[POE] Essence Drain Contagion Build Guide – Path of Exile


Hello and welcome to another Path of Exile build guide! Now that you’ve seen a glimpse of what the fantastic Essence Drain/Contagion combo can do, you probably understand why these skills are so popular and everyone wants to play this type of build. Well, as always, I’m here to show you exactly how to achieve that and give you all the info you might need. So let’s dive right into it and talk a bit about the build’s overall capabilities. A great league starter, it doesn’t actually rely too much on gear up to mid-tier maps so clearing story mode and dipping your toes in Atlas farming can be easily done with self-found gear Even if you wish to invest a bit of currency in equipment, a few chaos orbs for each piece will go a long way and the build works very well on tighter budgets. But that should not be a problem as this is by far one of the best farming builds in the game ? once you get the ball rolling you’ll level up incredibly fast and clear maps in no time.

Efficiency is the name of the game with this build: the more monsters you encounter, the better it performs and you can literally clear entire maps by casting the awesome combo just a few times. This also makes it an insane delving machine ? there’s nothing more satisfying than getting that perfect monster density that allows you to fire Essence Drain a single time and kill all the mobs up to the next node. And as with any respectable farmer out there, you can run literally all map mods. However, the excellent mass-clearing potential does come with a downside: single-target damage is not exactly great. While it can kill bosses, this is definitely not its strongest point and it takes quite a bit longer than other builds. With some serious investment in best-in-slot gear pieces even this downside is almost completely mitigated so you have the option of making it a jack-of-all-trades, master of everything. Lastly, while it does have several defensive layers and solid effective HP, I would still not recommend it for Hardcore play as it is at the end of the day an evasion-based build. Up to you if you take your chances.

So, with this being said, let’s see how you actually go about getting all that. The guide is divided into seven main sections: build overview, passive tree and leveling, ascendancy, pantheon, gems and links, gear flasks and jewels and finally “pros & cons”. In the video description below you’ll find a link for importing the entire build guide in the “Path Of Building” tool It includes the passive tree broken down into level brackets, example gear and a detailed “Notes” section on gearing, stats priorities and gems.

With that out of the way, it’s time to lay out the build overview. The build relies on dealing Chaos damage over time and a simple combo between two spells: Contagion and Essence Drain. You first cast Contagion which is an area of effect spell that applies a weak damge-over-time (or DOT) debuff on all affected mobs. If a monster dies while having this Contagion debuff on, it will then spread to other nearby monsters as well. You know, contagious, it’s in the name. By itself this spell does very little damage and you won’t actually care at all about its DPS. However, second part of the combo is the heavy artillery: Essence Drain. This fires a small projectile which deals some decent chaos damage on-hit and also applies a very powerful DOT. Alone, this also doesn’t really do much, considering it’s a single target spell, but this last bit from the gem’s description is the build’s linchpin: ?The debuff is spread by Contagion?.

In practice the chain reaction works like this: you apply Contagion on a whole bunch of monsters then hit just one of them with Essence Drain. This will kill that mob and as consequence Contagion will spread to other enemies. But Contagion also spreads the DOT from Essence Drain. Which will now kill the newly infected mobs. Which will then spread Contagion even more. Which…I think you get the point. This is what allows you to clear huge packs of mobs, all around you, even as far as two or three screens away. Another important aspect to keep in mind is that each time a monster dies, Contagion spreads in a zone equal to its initial area of effect.

So, by enlarging its radius, you’ll be able to cover bigger gaps between monster packs and infect more monsters at the same time. In practice this translates to superior coverage and faster killing. The build is also making use of 2 or 3 curses, applied with Bane. This not only deals a solid chunk of damage but also cripples the enemies significantly, thus boosting your own survivability. All these are dealing chaos damage which bypasses energy shield, negating a good portion of the enemies’ effective HP.

