3.15 Expedition, Make Bosses EXPLODE! | EA Ballista Hierophant Build Guide

YT Build Guide : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEKnVlgI3ZM&t=379s&ab_channel=EpochBuilds

Bossing Footage : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yS49-Tl0f0U&t=10s&ab_channel=EpochBuilds

Build Pastebin : https://pastebin.com/jZhr7m26


Written Guide :

Hello, this is Dr3ad from Epoch Builds. In today's video topic we will go over my build that I just finished, Explosive Arrow Ballista Totem Hierophant. Overall I enjoyed the build a lot and was amazing from start to finish. I didn't have anywhere near as many problems that I had vs the Berserker or the Chieftain before that. I have so far done with this build, Sirius 8, Shaper, Elder, the Formed, The Twisted, and a lot of Expedition bosses, and I can safely say that it was a smooth ride the entire time.
I did try to do Maven herself, but as I failed the memory game a few times and couldn't do it. Now I am entirely sure the build could do Maven but I mostly blame my lack of experience in the fight and not the build itself.
I have plenty of damage, which is something I don't know how much I exactly have as Explosive Arrow DPS and PoB is like oil and water. All I can say for DPS metrics is 4 words. "Enough to kill bosses".

Mechanics :
So Explosive Arrow sticks arrows to the target, which explodes after 1.2 seconds (with quality). Now you can have a max of 20 arrows on a target, for which they automatically explode if they reach it. Each arrow gives you 5% more damage per attached on the target, allowing our explosions to deal 100% more damage if we have the 20 arrow cap. Now reaching this cap is not particularly easy. Through a large assortment of mods and items, I have 9 arrows per totem (which are shot at the same target thanks to Barrage) and I have 8 totems. So we have 84 arrows per second if we take into account our attack speed on our totems. That is about 4 explosions per second. Now Path of Building makes it hard to calculate this exactly, but as you can see in the footage it's plenty to deal with most of the endgame content in the game. One important thing is since our arrows have to stick into the target to deal damage, we cannot run any source of pierce, chain, or fork as that would brick the build, as the arrows would fly through the target and stick in the last place it hits, so you have been warned.

So we go Hierophant for the obvious Totem benefits. Pursuit of Faith and Ritual of Awakening is insane for us, allowing us to stack up to 8 totems that give us a total of 40% more damage, 4% of mana regen, and 8% life regen, as well as a nice quality of life with totem placement speed, as getting 8 totems out without multi totem without placement speed would be terrible.
Conviction of Power is a good last notable for us, as gaining 4 endo charges forever makes us feel way tankier, and opens up gearing slots thanks to the inherent resistance they provide. The power charges don't do much, except keep our uptime of Elemental Overload a bit better, which is all you can ask.
So for our last one, we just take Arcane blessing. Doesn't do much for us except gives us 60% mana regen, but it's better than the other 2 options.

For major keystones we grab, we grab Elemental Overload for 40% more elemental damage, as I am not investing into crit so we can just grab the more damage and move on.
Elemental Equilibrium is just free damage for us, as we grab a little bit of flat cold/lightning to attacks on gear, and since Explosive Arrow doesn't do its damage till either the duration ends or it reaches the 20 arrow limit, it means that for our explosions we will always have EE up.
Divine Flesh is just simply a strong amount of defensive power, allowing us to convert our elemental damage taken into very small numbers, making the only thing that kills us often as physical damage, which we take a little bit of phys taken as to combat that.
We also take Point Blank on the tree, as it's free damage as long as you put your totems right on the boss, which is usually what you do with totems anyways.

Cluster Jewels
For our cluster jewels, we just grab 2 large damage clusters for elemental/fire damage, if you have the currency you can also get free exposure, a thing I had to cut out for now as the cluster to replace one of these would break the bank, so I just kept with these simple ones.
For our medium cluster jewels, we grab one totem cluster, as giving us onslaught on totem summon is an insane amount of DPS and movement speed. we also grab a towering threat as extra % of life is good, although I am not sure if this is worth it or not.
For our small clusters, I take 4 surging vitality, as giving 40% of our life regenerated every 4 seconds is an insane amount of sustain, since we are a totem build we do not inherently leech from enemies, meaning we need to find our sustain elsewhere. It's not the best solution to this problem, but sadly it's the best we have at our disposal.
One funny thing to note, Cremator works for our totems, meaning that we get free corpse destruction, making Porcipines a thing of the past!

So we get our 8 max totems through multiple means. First, we have the ballista support gem, which gives us 3 to start with, then 1 from our Skirmish Quiver, 1 from Panopticon, 1 from Watch Towers, and then 1 from Ancestral Bond, and the last coming from Hierophant.

Projectiles we gain, are 2 from our bow, one from a corruption on our quiver, 2 from Rain of Splinters, and 3 from Barrage and 1 base. This allows us to proc our explosions enough to deal damage. Without this many projectiles, you won't reach the 20 max arrows often, which would make your build feel terrible. Now for clear we use GMP and go up to 10 arrows, but they all cannot hit the same target often, making us have to swap for Barrage for bosses, which isn't that bad tbh.

