A generic physical crit bow archer guide

This guide is intended to be eventually targeted at beginners. I'll try to make it more comprehensive for them over time.

1. The basic idea
In current meta game, an efficient physical based crit archer can be built just by staying in ranger and shadow area. There is absolutely no need to go into duelist and scion area, or even more on the left as we have all we need here: about 250% life by lvl 90 (or even 300 if really pushed forward), about 200% physical bow damage and 500% crit chance and lots of aura nodes too, if needed.

The main advantage of doing so is that we will spend very few points in travelling nodes.
The biggest downside is the lack of resistances on tree. We will have none so all resistances will come from gear. A consequence of this is it's not advised to equip many unique items (Rat's Nest, Maligaro's Virtuosity, The Blood Dance, etc.) because they usually lack life or resistances or even both.

Defence is based on high enough evasion coupled with Acrobatics and Phase Acrobatics.
Some hits may go through however, and since we have almost no armour (thanks Acrobatics), we need a high life so we will invest heavily into it.

For offence, bow damages are in between one handed and two handed weapons. The problem is that bow skills have rather low damage effectiveness, and there are not many supports that add a good amount of "more" damage. The most popular AOE supports even have a high "less" damage multiplier. Hence the final damages don't scale very well with bow damage nodes alone, despite we have almost 200%.
It is however quite easy to get both a decent amount of bow damage and a very good amount of critical strike chance. Critical strikes is the way we get the damages required for the end game.

The guide will focus on Frenzy as single target attack, and can use either Lightning Arrow, Rain of Arrow or Split Arrow for AOE.
Readers that want to go into details regarding specific AOE setups are also encouraged to read guides dedicated to such setups (see section 8 at end of guide or build list sticky thread).

2. Levelling trees

We can use two different starts, an offensive one through projectile damages and a tanky one though life and evasion nodes:

20 points projectile damage start: projectile damage is a must for most CoC builds. It's also very good for puncture builds, or for those who just like to do the most damage ;).

21 points life/evasion start: this is a generic start for most archer builds. The life nodes are small but by the end of the game you will really need every bit of life you can get.

From here, I'll continue with the life based build. The projectile based build is the same except it has one more point.

40 points: Go for Ondar's Guile first, it's a good idea to get it before visiting Lunaris. Then fill the Aspect of Eagle cluster to go for the first two nodes to Gymanistics, and then go for Heavy Draw.

60 points: Take Gymnastics, move upward for the second 8-8-12 life cluster, then to shadow area for Mind Drinker. Take Acrobatics and the first crit node before Talons of Murder.

80 points: Get Talons of Murder for damage and life, and start getting some crit with Lethality cluster near Ondar's Guile, Mental Acuity and one point in Assassination cluster. Go for Phase Acrobatics as well and the Fervor Frenzy charge.

101 points, lvl 84: continue with crit and life nodes.
Here's a breakdown of this tree:

+104 to Strength
+262 to Dexterity
+74 to Intelligence
+445 to maximum Mana
+678 to maximum Life
Evasion Rating: 314
+3 Maximum Endurance Charge
+5 Maximum Frenzy Charge
+3 Maximum Power Charge
4% Additional Elemental Resistance per Endurance Charge
4% Physical Damage Reduction per Endurance Charge
5% Attack Speed Increase per Frenzy Charge
5% Cast Speed Increase per Frenzy Charge
50% Critical Strike Chance Increase per Power Charge
94.4% increased Evasion Rating
31% increased Attack Speed
256% increased maximum Life
40% increased Accuracy Rating
30% increased Block and Stun Recovery
30% Chance to Avoid being Stunned
1% of Life Regenerated per Second
20% increased Projectile Speed
15% increased Projectile Damage
180% increased Physical Damage with Bows
10% increased Attack Speed with Bows
4% increased Movement Speed
235% increased Critical Strike Chance with Bows
220% increased Critical Strike Chance
45% increased Critical Strike Multiplier
4% increased Evasion Rating per Frenzy Charge
Doubles chance to Evade Projectile Attacks
18% increased Frenzy Charge Duration
30% Chance to Dodge Attacks. 50% less Armour and Energy Shield
10% additional chance to Dodge Attacks
16% increased Stun Duration with Bows on enemies
30% increased Critical Strike Multiplier with Bows
30% Chance to Dodge Spell Damage
2% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana
10% increased Accuracy Rating with Bows
20% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
+14.8% Energy Shield
+20.8% increased Melee Physical Damage
+524 Accuracy Rating

Shadow start

Differences with the ranger projectile version: the 2 starting nodes only.

