[3.0] Plaje's growing agony viper strike trickster

Introduction: I've been looking at growing agony for a while now and it has mostly been trash (along with viper strike), but GGG recently changed both growing agony and viper strike itself, as well as reworked poison entirely. While many of these changes were bad for other builds, I feel VS benefits from most of these (but not from the lost double dipping effect, which VS honestly didn't really need anyways).
So what has changed? Poison is now 20% damage per second (I think, source needed please) for 2 seconds base, but 4 seconds base on viper strike. Additionally, VS is the only poison who's duration can be extended by skill effect nodes, which we will be using. Lastly, growing agony was recently changed to give unholy might, which I feel is a great change.

Disclaimer: This build has not been fully optimized, it's still very much a working theorycraft in progress. Suggestions are welcome. It has been tested up to about tier 9 maps with successful results, but not beyond that point yet.

Concept: Scale growing agony in the way it seems to be intended to scale: by applying as many stacks of poison as we can as quickly as we can, and scaling that bonus from growing agony as well as a few other places.

Because of this, we will be primarily focusing on attack speed and poison damage over the regular melee or phys damage buffs of most VS builds, and taking advantage of anything that maximizes our effectiveness in such an environment.

Pros and cons:
-Limited "double dipping" effect (frenzy charges): the attack speed helps increase damage each hit via the growing agony jewel, and then they also give a "more damage" multiplier on top of it. Frenzy charges are God-tier for this build, and I may end up traveling down to duelist for the other one and grab some + charge uniques, but that may be impossible due to life requirements. We still have all but the duelist one currently.

-Zips around the map at insane speeds, for no cost: our base attack speed even without charges or buffs is nearly 7aps while using a shield. If you want to go full out suicide mode you can equip an offhand weapon and zip around even faster, while also (similar to frenzy charges) gaining a sort of pseudo double-dipping effect from the bonus attack speed + more damage multiplier. On top of this the ascendancy provides cost-free movement skill usage. Awesome for traveling around the map.

-Fairly tanky: - decent evade, decent block, and leeches well over the entire life pool per second, as long as you don't get oneshot you're safe. Additionally every mob around you is attacking at 30% of their original speed and is blind, so they rarely touch you.
One-shots can be avoided easily with enfeeble if needed and I keep granite + basalt flask up in case I do eventually get hit, and I run enduring cry for more phys reduction. Despite having less than 4k life I still haven't been one-shotted yet. Still working on getting that life total higher though.

-Does almost every mod so far - damage mods can be countered with enfeeble on swap, temp chains is even not that bad because of how fast we are.

-Pretty good at doing lab - insane leeching means you can just walk through the burning trial as long as you're attacking stuff while in it. Very fast cost-free whirling blade spam means that

-Some day I will be one-shotted by something, though surprisingly that hasn't happened yet. Would not recommend for HC, but feel free to push your luck with it or build it differently.

-Blind has a very noticeable effect on us, though not as bad as I'd think. You're simply attacking so fast even while blind you are still leeching a lot most of the time, but I have died once to blind.

-Not as good in tight corridors - whirling blades is kind of annoying there. You could run another move skill in the left over gem slots.

-Not the greatest boss killer despite being a VS build. Your LGoH is not very good on single targets is the main reason for this. Some bosses like doedre are really annoying for us. I'll be looking for ways to fix this going forward, and this will eventually fix itself I think.

Passive tree:

Changes that could be made:
-Berserking cluster can help us, though I felt they weren't optimal and couldn't replace our current nodes.

-You could grab attack speed nodes instead of chaos+phys nodes while moving out of shadow start, I haven't calculated which results in more damage (which would be hard to do given the nature of the build anyways), but it could actually result in a slight damage increase overall depending on circumstances, and fits better with our build honestly (I might do that myself soon).

-Aura nodes: I chose some aura nodes because I was planning to add more auras to the build/drop one curse for an aura (and I think I still might eventually), but currently I could probably drop at least the top one and still have a workable build and still maintain three curses with some effort. I don't think we can afford to drop the bottom aura cluster and lose our third curse though.

-Walk the aether vs patient reaper: Walk the aether is better for this build hands down. In other VS builds it may be optional.

-Claw nodes: didn't see anything worth grabbing, too much physical damage and not enough attack speed or chaos/dot damage.

-Any jewel nodes could potentially be good and there are several within 3 points of our pathing.

-Frenzy charges: These guys are god for us. They are a more multiplier to all damage (scales poison), and give us attack speed to boot. I wish I could afford to reach the duelist one but I think you'd have to drop too much to do it. Do point out possibilities if you see them.

I don't see any other obvious changes but feel free to point them out also.

Item choices:
For this build I went with some no-brainer claws and a lot of +curse items:

Eventually I think the goal will be to use a 6-linked belly or cospri's, but I can't afford those yet, so I'm using a poor-mans 5-link on the gloves. Eventually the gloves will be replaced with a rare, and I haven't seen any obvious good uniques for the gloves that will be our endgame goal.

The claw is really good for our build: it attacks fast, has good damage, and gives us some LGoH which is great with our attack speed and how many mobs we usually are hitting. That 6th hit+ chaos damage is significant and we apply that many stacks nearly instantly. A perfectly rolled rare dagger, claw, or foil will eventually become BiS I think, but in the meantime (and most of temp leagues) this will be BiS because you won't get anything better until you're rich.

