Home / Build / [PoE 3.9] LL Essence Drain Shadow (Trickster)

[PoE 3.9] LL Essence Drain Shadow (Trickster)

Intro & build description

Hi! Even though with 3.7 a lot of melee builds were reworked, spellcasters still remained in a strong position. This is especially true for Essence Drain / Contagion builds since they were extremely strong for Legion encounters. Based on the previews that we have seen, Essence drain will work just as well in 3.8 Blight league. This build is not the cheapest one, although it works great as a starter build. It will still be very strong even before you get Shavronne’s Wrappings and transition into Low life.

The build trivializes Shaper, Uber Elder and pretty much any boss fight you can think of.

When to transition into low life – Make sure you have allocated Influence, Charisma and Leadership nodes, have Blood magic gem at least LVL 15, linked only to Zealotry and you have around 4000 Energy shield. Equip Shavronne’s Wrappings,¬†activate Zealotry aura and your character will have low life. After that, you can allocate Pain Attunement keystone for 30% more damage.

Build Pros

  • Great boss killer with proper setup - all you must do is to hit the boss a few times and just run around
  • You don't have to worry about reflect
  • Clears packs extremely fast due to how Essence Drain + Contagion works
  • Great as a league starter and transitions extremely well into the league

Build Cons

  • The finished build will cost you some exalts
  • Poisons / Ignites can be nasty since they delay your energy shield recharge - but can be negated

Passive tree(s) and Path of Building

[3.8] Skill Tree
[3.9] Skill Tree


Bandits Quest Choice
Kill all bandits

Ascendancy skill points

LabyrinthsSkill point choice
Labyrinth 1Patient Reaper
Labyrinth 2Prolonged Pain
Labyrinth 3Swift Killer
Endgame LabyrinthGhost Dance

Skill gem setup


Cast When Damage Taken (LVL 1)

Steelskin (LVl 10)

Enfeeble (LVL 2)

Detonate Dead / Spirit Offering (Against porcupines)

Body Armor


Vaal Blight

Faster Casting Support

Increased Area of Effect Support

Intensify Support

Efficacy Support


Discipline (Unlinked)

Malevolence (Unlinked)


Spell Totem Support


Zealotry (Linked to Blood Magic, use only when transitioning into low life)

Blood Magic Support (LVL 15)

Flame Dash (Linked to Faster Casting)

Faster Casting Support

2h Weapon

Essence Drain

Controlled Destruction Support

Swift Affliction Support

Empower (As high LVL as you can afford)

Efficacy Support

Void Manipulation Support

1h Weapon


Offhand weapon / shield


Build uniques / Example rare gear

Tip: Click on the item to view it on PoE Wiki or to view similar rare items in poe.trade


Rare Hubris Circlet

Look for rare energy shield helm, ideally hubris circlet with:

1.) At least 250 Energy shield
2.) As high total resistances as you can get
3.) Nearby Enemies have -9% to Chaos Resistance

The minus chaos resistance mod is achievable by crafting the helm using aberrant fossil.

Body Armour

Shavronne's Wrappings

One of the core pieces of the build – it is required to transition the build into the low life version.

Up until that point, you can use a rare hybrid chest armour with both life and energy shield.


Rare Elder Energy Shield gloves

Ideal gloves for the build would have
“+x% to Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier” mod on them.
This mod can only be rolled on Elder gloves, not regular ones, so look out for that.

Other mods would be energy shield, resistances.


Rare Energy Shield boots

Ideally you’d want rare boots with at least 150 energy shield, 30% movement speed and some resistances.

Another great option would be Sin Trek.

Left Ring

Mark of The Shaper

Mark of The Shaper is a great ring for most spellcaster builds – great mix of offense and defense in one item.

In a week or 2 into the league, you could look for Mark of The Shaper with “Cannot be ignited” corruption, it helps more often than it seems.

Right Ring

Rare Elder Ring

Look for rare elder ring with at least 40 energy shield and some resistances.

We specifically need Elder ring in order to utilize the conditional spell damage mod on Mark of The Shaper.


Rare Elder Amulet

On the amulet, the most important mod is “+x% to Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier”.

Combine that with +x to maximum energy shield / %increased maximum energy shield and perhaps a resistance, and you have yourself a great amulet.


Rare Stygian Vise

Look for rare Stygian vise with at least 40 to maximum energy shield and as high resistances as you can find.


Soul Strike

Since this build uses bow, we also have a quiver slot available.

Soul Strike is a perfect quiver for Energy Shield builds because of 200 extra ES with max roll as well as faster start of energy shield recharge.

2Hand Weapon

Rare Crafted Short Bow

Our bow is probably the most important DPS item for the build so you should focus on getting it as soon as possible. Let me note, that the crafts cost more than 4 EX, some scours and regals, so make sure you have them saved up.

The process of crafting the bow is:

1.) Farm 6 The Porcupine divination cards for 6-linked Short Bow – it has low dexterity requirement

2.) Make sure your bow is normal rarity (white) and craft 1 mod (I crafted resistance) using crafting bench. Now you have a blue bow with 1 crafted mod.

3.) Use a Regal Orb on your blue bow – if you hit “+1 To Level of Socketed Gems” with your Regal, remove the crafted resistance mod using crafting bench. You now have rare bow with 1 mod. If you do not hit that mod, scour the item and return to step 2.

4.) Craft (or ask someone) “Can Have Multiple Crafted Mods” – it costs 2 ex

5.) After that craft “+2 To Level of Socketed Support Gems” – this also costs 2 ex and it’s better to craft this mod using a crafting service from forums.

6.) Craft Increased Chaos Damage, +x% to Chaos Damage Over Time Multiplier, cast speed / arcane surge hybrid mod and you have a finished bow.

Until you can craft a bow like this, Cane of Unravelling is an excellent option.


Jewel Setup

An ideal jewel would look like:

1.) +x% To Chaos Damage Over Time Multiplier
2.) % Increased maximum energy shield
3.) %increased chaos damage
4.) Resistances / Attributes that you need


Watcher's Eye

For even more damage, this build can use Watcher’s Eye with “x% to Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier while affected by Malevolence” mod, but the jewel will cost a lot.


Flask Setup

Builds flasks:

1.) Witchfire Brew
2.) Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline
3.) Silver Flask with Freeze removal
4.) Stibnite Flask with Bleed removal
5.) Mana flask with curse / ignite / poison removal

Feel free to share your thoughts/experiences/tips about the build in comments section below.

About gems

Always tries to keep up with the game, its ever-changing mechanisms and explain them in understandable manner.

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