[3.9] Complete Cobra Lash Assassin Guide | >10m Shaper DPS | All content | Noob Friendly | Video
Cobra Lash Poison Assassin
I've created this guide in 3.8 and updated it for 3.9. Cobra Lash as a Skill remains mostly unaffected from 3.8 to 3.9, recieving a rework to how it is affected by different terrain levels (this is a positive fix) and it is affected by some monster and item-mod reworks. All monsters now have more armour, elemental and chaos resistance, so every build is affected by this in the same way, not a nerf specifically for CL. Item changes are pointed out in the relevent Gear category of the guide. 3.9 changed the location of the Ambidexterity node on the passive tree, which made me rework the passive tree - as pointed out in the relevant guide section below.
All in all, CL wasn't really buffed nor nerfed but should feel a little better when it comes to terrain level differences.
Last updated: Check the edit date below. ;)
I have played this Cobra Lash Assassin in 3.8 (Blight League) for ~300 hours so far and have min-maxed this build to a point where I felt I had to write a guide on it, so that others can also enjoy this build.
In this guide I will provide all that you need to know, from early game skilling and equipment over how-to-craft your own gear up to endgame equipment and skill choices.
- Fast mapper
- Great clear speed
- Great aoe
- Great single target damage (over 10m Shaper DPS)
- Can run all map mods (you outleech phys reflect)
- Great league starter with cheap basic equipment option
- Can be min-maxed a LOT, keeps you busy upgrading your equipment
- Has some BiS Uniques (which are usually cheap) and requires some Fossil-Crafting for BiS rares
- Not very tanky, relies on evasion and dodging
- Can have mana issues until your get -mana to unchanneled skills on your equipment and/or Gemini-Claws
- Takes some fiddling to find the right balance between damage and survivability
- Requires your attention while playing and a fair amount of button presses
EZ PoB Link:
3.8 Version https://pastebin.com/9i06dGsL
3.9 Version https://pastebin.com/DkaH7MN5 (Updated 01/2020
3.9 PoB-Fork Version https://pastebin.com/fRFEFnYW
Video Guide for Cobra Lash
Cobra Lash vs T15 Blight Map
Short Cobra Lash Highlight Compilation
Video Guide to Fossil Crafting
How To Cobra Lash
We chose Shadow as our Character to be able to chose Assassin as our Ascendancy.
Cobra Lash is a projectile skill that utilizes Poison Damage. Poison is an ailment that deals chaos damage over time to the affected target. A hit of damage that has a chance to poison is capable of inflicting poison. Only physical and chaos damage are able to inflict poison. (PoE-Wiki: Poison)
That being said, chaos damage is the most important source for your damage while your physical damage only plays a minor role.
Cobra Lash only shoots a 1 projectile stream, so you use the Greater Multiple Projectiles Support Gem (GMP) to increase this to 5 streams of projectiles whichs spread you can adjust by cursor placement.
You use Whirling Blades as your movement skill, which will be your primary means to move around; you don't run/walk at all apart from when you click items to loot.
Your basic gameplay will be to jump through maps using Whirling Blades (and occasionally Flame Dash if you need to cross gaps or have something blocking in front of you) and when you encounter a monsterpack you hop next to them, shoot a couple projectiles into them and then move on to the next pack. You will normally shoot 5 Projectiles (with GMP Gem) which each chain 5x (8x with Helmet enchant), so you can potentially hit 25 (40) monsters with 1 attack. With some attack speed on your gear and tree, you will do 5 or more attacks per second. That means that you can basically hit every monster in a pack within 1 second multiple times until they die - and with the given damage output you won't encounter any ordinary packs that survive for more then 1 second. You can keep the right mouse button (Cobra Lash) pressed while jumping around with Whirling Blades, which makes you start shooting as soon as you land somewhere.
This makes for very fluent gameplay and great mapping speed.
Click on any of the "Spoiler" boxes below, to unfold the specified part of the guide.
I will provide tipps on what items I deem to be BiS and what can be used in the process of acquiring these BiS items. Also I will provide detailled information on how to Fossil Craft these items exactly. I will also show my gear for reference, keep in mind though that I have invested a large amount on time in min-maxing my build, so you do NOT need to obtain gear on the level I currently have, to play and have fun with the build. You can use far worse items and still beat all game content without much trouble.
