[3.7] Many Legged Poison Dance: Melee/Minion Hybrid Poison Flicker Strike (Cheap, Fun, Viable!)
Do you like spiders? Do you like scorpions? Do you like fancy looking poisonous daggers? Do you like watching your enemies' life draining away at an unbelievable rate? Are you tired of getting kicked out of party for playing Flicker Strike but want to feel like you have "friends" that does your bidding anyway? Congratulations, you might be qualified as a psychopath, and this build might be just for you!
For the longest time, there were not many reliable ways of generating frenzy charges, making most Flicker Strike builds rely on items such as Oro's Sacrifice or Terminus Est. However, in this league GGG has bless us with a melee buff patch, which gives us 15% CHANCE TO GAIN FRENZY CHARGE ON HIT. Of course, this isn't nearly enough to sustain a Flicker Strike build, but it does give us more opportunities to broaden our horizons from the usual builds.
This build utilizes the new Flicker Strike buff along with the Raider Ascendancy, Blood Rage, and Necromantic Aegis mechanic to reliably generate frenzy charges for both mobs and bosses. When combined with fast melee skill with a small army of venomous critters, the poison stacks really quickly, and is able to take down tough enemies. Definitely a hipster build for those who feel they're too cool to follow the Cyclone Slayer meta.
Pros and Cons
+ Flicker Strike! Fun, unpredictable, Fast!
+ Fun hybrid play style of minion and melee that works off of each other
+ As a off-meta build, the gears are dirt cheap, and can work with less than 1-2 ex budget
+ Can start the build as early as level 53
+ Hefty amount of life paired up with a good balance of dodge, evasion, and physical damage reduction makes the build relatively tanky
+ Can clear red tier maps without huge investments
+ Personal opinion, but looks pretty cool even without the MTX
+ Hipster af
- Flicker Strike...can be difficult to target specific enemies for legion monoliths
- Some map mods like hexproof or phys reflected might not be the most ideal
- End gears to min max can be a bit more costly
- Not the strongest leech/regen, expect to pop life flasks occasionally during boss fights
- Works best when melee is paired with minions
- Hope you have a good computer and/or be okay with lower graphics since Flicker Strike can cause crashes with this buggy league
Welp, since it'll take a while to get a new computer, I tried to record as best as possible with the laptop. Sorry about the lagginess, but hope this clears up how the build is played! More (hopefully better quality) videos to come.
Flicker Strike heavily relies on what is called frenzy charges, as the skill takes away a frenzy charge to continue the skill without being on cool-down. Most common way to generate these charges is by killing enemies, but this makes it difficult to fight bosses, where you can't reliably kill enemies all the time.
Thankfully, the new flicker strike has 15% chance to generate a frenzy charge ON HIT, which can be further bumped up to 20% when the gem has 20% quality. On top of that, the Raider ascendancy gives us 10% to generate a frenzy charge when you hit a rare or unique monster, giving us up to 30% reliable way to generate frenzy charges for bosses. Considering that we are using a Multistrike Support gem, that gives us 30 * 3 = 90% chance, but this is still not enough. To properly flicker through a boss, we need 100% or more chance to generate frenzy charge ON HIT. How then, do we generate more frenzy charges? Drum-roll please...
This is a keystone that gives your minions all the stats and buffs of your equipped shield instead of gaining the stats and buffs yourself. We are using a unique shield that not only gives frenzy charges ON HIT, but also power charges, which gives more critical strike chance, to your allies. Pair these two things up and you get an army of minions that constantly gains frenzy and power charges for EACH OTHER AND YOU, as you are considered the minions' ally. Speaking of your minions, it's time for you to meet your many legged friends...
Herald of Agony:
An interesting herald minion skill that relies on what's called virulence. More you poison an enemy, the more virulence your agony crawler will have, and more damage it will give. Other minions cannot stack virulence, so you have to do the actual poisoning to stack it. Virulence disappears fairly fast, but the sheer speed of Flicker Strike allows the stack to be above 30 all the time. Once the stacks of virulence disappears, so does the agony crawler minion. This minion will be your second biggest damage other than from your Flicker Strike skill.
