The Wasp Nest Poison Assassin Build Guide (PoE Legion 3.7.)

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Introduction

The poison mechanic was very powerful when it got introduced into the game. After several changes it got nerfed, and rightfully so. With the Poison-oriented Assassin we aim to make a character that is purely relying on damage over time in order to melt enemies. The character achieves the infliction of strong poisons by using The Wasp Nest The Wasp Nest as an endgame weapon. With this build you can choose between two main skills. Spectral Throw Spectral Throw makes for a great clearing skill. It can also be used for single target, especially against certain melee bosses. Blade Flurry Blade Flurry is a great option when it comes to killing tough bosses, you can also clear with the skill if you want to do so.

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 Toxic Delivery.

Build Summary

The build requires a few very easily accessible unique items. The Wasp Nest The Wasp Nest is a unique Claw that is basically best in slot for the weapon. Dendrobate Dendrobate is a body armour that will increase your poison damage potential by a great deal. Lycosidae Lycosidae is a bit more expensive; this shield will solve all of your Accuracy Rating issues. Sin's Rebirth Sin's Rebirth is another expensive item that you should buy later on; you can always use a rare shield instead. Starkonja's Head 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

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Very versatile when it comes to map mods
+ Has the potential to kill all endgame bosses

Cons

- Damage over time builds might not be for everyone; the playstyle is a bit different from other builds

Playstyle

Offensively, with the Poison Assassin we are aiming 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. Both Spectral Throw Spectral Throw and Blade Flurry Blade Flurry are great skill choices, although they have different playstyles and should be chosen between based on specific game content and personal preference. We recommend using Spectral Throw for clearing and Blade Flurry for single target. The Wither Wither debuff can be heavily stacked on tough bosses by using totems.

Defensively, the character depends on Toxic Delivery 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. Keep in mind that Noxious Strike increases your poison duration depending on how many poisons you’ve inflicted recently (last 4 seconds). This essentially means that the more poisons you inflict, the longer they will last and therefore the more damage they will do. Drop Wither totems on the ground and stack as many poisons as possible on bosses. For mobility, you should mainly use Whirling Blades Whirling Blades to move around.

Ascendancy, Passive Tree , Bandits, and Pantheons

Ascendancy (Shadow – Assassin)

  1. Noxious Strike
  2. Toxic Delivery
  3. Ambush and Assassinate
  4. Opportunistic

Noxious Strike brings a lot of power to the build, the 2% Critical Strike chance when poison capped essentially gives you local Critical Chance, which is then multiplied by all of your Critical Strike Chance % Increases. This ascendancy node can easily raise your Critical Chance by more than 10% on its own. The poison duration increase mechanic is very strong, especially when stacking poisons on bosses.

Toxic Delivery is another very powerful ascendancy node that provides a great amount of damage, along with the Life Recovery mechanic and some damage over time mitigation. Ambush and Assassinate is another source of Critical Strike augmentations, depending on the target’s life. Opportunistic improves your single target damage by a great deal, along with other perks, such as reflect immunity from your Critical Strikes, 20% movement speed if you’ve killed recently and not taking extra damage from Critical Strikes if there is only one enemy nearby.

Note: Based on personal preference you can drop Ambush and Assassinate and Opportunistic for Unstable Infusion and Deadly Infusion, but in general the recommended ascendancy nodes have better balance between offence and defence.

Passive Tree

With this passive skill tree we aim to achieve a big enough life pool and damage potential for all endgame encounters.

When it comes to passive skill tree pathing, you should keep in mind that while leveling you will not really depend on poisons in order to deal damage.

Bandits

For this specific build we should help Alira in Act II. The critical multiplier and 15% all elemental resistances are stronger than the 2 passive skill points.

Pantheons

Major: Soul of Solaris provides a lot of damage mitigation when fully upgraded. Other God powers can be used depending on personal preference.

