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Artillery Ballista Deadeye Starter Build

Artillery Ballista Deadeye Starter Build

100% Elemental Damage Conversion Bow build based on the newly added Artillery Ballista Attack Totem Skill

Artillery Ballista
Deadeye Starter build

Updated for Patch 3.9

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Estimated budget: medium
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Guide notes
December 13, 2019
-Build created
December 17, 2019
-Added gameplay video
December 27, 2019
-Changed Blast Rain to Ensnaring Arrow for more utility


Patch 3.9 brings as a set of new Bow-related Skill Gems and also heavily addresses Ranged Attack Totems which are now called Ballistas. This build is oriented around using one of the new Ballista Skills for solid AoE Damage and amazing clear speed. With the current changes to Passive Skill Tree, you will be able to summon up to 5 Ballistas, which will deal massive Fire Damage in a sequence of fiery explosions. On the other hand, we keep the standard Ranger's defensive mechanics which give us solid Life Pool, high Evasion Rating, and great mobility. Not only you can focus on kiting incoming spells and attacks, but at the same time, you will be dealing your maximum DPS via Totems.

As a Totem build, you expect it to be very budget-friendly. You will still need to get a high Physical DPS Weapon to deal with end-game Bosses, but overall, there are no specific Item requirements to play this particular Deadeye build. 

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1. Gameplay

This build is based on Totem playstyle, which requires you to place your Ballista Totems to deal damage while avoiding incoming enemies and applying debuffs. We recommend getting Elemental Focus Support for your Ballista Totems so that it doesn't Ignite. Then you link Combustion Support to another Attack of choice which will be used to reduce monster's Fire Resistance, apply Supported Curse via Curse on Hit, and cast Wave of Conviction linked with Cast on Critical Strike Support to debuff monsters thanks to Fire Exposure. This combined will let you sustain heavy DPS while easily kiting monsters around your Ballistas. This is also a perfect setup for farming, thanks to Ballistas being Area Attack which covers a decent area with each Attack.

0:06 Tier 16 Pit of the Chimera
0:24 Tier 16 Lair of the Hydra
0:40 Tier 16 Maze of the Minotaur
1:02 Tier 16 Forge of the Phoenix
1:25 Tier 17 Shaper

This video was recorded on a level 91 Champion on Standard

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • good clear speed
  • high single-target DPS
  • can do all content
  • high Evasion Rating
  • can do most Map mods
  • easy transition to 3.9's meta
  • Totem playstyle may be a bit less attractive when compared to your standard Bow builds
  • Ballistas will kill themselves real quick on Ele. Reflect Maps


3. Leveling tips

Leveling as a Ballista Ranger is really smooth. You get to deal solid damage from a distance with your regular Bow Attacks, and Ballistas will dish out some serious DPS even on lower levels. If you get to stack decent Life pool early on, you will also get to stay in close range to benefit from the Point Blank or you can only place your Ballistas near enemies to have them gain all Point Blank benefits without risking your own Life. You can pick any Bow Skill for your regular Attack, but we would recommend getting Split Arrow which has received a significant bonus in Patch 3.9 and as always offers good AoE even on lower levels. You can use Siege Ballistas initially, and later on, switch to Artillery Ballistas when the Gem becomes available to you. Both will do just fine, though the final build is obviously oriented around 100% Damage Conversion to Fire Element. 

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Spit Arrow setup
Split Arrow Split Arrow - one of the first Bow Attacks that you will find in the Path of Exile. It now has flat added Physical Damage at all levels making it a great choice for early levels
Mirage Archer Support Mirage Archer Support - allows you to progress through campaign while Mirage Archer uses Split Arrow to take down enemies
Vicious Projectiles Support Vicious Projectiles Support - increases Physical Damage dealt by Projectiles
Siege Ballista setup
Siege Ballista Siege Ballista - the first Ballista Skill available after you reach level 4. It has very high added Damage Effectiveness and Pierce, which makes it a great tool to take down stronger enemies
Lesser Multiple Projectiles Lesser Multiple Projectiles Support - great choice of Support Gem if you need faster pack clearing when leveling
Mirage Archer Support Vicious Projectiles Support
Chance to Bleed Support Chance to Bleed Support - with high Damage Effectiveness this will greatly increase your Ballistas DPS
Artillery Ballista setup
Artillery Ballista Artillery Ballista - the new Ballista Attack Skill which offers 100% Damage Conversion to Fire and very solid AoE DPS caused by a sequence of fiery explosions
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - grants very high bonus Damage, though you will need to include Intelligence Attribute on your equipment to be able to use it
Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support - another great Support Gem for Artillery Ballistas
Chance to Bleed Support Elemental Damage with Attacks - since it's a 100% Damage Conversion Skill, this is a must-have in this setup
Utility Gems
Summon Lightning Golem Lightning Golem - the recommended Golem for this build which increases your Attack and Cast Speed
Assassin's Mark Assassin's Mark - the recommended Curse for this build
Herald of Ash Herald of Ash - grants high bonus Fire Damage based on your Physical Damage and causes AoE Fiery explosions when killing enemies


