[3.10] 4 Curse Vixen-Bane Occultist | SSF/Leaguestart Friendly

Pastebin Link for PoB

Unfortunately I don't have any videos on the build as of yet. I play on a potato that can barely run the game, let alone record. Hoping I'll be able to change that in future.

Preamble & Overview
This build revolves around the unique gloves Vixen's Entrapment which triggers socketed curses whenever you cast a curse. Since Bane has the curse tag, it will proc the glove's trigger giving us access to a bunch of curses cast for free. Using these gloves frees up a good chunk of mana if we would otherwise use a blasphemy, and with this build we can cast four curses with the single press of a button. While that's great in itself, Bane also deals respectable damage in a fairly large AoE. We combine this with Essence Drain, Blight and Withered effects to boost our single target. Occultist offers a lot of synergy with curses, allowing them to affect hexproof targets, and provides us with extra clear through Profane Bloom.

Bane vs Soulrend:
This mostly comes down to playstyle, I personally prefer bane, though I have tried both and may try it again later in the league or in future leagues. I also think that you're better off playing a Trickster if you're going a pure Soulrend build as this one is mostly using Occultist for the curse related synergy.

Bane vs ED/Contagion:
Bane has a much larger AoE, but doesn't spread like contagion does which means you're sometimes left with a few mobs left alive if you don't cover the whole pack with your first cast. This isn't too much of an issue due to the cast speed of Bane, as well as the addition of Profane Bloom from Occultist.

The main thing here, is that Contagion doesn't proc our curses when cast, which bane does. There's no reason not to level as contagion until you're ready to switch to endgame gearing.

ED/Contagion does deal more damage compared to Bane, but we get more utility with our curses.


Pros

  • Great AoE without Inc AoE or heavy investment
  • Easy and fast application of multiple curses without reserving mana
  • Solid clearing Dps
  • Decent league starter, even without the gloves
  • Flexible gearing/pathing choices for lategame
  • Pops from Profane Bloom are super satisfying
  • Four curses



Cons

  • Boss damage isn't amazing
  • Damage isn't instantaneous, and rares especially stick around for a few seconds.
  • Can’t use Bane on Atziri as she reflects it’s damage and curse procs back to you.



Defensive Mechanics
  • Temporal Chains and Enfeeble on virtually all enemies
  • Malediction means our cursed enemies deal 10% less damage
  • CI, MoM or Phase/Acro depending on your preference


Skill Tree and Ascendancy choices
The pastebin has trees for MoM, CI and Acro/Phase Acro, alongside a general levelling tree.

https://pastebin.com/8fLNSV2d

There are trees for level 80 and 100 for all versions, which I’ve included to account for the new cluster jewels. For more info on those, see the Gear section below. The pastebin also includes some example items for both the CI and life based builds.

Staff, dual wield wands, wand and shield, or bow
  • Both staves and bows offer us another 6 link with which to run an ED setup for bosses, however getting two six links can be quite expensive
  • Dual wielding wands is the best damage wise for Bane, but lacks some survivability that a shield or quiver would offer in comparison
  • Wand and shield has some good defence but not as much damage as the other options
  • Bows are similar to staves but allow the use of a quiver which we can use as another source of life/resists instead of a shield. However there are few offensive options for affixes on quivers by comparison.


Suggestions for nodes to anoint
  • Prodigal Perfection (Spell damage, mana, spell damage per 100 mana)
  • Hunter's Gambit (Chaos DoT, Skill effect duration)
  • Crystal Skin (ailment avoidance, use with crafted affix to get immunity at 100% chance)
  • Soul of Steel (+1 all res, some armour)
  • Spritual Aid (minion damage modifiers affect you as well, 15% increased damage and more gearing options)
  • Golem's Blood, Herbalism, Heart of the Warrior, Discipline and Training (10% increased life, plus other benefits)
  • Sanctity, Void Barrier, Insightfulness (10% increased ES, plus other benefits)


You could also anoint Whispers of Doom, Method to the Madness, or another notable, and save a few points on tree to give yourself more wiggle room for cluster jewels.


Ascendancy
Profane Bloom provides dps and helps clear large packs that our Bane doesn't entirely cover. But most importantly it lets us ignore Hexproof on maps and Nemesis mobs which is key for this build.

Malediction gives us some extra dps and survivability, and an extra curse.

Life:
Void Beacon and Withering Presence. Void beacon is mostly a travel node, the enemies don’t regenerate life is nice QoL. The second node is what we’re here for. Chaos damage over time and inflicting withered on nearby enemies.

CI:[/b]
Vile Bastion gives us a smooth transition into CI or LL, as well as some QoL stun immunity. This will replace Withering presence, and you will want to pick up one Spreading Rot jewel to make up for the lack of wither.



Pantheons
Pantheons are super flexible and up to the individual. I personally go with Lunaris as my major for the MS and damage reduction because I play pretty forward, and Ralakesh as the minor for the reduction in bleed and eventually maim immunity. If you don't have stun immunity elsewhere, Soul of the Brine King is a good choice. Ryslatha is a good choice for life based builds as the flask charges are valuable while bossing.

