[3.9] WIP - Wandcultist

This thread is still WIP as I'm editing and updating contents of the old one.
Old 35 page thread: 3.3 CI Wandcultist
Int stacking version will also be added at a later time (hopefully tomorrow).

First of all, I like Witches. If you look at my profile (it's public), you'll see many different Witch builds, and only 1 exception, which is my HoWA ST Scion.

ED/Blight/Vortex/etc are all pretty decent starters for Occultist, but I hate to fight the high prices just because a build is popular, and I refuse to be a meta slave. I've therefore decided to go with a wander, utilizing Profane Bloom explosions, going CI for Damage on Full Life goodness and much easier time getting high amounts of eHP, compared to life based wanders.

While lacking in terms of movement speed (Pathfinder/Raider/Deadeye are faster), the ease of gearing, high eHP values (easy 6-7.5k+ ES if you take more ES nodes and nice rare Regalia) and Profane Bloom explosions allow Occultist to be somewhat competitive. Damage-wise, I think Occultist is capable of higher dps then Pathfinder, Raider and Deadeye, due to using Damage on Full Life gem instead of Slower Projectiles, and ability to take more damage nodes (since we don't need that many defensive/ES nodes on the tree). Also, since attack based ES is far from being meta, gear and jewels are very cheap in the League, and if you are playing Standard, there is some really overpowered gear you can buy.

To reitarate,

- Damage on Full Life provides higher multiplier and better accuracy at long range then Slower Projectiles or other inferior gems.

- ES gear is cheaper then life gear. Thunderfist, Rainbowstride, Crown of Eyes, 5L ES chest, rings with ES, are all much cheaper then life based gear or QotF, especially early in the league.
Also, jewels with damage + ES are a lot, lot cheaper then similar jewels with life.

- You can reach higher eHP going ES, rather than life. I had comfortable 4.5k ES when similar wanders in my guild/friend list had only 3k life when we reached lower tier maps at the league start.

- You have more flexibility allowing you to spent points on taking damage/jewels instead of chasing life on the tree.

- you still have out of combat/emergency sustain (ES recharge).

- Vile Bastion provides alternative means to replenish your ES pool so you can more comfortably run less recovery and no leech maps.

- Chaos explosions and extra AoE with Forbidden Power allow easy "one-tapping" of monster packs.

- Your curse applies to Hexproof enemies.

- Can easily transition into Int-stacking variant with great results.

- Unfortunately, this higher defensive and offensive power comes at a cost of not being able to use the movement speed buff from Queen of the Forest, so your movement speed is slower then a regular life based wander.

- Leveling is tough without leveling uniques. Having leveling uniques or trading for them is pretty mandatory, so if you hoard a 10-15+ alchs and chaos by the time you reach maps, you might need to use some of it to get gear upgrades, even if just for leveling you're going to throw away later. Either than or level as something else.

- Apart from high ES pool, your other defenses are lacking. While a 4k wander can sometimes dodge a 10k hit and survive, you'll be dead.

New videos will have to wait, but they are coming! for now, here are the old ones:



6L Beast Fur Shawl:
Chimera with +1 Barrage enchant.

5L, Uber Lab and Ele Weakness gloves:
Maze of the Minotaur

5L, no Uber Lab, regular gloves:

Pantheon, Ascendancy and Bandits:
- For Major, you want either Soul of Solaris or Soul of Lunaris.
- For Minor, there are multiple options, from movement speed boosting Garukhan, to more tanky options like Tukohama or Gruthkul. Pick whichever you personally prefer.

Profane Bloom - greatly speeds up the leveling process
Vile Bastion - it will help you greatly switching into CI, even on a budget. Stun immunity is great, regen on kill is also very helpful.
Fobidden Power - a small but important dps increase.
Malediction - taken last because you'll need Curse on Hit from somewhere (gloves/ring) to make the most out of it.

Alira for crit multi and resistances is alright. But later on when you can afford good jewels/equipment, taking 2 points and another jewel socket will be a better choice. I'd personally picked Alira because it made leveling in the new league easier but plan to spec out of it.


