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Vaal Blight/Essence Drain CI Trickster build

Vaal Blight/Essence Drain CI Trickster build

An Energy Shield build that uses Chaos Damage over Time Skills such as Blight and Essence Drain to deal with opponents

Vaal Blight/Essence Drain
CI Trickster Build

Updated for Patch 3.14

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Estimated budget: medium
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Guide notes
June 10, 2021
-Build created

 

Blight is a channeling type of Spell similar to Scorching Ray or Lightning Tendrils, it deals Chaos Damage Over Time, gaining more stages the longer it is being Channeled. The Spell applies a debuff which deals the Damage over Time, much like Poison but it can stack up to 20 times. The spell itself does not Hit, so it limits our choice of Support Gems. Blight due to its Channeling nature is commonly used against the toughest opponents, for killing the lesser enemies you'll find in great numbers when mapping, use Essence Drain with Contagion. These two Spells synergize very well with each other - Essence Drain provides the Damage and Regenerates Life (ES with Zealoth's Oath) and Contagion makes both Spells spread to other enemies when one of them dies, basically killing everything on the screen. 

The build is surprisingly similar to Toxic Rain - the mods you crave the most are Chaos Damage Over Time. There are however some key differences - Toxic Rain is an Attack, not a Spell. You'll be using Chaos Inoculation which grants you immunity to All Choas Damage. Ghost Dance and Escape Artist Ascendancy Kesyones work really well with Energy Shield and Blocking/Evading/Dodging Hits. Patient Reaper is another Defensive Keysone provided by Trickster Ascendancy - it recovers a lot of your Life and Mana. The build is Flexible - it requires no Unique items and even the Weapon types and Keystones differ from Player to Player. 

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1. Gameplay

When mapping - use Contagion and then Essence Drain on a pack of mobs. With the increased density of enemies, the effectiveness of this strategy goes up as well since the range it can spread is limited. The enemies will die almost instantly. To deal with Bosses use Blight and the Vaal version of it. Vaal Blight is especially good here since it doesn't require being Channeled and so allows you to be more mobile. For dodging - Flame Dash seems like the best option.


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2. Build's PROS & CONS

PROS
  • potential for a lot of damage with a budget big enough
  • cheap enough to be considered a league starter
  • doesn't hit - you can run reflect maps
  • great for mapping and boss fights
  • really tanky with all the ascendancy benefits
CONS
  • requires more than one spell for clearing
  • requires to stand still to use blight during boss fights

 

3. Leveling tips

At some point during leveling, you'll have to switch to CI. Make sure you have enough ES on your items and then Respec Skill point on your Tree. You can safely start with Essence Drain as your Main Skill as soon as level 12 and use it with Contagion, it's good with the right gear. Before you're level 12, use Bane. There aren't many Unique items that can help you with leveling except the generic ones. I suggest using Essence of Envy on Jewellery for more Chaos Damage.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Essence Drain setup
Essence Drain Essence Drain - Essence Drain thanks to it spreading through Contagion is an amazing Spell for leveling as well
Efficacy Support Efficacy Support - increases your Spell Damage and Damage over Time, whereas, both apply to Essence Drain
Void Manipulation Support Void Manipulation Support - increase Chaos Damage dealt by Supported Skills
Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support - grants very high bonus Spell Damage at the cost of reduced Critical Strike Chance which is irrelevant for Essence Drain as it's purely DoT build
Blight setup
Contagion Blight - a Channeling Spell you can start using right away. It's used to deal additional Damage while you already have the ED's DoT applied to an enemy
Infused Channeling Support Infused Channeling Support - increases your Damage while Channelling but also grants Infused buff for extra DPS and defensive bonuses
Efficacy Support Efficacy Support
Void Manipulation Support Void Manipulation Support
Aura setup
Malevolence Malevolence - use for more Damage over Time. The best Aura for this and pretty much any other DoT build
Clarity Clarity - Clarity will resolve your mana issues if you happen to have any

Bandits:

KIll all three Bandits for two additional Skill Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

33 Points Skill Tree
Go for Atrophy by taking Entropy, Growth and Decay, and Arcane Expanse

68 Points Skill Tree
This is how your Skill Tree could look like just before you transition to pure ES. Take some more Maximum Life and for a path to Zealoth's Oath.

