[3.10] The Pestilent Viper | 86% elem res, 88% chaos | New video : 600% speed + triple dmg !

Hi Exiles,

Here is a new and original build : The Pestilent Viper, an attempt to mix melee poison with the chaotic power of the Occultist.

This build features :
- Chaos DoT dmg with Pestilent Strike and Viper Strike
- Plaguesplosions !
- Max slowness on enemies
- Very high resistances against elemental and chaos damages

PoB links
* Basic dual-wielding setup : https://pastebin.com/71T9iU1S
* Advanced setup with 83% elem, 88% chaos res : https://pastebin.com/qj8qTtMG
* With Incandescent Heart, 86% elem, 88% chaos : https://pastebin.com/qcLLkaAy


- Efficient farming with Pestilent Strike
- Good bossing with Viper Strike
- Not expensive. Doesn't need 80ex investment to just start working
- Very tanky against elem and chaos dmg

- Poison melee is not to everyone taste
- Need to swap gems for bosses
- Quite squishy against phys dmg
- Full setup is heavy on uniques

Videos :

#7 : T17 maps - 600% movespeed + triple damage with awakened sextant poison mod
#6 : T16 Promenade - 400% movespeed + double damage with simple sextant poison mod
#5 : T17 Vaal Zone
#4 : T16 farming and bossing
#3 : T14 Hunter
#2 : Max slow
#1 : Plaguesplosions

Current gearing

Why Occultist ?

From the Occultist Ascendancy, we get some nice QoL features for a poison build :
- Second curse
- Curses apply to hexproof enemies
- Chaos explosions
- 60% chaos res
- Hinder stacks

I want to know more about Plaguesplosions

Very simple :
- Withering Steps + Profane Bloom Ascendancy
- Activate Plague Bearer
- Run
- BOOM !

Slowness lends strength to one's enemies

To slow enemies, we use :
- Temporal Chains
- Aspect of the Spider
- Flesh & Stone / Blood Stance
+ Cold Snap

So we can slow, maim, hinder and chill them, and the result is that we (almost) petrify enemies :) Even bosses are notably slower.
Temp Chains : 29% less action speed on white and blue mobs / 14% on rare and uniques
Maim : 30% reduced movespeed
Hinder : another 30% reduced movespeed
+ Cold Snap : chilled ground reduced action speed by 10%. At level 20, 19% increased + Hypothermia support : 20% inc. Total : 10%+(39*10%) = 14% reduced action speed.


* Pestilent Strike AoE + explosions from Ascendancy allow for smooth clearing. Hit a pack one or two times, and run while they die and explode.
* Load Plague Bearer to the max, pop Withering Steps then run through packs.
* You can use Viper Strike + Ancestral Call to load Plague Bearer faster (4-5 hits are enough generally) and then run with Plague Bearer.


Farming :
Pestilent Strike + Unbound Ailments + Deadly Ailments + Added Chaos Damage + Vile Toxins + Ancestral Call

For bosses :
Viper Strike + Multistrike + Unbound Ailments + Deadly Ailments + Vile Toxins + Added Chaos Damage

Sometimes, I just swap Viper Strike and keep Ancestral Call.

- Enlighten level 3 + Blasphemy + Despair + Temporal Chains
- Whirling Blades + Faster Attacks + Fortify
- Plague Bearer level 21, Flesh & Stone, Withering Step, Vaal Blight
- Aspect of the Spider
- Optionally : Precision to get 100% hit chance, Cold Snap + Hypothermia

Detailed gearing

- Weapons : dual dagger or dual claws.
Uniques : Bino's Kitchen (poison prolif), Wasp Nest (fast, life gain on hit), Mortem Morsu (fast, phys to chaos conversion)

Bought these little badasses for 3ex each in Std :

- Helmet : no mandatory unique. Life, res, attributes...
Best mod : Nearby enemies have -9% to chaos res

- Body armour : Nothing mandatory here.

