There's no shortage of weird builds to use (and abuse) in Path of Exile.
(Featured image via Grinding Gear Games.)

Path of Exile: The Weirdest Builds

May 15, 2017
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(Featured image via Grinding Gear Games.)

Because of the intense level of customization possible in Path of Exile, there are a lot of unique builds. So far, most of mine have been fairly basic, but even those can involve some interesting mechanics. For example, my Flicker Strike character. He consumes an Endurance charge every time he attacks, so the entire build is based around generating more charges. Or my Whispering Ice character, that shoots a beam of flame as a beacon for where ice storms should fall. The point is, there’s a lot of crazy stuff you can do, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. This article is all about the weirdest Path of Exile builds we’ve encountered during our time wandering the wastes of Wraeclast.

Weird Build #1: The AFK Build

This build is one of my favorite builds in Path of Exile, at least conceptually. It’s called an “AFK” build for a very simple reason: you can literally walk away from bosses and kill them. The entire build is designed around survivability and damage reflection, and doesn’t even require human input. Now, I realize this sounds absolutely ridiculous, but there are some things you should know about the AFK build. It’s expensive if you want to clear high level content. You need top tier items there or you’ll just die. It’s also incredibly slow. Sure, it can do some high level content easily, but there are a hundred builds that can do that. The fact that this one takes ten or thirty times longer makes it likely the least efficient build in the game. That being said, it’s a fascinating proof of concept.

This build was pioneered by Chilifreak over a year ago. Since then, it’s been nerfed into oblivion, but as of the most recent patch, the AFK build has returned. It relies on a few items that allow you to gain massive amounts of health, as well as several key gems. Cast when Damage Taken gems allow you to output damage, and they are most of your links. You deal damage to yourself as well, in order to proc your Cast when Damage Taken set ups. The self-damage is easily mitigated, but allows for much higher damage output. Overall the build is probably the most interesting build I’ve ever seen. This is the sort of thing that makes me love Path of Exile. If you’re interested in playing this build, watch the video above or check out his forum post (in video description). The build is currently in a decently cheap state if you just want to play around with it, so have fun! Keep in mind that the leveling is fairly painful.

Weird Build #2: Vaal Fireball

The AFK build was pretty off-meta, not a lot of people play it, and it’s more interesting than strong. This is the exact opposite. Vaal Fireball is one of the most played builds at the moment because of its insane clear speed. However, it’s still incredibly interesting, at least to me.

The first thing you have to know is what a “Vaal” skill is. Basically it’s a much stronger version of a spell, but it costs souls to use. Souls are gained from killing any enemies. So what you do is use the basic version of the spell – in this case Fireball, and wrack up some souls. You don’t have to use the same skill (Fireball and Vaal Fireball), but your tree is set up to help that style of play, so you might as well. Once you’ve attained enough souls, you unleash the Vaal skill.

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Here’s where it gets interesting. You can earn souls using the skill itself. It also doesn’t have a cast animation, it just shoots Fireballs out of your body in all directions. So what you do is cast the spell and run forward, killing everything in your path. This gives you enough souls to use the skill again, and you just keep chaining it. This allows you to essentially run across the entire map and kill everything in your path. This might sound incredibly overpowered. It is. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t require some set up to accomplish.

The Vaal skills use a lot of souls. Like, a lot. In order to chain the skills into themselves, you need a few different items. First, there’s a gem that allows you to have a chance to gain two souls instead of one. You can use as many of these as you want, so you’ll want at least three. This gets you close to guaranteeing two souls. You also use skills that allow your fireballs to fork out, and gain radius as they travel. Also you use a skill called Spell Echo. This casts the spell you cast twice, the second not quite as powerful but much faster cast. In a Vaal setup, this simply means you get a free cast, it doesn’t cost souls again.

In the video I listed you can see someone run through one of the most common maps – Strand. He runs through the entire map in under 40 seconds, including the boss fight. Now, he is using quite a bit of high level gear, but it still showcases the potential of the build. And he’s likely overkilling the mobs by quite a bit – potentially hundreds of times their life total. I think this build is interesting because it showcases just how far players can push the envelope. Maps were never intended to be run in mere seconds, but here we are!

My Favorite Weird PoE Build: Righteous Fire

I’ve only been playing Path of Exile for the last two months. (I’ve put in over 700 hours in that time , so I do know a bit about the game — I am still learning, however.) I love experimenting with new builds, and I’ve already made ten characters over level 70. All this to say, I’ve tried a lot of stuff. So far, my favorite build is a Righteous Fire build. It’s not nearly as weird or interesting as the others, but it does involve quite a bit of math!

The reason I include this build is because of the numbers that go behind it. For those who don’t know, Righteous Fire burns the caster for 90% of their maximum health and 50% of their maximum energy shield every second it’s active. And you can’t turn it off either, once it is cast it stays on until you hit one life. Which basically means you’re dead, if you’re in combat.

So how do we mitigate this? Well, right off the bat, Righteous Fire deals fire damage. This means it is mitigated by fire resistance. By default we can get up to 75% fire resistance. That’s good, but not good enough. With some clever use of skills and gearing, we can sit at 91% fire resistance naturally. This goes up to 97% with a fire resistance potion running. Suddenly that 90% doesn’t seem so much, eh? Also, we cap our life very low by using auras that use health instead of mana. This means we take less damage from the health portion of the skill. Our remaining gear is put towards life regen and other damage mitigation. Basically we turn into walking tanks. Also, did I mention that Righteous Fire deals damage to enemies based on our life as well? The tankier we get, the more damage we deal.

If you’re interested in Righteous fire, check out Pohx’s guides on Youtube. He was the one who really pushed the envelope this patch, making Righteous Fire meta once more.

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Stephen Draper
398 POSTS
Stephen has a degree in English from Brock University. He grew up playing video games and card games, always having an affection for strategy. He picked up League of Legends in early Season One and has since achieved Diamond rank multiple times. He also picked up Hearthstone in Beta and has since achieved Legend consistently. When he isn’t reading, writing, or gaming, he’s probably watching other people game.
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