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Path of Exile 3.13 Ritual League Top Starter Builds

I first want to preface by saying we will not know the exact details of 3.13 until the official patch notes are released, but there are plenty of builds that will probably not be affected by any nerfs, and players have been posting requests for build recommendations in the most active POE-related community sites. My goal was to put together a compendium the community could reference as they plan for the 3.13 release, including builds they can “test” right now.

Important Note!
The old Path of Building isn’t compatible with the new 3.13 builds. Remember to update to the Community version of Path of Building!

This overview is based on the stats of the most popular, played, delve, mapping, bossing and SSF/HC friendly builds from 3.12 and the impact of the 3.13 patch notes. We can learn a lot from these builds and how the most skilled players utilized them. The great news is 3.13 will see the return of Harvest in the form of pre-created gardens that can be farmed. This should enhance the overall ability to secure great items not only while leveling, but mapping as well.

The below TR/CA Trickster Mine build from TriPolarBear is one of the best league starting builds I’ve played. I highly recommend it for SSF! Note it’s not built for HC, but fantastic for farming currency and gear for end-game builds; and it owns rituals!

The New Ritual League start day is here! Don’t forget to update your Loot Filter for 3.13! I will be running TriPolarBear’s TR/CA Trickster Mine build as my league starter.

GGG published the new 3.13 Gem information page, complete with “Show Difference”. You can review the details here.

ALL BUILDS UPDATED FOR 3.13! Please let me know if there are any issues with the links or content!

I have upated each of the build sections with a note regarding the impacts of the patch, along with the build list order (from most recommended to least). You can review the patch notes here.

While there will be new skills introduced with 3.13 that could potentially end up being fantastic league starters, most players seem more interested in starting a league with something they’re familiar with.

I also want to share this great website which has numerous top tier starter builds with links to complete build guides on the GGG POE Forums:

Before we begin, Path of Building (Community) is a very important tool to have when following a build guide since many of them share PoB links. Additionally, make sure you have a good loot filter. I personally recommend NeverSink’s Loot Filter.

Qualifying the Builds

Here are the key requirements I use for qualifying these builds:

  1. SSF/Starter (no equipment) viable to end-game.
  2. Ease of leveling.
  3. Hardcore-level survival (even for SC play).
  4. Balance of map clear & bossing.
  5. All content capable with self-found gear (A8 Sirus).
  6. Delve capability in Hardcore (even for SC play).

I want to mention how important I believe a builds Delve capabilities are; Delve is one of the best tests for a build’s survival, especially in Hardcore. I use delve depth of 200 in HC as the lowest qualifier for a build to be viable.

Top Starter Builds

Here are my recommend top starter builds for the upcoming Path of Exile 3.13 Ritual League, based on the performance of the builds in 3.12 mixed with the released patch notes for 3.13.

Note the Delve Depths are based on HCSSF (showing Hardcore and self-found gear viability).

Earthquake / Lacerate Max Block Bleed Gladiator

Delve Depth: 599 SC, 502 HC
Nerf Details: Even with the bleed damage nerfs, this build is still rock solid! It’s also important to mention that Reave received a buff, so Reave Block Bleed Gladiator is back on the table! Blood in Eyes (increases doubles bleed and blind chance), Gratuitous Violence (Removed 20% chance to bleed, 30% increased Damage against Bleeding, and 25% more Damage with Bleeding).

Both Earthquake and Lacerate were the top performing melee builds for 3.12, including Hardcore and Delving. Players can choose between the “thunk” based play style of EQ vs. the slashing style of Lacerate. Both are equally viable, can do all content, are HC and SSF friendly, and neither should see a nerf with 3.13. I also included a link to Esoro’s Impale Lacerate build for 3.13 for those who want to try a variation of the build that is hybrid impale/bleed focused.

Build Links: Lacerate PoB for HCSSF (Trees and Notes) | Earthquake Max Block Gladiator PoB (Trees and Notes) | Esoro’s Impale Lacerate Gladiator Video Build Guide

Bladefall / Blade Blast Chieftain

Delve Depth: 818 SC, 301 HC
Nerf Details: Chieftain survives damage nerfs! Will be fantastic starter! Chieftain: Tasalio (Removed 2% life Regen, increased Physical to Fire Damage taken from 10% to 15%).

I believe this will be one of the best league starters for 3.13, even with losing the 2% regen. The Chieftain (Fire) variation of BF/BB came out on top (for Heist), followed by the Poison Assassin (which was actually top for Flashback, but received a substantial nerf). I will admit, BF/BB was probably my favorite (and most fun) build of 3.12. Leveling is a bit slow in a new league, but once you get into Act II, all content simply melts away.

Build Link: BF/BB Chieftain PoB (Leveling Trees and Notes) | Zizaran’s BF/BB Chieftain Video Build Guide

Cyclone Champion (2H or Facebreaker)

Delve Depth: 545 SC, 850 HC
Nerf Details: Cyclone Champion is still awesome in 3.13. Master of Metal (Removed 20% chance to Impale, Impales last 1 additional hit vs. 2)

Another top performer for 3.12 was the Cyclone Impale Champion. While the Facebreaker version is the “overall best”, the 2H version works just fine, making it great for SSF, Deep Delving and all content.

Build Links: Path of Exile Builds Axe Impale Cyclone Build Video | Path of Exile Builds Facebreaker Champion Cyclone Build Video.

Cremation Necromancer

Delve Depth: 336 SC, 231 HC
Nerf Details: This build actually received a buff for duration, but took a slight hit with the increased damage. It’s still a great league starter for 3.13. Corpse Pact (Removed 30% increased Damage with Corpse Consumption), Mistress of Sacrifice (Removed Minion Duration, increased Skill Effect Duration)

Another crowd pleaser that can delve well, cremation has proven solid for 3.12 and survived the nerfs for 3.13. While it’s not the fastest mapper, it melts bosses. Cremation is very balanced and performs well for those who want a volcanic explosion decimating every enemy in the area.

