Home Path of Exile Builds Essence Drain + Bane Occultist build guide

Witches are powerful creatures who rely on the elemental and dark arts. They look extremely fragile, but a witch is practically impenetrable as long as she has mana. Witch has no Evasion and Armour but she has an Energy Shield that can absorb literally everything (except Chaos damage), while Evasion and Armour only work for physical attacks. It means that sometimes they can be even more tanky than a warrior. But their main specialty is inflicting a huge amount of damage to large hordes of the enemy. In this guide we will try to strike a balance between invulnerability and power.

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Essence Drain + Bane Occultist build guide 5.0


  • Simple from start to finish.
  • Can do all available in-game content.
  • Fast build considering its tankiness
  • Capable for doing all map mods.


  • May be expensive to scale damage past basic items.

Mechanics and Playstyle

You will be utilizing Curses as the main defencive layer, they are capable of completely stopping enemies from hitting you and, even if they manage to hit, your taken damage will be very insignificant. Also this build uses a keystone called Pain Attunement which makes you deal more damage when on low health . Achieving low life will be done by reserving your life with auras.

Paystyle will be very simple. When you see a group of monsters, kill them with Bane, if you face a boss or a very tanky rare monster use Essence Drain and put your Wither totems.

There will be 2 Skill Trees – first for the non-low life version and another for the low life.

Skill Tree, Bandits and Ascendancy points

Skill Tree

There will be 2 Skill Trees – first for the non-low life version and another for the low life.Essence Drain + Bane Occultist build guide Essence Drain + Bane Occultist build guide


For Bandits, kill them all for 2 skill points.


Ascendancy points build looks like in the picture below.Essence Drain + Bane Occultist build guideGrab Profane Bloom first, then Void Beacon followed by Withering Presence and finish with Malediction.


For Major Gods, I recommend using the Soul of Solaris 

For Minor Gods, take the Soul of Gruthkul or the Soul of Garukhan 


Main gem setup in Bow

  1.  Essence Drain 
  2.  Swift Affliction 
  3.  Empower lvl4 (use lvl 3 if you can’t afford lvl 4)
  4.  Efficacy
  5.  Controlled Destruction
  6.  Void Manipulation

For setup in your Body Armor

  1.  Bane
  2.  Empower lvl4 (use lvl 3 if you can’t afford lvl 4)
  3.  Temporal Chains
  4.  Despair
  5.  Controlled Destruction
  6.  Enfeeble

Auras setup

  1.  Vaal Discipline
  2.  Zealotry
  3.  Enlighten lvl 4
  4.  Use low lvl clarity if you like it

Blood magic and movement setup

  1.  Blood magic (around lvl 15 or higher) 
  2.  Malevolence

and not linked with Blood magic

  1.  Flame Dash
  2.  Arcane surge lvl 5

Wither totems setup:

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

You will be also utilizing the Aspect of the Spider. Can be put on any rare item with an open suffix.

Gear & Jewels

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You will use a crafted bow, I recommend the Reflex Bow which gives movement speed implicit, but you can take advantage of any base with the following mods

  • +1 to Level of Socketed Gems
  • +#% to Damage over Time Multiplier
  • Can have up to 3 Crafted Modifiers
  • +2 to Level of Socketed Support Gems
  • +40% to Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier


Soul Strike Gives us a lot of es and sweet faster start of Energy Shield Recharge, which synergizes with the Wicked Ward. 


Rare Hubris Circlet enchanted with the increased Despair Curse effect and under hunter influence.  

For mods, look for Nearby Enemies that have -9% chaos resistance, the rest needs to be filled with energy shield mods and resists.

Body Armor

Shavronne’s Wrappings is a required item for this build. That makes low hp invulnerable to the chaos damage so we don’t die from it.


Rare Fingerless Silk Gloves under the hunter influence with the following mods:

  • +#% to Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier
  • #% increased Energy Shield
  • +# to maximum Energy Shield
  • Rest fill with resistance or characteristic mods


Standart rare Sorcerer boots with mods like

  • #% increased Energy Shield
  • 30% increased Movement Speed
  • # to maximum Energy Shield
  • Rest fill with resistance modifiers


Presence of Chayula Gives us stun immunity and a good chunk of energy shield, also a lot of chaos.

Anoint it with Tranquility using 2 Golden Oils and 1 Azure Oil


Mark of the Shaper will be the first ring, which we combine with the second ring and gain a lot of spell damage

For the second ring, look for elder influenced ring with mods like 

  • # to maximum Energy Shield
  • Strength
  • You need 1 open prefix to craft faster start of Energy Shield Recharge 
  • Rest fill with resistance modifiers


Rare Crystal Belt under the Crusader influence with following mods:

  • # to maximum Energy Shield
  • #% Increased Energy Shield 
  • Rest fill with resistances and strength modifiers
  • flask modifiers can be useful too


Watcher’s eye +#% Damage over Time Multiplier while affected by malevolence. On the top of that, u can add #% of Maximum Mana as Extra Maximum Energy Shield while affected by Clarity

Energy From Within Placement for this jewel is right above the Witch starting area.

Look for rare jewels if you can’t afford the Watcher’s eye. An ideal variant should contain:

  • #% to Chaos Damage over TIme Multiplier
  • #% Increased maximum Energy Shield
  • And 1 or 2 extra damage mods


Alchemist’s Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline 

Experimenter’s Quartz flask of Warding 

The Sorrow of The Divine great life saving flask. Use it when you have the essence drain on an enemy.

Experimenter’s Silver Flask of Staunching

Bottled Faith expensive flask that gives some damage. Сan be substituted with another utility flask.


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Essence Drain + Bane Occultist build guide 5.0

Begin with any spell, then pick up Contagion and Essence Drain, continue with the essence drain and contagion until you can pick up the Bane in the act 3. From that point leveling should be very easy even without leveling items.

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