Fossil Crafting Guide for Beginners
We are using dual-wielded claws and during the early stages we can also equip daggers, since our passive tree will not be specialized yet anyways.
So equip any claws that you find until you can get your hands on and fulfill the level requirement for The Wasp Nest. The Wasp Nest is a very cheap but quite powerful weapon which you can wield until you are able to Fossil-Craft your own pair of Claws. If you are running into mana-sustain problems because you don't have enough "-x to total mana cost" you will want to use Gemini Claws due to their mana gained on hit implicit. If you however have enough -x to mana cost on your equipment (preferably enough to make your Cobra Lash cost 0 mana), you want to go for the highest dps claw: Imperial Claw.
Either base for crafting should be at least ilvl 83+, since that is the minimum requirement for the flat chaos damage prefix. Elder Influenced Claws and Hunter Influenced Claws offer some great mods aswell, but also add unwanted mods to the pool.
Use Aberrant, Corroded and Metallic Fossils in a 3-way Resonator to craft your claws. I know that Metallic Fossil seems weird, since it removes physical rolls from the pool, but with that it removes a lot of unwanted rolls and we can fill the whole 6-mods on the claw with better mods.
We are looking for these mods (roughly sorted by importance):
- 60% chance for Poisons inflicted with this Weapon to deal 100% more Damage (Delve Prefix)
- Adds (47–72) to (98–123) Chaos Damage (Prefix)
- Poisons you inflict deal Damage (13–15)% faster (Hunter Suffix)
- Adds (18–25) to (38–44) Chaos Damage/Attacks with this Weapon Penetrate (4–6)% Chaos Resistance (Hunter Influence)
- (26–27)% increased Attack Speed (Suffix)
- (35–38)% increased Critical Strike Chance (Suffix)
- +xx% increased Damage with Poison (Suffix / (Hunter Prefix))
- +(35–38)% to Global Critical Strike Multiplier (Suffix)
- Curse Enemies with Level 10 Despair on Hit (Delve Suffix) We only want this on one of the two claws. You can also use the Witchfire Brew Flask instead if you don't roll this mod!
(- (13–18)% increased Poison Duration (Suffix)) This mod no longer exists in 3.9
- open Prefix to craft either % inc. Phys. Damage and Blind or % inc. Chaos Damage.
As you can see, there are many great mods from Fossil crafting that we want on our claws and we don't need any of the physical rolls, that's why the Metallic Fossil makes sense.
I'm using these claws for reference:
As with all armour items we are looking for Evasion bases like Lion Pelt for example. In the early levels you can equip whatever evasion (or evasion-hybrid) base you can find. We want Life and Resistances during the leveling process.
For the Endgame Gear we will craft our own rare ilvl 84+ Lion Pelt using Aberrant and Pristine Fossils in a 2-way Resonator. You can also add Prismatic Fossil and use a 3-way Resonator.
Always use PoE Database to check on the potential Pre- and Suffixes and the rolls.
The important Delve rolls we want on the helmet is "Nearby Enemies have -9% to Chaos Resistance" and the Delve Life mod(Delve Life removed in 3.9, now we just want +xx maximum Life), along with the regular Life mod and any Resistances we can find.
If we have some exalts to spare, the helmet enchant "Cobra Lash chains 3 additional times" is probably the most costly piece of equipment for the build, which adds a great amount of damage in mapping clearspeed.
This is the helmet I am using for reference:
In 3.9, where you are fighting many single targets (bosses) you can also go for the 40% increased CL Damage Helmet enchant.
Early on use any 5L or 6L evasion (or evasion-hybrid) base that you can find. Using Tabula Rasa also works well in the early stages.
Endgame gear will be a ilvl 86+ Fossil crafted Elder Assassin's Garb or Elder Zodiac Leather.
Use these Fossils: Serrated & Pristine (and Prismatic if you need Resistances).
We want to get these Mods:
- Attacks have +(1.1–1.5)% to Critical Strike Chance (Elder-Suffix and Hunter Suffix)
- Socketed Attacks have -15 to Total Mana Cost (Delve Suffix)
- +(25–40) to maximum Life, (3–5)% increased maximum Life (Delve Prefix, removed in 3.9)
- (9–12)% increased maximum Life (Elder Prefix and Hunter Prefix)
- +(120–129) to maximum Life (Regular Prefix)
We don't mind Maim, % increased Dexterity or Resistances on the Body Armour. As you can see we have a large amount of very good Pre- and Suffixes, which makes it better for us to not use Prismatic Fossil on the Body Armour. It is unlikely to hit all of them though, so we have many outs while crafting, which is nice.
