Path of Exile – Quill Rain Poison Assassin Ultimate BUILD

Introduction

Welcome to the guide exile. Now this build I’ve got for you here is a bit out of my wheelhouse, and certainly not a playstyle I have gone about in numerous patches. What we have here is not only a Bow Wielding exile, but a Poison based Bow Assassin that sneaks through enemies, applying deadly damage over time stacks that siphon the life right out of them as we casually traverse the landscape and pick up our precious loot.

 

As a forewarning, this build and play style is much different than that of your usual up front damage dealers, such as an elemental conversion bow character, as we apply a damage over time that kills our enemies. As such, we will usually not be killing enemies on first hit and making them explode in a fanfare of particle effects (I see you over there Elementalist), but rather relishing in their demise as their life pools quickly drain after ramping up few poisons. So if you are not interested in this style of play, this isn’t the build for you! Even still, I found this build to be extremely satisfying both in its clearing speed, coverage and bossing potential, along with a hefty number of defensive layers to make use feel very safe in almost every encounter.

 

With patch 3.0’s changes to poison, and even the Assassin, many of the benefits to running a poison centric or even secondary poison damage build were lost due to the new way poison was calculated. To make a long story short, most modifiers for poison were decoupled from front end damage modifiers, meaning you really have to choose whether you want upfront or backend damage to dominate your build. This meant we ended up heavily relying on many uniques to get our poison damage to feel good. However, with patch 3.2’s update to the Assassin, we are now able to create very powerful poison builds with him with minimal required gear.

 

The main factor that scales the Assassin’s poison damage so well is his ascendancy node: Noxious Strike. This increases poison duration for each subsequent poison that is applied within a 4 second window. This means if we stack hundreds of poisons within a few seconds, they will last a very long time, over 40 seconds on Shaper! This not only increases the damage per second as we have more poisons on the enemy at once, but for how long they will take that damage for! With this in mind, we want to try and stack as many poisons as quickly as possible and there is a great bow for that, the Quill Rain!

 

Usually the Quill Rain cannot be used in that many builds since it has low innate damage, along with a 40% Less Weapon Damage modifier on it, making its upfront damage very poor. Luckily for us, and the 3.0 damage over time changes, we now calculate our poison from the base damage of our attack, prior to upfront modifiers such as projectile damage or the less weapon damage modifier seen on the Quill Rain. This means with the use of Quill Rain or Greater Multiple Projectiles, our poison damage won’t be hindered!

 

Since we are using bows, there are no better skills than Barrage and Tornado Shot to bring the most amount of overlapping projectiles to apply as many poisons as possible. So let us get into the details of this Quill Rain Assassin.

Build Summary

The Quill Rain Assassin is a joy to play and gives you the feeling of almost truly being an assassin as seen in many other genres, weaving through enemies and taking them down with deadly weapon poison. The character you will be seeing in that later parts of this video has been built up with some very nice gear, that being 2 6 Links, +1 Arrow Quiver and a Dying Sun. However, the build still works just fine on 2 5 Links and none of the other items, as seen in this footage of a T12 Map. I was also able to defeat a Red Elder on only 5 Links! But if this is a build you like, it certainly has the room to upgrade into high tier items!

 

Offensively, we are using Poison, delivered by Tornado Shot for clearing and Barrage for single target. I also experimented with Ice Shot which worked fairly well, having a higher base damage, but it struggled a bit more on high density maps as we use a chain for more guaranteed poison applications. Ultimately, you can interchange almost any high base damage bow skill for clearing. I found that once we got all of our extra projectiles, Tornado Shot did the best job of quickly applying many poisons. Since we are Assassin, we will of course be going for Critical Strikes to make use of the damage from Toxic Delivery as well as Perfect Agony gained from one of our flasks. In the Bestiary league we have access to the Fenumus Weave gloves that grants of Aspect of the Spider. This aspect stacks spider webs on our enemies making them take a total of 15% increased damage, as well as the gloves adding more chaos damage to our base attack. Finally, we make use of a Despair Curse Aura granted by our unique amulet.

