[2.5] Caustic Arrow Solo Map MFer (20/300+)

Before We Get To The Guide…

The Item Rarity Gem and Degeneration Skills:
  • As of patch 1.0.6, the IIR/IIQ gems have full functionality with degen skills. The patch notes say "Righteous Fire," but it applies to all sources of degeneration: Searing Bond, RF, CA Cloud, Viper Strike DoT, etc… So yes, the IIR gem works for this build.


Area Damage Modifiers and Tooltip Damage:
  • For those new to CA, they will not show up on the tooltip chaos damage/s calculation. But they do factor in. So don't be afraid when you slot in conc effect and see no change: it's happening, but it's a known "bug" that it doesn't show up on tooltip.


A Scion/Shadow Build in the Ranger Section:
  • This has been a ranger build since the release of 2.0, which covers over 300 pages of questions and replies. But now Scion's Deadeye/Occultist hybrid is best for SC, while Shadow is best for HC. I don’t want to kill anyone’s bookmarks, so it is staying here.


Passive Tree for the Ranger Start:
  • I will not be posting a Ranger tree. You can follow the Scion tree, as it's identical in every way except the starting two Scion Projectile Damage nodes. You then take Deadeye, and go grab Endless Munitions & Fast and Deadly, which will use all six of your regular-content Ascendency points. This allows you to drop the AoE gem for Empower/Rapid Decay. If you decide to do Uber lab, you will take the two minor passives, Projectile Damage & Attack Speed and Projectile Damage & Critical Strike Chance.


Special Credit:
  • Thanks to all the people who provide constant help to players in this thread. Answering all the questions, especially in when a new league kicks off, would entail entire WORKDAYS of effort if it wasn't for your assistance. You all help make the continued existence of this thread possible.
  • Special SPECIAL thanks to ChronoExile for the snazzy new formatting for the guide to help make this easier to navigate.


Essence League Challenge Tracker
  • I've made a very simple Challenge Tracker for those who are interested and want to save a copy to work on.



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- Table of Contents -

[01.00] - Overview
[02.00] - Media
[03.00] - Skill Tree & Ascendancies
[03.01] - Scion Ascendant Occultist/Deadeye
[03.02] - Shadow Trickster [HC Option]
[04.00] - Bandit Rewards
[05.00] - Gearing
[06.00] - Enchantments
[07.00] - Gems & Links
[08.00] - Finished Stats
[09.00] - Tools
[10.00] - Leveling (Post 2)
[11.00] - FAQ (Post 3)



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- Overview -

The purpose of this build is for those that don't like to party or do boss runs, although with the changes introduced in 2.2, it actually now functions reasonably for boss runs and can work decently in parties as long as you're willing to organize a culling setup for bosses and such. That said, this setup is designed specifically for solo map farming with good MF, life and res balance, combined with a relatively fast clear speed.

Oh, and it can run any map mod comfortably up to T14 maps.

Any. Mod. T14.

And it can do T15 Abyss/Colosseum as well, but expect to struggle with the boss fights there. Kaom isn't so bad, but Daresso's murder.

Pros:
  • Earn 0.5ex/hr** without selling a DAMN THING. (See the FAQ)
  • Fast pack clear speed, solid boss kill speed.
  • Runs any map mod
  • Extremely mobile
  • Cheap starting cost (buy any item level 64 5L bow for 5c, alt-spam for +2 bow gems) NOTE: +2 bow gems requires an Ilvl 64+ bow
  • Atziri capable (just remove Andvarius'. Or don't, if you're badass!)
  • HC viable with some adjustments.

Cons:
  • Semi-Late Acrobatics - mid 50s.
  • It's evasion, so it's prone to physical burst damage if entropy hates you.



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- Media -


Deathless Atziri Run with almost full MF spec - didn't *quite* have full res balance =( --- June 15, 2015.

Inventory and Stash Management - Exactly what it sounds like! A video talking about stash and inventory management while mapping.

Gorge Run - with a 3:40 clear speed. As you can see, it doesn't lag that far behind full-tilt dps builds. Only about 40 seconds, ish.


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- Skill Trees & Ascendancies -

As of the Ascendancy, you roll Scion Ascendant, with Deadeye and Occultist from Ranger/Witch respectively. Deadeye's additional arrow allows us to drop AoE from the gem chain, while Occultist grants -chaos% resistance on enemies you curse, and increased chaos if you have killed a cursed enemy recently (last four seconds). Effectively, we're getting a free gem slot and free chaos penetration.

However, for Hardcore, I recommend Trickster for its defensive options: Ghost Dance provides you with an additional 5% dodge and spell dodge, which is flat out massive. Advance further along that branch and you also get Shade Form, which provides you with flat evasion, flat ES and a multiplicative 20% MORE chance to evade attacks while not on full ES. Even with taking Acrobatics, this gives you a slight ES buffer of damage to absorb an initial hit and then an immediate subsequent boost to your defense.

However, be prepared for this setup to deal a fair chunk less damage, depending on your preference, as you will need to decide whether or not you are fine without the AoE gem for this variant, as there's no way to gain Increased Area of Effect for Shadow that's similar to the Scion or Ranger's Deadeye +1 Arrow mechanic unless you're willing to invest in an "Additional Arrow" Drillneck. You will eventually be able to afford this, but definitely something to note until you build up enough wealth to afford it.

You can alternately still roll the Scion version and just drop damage for life & Phase Acro as well.

I don't recommend running as Shadow for SC. There's no point compared to the benefits Scion offers.