Build Link: Cremation Necromancer PoB (Complete with Leveling Trees and Notes)

Caustic Arrow / Toxic Rain (Trickster/Pathfinder/Raider)

Delve Depth: 685 SC, 207 HC
Nerf Details: The damage nerf to Trickster isn’t near as bad as people think; it’ll still be a great league starter! Pathfinder also saw some damage nerfs while Raider received permanent buffs. Trickster: Patient Reaper (removed 50% increased DoT, recovers 3% on kill), Ghost Dance (Removed Movement Speed, 3% chance to evade), Escape Artist (Lowered Attack/Cast per Ghost Shroud, Removed 10% chance to dodge spell hits). Pathfinder: Nature’s Reprisal (Lowered Chaos Damage from 30% to 15%, 50% AoE to 30% AoE. Converts 40% of Physical Damage to Chaos Damage, Moved nearby enemies getting poisoned on death to Master Toxicist). Raider: Rapid Assault (Perm Onslaught, Added 50% increased Onslaught effect, removed 20% damage and 5% evade), Avatar of the Chase (Increased evade chance to 35%, removed 30% increased attack damage), Quartz Infusion (Removed 40% increased elemental damage, Added Perm Phasing, 15% chance to Dodge).

CA and/or TR are one of the best generic starters in the game. Damage scales well with self-found gear, projectile bubbles around enemies have no effect on the AoE damage (which can be annoying with Bleed Split Arrow), and these builds can do all content in HC and SSF. What’s interesting is the stats show that CA, or CA+Toxic Rain or CA+Essence Drain each seem to perform about the same; this means the player can adopt the play style they prefer. Trickster is more single-target focused while Raider is better for speed farming and Pathfinder is a bit tankier. All perform roughly the same in Delve. I will be running TriPolarBear’s TR/CA Trickster Mine build as my 3.13 league starter!

Build Links: CA/ED Trickster PoB for HCSSF (Trees & Notes) | CA/TR Pathfinder PoB (Trees & Notes) | CA/TR Raider PoB (Tree & Notes) | Esoro’s Toxic Rain Trickster Video Build Guide | Big Ducks Toxic Rain Trickster League Start Video Guide | TriPolarBear’s TR/CA Trickster Mine PoB (Tree & Notes)

Carrion Golem Elementalist (Necromancer)

Delve Depth: 404 SC, 499 HC
Nerf Details: Still viable! Instead of 10M Damage per golem at end-game (with BiS gear) it’s 7M. Liege of the Primordial (Increased Damage per Golem by 5%, Moved Golem Elemental Immunity. Golems automatically resummon after 4 seconds). Lowered damage of Golems by 20% for each summoned golem.

Another fantastic build that was one of the most popular in 3.12 because of how strong and easy it is with no gear requirements (making it great for SSF). Also, Claymaker drops are very common as well, so it’s easy to get +2 golems, even in SSF. Elementalist was the most popular because it’s SSF friendly and the easiest to get going, but once a player finds a Shavronne’s Wrappings, Necromancer comes out on top, and is capable of delving quite deep. For those who love this build, I recommend starting as an Elementalist, and when you get your wrappings, just make a new Necromancer. The build is still very viable in 3.13;

Build Link: Von Vikton’s 3.13 Carrion Golem Elementalist Build Video | Grimro’s Ultimate Guide to Carrion Golems Video Build Guide

Creeping Frost / Vortex / Cold Snap Trickster

Delve Depth: 375 SC, 700 HC
Nerf Details: The damage nerf to Trickster isn’t near as bad as people think; it’ll still be a great league starter! Patient Reaper (removed 50% increased DoT, recovers 3% on kill), Ghost Dance (Removed Movement Speed, 3% chance to evade), Escape Artist (Lowered Attack/Cast per Ghost Shroud, Removed 10% chance to dodge spell hits).

This was my top pick for a 3.12 league starter (and it worked great). It’s fun, diverse, melts mobs as well as bosses, and is a great delver. The cold freezes and shatters enemies, it levels smooth as butter (in SC, HC and SSF), and performs great as Life while easily transitions into ES for late maps and end-game bossing. Can also transition into Vortex for even deeper delving. It should be just as solid for 3.13.

Build Link: CF/Vortex/CS PoB (Complete with Leveling Trees and Notes)

Split Arrow / Puncture Bleed Gladiator

Delve Depth: 524 SC, 175 HC
Nerf Details: Still a solid league starter for 3.13! Blood in Eyes (increases doubles bleed and blind chance), Gratuitous Violence (Removed 20% chance to bleed, 30% increased Damage against Bleeding, and 25% more Damage with Bleeding).

This is a favorite league starter by many because of how easy it is to level and get into maps. It’s also fun to see all of the mobs run and bleed out, dying at your feet or before they reach you. The nice thing about this build is it can easily convert to a Max Block Bleed Earthquake or Lacerate build at late game.

Build Links: Split Arrow Bleed Gladiator PoB with Build Trees and Notes | Esoro’s Bleed Bow Gladiator Video Guide

Detonate Dead Necromancer

Delve Depth: 574 SC, 409 HC
Nerf Details: This build actually received a buff for duration, but took a slight hit with the increased damage. It’s still a great league starter for 3.13. Corpse Pact (Removed 30% increased Damage with Corpse Consumption), Mistress of Sacrifice (Removed Minion Duration, increased Skill Effect Duration)

This was one of the only meta builds I did not play in 3.12, so I was hesitant to add it to the list, but I know it performed very well in the league, able to reach 100 in HCSSF while melting bosses. I finally decided to add this to the list because Ziz just put a video guide out as a collaboration with SteelMage. Based on the statistics from 3.12 and the fact there wasn’t really any nerf to the build in 3.13, it will definitely be a solid performer in Ritual (especially with bosses) for those who don’t mind the 2-button play style.

Build Links: Ziz presents SteelMage’s Detonate Dead Boss Killer Video Build Guide (with PoB)

Ball Lightning Hierophant (Guardian)

Delve Depth: 237 HC 270 (Guardian 1112 HC), 550 SC (Guardian 852 HC)
Nerf Details: While we lose the ability to automatically gain endurance charges, we get many more charges and can use Enduring Cry to secure them. The build is still solid! Conviction of Power (no longer grants Endurance Charges, but adds +4 minimum Endurance and Power Charges, and +1 to max).

