[3.8]Cobra Lash | League Starter To Game End Below 1EX | UBER Elder deathless | Detailed Guide

Hi Guys, Poison builds got a huge buff in 3.8 with more support on passive tree and new poison skills added into the game. This build revolves around Cobra Lash and Plague Bearer from league starter to end game.

I started this league with this build and have been getting good results with this

I stream sometimes on https://www.twitch.tv/astariftt playing and testing out different builds every now and then.

Uber elder deathless

T16 guardian map clears
Minotaur: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNQSQeoV9zY

PHoenix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qin6iDE6yo
terrible map mods for this build
Its an elder boss this map so i didnt take the video

Depth 262 Aul

*will be adding more videos as time comes

Cobra Lash explanation

New skill in 3.8, fires a projectile that deals 50% phys and 50% chaos damage with extra added chaos damage and chains up to extra 5 targets(gem lvl 17 onwards)
Can only be used with claws and daggers, we chose claws because the projectile you fire using daggers is ugly
Has a 40% chance to poison and a +50% damage over time multiplier for poison from critical strikes.

This skill fully compliments the assassin playstyle as it centers around poison also having crit as an extra poison damage multiplier

Plague Bearer explanation

There is 2 modes for this skill, incubating and infecting mode
Incubating mode reduces the damage of your poisons by 20%, adds 40% of the expected poison damage into a "buff storage". This effectively cause your poisons to deal 80% of their usual damage and "save" 32% of their usual damage in the counter.

Infecting mode is where you release the poison that is accumulated from incubating dealing damage around you just like how righteous fire work. This deals 12% of the accumulated damage in an area around you every second for 8.3 seconds(to fully release)
The damage per second is calculated as of when you use the skill and it will always take 8.3 second to fully release even if you use it without fully capping the storage.
Infecting damage is not modified by any form of increased damage you have in your passive tree, items whatsoever.
However, there are two way to scale up the damage. First, using the empower support gem to increase the gem level to effectively increase the cap for the "buff storage". Sadly, Plague bearer does not scale very well past lvl 20 (from lvl 20-24 with lvl 21 gem and lvl 4 empower, it goes from 1mil to 1.3mil)
Secondly, you can cause your enemies to take increased damage in the form of curse or debuffs. Some ways to increase damage taken are like Shock, Aspect of spider, Despair curse. This is where skitter bots and witchfire brew shines.

This is a very important skill you have to juggle around to have the most effective and fast clear. We do not need Bino's or poison proliferation to have great clear

Skitterbots OP OP

It may seem extremely weird to include skitterbots in the skill set up for this build because skitterbots seemed to be built for mines
However, skitterbots is an extremely huge dps upgrade.
Skitterbots summons 2 fast moving skitterbots that follows you and aggressively seeks out enemies and debuff enemies around them with a chilling aura or shocking aura. What we want here is the shocking aura, it provides a 20% more damage taken debuff on enemies(gets higher as you level the gem) and it is 1 of the best way to scale poison and plague bearer.

Attack with cobra lash, stack plague bearer, turn on plague bearer+flask then on withering steps and walk thru all the mobs. Look at the videos at the end of the guide to see how it works.

Due to how poison scales, we dont really use much unique items. Just by using a 6L, we can jump in to t16 with ease. The only thing to note is to always have more than 5k HP just so you dont get 1 hitted

Why Assassins?
Because crits are fun, assassins got buffed this league with an extra survival layer(elusive, will have an explanation later), poison is the new fun meta other than summoners

League start viable
Definitely has a budget version, went up to uber elder with items not costing over an ex
Walks past enemies to kill them
Great clear speed
Fast movement and attack speed, very fluid playstyle
Uses claw instead of daggers, LGoH is great, Cobra lash projectile looks better
High attack/spell dodge with elusive
We can do every map mods in the game, just that some might be harder

Feels bad until you have a 6L(i went all the way to t8 maps with a 4L)
Mana cost might be taxing until you get a -mana cost craft
Squishy if dodge fails
Poison mechanics can be very confusing to scale properly
Bad combinations of map mods might not be doable

Poison Mechanics Explanation
Only if you want to further understand the mechanics and how poison builds in PoB work


To make it simple, poison only scales off the base damage dealt, to prevent double dipping. With this, flat added chaos/physical damage are very strong.
Poison's damage can be very inflated in PoBs because stats like increased duration, number of poisons on target can drastically change the total dps number.
PoB's poison damage is calculated based off having you constantly attacking and not moving for 1 whole duration of a poison. Example, your poison last for 6 second, pob's calculation is assuming you stand on the spot and constantly attack for 6 seconds.
Use attack/second multiplied by poison duration, you will get the effective number of poisons on the target. With this, temporal chains are effectively really really strong with poisons(if you can get +1 curse and put it in the build)

