Path of Exile Ranger Beginner’s Build Advice and Tips

Path of Exile Ranger Beginner’s Build Advice and Tips by Islidox

Welcome exiles, new and old!

Obviously you’ve come to this forum to discuss builds of your favorite class (or should be your favorite class). With the onset of OB, you’re wondering what sort of builds will be feasible, hardcore or softcore (default). To that end, there are several things you need to keep in mind before jumping into the build specifics.

As your first character in a brand new league/realm, you will have nothing at your dispoal, nothing in your stash, to help you build those powerful builds you had in closed beta. Gone, nada, zero. As such, your builds should keep in mind several things:

1. Be as Gear Independent as possible

– Do not rely on skill gems (e.g. Elemental Hit) or support gems (Greater Multiple Projectiles [GMP], Chain) that can only be found by looting or trading with others.

– Do not rely 5Link/6Link (5L/6L) equipment to make your build survivable. Work with 3Ls and 4Ls with the hopes of eventually getting a 5L/6L. Your main skills must be able to work with 3Ls at the very least.

– Do not rely on trading with people for things you need; this is a brand new economy and everything will be hyperinflated. If you need specific support/skillgems, consider rolling another toon that will receive that skill/support gem.

– Do not rely on obtaining uber weapons/armor. Chances are, you might be using magic (blue) items even in the last difficulty mode.

2. Defense over Offense

– Try to maintain a greater ratio of defense to offense. You want your first build to marginally succeed, even if it runs across trouble in the endgame map content. Do not spec all into offense or throw a passive point or two into defense. This will get you killed fast, and rumor has it that Act 3 is pretty tough. Likewise, do not spec all into defense as it will you get you nowhere either!

– The three defense aspects you have to consider are: 1) life, 2) defense type, 3) resistances

– Generally speaking, having 1.5k life, 40% armor or 60% evasion, and 30+ resistances will be enough for Merciless difficulty, but these are the bare minimum figures and should strive for more beyond that.

3. Build smartly

– Don’t just make a build all willy-nilly with the online passive skill tree and post it for feedback, have a plan! What do you want to accomplish with this character with the available skill/support gems?

– What skills will you be using? What skills will you be focusing on as your main mode of attack? Think about the synergy of skills with support gems and support/utility skills.

– What type of damage are you dealing? Physical, Elemental, single element, crit, or a mix?

– What defense type will you go for? Armor through Iron Reflexes, or evasion + Acrobatics/PhaseAcrobatics + Arrow Dodging?

– How will you fuel your attacks? Mana (e.g. Mana Flows) or Blood Magic (BM + lots of life + HP regen)?

– Plan a build using 70 points, then a build with 85 points. This will help you to envision the type of build you are aiming for, and what nodes, notables, and keystones you will take first over others. An 85-point build will give a more solid picture of a build that can tackle endgame content.

– Reasonably we can expect more passive points (I hear it’s 21) in OB, but don’t count on it, keep your expectations low, prioritize, and you should be fine.

– Try to make your build utilizing some of the most powerful notables at the Ranger’s disposal. Journeys to the other side of the passive tree is unadvised as it will waste a good portion of your passive points on stat attributes.

4. Watch your Flask selection

– Certain flasks (resists, diamond, granite) are drop only, and cannot be purchased from the NPC vendor.

– Diamond flasks have been removed from the game temporarily. When it will come back is unknown. Regardless, try to plan your build without the need for more than 1 diamond flask or any at all.

– Granite flasks have been nerfed. The current nerf makes it so it grants +4000 additional armor instead of 10000. Again, this is bound to change, but keep this tidbit of info in mind when thinking about relying on a flask.

– Quicksilver flasks will replace the overrused Phase Run. Think about whether or not you want this flask to use up one of your slots on your flask belt. As such, you may want to spend a passive point on movement speed such as the Armor Mastery notable or the Celerity notable. And be on the lookout for boots with movement speed mods. Phase Run may or may not come back; we shall see.


