With more and more of the game’s content being dedicated to throwing huge packs of mobs at you, you need a build that excels at clearing entire screens in a split second. Arc doesn’t really need any introductions as it’s hands-down the best clearing spell in the Path of Exile, adding mines into the mix brings it to a whole new level. For just a slightly more involved play style, you’re getting a ton of extra damage and plenty of flexibility in terms of gearing. If you somehow get bored of using Arc, you can very easily switch to other lightning spells without changing much else apart from 2 or 3 gems.
Navandis Gaming’s video has more details about the Arc Mines Saboteur Build for PoE 3.10, and all the content of this article is quoted from his video. His also shares the Path of Building import code as well as other important information:
As an amazing league starter, this build doesn’t require any mandatory unique items before switching to the low-life, energy-shield based form as that will likely happen around level 75-80, by then you are basically out of the league starter phase anyway. At that point, if you invest a bit of PoE currency in your gear, a few Chaos orb for each piece will go a long way as the builds works quite well on tighter budgets. But that should not be a problem as this is one of the best farming builds in the game. Once you get the ball rolling, you’ll level up incredibly fast and clear maps in no time, and that doesn’t apply to trash mobs. The build is amazing at killing bosses and tougher targets as well. In fact, most bosses melt almost instantly without getting a chance to cast their spells or use any abilities. The build can run all map modes, no regen and elemental damage reflect require some extra effort and focus.
There is a link for importing the entire build guide in Path of Building tool. It includes the passive tree broken down into level brackets, example gear and a detailed “Notes” section on gearing, stats priorities and gems. With that out of the way, it’s time to lay out the build overview.
Arc + High-impact Mine: throw Arc mines instead of casting Arc directly
The build relies on mines paired with Arc spell, creating a real deathfield across the entire screen. There are broadly two options when playing mines in Path of Exile: you can either use mines with an innate ability, such as Stormblast mine, or attach a regular spell like Arc to a special support gem called high-impact mine. When going with the second option, casting the attached spell will instead throw a mine on your cursor which will live for about 10 seconds.
D = Detonate: press once to detonate all existing mines
By default, you can have a maximum of 15 mines lying on the ground but in most builds, including this one, that cap is raised to 19. As soon as you have a mine lying on the ground, you’ll gain a new ability called Detonate which is assigned to the D key by default. As the name implies it, using this ability will detonate all mines in sequence, and when that happens, the actual spell will fire originating from the mine itself.
Detonation Chain: new mines can get chained to previous detonation
Detonate is an instant cast and can be used while moving as well. New mines that are thrown while the initial batch is still being detonated will get triggered as well. For example, let’s say you have 19 mines on the ground, you spawn a metamorph boss and hit detonate. In very quick succession, one by one, those mines start exploding and each of them casts an Arc spell. Meanwhile, you can take any other action or cast different spells or abilities without interrupting the ongoing chain reaction. If you start throwing more mines, then some of these will get daisy-chained as well in the initial detonation sequence. In most cases, you'll actually be able to chain about 30 to 35 mines with a single detonation.
Mines reserve mana: when mines are detonated, reserved mana is released
Finally, another interesting fact about mines is their cost. Each mine you throw will actually reserve a small amount of your mana, similar to how auras work. Once it's detonated, that reservation is released and you'll have to replenish your mana.
By this point, you're probably wondering why in the world would you use this more complex system rather than just casting Arc yourself? Using mines does require a more involved playstyle, it also has a large number of benefits, making it an overall superior system in my opinion. First, when self-casting you need to dedicate a lot of passives and gear pieces to boost your cast speed and mana regeneration. Mines have neither of these issues, allowing you to reserve almost your entire mana pool with other auras and get more raw spell damage or crit mods.
Place mines before fights: this way, you can sometimes insta-clear encounters
Then there's the preparation aspect: in most boss fights or static encounters such as delve nodes, you can preemptively lay down 19 mines and detonate them once the fight starts. In most cases, this will be enough to push a boss into the next phase almost instantly, if not even obliterate them altogether.
Remote mine placement: throw mines far away and kill from a safe distance
Remote mine placement also helps tremendously with staying far away from any source of harm. if you throw your mines at the edge of your screen and detonate them, even enemies that are off-screen will die before they can even see or aggro you. This is especially true with Arc and its excellent chaining range.
