[3.16] Caustic Arrow/Death's Oath Occultist [Life based Chaos Autobomber]

Introduction:

This is an attempt to create a fun build with a decent bossing skill.
Luckily Caustic Arrow and Death Aura like the same things: DoT multiplier and Chaos Damage.

The result is a very fun and dynamic build with incredible clear speed, without too much button mashing.

Content cleared so far with the build

All Conquerors on A8
Sirius
Shaper
Elder
Uber Atziri
Simulacrum (wave 20 prior to 3.16)
T16 maps with any mods
Delve 300+
Heists, Rituals, Ultimatums, Expeditions, Scourges...


Play-style:

For clearing we have Death Aura which only requires you to run through the mobs. Don't be afraid to charge into a pack, just go where the monsters are and keep moving. Less stopping - less chance they will target you.

For hard Rares and Bosses we have Caustic Arrow which lets us keep range and deal decent DPS. Shoot from distance, get close to apply Wither, run around and shoot from time to time.

Pros/Cons:
+ Fast and Easy map clearing for the lazy
+ Ranged DoT skill for bossing and harder rares
+ Profane Bloom explosions.
+ Capped Chaos resist
+ Don't care about Hexproof monsters.
+ Can do almost all map mods. See separate section.


- Can't face tank, requires movement and dodging attacks
- Expensive to Min/Max (not "Mirrors expensive" though).
- You will die sometimes to damage spikes. Not intended for Hardcore.



3.16 Changes:

Previously the tree was based on pretty extensive testing during the league (starting from Heist, when I first published the build), but this time I don't really have the option.

2 Cluster variant seems unnecessary because of all the goodies on the tree, but would allow to maximize offense at the cost of defense.





Path of Building:
POB Community Fork download - required.

https://pastebin.com/jFgm6MEn

Last update:
2021-11-07 - Update guide for 3.16

Older changes

2021-04-17 - Updated POB for 3.14, Lifetap support in DO instead of Arcane Surge, Dread Banner no longer used (due to Flesh and Stone reservation increase)
2021-03-01 - Updated PoB with leveling tree
2021-02-14 - Updated gem/gear recommendations
2021-02-02 - Added Inertia jewel for tons of Str (right above Herbalism)
2021-01-10 - Added alternative gems setups, POB updated
2020-11-30 - Published Life based Version and retired CI


Video

3.13 Atoll T16 - https://youtu.be/JK6pfFxb5MI
3.13 Delve Lich Boss - https://youtu.be/maS_ySeuDeo
3.13 Delve Vaal Architect - https://youtu.be/g-7AY_nrgV0


Defenses

Dealing damage even if you are stunned or frozen
Life recovery on kill
All resists maxed including Chaos
Viridi's Veil with 2 magic rings - Hexproof, no extra damage from Crits, Damage from hits is unlucky


Damage Scaling

If you wish to tweak the build for either clear speed or bossing, these are the main sources of damage.

We have 3 sources of damage:
* Caustic Arrow - Chaos AoE DoT (initial hit damage is insignificant)
Additional CA "puddles" do not stack
Scales very well with Gem levels
* Death Aura - Chaos AoE Dot
* Profane Bloom explosions - Chaos AoE Hit

All of them directly scale with:
(Chaos) Damage
(Chaos) Damage over Time and Multiplier
Area of Effect Damage
Frenzy Charges
(Chaos) Damage Taken

Indirectly:
Effect of Non-curse Aura - for Death Aura, Malevolence and Aspect of Spider and
Effect of Curses - for Despair
+x Intelligence skill gems - for Despair and Malevolence
+x Chaos skill gems - for Despair and Caustic Arrow
+x Dexterity skill gems - for Caustic Arrow

Flat Added Damage - for Profane Bloom explosions
Damage with Bows/Bow skills - for Caustic Arrow

Area of effect also improves clear speed due to larger radius of Death Aura and Profane Bloom explosions.


