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Best League Starter Builds for the Lake of Kalandra and Patch 3.19

Best League Starter Builds for the Lake of Kalandra and Patch 3.19

Our list of the best League Starter Builds for the upcoming Lake of Kalandra League

The Best Starter Builds
for Lake of Kalandra League


The Lake of Kalandra expansion with its patch notes is here, and there is a lot to cover. The goal of patch 3.19 was to nerf the most popular builds and improve a lot of other, less frequently played ones. The most overpowered elements of the game have been nerfed. What's notable and relevant to all builds is the removal of a Mana Reservation Efficiency Mastery. It was the opportunity to grab the 15% increased Mana Reservation Efficiency from nearly any place in the Passive Skill Tree that deserved a nerf, an overwhelming majority of builds used it since nearly all builds in the game use Mana-reserving Spells. It will be harder to fit all the Auras and Heralds now, so pay closer attention to the Reservation Efficiency mods. The other very important changes include Dread Banner - it grants less Armour. Spell Suppression Chance is harder to get it from Items, but gathering them from the right side of the Passive Skill Tree is presumably much easier. A lot of other nerfs and buffs were implemented, be sure to read the Patch notes on the official Path of Exile website to learn more.

The Harvest changes combined with the Divine Orb and Exalted Orb shifts in value will stir up the prices of rare items. The drop rate of Unique Items has also been reduced alongside the aforementioned Divine Orbs, making a good Unique Item extremely valuable. We can only speculate what impact on the game's economy these changes would bring. Some of the oldest and least popular Uniques received an update or a complete revamp, making them a viable option for leveling and even as a core element of a proper end-game build. We can already see the potential of some of the Items presented, so be sure to check our website for more content that's yet to come.

The builds that got nerfed are: Righteous Fire - the damage and survivability are getting reduced, but despite these changes, it's still a good build, one of the most durable ones. Seismic Trap Saboteur, Explosive Arrow Ignite builds, and all the builds using Melding of the Flesh will perform worse, these will retain some of their former potency, but bury in mind that you won't deal nearly as much damage, and won't be able to reach high Maximum Elemental Resistances with Melding as easily as you would previously. The same goes for Ashes of the Stars, Crystallised Omniscience. Of course, we also have to mention the changes to Necromancer and its Minions. The power that you could derive from simply allocating passives and setting up the gem setups was disproportionally skewed, now you will also have to have the right gear pieces to improve your subordinates. It renders Necromancers less likely to be a pick for a starter build. The other noteworthy change is the removal of Unnatural Strength and changing it into Unholy Might, incentivizing the creation of Physical to Chaos or Poison Minion builds. For most Necromancers, it's very bad news. What we recommend for Necromancers is a Damage over Time type build, where Minions cause Poison, Bleed, or Ignite Ailments, as the penalties for this type of damage have been removed.

For the full list of our build guides, each rated on the merits of budget, boss damage, clear speed, and defenses, visit this link. Overall, the feedback to the announced league is overwhelmingly positive, and we cannot wait to deliver more build guides.




Ice Trap Saboteur - One of the Trap builds that's untouched by nerfs is the Ice Trap Saboteur, a simple Cold Damage Trap with a respectable Area of Effect. It benefits from the same defensive layers as Seismic Trap, and the damage is comparable. It has a high Evasion Rating, Spell Suppression, and some Energy Shield. Cold Damage, Trap Damage, and Spell Suppression nodes are easily accessible for a Shadow, there are plenty of them on the right side of the skill tree. Ice Traps have the additional benefit of Freezing your opponents so it will be much easier to keep a healthy distance between you and your targets. The obvious downside of trap build is the time they need to activate, it results in an opportunity for the enemies to approach you, which might be dangerous. It shouldn't be an issue since Saboteur has naturally some of the greatest protective Keystones such as Born in the Shadows and Pyromaniac. The Ghost Dance Keystone is also very accessible so your defenses have the potential to be one of the greatest you can get. It's one of the best starter builds in general.

For the full Guide, you can check: Ice Trap Saboteur Build

Lancing/Splitting Steel Impale Champion - Splitting Steel Champion is one of the most enjoyable builds to level up with, it's an attack that fires a projectile that splits on impact, Hitting all nearby enemies with razor-sharp steel shards. It synergizes directly with Impale, one of the most devastating game mechanics, because of that you want to play as a Physical damage dealer with easy access to Impale, Projectile, and Attack Damage nodes. The class which fits this description is Champion. With permanent Fortify and Master of Metal Keystone for extra Impales, it's one of the best choices for a defensive starter build. It has a lot of Armour, Attack Speed, and it is extraordinarily easy to assemble. Its damage may deteriorate over time as you advance, so it quickly becomes progressively more expensive. In the later stages of a game, you may even want to switch completely to some other kind of attack, luckily, Champion is one of the best ascendancies for most attack builds, and due to the abundance of Armour and Evasion Rating, you can pursue to Perseverance Belt archetype, one of the best late-game builds in the game. Splitting Steel is a great way to start a new league, and results in a very powerful character at the end of it.

