Our guide for Synthesis League, including crafting tips and explanations of League mechanics, is out now.
Path of Exile, everyone’s favorite ARPG, just got a whole lot more complex with the introduction of the 3.6 patch and Synthesis League. A lot of nerfs to different mechanics and with a bunch of new skill gem choices, there’s a lot of junk to sort through when picking your build in POE this time around. Path of Exile starter builds have often been a tough pick for new players, so we’re here to make this much easier on you.
We’re making this much easier by picking out various builds according to different archetypes and skill levels, mostly geared towards new players with simple mechanics and only a few skills to manage. Regardless of whether you’re new to POE or returning for Synthesis League, we’ve got some great build choices for you. And don’t worry if you don’t see your favorite build archetype here. That’s because we’ll be adding more builds over the next few days.
Always remember two salient points when picking your build in Synthesis League. You don’t always want to pick the most OP skill or have to scour the patch notes looking for the skill that received the biggest buff. It will always be a better choice for you to pick the skills that you find fun as a player. If a skill you like playing got nerfed, it’s important to remember that every skill has some level of viability, and with many different indirect buffs in 3.6, dozens of skills are all increasing in relative power.
That being said, always be open to changing things up. Take a look at the playstyle you like and then find a skill you haven’t played before that has a similar playstyle. Or don’t be afraid of trying something completely new if the potential you see in the build is really appealing. I’m usually a melee-focused player, but I’m picking a ranged totem build this league as my starter because I wanted to try something new.
But it’s all your choice, and with that in mind, let’s get into some builds.
Melee Archetype Builds
Melee builds of some varieties got hit hard in 3.6, mostly down to the massive nerf to Overleech timings. This change mostly affects Slayer and Scion Ascendancy nodes which granted insane defensive layering, but got destroyed thanks to these changes. Slayer skills builds like Cyclone will take a serious Quality-of-Life hit in this expansion, especially when running Labyrinth.
Warchief Marauder – The ever-popular Totems build makes a big comeback as a Path of Exile starter build in 3.6. With only minor gear changes compared to last patch, this build is still a strong contender for top of the melee pile. This build stacks tons of DPS and great defenses to make it the perfect choice for any melee player to take on ALL end-game content. This titan can easily clear Shaper, Elder and more without too much issue. If you’re a Totems fan, this is the starter for you.
Demi’s Righteous Fire Cheiftain – Demi returns with another excellent starter build for Synthesis. Righteous Fire is one of those skills that veteran players can use to great effect, as the AoE effects can make clearing maps and most end-game content as easy as possible. With a huge Life pool and lots of DPS, this build can even work for newer players with a bit of flask management and some basic understanding of mechanics. A handful of required items, some of which will be pricey later in the league means that this build is much more suited to veteran players who know how to farm/trade. It can work in SSF, but quality-of-life will be noticeably worse. The leveling process using Firestorm or a similar skill is really simple though.
Holy Totem Cheiftain – This setup is a budget-friendly melee build which uses the new Holy skills introduced in 3.6 to deal insane damage via these new mechanics. It scales really well for great clearing speed with this setup. It’s also really easy to gear, even in SSF. And with decent gear investment, it can clear most high-end content.
Spark Inquisitor – Another Totems build which combines a once OP skill with the spellcasting and skill changes in this patch to make Spark an extremely powerful and easy-to-use skill once again. This build is viable for most content in the game, and the gear for most players isn’t too hard to get. Min-maxing the build is a bit of a time or currency sink though, so keep that in mind.
Storm Brand Inquisitor – This is a beginner-friendly, league-starter viable, solo-self-found viable, and comprehensive Storm Brand Inquisitor build, and it’s still really good in 3.6. While the changes in this patch did make Brands less OP, this build can still get great map clearing and boss kills with decent gear and some game knowledge. It’s still very much beginner-friendly and easy to gear despite the slight added challenge thanks to Synthese League changes.
Soulrend Trickster – The new Soulrend skill does lots of Chaos damage, so why not pair it with one of the best Ascendancy choices in Path of Exile 3.6? The Trickster is even more powerful than it was before, and with the impending changes to skills, there’s going to be plenty of excitement for people who want to try out these new skills. This build takes advantage of the fast movement and great defensive layering of the Trickster to create a nigh-untouchable build.
Blade Vortex Cheiftain – This build can be viable for mapping and most end-game content. Clearing speed is still pretty good in Synthesis League. There’s also potential for scaling this build with lightning damage conversion by changing the build to an Elementalist setup. The build is also very friendly to SSF, as all the gear choices are very flexible.
Blade Vortex Ranger – This build takes a strong skill and pairs it with a great archetype for fast and efficient play. Gearing only requires minimal investment or time farmed, making this ideal for SSF. The mechanics are very simple beyond basic flask management, making this a good choice for new players. And there’s so much movement speed on this monster that it’s just so quick when mapping that you won’t even have trouble farming with it. Just a great speedy build.
Ancestral Warchief Berserker – This build is very cheap and is incredibly viable for SSF or as a league starter. The one cheap unique is pretty useful for some other builds as well. The Berserker setup also gets plenty of movement speed and clear speed by shield charging around with your totems up.
Scourge Agony Marauder – This particular Juggernaut build is pretty cheap, but incredibly strong. It’s not the fastest moving build, but it makes up for hat with an insane level of DPS. The mechanics are pretty simple too, simply charge in and hit the thing until it dies. This build is very Kirito in that way. And while it’s not quite Jesus-kun, it’s really strong and fun to play.