 

Defensively, we are Evasion & Dodge based. We get Evasion from gear and Dodge from the Tree and Flasks. Along with our base evasion, we also make use of Abyss Jewels to apply Blind to our enemies, making them 50% less accurate. This blind always procs very quickly due to our very high attack speed and number of projectiles that hit them. From our Noxious Strikes Maim and Fenumus Spider Webs, enemies are slowed greatly, making them easy to target and avoid. Even if enemies are able to get near us with their slowed movement, we are able to push and keep almost all them away from us with Knockback from King of the Hill with our incredibly fast attack speed! But even If we are to get hit, we have fairly sizeable effective health, making use of Mind over Matter for more than a 6k+ life pool! On top of all of that we get instant life and mana gain on hit from our Thief’s Torment ring, making recovering from a large hit feel like almost nothing!

 

As for playstyle, we simply enable blood rage, roll our flasks and phase run through enemies, releasing a few quick Tornado Shots to begin their quick slip into the afterlife. Remember we are applying a damage over time, so you do not need to shoot at enemies until they are dead. For the most part, I found around two thirds to half life left on the enemy, they would then quickly succumb to the poison stacks. For any heavy single target, simply drop your wither totem and barrage them down! Poison stacks should begin to really shine once the target drops below two thirds life.

 

Also, a nice little trick for Elder is to bring a frostwall for Phase 2. This lets you protect Shaper from the add projectiles since we cannot instantly kill the deadly adds that spawn in phase two as we need to wait a second for our poison to ramp!

 

The Passive Trees and Path of Building Pastebin are included in the Description:

https://pastebin.com/6uM3DJqi

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Very durable bow character
  • Clears very quickly for a damage over time build
  • Budget friendly to get started
  • Can run any map mod!
  • We can role play a sneaky Assassin

 

Cons

  • Doesn’t have flashy heralds or shatters
  • Damage over Time so enemies don’t die instantly

 

Class & Ascendancy Options

For Class & Ascendancy, we are choosing the Shadow and Assassin. The Assassin is one of the best and most powerful ways to build into poison in patch 3.2. As stated before, it is Noxious Strikes that brings the meat of the damage. It allows us to stack poisons, and thusly increasing their duration, which means more stacks of poison on the target at once for more damage per second! It also gives us another total 2% base critical strike, if we apply 20 or more poisons on that target. Toxic Delivery grants us 30% more damage with our poisons, as well as some minor life recovery for mapping. Unstable Infusion is our Power Charge generator and Deadly Infusion provides more buffs to our power charges with more critical strike multiplier and another 2% base critical strike chance. This means our 5% base critical strike chance Quill Rain will have 9% base critical strike chance when attacking most all targets!

 

For Ascendancy Progression, I would follow this order:

  1. Noxious Strikes
  2. Toxic Delivery
  3. Unstable Infusion
  4. Deadly Infusion

Passive Tree & Progression

We grab the following Keystones in the tree:

  1. Acrobatics – For one point, this keystone provides us with 30% chance to dodge attacks. Since we do not stack armour or block, this is very valuable.

 

  1. Phase Acrobatics – Due to the low mitigation properties of the build, I found grabbing the extra 10% attack dodge chance leading up to Phase Acrobatics and the 30% spell dodge chance from Phase Acrobatics to be very helpful in all scenarios.

 

  1. Mind over Matter – Since much of the gear we wear has low life values and we make use of a Thief’s Torment ring. Mind over Matter makes for an excellent effective life buffer to add into our build, easily bringing us over 6k effective life!

 

Here is the complete endgame passive tree:

http://poeurl.com/b3kN

 

Defensively, we make sure to grab all the life & mana notable nodes that we can in the tree, along with the major defensive keystones of the build. Getting these mana nodes are very nice, not only for their effective HP, but the attributes and flask effects we get from them.

 

Offensively, we get poison damage and chance, bow critical strike, multiplier and jewel sockets.

 

I would follow this tree progression into the final tree:

 

Level 30: http://poeurl.com/b3k1

 

For Bandits, we will be helping Alira, for the Critical Strike Multiplier and Elemental Resistances.

 

Level 50: http://poeurl.com/b3k0

 

Level 70: http://poeurl.com/b3kZ

 

Pantheons

Some useful Pantheons for the build include:

Major:

  • Soul of the Brine King – for avoiding chain stuns
  • Soul of Lunaris – for more movement speed and dodge chance

 

Minor:

  • Any of the minors can be used depending on the situation.

Gem Links

Here are the following gem links for the build. Support gem links are show in order of importance. Gems with set level are either due to their effect not scaling with level or requirement for cast when damage taken.

