[3.20] Rakim's 70 Virulence S-Tier Herald of Agony Champion

The Feared:


This built is a modified Version of “Velyna's Herald of Agony Champion” and I went a step further with 70 maximum virulence and some other adjustments to gear, gems und skill tree. If you are not familiar with Velyna Guide yet, I highly recommend reading it:


In the end, it turned out to be the most balanced built I have ever played, highly capable of mastering all content without dying. The clear is way better then I expected and the whole package is very much affordable.

Major Differences:
- dropped the Large Minion Clusters for two Voices (5 Passive), to get two more Pure Agony Notables. Since Virulence is your main source auf damage, there is no reason to stop at 60, when you can easily go for 70.

- dropped the Coming Calamity Body Armor for a +2 Minion corrupted Lioneye's Vision. This makes your Herald a 7-Link. On top of that you get a high armor value and flat-life instead of Calamity's useless Energy-Shield-Base with no life. As a Champion, we naturally want to scale armor and evasion.

- dropped The Grip of the Council Gloves for rare gloves AR/EV Gloves with spell-suppression and useful eater/exarch implicits. Although the Grips would provide a lot of extra damage, the energy-shield-base gives us nothing and with all gloves/helmet/boots providing evasion, we can actually archive 100% Spell Suppression without wasting additional skill points, which I personally value more.

- dropped the First to Strike, Last to Fall (Adrenaline) Forbidden Jewels for Headsman (20% Culling Strike). There is nothing that increases your true DPS more than a 20% Culling Strike, which is useful anytime through any content, mapping or bossing. Useful might the wrong word, it is flat out amazing! Especially against Ubers.

- dropped Life Regen Nodes for more max. Resistance. You can get regen through various other sources, while max. Res is far more difficult to get elsewhere.

- dropped Arctic Armor for Temporal Rift. Since we are ailment immune and only part time stationary, Artic Armor has only limited value for us. Temporal rift on the other hand is a game changing panic-button that instantly gets you out of trouble and back to full life - if used correctly. If you are not familiar with temporal rift, go ahead and try it. It is a powerful tool, especially in Boss-Fights.

- dopped Iron Reflexes. With flasks up we have decent Evasion and we don't want to waste our Blind on hit. Having some evasion felt better to me and even provided a higher effective hit pool on paper.

- added the Golden Rule, Faster Projectiles Corruption on Quill Rain, Mirage Archer in Storm-Rain and Perseverance (perma-Onslaught) to maximize Virulence-Creation and further smoothen gameplay.

+ unkillable/unstoppable Minion that keeps doing its damage while you evade mechanics
+ 100% Elemental Ailment Immunity
+100% Chance to Suppress Spell Damage
+ 80% All Resistances
+ permanent Fortify
+ permanent Onslaught
+ 20% Culling Strike
+ 64 Life on Hit on an absurd Hit-Rate
+ Stun Immune
+ Good Armor, Decent Evasion
+ high mobility (Flame-Dash, Blink Arrow, Rift)
+ Highly Automated
+ easy and forgiving playstyle
+ no expensive mandatory uniques
+ very mobile
+ optional additional immunities (corrupted Blood, Main, Hinder, etc.)

- League start Transition. There are a lot of things you need before you can switch your setup to full Herald of Agony. Up to that point, Poisonous concoction will carry you through the campaign with ease.

- Visibility. Storm Rain is one of the worst skills in this regard.

- Minion Playstyle and slightly delayed damage. It takes time to get used to it, but it starts feeling better the more attack und projectile speed you gather. I highly recommend Convocation on Left-Click to keep your crawler close and avoid line of sight issues.

