It’s highly recommended that those reading this guide check out both the New Players Guide to POE, and both the War for the Atlas Guide and the 3.0 Mapping Guide, in order to understand the basics that this new guide will build on. If you’re still looking for a potential starter build in Synthesis League, check out our recommendations. You might also want to check out the Synthesis Patch Notes.
With another new League, Path of Exile 3.6 introduces another major new set of mechanics to POE. In Incursion we raided the treasures of a bygone era; In Delve we explored dank depths; in Betrayal we fought old friends; and now this time we’re mapping lost memories with Synthesis. GGG certainly has it out for the past don’t they? With all that said, let’s get into our Synthesis League guide.
New League Mechanics
As is the case with every new POE League, Synthesis and the 3.6 patch introduced a new system of mechanics for players to interact with, and plenty of new lore and story to unwind.
The first time you encounter the League mechanics is when Cavas descends on you in Act 1. He will ask you to explore his lost memories. Help Cavas by exploring these lost memories and activating the memory stabilisers contained within. But be quick, because memories degrade, and if you linger too long or take the wrong turn you may degrade with them! Successfully stabilising the memory will allow Cavas to store it for use in the Memory Nexus. Find Cavas throughout the course of the story and in end-game maps to unlock more memories.
“Running” a memory involves going through the rapidly degrading memory map and activating several stabilisers before time runs out. Look for the giant blue mechanism scattered around each map. And don’t worry about looting, like in Incursion, all of the loot from a Fragment will drop at the end of a run, whether you succeed or not.
Understanding the Mind
The mindscape of Cavas is a confusing place. This series of mechanics and their structure is represented by the Memory Nexus, a labyrinthine maze that you must link together to progress through the story and the league mechanics. There’s a lot of similarity with Delve and Betrayal here, as players will navigate a map layout that randomly generates based on the choices you make, so how you progress through the matrix of memories will affect your future choices, keep that in mind.
Cavas will hand you multiple quests to complete, each introducing a new aspect of Synthesis League.
The major system in this new league revolves around two things, Fragmented Memories and Memory Amplifiers. When you place a Memory Fragment into rotation, it will unlock a new map type on the Nexus. When you open the Nexus, there will be a map layout displayed in front of you, with two border regions showing different modifiers.
NOTE: Early Memories have a HUGE number of enemies, bring a Decoy Totem skill if you have it. Drop that sucker in front of you and keep running to not get bogged down.
Once you’ve completed a memory map by finding and clicking the requisite number of stabilisers, a memory fragment will be given to you. Talk to Cavas again to travel to the Nexus. Take a trip over to one of the stabilizers, clicking it opens the full memory map. The right-hand side of the screen shows a repository for all your available memory fragments. Left-click a fragment then if it has a valid placement, you can then place it on the memory map to run it.
The left-hand side shows global modifiers that affect any memory you choose within a set of Nexus links. The right-hand modifiers are applied to the specific memory you run. In short, the Synthesis Nexus is like a fusion of Delve League and Incursion League mechanics. Each memory within the Nexus has a limited number of uses, and mousing over it will tell you a few details about it. Look for the number of Synthesized Chests if you’re looking to farm loot.
Take the time to plan out your route through the Memory Map. Once you’ve completed a few Fragments, you’ll have plenty of pieces to fit together to complete the Map and create connections to the juicy loot Fragments. You can plan out your route by pressing V at any time and then left-clicking a Fragment on the right-hand side. Valid placements for that piece will be highlighted. This method of planning ahead saves time by not having to return to the Nexus to plan your route.
Planning out your Nexus can be quite tricky, it gets easier once you realize that bridge connections can only be made where there are valid bridge points. The overall goal is to use the Fragments you find in the world to create paths which connect to the various treasure nodes. I would recommend going for a more direct path to these nodes, using as few Fragments as possible if you’re just going for loot, but there’s another mechanic here to be aware of. That mechanic is the modifiers you can add to each Fragment on your Memory Map through other actions on the map. Remember, all of these memories are connected, so your actions do have consequences.
Stacking these mods by building long paths of connected zones relies on two tiles within the Memory Map, nodes which unlock new Memory Modifiers, and Memory Amplifier tiles. The Memory Amplifier will add an additional global mod from the existing pool to a Fragment placed on that location. The Modifier Nodes will have a yellow color when you mouse over them, so be on the lookout for that. You can find some examples of what to look for below.
