[3.14] Caustic Arrow/Death's Oath Occultist [Life based] [DoT Autobomber]
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
T16 maps with any mods
lvl83 Heists/Grand Heists - evasive char works really great for Heists
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. Just shoot and run around.
+ Fast and Easy map clearing for the lazy
+ Ranged DoT skill for bossing and harder rares
+ Capped Dodge, high evasion, 5k+ life (~6k theoretical max)
+ Can reach over 4M CA Sirius DPS + 500k Death Aura (in Dual Cluster setup).
(highest CA DPS setup I personally reached is ~6M)
+ Over 1m Death Aura DPS on normal mobs + Profane Bloom explosions.
+ High/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.
- Evasion/Dodge can be hit and miss (pun intended). You will die sometimes to damage spikes.
Flesh and Stone
Now requires 35% Mana reservation (previously 25%).
Would require a little more mana reservation nodes on the tree.
Dread Banner will also not be possible, unless we invest heavily into mana reservation.
Quivers can no longer roll the "Global Critical Strike Chance", "Global Critical Strike Multiplier" or "Global Damage over Time Multiplier" modifiers. Instead, they can now roll "Critical Strike Chance with Bows", "Critical Strike Multiplier with Bows" and "Damage over Time Multiplier with Attacks" modifiers. Existing items cannot obtain the newer modifiers through Divine Orbs.
Hunter-influenced Quivers can no longer roll the Global Physical, Fire or Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier modifiers. Instead, they can now roll Physical, Fire or Chaos Damage over Time with Attack Skills modifiers. Existing items will be updated to the newer versions.
About 10% less DPS for Death Aura. CA remains unchanged
The Cluster Jewel notable Wicked Pall now grants 30% increased Chaos Damage (previously 35%) and 5% increased Skill Effect Duration (previously 10%).
Very minor nerf to both DO and CA
(Crafted Veiled mods)
+31-35% to Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier (previously +36-40%)
Very minor nerf to both DO and CA
The Death Aura skill granted by the Death's Oath unique Body Armour now deals 758 Base Chaos Damage per second (previously 563).
35% Base damage increase. That makes up for all nerfs, and then some.
We should be able to replace Arcane surge with Lifetap which makes it easier to get Death's Oath colors.
We can also support a different skill with a low level lifetap to trigger Lifetap buff for more Death Aura damage. I'm still thinking what would be the best option.
So we have, about 25% more DPS with Death Aura and a very small nerf to CA damage.
Path of Building:
POB Community Fork download - required.
3.14 POB: https://pastebin.com/LiZRsncP
Contains Leveling trees, Single Cluster, Dual cluster and No Clusters setups
No Cluster vs Single Cluster vs Dual
No clusters setup allows you to quickly start without investing into cluster jewels which may be expensive and you still get life recovery on kill, which is important on clearing.
Single cluster is a balance between defensive and offensive capabilities.
Dual cluster is much more damage oriented and sacrifices some defenses.
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
How do we survive the degen from Death Aura
Withering presence - +60% Chaos res
Soul of Arakaali (Thraxia) - +25% Chaos res against DoT
Tree - 40% (if you have enough from gear and using Intuitive Leap it can be lowered to 12%)
This brings us to positive 65% res. We need 11 more from gear (our max is 76%).
The Vertex - 24-30% Chaos res / Geofri's Crest/Legacy - 20-30% Chaos res
Maloney's Nightfall - 12-16% Chaos res
Impresence - 17-23% Chaos res
Additional damage reduction:
Soul of Arakaali - 5% reduced Damage from DoT
Soul of Shakari - 5% reduced Chaos damage taken
With capped Chaos resists, and the above pantheons, we get degen of -150/second
+2.1% from the tree
+1.2% from 2 Flow of Life on medium clusters
+50% increased if stopped taking DoT recently - Soul of Arakaali (Queen of the Great Tangle)
Life recovery on kill
Bottom line - we don't even notice the degen
75% (capped) Attack and Spell dodge
Wind Dancer - 20% less damage taken of you haven't been hit recently, +20% more evasion if you have.
High evasion - 50% to 70%+ depending on your gear and Wind Dancer status (if you were hit recently)
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
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 over Time and Multiplier
Area of Effect Damage
(Chaos) Damage Taken
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.
Caustic Arrow on 6L costs 37 mana.
For comfortable mapping (bossing actually), balance available mana to be able to shoot at least 3-4 times.