No reflect dmg, no leach: mines damage cannot be reflected, cannot leech
Finally, you cannot take reflect damage from skills that are used with mines, because the damage source is considered to be the mine and not yourself. On the other hand, for the exact same reason, this also means you cannot leech life, man,a or energy shield with mines either. Still, the tradeoff is more than worth it in my opinion.
Transition to LL + ES: level up as hybrid life + energy shield
Before wrapping up the overview section, I'll talk a bit about some defense aspects. While leveling and going through story mode you'll play as a life + energy-shield hybrid. Once you have around 5,000 maximum energy shield, you can start reserving most of your life pool with auras through blood magic. As you get better gear and passives, you'll transition to a pure energy shield based character with almost your entire life pool taken up by auras, aka a low-life build. Apart from a huge amount of energy shield recharge and regeneration, you'll be immune to stuns, shock, and ignite, and your enemies will be permanently blinded, chilled, shocked and hindered. On top of that, you'll be very close to having maximum block chance for both attacks and spells, all while killing most stuff a few screens away from a safe distance. It sounds like a lot to take it, don't worry, as always, I will talk about all these in much greater details in the passives, gems and gearing sections respectively.
Passive Tree & Leveling
Starting off as a Shadow you can immediately use Stormblast mine as soon as you leave the first town. Shortly after, you'll be able to get Blastchain Mine support which will allow you to link an active skill to it for the mines/spell combo I've described in the build overview section.
As for the tree, you first go for a few DPS passives such as “Trickery”, “Assassination”, and “Saboteur” for a whole bunch of damage and crit strike. The last one also increases your maximum number of mines by two. Follow that up with “Melding” wheel for some juicy bonuses to life and energy shield.
Moving through Act 2, double down on mine-specific passives such as “Successive Detonations” and “Volatile Mines”. They provide increased damage, critical strike chance and multiplier for each mine you've detonated recently or is currently near enemies. As such, stacking a large number of mines and having long detonation chains leads to huge damage bonuses. You also gain two additional mines, bringing your maximum up to 19.
Then grab “Written in Blood” to further boost your HP and energy shield. This act also brings with it the “Deal with the Bandits” quest, and for this build, the best option is to help Alira. Pretty much all her bonuses are useful for this build: critical strike multiplier, mana regeneration as well as a decent amount of elemental resistances. These will make both leveling and end-game gearing much easier.
In acts 3 and 4, continue increasing your crit strike chance and multiplier by taking “Doom Cast” wheel and follow that with “Soul Thief” for a large amount of energy shield. You then go all-in with mines-related passives: “Blast Cascade” for a chance to gain power charges each time you detonate a mine, “Clever Construction” making your mines indestructible for 5 seconds after you throw them, as well as “Devastating Devices” and “High Explosives” for a ton of crit and elemental resistance penetration.
Moving on to acts 5 and 6 head towards the left side of the tree and pick up “Arcane Will” along with “Foresight”. These will greatly help with mana sustain and regeneration as well as a really big chunk of energy shield. End with “Destructive Apparatus” wheel for some excellent bonuses to mine throwing speed and damage. This passive also reduces damage dealt by enemies by up to 10% as long as they have a few mines nearby.
In acts 7 and 8, the game starts throwing more difficult content at you. So, the focus now is mainly on defenses. “Arcane Focus” and “Deep Wisdom” are great choices for some additional energy shield and regeneration. Then grab “Prodigal Perfection” and “Mystic Bulwark” for a large amount of mana as well as additional spell damage based off your maximum mana pool. You also gain a decent chance to block spells as well as mana regeneration proportional to your block chance. As such, it follows that you should start using shields to take advantage of all these bonuses. Finally, as most of your effective HP is now comprised of energy shield, “Arcane Vision” is pretty much mandatory. Normally light radius is based on your life pool, so, any damage to it will drastically reduce your vision. It might seem like a waste, but trust me, low-level builds are pretty much unplayable without this passive. This is also the perfect moment to try and obtain Shavronne's Wrappings body armour. By default, any chaos damage, including poison, bypasses energy shield and directly damages life. Since you're mostly stacking energy shield and very little life, you're particularly vulnerable to this form of damage. Shavronne's Wrappings will force chaos damage to first damage your energy shield, thus mitigating this particular vulnerability.
