Lich poison build help

Hello everyone.
I am playing a 90 lvl lich with the spells of Reaper, Spirit Plaque , Wandering Spirits , Aura of Decay and Death seal.
I have been putting more poison and dmg over time but my damage does not feel that great as the maximum stack i get in poison with everything is around 140-160 on dummies with a maximum damage of 500k and average 250k-450k. I am able to kill group of mobs easily in corruption 100 but i lack survivability.

  1. My reaper form does not stay up through a 100 corruption monolith as i will either get one shot to normal or one shot and die . What’s stats should i focus to increase my survivability apart from resistances
  2. I have a lot of leach life on damage and spell dmg basically maxing everything around those stats and still do not manage to sustain the damage i receive even having a group of mobs poisoned and spirit plaque
    3)Is there a way to increase the number of poison stacks faster ?

Kind Regards

1 Like
  1. Ward Generation/s, Ward Retention, Ward Threshold. With a Aura of Decay Build you also need -% damage over time taken. The base Oracle Amulet can give you a flat 6% to 20% less + Grand or Ornate Idol can give you 3% to 6% or 4% to 9% less respectively. You can also have some armor and make part of your armor work on DoT. Base Eternal Gauntlets do that and an experimental affix on Gauntlets (Exile Mage drop) can give you that. Combo if you find it in an Eternal Gauntlets as the base. I don’t know if any Unique/Set can help with that but you can search it up.

Life steal is good and all for Reaper form but you really need EHP for not getting OS and the way to achieve that more easily is by playing around Wards + some resistance, life & armor.

  1. Ward Generation is the answer here.

  2. Using an active skill.

Oops, I wrote a lot, so there’s a TL;DR at the bottom if you don’t wanna read allat.

As someone who mains Poison Lich, I’d like to offer a different opinion to the other person who replied here; my suggestion to you is to ignore Ward as a defense entirely as it is unsuitable for Lich. Death Seal, your strongest skill as a Lich, removes all Ward as its default behavior and thus completely negates Ward as a defensive layer for Lich. You have to pick one or the other, and Death Seal is too powerful to give up for Ward. Speaking of, if you don’t have the Deadlock node in Death Seal already, make that your top priority.

Poison Lich is one of the tankiest builds in the game when built correctly, but there are some steps you need to take to make that happen:

  1. Build for % Endurance in the slots where you can get it. You only need 60% total, as that is the hard cap in the game. There’s an Empowered Monolith blessing that gives it from Spirits of Fire, and that gives 18%-30%. That plus a single high tier suffix on your gear somewhere will let you hit the cap. Endurance is always-on DR when your life is below the Endurance Threshold, and using it in combination with Death Seal’s damage resistance is a core pillar of Lich’s tankiness.
  2. Build for Life. As a Lich you need a minimum of 2k life. Don’t build Endurance Threshold, because that stat scales with your life total anyway, so building life is more efficient.
  3. Build for Healing Effectiveness in the prefix slots where it can go. If you’re relying on poison stacking and Aura of Decay, you should be using the node in AoD called Absence of Life, which heals you for 8% of your missing health every tick with 4 points invested. When you stack enough Healing Effectiveness (217% to break even at 75% poison res, around 800% to heal your entire health pool every tick), combined with your natural Leech stats as a Lich, your health is going to be topped off in basically every situation. As a side effect, the additional healing will allow you to stay in Reaper Form for multiple monoliths in a row, drastically extending the duration of your second life bar and reducing the need to recast.
  4. Build for Armor. If your resistances are solved by gear, replace the resistance blessings with Armor blessings in Empowered Monoliths. Armor applies to every hit type in the game (70% to non-physical damage).

