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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 3.24

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Guide notes
March 29, 2024
-Build updated
Build overview



Boss DPS:



Explosive Trap is one of the most basic Traps you can get - 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 an excellent league starter that also has a high potential later in the game, the build can achieve great highs but doesn't require particular Unique Items to get started.

It's a Life build with a 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 Dagger, Mace, or a Wand with a Shield or a Staff - The Annihilating Light is a good candidate for any non-specific build dealing Elemental Damage. You will want to eventually include the Alternate Ailments into the Build, as the default Ignite doesn't contribute much to the Hit-based Build. On the other hand, Scorch can reduce all Elemental Resistances up to 30%, and you will apply Shock and Chill with your Skitterbots anyway. 

Patch 3.23 introduced a transfigured version of this Skill which is an Explosive Trap of Shrapnel. It deals more damage and has a larger radius, but mechanically it's still very similar to the original. It is better in most situations, but it is not that important to have it as soon as possible.

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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.

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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:

Explosive Trap setup
Explosive Trap Explosive Trap - It's a good leveling Trap, you can safely use it throughout 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 Skills that Converts Physical Damage to Fire.
Utility skills 
Flammability Flammability - a Curse that lowers Fire Resistance.
Flame Dash Flame Dash - movement Spell that you 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 seem like the best option for this build

Leveling Skill Trees:

31 Points Skill Tree
Pick up the big Trap Cluster with some Maximum Life

66 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% Physical Damage Converted to Fire.
Socketed Gems are now Supported by level 15 Trap
(160-200)% increased Evasion Rating
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:

103 Points Final Skill Tree (doesn't include Cluster Jewels)
118 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 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 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, has increased Elemental Damage, and Critical Strike Chance. 
Increased Critical Damage Increased Critical Damage Support - it greatly increases the Damage you deal with Critical Strikes. 
Added Fire Damage Added Fire Damage Support - adds Fire Damage that's sourced from Physical Damage before it gets Converted, later you can use the Awakened version that improves the Gem level of your Trap by 1. 
Trap and Mine Damage Trap and Mine Damage Support - Traps deal significantly more Damage but have reduced Throw Speed. 
Cluster Traps Cluster Traps Support - you will Throw 3 Traps at once, but each one deals Less Damage. You can use the  Swift Assembly Support for pure Single-target scenarios. 
[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.
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 - grants rapid Mana Regeneration so that you won't run out of it, which is especially important during Boss encounters.
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. You can use Clarity in a free Socket anywhere, it doesn't have to be linked here. 
[UTILITY] Automation setup
Enduring Cry Enduring Cry - a Warcry that grants you a lot of Life Regeneration and generates Enduring Charges if enough Enemies are nearby. 
Cast when Damage Taken Support  Call to Arms Support - it will automatically trigger the linked Warcry in short intervals. 
Steelskin Steelskin - Guard Spell that reduces the damage you take from Hits for some time. Use Molten Shell instead if your Armour is high. It can be activated with CwDT too if you plan to use the Withering Step as the movement key.
Frost Shield Frost Shield - it is a Guard Skill that doesn't share its Cooldown with Steelskin. It creates an icy bubble that reduces the Damage you take from the outside and greatly improves your Critical Strike Chance. 
Cast when Damage Cast when Damage Taken - if you use only the Steelskin, you can use the Automation Support for better uptime. However, the Frost Shield is not an Instant Cast, so you will need to use this Support instead. 
[UTILITY] Flame Dash, Bear Trap, and Phase Run setup
Flame Dash Frostblink - Dash-type Spell used to relocate and avoid dangerous situations.
Arcane Surge Arcane Surge Support - Keep it at a level low enough so that a single cast of Frostblink will activate it. It grants you an improved Mana Regeneration Rate.
Bear Trap Bear Trap - immobilizes an enemy and makes it receive increased Damage from all Traps, it's useful during boss fights
[UTILITY] Shield Charge setup
Shield Charge Shield Charge - it is a great Movement Skill that can be used without a Cooldown but requires some Attack Speed scaling and lots of Strength Attributes. 
Faster Attack Faster Attack Support - improves the Attack Speed of your Shield Charge.
[UTILITY] Brand setup
Flammability Flammability - a Curse that reduces Fire Resistance which should be the only type of damage you deal.
Assassin's Mark Assassin's Mark - an important Mark that greatly improves your Critical Strike Chance and Damage against a singular Enemy.
Arcanist Brand Arcanist Brand - all linked Spells are activated every second as the Brand is attached to the opponent.
Lifetap Support Lifetap Support - casting Curses is very Mana-intensive, so you might want to use this Support to not interrupt throwing out your Traps. 