A skill exclusive to the unique dagger Arakaali's Fang. Putting support gems in the weapon will affect the spiders that you summon. You can summon 2 spiders when you (1) kill an enemy and (2) have a corpse to consume. This means that when there are 10 corpses nearby before you kill an enemy, you can spontaneously summon 20 (the maximum) number of spiders. This can be easily done through the skill Desecrate, and the use of the flask Writhing Jar.
The spiders have a vital roll to play in this build, as they are a source of both poison and frenzy charge stacks. Since the shield gives 5% to generate frenzy charge ON HIT, and there are 20 spiders, that gives us roughly 1 spider generating a frenzy charge for you every time 20 spiders attack once. While their poison damage of individual spiders might not be as strong as that of agony crawler's, the quantity of the spiders certainly make up for the weaker damage. This is important because of how the poison mechanic works.
Poison is an ailment that depends on physical and chaos damage to inflict onto an enemy. Poisons can stack cumulatively, so the faster you can stack the poison within certain duration, the more damage it deals. We need to manually give the minions chance to poison so that the poisons could stack faster. Damage, damage over time, chaos damage, poison damage, increased poison duration, accuracy, and attack speed all helps increasing the poison DPS.
Critical chance and multipliers are two different things. Chance allows more probability to crit, while the multiplier increases the damage IF you crit. Both are very important in this build because of the keystone Perfect Agony.
30% of the critical multiplier can also be applied to damage multiplier for ailments for the cost of 30% less damage with hits. Worth it only when you have enough critical multiplier and chance along with high poison damage multiplier to offset the 30% less damage with hits.
Secret Mechanic (Don't tell GGG!)
Not sure if it's a bug, but when a strike skill (such as Flicker Strike) hits the icicles from Frost Wall or Vaal Glacial Hammer, the splash creates a "shotgun" effect, meaning multiple splashes overlap and causes a very concentrated damage. Since this is a poison build relying on fast stacks of poison, this works wonders for bosses. Just cast several Frost Walls before flickering in, and see the enemy health pool drain like crazy.
Bandits: Kill All
Level 88 Passive Tree
Leveling might not be the most fun, but this guide made by Yagamai seem to work really well. For this build, you can try to grab the minion nodes near scion, then re-spec once you reach level 53. Another great way to level is to grab Hunter's Gambit node instead of Adder's Touch, and level with Scourge Arrow with the bow Quill Rain (check out the gem links here). Just make sure to carry around a mana potion, as this is very mana costly, and respec after you are finished leveling.
Dexterity and Passive Point:
Normal Labyrinth. Ascendants do not get much stronger until they finish Cruel and Merciless Labyrinth. Start heading towards the Ranger's path, and just bear with it until you can finish the next level labyrinth.
Pathfinder and Strength:
Cruel Labyrinth. Congrats on getting the Pathfinder node! You are now one more step closer to constantly flickering! with the one more Ascendancy passive point, invest in the Strength node heading towards the Marauder's path.
Passive Point and Juggernaut:
Merciless Labyrinth. Juggernaut is arguably far better than Assassin as not being able to be stunned is HUGE for Flicker Strike builds. Not only that, but you'll be generating endurance charges constantly, which will help with the physical damage reduction. The +1000 accuracy is a huge plus for a crit/poison related build without having to invest much into the tree. Take it.
Passive Tree and Path of the Ranger:
Eternal Labyrinth. Path of the Ranger is not the most essential aspect of the build, but it does save and give us more passive points. Take away the dexterity nodes and the jewel node near the Perfect Agony once this is acquired.
*Keep in mind that Raider was my personal choice since I like the constant flickering without the need of Frenzy. Other very viable options can include Slayer (For leech and physical damage reflect negation), Champion (For DPS and replacement of Fortify), Pathfinder (For spammable flasks), and Trickster (For better mana sustain, damage, and frenzy/power charge). Huge thanks to PathOfMeow for pointing it out!*
Soul of Lunaris (Major):
Great for farming mobs and clearing maps fast. Since worms from Writhing Jar counts as enemy, you can get physical damage reduction from the worms for a brief moment. Try to get the extra powers as well, as they help a lot.
Soul of Shakari (Minor):
Extra chaos resistance never hurts. When you get the extra power, you will be immune to poison as well. This is huge, since we just have to focus on immunity to bleeding from flasks afterwards
Arakaali's Fang is the core of the build. This unique dagger allows you to summon 2 spiders when you kill and consume a corpse. You can summon up to 20 spiders at a time. Since each spider uses the skill Viper Strike, when you put support gems into the dagger, you end up having a mini army of poison stacking spiders that uses a 4-link skill.
