Siege Ballista Ascendant Build Guide (PoE Synthesis 3.6)

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Introduction

Siege Ballista Siege Ballista is a ranged attack totem that has very high base damage and pierces enemies by default. This makes building around the skill very easy, since the damage potential is very high. The 50% less attack speed multiplier is countered by a decent bow with high APS and things like Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support.

We choose the Ascendant, because this ascendancy has great balance between utility and damage. The build picks up all the necessary Totem and Bow nodes on the passive tree, along with reaching over 210% increased maximum Life.

Build Summary

The build focuses on scaling Elemental damage with Attacks. There are no mandatory items except for Rain of Splinters Rain of Splinters, which should cost a couple of Chaos Orb Chaos Orbs for a very good roll; this jewel will allow you not run Greater Multiple Projectiles Support Greater Multiple Projectiles Support and use a damage multiplier instead. You can use Windripper Windripper or any rare elemental Bow with high Attack Speed and good Critical Chance; even a simple Storm Cloud Storm Cloud will carry you a long way.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Decent clear speed
+ Fun and different playstyle

Cons

- Feels clunky in some indoor maps

Playstyle

Offensively, dropping a set of totems is enough to clear a whole screen. You can keep up Frenzy charges with Frenzy Frenzy in order to increase your damage output. You should place your totems next to tough single targets in order to utilize Point Blank.

Defensively, reaching a high Life pool with this build should be easily achieved. A combination of Acrobatics, Phase Acrobatics, Arrow Dancing, and Vaal Grace Vaal Grace will keep you safe in sticky situations.

For Playstyle, keep your distance and place your Siege Ballista Siege Ballistas between you and the monsters. Against bosses make sure to keep up the maximum number of your totems and hit the boss with your Frenzy skill in order to keep up Frenzy charges.

Ascendancy, Passive tree, Bandits and Pantheons

Ascendancy (Scion – Ascendant)

  1. Passive Point
  2. Hierophant Ascendancy
  3. Deadeye Ascendancy
  4. Path of the Ranger

We pick Hierophant Ascendancy mainly for the one additional maximum totem it provides.

Deadeye Ascendancy helps us solve our Accuracy problems, adds additional projectile and a psuedo Far Shot mechanic.

Path of the Ranger makes your passive tree pathing much more efficient.

Passive tree

Here is the endgame passive skill tree for the build. For keystone notables, we pick Ancestral Bond, Acrobatics, Phase Acrobatics, Arrow Dancing and Point Blank. We focus on all the efficient Totem and Bow nodes, along with picking 4 jewel sockets and over 210% maximum Life, which is very respectable.

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 – The additional chance to take less damage just adds another layer of defense on top of the build. Other major pantheons are also valuable choices in certain situations.

Minor: Here we have many options to choose between. Ralakesh gives you Blind and Maim immunity, Garukhan provides additional evade chance, Shakari gives Poison immunity. Ralakesh should be the most useful one in most cases.

Pantheon powers can be upgraded by using Divine Vessel in the Map Device while you are activating the particular Map that contains the boss you need. Once you’ve killed the boss and captured his soul, you need to deliver the vessel to Sin in Oriath.

Gems

Siege Ballista Siege Ballista is your signature skill, which should ideally be used in a 6-Link. For mobility, use Blink Arrow Blink Arrow. Auras and buffs that add flat elemental damage to attacks are a big damage boost for the build; Wrath Wrath and Anger Anger reserve 50% of your mana each, and Herald of Ice Herald of Ice and Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder reserve 25% each. So you are basically forced to choose one big aura and one herald buff. For maximum efficiency, we recommend going with Wrath Wrath and Herald of Ice Herald of Ice, as this will allow you to Shock and Freeze frequently. Vaal Grace Vaal Grace should be used in sticky situations.

For all the gem links we provide below, keep in mind that we list the gems in order of priority, 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. 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.

