[HC 3.0] Blight + CwC + Essence Drain, the Smooth Slayer of maps.

Disclaimer: I played this build on two characters in the Hardcore Harbinger league. The first one was a level 88 CI Occultist and the second one a level 86 Life + MoM Trickster. I preferred the Trickster version for mapping due to the high movement/cast/attack speed, but I think the Occultist probably has more damage potential, and with more investment could become much more tanky. I will be focusing on the Trickster here. Both characters are now dead but up until they died I was able to clear red maps and do Uber Izaro just fine. I wanted to try more difficult content like Guardians or even Shaper, but was unfortunately unable to due to the characters' untimely demise.

Let's get right into it.

General play style
What you'll do is run up to a pack, get a Contagion going on it, channel Blight for about 0.5 seconds until an Essence Drain plops out and then watch death spread from monster to monster.

On tougher enemies you'll plop down a wither totem, use Vaal Haste (not mandatory), and stand still for a second or two while getting those Blight stacks going. Essence Drains will commence pew-pewing at the target as a consuquence of this, and your enemies will melt.

If you enjoy satisfaction, this build might just be for you.

Defensive Stats
At level 86 this character had 6000 HP and 2600 Mana. On top of that it also had 1000 ES that just came with the gear I was using. Other primary defenses were Fortify and Cast when Damage Taken + Immortal Call + Enfeeble.

I ignored the offensive stats of the character while playing, all I cared about was that it melted maps and bosses alike really fast, all the way through red maps.

Pros and Cons

A little slower clear speed than regular Essence Drain builds. You have to channel Blight for about 0.5 seconds before the first Essence drain is fired off, and Essence Drain together with Contagion is still your main tool for clearing maps.

A little less safe than regular Essence Drain. If you want to reach your full damage potential you have to stand still and channel Blight for roughly 4 seconds, which in some encounters is nigh on impossible.


I felt my single target just about quadruple when I switched to Blight + CwC + Essence Drain in a 6-link setup, as opposed to having Essence Drain alone in a 6-link.

Dealing with "allies cannout die" auras is easier now that there is no incentive to invest in Pierce for Essence Drain. Blight takes care of that instead.

Blight's hinder is on a 2 second duration with this setup which makes enemies exceptionally slow for quite some time.

Safer than just using Blight, since you can stand back and still fire off Essence Drains if you feel uncomfortable getting close to certain enemies.

It has that feel good feeling to it.

Essence Drain, Contagion and Wither have some of the best MTXs in the game, and seeing those EDs pew-pew out of your Blight is so satisfying.

Damage setup: Blight + Cast while Channeling + Essence Drain + Efficacy + Controlled Destruction + Void Manipulation.

Contagion setup: Contagion + Increased Area of Effect + Faster Casting + Arcane Surge.

Wither setup: Wither + Spell Totem + Faster Casting + Increased Duration.

Movement setup: Shield Charge + Faster Attacks + Fortify.

If you can't yet afford a 6-link for your damage setup you can drop whichever of the support gems gives you the least damage increase. However, using a 4- or 5-link you might be better off playing a regular Essence Drain character until you can get a 6-link and transition into this setup. As such, I don't think this build is a proper league starter.

Why not just play a regular Essence Drain character?
I played Essence Drain without Blight this league and it was fantastic for mapping. Contagion, having been given increases to base radius per level as of 3.0, has a really satisfying AoE without even too much investment. Investing a little into it just makes it all the more satisfying. However, I felt the damage was lacking some on the single target department, and I knew this could be improved on by using Blight and the new threshhold jewel for Blight, Spreading Rot. The way Spreading Rot works means you could simply use Blight as a 1-link and "tap" tougher enemies once in a while to make them take 50% increased chaos damage, for the simple cost a having to press 1 extra button.

But I am a simpler man than that. I have a maximum number of buttons I like to press. I like to stand still, hold down a button and watch my enemies melt before me, and that's how I first thought of incorporating Blight into my main damage setup. It made for the most enjoyable build I've played this league.

My character, gear and passive tree
Here is a link to my characters: https://www.pathofexile.com/account/view-profile/cloudhorn/characters. The character in question is HaraldSmoothSlayer.

If you look at my gear you'll notice I'm wearing 3 unique items: Breath of the Council, Belt of the Deciever and Witchfire Brew.

Breath of the Council is a great option for this build because of 3 of its stats: Increased Area of Effect, Chaos Damage and Increased Chaos Skill Effect Duration. The AoE buff is good for both Contagion and Blight; a larger Contagion helps you clear faster and a larger Blight means you can keep a larger distance from dangerous mobs while building up stacks.

Belt of the Deciever makes nearby enemies intimidated, making them take 10% increased damage. This belt is by no means mandatory and can be switched to a rare belt with much higher life and resistances, but I like to squeeze out a little extra damage wherever I can.

Withfire Brew is still good, even after the nerf. It adds both offense and defense.

If you look at my helmet you'll see it has an enchant on it to make the Contagion AoE larger. Just a little extra oomph I added to the clear speed towards the end. It is in no way mandatory.

Other than that, the gear is straight forward. Get life, resistances and possibly mana where you can. I came across gloves with attack speed which is also nice for moving around.

Same goes for the tree, it's quite straight forward. Look for life, life regeneration, mana and damage. Make sure to grab all the nearby jewel sockets, at least two of them are mandatory for the threshhold jewel Spreading Rot.

That's pretty much it. I had a blast playing this build and it felt really strong too. Enjoy yourselves out there, exiles!
Last bumped on Aug 31, 2017, 6:30:19 AM

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