[3.5] Herald of Agony CI Occultist | 1.7M Shaper DPS
The core of the build is a pretty standard Herald of Agony setup, but there's some modifications you might want to make to tailor the build for your preferences.
This guide should be rather comprehensive, so if I left anything out, just ask in the comments.
Uber Elder - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y978BQQLXjY
Shaper - https://youtu.be/Ez5OmGSwjeY
Can run every map mod
Survivable with 8k+ ES and good recovery
Respectable damage levels
Entry gear is quite cheap
Takes a bit of currency to break past 1M DPS
Tight gem space
Mana reservation can be difficult at times
Virulence: Virulence is a stacking buff you gain when you poison an enemy while affected by Herald of Agony. We use a fast hitting bow (Quill Rain) coupled with a bow skill that can hit a single enemy multiple times (Rain of Arrows). As the buff decays the higher stacks you have, it can be hard to keep high uptime on Virulence stacks if you don't invest into hits per second. Everything in this guide assumes 35 stacks as opposed to the cap of 40, as this is a more realistic number to be at during a boss encounter.
Spectres: We use Stygian Silverbacks to give our Agony Crawler access to Frenzy Charges on bosses. The Frenzy Charges are worth ~30% more damage, which is why the Minion Life and Minion Regen is worthwhile on our passive tree. These aren't mandatory by any stretch of the imagination, but if you're looking for more throughput, this is one of the few ways to get it.
Being an Occultist, we couple Soul Strike's Faster start of energy shield recharge and Wicked Ward to give us massive regen that persists through hits. It's a tried and true concept that adds a lot of survivability to any CI build.
We also use a Watcher's Eye with energy shield gain on hit, in tandum with our large number of hits per second, yields upwards of 3000+ ES gained per second. This number is substantially smaller on single target encounters, but it does improve survivability while mapping. This isn't required, but it smooths out map gameplay.
For those just interested in what the POB looks like: https://pastebin.com/QCfGNhNZ
Here's a budget Variant, but the changes might not make sense if you don't read below: https://pastebin.com/DcMcSU5n
I'd recommend reading the guide as it will explain a lot of the choices made, and ways to modify the gear if certain price restrictions are required. There's also some items that will be very difficult to get, but have very reasonable substitutes.
I personally leveled using this build. It's definitely faster to level with something like arc, and then swap later, however the build does just fine leveling throughout.
I leveled with Freeze Pulse and Frost Bomb until level 16, at which point I swapped to Herald of Agony and Quill Rain/Rain of Arrows. The build is more or less online from there. I think I was pretty lazy and just rushed to maps with about 1500 HP, and then swapped to CI. Feel free to swap to CI as soon as you want or feel comfortable doing so.
77 Points CI Swap
Ascendancy, Bandits, Pantheon
You'll want to prioritize getting Profane Bloom while you're leveling, as it speeds up your clear speed massively. Afterwards, getting the extra flat energy shield from Wicked Ward and Vile Bastion will help you on the CI Swap. Take Malediction when you finish Uber Lab.
For bandits, we take the two skill points by killing all of them.
Pantheon is up to you. I personally use Soul of Lunaris for the Projectile Avoidance and Chain immunity, and use Soul of Abberath because Burning Ground is annoying. There's nothing mandatory here, so just take whatever you feel is best.
Gems and Mana Reservation
So our gem set up is a bit volatile. Our budget and gear will determine what gem set up we use, as precautions need to be taken to avoid exceeding 100% reservation.
We'll go through my current gem set up first.
End Game Setup
Herald of Agony is our main damage gem. The gem has a ton of innate Flat Physical, Global Physical %, and Attack Speed, so scaling it can be a bit tricky. The main thing our gem scales with is levels.
I use a level 4 Empower, as this is the biggest damage gain possible for the gem. A level 3 is still quite powerful, and depending on your Body Armour, a level 2 Empower still might be worthwhile.
