[3.6] Necromantic Scribe - [6k Life] [All Content] [1M+ dps] [Fast Playstyle]


This build originally started as a remake of Neversink's 2.2 Poison Animator. I played it back then and it was possibly the most fun build I had played. It used Null's Inclination with volley fire barrage, full pierce, poison and SRS/AW summons.

With the changes to poison scaling, it needed to be built slightly differently. I had a Null's Inclination build ready for league start in Synthesis and through my testing while levelling and until now, it slowly evolved into this build. Poet's Pen is much better than Null's for triggering spell casts due to not requiring killing blows, and can be used on bosses, which was one of the major issues with the Poison Animator build.

Herald has been added to take care of boss dps and it does a very good job. For the most part though, this build is intended to be fast and smooth and fun to play in maps. I checked out a couple of HoA builds and I disliked the speed of clearing when using the herald's AI. I wanted something that clears on it's own with poison or degen, in the style of Neversink's original build.

I am at the point where all the big decisions have been finalised in the build, so I'm getting around to posting it here to share.

Despite the build no longer using AW/SRS summons or poison to clear, this iteration still has the same feel and playstyle and has been highly enjoyable for me to play so far.


+ High movespeed, fun playstyle
+ Great for delving and memory zones
+ Cheap to start, clear upgrade paths
+ Over 6k life, acro, phase acro
+ Lots of knockback
+ Can do all map mods easily
+ Non-meta requirements, gear is not too expensive
+ Can use the two best MTX in the game, Celestial HoA and Cat Soulrend!

- Not as tanky as a 9k life max-block Gladiator or 16k ES Occultist herald build
- Still need to dodge big boss attacks and one-shots
- (Self) damage drops off in groups as we aren't scaling it too high. Herald still one shots things.
- Single-target dps ceiling is not as high as a dedicated herald build


We use barrage with volley fire jewels to cover the screen. Poet's Pen casts soulrends and we clear packs using this. Most packs should die from the DoT, the tanky rares that survive should get one shot by the crawler minion.

The herald is very much a supporting pet while mapping, and on bosses we switch and support him.
Phase run allows phasing to run to the next pack and to prevent body-blocks, making the playstyle very interactive and pretty smooth.

I also find it incredibly fun to attack and "chase" your own soulrends, they lead you towards packs and will generally kill them as you phase run through.
The hit-and-run and stutter-stepping playstyle takes some time to get comfortable with, but once you know your damage it's an extremely satisfying way to play.


Levelling tree (level 30): http://poeurl.com/clHR
Levelling tree (level 50): http://poeurl.com/clHS
Levelling tree (level 70): http://poeurl.com/clHT
Final tree (no buff effect ring): http://poeurl.com/clHW
Final tree (buff effect ring): http://poeurl.com/clHV

Bandits: Kill All

Ascendancy: Pathfinder
Nature's Reprisal -> Master Toxicist -> Nature's Boon -> Master Alchemist

PoB: https://pastebin.com/q6hhCEwt

Includes all trees, gear, and skill gems.


Major: Soul of Lunaris / Soul of the Brine King

Soul of Lunaris is very nice, especially with all the upgrades. Brine King is always a nice choice for the anti-stunlock effect, but that's really all it gives.

I have been playing with Soul of Lunaris permanently and I haven't had any issues, but if you want Brine King it's an option.

Minor: Soul of Garukhan

More evasion and movement speed is nice for us. We don't need Soul of Ryslatha for the life flask recharge as we're a pathfinder.


First things first: Once you can get Herald of Agony, buy 7 of them. Put 6 in your weapon swap and use one in your gear. Once these get to 20, vaal them and there is a good chance you'll get at least one level 21 herald to use.

Note: if not starting with Poet's Pens (eg. as league starter, or just can't afford it at the time) feel free to start with some bow skill and take the Projectile Damage starting path instead. Go to Ballistic Mastery, then down to Heart of Oak and continue with the tree. At some point you can respec the points from Projectile damage and Ballistic Mastery into the life path using the free regrets you get from the quests.

Mana Issues:
Either run a mana flask early, or take the three mana leech nodes in the Essence Sap wheel. My preference is the mana leech - these can be dropped once you have Poacher's Mark up and running.