20 points: Power Siphon will ease early levelling greatly. It will be refunded later in favor of Mind Drinker.
40 points
60 points
80 points
101 points

From here, there are many options:
- The Influence Cluster is good for Split Arrow builds running on mana. Split Arrow has low mana cost and can be sustained with a low mana pool. The Influence cluster will sensibly boost Grace and Hatred as well as providing a bit less of mana reservation. Of course you can also go for it if you plan to use Blood Magic.
- The 3 mixed life/mana nodes above shadow start are very good to help sustain skills on mana because they will sensibly boost the mana pool and mana regen as a consequence.
- Piercing Shots has to be taken if you go for a pierce build or want to use Drillneck. Since it costs 2 nodes, you'll have to compromise elsewhere.
- Getting the power charge can help to get a higher crit rate, if you have a way to generate the charges.

A few remarks:
- You may want to spec into Iron Reflexes instead of Acrobatics/Phase acrobatics and Ondar's Guile, especially if you plan to use Lioneye's Glare.
- We don't invest into Heartseeker cluster because we usually get enough crit multiplier from gear alone. It's also safer to fight against reflect.
- Don't hesitate to take Thief's Craft node if you need intelligence.

Some typical objectives for end of difficulty
- End of act 3 normal: 1k hp, as much lightning res as possible
- End of act 3 cruel: 2k hp, all res caped
- Docks merciless / start mapping: 3k hp, 75 lightning res, 70 fire res, 65 cold res. Cap res as soon as possible.
- Dominus merciless: 4k hp, at least 10k frenzy, capped res.

3. Skills and their links

Acronyms for gems
LA: Lighting Arrow
RoA: Rain of Arrow
SA: Split Arrow
AFD: Added Fire Damage
BM: Blood Magic
FA: Faster Attack
PPAD: Physical Projectile Attack Damage
ICD: Increase Critical Damage
ICS: Increase Critical Strikes
PCoC: Power Charge on Critical
LgoH: Life gained on Hit
LL: Life Leech
ML: Mana Leech
LMP: Lesser Multiple Projectiles
GMP: Greater Multiple Projectiles
WED: Weapon Elemental Damage
CwDT: Cast when Damage Taken
EC: Enduring Cry
IC: Immortal Call

Frenzy costs way too much to be used during levelling, just put it on your switch to level it passively. By the way, always use your switch to level 6 gems. Either gems that you will use later or popular gems (Reduced Mana, Multistrike, LMP, etc.) which you could sell when they reach lvl 20 or 20/20.
Burning arrow will be your regular single target skill. PPAD and AFD are good supports for it. Switch AFD for LL on tough encounters like bosses if needed.
Puncture is also extremely good to use for all bosses and tough encounters. A good idea is to use a 4L with both Puncture and Burning arrow, supported by AFD and PPAD (use a 3L first then add PPAD when you get it).
Try also to get a Vulnerability curse (unfortunately not available through quests for ranger), it dramatically boosts Puncture (see below in Frenzy section).

For AOE, Split Arrow is probably the best choice because of its low mana cost. Support it with AFD, WED, Pierce. And we can switch WED for LgoH if needed.
Lightning Arrow and Rain of Arrow are also usable but cost sensibly more. Supporting them with Blood Magic helps, and even so, you won't use them very often. I prefer to put RoA on use rather than LA, because LA is quite similar in its behaviour to SA. RoA on the other hand is very useful to shut down the fast melee monsters that reach you.
If you still want to level with lightning arrow, support it with LMP and Fork or Pierce. Chain won't be usable during levelling, its 200% multiplier is too heavy.
By the end of act 3 cruel, you should have made your choice for your final AOE.

Use Hatred as your regular aura, as soon as you get it as quest reward. The mana reduction is not much of a problem when you see how much damage it adds.

For an example of levelling, you can take a look at the second post.

Some gems of choice to get from quest rewards

The full list is here.

Enemy at the Gate: Split Arrow
Mercy Mission: Detonate Dead (occasionally useful against necromancers)
Breaking Some Eggs: Rain of Arrow or Ice Shot
The Caged Brute: Hatred
The Siren's Cadence: Fork or Added Cold Damage

Intruders in Black: Lightning Arrow
Sharp and Cruel: Lesser Multiple Projectile

Lost in Love: Frenzy
Sever the Right Hand: Pierce
A Fixture of Fate: Temporal Chain or Devouring Totem (very useful when you start from nothing)

Enemy at the Gate: Grace
Mercy Mission: Increased Duration (for Immortal Call)
The Caged Brute: Enduring Cry
The Siren's Cadence: Physical Projectile Attack Damage

Sharp and Cruel: Faster Attack or Physical Projectile Attack Damage

Lost in Love: Clarity
Sever the Right Hand: Range Attack Totem

Mercy Mission: Blood Magic
The Caged Brute: Purity of Lightning or Haste
The Siren's Cadence: Faster Attack or Blood Magic

A Fixture of Fate: Cast when Damage Taken or Spell Echo

We're missing many red gems we'd like to use, like Added Fire Damage, Life Leech or Weapon Elemental Damage. They can either be traded for around 1 alchemy orb or you can create an appropriate character who get them as quest rewards and rush the said quests to get the gems.

