[2.6]Leader of the Pack - Flexible Viper Strike Build (Budget)

Build Concept:
When I saw the changes to one-handed weapons--specifically to claws-- I was so excited. So naturally, for my league starter, I wanted to try a claw build. Looking at my options and as hype for the new league grew I saw the slight buff to Viper Strike via its threshold jewel. People also started to say melee was dead so I thought I would put together the best build I could on a budget. This build has several options throughout and I will be taking what I think is the safest route, but I'd love to see people really try some of the stranger options we now have available.

So the way this build works is by building physical into chaos damage and then using trickster to make CI easier and cheaper early league. Later in the league as you start farming maps you can start looking for the Scourage Terror Claw (http://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/The_Scourge). After getting two of those you should be able to clear almost any content. However, a new idea I plan on using in the new league is to swap the second claw for a Severed in Sleep/United in Dream. If you grab that then you run flesh offering and convocation so that you can have your minions charging in front of you stacking poison. Then when you get in and start hitting your Growing Agony gem should be at enough stacks that you just shot packs. It's a fun hybrid minion/melee build that before the buffs coming in 2.6 feels great already.

Required Items:
The only REQUIRED item is Growing Agony (Threshold Jewel). it almost always drops for me, but if it doesn't then just buy it for like 1c or something similar. It can be socketed several places and gives us two good buffs the one we will be attempting to abuse is the 2% damage per poison stack on an enemy. The intended effect of this is probably for you to gain a bunch of attack speed (which we will), but you can abuse this by making friends stack poison for you.

There are many recommended Uniques and that's where the options really come in.

Recommended Uniques

The Main Course: The Scourage, Terror Claw. This Unique is optional, you don't have to ever get it and this build will function just fine. If you do get it this is a large buff to your power. 70% more damage if you've attacked recently and you can recently, simply impressive. You can also respec some points if you chose this weapon and get yourself some nearby minion damage nodes. It's good but any minion build is better with...

A very expensive knife!: Here you can use either united in dream or severed in sleep. United in Dream is obviously better, but almost 10x as expensive last I checked. The main drawback to this setup is that you won't have a shield which reduces your survivability a little, but as you start to build a wolf army you'll start to have an easily buffed army of fast attacking poison stackers.

Honestly, this build should work without these two items, and if you find yourself in a tight spot I actually recommend using more meta or normal items (a good rare claw or the bleeding claw w/an ES shield), but if your not pushing into new content (taking down your first shaper or something) this should work fine. It's a fun fast farming build it isn't meant to be totally optimal.

The Usual Stuff:
Of course, you should pick up some flasks. Honestly, it's up to you which ones and how much cash you have. A diamond flask and some defensive flasks work just fine, though those fancy unique flasks y'all are using these days should work just dandy too.
Ascendancy Options:
For League Starter I recommend Trickster for the flat durability (At level 50 this build converts shade forms 250 ES into 981 ES... without gear.) it gives you before you have enough currency to build great CI chest pieces and because the final build used a claw and a sword. The pickup order for the points is Ghost Dance -> Shade Form (To make merc. easier to gear for) Patient Reaper -> Walk the Aether (Swift Killer if you want more map clearing power, though it won't really help on bosses as much as Walk the Aether will)

There are other ascendancy options for this build, but they are more expensive to gear, IMO. That said they are likely better options for min-maxing the build.
This build has far more damage in the ascendancy but the issue I have with assassin is that it has almost 0 defensive benefit. If you pick up this ascendancy I would drop some of the less efficient nodes and grab more ES and survivability options in the tree to make up for the 16% and 250 flat ES and the loss of some decent dodge chance. I would also drop void barrier and take just flat ES. Noxious Strikes -> Toxic Delivery -> Unstable Infusion -> Deadly infusion