- Scion Ascendant Occultist/Deadeye -
[2.5]Scion Passive Tree

This is the base passive skill tree for the build. The posted tree takes Acrobatics, but feel free to adjust for your own play (Taking Phase Acrobatics, or go the Iron Reflexes route).


- Shadow Trickster (for HC players)
[2.5]Shadow Passive Tree

This tree will be the basis of what you want to do for Hardcore. Again feel free to adjust to fit your style of play.



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- Bandit Rewards -

  • Normal - Help Oak(+40 Life)
  • Cruel - Help Eramir(Passive Point)
  • Merciless - Help Kraityn(+1 Max Frenzy Charge)




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- Gearing -

The goal of this build is to maximize magic find and survivability, so for gearing you are looking to get life, rarity, and resistances on the majority of your gear. The spoilers show examples of gear, some suggestions on gear progression, and crafting help where applicable. Do not use this section for Gems or Links, there is a section specifically for those after the gear section.

Weapon


Caustic Arrow cloud damage scales with gem levels, thereby we want a +3 bow (Paragon’s (+1 level of socketed gems), Sharpshooter’s (+2 levels of socketed bow gems)),

For the other affixes, you're looking to craft Damage Over Time (15-30%) from Leo, the arguably most useless master in the game. Thankfully it only requires level 3 Leo, and you can crush that with just a few PvP missions. Heck, you can even get a friend to help you.

For suffixes, not much really benefits the build. We don't particularly need attack speed, but resistances will be lacking, especially if you want to run Carcass Jack. So, ideally, you will look to eventually mastercraft your own +3 bow with dual resistances.

Other semi-beneficial suffixes you'd want to keep an eye out for before your crafted bow (if you choose to craft one) are:

  • Attack Speed
  • Mana Gain on Kill
  • Life Gain on Kill


Crafting a +3 Bow with room for Damage over Time:
There are three different methods for guaranteeing a +3 bow, and it all comes down to personal preference. All three methods start off with an item level 64 or higher white 6-link bow of your choice. Maraketh is the recommended base for the additional 6% move speed, and decent attack speed.
Method One

Original method from reddit:
  • Use Alterations until it is a single stat Sharpshooter’s (+2 level of Socketed Bow Gems)
  • Mastercraft “Cannot Roll Attack Mods” (Caterina, level 8)
  • Regal the bow, the only prefix available is Paragon’s (+1 level of Socketed Gems)
  • Did you hit Paragon’s? If not Exalt the bow
  • After hitting Paragon’s remove the “Cannot Roll Attack Mods” (Tora, level 7)
  • Mastercraft (15 to 30)% increased Damage over Time (Leo, level 3)
  • Exalt out the last suffixes or call it done

Method Two

Second method from reddit:
  • Use Alterations/Augmentations until Sharpshooter’s (+2 level of Socketed Bow Gems) with a Suffix
  • Regal the bow. If a suffix was hit continue, if a prefix was hit Scour and start over
  • Mastercraft “Cannot Roll Attack Mods” (Caterina, level 8)
  • Exalt the bow, you will hit Paragon’s (+1 level of Socketed Gems)
  • Remove the “Cannot Roll Attack Mods” (Tora, level 7)
  • Mastercraft (15 to 30)% increased Damage over Time (Leo, level 3)
  • Exalt out the last suffix or call it done

Method Three

Method Three, Serleth’s Method

This is EXPLICITLY if you want to get a dual-res bow. Otherwise, use one of the aforementioned methods.


  • Mastercraft Dexterity (Vagan, level 2)
  • Regal the bow, did you hit Sharpshooter’s (+2 level of Socketed Bow Gems)? If not Scour and start over
  • Remove the mastercrafted Dexterity (Tora, level 7)
  • Mastercraft “Can have multiple Crafted Mods” (Elreon, level 8)
  • Mastercraft “Cannot Roll Attack Mods” (Caterina, level 8)
  • Mastercraft a random suffix / random prefix so you only have one prefix slot left
  • Exalt the bow, you will hit Paragon’s (+1 level of Socketed Gems)
  • Remove the mastercrafted mods, (Tora, level 7)
  • Mastercraft “Can have multiple Crafted Mods” (Elreon, level 8)
  • Mastercraft two resistance rolls (Tora, level 5)
  • Mastercraft (15 to 30)% increased Damage over Time (Leo, level 3)


Quiver


Drillneck is once again Best in Slot, bar none. With Deadeye and Piercing Shots, we reach 90% pierce chance, so this is a no-brainer, not only for the damage increase but the Quality of Life of being able to shoot into the rear of a pack in order to generate multiple clouds as the arrow strikes enemies along the way. It's basically more free AoE.

Until you can get one, any rare quiver with life and resistances will suffice.

Helmet


Life, IIR, resistances. If you can get additional defenses, great. If not, oh well. Look for a pure evasion base if you can, hybrid eva + ar/es if you have to.

Gloves


Same as the helmet: life, res, IIR, defenses if you can, preferably an evasion base if you can, hybrid evasion + armour/es if you must.

As you're progressing, you have a couple other options:


Sadima’s Touch is a solid pair of gloves to use while leveling, but these will need to be replaced with a pair of rare gloves to help with resistances, and survivability.

Boots


Due to the nature of how IIR and IIQ interact, you do want at least a modicum of IIQ for MF, hence we go with Goldwyrm. While the movement speed isn't the best, it's easily compensated by two Quicksilver flasks while the boots themselves provide a high-roll fire resistance and mana regeneration.

