Ballista Bladedancer Build
Updated for Patch 0.8
|December 22, 2020
Bladedancer is all about bleeds, poisons, and devastating AoE damage, but not only that... She can also use Ballistae to do dirty work for her. At first glance, a minion (Ballistae are considered minions) Bladedancer build might seem like a bad idea - there are no minion-related passives in the trees after all. However, Ballista's own upgrade tree has nodes that make the Character's own stats boost it. Thanks to this, a Bladedancer minion build is not only possible but also viable in the end-game and surprisingly effective at tearing everything apart with a hailstorm of Ballista bolts.
To make our "Shredding Sentry" Ballista Bladedancer build as effective as it can be, we have focussed on making our Ballistae as deadly as possible. To achieve this, we have chosen passives that directly boost their power - Critical Strike Chance, Critical Multipliers, Dexterity, Damage, etc. (after appropriate upgrades are selected in the Ballista's skill tree these stats also apply to your Ballistae, but at reduced effectiveness - except Dexterity which stacks with Ballista naturally). To ensure that mana will not be a problem, we have chosen Shadow Cascade, Shift, and Smoke Bomb which work together to restore Mana via the Fight in the Shadows upgrade for Shadow Cascade.
You can also check our other Last Epoch builds and character guides
| Unique playstyle for a Bladedancer
|| You rely almost exclusively on stationary Minions when it comes to Damage
| Great sustain
|| Ballistae can't move which causes some mobility problems for the build
| Fun to play; watching Ballistas shred your enemies is surprisingly satisfying
|| A rather fragile build; reliant on Dodge; lacks resistances
Passive Skill Trees
Rogue Skill Tree (35 Points)
- Swift Assassin [8/8] - Maxing this out gives you +24% buff to Attack Speed with Melee and Thrown Weapons, as well as Bows, and +8 Physical Damage. A good place to start off with the build.
- Steady Hand [8/8] - Ballista scales with Dexterity and this gives you 8 when maxed out, making it a must. 40 extra Health is a nice bonus.
- Guile [1/8] - This is taken mainly to unlock Evasion, but some extra Dodge Rating does not hurt either.
- Twin Blade [1/1] - This passive enables you to dual wield by equipping swords or daggers in your off-hand slot at the cost of taking 12% more Damage while dual-wielding. To benefit from the "Weapons of Choice" Bladedancer passive, you have to have this one unlocked.
- Evasion [4/5] - 20% extra Dodge Rating and 20% Damage Reduction while moving; don't stop moving - only dead men remain stationary in Last Epoch.
- Dodge and Parry [5/5] - +30 Dodge Rating and a 15% chance for a Glanding Blow (Glancing Blows deal 35% less damage, which helps with your survivability a lot). You will be mostly dodging and trying to avoid incoming attacks while your Ballistae do the dirty work which makes this passive great.
- Critical Precision [8/8] - +80% Critical Chance per Sword and Dagger equipped as well as +120% Critical Chance with a Bow. Because of the Weapons of Choice passive from the Bladedancer Tree, you will be using a Sword + Dagger combo, so this will provide a whopping +160% Critical Strike Chance.
Bladedancer Skill Tree (54 Points)
- Cloak of Shadows [8/8] - Maxing this out gives you another 16% chance for a Glancing Blow which synergizes very nicely with the Dodge and Parry passive from the Rogue Tree. However, the most important thing you get from this one is 8 extra Dexterity.
- Pursuit [8/8] - Solid Melee Damage buff (+48%) combined with some Movement Speed increase that will help you avoid damage.
- Once [8/8] - +160 Dodge Rating for 4 seconds after being hit helps with survivability by quite a bit and +16 Physical Damage is a nice offensive bonus.
- Skiasynthesis [1/6] - With this, you will restore 15 Health on Shadow Creation and your Shadows will deal 15% increased damage. This build is not focused around Shadows but a little bit of health restoration didn't ever hurt anyone.
- Asuvon's Pact [6/6] - A very powerful, but partly conditional Passive. It gives you a +90 Dodge Rating buff (always) and 90% Increased Damage (but only while your Health is maxed out). You will be stacking Dodge, so the conditional part of this passive should be active quite often.