As you approach the end of act 10 and story mode you need to prepare for taking on the harder content provided by the Atlas. Defense is thus still the name of the game and you'll go all in with boosting your energy shield stats. “Insightfulness”, “Unnatural Calm” and “Essence Surge” wheels will grant you huge amounts of energy shield as well as recharge rate and faster start of energy shield recharge.
Now I know all these stats might be a bit confusing, so this is likely a good moment to talk about the various energy shield recovery methods.
First, you have the standard regeneration which, similar to life regen, continuously recovers a small amount of energy shield. However the bulk of recovery is done through energy shield recharge. By default, this starts 2 seconds after not taking any damage and restores 20% of your total every second. However we can reduce the 2 seconds interval with “faster start of Energy Shield recharge” mods. This is quite an important stat which really helps with overall survivability. Apart from this, all the “increased energy shield recharge rate” mods will boost that 20% regeneration amount.
For this particular build, you'll actually get closer to 50%, meaning it will then take only 2 seconds to fully recharge your energy shield once you stop taking damage. Understanding these concepts will make it more obvious why we take “Wicked Ward” keystone. With it, energy shield recharge will not be interrupted if it started less than 4 seconds ago. Without this passive, it's almost impossible to get consistent recharge while in combat, as you're almost always taking some form of damage. While it does lower your shield regeneration rate, that type of recovery is far less important. So, it's totally worth it.
As you move towards level 80, grab “Sovereignty” to boost your many auras and reduce the amount of mana they reserve. “Zealot's Oath” keystone is also an important component of this build as it converts all the life regeneration into Energy Shield regeneration. Since you'll end up reserving pretty much your entire life pool with auras, life regeneration would've been useless anyway.
As you're going through mid 80s, you should fully transition to the low-life, pure energy shield based build. With Shavronne's Wrapping and over 5000 energy shield, you're ready to reserve your entire life pool with auras. Once you do that, the first order of business is to drop a passive point into “Pain Attunement” keystone. 30% more spell damage is an insanely huge bonus, accounting for almost a quarter of your total DPS.
Then grab these 3 jewel sockets. In the first one, you should drop the unique “Energy from Within”. This converts all the increased life bonuses from the Melding wheel into energy shield. In the topmost socket, the absolute best option is a “Lethal Pride” timeless jewel, with the flavor text “warriors under of Kiloava”. If you're unfamiliar with timeless jewels, these uniques will modify all the passive nodes in their radius. The flavor text on a timeless jewel indicates which passive a Keystone in radius will transform into. In this particular case “Chaos Inoculation” will transform into “Glancing Blows”, a very potent passive which doubles your block chance for both attacks and spells. However, blocking will only prevent half of the damage instead of all of it. This jewel will also add a whole bunch of strength to minor nodes as well as other random bonuses to significant passives.
Making the best out of this jewel requires some investment into block chance, and grabbing “Arcane Guarding” by level 95 will help you with that. And if you're willing to push to level 100 then working towards “Arcane Swiftness”, and an additional jewel socket is likely the optimal choice.
In the next section I'll be covering the Ascendancy class which improves pretty much every single aspect of this build. Exploding stuff and creating huge minefields are the signature of a Saboteur and that's what you'll be picking for the Ascendancy class.
First points go into “Pyromaniac”, a passive which will make leveling much easier. It reduces the mana reserved by mines and grants a large amount of life regen for each mine you detonate. Later on, this bonus will transform into energy shield regen through Zealot's Oath. On top of that it also provides immunity to shock and ignite, not only reducing the overall damage you take, but also eliminating an additional source of damage over time that would interrupt your energy shield recharge.
After completing Cruel Labyrinth spend the points on “Bomb Specialist”. You gain a significant bonus to mine throwing and detonation speed, making gameplay much smoother. It also provides a solid damage bonus if you've detonated mines recently.
Third passive is “Demolitions Specialist”, a staple of the Saboteur ascendancy. High-impact mine, which is what you'll be using in this build, has an aura component that grants a change to deal double damage. With this passive, that chance is effectively doubled, amounting to a huge overall DPS increase. On top of that, your mines will also hinder nearby enemies, drastically slowing them down. This gives you even more time to kill them from a distance, before they even get a chance to get close to you.
