Path Of Exile The (Storm) Secret ES leech ramble By: anne_dobalina


The easiest way to get the right answer for a question, is to post the wrong answer on the internet – Albert Einstein

Hello fellow exiles.

Apologies for the long post, but I wanted to get this out of my head.

I’ve seen a couple of recent posts asking about HoT after the 3.13 ascendancy changes.

I thought it would good thing to talk about techniques required to sustain your life/ES with the crazy damage that HoT/Storm Secret can inflict – this applies to any HoT/Storm Secret Build not just Assassin or Elementalist. If you’re able to one-shot whole maps and bosses with HoT and don’t worry about your ES, this is not for you (but tell me how you do it please.)

I’ve written this in mind of some people not knowing about the mechanics, so if it’s too over-explained/simplified then I apologise…but you’ve killed your way through all of Wraeclast and beyond, so a little thing like this won’t offend you right?

It’s also written to be analysed (roasted) and have more advanced players add to the discussion on how to make the most of this, hopefully to improve my thinking and make my (and other) builds better. This is not a proper guide, please do your own research in addition to the details I’m providing below.

The problem:

To be effective with HoT, you need

Which means:

  • Two Storm Secret rings will hit you for 500 combined damage very time HoT hits an enemy.

  • Two perfectly rolled Storm Secret rings will be 8 hits per second, so that’s 4000 damage per second, mitigated by Lightning resistance.

  • At 75% resistance you still take a total of 1000 damage per second.

Taking 800-1000 flat damage per second can be a tough call without implementing good life regen mechanics – but Calamitous Visions / Lone Messenger has disabled Vitality and Discipline, a Stone Golem (even an Anom one with L4 Enhance/L4 Empower) is not going to cut it, and spamming flasks to survive means you’ll run eventually and just die

So what can we do?

I had a joke here about “three step assault” boots but I’ve got four points so it doesn’t work.

NOTE: From here on out please pretend I wrote up this post forgetting that IC and fortify was a thing and I didn’t factor that into my calculations…because that’s exactly what happened.

**The alternative to Corrupted Soul is Immortal Ambition which makes Life Leech apply to ES when Life is full. I’m not a fan, but you do you.

Leech rates:

Life Leech is capped normally at 20% of your life, and while there are a few things that can increase this via the tree, anoints, and mods on gear, we’re not overly worried about that rate (I’m not anyway)

  • To sustain 500 damage per second from dual storm secrets at 75% res and corrupted soul with intact ES, you need only to have 2500 life or more.

  • To sustain the full 1000 damage per second however you need 5K life.

Having some energy shield in place while you are mapping/bossing is good, so that you’re not hitting the full life pool with the damage.

But then….I see a number of builds with less than 5K life and 1.5-2K ES, not near enough ES to sustain the ES leech, and no increased leech per second, meaning that unless I am missing something they are having to map/boss for a bit and then kite away to let the recuperate. Not exactly optimal.

The problem with ES

ES base leech cap is 10% of ES per second, meaning after a little while of mapping / bossing the ES is just…gone. Without ES there to absorb part of the damage, you’re now hitting your life pool for the full damage per second. We need to fix that, and there are five main ways to do this (tell me if there are more!)

  • Light Eater

  • Ethereal Feast

    • “30% increased Maximum total Recovery per second from Energy Shield Leech”

    • Without Light Eater it’s 13% of max ES.

    • This can be stacked with Light Eater to make it 15%

  • Crusader amulet or gloves

    • Can have the mod “(15-25)% increased Maximum total Recovery per second from Energy Shield Leech”,

    • This mod can be affected on an amulet by a Tempering Catalyst to max it at 30%,

    • It can also stack with Light Eater and Ethereal Feast.

    • Most Autobombers use Storm’s Gift or Algor Mortis (or swap) so the gloves are out.

    • A bonus to a Crusader amulet is you can roll “+1 to Level of all Lightning Skill Gems”

  • Stack the hell out of your ES so that your 10% leech is enough

    • You can do this with an ES Explode chest, and ES stacking on boots/belt/helm, as well as cluster notables and the tree

    • I found this VERY hard to do with Inpulsa.