Map Mods

Try to avoid:
Multiple damage as Fire/Cold/Lightning mods
No Regen

Without Viridi's Veil:
Crit mods
Player cursed with XXX (or get a flask with Curse immunity)



Gear

Best way to start gearing is to get an Inertia jewel, Hidden Potential jewel, Viridi's Veil, 2 Magic rings, Gloves, Belt and Quiver with Life and Res.
Aim to replace the Quiver and Gloves with Rare with DoT/Chaos DoT multi and Belt with Chaos damage (all Hunter influenced).
As a rule of thumb, 25% Increased damage from Hidden Potential is equivalent to ~9% DoT multi.

Armour:
Death's Oath - Required.

This gives us the Death Aura which is a Chaos DoT that damages all enemies around us.

6 Sockets. No links required. 2B,2G,2R or 3B,2G,1R
See skills section for more details.
Getting the socket colors

There is an easier way (than using Chromatics) using Crafting bench and alternating socket number until you hit the right color.

This may cost lots of Jeweler's orbs, but it will safer than hoping to hit the right colors using Chromatics.
You will need all the socket number recipes from delving.

Using crafting bench craft 3 sockets and color them all blue.
Craft 4 sockets.
If hit Blue/Red - Craft 3 and then 4 again.
If Green - continue to craft 5.
If hit Blue/Red - Craft 4 and then 5 again.
When you have 3B/2G, you can craft 6 and its almost guaranteed to hit Red. If not, just repeat 5/6 again.



Weapon:

Crafted bow with:
% Increased Chaos damage (Hunter)
+1 Socketed gems
+2 Support gems
% DoT multiplier
% Chaos DoT multiplier

There are cheaper options with only some of the options, but this one would be our endgame bow. Luckily its easy to craft when you can afford it.
Crafting Engame +3 Bow


Base: Non-Influenced 6 link lvl 82 bow. Hunter bow can also be used, but you can't use Imprint in this case (read the process to see difference in crafting).

Best bases are high attack speed bows with low-medium Dex requirements (we need 159 dex for CA lvl 21 anyway).
Base damage on the bow is irrelevant, but more speed feels better. Aim for a bow with 1.4-1.5 attack speed.

For top tier bows (200+ dex) you will struggle to get enough dexterity

iLvl 82 for highest DoT multiplier.
Higher iLvls only add more mods to the pool, so its counter-productive

0. Read and understand the whole process

1. Alt roll for DoT multiplier (single mod only), Regal and Annul until you have a Rare bow with only DoT multiplier
~300 Alterations required on average for t1 DoT multi, so Imprint before Regal so you don't need to re-roll it.
If you craft on Hunter base you can't use Imprint, so you will have to alt roll again if you Annul the DoT

2. Craft "Can have 3 crafted modifiers" - 2Ex, and then "Cannot roll attack modifiers" - 1Ex
We need both to fill suffixes.

3. Hunter Exalt for guaranteed % Increased chaos damage over time.
OR
3. For Hunter base use Beast craft "Add mod to Hunter item"

4. Exalt slam for guaranteed +1 Gems OR Beast craft "Add mod to Hunter item" (usually cheaper)

5. Remove crafted mods in the bench

6. Craft "Can have 3 crafted modifiers" - 2Ex, "+2 Support gems" - 2Ex, Chaos dot multi - 4C



Guide for bow crafting by Path of Matth:
Refer to the second variant for the best bow for our build
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9_Aw28qoW0


Quiver:
Life/Resist, Penetrating base recommended.
Penetration will help with when you have an enemy that blocks your target. Every pierce drops another puddle which increased aoe, but not damage.
Work towards a quiver with DoT multi/Chaos DoT Multi (Hunter).
Starting 3.14, quiver DoT multi no longer affects our Death Aura, but we still need it for boss damage.
Additional arrow is very welcome to increase the AoE of CA. It will not increase damage.

Crafting:
Roll Hunter quiver lvl82+ with Harvest "More Chaos mods". Can roll Max Chaos res, Chaos res and Chaos DoT multi with attack skills.


Helmet:
Currently best in slot is:

Several good unique options depending on your budget:

First 2 have Chaos res which will help you with degen. Viridi and Vertex are the best option when using Enhance+Awakened Blasphemy+Enlighten.


Enchants

Increased Despair Curse Effect
Withering Step inflicts 3 additional Withered Debuffs
Increased Caustic Arrow Damage
Malevolence Mana reservation efficiency
Purity of Elements Mana reservation efficiency


Gloves:

Life, Resists and work towards Hunter with Chaos DoT multiplier. Best base - Apothecary's Gloves.

