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Fireball Trickster/Shadow Starter Build

Fireball Trickster/Shadow Starter Build

Insanely fast and budget-friendly Ignite Fireball build based on the Shadow/Trickster class

Trickster Starter build

Updated for Patch 3.11

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Estimated budget: low
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Guide notes
July 20, 2020
-Build created


Fireball is among the most popular Fire/Ignite Spells in the Path of Exile. It is currently an amazing option for a League Starter build as most of its DPS comes from Skill Gems and Passives. Combined with Trickster Class, you get solid clear speed, fantastic mobility, reliable defenses, and reasonable Damage over Time, which can be easily scaled by stacking Fire Damage over Time Multiplier which is now possible from various sources. This build requires literally 0 Uniques, and will still offer a very enjoyable playstyle with great AoE allowing you to easily complete campaign and grind Maps to build up Currency for gear improvements (or the build you actually want to handle end-game content with). 

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1. Gameplay

This Fireball Trickster is a very swift Spell Caster build which relies on very high Damage over Time from Fireball's Ignites and Fire Trap DoT effect. Unlike Fireball, Fire Trap deals a different type of Fire Damage over Time, so they can work simultaneously, offering solid single-target DPS as well. For general usage and Map clearing, just Fireball will be enough, and reasonable Life Pool combined with Evasion, and Dodge, should help you stay alive against Bosses and other tougher enemies. This build also utilizes Devouring Diadem, which allows you to spend Energy Shield instead of Mana for Spells, so if you manage to get it, you will be able to reserve as much as 100% of your Mana for extra Auras. 

0:08 Tier 16 Maze of the Minotaur
1:02 Tier 15 Shore
1:18 Tier 16 Alleways
1:46 Tier 16 Siege
2:25 Tier 16 Thicket

This video was recorded on a level 94 Trickster on Standard League using Devouring Diadem and Searing Touch. The character had 5,400 Life and approximately 600k Fireball Ignite DPS with 1,5kk Fire Trap damage

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • great League Starter build
  • amazing clear speed and mobility
  • no expensive item requirements
  • high DoT with good area coverage
  • all content viable
  • can do most Maps and Mods
  • mediocre single-target DPS


3. Leveling tips

Both Fireball and Fire Trap are great for leveling, so you can pretty much play with those two as soon as you create your character. You won't really find many Items with Fire DoT Multiplier, so you should focus on increasing your Fire/Burning Damage, Life, and mobility (mainly Movement Speed) to progress faster. There is a number of very powerful low-level Unique Items that boost your Burning/Fire Damage so getting some of them may be very helpful during the early stages of the game, though you should be fine anyway. Luckily enough, there are no refunds needed in this build, and you can follow up the Final Skill Tree right away. You can also find the base recommended Skill Gems used during leveling - make sure to add extra Support Gems from the final build as you progress.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Fireball setup
Fireball Fireball - the primary Spell used in this build which deals greatly increased damage with Ignite, making it one of the most suitable Spells for this type of a build
Ignite Proliferation Support Ignite Proliferation Support - increases the damage you deal with Ignite and makes it spread to nearby enemies, greatly increasing your clear speed and experience gain
Combustion Support Combustion Support - increases your Chance to Ignite, Fire Spell Damage, and debuffs enemies that are ignited by Supported Skills
Fire Trap setup
Fire Trap Fire Trap - your main single-target Spell which deals very high damage in a radius. It's not considered Ignite, so it will scale with Fireballs DoT allowing you to greatly boost your DPS output
Burning Damage Support Burning Damage Support - increases the Burning Damage you deal with Fire Trap
Trap and Mine Damage Support Trap and Mine Damage Support - increases Fire Trap's damage significantly
Utility Gems
Flame Dash Flame Dash - used for mobility on lower levels. Can be linked with low-level Arcane Surge for extra Spell Damage/Mana Regen. before you get Eldritch Battery later on
Malevolence Malevolence - most important Aura in this build which increases your Damage over Time and Skill Effect Duration
Flammability Flammability - recommended Curse for this build which reduces enemies' Fire Resistance and increases your chance to Ignite them

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We recommend killing all the Bandits for two additional Passive Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

32 Points Skill Tree 
Priorities: 1) Entropy 2) Elemental Focus 3) Growth and Decay 4) Fire Walker

61 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Elemental Overload 2) Cruel Preparation 3) Breath of Flames 4) Holy Fire

Recommended leveling items:

