Caustic Arrow Trickster Build Guide (PoE Metamorph 3.9)

Vvckd

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Guide Format

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:

Introduction

Caustic Arrow Caustic Arrow has been reworked and buffed several times over the years. These buffs boosted the skill’s endgame potential tremendously, allowing it to be viable even when fighting the toughest bosses the game has to offer. The way that the Caustic Arrow Trickster scales its damage is by acquiring as many extra levels as possible on the skill gem itself, along with stacking chaos and damage over time both on gear and the passive skill tree. For survivability, reaching over 6.5k life is completely realistic. For layers of defence, the build mainly relies on Evasion Rating and Dodge Chance to attacks and spells.

Build Summary

The most important item that every Caustic Arrow Caustic Arrow needs is a bow with additional levels to socketed gems. The Caustic Arrow Trickster can easily be played on a budget. The Silverbough Silverbough unique bow will provide +2 levels to your Caustic Arrow, which will be enough until you acquire currency to roll a decent rare bow. Considering this is a bow build and you only need one 6-Link for the build to function properly, you can easily use Kaom's Heart Kaom's Heart without any socket-starvation. The build does not depend on any build-enabling uniques, which makes it very versatile when it comes to gearing. Devoto's Devotion Devoto's Devotion boosts the clear speed, a rare helmet can be used for better survivability. A rare Elder gloves and amulet have the ability to roll “+#% to Non-Ailment Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier”. This multiplier is a huge damage boost for this particular build, it can also be crafted on rare bows via the crafting bench.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Very versatile when it comes to map mods
+ Has the potential to do all endgame content

Cons

- Damage over time builds might not be for everyone

Playstyle

Offensively, doing tremendous amounts of damage over time via the Caustic Arrow Caustic Arrow‘s ground effect is what the Caustic Arrow Trickster is all about. Shooting once into a pack of monsters will be enough to take them down. When fighting tougher enemies, you have to make sure they are always standing on your caustic ground. Wither Wither can be used on a totem in order to increase enemies’ chaos damage taken by a great deal. The Despair Despair curse improves single target damage even further.

Defensively, the Trickster has a lot of sustain via the “on kill” life recovery. With this ascendancy class it is also easy to stack up Life Recovery, which also increases the life you gain from your life flask by a great amount. Besides that, having Acrobatics, Phase Acrobatics, along with great amount of Evasion Rating and Vaal Grace Vaal Grace on demand, makes foe’s attacks very unlikely to hit you.

The Caustic Arrow Trickster has an active playstyle, it is one of the few endgame viable options when it comes to damage over time bow builds. When properly geared, you will basically do so much damage that most monster packs will die in a second. As long as you have your caustic ground under tougher foes, you have some free time to move around and dodge game mechanics, which is very important. Most builds have to choose between moving around or dealing damage, this is not the case with this one since you can do both at the same time.

Passive Tree

This is the endgame passive skill tree.

For more information, be sure to check out the Passive Skill Tree 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.

Gems

We go over all of the gem links this build uses in the end-game on our Gem Link page.

Gear Summary / TL;DR

These items provide a good balance between offense and defense and are enough to deal with the endgame, although there is definitely a room for improvement. Please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels and Flasks page in its entirety.

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head Rare Helmet
Amulet Rare Amulet
Chest Cherrubim's Maleficence Cherrubim's Maleficence
Gloves Rare Gloves
Boots Rare Boots
Belt Rare Belt
Rings Rare Rings
Bow Rare Bow
Quiver Rare Quiver

Leveling

As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.

The Caustic Arrow Trickster can be leveled with its signature since the beginning, as long as you have at least Silverbranch Silverbranch. Single target damage will lack early on. You can always level as any other skill you prefer.

Leveling Trees

This passive skill tree represents where you should be at approximately 59 points spent. After that simply go to Heavy and Deadly Draw next. Druidic Rite will improve your flask uptime by a great deal. After that go to Duelist starting area and pick up the Life and damage nodes.

Note: For endgame passive skill tree, please refer to the Passive Tree section.

Useful Leveling Unique Items

As you begin a new character, there are few unique items that can boost your power exponentially. Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your leveling that much more efficient. Goldrim Goldrim provides a lot of elemental resistances, this will let you worry less about gearing when approaching certain Act encounters. Silverbranch Silverbranch and Silverbough Silverbough will help you scale your damage early on by providing additional gem levels to Caustic Arrow Caustic Arrow.

