[3.1] Explosive Arrow Slayer (Shaper-Capable)

3.1 Explosive Arrow Slayer Build Guide

Welcome to my PoE 3.1 Explosive Arrow build guide. I also have a video build guide located here, if you are so inclined.

Current State of Build Guide (3.2)
This guide was not updated for 3.2, but it should still be a viable EA template. I am looking to potentially resurrect the build for 3.3, though it may mean an ascendancy change. EA is still a fun and viable skill that I really enjoy.

I made a meme video about Explosive Arrow - it's funny and was meant to hopefully shine a spotlight on one of my favorite skills, but doesn't really accurately reflect the current state of Explosive Arrow (which is pretty viable). If you enjoy stupid content, take a look.

Why EA
- Fast Clear Speed
- High Top-End Damage - Shaper and Hall of Grandmasters viable

Why Duelist Slayer?
- Better pathing than Ranger
- 100% increased leech rate (leech provided by corrupted quiver / amulet)
- 20% Cull
- Bleed Immunity

Build Highlights
- 8K life
- 61% increased movement speed
- Single-target Explosive Arrow is level 28
- Generates Endurance and Frenzy charges
- 28% block chance, 15% spell block
- Dual curse
- Can run Bisco's Collar for mapping

Changes from 3.0 (and previous)
- No significant nerfs were introduced in 3.1.
- We don't need to mitigate reflect anymore! Removed Ruby flask, tree changes, Pantheon changes resulted.
- Stygian Vise belts are best-in-slot for Abyss league players.

Changes from 2.X
If you are reading a 2.X series build guide for Explosive Arrow, it will likely be talking about stacking double-dip damage to power secondary ignite damage. Double-dipping is gone, which cut top-end power off the build.

At the same time, Weapon Elemental Damage was repurposed to be Elemental Damage with Attack Skills - this change allowed Explosive Arrow to take advantage of this source of damage (both through the gem and on gear). The WED change effectively negates a lot of downsides to the build - in your single target setup, you get to remove Slower Projectiles, and in your Quill Rain it's Concentrated Effect that gets the boot - both pretty large quality-of-life improvements.

With 3.0 Pantheon, we get Soul of Yugul which reduces reflected damage taken by 25% - set this and plan on never changing it. As EA, reflect mitigation is very necessary, and this Pantheon skill dramatically improves our survivability as such.

Effectively, Explosive Arrow remains a capable and fairly well-balanced skill to use for clearing content.

Skill Tree and Path of Building
Skill Tree

Path of Building

Bandit choice is Kraityn (if you value movement speed) or kill. I took Kraityn.



6L Quill Rain for Trash Clear

6L +3 Fire Gems Bow for Single-Target

The Quill Rain can be used for boss clears all the way up to guardians - it's not the fastest, but it does the trick.

The +3 bow is really only necessary for the Shaper fight, but it is incredibly useful for most boss encounters, and is easy to craft using Essences and Orbs of Annulment. Here is a video of me demonstrating the process.


You will need two Rearguards - one for mainhand and one offhand. Both should be corrupted with '.2% Fire Damage Leeched as Life'. There are precious few ways to get fire damage leech (corrupted quivers and amulets) and leech is a cornerstone of this build's defensive strategy, so these corruptions are incredibly important.


Sometimes properly corrupted Rearguards are expensive. A corrupted quiver with good stats is always a great alternative.


Alternative is Hrimnor's Resolve with EA damage - slightly harder to gear, but also a fantastic helmet.


No surprise here - EA is the best suited to be played with Kaom's Heart.


+1 Curse Ngamahu Tiki for Shaper and Guardians. Bisco's collar for mapping. You can run Xoph's Heart, but the secret is a +1 curse Ngamahu is both stronger and cheaper (subject to market availability). If you cannot get a +1 Curse Ngamahu but want to dual-curse, use Windscream boots to do so. In this case, your amulet should be corrupted with '.2% Fire Damage Leeched as Life' for additional life leech.


Elemental damage with Attack Skills, life, resistances, accuracy and attack speed. You NEED to get any flat cold or lightning damage AND NO FLAT FIRE DAMAGE ON GEAR. This is to proc Elemental Equilibrium for Explosive Arrow.


The Taming and Headhunter are great gear if you can afford such luxuries.


You will want 3x Grand Spectrum Viridian Jewels. These scale all your damage (explosion and ignite), and they allow you to pick up extra life on the tree over damage nodes. Theoretically, 4-stat jewels would be better, but the opportunity cost is hundreds of chaos difference, and the correct jewels are very hard to find. On rare jewels, prioritize life, fire damage, projectile damage, attack speed, area damage (in that order). A The Red Nightmare is a great addition to this build if you are so fortunate - add it to the jewel socket between Witch and Templar for 5% block and 15% chance to gain endurance charges on kill.


Life flasks, Quicksilver, one to two utility flasks - can run Taste of Hate, Dying Sun, etc. No need for Bleed removal due to Slayer ascendancy.


Quill Rain
EA - Elemental Damage With Attack Skills - Fire Penetration - Chance to Ignite - Less Duration - Greater Multiple Projectiles

+3 Bow
EA (level 21) - Chance to Ignite - Less Duration - Concentrated Effect - Empower (4) - Elemental Damage with Attack Skills

Alternative to Empower 4 is Fire Penetration - Empower 3 is a very modest upgrade over Fire Penetration, and Empower 4 is a significant one.