While Ball Lightning received a nerf in 3.12, the build is still very strong. This bad boy melts all mobs including bosses. It’s ultra easy to level, and once you get The Agnostic, you can basically stand in Labyrinth traps and laugh. In 3.12, the Guardian version delved the deepest, and the Ascendant version was the highest DPS – but the Hierophant is the best league starter. For those who love Ball Lightning, I recommend first leveling the Hierophant version (which can do all content), and when you get solid leveling gear, if you want to try it out, make the Ascendant Variation and completely obliterate all game content.

The Ball Lightning Guardian holds the deepest delve record for Heist HCSSF at 1112.

Build Links: My personal PoB (complete with leveling trees and notes) | BigDucks Updated Video Guide for Ascendant.

Essence Drain Trickster

Delve Depth: 693 SC, 846 HC
Nerf Details: The damage nerf to Trickster isn’t near as bad as people think; it’ll still be a great league starter! Yes, Contagion takes a radius nerf, but ED should still be very popular. Trickster: Patient Reaper (removed 50% increased DoT, recovers 3% on kill), Ghost Dance (Removed Movement Speed, 3% chance to evade), Escape Artist (Lowered Attack/Cast per Ghost Shroud, Removed 10% chance to dodge spell hits). Contagion Radius Lowered from 20 to 17.

One of the best overall performers this league. The leveling process of ED was nerfed recently with the spellslinger changes, but players just went back to the standard ED/C leveling process, which works perfectly fine. Overall, it’s a tried and true gameplay style that’s capable of doing all content in HC and SSF. It also delves very well and converts to ES/CI (Energy Shield/Chaos Innoculation) for end-game survival.

Build Links: Zizaran’s ED/C “Best Starter Build” Video Guide | Darkxellmc’s ED/C 2M DPS “Unkillable” Build Guide

Glacial Cascade Mine Saboteur / Toxic Rain Mine Trickster

Delve Depth: 477 SC, 186 HC
Nerf Details: Damage nerfs, but mines should still be great performers this league. Born in the Shadows (Removed 30% increased damage, Always blind enemy on hit), Bomb Specialist (Increased AoE, Throwing Speed, Detonation Speed, Removed 40% Increased Damage), Pyromanic (Regenerate now 2% vs 1%, Removed 20% Reduced Mana/Reservation Cost), Explosives Expert (Removed 30% AoE, 8% Reduced Damage, Increased Critical Strike Multiplier by 10%).

Mines didn’t see nearly as much play in 3.12 as they have in the past, but for those who did embrace the Saboteur, the #1 choice was Glacial Cascade mines. This is a great league starter, requires little investment, and has fantastic damage. Toxic Rain Mines are also deadly and capable of doing all content in the game (for those who want to go the poison route). The only downside is the “clunky” play style of Mines, which puts off many people – but it’s been refined over the past few leagues to the point it’s quite smooth and enjoyable to play. For those who haven’t played a mine build before and are interested, definitely try this one out!

Build Link: Esoro’s Glacial Cascade Miner Video Build Guide | TriPolarBear’s Toxic Rain Mine Trickster Video Build

Spectre Summoner

Delve Depth: 456 HC, 600 SC
Nerf Details: MINIONS HIT HARD. Minion Damage Lowered (all 15% damage nodes now 10% damage for a total of 40% less damage), Max Spectre Level lowered 4 levels, which is the biggest hit. Default Spectre accuracy also lowered more than 30%.

Spectres dominated 3.12, mainly due to the broken Syndicate Operatives. There’s no question we’ll see some sort of nerf to Spectres, but we’re unaware of how far the nerf will go. I doubt that Spectres will be rendered useless or removed as a viable build, but I’m hoping they won’t dominate 3.13 as they did 3.12.

Build Links: VonVikton’s Spectre / Skeleton Mage League Starter Video Build Guide | Kay’s Spectre Summoner Build Guide

Bladefall / Blade Blast Assassin

Delve Depth: 818 SC, 301 HC
Nerf Details: Noxious Strike (Removed 50% increased poison damage, increased DoT multiplier by 5%), Toxic Delivery (Removed reduced DoT damage, gain 20% physical as extra Chaos, increased Critical Chance from 0.4% to 0.5%)

A fantastic build that’s both fun and awesome damage. The Chieftain (Fire) variation came out on top (for Heist), followed by the Poison Assassin (which was actually top for Flashback). Given the possible nerf to Poison tied to the Assassin ascendancy (discussed below), it’s hard to say if/how the Chieftain version will be nerfed, but it’s very powerful; a bit too powerful. I will admit, BF/BB was probably my favorite (and most fun) build of 3.12. I played Physical, Elemental, and Poison, and enjoyed Poison the most. I personally recommend the Chieftain Fire Version of this build as a league starter.

Build Link: BF/BB Poison Assassin PoB | Ghazzy’s BF/BB Poison Assassin Video Build Guide | Esoro’s BB Assassin Video Guide

Blade Vortex Poison Assassin

Delve Depth: 800 SC, 457 HC
Nerf Details: See above Assassin Nerf Details. Will still work for 3.13, but the Elemental version will probably be the preferred Blade Vortex build in 3.13.

Players are destroying maps in 45 seconds with this build. While it’s squishy and isn’t the best for HC, it’s just too strong. As mentioned above, I think the incoming nerf could come twofold – adjusting the Assassin ascendancy, and then the way poison interacts with hits and BV. Either way, I’m confident Poison BV will be nerfed substantially. Note I played this in 3.12 and personally didn’t care for it because it’s so squishy, but it certainly melts all content.