Siege Ballista (6-Link)

Siege Ballista Siege Ballista is a slow but very hard-hitting ranged attack totem. Its projectiles pierce by default, which means you only need to add additional projectiles to make the skill viable for clearing; we do that by using Rain of Splinters Rain of Splinters along with the Deadeye ascendancy. We recommend one link that works great for both clearing and single target.

  1. Siege Ballista Siege Ballista
  2. Elemental Damage with Attacks Support Elemental Damage with Attacks Support
  3. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
  4. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support
  5. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  6. Multiple Totems Support Multiple Totems Support

Immortal Call (2-Link)

Using Immortal Call Immortal Call in that gem link is a standard way to prevent deaths from Porcupines, even though you will probably dodge most projectiles, or just shatter them with your Cold Critical Strikes. Both gems should be kept at level requirement of 40 or lower.

  1. Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support
  2. Immortal Call Immortal Call

Frenzy and Blink Arrow (3-Link)

Frenzy Frenzy will allow you to generate Frenzy charges. Blink Arrow Blink Arrow will help you jump over map terrain and dodge lethal game mechanics.

  1. Frenzy Frenzy
  2. Blink Arrow Blink Arrow
  3. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support

Other Gems

For auras, you should use Wrath Wrath for maximum damage output or Anger Anger for more consistent damage. For heralds, you should use Herald of Ice Herald of Ice in order to Shatter enemies reliably, or Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder in order to make your Shocks even stronger. Vaal Grace Vaal Grace can be used for its Vaal version in sticky situations.

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.

Helmet

Starkonja's Head Starkonja's Head and Rat's Nest Rat's Nest are two of the best unique Helmets you can use. A well rolled rare Helmet also works just fine. For labyrinth enchant, look for Siege Ballista Siege Ballista Placement Speed or Attack Speed. The rare affix priority is:

  1. Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 80)
  3. % increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil)
  4. Intelligence

Body Armour

Since you will only need one 6-Link, you can use Kaom's Heart Kaom's Heart for the additional survivability. Other unique choices are Wildwrap Wildwrap, Queen of the Forest Queen of the Forest, Kintsugi Kintsugi and Hyrri's Ire Hyrri's Ire and Loreweave Loreweave. The rare affix priority is:

  1. Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 100)
  3. % increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil; Elder Prefix)
  4. Attacks have +#% to Critical Strike Chance (Elder Suffix)
  5. % of Physical Damage taken as Cold Damage (Essence of Horror)

Gloves

Tombfist Tombfist are one of the best gloves for the build, since we aim to scale elemental damage with attacks and Abyssal sockets are very powerful for that purpose. Well rolled gloves can also be used. The rare affix priority is:

  1. Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 60)
  3. % increased Attack Speed
  4. Accuracy Rating (at least 300)

Boots

Well rolled rare boots are best in slot. Having decent movement speed on boots is very important for Bow builds, since they do not have a reliable mobility skill. For labyrinth enchant, look for additional Penetration or Movement Speed if you haven’t been hit recently. The rare affix priority is:

  1. Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 60)
  3. % increased Movement Speed (at least 30%)

Belt

A well rolled rare Stygian Vise Stygian Vise outclasses other Belt choices. The rare affix priority is:

  1. Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 80)
  3. % increased Elemental Damage with Attacks (at least 25%)
  4. % increased Elemental Damage (Prismatic Fossil)

Amulet

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

  1. Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 50)
  3. Gain #% of Non-Chaos Damage as extra Chaos Damage
  4. Elemental Damage with Attacks (at least 25%)
  5. Added Flat Elemental Damage to Attacks
  6. Critical Multiplier

Rings

Well rolled rare Rings are best in slot, preferably Opal Ring Opal Rings. The rare affix priority is:

  1. Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 50)
  3. Elemental Damage with Attacks (at least 25%)
  4. Accuracy Rating (at least 300)
  5. Added Flat Elemental Damage to Attacks

Weapon

Windripper Windripper is one of the best Bow choices for this build. A well rolled elemental Bow can also be used but it will probably be very expensive and not worth it. The rare affix priority is:

  1. Attack Speed (at least 1,6 APS)
  2. Critical Chance (at least 7% local)
  3. Flat Elemental damage to Attacks

Quiver

A rare Quiver will allow you to fill resistance gaps and get some more Life and damage. Skirmish Skirmish can be used early on, or even corrupted for one additional Arrow and be used as an endgame Quiver for clearing. The rare affix priority is:

  1. Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 60)
  3. Elemental Damage with Attacks (at least 25%)
  4. Critical Multiplier

Flasks

Diamond Flask is mandatory in every Critical-based build; this is a good flask to have Curse or Freeze immunity on. Divine Life Flask should used as Instant or half-Instant along with Bleeding Removal suffix. . A Quicksilver Flask is also mandatory for the build, try rolling it with additional Movement Speed. Atziri's Promise Atziri's Promise is a budget flask that can increase your damage output. For the other flask slots we recommend using Basalt, Silver or any other utility flask based on the content you are running. Make sure you have Bleeding, Curse and Freezing immunity on your flasks.

Jewels

Rain of Splinters Rain of Splinters is needed for the build, look for a roll close to 30%. A Watcher's Eye Watcher's Eye with Wrath Wrath mods can be powerful, but expensive. Besides that, you should prioritize Abyssal jewels over Regular jewels.

Regular Jewel Affix Priority

  1. % increased Maximum Life
  2. % increased Critical Multiplier
  3. % increased Attack Speed/ with Bows
  4. % increased Projectile Damage

Abyssal Jewel Affix Priority

  1. Maximum Life (at least 35)
  2. Adds # to # Lightning/ Cold/ Fire Damage to Bow Attacks
  3. Adds # to # Lightning/ Cold/ Fire Damage to Attacks
  4. % increased Accuracy Rating if you haven’t Killed Recently

Leveling

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

The build should be leveled with a powerful leveling skill like Vaal Rain of Arrows Vaal Rain of Arrows in combination with unique Bows like Storm Cloud Storm Cloud.

Leveling Trees

If you choose to start using Siege Ballista Siege Ballista as soon as possible, you should rush to Ancestral Bond. This is the early passive skill tree for this purpose.

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. A simple Storm Cloud Storm Cloud will carry you a long way.

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. Ice Shot Ice Shot
  2. Pierce Support Pierce Support
  3. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support

At level 4, you can add Mirage Archer Support Mirage Archer Support to your Ice Shot Ice Shot link. You can also pick Frost Bomb Frost Bomb for additional single target damage output.

By level 8, your Ice Shot Ice Shot link should look like this.

  1. Ice Shot Ice Shot
  2. Pierce Support Pierce Support
  3. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  4. Mirage Archer Support Mirage Archer Support
  5. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support
  6. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support

At level 10, you should add Blink Arrow Blink Arrow.

At level 12, you can start using your signature skill, Vaal Rain of Arrows Vaal Rain of Arrows. It will replace your Ice Shot Ice Shot link.

  1. Vaal Rain of Arrows Vaal Rain of Arrows
  2. Mirage Archer Support Mirage Archer Support
  3. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  4. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support
  5. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support

At level 16, you should add Herald of Ice Herald of Ice.

By level 18, your Vaal Rain of Arrows Vaal Rain of Arrows should look like this.

  1. Vaal Rain of Arrows Vaal Rain of Arrows
  2. Mirage Archer Support Mirage Archer Support
  3. Elemental Damage with Attacks Support Elemental Damage with Attacks Support
  4. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support
  5. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  6. Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support

FAQ

What maps are impossible to do/annoying to deal with?

The build can do all map mods, but there are some nasty ones. You will need a Hybrid Flask for No Regeneration maps. Ballistas will most likely one-shot themselves against Elemental Reflect, which will be very annoying.

Conclusion

Shoot down enemies with your powerful Siege Ballista Totems. The Siege Ballista Ascendant is a great alternative to all the Spell-based Totem builds.

Changelog
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