If you are a new player (or if this is your first character for the league), then note that obtaining these items will be very difficult, if not impossible. They are rare drops, which you can otherwise only acquire if you have saved up currency, so do not focus on them too much, and instead simply look for items that match the affix priorities listed in the gearing section above.

Gem Progression

Using Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa will allow you to have 6-Link gem setups early on, which is why we show such examples below. If you cannot get Tabula Rasa (or another item with a 6-Link), then simply prioritize the first gems in each link provided below. For this specific build, using a 4-Link gem setups in Silverbranch Silverbranch and Silverbough Silverbough should give you enough damage in order to progress up until maps.

In order to acquire gems that are not available to your class as a quest reward, simply ask a friend to buy them off vendors for you, or buy them yourself from Sioasa in The Library in Act III Library.

From level 1, you should use the following link.

Explosive Trap Explosive Trap

By level 8, your Explosive Trap Explosive Trap link should look like this.

  1. Explosive Trap Explosive Trap
  2. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support

At level 10, you should add Blink Arrow Blink Arrow for additional mobility.

At level 18, you should replace your trap setup with your signature skill. At this level you have access to enough support gems in order to deal a decent amount of damage with Caustic Arrow Caustic Arrow.

  1. Caustic Arrow Caustic Arrow
  2. Vicious Projectiles Support Vicious Projectiles Support
  3. Void Manipulation Support Void Manipulation Support
  4. Pierce Support Pierce Support
  5. Damage on Full Life Support Damage on Full Life Support

At level 24, you should add Grace Grace for additional defense.

By level 31, your Caustic Arrow link should look like this. At this point you should have spent some points into Piercing Shots, which allows you to drop the Pierce Support Pierce Support.

  1. Caustic Arrow Caustic Arrow
  2. Vicious Projectiles Support Vicious Projectiles Support
  3. Void Manipulation Support Void Manipulation Support
  4. Swift Affliction Support Swift Affliction Support
  5. Damage on Full Life Support Damage on Full Life Support
  6. Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support

FAQ

Why Life Trickster instead of Chaos Inoculation Occultist?

The Occultist is a very strong ascendancy class at the moment, you can have similar damage to the Trickster’s Caustic Arrow. You can also utilize strong curses and have great sustain via Wicked Ward and Vile Bastion. Considering Energy Shield builds are pretty “meta” at the moment, going Occultist can cost way more than rolling a Trickster. Also, as an Occultist it is very awkward going to the right side of the passive skill tree in order to pick up some damage over time/bow nodes. You also lose the ability to benefit from Acrobatics/Phase Acrobatics.

Problematic Map Mods?

The build cannot run no regeneration maps. Besides that anything else is doable.

Conclusion

If the chaos damage over time bow builds are your type of thing, you will definitely like this one. The Caustic Arrow Trickster has enough damage, survivability and mobility to deal with the toughest endgame bosses Path of Exile has to offer.

Changelog
  •   

    Revisited and updated for Metamorph 3.9. The build gets another great buff via buff to base damage of Caustic Arrow.

  •   

    Revisited and updated passive trees for Blight 3.8. The build besically remains untouched and is just as solid as before.

  •   

    Revisited and updated Passive trees, Gem and Gearing sections.

  •   

    Updated passive skill trees.

  •   

    Revisited and updated for Synthesis 3.6.

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  1. Posts
    4

    On the leveling tree your missing a node so its the first 60 points

  2. Vvckd

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    Hey Dontbejello, the official PoE site is down for maintenance right as I write this comment, once it is up I will make sure to fix the passive skill tree issue.

  3. Posts
    4

    Would be so much better if i could get a look at the build as a whole through the pastepin.

  4. Posts
    2

    Got my first ever uber elder and uber atziri kill with this build, Thank you! Also idk how much extra work it would be but could you guys possibly put PoB codes into your build guides?

  5. Vvckd

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    On 27/04/2019 at 6:21 PM, Elyown said

    Got my first ever uber elder and uber atziri kill with this build, Thank you! Also idk how much extra work it would be but could you guys possibly put PoB codes into your build guides?

    Thanks for the kind feedback, for now we are sticking to only writing build guides on the site, we are still trying to grow the number of decent active guides. This might be a possibility in the future.

