[2.2] I Cast Magic Missile! - Cantrip's guide to Ethereal Knives / Bladefall. 7K Life, 100K+ DPS!



Rival Sons - Good Things

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2.3 UPDATE = GO BE A BERSERKER. REALLY. GO DO IT.

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Changes for 2.2:
To clarify, build is still very much viable, even with Poison nerfs. Not sure if Elemental scaling or Poison is better now, though both should work out great.

Anyhow, go Scion (Berserker + Trickster).

Aura will be Projectile Weakness now, no more mana issues with 100% Mana Regen, Free Leech, 10% MORE Damage that double-dips if going Poison... Should easily end up with more total DPS than ever before.

Replace Added Fire with Empower 3/4 once you can afford it (since Consuming Dark got a nerf to 50%), and consider Tabula +1 since you're using Empower again. Once you do, drop Consuming Dark and HoA, start using a Rare Dagger and perhaps AA or Grace (if you can balance the mana somehow, there are several ways).

Consider using Lioneye's Vision for a free Pierce and MORE damage. If not using that, your 6L will be:
EK / Echo / Controlled Destruction / Poison / Pierce / Faster Casting (or Empower 4), in that order.

My Talisman char gets to about 400k dps with just Charges, so it seems more than a little viable.

Yay for 30% Increased Recovery = aka Life Leech / Life Regen / Mana Regen.


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Hello, and welcome to my/our guide to Ethereal Knives! ...and Bladefall. ;)

This build is a non-crit EK caster, basing the DPS off-of Auras, Spell Damage, Cast Speed, Frenzy Charges, and EK level. Defenses are Acrobatics, (some) Evasion, Regeneration and a high life pool.

We don't have IR, we don't have MoM, and we don't have Crit. You can modify it to add any of those, but I don't suggest it.

*Fair warning - you can get to maps and start out with minimal investment, but to get to what I do you need to work hard.*

Changes for 2.0 for EK:
Cast Speed 0.8 => 0.6
Crit 5% => 6% (don't really care)
Q20 was 15% Damage, it's 20% Projectile Speed now!
Damage is higher.
JEWELS and Golem add a LOT of DPS.

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Bladefall is an AoE Physical Spell, quite alike to EK in terms of build, just AoE instead of Projectile. That means your end-game chest should be a 6L Carcass eventually, probably, unlike EK, and you can use Conc Effect as a support. Otherwise, much of the following applies (obviously the gloves are of no use for Bladefall).

You can also do a tankier Bladefall build using a Hyrri's.

One important thing to note on Poison scaling (more on this later) - AoE Damage does NOT affect it (for Bladefall), while Projectile does (for EK).
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2.1 Talisman (424% Increased Damage for Poison):
Level 95:
7062 Life (579 Regeneration before Blood Rage, Life Leech from War Mark / Vinkar's / Atziri's)
189/1136 Mana (113.5-159 Mana Regenation, Mana Leech from War Mark / Vinkar's)
47219 DPS + 53788 Poison (Total = 101008) without Charges (90.58% of DPS Poisons)
68700 DPS + 100171 Poison (Total = 168871) with 7 Frenzy Charges (90.58% of DPS Poisons)
83604 DPS + 124163 Poison (Total = 207767) with 7 Frenzy Charges + Atziri's (92.26% of DPS Poisons)

Boss DPS (with Shock):
145880 DPS + 290352 Poison (Total = 436232) with 7 Frenzy Charges + Atziri's + Vinkar's + Vaal Haste (82.43% of DPS Poisons)

Resists = 169/168/183/12 (for Ele Weakness)
5031 Evasion (33%) or 5951 (36%) with Charges, 11381 (49%) with Flask and Charges.
Block = 16%
Dodge = 50% vs Attacks / 56% vs Spells (75/75 with Vaal Grace)

Tree and Jewels:


Gear and links:
Spoiler


Flasks:


Off-hand:


Swaps:


Jewels can be seen by clicking my character on TSC (Cantrip).


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2.0 Build:
*Stats for 2.1 will be a LOT better DPS. Roughly x1.5, depending on gear.*

76 Map with risky mods, just for fun.

Status update:
Level 95
7390 Life (281-798 Regeneration) + 144 ES
148/1306 Mana (191.3 Regeneration)
65575 DPS without Charges
86704 DPS with 7 Frenzy Charges
120393 DPS with 7 Frenzy Charges + Flasks
(these are all numbers before Rallying Cry / Enduring Cry / other buffs)

Resists = 165/180/172/20 (enough to do Ele Weakness)
1704 Evasion (17%) => 7494 Evasion (41%)
Block = 15%
Dodge = 40% vs Attacks / 30% vs Spells
Vaal Grace Dodge = 75% / 65%
2 x Vaal Grace, because I can ;)
...and I'm Immune to Silence.


