Leveling EA Ballista

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.

Key Leveling Notes

While this is a build guide for Explosive Arrow, we primarily use Holy Flame Totem and Flame Wall to level until 32. This is because 32 is the correct time to complete the Normal Labyrinth. Upon getting Shaper of Flames, switching over to using Explosive Arrow will be much easier.

This build will do Library in Act 3 to gain Explosive Arrow, Ballista Totem Support, Determination, Grace, and Purity of Elements. These gems won't be used for now, but are instead put in your gear to level up. Gems gain XP even in your off-hand!

The "Wand Craft" is the easiest way to make any caster leveling better. Selling a magic wand, an Orb of Alteration, and a normal Topaz Ring produces a wand like this: Snapping Driftwood Wand.

If you need a magic wand, purchase a 3-linked Wand from Nessa with favorable colors, those being Blue-Blue-Green, Blue-Blue-Blue, or Blue-Green-Red. Then use an Orb of Transmutation on it. If you need a Topaz Ring, you can sell an Iron Ring with any Skill Gem that is colored Green.

Note: Selling rare items identified they will give you Alteration Shards, while selling them unidentified gives Transmutation Shards.

Since this build switches over to Explosive Arrow at level 32, it is critical to identify rare bows along the way. Stats to look for are + To Level of Socketed Bow Gems, +% Attack Speed, or Elemental Damage with Attacks. The best early bow is a Storm Cloud, which can be bought from other players.

Campaign Step By Step

Beginner players should follow Enki's Campaign Progression guide.

The levels listed below are based on speedrunning. Always be greater or equal to the levels listed.

Step-By-Step Explosive Arrow Skill Gem Progression
Open leveling skill tree in new tab


Pantheon Planner

For Information on how to unlock your Pantheon, consult our Pantheon Guide!

For the Major Pantheon select Brine King to gain Immunity to Freeze and the Reduction of Chill Effect. This bonus is not baseline and needs to be acquired with a Divine Vessel.

For Minor Pantheon, select Abberath and upgrade it. This grants you defences but more importantly Immunity to Burning Ground.

Mapping Preparation

You're done with the Campaign and are ready to take on Path of Exile's Endgame. Priority 1 is capping your Elemental Resistances (75%) and having sufficient Attributes to continue leveling your Skill Gems. Use Essences you have gathered on any item that is not Magic or Rare already. Items with an open modifier slot can be crafted on. Head to the Crafting Bench and craft Resistances you need and Life wherever else possible.

Map Modifiers

Avoid (or cautiously run) the following modifiers:

  • Avoid Chance to avoid Elemental Ailments because you can't Ignite frequently enough!
  • Take care of -% to maximum Resistances because you then get destroyed by Elemental Damage!
  • Avoid Reduced Effect of Auras because it will reduce your Armour and Evasion, making you vulnerable to attacks!