2.4 [Berserker] Explosive Arrow - High Life, Girthy Ignites

What's up guys, my name's Felix and welcome to my Explosive Arrow guide!

As you guys can imagine, I'm a little tired of Blade Vortex, Barrage/Blastnado/Lightning Arrow, Earthquake, Ancestral Warchief, etc... so I started looking for something I have never done. I had a pair of 5L Quill Rains and a Kaom's in my stash, which led me here. I'm a little sad to have not played the skill during the heydays of Frost Wall, but EA is still a fantastic clear skill and absolutely destroys any boss not immune to ignite.

I wouldn't recommend this build as a beginner's choice because it will cost you a few exalts to get up and running. On top of that, Explosive Arrow is a bit weird to play when compared to the more meta/strong bow skills like Tornado Shot, Blast Rain, Lightning Arrow or Barrage

Let's kick things off with a good ol' list:


High life - 7k+
Fast clear
Can run every mod aside from Ele Reflect (has a bit of trouble with status immunity)
Can literally one-shot t15 bosses with 5 fuse ignites
Great lab/uber lab runner


Suffers to ignite immune bosses
Needs to level as melee
Has a moderate entry cost


Explosive Arrow is one of the few attack tagged skills that gets most of its damage from gem levels like spells do. This means that grabbing one, as well as the supports listed below, and leveling them from the earliest point possible is essential to having a smooth transition.

"Explosive Arrow is a ranged attack skill that fires an arrow which acts as a short duration fuse. Applying additional arrows to an enemy extends the duration. When the target dies or the fuses expire, the arrows explode, dealing fire AoE damage to nearby enemies. The damage and AoE radius are proportional to the number of arrows fired into the target, up to a maximum of 5." (poewiki)

To clarify: Arrows fired don't deal damage immediately, and instead detonate after a base delay of 1 second. An enemy can have up to 5 arrows active on it, and they won't detonate until you've stopped applying more. For each fuse, you gain a MASSIVE amount of damage and increased AoE.

For AoE clear, you don't need to worry about watching your ignites - just run and gun with a brief (~.5s with Less Duration) pause here or there. This changes hugely when it comes to single target DPS though: Because this build is mostly centered on ignite damage for single target, you need to be careful NOT to override or 'munch' a good ignite with a shitty one. A good practice is to get your 5 fuses out, wait for the detonation, and watch how fast the enemy's life is degenerating. You'll get a feel for what a good ignite looks like as you play - and if you get a poor one, fire another set of fuses and wait again. It is important to wait for your current ignite to end after applying a nice juicy one to avoid munching your good ignite with one that has far less damage. That being said, unless I'm going against Shaper, Guardians or Uber Izaro, I will keep applying fuses. Just know that you can use your ignites to stay safe and follow mechanics/dodge. .

Variance in ignites will be caused by the range of fire damage on the skill, as well as whether or not the fuse set was applied with Elemental Overload up.

Oak, Point, Point

Lvl 90 Tree

This build takes three keystones: Blood Magic, Elemental Equilibrium, and Elemental Overload. You have the option to take Resolute Technique over EO, but it isn't recommended as low accuracy isn't a huge deal considering the massive attack speed Quill Rain provides.

Large focus on life and fire damage


We take Berserker to get that fat 40% more damage multiplier as well as its proximity to everything we need:
Normal: Crave The Slaughter
Cruel: Aspect of Carnage
Merc: Pain Reaver
Uber: There are two choices here - My pick is Cloaked in Savagery to help ease the pain that comes from 10% increased damage taken (and a massive life pool), but you can just as easily take Rite of Ruin for it's solid defensive boost while mapping, and the attack speed boost for long boss fights. CoS Has good synergy with a CWDT>Molten Shell>IW>LL setup because we leech our full health pool when taking damage without needing to attack.


Got eem!

...Seriously though, the damage of this skill isn't reflected in its tool-tip. Don't be scared to see something like 100 dps when you first swap into EA


To get started, you'll want at least a 5L chest and a 5L Quill Rain. With the Frost Wall interaction gone, this build requires two gem setups for your single target and AoE damage.

