[Top 10] Path of Exile Best Builds for New Players

Path of Exile Best Builds for New Players, Path of Exile Best newbie Builds
Lioneye's Watch awaits you, exile.

If you're deciding to venture into Path of Exile, you might be having a hard time deciding where to begin.

Path of Exile is a fairly complex game, with a robust economy, item crafting, and intricate boss mechanics where one slip up can cost you your life, particularly if you are a hardcore player. Even so, the game is extremely fun to play and there are plenty of opportunities for new players to be integrated into the community.

These ten builds will help you make it to end game content without too much hassle, giving you a chance to experience the game and the fun for yourself. All builds on this list will be viable for hardcore and softcore, that way you can choose whichever you are more interested in. 

10. Arc

As you summon lightning in the palm of your hand and unleash it on your foes, you feel yourself grin at the raw power, finally understanding what it is everyone used to fear. 

Arc is an ability that has been in the game for an extremely long time. The ability is very simple, making it a good choice for new players; you simply cast the skill and your damage will hit the nearest enemy and chain to all others within a certain range. Typically, the build takes the Witch class with the Elementalist ascendancy, though there are other class variations, such as Shadow builds. Arc is very flexible and you can build life/mana or energy shield as your defense. It is common to use other skills alongside Arc to increase single target damage, as Arc is mostly meant for clear, and there are multiple different possibilities, such as Orb of Storms or Lightning Spire Trap.  

Why Arc is Great:

  • Simple in all senses of the word
  • Flexible in defense, compatible skills, and even class if you feel like mixing it up 
  • Easy to fund in terms of getting to end game content (i.e. maps) and will go fairly far with investment
  • Steady damage with good clear for zones, okay damage for bosses

Arc gameplay (guide and path of building in description). 

9. Totems

Call upon the Karui ancestors as you summon an Ancestral Warchief to do battle for you. None can stand up against this ancient power. 

There are many ways to run a totem build in Path of Exile;there is a spell totem support gem that allows spells to be cast from a totem, multiple skills that count as totems (i.e. Ballista), and then totem skills themselves. Of all these options, the most popular and viable build is Ancestral Warchief with the Chieftain Marauder ascendancy. For new players, the build is extremely safe and cost efficient, as Facebreakers are a cheap and standard item and totems will deal damage for you. Just place them down and let your totems go to work while you stay a safe distance away and replenish them as needed. Plus, with the right investment, you can get into the millions of DPS per totem with a potential of four being placed at a time. 

Why Totems are Great: 

  • Easy to play, just cast the totem spell and place them where you want while they do all the work 
  • Easy to fund
  • Very safe; totems take aggro and deal damage while you focus on surviving encounters, plus the Marauder class leans towards defenses to begin with
  • Great damage for bossing due to totem stacking
  • Flexibility in defensive or offensive priority 

Ancestral Warchief gameplay and guide. 

8. Mines 

As you lay down your mines, waiting for just the right moment to detonate and destroy your enemies, you can feel the jittery anticipation swirl its way through your body. 

Mines are great for any new player who is worried about being up close and personal with enemies. Not only will you get to stand far away, place a damage source on the ground, and detonate it from safety, but you also avoid any sort of damage reflection as damage comes from your mines not you personally. Mines also do an insane amount of damage and have a lot of options of all damage types. Anything can be turned into a mine; Ball Lightning, Toxic Rain, Split Arrow, and Glacial Cascade are a handful of the most popular choices. Regardless of what mine you take, you will always want to play as the Shadow with Saboteur as your ascendancy because no other class/ascendancy will have the same level of damage output and survivability for mine players. 

Why Mines are Great:

  • Safe gameplay; good defense, offence, distance from enemies, and if you happen to forget to check for reflect damage on maps or in boss fights, you won’t end up killing your own character on accident
  • Relatively simple gameplay; just place your mines and recast to detonate when ready, and picking up Skitterbots makes it even easier
  • Amazing single target and good clear damage due to mine radius and the ability to stack them 
  • Extremely fun and affordable, with quick leveling
  • Can run all content 

Glacial Cascade Mines gameplay and guide. 


Become a human blender as you spin your weapon through enemies, slicing them at their core without batting an eyelash while continuing your climb to the top, forever dreaming of a crowd cheering out your name. 

