About the build
Poet’s Pen + Volatile Dead combo is one of the most mainstream meta builds since it came out, but my build’s main focus is defense. Two broad approaches to bossing is damage rush or steady tanking, with the first you focus on highest DPS finishing the fight as quick as possible, you have to dodge mostly all boss attacks and do mechanics to survive, and with the second you aim to tank the bosses, ignore most mechanics, do some damage, do the fight as long as it takes slow and steady. My build is in the second category, but Poet+VD has very good baseline damage, even with cheap gear, so the fights don’t take too long at all.
All Credit goes to pathofexile.com & Márkusz from pathofexile.com forum. (Original Article).
Uber Elder, Comparison to other builds
Being the hardest fight in the game, Uber Elder has many hard mechanics, projectiles and slams from 2 bosses in the 7-13k damage range mostly from pure physical and pure cold types, two types of ground degens to manage, occasional slowing effect, and boss immunity phases. What really makes it hard to cheese even with 80+% phys reduction and 95-100% cold resistance is Shaper balls having 25% cold penetration, with 97% cold resistance they still deal 3k damage per ball, 3+ balls in a row, so tanking all of that also requires big hp pool and recovery.
Popular tanky bossing builds like LL/Life RF or melee Slayer look easy, but you still have to play good and actively dodge mechanics to survive because they simply don’t have as high mitigation + recovery as the Pathfinder and Zerphi combo.
My build can face tank all mechanics of the encounter, that’s why it is the easiest in the sense that it requires no dodging at all, you just have to stand still, hold right click, and manage flasks and Blood Rage, which can be permanent with enough investment. Being realistic you can still easily die if you miss flask use, so I recommend it only for softcore, but this is as easy as it gets
The most required item is the Zerphi flask, around 15-20 exalts in Delve and other leagues without Perandus Zana, the other uniques are cheaper, not entirely mandatory, and you don’t need expensive rares. You can make it in about 20-40 exalts total, and it doesn’t scale much higher with more. For a build that you can easily farm Uber Elder and any other boss in the game with, it is a good investment. See “budget” version at the bottom.
Build mechanics in short
Mitigate both elemental and physical damage taken, and heal a lot from Zerphi flask. For elemental mitigation use flasks with maximum resistances, for physical mitigation use modifiers that convert physical damage taken into elemental. Pathfinder regenerates flask charges, and with enough flask modifiers (reduced flask charges used, increased flask charges gained, and flask effect duration) you can keep up your flasks permanently.
Gearing in general
For Uber elder you need to have a Sapphire flask and Divination distillate for resistances, and at least 50-60% physical mitigation, for which the easiest choice is Lightning coil and Taste of Hate, but you can stack anything that gives the same modifier. Aim to have around 6500 life. You need to have a Kaom’s roots because it makes you immune to slows in the fight. On the gloves you should get support gems that increase the mana cost of your attack, granting more heal, and 3-4 Fevered mind jewels for the same reason. On all other items you need high rolled flat life, resistances enough to cap without flasks, and lastly any source of damage for VD (fire, elemental, spell, area). Xoph’s blood, VD helmet enchant, and penetration Watcher’s Eye are not necessary, they don’t enable anything, only make the fight faster thus easier.
Gear used in Deathless Uber Elder video (recommended for most safety):
Weapon: On Poet’s pens preferably you want higher attack speed, but it’s easy to cap your attack speed to the cooldown, especially without cooldown reduction gear, so it’s not important. If you are looking to spend more currency on it you can get 8-10% elemental penetration with corruption which is nice damage but also expensive.
Body armour: Lightning coil gives the easiest physical mitigation, but it has a big negative resistances downside, you can upgrade it if you get a Horror essence crafted rare chest (15% as cold) on a shaper or elder base (another up to 15% as one elemental)
If you get physical mitigation elsewhere or you choose to dodge physical attacks in the fight you can use Kaom’s heart, which is also better in general for other boss fights.
Gloves: An elder gloves can have the most support gems that work with wand attacks (Poison 135%, Faster attacks 120%, Chance to bleed 110%, Faster Projectiles 110%), you can get all 4 at the same time to get the highest base mana cost, and you can still get flat life rolls too, but it can be expensive.
Boots: Kaom’s roots is the best in slot item for Uber elder fight because it is the only item that can make a Pathfinder immune to Elder’s slow attack currently, it gives you stun immunity, and has very high flat life. For other bosses and mapping you can use rare boots with movement speed and cooldown reduction.
Belt: The most important mod on belt is Reduced flask charges used which substantially increases your flask uptime, the most important modifier to make your flask uptime permanent. Secondly you want high flat life, and if your budget allow either Cooldown recovery speed on a shaper belt base (gives dps), or Life recovery rate on an elder belt base (gives more heal). Lastly you want either flask effect duration or a resistance if needed.
