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POE 3.2 HoT Assassin LeagueStart Build: Autobomber, Quick Clear Speed and Boss DPS

Welcome to POE 3.2 Herald of Thunder Assassin League Start Build Guide. We're excited to share our insights on this build. This version first appeared in POE 3.21, which has been improved over time with great success. Keep in mind that this guide is tailored for semi-experienced trade league players. If you're new to Path of Exile or prefer playing Solo Self-Found, this might not be the best starting point due to certain item requirements.


POE 3.2 HoT Assassin LeagueStart Build: Autobomber, Quick Clear Speed and Boss DPS


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League Start

League starting with this build means transitioning into it from around yellow Maps, typically on day two or early day three. While the build isn't excessively expensive, you'll need some poe currency to purchase essential items and respect orbs to reallocate your passive points.



An autobomber is a build archetype that allows you to clear areas without actively casting spells. The core feature of this build is the Herald of Thunder skill, which can wipe out entire screens quickly. This build excels in both clear speed and decent boss DPS. Additionally, it offers strong defensive layers—damage can be dealt without moving, providing immunity to certain attacks, and enemies might perish before posing a threat.



For the best performance, we recommend the Assassin ascendancy. However, if you prefer Elementalist or notice others using Pathfinder, know that these options are valid but offer different playstyles and strengths. Elementalist provides more AOE and defense, while Assassin offers increased speed and damage. Adjust your pathing accordingly if you choose an alternative ascendancy.



Despite its strengths, the autobomber build has its downsides. Extensive trading is involved, so if you're not a fan of trading or interactions with other players, there might be a better build for you. Moreover, if you're adverse to frequent deaths, be prepared. This build isn't the most durable, as indicated by my 1,343 deaths while reaching level 96. The build might require carries for encounters like Maven and Uber Elder during the early stages.



Bait builds are often discussed by other content creators. While they tend to start with more well-rounded and cheaper setups like Explosive Arrow or Seismic Trap, the autobomber could be more cost-effective at the start. Autobomber setups can be affordable but lack the well-rounded nature of other league starters. Expect more deaths and a steeper learning curve.

POE 3.2 HoT Assassin LeagueStart Build Bait Screenshot


Pricing & League Start

Prices for the required items can be high during the first 24 hours of a new league. Some items may be unavailable initially. However, rest assured that these items will become more accessible and affordable as the league progresses. By day two or three, the necessary items should drop in price, making your journey smoother.



When starting a new league or character, it's important to choose a leveling build that suits your playstyle and preferences. Here are some popular leveling builds to consider:

  • Self-Cast Spark: A versatile build that uses the Spark spell for ranged damage and clear speed.
  • Seismic Traps: A trap-based build utilizing seismic traps for AoE damage and control.
  • Pyroclast Mines (DoT): A mine-focused build centered around Pyroclast Mines for high damage over time.
  • Frostblades: A melee build that uses Frostblades for both a single target and clear speed.
  • Toxic Rain: A bow-based build that employs Toxic Rain for damage over time and area control.

Choose a build that resonates with you, as you'll be spending a significant amount of time playing it. Since gear doesn't transfer between characters, pick what you find fun, as you'll be using it for the initial days of the league.


Leveling Mechanics

One effective leveling build is Arc Mines. It offers simplicity and great damage potential without needing complex targeting. Here's a basic outline:

  • Skills: Focus on Arc Mines. Use a six-linked gem-crafted wand for your main damage source.
  • Survivability: Aim for high evasion by utilizing the "Grace" aura.
  • Damage: Easily achieve 2 million DPS by following gem links and crafting wands.
  • Skill Gems: Ensure you have the necessary skill gems and follow the recommended gem links. You can choose "Minefield" or "Swift Assembly" based on your preference.
  • Playstyle: Arc Mines excels at targeting enemies automatically, making it straightforward to play.


Build Mechanics

Moving on to the Herald of Thunder Auto Bomber build, let's delve into its mechanics:

  • Herald of Thunder (HoT): This ability reserves Mana and releases lightning bolts upon killing a shocked enemy.
  • Combo Starter: Use the "Storm Secret" ring to initiate the combo. It allows HoT to activate when an enemy is shocked, not necessarily killed.
  • Clear Speed: To enhance clearing, utilize the "Storm's Gift" gloves and the "Impulse's Broken Heart" chest piece.
  • Storm's Gift Gloves: These gloves shock and spread shock to nearby enemies you kill.
  • Impulse's Broken Heart Chest Piece: It triggers shock explosions that further spread shock, leading to satisfying screen-clearing cascades.


Starting Herald of Thunder 

This build is designed for early-game progression and focuses on maximizing your Herald of Thunder's damage while maintaining survivability through unique mechanics. In the following, we'll walk you through the essential gear, gems, and strategies to get your build up and running smoothly. 