Build Link: BigDucks Poison Blade Vortex League Starter Video Build Guide

Ground Slam / Earthshatter Call of Steel (CoS) Champion

Delve Depth: 594 SC, 871 HC
Nerf Details: Call of Steel can now only be executed on impales within the last 4 seconds. Changes were also made to the cluster. The build isn’t dead; it’s just not nearly as strong as it was. Earthshatter Spikes now have an explosion radius of 18 (from 20).

The highest damage build in the game with the least investment, there’s no question the Call to Steel mechanic is not working as intended given many players can 1-shot end-game bosses. The nerfs will remove this as the highest damage build, but players who like the style and the Earthshatter skill can still enjoy the build in 3.13.

Build Link: Zizaran’s Ground Slam Impale Champion Video Build Guide

Non-Meta Starter Builds

There’s a number of builds that aren’t quite Meta, but are fun and or solid starters and capable of doing most (if not all) content. None of these builds should see any type of nerf. Some may even see buffs!

Frost Blades Raider

Delve Depth: 327 SC, 216 HC
Nerf Details: Loss of damage, but perm onslaught and phasing! Should still be very viable and fun! Rapid Assault (Perm Onslaught, Added 50% increased Onslaught effect, removed 20% damage and 5% evade), Avatar of the Chase (Increased evade chance to 35%, removed 30% increased attack damage), Quartz Infusion (Removed 40% increased elemental damage, Added Perm Phasing, 15% chance to Dodge).

Frost Blades is another very fun skill that is often overlooked because of how tough it can be to get single-target damage, and how squishy the build often is at end-game; but a player named Hachcom was able to reach level 100 in HCSSF and secure the #16 slot with this build, and Maxzz hit level 100 in Flashback SSF as the #10 slot. That’s very impressive. While it can take time and investment to make single target feel really good, the clear speed is outstanding, and Frost Blades is always satisfying to play (shattering the entire screen is simply awesome). It just requires more skill than other builds to dodge those nasty boss fight mechanics.

Build Link: PoB with Leveling Trees and Notes (Based on Maxzz’s build)

Viper Strike Pathfinder

Delve Depth: 419 SC, 192 HC
Nerf Details: Build is still solid! Nature’s Reprisal (Lowered Chaos Damage from 30% to 15%, 50% AoE to 30% AoE. Converts 40% of Physical Damage to Chaos Damage, Moved nearby enemies getting poisoned on death to Master Toxicist).

I was very surprised at how fun this build is. A player named Vilexica was able to take it to Level 100 in HCSSF and secure the #17 spot, showing how viable it is (overall). Start with Caustic Arrow (while leveling VS in offhand) and switch to VS once you get Melee Splash. Zip between mobs and melt them, using Claws to keep your health up. A great alternative to the traditional melee meta, and this build shouldn’t be changed at all in 3.13.

Build Link: PoB with Leveling Trees and Notes (based on Vilexica’s Build) | Written Guide by Delphinol

Zombie Spectre Cyclone Necromancer

Delve Depth: TBD

I wanted to try a different type of Spectre build and saw a L97 in HCSSF that was rocking the ladder named Kiom. I created a build based on his and it performs VERY well. While I don’t know how far the build can be pushed, it’s L100 viable in HCSSF and delves well. It’s similar to the old-school Cyclone Herald of Purity Guardian builds, but this time we use Zombies and Spectres. It clears well and destroys bosses.

Build Link: PoB With Leveling Tree and Notes (based on Kiom’s build)

Skeleton (Zombie) Necromancer

Delve Depth: 502 SC, 219 HC
Nerf Details: The 40% reduction in Minion Damage affects this build, but Skeletons received an awesome buff: Summoned Skeleton Mages (from Dead Reckoning unique jewel or Vaal Summon Skeletons) now deal 50% more damage, and their projectile speed has been doubled.

Want to play a Necromancer that isn’t Spectres or Carrion Golems, but can clear all content in the game while being SSF and even HC friendly? You can’t go wrong with Skeletons. Viperish took the #92 spot for reaching L100 in SSF Heist at L100, and Valek took the #72 spot in HCSSF. Try it out! You won’t be disappointed.

Build Link: PoB With Leveling Tree and Notes (based on Valek’s build) | Esoro’s Baron Zombie Necromancer Video Build Guide

Arc Elementalist

Delve Depth: 268 SC, 181 HC
Note: Enki updated his guide to embrace the new 3.13 changes; this is one of the best beginner builds in the entire game – highly recommended! That and Elementalist received numerous buffs.

Arc is one of the most fun builds in the game, and Enki’s Arc Witch Beginner and SSF build guide is one of the best out there. If you’re new to the game or just want to play a fun skill with a great guide, I highly recommend this build! Just note it’s not very HC friendly, and struggles at end-game maps and bosses. But this build is solid for gathering currency and items for the next build!

Build Link: Enki’s Arc Elementalist Build Guide

Summon Raging Spirit (SRS) Guardian / Necromancer

Delve Depth: 265 SC, 222 HC
Nerf Notes: This was ultimately a nerf of the build overall with no enhancements, which is unfortunate. It’s still viable, but not nearly as much as it was in 3.12. Unwavering Crusade (Removed 30% increased damage, raised Attack/cast/move Speed from 15% to 20%). With the multi-boss arena mechanics of Ritual and the Minion Damage node nerfs, SRS is not a recommended build for new players. Experienced players 3.13.

SRS is one of my favorite skills in the game, and a player named Cherd was able to reach level 100 in HCSSF as the #23 slot with the Guardian variation of this build. I’ve run Necromancer versions in the past, and while they are ultimately more powerful at end-game, they are squishy. This Guardian version is solid, tanky, and capable of doing most content in both SSF and HC.

Build Link: Guardian PoB with Leveling Trees and Notes (based on Cherd’s Build) | Ghazzy’s 3.13 SRS Necromancer Video Build Overview (Link in Details)


There are TONS of other builds that are great starters, but I wanted to present a list based on personal experience, performance stats, and the potential 3.13 adjustments/nerfs that will impact some of the top builds in the game.

I hope this list helps the PoE community; here’s to the continued success of Path of Exile and the fantastic job Grinding Gear Games has done!

