Dot Lich

So I tried to make a DoT Lich, using abilities base scaling they do terrible damage.
I am using reaper form, death seal, drain life, spirit plague, hungering souls(specialized only) and transplant (on bar not speced) with Marina’s lost soul.

The issue I have is my warlock buddy I started with does 10 times the dps, has better survival, and has no downtime due to multiple factors… he can throw on a few items and have 6000 ward, I can’t do that because low life reaper form with death seal doesn’t work (death seal removes all ward), so I have 2000 hp with higher resists than him (I’m capped he isn’t) then with death seal you reserve 66% of it so you end up with sub 700 hp in reaper form but gain armour etc, on corruption 100 I still get 1 shot out of reaper form by some enemies.

I know lich used to be good way back but got nerfed, it seems to me it just got replaced by warlock and lich is a joke,

So my question is basically is there a lich build (other than the death seal build that has massive downtime and still does less damage (during its uptime) with less survival than the other subclasses, or should I just reroll to the stupid meta build and do 10x the damage?

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I haven’t played lich but looking at the passives and skill options, Lich isn’t meant to be played as a DoT spammer. That’s definitely Warlock’s role. Lich seems to fit into a role of a sort of heavy hitting bruiser. They have lots of passives available that benefit tankiness, survivability, and sustain which pair well with options for increased crit chance/damage, sacrificing health for raw damage, and a lot of leech.

There are some nodes for DoTs and even some for minions but I would imagine those would be more of a secondary source of DPS. DoT Warlock is surely overtuned atm and makes these other masteries obsolete, but I could see Lich performing well at a more burst damage role. I would look at maybe using something like Bone Curse - Illusion of Pain, Signet of Mortality. Maybe work your way down to the Defile Defenses & Marrow Thief lines. Might work well with Harvest’s Crit lines (bottom-left or mid-right) and maybe Ward generation or health return. General playstyle appears to be “take a few hits while I set up this big kaboom, then wipe the screen or nuke this boss with a single button, get all my hp back on return.”

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Then why did the developers give Lich Drain Life and Aura of Decay 2/3 abilities that lich gets outside of reaper form are dots, and death seal can also be talented to use hungering souls which can be a dot which would make it 3/3.
And to further my logic Drain life is not a HIT ability, neither is aura of decay, there are also plenty of dot scaling passives which you did mention.
With all the above in mind how is it a hit/crit based class when only 1/3 abilities provided by the line is even capable of the hit/crit damage type.

Drain life is geared to keep your reaper form up for an entire echo when properly specialized. Death seal is bugged without taking the soul stability node when playing a life build. Lich is missing its 5th ability in its specialty tree. I focused on a marrow shard, bone curse, reaper form with drain life, and exploding physical infernal shade, or transplant being interchangeable for more DPS or mobility.

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Aura of Decay does produce poison DoT but the primary effect of the skill is reducing your own HP to be used for increased dmg at Low Life or sealing HP with Death Seal (bugged), but also Aura of Decay nodes like Decrepify can inflict Armor Shred on enemies falling into that same role I mentioned prior, reduce hella resistances/armor and then give them a big hit.

Like @jehzir said, Drain Life seems to be more sustain than DPS. Lots of Ward generation nodes, Armor & Res from Contempt node, Health Leech in top right, lots of Slow/Chill debuffs, but maybe can be specced as a nuke from Soul Blast + Malignant Discharge nodes top left. Idk of the top of my head but I imagine there is a skill or passive node somewhere that deals increased dmg or leech to poisoned enemies, making poison useful for increasing your hit or sustain instead of as an outright DoT.

Interactions with Hungering Souls are a good point… with my Warlock I do use the DoT from Hungering Souls, but I primarily use it for sustain too. It has some really good nodes for Ward Generation & Mana return. There are lots of branches that give you more outright dmg and Crit for Hungering Souls too, which would work better for Lich than DoT lines would.

The options to make Lich viable are there, I just don’t think it’s wise to try and turn a sprinter into a marathon runner. Warlock just does DoTs way too well right now to even try to compete in that role. Find a different lane that suits Lich better.