3.21 Champion EA Ballista, breakpoints, New Player Friendly with Video Guide Attached.

Hi guys Tech here!

This is a solid choice for anyone wanting a more reliable build for the upcoming 3.20 Forbidden Sanctum League.

I played this last league. The PoB will have a very robust Notes section which will answer most questions. Included leveling Trees, Cluster Jewel and non-cluster setups with different investment levels.

Can pull my info outside the PoB using the Character name: Tech_EA


+Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/super_secret_tech
+YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLNMPwEnAA9pTR1Rwm2vOCg
+YouTube Handle: @SuperSecretTech

Very Important Notes
You can either leveling as melee (steel skills are fairly good) from 1-28 or Caustic Arrow into Toxic Rain which is how I prefer to level personally.

Note: Dyadrian Dawn is a massive DPS increase, it can drop anywhere, so it isn't especially hard to obtain. 20 Abrasive Catalyst will get you to dealing damage 42% faster this is a very significant DPS increase!
You can start without Dyadrian Dawn but this should be your first or second upgrade.
Div Cards to keep an eye out for: The Porcupine - 6link short bow, The Wretched - Random belt, The Dungeon Master- Random double-influenced belt, Jack in the Box- Random item, Singular Incubator- Random item.
If playing non-trade you want white heavy belt's on your chance filter.

Note: You want no sources of flat fire damage, once you have Elemental Equilibrium. You need a single source of flat cold or flat lightning damage on jewelry, armour, weapon or quiver. a Blizzard Crown will also work here!
Note: The way you actually do damage to mobs is by stacking fuses, The more fuses the better at 20 stacks they detonate and cause a large damage explosion. If you get 2 bows you can set one to single target and one for clearing.
Note: Pierce will prevent your fuses from stacking, thus making your damage pitiful.
Note: Before you get Empower use Elemental Damage with Attacks, the hits do more damage early and the explosions deal more damage late as attack speed increases.
Note: Make sure you always have an odd number of projectiles, if you have an even number, the totems will miss in front of them!

Video Build Guide: https://youtu.be/1w5e3-miIcQ Will be live 4/5 at 5:00pm CST (GMT -6)

+ Very in-depth PoB with leveling and a robust notes section.
+ Safe and malleable on defenses as we have permanent fortify and using defensive auras primarily
+ Boss Killing specialist with great mobility and recovery. The biggest tool of survival is the ability to move and this build lets you be mobile.
+ If you follow the Important Sections should get you where you need to be.

- Hardcore viability. I am a Softcore player and this build is made in mind for new players. I have not tested this build in HC. Should be doable may want more life and armour to compensate.
- Early on life regeneration can be an issue, once full aura res.
- Build can be a little socket starved to try to get everything you want in.
- The Elementalist will get you to Ignite Hard Cap 35 million quicker.

Leveling Gems

Level 1 Splitting Steel + Ruthless + Chance to Bleed
Utility: Dash Steelskin Leap Slam
Level 12: Shattering Steel + Chance to Bleed + Ancestral Call + Ruthless
Aura 16: Defiance Banner + Herald of Purity
Aura 24: Purity of Elements + Determination


Level 2: Caustic Arrow/Vaal + Onslaught + Mirage Archer
Utility: Steelskin , Blink Arrow + Lifetap (8)
Level 12: Toxic Rain + Onslaught + Mirage Archer + Faster Attacks (18)

At Level 28 and after completing Sever the Right Hand in Act 3 you can swap to EA Ballista if you so choose.

Aura Options

Personally I recommend Determination, Grace, Purity of Elements if you don't have level 4 Enlighten you can pick up Champion of the Cause to also hit all. I would run Determination and Purity early then squeeze in Grace when you can.
You can alternatively go for Determination, Grace and Malevolence for more damage, or Determination, Defiance Banner, Purity of Elements, and Skitterbots for a non Enlighten non- Champion of the curse pathing.
Alternative is you can get Dynamo and the 12% Mana Reservation Efficiency Mastery.

