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Sehn’s Bleeding Barrage Paladin - 0.8.4 release

Hello folks, long time lurker here sharing his first build guide (please be gentle). I haven’t seen bleed based Javelin build revolving around Siege Barrage and decided to share a playstyle that I really enjoy.

I had this guide written up for some time but decided to wait for 0.8.4 to see what changes it brings. Notable changes affecting this build in this patch are,

  • Lower AOE clear dps. Less auto bomber explosions but some attack speed bonus and lower mana cost.
  • Spiked bombardment lower mana.

Auto-bomber DPS took quite a bit of a hit in 0.8.4. Thankfully, this doesn’t affect our Javelin Bleed DPS. Regardless, DO is still good in this build to clear trash and apply our shreds. Will try to update as we discover new info. Feedback and comments always appreciated.

Why this build?

  • You have some bleed uniques and gear lying around.
  • Good sustained DPS (I can do 150-300k+ half second DOT ticks from javelin target dummy spam plus 10-25k ticks from devouring orb on what I consider crappy semi-optimised gear).

  • Good single target DPS (the above ramped up by 30-50%+ when you cast abyssal echoes).
  • Good burst potential (1.5-2.5+ million abyssal echoes bleed consumption casts on dummy).

  • Low effort monolith trash clear, auto-bomber style (nerfed in 0.8.4 but still decent enough).

Note that the numbers aren’t top end as there’s plenty more room to optimise on my test gear.

Mandatory gear

  • Weapon with chance to bleed on hit (global chance, not melee chance).
  • Atrophy (DOT penetration and slow on hit).
  • Valdyr’s Chalice.
  • At least 1 Throwing attack reduced mana cost ring (-3 mana).

Flayer’s pride and Stymied fate are very desirable but you can easily swap to this build to farm for them.


Build approach (feel free to skip for one less wall of text)

In this section, I will try to walkthrough the thoughts and ideas I had when conceptualising and testing this build. Figured some might be interested in the details. Hopefully this might also help beginner theory crafters to start optimising their build ideas.

I was testing non-meta stuff as usual and noticed the good bleed itemisation support available to the sentinel class. Bleed has the highest base damage out of the vanilla ailments (at 58 damage over 4 secs) and has no cap to stack count. Sentinels have access to the below affixes on gear/idols,

  • Chance to bleed if wielding an axe
  • Bleed effect
  • Bleed duration
  • Chance to bleed when high health

Let’s begin by looking at passive bleed support.

Non class-locked

  • Smelter’s Might (Forge Guard)
    70% bleed chance (doubled with 2H)

Class locked

Paladin

  • Penance
    120% melee bleed chance
    120% throwing bleed chance
    24% chance to bleed when hit

  • Redemption
    49% increased bleed effectiveness (if you read carefully, this is not coupled with the stack of bleed requirement from penance. You can easily test this by looking at your bleed damage in the character sheet when u put points into it).

Forge Guard

  • Molded by the Forge
    200% melee bleed chance when using a 2H axe

Ok so that pretty much rules out Void Knight.

On to skills with bleed support

There are many skills that have some added chance to bleed.

  • Warpath – Gorebringer
  • Lunge – Rough Cuts
  • Shield Bash – Serrating Strikes
  • Javelin – Go for the legs
  • Multistrike – Decimate
  • Forge Strike – Singular Craft

Now let’s look at the few skills that boost bleed damage or can allow for some sort of bleed scaling. I am ignoring skills that benefit from bleed (e.g. Void Cleave – Vorpal Force) as we’re focussing on ailment based damage.

  • Volatile reversal – Harbinger of Dust, Time Rifts
  • Abyssal echoes – Crumbling, Embrace the Darkness
  • Javelin – Spear to the thigh
  • Forge Strike – Put to the Sword, Serrated Blade, Bellows, Anvil Blow (when combined with Bellows)

Outcome

So taking in all those points, we can already see a few options,

  1. Melee based Forge Guard with Multistrike/Warpath and Forge Strike, adding stun chance to scale bleed further.
  2. Ranged based Forge Guard with Javelin and Forge Strike, adding stun chance to scale bleed further.
  3. Melee based Paladin with Multistrike/Warpath
  4. Range based Paladin with Javelin

I’ve messed with all 4 options and the first and last stand out. No 2 has good damage but plays a little clunky while No 3 is simply outshined by No 1 if you want a melee playstyle. Melee Forge Guard has been done before (albeit outdated) so I’ll share my take on the Ranged Paladin.


