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Shadow HoA Marksman Build Guide (0.8.5) | S-Tier Arena Pusher (500+) / Boss Killer

Also known as Cold Hail of Arrows
Originally created by Tunk

EDIT: 0.8.5 Update is ready. Please read the Changelog (->Updates)

S-Tier Marksman Build. All Endgame Content viable. High Arena/Champions & Corruption Pusher + Boss Killer. Tankiest Marksman Build. SSF Friendly. Very unique and mechanical playstyle.

Build Guide and Gameplay Footage: (Please watch the video first and use the written Build Guide for more detailed information later)

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Strong and safe Arena/Arena Champions Pusher
  • Easy Boss Killer
  • Very tanky
  • No endgame gear required to work
  • Unique playstyle and mechanics
  • Top Tier Marksman Build together with BowMage. Completely different playstyle though

Cons

  • Not the best Monolith and gear farmer, can clear echoes very fast though if you rush to the quest marker
  • Requires alot of practice to not mess up the dmg output
  • Very mechanical. Can be hard to play for casuals or beginners
  • HoA is unlocked at Level 30 in Marksman tree, so you start relatively late with this build
FAQ

Why no Drelkor’s Compass Bow? It has the same amount of Flat Dmg as Reign of Winter.

  • Reign of Winter also gives Cold Pen and Attunement which makes Mana management a bit easier.
  • If you stick with Physical Base HoA dmg, additional Base dmg that you get from Elemental Arrows (Marksman tree) will not be converted, so it’s harder to push the dmg. Increased Elemental dmg over time is a really good affix to buff elemental HoA dmg since the numbers are higher on this affix than a regular inc dot, cold, physical dmg affix for example.
  • With the Cold conversion in tree you get additional Chill chance, which is a good defensive layer for a build that can’t hit (missing slow, chill and frailty)
  • Drelkor has reduced Bow mana cost. Less Bow mana cost makes HoA do less dmg. We want HoA’s mana cost as high as possible, that’s why we scale HoA duration.

Why no Sniper’s Gambit (Marksman Passive)?

  • Don’t get me wrong. 30 Flat Bow dmg is an insane buff for this build. I would recommend to always take it to boost your dmg while farming for gear. If you really wanna push high Arena or Corruption content i would not recommend this node because of the 12% Increased dmg taken. I prefer defense over offense, that’s why i’m not using it in my Build Showcase.

How do you level this Build through the story?

  • I usually level with Bleed Puncture. Imo it’s the fastest way to rush through the story. I don’t want to tell you though how you should play, so just enjoy the story and game as much as possible. There is no need to rush. You can even copy the Shadow HoA passive if you don’t want to respec. But if you want to make it easier, i added a complete Leveling section down below in this Build Guide just to get an insight how to level Marksman fast.

How do you play in Monolith to farm you gear?

  • In Monolith you have to adapt your playstyle a bit. Try to attract as many monsters as possible so that you don’t have to constantly cast HoA only for a couple of enemies. Remember that each HoA cast costs alot of mana, so you will have mana problem if you don’t kite a pull enemies. You can either push straight to the Echo Marker to finish the quest (for Boss and Corruption Pushing) or pull as many enemies as possible together for more loot drop and efficient playstyle. More info in ‘‘Build Mechanics & Gameplay’’ section.

BowMage or Shadow HoA?

  • BowMage is stronger and more efficient. But it’s also very squishy. Shadow HoA is the most tankiest Marksman build, but slower with Mono and Gear farming. Both can push high Arena Waves. Both are S-Tier. Both have complete different playstyles. Choose whatever you prefer!
Build Mechanics & Gameplay

Skill Rotation
Smoke Bomb - Dark Quiver - Shift - Hail of Arrows - Moving - Smoke Bomb - Dark Quiver (if needed) - Shift - Hail of Arrows…

Welcome to maybe one of the most mechanical builds in the game. I absolutely fell in love with the rotation and playstyle. It definitely requires some practice, because one mistake can cause a death in high arena waves.
It is one of the only endgame Marksman Builds that fully utilizes Shadows as a mechanic. The build is not using any Mana Generator Skill so the whole Build is about perfect Timing, Positioning and Skill Rotation.

