Lightning Strike Raider Build Guide (PoE The Forbidden Sanctum 3.20)




Due to the latest balancing changes, we do not recommend playing this build anymore, as it does not meet the high standards we apply to our guides in terms of fun and performance. We are leaving it up as a reference and it might be revived in a later patch.

The Raider Ascendancy from the Ranger class is one of the best choices when you decide to build any Elemental-damage oriented attack build. With the 3.13 buffs, it is even more desirable, both as a singular Ascendancy, as well as an Ascendant option.

Despite the nerfs to Lightning Strike Lightning Strike in 3.20, it is still going to be one of the fastest and most enjoyable abilities out there.

For this particular character we choose to wield a Claw and a Shield, to get a great amount of utility and defensive capabilities.

If you follow along with this guide, it should be fairly easy to roughly mirror my setups, as I will be league-starting this particular build as well, making every item I list in this build a “realistic” option to acquire for you during a league start as well. I play exclusively solo, with no group play to speak off.

The ultra-endgame options like Crystallised Omniscience Crystallised Omniscience and similar, will not be listed in this guide for the sake of brevity and keeping it concise.

Build Summary

The build does not require any build-enabling items, as I am setting it up as a league starter. We will be making use of Lightning Strike Lightning Strike. For the gear pieces, we are looking for Evasion bases with as much Life as possible.

Our defenses will be a combination of the Wind Dancer keystone (potentially will be removed, requires testing), high-evasion, 100% Spell Suppression, Crit Immunity and lightning fast recovery thanks to the Claws’ implicit modifiers.

Our offense will be carried by the new Tornado skill, coupled with Vaal Lightning Strike Vaal Lightning Strike and Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief + Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector for bossing, to defeat bosses in a matter of seconds.

Pros & Cons


+ Easy to follow along with a high ceiling
+ Amazing scalability due to being a league starter
+ Absolutely ridiculous clear speed and fun mapping
+ Decent defensives with Evasion-focused Raider, 100% Spell Suppression and Crit Immunity


Potentially awkward scaling, due to multi-elemental focus
Expensive to max out entirely, due to specific items being needed
Mediocre Bossing damage before you get the full setup

Map Modifiers to be Avoided

The build cannot do Elemental Reflect. Other mods that should be avoided but CAN be finished (with some hardships): Cannot Leech, No Regeneration.


Mobility wise, you will want to use Whirling Blades Whirling Blades and potentially (based on personal preference) Flame Dash Flame Dash to get around the maps; the second ability allow you to cross chasms and other environmental objects, allowing for a very fast traversal.

Offensively, you will want to keep your distance from enemies, as you do have some range on the abilities and standing near enemies in Path of Exile is oftentimes a fairly bad idea. Try to keep up your Blood Rage Blood Rage permanently for the increased Lifesteal and overall attack speed steroid it provides.

Additionally, you will be able to place down an Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector in order to vastly improve your attack speed against tough monsters or bosses, as it applies its attack speed increase to any friendly targets nearby. For Bosses, you will want to drop down your saved up Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief and Vaal Lightning Strike Vaal Lightning Strike charges, while also dropping the newly added Tornado skill for extra damage.

Defensively, you will have to keep up your Fortify Support Fortify Support using your Whirling Blades Whirling Blades in order to permanently reduce incoming damage by a considerable amount.

We will also be making use of a couple of defensive flasks like a Quartz Flask Quartz Flask, in order to further emphasize the Evasion playstyle. Additionally, our CWDT setup coupled with the ol’ reliable Immortal Call Immortal Call will keep us fairly healthy throughout the general mapping period.

For playstyle, you will first want to Whirling Blades Whirling Blades into a pack of enemies, to:

  • A: obtain or refresh your Fortify Support Fortify Support, every 8~ seconds, roughly and
  • B: get around the map faster.

It is better to use more Whirling Blades Whirling Blades on enemies rather than too little, as it is IMPERATIVE to have the Fortify buff up AT ALL TIMES.