While saving up for Goldwyrm a good pair of rare magic find boots can be used.

Body Armor


Carcass Jack is best in slot. Period. But until you acquire the appropriate jewels to cover off the resistance penalties from running dual Andvarius, you will need to run:



A rare chest that covers off your life, and other resistances. Look for a pure evasion base if you can, hybrid eva + ar/es if you have to.


Accessories


Andvarius is the core of the item rarity in this build, start with any ring you can afford and work your way up from there. Max implicit rolls on gold rings are 15%, and the max explicit roll is 70%


Ventor’s Gamble looks good in theory, but the practical application of the IIQ/IIR map coefficient means you need to have a Ventor’s rolled with +7%IIQ and +40%IIR explicit mods. The math for these calculations can be found here.


Any rare gold amulet life, rarity and resistances. There's no other option here better than a decently rolled rare amulet, at present.


A rare leather belt with life and ALL three elemental resistances. If you manage to land a belt with an open prefix, you can compensate a bit more for the lack of good MS on Goldwyrm by mastercrafting the MS prefix here from Tora (Level 6).

Flasks


We use two Seething Hallowed Flasks, one Catalysed Divine or Eternal Flask, and two Chemist's Quicksilver Flasks of Adrenaline (superior to Ample as we can recover a use ~7.5 charges instead of per 10). You can find an explanation for the Hallowed choice in the FAQ.

Jewels


The desirable mods on jewels for the build are:
  • Chaotic (Chaos Damage 9% to 13%)
  • Vivid (Max Life 5% to 7%)
  • of Archery (Projectile Damage 10% to 12%)
  • of Wounding (Damage 8% to 10%)
  • of Entropy (Damage over Time 10% to 12%)
  • of Blasting (Area Damage 10% to 12%)
  • of Resistance (Additional All Elemental Resistance 8% top 10%)

Jewelcrafting

Full details provided by Nasty Toxic
Surprisingly, the Crimson Jewels have the best chance to roll our desired affixes. Here is the source of the Crimson Jewel values as pulled from poedb.tw/us/mod.php?type=42&attr=136 (link may be unreliable depending on the site-owner).

Jewel Affixes and Chance to be Rolled, by Jewel Color:

%increased life:
R 2.84%
G 1.81%
B 2.00%

% increased Chaos Damage:
R 1.14%
G 1.04%
B 1.14%

% increased Area Damage:
R 3.79%
G 3.66%
B 3.60%

% increased Projectile Damage:
R 3.03%
G 3.66%
B 2.88%

% to all Elemental Resistances:
R 2.27%
G 2.20%
B 2.16%

% Damage over Time:
R 3.79%
G 3.66%
B 3.60%




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- Enchants -


For the below enchants, I have bolded my personal preference for each category. You can feel free to adjust based on your own playstyle.

Gloves

Word/Edict/Decree/Commandment of Light
  • Deals a portion of your main hand damage in an area around you and creates Consecrated Ground, Causing You and your Allies to Regenerate Life.

Word/Edict/Decree/Commandment of Reflection
  • Creates a clone of you that attacks with your weapon.

Word/Edict/Decree/Commandment of Spite
  • Releases a nova of projectiles based on your weapon, leaving chilling ground in their wake.


Boots

  • Chance to Dodge if you've taken a Critical Strike Recently.

  • Increased Movement Speed if you haven't been Hit Recently.

  • Chance to Dodge Spell Damage if you've taken Spell Damage Recently.


Helmet


Due to the nature of how difficult it is to achieve a desireable helmet enchantment, my recommendation is to just stick with the first one you find that more directly benefits the build (Damage, Radius, Curse Effectiveness).

  • Increased Caustic Arrow Damage

  • Increased Caustic Arrow Radius

  • Increased Caustic Arrow Duration

  • Reduced Grace Mana Reservation

  • Increased Vulnerability Curse Effect

  • Increased Effect of the Buff granted by your Flame Golems

  • Blood Rage grants additional XX% chance to gain a Frenzy Charge on Kill

  • Increased Blink Arrow Cooldown Recovery Speed




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- Gems & Links -


Primary Skill:
  • In a completed build the primary set up in a +3 Bow is - Caustic Arrow - Void Manipulation - Conc Effect - Rapid Decay - Empower (5L) - IIR (6L).


What about before Ascending?

Before gaining Deadeye it is up to you if you want to run Increased Area of Effect or not. If you do decide to run AoE your gem links would be Caustic Arrow - Void Manipulation - Conc Effect - Increased AoE - Rapid Decay / Empower (5L) – IIR (6L). There are some situations where Empower should be used over Rapid Decay, and the explanation can be found in the FAQ.


What about if we're Shadow HC?
I won't bore you with the math, but because the Pierce gem will cover off the remaining 40-50% of that missing increased damage, it's actually better to use Pierce than it is one of either VM or RD if you're running the build from Shadow.

So your 6L will be (assuming you prefer AoE):

CA - AoE - Conc - Void - Pierce (until Empower 3) - IIR.

Otherwise, if you prefer the extra dps, then it's the same as it is with Scion (CA - Conc - Void - Rapid - Pierce (until Empower 3) - IIR.


Curse Setup & Terrain Breaker:
  • In a 4-Link we run Frenzy - Greater Multiple Projectiles - Curse on Hit - Vulnerability. Faster Attacks or Lesser Multiple Projectiles are potential fifth link options, but neither is needed for the setup. I leave the decision up to you. Personally, I prefer the extra projectiles to make it easier to break barrels and spread the curse more effectively. If you decide to get a 6L chest, you can add the other one in.