When running lab, I highly advise going with Ralakesh for the reduced damage taken from traps. This gives you more room to make mistakes as the traps are by far the biggest threat outside the Izaro fights themselves.


Bandits
Kill all or help Alira for the resists. You can respec to the skill points later by selling 20 regret orbs and an onyx amulet to a vendor.


Leveling
Levelling is pretty straight forward, you pick up Blight from Tarkliegh at the start and then Contagion at level 4 until you can get Bane in act 3.

By itself, Contagion will clear most white mobs and you can just drop it and go. Blight with infused channelling and void manipulation is to help with rares/bosses.

Contagion > Swift Affliction > Void Manipulation
Blight > Void Manipulation > Infused Channelling

If you're going to level to maps with ED/Contagion, instead of just till you get Bane;
Essence Drain > Efficacy > Controlled Destruction > Swift Affliction > Void Mainpulation
Contagion > Inc AoE > Unleash > Item Rarity

This gives a bunch of damage and large AoE on the contagion. The item rarity isn't necessary, but does give you a better chance of finding uniques which, at league start, can give you a decent boost to your build or your wallet.

For a more in-depth overview of levelling, You can check out RaizQT's trickster ED/Contagion video. Though it's for a different skill/class, you'll be levelling in a similar way and looking for similar stuff in the earlier levels.

Keep an eye on vendors for boots with movement speed, and wands with “+1 level of all chaos skill gems” or “Chaos damage multiplier”. These are both very solid and will help carry you through levelling as the +1 gems recipe no longer exists.

As far as routing the skill tree, you'll want to do the following:
  • Pick up the life nodes by witch start (Heart and Soul)
  • Head left to grab Corruption
  • Either grab Melding if you need more life or
  • Path towards Atrophy/Growth & Decay


At any point pick up quick recovery if you find yourself running low on mana. I wouldn't recommend spec'ing into MoM early. You shouldn't be struggling for survivability as you want to be dropping contagion/blight and then running away to not get hit.

You can put off picking up the curse nodes (Whispers of Doom, Hex Master) after you've picked up the gloves we're building around. The other chaos DoT nodes are on average more damage and you'll only be using one curse in the Bane setup anyway.


Skills
Chaos over time builds rely on stacking a number of different DoTs to deal damage to stronger mobs. You’ll want to use Bane, Essence Drain and Wither to deal with tough rares and bosses. I’ve also included a number of options when it comes to utility.

In order of importance, max gem level unless specified:

Bane > Efficacy > Despair > Controlled Destruction > Void Manipulation > Swift Affliction
Our main damage link, you can have any curse in here your other curses should all be socketed in your gloves.

Why only link one curse? (Math)
We only run a single curse in the Bane setup as the multiplier from curses is additive: (base dmg) x (1.47 + 1.47 + 1.47 + 1.47) x (1.48) [Bane with four curses + Efficacy]
As opposed to multiplicative: (base dmg) x (1.48) x (1.47) x (1.44) x (1.44) x (1.39)
1) Efficacy (48.4%)
2) a single curse (47%)
3) controlled destruction (44%, no drawback)
4) swift affliction (44%, 15% reduced duration)
5) void manipulation (39%)


Essence Drain > Efficacy > Controlled Destruction > Swift Affliction > Void Manipulation > Empower
If playing with a bow, we can add in a 6L. Another option would be to run this in a Hungry Loop as a 5L, or a 4L in a helm/boots. You'll want to at least swap out Bane for ED during the Atziri fight if you aren't using this in your setup somewhere.

Enfeeble > Temporal Chains > Poacher's Mark > Enhance > Assassin’s Mark (replacing Poacher's)
Poacher's Mark grants frenzy charges which is a pretty decent boost to damage. Assassin's Mark grants power charges and life/mana on kill. Feel free to add in other curses if you're grouping with people, but these are the ones that benefit your build.

If you can get it, I’d recommend running an Enhance linked to Temporal Chains which will increase the slow, also we can only have four curses active on an enemy so there’s an empty socket here.

Vixen's and our tree/Ascendancy gives us 4 curses, if you're wanting to run more than that; you'll want to look into items on this page.

Discipline
Malevolence
Clarity
Zealotry
Summon Skitterbots
Vaal Grace

Discipline is a must if you're going CI.
Malevolence gives us a decent amount of DoT and Skill Effect Duration.
Summon Skitterbots provides shock and chill, which increases the damage enemies take by 15%, and chills by 10%. It also has lower reservation than Malevolence and provides a similar damage bonus at lower levels so it can be useful to use this until your Malevolence starts to out-scale the benefit of the shock provided.
Zealotry gives extra spell damage, other bonuses aren't relevant.
[Vaal] Grace is good if you're going for an evade based build and taking Phase/Acro.

If you're going MoM, you'll only want to take clarity alongside one other aura at most. With the base 30% MoM you need 43% of your life as unreserved mana eg; with 5k life you'd want to have 2150 unreserved mana.

Blight > Spell Totem > Multiple Totems
Drop these to boost damage on tough enemies. We can get wither from either ascendancy (Vile Bastion), or Spreading Rot, so we’re mostly using this to apply hindered and optionally the withered effect if CI.

