This build guide is split over multiple pages, both to prevent it from getting too long, as well as to help you better find the information you are looking for. In addition to the current page, which presents general information about the build and also contains a Leveling and FAQ section, we have the following pages:
The Cobra Lash Poison Assassin specializes in dealing Chaos Damage over Time via the stacking of many Poisons on the enemies. The character achieves the infliction of strong Poisons by using The Wasp Nest as an endgame weapon. With this build you can choose between two main skills. Cobra Lash makes for a great clearing skill. It can also be used for single target, especially against certain melee bosses.
Before the rework of the Assassin ascendancy class, it was very hard to have reliable Life sustain, since your damage is mostly back-ended and you cannot survive by leeching life. Now this problem is solved with the Assassin’s Noxious Strike.
The build requires a few very easily accessible unique items. The Wasp Nest is a unique Claw that is basically best in slot for the weapon. Dendrobate is a Body Armour that will increase your Poison damage potential by a great deal. Lycosidae is a bit more expensive; this Shield will solve all of your Accuracy Rating issues. Sin's Rebirth is another expensive item that you should buy later on; you can always use a rare shield instead. Starkonja's Head is a great endgame option for the helmet slot. Besides these items, you should look for well rolled rare gear pieces.
Pros & Cons
+ Hardcore viable
+ Very versatile when it comes to map mods
+ Has the potential to kill all endgame bosses
- Damage over time builds might not be for everyone; the playstyle is a bit different from other builds
Offensively, with the Poison Assassin we aim to inflict as many Poisons as possible in small time windows. For most monster packs, you will have to attack few times and move on; foes will decay behind you from your damage over time. When built correctly, the build achieves Poisons with long durations. Cobra Lash is an excellent skill that allows you to inflict Poisons from a distance by throwing your weapon. The Wither debuff can be heavily stacked on tough bosses by using totems.
Defensively, the character depends on Noxious Strike for sustain when clearing. Acrobatics and a decent Life pool will be enough to deal with most hits, as long as you keep your distance and dodge lethal game mechanics. Noxious Strike will maim poisoned enemies, which can be considered defensive mechanic.
For playstyle, we are inflicting a great amount of poisons while keeping our distance, enemies will eventually die from the damage over time. Drop Wither Totems on the ground and stack as many Poisons as possible on bosses. For mobility, you should mainly use Whirling Blades to move around.
With this passive skill tree we aim to achieve a big enough life pool and damage potential for all endgame encounters.
For more information, be sure to check out the Passive Skill Tree page.
Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheons
Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Power page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.
We go over all of the gem links this build uses in the end-game on our Gem Link page.
Gear Summary / TL;DR
These items provide a good balance between offense and defense and are enough to deal with the endgame, although there is definitely a room for improvement. Please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels and Flasks page in its entirety.
|Item Slot||Item Name|
|Weapon||The Wasp Nest|
As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.
- Our step-by-step leveling walkthrough, which allows even more experienced players to save time and speed through the leveling process.
- Our guide to Unique Items for leveling, which helps you gear up your characters for the leveling process.
- Our beginner leveling guide, which answers many of the questions new players might have and will set you on the right path.
This is what your early passive skill tree should look like. The Claw nodes are very point-efficient compared to other weapon passive nodes on the tree. Soon after you are done with this passive tree, you will be able to equip The Wasp Nest.
Useful Leveling Unique Items
As you begin a new character, there are few unique items that can boost your power exponentially. Tabula Rasa allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your leveling that much more efficient. Goldrim provides a lot of elemental resistances, this will let you worry less about gearing when approaching certain Act encounters. Last Resort, Al Dhih, Mortem Morsu and Ornament of the East will easily fill your damage needs up until level 60.
If you are a new player (or if this is your first character for the league), then note that obtaining these items will be very difficult, if not impossible. They are rare drops, which you can otherwise only acquire if you have saved up currency, so do not focus on them too much, and instead simply look for items that match the affix priorities listed in the gearing section above.
Using Tabula Rasa will allow you to have 6-Link gem setups early on, which is why we show such examples below. If you cannot get Tabula Rasa (or another item with a 6-Link), then simply prioritize the first gems in each link provided below.
In order to acquire gems that are not available to your class as a quest reward, simply ask a friend to buy them off vendors for you, or buy them yourself from Sioasa in The Library in Act III Library.
From level 1, you should use the following link.
At level 10, you should add Whirling Blades for additional mobility.
At level 16, you should socket in Herald of Agony in order to level up the gem.
By level 18, your Frost Blades link should look like this.
- Frost Blades
- Onslaught Support
- Ancestral Call Support
- Melee Physical Damage Support
- Maim Support
- Added Cold Damage Support
At level 24, you should Grace for additional defense.
- Cobra Lash
- Greater Multiple Projectiles Support
- Nightblade Support
- Added Chaos Damage Support
- Deadly Ailments Support
- Vile Toxins Support
Are there map mods the build cannot do?
Cannot leech and no regeneration maps might be problematic, besides that the build can do anything else.
Why would I ever choose to play a poison build?
The poison mechanic is often underestimated. Yes, playing a damage over time build means you will clear slower than top-tier meta builds, but the endgame damage potential a poison build can achieve cannot be easily outclassed. Not to mention how cheap playing a build like this one can be, especially when you compare it to meta builds.
The Cobra Lash Poison Assassin specializes in applying deadly Poisons on your enemies, melting their Life pools away. With this build you get the most bank for your buck, while also having a great endgame potential.