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How to get a Headhunter in Path of Exile

Path of Exile Legion

The Headhunter, the very embodiment of the chase item in Path of Exile. Its extreme value comes from its incredibly versatile and unique ability to “steal” modifiers from Rare mobs killed while wearing it. This Unique is extremely rare and carries a hefty price tag due to this element. For this reason, it’s consistently one of the most expensive items in the challenge leagues, and Legion is no exception. There’s a reason some crazy-dedicated players have farmed literally thousands of a specific map.

This item was introduced in the second set of challenge leagues in POE history, in the hardcore Nemesis variant. This league massively juiced up Rare mobs in terms power, and farming this Unique at the time was a major accomplishment. Over time though, more and more players had heard the legend of this particular Unique.

But since it was a league item, GGG made it impossible to drop outside of that time, making it a massively valuable item on Standard. Over time though, the community came through and  started pushing for GGG to make Headhunter a possible drop through various methods. These methods are what we’re about to cover.

So with all that in mind, how do we actually get this incredibly powerful item?

There are two primary paths for gaining a Headhunter in POE, one path using Divination Cards, and the other relying on item drops. We’re going to include a chance rating for how likely these methods are to drop a Headhunter on a single iteration.

  • The Nemesis Zana mod is the most reliable source in generic Maps for a Headhunter. Note that it must be the mod applied through the map device and not an affix rolled on Rare Maps. However, farming maps for a Headhunter is ill-advised. Most players will stockpile Leather Belts and use a Chance Orb on large numbers of them in a Nemesis map to try and generate a Headhunter. (Chance: Very Unlikely)
  • The Sacrificial Chamber in the Temple of Atzoatl when upgraded to Level 2 or beyond can provide league-specific drops. And when pushed to level 3, it can even transform Uniques into another item of the same class. So Unique Leather Belts have a chance to turn into Headhunter. (Chance: Very Unlikely)
  • Certain Legion Rares can drop league-specific items, and the Unique-marked chests can as well. Time-Lost Incubators can drop league-specific Uniques as well. (Chance: Extremely Unlikely)
  • Cameria being placed in the Transportation division of the Immortal Syndicate will drop league-specific items during the safehouse raid. (Chance: Extremely Unlikely)
  • Bosses in Shaper Strongholds can drop league-specific Uniques. (Chance: Extremely Unlikely)

Divination Card-based methods are a much better way to get a Headhunter, as they drastically reduce the pool of items that the Headhunter has to be pulled from. Problem is, most Diviniation cards are incredibly rare, and are best farmed using a Magic Find build in combination with an infinite map sustain strategy. These two methods drastically increase the speed of farming for certain Divination Cards, but the difficulty of Red Maps means you’re usually restricted to White Maps or the easiest Yellow Maps in many cases.

If you want to know how to infinite sustain any map, check out our Atlas of Worlds guide.

For this list, we will assign a farming difficulty rating based not just on how hard it is to farm the Cards, but how hard it will be to get Headhunter specifically.

  • The Doctor Cards are a guaranteed source of Headhunter, but their extremely low drop chance means you could spend hours targeted farming them and get nothing. Farming these from either Burial Chambers or Spider Forest means that most MF builds can run either map, although the vast majority of players opt for Burial Chambers given its simple layout. (Farming difficulty: Medium)
  • The Fiend offers another direct trade for a Headhunter, although it’s much harder to farm for this given it being a drop restricted to Shrine and Putrid Cloister maps makes sustaining, as well as farming with an MF build, much harder. (Farming difficulty: Hard)
  • The Undaunted sets guarantee a Nemesis item, which means a Headhunter has a much higher chance of trading. But with these Cards being restricted Basilica, Courthouse and Precinct Maps, all of which are Red, farming it is much harder. (Farming difficulty: Hard)
  • Time-Lost Relic cards are another of the Divination Card sets that offer league specific items as a trade. The low drop chance for a Headhunter makes it much harder to guarantee a Headhunter drop. Although since it’s based on a Tier 4 map, there may be some players who choose to farm that easier map and gamble on trying to get a Headhunter. (Farming difficulty: Very Hard)
  • The Wretched is another option that drops in a wide array of Maps, although since it is only a Unique Belt the drop pool is massive, so you can trade hundreds of sets and never get a Headhunter. (Farming difficulty: Very Hard)
  • Jack in the Box is a Divination Card that drops from a sizable number of areas, but the resulting drop pool is too large to reliably drop a Headhunter. (Farming difficulty: Extremely Hard)
  • Arrogance of the Vaal cards farmed from Ancient City maps offer a decent source of double-Corrupted Uniques. The chance of a Headhunter here is very small though, since it can be any Unique that drops. (Farming difficulty: Extremely Hard)
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Once you’ve chosen a method, it’s important to keep some things in mind.

  1. Headhunter is not the best item in the game. It’s an incredibly valuable and powerful item, but it will often be outclassed in many builds that would benefit from more DPS and Life than the Headhunter offers. Many builds will opt for a Stygian Vise over a Headhunter, for this reason, many people will opt for selling it rather than keeping it, so they can fund other gear.
  2. Buying a Headhunter is always an option. If you’re using a decent MF build, you will be swimming in Currency in the later parts of the game. Many bow-based MF builds will actually benefit a fair bit from this item, so it may be worth buying for that alone.
  3. Farming the more expensive Divination Cards like The Doctor is always a viable option for making currency. A sustained farming effort by multiple players can yield literally thousands of Exalted Orbs in value from these drops alone.
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