After all that, you might be wondering how to go about an actual build. Located throughout this forum, there have been dedicated members advising people on how to properly construct builds, myself included.

Please take a look, and don’t be lazy. Chances are your questions have already been answered by someone else. I will also be willing to look over your proposed builds if you’re uncertain. All veteran members are welcome to chip in as well. When posting builds, please use the url and spoiler tags to make it easier for the people you are seeking help from.

I hope this cleared up a lot confusion and doubts, and I hope to see you all in OB.


Here are some examples of what I consider solid OB builds for Rangers:

1. Basic Ranger type 1:

– Physical/crit damage
– Evasion defense
– Keystones used: Arrow Dodging, Acrobatics, Phase Acrobatics
– Mana usage

2. Basic Ranger type 2:

– Physical/crit damage
– Evasion-based Armor
– Keystones used: Iron Reflexes
– Mana usage

3. Critical Ranger:

– Physical/crit damage
– Evasion/ES defense
– Keystones used: Arrow Dodging
– Mana usage

4. Frenzy-based Ranger type 1:

– Physical damage (5 frenzy charges)
– Evasion-based Armor
– Keystones used: Iron Reflexes, Unwavering Stance, Blood Magic
– Life usage

5. Frenzy-based Ranger type 2:

– Physical damage (5 frenzy charges)
– Evasion-based Armor
– Keystones used: Iron Reflexes
– Mana usage

6. Blood Magic Ranger:

– Physical/crit damage (crit multiplier)
– Evasion-based Armor
– Keystones used: Iron Reflexes, Unwavering Stance, Blood Magic
– Life usage

7. Strength Ranger:

– Physical damage
– Evasion-based Armor
– Keystones used: Iron Reflexes, Unwavering Stance, Blood Magic, Iron Grip
– Life usage

8. Elemental Ranger:

– Elemental Damage
– Evasion-based Armor
– Keystones used: Iron Reflexes, Blood Magic, Iron Grip
– Life usage
(courtesy of mrpetrov)


Remember that these builds here represent what I consider to be solid starting OB builds. Others may think differently and are more than welcome to share their build. These builds are also tweakable to suit your individual ideal Ranger, so long as the core fundamentals are there:
1. Build up your defense
2. Build up your offense
3. Build up your fuel

Gear Priorities:
For gear, I’ll go over the things you want and need on your equipment:

+ % of evasion rating
+ flat evasion
+ life
+ % Resistances
+ 15-30% movement speed for boots

+ % of evasion rating
+ flat evasion
+ life
+ % Resistances
+ flat physical/elemental damage or a %
+ Life or Mana gain on hit/leech

+ flat or % physical/elemental Damage
+ attack Speed
+ life
+ % resistances
+ x stat attributes
+ life or mana regen

+ life
+ % Resistances
+ % weapon elemental damage
+ charges gained or less charges used

+ % Attack Speed
+ flat physical/weapon elemental damage
+ % physical/weapon elemental damage
+ % critical strike chance and multiplier

+ % weapon Elemental Damage
+ flat physical/elemental Damage
+ attack speed
+ flat life or mana
+ % Resistances
+ % critical strike chance and multiplier


If you’re a BM build, try to get some gear with life regen on it or life gain on hit or life leech on gear. Likewise with mana builds, but with mana regen/GoH/leech.

Don’t forget that you’re not restricted to using strictly Ranger gear. Using Duelist gear can allow you to get an easier combination of green and red sockets and a combination of both armor and evasion. (I’ve seen some decent hybrid gear.)

How to plan for Skills and Supports:

So now you’ve played PoE for a bit, and now you’re wondering how to optimize your build with the available skills and supports. There’s a variety of skills and supports, and we can expect more in the future. Regardless, this VERY LONG post will break it down into 5 main sections:

I. Skills
II. Supports
III. Utility skills
IV. Synergy & Strategy
– A. Know Your Build
– B. Plan your layout
– C. Synergizing Gems
– D. Gem Tactics and Tips
V. Useful Links

If you don’t read it in its entirety, you’re missing out on a lot and as a player, it’s your duty to get familiar with the game. I don’t plan on answering any questions related to skill/support selection after this post other than to give some feedback on different skill/support combos.

