Chaos DoT Occultist Build Guide (PoE Scourge 3.16)




This Chaos DoT build is a classic league-starter build that has been among the smoothest & easiest league-starter builds ever since the Chaos DoT abilities were introduced to the game. The build offers not only a great start available for even SSF leagues but also comes with a super high roof in terms of high budget end-game investment possibilities. You can go to CI, Low-Life or stay life based and upgrade your items significantly to reach millions of DPS. The low budget approach is more than capable of reaching end-game and will scale very well with upgrades as you go.

Below you can see the build in action from my YouTube guide. Do note that the video might be outdated in terms of information, and you should always look at this guide to make sure you have the updated version.


In this section I will outline the pros, cons, & the general play-style. This will allow you to determine if the build is for you or not!


+ Fast – The build is designed to spread the main source of damage via Contagion so if enemy packs are close to each other you can chain your damage across wide areas clearing multiple packs in just 2 casts.

+ League Starter – There are no mandatory items to make this build work, which makes it a very solid league-starter.

+ Unique Play Style – The original version of the build is based around casting 2 different spells that interact with one another provides a unique play-style to the build. If this is not something you’d like to do there is an option to opt out of Contagion and use another ability for clearing which is Bane Bane


End-Game – Higher end-game will require you to start upgrading your gear as the low budget style doesn’t hold up against the higher tier content. Luckily this isn’t a very expensive problem to have.

2-buttons – If you stay with the original approach of using Contagion the build will require 2 buttons to clear packs with.


There are 2 different play-styles offered in this guide, both will be using Essence Drain Essence Drain for the sake of single-target damage. However, you can use Bane Bane to clear with which doesn’t offer any specific play-style changes. Or you can use the original style which is to cast Contagion Contagion which is requiring you to cast that spell first and then connect it with a cast of Essence Drain, once the target you hit with Essence Drain dies, the Contagion will spread the DoT to every enemy within it’s radius and continue to spread each time an enemy dies affected by Contagion

What’s really cool with this play-style is that enemies affected by Essence Drain also grants you a #% life regeneration based of the damage dealt by the spell. Obviously this is not the case in maps with the “No life regeneration” modifier!


Since we are only scaling chaos damage over time from spells it is crucial for us to increase the level of the skills and get modifiers that provides chaos damage as well as damage over time to increase our efficiency. The more damage we deal the more life regeneration we receive thanks to the design of Essence Drain.

Defensively the build is a Hybrid utilizing the new “Recoup” mechanic which with the tree investment let us recoup(regenerate) 50% of damage taken from hits over the course of 4 seconds. This combined with Petrified Blood Petrified Blood allows us to be considered “low life” which enables Pain Attunement for extra damage but Petrified Blood also mitigates 40% of incoming damage taken from hits and then it will do damage to us over the course of 4 seconds based of a % of the mitigated 40% damage prevented this way. The recoup mechanic is entirely countering the Petrified Bloods negative mechanic and adds even more life recovery on top of that, this combined with us consistently ramping up life regeneration effect by hitting enemies with our Essence Drain makes the build extremely sturdy. Besides this we’ll run Energy Shield base items due to requiring a lot of blue sockets which will grant us a nice layer of Energy Shield on top of all this.


The PoB community fork created by Localidentity is the only version being kept up to date, so make sure you have the correct version: PoB Community Fork.

Here is the Chaos DoT Low Budget PoB, and for a quick glance over the finished skill tree for this version, check out this link.

You can find more information this, as well as about all of the build’s gem links, on our dedicated page.

Chaos DoT Occultist PoB, Passive Skill Tree & Gem Links


A lot of the end-game gear can easily be crafted, to learn how to craft as well as learn how to craft specific items check out my crafting guides here.

You can read more details about our gearing recommendations on the dedicated page, but for now you can see a summarized version below.

Chaos DoT Occultist Gear, Jewels & Flasks

Item Slot Item Name Rarity
Head Life & ES then Res/Attributes as needed Rare
Amulet Life & ES then Res/Attributes as needed Rare
Chest Life & ES then Res/Attributes as needed Rare
Gloves Life & ES then Res/Attributes as needed Rare
Boots Atziri's Step Atziri's Step or a rare with ES then Res/Attributes as needed Unique/Rare
Belt Life & ES then Res/Attributes as needed Rare
Rings Life & ES then Res/Attributes as needed Rare
Weapon + level of gems, Spell, Chaos or Over Time Damage modifiers (High budget wants to use a Bow) Rare
Shield Life & High Energy Shield is the name of the game here Rare


You can read about the recommended Ascendancy, Bandit choice, and Pantheon Power recommendations for this build on our dedicated page.

Chaos DoT Occultist Ascendancy, Bandits & Pantheon Powers


The current meta of leveling through the Campaign Acts 1-10 is to go with a so called Chaosslinger approach which basically means we use Spellslinger Support Spellslinger Support with a variety of Chaos DoT abilities which creates a very smooth leveling experience and once you reach the stage of mapping you can then switch to the normal self-casted approach.


