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Path of Exile EB Ethereal Knives Shadow Build

Path of Exile EB Ethereal Knives Shadow Build by Invalesco

Also See: Path of Exile EB Ethereal Knives Shadow Build #2

Why a guide about Ethereal Knives?

I had been getting a few PMs about EK lately which I found difficult to answer as I've never used EK and decided to use the recent one week HC race to build an EK char from a zero economy and experience the progression for myself.

Why HP and not CI seeing as you're usually a CI char-builder?
I was actually planning on going CI initially but I realised that my optimum colours for a 5L/6L were impossible to obtain from a pure ES chest. Without a high ES chest, the amount of ES you will have as CI will be severely compromised and I saw no way around it, hence I opted for a HP build instead, which would also give me the opportunity to test out HP vs CI.

Why Armour as one of the defensive options?
The bane of many high DPS high level characters is reflect damage. Being a physical spell, EK deals physical damage and reflect physical mobs are very, very painful. Armour in this case both protects you from the opposing mobs as well as from yourself.

Is this build feasible as a first character?
It most certainly is! After playing this hp build character, I can most certainly tell you that is is 100% easier to build in HC as compared to CI characters.

What is this build about?
It's a build that focuses on building the shadow around an unconventional HP/Str build as opposed to the usual CI/Int/ES build, focusing on HP, HP regen and Armour as defense and using ES as a mana buffer instead of the traditional protection purpose while using Ethereal Knives as the main AoE skill with Bear Traps as the main single target DPS skills versus bosses and in PvP scenarios. Defensive skills include Frost Wall and the curse of choice is Projectile Weakness.

The Key Keystones
Eldritch Battery - Converts your energy shield to mana thereby increasing your mana pool tremendously which is highly useful for the high mana consumption of EK and its supports as well as for the running of the auras that you will need.
Inner Force - A must-have for all Eldritch Battery builds in my opinion as most EB builds run tons of auras and Inner Force and its cluster amplifies the effect by 30% in total. In the case of this build, Inner Force amplifies the armour granted by Determination, the ES/mana granted by Discipline, the Evasion granted by Grace, the life regen % granted by Vitality and the DPS percentage added on by Hatred. (Bolded ones are totally awesome btw)

Always help Oak for HP, except maybe in a race whereby you might want to help Kraityn at least once for the +8 resists.

Skill Tree Progression
30 Points Approx Level 28
43 Points Approx Level 37
53 Points Approx Level 45
62 Points Approx Level 51
70 Points Approx Level 59
75 Points Approx Level 64
84 Points Approx Level 73
90 Points Approx Level 79, End-game build
95 Points Approx Level 84, End-End-game build

Note: I have tried to detail the respeccing steps as best as I can, let me know if you need more elaboration

Alter the build progression in terms of your preference
1. Need more hp/want to play more safe? Get the HP nodes before the DPS nodes
2. Want to go full glass cannon in default? Get more DPS nodes and don't take as many HP nodes

Pros and Cons of this Build
1. An extremely fun and strong build to play solo
2. High survivability, with high HP and HP regen
1. Relatively weaker in groups due to the need to spam more, resulting in higher mana usage
2. Might find it a bit difficult-going mana wise, but that can be countered by the mana leech support
3. Bear Traps require some skill to use, might take a while to get used to it

Usable in
1. Hardcore
2. Default
3. 1 Week HC Races
4. PvP

I have a HC Ethereal Knives character at the moment, he is currently level 77 and is residing in the HC League after managing to reach Level 70 during the 1 Week HC Race within 1 day and 8 hours of gameplay.