Damage Boost & Utility
  • Wither - Spell Totem - Faster Casting to help kill bosses, and the occasional tankier blue/rare or high chaos resistance mob, Wither totem is your friend. Increased Duration or AoE could be added as the fourth link, but is not required. Duration would be more beneficial for more situations, as Wither's primarily used as a single-target boost except in high-life, high-tier maps where you may want more coverage for the generally tankier mobs. But Duration will generate more stacks, which is a single-target damage boost: the primary reason to drop a Wither totem, normally.


  • Blood Rage - Vaal Lightning Trap - Increased Duration – (Enduring/Rallying Cry) Vaal Lightning Trap is the only reliable source to create shocking ground which provides 50% more damage, useful for bosses. Blood Rage allows us to automate our frenzy charge generation, as most monsters do not need to be cursed to melt. One of the most common questions I get is why run Blood Rage if we're running a Vuln CoH setup.

    Fact is, you'll only be cursing bosses and tankier monsters. This automates the frenzy generation and dramatically improves your clear speed.

    Enduring/Rallying cry is listed in brackets to indicate it's optional and at player discretion.


Auras
  • Grace- Clarity – Enlighten will be your core aura setup, with Enlighten added mostly as QoL in order to provide a slightly larger mana pool in order to assist with reduced recovery maps. It is not required to have Enlighten.

    While levelling, and especially before you're fully geared, you may want to run any of the Purity auras to help out with res balance. If so, drop Grace, and ensure you take Acrobatics.

    You shouldn't need to exceed a Clarity Level 10, and in fact the central reason we even still have this aura in the final build is to make reduced recovery maps possible without having to reroll the map, or swap in a mana flask.


Other
  • Any other spare gem slots should be used to fit in Flame Golem, Blink Arrow and Portal.

    As you reach the final stages of this build, you'll see why Portal is so beneficial: it's very easy to run out of Wisdom scrolls. This 5-7 chaos gem allows you to sustain your Widsoms more reliably.

    Lastly, don't forget to level other gems in your swap gear. And keep special attention to when you're levelling Empower or Enlighten: you will want a Haku Weapon for this.






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- Finished Stats -


[2.2]Stats
2.2 final DPS values. Both of these screenshots are with:

* CA 21
* Empower 4
* 20/20 Concentrated Effect, Void Manipulation and Rapid Decay
* 7 frenzy charges
* Flame golem
* Occultist's increased damage if you've killed a cursed enemy recently.

Level 92 Tree with 4.85k life and only two Shadow start damage nodes
QauZWR7


Level 92 Tree with 4.6k life and Shadow all start damage nodes
HcEixXt


The rest of these stats are "outdated" but basically haven't changed since 2.0. I lost 100 life. Whoop.

y6dzPHL

0JZ4WLc



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- Tools -


Vmoddin's PA Damage Calculator

Effective IIQ/IIR map coefficient (C Value) calculator by Caliark.
CA 20/300+ Solo Map MF Guide: view-thread/1291803/

Johnathan time is the most expensive time. He had been given several drinks though. So you either won't see it, or it'll be awesome... without accidentally all the frogs again. But let's make this interesting by confirming it.
Last edited by Serleth on Dec 13, 2016 4:00:30 AM
Last bumped on Feb 27, 2017 1:49:37 AM
Note about gems:

If you choose to roll Ranger out of some random preference, or if you're rolling Shadow for the HC setup, you will need to buy Concentrated Effect through trading.

Slower Projectiles is purchasable from Clarissa after finishing the Archives quest. You'll want this as your pre-Empower gem for the 5L.

Increased Area of Effect is a quest reward from Dialla during the Eternal Nightmare quest, if you feel you prefer it before you get Deadeye.

Clarity will need to be bought through trading, unless you roll Shadow.


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- Leveling -


- Serleth's Scion Leveling Guide -
Spoiler

There are three ways to do this. Both of them will require that you mule Caustic Arrow from Ranger's “Breaking Some Eggs” quests.

In all three instances, you will want to support your main damage skill (Firestorm, Frostbolt, Lightning Tendrils) in a +gems Sceptre or Wand initially with flat Added Lightning / Cold. At level 18, switch to Elemental Focus and Controlled Destruction for your supports. At level 38, drop Controlled Destruction for Spell Echo. The moment you can 4L your spell, do so, remove it from the +gem sceptre and put Controlled Destruction back in.

DO NOT spend fuses or jewelers looking to link an item. It's a waste. Just look for an Intelligence (Energy Shield) base type that is already 4L'd.

- Option A: -
Firestorm & Flame Totem / Searing Bond / Fire Trap

If you're going to mule, you'll want to start a Templar and level it up to the Cavern of Wrath where you can mule Flame Totem from Breaking Some Eggs, and Firestorm from The Siren's Cadence quests.

From that point, you can roll Scion.

- Option B: -
Orb of Storms / Lightning Tendrils (or Spark, but it's not as good as 2.2)

Coincidentally, you can use this leveling process for both setups.

- Option C: -
Frost Bolt + Ice Nova / Vortex

You can use essentially the same tree progression for all three, the difference being that if you opt for Frost Bolt, you can scale a bit of additional damage if you feel is necessary by picking up some of the projectile damage nodes (namely, Fury Bolts) a little earlier.

