[3.6] Chaos Cerberus - an ED LL Occultist | Viable for everything | Deathless UElder + Video

Welcome Exile!

About 3.6:

Well, Chaos skills got buffed all over the place - so obviously this builds works well. :)

New PoB: https://pastebin.com/2gueMj2J

TL;DR: Build works fine - you need one Talent point more to path the tree and can replace the Blight Threshold Jewels with rare Jewels. For more info read this:

crazytrain334 wrote:
hey cyrix im just wondering are you updating the guide before tomorrow ?

Propably not, no. Afaik you can play the build as is right now with the exception of needing one talent point more on the passive tree. Should work even better then before due to the increased Baseline Damage of ED.
You can also replace the Blight Threshhold Jewels with some proper damage/es jewels. (Chaos Ailment can roll on those - as well as ES, faster start of ES recharge etc.) That is about it though. Enjoy. :)

I will make a 3.6 PoB and replace the Purities with Malevolence and a purity of elements (to fix the missing resists)Malevolence is just to huge a buff to pass up on.

With the recent buffs to Damage over Time Modifiers on the Talent Tree in the form of the new 'non-ailment Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier' the game changed quite a bit for the tried and true Essence Drain Build.

At its core it is still the same old LowLife Build utelizing Shavronns Wrapping and the combination of Contagion and Essence Drain.

Some pathing on the Talent Trees changed with 3.5 and some new cool gear got released which works quite well with the general concept of the Essence Drain build and playstyle.

Disclaimer: All LowLife Builds in general are not made for beginners - they tend to be expensive and getting currency in the game has a lot to do with knowing what gear is 'en vogue' and how to get it - so you can sell it and get some dosh rollin'.

If you are new to the game you might wanna play something else first to get your economy started. That being said - this build works fine during leveling and should be fairly straightforward for more experienced players.

If you absolutly feel like you have to contact me you can do so ingame @Zirinae

I have made some other BuildGuides, check them out if you want to:



My Motivation:

for writing this up comes from the thread 'Queen of Chaos' in which I posted my own take on Essence Drain (at page 50) which received a lot of feedback and questions in the form of relentless PMs. ^^'
This became a bit much for me to handle and I decided to write up my own little guide in an effort to get the PM spam to a minimum and to not clutter up the other thread.

Apologies for not making this guide super extensive from the get-go. This was more a fun little side project when I tested out some things.

The CornerStones are:

1. ED + Contagion! + Support by Blight and its Threshold Gems. Supercharged by the new Occultist Asendency for Wither and Chaos Damage Debuffs.

2. Huge Elemental mitigation due to tripple Purity and Elemental Aegis. - In the 3.6 Update I changed tripple purity for Malevolence and Purity of Elements for more offense. You can still run tripple purity though if you prefer!

3. Crazy fast uninterruptable Occultist ES-recharge rate. (6kES+ per second)

4. Big ES Pool and good attack/phys damage mitigation (for an ES caster) without crazy rares or legacy items. ~10k ES are easily doable.

5. 2-3 Curses! Which makes this whole thing not bad at delving/against normal enemies. And Blight with the Threshold Jewels/Allelopathy acts as a pretty good additonal slow as well.

6. Cwdt + IC: This sounds funny - but it really is not. A lot of LowLife ED Characters often lack the GemLinks to fit that into their build and this just helps such a crapton. :)

Without further lamentations:



Tier 17++: UberElder


Deathless UElder. Does not really need any other comment.

By other Users from this thread:


By User caperoide:


Also Deathless! Well done! :)

Tier 17: Shaper


It is the full run; 8 Minutes and something. I didnt cut anything out to show how tanky the build is against the various pre-bosses and the hordes of Trash-Mobs. TimeStamps for Shaper are in the description.

Tier 16(ish): RedElder


People had questions about the add-phase - key is to target the adds - not the portals. Those die anyways due to the Contagion/ED combo.

