ZiggyD's Etheral Knives Mana Shield Scion/Shadow Build Guide - Hardcore (Updated for 1.1)

G'day and welcome to the official forum thread for my Ethereal Knives Mana Shield Scion! This build has gotten a ton of positive feedback from people who have tested it out and this guide along with some of my videos will tell you everything you need to know to get it running for yourself!

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FINAL BUILD GUIDE VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juBozFqFvio <-------

Everything is explained in a visual manner in there with a lot of insight into the build's creation and concepts as well. I highly recommend checking it out!

BUILD INTRO

With this build I wanted to use the Scion's potential to easily branch out across the passive tree to take advantage of multiple powerful defensive mechanics in a way that would result in an undying goddess of Nemesis league. I'm currently level 85 and I'm SUPER pleased with how it's turned out. Everything in this build just clicks - it's by far my favorite one to date.

If you want to play a build that simply cannot be hurt by most of the scary things in this game then this is the one for you.

UPDATED FOR 1.1 Sacrifice of the Vaal

With the changes to the passive tree, buffs to shadow and nerfs to Scion it seems the Shadow class is now best suited to this build. Overall we get more life, better access to aura nodes and some projectile speed from the tree without really sacrificing much. I have updated below with a passive tree for the Shadow and I recommend starting it if you are making this character from now on. That said, I also did an updated Scion build tree for those of you who are already playing this build as a Scion. Everything else remains the same really!

DEFENSIVE OVERVIEW
Spoiler
Eldritch Battery: Converts Energy Shield into Mana.
Spoiler
This is the 'Mana Shield' part of the build and one of the more powerful defensive mechanics in the game if you build for it right. The synergy of this setup in this build is also really nice as you'll see moving forward.

We use primarily Armor/Energy Shield gear and along with the Discipline Aura our total mana pool is HUGE. The side effect of this is our mana regen also goes through the roof, which is super important for both Arctic Armor and Mind Over Matter. I have about 3200 mana at the moment with about 1,000 unreserved after 3 auras.


Mind Over Matter: 30% of Damage Taken Goes First to Mana
Spoiler
As long as you have mana you take 30% less damage. This keystone is amazing if you build for it right. To be super effective you need at least 700 mana unreserved and enough regen to quickly replenish whenever you take damage (and without stopping you from using your skills). I feel like it's almost mandatory to combine this keystone with Eldritch battery but it might be possible to build for it with just a mana passive setup.


Arctic Armor: Flat Fire and Physical Damage Mitigation
Spoiler
AA has fast become my single favourite skill in PoE. With a high level AA you can AFK and tank 10 LMP Voidbearers without taking a single point of damage. Tentacle Miscreations? Yeah them too. To test my level 19 Arctic Armor I even ran Poorjoys Asylum (map with 150% extra mob damage) and fought the Tentacle boss there while under the effects of Vulnerability and Flammability - 0 points of damage taken. It simply eats all of it.

A lot of EK builds also worry about reflect. AA seems to have that covered too. I did a double reflect map and rounded up two packs that had Phys and Ele reflect and tested it (quadruple reflect) - I took some damage but I couldnt kill myself through my life leech.

AA does have a drawback, huge mana regen requirements but we have that covered already in this setup. AR/ES gear + Discipline + Clarity + Regen gear gives us a huge amount. 266 per second at the moment and im hoping to boost this some more soon.


Life: The Final Layer
Spoiler
After AA, armor and MoM we have the final layer: life. This build gets a pretty good amount of it as a safety net - not as high as a pure life-focused build but I currently have 4500 with okay to good gear (for early nemesis). This should easily exceed 5,000 with a few more levels and gear upgrades.