Flame Dash > Faster Casting > Arcane Surge [lvl 6] > Withering Step
We want arcane surge to be lvl 6 here to proc every time on Flame Dash and Withering Step, granting us spell damage and cast speed. This puts the activation cost at below the amount of mana we spend on a lvl 20 flame dash. Withering step is a good alternative to using Wither/Spreading Rot, you'd want to use Bane on a target and then withering step to apply the wither stacks and avoid damage. If not using Withering Step, Arcane Surge can be lvl 7 for the slight increase to the buff.


Gear
In the PoB, I've included a few example item sets depending on whether you're going life or CI. The items included are a very rough guide as to what you should be looking for, most of the rares are there just to fill resists or show what you can easily achieve ES/Life wise.

The default itemset shows what the build looks like with a basic wand.

Highly recommend checking out https://poedb.tw/us/mod.php to see what affixes are available on each item, especially when it comes to the various influence options.

If you're wanting to run CI and are unsure about gearing, check out Ziggy's video Path of Exile 3.6: Chaos Innoculation Gearing Guide - Swapping to CI on the Cheap
Note that Wicked Ward has been removed from the ascendancy and we pick it up on the tree instead.

Mainhand
Imbued wand with the affix "#% to Non-Ailment Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier", other things to look for are "#% Increased Spell Damage" and "#% Increased Damage over Time". Your best bet is going to ID all the wands you come across and then if you hit the desirable mods; crafting one of the aforementioned mods or "increased chaos damage, chaos skills have #% increased skill effect duration" (note that many of these are veiled mods).

Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill, can be a good way to automate some of the other things that Vixen's doesn't cover, eg Withering Step.

Cane of Unravelling is a decent choice early, but is out-scaled damage wise by dual wands and a high end crafted staff/bow.

Other options include a rare staff or bow with "+1-3 to chaos spell skill gems" (staff)/"+1 to socketed gems" (bow), "+2 levels to socketed supports", and "#% Chaos Damage over Time". This lets you put a 6L ED in a bow, and gives you access to a quiver such as Soul Strike or one crafted with resists/dexterity.


Offhand
The options here are either another wand, or a shield. Personally I’d go with the shield option for the defence. There aren’t any good offensive affixes here outside the spell damage and +1 level of all chaos spell gems prefixes, but that's only available on str/int and int shields. Shaper influence offers max res, reduced reservation, and % life/ES gained on block. Redeemer influence has curse and aura effect as suffixes. Hunter has max all-res and max chaos res, as well as % increased life.

CI builds will want to go with a shield as you can get large amounts of ES from them.

Unique shield choices include Saffel's Frame, Mistwall, Prism Guardian (If going low-life), Atziri's Reflection (very endgame/high budget only)

If you're using a bow, Soul Strike is a very strong choice for any CI build. Otherwise a rare quiver with resists, life, and damage over time multi for non ES builds. Hunter influence have the option for chaos damage over time multi as well, Warlord offering increased AoE.


Body Armour
A variety of uniques are viable in this slot, you'll likely want to go for either pure evasion or hybrid evasion/es chests such as Kintsugi, Perfect Form, or Queen of the Forest. Carcass Jack only increases the AoE by about 1 unit and the area damage doesn't scale Bane.

A cheap option, though lacking in defence, is a corrupted tabula. Look for implicits such as "+1 to socketed gems", "+2 to duration/curse/AoE gems", or "% increased Maximum Life"

With rares, you're just looking for resists and either ES or Life depending on whether or not you're going CI. There are some good influence mods available here, especially the Hunter mod "You can apply an additional curse". This would let you add another curse to your gloves (though at the cost of a potential Enhance). Incursion chests with % life are also a good option here.


Helmet
Alpha's Howl, Starkonja's Head are both good unique options for life builds. Alpha's boosts our auras, while Starkonja's provides us with decent defence. Doedre's Scorn is the best option here if you're still on a four link for your Bane setup as the +2 levels are nice for our damage.

Otherwise you're looking for a rare with either life/ES and resists. Hunter's influence offers "nearby enemies have -x% chaos resistance" now that it's no longer available via fossil crafting.

Devouring Diadem is an option for MoM builds, though is usually quite expensive. It allows you to reserve your entire mana pool, and then use Eldritch Battery for MoM. Add in a CWDT > Unearth and/or Desecrate > Spell Cascade setup to generate corpses for the Diadem's effect.

Enchants to look for would be either Bane or ED damage, though I’ve not done the math yet on how the increased effect of curses might change our DPS (would currently only apply to Despair). None are required for this build to function.


Boots
Rainbowstride, Sin Trek, Atziri's Step or rare boots with better resist, MS and ES/life values. These are all decent options, though I'd lean toward rare boots for the resists if you're using a lot of uniques in other slots. Doryani's Delusion is an option here, especially paired with an Aul's uprising as mentioned below to have a free purity aura.

The Life regen when hit, movement speed, or the Spell/Attack dodge enchants are going to be best here, as the rest don't do much for this build. Mana regen isn't going to be as useful as the life regen in MoM builds.


Gloves
We're using Vixen's Entrapment here, no doubt. Removing these would change a lot about this build.


