[3.10] ielthans ED/Contagion Trickster [Detailed] Multi-screen AoE spread | Dot 'em down!

I am making a series of guides for this season, including some retakes of already popular builds as well as a few attempts to make some different builds as well. Each guide will follow a similar stylistic setup, with the same level of thoroughness, so you know what quality to expect.

My end goal is to create seven guides each season, one for each class, where each build is played and polished to a point where it can be recommended for most, if not all, content in the game. While not necessarily cutting edge, at least to a point where everyone can have fun.

The motivation for doing this, is currently because I have a lot of spare time on my hands and intend to spend that time playing Path of Exile. And then it seemed like an obvious idea for me to contribute something to the community as well, and I like writing and explaining.

With that being said, my first priority is to have FUN and if i ever stop having fun playing my builds and PoE, then i am simply gonna stop. Though that does not seem likely, and each build i have played this season has been incredible fun.

This is my attempt at making a guide for a Contagion/ED trickster.

Changelog - 13/3

-6/7-2019: Updated PoB for 3.10
-6/7-2019: Updated PoB for 3.9
-6/7-2019: Added Shaper kill video, updated setup
-2/7-2019: Banners updated, new PoB with budget gear, updated title
-30/6-2019: Rewrote introduction
-27/6-2019: PoB updated with more items, playstyle filled out, minor rewording


Sometimes the best way to know if a build is something for you, is to see someone play it.

I will be streaming most of the process of leveling up this character, so you can see how it works directly here.

Once i have enough content for a guide video it can be found in my channel.

First video. Just showing a quick clear of a Timeless Monolith:
Monolith clear

Video of Shaper kill:
Shaper kill


This section contains some short explanations of the mechanics of the build, to give an idea of how it works, as well as a list of the advantages/disadvantages.

Personally, this build has been a lot of fun for me, and i think anyone who likes the DoT playstyle is going to like this as well. Not to mention the explosion-like spread.


-DoT: This build is based on DoT's (Damage over time), which over a short period of time does a very high amount of damage. This means the playstyle is quite different from other builds, because there is the possibility of downtime in between casts, especially in the early levels, and it feels less bursty than a full crit build for example.

-AoE: Or Area of Effect is used extensively in this build to hit as many enemies at once as possible with the core spells. By increasing the AoE of certain abilities, especially Contagion, the kill speed is highly increased.

-Spread: This build uses two core spells; Contagion and Essence Drain(ED) and their interaction is what makes this build effective. Contagion spreads to nearby enemies if the afflicted enemy dies, which means it is recast at the position of the dead enemy. Most importantly, it can carry ED with it, so if ED is on the enemy all enemies hit by the spread is afflicted by ED as well.

-Chain reaction: By utilizing a combination of the above, it is possible to create chains of Contagion spreads, which can cover a large portion of the map, with just a cast of Contagion and ED. More DoT damage increases how fast the enemies die, higher AoE increases the area covered by the spread, and proper application of both DoTs allows for efficient clearing.

-Chaos interaction: There are a range of chaos abilities, which all function in a similar manner and increase the effect of each other. They apply one or more debuffs and do DoT. By combining a range of these abilities, a very high amount of damage can be dealt.

For a detailed description of how to play the build and more specifically how the skills interact, see the playstyle section.

Pros and cons

Pros--------------------------------------------- Cons
+Fun to watch the spread          -Combo playstyle not for everyone
+Fast leveling                -DoT slightly less safe than one shotting
+Easy clearing                -Some downtime in between casts
+High boss dps
+High sustain
+Very cheap to level


Path of Building (PoB) is a great tool for making builds and seeing the numbers directly. By displaying percentage wise improvements from each skill point or each item, it is an excellent tool to optimize and understand your builds. Most importantly it makes it possible to share builds, to see how they work in detail.
To download PoB follow this link, and choose either the .exe for direct install on windows or the zip file.
The PoB pastebin can be found here. To input it into your own PoB, press the Import/Export Build tab, copy the link address into the Import from Pastebin field, press the button and finally press Import.


The skill tree is rather versatile, in that the current build has an all round set of stats. A decent amount of life, energy shield, mana, dodge etc.
Thus the tree can easily be modified to a different playstyle by just moving some points around.

Some notable options:
Eldritch Battery can be good to ensure that you always have enough mana to cast your skills, which can occasionally be a problem with MoM. It can also be justified to grab an additional aura with this.

Whispers of Doom: The current build has taken the skill point for an additional curse. If this can be gotten from an item instead, those points can be removed and put into more defense (or offense) elsewhere.

Deflection: If you choose to run a shield setup, this node is a significant survivability bonus, and further increases your chance to avoid spells.

Acrobatics: These points are taken for a significant increase in overall survivability, but it does nothing to mitigate the damage that does go through. So if you prefer a larger effective health pool, these points can be moved. Going for Sanctity is a decent HP alternative.

Chaos Inoculation: For a more radical change, the build can work with CI as well. This can be done by removing all the pure life nodes, and using them on pure energy shield instead. Here Wicked Ward might be worth taking.

Arcane Guardian: This node and the ones leading there are only for a shield setup. If you choose to go with a multimod bow or dual wielding instead, these points should be removed, and preferably be placed in defensive (life/ES) elsewhere.


