Path of Exile Classes – The Strongest for New and Returning Players

Path of Exile Classes
By | June 10th, 2020 | Categories: Path of Exile

There is quite a bit of variety when it comes to Path of Exile classes. There are six base classes, and five of those can advance into three separate sub-classes each, while the final one can choose from the other fifteen classes for her abilities. This means that there are sixteen final ascendancies to choose from, creating a massive amount of variety and customization within the game. This many options can be daunting, so we’re going to look at which classes are best, and how can you know which ones to choose for your build.

What are the Path of Exile Classes?

First off, Path of Exile is unlike many games in that all of the characters share a passive skill tree, and merely start in different positions within it. The only thing that is exclusive to each class is their ascendancy points, which are those sixteen different classes that I mentioned above. What this means is that unless your ascendancy does something that enables a playstyle, any class can do any build fairly effectively.

There are exceptions. For example, Saboteur is the trap and mine based ascendancy, and the bonuses you get from within the ascendancy are so strong that it makes it very difficult to use traps or mines on a non-Saboteur character. Similarly, Necromancer gives huge bonuses to anything minion-based, and Hierophant gives huge bonuses to Totem playstyles. But apart from those three classes, the other thirteen classes give more general bonuses that can be used for nearly any build or playstyle. For example, even though Gladiators are clearly designed around the idea of a melee playstyle, I have played them as both a bow-based and minion-based class in the past. Juggernaut is designed around life based, tanky, slow playstyle, but many players have used it for speedy claw-based energy shield builds.

Obtaining Ascendancy Points

The way you get these ascendancy points is by completing the four labyrinths which you gain access to throughout the story and maps. All of them you need to complete trials in order to gain access to – the first three sets of trials are found throughout the story, while the final set is found randomly in maps. Each time you complete one of the labyrinths you will gain two ascendancy points which can be used to take one small and one large point within your ascendancy tree. Each class has between six and eight large nodes, and you can take a total of four, making even more variety within builds.

Which of the Path of Exile Classes is Strongest?

With so much variety within Path of Exile Classes it can be overwhelming to try and find a class to play. You’re probably asking the same question, which class is strongest, so I can just pick that. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. The ‘strongest’ class changes every league, and even then it’s a matter of playstyle and meta, there can easily be four or five strongest classes in a league without any of them feeling oppressive. Or there can be one class that comprises 50% of the meta. It’s all up to specific league balancing and items.

For example, as of writing this, at the end of Delirium league 45% of the characters level 99 or 100 are Guardians. There are sixteen classes and 45% of the top players are playing a single class. Which leaves us to ask why that’s the case. Well, during Delirium a broken build emerged which made use of a new set of items that were released this league. Guardian was the class that made the best use of it, so it quickly became the class everyone is playing, in order to abuse the set of items. The second most played class is Ascendant, with 23%, using the exact same setup. Currently 67% of the top 15 thousand players are based around this one build, which is best on two specific ascendancies. So, this league, these two classes are the most dominant.

Sites to Help Identify A Strong Class

In order to find the class that is strongest, I highly suggest you familiarize yourself with two sites. The first is poe.ninja. There you can look at the class distribution within the current league, both standard and hardcore. Far more importantly, you can sort by classes, items, keystones, etcetera. This allows you to quickly look for the build you’re interested in and see the distribution of classes, or look at a specific class and see what build most of them are playing.

The other site I’d recommend is the official Path of Exile Forums. Within the Classes/Builds section you can go into any of the six classes, and then sort down to specific ascendancies if you’d like. You can see the builds people are talking about most, and then go into and explore any guides you’re interested in. I highly recommend doing this when you are unfamiliar with a build. If you’re going something simple like two-handed weapons you can probably just make your own build, but anything more complex and using a guide is highly suggested.

Which of the Path of Exile Classes is Good for Beginners?

If you’re a new player, all of this information is probably very overwhelming. Don’t worry, there are lots of builds that are good for beginners. I highly suggest finding a build that you like and following it to the letter for your first character. It’s not that you can’t make your own builds, it’s that Path of Exile is a very harsh and punishing game if you don’t know what you’re doing, and if you make your own character, you probably won’t make it through the story. Following a build will make sure you experience the best parts of the game before you start messing around with your own creations.

If you’re looking for a class that is generically strong for beginners, Necromancers going the Zombie summoning route is very strong and very easy to figure out. Here is a basic guide from Qlidascope, but there are many to choose from. If you’re more into melee fighting, I suggest a Slayer Cyclone build. Cyclone feels great, and Slayer is a very forgiving class for new players – Pudge’s guide is a pretty good one for new players, but feel free to look around for any build, there are many. Lastly I’ll suggest Enki’s Arc Elementalist for anyone looking for a spell-based playstyle. This build I would suggest over all the other Arc builds, because it’s specifically designed for new players, and has received quite a bit of acclaim throughout the Path of Exile Classes community.

Final Word

There are many Path of Exile Classes to choose from, and a ton of variety. It can be overwhelming for new players, but this is the sort of thing that has players coming back every three months, league after league, to try new things with new items and skills. Because of the vast variety, small additions to the game can create new playstyles and builds that can dominate the meta. Don’t worry about it too much, just find a build and follow it, you’ll very quickly find your playstyle and pretty soon you’ll be the one explaining all of this to another new player!

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