Orion's HC Iron Commander 5 totems/100K+ dps

Why this build?
Because you have always wanted to turn path of exile into a game of mobile tower defense. Seriously, I have had a blast running this build to lvl 83 on Perandus HC and want to share it. This build leveled faster from 32 than anything I have run since incinerate was nerfed. It boasts approximately 8k dps by the end of normal around twice that at the end of cruel, and it's current maximum, with all buffs up and running is well over 100k even before counting the potential up to 50% pointblank bonus or the alternative small bonus from scion/deadeye's far shot. Leveling in dried lake, before the xp penalty kicked in, it regularly clocked in a little below 200m/hr on solo runs, and I was not going for maximal efficiency as I was still gathering loot. As the build is not crit based, Astramentis is the only moderately expensive required item. It was able to do merc labyrinth comfortably in the low 70s when it was still worth xp, went back to do Merc Malachai, and is currently running over T10 and T11 content, as I haven't gotten any higher drops yet.

Why Scion?

For an iron commander build, scion has excellent ascensions (chieftain and deadeye), easy access to key portions of the tree, and unmatched access to jewel slots which are key for the build.

Attack and Defense stats at lvl 83:

Number of Ballistae: 5
Ballista base tooltip dps once one ballista is on the ground: 10,283
With 5 frenzy charges: 13,216
With frenzy charges and vaal haste: 14,833
With 5 frenzy charges, vaal haste, and a recent personal kill: 16,492

Multiply all damage by 1.42 for curse-on-hit applied projectile weakness.
Multiply all damage again by variable bonus from point blank keystone (up to 50% more) or add small bonus from scion-deadeye
And of course, multiply by 5 ballistae
There is also some additional damage from the frenzy attack in the 5-7k range pre-multiplication

Life: 4456
Life regen base:360/sec
Life regen with Stone golem:465/sec
Ele res: all 75
Chaos res: -31%
phys mit: 15%
Evasion 39%
I realize that the defensive stats, other than regen appear underwhelming on paper. The key thing to understand is that this build will do most of its fighting either over a full screen away from its enemies or behind a wall of ballistae that impede both enemy movement and non piercing enemy projectiles. Mobility, defensive wall, and life regen (which incidently makes the labyrinth less dangerous) make the build feel much safer than it looks on paper in most encounters.

Key uniques and current gear list:

Key uniques:

Iron commander is the base item for this build
Drillneck provides superior damage, given the ballistae have 100% pierce
Lioneye's paws are the best dex/str available in the slot
Astramentis is better for this build than a high dex only amulet because we will be taking the iron grip keystone and the +100 or so strength will become another 20% increased damage
Rain of splinters is essentially a better LMP without needing a link
The two maxed Fluid motion jewels, placed at key points in the tree, add another 148 dex, greatly boosting the damage of iron commander and adding almost 3/4 of another ballista by themselves.

My current gear is as follows:

The flasks are worth a moment of discussion. One of the concessions for getting to 800 dex and having all the damage/life nodes I want is that the build does little for mana sustainability. I have not found this a serious burden, as the mana flask is virtually spammable during combat due to its low charge requirement, and feels like the perfect place to put our anti-freeze, since it more or less never runs out. Seething flasks are a must. Our life regen is high enough to take care of most incidental damage, but when a big hit comes in, recovering all life in the 1/2 second immortal call is up is key. Having one of the quicksilver flasks act as warding solved many problems as they arise. I use two quicksilvers because the primary defense of the build is mobility. They feel superior, in this build, to any of the other defensive or offensive flasks.

Gem Set up:

Weapon: Frenzy, LMP, Curse on hit, Projectile weakness
The benefit of virtually always having 5 frenzy charges up and having every curseable enemy that survives more than a split second taking 42% more damage cannot be overstated.

Chest: (in order) Siege Ballista, Phys proj attack dam, Faster attacks, Added fire, slower projectiles, pierce.
Note that every support gem except faster attacks provides a phys damage multiplicative modifier. This has been an excellent way to scale damage without going crit. I add Faster attacks as the fourth link even though the last two gems would provide better damage, as faster attacks feels like it improves general clear speed better.

Helm: Vaal haste, Vaal Haste, Increased duration, Summon Stone golem (golem need not be linked)
With two vaal hastes and increased duration we have excellent uptime and see a marked improvement in clear speed.

Gauntlets: CWDT (lvl 1), Immortal call (lvl 3), Temp chains (lvl 5), Increased duration
Because we are avoiding damage primarily through mobility and interposing ballista between us and the damage source (rather than tanking) I choose temp chains over enfeeble here.