6 Link – Bow

Tornado ShotAdded Chaos DamageGreater Multiple ProjectilesChain Mirage ArcherDeadly Ailments

This is for clearing trash and minor single target. I found Mirage Archer really nice as my 5th link as it allowed for more poison applications, coverage and the ability to hit bosses with tornado shot once to have mirage archer effectively act as another damage support whilst you barrage them! If it doesn’t feel powerful enough, simply swap in Deadly Ailments instead.

I also recommend getting a level 21 Tornado Shot for more base damage, these are very cheap. We do not care about its quality as projectile damage does nothing for poison anymore!

6 Link – Body Armour

Barrage Added Chaos Damage Greater Multiple ProjectilesDeadly AilmentsVile ToxinsFaster Attacks

This is how you stack absurd amounts of poison on bosses. The close you stand to the target, the more projectiles that are likely to hit it. I found being between kissing and a casual half the screen waving distance was appropriate for getting the most out of your barrage.

I also recommend getting a level 21 Barrage for more base damage, these are very cheap. We do not care about its quality as projectile damage does nothing for poison anymore!

I have also done various testing in Path of Building & and in game for testing the best 6th link. I found that a 20% Quality Faster Attacks beats Void Manipulation, Swift Affliction & Marriage Archer for both kill speed and amount of poisons we can stack in a 4 second period.

4 Link

Despair Increased Area of EffectBlasphemy Blood Rage

Due to the use of the Impresence amulet, we are able to reserve a despair blasphemy for free, regardless of supports linked to it. I chose area of effect to make it more comfortable for mapping range, but you could also use an Enhance Gem for more damage.

4 Link

Cast when Damage Taken (level 10)Immortal Call (level 1) Increased Duration (level 20) – Summon Ice Golem (level 12)

You can also swap Ice Golem for Vaal Haste in mapping if you wish to do so.

4 Link

Wither Faster CastingSpell Totem Blink Arrow

Blink arrow doesn’t need to be linked, was just the remaining slot I had open for it.

 

Gearing

 

Head

As per usual, with most all crit dexterity based builds, a Starkonja’s Head is one of the best options available. It provides critical strike chance, attack speed and dexterity for more accuracy which we lack, along with a great life roll, which we also lack! These are also very easy to find an enchant on, so that is a plus!

Here are some Unique options:

Fenumus Toxins This is the helmet I originally used, but it lacked life and only provided some poison damage, but is very nice for filling out your poison chance for your tornado shot.

Lightpoacher

Here is the rare helmet affix priority if you choose to use on:

  • +# to Maximum Life
  • +# to Maximum Life / +# to Innate
  • +# to Accuracy
  • +#% to Elemental Resistances

 

Enchantments

For the Helmet Enchant, you will want to look for:

  • Barrage fires an Additional Projectile (for bossing)
  • Tornado Shot fires 2 additional secondary Projectiles (for mapping)
  • Blood Rage Grants 12% Increased Attack Speed (General)

 

Body

A Dendrobate is the perfect chest for this build. It has a built in Lesser Poison, filling out the rest of our poison chance and giving some more flat chaos damage for out poison, along with significant increases to our poison damage and duration since we meet both of those attribute requirements. Finally we get much needed resistances, due to only being able to use one ring.

Here are some other Unique options:

Belly of the Beast

Cloak of Defiance – This chest would let you drop MoM from the tree and adjust accordingly, but would then require you to find resistances on other gear or in the passive tree.

If you choose to use none of these, you may also make use of a rare body armour with the following affix priority:

  • +# to Maximum Life
  • +# to Maximum Life / +# to Innate
  • +#% to Elemental Resistances
  • +# to Strength (Mastercraft for Life)

Gloves

We will be using the Fenumus Weave gloves. As mentioned before, these provide the Aspect of the Spider. This is reserved like a herald and will apply up to 3 spiders webs on enemies within around a screens distance, making them take 15% increased damage and move 30% slower! The gloves also provide us with more ailment damage and flat chaos damage for attacks. These are great offensive and defensive bonuses for us.

