Explosive Arrow MoM build [1.1.X]

Hi there,

As this is the first time I make a topic like this I think a small introduction is in place. You can skip if you like, it has not much to do with the build but I want to sketch a context :

I have been playing PoE since closed beta off and on, but since official release I've played about 1000 hours and mostly in softcore leagues. This means I'm in between casual and the hardcore, so don't expect a very exotic build with extremely high gear requirements (I don't have the time to farm or trade for insane gear) but expect a build that is solid, fun, does good damage and has a good survivability. I mostly play softcore but I always play as if I was playing hardcore, so the build should be hardcore viable. I like long term goals and although I was planning to go hardcore this season, but I got scared of the random bosses in invasion so I ended up playing Ambush. 50% of the time I play solo, the other 50% with a certain friend (who has half the time as I have). I don't like big party play, I like the feel of having an impact on the game.
Last season I went for the 7 class 65+ challenge, so I didn't really dig deep in a build. 3 made 80 or higher (highest was 84 reave duelist). I explored some aspects of the game and I wanted some specific things in a build for the next season, I've had more ideas than I could possibly execute.
I like to play self found more or less, last season I didn't trade a single item. But this season I really wanted to go for 1 character and gave in to the trading. I still don't like doing it but it's needed if you want to speed things up.

Quick build overview :

* Main skill : Explosive arrow
* Active support skills : Split arrow (spreading flammability and blind) and Poison arrow (culling)
* Mana based, the build needs a ton of mana regen to work + Eldritch Battery
* Defense : Evasion based, Mind over Matter, Arctic Armor, Ondar's Guile
* Offense : Explode and burn monsters and increase the damage with Elemental Equilibrium

How the build works :

- Spam explosive arrow until there are enough stacks on a monster, the toughest one prefered.
- Spam split arrow for Elemental Equilibrium to proc on as many targets as possible while also spreading flammability and blind/extra curse.
- Spam split arrow again once the explosion went off to proc elemental equilibrium on the burning damage. This step is actually just a continuation of the spam of the last step. If you can't spam for that long it's no big deal, many will be dead already anyway. You can run away and shoot split arrows again and you will see mobs suddenly burn faster.
- If they burn too slow to your liking repeat or add in some poison arrows.
- Finish the lonely tougher guy off with a culling poison arrow.

Your ignite chance will be big enough to almost ignite every time. When your gems hit level 20 and you can use a 20% quality increased burning damage you will have a 73% chance to ignite without any quality on your explosive arrow (which can add 1% ignite chance every quality).

Eldritch Battery + discipline + enough mana and mana regen take care of any mana issues. I'm able to use a high level arctic armor and still have enough mana left for Mind over Matter to mitigate even more damage.

Survivability is pretty high. With Mind over Matter your health pool consists of your health + mana pretty much. With 5000 hp and 1000 free mana which you can get pretty easily you're looking great. On top of the life regen there is also the mana regen that replenishes your total health pool faster than if you didn't used Mind over Matter, this can save your life.
On top of that there is Arctic armor, which can be used at the highest level you can get. At lvl 21 it causes a flat physical + fire reduction of 209 for each hit. Those demon dogs that are a pain in the ass for builds without Arctic armor can't even scratch you. Arctic armor also helps with elemental reflect as we do fire damage.
Of course there is also your evasion + Ondar's guile. 50% evasion is easily reachable even with the hybrid items we need for mana.
I think Mind over Matter works best with evasion but still there aren't too many builds that use the two together.

Big packs are wonderful for this build, even without Increased Area of Effect you will burn half your screen without much effort. Bosses are no issue at all, you can spam the boss to 5 stacks, shoot poison arrow and run if you like and then repeat. You can also kill offscreen if needed with the projectile speed of the Quill Rain.

Skills and links :

* Explosive arrow + Chance to Ignite + Fire Penetration + Elemental proliferation. As a 5th link I use Increased Burning damage, you also use Concentrated effect for more damage, or Increased Area of Effect for insane range. I will probably use empower (at least +2) if I ever get a 6th link.
* Split arrow + Chain + Curse on hit + Flammability + Blind. You could also use life gain on hit if you prefer this way of getting life back, but I don't feel a real need for it, maybe later in the highest maps. If you can dual curse you could add a another curse to this setup. Elemental weakness would boost your damage enormously, but Vulnerability will too (increased damage over time). The curse on hit quality also improves the curses you link by 10%, so in this case this means more fire penetration and another % of ignite chance for flammability.
* Poison arrow + Concentrated Effect + Culling Strike + Item Rarity. This setup is kind of a luxury and probably not suitable for hardcore. I'd try to replace this with a Cast when Stunned setup. Cwdt will be harder because you have no armour gear.
* Arctic Armor. I can wear a lvl 21 Arctic Armor (currently 20 + empower) without any mana issues.
* Clarity + Discipline + Grace + Reduced mana

