[3.5]Viper Strike/Reave Pathfinder Volkuur's Guidance Lightning Poison


Hey guys, wanted to play a Viper strike character for a while now, and it turned out better than expected so i decided to share. Initial plan to play full fledged Viper Strike, but i decided to slap some Reave for map clearing when i was getting destroyed in T16. Reason for that is that namelock+damage over time means monsters got time to hit you back, and it wasn't a pleasant feeling. In this current version, the build is more than capable to clear the whole game, but Uber Elder is quite a challenge if you are not used to the fight. I wouldn't classify it as the best Uber Elder killer, although it has the damage to destroy it.
You can ask questions about this build or see how it plays there: https://www.twitch.tv/tybbber

The build

It is a build for a Pathfinder, but i can see it being played as an Assassin with great effectiveness as well. The reason behind Pathfinder is to get a good all around character with nice quality of life. Assassin would have better full ramped up DPS, but it really get better DPS only because the poison is longer and, trust me on that, a longer poison isn't always the best thing to have even if the PoB damage goes through the roof. In reality, you will never be able to stand still for that long to ramp up the damage and wait all the poison duration to get the boss to die. That being said, it's still really doable. Another reason for Pathfinder is that we rely quite heavily on flasks for DPS, so having more flask uptime means more DPS uptime at full value.


1 - Videos
2 - Pros and Cons
3 - Tree, Ascendancy, Bandits, Pantheon
4 - Gear
5 - Gem Setup
6 - DPS, Mechanics, Why and how it works
7 - Leveling
8 - Endgame

3.5 Changes :

As we can't Dual Wield anymore, i would suggest using a Lycosidae or a second claw with the same mods. Otherwise, the build didn't change at all.

3.4 Delve Achievements :

All the game down at level 86. Was fairly enjoyable throughout the leveling as well as mapping, and end game bossing was pretty good. A few death here and there on the guardians, but nothing major.
Path of Building of the character : https://pastebin.com/ADjMXqg9
Consider that it's the most realistic setup i went with, and the claw isn't taken into account. I'll link a full DPS potential in the DPS part below. I also didn't use all the tricks to get the highest DPS is could, which i'll explain in the same part below.

1 - Videos

T16 map clear + Shaper's Guardian + Elder's Guardians + Shaper + Uber Elder : https://youtu.be/wLkf8uBKj3w
Uber Elder : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIDV2MzpNeI

2 - Pros & Cons

+ Off meta viable build
+ You're playing Viper Strike, which you wanted since forever ago
+ Good damage on bosses
+ Viable for all of the content
+ Start fairly cheap and scale linearly with the gear
+ Theorical insanely high DPS(even better with Assassin version)

- Theorical DPS which you actually never reach
- Namelock feels like shit. We get around it but it needs to be mentioned
- It's a poison build, it's not for everyone
- Wouldn't say it's really HC viable.

3 - Tree, Ascendancy, Bandits, Pantheon

Passive tree




It was my first choice and what i went with. Gives you damages and lots of quality of life with a longer Scorpion from Herald of Agony, unlimited flask and some reduced elemental damages.

Order : Nature's Reprisal>Master Toxicist>Nature's Boon>Master Alchemist


Good alternative if you want to DPS Warrior. I think it's a suboptimal version in every aspect. Less tanky, less quality of life. Only thing you gain is damages, which you really don't need at all.

Order : Noxious Strike>Toxic Delivery>Unstable Infusion>Deadly Infusion


Help Alira. Critical multiplier, resistances, and mana regeneration at the beginning is really nice. It's the best one you can get. Later on with really good gear, a respec to 2 points could be done to min max the build, but i wouldn't recommend bothering.


I didn't really bother past the point of grabbing the Soul of the Brine King. You can get any small one you would like.

4 - Gear

My gear at level 88:

Mandatory Unique:

Volkuur's Guidance(lightning version)

The build simply doesn't work without that one item. It's the one item which allows our lightning damage to poison. It also cut the duration of the poison in half, but it's not a big issue because we counterbalance that by using Viper Strike and some duration of poison.

Recommended Uniques:

Breath of the council

Best in slot for offhand. Gives us poison duration, chaos damages. Usually isn't that expensive either.

Darkness Enthroned

Once you can afford to skip the resistances on the belt, it becomes one of the best item you can get for damages. The effectiveness of jewels inside the belt make it a pseudo 3socket jewel which you don't have to pay for the 3rd.

Bubonic Trails

Same thing as the belt, if you can skip resistances, it's a lot of damages as we need that flat lightning damages to be relevant.


Once again, 2sockets means damages. All resistances also help yourself getting capped.

Growing Agony

It's a really really cheap jewel and it's as good as a 3Oc to 1ex murderous eye jewel. Fairly worth it only for how cheap it is. You can also vaal them to get an implicit.


I got that because it's simply the strongest chest you can go for when you want to get tankier. Thing is it's hard to beat that item for defenses, and it still gives us high amount of damages. You could also use a Cherrubim's Malefiance, but i find it subpar.

Other Gear Breakdown


Craft yourself one with the 60% chance to deal double damage with poison. You can get it with the corroded fossil. I would use a metalic as well to remove the phyiscal mods. What you aim for is that mod as well as high attack speed. Other mods are just nice things to get. Don't aim toget something like my claw, cause i think i got really lucky with it.


Just here to fill the resistances and life.


Fill the attributes, which you shouldn't have much issue with. Second thing you can get is a non-chaos damage as extra damage mod. It effectively is a % more damage because we have mostly lightning damage. Don't forget a high life roll in there too.