OFFENSIVE OVERVIEW
Spoiler
Ethereal Knives
EK doesn't have the potential of some other skills in PoE and it's average at best as a single target attack. However, it scales so well with so little investment and fits this build PERFECTLY. Level 50-60 your DPS will be pretty low compared to other players but in the 70's and 80's it just grows and grows like crazy. My EK just hit level 20 and my DPS is now 7,300 (6K is considered good for EK). I haven't even linked Empower with it yet! I expect I'll end up exceeding 10K damage, especially once I switch out to a Ming's Heart for 20% phys as extra chaos later.

Our damage in EK comes from added fire damage and hatred along with a few efficicent spell and phys damage boosts. Cast speed also helps towards end game. We eventually run Empower in our 6 link to bring the EK gem to level 22, boosting it's damage by a massive amount.


PASSIVE TREE
Spoiler


Shadow Tree
http://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAAAgYBDkgRlhUgFecWbxcvGNsZhRmGGYoabBqPHNwdqh6UJDwkqiaVJ6ko-imlKk0s6S2DL2826TyORZ1GcUlRSn1OKlBCVUtVxlXWVi1XyVptW69irGTnZ6Bte2-ecLtzs3Txeqp_xoCkgh6Cx4MJg9uFMod2iEKMNo9GkyeXBprgm7Wdqp2uoi6nCKdcrD-sR6x_tAy4k7vjwcXDOsSiykrOcc9l0NDVT9ad2RPbC9xX3Q3ed-GI42rquuss6-7wa_Pd9tr56PrS-wn8S_zF_ro=

Stat Breakdown

Health

242% increased maximum Life
When Hit, 30% of Damage is taken from Mana before Life
24% increased maximum Energy Shield
20 to maximum Life
2% of Life Regenerated per Second

Mitigation

50% increased Evasion Rating
15% increased Block and Stun Recovery
12% to Chaos Resistance
2% to maximum Lightning Resistance
2% to maximum Fire Resistance
2% to maximum Cold Resistance

Damage

32% increased Spell Damage
30% increased Critical Strike Chance
20% increased Projectile Speed
18% increased Cast Speed
15% increased Projectile Damage
10% increased Attack Speed
6% increased Movement Speed

Other

270 to Intelligence
160 to Dexterity
100% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
72% increased maximum Mana
70 to Strength
54% increased effect of Auras you Cast
41% reduced Mana Reserved
30% Chance to Avoid being Stunned
24% increased Radius of Auras
20 to maximum Mana
3% increased Effect of Buffs on You




Shadow Softcore Higher Damage Variant
http://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAAAgYBDkgRlhUgFecXLxjbGYUZhhmKGmwajxzcHaoelCSqJpUo-imlKk0s6S2DL2826TyORZ1GcUp9TipQQlVLVcZV1lYtV8lbr2KsZOdnoG17b55wu3OzdPF6qn_GgKSCHoLHgwmFMod2iEKMNo9GkyeXBprgm7Wdqp2uoi6nCKw_rEesf7QMuJO748HFwzrEospKz2XQ0NVP1p3ZE9sL3FfdDd534Yjjauq66yzr7vBr89322vno-tL7CfzF_rqhIvT4okAvnRbzJjwksIbR8h0=
I honestly think the other tree is better but I know some people don't mind dying more often if they can squeeze out some more DPS so here's my take on the SC EK MoM Shadow. It's still tankier than a lot of Softcore specs so don't expect as much DPS as a crit EK build.


Scion Tree for Legacy Characters
http://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAAAgABCGdX4fllIcOQ1pM6vScYPPnogsco-uvuuJN6qprgRZ2nCI9G0NDPZVXGFm8dFPrSFy9k51XWgKQksIbRNunjaiSqGYUabPPdQYe3Pv4KiPE1krXybqpKyD8nKk0VICzp3Q38xWegh3ZKfVuvTioppRjbdPGFMrfW21ktqLGQgwlvnspKwzpWLax_m7UZivsJ9toajy2DlwbEokZx4YgdqrQMkyfcVx6UrD8c3H_GoqPB84Ie2wsnqVptJDynXElREZZwu9kTL2-D2_xLznFsFg==