Finally, with the last ascendancy points take “Born in the Shadows”. With it, enemies will be pretty much permanently blind, which in turn translates into 50% chance to avoid their hits. Not only that, but the passive also makes you take less damage from blinded enemies while you get to deal more against them. All in all, a great 2 in 1 defensive and offensive tool.
With the ascendancy out of the way, we can take a quick look at the Pantheon choices. Generally speaking, Pantheon choices are situational, and there isn't a "best" pair that will outperform all others in any scenario. However, there are certain options that complement specific builds quite well in a wide range of situations. For this particular case, here are my recommendations:
For the major god, “Soul of Arakaali”. It offers great defensive bonuses against damage over time as this is still one of the build's weaknesses. On top of that, it boosts your energy shield recovery rate if you've stopped taking damage over time recently. This should be quite easy to achieve for example when removing bleeding with a Staunching flask.
As for the minor god, the optimal choice is “Soul of Shakari”: while chaos damage no longer bypasses your energy shield when using Shavronne's Wrappings armour, it still hurts quite a bit as it's very hard to cap chaos resistance.
Poison immunity is also very valuable as that's one less DOT type that would otherwise interrupt your energy shield recharge.
Another good alternative is “Soul of Tukohama”: you gain a significant amount of physical damage reduction and life regen while stationary. Of course, this will be transformed into energy shield regen once you take Zealot's Oath keystone from the passive tree.
Gems and Links
Having covered the pantheon choices, we can now focus on one of the most important aspects of any build: gems and links. Before I begin, I just need to remind you that there are Awakened versions for a few of the gems used in this build.
Awakened gems are a stronger variant of their base, but at the same time much more expensive. Needless to say, if you can afford them or get a lucky drop, just replace the base gem with the awakened version.
(XX/YY) = (Level/Quality): some gems are kept at lower level/zero quality
With that out of the way, as usual, I'll start off with the main skill, Arc and its supports. Ideally, you should get this gem to level 21 through corruption as the extra gem level grants an additional lightning chain. This will greatly boost both your single target damage and map clearing potential.
The first support gem is High-impact mine. Its first obvious purpose is that it transforms Arc from a self-cast spell into a mine. Without it, the entire thing is basically a very bad self-cast Arc build. So, whatever you do, don't skip this gem. On top of that, each mine you throw will generate an aura that will grant a chance to deal double damage against nearby targets. This is especially useful when you stack up all 19 mines right before spawning a boss. However, since you can only use it once you're level 31, temporarily replace it with “Blastchain Mine” support until then.
2nd support is “Swift Assembly” which grants a chance to throw between 1 to 3 additional mines with each cast. In a way, this is quite similar to Spell Echo when it comes to self-casting and a great overall DPS boost. This is particularly helpful in very mobile fights, as you can potentially lay down way more mines before you have to start moving again.
Up next is “Inspiration”, a very interesting support. First, it reduces the mana cost of linked skills, and that includes the reservation part for mines. On top of that, whenever you throw a mine you'll gain an inspiration charge which grants increased critical strike chance and elemental damage. This gem is an excellent addition to the build and none of its bonuses are wasted.
5th gem is “Trap and Mine Damage”, a very simple and obvious choice. It just adds a huge amount of damage while only slightly lowering your mine throwing speed.
Finally, last support is “Lightning Penetration” which causes your Arc mine hits to reduce targets' effective resistance, greatly boosting your damage against them. This is way more efficient against targets that have already high resistances, such as bosses. Since the build doesn't struggle at all with mob packs, it makes sense to instead improve your single target capabilities.
Now, for very tough bosses, you can replace Arc and High-impact mine with Stormblast mine and Concentrated Effect. This option has almost no mass-clearing capabilities but deals a huge amount of damage against single targets. So, it might be worth using if you're struggling with certain bosses.
2nd gem setup starts with Storm Brand. It's a very fast hitting skill that attaches to a target and continuously zaps around them for some lightning damage. However, damage is not the reason why this skill has been added to the build. Its role is actually that of a curse applying vehicle.
As such, you link it with “Curse on Hit” support and “Assassin's Mark” curse. The setup is quite simple: storm brand will attach to an enemy and hit it along with any other nearby targets. Each enemy hit this way will be cursed with “Assassin's Mark” which greatly increases your critical strike chance against them. Obviously, this is not meant to be used for every pack of mobs but rather against bosses or other tough elites. It's also great for static events such as delve nodes, strongboxes, metamorphs, blight, monoliths and so on. Also, do keep in mind that this skill won't be cast as a mine. So, you can take reflect damage from it. If you're running an elemental damage reflect map, just remember not to use Storm Brand.