- Blood Dance [2/5] - 2% melee Damage Leeched as Health and +20% Increased Health Leech Rate. This will help you sustain your Health at a safe level, especially when combined with all that Dodge we're taking.
- Flash of Steel [1/8] - This is taken to unlock the Weapons of Choice Passive, but 5% Damage buff while Dual Wielding is welcome as well.
- Weapons of Choice [10/10] - This gives you a Buff that depends on your Dual-Wield weapons combination. Sword+Dagger gives +150% Critical Strike Multiplier, Axe + Dagger gives 20% Damage Leeched as Health, Two Swords give +50% chance for a Glancing Blow, etc. Using Sword and a Dagger will maximize your Damage output as Ballista's Crit Chance scales with your Crit Chance (so, bigger crits from Ballistae).
- Critical Eye [5/5] - +25% Critical Chance and +25% Critical Vulnerability Chance. A very solid passive, especially if you have 10/10 in Weapons of Choice and use Sword+Dagger combo.
- All In [5/5] - +75% to Critical Multiplier at the cost of -25% Damage dealt with non-critical hits. A good reason to stack Critical Multiplier even more.
Marksman Skill Tree (8 Points)
- Focus Fire [8/8] - +8 Dexterity for 8 passive points is worth it alone and the Dodge debuff helps a bit during the boss and rare enemy fights.
As you can see, this build focuses on maximizing damage from Ballista by stacking Critical Multiplier, Critical Chance, Dexterity, and Damage Increases. Because this is a minion-based (we treat Ballistae as minions) setup and you will be mostly running around avoiding damage, defensive nodes were not our priority.
Note: Left-Clicking on any of the ability trees below will open the full-size version in a new window.
Dancing Strikes - This is your filler ability, you will be using it when waiting for your other cooldowns/mana; it is built in a way that increases your mobility, survivability, and damage after you use it.
- Eluding Steps [1/2] - 75 extra dodge rating for 1 second every time you use Dancing Strikes.
- Quick Step [4/4] - 4/4 here ensures that you gain +30% movement speed for 2 seconds after using Dancing Strikes. This upgrade helps with the build's overall mobility, speedrunning capabilities, and allows you to dodge enemy attacks easier.
- Tenacious Vitae [2/3] - Damage over Time reduction. 2/3 gives you -20% Damage over time taken for 1 second after you use Dancing Strikes. This is quite a niche upgrade, but necessary to unlock Invigorating Moves.
- Invigorating Moves [4/4] - With 4/4 here, you will regain 100 Health every time you use Dancing Strikes. This should keep you Healthy while your Ballistae take care of your enemies.
- Windmill Ballet [1/1] - With this, Dancing Strikes' second and fourth attacks have a 30% chance to throw Shurikens at the target location. A nice perk to have as it allows you to sometimes damage enemies that are out of your normal range. Also, this helps with Rythm generation.
- Cutting Corners [1/3] - 15% chance to reduce enemy's armor by 100 for 4 seconds. In a build that is focused around Physical Damage, this is surprisingly good, even with just 1 point.
- Rhythm [4/5] - A solid Global Damage buff that is multiplicative with other buffs which makes it even better than it seems. Just remember that Rythm stacks last for 2 seconds only.
- Elegance [1/3] - 10% extra Dodge Rating per stack of Rythm. This build relies on Dodge for its defenses, which makes this better than it seems.
- Art of Blades [2/2] - +20% to Global Critical Multiplier per stack of Rythm. If you can keep your Rythm Stacks up, this will greatly boost your Ballistae' damage output.
Smoke Bomb - A support skill that grats you buffs while you remain within its area of effect. Rather clunky in other builds, but works wonders in a Ballista build as Ballistae are stationary and Smoke Bomb has unlocks that make Ballistae benefit from it.
- Lingering Fumes [5/5] - 50% increased Duration is great as Smoke Bomb has a quite long Cooldown (10seconds) and is rather costly (21 base cost).
- Smoke Blades [1/5] - +10% melee Damage for 4 seconds granted each second (Yes, this stacks) while you remain inside of the Smoke Cloud. While very powerful, in this build we need it mainly to unlock the Umbral Assault
- Umbral Assault [4/4] - With 4/4 here, your Smoke Cloud will create a Shadow within it every second. This is solid as it allows you to keep Shadows at maximum and ensure that your Shadow Cascade will restore enough Mana to keep the Ballistae rolling.
