[3.4] The Agonizing Occult experience (CI HoAgony Tricurse Occ)

TL:DR This build is an Occultist using ball lightning to poison in order to trigger the new HOA minion. I will be starting Delve with it and will be updating the guide accordingly. POB: https://pastebin.com/4R6Nx6c3 (I'm too lazy to create items, these are just a showcase of the ES we can reach)

Credit: Delvingintothewitch

Hello, and welcome to my first guide! Lets start with some explanations on the Ascendancy I picked and the build's mechanics.

Why Occultist?

Well the creatures in Delve seem to do a lot of damage and Occultist is a fairly cheap and tanky option to start a league with. CI gear is easy to find nowadays and with some failry cheap gear we can reach 7.5k+ ES. Besides that we are stun immune and regenerate quite a bit of ES while clearing. Speaking of clear, the corpse explosions from cursed enemies should help out a fair bit and Malediction, which we grab in the Uber lab should be a decent damage boost

How does Herald of Agony work?

The herald adds 20% chance to poison and some poison damage. When you poison an enemy you get a stacking buff called Virulence. When you have Virulence an Agony Crawler is summoned. This minion seems to be invulnerable and attacks with projectile and area damage. It also seems to deal physical damage and convert some of it to chaos. Stacking up Virulence ramps up its damage and speed. Virulence decays failry quickly and the more you have the faster it seems to decay.

So how do you sustain Virulence?

We can use Ball lightning, one of the fastest hitting spells in the game to poison. To do so we must add some chaos damage to the spell, which can be easily done with a Lesser poison support. I've noticed that with this setup one can easily sustain around 35-40 stacks of Virulence against packs and around 35 against bosses.

A breakdown of other ways to poison quickly
Spoiler
First up we can use an attack or a spell to apply poison, but it must hit, therefore abilities like Blight cannot poison. Using attacks might be faster to ramp up Virulence, but then you have to think about your accuracy. If you decide to go that route you can use the Quill rain bow, since it has a lot of APS and it also you to use the excellent Soul Strike quiver to boost your ES recovery. Another option is going with a Brightbeak and using Molten strike and Ancestral call to apply a lot of poison but that puts you in melee range. If you decide to go with spells you might consider several other fast-hitting ones such as Firestorm and Blade vortex. I use Ball lightning, because since its changes in 3.3 it can hit every 0.15 seconds and thats good enough IMO. Cast while channeling lets us not only ignore mana cost and cast speed, but also also enables the use of Wither, however selfcast would allow us to drop one of the blasphemy links and get a different helmet/save a few points from mana reservation.


With that out of the way here are some pros and cons

Pros
Spoiler

Cheap to start
Relatively tanky and stun immune.
The Herald should have good damage


Cons
Spoiler
Not good for new players, since CI can be a bit weird to play
Clear speed depends on the minion's IQ, which can be quite low at times
We have to invest heavily in reduced mana reservation.


Here are the gem links and where to socket them
Spoiler
Body armor: Herald of Agony>Damage on Full life>Vicious Projectiles>Minion Damage>Minion Speed Note that I'm not sure that Damage on Full life applies to the minion. In the case it doest it could be replaced with Withering Touch, or if its too much of a hassle to get the 3 green sockets on an Incandescent Heart, Added Chaos.
Helmet: Despair>Discipline>Projectile Weakness>Enlighten(lvl 3) If you are using an Icimonji and a veil and have a 5 link HOA you can skip enlighten
Boots: Wither (lvl 1) > Cast While Channeling > Ball Lightning > Lesser poison Keep Wither at lvl 1 to minimize mana cost.
Weapon: Cast when Damage Taken (lvl 1) > Enfeeble (lvl 3) > Immortal call (lvl 2) you can use Enfeeble after Uber lab.
Shield: Raise SpectreMinion LifeBlood magic This setup is for raising the chieftain monkeys from Act 2. They have a warcry-like skill that gives nearby allies frenzy charges. When supported by Blood magic they use it a lot. Also remove blood magic before summoning them when you get CI, or you'll just die.
Gloves: This is more or less a free slot, I would put a Zombie/animate guardian setup here with minion life and Fortify



Here is the gear I'd use for this character

Important! The gems in the items are not indicative of this build! These are just some items I had lying around on Standard that I use as an example!

Here are the uniques I'd use
Spoiler

A criminally underused item IMO, this helps you mitigate quite a bit of elemental damage. Assuming you have 75% resists this item is equivalent to getting them up to 80%. Its also quite cheap a week or so into the league.

