[3.15] Blast Rain + Focused Artillery Ballista + Lightning Arrow Raider | Detailed Guide | Videos


Hi, with this character, I wanted to remake an old build that i followed all the way back in Essence league: A Blast Rain + Lightning Arrow Raider.
After the 3.15 Nurfs i wasn't happy with the single target dmg of this build, so i made some changes and started using Focused Artillery Ballista along with Blast Rain and Lightning Arrow.

This build was my second character in Ultimatum league [3.14]. I had around 15 Exalts to start with, then slowly upgraded my gear as i got more currency. At the end i spent around 35-40 Exalts in total.
*Prices vary depending on the league. This is simply what i spent, you might need more or less than that.

Check the Videos section to see the build in action.

+ Good clear and move speed
+ Decent damage.
+ Incendiary Bolts !

- Cant do Ele reflect maps
- Weapon swap and self-cast Sniper's mark for bosses

3.15 Changes :
This build got hit hard with the support gem nurfs and lost almost half its dmg.
The addition of Focused Artillery Ballista brought the damage back to be a bit higher than what it was before 3.15

- Flask nurfs: Diamond flask lost alot of dmg, the crit bench craft is required for it to have a decent dmg boost. Its still usable, but i dropped it to use 2x Dying Sun instead.

- Lightning arrow buff: more damage and effect of shock.

Main changes to the build :
- Started using Artillery Ballista
- Weapon swap between 2 bows, one with Lighting arrow for clearing, and one with blast rain for bosses.
- Skill Tree: went for the duelist area instead of the "life wheel"
- Added a CWDT setup. Removed Ensnaring arrow totem setup.

General Overview:
This builds uses 3 main Skills:

Artillery Ballista with Focused Ballista support:
This represents about 60% of the build's single target dmg. The Ballistas will fire whenever you use Lighting arrow or blast rain. and they have an extremely fast placement speed.

Lighting Arrow:
This is simply used for clear speed, its great for clearing large packs. It is socketed on a secondary bow.
For bosses and tough dense packs, we weapon swap to the main bow where Blast Rain is socketed.

Blast Rain:
This represents about 40% of the build's single target dmg. But more importantly it hits more than 10 times per second, so it is used to trigger many on hit effects like : Blind, Maim, Life and Mana leach, Cover in Ash, Combustion, Elusive.
(Ballistas can't trigger most of those effects because they are totems, and Lightning arrow doesn't hit enough times vs bosses to be reliable)

Current Skill Tree (Lv94)

Current Gear:

Offensive stats:
Sirus DPS with current gear and no flasks:

Blast Rain: 1.9 Million
Artillery Ballista: 3.9 Million
Total combined DPS: 5.9 Million

Note: I calculated the Ballista's DPS with 3 less projectiles (5 instead of 8) because it fires its projectiles in a line and between 2 and 4 of them usually don't hit the target.

Defensive stats:

- Life: ~5.3K
- Evasion: 45% to 66%. Evasion vs bosses : 90% to 95%
(bosses are blinded practically 100% of the time)
- Dodge and spell dodge: 40% and 30% From passives
(+6% form flask. +5% if hit recently. + up to 15% from Elusive on boots)
- Steel Skin (on left mouse click)

Path of Building:
link: https://pastebin.com/w0tUbMii

PoB Notes:
Artillery Ballista DPS:
By default, The DPS show in POB is for one projectile with one ballista.
Here's what i did to show the full DPS:

Go to Artillery Ballista in the skills tab, then tick "include in full DPS" and put the right "count".
The full DPS will be shown under the Elemental resistances.

"Count" is the total amount of porjectiles from all ballistas.
After some testing, it seems like 2 to 4 projectiles from each Ballista volley land too far from the target.
To get a more realistic DPS, I reduced the number of porjectiles from 8 to 5 when calculating the "Count".

Count = Number of Ballistas x (Number of projectiles - 3) = 7 x (8-3) = 35

Tick "include in full DPS" for blast rain to see the combined total DPS of the build.

PoB Bug: (version 2.8.0)
The fire exposure (from Corrosive Elements) in the configuration tab doesn't work. so i manually reduced the enemy fire resistance by 10%.