I also use Vaal Summon Skeletons, it's amazing and adds another layer of protection.
Currently I still have no Cast When Damage Taken setup because I don't feel I need it yet, I rather use the space to level more gems (I'm leveling 5 explosve arrows at the moment to get a lvl 21 one day). If I would play hardcore I would use a Cwdt setup of course, but for me now in Ambush I probably only add it in once I get to the highest level maps.

Passive skill tree :

Level 88 :

Bandits :

Normal : +40 life
Cruel : I went for a passive skill point but I think 8% attack speed is as good if not better.
Merciless : passive skill point

Gear requirements :

There is only one real mandatory item for this build and that is of course a Quill Rain, the fastest bow in the game. You don't need damage from the bow for Explosive Arrow (and Poison Arrow). Split arrow is used to spread weakness to fire and blind only.

You can play without an Alpha's Howl but this item is made for this build, it frees up more of your mana pool while increasing your mana and mana regen at the same time.

Another recommendation is a Carcass Jack, especially because it's evasion and energy shield, which we need both. The extra range and damage is self explanatory.

Critical ! On a ring, amulet, quiver or gloves : you need some added cold or lightning damage on one of these items. If not your elemental equilibrium will reduce the damage of the explosion instead of increasing it.

First things to get to a decent level are resists, life and mana regeneration (I recommend 100% mana regeration from gear). Especially for quivers you can focus on resists and life as it can not have too many other useful stats for this build (don't take the piercing quiver by the way, it's bad for stacking explosive charges).
Concerning mana regeneration, a nice number to aim for is 300 mana per second.

Accuracy is also good to have. The build plays fine with just 78% chance to hit (played with that char info amount for a long time), especially when there is a wall or object behind the monsters you're shooting at, as they will still explode.

Some attack speed on the gloves is always welcome.

You will need a bit of strength from gear, with my current tree I need about 30 strength from gear for lvl 21 reduced mana.

Fire damage, take it if you can.

Movement speed is mandatory as running is the only movement you have as a bow character.

Other than that getting extra mana/energy shield can boost your mana pool pretty heavily. With the carcass jack and just one small energy shield item and one item with + mana. By lvl 83 or so I was sitting at just above 3000 mana and 1050 left after reservation so this is even on the low side.

Flasks :

I think this is more personal preference thing than something tied to a build, but a big hybrid flask is something you need, as mana is also a part of your health and when in a bad situation both life and mana will be replenish so you will be able to take a bigger hit than with just a life flask. A ruby flask could be nice for when you screw up with elemental reflect, but I haven't been using one but using a granite instead. You will need a Topaz flask for lightning intensive bossfights.

My current gear :


Leveling :

This is probably the weakest part of this build.
Until about level 55 you can do whatever. I used all kinds of skills from burning arrow, poison arrow until you get a quill rain. I was lucky enough to find one in one of my first merciless ledge runs, no kidding.
But the biggest pain is when you enter merciless. Explosive arrow starts doing more damage at level 18 for the things you want to do (piety and low level maps). I didn't level solo, played with a friend and I felt really weak (compared to my friend with a crit split arrow build). So I can't really tell how it will feel when leveling solo, probably not that great. I started feeling more powerful when my explosive arrow hit level 19, from then on piety runs went a lot faster.
I think playing in a party until then will save you quite some annoyances and time. I was leveling with a crit split arrow ranger and at times I felt I was just following him. But once my Explosive arrow was on par it felt awesome.
I suggest you try to get at least one cheap 5link chest for your main skill as fast as possible as you will have room for concentrated effect which really helps for tougher mobs. I swapped it all the time with increased area of effect depending on the situation. I only started using increased burning damage when my gems hit level 20, then the explosion was big enough to drop concentrated effect and start leveling increased burning damage again with the 10% ignite chance from the quality.

Concerning the passive tree I went for defenses first (some evasion/life/ondar's guile), then went for aura nodes, Eldritch Battery + Mind over matter, then cross the energy shield circle to elemental equilibrium. I took some damage over time nodes now and then as it's almost the only damage boost from the tree. Also make sure you have the 5% chance to ignite from the tree when you start using explosive arrow (with the fire damage that comes with it).