Minor: Soul of Ryslatha improves the sustainability and Life Recovery of your Life Flask. It is a good idea to invest into your Life Flask since this is one of your main life-sustaining mechanics when it comes to fighting bosses. Other God powers can be used depending on personal preference.

Gems

Both Spectral Throw Spectral Throw and Blade Flurry Blade Flurry can be used as main skills, ideally in a 6-Link. Both gems can be used in the same colour setup, so it is easy to swap between them on demand. For mobility, use Whirling Blades Whirling Blades. Wither Wither should be used in a totem setup in order to increase enemies’ chaos damage taken. Herald of Agony Herald of Agony provides additional poison augmentations and improves single target damage via the Agony Crawler. Vaal Grace Vaal Grace can be used for additional defense. Blood Rage Blood Rage and War Banner War Banner can be used for additional damage output.

For all the gem links we provide below, keep in mind that we list the gems in order of priority (starting from the top left, going to the right on each row of the links), meaning that if you lack the required number of sockets to fit all the gems, the first ones to drop are the ones at the bottom (with the bottom right being the last). Also note that in-game, as long as the sockets are linked, it makes no difference at all what order the gems are placed in.

Spectral Throw (6-Link)

Spectral Throw Spectral Throw is a skill that essentially allows you to throw your melee weapon like a boomerang. After certain distance is travelled, it comes back to you. This skill can hit enemies both when travelling away from you and when coming back to you. If the spectral weapon starts reversing its direction while “in” a target, you can hit the same target multiple times with one projectile. Spectral Throw can be used for both clearing and single target, here are the gem links we recommend.

For clearing, use the following link.

  1. Spectral Throw Spectral Throw
  2. Greater Multiple Projectiles Support Greater Multiple Projectiles Support
  3. Added Chaos Damage Support Added Chaos Damage Support
  4. Deadly Ailments Support Deadly Ailments Support
  5. Vile Toxins Support Vile Toxins Support
  6. Void Manipulation Support Void Manipulation Support

For single target, use the following link.

  1. Spectral Throw Spectral Throw
  2. Slower Projectiles Support Slower Projectiles Support
  3. Added Chaos Damage Support Added Chaos Damage Support
  4. Deadly Ailments Support Deadly Ailments Support
  5. Vile Toxins Support Vile Toxins Support
  6. Void Manipulation Support Void Manipulation Support

Blade Flurry (6-Link)

Blade Flurry Blade Flurry forces you to get a bit closer to the enemy in order to deal damage. It has higher damage potential than Spectral Throw but is also more dangerous to play with. Blade Flurry is a melee channelling skill; essentially you stand in place while channelling a powerful sequence of attacks. The higher stages you release it at, the higher damage it does. Blade Flurry can be used for both clearing and single target with the following link.

  1. Blade Flurry Blade Flurry
  2. Added Chaos Damage Support Added Chaos Damage Support
  3. Deadly Ailments Support Deadly Ailments Support
  4. Vile Toxins Support Vile Toxins Support
  5. Void Manipulation Support Void Manipulation Support
  6. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support

Whirling Blades (4-Link)

Whirling Blades Whirling Blades is the mobility skill you will mainly depend on for movement. You will be also granted the Fortify buff with the following gem setup.

  1. Whirling Blades Whirling Blades
  2. Fortify Support Fortify Support
  3. Blood Magic Support Blood Magic Support
  4. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support

Wither (4-Link)

The Wither Wither debuff can be heavily stacked against tough single target encounters with the following link.

  1. Wither Wither
  2. Spell Totem Support Spell Totem Support
  3. Multiple Totems Support Multiple Totems Support
  4. Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support

Herald of Agony (4-Link)

The Herald of Agony Herald of Agony‘s Agony Crawler can achieve extreme damage output. Although this build does not mainly depend on the minion, you can still use it in order to improve your single target damage even further.