Belt
Bated Breath is a good choice for early CI builds, otherwise a rare belt with resists and ES/life. Stygian Vise is the best base for non-CI builds which would prefer a crystal belt. This is one place to get a chunk of str if you need it, the CI tree doesn't have a lot of str on it, and you may find yourself short for running the totem setup.


Rings
Dream fragments is a good early choice if you don't want to deal with freezing. Otherwise just ES/life/mana/resists on rare rings is good here. This is also a good place to pick up any attributes you need to meet gear/gem requirements.


Amulet
Unique options include Presence of Chayula for CI builds. Aul's Uprising with either Malevolence, Zealotry, Discipline or Clarity could be a good option here. Optionally picking up a free purity of X would be a strong defensive option as well. ES/Life/Mana/resits on rares. You'll likely be using this slot to fill out missing attribute requirements as well. Chase would be a good Essence of Envy crafted amulet for the increased chaos damage.

Anoints are mentioned in the skill tree section.


Flasks
For life builds I recommend the following; Seething Divine Life of Staunching, Quartz, Basalt, Jade of Reflexes and Quicksilver of Adrenaline. Seething for the instant recovery, divine over eternal as divine has a higher total life recovered per use than eternal, the difference being that eternal recovers over a shorter period of time which is irrelevant for a seething flask. You'll want to pick up the suffixes "of heat", and "of warding" on your quartz/basalt flasks in no particular order; beast crafting is a great way to do this, as well as the staunching mod for your life flask. For prefixes I prefer "experimenter's" for the duration, though "chemists" is also a decent choice.

CI builds will want to replace the life flask with either a Granite (Rumi's Concoction) or Stibnite depending on whether you value the increased armour or evasion more. Granite opens up the option for Vaal Molten Shell shenanigans, but you might find it hard to make the most of the buff with plain ES gear due to low armour.


Jewels
Conqueror's Potency is a good choice, and you'll get one through the campaign. Spreading Rot if you aren't getting the Withering Presence Ascendancy node.

Otherwise rare jewels with the following affixes in order of priority
  • PREFIX: #% Increased Max Life/ES
  • SUFFIX: #% to Non-Ailment Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier
  • SUFFIX: #% Increased Damage over Time
  • PREFIX: #% Increased Chaos Damage


Here's a trade search with the affixes, remove either the life or ES mod depending on your build. Note this search is for standard, you will want to change this if you're playing in another league.
https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Standard/pKKDY3wf0

Desirable Watcher's Eye affixes:
  • Damaging Ailments you inflict deal Damage #% faster while affected by Malevolence
  • #% increased Recovery rate of Life and Energy Shield while affected by Malevolence
  • #% to Damage over Time Multiplier while affected by Malevolence
  • #% Damage taken from Mana before Life while affected by Clarity (MoM)
  • #% of Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit while affected by Clarity (MoM)
  • #% increased Energy Shield Recovery Rate while affected by Discipline (CI)
  • Regenerate #% of Energy Shield per Second while affected by Discipline (CI)


Cluster Jewels
There are a number of good notables here that we can use, I've listed a few of the more notable ones here, though there's a lot of powerful stuff that you could build around. I'd suggest looking at the lvl 80 trees and grabbing one of the jewel nodes near either CI or Minion Instability if you're wanting to use them.
  • Sap Psyche: Spell damage, Mana regen, ES regen if you cursed an enemy recently
  • Fettle: Flat health, %Health
  • Energy from Naught: +100 ES
  • Student of Decay: Damage over time, Chaos res
  • Eternal Suffering: Chaos damage over time multi, Skill effect duration
  • Wicked Pall: Chaos damage, Skill effect duration
  • Whispers of Death: Curse effect, increased damage


There are a huge number of notables that will be useful, and I won't have the space to list them all here.

This image sorts all the new notables by type.
DoT
Chaos
Life
Energy Shield
Chaos DoT
Chaos Def
Mana
Curse

Last edited by Tyriuth on Mar 13, 2020, 12:00:57 AM
Last bumped on Mar 17, 2020, 1:58:49 AM
Reserved for FAQ and other notes
"
[spoiler][/spoiler]
"
Tyriuth wrote:
Pastebin Link for PoB

Unfortunately I don't have any videos on the build as of yet. I play on a potato that can barely run the game, let alone record. Hoping I'll be able to change that in future.

Preamble & Overview
This build revolves around the unique gloves Vixen's Entrapment which triggers socketed curses whenever you cast a curse. Since Bane has the curse tag, it will proc the glove's trigger giving us access to a bunch of curses cast for free. Using these gloves frees up a good chunk of mana if we would otherwise use a blasphemy, and with this build we can cast four curses with the single press of a button. While that's great in itself, Bane also deals respectable damage in a fairly large AoE. We combine this with Essence Drain, Blight and Withered effects to boost our single target. Occultist offers a lot of synergy with curses, allowing them to affect hexproof targets, and provides us with extra clear through Profane Bloom.

Bane vs Soulrend:
This mostly comes down to playstyle, I personally prefer bane, though I have tried both and may try it again later in the league or in future leagues. I also think that you're better off playing a Trickster if you're going a pure Soulrend build as this one is mostly using Occultist for the curse related synergy.