You will also need to find a balance between your mana regen and arctic armor. But once you have enough mana regen you will feel that you can suddenly level arctic armor a few levels more than you expected.

This was about my tree at level 70 :

Good and Bad Map Mods :

There are only 2 mods this build can't do : Blood magic and No Regen. This build is based on mana regen and these mods break it, it's as simple as that !

Half regen maps are annoying and slower but they can be completed without too many problems. You might wear some extra mana regen gear to speed up clearing. Linking life gain on hit with split arrow might be worth it (if you have a second quill rain with a red socket, replace the blind gem). One of the videos below contains an arsenal map with half regen mod.

Elemental reflect is doable, just don't spam your Explosive arrow to 4-5 stacks. It's slow yes but certainly doable. I'll do one in the coming videos. See more info abou this below.

Fracture maps are actually no big deal for this character. When monsters fracture their new versions start burning after you killed the original. I think this is the delay of elemental proliferation. This is the same for crabs and ambush boxes by the way. If you're interested, in my video's I've done a Temple and Torture Chamber map with fracture mod.

There is one boss I avoid and that's the Labyrinth one. This one hits for so hard with his spell (it must be a spell), it's insane. Once stepped into the room and lost like 3k life in a second while the boss was offscreen. I'm honest, I can't kill it solo, might be my newbish skills or I'm missing something but it's not worth it.

Elemental Reflect :

If you are careful nothing can happen. If you spam blindly up to 5 stacks then yes you will die sooner or later, even with high level Arctic Armour. I have died twice to it but both by blindly opening a box and by immediately spamming my Explosive arrow. Ambush boxes are the only things that have killed me in maps so far, it's quite ironic isn't it.
Arctic armor comes in to the rescue here as well, this skill is made for this build !
But yes slowly shooting explosive arrow added with some more than usual poison arrows will get you through a elemental reflect map at a chill pace.

Party play :

Personally I never play with more than 2 people in total but I can see some very obvious up- and downsides to this build when in a group.

People will love you for your ultimate Clarity aura, as will CI users for Discipline I guess.

People doing mainly cold / lightning damage will hate you because you are using Elemental Equilibrium all the time to buff fire damage, with adds 25% resistance to the other elements.

Almost every build feels underwhelming in a big group, and I'm sure this won't be any different, as your main source of damage is a dot...

Videos :

I've started doing a run through all maps in the game just for the heck of it. For now only level 66, up to 70 are available, 71 and 72 on their way. I'm kind of stuck stuck in the 73-74's (recently bought my first maps ever, before that I only played what my friend and I found :p). For the people that are interested : I'm gathering map drop data for every map I do this season, you can expect a summary at the end of the season. I hope by then I have done all maps an show this build can do it all.

Level 66 maps
Level 67 maps
Level 68 maps
Level 69 maps
Level 70 maps
Level 71 maps
Level 72 maps
Level 73 maps
More on the way...

Personal goals for my character :

From possible to almost impossible
- Get a level 21 explosive arrow, quality preferred.
- Get an great amulet with dual curse ability.
- Do every map and boss.
- Get a 6link carcass jack.
- Get a 6Link quill rain (less important as it is for the support)

I will never reach all, especially not before the season is over, but that's nice about this game, set goals that take forever and never get bored of it ;)

Thanks for having a look and if there are any questions or you see mistakes or would like things to be added feel free to let me know !

IGN : AntoniaMentale
Last edited by leto2626 on Aug 6, 2014, 8:12:16 AM
Good to know a mana based EA with MoM is viable. Up to now i was sceptical that MoM would be of any use as the high mana cost of stacking EA with quill rain would deplete the mana reservoir too much, so the remaining mana would be of little help.

BTW i'm playing a blood magic EA with ondars's and dodge/phase acrobatics. Taking zero damage from 30% of attacks/spells is probably more effective than soaking up to 30% of the damage with mana, but comes at the expense of not being able to run AA which leaves a defensive hole versus incinerate and firestorm users.
Bada_Bing wrote:
Good to know a mana based EA with MoM is viable. Up to now i was sceptical that MoM would be of any use as the high mana cost of stacking EA with quill rain would deplete the mana reservoir too much, so the remaining mana would be of little help.

BTW i'm playing a blood magic EA with ondars's and dodge/phase acrobatics. Taking zero damage from 30% of attacks/spells is probably more effective than soaking up to 30% of the damage with mana, but comes at the expense of not being able to run AA which leaves a defensive hole versus incinerate and firestorm users.