AshcallerAshcaller - an amazing leveling Wand which grants high Fire DoT Multiplier and added Fire Damage to Spells
(18-22)% increased Spell Damage
10% chance to Trigger Level 8 Summon Raging Spirit on Kill
+(15-25)% to Fire Damage over Time Multiplier
Adds (4-6) to (7-9) Fire Damage to Spells
(20-30)% increased Burning Damage
(16-22)% chance to Ignite
PyrePyre - one of the best leveling Rings for this build. It grants an insane bonus to Burning Damage, so if you are missing out on DPS just use two of these
+(20-30)% to Cold Resistance
+(25-35)% to Fire Resistance
(60-80)% increased Burning Damage
40% of Cold Damage Converted to Fire Damage
10% increased Light Radius
Ignited Enemies you hit are destroyed on Kill
WanderlustWanderlust - amazing leveling Boots which grant high bonus Movement Speed and Freeze Immunity
+5 to Dexterity
(20-40)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
+(10-20) to maximum Energy Shield
20% increased Movement Speed
Cannot be Frozen
GoldrimGoldrim - one of the best leveling Helmets which covers up your needs for Elemental 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)
PraxisPraxis - a great leveling Ring which makes you forget Mana-related issues during leveling
+(20-25) to maximum Mana
+(30-60) to maximum Mana
(3-6) Mana Regenerated per second
-(8-4) to Total Mana Cost of Skills
8% of Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit




4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

117 Points Final Skill Tree - doesn't include Cluster Jewel whereas we used three in our build
117 Points Path of Building (PoB) link - refer to this link for Path of Building for more details and Cluster Jewels allocation

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Patient Reaper
  2. Ghost Dance
  3. Prolonged Pain
  4. Escape Artist


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

Minor God: Soul of Garukhan +5% chance to Evade Attacks if you've taken a Savage Hit recently


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Fireball setup
Fireball Fireball - your main DPS Spell which is used mainly to clear entire screens of enemies but also you need to have its Ignite up on Bosses at all times
Greater Multiple Projectiles Support Greater Multiple Projectiles Support - increases the number of Fireball's projectiles, which combined with Pierce will greatly enhance your clear speed
Ignite Proliferation Ignite Proliferation Support - increases your Ignite Damage and makes it spread to nearby enemies
Burning Damage Support Burning Damage Support - a must-have Gem for this build which grants a very high bonus to your DoT
Combustion Support Combustion Support - greatly increases supported skills' Fire Spell Damage and debuffs enemies Ignited by your Fireball, making it one of the best Support Gems for this setup
Deadly Ailments Support Deadly Ailments Support - increases the damage you deal with Ailments - Ignite in this case
[DPS] Fire Trap setup
Fire Trap Fire Trap - the secondary DPS Spell used in this build which deals a different type of Fire DoT. It creates a burning ground that deals up to 2 Mil DPS in this build, which truly shines against Bosses
Burning Damage Support Burning Damage Support
Efficacy Support Efficacy Support - increases Spell Damage and DoT dealt by linked Spells
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - greatly increases Fire Trap's Elemental Damage, but makes it unable to Ignite. The downside can be ignored as Fire Trap doesn't Ignite anyway and its' DoT is considered "Burning Damage" instead
Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support - increases Spell Damage of linked Spells
Trap and Mine Damage Trap and Mine Damage Support
(in Devouring Diadem, if you don't have it you must skip Discipline Aura)
Malevolence Malevolence - the most important Aura in this build which greatly increases your Damage over Time
Flesh and Stone Flesh and Stone - a great defensive Aura that reserves only 25% of your Mana. It makes nearby enemies Blinded reducing their chance to hit you, as well as, reduces your damage taken by enemies further away
Discipline Discipline - increases your Energy Shield. While it's a Life build, Higher Energy Shield will help you keep Mind over Matter active while allowing you to freely cast Spells
Enlighten Support Enlighten Support - reduces the amount of Mana Reserved by linked Skills
[UTILITY] Flame Dash setup
Flame Dash Flame Dash - the recommended Movement Skill for this build. Make sure not to Support this Gem with Arcane Surge as you will not gain the buff since you don't spend Mana to cast Spells
Second Wind Support Second Wind Support - increases the number of Flame Dash's charges and reduces its cooldown recovery speed
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
[UTILITY] Wave of Conviction w. Curse
Malevolence Wave of Conviction - an Area Spell which applies Fire Exposure to enemies Hit. It will be triggered automatically by a low-level Cast when Damage Taken Gem so you need to keep it a level 7
CWDT Cast when Damage Taken Support - this Gem will cast linked Spells after you take a certain amount of damage. Keep this Gem at level 1 to increase the Cast frequence
Curse on Hit Support Curse on Hit Support - will make Wave of Conviction to also apply your linked Curse
Flammability Flammability - the recommended Curse for this build which reduces monsters' Fire Resistance
[UTILITY] Herald of Ash
Herald of Ash Herald of Ash - increases your Fire Spell Damage and causes extra AoE explosions when you slay your enemies
[UTILITY] Storm Brand/Orb of Storms
(only if using Malachai's Artifice)
Storm Brand Storm Brand/Orb of Storms - used solely to apply Elemental Equilibrium to enemies Hit, reducing their Fire Resistance. Has to be socketed in Malachai's Artifice to have a positive effect