  1. What a relief! I was afraid your break would not end early enough for the traditional build list. I’m looking forwazd for your post-patch-notes update to chose something nice for Ritual! thanks πŸ˜€

  2. Thanks for the work you’ve done so far. You are a great addition to this lovely community.

  3. Thank you as always for your work, as a small note it seems that this is a bosser league (Maven & Co, closed space rituals with map bosses) so I think the best builds this league might be tanky builds and slower mappers but great bossers (like chieftain BFBB, miners, archmage).

    What is your opinion on the new hydrosphere gem? Can’t wait for the updated list!

  4. So i tried importing the max block earthquake gladiator build but it wouldnt work on path of building because it said that the build had an unrecognizable version of the skill tree even when i had it just now updated it. Do i have to wait untill version 3.13 or is it just a bug?

  5. It’s quite possible; like with Harvest, that the slower but beefier builds are preferred for end-game. I think the list still stands pretty strong though with EQ/Lacerate at the top. The only other consideration would be a Jugg version if that level of tankiness is necessary. We’ll know in 3 days! πŸ™‚

  6. change to occultist cold DOT from DOT multi to %cold dmg means vortex cold dot builds will take a pretty big nerf. may still work endgame but its dmg will be much lower towards end.

  7. Dear David,

    once again, you are just ahead on schedule for our new league starter builds reviews.
    THANK YOU VERY MUCH for all the work you put into these reviews every league.
    As said multiple times now, you are my nΒ°1 source of inspiration for my next SSF build and you never disappoint !
    And you even add these new “Non Meta” great starters builds, that’s wonderful !!!

    So, in Heist League, I did Scion Ascendant Pathfinder/Inquisitor Archmage Ball Lightning (from your recommandation to BigDucks build) and it was…GODLY !
    I struggled a lot to get the Pledge of Hands staff (SSF…had to farm for the divination card which took me nearly a full month to get the 9 of them), but after, it was a complete joke, I never had such a powerful character in my hands, and took down Sirus AW8 with so much ease.

    What would you recommend me for this new league ? It seems we need some potent “Boss Killer” build !
    I am currently debating between 2 ideas I have not played yet :
    – Cold DoT with Creeping Frost/Cold Snap/Vortex either Occultist (but nerfed…) or Trickster or another class
    – Chaos DoT with Toxic Rain Pathfinder/Trickster/Raider

    Thank you very much again, for this review and your feedback/input !!

  8. Thx for your work, just awesome!!:))
    One question: I have seen there are some CI CA Tricksters out there (in combination with Toxic rain). According to your post, could one just replace Toxic Rain with Caustic Arrow? And do you got an opinion about the CI variant?

  9. Elemental Hit Totems work well, but are very off-meta. If you’re doing SSF I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you’re in trade-league and want to give it a shot – go for it! πŸ™‚

  10. Thanks for the kind words; I’m glad the content helped! Given the notes that came out today outlining the nerf to Spectres, Trickster, and Carrion Golem, I think the EQ/Lacerate Max Block Bleed Gladiator will be one of the best overall performers. Same with Cyclone Champion (although I think Glad will be on top). CA/TR Trickster will still be very viable, it’ll just lack in some survival. I hope this helps!

  11. So there’s a difference between CA/TR – the main thing is you want attack speed with TR to stack it whereas slow hits are perfectly fine with CA. CI is always an option for end-game, although plenty of people do all content (and even hit 100) without going CI as CA. My personal preference is the CA/ED build. It was the best out of all the variations I played. I hope this helps!

  12. Can I ask what the purpose of the Thread of Hope jewel is in your CF Trickster build (#3 on the list). It’s placed in the Witch socket spot but I can’t really see what purpose it serves. None of the nodes in its radius are allocated that couldn’t be reached normally.

    I’m a novice at the game so I think there’s pretty solid odds I just missed something, so I thought I’d ask.

    It’s the build I plan to start the new league with, looks fun.

  13. For the Ball Lightning Hierophant, the conviction of power nerf is worse then just losing the endurance charges. The build lost its ability to generate power charges of any sort making the node mostly useless.

  14. I’ll review this once the 3.13 version is released. As of right now, I can’t recall the reason off the top of my head. Apologies – I’ve been working on a LOT of different builds πŸ™‚

  15. Just wanted to say I really appreciate all that you do. I originally found your recommendations when I was looking for builds that didn’t require specific, hard to find pieces of gear. I love the fact that these builds are built around the idea they can tackle all sorts of different content with self-found items if necessary. And the wide variety of different options let’s me pick something interesting in the moment.

  16. Love the content you bring out every league, it is very insightful!
    I had a couple questions for this league:
    What do you think about Inquisitor as an ascendancy this league?
    Is bleed bow gladiator still good even with the changes to the ascendancy?
    Is trickster or saboteur better for shadow?
    Is a Lacerate build good for league start?
    Thank you in advance

  17. I think Elementalist will take the spotlight this league; self cast is back on the menue! Inquisitor will definitely be fun, too.

    The Bleed Gladiator builds are still perfectly viable; end game will only be doing 8.5M DPS vs 10M LOL. Saboteur got hit pretty hard.

    Lacerate is the #1 build on the list as a league starter, but I think I’ll be doing the Bladefall/Bladeblast Chieftain.

  18. David, thanks for such a great collection of SSF starter builds! Great analysis of the 3.13 changes. I am curious (and hopeful) if, with all the changes, you are going to be tempted to make a mid-League post, like you did with 3.10 Delirium. Best of luck exiles!

  19. Hey ! The link for the Carrion Golem Elementalist ( Necromancer ) is not the video guide but a pastebin for PoB ! If you can correct that little mistake πŸ™‚
    And thanks for all your godly work ! I always look out for this page for each league (:

  20. I much apprecicate your lists and suggestions for builds. I think I will going with the Ball Lightning Hierophant.
    Is Ball Lightning without any further projectiles good for clearing? Or should i swap Slower Projectiles with Greater Multiple Projectiles for mapping?

    Thanks a lot!