NOTE : Minutes after publishing the video I've dug some more and found out that GGG devs has backtracked on their initial statement and Unbound Ailments doesn't affect Skitterbots after all. As such the best option is to drop that gem and in turn add Culling Strike or Energy Leech Support to the Storm Brand setup.
Up next is your utility setup. First, you have “Flame Dash”, the build's mobility skill. Nothing much to be said about it: it's quick, it can bypass obstacles, climb ledges and overall greatly boosts your efficiency. It's also amazing as a defensive tool to move out of harmful stuff or dodge big boss hits.
Then you have “Tempest Shield”. When activated it, provides a 12 seconds buff that boosts both your attack and spell block chances by 3%. If you also use the recommended “Lethal Pride” timeless jewel these bonuses will be doubled. On top of that, whenever you actually block something, the buff's duration will reset. So, you don't really need to spam it.
Third utility gem is “Summon Stone Golem”. It provides a large amount of life regen which, you guessed it, gets transformed into energy shield regen.
Finally link all of these with a lower level Arcane Surge. The way it works is once you spend a certain amount of mana with any linked active skills, you gain the Arcane Surge buff. This in turn gives you mana regen and a really powerful spell damage buff. So, whenever you flame dash, cast your tempest shield or re-summon your golem, you'll get this very powerful buff, and all in all, it should have an almost permanent uptime. And, believe it or not, this little gem alone accounts for about 10% of your total damage.
The first one is Immortal Call, a skill that provides a short duration buff that greatly decreases both physical and elemental damage you take.
2nd triggered gem is Wave of Conviction which fires a cone-shaped wave that damages all enemies in its path. More importantly however, it applies the exposure debuff, lowering enemies lightning resistance.
Up next are the auras, and the first setup should ideally be socketed into Prism Guardian shield. Not only does it grant reduced reservation cost but the auras will be supported by blood magic, using your life pool instead of mana.
Vaal Discipline is the first choice. It simply provides a huge chunk of energy shield and you can't really have too much of that. If you're unfamiliar with Vaal gems, they're basically a 2 in1 kind of deal. You get the regular skill but also its vaal version. As you kill mobs or damage bosses, you will gain souls which are used by vaal skills. Earlier in the passive tree section, I mentioned that energy shield recharge only starts after not taking damage for about 2 seconds. When you use Vaal Discipline, your energy shield will instead immediately start recharging without any delay. This is basically as close as it gets to having an energy shield heal. So, get in the habit of using it whenever you're in trouble.
Next aura to be socketed in your shield is Wrath, for a huge bonus to lightning damage. Nothing really fancy or complicated about it, just pure damage.
The last gem in this setup is Zealotry. You gain a very solid critical strike chance bonus as well as more spell damage. On top of that, you also have a chance of creating a patch of consecrated ground whenever you hit a rare or unique enemy.
Consecrated ground normally provides life regen but for this build, that's actually energy shield regeneration.
The 2nd auras setup contains what should be a very obvious choice for this build: “Summon Skitterbots”. In practice, this summons two permanent and invulnerable minions. The first one generates a chilling aura, reducing enemies’ movement and attack speeds while the second shocks nearby enemies, greatly increasing the damage they take from any source. On top of that, they also try to detonate mines you've laid on the ground and re-arm them, allowing you to explode them an additional time. Lastly, this aura also provides a very decent mines damage bonus.
You then link this with “Unbound Ailments”. The shock and chilling effects of the skitterbots are elemental ailments, so, this support will significantly increase their effect and duration.
Finally, add a level 1 “Precision” aura for the excellent crit chance bonus. Further leveling up the gem provides very little benefit, so, it's definitely not worth the increased mana reservation cost.
And to wrap up this section, there are yet two additional auras that you can squeeze in wherever you have a free socket for each. They don't need to be linked with anything, so, it should be easy to find a place for them. However, don't underestimate their importance just because of that. They're crucial for the build so make sure you use them.
First is Herald of Thunder which brings some decent lightning spell bonuses. But, the biggest benefit is that it allows you to gain huge value from a “Circle of Regret” unique ring.
