[2.6] Explosive Arrow Pathfinder W/Videos -HC Endgame Mapping, Grandmasters, T16 Guardian Guides

AS of 3.0, the single target for this build has been dramatically cut down. This build is still great at clearing, and if you're ignoring map bosses you can be fine running this, but it's not the all around great build for everything at a budget that it used to be.

I may test some stuff on my old gg gear in standard and see if anything is to be done. Right now there is potential with scorching ray but that's probably done better as a witch or scion instead. Until then I'm not likely to update this unless I can come up with something that makes the single target less of an issue. On top of not being strong on single target, EA's current mechanics don't make it fun to use on bosses for a long period of time.

Sorry for the lack of replies.

Hi, I've never written a guide before so sorry if this doesn't seem fancy enough, I don't really know how to format this. This was my league starter build for Prophecy Hardcore. I also ran it in Essence Hardcore league and it got stronger after the patch. In here you'll find lots of videos of higher end content, skill trees and gear options. This build can start out cheap and handle most content in the game, but will also have huge scaling the more currency you sink into it.

FOR UPDATE 2.6 Including early league skill tree

Build is good to go. no major changes. I'll update as more things come up

1. http://poeurl.com/5fY level 90 tree at beginning of hardcore league with out gg gear. OAK KRAIT KRAIT.

2. legacy kaoms and legacy rumi's are gg if you can get them. Sample tree with legacy kaoms http://poeurl.com/5gg 8.5k life with mostly damage investments on tree.

3. brinerot gloves %damage while flask seems to be 25% max, it's nothing crazy but if you're minmaxing craft these potentially.

this flask is really helpful early on if you maximize fire res. uncapped res means your total res amount outside of the 75% cap, so if all 3 resistances are equal you get all the pen and reduction and it is modified by flask effect. you can get that to be 30% pen and 15% ele reduction. This will not be as helpful if you use taste of hate.

4. Ash frost and storm reflect is nice, but not necessary. will help with tanky breach reflect mobs though

5. Empower 4 not worth it, about equal in damage to less duration

6. AOE nerf not significant enough. I usually don't stack to 5 anyway, if I need more aoe I'd stack more.

7. Early on, see if you can get emperor of purity cards for a cheap 6link with life and resists that's easy to color for single target. last league they were 20-28c in the first week. should help till you get kaoms.

8. Likely leveling with ele bows until cruel dried lake again, though the new unique improvements might change that.

8. porcupine invader has high reflect, avoid fighting him.

The rest of the guide for the most part still applies. no major changes at all.

Build Summary

This is a summary of the basic build for the endgame, there's potential optimizations
you can do and this depending on gear and league, but this is gives a basic idea of what you should shoot for:
Basic level 90 tree:

Path of building code for a level 90 build with some basic endgame items:
feel free to mess around with it to get the life and damage you want.

Bandits: Oak Krait Krait

Ascendancy: Pathfinder -> master alchemist -> master surgeon

Example gear and links

Skill links:
Single target: EA - conc effect - chance to ignite - fire penetration - slower projectiles - less duration
AOE: EA - gmp - fire pen - less duration - slower projectile - ince aoe/chance to ignite/empower4/culling strike ( a 6link is not necessary for AOE clear, last gem is really upto you if you get a second 6link)

Single curse - Frenzy-gmp-curse on hit-flamability
dual curse no dying sun: Rain of arrows/split arrow - curse on hit-flamability ele weakness
if you have a dying sun you can use frenzy since you get the gmp from it.
Cast when damage taken - immortal call - vortex/gmp arctic breath
vaal lightning trap
blink arrow

Leveling: Level as ele bows until you have enough points for blood magic and Elemental equilibrium. level EA gems as you're going along, EA's damage is heavily dependent on its level so when switching use the highest level possible.