 

Recommended leveling items:

Le Heup of AllLe Heup of All - a rung such as this is great for leveling due to Elemental Resistances, Attributes, and a small Damage increase
Adds 1 to 4 Physical Damage to Attacks
+(10-30) to all Attributes
(10-30)% increased Damage
(10-30)% increased Rarity of Items found
+(10-30)% to all Elemental Resistances
GoldrimGoldrim - use Goldrim for more 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)
Tabula RasaTabula Rasa - saves a lot of trouble when looking for the right sockets early in the game
Item has no level requirement and Energy Shield (Hidden)
Item has 6 White Sockets and is fully linked (Hidden)


4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

118 Points Final Skill Tree (doesn't include Cluster Jewels nor Thread of Hope)
118 Points Path of Building (PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Patient Reaper
  2. Prolonged Pain
  3. Ghost Dance
  4. Escape Artist

Pantheon:

Major God: Soul of Solaris: 6% additional Physical Damage Reduction while there is only one nearby Enemy; 20% chance to take 50% less Area Damage from Hits 

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

 

5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Blight setup
Vaal Blight Vaal Blight - a Channeling Spell that deals Chaos Damage over Time. Vaal version of this Skill will undoubtedly help you when fighting bosses, Hindering them with increased effectiveness.
Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support - more Spell Damage but reduced Critical Strike Chance, which is not an issue since you can't Critically strike with Blight anyway.
Infused Channeling Support Infused Channeling Support - increases your defenses and grants you more damage
Efficacy Support Efficacy Support - use for more Damage over Time
Swift Affliction Support Swift Affliction Support - use for more Damage over Time
Void Manipulation Support Void Manipulation Support - use for more Chaos Damage
[DPS] Essence Drain setup
Essence Drain Essence Drain - a projectile that will deal Chaos Damage over Time upon Hitting the enemy, it will spread along with Contagion when the opponent dies.
Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support - more Spell Damage
Efficacy Support Efficacy Support - more Damage over Time
Void Manipulation Support Void Manipulation Support - more Chaos Damage
[UTILITY] Contagion setup
Contagion Contagion - Applies a Debuff on the enemy, it will spread to nearby enemies when the one affected by it dies along with Essence Drain. When dealing with mobs, cast it first and then hit them with Essence Drain.
Intensify Support Intensify Support - provides more AoE for Contagion
Increased Area of Effect Supprot Increased Area of Effect Support - even more AoE for Contagion
[UTILITY] Aura setup
Vaal Discipline Vaal Discipline - use Discipline for more ES and Vaal Discipline when in dangerous situations
Malevolence Malevolence - best Aura for increasing your Damage over Time
Clarity Clarity - It's nice to have it even at a low Level for more Mana Regeneration
Enlighten Support Enlighten Support - Reduces the amount of Mana Reserved from linked Auras
[UTILITY] Curse, Cold Snap, and Tempest Shield setup
(Socketed in Trigger Wand)
Despair Despair - a Curse to lower enemies Chaos Resistance, It will be cast automatically every 8 seconds when in Wand.
Cold Snap Cold Snap - use to generate Frenzy Charges, It will be cast automatically every 8 seconds when in Wand.
Tempest Shield Tempest Shield - a minor buff that increases your Block Chance, It will be cast automatically every 8 seconds when in Wand.
[UTILITY] Immortal Call setup
Immortal Call Immortal Call - you take much less Physical and Elemental Damage for a short amount of time
Cast when Damage Taken Cast when Damage Taken - will cast your Immortal Call after you take a certain amount of damage
[MOBILITY] Shield Charge setup
Shield Charge Shield Charge - use Shield Charge to move around the map, you can alternatively use Flame Dash linked with Arcane Surge or Second Wind instead
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support - link with Shield Charge for faster movement


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6. Gear Setup

There is not a single Unique gear piece worth recommending, with exception of Atziri's Step, that's shy the price can vary from cheap to extremely pricey. With cheap gear, you'll be able to run red Maps with ease, but with the expensive one, it is quite likely to survive most hits on T16 maps with more than 10k ES. There are three stats to look for: Energy Shield, Elemental Resistances until capped, and Chaos Damage over Time (that includes Chaos Damage and Damage over Time).

