The Budget Shotgun Block Build (clears 77 maps on a 4L easily)

Howdy, my name is ScruffyMcNunchuck and this is my shotgun build. (Work in progress)

Added a Necropolis video. 8/19/15

I created this build because I wanted to do damage at a distance, but have similar survivability of a block melee character. The first few years of playing POE I only played casters, and almost all of them were glass cannons. After getting tired of dying fairly easily, I rolled into a pure Righteous Fire Marauder. Impressed with the survivability of it, I started to roll more melee characters, such as a false Dual Wield Reaver and a max block Aegis Ranger.


I thought that the idea of Rearguard was amazing and such a unique idea. However, the 1.3 meta for bow builds was all about evasion and dodge. The quivers they used were either good rares or Drillneck, there was not any room for Rearguard in 1.3. With the addition of Lioneye’s Fall, I am able to take advantage of the Marauder Staff nodes to buff Rearguard and grab damage and crit.


Since we have block, it is ok to get closer than normal than you would typically want as a bow user. Since this is the case, I took advantage of Chin Sol. This bow is incredibly cheap (I bought mine for 3c) and offers 100% MORE damage at close range. Basically, take your dps and multiply it by two. Chin Sol is hard to out damage, for its cost class, if you use this unique modifier. Naturally a decently rolled Harbinger will get better damage and you will be able to get consistent damage no matter how far you are. Another unique property of Chin Sol is knockback at close range. This adds another layer of defense, as melee mobs will have to rush past your knockback to even hit you, then you block and finish them off.

Also, Chin Sol got buffed in 2.0! It now has a base crit chance of 6.5%. Not as good as a Harbinger, but better than a Lioneye’s Glare. LG is still a great option, though you will have to invest more into crit chance.

My attack skill of choice is Lightning Arrow. What’s unique about the bow skills is that almost all of them are interchangeable, with very little respeccing of gear or the passive tree. If you do not want to use Lightning Arrow, valid options are Split Arrow, Ice Shot, or Tornado Shot. I chose Lightning Arrow because it’s an offensive skill, and I am already using a defensive setup with my quiver. Since I am going crit, I will shock mobs and also freeze them with Hatred, making Ice Shot only useful if you want to go full-defense. It’s important to note that Split Arrow and Tornado Shot does not benefit from the “Shotgun” style I will explain in a moment. Also, it is hard to use Chin Sol’s ability with TS, and is better if you have a Harbinger.

Yes, the real “Shotgun” mechanic was eliminated in 2.0, but Lightning Arrow has its own shotgun style that is built in. Specifically, when one LA hits a target, it deals full damage to three additional mobs around the initial target. Use GMP, and suddenly a max of 20 mobs are hit for full damage. Add Chain, and the arrow will hit the second target, with the aoe hitting the first target. This allows you to double-dip on the damage. It gets even better when the arrow chains again to another close target, hitting all three again.

Split Arrow does not have an aoe like Lightning Arrow, so it cannot shotgun as effectively. Ice Shot has its cone of ice after every hit, so it can shotgun. Although Tornado Shot can hit the same mob multiple times, it’s not designed for Chain, and works much better with pierce, or just as-is.


I only have a 4L for my skills, but I have tested a 5L Harbinger. The Harbinger was mid-ranged rolled and compared very similarly in clear speed to a 4L Chin Sol. I have recently 6 linked a white Harbinger and am currently trying to craft it for high damage. I’m doing the alt spam+regal method, about 200 alts have been used, and 4 regals used, nothing good yet.

Also note that I don’t have a Rat’s Nest. Eventually I will get one, but right now I have a ton of res riding on my helmet. So much res is hard to replace, as I have to shift a lot of my other gear around. Although, this does allow me to get more chaos res than one would normally have. My unset ring is actually a replacement for a much better ring that I accidentally vendored. It had plenty of res, life, and high accuracy. Don’t fall asleep while vendoring people, you will regret it, and no amount of regret orbs can fix that.

As for jewels, Lioneye’s Fall is obviously required. This is actually the most expensive part of this build, I got mine for 1ex, back when 2.0 just came out and the prices weren't stabilized. You can now get them for ~20c in Standard. My other jewel is just for a filler, it has 2 mana on hit and sword damage. Getting 2 mana on hit really helps sustain the mana costs. I plan on crafting or buying a better one for bows, as well as getting another jewel. 4 mana on hit would be awesome.

As for flasks, a Rumi's Concoction would be amazing. You don't need it, but doubling your block is the best thing ever, especially as a bow user. I have one instant flask, a Quicksilver, a flask that has extra health over a longer period with increased armour, and an anti-bleeding flask. The Quicksilver has anti-freezing and will eventually have Surgeon's mod. The flask with a long timer has increased armour to get a large armour increase while healing. In place of Rumi's a Jade or Granite flask would work.

Improving Gear

Naturally getting a 6L will drastically improve my dps. Getting a great Harbinger would also be a great option vs. a high rolled Chin Sol. I want to improve my accuracy, so I would have to replace both rings. My chest piece is low on evasion, resulting in low armour, and eventually I will upgrade. Getting a Rumi’s Concoction drastically improves the survivability, having extra block is awesome. I was lucky and have a legacy rumi’s but non legacy is just as practical.

Links are in order of most important to least.

