About the Author
Furty has been playing Path of Exile since the release of the Onslaught League in 2013, and has a deep and diverse well of experience within the game. Equally comfortable playing on Hardcore, Softcore, and Solo-Self Found Leagues, recent ladder results include finishing at Rank 5 on the Legion SSF League playing Essence Drain and the Betrayal League at Rank 186 playing Elemental Hit. You can follow him on Twitter, or check out his occasional streams on Twitch.
Betrayal was the seasonal league that ran from December 2018 to March 2019, and one of the deepest and most complex to ever grace Path of Exile. The Immortal Syndicate has encroached onto Wraeclast’s sinister shores, and the unwary Exile who crosses their path without preparation will be chewed up and ground to bits.
The Betrayal league introduced a variety of new and unique mechanics, many of which form complex interlocking systems that can be manipulated for personal benefit. First and foremost, however, the player must be able to consistently emerge victorious when facing members of the Syndicate, who are hyper lethal and present in every zone you enter.
Overview of the Syndicate
The Immortal Syndicate is split into four divisions:
The Syndicate members are assigned to one of the four divisions, although they can be moved by the player. There are 17 possible Syndicate members, which will be detailed later, although a maximum of 15 can be active participants in the organization at any given time. Syndicate members can be removed, should the player choose, and they will be replaced by one of the inactive members.
Each Syndicate member specializes in a different type of reward, and this reward shifts depending on what branch of the Syndicate they are currently assigned to. This will be discussed in greater detail later on in the guide.
Basic Syndicate Mechanics
The Syndicate have a few universal mechanical systems that govern their rewards, encounters, and power levels.
Syndicate members have a rank within the organization, denoted by stars on their portrait. There are four possible ranks, ranging from Unranked to Rank 3. Only Ranked members of the Syndicate can be assigned to a division within the organization, and will automatically be granted Rank 1 if assigned using any of the encounter options.
Increased rank has several effects on the Syndicate. Higher rank members grant far greater rewards, as well as intelligence on Syndicate safehouses or the Mastermind itself.
When interacting with the Syndicate, many options will allow the player to gather Intelligence. Gathering enough intel on a division will reveal their Safehouse location, which the player can then raid.
Intelligence must also be gathered from Safehouses to reveal the Syndicate Mastermind.
Syndicate members have relationship levels within the organization that can be influenced by the player’s choices. There are three basic relationship levels a member of the Syndicate can have with another member:
- Friendly/Allied — Indicated by a green thread linking Syndicate members
- Neutral/No Relation
- Hostile/Rivalry — Indicated by a red thread linking Syndicate members
The relationship level between Syndicate members influences the encounters the player has with the Syndicate, along with the options presented once a Syndicate encounter has been completed.
Each division will be headed by a member of the Syndicate. Once enough Intelligence has been gathered, all members assigned to that division will retreat to a Safehouse, which can be raided by the player. Portals to the Safehouse can be opened by speaking with Jun, or simply opening the Betrayal tab and clicking on the Safehouse button.
The Safehouse will be defended by the head of the division, along with any other members assigned to the branch. The loot provided after completing the Safehouse will largely be based off the division leader and their rank.
Immortal Syndicate Encounters
The Immortal Syndicate appears in most areas of Path of Exile, similar to previous league mechanics. There are, however, several key areas which are entirely free from Syndicate activity. Most notably, the Azurite Mine is entirely untainted by Syndicate presence and can be used as a haven, of sorts, to level in if the Syndicate are brutalizing your Exile.
A friendly NPC, Jun Ortoi, will always be present during Syndicate encounters, and can also be invited to your Hideout. Jun can be used to unveil the newly added Veiled items that are only dropped by Syndicate members, allowing you to choose from three potential crafts to add a new and unique affix to the item.
There are four main types of Syndicate encounters, matching the divisions of the organization itself. In all encounters, the Syndicate members present must be defeated for the player to achieve victory and earn any rewards. The four types of encounters are:
- Transport: The Syndicate will attempt to move a payload between two portals on the map. The player must defeat the Syndicate members before the payload reaches the end of the path in order to receive any rewards. The time remaining is denoted by a bar near the bottom of the screen.
- Research: Jun Ortoi will be standing outside the entrance to a Syndicate Laboratory, which the player can enter. A variety of monsters inside will be attempting to destroy “evidence”, and the player will fail the encounter if they succeed.
- Fortification: Syndicate member(s) will be inside a fortress surrounded by healing totems, which has destroyable doors. Monsters will continuously spawn around the fortress, attempting to prevent the player from destroying the doors. The Syndicate members will periodically teleport out of the fortress to engage the player as well, but will return to the fortress to heal after taking enough damage or being kited too far away.