Here is what I am using:
Boots are one of the item slots that we use to get our Resistances on, since we are running into res-capping problems with all the awesome modifier possibilies on other item slots.
So we prioritise Life + Resistances on the boots and we don't care for movement speed at all, since we only use Whirling Blades to move around.
Find a pair of Dex/Int based ilvl 84+ Two-Toned Boots (with Evasion & ES) and craft them with only Pristine and Prismatic Fossils to preferably roll the regular Life mod (Prefix) and all three Resistances (3x Suffix). Get any Enchantment that you want.
These are mine:
We will use a nice Stygian Vise with Life and Resistances, nothing fancy here. You can also Fossil craft these.
For the Abyss Jewel inside we are looking for Flat Chaos Damage, AS, Life, DoT mods.
You can use (and modify) this trade-site search to find a good Abyss Jewel: Abyss Search. Depending on the state of the league and your equipment and currency, you will want to modify the search.
You can use any rare gloves with AS, Life and Res until you can afford
Fenumus' Weave. These gloves are BiS for Cobra Lash, because of the high damage boost they provide.
It's best to socket your other auras into the gloves, because any support gems you include will increase the mana cost of the Aspect of the Spider Skill. This is an aura by the way, so you only need to trigger it once and it will stay active until you die.
We use our Ring slots to fill up our missing Resistances. We also want +Life and -to mana cost on our Rings. Preferable Crafting option is +flat chaos damage. Use Ring slots to fill up any utility (Accuracy, Strength, Intelligence) you still need. Check out the new Mods the Hunter Influence provides.
These are mine for example:
Surprisingly another gear slot where a Fossil Crafted item is BiS.
Until you can craft your own Amulet, you can use any rare that fits the build (Life, Res, AS) or Maligaro's Cruelty
We will use an Elder (or Hunter ilvl 84 base with the primary stats that you are still missing (probably Str+Int). We will be using Aberrat and Pristine Fossil, because we are looking for these Delve mods:
- (20–30)% increased Chaos Damage (Prefix)
and these Elder mods:
- Gain (7–13)% of Non-Chaos Damage as extra Chaos Damage (Prefix)(this has been significantly nerfed in 3.9 (down to 3-5% from 7-13%, so not really worth it anymore)
- +(13–16)% to Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier (Suffix)
while we also want:
- +(80–89) to maximum Life (Prefix)
and all Resistances, Attack Speed and Crit Strike Chance/Multiplier.
If you manage to hit a few of these mods, you have a great Amulet.
This is what I'm using:
For Flasks we use Coralito's Signature as BiS. If we do NOT have Curse with Despair on Hit on our Weapon, we will also use Witchfire Brew. The rest is up to your personal preference, here is what I'm using:
Cinderswallow can easily be exchanged for a normal Onslaught (Silver) Flask with crafted Crit Chance on it (Mastermind Craft) or with another more defensive flask.
Finally as Jewels we have a great pool of mods that we can utilize and we can potentially also use Jewels to fill up our missing Resistances or Primary Stats like Str/Int. Been there, done that.
Here is another Trade-Website search that you can use to find good jewels for the build: Jewel Search - modify to your needs
Of course when min-maxing the build, you can also obtain awesome Watcher's Eyes for amazing damage increases. This is luxury and completely optional.
This is what I'm currently using:
Here are all my gear items in one spot for anyone that needs it as quick reference:
6L Setup Body Armour
Swap Vicious Projectiles Support in for Greater Multiple Projectiles on single target bosses if you want to. Because the damage output is so immense and many boss fights have minion phase I usually just leave GMP in the setup, even though this means it might take 2 seconds longer to kill the boss. :)
Obviously use Awakened Versions of skill gems when available...but that's not necessary at all. I haven't included them in the PoB, to make it more realistic.
4L Setup in Helmet
Please note, that I used Level 20 CwDT as a very lazy choice to autocast Withering Step and Blood Rage. This is however not recommended, I recommend to have CwDT at Level 1 and Immortal Call at Level 3 and to self cast Withering Steps and Blood Rage!
