Ultimatum League Update
Editor Note: This guide was updated before Path of Building pushed its 3.14 update – however, the Path of Building is set up to work in 3.14 and will be migrated / updated as soon as possible. Should that be later than league start, worry not, it HAS been updated even though it uses an older version of Path of Building
For Arc there’s been a couple of minor changes and a fairly impactful buff. First of all, we’re losing the ability to run a level 21 Clarity as there were changes made to Flesh and Stone. This requires the build to run a lower level Clarity, therefore losing a bit of its Mana Regeneration. Therefore, the emphasis on Flat Mana / Mana Regeneration rolls on gear become more important. Additionally, I also recommend getting the 70% increased Mana Regeneration Labyrinth Enchant on Boots. If those requirements are met, the Mana Regeneration doesn’t go down and you get to keep your Flesh and Stone buff which attributes to a lot of the tankiness the build has.
Buff-wise, there were changes to Vaal Arc. The skill now has much higher up time and is a bit less clunky to use due its lower cast time. Overall this is a nice change but nothing to be too ecstatic about.
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 naturally stems from the necessity to fit in Heralds in pre 3.13 Elementalist and even though that is no longer the case Zealotry and Wrath are just really nice to have for damage while Spider and Flesh and Stone are incredible defensively. 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
Map Modifiers 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.
Echoes of the Atlas Changes
Elementalist got a huge overhaul in PoE’s 3.13 Echoes of the Atlas / Ritual League update. Personally, I think the current state of Elementalist is incredibly broken as it allows you access to certain things no other Ascendancy will ever be able to compete with. On very accessible levels of equipment & at very early stages of your character’s progress, you’re getting the possibility to apply a 40% chill on Bosses, which renders them utterly useless. A random Malachai slam in a map which would generally be almost instant will now take 5 seconds to complete, which makes the game so much easier to play that this is one of the most broken things you could ever get in the game. I’m fairly certain this node also won’t make it past the next balance patch.
In addition to Shaper of Winter, they also introduced Shaper of Storms. This notable basically does the same thing, but instead of chilling enemies it is going to Shock enemies for amounts that are vastly more effective than they’ve ever been before. This ascendancy node is basically as good as Elemental Overload is for non-crit builds without any investment. If you’re looking to scale it further, which is a thing a lot of builds will do, you can easily turn this notable into a 40% More damage multiplier. I personally think that any build that doesn’t pick up both Shaper of Winter & Shaper of Storm is trolling and is definitely in the wrong!
If we take a look at what this build loses from the changes, we’re in the clear overall. The build lost its Herald of Thunder scaling, but didn’t lose damage overall (or if it did, it was a very very small amount). This means that we eventually are going to drop the Herald of Thunder in favor of Flesh and Stone to add another layer of tankiness to the build. Flesh and Stone takes care of a lot of otherwise dangerous things, such as ranged attacks, or close by monsters that deal physical damage through its blind aura & less damage taken modifier for enemies that are at range. This, in combination with the Shaper of Winter’s reduced action speed will make the build feel a lot more tanky than it did before.
Lastly, we mainly survived the changes to the Golem nodes, and none of the things we used it for actually got hit whatsoever! More so even, the #% increased Damage you get per summoned golem got a little buff, netting us another bit of DPS to make up for the loss of the Herald Penetration. There’s also an argument to be made that the fact that your Golems now get re-summoned 4 seconds after being killed frees up one of your wands not to be a trigger wand, therefore getting you another extra affix on the wand without making it impossible to acquire as you now no longer need to “trigger” your Golems to keep them up & alive.
The conclusion is that I think the build’s damage at most got diminished by 3-5% at very high-end levels of gear, but gained so much defenses that it’s almost criminal to argue it didn’t get stronger.
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 grants 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 a copy 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. You used to run 2 of those to keep your Golems alive, but since we now summon those automatically on death, you’re just running a single trigger wand to get 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, PoB, and Gem Links
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.
More information about the Passive Skill Tree, as well as all the Gem Links can be found on our dedicated page.
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.
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|
Questions & Support
I made it a habit to check all comments in my guides on a daily basis. Obviously, there might be occurrences where getting a reply might take longer but I really do try to get back to you as soon as possible. I prefer you making remarks, suggestions or asking questions that way as it allows others to read through the comments, providing them with a potential answer to their question, without having to wait for me again. If I have somehow missed your question, you can try reaching me on our Discord.
If you enjoy my content to such an extent that you’d like to support me and my work, I have a Patreon you can check out. At no point should you feel pressured to contribute, but if you do, your support means more to me than you will ever imagine.
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: