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Exploding Arrow Amazon Guide

Exploding Arrow

Introduction

The Exploding Arrow Amazon, also known as Fire Bowazon, is the Fire counterpart to the Freezing Arrow Amazon. While she turns monsters into ice cubes, this build uses explosions and burning ground to melt the demons from Hell!
The combination of Exploding Arrow / Immolation Arrow and Pierce create a chain of explosions when hitting large clusters of enemies, turning them to a pile of ashes!
The Fire Bowazon becomes much more versatile with the addition of Flame Rift in Patch 2.5. This charm opens up many farming spots, including most areas that can become a Terror Zone.
While the offense of the Fire Bowazon is fairly strong, this comes at the cost of your survivability. You see this general theme in Bow-builds. They have a hard time capping their Resistances. So her ability to dodge, avoid, and evade really shine! More than 50% of incoming attacks are completely avoided!
Note: The Item-stat +x to xx Fire Damage drastically increases the explosion damage of exploding arrow and immolation arrow.

Ideal Standard Setup

Exploding Arrow

Immolation Arrow

Evade

Pierce

This build guide assumes you have a Character at Level 75 before transitioning to it. It follows the progression of our Amazon Leveling Guide and our General Leveling Strategies to reach Level 75.

Explosions Galore ✔
Great Area Damage ✔
Fast Paced Playstyle ✔

Only 2 Buttons Required ✔
Rewards Excellent Gameplay ✔

❌ Heavy Mana Cost
❌ Low Player Count Only
❌ Very Hard To Resist-Cap
❌ Expensive High End Gear
❌ Bad Single Target Damage


Sunder Charm Setup

Patch 2.5 introduces a new way of breaking Immunities: Sunder Charms. Any enemy that would be Immune to your damage type is insted reduced to 95% Resistance, before any other Resistance reductions apply. (e.g. Conviction, Lower Resist) The Charm also reduces YOUR Resistance against the sundered damage type! Check out our post on Sunder Charms to learn more about these new Charms. The following setup uses Flame Rift, allowing you to farm anywhere you want.

Sunder Charm Setup

Gear Changes

To optimize this Sunder Charm we need as much -% Enemy Fire Resistance as possible. Equip an Armor with 4 Rainbow Facets, and a Helmet with 4 Rainbow Facets to maximize the damage output. Faith Matriarchal Bow outperforms Phoenix Matriarchal Bow, and Hand of Justice Matriarchal Bow, so stick with it!

As stated in the Introduction, it is extremely difficult to cap your Resistances. With Flame Rift this problem becomes even worse. We ignore our Resistances on Softcore Characters and rely on Dodging. Check out our Hardcore variant below for Resistance-Solutions.


Terror Zones

The new Terror Zone mechanic combined with Sunder Charms open up a wide range of farmable areas. The following list highlights the best and worst Terror Zones for this build on the Starter setup. With the Sunder Charm Setup, more Terror Zones become accessible. Learn more about Terror Zones here and see how they stack up in our Terror Zone Tier List.

Best

Stony Tomb - High Density, No Immunities, Many Elite Groups
The Secret Cow Level - High Density, No Immunities,
Tal Rasha's Tombs - High Density, SKIP Tombs with Burning Dead
Flayer Jungle + Flayer Dungeon - High Density, SKIP Shamans
Frigid Highlands - Quick Access, Only kill Eldritch the Rectifier

Worst

Chaos Sanctuary - Immunities, Tanky enemies
River of Flame + City of the Damned - Immunities, Tanky enemies, Trash Mobility
Act 2 Sewers - Immunities
Travincal - Immunities, High Elemental Damage
Arcane Sanctuary - Immunities, Trash Mobility


Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Dodge (More Later)
2. Avoid (More Later)
3. Evade (More Later)

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Exploding Arrow
2. Fire Arrow
3. Immolation Arrow
4. Pierce (You need it at Skill Level 9 for 100% Chance to Pierce!
5. Penetrate

Optionally put 1 Skill Point into:
1. Valkyrie

After maxing out the listed Skills, distribute any remaining Skill Points evenly between Dodge, Avoid, and Evade.

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Damage

Exploding Arrow* is your main Damage Skill. On impact, the arrow explodes and deals Fire Damage in an area around the target. Up to 5 explosions can be caused by a single shot, if the concurrent hit-checks are successful AND you successfully pierce each target. Note that item stat +x to xx Fire Damage increase the power of the explosions!

