Most aRPGs thrive off of interesting enemies to fight, epic loot to obtain, and enough depth to keep players engaged for hundreds of hours. Path of Exile does all of these things well while managing to introduce mountains of build variety that the likes of Diablo can’t match.
This is thanks to the game’s massive array of skills, modifiers to said skills called support gems, and a passive skill tree that is over a thousand nodes large. While this level of choice is fantastic for replayability and experimentation, it can be intimidating creating a build for the start of a new league. With Delirium right around the corner, here are 10 great starting builds you can try for Path of Exile‘s new league.
10 Skeleton Necromancer
Summoners were unquestionably the strongest starting characters in the “Conquerers of the Atlas” expansion. When combined with the Witch’s Necromancer ascendency, they were nigh-unstoppable.
Most Path of Exile fans speculates that the upcoming patch notes will nerf this playstyle. While it is uncertain what Grinding Gear Games will do with summoners, they will likely keep their powerful yet safe playstyle that they are currently masters at. Skeletons, in particular, are the easiest to gear for and upgrade, capable of killing nearly every boss in the game with minimal currency investment. Using Skeletons with the Witch’s Necromancer ascendency makes this playstyle even stronger.
9 Arc Trapper
Metamorph league also saw a small but noticeable buff to the Arc skill, increasing its effective chaining radius to a much better range.
While casting Arc is a viable option, a more interesting way of playing an Arc character is by supporting the skill with traps. Traps can benefit from trap-specific support gems, passive nodes, and some of the Saboteur’s powerful ascendency notables. Throw a cluster of these Arc traps at a cluster of enemies or a boss and they’ll die almost instantly. They don’t clear Maps as fast as other archetypes, but they are easy to gear and don’t require significant game knowledge to use effectively.
8 Hierophant Totems
Similar to traps, totems are stationary objects players place down to cast a specific ability. The main difference between traps and totems is that totems repeatedly cast spells while traps detonate a set number of times.
Nearly every spell in Path of Exile can be supported with totems, letting you do crazy things from detonating corpses to teleporting totems that shock targets when they reappear near a foe. No matter the spell totem you decide to use, the Hierophant ascendency for the Templar is a great choice, allowing you to summon additional totems with even more benefits. Like trappers, totem characters are usually cheap to get items for and are effective at killing hordes of enemies or tanky bosses.
7 Herald of Agony
Heralds are unique buffs in Path of Exile that only affect the player who casted them, usually providing elemental damage bonuses and mechanical buffs to make clearing hordes of enemies easier.
Herald of Agony is a strange Herald, summoning a poisonous scorpion that deals absurd damage as virulence stacks increase. What makes this ability so powerful is how it requires nearly no gear to work properly, only requiring a six link to reach most of its potential. While 6 links can be hard to find or craft, a Tabula Rasa can suffice during leveling until you can afford to create or buy a 6 linked Bow or chest plate. Pathfinder is a good ascendency for this, granting poison proliferation and extra damage with this skill.
6 Puncture Gladiator
Gladiators are typically associated with block-based effects and melee builds. It is possilbe to use them for Bow characters, however, potentially triumphing Ranger ascendencies for starting a new league with.
In this case, Puncture Gladiators are a fantastic ranged build for those who want to be defensive and still deal great damage. Puncture is a skill that bleeds targets for large amounts of damage, dealing even more damage if the target moves. Ensnaring arrow can then be used to force the additional moving damage to activate, allowing you to slay bosses with a few attacks. Gladiator also has some fantastic bleed-based nodes to make enemies explode and take additional bleed damage. It is a solid build that takes little currency to get going.
5 Kinetic Bolt Caster
A few new skills and support gems have been showed off for Delirium league, with one of the most interesting skills shown is Kinetic Bolt.
This ability fires a ricocheting bolt that will repeatedly fork, spawning additional projectiles and covering a larger radius. When combined with the new Spellslinger support gem, this skill can activate other spells every quarter of a second! You can teleport with Lightning Warp with nearly every cast, or spawn Arc lightning bolts to disintegrate foes. While this is hard to gauge its power before patch notes, this playstyle could be very powerful and make leveling a spellcaster easier than ever before.
4 Blade Vortex With Blade Burst
Blade Vortex is a classic skill that summons swirling blades around the player, dealing constant damage to nearby targets.
Damaging nearby targets is great, but what of enemies that are at a distance? A new skill introduced in Delirium called Blade Burst is debuting, detonating blades left by the likes of Blade Vortex or Bladefall to deal great area of effect damage. Blade Vortex has the potential of becoming an insanely powerful clearing skill with upgraded items and support gems. Blade Burst will take this playstyle to a whole new level.
3 Ice Nova And Frostbolt Inquisitor
Self-casting spells is rather rare to see in Path of Exile today, mainly thanks to the large number of automatic casting support gems and items the game has.
There are some builds that are incredibly strong while manually cast, however. Frostbolt and Ice Nova is the best example of this, dealing absurd amounts of Cold damage to enemies with great clear speed. Both of these skills synergize with each other, as Frostbolt projectiles will detonate into Ice Novas when Ice Nova is cast on them, letting you spread this chilling effect across entire rooms. Combined with the Inquisitor ascendency, this playstyle can be very safe and deal insane amounts of elemental damage.
2 Impale Champion
Impale is arguably one of the strongest mechanics in Path of Exile. This effect will deal unmitigated physical damage every time the target is hit.
There are ways to increase your chance to Impale and its damage values from the passive tree, but no ascendency makes this playstyle as insane as Champion. Champions have the ability to apply additional Impales and grant flat physical damage for every Impale affecting the target. In laymen’s terms, your damage exponentially increases and allows Champion characters to kill bosses in under a second with proper support gems. It isn’t hard to get items for, either.
1 Essence Drain And Contagion
Take the power of Ice Nova and Frostbolt and increase it. Now, imagine that being cheaper than previous builds on the list. That is Essence Drain and Contagion.
This skill combination applies a massive Chaos debuff on enemies, dealing obscene amounts of damage a second. Contagion will then spread this debuff to everyone in the radius, usually resulting in instant death for nearly every enemy in the game. Tricksters benefit greatly from this playstyle, granting additional survivability with Ghost Shrouds and even more damage over time! If you don’t know what to start with, Essence Drain and Contagion is a safe and incredible choice.
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