[3.19] fezz's Toxic Rain Champion - Step-by-Step PoE Build Guide for Beginners & Casuals

[The build guide has been updated for 3.19. Happy league start!]

Note: This guide primarily addresses new players, beginners and casual players who want to have a smooth (first) levelling experience through both the campaign and the endgame. It also has quite an unconventional/unusual approach, but I think it’s the best one when it comes to players who are looking for an actual guide rather than only a summarized collection of skill tree, items and gem setups

Hello Exile,

if you’re looking for a beginner-friendly league starter build guide which leads you through the sometimes very confusing and intimidating world of Path of Exile without the need of watching hour-long videos, downloading and understanding complex third-party programs, acquiring rare uniques to make the build actually work or researching important information in the World Wide Web all the time, you are at the right place.

The goal of this guide is to give you the information you need at the time you need it without being too complex and without being too demanding in terms of knowledge. Therefore, it comes with a simple build that scales well to the endgame without the need of having to invest hundreds of Exalted Orbs, namely Toxic Rain Champion, and with a handy step-by-step checklist which guides you through your journey and is intended to be your primary - if not only - source of information needed to reach the endgame. On top of that, it comes without the need to trade at all (if that’s your preferred way to play).

Now that you know what this guide does, let’s also point out what this guide doesn’t do: While it doesn’t leave you completely alone in terms of a lot of stuff that isn’t connected to the build itself, it doesn’t provide you with information on how and when to do campaign quests or league mechanics. But don’t be afraid, the game gives you just enough information to smoothly progress through these things (via tutorials). And where it lacks important information, the guide will jump in to help you to navigate through them.

Are you in? Let’s get started!



3.19 Patch Notes - Expected effects on the build

The 3.19 patch notes contained the following changes in regards to this build:

The "Prefixes cannot be Changed", "Suffixes cannot be Changed", and "Can have up to 3 Crafted Modifiers" crafts now have a cost of 2 Divine Orbs (previously 2 Exalted Orbs).

The "Cannot roll Attack Mods" craft now has a cost of 1 Divine Orb (previously 1 Exalted Orb).

Effects on this build: This MIGHT be a buff for SSF players ... because in order to craft your very endgame bow, you previously had to acquire at least 9 Exalted Orbs. With these changes, you have to acquire 4 Exalted Orbs and 5 Divine Orbs. Assuming the drop chance of Divine Orbs didn't change (at least the patch notes didn't mention it as far as I am aware) I would assume it's more likely you will find 4 Exalted Orbs and 5 Divine Orbs rather than 9 Exalted Orbs. But this can also be not true, so I wouldn't count on it.

For trade league players this can mean anything. Here, you have to wait for the effects on the economy.


Selling an item with 6 Linked Sockets to a vendor now yields 20 Orbs of Fusing, instead of a Divine Orb.

Effects on this build: This is a buff, especially if you are playing SSF ... because your chances of being able to 6-link your bow or body armour with Orbs of Fusing earlier than before, is higher due to the new vendor recipe (given that you take the gamble with the new amount of Orbs of Fusing that are available to you).


We have been re-examining what role rare and magic monsters have in Path of Exile, regarding how often you should encounter rare and magic monsters, how difficult they should be to kill and how rewarding their deaths should be.

Previously, league content made fights hard by spawning a lot of rare monsters. In some cases, six to eight times the normal rate of rare monsters. Now that we have better mods available to make fights against rare monsters individually challenging, we have gone through the whole game and normalised the rate that rare monsters are spawned. Some leagues had quite large reductions in spawn rate. You won't encounter situations with dozens of rare monsters on screen at once anymore. Where necessary, we have rebalanced rewards to compensate.

In addition, Archnemesis modifiers have had their rewards reviewed. The number of mods directly correlates to increased item drop bonuses, and powerful modifiers that show up in the third and fourth mod slot use a new reward conversion system that stacks with the other drop bonuses and with player item rarity and quantity. [...]

During the campaign, Rare Monsters you encounter will only have one or two modifiers. [...]

Lowered the number of Rare and Magic Monsters encountered through various League encounters. [...]

Magic monsters have a restricted list of archnemesis modifiers compared to rare monsters, but this list still includes many modifiers which can spawn threats external to the monsters themselves, such as ground effects or volatile orbs. These external threats can feel overwhelming due to magic monsters being more numerous than rare monsters. [...]

We have toned down the modifiers that can spawn on magic monsters so that more of them are stat-based bonuses that aren't too spammy. All monsters in an instance that are the same or very similar will have the same magic monster modifier, rather than rolling a different Archnemesis modifier for each monster.

Effects on this build: This might be a buff … as it will make both the campaign and the early endgame easier, especially for new players and for builds which are on the lower spectrum of the damage output (like this one).


