[3.9] HoWAbout Occultist - still alive, still kicking, Deathless Sirius etc

Original 27 page thread


Introduction and FAQ:
Spoiler

Who are you?
Just a guy who likes meme builds that used to hang around here between 2.6 and 3.3. I've posted a small number of build guides in the past, mainly in the Witch section. Some of the more popular ones you might be familiar with were Wandcultist, which I also intend to update, and this one - the original gangsta Occultist HoWA, before it gone more popular/meta in Delve under a different banner while I was gone.
Come 3.9, I came back to refresh my memory of the game and see which of my builds still works. To my surprise, not only this build isn't dead - in fact, it only got stronger.

Why Occultist?
Couple of reasons.
- Meme value
- It's actually pretty strong.

You get:
- stun immunity
- extra chaos explosions to deal with crowds more efficiently
- second curse + cursing hexproof enemies
- in non-crit version, enemies get no regen (Metamorphs are a lot easier when you are on a budget). in crit verion, you won't care about enemy regen :>
- extra dps + less damage taken from cursed enemies
- conditional, on kill regen that will let you run no-leech maps
- even more meme value

Dual wield vs 1h/shield?
Back in the day I used to recommend dual wielding, since we had a lot of extra scalable ES (+250 flat) from the ascendancy alone. However, the extra resistances you get and the changes to the tree since my departure mean it would be silly not to rock with a shield.

Why Molten Strike?
Even after the nerfs it is still the best dps melee skill in the game.

Why not Pure Uniques build?
That would be a rippoff of WaffleT old build, which I'm not going to do. The idea for this build was taken originally from my Scion HoWA build, posted long time ago in Scion subforum. Pure uniques is a very decent composition. It is more Evasion heavy, has more ES, but cannot dual wield for extra dps since you are desperate for resistances and has much harder time getting cheap upgrades.
You also cannot build it as early into the league, since its BiS body armour is a unique drop from Uber Atziri, while you can get a 6L rare/white body for as cheap as 1-2ex. Not to mention, +2 projectiles enchant on Vertex/other unique is going to be a hell of a lot more expensive then finding a rare helmet.
However, it is a lot easier to assemble since all of your gear is unique, making it very fool proof. Buying/combining rares can be a lot harder and sometimes you might just not be able to upgrade something because you really need that resists on particular piece of gear. Still, the flexibility and potential of rare gear is unmatched.

Crit vs non-crit?
Crit version will have almost twice the dps at the cost of around 1k less ES. This is because if you go non-crit, you only have 3 avenues of scaling damage: attack speed, Intelligence, and % increased/elemental damage. If you have +155% increase in something, adding 10% extra (100 base+155+10=265% total) will result in a "more" multiplier of 265/255=1.039 - 3.9%. If you are scaling 5 things (int/increased%/speed/critChance/critMulti), you have less of each thing, but each individual increase adds more per point: example, if you have only +55% increase in something, adding 10% results in (100+55+10=165) 165/155=1.064, a 6.4% more dps, compared to previous 3.9%.
Long story short, Crit has more room to grow and higher potential.

That being said, anytime there's a jewel, amulet, or corruption that has any mention of a word "crit" in it, it is going to cost a lot more currency.
If you are on a budget of less than 30 exalted, don't worry about Crit, just go with Elemental Overload. If you are on a high budget, consider going Crit with big items like Bottled Faith.

How do you calculate dps?
As a rule of thumb, take number of projectiles (5 from skill/Wildfire jewel, +2 from enchant, +2 from Dying Sun for a maximum of 9), multiply it with Path of Building Magma ball dps, multiply that with 0.41 (average chance of a single ball hitting the target), then finally add melee portion of the skill. This is going to be more or less accurate, but there are online calculators that you can use.

For my current Metamorph character, with 20/20 (almost none 21/20) level gems, level 95, and +2 enchant, it is:
1.544.000k*9*0.41 = 5.697k, +1.333k = 7.03 million dps.


Videos (updated!):
Spoiler
Keep in mind I'm running this game on a potato. Rate the build, not the recording please.

3.9:
Sirius Awakened lvl 8 - Warning! garbage quality. Proof that the build can do Sirius deathless on sub 15 fps.
Minotaur, 4.5 second kill
Shaper, full run

These videos are from and before 3.3:
5 minute full Shaper run
Chimera with Vulnerability and more monster damage
Minotaur on a 1L, no flasks, while being almost perma chilled
Uber Elder
Red Elder and his Guardians
Shaper at lvl 85, no helm enchant

If you decide to get this build rolling and want to share some vids, plese do!