Frenzy is a skill of choice for single target. It has very good damage, the only other one on par is Puncture, and the frenzy charges will also help your AOE.
The big downside is the heavy mana cost.
4L: PPAD, FA, LL or AFD or ICD
5L: Adds one of the missing supports above, or PCoC or WED (if AFD is already used)
6L: Whatever you feel needed (beware of mana cost). Blind can be a good idea.

If you have a hard hitting bow like a harbinger with tyrannical mod, physical reflect can become very problematic. In this case use AFD instead of PPAD. You will have almost the same paper dps but it will be sensibly less in reality because of monster resistances. Mana cost will also be increased because of higher attack speed.
Faster attack is used to build up the charges more quickly. Some persons are fine without it however, and this also help to manage the mana cost.

It can occasionally help to switch Frenzy with Puncture, for dangerous encounters. This will be very effective if you use both PPAD and ICD. Puncture, PPAD, ICD can be enough to one shot map bosses.
It's a good idea to curse the target with Vulnerability first as it boosts Puncture twice, on the initial hit with the increased physical damage which will also increase the bleed DoT, and on the DoT itself with the 40% increased DoT damage. This can be a deadly combo.

Lightning arrow
Life gained on Hit is generally a must. It provides lots of instant life recovery with he numerous hits this skill can do.
4L: LgoH, LMP, Chain
5L: LgoH, LMP, Chain, WED or PCoC
6L: LgoH, LMP, Chain, WED or PCoC, BM (added to ease the gameplay), or PPAD/AFD/FA/ICD if you really have insane mana regen or instant mana leech (Atziri's Acuity).

AFD and WED give about the same amount of damage. AFD is cheaper in mana, WED increases lightning damage which will help to build shock stacks, it will also be generally better in party if some teammates have Anger and/or Wrath, or if you use Hatred.
With Pierce, just replace LMP/Chain by GMP/Pierce. This combo tends to clear huge packs very quickly (ie. can clear entire rooms in a few salves) but is less efficient than LMP/Chain against small or scattered groups.
On 6L I think LMP/Chain/BM beats this combo in every situations because its dps is more regular.
Some number regarding mana cost:
LA lvl 20, GMP, Pierce, LgoH, WED: 74 mana
LA lvl 20, LMP, Chain, LgoH, WED: 101 mana >_<

Split Arrow
4L: LgoH, Chain, AFD or FA
5L: LgoH, Chain, ICD, AFD or FA or PCoC
6L: LgoH, Chain, ICD, AFD or FA or PCoC, what you prefer in: AFD, FA, PPAD or WED

PPAD can be dangerous to use this when facing physical reflect. Same goes for Pierce instead of Chain. (see 7. The reflect issue for details).
The mana cost of Split Arrow is much more manageable than Lightning Arrow, thanks to the implicit GMP mod. Average 5L setups with Chain cost around 50-55 mana.

Rain of Arrow
5L: Adds Concentrated Effect
6L: Whatever you feel needed.
Disclaimer: I've never played RoA so the links above are just a guess ;)

The remaining links will be used to run auras and a combination of utility skills to your liking.

Auras (RGGB): Reduced mana, Hatred, Grace, Blue slot for a curse, Clarity or Purity of Element/Lightning.
Curses of choice are Critical Weakness, Vulnerability and Enfeeble. Quality is very good on all of them.

Enduring cry and Immortal call setups
- All in one (order is important, clockwise): CwdT lvl 1-3, EC lvl 5-6, IC lvl 3-5, Increased Duration lvl max
- Two CwDT setups:
¤ CwdT lvl 1, EC lvl 5 (, enfeeble lvl 5)
¤ CwDT lvl 10 (more or less), IC appropriately levelled, Increased Duration lvl max.
- Hard cast EC (which I recommend):
¤ Enduring cry, Fast Cast and/or Spell Echo (bypass cooldown and grants charges twice, marvellous)
¤ CwDT lvl 10 (more or less), IC lvl 10, Increased Duration lvl max.
On a side node, quality is very good on Immortal Call.

- Lightning Warp, Reduced Duration (, Faster Casting). The only mobility skill you can use with a bow. Should be leveled but then becomes quite expensive to use.
- Leap Slam, Faster Attack. Use on switch on an appropriate weapon with a lot of increased attack speed. The best choice is the unique hammer Brightbeak.

