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.
- 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
- 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
|Labyrinths||Skill point choice|
|Labyrinth 1||Patient Reaper|
|Labyrinth 2||Prolonged Pain|
|Labyrinth 3||Swift Killer|
|Endgame Labyrinth||Ghost Dance|
Skill gem setup
Cast When Damage Taken (LVL 1)
Steelskin (LVl 10)
Enfeeble (LVL 2)
Detonate Dead / Spirit Offering (Against porcupines)
Faster Casting Support
Increased Area of Effect Support
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
Controlled Destruction Support
Swift Affliction Support
Empower (As high LVL as you can afford)
Void Manipulation Support
Offhand weapon / shield
Build uniques / Example rare gearTip: Click on the item to view it on PoE Wiki or to view similar rare items in poe.trade
HelmetRare 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 ArmourShavronne'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.
GlovesRare 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.
BootsRare 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 RingMark 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 RingRare 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.
AmuletRare 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.
BeltRare Stygian Vise
Look for rare Stygian vise with at least 40 to maximum energy shield and as high resistances as you can find.
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 WeaponRare 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.
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
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.
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