Now for Damage, calculate how much Poison on hit chance you have. Lich (Acolyte in general really) is notable in that it gets a lot of free “poison on hit” chance from sources you want to use anyway, meaning there’s less reason to build for it on gear slots like your weapon. You’re gonna want to try and hit 400% at a minimum for your primary skill. This includes the “Poison on Hit chance” Blessing from Empowered Reign of Dragons, so consider that option if you don’t already have it. Here are my totals for Wandering Spirits, as an example:

Poison Calc for Wandering Spirits
  • Wandering Spirits Spectral Putrescence: 100%
  • 10 points into Decaying Form on the Lich Passive Tree: 130%
  • 8 points into Vile Tide on the Warlock Passive Tree: 48%
  • 2 Tongues of the Aberrant Seer in my ring slots: 32% each for 64% total
  • Grand Taste of Venom Blessing from Empowered Reign of Dragons: 88%
  • 4 Adorned Idols with “Chance to Poison on Spell Hit” suffixes: 15% each for 60% total
  • GRAND TOTAL: 490% chance to Poison on hit for Wandering Spirits.

TL;DR: Build Endurance, build Life, build Healing Effectiveness, build Armor for defenses, build Poison Chance on Hit for offenses.


Do you mind sharing your build so we can see your passives and skills tree?

1 Like

Sure, here’s the basic skeleton of it on lastepochtools: Lich, level 100 (Release / 1.0.1) - Last Epoch Build Planner

This version doesn’t use exalted items, only has 1 LP Seer rings, and is using Healing Effectiveness prefixes on the Adorned Idols, so there’s still lots of power to be gained. The last skill slot is also a flex slot; Hungering Souls is the biggest damage boost (40% more globally for your poison), but you could theoretically put Drain Life there instead and do a version of the build that channels Drain Life instead of Wandering Spirits.

1 Like

I’ll admit, I have no clue why Death Seal is so important in most Aura of Decay build. I mean, I understand that your damage increases based on the health you lost BUT, you are also more vulnerable to being one shot, especially when you got Deadlock enabled.

So, how is that a good thing to trade higher damage for much less chances to survive a one shot attack?

Is the 400% mark for primary skill a general LE rule of thumb? Or just specific to this poison build? Levelling a Lich with Necrotic as my primary damage type

EHG nuked poison a couple of patches ago. No matter how hard you try it will never scale to acceptably good levels. The base number is very low and there are no good multipliers for it. You’ll probably be able to kill T4 dungeons and do ~200 corruption with proper investment, but that’s about it.

Ofc that’s my opinion. At least on lich. Warlocks have more avenues for scaling.

400% application on hit is a personal benchmark for me on this build specifically because of Spectral Putrescence’s hit rate. It’s also very easy to hit for a poison Lich build. Other ailments will have different considerations. Damned is a bit more difficult to hit those numbers with, but it’s still doable.

Death Seal is important on Poison Lich builds because it’s important on every Lich build. It is your bread and butter, literally the most important skill in your arsenal. With Deadlock, you’re getting 66% more damage globally, and you’re also getting half that value as less damage taken while it’s up. Because less damage taken modifiers multiply against each other, having more than a couple isn’t advisable, but this combined with 60% Endurance on Low Life gives you roughly 74% less overall damage taken, before Armor mitigation is taken into account. To answer your question though, Death Seal isn’t your one shot protection – Reaper Form, and the fact you can combine the two, is your one shot protection.


I’d believe this if EHG didn’t also add the ridiculous level of power that is Poison Overload to the front half of Warlock’s passive skill tree. It’s very easy to hit pre-nerf numbers when you’re given a free 400% poison penetration, mimicking the levels of res strip we used to have prior to the nerf.

1 Like

So you activate Death Seal only during your Reaper Form and never when outside of it?

On the poison build yes. If you’re using Aura of Decay to artificially extend Reaper Form’s duration, you’re going to spend more time in it than out of it. If you don’t like Reaper Form (a lot of people don’t), but still want to use it for its second health bar properties, you can use it on your hotbar, but replace the skill specialization with something else. But Death Seal is almost always used in Reaper Form only.

1 Like

When I tried it last night, it was not during reaper form. I’ll give it a second try, especially now that I have unlocked my final specialized skill, and see how things goes.