Endgame gear progression and priority:
1. 5link quill rain + 5link/6link chest with high life + rumi's + wise oak + ngamahu tiki
2. 2 5link quill rains and kaom's heart
3. 1 6link quill rain (don't need 2)
4. Dying Sun
5. Fire/area/projecile damage life jewels
6. Opal rings with %fire damage
7. Second curse amulet(if available)
8. taste of hate

Note that while vinktar is on the list, typically I clear the map and sell the clear to other players to pay for it. I recommend doing this because it's an easy map and there's usually 1 vinktar that people pay a lot for that's worth selling. With wise oak, vinktar is not as important for regular mapping. it makes farming uber izaro easier though because you can't use vaal lightning trap.

For Update 2.5: The only thing we lost is block chance and decoy totem's cool down. Pretty much no changes, unless a new unique shows up to buff the build. This is good to go for breach.

EA Pathfinder FAQ for 2.5:

Original 2.3 video: It's pretty much the same basic concepts of the build and tree on worse gear than what is available now.

If you're not convinced by my videos, here are what other players have been able to do

Just found out your guide, and it felt good that someone wrote one.
Running something very similiar currently on EHC, and feeling great.
Just wanted to thumbs up this guide, adding my vote for this build in the pool of godlike hc builds, great job!

Also, this is what i call hardcore viable:

Essencebro wrote:
Awesome build man thanks for making this!

Pretty much destroying all the content so far, except for the annoying phoenix boss, that dude takes ages.

This is what i'm rocking with so far.

nexusshadow wrote:

Thanks for the amazing build, been playing it since the start of the league, and here i am now
(Still made a few tweaks myself, and there's still a lot of work to do, but still, that's a big step)

Zeadus1 wrote:
Killed Shaper in Essence! only 1 death and easy avoidable

if you have dying sun gmp is useless replace with slower proj, crit on boots is amazing with elemental focus, 6.5k HP enough for the fight, only thing that will one shot you is the slam and it is easy avoidable. Amulet was hard to find because there were none for like 1 week. Blue gem was conc effect instead of chance to ignite but chance to ignite is cool too, 100% ignite is too good. Frenzy is better than rain of arrows when you have dying sun and +1 arrows in the quiver. Helm had a CWDT IC setup that could be easily replaced with another skill or W/E

Edit: Forgot to mention, get at least EA 21/20, empower 4 will help a lot but with 3 damage is still insane. Ring had accuracy crafted when i fought shaper, changed to fire after because i was using it with another character


Also Thanks for the guide, very nice build plus the videos were very informative for the guardian fights in how to approach them as EA

XNOTE wrote:
Here to share final gear of this build. Must say it was most enjoyable build I've played. Done ALL bosses even Guardians (some with sketchy mods like Fire res 80%, Status ailment etc. with dmg, speed) and Shaper himself, feels good man :)

vs pesky curses

*They are solving res. issues and work as power spike too.

Will slam exalts on them and buying better ones, as 3 have area effect but I want fire damage instead as it gives more % tops.


I could improve my boots so I could use Izaro lab enchant but it doesn't really bother me and isn't needed for build to shine, just using those boots to fit the -resistance on maps like Putrid.

I guess this is it for this league, was a blast!

sss111 wrote:
Rip'ed one shaper set got flask from second set

Might actually grind to 100 its fun as fuck

jhonnyfoe0712 wrote:
Hi Dingis,

This is by far one of the nicest builds I've played. Instead of using a Kaom's I decided to run a double-curse setup and a Body Armour with Essence of Horror (15% of Physical Damage taken as Cold Damage). On lvl 94 I am at over 7200hp. For Lab runs I switch out the Dying Sun flask for a Basalt Flask.
I am on ESC and the only way to die is by trying min-max T15/16, dying to Izaro on full ele charges or Ele Reflect Maps that I occasionally run by mistake.

Here's my gear:



Explosive arrow works like this, when you hit a target, it will deal the base attack damage you have, but will put an explosive with a timer on it(will refer to it as a fuse). the base is 1 second but is shortended by less duration

The explosion part is what we scale, not the attack part. The explosion is generic fire projectile area damage. It's secondary damage that's not an attack or spell, and will only be scaled by generic damage nodes. That's generally why I chose the damage in this tree.

The arrows can stack multiple times if the enemy is attacked with in the fuse timer, up to a maximum of 5. Every attack after the 5 stacks will just reset the fuse time, so when done getting 5, you should stop stacking and let it explode.