We recommend killing all the Bandits for two additional Passive Points or if you are high level enough you may want to switch to Alira for the extra Crit. Multiplier

Leveling Skill Trees:

35 Points Skill Tree 
Priorities: 1) Finesse 2) Watch Towers 3) Herbalism 4) Master Fletcher 5) Point Blank

60 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Surveillance 2) Panopticon 3) Golem's Blood 4) Lethal Assault 5) Resourcefulness

Recommended leveling items:

Meginord's Girdle Meginord's Girdle - grants very high bonus Damage and Life making it one of the best leveling Belts in PoE
+(25-35) to Strength
+25 to Strength
Adds 5 to 15 Physical Damage to Attacks
10% increased maximum Life
+(10-20)% to Cold Resistance
25% increased Flask Life Recovery rate
Victario's FlightVictario's Flight - an amazing pair of Boots which provide high Movement Speed bonuses, extra Int, and Mana Recovery
+15 to Dexterity
+15 to Intelligence
(100-150)% increased Evasion Rating
5% increased Movement Speed
(5-10)% of Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit
10% increased Movement Speed
10% increased Movement Speed for you and nearby Allies
Karui WardKarui Ward - amazing DPS and Movement Speed bonuses makes it one of the best leveling Amulets for Bow builds
+(20-30) to Dexterity
+(20-30) to Strength
+100 to Accuracy Rating
30% increased Projectile Speed
10% increased Movement Speed
30% increased Projectile Damage
SilverbranchSilverbranch - a great leveling Bow, which on top of solid base DPS, increase to the level of Gems, it grants Mana Recovery which is essential for low-level Rangers
+1 to Level of Socketed Bow Gems
(80-100)% increased Physical Damage
10% increased Attack Speed
+10 Mana gained on Kill
+30 to Accuracy Rating
GoldrimGoldrim - the best leveling Helmet in Path of Exile which fixes your Elemental Resistances for at least a few entire Acts
+(30-50) to Evasion Rating
10% increased Rarity of Items found
+(30-40)% to all Elemental Resistances
Reflects 4 Physical Damage to Melee Attackers
Level Requirement reduced by 100 (Hidden)




4. Final Skill tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

114 Points Final Skill Tree
114 Points Path of Building(PoB) link 

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Far Shot
  2. Endless Munitions
  3. Gathering Winds
  4. Fast and Deadly


Major God: Soul of the Brine King    You cannot be Stunned if you've been Stunned or Blocked a Stunning Hit in the past 2 seconds

Minor God: Soul of Garukhan +5% chance to Evade Attacks if you've taken a Savage Hit recently