Spellslinger Support Spellslinger Support is not available until level 24. The skills listed below are the ones I prefer to use until I hit level 8:

Once you reach level 4 you are able to purchase Swift Assembly Support Swift Assembly Support; this will be of great addition to your Stormblast Mines for single target. At level 8 you will be able to purchase Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support & Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support, both of which will be very solid to put together with both Stormblast Mines as well as your Frost Bomb for clearing.

Stormblast Mines

  1. Stormblast Mine Stormblast Mine
  2. Swift Assembly Support Swift Assembly Support

Either one of these or both if you have a 4-Link:

  1. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  2. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support

Frost Bomb

  1. FFrost Bomb Frost Bomb
  2. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  3. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support

At level 12, you will be able to enable Storm Brand Storm Brand and later on you will be able to purchase Brand Recall Brand Recall, which will be very helpful as you are leveling through the early acts. Do note that you get some re-spec points from just doing the mandatory quests through the acts; with this in mind you can deviate slightly from the leveling trees and pick up some extra spell/elemental or Lightning damage early on to do more damage if you feel safe enough. The Brand Recall can be in any blue socket in your gear without any links.

Storm Brand

  1. Storm Brand Storm Brand
  2. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  3. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support

In Act 2, you can pick up some better support gems for your damage output such as:

Storm Brand

  1. Storm Brand Storm Brand
  2. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  3. Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support

Either one of these or both if you have a 4-Link:

  1. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  2. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support

Since the decision is to use the skills all the way to level 24, we would want to run some Herald skills available to use during Act 2 after Chamber of Sins (level 16):

  1. Herald of Ice Herald of Ice
  2. Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder

In Act 3, we get to pick up some juicier Auras. We either keep our Heralds or switch to Wrath Wrath. I prefer to keep the Heralds personally.

Once you reach level 24 we will at this point switch to using our actual end-game abilities but in the form of using Spellslinger support to speed up the leveling process. First of all we need a set-up to trigger our spells which generates Frenzy charges for us, the links will be the following:

  1. Frenzy Frenzy
  2. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support

This leads us to the Chaos DoT abilities that we will be utilizing whilst leveling. I would suggest to only using 2 of these and if you feel a lack of damage you can always opt to add mana reservation nodes from the skill-tree to allow for more support gems. This is the links I would suggest for the following 2 abilities, make sure you use both abilities and only add support gems as long as your mana reservation allows for it. Do however prioritize the Bane & Despair links. It’s very important to understand that you don’t just reserve your mana pool to play a Spellslinger, you are also paying the mana cost for the spells that are automatically triggered, so always keep a keen eye on your mana pool so you have enough mana to actually trigger the abilities, adjusting the tree to pick up some mana reservation is one solution, another is to run a mana flask to sustain the mana cost. If you don’t like the slinging strategy you can always play as a self-cast Essence Drain with Contagion and follow the end-game gem link set-up.


  1. Soulrend Soulrend
  2. Lesser Multiple Projectiles Support Lesser Multiple Projectiles Support and later Greater Multiple Projectiles Support Greater Multiple Projectiles Support
  3. Efficacy Support Efficacy Support


  1. Bane Bane
  2. Despair Despair
  3. Efficacy Support Efficacy Support

This will be used all the way to the point where we switch to our standard set-up of using Essence Drain & Contagion do keep in mind that abilities you plan on using in the end-game that isn’t used whilst leveling needs to be socketed in a pair of off-slot weapons to keep their level on par when you do the switch.

For more general leveling advice, we recommend the following guides.


To guarantee that my guides are tools you can utilize to enhance your experience in Path of Exile, all you need to do is post your question in the comments and I will personally attend to them as soon as possible.


As much as I love making build guides, it is very crucial in a game like Path of Exile that you play the game the way you enjoy playing it. With that said, if you’ve made any tweaks to the build compared to what I’m showing in this guide I would love if you’d posted it in the comments! It’s an effective way to show other approaches and it helps me grow as a build guide creator!

I hope you found the build guide useful and I wish you all many Exalted Orb Exalted Orb drops!


  • Build is now updated for 3.16 Scourge League!

  1. Posts

    My favorite build in the game. Great guide Ghazzy!

  2. Posts

    Hi Ghazzy,
    greatly described build! It’s my first DoT char and its going great so far.
    I’m planning on buying the 6L-Bow you mentioned, what would be a good gem setup for the second 6L then?


  3. GhazzyTV




    Hey, the links would remain the same but the bow would provide a significant damage boost through higher level gems :)
    Glad you like it sir!

  4. Posts

    Hi Ghazzy,
    got that bow and quite a nice dmg boost. I just did my first attempt to kill Sirius on A5. Went ok until last phase. Every attack of him insta killed me.

    If possible can you have a look at my equip and give me a tip what upgrade would be best? Has to be something around 2-3 ex max. If I’m asking too much no problem!

    character name is EchoOfTheAssless

  5. Posts

    This is a really NOOB question (and I have searched for the answer) but how do you get the mechanic of the synergy between Essence Drain and either the Bane or the Contagion to work?

    I feel like I’m constantly mis-timing when to cast each one.

  6. Posts

    Hey Rochambeaux,
    what Level are you currently? It felt the same for me at beginning. When mob packs got bigger it started to work.

