So I had been wanting to play an Essence Drain Spellslinger Trickster recently. I really like the Spellslinger concept in that it functions similarly to a Poet’s Pen or trigger when used to support a spell skill while wielding a wand. Here’s my evaluation thus far with the build.
First, early leveling isn’t that fun. You pretty much start with Blight then add Contagion until you get Essence Drain at level 12. You also supplement it with a Wither supported by a spell totem to add a debuff to your enemies (particularly boss fights).
Once you hit level 24, I believe you can start using Spellslinger. But at that point, you only will be able to use two Spellslingers just because of the mana reservation cost. You just need to have an attack skill like Frenzy to trigger your two abilities. From there it’s a lot easier to manage because you no longer have to coordinate with both abilities.
Eventually, around level 60-62 if you have the gear, you can start using the Presence of Chayula and Shavronne’s Wrappings and possibly the Vertex. I started moving towards low life and energy shield around this point. At level 68, you can add a Prism Guardian and insert a few aura gems like Malevolence, Discipline and Zealotry.
For my weapon, I chose a wand and made sure it had Trigger A Socketed Spell When You Use A Skill. For now, I just have Despair and Tempest Shield, although my Frenzy is placed here as well (I have seen others put Frenzy into a ring socket) By this point you should be pretty optimized with your basic skill gems.
One thing I did was add Soulrend and another Spellslinger gem connected with Greater Multiple Projectiles and Controlled Destruction for a little extra DPS. You do need to pick up mana reduction nodes on the skill tree though or be forced to cut out some support gems.
Right now, I’m sitting above 6k ES and am reasonably tanky. There are a few key optimizations like using a Very Large Ring Thread of Hope for a few major skills on the left side of the tree (namely Glancing Blows) and a Transcendent Flesh for the damage over time multiplier. Both of these items I’m missing but it would require a fair amount of investment for skills and currency to pick those up.
So far, the build is fun but not what I would consider to be a really high end build. The biggest issue with Essence Drain in general is poor damage vs single target. I am missing my last ascendancy in Prolonged Pain but I don’t know how much more effective that will make the damage. Most of the fun with this build is in massive map clearing, especially Legion encounters. The automation part helps but I’m sure that it’s no where as good as manual casting since you’re sacrificing an Empower as well as some other major pieces of gear like a well crafted bow.
Nonetheless, the idea here was to give the build idea a try as opposed to just playing normal Essence Drain/Contagion. I might fool around with it a little more but I can’t see myself pushing that hard with it.