[1.2.4] 11 Aura Low Life Support Culler - Steroids Edition Revamp

Purity of Ice, Fire, Lightning. Determination. Grace. Discipline. Vitality. Haste. Anger. Hatred. Wrath.

The primary goal of this build is to maximize efficiency of party play. You bring lots of mitigation, damage and oh *!@# buttons for your party.. all while making more shiny's drop.

The back story is pretty simple, this build was started back in BETA and evolved into a pretty decent setup and guide in 1.06 during Domination league. I quit the game for a while after domination league.

Now I am playing again and decided to update and revamp. I feel like it's better than ever now as well as much less rigid with gearing requirements. You can follow this guide much more loosely as you obtain new items. The build path, character level and level of skills bring everything together more naturally. The gear, spells and link setup is completely flexible. Run Arc if you like Arc. Run Spark if you like Spark. Run Incinerate if you are as cool as I am. Whatever.

  • Youtube Example of group play at level 78, with a random party.
  • Youtube Example of solo play at level 78, using no summoner nodes.

There has been some changes since 1.06 that have turbo charged this build. Here is a summary of what those things are.

  • Mortal Conviction now provides 60% reduced mana reservation. (Up from 40%)
  • Introduction of unique item Solaris Lorica makes this build accessible to anyone.
  • Although dps auras were nerfed some, Generosity was added. Sweet.
  • Vaal Skills allow us to hyper-buff our party, Vaal Discipline allows us to recharge our shield in sticky situations. Less panic logouts.
  • Removal of "Of Suffering" map mod removes requirement of Zealot's Oath, which means our vitality can apply to life to simplify our resource management.
  • SRS Was introduced, which like zombies naturally scales well with your build. The difference is you don't need to pay a passive point tax to take advantage of it. No more solo problems.

Build Weakness:
This build use to have the weakness of having slightly less physical damage survivability then your party members, however with the introduction Mortal Conviction change I am now able to run 11 Auras including Determination + Grace in combination with Iron Reflexs which provide 20K Armor at around level 77, so this is no longer a issue. Also solo play was nearly unbearable once you went to full support. With the introduction of missions this was no longer acceptable to me, so I solved this with SRS and feel the build no longer has a major weakness.

Build Strength Summary:
We bring two key Vaal skills to our party as well as every single useful aura in the game with a buffed 66% effect. On top of that the 3 primary DPS Auras all run on Generosity for a total increase of 105% effect. These auras make us bring more effective DPS and survivability than any single character could ever bring to a end game map group. On top of all this we grant Culling Strike to our Incinerate by using the unique item Heartbreaker. Depending on your gear you will peak out at nearly 600% or so item rarity reliably since Incinerate attacks many times per second. A final note about this build which I enjoy is that you can level up pain free as a summoner and easily back up into a pure support build using only the free refund points you are given from quests.

Solo Capability:
I hated that the old build had no solo capabilities. I have solved this by using a alternate +2 Minion rare helmet 2B2R linked with SRS -> Spell Echo -> Multi-Strike -> (Melee Splash/Melee Physical). Because of the giant boost of auras and generosity, I am able to easily do my daily missions or piety runs alone safely and quickly.

Party Capability and Breakdown:
Remember- the entire focus of this build is for party play. The acceptance criteria for every skill, passive node and piece of gear is that it must contribute to your party. Here is the break down for how our various build choices do so.

Vaal Discipline:
Since we use blood magic to case our spells, our ES doesn't generate if we are constantly dropping totems. This spell allows us to continue to regenerate life while casting. It's also great if someone in your team is getting in trouble or will soon be in trouble you may use it ahead of time as a buffer. Even for non ES team mates this skill adds lots of value because the 954@L20 base ES is increased by 66% for a whopping flat 1584 ES, which scales on your 280% ES bonus for a total of 4436 ES!

Vaal Haste:
We bring Vaal Haste to our party as a DPS monster to help obliterate bosses. After our 66% aura bonus it provides 35% Increased Movement Speed, 70% Increased Attack Speed and 68% Increased Cast Speed.

Defensive Stats:
Thanks to the Determination / Grace / IR Combo we achieve 20K armor with 3600 ES at level 77, with 78% all res across the board. After picking up all hybrid es/evasion nodes around 90+ you should have about 25k Armor and 5K+ ES. If you get a shavs, 7K es is probable. Really good for a support, no, really good for any role.