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Artillery Ballista
Artillery Ballista Artillery Ballista - the primary Totem/Ballista Skill used in this build which will deal massive Fire Damage in a sequence of Explosions
Inspiration Support Inspiration Support - reduces the Mana Cost of your Artillery Ballistas and increases their Elemental Damage
Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support - grants very high bonus DPS at the cost of reduced Ballista explosions radius
Elemental Damage with Attacks Support Elemental Damage with Attacks Support
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support
Viciouls Projectiles Support Vicious Projectiles Support - increases your Projectile Physical Damage which is fully converted to Fire
[UTILITY] Ensnaring Arrow setup
Ensnaring Arrow Ensnaring Arrow - used to apply debuffs mainly. If you feel like it's consuming too much Mana, you may as well use a level 1 Gem here, but it shouldn't be an issue
Combustion Support Combustion Support - makes enemies Ignited by Ensnaring Arrow and Wave of Conviction to have reduced Resistance to Fire Damage
Greater Multiple Projectiles Greater Multiple Projectiles - increases the number of Ensnaring Arrow's Projectiles
Assassin's Mark Assassin's Mark - the recommended Curse for this build which generates Power Charges and increases your chance to Critically Hit enemies
CoC Support Cast on Critical Strike Support - will cause Ensnaring Arrow to also occasionally cast Wave of Conviction which will apply Fire Exposure to monsters and your linked Curse
Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction - will be triggered by CoC Support and will apply Fire Exposure to monsters reducing their Fire Resistance
Herald of Ice Precision - grants increased Crit. Chance and Accuracy Rating. It can be used at low levels (1-4) so that it doesn't Reserve too much Mana but that will depend on your actual Items
Herald of Ash Herald of Ash - grants added Fire Damage to your Attacks
Anger Anger - if you are comfortable enough with your Mana pool when using Anger (and you can afford Enlighten) you should consider adding it to your build
Enlighten Support Enlighten Support - reduces the amount of Mana Reserved by Supported Skills
[UTILITY] Vaal Haste and Steel Skin
Vaal Haste Vaal Haste - increases your Movement and Attack Speel while active. You should only use the Vaal part of this Skill
Steelskin Steelskin - a decent Guard Skill which grants a protective Shield that will mitigate some of the incoming damage. It will be triggered automatically. Use this Gem on level 14
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - will trigger Steelskin automatically after you take enough damage. Keep this Gem at level 8
Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support - increases the duration of both Vaal effects
[UTILITY] Golem setup
Cast when Damage Taken Cast when Damage Taken Support - will automatically resummon your Golem after you take a certain amount of damage
Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem - grants increased Attack and Cast Speed
[MOBILITY] Blink Arrow
Blink Arrow Blink Arrow - your main mobility skill. It's great for avoiding big damage spikes and Bosses' abilities
[UTILITY] Blood Rage
Blood Rage Blood Rage - grants you increased Attack Speed, Life Leech, and generates Frenzy Charges when you kill enemies

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5. Gear Setup

Below you will find the recommended gear for our Artillery Ballista Deadeye build. Since it's one of our top recommendations for 3.9's Starter build, you can easily replace any of the items listed with random rares - but for obvious reasons, we are primarily including the optimal Item choices for the final version of this build. 

The recommended items from our list will:

  1. Help you cap your resistances 
  2. Give you enough DPS and Life to start mapping successfully
  3. You will save at least a couple of hours since all the item requirements are listed

