[2.4] Why Life/ES hybrids are so strong yet noone knows that - Frost Blades example

*This IS NOT a build guide*

Each time GGG releases new passive tree there are endless rivers of QQ over 'Shadow has only so-and-so life nodes, please BUFF'. Each and every single patch so far.

GGG does not react and they wont react because Shadow is Life + ES character. NOT Life character.

Hybrid 'pros':
- High buffer. Comparable with budget CI builds.
- VERY cheap gear due to low popularity and lack of understanding (people trying to 'force' life build on a Shadow)
- lots of hybrid nodes that normally are taken due to no alternative (as they are less than stellar FOR LIFE BUILDS) have 100% effectiveness in such setup
- buffer big enough that one or two slip ups are absorbed without consequences. it lulls players into sense of security. it can be risky
- flasks still play an important role and when everything else fails - you still can insta-pot to 4k and run. most life-only builds are dead at this time.
Some AFK Carnage video - no map mods etc but this is a boss everybody knows so it is easy to relate to.
https://youtu.be/qDZJRJkCYcw?t=25

more recent 2.4 Poorjoy's https://youtu.be/p64zM2KxCUs

Cons:
- Active gameplay. Right-click to victory is not here. You have to know when to run and when it is safe to facetank everything. It is best to simply level 'as the build' in Merciless to get the feeling.
- Low top end. TOP CI builds can reach 20k+ ES with best gear, auras etc. This setup plateaus around 10k combined life/ES and each following 1k (combined) means serious investments.
- Chaos damage. You better get some chaos res. 4k life is a lot but some combos can be deadly.
- Burning ground. This stuff - like one dropped by boss Wolves in Caer Briad (sp?) map can prevent your ES from recharging. Irritating and dangerous when ignored.
- no leech (however it can be easily added - Vaal Pact or not)
- no Blood Rage (this most likely is THE reason people do not use ES when playing Shadows)



How to make yourself a Shadow that is more tanky than most Marauders can be?

Life + ES combo. Shadow starting area is amazing for this, most 'hybrid' nodes people ignore or laugh at are extremely good value for Shadows WHEN build right.

This guide is build independent with one note: this is a shield build. No dual wield, no staff, no bow (will explain later why this is not for a bow).

How does it work - model gameplay

- ES is a replenish-able buffer over life that 'mitigates' incoming damage by the mere feat of absorbing it. It is there to BE HIT and constantly going up and down.
- Life is our primary 'life pool' that we can top up with flasks.
- Evasion/Block are there to make sure our ES is recharging as quickly as possible - by the feat of not getting hit and thus letting our ES recharge to kick in.
- Leech is entirely optional

Gameplay revolves around movement preventing spells, evasion shielding us from frequent attacks and block.. blocking some attack hits. Investment into Faster Start of ES Recharge (FSER in short) makes possible extremely quick - mid-combat - ES recharge.

