Lightning Strike Pathfinder Build Guide (PoE Blight 3.8)

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Introduction

The Lightning Strike Pathfinder (based around Vaal Lightning Strike Vaal Lightning Strike) specializes in dealing great amounts of Lightning and Cold damage while using a Claw for the weapon slot. The build can achieve great clear speed, decent single target damage and survivability. When properly built, the Lightning Strike Pathfinder can easily off screen clear multiple packs of monster because of how far the skill’s projectiles can travel, if they not stopped by terrain obstacles of course.

The main reason we choose Pathfinder is because of all the utility this ascendancy class provides via very strong flask effects, additional Physical damage gained as extra Elemental damage, Resistance Penetration, and elemental Ailment immunities.

Build Summary

The build does not require a lot of currency to get started, but has the room for immense improvement once you are ready to invest. We mainly focus on scaling our damage by having a decently rolled rare Physical damage Claw, considering we convert most of our Physical damage to Elemental damage allows us to stay safe by Freezing most mobs and gain additional damage by Shocking them. You can essentially play on a 7-link gem setup by using the Lioneye's Vision Lioneye's Vision unique body armour.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Great clear speed
+ Relatively safe, considering you can attack from long range

Cons

- Will lack single target damage if you do not have good gear

Playstyle

Offensively, you will have great mobility via Whirling Blades Whirling Blades in combination with your high Attack Speed. One or two strikes will be enough to clear one side of the screen when fighting common monsters. For single target, you can make use of Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief, Vaal Lightning Strike Vaal Lightning Strike and War Banner War Banner‘s Adrenaline buff. Blood Rage Blood Rage is another offensive tool that should be used.

Defensively, keeping your distance and mostly relying on your Evasion and Dodge chance is what will keep you safe. The build easily achieves over 6,000 Life and has decent sustain via Leech. Freezing enemies is great defensively speaking, they will be disabled even before being able to attack you.

For playstyle, staying in safe spots and good repositioning with Whirling Blades Whirling Blades will be key for effective clearing and survivability. Once you are a bit more experienced with the build you will be able to smoothly clear while also not worrying about taking that much damage.

Ascendancy, Passive tree, Bandits and Pantheons

Ascendancy (Ranger – Pathfinder)

  1. Nature’s Boon
  2. Master Alchemist
  3. Veteran Bowyer
  4. Nature’s Adrenaline

Nature’s Boon provides a good amount of elemental damage mitigation and great flask sustain.

Master Alchemist makes you immune to Shock, Freeze and Ignite during flask effects, which means you do not need to have these rolls on flasks; in addition you have a great amount of increased elemental damage and 20% chance to inflict elemental Ailments.

Veteran Bowyer gives great amount of damage in the form of the 10% Physical damage gained as Extra damage of a Random Element and the 10% Elemental damage Penetration; this ascendancy node also augments your flask charges sustain even further.

Nature’s Adrenaline is just a good boost to your overall speed.

Passive tree

This is what you should be aiming for when it comes to the endgame passive skill tree.

We focus on picking all the efficient Claw nodes, Elemental damage, Projectile damage and Life along the way. Druidic Rite and Primal Spirit in combination with the Pathfinder ascendancy will make sure we never go out of flask charges. Keystone notables we focus on are Acrobatics, Phase Acrobatics, Arrow Dancing and Point Blank.

Bandits

For this specific build we should help Alira in Act II. The critical multiplier, flat mana regeneration, and 15% all elemental resistances are stronger than the 2 passive skill points.

Pantheons

Major: Soul of Solaris is a great choice for the build, passively it provides a lot of damage when fully upgraded.

Minor: We recommend the upgraded version of Soul of Ralakesh for most Critical-based attack builds. The Blind immunity proves to be very strong in certain situations, while the Maim immunity is also helpful. The Bleed mitigation is just another reason to pick this minor God power. Based on personal preference, other minor Pantheons can be used.

Gems

Vaal Lightning Strike Vaal Lightning Strike is your signature skill, which should ideally be used in a 6-link. For mobility, Whirling Blades Whirling Blades will let you reposition quickly when needed. War Banner War Banner is useful in every critical-based build due to the fact it provides decent percent Accuracy Rating and some Physical damage, when dropped down it empowers you with the Adrenaline buff, which is very handy when you need to deal a big burst of damage. An Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector can augment your single target damage by a good amount. For auras/heralds, you can make good use of Wrath Wrath and one of the two: Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder or Herald of Ice Herald of Ice.

