Soulrend was one of the new skills introduced in Path of Exile’s 3.6 release. It is often outshone by Bane, another new skill, but Soulrend can be a force to be reckoned with, and can be far faster than Bane could ever attempt to be.
I decided to play a Trickster for my Soulrend build, taking inspiration from TarkeCat’s leaguestarter. There are other class options, obviously, but Trickster is speedy and strong, making it an incredibly strong option. Now, let’s take a look at my PoE Soulrend Guide.
As I mentioned, Soulrend was released this patch. It is a new chaos-based skill that functions very similarly to Essence Drain at first glance, but in reality it performs very differently, with the right setup. Similar to Essence Drain, Soulrend shoots out a purple ball that deals chaos damage over time upon hitting an enemy.
The big difference comes in with the fact that Soulrend pierces every enemy it hits, and it deals its damage over 0.4 seconds, rather than Essence Drain’s 10+ second duration. It also seeks out nearby enemies.
Due to Soulrend’s extremely low duration, it can be used as a normal damage skill. You’ll rarely lose much damage to re-application, unlike Essence Drain. Because of this, you can spam fire it and not worry about needing to cast other spells to supplement your damage. Combine this with the fact that it pierces, and you’re basically dealing with a chaos, spell-based Lightning Arrow. Once you’re looking at it this way, it’s time to discuss how to scale it up nicely.
Weapons and Support Gems
The weapons that you use with Soulrend are entirely up to you. That said, you’re going to want to use ones that can roll the modifier “Non-Ailment Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier.” This is effectively a critical strike damage modifier that is always active, meaning it’s a more multiplier.
Wands do this very well, rolling the highest damage and offering a wide variety of other spell damage and cast speed bonuses as well. Using a shield is also a very viable option, if you want to go a more defensive route. I personally decided to make this my speedy farmer, so I don’t mind dying on him occasionally, and dual-wield wands.
Again, this is entirely up to you, and it will also change if you decide to make use of a different movement skill such as shield charge. Just be sure to scale the Chaos Damage Multiplier or your damage will be noticeably lower.
For support gems, you’ll be supporting this the same as you would Essence Drain or Bane (minus the curses). The only huge difference is that Greater Multiple Projectiles are a required link for map clearing, as it makes your life infinitely better. After that, in order of importance, we use Efficacy, Swift Affliction, Controlled Destruction, and Void Manipulation. All of these are huge damage boosts, and using them altogether provides a very strong skill that can deal with most content in the game.
That said, the single target of Soulrend can be lacking at times. So, we use two things to support it. The first is a Bane setup. For those who don’t know, Bane is a new skill that applies very similarly to Contagion. However, instead of spreading Essence Drain, it applies all curses linked to it. With a simple Bane (Despair) Temporal Chains setup you can easily do significantly more damage and disable any bosses you come across.
The second utility is a totem setup using Spell Totem Support, Multiple Totems, and either Wither or Blight. Blight tends to be better, but if you go that route you need to use the Spreading Rot jewel. It allows your Blight to apply Wither. Either way, the totem provides quite a bit of damage as it shreds chaos resistance.
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Other Items and Playstyle
The rest of your gear is very subjective. I decided to go the life approach, but energy shield is extremely strong in this patch, and is very viable for this build. The reason I decided to go life was in order to use the body armor Queen of the Forest. With this I can easily scale my movement speed high enough so that I never feel bad about not having a movement ability. However, it’s perfectly viable to make judicious use of Flame Dash, or go the Shield Charge route.
There’s a lot of personal choice going into this guide, because honestly, Soulrend is one of the cleanest clear speed skills out there. All non-rare monsters die in a single cast, and it’s easy to keep spamming the skill. Due to its tracking, you can easily run through a map hitting the ability a few times and watching everything die around you. I made use of this build as my clear-speed build for a reason, and it does its job exceptionally well.
With very minimal investment (a six-link QotF, but everything else costing under one exalt combined), I’ve been able to tackle everything in the game, up to guardians, cleanly. Guardians are doable, but they are a bit of a pain. If I were to farm guardians with this build, I would likely try to change a few things, primarily getting a bit more life on gear and try to swap GMP out for a sixth damage ability.
As is, I simply swap to my boss killing second character for guardians. This is a cop-out, yes, but it gets the job done easily and cleanly. Of course, if you don’t want to do that, you can simply avoid guardians, or kill them once and then ignore them. The build can handle it, it’s just not the cleanest!
Soulrend is one of the coolest new abilities launched in the 3.6 expansion. It is an extremely fast skill to use, and is a ton of fun due to its smooth mechanics and high damage. Plus, and this cannot be stressed enough, you can use MTX to shoot out cats. Cats!
Seriously though, the skill is very strong and smooth to play with once you’ve reached maps and put a small amount of investment in.