[3.9] Bah's Chaos Herald of Agony Occultist (>5M Shaper DPS, Awakener down)

Introduction
I was inspired by codetaku's melee Herald of Agony guide (https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2643210), and decided to make an Occultist version. This version converts 100% of the crawler's damage to chaos, which most enemies resist poorly. This build has over 5 million Shaper/Elder DPS, good survivability (8.3k hybrid HP/ES) and sustain, and works for all non-deep-delve content.

Mechanics
When you poison enemies, Herald of Agony gives you Virulence stacks. Whenever you have Virulence, an invulnerable Agony Crawler minion spawns, which uses projectile attacks that scale with Virulence. The Agony Crawler does physical base damage, has an inherent 40% physical-to-chaos conversion, and scales very well with gem levels. We then use Spirit Offering to add even more bonus physical-to-chaos!

This build is based on getting your Herald of Agony to L31+ (with two Cold Iron Points, The Coming Calamity, and Empower), and converting all its damage to chaos with Triad Grip. The Occultist ascendancy then scales the chaos damage to ridiculous levels. Occultist also gets Profane Bloom, which is affected by minion damage if a minion gets a kill. Since the Crawler gets so many minion damage bonuses, each explosion does >100% of the enemy's base life (and they probably have negative chaos resists), causing chain-reactions through packs of cursed enemies.

Since the Crawler barely benefits from any flasks, all flask slots are available for healing and defensive utility. This build also takes Corrupted Soul from Glorious Vanity, for a total of 8.3k hybrid HP/ES. Life-on-hit and ES-on-hit, together with 12 hits per second from Cyclone, make sustain trivial in most cases.

Overview
Pros:
+ Good clear with ridiculously high single-target DPS
+ Giant screen-clearing explosions from Occultist's Profane Bloom
+ Minion auto-aims so you don't need to target stragglers
+ High hybrid HP/ES
+ Good sustain from life-on-hit (from ring) and ES-on-hit (from Watcher's Eye)
+ Immune to all reflect map mods because player damage is so low
+ Temporal Chains-Blasphemy slows enemies down; you can dive right through packs and not get hit
+ Occultist Malediction and Fortify help survivability when you do get hit
+ High regeneration and permanent blind+taunt on bosses, using Holy Relic and Stone Golem
+ You get to see Sirus/Elder/etc. with "Vulnerable to Chaos" under their health bar

Cons:
- Map layouts with tight corners (e.g. Cells, Flooded Mines) are annoying to complete
- Proximity Shields block the Crawler
- "No regen" forces you to take a mana flask or swap in a Blood Magic support
- Although there are budget options, this is a very expensive build to complete (~20ex).

Videos
T16 Canyon in about 2mins, with Metamorph
T16 Constrictor
Elder. His main phase goes down in about 15 seconds.
Awakening 8 Sirus down. 2 deaths due to silly mistakes.

Path of Building
Pastebin link:https://pastebin.com/dTWpCkgV

Note that I used a custom jewel to manually represent my Glorious Vanity (Doryani 926). I also set enemy physical resistance to 100% and gave "added chaos damage" to my Triad Grip, as the Triad Grip conversion doens't work properly on PoB. Similarly, I added a 15-stack Wither because PoB doesn't seem to calculate Withering Presence. Admittedly nothing much except Sirus can actually survive long enough for the Withering Presence to ramp up to 15 stacks, because the DPS is so high.

Virulence is set to 38 because that's what it seems to max out on vs single target.

Pantheon
Solaris for Reduced damage. Stun isn't a problem as long as you keep cycloning. Upgraded Shakari for poison prevention.

Ascendancy
Profane Bloom -> Malediction -> Void Beacon -> Withering Presence

First two allow you to blow up cursed packs, and apply 2 curses + Malediction. The latter two give massive buffs to the Crawler's chaos damage.

Levelling
I started off with Zombies, and changed to Herald of Agony when I hit L53 and could use The Coming Calamity, which adds 2 levels to Herald of Agony and fixes its reservation to 45%. Without that unique, even a 4L Herald of Agony will eat up most of your mana. Then add the two Cold Iron Points at L62.