Cyclone is another long-time champion in Path of Exile and the current most popular version takes the ascendancy of the same name, Champion, and uses the Impale support gem. There are few builds that compare currently to Impale builds, though others are more mechanically complex than Cyclone. Cyclone typically uses the singular skill and is a movement based ability that slows your movement speed slightly as you spin around in a rapid circle damaging enemies you touch. The build is fairly simple to play, though accounting for the slower movement speed can sometimes be a bit tricky and might be difficult to get the hang of at first. That being said, the reduced movement speed does not decrease survivability, and the build will do plenty of damage, making it a good choice for any new player looking to try out a melee play style that is low risk. 

Why Cyclone is Great:

  • High defense; getting hit is not ideal but if you do you should survive most individual hits from enemies
  • Good clear and single-target damage
  • Simple to play, just press cyclone and turn into a human blender
  • Budget friendly

Impale Cyclone gameplay and guide. 

6. Lacerate

As you slice through the air or foe with your weapon, the power reverberating off of it cuts through your enemies as if a blade itself.

Lacerate is another melee build that has gone in and out of popularity and recently started being played again due to the popularity of bleed builds. Lacerate takes the Gladiator ascendancy for both the good defensive and bleed nodes. The build will become very tanky the farther you go with decent clear and single target damage to accompany it. Lacerate is another single-skill build where, for the most part, all that you have to worry about is casting Lacerate and not running out of mana while doing so. Overall, it is very comparable to Cyclone in terms of the ease of play and beat it by one spot solely for the higher mobility making it a little easier to dodge with as it feels more natural.

Why Lacerate is Great:

  • Good defensive stats, particularly block chance
  • Budget friendly early on with relatively affordable gear that will lead to completion of most end game content
  • A balance of single-target damage and clear speed
  • Good mobility from Leap Slam
  • Simple to play with few skills to manage

Lacerate gameplay and guide. 

5. Bladefall/Blade Blast

As blades fall from the sky on your opponent, you cast a detonate, exploding each and every one and decimating those who dare to stand before you. 

Bladefall/Blade Blast is a two-key ability that requires you to use the skills Bladefall and Blade Blast in quick succession. Bladefall causes a cascade of blades to fall from the sky surrounding enemies in the direction of your cursor and Blade Blast then detonates the blades that remain in the ground. The two-key nature of this build makes it a little more difficult for newer players than some of the other builds on this list due to the need to manage having blades on the ground and the slight pause that occurs on casting Blade Blast, but the high damage and good distance more than makes up for it. There are two versions of this build that are popular, Assassin and Chieftain, with Assassin leaning more towards damage and Chieftain towards defense. Chieftain is likely the better option for a beginner, as the bonus defense when compared to Assassin is significant and not much is lost in the way of damage. 

Why Bladefall/Blade Blast is Great: 

  • Safe to play due to distance between you and the enemy with massive defensive capability if you choose Chieftain
  •  High damage output
  • Very quick at clearing zones and killing bosses
  • Good scaling of the two abilities makes damage increases natural and consistent
  • Relatively easy to play 

Bladefall/Blade Blast gameplay and guide. 

4. Traps

Lay down your traps and watch from afar as unsuspecting enemies walk over them, triggering an onslaught of damage. 

Traps are very similar to mines, only you don’t have to detonate them a second time because they are automatically triggered when enemies walk over them. There are multiple options for traps, with the most popular being Arc Traps, which combines the Arc skill gem with a Trap support, for clear and Lightning Spire Trap for single-target damage. Traps are better than mines for newer players because of two main reasons; the first, you don’t have to worry about recasting your ability, and the second, there is no slight pause in movement during the recast. Other than these minor changes, the builds play very similarly and take the same Saboteur ascendancy. Nevertheless, these minor differences make for a huge increase in ease of gameplay, and the chain from Arc traps applying to traps adds a shocking amount of clear speed compared to most mine builds. 