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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, as they can provide you with Physical to Fire Damage conversion, which is very important for all your scaling. You should use the Evasion and Energy Shield-based Armour types, as it makes capping your Spell Suppression much easier. 

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. Spell Suppression Chance
  5. Gem Level of Explosive Trap
  6. Critical Strike Chance
  7. Spell, Physical, Fire, Trap Damage
  8. Critical Strike Multiplier
  9. Evasion Rating
  10. Chaos Resistance
Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - On a Helmet, there's one great offensive mod for when you're standing close to the opponents - it makes them take increased Fire Damage. Life, Spell Suppression Chance, Evasion, and Physical Damage taken as Elemental are other useful affixes.
Min. requirements:
+80 to Maximum Life
40% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Nearby enemies take 9% increased Fire Damage
Spell Suppression Chance
Global Critical Strike Multiplier
Mana Reservation Efficiency
The Devouring Diadem(Helmet) The Devouring Diadem - It's the most popular choice for this build as it allows you to fit in more Auras, and due to Eldritch Battery, you won't have to worry about Mana Cost of Skills anymore.
+1 to Level of Socketed Gems
Socketed Gems have 25% increased Reservation Efficiency
Trigger Level 15 Feast of Flesh every 5 seconds
(180-220)% increased Energy Shield
10% chance for Energy Shield Recharge to start when you use a Skill
Eldritch Battery
Veiled Suffix
Sceptre(Weapon) Rare Sceptre or Wand - You can go for a setup with a weapon and a shield as it's much more defensive-oriented. Look for Fire Spell Damage and Critical Strike mods on a weapon, and at least one modifier for your Gem Levels. Alternating Sceptre has built-in Secrets of Suffering so keep an eye on these.
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 - On a shield, look for offensive modifiers such as Gem Levels, Crit Chance for Spells, or Spell Damage. Defensive modifiers are also possible here, such as maximum Life, Spell Suppression, or lots of Energy Shield.
Min. requirements:
+60% to Elemental Resistances
+80 to maximum Life
Optional affixes:
Spell Suppression Chance
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, it's definitely worth its price, but be careful, it will leave you with no Shield and a heavy penalty at your Resistances. 
+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 - it is a purely defensive piece, you should seek Spell Suppression, Resistances, and high Evasion and Energy Shield. You can avoid the Life modifiers here, and pick a Life Mastery for a 15% increased Maximum Life. 
Min. requirements:
Elemental Resistances
20% Chance to Suppress Spell Damage
Optional affixes:
+#% to Spell Critical Strike Chance
+1 to Level of Socketed Active Skill Gems
High Evasion Rating or Energy Shield
Chaos Resistance
Skin of the Lords(Body Armour) Skin of the Lords - it is an amazing chest piece, it increases the Gem Level of its socketed setup granting much more Damage. It increases your Global Defences too, which will boost your Evasion and Energy Shield. 
Item has no level requirement and Energy Shield (Hidden)
Sockets cannot be modified
+2 to Level of Socketed Gems
100% increased Global Defences
You can only Socket Corrupted Gems in this item
Item has 6 Sockets and is fully linked (Hidden)
<Random Keystone>
Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - Maximum Life, Movement Speed, and Elemental Resistances are your top priorities here. Other than that you can aim for Action Speed which will improve your Trap Throwing Speed, or Effect of non-damaging Ailments. 
Min. requirements:
30% Movement Speed
+60 to Maximum Life
60% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Action Speed 
Effect of non-damaging Ailments
Spell Suppression Chance
Atziri's Step(Boots) Atziri's Step - A very cheap, and good pair of Boots with all the useful stats like Spell Suppression, but no Resistances. keep that in mind.