A totem can be very handy in various situations, to lure enemies on it and give you some rest, or just to spawn upon a door you've just opened in sceptre of god, where a gazillion number of Croaking Chimeras will just jump on it ;)
It should be easy to find a free slot for a Decoy Totem at least. And here are some examples of more advanced totems:
- Spell Totem, Summon Skeletons, Blind: very useful for distraction. Add Multistrike or Faster Attack if you want more consistent blind.
- Flame Totem, Blind, Faster Projectiles or Knockback, LMP or GMP: the blind machine; will pretty much make all melee monsters inoffensive. Knockback provides a good synergy with Puncture.
- Range Attack Totem, Ice Shot, LMP or GMP, Elemental Proliferation: the freeze machine (see Omjak's guide). Highly effective synergy with Temporal Chain.
- Range Attack Totem, LA, FA, Elemental Proliferation: with Hatred it can proliferate both shock stacks and freeze, which is cool in a Split Arrow build which doesn't shock natively (see Asidra's guide).

What to quality first
Once your gems hit level 20, you will be able to get them to level 1 q20 for just one gemcutter's prism with the vendor NPCs (recipe).
All gems that just boost the main gem bonus are very good candidates. Once q20, they usually get a bonus equivalent to lvl20q0 bonus at lvl 10, which is achieved very easily. Faster Attack and Life gained on Hit fall in this category.
Gems that gain attack speed are also very good candidates: LMP, GMP, Chain, Frenzy, Split Arrow. Attack speed is equivalent to a "more" damage modifier so it's a very sensible damage boost.
Curses generally get very good bonus as well.
I personally don't see any benefit in quality for Lightning Arrow.

4. The resource sustain

Many bow skills are expensive. The easy way to fix this is to use the Blood Magic support gem. I don't like it however because it removes one support for damage, which equates to at least 30% less damage. However one could argue that you get back the benefit with the ability to run 2 auras without issues. This is true in solo, less so in party where it's easy to get all auras.

To sustain the cost, you need a rather high mana pool as well as some mana and mana regen on gear (see my diamond ring and amulet in gear section for an example). The 3 mixed life/mana nodes above shadow start are very helpful in this regard. They are hard to get however so, if needed, you can spec into Primal Spirit early and refund it later to get those three nodes.
It can also be a good idea to use a low level clarity to help your mana regen.

The regular mana leech cap is 12.5% of your max mana per second, which you should hit with 1-2 ml or the Mind Drinker node. Adds your mana regen to that value and you'll get your mana sustain per second. If your skill cost multiplied by the skill attack speed exceeds this sustain value, then you will deplete your mana pool over time.

Here's a little example with my ranger:
pool: 748 mana
regen: 40.9 mana/s with Clarity lvl 6
Total sustain/s: 748 * 0.125 + 40.9 = 134.4

My frenzy has 41 mana cost, and 3.55 att/s with 6 charges, so my frenzy cost per second is: 41 * 3.55 = 145.55. So I'm over my sustain and will deplete my mana pool slowly over time. I lose 11.15 mana/s. With one aura only I have 320 mana left, so I can use frenzy for 320/11.15 = 28.7s.
Unfortunately, it depletes much faster with Lightning Arrow, which is why I need so much unreserved mana.

Half regen maps can be hard to play when you use mana. In my case, Lightning arrow is just too expensive, hence I replace my WED support by Blood Magic. I rarely play no regen maps as no one like them.

5. The Bandits rewards

Usually: Oak, Oak, Kraytin
But you can mess up a bit. Kraytin in cruel can be a good idea in some situations. All three bandit rewards can be good in merciless ; Alira especially is a very valid choice if you generate power charges.

6. Gear section

As said in introduction beware of not using too many unique items. Your resistances must be capped, and your life should be well above 4k when you reach level 80.

Some good stuff for early levelling

Bows: Storm Cloud, Doomfletch
Quivers: Asphyxia's Wrath, Hyrri's Bite
Body: Briskwrap, Ashrend, Foxshade
Helm: Goldrim, Heatshiver, The Preregrine
Gloves: Slitherpinch
Boots: Wanderlust, Sundance
Belt: Wurm's Molt, Meginord's Girdle
Rings: Blackheart
Amulet: Araky Tiki, Karui Ward, Atziri's Foible

Doomfletch looks like a bow of choice by end of normal, beginning of cruel. From a quick test done in this guide, it does about twice the damage of Death's Harp. It can carry you all the way to end of merciless as you can see in the guide I've just mentioned.

An example of gear for early maps

A bow in the 200 dps range, with good critical strike chance. Obviously Harbinger bows are first choice. With appropriate gear, Doomfletch can still compete here.
4L everywhere, maybe 5L on chest. 5L is generally less expensive on chest, and it's more important to focus on damage before links on your bow.
Get your res capped (if not, lightning > fire > cold), and at least 3k life.

