If you’ve been playing Path of Exile this league, you’ll be very aware of Elemental Hit. They released two new threshold jewels for the build that took it from ‘barely playable’ to ‘the most overpowered build under the sun’. I myself have given into the hype and tried out the different variants of Elemental Hit.
Across the board, my biggest takeaway is quite simple: Elemental Hit is broken beyond belief. While you can sink a ton of currency into the character, you certainly don’t have to. It’s an incredibly strong build with several variations, which I will go over in hopes that you too can appreciate the wonder that is Elemental Hit!
If you’ve looked into Path of Exile’s scaling you’ll understand that spells scale off of gem level, while attacks scale off of your weapon’s stats. Basically, spells give flat bonus damage per level which is scaled by your gear, while attacks scale your weapon’s base damage. Elemental Hit, even though it acts like an attack, scales like a spell. This in itself isn’t inherently broken, but the way that they scale it is.
Elemental Hit scales triple what every spell does. The whole gimmick with Elemental Hit is that it has all three elements built into it (and scaling from levels), then chooses one of the elements at random when you use it, dealing no damage of the other types. However, the new jewels that they introduced say “Elemental Hit cannot choose X element,” with one for each element.
All this damage is belong to you. Seriously though, all three of those lines of damage can be applied to a single cast. Screenshot by EsportsEdition.
Here’s where it gets a bit confusing, and the reason it’s so broken. When Elemental Hit ‘chooses’ an element, the other two elements’ stats are not removed, it’s just that the attack itself deals 0 damage from the other types. This is an important distinction, because this build revolves around using two of the jewels to force Elemental Hit to always choose Fire, and then converting all of the other damage from the other elements to Fire damage. This works, and means that Elemental Hit is essentially scaling as a spell with tripled values, for the cost of a few uniques.
Before we get too far into the guide, there are a few uniques you will want to purchase regardless of what variant you are going. The first two are the threshold jewels that I mentioned. You’ll want to pick up a Combat Focus Crimson Jewel to prevent Cold from being chosen, and a Combat Focus Viridian Jewel to prevent Lightning from being chosen. These two jewels are entirely essential to the build, as without them we’d be doing zero damage for two thirds of our attacks.
The next is Call of the Brotherhood. This ring converts 40% of your Lightning damage to Cold damage. The last is one of several uniques, but the cheapest by far is the Pyre ring, which then takes that massive Cold damage and converts 40% of it to Fire (including the converted Lightning). These two rings pair with Avatar of Fire to convert 81% of your Lightning and 90% of your Cold damage to Fire, all applied in a single hit on top of the Fire damage already there.
Luckily the items – except amulet – are the same, regardless of which class you choose. The decision in items comes from the items themselves, so it’s entirely personal choice. For your Boots, Belt and Gloves, just get whatever fits. Honestly, anything works in any of these slots, as long as you’ve got your resistances covered. You’ll probably want a bunch of flat life as well, just like any other build.
My baby. Image via Esports Edition.
The other slots are a bit more confusing, and largely come down to whether you want to use one or two bows. If you’re like me and don’t mind weapon swapping between single target and AoE, use two bows. It’ll result in higher damage and higher life totals at the cost of a bit of clunkiness and some money. If you decide to go this route, I strongly suggest a +3 to gems bow as your AoE setup, and a Chin Sol as your single target setup. If you do this you’ll probably want to wear a Kaom’s Heart if your build can support the strength requirement. It gives life and damage, everything we need.
If you decide to go with just one bow, you have two more options. First, you can do the normal route and just use a 6L body armour as your second damage setup- probably Queen of the Forest or Loreweave.
Your last option is a bit odd, but lets you do some interesting setups. Instead of using two bows or a 6L body, you can use Frostferno. It gives +2 to Fire and Cold gems, and Elemental Hit counts as all elements, so it gets +4 to level, which is its main source of damage. Frostferno also has level 30 Cold to Fire built in, so if you go this route you’d probably put your single target in your Frostferno, put a Cold to Fire gem into your AoE setup, and remove your Pyre ring in favor of a ring with much higher stats. This particular variant is very popular right now, as most people strongly dislike swapping bows. If you go the single bow strategy, I would recommend Chin Sol as a cheap and incredibly strong bow.
