[2.2] Siege ballista Deadeye build guide, Atziri viable

Hi, and welcome to this build guide. This build is about using the unique bow Iron Commander, in order to summon a higher number of balistae, and thusly scaling damage above something like a lioneyes glare.

I played this build in the perandus SC league, but I do believe it could work on HC as well, HC players can make their own judgement I think.

While I did just defeat Atziri with this build, it is still far from optimized, and there is a lot of room for improvement. However this requires a certain budget, and I will get into this by the end of the guide.

I won't be going over the leveling process too much, since I don't think there is that much to it, but I will talk about it a little bit.

I will now go over a number of important points regarding the build, in no particular order.

Probably around 3ex total, depending on when during the league you make the buys, as well as how good deals you can find. You can see my gear below, I bought nothing over 25c, and I 5linked the belly myself.

How much dexterity?:
600. Any less is just too little damage, and any more (so 800) is extremely expensive. Lets look at my gear (I will go into more detail later, for now pay attention to the dex rolls):

I am sitting at 605 dex with this gear, to reach 800, I would need to put on a rare helmet and chest, and make all the dex roll perfect, resulting in an additional 150 dex. At this point we are looking at switching the belt into a headhunter, or a perandus blazon, or taking off drillneck. There is more to say here, but I think you are getting the picture, you need a bunch of perfect rolls, you lose resists from belt, requiring more resists elsewhere; its expensive and very high investment.
Edit: Forgot to account for +all attribute rolls here, however, since attribute rolls are a suffix, they take up a resistance slot, which means the problem remains; you need very good gear.

That said, it is absolutely a huge improvement in damage.


The bow itself, drillneck, and rain of splinters. The bow is a given, and since siege ballista has a 100% chance to pierce with no investment, drillneck is a very easy huge dmg improvement. On my current character, it increases my tooltip dmg by exactly 50%, which speaks for itself. Rain of splinters saves you a support gem pretty much, very valuable for its damage increase (compared to multiproj).

Almost required:

In theory, with good gear or certain damage concessions you could skip astramentis, however, I would recommend just getting it. It makes it relatively easy to reach 600 dexterity, and it pretty much removes all stat requirements you might face. Only downside is it has no resists.

Belly of the beast: since we are in the right side of the skilltree, the %hp on this item is quite strong, however it is by no means required; a rare chest will give you more resists and make it easier to get dexterity, at the cost of some health.

Rat's nest: rat's nest is nice, however the dmg increase isn't as big as you migth have guessed (about 14% more dmg for me atm), and for that reason I suggest trying a maligaro's virtuosity instead.

Maligaro's virtuosity: straight up damage, and has some dexterity, for that reason I think it beats rat's next. In theory you could use both if you had godly gear elsewhere.

Others?: The problem with adding any more uniques is, you need dexterity as well as elemental resists, and 600dex is an important breakpoint; if you add any more uniques than what I am using, you put a lot of pressure on the rest of your gear slots. I considered devoto's devotion for the high dex, but frankly I dont think it beats a rare, since a rare would open up for maligaro's virtuosity, which devoto's certainly doesn't.

Remaining gear?: Rares, max resists, get 600 dex, get life. Weapon elemental damage is also very useful because of my links and auras, which you will see soon.

Passive tree/bandits (lvl 86):

In the deadeye tree we get Far Shot, Endless Munitions, and Fast&Deadly.

With Endless munitions, we get a nice amount of accuracy, as well as an extra projectile, resulting in 4 projectiles per ballista, with no support gems. Fast&Deadly just gives more damage than Powerful Precision, I tested both, and it gave almost double the damage bonus at the time.

This tree gives 127% max health, which is kinda on the low end, but with belly of the beast and %hp jewels, it is acceptable.

Deadly draw beats Heavy draw in terms of damage.

Not much else to say about the tree, there are some point you can avoid in order to get more life, if you should prioritize so; most efficient is the Life/ES cluster above shadow, as well as the Life/EV between shadow and ranger, however I dont feel that they are worth the point investment. Use your own judgement.

Bandits: Oak/Kraityn/Kraityn
My rationale is that if either of their bonuses were connected to my tree for 1 point, I would get them. The IAS from kraityn is straight up more dmg than the %phys from oak. +1frenzy gives me a bit more dmg an +1power atm; if using increased crit dmg in a 6L this might change.

For auras I use hatred and herald of ash, nothing else.

For main links, I use the following:
5L: Siege Ballista, PPAD, added fire, physical to lightning, weapon elemental damage.
I tested a number of configurations, using various combinations of crit chance, crit damage, faster attacks, however this highly ele dmg setup was always the greatest tooltip damage. With this setup I consistently shock and shatter most enemies.
For the 6th link I would use either faster attacks or increased critical damage.

Other links:
Frenzy, PCoC, mana leech, GMP
CWDT, increased duration, enfeeble, frost wall

Nothing else for now.