Bane vs ED/Contagion:
Bane has a much larger AoE, but doesn't spread like contagion does which means you're sometimes left with a few mobs left alive if you don't cover the whole pack with your first cast. This isn't too much of an issue due to the cast speed of Bane, as well as the addition of Profane Bloom from Occultist.

The main thing here, is that Contagion doesn't proc our curses when cast, which bane does. There's no reason not to level as contagion until you're ready to switch to endgame gearing.

ED/Contagion does deal more damage compared to Bane, but we get more utility with our curses.


Pros

  • Great AoE without Inc AoE or heavy investment
  • Easy and fast application of multiple curses without reserving mana
  • Solid clearing Dps
  • Decent league starter, even without the gloves
  • Flexible gearing/pathing choices for lategame
  • Pops from Profane Bloom are super satisfying
  • Four curses



Cons

  • Boss damage isn't amazing
  • Damage isn't instantaneous, and rares especially stick around for a few seconds.
  • Can’t use Bane on Atziri as she reflects it’s damage and curse procs back to you.



Defensive Mechanics
  • Temporal Chains and Enfeeble on virtually all enemies
  • Malediction means our cursed enemies deal 10% less damage
  • CI, MoM or Phase/Acro depending on your preference


Skill Tree and Ascendancy choices
The pastebin has trees for MoM, CI and Acro/Phase Acro, alongside a general levelling tree.

https://pastebin.com/8fLNSV2d

There are trees for level 80 and 100 for all versions, which I’ve included to account for the new cluster jewels. For more info on those, see the Gear section below. The pastebin also includes some example items for both the CI and life based builds.

Staff, dual wield wands, wand and shield, or bow
  • Both staves and bows offer us another 6 link with which to run an ED setup for bosses, however getting two six links can be quite expensive
  • Dual wielding wands is the best damage wise for Bane, but lacks some survivability that a shield or quiver would offer in comparison
  • Wand and shield has some good defence but not as much damage as the other options
  • Bows are similar to staves but allow the use of a quiver which we can use as another source of life/resists instead of a shield. However there are few offensive options for affixes on quivers by comparison.


Suggestions for nodes to anoint
  • Prodigal Perfection (Spell damage, mana, spell damage per 100 mana)
  • Hunter's Gambit (Chaos DoT, Skill effect duration)
  • Crystal Skin (ailment avoidance, use with crafted affix to get immunity at 100% chance)
  • Soul of Steel (+1 all res, some armour)
  • Spritual Aid (minion damage modifiers affect you as well, 15% increased damage and more gearing options)
  • Golem's Blood, Herbalism, Heart of the Warrior, Discipline and Training (10% increased life, plus other benefits)
  • Sanctity, Void Barrier, Insightfulness (10% increased ES, plus other benefits)


You could also anoint Whispers of Doom, Method to the Madness, or another notable, and save a few points on tree to give yourself more wiggle room for cluster jewels.


Ascendancy
Profane Bloom provides dps and helps clear large packs that our Bane doesn't entirely cover. But most importantly it lets us ignore Hexproof on maps and Nemesis mobs which is key for this build.

Malediction gives us some extra dps and survivability, and an extra curse.

Life:
Void Beacon and Withering Presence. Void beacon is mostly a travel node, the enemies don’t regenerate life is nice QoL. The second node is what we’re here for. Chaos damage over time and inflicting withered on nearby enemies.

CI:[/b]
Vile Bastion gives us a smooth transition into CI or LL, as well as some QoL stun immunity. This will replace Withering presence, and you will want to pick up one Spreading Rot jewel to make up for the lack of wither.



Pantheons
Pantheons are super flexible and up to the individual. I personally go with Lunaris as my major for the MS and damage reduction because I play pretty forward, and Ralakesh as the minor for the reduction in bleed and eventually maim immunity. If you don't have stun immunity elsewhere, Soul of the Brine King is a good choice. Ryslatha is a good choice for life based builds as the flask charges are valuable while bossing.

When running lab, I highly advise going with Ralakesh for the reduced damage taken from traps. This gives you more room to make mistakes as the traps are by far the biggest threat outside the Izaro fights themselves.


Bandits
Kill all or help Alira for the resists. You can respec to the skill points later by selling 20 regret orbs and an onyx amulet to a vendor.


Leveling
Levelling is pretty straight forward, you pick up Blight from Tarkliegh at the start and then Contagion at level 4 until you can get Bane in act 3.

By itself, Contagion will clear most white mobs and you can just drop it and go. Blight with infused channelling and void manipulation is to help with rares/bosses.

Contagion > Swift Affliction > Void Manipulation
Blight > Void Manipulation > Infused Channelling

If you're going to level to maps with ED/Contagion, instead of just till you get Bane;
Essence Drain > Efficacy > Controlled Destruction > Swift Affliction > Void Mainpulation
Contagion > Inc AoE > Unleash > Item Rarity

This gives a bunch of damage and large AoE on the contagion. The item rarity isn't necessary, but does give you a better chance of finding uniques which, at league start, can give you a decent boost to your build or your wallet.