Added Group Defense:

Added Group DPS:
  • +27% Attack Speed (Haste@L20)
  • +27% Cast Speed (Haste@L20)
  • +74% Of Physical damage added as Cold (Hatred@L20)
  • +158-265 Added Fire Damage (Anger@L20)
  • +29-474 Added Lightning Damage (Wrath@L20)

Added Group Utility:
  • +15% Increased Movement Speed (Haste@L20)

Added Group Magic Find:
Overall you will bring around +470 IIR with average gear for all kills. With Divination Distillate you will bring 520+ IIR on Champion, Rare or Boss kills.

  • With Divination Distillate effect active:

Gear Requirements and Explanations:
Overtime this build has gotten much cheaper and much more flexible! In fact you could run this build 100% self found over time. The only required mod you need to obtain is Chaos Damage does not bypass Energy Shield because we are ES based and reserved 99% of our life. So chaos damage would instantly kill us without this mod, luckily for us we may get it for very cheap from Solaris Lorica and as you build wealth you may be lucky enough to obtain a Shavronne's Wrappings which is the best in slot item. The items listed below will be in order of priority by usefulness.

Prism Guardian poe.trade: (Rampage | Beyond)
We use this primarily for two mods, first Gems in this item have 25% reduced Mana Reservation is paramount to get the last bit of mana reservation reduction we need on 3 60% aura gems. Second the +1 to Level of Aura Gems in this item is an obvious great buff to our defensive auras. This item can be picked up for as low as 20C-1.5Ex.

Heartbreaker poe.trade: (Rampage | Beyond)
We use this to grant our spells Culling Strike, which saves us a link and allows us to run a decent cull on a 4L setup while building wealth. This item can be picked up for as low as 20C-1Ex.

Aurseize poe.trade: (Rampage | Beyond)
We use this for the large boost to item rarity on top of having a little bit of resistances, which makes it best in slot. This item can be picked up for as low as 1C-20C depending greatly on Item Rarity.

Andvarius x2
You need two of these as part of the core build, but don't sweat picking these up early on. For one they run around 1-7Ex depending greatly on Item Rarity it provides. Two because they reduce your resistances by a large amount and depending on your setup you may need L20 Purity's before you are ready to wear two of these.

The Vertex (Optional - One of many of alternative build paths)
This is one of the non-required unique items. The use case for this is before you get to level 90+ you are going to have a small issue running all 3 DPS Auras. You will have around 11-14 life depending on your gear in the 70s and early 80s. This mask allows you to run a 4L Incinerate for only 10 mana. Which at 75 or so you should only have 11 available. This can be picked up as a supplemental item pretty cheaply since it is not well sought after for 30C-1EX depending on bonuses and your patience.

Passive Tree Discussion:
The general idea of the tree is to pick up all the aura nodes as efficiently as possible, while gaining as much defensive capabilities as we can. The last thing we want is to rip inside a expensive map roll, leaving our party without a culler. The main build path doesn't digress under different configurations, all that changes is the clusters you pick up and the order in which you do so. The cost listed beneath these is the cost to get to the cluster itself, not the total cost for the node.


Notes on general node types:
  • Increased Projectile Speed - If you are running a 4L incinerate then picking up a few of these may be worth while, but they come at a pretty big cost to ES.
  • Increased Energy Shield - You may notice we are very greedy with picking up ES nodes, this is primarily because we get a maximum of two items with decent ES contributions. Solaris Lorica setups literally scale ONLY off of discipline and a helmet, so we need to boost that as high as we can.
  • Increased Maximum Life/Energy Shield - This is a great pick up and the locations of the clusters are right in our build path. The main reason why this is important is it scales very well with our build because as we hit the early 90's our base maximum life combined with these nodes gives us a larger resource pool, since we use life to cast.

Notes on Keystones
  • Iron Reflexes - This synergizes so well with our Determination / Grace aura setup when combined with our Hybrid ES/EV nodes. We end up with a free 20-25K Armour.
  • Unwavering Stance - For a single node cost and the fact we get IR, this is a non brainer.
  • Blood Magic - This stands in our way of Mortal Conviction which enables us that final bit of reduced mana reservation to get 11 auras.
  • Ancestral_Bond - As you get into the hardest end game maps, this allows you to cull from a safe position.