Frequent myths / presumptions / lies regarding Life/ES/evasion builds

1) "It doesnt work". Well.. it does. Next please.
2) "Split 'hp buffer' sucks because you cannot leech to both of them at the same time and thus it doesnt work". Half truth. You surely cannot leech to both, however you can LGoH to life and leech to ES - if you need to. Ive toyed with this idea and found it absolutely unnecessary. What makes this 'theory' even better is the fact that my character - when ES is gone - STILL has more HP than most Shadows that claim it doesnt work.
3) "But phys spells will kill you, evasion sucks, doesnt it?". Almost true. Phys spells hurt as I do not have any spell block nor spell dodge. However there is nothing stopping me from using Enduring Cry / Basalt / Granite to obtain pretty respectable Phys Reduction (both flat and armour-based). And while phys spells will hit me preventing the ES recharge I have 9k 'life' to work with before these start to hurt. And i can always run away to recharge to full and re-engage.
4) "It takes so many nodes to get respectable values that you cannot get enough damage.". Again - almost true. It does take some nodes to maximize the Life/ES potential - the shield defense% nodes are expensive to get. However it balances out quickly - you can play reckless, you can facetank stuff you cannot having just 4k HP, you can safely take on damage-moded maps and reflect is less of a problem (due to both lower damage than uber-crit-damaga builds and evasion soaking most of it). You definitely CAN buy more damage by respecing some defences but Id like to remind you all: dead men do no damage.
5) "It is very expensive to do". No it isnt. Not yet. Currently most players (my guess is around 99% falsely believe that Life/ES sucks and Shadow should play as a pure life or maybe CI - this makes gear (described below) pretty damn cheap
6) "It sucks because I cannot use Blood Rage". It doesnt suck. But you cannot use Blood Rage with it. There are other Frenzy Charge generators out there.
7) "It is way easier to gear and build a life character.". True. But shadow without going all the way for life nodes will hardly reach 6k life. Most players - due to their Rat's nest, Malis etc have ~4k HP pool and 'feel tanky'. It is easier to get high buffer with Life/ES than with pure Life. Life having the flask advantage but only marginal due to this build also having a 4k life

Ok, enough of that.

So, how to build a Life + ES Hybrid character that can survive pretty much anything?

1) Forget all you've been taught and ignore the voices inside that tell you that 'it wont work'

2) Check this tree:

This is a backbone of your future Life/ES build - you can re-route it, cut bits from it, add bits to it etc. It is just the keel of your build.

notable nodes:
-) Life
-) Life + Evasion
-) Life + ES
-) Increased Shield Defence


3) Gearing. You need pieces with Life, high ES, Evasion - in this order.
a) Chest: any chest with 100+ flat ES and 100%+ increased Evasion/ES + life. I bought mine for 35c (non-linked)

ES value is the most important. Note that due to how POE rolls items do not focus on top tier bases. Normal/Cruel level items with T1 or T2 rolls will be just slightly worse than Carnal with same rolls. This makes searching for items easier and allows for easy leveling gearing.

b) Shield: THE most important piece. Your MAIN source of ES/EV (due to Increased Shield Defence nodes). Aim for 300+ ES and at least 300 EV. Life is 'good to have' but be ready to buy this without life if you cannot afford good life/ES/EV item. 350ES/no life shield is WAY better than 250ES/100life shield. Same rules apply to item selection
Bought mine for 20c

c) Helmet: pretty much only choice

Chaos resist makes it pretty damn good. Rare items are better (life roll + resist) IF one can find them. I have a gut feeling that people filter EV/ES bases out.
d) Other pieces. Due to low ranges on ES affixes on non-chest/shield slots it is prudent to focus on life for other slots and take whatever ES/EV values you happen to get in the process

My current gear set:
Spoiler


But what about a more budget options?
Checking poe.trade right now (Mar 27th) I can see:
300ES+ 300EV+ Life shields for 2chaos, same goes with armours. Noone cares about these items so get them while cheap. It is one of the biggest mysteries of POE - the sheep mentality forcing people to ignore viable builds just because someone somewhere sometime ago wrote 'it sucks'.

4) FSER Most players - even CI players - ignore this stat. Mostly because people cannot play without leech and with leech this stat rarely shines. However.. this WHEN STACKED! is pretty powerful. Bordering OP in fact. Normal delay before natural ES recharge starts is around 2 - 2.5 seconds (do not remember). It is not long but long enough to not trigger mid combat. Few nodes + few jewels with FSER can cut this significantly. In your Character tab it is called: Energy Shield Recharge Occurence Modifier. Mine is 59%. Youll notice the difference after reaching 40%. There is a diminishing return down there so do not over-invest but 40% is still not there yet so try what works for you best.
Brittle Barrier jewel is perfect to test it (mind the increased damage taken mod however)

Note: Soul Strike. I bet this one will come up. This is not a guide about bow build. Soul Strike has 150% FSER and that sounds amazing. There are two downsides however: it has 40% slower recharge rate (HUGE downside) and by the mere virtue of not being a shield grants little ES making the entire ES pool rather small (2k without Discipline?). What is the use of quickly start-recharging ES pool when it recharges slowly and the values recharged are low (due to low total pool). This is very interesting quiver and can be made to work but most likely with Occultist + Discipline instead of Shadow.


