Path of Exile [3.4] – TOXIC RAIN + HERALD OF AGONY Pathfinder in-DEPTH Build

Toxic Rain is all new skill gem introduced in 3.4 Delve League. It’s a cool toxic, poison version of Rain of Arrows with 3-phase damage.
Herald of Agony is another new one, a MINION Herald skill gem!
There’s a lot of CONFUSION going on about new skill gems and i am gonna save you time and explain all in detail.

CREDIT:

All credit goes to pathofexile.com & for Angry_Roleplayer for the guide.

Hardcore Viable or not?

Viable. Master Alchemist is also a very good safety option for HC

PROS

+decent AOE
+great single target damage without Barrage or Elemental Hit
+great clear speed with usual high Pathfinder mobility
+permanent flask uptime
+no need to PIERCE heavily, like in CA setup

CONS

-Still pretty squishy as relies mostly on acrobatics and Evasion. Leech is there, but pretty low with Quill Rain
-slow outside of Quill Rain and Quicksilver
-clear speed might not be as fast as Caustic Arrow
-stacking Virulence is harder with slow bow
-mana issues are there because of high APS

How does TOXIC RAIN work, in general?
1) Toxic Rain is an Attack, AoE, Chaos, Duration, Projectile, Bow skill with 50% physical and 50% chaos damage.. wow.. Complex isn’t it?
Let me explain! First of all it’s a classic attack bow skill which directly scales with WEAPON DAMAGE. At the same time the skill itself has 3 phases:
a) actual arrow hit
b) pod damage over time / move speed debuff
c) pod explosion
The first one is pretty normal. Like any attack hit. It’s pretty low damage since it’s only 50-72.8 of base damage
The second one lasts 1 second by default and does CHAOS damage over time.

It’s also pretty small and is around 15% of what caustic arrow does. HOWEVER! , it can be scaled with Increased Duration and Skill Effect Duration, as well as Concentrated Effect and a lot of different gems like Swift Affliction and Efficacy. You will need about 1.5-2 APS (for 7 Pods on the ground) to start reaching the numbers of the CA. Nature’s Reprisal pathfinder ascendancy also increases the AOE of pod DoTs and explosions. The amount of attack speed and longer duration of pods greatly increase DoT aspect of Toxic Rain. The amount of pods you have at once (as per addtinional projectiles) can also scale DoT damage as will most likely overlap each other and they STACK.

The third one is the most interesting cause it does around 60 to 80% of our damage (with default gems). Explosions do area damage hits and, of cause, scale with your weapon damage. At the same time these hits can also apply poison and overlap each other, creating chain-pod POISONING explosions. The amount of pods on the ground is only limited but your attacks per second, pod duration and additional projectiles.
2) There are FIVE ways how to scale pod damage directly and indirectly: weapon damage, attack speed, more projectiles, more pod duration (DoT), more poison duration (ailment).
a) With high weapon damage (high phys bow like Lioneys’s Glare) and gems like Added Chaos, your pods will hit hard, but you will be slow as well. High weapon damage also means stronger poison hits.
b) With high APS and bows like Quill Rain your pods will do around x2 less damage, but you will attack twice as fast, plant 2x more pods and overall will have much higher mobility. Will Blink Arrow much faster too.
c) Using Dying Sun and bows like Death’s Harp or quivers with extra arrow you will plant EXTRA pods. More pods = more potential damage. POTENTIAL because pods spread across the screen and not sit on top of each other. So, using gems like Greater Multiple Projectiles can be counter-productive in some cases.
d) Scaling Damage over Time aspect of pods with Increased Duration, Skill Effect Duration and adding Concentrated Effect, Efficacy or even Decay (Decay does NOT stack, so it’s pretty useless for Quill Rain)
e) Using Poison Support (in early game), Coralito’s Signature and even Dendrobate can greatly scale and stack Poison on enemies, to a point where Poison goes AHEAD of your DoT damage even.
3) Vaal Blight and Spell Totem with Wither help with bosses, debuffing them for more chaos damage!
4) You can use Animated Guardian with classic setup to boost your Herald as well, if you wish!

How does HERALD OF AGONY work, in general?

1) Herald of Agony is a new, MINION Herald gem.
Herald reserves a part of your mana and gives you increased poison damage as well as high chance to poison.
When you poison an enemy with Herald active you summon an Agony Crawler scorpion and start gaining Virulence (caps at 40). Your Crawler is a MINION which does projectile and area attacks. So he scales with all kind of attack damage as well as generic minion damage and CHAOS damage. Crawler also scales directly with Virulence stacks. You need to keep hitting enemies and poisoning them in order to maintain these stacks, and it’s only possible with fast attacks, high chance to poison and decent mobility to chase monsters around. When you lose all stacks your crawler vanishes. Master Toxicist Pathfinder passive directly helps keeping Virulence stacks up!