  1. Herald of Agony Herald of Agony
  2. Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support
  3. Damage on Full Life Support Damage on Full Life Support
  4. Vile Toxins Support Vile Toxins Support

Other Gems

Grace Grace should be active all the time for additional Evasion Rating. The vaal version of the skill should be activated in sticky situations. Blood Rage Blood Rage will provide a decent amount of attack speed along with Frenzy charge on kill. War Banner War Banner can be added for additional damage via the Adrenaline buff.

Gearing

Capping your elemental resistances is essential and it should always be your top priority in any build; it should be the first thing you do when gearing up a character. Obtaining a 6-link, while very powerful and certainly recommended, can potentially be very expensive (requiring an average of 1500 Orbs of Fusing, obviously depending on your luck); as such, this should not really be a goal for you while gearing up, and you should instead settle for a 5-link until you have enough resources.

The Wasp Nest The Wasp Nest should be acquired as soon as possible; this Claw is best in slot for the build. Dendrobate Dendrobate is a cheap body armour that allows you to run your main skill on a 7-Link. Starkonja's Head Starkonja's Head and Lycosidae Lycosidae should be bought once you have the currency; besides that look for well rolled rare items.

Helmet

Starkonja's Head Starkonja's Head is pretty much best in slot for the build. A rare helmet can be used but you will lose on Critical Strike Chance and Attack Speed. For labyrinth enchant, look for any enchant based on the skill you are using. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least 80)
  3. % Increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil)
  4. Nearby enemies take #% Increased Chaos Damage (Aberrant Fossil)

Body Armour

Dendrobate Dendrobate gives you the ability to run your main skill on a 7-Link. You can also use Belly of the Beast Belly of the Beast, Cherrubim's Maleficence Cherrubim's Maleficence, or Loreweave Loreweave. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least 80)
  3. % Increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil; Elder Prefix)
  4. Socketed Attacks have #% to Critical Strike Chance (Elder Suffix)

Gloves

Fenumus' Weave Fenumus' Weave is a great choice for the build. A well rolled rare pair can also be used. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least 60)
  3. % Increased Attack Speed
  4. Adds # to # Chaos Damage to Attacks (crafted via crafting bench)
  5. # to Accuracy Rating (at least 250)

Boots

Bubonic Trail Bubonic Trail can be used for the additional utility they provide via the Abyssal sockets. Kaom's Roots Kaom's Roots should be used against tough endgame bosses in order to prevent getting Frozen and Stun locked. You do not need movement speed on boots since it does not affect Whirling Blades Whirling Blades in any way. A rare pair of boots are also a great choice for the build. For enchants, look for “% Increased Attack Speed if you’ve Killed Recently”. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least 80)
  3. % Increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil)
  4. % Increased Skill Effect Duration (Elder Suffix)
  5. % Chance to Dodge Spell Hits (Elder Suffix)

Belt

Look for a rare belt, preferably Stygian Vise or Leather Belt. There is no particular unique belt that synergizes well with the build. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least 80)
  3. % Increased Damage (crafted via crafting bench)
  4. % Increased Chaos Damage (Aberrant Fossil)
  5. % Increased Damage with Ailments (Corroded Fossil)

Amulet

Maligaro's Cruelty Maligaro's Cruelty has good synergy with the build, but it is outclassed by a decently rolled rare amulet. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least 50)
  3. Adds # to # Chaos Damage to Attacks (crafted via crafting bench)
  4. % Increased Chaos Damage (Aberrant Fossil; crafted via crafting bench)

Rings

Look for rare rings with crafted flat Chaos damage. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least 50)
  3. Adds # to # Chaos Damage to Attacks (crafted via crafting bench)
  4. % increased Damage with Poison (Essence of Delirium)
  5. % increased Chaos Damage (Essence of Envy)

Weapon

The The Wasp Nest The Wasp Nest unique Claw is best in slot for the build. It has great balance between attack speed, physical damage and critical chance, along with the additional Chaos damage against poisoned enemies.