The last gem in this build is Clarity, you guessed it, yet another aura. This one provides a sizable amount of mana regeneration, and, unlike most auras, doesn't reserver a percentage of your mana pool but rather a flat amount which increases with the gem's level. As such, you should keep it somewhere around level 8 to 10.
Gear, Flasks, Jewels
With the gems out of the way, it's time to take a look at the recommended equipment for this build. Before going into more details, I strongly suggest watching this entire gearing section to understand how the different pieces fit together. If you're just cherry picking different item slots, you'll end up with a setup that will get you killed, and you'll probably blame me for that.
First, I'll reiterate what I've said in the passive tree section: while leveling you should mostly aim for hybrid life + energy shield gear. As you get more of the mandatory low-life Path of Exile items such as Shavronne's Wrappings, Presence of Chayula or Prism Guardian, you'll be able to reserve your entire life pool with auras and focus your gear exclusively on energy shield.
In this section, for each gear slot, I will outline three tiers: basic, mid-tier and best-in-slot. All best-in-slot item will be dedicated exclusively to the low-life, end game stage. Generally speaking, prices increase significantly with each tier, but so do the benefits that the items bring.
Basic-tier Starting: Corpse Crest. A good basic-tier helmet has some elemental resistance, a combination of maximum life and energy shield and maybe some maximum mana.
Mid-tier: Pain Visage. A mid-tier should have pretty much the same affixes but with higher numeric values and some Intelligence as that boosts your spell damage, mana and energy shield altogether.
As for best-in-slot, the optimal choice is “Crown of the Inward Eye”. Apart from the very large increase to global energy shield, life and mana, it also grants 3 significant passives which are hidden on the passive tree. Transfiguration of Soul and Mind will increase your damage proportionally to all your other sources of increased energy shield and increased mana respectively. So, whenever you get some % increased maximum energy shield passive or affix on an item, 30% of that is added as spell damage as well. This helmet is a great way of double-dipping some already useful bonuses and get more value out of them.
Moving on to your weapon, you're looking for either a wand, scepter or dagger to boost your spell damage.
Basic-tier: Doom Needle. A basic-tier one needs a good amount of increased lightning spell damage, critical strike chance for spells as well as some flat added lightning damage to spells.
Mid-tier: Fate Blow. A good mid-tier weapon has the same affixes with higher numeric values and in addition some critical strike multiplier. Other useful mods that can add up to some decent amount of DPS are “Gain percentage of Non-Chaos Damage as extra Chaos Damage” or “Gain percentage of Lightning Damage as Extra Chaos Damage”
Best-in-slot: Dusk Branch. For best-in-slot, you should look for either +1 to level of all lightning or spell gems or an incursion weapon with Topotante's affix. That will allow you to have two different “flat added lightning damage to spells” mods as you can see on this particular item.
As for the offhand, in this build I opted for a shield rather than dual-wielding. While you would indeed gain more DPS when using two weapons, I'd rather prioritize defenses over more damage.
A decent basic tier shield is the unique “Aegis Aurora”. With solid block chance, elemental resistances and energy shield being replenished on block, it's a very cheap option while trying to put together the rest of your gear.
Mid-tier: Death Call. A mid-tier one can be a rare with an energy-shield base, some resistances, maximum life, lightning spell damage and crit chance for spells.
The best-in-slot option for this build, and an almost mandatory item, is the unique Prism Guardian. This should only be used once you're ready to transition to low-life as any gems socketed in it will be supported by blood magic. This means they will use life instead of mana, and that applies to auras as well. In fact, this is the very reason why it's used in the build. It allows you to socket Wrath, Discipline, and Zealotry in it. If you're a min-maxer, you can even try to find a corrupted one that provides plus levels to socketed gems rather than the implicit all resistances.
Basic-tier: Vengeance Shell. A basic-tier one should have at least 5-links, 200+ energy shield, 70+ total elemental resistances and 60+ life. Additional mana or Intelligence are always good to have. Even in the first few days of a new league, something like that should cost at most 10-15 Chaos orbs.