The idea is to connect as many of these locations in one long chain as you can. And yes, Nodes connected to the Nexus count. When you activate a Modifier Node, that modifier applies to any Node it’s connected to, allowing you to easily build up modifiers on inactive Nodes. This is how you can stack 10 or more mods on a single Memory, it’s insane. And with the already high pack density, scaling that with more mods, then throwing more currency into the mix, has some insane potential for loot.
There’s a bit of strategy involved here that makes keeping the connections in your chain intact a bit tricky. Because once you activate a Node in that chain, any Memory in said chain with only one run left on it will crumble, and you’ll lose that connection. This is where planning mode comes in handy. And node that’s planned, one that has a blue outline, isn’t actually placed and can’t pass modifiers in the chain. That means you need to head to a connected Node which is placed and active, then drop the node you plan to use into place, that will allow the modifiers to pass and you to continue reaping your rewards.
Placing new Memories on crumbled ones is a bit tricky, here’s how it works. Once you’ve completed a zone and clicked the Stabilizer, picking up any loot drops, you should head into the next zone. Opening the planning screen again will show that the zone you just completed is still there, so your need to right-click to remove it once it’s completed, you can then plan a new node in that spot.
And here’s the hard bit. Left-click the Stabilizer of the zone you just entered once to activate the current zone, then left-click again on that same Stabilizer to reactivate the bridge and spawn the node you just planned in the right place. This backtracking style of maintaining Node connections is key to success in Synthesis League.
- Einhar will join you on Fragment runs if he’s with you in a map, make use him and the Decoy Totem I recommended earlier to blitz Fragments.
- You can “clear” Fragments from your memory map by placing them in “planning mode” and then activating the bridge in the Nexus that leads to that Fragment. A Fragment that has a blue outline is planned, but not actually activated. Once the Fragment is activated, simply remove it on the Memory Map screen like you would in normal planning of your route.
- Fragment mob density is super high right now, keep moving and make judicious use of Totems and movement skills, pathing around the edge of the map to find Stabilizers.
- Movement skills like Flame Dash and Whirling Blades won’t allow you to traverse gaps in Decaying memories, use another movement skill.
- You can intentionally end a run by standing in the Decay effect.
- Stabilizers only spawn in Fragments in the same places the bridges can spawn, so check the boundaries in each cardinal direction.
- “Crumbling” Memories, those with only one use left, will work like the memories you find out in the world, so blitz them as part of a longer chain.
- If you want to exit a Distant Memory and continue exploring, do not interact with the Stabiliser next to the treasure. Once the chests or Memory Modifiers are opened, enter into the decay and respawn next to the bridge entrance then collapse the memory.
Fragment Types and Modifiers
The different maps on the Nexus will each have a symbol above them, and understanding what each one means is key to knowing what nodes to link on the Nexus. When you complete a Memory, it’s modifiers are added to the pool of available modifiers according to what Global Modifiers are associated with that map. Memories also have specific connections, so when you place a memory on the map, it needs to be connected to either the Nexus or another memory.
Here’s a full list of all of the Memory maps in Synthesis, and their associated levels. The list of global modifiers is there too. The symbols on the Memory Map have also had their meanings datamined, head over here to check those out. We’ve also included a helpful primer for Synthesis League that explains the basics of the Map and what various icons mean.
Each of these memory runs will of course contain a variety of enemies. But there are hidden challenges as well. The biggest danger that may not be immediately obvious is the memories themselves. The ragged blue edge of the maps is just like the Darkness in Delve, except much deadlier, just don’t touch it. This acts as a hard time-limit on runs as the edge of the memory will “chase” you throughout your runs. This is where a fast-moving build could be helpful for farming.
The Cortex is the end-game of sorts for the Nexus. When you chain enough memories together, you’ll encounter this special map which echoes the boss encounters of previous leagues like Incursion. It will be labeled as Cortex when placed on your Memory Map for easy identification.
Once you activate the map device on the Cortex, you’ll open a Fractured Laboratory map. This labyrinthine maze is filled with Synthed monsters, an once you find a Portal, proceed to the next area.