  21. Hey, thanks for the updates! Carrion golem has two errors. Never updates the final ascendency point. Also, the transition between 55 and 66 points. It adds a section leading to the Unholy Might node (which is the recommended anointment). Then 66 immediately undoes those points and goes life towards Templar on the tree.

  22. It does so much damage, every ball mows down all mobs (including rares). You can use GMP for a greater clear radius; just adjust it as you see fit while leveling up. Enjoy!

  23. Thanks! I’ve updated the build – check out the new PoB. The reason it did that between 55 and 66 is because it figured in an anointment – but starting a new league (especially SSF) getting that anointment before 90+ points is unlikely πŸ™‚

  24. Esoro’s Lacerate Gladiator Video Build Guide is an Impale Guide (looks like it has been changed some day) and does not realy fit into the “Earthquake / Lacerate Max Block Bleed Gladiator” category.

    Thanks for the great work! I will try the ball lightning Hierophant for next league πŸ™‚

  25. even with the reave buffs, why would you ever use reave over lacerate? unless im missing something lacerate should still deal *way* more damage

  26. Sorry, arc necromancer? Enki’s build? I’m not sure if arc witches should spec into necromancer.

  27. I am planning to give Ball Lightning Hierophant a go. Also in my opinion the new +4 Power +4 Endurance Node seems good early on. In your PoB you say that I should also rush to elemental overload. Is it a good choice with +160 crit chance to not benefit from crit multi? Or should I instead take the ascendency node as recommended in your PoB?

  28. Reave can be adjusted to cover nearly half of the screen, so clear speed is far greater. We’ll have to see how far people take it, but I think Reave will make a “bit” of a comeback in 3.13, but for facetanking Ritual bosses, I think lacerate will still be king.

  29. Seriously regretted not using a starting build from this site before, and don’t intend to make that mistake again!!

    I ran the CF, vortex, cold snap trickster build last league and can’t begin to tell you how much I liked it! Michael_Scott was able to transition out of league start and do all content. Really fun to play around with some of the alt qual gems too.

    I might do it again this league…but try to figure out how to do on an Occultist this time around!ÜMMING/characters

  30. Hey! Love your starter builds, played CF/CS/Vortex Trickster last season and enjoyed it a lot. I’m looking at the Caustic Arrow/Toxic Rain Raider for my next build, there’s just one little problem: the link you give in the Raider PoB to the original build is broken. Do you think you could still find the correct build from It would help a lot in figuring out stuff like Thread of Hope and cluster jewel passives! πŸ™‚

  31. Hi amazing builds so far, do you have a PoB for Chieftain BB/BF would really like to play that instead of poison, i believe Chieftain is better than assassin for this boss heavy stuff.

  32. Hi there. I’m interested in playing the Glacial Cascade mine build in SSF but the video guide says it’s not viable for SSF?

  33. Thank you for all the work you do, keep it up!
    Just one question: isn’t the Necro DD/VD build qualified for a good league starter?
    Had a blast with it during Harvest, and since the harvest mechanic is back -even in a new form, it could or would be a great choice?

  34. Thanks for the feedback! Unfortunately I can’t seem to find Bodach’s character. However the PoB content should be solid (I verified the link is correct).

  35. GC miner is very SSF viable; Esoro’s final end-game build does use Shavronne’s Wrappings – but I’m sure you could make it work with rares. Give it a shot! Saboteur got a nice buff for 3.13 πŸ™‚

  36. Yes; it’s a solid league starter, but I didn’t think it could compete with the list I put together. I would recommend either Chieftain BF/BB or Necromancer Cremation over the DD/VD build due to the Ritual boss mechanics. I hope this helps!

  37. Hey, since you said you will be going BB chieftain, will you be muling at league start and how will you get +1 wand?

  38. Actually, I’m going to start with TriPolarBear’s TR/CA Trickster Mine build. Its performance was outstanding, and IMO better than Chieftain. It may not have the best end-game DPS potential, but I think it’ll get me into red maps faster than any other build – and it really doesn’t have any gear requirements to get there. Just need to watch resistances πŸ™‚

  39. Hey man, wanted to say I really appreciate what you’re doing with the site. I had not discovered this place until this patch and I love what you’ve done with the path of exile build guides. It can be hard to navigate between all the RMT websites and POB warriors to find something thats actually decent and usable for leveling.

  40. Hi again!

    Shame you couldn’t find Bodach’s character. The PoB doesn’t say which passives to take with the socketed Thread of Hope (presumably due to PoB limitations), and has a socketed large cluster jewel with no passives selected from it. For Thread of Hope I really can’t see what you even want from its radius, since Iron Grip presumably doesn’t affect DoT damage. Of course PoB radiuses aren’t always reliable anyway.

    If you have the time, could you help me out on those two? Other than that it seems to contain everything I need. πŸ™‚

  41. Forgot to mention – I’m trying to break into being a HC gamer after years of playing SC, ill be trying out the GC Miner you linked here as well as potentially a holy flame / purifying flame or just stick to the build of Ball Lightning hierophant that you have built here. I have beaten elder/shaper on Ranger and Witch and am trying to “beat the game” similarly on all of the other classes before I spam witch every league like everyone else πŸ™‚

    Hopefully i finally get past the story in HC. I get too nervous with permadeath and wind up dying to Piety or other silliness.

  42. With regard to the Ball Lightning Hierophant – how do you manage to reasonably get 5 Blue + 1 Green on a 180 Str armor piece?
    I’m interested in this build, but I can’t see how to make the gearing work…

  43. Thanks for the support! Let me know how it goes! I always loved the BL play style. Keep an eye on Elementalist builds this league as well – I think we’re going to see some crazy fun come from the changes to the Ascendancy.

  44. Heh yup – I remember how difficult it was. If I recall, you can get it with the Vorici Bench in Syndicate. There’s a number of videos online covering techniques. I hope this helps!

  45. Actually, I HIGHLY recommend using TriPolarBear’s TR/CA Trickster Mine build as the league starter. It was hands down my favorite. Just bind LMB to Detonate and it’s as easy as space-bar run and right-click boss. I didn’t think I would like it because it’s mines, but man — it turned out to be fantastic.