Charge generation?:
See frenzy setup

Mana problems?:
Very few problems, once the totems are down (uses 60% of my available mana pool) I spam frenzy with mana leech, which tops me back up.

General survivability:
This build probably wont survive in very high tier maps, where a crit can one shot you, but for atziri or anything below, you can survive most hits you cant dodge, which immediately is followed up by enfeeble and frost wall CWDT, giving you ample time to pot back up. In general your ballistae take most of the beatings, and you dont have to get very close to the mobs. I did poorjoys asylum in the low 70s with meh resists and ~3.5k hp with no deaths.

Totem duration?:
The ballistae tend to expire, which can be quite annoying. However there is no easy way to get duration for them, so I just dont. It is a weakness of the build, but you do have to resummon them all the time as you move forward, which is annoying.

The trash mobs are very easy for this build, since you dont get close to them yourself. The vaal duo is kinda hard to control, but even if you mess up is easy; if one dies before the other, put ballistae while it is in the ground, then when it comes back up just run around and dodge everything while the ballistae kill it, repeat till its dead.
Trio is surprisingly easy; I put the ballistae near the top right door, so they will focus the ranged one down first, then just run around and replace them untill all 3 are dead; the ballistae will deal with any adds that spawn on their own, and kill the trio one by one while you run around replacing the ballistae.
Atziri herself is the hardest part by far, more specifically her split phase:
First take out rain of splinters, you wont need it. Then take out the frost wall from your CWDT setup, since it will cause huge problems for you and get you killed more often than you'd think.
Now you can do 1 of 3 things; keep using Iron commander, switch to a lioneye's glare, or use iron commander in solo phase, and glare during split phase.
The problem during the split phase is that the ballistae tend to die from all the aoe, you dont have time to put down more than 1 unless you are on point with your dodges, and you have to place them close to the one you want to kill, which takes away the far shot bonus.
Because of this I switch to a glare during the split phase, which means the one ballistae I do summon deals a lot more damage. You can just place it and run around dodging everything, move to a safe spot after every dodged flameblast and immediately replace the ballista; the bleed spears can be a problem during this phase, but if you position yourself properly you should be able to dodge most.
The solo phase is very very easy, just keep running around putting ballistae, not much to it. The reason you might want to use a glare through the whole fight is if you are nervous and dont want to deal with switching stuff during battle. And if you are very confident in your ability to dodge everything, you can keep on iron commander, if you manage to keep up 2 ballistae during the split phase, they will outdmg the lioneyes.

I have done atziri 3 times now with this build, never died during solo phase, and lost all my portals during split phase every time (and killed her with none left), the build has a very hard time focusing a target if it can only use 1 ballista. If you want to do atziri with this build you need to be good at dodging stuff in the split phase, and probably look for ways to make it easier on the build (though practice does help immensely when it comes to atziri).

Not much to it, put on iron commander at lvl 32 and get 200dex asap, then when you can afford astramentis get it, and go for 400dex asap, then when you get to mid/late merciless you can look at getting the life and resists you need while reaching 600dex. Use whatever good pdps bow you can get your hands on plus whatever skill you like (I used rain of arrows) from 1-32.

Long-term improvements and capabilities:
6L, 800dex, possibly a 2nd crit item if you got absolutely godly gear/levels.

Not entirely sure how far iron commander can go. With 800dex and a 6L, probably quite far into high maps (solo), but I doubt it will ever to uber atziri unless you find a solution for the split phase.
Last edited by Oaken on Mar 10, 2016, 7:56:39 AM
Last bumped on Mar 15, 2016, 9:46:10 PM
Great guide.
I will try out as soon as I finish leveling my current character.
no more purchases or recommendations til the trade system is fixed.
Nice one! It seems a better build in comparison to the reddit post you answered with this. He went LMP instead of RoS...O_o

I started a similar build with the start of Ascendancy in PSC and directly bought one of the first Iron Commanders. It seemed very lackluster at first glance but for now I just love the playstyle. Place a SB an go elsewhere for whites/blues (waiting for the sound of your itemfilter ;-), place 5 for bosses and watch him die in seconds.

I'm at 841 Dex right now with absolutely, bananarama poor defensive stats (13% fire resi, 2.5k life)! So just a statement from a casual point of view that you can do the build budget-, casual-, noob-style without any problems.

I leveled with lioneye's paws (60 dex), hyrri's bite (45 dex), briskwrap (15% idex), pendarus blazon (30 all attr.) for easiest leveling ever until maps (few alts each). Now starting to swap to rares for defence and hopefully 5 link.

Keep up the good work and let us know if you get into real endgame!