I am keeping the amount of items to a minimum in here, and just trying to stick to the essential areas for the build to work properly. This way it is possible to play around with the combinations and find gear which fits the budget.

Generally my aim is to make the build so most item setups can work with it, as long as items scaling with the relevant skills are chosen of course.


This section contains links to poeplanner to see the leveling trees directly. They are raw trees, so if you want more information, check the PoB instead. Ascendancies and Pantheons are shortly explained as well.

Leveling trees

In Act 2, kill all the bandits for the additional skill points, as the various bonuses are useless to this build.
These trees show what to aim for at each of these levels. Try to pick the direction depending on what you need. If you are close to dying a lot, go for the defensive points next. If you are having a hard time killing monsters, go for more damage.

Level 18

Level 38

Level 55

Level 68

Level 100

The ascendancies should be picked in the order in which they are described below:

Patient Reaper: This provides an large amount of damage over time and a significant amount of regeneration. This is a very good for a DoT build, especially in early levels. As the regeneration is dependent on killing monsters, try to always kill stuff (duh) and you should never die.

Ghost Dance: This node provides a decent amount of mitigation (9%) and some evasion/regeneration/movement speed. The mitigation itself makes it a good node to take and the rest is icing on the cake. And the node is needed to get the next node.

Escape Artist: This grants a massive boost to evasion and energy shield, as long as you make sure to get a helmet with a lot of energy shield and a body armour with a lot of evasion rating. Most importantly it makes you immune to stuns, as long as you have Ghost Shrouds(from the previous node, stacks up automatically) and grants some chance to avoid spell hits.

For the last node there are three viable options, each providing a decent amount of damage or mitigation. Personally i prefer Swift Killer, because there is a lot of ways to interact with charges, but Prolonged Pain can be better for long fights and boss fights.

Swift Killer: Gives Frenzy/Power charges on kill, where Frenzy increases damage and cast speed outright and Power increases crits. This is just an outright damage boost, and can be nice, because skill points which increases the amount of Frenzy charges, scales well with this.

Prolonged Pain: Percentage wise increase (20%) of DoT, as well as increased duration, which can mean the difference between exactly not killing a monster with a single DoT or exactly killing it.

Weave of the Arcane: Weave of the Arcane provides a significant boost to mitigation if your unreserved mana is less than a third of your life. In addition it has raw damage reduction, a decent amount of cast speed and some utility, so this is also a viable option.


TL;DR Get Soul of Lunaris and Soul of Shakari

Mayor gods

Soul of the Brine King: Increased defense against stuns. Escape Artist should make you stun immune, but if you want an additional layer in case it falls off, this can help.

Soul of Lunaris: Reduced physical damage taken and increased movement speed depending on nearby enemies. More dodge later on. Generally this is what i would recommend to reduce damage taken and how fast you can get away from dangerous packs.

Soul of Solaris: Reduced damage taken if there is only one nearby enemy. So this is the one to take if you want more defense against bosses, but it should rarely be the physical damage from a boss that kills you in this build.

Soul of Arakaali: Reduced damage over time taken. Generally flasks should make you immune to most dangerous types of damage over time, and your regeneration should take care of any remaining.

Minor gods

Soul of Garukhan: Additional evade if you have taken a savage hit. Viable possibility for additional evade if you are not capped.

Soul of Yugul: To my knowledge i don't think there are any monsters which reflect chaos damage and chill/freeze immunity should be covered by a flask, so this does not do much.

Soul of Abberath: This can be used situationally if there is a map modifier which is heavy on fire or against certain fire heavy bosses.

Soul of Tukohama: Additional physical damage reduction when standing still, which you should not do in this build, so no reason to take this.

Soul of Gruthkul: Physical damage reduction for each hit you have taken. This is a viable alternative when clearing.

Soul of Ralakesh: Defense against bleeding, which you should be immune to with a flask mod. So no reason to take this.

Soul of Ryslatha: Refill of life flasks, which can be useful for very long boss fights without a lot of monsters to kill, but otherwise redundant.

Soul of Shakari: Reduced chaos damage taken, which can be good, especially if you are lacking chaos resistance. As a lot of people do, this can make a difference in a decent amount of encounters and thus i would recommend this.


In this section the gem links are shown, in addition to some alternatives to the most debatable links. First the setup is shown and for those interested in an explanation of the skills, check the explanation just below.
Gem links

Essence Drain:
4-link: Essence Drain - Controlled Destruction - Efficacy - Swift Affliction
5-link: Essence Drain - Controlled Destruction - Efficacy - Swift Affliction - Void Manipulation
6-link: Essence Drain - Controlled Destruction - Efficacy - Swift Affliction - Void Manipulation - Empower

Alternatives to Empower if you do not have access to one:
Greater multiple projectiles for easier spreading.
Decay for pure damage.

4-link: Contagion - Faster Casting - Increased Area of Effect - Intensify

Alternatives to Increased Area of Effect and Intensify, which are just picked for greater spread area:

Controlled Destruction for more damage
Swift Affliction for more damage
You can three link it as well, if you prefer a 4-link for another skill.

3-link: Blight - Spell Totem - Multiple Totems


4-link with Increased Area of Effect which can make debuff application easier, especially for packs.