Early Levelling Gear / Skills

Start with Caustic Arrow + Pierce and use it till level 12 when you get Toxic Rain.
Toxic Rain 3L: Toxic Rain-Mirage Archer-Void Manipulation
Toxic Rain 4L: Toxic Rain-Mirage Archer-Void Manipulation-Vicious Projectiles

In act 2 you will get Herald of Agony after doing Sharp and Cruel. Just buy minion damage gem and you are set.
Herald of Agony 4L: Herald of Agony-Vicious Projectiles-Minion Damage-Faster Attacks/Withering Touch/Damage on Full Life
At Level 24 get Despair and at level 31 start using it with Blasphemy. You will drop it later when you get Witchfire Brew.

Great till you get Quill Rain or Death’s Harp

Gear / End-Game Skills

WIP
For Uber Lab enchant: 40% Toxic Rain damage if not running 6L Herald or using Coming Calamity. 30% Reduced Herald of Agony if running 6L Herald on Belly of the Beast and everything else.
Link setup here is a balance between dot, poison and pod explosions!
Toxic Rain 5L: Toxic Rain-Damage on Full Life-Void Manipulation-Vicious Projectiles-Mirage Archer
Toxic Rain 6L: Toxic Rain-Damage on Full Life-Void Manipulation-Vicious Projectiles-mirage Archer-Added Chaos
For maximum DoT stacking:
Toxic Rain 6L: Toxic Rain-Void Manipulation-Vicious Projectiles-Swift Affliction-Increased Duration-Efficacy
Herald of Agony 5L: Herald of Agony-Vicious Projectiles-Minion Damage-Withering Touch-Damage on Full Life
Herald of Agony 6L: Herald of Agony-Vicious Projectiles-Minion Damage-Withering Touch-Damage on Full Life-Added Chaos.
Using Maim and Pierce instead of Withering Touch is also a great option!
For now you can see all end-game gear in Path of Building!
Chests are 5 options:
1) https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Cherrubim%27s_Maleficence generic best for overall damage
2) https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Belly_of_the_Beast for high life/resists (7+k life)
3) https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/The_Coming_Calamity BEST for Crawler + the only way to use Grace as an aura on a 6L Herald. But it would be very hard to get proper socket colors!
4) https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Kaom%27s_Heart the only way to reach 8K life! You will have to put Crawler in helm or gloves
5) https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Loreweave another good all-around for both damage and toughness.

Gloves:

The Embalmer

Boots: any rare HP/res or Atziri’s Step
Rings: Steel Rings or anything with Chaos Damage and Chaos Damage to Attacks

BEHEMOTH FINGER
Verified

Amulet: Impresence with Chaos Damage or any High Life/Resists.
Helm: Starkonja or any rare. In case of Kaom’s you need Shaper helm with Minion Damage/Conc.Effect
Jewels: 1 Spreading Rot

SPREADING ROT
Verified

Generic ones with max life/damage over time/chaos damage/poison duration.

for Stygian Vise = max life + chance to get onslaught/taunt.
Belt: Stygian Vise high hp/res and CHAOS DAMAGE. This one is crafted with Aberrant Fossil.

Stygian Vise

Bows: Quill Rain or Lioneye’s Glare/High Phys rare.
Quivers: Maloney’s Nightfall is a great cheap option, Drillneck or any rare phys/hp/res. Drillneck is here for flat phys and attack speed. It does not pierce. For Maloney you will need either Blind Support or high Blind chance on jewels.

FLASK

Witchfire Brew
Coralito’s Signature
Sulphur/Quicksilver with anti-freeze
Blood of the Karui / Any Life Flask
Atziri’s Promise for LEECH (highly recommended with high phys bow!)
Dying Sun is great for additional pods.
Lavaianga’s Spirit can also be used to solve mana problems, as well as Zerphi’s Last Breath can be used instead of Life flask 🙂

Skill Tree Progression / Path of Building / Ascendancy / Bandits

Path of building: https://pastebin.com/bxKcCFtp
For Ascendancy: Nature’s Boon, Nature’s Reprisal, Master Toxicist, Nature’s Adrenaline (uber lab). Master Alchemist is also a very good safety option for HC
Bandits: Kill All

VIDEO BUILD GUIDE:

https://youtu.be/UcamkTN_zVQ
Caustic Arrow vs. Toxic Rain for DoT build:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXIhlevSTJg
How to Get a 6L Quill Rain for cheap:

 https://youtu.be/4RQLujOJBDQ