  46. Not long until the league starts here – If my GC Miner dies I’ll give the trickster a shot. I have a feeling i might go GC Miner -> die -> BL Hiero (or Elementalist…the changes are really really cool! my self-challenge be damned!)

  47. This is an incredible resource, thank you for your service to the PoE communality. Decided to try the Lacerate Gladiator, and am absolutely loving it. I definitely look forward to trying the other builds on this list as they all seem great!

  48. Hey David!

    I usually skip some leagues, but every time I come back to the game, your blog is definitely my source to start a build.
    This time ill start with a Carrion Golem build. Since I didn’t play 3.12, I think I won’t notice the nerf and I’ve read it’s still a viable build.

    Have you tried the 2 your recommend? I’m doubting if I should with with the elementalist or the Necro route.

    Thanks a lot in advance, and keep the good work!

  49. Thanks for the feedback and support! The TR/CA Trickster Miner is one of the best league starting builds I’ve ever played – it’s amazing. I’m doing Chieftain BB now and it’s destroying everything. By looking at we can see that Gladiator is still a top performer, but many of the hardcore “uber” players seem to be focusing on Champion Earthshatter, but more people (in the end) are playing Detonate Dead. BB Chieftain is #1 on SSF. I hope this helps!

  50. Hello David,

    thank you for posting this guide. It’s really helpful since I don’t really know how to make my own build. I decided to go with the ball lighting build this league and I am using your personal pob and notes but I am a bit confused with the ascendency order. In the note, it said to get Illuminated first, but I can’t get to that without getting Arcane first. Should I be getting the ascendency in a different order?

  51. Appreciate the work you put in here, I am glad you seem to consider the SSF angle as I notice a lot of guides don’t tend to. It took a while to decide but I think I am going to give the BF/BB Chieftain a go and see how it works out as a SSF character. πŸ™‚

  52. hello david,

    don’t know what am i doing wrong but if i load your PoB for Hierophant Ball Lightning build – it seems uncomplete, the tree goes to lvl 38 -> whats the recommandation, to merge with the scion-build?

  53. It’s awesome. Mine has 0 deaths at end-game, is tanky/beefy as all getgo, has 5,000 health and destroys everything in SSF so far. Solid build πŸ™‚

  54. There are multiple trees; there’s a dropdown to the lower left of the main tree that says Phase I, Phase II, etc. Each phase tends to represent a lab completion phase. I hope this helps!

  55. Out of curiosity, are there any other builds in that list you’d recommend for SSF on the off-chance the Bladefall/BB Chieftain’s playstyle doesn’t grab me?

  56. Hi, I am relatively new to the game and I was looking at the creeping frost build. I see that the Elemental Overload node is taken but I don’t see a way to consistently proc it? the pob lists the crit chance at 1.2%. Or does orb of storms hit fast enough to critical?

  57. The TR/CA Trickster MINE build was amazing; perfect for SSF and farming gear for other builds. Besides Chieftain, the Lacerate/EQ Glad is probably one of the best for all game content.

  58. Thanks! I’ll keep the Lacerate Gladiator as a potential plan B. I did notice a small error in the PoB for the BF/BB Chieftain. In the notes, it says that HoA = Herald of Agony but I assume its meant to be Herald of Ash?

  59. Hi David.

    I’m leveling your Max Block Bleed Gladiator with EQ. However, with 3 auras I should run Flesh & Stone, War Banner and Pride, i get 100% mana reserved, meaning I can’t even use the Seismic Cry. Am I doing something wrong or missing something here? πŸ™‚

    Character “PasswordOne” on

    Thank you for your support in Grim Dawn in the past and now PoE!

  60. Did you verify the links to FaS+WarBan are just Maim? The combined total of those + Pride is roughly 91%. My guess is you may have a skill unintentionally linked to one or more of the skills?

  61. Thank you for your feedback.

    Correct, as per PoB, the Pride should be in the 4L with Dash, Second Wind and Seismic Cry (This should thenn be 3L + 1 – Should the pob be updated for that?). The other 3L is Maim, FoS and War Banner. I’ve splitted the 4L into 3L + 1 (pride not being linked to others) and now it really looks better. Now I only need to do few levels to reach the Tireless πŸ™‚

    Thank you again πŸ™‚

  62. After dabbling a bit between a lacerate and bleed bow build and them not really grabbing me, which would be better for SSF out of the Creeping Frost Trickster or the Toxic Rain Mines one do you think?

    Also, love how interactive you are with people here, this site helped me with Grim Dawn and now its helping me get through my noobishness with PoE, kudos to you!

  63. Hey Daniel! Thanks for the support! Happy to help any way I can. Well the Toxic Rain Trickster Mine build is probably one of the best starters one could ask for and it’s fantastic at farming gear – the issue is it’s rather squishy, so it’s not HC viable or red-map viable (without deaths). However, it’s fantastic to kickstart a SSF account.

    The CF Trickster will perform VERY well, no question – but I highly recommend the BF/BB Chieftain. Once it gets rolling (in the 30’s and 40’s) it turns into an unstoppable tanky killer of … everything. And it can do all content. The CF Trickster can, too, but I think the Chieftain is just better all-around. I hope this helps!

  64. I mean my issue with the BF/BB Chieftain is, well, magic marauders always feel painful at the start. Is the BF/BB assassin any better or is it still a squishy build?

    So far it’s sounding like the choice is coming down to the CF Trickster or the BF/BB Chieftain… I am awful at choosing a build sometimes. XD

  65. Leveling the BF/BB Chief is pretty easy with no gear using EK. I’ve played it multiple times (in testing) with a fresh SSF instance and it always performs great; and it’s ultra tanky. It is not squishy at all. Give it a shot – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It runs amazingly just on 4L gear. And when you get Unleash the damage and fun goes through the roof!

  66. I might give it a shot and see how it goes, I assume you don’t switch to the BF/BB using until you have the gear for a few supports for them?