Notes on Notables
  • Leadership (Cost: 1) - This I am on the fence about, I think if you pick this up or not will depend on if you have quality auras or not.
  • Foresight (Cost: ) - The Notable of the Scion ES cluster, since it is how we travel over to blood magic from the witch starting area, the entire cluster is free.
  • Unnatural Calm (Cost: 2) - This provides 1% to max lightning res 15% es recovery and because it gives +18%, the 2 node cost is nullified.
  • Nullification (Cost: ) - Amazing defensive node which falls right along the core build path. The 8% resistances help you as your purities are leveling.
  • Void Barrier (Cost: 2) - Same mods Nullification except it is at the edge of your build tree, having an additional 2 node travel cost. I think it's worth it over picking up the central Scion ES cluster.
  • Arcane Vision (Cost: 2) - Quality of life node, worth it if you have trouble seeing whats on the screen on dark tile sets.
  • Inner Force (Cost: 1) - Provides 21% increased aura effect on yourself, this is really good. Although it also doesn't fit our acceptance criteria of buffing our party, as previously mentioned survivability is a implicit party buff, no one likes a dead culler.
  • Ballistic Mastery (Cost: 3) - 20% Projectile Speed node for longer range culling, good totem laying OR linking Faster Projectiles may nullify this.
  • Sniper (Cost: 2) - 10% Projectile Speed node for longer range culling, good totem laying OR linking Faster Projectiles may nullify this.
  • Whispers of Doom (Cost: 4) - +1 To maximum curses, at the cost of 4 ES Nodes and a Skill Gem, not something I am down with as party usually provides curses, but it's a option for those who are interested.

Passive Tree Configurations:
So if you are coming into this from scratch with a brand new character, start with "Leveling up as a summoner" then you can back out and transition into "Standard Build Path" once you have the required items and passive points.

Once you hit the "95 Point Base Build" you are ready to go down the various "Standard Build Paths". I provide an "Example Cookie Cutter Build Path" but I would really try to read the "Standard Build Paths" and make your own decisions based on your gear and how your gameplay is going. Since this build is a lot more flexible these days with gear, everyone is going to have different immediate demands while leveling. Try to take your own demands into consideration and traverse the passive tree accordingly.

95 Point Base Build
120 Point Example Cookie Cutter Build

Standard Build Paths
Here are some example standard build paths to follow once you hit the "95 Point Base Build"

Level 90 Examples:
  • 110 - Cookie cutter setup gives Inner Force and lots of ES.
  • 110 - 20% Projectile Speed because you run cull on a 4L and are having trouble culling.
  • 110 - 30% Projectile Speed because you run cull on a 4L and and are REALLY having trouble culling.
  • 110 - You are having difficulty seeing on dark tile set maps (Arcane Vision).
  • 110 - I am having trouble spam casting my totems and need some resource regeneration.
  • 110 - Dual Curse path for people who play in specific party compositions consistently it may be well worth.

Example Cookie Cutter Build Path
Here is an example of going from the 95 Point Base Build to level 100.

Cookie Cutter:
  • 100 - Get natural calm for increased lightning res.
  • 104 - Inner Force at this point will scale better than anything else right now.
  • 109 - We can now run over to the hybrid es/evasion cluster because the evasion boost has a huge benefit with IR.
  • 112 - Finish hybrid ES cluster and pickup some movement speed, it's nice.
  • 116 - Get the ES Nodes you can reach while pushing these long levels.
  • 117 - Back out of temporary ES Nodes and get the Hybrid ES Cluster.
  • 120 - Stack final ES.

Leveling up as a summoner
This is how I leveled up my witch, my main goal was to make it so I could level quickly and only need at most a few regrets, try to make use of the 18 I am given by default. I basically ran this till around 74-75 which I then went full support. When you choose to go full support really depends on when you are ready to start focusing on maps and party play.

