R.I.P. [2.6] Explosive Arrow - Champion Build Guide (DPS - multi class - HC viable)

It's been fun while it lasted. This build is dead in 3.0

Ea is still strong but different... This is my new EA thread:

This is a fast paced tanky and most definitely HC viable build with high DPS and burning dot. Reflect is not a big deal. Just a minor nuisance.

I also made a guide for Explosive arrow Elementalist. This thread also features other classes and is more up to date. You can find it here.

Updated 11.3.2017

>>> At glance:

  • Awesome AOE and damage
  • About 8k life
  • Perma fortify
  • Extra damage to nearby allies
  • Great mobility

  • The helm Hrimnor's Resolve is now a very good alternative to Devoto's Devotion. It got significant buffs in this patch! It now has life, more damage and some utility. In terms of clear speed Devoto is still better with 20% movement speed. But life and damage is something that might be worth looking into. However, dexterity might be an issue with this helmet.

  • The Wise Oak is a new interesting flask that can be used to mitigate reflect, or it can be used to amp the damage and reduce the damage taken from other elements. Furthermore, this flask can potentially help in Elemental Weakness maps!

  • The node Ash, Frost and Storm, next to Elemental Equilibrium got a nice buff. However reflect was never a problem with Elementalist. It is however a must choice for all other classes.

  • Please note that AOE from tree got nerfed. Investing in that may not be as desirable any longer. Maybe just a bit. The Elementalist doesn't really need any AOE since Beacon of Ruin provides free proliferation.


  • The Grand Spectrum jewels got nerfed. Each jewel now only gives 4% damage increase. The damage we get with 10 of the new jewels (400%) will be approximately as high as the damage we get with 6 good rare ones. With 12 Spectrums however we get 576% damage increase which is pretty good. Depending on the price of the new gems, it may still be worth getting them.

  • The Red Dream and The Red Nightmare are interesting. They need to be tested but I have high hopes. They may fix one of the biggest problems with this build. Porcupines spikes!

  • The Formless Inferno is a new helmet in Breach. This needs to be tested. Dex will be a big problem. It can potentially be great, especially for the Elementalist, since it synergies well with the Paragon of Calamity ascendancy node. It will not only reduce the physical damage taken, but also provide us with a quite reliable 40% fire damage increase and 8% reduced fire damage taken. The helm also provides a healthy dose of Armour and life.

  • The new amulet Xoph's Heart is pretty cool. However, I feel that Ngamahu Tiki is stronger.

    This new amulet has a new unique property "Cover Enemies in Ash when they hit you". This causes enemies to take increased Fire Damage and have less movement speed. Specifically:

    20% less Movement Speed
    20% increased Fire Damage Taken

    Especially the increase fire damage taken should be a global effect. That means that other party members also benefit from it.

    There is also an upgraded version of this amulet called Xoph's Blood. The amulet has some great potential with some fire based builds. However it is not going to work well with Explosive arrow, because it grants us Avatar of fire and thus conflicting with Elemental Equilibrium.

    However it may still be worth dropping EE for this amulet. Honestly I don't know, because I don't play EA in Breach I will not get to test it. If anyone does please report, so I can make the info available in this thread.


The build is still cool and very tanky. However I'll roll in the atlas with a Elementalist, as she provides better clear speed and damage. Please note that I play SC.

Other recommendations are:

  • Use the Doryani's Invitation belt (fire variant).
  • Get Ngamahu Tiki and maybe you can even corrupt it...
  • Use Rearguard instead of Hyrri's bite.
  • Try to use Winds of Change. You can potentially use Purity of Elements instead of Purity of Fire. Especially if you are Elementalist.
  • Use Immortal Call!
  • Try to get empower or Increased Burning Damage Support gem on swap for reduced duration for bosses.
  • A good flask that seems to be made for EA is also Dying Sun.
  • The new Opal Ring base type is the best in slot for rings now.

As a side note let me say that the Champion is probably the better bet for HC. He will clear a bit slower, but he will be tankier.