Yes initially I didn't think it was possible to make a viable mana based build for EA, but with some math (I like numbers :p) I found out that increased mana regeneration is very powerful if you also have a high level clarity. 300 mana per second sounds incredible to many people but it's actually not that hard to get if you focus on it, which you can if you use skills like EA, PA or viper strike. My goal was to make a MoM build work. My original planned build had 3 more nodes for mana regeneration but I don't even need them.

AA is really amazing at high level, when I forget to turn it on (which happens now and then) and I see my health pool dropping in the corner of my eye I immediately know I forgot to put it on, it makes a huge difference. I also think it's made for evasion because the biggest weakness of evasion is a lot of relatively small physical hits in a short amount of time and AA counters this. And yes standing in a pack of incinerate dogs is awesome, these things killed me twice in a one week race and I was so afraid of them I wanted a build to counter this ;)

I was worried about not being able to take acrobatics but seems like MoM + AA have it covered.
EA is a fun skill to use, and can be powerful. But for the build, I would recommend not using the other skills. It would be better just to cast flammability, and a Poison arrow Culling Doesn't make much sense. If you feel the need to Cull, toss it on a Ranged attack Totem.

Also - try and get Concentrated Effect into Explosive Arrow - it makes it much more potent, thus making the proliferated Burn more potent.
My Phys Crit Split Arrow Ranger Guide: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/919885

My Poison Arrow Ranger Guide: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/806913
Last edited by Asidra on May 23, 2014, 12:32:25 PM
Asidra wrote:
EA is a fun skill to use, and can be powerful. But for the build, I would recommend not using the other skills. It would be better just to cast flammability, and a Poison arrow Culling Doesn't make much sense. If you feel the need to Cull, toss it on a Ranged attack Totem.

Also - try and get Concentrated Effect into Explosive Arrow - it makes it much more potent, thus making the proliferated Burn more potent.

I value feedback but if you did read the build you would know I don't actually need concentrated effect anymore. If I replace increased burning damage I lose burning damage and 10% ignite chance, so to me it makes more sense not to use conc effect anymore and have the bigger aoe range. Add to that a higher mana cost that's another downside, but 20q can more or less solve that. Personally I prefer the aoe range, with conc effect even with a carcass jack I find myself spending more time hunting down mobs, I prefer clearing speed. But as I said in the build you can use conc effect, it's a matter of preference.

Culling yes that might look weird but it works for me, it's another damage source as well when I need it, and it gets boosted by the dot passives. I don't like totems, I want the full control myself and not rely on a totem to do things like culling, I really can't be arsed with them. And yes I need to cull because if dot effects kill a monster it's without any item rarity or quantity no matter how much you have (which makes no sense though because summoners DO get it for their minions). And also because culling strike has a damage increase for poison arrow I found it a good fit.

And seriously you you need a support skill to get the EE effect spread ver all the mobs, how would you do it otherwise? It has 3 functions in my build : spreading EE for more damage for the EA, cursing also for more damage and blind for crowd control. I love it you should give it a go. And not having to curse manually feels great, pace and killing speed goes up. I also forgot to mention that curse on hit quality bonus improves the curse with 10%, so that's even more fire penetration and ignite chance. Not sure what else you would use another 5-6link for to suit the build, and no I don't do snapshotting.

These are my explanations for the choices, you can take it or leave it. I'm not saying your approach is bad but I find mine way more fun and efficient to play.
Last edited by leto2626 on May 24, 2014, 8:44:43 AM
* Gear updated (finally !) Almost 5k hp now, mana pool has increased, more accuracy and fire damage.
* Video's added, lvl 71, 72 and 73 maps are on the way.

And nope still not lvl 89, haven't been playing a lot recently and probably won't reach 90 due to the world cup football :D
Last edited by leto2626 on Jun 13, 2014, 4:37:16 AM
Really cool build. I like the split arrow to curse and blind. Will probably give it a try in the next league.
I need a signature to look legit
Hunt8722 wrote:
Really cool build. I like the split arrow to curse and blind. Will probably give it a try in the next league.

I love it so much I might even continue playing in standard... Just to see how it plays in the highest maps which I haven't reached yet.

There is one boss I can not kill solo, the bird in Labyrinth. That boss eats evasion builds for breakfast, as his attack seems to always hit. You would thing barrage no problem but it's like barrage/ethereal knives hybrid spell. It can 2 shot me with arctic armour on. Really feels wrong.
Anyway I'm not going in that room anymore. But so far the only boss I skip.
Last edited by leto2626 on Jul 4, 2014, 1:35:33 PM
very nice guide original use
ty vm :)
Hi.What accuracy do u have at this high lvl?

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