- no explosion mechanics

About the Crawler and Virulence:
Whenever the user poisons an enemy, it grants Virulence and summons an Agony Crawler minion, which becomes stronger with more stacks of Virulence. The more Virulence you have, the faster it will decline. Following that description, we need to archive tree things:

1. get as much maximum Virulence as possible
2. apply as much poison stacks as fast as possible
3. sustain your Virulence on a high level

ad 1
the base maximum Virulence is 40. This will not get you far. Don’t test this built with just basic Virulence! The one and only way to raise the limit is through the Pure Agony Medium Cluster Node, which provides additional +5. To make things clear: that’s about 15% more Damage. So, this is an absolute priority. Do not mind about other stuff on the clusters when you start. All you need is Pure Agony. Upgrades can come in time.

ad 2 & 3:
The tool of choice is Storm Rain, which produces an unmatched amount of hits over time when paired with a high attack rate and additional projectiles. This is where the Quill Rain comes into play. Go for maximum projectile speed or even a faster projectiles corruption. This will minimize the delay of Storm rain to a level where it almost feels instant. Further increase your attack rate with Onslaught and maximize the arrow-output with Mirage Archer Support, which feels also great for mapping because it keeps poisoning enemies while you are on the move.

The other power-tool besides Quill-Rain is The Golden Rule Unique Jewel, which reflects our afflicted poisons back to us, basically doubling your Virulence potential. There is no reason be scared of the side effects, we leave the Poison Support at level 3. Level 1 can be an issue in high level delirium/simulacrum scenarios with extra chaos resistance.
As long as you don't have Divergent Herald of Agony (= extra Chance to Poison), you might want some extra poison chance from the skill tree. Toxic Strikes and some small claw nodes to the right are easily accessible from your position in the tree.

Further Damage Scaling:
The second major source of damage besides Virulence is Gem level. Level 30 is a realistic an archivable goal. Anything above is pure luxury and by no means necessary! Other sources are:

- Snipers Mark (Mark on Hit)
- Vulnerablility (Ring)
- Ensnaring Arrow (Quiver)
- Intimitate (Gloves)
- Feeding Frenzy (Quiver)
- Flesh Offering (CODT)
- Minion chance to Bleed, Minion Chance to Poison (Vicious Projectiles)
- Withering Touch Support (Storm Rain)
- Culling Strike (Forbidden Jewels)

Defensive Scaling
Since we mainly need to focus on Pure-Agony und Gem-Level, we can invest all remaining skill points into defense, utility and life. I would prioritize spell Suppression over max-Resistance and then go for ailment immunity. Decent Immunity-Boots can be expensive, but you can now help out Jewels.

Solving the Mana Problem:
While the overall Gearing is comparable easy, there is one major issue to solve: The high attack rate naturally burns mana like crazy. Especially if you start using more links.
First things first: you do not need a 5 or 6 link. I was running a 4-link Quill Rain until late red tier maps. Upgrade whenever you have the tools for mana reduction available:

- Anomalous GMP
- Reduced Mana Cost of Attack Skills Helm Implicit (Exarch)
- non-Channeling Skills have reduced mana cost (ring and/or aqmulet)

To reduce the Herald’s reservation cost, use a proper Circle of Nostalgia Ring and enhance it with fertile catalysts, which gets the reservation efficacy up to 48%. If that feels not enough for you, get the reservation helm implicit from the Eater of Worlds. I Minor should be sufficient.

Maximize Mobility:
I firmly believe that the first and best line of defense is player movement. Therefore, movement skills have an enormous defensive value. Flame Dash and Blink Arrow do not share the same cooldown, so you can use them in sequence. Blink Arrow has incredible range, which comes very handy in Sanctums or Certain Boss Fights like the Maven Puzzle. And then there is the Temporal Rift, which allows you to warp back where you came from.

Leveling and League start:
Velyna has that covered perfeclty! I breezed through the acts following her guide.

Transition to Herald of Agony as primary skill:
- I went with a Replica Alpha's Howl, which was 2 chaos at the second day of the league. This helm provides a stunning +4 Gem-level, which makes this helmet better than any 5-Link. I used it till red tier maps.
- You do not need expansive large minion clusters to start. I bought the cheapest 9-node clusters I could get and sticked with them until Voices (5) dropped to 25 chaos.
- You do not need perfect medium Clusters either. All you need is Pure Agony. You can upgrade later.
- Get a cheap 21/0 Herald Gem, and a fitting +1 Chaos or +1 Physical Skill Gem Amulet.
- pick up the Calamitous Visions Unique Cluster
Then you are good to go the let your crawler do all the damage.