- Concealed in Carnage [1/1] - This grants you a stacking buff while you remain inside the Smoke Cloud. Each stack gives you +50% Bleed Chance, and reduces your Damage over Time taken by -5%; stacks up to 3 times.
- Generosity [1/5] - 1/5 here will increase the starting area of Smoke Bomb by 20% which will help you remain inside of it.
- Enfeeblement [1/4] - This helps with your survivability a bit, by reducing the affected enemy's damage by 18% (with 3 stacks).
- Moonlight Bomb [1/3] - 1/3 here is enough to get a guaranteed dodge after you use the Smoke Bomb so there is no real need to spend more points here.
- Shrouded in Darkness [1/1] - A nice little defensive buff (called Dark Shroud) for a single point. This effect stacks, which makes it very Solid.
- Rapid Concealment [4/4] - Dark Shroud Stacks are now applied 100% more frequently which makes Shrouded in Darkness twice as good.
- Shared Concealment [1/1] - This ensures that your Dusk Shroud also affects your Allies (which means Ballistae, as they are considered "allies").
Shift - A nice mobility skill that grants invulnerability for its duration (with proper upgrades). It also grants Mana on use, creates a Shadow, and makes you automatically use the Shadow Cascade at its end.
- Unseen Strike [1/1] - If you have a melee weapon equipped, this will make you attack enemies along your path while Shifting. A nice extra bit of offense.
- Velocity [3/4] - 30% extra Damage with your next Damaging non-channeled Skill after using Shift. With our Shift build, this basically increases the damage of your next Shadow Cascade.
- Momentum [3/3] - This gives you a 50% movement speed buff for 1.5 seconds after Shifting. Staying mobile is important, even when playing a Turret-based build.
- Lasting Presence [1/1] - Using Shift now also creates a Shadow at the place you Shifted from. This extra Shadow translates to more Damage and Mana regen from Shadow Cascade.
- Dancing Shadows [1/1] - If you are using a melee weapon, this will make you automatically use Shadow Cascade after Shifting, which is nice. It also synergizes with the Through the Shadows upgrade, making you teleport back to your starting location immediately.
- Through the Shadows [1/1] - You return to the location of the Shadow created with Shift after the Shadow is consumed. While this somewhat nullifies the mobility aspect of Shift, it also ensures that you remain near your Ballistae and makes the Unseen Strike and Shadowslip nodes better (you evade enemies and damage them without moving away from your turrets).
- Swift Recovery [4/4] - This makes Shift refund most of its Mana cost or even restore Mana if used while below 50% Health. Mana Efficiency is very important as Ballistae are expensive and you want to be using Shift as often as possible.
- Shadowslip [1/1] - Invulnerability while Shifting. This greatly increases your survivability and leaves a rather small window in which enemies can actually damage you if you use Shift on Cooldown.
Shadow Cascade - While extremely powerful in its own right, Shadow Cascade is just a "support" skill in this build (as crazy as it sounds). We need it to restore our mana so we can place Ballistae more often, basically. In this build, you will not be using it through your action bar too often, as using Shift will trigger it automatically.
- Rapid Expanse [4/4] - +80% Area of Effect. Thanks to this, Shadow Cascade becomes a screen-wide AoE skill, which is nice.
- Precision [2/2] - +4% to Base Critical Strike Chance. Simple, solid, and effective upgrade.
- Carnage [4/4] - +60% to Critical Multiplier. You will have a high Crit Chance, so not taking this would be a waste.
- Gloomstalker [1/2] - 20% chance to create Shadow on kill. A nice little efficiency bonus that synergizes with Shadow Cascade's own Mana restoration upgrade.
- Fight in the Shadows [3/3] - +12 Mana Gain per each Shadow. This makes this build possible as it restores A LOT of your mana every time you use Shadow Cascade. You can forgo any other upgrade, but this one is a must for a Ballista build.
- Shadow Torrent [4/4] - +12% Damage per shadow. A solid Damage Buff and you don't even need to go out of your way to benefit from it as your other skills are set up to spawn shadows frequently.