A rare wand with crit chance, crit multi, increased spell/lightning damage and flat elemental damage is going to be your top pick. Piscator's is a good starting wand if you cannot afford a good rare. Do not overpay for super high flat damage on your rare wand - I usually buy my post-Piscator wand for 5-15c, and it outperforms many "standard" flat lightning damage wands that are listed for a few ex on poe.trade. Second wand was bought for 25c and provided me with over 15% more dps then total perfect Piscator's. The final one gives me 20% more dps than perfect Piscator's.
Finding OP wands can be made easier using my poe.trade links in the bottom section, and using Path of Building and appropriate browser extenstion.

Absolutely amazing dps boost and some okish ES. Also, super cheap.

With KB socketed in them, it is effectively a 5 link. Increased shock duration greatly helps to shock the trash, increasing their damage taken by up to 50%. Even super early in the league, these gloves are quite cheap. I bought mine on day 2 for maybe 5 chaos, but just few days into the league they cost <1c. Elemental Weakness corruption usually costs 1-3 ex, I bought mine 4 days into the league for 1ex. Before using Elemental Weakness corruption, I had a pair with Temporal Chains, which were a lot cheaper, and I spent maybe 40c at the end of day 2 to get them.

Anything with movement speed, good ES and resistances. Rainbowstride is another super cheap unique, that doesn't cost more then 2-4c during first 1-2 days of the league, and later can be bought for 1c.

There is multitude of body armours that we can choose. Incandescent Heart gives some extra elemental protection and 12-15% more dps with good rolls.
Beast Fur Shawl gives less of a dps boost, but provides a lot better sustain (leech, regen) due to its increased ES recovery, which is very, very strong.
If you are on a budget, any rare armour will do.
A high rolled Vaal Regalia, especially with something like % increased Crit chance with attacks (Elder mod) would be BiS.
The last one is my current chest I'm using together on my HoWA build, so ignore the gems.

A rare shield with resistances and good ES is what you want. Spell damage is equal to attack damage, remember that. Alternatively, you can use Atziri's Reflection if you have one.

Added lightning, increased elemental/lightning damage, Crit multiplier (amulet), ES, resistances. Nothing out of the ordinary. Try to either get an amulet with %ES or with a space to craft it, as it is the most important mod in my opinion along with Crit Multiplier.

Stygian is of course the standard best, not including influence/awakened crafted monstrosities. Resistances, ES, Elemental damage are all the stats you need.


You want 1 Quicksilver flask of Adrenaline for that movement speed boost, and a Diamond flask for increased crit chance. Other then that, use what you can afford. Dying Sun would be great, Vessel of Vinktar with either penetration or added flat lightning will also be really strong but you need to work out a way to gain Shock Immunity, which means one less unique flask, or no "of Adrenaline" suffix on your Quicksilver. Atziri's Promise/Wise Oak/Silver flask are also decent options.


The jewels aren't anything special, you want either attack speed, crit multi, lightning/spell damage, ES, or flat damage on Abyss jewels. Make sure you grab at least one jewel with "Blind enemies on hit", as it is a great defensive boost. Poacher's Aim is also a decent choice for improving your clearspeed early on.

Power Siphon:

This is how your 6L should look like. I used normal Barrage for majority of my playtime because I had no idea what Barrage Support was doing. I've missed the reddit threads putting out the math and only switched to Power Siphon recently.

Kinetic Blast:

Standard "budgety" KB setup.
However, you can use KB/Ele Damage/GMP/Pierce once your damage is high enough. This lets you drop Poacher's Aim jewel for some other, stronger jewel. Chain also works decently in this case.


You can also run Heralds of Ice and Thunder if you have a good looking MTX, you do you. It's around 5% less dps loss over Wrath.

CwDT 1:

Apart from Golem, this casts our 2nd curse vs bosses (unless you have double corruption/curse on rings). Frost Bomb is there to deal with any enemies (Metamorphs) that have high regen.

CwDT 2:

This is a free slow for bosses. You can use Vortex instead of Cold Snap, but I find CS better due to bigger AoE, extra Frenzy charge generation and less clutter on the screen compared to Vortex. Steelkin is there to give us a bit higher buffer.


Emergency Vaal Discipline, dps boosting Vaal Haste, movement speed boosting Smoke Mine (or Phase Run). You can also use Faster Casting + Flame Dash to move over ledges.

Blood Rage for the extra dps and Frenzy charge generation.

