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Path of Exile 3.16 Scourge Starter Build Compendium

The Path of Exile 3.16 Scourge League release brings with it some of the greatest core mechanic changes the game has seen in years, including a complete revamp of the entire Skill Tree with the addition of Skill Keystone Masteries.

A complete breakdown of all skill gem changes can be found here.

GGG has already stated that clear speed will be very important for the new Scourge mechanic, so players are focusing on builds that excel at clear, but can also do reasonable single target. At this time, the most ‘meta’ build currently being talked about is Toxic Rain (Raider for SC and Champion for HC). But like 3.15, it’s impossible to know which skill will come out on top prior to the actual launch of the league.

This overview is mainly going to cover guides presented by the community – the main reason is the changes to 3.16 are so great it’s truly impossible to determine exactly how the majority of builds will perform. Also note that none of the builds presented herein use the new skill gems (directly). This compendium is based on skills we already know how to use. If you want to try a new skill, be sure to search either Reddit or Youtube to see if somebody has put together a PoB for what you want to try out.

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) friendly.
  2. Ease of leveling.
  3. Balance of map clear & bossing.
  4. All (or nearly all) content capable with self-found gear.
  5. Survival (as HC-viable as possible).

Due to the extensive changes in 3.16, until we’ve had a few days (and even weeks) to really play the league, it’s going to be difficult to determine what the new standards are for HC viability.

Scourge 3.16 Starter Build List

Here are my recommend top starter builds for the upcoming Path of Exile 3.16 Scourge League.

Toxic Rain Raider / Champion

Toxic Rain has been one of the best generic starters in the game for years, and it’s no different with 3.16. There are numerous variations players can choose, ultimately coming down to style; Trickster, Pathfinder, and Raider are all viable ascendancies.

With Scourge, there is a big “meta” focus on Toxic Rain due to its clear speed and damage potential for both HC, SC, and SSF.

First, we have MrTastix’s Abridged TR Raider guide, which is great.

Next up we have Big Ducks TR Raider guide, which is much more detailed.

Next, we have the Tankier Champion version (perfect for HC). Zizaran made a video based on Lightee’s build, which can be seen below.

As an alternative, I also want to include an alternative Champion Toxic Rain leveling video that was released by AsmodeusClips.

Tornado Shot Poison Ballista Raider

I wanted to throw an alternative to the meta Toxic Rain builds that most players will be following with something that looks very interesting. Granted it’ll probably be a fairly squishy build, so I wouldn’t recommend it for HC, I think this build could be a ton of fun as a league starter. Enter the Tornado Shot Poison Ballista Raider build by Palsteron.

Trap & Mine Saboteur (Seismic & Eye of Winter)

Traps are going to rock this league, and it’s estimated the most powerful will be Seismic and Exsanguinate traps. Here’s a complete guide from Zizaran.

We also have an Eye of Winter Miner build from Path of Mathh with much better survival because you freeze and shatter enemies.

Shield Crush Gladiator & Berserker

Shield Crush builds will still rock in 3.16, especially for those who want to play Hardcore. Below is a complete guide for the Gladiator version.

Max Block Impale Shield Crush Gladiator Guide by OMFGaTaco:

Below is a different flavor of Shield Crush, which is the Berserker General’s Cry Shield Crush version from Navandis Gaming. This is a Hybrid Minion build where you spin around and spawn warriors that use Shield Crush as their main damage skill.

Steel Champion

Want to run Melee this league, but Cyclone, Sweep and Shield Crush don’t do it for you? Enter the Shattering/Lancing Steel build guide from Big Ducks.

Sweep Slayer

This build is pretty nuts, and scales very well with rare items, which makes it solid for SSF. Here’s the Sweeping Slayer build by Jaamon.

Cyclone Slayer

No compendium would be complete without a “spin to win” build! Here’s a complete guide for a Cyclone Slayer by MrTastix.

Essence Drain Trickster

This build has been a staple league starter for years, and for 3.16 it’s no different. Here’s Zizaran’s 3.16 Essence Drain Trickster build guide!

Bane Occultist

Many players are talking about how great a Bane Occultist is as a league starter. Note I ran one in 3.15 and it performed very well; it’s just a different play style from other builds. For those who are interested, here’s a complete guide to the Bane Occultist by subtractem.

Minion Army & Skeleton Mage Necromancer

Minion builds always shine with each league, and even though there have been nerfs to Spectres and changes across the board, the minion builds can still do millions of DPS and are solid for all content.

While Skeleton Mages have the best overall DPS potential in 3.16, for those playing SSF, it can take a long time to find the necessary Dead Reckoning Jewel. For this reason, for those playing SSF, I recommend the below Skeleton League Starter.

Below is a complete Skeleton Necromancer guide by TheGAM3Report1, who included a PoB with leveling trees and skills. This is a great build for SSF since it doesn’t require the Dead Reckoning jewel.

For those who are playing Trade and/or have (or will get) a Dead Reckoning jewel, here’s the Skeleton Mage build by Von Vikton.

And of course we have Kay’s Minion Army guide for 3.16.

Totem Builds (Numerous)

Tatinatiel is considered the lead Totem player in all of Path of Exile. I can vouch for his skill and excellent builds. Note he’s put together a compendium of numerous Totem builds for 3.16 including Earthshatter, Storm Burst, Divine Ire, Arc, Ball Lightning and Fireball:

Ghazzy also released a Freezing Pulse / Ice Spear build guide for 3.16.

Storm Brand Occultist

Storm Brands are a ton of fun and great for league starting. This complete Storm Brand Occultist guide by Velnya is a great league starter:

Carrion Golem Necromancer

For those who are not playing SSF, Carrion Golem builds are always solid, and with the changes in 3.16, they will continue to shine. Below is Ghazzy’s Carrion Golem League Starter Build Guide.


With all of the changes to the skill tree, there’s no question there are TONS of other potentially great league starter builds, but I wanted to present a list based on personal experience, what we’re familiar with, and the application of changes in 3.16.

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!