Tier 15: Belfry A quick showcase of the build in a corrupted/unided Map:


Please take into consideration that I was experimenting with my movementskill - I use ShieldCharge in this video but I changed it out for Flamedash and cwdt + IC. The PoB in the PoB section has the final gem choices.

Tier 14: Shaped Cemetry Another mapping showcase.


Please keep in mind that this is not a speedclear build - though it is not somthing slow and lumbering either. This video is ment to show that. It is also not played super perfectly or anything; I backtrack once and collect some loot - the map also has an abyss as well as a breach (including a breachlord). Nevertheless it should give a good idea of what to expect.

Delve 555 - Aul the Crystal King


It was a really easy Aul - though all Aul's I found so far were not very hard; the delve before the boss was honestly more dangerous then the boss itself.

Delve 485+ - 2 Player Carry


I did not play in Delve so my own mine is kinda low Level in standard till I play a bit more. I asked TheGagis, a friend of mine, to let me use his Mine - he did not do anything in this clip but stand around. He is a Molten Strike HoA and you would have noticed if he did. Molten Strike is really eye-catchy. Essentially making me 'carry' our party of two.


Disclaimer: Pleeease scroll down to the PoB's for gem-links and do not copy them from here. There are a couple options on how to play/gear this. I wrote more on that in the PoB Section. READ THAT! :)

Please consult the PoB for the final GemSetup! Also: Two lv3(!) Enlighten are kinda needed to play this. lv4 ones are a tad more comfortable, but not needed.

Please note: This was a side project for me I did on the fly - And as such my enchants are not optimal nor do I have supergood rare rings or fancy stuff going on. It is also on standard since I test things there. It does not use any legacy gear though; its fully league viable:

I found this combination of Weapon and Shield really good. Not only are the items quite good on their own - but combined they also give quite a bit of physical mitigation due to armor - which unlike Arctic Armor doesnt need you to stand still - it also gives (together with the SinTreks I am wearing) 20% evasion and 25%+ block chance. Also a wooping 2k+ES.

Good alternatives would be:

Apeps is of special note here since it gives the very valuable 'Faster Start of Recharge Rate' modifier. I found out though that the effectivness of that modifier has heavy deminishing returns - about 100% faster start is what I feel is good enough.

The ES on this Helmet got buffed - and VoidGaze in general is just a very very solid debuff for Chaos Damage spells. It reduces Enemy Chaos resistance by 20% (got buffed as well!) which combined with our Ascendency choices and Despair Curse-Aura is really nice. Unlike curses it always works at full effectivness against bosses. Neat!

My enchant on it is hot garbage: Obviously something which would profit Essence Drain is what we need; this being an Essence Drain Build. But - as said before - this is a bit of a side project and I didnt go hunting for the correct enchant and stuff. (yet)

A Manasaving enchant for one of our 4 auras is also neat if you want more mana. I do not have that and do not feel like I need it - but the option is there!



A rare helmet with a high ES roll and the fossil crafted -9% to chaos resistance mod. It is the saver/tankier option for even more ES but tanks our DPS. Up to preference, really.

A Shavs. Mandatory for LowLife Builds. A double Corruption with +1 to all and +2Duration/Projectiles would be best - but even like this it is very strong. With the temple available and part of the core game it should not be such a crusade anymore to get a decent corruption on a shavs.

Mandatory if you want to run without Vile Bastion due to the Stun Immunity it grants! Though you can also always still run Vile Bastion even with Presence of Chayula. Gives a crapton of ES. I would recommend it even for newer players.



Running Aul's (Discipline Version) frees up Mana for Aspect of the Spider
- this gives a bunch of damage (15% 'More') and hinders everything on screen which is a good substitute for Temporal Chains. It is mandatory to run Vile Bastion with Aul's though due to stuns.

Allelopathy are great gloves that synergise well with DoT Builds. It also enables all the support links to both affect Blight and Contagion - saving us a gem slot. I have them corrupted but it honestly doesn't matter. Contagion is just there to spread Essence Drain. Any Lab enchant will do as well.