Problem: Spell Suppression is intended to be mostly accessible to characters on the right side of the passive skill tree. However, spell suppression values on item modifiers are high enough that any character can reasonably reach 100% spell suppression chance through items alone, and passive skills that grant suppression are relatively weak in comparison. This results in capped spell suppression feeling like a mandatory pickup for most characters that want strong defences, rather than mostly an option to complement evasion-focused builds.

Solution: Reduce the values of spell suppression granted by item modifiers. Increase the amount of spell suppression granted by passive skills and a few other sources.

Effects on this build: This is a minor buff ... because by following the recommended skill tree, you now get +16% more chance to suppress spell damage by default which allows you to invest approx. 1 skill point elsewhere.


Problem: Defiance Banner provides a substantial percentage increase to armour and evasion, on top of other benefits for a low investment. It therefore grants all characters a way to further scale the large amounts of armour and evasion granted by the Determination and Grace skills. It also disproportionately benefits characters that do not have easy access to armour and evasion scaling on the passive skill tree, and when combined with Determination and Grace allows these characters to use aura effect to scale armour and evasion almost as effectively as characters directly investing into armour and evasion bonuses. This has led to the combination of Defiance Banner, Determination and Grace feeling near mandatory for characters in hardcore leagues, and very attractive elsewhere.

Solution: Substantially reduce the armour and evasion granted by Defiance Banner.

Effects on this build: This is a nerf ... because Defiance Banner grants less Armour and Evasion Rating.


Problem: The Gravicius Veiled Modifier on body armour that grants a percentage of your maximum life as energy shield adds a huge amount of survivability to many builds for the low investment of a single bench-crafted modifier. Granting energy shield to life-based builds was often not valuable in the past as those builds would not have a sensible way to recover energy shield in combat, but the recent addition of Ghost Dance and Divine Shield, among other changes, have made obtaining a relatively small amount of energy shield on a life-based build very valuable. The Gravicius modifier trivialises this.

Solution: Rework the Gravicius' Veiled Modifier to instead grant a percentage of Physical Damage taken as Fire and Lightning Damage.

Effects on this build: This is a nerf ... because the Energy Shield provided by the mod allowed you to invest into the 'Ghost Dance' keystone which provided a substantial amount of defense (besides having additional Energy Shield).


Problem: The introduction of reservation efficiency has encouraged a much larger range of builds to invest in reservation skills to a small or moderate degree. This is not a problem in itself, but currently the options for doing so are similar for every build, and provide slightly too much generic power relative to the investment required. Reservation mastery options are the biggest outliers in power, as they provide larger amounts of power than entire notable passive skills.

Solution: Remove the mana reservation efficiency mastery and reduce the power of the aura effect and life reservation efficiency masteries.

Effects on this build: This is a nerf ... because you now either will have to invest more skill points into Mana Reservation on your skill tree and thus lose other valuable stats in order to use both Determination and Grace as an aura or you renounce the use of Grace which is a substantial loss of defense.


Summary regarding the effects of the 3.19 patch notes on this build: Just like all builds which used the holy grail of defense, namely Determination + Grace + Defiance Banner, the build took a huge hit in terms of defenses and in order to have the same level of defense as in 3.18 you now have to invest way more than before (into mana reservation efficiency) - which most likely isn't worth it so as a consequence you most likely will drop Grace. That being said, this nerf should only be relevant in the mid/late endgame and should not affect the builds capability to succesfully help new and casual players to get into the game, learn the many aspects of PoE and to explore the endgame.

TL:DR about this build guide

League starter build
Beginner- & casual-friendly
Highly flexible
Very tanky
All content doable
SSF & SSFHC viable
Step-by-step checklist for gem & item progression
Extensive crafting guideline for essential items
Elaborate descripton of endgame milestones
Numerous skill tree options (both offensive & defensive)
Comprehensive explanation on damage scaling & survivability
Detailed explanation of item acquisition
Links to PoE Trade website for essential items
Build-related loot filter
No prior game knowledge required
No unique items required
No 3rd party software required (e.g. Path of Building)

Path of Building Pastebin (for more experienced players)

I’m convinced that having Path of Building (PoB) or other 3rd party tools as a requirement to follow a build guide, is not only very intimidating, but also daunting for new players. Therefore, this guide doesn’t require Path of Building in the first place - at all. Nevertheless, PoB is the default way to share builds nowadays so you can find the pastebin here.

Player feedback (from 3.17 & 3.18)

This is by far the most informative and broken down guide I have ever seen. I am a long time player (started back on Prophecy league) so this isn't something I would need anymore, but if I found something like this back in that time I would have lived by it.

