[3.0] pieceofsoap's Hybrid Viper Strike Necromancer

Love melee? Hate Meta?
Have you ever wanted to play a Life/ES hybrid build that actually works?
I've got a build for you, and it cranks out poison damage too!

Basic Concept:
Viper Strike Necromancer using Spirit Offering with Soul Tether.

How it works:
The Witch's ascendancy passive Mistress of Sacrifice allows the skill Spirit Offering to affect our Witches, in addition to our Witch's minions. Spirit Offering consumes corpses in order to provide extra chaos damage based off our physical damage, extra energy shield based off our maximum life, as well as a bonus to elemental resistances. This build is basically about exploring the full benefits of Spirit Offering. Every cast of Spirit Offering consumes up to 9 corpses for 18% of maximum life as extra energy shield, so we want to cast it often to replenish our Energy shield. We want it to last as long as possible, so we take all the skill effect duration nodes we can. Extra chaos damage and skill duration pair perfectly with Viper Strike and it's Growing Agony threshold jewel, which provides almost 100% up-time on Unholy Might, for even more extra chaos from physical damage. We want as much damage per hit as possible, for as much leech per hit as possible, and we use the unique Soul Tether belt to extend our leech effect into our ES pool. Between frequent, automated casting of Spirit Offering, life leech supported by Vaal Pact, and the Soul Tether belt, our Energy shield is a constantly replenishing buffer that lets us soak up the nastiest of attacks.

How it plays:
This is a quick, leech focused melee build, and plays rather straight-forwardly. Whirling blades to your target, smack them down, whirling blades away. The machinery making it run is a little bit more complex, requiring three Cast When Damage Taken sets.

Gem Links:
Viper Strike:

Our main attack skill. Hit as hard as possible, as often as possible, in order to leech as much as possible. While skill gems like Unbound Ailments are great for damage over time, they do nothing for leech. Per hit DPS is top priority.

Spirit Offering:

We want Spirit Offering to be big, so we use a leveled CWDT gem. The extra link goes to Molten Shell for more armor.

Desecrate/Immortal Call:

We want as many corpses as possible, which means a level one CWDT gem. This is also where we put a major feature of the build: Immortal Call. With all the skill effect duration, we can keep Immortal Call active for roughly one third of our time in combat, which is a huge chunk of breathing room.


CWDT Blade Vortex serves as a ghetto Blasphemy. It too benefits from all the skill duration nodes we take. Choice of curse is between Temporal Chains and Vulnerability. Temporal Chains provides more time to react, as well as more total damage over the lifetime of our poisons. Vulnerability provides more damage per hit, and thus more instantaneous leech.

Between the two, I prefer Temporal Chains.


Whirling Blades, Faster Attacks, Fortify. Its straight forward, go fast and keep fortify up in order to not die. Put these gems in a Scourge if you can, that way you will have fortified, faster attacking spectral wolves.


Grace, Discipline, and a level one Clarity. Grace is for extra evasion, Discipline for a larger Energy shield pool, and Clarity is just there for the extra attack and cast speed from the Necromancer's Commander of Darkness ascendancy.

Almost all of our gear is Rare. The only uniques required are weapons and belt. A unique body piece is optional. This build benefits from armor, evasion, and ES, so mixing and matching your best rares is totally okay. Just make sure you get all the maximum life you can get a hold of.

The Scourge, and The Wasp Nest. If you are on a tight budget and cannot afford a scourge, a second Wasp Nest is fine. Don't worry about the crit roll, since we take Resolute Technique. A scourge plus a wasp nest is better than two of either.

Soul Tether is key to leeching Energy Shield during combat.

(Optional) Body:
There are a lot of good body options. A good rare is fine, Lightning Coil is great, Belly of the Beast is fine too, maybe you have a Cherrubim's Maleficence you want to use, I don't know The Covenant and Dendrobate are good damage options, but you will want a body with +HP on it for bosses. I'm currently using a Lightning Coil for most things, and a Death's Oath for Shaper. Expect your body to be your most expensive item.

Target helmet enchantments:
Ideal helmet enchant: Spirit Offering grants +12% of Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage
Also acceptable if you get them: Viper Strike Duration/Damage, Immortal Call duration, number of Desecrate Corpses, Desecrate Cooldown
Target Glove Enchantments:
Whatever you like best
Target Boot Enchantments:
Chaos Damage, Stun avoidance

Passive Skill Tree:
Level 74
Level 94

Path of Building Import Code

Questions and Answers:
Q: What's the damage like?
A: I'm currently doing 400kK DPS without flasks, more with Atziri's Promise up, according to Path of Building. Most of that damage is poison damage.