For all the gem links we provide below, keep in mind that we list the gems in order of priority (starting from the top left, going to the right on each row of the links), meaning that if you lack the required number of sockets to fit all the gems, the first ones to drop are the ones at the bottom (with the bottom right being the last). Also note that in-game, as long as the sockets are linked, it makes no difference at all what order the gems are placed in.

Lightning Strike (6-Link)

Vaal Lightning Strike Vaal Lightning Strike fires multiple ground-travelling projectiles in a cone. The Vaal version of the skill leaves an orb on the ground that keeps striking for decent duration, which is helpful for single target damage output. We recommend one link that works great for both clearing and single target.

  1. Vaal Lightning Strike Vaal Lightning Strike
  2. Multistrike Support Multistrike Support
  3. Elemental Damage with Attacks Support Elemental Damage with Attacks Support
  4. Nightblade Support Nightblade Support
  5. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  6. Increased Critical Damage Support Increased Critical Damage Support

Whirling Blades (4-Link)

Whirling Blades Whirling Blades will allow you to move around quickly. With the following link you will also not have to worry about mana and you will gain the Fortify buff for short duration when you hit an enemy.

  1. Whirling Blades Whirling Blades
  2. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
  3. Blood Magic Support Blood Magic Support
  4. Fortify Support Fortify Support

Ancestral Protector (4-Link)

Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector will provide a good multiplier to your Attack Speed, while also doing a decent amount of damage on its own, you should mainly use it against single targets.

  1. Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector
  2. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  3. Maim Support Maim Support
  4. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support

Other Gems

War Banner War Banner can be used for additional damage in general and the very handy Adrenaline buff it provides when dropped. Wrath Wrath and Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder or Herald of Ice Herald of Ice will augment your damage even further. Steelskin Steelskin can be used for additional damage mitigation.

Gearing

Capping your elemental resistances is essential and it should always be your top priority in any build; it should be the first thing you do when gearing up a character. Obtaining a 6-link, while very powerful and certainly recommended, can potentially be very expensive (requiring an average of 1500 Orbs of Fusing, obviously depending on your luck); as such, this should not really be a goal for you while gearing up, and you should instead settle for a 5-link until you have enough resources. Early on, you should focus on buying or crafting with decent Local Critical Chance and good pDPS (at least 300). Body armours like Belly of the Beast Belly of the Beast, Loreweave Loreweave and Lioneye's Vision Lioneye's Vision are fairly accessible and great choices for the build.

Helmet

Starkonja's Head Starkonja's Head is great choice when it comes to the helmet slot. A well rolled rare will also do the work. For labyrinth enchants, look for “Lightning Strike pierces # additional Targets”. The rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (90)
  3. % increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil)
  4. # to Accuracy Rating (at least 300)

Body Armour

We recommend three unique body armours: Belly of the Beast Belly of the Beast, Loreweave Loreweave and Lioneye's Vision Lioneye's Vision. A well rolled Elder-based chest piece can also be very powerful. The rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (90)
  3. % increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil; Elder Prefix)
  4. Attacks have +#% to Critical Strike Chance (Elder Suffix)

Gloves

Tombfist Tombfist are a good unique choice. Use rare gloves until prior to them. The rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (60)
  3. % of Physical Damage Converted to Cold Damage or Lightning (Crafted via crafting bench)
  4. % increased Attack Speed
  5. # to Accuracy Rating (at least 300)

Boots

A pair of Voidwalker Voidwalker can also be used as a tool to deal with the Pierce problem. Atziri's Step Atziri's Step are decent accessible unique boots that provide good Movement Speed, Dodge chance to spell hits, Life, and Evasion. Well rolled rare boots are also a great choice for the build. The rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (70)
  3. % increased Movement Speed (at least 25%)
  4. % increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil)

Belt

A well rolled rare Stygian Vise Stygian Vise is best in slot, simply because it provides additional Abyssal socket. The rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (90)
  3. % increased Elemental Damage with Attacks (at least 20%)
  4. % increased Elemental Damage (Prismatic Fossil)
  5. % increased Projectile Attack Damage during any Flask Effect (Elder Suffix)

Amulet

A well rolled Elder-based amulet is best in slot. The rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (50)
  3. Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage (Elder Prefix)
  4. Gain #% of Non-Chaos Damage as extra Chaos Damage (Elder Prefix)
  5. % increased Elemental Damage with Attacks (at least 20%)
  6. Adds # to # Physical Damage to Attacks
  7. % to Global Critical Multiplier

Rings

Mark of the Elder Mark of the Elder can be used in combination with a rare Shaper-based ring for great damage increase, this will also allow you to have Curse enemies on hit with Assassin's Mark Assassin's Mark. Opal Ring Opal Rings and Steel Ring Steel Rings are both good bases that provide good amount of damage. The rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (50)
  3. % increased Elemental Damage with Attacks (at least 25%)
  4. Curse enemies with Level # Assassin’s Mark on hit (Shaper Suffix)
  5. # to Accuracy Rating

