This build guide is split over multiple pages, both to prevent it from getting too long, as well as to help you better find the information you are looking for. In addition to the current page, which presents general information about the build and also contains a Leveling and FAQ section, we have the following pages:
About the Author
Hi! I’m Octavian, I’ve been playing Path of Exile since Warbands league (back in 2015) with more than 11,000 hours logged so far and I’ve jumped around to pretty much every game-mode the game offers. SC trade, HC trade and Solo Self-found both SC and HC – I generally try to make builds that have well-rounded options for approaching the game from any of these angles, but my preference for tankier, higher single-target builds does shine through in what I make. If you like this guide or have any questions related to it, be sure to check out my stream where I’m live almost every day. Enjoy the guide!
Toxic Rain is a very powerful, surprisingly complex, and well-rounded skill. Its versatile nature allows it to have quick and clean clear, high single-target damage, and even a touch of defensive strength with the innate slow it provides. Generally, however, it is used in a ‘self-attack’ setup, for lack of a better term, perhaps alongside Mirage Archer Support for a bit of extra coverage and automation.
Interestingly enough, however, it lines up extremely well with a mine playstyle, as the strengths of Toxic Rain itself as well as the strengths of the miner archetype complement each other very well. Mines essentially allow you to short-circuit the requirement for attack speed entirely, replacing it with Mine Throwing Speed, which is innately quite quick – and also allow you to pre-stack your damage, causing massive amounts of pods in a short time and allowing for intense overlapping damage.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty details, a quick overview of the strengths, weaknesses, and requirements of the build. This character is likely one of the strongest league-start builds I’ve got in my arsenal, since as far as requirements to get it off the ground all you really need is a handful of solid generic Rare items and a 6-linked bow with “+2 to Level of Socketed Bow Gems”, which is extremely easy to farm yourself or buy your way into early on in a trade league, as I’ll detail later.
As far as strengths and weaknesses, I wouldn’t say this character has any defined weaknesses, but rather that it is fairly strong across the board without being exceptional in any one area. For single target, Ball Lightning mines will beat it by a bit, for clear Icicle Mine or Arc mines can equal or surpass it – but as an all around package, I wouldn’t say anything really beats Toxic Rain mines, in my view. It has a damn good helping of everything, it just isn’t the king of anything either. One thing worth mentioning, however, before you commit to putting this build together or even reading much further into the guide – you will need to learn to curb your reflex to spam the key, as given we use Blastchain Mine Support and cannot use High-Impact Mine Support, spamming Detonate will cost you a lot of damage.
Pros & Cons
+ Easy Leaguestart
+ Scales well
+ Good clear
– Multi-button playstyle
– Single-target requires timing
Playstyle and Blast-Chain Mines
For clear, this build is pretty straightforward, and in fact actually quite smooth. Toxic Rain mines are auto-targeting, and have a significantly long range, so the ideal playstyle for clearing trash while mapping involves generally throwing the mines at your feet or just ahead of you and detonating as you go, allowing the mines to target packs for you so you can focus on dodging and pathing. Fairly popular among mine builds is the practice of binding your Detonate key to left click, but that is something I do not recommend here.
This is where it’s worth getting into how Blastchain Mine Support works – this skill gem is the support gem used to turn Toxic Rain into a mine skill in the first place, and it also determines the optimal playstyle for single-target ramping damage. Blastchain Mine Support gives a damage benefit to any individual mine based off of the number of mines which detonated before it in a detonation sequence, and any time you hit the detonation key, you instantly reset your sequence, thus losing all of the chaining damage you would have benefited from due to Blastchain Mine Support. This is a massive DPS loss, and means that you need to accurately time your detonations in order to properly output good DPS, rather than mediocre or low DPS. It would be difficult to explain the means by which I judge the timing through text, so I’ve put together a short video to demonstrate and explain the functionality in practice. This sequencing is really only relevant against bosses and perhaps particularly tough rare monsters, but the DPS increase is substantial enough that it is worth learning the technique.
Another couple of mechanics worth briefly touching on specific to the scaling of Toxic Rain are the potency of Area of Effect, Duration, and projectile count on single-target damage.
The basic behavior of a Toxic Rain shot is as follows – you fire arrows into the air which, on landing, spawn a pod which clutches at all nearby enemies with deadly vines. These vines do damage over time and vanish when the pod explodes, dealing a combination of Physical and Chaos damage with the explosion. Those vines, and the damage over time that they deal, are what we will focus on in this build. This has a few implications – firstly, we want as much damage out of a single pod as possible, which means that scaling duration in order to delay the pod’s explosion and keep the vines active gives us additional damage from each shot, translating into single target damage.