Bought it for max life and chaos res.
Also, Sacrificial Garb looks cool af for a Witch.

- Gloves : Fenumus' Weave are BiS unique to get Aspect of the Spider, if you don't have it on another piece of gear. Atm, I rather use :

And Aspect of the Spider is on my boots.

- Boots : Nothing special here.
I got those boots with Aspect of the Spider

- Amulet : Solstice Vigil is BiS

Other good choice : an Impresence with no mana Despair.
For the hipsters : an Aul's Uprising which grants level 15 Envy aura. But slightly inferior to the other.

- Belt : A Stygian vise

- Rings : Life, elem and/or chaos res, chaos dmg to attacks

- Flasks : Coralito's Signature is mandatory.

If you don't have Solstice Vigil or Impresence amulet, use Witchfire to get Despair without reserving mana for it :

What I'm planning to improve

*Cluster jewels.
Notables : Blessed, Born of Chaos (+3% max chaos res), Touch of Cruelty, Unholy Grace, Wicked Pall...

*A tankier setup with :
Incandescent Heart = 25% of elem dmg taken as chaos dmg
+ Divine Flesh = +10% to max chaos res, 50% of elem dmg taken as chaos, all dmg penetrates ES
= 75% elem taken as chaos

> 90% chaos res + 76% elem res with Soul of Steel = (90*4 + 76)/4 = 86% elem res !


You may also like my previous build, The Nightblade Assassin.

Cheers and have fun :)
"Here are the thrill seekers, corrupt and immoral..."
Last edited by rahsaan on May 21, 2020, 6:45:43 AM
Last bumped on May 21, 2020, 6:24:40 AM
Just added two new videos :

#4 : T16 farming and bossing
#5: T17 Vaal Zone

I'm planning to do a demo with the Arakaali dagger, which fits this build very well.
Gl & hf :)
"Here are the thrill seekers, corrupt and immoral..."
Advanced setup : max chaos and elemental resistances

The build still feels squishy, so I've read several Poison / Pestilent Strike builds, mainly to improve the defenses of this build. Some have great ideas and thx to them, I've found a way to further capitalize on the Occultist Ascendancy bonuses.
This setup requires several uniques, so it's more expensive and not-SSF friendly.
But with it, you can get 88% chaos res and (up to) 83% all elem res.

PoB @lvl 92 : https://pastebin.com/qj8qTtMG


This setup is inspired by Durimon's Defense for his Pestilent Strike Assassin.

I have adapted it to the Occultist like this :
- Get 45% chaos res. Should be fairly easy thanks to +60% chaos res on the Ascendancy

- On the amulet, anoint Cleansed Thoughts : chaos res is doubled. Now you have 75% (90%) chaos res. Anointment : golden – blue – clear. A bit expensive, I know.

- Get Apep's Supremacy shield (budget: Apep's Slumber) : +3% to all max res while poisoned. The wording is precise, it includes chaos res. Now, let's poison ourselves with...

- The Golden Rule jewel : Poisons you inflict are reflected back to you / +1% chaos res per poison on you. Since we poison all the time, we now have 78% to all max res.

- With Maw of the Conquest helmet, we are Unaffected by poison. Not to be confused with Immune to poison from Pantheon. Unaffected = you are poisoned but take no dmg.

- Let's add Soul of Steel on the tree : +1% all max elem res, that's 79% fire/cold/lightning res

Then, the icing on the cake : we put a Glorious Vanity / Xibaqua timeless jewel to get Divine Flesh : all dmg penetrates ES, +10% max chaos res, 50% of elem dmg taken as chaos dmg.
Now, you have 88% max chaos res and 79% elem res. So your actual elem res are : (88+79)/2 = 83% !

If you're not familiar with how the elem res works, you may think it's not much of a difference for a big investment. But here is how it works : if you have 75% res, for 100 dmg the enemy inflicts, you actually take 25. With 83, you take only 17. → 17/25 = 0.68, so that's 32% less elem dmg taken ! Nearly a third.