T16 Tower Map: https://youtu.be/CizEjIMx20Y
T15 A9 Redeemer : https://youtu.be/95X_OlsVpx4
T15 A9 Crusader : https://youtu.be/MWSh4YG7P_k
Shaper: https://youtu.be/iDXolpL6C9c

I'm still not too familiar with the Sirus fight since i was on a long break for PoE before 3.14. So i just tried A5.
A5 Sirus: https://youtu.be/SYdeogErFG0

Ascendancy, Pantheons and bandits:
Ascendancy points in order:
Way of The Poacher -> Avatar of The Slaughter -> Rapid Assault -> Avatar of The Chase

Bandits: Kill All.

Minor: Soul of Ryslatha.
Major: I went with Soul of Lunaris. Solaris is also good, so is Brine King for Stuns.

Skill Gem Section:

Blast Rain:
Links are in order of importance:

Anomalous Blast Rain - Combustion - Concentrated Effect - Immolate - Elemental Damage With Attacks - Inspiration

This is socketed in the 1st weapon set (your best bow + a quiver with +1 arrows) it is used for bosses and tough monsters.

You can start with a normal Blast Rain, but you want to switch to Anomalous quality ASAP for the 5% chance to cover in ash. 5% is enough to keep bosses permanently covered in ash.

Do not use elemental focus with Blast Rain !
Lightning Arrow:
Links are in order of importance:

Lightning Arrow - Chain - Elemental Damage With Attacks - Mirage Archer - Increased Critical Damage - Inspiration

This is socketed in the secondary weapon set.

Signal Fire is optional. If you don't have it, Consider using Phys to Lighting support to fully convert Lightning Arrow's dmg. other than the dmg increase, Phys to Lighting will increase the effect of shock and allows you to run phys reflect maps.

Do not use elemental focus with Lightning Arrow !
Artillery Ballista:
This is the main single target dmg source, with Focused ballista and multiple totem support, it has an extremely fast placement speed.

Links are in order of importance:

Divergent Artillery Ballista - Focused Ballista - Multiple Totems - Immolate - Elemental dmg With Attacks - Concentrated Effect

The Divergent quality is not a high priority, it adds an extra projectile.

The Ballistas fire their projectiles in a line. i did some testing and usually between 2 and 4 shots will land too far and not hit the target. i wasn't able to tell whether or not Concentrated Effect has any effect on this. It can be replaced with Elemental Focus if needed.
(I also tested with the "Artillery Ballista Projectiles fall in two perpendicular lines instead" enchant, it didn't seem to change much. still missing 2-4 shots)

Sniper's Mark + Steelskin:
Sniper's Mark is too big of a damage boost to not use. Since we're self casting it, it's linked with Increased Duration to make it last 16+ seconds. It also has a fast cast speed because of all the cast speed we get from frenzy charges and onslaught.

Steelskin is a pretty good defensive buff, this is bound to left mouse click so it auto triggers while you're moving. it also benefits from increased duration. The only downside is its high strength requirements.

Links: Sniper's Mark - Steelskin - Increased Duration - Enhance

CWDT Setup:
This entire setup is optional.
Keep CWDT at Lv 1. other linked active gems must be Lv38 or lower.

Links: Cast When Dmg Taken - Creeping Frost - Storm Brand - Power Charge on Crit

Storm Brand + Power Charge on Crit will pretty much always give you 3 power charges whenever it triggers.
Auras and Mobility:
Anger - Precision - Enlighten - Dash

Precision reserves more mana with each level, so don't max it, choose a level that leaves you with enough mana. (you need a good amount of unreserved mana to comfortably summon all 7 Ballistas)
Enlighten is not required, it simply allows you to use a higher level Precision.

Gear Section:

This build uses 2 weapon sets meaning you'll need 2 Bows and 2 Quivers.

Death's Opus can be used from Lv 44 and it is good enough to clear Red maps. Any rare that can out damage it will cost multiple Exalts.

You can start with 2x Death's Opus, one 6 linked for the 1st weapon set (Blast Rain) and one 5 linked for the 2nd set (Lightning Arrow) which should be enough to start clearing red maps. Once you have enough currency, move the 6 linked Death's Opus to the 2nd set, and buy a good rare for the 1st set.