Edit: Your tree maybe could see some improvements imo...Sniper and the 2 points before seem not worth it; coldhearted calc seems really not what we are looking for. I went for Totemic Zeal and constitution with those dex and jewels node(s) before. The 3 Totem points are not only a huge QoL-Improvement but also a nice dps boost. Contitution outscales the written in blood wheel. :-)
Last edited by DaddyFixx on Mar 10, 2016, 12:25:39 AM
youd get better scaling and would be cheaper if you bought an amulet with 75-80 dex along with some added phy damage (10-18phy is highest i think) also can get some more life/res and be cheaper then an astramentis
Last edited by brian192168 on Mar 10, 2016, 3:59:30 AM
DaddyFixx wrote:
Nice one!

Edit: Your tree maybe could see some improvements imo...Sniper and the 2 points before seem not worth it; coldhearted calc seems really not what we are looking for. I went for Totemic Zeal and constitution with those dex and jewels node(s) before. The 3 Totem points are not only a huge QoL-Improvement but also a nice dps boost. Contitution outscales the written in blood wheel. :-)

Thanks! And regarding the tree, yeah there are some points im not commpletely sure on, however, to get the left part of the assassin start, we need to go through coldhearted calculation. You could skip that part entirely, but at that point i might just skip crit completely and use those points elsewhere. As for the totem nodes, I would love to have them, I just dont know where to get the points for it, and since you can get ballista placement speed on a helmet enchant, I concluded that in theory that would be more efficient to get. Ofc you could go non-crit and get all that stuff you need, but personally i think that with no crit, your dmg will be too low and youll hit a wall in terms of what content you can do.

brian192168 wrote:
youd get better scaling and would be cheaper if you bought an amulet with 75-80 dex along with some added phy damage (10-18phy is highest i think) also can get some more life/res and be cheaper then an astramentis

Doubt it would be cheaper tbh. It would be better if you could get all of that, and with high rolls, but if thats the case it certainly wont be cheap, you also only get 1 resist roll since the +dex and +all are both suffixes, and you might have problems with gem requirements. But yeah I agree that it would be better, just expensive.
Last edited by Oaken on Mar 10, 2016, 8:19:07 AM
nice guide btw :) i am running nearly the same but i use a scion. I planned to pick up the chieftain and the deadeye for the mutiple projectile. also to set up irongrip as gem. dont know how much dex i will have but i will see :D also i have a iron commander linked with Curse on hit , gmp , shrapnel shot and projectile weekness

u can check out my tree maybe u see things that i didnt saw :D


btw can u send me your tree i cant see him something is wrong with the link :x
Question: Have you considered going Scion, and instead, branching out to the top-left of the tree for the totem skills, +90% skill duration, easy-to-grab jewel sockets, and Ancestral Bond?

Aside from Ancestral Bond itself (which in this case is worth 200 DEX), it would also allow you to grab Hierophant (+200 DEX, if using a 4-link helmet for Ballista) and Chieftain as Ascendancy choices.

What are your thoughts on it?
Last edited by CadenceLikesVGs on Mar 12, 2016, 1:13:28 AM
So I started that one after 5l'ing my SC ezpz
and arrived a1m with it.

current gear:




spend some c (like 3 or so) to optimize the gear for capped res and 600 dex when I arrived
a1m and must say, that I'm having a total blast. 15k dps on each totem.
Leveling was a breeze and I'll defenitely try to get to the 90's with it.

Next plan is to grab those 2 totem-cluster near scion and transform the str nodes to dex over there. should make it way easier to hit the 800. Will see how that goes.

Thanks for sharing the build. :)
I used this build as a template while starting completely fresh in Perandus (SC).
I differ from OP's build, because I go to the Scion area to grab more life & the totem clusters. Both placement speed & duration are saving me so much hassle. Before getting those, I would often get stunned because I was locked in the placement animation.

Level 1-31 was going well with RoA/1 Ballista, but after you get the bow you just rush through everything. I was rushing through A4N, Cruel and even Merciless. I swapped my leveling gear, which consisted of 2x Le Heup, Goldrim and Slitherpinch, at level 68 ! The builds's costs were also super low. I started with nothing, and through my first alch/chaos drops I financed a complete build, which would last me well into Merciless.

When I started mapping/farming Lake tho, the damage quickly fell (in relation to the monster HP), and it is certainly not a party carry. I'm at 11k per Totem with a little over 600 Dex now, still trying to 5L my bow/chest, but afterwards I dont see any good ways too improve without paying grand for new items. I also noticed that single item upgrades are very difficult, because you would need a new item which tops every stat.

After all, I see this becoming a very good alternative to Fire Totem leveling, while using the free respec points to change to another "stronger" build after completing the campaign.

My gear @lvl 74 - Total cost <15c :

My passive tree @74 - Pathing to more life & totem clusters next:

Last edited by Freelancer1111 on Mar 13, 2016, 10:34:07 PM
I took a very different approach to you, here, and I think a lot of the shortcomings you listed are solved by going Scion.

My build is here.

A Key difference is that I use Devoto's Devotion, because it's the helmet with the highest possible dexterity value.

I haven't done Atziri (I never have), but I have 5 totems, which is pretty strong.

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