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Cobra Lash Poison Assassin Shadow build

Cobra Lash Poison Assassin Shadow build

Deadly Poison build based on the reworked Assassin Ascendancy class and new chaining Projectile Attack - Cobra Lash

Cobra Lash
Poison Assassin build

Updated for Patch 3.9

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Guide notes

December 16, 2019
-Updated for Patch 3.9


Cobra Lash, one of the newest additions to the game, is a Chaining Projectile-based Attack Skill which has increased Chance to Poison on Hit and a big portion of its' base damage converted to Chaos Damage. It appears to be one of the most potent Attack Skill in terms of clear speed, with poisonous projectiles flying all over your screen obliterating enemies. At the same time, one of Patch 3.8 main focus was the Assassin Ascendancy Class, which has received significant damage bonuses and an extra defensive buff; Elusive. Being squishy was one of the biggest downsides to Assassin's, and now with it being a thing of the past, we believe Assassin is going to be one of the most popular classes in the upcoming Blight League.

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1. Gameplay

Cobra Lash Assassin is a Ranged build which relies on multiple projectiles Chaining between enemies and applying deadly Poison with each Hit. Assassins offer the highest possibly bonuses to Poison Damage and very high Movement, and Attack Speed bonuses making it an extremely potent map farming build. On the other hand, this build offers very solid defenses based on high Life Pool, Evasion Rating, Dodge, and the newly introduced Elusive mechanic. This build's damage scales really well in longer fights which makes it fully viable for all the Path of Exile's content.

0:06 Tier 16 Maze of the Minotaur
0:37 Tier 16 Forge of the Phoenix
1:05 Tier 15 Toxic Sewers
1:22 Tier 16 Lair of the Hydra

This video was recorded on a level 90 Shadow dual-wielding The Wasp Nest Claws on Standard Softcore

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • insane Damage over Time
  • comparable clear speed to top Bow builds
  • solid defenses
  • good mobility thanks to increases to Attack and Movement Speed
  • can be played on a budget
  • vulnerable to Physical Reflect Maps


3. Leveling tips

Cobra Lash is perfect for leveling with the Skill Gem being available at level 1. It offers quite good clear speed early on, and after you Support it with Lesser Multiple Projectiles, you will be clearing areas in no time. You should prioritize Life and Elemental Resistances on your gear, as you will have limited defensive capabilities on lower levels. On the good side, you can follow the Skill Tree directly towards your end-game build, and you the same Gems during leveling that you are going to use later on. Below you will find the basic Skill Gems setups for Cobra Lash and several useful Unique Items, which if obtained, will make progressing through the campaign a piece of cake.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Cobra Lash setup
Cobra Lash Cobra Lash - primary Attack used in this build which lets you fire Chaining projectiles that have a high base chance to Poison on Hit and have big portion of damage converted to Chaos Damage
Lesser Poison Lesser Poison Support - increases your Chance to Poison on Hit and adds extra Chaos Damage to Supported Skills
Lesser Multiple Projectiles Support Lesser Multiple Projectiles Support - increases the number of Cobra Lash's projectiles, greatly increasing your clear speed
Vicious Projectiles Support Vicious Projectiles Support - increases your Projectile Damage, as well as, Chaos and Physical Damage over Time inflicted by Supported Skills
Whirling Blades setup
Whirling Blades Whirling Blades - the recommended Mobility Skill which lets you progress faster through Maps
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
Utility Gems
Herald of Agony Herald of Agony - increases your chance to Poison and the damage you deal with Poison. It's a nice addition during the leveling phase and should be tossed away later on
Precision Precision - increases your Critical Strike Chance and Accuracy Rating
Summon Ice Golem Summon Ice Golem - increases your Chance to Critically Hit, and Accuracy Rating
Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector - summons a Totem which increases your Attack Speed while active


We recommend killing all the Bandits for the extra two Passive Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

33 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Assassination 2) Entropy 3) Soul Raker

61 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Fatal Toxins 2) Swift Venoms 3) Poisonous Fangs 4) Claws of the Pride

Recommended leveling items:

Blackheart Blackheart - the best leveling Ring for most of the Attack builds. It grants insane DPS bonus on lower levels, as well as, extra Life
Adds 1 to 4 Physical Damage to Attacks
5% increased Physical Damage
Adds 1 to 3 Chaos Damage to Attacks
+(20-30) to maximum Life
(2-4) Life Regenerated per second
10% chance to Cause Monsters to Flee
Last ResortLast Resort - very powerful Unique Claw on lower levels. It has a minimum level requirement of 3 
+3 Life gained for each Enemy hit by Attacks
25% increased Attack Speed when on Low Life
(80-100)% increased Physical Damage
Adds 2 to 10 Physical Damage
100% increased Claw Physical Damage when on Low Life
100% increased Accuracy Rating when on Low Life
Mortem MorsuMortem Morsu - one of the best Claws for quite a few levels after you reach level 34. It also grants very high Life Recovery, which fits this build perfectly
+20 Life gained for each Enemy hit by Attacks
(75-100)% increased Physical Damage
20% increased Attack Speed
25% increased Critical Strike Chance
+40% to Global Critical Strike Multiplier
(10-20)% of Physical Damage Converted to Chaos Damage
25% reduced Enemy Stun Threshold with this Weapon
60% chance to Poison on Hit
Wurm's MoltWurm's Molt - grants Life and Mana Leech and high bonus Stats, making it one of the best choices for the Belt Slot
+(25-40) to maximum Life
+(20-30) to Strength
+(20-30) to Intelligence
+(10-20)% to Cold Resistance
0.4% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Life
0.4% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana
GoldrimGoldrim - one of the best leveling Helmets in Path of Exile which grants extremely high bonus Elemental Resistances
+(30-50) to Evasion Rating
10% increased Rarity of Items found
+(30-40)% to all Elemental Resistances
Reflects 4 Physical Damage to Melee Attackers
Level Requirement reduced by 100 (Hidden)