Not only that but most mobs have quite low chaos resistance, making this a very potent damage type. As for defenses, apart from the aforementioned curses this build sports a very high chance to dodge both spells and attacks, huge amounts of evasion, solid effective HP as well as a lot damage reduction and regen granted by the Ascendancy class. As always, I will talk about all these in much greater detail in the passives, gems and gearing sections respectively. And speaking of which, let’s actually start with the passive tree and leveling.

You begin as a Shadow and immediately grab a few DPS notable passives such as ?Entropy?, ?Fangs of the Viper? and ?Trickery? These are already boosting your chaos damage as well as damage-over-time so you can start leveling using Blight and Contagion. At level 12 Essence Drain becomes available so you already have your basic combo in place. This way you can get plenty of practice with it right from the beginning. On the way you also pass through ?Blood Siphon? and two other minor passives for a large chunk of HP. In Act 2 start off with a few defensive passives such as ?Resourcefulness? and ?Blood Drinker? You get a good mix of life, evasion, energy shield and resistances, all of which are very welcome at this stage. Afterwards you push up and take ?Lethal Assault?, ?Coldhearted Calculation? as well as ?Growth and Decay? wheel.

Damage-over-time, area of effect as well as some life regen; what’s not to like? In this act you’ll also complete ?Deal with the Bandits? quest and pretty much as always the best option is to kill them all and obtain the two additional passive points. While leveling through acts 3 and 4, complete the ?Written in Blood? wheel for a hefty amount of life and energy shield and after that grab ?Atrophy? for even more chaos damage. Start heading to the left side of the tree for ?Deep Wisdom?, ?Heart and Soul? and ?Arcanist’s Dominion?.

These will greatly increase your mana and life pools, as well as spell damage, making leveling much smoother. Acts 5 and 6 are mostly dedicated to defense: the game starts throwing more difficult content at you at this point so having some additional survivability is more than welcome. First grab the ?Quick Recovery? wheel to beef up your HP and then ?Mind over Matter? keystone.

This is a straight-forward passive through which 30% of all damage you receive is first taken from mana. However this means that at this point you need to be careful not to reserve too much of your mana pool with auras or you will completely negate the effect of this keystone. At this point use no more than one cheap aura such as ?Discipline? or ?Flesh and Stone?. Later on you’ll take additional passives which reduce mana reservation and you’ll be able to use more auras. But until then, keep just one active. By the end of act 6 you should grab ?Retribution? and ?Discipline and Training? for some damage and HP. Going through acts 7 and 8, head back to the starting area in the passive tree and take ?Method to the Madness? for some additional DPS. After that ?Revenge of the Hunted? is a very good pick for some extra life and evasion. Finally grab the first socket of the build and slot ?Spreading Rot? unique jewel which can be obtained as a quest reward in Act 5.

At this point in the game bosses and rare mobs become increasingly tough so it’s a perfect time to start using Blight + Spell totem combo against these targets. I will however describe this setup in greater details in the ?Gems? section. Moving on to Acts 9 and 10, the first order of business is to grab ?Whispers of Doom? which allows you to apply a second curse on enemies. This comes just in time as you approach the end of story mode and bosses become stronger. It allows you to add a defensive curse such as Temporal Chains to your Bane setup, heavily crippling enemies. And since you’re in the area, take ?Corruption? as well for some extra chaos damage. Then just a bit further you have the excellent ?Cruel Preparation? and its adjacent life passives. Double-down on boosting your HP pool with ?Purity of Flesh?. Lastly, grab the 2nd jewel socket of the build, below ?Method to the Madness?.

With the campaign out of the way, you’ll start going through the Atlas and by level 80 your first target is to get ?Acrobatics? and ?Phase Acrobatics? keystones. Between them you get 40% chance to dodge attacks and 30% chance to dodge spells. Dodge is a completely separate mechanic from evasion and it’s just an additional layer of defense. Whenever an enemy attacks you, the game first rolls to check if you evade it. If that fails, then it rolls once more against your dodge chance. So, having something like 30-40% chance to dodge stuff is incredibly powerful. From this point, up to level 90, your main focus is to get a good amount of reduced mana reservation so you can start using additional auras.

