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Best Starter Builds for Siege of the Atlas and Archnemesis League

Best Starter Builds for Siege of the Atlas and Archnemesis League

Complete list of our top recommendations for Archnemesis and 3.17 League Starter builds

The Best Starter Builds
for Siege of the Atlas and Archnemesis League

Siege of the Atlas is the newest content update that primarily focuses on endgame content - making the Atlas progression much more challenging and interesting. With the introduction of Patch 3.17, you will be able to face two new endgame Bosses that are threatening to devour Wraeclast. These are the Eldritch Horrors: The Searing Exarch and the Eater of Worlds. On your way you will also have to deal with their powerful subordinates, the Black Star and the Infinite Hunger, which might appear to play a similar role as Elder and Shaper Guardians, as well as the Shaperslayers. On top of those new Bosses, a new Atlas system is getting introduced with a new Atlas Passive tree, which should offer a completely new progression experience.

As usual, on top of new content, we are getting a major rebalance of a lot of Skill and Support Gems, new interesting or reworked Unique Items, and new Eldritch Crafting options. Patch 3.17 mainly focuses on Spells, with a lot of them getting their damage significantly buffed to make it more viable. It would appear, that Spell Casters will be a much more archetype now, even though their usually lower mobility wasn't addressed. We are also going to see upgrades to Bows, that are mainly about improving the damage of Bow bases. While this will have some impact on your potential damage output, it would seem that the meta will be nearly unchanged, with Bow builds being still extremely expensive, but hopefully, this type of builds will be more accessible for players dealing with low and mid Tier content. 

As usual, we have decided to make a list of our top recommendations for League Starter builds for Patch 3.17 and the Archnemesis League. Some of the more popular Starter builds have received nerfs, like Toxic Rain or Seismic Trap for example, but they don't seem to be impactful enough to make them any less powerful early on. Because of the massive DPS increase to plenty of Spells, you can easily assume that most of them will work just fine during the campaign. If you pick a Spell that was quite popular earlier, and now it has buffs listed in Patch Notes, you can easily expect it to be a decent Starter - this will apply to quite popular Spells like Arc, Exsanguinate, Ice Trap (and Traps in general), Blade Blast and many more. Below you will find the actual list with a brief description of each of the builds and an explanation of why we expect them to be good in 3.17. All corresponding Guides will be updated shortly after Patch goes live.




Explosive Arrow Ballista Elementalist - one of the most interesting builds on the list that will be one of the first ones we are going to release after the Patch goes live. This build utilizes Ballistas Totems to quickly stick 20 Explosive Arrows on your enemy for massive explosions and even higher Damage over Time it will deal via Ignite. With extra Ignite Proliferation, you are looking at a cheap and safe Totem/Ballista build that will melt anything in the game while offering massive AoE and clear speed. With the buffs to Bows and Quivers, this should be even more powerful than before. For the defenses, this build utilizes a very high Life pool (even more so if using Kaom's Heart), and a high Armour Rating from Determination, and being a Totem build, you should be easily able to avoid lethal damage even on the highest Tiers of Maps. 

For the full Guide, you can check: Explosive Arrow Ballista Elementalist Starter Build

Toxic Rain Champion - Toxic Rain has always been recognized as one of the best league-starter builds, even the nerfs in Patch 3.17 that will reduce its' maximum damage by around 16% shouldn't affect this. This build with overlapping Chaos DoT effect from Toxic Rain, combined with insane Attack Speed and rock-solid defenses based on massive Armour and Evasion, make it a perfect choice for Patch 3.17. This build also offers a smooth transition into the end-game, with plenty of damage scaling options. Even right now, a few days before new content, it's in Top 3 most played Skills in the game among the top-level players. There aren't many builds out there that are that popular for the entire duration of a League, and that fact speaks for itself.

For the full Guide, you can check: Toxic Rain Champion Starter build

Poison Spectral Helix Assassin - a very budget-friendly build that is based on two extremely common Unique Items - Wasp's Nest and Ungild's Harmony. This build should reach nearly 100% Chance to Critically Hit and benefit greatly from Pain Agony Passive. It makes Critical Strike Multiplier from your Passives and Nightblade Support to apply to your Damage over Time from Poisons, resulting in millions of DPS with literally 0 equipment. This build can easily farm all the content in the game with very little extra investment, and by using Determination and Grace Auras, you will be quite tanky at the same time. Add Elusive, Spell Suppression, and Ghost Dance, and you will rarely see your character get to low Life. 

For the full Guide, you can check: Poison Spectral Helix Assassin

Trapper/Miner Saboteur - the old reliable Starter Build. You can play as a Miner with Tremor Rod or go for Exsanguinate and Seismic Traps - due to the Sabouteur's Ascendancy nodes, cheap Uniques, and the starting position on the Passive Skill Tree it has a very easy start but can suffer later on as you hit the highest Map Tiers. Physical Traps such as the ones using Exstanguinate have been residing among the top Starter Builds for some time now, and seeing no major nerfs to these types of playstyles reassures us that it still is a popular choice. Elemental Traps such as Ice Traps are excellent choices too, as they can be used for clearing and for boss fights. Not to mention, Ice Trap received a significant DPS buff in Patch 3.17. Also, Glacial Cascade which has been popular in the past may be worth playing also thanks to the increase in its damage and the potential behind Tremor Rod early in the League. 