Bosses to avoid like a plague are the ones that can't be ignited. You may attempt those only with Elemental Focus support gem:

  • Atziri
  • Argus (enraged)
  • Any enraged boss

These are the map mods that this build should NEVER do:

Avoid Prefix:
  • Mirrored - Monsters reflect 13% - 18% of Elemental Damage

Avoid Suffix:
  • of Insulation - Monsters cannot be affected by Elemental Status Ailments

And these are the ones that are doable but not ideal:

  • Chaining - Monsters' skills Chain 2 additional times (you have 2 golems!)
  • Incombustible - +40% - +80% Monster Fire Resistance

  • of Insulation - Monsters have 60% chance to Avoid Elemental Status Ailments
  • of Stasis - Players have no Life or Mana Regeneration

>>> Let's get started:

While this guy works great in the endgame, it's not very efficient for leveling. It's actually very hard because the tree has almost no damage nodes till much later on.
Honestly I think that Elementalist is most fun and easiest starter EA build that is also very strong.

but if I was to level a Champion again I think I would do 2 hand melee (Earthquake), till I get EE and of course Mortal conviction. After that I'd respec to EA.

Since I spec out of melee damage nodes I can get to EO and other damage nodes instead. That would cost some regrets but I think it's still worth it. You can have a decent leveling experience that way and respec is not too expensive.

This is the tree I crafted for this purpose. Please note that this is not tested and it should only serve as a guide in case you want to level with a melee skill.

Ascendancy point allocation progression:

  • Inspirational
  • Fortitude
  • First to strike, last to fall

>>> In detail




Defense in hideout:

Defense with sulphur flask:

How it works

General "cleaning":

The play stile is quite fast. All you need to do is shoot 1-2 times at mobs and they die. Maybe shoot few frenzy shots between packs to keep up your frenzy charges (and power charges).

Boss man:

You can use a decoy totem. I also like to throw a Vaal lightning trap. After that it's the usual biz. Just tag them and try to keep your frenzy up of course. Try stacking 5 Explosive arrows and use the walls to your advantage if that is possible. Stay mobile and use blink arrow. Don't forget to use the Sulphur flask!

*For more check the video section.

Keystone mechanics and curses

Elemental equilibrium:

This is a big damage booster. In order to use this properly we need to make sure that our weapon damage doesn't deal any fire damage. We need to get a source of either cold or lightning damage. This type of damage can be found on some Armour gear or crafted on jewelry.
The target gets hit with cold or lightning damage. They will gain +25% resistance toward that element type. They will lose -50% resistance to the other element/s.

When you hit the enemy with frenzy or Explosive arrow the hit will apply some physical damage and the elemental damage from your other gear. Note that the explosive arrow doesn't deal any fire damage. Only the after effect explosion does. You can also check what kind of (elemental) damage you deal with your attacks in the Character window > Offense > any attack skill / Explosive arrow > Main hand "xy" damage.
After the Explosive arrow explosion you will need to reapply the effect to gain EE again.

Elemental overload:

The reason why we need to stack accuracy and some critical strike chance. Combined with the high attack speed it's quite reliable to work at about 10% critical chance and up. Every time we score a critical strike this buff will add 40% more elemental damage for 8 seconds. In practice this buff stays up most of the time.

Blood magic

You may not know this but a 6 link explosive arrow is a very high mana consuming skill. With blood magic we are able to get a higher life pool that help us sustain the mana cost of Explosive arrow. We also stack all the life regen we can find. This makes us very tanky.


Daloco wrote:
Lets say we put out 300k damage on a monster with 30% fire resistance, our 300k damage will be cut of by 30% (300*0.70=210). That is a severe damage reduction.

If we use modifiers that remove resistance we directly increase our damage by a lot. Since enemies can have minus in resistances its always a huge damage increase to lower their resistances.

Curses are very powerful mechanic. I have personally opted for 1 curse myself. I don't want to be too dependent on them as sometimes you can encounter mobs or even maps that are immune to curses (Hexproof). Bosses will get a curse effectiveness reduction of 60% by default. The reflected damage we take is also higher. There are many other ways to improve our damage and some defensive curses also synergise well with our build.

