In preparation of the event, we’ve collected a number of builds we think would be most useful in the upcoming race to the top.
- The Storm Brand Elementalist is a classic, high-tier Path of Exile build, loved and used by many. As the name suggests, the build is heavily based on Storm Brand as well as Brand Recall, and can deal with all standard packs, including Rares, in just a single cast: activate several Storm Brands, use Shield Charge to enter the pack and immediately hit Brand Recall to bring all your damage to bear. This build has great clear speed, is strong on most bosses, has awesome defences and is quite mobile. However, it isn’t specialized for delving past ~600 and must rely on traps for additional single-target damage.
- An iconic staple of the Path of Exile meta, the Triple Herald Elementalist deals nearly exclusively Elemental damage thanks to the trio Herald of Ice, Herald of Ash and Herald of Thunder, as well as Blade Vortex, which has its physical damage converted to Elemental. Atziri's Promise and the build’s healthy amount of leech ensure a comfortable amount of health. The Triple Herald Elementalist has great clear speed, formidable defenses, powerful life leech, is immune to physical reflect and has good single-target damage output. Unfortunately, some map mods are not efficient, and you’ll have to keep an eye out for mechanics due to this being a melee build.
- Whenever an enemy is poisoned while under the influence of Herald of Agony, a Crawler minion is spawned and the player receives one stack of Virulence. The Crawler gains significant amounts of damage and attack speed for every active stack of Virulence (up to 40). Rain of Arrows helps poison enemies as fast as possible in order to quickly gain stacks. The build has an extremely smooth investment path and is also entirely viable in SSF. The Herald of Agony/Rain of Arrows Occultist has absurd defenses, is viable in all Leagues, can do all map mods without any effort and has a ranged playstyle. Unfortunately, proximity shields are difficult to deal with and can put you in awkward situations, you’ll be relying on AI for your minion and the playstyle might feel a tad clunky.
- Another twist on this Skill + Ascendancy combo would be the Herald of Agony/Ball Lightning Crawler Occultist, this time utilizing The Coming Calamity for 2 additional levels to herald gems and the ability to reserve 45% mana, as well as Ball Lightning for poison application – when socketed into the right gloves, Ball Lightning has a 60% chance to poison thanks to Poison Support. The build specializes heavily in applying strong curses via curse-on-hit setups, has great sustains and easily obtains a huge energy shield pool. And as before, you’ll be relying on AI for your minion, which isn’t always all that smart, and the playstyle might feel a tad clunky.
- Cold skills got greatly buffed during 3.5, and the Occultist Ascendancy has great synergy with all of them. In this build players utilize Vortex as a main damage source, Cold Snap for sticky situations when you need to nuke enemies from afar, and Phase Run for when you have to skadoodle real quick. Strong curses will help you weaken the enemy even more. The Vortex/Cold Snap Occultist is quite versatile, but bear in mind it can be quite pricey, and damage-over-time setups are not for everyone.
- Lastly in the Occultist section we have the Essence Drain & Contagion Occultist. Contagion is an AoE skill which applies DoT whenever Essence Drain hits and kills an enemy; a great synergy which allows for an efficient way to clear large packs of monsters. Essence Drain has great single-target damage output and, being Chaos-based, makes a great pair with the Occultist Ascendancy. Shavronne's Wrappings will help you transition into Low Life, which is recommended in order to substantially improve your damage, while Presence of Chayula will help with Chaos Resistance and some additional Energy shield. This build offers great balance between clear speed, single-target damage, and defense, but you’ll have to get used to using two skills instead of one.
- As a Raise Spectre Necromancer, your job will be to stay behind your minions and empower them. You depend on them to do pretty much everything, so Raise Spectres Raise Spectre will be your damage, while Raise Zombie will play the role of a boney [non-]meat shield. Bones of Ullr and Vis Mortis will allow you to raise the number of minions you can control, and Unending Hunger will give your Spectres a nice, cannibalistic damage buff. Overall, this build offers a very easy playstyle, but is not a good idea for SSF and minion AI can be somewhat silly.
- The Tornado Shot Deadeye is the embodiment of the classic “clear speed bow build”; Windripper is going to be your bow of choice, along with Tornado Shot as a main skill. The build’s long-ranged playstyle feels incredibly safe, and includes some very satisfying “screen shatters” thanks to Herald of Ice and Wrath. Prepare to witness one of the best builds when it comes to clear speed, but keep in mind that the Tornado Shot Deadeye is poorly suited for high-tier mapping and boss killing. While typically focused on Magic Find, our build includes options for more general usability as well, as would be the case during the Flashback event.
