Unlike most other classes Rangers players don’t have a vast diversity in skill tree builds. Most players roll Rangers to play as ranged archers and as such a majority of builds you can find are based around bows. It’s even been established that other classes (namely Marauders and Duelists) make even better archers due to the proximity of better defensive passive skill tree nodes, as well as Resolute Technique and Blood Magic.
Nevertheless, if you want to play a ranged bow class leveling a Ranger isn’t necessarily a bad choice. You can still have a very effective character especially if you follow proven builds that most players use. I selected a few most popular Ranger skill tree builds below to help point you in the right direction, so make sure you take a close look at what makes them so efficient and see if it works for you as well.
Lightning Arrow Build
Lightning Arrow build is without a doubt the most popular one on bow Rangers. It has likely the highest DPS and it’s very good at clearing both single-target and multiple mobs at once. Lightning Arrow is usually linked with Lesser Multiple Projectiles, Weapon Elemental Damage and Life on Hit and Chain support gems, assuming you go for Blood Magic passive skill, and if you have a 6-linked item you can remove the Blood Magic node and add a support gem. For single targets most players use Frenzy or Elemental Hit, generally linked with the same support gems.
The build is basically fully defensive with barely any points in damage, which is usually how ranger builds work. If you have to keep running from every single monster or keep dying constantly then you’re not doing damage anyway. The upside to this build is that it simply does work well and doesn’t require any specific expensive unique items.
Rain of Arrows Build
Another hugely popular Ranger build is based around Rain of Arrows. It isn’t much different from the Lightning Arrow build in terms of equipment or points in your skill tree, so you can even switch back and forth and test both builds if you wish with a few Orbs of Regret. Even the forum topic for this build is the same as above, so go ahead and check it out as well.
Dual Wield Physical Sword Build
A simple and effective build based on dual wielding swords. Abilities used are Dual Strike, Flicker Strike, Cleave and Whirling Blades, so basically a mixture of single-target and AoE damage. My dual wield Duelist build is similar to this one and I must say that it works really well in both solo and groups, and the damage is pretty high.
Dual Wield Elemental Cleave Build
This is pretty much a cookie-cutter elemental damage Cleave build a lot of players run with. Again like most builds this would likely work better for Marauders or even Duelists. A very good upside to this build is that it can be used effectively for a Lightning Arrow Ranger as well, giving you a choice if you want to switch your play style later on.
I know this isn’t a vast selection of builds, but Rangers might be one class that I actually may have included a majority of viable builds. As mentioned at the start of the article most builds (even bow-based) are better on other classes, as building a glass-cannon simply isn’t viable in Path of Exile. I do encourage you to modify the linked builds and any other you may find to your own play style, but don’t forget to include a ton of defensive nodes in them.
If you have your own builds to suggest, or have any other questions or thoughts I’d appreciate if you left them in the comments below. Thanks!