Monsters and maps can have modifiers that make them (or monsters inside of them, in the case of maps) hexproof or immune to curses.

Act and map bosses have 60% less Curse Effect.

If you still want to scale with curses, then there are ways to get 2 or even 3 curse setup. The easiest way is to take the Whispers of doom passive node on the tree. This node is not too far from our main pathing but it still requires us to sacrifice the passive points.
The other option is to get +1 to curses by corrupting our amulet. The downside here is that the chances of getting this are quite "slim" and we can even lose the item entirely. The up side is that there are other results we can get with corruption that also benefits our build. Here's the full list of possible corruption results.

If you do decide to go for 2 or more curses you could also get an Intuitive Leap jewel and stick it in the socket on the left side of the start tree for Scion. Then leap to Skittering Runes and potentially get the Scion aoe nodes as well.

Gems and links

Main attack - Explosive arrow:

Explosive arrow > Fire penetration > Lesser / Greater multiple projectiles > Slower projectiles > Chance to ignite / Elemental focus > Less duration / Increased Burning Damage Support / Empower

There are other options too. But I used this set up when I only had 1 6 link. It worked just fine. If you have 2 six links your set up may be different.

A 5 link should be plenty for endgame. Of course the 6th link does not hurt (but requires more life regen). The last in the chain would be Less duration as the damage modifier got nerfed in 2.4. It is still however a great quality of life improvement. A high level Empower should be much more desirable for damage. You can also try Increased Burning Damage Support if your Empower is not leveled yet.
I decided to focus on burning damage. Ignite is a powerful mechanic.

This combo turned out to be working the best for me. I would switch out Chance to Ignite Support for Elemental Focus Support gem for bosses that cant be ignited. Additionally you can use Culling Strike Support for the T15+ maps bosses. But I'd suggest that you still have a LMP setup on the weapon swap!
The Less duration gem is a must for the Berserker! I am also using it with my Grand Spectrum setup.

There are many more options you can try out, especially if you Own a second Quill rain that you can use to swap between single target and the pack clearing setups. For example you could opt out of Beacon of Ruin ascendanycy and instead get the Pendulum of Destruction. You could then use the Elemental Proliferation gem that grants much bigger radius for the prolif.

Secondary attack - Frenzy:

Frenzy > Greater multiple projectiles > Curse on Hit > Flammability

Since we only have a 4 link for this we need to make the most of it. After some testing I landed on this combo.

Golem and Blink arrow:

Cast when stunned / Cast when damage taken lvl 20 > Summon flame golem > Blind
Blink arrow / Decoy totem

Cast when stunned or Cast when damage taken lvl 20 allow us to get the golem up when most needed (It's up almost all the time). Blind can sometimes work great against bosses but it's completely optional.

Cast when damage taken and Vaal lightning trap:

Cast when damage taken > increased duration > Immortal Call > Vaal Lightning Trap

There's many options available. You can do whatever you want. This is my current preference.
Immortal Call is really important and Vaal Lightning Trap is a great damage boost for bosses. Both gems benefit from increased duration.
Keep the CWDT gem at about level 5-9.

Essence Worm:

Not much to say other than use it. Put "Purity of Fire" in; It will keep you alive. Reflect is a real problem without this thingy (just with Champion and not a problem with Elementalist). You can also use Purity of Elements for Elemental Weakness maps or other purity gems for certain bosses.

Gear explanation

Bow - Quill Rain

Quill Rain is a no brainer for any EA build unless you own a "fast" bow with +1 or ideally +3 level of gems. A +3 bow would be great for single target boss kills while Quill rain is still the king on the general clearing front:

Quiver - Hyrri's Bite / Rearguard

Hyrri's Bite is the best starter choice for a quiver with the much needed dexterity, increased AOE and attack speed. It is also very cheap. I can also be made with vendor recipe. That makes it an ideal candidate to "science" it for an additional arrow.

Later on I recommend using Rearguard. It's better for survivability and it has increased projectile damage that will scale both the initial hit and the burn damage!