You do this by taking ?Sovereignty? and ?Charisma? wheels. Combine these with ?The Devouring Diadem? helmet and you can now keep 4 auras active. Of course you’ll probably notice that this will leave you with zero mana, so how are you going to cast any spells? Well, this helmet also provides a keystone called ?Eldritch Battery? which could also be grabbed from the passive tree but it’s too far away and there’s no point in wasting passive points. So, what exactly does this do? First line explains how you’ll be able to afford casting spells: energy shield will be used instead of mana. Perfect! This allows you to have 100% mana reservation and still spam your spells. Then the passive says ?Energy Shield protects Mana instead of Life?.

While normally you would not take any ?mana damage?, you’ll likely remember that a bit earlier I talked about ?Mind over Matter? and how 30% of any damage is taken from mana first. Well, with Eldritch Battery that 30% will be taken from Energy Shield instead of mana. Now, normally energy shield would protect your HP and absorb 100% of the damage until it’s depleted, but keep in mind that this combo allows you to have your entire mana pool reserved by auras.

In this case, trust me, the benefits definitely outweigh the downsides. So, let’s return to the passive tree: after you’ve taken care of auras, grab another socket where you’ll be using ?Intuitive Leap?. This very interesting jewel allows you to take any passive in its radius without needing to connect it to the rest of the tree. You still spend the points to take those passives themselves but you don’t waste any other on something like 10 Intelligence nodes or the small passives leading to significant ones. So, this is how you grab ?Melding? for a whole bunch of life and Energy Shield and ?Overcharged?. This one grants you a decent chance to gain power, frenzy or endurance charges when you kill an enemy.

Up to level 95, the optimal investment is ?Herbalism? wheel for a huge amount of life, rounding up your defenses. And finally, as this build is a farming beast, there’s a high chance you’ll push to level 100 with it, so the final points can be used to grab another jewel socket and ?Silent steps? which synergizes very well with ?Flesh and Stone? aura. And that about wraps it up for the passive tree and leveling. Up next I’ll be covering the Ascendancy class which empowers pretty much every aspect of the build. The Ascendancy of choice is the badass Trickster and first points go to ?Patient Reaper?: this provides a significant buff to your damage over time as well as a lot of life and energy shield recovery when you kill any enemy. While it’s not amazing against bosses, most of them still have a lot of adds so you can benefit from this passive even in those encounters. After completing Cruel Labyrinth take ?Ghost Dance?, a staple passive for this Ascendancy. First, it provides a flat 5% chance to evade as long as you have energy shield. Then, every 2 seconds you’ll gain a ?Ghost Shroud? buff which stacks up to a maximum of 3.

Each of these provides 3% reduced damage taken from any source. This is a huge amount as it is applied after all your other mitigation mechanisms, such as resistances. When you do get hit, you lose one shroud and gain energy shield equal to 5% of your total evasion rating. That obviously works very well with high evasion builds such as this one: first, there’s a high chance that you’ll avoid getting hit altogether and thus keeping 3 shrouds UP most of the time. Then, even if you do get hit, you recover a large amount of energy shield, very likely higher than the damage you received anyway. As long as this doesn’t happen often and in quick succession, you’re pretty safe. The third passive, ?Escape Artist?, works hand-in-hand with Ghost Dance. First it boosts your evasion and energy shield based off the amount you have on your helmet and body armour respectively. Then, it grants you stun immunity as long as you have at least one Ghost Shroud buff UP, which should be almost permanently. Lastly, it adds yet another 10% chance to dodge spells while you have energy shield, further lowering the chance to get hit by anything.

Finally, after completing Uber Labyrinth, you drop the points in ?Prolonged Pain? for a solid DPS boost and some mitigation against damage over time. It’s not an amazing passive, but the alternatives are weaker so this is the optimal choice. With the ascendancy out of the way, we can take a quick look at the Pantheon choices. Generally speaking Pantheon choices are situational and there isn’t a “best” pair that will outperform all others in any situation. However, there are certain options that complement specific builds quite well in a wide range of scenarios.

