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Caustic Arrow Shadow Trickster build - Odealo's Crafty Guide

Caustic Arrow Shadow Trickster build - Odealo's Crafty Guide

Try out one of the fastest Caustic Arrow builds out there. Our CA Trickster is capable of clearing all the content with proper investment

Caustic Arrow
Trickster Build

Updated for Patch 3.23

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Guide notes
September 02, 2022
-Build created
December 17, 2023
-Updated for Patch 3.23
-Added Support for Caustic Arrow of Poison - newly added transfigured variant of the Gem
Build Overview



Boss DPS:



Caustic Arrow Trickster is an interesting result of the 3.19 Trickster rework. The build uses Poison as the main damage source - not the Damage Over Time that the poisonous puddle causes after the arrow lands, but the initial Hit that causes it to appear. The Hit damage of this area damage can overlap, but the one of Caustic Ground does not. It's very similar to a Poisonous Concoction in that sense. The Trickster's new Swift Killer Keystone synergizes very well with Snakebite Gloves and Frenzy Charges magnifying its Poison Damage. New The Covenant Body Armour has been significantly upgraded, granting now an extra high-level 7th Support Gem. The last piece of the puzzle is the Darkscorn Bow which has great stats for a Poison damage-oriented Bow. As was the case with Toxic Rain, which also values Attack Speed and overlapping area damage, you want to use a separate setup for ballista totems with Rain of Splinters Jewel. It is excellent against bosses.

Trickster's new Polymath grants more damage and a lot of Mana/Life/ES on Kill per allocated different mastery, and you will be able to have a lot of them in this build, ten or even more. That's 30% more damage and 10% or reach of your resource recovered on Kill, instantly, even from Ballistas. Swift Killer grants 2 extra Frenzy Charges, and besides their inherent bonuses, you will also gain extra Damage over Time Multiplier for Poison, Attack Speed, and Accuracy Rating per Charge, with some extra Chance to Poison due to Snakebite. The Attacks will be boosted by Withered debuff without any extra setup, and you won't need to convert your physical damage to Chaos, Poison damage can be applied via Physical Damage as well as Chaos Damage Hits. The defenses are great due to the new Heartstopper, which is good now, and One Step Ahead Keystones, which makes you always faster than your base action speed, and your enemies have their action speed permanently reduced. It uses Maximum Life as its base defensive resource, but it's very easy to gain some extra ES, fully charged most of the time. The build is also abundant in Evasion Rating, there's a lot of it available.

Patch 3.23 introduced Caustic Arrow of Poison which is tailored for this build - you lose the green puddle that was of no use anyway, but in turn gain more damage and +40% Chance to Poison. It's a big improvement.

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1. Gameplay

The build uses one Caustic Arrow fired manually, linked to a Mirage Archer, that is used for clearing, and another, Totem setup that fires arrows constantly at enemies in close proximity. The one with Anomalous Quality is causing Withered on Hit, we recommend having it in your Totem setup, located in The Covenant if you have one. To generate Frenzy Charges use Frenzy Skill, Blood Rage, Poacher's Mark, or Mark Mastery. Frenzy Skill alone is however enough. For a Curse use Despair. Your movement Spell can be Flame Dash or Blink Arrow with Withering Step. A Guard Spell - Steelskin. The Auras we recommend are Malevolence, Grace, Vitality, and Clarity. Vaal Haste and Enduring Cry are to be used in emergency situations either to boost your damage or to regenerate Life, and gain Endurance Charges.


This is an outdated video from Patch 3.19 - while the gameplay should be very similar there are some aspects of the build that changed. It will be updated shortly

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • insanely good resource regeneration and self-sustain with Polymath Passive
  • deals very high Poison Damage via overlapping projectile attacks
  • two damaging setups for clearing and single target damage
  • cheap to assemble, good as a League Starter
  • The Covenant is expensive, but not mandatory