I used SRS for the very early levels while my zombies slowly ramped up. I recommend -8 skill cost lvl 5 or less rings to make using SRS completely awesome and pain free. If you plan on using spells early on, you can forsake the initial ES cluster for a 6 Refund cost and get spell damage.
  • 30 (6 Refunds Used) - Here we get some good initial ES and two zombie clusters with life and es hybrid clusters.
  • 40 - (11 Refunds Used) We pick up another zombie cluster and some ES along the way.
  • 54 (20 Refunds Used) - Pretty strong summoner now with 8 zombies and some attack speed and minion damage on SRS. We also picked up Harrier and Shaper as quality of life nodes while we level. This right here should be all you need.
  • Start following the standard build path! Once you are ready, back out of the minion nodes.

Links (My Setup Currently PLEASE READ ALL TEXT):
The links will make heavy use of auras and use a quality level 1 incinerate as your primary spell for culling. If you don't want to use the vaal mask, you can put incinerate in your chest. There are a ton of ways to link, this is just how I am doing it, given my current gem levels and items available to me. Do not think it's the only way!!! In fact this is not my DREAM setup! Lots of factors came into play creating this setup, things like I am poor and Solaris Lorica is easier to chrome this way. I will post more about the 100% best setup later.

I guess the most important note about linking, is you lose faster projectiles by running your Incinerate on a 4L. Once and if I have shavs and hit level 90~ or so and do some field testing I will make the final decision if it's better to run the setup below, OR to put incinerate on 5-6L chest (Gaining faster projectiles), move hatred/wrath/anger/reduced mana back to gloves / boots and put the Vaals/Lightning warp in the helm. I think the 4L cull works okay, and may stick with it to be honest.

4L GGB The Vertex -> Spell Totem -> Incinerate -> Item Rarity -> GMP
3L GGB Prism Guardian -> Grace -> Determination -> Discipline
3L RGB + 1L B Increased Duration -> Vaal Discipline -> Vaal Haste | Lightning Warp
3L RRG Reduced Mana -> Vitality -> Haste
4L RRGB Reduced Mana -> Purity of Fire -> Purity of Ice -> Purity of Lightning
5L RRRGB Reduced Mana -> Generosity -> Hatred -> Wrath -> Anger

My Gear:
This is not my ideal setup, but it's a good start. As much as I like The Vertex, it doesn't align with the builds primary goal of being party centric- a Rare with high IIR would be much better. Also of course I would prefer Shavs over Solaris Lorica.


I killed all the bandits, you should too.

Leveling Up:
I personally had my entire end game support build planned out before I even started and figured out a good summoner path to run while I geared up and leveled that could cheaply be backed out of with base refund points once I was ready for party culling and had enough currency. I talk more about this in the passives section.

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- Refine builds.

- Added video section.
- Badfish_07 Made a great point about Unnatural Calm, updating guide

- Post more details about the passive tree and clarify the decisions behind it.
- Post standard build path digressions.
- Post summoner leveling tree I used to level.

- Initial build 2.0 KickOff. Lots left to do, but this is a good start.

- Begin 1.2.2 rework since I am playing again.

- Updated leveling tips courtesy of Michaelangel007.

- Added some leveling tips courtesy of Michaelangel007.

- Gear requirements now a bullet list(Michaelangel007)

- Reroute to last aura cluster under maurader
- Add level 90 and 100 build suggestions
- Oops, don't take totem damage node, take totem life node (rem6775)

- Build revamp

- No changes for 1.0.4

- Do not pm me text added

- Build revamp, ditch supporker and swiss army attempt, be what you are, a support culler

- Relinked spec, updated guide
- Updated title, 1.0.3c viable of course

- Added back the video that was lost in an edit.

- Added a example 114 point low life build.

- Added flasks.
- Clarified use of heartbreaker.
- Explained bandits.

- Adding first version of build.
- Changed the shield/helm links, to make solo play better by having anger off.

Last edited by Pls on Oct 28, 2014, 12:11:01 PM
Last bumped on Apr 6, 2016, 12:33:22 PM
nice guide mate, bump 4beztcullstarEU
This looks like exactly what I was seeking. An extremely versatile witch that can cull for groups, or reliably solo MF. How do you recommend leveling it? Just FP/ST your way up and then swap to totems for damage when you get ancestral bond?

I'd love to see the CI variants, as Shav's is out of mine and probably quite a few other people's price range.

