It’s called the “Blood Crucible?” And you want me to put it where? Path of Exile’s latest Challenge League, Scourge, releases on October 22, 2021, and features many significant reworks and improvements alongside the regularly scheduled bevy of new uniques, skill gems and more, all packed up nicely in a delightful apocalyptic reality for you to farm to your battered, heart’s content. Kill demons, obtain loot, upgrade items, kill demons—let’s get started.
Getting to Know Your Blood Crucible
As expected, Scourge features a new mechanic: the Blood Crucible. The Blood Crucible is a device that has been implanted into your body and, appropriately, thirsts for the blood of your enemies. As you kill enemies, the Crucible fills. Once a required amount of blood has been collected, the device can be activated to shift into an alternate Wraeclast, the Nightmare, which has been overrun by powerful demons known collectively as the Scourge.
The Crucible can be activated at any capacity meeting or above the required threshold. The more blood that the Crucible holds when activated, the longer you can stay in the Nightmare. While in the Nightmare, the blood within the Crucible, gathered prior to its activation, will be consumed. You can decide to leave the Nightmare at any time, shifting realities back to the position on the map where you had activated the Blood Crucible. You will be automatically shifted when the blood within the Blood Crucible has been fully depleted. Any items which dropped while in the Nightmare will still be available to be looted once you have returned to reality.
On the surface, it appears this would incentivize filling the Crucible as much as possible in order to maximize the amount of time you’ll be able to explore and fight in the Nightmare. However, the longer you (or your party) stay within the Nightmare, the more damage you will take. It has not yet been explained if this penalty will be inflicted on the player via a stacking debuff or if the Scourge mobs within the Nightmare will grow stronger and eventually overpower the player, dealing more damage than can be handled.
Additionally, the Blood Crucible itself will gain experience from defeating the Scourge and features a skill tree offering valuable account-wide passive unlocks.
Patch 3.16 introduces new Scourged modifiers which can be affixed to items and maps which have been inserted into the Blood Crucible. You can insert and level only one item or map at a time. An individual item can be transformed up to three times and maps can be leveled up to ten tiers. Each tier requires a set amount of Corruption (experience, essentially) earned from killing mobs within the Nightmare.
Items within the Blood Crucible will absorb Corruption from Scourge defeated while in the Nightmare, which is represented by a bar visible on the items’ tooltip. When an item’s corruption bar has filled, it is ready to be transformed. Transforming an item increases the item’s Scourged tier and adds two Scourged modifiers to the item, one beneficial and one detrimental. These modifiers are affixed to Scourged items in addition to any already present implicit or explicit modifiers an item may have. Compounding a Scourge modifier on an item will Corrupt the item.
An item placed in the Blood Crucible item can be Scourged the item up to three times, represented by tiers, replacing the two initially affixed modifiers each time. Therefore, a Scourged item will only ever feature two Scourged modifiers. Each Scourge tier offers increased minimum effects, so higher tier items will always roll stronger modifiers, though they might not be the same affixes from the previous tier. Items can be Scourged up to Tier 3, which is estimated to take approximately 10-20 maps per item.
Once you have discovered the Dream Furnace device, presumably encountered while running maps, you will unlock the ability to place maps within the Blood Crucible. Maps have their own assortment of Scourged modifiers and can be Scourged up to ten times, increasing the benefits of its positive effects while also increasing the detriment of its deadlier modifiers. Unlike items, maps have a chance to also gain a new modifier each time it is transformed. It has not yet been determined how much time spent gaining Corruption in the Nightmare it will take to max out a map.
Scourge Challenge Rewards
The new challenge league includes a set of 40 new challenges. As usual, there are microtransaction rewards unlocked by the completion of 12, 24, and 36 challenges. New Scourge Totem Pole decorations can be earned at the higher end of challenge completions, starting at the 19th challenge.
Scourge League Build Guides
We’ve put together a list of recommended Patch 3.16 builds for players both new and old. Here you’ll find a small taste of what the build has in store for you! Click on a guide’s name to check out the full deal on PoE Vault, including skill tree builds, Path of Building exports, gearing recommendations and more.
- Furty’s Lacerate Gladiator has been a staple of league starts and solo self-found alike. With the addition of Masteries and an improved tree, this build is more flexible than ever and has one of the smoothest transitions from Merveil to Maven.
- Furty’s Bladestorm Berserker isn’t one of the game’s most well-known archetypes, but it has the potential to be one of the most powerful. Extremely high damage is backed by a stable leech, life, and mobility, allowing you to carve your way through the end-game with confidence. An added bonus is that Bladestorm is a great skill for leveling, making it a great choice for any melee league start.
- Furty’s Essence Drain and Contagion — name a more iconic duo. This chaos damage combo has been tearing apart maps for years and is still virtually unmatched when it comes to raw clear speed in maps. One of the best builds for solo self-found, you’ll doubtless see many streamers sticking with this setup on league launch.
- LunaWolve’s Lightning Strike Raider offers super-fast clear, good boss scaling, and heavy defenses to make sure we don’t die. The build is able to scale even more into defense if necessary.
- Ghazzy’s Dark Pact Necromancer is a super solid league start build that scales very well in the end-game. This build offers lots of possible upgrade routes to handle the absolute hardest type of end-game available to us.
- Ghazzy’s Raise Spectre Summoner build guide has been around for many years and is consistently updated to show you the absolute best spectres in the game for optimal performance. It’s a wonderful build to use in Hardcore with the many options you have to tweak the build to your personal preference.
- Ghazzy’s Ice Spear Freezing Pulse Totem Hierophant is an incredibly strong league starter build with great clearing as well as very solid end-game bossing capabilities. It also comes with an insanely high roof of upgradable options.
- Ghazzy’s Eye of Winter Saboteur offers crazy damage output while requiring almost no gear whatsoever, making it one of the best league start boss killer builds around.
- Ghazzy’s Physical Golem Necromancer build thrives on being super tanky while still having admirable damage output! Carrion Golems are used for lower budgets and higher budgets stacking Primordial Harmony will go for Stone Golem stacking.
- TbXie’s Freezing Pulse Totems has been one of the most popular builds for newer players for the longest of times. Especially after recent tech also pushed his single target boss killing capabilities up by quite a significant amount, this build is an excellent one for both new and experienced players alike.
- TbXie’s Carrion Golems Elementalist takes advantage of the addition of many more powerful gem options in Scourge. Carrion Golems is making a resurgence as one of the top contenders to trivialize almost any content in the game. As long as you’re willing to invest a little bit of time and currency into your character, Carrion Golems is going to treat you really well. Definitely my pick for a summoner league starter this time around.
- TbXie’s Righteous Fire Juggernaut is perfect for anyone who has envisioned being the Burning Man? With an insane buff to Righteous Fire this patch, now is your time to shine – or be on fire. While the build may never be the biggest powerhouse, it now packs a significant amount of punch while staying incredibly durable and easy to play. If you’re looking for a smooth transition to the very endgame, give this one a try.
Dominating the Atlas in 3.16
3.16 Atlas Changes: Removal of Regions and Maps
In an effort to streamline endgame character progression, the Atlas has been restructured and now features only four regions: Haewark Hamlet, Valdo’s Rest, Glennach Cairns, and Lira Arthain.
As part of this restructuring, many maps have been removed, reducing the total maps available from 164 down to 118. As expected with this reduction to the number of available zones, the number of obtainable Watchstones has also been reduced from 32 down to 16, still requiring four for each region. Unlock requirements for Zana’s Map Device have been reduced as well.
Additionally, as a result of these changes, items such as Base Types and Crafting Recipes previously obtained from now-removed maps have had their drop regions changed. These changes also affect drop locations of Divination Cards. Popular maps such as Bazaar, Burial Chambers, Precinct, and Shrine are especially notable exclusions, as they were previously the top farming spots for powerful Divination Cards. Many of these cards have found new homes among the remaining maps within the Atlas.
3.16 Atlas Passive Skill Tree Rework
The entire Passive Skill Tree has been reworked, with many areas of the tree receiving much-needed love (like the inclusion of additional life nodes near the Ranger start) along with six new Keystone Passives. The biggest change in this rework is the introduction of Passive Masteries, a new mechanic on the skill tree that lets players allocate a passive point to select a powerful effect after allocating the Notable in a passive skill cluster on the tree. This includes effects that were not previously available on the passive tree, such as the “Corrupted Blood cannot be inflicted upon you” mod from the Resistance and Ailment Protection Mastery or the “8% chance to gain a Frenzy Charge when you hit a Unique enemy” mod from Sword Mastery.