Poison lich is just worse than poison warlock now tbh. I know that doesnt really help advice wise, but as someone else stated Poison Overload makes the warlock about a thousand times better for a poison build. Better off doing a different type of lich tbh, so you dont have to give up so many defenses for your DPS. You can get comparable or better DPS with better defenses using necrotic or physical

Except I want to play a low APM build and Aura of Decay fits perfectly into this. I do not mind the fact it is not optimal as I do not care with leaderboard.

It is fun to play that and once I no longer have fun, I’ll play something else :slight_smile:

There are lots of low APM builds for almost every character type, non-poison lich included. Youre quite welcome to keep using your build if you find it fun, I’m just saying poison lich isnt the way to go anymore, for poison the warlock with AoD is far superior.
Its a bit of a catch 22 to say you want to gimp yourself, but also dont want to struggle. You do sort of need to pick, and other people already gave the best advice there is as far as getting additional survivability.
Your number 3 question though is what I was answering: if you want a way to stack poison faster, the answer is to not being using poison lich, its simply inferior these days. It is what it is

1 Like

In your opinion, why is Warlock superior to Lich on the poison front? What does it have access to that Lich does not? Because at the end of the day, both have access to all the relevant front half poison nodes on the passive tree, meaning it comes down to build and exclusive skill specifics, i.e., Chthonic Fissure and Profane Veil VS Death Seal. Poison Overload is accessible to both Warlock and Lich, so it’s not a point of contention here at all.

1 Like

Soul Feast triple cast doubling poison stacks (it applies poison stacks on nearby enemies to other nearby enemies, effectively doubling stacks if you’ve been applying them to both, and does so 3 times). It can create a huge number of poison stacks very quickly, especially when coupled with the poison chtonic fissure which can also apply huge number of poison stacks.
Literally as long as there is more than 1 enemy on screen you can create far more poison stacks than you can with lich, faster.

edit: it also effectively means you never ARENT in poison overload


This sounds amazing for clear! I didn’t know Soul Feast’s poison spread would work like that. I don’t think this setup does much for Warlock in single target scenarios, which is where the Lich version will be more competitive. Lich gets 218% more poison chance on hit than Warlock does (Death Seal and the back half of the passive tree), and Death Seal has a higher damage multiplier than Profane Veil with higher base uptime due to its lower cooldown. I think in bossing scenarios Lich will still come out on top while still being good at clearing monos, but Warlock is definitely the faster specialization when it comes to the latter.

1 Like

absolutely I can see why the Lich would be higher single target DPS for bosses, but yeah I’ve not been struggling in the least with my poison Warlock even on bosses and the clear speed is way way faster. It adds up over time to more than make up for the boss dps on time spent total vs benefits from clearing. A decent number of bosses do also have SOME kind of targetable adds, which helps a lot since you can use the poison stack doubling in those cases.
Soul Feast is interesting because it only targets cursed enemies, but in its skill tree you can make it curse up to 5 nearby enemies so that it will hit minimum that many on any given cast even if the previous targets die (max of 15), and it also can apply poison on hit itself so its adding stacks in addition to the doubling effect it can have. To be clear, it does not GUARANTEE doubling to happen: it doubles when you have two targets with equal (or near equal) stacks, and it hits both of them. This moves the stacks from each onto each other if they are the only nearby target. The more widely you can spread your poison, which is helped by chtonic fissure and AoD being aoe, the more consistently you can achieve the doubling effect

addendum: This spreading effect can only spread to 3 enemies, but still can effectively mean doubling up to 3 times per cast the number of poison stacks. Soul Feast also has a node that allows you to spread Marked for Death, which can ALSO do this spreading of poison stacks effect when coupled with profane veil, which can increase the number of enemies the poison spreads to. Just wanted to clarify after re-reading my own skills today as I realized that what I’d said is not quite accurate. Doubling still gets out of hand very quickly though, allowing for huge numbers of poison stacks very fast

1 Like