[3.13] [HC] Mat's reverse knockback barrage ballista Champion

Welcome! I don't usually bother sharing my build, but this one's so powerful and fun that I decided to put the extra effort.

This build reuses old ideas and throw in new concepts to make a very tanky champion that can still dish out some serious dps.

It it especially strong against Delirium and trivializes most of its mechanics



They changed our cluster jewels, sleepless sentries now doesn't add another ballista, however it wasn't required to begin with, just a nice to have.

Apart from the cluster jewels change, everything else should be similar.


The original idea comes from a build features 4 years ago
Build of the Week S06E08: russellhentz's Ranged Attack Totem Tactical Nuke

Nowaday this build is changed slightly but the core idea remains the same.

We use 3 specific uniques to achieve the reverse knockback reflect combo

This item simply changes the direction of our knockback (which applies to our ballistas!)

This item makes our ballistas explode when they receive a hit, dealing 25% of their max life as a little aoe around them.
This damage is considered reflect and can't be changed in anyway other than giving our ballistas more life.

The Eye of innocence is a key feature of this build, because of its ability to self damage when igniting ennemies. As you might have guessed this also applies to our ballistas and counts as a hit, meaning that our ballistas will explode everytime they ignite an ennemy!

This doesn't come free as the ballistas also take damage every time they ignite a monster. Early on, if your ballista die from this effect, you can incorporate a hunter influenced ring to your build with the "life on hit" mod to keep your ballistas alive. Keep in mind that you don't necessarily need a high roll, and can even remove the ring once your ballistas are tanky enough! (you can test this by using a life on hit gem in your main attack).


With the devouring diadem, we use our energy shield to cast. This lets us do no regen maps easily and also helps us regen by eating corpses. Finally this fantastic helmet let's us reserve 135% of our mana (more details in the gear section)


Because the damage dealt by our ballista exploding is reflect, the only things that can improve our damage is
-Totem life
-Number of totems (most monsters can be hit by more than one explosion)
-Attack speed & number of projectiles (causing more ignite)
-Debuffs on the target (curse, taunt etc.)
-Chance to ignite (if not 100%)

This is why using Stormfire with elemental equilibrium is pretty good on this build, as the lightning damage will proc the fire resist debuff while being able to ignite our target, easily one of our best damage boost.

Videos/POB - skill tree/Bandits

Some of these videos are rough, because I play hardcore and haven't done this content alot, and also I'm not that good to begin with.

lvl 81 betrayal mastermind fight
lvl 80 synthesis boss
Simulacrum round 15
Tier 14 Plaza map
"hard" Tier 14 Dark forest map


Level 93 skill tree

Bandits - Kill all

I'm done for this league having accomplished 24 challenges and the char is not dead. I think a good player or someone playing SC could push this build to the end game.


-Can do any map mods*
-7 ballistas potential
-Strong against delirium
-Tanky (36k armor with auras | perma fortify | totems taunt | 6k hp)
-Fun to play / party friendly

-DPS can be slow on some bosses**
-Some map layouts are troublesome**
-Needs a 6 link and eternal labyrinth to be at max efficiency
-Int & links can be tough to balance if you use Kaom's heart

*As long as the monsters aren't immune to ignite, under high awakening/delirium combo it might happen
**Check the strategy section for more information


-Map Layout-

To mazimize this build efficiency, you want either a map with big empty spaces (beach) or a map with large corridors (phantasmagoria)

Small obstacles lock monsters in place making them unable to reach your ballistas unless you change their position

Small doorway are also a pain in the butt because you need to go really close to make ballistas on the other side of the doorway.


For big spaces and clear speed, I would recommend the "cluster" method where you put 4 ballistas together, move about a screen and a half further and make another cluster.
It's important not to make clusters too close to one another or they might mess up monsters knockbacks.

For corridors and dangerous encounters, my technique would be the "spam" technique, where you cast one ballistas (or 2 with multiple totems) move a little further, cast some more, etc. This way you can make sure that the monsters in front of you are taunted by the ballistas you placed not far away, making this more secure.
Make sure that the ballistas are somewhat aligned to pull the monsters efficiently.

When you're surrounded by monsters (simulacrum), you can go for the death ball. You simply cast every ballistas available in a small area to pull the monsters faster, killing more in a short time.
To refresh your death ball, keep in mind that you should always cast half your ballistas, wait a little and then cast the rest, this way the death ball won't have a down time

-Problematic Leagues-

Blight and Legion leagues are problematic for this build because they feature knockback immune monsters and are overall harder to do.


To get the most dps out of this build, you want a maximum of ballistas to explode on the boss. The best way to do that is to move around the boss and plant ballistas at its feet.

To determine how the build will perform on a boss, here's a checklist:

Is the boss hitbox big?
Yes - it's dead | No - next question

Can the boss be knockbacked?
Yes - it's dead | No - next question

Can the boss be taunted?
Yes - slow but easy fight | No - next question

Is the boss often static?
Yes - slow and hard fight | No - Danger!

If the boss is constantly moving, immune to taunt / knockback and has a small hit box, you're going to have a bad time!