Here's an example I gave a try in a 67 Thicket blue map. I've just run Frenzy and Split Arrow on 4L, with Hatred on. I guess that with proper utilities it could go up to 69-70 maps.

Associated stats on my lvl 90 ranger, with 6 frenzy charges



Split Arrow

Gear for 71+ maps

- A 5L high crit 250+ pdps rare bow, or Lioneye's Glare. Lioneye's Glare has low crit chance but its high attack speed compensates this weakness. Its huge mana bonus is also very helpful.
- A 5L chest with good evasion, resistances and life.
- A quiver with high damage mods: crit multi, crit chance, weapon elemental damage. Ideally life as well.
- Belt with high life and 2 to 3 res. Strength can help for red gems too. WED come last.
- Gloves with good life, 2 good res, ideally 3 res or attack speed and/or flat physical damage.
- Amulet with high crit multiplier, ideally a good life leech too, crit chance and high physical flat damage.
- Rings with high flat physical damage, life, mana and mana regen if needed. Ideally one diamond ring at least.
- Jewels (rings and amulet) are a very good spot for high dps stats, but they're also very good to get missing res and life. Used this way, they will help you to equip an interesting unique item (see below).

Aim for at least 4500 hp and capped res obviously.

Some unique items you may want to look at

This is in no way an exhaustive list of the good unique items ;)

Rat's Nest: A very good pack of offensive mods.
Starkonja's Head: A lower version of Rat's Nest. Has a high life however.
Maligaro's Virtuosity: The glove equivalent of Rat's Nest. Rat's Nest with rare gloves tend to give more useful stats than Maligaro with a rare helm.
Thunderfirst: A very offensive choice for Lightning Arrow builds.
Drillneck: Very offensive quiver. It compares equally to a very good rare quiver with crit chance and multiplier.
Atziri's Acuity: The BiS gloves for any crit build. Extremely expensive. Try to get some good amount of LL on gear (think Blood Rage too) to remove LL and LgoH from your two setups.
The Blood Dance: perfectly suited for frenzy builds. Will provide a high life regen and fit well with Blood rage. LL is not needed anymore on frenzy if both are used together, so it can be replaced by an offensive support like AFD for a lot more damage.
Darkray Vectors: another dedicated piece for frenzy builds. Go for as much frenzy charges as possible.
Atziri's Step: a good choice for late game, when spells become the major threat.
Carcass Jack: well suited for a Rain of Arrows build.
Tabula Rasa: The cheapest 6L. Not necessary for your daily build but very useful to test various gem setups.
Lightning Coil: A very defensive body. The build must be made around it to get back the missing lightning res. Purity of Lightning is highly recommended as well to get the most out of this chest.
Kaom's Heart: Tons of life but no sockets. Frenzy on 4L is still ok though.

My ranger, based on Omjak’s guide

Tree at lvl 90
I've used Primal Spirit for a very long time (up to 89) but these 3 life/mana nodes prove to be more efficient. On top of that I have 119 mana and 75 mana regen on gear to further help the mana sustain. My 5L lightning arrow combo uses GMP/Pierce for a cost of 74 mana. LMP/Chain at 101 mana is too expensive to run on mana.
I use only one aura, Grace or Hatred. I tend to play Grace on high maps for safety.


The most expensive piece of gear is the body armour which I paid 4 exalt back in Domination. The bow is self found.
The gear swap is used for Leap slam and to level 5 gems, which I move from one character to another to level them faster.

Associated stats with 6 frenzy charges

With Grace



Lightning Arrow

With Hatred



Lightning Arrow

My main concern is physical reflect because my bow hits pretty hard. I'd like to boost my evasion by 1 or 2k to get above 50% chance to evade my own hits with Grace. I would also be in a safer place with 5k+ life, maybe I'll refund one 20% crit node and 15% bow damage node to get the two 8% life nodes I'm missing.
Eventually, I'll also give a try to Split Arrow/Chain setup, once my gems hits lvl 20. This will allow me to run Grace and Hatred together.
It would be cool also if I could find another 3ll on gear to hit the leech cap without a leech gem. That would free a slot in my frenzy setup.
I have also used an Ice shot totem for a long time, as described in Omjak's Guide. It's a great addition for survivability, but sadly I had to remove it to use my Enduring Cry and Immortal Call setups.

- Get a seething flask to manage bleed and corrupted blood. It must be usable at least twice in a row (ie. don't put seething on a jade flask).
- One or two Surgeon's Jade flasks of Reflexes are very helpful against reflect.
- An hybrid flask is good to fix occasional mana issues. A surgeon's hybrid flask is also very handy in half regen maps for mana users.