Pretty much made for the Occultist. We are all about that juicy recharge rate. :)

Just some cheap boots with a good ES roll. There are a lot better rare options out there that might also give you resists or more ES. Especially fossil crafted stuff is strong for this.

The enchant is garbage: Regen on getting hit is propably what you would want.

Got myself some decent rare boots. (but the lab does not want to give me the right enchant >.<):
The strength enchant and the fire resist on them enabled me to get better rings/ease the requirements on them. In terms of pure ES the old SinTreks are probs as good.

Those Rings are pretty much hot garbage - but they do fill in my resists/stats and give some ES. The craft on them is pretty much mandatory for this build. With 3.5 this craft got better and can now go up to 24%. Though I am a cheap bird and didn't reenchant them yet.

Dream Fragments fit into the build really well too - but they cannot be enchanted with faster start of recharge rate modifier. I quite like them - but it is up to you to decide what you are more comfortable with. You should aim for at least 85% faster start of recharge rate I feel like.

If you can get your resists on rare boots you can use the ringslot for even more offensive stuff - Mark of the Shaper and stuff like it are handy damage boosts. As well as essence crafted Chaos Damage rings/veiled modifiers etc etc.

There is defo room for improvment in this regard.

Got some better rings - not perfect, but good enough for me:

As for Jewels:

I use only 3 Jewels in this build and all of them are uniques: [This was for 3.5 - in 3.6 onward you can use whatever jewels you like/find that are useful. (+%ES; +faster restart of ES; DoT; +non ailment over time multi; spellpower etc.)] 2 of them are the Threshold Jewels for Blight: Spreading Rot. Try to get them corrupted with something decent like not being able to be silenced or not being able to be affected by corrupted blood. You gain those jewels as a quest reward while leveling and as such are dirt cheap from the get-go. Vaal away. :)

The last one is a Watcher's Eye who needs one mandatory modifier: Faster start of ES recharge rate while affected by Discipline.
for 3.6: Try to get a secondary modifier with +22% of non-Ailment Chaos Damage over time Multiplier while affected by Malevolence.
I also went for 'Damage taken gained as Mana while affected by Clarity' since this allows me to do no-regen maps without switching out any gems on Essence Drain. (you would want to switch a green gem out for mana leech if you happen upon a no-regen map otherwise). Just a bit QoL.

Talent Tree:


Keel 'em all! :)


You can pretty much run with whatever you like! I do run around with Lunaris for the MovementSpeed/phys mitigation against mobgroups.

For the minor god I choose Poison immunity to savea flask slot. Though we are chaos resistance capped and you can choose something else like tukohama for more phys reduction/regen while blight-ing or more movementspeed.

PoB Links:

In this PoB-Link I fixed small stuff like enchants and gem levels etc so you know what to aim for/how it should be like. :)

Another thing of note is 'Wither' - we get that from our ascendency, but for it to show up in PoB we need to add the skill manually to get the correct damage calculation for it.

So please do not be confused about this lone Wither skill sitting there on its own not being socketed in any gear slot. ^^'

3.6 PoB: Use this!

https://pastebin.com/7RiHaGZu <- this is more then enought to do all content.

https://pastebin.com/PpyJRwSJ <- this is if you have an unnatural instinct available.

I optimized my own character a bit further with really expensive rares - take a look if you wanna know where to go if you have the dosh: https://pastebin.com/33szyWy6

3.5 PoBs (those were the ones used in the videos - still viable in terms of gem links etc:):

Tripple Curse (without Arctic Armor -> 'cheap' to do and does not need enlightens!):


Tripple Curse (with Arctic Armor -> needs enlighten):


Dual Curse + Tripple Purity (needs two lv3 (better are lv4) enlightens): This is what I used in the Videos and is probs the best setup vs bosses:


And the last PoB here is my own Character with whom I have taken things a bit further and optimized around since I started this thread:


Most noteable is propably Aul's and the Spider aspect as well as the unnatural instinct and the corruption on the weapon. Nothing of that is really needed though. The Videos (including the deathless UElder) were made without those improvments.