This is a cheap option for some extra ES while leveling. Sadly it has no resists and I'd recommend replacing it with a rare Crystal belt later on.
This one helps with the mana reservation. With it and a Heretic's you shouldn't need a lvl 3 enlighten to run a 5-link Agony, two curses and Discipline.

And this is manditory if you want to run a second blasphemy

All the other slots could be rare items, the only stats we need are ES, Dex, a bit of Str and resists, so it sould be fairly cheap to get some decent ones.

Examples of cheap ES gear to look for
Spoiler


Skill trees - These are the trees I would consider.
http://poeurl.com/b3Kh Higher ES (lvl 87)
http://poeurl.com/b3Ki A bit more damage (lvl 87)

Leveling: I'm currently leveling the build and will update the guide as I go along.
Progress:
Spoiler
Day 1
I used Freezing pulse to lvl 12 which I then switched for BV. BV is quite broken for leveling and I was able to easily kill Merveil and go all the way up to Chamber of sins with no damage investment. When I got the Herald I put in Lesser poison in my BV link and it was enough to generate some Virulence. The rest of act 2 was fairly straightforward. The links for HoA were Minion Speed and Minion Damage. This carried me all the way to Gravicious at act 3 when I finally got my ball lightning. I also picked up and started using Discipline. When I got to the Library and bought the Vicious projectiles and Damage on full life the build really started coming together. Links were HoA>Dam. on Full life> VP > Minion damage. Normal lab was a breeze and I picked up Wicked Ward. When I got to act 4 I picked up Cast while channeling and got wither on. I dont plan on using a golem in the endgame, but while leveling you could consider Lightning golem. Lastly, I reached act 5 and killed Innocence. Here is my tree at lvl 43. www.poeurl.com/b3Lk
Day 2
Still leveling, didn't have a lot of time to play but I managed to get to 60 and do my Cruel lab. I switched to CI with around 3k ES but I'd advise against it. Also discovered that the Minion Speed gem is awesome. Currently at blood aqueduct with this tree poeurl.com/b3WJ
Day 3
Finally got to maps today and bought a Heretic's veil and an incandescent heart which I managed to 5-link. At 5.4k ES currently with no Discipline and 6.6 with. I've opted out of Discipline for the time being, as Ichimonji is still bugged and I dont have a lvl3 Enlighten yet. I'm also thinking about dropping my zombies as they die a lot in Delves currently. Current tree: poeurl.com/b342
Day 4

Still stuck in white maps, I've been very unlucky with drops. I managed to kill atziri deathless, however I had to portal out for flasks at a point. Bought some good items, especially this shield that cost me 4c and solved my dex requirement for good.

Currently at 6.5k ES without Discipline and 7.6 with. Tree: poeurl.com/b4eZ


Last edited by meduzing75 on Sep 6, 2018, 5:20:34 AM
Last bumped on Sep 8, 2018, 1:55:46 AM
Hey man, thanks for the guide! Im still sub lvl 50, but im also using ball lightning to keep the poison stacks for the HoA crawler, but... im worried that lategame it wont be enough having mostly the crawler to deal damage, cause since Ball Lighting is, well, a lightning spell, it's poison applications are small, not potent enough to make it deal significant damage outside of the crawler.

Asking this cause the other builds i was considering involved Caustic Arrow instead of BL, and since its a Chaos skill and it had a good investment in the tree (bow nodes, poison nodes), it was really powerful by itself.

Do you think is there any way for BL to compete with CA on damage (forgetting the virulence up-time)?
"

Hey man, thanks for the guide! Im still sub lvl 50, but im also using ball lightning to keep the poison stacks for the HoA crawler, but... im worried that lategame it wont be enough having mostly the crawler to deal damage, cause since Ball Lighting is, well, a lightning spell, it's poison applications are small, not potent enough to make it deal significant damage outside of the crawler.

Asking this cause the other builds i was considering involved Caustic Arrow instead of BL, and since its a Chaos skill and it had a good investment in the tree (bow nodes, poison nodes), it was really powerful by itself.

Do you think is there any way for BL to compete with CA on damage (forgetting the virulence up-time)?