As far as our tree selection goes:

From here (~level 50) you can safely make the swap to CA by respeccing your points to this tree (as long as you've been levelling the gem the entire time)


- Shadow (HC) Leveling Guide -
Spoiler
Other than the fact that you're rolling Shadow, and thus need to path your tree differently, the process itself is identical to Scion:

There are three ways to do this. Both of them will require that you mule Caustic Arrow from Ranger's “Breaking Some Eggs” quests.

In all three instances, you will want to support your main damage skill (Firestorm, Frostbolt, Lightning Tendrils) in a +gems Sceptre or Wand initially with flat Added Lightning / Cold. At level 18, switch to Elemental Focus and Controlled Destruction for your supports. At level 38, drop Controlled Destruction for Spell Echo. The moment you can 4L your spell, do so, remove it from the +gem sceptre and put Controlled Destruction back in.

DO NOT spend fuses or jewelers looking to link an item. It's a waste. Just look for an Intelligence (Energy Shield) base type that is already 4L'd.

- Option A: -
Firestorm & Flame Totem / Searing Bond / Fire Trap

If you're going to mule, you'll want to start a Templar and level it up to the Cavern of Wrath where you can mule Flame Totem from Breaking Some Eggs, and Firestorm from The Siren's Cadence quests.

From that point, you can roll Scion.

- Option B: -
Orb of Storms / Lightning Tendrils (or Spark, but it's not as good as 2.2)

- Option C: -
Frost Bolt + Ice Nova / Vortex

You can use essentially the same progression for all three variants, the difference being that if you opt for Frost Bolt, you can scale a bit of additional damage if you feel is necessary by picking up some of the projectile damage nodes (namely, Fury Bolts) a little earlier.

As far as our tree selection goes:

This is where I recommend you make the full time switch to CA, dropping the Shadow Ele nodes and bridging across Entropy and prepare to grab Growth and Decay like this.

From there, just flesh out the rest of the tree and adjust for more life as you see fit. You may opt to sacrifice a jewel or two in order to grab Written in Blood and/or Profane Chemistry. I leave the option up to you. As I mention in the tree spoiler up above, I've left the tree deliberately more glassy, in part because Trickster's passives should help out with the survivability.


- Ranger Leveling Guide (If for whatever reason you really want to be a Ranger? But you should really roll Scion) -
Spoiler

This Roll a Witch, and play up to Brutus. Watch your gem levels or be willing to buy extra from Nessa before you reroll. Get Ethereal Knives, (Breaking Some Eggs), Clarity & Added Lightning (Brutus).

Start your Ranger, you will be dual-wanding while leveling. You are looking for a GBB wand (Ethereal Knives - Added Lightning - Phys to Lightning) or a GGB wand (Ethereal Knives - Added Cold - Added Lightning/Phys to Lighting). In your off hand you want a wand with at least one Red socket (create a +1 Fire Gems) and use for Searing Bond (will need to trade for this).

Tree nodes:

Finesse, Heart of Oak, up to Shadow life, thru Entropy, up to Blood Drinker, Growth of Decay, Method to the Madness, the entire Duelist section (starting with Dirty Techniques, then Master of Arena, Fury Bolts, Golem's Blood), Scion Life, finish the right-side loop by going through Herbalism, remove Method to the Madness for frenzy charges/jewel slots, then polish the rest of the tree off.

Basically in that order.
CA 20/300+ Solo Map MF Guide: view-thread/1291803/

Johnathan time is the most expensive time. He had been given several drinks though. So you either won't see it, or it'll be awesome... without accidentally all the frogs again. But let's make this interesting by confirming it.
Last edited by Serleth on Dec 13, 2016 4:01:35 AM

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- Frequently Asked Questions -


Q: Please Explain your 0.5ex an Hour Calculation.
A:

These calculations use the Standard League exchange rates as of January, 2015. They have not been updated, and are not expected to reflect Challenge League currency ratios.

edit (August 10, 2015): Warbands rates are around 60c:1ex and 110f:1ex. Meaning the currency earned is adjusted to around 0.3ex/hr.

This value was compiled after spending two weeks running nothing but blue maps level 66-70 (and the Zana dailies, 74-77) tracking the net currency over time played, and ONLY includes currency earned from:
  • Raw drops
  • 6S / chrome vends
  • Chaos, gcp and regal recipes


January, 2015 exchange rates
Fuse 42-44:1
Chaos 36-38:1
Gcp 11-13:1
Regret 15-18:1
Vaal 25-27:1
Chrome 220-250:1
Alts based off fuse @ 42:1 (336:1)
Alcs/chisels 90:1


The 0.5ex/hr figure does NOT include ANY sales whatsoever, and will vary at the start of new leagues where exchange rates are closer to 45c:1ex and 70f:1ex, whereupon the exalt/hr rate will dip to about 0.35-4. But the market takes care of the balance anyway, and the value for currency vs item cost ends up equalizing.

It also assumes that you are converting all of your income straight to exalt, and does not factor in how you might be spending that currency (rolling maps, alc'ing jewelry, etc).

Q: Can you do a Gear Check for Me? What is the Gear Progression?
A:

I'm no longer going to be doing gear-checks on this thread. That takes up a significant amount of my time to run through everybody's gear-checks, particularly early in the league.

The thought process is simple: get as much life, as much resistance, and as much IIR as you can on everything that isn't a unique.

TLDR; Progression

Sadima's > 5L +2 bow (ilvl 64 required) > stack IIR as much as possible elsewhere (gold rings, gold amulet, iir on hat) > Goldwyrm > Andvarius > replace Sadimas with IIR gloves > 2nd Andvarius > Drillneck > +3 bow. The last three are italicized to indicate you can adjust that progression based on your preference.