For mid-tier and best-in-slot there's basically a single option, Shavronne's Wrappings. As mentioned a few times until now, it's a crucial component of the build and you cannot really go low-life without it. Chaos damage normally bypasses energy shield and directly damages your life. If you've reserved almost your entire HP with auras, then any chaos damage will instantly kill you without this item. On top of that, it comes with a solid amount of energy shield and the very useful faster start of energy shield recharge affix. You can farm this yourself using “The Offering” divination cards.
An excellent pair of basic gloves is the unique Voidbringer. These provide a huge amount of critical strike chance to spells as well as a good chunk of energy shield. They do increase your mana cost, it's a very minor downside that you can pretty much ignore.
Mid-tier: Grim Talons. Good mid-tier gloves are rare ones with 70+ elemental resistances, 100+ total energy shield and some increased critical chance against shocked enemies.
best-in-slot: Phoenix Fingers. For the best-in-slot, you want all those plus “Aspect of the Spider” suffix. That is in fact an aura which applies spider webs on enemies, increasing the damage they take and reducing their movement speed. This affix can be added on an item using bestiary crafting, after defeating the boss Fenumus.
For basic-tier the unique Rainbowstride provide great value for such a low cost. Movement speed, elemental resistances, chance to block and energy shield. Literally nothing is wasted from this great item.
Mid-tier: Fate March. Mid-tier ones are rare with some movement speed, 100+ energy shield and 70+ resistances. Intelligence or maximum mana affixes are always welcome as well.
As for best-in-slot, Doryani's Delusion Sorcerer Boots have excellent bonuses for this build. Normally, the lightning damage added to spells affix cannot be found on boots, and that's a really solid DPS boost. Add to that, a good chunk of energy shield as well as 30% movement speed and you got a clear winner.
Basic tier: Torment Leash. A basic tier one needs about 60+ maximum energy shield and life and 70+ elemental resistances.
Mid-tier: Oblivion Lash. A mid-tier one has pretty much the same affixes but dropping the maximum life in favor of some increased lightning damage. A Crystal Belt base is likely your best bet as these come with a very solid energy shield implicit.
Finally, for best-in-slot, you want all these on a Stygian Vise belt which comes with an extra Abyssal Socket. Jewels are a great way of boosting your damage as well as plugging any resistance hole you might have.
The amulet slot is pretty much dedicated to ensuring you don't get stunned. The chance to get stunned is normally based on your maximum life, but since you don't scale that at all, its value will be really low. As such, without a method to gain immunity, you will get stunned pretty much non-stop.
So, for basic and mid-tier pretty much the only option is Eye of Chayula. It lowers your maximum life somewhat, you do gain the necessary stun immunity and even a couple of attributes.
For best-in-slot, Presence of Chayula, the upgraded version of the basic amulet, is the optimal choice. On top of stun immunity, this actually transforms a good chunk of your maximum life into energy shield. And if you use Tempering Catalysts on this amulet, you can actually increase that bonus to 24%. This amulet also provides 60% chaos resistance, a huge amount for any single item.
Amulets can also be anointed using oils dropped from Blight encounters to add a notable passive to them without changing the item in any other way.
For this particular build the best option is “Deflection” for a large bonus to blocking chance. This is especially effective if you're using Lethal Pride timeless jewel which will double that amount. Another decent alternative is “Sanctity”. It provides maximum energy shield and regeneration as well as some armour.
Basic tier: Eagle Gyre. Basic ones should have some maximum energy shield, 60+ maximum life and elemental resistances and some Intelligence or Strength. You might need some to level up your red gems until you get Lethal Pride.
Mid-tier: Hate Twire. Mid-tier ones should have pretty much the same affixes but with critical strike chance instead of maximum life. An empty prefix where you can craft “faster start of energy shield recharge” is also great to have.
Finally, for best-in-slot, you're looking for a “Circle of Regret” unique ring which provides great additional buffs to Herald of Thunder. The ideal combination of affixes is “Herald of Thunder has reduced mana reservation” and “Herald of Thunder has increased buff effect”. The implicits for this ring can also vary so try to find one with lightning damage, energy shield or crit strike related mods.
Up next are jewels, an excellent source of DPS, energy shield and utility. They really add up, so, don’t ignore or downplay their importance. Even a 2-mod jewel is still better than an empty socket.
On regular jewels you're looking for maximum energy shield, critical strike chance and multiplier with spells or lightning skills or flat lightning damage added to spells. Energy shield recharge mods, resistances, Intelligence, mana, are all good secondary affixes.