To increase your poison chance early on, take the three nodes leading to Master Fletcher and run the Lesser Poison gem. With Herald of Agony, this gives a total of 80% chance to poison. Once you can swap Lesser Poison for the Poison gem, this becomes 100%. At this point your 4-link herald damage can carry you comfortably even if your own damage is bad.

Volley Fire jewels need to be socketed in the Scion jewel socket and the two sockets on the right side of the tree. They will not activate in the templar or witch areas.

Once you have one or two of these, you can switch to using barrage. You can either use bows or wands if you don't have access to Poet's Pen yet. Try and get to all three volley fire jewel sockets ASAP.

I levelled differently as I was trying to scale poison (which didn't work well). Next league I will try (and recommend) using volley fire barrage with Poison Support and added flat damage gems (added lightning, added cold, added chaos). Also run Herald of Agony and Herald of Ice/Thunder on your mana reserves if you can (leave Haste out for now).

Your options for applying curses are as follows:

- Mark of Submission. Can be used fairly early to apply Poacher's Mark. Later, can be used alongside a Gluttony belt to apply a second curse (eg. Despair).

- Gluttony for Poacher's Mark.

- Witchfire Brew. This is our endgame mapping setup for Despair but it's not necessary until you're using Soulrend.

- Blasphemy. For this we would need to drop the elemental heralds, so I wouldn't advise doing it until your damage source has switched from barrage to Soulrend with Poet's pen. I never used this at all but it's another option.

- Barrage-Curse on Hit. This is our endgame setup. Once you have Soulrend up and running, this is the way to go.

Curse Limits:
Poacher's Mark is important for us. When you have only one curse available, always use this.

Once you can use Poet's Pen with Soulrend, you can start using Despair as well.

To apply a second curse, you can use either use Doedre's Damning or Windscream/Windshriek boots before you take Whispers of Doom on the passive tree.

Once you convert your barrage to a pure cursing setup, you can run both the ring and boots (or two Doedre rings) for a quick 3-curse setup.

If none of this is available to you, just stick with Poacher's Mark only. It's the only absolute must-have curse while levelling.

We use a Cospri's Will and Whisper's of Doom to provide our 3 curse endgame setup.




Two Poet's Pens are used. This league they are very cheap because they are "trash", so they are definitely affordable for anyone wanting to play with them.

Our boss setup uses a Victario's Charity to provide substantial dps for our spider via frenzy charges.

Our mapping setup uses a rare shield with life (and ideally some spell damage). Try and get a lightning resist roll to match Victario's Charity so that you can optimise your gearing more efficiently between the two weapon sets.

Synthesis Shields:

This league I wanted to try crafting my own Synthesised shield base with Endurance charges. This is a really nice buff to our survivability as it gives us the increased tankiness of two endurance charges while still being able to use immortal call. The increased physical mitigation is very good on an Acrobatics/evasion character for when a hit does land, and coupled with a basalt flask, can allow you to take fairly big physical hits.

To craft a minimum charge shield, you need to use three fractured shields, each with 32% reduced stat requirements as an affix. It does not need to be the fractured affix, but the more junk affixes are on the shields, the less chance you will successfully synthesise the base.

I just bought any fractured shield with a 32% reduced stat requirement roll for 1c or less and kept throwing them in. You could go the annul route to guarantee the craft, but I didn't feel it was that worth it.

If you are going to attempt this, here are a few tips:

- The charge type you get does not appear to be dependant on the base type of the shield. ES shields can roll frenzy charges, evasion shields can roll endurance charges. I'm not sure if you can get a double (or triple) implicit roll with multiple types of charges, but it would be wasted on this build regardless.

- The implicit is a single tier of (1-2) min charges. Therefore you can Blessed Orb it up to 2 - you don't need to get lucky and roll 2 from the start.

- Spell damage can only be rolled on shields that have at least some portion of intelligence/ES base. Hybrid shields work, as well as pure ES shields. You cannot roll spell damage on a pure Evasion or Strength base, or a hybrid Str/Eva shield.

I was rolling my shield for a 50%+ spell damage roll, but I hit high life and resists and it wasn't worth rolling over it.


Early on, run any old +2 minion helm you can get.

For mapping, you want to upgrade to an elder helm with +2 minion levels and supported by Minion Damage support.

