A question re: ward retention 'builds'

Hello all,

A have a couple quick questions. Before I do, the reason I ask is because I’ve played a few Acolytes and the odd Mage, and I’ve never built around ward retention specifically. I tried on the Acolyte once, but I never found it that useful (the leech may have had something to do with that) and I’d like to at least investigate the subject.

  1. I know you want lots and lots of ward retention, but what’s the best way of going about it? Int? Passive trees? Items? Uniques? Other? All of the above? I’ve noticed very little ward retention in trees, and if you want 500%+ ward retention, I’m not sure how you do it with without some help e.g. crazy amounts of Int.

  2. Are there any rough ‘build types’ that either A) take good advantage of the ward retention, or B) can’t really utilize the ward retention well?

Thanks in advance.

From my experience, Acolyte has plenty of passive ward generation, but you have to generally focus on ward retention (int/ward retention in passives, etc.).
On the flipside, Mage (specifically spellblade) lacks passive ward generation but has plenty of ward retention (spellblade’s ward generation is more active and reliant on hitting with melee skills).

In general for playing a ward based build over a life based build, you’ll probably want exsanguious and last steps of the living, and remember that endurance does nothing for ward based builds, so that becomes a pointless stat. While using those two items, the main defensive stat you want to scale would be HP, as the more HP you have, the more you’ll be missing, and the more ward you’ll generate passively.

Ward has one massive benefit over life in that the lower your ward gets, the faster it comes back. The inherent regen that is baked into playing a ward build makes gameplay feel rather smooth imo, as the same stats that scale your max hp also scale your recovery.

Edit: You’ll also want some way to convert potions from granting life to granting ward, as gaining life negatively impacts your ward generation with Exsanguious and LSotL significantly. Idols, affixes (on belts iirc) and uniques can accomplish this.

That is not correct.
Spellblade has the most passive ward regenration by a landslide, you get up to 100+ ward/sec just from the passive tree.

While i really appreciate those two items, for how popular and build defining they are, I hate that in every ward discussion they gonna pop up, as if there is no other way to play ward based build >.>

Generally Int is the most reliable and globally accessable way. You can easily get 50-60 Int, which results in 200-240 Ward Retention already.

Acolyte and Mages have ward retention in their passive trees (including mastery trees).

If you truely wanna go all in on ward retention, there is one new unique in 083, which allows you to get truely ridiculous ward retention:


Frostbite Shackles - Unique Iron Gauntlets - Gloves - Last Epoch Item Database

Generally, you do need good ways of regenerating ward before thinking too much about ward retention. All ward retention in the world doesn’t benfit you that much, when you can’t generate good amounts of ward in the first place.
But once you have good ward gain, ward retention becomes more and more profitable.

Also if you play a build that does have alot of other defences and just using some ward as a secondary defense layer, you cna totally get away without speccing into ward retention at all.
Things like “x ward when get hit” on idols etc. are very good defense, against lots of small incoming hits. You don’t really generate a big ward pool with it, but it negates a lot of the damage, withotu any need for ward retention.

You really only want ward retention, if you want to stack close ot thousand+ ward constantly.


Just wing it personally, ive played lots of ward based builds recently and im not sure how people are getting insane numbers. getting every lich int passive, and every acolyte passive that has it, as well as t5 int on everything and every unique/base that can give it other then the gloves I was at something like 800% ward retention in the planner.

I was able to hold 4k ward with 250~ ward retention and 2.5k life, I was also using a bastion, and could have gotten much more ward with a catalyst.

This is of course on a “Low life” ward character.

There is a few other types of ward based characters, spellblades, generation through a unique etc. With stuff like humming bee or the one relic that trades hp for ward, you can also get a few thousand ward.

At the end of the day just get as much ward retention as possible without bricking other potentially useful affixes. No point in stacking as much ward retention as possible if you are not able to do damage because you lost all your damage affix.

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