[2.1][HC] Bitterdreamer - tanky crit caster


My name is klirr and I am a passionate poe player from Germany. This is my first guide and english is not my native language so plz be gentle. TY! <3

General concept

I am playing only hardcore, so defense is generally my first priority. I rolled a lot of crit caster characters before and always had some problems with these:

1. You cant stack big amounts of life because you have to invest 15-20 skill points on power charges and crit nodes
2. You are forced to use some kind es hybrid defense (es/life or mom/eb/zo) to reach appropriate amount of survivability in hardcore
3. You can use Kaoms Heart only with Staff and therefore can not benefit from high crit dagger as well as whirling blades movement skill

As Bitterdream was introduced I immediately thought about using it as a replacement for 5-6l chest or staff and after acquiring some currency I began to test this concept. The main idea was to use Kaom's Heart for high hp and a high crit dagger for additional damage/whirling blades mobility.
I wasn't sure about spells that can be efficiently used with Bitterdream and began testing the obvious cold spell candidates - freeze pulse and arctic breath. They both require the scaling from projectile damage nodes and projectile speed, which isn't an option if you want to grab the crit/power charge nodes in shadow/witch/templar areas. Glacial cascade and ice nova were both too slow/too clunky in clear speed so I got the idea of using lightning spells with call of the brotherhood ring. Because spark needs the projectile speed nodes/support gem to be efficient I dropped it immediately. Other lightning spells as ball lightning, arc and shock nova were tested very closely:

Great skill is you want to maintain distance to mobs, but Damage can be kinda spiky. Even with around 40% crit chance I had pretty inconsistent damage output, especially on tanky rares and bosses (if i didn't use some other single target spell).

Very solid and consistent damage output but the clear is pretty slow. Works pretty good for Bosses tho.

Pretty yolo in play style but had the fastest clear speed. Has high crit base (6%) so you can easily reach 50% crit chance with it. It means you freeze almost entire screen on every second cast. With high life and fortify on whirling blades you can simply whirl into a pack and freeze it from inside till your herald of ice proc and explodes everything.

Let me show you the tree and the links now.

Generally the tree is build around grabbing the life nodes in shadow/witch/templar areas and some crit/aoe along the way. With this tree you end up with 185% life/2 aoe clusters + 4 crit clusters. You can choose between grabbing all power charges or going for jewel slots (5 jewel slots can be reached with 2 skill points/each):


Its VERY hungry for skill-points, but I had no problems leveling with Ball lightning and Brotherhood ring from A4 normal (you can equip Bitterdream with lvl 32). The full potential of the build is coming on high 80's online tho. The additional curse node is required if you want to use some form of leech (warlords mark) and assassins mark on heralds simultaneously, but you can simply use doedre's ring or windscream while lvling (both are obviously not an option on higher maps in hardcore because path of life ;) )

It is possible to start as witch as well, but I prefer the 4% cast speed shadow nodes.

Storm Weaver is the only damage cluster I take because increased cold damage double dips with brotherhood ring (cold damage gets increased after light-cold conversion).

Usually if you go for a spell cast build you NEED faster casting and spell echo + some pen/added dmg/life leech gems. So the generic setup looks like:

SPELL + fc-echo-pen + added light//life leech//controlled distruction in 5th and 6th slot.

Beside included pen (cold pen lvl 1) and added cold dmg (lvl 10) you have only 3 possible gem slots (2 if you count the spell) in Bitterdream so the only way to fit the other gems is to corrupt lvl10 faster casting on it. The chance for it is according to poe.db around 2.75% or basically 1 in 36. I got mine in around 10 vaals and could sell almost all corrupted ones for 1alch-2c. So it shouldn't be that hard and you can get some currency back even on failed vaals.
Spell echo is the obvious choice for the second slot but the last free slot is flexible. I have innervate/added light/controlled destruction/Pcoc on switch. Innervate is very good for clearing low lvl areas because you are getting onslaught buff almost all the time. Added light/controlled destruction is the way on higher maps, because you need high spell damage to freeze mobs and bosses. You can switch between added light for more consistent crits or controlled destruction for bigger hits. Pcoc is the way on curse immune maps. So the links in Bitterdream are:




If you feel you single target damage is not that good you can use vaal storm call as single target nuke (usually that's the way if you want to kill lvl73+ bosses quick). Links are

For power charge generation and better aoe clear i use the classic setup:

For additional leech and endurance charge generation i use blasphemy with warlords mark (you can swap it for discipline, aa, purity of light or cold on curse immune maps).

is our movement setup (I usually put it in dagger).