The damage of EA is basically the damage of the first arrow multiplied by the number of arrows in the stack, up to 5 times. The stats of the rest of the stack don't matter and can be fired with different links and weapons, they just multiply the damage of the first arrow.

The area of effect is also increased by the stack size.

Typically for the gmp set up, you fire enough shots until you're comfortable fire the curse on hit and move on. Early on you might need more stacks, later on a couple of shots would end up doing the job when you're at the high end of damage.

For bosses, stacking to five then curse on hit to get the highest ignite possible. hit them again afterwords for Elemental equilibrium so that the burn is much higher.


This question seems to come up a lot in this topic and answered alot

if you only have 4links
4link Explosive Arrow -> Fire Pen -> Chance to ignite -> Concenterated effect

If you have a 5 link put the single target set up in the 5link because the 4link is good enough for packs already, put slower less duration/slower projectiles which ever feels nicer for you.

Get Elemental Equilibrium, and 1 piece of gear with flat lightning or cold damage.

stack 5 of the single arrow(the 5 stacks count as 1 big explosion, so high burn damage on ignite) then use a curse on hit flamability set up (I use frenzy gmp curse on hit flamability). make sure you hit them again after the explosion to make them weak to fire again(the explosion makes them resist fire so the burn isn't as high until you hit them again). I usually just spam frenzy a lot and move while waiting on explosion.

If you're still having trouble, let me know what maps you're upto, what level you are, and if you are grouping or solo. damage overtime effects feel slower the higher monster health is, so in groups on a 5link you'll feel weak.

My Gear In Essence Hardcore

The character ripped doing Hall of the grandmasters service, here was my gear and tree before ripping.

Skill tree:

So the rest of this content from 2.3 should basically be the same, if any monster interactions come up I will list them.

Videos: They include pretty much all t13+ content and Easy Uber izaro kills, mostly twin boss kills-
Here's a video guide of the build.

Here's how I leveled to 95 in red maps in PHC
(includes quick uber izaro kill, and getting core malachi achievement)

HC Hall of the Grandmasters Tips

My first ever attempt at hall of the grandmasters. Deathless:
I was going slow at first because I was trying to do it deathless to see viability for hardcore. then halfway I started going in to see how much damage I can take in the map. If you plan on doing this in hardcore it's doable. You can go slow and you have auto refiling flasks so you can go into every stage with full flask effect.

Atziri Guide For this build-
As of 2.4 Frost wall no longer works with EA. The end of this video shows an atziri kill with Ele focus single target instead of frost wall. I said I don't recommend it when frost wall is available, but it should work well enough regardless.

----Guaridan Boss Fight Guides----
Note: The gear used here is the gear from prophecy and not the gear from EHC (look below if you want to compare damage)

Chimera Boss fight Guide

Phoenix Boss fight Guide

Minatour Boss fight Guide

Hydra Boss fight Guide

How does explosive arrow work?
Explosive arrow is not like any other bow skill in the game, it doesn't care about bow stats for damage. The explosion is not an attack or a spell, is not affected by auras, and the tool tip will not reflect its damage. The way to scale explosive arrow is through fire damage, elemental damage, area damage, projectile damage and gem levels. Stacking 5 of these results in a singular high damage explosion, so getting the highest attack speed through quill rain is the best way to scale damage. The explosions can overlap causing a lot of damage to packs when near each other with and it scales well with radius. Because of the high fire damage the the stacked arrow gets, it's also good for a high damage burn when it ignites that's also scaled (double dips) with elemental damage, fire damage, area damage and projectile damage. The high mana cost and attack speed generally requires the player to get blood magic and high amounts of life and regen.

On thing that tends to worry people is the delay for the explosion, but the natural flow of playing explosive arrow is to quickly fire off a few shots, shoot a curse on hit skill and move on while the pack dies behind you. Once you get used to it, the flow is pretty fun to play at least for me.

What is this build?
This is an Explosive Arrow build on a pathfinder. Pretty straight forward actually. Explosive Arrow builds generally have high life and high damage, so pairing it with the defenses of a pathfinder's flasks, you can get a high damage character with a lot of Survivability.