You can buy a 6 linked Death's Harp which you can start using from Lv 32, then buy "The Bowstring's Music" prophecy to upgrade it to Death's Opus, keeping links and mod rolls. this is cheaper than buying a 6 linked Death's Opus directly.

Rare Bow:
This is for the 1st weapon set (Blast Rain)

You want a bow with good Phys DPS, good Crit, then mods like Bow attacks fire additional arrows, added fire damage, crit multi, chance to deal double damage...

Before buying from the trade site, always copy the bow to your PoB to see the damage increased when compared to death Opus.

Note: you need 5 off color sockets for Blast Rain (1 green 3 blue 2 red) which will not be easy to get. Here's how i got mine:
First Spam the "2 blue 1 red" craft on the bench until you get either 2R-2B-2G or 1R-3B-2G. Then Either use Vorici in Research and hope 1 of the greens turn white, or use one of the many Harvest Crafts that change socket colors to red and or blue, it shouldn't take too many attempts.
If you can't afford recoloring you can use Mirage Archer Support instead of Elemental dmg with attacks. (you lose around 10% dmg).

This build uses 2 weapon sets meaning you'll need 2 Bows and 2 Quivers.

Weapon Set 1: Blast Rain
Shaper quiver with Life, "Bow Attacks fire an additional Arrow" then as much dmg mods as you can afford: Crit Multi, Elemental dmg, added phys, added fire, Crit Chance...
You also need a chance to blind mod on one of your items. i have it on the quiver, it's probably better to have it on an abyssal jewel, so it affects both weapon sets.

Weapon Set 2: Lightning Arrow
This is not nearly as important as the 1st set. you can use anything you want. I recommend The Signal Fire:

Its fairly cheap, has good dmg, and converts the rest of Lightning Arrow's dmg to fire which increases your dmg and makes running phys reflect maps possible.
Mark of the Elder gives a big dmg boost if your other ring is a shaper item. You don't need anything special on the shaper ring, just life, resists and some dmg mods if you can afford it.
this build needs a good amount of Int and Str on gear. This is where i got most of them.
You don't need the Str if you decide to drop Steelskin, but the Int is needed for Support gems.
the -mana cost craft is nice, but its not required.

Anointment: "Tenacity" is the best option. (Oils: Golden + Golden + Crimson)
Body Armour:

This slot should be either Yriel's Fostering or Kintsugi.
Yriel is the more offensive option, it also gives move speed and chance to maim to slow enemy's making them easier to hit.

Yriel has multiple versions, make sure you get the right one.
If you choose Kintsugi consider getting chance to maim on one of your rare items.

Rare Warlord Gloves with Life and +1 to max Frenzy charges.

There are many damage mods you can get on the gloves if you can afford it. I just got one with some resistances.
Ideally you want boots with good move speed, life, then Tailwind and Elusive on crit. Dodge or Spell dodge are also good.

These were by far the most expensive item i got for this character. (12 Exalts)
If you can't afford something similar, you can start with Atziri's Step, or a good rare with either Tailwind OR Elusive.
We don't need any specific mod here, just an evasion Helmet with Life and as much resistances as possible.

Enchant: Blast Rain fires an additional Arrow or Artillery Ballista fires 2 additional Arrows.
Same as the helmet, all you need here is life and a lot of resists.
You can start with any belt base, but you eventually want to upgrade to a Stygian Vise.
For the Abyss jewel, it should have life + any combination of dmg mods.
if you don't have a "chance to blind" mod on the rest of your gear, you need to have it on this jewel.
Normal Jewels:
A watcher's Eye with Crit Multi or Dmg penetration while affected by anger will easily out dmg most if not all rares.

All rare Jewels Should have Life and Crit multi to be worth the skill points. A 2nd crit multi would be ideal, other dmg mods are also good. You can also get some Stats or Ele resits here.

Cluster Jewels:
- A Large Elemental dmg Cluster Jewel with Corrosive Elements + any 2 other dmg notables.

- A Medium Projectile dmg Cluster Jewel with Repeater + another dmg notable (preferably Eye to Eye)

- A Medium Crit Cluster Jewel with 2 of the following : Basics of Pain, Precise Commander, Precise Retaliation, Pressure Points, Quick Getaway.


