3.17 Siege of the Atlas Logo

Path of Exile 3.17 Archnemesis Starter Build Compendium

A detailed compendium of numerous Path of Exile 3.17 Archnemesis League Starter builds.

The time has arrived! We have a new league that completely revamps the end-game for Path of Exile, and I must admit, I’m VERY happy they focused on adjusting (mainly buffing) existing skills and refining the end-game process rather than introducing numerous new skills to an already overflowing pool of options.

Before we begin, for those who want to review them, the patch notes for 3.17 can be found here. If you want to see the changes to the skills, go to the “Hit-based Spellcasting” section and open the spoiler section under Specifics.

This new league (which is called Archnemesis, but the actual expansion is called Siege of The Atlas) will focus more on killing mini-bosses than clearing (similar to Metamorph), so taking down tougher targets is an important consideration when considering a build for the new league.

Something just for fun, I wanted to share the below 3.17 Build Selection Chart. Credit to Reddit User MrMeltJr.

r/pathofexile - 3.17 Build Selection Flow Chart - It's BOSS TIME (dark mode in comments)
It’s funny because it’s true!

This overview covers guides not only tested and created by myself, but also presented by the community. The good news is there wasn’t enough drastic skill changes to 3.17 to completely nerf or destroy existing performing builds. In fact, this is one of the first leagues in recent memory where most builds from the previous league are not only intact, but many are even enhanced.

Separate from character builds, the biggest overall change to 3.17 is the Atlas Passive Tree, which allows the player to build out a complex atlas skill tree at end-game to enhance maps in numerous ways, including increasing quantity and rarity of items, and augmenting monsters and bosses. There’s even nodes to guarantee a shrine, duplicate currency from strongboxes, or receive additional missions from Kirac. The very cool thing about this atlas is it allows players to focus their points on the type of content they prefer to run at end-game. If one wants to focus on Delirum or Legion, they can select the associated nodes. Ultimately, this is one of the greatest changes (and enhancements) for end-game we have seen in years, and has amazing potential. There are many videos available, but I like the one ZiggyD put together the most.

Nearly every skill in the game was buffed; some by quite a bit (take Arc, for example). The problem is that players didn’t avoid self-casting skills because they didn’t do enough damage; they avoided them because standing skill and taking time to cast often resulted in the cast time causing a split second response death that could have been avoided if the player wasn’t locked in casting. While we can’t know the overall impact of buffing nearly all of the self-casting skills until a few weeks after the league is live, it’s hard to say at this time if the buffs will make the skills any more viable for true end-game and bossing. Regardless, I will be including two references to self-casting builds in this compendium for Arc (thanks to Enki and Subtractem).

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.

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: https://www.poebuilds.cc/

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).

Unlike previous recent leagues, most builds that performed well in 3.16 will continue to perform well (and in some cases, even better) in 3.17.

Archnemesis 3.17 Starter Build List

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

Explosive Arrow Hierophant (and others)

I started the league as a Explosive Arrow Hierophant and was not disappointed. While I wasn’t able to play as much over the weekend as I would have liked, I was steamrolling through yellow maps (almost to Reds) by Sunday, had a 6L and even found a Dead Reckoning jewel; all in SSF. Note I’ve updated the PoB link below with the latest build. I switched over to EA right after I got the 4L setup from the Library. EA Hierophant is probably one of the best league starts I’ve ever had, and the character is easily handling all of the bosses. I definitely recommend this build for anyone who is coming into the league a bit late or is looking for another build to try!

I recommend Hierophant over Champion or Elementalist for Explosive Arrow. It’s much easier to level, only requires 3 labs to reach its full potential, and has the best balance of DPS and tanking. The HCSSF leaderboards also show Hierophant to be the optimal choice, with Hierophant being the first L100 HCSSF EA in 3.15, 3.16 and 3.17.

Here is the link to my EA Hierophant PoB for 3.17, which has leveling trees and notes to easily help the player through the leveling process: https://pastebin.com/fDZZXD1b

For those who want a video, here’s one from Zizaran!

