[3.4] "Balls? BALLS!" By Loate - (Agony Crawler Build)(Shaper/Red Elder/Atziri) SC

Hello everyone, it's that time again. No, not tacotime, it's build guide time! Today we're looking at a build based around the new Herald of Agony skill, and the wonderful spikyboi that accompanies it - the Agony Crawler. Remember, in Soviet Russia, you don't escort Crawler; Crawler escorts you!

Lore stuff, as always, can be found here https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1651034


All videos with Herald of Agony at level 24 (21 Gem, +2 Coming Calamity, +1 Level 2 Empower)
Shaper - https://youtu.be/F49CW1dL3GE
Red Elder - https://youtu.be/1RGUCvkBSkc
T15 Beachhead - https://youtu.be/UXvCvT1TWlk
Hydra - https://youtu.be/8jXyZIHh6e4
Chimera - https://youtu.be/mwORmmia55U
Minotaur - https://youtu.be/IQD98EuuiXY
Phoenix - https://youtu.be/CLjmUmemrBY
Atziri - will be uploaded soon


It's too much fun not to! Originally I was planning a build around Toxic Rain with Herald of Agony as a supplemental DPS source, but once I saw how much damage the Crawler was doing (with minimal investment), and due to a lucky 6L on my Coming Calamity, I realized I needed to do a pure Agony Crawler build. At first I went pure memelord and used Abberath's Hooves for full one-handed playstyle shenanigans, but then I realized I could take this thing to some pretty significant DPS levels with some investment. Being able to cover the screen in balls was purely a coincidental bonus.


So if you've read any of my previous build guides, you know I like unnecessarily complicated interactions. This one might be the most Rube Goldberg-esque yet. Get ready for some game theor... err, text.

What's happening here is as follows. In order to maximize the Agony Crawler's damage, we want to keep our Virulence stacks at 40 (or as close to 40) as much as possible. Quick hitting spells and abilities are the key to doing so, but they have to a) poison, and b) hit quick enough to keep the stacks up (Virulence falls off VERY fast at 40 stacks). Three of the quickest hitting spells in the game are Firestorm, Blade Vortex, and Ball Lightning, and two of the quickest hitting melee abilities are Cyclone and Double Strike (Molten Strike is arguably the quickest, but the tree is a little starved for jewel slots for Wildfires). By wielding the Consuming Dark in our off-hand, we give our Chaos damage 60% chance to poison, and 30% of our Fire damage is converted to Chaos (and can thus poison). We then grab 20% chance to poison from our skill tree, and that coupled with the Herald of Agony's innate 20% chance to poison puts us at 100% chance to poison with both Chaos and Fire damage (and using Ngamahu's Sign means we get added Fire damage to everything, so basically we poison with everything).

That's step one.

Step two is to get as close to 100% chance to Ignite as possible, so that way we can trigger a barrage of self-hits from Eye of Innocence, which in turn will proc level 1 Cast When Damage Taken setups linked to Firestorm, Blade Vortex, Ball Lightning, as well as a level 16 Cast When Damage Taken linked to level 18 Immortal Call (because dying is lame). Essentially, we create a positive feedback loop such that when we start igniting enemies, we shoot out more stuff that will cause more ignites faster and faster until we hit the Cast When Damage Taken cooldown cap of 250ms (and that's the reason why they have the cap, otherwise we'd enter exponential feedback territory and crash the server). All of this keeps our Agony Crawler's Virulence stacks maxed at 40, our Immortal Call almost perpetually up in groups (single target is a bit trickier), and when we throw in the Life Gain on Ignite from Ngamahu's Sign, Life Gain on Hit from a Vitality Watcher's Eye, Life Gain on Hit from an Imperial Claw, and Life Gain on Hit from our level 30 Poacher's Mark via Gluttony, it makes us very hard to kill.

Basically, we spin, the Crawler wins.


I don't blame you. This is full red-yarn-on-the-corkboard territory. It works pretty well though!


This one's pretty rough, not going to lie. You're going to start from Marauder and head allllllll the way over to the right for a poison cluster, and alllllll the way to the top for a Chance to Ignite cluster. Leveling this build is not fun. I used two Poet's Pens (Arc + Firestorm is a solid leveling combo) up until 53, which is when you can equip the Consuming Dark and Coming Calamity. The build doesn't really get rolling until 68 though, which is when you can equip Eye of Innocence.

PoB -
PoE website -

Also, you're gonna need to do some legit shopping for resists on your gear. Can't win em all.


Kill all Bandits, grab Unstoppable first, then Unflinching, then Undeniable, then Unbreakable. Easy peasy.


Let me be upfront - this is not a starter build. You'll want to have some currency reserves before you think about making this particular one. That being said, each individual price isn't *that* pricey, so you can get it going and then upgrade in chunks. A 5L Coming Calamity won't break the bank, and the LGoH Vitality Watcher's Eye is usually around 1-1.5ex for a barebones, no other good mods version, but it's also not a requirement (you get plenty of life gain from the other parts of the build). Ngamahu's might be tricky, as it's league specific, but GGG's been pretty good about putting access to old content in each new league, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Where you're going to end up spending some money is on your boots, hat, and ring, in order to get your resists sorted, but each one shouldn't cost you more than 20-30 chaos for a decently rolled rare.

Required Uniques


Handy Rares


If you can get a helm with +2 Projectiles to the Agony Crawler, that's the dream (coverage is still fine with the base five).


