"Bloody Bugs" Progression Thread | A bleed caster zero to hero build

Hey all,

So I’ve moved on to a new zero to hero character and went for another underdog type build. Last one was storm totems. This time, I’m doing “bloody bugs.” The build revolves around bleeding damage, but not from the most powerful sources possible as they’re mostly melee based, and instead, taking it to a ranged approach for a caster basically, with a dash of melee application to get top bleed with the build on a single target, like a boss via some specific skills granted by items since they’re not available in the masteries.

Gear is all self found with the character and anything I can craft or get from vendors along the way.

Bleed builds are not very strong right now, mostly because there just isn’t a ton of gear that really benefits it late game, there’s a set or two that help with bleed, but the damage type isn’t nearly as supported as say, poison, or fire, etc. So that made this build a more interesting and attractive way to go, because a zero to hero build doesn’t have access to best in slot gear, so you have to rely on the mechanics of the skills, devotions and what you find along the way. So for that, I figured, I’ll need to kite a lot, so let’s do a ranged bleed caster.

“Blood bugs” comes from what it’s based around which is bleed application via casting Devouring Swarm (bugs) and Pox (even smaller bugs). The devotions apply the big bleeds (Rend, Mog’s Howl, Falcon Swoop). And I have Bloodbath & Behead from items (craftable) for huge bleed application via melee for bosses to speed up things. Frailty and Devouring Swarm, along with Rend, apply a pretty big negative bleed resistance to foes, so even undead drop pretty well. But so far, nothing is immune.

This is to serve as a progression thread. If I can beat Ultimate, then I’ll do a full build write up. I figure, anything can basically make it through normal veteran. And most things can make it through Elite even. Ultimate is where it gets tricky after Act 1, so if I can finish all the game’s quest line through Act 4 with the side quests, then the build is competent for the game. If not, well, then I know I’ve hit the wall with something. This will be the progress of that through Utlimate since Normal & Elite are too easy for any build frankly if played smartly just using the vendor items and potions/oitments/balms/etc.


The skeleton of the build at least as the idea:

Tools link:


But the idea is:

Devouring Swarm: Bleed damage, proc devotion (more bleed damage), life leech (important!) and negative bleed resistance (important!).

Bloody Pox: Bleed damage, proc devotion (more bleed damage), confusion (control).

Vines: Minor bleed damage, crowd control mostly (stun and movement), life leech (handy!) and procs devotions all the time (more damage and some life leech from fangs).

Frailty: Control, negative bleed resistance (important!), and procs Rend so it also deals bleed damage and becomes an attack all on its own (awesome!).

Everything else is support.

Has decent life leech and heals quickly when applying to mobs.
Decent heal regen on its own that works while kiting around.
Looking to push for a good life pool size.
Everything supports resistances & bleed basically for gear.

The devotions are primarily for bleed damage and the procs:

Bat (Twin Fang)
Huntress (Rend)
Mog’s (Howl)
Falcon (Swoop)
Few others for basic resistances and stuff


Here’s the skills, devotions on the skills, and item gained skills I’m using and where they are right now:


Current bleed total:

Note, the two axes are Chonag’Ri, found two which was really cool, they just have bleed damage and are axes so they help me keep Berserker devotion option.


So far, I’m through Normal Veteran at 45, passed Elite at 66 and unlocked Ultimate.


Now the real test begins!

Very best,

Slowly but surely moving through Ultimate. My resistances are bad in Ultimate, I will need to re-gear soon. I’m still using the same stuff I used since level 40’s basically and all my stuff is focused on bleed damage. So I may have to give up some bleed damage gear and go towards resistance gear. Killing speed is great still. The trash mobs drop to a single cast of Frailty when it procs Rend, which is pretty funny as it procs all the time, then has massive negative resistance, and then bleeds them. For the tougher mobs and heros, I stack it all, and I’m seeing ticks as high as 35k here and there from Slaughter. 7~8k is normal on a lot of mobs so far when I get pox, swarm, frailty, a devotion proc or two, all stacking on a mob, and they melt away.

I’m rethinking the 2nd transmuter or Vines. Right now, Vines is 1 point wonder as it procs things quickly. But, the damage is super low and the life leech is minimal really at this point. So I may forgo Vines other than the 1 point and start looking at Blood Pact. I’m not sure on the mechanic, but if that grants me extra bleed damage, I can make up for the gear swaps via that and get some minor healing from it which will be useful. Though I will not be maxing the totem itself, just Blood Pact.

That saves me a lot of points to look at some other options, such as increasing Mogs & Heart line, or maybe something else. I thought about splashing in a pet to run interference, but it interrupts the play style because the moment I cast, I take all aggro. So probably no pet. If I take a pet, it may be Primal Spirit. But I’ll probably just fill out Mogs, Heart & Oak for more durability.

Very best,

I tried making a pox based build work in ultimate.

my conclusion? not nearly enough single target boss damage.

pox and swarm were wiping out trash mobs like they were nothing, the reduction of vit and bleed resist on swarm and cof were amazing when combined with acid spray and rend… but bosses were taking FOREVER to die.

my solution was to use storm totem, and focusing on vitality damage.

switching from pox/swarm/grasping to pox/swarm/storm totem – made the minute to kill kreig, take about 20 seconds to kill kreig.

maybe with extemely good gear, and enough plus to skills to get pox and evolutions to max out, it might hit some breaking point in effectiveness, but I think it is doubtful. I think pox will forever be a mob clearing skill.


Agreed, Pox is not meant to be a do all skill that shreds bosses.

I have Bloodbath & Behead for bosses that are hard and full of tons of health. It shreds them fast. I knew I needed something to compliment the other slower, lower DoTs like Pox, without adding any other skills to the build or taking away from any of the bug stuff, since these two skills are bleed based and are added via an item that is craftable by anyone (relic and a weapon component).

Very best,

im interested to see how this turns out.

First off, just wanted to say I love the write-ups you do for the builds! I know it takes a lot of time and effort to type everything out and edit the images, and you do it so smoothly that it’s always a joy to read.

Devotions-wise I would prioritize getting Acid Spray from Manticore for more resist reduction, in addition to some sort of heal ability (either Wayward Soul or Giant’s Blood probably). The points you have invested in tier 1 Order constellations could be used for this purpose.