7. The reflect issue

To calculate the maximum amount of reflected damage, get your max physical or elemental damage and multiply by your critical strike multiplier and then by the reflected amount value (15 or 18%).
Ex: with these stats my frenzy does up to 2793 damage, and crit multi is 708%.
So the effective max physical damage is 2793 * 7.08 = 19774 damage.
And reflected damage will be 15% (monster) or 18% (map mod) of this value, ie. 2966 or 3559 damage, which is freaking scary. That's why we aim for a high life, basically more than 4.5k, ideally more than 5k.

Unless you have Lioneye's Glare, reflect can be evaded. It's a regular evasion test against your own accuracy.
Reference: http://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Evasion
Chance to Evade = 1 - Attacker's Accuracy / ( Attacker's Accuracy + (Defender's Evasion / 4) ^ 0.8 )

In my case, I have 1914 accuracy and 12438 evasion with Grace. That makes 24.54% chance to evade, which is doubled to 49.08% by Ondar's Guile.
I would be in a safer position if I had over 50% chance to evade my own hits.

For Iron Reflexes users, it's interesting to compare an average reflected hit against your armour.
I don't have numbers here so I'll just make an hypothesis of 2000 damage reflected and 12k armour, for the sake of the example.
From the wiki again: http://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Armour
Damage Reduction Factor = Armour / ( Armour + (12 * Damage) )

DRF = 12000 / (12000 + 12 * 2000) = 0.3333
Damage taken = 2000 * (1 - DRF) = 1333
This could be enough to sustain one more hit before death, from 2 to 3 or 3 to 4.

The nemesis is physical reflect.
Don't link too many high multipliers together when facing physical reflect, like Physical Projectile Attack Damage and Increased Critical Damage.
Use Surgeon's Jade Flask of Reflexes to drastically boost your evasion. I even use two of them on physical reflect maps.
Use Grace.
If you are really paranoid, get a Lightning Coil, but it's hard to make up for the lost res...
You can also get an eye on this for more detailed information about crit and reflect.

Lighting arrow
Lightning arrow has a low damage effectiveness, its damage is split evenly between elemental and physical, and once combined with LMP/Chain or GMP LgoH alone is enough to fix the issue.

Split arrow
It's advised to have split damage between physical and elemental, hence Added Fire Damage should be preferred over Physical Projectile Attack Damage. Both provide similar damage increase (in reality, you'll lose a bit of damage with AFD because monsters tend to have high elemental resistances).
Pierce can also be very dangerous, especially against physical reflect, because it's harder to mitigate than elemental.
Chain with LgoH again should mostly fix the issue. Asidra gives some good hints about this in his guide.

8. Some good references

9. Videos
No way!
Seriously, I've never recorded one and I don't want to bother with Youtube for which I don't even have an account ;)

Ranger builds list: /917964
When two witches watch two watches, which witch watches which watch?
If the witches watching watches watch the same watch while you watch which witch watches which watch, they switch watches; then, the watch switching witches watch which watch you watch.
Watching witches watch watches is not for the faint of heart...
Last edited by Panini_aux_olives on Aug 2, 2014, 12:08:54 PM
A test of levelling with this guide and "good" gear (at least for the beginning)
Level 25, mid act 2

Leveling is a breeze of course with such a gear. The bow was made with the rustic sash recipe. The quiver is *really* good.



Split Arrow, Pierce, Added fire

Burning Arrow

Level 37, end of normal

Thanks to good stuff, the act 3 was easy. I've decided to give a try to my Doomfletch. To maximise its damage output, it is essential to stack as much flat physical damage as possible.
Some good gems combos:
Burning Arrow, Puncture, PPAD, AFD
Split Arrow, Rain of Arrow, AFD, WED

Puncture is a skill of choice to engage tough mobs and bosses, then we switch to burning arrow which does more damage and costs less mana.
Split Arrow is my default AOE. RoA is useful when fast melee mob reach me, or in intricate places.



Split Arrow

Burning Arrow

level 47, start of act 3 cruel

Not much change on gear except for Blood Dance which is nice addition. It allows me to use BM on an alternate AOE setup when my mana is a bit low. It's also great to fix the curse cost.
Overall the damage stats haven't changed much. I can still keep the fast pace though, but that will probably change now in act 3 as I'll have to change the armor soon to get the missing resistances and life.

The current tree.