Helmet - Devoto's Devotion

Bull says "It's like a boot but you put it on the head". Devoto's Devotion works great! It adds attack speed, movement speed and a lot of Armour and evasion along with a healthy dose of dexterity which is in demand and quite scarse on the tree. Of course chaos resistance doesn't hurt at all. I also had a lucky enchant on this one.
You can also use a Rare helmet if the finances doesn't allow for Devoto.

Chest piece - Kaom's Heart

"The" Armour of choice. I did try a 6 link Belly of the Beast and I had a 6 link Carcass Jack in the past. That also worked great. But Kaom's Heart is just soo good with tons of life and the fire damage on top. Just pure awesomeness.
As a stepping stone you can use a Tabula Rasa or a Rare 5 link chest.

Gloves - Winds of Change

I recommend using Winds of Change. These will give you a lot of damage and they even have life.
Otherwise you can use simple rare gloves with Life, resists and accuracy rating or attack speed.


On boots you look for Life, resists, movement speed, maybe some dexterity:

Amulet - Ngamahu Tiki

Ngamahu Tiki can give you the most damage. You can also try to corrupt these as they are not too expensive. Of course you can also use a rare amulet... A rare should have Life, accuracy rating, fire damage. Other stats are just optional. Resists if you need and critical strike chance is fine.


Essence worm is very important for a champion. Not important for an elementalist though. This is a great mitigation for reflect. It works great! With it we can get a free aura slot that we use for Purity of Fire. Bam! Reflect problem is no more. Other uses for this can be to use Purity of Elements for elemental weakness maps, or other purity gems for certain difficult bosses that are known to be associated with a specific element.

This is a filler for the remaining resists that we need. It should have a lot of accuracy if that is possible and of course life. I also added the flat lightning damage to attacks that we need to proc elemental equilibrium:

Of course a rare ring can have much more resistances than a Purity of Elements gem on an Essence worm. You also don't have to color the ring when you want to change auras. I use the second ring for elemental weakness maps. It also has some life on it. The best in slot Ring right now is a rare Opal Ring.

Belt - Doryani's Invitation

The last piece of gear. The fire variant of Doryani's Invitation is great as it provides double dipping damage and mainly a lot of resist. We do lose some life though.
A rare belt will also do. It just needs life, resists and maybe some strength or dexterity. I also like the flask life recovery rate although it's not really needed:


We are looking for rare jewels with:

Most people can't really afford to buy 10 or more Grand spectrums, so rare jewels will do just fine.

  • increased maximum life
  • increased fire damage
  • increased projectile damage
  • increased Area Damage
  • increased Damage
  • increased Damage over Time
  • increased Accuracy Rating
  • increased critical strike chance with fire skills
  • global critical strike chance
  • increased Attack Speed with Bows
  • increased Attack Speed
  • increased Attack and Cast Speed
  • chance to Ignite

*Note that the list goes from most to least important. Critical strike chance is not really that important. You only need about 10% - 15% to make it reliable.

Best in slot:

Get your self at least 10 Grand Spectrum jewels.

The Grand Spectrum jewels got nerfed in 2.5. Each jewel now only gives 4% damage increase. The damage we get with 10 of the new jewels (400%) will be approximately as high as the damage we get with 6 good rare jewels. With 12 Spectrums however we get 576% damage increase which is pretty good.

  • 10 jewels = 400% increased damage
  • 11 jewels = 484% increased damage
  • 12 jewels = 576% increased damage

(This is the legacy version. The new one only has 4% increase)

As a stepping stone you can also combine your Viridian Jewels with the Crimson Jewels. This was hinted to me by Deericious (on Reddit).
I'd suggest to not start with Spectrum jewels until you have at least 8 Viridian spectrums.