Try to get "Non-Channelling Skills have -X to Total Mana Cost" on both rings and balance "Reduced mana reserved" points on the tree.
Try to avoid:
Multiple damage as Fire/Cold/Lightning mods
Player Dodge is Unlucky
Without Viridi's Veil:
Player cursed with XXX (or get a flask with Curse immunity)
Gear - TLDR
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.
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.
Crafted bow with:
+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 +3 Bow
Base: non-influenced 6 link bow.
Best bases are Reflex/Steelwood/Maraketh for movement speed / Synthesized with +1 gems or chaos damage / Enchanted with relevant mods.
We will have enough Dex from the tree for Maraketh.
Damage on the bow is irrelevant, but the speed is important. Aim for a bow with 1.4-1.5 attack speed.
Easiest would be to get iLvl 50 6L Short bow from the Porcupine card.
iLvl 82 for highest DoT multiplier.
iLvl 68 for Tier 2 multi
iLvl 50 for a 6 Link with Tier 3 multi (starts at 44, but you need the 6L)
Higher iLvls only add more mods to the pool, so its counter-productive
0. Read and understand the whole process
1. Alt/Augment for +1 Socketed gems(prefix)/DoT Multiplier(Suffix) or just the suffix.
If you hit both with Alt/Augment, that would be lucky and will save a few Ex.
Otherwise you can force +1 socketed gems (in steps 3-4)
2. Regal and hope for another suffix. If it was another prefix, go back to step 1.
You can use Imprint Beastcraft before Regal so you don't need to re-roll the mods if you land on another prefix.
Forcing +1 gems (optional if don't have it yet):
3 (optional). If you now have 2 suffixes and a junk prefix you can craft "Suffixed cannot be changed" and use Scouring orb on the bow. This will remove all prefixes.
4 (optional). If you have 2 suffixes (DoT multi + another suffix) - you can now craft "Cannot roll Attack modifiers" and Exalt slam for a guaranteed +1 Gems.
5. You should now have +1 gems prefix/dot multi suffix/another suffix.
Craft "Can have 3 crafted modifiers" - 2Ex, "+2 Support gems" - 2Ex, Chaos dot multi - 4C
You can also refer to this guide by BigDucks:
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).
Startig 3.14, quiver DoT multi no loger 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.
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.
In general, "30% increased Despair Curse Effect" enchant is better than "-9% to Chaos Resistance", which better than +1 to gems.
30% increased Despair Curse Effect (best option)
40% increased Caustic Arrow Damage
Withering Step inflicts 3 additional Withered Debuffs - helps clearing
Withering Step has 30% increased Elusive Effect - more Dodge
Life, Resists and work towards Chaos DoT multiplier.
Atziri's helps us cap for Spell dodge.
Other options are viable and give more damage (Blood dance with frenzy charges or Bubonic with abyss jewels), but at the cost of less spell dodge.
BiS - Impresence (Chaos) give more damage and free Despair.
Grace Aul's for free Grace instead of Blood and Sand.
Malevolence Aul's is also an option
Astramentis if you lack Str and don't use Inertia jewel. It will limit the auras you can use. Disable Despair in this case.
Best Rare option would be a Hunter amulet With +1 Chaos Gems, +1 Dex Gems, Chaos DoT multi and Malevolence mana reservation.
Useful influenced options
Reduced mana reserved (82)
Chance to get Power/Frenzy/Endurance charge on kill (68)
Increased Area of Effect (68)
Projectiles Pierce an additional Target (68)
Chaos DoT multi (68)
Additional Physical Damage Reduction (83)
Chance to get Power/Frenzy/Endurance charge on kill (68)
Chaos DoT multi (68)
Items and Gems have reduced Attribute Requirements (68)
Malevolence has reduced Mana Reservation (75)
+1 to Level of all Chaos Skill Gems (82)
+1 to Level of all Dexterity Skill Gems (82)
+1 to Level of all Intelligence Skill Gems (82)
Projectiles Pierce an additional Target (68)
Additional Physical Damage Reduction (83)
Increased Area of Effect (68)
Reduced mana reserved (68)
Grace has reduced Mana Reservation (75)
Chance to Evade Attack Hits (75)
Maximum chance to Dodge Attack/Spell hits (68)
+# to maximum Life, #% increased maximum Life
Max damage: Corruption - Crimson, Black, Black
Not far behind and also saves mana: Sovereignty - Silver, Silver, Silver
Life and resists.