Stat breakdown
Health

220% increased maximum Life
When Hit, 30% of Damage is taken from Mana before Life
1% of Life Regenerated per Second

Mitigation

24% increased Evasion Rating and Armour
12% to Chaos Resistance
10% to all Elemental Resistances
2% to maximum Lightning Resistance
2% to maximum Fire Resistance
2% to maximum Cold Resistance

Damage

44% increased Spell Damage
20% increased Projectile Speed
15% increased Projectile Damage
15% increased Cast Speed
10% increased Attack Speed
6% increased Movement Speed

Other

240 to Intelligence
170 to Dexterity
110 to Strength
100% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
96% increased maximum Mana
70% increased effect of Auras you Cast
41% reduced Mana Reserved
24% increased Radius of Auras
20 to maximum Mana
3% increased Effect of Buffs on You






Suggested Leveling Path & Progression Tips
TO BE UPDATED! I am currently playing this character in Invasion and I'll update it after I reach endgame or when I die with my thoughts on progression.

BANDIT QUESTS

Normal Oak for Life
Cruel Oak for Phys Damage
Merciless Passive Point

SKILLS & SUPPORTS

Spoiler
Supports are in order of rough priority. If you have a 4 link use the first 3 supports and so on.

Ethereal Knives: AoE & Single Target
Faster Projectiles
Added Fire
Life Leech
Faster Casting
Iron Will OR Level 3+ Empower

Lightning Warp: Mobility
Faster Casting
Reduced Duration

Curses
Enfeeble
Projectile Weakness
(Use the appropriate one for the situation).

Decoy Totem with Faster Casting if Possible

Arctic Armor
Spoiler
Usually you would keep AA at a certain level but in this build you pretty much want to max it out.

The exception is while levelling you'll want to make sure it's movement regen requirements are currently below your total mana regen. You can go a few points over as you'll still regen super quickly while standing still to attack with EK.

If you can get a lot of mana regen on gear then you can potentially link it to Empower in a +2 cold +1 gem level wand for a level 26 AA.


Magic Find Culling
Arc + Culling Strike + Item Rarity. A few more uniques and rares on bosses never hurt anyone.


Auras
Spoiler
All on a RBBG 4 Link with Reduced Mana

Clarity + Discipline + Hatred OR Grace

The green aura I substitute depending on if I am doing harder maps or faster clear maps.

With the new Shadow Tree it may be possible to run Hatred & Grace together, just link it to another Reduced mana gem somewhere once you have enough mana/ES on gear.


Cast on Damage Taken Setup
Spoiler
CoDT Level 4 + Enduring Cry Lvl 7 + Decoy Totem Lvl 9 + Molten Shell Lvl 9




GEARING
Spoiler
I explain Gearing in a fair bit of detail in this video if you want more info:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nS-_XK8KZDY

Current Gear on EK Scion


Chest Armor
Spoiler
Must be AR/ES type as we need 3 red sockets on our 6 link. 5 Link can be EV/ES or AR/ES, whichever you can get.

Get a 5 link as soon as possible! Supports are a huge deal for EK and it's worth using a white 5L over a well rolled 4 link. I used a 50 life 20% resist 5 link for 20 levels at endgame. Save up for a 6 link as soon as your other gear is 'okay'.

Life, Resists and Armor/ES mods are optimal.


Helm, Boots & Gloves
Spoiler
One of these items needs to be Armor/ES (red/Blue) type as you'll need 3-4 red sockets for your Cast on Damage Taken setup. The other two can be either Evasion/ES or Armor/ES as you see fit.

Life, Resists and Increased Armor/Evasion/Energy shield are the core stats. Movement speed is pretty essential, aim for a minimum of 20% as this allows you to better reposition for EK. Movespeed also affects the delay of Lightning Warp.