Split Arrow

Burning Arrow

level 53, Dominus cruel

No change on gear, just a couple of gems moved around. Burning arrow is now on a 4L with life leech for this fight. Puncture has replaced Rain of Arrow in the boots.
It was a stressing fight obviously. The beginning was quite tense, especially because of the unique whipping miscreation. Dominus first phase took a bit of time but wasn't especially dangerous. I just lured him with the totem and put him under Vulnerability and Puncture as much as possible, while hiding behind the south wall to avoid the spirit stream.
Second phase was harder, I had to return in town twice to refill the flasks, I just couldn't kill the add fast enough and had to spam the flasks to survive. Again, abuse Vulnerability and Puncture.
I used Grace during the 3 uniques and Dominus first phase, and Hatred during the Dominus second phase.

The current tree



Split Arrow

Burning Arrow

Level 56, Merciless Merveil down

No difficulty here, just be cautious with Brutus. Puncture again does wonders here. Cap cold res for Merveil and she will be easy.
The change of Foxshade for a rare body made me lose 10% of my dps, but the resistances are needed. I miss the move speed more in fact.

The current tree




Split Arrow

Burning Arrow with Life Leech, used against bosses

Burning Arrow with Weapon Elemetal Damaage, used for regular content

Merveil nice drop

It's looks like a decent upgrade from Doomfletch :). Some very basic maths will tell us, without taking crit in consideration as I don't have much yet.

Rare bow total combined damage x att/s: (1113 + 2880) / 2 * 1.85 = 3693.5 dps
And for Doomfletch with the 110% added ele damage: (443 + 1148 + (167+433) * 2.1 * 1.49) / 2 * 2.1 = 3641.8

*2.1 is for the 110% increased ele damage (in fact I should also factor the WED from gear).
*1.49 is for WED.

And this is where I see I've made a mistake by burning so many chromatic orbs to color the bow correctly before doing these calculations. Doomfletch probably does a bit more damage in the end with crit and WED from gear factored in.
Still, mana leech will be easier with the added physical damage. And it's also a nice boost for Puncture.

Lvl 60, mid act 2 merciless, The Weaver's dead

No problem for all act 2 until I reached the Weaver's Nest at level 57. First attempt almost resulted to death. I went to level up to 60, switch my flame totem for a skele totem as I just dropped a summon skeleton gem (my other ones are too high lvl ^^') and this helped a lot. The fight took me two or three minutes. I kept my distance from mother 8-legs, by using Leap Slam from switch to move around the place.
Other than that, my flame totem is now linked with LMP and Knockback. This is a great combo with Puncture but the problem is it's very expensive at 81 mana. I'll give a try to Faster Projectile instead of LMP as it reduces the cost to 59 mana.

The current tree



Split Arrow with LgoH

Burning Arrow with Life Leech

Level 63, Docks merciless

Not much problem to progress to this point except that I died for the first time to the rock fall on Vaal, which made me very sad :(. I suspect a desynch as I used all my flasks including instant one without any effect.
I still haven't switched to frenzy. I guess I'll do that at lvl 68 when I'll change for my Harbinger bow which will provide me a decent mana leech. I've also taken the power charge bandit reward as I already have a ranger with frenzy reward.
Regarding the tree, I'm going to rush for the Written in Blood cluster because I need the 50 strength it will provide to switch gear more easily, so I'll be late for crit chance.

The current tree



Split Arrow

Burning Arrow


Level 68, post Piety

the typical act 3 merciless gear wall:
Leveling for 63 to 68 was really tedious as I didn't have a proper bow for this part. I had to rely a lot on puncture and kitting. Lots of flask usage as well.

But now it will be better, I've run over all my unused stuff to build the gear below, which is still lacking a bit of fire res, mana and mana regen unfortunately. It also miss some life leech.

The current ree

stats with Hatred, 4 frenzy charges and 4 power charges


Split Arrow with Pierce

Split Arrow with Chain



Ranger builds list: /917964
When two witches watch two watches, which witch watches which watch?
If the witches watching watches watch the same watch while you watch which witch watches which watch, they switch watches; then, the watch switching witches watch which watch you watch.
Watching witches watch watches is not for the faint of heart...
Last edited by Panini_aux_olives on Jul 23, 2014, 4:04:54 PM
Nice work. This is an awesome guide for anyone wanting to run a bow ranger. Tree is basically optimized with several builds built around the same basic tree.

Cheers dude.
Very nice. Lots of good info here. And thanks for the links! :D
Thanks :p.

I've made a little update to the tree to move the dext point near the first frenzy charge above Point Blank instead. This is a better place as it make Point Blank and Corruption cluster available, and it's also better to get Heavy Draw earlier than the frenzy charge which is quite useless at low levels.