For a more in-depth overview of levelling, You can check out RaizQT's trickster ED/Contagion video. Though it's for a different skill/class, you'll be levelling in a similar way and looking for similar stuff in the earlier levels.

Keep an eye on vendors for boots with movement speed, and wands with “+1 level of all chaos skill gems” or “Chaos damage multiplier”. These are both very solid and will help carry you through levelling as the +1 gems recipe no longer exists.

As far as routing the skill tree, you'll want to do the following:
  • Pick up the life nodes by witch start (Heart and Soul)
  • Head left to grab Corruption
  • Either grab Melding if you need more life or
  • Path towards Atrophy/Growth & Decay


At any point pick up quick recovery if you find yourself running low on mana. I wouldn't recommend spec'ing into MoM early. You shouldn't be struggling for survivability as you want to be dropping contagion/blight and then running away to not get hit.

You can put off picking up the curse nodes (Whispers of Doom, Hex Master) after you've picked up the gloves we're building around. The other chaos DoT nodes are on average more damage and you'll only be using one curse in the Bane setup anyway.


Skills
Chaos over time builds rely on stacking a number of different DoTs to deal damage to stronger mobs. You’ll want to use Bane, Essence Drain and Wither to deal with tough rares and bosses. I’ve also included a number of options when it comes to utility.

In order of importance, max gem level unless specified:

Bane > Efficacy > Despair > Controlled Destruction > Void Manipulation > Swift Affliction
Our main damage link, you can have any curse in here your other curses should all be socketed in your gloves.

Why only link one curse? (Math)
We only run a single curse in the Bane setup as the multiplier from curses is additive: (base dmg) x (1.47 + 1.47 + 1.47 + 1.47) x (1.48) [Bane with four curses + Efficacy]
As opposed to multiplicative: (base dmg) x (1.48) x (1.47) x (1.44) x (1.44) x (1.39)
1) Efficacy (48.4%)
2) a single curse (47%)
3) controlled destruction (44%, no drawback)
4) swift affliction (44%, 15% reduced duration)
5) void manipulation (39%)


Essence Drain > Efficacy > Controlled Destruction > Swift Affliction > Void Manipulation > Empower
If playing with a bow, we can add in a 6L. Another option would be to run this in a Hungry Loop as a 5L, or a 4L in a helm/boots. You'll want to at least swap out Bane for ED during the Atziri fight if you aren't using this in your setup somewhere.

Enfeeble > Temporal Chains > Poacher's Mark > Enhance > Assassin’s Mark (replacing Poacher's)
Poacher's Mark grants frenzy charges which is a pretty decent boost to damage. Assassin's Mark grants power charges and life/mana on kill. Feel free to add in other curses if you're grouping with people, but these are the ones that benefit your build.

If you can get it, I’d recommend running an Enhance linked to Temporal Chains which will increase the slow, also we can only have four curses active on an enemy so there’s an empty socket here.

Vixen's and our tree/Ascendancy gives us 4 curses, if you're wanting to run more than that; you'll want to look into items on this page.

Discipline
Malevolence
Clarity
Zealotry
Summon Skitterbots
Vaal Grace

Discipline is a must if you're going CI.
Malevolence gives us a decent amount of DoT and Skill Effect Duration.
Summon Skitterbots provides shock and chill, which increases the damage enemies take by 15%, and chills by 10%. It also has lower reservation than Malevolence and provides a similar damage bonus at lower levels so it can be useful to use this until your Malevolence starts to out-scale the benefit of the shock provided.
Zealotry gives extra spell damage, other bonuses aren't relevant.
[Vaal] Grace is good if you're going for an evade based build and taking Phase/Acro.

If you're going MoM, you'll only want to take clarity alongside one other aura at most. With the base 30% MoM you need 43% of your life as unreserved mana eg; with 5k life you'd want to have 2150 unreserved mana.

Blight > Spell Totem > Multiple Totems
Drop these to boost damage on tough enemies. We can get wither from either ascendancy (Vile Bastion), or Spreading Rot, so we’re mostly using this to apply hindered and optionally the withered effect if CI.

Flame Dash > Faster Casting > Arcane Surge [lvl 6] > Withering Step
We want arcane surge to be lvl 6 here to proc every time on Flame Dash and Withering Step, granting us spell damage and cast speed. This puts the activation cost at below the amount of mana we spend on a lvl 20 flame dash. Withering step is a good alternative to using Wither/Spreading Rot, you'd want to use Bane on a target and then withering step to apply the wither stacks and avoid damage. If not using Withering Step, Arcane Surge can be lvl 7 for the slight increase to the buff.


Gear
In the PoB, I've included a few example item sets depending on whether you're going life or CI. The items included are a very rough guide as to what you should be looking for, most of the rares are there just to fill resists or show what you can easily achieve ES/Life wise.

The default itemset shows what the build looks like with a basic wand.

Highly recommend checking out https://poedb.tw/us/mod.php to see what affixes are available on each item, especially when it comes to the various influence options.

If you're wanting to run CI and are unsure about gearing, check out Ziggy's video Path of Exile 3.6: Chaos Innoculation Gearing Guide - Swapping to CI on the Cheap
Note that Wicked Ward has been removed from the ascendancy and we pick it up on the tree instead.