3.16 Updated Atlas Skill Trees
New to Path of Exile or need a refresher? Check out our Echoes of the Atlas Guide for everything you need to know about Path of Exile’s Atlas progression system! Be sure to also visit our updated Atlas Progression Guide for a step-by-step guide to efficiently progressing your Atlas in Scourge. Here are the updated Atlas Passive Trees for Path of Exile’s Patch 3.16: Scourge League.
3.16 Zana League Mods
Path of Exile: Scourge features the following Zana League Mods:
- Fortune Favours the Brave (costs 3 Chaos Orb): One of these options will be applied at random, including those you have not yet unlocked.
- Breach (costs 2 Chaos Orb): Area contains an additional Breach.
- Essence (costs 3 Chaos Orb): Area contains 3 additional Essences.
- Bloodlines (costs 3 Chaos Orb): Magic Monster Packs each have a Bloodline mod. Area contains 3 additional Magic Monster Packs.
- Ambush (costs 4 Chaos Orb): Area contains 4 additional Strongboxes.
- Beyond (costs 5 Chaos Orb): Slaying enemies close together has a chance to attract monsters from Beyond.
- Legion (costs 6 Chaos Orb): Area contains an additional Legion Encounter.
- Blight (costs 8 Chaos Orb): Area contains a Blight Encounter.
Notable Changes in Patch 3.16
Balance Manifesto Changes
In 3.16’s Patch Notes, GGG shared three lengthy balance manifestos outlining major changes to flask and ailment mitigation, defences and recovery, and support mechanics, most notably auras and curses.
The flask and ailment changes address many major issues introduced in the flask rework in Expedition league, improving and optimizing the modifiers and effects of flasks.
The changes to defenses seek to smooth out differences in defensive archetypes by removing mechanics that provided too much easy mitigation, like Dodge, and strengthening base defense mechanics like Evasion and Armor to compensate.
The optimal way to play Path of Exile has long centered around powerful support characters providing auras and curses to boost damage and defense for a “glass cannon” carry. In this patch, GGG reduced some of their power by changing the way mana reservation mods work and by nerfing easily stackable sources of Curse and Aura effects. In exchange, supports received improved utility via the new Link class of skill gems, which let them confer a powerful effect to the linked ally.
Expedition is in, Perandus is out
With Patch 3.16, Players will finally say goodbye to Patch 2.2’s Perandus League, which has been removed from the Core game. In its place, you’ll now be able to experience Patch 3.15’s Expedition League and its content in the Core game experience. Changes have been made to Expedition Artifacts, which are no longer tradeable, and Perandus rewards have been upgraded to their Expedition equivalents when applicable.
Quality of Life Changes
Many minor but welcome quality of life changes have also been introduced with this patch, including improvements to Guild and player Hideouts and Stashes. You’ll probably be happy to know that Fragments, Scarabs, and Incubators can now stack.
Notable Additions in Patch 3.16
The following new items have been added in Path of Exile: Scourge:
- New currencies (5): Tainted Blessing, Tainted Chromatic Orb, Tainted Jeweller’s Orb, Tainted Orb of Fusing, Sacred Orb
- New Skill Gems (10): Destructive Link (Intelligence/Dexterity), Energy Blade (Intelligence), Flame Link (Strength), Poisonous Concoction (Dexterity), Protective Link (Strength/Intelligence), Soul Link (Intelligence), Temporal Rift (Dexterity/Intelligence), Tornado (Dexterity/Intelligence), Vampiric Link (Dexterity/Strength)
- New Divination cards (13)
- New Uniques (6)
- New Map Type: Blight-Ravaged Maps. These maps can be obtained by completing high tier (T14+) Blighted Maps. Blight-Ravaged Maps can be Anointed with Oils up to 9 times (with a maximum of 3 Oils of the same type) and feature more challenging monsters than found on regular Blighted Maps.
You can find the full Path of Exile: Scourge 3.16 Patch Notes on the PoE Official Forums. Be sure to keep an eye on the PoE Vault homepage for the latest news and guide updates as we shift into Path of Exile’s Scourge League on Oct 22nd!