I don't think we can actually deal any significant damage with Ball Lightning without Volkur's Guidance, which allows our lightning damage to poison. My damage depends on the minion and so far its been great (just done act 8). If you want to do damage with poison and ramp up Virulence, I suggest using Barrage for single target and Tornado Shot for clear and using the crawler for utility with the new Withering touch support.
why not to go for a bow version with darkscorn and soulstrike making you very tanky and allowing you to make a much cheaper 6L without off sockets on HoAg, then you can also consider a curse on hit mirrage archer bow skill setup on body armor ( toxic rains seems to cover rather big area and slows in addition) if barrage hits enough time in single target you can also make a withering touch setup to further more increase your buddy's dmg
"
Completed 1 Challengeapocripha wrote:
why not to go for a bow version with darkscorn and soulstrike making you very tanky and allowing you to make a much cheaper 6L without off sockets on HoAg, then you can also consider a curse on hit mirrage archer bow skill setup on body armor ( toxic rains seems to cover rather big area and slows in addition) if barrage hits enough time in single target you can also make a withering touch setup to further more increase your buddy's dmg


I don't know how well it would sustain Virulence with its 1.38 APS and you'd have to get some accuracy on jewelry but it should work. Also mana sustain would probably suck. Using a Quill rain would help with the mana and keeping Virulence up. About off-colors, I need 2 or 3 green on Incandescent heart while you'd need 2 blue and 1 red on the Darkscorn so it shouldn't be that much more expensive. However a 6link Quill rain would be drastically cheaper to acquire and color. Overall I'd forfeit the tankiness of a Darkscorn for the convenience of a Quill rain.

About skills, I'd probably use Tornado shot or Barrage since Toxic rain seems to hit a bit slow.
finally i'm going coming calamity, as occultist does have lots of flat es and it allows you to run discipline without spending in mana reservation nodes (es recharge is life), for the moment it's very easy to cap virulence with quill rain i'll see later if i manage to make it work with darkscorn (i'm only at 60% chance poison, and i should reach 100% and get some attack speed as well as gmp vs lmp) the mana might be an issue i'll see if i can squeeze a mana gained on hit into my curse on hit setup if i get to spend into a 6L might be good enough or use a eleron ring
toxic rain is used on a curse on hit mirrage archer setup, to stack virulence i usebarrage as i need to be able to stack it in single target as well
"
Completed 1 Challengeapocripha wrote:
finally i'm going coming calamity, as occultist does have lots of flat es and it allows you to run discipline without spending in mana reservation nodes (es recharge is life), for the moment it's very easy to cap virulence with quill rain i'll see later if i manage to make it work with darkscorn (i'm only at 60% chance poison, and i should reach 100% and get some attack speed as well as gmp vs lmp) the mana might be an issue i'll see if i can squeeze a mana gained on hit into my curse on hit setup if i get to spend into a 6L might be good enough or use a eleron ring


"

toxic rain is used on a curse on hit mirrage archer setup, to stack virulence i usebarrage as i need to be able to stack it in single target as well


Sounds good, coming calamity is a good idea, let me know how that version of the build goes.
Hey, guys, I got a few questions on where to go from here.
I hit level 79 yesterday and the build is feeling fine for now. I haven't gotten far in the atlas yet only got a few T6 maps.

The major thing at the moment is that my specters and zombies tend to die rather quickly[Yes I summon them on the highest map I'm at with Desecrate not on Act2].On my tree, you can see that I haven't gotten the last few Minion notes but I'm not sure if they will help them stay alive that much longer.

Also any other tips on what to improve now, which gem to quality first and other stats to look for on rare items would be greatly appreciated.

Also thanks for the build guide :)



My tree
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Completed 14 Challengesmaur1n wrote:
Hey, guys, I got a few questions on where to go from here.
I hit level 79 yesterday and the build is feeling fine for now. I haven't gotten far in the atlas yet only got a few T6 maps.

The major thing at the moment is that my specters and zombies tend to die rather quickly[Yes I summon them on the highest map I'm at with Desecrate not on Act2].On my tree, you can see that I haven't gotten the last few Minion notes but I'm not sure if they will help them stay alive that much longer.

Also any other tips on what to improve now, which gem to quality first and other stats to look for on rare items would be greatly appreciated.

Also thanks for the build guide :)


Hey there, glad you're enjoying the build!

About the specters and zombies dying all the time I've also noticed that and the Sacrifice node on the tree should kinda solve the problem, but I've also considered not using specters, as they die a lot faster than zombies. I've cleared quite a bit of maps with the agony crawler alone, so maybe they aren't all that important.

About quality, it seems the HoAgony gains 1% minion speed per 1% quality so that is where I'd start.

And finally, your gear. Your boots are kinda bad and you could just buy a pair of


and that'd give you some movement speed too. You could also use a better shield, as yours has low ES. The crystal belt you're using is fine, but you could find a better one. That is where I'd start gear-wise.

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