    The thing will cold damage builds is they have some inbuilt advantages like shattering mobs and slowing bosses but… The idea of blowing up the screen will always be appealing. πŸ˜›

  67. Correct. It’s not a CWDT or auto on block; you could even link it to Ancestral Call/FA/Second Wind if you want something a lot beefier and quicker.

  68. I have to say, at first I definitely wasn’t sure about the build. Then I got BF and BB and it started to feel a lot better but then I hit act 6 and swapped to the better support gems and good grief.

    It’s like a fiery carpet bomber. πŸ™‚

  69. Thanks as usual for the work you put into these build lists! Trying hardcore for the first time this league… was going so well but i just rip’d my bleed bow glad at lvl88 to baran. Guess I’ll see what this EQ bleed thing is all about πŸ™‚

  70. Hi, being following ur blog posts since blight and it was always very helpful, thank you for the good work!! Besides that, I miss the follow up posts with the meta analysis and mostly the fun builds rankings, any plans on doing that this league!?

  71. Aside from the BB Chieftain, what other builds in this list are able to do -all- the content in your opinion?

  72. The two top builds this league for all content, including SSF/HC are EQ Bleed Max Block Gladiator and Detonate Dead Necromancer. I’m planning on doing my league-stats update post this weekend with all of the details. I hope this helps!

  73. It does a bit, just looking for a nice flashy explodey build to play next. The bow gladiator is nice but with no MTX for split arrow it can feel a bit muted compared to the firestorms of green and orange the Bladeblast Chieftain can do. That and I am awful at sticking to builds for my first two or three characters in a league. XD

  74. Well, if you want a boomy build, you can play the Exploding Arrow Ballista Totem Hierophant; if you have a Tabula or 6L bow it can do all content SSFHC including Sirus A8. It’s hella fun. Let me know and I can post my PoB.

  75. I’d be happy with lightning or cold-based build for something but my digging around on various other sites hasn’t been forthcoming in finding one with a decent guide so far (At least not for SSF). I do have a Tabula though, randomly dropped from a chest I randomly clicked whilst moving so, yeah, that happened. πŸ˜€

  76. Is the SRS build here the same one as in the league stats post? I managed to snag myself a Baron from a ritual so I am kinda tempted to give SRS a go as it’s been quite a while since I played such a build.

  77. It’s different; the league stats post has the latest version. Baron is for Zombies, not SRS πŸ™‚ If you want to play SRS, I highly recommend trying the one listed in the league stats!

  78. Thanks, how is the SRS build in terms of tankiness? I’ll admit the BF/BB Chieftain has kind of spoiled me this league for how durable it is even on mediocre gear.

  79. It’s pretty tanky with the right gear! I had 0 deaths by 83? Can’t remember exactly, but it performed just fine.

    I do admit though, I think the Mage Skeleton build is the most fun “new” minion build right now. I’d highly recommend that, but if you’re in SSF you need the Dead Reckoning jewel.

  80. Oh, I’d definitely go for that build in a heart-beat if I had the jewel, sadly no such luck hence considering the SRS build instead. Might not be as pure a summoner type but summoning hordes of angry bitey flaming skulls has a certain appeal to it. Your help has been greatly appreciated, you are definitely an asset to the PoE community! πŸ˜€

  81. Well, once the SRS build got rolling most bosses probably regretted their long start-up animations as they usually got munched down to size in seconds. I’m not even trying to level up and I am maintaining a level ahead in most of the acts so far, so many thanks for that build. XD

    Been looking into the sudden spate of ignite builds but not found any that seem SSF-viable yet though Divine Ire seems like a likely one.

  82. Yup! SRS definitely melts bosses. It seems Divine Ire Elementalist is quite popular this league, if you try it out, let me know how it performs!

  83. I would if I could find an SSF’ish build for it but most I’ve found don’t seem to lean that way. Though it does seem a lot of those Divine Ire builds can swap out to Penance Brand too which is interesting, I think we are going to see a lot of Elementalist builds popping up though. I just have a severe case of choice paralysis right now settling on one build to work on.

  84. First. I’m not in english area. sorry my poor english.
    I have a question in SRS build.
    Your SRS build has two final skill in POB.
    Note say minion instability.
    but, final tree & skill don’t have instabilty.
    What is the real final tree & skill?
    thank you.

  85. You level with Minion Instability, then change to Physical at the very end (usually Level 90+). Technically you can keep Minion Instability the entire time, but with the right equipment/clusters, Physical always has top DPS. I hope this helps!

  86. Hi,
    I really enjoyed the ball lightning hierophant build. Thank you. Though I cannot get past level 95 since I still die every once in a while. I don’t want to upgrade more gear even though I am at 40 ex wealth now. More likely I will make a new build that does not die at all. πŸ™‚
    Maybe I find a build in your other post.
    Best regards

  87. Thanks for the feedback! It was one of my favorite builds last league; glad it worked well! Strange it ran into problems at 95 as it should be L100 HC viable – but if you were in SSF it could be gear restricted. Honestly Max Block Bleed EQ Gladiator is really “the build” to push L100 with in SSF IMO. Good luck and let me know how things go!

  88. I play Ritual trade league. I think I am just too careless and jump into dangerous packs too often. Also I am not so experienced. Started in the last two weeks of Harvest league. I am sure I could improve my build easily but I don’t want to invest too much, since I want to start a new build soon. Here is my PoB:
    For my new build I am looking for fast clear speed, boss killer and really tough. I have got like 40 ex to invest into it.

  89. Hi i have been following your site and poe guides EVERY league, its best source about starters on internet! Will you do updated version for upcoming 3.14 also?

  90. Thanks for the support! I think I’ll be taking a break for 3.14. We’ll see; I might be doing a “top builds” a few weeks into the league, but I don’t think I’ll be doing a starter builds list. So many nerfs! heh

  91. Well, with the announcement they are going to “shake up” the Meta, that potentially means big changes incoming to standard builds. I do have a bunch of solid 3.14 build guide (PoB) that I put together I’ve been thinking about publishing… still on the fence about it πŸ™‚

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