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The Rise Of Bows In POE 3.21 Crucible League

May 23, 2023

Hit-based bow builds were always an archetype that scaled really well with super high investment. But historically, the cost was a bit prohibitive. Things like Omniscience Tornado Shot are still some of the best performing builds in the game.

However, it wasn’t really something you would league start or even level as usually. At least in the past, over time, both kept getting more and more tools. And in this league, it eventually hit a point where everyone thinks bows might be pretty good.

While Lightning Arrow was pretty playable as a league starter before, this league Deadeye, which is primarily bow based, is currently the most played ascendancy beating out Juggernaut, which encompasses both RF and Bone Shatter, two of the most meta league starters.

The Rise Of Bows In POE 3.21 Crucible League


Let’s start with some of the inherent strengths of bows, the obvious one you ranged.

You have the ability to off-screen. So, combined with good coverage, you have some premium clear speed. Being range is also a huge defensive boon not having to stand near something to damage. It means you can also avoid getting hit a lot easier.

Second, you get to use the quiver. You get all the benefit of a two-handed weapon like higher rolls and a second 6-Link. But you also get an offhand slot with another seven lines of stats.

So, why are bows so good right now?

It’s not like there was a big rework or anything. It’s just that they kept getting more and more things until it reached a Tipping Point. At some point, damage rolls on both got increased and rare quivers got buffed.

Let's talk a little about Vengeant Cascade. An anoint on your amulet is probably the single highest increase in DPS in these builds unless you’re playing Tornado Shot, though which it doesn’t work.

With some peers, it allows your projectiles to return and hit the same target again, essentially doubling your damage. But that’s not all. It also synergizes really well with a long shot and other things at a scale with travel distance.

Even if you’re not standing far enough away for the full effect, the returning projectile will have traveled the max distance gaining all the distance bonuses. Also, the Artillery Ballista became a good single target supplement after getting a bunch of buffs.


I guess this patch did add a few game changers actually, primarily Manaforged Arrows and the addition of two extra projectiles you can get on the tree.

With the two projectiles, you can drop GMP (Greater Multiple Projectiles) and use LMP (Lesser Multiple Projectiles) instead, maintaining the same number of arrows you had before.

But now, you don’t have GMP’s huge Less Damage Multiplier. If you get another two projectiles from Deadeye, you can now instead use another damage link while keeping the same number of arrows. It’s not a huge deal. But I think it’s also worth mentioning you don’t need to worry about swapping out your multiple projectiles gem for better single target damage.

Now, let’s talk about Manaforged Arrows. I think this has been my favorite addition to the bow arsenal in a long time. You can link frenzy and pyrocharge on crit to it for permanent frenzy and power charges. That’s the most common setup.

POE Manaforged Arrows

You can also incorporate Culling Strike for essentially 10% more damage. I also like using a second Manaforged setup with Lightning Arrow and Innervate Support for a little more damage.

Now, I was originally using this as just a utility setup. However, with the four free extra projectiles, the Lightning Arrow setup was able to clear packs by itself. By the way, it’s pretty easy to get it so that you’re able to proc Manaforged on every attack.

If you have a flat minus Mana Cost on your jewelry, the absolute difference between your Mana Costs will stay the same. But since the numbers are now lower, that difference in Mana Cost of your main skill will now be relatively higher than the Manaforged cost.

So, with all that stuff combined, playing a bow character from league start to endgame, it was pretty good. If you don't have such a build yet, then you should prepare enough POE Currency to build one. I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.


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