This build was originally pioneered on Deadeye, and it’s fairly obvious why. Not only does Deadeye have easy access to all the critical and projectile scaling nodes, it also has built in Chain and, of course, Tailwind. This variant will make you go fast and explode packs easily, especially if you choose to purchase a Rigwalds Quills or a corrupt bow with an extra Chain. Seeing all the enemies get exploded by honing chaining missiles is very satisfying. There are three different trees on how to build this variant based on which (rather expensive) items you have, so here’s the guide that outlines each of them and provides trees for each.
This build isn’t really a surprise to anyone, it essentially does the same that Kinetic Blast Deadeye does, it just has more damage and causes you to become a bit slower. This variant will easily carry you through most content without a second thought. The only downside is that it’s quite squishy. My Deadeye had around 5.5k life at level 89 with a Kaom’s Heart on, and all jewels aimed at pure life. More than enough for any reasonable build, but Elemental Hit has something going for it which we’ll discuss next.
This variant is what I prefer, by far. This makes use of that little something that Elemental Hit has, which is a buttload of damage without any need for proper scaling. This tree focuses entirely on life and leech, allowing you to easily break 7-8k life, while leeching 80% of your life per second, making you nearly immortal against most enemies. Since Elemental Hit’s damage is just so high anyway, you’ll still have 60-75% of the Deadeye’s damage without any real investment, and your survivability goes through the roof. The only real downside of this build is that it’s significantly slower than the Deadeye variant.
The intricacies of this build are a bit interesting as well. Your ascendancies will be Slayer, starting from the Duelist position, and Pathfinder. Slayer is very important for the Overleech. This means that our leech effects don’t turn off when we’re at full life, which means that, if we get hit hard in between packs, we’ll still snap back up to full even if we’ve been stunned or didn’t react in time. This is only made better by Vaal Pact, Vitality Void, and Hematophagy. All increase the amount you can leech considerably, to the point where you’re getting around 60% of your life per second.
The last bit of leech pushing up into the 80% threshold is something that I consider extremely interesting. The build runs Blood Rage at all times– The damage is offset by our Overleech, don’t worry. It also runs Cast When Damage Taken and Immortal Call, which means when we take a big hit we become immune to all physical damage for a short period.
Lastly, we make sure that our Major Pantheon is Soul of Arakaali with Arachnoxia captured. This Pantheon gives us 50% increased life recovery rate (including leech) whenever we’ve stopped taking damage over time recently. Damage over time like Blood Rage. Which is physical damage, so it stops for a second every time Immortal Call procs. That’s right, taking a big hit means our leech goes up exponentially for four seconds, making us tankier than ever when we need it most.
The Pantheon you need for the Immortal Call proccing extra leech setup. Image via Esports Edition.
I love this variant and I’m currently pushing it to 100 (level 99 right now!) Because it paths right beside Avatar of Fire anyway, we grab it on the tree and use Yoke of Suffering for more damage and resists. You can replace this with Biscos if you don’t mind the survivability loss.
The other particularly important nodes on the tree are the Pierce nodes on the right side. Our build doesn’t have any inherent way to get through a pack, so either use Rigwalds Quills or grab those nodes. We also use Resolute Technique so that we can get around the fact that we don’t scale crit, and turn it into a benefit. And then grab a whole buttload of life nodes. At level 99 my build is currently sitting at 8835 life, which was slightly over 9000 before I started testing out Red Dream. We also use Phase Acrobatics, a Basalt Flask, a Wise Oak, and another defensive flask of your choice.
Unless you’re getting hit by detonate dead on Abaxxoth’s corpse (which by the way happened to me last night, I’m a little salty still), not much is going to kill you. So get out there, blow stuff up, and enjoy the brokenness of Elemental Hit before it probably gets nerfed next league!