Important nodes:

  • All attacks have a long casting duration. Using the skills is the only time where you stand still and not get the -25% Less dmg Taken while moving Bonus from Evasion (Rogue passive). Try to use Smoke Bomb before Dark Quiver because you will get the Silver Shroud first to stay safe if enemies are already too close.
  • Try to Shift ontop of a Black Arrow from Dark Quiver to save a few seconds
  • Use Shift to save before Smoke Bomb’s 3rd Shadow cast to save a second. You can basically get the full Dark Quiver dmg bonus after 2 seconds instead of 3 if you play it correctly. Every second counts in high Arena waves.
  • Use Hail of Arrows right after Shift because of the high Movement Speed Bonus from Shift+Agility (Rogue Passive) for additional dmg. You only have one chance for the perfect rotation and dmg output, so don’t mess it up!

BowMage vs. Shadow HoA
BowMage is insane for Mono Gear farming because of its offscreen potential. It also works great in Arena. BowMage is far more squishy compared to Shadow HoA. Thats why Shadow HoA is probably the go to Arena pusher build.
Shadow HoA is not the best Monolith Gear Farmer, because you need to setup the rotation for a good amount of dmg. You can still play the build in every content to get your gear, but BowMage is more efficient in farming. I add some Monolith Gameplay tips below.

Gameplay Tips:

Arena
Follow the skillrotation that is mentioned above. Try to find a spot in each arena zone where you comfortably can pull enemies into a narrow area. You really have to know each Arena zone. You will achieve high Waves with high knowledge. It’s not all about the gear. So practice as much as you can.
ALWAYS MOVE! It is important to keep the -25% less dmg taken Bonus from Evasion Passive up. Use Decoy only if you mess up a skill rotation or fast enemies are running towards you. HoA has a long cast animation because we dont scale Attack Speed. Therefore you can use Decoy aswell before casting HoA.

Monolith
For Mono you can either rush through an echo to get to the quest marker if you wanna push corruption or farm bosses or clear out the whole echo. It takes way longer compared to other good Marksman clear builds if you fully wanna clear the map. You can leave out the whole DQ and Smoke Bomb rotation though with less dmg. Just Shift+HoA when you see a bigger group of monsters for some additional gear drops. In general i recommend to kite first and pull enemies together before you use the whole setup.
You never hit enemies (not even to apply dot), so the following mono modifiers are “free”: Frenzy and Haste, Dodge, Glancing Blow, Crit Avoidance.

Bosses
Absolutely amazing against bosses like Shade or the new T4 Dungeon Boss. Just do the normal Shadow setup and shoot HoA ontop of the boss. Kite around the area, look out for the telegraphed attacks from a boss and cast HoA again after its duration. You can learn alot of boss mechanics while still doing dmg, so this build is perfect for bosses.

Stat Priority

Offense

  • Bow Flat Damage (both Physical and Fire)
  • Hail of Arrows duration
  • +Level to Hail of Arrows
  • Dexterity
  • Cold Penetration
  • Elemental dmg over time

Defense

  • Health (2k+)
  • Dodge (try to reach 40-50% unbuffed)
  • Endurance (try to cap it at 60%)
  • Crit Avoidance (100%)
  • All capped Resistances
  • 31% base Glancing Blow
  • High Movement Speed (50-60+) You will reach 100%+ Movement Speed after using Shift.

Mana Regeneration should be around 13-15 on char sheet to sustain the heavy HoA mana cost. At the end HoA costs 100 Mana that lasts for over 10 seconds.
We can’t hit with this Build, so we don’t need stats like Slow, Chill or Frailty Chance.
Attack Speed and Crit scaling is also not needed for this build.