This allows you to drop the minion damage gem from your links and add a 5th damage support (Maim). You can quite comfortably do endgame content with just this.

Late game, the goal is to craft a +3 5L helm.

For enchants, we can't really be picky. The chance of getting your hands on an ilevel 86 Elder base helm with the enchant you want is almost zero, especially at league start.

Reduced HoA reservation would be ideal, but it's very expensive due to the other Herald of Agony builds. We also don't need it if we use the ring (see below). Trying to buy this enchant on an ilevel 86 elder helm is mirror-tier crafting and will have a pricetag to match.

The +3 level/minion damage rolls are more important than an enchant. I enchanted my helm a handful of times before crafting it and if I hit a good enchant, I could sell it and re-buy another helm.
One additional soulrend projectile is just one of a handful of enchants that are at least somewhat useful for us, so I stopped there. If you don't get any good enchant don't feel bad, it's much more important to roll the helm properly.

Late game crafting process:

For this you require a level 86 (not 84!!) ELDER helmet base. Evasion bases are good for us but we generally have the stats to equip any helmet base so go with what you can get. Try to avoid a pure ES base as we need to roll green and red sockets.

You can quality fossil craft it up to 30% if you like.
Then alteration spam until you hit +3 to minion gems (prefix). If you get a good suffix on it's own (eg. high resist roll), you can augment for the chance at +3 levels.

Once you have a +3 roll, augment (if possible) and regal for minion damage prefix. Note that if you hit one of the supported gem suffixes (immolate, burning damage) the helmet is BRICKED and must be scoured.
If you miss, scour and repeat. Note that minion damage is much more common than +3 gems, so it's important to roll that mod first.

Once you get both +3 and minion damage on the helm, you can craft +life and then it's complete. Note that I do not recommend filling out the remaining affixes using Leo slams, as you run the risk of bricking the helm by rolling another linked gem (minion life, immolate, burning damage). They are actually quite common and make the helm unusable by our build as they increase the mana reservation of Herald of Agony.

Body Armour:

The body armour used is a Cospri's Will. This is a super cheap unique. It provides us +1 curse, replaces the Poison gem and allows us to curse Hexproof mobs. This is important because Curses are a huge part of our build - they provide damage, more damage, knockback, healing, mana sustain, and frenzy charges. Guaranteeing our use of curses allows us to run every map mod in the game without issue.

I have been using a pair of Haemophilia's just to make mapping smoother. This is not 100% necessary and I previously ran a pair of rare gloves to fix resistance issues prior to this.

On hard bosses (shaper, uber elder) Haemophilia can be swapped out for Grip of the Council. This isn't a huge damage increase as we have no elemental penetration or elemental resistance reductions, but it's still substantial and worth doing.

Another option is running Barrage in a pseudo 6L:

You could then potentially wear Kaom's Heart, but you lose +1 curse and the ability to curse Hexproof mobs. I don't like this option of running Barrage in the gloves, but people do it often on the gladiator HoA builds and it should be mentioned as an alternative at least.

Windscream/Windshriek are a good early option for adding an additional curse.

The endgame goal is a rare pair of boots with movement speed, high life and resists. You can also get some intelligence if you get a hybrid ES pair, which can make your amulet selection a lot more flexible.

We don't need much from this slot, so this is a perfect opportunity to pad our intelligence. A good starting option is an Astramentis or a rare with enough intelligence for your build (calculate based on your other gear). A rare with intelligence and a nice high life roll will do fine for endgame.

Be careful when you are calculating how much intelligence you require on the amulet. Make sure you don't still have any of the temporary +30 int nodes on the tree factored in.

The passive tree also changes pathing to the templar area after levelling, to pick up the intelligence by pathing down from witch rather than up from the marauder area, so be sure to calculate your final amulet based on the final skill tree and not the levelling one.

The intelligence requirements can actually be quite low depending on your other gear. I initially needed around 60-70 intelligence from my Amulet. With my current gear and the tree pathing changes, I don't need any on the amulet any more.

Expensive, late-game options are:

- Aul's Uprising (haste). This would free up mana, I don't know what you could use it for but you could then drop the mana reservation nodes and free up some points. I wouldn't bother with this option as the amulets are quite expensive and imo we just don't get the value from it in this build.