WAND
Spoiler
Core Stats are Spell Damage, Cast Speed and Projectile Speed. Mana Regeneration is highly desirable and if you can get + to skill gems you can even run your Arctic Armor in it.


SHIELD
Spoiler
Pure Energy Shield type Shield is preferred as this will be a huge source of mana for you and spell mods. Core Mods are Spell Damage, Life, increased ES, Mana Regeneration & Resists. Additional Mana is also nice.

Rathpith Globe and Safell's Frame are both good unique options.


Amulet
Spoiler
http://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Karui_Ward

This amulet is fantastic while levelling with EK - I actually used it all the way up to level 80 until I got a Projectile speed wand. I recommend switching to a rare amulet like mine (after you get Proj Speed on your wand) before that if you can but this is a really nice item for EK.

After that your end game amulet should aim for Spell Damage, Cast Speed & mana regeneration. Life and resists are also highly desirable.

Rings
Spoiler
Life, Reists and Mana Regeneration are the primary stats to aim for. Chaos damage is one thing we dont mitigate very well in this build so go for a Chaos Resist ring if possible. Cast Speed is also highly desirable.

Ming's Heart
http://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Ming%27s_Heart

This is my next planned item for this build - they are expensive in Nemesis at the moment but I'll see if I can get one for testing. I suspect it's going to be a huge DPS increase and the chaos resist is going to round off the defense of the build pretty nicely. We'll lose some life and mana which means I think it's only viable to start using at level85+ but I think it's a nice end game piece.


Belt
Spoiler
Rustic Sash is the best base type as it can scale the Phys damage of our EK (by up to 24%!). I pretty much just get life and resits on it but flask mods such as increased flask charges gained are always nice.





Hope you enjoy the build! I've been loving all the feedback I've been getting on it. If you want to keep up with this EK Scion and other builds I work on make sure to follow me on YouTube - http://bit.ly/ziggyd

I'm ZiggyD, and thanks for reading.
YouTube.com/ZiggyDStarcraft
Twitter.com/ZiggyDStarcraft
PoE and Strategy Gaming Content
Last edited by ZiggyD on March 13, 2014 12:33 AM
Thanks for posting Ziggy! Great stuff, love the videos but its nice to be able to read a guide.

edit: Just hit 66 on my new scion with this build. It really is great fun and EK is starting to hit like a truck. Once I picked up MoM, the tankiness skyrocketed. Such a great keystone.
Last edited by SmokeBlunts on November 28, 2013 3:24 AM
Awesome, I'll be trying this out once I finish my current character (or dies lol)

What did you do for bandits?
"
Completed 5 ChallengesTrojams wrote:
Awesome, I'll be trying this out once I finish my current character (or dies lol)

What did you do for bandits?


Ah thanks I always forget this.

I did Oak, Oak and Oak but I think Merci is better left as a passive point.
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Hey ZiggyD, could you please go over in greater detail as of how/when we use auras? Some people told me its better to stop leveling them at certain levels but I still do not understand this could you possibly explain it to me? I am new to the game
"
Hey ZiggyD, could you please go over in greater detail as of how/when we use auras? Some people told me its better to stop leveling them at certain levels but I still do not understand this could you possibly explain it to me? I am new to the game


In some builds you will stop levelling Clarity at around level 4 or 5. This is because you only need a bit of regen and it eats more and more mana as you level it up.

That's the only case though, every other instance now you max level your auras as there is no downside to doing so.

In this build we also max level Clarity as we have tons of mana for the reservation requirements and because we want as much regen as possible! Mine's at level 19 and a half now ;)
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Sorry if I missed it but what's your opinion on the unique chest Cloak of Defiance?

You would get less life and ES/Mana than a perfect rare would give you but you gain 10% more damage reduction (as long as you have the mana for it), 50% mana regen as well as saving 3 passive points.

Another downside is that there's many more 6l chests that are rare than there are 6l Cloak of Defiance.