Q: Does Item Rarity/Item Quantity Work with the Cloud?
A:

Yes. If you want to use the IIQ gem in Standard, I do not personally recommend supplanting a damage gem with it. But if you insist, and you want to run both IIQ and IIR at the same time, drop Empower if level 3 or less, and drop Rapid Decay if your Empower is level 4. If you want to run one or the other (rather than both concurrently), your decision between choosing IIQ or IIR is based off of C = (1 + [IIQ/100]) * (1 + [IIR/100]). Whichever gem gives you the higher C coefficient is the gem you use.

Q: In a Standard League Build, Do you Think it would be Better to Take Item Quantity Over Item Rarity?
A:

Depends on the rest of your gearing progression, but generally, yes. You would need to be roughly at around 230-250 IIR to make it worthwhile though, in my experience.
IIQ/IIR: MF Balance and Diminishing Returns guide (v2.2)

Q: What Modifiers Affect the Cloud Damage?
A:

There are currently five modifiers that affect the cloud damage:
  • Chaos Damage, Passive Tree & Jewels
  • Damage over Time, Passive Tree & Jewels
  • Projectile Damage, Passive Tree & Jewels
  • Area Damage, Jewels
  • Global Damage, Jewels

Q: How Should I Prioritize the Damage Modifiers?
A:

Does not matter. All five affect the cloud equally. Just keep in mind area damage will not show up on the tooltip. But don't worry, it works.

For a detailed explanation, please refer to this post..

Q: Why not Aurseize too?
A:

Reddit discussion comparing the effects of diminishing returns based on scaling Item Rarity above the balance threashold with Item Quantity.

Q: How does the change to maps having IIR affect the build? And why not IIR boots instead of Goldwyrm?
A:

Drastic improvement for map rolls. Details on the math can be found here and here, the second link also goes towards explaining why we opt for dual Andvarius instead of Aurseize.

Q: Should I Craft a +3 Bow?
A:

A: Early league, yes, but it's cheaper to do it yourself rather than go through a service or buy one off the market. But that depends on you getting Catarina 8. Mid to mid-late league, it's actually just cheaper to buy one, if all you care about is the +3 roll. So just keep tabs on the market. Self-crafting the +3 bow, using Method One, will cost you 3-4ex (1ex Cata mod, 1ex for the first exalt attempt, 1ex if you're unlucky, and maaaaaaaaybe ~1ex in alterations to get single-stat +2 bow gems).

Q: Why not Phase Acro / Quickness / Etc?
A:

I've deliberately designed this guide to finish at 88. Any other things you decide to pick up afterwards, or in lieu of other options, is your discretion.

Q: How do you progress to earning enough to buy all the upgrades?
A:

You can go pretty much self found gear. For the first bit.

All the expensive stuff is really just gravy. All you need to get this build going is a +2 5L bow. You can buy a cheap 5L for 5-7 chaos, and spend 60 alts or less getting +2 on it. Details of how fast it can progress to fully geared can be seen here

Stack as much IIR on your rares as you can, taking resist nodes on the tree as necessary. You'll be able to hit 100 IIR without much issue (12% per gold ring = 24% + 15% on amulet = 39%, let's say 12% explicit rolls on each of those slots = 39%+ (15x3) = 85% + 15% on helmet and gloves each = 115%).

Then as and when you get bank, start punching out the upgrades as per the Gearing Progression question(second question in the FAQ).

Q: Why no Eldritch Knowledge jewel?
A:

Eldritch Knowledge gets you 20-25% chaos damage depending if you place in Witch or above Blood Drinker.

Compare that to Poacher's Aim (25%) and literally any rare jewel with dual damage mods (10% + 10% at the minimum, capping at I think 13% + 13%), Eldritch Knowledge is, at best, a temporary jewel for this build.

The moment you get a well rolled dual damage rare jewel with any other useful affix (third damage roll, life, resistances), EKno. becomes sub-par. It's an interim choice.

Q: What about Ventor's Gamble?
A:

Nope, not unless it's 7/40 or better. Analysis here.

Q: Why Hallowed Seething Flasks?

Q: This tooltip? What the f**k??
A:

Look at the Chaos Damage Per Second in the Expanded Tooltip
fixed

Q: How do you organize your mapping? I'm taking 9 years to vendor =(

Q: Uncle Serleth waah y I no haz GG unique drops qq sadface =(
A:

MF setups are never about getting the uniques. You should be approaching it with the mentality that if you happen to get a good unique, great, but it's mostly about brute forcing the RNG to get as many rares as possible to have something halfway decent to sell at all times, and pushing the raw currency farming by vendoring rares and shit uniques for alterations, doing as many recipes as possible, and generally just grinding the hell out of currency farming faster than you would without any other MF.

The GG unique drops are meant to be treated as just gravy on the potatoes: adds flavour, but not the substance of the meal.

At the time of this comment, I earned 100ex in Warbands over 1 month or so of playtime. Of that wealth, these are the GG uniques I got: Lightning Coil (7ex), Soul Taker (5ex), Divination Distillate (2ex), Kaom's Heart (7ex).

That's it. 21ex from GG unique sales. The other 85ex came from more minor sales and just grinding the hell out of maps.

Q: Why spec into "Master of Arena"?
A:

To help with the Blood Rage degen. It was more important in 2.0 before the regen from Growth & Decay. You can spec out of it if you want but I personally find it beneficial for things like desecrated ground maps, vuln maps, puncture, etc.