  • Get them before they get (close) to you.

    • An Explode chest (Inpulsa or otherwise) is not just QoL for map speed – it helps with your damage mitigation.

    • If the enemy is already dead because they got blown up when their mate died, HoT can’t hit them, so you take less damage.

Before I continue, note that while HoT is a “spell” it’s damage is not the same as other spell based skills (and not subject to increases/decreases in spell damage so any leech you apply needs to be on lightning or elemental damage, or just “damage” (eg, Energy Leech Support for ES.)

ES Leech and you: Corrupted Soul and two perfect 50% frequency Storm Secrets.

I took some time and did some bad maths. Calculations in the below are based on 8 hits per second, 500 base damage, and Corrupted Soul splitting half the damage between Life and ES. I’m not working on increasing Life Leech, just ES. I’m including Immortal Call calculations for a “minimum” but ideally you want to be looking for the max or somewhere in between.

  • At 500 damage per hit, 8 hits per second, and 75% lightning resistance, and no I/C triggerred you take 500 damage per second to your ES.

  • At 76%: (500 x 8 x 0.24)/2 = 480

  • Each percent resistance decreases the hits by 20 per second.

From there we math it up (note that the total ES is within 1 or 2 either side, don’t sue me for poor math skills)

ES required at leech rate to be on par with damage (please remember Immortal Call is only going to be up for a percentage of the time)

At 75% Lightning Res 76% (eg Unnatural Calm) 80% (eg Agnerod South) 81% (Agnerod South and Unnatural Calm)
500 damage per second / 380 with Immortal Call 480 damage per second / 360 IC 400 damage per second / 300 IC 380 damage per second / 280 IC
10% (Base leech cap) 3800-5000 ES (3800 with I/C) 3600-4800 ES 3000-4000 ES 2800-3800 ES
12% (Light Eater or Crusader mod at 20-25% value no catalyst) 3167-4167 3000-4000 2500-3333 2333-3167
13% (Ethereal Feast or Crusader mod at 30% due to catalyst) 2923-3846 2769-3692 2308-3076 2153-2923
14% (Light Eater and 20-25% crusader mod value no catalyst) 2714-3571 2571-3428 2142-2857 2000-2714
15% (some combination of above mods) 2533-3333 2400-3200 2000-2667 1867-2533
16% (some combination of above mods) 2375-3125 2250-3000 1875-2500 1750-2375
17% (some combination of above mods) 2235-2941 2117-2823 1764-2353 1647-2235
18% (Ethereal Feast, Light Eater, max Crusader mod with catalyst) 2111-2777 2000-2666 1667-2222 1555-2111
20% (All of the above plus 20% Crusader mod on gloves) 1900-2500 1800-2400 1500-2000 1400-1900

Again please remember that IC is only up a portion of the time – ideally you want to have ES closer to the max required than the min.

Numbers are Boring and Small…what the hell are you trying to say?

  • With HoT, getting your ES leech rate to the right level means more survivability (barring one shots) because your total EHP is actually available to you, rather than being stripped away by your self-damage.

  • Immortal Call and other mitigation techniques will help you sustain this, but not fully.

  • You really should invest in some extra maximum ES leech recovery per second.

When you are starting off,

  • Agnerod South

    • you don’t need a 6L for this, but 6L somewhere helps for HoT

    • Is amazing as you get the benefit of the extra res (and the other mods) plus a bit of INT, adding to your total ES.

  • If you stretch to Light Eater and Unnatural Calm on the tree you “only” need 3167 max ES with Agnerod South to sustain your self-hit damage. Less on average with Immortal Call.

  • If you can anoint Ethereal Feast (see below caveat) or find a crusader amulet with the right mod and catalyst, then you can deal with 1867-2533 ES until you get further along.

2000-2500 ES is achievable for decently levelled char through the tree and gear (after inpulsa/storm’s gift, rings, and weapon you’re only left boots, belt, and helm, as well as jewels on the tree). It can be fiddly but it’s do-able.

For example Energy From Naught small cluster while levelling gives you 100 flat ES, a tidy little boost, or a presence of Chayula which converts 20-24% of life to maximum ES (Life or defense catalyst brings it to 24%).

