[1.1] Davos Seaworth's Elemental Split Arrow Build - Solo every map with ease!
I feel that Split Arrow is one of the most underrated attacks in the game, and I'm here to let you know just how awesome it can be. This build does not require great gear. The one important thing is that you have a decent tri-elemental bow with an attack speed of 1.50 or higher, along with jewelry that has flat elemental damage and a quiver with 20%+ weapon elemental damage.
I play primarily solo, and I can run level 77 maps with just about the hardest mods possible. The only mods I ever consider rerolling are -20% max resist + elemental reflect. I can handle elemental reflect on its own, but coupled with reduced max resist or elemental weakness can cause problems. However this combination can be done by swapping out WED gem for Life Leech.
Once you get to about level 80 with my build and have followed my gearing recommendations, if you're unable to solo ANY map, you are doing something incorrectly. And I will be more than happy to help you figure out what that is. I will collaborate with you until we've found the problem and you're plowing through maps like a machine.
The great mix of survivability, dps and ability to kill from a very long range that this build offers make it a great choice for Hardcore.
Abbreviations used in this guide:
EV = Evasion rating
AR = Armor rating
ES = Energy Shield
WED = Weapon Elemental Damage (this can refer to the gem or the attribute itself)
LA = Lightning Arrow
SA = Split Arrow
RoA = Rain of Arrows
LMP = Lesser Multiple Projectiles (gem)
GMP = Greater Multiple Projectiles (gem)
LGOH = Life Gain On Hit (gem)
APS = Attacks per second
DPS = Damage per second
+ Not as gear dependent as most builds. You'll need a 5-link now that the BM passive is unusable, but low quality or white 5-link chestpieces are dirt cheap. Does not require any specific unique items or absurdly expensive items. Simply follow my gearing instructions near the bottom of this guide.
+ High ranged dps and ability to kill quickly from a safe distance. Once you pick up Static Blows, you'll feel like a god watching hordes of enemies melt like butter.
+ LMP/GMP is not required, since Split Arrow fires 6 arrows on its own at gem level 17. That means you have a free gem socket and your damage isn't reduced by 30%. Split Arrow also has a higher damage effectiveness than LA.
+ Clean screen. Some people (like myself) don't fancy the screen clutter from Lightning Arrow or Spork totem.
+ This is probably the best ranged build for those playing on a low-end PC. Compared to most other ranged skills, Split Arrow's impact on performance is minimal.
+ Resolute Techniques means your shots will never miss. This build can reliably leech back life without worrying about missing a shot.
+ The Chain gem combined with Life Gain on Hit and Unwavering Stance provides second-to-none tanking ability. As long as there is more than 3 mobs to hit, the amount of life you'll gain back should outweigh just about any amount of damage you receive. And since you can't be stunned, your life leeching will never be interrupted.
+ Great build for a first character!
-Single target damage isn't as high as some builds. Frenzy does leave something to be desired when not using a physical-based weapon. If you're willing to sacrifice the +20% attack/cast speed that Frenzy provides to all your skills, you can use Elemental Hit instead for higher single target damage.
- Split Arrow doesn't make the best skill for early game. You're probably better off with LA until you acquire the Chain support gem and level 10 for the Split Arrow gem, at which point it fires 5 arrows. After this, however, Split Arrow can pack a serious punch!
Finished Build (105 points)
136 intelligence version (recommended for Standard/Ambush)
+ This is the basic form of the build with the highest intelligence. Balances defensive and offensive stats. The following versions are only slightly different. There are no major changes between each version.
136 intelligence version
114 intelligence version (recommended for Standard/Ambush)
+ 12% more life
- 12% less elemental damage
- 22 less intelligence
114 intelligence version
Extra defensive 136 int version (recommended for Invasion)
+ much more life and evasion
- 15% less attack speed
Extra defensive 136 int version
Extra defensive 114 int version (recommended for Invasion)
+ even more life and evasion
- 12% less elemental damage & 22 less int vs. the 136 int extra defensive version
This is the ultimate defensive form of this build, and I highly recommend using this version for Invasion if you can get enough intelligence from your helmet, amulet or rings to cover the missing points. Under no circumstances should you ever cease to level up Wrath due to missing intelligence. Wrath is where most of your damage comes from.
Extra defensive 114 int version
- Unwavering Stance: Sadly, I dropped it in this new version of the build. Though now my dps, armor and life are so high that I seriously doubt it will cause any problems. It's still close enough to take if you want it though. It's only 5 points away, so if you're lvl 92 or higher you can get it without losing any passives. Otherwise, my suggestion would be to drop a mix of life and WED nodes.