I. Skills

In terms of skills for a Bow Ranger, here’s a good breakdown:

Physical Bow Skills:
1. Frenzy – DPH skill, produces frenzy charges
2. Split Arrow – AoE skill, multi-projectile radial attack
3, Rain of Arrows – AoE skill, area-based delayed attack
4. Puncture – DoT skill, causes enemies to bleed
5. Poison Arrow – DPH/DoT skill, creates poison clouds

Elemental Bow Skills:
1. Burning Arrow – DPH skill, adds fire dmg based on physical dmg
2. Ice Shot – DPH skill, converts some of physical into ice dmg
3. Lightning Arrow – AoE skill, converts some of physical into lightning dmg, can hit 4 mobs
4. Elemental Hit – DPH skill, randomly chooses an elemental damage type per hit
5. Explosive Arrow – AoE skill, projectile (fuse) explodes after few seconds

DPH – Damager Per Hit
AoE – Area of Effect
DoT – Damage over Time
dmg – damage

II. Supports

All of the above bow skills can be supplemented by a number of support gems, such as these:

General Bow supports:
1. Faster Attacks
2. Faster Projectiles
3. Mana Leech
4. Culling Strike
5. Iron Grip
6. Point Blank
7. Life Leech
8. Life Gain on Hit (LGoH)
9. Increased Critical Strikes (ICS)
10. Increased Critical Damage (ICD)

Elemental Bow supports:
1. Weapon Elemental Damage (WED)
2. Added Cold/Fire/Lightning/Chaos Damage (ACD, AFD, ALD, ACD)
3. Cold/Fire/Lightning Penetration

Multi-projectile Bow supports:
1. Lesser Multiple Projectiles (LMP)
2. Greater Multiple Projectiles (GMP)
3. Pierce
4. Fork
5. Chain

Niche Bow Supports:
1. Increased Area of Effect (IAE)
2. Concentrated Area of Effect (CAE)
3. Increased Duration
4. Chance to Flee
5. Additional Accuracy
6. Elemental Proliferation (EP)
7. Chance to Ignite (CtI)
8. Stun
9. Knockback
10. Increased Item Quantity (IIQ)
11. Increased Item Rarity (IIR)
12. Ranged Attack Totem

III. Utility skills

After that, there’s a number of skills that can be used to supplement your attack skills, falling into 6 distinct categories:

1. Auras: (Should be linked with Reduced Mana or Blood Magic support)
– Hatred, Anger, Wrath, Determination, Vitality, Purity, Clarity, Haste, Grace, Discipline

2. Buffs:
– Blood Rage, Enduring Cry, Immortal Call, Molten Shell

3. Curses: (Should be linked with Reduced Mana or Blood Magic support)
– Projectile Weakness, Temporal Chains, Warlord’s Mark, Enfeeble, Vulnerability, Critical weakness, Elemental Weakness, Conductivity, Flammability, Frostbite

4. Totems: (Should be linked with Reduced Mana or Blood Magic support)
– Decoy, Devouring, Rejuvenation, Shockwave, Flame

5. Spells: (Can be used in conjunction with Spell Totem support)
– Summon Skeletons, Raise Zombies, Raise Spectres, Frost Wall, Lightning Warp, Detonate Dead

6. Traps:
– Bear, Fire, Conversion, Freeze Mines, trap/remote mine support in conjunction with skills

IV. Synergy & Strategy

Now, with all this information thrown your way, how do you actually go about using it all to your advantage? With that asked, let’s dive into it.

A. Know your build:

– If you don’t understand your build regarding its play style, its weaknesses and strengths, you would not in million years come up with a good skill/support set.