Gear:
Spoiler

Main gear:

Usually you don't want too much Dexterity, since you want your Strength to be higher in order to get free ignite immunity from your belt. Main stats are %Int and Elemental Damage to Attacks, with Dexterity being the last stat in order of importance.
A rare shield will be just fine. The only difference is that you might want to get "of Warding" on one of your flasks, or make sure you build up your resistances for Elemental Weakness maps.


There are plenty of options available, you could also use uniques like Incandescent heart, but nothing will beat a nicely rolled rare.


You can ignore movement speed since we are using Shield Charge for mobility, but if you can afford it, get it for QoL, since some maps require more running than others.


ES, Resists, Intelligence. Molten Strike enchant on the helmet is very desirable but optional. It's best to get a cheap, unrolled helmet with enchantment and throw some fossils/essences on it.


ES, Intelligence, Elemental/Lightning damage, Flat lightning damage, Resists is what you should be looking for. You could also find some nice rings with Curse on Hit, but those are expensive or have plenty of crappy mods.
If you want to comfortably farm Uber Elder, you need to get Freeze and Chill immunity - Dream Fragments is an easy way to do that, since you will lose too much ES and resists from wearing Kaom's Roots, and too much ES/resits/enchant if you go with Hrimnor's Resolve. Make sure you plan your ring resistances appropriately. Get corrupted Dream Fragments if cold resistance is too high for you to still get Wise Oak bonus. Other option is to get a boot craft that makes you immune to chill.


Massive accuracy boost. Also improves our ES by a good amount. You can get a pair with Enfeeble corruption for a lot cheaper, if Elemental Weakness is too expensive for you. Temporal Chains is also an option.


Pretty much BiS. There are some sick influence crafted Crystal belts or Stygians, but with prices of 10++ exalted, you might want to stick to a good, old fashioned friend.


Astramentis is very hard to beat for this build, but also affordable.
A rare influenced amulet (or Talisman with truly great stats) will be best in slot, however, you need very specific stats for them to be better then Astramentis, and majority of them will be super expensive. I HIGHLY recommend you compare rares against Astramentis in Path of Building before you buy one. Best combination of stats would be %Attributes, damage per Intelligence, Penetration, %ES, flat Intelligence or flat Attributes/Strength, more or less in this order.
For budget version, you can find plenty of Talismans with % increased attributes. Links at the bottom of the post.




Flasks:

- Jade is great coupled with Shaper's Touch, giving us over 15k evasion/armor.
- Silver is a great dps/clearspeed boost - it's also a good idea to buy one with enough "reduced charges used mod" to last for 2 uses.
- Dying Sun and Vinktar are great for dps, and with Cyclopean Coil we are Shock immune.
- Wise Oak is great for the last slot, but all depends if your lightning resistance is the highest. Vinktar has only 1 use, while Dying Sun/Wise Oak have 2, so it's best to balance the resists so even with Dying Sun up, your lightning resistance is highest if you want to use Wise Oak.
- If you cannot balance your resists for the Wise Oak, worry not. You can use Atziri's Promise or a Sulphur flask - I believe Sulphur is superior, since it provides similar dps boost, but with the right mods lasts 3 uses instead of 2. You can also roll an additional freeze protection, or curse protection.
- If you are building for Crit, don't forget your Diamond flask. And if your budget allows it, get Bottled Faith, the most OP flask in existence.



Jewels:

Fertile Mind, super cheap, very respectable dps and ES in its respective slot.


This is what gives a lot of "oomph" to our Molten Strike. You can get one with this corruption relatively cheap.


Rest of the jewels are rare, either normal kind or Abyss jewels. Make sure to have Blind on Hit stat somewhere on one of your jewels, unless you are running a Crit build, where you already get free Blind from the tree.


Jewels - Watcher's Eye:

Watcher's Eye is a great addition, if you can afford it. Plenty of great options, ES recovery, ES on hit, %mana as ES, %damage from Wrath or Precision, the list goes On.


Bandits and Ascendancy:
Spoiler
Kill all is the only option.

You want to take Profane Bloom while leveling to speed up the process, then Vile Bastion for ES regen boost/stun immunity, then Malediction.
If you go non-crit get Void Beacon, or Forbidden Power if you do.


Passives and Leveling:
Spoiler

Level 95 tree
If you feel too squishy, ignore the attack/flask/shield branch around Ranger area, and save those points on ES nodes.