Gear Discussion:

Quill Rain is our go-to. High APS, and a small amount of dex. Alternatively, you could run a +3 to gems bow, but you'd lose the ability to apply stacks as quickly as possible.

Rearguard does a lot for us: Proj damage being one of the few ways to scale EA's damage on a quiver, as well as block and spell block opening us up to using a Rumi's for extra damage mitigation. You can also run a Hyrri's Bite for its stat bonuses, which is a good way to make up dex should you choose to run a rare helm.

Devoto's gives a high amount of dex (which this build sorely needs) as well as movement speed and attack speed. Alternatively, you can wear a rare helm with life, resists and maybe a bit of accuracy, but you'll need to sacrifice elsewhere to hit the dex requirements.

Your eventual goal is to get a Kaom's. Extreme life gains and fire damage. When comparing against a +96 life 6L, I picked up around 1.7k life. A Belly can be used as a budget alternative.

The new Gripped Gloves base gives more proj damage. Life and resists here as well.

Literally anything goes here. You only need one piece to have an added element to your attacks to proc Elemental Equilibrium, the rest should be filled with life, resists and some dex.

Ideally, you'd want two Opal Rings to squeeze a bit more damage out. I don't have a good example to show currently, because I'm still in the process of crafting mine.

Essence Worm is a good choice for a ring slot if you can stand to give up the life and resists, and is highly recommended if you use a +3 bow instead of a Quill. You could also use Grace instead of Haste, or Purity of Fire to help protect against ele reflect.

You'll want two Quill Rains and two Rearguards to swap comfortably between your AoE and ST setups

My Current Gear:

Until 87, I was running on two 5L Quills, 2 Rears and a Kaom's - This will run you about 3.5ex on Standard, or ~2.5ex on ESC. 6L's do boost your damage considerably, but you should be free to clear up to ~t12/13 on 5's. I have read that people have been able to burn down t15 bosses with no issue on 5L's, so the decision to fuse spam or drop 7ex on a 6L is up to you.

Slower Proj is better than a level 3 Empower - once you have a level 4 Empower, swap it in for Slower Proj

AoE: EA> GMP> Less Duration> Fire Pen> Chance to Ignite - Slower Proj as your 6th

Single: EA> Slower Proj> Less Duration> Conc Effect> Chance to Ignite - Fire Pen as your 6th
-I was torn between Fire Pen and Conc Effect in a 5L, but ended up picking and sticking to Conc until I got my first 6L Quill.

GGBR - Blink Arrow, Flammability, Blood Rage, Stone Golem. Blink for mobility, Flammability for the extra oomph, BR for some charges and leech (omit for Vulnerability or -regen/no regen maps) and Stone Golem for both easy sustain while lab running and 'mana' regen.

RRRG - CWDT> Immortal Call> Inc Duration> Vaal Haste. Standard CWDT>IC>ICD setup. Vaal Haste to make extra use of Increased Duration.

RRRR - CWDT>Molten Shell>Life Leech>Iron Will This is something that I'm still debating, but I feel it fits in very well with Cloaked in Savagery. When you get hit, you're likely going to take at least 15% of your life. Proc'ing Molten Shell and then having it heal you an insane amount (while also dealing a bit of damage) fits in evry well with the build and adds a bit of safety.

Jewels, Flasks, etc...

You want to look for life, fire damage, proj damage, and area damage on your jewels.
-Even something like this sad Betty will work.

I'm not one to tell specific mods for your flasks - people have different preferences, patience with alts, and various flasks laying around. On that note, I would run either an Atziri's Promise or Dying Sun, a Rumi's, two life flasks (one of Staunching) and a Quicksilver (I prefer Heat on my Quicksilvers). I haven't died to a one-shot from ele reflect yet, but it would also be smart to fit a Ruby Flask in to add a little bit of safety.