I'm going to be trying this build out, and I had to make a post and say your google doc guide is SO DETAILED and wonderful! Thank you so much for your time and effort in making it! :)

So I'm not a complete new player, but I'm so glad that I've found this build. This is my current league starter and it's working just fine. I even managed to get faster through the story than last league start, yay. At first I was kinda doubtful because I didn't like Toxic Rain but it turns out, that this is a nice solid choice for me since I love to play Duelist^^ thanks for the build and the smooth league start.

New player here using this guide,Its awesome man,Saved me lots of time. I just reached act 10 and it would probably have taken me 10x longer without this guide.

Im using this guide and its awesome..i played a few other season but never managed to do more than completing the campaign and farm a few maps cause at some point i struggled to get gear/know what gear to use. But right now i feel like this guide will help me getting to the so often called bosses any time soon. All these crafting advices are also awesome thanks!

I'm a casual player, know nothing about craft or efficient farm. I'm using this guide and i had the best progression of my life. I have like 3 EX investment so far and doing T16 easily.

There's so much good in this guide for newer folks, and everything being in text and images and broken down helps a lot. Unique one-of-a-kind guide that will likely not show up ever again. Looking forward to setting up my end game build and shedding my tabula! Thank you so much!!

I had 400+ hours in previous leagues before picking up this guide this league. It is one of the best guides I have used with only the Cold DoT guide by ShakCentral coming close. Highly recommend using following this guide unless you have a vast amount of knowledge of this game.

Brilliant build mate. My 10 year old is following along and really really enjoying it. [...] It's the first guide he feels comfortable with man, everything laid out for him. I enjoyed watching him, so i started one too! very well done, super comfortable.

i have been playing this build for 3 days total game time so far, and im at lv 87 xd super nice build and the effort put in to the writte guide is awesome, so thxxxxxxxxxxx alot for taking the time to do this!!!, i cant open path of build so this help me alot to enjoy this league xd

Thanks for this insane supreme awesome guide!! as a casual player this guide provide me with so much information is insane! love it!

I played PoE casually in a few leagues and now is the first time I made it to T10 maps without problems. Thank you for this awesome guide.

Just wanna thank Fezz for this amazing easily digestible guide for noobs like myself that wants to jump into the game but have little to no knowledge on contents and what works. I have attempted to follow as closely as possible and Fezz was very detailed in his explanation when requested for build fixing! Can totally vouch for this build! Got me to level 91 and counting, t16 maps no problem. Could do Shaper map but a little challenging for me but thats a me problem.

I just want to say thank you for such an incredible guide! It really helps new players "catch up" with all the new mechanics in the game. Now that I've essentially finished my goal of 38/40 and managed to do ALL content solo minus The Feared. I can only imagine how potent this build would of been pre nerf. I've gotten to the point where every piece is a 2-4ex+ upgrade so it's time for a new build :~) TL;DR Can HIGHLY recommend this build to new/returning players.

I am French:
Thank you for this very comprehensive guide. I'm not a new player but a lot of things have been very helpful to me. Fast, tanky enough, and the almost unlimited flasks are pretty darn cool. My build is not optimized, my flasks are bad and I am currently in T7. If you are a new player and don't want to play minions, I recommend this guide (and it works on console)

Hey man, awesome guide! TR was the first build i started this game with, back in rituals, but that's the first guide i read that told me alo of the "whys" of this build! thank very much!!

Thank you for your guide, it's the first time I completed Act 10 and it really helped to reduce the feeling of overwhelming information that this game throws at a newbie.

I have attempted to get into Path of Exile for the better part of the past few years. Every league it was the same story -- tried to follow some general build guide on YouTube, then failure. I never made it past Act 4 in the past.

By the time I started this league, I had almost 100 hours in Path of Exile. 100 hours and I never even beat the game. That is how disrespectful this game can be with your time if you don't have the proper help or know what you are doing.

With this guide, the campaign went from being a confusing slog to very enjoyable, especially when I hit level 33 and actually got to use Toxic Rain. I beat almost every boss without dying a single time. I had zero issues in any of the labyrinths. Most importantly, I felt very ready to transition to mapping when the campaign was over. For the first time after trying and failing repeatedly to do so for several years.

This guide was clearly a labor of love, and I think it should be a stickied post on the subreddit and this forum every single league. Path of Exile has a major new player retention/attraction issue. This guide is what GGG should explain in-game, but do not. It is, in my opinion, an actual solution to having a new person play and enjoy Path of Exile. [...]

TL;DR: Your guide kicks major ass, and I wish you were a developer at GGG because they lack, in a very serious way, this type of insight into attracting new players. That being said, PoE has always overcome its flaws because of its community. In my opinion, using this guide as a new player should be just as standard as downloading a loot filter or Path of Building. Otherwise, this game can be quite unenjoyable.

I started looking at this guide because I wanted to try something different that was not squishy. The quality of this build guide is amazing - For a newer player, this would be invaluable.

This guide is a true labor of love! I tried other guides before, but yours is on another level, really appreciate. For the first time I'm enjoying the end game. Thanks very much for this!

This guide has been my very first experience playing through PoE. I’m currently still only on Act 7 but This guide has been so informative. I don’t have to spend hours delving down different rabbit holes trying to learn mechanics. The guide seems to give me the main information I need when I need it, allowing me to continue forward without the confusion. I have learned so much just from playing alongside this guide I’m genuinely excited to keep pushing! I don’t have much to compare it to, but it’s like night and day compared to trying to play this game blind. Thanks for all the effort you put into this guide!!!

Perhaps the single best source of information (for casual/beginning) players around... thank you SO much for doing this guide and keeping things up-to-date! Looking forward to the next league, and will be starting it off with your build :)

Hey Fezz, I'm now getting around to writing some feedback at the end of the league. Thanks very much for this guide, it was great and useful, and while I haven't used it to the final endgame stages, I have seen it through most of the way and found it very helpful. For context, I've really only played one other league, Harvest, to level 85 on an ED-C Trickster in SSF, so it was very different.[...]

As a second time player, following it has helped me at each stage, working through the acts, progressing a build, and gearing for the end game. I've filled my Atlas, I'm working on Elder and Shaper guardians and Conquerors, and I'm going to take a shot at all the T16 bosses (Elder, Shaper, pinacle, Maven) before the end of the league. I've hit the plateau of gearing, and realistically i'm not going to manage to get all the endgame gear (not enough currency at this point) but I can see where to go from here. Thank you very much for the guide!!!

I wanted to thank you for this extensive guide! Your explanations regarding crafting the endgame items really has helped me a great deal in understanding how this crucial part of the game works. I am now comfortably running up to t14 and depending on mods t15 and don't really die, which is a great change to my first build I did xD

Your friendly neighborhood Exile!
Last edited by fezz8386 on Aug 19, 2022, 1:24:14 PM
Last bumped on Sep 27, 2022, 2:08:11 PM
Thank you for the guide.
excellent guide! logged in just to post this, very informative!
Thank you for the guide.

You're welcome! Going to try it for 3.17?
Last edited by fezz8386 on Feb 3, 2022, 3:53:14 PM
Garphunkyl wrote:
excellent guide! logged in just to post this, very informative!

Thanks! Will you try it for 3.17?
Last edited by fezz8386 on Feb 3, 2022, 4:42:30 PM
Hi, thanks for such impressive work!
I am considering to try a TR Champ build, never played one myself, because skipped last league when it was meta. But I heard some concerns about damage nerf to TR, considering it already been not the most damaging skill. What you think about changes? How much of a struggle will it be to eventually beat all content on this build in 3.17?
arronax1 wrote:
Hi, thanks for such impressive work!
I am considering to try a TR Champ build, never played one myself, because skipped last league when it was meta. But I heard some concerns about damage nerf to TR, considering it already been not the most damaging skill. What you think about changes? How much of a struggle will it be to eventually beat all content on this build in 3.17?

TR won't be a meta skill in 3.17, but there's no reason to believe that it's not viable to do all content in all available modes (trade, ssf, ssfhc). Especially new players will benefit from the crazy defenses this build has and I expect both the leveling and endgame progression to be very smooth - regardless of the nerf.

On top of that, the item acquisation of the build is very simple and straight forward.
Last edited by fezz8386 on Feb 3, 2022, 3:53:26 PM
// Update - 02.02.02
- Added 'Curse on Hit Ring' task to the 'Endgame Milestones' section
- Added an optional Cast When Damage Taken setup to the task which provides information on what to do once you use Grace and you have a body armour with ‘Gain #% of Maximum Life as Extra Maximum Energy Shield’
Last edited by fezz8386 on Feb 3, 2022, 3:53:38 PM
hi, seems wonderful guide. I played TR at 3.13 and i was thinking play that league as well but i was thinking with ranger. Is damage enough for bossing with low investment ?
Osbury wrote:
hi, seems wonderful guide. I played TR at 3.13 and i was thinking play that league as well but i was thinking with ranger. Is damage enough for bossing with low investment ?

Both Ranger and Champion should be fine. Ranger will have more clearspeed/damage than Champion, but Champion will have way more defenses. In terms of investement ... TR never was very demanding when it comes to items and item acquisition (which is why it's so good for SSF)
Last edited by fezz8386 on May 5, 2022, 7:16:36 AM

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