Some vital information regarding Ethereal Knives Mechanics
It is a physical spell
What this means is that EK's DPS is affected by:
- %Cast speed nodes as well as %cast speed mods on gear
- %Spell damage nodes as well as %spell damage mods on gear
- %Projectile damage nodes
- %Spell critical chance/multiplier nodes + Global Critical Chance mods on gear
- %Increased Physical damage mods on non-weapon gear
- %Increased elemental damage nodes + %cold damage/%fire damage mods on gear (slightly)

It is NOT affected by:
- %Increased Physical Damage mods on Weapons
- Flat physical damage mods (+1-4, etc) on gear
- %Increased physical damage with one-handed weapons/daggers/etc. nodes
- %Increased melee physical damage
- Facebreaker's %increased unarmed physical damage
- %attack speed nodes/mods on gear
- %increased elemental damage with weapons nodes/mods

Usage of Flasks
Granites to be used versus reflect physical mobs at ALL TIMES! as well as versus the usual physical damage mobs

Auras and Active Skills
Determination, Vitality, Hatred, Discipline, Grace.
Determination and Vitality for end-game survivability
Grace for early-game survivability --> can be used in end-game as well if you have enough mana
Hatred for adding DPS to your EK and Bear Traps
Discipline for early-game survivability and end-game mana pool

Projectile weakness will complement this build nicely because it enhances projectile damage (EK is a projectile) as well as increasing pierce and knockback chance, with knockback being useful as it can be a offensively defensive measure.

Versus Mobs
Ethereal Knives will be your main skill.

Some pointers to take note regarding EK
Best EK support combinations, in descending order
1. EK + Added Fire Damage + Chain + Faster Projectiles + Iron Will + Mana Leech/Reduced Mana
2. EK + Added Fire Damage + Chain + Faster Projectiles/Mana Leech + Iron Will
3. EK + Added Fire Damage + Chain + Faster Projectiles/Mana Leech
4. EK + Added Fire Damage + Fork + Faster Projectiles
5. EK + Fork + Faster Projectiles

1v1 Bosses
Bear Trap. Useful because of its extremely high single-target DPS and the fact that it locks enemies in place, thus allowing you to EK them from afar without having to kite. Also immensely useful for taking out the reflect physical bosses as damage dealt by bear traps isn't reflected back to the user.

Nice Bear Trap support combinations
Bear Trap + Added Fire Damage + Culling Strike is basically your must have core. The fourth can be anything that adds damage, such as added lightning damage or added chaos damage although i'm leaning slightly more towards added chaos damage. Whatever support that adds damage will in turn be further amplified by bear trap's 150% damage effectiveness.

Skelly Brotem. Yes, I call it brotem because its your best friend in the game, be it versus flicker mobs, kraityn, oak or even random smelly bears.
Frost Wall. Erects a barrier protecting you from advancing mobs/archers and allowing you to still hit them with EK because Fork and Chain bounces off the Frost Wall to hit them.

Early Gameplay Tips

Early-Game Single Target DPS
Bear Trap doesn't really perform that well early on in the game. I usually just dual wield weapons and use Dual Strike for single-target DPS in normal Act1 + 2. (at this point it doesn't really matter, Normal tends to be simple enough that you can bum around and still get through adequately)

Early-Game AoE
EK can be used, but the problem with EK early on is that it's DPS scaling early on doesn't give it that much advantage over Freezing Pulse. Add to the fact that it has a slower cast time, I usually level the gem in a swapped out weapon's socket and use Freezing Pulse as my main AoE.

This holds true till Level 15

At this point, you should have already reached Cavern of Wrath and taken the Fork support gem.

From this point on, EK + Fork starts to get stronger and arguably better than FP. Use whichever you prefer.

After doing Weaver's Chambers, the support gem that you should pick at this point is Faster Projectiles.

From this point on, link EK with Fork and Faster Projectiles.

From level 26 or so onwards, EK linked with the above supports will start to outperform Freezing Pulse completely and I usually ditch Freezing Pulse at this point.

If you get the Added Fire Damage support, link it to Bear Trap for now. Linking it to EK will increase the mana cost too much without it being that much useful yet. (Even without Added Fire Damage support on EK you will still mostly be two/three-shotting mobs)

When do I start using Chain?
Chain is not a priority. You can do very well with Fork all the way till Merciless hence there's no need to trade for it early on.
However, when you finally do obtain Chain and want to use it, you are advised to swap out Fork for Chain and Faster Projectiles for Mana Leech on a 4L to ensure that you can sustain your EK in terms of mana.