Level 87 tree

Level 68 tree
This is where you can equip most of the HoWA gear. If you are just starting out or are on a tight budget with crappy gear, I recommend not going straight for Point Blank and getting Insightfulness + Melding instead.


Level the character up to 68 whichever way you prefer. I don't recommend leveling as a melee since Herald of Agony/Storm Brand combo is so effective, but it is doable, if painful (I done it in the past).

Level 95 CRIT version tree
If you can afford Bottled Faith, change the above tree area to look like the one below, to get the full benefit (massive consecrated ground) of this OP flask. Replace the jewel socket that uses %projectile nodes near Ranger/Shadow to allocate the one providing %elemental damage.

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Gems:
Spoiler
The following setup with advice on where to socket it is how I have optimized my links. With auras not in your weapons, and Blood Rage in them, you can easily turn off Blood Rage at anytime with a simple weapon swap.

Main (Body):

This is your primary dps setup. Replace Awakened gems with regular ones if your budget doesn't allow it.


Keep in mind vs certain specific bosses (or Metamorphs), Ancestral Call will work out better than Penetration, for example in Chimera and Elder fights there are a lot of minions and you want to kill them quickly.

I used to recommend Energy Leech gem but I realized there were 2 problems with it. If you take Zealot's Oath for extra regen with Bottled Faith (or even with normal Sulphur, although it's not as good), you will no longer be considered "leeching" your ES with Blood Rage active if you are standing on Consecrated Ground, since your regen is going to be higher than degen and a lot of the time you might be on "full" energy shield instead of "leeching". In this case your Energy Leech gem will stop being a +39% more, but instead, only 24%.
The same thing will happen with your regen from Vile Bastion when you map. Long story short, if you take Zealot's Oath and are on Consecrated ground, or if you killed 4 or more enemies within 4 seconds and you are on full ES, you will not be getting 39% more damage from this gem, but 24% with occasional spikes to 39% whenever you get hit. For this reason, I recommend swapping Energy Leech gem for either:
- Lightning Penetration
- Inspiration
- Multistrike
If you pick Inspiration, you might want to have Assassin's Mark as one of your curses to make Power Charge sustain a bit easier. Inspiration reduces the cost of your skills, making it tiny bit harder to spend 200 mana for the Power Charge generation.


If you have white sockets on your chest, you can swap Frost Blades and Ancestral Call for much better clear. If you don't, use increased AoE gem instead of Concentrated Effect, Ancestral Call instead of one of the dps gems, and remember to change your stance from Blood to Sand to further increase your AoE.

Auras:

Even a non-crit version wants Precision, since it will make applying Elemental Overload more consistent.
You have to make a choice between Grace and Wrath - one for more dps, other for survivability. Depending on your build, Wrath can contribute as little as >13% of total dps, so the choice is rather hard to make. If using Grace, you can take Iron Reflexes for an armor boost that synergizes with CwDT Molten Shell.

CwDT setup 1:

This is in order for you not to have to recast the Golem by yourself, and this also casts your second curse. If you prefer, you can use Enfeeble for more tankiness instead.
If you have Enfeeble glove corruption (cheap option), use Conductivity as your CwDT curse. You can also use Assassin's Mark if you are running a Crit build, but Conductivity should be more reliable.
Alternatively, use Projectile Weakness as it offers marginally better dps for Molten Strike. It's knockback might be annoying though.
If you aren't using Grace + Iron Reflexes, change Molten Shell for either Steelskin or Immortal Call.
Use max level gems, the ones shown I'm only releveling at the time of writing.

CwDT setup 2:

Cold Snap slows enemies by 10%, well worth 1 gem socket. Wave of Conviction at lowest level will almost always apply Lightning Exposure, since your %increased lightning damage/penetration from tree/jewels will push it beyond fire damage.

Movement (socket in your weapon/shield):

You can alternatively use Whirling Blades, which offers smoother and faster movement. The only reason I used Shield Charge is because if you have any lag, Whirling Blades can put you right back where you were, preventing you from dodging slams. If you don't care about that, use WB for movement.

Totem + Utility (socket in your weapon/shield):

Totem for damage obviously, Culling strike is a nice addition, but you can use Blind as well. Blood Rage is socketed in your weapon, allowing you to turn it off on demand with weapon swapping.