The build

Base build - Planner link:

This is the base build with some spare points. Feel free to spend the remaining points to support your gear/playstyle. Points leading up to the notable passives below are also interchangeable and can be tweaked.

Notable Passives

I have listed down the passive choices that I feel are critical to making this build work.

Forge Guard

  • Smelter’s Might
    This is pretty self-explanatory. More bleed chance is always desirable especially since this is a global bleed and not melee restricted.

Paladin

  • Conviction
    Penetration is very strong with ailments (actually with just about anything). This coupled with the Javelin - Forceful Hurl node will bump up our DPS very very nicely.

  • Penance
    We take the max points here for more throwing attack stacks (see Javelin in skill section for more details).

  • Redemption
    Of all the bleed bonuses, Bleed Effectiveness is the strongest (refer to ‘Which bleed affix is better?’ in the ‘Other notes and explanations’ section for more details).

Skills

Javelin

Important Nodes

  • Spear to the Thigh
    This is the key skill that makes Javelin special. It’s a multiplicative node that, when max’ed, doubles your ailment damage. Note that it only applies to ailments that are procced by Javelin (not auto bombs). So the remaining node choices will attempt to maximise this.

  • Siege Barrage
    So how do we increase all those empowered Javelin bleed procs? The most obvious way is to put points into Go for the Legs but at a paltry 15% chance per point, we aren’t getting much return. This often overlooked node shines for us in this build. Siege Barrage turns Javelin into a mini AOE that hits 3 times to all enemies in the AOE, effectively tripling the stacks per toss so we get more empowered bleed stacks to get those sexy DOT numbers.

  • Spiked Bombardment
    As above, more Javelins multiply your procs. This adds 25% to mana cost per point (base 9 – 9 Excellent Balance +12 Siege Barrage – any reduction from rings). You have to balance this mana cost to allow for more Abyssal Echoes spam. The reduced throwing mana cost from rings will come handy to ensure toss uptime. With two 3 reduced throwing mana cost rings, your tosses cost 9 mana (a pair of 4 reduced throwing mana cost rings will lead to 6 cost tosses).

  • Forceful Hurl
    This node is a little interesting. I’m always putting and taking away points from it in my tests. Physical penetration is ALWAYS good especially with the empowered bleed DOTs from Javelin.
    However, the main issue is to gain it you need to stay immobile for at least 1 second which can be done when you are trying to snipe Rares during mono clears. However, for boss fights I find myself moving a lot, getting lower mileage from this skill. You might want to take points off here depending on preference.

  • A word on Strategic Patience
    This node states ‘Javelin deals more damage, but has less attack speed’. Now, most nodes like this will affect the base skill and other skills that are procced by it (e.g. fissure from smite). It should not affect DOTs applied by the skill (unless explicitly specified) since they aren’t tied to the skill.
    However, based on my testing, this node actually applies to DOTs procced by Javelin. I highly think this is unintentional and could be due to some weird interactions with the ‘Spear to the Thigh’ node. This is why I do not spec into this node as I feel it might be fixed down the road. I also tend to favour attack speed (see attack speed in ‘Other notes and explanations’ section).

Devouring Orb
Not much to be said here due to the prevalent auto-bomber style builds out there. You want full Dark Torrent to maximise explosions and Sightless Star to reduce mana usage and stutter step duration during auto-cast. After the changes in 0.8.4, we have spare points since Dark Torrent only goes to 5. You have 2 choices here, add a little bit of duration, or area.
The explosions will help clear trash in monos most of the time. You WILL need the chance to bleed and physical shred blessing at the very least to do the same for empowered monos.

Abyssal Echoes
While I think Volatile Reversal is a pretty OP skill, Abyssal Echoes sits better in this build.

Important nodes,

  • Fragility and Crumbling
    More damage for DOTs.