Skill Gems and links
Main skill: Herald of Agony 6L
Herald of Agony - Use a L21 version if possible
Empower - Key to the build. L3 minimally, L4 if you can afford it. Massively buffs the Agony Crawler.
Damage on Full Life - More damage. The Crawler is invulnerable and is always on Full Life.
Minion Damage - More damage. Awakened version even better.
Deathmark - 1.25*1.24=1.55 multiplier vs single target. Also a very good QoL improvement, for aiming at enemies with Allies Cannot Die, Blight bosses, etc.
Chain/Vicious Projectiles - Either more coverage, or more damage for single-target. Awakened Chain chains more, while Awakened VP gives more damage.

Cyclone 4L
Cyclone - Used to poison enemies and accumulate Virulence for the Agony Crawler. It hits really fast: its base attack speed is 300%. This also makes it ideal for life/ES on hit.
Poison - 60% chance to poison on hit. Vital to build. The level/quality add damage, and don't really matter.
Faster Attacks - More hits per second!
Fortify - Defensive buff. The level/quality add damage, and don't really matter.

Support minions 4L
Summon Stone Golem - Regen buff and taunts enemies. Also it's a physical spell, so it gets +6 levels from the Cold Iron Points.
Summon Holy Relic - Regen buff, and hits frequently. The frequent hit rate makes it ideal for proccing the next two support gems, keeping them up all the time.
Feeding Frenzy - Buff. When it procs, it grants ALL your minions 10% more minion damage, 15% increased movement speed, and 15% increased attack and cast speed.
Blind - Permantly blind bosses because the Holy Relic hits about 4 times per second. Alternatively, you could use Culling Strike.

3L movement
Flame Dash - Movement. Very standard.
Faster Casting - Faster movement. Very standard.
Culling Strike - Quality increases cast speed, and it culls.

3L auras
Discipline - Adds flat ES, and enables the Watcher's Eye ES-on-hit.
Temporal Chains - Slows down enemies.
Blasphemy - Turns Temporal Chains into an aura. You can use Awakened Blasphemy too.

3L support (don't have to be linked)
Convocation - Move minions to you. Very useful to get them under a proximity shield!
Desecrate - Corpses for Spirit Offering. Level doesn't matter.
Spirit Offering - Crawler gains 29% of physical damage as extra chaos damage.

Gear
Weapons


Rich option: Corrupted for 7% local attack speed.

Budget option: Non-corrupted versions, or bad corruptions. Cold Iron Point is cheap.

Helmet

Key item to reduce enemy resists. Also provides decent ES. It's a 1c unique.

Rich option: Herald of Agony extra projectiles enchant. I don't have it

Body Armour

Key item for +2 levels to Herald of Agony, and for managing its mana reservation.

Budget option: 4L or 5L. The Coming Calamity is a 1c unique.

Gloves

Key item to convert Herald of Agony's damage to 100% chaos. I actually bought a 4 socket version (4th socket was red), and bench crafted it to 3 sockets. Crafting 3s on a 4s item always removes the bottom-left socket.

Rich option: Get a pair that was Vorici-crafted to 3 white sockets, and it can then fit a Labyrinth Enchantment and/or a curse-on-hit corruption.

Boots

This build is very unique-heavy and lacks resists. Use rare boots to help cap resists.

Amulet

Solstice Vigil enables the Temporal Chains aura. Otherwise there isn't enough mana to reserve. For bonus damage, I allocated Gravepact using Blight Oils.

Ring 1

Circle of Nostalgia with "Herald of Agony has 70-100% increased buff effect". The Agony Crawler also gains massive damage.

Try to Divine this as well as the damage to 90+%. Without the Herald of Agony buff effect, the chance to poison on hit is only 80% (60% Poison support + 20% Herald of Agony base).

Ring 2

Rare Hunter's Ring. The 2 important mods are: L8 Despair on hit, and 16-20 Life gained on hit.

Budget option: Get one with only Despair on hit.

Jewels

Watcher's Eye, with the mod "20-30 Energy Shield gained for each Enemy Hit while affected by Discipline"

Glorious Vanity with Doryani, so you can get the keystone Corrupted Soul.

Careful Planning to fix dex requirements.

For other jewels, you can aim for Life, Attack Speed, and Chance to Poison to cap it at 100%.

Rich option: Double-discipline Watcher's Eye. Glorious Vanity with other passives you want. Careful Planning corrupted so "Corrupted Blood cannot be inflicted on you".