I wouldn’t really recommend any other unique gloves, but you could make use of these:

Maligaro’s Virtuosity

Tombfist’s

Here is the rare glove affix priority. You could also make some rare gloves and craft aspect of the spider on them:

  • +# to Maximum Life
  • +# to Maximum Life / +# to Innate
  • +# – # Physical Damage to Attacks
  • #% Increased Attack Speed
  • +# to Accuracy

Boots

Our boots will simply be rare to help fill out Life and Elemental Resistances. Try and get a 30%+ movement speed roll on these so you can zip through withering enemies as quickly as possible!

Here are some Unique options if your resistances are fulfilled:

Atziri’s Step

Redblade Tramplers

If you choose to use none of these, you may also make use of rare boots with the following affix priority:

  • +# to Maximum Life
  • +# to Maximum Life / +# to Innate
  • #% Increased Movement Speed
  • +#% to Elemental Resistances

Enchantments

  • Bossing120% increased Critical Strike Chance if you haven’t Crit Recently
  • Mapping 16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you’ve Killed Recently

Belt

You will want to get a rare belt mainly focusing on Life, Strength & Elemental Resistances. I was able to snag an Stygian Vise for a reasonable price for the extra Abyssal Socket and master craft movement speed on it.

Belt Affix Priority:

  • +# to Maximum Life
  • +#% to Elemental Resistances
  • +# to Strength
  • #% Increased Flask Effects

Amulet

We will be using the chaos variant of the Impresence amulet from Elder. We get damage over time,  flat chaos damage, life and some chaos resistance. Now the best part is, is that we get to reserve a free despair curse blasphemy for more damage at no mana reserve cost! Another benefit we get, is whenever we kill a rare or unique mob, we gain Maddening Presence for 10 seconds. This the dark aura that appears around the character, slowing enemies by 10% and reducing their damage by 10%! This buff is frequently up during mapping and makes us look like an even darker and spookier assassin!

If you choose not to use this amulet, you could then make use of a rare amulet with the following affixes:

 

  • +# to Maximum Life/Mana
  • At least 2 Offensive Affixes:
  • +#% to Global Critical Strike Multiplier
  • +# – # Physical Damage to Attacks
  • +# to Strength
  • +#% to Elemental Resistances

Rings

Since we are a damage over time focused build, we have next to no upfront damage. This means percentage based leech is non existent so to sustain we have to get a bit crafty for sustain…or just use a Thief’s Torment. In actuality, it’s a great ring for this build since we get not only life gain on hit but mana gain on hit for sustaining both of our health pools! We also get 50% reduced curse effectiveness on us, a bunch of resistance and some Quantity for minor magic find. However, this does come at the cost of not being able to use our other ring slot, but that is just fine with all the bonuses we get from this ring!

 

Weapon

Finally we will be using a Quill Rain for our weapon. This is basically our best in slot weapon as it provides insane attack speed for our poison delivery, with no downsides for damage over time due to the 3.0 changes to damage over time calculations. We can start using it right when we can equip it at level 5!

If you are keen on getting one of these as a 6 link, they are very cheap on the market, as there is a divination card that returns a 6 link white short bow that you can gamble chance and scour into a Quill Rain!

For our quiver, we will be using Maloney’s Nightfall. This quiver is great for our build, as it provides attack speed, life, physical damage and #% increased damage with ailments against blinded enemies!

 

Flasks

For our flasks, we will be using the following:

 

  1. Coralito’s Signature – This flask provides us the Perfect Agony keystone whilst in use, 25% chance to poison to shore up our clearing skill’s poison chance and poison duration! Along with this, its a diamond flask base to bolster our critical strike chance further!

 

  1. Sulphur Flask – This is a good flask that provides some regeneration and increased damage.

 

  1. Quartz Flask – This is a great defensive flask, greatly increasing your dodge chance and allowing you to slip through enemies with phasing.

 

  1. Quicksilver Flask – Almost a necessity to get good movement speed. Make sure you at least get the Adrenaline suffix for more movement speed!

 

  1. Life Flask (Divine or Eternal) – Finally, you will want a life flask rolled with increased or instant recovery.

Here are some other Unique Flask Options:

Dying Sun – This Flask is amazing for stacking more poisons and more clearing coverage. I highly recommend getting it as soon as you can. Replace your Sulphur Flask with this.

Jewels

As for jewels, I will provide the affix priority for both regular and Abyss jewels.