Mainhand
Imbued wand with the affix "#% to Non-Ailment Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier", other things to look for are "#% Increased Spell Damage" and "#% Increased Damage over Time". Your best bet is going to ID all the wands you come across and then if you hit the desirable mods; crafting one of the aforementioned mods or "increased chaos damage, chaos skills have #% increased skill effect duration" (note that many of these are veiled mods).

Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill, can be a good way to automate some of the other things that Vixen's doesn't cover, eg Withering Step.

Cane of Unravelling is a decent choice early, but is out-scaled damage wise by dual wands and a high end crafted staff/bow.

Other options include a rare staff or bow with "+1-3 to chaos spell skill gems" (staff)/"+1 to socketed gems" (bow), "+2 levels to socketed supports", and "#% Chaos Damage over Time". This lets you put a 6L ED in a bow, and gives you access to a quiver such as Soul Strike or one crafted with resists/dexterity.


Offhand
The options here are either another wand, or a shield. Personally I’d go with the shield option for the defence. There aren’t any good offensive affixes here outside the spell damage and +1 level of all chaos spell gems prefixes, but that's only available on str/int and int shields. Shaper influence offers max res, reduced reservation, and % life/ES gained on block. Redeemer influence has curse and aura effect as suffixes. Hunter has max all-res and max chaos res, as well as % increased life.

CI builds will want to go with a shield as you can get large amounts of ES from them.

Unique shield choices include Saffel's Frame, Mistwall, Prism Guardian (If going low-life), Atziri's Reflection (very endgame/high budget only)

If you're using a bow, Soul Strike is a very strong choice for any CI build. Otherwise a rare quiver with resists, life, and damage over time multi for non ES builds. Hunter influence have the option for chaos damage over time multi as well, Warlord offering increased AoE.


Body Armour
A variety of uniques are viable in this slot, you'll likely want to go for either pure evasion or hybrid evasion/es chests such as Kintsugi, Perfect Form, or Queen of the Forest. Carcass Jack only increases the AoE by about 1 unit and the area damage doesn't scale Bane.

A cheap option, though lacking in defence, is a corrupted tabula. Look for implicits such as "+1 to socketed gems", "+2 to duration/curse/AoE gems", or "% increased Maximum Life"

With rares, you're just looking for resists and either ES or Life depending on whether or not you're going CI. There are some good influence mods available here, especially the Hunter mod "You can apply an additional curse". This would let you add another curse to your gloves (though at the cost of a potential Enhance). Incursion chests with % life are also a good option here.


Helmet
Alpha's Howl, Starkonja's Head are both good unique options for life builds. Alpha's boosts our auras, while Starkonja's provides us with decent defence. Doedre's Scorn is the best option here if you're still on a four link for your Bane setup as the +2 levels are nice for our damage.

Otherwise you're looking for a rare with either life/ES and resists. Hunter's influence offers "nearby enemies have -x% chaos resistance" now that it's no longer available via fossil crafting.

Devouring Diadem is an option for MoM builds, though is usually quite expensive. It allows you to reserve your entire mana pool, and then use Eldritch Battery for MoM. Add in a CWDT > Unearth and/or Desecrate > Spell Cascade setup to generate corpses for the Diadem's effect.

Enchants to look for would be either Bane or ED damage, though I’ve not done the math yet on how the increased effect of curses might change our DPS (would currently only apply to Despair). None are required for this build to function.


Boots
Rainbowstride, Sin Trek, Atziri's Step or rare boots with better resist, MS and ES/life values. These are all decent options, though I'd lean toward rare boots for the resists if you're using a lot of uniques in other slots. Doryani's Delusion is an option here, especially paired with an Aul's uprising as mentioned below to have a free purity aura.

The Life regen when hit, movement speed, or the Spell/Attack dodge enchants are going to be best here, as the rest don't do much for this build. Mana regen isn't going to be as useful as the life regen in MoM builds.


Gloves
We're using Vixen's Entrapment here, no doubt. Removing these would change a lot about this build.


Belt
Bated Breath is a good choice for early CI builds, otherwise a rare belt with resists and ES/life. Stygian Vise is the best base for non-CI builds which would prefer a crystal belt. This is one place to get a chunk of str if you need it, the CI tree doesn't have a lot of str on it, and you may find yourself short for running the totem setup.


Rings
Dream fragments is a good early choice if you don't want to deal with freezing. Otherwise just ES/life/mana/resists on rare rings is good here. This is also a good place to pick up any attributes you need to meet gear/gem requirements.


Amulet
Unique options include Presence of Chayula for CI builds. Aul's Uprising with either Malevolence, Zealotry, Discipline or Clarity could be a good option here. Optionally picking up a free purity of X would be a strong defensive option as well. ES/Life/Mana/resits on rares. You'll likely be using this slot to fill out missing attribute requirements as well. Chase would be a good Essence of Envy crafted amulet for the increased chaos damage.

Anoints are mentioned in the skill tree section.