Budget option: Use rare Jewels instead.

Flasks

Life flask with bleed immunity.

Rumi's Concoction for block and flat armour.

Basalt Flask for physical reduction and freeze immunity.

Silver Flask for Onslaught and curse immunity.

Gotta go fast.
Last edited by MagosBiologis on Jan 4, 2020, 5:09:42 AM
Last bumped on Jan 14, 2020, 2:19:52 PM
aul's uprising with hatred reserves no mana would work?

I am playing an hoag gladiator atm with max block and got a 94 occultist sitting doing nothing so thinking if I can swap gear between them it be nice.

Hmm else I buy a solstice but I could use a lot of my gear.

I like it and good explanations in the guide!
Last edited by roetetoet on Jan 4, 2020, 4:54:05 PM
"
roetetoet wrote:
aul's uprising with hatred reserves no mana would work?

I am playing an hoag gladiator atm with max block and got a 94 occultist sitting doing nothing so thinking if I can swap gear between them it be nice.

Hmm else I buy a solstice but I could use a lot of my gear.

I like it and good explanations in the guide!


Yup, it would work, but you lose some of the defensiveness of Temporal Chains or Discipline, and don't gain that much damage.

Let's assume that normal mobs die so fast that it doesn't matter anyway, and that Spirit Offering is up, and you have 5 wither stacks. So you're dealing 129% of base physical damage, that's multiplied by 119% (-19% chaos resist on bossse) and 140% (Malediction and wither). Total damage taken is 215% of base physical damage.

Brown enemies have (I think) 45% cold resistance. Hatred at L20 deals 47.5% of base physical damage. It gets multiplied by 55% (cold resistance) and 110% (Malediction), to give 29% of base physical damage. That's 13.5% more damage over the initial damage taken without Hatred. Not worth it for an amulet slot and losing Temporal Chains or Discipline imo.

Though you have a a point... You could use a Discipline variant of Aul's Uprising instead, have the same reservation, and gain some ES!

Thanks, glad you liked the guide!
Last edited by MagosBiologis on Jan 4, 2020, 9:07:43 PM
I just went balls deep sold my aul's, copied your gear recommendations just short of a watchers eye but that's about it. I do take way more dmg than you do for some reason might be the watcher's eye and lack of attack speed but I had to work with the currency I got.

Could you have a look, might have missed something important :)

So much fun btw :)
"
roetetoet wrote:
I just went balls deep sold my aul's, copied your gear recommendations just short of a watchers eye but that's about it. I do take way more dmg than you do for some reason might be the watcher's eye and lack of attack speed but I had to work with the currency I got.

Could you have a look, might have missed something important :)

So much fun btw :)


Thanks! Hmmm not sure... You should have about 8k HP+ES right?

And yeah, the Eye more than doubles your EHP regain on hit, so maybe that's it.
Last edited by MagosBiologis on Jan 5, 2020, 3:21:51 AM
Would you say this is a much stronger version of codetaku's build? Or just another take on it?
Last edited by Nekuuuuuu on Jan 5, 2020, 3:42:43 AM
"
Nekuuuuuu wrote:
Would you say this is a much stronger version of codetaku's build? Or just another take on it?

I can't really say because I've never tried codetaku's build. But I suspect that this variant is less tanky versus big hits (no zombie horde and associated Necromancer bonuses) but has better clearspeed (Profane Bloom chain explosions are awesome) and sustain (life on hit + ES on hit).
"
MagosBiologis wrote:
"
roetetoet wrote:
I just went balls deep sold my aul's, copied your gear recommendations just short of a watchers eye but that's about it. I do take way more dmg than you do for some reason might be the watcher's eye and lack of attack speed but I had to work with the currency I got.

Could you have a look, might have missed something important :)

So much fun btw :)


Thanks! Hmmm not sure... You should have about 8k HP+ES right?

And yeah, the Eye more than doubles your EHP regain on hit, so maybe that's it.


Yeah got a 28 watchers eye now, that made the difference. Not a cheap build, but really fun with good clearing and st dps.
Last edited by roetetoet on Jan 5, 2020, 3:54:57 PM
I've been playing this build for more than a week and it's been amazing, probably my favorite hoa build. It's 100% worth the investment.

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