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The Best Starter Builds for the Heist League and Patch 3.12

The Best Starter Builds for the Heist League and Patch 3.12

Our top PoE Builds recommendations for the Heist League and Patch 3.12

The Best Starter Builds for the Heist League and Patch 3.12


Heist League has already been announced and we are getting more and more information about the upcoming content updates as well. It seems like the base game will receive major updates with tons of new Item and Skill Gem options which appears to be (in our opinion) the most interesting part of the upcoming Patch 3.12. As usual, we are receiving a lot of new Items (both Uniques and new Item bases), Skills, and balancing changes, however, what appears to be most interesting, are Replica Unique Items and Alternative Quality versions of Skill Gems.  Replica Uniques are alternative versions of existing Uniques, which offer different affixes, like for example the iconic Helmet Abyssus for Melee Physical DPS characters, now can add tons of flat Elemental Damage instead, making it a perfect item for a completely different spectrum of builds. On the other hand, Alternative Quality Skill Gems also offer different bonuses, and in some cases, those can be build-defining differences. So for sure, we will be seeing a TON of new build options and interesting variations of popular already existing ones. 

The full Patch Notes weren't released yet, so our list may not be fully accurate, but it consists of Starter builds that are the Top Tier in their game. Even if they would receive some nerfs (which is not expected) you wouldn't need to worry about the builds performing properly. And even then, we would update our guides accordingly. As usual, we are listing builds that are both cheap and easy to level up, but, at the same time, offer an easy transition to end-game without excessive investments in gear. All of the following builds can take on any Boss in the game while allowing you to easily start Mapping on basically no expensive gear at all. 

PLEASE NOTE: The following list is based on our team's overall experience from previous Patches and currently available data about Patch 3.12 and the Heist League. We will be updating our guides as soon as possible. 


#1 Occultist
Creeping Frost/Cold Snap Occultist (3.12 READY) - Creeping Frost is one of the most underrated skills in the Path of Exile. It deals solid AoE Cold Damage over Time and offers millions of realistic DPS with literally no expensive equipment. It allows efficient Map farming without any specific Uniques and with slightly Currency invested into your build, you will be able to efficiently farm Tier 15 and 16 Maps as well. Our Starter version is a hybrid build that utilizes both Life and Energy Shield, which is the easiest way to reach a satisfactory level of effective Life. Combined with Glancing Blows and Shields, you will also have a very high Chance to Block Spells and Attacks, allowing you to stay alive most of the time.
#2 Trickster
Essence Drain Trickster (3.12 READY) - Essence Drain is a Top Tier Starter Spell. It offers simply insane clear speed allowing you to instantly take down enemies on your screen and beyond. It's one of the fastest Spell for leveling your character, which has most of its' damage coming from Skill Gems and Passives, letting you progress without having to worry about obtaining specific Uniques or crafting expensive Rares. This build utilizes Contagion which allows you to quickly spread your Essence Drain debuff to additional groups of enemies, and Bane will help you apply your Curse and deal additional damage against Bosses. This build also utilizes Eldritch Battery from the Devouring Diadem Helmet which makes you spend Energy Shield instead of Mana to use abilities. This lets you use Mind over Matter Passive and Reserve 100% of your Mana for Auras as you have enough Energy Sheild Recovery as a Trickster character 
#3 Necromancer
Volatile Dead Spellslinger Necromancer (3.12 READY) - this Necromancer build wasn't primarily built as a "Starter", however, Spellslinger appears to offer one of the best leveling mechanics in the game. You will be filling up your screen with Volatile Dead's fireballs and killing enemies in no time. VD Spellslinger was the most popular build in Patch 3.11 and there are no expected nerfs to it, so you bet on it to be one of the top Starter builds during Patch 3.12 and the Heist League as well. This build is perfect for taking down big packs of enemies quickly, and if you get all the end-game equipment, you should be able to take down any Boss in the game. It's not going to dish out as much single-target damage as other builds, but you can be sure it will get the job done
#4 Saboteur
Blazing Salvo Miner Saboteur (3.12 READY) - Blazing Salvo is the most interesting Active Skill Gem that's getting introduced in Patch 3.12 (except for the Utility Skills like Void Sphere, but sadly with a high cooldown, those most likely aren't going to be primary Spells for any upcoming builds). The Skill itself resembles Pyroclast Mine, but it sounds like it will be much more rewarding if positioned correctly, and both the single-target damage and AoE coverage much more consistent overall. It's one of the first builds we are going to test out in the upcoming League, and we are looking forward to how Blazing Salvo's interaction with Flame Wall is going to end up working in practice. We are planning on making this a standard Life/Dodge/Evasion build with high Life Regeneration, as Low-Life will surely require you to obtain Shavronne's and Chayula's Presence to work properly. 
#5 Hierophant
Ball Lightning Archmage Hierophant build (3.12 READY - regular build and Life/Starter build included) - Ball Lightning combined with Archmage Support is one of the deadliest Spells you can use for self-casting. It offers amazing clear speed, and with slowly moving projectiles that can zap the same enemy several times, it also melts Bosses with proper investment in gear. Currently, we have the 3.11 version listed which is updated for Patch 3.11. The end-game version is a Low-Life build which utilizes the Ivory Tower which will cause Chaos Damage to be taken from Mana instead of Life, allowing you to Reserve Life for additional Auras using Blood Magic, and offer a massive defensive bonus. In the upcoming days, we will make an update for Patch 3.12 and add Life variation based on random Rares and cheap Uniques. 
#6 Necromancer
Raise Spectre Necromancer Build (3.12 READY) - Spectre Necromancer is the most popular Minion build in Path of Exile. It offers amazing damage output with great clear speed and a lot of flexibility. Our base/Stater build uses Slave Driver Spectres, which are recommended for new Leagues and beginners, but the following guide also displays an alternative build option for more advanced players (and higher budgets) based on the Redemption Sentries, which are Ranged/Attack Spectres that use extremely powerful Cold Bow Abilities, offering greatly increased damage against Bosses and simply melting high Tier Maps
#7 Pathfinder
Toxic Rain Pathfinder Starter build (3.12 READY) - Toxic Rain Pathfinder is one of our top recommendations for a League Starter build if you want to play a Ranger. Toxic Rain creates multiple spores that leave poisonous clouds when they explode, dealing stacking Chaos Damage over Time. Combined with high Attack Speed, you end up with really good area coverage and single-target damage from overlapping DoTs without any equipment needed. Pathfinder is a very well rounded Ascendancy Class for this build which offers high DPS bonuses to Chaos Attacks, extra Attack, and Movement Speed, and what's the most important, 100% uptime on your Flasks which offer amazing Utility bonuses.
#8 Chieftain
Blade Vortex Chieftain Build (3.12 READY) - Blade Vortex can reach some insane DPS numbers even on a budget, and with Chieftain class, you can expect to have a very high Life pool, Armour Rating, and Life Leech, making the gameplay very smooth and stress-free. This is a full Fire Damage conversion build with great clear speed and strong single-target damage. Eventually, when you get the recommended Bow and Devouring Diadem, this build can melt all content in the game. At the same time, Intensify Support which is one of the core Support Gems used in this build is getting reworked this Patch. The intention is to make it quicker in gaining Intensity stacks, and possibly how much bonus damage it gets us. We will see about that soon..

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If you have any suggestions about other interesting or solid Starter Builds for the Heist League, or you would like us to make a different build - for example, based on one of the newly introduced Skill Gems, let us know in the comments below! We always appreciate as well constructive criticism as it helps us improve our content!

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

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