3. Leveling tips

You can start with Poison Damage, try to get a 100% Chance to Poison on Hit. Use any Attack, but what we recommend is a Poisonous Concoction due to its low cost, no need for a weapon, and relatively high damage. Caustic Arrow can be obtained right from the start so it's good for a Bow Skill, link it with Volley Support to get the overlapping effect. Poison is great with added Chaos/Physical Damage to attacks and Attack Speed at first, later invest only in Damage Over Time and Poison Damage. Try to get The Covenant as soon as you can, the rest of the recommended uniques are cheap so it will not be trouble buying them. Equip the Unique Items as soon as you will be able to. Leveling is a smooth process, there should be no trouble at any stage.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Caustic Arrow setup
Caustic Arrow Caustic Arrow of Poison - An Attack that's used to cause Poison, it has low base damage at first so try to gain some added Physical/Chaos Damage from your weapons and jewelry. You can alternatively just use Poisonous Concoction Poisonous Concoction instead as it's as good, if not better.
Chance to Poison Chance to Poison Support - Increases the Chance to Poison and increases its damage.
Volley Support Volley Support - More Projectiles fired in a parallel fashion to overlap the Hits AoE.
Added Chaos Damage Added Chaos Damage Support - Adds Chaos Damage to Attacks, very important early on.
Efficacy Efficacy Support - Increases Skill Effect Duration and Damage over Time. If you don't have matching colors use Cruelty or Deadly Ailments instead.
Mirage Archer Mirage Archer Support - Creates a mirage firing an exact copy of the linked Attack with all the linked Gems, but dealing less damage and with less Attack Speed. Only use with a Bow Attack.
Mana Reservation setup
Malevolence Malevolence - Increased Damage over Time and Skill Effect Duration, great for Poison.
Purity of Elements Purity of Elements - Disables Elemental Ailments and grants tons of Elemental Resistances.
various Gems
Frenzy Frenzy - Generates Frenzy Charge, use it after they'd make a significant impact on your damage.
Despair Despair - Lowers Chaos Resistance and increases Damage over Time your enemies receive.
Hextouch Support Hextouch Support - Applies linked Curse to the enemies when Hit by a linked Attack.


you should kill all three Bandits for the two additional Skill Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

31 Points Skill Tree
Start with Poison Damage, Chaos Damage, and Maximum Life

65 Points Skill Tree
Start allocating Masteries for the Pollymath's Effect, get some extra Accuracy, Poison Damage, Attack Speed, Maximum Life, and the useful nearby nodes


Recommended leveling items:

Le Heup of AllLe Heup of All - Great for all leveling characters, it grants a lot of Attributes, Damage, and Resistances
Adds 1 to 4 Physical Damage to Attacks
+(10-30) to all Attributes
(10-30)% increased Damage
(10-30)% increased Rarity of Items found
+(10-30)% to all Elemental Resistances
GoldrimGoldrim - offers a lot of Elemental Resistances, very important for survivability
+(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)
Tabula RasaTabula Rasa - use Tabula for the six, white, linked sockets
Item has no level requirement and Energy Shield (Hidden)
Item has 6 White Sockets and is fully linked (Hidden)

4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

121 Points Final Skill Tree (doesn't include Cluster or Unique or Cluster Jewels)
123 Points Path of Building (PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Polymath
  2. One Step Ahead
  3. Swift Killer
  4. Heartstopper


Major God: Soul of Solaris: 6% additional Physical Damage Reduction while there is only one nearby Enemy; 20% chance to take 50% less Area Damage from Hits

Minor God: Soul of Ryslatha: Life Flasks gain 3 Charges every 3 seconds if you haven't used a Life Flask Recently