Have spare sockets?
- You can use Decoy totem or Spell Totem with Summon Skeleton for extra distration vs bosses.
- You can use the spare sockets to level extra gems for profit.
- You can use Vaal Lightning Trap for extra dps vs bosses.
- You can use Tempest Shield + Culling strike in a CwDT setup.


Leveling tips (gear/gems/tree):
1. You want to level with spells first. Pick up both Herald of Ice and Herald of Thunder when you are able.
If you want, you can level with wands at level 12. Go straight towards Tempest Blast, and get following uniques:
- Storm Prison wand.
- Prismweave belt.
- Karui Ward amulet.
- Ondar's Clasp or Lochtonial Caress gloves.
Pick up Power Siphon and link it with Added Cold and Added Lighting.
B) If you cannot afford these leveling uniques super early in the new league, continue leveling with spells. In this case, move towards Shadow area first and level as every other spell build until you decide to convert to wands.

2. In act 3, pick up Elemental Weakness (which you will self cast for now), do Siosa/Library quest and get Blasphemy + Heralds.
For uniques, you might want to get:
- Lioneye's Paws (these are cheap but good) or Wake of Destruction boots (these are great but more expensive early).
- Le Heup of All ring.
- Thief's Torment ring if you can afford one, this one if you prefer survivability.
- Sacrificial Heart (Incursion amulet) is a big dps gain at this point, usually they are cheap.
This is a good time to switch to wands and get some leveling gear if you want. Also, try to add another dps link (so look for a 4-link) to your Power Siphon, do Siosa quest if you haven't to and get things like Elemental Damage with Attacks gem, for example.

3. Use Blasphemy Elemental Weakness and Wrath once you get access to Blasphemy gem in A4 (or got it from Siosa in A3). When you pick up Pierce gem, see if it provides you with better clearspeed then Added Cold gem. Get Ice Golem as well.
Get Arcing Blows and Coordination notables
For uniques, you might want to have a look at:
- Doedre's Scorn for its amazing base ES and damage.
- Zahndethus' Cassock provides you with some damage, but also a lot of ES at this level.
- Tabula Rasa if you are just making this character later in the league.

4. Pick up Poacher's Aim for killing Utula and get a socket to use it. Remove your Pierce gem from Power Siphon, and use either Immolate or Innervate gems in it's place.
For uniques, you want to look into getting:
- Rainbowstride boots, for a great overall budget package.

5. Make sure you have at least 2.5-3k ES before switching to CI. This can be achieved early (lvl 60) with Rainbowstride, Doedre's Scorn, and some more ES on rest of the gear
Once you get Crown of Eyes, try out Kinetic Blast, it has a much better clear but due to its mana consumption cannot be used early (unless you have Thief's Torment ring). Once you pick up CI, run Herald + Discipline and Blasphemy curse until you get Curse on Hit gloves or ring.
IMPORTANT: Use your own judgement on when to switch to CI - if you ES is lower then your life, you might want to upgrade your gear first and make a switch later.

6. After CI transition, start filling out nearby dps nodes (and jewel sockets if you can get even mediocre jewels).
For uniques, you should get Crown of Eyes, Thunderfists, Piscator's (or a nice rare wand). Plan in advance your resistances since Crown of Eyes will reduce your fire res, so you might need to finally swap out Prismweave belt for a rare with high resists, and also get plenty of them on rings/amulet.

7. Afterwards, it's all up to you, and there are multiple good nodes and areas on the tree.

Other tips:
- Do Siosa/Library quest to get all the gems that you missed/cannot buy as a Witch. Remember to level all the gems you will be using later in your alternative weapon swap. For example, it is a good idea to level extra Added Lightning, Discipline, Damage on Full Life and other gems in your weapon swap.
- Only switch to wands once you take Tempest Blast and either can afford some basic attack oriented gear (Karui Ward or Prismweave) or have a 4 link.
- Get either Iron Rings or any rings/amulet of your choice with added damage. It isn't hard to find rings like these 2 when leveling:

- You can always check pastebin section below for my gear/tree when leveling if you are looking for inspiration. Keep in mind that all of that is league starter gear, so I couldn't afford to spend currency on all the best gear when leveling and most of it was SSF (apart from few uniques). I was also kind of experimenting with the tree / gems along the way.