  6. Posts
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    Nice guide, but there are some obvious non-senses:
    1) For single target you want conc. effect gem in
    2) With the setup you are advocating, you don’t want dmg on full HP gem – for that you would have to take Ghost dance + Escape Artist (and even then I’m unsure for HC use – dmg dip is unpleasant)
    3) Kaom’s roots are defo no go boots – you never want unwavering stance

    I have killed 2x Uber Atziri with CA degen build on Synth HC – can look my name (Filousov) on poe-racing.com. So I should be knowing what I’m talking about.

    Still contemplating about whether with Ghost Dance + Escape Artist, it’s worth to take Acro + Phase acro. Also malevolence aura is possible. Hard choice between malevolence and grace aura for HC tbh. Aul’s amulet maybe very good option as end end game to run both auras (and some crazy 3 mod watchers eye).

  7. Vvckd

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    On 02/06/2019 at 8:07 PM, Filousov said

    Nice guide, but there are some obvious non-senses:
    1) For single target you want conc. effect gem in
    2) With the setup you are advocating, you don’t want dmg on full HP gem – for that you would have to take Ghost dance + Escape Artist (and even then I’m unsure for HC use – dmg dip is unpleasant)
    3) Kaom’s roots are defo no go boots – you never want unwavering stance

    I have killed 2x Uber Atziri with CA degen build on Synth HC – can look my name (Filousov) on poe-racing.com. So I should be knowing what I’m talking about.

    Still contemplating about whether with Ghost Dance + Escape Artist, it’s worth to take Acro + Phase acro. Also malevolence aura is possible. Hard choice between malevolence and grace aura for HC tbh. Aul’s amulet maybe very good option as end end game to run both auras (and some crazy 3 mod watchers eye).

    I have some updating to do, all the points you’ve made are correct. I’ve come to the conclusion that even GMP is not needed when clearing as long as you have some pierce and maybe an additional arrow from Dying Sun Dying Sun or Shaped Quiver. Conc Effect can be used 100% of the time. I agree with the Malevolence vs Grace, Malevolence provides a lot of damage but there is a point that you deal so much dmg that it doesn’t even matter anymore, in which case Grace is the better option. Lab enchants for auras reduced mana reservation can also allow you to run both at the same time. Or you can just use one of the in combination with Arctic Armour.

  8. Posts
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    It will be definitely more challenging in upcoming Legion league to decide between Grace and Malevolence as there are no longer implicit +1 on bows possible.

    Malevolence in combination with matching watcher’s eye jewel does a lot thou – it’s like another 15% non-ailment more from watchers eye.
    Grace mana reservation enchant is interesting idea, but it’s squishy – certainly means investment to mana% in the tree and even then it can be squishy. What I was using was 1 aura + like lvl 8 – 10 clarity to stabilize mana. The problem is not an ordinary content where you kill mobs in tens (and trickster ascendancy provides), but long boss fights where on HC you suddenly don’t want to find yourself out of mana :-)

    However in general to get 40% inc. caustic arrow dmg enchant is hard on HC. Whole league I was playing it was only available on ES circlet bases. :-) There is a big incentive to go ES circlet just because of that and gain evasion through Escape Artist from that.

    Defensive wise The perfect form maybe best defensive solution to offset problem with evasion without grace aura. And gain arctic armour as a bonus. :-)

    Edited by Filousov on June 3rd, 2019

  9. Posts
    2

    Ok So I started with this build and when am midway guide says go for Master Fletcher but in the passive skill tree no where fletcher was taken, was it an error and u recommend

  10. Vvckd

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    On 11/06/2019 at 5:03 AM, loyalpyro said

    Ok So I started with this build and when am midway guide says go for Master Fletcher but in the passive skill tree no where fletcher was taken, was it an error and u recommend

    Nodes got renamed to Heavy and Deadly Draw, the guide is getting fixed right now, thank you.

  11. Posts
    1

    Hello Vvckd.

    Thanks for this incredible and extensive build guide. I very much enjoy it.

    I’m new to PoE and just started a few weeks ago. So this is my first character, and I have just reached lvl 50.
    This is just so you know, that I may not know the full reasoning behind the choices in the talent tree, however, I’ve been pondering why you have chosen the “Master of the Arena” talent. It seems that the only things you gain from this, is the 1% Life Regen and 20 str. I may be way off here, but wouldn’t it be more effecient from a defensive point of view, to instead take “Reflexes”, so you at least gain alot more Evasion Rating?

    Thanks alot for the guide again.