Boots: Blink arrow, faster attacks, Hatred, Herald of ash
Blink arrow is useful for changing elevations and getting out of tight spots, particularly with faster attacks. We run Hatred and Herald of ash for a significant dps boost.

Tree at lvl 83



Normal: Oak
Cruel: Kraityn
Merciless: Kraityn


Normal: 40 dex, 40 str
Cruel: Passive point, Chieftain ascendancy in Marauder
Merciless: Passive point, Deadeye Ascendancy in Ranger

The chieftain ascendancy feels best in slot for this build: Anytime we have a ballista on the ground (which is pretty much always) it provides a 30% increased damage bonus and an extra 2% life regen. Anytime we killed something directly using frenzy within the past 4 seconds(kills with the totems don't count) which is quite often, it provides an additional 15% of phys as added fire damage. The 15% ignite chance is incidental for our build. The overall dps boost is quite significant.

Arguments could be made as to the Ranger ascendancy to take. I chose Deadeye primarily for the extra arrow, which feels like it somewhat improves our clear speed. I have tested the extra dps we would get from raider onslaught by using a silver flask, and I do not feel it is significant enough to give up the extra arrow. Ymmv.

Leveling advice

From 1-32 use the skill/weapon set up of your choice. Personally I like to level with split arrow, using roth's reach from 18-32. Post 32 we will be able to equip our endgame weapon, and post 36 our endgame quiver. Level 36 is where you should see around 8k overall dps with this build.

Regarding tree order, I would prioritize as follows:

Step one: Proceed down proj. damage through totemic mastery, picking up berserking, totemic zeal, and 2 jewel slots along the way. These will be used for rain of splinters and one of your fluid motions.

Step two: Proceed to iron grip, picking up your other fluid motion jewel slot, the 30 point dex node and the life cluster just above iron grip. If you have astramentis, dex should be comfortably above 400 and on toward 600 by this point.

Step three: Proceed in leisurely fashion over to Point Blank, picking up all of the duelist area nodes in my tree on the way.

Step four: Complete build in order to taste. For your comfort, some damage nodes may be substituted for additional life nodes in the wheel. With good gear, you can achieve 800 dex by the end of this phase without sacrificing too much in the way of life and resists (I chose to leave chaos res as a bit of a weak point, offset somewhat by the good regen)

Step five: (where I am at currently) Pick up all remaining adjacent life nodes.

Final Thoughts:
This has been a super fun build for me, and I hope some of you enjoy it as much as I have. Remember that we lead from behind our army--closest calls I have had are when I have become complacent and wandered ahead of the leading ballista. They make great scouts if you summon them at the edge of your ability as you run along--they will begin firing if there is an enemy within range, warning you of its presence long before it can harm you. Good luck!
Last bumped on Apr 17, 2016, 1:43:24 PM
the passive tree is blank
Tree section shows up with a cut and paste link when I open it that goes to my tree. Not sure what's going on here.
Currently lvl 88, respecced Ascendancy to try scion-raider. Decided I was incorrect and more or less perma onslaught at this stage>extra arrow+small farshot bonus.

Updated tree:


Well, i can see in your skill tree that you get a lot of health cuz you play on Hc, right?

I was wondering what changes i could do to get more damage even if i put my life on risk a little more, if you could give some tips it would help a lot! :)
Briskwrap is an amazing cheap chest to use when levelling - +15% Dex!
you should add Asenath's gentle touch gloves for leveling
nadnerb wrote:
you should add Asenath's gentle touch gloves for leveling

Very good suggestion as I'm still using them all the way through cruel. I also recommend the "Word of War" enchantment as it makes normal difficulty a breeze.
BerMalBerIst1 wrote: What if GGG doesn't nerf anything and decides to buff a bunch of stuff?

666lol666 wrote: In that case someone has kidnapped their kids and is forcing them to do so. These guys are allergic to buffs, they are in love with the nerfhammer!
Nice build a lot of fun with him

RIP 69 on Coniraya, Shadow of Malice with Rain of Arrows that shocks ground on landing
It was one shot.

First of all, thx for your guide. It looks great, and I have decided following it :)
Just one question. I am pretty noob with Scion, so, I dont see how do you get 5 Totems ^^

I have revised all tree, and I dont see any node that explain this. Could you explain me, pls??

Thx in advance, and again congrats for the guide!!
Last edited by Horcajeño on Mar 29, 2016, 7:59:19 AM

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