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5. Gear Setup

Below you will find the recommended gear for this Trickster Fireball Starter build. The list consists mainly of late-game equipment, as until that point you will be able to use any random Rares or Uniques that boost your Damage (Fire/Elemental/DoT) or survivability. This build is very flexible in terms of equipment, and you basically want to stack as much Fire Damage over Multiplier as possible, while maintaining enough defenses to stay alive.

The recommended items from our list will:

  1. Cap your resistances 
  2. Give you enough Life and DPS to start mapping

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Fire Damage over Time Multiplier
  4. Fire/Elemental Damage
  5. Energy Shield
The Devouring Diadem(Helmet) The Devouring Diadem - grants Eldritch Battery which saves you three Passive Points. It also increases the level of Gems and reduces Mana Reservation Cost which lets you use three different Auras
+1 to Level of Socketed Gems
Socketed Gems have 20% reduced Mana Reservation
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
<One Veiled Mod>
Rare Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - obviously, if you play it as your Starter build you may need to go Rare Helmet. It's totally fine, you can either pick Eldritch Battery from the Skill Tree or simply get the highest Life bonus you can find here and play with just Malevolence and Herald of Ash
Min. requirements:
90 Maximum Life
75% Total Elemental Resistances
Helmet enchantment:
40% increased Fireball Damage
60% increased Fire Trap Burning Damage
The Searing Touch(Weapon) The Searing Touch - the recommended Weapon for this build which grants an insane bonus to Fire Damage over Time Multiplier
+18% Chance to Block Attack Damage while wielding a Staff
+2 to Level of all Fire Spell Skill Gems
(70-90)% increased Fire Damage
10% increased Cast Speed
+(40-60)% to Fire Damage over Time Multiplier
Rare Staff(Weapon) Rare Staff - you should obviously get Fire DoT and any extra mods you can afford
Min. requirements:
50% Fire Damage over Time Multiplier
60% Fire Spell Damage
Optional affixes:
Cast Speed
Damage over Time Multiplier
Rare Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - aim for the highest defensive stats possible
Min. requirements:
110 Maximum Life
75% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Maximum Life%
Kintsugi(Body Armour) Kintsugi - a very solid chest with very high defensive utility. It reduces your damage taken or increases your Evasion Rating depending on being Hit recently or not
(100-120)% increased Evasion Rating
+(60-80) to maximum Life
+30% to Fire Resistance
20% less Damage taken if you have not been Hit Recently
50% increased Evasion Rating if you have been Hit Recently
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - mainly aim for high defensive stats and Movement Speed bonus. You can also get a pair with "Chance to gain Elusive on Critical Strike" which can make your pair expensive. Elusive can be also taken from Passive Tree if you feel like you could use some extra defensive utility without the Boot affix
Min. requirements:
75 maximum Life
25% increased Movement Speed
Optional affixes:
Chance to gain Elusive on Critical Strike
19% Movement Speed and Chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill (crafted, possible if you don't have Movement Speed bonus already)
Boot enchantment:
16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently
10% Chance to Dodge Attack Hits if you've taken a Critical Strike Recently
Stygian Vise(Belt) Rare Belt - again, we try to grab one with the highest defensive stats
Min. requirements:
35 Strength
90 Maximum Life
Optional affixes:
increased Damage
Elemental Resistances
Maximum Life%
Rare Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - a Rare Amulet with Fire Damage over Time Multiplier is the way to go here
Min. requirements:
50 maximum Life
+15% Fire Damage over Time Multiplier
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Spell Damage
Recommended Anointments:
Piercing Shots (clear speed)
Burning Brutality (DPS)
Two Stone Ring(Ring) Rare Rings - aim mainly for high defensive stats
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
100% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Increased Fire Damage