Victario's Charity gives your spiders and your agony crawler Frenzy Charge and Power Charge as you hit and kill your enemies. This means that the minions will have faster attack speed and better critical chance, both of them which are beneficial to stacking stronger poisons. This shield paired up with Necromantic Aegis is one of the main ways of generating frenzy charges for your Flicker Strike.
Sinvicta's Mettle is a great weapon to have in your secondary slot. Not only can you socket gems to level and sell, but if you briefly switch to this weapon while flickering and change back, you now also have rampage, giving you movement speed, damage, and other buffs. This is an optional weapon though, and the build works perfectly without it.
Dendrobate is a great body armour for any poison build. When you 6-link this item, you also get level 10 lesser poison, essentially making it into a 7-link item. The difficult part about this item is trying to get your dexterity and intelligence high enough to use it to the fullest potential, but this can be done through other items quite easily. Right now, this body armour 6-linked is sold for very little, making this the BIS for broke exiles like me.
Belly of the Beast might be a good alternative if you want a more defensive build with higher life pool. It also provides 50% increased life recovery rate from flasks, which is great for a build that doesn't focus on leech and life regen as much. However, using this item over Dendrobate will significantly decrease the poison damage and will cost more, so I would still recommend Dendrobate over this.
Rare Shaper or Elder gloves with life, elemental resistance, attributes, attack speed and/or "socketed gems are supported by" mods is the BIS. I highly recommended the "socketed gems are supported by #__ poison", but a regular gloves with life, elemental resistance, attributes, and/or attack speed will work as well.
The Embalmer is a great alternative that goes along really well with a poison build because of the increased poison duration that it grants. These gloves are perfect to put the Herald of Agony gem into, since it will make the skill into a 5-link. For a cheap item, the Embalmer provides a lot of poison damage, life, and chaos resistance.
Any amulet with good resistances, attributes, and/or high life would work well with the build. If you really have a lot of currency to spare, you can get an amulet with the corrupted mod, "you can apply an additional curse", since you can curse more than the one from the Witchfire Brew. This is purely optional though, as curses are not a huge aspect of the build.
Maligaro's Cruelty is a great alternative since it grants you Frenzy Charges and Power Charges, which means more and stronger poison stacks. Not only that, but the charges directly increases the poison damage and the duration, making it a very strong yet cheap poison amulet.
Rare boots with a lot of life, elemental resistance, movement speed, and/or attributes are a good choice. If you have the currency, try to get a Shaper or an Elder boots, as they may give additional benefits to the socketed gems.
A good rare belt with life, resistance, and flask related mods would be preferable. Stygian Vise belt allows you to socket an eye jewel for additional benefit, which helps with the lack of jewel sockets allocated on the skill tree.
Bone Helmet gives minions increased damage, so it's a solid base. If you can get Shaper or Elder helmet, that could be even better. Like most other equipment, focus on life, elemental resistance, attributes, etc. If you can somehow acquire the Flicker Strike enchantment, that would be the icing on the cake.
Rare rings with life, elemental resistance, attributes, and/or other mods are usually the best. Not many unique rings can top this, except maybe really expensive ones like The Taming.
*Try to find Aspect of Crab skill on a rare gear, as this is a great source of physical damage reduction. For me, I have it on my boots.*
You want a good life flask that preferably has some form of instant recovery and either bleeding or freezing removal. The Writing Jar provides worms that you can kill for not only frenzy charges, but also to proc spiders after using Desecrate. Atziri's Promise is a huge boost to your DPS, and it also allows you to leech from chaos damage. Witchfire Brew is an amazing offensive and defensive flask, as it not only increases your poison and ailment damage, but also increases your evasion and blinds nearby enemies. For the final flask, you can use a diamond flask for better crit chance, or use quartz flask to move through the Frost Walls better (look at the secret mechanics section).
Focus on jewels with increased maximum life, attack speed, accuracy, increased damage over time, increased poison duration, minion have chance to blind (minion have chance to taunt has no effect due to Herald of Agony). We want a combination of regular jewels and abyss jewels here, especially if you plan to equip a Stygian Vise belt.