**do let me know if any of what i had written is wrong

My PoB is built around being able to maintain the buffs(despair and wither), flask uptime. I do not use blood rage because i dont want to add in more buttons and having to constantly keep it up

Also, number of poisons on the target is set to 10(if the number goes up, so will the dps)

POB and skilltree

Budget version
The only potentially expensive gear here is a 6l high life chest
*the jewel is set to calculate the dps mistwalker ascendency gives
This is the pob i use before i transit to the expensive version

Richer version, if you have extra 7-10ex to spare
There are lots of changes because we start to use farrul's fur and frenzy charges with 100% uptime
I changed to this after i completed the atlas, after i spent 1.3k fusing to 6L my farrul's fur

** We need 114 int(lvl 21 added chaos damage) any extra does not matter as much. 95 str is required for farrul's fur, else str would not be much of an issue


1: Noxious strike
2: Toxic Delivery
3: Mistwalker
4: Opportunistic

DPS comes first, poison needs to get as much scaling as possible so it doesnt feel slow

Mapping and Map mods

We can effectively do all map mods in the game, with some notable troublesome mods like:
No leech: we just need to use a mana flask or if we upgrade from wasp nest to using a rare claw, choose gemini claw for the mana gain on hit. Else this is just an inconvenient mod

Chance to avoid poisons on hit up to 65%: this is a terrible mod that effectively reduces our dps by 60ish%. For clearing, its not much of an issue because plague bearer can bear the task. However, for bosses, it might be tougher due to the reduction in dps

Monster has increased life: I have seen this mod go up to 75% more life. This alone is not dangerous, however if it is paired with chaos resist and avoiding poisons, i would not suggest doing this combination.

Monsters hits are lucky, you have less evasion: This increases our chances to be hit, can be rippy if paired with more damage mods

+chaos/elemental resist: self explanatory, more resist = less damage dealt

tldr; Avoid poisons+morelife+chaos resist combined in 1 map = dangerous, anything else, its a breeze



Importance from left to right, right being the last to add in when you have a 3l
On Weapon1
Plague Bearer-Increased AoE-Empower support

There is no other way to scale plague bearer's dps other than empower, so increased aoe is there to increased our aoe

If we are using a more expensive version of this build, we stop using wasp's nest and we will have a crafted claw

With this and a lvl 4 empower, we will reach lvl 26 plague bearer, which brings a 1mil(at lvl 20) plague bearer to 1.4mil(at lvl 26)

On Weapon2
Withering steps-Enhance Portal

Withering steps dont get much after lvl 21, you get 8% increased elusive effect with a lvl 3 enhance(4% from lvl 3 empower)

** if running +1 curse chest, we will link temporal chains to blasphemy here and have withering steps unlinked

On Armor
Cobra Lash-Greater Multiple Projectile-Deadly Ailments-Added Chaos damage-Unbound Ailments-Vile Toxins

Level 21 Cobra Lash and Added Chaos Damage is a good dps boost. Gem swap Vicious projectile for GMP when you need single target damage fast

On Helm
Wither-Spell Totem-Multiple Totem-Increased Duration

This is very much required for single target damage

On Gloves
Precision-Summon Skitterbots-Herald Of Agony-Enlighten

Level Precision to somewhere where you can reserve your mana comfortably, we need to level it because this build lacks accuracy. We want to have 100% hit chance against non evasive mobs

On Boots
Whirling Blades-Faster Attacks-Blood Magic-Fortify

We need blood magic to spam Whirling Blades, we keep fortify with it too.


Wasp's Nest. Nothing comes close until you can afford/craft a Gemini claw with 60%chance for poisons to deal 100% more damage. This carried me all the way to end game and i am still using it.
Try to get high rolls on crit/attack speed

The next level is to start crafting your own/buy a better weapon. We will need to use corroded, metallic, shuddering to craft this
Mods we want, priority by order
60% chance to deal 100% more poison dmg with this wep(this is effectively a 60% more poison damage if you are using both weps with this affix)
T1/t2 attack speed, this is required
Empty prefix to craft phys + chance to blind
Flat chaos damage, a wep with this roll requires you to use aberrant instead of metalic, but it runs the risk of rolling the bleed version of the 100% more damage mod
Poison duration, if poisons last longer, we can deal more damage, simple
Poison damage

The ones i am using, they cost around 1 ex, although i crafted the 1st wep myself
1st wep with +socketed skill gems level