For this particular case, here are my recommendations: For the major god, Soul of Lunaris is likely the optimal choice while mapping. It provides very solid defensive bonuses that synergize very well with the evasion and dodge focus of this build. Against bosses you can also go with Soul of Solaris, a somewhat better option when facing single targets. As for the minor god, the optimal choice is likely Soul of Shakari: poison is encountered quite often while mapping and it deals a significant amount of damage that bypasses Energy Shield. As such, becoming immune to it is really useful. Having covered the Pantheon choices, we can now focus on one of the most important aspects of any build: gems and links. As usual I’ll start off with the main skill, Essence Drain and its support gems. Before diving into these, I will mention that Essence Drain gains A LOT of damage from gem levels and this is by far the best way to increase your DPS. As such, I strongly suggest trying to get a level 21 gem through corruption. The best way to do this is to level up several Essence Drain gems in your secondary weapons set.

Once they’re level 20, use the gemcutter’s recipe to get them to 20% quality. If you’re unfamiliar with this method, check out my ?Tips and Tricks? guide by clicking on that ?i? thing in the upper right corner. Finally, once these gems are lvl 20 with 20% quality use a Vaal orb on them and hope for the best. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a lvl 21 gem with 20% quality. If you’re unlucky it can lose a level or quality and become corrupted in the process, so you cannot use another Vaal orb on that gem again.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about its support gems: first in line is ?Efficacy? which adds an insane a mount of spell damage and damage over time. Pretty simple and straight-forward. Second support gem is ?Controlled Destruction?: this adds a similar amount of damage as the previous gem but lowers Essence Drain’s critical strike chance. However, DOTs cannot deal crits so that penalty is completely irrelevant to this build.

Then you have ?Swift Affliction?, yet another damage over time boost, exactly the same amount as the previous gems. This gem also slightly reduces Essence Drain’s duration but that’s completely offset by the increased duration granted by Efficacy. Either way, duration is not really a problem with this skill as it lasts long enough to clear huge packs of mobs and you can always recast it anyway. Up next is ?Void Manipulation? which, you guessed it, more chaos damage. It also reduces your elemental damage, but since you’re not actually dealing any, it makes absolutely no difference. And finally, the last support gem is ?Empower? of at least level 3, but ideally level 4. Empower adds several levels to any linked active gem, in this case Essence Drain. And as I’ve mentioned a bit earlier, this is the best way to increase its DPS. If you cannot afford at least a level 3 Empower, then use ?Decay Support” instead.

This adds an additional DOT on monsters hit by Essence Drain’s initial projectile but it is not spread out by Contagion. It’s practically only useful in killing the first monster and triggering the chain reaction faster. That being said, you should really try getting an Empower gem and by the time you have your 6th link, these should be quite affordable. The next gem setup should not be surprise: ?Contagion? and its supports. As briefly mentioned in the build overview, the sole purpose of this skill is to spread Essence Drain’s DOT on as many enemies as possible. Its damage is completely irrelevant so the aim is to get its area of effect to be as large as possible. As such, the first support gem is ?Increased Area of Effect?. Hardly surprising, this simply enlarges Contagion’s radius and that’s about it. The second support is ?Intensify?: this is a more interesting gem but nothing too complicated either.

By default it increases the area of effect of linked gems. As you cast Contagion, you gain ?Intensify? stacks which instead lower its radius. You start dropping these stacks while moving or all at once when you teleport with a skill such as Flame Dash. What this means in practice is that you should not spam Contagion all willy-nilly but rather cast it once, move a bit or Dash and then cast it again if needed. However you should normally use Essence Drain after Contagion and there’s really no reason to re-cast Contagion a second, consecutive, time. This provides enough downtime for the Intensify stacks to disappear. And that’s about it for this setup ? there are no other gems that increase area of effect and the build doesn’t scale Contagion’s DPS so anything else on top would be useless. The next setup is the build’s Swiss army knife: it deals damage, severely slows down enemies and increases the chaos damage they receive from other sources. First you have Blight which applies a chaos DOT while the spell is being channeled and stacks up to 20.