Important Skill Gems :
A swap of Barrage/GMP on your main six link is important, allowing us good clear on top of good bossing dps.
We run Steelskin on our left click for extra chonk, as well as an Enduring Cry as pretty much an extra life flask.
We run Infernal Cry for the Ash debuff, giving enemies 20% increased fire damage taken, as well as Frenzy with GMP for Frenzy Charges as that gives us attack speed as well as More Damage.
Blood Rage with quality gives us a good amount of % attack speed, definitely worth to run.
We use Blink Arrow for movement as all the other options got nerfed into oblivion.

Reservations :
For the build, we reserve Flesh and Stone for the reduced damage taken from ranged enemies and makes nearby enemies blinded, reducing their chance to hit us by 50%.
Skitterbots we run for the free 17 shock and chill % as we have no other way of getting these as we can't deal damage ourselves.
Precision is really important, as a lot of our flat accuracy comes from it, as well as giving us crit to make our Ele Overload uptime better. We also get the 15% increased attack speed watcher's eye, but I'm not entirely sure what we should run as the second mod yet.
For the last reservation, we have Defiance Banner. I was struggling to find the last thing to run, as I had one slot free. But since I am running a small armor package with a Basalt and a Granite Flask, having the increased armor is nice, as well as having enemies having reduced crit chance. Maybe War Banner or Dread Banner is better, not entirely sure tbh.

Uniques :
For uniques we run a Skirmish that is corrupted for +1 arrow, you can also opt in for Point Blank for budget until you can get the +1 arrow.
Kaom's Heart is a nice item for us, as it gives us 40% increased damage and also 500 flat HP, helping us reach large amounts of life for our Surging Vitalities to function. The possible corruptions we can get, % life, and increased damage give us more investment opportunities as well.
Taste of Hate is an obvious option, as it gives us a lot of phys damage reduction for free.
Forbidden Taste is the main reason we go Divine Flesh. More info about using this flask in the video in the description by Tenkiei. It gives us insane amounts of survivability for little cost.
We use a Thread of Hope to save passive points going up to Ancestral Bond.
We use a Glorious Vanity to get access to Divine Flesh, also ingame I have some of my resistances from the jewel as well, so try to get a decent one to help that out.
Rain of Splinters is insane for our damage scaling and clear, as +2 projectiles far outweigh 30% less damage.
We also have a Watcher's Eye with Precision attack speed. I am sure you can make this way better than I have.

Important Rares :
For our bow which is the most important part of the build, we want +1-2 to socketed bow gems, +1-2 socketed support gems (especially when you get the empowered setup), attack speed % as this is local, providing us with a better base attack rate and then of course +2 projectiles with bow attacks. This bow on screen cost 12 ex at the recording and making of this video, but a decent +3 bow with attack speed and no extra proj is very cheap and easy to make yourself. I will be linking a video in the description on how to craft your own +3 bows easily.
For our helmet, we want the Explosive Arrow Attack speed enchant, and some phys taken as elements.
Our boots we get cannot be frozen, and mine I got cannot be chilled (which is not necessary as we get enough reduced effect on the tree to make it trivial).
We want one flammability on hit curse ring, as that gives us a lot of damage.
Our amulet gives us +1 to dex and +1 to fire skill gems, giving us even more flat damage for our explosive arrow.

Ailments :
So for our freeze we get the cannot be frozen boots. You can use a flask of heat quicksilver, as I did until then.
For Ignite we grab the Soul of Abberath and Anointed Flesh for a total of 70% reduced ignite duration which makes most ignites do no damage.
For Shock we grab Soul of Gisale Thought Thief to give us 30% reduced Shock Effect, Along with anointed flesh and Ash Frost and Storm, giving us a total of 100% reduced shock effect, making us completely immune to the ailment, making stuff like shocked ground and Sirius's ailments completely negated.
For Poison we just have a max of 80% chaos resistance, I have not died of poison since capping my poison res and running some life regen.
For Bleed which is a tough one, we run just a Flask of Staunching. You could also get a corrupted blood jewel and put it somewhere on the build, especially if you can get it on Rain of Splinters (which will be expensive because of thanks to all the Forbidden Rite Totem builds). You could easily run an extra anti bleed flask instead of armor %, or a life flask with staunching, but it wasn't too much of an issue outside of Expedition logbooks. Just don't take Bleed on the remnants and ignore vulnerability you should be fine.

Closing Thoughts :
So overall I loved the build, not many problems I experienced, especially after I the cluster jewel setups, as surging vitality made us a lot tankier than we would have been. I didn't go MoM cause I wanted to see if it was possible, and investing into mana as well on this build would have raised the costs significantly, so I am happy with the results. I am sad I couldn't do Maven but that's because I am bad, not because the build itself is bad. I plan on moving onto the next build soon but I will be not dismantling this one, as it was an overall success in my eyes. Thank you all for coming out and watching, have a wonderful rest of your day!
Last bumped on Aug 25, 2021, 11:24:28 AM
its a fun build =) +1
Will definitely try the build... Running scion bleed explosive arrows rn, and I feel like it's kind of underwhelming... Maybe it's because I'm just bad at trying to fix the build...

One question though. It says on PoB that the combined damage is just 717k... And that's on 20 already... Is that damage PER fuse or is it for the whole 20fuses?
Last edited by KardoKalansay on Aug 25, 2021, 11:43:27 AM

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