3-link: Bane - Despair - Temporal Chains

Increased Area of Effect if only one curse is supported in your build or
Controlled Destruction for more damage

1-link: Malevolence

Vaal Righteous Fire:
1-link: Righteous Fire

Flame Dash:
3-link: Flame Dash - Faster Casting - Arcane Surge

Keep Arcane Surge at a level where the mana activation requirement is below the cost of Flame Dash. (Max level 7)

Cast when Damage Taken:
4-link: Cast when Damage Taken - Immortal Call - Phase Run - Vaal Grace

Cast when Damage Taken = 3
Immortal Call = 5
Increased Duration = 5
Vaal Grace = MAX
to ensure a good rate of activation vs benefits.

Alternative to Increased Duration
Phase Run

Explanation of skill setup

Essence Drain:

ED is a DoT which deals chaos spell damage. It also does projectile damage on hit, but it is insignificant compared to the DoT. Thus all the links are there to increase the DoT damage, as ED is the main damage skill in this setup.

Controlled Destruction, Swift Affliction, Efficacy, Void Manipulation and Empower are all straight out damage increases. Pierce can make sense, as it allows you to hit more targets with the projectile and in that way increase the chance and speed of spreading. Decay is also a pure damage increase, and because it is a chaos DoT it benefits from the same multipliers as the DoT of ED itself.


The primary purpose of Contagion is spreading ED. When a monster dies with while afflicted by Contagion, it is recast at the monster position and spread to every other monster in range. It carries ED with it, which is how it spreads.

Because the main purpose of Contagion is not to do a lot of damage, but to spread, i consider additional AoE more important than damage links. Therefore Increased area of Effect and Intensity are used to massively increase the coverage. Faster Casting is for faster casting, so it is easier to get off. If you prefer Contagion as additional damage, the utility links can be switched out.


There are a lot of reasons to use Blight. First of all, it puts a lot of debuffs on nearby monsters. It slows, and with the Spreading Rot jewel, applies the Withered debuff, which increases the chaos damage taken of the target up to 90%, which is significant.

Because it takes a long time to stack up, it is inefficient to cast it yourself (not to mention dangerous), and thus Spell Totem can be used to cast it. With Multiple Totems the rate of stacking is increased, just as the odds of a totem surviving is higher. Increased Area of Effect is a decent possibility if you decide to 4-link it, just to increase the range.


Bane is used to apply the curses Despair and Temporal Chains. (Only Despair if you can only apply one curse). It does a decent amount of damage as well, but like the other supporting chaos spells, it is not the primary purpose.

Despair is chosen because it is the only curse that can significantly increase chaos DoT damage. Temporal Chains because it decreases the action speed of monsters, which is a nice boost to survivability.


Malevolence is a large damage increase to DoT damage. Not much more to that.

Vaal Righteous Fire:
Vaal Righteous Fire is a major dps cooldown, which can be used after killing enough monsters. It deals damage to you when it activates, so use with care, and then gives you a buff which adds more spell damage.

Flame Dash:

Flame Dash is the movement skill of choice in this setup. It allows for quick movement out of danger and over cliffs and such.

Faster casting for faster movement. It is linked with Arcane Surge, as you will be casting Flame Dash quite often, and Arcane Surge is a decent buff.

Cast when Damage Taken:

Cast when Damage Taken is a great way to get some defensive skills up whenever they are needed the most. So if you take a lot of damage, Immortal Call activates, which reduces the physical and elemental damage you take. So whenever you take enough damage, linked skills are activated.

Immortal Call is the preferred defensive skill, as Steelskin and Molten Shell both have a flat cap of a low absorb amount, compared to the percentage damage reduction from Immortal Call. Vaal Grace is linked as well to increase the chance to dodge in emergencies and Phase Run is used to make a quick getaway possible, although there are plenty of options that could replace Phase Run.


Here the gear and stat priorities, in my opinion, are shown and discussed. I will try to keep it as simple as possible, and then i might add some interesting combinations later on.
Items - TL;DR stat priority

Here a summation of what you should look for on gear can be found.

1. Non-ailment chaos damage over time multiplier
2. Chaos damage, spell damage, DoT damage
3. Cast speed

1. Resistances (cap 75%)
2. Life
3. Energy Shield
4. Evasion Rating
5. Mana (if MoM)

For special cases, slot specific priorities and explanations see next section.

Items - explanations

Main hand

For the main hand, stick to wands when leveling as they usually come with a high amount of spell damage, which is what the spells in this build scales with. If it has increased chaos damage or increased damage over time as well it can provide a large amount of damage.
Stat priority:
1. Non-ailment chaos damage over time multiplier
2. inc. spell damage
3. inc. chaos damage
4. inc. DoT
5. resistances
6. cast speed
7. life
8. mana

For leveling Lifesprig is a nice unique wand the first 30 levels or so.
Once you reach the endgame, either a rare wand (shaped or elder perfect) with high stats in the order above.

A combination of Cerberus Limb and a shield with a high block chance can provide great survivability at a reasonable price, which can last through most content. The damage is decent, but in terms of pure damage, a rare dual wielding wand setup is better or a multi mod bow.

Alternatively, a Cane of Unravelling 6-linked can provide a very large amount of DPS. Even as a 5-link it would be a DPS upgrade relative to Cerberus Limb, though it would be at the cost of some survivability. It would be essential that ED is socketed herein with its supports.

