[3.1] The Essence Drain Acrobat - League Starter - High DPS and Clear Speed - All Content Viable

Have you ever wanted to play an Essence Drainer and been torn between the clear speed of trickster and the raw damage of occultist? What if I told you there was a way to have both. Yes. Both. That way is this build so just keep on reading.

Now that we've gotten the cheesy cliche riddled build intro out of the way, here's why you might want to play this build:

• It's a good league starter because no individual piece of gear is a strict requirement and it is Tabula friendly. You'll just gradually upgrade things as you can afford to or as you find replacement items.
• It achieves the high movement and cast speed of Trickster ED builds by utilizing frenzy charges and onslaught. By level 90, you'll have +67% movespeed before flasks.
• It achieves the high DPS of Occultist LL ED builds by utilizing chaos res reduction against cursed enemies combined frenzy charges and a +1 tabula. With high end gear (L4 empower, L21 ED, +1 Tabula, 3x damage jewels), you should be right around 150k DoT DPS in PoB without wither. For comparison, my LL Occultist in Harbinger had 140k in this state.
• It gets 4.5k+ life, 9k+ evasion, and acro + phase acro.

Build Mechanics

• The mini-ascendancies used are Occultist and Raider. The Occultist makes our curses drop enemy chaos res by 15%, the raider gives us extra move speed, a source of frenzy charge generation against bosses(orb of storms), and provides onslaught at max charges. Together, these provide a substantial boost to both damage and clear speed.
• Frenzy charge generation is done with on kill effects vs trash mobs and orb of storm hits against bosses.
• In order to keep up with the damage of low life, we use a +1 Tabula. This adds an extra two levels to essence drain by adding 1 to ED and 1 to empower.
• Defensively, we're a life/EVA/Acro build with high move speed. We'll be manually dodging the big one shot hits and evading the small ones.

Skill Tree

Kill all bandits.

Path of Building Example

Alternate Defensive Option Hybrid Life/ES/EVA

I respeced to this for high tier maps. Its damage is a little lower than what you get with the acrobatics version but it's a lot tankier. Here's a PoB link with a maxed-ish gear example:


Cost of Gear

At the high end you do want some expensive items. In particular, you'll want level 4 empower and level 21 Essence Drain.

You don't need either of these for map clearing, they're just really helpful against the hardest endgame bosses. While you're building up wealth(and you should build up fast with no fusing sink), I recommend buying a bricked level 3 empower, they're usually cheap.

Order of upgrades should be +1 Tabula (last time I bought one it was 50C, people corrupt these constantly so there's usually a decent supply of them by mid-league), then whichever is cheaper between L21 ED and L4 empower, then whatever's left.

Everything else can be had for a few chaos to a few dozen chaos depending on quality of gear and whether you get a good deal.


Gearing is pretty flexible but this is what I'd recommend:

Weapons - You want to dual wield well rolled spell damage wands(these can get maximum pre-wither DPS) or Breath of the Council maces (these give duration QoL). A spell damage shield is also an option. Besides spell damage, cast speed, LGoK, and MGoK will be nice to have on the wands.

Helmet - You want a rare with life, strength and resists. High EVA would be optimal but isn't required and could be hard to chrome.

Amulet and Rings - You want rares covering life, spell damage, strength, resists, and maybe a bit of mana regen %. Ideally you also want increased chaos damage but that has to be rolled with essences and could be costly.

Gloves - Either elder gloves with frenzy on kill or malachai's mark. The build example I have takes a fair amount of duration so your frenzy charges will generally be up while clearing but it's not 100%. I've tried with 6% elder gloves as well and they're kind of dicey without the frenzy duration nodes so ideally you want 7-10%.

Belt - You want rares with life and resists.

Body Armour - Start with a Tabula, upgrade to a +1 Tabula when you can afford it.

Boots - There are a few options here. I would recommend using Atziri's Step as it improves your spell dodge and EVA significantly. Alternatively, you could use the Blood Dance to make the frenzy on kill gloves optional or you could just pick up a rare with movespeed, life, and resists.

Jewels - Damage damage damage. Chaos damage, damage over time, spell damage are all good. Ideally you want 3-4 damage mods or 3 damage mods + life but obviously those 4 good stat jewels are expensive so you can settle for 3.

Gem Setup

6L: Essence Drain + Controlled Destruction + Void Manipulation + Swift Affliction + Efficacy + Empower. This is your main damage skill.

2L: Blasphemy + Enfeeble OR Blasphemy + Despair. I'm going to try to push things by using despair but enfeeble is the tankier option. Either curse will apply an extra -15% chaos res debuff.

1L: Grace. This is so you have decent evasion.

4L: Contagion + Arcane Surge + Increased AoE + Increased Duration. Keep the Arcane Surge leveled as high as possible while still proccing on a single cast. This is to proc arcane surge and spread essence drain.

4L: Wither + Spell Totem + Faster Casting + Increased Duration. This is to magnify damage against single targets.

4L: Lightning Warp + Less Duration + Faster Casting + Swift Affliction. This is for rapid movement/repositioning.

1L: Desecrate. This is for corpses for cremation.