  • Embrace the Darkness
    Faster tosses and more DOT damage

  • Sanguine Eruption
    This node is more important than it looks. While it doesn’t add to damage, it allows us to use Abyssal Echoes to burst down key Rares/Champs/Mobs that we want to die ASAP (plus I hate gorgons).

  • Screaming Rifts, Shrieking Echoes and Spreading Chaos
    We set up Abyssal Echoes for repeated casts to hasten the burst potential of Sanguine Eruption. This also reduces the spam frequency requirement as you’ll still maintain Abyssal Decay uptime debuff post Embrace the Darkness. Spreading Chaos synergises with this to spread more debuffs.

Holy Aura
Pretty self-explanatory. Prioritise attack speed, elemental resists and endurance. You can take points from Vital Boon/Purification or Fanaticism if you prefer more block effectiveness.

Last skill
So the last skill is up to your preference/playstyle. I can already hear shouts for Sigils of Hope but it would not be my first recommendation. Before you take out your pitchforks and lambast me for making a pally without Sigils, please hear me out.

Why not Sigils of Hope?
Let me preface this by saying that Sigils is a pretty OP skill. There are plenty of Void Knight and Forge Guard builds that put points into Paladin JUST for this skill and I’m not about to disagree with them. Sigils add damage and survivability if used in this build. Its uptime is also pretty much guaranteed when you’re mobbing if you take the Last Wish node.

Now why won’t I recommend it? This build doesn’t really need that much more damage when mobbing. The issue mainly arises during Boss encounters. Sigils have a hefty 35 mana cost. And you’ll have to re-cast it for most boss encounters. This reduces its damage contribution by taking away mana that you can use for Abyssal Echoes, our other damage buff/debuff. You could spec into the Quiet Mind node to circumvent this but that reduces its buff elements as you shift points there.

What if I told you there’s another skill out there that can also add damage and survivability for BOTH trash and boss encounters and comes with an easier to maintain uptime?

Recommendation
So enter Smite. Wait what? Yes Smite, via idols. You won’t have to cast it so you can drop it off your skill bar and put a non-specced Lunge for a little bit of zoom zoom. Max area, regen and heal nodes. After that you’re left with a choice of reaching for the lightning branch to max Wandering Bolts for more multi target DPS (my preference), or going Righteous Fury on the left branch for more single target DPS (you toss faster). This gives you,

Pros

  • Some DPS bump via more bleed procs from main and extra bolts.
  • More reach as Smite procs outside of Devouring Orb explosion AOE.
  • Additional defensive layer via Smite heal and a sprinkling of health regen. Also reduces dependence on leech.
  • Mana regen that circumvents smite cost and helps with Abyssal Echoes spam.
  • More discoooooooooo (sorry couldn’t resist).

Cons

  • You will need to adjust your playstyle to be more mid-range-ish to be within Smite heal area. This isn’t a problem for boss encounters as they will usually try to close down the gap to show some love. For regular mobbing, being in the heal area isn’t as critical on lower corruption.
  • You give up idol slots for ‘Smite on throwing attack’ idols. Your Javelin bleed DPS will drop a little though this is minimised by more sources of bleed procs from your bolts.
  • If your potato PC is already struggling with the auto bomber spam, going Smite might turn it into a baked potato.
  • Paladin without Sigils T_T.

Hope that convinces you. YMMV of course. Highly skilled players might even find a way to fit Volatile Reversal here which brings damage, an on demand escape and a probable reduction of mana constraints if you’re good with timing. Now let’s move on to gear.

Gear

I will loosely mention gearing requirements as it will depend on how you spend the pre-requisite points in your mastery as well as your drop luck.

Priorities after mandatory gear

  1. Bleed effect on Helm and Chest
    This is first as it will give a noticeable bump to DPS. Slap a Physical damage and Bleed duration prefix on it via crafting while you’re at it. ‘Chance to bleed when wielding axe’ is a desirable pairing as well if you have a drop with it.

  2. Flayer’s pride
    The only shield with bleed buffs. You COULD use a different shield like a bastion if you want more survivability and can stomach the DPS loss.