Secondly, the vines’ reach is improved with AoE scaling, meaning that we can get vines from multiple pods to grasp the same enemy if we scale enough area of effect – thus making AoE a single-target scaler.
Lastly, additional arrows means additional pods, which means additional vines – however, this last one does have a caveat. As you get more arrows, they get spread further away from the center, meaning to actually use the extra pods for single target scaling you need a fairly monstrous amount of AoE. Thankfully, mines (and Saboteur) can provide that.
Passive Skill Tree
The passive trees are all contained within this Path of Building link.
I’ve also provided a “visual tutorial” (below) on how to swap between different passive trees within Path of Building, so you can check out the HC, SC, and leveling versions of the build’s passive trees. The gear in this PoB is fairly generic stand-in gear, and can be swapped around between many of the options provided later on in this guide, but you can use it as a pretty standard measuring stick to judge your choices against should you want to edit anything – and please, feel free to do so!
Mess around with the build, as every build is just a template. One thing worth mentioning is that Path of Building does not seem to understand that mines don’t care about attack speed, so it judges DPS as if our attack speed mattered. This makes the DPS numbers inaccurate. I’ve edited a Bismuth Flask to simulate the attack speed our Mine Throwing Speed would be roughly equivalent to. More detail on the ascendancy choices can be found on the Passive Tree page, along with pantheon choices.
Use this drop-down menu to access different variants of the passive tree depending on what you’re after.
Select the tree you’re interested in!
For leveling trees, check the Leveling section of the guide below.
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.
We go over all of the gem links this build uses in the end-game on our Gem Link page.
The build’s itemization is covered in depth on the gear page. If you just want a quick cheat sheet to look over though, I suggest glancing through this image gallery which has references for low budget, big budget, and massive budget versions of gear in each item slot.
This is an example of a good early leveling passive tree.
One of the rather nice things about Toxic Rain mines is how early you can begin using it – while you’ll want to start with Caustic Arrow linked to Lesser Poison Support and Mirage Archer Support early on, keep an eye out for items with Blue-Green-Green sockets linked, as at level 12 you’ll be able to swap into Toxic Rain, Blastchain Mine Support, and Swift Assembly Support. It’s even better if you can get these links into a Bow with “+1 to Socketed Bow Gems”, as this will provide a significant damage boost. You don’t need to worry about attack speed once you’ve swapped to mines, as they don’t need any, and since we’re scaling the Damage over Time, the Physical and Elemental rolls on your bow will also be pretty irrelevant.
One thing you absolutely do not want to do is use a Quill Rain – the attack speed on this bow will do nothing for you, and you will still suffer the penalty. Using a Quill Rain is literally worse than using the starting bow from Twilight Strand that Ranger gets, do not use it – at least not with mines.
When you get a 4-link, throw in Void Manipulation Support until you’re high enough level to switch it to Vicious Projectiles Support. You’ll want to socket in Summon Skitterbots once you obtain it in Act 2, but I would wait on Malevolence until you have some Mana regen together on gear and the passive tree to make having a smaller Mana pool more comfortable.
Focus on getting Life rolls on gear wherever possible, prioritize movement speed on your boots (if you can get a Wanderlust, all the better) and try your best to cap your elemental resistances, particularly as you reach past Act 5. If you are comfortable with the degeneration on your life, or if you prioritize regen early from the labyrinth, use a Blood Rage while clearing to get some extra damage from frenzies. Keep identifying bows as you level and if you ever get the opportunity to switch to one with +1/+2 to socketed bow gems you’ll want to do that – however, you do need to have your Toxic Rain links in the bow in order to take advantage of it, so try to conserve Jeweller's Orbs and Orb of Fusings where possible to fix bows with good rolls that drop with the wrong sockets. Silverbranch is an excellent leveling unique if you’re looking for one to use, and the upgraded version Silverbough can even be alright in the endgame, if you can get one with 5 or 6-linked sockets. Do remember that the Toxic Rain needs to be in the bow, though.
The tree you have by early mapping should look something like this.
If you have any other questions about leveling or the build in general, feel free to ask, either here or on my stream ! Thanks for reading the guide, I hope you crush your foes under the smothering weight of a thousand grasping vines.