Continuing the 3-month content release schedule players have been enjoying for years, the Path of Exile Delirium League launched on March 13, 2020. It’s a breach-like netherworld overlay mechanic that spreads across the map, containing additional monsters and the eerie narration of a taunting protagonist. New uniques and skills were also added, but the most impactful change really is the new Custom Skill (Cluster) Jewel system, which allows a character to build out their own personal skill tree to focus on enhancements specific to their build. This new system added 280 new potential nodes to the tree. Given the core tree is 350 nodes in size, this enhancement nearly doubled the available skill tree options for each character.
Links to numerous complete guides for some of the strongest builds in the game can be found below.
Below is a quick snapshot of the buffs, nerfs and other adjustments this league.
BUFFED: The addition of Archmage and Arcane Cloak provide a huge boost to self casters, with the biggest use being seen with Storm Brand. Spellslinger allows for new trigger-based builds. Animate Weapon has been reworked and enhanced. Assassin received a buff with Opportunistic. NERFED: Necromancers were finally nerfed pretty hard (which was expected). This includes: (1) Spirit Offering nerfed; (2) Feeding Frenzy Nerfed; (3) Necromancer Ascendancy Bone Armor no longer provides resistances per minion, and; (4) The Baron provides +1 zombie every 500 strength (from 300). Ultimately, Zombies/Skeleton builds were hit hard and are not nearly as viable as they once were, but are still strong enough to play through all content with the proper investment.Herald of Agony also got a nerf, but is still viable. MORE: Vaal side areas now count as maps and can drop maps. The Simuilacrum has been added, complete with a new boss. You can now select master missions from the map panel.
The launch of Delirium saw a lot of problems; the biggest issue was the difficulty. Within the first week, players were being murdered at an unprecedented rate by 1-shots often impossible to see due to the fog. There is also an inherit design flaw with Delirium where you have to backtrack to pick up items, and it often results in death because there are so many “explode on death” monsters. What’s odd is this same issue could have existed in Delve, but GGG designed the system to ensure players wouldn’t have to backtrack. For some reason, they forgot what they learned with Delve and failed to address this critical issue. While this erroneous design flaw still exists, Delirium has been adjusted to be more balanced and reasonable to traverse. But ultimately, Delirium, while solid in concept, is still fundamentally flawed due to the need for backtracking and picking up items.
While last league (Metamorph) was all about Summoners, the top skill this league is Cyclone, however, we have more of a diverse range of follow-up skills than last league, including Storm Brand, Volatile Dead, Lacerate, Ball Lightning/Arc, and more.
Unlike last league, the new skills introduced with 3.10, namely Archmage, Arcane Cloak and Spellslinger, are awesome; they have enabled powerful caster builds that weren’t nearly as viable as before.
The new Cluster Jewels are also game changers, empowering characters to customize their skill tree to support very specific end-game builds.
While Cyclone and Storm Brand are dominating, there is a lot of variation in builds this league, which is a good thing. I’ve been playing Delirium since release, and have taken the below builds to end-game:
Impale Cyclone Champion (League starter)
Volatile Dead Necromancer
Bleed Split Arrow/Puncture Gladiator
Bleed Split Arrow/Puncture Champion
Storm Brand Hierophant
Frost Blades Berzerker
Caustic Arrow Trickster
Poison Blade Vortex Assassin
Impale Facebreaker Cyclone Champion
Relative to this overview, I want to acknowledge how important play style is. Some people hate totems while others only play totem builds. Some like Melee while others love bow builds. The diversity of PoE is one of its greatest features, but also one of the most complex aspects of the game. While a build may be listed as “best” or “top”, some players may disagree because of the style(s) they prefer – but one thing is assured – the builds listed herein are all rock solid and viable for their represented roles. There are other more powerful builds, but they generally are much more complex, expensive, require respecing, and specific uniques — but the reality is most of these builds don’t provide enough of an advantage to the core requirements to outperform the below recommendations.
Before we begin, Path of Building is a very important tool to have when following a build guide since many of them share PoB links. Additionally, make sure you have a good loot filter. I personally recommend NeverSink’s Loot Filter.
Getting to maps and farming while surviving and having the ability to do all end-game content are key requirements for each of the recommended builds. This guide does not include ultra expensive builds for players who have accumulated a large amount of currency. This overview is perfect for new players, late league starters, or those who just want to try another build that will work for end-game and is fun.