Q: Okay, but why Blood Rage? Frenzy CoH setup takes care of the frenzy charges, amirite?
A:

Because the majority of the time you don't actually need to curse. You really only need to curse bosses and certain tanky rares / blue packs. Meaning that if you're stopping to fire frenzy, you're actually slowing down your clear speed. Blood Rage allows you to generate the charges automatically, which improves your clear speed, and thus your currency generation/hr.

Q: Empower vs Slower Projectiles / Void Manipulation / Rapid Decay?
A:

First, Slower Proj is your last damage link, before the upgrade to Empower.

However, Empower "4" trumps Slower Proj.

In quotes, because you'll need a raw Empower 4 in a +2 bow, but an Empower 3 in a +3 bow, due to it becoming Empower 4 from the +1 all gems.

Once you have Ascended however, and drop the AoE gem, it's all about the dps. Remember that clear speed is effective IIQ. The faster you can kill shit, the more loot you'll drop. Therefore, in the 5L setup, it's more beneficial to run dps-centric rather than running IIR as your fifth link, because the more things you drop, the more chances you're giving your existing IIR to roll.

Q: I Want to Run Caustic Arrow without MF? How do? (Answer courtesy of ChronoExile et. al.)
A:

There are a few guides elsewhere in the forums focused on a DPS/high survivability version of Caustic Arrow, but here are the bare bones of it:
Gearing non-MF Caustic Arrow:
  • 6-Link +3 Bow:Caustic Arrow - Concentrated Effect - Rapid Decay - Void Manipulation - Empower - Slower Projectiles/Pierce
  • Rings: Drop the dual Andy -> Rings with life and resists
  • Bow: Can drop resistance suffices -> Mana Gain on Kill, Life gain on Kill, or attack speed
  • Boots: Drop Goldwyrm -> Boots with 30 Movespeed, life, high evasion, resistances
  • Jewels: Resistance is not a requirement -> 3 damage + life jewels
  • Chest: Carcass Jack is easier to use because resistances are easier to gear -or- Kaom’s Heart if you are comfortable dropping 6 sockets -or- Really any good rare or unique chest piece
  • Everything else: Life, high evasion, resistances


Gearing Hidden Potential Caustic Arrow:

  • 6-Link +3 Bow:Caustic Arrow - Concentrated Effect - Rapid Decay - Void Manipulation - Empower - Slower Projectiles/Pierce
  • Bow (Rare): +3 and resistances if not capped
  • Quiver: Drillneck
  • Boots (Rare): Move Speed, Life Resistances, Evasion
  • Rings (Magic): Resist Base + Life and Resist, x2 (+50% damage)
  • Ammy (Magic): Str Base(for life) + Life and Resist (+25% damage)
  • Belt (Magic): Life Base + Life and Resist (+25% damage)
  • Helmet & Gloves (Magic): High Evasion Base + Life and Resist (+50% damage)
  • Chest (Magic): Assassins Garb(move speed) + Life and Resist (+25% damage)
  • Jewels (Rare): A mixture of Life, Resist, Damage (likely expensive if going for 4 prop jewels


Q: I Would Like to Play with Some Friends, What do You Suggest? (With notes from ChronoExile)
A:

If you are playing with a single curse support, don’t change anything, just ask them to have one of their curses be Vulnerability, and watch the monsters melt pretty quickly with the added bonus of party rarity and quantity.

In most situations for party play you will want to replace your golem with Flame Totem - GMP - Cull - IIR, unless your party prefers other curses, then you can Frenzy - Cull - GMP - IIR - (Faster Attacks/LMP).

Q: I Do Not Have Enough Intelligence!? (Answer courtesy of ChronoExile)
A:

That’s right, you don’t. Well at least not to level your Vulnerability and Wither gems to level 20. Thankfully those gems are not required to be level 20 in the completed build, the two intelligence gems you are looking to max out are Concentrated Effect and Item Rarity. The former maxes out with a 111 intelligence requirement (114 if level 21), and the ladder also maxes out with a 111 intelligence requirement (114 if level 21). So let us say the target number is 115, this is really easy to reach. We have the base starting attribute of the Scion (20), three travel nodes (30), Coordination (10), Mana Flows (20), and the travel node on the Ascendancy Tree (40) for a total of 120 intelligence without needing to pick up intelligence on any pieces of gear. As long as you keep the intelligence requirements of your other skills at or below 120 you should be fine.

Q: Y u no Divination Distillate? (Answer courtesy of ChronoExile, with notes from Serleth)
A:

This comes down to personal preference, as you'll need to sacrifice a flask slot for it and likely adjust your Clarity level (or outright drop it) in order to make it work reliably. Personally, I can't be bothered to run it, but I leave it to player discretion to add it in. If you want to, yeah, absolutely, it's worth it.

If you are going to run it, drop the Catalyzed life flask. Dropping a Quicksilver will be a significant hit to your clear speed in less linear maps, and dropping a Seething flask is too big a hit to your survivability. The Catalyzed flask is there mostly for a) moments where you have time between mobs and can save your Seething charges b) boss fights where there's more freedom to be picky about quick flask you recover with and c) the utility of having a suffix like Warding to remove curses.

Q: What about The Ascetic? That seems pretty potent.
A:

For the purposes of this build, where the goal is to provide a balance between survivability & MF, the answer is no. The MF benefit of running The Ascetic is too minimal to warrant sacrificing the survivability / damage / MF combination. Analysis is provided after the jump, but note: it was called Tarnished Treasure at the time of the discussion, so... same thing.