Immolation Arrow* is your secondary Damage Skill. On impact, the arrow explodes and deals Fire Damage in an area around the target. A circle of Fire is created for 4 seconds at the impact location. Up to 5 explosions and circles of Fire can be caused by a single shot, if the concurrent hit-checks are successful AND you successfully pierce each target. Use this whenever it's off Cooldown. Note that item stat +x to xx Fire Damage increase the power of the explosions!

* Increased Attack Speed Skills (IAS)

Utility

Penetrate* adds a large amount of Attack Rating to the Character, increasing the Chance to Hit enemies. This is extremely important for this build, as it increases our chance to cause multiple explosions with Exploding Arrow, and immolation arrow.

Pierce* is a very important Skill for this build. It allows your Projectile (Arrows/Javelins) to pass through your enemies allowing you to not only deal damage to your first impacted target, but also the ones behind them.

Dodge* / Avoid* / Evade* passively grant you a chance to dodge enemy attacks in the situations mentioned in the Skill. A dodged attack is negated completely.

Decoy* spawns a duplicate of yourself on the area you target drawing the enemy's attention to it.

Valkyrie* can be used like a Decoy but she acts similar to a Mercenary as it follows you and attacks monsters.

* Increased Attack Speed Skills (IAS)
* Faster Cast Rate Skills (FCR)
* Skills that do NOT utilize either FCR or IAS


Attributes

Note: This section provides you with the standard Stat Point allocation. Build Variants can require a different allocation!

Strength

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength to equip all of your gear. Take into account how much Strength your gear provides when equipped.

Dexterity

Allocate enough Stat Points into Dexterity to equip all of your gear. Take into account how much Dexterity your gear provides when equipped.

Vitality

Allocate any remaining Stat Points into Vitality after meeting Strength, Dexterity and Energy requirements.

Energy

Allocate an appropriate amount of Stat Points into Energy for your Mana costs. You don't gain much Mana from your gear, and your Skills require a lot of Mana.


Essentials

Gear Options

While every Stat in the Desirable Stats column is useful for this build, we highlighted the Priority Stats in Teal so you can easily identify the Most Important Stats on them.

Hover over any Item to see a pop-out with the full Item description.

Gear/Base Notes: Any Items with specialized or niche uses have a superscript that refers here.
1) Only use a Matriarchal Bow as a base. We need its Weapon Speed Modifier to reach the faster attack speed possible!

SlotItem OptionsDesirable Stats
WeaponFaith Matriarchal Bow1
Hand of Justice Matriarchal Bow1
Phoenix Matriarchal Bow1
Mist Matriarchal Bow1
Lycander's Aim
Melody Ashwood Bow
Level 15 Fanaticism Aura When Equipped
+x to All Skills
+x to Bow and Crossbow Skills [Class Only]

+x to Amazon Skills
+x% Increased Attack Speed
Adds x to X Fire Damage
-x% to Enemy Fire Resistance
All Resistances +x
Off-HandArrows
Weapon-SwapCall to Arms Crystal Sword
Bone Wand of Lower Resistance
Harmony Hunter's Bow
Level 10 Vigor Aura When Equipped
+x to All Skills
+x to battlecommand
+x to battleorders
+x to battlecry

Level x Lower Resist (xx/xx Charges)
Off-Hand-SwapLidless Wall+x to All Skills
HelmetsJeweler's Diadem of Speed (3 Rainbow Facets)
Artisan's Crown of the Mammoth (3 Rainbow Facets)
Flickering Flame
Wisdom
Harlequin Crest
Crown of Ages
Andariel's Visage
Kira's Guardian
Peasant Crown
Lore
Level 8 Resist Fire Aura When Equipped
+x to All Skills
+x% Faster Run/Walk
+x% Increased Attack Speed
Piercing Attack
Adds x to X Fire Damage
-x% to Enemy Fire Resistance
+x% to Fire Skill Damage

+x Life
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
Cannot Be Frozen
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Sockets (3)
Body ArmorJeweler's Body Armor of the Whale (4 Rainbow Facets)
Chains of Honor
Enigma
Peace
Treachery
Twitchthroe
Duriel's Shell
+x to All Skills
+x% Faster Run/Walk
+x% Increased Attack Speed
Adds x to X Fire Damage
-x% to Enemy Fire Resistance
+x% to Fire Skill Damage

+x Life
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
Cannot Be Frozen
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
GlovesArcher's Gloves of Alacrity
Rare Gloves
Lava Gout
Death's Hand (2-Piece Set)
+x to Bow and Crossbow Skills [Class Only]
+x% Increased Attack Speed
Adds x to X Fire Damage
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
BeltsRazortail
Goldwrap Battle Belt (Upgraded)
Death's Guard Demonhide Sash (2-Piece Set, Upgraded)
+x% Increased Attack Speed
Piercing Attack
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
Cannot Be Frozen
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
BootsCow King's Hooves
Rare Boots
Natalya's Soul
Aldur's Advance
+x% Faster Run/Walk
Adds x to X Fire Damage