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Added Physical Damage to Attacks
  4. Critical Strike Multiplier
  5. Elemental Damage with Attacks
  6. Critical Strike Chance
  7. Accuracy Rating
  8. Attack Speed
Starkonja's Head(Helmet) Starkonja's Head - very solid Helmet which grants very high defensive utility and is relatively cheap
50% reduced Damage when on Low Life
+(50-70) to Dexterity
10% increased Attack Speed
25% increased Global Critical Strike Chance
(100-130)% increased Evasion Rating
+(80-100) to maximum Life
150% increased Global Evasion Rating when on Low Life
Devoto's Devotion(Helmet) Devoto's Devotion - another great budget option which will let you maximize your clear speed
10% reduced Physical Damage
+(50-65) to Dexterity
16% increased Attack Speed
(150-200)% increased Armour and Evasion
+(15-25)% to Chaos Resistance
20% increased Movement Speed
Mercury Footprints
Helmet enchantment:
Artillery Ballista Projectiles fall in two perpendicular lines instead
Rare Bow(Weapon) Rare Shaper Bow - basically aim for high base Physical DPS and extra Fire/Elemental Damage bonuses
Min. requirements:
400 Physical DPS
Optional affixes:
Global Critical Strike Multiplier
Added Fire Damage
Lioneye's Glare(Weapon) Lioneye's Glare - this Bow has solid base DPS and makes your Attacks never miss allowing you to skip Accuracy Rating entirely
(20-24)% increased Elemental Damage with Attack Skills
(150-175)% increased Physical Damage
Adds (6-12) to (20-32) Physical Damage
(10-20)% increased Attack Speed
+(80-100) to maximum Mana
Hits can't be Evaded
Far Shot
Rare Quiver(Quiver) Rare Quiver - the most convenient choice as it can grant high bonus Life, Elemental Resistances, and Crit. Multiplier which are all very important in this build
Min. requirements:
80 Maximum Life
80% Total Elemental Resistances
30% Elemental Damage with Attacks
Optional affixes:
Global Critical Strike Multiplier
Added Physical/Fire Damage to Attacks
Loreweave(Body Armour) Loreweave - this Armour grants all the important stats for this build including All Attributes which come in handy when trying to fit Intelligence and Strength Gems into your build
Has 6 Sockets
+(8-24) to all Attributes
Adds (4-10) to (14-36) Physical Damage to Attacks
(20-60)% increased Global Critical Strike Chance
+(15-50) to maximum Energy Shield
+(20-60) to maximum Life
+(20-50) to maximum Mana
(6-30)% increased Rarity of Items found
(15-50)% increased Elemental Damage
Your Maximum Resistances are (76-78)%
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - primarily look for high bonus Life and Movement Speed, then just try to add missing Resistances and possibly Chaos Resistance
Min. requirements:
65 maximum Life
30% increased Movement Speed
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Chaos Resistance
high Evasion Rating
Boot enchantment:
16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently
Adds 45 to 68 Fire Damage if you've Killed Recently
Stygian Vise(Belt) Stygian Vise - Abyssal Socket makes this Belt the best possible choice for this build
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
35 Strength
30% Elemental Damage with Attacks
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Chaos Resistance
Rare Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - the best choice for this build unless you want to make your other Rare equipment much more expensive
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
30 Intelligence
28% Global Critical Strike Multiplier
30% increased Elemental Damage with Attack Skills
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
added Fire/Physical Damage to Attacks
Recommended Anointments:
  • Arcane Chemistry
  • Throatseeker
  • Snowforged
  • Constitution
  • Discipline and Training
  • True Strike
Opal RingOpal Ring(Ring) Rare Rings - preferably Opal or Diamonds Rings which grants high bonus damage via their Implicit modifier
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
90% All Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Elemental Damage with Attack Skills
added Physical/Fire Damage to Attacks
Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - just aim for high defensive stats and possibly high Accuracy Rating
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
300 Accuracy Rating
60% Total Elemental Resistances
Tombfist(Gloves) Tombfist - amazing pair of gloves even after the most recent nerfs. It provides up to two Abyssal Sockets, and each of them can provide powerful bonuses. If you choose to use Tombfists, you will need to manually cast your Golem and skip the Increased Duration in your Vaal Haste setup
Has 2 Abyssal Sockets
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
With a Murderous Eye Jewel Socketed, Intimidate Enemies for 4 seconds on Hit with Attacks
With a Searching Eye Jewel Socketed, Maim Enemies for 4 seconds on Hit with Attacks
Abyss Jewel Bow(Jewels) Rare Abyss Jewels - with high flat Physical/Fire Damage added to Attacks/Bow Attacks and Life
Recommended affixes:
maximum Life
added Physical/Fire Damage to Attacks/Bow Attacks
increased Critical Strike Multiplier
Optional affixes:
increased Damage if you have Killed recently
Cobalt Jewel(Jewels) Rare Jewels - this should provide extra Life and damage bonuses
Recommended affixes:
increased maximum Life
increased Damage with Bows/Projectile Damage
increased Global Critical Strike Multiplier
Optional affixes:
Atziri's Promise(Flask) Atziri's Promise - one of the best Flasks in the game which grants very high bonus DPS and Life Leech while costing near to nothing
+35% to Chaos Resistance
2% of Chaos Damage Leeched as Life during Flask effect
Gain (15-20)% of Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
Gain (10-15)% of Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
The Wise Oak(Flask) The Wise Oak - assuming your Fire Resistance is the highest, this Flask will provide a solid DPS bonus. If not, just go for a Stibnite Flask to boost your defenses
+35% to all Elemental Resistances
During Flask Effect, 10% reduced Damage taken of each Element for which your Uncapped Elemental Resistance is lowest
During Flask Effect, Damage Penetrates (10-15)% Resistance of each Element for which your Uncapped Elemental Resistance is highest
Suggested Flasks:
  1. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching (immunity to Bleeding)
  2. Experimenter's Diamond Flask of Warding (Curse immunity)
  3. Ample Quicksilver Flask of Heat (Freeze immunity)
  4. Experimenter's Stibnite Flask of Adrenaline (inc. Movement Speed) optional
Atziri's PromiseThe Wise OakLife FlaskDiamond FlaskQuicksilver FlaskStibnite Flask

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Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Grinding Gear Games.

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