2nd wep

The ideal form of this weapon is:
60% chance for poison to deal 100% more dmg
flat chaos
crafted phys+chance to blind

t1 attack speed
poison duration
crit chance

Alternatively, we can instead have 1 of the claws with a "hits cant be evaded mod", this frees up alot of accuracy requirement for the build

Body armor

Body armor is pretty much a free slot for you to explore, honestly there is no mandatory body armor to use, unless you are following the farrul's fur version of this build

Budget version:
tabula rasa, random corrupted 6l in the trade with the correct colour +life, +resist

Less budget version:
High life, 4blue 2 green socket 6L chest

Not so budget version:

Farrul's fur allows you to have a 100% and almost 100% uptime on frenzy and power charges. This is a good dps boost

Alternatively, an Elder body armor with
1: High life
2: %life gain on kill
3: Supported by maim(roughly a 4% more damage but requires more mana/cast)
4: +1 curse


Life, resist, added physical damage, attack speed and accuracythese are the main mods to look out for

We will only be using a rare gloves on this slot. Make sure resist is capped, then maximise your life.
Some int/str would be good here to hit the required stats

*projectile damage do not affect poison damage


Life, resist, Movement speed are you best friend here
Mods like spell dodge(temple mod) are especially good here
Some int/str would be good here to hit the required stats


High life, High resist, same logic as boots and gloves slot.
Would be good to get the -chaos resist aura from fossil crafting
Lab enchant:
Plague Bearer deals Damage based on an additional 5% of Plague Value
Plague Bearer Buff grants #% to Poison Damage over Time Multiplier while Infecting

Cobra lash chains extra target is good, but expensive, doesnt help with single target dps


We will choose an amulet with life, resist, Flat physical damage, accuracy and open prefix to craft flat chaos/-mana cost

**not budget version with +1 curse chest armor
Solstice Vigil
This allows us to reserve blasphemy temporal chains for free, definitely not the budget version because this is expensive(2ex as of now)
Also requires you to get a +1 curse chest armor(cost 3ex to craft)

Extra notable from amulets

We will want more damage from this notable, because more damage is always good. I will only list out all the good damage notables, because the good life notables are very obvious

Anything with golden oil = expensive. You should not use it until you get an amulet that is worth more than ex/really perfectly rolled or good stats/solstice vigil

Going by best to worse

Depth Perception: crit and accuracy. Amber Verdant Teal, cheap **if you cant cap accuracy
Corruption: Chaos dmg, chaos dmg multi, dmg over time. Crimson black black, cheap for the damage it provides
Claws of the Pride: Damage, attack speed if you used movement skill recently. amber violet violet, cheap for the damage it provides
Dire torment: Crit and extra poison damage multiplier on crit. Azure Crimson Opalescent, slightly expensive
Method to the Madness: increased chaos damage, chaos dmg multi. Verdant teal silver. Moderately expensive
Claws of the Falcon: accuracy, damage, crit multi(effectively 15% multi because of perfect agony) amber amber golden, expensive
Atrophy: increased chaos dmg, chaos dmg multi. Clear sepia golden, expensive
Growth and Decay: increased damage over time, chaos dmg multi, clear teal golden, expensive

Anything with golden oil is expensive and not really worth the investment. Only use golden oils for huge life nodes

Life, resist, accuracy, flat phys and open prefix to craft -manacost/flat chaos

We use rare rings, dont need to look for any unique rings. Dont need elder/shaper ring either, so its not gonna be a huge cost sink until you want to min/max

I like to craft my aspect of cat on rings or belt

Life, resist, Strength, Stygian vise with flat chaos/phys abyss jewel if you can afford the stats

We use rare belts, good rolls = good enough
I like to craft my aspect of cat on rings or belt


Utility flasks are super important here
We need freeze, bleed, curse immunity

Mandatory flasks:
Witchfire brew: despair aura + withering steps + plague bearer, thats where the magic happens

Coralito's signature: Lots of dps from this, converts crit multi to poison damage multi

Life flask with anti bleed and catalyzing mod: sometimes we just need the life
Quicksilver with anti curse/freeze
Silver flask/quartz flask with anti curse/freeze. Silver flask for dps, quartz to make sure you can cap your dodge easily


We also use Rare jewels, all you need is life, poison duration, poison damage and chaos damage multiplier.
Watcher's eye not mandatory as we only use precision aura effectively


Solaris or Lunaris are good
Abberath because i hate floor on fire


Alira, more resist, crit multi and mana regen for the easy choice
However, 2 extra points can be good too if you can squeeze up to lvl 95+(to take the Claws of the Pride wheel)