X Resist +x%
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
AmuletsRare Amulet
The Rising Sun
Mara's Kaleidoscope
Highlord's Wrath
Blood Crafted Amulet
Angelic Wings (2-Piece Set)
+x to All Skills
+x to Amazon Skills

+x% Increased Attack Speed
+x to Attack Rating
Adds x to X Fire Damage
+x to all Attributes
+x Life
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
RingsRaven Frost
The Stone of Jordan
Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band
Rare Ring
Angelic Halo (2-Piece Set)
+x to All Skills
+x to Attack Rating
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
Cannot Be Frozen
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
CharmsGrand Charm
Large Charm
Small Charm
+x to Bow and Crossbow Skills [Amazon Only]
+x% Faster Run / Walk

+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x to Maximum Damage
+x to Attack Rating
+x to Attribute
+ Life
X Resist +x%
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Unique CharmsFlame Rift
Gheed's Fortune
Hellfiretorch (Amazon)
Annihilus
Monster Fire Immunity is Sundered
+x to Amazon Skill Levels

+x to all Attributes
All Resistances +x
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Reduces all Vendor Prices x%

Farming Spots

The areas below are efficient farming locations that make use of the build’s strengths. Other farming spots might not be as effective due to Immunities or bad layouts. These areas are strong without a Sunder Charm.

Anything that has a in the "Starter" column can be farmed with the Starter Variant.

Act 1

AreaStarterRewards
Andariel-Uniques
Sets
Jewelry
The Secret Cow LevelRunes
Runeword Bases
Charms / Gems / Jewels

Act 2

AreaStarterRewards
Stony TombAll Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling

Act 5

AreaStarterRewards
Eldritch the RectifierGearing
Gold
Leveling
Shenk the OverseerGearing
Gold
Leveling
Pindleskin-Gearing
Gold
Leveling
Worldstone Keep / Throne of Destruction-All Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Baal / Waves-Uniques
Sets
Max Area Level
Leveling

Mercenary

Your Mercenary serves an incredibly important role to the overall success of your build. They can be a front line tank, provide a pivotal Aura, and/or deal Physical Damage to kill enemies with Immunity to your Skill set.

Act 2 Desert Mercenary

The Act 2 Desert Mercenary is hired from Greiz. He can be equipped with a Spear or a Polearm, a Body Armor and a Helmet. 
Every Act 2 Mercenary has access to an Aura and uses Jab as his base Attack. The Aura activates once the Mercenary has engaged in combat and remains active between traveling to and from town. The Auras available are based on what difficulty you hire the Mercenary from.

Holy Freeze Infinity

Infinity, Holy Freeze

Use a Desert Mercenary with Holy Freeze Aura for its powerful Crowd Control. A Mercenary with Might Aura isn’t used, since we don’t rely on his damage or benefit from the Physical Damage increase.
Equip him with Infinity to reduce enemy Resistances and Defense with Conviction Aura, drastically boosting damage. This Aura is also capable of breaking some Immunities.

Gear Progression

Early-GameMid-GameEnd-Game
Insight
(any Polearm)
Insight
(Elite Polearm)
Infinity Giant Thresher
Smoke
(Any Body Armor)
Treachery
(Any Body Armor)
Fortitude
(Body Armor, 700++ Base Defense)
Any Helmet
with Resistance / Life
Tal Rasha's Horadric CrestAndariel’s Visage
(Ethereal)

The Mercenary is hard to keep alive until you have the minimum gear recommended in this guide. Remember you can drag Healing Potions onto the portrait, or shift + 1/2/3/4 to directly feed them a Healing Potion from your Belt. The Mercenary also gains bonus Resistances from Thawing Potions and Antidote Potions.

If your Mercenary dies in battle, you can revive them from any of the Mercenary NPCs in each Act. This does come with an increasing cost, capping at 50,000 Gold. Keep that in mind and decide if the Mercenary is currently worth the cost.