As the Agony Crawler cannot take damage, Damage on Full Life is an easy pick. Another basic multiplier gem is Minion Damage.
We use Physical to Lightning because we can easily apply Elemental Equilibrium, giving us another way to scale our crawler's damage.
Vicious Projectiles is just another multiplier. While there are different combinations that work, this is what worked best for my Skin of the Loyal.
Rain of Arrows
We use Rain of Arrows as our main applicator, using Poison Support and Faster attacks to increase our Poisons per second. After that, Curse on Hit with our preferred curses round out our 6L.
I run a Blink Arrow - Faster attacks set up in my helmet, with a Desecrate and Spirit Offering as well. These are inside Asenath's Chant which will automate our offering spell.
Aside from that, we have Generosity - Hatred, Convocation, Discipline, and then our 4L Spectres.
If you aren't interested in running the Spectres, feel free to drop them and add something like a CWDT - Immortal Call set up, or add Enlighten to your support set up and free up some reservation.
I have a 20% Mana Reservation enchant on my helmet which allows me to be a bit more carefree with what I reserve. This enchant is definitely rare on a helmet like Asenath's Chant, because no one really enchants these to begin with. If you can't find a reservation reduction enchant, here's a few ways you can fit the rest of the auras in.
You can add an Enlighten to the Hatred - Generosity set up, and move Convocation or Discipline to an Unset Ring. There's 4% reservation reduction by CI that I haven't taken. You can also look at swapping out Vicious Projectiles for something cheaper, like Maim. Depending on your budget, the options that are available to you will differ.
Gear, Flasks, and Jewels
These are the only suitable weapon and quiver for this build as far as I'm concerned. They're extremely cheap and give the build everything they need. I recommend finding a quiver with a corruption like mine, Either adding flat fire damage to attacks, converting to fire, or added as fire. If you can't find a quiver that does any fire damage, getting fire damage to attacks/bow attacks through an abyss jewel or ring mod works just as well.
An Asenath's Chant is perfect for this build, as we make use of the attack speed and the decent Energy Shield roll. This helmet allows us to automate certain spells, like our Offering Setup. The spam of Desecrate and Spirit Offering give our Spectres a ton of Energy Shield, which makes them incredibly tanky during encounters like Uber Elder.
A Skin of the Loyal is ideal. The +1 to gems affects Herald of Agony and our Empower, which is a massive boost in damage. Mine is corrupted for an additional +1 gems, but this is just extra damage and isn't necessary for the build to function. The 100% Increased Global Defenses gives us some nice energy shield in comparison to something like a +1 tabula.
A +1 tabula is a possible chest if you're too lazy to find a Skin, but Skin of the Loyals are relatively cheap. You could consider a coming calamity, but that'd be a significantly weaker version of the build, as we'd lose access to either Discipline or Hatred.
Just find a nice yellow with some resists. Mine have a wasted Suffix in Chaos Res as we're already CI, but these are still quite nice.
Similar to gloves, just find something with Movement Speed, high ES, and maybe some resists. Mine have Cooldown Reduction which is completely unecessary. These are a remnant from a part iteration of the build that serves no purpose now. I just got lazy since my gear was good enough.
I use a Dream Fragments, as at this point, I'm mostly just concerned with improving the build's Uber Elder capability. For all other content, it's more than fine to find another resist ring or possibly an Unset if you need more gem slots.
YOU WILL WANT AN ELREON MOD You WILL want an elreon mod on one of your rings of -6 or -7. We get very close to full reserve, and we attack very quickly. You want to leave your Rain of Arrows and Blink Arrow at a low level in tandum with this mod to reduce our mana needed.
I use a Bated Breath because the rest of my gear has high enough resists, but if you need more resists or strength, feel free to find a Heavy Belt or a Crystal Belt that fills in your character's needs.
Again, we're just looking to fill in what our character needs here and get as much ES as possible while doing it. A Strength/Dex base will help with stats.