Our recommended Starter builds for the Saboteur class:

  1. Seismic Trap/Exsanuinate Saboteur Starter build
  2. Ice Trap Saboteur Build
  3. Glacial Cascade Miner Saboteur Starter Build

Bane Occultist - Bane was a very popular Starter Skill. It was mainly due to it being able to multiply its' damage via Curses, that unlike regular Support Gems have no Mana cost multiplier. Bane deals high AoE/DoT Damage while being able to apply three Curses simultaneously with increased effect from your Passives alone. Limiting the Mana Cost of your main damaging ability allows you to use additional Auras for extra DPS without having to invest in any gear with Increased Mana Efficiency or the very expensive Enlighten Jewel (which well, is basically inaccessible early on). It's been on a similar list we had for Patch 3.16, and with basically no changes whatsoever, it was just natural that you will find it here as well. 

You can check the complete in-depth Guide in the following article: Bane Occulist Build Guide

Corrupting Fever Occultist - it performed very well as a Starter previously and for this patch, it has not been nerfed at all. A Gladiator that uses a Bow to deal Physical Damage over Time is the top pick for reliable mapping. You will be using a Tornado Shot with Fork Support to cover the entire screen with Projectiles, each of which instantly grants you Life on Hit, causes Bleed, and a Corrupting Blood debuff on enemies. Bleeding enemies will explode setting off a chain reaction redefining the title of the best-at-clearing build. It's also good at killing bosses - you can stack the Corrupting Blood debuff up to 10 times on a single target, and eventually with more equipment to increase the Corrupting Fever's Gem level, you will be able to deal even with the toughest content

You can check the complete in-depth Guide in the following article: Corrupting Fever Gladiator Starter build

Poisonous Concoction Pathfinder - Poisonous Concoction offers a cheap way to quickly scale damage with little to no investment - you don't even need a weapon to do so. This Build can be played as Occultist or Pathfinder to deal massive amounts of overlapping Chaos Damage. It has a very high base Chaos Damage which you can then improve by getting more Attack Speed, Poison Damage, Projectile Damage, and Chaos Damage in general - these come in many forms especially on the right side of the Skill Tree. A makeshift build with random "Alch-and-go" items has probably two or three mods that would benefit this type of build already.

You can check the complete in-depth Guide in the following article: Poisonous Concoction Pathfinder Build

Skeleton Mages Summoner Necromancer - Minions remain untouched by the nerfs, and the Skeleton Mages are among the best Minion builds for a League Starter Build - it's a simple and efficient way to quickly level up and start killing bosses. It does not require much of the player's involvement. Skeleton Mages are summoned via Dead Reckoning Unique Jewel. It's a common drop, but be sure that it's within your price range during early league days. Getting more Spell Damage for Minions is really easy as the majority of it comes from your Passive Skill Tree. It has a beginner-friendly playstyle - your Minions can often shield you from incoming attacks.

You can check the complete in-depth Guide in the following article: Summon Skeleton Mages Necromancer Build

Arc Elementalist - deemed to be too weak before it now resurfaced as a meta build due to the buff for self-casters. Arc is an enjoyable Spell, you don't have to aim to kill your opponents as the Lightning Arc automatically seeks enemies to kill them with a singular Hit. For how simple this build is it's surprisingly strong - you pick generic nodes for Spell Damage, Critical Strikes and use intuitive Support Gems such as Added Lightning Damage. The distinctiveness of this build lies in the usage of Golems granting you a lot of offensive and defensive buffs - there is a whole branch on your Ascendancy Tree dedicated for it. While this build works great for a League Starter and can reach millions of DPS with Arc alone with proper investments, it also has an option to evolve further into Mana-stacking Archmage/Agnostic setup that can offer more than double your damage, which may be quite popular in 3.17 thanks to the increased effectiveness of added damage on Spells like Arc

You can check the complete in-depth Guide in the following article: Arc Elementalist Starter Build

Hollow Palm Technique Ice Crash Raider - Hollow Pam Technique Passive is one of the best tools to level up quickly with, if you can afford One With Nothing early on it should definitely be your pick. The damage you're getting by simply stacking Dexterity is unmatched. The clear speed is not great, even later on you will suffer from the short-ranged nature of Ice Crash - having no weapon severely reduces your choice as to which Skills you can use. Despite these disadvantages, it's still the top build for quickly killing bosses. It's hard to find a build with higher single-target damage that can be classified as non-exploitative. 

You can check the complete in-depth Guide in the following article: Ice Crash Hollow Palm Raider Build

General's Cry Shield Crush Berserker - General's Cry with Shield Crush is the more affordable Blade Flurry's twin build - it's one of the strongest Warcry builds with a huge potential to be expanded later on - you can transform it to a Blade Flurry form which is a meta end-game build. It combines the unique properties of The Dark Seer and Second Sight, which might be a bit expensive, especially with Redblade Banner for a few days after the league start, but the items required to make it work are not that costly. The playstyle consists of using a Cyclone, generating corpses, and reviving them with a Warcry so that they can use a Skill of your choice.

You can check the complete in-depth Guide in the following article: Shield Crush General's Cry Berserker Build

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If you have any suggestions about other interesting Builds and/or Starter Builds for the Archnemesis League we would love to hear your feedback! The patch introduces a major rework of many Spells so there might be some hidden jewels in there that we simply don't notice yet! Obviously, we will be updating all our Guides over the course of the Archnemesis League to match the current Patch and Siege of the Atlas update

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

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