- Anger and Wrath auras are absolutely positively 100% mandatory for this build (endgame)! Make sure you're using them BOTH, no matter what. Your damage will be terrible without them. My dps goes from 1600 to 4600 after applying them. It is also possible to use Grace without resorting to Alpha's Howl. You need a lvl 20 Reduced Mana gem as well as all of the reduced mana reserved passives that you see me take in the build. If your Reduced Mana gem isn't yet lvl 20, you can pick up one or both of the 4% reduced mana reserved nodes northwest of where Templar starts.
Skill point progression:
OUT OF DATE!!! WILL UPDATE SOON, I PROMISE.
I am not claiming that this is the order in which you should be taking passives, or even that it's optimal. I think what is best for one player might be different for another. I highly encourage everyone following this guide to use their heads and figure out the best order in which they should be allocating these passives based on their own personal needs. Are you low on life but high on damage? Maybe take a life node instead of a projectile damage node. Would one more reduced mana reserved node allow you to use all 3 auras? Don't wait then, take it.
Regarding the Blood Magic gem: Use it whenever you feel comfortable. I can't tell you when to use it as it will depend heavily on your gear. You will need to be using a Life Gain on Hit or Life Leech gem to support it though. Otherwise your character will kill themself by attacking. Just make sure you have sufficient life and one of the 1% life regen passives. It doesn't matter which.
As for auras, I recommend using Wrath first. Use Anger as soon as you can support it. A Reduced Mana gem should be all it takes. You shouldn't have a problem with reserving all of your mana since all your skills will be linked to Blood Magic gem in the end.
Also, this should go without saying but don't take Elemental Adaptation until you have at least 77% to all resistances in merciless. I pick it up at the 80 point mark but you can (and should) take it sooner if you have enough resistances on your gear.
As stated below, Mana Flows is temporary. I drop it at the 70 point mark, but you should drop it as soon as you start linking your skills to Blood Magic.
Mana Flows is temporary until you begin using the Blood Magic gem.
40 points - Resolute Technique
50 points - Iron Reflexes
60 points - Static Blows
70 points - Heart of Oak
80 points - Sovereignty + Elemental Adaptation
Don't take Elemental Adaptation unless you have at least 77% all resists in merciless.
90 points - Charisma
95 points - Berserking + Leather and Steel
100 points - More life and WED nodes
105 points - Build complete. Congratulations! Spend future points wherever you see fit.
Note: Static Blows is mandatory for this build. You'll be fine until you get it; just try to get it as early as you can. Since this build uses Resolute Technique, you won't be able to stack shocks without it. Three stacks of shock more than doubles the damage a target takes, so get as much lightning damage on your gear as possible. You can get it on weapon, quiver, gloves, rings and necklace.
Normal: +40 HP
Cruel: Attack Speed
Merciless: +1 frenzy charge (recommended) or passive point if using Elemental Hit
Resists: 77% / Chaos -34%
Split Arrow DPS: 4597 (w/ Chain & 4 frenzy charges)
Frenzy DPS: 11944 (w/ 4 frenzy charges)
Skill & Support Gems
For support gems, I will list them in order of importance. You'll need to have at least three 4-link items for this to work properly for end-game. 5/6L will make your dps skyrocket.
1. Split Arrow
2. Life Gain on Hit (quality highly recommended)
4. Blood Magic
5. Weapon Elemental Damage
6. Faster Attacks
1. Frenzy (quality highly recommended) OR Elemental Hit
2. Life Leech (quality highly recommended)
3. Weapon Elemental Damage
4. Blood Magic
5. Faster Attacks
6. Added Lightning Damage
4. Reduced Mana
1. Elemental Weakness
2. Decoy Totem
3. Enduring Cry
4. Blood Magic
1. Lightning Warp
2. Reduced Duration (this will reduce the time between cast and teleport)
3. Faster Casting
4. Blood Magic
1. Immortal Call (20% quality)
2. Increased Duration (20% quality)
3. Blood Magic
4. Whatever your heart desires. Detonate Dead can be nice for dealing with necromancers if your damage is low.
2. Item Rarity
3. Blood Magic
4. Culling Strike or Item Quantity
*Note: In order to use all 3 auras, you will need a level 20 Reduced Mana gem in addition to a total of 23% reduced mana reserved passive nodes. If you do not have access to a level 20 Reduced Mana gem, take the two 4% reduced mana reserved passives above the templar starting point.
Elemental Weakness for damage (quality preferred). Enfeeble or Temporal Chains for survivability. In my opinion, the only time you should use a defensive curse is against hard hitting bosses. In most other cases, a good offense is the best defense. I would recommend using Elemental Weakness against all non-boss enemies. The faster you kill them, the less damage they will do to you. I can usually kill all mobs before they are in range to hurt me, with the exception of flicker strikers of course. However they can be killed off screen most of the time.
