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Explosive Trap Saboteur Build

Explosive Trap Saboteur Build

A versatile Saboteur build that uses Explosive Traps to deal massive Fire AoE damage

 Explosive Trap
Saboteur Build

Updated for Patch 3.17

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Guide notes
March 21, 2022
-Build created
Build overview



Boss DPS:



Explosive Trap is one of the most basic Traps that there is - it's a Trap that explodes upon activating, causing a number of smaller explosions right after the initial one. It deals Physical Spell Damage, but half of it is converted to Fire - arguably the hardest part of setting up the build is to convert the other half to Fire too. The Ascendancy you want to pick is of course Saboteur due to the abundance of Trap-related Keystones for offense as well as defense. There are no specific synergies between items or Skills, it's a very simple build that can be geared up in many ways - that's why it's heavily recommended for new players.

It's a Life build with high Life Regeneration Rate thanks to Pyromaniac, and Evasion which is great when combined with Born in the Shadows. In the version presented in the gameplay footage, we've created an Evasion-oriented Saboteur with Ghost Dance, but you can also invest in Armour as your main defensive layer. Just pick Chain Reaction instead of Born in the Shadows, equip The Brass Dome, and alter some of the nodes on your Passive Skill Tree. For a weapon you can use a Wand/Shield or a Staff - The Annihilating Light is a good candidate for any non-specific build dealing Elemental Damage. Feel free to experiment and alter the build to make it more sturdy or DPS-oriented, whichever suits your playstyle.

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1. Gameplay

You will be placing Traps ahead of you which should explode instantly killing any foe before it has a chance to spot you. Against bosses you want to apply a Curse and Fire Exposure on them - it can be done with just Arcanist Brand linked to a Flammability and Wave of Conviction. Bear Trap will immobilize, and make your opponent more vulnerable to Trap Damage. For a Guard Spell use Steelskin or Molten Shell, and as a Mobility Skill, it's good to have Dash, Flame Dash, or Frost Blink. You can use any Golem - Stone or Chaos Golem are the defensive ones. Ice and Flame Golems increase your DPS. For Auras use Herald of Ash, Skitterbots, Anger, Clarity, and Grace or Determination.

Full gameplay video:


This video was recorded on a level 95 Saboteur using Annihilating Light, Ashes to the Stars, two Circle of Anguish Rings, and Random Life/Resistances/Reservation Efficiency Rares (none of the Rares actually were used to boost the damage directly to keep the budget closer to earth)

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • beginner-friendly
  • offers a lot of flexibility in terms of Item choices, defenses, and such
  • doesn't require any expensive items and it's relatively cheap
  • excellent single target damage
  • Traps have their inherent clear speed limitations
  • pushing this build to its' limits can get expensive


3. Leveling tips

Start with Explosive Trap, you can pick up the Skill Gem right from the start. Leveling with this Skill as Saboteur should be fast and simple, just pick up the Spell Damage, Fire or Physical Damage, and Trap Damage nodes. For Defences go for Maximum Life and Elemental Resistances, especially after killing Kitava. Find a nearby Fire Cluster with Fire Mastery for a 40% Conversion - that's the easiest way to get it. You can also use Crafting Bench to Craft Fire Conversion on a part of Gloves. Use Essence of Hysteria on a Ring or Blet to get more Fire Damage.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Rolling Magma setup
Explosive Trap Explosive Trap - It's a good leveling Trap, you can safely use it through your leveling process
Swift Assembly Swift Assembly Support - increased Trap Damage, and a chance to throw more than one Trap
Trap and Mine Damage Support Trap and Mine Damage Support - Traps deal more Damage
Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support - adds Fire Damage based on Physical Damage of the Skill, it's great with Skill that Converts Physical to Fire
Utility skills 
Flammability Flammability - a Curse that lowers Fire Resistance
Flame Dash Flame Dash - movement Spell that use can use to dash
Clarity Clarity - makes you Regenerate Mana at a faster rate
Herald of Ash Herald of Ash - it's the most important passive Spell in the build as it grants you a lot of damage and improves the clear speed


Two Additional Passive Skill Points seems like the best option for this build

Leveling Skill Trees:

30 Points Skill Tree
Pick up the Fire Mastery for Conversion, Trap Damage, and Maximum Life

68 Points Skill Tree
continue getting more Life, Trap Damage, and Mana Reservation Efficiency


Recommended leveling items:

LifesprigLifesprig - a generic Wand for Spell-casters
(8-12)% increased Spell Damage
+1 to Level of Socketed Spell Gems
(20-28)% increased Spell Damage
(5-8)% increased Cast Speed
+(15-20) to maximum Life
+(15-20) to maximum Mana
Regenerate (6-8) Life over 1 second when you Cast a Spell
DeerstalkerDeerstalker - You can put any Spell or Attack there and turn it into a 5-link Trap setup. We recommend Burning Arrow as it has 100% of Physical Damage Converted to Fire.
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 11 Trap
(160-200)% increased Evasion Rating
+(35-45) to maximum Life
15% increased Movement Speed
(14-18)% increased Trap Throwing Speed
15% increased Movement Speed for 9 seconds on Throwing a Trap
GoldrimGoldrim - one of the best leveling Helmets, it grants  a lot of Resistances
+(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 - allows you to create a six-linked Gem setup
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:

108 Points Final Skill Tree (doesn't include Cluster Jewels)
116 Points Path of Building (PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Perfect Crime
  2. Pyromaniac
  3. Explosives Expert
  4. Born in the Shadows


Major God: Soul of Lunaris: 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%; 1% increased Movement Speed for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%

Minor God: Soul of Shakari for You cannot be Poisoned while there are at least 3 Poisons on you; 50% less Duration of Poisons on You and additional Chaos Damage mitigation


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Explosive Trap setup
Explosive Trap Explosive Trap - It's a Trap that Explodes a few times dealing Fire Spell Damage, converted from Physical Damage
Inspiration Inspiration Support - Skill costs less Mana, it has increased Elemental Damage and Critical Strike Chance
Fire Penetration Fire Penetration Support - Fire Damage Penetrates additional Fire Resistance for more damage
Added Fire Damage Added Fire Damage Support - adds Fire Damage that's sourced from Physical Damage before it gets Converted
Trap and Mine Damage Trap and Mine Damage Support - Traps deal more Damage, have reduced Mana Cost and Throwing Speed
Swift Assembly Swift Assembly Support - increased Trap Throwing Speed, and a chance to Throw an additional one to three Traps at once
[DPS] Auras setup
Herald of Ash Herald of Ash - It's the most valuable Mana-reserving Skill as it adds a lot of Fire Damage to your Skills, and makes enemies deal AoE Burning Damage on death
Anger Anger - adds an additional Fire Damage to your Spells
Summon Skitterbots Summon Skitterbots - Skitterbots can Chill and Shock enemies, which is extremely valuable with Secrets of Suffering. You have also more Trap Damage
Clarity Clarity - rapid Mana Regeneration so that you won't run out of it
Grace Grace - It grants you an additional and increased Evasion Rating. If you prefer to use Armour instead, go for Determination Determination
Enlighten Support Enlighten Support - Linked Spells Reserve less Mana
[UTILITY] Golem setup
Summon Ice Golem Summon Ice Golem - Ice Golem can be used for increased Critical Strike Chance, but you can also use Stone, Chaos, or Flame Golem for other various utilities
Lifetap Support Lifetap Support - linked Golem cost Life instead of Mana to summon
Cast when Damage Taken Support  Cast when Damage Taken Support - it should be kept at a maximum level so that Golem can be leveled all the way up as well
[UTILITY] Steelskin
Steelskin Steelskin - Guard Spell that reduces the damage you take from Hits for some time
[UTILITY] Flame Dash, Bear Trap, and Withering Step setup
Flame Dash Flame Dash - Dash-type Spell used to relocate
Arcane Surge Arcane Surge Support - Keep it at a level low enough so that a single cast of Flame Dash will activate it. It grants you Spell Damage and mana Regeneration Rate.
Withering Step Withering Step - grants you increased Stealth, Elusive, and Phasing for a much better mobility
Bear Trap Bear Trap - immobilizes an enemy and makes him receive increased Damage from all Traps, it's useful during boss fights
[UTILITY] Brand setup
Flammability Flammability - a Curse that reduces Fire Resistance which should be the only type of damage you deal
Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction - applies Fire Exposure on enemies, reducing their Fire Resistance
Arcanist Brand Arcanist Brand - all linked Spells are activated every second as the Brand is attached to the opponent
Combustion Support Combustion Support - if you manage to Ignite an enemy with on of the linked Spells, his Fire Reissitance gets reduced by an additional 10%

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6. Gear Setup

It's a Life build, so obviously increasing your Maximum Life is a priority if you want a more durable build. For more Damage look for Spell, Fire, or Physical Damage with Traps. There is no strict formula for the build to work as it's very general - it doesn't require any Unique Items making it great as a league starter or for an SSF league. The recommended Unique Items are all cheap and there should be no problem with their acquisition. The most important part of the build are Gloves. Gloves can provide you with a Fire Damage conversion as a Crusader's Prefix, otherwise, you would have to resort to a Fire Mastery, which requires a lot of Skill Points. 

