Explosive Arrow Ballista Champion Build Guide (The Forbidden Sanctum 3.20)




A necessity to the build, Rain of Splinters Rain of Splinters has now become a corrupt only gem. This makes it a little harder to achieve in SSF environments but it shouldn’t be impossible to obtain through trade. The odds of obtaining it yourself through corruptions are currently unknown & thus unpredictable.


Explosive Arrow Explosive Arrow has been hyped up incredibly hard by a lot of people this league.
Getting some input and backbone from popular and reliable content creators such as Ziz and Crouching Tuna I decided to write up a guide about this insane-looking leaguestarter for 3.17


The mechanics of this build, unlike often suggested, are actually fairly simple. You’re looking to stack as much explosive arrows on a target as possible to abuse the more damage multiplier on the gem. This is achieved by playing a Totem build, as they all apply fuses to your target. Given the damage scaling is so outrageous, this build gets to focus on stacking a lot of defenses. That’s also why I chose to write about the most durable version available. For variants on the build, generally Hierophant or Elementalist, I refer back to the abovementioned youtube content creators who have guides on the Hiero & Elementalist counterparts.

While this build is an insane and obscene powerhouse in the lategame (and has overkill amounts of damage even while starting mapping) it does have one little problem. It’s relatively annoying to level, even more so on a champion. You’re going to be leveling as a melee build until level 28 (with something like Shattering Steel Shattering Steel or Splitting Steel Splitting Steel) which might be tedious but once you kick of with EA, as long as you stack enough attack speed, you’re going to be blasting. Getting an early Quill Rain Quill Rain will smooth the leveling process by a lot once you swap over to EA.

When you start getting to the endgame, you’re just going to spam out ballista totems when you’re running around in the map. Once on a boss, make sure to drop totems & hit them with Frenzy Frenzy to generate charges & curse them.

Disclaimer: Make sure to find a single roll of Lighting or Cold damage to attacks on your gear or jewels to activate Elemental Equilibrium. Make sure you don’t have a single source of “Fire Damage to Attacks” anywhere!

Build Viability in Numbers

This is where I’ll rate the build in numbers. The lower the number the worse I actually think the build is in that compartment.

  • Durability : 9.5/10
  • Damage : 9.5/10
  • Playstyle : 7/10
  • Gearing : 7/10
  • Complexity : 5/10

Path of Building & 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 PoE planner 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.

Gem Links

Main Link: Explosive Arrow Explosive ArrowBallista Totem Support Ballista Totem SupportLifetap Support Lifetap SupportElemental Damage with Attacks Support Elemental Damage with Attacks SupportIgnite Proliferation Support Ignite Proliferation SupportCombustion Support Combustion Support

Auras: Determination DeterminationDefiance Banner Defiance BannerGrace GraceSummon Skitterbots Summon Skitterbots

Drop Skitterbots for Precision & grab some accuracy to make sure you remain 100% hit chance until you get your uber lab done for the Hits can’t be Evaded from Champion.

Defiance Banner can be activated after getting the increased Mana Reservation Efficiency of Skills implicit from Eldritch ichor

Utility 1: Frenzy FrenzyHextouch Support Hextouch SupportFlammability FlammabilityGreater Multiple Projectiles Support Greater Multiple Projectiles SupportLife Gain on Hit Support Life Gain on Hit SupportLifetap Support Lifetap Support

Utility 2: Enduring Cry Enduring CryArcanist Brand Arcanist BrandFlame Surge Flame Surge

Utility 2: Dash DashSummon Stone Golem Summon Stone GolemVaal Molten Shell Vaal Molten Shell

Gear Summary

Early Game – Leaguestart Environment:

Item Slot Item Name
Head Rare AR/EV Helmet with Life, Resistances & Spell Suppression
Amulet Rare Amulet with Life & Damage over Time Multiplier
Chest Rare Chestpiece with Life, Spell Suppression & Resistances
Gloves Rare AR/EV Shield with Life, chance to Suppress Spell Damage, Resistances and Potentially Attack Speed
Boots Rare AR/EV Boots with Life, Resistances, Spell Suppression & Movement Speed
Belt Dyadian Dawn Dyadian Dawn
Rings Rare Amethyst Rings with Life, Resistances and a source of Light or Cold damage to attacks
Weapon Quill Rain Quill Rain
Quiver Rare Quiver with Life, Attack Speed & Resistances


Item Slot Item Name
Head Rare AR/EV with Life, Resistance, Spell Suppression & Duration of Ailments while Focused Craft
Amulet Rare amulet with Life, Elemental Damage with Attacks, Level of Fire Skills & Resistances
Chest Rare Chestpiece with Life, Increased Maximum Life, Spell Suppression & Resistances
Gloves Rare AR/EV Gloves with Life, Fire Damage Multiplier, Resistances and Attack Speed
Boots Rare AR/EV Boots with Life, Movement Speed, Spell Suppression
Belt Dyadian Dawn Dyadian Dawn
Rings Rare Amethyst Rings with Life, Elemental Damage with Attacks, Attack Speed, Resistances and a source of Light or Cold damage to attacks
Quiver Rare quiver with Life, Damage over Time Multiplier with Attack Skills, Elemental Damage with Attacks and Attack Speed
Weapon Rare Thicket Bow Thicket Bow with +1 to level of Socketed Gems, +2 to level of Socketed Bow Gems, Attack Speed (& Minion Attack Speed *)

*Only get minion attack speed if you pick up the Spiritual Command notable.

Jewels 1 Rain of Splinters Rain of Splinters – Otherwise Life, Attack Speed, Attack Speed with Bows
  • This jewel can now only be obtained by corruption


1 Granite Flask Granite Flask of the Armadillo
2 Sulphur Flask Sulphur Flask of the Owl
3 Jade Flask Jade Flask of the Cheetah
4 Bubbling Divine Life Flask Divine Life Flask of Assuaging
5 Quicksilver Flask Quicksilver Flask of the Heron

Be sure to check out our Flask Crafting Guide to learn everything you need to know about how to set up your non-Unique flasks.

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.

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Short Guide Disclaimer

Due to the sudden rise in popularity and the necessity we feel to cover the guide on our platform, we opted to write this guide out in a short version. Feel free to come around on Discord and ask our thriving community for feedback or extra help if this guide didn’t cover all the information you sought.


  • Updated for 3.20 The Forbidden Sanctum. 

  • Updated for 3.18 Sentinel

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