Pastebins:
Spoiler
My current character:
https://pastebin.com/67GSBuQn
10.5k ES, 1.88 million PoB dps per ball. This is my newest pastebin featuring altered tree to make the most out of the Bottled Faith flask.

https://pastebin.com/hkc3m2kS
10.2k ES, 1.55 million PoB dps per ball. This is same as above, but not built around Bottled Faith and using standard tree.

Non-crit verion: https://pastebin.com/bpYZbWxv
11.2k ES, 1 million PoB dps per ball.


Can you do this build on a budget?
Spoiler
If you are good at using poe.trade, yes. Here's the link to a setup I assembled in less then 30 minutes, using 18/0 gems: https://pastebin.com/0MaZv1fM

Cost breakdown:
HoWA - 3c
Shield - 3c
Helmet - 5c
Chest - 80c for 6L
Boots - 6c
Gloves - 19c
Amulet - 6c
Ring 1 - 5c
Ring 2 - 10c
Belt - 3c

1x Wildfire + 1x Fertile Mind - 5c
Other jewels - probably up to 15c

Flasks - 20c for set

Total: 180, or less than 1.5ex (at time of writing).

What are the benchmarks?
8k ES, 1.07 million Shaper dps with all flasks and buffs (minus Exposure).


Shopping links
Spoiler
Because sometimes the best value goes for only 1 Chaos.
Remember, these are just what I use and they are not perfect - especially in amulet section, you still need to compare the amulets vs Astramentis if you are looking for endgame amulet/talisman, since 19/120 attribute Astramentis is just damn powerful.

Jewels, non-crit - 84 results at time of posting.
Jewels, Crit - 125 results at time of posting. I've removed %projectile and %area mods to tighten the search parameters, and because these 2 mods don't work for the melee portion of the skill. Since there is already 100+ results, might as well pick only the best of the best.

Rings - 64 results at the time of writing. If you want to tighten up the search, change the "count" in the search options from 7 to 8. If you want to expand it, change it to 6 for more budget friendly options. 21 and 151 results for each.

Amulets - non-crit + budget - 139 results at the time of writing. These should be almost on par with nicely rolled Astramentis (but without anointments/catalyst 20% upgrade!). Difference is, there is a ton of budget friendly options here, some of them can be crafted on, some might be already anointed. You don't have to spend 1-2ex on a unique when a rare can cost 5-25c if you are on a tight budget. For example, this amulet/talisman
Spoiler
Woe Collar
Three Rat Talisman
Implicits: 1
13% increased Attributes
+29 to all Attributes
+43 to Intelligence
Adds 20 to 37 Cold Damage to Attacks
Adds 3 to 60 Lightning Damage to Attacks
23% increased Global Critical Strike Chance
+71 to maximum Mana
is currently listed for 20 Chaos. If I put on perfectly rolled Astramentis with the 20% catalyst upgrade, this amulet would result in +24.5% more dps compared to +22.3% for Astramentis (on a test build) and +955 ES compared to 1151 ES for Astramentis. Sure you can't change the anointment anymore, but for 20c, can you really complain? After all, it seems to be on par to 19/120 Astramentis. There is a lot of trash, but you can find gems like this. Change the "count" up or down to throw a wider or narrower net, depending on your needs.

Amulets - Crit + end-game - 32 results at time of posting.

I've swapped to developers website since it works a lot faster on my rig, plus it lets people import items to PoB without extensions/plugins.
Especially in the amulet section, there are so many options it's hard to set up the perfect search, but I've tried my best, remember to always compare vs Astramentis if you are to spend 2ex or more. Enjoy.
My build guides:
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2180198

Taking a break from PoE, catch me up in Warframe: https://www.warframe.com/signup?referrerId=5b625847f2f2eb0ea0750322
Use above link for free booster when you sign up! :)
Last edited by Bristoling on Jan 12, 2020, 9:58:41 AM
Last bumped on Jan 17, 2020, 11:52:30 AM
what is the update on this build in 3.9? Is there anyway to change the skill to a lighting skill I feel MS got nerfed hard.
Last edited by noobie12345 on Jan 2, 2020, 3:10:05 AM
Glad to see you are back! Eagerly waiting an update on the wandcultist!
"
noobie12345 wrote:
what is the update on this build in 3.9? Is there anyway to change the skill to a lighting skill I feel MS got nerfed hard.
Mostly reworked tree and switch to 1h+shield from old dual wield.