Tatinatiel is considered one of the best Totem players in all of Path of Exile. I can vouch for his skill and excellent builds. Note he’s put together a compendium of Totem builds for 3.17 including Flameblast, Storm Burst and Ball Lightning. I recommend keeping an eye on the below document as he’s sure to enhance it when the league start begins. Next to EA, it’s my opinion Ball Lightning Totems are one of the best HCSSF options for 3.17. Tati has put together a complete PoB with leveling trees and notes at the link below.


Vortex Occultist

This is one of the best builds in the game; it’s tanky, freezes everything, fun, and can do all content in HCSSF. Oh, and it was buffed in 3.17! I’ve played this build numerous times and it’s one of my favorites; as such, it’s my 2nd choice as a League Starter for 3.17. Here’s a copy of my personal PoB for 3.17 that contains both trees and notes detailing how to efficiently level this build: https://pastebin.com/X7dHbCiR

Below is a Vortex Occultist Build Guide video made by Jorgen.

Minion Army & Skeleton Mage Necromancer

Minion builds always shine with each league, and Skeleton Mages will ROCK in 3.17. However for those playing SSF, it can take a long time to find the necessary Dead Reckoning Jewel. The good news is Physical Skeletons will easily get you into Red maps, and once you get a Vaal Skeletons gem, you will melt any and all bosses.

Von Vikton created a complete guide that includes both the Physical version prior to transitioning to the Skeleton Mage version.

Physical Trap Saboteur

Once again, 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 Big Ducks.

Shield Crush Gladiator

If you want to play Melee, I recommend Shield Crush, which will rock in 3.17; especially for those who want to play Hardcore. Here is a copy of my PoB for 3.17 that has leveling trees and notes for those who want to give it a shot: https://pastebin.com/vhXrwBqK

For those who want a much more detailed guide, I recommend this one by OMFGaTaco: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/3148278

Righteous Fire Inquisitor

This is one of the most relaxing all-content builds out there, plus it’s just enjoyable to play, and is capable of all content. Zizaran published a 3.17 Righteous Fire Inquisitor guide based on Pohx’s build.

Bane Occultist

Many players are talking about how great a Bane Occultist is as a league starter, and it performed very well for 3.16; and guess what? It got buffed in 3.17! Subtractem makes the best guide for this build, and I highly recommend it!

Arc Elementalist (Self-Cast)

As mentioned, numerous skills received substantial buffs to their damage in 3.17. For those who want to play self-cast builds this league, I recommend Arc. It’s one of the most fun skills in the game, and received a 50% damage buff. It just so happens the most popular build guide in the history of Path of Exile is Enki’s Arc Witch Elementalist, which has been updated for 3.17. It’s great for both new and experienced players. Here’s the link: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1147951/page/1

Additionally, below is Subtractem’s Arc Witch Elementalist League Start Plan video.

I also want to mention that Ball Lightning was also buffed nearly 50% as well, and even though I don’t have a recent PoB, I’m confident self-cast BL builds will be quite powerful this league for those who want to dabble with it.

Essence Drain Trickster

ED/C didn’t really receive any type of buff, but it’s always been a great league starter for all gameplay types, including HCSSF. It can do all content; plus it’s fun to 1-shot the entire screen. While this is Zizaran’s 3.16 Essence Drain Trickster build guide, it applies to 3.17 as well!

Toxic Rain Champion

Toxic Rain has been one of the best generic starters in the game for years, and there are numerous variations players can choose.

TR Champion was the #1 build in 3.16. The damage reached 4-8M DPS, it was tanky as all getgo, could do all content, and dominated HC/SSF. While Toxic Rain did receive a slight 16% or so nerf in 3.17, it will still perform exceptionally well for those who love the style of the skill, with Champion still being the best choice for survival and all content.

Zizaran made a video based on Lightee’s build for 3.16, which will work just fine in 3.17.

Cyclone Slayer

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

Storm Brand Occultist

Storm Brands are a ton of fun and great for league starting, and will perform very well in 3.17. This complete Storm Brand Occultist guide by Velnya is a great league starter: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/3079363

Carrion Golem Necromancer

For those who are not playing SSF, Carrion Golem builds are always solid, and they will continue to shine. Below is Von Vikton’s Carrion Golem League Starter Build Guide.