Affected enemies are also Hindered, reducing their movement speed. When I talked earlier about the passive tree, I mentioned that you should be using ?Spreading Rot? unique jewel. Well, this enhances Blight to also apply a stacking Withered debuff which greatly increases Chaos damage taken by those enemies. You then link it to ?Spell Totem Support?; after this, whenever using Blight it will instead summon a totem which will cast the spell instead of you. Since Blight is a channeling skill, you would be stuck in place while casting it, being quite vulnerable. This problem is especially obvious in boss fights which is basically the main situation where you want to use the spell anyway. You don’t want to be standing still more than absolutely necessary so using a totem is a very good solution. As such you double-down on this and the next support gem is ?Multiple Totems?: this makes it so you get two totems with each cast instead of one and increases the maximum number you can have active up to 3. Not only is it a great quality of life improvement, but with 2 or 3 totems both the Blight DOT and Withered debuff will stack up to their max much quicker than if you were to manually cast the spell.

Finally, we push this even further by using ?Faster Casting? support. Since totems don’t have a lot of HP and can be easily destroyed, the aim is to get the debuffs stacks UP as fast as possible. Blight totems are incredibly useful against bosses or any other static type of encounter such as strongboxes, essences, Delve nodes, breaches and so on. Up next are the auras: after you take all those reduced mana reservation nodes in the passive tree and get ?The Devouring Diadem? helmet, you can keep 4 auras active. Before that, use only one or at most two of them, otherwise you won’t have enough mana for casting spells or Mind over Matter. With that being said, the first aura is ?Flesh and Stone? and you should use it as soon as you get the gem. Normally this aura has two stances: Blood and Sand and you could toggle between them. However, Blood mode is absolutely useless for this build so never use that. Instead, when you run it in Sand stance, it blinds nearby enemies, drastically reducing their chance to hit you. Which is an amazing thing for evasion-based builds such as this one.

On top of that, enemies that are farther away will also deal less damage. All in all a very solid defensive aura that should be your first pick. Then, there’s ?Malevolence? – this provides a straight up buff to Damage over Time so it fits this build like a glove. Third aura is ?Discipline? which grants you a big chunk of Energy Shield as well as Energy Shield regeneration. Needless to say, you need as much of both as possible so this is yet another great tool in your arsenal. For the last aura there are two viable options: Zealotry is the offensive choice. While the increased critical chance is useless, the buff to spell damage is more than welcome. And so is chance to gain Consecrated Ground when you hit a rare monster or a boss.

This provides a significant amount of life regen as long as you stand on that area. The other, more defensive, option is ?Grace? which gives you a hefty chunk of evasion rating. It is up to you which of these you’ll be using, likely depending also on what type of content you’re running. The last gem setup is flexible and depends on what you’ll be using as weapon. If you’re going with a two-handed, such as a Staff or Bow, then it will have 6 links. If you opt for the 1 handed + shield, then this gem setup will only have 4 links, socketed in your gloves or boots. The skill in question is ?Bane?, a very interesting area-of-effect chaos spell. It applies all curses that are linked with it as well as a damage-over-time debuff.

This DOT scales with the number of curses applied this way So it is practically a 2in1 tool: it deals a significant amount of chaos damage and it allows you to apply multiple curses at once, all with a single spell cast. As such, the next gem is, surprise surprise, a curse. “Despair” reduces enemies’ chaos resistance and causes them to take even more of this damage type A pretty obvious choice for this build. 3rd gem is Enfeeble, yet another curse. This greatly reduces enemies’ damage output as well as their accuracy, helping you avoid even more attacks. Up next is ?Swift Affliction?, a gem that is also used in the main skill setup. It adds a large amount of chaos damage, boosting Bane’s DPS. As I mentioned earlier, if you’re using a one handed weapon and a shield, this is the complete Bane setup. If you’re going with a two-handed weapon, then you can also add the following two gems: First you have ?Efficacy? which, similar to Swift Affliction, is a straight-up chaos damage boost; nothing really complicated.