– In essence, what fuels your build (life via Blood Magic or mana) will also dictate which skills can be used and which cannot. BM builds cannot use %-based auras like Hatred, Purity, Vitality, Haste, and Determination while mana builds can. On the other hand, BM builds can stack a lot of flat-mana auras easily like Grace, Wrath, Anger, and Discipline.

– Offense can generally be understood by the type of damage you’re dealing. If you are dealing physical damage, you want to use skills/supports that boost the physical damage, and if you’re dealing elemental damage, you want to use skills/supports that boost the elemental damage. Same for crit damage.

– However, don’t be pigeon-holed into thinking “I’m only going to deal with 1 type of damage” and call it a day. Certain skills and supports will take advantage of other damage types. Best example of this is that Ice Shot works by converting a certain % of your physical damage into cold damage. The more physical/projectile damage you can get on top of elemental damage passives, the more damage you do with the ice portion of the skill. Added Fire Damage adds a converted portion of your physical damage to fire damage ON TOP the of original damage. Keep this in mind for later.

B. Plan your layout:

– In my experience, I usually plan out builds with a certain layout
> 1 or 3 single target/DoT skills
> 1 or 2 multi-target/AoE skills
> 1 or 2 curses
> 1 to 3 utility skills
> 1 to 5 auras- A good build will encompass at least 1 of every type of skill, some more than others depending on your build or how you want the skills to supplement your play style.

– Utility skills come in a variety, but generally speaking they are there to even the odds in a battle.
> Auras and buffs INCREASE your defense/offense.
> Curses WEAKEN the enemies.
> Totems, Spells, and Traps are there to mainly DISTRACT your enemies.

– All Rangers should use the Grace aura as it adds an extra flat evasion amount. It’s like another set of armor for Iron Reflex users or simply more chance to evade for pure evasion users. Other auras can be used to supplement your damage (Anger/Wrath/Hatred/Haste) or defense (Purity, Determination, Vitality, Clarity).

– Typical curses that Rangers use are either Projectile Weakness or Temporal Chains. Both are very powerful in their right, but certain builds may opt for different curses. An elemental ranger would probably want a sort of ele-resist curse like Elemental Weakness, Flammability, Frostbite, or Conductivity. Crit builds would want to utilize the Critical Weakness curse. A tanky ranger may opt for Warlord’s Mark or Enfeeble.

– Regardless of any build, have a leveled Poison Arrow OR Puncture on standby or in weapon swap slot. This skill can be affected by all types of damage for the actual projectile damage, but the main use for this skill is for rare mobs and Bosses. For example, Poison Arrow’s chaos damage from its poison cloud is great for super hard-hitting bosses that have lots of Energy Shield and HP. (Think Gravicius, Piety, Brutus, Merveil, Vaal Oversoul) While it may turn into a kiting fest, it will keep you alive while doing damage all the same and keeping YOU out of harm’s way. If you can get the ES down, use that opportunity to spam your strongest skill before dodging the next incoming attack. ES presents the problem that if you can’t take it out and deal damage to the actual life bar, then you’re effectively wasting mana as their ES will regenerate given enough time. Poison Arrow or Puncture can circumvent that entirely, which is why they’re so useful.

C. Synergizing Gems:

The section that you’re all been waiting for if you’ve made it this far. In short, coming up with logical supports for the skills you are using is very important and can make or break a build.

– As seen in Part II, you’ll notice that there are several categories of supports available. Builds that strictly do physical damage will want to use the general bow supports with some other supports from other support sections (elemental, niche). Elemental builds will want to use supports from the elemental bow supports plus general bow supports.

– The Multi-Projectile bow supports are usually used in conjunction with skills that do not have an AoE component to them. However, you are not restricted to using them on AoE skills, but keep in mind that you further dilute the damage done, especially when using Fork, Chain, LMP, or GMP.