Thanks a ton for posting this! :)

EDIT: one other question. Are there any changes you'd make for HC/Nemesis? or do you consider it survivable enough as is?
Last edited by Lajiskin on Dec 6, 2013, 12:52:45 AM
Lajiskin wrote:
This looks like exactly what I was seeking. An extremely versatile witch that can cull for groups, or reliably solo MF. How do you recommend leveling it? Just FP/ST your way up and then swap to totems for damage when you get ancestral bond?

I'd love to see the CI variants, as Shav's is out of mine and probably quite a few other people's price range.

Thanks a ton for posting this! :)

EDIT: one other question. Are there any changes you'd make for HC/Nemesis? or do you consider it survivable enough as is?

For leveling I actually followed a "Auramancer" variation of it here[1]. I later regretted some of my paths once I was geared enough to go low life. However instead of doing that, you could follow the build I made, and just pick up all the zombie nodes along the way, it's really convenient how close they are to the main path.

The reason I didn't continue down the path of "Auramancer" is because although solo play was absolutely amazing for fast cata/library clears however I had two problems 1) I didn't have any real reliable culling, using a 4L for flame totem coulda been a possible option, but my mana and links were tapped from summoner dependencies.. and 2) Once you start hitting 72+ maps certain situations whipe out your entire army in a matter of moments and it's annoying as dick. I was using snapshot mechanics and tabula rasa to 6L zombies and 5L spectres before i finally 6linked my shavs, and having your army die mid map and having to go resummon is pretty annoying.

So yea, the TLDR is that summoner is great for solo farming library/cata/pre 70 maps, but once it's time to join partys you want to back out of those nodes, get some es and utility and go full support for mapping.

As for nemesis: I don't think a culler like this is nemesis safe to be frank. You would need to ditch any spell damage nodes or cast nodes and go pure ES, and also change gearing a bit.

Hope this info helped man, I really enjoyed this build thus far, maybe you can make your own variation of it to fit what you enjoy. Take it easy.

[1] http://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAAAgMBB2MRUBGWFdcXLxmKGmwajxzcHRQdqiSwKPoqmCymLL8vbzQKN2Y3gzvhQ2NGcU25VdZWY1crWPVakVv0ZOdmnmqsa9ttGW-ecLtxTXNTfRh_xoCkgseDCYVghq6G0YhAj0aQM5Mnms-boZu1na6dxKKjpqym66cIpyuofarEsHe0DLcxuJO71r-XwcXB88M6w23JPcpKzLzQ0NP714bZC9kT4Yji9-aB6rrr7uwY7IryHvba99f6gPrS-wn-SQ==
Auramy? Typo or inscrutable wordplay?
Added to the build list anyway.
1.06 10 Aura Support Culler - Archive
Purity of Ice, Fire, Lightning. Discipline. Anger. Wrath. Hatred. Haste. Vitality. Clarity.

I kindly ask you do not PM me
I get more PMS then I do replies to the thread, I kindly ask that you start bringing those discussions here so others can benefit from the outcomes. Thanks!

Hello, I have been getting lots of requests from friends and people I party with to link my build and setup somewhere, so here it is.

This build was planned over the course of a few days before 1.0 release and backed with fairly in-depth theory crafting and calculations. I believe it to be pretty solid in its current form but am open to any derivatives that look good so feel free to post them.

The build will make use of 10 Auras to maximize your role in groups, you will stack massive IIR and have enough ES to survive end game maps in most situations. You will reserve all but 1% of your life and all but ~7% of your mana. This will leave you with just under 50 mana, but this is all you need to chain cast spell totems and throw out curses. We will use a level 1 incinerate with quality of 20% to keep our mana cost cheap. We will have just enough mana to cast elemental weakness on a quality reduced mana gem. We push this build to the max, so we can maximize our potential.