Q: Why no crit?
A: Because as of 3.0.0 going crit with poison is pointless. Maybe at some point the Perfect Agony keystone will be worth taking, and that day I will happily swap into crit nodes. Until then, Resolute Technique works great.

Q: Why no Blood Rage?
A: Because it interferes with Soul Tether.

Q: Why no Unbound Ailments gem or DoT damage nodes?
A: Because you can't leech of DoT damage. Instead of taking DoT nodes, I'd rather increase hit damage and max HP for safer leeching.

Q: Videos Where?
A: At the bottom of the guide!

Q: What Endgame have you done with this build?
A: All maps including Guardians, Atziri, and the Pale Court. I have yet to do Uber Atziri, though I imagine I should be fine. I'm currently working on taking down the Shaper. I'm confident the build can do Shaper, It's my own competence that is in question.

Q: You suck and I hate you.
A: Thats not a question.

Minotaur kill, with Harbingers
Chimera kill
Phoenix kill
Last edited by pieceofsoap on Oct 9, 2017, 6:12:13 PM
Last bumped on Apr 13, 2018, 1:19:29 AM

Looks like an awesome build, I think I'll actually try it out. Couple of small things:

under your gem links, "We Spirit Offering to be big". - a word. Also, Cherrubim's Maleficence

For your PoB link, in the program itself, it allows you to 'share with pastebin' which produces a small link instead of that wall of text. People can import from the link also. I highly recommend it.

The build guide is very complete and I like what I saw. Things I would want to consider though:

Spirit Offering is awesome for damage, but how about a Bone Offering swap for scary stuff? (If so) Vuln could feel better than temp chains if so, and if you've tried playing around with both, what were your thoughts?

Poe.trade The Scourge claws are 1c atm.

From the Wiki:
"Each player may only have one offering active at any time. Casting an offering skill while one is already active will cancel the older one."

- Would you consider using a bone offering on CwDT, and go back to Spirit offering good fun times after spikey damage is over? It seems problematic to have a level 20 CwDT for our damage buff, and a level 1 CwDT for our tanky offering, so I can totally see how it would be no fun. Just a passing thought though, perhaps you have ideas about it.

Desecrate already creates 5 corpses as a Necromancer, do you really think the lab enchant for 3 more would be material? The extra duration ends up being like 2-3 seconds with all 9 consumed. I guess it matters on how often you're taking damage with CwDT resetting the buffs. Almost seems like the playstyle suits it though.

Passive tree thoughts:

I've seen intuitive leap usage at the melding wheel jewel socket to pick up both melding and overcharged (would be -2 point usage) and provide a way to generate frenzy charges. Could be nice, maybe?

Fatal Toxins omission in the build feels unpleasant imo. Do you think it's simply not worth it? the 5 points to travel for it ends up contributing 17.6% to total poison damage. 3.5% / point is very high compared to other options. The +20 dex also might allow you to un-invest from Alacrity.

Sleight of Hand itself gives 6.8% of the build's poison damage, and the two travel nodes for it each give 1.3%. That's sum 9.4% In comparison, Entropy gives sum 6.1% but also 5% increased skill effect duration. Possibly worth the pickup.

Viper Strike grants a 60% chance to poison. The build is only at 90% chance. Finding that 10% somewhere could help for bosses.

I made a similar version of your tree to compare against yours. Taking some of these points into consideration. If you would care to look it over and share your thoughts. ♥

PoB seems to think Deadly Ailments would be a superior support to some of your main skill links. Wonder which one could be a candidate for that. play around with it and tell me what you think. 46% vs. 49% for melee phys for example. (in favor of deadly ailments). only a small QoL improvement tho.

Dendrobate vs. Cherrubims? The Dex. requirement might be super antifun tho. 18.2% of the build's damage if we manage to reach 300 dex.

All of this being said, awesome build and I really like how you made Spirit Offering the star. Added to the listings.

*edit*: We spend a lot of sockets on CwDT setups, but maybe a wither totem for bosses?
and p.s. why is your video hidden.

second edit: 180 added chaos if you've taken a crit recently seems a bit suspect in damage calcs. I can't imagine that has high uptime, no?