    Just cast contagion on a pack and after that one or two shots essence drain. As soon as you hit a mob with ED that is inflicted by contagion it spreads through the mob pack.

    Also I found it useful to equip something with „projectile pierces enemy’s“ that way it’s easier to hit multiple mobs – and more than one to start the spredding.

  7. GhazzyTV



    Effman, Rochambeaux:

    Pierce or more projectiles can make it a bit smoother but with less DPS output sure. Contagion is the ability used to spread Essence Drain, if one doesn’t like to play that approach then we use Bane instead and use Essence Drain only for single target.

    Regarding your dmg output. There are a few ways to increase your dmg from where you are right now:

    1) +1 skill amulet (chaos or intelligence or both)
    2) -9% chaos resistance to nearby enemies (hunter influenced) helmet
    3) 21 ED

    I’m about to go live, feel free to come in to my discord server: and post in the #build-review chat channel and either myself or other veterans in my community will help you as soon as we can :)

  8. Posts

    Hi Ghazzy,
    Couldn’t make it to your stream to ask my question..
    Does pierce lower the dps? And if so, why?

    thanks a lot so far!

  9. GhazzyTV




    Pierce would have to replace a support gem actually providing damage unless of course you have it on a modifier on any of your items (hunter amulet is a great example).

  10. Posts

    Hi Ghazzy, thanks for the great guide! If I can though, I’d like to point out in the leveling section that using Bane with Spellslinger won’t work well. GGG_Mark stated that any spell linked by two triggers is completely disabled. This includes the Despair linked with Bane. I’ve used Soulrend (as you mentioned) and ED on Spellslinger with your bane setup on a self cast for bossing. But other than that this is great! I just started over Ritual in SSF and can’t wait to see how far I can get with the build.

  11. GhazzyTV




    My pleasure man, I’m just happy people enjoy my content!

    That’s odd, (regarding Bane on SS), I didn’t notice any issues with it, perhaps I need to dig in to this further, do you have a link to Marks statement on it that I could use as a reference when improving the guide?

  12. Posts

    Hi @GhazzyTV

    Thanks a lot for the work you’ve done around this guide. Awesome build, clear, well-structured, and super effective.

    I’ve just finished the main arc story in 3 days with Lev74, ED deals 10k dps and 50k dot per second, just wow, never saw that kind of sick numbers in POE)) I start wondering how to improve my gear to scale in even more filthy numbers, do you have any guides for the end game activities?

    Though I didn’t get Empower Support yet, using Essence Drain+Void Manipulation Support+Swift Affliction Support
    Controlled Destruction Support+Efficacy Support+Decay Support GGBBBB in Tabula Rasa works really fantastic. You mentioned that the best chest will be max evasion, and in this guide, you have GGGGGG sockets body. But how I could get GGBBBB with max evasion? Is there any tricky way to put any color gems in the sockets?

    Another question with the 6-linked bow (alternative to wands) What skill to put there? Contagion? But it works pretty well with 4 linked BBBB and I hardly can imagine the value of adding more support stones to it

  13. GhazzyTV




    Glad you like it so much sir!
    Regarding the color part on evasion base, it’s a bit expensive and is basically all about using the chromatic bench-craft to get multiple blue colors on an evasion based chest.

    For the bow we utilize modifiers that increases the level of the socketed gem, this is to scale the Essence Drain the best we can, contagion should never be bothered to be focused for in terms of damage output.

  14. Posts

    Hello and sorry for a noob question: so, during leveling I’m supposed to use two separate spellslinger links: one would be spellslinger+bane+despair+support gems and second one spellslinger+soulrend+support gems? Thanks in advance for any reply!

  15. GhazzyTV




    Never apologize for asking questions!
    Yes correct 2 separate spellslinging abilities :)

  16. Posts

    Hello @GhazzyTV I hope you’re doing well

    After 20 days of playing with this build still enjoying it – maps clear speed is amazing – having so much fun running through the falling monsters beyond the screen after good Contagion + ED. Though still capable of doing 15-16 tier red maps, start feeling glass floor for increasing damage and survivability. Now on the 92 lvl I have 430k dps on ED and 7,5 eHP with 50%/56% dodge chance and around 14k evasion. Could you give me some directions on how to improve even more… is CI could be considered a good option? (-44% chaos res looks miserable) Is it possible to scale more damage? Cluster jewels maybe? Any advice for the “gear of the dream” worth collecting exalted orbs for?

  17. GhazzyTV




    Doing better thanks, was recently feverish (no corona though)!

    Well, optimally you’ll want to get a a bow with stacked + level to your gem modifiers and yes CI can offer you high eHP for less skill-tree investment which makes including clusters very easy to scale damage even further. You might also want to look at going Low-Life if you’re looking for super optimizing both defence & damage output. It’s obviously more expensive but it’s an effective way to scale very high end-game numbers.

  18. Posts

    I’m sorry for being very noobish – but how do you fit the “end game gems” you list into these items? You have a lot of blue sockets, but red gems for totems e.g.

    Please ELI5 sorry :)

Please log in to reply.