2L: Cremation + GMP. This is for frenzy charge generation. You use Blood Rage for map clearing and Orb of Storms on bosses.


Contagion can be equipped at level 4, Essence Drain at level 12. You can start the build as soon as these gems are available.

You may want to consider using a hits cannot be evaded weapon with shield charge decay starting at level 38. If you have enough increased chaos damage this will one shot mobs so they'll just die behind you and you can speed through the story. It's not what you want for endgame or bosses though.

I would just follow the level 90 tree as you level. Start out going through the spell damage cluster, then follow the path out to the shadow start. Take the damage and life nodes as you come across them. From the shadow start, expand out towards the Atrophy cluster in the north before heading over to acrobatics. There's a four node gap between the shadow section of the tree and the witch so I'd recommend just linking it up with those traveling nodes until you get path of the witch in the uber lab and then you can just respec out of them. Save the jewel slots until you get the jewels to fill them and go for the acrobatics section after level 60 as it will be most useful while mapping. Here's a possible level 60 tree(your tree at 60 doesn't have to look like this, if you might want to shift some damage nodes over to mana/life as needed): http://poeurl.com/bD8o

For Ascendancy ordering, I would suggest taking raider, then occultist, then path of the witch. Raider is a big boost to clear speed the moment you unlock her. I'd recommend picking up a blood dance after you unlock raider to get the frenzy charges generation going. You miss out a little on cast speed compared to blood rage but it's far tankier early on.
Last edited by Vesuvius079 on Dec 18, 2017, 5:42:46 PM
Last bumped on Dec 26, 2017, 10:47:04 PM
Looks awesome. One question though, did you just level with ED from the beginning? If not, could you provide some more details please? Cheers!
How does this generate frenzy charges? IIRC dot doesn't 'hit' enemies, so it can't do it.
How is the single target? Build looks nice but looking for something that is okay with bosses since we get some new ones with 3.1
Spora wrote:
Looks awesome. One question though, did you just level with ED from the beginning? If not, could you provide some more details please? Cheers!

Yes you can level with it. Contagion is equipable at level 4 and essence drain at level 12. I'd go out towards the shadow area first for all the chaos damage and DoT nodes.

Relinou wrote:
How does this generate frenzy charges? IIRC dot doesn't 'hit' enemies, so it can't do it.

Frenzy charges are generated via two methods. One is through on kill effects such as blood rage or blood dance if you prefer to have high passive regen. The other generation method is used against bosses and that's to drop an orb of storms near the boss. It should hit frequently enough to keep your charges up though the initial build up from zero in a boss room without adds may be a tad slow. The frenzy charges and onslaught are good against bosses(20% more damage), but they're definitely more important while clearing.

exams123 wrote:
How is the single target? Build looks nice but looking for something that is okay with bosses since we get some new ones with 3.1

Single target with high end gear is equivalent to low life essence drain builds with high end gear. Basically it will be sufficient to clear vaal temple, shaper, uber atziri, and all guardians. Uber Izaro goes down in a few seconds so labs will be pretty easy too. I expect it will also be sufficient to clear the elder and new bosses. It's not going to be a 20 million dps "shaper deleter" or anything like that, but with good gear and a wither totem it will reach 250k-300k and clear whatever you need from it. The core strength of the build is map clearing.
LOL,I got the same idea as yours few days ago, before the QoTF nerf.

My thoughts were DW breath of the council and using qotf at the end, runing fast with three-step assault and trying to get as much spell dodge as I can.

I tested ED with MOM as Trickster, Pathfinder and Occultist recently.

Here's my thoughts:

Pathfinder can use Dying Sun to get more Contagion AOE (do not need bleed and freeze flasks).
Trickster is also good with 5% spell dodge and 10% movement speed with full ES, and the life and mana regen is nice for MOM. Can drop blood rage but can't generate frenzy charges against boss with no adds.
Occultist has -20% chaos res but the explosion of your cursed enemy is not good for the contagion chain reaction, at least when I was playing it was really annoying when the explosion kills the pack and you can't clear off-screen.
Raider may be better to cap spell dodge (10% spell dodge while phasing), and can drop blood rage. Also raider has the highest movement speed on paper, and I think it should still be the fastest with the QOTF nerf.
Ascendant can get more duration nodes and -15% chaos res. In PoB, the ED can last more than 10 sec, so while mapping you can easily kill every thing with your two casts and move.

So with the new despair aura on Witchfire Brew, it should be -30% chaos res, i'm gonna try Raider maybe.
BTW, using blight with Allelopathy gloves and two Spreading Rot jewels, you can do some end game bosses.
seems like too many buttons for play. totem, charges, contagion, ED + allelopathy blight at the endgame?
To make sure no one gets confused, blight isn’t part of this build. You don’t have the sockets for it and the hinder requirement is so inconvenient even if you make room. Plus it eats valuable jewel sockets. The build in my OP will run all endgame bosses with just a wither totem and frenzy charges. It’s only one skill over what you’d be using if you didn’t have charges.
Hello,two questions: which bandits we need to kill? we get all the int from skill tree or we need some uniques?

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