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Lightning Trap Saboteur Starter Build

Lightning Trap Saboteur Starter Build

A Saboteur build that uses Lightning Trap and Lightning Spire Trap that's suitable as a league starter

Lightning Trap
Saboteur Starter build

Updated for Patch 3.17

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Guide notes
July 21, 2021
-Build created
September 19, 2021
-Added gameplay video
January 04, 2022
-Updated for Patch 3.16
March 07, 2022
-Updated for Patch 3.17
Build overview



Boss DPS:



Lightning Trap is undoubtedly one of the most popular choices for a Trap Build. It's a very simple skill, the Trap fires eight Projeticlesin all directions that deal Lightning Damage. This skill is really great when fighting a lot of enemies scattered across the map, but for the boss fights the build uses Lightning Spire Trap - when triggered, for the next 3.5 seconds it will continue to strike random places around it with Lightning Damage. With these two types of traps, you can comfortably clear all the content within the game while investing basically in the same stats - Lightning Damage and Trap Damage. This version of the build is a League Starter - it consists of cheap items and it's Life-based. The types of defense used are Maximum Life, Evasion Rating, immunity to Shock, Blind, and Ignite, rapid Life Regeneration, Reduced damage taken from Blinded enemies, and a small amount of Armour and Energy Shield. If you want to progress with this build into the late game, it can be done with a few changes - for such a version of the build you can check the other guide.

When compared to the state of the build from the last patch it stayed almost exactly the same. Relatively to other builds - Physical Traps now reign supreme among Saboteurs, but the damage, cost, and playstyle of these two builds are almost exactly identical.

We also have a complete guide for the end-game variation of this build which utilizes Shavronne's Wrappings and the "Low-Life" status to gain extra benefits and use additional Auras. If you are already past the leveling phase and have the Currency accumulated, you can check this guide here: Low-Life/End-Game Lightning Trap Saboteur Build Guide

You can also check our other Path of Exile builds right over here Odealo's Crafty Guides - Full List


1. Gameplay

The gameplay is similar to other Trap Builds, you throw your Lightning Trap into a pack of enemies killing them instantly, and if you fight with bosses - Lightning Spire Trap seems like a better alternative due to the duration and less spread damage. For mobility use Flame Dash - it's an instant cast Spell and requires no additional Support Gems to work properly. Sitterbots will shock and chill your opponents - you won't be able to do so if you want to link your Traps with Elemental Focus, Chill is a nice addition that will slow down enemies. Use Wrath for more Lightning Damage and Assassin's Mark or Conductivity as a Curse that can be self-cased or triggered via Hextouch. Immortal Call linked with Cast when Damage Taken Support is one of the best ways to avoid sudden death.

This video was recorded on a level 91 Saboteur on Standard with no more than 5-links in any of the DPS setups and equipment worth an average of several Chaos Orbs per piece, making it one of the cheapest builds on our website. Overall, it was a very fine League Starter build with sold AoE coverage and decent defenses with literally 0 equipment. With extra investments in gear, by turning this build into Low-Life/Shavronne's version, you can easily deal with most of the content in the game, and we have a separate guide for it

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • high single target DPS thanks to Lightning Spire Trap
  • good AoE and clear speed with Lightning Trap's projectiles flying all over your screen
  • good defenses from Saboteur's Ascendancy
  • no Unique Items required
  • mediocre Life Pool
  • transition to end-game with its Low-Life variation can get expensive