Build Strength
The primary goal is that I wanted to maximize my role in a group, this build has succeeded in doing so. I am constantly invited to map groups, sometimes I am offered tips just to come cull. It's pretty awesome. People really appreciate having you in their group. The bottom line is you bring more to the table across the board then any 1 player can by themself. On top of all this you can run around 529 IIR / 34 IIQ! Some group stats:

Added Group Defense
- 77% To All Resistances (Purity of *)
- 7% To All Maximum Resistances (Purity of *)
- 592 To Maxmimum Energy Shield (Discipline)
- 3% Of life regenerated per second (Vitality)
- 9 Mana regenerated per second (Clarity)

Added Group DPS
- 30% Attack Speed (Haste)
- 30% Cast Speed (Haste)
- 64% Of Physical damage added as Cold (Hatred)
- 167-277 Added Fire Damage (Anger)
- 32-501 Added Lightning Damage (Wrath)

Added Group Magic Find
- 500+ Improved Item Rarity
- 34+ Improved Item Quantity

Added Group Mobility
- 16% Movement Speed (Haste)

Build Weakness
This build is not for efficient solo play, I have slowly specialized my build to make me viable in end game maps at the sacrifice of solo play. My RBBBGG 6L setup does allow one bonus that you may at any point use dual EK totem to help a friend or do something quickly on your own, but I have stripped all the spell power from the tree to maximize survivability in end game maps.

Gear Requirements
* Shavronne's Wrappings (Occultist's Vestment)
* Heartbreaker (Royal Skean dagger)
* Prism Guardian (Archon Kite Shield)

I killed all the bandits, the only thing I could see doing instead is maybe helping alira normal for 40 mana but not really required.

Leveling Up
Use EK, FP, any of the standard spell damage stuff, I personally used zombies myself but you can do whatever you would like. Below are some more in depth tips for newer players courtesy of Michaelangel007.

In-Depth Leveling Tips

I've leveled a Scion from level 1 to 77 following the skills verbatim (yes, verbatim) as I wanted to know _exactly_ how good / bad it was to level. (Ok, maybe I was a little _too_ masochist, but it was all in the name of Science =P ) Anyways, it _is_ possible to speed up leveling this build and remove some of the monotony of grinding -- even with a Tabula Rasha! But I'm getting ahead of myself ...

= Leveling =
As you level up make a beeline for every node that "Reduces Mana Reserved." This will help you run 4 auras off mana until you get to Level 68 and can use your Prism Guardian where you sustain even more auras with Blood Magic.

Info: At level 68 you can realistically sustain 7 auras until your Reduced Mana gems are leveled all the way up. Recommended auras with level ~17 Reduced Mana Gems for an all spell caster party are (since Anger, Hatred, and Wrath only benefit melee not spells or minions):


* Purity of Fire
* Purity of Ice
* Purity of Lightning
* Purity of Elements
* Discipline (w/ Blood Magic from Prism Guardian)
* Haste (w/ Blood Magic from Prism Guardian)
* Vitality

Once you start doing Piety runs with Melee you will want to add in these one at a time when you can sustain them ...


* Wrath (w/ Blood Magic from Prism Guardian)
* Hatred (w/ Blood Magic)
* Anger

The astute reader will notice that Clarity is missing from the list. I found that one of the other party members can usually run a higher level Clarity. Hey, you're providing all the resists. ;-) If another party member can't run Clarity then you can always swap out of melee auras above (such as Hatred or Wrath) and run a level 3 to 15 Clarity.

If you want to run 10 auras (Clarity instead of Anger) with Level 17 Reduced Mana Gems this is what I do with 70 Life, 286 Mana remaining.


* Helm: Purity of Fire, Purity of Ice, Purity of Lightning
* Shield: Wrath, Haste, Discipline ((w/ Blood Magic from Prism Guardian)
* Boots: Hatred, Clarity (w/ Blood Magic Gem)
* Gloves: Vitality, Purity of Elements

You will need 4x Reduced Mana gems; with 5 being optimal. I leveled them up along the way so don't worry if they are all level 1 when you start.

This is the order of the skills I took as I leveled my Scion:


* Shaper
* Path of the Savant
* Harrier
* Mana Geyser
* Charisma
* Clear Mind (optional)
* Sovereignty
* Ancestral Bond
* Body and Soul
* Elemental Adaption
* Reduced Mana Reserved (bottom left of Marauder)
* Arcane Vision
* Deep Wisdom

TIP: I recommend not taking Arcane Vision until you have some ES gear. You will need it once you start adding your Blood Magic auras around ~ 68+. I took it after all my "Reduces Mana Reserved" nodes were done.