- The Kinetic Blast/Barrage Pathfinder shares many similarities with the Tornado Shot Deadeye. While the latter is more focused on Magic Find, however, this Kinetic Blast build utilizes Barrage for single-target and is better suited for fast and efficient leveling. It’s actually GREAT for fast and efficient leveling. It’s also an insanely fast clearer, has extremely strong defenses (95%+ chance to avoid attacks without flasks active), is very nimble on its feet, and most importantly, is very, very, very fun to play. While better than the Tornado Shot Deadeye at single-target and boss fights, the build still struggles without proper gear (such as Queen of the Forest) and links, and can sometimes feel too fast.
- The Spectral Throw Raider is a mighty Elemental Buzzsaw build. Its high tempo playstyle and ability to approach any content with confidence make it a decent choice for the end-of-league event. The Raider Ascendancy is a good mix thanks to enhancement like Frenzy Charges and Onslaught, which grant the speed and mobility to zip through maps, run circles around bosses, and maintain a juicy rate of experience per hour. Belly of the Beast will be your best entry into the build, with Whirling Blades and Spectral Throw being your go-to skills. You will need to carry a gem swap for more difficult bosses though, and the build will make you work for your success – it’s very high-tempo and engaging (which is both blessing and curse). You also get great mobility, awesome clear speed and the confidence which comes with feeling powerful in virtually any environment. Do note that this is the only build in this list which we DO NOT recommend for Hardcore play.
Scion – Ascendant:
- And finally we have a totem-based build! The Ancestral Warchief Ascendant utilizes the unique Facebreaker gloves, which give you a hefty damage boost as long as your characters is unarmed. Combining Ancestral Warchief totems with the Resolute Technique node makes sure they never miss a hit, while Hatred and similar skills become much stronger thanks to the decent amounts of physical damage. Herald of Purity will also be a good friend to you within this build. In the end, the Ancestral Warchief Ascendant has very good single-target potential, it feels and is quite safe to play and you won’t ever have to worry about damage reflect. The clear speed isn’t that great however, and totem builds don’t appeal to everyone.
- The Cyclone Slayer is a well balanced build, created using the Two-Handed Weapon + Cyclone recipe. It’s very fun to play build, combining the allure of high single-target with decent clear speed and sustain for a good ol’ beefy melee brute. The Cyclone Slayer mainly relies on Sunder or Earthquake for leveling and you will have to get your hands on a Haemophilia or similar. The down side of this build is that it’s necessary to deal damage in order to survive due to having practically no health regeneration. The leveling experience is smooth, however, and you’ll have no issue in dealing with most types of content.
- Instant life leech has been hard to achieve in Path of Exile as of late, but the Double Strike Gladiator knows what’s up: a hearty combination of Bloodseeker with Vaal Double Strike and Ancestral Warchief means you’ll be pummeling bosses and gulping up their health like nobody’s business. You can definitely go hardcore with this build, but keep in mind your main focus will be on gaining a larger health pool in order to prevent one-shots.
- Champion is the king of Imaples, a very powerful mechanic that allows you to stack tons of extra Physical damage on enemies. Our Imaple Cyclone Champion makes a great use of this mechanic at the cost of little to no investment.
- The Holy Flame Totem Chieftain is perfect for an SSF environment due to its lax equipment requirements. Set up around the Holy Flame Totem skill, which fires physical-based projectiles with 50% conversion to fire, the build feels quite safe to play, has a great life pool and decent life sustain mechanics. A cheap unique like Doon Cuebiyari will take you a very long way. it’s clear speed isn’t all that good, but you’ll find that bosses are no problem at all.
- With the Juggernaut’s extreme damage mitigation and Molten Strike‘s incredible single-target damage potential, the Molten Strike Juggernaut can become stunningly powerful if properly equipped. Nebuloch will be your preferred weapon, though a Brutus' Lead Sprinkler will help you gear up faster towards your goal. Wildfire will ensure you do decent damage early on, while Dying Sun will help with additional projectiles. This build can get quite pricey, but with the right luck you can achieve more than 90% physical and 80% elemental damage mitigation.
