Path of Exile – The Best Variant of Essence Drain
Essence Drain is a spell that uses a chaos projectile, inflicting a debuff upon hitting the enemy. The debuff causes damage over time while regenerating some of that debuff damage as life.
This spell can cause a considerable amount of damage, but is limited in targeting one enemy per cast, thus it has limitations when it is used alone when facing a horde of enemies. It works well when projectile support skills are also in play, allowing you to hit more enemies at once.
Path of Exile has a number of variants of Essence Drain:
Trickster is considered by many players to be the fastest of character builds, with has high quality of life as well as high attainable levels of defense. The Trickster combination of Delirium Sai and Delirium Dagger allows you to swap weapons quickly and aggressively, allowing you to take on bosses and clear maps efficiently. The Trickster variant of ED has an impressive amount of regeneration, attack speed, cast speed and overall utility for grinding levels in general, while accumulating PoE items for the grind.
Trickster is also a good variant, especially when using Skin of the Loyal, one of the Path of Exile items that is well-suited for it. The attack and cast speed bonuses are highly attractive, allowing you to power through maps more easily than with others. It works well even at when you are at lower to middling levels of gear.
One of the drawbacks for the Trickster build is that it is relatively mediocre for Energy Shield-based builds. This is primarily because the dodge and evasion maneuvers are useless, for the most part. Also, Frenzy Charges are only good for defeating the lesser enemies, not bosses. Attack speed for Trickster ranges in the area of about 35 percent or so, but if you have a fast Decay weapon, it helps immensely.
Occultist is another well-regarded variant of ED, especially when armed with Delirium, along with Bow and Soulstrike. As a stronger boss killer with the unique ability for interruption protection of the Energy Shield regeneration, Occultist has key advantages over Trickster as an ED variant build.
Even though the Bow and Soulstrike versions of Occultist have been nerfed recently, it is still a highly powerful build. Running a build like a CI Occultist with Dagger and Shield, you can gain plenty of currency farming Shaper maps. The Dagger happens to be very effective against the Shaper.
As for the drawbacks of Occultist, Profane Bloom can have surprisingly limiting effects on your clear speed, mostly because it stops ED from spreading. You can approach this problem by applying Wicked Ward and Vile Bastion as your defenses, however they are somehow not very useful.
Pathfinder with a Decay weapon, such as a Dagger or Scepter is another favorite variant of ED. With Pathfinder, a wide variety of enemies can be defeated even without using Shield Charge. Armed with as little as a Wand, you can still inflict plenty of damage and make progress in clearing maps.