We have 2 options for dmg flasks:
- Diamond flask bench crafted with +40-60% crit chance.
- Dying Sun

Consider enchanting the Diamond flask with increased effect, that will give it similar dmg numbers to Dying Sun.

I ended up using the setup that required the least amount of button presses:

With 2x Dying Sun flasks i have close to 100% up-time. The duration enchant doubles the up-time vs bosses without affecting the up-time while mapping (as long as you don't stop), so its pretty good.

One flask with "Immunity to Bleeding and Corrupted Blood" is required.

Leveling Section:
Low Level:
Skill Tree: poeplanner.com

Blast Rain and artilery ballisa require Lv28, Focused Ballista requires Lv31. You can use whatever bow skill you want until then, like Lighting Arrow + Barrage.

You don't have to weapon swap while leveling, just socket the artilery ballista in your gloves / helmet / boots (instead of the CWDT setup).

For Lightning arrow, you can use Lesser or Greater multi projectiles until you get Death's opus.
Good Leveling unique weapons: Roth's Reach --> Death's Harp --> Death Opus.

As i said in the gear section:
You can buy a 6 linked Death's Harp which you can start using from Lv 32, then
at Lv44+ buy "The Bowstring's Music" prophecy to upgrade it to Death's Opus, keeping links and mod rolls. this is cheaper than buying a 6 linked Death's Opus directly.
Mid Level:
Skill Tree Lv ~55: poeplanner.com

Get The frenzy charges once you get 'Avatar of the Slaughter' ascendancy (Cruel Lab).
You can take the +30 Int nodes until you get enough int on your gear.
Once you start dealing enough dmg the 0.4% mana leach from the tree should solve all mana problems. until then, you can use an Enduring mana flask.
High Level:
Skill Tree Lv~80: poeplanner.com

You can start using "Mark of The Elder" + a Shaper ring at Lv80.

Final Tree Lv95 :poeplanner.com

Last edited by TN_Sylar on Sep 3, 2021, 3:55:17 PM
Last bumped on Nov 15, 2021, 4:14:21 PM
This looks really cool, well done OP. If Raider gets whacked with the nerf bat before 3.15 what, in your opinion, would be your first choice for a different ascendancy? I'm a big fan of Pathfinder and wonder if it's workable going that way vs. Raider.
RubioNubio wrote:
This looks really cool, well done OP. If Raider gets whacked with the nerf bat before 3.15 what, in your opinion, would be your first choice for a different ascendancy? I'm a big fan of Pathfinder and wonder if it's workable going that way vs. Raider.

Its very unlikely that they'll nurf both frenzy and onslaught for Raider.

I'm thinking if either the onslaught or the frenzy part of Raider gets a big nurf i'll switch it with Avatar of The Veil. will lose speed and dmg but get dodge and ailment immunity.

I don't have much experience with Pathfinder. it could work but the build will feel a bit different since you'll lose a lot of speed.
Keep it up. After I learned about Blast Rain became one of my top favorites. I'm playing in Expedition to learn about the Leagues. The skill projectile I use now and still leveling and learning about this game are Lightning Arrows + Mirage, Blast Rain + VAAL Rain of Arrows + Artillery Ballista.

Right now I'm going for your skills, I don't know very much about Passive Skills so I'm going your way. I hope there will be another respec so I can reset my skills I have to change it around, I know orbs of regret will help? But I do not know how many points I got to respec. I think Full respec is a good way to go.

I died so many times trying to take down the boss using Rain of Arrows. But it didn't do much dmg on me end. Now the Blast Rain does. I look forward of checking out the rest of your skills. Thank you very much for Sharing it! Really helps.
Kingspian wrote:
Right now I'm going for your skills, I don't know very much about Passive Skills so I'm going your way. I hope there will be another respec so I can reset my skills I have to change it around, I know orbs of regret will help? But I do not know how many points I got to respec. I think Full respec is a good way to go.

You get some free respec points from quests. You can also use orbs of regret but it can be a bit expensive. Use poeplanner.com or Path of Building to plan your skill tree and see how many points you need to respec.

If you have any questions about the build or the game in general feel free to PM me.
Finished updating the build.
The 3.15 nurfs cut this builds dps in half. The addition of Focused Artillery Ballista brought it back to higher than what it was before the nurfs.
Any plans of updating this for 3.16 ?

Really like how this looks....

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