Leveling

I usually like to level with Bleed Puncture + Shift to rush through the story.
Here is my typical Marksman Leveling Tree, before i completely respec into Shadow HoA

Marksman, Level 100 (LE Beta 0.8.4c) - Last Epoch Build Planner

Puncture Skill tree order:
2 Points in Perforate
1 Point in Press The Attack (we will always have Frenzy, even with only 1 Point into it if we constanly attack)
4 Points in Bloodthirst
3 Points in Hunger

In this short Build Planner i only want to show you my gear which is not that important except to have a fast hitting Bow like Salvaged Bow with Bow Attack Speed & Bleed Chance. We take the Light Quiver for Attack Speed and focus on Movement Speed on Boots. We already take Silver Rings with us for additional Movement Speed. Remember that we get alot of Inreased Dmg for each Point of Movement Speed early on with the Agility node (Rogue Tree). For Defenses: Only focus on Resistances and Health until you reach endgame.

If you don’t like to respec the Mastery trees you can immediately set up the Shadow HoA tree. The only difference is basically that i take the increased Bow Attack Speed nodes ‘‘Swift Assassin’’ and ‘‘Draining Arrows’’ with me.

Here is the Passive Leveling order:
8 Points Swift Assassin
1 Point Guile
1 Points Evasion
5 Points Agility
4 Points Evasion to max it
1 Point Steady Hand to reach 20 Rogue Passives to unlock Marksman

8 Points Draining Arrows
1 Point Assassins Quiver
4 Points Focus Fire
1 Point Concentration
1 Point Elemental Arrows
3 Points Meditation
2 Points Siege Quiver
5 Points Reflection
1 Point Arrow Storm
1 Point Storm Fletcher
2 Points Elemental Barrage
1 Point Siege Quiver
Now we unlocked Hail of Arrow and respec the Tree to Shadow HoA.

Important nodes:

  • Only start putting points into Coated Blades later when you have enough Mana and Mana reg, so that you have no Mana issues while playing. You don’t need that dmg early on. Your last points should be Coated Blades (HoA dmg), Cloak of Shadows (Blade Dancer tree for the Glancing Blow and Dex) and Thief’s Quiver (Leech and Health).
    Put points into Sniper’s Gambit for Monolith. Respec those points if you wanna push Arena.
Updates

Changelog

  • 0.8.5 Update: No major changes. Small adjustments to new Helmet & Body Armour base types. We lost the dodge implicit helmet and go for Exile Hate (Bow Dmg). Please take a look at the new Endgame Build Planner. For Shift i added one point into Elusive to gain more dodge after using Shift
  • 0.8.4h Added Endgame Build Planner (01/06/2022)
  • 0.8.4c Added FAQ section. Added detailed Build Mechanics & Gameplay section. Added detailed Leveling section. No changes to the Build (12/18/2021)
  • 0.8.4 Build Guide Release (12/12/2021)

Dammitt’s Gear Planner

OUTDATED: My SSF Level 97 Marksman. Arena Wave 345 (Patch 0.8.4)
Will upload my personal 0.8.5 version after finishing a new Marksman Build.

ENDGAME BUILD PLANNER (Updated to 0.8.5)
This would be an endgame version you could chase. (I added sealed items only to show you what could be good alternatives as affixes, of course try to go for exalted items. I added possible and interesting uniques.)


Skills

Hail of Arrows

  • Steady (HoA duration)
  • Nowhere to Hide (Big dmg multiplier for long duration HoA)
  • The Hunt (more HoA duration)
  • Volley (HoA AoE)
  • Crystal Arrows (Cold conversion, chill chance, can convert added Bow dmg to Cold)
  • Focus (Dmg multiplier)

Shift

  • Velocity, Head Trauma & Braskula’s Hesitation (inc HoA dmg after using Shift)
  • Swift Recovery, Momentum & Shadowslip (Mana, Movement Speed & Invulnerabilty)
  • Lasting Presence (Additional Shadow after using Shift, important node to reduce the full 3 Shadow uptime to 2 instead of 3 seconds together with Smoke Bomb)
  • Elusive (1 point wonder) For a good amount of dodge after using Shift