If you want to invest, and want to significantly increase your damage, it is also a possibility to utilize multi mod crafting on a bow, which can increase the damage of the build by 30-60% (relative to Cerberus Limb atleast) depending on your setup. This is the best damage option at the moment, even though the Cane is very close. The advantage of the bow it the addition of the quiver stat stick.

Another advantage to keep in mind; By choosing a 6-linked, two-handed weapon you do not necessarily need a 6-link chest. So the cost reduction of the chest can offset the cost increase of the weapon if you intend to invest in an expensive 6-link anyways.

Off hand

In the off hand there is either the option of picking another wand and dual wielding, in which case the stat priority is the same as in the main hand. The alternative is to have a shield, if you prefer more survivability.
Stat priority rare shield:
1. spell block chance
2. block chance
3. energy shield
4. evasion rating
5. inc. spell damage
6. resistances
7. life
8. mana
9. armour

There are excellent rare spirit shields, in similar manner to wands, which can provide a substantial amount of defense and offense as well. If you are going with the Cerberus Limb, make sure that the block chance is above 30%. Leper's Alms is a very good shield, in terms of pure defensive stats.

On the other hand, if you are going with the multimod bow setup, either a shaped quiver with a chance to gain onslaught or a Rearguard for additional block chance can be helpful. It is also a possibility to just grab a stat stick quiver with whatever resistances or defensive stats you need.


The Trickster ascendancy node Escape Artist scales with energy shield on helmet, so it is important to get a helmet with high energy shield.
Stat priority:
1. maximum energy shield
2. inc. energy shield
3. resistances
4. life
5. mana
6. intelligence

A rare helmet following this stat priority should be the best option in most cases, and can provide a significant boost to your defenses. So if you feel squishy, this can be a good slot to look at.

For late game an Elder 5-link (Increased area of effect) helmet can be highly useful to slot Bane into, as Bane can deal a decent amount of damage in addition to the ED damage in this way. Stat priorities should be the same.

Body armour

The Trickster ascendancy node Escape Artist scales with evasion rating on body armour, so it is important to get a body armour with high evasion rating. If it is possible to get one with high energy shield as well, it can make you very tanky.
Stat priority:
1. evasion rating
2. energy shield
3. resistances
4. life
5. armour

For leveling the best bid is a Tabula Rasa, as it can be very expensive to get a 6-link any other way(if it is your first character at least), and there is hardly any other way to match the damage output of a 6-link.

Once you get through the acts, a rare 5-link or 6-link can do wonders for survivability. A decent 6-link can be bought at a reasonable price, but if you are trying to keep the budget low, a 5-link can do to begin with.

If you can afford it, a Cospri's Will can give a high amount of survivability, and the same can be said for a Queen of the Forest (Only if you have a very high amount of evasion rating as it will slow you otherwise).

An excellent option to go for is Hyrri's Ire, which increases your attack/spell dodge and with flasks can bring you near cap. With a high amount of evasion rating, it also provides a good amount of defenses.

Slightly cheaper options, but still highly viable, would be The Perfect Form, Atziri's Splendour and Carcass Jack, which all supply a high amount of survivability. Carcass Jack can be additional fun because of the huge AoE increase.


The gloves can give a decent amount of energy shield and has a few options for higher damage. High ilvl versions come with spell damage, and it is possible to 5-link if you want Faster Casting.
Stat priority:
1. non-ailment chaos DoT (Elder)
2. resistances
3. spell damage
4. life
5. energy shield
6. evasion rating
7. attributes

For leveling and when starting maps, rare gloves are usually the best bid. Doedre's Tenure can provide a significant amount of damage, if you can get used to the reduced cast speed though. Similarly Allelopathy can be an upgrade to Doedre's, but rares are still better for defensive stats.

For high-end options Shaper or Elder gloves are the best options. Shaper gloves can get 5-link (Faster Casting) so if one of your links can use that (Contagion, Bane, Blight) it can be useful.

Elder gloves can have increased spell damage and most importantly Non-ailment chaos DoT multi, which is a very large damage increase for a non-weapon slot. As long as you get one with plenty of defensive stats on top, this should be the best option.


The boots are the main source of passive movement speed, and can have a decent amount of defensive options.
Stat priority:
1. movement speed (30%)
2. resistances
3. life
4. energy shield
5. evasion rating
6. attributes

Rare boots will suffice for most content, as they can provide a high amount of stats and can give a high amount of movement speed.

For a decent price Atziri's Step boots are also an option as that can provide a high level of survivability. Most importantly the increased dodge and spell dodge can bring you closer to dodge cap, which is significant in terms of reducing the incoming damage flow.

A high tier option could be Elder rare boots which can effectively be 6-linked, with Increased Duration and Spell Totem. That can be a decent buff to your blight totem setup, and convert it into a decent source of damage. Or just open up slots for other skills. Elder boots can also give you increased spell dodge like the Atziri's Step.


A belt is usually where are very high amount of life can be found. The same can be said for energy shield. Apart from that, the belt usually has flask buffs, which can be useful too.
Stat priority:
1. life
2. energy shield
3. resistances
4. immunities
5. flask buffs

A rare belt can do the job for most content, as long as it has high enough stats, but that can be accomplished cheaply. By getting a Shaper version, additional immunity can be covered and there is the option of more damage during flask buffs.