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. 50% Physical to Fire Conversion
  2. Maximum Life
  3. Elemental Resistances
  4. Critical Strike Chance
  5. Spell, Physical, Fire, Trap Damage
  6. Critical Strike Multiplier
  7. Evasion Rating
  8. Spell Suppression Chance
  9. Chaos Resistance
Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - There's one great offensive mod for when you're starting close to the opponents - it makes them take increased Fire Damage. Life, Evasion, and Added Physical or Fire Damage are other useful affixes.
Min. requirements:
+80 to Maximum Life
40% Total Elemental Resistances
Nearby enemies take 9% increased Fire Damage
Optional affixes:
Adds Damage to Spells
Global Critical Strike Multiplier
Mana Reservation Efficiency
Helmet enchantments:
Increased Explosive Trap Damage
Reduced Mana Reservation of Grace/Determination
Sceptre(Weapon) Rare Sceptre or Wand - you can go for a setup with a shield as it's much more defensive-oriented. Look for Fire Damage and Critical Strike mods on a weapon, the "Level of all Skill Gems" are usually very expensive.
Min. requirements:
50% increased Fire Spell Damage
60% increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells
Optional affixes:
Global Critical Strike Multiplier
+1 to Level of all Spell Skill Gems
+1 to Level of all Fire Spell Skill Gems
Shield(Weapon) Rare Shield - look for the defensive stats such as Life and Resistances, or Mana Reseravion Efficiency
Min. requirements:
Socketed Gems have #% increased Reservation Efficiency
+60% to Elemental Resistances
+80 to maximum Life
Optional affixes:
Spell Damage
Level to all Physical/Fire Spell Skill Gems
The Annihilating Light(Weapon) The Annihilating Light - it Triples the Elemental Damage of your Traps, definitely worth its price.
+18% Chance to Block Attack Damage while wielding a Staff
(60-70)% reduced Elemental Resistances
Elemental Skills deal Triple Damage
Rare Body Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - Life, Resistances, and Spell Critical Strike Chance. If you're using Ghost Dance, craft the "Gain 10% of Maximum Life as Extra Maximum Energy Shield" Prefix for an extra defensive layer. It's best to use a  mixed base to easily craft all the needed Red Sockets
Min. requirements:
+80 to maximum Life
Gain 10% of Maximum Life as Extra Maximum Energy Shield (crafted)
20% Chance to Suppress Spell Damage
Optional affixes:
+#% to Spell Critical Strike Chance
+1 to Level of Socketed Active Skill Gems
increased maximum Life
High Evasion Rating
Tinkerskin(Body Armour) Tinkerskin - Tinkerskin is a cheap solution for a great Body Armour for most Trap builds
(140-170)% increased Evasion and Energy Shield
+(60-90) to maximum Life
(10-15)% increased Cooldown Recovery Rate for throwing Traps
15% chance to gain a Frenzy Charge when your Trap is triggered by an Enemy
30% chance to gain Phasing for 4 seconds when your Trap is triggered by an Enemy
Recover 100 Life when your Trap is triggered by an Enemy
Recover 50 Energy Shield when your Trap is triggered by an Enemy
The Brass Dome(Body Armour) The Brass Dome - a situational Body Armour for a lot of Armour and Maximum Elemental Resistances - use it in combination with Determination
(350-400)% increased Armour
+(1-5)% to all maximum Elemental Resistances
Strength provides no bonus to Maximum Life
Take no Extra Damage from Critical Strikes
Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - Maximum Life, Movement Speed, and Elemental Resistances are your top priorities here
Min. requirements:
25% Movement Speed
+60 to Maximum Life
60% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill
Atziri's Step(Boots) Atziri's Step - very cheap, and good pair of Boots with all the useful stats, but no Resistances
180% increased Evasion Rating
+(55-75) to maximum Life
30% increased Movement Speed
+(20-26)% chance to Suppress Spell Damage
Rare Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - Gloves can cost a little more since there are two mandatory mods - a Crusader's Prefix for Physical to Fire Conversion (18% to 25%) and Eldritch Ichor's Implicit (for 10% to 35%), that's the blue one. You can also Craft it after Unveiling.
Min. requirements:
+50 to maximum Life
+40% to Elemental Resistances
50% of Physical Damage Converted to Fire Damage
Optional affixes:
increased Trap Throwing Speed
Chance to Suppress Spell Damage
Stygian Vise(Belt) Rare Belt - try to get the basic defensive mods such as Life and Resistances
Min. requirements:
+80 to Maximum Life
90% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Maximum Life
12% increased Trap Throwing Speed (crafted)
Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - There are a lot of useful mods to look for, the most valuable is the "increased Level of all Skill gems" that would affect your Explosive Trap. For a start just try to get Life, Resistances, and Crit. Chance
Min. requirements:
+50 to maximum Life
30% increased Global Critical Strike Chance
Optional affixes:
+1 to Level of all Dexterity Skill Gems
+1 to Level of all Fire Skill Gems
Global Critical Strike Multiplier
Non-Channelling Skills have -7 to Total Mana Cost (crafted)
Ashes of the Stars(Amulet) Ashes of the Stars - It's a much cheaper way to increase the Gem Level of your Explosive Trap, the Gem Quality, and Mana Reservation Efficiency
+(10-16) to all Attributes
(5-10)% increased Experience Gain of Gems
(10-20)% increased Reservation Efficiency of Skills
+1 to Level of all Skill Gems
+(20-30)% to Quality of all Skill Gems
Recommended Anointments:
Divine Judgement
Written in Blood
Ring(Ring) Rare Rings - Ring offer much the same mods as an Amulet, look for Life, Resistances, Spell Damage, Crit. Chance, Crit. Multiplier, and Attributes if you're missing some
Min. requirements:
+60 to maximum Life
+60% to Elemental Resistances
Non-channeling Skills have -7 to Total Mana Cost (crafted)
Optional affixes:
increased Global Critical Strike Chance
Circle of Anguish(Ring) Circle of Anguish - It's one of the best Rings to use. Get more Damage, increased Mana Reservation Efficiency, or increased Buff Effect.
<One to three random Synthesis implicit modifiers>
+(20-30) to Strength
Adds (20-25) to (26-35) Fire Damage
+(20-30)% to Fire Resistance
<Two Random Herald of Ash modifier>
Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - Maximum Life is the most important mod here, you can then look for the missing stats, and Critical Strike affixes