Flicker Strike - Multistrike - Melee Splash - Fortify - Added Chaos Damage - Vile Toxins / Unbound Ailments / Melee Physical Damage
Since the chest gives a free Lesser Poison Support, this technically makes a 6-link a 7-link. Getting 3 red sockets on Dendrobate will be difficult but very worth it. The gems for the most part are very flexible so experiment with different combinations that fits your needs the best.
It is very important that you raise the quality of the Flicker Strike gem, as that gives 5% additional chance to gain frenzy charge ON HIT. While that doesn't sound like much, every little bit counts in bossing.
Herald of Agony - Vicious Projectiles - Poison - Damage on Full Life - Minion Damage
If you don't have an elder gloves that provides Poison Support, you can manually put a gem instead. Still, it is highly recommended that you get elder gloves as it greatly improves the DPS.
Cast when Damage Taken - Immortal Call - Convocation - Desecrate
This is your emergency safety gems. Because you generate endurance charges all the time, you will benefit greatly from Immortal Call. Convocation allows the minions to come to you in case they are too far away, and Desecrate gives you corpses that you can turn into spiders in a pinch. Keep your CWDT gem level 1 and make sure other gems do not go over the level requirement of 38.
Desecrate - Blood Rage - Vengeance - Frost Wall / Flesh Offering
Here you have another Desecrate that isn't bounded by CWDT gem so that you can manually create corpses for spiders/offering. Always use Blood Rage before flickering as it provides a chance to gain frenzy charges on kill, life leech, and attack speed all at once. Both Frost Wall (check out the secret mechanics section) and Flesh Offering are viable choices, but I tend to use Frost Walls more. Hopefully GGG doesn't change the mechanics, but if they do, just switch over to Flesh Offering.
Melee Splash - Poison - Multistrike / Minion Damage / Blind
Both Multistrike Support and Minion Damage Support provides a big boost in DPS while Blind Support gives more utility. If you have a good jewel that provides a percentage of blinding enemies, you don't need the Blind Support.
Shield Charge - Blood Magic - Faster Attacks
You should regen enough life so that Blood Magic does not matter very much. Shield Charge should allow you to travel around the map fairly quickly.
I was surprise how well this build worked. I was able to complete many Red Tier maps with ease despite the fact that the game itself is very buggy at the moment, and is not the most Flicker Strike build friendly.
I have yet to take any videos, but I will update them as soon as possible. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know, and I'll try my best to answer all of them. Have a great day exiles.
Last edited by MensisXIII on Jul 11, 2019, 12:26:37 PM
Last bumped on Jul 14, 2019, 12:54:48 AM
on Jul 5, 2019, 5:20:27 AM
Hi, thanks for the guide, it fits perfectly for what I am looking for. I love flicker strike and I've wanted to try the herald of agony. Flicker strike has the issue of being a bad boss killing skill and I'm looking for a single target skill or mechanic to make it an allround build. I played a molten- and flickerstrike fire ascendant before and I'm playing a frenzy-flicker strike slayer now but your build looks like a lot of fun as well and perhaps the poison mechanic works good for single target. So I have a couple of questions:
1) could you please make some vids?
2) how far have you cleared with this build sofar?
3) can you tell some more about the playstyle vs t16 / shaper? Is it flicker a bit to stack poison and then move out and let the poison do its work?
on Jul 8, 2019, 1:55:24 PM
Hey, thanks for the wonderful question. I personally play on a laptop and with the lag spikes and everything, it's difficult for me to create a smooth video. However, I will try my best to post some soon knowing that people are at least interested in the idea!
As term of how far I went with this build, I cleared up to tier 15 maps relatively easily. I'm usually not the kind to push up to Shaper and Elder because until recently I was just a student and play relatively casually. However, now that you bring it up, I am pretty curious how it would work with those bosses. The only thing that I would worry about is avoiding projectiles with the t16 and Shaper/Elder, since as you know, Flicker Strike is unpredictable.
Usually, bossing is pretty safe because my minions blind them all the time, and my Witchfire Brew also improves my evasion a lot. On top of everything, I have both Acrobatics, Phase Acrobatics, and roughly about 40% physical damage reduction without using Armour. I have to admit, I've been lazy to buy really good gears that includes chaos resistance and insanely high life, so if I invest in them, I think I can handle chaos damage related bosses much better as well. Even with very low budget, I capped my elemental resistance and went easily over 5100 life.