3. Leveling tips

Lightning Trap can be used early in the game, link it with other Gems that would increase its damage such as Swift Assembly Support. At level 38 it will be possible to swap it with Cluster Traps Support. You should look for Lightning and Trap damage on your gear, to achieve it you can use Essences such as Essence on Zeal on your Belt, Essence of Spite or Tormenton your weapon, and Essence of Wrath on your weapon, Rings, or Amulet. You can also use a vendor recipe - trade a Topaz Ring, an orb of Alteration, and a magic Sceptre, Wand, or a Rune Dagger for a magic weapon with added Lightning Damage to Spells. Fore leveling you will mostly use Rare Gear.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Lightning Trap setup
Lightning Trap Lightning Trap - you can use Lightning Trap to level up, but any other Trap Elemental Spell is good
Swift Assembly Support Swift Assembly Support - before you're able to use Cluster Traps Support Cluster Traps Support, use this Gem
Trap and Mine Damage Support Trap and Mine Damage Support - It will provide you with more Trap Damage
Inspiration Support  Inspiration Support - Inspiration Support is great for More Elemental Damage, Crit Chance, and Reducing Mana Cost of Skills
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - Use it for More Elemental Damage, but lose the ability to cause Elemental Ailments such as Shock
Flame Dash setup
Flame Dash Flame Dash - as a movement Skill you can use Flame Dash or any other Skill that suits your playstyle
Second Wind Support Second Wind Support - allows you to use Flame Dash more frequently
Inspiration Support  Inspiration Support - with Second Wind Support, Flame Dash can cost a lot of Mana, Inspiration Support is a good solution to that
Utility Gems
Summon Skitterbots Summon Skitterbots - Skitterbots are really useful Minions, they Chill and Shock enemies nearby - something that Elemental Focus Support prevents your others skills from doing
Wrath Wrath - the best option for an Aura - it grants you 21% more Lightning Damage at level 19
Conductivity Conductivity - A Curse that increases the amount of Lightning Damage your opponents take


You should kill all the Bandits and take two more Passive Skill Points, but if you struggle with Mana and Elemental Resistances - help Alira.

Leveling Skill Trees:

34 Points Skill Tree
Take Trickery, Saboteur, Blood and Soul Siphon, and then head to the Trap and Mine Cluster by taking the path as pictured above

66 Points Skill Tree
Take some Trap Damage and Maximum Life that you can find nearby, and start looking for Crit-related nodes

Recommended leveling items:

Le Heup of AllLe Heup of All - The Ring that should keep your Elemental Resistances high and increase your damage and Attributes
(10-30)% increased Damage
+(10-30) to all Attributes
(10-30)% increased Rarity of Items found
+(10-30)% to all Elemental Resistances
GoldrimGoldrim - Grats a lot of Elemental Resistance which will be needed
+(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 - with this Body Armour you can have a six-linked skill set up right from the start, but keep in mind that the Mana cost of your Skills will be abnormally high
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:

109 Points Final Skill Tree (doesn't show Jewels)
109 Points Path of Building(PoB) link 

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Pyromaniac
  2. Perfect Crime
  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 Garukhan 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each Hit you've taken Recently up to a maximum of 5%