Rings have a lot of useful stats, which can provide many interesting combinations. They are a good source of resistances, can have increased chaos damage and can have sockets. An Unset ring is assumed for the build above, which has a single socket.
Stat priority:
1. socket (on one ring at least)
2. inc. chaos damage
3. resistances
4. life
5. energy shield
6. mana

A couple of rare rings can provide a decent amount of damage and help cover your resistances, while giving some survivability.

There are some honorable mentions from unique rings, such as Le Heup of All, which is an excellent leveling ring. Two of those can boost your damage significantly and provide resistances as well.

If the rest of your gear can compensate, an Essence Worm can give you a free aura, which can free up a lot of mana for MoM. But it should be a temporary option, as the stats are needed later on.

To those who want to experiment, a The Hungry Loop can provide another 5-link, even though it takes a lot of time to level, and has a lack of stats just like Essence Worm.


An amulet can have a wide variety of stats, just like the rings. It is a nice place to get some more damage, just as it has the possibility of percentage increases to life and energy shield.
Stat priority:
1. inc. spell damage
2. inc. life%
3. inc. energy shield%
4. resistances
5. life
6. energy shield
7. attributes

Rare amulets can fulfill the needs of most builds. For a significant boost, a Shaper amulet with chance to gain charges on hit can free up the points from Swift Killer, if you have taken those ascendancy points.

It is hard to find a unique amulet, which would be more useful than a rare with the right stat priority. Maybe a Bisco's Collar if you want to get more item rarity, but only if you are certain in your ability to survive without an amulet slot.


There is only one jewel which can be considered essential in this build and that is Spreading Rot, which enables the application of the Withered debuff by Blight.

So you need one

Apart from that, the best for the build are rare jewels with this
Stat priority:
1. non-ailment chaos DoT multiplier
2. life%
3. inc. chaos damage, inc. DoT
4. energy shield%
5. resistances
6. life

I have tried to include some options in the PoB for examples of the best possible cases and some more moderate options as well. But generally if you can get jewels with good rolls on Maximum Life (7%) and Non-ailment chaos DoT multiplier (4%) you are pretty well off. The rest are bonuses, but each addition adds significantly to the cost.


For flasks, standard options such as this can be chosen:

The most important part is to get the optimal immunity coverage, where immunity to freeze is essential, as you can otherwise get locked down.
Immunity to bleed and poison can prevent unnecessary deaths and immunity to curses can be highly beneficial whenever curses are present.

The Quicksilver flask with "of Adrenaline" is a significant movement speed boost.

My current gear

My current gear, which still has room for some improvements, can easily carry me through high tier maps and can do the job in endgame content as well.
I will update the gear when it changes.


This section contains a walkthrough of all the acts, which should give directions to complete all the relevant quests. Some areas are skipped on purpose because of a lack of rewards or simply poor rewards. But feel free to explore outside of these directions. The exploration is after all a part of the game content. For the same reason i have tried to avoid giving too accurate directions for where to find the zones, and instead focused on the order of the quests.

I might add a section for leveling further after the acts later, and a small gearing guide while leveling.
Act walkthrough

Act 1

Look for: Wands with high spell power, 3-link blue-blue-green
Notes: Always turn in and pick up quests in town, sell/buy, equip gems as explained above

-Kill first zombie, pick up Viper Strike, run along the beach, kill Hillock and enter town
-Buy Freezing Pulse and blight, equip both, kill with FP
-Leave town and look for waypoint. Go to Tidal Island right next to it
-Kill Hailrake and pick up Medicine Chest
-Go back to waypoint and go to Mudflats. Find three glyphs in nests
-Go to the Fetid Pool area and kill all monsters.
-Head back to Mud Flats, find the Glyph wall, enter Submerged Passage
-Get waypoint and return to town. Get Contagion as reward and equip
Note: Use Contagion to kill normal monsters, Freezing pulse for specials
-Back to Submerged Passage, go to Flooded Depths, kill Dweller in the Deep
-Back to Submerged Passage, go to The Ledge, go to The Climb, go to The Prison
-Find the trial of ascendancy and complete it
-Go to Upper Prison, Wardens Chambers and kill The Warden
-Go to Prisoner's Gate, take waypoint back and get Flame Dash
-Go to The Ship Graveyard, find waypoint, go to Ship Graveyard Cave
-Find The Allflame. Back up, go to Cavern of Wrath, get waypoint
-Take waypoint back to Ship Graveyard, find Fairgraves, turn in, kill him
-Return to town and get Essence Drain + Void Manipulation, equip it
Note: Use Contagion and Essence Drain in combination
-Go to Cavern of Wrath, Go to Cavern of Anger, Go to Merveil's cave and kill her
-Head to Act 2

Act 2

Look for: Wands with high spell power, 4-link blue-blue-green-green
Notes: Always turn in and pick up quests in town, sell/buy, equip gems as explained above

