News & Guides

PoE Builds 3.24: Essence Drain Occultist Build

By Nancy G2024-06-07

The Essence Drain Occultist is a powerful build that revolves around the skill 'Essence Drain', chaos damage over time spell that is capable of dealing significant damage to enemies. This build is particularly popular as a league starter due to its scalability and the fact that it doesn't require expensive unique items to be effective.


 Essence Drain Occultist pic


Core Skill: Essence Drain

•  Skill Gem: Essence Drain

•  Support Gems: Controlled Destruction, Efficacy, Void Manipulation, Swift Affliction, and Empower (if you have a 6-link).


Secondary Skill: Contagion

•  Skill Gem: Contagion

•  Support Gems: Increased Area of Effect, Intensify, Faster Casting.


Playstyle and Mechanics

•  Cast Contagion followed by Essence Drain on a group of enemies.

•  Essence Drain will spread to any enemy affected by Contagion, causing a chain reaction of chaos damage.

•  This combo allows for efficient clearing of packs of monsters.


Defense and Utility

•  Ascendancy: Occultist for additional chaos damage, energy shield bonuses, and curse effectiveness.

•  Curses: Temporal Chains and Enfeeble are used to slow enemies and reduce their damage.

•  Defense: Energy Shield is based on evasion and dodge.


Gear and Modifiers

•  Look for gear that provides high energy shields, resistances, and increased chaos damage or damage over time.

•  Recommended unique items include Heretic's Veil for curse effectiveness and Allelopathy gloves for a free Blight spell.


Passive Tree

•  Focus on chaos damage, damage over time, and energy shield nodes.

•  Allocate passives like 'Wicked Ward' and 'Vile Bastion' for energy shield sustain.


Bandit Choice

•  Help Alira with the critical strike multiplier, resistances, and mana regeneration, or kill all for the passive points.


Pantheon Choices

•  Major God: Soul of the Brine King to help against stuns.

•  Minor God: Soul of Shakari for poison immunity and reduced chaos damage taken.


Leveling Tips

•  Start with Caustic Arrow or Freezing Pulse until you can acquire Essence Drain and Contagion.

•  Use Lifesprig, Wanderlust, and Goldrim to ease the leveling process.


Pros and Cons

•  Pros: Excellent league starter, great at clearing maps, scalable into the late game.

•  Cons: Single target damage can be lacking without investment and is vulnerable to one-shots if not careful.



The Essence Drain Occultist is a versatile and powerful build that excels in clearing content and has a smooth progression from early to late games. With the right gear and understanding of the mechanics, this build can take you through all content levels in Path of Exile.

This guide provides a comprehensive look at the Essence Drain Occultist build, covering everything from the core mechanics and playstyle to gear choices and leveling tips. You can refer to dedicated Path of Exile build websites and community resources for more detailed information, including specific gear recommendations and passive tree layouts. Remember, the key to success with any build is to adapt and optimize it to your playstyle and the challenges you face in Wraeclast. Good luck, Exile!

Was this helpful?