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 - an Eldritch Ichor's Implicit (for 10% to 35%), and a Crafted or Unveiled counterpart, for a total of 50%. Having less will lower your Damage, but the difference between the worst-case scenario and the best is not that great. 
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. Strength will be needed too, you're using quite a few red gems that require this attribute. You can finish it up with a Crafted Trap Throwing Speed modifier. 
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 is a very powerful Amulet for this Build. It will increase the Gem levels of all your Active Skills, and the additional Quality on your Explosive Traps will add even more Explosions. It is also useful for your Utility Gems, such as Shield Charge or Curses. 
+(10-16) to all Attributes
(5-10)% increased Experience Gain of Gems
+1 to Level of all Skill Gems
+(20-30)% to Quality of all Skill Gems
Replica Dragonfang's Flight(Amulet) Replica Dragonfang's Flight - A massive boost to your Damage and Mana Reservation Efficiency makes it one of the best picks for this build.
+(10-16) to all Attributes
+3 to Level of all <Random Skill> Gems
+(5-10)% to all Elemental Resistances
(5-10)% increased Reservation Efficiency of Skills
Items and Gems have (10-5)% reduced Attribute Requirements
Recommended Anointments:
Divine Judgement
Written in Blood
Ring(Ring) Rare Rings - Rings 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. If you have troubles with Mana, look for Mana Regeneration Rate and a possibility to Craft Reduced Mana Cost of Skills. 
Min. requirements:
+60 to maximum Life
+60% to Elemental Resistances
Non-channeling Skills have -7 to Total Mana Cost (crafted)
Optional affixes:
Critical Strike Multiplier
Circle of Anguish(Ring) Circle of Anguish - It's one of the best Rings to use. It has a few variants, look for one that improves your Damage and Buff Effect of the Herald of Ash.
<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>
(40-60)% increased Fire Damage while affected by Herald of Ash
Herald of Ash has (40-60)% increased Buff Effect
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. You will inflict two of those Ailments via the Skitterbots anyway, and you will gain the 30% Elemental Resistance Reduction.
Adds Secrets of Suffering
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Large Cluster Jewel - Get the Elemental Damage Large Cluster Jewels with no more than eight or nine nodes and two or three useful Notables. The physical jewels are great too since you deal converted damage.
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
1 Added Passive Skill is Battle-Hardened
1 Added Passive Skill is Force Multiplier
1 Added Passive Skill is Iron Breaker
Medium Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Medium Cluster Jewel - the Guerilla Tactics is an excellent Notable that greatly improves your Damage and Trap Throwing Speed. Ideally, you should pair it with the Surprise Sabotage or Set and Forget, but any other Trap-related Notable will do just fine. 
Recommended affixes:
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 also very good. Keep an eye on it for the finishing touches.
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
taste of hate(Flask) Taste of Hate - it grants you a lot of Physical Damage mitigation and adds a bit of your Physical Damage as Cold Damage, which will allow you to inflict a weak Brittle effect on your Enemies. 
(10-15)% of Physical Damage from Hits taken as Cold Damage during Effect
Gain (10-15)% of Physical Damage as Extra Cold Damage during effect
30% chance to Avoid being Chilled during Effect
30% chance to Avoid being Frozen during Effect

Other suggested Flasks:

  1. Life Flask with Bleed Removal
  2. Diamond Flask with Critical Strike bonus
  3. Jade Flask with increased Evasion Rating bonus
  4. Quicksilver Flask with increased Attack Speed bonus
Bottled Faithtaste of hateLife 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.

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