Playstyle

General

  • If you have gained the optional Skill Point, cast Valkyrie at the start of each farming session.
  • Run to your farming location. Yes, running is the only mobility you have got.
  • Pull together clumps of monsters before attacking them to maximize your attack's explosion potential. Place a Valkyrie near the pack and use Immolation Arrow first. Followup with Exploding Arrow during the Skill's cooldown. Get into a rhythm of 1 Immolation Arrow - 2 Exploding Arrows - 1 Immolation Arrow - etc. for optimal damage output.
  • Keep a close eye on your Mercenary! He needs some major babysitting until he is equipped with his end-game gear. His insight makes managing your Mana a lot easier!

Immunities

  • Avoid farming areas with Immune to Fire monsters until you have access to infinity and / or Flame Rift.
  • Some Immune to Fire monsters can be broken with Bone Wand of Lower Resistance. This is expensive in the long run, but can help out in certain situations!
  • With Flame Rift and some -x% Enemy Fire Resistance items you begin to farm more quickly in high Immunity areas. Adding infinity lets you farm anywhere you want!

Late-Game

  • Start runs by buffing yourself with Battle Command 2 times and afterwards with Battle Orders from Call to Arms.
  • Target enemies close to your Mercenary when he is equipped with infinity. The Fire Bowazon is not equipped with a way to reposition him so we need play by his rules.

Breakpoints

Breakpoints in Diablo 2 are the minimum values required to reduce the frames of an action. Below are the important breakpoints considered for this build. For more information on the mechanics involved, check out our in-depth Resource: Breakpoints.

Increased Attack Speed (IAS)

Increased Attack Speed speeds up your attack animations. Weapon bases have different IAS breakpoints. Values for recommended weapon options provided below. Consult the d2planner for other bases.

Faith Matriarchal Bow

Frames987
Increased Attack Speed (with Fanaticism)81544

Matriarchal Bow

Frames1110987
Increased Attack Speed8224275142

Faster Hit Recovery (FHR)

Faster Hit Recovery is not required for survivability in this build, but early breakpoints can be utilized.

Frames11109876543
FHR061320325286174600

Hardcore

For all Hardcore gameplay, your primary focus is increasing your Resistances, Damage Reduction, Chance to Block and Maximum Life. This can mean sacrificing overall power level for a more secure playstyle.

This build can become Hardcore viable with key changes to the Skills, Stat Point allocation, and items. Review the changes below before building this character, as they may differ significantly from the normal build.

Stat Point Changes

  • Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength and Dexterity to equip all of your gear.
  • Put remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Skill Point Changes

  • Put 1 Skill Point into Decoy and valkyrie. Both can act as a tank / distraction to give you some breathing room.

Item Changes

Capping Resistances on Bow-builds is notoriously difficult. The Softcore setup abandons that concept entirely. To the Resistances you'll have to make drastic changes to the gear setup which result in more safety and significantly decreased damage output.

  • Equip Flickering Flame Diadem to cap your Fire Resistances. This Runeword also counteracts the negative effect of flame rift.
  • Switch out The Rising Sun for Mara's Kaleidoscope.
  • Rare Gloves with +2 to Bow and Crossbow Skills, +20% Increased Attack Speed and Resistances help to shore up the rest of your Resistances.
  • If that was not enough, replace The Stone of Jordan for a Rare Ring to get you additional Fire, Cold, and Lightning Resistances.
  • Even more survivability can come from our Inventory. Switch out Fletcher's Grand Charm of Inertia for Fletcher's Grand Charm of Vita to increase your Life-pool.

Build Variants

Starter

Setup

To kick the Fire Bowazon off, not much is needed. Aim for as many +x to Skills with as much +x% Increased Attack Speed as possible.
Equip a Lore, peace, and Meldoy for a total of +6 to 9 Skills. Shop for +20% Increased Attack Speed Gloves. With some luck, you can get some with +1-3 to Bow and Crossbow Skills as well.
Purchase Boots with +x% Faster Run/Walk and Resistances and a Belt with Life and Resistances. Fill up the Ring slots with Resistances as well. An Amulet with +1 to Amazon Skills is ideal, otherwise put even more Resistances on there.
Fill up your inventory with Charms that grant Resistances, Life, and Fire Damage.
To deal better with tanky enemies, put a Wand of Lower Resistance into your weapon-swap, you can shop it from Drognan in Act 2 Nightmare.

Mercenary

Your Mercenary helps you sustain your Mana with Insight. An Undead Crown, and smoke make him fairly durable.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Pierce
2. Dodge (More Later)
3. Avoid (More Later)
4. Evade (More Later)

Optionally put 1 Skill Point into:
1. Valkyrie

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Exploding Arrow
2. Fire Arrow
3. Immolation Arrow
4. Penetrate

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength and Dexterity to wear your gear. Put remaining points into Vitality.