TL:DR Budget leveling:
Storm Prison wand.
Prismweave belt.
Lioneye's Paws or rare boots -> Rainbowstride.
Life/ES + Resists on body armour and other pieces.
Rare rings with flat added damage and resists.
Karui Ward -> Sacrificial Heart.

All this gear, including uniques, can be bought relatively early even if you didn't drop a lot. You might need to convert some Alts/Fuse into Alchs or Chaos to trade as they are preffered.

TL:DR Twink leveling:
Storm Prison wand.
Prismweave belt.
Doedre's Scorn
Wake of Destruction -> Rainbowstride.
Karui Charge amulet -> Sacrificial Heart.
Tabula Rasa.
Thief's Torment ring.

My Metamorph progression:
https://pastebin.com/ncU1wJC9 - 39, a4
https://pastebin.com/Tuv6YHHu - 43, a5
https://pastebin.com/a4uJdJvz - 48, a6
https://pastebin.com/a4uJdJvz - 53, a7
https://pastebin.com/4EApzVpE - 58, a8
https://pastebin.com/Wi9ebsVp - 63, a9
https://pastebin.com/B89pvnbu - 68, a10

Additional leveling tips by Vatinas (from 3.2, might not apply anymore):
Vatinas wrote:

The problems you describe are indeed issues while leveling, but can be avoided "quite" easily.

Concerning the stuns/CI, the stun threshold is indeed based on your life, which does make you vulnerable to them. However, your second ascendancy, Vile Bastion, makes you immune to stuns while you have energy shield - which is, almost always when you're leveling if you're using ES gear - as well as ES regeneration per second depending on the number of enemies you've killed recently. On top of your first ascendancy, Wicked Ward, which prevents your ES recharge from being interrupted if it started recently, and with the two huge ES bonuses (100 from Wicked Ward, and 150 from Vile Bastion), it makes your ES pretty buff, and immune to stuns. It is recommended to take CI after those two, and once you have somewhat decent ES (which shouldn't take long). Before that, keep your HP :p

As for Ghost Reaver, this is my first CI build with an attack skill, so my first time playing with it, but I took it quite late (at lvl 70ish), because 1) While you don't have Vitality Void/Vaal Pact, your leech is pretty low, and 2) ES recharge is halved by Ghost Reaver. And since ES recharge is pretty strong from Wicked Ward, it's fine playing without Ghost Reaver while leveling, and just running around waiting for your ES recharge to start (again, while leveling).

For the mana regen, the Crown of Eyes has a bit on mana leech on it, but it's indeed not enough to sustain. The first solution is to use a Thief's Torment ring while leveling ; the life gained on hit is useful early, but useless as you get more ES, but the mana gained on hit is insane, and basically makes you immune to being out of mana.
However, around the end of the story, you'll start to need some other rings (perhaps with ES and resistances), so Thief's Torment is more of a leveling item. Also, you might not be able to afford it (a few chaos), or just don't like it. Then, a second solution is to not reserve all your mana (I played with only Wrath, or only Discipline depending on the situation, for most of the game), and keep a top-tier mana flask (with the Catalysed mod if needed - 50% increased regeneration rate). The third solution is to go to the bottom of the tree quickly, and take the hybrid life/mana leech node, which will be enough to sustain your mana.

Hope that helps!

Passive tree:
Basic tree lvl 77
This is the base skeleton you want to follow. Afterwards, take what you need:
- Dps: Crackling speed, Throatseeker, Primeval Force are your picks.
- ES: Melding + nodes around Foresight or take Unnatural Calm.
- Alternatively, take any remaining sockets that are left close-by.

The build is flexible so pick based on your needs. Passive points instead jewels are preferable if you don't own any good ones.

Poe.Trade browsing tips:
These are my personal searches that I use to find my upgrades. They are not ideal, but they are good enough, so if you are a person who needs help with it, chances are, it will help you.
Remember to tweak the numbers in search boxes to suit your needs/budget!

Rings - budget

With those, pay special attention on free available suffixes or prefixes to craft. Attack speed as a suffix, and spell damage as a prefix. It's best to use Path of Building to compare it to your current wand, as there are too many variables for me to list them all. Most of the wands in this search will be comparable to average rolled Piscators, but, some of them will stand out to be even +15% better then total perfect Piscator's.