Outside of those specific situations, you will want to mostly keep your distance from enemies, as Lightning Strike Lightning Strike is the ONLY true-range melee ability in the game, providing you with unparalleled safety and ranged capabilities, compared to every other melee ability. The best Defensive in the game is to simply not be near the damage sources. This is what Lightning Strike Lightning Strike excels at, thanks to its high range.

Passive Skill Tree, PoB, and Gem Links

This is the the Endgame goal. We focus on picking up all the efficient Claw and Crit nodes along the way, as well as a ton of health, some defensive clusters, as well as all the relevant Keystones (Point Blank).

You can find a more detailed breakdown, as well as a leveling-tree example and an in-depth Path of Building link in the page linked below, along with all the Gem Links in the build.

Passive Skill Tree & Gem Link 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.

Ascendancy, Bandit & Pantheon Power Page

Gear Summary / TL;DR

These items provide a good balance between offense and defense and should be moderately easy to acquire throughout the first few weeks of the league and will carry you to most of the endgame.

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head Rare Helmet
Amulet Rare Amulet
Chest Rare Body Armour
Gloves Rare Gloves
Boots Tailwind Rare Boots
Belt Rare Belt
Rings Rare Rings or 1 Rare Shaper Ring + Mark of the Elder Mark of the Elder
Weapon The Wasp Nest The Wasp Nest leading into a Rare Gemini Claw Gemini Claw or Imperial Claw Imperial Claw
Weapon Rare Evasion or Evasion/Armor Shield

For more detailed breakdowns and explanations on potential alternatives, as well as affix priorities, we have prepared an in-depth Gear sub-page, which you can find below.

Gear, Jewels & Flasks


Focus on moving towards the right side of the tree as early as possible, while picking up the nearby minor nodes. Aim to acquire “Point Blank” at around level 40 or so, as it’s a HUGE damage upgrade for the build.

Focus on getting all the attack-speed, Dexterity and Intelligence upgrades first. After that, move on towards the other nodes that haven’t been picked up yet. Leave the majority of the Crit nodes for later in the run.

Focus on the Spell Suppression nodes in order. Once you start taking them, don’t stop until you reach the cap of 100%.

Specific Leveling Advice

Try to focus on any sources of “flat added damage” of any kind for your support gems. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support is usually a great choice for the early start.

Try to keep your Smite Smite buff active at all times. Once you switch out to Lightning Strike Lightning Strike, simply keep it as a 1 or 2-link setup (with Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support) and use it as a 4-5 second burst buff, whenever you need it.

Once you clear the “Siren’s Cadence” quest in Act 1, you will be able to acquire the Lightning Strike Lightning Strike gem, which will likely be our main gem for the remainder of the game.

Gem Link Setup for Early Leveling

The gem setups listed here, will be listed in order of importance from top to bottom. If you do not have the required amounts of slots, simply drop the lowest ones on the list first. Whenever a level is mentioned after a gem, it denotes the acquisition level of the gem, aka., at which level you should be able to get it.

Level 1-8

Level 4-12

Level 12-31

Level 31-38

Level 38+

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.

If you are a new player (or if this is your first character for the league, just as it is mine), 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.


Frequently Asked Questions will be answered here, so make sure to check back before you write a comment in regular intervals!


This is a character to deal with all the content in the game and offer a great amount of scalability for the players that don’t want to start over with a new character every 2 or 3 days.

The Lightning Strike Raider excels at dealing Elemental-based Damage and being surprisingly tanky thanks to the high amount of evasion and guaranteed Critical Strike Immunity, as well as the 100% Spell Suppression chance.

Gear, Jewel & Flask Page

Passive Skill Tree & Gem Link Page

Ascendancy, Bandit & Pantheon Power Page


  • Updated for PoE Sentinel 3.18

  • Updated for Scourge 3.16.

  • Guide checked for 3.14 Ultimatum and deemed viable (no changes needed).

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