Boots:
Movement speed, resists, life
Look for "80% Chance to avoid beeing stunned if you killed recently" enchant

Amulet:

BIS - Impresence (Chaos) give more damage and free Despair.
Best Rare option would be a Hunter amulet With +1 Chaos Gems, +1 Dex Gems, Chaos DoT multi and Malevolence mana reservation.
Anointment

Acrimony - 15% DoT multi - All rounded damage
Champion of the Cause - 6% Non-Curse Aura effect + 8% Reservation - More free mana and improves all auras
Bannerman - 15% Non-Curse Aura effect on Enemies - Improves DO damage only, good if you focus only on clear
Sovereignty - 10% Non-Curse Aura effect + 12% Reservation - If you decide to skip the left side and drop some auras



Belt:
Life and resists.
Work towards a belt with Increased damage or Increased Chaos damage (Hunter)


Rings:
If using Viridi's - Magic rings (At least the left one). Try to find a useful Synthesized base or use Viridian/Iolite.
Crafting:
Use Fertile catalyst on White base (only 4 needed in this case), roll t1 life.
Craft resists if needed or Min Endurance charges.
Each endurance charge is 4% phys damage reduction and 4% all elemental res)




Jewels:


Prioritize life and resists until capped.

One of the jewels with "Corrupted Blood cannot be inflicted on you" corruption
After that you can get Chaos DoT multi, Chaos damage, Area damage

Inertia right above Charisma will solve your Str needs.
Transcendent Mind gives us +18% DoT multi.
Watcher's Eye with DoT multi while affected by Malevolence

See the tree in POB for location. Those are not required, but recommended.


Cluster Jewels:
Large clusters, 8 passives:
Unwaveringly Evil + Wicked Pall + Unholy Grace OR Unwaveringly Evil + Unholy Grace + Dark Ideation (not used).
Medium clusters, 4-5 passives:
Unwaveringly Evil + Wicked Pall (or one of those + Flow of life for more life)


Flasks


Forbidden Taste with "Used when you take a Savage hit" enchant
Instantly recovers all of our life and the Chaos degen we can ignore due to high Chaos resist.
You can use instant life flask, but since 3.16, Eternal is actually good.


Quicksilver is key for fast clearing. Inc. Duration and Inc. Movement speed recommended.


I recommend using Basalt and Granite to reduce Phys damage.

Get Bleed immunity on flasks. Curse immunity is also recommended if not using Viridi's Veil.



Timeless jewels

Glorious Vanity - Xibaqua:
Divine Flesh - 50% of elemental taken as Chaos and +5 max chaos res
With max Chaos res - this gives us a decent Elemental damage reduction


Skills


Skills gems and what level you can use them. Replace with Awakened versions when possible.

Bow 6L:
Caustic Arrow - Quality only affects area, so less important
Vicious Projectiles - Quality not relevant
Void Manipulation
Lifetap
Concentrated Effect
Swift Affliction

Leveling

Caustic Arrow
Pierce
Lifetap
Void Manipulation
Efficacy
Vicious Projectiles


- Replace Lifetap with Empower when you have enough mana for a few shots.
- You can replace Concentrated effect with Efficacy for a slightly larger puddle, with some DPS loss, but I found it unnecessary.

Upgrade priority

1. CA lvl 21
2. Empower lvl 4 (when ready for switch)
3. Awakened Void Manipulation
4. Other Awakened gems


Chest (no links required):
Void Manipulation
Efficacy
Lifetap
Concentrated Effect
Swift Affliction
Less Duration - Quality not relevant

- Lifetap is REQUIRED for enabling Swift affliction and Less duration
- Lifetap buff can be triggered elsewhere to receive the buff. Lkfe CA or movement skills.
- Replace Less Duration with Awakened Increased Area of Effect for more area with small dps loss
- With 3 red sockets you can use Arrogance support


Auras setup:
Defiance Banner
Purity of Elements
Malevolence

- Enlighten will have to be added to have enough mana for CA with Empower.

Curses:
Blasphemy
Despair
Enfeeble (or Temporal chains if you prefer)

Movement and Utility:
Anomalous Withering Step
Divergent Lifetap
Blink Arrow
Enhance

Enduring Cry - Extra heal and damage reduction.