Finally, ?Temporal Chains?, a curse which severely slows down enemies’ action speed. This means movement, attack, cast speed, even their entire animations are slowed down. If you kept track until now, you likely noticed we’re already using 2 curses and that’s the build’s limit after picking up ?Whispers of Doom? passive. In order to also squeeze in Temporal Chains, you’ll need to use an armour such as ?Cospri’s Will? which pushes that limit to 3. Otherwise use ?Controlled Destruction? gem instead of Temporal Chains. ?Bane? is very useful against bosses where you need to stack up as many DOTs as possible and at the same time cripple them. I also use it quite a lot as a sort of shotgun, killing enemies that get too close or suddenly appear next to me as I go around a corner. Even if it doesn’t instantly kill them, it will give you enough time to move away as they try to crawl towards you.

Finally, regardless of what gear setup you’re using, you’ll definitely still have at least one free socket for ?Flame Dash?, your mobility skill. And if you have even more open sockets, here are some additional good-to-have gems that you can use. Gearing up for this build is quite straight-forward and your damage will scale very well with better items. In this section for each gear slot I will outline three tiers: basic, mid-tier and best-in-slot.

As a general rule of thumb prices increase significantly with each tier, but so do the benefits that the items bring. With that out of the way, let’s start with the weapons: basic tier consists of a wand + shield combo. The wand needs to have a total of 70+ increased spell damage and 20+ ?non-ailment chaos damage over time multiplier?. This is probably the strongest affix for this build, so you’ll be hearing about it quite a lot in this section. If the wand has an open suffix, you can also add ?chance to gain Arcane surge when you kill an enemy? with your Hideout crafting bench. The shield can be a rare one with 50+ spell damage, some cast speed as well as 50+ life and resistances.

A good unique alternative is ?Zeel’s Amplifier? which temporarily increases the size of your area of effect for each enemy you’ve killed recently. This is a very nice ability which will boost your clearing speed significantly thanks to its interaction with Contagion. For mid-tier, your best option is ?Cane of Unravelling? staff ? with plenty of bonuses to chaos damage and extra levels for socketed chaos gems, this is a very solid item that will see you through red tier maps. Socket Essence Drain setup in this staff so you get the full benefit from the extra gem levels. Best-in-slot weapon is a bow. Yes, you heard well, a spell-caster using a bow. So why is this better than other options? First, it’s a two-handed weapon which means it can have 6 links. As previously mentioned, Essence Drain scales very well with gem levels and weapons can roll quite a lot of affixes that provide these extra levels. Since you cannot fit the entire 6 link setup on 1-handed weapons, the only real option to benefit from such affixes is with two-handers. OK, but why a bow? Well, for this build, bows can roll pretty much the same useful affixes as a staff for example, but it has an additional crucial advantage: you can also use a quiver with a bow, whereas a staff would get nothing else in the offhand.

Here are the affixes you need for a best-in-slot bow: +1 to level of socketed gems, +2 to level of socketed support gems, non-ailment chaos damage over time multiplier, increased chaos damage and the dual-affix increased cast speed + chance to gain arcane surge on kill. And since I mentioned the quiver: a Shaper one with increased movement speed along with some life and resistances is likely your best bet. There aren’t really any good damage affixes for this slot but using it to cap your resistances is really useful. For the helmet slot there’s really only one option for this build: ?The Devouring Diadem? First, it allows you to have 4 auras active and also grants ?Eldritch Battery? keystone that keeps ?Mind over Matter? working even without any mana. It also comes with a quite useful ability called ?Feast of Flesh? which automatically triggers every 5 seconds and consumes up to 10 nearby corpses. Each corpse provides 400 life and energy shield so it’s practically a free periodic heal.