- Intervention: One or more Syndicate members will emerge from a portal and aggressively engage the player. If the player runs too far, or tries to escape using mobility skills, they will simply step through a new portal to the player’s current location.
The Syndicate members assigned to each division match the encounter types. For example, if you have Janus Perandus assigned to Transport, he will not appear during a Fortification encounter.
Defeating a Syndicate Encounter
After you have emerged victorious against a Syndicate encounter, you may choose the fate of the Syndicate members that you defeated. The player is presented with two options, one of which is always Interrogate.
Interrogating a Syndicate member puts them in prison for the next three Syndicate encounters, allowing you to temporarily remove them from the Syndicate. It will also generate Intelligence for a given division every turn, and remove a rank from the Syndicate member in question upon release.
If the interrogated member is Rank 1, they will no longer be associated with their assigned division upon release, as they will be at “Rank 0”. Therefore, if the player wants to remove a Syndicate member from a certain branch but still benefit from the intelligence provided by an interrogation, this is a safe and reliable method to employ. Syndicate members that are Rank 2 or 3 will not lose association with their division, and simply lose one rank. Interrogating the head of a Safehouse will also cause them to lose their position as ranking officer, and they will be replaced by the next highest ranking member of the division.
Interrogating a Syndicate member will also destroy any items they currently have equipped. Interrogate is usually not a recommended choice unless you do not care about any of the rewards the Syndicate member has to offer at higher ranks.
Bargaining can provide a wide variety of rewards, depending on the Syndicate member in question and their currently assigned division. The option to Bargain is typically only presented when a Syndicate member is alone, or is the last remaining member to be interacted with following an encounter. Here are some examples of Bargaining options:
- Switch divisions with another member of the Syndicate
- Leave the Immortal Syndicate
- Remove all rivalries/hostile relationships within the Syndicate
- Drop rewards based on their current branch (see rewards table below)
- Gain Intelligence on a division of the Syndicate
- Raise the rank of a member of the Syndicate
- Remove all items from a Syndicate division
- Create friendly relationships with another Syndicate member
Execute is an option that increases the rank of the Syndicate member by 1 point. The option to execute can occur under the following circumstances:
- Two syndicate members are present; the player can execute one of them if they have a neutral or hostile relationship towards each other
- Three syndicate members are present; the first one the player interacts with will always have the options to Interrogate or Execute
If the player executes a member of the Syndicate that is not currently assigned to a division, they will be granted +1 Rank and assigned to most recently encountered division. For example, if the last encounter the player completed was a Transportation encounter, the unassigned member will be promoted into that branch.
Betray is only an option when two Syndicate members are present and have a friendly relationship with each other. If the relationship is neutral or hostile, the Execute option will be presented instead. Betraying the other member of the Syndicate causes their relationship to become hostile.
Players can also occasionally remove a member of the Syndicate from the active roster using this option.
You can opt to “Release” a Syndicate member by clicking on the button highlighted below. This option is only available for the in an area. For the third encounter, you can simply leave the area and continue mapping for the same effect. This has no consequences aside from not receiving any experience or rewards from the Syndicate encounter itself.
Releasing the Syndicate members gives , however, it can still be a very useful option in the right situation. Say that you have a nice Syndicate built up, with Level 3 Syndicate members where you want them. When you are presented with a the choice to “Interrogate”, which will de-rank them, or one of the troublesome bargain variants, such as “Remove from Syndicate” or “Move to Another Division”. Instead of destroying your current Syndicate, it is often more efficient to simply release the member and move on to the next encounter.
Immortal Syndicate Members and Rewards
There are 17 members in the Immortal Syndicate, and each of them provides different potential rewards. The rewards from Syndicate members also vary based on the division to which they are assigned.