4L Setup in Gloves
(Please see the section "Alternative (leveling) Aura Setup")
4L Setup in Boots
3L Setup in Weapons
If you can get your hands on one of the Awakened Skill Gem version of the above named gems, obviously use that. Not a budget variant though.
For the last Ascendancy Points you can chose between any of the remaining options. While Unstable Infusion gives you the most damage with increased Critical Strike Chance from the Power Charges, Ambush and Assassinate gives you Culling Strike which can be useful on Boss encounters. Opportunistic is an option aswell, you decide.
League 3.9 Level 95 Tree
Because the Ambidexterity Passive Tree node was moved further to the right in 3.9, I have decided that it is a better choice to allocate Dire Torment in the Tree and anoint Ambidexterity on your Amulet using the NPC Cassia. This gives us a +10str and a +10 int node, which are very useful in this build. You can totally play around with the Passive Tree and see what suits your character and equipment best. Use Path of Building to make the most out of your character.
Tree on the PoE Website (not updated for 3.9 yet, please see above image and PoB): Tree
This is the PoB Pastebin code for the Level 95 Cobra Lash Assassin:
Depending on your gear, you can adjust your Passive Tree to suit your needs. For example you can chose some Accuracy nodes to get to 100% Accuracy if you are missing that on your equipment. You can also pick up the +30 Str/Int nodes on the bottom.
Bandits & Pantheon
Bandits: Kill them all (or chose to help Alira if you plan to use more Crit then currently in the tree)
Pantheon: Totally up to your preference and might need to be changed for each Boss encounter.
Weapons: Any rare or unique claws until Wasps Nest are fine. Most of you Damage comes from the Cobra Lash skill gem and its links.
Armour and Jewelry: Anything that gives you life and elemental resists. After Act 6, keep your elemental resists capped!
Tabula Rasa: Easy 6-link
Wanderlust & Nomic's Storm:You want to move faster, right?
Goldrim:Tons of elemental resists, no life though.
Praxis or Thief's Torment:Solves a mana problem caused by early 6-link.
Maligaro's Cruelty: Cheap and fitting Amulet
Use Witchfire Brew until you have Claws that give Despair on hit.
You recieve Cobra Lash in Act 1 already, so we can use our main skill during the entire leveling process.
At first we will only have access to and want to use Lesser Multiple Projectiles and Lesser Poison Support Gems. We need to max our Chance to Poison on Hit. Later this comes naturally, but at the start we have to fight for it. Once we have enough Chance to Poison on Hit, we can drop Lesser Poison Support.
4L/5L Setup: Add Unbound Ailments, Vile Toxins, Added Chaos Damage or Deadly Ailments. Add Greater Multiple Projectiles (GMP) once you can, do get the Endgame Cobra Lash experience (without the damage yet)
6L Setup: Add the remaining Gem named in 4L/5L which you haven't added yet. Remove GMP and use Vicious Projectiles for Bosses if you feel like you lack single target damage.
Passive Tree Leveling Progress
Since most of our Damage is provided by the Cobra Lash skill-gem-setup itself and it automatically increases as we level, we can primarily focus on survivability on the passive tree during the leveling phase.
For this we work our way from the Shadow starting location to the right and pick up Blood Siphon and its life nodes, then all the way down to Herbalism and over to the left to Heart of the Oak and pick up the life nodes in that area.
Pick up Chance to Poison on Hit whenever needed, for example Swift Venoms and Toxic Strikes.
Pick up Acrobatics and later Phase Acrobatics.
Pick up Bravery and its life nodes.
As you go, always make sure to have 100% Chance to Poison on Hit and try to cap your accuracy (this can be a pain sometimes, but you will still try).
Whenever you feel like your clear speed is too slow, pick up the damge nodes. Soul Raker and Claws of the Magpie first, then whatever best suits your situation (check for included poison chance, accuracy). Crit nodes will be picked up last. Jewels whenever you were able to grab some. Note that the Jewel slot in which I inserted my Watchers Eye is the worst node out of the 4 that we are going to take.
Grab and drop Int and Str whenever needed in the Beef and Wisdom of the Glade nodes.
Alternate (leveling) Aura Setup
Instead of using Malevolence and Precision you will want to be using Skitterbots and Herald of Purity during the leveling process and until you can easily sustain your mana (or have lowered the mana cost of Cobra Lash to 0). The Malevolence and Precision Aura setup is superior once you have no problem to reserve almost all Mana and if you get your hands on a nice Watchter's Eye Jewel which enhances those auras. So Malevolence and Precision can be seen as the Endgame Aura Setup which you will work towards in the min-maxing process.