- Divergent Lifetap gives longer duration of the buff
- Phantasmal Blink Arrow for additional CD usages. Blink arrow is the only movement skill that doesn't share CD with Withering step, which is why we use it.
- Anomalous Withering Step with Enhance lvl 4 and and +2 Viridi's will give us 13 Withered stacks instantly. I bind this to the movement button, so I don't need to think about it. After 2 more seconds, enemies reach 15 withered stacks due to our Withering Presence ascendancy.
15 withered stacks is 90% increased damage taken, which is a More multiplier.

- Wither Totem setup can be used while leveling, but is redundant with Anomalous Withering step

Other:
Aspect of the Spider
Slows enemies and increases our damage.
You can craft it on the Gloves/Boots/Quiver or Belt.
Do not use supports that can increase reservation on the same item!

Alternative - Aspect of Crab for 20% Phys damage reduction.



Stun avoidance

Since 3.16 the build is no longer Dodge based and requires some kind of stun avoidance
- Easiest way is to spec Soul of the Brine King, but there are better pantheons for us.
- Tolerance wheel on the tree - 80% stun avoidance with the mastery for 4 points
- Boots enchant "80% to avoid being stunned if you killed recently" - recommended option


Pantheons

Major:
- Arakaali for Chaos damage, until you get capped
- Brine King for Stun until you have stun avoidance on tree or boots enchant
- Lunaris for clearing
- Solaris for bossing

Minor:
- Shakari - for reduced Chaos damage taken until you get capped
- Ryslatha - for Life flask sustain


Bandits

Kill all for 2 skill points.


Ascendancy

1. Void Beacon - -20% enemy Chaos resist
2. Withering presence - 15% More Chaos damage, +60% Chaos resist and Wither nearby enemies
3. Profane Bloom - Curse Hexproof enemies and Explode on death
4. Malediction - Increased effect of Curses and Malediction (make them deal less and take more damage), additional Curse


Frequently asked questions

Why Occultist?
Explosions, 60% Chaos res, Hexproof monsters.

Why Life and not CI?
Because we can heal using a flask and it's easier to scale than ES. Since we use Death's Oath we don't get ES from body armor and since we use a bow, we can't get a shield with high ES. There is also one quiver with ES (Soul Strike), and it doesn't help our damage.

Why not TR?
Because you loose mobility, TR scaling is slightly different, it has ramp-up time and it uses more mana.
And because it's a CA build.

Blink Arrow sucks!
Yes, it does. But it's the only movement skill that doesn't share CD with Withering Step, which gives us tons of damage.
While leveling I use Smoke Mine + Flame Dash.

You can opt for Flame Dash, remove WS from movement button and cast it manually when needed, allowing FD to recover.

Do I need to max chaos res?
Not really, unless you use Divine Flesh.
35% is enough for max DoT resistance with upgraded Arakaali pantheon.

Can it do XYZ content?
Maybe. Depends on your investment and skill.
The build should be capable of doing any league content GGG throws at us, but may struggle with the highest end content.

I only have 50% chance to hit!
You don't need ANY accuracy. CA doesn't hit, it drops Caustic Ground which deals damage over time.

Can I use X item or Y skill or Z notable?
Do it and tell us about it. Maybe it's better or maybe you will learn a lesson on how things work. You benefit either way.




Suggestions and corrections are welcome.

I apologize if I don't respond to every post about your specific char, but I will try to respond as much as possible on posts or questions that may also help others.

Caustic Arrow/Death's Oath Occultist - https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2990048
Last edited by f4ward on Nov 12, 2021, 3:06:13 PM
Last bumped on Jun 29, 2022, 3:20:43 PM
Work in Progress:
League start


Start Ranger and get Caustic Arrow after killing Hillock
Stash the Bow, CA and Pierce support

Start a Witch, kill Hillock and take the bow you stashed.

First passive points will go into reaching Alacrity (+30 dex), you need it for Caustic Arrow

When you get to Prison - Get Void Manipulation from quest
After killing Brutus, add Efficacy.

Get Wither+Spell totem for more boss damage

Act 2 get Skitterbots
Act 3 Swift Affliction, Malevolence and Despair from quests. From Siosa - Flesh and Stone, Vicious Projectiles.