Edit:

I'm currently doing something very similar but instead of going all the way into the templar starting area I get the 15% reduced mana reserved nodes and plan on getting both Prism Guardian and Alpha's Howl to run Determination, Grace, Hatred, Clarity, Haste and Discipline.

Haste with the massive bonus to auras from my passive tree and the +2 from Alpha's Howl will offset not picking up as many cast speed nodes as you did.

I'll lose life from my shield and helmet slot as well as 11%~ of my life from auras. These changes will make me weaker in solo play but shine when in a party.

What do you think about doing something like that?
Since you are not picking up Unwavering Stance, have you thought about using Cast When Stunned instead of CWDT?
IGN: Redoxe & Atalui
Last edited by Redoxe on November 16, 2013 10:33 AM
"
Completed 2 ChallengesRedoxe wrote:
Sorry if I missed it but what's your opinion on the unique chest Cloak of Defiance?

You would get less life and ES/Mana than a perfect rare would give you but you gain 10% more damage reduction (as long as you have the mana for it), 50% mana regen as well as saving 3 passive points.

Another downside is that there's many more 6l chests that are rare than there are 6l Cloak of Defiance.

Edit:

I'm currently doing something very similar but instead of going all the way into the templar starting area I get the 15% reduced mana reserved nodes and plan on getting both Prism Guardian and Alpha's Howl to run Determination, Grace, Hatred, Clarity, Haste and Discipline.

Haste with the massive bonus to auras from my passive tree and the +2 from Alpha's Howl will offset not picking up as many cast speed nodes as you did.

I'll lose life from my shield and helmet slot as well as 11%~ of my life from auras. These changes will make me weaker in solo play but shine when in a party.

What do you think about doing something like that?
Since you are not picking up Unwavering Stance, have you thought about using Cast When Stunned instead of CWDT?


I really like Cloak of Defiance on a Witch, Shadow or Templar - the trade off of lower stats is worth it for them especially since they can spec for more mana and take better advantage of the 40% mana shield.

For the Scion and this spec though I think the keystone is better - you get Iron Reflexes (Grace is amazing now) as well as the MoM keystone and it's not too hard for the Scion to do. You can also run a better chest with easier chromatic-ing for EK links.

And yeah, as you said it - getting a 6L Cloak is going to be pretty tough at this point in the new leagues haha. I spent 5.5exa just getting a 6L rare.


I quite like your changes too! Sounds like a pretty fun way to do it. I'll be interested in hearing how it goes so keep me updated!

With AA and high life I seem to not get stunned too often - at least not as often as I take the damage to set of CoDT. I feel like Cast on Stun is more of a supplement to CoDT rather than a replacer for it - but I dont have the links for that.
YouTube.com/ZiggyDStarcraft
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PoE and Strategy Gaming Content
"
ZiggyD wrote:
"
Hey ZiggyD, could you please go over in greater detail as of how/when we use auras? Some people told me its better to stop leveling them at certain levels but I still do not understand this could you possibly explain it to me? I am new to the game


In some builds you will stop levelling Clarity at around level 4 or 5. This is because you only need a bit of regen and it eats more and more mana as you level it up.

That's the only case though, every other instance now you max level your auras as there is no downside to doing so.

In this build we also max level Clarity as we have tons of mana for the reservation requirements and because we want as much regen as possible! Mine's at level 19 and a half now ;)


I just went from 0-40 on this build last night and the only time I didn't level clarity was when I hit a level req I wasn't at yet. Regen has been great. :)

Only downside is I was using your Level 70 recap version of the build that goes from Purity of Flesh to EB through the top of the Witch tree, so looks like I need to go grab those respec points. :P

Thanks for the write-up.
Are the scion early projectile damage nodes (the 4 down ones) worth giving up and going for the 4 upper faster casting + Path of the Savant ones?

ps: For late game, lvel 75+.
Last edited by tavirosu on November 16, 2013 4:45 PM

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