Recommended affixes:
Maximum Life
Elemental Resistances
increased Fire, Physical, Trap, or Spell Damage
Critical Strike Multiplier or Chance with Elemental Skills or with Spells

The Interrogation(Jewel) The Interrogation - Secrets of Suffering makes you Scorch, Brittle, and Sap enemies with Critical Strikes, but you're unable to Chill, Ignite, and Shock on your own. Basically giving you up to 30% Elemental Damage penetration while your Skitterbots Chill and Shock enemies
Adds Secrets of Suffering
Unnatural Instinct(Jewel) Unnatural Instinct - put it near Fervour or Sentinel, there are a lot of small nodes worth allocating
Allocated Small Passive Skills in Radius grant nothing
Grants all bonuses of Unallocated Small Passive Skills in Radius
Watcher's Eye(Jewel) Watcher's Eye - Anger mods are great, especially the "Gain Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage while affected by Anger"
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Large Cluster Jewel - get the Elemental Damage Jewels with no more than eight or nine nodes and two or three useful Notables
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Doryani's Lesson
1 Added Passive Skill is Prismatic Heart
1 Added Passive Skill is Smoking Remains
1 Added Passive Skill is Corrosive Elements
1 Added Passive Skill is Disorienting Display
Medium Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Medium Cluster Jewel - most of the Trap Damage or Critical Strike Chance Medium Cluster Jewels have excellent Notalbes worth picking up
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Basics of Pain
1 Added Passive Skill is Pressure Points
1 Added Passive Skill is Quick Gateway
1 Added Passive Skill is Arcane Pyrotechnics
1 Added Passive Skill is Guerilla Tactics
1 Added Passive Skill is Set and Forget
1 Added Passive Skill is Surprise Sabotage
Bottled Faith(Flask) Bottled Faith - one of the most expensive Flasks, but it's worth its price
40% increased Damage
Creates Consecrated Ground on Use
(20-40)% increased Duration
Consecrated Ground created by this Flask has Tripled Radius
Consecrated Ground created during Effect applies (7-10)% increased Damage taken to Enemies
(100-150)% increased Critical Strike Chance against Enemies on Consecrated Ground during Flask effect
Atziri's Promise(Flask) Atziri's Promise - it's good for Chaos Resistance, more Damage, and Life Leech
+35% to Chaos Resistance
2% of Chaos Damage Leeched as Life during Flask effect
Gain (5-8)% of Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
Gain (5-8)% of Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect

Other suggested Flasks:

  1. Life Flask of Staunching for Bleed removal
  2. Diamond Flask with Immunity to Poison during Flask Effect
  3. Silver Flask with random ailment removal
  4. Quicksilver Flask with random ailment removal
Silver FlaskAtziri's PromiseLife FlaskQuicksilver FlaskDiamond 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.