- Battle Trance [1/3] - Additional Dodge Rating is welcome as the build is not the toughest on the market.
- Crushing Darkness [1/1] - 30% Damage Increase at the cost of Shadow Cascade no longer scaling with your Attack Speed. Worth It.
Ballista - This is your main offensive skill and all other abilities are set up to support its efficiency. With the below-featured setup, your Ballistae will shred enemies with their rapid-firing bolts and create a real storm of projectiles.
- Rapid Fire [1/5] - +6% Attack Speed. We are stacking Attack Speed, so 1/5 here might seem like a waste, but there are better upgrades further down the line.
- Sturdy Foundation [4/4] - This gives us +40% Duration and +100% Health which ensures that Ballistae don't get destroyed and remain active for longer (which will allow them to stack more attack speed with the Quickload upgrade).
- Quickload [1/1] - Each hit made by Ballista increases its attack speed by 2%. This scales exponentially with base Attack Speed and is the main reason why we are getting as much attack speed as we can.
- Expeditious Build [1/1] - With this, your Ballistae will have +20% Attack and Cast Speed while you stay close to them so you should stay around them (that Shift upgrade starts to make sense, huh).
- Flaming Shots [1/5] - 10% Ignite chance and +3 Fire Damage per shot. This scales very well with Attack Speed and our Ballistae will have a lot of Attack Speed.
- Shared Enhancements [1/3] - 15% of your Damage Effectiveness now also applies to Ballistae. Solid, but spending more points here is not necessary.
- Heavy Bolts [1/3] - 12% more Damage at the cost of 5% less Attack Speed. This is needed to unlock Bodkin Bolts, so we take it even though it reduces Attack Speed slightly.
- Heavy Bolts [1/5] - With 1/5 here, Bolts fired from your Ballistae will pierce a single enemy.
- Sharpened Tips [1/2] - 3% extra Base Crit Chance.
- Perfect Aim [1/4] - With this, your Critical Strike Multiplier and Critical Strike Chance apply to your Ballistae at 25% effectiveness.
- Efficient Construction [1/2] - -25% Mana Cost and -20% Duration. 4/4 in Sturdy Foundation counterbalances a drawback of this.
- Practical Build [1/1] - A massive node that gives Ballistae +40% Damage and +40% Attack Speed at the cost of -25% Duration. With 4/4 in Sturdy Foundation, 1/1 in Perfect Build, and 1/1 in Quickload, your Ballistae will have enough time to scale their Attack Speed to ridiculous levels.
- Light Bolts [3/5] - 36% more Attack Speed at the cost of 15% less Damage.
- Twinned Bolts [2/4] - 20% chance of double shoot. With high attack speed, this procs very often.
For this build, you want to focus on increasing the Damage effectiveness of your Ballistae. Idols that provide "Bow Physical Damage for Ballistae" are a must-have. As for stats, you will want to stack Critical Strike Chance, Critical Strike Multiplier, Damage Increases, and Dexterity. When it comes to defenses, some additional Dodge Rating and Resistances will not hurt.
- Bow Physical Damage for Ballistae
- Damage Increases
- Critical Strike Chance
- Critical Strike Multiplier
- Dodge Rating
Recommended Unique Items:
Death Rattle - While this makes your Ballistae a bit more fragile, it also greatly boosts their Critical Strike Multiplier which makes them much more deadly. When combined with high Ballistae attack speeds, this Unique Amulet allows you to rip enemies apart extremely quickly.
Jungle Queen's Chaps of Holding - Unique Belt which is perfect for pretty much any minion-based build. It provides 6 additional potion slots, boosts Physical Damage (yours - which translates to your Minions, and that of your Minions directly), increases Dexterity by 5 (which is massive for Ballistae), and boosts Dodge Rating for 4 seconds every time you use a Potion.
This is the beta version of our "Shredding Sentry" Ballista Bladedancer build for Last Epoch. We didn't have much time for testing, but this build shows a lot of promise, scales quite well, and performs much, much better than expected. Obviously, as the game gets new content updates, we will be updating this guide regularly, though it may be impossible to be done after each Patch.
Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Eleventh Hour Games