The belt I feel is kind of needed, it reinforces intelligent play (maintaining fortify and the movement buff from trickster), and the bonus it provides is large enough to want over anything else we're likely to get on a belt as far as I've seen.

Some options: windscream instead of cospri's will or doedre's ring. Still haven't decided what I want here, but I am thinking we need the 3 curses we have, so we can only skip one of those items. Also the gloves can be dropped for a well-rolled rare I think later on, but they make a good 5-link while you are leveling. I haven't seen any unique gloves that scream at me as essential. What might work is dropping cospri's for windscream and then using a 6 link belly of the beast, or even kaom's and keeping the gloves in endgame.

My other items are all temporary or rares. You will want flat phys or flat chaos in as many places as you can get it, because it scales very well with our insane attack speed.


Don't really know what to use here yet, but I'd really like to have a bleed flask, GGG just won't let me have one :( However I've been doing OK even with 20 stacks of corrupting blood because our LGoH is so insane I can power right through it most of the time.

Gem setup:
VS + melee splash/melee phys(on long bosses) + vile toxins + added chaos damage + multistrike
This seems to be our best main setup. Vile toxins is by far our best multiplier. Our 6th link could be faster attacks, or any of the leftover "more damage" multipliers that all seem roughly equal in effectiveness beyond what we already have. Don't know if faster attacks out-damages the "more multiplier" gems in our build or not on a 6 link.

CWDT + vortex + blade vortex + blind
Synergizes really well with everything we use: temp chains and vortex slow mobs to a crawling pace, blind synergizes well with our evasion

Whirling blades + faster attacks + fortify
Needed to proc our bonuses from walk the aether, the speed bonus on our belt, and fortify. Try to use this at least once every 4 seconds, but odds are you'll be using it more often anyways.

Blasphemy + temp chains + vulnerability + poachers mark
Temp chains is both a defensive buff and an offensive debuff for us, so we want it badly (but the debuff is mostly only for bosses, so you can try without - I feel this is needed though). Poachers mark is our main source of life and mana (LGoH is huge for our attack speed and we also get mana on hits) which we need badly without another way to leech. Vulnerability can be dropped, but is a massive dps boost in excess of 40% for us. In certain times however you can swap it for enfeeble, and I keep enfeeble on hand for maps with damage bonuses that I don't like.
I do not feel that grace would be better than our curses here, but it fits well if you can use it.

Lightning golem: gives us attack speed, but dies a lot. I'm still using mine, but you might find better links eventually

Lightning warp: I keep one on my links somewhere for shitty map layouts on my middle mouse button. It's godly to have when you need it, especially in lab.

Enduring cry: the only source of endurance charges I felt I could easily use, but I really like having this on hand.

Other stuff you can use:
Vengeance + riposte + LGoH + melee splash can work well for our build. Tempest shield can be nice also. Another CWDT setup could also fit, and immortal call can work well for us with our duration nodes if you wanted to go that route. I like the reductions better personally, but I haven't hit red maps yet on this toon.
A totem can work, but the typical melee totems don't really help us the way they help other builds.
I personally keep vitality, rejuvenation totem, and melee phys on hand for weird situations (like lab problems) that I might run into. Melee phys is for bosses, though I tend not to bother swapping it unless the boss is REALLY nasty (only used it once for map doedre so far, her curses really suck ass).

Bandits: I took kraityn, but you could argue kill all.

The build is still in the improving phase, so do suggest improvements. It has worked rather nicely however, much better than I thought it would up until this point (which is tier 9 maps currently). And the gear used is nearly free junk, so I feel like it could really improve a lot with the right tweaks. We'll see how it evolves as I continue improving gear and tree.

Overall, I think this could potentially be a great build for being non-crit the way it is. I'd like if some other people tried the build out, because I will be very busy soon and might not to get to finish the build. I feel like it has worked well enough to deserve to be finished.
my evasion is so high i only insta rip sometimes
Bug Fixes:
People were using cyclone for actual melee builds, so we nerfed it and made blade vortex. Also, we went ahead and made cyclone great for CoC casters while we were at it.
Last edited by Legatus1982 on Sep 26, 2017, 9:22:28 PM
Last bumped on Sep 28, 2017, 2:56:46 PM
I would love to hear experienced people comment's on this build
Hello, not sure if I should be considered experienced but I do have a few comments to make.

First of all there are two types of totems which can help your build.
1/ Spell totem - Fast cast - Wither to increase your poison damage(chaos)
2/ Ancestral protector 20% MORE attack speed, so more poison applied to the target.

I guess from what I read that you are using a rare shield. To increase your accuracy you can equip Lycosidae unique shield.

You can remove the Harrier passive skill and the +10 dext just before and put these 2 points in Sleight of hand. You lose 1% attack speed and 5% movement speed but you gain 30%increased physical.

Going for the claw cluster nearby is interesting because you can get a lot of attack speed.

You should download path of building and try different things out.


Hope I helped a bit, good luck and have fun
Last edited by nougatt on Sep 28, 2017, 3:02:37 PM

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