And thats about it for the start!

I will add some Videos if I can come around to making them. I did a Shaper/Red Elder easily and deathless but didn't record it (since I didnt really plan on making a guide for this ^^'). Ill try to do that and maybe do an UberElder once I get him to spawn. (seriously thats so annoying)


1. Q: How do I achieve LowLife?

A: You reserve your Life away via BloodMagic + Auras.

2. Q: I can't do that! I have no life/mana left!?

A: Multiple things! Make sure you took the nodes in the tree that reduce the ManaUpkeep of abilities. Make sure your BloodMagic is leveled up! Make sure you use at least lv3 Enlightens!

3. Q: My Mana is still kinda tight!? Llv4 enlightens are too expensive!

A: Multiple things you can do! Grab a jewel socket and use conquerors efficiency. Grab a Helmet with a Manasaving enchant for one of our purities or Discipline. Take a gander at Dream Fragments! It might just push your regen/overall mana over the edge to make things more comfortable. Deactivate one of our curses so you have plenty of mana to spare. I would deactivate Enfeeble if you can survive easily and Despair if you feel like you have enough damage. Or you can forgo Despair for the time being and supplement it with WitchFireBrew Flask.

Last but not least... save up for lv 4 enlightens! :)

On Leveling:

Sojournerx wrote:
Hi Cyrix!
First of all, thanks for this in-depth guide, very usefull information.
Can I ask you to add some lvling tips - i know that's a noob question, but it's difficult to play ES right from the start (only 1.1k ES on lvl 47).

Well, leveling is kinda always the same for casters?

You start out with either FrostBlades and a high DPS weapon (for your respective level of course) or Freezing Pulse.

At Level 14 you can use Arc - which is a great leveling skill. Make sure to put the skills relevant for this build into your offhand weaponset to level those gems.

Try to use Gear that has Armor on it - physical mitigation is much more valueable then Evasion or ES in the early levels.

When you have at least 3links for contagion (+ arcane surge + increased Area) and 5-6links (with a tablua ^^ - noone expects you to use actual 6linked gear while leveling) Essence drain you can play this build from then on.

You might wanna stick with Arc though - Essence Drain is a bit of a late bloomer. It is a dot skill and as such cannot crit and doesnt really benefit much from cast speed. As such one needs modifiers and gear that are only available later in the game. (Pain attunment, Curses etc)

There are a couple of Health-Nodes in the Witch Start - I would path up to Occultist domain first - then go right and pick up those Health/Mana Nodes - they are fairly good. And then fill out the right side of the tree and forgoing the ES nodes for now.

Atropy is a good cluster to get once you use Essence Drain. Leave out all the Aura and curse specific nodes when you level - you wont use discipline or the purities for example nor will you really need them if you have rares with resists on them and no relevant ES gear.
In general this means the left side of the tree where Zealoth Oath is located should be the last bit of the tree to fill out.
Once you aquire ES gear you can specc out of the Life nodes you took and put them into ES nodes.

Tabula, Lifesprig, Wanderlust and Asenath Mask are all very good caster specific leveling items. As are Poet's Pens, but those are probs way out of your budget, especially this league. ^^'

I know this is a bit general - but honestly leveling is not such a big thing as people might think. And respeccing is not as expensive as one might think if you take a bit of care with your tree and dont deviate crazy from this tree. You get a couple of respec points even during leveling! 10 or so I think? Maybe a bit more. Can't remember.

Also, Low Life Chaos Damage builds are not really noob friendly. :/ I feel like they require the most understanding of the game out of the builds out there.