-Go to The Forest Encampment
-Go to The Old Fields, go to The Den, kill The Great White Beast
-Back to The Old Fields, go to The Crossroads.
-Head north-west, go to Chamber of Sins
-find and complete trial of ascendancy
-Go to Chamber of Sins 2, kill Fidelitas and talk to Helena
-Back to Crossroads, head south-east to The Fellshrine Ruins
-Go to The Crypt, find and complete trial of ascendancy
-Go to The Crypt 2, find The Golden Hand. Head back to town
-Back to Crossroads, follow the road north-east to The Broken Bridge
-find and kill Kraityn
-Back to town, get Controlled Destruction, get 2x Faster Casting
-Go to The Riverways, pick up waypoint
-Go to The Western Forest (in the west)
-Find and kill Alira, follow the road and kill Captain Arteri.
-Go to The Weaver's Chambers, find the boss area and kill the boss
-Back to Riverways, go to The Wetlands, find and kill Oak
-Get waypoint, head back to town and turn in everything
-Go to Act 1 town and turn in
-Back to The Wetlands, go to The Vaal Ruins, go to The Northern Forest
-Go to The Caverns and follow the stairs to the top
-Kill Vaal Oversoul
-Head to Act 3

Act 3

Look for: Wands with high spell power, 4-link blue-blue-green-green, resistance and life items
Notes: Always turn in and pick up quests in town, sell/buy, equip gems as explained above

-Help Clarissa and enter town
-Go to The Slums, Go to Crematorium. Find Tolman
-Complete trial of ascendancy
-Back to town. Turn in and go back to Slums
-Go to The Sewers. Find three busts, pick up waypoint
-Go to The Marketplace, go to The Catacombs
-Complete trial of ascendancy
-Back to Marketplace, go to The Battlefront, get waypoint and quest item
-Go to Solaris Temple 1, Solaris Temple 2, get waypoint and talk to Dialla
-Back to Battlefront, go to The Docks
-Find Thaumetic Sulphite, find Fairgraves and get waypoint
-Go to Solaris Temple 2 and talk to Dialla
-Head back to town, get Despair and Malevolence
-Go to The Sewers, go to The Ebony Barracks, kill General Gravicius
-Go to Lunaris Temple 1, Lunaris Temple 2 and kill Piety
-Back to town if needed
-Back to The Ebony Barracks, go to Imperial Gardens
-Find waypoint, Go to The Library
-Find Siosa, get quest
-Look through the walls in nearby rooms for a Loose Candle, and pull it
-Go to The Archive, find four pages, head back to Siosa
-From Siosa get: Intensify, 2x Efficacy, Swift Affliction, Arcane Surge, Spell Totem and link as shown above (if possible, get what fits with your gear)
-Go to Imperial Gardens
-Complete trial of ascendancy
-Go to The Sceptre of God, head up the stairs and kill Dominus
-Head to Act 4

Act 4

Look for: Wands with high spell power, 4-link blue-blue-green-green, resistance and life items
Notes: Always turn in and pick up quests in town, sell/buy, equip gems as explained above, resistances cap at 75% get as close as possible with gear

-Head to town
-Go back to Act 3, complete the labyrinth and get ascendancy (TRICKSTER)
-Back to Act 4 town, go to The Dried Lake, kill Voll and get banner
-Back to town, use banner on mine, turn in and get a golem of your choice
-Go to The Mines, The Mines 2, find Deshret's spirit
-Go to Crystal Veins, find Dialla
-Go to Daresso's Dream, continue through the arena until you get to Daresso
-Kill him
-Back to Crystal Veins, go to Kaom's Dream, find Kaom
-Kill him
-Back to Crystal Veins, turn in, back to town, turn in
-Get: Increased Area of Effect, Decay, Cast when Damage Taken in that order of priority, in case currency is unavailable
-Back to Crystal Veins, enter The Belly of the Beast, find Piety (yes again)
-Kill her, enter The Harvest
-Kill Doedre, Malygaros, Shavronne and turn in
-Kill Malachai (a lot of killing in this area)
-Head to Act 5

Act 5

Look for: Wands with high spell power, 4-link blue-blue-green-green, resistance and life items
Notes: Always turn in and pick up quests in town, sell/buy, equip gems as explained above, resistances cap at 75% get as close as possible with gear

-Kill the Overseer and head to town
-Go to Control Blocks, find Miasmeter, kill Justicar Casticus
-Go to The Square, go to The Templar Courts, go to Chamber of Innocence
-Find High Templar Avarius, kill him, kill Innocence and talk to Sin
-Head back to town, turn in, back to Chamber
-Go to The Torched Courts, go to The Ruined Square, find waypoint
-Head south-west and find the Reliquary, find three relics
-Back to The Ruined Square waypoint, go to Ossuary
-Find Staff of Purity
-Back to Ruined Square, head south-west, go to Cathedral Rooftop
-Find Kitava and "kill" him
-Head to Act 6

Act 6

Look for: Wands with high spell power, 5-link blue-blue-blue-green-green, resistance!, life items, energy shield items
Notes: Always turn in and pick up quests in town, sell/buy, equip gems as explained above, resistances cap at 75% get as close as possible with gear