Smoke Bomb

  • Umbral Assault (100% Shadow creation chance per second)
  • Lingering Fumes (full duration)
  • Moonlight Bomb (abusing 1 Silver Shroud stack, the other one comes from Marksman tree)
  • Thick Smoke (1 Slow stack)
  • Rapid Concealment (Dusk Shroud frequency)

Dark Quiver

  • Umbral Resolution (Huge dmg multiplier for 3 Shadows consumed)
  • Heavy Arrows & Archer’s Focus (HoA dmg multipliers)
  • Nightfall (Dusk Shrouds)

Decoy

  • Efficient Construction (Mana cost)
  • Sonic Detonation (Frailty stacks)
  • Warning Sound (Haste)
  • Backup Buddy (additional Charge)
  • Lasting Presence (more duration)

Passives

Rogue

  • Steady Hand (Health & Dex)
  • Guile (only if you need capped Poison Resistance)
  • Evasion (-25% dmg taken while moving, always move with this build!)
  • Agility (Dmg per Movement Speed)
  • Dodge and Parry (GB and Dodge)
  • Coated Blades (80% MORE dmg for HoA+additional HoA Mana cost; you need around 150-200 Mana to comfortably use this skill)

Blade Dancer

  • Cloak of Shadows (GB and Dex)

Marksman

  • Elemental Arrows (Huge Flat Bow dmg source, converted to cold dmg)
  • Siege Quiver (max Arrows & Elemental Resistances per Arrow)
  • Elemental Barrage (consumes more arrows per HoA use=more dmg)
  • Heightened Senses (Crit Avoidance, we reach 100% CA with Empowered Blessing, we don’t need crit multiplier)
  • Thief’s Quiver (Leech & Health, the leech works really good)
  • Arrow Storm+Covering Fire (abusing a Silver Shroud stack, the other one we get from Smoke Bomb)
  • Ethereal Arrows (Mana & Mana Regen + HoA dmg)
  • Master Archer (HoA AoE)

Important node:
Sniper’s Gambit is a huge dmg boost for HoA but we are also more vulnerable in Arena. It’s up to you if you wanna use it. You can take it for Monolith. But i would not recommend it in Arena

Rest of the points into (up to you):
Thiefguard (Health), Guile (Poison Res), Prolonged Demise (Less DoT dmg taken & increased DoT dmg), Covering Fire (more Silver Shrouds)


Gear

Bow: Reign of Winter (BiS) or Longbow (Highest Flat Bow dmg, we don’t need Crit or Attack Speed)

Quiver: Ivory Quiver (best defensive Quiver for Resistances)

Helmet: Exile Hat (Bow Damage)

Body Armour: Crimson Garb (dodge rating)

Belt: Bronze Belt (armour)

Gloves: Engraved Gauntles (BiS for Endurance) or Crusader Gauntlets (void resistance)

Boots: Solarum Greaves (fire resistance)

Amulet: Bone Amulet (phys and necrotic resistance)

Rings: 2x Silver Rings (movementspeed)

Relic: Jade Dice (dodge rating)


Uniques & Legendaries

Reign of Winter (only Unique that you need for this Build)
Use a T10 Longbow with T5 Flat Physical Bow Dmg and T5 Flat Fire Bow Dmg until you get it.
There are no interesting Suffixes you can craft on the Bow. We don’t need Attackspeed or Crit for this Build.

Aurora’s Time Glass (only in Arena)

Legendaries

  • 2LP Reign of Winter with Flat Phyical Bow Dmg & Flat Fire Bow Dmg
  • 3-4LP Arrowguard with Flat Phyical Bow Dmg, Flat Fire Bow Dmg & Resistances
  • Any 3-4LP unique Belt with a Dodge affix. Craft Cleanse Ailment, Increased Health & Hybrid Health on it.