Occultist is the most flexible option out of any of these choices. It also has a better blend of defense and offence than the trickster option. The one reason I don't recommend this over Trickster is the start of the tree has no damage and traveling to soul raker will take a long time (about act 4 normal). That said you will have easy access to the early ES nodes and you could level as +1 fire gem wand firestorm or something similar. For more defense I'd go Wicked ward -> Vile Bastion -> Void Beacon -> Profane Bloom for a straight up damage build (more comparable to assassin) I'd take Wicked Ward -> Void Beacon -> Profane Bloom -> Malediction. If I went with that one I'd use two curses... any two curses really would work, and it would just depend on what I need. (Assassins mark and Vulnerability/Temp. Chains)

For Witch I would still rush to the claw nodes then pick up the phys/chaos, then misc. es and life until I'm ready for CI and Ghost Reaver and Vaal Pact. Vaal pact may be unecesarry, I haven't been able to test the witch build to higher levels yet.

kill/kill/power or kill/kill/kill (This is a CI build, though kill kill kill seems a bit wasteful of a good free charge).

Gearing and Leveling
I leveled in 2.5 using viper strike. It does decent damage and you can get almost 1000 sheet DPS in softcore solo self found. That said you won't be picking up many chaos nodes early so any phys./phys conversion attack skill should work just fine (if melee splash aoe isn't enough for you try a more meta skill).

For gearing up to about level 60 I just used the vendor recipe (Claw + [Magic]Rustic Belt + Blacksmiths Whetstone = +~50% phys damage). I would also try and get resists first, life second and energy shield was a bonus (because I had a few nodes that buffed it). As time went on and I swapped to CI when I ascended and started prioritizing resists>Flat ES>ES% > Added damage of one kind or another. For boots try and keep some movement speed boots, but while they are nice if you are struggling with the content then dropping the MS to grab some more ES or Resists is worth it.

Passive Trees:
22 points:
51 points: (Note: You don't have to allocate the jewel if you don't have the viper strike jewel yet)

97 Points: (Note you can switch to CI earlier than this but here's the latest possible time and some theoretical life nodes)

100 Points: (CI conversion is done and we've traded life nodes for crit nodes. I also forgot to grab ghost reaver, IRL don't forget ghost reaver)

I'm sure most of you will stop there, but I've been having fun with this build so far in softcore (pre-tomorrows-buff) and so I'll likely take it a bit further. Heres the hypothetical final build

122 Points:

Videos Coming Soon!
Last edited by Tacoblossom91 on Mar 7, 2017, 12:45:00 PM
Last bumped on Jul 27, 2017, 4:25:27 PM
You could provide concept of this build, how it is supposed to work and if that threshold jewel is so important a picture of it could also be helpful. Othen than that its great. Very interested in this build.
This sounds like a great build idea and I plan on running it in 2.6.

I was wondering what your skill gem setup is?
I'll have to update skill gem setups into the post in a few hours but for now I'm using:
Viper Strike + Melee Splash + Multistrike + Melee Physical Damage + Void Manipulation for my final one I've been considering trying added area because the area is quite low.
Could you post the Withc tree??
Yeah, I'll make it and post it within a few minutes
Hi, gonna test your build at this league. Just a feel questions, what about gem's ? Like support ones. And wich move skill, curses that kind of stuff. Waiting for your answer!

Aparently very nice build btw.
So skill gem setup is still being tested for the best layout. I've been really busy this league start and with all the buffs to the build I want to try some things and see. In theory you need melee splash > multistrike > increased critical damage > chaos manipulation > any sixth link (I'm planning on using increased area of effect for AOE due to the slight nerf to melee splash size). For movement I'm using whirling blades, fortify, faster casting. I'm CI so I run discipline/vaal discipline, and flesh offering for making my auto spawned minions faster. I have blasphemy + assassins mark for power charges and damage. I have a standard CWDT setup as well. I'm still testing looking for the absolute best links and such which is why I didn't post it until I was totally finished testing.

Thanks :D
I ll going to try it with the wicth.
where does the minios come from??
sry but i dont get it which minions are you using ?!

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