I then recommend taking Influence, as all those "Aura Effect" with their "increased effect of Auras" skills will help to really make your auras shine! There are also 2 by Sovereignty, and 1 at the very far bottom left of the Marauder tree which is adjacent to the "Reduced Mana Reservation".

Around Level ~75 you have some interesting choices. Do you spend the

* 10 points to get "Whispers of Doom" (for an extra curse) or
* do you make your way to the Templar tree to take "Vaal Pact" and ES or
* Finish off the Witch nodes for more ES, ES regen, Mana, and Mana regen, or even
* Take some chaos resist nodes (if you don't have Shavronne's yet)

If you are undecided about the 2nd curse, you can always try out the Windscream boots to see if the 2nd curse fits your play style.
Going deep into the Templar tree will give you more ES and Resists which I found wasn't really needed if you have a good ES armor (such as the inexpensive Infernal Mantle.
The Chaos Resist nodes adjacent to Method to the Madness, and Purity of Flesh are extremely valuable until you have your Shavronne's Wrapping.

This was my skill tree at level 66:


Leveling up solo will mostly be an exercise in patience / extreme pain until you can get to Cruel Act 3 -- by then you will have two totems doing damage so it won't too bad for DPS. Highly recommend you group with a party for (faster) leveling.

So how do we actually kill things with this build? Believe it not we CAN solo Merciless Catacombs 67 when we are Level ~64. Use a combination of 4 things:


* "Blowtorch" Flame Totem
* Bear Trap
* Summon Skeletons
* Spectre (optional but recommended)

Someday I'll write the "Art and Science of Totem Trapping" but here is the general idea:

* Place your 1st totem out in front -- this will be your "decoy" to pull the mobs.
* Place your bear trap about 3 ft in front in between your totem and the mob(s).
* Curse the mobs (Flammability)
* Place your skeletons in between your traps and totem.
* Place your 2nd totem
* Spam traps and skeletons as needed until the mob(s) are dead.

Tip: Kill those necros (Death Bishop) that summons skeletons by placing your totems on either side of him and bear trap him. You will have to juggle moving in/around his summoned skeletons but killing him ASAP is your first priority. Once he falls, it will be relatively easy to kill all the summoned skeletons.

These are the skill gems I used while leveling ... if I were to do it again I would switch to Flame Totem much sooner.

= Normal =
Levels 1 - 31. I used Spectre Throw -- grab the highest DPS 2H weapon you can use.

= Cruel =
Levels 31 - ~ 50: I used the classic Spork build -- a 4L chest is all you need with gems in this order: Spark, Fork, Spell Totem. Optionally add: Lightning Penetration, LMP/GMP, Added Critical Strike, Added Critical Damage. Swap out Crit's for "Added Chaos Damage" and/or "Reduce Mana" if you want higher totem DPS or more efficient mana usage.

= Merciless =
Levels 50+: My guild-mate (Thx Parker!) coined it my "Blowtorch Flame Totem." What the heck is that you ask!?


* Added Chaos Damage (blue)
* Faster Casting (blue)
* Faster Projectiles (green)
* Fire Penetration (red)
* Flame Totem (red)
* Greater Multiple Projectiles (green)

Yeah, Flame Totem has high mana costs :-( Swap out the " Greater Multiple Projectiles" or "Fire Penetration" for a "Reduced Mana" gem if the totem cost is too high, or do what I did: only run 3 auras instead of 4 until you have enough of a mana pool / mana regen rate until you finalize on all the auras.

= Recommended Leveling Jewelry & Gear =


Amy: Atziri's Foible (mana mana + mana regen)
Ring: Perandus Signet (max mana + mana regen)
Ring: Dream Fragments (max maxa + mana regen)
Helm: Chitus' Apex (for XP) or Alpha's Howl (for auras)
Gloves: Aurseize (for resists)
Boots: Goldwrym (mana regen, move speed)
Helm: Alpha's Howl (+2 auras, Can't Be Frozen, 8% reduced mana reserved)
Chest: Infernal Mantle (+3K ES)

In the Standard league, the Infernal Mantle can be bought for 1-3 chaos without 6 sockets. For the most part you don't care about the 10% Increased Spell Damage. That is just gravy if you are using Flame Totem. What you do want is a high ES. I would say anything 220+% is preferably for Piety runes. Buy the cheapest one you can afford; it is relatively inexpensive to get 4 socket and 4 link on it.