For example if you have 9 Viridian and 2 Crimson jewels you would get:

  • 432% increased elemental damage
  • 1800 armour


  • Two instant flasks with dispel freeze and bleed. Must have. The flasks with Panicked prefix are especially great because of our high life pool.
  • The sulphur flask is amazing in this combo. With the High life pool and super life regen this flask really does a great job in sustaining life and adding that sweet extra 40% damage increase.
  • The ruby is not even needed most of the time but it's a great extra safety measure. And of course if you like the more fancy stuff you can get a Dying Sun flask.
  • Quicksilver flask dooh... Use 1 or 2 depending what kind of content you play.
  • The Wise Oak is a new interesting flask that can be used to mitigate reflect, or it can be used to amp the damage and reduce the damage taken from other elements. Furthermore, this flask can potentially help in Elemental Weakness maps!

  • For the defenses we can use the unique flasks Taste of Hate and Rumi's Concoction. These are especially good for the pathfinder and the Berserker. A very solid option is also a nice Basalt Flask. I feel that if your life pool is higher than 7.5k life you don't really need those but it's a matter of preference.
  • The Berserker can use Doedre's Elixir to manually proc the ascendancy Cloaked in Savagery.


  • Normal > Kill all (help Oak if you prefer that)
  • Cruel > Kill all
  • Merciless > Help Kraityn

We have enough life and attack speed. No more is really needed, but if you prefer you can get that 40 flat life in normal.
We do rely on our frenzy charges. It is very easy to sustain them and they do give more damage (or provide a much longer phase run).

>>> In action!


T15 Abyss - Highlights - 2.3

Boss kill Crematorium T11 - 2.3

Full map run Chateau T10 - 2.3

Ultra rip T14 Conservatory because Scrubs for the win! - 2.3


Twinned T15 Colosseum: - 2.3

Deadly -max T15 Abyss: - 2.3

>>> Credits:

Thanks F4F.Lucifer for the theory crafting and opinions.

Greengroove's Loot Filter Scripts: poeurl.com/OMs
Last edited by Greengroove on Aug 20, 2017, 1:30:47 AM
Last bumped on Aug 15, 2017, 10:42:55 AM
I had much fun with this build. It will definitely stay viable for a while. However I will be attempting another explosive arrow build in Prophecy with Elementalist. It could end up being even better than this one. It will definitely have more deeps. And should be pretty easy to level with.
I can't wait!

The Build guide for Explosive arrow Elementalist is here.
Greengroove's Loot Filter Scripts: poeurl.com/OMs
Last edited by Greengroove on Sep 13, 2016, 2:40:38 PM
How did you level this character?
It was quite bad to level. Really had to be carried a lot. I did try leveling with projectile spells (spark, freeze pulse).
Would probably be better if I did 2 hand earthquake and respec later on.

It is great once you get the EA gear and you have Elemental overload and Elemental equilibrium.
Greengroove's Loot Filter Scripts: poeurl.com/OMs
Great defensive build while still maintain very respectable damage. This guy carried my VMS character in a twinned Colloseum map without breaking a sweat while I hide behind pillars. Recommended for HC players.

For leveling I think it is best to go Blood Magic incinerate or just incinerate with double heralds if you have elreon's jewelry. Once you get EA and Quill Rain it should be smooth sailing from there.
Bull's PoE Build compilation: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1639201
How is the elementalist working out for you in E-league?

Pretty nice! Just got my Kaoms yesterday. I was very busy updating the filter and rng was not that great. I dropped an ex yesterday so that was great. Now I only need to 6 link my bow. and the build is done. The other thing is to get 2 more jewels.

Next thing will be corrupting quiver and amulet and some uber farming for enchant.

I have a bit less life (about 7.2k) but the damage is good. I have slightly updated the preliminary tree. See the 2.4 update section.

I will post some videos next week. And a new guide sometime in the future.
Greengroove's Loot Filter Scripts: poeurl.com/OMs
Last edited by Greengroove on Sep 10, 2016, 8:24:03 AM
Damn Build is quite expensive on EHC. lol

Going to have to farm the gear really slowly..
What's the price for Kaoms? I mean It has to be the no1 armour for hc... Hc has unfortunately also a substantially smaller market.
Id say that kaoms is a must have but all other gear is optional. In fact maybe you could prioritize on life gear over dmg.

Wish you good luck. Last league I died at 90. Hope you do better!
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