- A +1 curse corrupted rare amulet. This is actually a viable option as our requirements for amulet stats are very low. We don't require any "expensive" amulet rolls, so this may be something I swap to later in the league.
Even without a life roll, this frees up 4 points on the tree which can be used to get more life for a net gain.

- A +1 curse corrupted Astramentis, for the same reasons as above. These will likely be much more expensive though as they are more useful for other builds as well.

Circle of Nostalgia is important. There are other ways to reduce the mana reservation of HoA (or simply run it in a 4L), but this is the best one for us. A reduced mana reserved mod is mandatory (the roll is not too important).

These cost around 1 ex at the time I bought mine. They are dropping now, it will cost you anywhere from about 0.5-1 ex. The ones without the mana reservation roll are a lot cheaper but it's an important roll for us - you can think of it as enabling the 5th link in your HoA, which equates to around 50% more damage.

The other mod can be anything you can afford. The increased herald damage mod is not nearly as good as it seems (see "Scaling Herald of Agony"). The ~50% increased chaos damage roll is nice for Soulrend. The best second mod in my opinion is "Increased Buff Effect".

Note that this only refers to the BUFF portion of Herald of Agony, which is the 20% chance to poison and 10% more damage with poison.
If you can manage to get one of these as close as possible to 100%, you can drop the 20% poison chance from the tree, saving 3 points, and relocate the points elsewhere to gain more life. At the time I bought mine, none of the HoA modifiers were really worth anything aside from the reservation one.

The roll on the increased buff effect is important. You can run 5% poison chance on a jewel to try and help cap poison chance with a lower roll, but ideally you can cap it just with a 95%+ buff effect ring with reduced mana reservation.

Both variants of the tree are provided in the passive tree and PoB section.

The other ring can be anything. I recommend an elder ring with a high life roll and a high life gain on hit roll (15+), as well as whatever resists you can get. This life gain does not get reduced by curse effectiveness against bosses (unlike Poacher's Mark) so it's quite valuable.

You can also roll a Poacher's Mark on hit ring, but the trade-off for running that is that often the other mods on the ring are quite bad unless you pay a lot. We can also make good use of the higher levels of a gem Poacher's Mark (20 vs. 8).

Early on, a Gluttony belt is very useful for applying Poacher's Mark.

Lategame you want a rare belt with high life and resists. A stygian belt is best if you can get one, but a good rare leather/heavy belt is better than a crappy stygian vise.


These are very cheap and are a good target for corrupting for implicits. You can either corrupt a bunch yourself or just buy corrupted ones already. Immune to corrupting blood is the best one and you should try and at least get this one.

Take care placing these Volley Fires. They must be socketed somewhere where the Dexterity requirement is fulfilled. For this build, there are only 3 valid sockets - The scion socket, the socket near Duelist, and the socket over near Ranger.

The remaining jewels can be anything. Get life on all of them (either % from normal jewels or +flat from abyssal jewels).
If you are short on a few resistances, this can be a good place to patch them up.
Blind on hit is nice and adds to our avoidance.
Increased minion damage is nice because it scales our own damage due to Spiritual Aid, but it has almost no effect on the Herald's damage so it's not as good as it seems (see "Scaling Herald of Agony" below).

A Haste Watcher's Eye can be used, however most of the bonuses available to us we already get (immunity to temp chains via curse flask, phasing from Phase Run, onslaught from flask). If you'd like to fit one into the build though, there's more than enough room.

Instant life flask, silver flask and quicksilver are our staples.
Note that we still require a remove-bleed flask even with a "immune to corrupting blood" jewel, as this doesn't make us immune to rupture and other bleeds.

Witchfire Brew is used for mapping and most content. I only swap it out for Uber Elder because when swapping to our single target setup, we don't use Soulrend. The single target boss setup applies Despair and doesn't require the despair aura.

This frees up a flask slot and can be used to run a situational flask specific to the boss (eg. Sapphire flask for Uber Elder).

The last flask is optional. A Jade or Basalt is a good addition. We don't require any elemental status removal due to the Pathfinder ascendancy, so I chose a jade with an increased evasion roll.