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Caustic Arrow Ballista setup
Caustic Arrow Caustic Arrow of Poison - Fires an Arrow that splashes into a puddle on Impact, this AoE Hit is what applies Poison, and it can overlap for a shotgun effect. Use Caustic Arrow of Poison for more Damage and a +40% Chance to Poison.
Ballista Totem Ballista Totem Support - The Caustic Arrow is fired via Totems, by doing so you can fire more Arrows and stack Poisons for more DPS.
Greater Volley Greater Volley Support - More arrows are being fired close to each other allowing them to overlap the damage against single targets.
Deadly Ailments Deadly Ailments Support - Use it for much more Poison Damage and much less damage with Hits.
Unbound Ailments Unbound Ailments Support - Poison deals more Damage and lasts much longer, which is good since it stacks.
Void Manipulation Void Manipulation Support - More and increased Chaos Damage for linked Skills, but Elemental Damage is disabled.
[DPS] Caustic Arrow setup
Caustic Arrow Caustic Arrow
Mirage Archer Mirage Archer Support - In this setup you fire Caustic Arrow manually and having Mirage Archer here makes it really smooth.
Greater Volley Greater Volley Support
Deadly Ailments Deadly Ailments Support
Unbound Ailments Unbound Ailments Support
Void Manipulation Void Manipulation Support
[UTILITY] Frenzy/Despair setup
Frenzy Frenzy - A simple Attack that grants you a Frenzy Charge on Hit, it's your main source of Frenzy Charges.
Despair Despair - Despair Curse lowers Chaos Resistance, increases Damage over Time and adds Chaos Damage to your Attacks.
Hextouch Hextouch Support - Despair is applied on Hit with Frenzy.
Greater Multiple Projectiles Greater Multiple Projectiles Support - More Projectiles ensure that more Enemies will be affected by Despair. It also guarantees a steady Frenzy Charge source.
[UTILITY] Auras setup
Grace Grace - Adds and increases your Evasion Rating.
Malevolence Malevolence - Increased Skill Effect Duration and Damage over Time resulting in a lot more damage.
Vitality Vitality - Vitality is not very important, but it does regenerate your Life and has some great mods on a Watcher's Eye.
Vaal Haste Vaal Haste - Use only the Vaal part of this Aura to gain more Attack Speed during boss fights.
[UTILITY] Steelskin setup
Steelskin Steelskin - A basic Guard Spell that prevents incoming Hit Damage and grants Bleeding Immunity.
Cast when Damage Taken Cast when Damage Taken Support - Steelskin should be triggered automatically after receiving damage.
[Mobility] Flame Dash
Flame Dash Flame Dash - Flame Dahs is a simple movement Skill, it can be replaced with Blink Arrow Blink Arrow.
[UTILITY] Enduring Cry
Enduring Cry Enduring Cry - Grants Endurance Charges and Regenerates a big portion of your Life on use.

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6. Gear Setup

Your weapon, Body Armour, and Gloves are already Unique ones so it leaves you with much less of a choice for gearing up the character. On the rest of your gear seek mostly Maximum Life, Spell Suppression Chance, Resistances, Strength, and a bit of Intelligence. Evasion and Chaos Resistance are valuable too. With your Rings and Amulet, you also want to reduce the Mana Cost of Skills. Caustic Arrow has a bit of a low base Damage, you might want to increase it by adding Chaos Damage to your Attacks, it can also be done via Jewelry. You will need an Accuracy Rating high enough to land over 95% of your Attacks. Besides The Covenant Body Armour, the build is not expensive at all, it's a very good starter.

Our recommended items will:

  1. Cap your resistances at 75%
  2. Provide you with enough DPS and Life to start mapping

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Maximum Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Reduced Mana Cost of Skills
  4. Spell Suppression Chance
  5. Mana Reservation Efficiency
  6. Damage over Time Multiplier
  7. Chaos Resistance
  8. Attributes (Strength and Intelligence)
  9. Added Chaos Damage
  10. Accuracy
  11. Evasion
Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - Get as much Maximum Life, Elemental Resistances, and Spell Suppression. After that look for Evasion, missing Attributes, and the most expensive - Mana Reservation Efficiency.
Min. requirements:
+80 to Maximum Life
+80% to Elemental Resistances
Spell Suppression Chance
Optional affixes:
increased Mana Reservation Efficiency of Skills
Helmet enchantments:
Caustic Arrow enchantment
Darkscorn(Weapon) Darkscorn - It's the best-in-slot Unique Bow for a Poison Attack Build with base Physical damage such as this one. It increases Attack Speed, Accuracy, and has a chance for triple Poison Damage. It's very important to gain some extra Choas Resistance with this Weapon.
(60-80)% increased Physical Damage
Adds (15-20) to (25-30) Physical Damage
20% increased Attack Speed
(15-30)% increased Global Accuracy Rating
25% of Physical Damage Converted to Chaos Damage
25% of Physical Damage from Hits taken as Chaos Damage
20% chance for Poisons inflicted with this Weapon to deal 300% more Damage
Quiver(Off-Hand) Rare Quiver - We recommend a Vile Arrow Quiver for more Damage or a Penetrating Arrow Quiver to penetrate the first target, it improves clear speed. Look for added Physical/Chaos Damage, Attack Speed, and Damage over Time Multiplier. Elemental Resistance and Life mods are not as important here, there are more valuable affixes to strive for.
Min. requirements:
+50 to maximum Life
+40% to Elemental Resistances
Damage over Time Multiplier
Optional affixes:
Adds Physical/Chaos Damage
Attack Speed
The Covenant(Body Armour) The Covenant - Socket your main Totem setup here, it will cost you Life and Mana to deploy them. The biggest advantage here is the added Chaos Damage with a Support Gem, it's a game-changer.
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 29 Added Chaos Damage
Skills gain a Base Life cost equal to 100% of Base Mana Cost
+(20-30) to Intelligence
(210-250)% increased Energy Shield
10% increased maximum Life
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - On your boots focus on Movement Speed, Maximum Life, Spell Suppression Chance, and Resistances. Onslaught is great to have too, pick one with it if you can afford such a pair.
Min. requirements:
25% increased Movement Speed
+60 to maximum Life
+50% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Spell Suppression Chance
chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill
Snakebite(Gloves) Snakebite - As you gain enough Frenzy Charges, these Gloves will grant you an extra 60% Chance to Poison and a lot of Accuracy Rating, Attack Speed, and Damage over Time Multiplier. There's also Life and Evasion.
(150-180)% increased Evasion Rating
+(60-70) to maximum Life
2% increased Attack Speed per Frenzy Charge
6% increased Accuracy Rating per Frenzy Charge
10% reduced Frenzy Charge Duration per Frenzy Charge
Attacks have 60% chance to Poison while at maximum Frenzy Charges
+5% to Damage over Time Multiplier for Poison per Frenzy Charge
Stygian Vise(Belt) Rare Belt - Aim for as much Maximum Life and Elemental Resistances as you can afford, some Strength will be needed too.
Min. requirements:
+90 to Maximum Life
+80% to Elemental Resistances
50 Strength
Optional affixes:
increased Maximum Life
increased Chaos Damage
Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet  - After gaining enough Life, Attributes, and Resistances, seek added Damage, Damage over Time Multiplier, and reduced Mana Cost of Skills.
Min. requirements:
+50 Maximum Life
+70% to Elemental Resistances
Strength or Intelligence
Optional affixes:
Adds Physical/Chaos Damage
Non-Channelling Skills have -7 to Total Mana Cost (crafted)
Damage over Time Multiplier
Recommended Anointments:
Ring(Ring) Rare Rings - We recommend at least one Amethyst Ring for the extra Chaos Resistance. It's very similar to an Amulet, but you can also stumble upon Despair Curse on Hit, which is not really mandatory, but great if you want to include more Skills in the build.
Min. requirements:
+50 to Maximum Life
+70% to Elemental Resistances
Chaos Resistance
Optional affixes:
Non-Channelling Skills have -7 to Total Mana Cost (crafted)
Curse Enemies with Despair on Hit
Adds Physical/Chaos Damage
Damage over Time Multiplier
Jewels(Jewel) Rare Jewels - You won't have many free Jewel Sockets, maybe one or two. You can use them for an extra Life, Attributes, Poison Damage, and Chaos Resistance
Recommended affixes:
increased maximum Life
Damage over Time Multiplier
Poison Damage
Elemental Resistances
Chaos Resistance
Damaging Ailments deal damage faster
Rain of Splinters(Jewel) Rain of Splinters - With this Jewel your Ballistas will fire two extra Projectiles, massively increasing your Damage. It should not be expensive.
(50-30)% reduced Totem Damage
Totems fire 2 additional Projectiles
Watcher's Eye(Jewel) Watcher's Eye - Look for Grace, Maleveolnce, or Vitality mods. The best ones are the extra Damage over Time Multiplier from Malevelonece and Life gain on Hit from Vitality.
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>

Suggested Flasks:

  1. Alchemist's Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline
  2. Silver Flask with Bleeding immunity/removal
  3. Jade Flask with an increased Evasion Rating
  4. Life Flask with random ailment removal
  5. Quartz/Stibnite Flask with random ailment removal
Quartz FlaskSilver FlaskJade Flaskquicksilver flasklife flask

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If you have any other build requests please leave that in the comments below. We are always open to suggestions and constructive feedback.

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

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