|Aisling||Armor with 2x Veiled mods||Jewelry with 2x Veiled mods||Crafting station that adds a Veiled mod to an item||Weapons with 2x Veiled mods|
|Cameria||Harbinger Orbs||Sulphite Scarabs||Cartographer’s Sextants||Random league-specific Unique item|
|Elreon||Unique Armor||Reliquary Scarabs||Unique Jewelry/Flasks||Unique Weapons|
|Gravicius||Random Divination Cards||Divination Scarabs||Crafting Bench that allows you to swap a Divination Card for another||Full set of a random Divination Card|
|Guff||Crafting bench containing: 20 Orbs of Scouring, (5x) 4 Essences (random), 20 Exalted Orbs, and 1 Vaal Orb. There is a timer of 8, 12 or 18 seconds based on Rank.||Crafting bench containing: 1 Transmutation Orb, 1 Regal Orb, 100 Augmentation Orbs, 200 Alteration Orbs, 3 Exalted Orb, 20 Divine Orb, and 1 Vaal Orb. There is a timer of 8, 12 or 18 seconds based on Rank.||Crafting bench containing: 1 Orb of Alchemy, 100 Annulment Orbs, 100 Exalted Orbs, 5 Divine Orbs, 5 Blessed Orbs, and 1 Vaal Orb. There is a timer of 8, 12 or 18 seconds based on Rank.||Crafting bench containing: 1 Orb of Alchemy, 200 Chaos Orbs, 6 Exalted Orbs, 20 Divine Orbs, 20 Blessed Orbs, and 1 Vaal Orb. There is a timer of 8, 12 or 18 seconds based on Rank.|
|Haku||Strongboxes||Ambush Scarabs||Armor/Weapons with Quality||Random Rare Items|
|Hillock||Crafting Bench that modifies Armor Quality to 21-30%||Crafting Bench that modifies Map Quality to 35%||Crafting Bench that modifies Flask Quality to 21-30%||Crafting Bench that modifies Weapon Quality to 21-30%|
|It That Fled||Abyss Jewels||Breach Scarabs||Upgrades Breachstones to higher levels||Breach Splinters|
|Janus||Currency Shards||Perandus Scarabs||Perandus Coins and a chance for Cadiro Perandus to appear||Blacksmith Whetstones and Armourer’s Scraps|
|Jorgin||Rare Items with Aspect skills on them (Bestiary)||Bestiary Scarabs||Allows you to modify an amulet’s base to a Tier 1-3 Talisman||Rare Talismans|
|Korell||Map Fragments||Elder Scarabs||Fossils||Essences|
|Leo||2-5 Currency Orbs||Torment Scarabs||Allows use of a Blessed, Divine or Exalted Orb on an item (orb based on Rank)||4-14 Silver Coins|
|Riker||Choose one Unique item within 8 seconds||Choose one Divination Card within 8 seconds||Veiled Rare Item||Choose one Currency stack within 8 seconds|
|Rin||Rare Maps||Cartography Scarabs||Choose one Unique Map||Normal Maps|
|Tora||Labyrinth Enchanted Items||Harbinger Scarabs||Adds experience to a gem (not past level 20)||Choose a Currency Stack, Unique, Divination Card, or item 100 Veiled Rare Item within 8 seconds|
|Vagan||Rare Armor||Rare Jewels||Rare Jewelry||Rare Weapons|
|Vorici||Jeweler, Chromatic, and Fusing Orbs||Shaper Scarabs||Recolor 1-3 Sockets to Prismatic (White)||Random Quality Gems|
Manipulating the Syndicate for Personal Gain
As it may or may not be clear from the table above, certain members of the Syndicate offer far more attractive rewards than others when correctly positioned. Setting up your Immortal Syndicate to provide maximum returns can greatly increase your flow of wealth during this league. Sulphite and Cartography Scarabs, for example, provide very consistent income. Map chests as well can contain hundreds of Chaos Orbs worth of maps. It is not quite clear which combinations yield the absolute best results, but we recommend always checking current prices and maneuvering your Syndicate Safehouse leaders to match. Here are some general recommendations:
- It That Fled is excellent on Research to upgrade Chayula’s Breachstone(s) (generally best profit possible).
- Gravicius on Intervention for Divination Scarabs. Can also be valuable on Transportation/Fortification, however, it is highly variable.
- Cameria on Intervention for Sulphite Scarabs.
- Hillock can be helpful early on to increase quality, especially for Unique Flasks and Weapons.
- Rin is valuable on Intervention for the Cartography Scarabs.
- Leo on Research can be incredibly valuable for crafting certain pieces, allowing you to use a free Exalted Orb on an item.
- Vorici on Research can be excellent for applying white sockets to items without corrupting them.
These are only a few recommendations; there are nearly limitless permutations for your Syndicate and plenty of them are valuable. As a rule of thumb, Scarabs are generally very valuable regardless of type, although Sulphite, Divination, and Cartography Scarabs usually hold the best value of the bunch. Many of the rewards not recommended above still have the potential to provide incredible returns, however, they are generally highly variable. Our list aims to recommend setups that provide the best and most consistent profit for your Exile.
It is possible to set up your Syndicate in such a manner that you only have to deal with a single encounter type. For example, if you have a really stacked set up on Transportation, you could opt to farm Transportation encounters in perpetuity. The benefit of this is that you can make massive profits for your exile, and often several hundred Chaos Orbs per hour.
Once a branch of the Syndicate reaches 100% Intelligence and the Safehouse option has appeared, the members attached to the branch will no longer appear in Syndicate encounters. They have “retreated into the Safehouse” and will not engage the player until dealt with. The idea behind the blocking method is to get the three branches you do not want to farm to 100% Intelligence, then leave them in the Safehouse while you farm the targeted branch encounters.