Do you have mana problems? Go down the following checklist:
1. Change your 3 HP/2 Mana Flasks set to 2 HP/3 Mana Flasks
2. Stop spamming your mana flasks simultaneously. Doing that doesn't increase mana recovery!
3. Alternate between the three mana flasks so all three can recover charges simultaneously
4. Are you spamming EK at individual monsters? Round them up first as a pack then use EK.
5. Using Chain without Mana Leech support? Remove Chain and go back to Fork
6. Remove Added Fire Damage support. If your mana can't support it you don't need it yet!
7. Did you follow the skill tree progression properly?

When do I Respec to Eldritch Battery?
Only one rule here, and that is when you have enough HP to not need that ES buffer. I'm afraid I can't really tell you the exact numbers as it is all based on experience and instinct for me, but in HC, I would generally only respec to EB after Merciless Vaal and when I entered maps, I had about 2.5k HP which served me quite well.

End-Game Gear

Priority 1: Stack Life
Priority 2: Stack ES/Mana for Survivability in early to mid-game and Mana pool for End-game
Priority 3: Stack Armour for protection against reflect
Priority 4: Get rings/ammys/shields/caster weapons for Increased cast speed, spell damage, critical chance for spells

Notable Uniques Compatible with the Build
- Blackheart Iron Ring (Early game only)
- The Magnate Studded Belt
- Deshret's Vise Steel Gauntlets
- Daresso's Courage Baroque Round Shield
- Rathpith Globe Titanium Spirit Shield
- Ezomyte Peak Rusted Casque
- Kaom's Heart + Quill Rain Short Bow + Broadstroke Heavy Quiver*

*my absolute favourite combination. Kaom's for the HP, and to make up for the loss of sockets, the usage of QR which being a dex item will allow you to get the socket colours that you need as well as providing a 100% projectile speed increase which will be absolutely awesome! Broadstroke Heavy Quiver will also help to increase EK's DPS and enable stunlocking of enemies. Can't wait to have someone try this out come OB when Kaom's Hearts get more common due to the increase in population

How do I get better gear?
Trading for better pieces of gear will be your main source. However, there will come a point when you realise that you can no longer get better gear through trading, and that is where crafting comes in, as explained in the next section.

Other Path of Exile Articles:
PoE Class Builds

Duelist Builds
Path of Exile 2H Sweep Duelist Build
Path of Exile Dual Strike Duelist Build
Path of Exile Hardcore Race Duelist Build
Path of Exile Dual Wield Blood Rage Duelist Build
Path of Exile Duelist Bow Tank Build

Marauder Builds
Path of Exile Marauder Ground Slam Build
Path of Exile 1H Mace Hardcore Marauder Build
Path of Exile General Marauder Build Guide
Path of Exile Marauder 2H Leap Slam Build
Path of Exile Marauder 2H Axe Guide
Path of Exile Vaal Pact Marauder Build 
Path of Exile Bow Shock Marauder Build
Path of Exile Ultimate Hardcore Marauder Build

Ranger Builds
Path of Exile Elemental Bow Ranger Build
Path of Exile Dual Physical Wand Ranger Build
Path of Exile General Ranger Build
Path of Exile Physical Ranger Build
Path of Exile CI Lightning Arrow Ranger Build

Shadow Builds
Path of Exile Crit Dagger Shadow Build
Path of Exile Coldfire Crit Caster Shadow Build
Path of Exile EB Ethereal Knives Shadow Build
Path of Exile EB Ethereal Knives Shadow Build #2
Path of Exile Cold Caster Shadow Build
Path of Exile Whirling Blades Shadow Build

Templar Builds
Path of Exile CI Totem Templar Build
Path of Exile Shield Shock Block Templar Build
Path of Exile EB Frost Templar Build
Path of Exile CI Zealot's Oath Templar Build
Path of Exile Mace/Shield LS Templar Build

Witch Builds
Path of Exile Hardcore Necromancer Witch Build
Path of Exile Fire Witch Summoning Guide

General PoE Guides
Path of Exile Act 3 Walkthrough
Path of Exile Easy Merveil Runs Guide

PvP Guides
Path of Exile Cold Witch PvP Guide

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is this build viable for the Scion?