[2.2] Chaos Commander - Siege Ballistae Champion - 650k DPS - Atziri Viable


This is a chaos-damage Siege Ballista build. I used the Duelist but I suspect you could make Ranger or Shadow work if you wanted to boost DPS for reduced survivability.

The build uses the Iron Commander bow to serve as a powerful multiplier for the already respectably high flat chaos damage provided by the Added Chaos Damage gem, and uses Poison/projectile scaling to add another layer of damage multiplication.

Siege Ballista has a high ‘damage effectiveness’ from the ~165% of attack damage feature, and if you’re using 5 ballistae that’s another multiplier on the base damage.

This build came about when I started looking at running an Elemental Iron Commander build but was just not impressed with how % extra Elemental Damage would scale off of the low base phys damage of the bow. I suspected that using additive flat damage would scale better than ‘% extra’. Furthermore, using chaos damage gets around Elemental resists which I didn’t see as doable for Elemental based Siege Ballista.

I decided to go Champion in order to make the build durable enough to complete end-game content.

The build isn’t dirt cheap, but it cost probably a few Exalts at most. Given the relatively low price it performs incredibly well.


Gorge Clear ~3m40s
Deathless Atziri Run



+ Solid chaos-based DPS
+ Permanent 24% Fortify
+ Very high mobility (~70% MS Base)
+ Can run a wide variety of map-mods (probably all of them I think)


- Mana is a little dicey. You’ll need to use a mana flask to sustain.
- The build has no phys-mit aside from 24% Fortify. That’s not bad, but really huge physical hits will probably pop you. I haven’t had it be a problem yet, but I suppose it could be. I’m not sure if this is HC viable or not. I think if you played carefully and built your defenses first it could be.

DPS Math

Figuring out the base damage is easy. Siege Ballista’s tooltip is accurate as far as I know, and it’s not hard to account for Projectile Weakness by multiplying by ~1.4 (Cursed Enemies Take More Damage is a multiplier).

Poison is something else though. I worked up a spreadsheet to determine the mileage I was getting out of poison.

Ballista Poison Math

The real meat of this build is that Poison inherits the tags of the skill that created it. So, because we have a Projectile Totem inflicting Poison, the Poison has both the Totem Tag and the Projectile Tag.

This means that the Poison damage gets increased by modifiers to:
Projectile Damage
Totem Damage

That list isn’t complete, but the other ways to boost poison don’t quite factor into this build.

By scaling those modifiers, we increase the base damage of the Ballista (which is how the initial Poison DPS is calculated) and then we factor them in again to boost the Poison damage.

The end result is some very dead bosses.



Passives at Level 80

Ascendancy Points:

Champion - Fortitude and Inspirational

Having permanent Fortify is incredibly helpful. It makes you way more survivable by drastically mitigating the hits you do take. As an Evasion/Acro/Phase Acro Build you usually rely on hardly getting hit but needing a large HP pool for when you do. This build gets plenty of life but also reduces the hits that you do take by 24%. Combine with high mobility and as it is very easy to stay alive.

Inspirational is also great for having an Increased Damage Mod. I’m not entirely certain of the mechanics of this ability. Does it give you Increased Damage, and then your Ballistae too? Does it only factor in once? In any case, you will at a minimum double dip by having it increase base Ballista Damage and then Poison Damage. Any party members you have will enjoy it too.

Normal - Oak
Cruel - Kraityn
Merciless - Kraityn


Skill tree has lots of Dex to make sure you can hit 800 (with gear, see below). 600 (4 Ballistae) is not quite enough, and 1000 Dex (6 Ballistae) makes you too squishy. I purposefully took paths that were sometimes a little inefficient in order to favor Dex nodes over Str or Int nodes. I also tried to favor notables that had Dex on them when the bonus was relevant to the build.

Otherwise, the tree focuses on Life, and boosting Chaos and Projectile damage. Also, we want to get Frenzy Charges and some Increased Duration. There’s one totem cluster south of Scion that makes using Siege Ballista a lot easier by increasing placement speed and duration.

Finally, the build takes Acrobatics and Phase Acrobatics to work in conjunction with your high evasion. You will hardly take any hits at all, and when you do Fortify will significantly reduce the damage those hits deal. With enough HP this build is incredibly tanky.


Rain of Splinters - Basically a free LMP on your Siege Ballista, but with additive damage reduction instead of the multiplicative ‘less’. In theory you can pull this out for a small boost to DPS against single-target enemies, but I find that is unnecessary. Also, almost all fights have some component where some AOE is required so the extra projectiles are still very useful.

Brawn - I find that 1 Brawn gem with a good Dex roll is necessary to hit 800.







Character Profile - Artimener



Iron Commander. The physical damage of this bow isn’t great, and even with a ton of dex it remains less than great. We get around this by using Added Chaos Damage to add a lot of flat chaos, and then taking advantage of multiple ballistae to multiply that damage.


Drillneck is the obvious best in slot choice here. Siege Ballista has a 100% Pierce Chance and so that scales damage super well. Feel free to get a corrupted version that has something other than Pierce Chance for the implicit mod (you can’t go past 100% Pierce chance so the normal implicit is useless).


Black Sun Crest with a 15% Dex Roll. You could alternatively use Briskwrap as a cheaper option for 15% Dex and then use a solid Rare helm. However, I find you can get more mileage out of a good rare Body Armor than Helm, so I am going with Black Sun Crest.