  3. Throwing attack mana cost reduction
    Don’t skimp on this. It will help mana management tremendously allowing you to sustain DPS. More mana = more Abyssal Echoes spam. I have a total of 8 reduction from my test gear and I still wish for more.

  4. Dragonbone Axe with Chance to bleed suffix
    The best base as it’s a global chance to bleed to benefit your Javelin and auto-bombs. Prefixes you want are Increased DOT and Physical damage.

  5. Thornslinger belt
    The only belt with bleed and gives a needed +1 to Javelin. Some extra movement speed and throwing attack speed bonuses too.

  6. Stymied fate
    The only boots with DOT damage. Has decent move speed and helps with the non-specced Lunge cooldown if you go the Smite route.

Desirable prefixes for other slots

  • Physical Penetration (amulet). This affix is hard to come by so do try to get it on your amulet.
  • Damage over Time
  • Physical Damage

As for the rest, just go with defensive related ones. After you max your resist, endurance and crit avoidance caps, I would recommend prioritising Armour as you have access to some nice Armour scaling passives (Battle Hardened and Faith Armour).

Which bases?
I’d try to go for Winged Helmet and Solarum Plate to help reach the Crit Avoidance cap. Amulet and Ring base choices are flexible.

Idols
In general, you will first want to cap your resistance gaps then shoot for pretty much any bleed related or defensive affixes.

You have access to,

Prefix

  • Chance to Bleed on Hit – Humble Idol [2×1] Ornate Idol [4×1]
  • Increased Bleed Duration – Large Idol [1×3]
  • Damage Over Time – Small Idol [1×1] Grand Idol [3×1]

Suffix

  • Chance To Bleed on Hit While At High Health – Grand Idol [3×1] Ornate Idol [4×1]
  • Physical Damage Over Time – Large Idol [1×3] Huge Idol [1×4] Adorned Idol [2×2]

If you go down the Smite route, some of your idol space will be taken up by Smite chance on throwing attack idols. I find 2-3 (high % Smite chance) of these to be a good baseline so you have enough free space to slot other affixes in. You may use more or less idols depending on preference/requirements/luck.

I tend to be more conservative and go for more defensive idols due to my ‘old man reflexes’. Better skilled players can load up on bleed idols for more damage.

Legendries
So 0.8.4 brings us a nice overall gear upgrade via legendries. First priority would be to get some +Javelin skill bonus on your Valdyr’s Chalice. This will remove the dependence on the +1 from Thornslinger if you feel like using another unique belt. Put those extra points in Forceful Hurl and Go for the Legs (or Mighty Delivery if you want more attack speed).

A word on Blessings
The mandatory ones here are the Chance to Bleed and Physical Resistance Shred ones. If you don’t go the Smite route, Increased Leech rate is needed to buff leech from DOTs via Valdyr’s Chalice. You should probably go for Endurance for the Spirits of Fire blessing.


Playstyle

General Playstyle
You want devouring orb set on auto-cast. Drop an Abyssal Echoes on the priority target which will cast 5 times and start tossing, repositioning as required. Try to get used to the timing of the 5th and final cast as this will be a good time to refresh. You may choose to refresh it earlier after the 4 seconds of ‘Embrace the Darkness’ buff should you need more burst.

Javelin barrage AOE is not large so familiarise yourself. Do note that Javelin DOES NOT AUTO TARGET. If you click on a mob, the tosses will still follow your cursor even if the mob moves. Learn to lead mob movement so barrage always hits, especially for mobs that continuously move (I’m looking at you act 9 scarabs). This might take some players a bit of time to get a hang of.

For easier content, you’ll hardly even need to cast Abyssal Echoes, tossing occasionally for more resilient mobs. Your auto-bombs should be more than enough.

As you move up to higher corruption in empowered monos, mobs will survive long enough to start becoming a threat. Use the rotation to snipe priority targets and you should be ok as long as you pay attention. Your mobility is decent with the buffs from holy aura and devouring orb.

For boss fights, mana management becomes more important but otherwise pretty much the same as above. Try to get as many tosses in before repositioning as your Javelin bleed single target DPS is very good. For those going the Smite route, pay attention to the heal area to maximise its benefit.


