About the Author
TbXie has been playing Path of Exile since the release of Open Beta, playing a variety of leagues in which he has played Hard- and Softcore, Standard, and Solo-Self Found. He has a background in racing, winning Demigods in the early race seasons as well as finishing high up in recent Flashback ladders, such as Rank 1 Guardian (9th Overall), Rank 2 Berserker. He has experience playing solo and both in push and MF groups, while being notorious for his WorldFirst Delve 6000 with his team & farming multiple Mirror of Kalandras every league. You can follow him on Twitch and Twitter or ask him your questions in the PoE Vault Discord.
This build guide is split over multiple pages, both to prevent it from getting too long, as well as to help you better find the information you are looking for. In addition to the current page, which presents general information about the build and also contains a Leveling and FAQ section, we have the following pages:
Were you ever looking for a build that suited new players, moderately experienced players, and players who like to min-max their builds to the fullest? Then you’ve arrived at the perfect spot! This build packs around 3 Million boss damage in a Solo Self-Found environment, or 8 Million on a min-maxed trade league build while having over 10.000 Effective Health, combined with incredible mitigation. It is very easy to to get going even for newer players, as it mostly just requires the set of gems we have put together for you to feel relatively strong overall!
Vaal Arc has been a popular skill gem throughout the game’s history, mainly because it has an appealing sound and look to it. After being broken for a couple of leagues, it was heavily nerfed way back in 1.1 and 1.2, after which it was revamped and reworked completely in 3.3, and buffed again in 3.6. These two buffs firstly introduced its single target mechanic of dealing more damage per remaining chain. This effectively means that Arc has a 165% More multiplier versus single target, which is more than some 6-links add. In addition to that, it had its numbers reworked to fit the current state of the game better and put it in line with other spells.
The guide we wrote for Elementalist focuses on stacking the buffs granted by Golems, as well as fitting in more auras than a regular build would. This is because you’re almost forced into a Herald of Thunder because of Elementalist, and on top of that Zealotry and Wrath are just really nice to have. After the nerfs to Mana leech quite recently, you really have a hard time building these without running a high level Clarity. This already requires some investment in Mana Reservation nodes, so we decided to push that a little bit further to introduce the very potent Aspect of the Spider in the build. Aspect of the Spider still is incredibly underrated by a vast majority of the playerbase. It grants you 15% more damage (assuming you don’t have another source of increased damage taken, so in our case it is more like 11%) and reduces enemies’ movement speed by 30%.
Since the build has so much recovery, avoidance, and damage, most fights will not take long enough for anything to ever hurt you. To make sure the build does well versus the very endgame bosses, though, it invests significantly into Life and Energy Shield to make sure it will almost never get one-shot.
Pros and Cons
+ The skill functions on any budget
+ Can be incredibly fun to push a character further while it is already powerful
+ Viable in every scenario, be it SSF or HC
+ Scales incredibly well, which feels super rewarding
+ Refreshing mechanics: stacking Golems for defenses and Auras for damage
– Pushing it to its full power level requires a decent amount of high-end gear
– Really likes Awakened Gems
– Can feel a little squishy at earlier stages of gear / levels
Playstyle, Mechanics & Strengths
Vaal Arc is a spell that has its history as mentioned before. In its current state, however, it does a lot of things excellently and is incredibly fun to play. The Vaal portion of the skill itself does a pretty significant chunk of damage, but it also guarantees the target to become Shocked – which allows you to use the Elemental Focus Support which provides an obscene damage multiplier, as well as granting you a lucky buff, netting you approximately 25% more Damage for a 4-second window. If you add up everything in that 4 second window, you’re easily going to break 10 million DPS at the high end levels of gear which, for a build that has so much Life and defenses, is incredibly rare!
Since you’re playing an Elementalist, you’re going to pick up a decent chunk of Golem nodes and Ascendancy nodes in the tree. Surprising to many, including myself when I first played this, these little dudes are actually really solid buffs when they are buffed by Elementalist and the recently added node in the tree! I wouldn’t have ever imagined telling someone that my Golems gave me 400 Life per second, 14% Physical Damage Reduction and 20% more Damage. This all of a sudden makes Elementalist look a lot stronger than most people think it is!
In addition to those Golems on steroids, you’re running 5 Auras through the usage of an Aul's Uprising (Intelligence). In a Solo Self-Found environment, you’d have to drop the Zealotry, as it’d be nigh impossible to get a Zealotry or Wrath copy of this amulet. Lastly, because of the fact that you’re running 4 Golems and Elementalists Ailment avoidance per Golem, you’re completely Ailment immune. This means you’re never getting Shocked, Frozen, Chilled or Ignited, which is so nice to have.