Lastly, it has a 10% chance to kickstart energy shield recharging whenever you use a skill. Normally energy shield recharges only if you haven’t taken any damage in the past 2 seconds but this helmet can bypass this restriction. It’s generally not very expensive and you can even farm it yourself as it drops quite often from the Syndicate Mastermind. A basic body armour needs at least 5 links, 80+ life and 90+ resistances. Ideally it should have an evasion/energy shield base for improved synergy with your Ascendancy. It also makes it easier to obtain the sockets’ colors needed for Essence Drain or Bane. For mid-tier, pretty much the same affixes but with 6 links and ideally some percentage increased max life. As for best-in-slot, there are several unique options, each with its own benefits. First is ?Cospri’s Will? and this is what I’ve been using myself. It allows you to apply an additional curse on enemies, pushing this limit to 3 and enabling you to use Temporal Chains in the Bane setup. Not only does an extra curse further boost Bane’s DPS but it also greatly enhances your defenses by crippling the enemies.

I consider this to be a superior advantage to what other armours can bring. On top of that it allows you to use curses on hexproof enemies and this is again a great bonus while mapping. Since a lot of your defense strategy is based on cursing monsters to disable them, hexproof would really mess this up. The poison ability is pretty much useless but the high evasion base fits perfectly in this build. Another option is ?Hyrri’s Ire? for the very beefy increased dodge chance and evasion. And finally there’s ?Cherrubim’s Maleficence?, boosting your chaos damage as well as evasion.

Basic gloves should have 70+ life and elemental resistances, on an energy shield or evasion base. On top of these, on a pair of mid-tier gloves look for some increased spell damage as well. Best-in-slot are somewhat similar to mid-tier ones, however with less resistances to make room for a ?non-ailment chaos damage over time multiplier? affix. For boots slot the choices are quite simple: start off with some basic ones that have at least 20% movement speed and 80+ life and resistances. Mid-tier ones should have pretty much the same affixes but with 30% movement speed and ideally chance to dodge spells or attacks.

Best-in-slot boots are a pair of ?Atziri’s Step? providing a really solid chance to dodge spells as well as a huge amount of evasion for this slot. The high movement speed and life are, of course, more than welcome. Moving on to the belt slot, a basic one should come with about 90+ life and elemental resistances as well as some energy shield. A mid-tier one has pretty much similar affixes but on a Stygian Vise base, thus with the added benefit of an abyssal socket. As for the best-in-slot, go for a Delve Stygian Vise with increased Chaos Damage along with some life and an open affix where you can craft ?% Increased Damage? in your hideout. Moving on to your bling, a basic-tier amulet needs 80+ life, 60+ resistances as well as % increased maximum energy shield. Bonus points for some flat energy shield or evasion. A mid-tier one has pretty much the same affixes but with an empty suffix so you can craft “% Increased Chaos Damage” on it in your hideout. Of course you can find one that’s already crafted but people will charge you a fortune for that. For best in slot you will need to drop either the resistances or energy shield affix so it can be replaced with ?non-ailment chaos damage over time multiplier?.

This is a very strong DPS mod so it’s worth spending more on other pieces of gear to cap your resistances. Rings are somewhat similar to the amulet: basic ones are mostly defense-oriented with 80+ life and resistances as well as some flat energy shield. The mid-tier rings are the same as basic rings but with an empty prefix or suffix where you can craft increased damage or chaos damage in your hideout. Lastly, the best-in-slot rings are Shaper bases with slightly lower life and resistances but over 20% increased spell damage and an open affix to craft the same mods as on mid-tier. With the regular gear out of the way, it’s time to have a quick look at jewels. You should have between 3 to 5 sockets if you’re using a Stygian Vise belt. As mentioned during the passive tree section, first socket is dedicated to ?Spreading Rot? unique jewel. This makes it so your Blight spell also applies Wither debuff, greatly increasing the chaos damage taken by affected enemies. In the second socket, just above Shadow’s starting area, you need to place ?Intuitive Leap?, yet another unique jewel.