1. Gear and Gem Setup

Chest Piece: Impulse's Broken Heart

  • Look for a four-linked Impulse's Broken Heart to start.
  • Prioritize elemental resistance and life on this item.
  • This chest piece will provide a significant boost to your build's damage.


Rings and Gloves: Storm Secret and Storm's Gift

  • These items are inexpensive and essential for your build.
  • Storm's Gift gloves might be hard to find initially, but they'll become more available as the league progresses.
  • Storm Secret rings are common and affordable.


Jewel: Glorious Vanity

  • This jewel might be expensive due to potential changes in league mechanics.
  • Consider using alternative passive nodes temporarily if Glorious Vanity is too pricey.
  • This jewel grants the Corrupted Soul Keystone, which is crucial for damage mitigation.


Small Cluster Jewel: Calamitous Visions

  • Allocate the "Lone Messenger" node for increased Herald damage.
  • This jewel significantly boosts your Herald of Thunder's damage and is budget-friendly.


Weapon: Annihilating Light

  • The weapon triples your damage output and is vital for your build's success.
  • Elemental resistance and other stats on the weapon are less important at the early stages.


Cluster Jewels: Medium and Large

  • Craft medium Heralds cluster jewels yourself.
  • For large cluster jewels, prioritize Doriani's Lesson and Storm Drinker/Storm Secret for leech.
  • These jewels enhance your leeching capabilities and overall survivability.


2. Passive Tree and Skills

  • Prioritize the passive nodes that enhance your damage and survivability.
  • Focus on grabbing essential leech nodes, endurance charges, and damage nodes.
  • Allocate the Lone Messenger node from the Calamitous Visions jewel.


3. Optional Fun Gear and Gems

  • Vessel of Inktar: This flask shocks enemies around you, adding a layer of crowd control.
  • Resistance Grand Spectrums: These jewels can provide valuable resistance if you can afford them.


4. Crafting Tips

  • Craft your medium Heralds cluster jewels yourself.
  • Reforge Critical on level 68+ cluster jewels to get desired notables.
  • Crafting small cluster jewels is inexpensive and easy.


5. Leveling and Transitioning

  • As you level up, gradually acquire the recommended gear and gems.
  • Expect to be around level 70 when you start facing tougher content.
  • Your actual level might be higher, but ensure you have the essential items before transitioning.
  • Adjust your passive tree based on your current level and gear.


6. Costs and Budget

  • Budget around two to three divine orbs to get started.
  • Regret orbs will be needed for respecs. Factor them into your budget.


Main Tree

Next, we'll walk you through the various aspects of the build, from the skill tree to gear choices and optimizations for different stages of the game. 


1. Main Tree Optimization

Your skill tree is the foundation of your build. Make sure you have the following key points covered:

  • Prioritize life nodes: A solid life pool is crucial for survivability.
  • Allocate key damage nodes: Focus on crit multipliers, elemental damage, and critical strike chance.
  • Acquire relevant power and endurance charges: These provide significant bonuses to damage and survivability.
  • Plan for efficient pathing: Optimize your route through the tree to minimize travel time.


2. Items and Gear Optimization

  • Weapons: Use a Stygian Vice belt with a Phasing Abyss Jewel. This helps you avoid dangerous encounters and improves survivability.
  • Six-Link Setup: Aim for a six-link chest or staff. Prioritize items like "Impulses" or "Annihilating Light" that are popular and may save you currency.
  • Cluster Jewels: Complete your cluster jewels and prioritize empowering notables like "Empowering Envoy" and "Dark Messenger."
  • Large Cluster Jewels: Seek out "Doryani's Lesson" and "Storm Drinker" for damage and sustain.
  • Awakened Gems: Invest in Awakened Gems for improved damage output.
  • Anointments: Anoint your amulet with "Intuitive Leap" or other valuable notables that enhance your build.
  • Unique Items: Consider items that provide additional charges or bonuses. Crafting a helmet with +1 power charge can be powerful.
  • Jewels: Opt for jewels with life and crit multi to boost your survivability and damage.


3. Flask Optimization

  • Surgeon's Flasks: Prioritize these for flask charge generation upon crits. Aim for these on every flask slot.
  • Utility Flasks: Choose flasks that provide the most benefit for your playstyle. Diamond flask, Silver's flask, Quicksilver flask, or defensive options are great choices.
  • Corrupted Blood Immunity: Obtain this mod to counter corrupted blood stacks. It's especially useful for high-damage encounters.
  • Chaos Resistance: If needed, use an Amethyst Flask for added chaos resistance.
  • Stygian Vice and Phasing Abyss: The Phasing Abyss Jewel in your Stygian Vice belt enhances mobility and survivability.


