exile - Beginner's Hybrid Contagion Essence Drain Build Guide [HC/SC + Atziri Viable]

While the video is outdated it should still serve to explain the mechanics behind the build and show you some actual gameplay of how it performs!

If you have any questions about the build come to my twitch stream and I will do my best to answer them:

Lifting's Twitch Live Stream Channel


What's up my exiles!?
This is the official thread for my tanky hybrid beginners Contagion/Essence Drain build. In this thread, I will cover the most basic requirements of the build. To get a more detailed explanation on how the build works and needs to be set up, check out the link to my video-guide above.


First of all, what is this build and who is it suited for?

1. This build is designed for people who seek a safe, budget-friendly and easy way to set up a powerful contagion and essence drain build. The build can clear the highest level maps and bosses.

2. A build that requires no unique items to function (there is one I recommend though)

3. Fans of poison, dots etc.

4. A build that is both viable for hardcore as well as softcore.

5. People who prefer a build that has a video-guide linked to it.


Build mechanic introduction:

This is a hybrid build, meaning that you will stack both life and energy shield. With decent gear you can reach more than 10.000 EHP (effective health pool).

The build also uses a Whirling Blades + Fortify to make you very mobile and improve your defences.


Skill-gems and setups:

- For your main attack, you will be using Essence Drain, Controlled Destruction, Void Manipulation, Rapid Decay, Slower Projectiles & Empower lvl 2 or higher! (6-link).

Note: Consider using Pierce instead of Slower Projectiles. Since it was buffed in 2.2 it has become a worthy alternative, and it feels better to use than Slower Projectiles (imo)

- To spread the damage to other targets, you will need: Contagion, Increased Area of Effect, Increased Duration & Faster Casting.

- To help with high HP single targets: Wither, Spell Totem, Faster Casting & Increased Duration.

- For Utility and convenience: Cast When Damage Taken (lvl 9), Flame Golem (lvl 11) & Vaal Haste + Increased Duration.

- For extra mobility and defence you should use: Whirling Blades, Faster Attacks & Fortify.

Note: this setup needs requires a dagger to use.

- For Auras: Discipline, Clarity & Arctic Armor.


Skill-trees & Ascendancy class:

Ascendancy Class: The Occultist

Ascendancy Points: Void Beacon, Wicked Ward, Vile Bastion & Profane Bloom.

Leveling skill-tree, 31 points:

Leveling skill-tree, 67 points:

Leveling skill-tree, 91 points:

Finished Skill-tree, 111 points (includes Ascendancy points):


Leveling Tips:

Method 1:

1. Obtain contagion & Essence Drain before act 2.
2. Equip 2x Lifesprig wands.
3. 3-link Essence Drain & Contagion in each wand.
4. at level 50+ get a cheap 5-link & add in the Essence drain setup.

Method 2:

1. Level 1-40+ Use flame totem + night’s hold.
2. At level 50+ get a cheap 5-link & add in the Essence drain setup.
3. Start relying on Essence Drain + Contagion.
4. Level up your skill-gems from the beginning of the game.

Bandit Quest Rewards:

- Normal : Help Oak for 40+ life.
- Cruel : Kill them all for 1 extra skill point.
- Merciless: Kill them all for 1 extra skill point.

Gearing and stat priorities:

Defensive affixes, in priority:

1. Life
2. Elemental Resistances (75% on Merciless)
3. Energy Shield (Takes priority over elemental resistances as soon as they are capped at 75%)
4. Chaos Resistance

Offensive affixes, in priority:

1. Increased Spell Damage%
2. Increased Cast Speed%

My current Gear


1. Inc. Damage over time%
2. Inc. Chaos damage%
3. Inc. Spell damage while holding a shield%
4. Inc. Spell damage%
5. Inc. Projectile damage%
6. Inc. Cast speed while holding a shield%
7. Inc. Cast speed%
8. Inc. Maximum life %


- 2x Seething Divine Life Flasks of Staunching
- 1x Ample Basalt Flask of Warding
- 1x Ample Granite Flask of Ironskin
- 1x Ample Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline


Recommended unique item:

Gloves: The Winds of Change



The above information serves as a rough guideline to get you started with the build. I recommend watching my video guide, especially if you are new to the game. In the video I will explain some of the skills and how they work and how you should spend your skill points while leveling.