For full Champion Guides, you can check: 
Lancing Steel Impale Champion Build
2. Trinity Molten Strike Champion Build

Boneshatter Slayer - If you want to play as a melee Attack Build despite the apparent inferiority of the Melee archetype, the best pick is probably Boneshatter Slayer. It's a very simple strike Attack that generates Trauma stacks by using it, the longer you fight, the more damage you deal to the enemy and to your character, so it naturally requires a decent Armour Rating. The build is a relatively durable one with a lot of Maximum Life, high Elemental Resistances, and Endurance Charges. The clear speed is great for a melee build, it's actually one of the most enjoyable ones - the entire packs of enemies die within one or two hits because of the multiple strike targeting sourced from gems, gear, and skill tree. Slayer's ascendancy provides a lot of damage, high Life Leech rate, and it's very good at killing bosses. The build requires no unique items and no overly specific rare modifiers, it's very straightforward in terms of assembling it. When compared to its state in patch 3.18, the build remains more or less untouched. We recommend this one to all true melee enthusiasts.

For the full Guides, you can check: Stunning Boneshatter Slayer Build

Tornado Shot Deadeye - Tornado Shot Deadeye is the default Bow-wielding deadeye build, a simple yet effective archetype that has good single target damage, and excellent clear speed. What makes it good as a starter build is not only its simplicity but also the speed at which you can play, the Deadeye builds are known for their fast-paced gameplay and excellence in farming. this build falls into a category of glass canon, the range of your attacks is the primary line of defense, so to fully flourish and reach level 90 or more you will have to adjust your playstyle and avoid a lot of the attacks and effects such as burning grounds. The build is extremely flexible in terms of offense, you can go for the Physical, Cold, or Trinity variant, it depends entirely on your budget and preference. You will be able to use many cheap unique items such as Devoto's Devotion or Windripper, but the overall price to get this build to work is not very high. In the later stages, if you decide to expand on it, you may be in possession of one of the best farming builds in the game.

For the full Guide, you can check:

1. Doomfletch's Prism Tornado Shot Deadeye Build
2. Starter Tornado Shot Deadeye/Ranger Build

Poisonous Concoction Pathfinder - Poisonous Concoction Pathfinder is a very distinctive build as it requires you to have no weapon in your hand. It's of course balanced out to deal the respectable damage by removing a small number of Charges from your Life Flask each time you use it. Poisonous Concoction is an Attack - it deals Chaos Damage, which will result in a lot of Poison Damage. The multiple Projectiles from a single attack can overlap, making it also a great boss-killing build. For clearing the frail packs of enemies you will use the Plague Bearer Skill, it has to be charged and activated constantly which might get tedious. A weapon is usually the most expensive part of the whole gear, so an option to just skip the part of acquiring it makes this build the cheapest one on the list. It requires no unique items, and the rare ones can provide you with a lot of useful modifiers, but the biggest chunk of the damage is still sourced from your skill tree and gem setup. You can play as an Occultist, but a Pathfinder might be a better pick due to its steady recovery of Flask Charges. It's the most accessible option for a starter - if you don't want to tie your performance to your wealth, this is the build you should go for.

For the full Guide, you can check: Poisonous Concoction Pathfinder Build

Death Wish Elementalist - Maw of Mischief is a Unique Helmet granting you a Skill called Death Wish, you can use it to detonate your Minions and deal damage based on their Maximum Life. You will use one of the most robust Minions that are Stone Golems, and combine them with the Elementalists Golem-related Keystone and the Elemental Damage ones. The build mostly relies on Ignite Damage from the explosion caused by your own Spell, but it's based on the Minions' Maximum Life and your Fire Damage over Time, making it exceptionally efficient, you won't need any expensive gear as the damage is sourced mostly from the passive skill tree. You also won't need six-link Body Armour, the Death Wish Skill is embedded in the Helmet. The downside of this build is its cost and reliance on defenses. It requires you to have a high Armour and Block Chance to withstand the constant attacks, the enemies are likely to reach your character. As for the price, it does require the Maw of Mischief and a Berek's Respite to spread the Ignite, these items are common, but at the league start their price might be inflated. The build is great for boss-killing and it's pretty durable.