Flasks: Aside from the above explained Zerphi, Taste of Hate and Divination Distillate flasks, you want an Overflowing Chalice to maximise the uptime of your other flasks and get a nice damage boost as well, and for last slot you can choose anything to your preference, quicksilver, wise oak etc.
Wise oak: You can only benefit from Wise oak if either all of your resist are equal, or your Fire is the highest, and Cold is the lowest, because you need the penetration for fire, and for Uber elder you need the cold reduction. Because we also use Taste of Hate, it can make the cold resist really high. In the Twinned video and my regular mapping gear I simply have very low cold resist without flasks (14%) which is very risky, and only ToH makes it equal with the other 2 resists. In the deathless video I made all resists capped without flask, which is safer, and removed Wise.
Amulet: Xoph’s Blood is usually the best you can get because of the ash debuff it puts on enemies (20% DPS boost and slows), but also currently a bit overpriced, so this is one of the last item you should upgrade to, otherwise you can be fine with a rare amulet with life, spell/fire damage or resistances.
Jewels: You need at last 3-4 Fevered mind jewels for high mana cost, and a Conqueror’s Potency (increasing flask effect from 46% to 54% gives you +2% maximum resistances from sapphire and distillate flasks!).
Watcher’s eye jewel + Auras:
You should only use Vitality or Anger if you have a Watcher’s eye jewel with the matching mod, otherwise you can use Herald of Ash, Arctic Armour, or Purity.
Watcher’s Eye is not necessary but nice to have, Useful Watcher’s eye mods in order of importance, look for the best you can afford:
(20-30)% increased Life Recovery Rate while affected by Vitality
Damage Penetrates (10-15)% Fire Resistance while affected by Anger
Any purity mod that gives Physical->Elemental conversion
(40-60)% increased Fire Damage while affected by Anger
(6-10)% chance to Dodge Attacks while affected by Grace
+(5-8)% chance to Evade Attacks while affected by Grace
(10-15)% increased Movement Speed while affected by Grace
Do not use (50-70)% increased Life Recovery from Flasks while affected by Vitality, it doesn’t work with Zerphi, I tested it myself.
Helmet: The +1 VD enchant boosts your dps by 33%, so it is very good, but also expensive and not mandatory. In incursion you can get temple drops with 10% phys taken as elemental.
On rings and helmet get high life and resistances to cap you without flask preferably, and spell/fire/elemental damage if you can afford.
Main attack: Frenzy can generate frenzy charges and cap your attack speed the easiest (more dps, so it’s preferred). Power siphon gives culling strike if you don’t have already and generates power charges to easier proc elemental overload. Kinetic blast has the highest mana cost, only use it if you can’t get enough with the others.
Blood magic and GMP are always best for highest mana multiplier, and Life gain on hit has nice utility. You can use faster attacks if you don’t have it on gloves. You can use multistrike on Frenzy for even higher multiplier.
Mana depletion: There are currently 3 ways to drain your mana to keep up Zerphi and Divination Distillate flask, and all have up/downsides:
– It gives just a little degen that you can outheal with base life regen, and the 30% taken from mana drains 100-140 mana with 6-8k life, which is usually a bit more than what the Zerphi refills. When you also activate Distillate the degen is usually not enough, so you have to stand in damage to keep up Zerphi (+management, but usually not an issue in uber elder fight)
– Doesn’t work early game when you have lower life, because it can’t outdegen the mana recovery
– Has a several seconds duration, needs re-activating manually or by CWDT (+management)
– Physical mitigation (not the conversions, but traditional mitigation like endurance charges, immortal call, or basalt flask)
– Gives attack speed and frenzy charges
– If comboed with CWDT Immortal Call it can automatically trigger Arakaali->Arachnoxia pantheon (+50% heal rate!)
– It degens a lot of life, you constantly have to keep attacking and using Zerphi, but it always outdegens any mana gain
– Permanent uptime, no re-activation required
– Lowers your heal by 500-1500 per second
– Huge DPS boost
– Vaal RF another huge DPS boost
– Can’t use recovery pantheon
Omeyocan Carnal Boots (not recommended for uber elder):
– An incursuon-specific unique item that constantly drains 7% of maximum mana, easily outdegening any mana gain
– No life is degened
– Can spec out of MoM passive
– No management required at all
– Has no life or cooldown reduction
– Can’t use Kaom’s Roots (this is the main reason I don’t recommend it)
I recommend either RF or BR, both have upsides, RF is faster and easier because less management, but with BR you can have much higher heal rate.
CWDT+Immortal call combo is only required in combination with Blood Rage to proc the Arakaali->Arachnoxia pantheon (+50% heal rate!), otherwise the phys immunity is not reliable during Uber Elder fight.
Auras: You should only use Vitality or Anger if you have a Watcher’s eye jewel with the matching mod, otherwise you can use Herald of Ash, Arctic Armour, or Purity. See useful watcher’s eye mods above under gear breakdown.