Videos Here's a quick 100 corruption empowered mono run I recorded on random test gear. Note that this is on relatively unoptimised gear. Summary of damage boosting elements below.
  • 405% bleed chance, 1004 bleed damage
  • all 5 uniques (non legendary)
  • 61% bleed effect on helm, 51% bleed effect on chest
  • 45% physical and 101% DoT on amulet
  • +20 phys and 4 reduced mana cost on each ring
  • Dragonbone axe with a 93% chance to bleed base + 69% chance to bleed suffix
  • 18% smite chance on throwing attack

Poor affixes overall otherwise. Plenty of room to min max.


Other notes and explanations
  • Why not 2H?
    The only benefit you get from going 2H is access to larger weapon affixes and 70% extra bleed chance from the Smelter’s Might passive. I find this bonus lacking when compared to the loss in attack speed and extra defensive layer from block mechanics. YMMV.

  • Which Bleed affix is better?
    Bleed effect is king as it is a multiplicative bonus that affects base bleed damage before all the increased damage (DOT and Physical) boosts. However, we can only access it from our Helmet and Chest slots, plus Valdyr’s Chalice and Flayer’s Pride.

So next is Chance to Bleed on Hit (make sure it isn’t melee hit) and Bleed duration. I’d put Chance to Bleed ahead as it doesn’t lengthen engagement times without Abyssal Echoes. If in doubt, check your Javelin skill DPS number on your bar. It shows DPS including ailments, so aside from modifiers with dependencies (e.g. shred), it should give you a general idea on which piece of gear is better.

BONUS TIDBIT: Your Javelin skill DPS doesn’t account for the additional Javelins from Barrage/Bombardment. So an 80k value there would be eventually multiplied by 5 to get you 400k DPS for a real reflection of your Javelin DPS. This is why we get sexy numbers from Javelin spam.

  • Attack Speed
    This affects your Javelin bleed DPS (and also Smite proc frequency if you go that route). I heavily favour this stat as a small increase might mean an extra toss before you need to reposition during boss encounters. This is also one of the main reasons why I prefer a 1H + Shield setup over a 2H.

  • Shield Breaker Forge Guard Passive
    Quite a conundrum for our build. I have tested this passive and it really adds a very nice bump to our single target DPS, even with 1 point as it gives 5 physical shred stacks per toss. The main issue is the hefty mana cost added to your tosses, which will take mana away from Abyssal Echoes. If you’re lucky enough to get high rolled Throwing attack reduced mana cost affixes on your rings, I would seriously start to consider putting 1 point here. Any more might be too much of a mana strain, YMMV.

  • Can I level with this build?
    I would not recommend using this build for levelling as it heavily relies on having the bleed related affixes on gear (uniques or otherwise). If you happen to want to experience the playstyle early and use it to farm for the required uniques, look to respec post 60 at the minimum.

You can run a defensive + taunt Manifest Armour as your last skill so you have an additional body to take the heat off from you.


Closing thoughts
I would like to thank you for surviving the walls of texts this far. As always, Last Epoch is still a WIP so any changes/updates may require tweaks to this build. Feedback is always welcome as build optimisation is an iterative process and builds can always be improved.

Would be interested to hear your experiences running this (especially in Arena since I don’t really play that game mode as much as I’d like). Side note, if you have any suggestions on improving this build guide, do PM me.

Last Updated: 26th Dec 2021

To add:

  • More gameplay videos (hopefully).
  • Loot filter.
  • Possible variants and new BIS gear. (Will do some testing to see if I can optimise a variant without DO)
  • Any updates from hotfix/patches that affect this build.
2 Likes

Hey there, any chance of a video of some gameplay coming up? I’ve been itching to try another build out :slight_smile:

Hey! Let me try to record something soon. Been a little busy with my newborn and haven’t had time to play LE.

2 Likes

Uploaded a quick video. Apologies if its too short (had to record this with bub in one arm) but it should give a rough idea of the build. Will try to revisit later with better videos when I have more time.

I have listed most of the damage related stats but overall a large headroom to min max gear wise (especially defensively).

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