Stat Priorities:

We don't need many stats on gear. Therefore aim for high life on everything (t1 rolls if possible) and elemental resistances.
Watch out for your intelligence requirements - especially while levelling, you might need quite a lot of intelligence on your amulet.

- Life
- Blind on hit
- Minion damage/attack speed (mostly for scaling our own damage)
- Resistances (if needed)
- Any other on-hit/on-kill effect you would like


You can start this build on zero budget. I used it as a league starter this league and it worked well.

- Use a +1 minion helm once you find one. Upgrade to a +2 helm, then once you start mapping, look to buy a +2/minion damage helm cheaply.

- Level your own Herald of Agony gems to vaal to 21. If you level a full weapon-set of gems, you should hopefully hit at least one of them. If not, you can still use a level 20 Herald just fine. I used one up until around 91.

- Use a 5-link Cospri's Will. I still haven't 6-linked mine because it just wasn't necessary - I will probably get around to doing it later in the league.

- Before you have a mana reduction Circle of Nostalgia ring, you can avoid running Haste aura.

Soulrend damage should scale just fine with levels and the skill tree. The main limiting factor with how far this build goes will be your boss dps.

Your priority for upgrades should be as follows:

- Obtaining a +2 minion level/minion damage elder helmet (should be very cheap)
- Circle of Nostalgia Ring with Reduced mana reserved mod (+ 90%+ buff effect mod, if possible)
- Level 21 Herald of Agony
- Crafting a +3 minion level/minion damage elder helmet

At this point you can look into the following options:

- Amulet upgrade (possibly with +1 curse implicit): see Amulet gear discussion
- Level 21 soulrend for slightly higher clear speed, it's not necessary though.


6th link add:

Pierce can be run prior to using Projectile Weakness curse.

GMP/LGoH are optional. For a 5th link I chose GMP but you can choose LGoH if you like. 6th link is whichever remaining gem you have left out.

Keep Barrage level 3 or lower to reduce the mana cost. We don't lose any damage from this as our damage comes from Soulrend.

Herald of Agony

Herald of Agony must go in the helmet!
After getting a helm with "supported by level x Minion Damage", drop the minion damage gem and add Maim.

Once you start running Projectile Weakness, drop Chain and replace it with Vile Toxins. Chain is very nice for levelling, especially when you are relying on the spider to clear for you. Once you're running Projectile Weakness, attacks can no longer chain as they have 100% pierce, so it can be replaced for a damage gem.

CwDT/Vaal Haste

Level 3 cwdt, level 5 IC. You can adjust this if you like, be sure to make sure IC will trigger properly. Make sure this is a 4-link for the duration boost to Vaal Haste.
We are running a Haste aura from this also, it's not just for the Vaal version.

Soulrend + Phase Run

Level 4 Arcane Surge, two separate 3-links. Make sure to put Soulrend in the Poet's Pen and the Phase Run setup in the Shield.

Boss Setup + Wither Totem

Two separate 3-links. Make sure to put the offering setup in the Poet's Pen and the wither totem in the shield. This Poet's Pen does not need to be linked.

Quality on multiple totems and spell totem makes a huge difference on the smoothness of placing the totems. Try to level them early to flip them with the vendor recipe asap, or alternatively buy quality gems.

Flame Dash/Misc

Dread Banner provides more avoidance to us and gives our herald some impale chance. PoB doesn't appear to factor this in to our dps, but it should be a decent increase. If you can't yet fit this in with the mana reservation, you can leave it disabled.

Dread Banner can be linked or unlinked, Faster Casting does not effect the mana reservation in any way.

For the 4th slot, I like to use Portal. If the spider's AI and habit of getting stuck around corners bothers you too much, you can run Convocation. I don't bother as I usually kill packs with Soulrend, but the option is there.

For the boss glove swap, I like to socket Vaal Summon Skeletons as the 4th slot. However the damage is really not necessary and there is some value in having Convocation for fights like Uber Elder, where it can help you redirect the crawler to focus a specific target faster.


Herald of agony has low base damage, but extremely high scaling (level 21 gem values):
- 2041-3760 added physical damage at 40 virulence stacks (!!!)
- 800% increased physical damage
- 160% increased attack speed

For this reason, adding 15% increased minion damage, or 9-15 added physical damage, or 8% attack speed to the herald is going to have almost no effect on it's final dps.