The Leaderboard and Top Builds
Before I present the list, I want to say something very important: just because it’s on the top list doesn’t mean it’s a “best build”. Many (if not most) of the top players run builds that are designed solely to push 100 and nothing more (farming specific maps and pulling in a minimum XP/h amount); however many of these builds are capable of doing all content (Shaper & Uber Elder), and delving deep. People on the top list are hardcore (play style not HC mode), experienced, and pushing 100 (while also delving) is an art all of its own that generally has no application to the average player – but we can still learn from these players and builds. I also want to elaborate on how I interpreted the top build from the leaderboards. These characters can be found on poe.ninja builds. There are three core categories to consider: Softcore, Hardcore and SSF (and variations of each). Keep in mind those who are 95+ and do not play SSF often group with others (including aura bots), which includes sharing items and maps. This augmentation can misrepresent the viability of an end-game build and its capability to run without a party and reach 100 as quickly as it has. This means SSF is the best indicator of a build’s capability to progress without aura bots and party support. SSF players that push 95+ are a special breed of dedicated folks who usually put 8-12+ hours of game time in each day. These are not average players; but average players can learn from them.
Below are the statistics pulled from the poe.ninja builds top characters in each league subsection. Note many profiles are set to private, so this data is only based on public profiles that have their skills shared with the community. The below list is in order of popularity and use.
As we can see, Cyclone is king this league; this is because it’s tanky, reliable, steady and easy to gear for. The top Cyclone build is the Facebreaker Shield build, which is fantastic. Storm Brand comes in second due to Archmage and Arcane Cloak, which greatly buffed the damage; plus it’s fun and clears very well (faster than Cyclone). Volatile Dead is quite popular due to the new Spellslinger skill, and we’re seeing the standard “reliable” established builds of Essence Drain, Lacerate, Miner (Ball Lightning/Arc), and Split Arrow/Puncture (Bleed) providing support. Gone are summoner builds from the top list with Spectres barely sneaking into the bottom tier.
Surprisingly, Necromancer is the most used Ascendancy; this time with a focus on Volatile Dead and Animate Weapon, but there are still plenty of Spectre builds out there (including Holy Relic, Zombies, etc.). As you can see, this league is seeing a much more diverse breakdown of Ascendancies, showing better balance as there isn’t one clear winner across the board; HC is seeing a different use order from standard.
The follow-up most used skills for Softcore are:
Ice Nova (CoC)
The follow-up most used skills for Hardcore are:
Herald of Agony
When it comes to Delving in Softcore, Ice Shot Deadeye is queen (overall) with an achieved depth of more than 4,300. However, an Icicle Mine player is currently leading the way with a depth of 6000.
Looking at Delving in Hardcore, it appears players have decided to forego pushing any deep numbers as only 12 characters have gone deeper than 300, with the majority being cyclone, lacerate and Herald of Agony builds.
My Favorite Builds from 3.10 Delirium
Before I dive into the Top build list from the statics, I wanted to share my favorite builds from Metamorph so far.
The strongest build I played this league was Facebreaker Impale Cyclone Champion. It simply destroys everything in the game (including Metamorphs) and is both SSF and HC viable. It’s tanky as all getgo, does a ton of damage with basic gear and delves very well. For me, it’s been the best all around build in the game, and reached level 100 in HCSSF, including killing all bosses. Here’s a link to the PoB I put together, complete with leveling trees. Note this assumes you already have Facebreakers. If you do not, you can level with Axes and regret later on. Here’s the Axe Champion variation complete with notes and leveling trees.
I was very surprised at how fun and tanky the Poison Blade Vortex Assassin was, and recommend it for those wanting to try a fun poison-based build. Here’s a link to my PoB complete with leveling trees and notes.
Top 3.10 Delirium Builds List
As mentioned, the below list is based upon the Statistics pulled from poe.ninja; not just normal mode, but hardcore as well (which indicates fantastic survival). I will include links to what I consider to be the best build guides, many of which I have used myself.
Cyclone is top tier this league because of its steady survival, DPS and bossing. While it isn’t the fastest clearer, because it doesn’t die, it performs better than most other builds.
Facebreaker Impale Champion is king this league. I recommend Drowlys’s Build Guide. All you need are the gloves, and the rest is cake.
Bleed Split Arrow / Puncture Gladiator/Champion is still awesome, and one of the most popular builds this league. Note the Champion version is really for end-game, and almost all players start with Gladiator, even if they plan on transitioning to Champion. I recommend Steel’s 3.10 Bleed Bow Gladiator Build Guide that Zizaran put together. And for those who want to switch to the Champion version, here’s an end-game PoB.
There are definitely other great builds that could have made it on the list, but the above list represents the most popular (and “meta”) builds players are embracing this league.
I hope this list helps the PoE community; here’s to the continued success of Path of Exile and the fantastic job Grinding Gear Games has done with the game!