Flasks :

Lion's Roar is here just for defenses mostly during Delve. Knockback is really really strong with Reave to survive. For DPS we replace it with an Atziri's Promise. Otherwise, nothing specific. We need a life flask that remove bleeding to get everything clear. Damages wise, Witchfire Brew and Coralito's Signature are must have. Silver flask is nice both for mapping and decent single target boost.

Jewels :

This is the type of jewel you want.
List of mods useful to get on abyssal jewels:
+# lightning damages to attacks
+# lightning damages to claw attacks
+# maximum life
+#% attack speed
+#% attack speed if you did a critical strike recently

Enchantments on Helmet and Boots:

For the helmet there is only one worth considering :
Viper strike duration. It gives us roughly 10% more damage. I don't have one cause no one was selling on a lightpoacher base. Keep in mind lightpoacher is going to be better than viper strike enchant.

For the boots , you can get these :
- 16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently
- Regenerate 2% of Life and Mana per second if you were Hit Recently(for Uber elder)
- Adds lightning damages if you didn't kill recently

5 - Gem Links

Gems will be sorted by order of importance.

Main Damage setup :

Main Clearing setup :

Auras and Buffs:

Quality on Herald of Agony isn't important, it's only movement speed for the minion.
Quality on Blood Rage is attack speed.

We don't use one because it fucks up targeting against end game bosses and nothing feels worse than dying from an attack targeted on your golem.

6 - DPS, Mechanics, Why and how it works


There are quite a few unknown on the DPS number, cause PoB doesn't help that much to calculate it well. First is the claw mod. I don't know how it stacks with the ascendancy. Either we have 100% chance for poison to deal double damages (which i think is what happens) or we have a 40% * 60% to deal 4x damages, 60%(ascendancy chance to not deal double damages) * 40%(claw chance to not deal double damages) to deal no double damage from either, both values being 24% chance, so we have 1 - 0.24 - 0.24 = 0.52% chance to deal double damages with poisons in that case.

That last situation seems weird but the recap if it stacks mulitiplicatively is the following :
-24% chance to deal no damages mulitplier
-52% chance to deal double poison damages.
-24% chance to deal quad poison damages.

Because of the nature of poison, i have zero idea on how to test the real value further. However because of the wording i would say it stacks additively to the ascendancy.

Others important things that boost the DPS tremendously are Wither and Vaal Blight. Wither gets 6% increased chaos damage taken per stage, up to 15. A totem with faster casting and increased duration should get to 10 stacks before dying in less than 2 seconds, and can get to the max amount of stacks fairly often.

Vaal Blight is a 20% increased chaos damage taken, but using a Spreading Rot jewel, it becomes 45% incresed chaos damage taken. We can't put 2 in the build, so it doesn't go further. With both up, an ennemy takes 135% more chaos damage. This explains why getting your buff up and timing + positionning is really important in the build.

Frenzy charges are a more multiplier as well, and we have 3 frenzy. I didn't go through the trouble of generating them, but if you do, it should net you around 15% more damages.

Defenses :

If you recap defenses layers, this is what you get:
-5500 hp
-Fortify, 20% reduced damages from hits
-6%reduced elemental damage taken.
-Up to 80% resistances on a Loreweave.
-Acrobatics, which is 30% chance to dodge.
-Ennemies are blinded in the Witchfire Brew cloud.
-20% life/sec leech
-Claw life gain on it
-Almost always available life flask.

7 - Leveling

You can level up right away with Viper Strike, just link it with Ancestral Call + Melee splash in a tabula. In the beginning i just used those gems with melee phys damages and lesser poison. Honestly, you don't need that much to level up you should be just fine. Once you get to level 43, you can equip Ornament of the East + Volkurr Guidance, grab Wrath and added lightning in your main setup and start doing more damages.

If this needs a step by step leveling guide, tell me below, i'll update it.

If you have any question or want to discuss item choice or pathing or anything build related just write it here or come ask on the stream https://www.twitch.tv/tybbber
Also don't hesitate to post your progression with this build if you try it yourself!

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by TybbberLol on Dec 9, 2018, 4:36:15 AM
Last bumped on Feb 23, 2019, 3:59:35 AM
Reserving that post in case i break the 50K character limit someday.
Build looks very interesting, but i can't figure out why you need Lightning damage? is it because 40% elemental damage during flask effect? then why don't stack Cold damage with cold Volkuur's gloves.
Last edited by OrKToS on Jan 7, 2019, 4:35:20 PM
Build looks very interesting, but i can't figure out why you need Lightning damage? is it because 40% elemental damage during flask effect? then why don't stack Cold damage with cold Volkuur's gloves.

Because Lightning got higher values and better aura (Wrath).

If you stack cold, you have Hatred, which doesn't give much flat damages. Abyssal jewels are also close to 20-25% less average values than lightning.

Both of those things make lightning stacking much more effective imo.
what up TY
build looks really fun i really want to try it!!
i copied and pasted tree link and it came up with 73 points to spend.
can u verify link works for me thanks man
Hey, loved your build but the mace doesn't work anymore... :( any ideas what you should take as offhand since they removed the possibility to take maces?
Hey, loved your build but the mace doesn't work anymore... :( any ideas what you should take as offhand since they removed the possibility to take maces?

I think the best way is to go Lycosidae to ignore the accuracy issue.

However, if you can get a claw with the poison mod and decent attack speed, maybe multi modding hits can't be evaded and extra non chaos damage as chaos damage would make a good weapon, and then you can get a shield for more hp/damage, and craft non chaos as extra chaos on it as well.

Not having the breath of the council hurts the build a lot in term of endgame dps though.

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