The Best Maps to Shape in PoE 3.6
With the atlas changes every few leagues, it can be very difficult to know which maps are best to shape. This is my opinion for Best Maps to Shape in PoE 3.6. There are many other people who have done differently, but these maps have served me, and many of the top streamers, quite well.
Which maps should I shape for a Pure Shaped strategy?
The past few leagues people have been straying away from the strategy of only having one shaped map on their atlas from each tier, 11-15. All other maps have been removed, ensuring that every red map that drops is a shaped, nice layout map. This strategy was very popular for quite a while, but in the past few leagues, people have been going further towards completing every map, for a variety of reasons which we will discuss later.
If you decide to go the route of only having one shaped map per tier, and no other maps, then you’re likely doing it for pure experience, or farming for a specific divination card. If you’re going the divination card route, then shape whatever map you would like that suits your needs. This will likely include Lair or Burial Chambers, Spider Forest, possibly Volcano, and whatever else you see fit. This can be a great method for farming divination cards for currency or to find specific uniques from divination cards, such as Kaom’s Heart in SSF.
If you’re going the experience route, then the five maps I would shape are these: Lair, Ghetto, Toxic Sewer, Canyon, and Moon Temple. These maps are the ones that have the most juice, the best layouts, and enough density that you can sustain them fairly easily. The racer who got first in HC SSF this league (and many other leagues) shaped four of these maps as well, the only difference being that he shaped Orchard instead of Toxic Sewer as his T13. I chose not to because I hate the layout, and porcupines are a pain to deal with. Plus, Toxic Sewer is one of the smoothest layouts possible. I have to assume he shaped Orchard for one of the several divination cards that drop there.
Why should I fill out the Atlas fully?
As I mentioned, many players are choosing to no longer go the full shaped strategy and instead are filling out their atlases fully – even in SSF. There are many reasons for this, which I’ll try to cover.
The first is quite simply that it is far easier to fill out an atlas today than ever before. Zana now sells maps all the way up to T16, as well as her missions in maps providing completion bonus. They also changed the 3:1 recipe that allows you to upgrade maps, so that now you can upgrade to either of the higher tier connected maps if there are two. In addition, there is simply a ton of additional content that drops maps. Delve, Incursion, and the Memory Nexus all spit out maps like nobody’s business. All of these things combine to make it incredibly easy to fill out your atlas now.
Another big reason to fill out your atlas is that the top tier maps are actually quite good this time around. The current Tier 15 maps are Lava Lake, Waste Pool, Core, Defiled Cathedral, and Dark Forest. While a few of these have bosses that are extremely inefficient, Dark Forest is the only one with a bad layout. Tier 14 includes Belfry and Racecourse as well, two of the best layouts for experience.
Lastly, there’s a lot of motivation to have full completion now in terms of atlas objectives. There are daily missions that appear randomly, Shaper strongholds for easy money, and, of course, pushing up to Shaper himself. All of these can prove extremely useful or valuable, and with all the other reasons to fill out your atlas, they are just the icing that pushes most players into fully completing it.
Which map should I Elder Orb?
If you decide to instead go the route of filling out the atlas, you also have the benefit of killing Shaper and obtaining an Elder Orb. This can be used to turn one map on the atlas, of any tier, to Tier 16. This is the best farming strategy, as it combines both of the above options. You have the accessibility of being able to access the entire atlas, while also having your T16s drop great layout maps. By removing the guardian maps you can isolate the map that you’ve eldered in order to have it drop as the only T16 that drops from all side content. The guardian maps will still drop from connected T15s (which you can get around by removing them and only having a shaped T15, but we discussed that already), but the majority of the maps you find will be the map you eldered.
Which brings us to the question: which maps should be eldered? Again, if you’re going for a specific divination card, elder a map that drops that card – fairly simple. If you’re not going for anything specific, then there are two options that stand out as significantly better than all other maps: Underground Sea and Haunted Mansion. Both of these maps have incredible density and great layouts – they can easily be sustained with a bit of investment. Speaking of investment, they are both low tier maps originally, meaning that when you elder them you can still surround them with white sextants. Personally, I have eldered Underground Sea, and I average map approximately 1.5 T16s back for every map I run. Since I use around 3 white sextants and the other typical currency items, totaling less than 10c per map, this is pure profit from map drops alone. There’s no disadvantage to these maps, and you’ll get rich quick running them.
There are several strategies that can be used when deciding which maps to shape. You can go the fully shaped route or the fully completed route. Personally, I chose to go the fully completed route with an emphasis on a T16 eldered map. Regardless of what you chose, you’ll still want to be shaping some red maps so that they appear more often, which is why we’ve listed the Best Maps to Shape in PoE 3.6. Hope these tips helped you to shape the maps that you love or the ones that will give you the most returns!