Idols

4x Large Idols (1x3)
Prefix: Increased duration with Hail of Arrows (7-15%)
Suffix: Bow Damage (11-30%) , Elemental Resistance (5-13%) or Increased Dmg while wielding a Bow (11-30%)

4x Stout Idols (1x2)
Flat Health, Increased Health or Resistances.
Whatever you need


Blessings

The Black Sun Timeline

  • Dodge (recommended) or Health

Ending the Storm Timeline

  • Lightning Resistance (recommended), Mana or Cold dmg

Reign of Dragons Timeline

  • Crit Avoidance (recommended) or All Res

The Age of Winter Timeline

  • Endurance Threshold (recommended), Cold or Physical Resistance

Spirits of Fire Timeline

  • Endurance (recommended), Dodge Rating or Fire Resistance

Please feel free to ask any questions about this build.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the build!

1 Like

Nice guide!
got any loot filter?

1 Like

You can get it from the build planner.

tyvm! As Llama said you can simply use the Lootfilter from the Build Planner which works completely fine.
I honestly don’t use perfect lootfilters for myself thats why i usually dont share them.
But i can give you an insight what i play with:

As you can see, nothing special.
Show every unique and exalted, hide all items i dont wanna see (white, every weapon because i already use Reign of Winter), the Red recolor shows all related stats for HoA such as +Level to HoA or HoA duration, the Pink recolor i usually use for rare affixes that i shatter in SSF. Hide all othher Class items (because i’m a Marksman Main :slight_smile: ), and hide all other base items that i dont want. Im just looking for the right bases that i mentioned in this Build Guide under ‘‘Gear’’.

looks awesome! thank you for the guide.

1 Like

Hey!
I wanted to play a bow build, so i saved well rolled reign of winter wuth no idea of the build i what i would be playing.
I just finished the normal monolith, i must say i’m very impressed.
The gameplay is smooth and safe, and the damage output crazy .
I’m not sure how i will scale it later (the dot stats are the best if i understand correctly) but with the new crafting system i’m eager to try and craft some good items.
Really worth testing and playing

1 Like

I’m glad you enjoy the build! Yes it is already very powerful early on once you unlock Hail of Arrows.

Hail of Arrows is doing DoT dmg (don’t mistake it for ailment dmg). The DoT dmg comes together with all the added Flat Bow dmg that you scale. Added Flat Bow Dmg has a 300% dmg effectiveness. The DoT ticks on the dummy are really fast, in my Video Showcase we can see 58k dots (4x per second)= 232k dmg per second for 6 seconds, the 4 seconds before the dmg builds up. And the best thing is, you do those numbers without attacking directly like with any other ailment build.
I hope you will continue to have fun with it. Let me know what powerful items you will get with the new crafting and legendary system. I will update a BiS endgame Planner soon.

Changelog 0.8.4c

  • Added FAQ section.
  • Added a more detailed Build Mechanics & Gameplay section.
  • Added a more detailed Leveling section
  • No changes to the Build.

So, does HoA count as damage over time? aswell as hit damage? do i understand that right?

HoA count only as DoT (Barrage though is a hit), but it has benefits from hit damage, as it converts hit to DoT.

1 Like

Probably one of the best build that i’ve played !
Bossing, Arena, Temple, everything is rekted in a couple of seconds :smiley:
Thanks for your hard work into this build and your explanations !

1 Like

Hey. just wanted to say, this is an amazing build!
Level 77 currently, working my way through the monos and everything’s a breeze. Still working on getting my defenses up a bit.
Was wondering if you could share a more current build planner, to showcase any legendaries you might have added?
Thanks for the great work putting this together!

1 Like

I’m glad you’re enjoying it!
I haven’t played the build lately because i was participating and organizing an event, but will go back to Marksman soon later this Patch.
Meanwhile i put together an absolute dream version of this build. It’s gonna be hard to get but i tried to keep it realistic while not putting every item to T7 Exalteds or full Legendary.

Changelog 0.8.4h

  • Added Endgame Build Planner

  • No changes to the Build

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