Standard

Setup

The Standard setup stacks as much +x to Fire Damage and +x to Skills, while maintaining the highest Attack Speed possible. Faith Matriarchal Bow is the best Weapon choice by far. It provides +5 to Skills, +120 Fire Damage, and massive +x% Increased Attack Speed from Fanaticism. A Body Armor with 4, and a Helmet with 3 Rainbow Facets bring a massive damage boost from both +x Fire Damage and +x% Fire Skill Damage and -x% Enemy Fire Resistance. Razortail gets you to 100% Chance to pierce. A Raven Frost for Cannot Be Frozen, The Rising Sun and The Stone of Jordan for +x to Skills round out the build. Flame Rift allows you to farm anywhere you like.

Mercenary

We use an Holy Freeze to keep our enemies at a distance. Equip him with and Infinity Giant Thresher for the Conviction Aura. And Andariel's Visage with Ruby Jewel of Fervor combined with a Fortitude Sacred Armor make him almost invincible.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Dodge (More Later)
2. Avoid (More Later)
3. Evade (More Later)

Put 2 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Pierce (You need Skill Level 9 for 100% Chance to Pierce!

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Exploding Arrow
2. Fire Arrow
3. Immolation Arrow
4. Penetrate

Optionally put 1 Skill Point into:
1. Valkyrie

After maxing out the listed Skills, distribute any remaining Skill Points evenly between Dodge, Avoid, and Evade.

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength and Dexterity to wear your gear. Put 50 Stat Points into Energy and remaining points into Vitality.

Hardcore

Setup

The Hardcore variant aims to deal with the difficult task of maxing out Resistances while maintaining the highest damage output possible.
The ideal setup replaces The Rising Sun with Mara's Kaleidoscope, Archer's Gloves of Alacrity with Rare Gloves, Cow King's Hooves with Rare Boots, and Jeweler's Diadem of Speed with Flickering Flame Diadem to cap out Resistances. Flickering Flame Diadem also counteracts the effect of Flame Rift to farm any Area in the game.
Charms with Resistances and a Rare Ring instead of the stone of jordan are other options.
Switch out Fletcher's Grand Charm of Inertia for Fletcher's Grand Charm of Vita to gain a bigger Life-pool.

Mercenary

We use an Holy Freeze to keep our enemies at a distance. Equip him with and Infinity Giant Thresher for the Conviction Aura. And Andariel's Visage with Ruby Jewel of Fervor combined with a Fortitude Sacred Armor make him almost invincible.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Pierce
2. Dodge (More Later)
3. Avoid (More Later)
4. Evade (More Later)

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Exploding Arrow
2. Fire Arrow
3. Immolation Arrow
4. Penetrate

Optionally put 1 Skill Point into:
1. Valkyrie

After maxing out the listed Skills, distribute any remaining Skill Points evenly between Dodge, Avoid, and Evade.

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength and Dexterity to wear your gear. Put remaining points into Vitality.


Mechanics

Teleport

  • Teleport instantly moves you to a selected square on the visible screen in which you can stand. The game tries to to place you within a small radius around your cursor even if it would be impeded normally.
  • Teleport is not obstructed by walls or other impediments but can fail if your cursor is not completely passed those impediments when cast. Your Mercenary and Minions are teleported with you, Traps do not.
  • Certain Minions in large quantities can become “stuck” in position after teleporting. Move away from that position to give them the chance to spread out.
  • You can “extend” the visible screen by opening UI-windows like the Inventory or the Character screen. Continuously cast Teleport and drag your mouse to the edge of your screen.
  • The Mana cost of Teleport decreases with additional Skill Levels down to 1 Mana per cast.
  • You can use “ESC” to open the menu in single player to pause the game after a Teleport to determine if you are safe.

Summary

  • Equip as many +x to Skills and +x Fire Damage as possible to increase the explosion damage of Exploding Arrow and Immolation Arrow.
  • The Fire Bowazon is a pure glass-cannon, shoot your enemies from afar!
  • Keep your call to arms-buffs up at all times.
  • Use Valkyrie and Decoy to give yourself some breathing room. They'll distract your enemies for a bit if you chose to put points into them.
  • Keep your rythmn! Switch between your Skills in this cycle: Immolation Arrow - 2 Exploding Arrows - Immolation Arrow - 2 Exploding Arrows - etc...

The Fire Bowazon is extremely rewarding when executed well. Blowing up enemies from a distance feels great!

Good luck!


Credits

Written by Teo1904
Reviewed by MacroBioBoi

Changelog

Oct 7th 2022
Added in Patch 2.5