But let's get this out of the way because it will always be asked anyway.
Yes I know Elementalist is a good choice for Explosive arrow. I made one last league.
No I never died to reflect ever on an explosive arrow build and I never used the reflect reduction elementalist had this league. Even if Elementalist can do reflect map I would end up skipping it anyway. single rare reflect mobs are easy to deal with

Explosive arrow has always been solid so a lot of ascendancies work. Berserker, chieftan, juggernaut, champion are all good, explosive arrow is pretty easy to make. I just wanted to do pathfinder. I don't want to start a waifu war, I really just like the Adrenaline flask on a pathfinder. that's really it.

What can this build do?
Kill all twin maps in hardcore except for core.
Farm Uber lab and run trials easily with high life regen, movement speed and flask auto regen
Shrug off damage in red maps with multiple damage mods.
Get high physical damage reduction (90% with rumi's and an iron skin basalt)
Get high elemental damage production (8% elemental reduction, 84% max res for any given flask)
Get high block chance off rumi's and rearguard
movement quickly with adrenline quicksilver flask.
Swap flasks for different situations.
Shock bosses with vinktars for 8 seconds.
100% chance to ignite with chance to ignite gem
ignore all elemental status ailments
remove all bleed at any flask press.
*clear core deathless on easy mods on my second ever try
*Kill uber atziri on my second ever try on the last portal (barely failed to do it on first attempt)

*After it went to standard, I attempted my first core malachi and did it with 1 easily avoidable death, and did a second core deathless, it wasn't a tough core though. My first attempt at Uber Atziri I lost all portals at atziri when she was effectively dead, and second run I got her on the last portal. A lot of the deaths were my mistakes and it can be done better with more practice I just don't have enough money in standard. If you want videos of those let me know but they're not particularly impressive. Don't recommend doing either in hardcore, but I might end up trying core in EHC.

Oh and typical:
guess I would be mad if I got something better in standard though.

What does this Build hate?
Reflect maps- cant do them on this character, single reflect rares are easy though, just don't unload all your damage at once and you'll be fine
no regen maps - unless you've got leech corruption, and a leech gem, this is really uncomfortable, never tried it but I never needed to. lesser regen is fine though
Fire resistance and hex proof maps - pretty annoying. doable, but fights last longer and I skipped those in red maps. fire resistance is not terrible if you have dual curse.
Immune to status ailments maps - This is possibly doable if you use the frost wall gmp set up. I skipped these on hardcore because I wasn't waiting to experiment on it on my high end maps.

Everything else is fine though. No regen is the only packsize roll out of those so rolling over those map mods wasn't really an issue.

Tree and Ascendancy:

My tree:poeurl.com/IOL

Bandits: Oak - Krait/skill point - Krait/skill point. I went krait krait, but the second krait is not as necessary if you feel your attack speed will be fine as is.

Ascendancy choices:
Go to master alchemist first then to master surgeon. Because We get Elemental Equilbirium, the
the 10% phys as a random element will screw you over sometimes and is annoying. it's a good node though if you want to take it, I opted for the surgeon to not need a bleed flask. with my 3 unique flask set up and an adrenline quicksilver it's really helpful.

The last 5 points I put in the tree were just thrown around. the last area of effect node on witch, quick step and some dead end 5% life life nodes were the last 5 points I got. was really considering buying another jewel and getting the jewel node next to elementalist node and getting the life below there by removing some other 5% nodes, but I never did it.


Uniques needed:
Quill rain, rearguard, Rumi's concoction

Unique chests:

The best set up for this character is to get a kaom's heart and 2 quill rains, 1 for single target and one for general clear.

Since this was my league starter, I used 1 quill rain and Belly of the best. both 5 links to get to 90.

For a while I used a lightening coil instead of belly of the beast, both are ok to use, the life difference is about 300-400, and belly is cheaper and requires less gearing to over cap resistances.