It is way easier to grab a weapon, socket a skill in it and bash monsters heads in then doing this. A lot of stuff like ES and its recharge rate, vs leech, vs gain on hit - and spells like contagion or blight that do not actually 'hit' but are just degeneration effects etc pp are all things specific to PoE and not really all that intuitive to understand.

Nevertheless, if you wanna try it you can! ED + Contagion is not a *bad* leveling skill when it comes down to it. It works well, but its not easy to grok. Arc might just feel better for you while leveling.

Blah. Wall of text. ^^'

Here is a tree progression:

You start out with LifeGear:

Around this point you should switch to ES Gear; take CI if you want:

Here you can support two curses; do not do it if you do not have a shavs yet - use Auras instead. (Disc + Malevolence)

From there on finish out the tree as in the OP.

Asendency go for Vile Bastion first.

Please ask questions - if you have any - in the thread!
Last edited by Cyrix1337 on May 10, 2019, 2:37:00 PM
Last bumped on Sep 30, 2019, 3:05:14 PM

Changed the Asendency from Profane Bloom to Vile Bastion. I think this is easier and more forgiving for most people to play. I have a bit of the habbit of cutting out/trimming builds down and compensating with my own ability to play/skill at the game itself. With Vile Bastion its just a bit smoother and saver and thus more enjoyable for most people.

Also added an FAQ section and Pantheon stuff.


Removed Hex Master Nodes; they are just not worth it imo. :/ Updated PoBs and TalentTree accordingly.


Updated everything for 3.6 and stuff.
Last edited by Cyrix1337 on Mar 22, 2019, 2:11:38 PM
That's just great! Right on time with all the betrayal ripiness i was thinking of a tankier occultist build to make
Can you help me with the auras if i am not using enlighten gems? they cost quite a lot.What alternatives do i have losing the least.
Can you do well with 5 link shavronne?
peponaros wrote:
Can you help me with the auras if i am not using enlighten gems? they cost quite a lot.What alternatives do i have losing the least.

Errr- you can actually just run lv3 enlightens. That is fine as well. I just like having a bit of wiggleroom with the mana but this is by no means mandatory. Especially if your Shavs is not corrupted for Gem Levels or you do not have a lv4 Empower in your ED setup - which are things that make ED stronger but also cost more mana.


Here you can see it with lv 3 enlightens. Works just fine. Try to use PoB yourself fot those questions! It's a great tool and an even better way to understand the game! :)

Take care!
Tecken1407 wrote:
Can you do well with 5 link shavronne?

I did shaper with a 5link ED once - but it is a pain, not gonna lie.

ED is an older Skill that is in the game for quite some time and as such profits from more 'old-school' stuff. Like a 6-link.

You can certainly level into the 90s and do Shaper with a 5link, yes. To get to comfortably farm Shaper and not have it an 20 minute affair each time you should aim for a 6-link down the line though.

I hope that answers your question!

Stay sane, Exile. ;)
Added another Video to the Guide; it's old pal Shaper:

Tier 17: Shaper


It is the full run; 8 Minutes and something. I didnt cut anything out to show how tanky the build is against the various pre-bosses and the hordes of Trash-Mobs. TimeStamps for Shaper are in the description.
Last edited by Cyrix1337 on Dec 17, 2018, 9:35:10 AM
Thanks for sharing! I've been interested in revisiting ED/Contagion (played it maybe back in Prophecy), especially with recent buffs.

If I went CI, would the weapon and shield combo still work, or would I need to make up the ES on the shield since I wouldn't be taken Presence of Chayula?

Cheers, and I appreciate any insight/tips!
shinjoker wrote:
Thanks for sharing! I've been interested in revisiting ED/Contagion (played it maybe back in Prophecy), especially with recent buffs.

If I went CI, would the weapon and shield combo still work, or would I need to make up the ES on the shield since I wouldn't be taken Presence of Chayula?

Cheers, and I appreciate any insight/tips!

Weapon Shield Combo would still work! No worries about that. :)

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