Transition to Midgame:
- get Circle of Nostalgia Ring with Crawler Damage and reservation efficacy
- buy a corrupted +2 Minion Loineye’s Vision and 5 Link it yourself. It’s very affordable and there is your 6-link.
- do the same with Quill Rain
- Get a +2 Minion Skill Gem Helmet (Enchantment is not necessary)
- get the reduced mana cost of non-channeling skills craft applied
- resistance and stat-gaps can be fixed with jewels or cluster jewels

Late-Game Gearing:
Please check my Path of Building on top

Good luck and kind regards"
Last edited by rakim0815 on Jan 11, 2023, 5:49:57 PM
Last bumped on Feb 5, 2023, 9:18:16 PM

2 Questions : 1-Mirage archer in Storm rain setup?

2- I played a similar version of this build in the past, before Storm Rain was introduced. Does Storm Rain outperformed Barrage + Gmp?
Since each arrow stuck in the ground can hit an enemy up to 4 times with their beams, Storm Rain is clearly superior in creating hits. You can have up to 100 arrows in the ground.

The other benefit is, that you don't have to be stationary. The arrows keep pulsing for a while.

The mirage archer helps you in both regards: more arrows fired into the ground, and you can keep on moving.
rakim0815 wrote:
Since each arrow stuck in the ground can hit an enemy up to 4 times with their beams, Storm Rain is clearly superior in creating hits. You can have up to 100 arrows in the ground.

The other benefit is, that you don't have to be stationary. The arrows keep pulsing for a while.

The mirage archer helps you in both regards: more arrows fired into the ground, and you can keep on moving.

Hello... how about change storm rain for rain of arrows??

and may i ask if you use your convocation linked in CWDT? or you use it on walk buttn by self cast??

i see in pib some skills are lvl 1.. 3.. or 6.. like flesh offering, should i keep it at low lvl?? i belive the storm is lvl 1 to keep low mana cosst?

im asking because i noticed i got no problem with mana using rain of arrowss, and we could change GMP for something else... maybe faster attack?
Last edited by andrelb1 on Jan 4, 2023, 4:05:40 PM

See above. Because of the way Storm Rain works (up to 100 lingering arrows + 4 beams each) you produce way more hits then rain of arrows (or any other skill combination). More Hits - more Virulence - more damage. In addition, you can also pre-fire in boss-battles. There is really no reason for rain of storms.

storm rain is Level 1 to save mana. But you don't deal any damage yourself anyway.

convocation is on left click, as mentioned in the guide. this keeps your crawler close and prevents line of sight issues.

i have my CWDT setups low to garantue a high uptime while keeping mana cost low. But this is a personal flavor.

Video for the Feared coming soon. Never uploaded a video before. Let's see.
Showcase against the Feared:


I'm looking on POE trade, and i cannot locate any helms with +2 to level of all minion skill gems. Do you have to search it a weird way?

Edit: i'm an idiot its working now lol
Last edited by OCHOMILLA on Jan 15, 2023, 9:31:35 PM
I do have some of my old gear to give away for free, if someone is interested.

a corrupted +2 Minion 5-Linked Lioneye's Vision
a +1 Chaos Gems, High Attribute, Life/Resistance Amulet + Whispers of Doom
a Lone Messenger Small Cluster
a Pure Agony Medium Cluster
hey thanks for the guide,
will consider this for my league-starter,
only one question: will this build dies a lot during mapping before the version now you have?
thanks again for this great guide :)
hey there,

First of all thanks for the guide, I'm running Velyna's Build for a while now and Mirage Archer also came to my mind, so I tried it. But at least for me it seemed like it doesn't give me virulence stacks nor did it trigger the life on hit.
was I just to blind to see it or is there another interaction which I missed?

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