Another great helm is Alpha's Howl for its +2 to Level of Aura Gems. It's CBF (Can't Be Frozen), and 25% Avoid Being Chilled is super sexy.

= Bosses =

Bosses you will run into trouble with:


Normal, Act 3, Dominus: You shouldn't have any problems, just kite and have a tank. :-)
Normal, Caliga Imperetix Her multi lightning trap is a total pain.

Cruel, Act 2, Vaal: Just kite and you will be fine.
Cruel, Act 3, Caliga Imperatrix: She is extremely annoying with her multi trap lightning. Keep your distance, spam bear traps, skeletons.
Cruel, Act 3, Dominus: With 2 Sporkers this was an nightmare of a fight. For the first phase just kite. The second phase you need a high DPS party member otherwise expect to die a lot. Recommend you be at least +5 levels above.

Merciless, Act 2, The Weaver: The problem here is getting the adds under control as they are constantly being spawned.
Merciless, Act 3, Piety: You will want +3K ES. Keep your distance, kite, and keep a Topaz Flask on hand.
Merciless, Act 3, Dominus: TBD.

I was still using Spork at this point and wished I had switched over to Flame Totem sooner.

For gearing you want to aim for very high IIR/IIQ, with a priority and focus on IIR. You can ignore a lot of defensive stats like resistances and energy shield thanks to a beefy discipline and very strong elemental resistance auras. The key here is IIR/IIQ, groups will love you if you cull for them and it will ultimately lead to a lot of currency. See my gear for more information.

Run 10 Auras, turn off Anger aura to increase mana pool and spam curse when you hit Distilate to get full effect. Pick up loot.

The idea of the tree is to pick up all the aura nodes as efficiently as possible and have as much end game ES as you can. While leveling up you are going to be picking up spell damage nodes to ease the pain of leveling, also feel free to diverge from the core passive path to make leveling easier, you can always regret/refund later so it's not a big deal. Once you get 80 you will be ready to start doing the harder maps.


88 Point - You now have most of the core stuff and are ready to start mapping at level 68! You won't be able to run 10 auras for while but should get by fine.

98 Point - Core Build. Ready for 10 auras. (When gems are leveled)

108 Point - Finished build - Got the shadow ES cluster, from here do what you would like.

110 Point - Level 90 Grab mana for quality of life and more flexibility on your 4L.

120 Point - Level 100 You could go dual curse if you wanted to.

The links will make heavy use of auras and use a quality level 1 incinerate as your primary spell.


My incinerate cast time after haste is applied is 8 per second, so you get extremely reliable culls which means MOAR loot! Also note this setup should use a heartbreaker, if you don't have one then swap GMP or Faster Projectiles with culling strike.

3L RRB Reduced Mana -> Blood Magic -> Wrath
3L GGB Prism Guardian -> Hatred -> Discipline -> Haste
4L RRGB Reduced Mana -> Purity of Fire -> Purity of Ice -> Purity of Lightning
4L RRRB Reduced Mana -> Anger -> Clarity(LVL3~) -> Vitality
4L RBBB Reduced Mana -> Summon Skeleton -> Lightning Warp -> Curse (Ele Weakness or Vuln)
6L RGGBBB Spell Totem -> Incinerate -> GMP -> Faster Projectiles -> Faster Casting -> Item Rarity

My Gear - This is a good idea of what your end game gear should look like. I could def. have a better helm and amulet, but this gives a good idea of what to shop for.

Last edited by Pls on Sep 29, 2014, 7:54:30 PM
Nice guide, exactly what I was looking for!
iCubie wrote:
Nice guide, exactly what I was looking for!

Last edited by Pls on Dec 7, 2013, 2:22:54 AM
This may seem like a silly question but I'm new to the game and wondering how you can ever have any high level dex/str gem with so few actual dex/str nodes. I run out of attributes really fast (except int of course). Do you get them via equipment?
this build looks really good will give it a try

but my main question is how do u cull without culling strike effectively in groups? people spam skills so fast(like blender) that you can effectively cull what about getting a heartbreaker as a main hand ? but i think it will decrease your damage output very much

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