I've also added a levelling sample in second post. I'll upgrade an incoming beginner section accordingly with my experience from this levelling.
Ranger builds list: /917964
When two witches watch two watches, which witch watches which watch?
If the witches watching watches watch the same watch while you watch which witch watches which watch, they switch watches; then, the watch switching witches watch which watch you watch.
Watching witches watch watches is not for the faint of heart...
why weapon elemental dmg gem over added fire dmg ? for stacking dmg with aura and aura passive nodes ?

and what about added chaos dmg ??
"no great man lives in vain"
Thomas Carlyle

my ranger : /954868
I've never mentioned WED over AFD, except for Lightning Arrow. Both provide a similar boost on LA, but WED becomes better with Hatred on, and this can be even more emphasized in party with Wrath and Anger. In addition, it's preferable to get higher lightning damage rather than some fire damage to help build shock stacks.

As for added chaos, it just doesn't compete with AFD or PPAD in a physical crit bow build. And its mana multiplier is high.
It can be good however in a Windripper or Voltaxic build.
Ranger builds list: /917964
When two witches watch two watches, which witch watches which watch?
If the witches watching watches watch the same watch while you watch which witch watches which watch, they switch watches; then, the watch switching witches watch which watch you watch.
Watching witches watch watches is not for the faint of heart...
Last edited by Panini_aux_olives on Jul 1, 2014, 2:30:38 PM
Added some more stuff for beginners.
Ranger builds list: /917964
When two witches watch two watches, which witch watches which watch?
If the witches watching watches watch the same watch while you watch which witch watches which watch, they switch watches; then, the watch switching witches watch which watch you watch.
Watching witches watch watches is not for the faint of heart...
A few comments about your LA Arrow setups, not that I think my ideas are better, but just to throw out alternatives.

I don't like Weapon Elemental Damage for a solo player with a physical bow. PPAD usually results in more damage than WED, unless there is more than one elemental damage aura (don't know if it is 2 or 3 that is the break even). This also confuses new players into thinking they should pick WED skill tree nodes instead of physical damage nodes for lightning arrow. Physical bow damage skill tree nodes always do more lightning damage when using a physical bow. Elemental bows should always use WED and select elemental damage nodes.

Don't like Chain with LA as the mana cost is pretty outrageous (200% mana multiplier). If you have to give up a gem slot to BM or mana leech then what is the point of running it? Plus chain is beneficial only when the pack size is large.

Your Recommendation for LA
"Life gained on Hit is generally a must. It provides lots of instant life recovery with he numerous hits this skill can do.
4L: LgoH, LMP, Chain
5L: LgoH, LMP, Chain, WED
6L: LgoH, LMP, Chain, WED, BM (added to ease the gameplay), or PPAD/AFD/FA/ICD if you really have insane mana regen or instant mana leech (Atziri's Acuity)."

My Recommendation:

For mana conservation and higher damage against several targets:

4L: LA + LMP (or Fork) + PPAD + AFD (or added cold damage to freeze or chill, or Increased Attack Speed)
5L: LA + LMP + PPAD + AFD + Increased Critical Strike or Power Charge on Critical
6L: LA + LMP + PPAD + AFD + Increased Critical Strike or Power Charge on Critical + Pierce

- Fork is little easier on mana than LMP. Both skills cause three strikes. Fork negates Pierce or Chain so plan accordingly.
- Shock duration can be achieved for 0 mana with a quality LA Gem.
- A rare amulet with 4%+ Life Leech should be worn to avoid giving up a gem slot to Life Gain on Hit or a Life Leech gem (LGoH also has a high mana multiplier - 150%). Also, the amulet works equally well with your single shot boss killing arrow e.g. Pierce, Frenzy, Ice Shot etc. Examples:

- At least one item of jewelry or gear should have 2% or more Mana Leech to compensate for mana drain. Example

- Quivers should be selected to Leech Mana or Life or to Pierce or that have Increased Crit Chance/Increased Crit Damage and ideally + life or strength

Only when you can't compensate with gear or the skill tree should you consider using a gem slot for mana leech or blood magic as this takes a slot away from a damage gem.

Again not saying my way is better, but we have different ideas and I just wanted to put them out there.

Overall, I think you did a really nice job on your guide and I would like to recommend you make your acronym list a separate document and post it at the top of the guide index.

Last edited by Skywalkerfx on Jul 4, 2014, 6:47:17 PM
Chain synergizes better with Lightning Arrow than any other bow skill. The most powerful bow mapping ranger I have ever played with was LA/BM/LMP/Chain/LGOH/WED, and a Voll's for Power Charges. Voltaxic user carrying 6 person parties in 78 maps to the point I could barely get shots off. With a physical bow, you would use something else for WED. But the multiplicative extra hits chain provides shocking bring the clear speed to ridiculous levels - not surpassed by anything other than recent low-life Windrippers.

1 Gem slot (BM) is a small price to pay when that gem slot amplifies your damage 30 > 60 > 90% damage bonus on mobs literally all within the same Volley.

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 Jul 4, 2014, 6:49:35 PM

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