Bow Attack Speed Minimum Breakpoints Determination:

With 5 totems(before neck anoint) you need 3.33 attack rate to reach 20 stacks semi-reliably, and 2.50 attack rate in an ideal situation
With 6 totems you need 2.78 attack rate to reach 20 stacks semi-reliably, and 2.50 attack rate in an ideal situation
With 7 totems(Skirmish and Watchtower Anoint) you need 2.39 attack rate to reach 20 stacks semi-reliably, and 1.67 attack rate in an ideal situation

The raw sub optimal calculation formula would be required APS = (max Fuses -1) / (numBallista * fuse Duration) Note quality and Malevolence increase duration.
You can import your build into PoB: Go to Calcs > look at the Attack cast rate.

Gearing / Crafting

Armour - For Survival: Life> Spell Suppression > Res > Chaos Res > Regen
Weapon/Quiver For Damage : + gem Levels> Attack Speed > Ignites deal damage faster > Fire Damage over Time > Damage over Time

Flamiability rings can come from anywhere, very easy to get in delve Molten Fissures. (Don't need Warlord PoB is bugged here)

Hunter gear is nice as it can get Ignites deal damage faster and Fire damage over time mods + % maximum life. Be careful to roll over or sell piece gear as it hurts you.

You can easily navigate into Entrench Wheel, if you are trying to cap prior to getting decent gear.
Atziri's Steps are pretty easily farm able early on as totems take the reflect from Atziri. Atziri sets come from the Vaal Side Area Fragments.

You can also use harvest more likely and get Life and Res then craft Spell Suppression however this method is nerfed in the current harvest version (10 times versus old 90 times).

Bow stat Prioritization:
You want to prioritize ATTACK SPEED. Attack speed is essential for this build, so you MUST have a short/thicket bow.

The Porcupine Div card is farm able in: Courtyard, Gardens, Orchard, Plaza, Terrace, and The High Gardens which gives you a 6 link Short Bow. Ilvl 50 is fine for our purposes since we are forcing the +2 with Essences.
Deafening and Shrieking Essence of Dread makes +2 Socketed Bow Gems.

Short/Thicket Bow Minimum Stopping Craft
+1 socketed gems
+2 socketed bow gems
17%+ Attack Speed
Craft fire DOT or gain fire as extra chaos.

Can use a Quill Rain or Storm Cloud early on for cheap. Upgrade when you have the $$.
+1 socketed gems is the only non attack prefix on a Bow so you can force it though expensive. As you need to bench craft cannot roll attack mods then exalt slam with suffix's full.
You can also bench craft minion attack speed once you have taken Spiritual Command.

To Color the bow: Either Force 2 Red or 1 Red + 1 Blue on the crafting bench if using a 6 link. Once you have 2 R, 2B, 2G sockets use the harvest craft for turn a non-red socket red.
This will either make it perfect, or 3R, 1B, 2G until you have enough currency to repeat the process, simply use Greater multiple Projectiles over Ignite Proliferation.

Jewel Priorities:

Attack Speed with Bows > Attack Speed > Fire Damage over Time > Fire Damage > Life > Damage over Time > Resistance

Forbidden Jewels

First to Strike Last to fall $ (144c Kalandra) is only worth getting if you have Worthy Foe Forbidden Jewels $(20c Kalandra). Other notable Forbidden Jewel combos are Headsman(Cull)$$ (5 Divine Kalandra) , Masterful Form(Survival) $$$$$ (none listed Kalandra), and Arena Challenger(damage/needs stance) $$$$ (25 Divine Kalandra).
If you get any other jewel make sure to allocate Worthy Foe.

Path of Building Tree, Skill and Gear are color coded and use drop downs. If you are having issues watch the build guide should help explain better.