Video Guide: Path of Exile - Beginner's Hybrid Contagion Essence Drain Build Guide [HC/SC + Atziri Viable]

Feel free to ask me any questions regarding the build, but please do me the favor of watching the video first. It should explain a lot of the common questions you might have :)

Anyway, thank you for reading guys. I'll see you for my next beginners guide!

Stay safe!

Kind Regards
FREQUENTLY ADDED AND UPDATED BUILD GUIDES AT: https://www.youtube.com/LiftingNerdBro
Last edited by LiftingNerdBro on Jun 3, 2016 9:30:39 AM
Last bumped on Dec 22, 2016 7:56:11 AM
Reserved :)
FREQUENTLY ADDED AND UPDATED BUILD GUIDES AT: https://www.youtube.com/LiftingNerdBro
Nice, been waiting for you to make this. Will try this soon. Thanks
Completed 36 Challengesdupie wrote:
Nice, been waiting for you to make this. Will try this soon. Thanks

My pleasure mate. Let me know how it goes :)
FREQUENTLY ADDED AND UPDATED BUILD GUIDES AT: https://www.youtube.com/LiftingNerdBro
As always, if you notice any types etc, let me know please :)
FREQUENTLY ADDED AND UPDATED BUILD GUIDES AT: https://www.youtube.com/LiftingNerdBro
Hey Nerdbro!
i really like your builds and use them a lot!
One question about this one:
do you have any idea how i could adjust the tree for a HC viable ES focused char? (maybe with CI or shavs?)...
I just saw a few guys playing with ES only and i was really impressed by that ES tank.
Hey Nerdbro

i found a white ES 5 Link Armour and i rolled this Stats...

Rarity: Rare
Maelström Veil
Destroyer Regalia
Quality: +20% (augmented)
Energy Shield: 215 (augmented)
Level: 58 (unmet)
Int: 144 (unmet)
Sockets: R-G-R-B-B B
Item Level: 75
+102 to maximum Life
48% increased Energy Shield
+17 to maximum Energy Shield
+41% to Fire Resistance
+37% to Lightning Resistance
14% increased Stun Recovery

1 Suffix open

Should i keep this or reroll again? the only concerns that i have is the low ES roll on it... what do you think??? plz help :)
What do you think about abyssal cry in this build?
Hey I´m playing a diffrent build what are your stats?
Whats the DoT of your ED?

MB if you could check out if it could be HC or not?
[2.1] Deadly Toxins 17k DoT - ED + Abyssal Cry [Video+Pics][Atziri Viable] [Beginner-Endgame]

I think ED+Contaigon are a rly nice selffound starter build in a new league... low investment for full content!

Keep lifting Bro ;)

Last edited by XRacKS on Jan 14, 2016 8:44:58 AM
Thanks for the build. I have been following you for awhile and always like your builds.

So far I am 53 and the cast speed is so slow it makes it tough to play. My question is why do you chose a dagger for your main hand? Is it only for the use of whirling blades+fortify? If so is it worth the cast speed hit just for whirling blades? I know we gain defenses and movement with it but just wondering if it is worth. I found dual wielding lifesprigs helped during leveling cause of the cast speed but when transitioning to a dagger and shield it really slowed things down and made the playstyle sluggish. I am looking for cast speed on jewels but it is expensive and it replaces a valued dmg mod. Currently I don't have enough links to add faster casting into anything. So maybe later I can fit that in until.

Just wonder why I value cast speed so much more in this build than you do. Thinking of dualwielding wands again to get some cast speed going. I am even thinking of getting the cast speed cluster Nimbleness. Then maybe by late game I can spec out if I feel I don't need it and get into a dagger. Any opinions?
Last edited by LucidCon on Jan 14, 2016 2:29:33 PM

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