For the full Guide, you can check: Death Wish Elementalist Build

Crackling Lance Elementalist - For all the self-casters willing to start with a simple and intuitive build, we recommend the Crackling Lance Elementalist. The last patch we recommended Arc, it's a great Spell that's very similar to Crackling Lance, and it was one of the most popular conventional choices for the elemental casters, so we pursued this idea to introduce this shift. Crackling Lance received a small buff, it covers more Area, which is a welcomed change. You will also benefit from an increased Area of Effect and Elemental Damage from Heart of Destruction, a very powerful Elementalist's Keystone. The build has a huge potential to carry you into an endgame as you invest more and more into it, and it's also very versatile. It can be played as a Life build, Hybrid, or a full Energy Shield one. It's possible to use a Staff or a Wand and Shield combo. There are various unique items, but none of them are mandatory. The build lacks any noteworthy defenses - it's possible to invest in Block Chance, Armour, choose defensive Golems, and allocate Bastion of the Elements, but it's still a build of dubious face-tanking potential.

For the full Guide, you can check: Crackling Lance Trinity Elementalist Build Build

Spell Totem Hierophant - If the Totem playstyle is what suits you the most, there is a huge variety of possible options. For a Spell Totem build, you will most definitely pick the Hierophant with his Pursuit of Faith and Ritual of Awakening. Templar's starting location is brimming with great nodes and clusters for Spell, Elemental, and Totem Damage. Because of that, it is good as a starter. Most Spell Totem builds follow roughly the same path on the passive skill tree, so adjusting your build to a specific Spell is not a costly undertaking. For a start, the best option is a Holy Flame Totem, it ensures smooth leveling and can carry you into red maps, but for a proper end-game build, you might want to switch into Shockwave or Freezing Pulse Totems. Totem playstyle may not suit everyone as you're not dealing damage directly, because of that it is a bit slower, deploying Totems takes some time, but what it lacks in clear speed it gains in single target damage, the multitude of totems all targeting one enemy, while your character stands back and only dodges attacks, is a very good and reliable playstyle.

For the full Guide, you can check:

1. Storm Burst Totem Hierophant Build
2. Holy Flame Totem Hierophant Build
3. Shockwave Totem Hierophant Build

Bane Occultist - For the Chaos Damage over Time Occultist players, we recommend the Bane Skill. It's a very unique Spell that applies the linked Curses with each cast. This Spell combined with a Profane Bloom Keystone makes it a very good build in terms of clear speed, you will only need to use Bane once per pack of enemies as its area of effect is good enough and can be later improved by Spell Cascade. The build also has a unique defensive layer of slowing down enemies with Temporal Chains and Vaal Blight, rendering them almost stationary. It uses Curses and is able to apply three to four of them to a single enemy, each of them has its effect magnified. The Damage of Bane scales up directly with the number of Curses, and Chaos Damage over Time - it will restrict you to the upper side of the passive skill tree. The other spell which would benefit from the same modifiers is Essence Drain and the regular Blight, it will be used against bosses. What makes it a good starter is the relatively low price of gear, which will quickly grow as you progress. We recommend it for the players wanting to keep their initial starter build and do all the game's content with it.

For the full Guide, you can check: Bane Occultist Build

Vortex Cold Snap ES/CI Occultist - The other Occultist build worth recommending is the Cold Damage over time one. Occultists are very well equipped to manage Cold Damage builds due to the Frigid Wake and Void Beacon Keystones. The Cold Damage skills to use are Vortex and Vaal Cold Snap. Cold Snap is a supplementary Skill that due to its shared specifications with Vortex will also deal a fair amount of damage and generate Frenzy Charges for more DPS. Vortex is a short-range Spell that you can cast as you move, it will appear around your character every second or so, which requires you to get close to the enemies, and so you need to naturally be on the more durable side of the toughness spectrum. It's an Energy Shield build with Prism Guardian, Presence of Chayula, and Shavronne's Wrappings, so its price is really high, it's actually the most expensive build on the list. There is a cheaper, Life-based alternative with Creeping Frost that cost almost nothing, so this is what we would recommend for a start. It's a well-balanced build.