Flasks
For life builds I recommend the following; Seething Divine Life of Staunching, Quartz, Basalt, Jade of Reflexes and Quicksilver of Adrenaline. Seething for the instant recovery, divine over eternal as divine has a higher total life recovered per use than eternal, the difference being that eternal recovers over a shorter period of time which is irrelevant for a seething flask. You'll want to pick up the suffixes "of heat", and "of warding" on your quartz/basalt flasks in no particular order; beast crafting is a great way to do this, as well as the staunching mod for your life flask. For prefixes I prefer "experimenter's" for the duration, though "chemists" is also a decent choice.

CI builds will want to replace the life flask with either a Granite (Rumi's Concoction) or Stibnite depending on whether you value the increased armour or evasion more. Granite opens up the option for Vaal Molten Shell shenanigans, but you might find it hard to make the most of the buff with plain ES gear due to low armour.


Jewels
Conqueror's Potency is a good choice, and you'll get one through the campaign. Spreading Rot if you aren't getting the Withering Presence Ascendancy node.

Otherwise rare jewels with the following affixes in order of priority
  • PREFIX: #% Increased Max Life/ES
  • SUFFIX: #% to Non-Ailment Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier
  • SUFFIX: #% Increased Damage over Time
  • PREFIX: #% Increased Chaos Damage


Here's a trade search with the affixes, remove either the life or ES mod depending on your build. Note this search is for standard, you will want to change this if you're playing in another league.
https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Standard/pKKDY3wf0

Desirable Watcher's Eye affixes:
  • Damaging Ailments you inflict deal Damage #% faster while affected by Malevolence
  • #% increased Recovery rate of Life and Energy Shield while affected by Malevolence
  • #% to Damage over Time Multiplier while affected by Malevolence
  • #% Damage taken from Mana before Life while affected by Clarity (MoM)
  • #% of Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit while affected by Clarity (MoM)
  • #% increased Energy Shield Recovery Rate while affected by Discipline (CI)
  • Regenerate #% of Energy Shield per Second while affected by Discipline (CI)


Cluster Jewels
There are a number of good notables here that we can use, I've listed a few of the more notable ones here, though there's a lot of powerful stuff that you could build around. I'd suggest looking at the lvl 80 trees and grabbing one of the jewel nodes near either CI or Minion Instability if you're wanting to use them.
  • Sap Psyche: Spell damage, Mana regen, ES regen if you cursed an enemy recently
  • Fettle: Flat health, %Health
  • Energy from Naught: +100 ES
  • Student of Decay: Damage over time, Chaos res
  • Eternal Suffering: Chaos damage over time multi, Skill effect duration
  • Wicked Pall: Chaos damage, Skill effect duration
  • Whispers of Death: Curse effect, increased damage


There are a huge number of notables that will be useful, and I won't have the space to list them all here.

This image sorts all the new notables by type.
DoT
Chaos
Life
Energy Shield
Chaos DoT
Chaos Def
Mana
Curse

"
We only run a single curse in the Bane setup as the multiplier from curses is additive: (base dmg) x (1.47 + 1.47 + 1.47 + 1.47) x (1.48) [Bane with four curses + Efficacy]
As opposed to multiplicative: (base dmg) x (1.48) x (1.47) x (1.44) x (1.44) x (1.39)

Its (base dmg) x (0.47 + 0.47 + 0.47 + 0.47) x (1.48) [Bane with four curses + Efficacy]
otherwise 4 curses = 900 dmg (from 100 base) while 4 supports = 700+ ;)
"
Melanholic7 wrote:
"
We only run a single curse in the Bane setup as the multiplier from curses is additive: (base dmg) x (1.47 + 1.47 + 1.47 + 1.47) x (1.48) [Bane with four curses + Efficacy]
As opposed to multiplicative: (base dmg) x (1.48) x (1.47) x (1.44) x (1.44) x (1.39)

Its (base dmg) x (0.47 + 0.47 + 0.47 + 0.47) x (1.48) [Bane with four curses + Efficacy]
otherwise 4 curses = 900 dmg (from 100 base) while 4 supports = 700+ ;)


Your math is really off there dude. With four curses we end up with only a 2.78 multiplier on base damage and with 1 curse and four supports we end up with a 6.27 multiplier on base damage.

You can see this in PoB if you want as well. An empty build with Bane > Despair > Enfeeble > TempChains > Poacher's mark only has 2k DoT dps.
Bane > Efficacy > Controlled Destruction > Despair > Swift Affliction has 6.5k.
Heads up in case you didn't hear about it, but they moved the notable Arcane Expanse. All the versions of your build path past it, and I think it would be a better choice than taking Blast Radius. Bane won't scale from the area damage of Blast Radius, and pathing to Arcane Expanse will provide the same AOE increases while also providing spell damage.
"
Shahared wrote:
Heads up in case you didn't hear about it, but they moved the notable Arcane Expanse. All the versions of your build path past it, and I think it would be a better choice than taking Blast Radius. Bane won't scale from the area damage of Blast Radius, and pathing to Arcane Expanse will provide the same AOE increases while also providing spell damage.


That's a good point, I kinda skipped past them both offering damage and was more focused on the AOE. Will update the PoBs in a little while.

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