It is advised to rank up the members of your targeted branch as much as possible, as the rewards from Rank 3 Syndicate members are much more desirable.
The Syndicate Mastermind
After interrogating enough Safehouse Leaders, the Syndicate Mastermind will be revealed, and become available to fight. Catarina is a multiple phase fight that can be entered from your own hideout or from a Syndicate encounter in a Map.
By entering the Mastermind’s Lair from your hideout, the level of the Catarina encounter will be dictated by the average level of Syndicate Encounters you completed, capped at the highest level you completed (similar to the Temple of Atzoatl mechanics). If you are finding the encounter difficult, or it is your first time doing the encounter, you may instead wish to open the portals from inside a Map of your choosing, which forces the Mastermind’s Lair (and Catarina herself) to match the level of the Map area. This allows you to force a lower level boss fight, as the Level 83 version of the encounter is significantly more difficult than lower versions of the fight in terms of pure numbers.
The early stage of the fight is conducted in a separate area to the main arena and is much shorter and simpler than the remainder of the encounter. Catarina engages the player with basic and telegraphed attacks, like her slash and mortar attacks. As long as you watch the boss and move as she attacks, it is an extremely straightforward phase. Once Catarina has taken a portion of damage, she summons zombies to engage the player. Once you deal enough damage to Catarina, she portals away to the main arena and heals to full. The zombies do not need to be defeated to progress.
Separating the initial room and the main arena is a gauntlet style run, exactly the same as in a Syndicate Safehouse. You can opt to clear the monsters or simply run through the entire thing to the end, where Catarina awaits in the main arena — The Sculpture Garden.
The Sculpture Garden is a large square arena. The corners of the arena are smaller squares and slightly separated from the center by sarcophagi and coffins, although there are clear entrances to them. In the center of these corner squares are totems which can be destroyed throughout the fight. The corner squares are separated by a cross (a “+” shape) that runs through the center of the arena. In the exact center of the arena is a massive undead totem.
Catarina fights with the same attacks in this phase. Each time she takes 25% of her health in damage, she will become immune and release one the Syndicate to engage you. The Syndicate members you fight match the Safehouse Leaders you currently have active. During this time, Catarina heals to full once again and each time thereafter.
After the Syndicate member is defeated, the totem in the center of the room will start to charge a flame attack that travels in a straight direction. It rotates counter-clockwise around the “+” shape of the room, firing once in each direction before rotating. This continues until you reach the next phase, and starts again when the next Syndicate member is defeated. The flame attack travels from the center to the edge of the room and deals massive damage, so beware.
Catarina will also periodically charge the corner square totems during this flame phase. When a totem is ready, she will become immune to damage and an arrow will appear under the player. Run to the indicated corner and stand near the totem — you will take continuous fire damage for a few seconds and the totem will be destroyed for the remainder of the encounter. Destroying the totems will also permanently “corrupt” the respective corner square, and walking in that area will cause the player to take continuous damage. All four totems must be destroyed — her phases repeat every 25% — to defeat Catarina. Each totem you destroy gives you less space to dodge and kite, as more and more of the room becomes deadly.
Catarina will also periodically summon packs of skeletons between phases. If you walk over them while they are still spawning they will be destroyed, however, if they are allowed to spawn they will crawl after the player. Skeletons that reach the player will explode for massive damage. After about twenty seconds they will despawn. The encounter can be done without destroying any skeletons, however, they must be properly kited around the edges of the arena, and it is far easier to proceed if you can eliminate them as many as possible.
Ultimately, the encounter is similar to the feel of Uber Elder — on the first attempt, the number of mechanics and animations may seem overwhelming, but once you have become familiar with the encounter you come to realize that nearly all the attacks are extremely telegraphed and slow. There are also notable breaks in the action every 25% of the encounter, where you must deal with an add or the spawning of the volatile skeletons.
The Immortal Syndicate offers rewards that can be found no where else, such as Pure Breachstones. The freedom to shape the system as you please to target the rewards you seek is ideal for all leagues — for example, Solo Self-Found players can opt to set up their Syndicate in entirely different ways than players on Trade Leagues. Experience received from the Syndicate encounters themselves is not insignificant either, and boosts the leveling process considerably for players who can reliably survive.
Overall, the Syndicate is a potent core system of the game that has become a necessity to some of today’s builds. Being able to apply white sockets without corrupting, for example, enables the player to facilitate multi-color gem swaps at will without any restrictions. This system has great potential for practicality and profit, and the power is in the hands of the player to pursue their preferences.