Bow builds have always been popular throughout the history of Path of Exile. There’s something appealing about running around at high speeds and deleting mobs from across the screen. Ice Shot embodies this playstyle well and has been implemented in hundreds of different ways over the years. Through more or less guaranteeing chill on enemies by hitting them really hard from a long distance, Ice Shot allows you to simply run, shoot and loot. If that’s what you came here for, you might be in the right place!
Traditionally Ice Shot has always struggled a bit on the single target side, to help with this we are running a ballista totem utilising Barrage. This helps us put the hurt on anything moderately tanky during mapping and is a great addition alongside our single target gem swap. More on this later.
This guide has been specifically designed to allow for a bow league start and to use about as many Uniques as possible to make gearing as simple as we could make it. It will not be able to tank every hit in the game, and it will not have a great time against Uber bosses. It does however offer a very comfortable mapping playstyle and should be easy to find success with.
+ Excellent clear speed and movementspeed
+ Very decent leaguestarter
+ Rather straight forward gear progression
+ Ranged playstyle offers a lot of safety
+ Herald of Ice explosions look pretty
– Ranged bow builds are usually not giga tanky and will require some positioning and manual dodging of abilities. This is honestly squishier than most.
– Certain powerful unique items such as Hyrri's Ire can be expensive
– Will require a decent tri-ele rare bow and these can be expensive and/or annoying to craft
Path of Building
Path of Building data for this build can be found here: https://pobb.in/RwE5EW7Lw7HN
Read the notes in the PoB! If you are new to bows, the gearing priority for the build is TLDR-d there and you really should take a minute to read it.
Disclaimer!: Returning Projectiles Support is not implemented properly in PoB. Numbers will look weaker than the build realistically performs.
In the PoB you will find step-by-step levelling trees as well as the gear we suggest the character is played with. Some example gear is put in for league starting, though the majority of that gear should be moved on quickly. Please read the notes in the PoB regarding this.
We use the Path of Building Community Fork for all of our builds, which is highly recommended. If you are encountering errors importing the build, please ensure you are using the Community Fork.
Playstyle and Build Mechanics
The playstyle of this build is extremely straightforward. We run through the map, and fire Ice Shot. Our Mirage Archer keeps firing Ice Shot while we run. Our new best friend Returning Projectiles causes these arrows to return to us, hitting everything twice. Should we run into anything especially tanky, we drop our totems, disengage and unload. After a second or two of machinegun ice projectiles everywhere, we loot and resume running around with ice projectiles flying everywhere. It both looks and feels, good.
Deadeye suits this playstyle extremely well. Bow builds like to kill things from a distance, they like projectiles and they like speed. Deadeye happens to provide all of these things.
Far Shot offers us up to 60% more damage at range. The magnitude of this modifier can not be understated. Making our barrages not spread is also a HUGE bonus as they will hit a single target.
Endless Munitions offers us +2 projectiles, which boosts our clear and through Barrage Support also turns into a massive single target boost.
Gathering Winds makes us a speedy girl. While this may seem underwhelming compared to the previous two modifiers, movement and attack speed are both huge in PoE.
Focal Point makes our mark do a lot more of the crit chance hard-carrying that it already does, and it offers us some damage reduction while facing groups.
Overall Deadeye is an amazing package for this build and provides everything we could ever want.
Passive Skill Tree & Gem Links
Please check out the pagefor details regarding the gems used in this build
Please check out the pagefor details regarding the gear
Throatseeker Is likely your best choice now that Vengeant Cascade is gone.
This is subject to change as we continue testing things as the league progresses ofc.
We are in the privileged position of being able to use our designated skill from level 1!
A few tweaks here and there for the skill gems will be required, but that is no big issue.
We start out with Ice Shot and run it linked to Mirage Archer Support . Should you source an early 3-link you can very well fit in Pierce Support if you get one before Brutus, at which point it should be replaced with Added Cold Damage Support
As soon as possible, you want to acquire a second Ice Shot and start levelling that as well, as you will need one for your ballista setup.
At which point your two early links should look like this:
When entering Merveils caverns, around level 12, you get Barrage Support. Swap your ballista-linked Ice Shot for Barrage.
Be sure to pick up Precision as quickly as possible, but only level it up exactly the amount you need for your character’s hit rating to say 100%. Flat reservations become extremely high early on.
You can find your character’s hit rating by pressing “C” and looking at the number behind “Chance to hit”. As long as this says 100%, do not level up precision. You can right-click the gem to make its level up pop-up go away, and stop it from gaining further experience.
Pick up a Manaforged Arrows Support, and keep it around until act 2 when Frenzy becomes available. We do not use this until act 2, so feel free to put it in your weapon swap so it still levels.
In act 2 you pick up a Herald of Ice and a temporary Herald of Ash. If you feel like your damage is fine, you can go Flesh and Stone over Ash, and just stay in sand stance. This should not at all be required, but it warrants mention.
In act 2 you will also gain access to Assassin's Mark. This should be picked up and levelled, as it will matter later on. Feel free to use it early if you have the socket, but it will not do too much until the end of act 4.
Once you get access to it in Act 3, you drop your red aura of choice for Grace. From this point onwards evasion gear becomes more effective as a result, but don’t over-prioritise it at the cost of links. Links are still all that matters.
Once you finish the library quest, near the tail end of act 3, you can access Cold to Fire Support and start playing as a trinity build. If you have sourced a GGRB link by this point, it is strongly recommended that you transition into this as it is a rather sizeable damage boost.
As soon as possible you want to add a Barrage Support as your fourth link for the totems as it drastically increases their ability to help punch down bosses and tanky rares.
This should get you to maps, but it is strongly recommended that you do have a look over the PoB as it outlines what we think you should invest in when point-wise and gives a good overview of the skills we used while levelling the character.
An important note is that this build guide was written with the assumption that the user has a recipe bow or better at all stages of progression. This is easily achieved and these days rare bows during the campaign can be absolutely amazing. Make it a priority to identify rare bows that drop for you, as any bow with high elemental damage modifiers will substantially increase your damage and will beat the recipe bow.
As bad luck can happen and RNG is not always kind, we will explain the physical weapon recipe (only do this if you have not found a rare bow this act with high elemental modifiers).
You will need a Blacksmith's Whetstone, a Rustic Sash of magical or higher rarity and a bow. You sell these items to the vendor, together, and get a bow back with an increased physical damage mod.
Treat this recipe as a failsafe, but it is usually not necessary.