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The Best PoE Builds for 3.1

Best PoE Builds
By | January 31st, 2018 | Categories: Path of Exile

Path of Exile has always been a complex game with a lot of hard work and theory going into building the best possible characters. Over the years, successive patches full of buffs and nerfs have constantly disrupted the list of best builds and forced players to adapt their characters to shifting realities. Now that PoE 3.1 is here, it’s time to once again determine which are the Best PoE Builds! Since 3.1 is likely to bring a lot of new blood to the game, as well as bringing some old blood back, I’m going to stick to the strongest builds that can easily be built by players of any skill level.

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Totems, Totems, Totems!

Let’s start with a classic, and one of my personal favorites. Builds centered around totems have been viable for quite some time in PoE, primarily for their ability to do ludicrous amounts of area of effect (“AoE”) damage that wipes out weaker mobs while the player is free to focus their attention on beefier enemies. This also makes them great builds for newer players because they don’t require you to micromanage nearly as much; your totems are taking out most of the enemies for you. As far as building a specific totem-build, you have a lot of freedom when it comes to which spells you want to link to your totems. Some examples of totem builds that I, and other players, have had success with in the past include linking your totems with Flameblast, Frostbolt, and Dark Pact.

One of my favorite builds, though, is linking Righteous Fire to my totems and running Searing Bond. It’s an extremely easy build to get started with, and it completely melts everything in its path. There is very little content you can’t clear with this build, and I highly recommend it. Still, you should feel free to explore other spells since they all have different flavors and benefits – you really can’t go wrong with totems. Read more about Totem Builds.


I know that every veteran PoE player is waiting for this, so I’ll just get it out of the way right now: yes, Sunder is still very much a viable option in 3.1. It did take a light tap from the nerf bat, but it is still arguably one of the single best melee skills in PoE. On top of that, it has long been acknowledged as one of the best leveling skills in the game and can rocket new players to high levels. Every enemy hit by the initial spell releases an additional AoE wave that deals extra damage. You can imagine the deadly chaos this creates among enemy ranks. If you are someone who likes to play a melee character in games like this, Sunder is your savior, since most other melee skills get beaten out by totems or ranged builds.

Essence Drain/Trickster

Essence Drain is a great ability to get started with but is good enough that a lot of veterans continue to use it, as well. With the Contagion skill getting big damage buffs in 3.1, you’re going to see Essence Drain builds packing even more punch than before – and that’s saying quite a lot. The reason these skills work well together, and the reason the Contagion buff makes such a difference, is that when enemies die with the effects of Essence Drain and Contagion active, their effects spread to nearby enemies. This causes damage to add up quickly. You can go the Trickster or Occultist route with this build, but keep in mind that the Occultist version boasts a lot more survivability. I personally prefer the trickster, though, because of its obscenely high damage output.

Ancestral Warchief

This is another one that I think is a lot of fun, while also being really easy to pick up and maintain. The only real requirement to make this build work is a good two-handed axe. Ancestral Warchief shows what happens when you take the always powerful totems and combine them raw melee power. The Ancestral Warchief skill itself creates a totem that does AoE damage enemies as long as the player is within range of it. On top of that, the player’s own damage is increased by proximity to the totem. This means that you are stacking all kinds of crazy damage when you fight near your totem. If you get your hands on the Facebreakers, your damage then goes to a whole other level. This is another one that fans of close up, in-your-face combat will enjoy.

Ethereal Knives

This one definitely suffered from a bit of a nerf when the number of projectiles was reduced from 10 to five, but it is definitely still completely viable as a good starting build. This skill, as the name suggests, involves throwing out a set of knives out in a fan shape from your character. This ability can be spammed to really carve through enemies and clear maps quickly. In order to help you keep moving, it is advisable to use Mind over Matter in order to redirect some of your damage taken as mana loss, instead. You will notice that this build’s single target damage isn’t really the best of the list, but it more than makes up for it in clearing speed and survivability. Read more about Ethereal Knives here.


This is a good starting point for strong PoE builds in Version 3.1. As is always the case in PoE, there is a lot of room for customization and improvement on top of the builds suggested above, but there is a great place to start if you are new to the game, newly returning to the game, or just looking to try something different from the characters you’ve been playing for years. Be sure to check out our other PoE tips and tricks, and check back often for new and updated builds!

For 35+ Builds from 6 categories, go here: Path of Exile Builds

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