This one allows you to take passives inside its radius without connecting them to the rest of the tree. As to what can be considered mid-tier jewels, the most important stat to look for is life. Either % increased max life or a flat amount on Abyss jewels, this is the top priority. Apart from that, any combination of 2 or 3 damage affixes such as Increased Chaos Damage, Increased Spell Damage, Increased Damage over time, Non-Ailment Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier and so on. Lastly, the best-in-slot is the usual suspect, Watcher’s Eye. This jewel can have mods for Malevolence, Discipline and Zealotry auras, so finding a good combination of affixes should be relatively easy and cheap. A few good ones are: ?Non-Ailment Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier while affected by Malevolence?, ?gain Arcane Surge when you create Consecrated Ground while affected by Zealotry?, ?increased Energy Shield recovery rate while affected by Discipline? and so on. Finally, a few words about flasks: first you need a Seething or Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching.

Instant healing is a real life saver and bleeding removal is absolutely mandatory while mapping. Then, get a ?Witchfire Brew? unique flask which increases your damage-over-time and grants Despair Aura during its effect. It is also a Stibnite Flask base so you get a large chunk of evasion rating as well. 3rd flask is a Chemist’s Quicksilver flask of Adrenaline. Not only does this help with clearing speed but as an evasion build you need to keep mobile. 4th one is an Experimenter’s Quartz Flask ? this grants you additional chance to dodge both spells and attacks as well as Phasing which allows you to pass through mobs.

As such it’s an excellent panic button for when you get cornered or surrounded. The suffix should be either Warding or Heat for curse or freeze immunity respectively. And for the last one, an Experimenter’s Jade flask is likely the best option. 3000 evasion rating is very solid and can make the difference between surviving or dying. The suffix is either Warding or Heat, depending on what you’ve already picked on the Quartz Flask. To wrap up the gearing section, here are some excellent leveling uniques that will help you progress through the campaign: With gearing out of the way, it’s time to take a final look at the pros and cons for this build so you can better understand if it’s what you were looking for. Starting off with the Pros: extraordinary clearing capabilities; this is likely one of, if not the, best map clearing builds in the game. Pretty much no other build is capable of killing so many mobs in such a short time, with the same level of gear. It levels up incredibly fast. Killing that many mobs so fast also means you’re quickly amassing XP.

If your target is to reach level 100, then this is a great build for that. It can run all map modes ? reflect, no leech, no regen, this build doesn’t care. You can grind corrupted or unidentified maps all day long and get much better loot. It’s an excellent delving build ? the way Essence Drain/Contagion combo works makes it perfect for long, narrow, corridors with an endless stream of mobs. Which is exactly what delve zones are. Efficiency scales with player’s skill: Contagion spread follows certain patterns and once you learn how to take advantage of them, you’ll be able to clear even larger areas while casting fewer spells. The build is not really gear depended: most of your damage and efficiency will come from gem levels rather than very expensive items. You can totally run red-tier maps with the basic-tier gear I’ve shown in this guide. As for the cons: It is an evasion build ? while you end up with a very beefy chance to dodge and evade attacks, there will always be some hits that will pass through.

When that happens they will hurt quite a bit as you do not have great damage reduction mechanisms. It has average boss killing capabilities ? while you can still kill most end-game bosses, it will take somewhat longer than other builds. However, with best-in-slot gear you’ll easily overcome this handicap as well. Damage scaling is somewhat limited ? beyond gem levels there are fewer damage boosting affixes available for chaos than you’d have for elemental or physical damage builds.

Learn anything new, exile? If you did, then you’ll probably be happy to hear that there are more videos coming up in the near future with more exciting builds to try. Make sure not to miss them by subscribing to the channel so you get notified when that happens. And while you’re at it why not like this video as well or drop a comment down below to let me know your thoughts. Thank you all for watching and see ya next time!.

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