Popcorn SRS Necromancer

Summon Raging Spirits has been one of my favorite “fun factor” builds in Poe, and it’s a lot of fun to revisit every few leagues; it’s also one of the easiest league starters out there. It’s just not as “robust” as other builds for HCSSF and end-game content without serious investment, but it can easily take players to red maps and is great for farming gear. Von Vikton just released his Popcorn SRS guide today.


With all of the enhancements to existing skills, 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 3.17.

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. Hi! Thanks again for the list. Why would you take Hiero EA over Champion?

    BTW: You forgot to link your PoB πŸ˜‰

  2. Forgot to ask what do you think about poison concoction pathfinder? Have you tried it? Thanks!

  3. I tried it at the start of the league and didn’t care much for the play style; that and the HCSSF version of Occultist is a total nightmare to level (nobody talks about that), so I decided to leave it out πŸ™‚

  4. Because the most experienced HCSSF players all chose Hierophant over Champion; it’s tanky enough and has the DPS to do all content and reach level 100. There’s really no reason to go Champ. If people don’t care about dying, Elementalist works just fine, but I like builds that can be HC viable πŸ™‚

  5. Even if I play trade league, I always come here for my league starter since I’m not too good making currency at the beginning of the league.
    I can tell you that I’ve followed your recommendations in almost every league I’ve played and very few times I’ve gone wrong.

    Thank you for a very good work.

  6. Hey man… really love your articles. Good stuff!
    You mentioned Ball Lightning Totems. Did you play it yourself?
    I am thinking of league starting it.

  7. I’ve never been a self-cast kind of player.

    So I’m undecided between totems and skellies.
    What totem build would you recommend?

    I’ve always been a big fan of FP totems, and I saw you also liked them back in the day, but their boss dmg was destroyed.

  8. I’m doing Explosive Arrow Hierophant; I think it’s one of the best league starters; however if you want a different totem variation, Ball Lightning totems is a ton of fun as well.

    However if you like minions, Skeletons are awesome (and melt bosses). Ultimately it comes down to your play style preference. I hope this helps!

  9. I think I’ll also do Explosive Arrow Hierophant, especially since it seems able to do everything once you gear up enough. Also, who doesn’t like exploding the entire screen?

    I was a little worried at first given a lot of people thought it was a ‘bait’ build but then I remembered you linked me a version of it in the last league. I’ll admit I don’t fully understand how all the skills interact but I think I am reaching that PoE stage of being able to tweak builds to my liking now. πŸ˜›

  10. Sounds good! It’s my league starter as well! I recommend using my PoB since I put together the progression in the notes and the leveling trees as well (note I just updated it). Let me know how it goes, and Happy Explody Hunting!

  11. I just noticed the skills in the notes section of your EA Hierophant are different to those in the example gear. Might confuse a few people if they don’t realise!

  12. I am not even near maps yet and the build already feels crazy on a 4-link. I will say those Arch Nemesis things give out some crazy loot too, always a plus in SSF, appreciate the build! πŸ˜€

  13. Hey David.

    For family reasons I’ve had a late league start.
    So I haven’t decided between Mage Skellies and Ball lightning Totems.

    Which one would you recommend?
    I like both playstyles as they are actually quite similar.
    I’ve seen half players and their mothers are playing skellies this league, so not sure if key items will be too expensive in TL

  14. If you don’t want to play Exploding Arrow Totems (Hierophant) – which IMO is probably one of the best overall builds currently in 3.17, I’d definitely go with Skeleton Mages — do you already have the Jewel? If so, here’s the PoB you can use to level with Skeleton Mages: https://pastebin.com/X0jRafCf

    If you don’t have the Jewel, you can level with Melee Skeletons, which are plenty powerful.

  15. Just wanted to drop a line to thank you for the great advice (as usual): I went Explosive Arrow Hierophant as recommended and for the first time managed to kill act10 Kitava in HCSSF. Damage and survivability are very comfortable even for a casual noob like me πŸ™‚

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