You could use Blade Flurry which with crit version would reach 4.3 million dps and 10.5k ES without Bottled Faith (https://pastebin.com/Ges0bQbU) or 2.86 million dps / 11.3k ES with non-crit version, using my character as a reference (changing enchant/tree etc, I've also pathed to Utmost Intellect manually since not everyone can anoint their amulet). For any non-projectile skills, that would be my go to tree. Just unspec channeling nodes if you want to make other comparisons.

Lightning Strike would have roughly 65% of Blade Flurry dps, Static Strike 75%, Frost Blades only 48%. Molten Strike still deals 62% more damage than Blade Flurry when enchants are included, if the calculator is to be believed: https://moldydwarf.gitlab.io/MoltenStrikeDPS/index.html#zip_eJxtkEFPwzAMhf9LzmjqCp1EbmWlGxKlCA6c09ahEU48JSkIIf47adbSTaCc3mf72S9f7EDNjUAs9Cvj6XV6td5czGyv/LYXpgXG10kScQUIcOzNwtssMD84xrPVZbqgf+Yfm0I5P+pJ1oZxbweIshT2uSc/MinQBdiEM1xpSe8BdVg6kYdBvyjsgs8EKqHMzgJ+EHXnw7WUfwqCoPhUJqaY2qJejpm31L4Hy3gSZ0oU7u1WylnfmdbmBDvQ9+8YvM7oSYgAt2TaE3dy7kl0anDHSEHmbTXg+DGrbAa/Dt8/1jCL6g==

"
Glad to see you are back! Eagerly waiting an update on the wandcultist!
Good to see someone still remembers me! Thanks, I'll work on updating the thread tomorrow :)
My build guides:
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2180198

Taking a break from PoE, catch me up in Warframe: https://www.warframe.com/signup?referrerId=5b625847f2f2eb0ea0750322
Use above link for free booster when you sign up! :)
Last edited by Bristoling on Jan 2, 2020, 10:15:04 AM
still viable on 3.9? have new vidios?
"
kr3w1337 wrote:
still viable on 3.9? have new vidios?
Yes and I've uploaded 2 new videos if you don't mind potato quality:

Shaper full run: https://youtu.be/i55qyRASLwE
Minotaur 4-5s kill: https://youtu.be/NLCPwaeoIGk
My build guides:
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2180198

Taking a break from PoE, catch me up in Warframe: https://www.warframe.com/signup?referrerId=5b625847f2f2eb0ea0750322
Use above link for free booster when you sign up! :)
hello. ty for the build and i like the fact beeing flexikle with some dps skills without changing too much.
i got 1 question or lets say some kind of self summary about the advantages of each viable dps skills in your build.
-Molten Strike is best for bossing and easy mode with lots of potential the more
currency you spend
-Blade Flurry is way faster for mapping and worse for bossing

i got around 15ex so my question is which build and skills would work best for me to jump in. i like molten strike a lot but i am a bit scared of mapping with it
"
Sorzki wrote:
hello. ty for the build and i like the fact beeing flexikle with some dps skills without changing too much.
i got 1 question or lets say some kind of self summary about the advantages of each viable dps skills in your build.
-Molten Strike is best for bossing and easy mode with lots of potential the more
currency you spend
-Blade Flurry is way faster for mapping and worse for bossing

i got around 15ex so my question is which build and skills would work best for me to jump in. i like molten strike a lot but i am a bit scared of mapping with it
I'd say pick whichever one of them you prefer. Personally I'm using MS for bosses/tough fights but because I have white socket chest I usually clear maps with Frost Blades, it's quite fast. I've tested most skills, haven't played around with Reave for clearing so I don't know how that would compare, but MS+FB is already a decent combo.
If you can't get white sockets, choose the skill you are more comfortable using.
My build guides:
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2180198

Taking a break from PoE, catch me up in Warframe: https://www.warframe.com/signup?referrerId=5b625847f2f2eb0ea0750322
Use above link for free booster when you sign up! :)
Last edited by Bristoling on Jan 3, 2020, 11:40:42 AM
perfect :D i wasnt sure if skill switching needs some major talent respec as well making em work.
frost blade is a great idea. i will also buy some chest with 1 white socket at least.
that solved my problem cause i can stick with the molten strike tree and profit from the point blank with frostblades.
i dont need the fastest clear but lets say molten isnt that enjoyable for farming^^

i am unexperienced with crafting how do i get at least 2r 3b and 1white socket
for chest?

what ever i will buy one^^
Last edited by Sorzki on Jan 3, 2020, 1:17:40 PM
How is the clear speed?

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