4. Final Skill tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

115 Points Final Skill Tree
115 Points Path of Building(PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Noxious Strike
  2. Opportunistic
  3. Toxic Delivery
  4. Mistwalker


Major God: Soul of the Brine King You cannot be Stunned if you've been Stunned or Blocked a Stunning Hit in the past 2 seconds

Minor God: Soul of Garukhan +5% chance to Evade Attacks if you've taken a Savage Hit recently


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Cobra Lash
Cobra Lash Cobra Lash - projectile Attack Skill which Chains between up to 5 enemies offering great clear speed and high Damage. It is one of the best Skills in terms of clear speed
Added Chaos Damage Support Added Chaos Damage Support - adds flat Chaos Damage to your Attacks
Unbound Ailments Unbound Ailments Support - increases the damage you deal with Ailments and their duration
Vicions Projectiles Support Vicious Projectiles Support
Greater Multiple Projectiles Support Greater Multiple Projectiles Support - increases your number of Cobra Lash's projectiles which greatly increases your clear speed. Can be replaced with Vile ToxinsVile Toxins Support against Bosses for higher single-target DPS
Deadly Ailments Support Deadly Ailments Support - grants very high bonus Damage to Ailments inflicted by Supported Skills
[UTILITY] Vaal Double Strike
Vaal Double Strike Vaal Double Strike - summons two spectral copies of your weapon which are used to apply Withered debuff and deal some extra DPS
Withering Touch Support Withering Touch - Hits with Vaal Double Strike will apply Withered which is a stacking debuff that increases Chaos Damage taken by monsters
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
Summon Ice Golem Summon Ice Golem - recommended Golem for this build which increases your Critical Strike Chance and Accuracy Rating
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken - will automatically recast your Golem to make the gameplay experience smoother
[UTILITY] Precision and Temporal Chains
Temporal Chains Temporal Chains - the recommended Curse for this build which will slow down all nearby enemies. It is used as an Aura
Blasphemy Blasphemy Support - makes Supported Curses work as an Aura around your character
Precision Precision - increases your Crit. Chance and Accuracy Rating
Enlighten Enlighten Support - reduces the amount of Mana Reserved by Supported Spells
[MOBILITY] Whirling Blades
Whirling Blades Whirling Blades - one of the fastest Mobility Skills in Path of Exile
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
Fortify Support Fortify Support - Hits with Whirling Blades will grant you the Fortify buff which reduces all the damage you take
[UTILITY] Storm Brand
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - auto-casts supported spells. Use at level 1
Storm Brand Storm Brand - used to generate Power Charges. Do not upgrade this Gem above level 8 or it won't be triggered automatically
Power Charge on Critical Support Power Charge on Critical Support - causes Critical Hits by Storm Brand to generate Power Charges
[UTILITY] Blood Rage
Blood Rage Blood Rage - increases your Attack Speed and generates Frenzy Charges on Kills. It deals moderate amount of damage to self, so avoid using it whenever out of combat
[UTILITY] Ancestral Protector
Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector - lets you summon a Totem which increases your Attack Speed 

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5. Gear Setup

Below you will find all the recommended gear for our Cobra Lash Poison Assassin build. We have included core equipment, as well, as more advanced and crafted gear that will let you push this build to its maximum potential. Below each item, you will see the required minimum stats, as well as, optional useful affixes that should be added wherever possible. 

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Stat priorities on items:

  1. Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Attack Speed
  4. Added Physical Damage to Attacks
  5. Evasion Rating
Starkonja's Head(Helmet) Starkonja's Head - amazing Helmet which offers very high defensive utility and is very cheap at the same time
50% reduced Damage when on Low Life
+(50-70) to Dexterity
10% increased Attack Speed
25% increased Global Critical Strike Chance
(100-130)% increased Evasion Rating
+(80-100) to maximum Life
150% increased Global Evasion Rating when on Low Life
Rare Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - focus on high defensive stats, or if you have a lot of Currency to invest, you can try crafting a Helmet using Aberrant Fossil to reduce monsters Chaos Resistance
Min. requirements:
75 maximum Life
60% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Nearby Enemies have -9% to Chaos Resistance
Helmet enchantment:
40% increased Cobra Lash Damage
Cherrubimąs Maleficience(Body Armour) Cherrubim's Maleficience - grants insane bonus damage as well as decent Life Bonus. It's one of the best choices for the Body Armour slot
(50-80)% increased Chaos Damage
(160-200)% increased Armour and Evasion
+(70-100) to maximum Life
100% increased total Recovery per second from Life Leech
Daresso's Defiance(Body Armour) Daresso's Defiance - grants high bonus DPS by increasing Onslaught Effect, as well as, very high defensive Utility by generating Endurance Charges and extra Dodge
3% reduced Movement Speed (Hidden)
(160-200)% increased Armour and Evasion
+(60-90) to maximum Life
(0.4-0.6)% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Life
6% chance to Dodge Attack Hits
You lose all Endurance Charges when Hit
You gain an Endurance Charge on Kill
You gain Onslaught for 5 seconds per Endurance Charge when Hit
(60-100)% increased Onslaught Effect
The Wasp Nest(Weapon) The Wasp Nest - very powerful Claws for Poison builds. It has very high DPS and it is very cheap. Nearly perfectly rolled ones shouldn't cost more than a couple of Chaos Orbs
+40 Life gained for each Enemy hit by Attacks
(150-170)% increased Physical Damage
(20-25)% increased Attack Speed
(20-25)% increased Critical Strike Chance
+(330-350) to Accuracy Rating
20% chance to Poison on Hit
Attacks with this Weapon deal 80-120 added Chaos Damage against
Enemies affected by at least 5 Poisons
Gemini Claw(Weapon) Rare Delve Crafted Claws - the BiS choice, but a good rolled ones may cost at least a few Exalted Orbs. You can try crafting them yourself using Corroded and Shuddering Fossils
Min. requirements:
200 Physical DPS
20% Attack Speed
60% Chance for Poisons applied with this Weapon to deal 100% increased Damage
Optional affixes:
Added Chaos Damage to Attacks
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - with high defensive stats and increased Movement Speed. Preferably Evasion base for extra Evasion Rating
Min. requirements:
75 maximum Life
60% Total Elemental Resistances
25% increased Movement Speed
Optional affixes:
Chaos Resistance
High Evasion Rating
Boot enchantment:
16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently
Stygian Vise(Belt) Stygian Vise - with Life and Elemental Resistances
Min. requirements:
75 maximum Life
35% Fire Resistance
35% Cold Resistance
35% Lightning Resistance
Optional affixes:
increased Damage (Crafting Bench)
Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - aim for high bonus Attributes and Life
Min. requirements:
75 maximum Life
50 Strength
20 Intelligence
50% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
%increased Evasion Rating
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Steel Ring(Rings) Rare Rings - you should primarily aim to Cap your Resistances and get extra Life
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
70% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Accuracy Rating
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Chaos Resistance (Amethyst Rings)
Gripped Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - again, used mainly for defensive stats, that's why getting Gripped Gloves with the extra Implicit bonus would be the best option
Min. requirements:
65 maximum Life
90% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Attack Speed
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Projectile Attack Damage
Glove enchantment:
Commandment of Force
Commandment of Blades
Abyss Jewels(Jewels) Abyss Jewel - at least one is recommended with a Chance to grant Onslaught on kill (unless you are using Daresso's Defiance)
Recommended affixes:
35 maximum Life
Added min. 6 Physical Damage to Attacks/Claw Attacks
Optional affixes:
Chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill
Rare Jewels(Jewels) Rare Jewels - aim for Life and at least one damage amplifying mod
Recommended affixes:
increased maximum Life
increased Damage with Claws/Damage over Time/Physical Damage
Optional affixes:
increased Attack Speed
increased Global Accuracy Rating/Critical Strike Chance
Atziri's Promise(Flask) Atziri's Promise - grants very high bonus DPS and at the same time it is very cheap
+35% to Chaos Resistance
2% of Chaos Damage Leeched as Life during Flask effect
Gain (15-20)% of Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
Gain (10-15)% of Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
Coralito's Signature(Flask) Coralito's Signature - grants insane DPS bonuses by increasing the duration of your Poisons and applying a portion of your Critical Hit Multiplier to your Poison Damage
Your Critical Strike Chance is Lucky
Take 30 Chaos Damage per Second during Flask effect
25% chance to Poison on Hit during Flask effect
Your Critical Strikes do not deal extra Damage during Flask effect
(50-75)% increased Duration of Poisons you inflict during Flask effect
Grants Perfect Agony during Flask effect
Other suggested Flasks:
  1. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching (Bleeding immunity)
  2. Experimenter's Jade Flask of Reflexes (increased Evasion Rating)
  3. Experimenter's Quartz Flask of Heat (Freeze immunity)
Atziri's PromiseCoralito's SignatureDivine Life FlaskJade Flask Quartz Flask

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If you decide to use this build for your own character let us know how it worked out! We will appreciate your feedback and suggestions on how to improve our builds and guides.

Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Grinding Gear Games.

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