To make sure the build remained a breeze to play, even for people who are newer to the game and who aren’t always incredibly sure what’s going on, we’re incorporating two copies of a Trigger Wand. Such a wand relies on the bench craft “Triggers a socketed spell when you use a Skill” which basically means that it’ll alternate casting the socketed skills on an internal cooldown. This is how you keep all of your Golems up so you don’t have to worry about recasting them or anything, should they die. On top of that, you’re also getting Exposure and a Curse from this mechanic, so other than casting some Arc and the occasional Vaal Arc on a boss, you don’t have to use anything!
For those of you who play trade league, or have played a significant amount of Solo Self-Found, we’ve also included a Glorious Vanity in the build. This jewel, with the Doryani’s sacrificed, grants you the Corrupted Soul Notable which allows you to pick up almost 2,000 Energy Shield for 4 nodes at the cost of dividing all incoming damage between Life & Energy Shield. Since your Life regenerates at the speed of light though and your Energy Shield gets replenished through leech, you’re really not too worried about this. This jewel, combined with the benchcraft on the chest piece, is what gets you most of your Energy Shield and thus your 10.000 effective HP.
Passive Skill Tree
You can find an optimized Path of Building here. Every build I release will use the community fork of Path of Building, which is maintained and updated in a much more regular fashion than the original one. You can find PoB’s Fork, by LocalIdentity, here.
If you are not comfortable with Path of Building, we also have a PoePlanner for you. Do note that PoE Planner does not support Cluster Jewels and some specific unique jewels and it is highly recommended you install Path of Building to follow builds most optimally.
Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheons
Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Power page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.
All of the gem link choices are thoroughly explained on our Gem Link page.
Gear Summary / TL;DR
A lot of this is explained more in depth in the Gear Page, however we will provide you with a basic idea of what gear you’re looking for in this short summary.
|Item Slot||Item Name|
|Head||Rare Hubris Circlet with Arc Enchant, Power Charge, Damage to Spells, Life and Resistance|
|Amulet||Aul's Uprising (Intelligence)|
|Chest||Vaal Regalia with Frenzy Charge on Hit, Spell Crit Chance and Life as Extra Energy Shield|
|Gloves||Sorcerer Gloves with high Life, Resistance and potentially an Aspect craft|
|Boots||Two Toned Boots with high Life, Movement speed and Resistances|
|Belt||Leather Belt with Life and high Resistances|
|Rings||Mark of the Shaper and an Elder Ring with Life/Mana Regeneration and some Resistance|
|Weapon||2x Rare Wand with +1 to Lightning Skills – Spell Damage / Crit Multiplier and Trigger a Socketed Spell when you use a Skill|
Since we are very adamant about trying to give you a leveling experience that lies as close to your endgame playstyle as possible, we will be providing you a way to level up with Arc. If you are looking for the most optimal way to level a character to maps, we refer you to the following guides.
- Our step-by-step leveling walkthrough, which allows even more experienced players to save time and speed through the leveling process.
- Our guide to Unique Items for leveling, which helps you gear up your characters for the leveling process.
- Our beginner leveling guide, which answers many of the questions new players might have and will set you on the right path.
In order to level this build as a Arc build, you need to make your way to level 12 to be able to use the gem.
Getting to Brutus & Merveil
For starters, create a Witch in whichever league you want to start. Potentially create a Scion to grab an Onslaught Support and store it in your stash. Witch doesn’t get access to the Onslaught gem until act 3.
Pick up an Explosive Trap from the vendor to start your journey and go to kill Hailrake and clear Mud Flats. Set up the following links after Mud Flats:
After killing Brutus, you will be adding an Added Lightning Damage Support to your Frost Bomb.
Level 12 and Onwards Setup
From level 12, after killing Merveil, you’ll be setting up for your road to maps. It might be a little rough for some bosses, but you should eventually be fine with this setup.
- Added Lightning Damage Support
- Onslaught Support
- Elemental Focus Support
- Added Cold Damage Support
- Controlled Destruction Support
Use the following on bosses:
Run the following auras:
What Anointment is Required / Preferred?
Heartseeker is the best notable damage-wise. Even though it’s not the greatest of damage Notables, I feel like we’re tanky enough already that it justifies just picking up the best damage node we can find, which is Heartseeker.
What Map Modifiers Are to be Avoided?
Elemental Reflect will kill you, no matter what. No Regeneration hurts the build too much, so I would definitely roll over it anyway. Otherwise, the build should deal with most mods relatively well unless its a very nasty combination of offensive mods.