Then there are a few special unique jewels that are great for this build and you should try to obtain them as soon as possible:
First is “Energy from Within” which should be placed in the socket just above the starting position in the passive tree. This jewel transforms all increased maximum life bonuses from its radius into energy shield. With it the nearby “Melding” wheel will end up granting 40% total energy shield.
The 2nd one is “Lethal Pride” timeless jewel and you are looking for one with the text “warriors under of Kiloava”. If you're unfamiliar with timeless jewels, these uniques will modify all the passive nodes in their radius. The flavor text on them indicates which passive a Keystone in radius will transform into. In this particular case, “Chaos Inoculation” will transform into “Glancing Blows”, a very potent passive which doubles your block chance for both attacks and spells. This jewel will also add a whole bunch of strength to minor nodes as well as other random bonuses to significant passives.
Finally there's a Watcher's Eye jewel. This provides various bonuses when affected by certain auras and since this build uses a large number of those, it should be fairly easy to find one with at least 2 useful affixes. Check out the linked path of building tool guide aid for a few good Watcher’s Eye examples.
Moving on to flasks, these are quite an important component of this build and they will greatly boost your overall damage.
The first one is an Experimenter's Sulphur flask of Staunching. Apart from the standard damage buff, it will create consecrated ground on use, providing energy shield regeneration while standing on it. As for the suffix, bleeding removal is absolutely mandatory while mapping, and even moreso when damage over time prevents your energy shield from recharging.
Second one is an Experimenter's Diamond Flask of Heat. Lucky crit chance means the game will roll twice to determine if a hit is a crit chance and then applies the best result. In practice, this means you get a much higher effective crit chance while the flask is active. So, make sure you use it constantly. In addition, getting frozen is pretty much a death sentence in high level maps, so, the Heat suffix provides a reliable way of preventing that.
Up next is a Chemist's Quicksilver flask of Adrenaline to help you move around faster. This greatly boosts your overall efficiency and makes for a much smoother gameplay.
4th flask should be an Enduring Eternal Mana flask of Warding. “Effect doesn't end when on full mana” means you can spam all its charges at once and then they will be used back to back, providing around 40 seconds of non-stop regen. Warding suffix is also mandatory while mapping, for curse removal and immunity.
Finally, the last flask is “The Wise Oak” an excellent 2 in 1 defensive and offensive flask. Ideally, you should balance all your elemental resistances so they have the same value, including the over-cap part. That way the defensive bonus would apply to all three resistances. If that's not possible, then you need to at least ensure that Lightning resistance has the highest uncapped value of all, so the damage bonus applies to lightning damage.
To wrap up the gearing section, here are some excellent leveling uniques which will help you easily progress through the campaign:
Pros and Cons
With the gearing out of the way, it is time to take a final look at the pros and cons of the build so you can better understand if it's what you're looking for.
One of the best map clearing builds out there. You'll obliterate entire screens in a split second without even letting the mobs get close to you. Arc already has excellent AOE capabilities but when paired with mines it's actually insane.
Excellent boss killing capabilities. Laying 19 mines next to the boss before engaging it and immediately triggering all of them will often skip entire boss phases if not actually 1-shotting them.
Insane overall damage. The build's total output is around 17 million DPS, without requiring mirror-tier items or sacrificing your defenses.
Probably fastest leveling build in game. Mine builds are known to be one of the most efficient builds in the game, and, when using Arc, this is doubly true. There's a good reason why almost all speed-runners are using mines when racing.
It can run all map mods, including reflect, no regen or no leech. Some of these might slow you down a bit, but they’re more of an annoyance rather than a blocking point.
Labyrinth is insanely easy for this build, and you can actually farm it for good enchants or to sell runs in the early days of a new league.
Hybrid leveling is not exactly smooth. Before you go all in as low-life energy shield, you'll have lower overall effective HP than with pure life builds. This might translate into a few deaths here and there. So, Hardcore play is generally not advised.
Pure energy-shield builds have no real means of healing apart from Vaal Discipline. If you've only played life-based builds, you'll probably need some time to adjust to not having a life flask to save you when shit hits the fan.
Finally, there's the mines play-style. This is not everyone's cup of tea as the extra detonation step might become tedious. However, it definitely makes up for that with its insane overall efficiency.
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