4. Cluster Jewel and Skill Tree Optimization

  • Cluster Jewels: Maximize the benefits of your cluster jewels. Prioritize notables like "Doryani's Lesson," "Storm Drinker," and "Empowering Envoy."
  • Medium and Large Clusters: Tailor your choices to emphasize damage and survivability. Balance between damage-boosting and defensive notables.
  • Awakened Gems: Continue investing in these gems for improved DPS and performance.
  • Anointments: Consider "Whispers of Doom" for dual cursing or other valuable notables that suit your build.


5. End Game Considerations

  • Jewels and Amulets: Transition to jewels and amulets with crit multi, +1 power charge, or other damage-boosting properties.
  • Helmet Enchants: Look for enchantments that benefit your build, especially if you're running a reservation-based setup like Arctic Armor.
  • Final Tweaks: As you fine-tune your build, consider the option of crafting or acquiring corrupted Impulses with +gem levels.


Fun Gear

  • Headhunter Gem: This unique gem adds an interesting twist to your gameplay by allowing you to steal mods from enemies. While not necessarily essential for the build's success, it's a fun and engaging addition to your character.
  • Curse on Hit Gloves: Equipping gloves with the Curse on Hit modifier can enhance your damage output and automation. This setup is especially beneficial against trash mobs where cursing manually might not be efficient.
  • Megalomaniac Medium Cluster Jewels: These jewels can provide additional notables to enhance your character's power. However, consider the cost and whether the additional notables truly complement your build before investing in them.
  • Tanu Ahi Glove Swap: For tougher encounters like bosses, you can swap your Storm's Gift gloves with Tanu Ahi gloves. This swap can grant you permanent adrenaline uptime against bosses, enhancing your damage potential.



  • Strength and Dexterity Enhancement: If your character lacks sufficient strength or dexterity, you can use tattoos to acquire the needed attributes. Focus on nodes that provide the necessary stats, enhancing your overall build flexibility.
  • Lightning Resistance and Increased Lightning Damage: Utilize tattoos to bolster your lightning resistance and increase your lightning damage. This can be particularly useful for optimizing your character's performance and survivability.



Skill Gems

Next, we will go over the essential skill gems you'll need for your Herald of Thunder build, including recommendations for different scenarios and potential upgrades.


Core Skill Gems:

Herald of Thunder (Level 21): Your primary damage-dealing skill. Look for a level 21 version for optimal damage output. Quality doesn't matter much, but it grants increased lightning damage. This gem synergizes with lightning-based items and supports.


Support Skill Gems for Herald of Thunder:

  • Awakened Elemental Focus (Level 21): Boosts the skill gem levels and enhances the skill's damage output by preventing elemental status ailments. This gem works well with high-damage elemental builds.
  • Awakened Added Lightning Damage (Level 21): Provides extra gem levels and increases the lightning damage of your Herald of Thunder. Ideal for improving your lightning-based attacks.
  • Awakened Lightning Penetration (Level 21): Increases lightning damage penetration, making your attacks more effective against enemies with high elemental resistances. Consider swapping this gem based on your build's needs.
  • Awakened Curse on Hit (Level 21): Useful if you're running a Curse on Hit setup. This gem adds a curse to your attacks, aiding your damage output and crowd control.
  • Awakened Cast On Critical Strike (Level 21): If your build relies on critical strikes, this gem can trigger spells when you crit, adding versatility and extra damage potential to your build.
  • Wave of Conviction (Level 21) or Divergent Purifying Flame (Level 21): These can be used to apply exposure to enemies, reducing their elemental resistances and increasing the damage they take.


Defensive and Utility Skill Gems:

  • Flame Dash / Leap Slam / Frostblink: Mobility skills to help you navigate the battlefield. Choose based on personal preference and build needs.
  • Arctic Armor: Provides freeze immunity. Slot this in once you have a six-link setup and sufficient reservation space.
  • Portal Cast on Death: A meme, but effective for this build. It allows you to maintain an easy way to escape dangerous situations.
  • Cast When Damage Taken (Level 1) - Immortal Call (Level 3) setup: Provides additional defense by automatically casting Immortal Call when you take damage, granting brief immunity to physical damage.
  • Storm Brand: Place this brand to apply shock to enemies. Great for setting up your Herald of Thunder's damage output.
  • Decoy Totem: Offers distraction and can block enemy projectiles. It can be useful in certain encounters like Sirus.


Optional End-Game Upgrades:

Mage Blood (Cluster Jewel): Offers substantial boosts to your build's defenses. Replace your armor cluster with Impossible Escape + Blood Magic for additional strength and endurance charges.


Wrapping It Up

With these gear options and strategies, you've now got a comprehensive overview of how to amplify your Herald of Thunder Auto Bomber build. While crafting, strength, and other factors are worth delving into, this guide has provided a solid foundation for your electric adventure. Whether you're a seasoned Path of Exile player or new to the game, have fun experimenting and adapting these suggestions to your playstyle.

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