Softcore option: Carcass jack

Unique flasks:

Rumi's is the best unique flask you need. Taste of hate is a luxuary and iron skin basalt flask did carry me to 93. Dying sun is an endgame goal, but it's not needed for the build to work, just to up the clear speed. Buy the cheapest Vinktar around or clear the map yourself because all you care about is shock. If you have access to dying sun it's an amazing clear speed boost on this build. Vinktar is not really needed but it helps on certain bosses particularly izaro to make him easier to kill.

Potential other uniques include: Devotoo's devotion for movement speed and attack speed, blood dance for fenzy generation, essence worm for a free aura like purity of fire, ngamhu tiki for fire damage, the gull as an all purpose helmet.

Rest of the gear is rare items for life elemental and chaos resistance and 1 item with added cold or lightning damage for EE. Get a flask duration belt, and possibly another suffix flask mod like reduced charges used if you're set on resistances. 1 piece of gear with good accuracy can help you out a lot. Helmet, gloves, amulet, and rings can roll it and it usually drives down the price of the item as it's seen as a negative to most people.

For jewels, get maximum life and resistances to overcap for ele weakeness (169 elemental resistances in hideout). Get Fire damage/Area damage/projectile damage. Ideally fire damage on all jewels since it can roll 16% as opposed to 12% with the other damage mods and it will add up in the long run.

Make sure to get a few flasks for different situations. The ele flasks are good for maps with +elemental damage. if you have taste of hate, do keep around a basalt flask still, Silver flask is also a good speed boost. And curse immune flask for the situations that call for it.

get a life leech enchant on boots if you can or possibly a fire leech corruption on rearguard or amulet, and explosive arrow enchant on helmet or flamability curse. either is fine I never bothered to get the enchants I wanted

Gem Links

I used a chance to ignite arrow on weapon swap for this build, it handles most content in the game, if you want you can do the frost wall set up, but it was never consistent enough for me in the past to try it out. You will want it if you try atziri on this build, and if you're killing argus in lab.

AOE Explosive arrow: Explosive arrow, Fire penetration, Greater multiple projectiles, less duration.
The next 2 links would be a combination of life leech if you have none on gear, increased area of effect, chance to ignite, and slower projectiles. I used mostly a 5link till 95 when I 6linked a quill rain.

Single target Explosive arrow: Explosive arrow, fire penetration, chance to ignite, concentrated effect, less duration, Slower projectiles.

Curse on hit: I used my lazy set up, Frenzy Greater multiple projectiles, curse on hit, flamability. If you get +1 curse amulet, use rain of arrows or split arrow. Color the last slot blue, and use Elemantal weakness if you need damage, enfeeble if you have dangerous mods.

Cast when damage taken + immortal call You can add vortex or gmp arctic breath if you have the space

Blink arrow
A golem of some kind, doesn't matter really any are fine, stone golem is good while leveling until your life regen is high enough to be comfortable with EA + blood magic. I just didn't bother most of the game
Decoy totem: Bosses just can't resist it. helps on stacking EA and putting up frost walls or sending a boss close to a wall.

My Gear In Prophecy


Explosive arrow is not really that good to use until you can use GMP and sustain its mana cost with blood magic and regen. GMP and increased aoe are 38, which is around the skill points you need to get blood magic. Don't switch to EA for malachai unless you're completely set, but level up 2 explosive arrows when you get to 28 because it scales heavily through gem level. Gems you'll need from other classes: fire penetration, concentrated effect chance to ignite.


To comfortably switch have the 2 4links for both single target and aoe EE, a decoy totem and a stone golem. Decoy totem makes annoying bosses easier to deal with.

Until then, bow leveling or projectile spell leveling will work. I used Shrapnel shot until I got blast rain. I used an ele bow (Essence crafted). grab the ranger projectile damage nodes at first when you level you can spec out of them later. head towards blood magic through duelist than head up towards witch then templar areas for the aoe, alchemist and fire nodes, and grab all the nearby life and the 1 point jewel slots. get the 2 point jewel slots next, and get drudic rites.

For lab, get to master alchemist first in cruel lab, master sergeon isn't hugely needed when you don't have a bunch of unique flasks, so you can save uber lab till way later.

