Learn about the key build info and how to increase damage and defense with your stats and gear for the Explosive Arrow Ballista Elementalist Build.
We scale Explosive Arrow's Ignite, which is a Fire Damage over Time Ailment.
Every arrow you hit an enemy with applies a Fuse, in this case we use Ballistas to apply them.
After the first Fuse hits an enemy, you have a certain duration to apply more of them with your Ballistas.
After that duration expires, all Fuses combine and scale into a big explosion, resulting in a huge Ignite at the end. This means that increases to attack speed are critically important to apply Fuses faster.
Ballistas, like any other form of Totems, scale with YOUR stats and are NOT considered "minions".
Here is a list of the damage mods you are looking for:
- Increased Attack Speed.
- Increases to Elemental/Fire/Burning/Totem Damage as well as "Damage over Time" in general.
- Fire Damage over Time Multiplier/Damage over Time Multiplier
- Added Damage on your Bow or Gear (All damage types Ignite, not just Fire)
- Additional Maximum Totems/Ballistas through Ancestral Bond, Panopticon, Watchtowers and Skirmish.
Key Build Infos
Elemental Equilibrium is essential to this build and can be confusing, so lets break it down:
While having Elemental Equilibrium(EE), whenever one of your ballistas hit an enemy, you give it a debuff called Exposure.
This Exposure can be up to three types: Cold, Lightning and/or Fire. Exposure debuffs the enemy with -25% to those Resistances. It also enables Mastermind of Discord for a total of -50% Resistances.
The type of Exposure you apply depends on the damage type(s) you did NOT deal! For example: If your Ballista hits an enemy with Lightning but NOT Cold or Fire, that enemy gets "Cold and Fire Exposure". This gets overwritten whenever an enemy gets hit again. Our goal is to apply Fire Exposure, since that increases the damage of our Ignites drastically.
How we get Fire Exposure? Explosive Arrow has three parts to it's damage:
- The initial hit that applies the Fuse (no Fire Damage unless you add it with gear).
- The explosion that consumes all Fuses (has a ton of inherent Fire Damage).
- The Ignite afterwards that is caused by the explosion (Fire Damage that does not count as a "hit").
If you scale NO ADDED FIRE DAMAGE anywhere on your gear and instead get a small amount of either Cold or Lightning Damage, you can make it so our initial Fuse deals no Fire Damage, therefore applying Fire Exposure. The explosion that consumes the fuses is going to apply Fire Damage, but since we have 6 Ballistas firing away at all times, it gets overwritten immediately by the next Fuse. The Ignite afterwards does not conflict with Elemental Equilibrium since it's a Damage over Time effect and is therefore technically not a hit.
Mistakes to Avoid
1) Getting Added Fire Damage on Gear
This disables your Exposure caused by Elemental Equilibrium (explained above).
Remember that with Shaper of Flames, all damage Ignites, not just Fire Damage. This means Cold and Lightning Damage do the same thing as added Fire Damage without disabling Exposure!
While "added Fire Damage" is bad, "increased Fire Damage" is completely fine and a great stat to have to increase your Ignite Damage!
2) Having a Source of Pierce/Chain or Fork
Explosive Arrow only puts a Fuse onto the last enemy it hits.
If you, for example, have "Projectiles Pierce 1 additional Target" and are up against a boss, it pierces through that enemy and applies no Fuses whatsoever. This completely invalidates your build, so be careful!
3) Using Barrage Support
Barrage Support might seem good because it helps you apply your Fuses faster. However, we hit the Maximum Fuse Count of 20 easily without it, so using it more than halves our damage, for no gain.
Stick to the recommended Support Gems in the Skill Gem Section!
4) Ignoring Accuracy
Explosive Arrow kinda looks like a spell, but it's an attack and therefore adheres to Accuracy scaling. If you don't have enough Accuracy (98-100% recommended) your fuses are going to miss, resulting in smaller explosions and Ignites!
5) Using Slow Bows
Your Attack Rate is as critical as the damage of your Ignites.
Slow attacking Bows look good on paper, but are actually really bad due to their low Attack Rate. This is also why Storm Cloud is such a good choice early on!