LA -> GMP -> Chain -> PPAD -> WED -> ?
This is your main AOE skill. I have not tested a 6 link yet, but valid options are Faster Attacks, Life Leech, Crit Damage, or Crit Chance if you want to crit more. If you want to go full elemental, Phys to Lightning would be a great DPS boost. I don’t want to do this because I like to have phys damage mixed in for life/mana leech. Don’t get Slower Proj, this reduces the distance that Chain can travel. Also, Point Blank could be useful, but it would better to grab the Keystone and free up a slot on your single target. However, Point Blank reduces damage significantly the further you are from a target, unlike Chin Sol. This would require you to get face-to-face with everything, not really a good idea.

Puncture -> PPAD -> Point Blank -> Slower Proj
Single target. Can be interchangeable with Frenzy. I prefer Puncture because you can kite and run while bosses bleed to death. Puncture does more damage with a Harbinger unless you get face-to-face with a Chin Sol, which can be dangerous for bosses. Switch PB for FA if you use Frenzy.

SA -> CoH -> Assassin’s Mark -> PCoC
Utility shot. PCoC is a reliable way to keep charges up along with Assassin’s Mark. If you don’t want to use a second 5L on your single target, you can use Frenzy+GMP to keep up your Frenzy charges as well.

CWDT (lvl 3) -> Ice Golem (lvl 3) -> Blood Rage (lvl 5) -> Molten Shell (lvl 11)
I’m thinking about increasing CWDT a few levels to get better buffs from Blood Rage and Molten Shell. Ice Golem is automated here because I feel like golems die too frequently to justify spending mana on them. I also feel that Ice Golem’s buff is too small to bother with constantly trying to keep it alive. A lvl 1 Ice Golem gives you 20% crit chance, comparable to one node from the tree. The biggest buff is from the accuracy it gives you, which is much larger than skill nodes, but is unneeded most of the time. Each level only grants a 1% increase, which is pretty pathetic in my opinion. Thus, automated golem so it is refreshed frequently.

Hatred -> HoA -> Blink Arrow -> FA
With Hatred and Herald of Ash, I am able to freeze and ignite in addition to shocking from Lightning Arrow. Don’t underestimate status effects. Blink Arrow is used for getting over ledges or cliffs.

Oak for extra life, Oak for extra phys scaling (you can get the attack speed if you plan on using a Harbinger, you’ll need it), and then passive point. If you get really high level, then you can get extra Frenzy and Endurance charges from the tree. Balance them out with a Power charge from Alira for that 4/4/4 novelty. (Not really, don’t do this, your points are better spent elsewhere)

I have never had a good experience trying to level with a weapon. I always get stuck once when my weapon stops dealing enough damage. To solve this, it’s easiest to just level as a caster. You can use pretty much any spell and just link added lightning and added cold to it. Use flame totem to help occasionally. I decided to not use spells and use Facebreaker Ice Crash. Grab Blood Magic for either path you choose, and respec out of it right before mapping. Blood Magic is great for leveling because you don’t have to worry about mana cost if you have some health regen. It also grants you a massive amount of life for early game, and you can run 4 life potions for great survivability.

lvl 79 (current)

lvl 85

I started as a Duelist to take advantage of the attack speed, life, and armour/evasion starting nodes, as well as the position between the bow areas in the Ranger side as well as the areas I travelled into on the Marauder side. Iron Reflexes is used for extra armour to go along with the meta shift. We can’t go evasion anyway since there’s not enough points to get Acro. Iron Grip is a fantastic Keystone to take since we travel right by it and grab a lot of strength. Overall, I am getting about 40+% increased damage from a single node.

Since I put Lioneye’s Fall right next to the staff cluster, I am able to get the melee crit nodes as well. This gives me a similar amount of crit if I was going to be traditional Ranger crit bow and go into the Shadow crit area. The staff cluster grants me additional damage, crit, and block. Smashing Strikes has a unique mod where I have a chance to gain an Endurance charge on crit. 10% doesn’t sound like much, but when I have 55+% crit chance and attack frequently, that 10% is enough to keep up full charges. Whirling Barrier has a similar modifier where it’s 10% on block to gain a Power charge. This is not used as frequently, simply because I try to kill things before they can attempt to hit me, but it’s an interesting mod anyway. Also, 6% block for one node is incredibly powerful.

Back in the Duelist area, I grabbed Cloth and Chain for the increase in armour/evasion as well as for the increased res, as my gear is far from perfect. On the Ranger side I followed traditional bow trees, going for crit, damage, and life.

I will eventually get screenshots from my friend, since he his going full dps Lightning Arrow. I want to compare my stats to his to show you the difference. He is using Lioneye's Glare with a 6L chest, while I am using a 4L Chin Sol.

Ligtning Arrow with Chin Sol
Puncture with Chin Sol
Lightning Arrow with Harbinger
Puncture with Harbinger
Defense without Rumi's
Defense with Rumi's

Last edited by ScruffyMcNunchuck on Sep 19, 2015, 11:48:46 PM
Last edited by trapnaRrr on Sep 22, 2015, 11:45:13 AM
very nice build i had found a reargaurd and thought it was a really cool item but i couldnt figure out how to make good use of it.

only thing i can figure u should change on your tree is below the duelist fury bolts cluster connect ur tree thru cloth and chain.

same number of points gives 10 less dex but u pick up more armor and a little resists.

otherwise looks good!
Why dont you take Point blank skill since your already using Chin Sol ?
Its not scaling together ?

Great guide overall, using it atm in darkshrines
I love this idea, I think it really has a lot of merit. I just wish there was some way to further enhance the block...

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