-Go to The Twilight Strand, clear all the monsters
-Back to town and turn in, go to The Coast, go to Tidal Island
-Find Manuscript, head back to The Coast, go to The Mudflats
-Kill The Dishonored Queen, pick up Eye of Conquest, go to Karui Fortress
-Kill Tukohama
-Go to The Ridge, go to The Prison
-Complete trial of ascendancy
-Go up the stairs, kill Shavronne
-Go to Prisoner's gate, find Abberath (follow the sides until Valley appers)
-Kill Abberath
-Back to Prisoner's gate, go to The Western Forest, go to The Riverways
-Get waypoint, go to The Wetlands
-Find and kill The Puppet Mistress (follow the sides)
-Head back to town
-Get: Multiple Totems, Immortal Call, Phase Run
-Back to The Riverways, go to The Southern Forest, go to The Caver of Anger
-Go to The Beacon, find the lighthouse beacon, light it, throw in the flag
-Talk to Weylam, go to The Brine King's Reef
-Find and kill Tsoagoth
-Head to Act 7

Act 7

Look for: Wands with high spell power, 5-link blue-blue-blue-green-green, resistance!, life items, energy shield items
Notes: Always turn in and pick up quests in town, sell/buy, equip gems as explained above, resistances cap at 75% get as close as possible with gear

-Go to The Broken Bridge and pick up The Silver Locket
-Go to The Crossroads, go to The Crypt
-Complete Trial of Ascendancy
-Head down, find Maligaro's map
-Back to Crossroads, go to Chamber of Sins 1
-Find waypoint. There is a device in the middle of the room. Input Malygaro's map
-Find and kill Malygaro
-Back to waypoint, talk to Silk, go down to Chamber of Sins 2
-Complete trial of ascendancy
-Go to The Den, go to The Ashen Fields, find The Forest Encampment
-Kill Greust, talk to sin
-Go to The Northern Forest, go to The Dread Thicket
-Find all the fireflies, find The Dreadweaver and kill
-Return to town
-Back to Northern Forest, find Greust resting place and complete
-Go to The Causeway, find Kishara's Star, go to The Vaal City
-Talk to Yeena, go to The Temple of Decay, continue down
-Find and kill Arakaali
-Head to Act 8

Act 8

Look for: Wands with high spell power, 5-link blue-blue-blue-green-green, resistance!, life items, energy shield items
Notes: Always turn in and pick up quests in town, sell/buy, equip gems as explained above, resistances cap at 75% get as close as possible with gear

-Head to town
-Complete the next labyrinth and get ascendancy points
-Head to The Toxic Conduits, find and kill Doedre
-Go to The Quay, find The Ankh of Eternity, find Clarissa (at resurrection site), kill Tolman sadly
-Go to Grain Gate, find Gemling Legion and kill
-Go to Imperial Fields, go to Solaris Temple 1, go to Solaris Temple 2
-Find the Guardian of the solar orb, kill him and get the orb
-Back to Toxic Conduits, go to The Grand Promenade
-Go to The Bath House
-Complete trial of ascendancy
-Go to The High Gardens, find Yugul and kill it
-Go to The Lunaris Concourse, go to Lunaris Temple 1, Lunaris Temple 2
-Find the Guardian of the lunar orb, kill and get orb
-Back to town, turn in
-Back to Lunaris Concourse, head south-east, find The Harbour Bridge
-Head to the middle, enter, kill Lunaris and Solaris
-Head to Act 9

Act 9

Look for: Wands with high spell power, 5-link blue-blue-blue-green-green, resistance!, life items, energy shield items
Notes: Always turn in and pick up quests in town, sell/buy, equip gems as explained above, resistances cap at 75% get as close as possible with gear

-Head to town
-Go to The Descent, go to The Vastiri Desert
-Find The Storm Blade, get waypoint, back to town and turn in all quests
-Back to The Vastiri Desert, go to The Oasis
-Find Shakari and kill her. Back to town and turn in
-Go to The Vastiri Desert, go to The Foothills
-Find and kill Boulderback, pick up Calendar of Fortune
-Get waypoint, go to The Boiling Lake, kill The Basilisk
-Back to The Foothills, go to The Tunnel
-Complete trial of ascendancy
-Go to The Quarry, get waypoint
-Find The Shifting Sands area by the sides, kill Garuhkan, get feather
-Back to The Quarry, go to The Refinery
-Find The Trarthan Powder and return to town to turn in
-Back to The Quarry, head down into The Belly of the Beast
-Head all the way down into The Rotting Core
-Clear each of the three areas, enter core, kill the Depraved Trinity
-Head to Act 10

Act 10

Look for: Wands with high spell power, 5-link blue-blue-blue-green-green, resistance!, life items, energy shield items
Notes: Always turn in and pick up quests in town, sell/buy, equip gems as explained above, resistances cap at 75% get as close as possible with gear, aim for 3k life + energy shield

-Head to the Cathedral Rooftop, help Bannon and go back to town
-Back to Cathedral Rooftop, go to The Ravaged Square
-Head down, go to The Control Blocks, find and kill Vilenta
-Portal to town, take waypoint to Control Blocks, go back up
-Head east, go to Reliquary, find The Teardrop
-Back to Control Blocks, back up, head north and find waypoint
-Go to Ossuary
-Complete trial of ascendancy
-Find Elixir of Allure, go back to town and turn in
-Back to The Ravaged Square, head east and find The Torched Courts
-Go to The Desecrated Chambers, find Chamber of Innocence
-Kill Avarius Reassembled, get Staff of Avarius, back to town and turn in
-Head to The Ravaged Square, talk to Innocence and go to The Canals
-Go to The Feeding Through, find Sin and Innocence chilling
-Kill Kitava
-Complete Act 10!
Complete the third labyrinth. (This can be done before killing Kitava as well, because Kitava decreases your resistances by 30%, but it shouldn't be a huge problem either way)


I can be contacted on twitter for short questions, on my stream for conversations, and in the comments.