Why Traps are Great:

  • Extremely easy to play
  • Great clear from Arc trap and good single target damage for bosses due to Lightning Spire; there are other ways to scale this if you choose another trap ability, all should have a good mix, or pair well with another skill
  • Can clear all content easily and effectively
  • Great defensively, with lots of options in terms of defensive stat of choice
  • Won’t take reflect damage and can focus on dodging while traps are set off by enemy movement


3. Essence Drain 

A ball of chaos bounces from your hands, dealing what at first appears to be a small amount of damage to foes. As their confidence grows, they fail to notice their very essence slowly draining away, accompanied by the sound of manic laughter. 

Aside from being one of the top played builds currently in Path of Exile, Essence Drain is simply a great skill, a fact which is even more true for beginner players. The innate defensive capabilities from the increase in regen based on damage dealt allows for an insane amount of innate survivability, not to mention how this pairs with other defensive options. The Trickster ascendancy nodes offer insane boosts to damage alongside significant defensive bonuses. While Essence Drain does struggle some with boss damage, this is easily off-put by running another skill in tangent with it, such as Blight or Contagion, or by increasing your investment in gear (if you have the money of course). Quite frankly, there isn’t much more a person could ask for as a player other than a build that favors staying alive and still does good damage to boot. 

Why Essence Drain is Great:

  • Easy clear for zones 
  • More damage = greater chance to live
  • Phenomenal survivability between increased regen, block chance, energy shield, energy shield regen, etc. 
  • Extremely easy to play due primarily to the survivability; as long as you are doing damage and have put in defensive nodes on your skill tree you can tank almost anything
  • The heavy focus on damage over time gives you an opportunity to kite bosses around to help improve your understanding of mechanics and ability to dodge

Essence Drain gameplay and guide. 

2. Toxic Rain

You shoot an arrow into the air, watching as it falls onto your enemies and blooms toxic pustules on the ground. As their bodies become increasingly affected, they try to reach you to retaliate, falling helplessly at your feet instead. 

Toxic Rain is easily one of the top played builds, with great damage and survivability options making it a true star in the Path of Exile scene. As far as ranged bow builds go, this one is at the tippy top of the food chain, and for good reason. Combining good on-hit damage with a chaos damage over time mark, and the damage over time pustules that remain on the ground to further damage enemies, Toxic Rain is easily one of the better skills for players of all experience levels. The ranged advantage keeps you far from your enemies grasp, and the Trickster ascendancy offers the same defensive bonuses as it does with Essence Drain, making Toxic Rain Trickster one of the tankiest bow builds. 

Why Toxic Rain is Great:

  • Distance from enemies makes dodging easier and reduces your chances of getting hit, especially with melee enemies
  • Good defensive capabilities, particularly for ranged bow builds
  • Insane damage with pretty low investment, and it can only go up the more you put into the build
  • Balanced in terms of defense, offense, single-target damage, and clear speed
  • Very easy to play, all you have to do is cast Toxic Rain

Toxic Rain gameplay and guide. 

1. Necromancer

You harness the darkness within yourself to become a master of the undead, raising an army that ravages through the land destroying all it comes in contact with. 

Necromancer is the cream of the crop, and while the name technically refers to the ascendancy, more often than not it is used to refer to minion based builds generally, as the ascendancy is almost exclusively used for them. There are many variations of minion builds to choose from, ranging from pure builds (one minion type) to hybrid builds (any combination of minion types). The most popular minion skill gems are Summon Spectres, Summon Zombie, and Carrion Golems. For all of these builds, you cast the skill to summon a minion that lasts until it is killed, and, once they are summoned, they require very little management, mostly doing their own thing. Necromancer as an ascendancy gives great buffs to yourself as the player in addition to your minions, which makes surviving and clearing content pretty easy. 

Why Necromancer is Great:

  • The build is very laid back and easy to play, all you need to do is summon your minions and they will do the work for you 
  • Necromancer offers great defensive bonuses for the player and minions, so along with minions taking some of the enemy aggro, you will be rather difficult to kill
  • Since minions do all of the work, like other builds, you can focus on dodging and learning the mechanics of various fights
  • Extremely affordable and easy to gear
  • Flexible and able to fit playstyle needs and preferences; you can prioritize damage or defense (minions scale well on their own) and choose the minion skill you enjoy most

Necromancer gameplay and guide.

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Born and raised in the mountains, I have dedicated my life to story-telling of vast and wide realms. I live to enjoy the worlds of others, through role-playing and video games.
Gamer Since: 2005
Favorite Genre: PVP
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