Our recommended items will:

  1. Cap your resistances at 75%
  2. Provide you with enough DPS and ES to start mapping

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Maximum Energy Shield
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Chaos Damage over Time
  4. Evasion Rating
rare helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - get as much Energy Shield as possible, for the remaining mods you can additionally look for are of course Elemental Resistances and "Nearby Enemies have -#% to Chaos Resistance"
Min. requirements:
+40 to maximum Energy Shield
120% increased Energy Shield
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Nearby Enemies have -#% to Chaos Resistance
Helmet enchantments:
24% increased Blight Area of Effect
40% increased Blight Damage
Blight has 30% increased Hinder Duration
40% increased Essence Drain Damage
24% increased Contagion Area of Effect
wand(Weapon) Rare Wand - Look for Spell Damage, Chaos Damage, and Damage over Time. It is very useful to have socketed spells automatically trigger every 8 seconds. The best approach is to craft "Can have up to 3 Crafted Modifiers" since you can craft Chaos Damage over Time as well.
Min. requirements:
+1 to Level of all Spell Skill Gems
Trigger a Socketed Spell when you Use a Skill, with a 8 second Cooldown (crafted)
50% increased Spell Damage
Optional affixes:
+1 to Level of all Chaos Spell Skill Gems
+#% to Damage over Time Multiplier
+#% to Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier
shield(Shield) Rare Shield - Intelligence-based Shield is able to contain a lot of Energy Shield but not much else. Chance to block and Elemental Resistances are useful here.
Min. requirements:
+100 to maximum Energy Shield
80% increased Energy Shield
Optional affixes:
Chance to Block
Chance to Block Spell Damage
Elemental Resistances
increased Area of Effect
Body Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - Energy Shield and Evasion Rating are the most important stats to look for in Body Armour, that's why it's a good idea to craft additional Quality, especially when your base provides both - ES and Evasion.
Min. requirements:
+130 to maximum Energy Shield
80% increased Energy Shield
Optional affixes:
Increased Evasion Rating and Energy Shield
Elemental Resistances
+#% to Quality
Evasion Rating
Darkray Vectors(Boots) Rara Boots - Movement speed - increased by around 30% is a must-have. Focus more on Elemental Resistances than ES here, Boots are usually not the place to look for ES.
Min. requirements:
+30 to maximum Energy Shield
30% increased Energy Shield
+70% to Elemental Resistances
+25% increased Movement Speed
Optional affixes:
% chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill
Cannot be Frozen
% chance to avoid Projectiles
Atziri's Step(Boots) Atziri's Step - use this pair of Unique boots if you need a cheap and solid defensive option. They Provide no ES nor Elemental Resistances - find yourself decent Rare Boots if you lack these stats.
180% increased Evasion Rating
+(55-75) to maximum Life
30% increased Movement Speed
(14-16)% chance to Dodge Spell Hits
Rare Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - Elder/Hunter Suffix and Warlord's Prefix can give you some Chaos Damage over Time increase. You can use Essence of Delirium for the "Socketed Gems deal 30% more Damage over Time" mod and use it with Essence Drain, which is a highly recommended move.
Min. requirements:
+16% to Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier
Optional affixes:
Socketed Gems deal 30% more Damage over Time
Increased Energy Shield
Elemental Resistances
+# to Level of Socketed AoE Gems
+# to Level of Socketed Projectile Gems
+# to Level of Socketed Intelligence Gems
belt(Belt) Rare Crystal Belt - Crystal Belt gives you 80 ES from Implicit Mod for free, so it's a base you should use. It's also a good place to look for Elemental Resistances - around 70% in total.
Min. requirements:
+120 to maximum Energy Shield (including Implicit)
+70% total Elemental Resistance
Optional affixes:
Evasion Rating
Increased Maximum Energy Shield
Increased Energy Shield from Body Armour
Regenerate # Energy Shield per second while a Rare or Unique Enemy is Nearby
amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - Hunter's Influenced Amulet allows you to increase the Level of all Choas and Intelligence Skill Gems and you can roll Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier here as well so keep that in mind when looking for bases. Look for Strenght as Implicit for your Shield Charge and Immortal Call Gems
Min. requirements:
+13% to Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier
+30 to Strenght
+60% total Elemental Resistance
Optional affixes:
30% increased Chaos Damage
+1 to Level of all Chaos Skill Gems
+1 to Level of all Intelligence Skill Gems
Recommended Anointments:
Tranquility
Ring(Ring) Rare Ring - We recommend using Moonstone Ring for more ES, Iolite Rings for more Chaos Damage, or Two-stone Rings for Elemental Resistances. Elemental Resistances and ES are the most important mods on this gear piece. You can try your luck with Essences of Envy for more Chaos Damage
Min. requirements:
+30 to Strenght
+50 to maximum Energy Shield
+60% total Elemental Resistance
Optional affixes:
Increased Maximum Energy Shield
Increased Chaos Damage
Channelling Skills have -# to Total Mana Cost
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - They should provide extra ES. If you need Elemental Resistances or Attributes you can find it here. Look for one with Corrupted Blood Immunity
Min. requirements:
8% Increased Maximum Energy Shield
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Chaos Damage Over Time Multiplier
Increased Spell Damage
Increased Spell Damage while holding a Shield
Attributes
Thread of Hope(Jewel) Thread of Hope - by placing it next to Acrobatics you can allocate Phase Acrobatics or Silent Steps
Only affects Passives in Small Ring
Passives in Radius can be Allocated without being connected to your tree
-(20-10)% to all Elemental Resistances
Watcher's Eye(Jewel) Watcher's Eye - +#% to Damage over Time Multiplier while affected by Malevolence is basically the only mod to look for here
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>
Spreading Rot(Jewel) Spreading Rot - Usually, just one Spreading Rot is enough. Due to its extremely low price, it's the best place to look for Corrupted Blood Immunity as Corrupted Implicit
(7-13)% increased Chaos Damage
With at least 40 Intelligence in Radius, Blight inflicts Withered for 2 seconds
With at least 40 Intelligence in Radius, Blight has 50% increased Hinder Duration
Energy From Within(Jewel) Energy From Within - place it next to Melding and allocate the cluster with it for a huge bonus to your ES
(3-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
Increases and Reductions to Life in Radius are Transformed to apply to Energy Shield
Transcendent Mind(Jewel) Transcendent Mind - place it next to Instability for more Damage over Time
-1 Intelligence per 1 Intelligence on Allocated Passives in Radius
+3% to Damage over Time Multiplier per 10 Intelligence on Unallocated Passives in Radius
3% increased Mana Recovery Rate per 10 Intelligence on Allocated Passives in Radius
2% reduced Mana Recovery Rate per 10 Intelligence on Unallocated Passives in Radius
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Large Cluster Jewels - Unvaveringly Evil Notable is extremely useful - it grants you Stun Immunity while Channeling Blight
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Unvaveringly Evil
1 Added Passive Skill is Wicked Pall
1 Added Passive Skill is Unholy Grace
1 Added Passive Skill is Unspeakable Gifts
Medium Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Medium Cluster Jewels - Brush With Death is a great defensive Notable. Try to find ones with Damage Over Time and Chaos Damage bonuses. Vile Reinvigoration is a great combination of offensive and defensive stats
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Eldritch Inspiration
1 Added Passive Skill is Circling Oblivion
1 Added Passive Skill is Brush With Death
1 Added Passive Skill is Vile Reinvigoration
Small Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Small Cluster Jewels - If you can't find any decent Rare Jewel, you can allocate Untouchable - for more Evasion and chance to Dodge Hits, Energy From Naught - for more ES, or Vile Reinvigoration
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Untouchable
1 Added Passive Skill is Energy From Naught
1 Added Passive Skill is Vile Reinvigoration
 Rumi's Concoction(Flask) Rumi's Concoction - one of the best defensive flasks in the game, it protects you from hits and increases your Armour Rating
+3000 to Armour
+(14-20)% Chance to Block Attack Damage during Flask effect
+(6-10)% Chance to Block Spell Damage during Flask effect

Other suggested Flasks:

  1. Alchemist's Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline
  2. Perpetual Quartz Flask of Warding (Immune to Curses)
  3. Seething Life Flask of Curing (Immune to Poison)
  4. Experimenter's Jade Flask of Reflex (More Evasion Rating)
Rumi's ConcoctionJade FlaskLife Flaskquicksilver flaskquartz flask


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If you have any other build requests please leave that in the comments below. We are always open to suggestions and constructive feedback.

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