You get Cobra Lash at level 1, thats your main skill the whole game
level 3 onwards
level 12 onwards
level 26 onwards
Path up to assassination, then pick up sleight of hand and entrophy, after that path towards the claw nodes and take them all, focusing on the leech node asap. Leech makes gameplay smoother
Early game 4L
Cobra lash-Lesser Poison-LMP-Deadly Ailments
Cobra lash-Lesser Poison-LMP-Deadly Ailments-Unbound Ailments-Vicious Projectiles

level 34 onwards
level 46 onwards
Path towards Entrophy, get the claw nodes on the way. Take life nodes accordingly as you need more life. You should have your 1st ascendency trial done, take noxious strike before changing out lesser poison support
Start using plague bearer for single target bosses, its really strong
Cobra lash-Added Chaos damage-GMP-Deadly Ailments
Cobra lash-Added Chaos damage-GMP-Deadly Ailments-Unbound Ailments-Vicious Projectiles/Vile toxins

Start using Wasp nest at level 60, huge dps boost
Damage nodes should all be taken at this point of time, 2nd ascendency should be done and 3rd one before act 10 kitava. Take damage nodes as a priority over life, unless you are dying one hit, which in this case u gotta balance your resist to be 75/75/75.
If done properly, 1-68 should be a breeze with a 6l, decently easy with a 4l

Take life nodes, the focus here is to never get hit, even if you do, no hits should take you out in 1 hit.
Make sure to have wither totems set up by this time, because it helps alot for single target in maps

Tabula makes life easy with an early 6l
I leveled to 80+ and managed to reach t8 maps with a 4L chest. 6L just make everything feels much better. Plague bearer is simply too strong early on when it hits lvl 20


added in t16 clear maps video
My Builds/Stream

Last edited by Astarift on Oct 10, 2019, 7:39:11 AM
Last bumped on Dec 17, 2019, 8:55:41 AM
My Builds/Stream

thx for the guide. skimmed over it real quick and it seems pretty comprehensive. I might try it as ive never even played a shadow before :)
How does it perform with the new content, eg blights and blighted maps?
Delves/Incursions/ULab should be fine, I assume?
So this can do all content but im just waiting the leveling section.
So this can do all content but im just waiting the leveling section.

Getting on to this once I get home later

ChinCha123 wrote:
thx for the guide. skimmed over it real quick and it seems pretty comprehensive. I might try it as ive never even played a shadow before :)
How does it perform with the new content, eg blights and blighted maps?
Delves/Incursions/ULab should be fine, I assume?

It's pretty easy for blight/blighted maps, I just turn on my plague bearer combo and walk over the blight lines, they die instantly most of the time
For incursion, gotta be careful of the shooters, they can be bw dangerous for rippy mods
Delve is pretty much ez mode too just like blight
Uber lab shouldn't be a problem I managed to do it with no issues on my budget version
My Builds/Stream

Good you put the leveling thread seems pretty fun. this is my starter for sure so atm im on act 2 almost finish, any opinions or budget uniques suggestions? should just use the 6L that u show on leveling process? or level the other gems on the side just without using it atm. til have mana or something?
Thank you for the detailed guide! I am currently leveling this build and had a question about your guide.

In the written guide for the helm gems you list Wither-Spell Totem-Multiple Totem-Increased Duration however in your Budget Version POB you have a second Plague Bearer in place of the Increased Duration. Which is the correct setup?

Also in your Budget Version POB, a number of the gems are sub level 20. Is that for Attribute Level Requirement considerations or is that just where your gems were when you saved the POB?
Last edited by psimana on Sep 20, 2019, 6:25:14 AM
Good you put the leveling thread seems pretty fun. this is my starter for sure so atm im on act 2 almost finish, any opinions or budget uniques suggestions? should just use the 6L that u show on leveling process? or level the other gems on the side just without using it atm. til have mana or something?

Most uniques are pretty standard for leveling, Goldrim and wanderlust for helm/boots, tabula(if you can afford/find one), the other slots is quite fluid as you level.

For early levels i suggest getting
2 of these

level 3 onwards

level 12 onwards

level 26 onwards

level 34 onwards

level 46 onwards

of course, if its your league starter it might be pretty taxing to change from unique claws to unique claws, so i will suggest picking up rare claws and use them if they have high physical damage rolls. Our main dps scaling while leveling is based off physical damage on weapons
My Builds/Stream

Last edited by Astarift on Sep 20, 2019, 1:33:38 AM
The guide is very detailed. Looking good with the clear speed of the plague bearer.

Will try this out!
Yeah, I choose your guide to go my first Cobra Lash build in this league. Thank you very much :). Hope you can update it soon if possible

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