-Main skill-

Our main skill is barrage mainly because its effect is low key and won't burn your eyes after a while. You can choose whichever skill you want (tornado shot would be a good pick), however YOU NEED to have at least some fire damage to ignite (or lightning and no fire damage if using Stormfire with elemental equilibrium)

Barrage - Ballista Totem - Knockback - Combustion - Chain - Multiple Totems

Chain and Multiple totems are technically not required but provide great QOL. You could use pierce instead of chain if you want


Using the devouring diadem, we can afford to reserved 135% (!) of our mana and also use our energy shield as Mana, all that's required is a lvl 2 enlighten socketed with the auras

Grace - Determination - Summon Skitterbots - Enlighten (lvl2)


With >50k armor buffed, the obvious defense we want to use is vaal molten shell. Also it's important to keep the cast when damage taken low as this build doesn't take alot of damage and doesn't have a very big hp pool.

Desecrate is good because our devouring diadem will eat the corpses to heal us

Cast when damage taken - Desecrate - Vaal molten shell - Enfeeble OR Increased duration


Dash is now pretty good with the new second wind gem, with quality it can go down to 1s cd

Dash - Second wind

Frenzy gives us a little attack speed boost, nothing too crazy


Put curse on hit on frenzy if you can, but with Kaom's heart I had to self cast Flammability (not very troublesome as the build doesn't need to do much)


For extra damage, once you've put your ballista, frenzied and cursed, you can go for scorching ray to help melt down bosses, no need to lvl it

Scorching ray


Appart from the gear mentionned in the "mechanic" section, here's my recommendations

Get the fastest attack bow you can, in this case quill rain fits the bill perfectly, as I think the less damage modifier doesn't apply to the reflect damage from our ballistas

By far my favorite helmet and honestly op, the devouring diadem let's us reserve 135% of our mana (with its insane mana reservation reduction and a level 2 enlighten gem) while using our energy shield to cast! This is simply crazy, and if it wasn't good enough for you, it also eats corpses around you to refill your energy shield and life, similar to using an instant hybrid flask every 5 seconds

You might want some energy shield on your belt / ring / chest to have a bigger energy shield pool, otherwise you'll have to play a little more cautiously or risk being out of energy shield sometimes.

Also the int requirement is tough to achieve, and might require some work on the jewels / passive tree

For the chest, you can go for a cheap 6 link initially, craft it to have as much life as possible and it will work, but if you want to have an hp pool bigger than 5.2k, kaom's heart is really the best thing that can push your tankiness forward.

If you do get Kaom's heart however, be prepared to work very hard to get your resists caped and enough int to wear the devouring diadem.

Flask-wise, the only thing that really help our dps is a silver flask, a flask with the suffix "of infliction" for a powerful 25% chance to ignite, and a dying sun for the extra projectiles.

The rest is really up to preferences, a jade flask would give the best armor, a Quartz Flask can be very useful because monsters can block your path while being pulled.

This build has 2 cluster jewel slots for our medium cluster totem jewels.

The perfect cluster jewel for us would be a 4 passive totem jewel with Sleepless sentries, Ancestral preservation and a jewel slot. These notable are hard to get however, so if here's my notable tier list

Tier 1
Ancestral preservation

Tier 2
Ancestral Echo / Sleepless sentries

Tier 3 (bad)
Snaring Spirit

The rest doesn't give us anything, ancestral reach greatly disappointed me, as the cast range of our ballistas is simply too small for it to make a difference.

Current gear

This is my end game gear, not perfect by any means


I wouldn't recommend doing this build as a league starter, but it's possible if you like a challenge.

to level up, I would recommend using a bow skill until you get Siege Ballista at level 12 and use that until you can perform the reverse knockback combo at level 68.

Get the highest physical dps bow you can find, socket
Siege Ballista - Added fire damage - Vicious Projectiles - Faster Attacks or Lesser multiple projectile

Try to get this jewel early so you can afford to skip lesser multiple projectile and use something more useful like faster attack

Bandits - Kill all

Your early skill tree should go down and focus on projectile damage / totem (ballistas) damage and life

Example lvl 45 tree

Ascendancy wise, I would go for Conqueror first (taunting ballistas are very strong), then you can either
- respec those points once you've done the cruel lab and take Unstoppable Hero + Fortitude (recommended for hardcore)
- pick Worthy Foe right away to not need accuracy anymore but you'll be a little more squishy until you get the last 4 points.

Last edited by mat_deception on Jan 30, 2021, 11:46:01 AM
Last bumped on Oct 5, 2020, 2:21:33 PM
Reserved for changelog

Updated the mastermind fight video for a smoother / higher level one.

Precised that you need fire damage to ignite if you don't yet use Stormfire.

I realized that they changed our cluster jewels, sleepless sentries isn't as good.
Last edited by mat_deception on Jan 30, 2021, 10:42:56 AM
Nice build :) ty
Nice Build i will make it now
Knockback reverse gloves are level 53 not 68 for those levelling.
BubbleUK wrote:
Knockback reverse gloves are level 53 not 68 for those levelling.

That's probably because of the enchant I had on them

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