For regular Jewels we want to look for the following Affixes:

  • #% Increased Damage with Poison
  • #% Increased Attack Speed (with Bows)
  • #% Increased Maximum Life/Mana
  • +#% to Global Critical Strike Multiplier
  • #% Increased (Chaos) Damage

For Abyss Jewels we want to look for the following Affixes:

    • #% Chance to Blind Enemies with Attacks
    • +# to Maximum Life/Mana
    • +# – # Physical Damage to Attacks (with Bows)
  • +#% to Global Critical Strike Multiplier
  • #% Increased Attack Speed if you’ve dealt a critical strike recently
  • #% Chance to Gain Onslaught on Kill

You will want to get at least one abyss jewel with #% Chance to Gain Onslaught on Kill for increasing you map clear. Along with this try and get  #% Chance to Blind Enemies with Attacks on that same jewel or another one, aiming for more than ~8% chance to blind in total.

Leveling Tips

As long as you have some currency to buy simple leveling uniques, this build is a blast to level. I managed to power through the story in under 5 hours with no issue. Right after you get your first ascendancy, bosses are a joke!

Goldrim

Wanderlust

Tabula Rasa

Lochtonial Caress

Blackheart

Silverbranch

Craghead

Quill Rain

Karui Ward

Meginord’s Girdle

Dusktoe

Thief’s Torment

Drillneck

Elreon -# Mana Cost jewellery is very useful in this build since we attack so fast with the Quill Rain. Once we get a Thief’s Torment its smooth sailing from there out.

For your gem progression, I recommend the following:

In the beginning we won’t be able to make much use of Poison yet, so we will mainly focus on fast attack speed with some added elemental damage until we get more flat physical and/or chaos from items and gems.

Level 1:

  • Split Arrow – Lesser Poison – Onslaught – Chance to Bleed

Level 4:

  • Caustic Arrow – Split Arrow – Lesser Poison – Onslaught – Chance to Bleed – Mirage Archer

I found Caustic Arrow pretty decent on Single Target to begin with until we get Barrage.

Level 10:

  • Blink Arrow

Level 12:

Quill Rain

  • Split ArrowLesser Poison Pierce Onslaught Mirage Archer

Tabula

  • Barrage – Lesser Poison – Lesser Multiple Projectiles – Mirage Archer – Added Cold – Chance to Bleed

Level 16:

    • Herald of Ice & Herald of Thunder
  • Blood Rage

Level 18:

At this point you will have your Dusktoe’s for flat Chaos Damage whilst you are using a flask, making for a good base with other flat physical damage to get poison damage.

Tabula

  • Barrage – Lesser Poison – Lesser Multiple Projectiles – Mirage Archer – Deadly Ailments – Chance to Bleed
  • Wither – Faster Casting – Spell Totem

Level 28:

  • Tornado Shot Lesser PoisonLesser Multiple ProjectilesMirage ArcherDeadly Ailments

Drop your split arrow for Tornado Shot!

Level 31:

Here is where the damage ramps up if you have your first ascendancy and pop in an added chaos damage.

Quill Rain

  • Tornado Shot Added Chaos DamageLesser PoisonLesser Multiple ProjectilesMirage Archer

Tabula

  • Barrage – Added Chaos Damage – Lesser Poison – Lesser Multiple Projectiles – Deadly Ailments – Void Manipulation

Drop your heralds for the Blasphemy aura!

  • Blasphemy – Despair

From here, you will want to fill out your supporting gem setups and replace support gems in you main links with the ones in the guide. Again, you should be able to get through the first few acts on just simple front end and some rear end damage, but once you get added chaos and your first labyrinth completed, you will just handle mobs and bosses without issue!

Conclusion

So there you have it! Poison is not dead!… at least with the Assassin… OH and I made a bow character!! And for the first time, I have had a joy playing bow character. This build has managed to get me through some of the most difficult content with ease due to having no real map mod weakness, good defensive layers and pseudo instant leech! I was able to get excellent experience rates through mapping and could take down all the endgame bosses, bar Uber Elder as I have not attempted him. The spider web’s hinder, Assassin’s maim & our poison make most all bosses very easy to manage. I hope that you have enjoyed the build as much as I have and get to experience a sneaky assassin that loads there targets full of crippling, life sapping arrows. As a side note, I got baited by the Shaper Clone on the slam here, ruining my deathless run, but no worries, our beefy poison cleans him right up! As always, thanks for watching and I’ll see you in the next one exile.