Hot Flashes: poeurl.com/bPZT
Balance: poeurl.com/btzp
Shocking EleHit: poeurl.com/bZXo
Last edited by Kwitch on Sep 23, 2017, 8:07:48 PM
Thanks for your comments, Kwitch, I cleaned up those little typos and got rid of the build link wall of text.

Now, to try and answer your questions.

- Would you consider using a bone offering on CwDT, and go back to Spirit offering good fun times after spikey damage is over? It seems problematic to have a level 20 CwDT for our damage buff, and a level 1 CwDT for our tanky offering, so I can totally see how it would be no fun. Just a passing thought though, perhaps you have ideas about it.

I'm not exactly sure what you are suggesting here. Having Bone Offering on CwDT, and Spirit Offering on manual cast? Having two, mutually exclusive offerings both on CwDT sets? Either way using both at once would be real awkward, and would tax an already strained corpse supply. Now, manually swapping the Spirit Offering gem for a Bone Offering gem, that has merit. It means swapping a higher effective soak pool for more effective damage evasion, which are different paradigms. When it comes to Bone Offering, I would personally go further, swapping in an Aegis Aurora, maxing block, adding a Determination gem, and placing far more focus on armor and ES on gear rather than life and evasion. Without Spirit Offering there isn't as much pressure to stick with Viper Bite, and by this point we are talking about a completely different build, for a completely different build guide. You've seen my Minotaur video, Spirit Offering works for soaking big hits, and the build can recover sufficiently when getting smacked around.

Desecrate already creates 5 corpses as a Necromancer, do you really think the lab enchant for 3 more would be material?
Yes. Flesh offering and bone offering don't really care too much about number of corpses consumed, so long as you are recasting them often enough to maintain coverage. This is not the case for Spirit Offering, where you get 2% of max life as ES per corpse as extra maximum energy shield, up to 9 corpses. With Spirit Offering you want to eat 9 corpses at a time, and that means getting as many corpses out of Desecrate as possible. For reference, with the ES nodes this build takes, a full cast of Spirit Offering nets me about 1600 ES, which is about 30% of max HP as extra ES, significantly more than the 18% the skill advertises. As of right now my effective HP pool maxes out at about 8,800 combined HP, and just by improving my gear I should be able to push that up to 6K HP 4K ES for 10K EHP total. Spirit Offering is good, yo!

I really like your suggestion about Intuitive Leap and Overcharged! I don't think its reliable enough to check the "uses frenzy charges" tickbox in PoB, but it would be a really convenient source of extra damage, and slightly longer Immortal Call windows. Speaking of PoB, I noticed you had Onslaught checked, where was that coming from?

Fatal Toxins/Deadly Ailments/Entropy
You got a LOT of DPS out of your skill tree, and I respect that. And you bring up a key point, that I made the conscious decision not to take these nodes. In fact, I haven't taken any pure DoT damage nodes. Lets compare skill trees, in the most basic state, no flasks, no charges, no onslaught.

You have 483,336.6 total DPS, including poison. I have 364,147.3 DPS in the same category. I made the conscious decision to skip pure DoT nodes and skill gems in favor of raising per-hit damage and max HP. The reason for this decision is leech. You leech at 594.6 HP/Hit at 6.93 APS for 4120.578 HP/Sec, I leech at 991.5 HP/hit at 7.17 APS for 7109.055 HP/Sec. I respect the damage numbers you put out, but in practice I prefer the safety of faster leeching with higher max HP and ES. If you don't need that much leech, by all means DPS away.

Dendrobate vs. Cherrubims?
Cherrubims has HP, Dendrobate doesn't, easy win for Cherrubims.

We spend a lot of sockets on CwDT setups, but maybe a wither totem for bosses?
That's a great idea, question comes down to what to cut to free up the slots. Probably means cutting the Curse setup down a bit, what would you suggest?

Speaking of curses, almost forgot to compare Vulnerability to Temp Chains. Temp chains actually wins on DoT in long fights where full poison durations are being applied. For shorter fights Vulnerability wins, so it comes down to defensive comparison. Temp chains slows, and Vulnerability increases physical damage per hit, thus increasing amount leeched. Unfortunately, Phys damage only accounts for roughly 1/3 of the per-hit damage, so the increase to leech doesn't actually mean that much. Of the two I give the win to Temp Chains.
So I know this is going off on a tangent, but I couldn't help myself and I approached your build with a pure, from the ground up, 'what would I do with it' approach.