- Specifically created for running Labyrinths fast and efficient without a shred of danger for your life, the Uber Labyrinth Farmer Juggernaut relies on Earthquake and a wide variety of unique two-handers, though Atziri's Disfavour is what you should ultimately be aiming for. This is an extremely tanky build. Albeit not that good at handling late-game content, we do believe it’ll help you rise to the tops of the Flashback Juggernaut ranks.
- The Arc Mines Saboteur is a jack of all trades. The build has remained a powerhouse despite recent nerfs and is arguably the most dominant of all Arc variants, and is a great choice for both Standard and SSF leagues. The Arc Mines Saboteur offers a wide variety of modifications, is a very fast clearer and can deal some heavy amounts of damage with very little investment; movement speed is also pretty crazy on this one.
- Let’s start off the Trickster category with the Caustic Arrow Trickster. Caustic Arrow can deal a silly amount of damage at level 20 – a whopping 1927 per second! The build itself does not require a specific set of uniques and a simple Silverbough will do you well until you manage to get your hand on some more currency. Kaom's Heart and Devoto's Devotion will give you a very nice boost in survivability and clear speed. Damage-over-time builds are an acquired taste though, so choose wisely.
- The Divine Ire Trickster makes good use of the brand new Divine Ire gem. This is a physical-based channeling skill with 50% conversion to lightning; while channeling you gain stacks (capped at 20) which can then be released into a +1900% damage mega beam. Spiffy! A few precise nodes + The Eternity Shroud will give us a nice ol’ boost in Chaos damage, too, but a Tabula Rasa is a decent start which can carry you a long way into your journey. Overall, this is a well balanced build which is great at killing monsters off-screen. You will have to stay still in order to channel your skill and deal damage, however, which can put you in some tight situations.
- Here we have a build with exceptional defences: the Kitava’s Thirst Flame Surge Trickster is very high-tempo and does a great job at making your enemies explode into hundreds of pretty lights. The Flame Surge skill is carefully woven around Kitava's Thirst in order to create very strong single-target damage with potent energy shield restoration mechanics. The randomness of effects might affect your gameplay a tad though, and all the lights could be off-putting to some.
- The Soulrend Trickster is a good Chaos-based option for pretty much any league (SSF, Hardcore and Softcore). What’s essential about this build is that it is created with survival and comfort in mind, all while maintaining a very high rate of experience per hour. You can reach Level 100 safely and on a very tight budget, which is perfect for the Flashback event. Bane will help you apply curses, while Blight and Wither will be your right-hand boss killers. You get a deep health pool (>9000) with great defences and… what else could you need?
- Storm Burst is another great channeling skill which earned more love during 3.6. A simple Tabula Rasa goes a long way in the Storm Burst Trickster build, though The Eternity Shroud would do you wonders once you can afford it, and you will be focused on acquiring Shaper-based items in order to ignore your enemies’ Chaos resistances. The build offers nice single-target damage and great range, but doesn’t do that well in elemental reflect areas and the best equipment can become quite pricey.
- Another build that is expected to be extremely powerful is Furty’s ED/Contagion Trickster, which allowed him to be the 5th player hitting level 100 in a SSFSC environment. The build is very versatile, easy to gear and strikes a great balance between offense and defense.
- Another decent totem build would be the Frostbolt/Glacial Cascade Totems Hierophant. Your main spells will be, surprise, Frostbolt and Glacial Cascade due to their strong base damage – the former being a good clearer, while the latter excels at single-target. The life-based version of the build should be better suited to your Flashback needs, since it does not require any specific uniques but a Frozen Trail in order to work. Being totem-based, this build feels nice and safe to play, and you’ll have quite a bit of mobility. Depending on the type of content, though, you might need to swap gems here and there.
- Purifying Flame is quite new in Path of Exile, having been introduced alongside Synthesis. Building around this gem doesn’t require much of a budget, and it can easily achieve 2 million Shaper DPS. The Purifying Flame Inquisitor has lots of life regeneration, decent defences, very high damage at a low cost, and is incredibly easy to play, albeit a little slow at clearing.
- With the introduction of new notables via Cluster Jewels we can see the huge potential of something like Herald of Purity‘s Sentinels. This is where our Herald of Purity & Dominating Blow Guardian build guide comes in handy. The build is able to achieve a great amount of endgame damage potential while you are mainly focusing on survivability while gearing up.
Good luck in the Delirium, Exile!