PoE Starter Builds for the Betrayal League (Patch 3.5)
We’re into the Betrayal League on patch 3.5 in Path of Exile. There have been some major shakeups, and many new skills. Figuring out what to start with isn’t easy, and in fact, I myself picked a build that didn’t work, and I had to remake on day one. To help you avoid that, we’ve compiled a list of PoE Starter Builds that are effective on a budget. This will be including some new skills which are performing well so far, as well as some reliable builds from previous leagues. There will be a notes section at the bottom on why we decided not to include certain builds.
What PoE Starter Builds are good?
- Armageddon Brand Elementalist
- Arc Totems
- Winter Orb Elementalist
1. Armageddon Brand Elementalist
Brands are a new archetype introduced this league. There are two Brands that have been introduced: Storm Brand and Armageddon Brand. Storm does lightning damage, Armageddon does fire damage. The way that most people would look at building this is through Hierophant with the new Brand skills. However, their damage isn’t that high, so the way that many – including myself – have built it is by using Armageddon Brand as a vehicle for ignites.
There isn’t a tree for this build, but basically just get all the Brand nodes on the tree and build Beacon of Ruin into Mastermind of Discord in your ascendancy. Since you’re building ignites you’ll want to support the Brand with all ailment style supports. Burning Damage, Combustion, Deadly Ailments, Hypothermia, and Immolate are all excellent supports. From what I’ve seen this build will likely have issues with the highest content, but it was very smooth sailing from levels 12 to yellow maps. It’s a great way to generate currency for a second build, at the very least.
That’s right boys, Arc remains un-nerfed. And totems got a buff, allowing you to play any class, not just Hierophant. That said, I would still recommend playing Hierophant as a starter build. This is a well-established build, and now Hierophants summon two totems at once at the cost of one fewer maximum totems. This will be a small nerf on bosses where you would want to summon all four totems, but for all other content, it will be better to pump out two totems fast.
With Arc un-nerfed and totems always being strong, this is a very basic build that will crush all content with minimal investment. The guide linked claims to do Shaper easily on a 1-2 exalt budget, and honestly, I think that’s a high amount of investment. Bosses like Shaper are a joke with a strong totem-build, and this is probably the strongest one out there without high investment! There are also absolutely zero uniques required for this build, making it very strong for everyone.
This is another new skill, and it’s probably the one that has received the most attention. Zizaran, in particular, has been playing it nonstop, despite several deaths. The skill basically plays like a ranged Blade Vortex, dealing high amounts of damage for low amounts of channeling time, allowing players to move very quickly and clear packs with ease. It also works with Inpulsa, although it is entirely unnecessary. If you choose not to build towards Inpulsa, then Inquisitor is also an incredible choice of ascendancy.
The one downside that this build has versus the traditional Blade Vortex Elementalist is that your single target potential is much lower. This is largely due to not having Vaal Blade Vortex. Zizaran has gotten around this by simply adding a four-link Vaal Blade Vortex to the build for bossing. The fact that it’s on a four-link isn’t a big deal because you can add Concentrated Effect to it, something that normally wouldn’t be in main links while doing maps.
What about some honorable mentions?
There are a lot of builds that are good to start with this league. Anything that uses Arc – Totems (see above), Selfcast, Traps, and Mines –is incredibly strong. Most totem builds are strong as well, including Arc, Glacial Cascade, Vortex, Freeze Pulse, or Ancestral Warchief. Consecrated Path is incredibly strong as well, and can be done on many ascendancies.
In regard to builds that are good to aim towards, you have Elemental Hit, anything involving Poet’s Pens, Tornado Shot builds, and any number of other builds. There are also huge buffs that have come towards Cast on Crit, so many people are building towards those styles of builds using Cospri’s Malice. Since Incursion is back this league, Zerphi’s Heart and Headhunter are both back on the menu as top-tier items to strive towards as well.
If you’re looking to make money fast, running the Uber Labyrinth is a great way. The builds best for that are Juggernaut and Slayer for ignoring traps, or Deadeye for high movement speed. Farming the labyrinth will be the most reliable way to make money as of this article coming out, so it’s my personal suggestion for what to aim towards if you’re looking to make an expensive build next. Hell, it’s what I’m doing right now!
Why aren’t other PoE Starter Builds included?
Right off the bat, we didn’t include Blade Vortex Elementalist because of the price associated with Inpulsa’s Broken Heart. While the build does work without it, Inpulsa’s is where you want to be heading, and as of writing this, it is sitting at over five exalted orbs. So yes, the build not only works but is still incredible, but it’s not where I want to be with a ‘starter’ build.
Lancing/Shattering Steel. This was talked about a lot as a league starter, and many different streamers were playing it on day one. Well, they weren’t playing it on day three. This is the build that I started, and I gave up before hitting maps because of how badly it was scaling. I’ve heard some reports that going Deadeye with additional projectiles can make the build work, but as I’ve only seen failure out of it so far, I can not in good conscience recommend anyone try either of the Steel builds.
For more builds from 6 categories, check out our Path of Exile Wiki page.