The best way to scale the herald's damage is by multiplying the damage it deals:

- "more" multipliers, eg. support gems:

- "% phys damage added as x" damage bonuses, eg.

- gem levels, especially 20->21 as this hits a new scaling breakpoint on both the % increased phys damage and attack speed mods.

- increasing damage taken by the target:

Minion accuracy is not as important for Herald of Agony as it appears to have very high base accuracy. It's still worth taking the % increase nodes on the tree, but minions like SRS or Animate Weapon benefit far more from accuracy. Therefore flat accuracy items such as Command of the Pit are not worth stacking on this build.


[3.6] Defiled Cathedral (t15)
[3.6] Lava Lake (t15)
[3.6] Shaper
[3.6] Red Elder - This video is a bit glitchy, sorry. Something messed up with the encoder.

Unfortunately I don't have any videos of Uber Elder - it was my first league actually doing the fight and I didn't record it at the time. I don't think anyone doubts that HoA builds can kill Uber Elder though :)

I have also killed quite a few 8-mod twinned cores this league. The only one that really caused any issues was one with so many damage mods that the boss would one shot me with any hit of anything at all. The rest were fairly easy, as long as you're able to dodge relatively well.

FAQ (in progress):

Why soulrend and not ED/x spell?

15 Wither stacks?? Someone contact Bullshit Builds™!!!!111
With multiple totems and skill duration on the tree, wither stacks incredibly fast. It's fairly trivial with this setup to reach maximum stacks of wither very fast and maintain it easily on bosses, so I don't think it's an unreasonable configuration.

The wither totems have a cast time of 0.28 sec, for a cast rate of 3.57/sec.
The wither debuff has a duration of 3.3 sec.
With three totems up, this is a total of 10.57 stacks of wither/sec. Therefore it takes 1.42 seconds to stack wither from 0 stacks to maximum (15).

If using just a single drop of totems (two), this becomes 7.14 stacks/sec for a total ramp time of 2.1 seconds.

If you want to drop wither stacks to 5 or 10 to check the numbers, go ahead.

Why no withering touch on either barrage or Herald? surely it's OP!
Last edited by Bobblybook on Mar 29, 2019, 2:47:48 AM
Last bumped on Apr 19, 2019, 10:39:47 PM
I have done this build with help from OP messaging him questions and such. It is a very good build. You do feel a bit squishy but it's manageable. I just hit lvl 90 with it today and have done up to t15 maps and a t13 elder no problem. I did all the guardians and elder himself deathless.

I've played poets pen the past 2 leagues and was looking for a build to replace my last 2 since the poet's pen nerfs. Decided to also give Herald of Agony a try so this build was a nice fit for me and what I wanted.

Can't be inflicted with corrupted blood Volley Fire, and Poet's Pen is cheap so give it a try.:D
What pantheons are you using? I felt squishy while levelling, but once I had a cwdt ic setup, jade flask, stibnite (witchfire), endurance charges, lunaris pantheon, immunity to elemental status ailments (ascendancy), knockback, and my life sorted out, it's one of the least squishy rangers I have played.

Life gain on hit 6th link should add a lot of healing as well if you feel that it's needed.
Last edited by Bobblybook on Mar 28, 2019, 12:31:20 PM
Specced into this yesterday. Very smooth gameplay with good single target.

Btw, Empower 4 is better than maim for herald of agony. Barrage is best kept at lvl 1 to minimize mana costs.

Thanks for guide.
nebel wrote:
Btw, Empower 4 is better than maim for herald of agony. Barrage is best kept at lvl 1 to minimize mana costs.

Thanks for guide.

This is true, but Maim beats Empower level 3. They are both red gems so if you can get your hands on an empower 4, by all means use it.

Empower also has a higher mana multiplier (125% vs 115%) which may cause some problems, especially if you have a 6L with LGoH.

I didn't think about the level 1 barrage, thanks. I initially was trying to scale poison so I levelled it up, but I will make a note of that somewhere in the guide.
Last edited by Bobblybook on Mar 29, 2019, 2:30:05 AM
Good build, any idea how to make Master Alchemist more useful other than immune elemental ailments?

Report Forum Post

Report Account:

Report Type

Additional Info