Q: What about which masters we should use?
A:

Since you can now get all masters in a large hideout (four in a medium-sized), the answer is: "all of them," but prioritize Haku, Elreon, Vagan and Zana until you get a large.
CA 20/300+ Solo Map MF Guide: view-thread/1291803/

Johnathan time is the most expensive time. He had been given several drinks though. So you either won't see it, or it'll be awesome... without accidentally all the frogs again. But let's make this interesting by confirming it.
Last edited by Serleth on Oct 19, 2016 9:06:03 PM
Got my interest for sure!

See your thread as bookmarked mate, I look forward to your development of this!

Cheers

Edit: How far do you think this build can reach, endgame wise, yet keeping the rarity? Mostly curious about your confidence in Atziri farming. (And maybe something similar in 2.0).
Last edited by hoeken on Jun 15, 2015 12:17:04 AM
78 rare maps are confirmed good to go, so at least level 80 rare maps imho without much issue.

And Atziri is probably doable in this spec without dropping a single thing, once you finish up the res balance. Since my fire res is just a bit under cap, I'd replace one of the Andvarius rings atm and go do Atziri. In a completed build (20/300 MF), dropping that Andvarius ring with a life/rarity gold ring (30ish IIR) would put an Atziri run at about a 20/250 MF run with 4,500 life.

I was already farming Atziri with a level 19 PA and 4,500 life before I levelled up and switched to the MF spec, so I can confirm it's definitely doable worst-case scenario with the ring swap, and with proper min-maxed gearing and some good mechanical play, it'll be doable with both Andvarius rings in.

In short, tweak the gear for res balance and this build will take on virtually anything in the game (that we've seen so far) without sacrificing any MF.



Unrelated spoiler for a friend.

Spoiler
CA 20/300+ Solo Map MF Guide: view-thread/1291803/

Johnathan time is the most expensive time. He had been given several drinks though. So you either won't see it, or it'll be awesome... without accidentally all the frogs again. But let's make this interesting by confirming it.
Last edited by Serleth on Jan 5, 2017 4:56:19 PM


Just found these today within an hour of each other, so once I 6 link it I may give poison arrow a try.
IGN: Emfx

Playing with 70-80ms ping, which is causing long loading between zones,
resulting in 4,320-8,640 minutes disadvantage in 3 month leagues.
Last edited by Emfx on Jun 15, 2015 1:16:56 AM
Yo Ser!

from levelling spoiler
At level 38, you have complete access to Conc Effect (18), AoE (31) and Conc Effect (38)


some small thing to correct, twice Conc Effect.

Else your guide's golden as usual. I'm looking forward to be playing, think I'll level with Ice Shot through normal and compliment that with some additional clouds here and there hehe!

Somewhere you could add the Leo lvl 3 craft for Damage over time, suits us if we have the place for it.

@Emfx nice bow there!
IGN: WildTortillaFart
hey, nice guide!

what would you prefer: getting a 6L bow and chaos it for the +3 or getting a +3 bow and link it?
"
Yo Ser!

from levelling spoiler
At level 38, you have complete access to Conc Effect (18), AoE (31) and Conc Effect (38)


some small thing to correct, twice Conc Effect. Else your guide's golden as usual. I'm looking forward to be playing, think I'll level with Ice Shot through normal and compliment that with some additional clouds here and there hehe! Somewhere you could add the Leo lvl 3 craft for Damage over time, suits us if we have the place for it.

@Emfx nice bow there!


Nice catch re: double conc. The 38 is slower proj. Editing now.

And good suggestion re: DoT. I guess I avoided it because it's a Leo craft. But, should be there.

"
Completed 25 ChallengesSkip511 wrote:
hey, nice guide!

what would you prefer: getting a 6L bow and chaos it for the +3 or getting a +3 bow and link it?


Thanks!

The +1 all gem affix has roughly a 0.418% chance to spawn, and that's before they introduce the new affix tiers.

Using the above numbers to calculate the probability, it goes like this:

60 alts per +2 bow gem roll. Then you regal it. You have to do that 240 times (240 regals). I believe regals are approximately 20:1ex? So that's 13ex of regals. Alterations let's say are 300:1. 60 * 240 = 14,440 / 300 (alts per ex) = 48 ex + 13ex of regals = 61ex.

Either way you cut it, it's statistically cheaper for you to buy the +3 bow, then 6L it. You would have to exceed 2745 fusings (61ex * 45 fuse per exalt) in order for it to be more expensive to 6L it.
CA 20/300+ Solo Map MF Guide: view-thread/1291803/

Johnathan time is the most expensive time. He had been given several drinks though. So you either won't see it, or it'll be awesome... without accidentally all the frogs again. But let's make this interesting by confirming it.
Last edited by Serleth on Aug 12, 2015 2:41:57 AM
Don't get me wrong, I love your build and your explanation video about it... but!

Going MF is something that most people do with a cheap character to start off in a league, just to farm lots of currency/items for other specs that require good gear to do well.

I think the investment you have in your character right now (6L +3 bow mostly) is far too high on the spectrum of what people want to spend on their average MFer, BUT, also considering this is probably one of the first MF builds I've seen in beta doing a 78 map, so mad props to you for that mate.

Personal suggestion: I'd aim for a more "budget" MFer that can at least scratch the surface of mapping, in the long run for a new league it should work better. I'm planning on doing one on the next wipe, and would def look at some of the options you've taken in order to improve mine.

Thanks!
Last edited by daemmon on Jun 15, 2015 1:32:43 AM

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