Shield

Lycosidae Lycosidae can solve all of your Accuracy Rating problems. If you choose not to play with it, use a rare shield for additional defense. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least 80)
  3. % Increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil)

Flasks

Using Divine Life Flask is mandatory for the build, ideally you would want to roll it half-instant with bleeding removal Suffix. Sin's Rebirth Sin's Rebirth goes a long way, but it can be pricey. Atziri's Promise Atziri's Promise will provide additional chaos damage and life leech. Diamond Flask should be used in every Critical-based build. For the other slots, use utility flasks based on personal preference. We recommend Basalt and Stibnite for the additional damage mitigation. Make sure you roll Curse and Freeze immunity on utility flasks in order to prevent deaths from Strongboxes and maps with curses in general.

Jewels

There are no build-enabling jewels for the build. Watcher's Eye Watcher's Eye with Grace Grace mods or any Purity mods that convert physical damage taken into elemental damage taken can be useful for the build.

Regular Jewel Affix Priority

  1. % Increased Maximum Life
  2. % increased Chaos Damage
  3. % increased Damage
  4. % increased Damage over Time

Abyssal Jewel Affix Priority

  1. Chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill (at least 4%)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 30)
  3. Any flat amount of chaos and physical damage added to your attacks
  4. % Increased Attack Speed

Leveling

As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.

Leveling from the beginning while relying on poisons can be painful and we do not recommend it. Using some unique Claws in combination with Blade Flurry Blade Flurry will carry you up until level 60 with ease, and then you can equip The Wasp Nest The Wasp Nest and start playing around poisons.

Leveling Trees

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 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 Tabula Rasa allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your leveling that much more efficient. Goldrim Goldrim provides a lot of elemental resistances, this will let you worry less about gearing when approaching certain Act encounters. Last Resort Last Resort, Al Dhih Al Dhih, Mortem Morsu Mortem Morsu and Ornament of the East 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.

Gem Progression

Using Tabula Rasa 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.

  1. Frost Blades Frost Blades
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support

At level 4, you should add Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector for additional single target damage. You should also add Ancestral Call Support Ancestral Call Support to your Frost Blades Frost Blades link.

At level 10, you should add Whirling Blades Whirling Blades for additional mobility.

At level 16, you should socket in Herald of Agony Herald of Agony in order to level up the gem.

By level 18, your Frost Blades Frost Blades link should look like this.

  1. Frost Blades Frost Blades
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Ancestral Call Support Ancestral Call Support
  4. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  5. Maim Support Maim Support
  6. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support

At level 24, you should Grace Grace for additional defence.

At level 28, you can drop your Frost Blades Frost Blades for Blade Flurry Blade Flurry.

  1. Blade Flurry Blade Flurry
  2. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  3. Maim Support Maim Support
  4. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
  5. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support
  6. Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support

Note: Although Spectral Throw Spectral Throw is a viable endgame skill, it is not very powerful when it comes to leveling, especially when fighting bosses.

FAQ

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.

Conclusion

The Wasp Nest 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.

Changelog
  •   

    Revisited and updated for Legion 3.7.

  •   

    Updated passive skill trees.

  •   

    Revisited and updated for Synthesis 3.6.

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  1. Posts
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    The Passive Tree need to be fixed there

  2. Posts
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    Very interesting approach, not only because it is way off the meta-routes. I coudn’t find another Assassin-Poison-Attack-Build anywhere, although that should be the most typical one for an Assassin.

    Anyhow, Im a returning player and my last used build was the “AssReacher”, using Tornado-Shot with Reach-of-the-Council Bow.

    —> Do you think I could run this build by just using Tornado-Shot with a Bow instead of Spectral-Throw with a claw? Sure I would need some Accuracy to make up for the shield and such… But basically, since I have this Legacy-RotC, might it be an option to apply all that poison by Bow instead?

    —> To me it seems that you prefer chaos dmg over crits. For example your prefered affix-listing on amulets does not feature crit-multi but flat-chaos and increased-chaos. Is increased-chaos-dmg (additive bonus) really better than lets say 60% crit-multi? So my question is, how heavily are you investing into crits compared to chaos-dmg in general?