Gear:
Spoiler


Because why the hell not:


Off-hand:


Flasks:


Jewels can be seen by clicking my character's Passive tree on the site.
Current ones are (possibly upgraded since, but there's not much to upgrade):


Spoiler
without any Jewels and with effective EK 21 (meaning EK 19 + Empower 1), Life is 6269, base DPS 26901 without Charges (even more now, this is from level 91, SO A BIG DIFFERENCE). In short, Jewels and spell levels matter, a lot, but you're not useless without them.

I will note I barely use Flame Totem + Blind atm, and a sightly different CwDT setup, but my partying habits and maps I run are why. You should usually use what I outlined below before you start doing insane mods like Phys Ref + Vuln or such. This Axe helps a lot with Phys Ref maps :D


Current Tree (2.0 Tree, a bit older):


Tree for EK (2.1, skip the 3-points Jewels until later, obviously. Consider Sniper+Nullification.):


Tree for Bladefall (2.1):


-

What is EK?
EK = Ethereal Knives.
As some of you may, or may not know, EK is a Spell, not an Attack; As such, it can only Leech Life/Mana with a Life Leech Gem, using Doryani's Invitation (Physical Variant), or using Warlord's Mark.
It deals Physical Damage, is not Elemental. On the tree, "Increased Physical Damage" works, but "Increased Physical Damage with Dagger/Staff/Wand" does not (since it's not using the weapon itself).
It's affected by +% Global Increased Physical Damage mods on gear like:

but not +% Local Increased Physical Damage like:


One other to bear in mind: While EK will have a relatively high tool-tip DPS, it's REAL DPS is much higher than you think. Since this spell deals primarily Physical damage, it doesn't care about Resistances, and not even about Armor later on (since the hits are so large, you cut right through it).

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Gearing

Chest: 6L Lightning Coil (if you can max res without Purity of Lightning) or Belly of the Beast or Hyrri's Ire. If you're crazy enough (or have great life gear), a Tabula Rasa with +1 to Gems is... fun. I tend to go with a Tabula +1 until I get crazy enough to make a 6L +1 gems :D.
With 2.1, I suspect Hyrri's is best overall as a 6L. Empower can easily be replaced with Poison, making colors realistic.

Weapon: Even with not being a crit caster, your weapon should be a Dagger or a Sceptre, since Whirling Blades / Leap Slam is more or less mandatory for Fortify use (and if you want to live, you'll use that). Besides, Whirling Blades is FAST. For Phys Reflect maps, use Moonbender's Wing + Phys to Light gem, and deal NO Physical Damage.

Boots: Blood Dance or Atziri's Step, hopefully with +1 Frenzy Charge. 2.1 halved the Regen from Blood Dance, making this a real choice.

Gloves: Winds of Change. A GODLY Rare might be better, but it'll be hard.

Gear should have a lot of Mana Regeneration in general, as well as Life, and Resists. 2.1 makes Mana Regen less of an issue, but you should still get as much as you can. I don't suggest relying on Mana Leech alone since a lot of things can interrupt that, party and Curse Immune included.

Cast Speed and Spell Damage are of course a nice boost.

These are viable, but less important in 2.1: Goldwyrm, Null and Void, Atziri's Foible.

Getting an Atziri's Promise is handy for bosses. Same goes for Taste of Hate.

If you can afford it, and I'm sure you can, get a Lifesprig to level with, it lasted me well into my 50s, until I got a Geofri's Crest. The Reverbration Rod is also a viable leveling item. Geofri's Crest will hold you until you can afford a 6L, or possibly forever if you don't aim to do insanely high-level maps.

All that said, this build is viable Self-found all the way, due to the way spells and auras work. Will obviously take longer to gear/level, but it will work well. If you're SF, remember to use the Crafting Benches (that applies to everyone, really)!

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Bandits:
Normal Oak, Cruel Point/Oak (up to you), Merciless Kraityn.

Order is very fluid, but I suggest getting the Projectile Speed passives first, along with the Attribute Boosts in that area for gearing, followed by a lot of Life/Mana Regen/Mana on the left side, leaving Acro for later.
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Links (2.0):
3L = EK / Added Fire / Faster Casting
4L on G. Crest = EK / Added Fire (or Empower level 2) / Controlled Destruction / Spell Echo
5L = EK / Added Fire / Faster Casting / Spell Echo / Controlled Destruction
6L (best) = EK / Added Fire / Faster Casting / Spell Echo / Controlled Destruction / Empower

4L = Enlighten / Clarity / Hatred / Lightning Warp
4L = Increased Duration / Vaal Grace / Vaal Haste or Vaal Grace #2 / Enduring Cry or Rallying Cry
4L = Whirling Blades / Faster Attacks / Fortify / Frenzy
3L = Flame Golem / GMP / Blind
3L = Blasphemy / War Mark / Enlighten

Both Enlighten 3 and Empower 3 will help a lot. Given good enough mana on gear, Enlighten 2 is enough, possibly enough anyway with the mana changes in 2.1.