I used Briskwrap to boost Dex until I could get a Black Sun Crest. Once I did, I swapped for a Rare chest that gives lots of Evasion, Life, and Resists.

Gloves, Boots, Belt, Rings

Find a rare that gives you Max Life, Resists, and +Dex if possible


Astramentis is pretty much required for this build. They aren’t too expensive, but seeing as you will probably want to have it to level with you should get it upfront.


Main DPS Setup

Siege Ballista + Added Chaos Damage + Poison + Void Manipulation + Slower Projectiles

The way this build works is to give you a very solid amount of flat chaos damage via the added chaos gem. Siege Ballista then does ~165% of that per attack, and attacks slowly. Next, you’ll be poisoning them with each Ballista hit. The Poison will inherit the ‘Projectile’ tag, so all of your other scaling from the tree, gear, and gems, will multiply both the initial hit and the poison. The end result is that your ballistae do very solid DPS, and poison for a huge amount of damage.

I don’t have a 6L bow yet and probably won’t for a while. I’m not sure what Gem I would add if I did. Probably Pierce. Though the pierce chance doesn’t do anything, the gem is another projectile multiplier which will scale the DPS super well.

Charges and Curses

You want a 5-L at least for Siege Ballista, and that can be your Bow or Body Armor. Whichever isn’t a 5-L Can afford to just be a 4 Link running:

Frenzy + GMP + Curse on Hit + Projectile Weakness

Your max of 7 frenzy charges is essential for buffing the output of the Ballistae. Improve their fire rate, their base damage, AND their poison damage.

Projectile Weakness is also a huge multiplier on both the base damage of the Ballistae and the Poison they inflict.

You can still run curse immune maps without too much trouble. Just swap Proj Weakness for Mana Leech and CoH for PCoC. It doesn’t work as well but it’s plenty viable still.

If you are some incredible baller running a second 5L for your secondary ability, then I’d also link Chain or Pierce to provide better Curse application, or Mana Leech/Blood Magic/Reduced Mana to make it more sustainable to use.

Helmet Setup

Another reason to use the Black Sun Crest is having Vaal Grace in your helmet at +1 level.

I use Vaal Grace + Increased Duration + Immortal Call + CWDT

Vaal Grace and Increased Duration (plus the duration from the tree) gives you a huge durability boost for about 13 seconds. It also helps your totems stay alive in situations where there’s a lot of AoE. I find it makes some of the nastier Perandus Packs even easier to deal with than before. I was using Vaal Haste for a while but it just doesn’t seem to do a whole lot for the Ballistas.

Mobility Setup (Gloves or Boots)

I have Blink Arrow + Faster Attacks + Faster Projectiles.

In the 4th slot I have Portal because it’s convenient and I don’t think I really need anything else slotted in.

Blink Arrow with those links is a great way to either speed up your travel or get out of sticky situations. The build has insane move-speed already, and this just adds to your mobility.

Aura/Golem Setup (Gloves or Boots)

Flame Golem + Minion Life + CWDT + Haste

Using Hatred or Herald of Ash or anything seems wasted as you get plenty of damage from Added Chaos and Poison. Haste seems to me to be the best aura for the build. It is a solid contribution to a party, Attack speed helps your Ballistae a bit, and the movespeed adds nicely to your overall mobility.

Flame Golem is nice because its Increased Damage mod boosts the base damage of the Ballista as well as the Poison damage. I like keeping it on CWDT so I don’t have to pay attention to it.


I used some random unique leveling with Split Arrow until I was able to equip Iron Commander. That with Astramentis is easy leveling for quite a while. Slot in Added Chaos and Poison when you can, and then add Void Manipulation and Slower Projectiles as you increase your links.

Last edited by InquisitorKaede on Apr 22, 2016, 10:21:02 PM
Last bumped on Apr 30, 2016, 9:22:59 PM
how does a tooltip of under 8k damage equate to 650k DPS?
fuxxnuts2 wrote:
how does a tooltip of under 8k damage equate to 650k DPS?

Read the section under 'DPS Math', and take a look at the spreadsheet.

Each hit from a ballista triggers a poison debuff doing about 30k dps. Each ballista can stack 4 poisons at the same time. So each ballista does about 10k base (tooltip is low due to projectile weakness curse), plus 120k for poisons, for 130k total per turret. That times 5 is 650k.
id like to see actual math on how you get 30k poison even with all your multipliers base poison is 10% of initial hit(phys+chaos)
so you need to get your average damage per hit (not dps) multiply by 0.1 then scale it up with your chaos/dot/projectiles multipliers

with the screen shot you provided you have an average of 5000 dmg hit aka 500 poison scaling that poison to 30k seems unlikely
IGN: ggnecro
Last edited by bouncer91 on Apr 23, 2016, 2:54:06 PM
bouncer91 wrote:
id like to see actual math on how you get 30k poison even with all your multipliers base poison is 10% of initial hit(phys+chaos)
so you need to get your average damage per hit (not dps) multiply by 0.1 then scale it up with your chaos/dot/projectiles multipliers

with the screen shot you provided you have an average of 5000 dmg hit aka 500 poison scaling that poison to 30k seems unlikely

I literally included a spreadsheet with all of the actual math. It's under the 'DPS Math' section.
I found the error in your spreadsheet leading to inflated DPS numbers:

cell b19 (poison dps) you use this formula

you multiply b11 (frenzy charge number) by .4, or 40% instead of .04, 4%

Once corrected, this build yields closer to 250k dps. Still mad fun to play!

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