Well, if you really want to ramp this thing up, you're going to want a corrupted +1 to all gems Coming Calamity, which is then five off-colored (RGGGGB, or RRGGGB) and 6Led. I managed to acquire a +1 gems Coming Calamity for 1ex, but I'm still saving up to do the coloring and linking, and it's not going to be cheap. I think the best way is to 3 socket it with Vorici, pay the chromes and Vaals for RGG, then use the Vorici coloring method to hit the last two off colors, which is going to cost BIG TIME in both jewelers and Vaals. Once you've got it appropriately colored, all that's left is a paltry 1500 fuses and Vaals to link it.


You might as well also grab a level 4 Empower to really give your Agony Crawler that extra oomph - it's peanuts compared to what the chest is going to cost.


To start off, there's a lot of them. Your big one is the Herald of Agony, as that's your primary source of DPS. A 5L will do fine up through low red maps, a 6L will let you waltz through most content in the game. More likely than not you'll only be able to get four off colors, but that's ok, Minion Speed is a perfectly serviceable blue gem fill-in.

Herald of Agony - Minion Damage - Empower - Withering Touch - Minion Speed - Pierce (for clear/pretty much everything)/Vile Toxins (for Shaper)

(If you get a RGGGGB setup, swap in Vile Toxins for Minion Speed, and then put in Faster Attacks in place of Pierce for Shaper. If you get RRGGGB, put Damage on Full Life in place of Minion Speed)

Next you want your CwDT setups. These are super easy, and will generally follow the theme of "skill + Combustion". Keep all your CwDT's except the Immortal Call one at level 1, have the Immortal Call CwDT at level 16.

Cast When Damage Taken (1) - Firestorm - Increased Duration - Combustion
Cast When Damage Taken (1) - Ball Lightning - Greater Multiple Projectiles - Combustion
Cast When Damage Taken (1) - Blade Vortex - Combustion - Convocation
Cast When Damage Taken (16) - Immortal Call (17) - Increased Duration

Convocation is utility to make sure your Crawler keeps up with you, and you can also use it to place the Crawler inside Proximity Shields (which are super annoying).

To attack, we use Cyclone - Faster Attacks - Combustion. Against Shaper, get your hands on an Elder Imperial Claw with "Socketed Gems are supported by level 20 Multistrike", and then swap Double Strike in for Cyclone.

Finally, you'll need an Unset Ring to socket Vitality (bonus points for a plus gem level one to get that extra .10% life regen!)


Math time!

So at gem level 24 (which is what you see in the videos), at 40 Virulence stacks the Agony Crawler has:
2840-5240 BASE damage
840% increased Attack Damage
160% increased Attack Speed

With nothing else from the tree, gems or whatever, the average hit is 33,936 damage, at who knows how many attacks per second because there's no attribution on the Agony Crawler's base attack speed. It's probably around 5 attacks per second based on my highly scientific eyeballing of watching it attack, but again, <shrug emoji>.

Now, once we add in gem modifiers (1.49 from Minion Damage, 1.19 from Pierce, 1.45 from Vile Toxins if you can get RGGGGB, but we'll leave that one out for now), you're looking at 60,171 per average hit.

Now we add 29% of physical gained as extra Chaos damage from Withering Touch (17,449) and 20% physical gained as extra Cold from Grip of the Council (12,034), we're looking at a hit of almost 90k (before resists), and the Agony Crawler attacks FAST.

This is also only at gem level 24 - I feel level 25 is fully achievable by anyone who wants to spend some time (level 21 gem, +2 from Coming Calamity, +2 from Level 3 Empower). Level 27 is with a +1 to all gems corruption and is correspondingly pricey, level 28 is if you also get the level 4 Empower.

A level 28 Agony Crawler BASE damage, at 40 Virulence stacks, is...


4360-8120, which, I mean, let's be honest here, holy CRAP. You should be able to melt just about anything in the game with that. Your increased damage also jumps up to 920%, soooooo, yeah. That's my goal.

10. JFC

You said it, Donny. JFC indeed.


I mean, you could socket Frostbolt + GMP instead of Blade Vortex and Convocation if you really wanted to. Might as well drop some life to grab the threshold jewels as well. Go all out. Let your balls fly free. Thanks for reading!
Last bumped on Nov 25, 2018, 6:47:25 PM
Beautiful writeup! I have no clue regarding the viability of the build, but I appreciate the wall of text tremendously! Might try it based on that alone. Thanks a lot!
Doc_Doom wrote:
Beautiful writeup! I have no clue regarding the viability of the build, but I appreciate the wall of text tremendously! Might try it based on that alone. Thanks a lot!

I've currently defeated Red Elder (was fairly easy - hardest part is keeping all the mobs from killing Shaper), Shaper (requires some technical play to Immortal Call at the right time to avoid the slams. but definitely doable deathless), and am currently pushing towards Uber Elder and through the 280's in the mine.

It is surprisingly much more viable than I thought it would turn out to be (but it will require some currency). The video section shows each of the encounters I've done so far.
This build looks absolutely stupid and a pain to level up.

I'll try it as soon as I can. (... still, one question, though. Is tHiS haRDcOrE vIAbLE?)
This really look like a great build !
Thanks for this guide.
I have just fortunate to find a 6L calimity with the correct colors, so I decided to go with this one. My last build of the league, and my third cyclone !

I played AFK l the past, but this one looks even more fun.

1 quick questions

Could you please repost the PoB, the flasks and Jewels do not appear (obviously there is a life gain on hit vitality)

Thanks again !

Cheers !
Last edited by edessiex on Nov 27, 2018, 9:39:43 AM

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