What build can you do with this setup?

Pretty much any melee crit/non-crit or trap/spell. As long as it doesnt need a non-EV/ES shield and chest you are free to go. If you need more damaga - drop the lower portion of the tree (Duelist's) and one Shield Defence cluster.

My build - tanky yet sufficiently 'cannonish' looks like this (lvl90):


Life: 4k
ES: 5k
EV: 9960 (46%) / (50%+ with frenzy charges)
AR: 402 (no-flask) / 7400 (flask)
40% block, 5% dodge/spell dodge

enough damage to speed run all maps I have tried.



Get the ES/EV gear while cheap (or.. well.. it will remain cheap because 'it sucks' doesnt it?).
Last edited by sidtherat on Nov 1, 2016 2:50:27 PM
Last bumped on Dec 10, 2016 7:46:05 PM
I made my first character using this build lvl 38 so far, before i follow your build 100% could you show me and example of this build with a focus on Frost blades? While i am leveling im finding myself not able to deal enough damage to the monsters in quest zones especially the bosses. I can tank a fair bit before dying but when surrounded surviving would be a miracle. When fighting a boss I feel entirely useless. I can eat alot of damage but not put out any. So I can tank the boss for bit but just end up taking ages to actually kill them. The stronger mobs in my questing areas are quite an issue as well they cause me the same problem as the bosses do. Would really appreciate any help. Thanks in advance.
I feel the same. I'm wondering if i should just convert to blade vortex while i still can haha i'm only 30.
the thing is, poe is not only about thoughness. it is about killing stuff.

and you don't kill endgame maps/uber with this.
IGN: Kitaen
"
AxeDev wrote:
I made my first character using this build lvl 38 so far, before i follow your build 100% could you show me and example of this build with a focus on Frost blades? While i am leveling im finding myself not able to deal enough damage to the monsters in quest zones especially the bosses. I can tank a fair bit before dying but when surrounded surviving would be a miracle. When fighting a boss I feel entirely useless. I can eat alot of damage but not put out any. So I can tank the boss for bit but just end up taking ages to actually kill them. The stronger mobs in my questing areas are quite an issue as well they cause me the same problem as the bosses do. Would really appreciate any help. Thanks in advance.

Frost blades is a decent skill for killing white/blue packs, but you will need some strong single target attack for bosses. Something like viper strike or molten strike w/ point blank depending on what damage type you're scaling.

I am currently building a life/es non-crit ek trickster, but I'm not entirely sure how he will survive the endgame.
the tree
https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAABAYAALDYotkJIPmkyBSjo3DU9W9Mg2qMdIEWvyaVdf1h4oRv1EK1SG1s62PndBEv2xro1isKEHsi6psmXfK-OsM6MgEOSIngGYqbtbIZEZbmWJcGX7CExc96Bx5_xpMfxKLKSpUukyfBxUkTu-PfmG-eUUzw1WwL74iIQv66Ylrxs4MJrEeP-klRIvT5Nx3ZfXVLV31bXEBtGdfPQ1TA4ypNh8tUvRFQCPRJsfRxPydH4qPvp5sV7TW5wFRKyCLiVIJ1npaLpytqQ4qvbqqkOc8V1bmQEbXye8OC5DWS_o_YvU3j_gqmV_JFOuHQ0F9qKjgAAA==

As you can see, I scale phys and chaos damage and plan to use two http://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Ming's_Heart for that sweet chaos dmg and chaos res.
I will have +181% es and +166% life at lvl 90. Will it be enough to offset the penalty? Any advices?
I thought hybrids got popular after 2.0 patch TBH

one prime example
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1405842

Anyway yeah I like em. with ~35% chaos is feels like chaos immune anyway.
I did a couple of (HC) hybrid builds so far and I even did play my whisp ice guy to lvl 90 in perandus HC hybrid before respeccing to CI.
From my experience, Hybrid Life/ES can be good but I disagree with a quite some of your points:

1. Leech+Ghost reaver is mandatory. Without it, you will run around with your ES down most of the time.
I even wouldnt play hybrid without vaal pact...