There are multiple versions of the Cortex, and it has some unique mechanics. Cavas will show up and spawn a variety of bosses for you to take down. The Cortex spawns within Distant Memories, with only certain versions available in certain memories. Distant Memories spawn randomly within the Nexus. Distant Memories contain treasure or a boss. They have one path leading into it and decay once entered. Their zone level is equal to the memory connecting to it.
Fractal Guardian Fights – Cortex I
The first of these is the brutish first construct of the Fractal Guardians, the Fractal Titan. This fast-moving giant spews out balls of fire that deal hefty damage, path around them. The construct will then spew out beams of energy in a rotational patter, stick close and just circle around him to avoid these. It’s third attack involves raising it’s arms and slamming them down, spawn pylons in a direct line to the edge of the arena. This beast also has a massive beam attack that he’ll do by collapsing into the form of a giant gun barrel of sorts, look out for that.
Watch out for the Void Pits that spawn around the area, these spawn adds, there’s also the Pylons, which apply buffs or debuffs depending on the type spawned.
The second phase of the fight is a more stationary Fractal Guardian, the Synthete Masterpiece, which prefers to let tracking projectiles and beams of elemental energy be their attacks. Each move has a short wind-up before unleashing either a ball or beam of energy. The blue balls are fairly slow and easy to avoid if you’re paying attention. The beams fire out directly in the direction the Fractal is facing, so just keep moving around it. This phase also summons pylons and void energy projectiles with a massive slowing effect, don’t get caught by these.
The third phase is a simpler setup where portals vomit lots of the Synth enemies into the arena, it’s fairly chaotic, but easily managed with sufficient damage and speed.
Cavas will then begin to rotate through these three phases as you defeat each one. Watch out, as each boss will have a new attack in each of these repeated phases. For example, the Synthete Masterpiece will spawn an array of laser crystals at the edge of the arena that radiate inwards.
Minor Mechanics and Changes
This section summarizes everything that’s changed in Path of Exile 3.6 aside from the new systems involving Challenge League mechanics.
Fractured and Synthesized Items
This new class of items brings a lot of new potential to the crafting meta-game in Synthesis and beyond for POE. With these new items, there’s a new class of modifiers that can be unlocked and put onto items as Affixes. Fractured items are like an incomplete version of Synthesized items, and won’t really be useful on their own. However, the real power of this system becomes apparent when these Fractured bits are combined together. Doing so unlocks a new higher-powered version of an existing base, with new affixes that can add huge potential to many builds in POE. These can be unlocked with the Synthesizer that’s contained within the Memory Nexus.
When a new item is Synthesized, the result will have between one to three new Implicit modifiers, and as of right now, it seems like the resulting Implicit(s) on the Synthesized Rare are random.
As such, you should keep an eye on POEAffix if you’re into crafting and want to learn all the new modifiers that this system can create. And with the increasing power creep of previous leagues, it looks like Synthesis will continue the trend.
Other Crafting Changes
- Synthesized Items cannot be “Chanced” into Uniques.
- Fractured Items cannot roll as Shaper/Elder bases, so no extremely powerful mods out of the gate.
- Implicits and Lab Enchants are their own unique affixes now.
- You can synthesize Unique items, as well as items with up to three new Implicits. (Check out the wiki for more on item mods)
Tools for Synthesis League
Path of Building (Offline build planner for Path of Exile.): https://github.com/Openarl/PathOfBuilding
PoESkillTree (A Passive Skill Tree and Character Planner for Path of Exile): https://github.com/PoESkillTree/PoESkillTree
Currency & Trading:
PoE Trade Macro (Check item prices in game): https://github.com/PoE-TradeMacro/POE-TradeMacro
PoE Trade (Most popular Path of Exile shop indexer): http://poe.trade/
Mercury Trade (Easy trading, preset replies and popup of item offers): https://github.com/Exslims/MercuryTrade
PoE Level Buddy (Displays useful info while leveling): https://github.com/Pastillage/PoE_Level_Buddy
Poe Leveling Overlay (Shows possible layouts of an area to make leveling faster) https://github.com/Biggoron144/PoE-Leveling-Overlay
PoEAffix (Path of Exile item affixes): http://poeaffix.net/
FilterBlade (Customize NeverSink filter to your own liking): https://www.filterblade.xyz/