At endgame,

Who are you and why are you clogging up my subreddit with your rambles?

I’m still very much a noob compared to the majority of players, but I’ve got some experience after fixing my Heist char to compensate for the scuffed Arctic Armour patch – not freezing bosses in their mid-air jump made me realise how fragile my poor witch really was…so I spent far too long in PoB and looking at what other people do and just generally trying new things until I found something workable.

Things wrong with this post:

  • Vigilant Strike / Fortify support can consume endurance charges to reduce cooldown, possibly conflicting with your I/C eating Endurance charges. You need to look at your timing if you want to use this effectively.

  • Vigilant Strike is an attack, but you’re casting spells, and it means getting closer to enemies. And to use The Vigil it’s best to use the jewel slot towards the Constitution end of the tree so you may lose out on other benefits there (for example I’ve got Life/Res/Damage jewel in mine).

  • Calculations taking Immortal Call into account properly (total damage over X seconds, etc etc) are more complicated than I wanted to hit in this post. Please take the time to perform some of your own calculations on what works best for you for leech / sustain / mitigation / anom versions versus non-anom etc. I’ve given min/max figures at each leech rate taking IC/no-IC into account but you need to research yourself.

  • I have not mentioned other guard skills like Steelskin, Molten Shell, etc because they all share a cooldown, and low level CwDT won’t mitigate heaps of damage with those skills. You could L20 Steelskin on left click, if you wanted.

  • Crit based will want to anoint (or reach to) Infused for the Power Charges, so Ethereal Feast would be out of the question unless you wanted to sacrifice your DPS ceiling. You can still find a crusader mod amulet, though the real top end gear uses +1 Int/+1 Lightning, crit multi and whatever else you can throw on there – rolling double Crusader mods on a double influenced amulet can be hard. You could also use Ethereal Feast for a while until you get enough ES leech without it, then change to Infused.

  • Ethereal Feast – Amber/Silver/Gold oils. Not cheap to start with (but cheaper this league than others.)

  • Agnerod has a large STR requirement. You can manage from the tree and gear but you’ll sacrifice elsewhere to manage, until later.

  • If you are using Energy Leech Support you actually want your leech / ES pool to be slightly lower than the damage taken so that it’s always doing more damage, but not too low so it makes your ES disappear.

  • Presence of Chayula converts life to ES – if your maximum life is lowered too much life leech gets screwy, and endgame makes you more susceptable to one-shots. You do get the benefit of chaos res and stun immunity though.

  • Battery Staff is missing the Crit Chance implicit (of course) so anyone crit-based is gonna have a bad time, unless you have high enough base crit elsewhere or are non-crit (just need enough to trigger Elemental Overload).

  • Battery Staff minimum requirement L70, and ilvl77 for decent rolls (+3 Lightning etc).

  • I didn’t talk about min/maxing endurance charges or doing crazy Immortal Call mechanics other than duration/cooldown – there are ways to do this better as well.

  • Corrupted Soul can be REALLY bad for one shots and poor for HC unless you have a great Life pool (not total EHP just life). Don’t take it just because I said so…but take it if in SC.

  • I didn’t talk about WHERE to get the leech from. Doryani’s Lesson for life (or the Doryani belt), Heart of Thunder, Storm Drinker, and Energy Shield Leech. Don’t just take anything that says “spell damage”, you have to look for Elemental or Lightning Damage, or just “damage” like ES Leech Support.

  • I’m sure the community will find more … let me know!


I am welcome to (and want) feedback, please tell me where I went wrong, what assumptions are incorrect, and why I’m just a bad person all around and should sit in the corner. Thanks to u/Pandantson for forcing me to write this, I hope this helps everyone.

I’m going to follow this up in the next few days with my build outline for pure lightning HoT Elementalist with the relatively cheap gear that this league has to offer, and also showing what is possible with better (and eventually top tier) gear. I’m aware that there are guides for Crit Assassin as well as Ignite Elementalist, but nothing I can find that’s pure Lightning Elementalist.


Storm Secret ouchy, Leech good, ES leech is oof unless you are a sneaky.

Stay sane, Exiles.

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