With that said, I rarely had to move out and let the poison do its work. Just lay down some Frost Walls to get the boss "stuck" between them, then facetank while benefiting from the secret mechanic. Usually, the boss fight lasts around 15-30 seconds, and I use the life flask and the Writhing Jar whenever I see my life go below half. 9 out of 10 times, I finish the fight before running out of all the flasks, and if not, I simply teleport out, re-summon the spiders, and go back in again to finish the job.
I hope this answered some of your questions! If more people want it, I'll start working on the Path of Building to get more accurate version of this build. Let me know if you have more things to ask :)
Last edited by MensisXIII on Jul 9, 2019, 6:32:22 PM
on Jul 9, 2019, 6:02:59 PM
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer.
I'm leveling a scion now to give this build a try :)
Maybe I missed it but what about bandits? kill all for 2 points?
You mention using Frost Wall which I haven't seen in any Flicker Strike guide, how does this work exactly?
Last question, why the raider ascendancy? With 3.7 a 20% quality Flicker Strike +support gems + Blood Rage is plenty to keep flickering most of the time. With Frenzy you can gain some quick charges when you run out. But your build has 20 spiders helping with the frenzy charges via the shield and a passive. I don't think the raider ascendancy is nessecary. Wouldn't the champion be a better fit?
on Jul 9, 2019, 7:11:10 PM
Hey, great to hear back from you again! You're absolutely right, I should have put that you should kill bandits for 2 points.
The Frost Wall part is explained in the mechanics section of the guide. Essentially, in POE reddit, someone posted a finding that most people overlooked. When a melee gem has "strike" as a gem tag and has melee splash attached to it, and it hits walls of ice such as ones from Frost Wall or Vaal Glacial Hammer, multiple splash effect instantaneously affects nearby target(s). Here is a link so you can see (https://www.reddit.com/r/pathofexile/comments/c3dr8s/strike_skills_with_melee_splash_shotgun_icewall/). This makes the poison stack really quickly and cause the boss to die within 10-30 seconds. As far as I can tell, and what I read from the patch notes, this haven't been patched yet, and so far it seems to work for me just fine. Again, if this doesn't fit your playing style, another option is to switch it up with Flesh Offering. I think using Vaal Haste could be a great alternative option as well.
Honestly, the Raider ascendancy was my personal choice. I like Flicker Strikes that sustains without the use of Frenzy, and the 10% on the boss felt right to me (without it, we're missing 10 * 3 = 30% chance to gain frenzy charge, which I thought was huge for a Flicker Strike build). Also since poison relies on quick consecutive attacks, I thought that constantly flickering would be great way to have a consistent damage, at least for bossing. However, if you do not mind the occasional Frenzy, then I think there are other great choices out there too. Like you said Champion would be a great way to boost DPS, while Slayer could add much more survivability with the leech. Pathfinder can also work well since this build already uses a lot of flasks to boost the DPS and occasionally re-summon the spiders. I would also say Assassin, but the Flicker Strike already has 100% to poison with Herald of Agony and Lesser Poison from Dendrobate, so it would seem like a waste, unless you plan to use something like The Belly of the Beast instead. I would probably recommend Trickster over Assassin if you chose the Path of the Shadow.
Since this build has much potential, I feel like there are many different ways of playing it. Don't feel like my way is absolutely the right way, and feel free to experiment with other classes! Hope this helps, and do let me know if you decide to find out if the Raider's 10% Frenzy on hit is redundant :)
Last edited by MensisXIII on Jul 9, 2019, 11:54:09 PM
on Jul 9, 2019, 11:21:49 PM
Sir can you post a video pls
on Jul 10, 2019, 12:06:18 AM
Hello! Sorry that I haven't posted a video yet. Playing on a laptop instead of a computer, so the videos are a bit blurry and jerky. When I get on a good desktop, I'll make sure the first thing I do is to post the videos.
By the way, I just checked out your CWC cyclone build. It looks amazing!
Last edited by MensisXIII on Jul 10, 2019, 12:51:28 AM
on Jul 10, 2019, 12:30:02 AM