Work towards a belt with Increased damage or Increased Chaos damage (Hunter)
If using Viridi's - Magic rings. Try to find a useful Synthesized base or use Viridian/Coral with Life, resists and Str.
Try to get "Non-Channelling Skills have -X to Total Mana Cost" to help with mana costs.
You can use Despair on Hit ring, but it will only apply to hits from CA.
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 Herbalism will solve all your Str needs (gives us 66-74 Str points).
Intuitive Leap saves a few points we can invest elsewhere
Transcendent mind gives us +24% DoT multi, which is a significant damage increase, better than the Watcher's Eye.
Watcher's Eye with DoT multi while affected by Malevolence
- second best DPS jewel, but most expensive.
Thread of Hope (Large ring) for additional Aura effect - more damage.
See the tree in POB for location. Those are not required, but recommended.
For Large cluster, Misery Everlasting is the best DPS option for us.
Other skills to go with it are Unwaveringly Evil or Wicked Pall (prefixes) and Unholy Grace (suffix).
For Medium clusters, Brush with Death allows us to easily recover life when mapping and Flow of life gives us both damage, Max Life and Life Regen. Get at least Brush with death.
We don't use small clusters since they are not as efficient as regular jewels.
Until you can get life recovery from cluster jewels, you can path to Hired Killer nodes on the tree.
Farming the Cluster jewels
Large cluster jewel mods require only level 50 iLvl and can be farmed in Blood Aqueducts
Medium cluster jewel mods which we are looking for require lvl 68, which corresponds to tier 1 maps.
Until you get those, you can use Chaos DoT or DoT jewels with Student of Decay and Exposure Therapy, which require only iLvl 50 both and provide damage and chaos resists.
Alternative medium cluster is Aura effect with Replenishing Presence (has life regen), First Among Equials (Aura effect), Sublime form (Grace reservation and Resists), Stalwart Commander (increased Grace effect), Master of Command (requires iLvl 68).
Large - https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Heist/LKJ36VBFn
Medium - https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Heist/QZdEklRuw
Forbidden Taste instantly recovers all of our life and the Chaos degen we can completely ignore due to high Chaos resist.
Alternative or in addition to Forbidden Taste, you can use a Divine life flask with Bubbling or Panicked prefix.
Quicksilver is key for fast clearing. Inc. Duration and Inc. Movement speed recommended.
Quartz flask is important to max our Dodge.
Other flasks are flexible. I recommend using Basalt and Granite to reduce Phys damage.
Or you can opt for Jade and Stibnite
Get Bleed and Freeze immunity on flasks. Curse immunity is also recommended if not using Viridi's Veil.
Witchfire brew is not required since we have a better version of Despair.
Despair from Witchfire is not affected by any increased effects we have.
It's Equivalent to Experimenter's Sulphur Flask of Reflexes (except the Despair curse, which, again, we use in separate setup).
Useful Timeless jewels
Glorious Vanity - Doryani:
Corrupted Soul - Gives us a decent ES buffer, which we recover though Brush with Death
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
I post the endgame target Awakened gems and gems with lvl 21.
None of those are "required" and the benefit is relatively small, but it all adds up eventually.
All of the support gems get +3 levels including Empower, which in turn buffs up Caustic Arrow.
If you have mana issues, you can use Lifetap instead of Empower as a temporary solution.
You can replace Concentrated effect with Efficacy for a slightly larger puddle, with some DPS loss, but I found it unnecessary.
1. CA lvl 21
2. Empower lvl 4
3. Awakened gems and Concentrated effect lvl 21
Chest (no links required):
Starting 3.14, we use Lifetap support instead of Arcane Surge. It's there to give Duration tag for other support gems.
For more AoE - replace Less Duration or Efficacy with Increased Area of Effect, withh some DPS loss.
Less duration quality doesn't matter, only level. The rest - upgrade to Awakened and level 21 gems when possible.
You can use Skitterbots until you get Aspect of the Spider
Alternative to Flesh and Stone if using Aul's
Despair gives us significant damage increase and reduces enemy Chaos resists. Together with our ascendancy, that's -50% enemy chaos resist, and negative res multiplies damage.
Enhance give a nice boost to Increased damage part especially in a +1 gems helmet.
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 works like a More multiplier.
Support with Second Wind, Faster Attack or Faster projectiles per your personal choice.
Phantasmal Blink Arrow gives +1 CD for better mobility.
Blink arrow is the only movement skill that doesn't share CD with Withering step, which is why we use it.
Enduring Cry gives us 2k life and Endurance charges which reduce Phys damage taken.