Some browsers allow extensions that let you copy items from poe.trade to Path of Building directly. It's an amazing tool to have for super fast "before you buy" comparisons.
I'm using this one for Google Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/poe-trade-copy-to-path-of/dfieikfjcjekajhabkpjoffobdlillli?hl=en

https://pastebin.com/QeNQ4Bym - lvl 90 - old Barrage setup
https://pastebin.com/CHLVm5MA - lvl 90 - new Power Siphon setup.
According to calculators, at 11 total projectiles it results in over 70% more damage than Barrage. This dps increase is calculated by adding a modifier to the chest piece.

https://pastebin.com/bTEmJZtZ - lvl 53
https://pastebin.com/QuT1V80u - lvl 64
https://pastebin.com/hRF8Wevq - lvl 76
https://pastebin.com/yaj5JzHJ - lvl 87
All above during first 4 days of the league.

https://pastebin.com/MJh3gvun - lvl 48
https://pastebin.com/4iWdspg7 - lvl 64
https://pastebin.com/6B2sHYzN - lvl 66
https://pastebin.com/9stjXYy6 - lvl 72
https://pastebin.com/8Xc4NDn6 - lvl 76
https://pastebin.com/9TLRR2bs - lvl 84
https://pastebin.com/xd6KJg5J - lvl 89
All above are during first 5-6 days of the league.

Budget gear:

"My gear in X League" section:

My gear in Metamorph:
Since I wasn't planning originally on even starting this league, let alone update the guides, I won't be posting my week by week progerssion. Instead, I'll just update it if I get any noticeable upgrades. I do have a much better chest piece but swapping it between characters is annoying, so I got another, cheap chest for time being.

My gear in Incursion:

I would upgrade a lot more if I had a chance to play. Unfortunately Monday->Friday of the first week I am doing (at the time of writing) 12 hour night shifts which didn't leave me with enough time to get ahead during first week.

Can gain 700 ES if I replace Heart of Storm with Unnatural Calm.

My gear in Bestiary:



My build guides:

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 6, 2020, 6:09:44 PM
Last bumped on Mar 6, 2020, 2:09:20 AM

Int stacking version:
My build guides:

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 6, 2020, 4:29:23 PM
Is there a reason we dont you the vaal version of power siphon? :)
Last edited by AsianOne on Jan 6, 2020, 1:04:53 AM
Did Int stacking wander in the past, and it was pretty good, so I'm pretty curious on your take on it. Bookmarking for now, hopefully you'll finish that section at some point.
Last edited by Jonxxpl on Jan 14, 2020, 9:10:01 AM
Last edited by Yseviel on Mar 2, 2020, 10:06:24 PM

I followed your other wandcultist guide in the past, and wanted to play an occultist wander for next league, so I was *very* pleased to see you make an updated version! :) I have a few questions and remarks, if you don't mind!

First, what do you think of Kinetic Bolt? It's probably going to be what I'll go for (cause is prettyyyyy), and if I understand correctly it will also free the helmet slot (since we won't need Crown of Eyes anymore if we use KBolt - Barrage for single target, if it's good). I know it's hard to judge before seeing it in action, but I'd like to know your thoughts :)

I played my own version of an occultist wander some time ago, using curse on hit and profane bloom to clear, and if I remember correctly (but I'm not sure, it was a long time ago) mobs you kill in one hit don't explode, which means that if you want to pop a pack, you need to attack twice - once to curse, and once to kill and pop. Did you have this experience as well? If so, did it impact your clearing ability, or not that much?

Finally, you quoted some leveling tips I provided on your old guide, and specified here that they might not apply anymore; I checked, and they still do, if you want I think you can remove the warning ^^

Thanks for your work! Stay sane ;)
I'm also thinking of Starting as CI wand build I was wondering how worthwhile it was to travel all the way down to point blank.


That's the level 80 Tree I was thinking about, The life nodes near witch are converted to ES by "Energy from Within Jewel" Last league I started as ES (different build) was able to get one of these jewels for 25C on first day of league (I sold humility cards from levelling in blood aqueducts to afford it).

If there is a new Cluster Jewel with Crit multi on it I think might also be worth skipping traveling to Heartseeker and Acuity area of tree. That potentially saves a lot more points.
Bump, hoping for updates with 3.10 coming soon.

Report Forum Post

Report Account:

Report Type

Additional Info