Path of Exile has always been a complex game with a lot of hard work and theory going into building the best possible characters. One of the most confusing things in Path of Exile for new players is undoubtedly the poe currency system. Over the years, successive patches full of buffs and nerfs have constantly disrupted the list of best builds and forced players to adapt their characters to shifting realities.
1) My Favorites Totems Builds!
Let’s start with a classic, and one of my personal favorites. Builds centered around totems have been viable for quite some time in PoE, primarily for their ability to do ludicrous amounts of area of effect (“AoE”) damage that wipes out weaker mobs while the player is free to focus their attention on beefier enemies. This also makes them great builds for newer players because they don’t require you to micromanage nearly as much; your totems are taking out most of the enemies for you. As far as building a specific totem-build, you have a lot of freedom when it comes to which spells you want to link to your totems.
One of my favorite builds, though, is linking Righteous Fire to my totems and running Searing Bond. It’s an extremely easy build to get started with, and it completely melts everything in its path. There is very little content you can’t clear with this build, and I highly recommend it.
I know that every veteran PoE player is waiting for this, so I’ll just get it out of the way right now: yes, Sunder is still very much a viable option in 3.1. It did take a light tap from the nerf bat, but it is still arguably one of the single best melee skills in PoE. On top of that, it has long been acknowledged as one of the best leveling skills in the game and can rocket new players to high levels. Every enemy hit by the initial spell releases an additional AoE wave that deals extra damage. You can imagine the deadly chaos this creates among enemy ranks.
3) Essence Drain/Trickster
Essence Drain is a great ability to get started with but is good enough that a lot of veterans continue to use it, as well. With the Contagion skill getting big damage buffs in 3.1, you’re going to see Essence Drain builds packing even more punch than before – and that’s saying quite a lot. The reason these skills work well together, and the reason the Contagion buff makes such a difference, is that when enemies die with the effects of Essence Drain and Contagion active, their effects spread to nearby enemies.
4) Ancestral Warchief
This is another one that I think is a lot of fun, while also being really easy to pick up and maintain. The only real requirement to make this build work is a good two-handed axe. Ancestral Warchief shows what happens when you take the always powerful totems and combine them raw melee power. The Ancestral Warchief skill itself creates a totem that does AoE damage enemies as long as the player is within range of it. On top of that, the player’s own damage is increased by proximity to the totem. This means that you are stacking all kinds of crazy damage when you fight near your totem. If you get your hands on the Facebreakers, your damage then goes to a whole other level. This is another one that fans of close up, in-your-face combat will enjoy.
5) Ethereal Knives
This one definitely suffered from a bit of a nerf when the number of projectiles was reduced from 10 to five, but it is definitely still completely viable as a good starting build. This skill, as the name suggests, involves throwing out a set of knives out in a fan shape from your character. This ability can be spammed to really carve through enemies and clear maps quickly. In order to help you keep moving, it is advisable to use Mind over Matter in order to redirect some of your damage taken as mana loss, instead. You will notice that this build’s single target damage isn’t really the best of the list, but it more than makes up for it in clearing speed and survivability.