– Now to go over specific skill/support, always aim for 4Ls and work off that. 5Ls/6Ls are generally used for more general bow or niche bow supports.
> Frenzy + Faster Attacks + Faster Projectiles + Mana Leech/Life Leech/AFD
> Rain of Arrows + Faster Projectiles + CAE/IAE + Faster Attacks/Culling Strike/LGoH
> Split Arrow + Faster Attacks + Pierce + Faster Projectiles/Culling Strike/LGoH
> Burning Arrow + Added Fire Damage + WED + FirePenetration/Faster Projectile/CtI
> Ice Shot + Faster Projectiles + ACD + WED/ColdPenetration
> Lightning Arrow + WED + Faster Projectiles + LightningPenetration/ALD
> Elemental Hit + WED + Faster Projectiles + Added(whatever)Damage/Life Leech
> Explosive Arrow + Faster Projectiles + LMP/GMP/Fork/Chain + Faster Attacks
> Puncture/Poison Arrow + Faster Projectile + Culling Strike + Increased Duration

– As you notice, these skill layouts are what I consider the optimal selection. Those that do crit damage may substitute any of those supports with ICS/ICD and be happy with that. I recommend doing that for single-target skills. However, these are in no way set in stone. Experiment, and see what support selection is the BEST for YOU. Notice that for each skill presented, I put in several alternative choices in form of slashes (/).

– Also, any of these skills can be modified with Multi-projectile supports for crowd control. The four skills below are usually the best candidates for such treatment:
> Lightning Arrow + LMP/GMP + Fork/Chain
> Ice Shot + LMP/GMP + Pierce/Fork
> Split Arrow + Chain/Fork
> Poison Arrow + LMP/GMP + Pierce/Fork

– You can also use the same skill and retool it for different purposes, such as using Ice Shot with a single-target configuration and Ice Shot with crowd-control configuration. (Requires 2 Ice Shot skill gems)

– With 5Ls and 6Ls, now you may want to consider using general bow supports that you couldn’t squeeze into your 3/4Ls. For 5Ls, you generally want to put in another general bow support. For 6Ls, now you may have the option to put in a niche bow support, and IIQ/IIR are very good candidates for that, and even on 5Ls. Don’t forget that the more supports you put on, the more costly it gets and plan accordingly.

– Niche Bow supports can be used if you want a skill to function differently. Chance to Flee is nice to attach onto AoE skills, while Elemental Proliferation is good to attach onto elemental bow skills, especially for those that proc crits. For bosses, maybe stacking Stun or Knockback would prove more to your liking to deal with such tough customers and essentially keep them from attacking you. Perhaps you want a close quarter skill for enemies in your face, slap a Point Blank support. The possibilities are endless, but you need to make the choice.

D. Gem Tactics and Tips:

– Don’t feel limited by the 8 placeholders for skills. For example, if you plan on running more than 1 aura, you can let the aura take up 1 slot and click on the slot to switch to another aura to activate that one.

– Always level up your skills to the max. The only skill that brought this myth up regarding skill-level halting was Lightning Arrow, and that’s been changed. Max em’ all. Don’t ask me any more questions on this particular matter because it’s been answered here.

– You can also level up other gems in unused sockets or weapons on your weapon swap slots. This is useful if you have other gems you wish to level up even if you don’t need to use them or don’t have the necessary links. Yes, even if you’re not using the weapons in your weapon swap the gems will level regardless.

– Weapon Swap can be useful to house extra utility skills. For example, I think one of the best combinations is to equip a single-wield sword, socket Whirling Blades or Leap Slam, and be able to get out of dodge when the shit hits the fan.

– When selecting your gem rewards from quests, PLAN AHEAD OF TIME! Think about which skills/supports come first that you need the most. I cannot stress the fact that gem selection is a process that you must plan ahead of time in order to have the appropriate skills and supports supporting those skills in your possession. Use the Quest Rewards Google spreadsheet to do this.

– See what others have done, and then you can understand why they chose such skills/supports to augment their play style. However, ultimately the choice resides with you and you should do what you think is the best for your build.

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1 Response

  1. BeRad says:

    links to builds need updating

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