For the full Guide, you can check: 
1. Vortex Cold Snap ES/CI Occultist Build
2. Creeping Frost Occultist Starter Build

Trinity Spectral Helix Raider - If you want to choose something with good single target damage and nearly unlimited potential to grow, it can be safely said that Spectral Helix Raider will suit your needs. Spectral Helix is a Projectile Attack that moves in an outward-spiraling fashion and it pierces all enemies on its way. It's a blank slate of a skill that you can improve by many various means. As a Raider, it's probably for the best to play as an Elemental Damage dealer with Avatar of the Veil Keystone, it increases your Elemental DPS. You can then pick the avatar of the Slaughter and scale up with Frenzy Charges, which results in one of the fastest builds in the game, or pick the Onslaught branch for a permanent bonus to your Attack and Movement Speed. At the later stages of the game, it's possible to include the Crystalized Omniscience Amulet and stack up Attributes. It's a build relying on Evasion Rating and Spell Suppression chance, and it's pretty good at it, but these two layers of defense are often not enough to withstand the most powerful hits, so face-tanking bosses is not something this build is meant to do. Instead, it leans into the glass-canon type of build, as the damage of Spectral Helix is simply outstanding.

For the full Guide, you can check: Trinity Spectral Helix Raider Build

Tectonic Slam Chieftain - Chieftain is an often overlooked ascendancy due to its relatively poor performance, but despite this apparent underdevelopment, it still can be classified as the best pick for certain builds. With Tectonic Slam and a full Physical to Fire Conversion, you will be able to cover a huge area with a single attack, instantly killing smaller enemies. It synergizes well with the Exerted Attack Damage, sourced from Warcries, which also improves your overall damage and clear speed. In patch 3.19, Chieftain has received a substantial buff to one of its keystones - Tawhoa. It's a Keystone that enhances your Slam Attacks on a two-second cooldown, summoning a mirage dealing a lot of extra damage. This archetype encourages abandoning attack speed to some extent, to focus more and landing these single powerful attacks. Tectonic Slam is the best choice as it has built-in damage conversion and it has an extremely large area of effect due to the fissures you can create by spending your Endurance Charges. It's definitely a very tanky build with a lot of Life Regeneration and Damage mitigation due to the Valako Keystone, we recommend this build for everyone who wants to test out the recent chieftain buffs.

For the full Guide, you can check: Tectonic Slam Chieftain Build

Ngamahu's Cyclone Slayer - The builds which are based on one single unique item are often disregarded as starters, that is if the item in question is expensive. Ngamahu's Flame is one of the cheapest weapons in the game, it's a two-handed ax that has a 20% chance to Trigger Molten Burst on Melee Hit. These Molten Bursts are the Attack Projectiles dealing Fire Damage, very similar to Molten Strike. It's the main damage source in this build, and because of the inherent embeddedment in the weapon, you won't need to link its sockets, it saves a lot of currency. To trigger this attack you will need to attack very fast, and there is no better candidate for this purpose than Cyclone. With cyclone, you will focus on applying Combustion, it will enable Infused Channeling, and can even be used to apply curses on Hit, while the Molten Burst can be safely linked with Immolate and Elemental Focus at the same time for maximum damage output. A lot of different ascendancies are suitable for a such build, a Slayer might be a good example. It's a great class to deal with bosses due to the Bane of Legends and Headsman keystones, and this is probably the aspect in which this build struggles the most. It's a good Cyclone build, definitely not as expensive as the other, late-game-oriented Cast-on-Crit Spell Cyclones, so you might want to give it a shot.

For the full Guide, you can check: Ngamahu's Cyclone Slayer Build
(this build Guide is heavily updated, but will be fixed before League Launch)

Soulrend/Bane Trickster - Last but not least is the beloved Trickster. You might have heard about the complete rework of this ascendancy, an absolute revamp of nearly all of his Keystones which are now almost exclusively defensively oriented. His gimmick seems to be a compromise between an Energy shield and spell suppression. The specification on what the game expects us to use as the damage Skills are vague, but his two offensive nodes are for two Extra Frenzy Charges, and damage per different Mastery. Due to his proximity to Chaos Damage nodes on a passive skill tree, and the amazing Energy Shield sustain that can be emphasized with Chaos Inoculation, we recommend the Soulrend Skill. It deals Chaos Damage on Hit and over time, Leeches Energy Shield, and Pierces all enemies. Despite the loss of the Damage over Time and Chaos Damage-related Keystones, it remains a great pick, but you can of course choose basically any other Spell or Attack that suits you. We are very thrilled to cover all the top-of-the-line builds which will emerge during the next few weeks. In this league, you should pick the trickster if you want a durable character.

For the full Guide, you can check: Soulrend/Bane Trickster Build


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If you have any suggestions about other interesting Builds and/or Starter Builds for the Lake of Kalandra League we would love to hear your feedback! The patch introduces a lot of changes, and some new, build-defining items are added. There might be some hidden synergies in there that we simply didn't notice yet! Obviously, we will be updating all our Guides over the course of the newest League to match the current update, so let us know which of the existing ones would you like to see updated first.

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