Your choice between Decoy Totem and Skeleton Totem. I personally prefer Decoy Totem, and now that Cast on Damage Taken is in the game, you'll probably have no room (as well as no reason) to use skeleton totem.
This is very useful in difficult maps, and it really shines in Elemental Weakness maps if your resistances aren't overcapped by 44%. This build only utilizes 3 endurance charges, but those can still go a long way. Those 3 charges provide 15% physical damage reduction (the equivalent of a very large amount of armor rating once your AR is past the 6k mark) as well as 15% elemental resists. I don't use Enduring Cry most of the time, but if I'm running a lvl 76/77 map with mods such as Vulnerability, Fleet, Deadly or Elemental Weakness I try to keep those charges up 100% of the time.
I don't like it and I don't fully understand why people use it. When you self cast, you have perfect control over exactly when and where to use your utility spells. Immortal Call can protect you in an extremely dangerous situation, but if you're using a low level IC linked to CWDT, there's no guarantee it's going to be up when you need it. If you cast manually you can decide exactly when to activate your 10 seconds of complete physical damage immunity. And low level decoy totems get wrecked. You also need to actually take the damage before it will activate. When you self cast a totem, you can cast it out in a group of mobs before they attack you at all, then pick them off from a distance without taking damage. And finally, it's more fun to self cast (at least it is for me).
1.0.0 update: I no longer use Brightbeak for my weapon swap nor do I use an alternate Frenzy with IIR+IIQ+Culling for finishing bosses and rares. This is partly due to the fact that all skills now need to be linked with the Blood Magic gem since the BM passive is no longer viable (why does it even exist?). Now I use a 5L Reaper's Pursuit axe. It has built-in Culling Strike AND 40% IIR. So I link Leap Slam, Blood Magic, IIR, IIQ and Faster Attacks. This serves as a finisher for bosses and rares as well as a means of mobility. It doesn't allow you to leap as quickly as Brightbeak does, but it's plenty fast enough to get you out of sticky situations.
Next I'll show you generally what to look for in gear. You want life on every piece of gear, and enough resists to maintain 77% all resist. For endgame, your weapon should have a total of at least 40 min and 150 max elemental damage and an attack speed of 1.50 or higher. A thicket bow with a bonus attack speed mod is preferred. Try to get weapon elemental damage on quiver and belt, with flat elemental damage (or WED, or both) on rings and amulet. Movement speed on boots is a must. Look for gloves with 10% attack speed or higher, and preferably some flat elemental damage.
You'll also need at least 15 intelligence on your gear to use level 20 Wrath, Elemental Weakness and Added Lightning Damage. A +15 Onyx or Turquoise Amulet should do the trick. However this can be avoided by taking the +30 intelligence node between the duelist and ranger starting areas. The following gear slots can have intelligence: helmet, amulet, rings. It's possible to get intelligence in other slots, but not with armor or evasion based gear. For instance, ES or EV/ES chest pieces can have intelligence, but you want a chest with pure evasion or pure armor. The ES is wasted.
Note: In my opinion, the first gem you should worry about getting quality on is Life Gain on Hit. Make this gem 20% quality before concerning yourself with any others.
I have not played this build in quite some time, and am no longer able to do so in any case, aside from starting it from scratch. My gear for it was in standard league, and when I quit standard league I gave most of my stuff and all of my currency away. Jack89 recorded a video of him playing this build a few months ago and was kind enough to post it this thread on page 68. He followed the passives and appears to have been using the same gem setup aside from the fact that he is using CWDT, linking it with Enfeeble, Molten Shell and Enduring Cry, whereas I recommend self casting Enduring Cry, Immortal Call, Decoy Totem (if necessary) and Elemental Weakness. So keep in mind he is not cursing mobs with Elemental Weakness in this video, which would increase your overall damage output by 40% or more.
Jack89 running level 75 Plateau map: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdUOHNKFBEc
Last edited by DavosTheOnionKnight on April 13, 2014 2:13 AM
on June 19, 2013 9:56 PM
I guess I am the first to respond. I amcurrently lvl 62 running this build and I like it alot. I have a decent tri ele bow and using none q gems.
Here are positives
* No super uniques needed ( kaom \ shavs)
* Great at pack clearing
* Dmg scales well with level
* Clean screen ( no la )
Here are negatives
* my single target still weakish
* ele rflect ofcourse
* can be life hog
I am having fun with this build and being a little more unique is great. As for guide I would like to see a better breakdown of links in text. I found them in the pics though. Good guide and build. I LL do a follow up post soon.
on June 22, 2013 8:46 PM
I'm glad you like it :) What do you mean by better breakdown of links in text?