Tips on Leveling, and Misc.

Since this build spends most of it's time grabbing life on the left side of the tree, level with melee. A comfortable place to swap is right after you've done your cruel lab. Until then, use Groundslam> Sunder> EQ + Ancestral Warchief to make things very smooth. You'll be extremely tanky, so the lack of scaling on the tree paired with the extremely strong combination of Earthquake and Ancestral Warchief will carry you along just fine.

-Even though Frost Wall no longer acts as a... well... wall, for the purposes of stacking AoE overlap, you'll find a substantial boost to damage from positioning enemies close to environmental walls or obstructions: Where the arrows will stack and function as outlined above in the mechanics section, arrows that hit walls will not have their timers reset. This means positioning an enemy close to a wall or running tight indoor maps will allow you to get more immediate and explosive burst. This can be used to cheese tough packs, especially in doorways.

-You have enough time to stack fuses and then cast Flammability before the detonation. This 'trick' can boost DPS significantly while reducing downtime.

-EA is very effective at off-screening. I recently spawned an Abaxoth in a t15 Courtyard: I was able to Blink away and freely cheese from a couple of screens away. Even though we are a Berserker and take that extra damage, you can always run with your tail between your legs and deal with the problem from a safe distance.

-This build can run Atziri or Uber Atziri, as well as the Phoenix guardian, but you will have to actually play the game. I can kill Kaom in t15 Abyss with one good ignite, but it takes several minutes to kill normal Atziri simply because up-front single target is not that great without Frost Wall. You really need the ignites ticking to feel the power of this build. If you're looking for something that can burst Uber Atziri down instantly, there's a plethora of builds out there doing 3 million DPS.

Thanks for checking out the build guys! I haven't had this much fun with a character in a long time and I hope that those of you who do try EA will love it as much as I do.

If you have any questions, comments, or optimization suggestions for things that I blatantly missed, please drop a comment below!

Stay classy, Exiles.
Last edited by FocusedFelix on Oct 28, 2016 7:39:06 PM
Last bumped on Nov 28, 2016 6:16:45 PM

== Updated with a new 4L.

I'll likely not push beyond 90, but after spending another 50-60 hours with it, the build is very capable of hitting that juicy 100 if you're into that kind of thing.

Feel free to message me here or in-game with any questions!!
I'm new to EA but wanna try this on Essence Hardcore.

Can you drop a hc tree?
I see there's a lot of more life we can pick up.

Any advises for a hc player on this build?
Guess ele reflect is the only no-go?
I just ready your build guide and it seems pretty good! One question though before I start the character, when should I transition from melee to EA? I just didn't catch it in the build guide. Thanks!
Do you think this would be a viable build to start Breach?

Completed 11 ChallengesPupalaka wrote:
I'm new to EA but wanna try this on Essence Hardcore.

Can you drop a hc tree?
I see there's a lot of more life we can pick up.

Any advises for a hc player on this build?
Guess ele reflect is the only no-go?

For HC I would 100% go Chieftan and have a high focus on life/life regen. I don't play HC, but if I did, I would go with this:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQneCdV7BlA

YeetCaster wrote:
I just ready your build guide and it seems pretty good! One question though before I start the character, when should I transition from melee to EA? I just didn't catch it in the build guide. Thanks!

Any time after Cruel Lab should be fine - you should be ~60-65 and have Aspect of Carnage.

Usohatchi wrote:
Do you think this would be a viable build to start Breach?


Ehhh, not really - while it's not a hugely gear dependent build, it does still need uniques. I wouldn't recommend it, but you could just level and farm Dried Lake as EQ until you have the currency for Quill/s. However, that would mean you're essentially just playing EQ for the first week or two (depending).
btw those glove are useless EA doesn't scale with proj attack dmg. U need proj dmg, everything worded has attack won't scale the dmg.
A day w/o dealing with stupid ppl is like....Never mind. Ill tell u if it ever happens

Report Forum Post

Report Account:

Report Type

Additional Info