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Lightning Trap setup
Lightning Trap Lightning Trap - Lightning Trap is the core element of the build, Vaal version provides some extra damage by creating a Shocked Ground so it's worth considering. It deals Lightning Spell Damage in form of a Trap.
Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support - plainly more Elemental Damage by adding and increasing it
Trap and Mine Damage Support Trap and Mine Damage Support - more Trap Damage, but less Throwing Speed, overall it's worth the penalty
Cluster Traps Support Cluster Traps Support - you can throw more Traps at once, and have more Traps at the same time, but each deals less damage, it's a good deal
Inspiration Support Inspiration Support - use it for better Mana sustain, more Elemental Damage, and increased Critical Strike Chance
Lightning Penetration Support Lightning Penetration Support - by penetrating the Lightning Resistance of your opponent you'll deal significantly more Lightning Damage
[UTILITY] Auras  setup
Summon Skitterbots Summon Skitterbots - use Skitterbots to Chill and Shock enemies, this Skill reserves Mana but the summoned Minions can't die
Wrath Wrath - the most important for this build Aura that increases your Lightning Damage
Clarity Clarity - if you have some Mana Left you can use Clarity for faster Mana Regeneration, or you can alternatively use Grace Grace for more Evasion Rating
Enlighten Support Enlighten Support - it's an expensive Support Gem when at a high level but it's worth the price if you need more Mana - it reduces the cost of Reserved Mana for linked Skills
[UTILITY] Immortal Call setup
Cast When Damage Taken Cast when Damage Taken - keep at a minimum level so that it can be triggered more often and link it with the rest of this setup
Immortal Call Immortal Call - a Guard Spell that makes you take less Physical and Elemental Damage for a short duration of time
Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support - when linked with Immortal Call it will cause this Spell to last longer
[UTILITY] Ice Golem
(optional - socketed in Malachai's Artifice)
Summon Ice Golem Summon Ice Golem - Golem that grants you additional Critical Strike Chance and Accuracy. When socketed in Malachai's Artifice it will proc Elemental Equilibrium and reduce affected enemies' Lightning Resistance
[UTILITY] Curse setup
Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction - Wave of Conviction applies Exposure on enemies it hits lowering their Resistance for Lightning by 15% in the case of this build
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - having Wave of Conviction cast automatically is one less button to press during boss fights
Assassin's Mark Assassin's Mark - enemies Cursed with Assassin's Mark have a higher chance to be Hit with a Critical Strike with a higher Multiplier, they restore Mana, Life and grant a  Power Charge when killed
[UTILITY] Lightning Spire Trap setup
(can be socketed in Shaper Gloves for extra Support Gems)
Lightning Spire Trap Lightning Spire Trap - another Trap that is used in this build, it lasts a few seconds upon activation and during this time strikes the area nearby with Lightning, it's best used against Bosses for much higher single-target DPS
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - use this Support Skill Gem for more Elemental Damage, you have Skitterbots to apply Shock so that's not an issue
Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support - it grants more Lighting Damage for each Strike of Lightning caused by the Spire
Trap and Mine Damage Support Trap and Mine Damage Support - use it to increase your Trap Damage, but lower throwing speed
[MOBILITY] Smoke Mine/Flame Dash setup
Flame Dash Flame Dash - primary movement Skill that allows you to teleport instantly which is a valuable option to have after you find yourself surrounded by enemies
Smoke Mine Smoke Mine - a secondary Movement Skill that also teleports you to the location of the Mine, but also boosts your Movement Speed for a short duration
Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support - increased Mana Regeneration after you spend a certain amount of Mana on Arcane Surge. Keep it at a low level so that it's triggered with each cast
Second Wind Support Second Wind Support - adds an extra charge to both your Flame Dash and Smoke Mine but slightly increases their cooldown

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5. Gear Setup

Your Elemental Resistances should be capped at 75% to increase your survivability, after that try to gather Maximum Life as you can - around 4k should be enough. Maximum Life is abundant on gear such as Body Armour, Helmet, Boots, Gloves, and Jewelry. In terms of increasing your damage, the most important part of the gear is your weapon - get a Wand, Spectre, or a Rune Dagger. Look for stats such as Lightning Damage, Spell Damage Critical Strike Chance, and Multiplier. Look for modifiers that will affect Spells, not Attacks. It will be necessary to have around 100 Strenght and Dexterity and 150 Intelligence, but that shouldn't be a concern. You will also need a source of Mana sustain - a decent passive regeneration to fight bosses and Mana on kill for fast clear.

Our recommended items will:

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

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Maximum Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Elemental/Lightning/Trap/Spell Damage
  4. Critical Strike Chance and Multiplier
  5. Mana and Mana Regeneration
  6. Chaos Resistances
Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - the most standard option. if you are looking to boost your damage, it's best to look for the affix that reduces the Lightning Resistance of nearby enemies or directly increases their Elemental Damage taken
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
70% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Nearby Enemies take #% increased Elemental Damage
Global Critical Strike Multiplier
Helmet enchantments:
40% increased Lightning Trap Damage
Lightning Trap Damage Penetrates 10% Lightning Resistance
Lightning Spire Trap strikes an additional area
Lightning Spire Trap deals 40% increased Damage
Sceptre(Weapon) Rare Sceptre - you can use a Rune Dagger, but the easiest way to get stats such as Lightning Damage, Spell Damage, and Critical Strike mods is to look for a Sceptre or Wand.
Min. requirements:
60% increased Spell/Lightning/Elemental Damage
Optional affixes:
+1 to level of all Lightning Spell Skill Gems
Global Critical Strike Multiplier
added Lightning Damage to Spells
Tinkerskin(Body Armour) Tinkerskin - It's probably the best Body Armour one can get for such a build, it grants a lot of benefits when a Trap is triggered by an enemy. It also grants a lot of Life, Evasion Rating, and Energy Shield. Requires 103 Dex which is the highest requirement for this build.
(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
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - seek a lot of Elemental Resistances, Maximum Life, and Movement Speed, the other optional mods are really expensive so don't put too much thought into them
Min. requirements:
25% Movement Speed
60 maximum Life
60% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill
chance to gain Elusive on Critical Strike
you have Tailwind if you have dealt a Critical Strike Recently
Rare Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - Generic mods such as Elemental Resistances and Maximum Life are again of most importance. Later in the game, you can try to look for a pair influenced by the Shaper, there is a possibility to roll a mod that will act as a fifth Support Gem for your secondary Trap Skill.
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
70% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Trap Damage
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level # Trap And Mine Damage
increased Trap Throwing Speed
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level # Advanced Traps
Critical Strike Chance
Culling Strike
reduced Attribute Requirements
Rare Belt (Belt) Rare Belt - Belts usually doesn't offer much besides Maximum Life and Elemental REsistances so you probably should look for that, additionally, you can craft increased Damage
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
60% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Damage
Chaos Resistance
maximum Life %
Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - Don't spend too much currency on it, if you want to invest more in this build you'll have to switch to an ES version with uses a different Unique Amulet. The stats that count here are Maximum Life, Elemental Resistances, and some Attributes
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
60% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Spell Damage
increased Mana Regeneration Rate
increased Global Critical Strike Chance
Global Critical Strike Multiplier
Recommended Anointments:
Heart of Thunder
Ring(Ring) Rare Ring - once again - look for Life and Resistances, Rings offer a unique mod that will Curse enemies on Hit - the Curse that'd benefit you the most is Conductivity, but Elemental Weakness is fine as well
Min. requirements:
60 to Maximum Life
60% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Curse Enemies with Conductivity on Hit
increased Lightning Damage
increased Area of Effect
Strength or Intelligence
Critical Strike Chance or Multiplier
Malachai's Artifice(Ring) Malachai's Artifice - by socketing Summon Ice Golem in this Ring, it will not only grant its' base bonuses but also trigger Elemental Equilibrium on Hits which will boost your Lightning Damage significantly
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
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - Jewels offers a wide variety of stats, the ones you're looking for are common in Veridian or Cobalt Jewels. Having a 7% increased Maximum Life is one of the best mods, but you can also seek some Spell Damage in there.
Recommended affixes:
increased Critical Strike Chance or Multiplier
increased Maximum Life
increased Area Damage
Elemental Resistances
watcher's eye(Jewel) Watcher's Eye - a high-end expensive Jewel, you can find a lot of mods that increase the effectiveness of Auras, the ones you're interested in are Wrath and maybe Clarity
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>
Hair Trigger(Jewel) Hair Trigger - particularly useful when combined with Tinkerskin - trap triggered by an enemy will grant you Life, ES, Frenzy Charge, and Phasing
(15-25)% increased Trap Damage
(40-60)% increased Trap Trigger Area of Effect
Atziri's Promise(Flask) Atziri's Promise - a small damage boost that also offers some Chaos Resistance and Life Leech
+35% to Chaos Resistance
2% of Chaos Damage Leeched as Life during Flask effect
Gain (15-20)% of Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
Gain (10-15)% of Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
The Wise Oak(Flask) The Wise Oak - you can use this Flask to increase your Lightning Damage by adjusting your Elemental Resistances
+35% to all Elemental Resistances
During Flask Effect, 10% reduced Damage taken of each Element for which your Uncapped Elemental Resistance is lowest
During Flask Effect, Damage Penetrates (10-15)% Resistance of each Element for which your Uncapped Elemental Resistance is highest

Other suggested Flasks:

  1. Experimenter's Quartz Flask with Bleeding immunity/removal
  2. Experimenter's Diamond Flask with random ailment removal
  3. Bubbling Divine Life Flask with random ailment removal
  4. Experimenter's Quicksilver Flask with random ailment removal
Quicksilver FlaskDiamond FlaskAtziri's PromiseQuartz 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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