Ranged/Bow Archetype Builds
Toxic Rain – This modified Ranger archetype may not be the most OP build in POE, but it’s still quite viable for mapping and farming lower-end content. Leveling is also really easy with this build. It makes use of the combination of the Herald of Agony skill to deal huge bursts of damage over time, relying on fairly cheap uniques makes this build viable for cash-strapped players too.
Caustic Arrow Deadeye – This Ranger archetype is a great choice for POE players who like ranged attacks, and aren’t looking to spend a ton of time farming currency to buy the needed gear. This extremely quick build stacks a ton of movement speed and good Chaos damage scaling which means it melts maps. If you’re looking to farm early maps like Blood Aqueducts, this is your build of choice.
Lightning Scourge Deadeye – Even with the nerfs to some high-end items in POE 3.6, this build still makes a great starter. The mechanics are very simple, and the usability is still pretty good, even with OK gear. There’s enough survivability and DPS in this build to take on most end-game content, and the mechanics are beginner-friendly to the point of being basically a build an experienced player can run on auto-pilot.
Frost Blades Raider – A super fast build which uses multiple defensive layers makes this a good build for those who want to take advantage of the new cold conversion changes to play a super strong build in Synthesis. It will also be reasonably useful in SSF with only minor gear changes.
HC Bane Trickster – With all the buffs to the already strong Trickster class in 3.6, there’s no better class to pair with some of new skills GGG has added to the game. This Hardcore-viable build is even tankier to make survivability much easier for those looking for a real challenge. Bane is a great new Chaos-based skill, and if you’re looking to experiment with a powerful build, this is the choice for you.
Specialty Archetype Builds
Selfcasting is getting a huge rework and overall buff in 3.6, with lots of new spells and changes to pretty much every spell in the game. This makes it incredibly easy to craft any number of spellcaster builds around any number of archetypes. Anyone can take a basic build with pretty much build into the beginning of end-game with garbage gear. This approach works in SSF as well. Here’s POE Youtuber Demi demonstrating this principle in action. We’ve also included some basic build ideas you can use in Synthesis League.
Arc Totems – This remains one of the better skill choices for new and old players alike. It’s also stupidly easy to gear, with only a couple Exalts of gear translating to Shaper viability. Arc got nerfed a bit in 3.6, so Freezing Pulse is another option here, as is any skill that got buffed and can be made to work with Totems. Some bosses can be a bit tricky with this build though as you’ll need to manage said Totems quickly.
Ele Hit Totem Scion – This build lost a bit of potency from previous versions in Synthesis, but it’s still very strong, even as a budget build. It’s entirely possible to take a version of this with mediocre gear through much of the end-game grind, since it doesn’t require a six-link for good DPS. It’s an incredible source of DPS once you get better gear though. Having plenty of mobility makes this a great mapper too. The biggest downside is that the top-end gear will be quite expensive, but it still works great as a 3.6 league starter.
Witch Summoner – The Minion changes in 3.6 with Spiritual Aid make this build have awesome synergy with Witch setups. Very easy to gear, making this a great farmer in SSF or normal leagues. Zipping around and applying Curses and Poison takes some getting used to, but once you get the rotation of managing your skills and flasks down, you’re golden with the build.
Blade Flurry Summoner Hybrid – With the combination of Blade Flurry and an army of skeletons, this is very much a niche build, but don’t think it’s weak. There’s plenty of DPS and survivability, making it good for mapping and bosses. Although it isn’t the fastest and the high-end gear choices will be kind of expensive, it’s possible to make the build work for leveling as a league starter.
Essence Drain Occultist – This build has a lot of flexibility, and with the rework of older Chaos skills, and the introduction of new Soulrend and Bane skills, this particular class will get a bit more powerful in Path of Exile 3.6. Players can make many different choices for skills with this setup, and with even mediocre gear, this character can bring respectable DPS.
Incinerate Elementalist – This incredibly fun channeling skill got a good buff in 3.6. The DPS output of this build is really high, making it able to do much of the content in the game without issue. It does require some game knowledge for dodging certain boss attacks and mechanics, as it’s not strong enough to facetank everything. It’s still a good league starter as the gear is mostly easy to obtain.
Bringer of Rain & Bloodseeker Duelist – This budget-focused build brings a lot power for a fairly cheap price. This budget-minded setup only requires two uniques, and both are very affordable. There’s also a few different skill options that are viable with this build for mapping and other content. Blade Flurry is one possible choice, Sunder is also good. Feel free to experiment with this one since gear is pretty cheap.
Winter Orb Elementalist – This elemental damage build makes use of Winter Orb, a very popular projectile-based AoE skill that deals tons of cold damage. And even with the nerfs in POE 3.6, the build is still fairly strong, just a bit harder to manage from a quality-of-life standpoint. This build is recommended for the more experienced player as the combination of channeling changes in selfcasting mechanics may make this a bit overwhelming for new players.
Storm Brand Elementalist – This is another skill which focuses on one thing, speed. It also has a surprising amount of tanking ability, allowing it to deal with end-game content like Shaper. Storm Brand is a bit of unique skill, and this build is equally unique as it melts mob packs using the constant reapplication of the Brand. This is an excellent Synthesis choice for newer players. Although some game knowledge in terms of skill interactions does help with leveling and gearing properly.