As for your single target dps, what are you currently linking with Frenzy? I will say that having a high quality Frenzy gem makes a huge difference in your single target dps, probably moreso than most other single target skills. Each quality percent will give your Frenzy 0.35% attack speed per charge, which is 1.4% with 4 charges. So a 20% Frenzy gem basically gives you an extra 28% attack speed for Frenzy.
Feel free to try Elemental Hit to see if that gives you better single target dps. In fact, I'm fairly sure that it would. However, I think the benefit of using Frenzy over EH outweighs the single target dps loss. With this build, using Frenzy gives you 20% attack/cast speed to ALL attacks and spells. It's a free 20% attack speed for Split Arrow, as well as cast speed for curses and totems. I have never struggled with single target dps; I can drop just about any map boss in less than 20 seconds. I feel that having that extra AOE dps is more crucial to success :)
on June 23, 2013 6:52 PM
Hello, I'm relatively new to PoE but I rolled a bow Duelist on Onslaught, am 48, and my build has turned out to be quite similar to yours. The difference is that I went for RT by going up into Iron Grip. This shaves off about 4 points and allows you to pick up a few 10% health nodes later on, at the cost of BM and Unwavering. At 340 strength, Iron Grip gives me an extra 68% physical, so its pretty handy.
My question is, how essential is BM and Unwavering at higher levels? Lightning and Split Arrow are roughly the same efficiency atm, with faster killing from LA and easier leeching from SA. I have a mid-quality Frenzy gem too, so I've been considering going up into the Shadow tree for the additional charges and lightning weapon damage. Not sure if this is feasible or not. Thoughts?
Last edited by Tiers on June 23, 2013 8:39 PM
on June 23, 2013 8:11 PM
Well here's the thing... With a tri-elemental bow, you're hardly doing any physical damage at all. I have about 350 strength and Iron Grip only adds like 30 dps to my split arrow. Definitely not worth it. However, the alternative to a tri-ele bow is a bow with a high percent physical modifier (125%+) in addition to 2 high elemental damage mods. This is useful for running Added Fire Damage gem in addition to Hatred, which theoretically is quite a bit more dps than my build. With a bow like this, Iron Grip may be a good option, but elemental damage will still be the largest portion of your dps.
As for Blood Magic... The Blood Magic passive is perfect for pure elemental builds. Since I have no extra physical damage on my bow, Hatred aura (30% mana) won't add much dps. However, Wrath and Anger (non-percent auras) add an extremely large amount of dps granted you have a good amount of weapon elemental damage and are using the WED gem. The problem with the Blood Magic gem is that it uses up a precious gem socket. You pretty much need a 6L to make this work properly: Split arrow > Life Gain > Chain > WED > Blood Magic > Added Fire. Without the 6th link for Added Fire, you're sort of defeating the purpose of using a high physical bow with Blood Magic gem in the first place.
As for Unwavering Stance, it's absolutely amazing. It has saved me from death more times than I can count, and since you're using Iron Reflexes, there is no drawback to it whatsoever. In my opinion, Unwavering Stance is the single best passive on the entire tree. Getting stunned lowers your dps, prevents you from quickly moving out of a dangerous situation, and can also interrupt your constant attacking which you may need to stay alive via life leech or life gain on hit.
on June 23, 2013 11:46 PM
I see, that makes a lot of sense. I was under the assumption that if you went too much elemental or physical as a ranged you could blow up on offscreen reflect auras, so I was trying to build both. Thanks for your help, I think I'll respec to the BM route.
on June 24, 2013 12:56 AM
I haven't killed myself with elemental reflect so far. I have come close though, but usually only on maps with elemental reflect combined with reduced max resists or elemental weakness. I have killed myself with Lightning Thorns however, but this was before they nerfed it. LT doesn't seem to be that dangerous since the nerf.
on June 25, 2013 11:09 PM
Made some changes. Added a skillgrimage section to make leveling up easier for you!
on June 29, 2013 12:09 AM
Very similar to a build I made, but marauder based. Here's the thread if interested. I used Pierce instead of Chain. Chain probably works better for shock-stacking though. I never got to test its full potential in higher level maps.
Edit: Btw, Thunderfist would fit perfectly in this build - like it does with LA builds as well :)
Mess with the best, die like the rest.
Last edited by Edzilla on June 29, 2013 1:11 AM
on June 29, 2013 1:07 AM
I've been seeing a lot of builds that are mostly ele dmg based like LA, for example, start to run with a ranged attack totem with either LA, Ice shot, or something similar linked to it for ele reflect packs. RoA might be a good choice too, since it hits a wide scale of things and you can stack it right ontop of the reflect boss.
Mess with the best, die like the rest.
on June 29, 2013 1:09 AM