Fire golem is a nice optional dmg boost but we don't have enough slots for minion life/minion res gems so it'll die on higher maps pretty often.

Flame dash or lightning warp is a good choice for moving over obstacles you cant whirl-blade around.

You only need 4-links for Vaal storm call, curse on hit and blasphemy/golem/flamedash setups. So you can put it in the gloves/head or boots slots.

As Bitterdream is obvious our first weapon slot, we'll use a dagger with high crit/spell/mutli as our second weapon. Divinarius is a good choice for some extra aoe, but usually even mediocre rolled platinum chris can give you much more dmg. Its pretty easy to craft one as well, just spam alts on lvl76+ platinum chris unti you get spell crit/multi + some kind of spell dmg roll (as flat dmg/hybrid or 40+ pure spell dmg). Even if you fail on regal you still can craft spell dmg/spell crit/flat spell dmg with cata or crit multi with vagan and get a usable dagger.

I use Kaoms in armor slot and call of the brotherhood in ring slot.

Other Gear is essentially used to cap resistances (especially for overcap the ele weakness mod) and getting some additional crit/multi on ring/amu if possible.

Play style
The best part about this build is the flexibility of skills you can run with. I swap pretty often between ball lightning/arc/shock nova for clearing different map layouts. Shock nova is the best choice for wide open areas, but ball lightning or arc can work very well in small rooms and narrow passages. Especially ball lightning can be a good single target option (both arc and ball lightning have only 5% crit chance, so swap to added light instead of controlled destruction if you need more consistent crits).

Current Stats and Gear
Offense: http://imgur.com/sk3S7Bm
Defense: http://imgur.com/2YQQJRC

Current gear:

Here is a small cut from bazaar map with -max. Hitting reflect rare without flasks @ 1:59 and as you can see it did only around 3.5k dmg on crit. This shouldn’t be a problem with 6.5k+ life pool. I try to record a full Gorge run later.


Last edited by klirr on Feb 1, 2016, 5:52:51 PM

Edit done, would love some feedback! :)
Last edited by klirr on Feb 1, 2016, 5:20:18 PM
Great guide my friend, very well written. Been looking to break into HC this is the right amount of edge/hipster for me, while being amazing for 75+ maps. One question, is a corrupted lvl10 FC bitterdream and brotherhood ring required for higher level maps or is it just for the DPS boost?
Last edited by IncogHS102 on Feb 2, 2016, 6:42:31 AM
IncogHS102 wrote:
Great guide my friend, very well written. Been looking to break into HC this is the right amount of edge/hipster for me, while being amazing for 75+ maps. One question, is a corrupted lvl10 FC bitterdream and brotherhood ring required for higher level maps or is it just for the DPS boost?

Ty for feedback!

Call of the brotherhood is required to get benefits from Bitterdream if you are planning to use lightning spells in it. Corrupted Bitterdream is not needed but would increase your damage by a lot because you get a free additional link. I would definitely not recommend to roll this build as your first HC char tho because you cant run any ele reflect maps and your clear on curse immune maps is really slow. So you end up wasting a lot of currency rerolling these mods.

I just got 2b1r faster cast corrupted Bitterdream and will test swapping life leech gem as 3rd link and dropping blasphemy/warlords. This way curse immune maps should be a lot safer + with sovereignty cluster i can probably run wrath aura as well.

great build indeed, tanky and affordable
many people make fun of bitterdream, because of the weird vendor recipe, but its really strong

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