PoB doesn't recognise one of the most important mods from our build:
60% chance for Poisons inflicted with this Weapon to deal 100% more Damage
Because of that, in PoB you will need to add this to 1 of your items:
Edit one item and add the above given modifier to it, to recieve the correct damage calculation (if - and this is a 100% yes - you have that modifier on both of your self crafted claws).
Edit: Make sure you also set withering stacks from your wither totem in PoB and configure how many poison stacks are on the enemy and how many poisons you revently applied. If you use the PoB Fork version, you don't have to manually edit the delve poison mod. On the regular PoB version you must do that.
I want to give credit, where credit is due, so I pay respect to Scarri whos build I originally followed and who always helped me with his great game knowledge in the process of developing my own build. Thanks Scarri! :)
I hope you enjoyed the read and try Cobra Lash if you haven't already. I'd be thankful for any feedback in regards to this guide, since this is the first PoE guide I created. I'd also be very happy to chat about your experiences and to answer any questions that you might have.
Have a great day and enjoy! :)
Note: Please post all your questions in this thread or in the YouTube comment section, please don't PM me in game. Make sure your profile is PUBLIC before asking for help so your character is visible. If you have issues with the trees and you're loading them into the poe website...don't; Import them into Path of Building instead. Please check out the FAQ (Post below this) or previous responses in the thread if you can, chances are I've answered them already.
Last edited by MoosGames on Feb 3, 2020, 2:30:48 PM
Last bumped on Feb 19, 2020, 2:51:15 PM
on Oct 22, 2019, 4:07:46 PM
Frequently Asked Questions:
Last edited by MoosGames on Jan 21, 2020, 9:58:10 AM
on Oct 22, 2019, 4:08:16 PM
its very nice guide, cant wait to try your build
on Oct 23, 2019, 9:35:39 AM
Thanks mate, let me know if you need help with anything! :)
on Oct 25, 2019, 9:06:29 AM
Hey, thx for the guide, this really helped me alot.
I got a question, how do i know if i can switch out the Lesser Poison Support Gems? Also i struggle quiet alot with my mana, any tips for that?
on Nov 8, 2019, 11:22:38 AM
Glad to hear you like the guide. :)
This "Supported Skills have 40% chance to Poison on Hit" is the important mod why we use Lesser Poison Support, until we can reach 100% chance to poison without that skill gem. Once we got enough chance to poison from our skill tree and/or items, we can drop Lesser Poison Support and replace it with something more useful that gives us more damage.
Wasp Nest is a unique that we want to equip once we reached level 60 and keep until we have crafted rare claws. It gives 20% chance to poison, so dual wielding those has 40% chance.
Mana sustain is an issue durign the leveling phase. I would recommend to annoint (assuming you play blight league) one of the mana leech nodes (simply type mana leech into the seach bar in your passive skill tree to highlight them). Later on, you will want to have the mod/craft "-x to mana cost" on your rings and chest and/or use rare gemini claws which give mana for each hit.
on Nov 10, 2019, 3:04:35 PM
Looking forward to doing this build as a league starter next league.
This guide is much more detailed and in-depth for when and why and swap out items during and after early leveling phase.
on Nov 11, 2019, 9:41:14 AM
Yeah, the build is an excellent league starter, since you get the Cobra Lash gem right away in Act 1 and can use it throughout the entire leveling process, which makes progression very smooth. Also the build doesn't need any expensive or meta equipment until very very late.
You can always post questions right here, that might occur during leveling process that I didn't handle in my guide.
Hopefully Cassia will go core, so that we keep the option to annoint some mana leech for leveling process, as that help a lot with the most important issue that one encounters with this build (mana sustain).
on Nov 12, 2019, 2:38:51 AM
i'm fairly new to the game, only played on and off for a couple of leagues and was trying out Cobra Lash. Later on i switched to your build and i am having a blast. Right now i'm doing Yellow Maps and it works fine. I have one question though. I hope i didn't miss anything in the guide, but why is the precision gem only at level 2? Is it because of mana cost at higher levels?
on Dec 1, 2019, 9:35:09 AM
i dont know what im doing, can anyone look at my character (darynansorie) thanks
on Dec 3, 2019, 4:12:04 AM