Weapon

A well rolled rare physical Claw is what we are looking for, preferably with 7%+ Critical Chance along with more than 300 pDPS. The rare affix priority is:

  1. increased Physical Damage % and hybrid %
  2. % increased Attack Speed
  3. % increased Critical Strike Chance

Shield

A well rolled rare shield is best in slot, its main purpose is to provide defense, Life and fill resistance gaps. The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (80)
  3. % increased maximum Life (Pristine Fossil; Elder Prefix)
  4. +1% to all maximum Resistances (Shaper Prefix)
  5. % increased Attack Speed

Flasks

There are many flask choices that can increase your damage output considerably. For more budget-friendly options, you should look for Atziri's Promise Atziri's Promise. Taste of Hate Taste of Hate can be expensive, but very powerful. The Wise Oak The Wise Oak can provide a great amount of extra damage in the form of elemental resistance penetration if you manage to tripple-balance your resistances (they have to be the same). As in every other Critical-based build, a Diamond Flask Diamond Flask is mandatory. Divine Life Flask Divine Life Flask can be used in sticky situations, you should have it instant or half-instant with Bleed removal suffix. For more defense you can use other utility flasks like Basalt Flask Basalt Flask, Granite Flask Granite Flask, Ruby Flask Ruby Flask, Sapphire Flask Sapphire Flask or Topaz Flask Topaz Flask. A Quicksilver Flask Quicksilver Flask can be used for additional mobility.

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.

Jewels

There are no specific jewels that are required for the build. A Watcher's Eye Watcher's Eye with Wrath Wrath mods can potentially be very powerful, but expensive.

Regular Jewel Affix Priority

  1. % Increased Maximum Life
  2. % Increased Attack Speed with Claws / while wielding a Shield / with one-handed melee weapons
  3. % Increased Physical Damage with Claws / while wielding Shield / with one-handed melee weapons
  4. % Increased Damage
  5. % Increased Projectile Damage

Abyssal Jewel Affix Priority

  1. Maximum Life (at least 30)
  2. Chance to gain Onslaught on Kill (at least 5%)
  3. Chance to gain Unholy Might on Kill
  4. % increased Attack Speed if you’ve dealt a Critical Strike Recently
  5. Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage if you’ve dealt a Critical Strike Recently
  6. Adds # to # Physical Damage to Claw Attacks
  7. Adds # to # Lightning Damage to Claw Attacks
  8. Adds # to # Cold Damage to Claw Attacks
  9. Adds # to # Fire Damage to Claw Attacks
  10. % to Global Critical Strike Multiplier

Leveling

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

Lightning Strike Lightning Strike is not a great leveling skill, this is why we recommend using Molten Strike Molten Strike early on.

Leveling Trees

With this passive skill tree you will easily be able to reach Blood Aqueduct in Act IX.

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. While using Molten Strike Molten Strike, you can make use of the following unique weapons : The Screaming Eagle The Screaming Eagle, Hand of Thought and Motion Hand of Thought and Motion, Story of the Vaal Story of the Vaal, or The Gryphon The Gryphon.

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.

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.

  1. Molten Strike Molten Strike
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Maim Support Maim Support

At level 4, you should add Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector for additional single target damage. At this point your Molten Strike Molten Strike link should look like this.

  1. Molten Strike Molten Strike
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Maim Support Maim Support
  4. Ancestral Call Support Ancestral Call Support

At level 10, add Whirling Blades Whirling Blades for additional mobility.

At level 16, add Herald of Ash Herald of Ash for additional damage.

By level 18, your Molten Strike Molten Strike link should look like this.

  1. Molten Strike Molten Strike
  2. Ancestral Call Support Ancestral Call Support
  3. Elemental Damage with Attacks Support Elemental Damage with Attacks Support
  4. Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support
  5. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  6. Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support

At level 24, you should add Anger Anger for additional damage.

FAQ

Are there any map mods the build cannot do?

Elemental reflect. A combination of No Regeneration and No Leech cannot be done either.

Conclusion

The Lightning Strike Pathfinder is a fast paced character that specializes in dealing incredible amounts of elemental damage with its electrically energized attacks.

Changelog
  •   

    Updated passive trees for Blight 3.8. The build remains unchanged and is still as decent as before.

  •   

    Updated several gear recommendations along with the Flask section. Improved the Playstyle section.

  •   

    Revisited and updated for Legion 3.7. Improved the Gem and Gearing sections along with changing passive skill trees.

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