Other links that I've tried are:
Culling Strike + Rarity on the Golem, Phys to Light / Life Leech / Mana Leech / Pierce / Culling Strike on EK. Leech is a waste in 2.1 except Curse Immune maps.

*Phys to Light is used only for Phys Reflect maps instead of Faster Casting or Spell Echo, allowing me to not kill myself every shot (you still can't spam into a huge pack non-stop, that will still kill you eventually), and possibly Life Leech instead of Empower. (That's if you're not on a Tabula, I actually remove Empower first, Faster Casting second, since I don't care about colors).

*Pierce along with Frost Wall on CwDT is amazing, and is also viable on a 6L Lioneye's Vision. If I could get one of those with +1 gems, well... :D

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Using a Dagger so I can use Whirling Blades, despite not being a crit caster. Yup, I'm crazy.

Tools:
Mikelat's PoE Aura Calculator
PoE Goods


Happy gaming!
Freeze Arc Mines Guide (3.14) - https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/3071009
Last edited by CantripN on May 26, 2016, 10:50:35 AM
Last bumped on May 26, 2016, 9:57:04 AM
Great guide, but I did have a question. With the Shark boots, keep charges up is probably no big deal, but what about bosses? I see you have frenzy slotted, so are you using that and then switching back to EK?
Exactly right. Aim for minions though, if possible.
Freeze Arc Mines Guide (3.14) - https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/3071009
Last edited by CantripN on Jul 17, 2015, 3:03:38 AM
Hey, thanks for the guide, but one question. Why dual wield with a scepter when you can just use an es shield and get the same benefits + life/res/some block chance?
"
Gigafood wrote:
Hey, thanks for the guide, but one question. Why dual wield with a scepter when you can just use an es shield and get the same benefits + life/res/some block chance?


Well, I *would* switch to a shield if I get one with amazing rolls. But until I do, a Sceptre just adds a LOT of DPS, which I still need at this point.

MY perfect shield is 100 life, mana regen, 90+ spell damage, 8% Cast Speed.

EDIT: ...and now I have it:
Freeze Arc Mines Guide (3.14) - https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/3071009
Last edited by CantripN on Jul 17, 2015, 4:08:43 PM
Just want to say that I'm having a great time with this so far. I had an old EK MTX that I never used, and reaching 2300 DPS at the end of A1N with charges up is pretty comedy. By the time you get a 4-l going (I'm using Reverb Rod for a poor man's 4 link) you're pretty much machine-gunning out ninja stars.

What do you think about the Spirit Void cluster? Didn't find you needed it too much? I haven't had much issue with mana thus far, but I am only running Clarity and Hatred at the moment and keeping my Atziri's Foible on all the time has been mandatory. -I tested it out and I think I misunderstood it. It either didn't work with EK or made so little difference as to not be worth it
Last edited by JoeODanger on Jul 18, 2015, 3:04:40 AM
Glad you're having fun!

And yes, Spirit Void doesn't work for Mana Leech just like Life Leech from Physical ATTACKS doesn't work. Would be pretty amazing if it did ;)

Also, yum:
Freeze Arc Mines Guide (3.14) - https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/3071009
Last edited by CantripN on Jul 18, 2015, 5:59:40 AM
Do you think people would have problems activating Fortify if they use Leap Slam (since it's slower than Whirling Blades and accuracy is low)? Is it worth using Additional Accuracy with your movement skill?
Dreamfeather Elemental Cleave Ranger: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1087616
"
Tempada wrote:
Do you think people would have problems activating Fortify if they use Leap Slam (since it's slower than Whirling Blades and accuracy is low)? Is it worth using Additional Accuracy with your movement skill?


I think Leap Slam is just fine for that, and accuracy isn't THAT low. That said, Whirling is also a good movement skill, Leap Slam is not (at least for this build). If Fortify were the only concern I'd indeed use a Sceptre, since it can roll Cast Speed...

I wouldn't ignore the insane move speed WB gives you, nor the dodging ability. For parties, as you may recall, move speed is one of the main problems with casters.
Freeze Arc Mines Guide (3.14) - https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/3071009
Last edited by CantripN on Jul 18, 2015, 4:12:19 PM
So, um, this happened :)
No deaths. Done by me and a friend doing this build too.

Abaxoth, The End of All That Is + Phys Reflect

Highly doubt we'd be alive without Vaal Grace or Whirling Blades + Fortify.
Freeze Arc Mines Guide (3.14) - https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/3071009
Last edited by CantripN on Jul 18, 2015, 3:57:39 PM

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