Leveling tips

Use Flame Dash while leveling. Withering step is for endgame only.
Use Clarity and/or Vitality during leveling

Get a Paua Amulet early to help with mana regen

Get Hidden Potential as soon as possible and run with as many magic items as possible.

Get Inertia jewel towards the end of campaign (lvl 62), when you can finally equip Death's Oath. You will need second ascendancy (+60% chaos res) for DO.

Caustic Arrow/Death's Oath Occultist - https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2990048
Last edited by f4ward on Jul 29, 2021, 7:41:51 AM
Seems nice, I actually started my project of a CI DO Occultist a week ago. Why? cause Occultist is an underused Ascendancy unless you play temp chain stacking or vortex.
After 2 days playing and testing with DO only, I tried to add a second 6-link for some better single target, mostly only needed on end game bosses. I went also with a Bow+ES Quiver and a Caustic Arrow setup for bosses.
So far I did all Content with it.

My Gear so far is pretty ok I would say, still need to find some ways to improve the build even more.

https://pastebin.com/Ue9ukPuB


before switching to a bow setup I used


a bit juiced T16 Summit:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcJJs-y7Rg0

Sirus A8 kill:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlwDUj6ezfw
Last edited by xXx_Kamikaze_xXx on Dec 7, 2020, 10:10:07 AM
Spoiler
"
Seems nice, I actually started my project of a CI DO Occultist a week ago. Why? cause Occultist is an underused Ascendancy unless you play temp chain stacking or vortex.
After 2 days playing and testing with DO only, I tried to add a second 6-link for some better single target, mostly only needed on end game bosses. I went also with a Bow+ES Quiver and a Caustic Arrow setup for bosses.
So far I did all Content with it.

My Gear so far is pretty ok I would say, still need to find some ways to improve the build even more.

https://pastebin.com/Ue9ukPuB


before switching to a bow setup I used


a bit juiced T16 Summit:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcJJs-y7Rg0

Sirus A8 kill:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlwDUj6ezfw


Impressive. I had similar setup, although slightly more budget oriented, before switching to Life and evasion.

Don't really see points for improvement :)
Caustic Arrow/Death's Oath Occultist - https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2990048
Looks great I'm doing it for flashback :D thanks
"
MartynZero wrote:
Looks great I'm doing it for flashback :D thanks

I see you progressed nicely, have fun with it :)
Caustic Arrow/Death's Oath Occultist - https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2990048
Update with current Ritual gear:


Intertia jewel above Herbalism solves Str needs (along with Impresence). No Str from other gear required.

New helmet with 2 magic rings gives us tons lots of defense.

4 magic items grant us 100% increased damage with Hidden Potential jewel.

Unless you have a DoT multi or Increased damage over 25% on an item, it's better to have a Magic item in that slot, as long as you can balance your Resists.
Caustic Arrow/Death's Oath Occultist - https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2990048
Last edited by f4ward on Feb 10, 2021, 5:51:03 PM
Hi, just wanted to say thanks for the guide. Always enjoyed deaths oath as an RF like chaos build and CA seems to work much better than blight/ED as a single target complement. Really like the new helmet too but stopped at 3 magic items, rings + belt. Very enjoyable build imo!
"
shybe wrote:
Hi, just wanted to say thanks for the guide. Always enjoyed deaths oath as an RF like chaos build and CA seems to work much better than blight/ED as a single target complement. Really like the new helmet too but stopped at 3 magic items, rings + belt. Very enjoyable build imo!


Thank you, glad you are enjoying it :)

I eventually dropped to only magic rings, since I got decent gloves and belt.
And I also went for dual cluster setup, see the POB for more info if interested:
https://pastebin.com/URqrfBdA
Caustic Arrow/Death's Oath Occultist - https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2990048
Hey there, I've been following this build for the past days. Just wanted to share my experience running the build as a casual player.

Mapping is fun, everything pops. Bossing, comfortable 2mil Shaper DPS. Easy Sirius A7, on my way to A8. Btw, will swap to Thicket Bow later (bcs of current boot).

My Current Gear:



My POB:

https://pastebin.com/FWuyF6Ni

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