Volatile Dead supports: Concentrated effect is always best for bosses, the less aoe downside doesn’t effect bossing speed. For the other support I recommend Elemental Focus, but keep in mind using that you will get less flask charges killing monsters (with pathfinder Veteran Bowyer)
Unearth supports: GMP always required to provide enough corpses for VD. Combustion applies -19% fire resistance debuff on bosses globally (affects VD).
Zerphi mechanics in general:
Zerphi’s Last Breath is a mana flask, so naturally it’s effect would end when you reach full mana, but since 3.0 Mind over Matter applies to Damage over Time effects, so you can consistently keep your mana depleted by running Blood Rage or Righteous Fire. Since your mana pool is depleted and you need something for the Mana cost healed as life mod, you have to use Blood Magic to use skills, which still works with the flask. You cannot use the BM keystone because it removes the whole mana pool, thus you can’t activate mana flasks, leaving you with the BM support gem as a drawback, but you can kinda bypass that if you use a staff/mace with the vagan lvl1 BM support mod, a Covenant body armour, or separate trigger socket groups (Poet’s Pen). You can use any spell/attack that spends mana except channeling skills.
Changes in 3.2 patch:
Zerphi’s Last Breath now recovers life over 4 seconds instead of instantly. It now heals you for 450-600% of the mana cost, down from 800%.
This means your heal has a 4 second build up time until it becomes maximized, so you have to know when you gonna take damage and start attacking a few seconds before, or just keep constantly attacking/casting. Also if you use blood magic you drop some amount of life at the start, so thats when you are the most vulnerable.
You can build up your heal effect before boss fights so you won’t be vulnerable when you enter, and you will keep regening if you stop attacking for a few seconds when you move around, or get stunned.
There is no cap to the amount healed, you just have to scale the stats it relies on: mana cost, attack/cast speed, flask effect, life recovery rate. You can scale flask effect from skill tree at witch’s region, going pathfinder, using the unique Potency jewel, or an Elder belt. You can scale life recovery rate by choosing the Arakaali pantheon with the Arachnoxia extension and having a CWDT Immortal call to proc it, or you can use an Elder belt with life recovery, or a Watcher’s Eye jewel with Vitality aura mod, or having Trickster ascendency node. You can stack mana cost by having elder/shaper items with extra supports, or just choosing the highest mana cost supports in your 6L, using several Fevered Mind jewels or other sources of increased mana cost.
Pure mana based Zerphi setups are possible, they are very different from what I showcase here, and those would need to balance mana usage to not get full mana nor empty mana too long, and overall need very high mana recovery investment and more attention to keep up the mechanic.
Gear progression: Cap your attack speed for your cooldown first, try to get some cheap cooldown reduction gear, this helps the most on clear speed while leveling, then focus on defences, because VD has a very high baseline DPS with even low investment, and once you have high life gear you can upgrade into more DPS for faster boss kills, stacking penetration, getting triple wise oak resist balance, and good opals. Helmet enchant is very good for both clear speed and single target, so early on get one as soon as you can, even if it’s a bad base/unique, and replace it later.
Leveling: I recommend leveling with 2 Poet’s pens and any spell that you like (try Arc, Glacial Cascade, Bladefall) in one wand and Unearth + Bodyswap in the other wand. Also check out the recent Build of the week which is similar to my build.
How to play the fight, flask management
If you got the necessary stats to facetank the most important thing is flask management, it is the only thing you always have to play good during the fight, but it is also the only thing you do, so it is not difficult, just needs some practice. Just stand in your hideout, activate your flasks and try to keep up them as long as you can, preferably at least for 1 minute. Look for the flask duration markers under the flasks and try to re-activate only when there is a little bit left of the duration. If you choose to tank everything then you don’t even have to look at the fight, only make your flask press timings perfect and move your cursor around a bit.
If you can’t keep up your flasks long enough, make sure you have enough flask modifiers, you need at least a “Reduced flask charges used” mod on belt, but you can also get “Flask effect duration”
If you still die with flasks up you can do 2 things:
Improve your gear’s defensive part, make sure to have enough life, maximum resistances, physical mitigation and heal amount.
Try to dodge the shaper balls manually, these do the highest damage in the fight, but they are the easiest to avoid by moving around a little bit, which can make the fight much easier.
Facetanking everything however spectacular is not the safest strategy, the more attacks you dodge manually the safer you will be, but don’t neglect your flask management!
PoB (uber elder): https://pastebin.com/vNLSqCNi
Skill Tree: http://poeurl.com/b6zE (in case it doesn’t load, use PoB or poeplanner)
Pantheon: Arakaali with Arachnoxia and Armala, small for clearspeed Garukhan, for tanking Gruthkul
Bandit: I recommend 2 passives for boss killing if you need the damage/hp, but I personally chose Kraityn (6% attack/move speed, 3% attack dodge) for clear speed, which you don’t really benefit from on bosses.
Twinned Uber Elder video:
Deathless Uber Elder video with no legacy gear:
Uber Elder in Incursion league: