With the impending release of POE 3.23 Affliction League, our league launch build, Toxic Rain Ballista Pathfinder, has received considerable enhancements. While this was already pretty powerful before the enhancements, now I’d say it’s even crazier. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the impact of the new league on Toxic Rain.
Skill Itself – Buff & Nerf
Our skill choice is Toxic Rain. Fire a projectile with your bow, which will spawn Spore Pods where it lands. Over time, this will start to cause chaos damage in an area, and they can overlap each other.
The base duration of this skill is 1 second. But they changed the gem quality so we’ll get an extra 0.2 seconds, which is 20% more duration.
In POB under the custom mod, I increased the duration by 20% to simulate the change. The skill duration is equal to more damage. So that’s 20% more damage for us.
To show how much damage we can do, we tested DPS effect before and after the buff. The full DPS before the buff was about 3.3 million, while DPS after it reached 4 million.
I didn’t change any gear or put in Divine Orb to roll skill gems. This is just an increase in duration. I could be wrong, so please wait for POB to be updated with new numbers. But of course, this skill is still super powerful without the buff.
Now let’s talk about nerfs. As you probably know, you need to hit a certain threshold of increased area to get maximum overlap, which is 39%. At this point, all Spore Pods will overlap. However, they eliminate the area effect of increased gem quality. So we need other sources to increase the area effect.
The easiest and cheapest way to fix this nerf is to use a single Amulet craft on our Crafting Bench, which increases area of effect and area damage by 10%. That’s how we solved the nerf.
To sum up, in order to reach 39% of the area, we will use 20% Bow Mastery, 9% Gloves craft and 10% Amulet craft. If you want to complete the build faster, just buy POE Currency a lot, which would help you achieve your goal faster.
Secondary Source Of Damage
Our biggest and best damage multiplier comes from using Ballista’s secondary sources. We can have 5 of them and they will help us stack Wither on the boss, which will increase Chaos damage by 90% by default.
In addition, we also get an Ascendancy node, which will increase Wither effect and give us the opportunity to cause a Wither.
In short, our damage increases faster. The other big damage increase is skill effect duration, since Pods will stay in combat longer and deal damage for longer.
Cheap Unique Till Red Tier Maps
At the beginning of the league we have access to a cheap unique bow, Quill Rain. It’s very cheap on the first day of the league, only 5 Chaos Orbs. The best thing is you don’t even need a 6-Link, you just use it as a 4-Link and plug Ballista into it.
We can keep all the mana. Because building with Eldritch Battery consumes Energy Shield, but we can use our skills more freely without having to worry about mana.
You need at least 450 Energy Shield, as I think that’s a good breakpoint for Divine Blessing Support setup. Even after you use Divine Blessing, you have enough Energy Shield to send Toxic Rain and still not deplete Energy Shield.
Also, we’ve got a little of a buff here. Because it has reduced the mana cost of Inspiration Support by 5% due to changes in gem quality.
Which New Ascendancy To Choose?
Through Affliction League, we gained 3 new Ascendancies.
I think most of the time you’ll want to use Wildwood Primalist. With this, we gain access to additional inventory slots, which can be very useful early or even later in the game. You can also insert it into your Ascendancy tree. Works like Relics in Sanctum league.
Of course, you won’t get the insane stuff at first, but after that the advantage becomes huge. This depends on the charms and rarity of the mod.
Warden Of The Maji
Another new Ascendancy is Warden of the Maji. This is the first node worth considering. You can get this very early. The developer said during the live stream that players can get the first 2 points and Oath of the Maji in Act 2.
You can get Elemental Resistance easily because there is a mod: If you have no gems inside your helmet, all Elemental Resistance +50%. I think it might be worth taking before resistance gets capped later. It’s also worth considering boots without gems, as you’ll also move 30% faster.
Warlock Of The Mists
The third Warlock of the Mists. I think this is not good for us because we already use curses so it would be difficult to install another curse in our build. And his other nodes are not good for us either. So I think overall, this Ascendancy is useless most of the time for this build.
In terms of defense, you can use Grace Aura to increase Evasion rating so that the monster’s normal attacks or projectiles will not kill us.
In addition, Determination Aura can reduce physical damage. So we can use Molten Shell, which we cast when the build takes damage. This is one of the best defensive cooldowns in the game.
Now we are nearly untouchable by physical attacks, and the only danger left to us is spell damage. But we have a solution, which is to use spell suppression on Ascendancy tree.
We can only get 87% of the skills from the tree and will fill the rest with mods from our gear slots. Even without spending Divine Orbs to buy any specific gear at the start of the league, we have uptime with a Permanent flask. We’ll do this through a few things.
Our Ascendancy class choice is Pathfinder. Pathfinder line can get 3 Flask Charges every 3 seconds. We can also place several Flask nodes in the tree to increase Flask Charge buff.
Of course, all our Flask’s need for this mod to get 2 or 3 Flask Charges when we get hit. With all this, you will have Permanent flask uptime even if you stand motionless in your hideout.
Because we use Pathfinder, we can use Master Surgeon node. This will keep our Life flask still active if our life reaches full.
Furthermore, when we use flask, we gain 4% life. This is why this version of the build uses gain charge on the hit flask mod. So when you get hit multiple times, you won’t notice because the flask will heal you instantly. And we use all elemental flasks, which will also reduce the elemental damage we receive.
At the beginning of Affliction League, we couldn’t get some powerful items on the first day of the league. There is only one item worth mentioning, and that is the unique bow Quill Rain, which is extremely cheap even on the first day of the league.
That’s why I recommend using it when you POE Currency buy. It almost takes you to high tier maps. Also, you don’t need a 6-Link, just use it as a 4-Link and plug Ballista in here.
Before we get started with the flask part of Pathfinder, you don’t have to limit the resistance to your gear. Because resistance flasks will have 100% uptime. So the flasks we use are Ruby, Topaz, Sapphire, Granite, Quicksilver and Divine Life Flask.
All flasks need to come with this mod: get 2-3 charges when you take a hit. And you need this flask enchantment: use when full. Later, when you get higher levels of flask, you will use 3 charges when you take a hit.
The sub-mods are required to increase armor, dodge, and attack speed during the flask effect. The order does not matter. You can also have 100% uptime by adding all Elemental Resistance mods to the flask. This will make your gear easier.
For the passive tree, in the early levels, your major goals are Aspect of the Eagle and Hunter’s Gambit, and get Bow Mastery node here. You can deal 10% more damage to enemies with Energy Shield than Chaos Mastery.
After that, you’ll go to the top of the tree and get all the nodes you see here. But don’t get Eldritch Battery until you have at least 400-500 Energy Shield.
My golden rule of leveling: If you feel you need more damage, select the damage node first. If you die or get hit hard, prioritize health and defense nodes.
We use Pathfinder as an advantage.
- In the first lab: Take Nature’s Reprisal, which is really great for early leveling. It will help you deal with single target damage, and you can easily stack Wither on enemies.
- In the second lab: Nature’s Boon magic flask will have a bigger impact on you, so don’t forget to upgrade your magic flask when you level up.
- In the third lab: Adrenaline gain. You will now regenerate this Flask Charges.
- In the final lab: Master Surgeon. Now your life flask will be activated even if you reach full life.
I hope this guide on Toxic Rain Ballista Pathfinder at the start of Affliction League was helpful. If you like dealing damage over time, you’ll have a great time with this build. Looking forward to seeing you in the new league!