    —> How would you rate the value of flat-chaos vs. flat-phys-dmg? The build has some ways to “convert/add” phys->chaos, but how strong does this play out in the end?

    Thanks for posting this jewel of a build, really appreciated!

    Jeannex

  3. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    266

    On 05/05/2019 at 1:13 AM, null said

    Very interesting approach, not only because it is way off the meta-routes. I coudn’t find another Assassin-Poison-Attack-Build anywhere, although that should be the most typical one for an Assassin.

    Thanks for posting this jewel of a build, really appreciated!

    Jeannex

    Hey Jeannex,

    First of all, thanks for the kind feedback. This is just one of many Poison-based builds that can be crafted in Path of Exile, although the mechanic is very unpopular at the moment. I do think that your Tornado Shot Tornado Shot idea will work well. I have played few Poison Bow builds myself, but that was prior to the nerf of Quill Rain Quill Rain. For a Quiver, Maloney's Nightfall Maloney's Nightfall is not a bad option. When it comes to flat Chaos / % Chaos vs things like Crit Multi for example, in the long run they are all great, get your hands on whatever costs least and you can take the most value from. When it comes to choosing between Chaos and Physical, I’d always recommend going with Chaos damage, simply because most of the mobs in PoE do not have a lot of Chaos Resistance, not to mention that with these builds you will have % increased Chaos damage here and there, which will also help out. These Attack-based Poison builds specialize in inflicting a large quantity of small Hits most of the time, with Physical damage you want to deal as big Hits as possible in order to penetrate the most Armour, this is why Chaos is more efficient than Physical in this particular case, at least in my eyes.

  4. Posts
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    Hey,

    first of all thanks for the guide! I just have two little questions:
    Which auras do you activate? You have Grace, HoA, War Banner and with Fenumus Weave Aspect of the Spider, but you cant active all of them.
    Second, if i count right, we have one socket open for a golem, wich one would you recommand?

    Already thanks for every answer!
    Have a nice day.

    Edited by SjukBetennelse on July 4th, 2019

  5. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    266

    On 03/07/2019 at 7:31 PM, SjukBetennelse said

    Hey,

    first of all thanks for the guide! I just have two little questions:
    Which auras do you activate? You have Grace, HoA, War Banner and with Fenumus Weave Aspect of the Spider, but you cant active all of them.
    Second, if i count right, we have one socket open for a golem, wich one would you recommand?

    Already thanks for every answer!
    Have a nice day.

    Hey, you cannot fit all the Mana reservation options we’ve provided but depending on the content you are running and what you need (offence or defence) you can choose between an offensive setup like HoA + Aspect of the Spider or a more defensive option: Grace + Aspect of the Spider. War Banner reserves only 10% of your Mana so you will probably be able to fit it in both setups. When it comes to using Golems, whatever you use will probably die very often in the endgame content, but Summon Ice Golem Summon Ice Golem is your best option.

  6. Posts
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    Hello. So I’ve been using your build. guide here, and I must say it works very well. Great guide and build! I’m currently level 65, and have almost all of the recommended items. However I was wondering which of the 4 link gem sets listed are most important in your opinion? I was also wondering if you think of the Snake Bite Assasins Mits are viable for this build? Thanks for any information you can provide, and thanks for the excellent build!

  7. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    266

    On 15/07/2019 at 7:49 AM, Wayne said

    Hello. So I’ve been using your build. guide here, and I must say it works very well. Great guide and build! I’m currently level 65, and have almost all of the recommended items. However I was wondering which of the 4 link gem sets listed are most important in your opinion? I was also wondering if you think of the Snake Bite Assasins Mits are viable for this build? Thanks for any information you can provide, and thanks for the excellent build!

    Hey, thanks for the kind feedback. I’d say that the Herald of Agony Herald of Agony is the most important 4-Link. Snakebite Snakebite unique Gloves are not bad but there are definitely better choices for the build, like Fenumus' Weave Fenumus' Weave.

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