If you want random pictures, memes, discussions or whatever, feel free follow me on insta @ielthan1 or twitter @ielthan1.

Last edited by ielthan on Mar 13, 2020, 12:43:35 PM
Last bumped on Aug 1, 2019, 10:07:04 AM

Here i have made some short descriptions of how i try to play the build and how i have set up the skills.
Rotation - ability usage

The first point of note here, is how important it is to get a good feeling of how much of an effort is needed to kill monsters. For instance if you can clear a pack by simply casting Contagion, then there is no reason to use your entire rotation on the monsters. Keep it as light as possible and try to test it out whenever you can. It can save you a lot of time in the long run.
TL;DR what should i do

Low-medium gear:

Normal/magic packs: Contagion - ED

Rare packs: Contagion - ED - Bane

Tough rares/Bosses: Contagion - ED - Bane - Blight totems - ED - repeat
Use Vaal Righteous Fire after casting Contagion and try to time it with boss phases if you can, otherwise use on cooldown.

Maintain Arcane Surge with Flame Dash whenever you have the opportunity.

Explanation and notes

My experience from leveling in the acts is that Contagion works fine by itself against normal monsters, as long as you keep upgrading your gear. With long pauses between new upgrades, Contagion + ED kills almost everything you are going to encounter.

Generally this holds for mapping and for delving as well, where you should be able to clear most packs just with those two. If you want to be on the safe side Contagion + ED + Bane should kill any rare mob, unless you are lacking damage in your setup or are simply underleveled.

Bosses are a bit tougher, but the ones in the acts can still pretty much be beaten that way. Dropping the totems should be enough to ensure that their death will be swift though, and it is a good idea to get used to it for when you reach more difficult content.

An important note is that Contagion/ED duration is NOT reset on spread, which means it the same original cast spreading. This means that the spread is limited by the duration of the spell. Here the shortest duration of the two is ED. So by increasing the duration of ED, the area of the spread is actually increased as well.
For this purpose Malevolence is very useful, just as the ascendancy points in Prolonged Pain.

If you want to experiment there are plenty of nodes which increase duration in the tree for more spread.

Once Contagion and ED have been cast and there are no threatening enemies nearby, it is safe to just run on and ignore the monsters. They are usually going to die by damage over time. Stop up if interesting loot drops or if the duration of ED falls off.

Be careful with Vaal Righteous Fire, as it deals a lot of damage to yourself when activated and do not use the normal Righteous Fire in this build as there is a good chance that it will kill you if you are not careful.


This is my personal skill setup:
Left msb: Move
Middle msb: Vaal Grace/Malevolence
Right msb: Contagion
Q: Bane
W: Blight Totems
E: Vaal Righteous Fire
Msb 4(R): Flame Dash
Msb 5(T): Essence Drain

The setup here is made like this based on how easy it is for me to use the skill. I always keep Left msb clear, because i need to be able to move out of danger without attacking enemies.
I prefer not to use Middle msb at all, so the aura goes there. Right msb is the easiest and Contagion is the first skill i use, so Contagion goes there.

An important note is that i have set the rest up like i have because i could set two skills to my mouse instead of keyboard which makes it easier to reach. Here Flame Dash on msb 4, as i need to be able to move out of danger quickly, and ED on msb 5 because that is the next skill i use.

After that, it is simply sorted after how much i use the skills from left to right: Q(Bane) W(Totems), E(Vaal Righteous Fire). If i could not bind to my mouse i would move those two to the other end on Q and W and move everything else to the right.

Last edited by ielthan on Jul 6, 2019, 4:33:05 AM
Great guide! This is exactly the level of detail I need to start a new character/play style from scratch. I am starting this character tonight!
Thanks for the comment! I am happy that you like it :D
Thanks for the detailled guide. I am having fun levelling atm.

Could oyu please update the POB link with all equipment slots? Gloves, Helm etc. are missing.

Nice detailed guide, i'm using this as my league starter :)
Kroschak wrote:
Thanks for the detailled guide. I am having fun levelling atm.

Could oyu please update the POB link with all equipment slots? Gloves, Helm etc. are missing.


I'm glad you like it!
The PoB should be updated with all gear slots filled out. I have tried to include different options in each slot, so it can be adjusted after the budget. But going for something similar in terms of stat priorities should be fine.
I am already following ziz guide but the damage is awful at 5L (( hope I find something new here
Last edited by dominatorTA on Jun 23, 2019, 5:30:13 AM
If I am reading it correctly you will get 40% more damage with your other chaos skills (ED, Bane and Contagion) if you link infused channeling to blight. Do you think it is a viable option?
Kroschak wrote:
If I am reading it correctly you will get 40% more damage with your other chaos skills (ED, Bane and Contagion) if you link infused channeling to blight. Do you think it is a viable option?

It can be a decent buff(10%, 40% is for the linked channeling skill only) yes, though it would require that you hand cast it instead of using totems to cast it. Otherwise the totems are the ones channeling the spell, and thus the totems are the ones getting the infusion buff.

But it is certainly viable, with the right playstyle!

Report Forum Post

Report Account:

Report Type

Additional Info