Hey exiles, welcome to Navandis Gaming’s Path of Exile Guide! With the Heist league just around the corner, this is the best time to decide on that perfect starter build. If you're a new player, this choice is really important as it usually makes the difference between enjoying the game or giving up in frustration. And if you're already somewhat experienced, then you likely understand a good start can set the stage for success for the rest of the league.
Before going through the builds themselves, I need to talk a bit about what is and makes a good league starter build.
- Reach Atlas T7-8 Maps: generate more PoE Currency faster.
- Transition to end-game: ideally with minimal passive points re-speccing.
- Cheap, easy gearing: no mandatory uniques or expensive PoE Items.
- Able to run most content: story mode, maps, delve, monoliths, syndicate, etc.
- No reliance on new toys: should not rely on new league mechanics/items.
- Easy to play: no complex mechanics, clear build guide.
1. Cyclone Champion
First up is the completely reworked Cyclone Champion build, using one of the smoothest and fun to play skills in the game. Grab a 2-handed sword with decent physical damage and spin your way through the entire game. If you've ever played whirlwind barb in any Diablo game, well, this is Path of Exile's equivalent. Incredible mobility, excellent clearing speed, and really solid damage are all perks of this build. On top of that, it uses one of the very few skills in the game, which can continuously apply damage while constantly moving. Killing enemies while moving around and evading dangerous stuff is a great defensive mechanism, and it only gets stronger as you become better at the positioning. The build is also not really gear dependent and doesn't need any specific unique items. On top of that, items boosting physical or melee damage are always in abundance, so you'll have plenty to chose from. This version of the build is also intentionally designed to be a very budget-oriented one, making it ideal as a league starter. Finally, it is a very fun build to play, and if you're a new Path of Exile player, then this will provide a perfect taste of what the game has to offer.
2. Arc Witch
My second suggestion for a league starter is the absolute classic Arc Witch, one of the most beginner-friendly builds. Arc builds have been pretty much synonymous with the concept of a league starter, and this one is not an exception. It's well established that Arc is one of the best clearing skills in the game, depending very little on gear or even the player's skill. When leveling, you can pick up any staff, sceptre, or wand that has some spell damage and cast speed, and it will work great. With a very intuitive playstyle and absolutely no complex mechanics, it's a beginner's best friend. Fast-paced and amazing at killing large packs of mobs, you'll cruise through story mode and knock the first few Atlas tiers with ease. While it's not an amazing boss killer, that's generally beyond the purpose of a league starter, and it can also get there by investing in some end-game gear after you start amassing some currency. Lastly, if you're thinking about playing one of the new spells introduced in the Heist league, such as Crackling Lance or reworked ones like Firestorm or curses, then a witch is a safe bet. You'll very likely be able to respect a new build using the same class and even most of the same items, once we know more about the new skills in practice.
3. Toxic Rain Ranger
Up next is the amazing Toxic Rain Ranger. Incredibly fast-paced and with excellent clearing capabilities, this chaos damage build is a farming and leveling beast. Carpet the screen with toxic spore pods which deal with chaos damage over time and drastically slow down all enemies. No special aiming or targeting is required as the skill has a generous area of effect. This works great when you're trying to focus on learning a new league's mechanics. Most of its efficiency comes from gems and passives rather than gear, making it perfect for the first days of a new league. It doesn't need any mandatory uniques, and even its best-in-slot gear is usually quite cheap. Just grab any bow with decent attack speed, and you're good to go. Focus your other gear on defenses, and you'll cruise through story mode and the first Atlas tiers. And, as any respectable farmer, it's able to run every map mod, and that is a huge advantage when you start going through the Atlas. You won't waste any time or currency re-rolling maps, and you'll get many more drops, greatly boosting your overall efficiency.
4. Tectonic Slam Chieftain
My 4th recommendation is the recently buffed Tectonic Slam Chieftain. The last league brought a huge number of improvements to slam skills and warcries, and this build takes full advantage of them. With extremely satisfying, giant fire hits that almost cover the entire screen, Tectonic Slam is not your average melee skill by any means. It has better coverage and longer range than many spells. You can take advantage of this and chose when to fight up close and slam from afar, depending on the specifics of each combat scenario. On top of that, it's one of the most resilient and tanky builds I've played since the days of the Molten Strike Juggernaut. With stun immunity, capped physical damage reduction, a really solid chance to block both spells and attacks, excellent life regeneration, this Chieftain build can even be used in Hardcore leagues with a few minor tweaks. Gearing is straight-forward, and there isn't much competition for the items you'll need in this build. This is ideal in the first few weeks of a new league, as you'll have to squeeze out as much as possible from very little currency.
My final suggestion for a league starter is an absolute beast of a summoner, the Skelemancer. This necromancer relies on an army of skeletons and a few other minions who are there to support them, most notably zombies and spectres. While the Necromancer ascendancy has seen a few nerfs lately, none of them affect this build since it wasn't relying on broken or overpowered mechanics, which are usually a magnet for the nerf bat. What makes this build an amazing league starter is, first and foremost, its complete gear independence. Almost none of your minions' damage comes from equipment, no strength stacking, no expensive jewels, or mandatory uniques which are crucial for the build's performance. As long as your resistance is capped, you're good to go, and your skeletons will obliterate everything in their path. Even the best-in-slot, end-game gear costs less than what most builds need to clear white maps. The Skelemancer is equally good at clearing large packs of mobs and killing bosses or other tough targets. Losing a few skeletons will never cripple you as raising some more doesn't require corpses. Not only that, but summoner builds are a beginner's best friend: they allow you to observe and learn difficult fights or a new league's mechanics, while your minions do the heavy lifting. It's much easier to master new or tough boss fights when minions take care of dealing damage, and your only concern is proper positioning and staying alive.