These are pretty flexible. Grab whatever flasks you like to use, and get the suffix immunities your build needs. If you aren't using a Dream Fragments, you'll need to get Freeze/Chill Immunity here.
An ES gain on hit Watcher's Eye is awesome, but not needed. Aside from that, I have a regular jewel that fills in resists (again, because I'm lazy), and then some abyss jewels with flat ES and minion speed. You'll want at least one jewel with Minion Resist if you plan on using the Spectres, as they only have 69% elemental resists. There isn't much to gain here, so just get tanky and fill out resists and attribute requirements.
Last edited by typicaldemon on Dec 16, 2018, 11:26:28 PM
Last bumped on Mar 7, 2019, 5:28:14 AM
on Dec 16, 2018, 11:12:59 PM
i like yuer build
anyway make it more tanki ?
also what spectre do u use to generate frenzy ?
Last edited by moshemaman25 on Dec 18, 2018, 6:55:05 AM
on Dec 18, 2018, 6:53:56 AM
The spectres are Stygian Silverbacks. They repeatedly cast an AOE that generates frenzy charges for allies. The build is already quite tanky in terms of it's recovery, but if you wanted to sacrifice some damage for defenses, you can drop something like the spectres in place of a CWDT - IC set up. You can also replace Poacher's Mark with Enfeeble if you'd like.
on Dec 18, 2018, 6:18:04 PM
Thank you for the build, I'm testing it right now.
I do not have the correct gear for the moment, but we are working on it.
The asenath is of course not findable with the enchantment reduced mana =) I had to go through Maim and take the 4% mana + Enlighten. Level 84 and no problem to report despite the optimization to do again.
Thank you ;)
on Dec 19, 2018, 9:10:35 AM
I'm really enjoying this build so far. I think I might take it in a different direction though once I level a bit more - I'm going to pick up the Spider Dagger and wear the Queen's Hunger chest. I'll post my items if I do go that route.
on Dec 21, 2018, 2:20:43 PM
Hi, I'm planning to switch to this build since I'm a bit bored of Cold Snap/Vortex and the dps is a bit lacking for end-game content.
The tree is very similar too, so switching seems easy.
One question though: A lot of the builds I see of high level characters don't use Quill Rain. This and the other guide I saw both talk about how important it is. But almost every build I looked at had a multi-mod crafted bow. What do you think of this?
on Dec 23, 2018, 3:30:23 AM
76% of the high level HoAg occultists on poe.ninja are using Quill Rain. Crafted bow seems pointless because we do not care about damage or gem levels in the bow. Quill Rain is the best bow for this build as far as I can see.
@OP I'm leveling something similar now. I've been really greedy and only taken about 3 life nodes though haha. What level did you swap to CI? I have tons of currency from my main character this league (which is very cheap to gear) so am looking forward to picking up some items when I clear the campaign (on A8 now). It looks like you can get 6L 400+ES armours for 1ex each right now which is cool.
on Dec 23, 2018, 7:26:41 PM
Got my answer in another thread. Anyways as I said, I'm not talking about budget or what the "average" Agony character is using, as random lvl 85's don't matter when I was curious as to why all the top characters are using multimod bows, and what the best bow is regardless of budget (although multimod bows are exactly bank-breakers, barely even more than 6L quill for a simple one). Got the answer from people that know what they're talking about in the other thread though, check it out.
Also you mention not getting much damage from bows, so I would definitely look at the bows to understand why that is not the case.
on Dec 24, 2018, 12:17:43 AM
I tested out a version of HoA occultist in standard before 3.5, but this looks like the damage has been scaled way up. Awesome!
quick question though... how did you get your agony crawler to look like that?
on Dec 24, 2018, 4:03:52 AM
if you are gonna use physical to lightning why not use power charges for better chance to proc shock ? one host chieftain for power and another ape for frenzy.
edit : maybe its too hard to sustain max charges with 2 different spectres
Last edited by Asunaki_Tabi on Dec 24, 2018, 8:57:48 AM
on Dec 24, 2018, 6:50:37 AM