2. You need positive chaos resists. With 4k life and -60% chaos you will get destroyed in higher tier maps

3. For me, good high-end hybrid gear was always really hard to get (in the min/max phase), especially if you also want armour or evasion hybrid gear instead of pure ES/life gear.
If you are going Hybrid, you need that T1 life roll AND a T1 flat ES roll AND at least a lower tier %ES roll AND you need an additional Chaos resist suffix on top of your normal resist rolls

4. You need much more passive points for the hybrid build.

5. Pure ES will free up at least 1 additional flask slot

=> I do like hybrid for some builds, but imho you over hype it a bit. Most shadow builds still will be better going pure ES (CI or low life) in the end
-----+ IGN: KnifeInKnifeOut +-----

~~~~ HC Shop: view-thread/1086194 ~~~~
1) i have played red tripple+ modded maps WITHOUT leech and ofc without Vaal Pact. evasion + block makes that possible, you can regen ES mid-fight and playing 'smart' is all that is required in the 'altering the gameplay' department. i get so lazy that i even do not use flasks all that much. false sense of security..

here is the test run with a Wild Strike (so this is as 'melee' as possible - no ranged cheeze, no spells, no kiting). one of (or the) first maps that day - so no warmup and i did the gem swap just for the sake of demonstration so forgive me the clear speed. it is a Frost Blades build so ive lost a big part of the dps (projectile damage)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyZLtag5eSk

2) agree with chaos res. might want to add it into the 'guide'

3) well.. i agree that 'finding' good gear is difficult. but 'buying' it is pretty trivial. people undervalue ES/EV hybrid gear (not much so with AR/ES one) - you can get T1/T2 life+ES+%ES for peanuts. and people would still think they made a great deal selling this 'crap'. what might be the issue is the availability (number of items for sale, not their prices) as people pretty much filter them out.

4) well.. yes and no. for the general clear speed it might have a counter-intuitive effect: build i feel safe with i can do things i will never do with build that i know is squishy. so maybe the dps number is lower (never cared about it anyway) but the flow, the number of mods i can ignore is fairly good - considering this is not a meta fotm build but as plain and simple as it gets melee character with reasonably cheap gear





Hey guys, can you look into my build^? I also might add that I plan to use lazhwar, rathpith and that "vendor unique" advancing fortress, all that to achieve 40% block and 50% spellblock.
I dont plan to use any offensive auras/heralds since I alredy invested heavily into offence (2x ming's). Most likely I will only use discipline and AA and will leave 50% unreserved mana for mana pots. EK is a mana hungry spell as you know.
"
Hey guys, can you look into my build^? I also might add that I plan to use lazhwar, rathpith and that "vendor unique" advancing fortress, all that to achieve 40% block and 50% spellblock.
I dont plan to use any offensive auras/heralds since I alredy invested heavily into offence (2x ming's). Most likely I will only use discipline and AA and will leave 50% unreserved mana for mana pots. EK is a mana hungry spell as you know.


this is not the tree i'd use for a hybrid build, ever - it avoids all shield nodes (and as such removing like 50% of your ES/EV from the game). It is a life build with splices of other stuff. so little to comment here

also - 2 Mings.. 2*life% penalty. big penalty for some damage. i'm not sure if that damage is worth it

Report Forum Post

Report Account:

Report Type

Additional Info