Additional infos
- Divine Flesh "50% elem taken as chaos" includes DoT dmg, like burning ground.

- With 88% chaos res, you won't feel Desecrated ground, even in t16 (I've tested).

- With Apep's Supremacy shield, you also take bleeding as chaos dmg. In another words, with 88% chaos res, you will barely feel bleeding and corrupted blood.

- Thx to Apep, poison expire 50% slower. It is further slowed by Shaper's Presence aura from Solstice Vigil : effects on you expire 20% slower. This guarantees permanent poisoned status. Maybe 2 or 3 times longer than normal, I don't know exactly how it calculated.

- Since all dmg penetrates ES, we always have ES, so we have a natural 50% chance to avoid stun :
As long as a creature has greater than 0 energy shield, it has a 50% chance to ignore a stun. This is calculated independently of the creature's chance to be stunned. First the chance to stun is calculated as normal, and if the stun check succeeds and would cause a stun, there is then a 50% chance that the stun can be ignored.


- To reach the hard cap of 90% chaos res, you'd need the Born of Chaos notable on a small cluster jewel : +3% max chaos res.

Plus, who wouldn't look pretty with this helmet ?
"Here are the thrill seekers, corrupt and immoral..."
Last edited by rahsaan on May 14, 2020, 12:20:48 PM
Tbh if you want to keep the -9 res helmet you can get "unaffected by poison" from small cluster jewel "Antivenom".
True, but the Maw helmet has this mod "20% of dmg taken gained as life over 4sec" which is awesome.
Here is a new video where I can facetank twinned bosses in a T17 vaal zone + twinned bosses in T16 Promenade :

The Pestilent Viper #6

On top of that, I'm using the sextant mod "8% inc dmg and 4% movespeed / poison on you".
With 72 poisons (easily sustainable), the DPS is actually doubled !

(And that was just the Simple sextant mod. The Awakened sextant mod with 100 poisons would triple it.)
"Here are the thrill seekers, corrupt and immoral..."
Last edited by rahsaan on May 15, 2020, 5:26:38 AM
I have looted this ring in a Synthesis map :

This was a good occasion to continue my transition to full chaos defense, with the Incandescent Heart :

In conjunction with Divine Flesh, now I take 75% of elem dmg from hits as chaos dmg !
Elem res = 79%
Chaos res = 88%
So, my actual elem res against hits are : (88*3 + 79)/4 = 86% !

I've lost life in the process, 4.8k down from 5.1k. The build feels squishier against phys dmg. So I gotta see how to defend this weak point. Maybe a Granite or Jade Flask (I'm currently using Acrobatics).

Also Enduring Cry. I can get Vigour notable in 2pts (+1 End charge). Maybe rework the skill tree by adding cluster jewels for Warcry effects and/or phys dmg reduction.
But first, I need to see how the cluster jewels will work in 3.11.

PoB @ level 92 : https://pastebin.com/NNy7HnRu

* +10% max chaos res manually added on the Glorious Vanity jewel.
* Corrected the Temp Chains mod on the Solstice amulet : removed "when cast as an aura", which isn't recognized by PoB.
* Also, for some reason I can't find, my res are indicated as lower in PoB.
But I can assure you they truly are 76/76/76/85 in hideout, with +4 when poisoned.

And now, I know why I'll never get a prize in Oriath next beauty contest !
"Here are the thrill seekers, corrupt and immoral..."
New video. This time, I'm using the Awakened sextant for the poison mod : that's 6% movespeed and 12% inc dmg / poison.
With 100% : 600% speed and 1200% inc dmg = triple damage ! (PoB numbers)

I've tested it in some spicy T17 maps and here is the result :

Pestilent Viper #7

Hope you like it :)
"Here are the thrill seekers, corrupt and immoral..."

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