45 Points - get near blood magic - grab duelist leech to make blast rain more comfortable, respec these when you have proper gear for EA, you'll need 5. Switching around 45 seems the most comfortable at the start of the league but later if you have good leveling gear you can possibly switch earlier.

82 points - Switch to blood magic and get to witch area

105 Points - templar all jewels, life nodes. if you don't have good jewels yet, get dead end 5% life nodes instead

Let me know if you have any questions or if I missed anything. Or if you got tips on making guides or formatting for a newbie at it.
Last edited by dingis on Aug 8, 2017, 7:01:04 PM
Last bumped on May 24, 2018, 6:19:32 PM
Added Hall of the Grandmasters video.
do you suggest this build for next hc league?
there will be lots of new content and harder bosses. I'm looking for a build that can capable of do most of to content a tanky one for hc.
And also how to level fast? and when to change build to EA

ty have fun :)
I started this at the beginning of Prophecy and was using bow leveling, but I had an annoying time with the crappy bow I found. I think I got a jewelers touch after cruel brutus or merveil and bought and jewellered quill rain at that point. I would likely use essences to make a leveling bow at the start of the league since you won't have the leveling uniques to start with.

I think if you can get a low ilvl quill rain you can get away with a 4 link set up. in the past I used EA gmp fire pen increased AOE (you can use life leech instead if you don't care as much about aoe), and chance to ignite conc effect and it worked out fine. You can't really make use of quill rain without blood magic and good life regen from golem and nodes. but by 38 you should be able to, and that's when you can use gmp and increased aoe. If no acess to a quill rain, consider a +1 bow.

There's no point in rushing normal lab as a pathfinder, the first 2 points aren't a big deal, 4 points are really good to get master alchemist though, merciless is just the extra attack and movement speed which are nice.

This character is also good at running trials because the high life regen and movement speed and your auto regening flasks for when you mess up, so that helps you out as a league starter.

Another thing to note, though the rarity of it might be an issue, the corrupted essence of horror gives a 40% more elemental damage multiplier to helmet, this is more damage than less duration or slower projectiles as a 5th link. if you get a good helmet with this it reduces the need for a 5link bow or chest.

The annoying thing about this character early on is grouping with people, since you generally don't help groups or get helped by groups enough. I can carry a player through uber izaro on a 6link, never tried it on a 5link though.

That said I'm planning on starting this league with this build, and likely trying to complete the atlas as a personal goal. Generally EA is a good build for hardcore in any case.
Last edited by dingis on Aug 24, 2016, 11:27:26 AM
Added Atziri Fighting guide for this build.
Added a few notes about 2.4. TLDR build is good to go, no nerfs aside from less duration's damage and flamability curse effectiveness on bosses. Build is 2.4 ready and I'll keep it updated for 2.4
Last edited by dingis on Aug 30, 2016, 9:31:35 PM
Hey man !

After watching many times your build and videos, I think I'll go for that build on 2.4.

I'm trying to make a High armour version of that build - to get more physical mitigation - and use
The Brass Dome (new chest who gives 4k armour and no extra dmg from crits)
+ the Maloney's Nightfall Quiver (still trying to find a consistent way to apply blind on ennemies to fully use it).

So I had a question, can you tell how much hp you got without chest ?

You got 224% max life , on my tree I think I can manage to get a bit more since I'm going deeper on the marauder (no homo). (Edit: I'm getting close to final tree, think I can get 261% max life)

Thanks a lot for your guide sir !

(edit : after some testing on standard, I'll just follow your build (I will just replace some Fire dmg for more life for early levels) the playstyle you chose is tanky enough and I'll just loose a loooot of damage going full armour based)
(✿ =‿‿=)
Last edited by Yaumx on Aug 31, 2016, 5:32:18 AM
I will try to start with this build aswell.

Is it correct, that frost wall won't work in any way? our arrows won't stuck in it anymore?
So we have some gemslots free for other things.
After seeing the nerfs, I gotta say that EA will most likely become FOTM.

I'm also going to start with it (first time), there's not much else to play to be honest. Still deciding between Berserker and Pathfinder. I really like the flasks though. But berserker has broken damage and leech.

Report Forum Post

Report Account:

Report Type

Additional Info