Here is my results.
(I was able to push it to 4 mil on paper, but I know that's derpy derpy.)
Here is my pastebin.

I did not include bone offering (as you said, different build) and I chose instead to run acro.

I also went lower than before into Ranger, opting for Herbalism (because Bloodgrip) for 120% increased life gain on a bubbling. 3168 divine flask charges, yo!

Dang yo

I also wanted to suggest the possibility for Gluttony of Elements for your build. not only does it increase survival a bit, it works super well with lightning coil. (I didn't know this before exploring and really thinking about it, LC isn't very popular atm).

My version runs onslaught purely through flasks. Uptime on flasks is not boss viable. paper dps is silly :D

My PoB used mirror jewels, and insane steel rings. but the other rares I actually opted to have bad rolls on all of the affixes to keep it a bit more reasonable.

I really liked your use of soul tether + es gain, but overall felt I didn't like it over belt of the deceiver. Just me tho. Your version is still kawaii as fck.

And finally, I think in your PoB you had your poison stacks set at 10. But your poisons last for like 18 seconds. I would pump that value up a bit imo for the link because more than 10 stacks is quite reasonable.

OOOOH, forgot to mention, for mine I swapped to a covenant because i wanted different supports slightly. And I think it's a good suggestion possibly to swap melee splash for melee phys, since I don't run melee phys main. Difference in playstyles, I just didn't want it main. Life leech + life gain on hit seemed to basically eclipse my hp pool.

Since bloodgrips are so cheapo, i figured I could snag a +1 craft cheaply enough. for witchfire.

After all of that is said and done tho, your build has killed mino and mine exists only in PoB. so mega props on that.

your total soak looks considerably safer.

and i just have a love affair thingo going on with bone offering. I will likely roll this character to see how it fares,, if you're at all interested in a report in the future. But I will probably run lower levels of spirit offerings if I just can't seem to have permanent uptime.
Hot Flashes: poeurl.com/bPZT
Balance: poeurl.com/btzp
Shocking EleHit: poeurl.com/bZXo
Last edited by Kwitch on Sep 23, 2017, 9:11:58 PM
Up to what content have you completed with this build?
Kwitch wrote:
Here is my results.
(I was able to push it to 4 mil on paper, but I know that's derpy derpy.)
Here is my pastebin.
Hot damn that's a lot of damage. I need to get to work rolling up my steel rings. Definitely keep me posted with your progress!

ironstove wrote:
Up to what content have you completed with this build?
I've cleared all four guardians, Atziri, Pale Court, and Uber Lab. I haven't attempted uber Atziri or Shaper yet. Uber Atziri should be doable just fine, I expect Shaper will take more skillful play than I've put out recently.

managed to craft this in about 850 or so jewellers and 6 fusings.

So i'm definitely going to try to run it.

+1 curse bloodgrip is next. ♥
Hot Flashes: poeurl.com/bPZT
Balance: poeurl.com/btzp
Shocking EleHit: poeurl.com/bZXo
Awesome, cant wait to see what you do with that 7th link.

In Shaper news, I cleared the first phase and got a good way through the second, I'm confident that the build can do shaper, I'm just not confident in MY ability to do shaper. Working on it!

Also, gonna upload a video of a Chimera kill.
/edit Chimera kill uploaded!


Been doing some gear upgrades, almost 6k HP and over 9k EHP now.
Kwitch, you had doubts about the chaos damage enchant earlier, what enchant do you think I should stick with? For the record, I just got this enchant:
With the Pantheon system in place I don't feel as tied to stun immunity boots. I like the lab, so rolling boot enchants isn't too bad, I'm just not sure what the final roll should end up like.
Last edited by pieceofsoap on Sep 28, 2017, 7:59:16 PM
I definitely think increased attack speed if you've killed recently is possible.

I also tossed these into PoB for fun, and hit another 250k dps with them... however, I wouldn't actually want to wear them I think.
Hot Flashes: poeurl.com/bPZT
Balance: poeurl.com/btzp
Shocking EleHit: poeurl.com/bZXo
Somehow I completely overlooked this Spirit Offering enchant. It's perfect for the build.

In other news, Shaper is progressing. At my current level I can clear through the second phase, I just need to dodge more and keep from cluttering the arena with vortices. I'm getting better at this, its just a matter of time before I take him down. I put up a video of a Phoenix kill earlier while farming shaper fragments.

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