Frenzy - Curse on Hit - Elemental Weakness - Flammability

If you cannot dual-curse, run either Orb of Storms (to proc Elemental Overload more reliably) or Faster Attacks for a faster Frenzy. Primary curse should be Flammability.

Blink Arrow - Faster Attacks - Faster Projectiles - Summon Flame Golem (or Summon Stone Golem)

CWDT - Immortal Call - Increased Duration - Vaal Haste

Build Costs and Thoughts
My version of this build costs around 3000 chaos (of which 1200 chaos are a Red Nightmare and a level 4 Empower), not including gems. You can run up through Guardians with about 150% less damage on tree, jewels and gear comfortably. This level of damage is only required for Shaper kill, so much cheaper gear will work well for you. You probably should expect to purchase a Kaom's Heart and a 6L Quill Rain, but the rest is pretty much up to you. The +1 curse amulet is key to dumpstering Shaper's fire res and beating him in a semi-comfortable amount of time.

As far as end-game power level, EA is clearly capable. However, the cost of doing so is pretty high at the top end. You are fighting the meta for fire-damage gear, which makes many items more costly. If you are looking for a budget Shaper-killer, this is not the build for you. I pushed the power because I wanted to see whether or not EA could clear the Shaper - it is possible, but it's a very difficult fight that relies on mechanical skill.

-12/26/2017 - Updated for 3.1 / Abyss league.

- 09/21/2017 - Changed single-target gem suggestions to Empower 4 over Fire Penetration. This is a significant upgrade in single-target damage for those with the budget.

- 09/21/2017 - Changed to use 3x Grand Spectrum over rare jewels, with minor tree modifications. This led to a modest damage and life upgrade (about 20K additional effective DPS against Shaper, and 100 additional life), along with reducing the build cost by about 200c. Thank you reddit user digao94 for the suggestion.

Last edited by GodofRabbits on May 8, 2018, 3:07:18 PM
Last bumped on Jun 17, 2018, 12:10:19 PM
How did you manage to level this character ?
What skill did you used sincer EA its pretty bad at low levels.
does work with
How did you manage to level this character ?

I levelled as Sunder. It's rough, but you don't need any significant phys damage investment for Sunder during levelling, so you can just follow the tree.

Does this work? (Doomfletch's Prism)

No, you neither want to scale your physical damage for EA, nor do you want to deal fire damage with your initial hit (because it messes up Elemental Equilibrium).
The single target dps its not bad.. its extremly bad.. like i can't kill t9 bosses. Any sugesstions to my build ?

Edit : Leveled up the gems from the +3 bow and it's looks decent now. But i was wondering, wouldnt be better to use burning arrow as single target atleast for the maps? Isnt it faster ?
Last edited by DennysRO on Sep 19, 2017, 4:01:54 AM
Gem levels are definitely going to be your friend - your gear looks reasonable. EA is somewhat unconventional as an attack skill that scales heavily with gem level; hence the utility of a +3 bow. You can try a variety of skills for single-target - I really liked the idea of testing out a +3 bow and happened to vaal a level 21 Explosive Arrow, so I went with it. When you get 20/20 gems, you should be able to kill most map bosses with your Quill Rain setup - it's a bit of a cheese-grater situation unless you exploit walls, but it will definitely work.
Have you considered using
as a cheap alternative to a +1 Ngamahu?
In the amulet section you'll probably want to recommend Xoph's Blood (The un-upgraded version) instead as Xoph's Heart gives AoF, negating EE. Ash is nice but no double dipping is sad.

Have you played around with the Ignite Proliferation or Damage on Full Life supports? As a slayer the latter should always be active, but not sure if it would be better than Less Duration/Empower.
Completed 4 ChallengesSchaller wrote:
In the amulet section you'll probably want to recommend Xoph's Blood (The un-upgraded version) instead as Xoph's Heart gives AoF, negating EE.

Xoph's Heart is correct - strangely enough, you upgrade from his heart to his blood --> https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Xoph%27s_Heart

Completed 4 ChallengesSchaller wrote:
Have you played around with the Ignite Proliferation or Damage on Full Life supports? As a slayer the latter should always be active, but not sure if it would be better than Less Duration/Empower.

I have not played with either. I don't think adding prolif to ignite is a great idea because you kill literally everything trash-like on a two-stack, and everything else merits the single-target - I just don't see the utility, I guess. Damage on Full Life is a reasonable support, but I would not use it myself because I often pot strategically. Either way, you don't want to remove Less Duration at all - it's a major Quality of Life improvement when you don't have to wait a full second for any of your damage to be applied. It's effectively a major DPS and survivability boost. Empower 4 is a huge support for the +3 bow - it added so much damage that it turned the Shaper fight into a fairly routine boss battle.
Last edited by GodofRabbits on Sep 24, 2017, 1:23:16 PM
Completed 5 Challengesakhen0924 wrote:
Have you considered using
as a cheap alternative to a +1 Ngamahu?

Sure, this is a fine alternative! Unfortunately, the +1 Ngamahu's price went through the roof. It's now looking to be around 1300+ chaos - I paid 250c for mine early in the league. You lose some movement speed which locks you into Devoto's more firmly, but you could also very easily justify a Xoph's Heart at that point. Your effective damage may end up higher than mine, even, at the cost of some movement speed and life. You NEED to reroll over that lab enchant - adding fire damage to your primary arrow hit is going to kill your ability to proc EE on your explosion. It's like a halving of your damage!
Last edited by GodofRabbits on Sep 24, 2017, 1:30:09 PM

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