Both trigger Lifetap for more damage with Death Aura
Alternatively you can use CWDT setup
Wither Totem setup is redundant with Anomalous Withering step, but can be used if you don't have that
Can be used on bosses to quickly get to 15 withered stacks. Cast twice before engaging the boss to put 3 totems and refresh during the fight.
Aspect of the Spider
Slows enemies and increases our damage.
I recommend to craft on the Gloves with the other auras
Do NOT craft it on the Bow as it will get increased mana multiplier from Swift Affliction!
Alternative - Aspect of Crab for 20% Phys damage reduction.
If combined with Wind Dancer - that's 40% reduction when you get hit.
Use Skitterbots until you can get the aspect, for similar effect (slow from chill and more damage from shock)
You can add Blood Rage from Frenzy generation for slightly better clear speed.
Major - Arakaali
Most important upgrades:
- 25% Chaos Resistance against Damage Over Time
- 50% increased Recovery rate of Life and Energy Shield if you've stopped taking Damage Over Time Recently - very useful since we get DoT from Death Aura and Forbidden Taste
Shakari - for reduced Chaos damage taken, not really required when you have a decent Chaos resistance
Ryslatha - for Life flask sustain on bosses
Garukhan - Additional 5% Dodge when you get hit for 15% or more, and movement speed
Kill all for 2 skill points.
You can help Alira until you sort your resistances and respec later.
1. Void Beacon - -20% enemy Chaos resist
2. Withering presence - +20% Chaos DoT multi, +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)
Explosions, 60% Chaos res, Hexproof monsters.
CI variant can be done as Trickster, but forget about explosions and the damage would be lower. Can be more tanky though.
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 armour 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.
Where is the second curse?
There is no second curse. We take Malediction for damage increase and damage taken decrease. You can use a second curse instead of one of the auras, but I believe they are better.
Can I move skills around to other slots?
Despair + Blasphemy + Withering step + Enhance MUST go in the helmet or you loose lots of damage.
Aspect of Spider must NOT go on the bow, or Swift Affliction will increase mana reservation.
Lifetap and Second Wind would also increase mana reservation, so movement/utility must NOT go on same item as the Aspect.
The only slots for it can be Gloves, Belt or Quiver
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.
Do I need to max chaos res?
Not really. 50 is enough for max DoT resistance with upgraded Arakaali pantheon. But even if you have it lower, you should be alright.
No stun immunity?
We have high enough damage avoidance no not require it. We also have a bit of ES, which gives additional Stun avoidance roll. Aim to get more life to reduce the rare stuns. Eldrich Battery is bad for your stuns, so if planned to integrate it - consider yourself warned.
When can I switch to clusters?
The major point is Life recovery on kill. You must have it either on the tree or on the cluster, so plan accordingly.
Suggestions and corrections are welcome.
Last edited by f4ward on May 9, 2021, 1:45:52 AM
Last bumped on May 11, 2021, 4:50:40 PM
on Nov 9, 2020, 9:19:41 AM
Work in Progress:
Not recommended as League Start!
But if you insist...
Start Ranger and get Caustic Arrow after killing Hillock
Stash the Bow, CA and Pierce
Start witch, kill Hillock and take the bow you stashed.
First Skill points will go into reaching Alacrity (+30 dex), you need it for Caustic Arrow
Prison - Get Void Manipulation from quest
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 68), when you can finally equip Death's Oath
Last edited by f4ward on Mar 6, 2021, 1:44:37 AM
on Nov 9, 2020, 9:20:04 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.
before switching to a bow setup I used
a bit juiced T16 Summit:
Sirus A8 kill:
Last edited by xXx_Kamikaze_xXx on Dec 7, 2020, 10:10:07 AM
on Dec 7, 2020, 10:07:35 AM
Impressive. I had similar setup, although slightly more budget oriented, before switching to Life and evasion.
Don't really see points for improvement :)
on Dec 10, 2020, 3:02:45 PM
Looks great I'm doing it for flashback :D thanks
on Dec 18, 2020, 5:55:58 PM
I see you progressed nicely, have fun with it :)
on Dec 22, 2020, 4:33:07 PM
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.
Last edited by f4ward on Feb 10, 2021, 5:51:03 PM
on Feb 4, 2021, 2:57:12 AM
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!
on Feb 10, 2021, 1:03:49 PM
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:
on Feb 10, 2021, 5:47:38 PM
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:
on Feb 13, 2021, 2:52:16 AM