  12. Vvckd

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    On 18/06/2019 at 5:05 AM, Phoenix said

    Hello Vvckd.

    Thanks for this incredible and extensive build guide. I very much enjoy it.

    I’m new to PoE and just started a few weeks ago. So this is my first character, and I have just reached lvl 50.
    This is just so you know, that I may not know the full reasoning behind the choices in the talent tree, however, I’ve been pondering why you have chosen the “Master of the Arena” talent. It seems that the only things you gain from this, is the 1% Life Regen and 20 str. I may be way off here, but wouldn’t it be more effecient from a defensive point of view, to instead take “Reflexes”, so you at least gain alot more Evasion Rating?

    Thanks alot for the guide again.

    Hey Phoenix, Master of the Arena is good 1 point for the build simply because you cannot Leech and mainly rely on Life Regeneration and Life Flask for sustain, you also need a decent amount of Strength for your Wither Totems.

  13. Posts
    1

    Hey,

    This is a comprehensive and well tought-out guide, has been very helpfull.
    I am trying CA right now, and it feels amazing, but i have been wondering if it would be viable with an assassin ascendancy (and few tweaks on the passive tree)? Since the clearing speed with CA is not an issue, would it be viable to invest a little less on DoT and a bit more on crit, to increase single target DPS?

    Thx for any imputs on that idea!

  14. Vvckd

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    On 24/06/2019 at 3:14 PM, Fnev3s_Ferr3ira said

    Hey,

    This is a comprehensive and well tought-out guide, has been very helpfull.
    I am trying CA right now, and it feels amazing, but i have been wondering if it would be viable with an assassin ascendancy (and few tweaks on the passive tree)? Since the clearing speed with CA is not an issue, would it be viable to invest a little less on DoT and a bit more on crit, to increase single target DPS?

    Thx for any imputs on that idea!

    Hello Fnev3s_Ferr3ira, when it comes to Caustic Arrow and this specific build guide, our damage is purely scaled with the skill’s ground effect, which has nothing to do with Critical Strikes and everything to do with damage over time multipliers. Assassin would be great for a Poison-based build that relies on Hitting enemies in order to poison them for an amount of damage based on the Chaos and Physical damage you deal with the initial hit of the attack. If you look at you Caustic Arrow, you will notice that you are barely dealing any damage with the initial hit. I have personally played Raider, Deadeye, Pathfinder and Trickster, scaling the ground effect of Caustic Arrow Caustic Arrow and I have to tell you from personal experience that Trickster is miles ahead.

  15. Posts
    2

    Hi, thanks for the wonderful guide got to the end game with this build level 93 trickster and crafted my own bow too,
    How badly we need frenzy and despair (am using them on my chest with a curse on attack support) planning to use Kaom’s chest. So can I skip them ??

    How about the method to madness node ? do u think it would help or should I stick to above passive tree

    Thanks in advance

  16. Vvckd

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    On 15/07/2019 at 2:19 PM, loyalpyro said

    Hi, thanks for the wonderful guide got to the end game with this build level 93 trickster and crafted my own bow too,
    How badly we need frenzy and despair (am using them on my chest with a curse on attack support) planning to use Kaom’s chest. So can I skip them ??

    How about the method to madness node ? do u think it would help or should I stick to above passive tree

    Thanks in advance

    Hey, you can definitely skip the Frenzy Frenzy setup for the immense amount of you will gain from Kaom's Heart Kaom's Heart. When it comes to the passive node, it is great but considering its position on the tree its not worth going for.

  17. Posts
    4

    Hello! I’m really new to the game and I only have one question. How do I progress with the Skill Tree? I saw the endgame passive tree but I don’t know which ones should I get first. What should I prioritize and in what order? I’m not sure if someone asked this already but this would really be helpful to us beginners! Thank you!

  18. Posts
    4

    Thanks for the guide! Why is Vicious Projectiles (59% increase to Chaos DoT at level 20) lower priority than Void Manipulation (39% more Chaos damage at level 20)? Also, is Mirage Archer worth considering? Thanks in advance!

  19. Posts
    2

    im having trouble finding gloves with the last 2 reqs, could you help me?

  20. Vvckd

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    On 14/11/2019 at 10:53 PM, Daytrix said

    im having trouble finding gloves with the last 2 reqs, could you help me?

    Hey, Aspect of the Spider might be pretty hard to obtain, for the begining just look for Life and “% to Non-Ailment Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier”

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