Path of Building 3.21: https://pastebin.com/4rNeruqu

Video for Google Drive, Better Trading and Craft of Exile:

Application Links and Tools:

Leveling Unique Items:

Quest Rewards:

Useful Wiki Articles:

Better Trading Pre-Load: Will be in the video as the forum hates long text chains.

Bandit + Ascendancy + Pantheon

+ Kill All Bandits
+ Ascendancy Order: Unstoppable Hero, Fortitude, Conqueror, Worthy Foe/ First to Strike depending on price of Forbidden Gems.
+ Soul of Solaris [Bossing] Lunaris [Clearing] Major Pantheon
+ Soul of Abberanth Minor Pantheon [QoL] Shakari for more [Chaos Dot]

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Why is the damage low?

A: Make sure to read all the notes above! Most likely you have one of the issues outlined which is significantly handicapping your build.

Q: I am struggling with Attributes?
A: Feel free to take 30 nodes you can spec out once you have better gear or look for gear with the stat you are missing likely it will be Str early and Int late.

Q: I feel squishy what can I do?

A: Make sure your Resistances are capped, with using Purity of Elements you should have the flexibility of even getting max chaos resistance. Check you Armour values while leveling try to be over 50%. Try to get spell suppression gear it makes life way better, you want to hit the cap which is 100%!

Q: I am having a hard time killing bosses or clearing?

A:When you can afford it if you don't want to gem swap get a second bow/quiver setup that way you can have both specializations off just pressing weapon swap.

Q: When should I stay and fight?

A: If you are struggling, make sure to check your resistances, spell suppression, etc.

Q: Does Totem Placement matter?

A: Very much so, you can set them up ahead of you to give yourself a protective barrier of clearing ahead or around a corner. You can also drop them where you stand and keep running to clear fast.

Q: How can I fix my mana issues?

A: Use Lifetap on everything, if you are having life issues then you can try to get life Regen on gear or the Combat Stamina nodes.

Q:Is this a build which scales well with Cluster Jewels and Investment?

A: Yes! Cluster Jewels will give you a ton of damage, as will as, getting an extra ascendancy node.
Survival: Impossible Escape with Imbalanced Guard (this will be very expensive!) gives you access to Soul of Steel and Prismatic Skin. Unnatural Instincts is also a large damage increase.
You can go with Mageblood or Headhunter belt later on, however the cost to benefit is nowhere close to Dyadrian Dawn

Last edited by Super_Secret on Apr 5, 2023, 12:45:48 PM
Last bumped on Apr 21, 2023, 12:47:56 AM
Interesting, maybe this will be my lg start
It should be fairly safe as far as a league start is concerned. If you don't want a build to be a trap this is pretty difficult to have a bad time with.
What do u say about Toxic rain ballista instead of EA ballista? Is it ok?
It's going to hit lower DPS numbers on average as the skill Toxic Rain was "nerfed" a few leagues ago. So if you are ok with it being worse for something you prefer to play it should be reasonable.
what are the major differences between your build and Zizaran's EA Champ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLFV3L4eQ7A
The Major differences, are going to be when we get things I transition much sooner and have more totems early. I typically level as a bow character as we are getting bow nodes. While still having a melee skill set. My initial gear sets are lower. The crafting stuff on my end doesn't have other videos, it walks you through exactly how to craft in the note section. I typically build for basic gear, then include stat priorities where you know what rolls are important, rather than spoon feeding a highly optimized hard to obtain gear set. He also does Unnatural Instinct which is likely fairly expensive, where my alternate tree is cluster based. Ziz typically makes solid builds, I just walk through a different set of options more focused on less playtime, with smaller impactful upgrades versus a chase item which will of course have big impacts.
Awesome, thanks for the thoughtful response!
unifer1 wrote:
Awesome, thanks for the thoughtful response!

Of course hope this helps!
You have flame dash linked in gloves with CWDT, but you can't use it like that, or what am I missing?

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