Malachai's Artifice(Ring) Malachai's Artifice - this Ring can greatly boost your DPS but offers no defensive utility. It can actually make capping Resistances a little bit more tricky. You need to Socket Orb of Storms or Storm Brand in it, which will proc Elemental Equilibrium, reducing Fire Resistance of affected enemies
Has 1 Socket
Socketed Gems have Elemental Equilibrium
-20% to all Elemental Resistances
+(75-100)% to Fire Resistance when Socketed with a Red Gem
+(75-100)% to Cold Resistance when Socketed with a Green Gem
+(75-100)% to Lightning Resistance when Socketed with a Blue Gem
All Sockets are White
ES Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - once again you should look for an Elder pair with Fire Damage over Time Multiplier
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
12% Fire Damage over Time Multiplier
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
increased Spell Damage
Cobalt Jewel(Jewels) Rare Jewels - this should provide extra Life and damage bonuses. Preferably via Fire Damage over Time Multiplier
Recommended affixes:
increased maximum Life
Fire Damage over Time Multiplier
Optional affixes:
increased Spell Damage/Damage over Time
Hypnotik Abyss Jewel(Jewels) Abyss Jewels - you can use one Abyssal Jewel if you are using a Stygian Vise, otherwise, Rare Jewels will provide more DPS
Recommended affixes:
maximum Life
chance to Hinder enemies on Spell Hits
Optional affixes:
increased Damage if you have Killed Recently
Medium Cluster Jewel(Jewels) Medium Cluster Jewels - we recommend using three Medium Cluster Jewels if you plan to push this build to its' maximum potential. You can get extra Fire Damage over Time Multiplier here, which is inaccessible otherwise
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Exposure Therapy
1 Added Passive Skill is a Jewel Socket
Optional affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Burning Bright
1 Added Passive Skill is Blowback
1 Added Passive Skill is Smoking Remains
Small Cluster Jewel(Jewels) Small Cluster Jewel - you will be able to use more Small Cluster Jewels as you get closer to level 100 with all the extra Passives. It's best to get Fettle here for high Life bonus
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Fettle
Transcendent Mind(Jewels) Transcendent Mind - socketed right above Witch's starting point will give you an additional 24% Damage over Time Multiplier making it the best possible Jewel for this slot
-1 Intelligence per 1 Intelligence on Allocated Passives in Radius
+3% to Damage over Time Multiplier per 10 Intelligence on Unallocated Passives in Radius
3% increased Mana Recovery Rate per 10 Intelligence on Allocated Passives in Radius
2% reduced Mana Recovery Rate per 10 Intelligence on Unallocated Passives in Radius
Watcher's Eye(Jewels) Watcher's Eye - offers an insane bonus to Fire DoT when you are affected by Malevolence, making it one of the best Jewels for this build
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>
Recommended Aura modifier:
+(18-22)% to Damage over Time Multiplier while affected by Malevolence
Witchfire Brew(Flask) Witchfire Brew - a mandatory Flask which greatly increases your Damage over Time and grants extra Evasion
100% increased Evasion Rating
Creates a Smoke Cloud on Use
50% increased Charges used
(25-40)% increased Damage Over Time during Flask Effect
Grants Level 21 Despair Curse Aura during Flask Effect
Cinderswallow Urn(Flask) Cinderswallow Urn - grants very high Life/Mana/Energy Shield Recovery which combined with this build's massive AoE will instantly replenish all three making it one of the best utility Flasks you can use for this build
Recharges 1 Charge when you Consume an Ignited corpse
Enemies Ignited by you during Flask Effect take 10% increased Damage
Recover (1-3)% of Life when you Kill an Enemy during Flask Effect
Recover (1-3)% of Mana when you Kill an Enemy during Flask Effect
Recover (1-3)% of Energy Shield when you Kill an Enemy during Flask Effect
<One Veiled Mod>
Other suggested flasks:
  1. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching (immunity to Bleeding)
  2. Ample Quartz Flask of Warding (immunity to Curses)
  3. Experimenter's Quicksilver Flask of Heat (increased Movement Speed and immunity to Freeze)
Witchfire BrewCinderswallow UrnLife FlaskQuartz FlaskQuicksilver Flask

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

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