Path of Exile: Legion Near End of League Review

With Legion slowly coming to the end, I wanted to give a review based on my experience with the league. I tried to explore what I could with the game mechanics and managed to hit a satisfactory level of end game content for this league.

I would say of all the leagues, I felt this was the best yet that I played. It wasn’t a deep league with obscure mechanics. But that’s why I enjoyed it more than most in recent memory. Synthesis league was just horrible and demotivated me because the mechanics were frustrating, especially the time limits and crafting.

People ended up labeling Legion League Breach League 2.0, which might be a reasonably accurate statement. I think the better aspect was being able to get a variety of previous league items in addition to the usual stuff from most encounters. Things like Stacked Decks and currency felt more abundant and would allow someone like me to push what I could accomplish in the end game in either finding or buying items necessary for tougher content.

The main downside of this league is that simply put there was mostly just one build: physical cyclone. The primary thing is that physical cyclone felt great in terms of mostly smooth game play along with being able to handle the current league content. Other builds like Essence Drain/Contagion via Trickster, were decent too for the league content. But that build lacked the simple game play of cyclone.

In terms of builds, I attempted to try quite a few beyond physical cyclone (which ended up being my 3rd character). Essence Drain, Ice Traps, Elemental Fire Golem Summoner, Righteous Fire, Lacerate, Infernal Blow and early on Nhagahmu Cyclone and Holy Flame Totems. I’ll talk a bit about each.

Essence Drain/Contagion has been on my radar for some time. I geared my guy out to a reasonable degree then stopped before I got to maps. The initial leveling was great once I discovered dual Lifesprig’s early power. Then for Legions, the way Contagion would spread all across the frozen armies felt amazing. However, I suppose my main issue with Essence Drain/Contagion just is that it’s still a bit awkward to play compared to holding down your right click button on your mouse. But I would like to sometime finish getting this character to maps and see how he performs.

Ice Traps was a project on my list for sometime. I hadn’t done a trap build in a while and decided on Ice Traps over Lightning Traps. While the build itself is nice in terms of overall damage, the interaction with Legion mechanics along with the small area made this build feel suboptimal for the league content. I feel a build like this is far better for end game bossing like Atziri, which is how I may take this character if I decide to start him up again.

Elemental Fire Golem Summoner is something I’ve done in the past. It’s actually a fun build once you acquire the basic gear (e.g. jewels). But like Ice Traps, this build doesn’t fair well with the league mechanic. Part of the problem is that minions lack focus where you need. And in a league like this where you need to spread your damage in a wide area, it just doesn’t work out too well.

Righteous Fire Juggernaut truly disappointed me when it came to the Legion mechanics. The original intention was to create a build that would be exceptionally tanky and be able to farm end game content. While it might some day, the build just doesn’t do enough damage quick enough against the Legion content. The area for Righteous Fire simply is too small compared to Cyclone to be able to open up enough of the army quick enough. I tried adding some pizazz to this version with Storm Brand and Scorching Ray. But neither really could help compensate for the general lack of radius that would make this build come out better for what I wanted.

Lacerate was an experiment that ended up going nowhere. I saw some interesting builds with Gladiators that managed to get Lacerate into a good spot. But it just felt like shit for me and I was convinced that Vaal Double Strike was better all around. Since I did Vaal Double Strike a few leagues ago more successfully, I didn’t want to go through the same gearing again, especially with Surrender being horribly pricey this league.

Infernal Blow was something I decided to try out in converting my Holy Flame Totem chieftain over. The end result was pretty bad. Infernal Blow just felt awful because the single target never was there. I really wanted to do something with my Chieftain. Despite the changes chieftain still is lacking something. I still don’t know what to do about that.

There were a few other experiments, namely in an Elementalist bow character that I wanted to use as a golemancer too, an Ascendant that started off with Scourge Arrow and ended up being Elemental Hit again (but with Elemental Hit sucking this time around). The Holy Flame Totem was just super painful all around and I honestly couldn’t wait to throw that build in the trash once I swapped over to the first cyclone character.

But the surprising one that I’ve been leveling recently was an Impale Tornado Shot Champion. This one isn’t quite as good as Cyclone but I did want a bow character. I first saw a similar character with Alkaizer and I ended up doing some research to see how this build works. The main discovery was learning that the single target was decent since I hate using a secondary like Barrage.

Sure enough, the single target for Tornado Shot is quite good. By beefing up the physical and impale aspects of your damage, you just hit super hard and in a reasonable radius. I really like the fact that you can keep both Mirage Archer and Greater Multiple Projectile Support because those are the screen clearers. Also, it’s a fairly tanky build with Fortify being up 100% of the time.

I’ve seen some ways to really push the damage such as using Rigwald’s Quills and Lioneye’s Fall. Also, you could use a Watcher’s Eye that boost your damage with double impale or an Aul’s amulet that makes your Pride aura cost no mana. However, those are the super high end builds. At this point, I mostly want to get the Rigwald’s Quills, which I’m probably 1-2 ex away.

The one thing I’m not happy with though is Dread Banner. I think most people end up going with the Inspirational ascendancy, which implies that you’ll need to get used to dropping your banners (almost like doing a shield charge to proc your fortify). Once I get to that point, I think it should be okay due to how the ascendancy gives 40% stages. Still, it’s just one little inconvenience to deal with down the road.

Overall, this league was fun mostly from Cyclone. But I did find it monotonous as ever single character seemed to be on the cyclone band wagon this league. While I’m hoping they continue to keep Cyclone the way it is, I really hope that they can tune other abilities. I mean for all the hype of this being a melee league, it really wasn’t. Most of that was due to how the legion mechanic behaved. I think if the legion mechanic wasn’t on a stupid timer (something I really wish GGG would stopped dealing with), there would have been far more diverse builds.

Also, I wish that other ascendancies like Chieftain were in a better state. I really couldn’t find anything interesting with Chieftain while in the case of Berserker, the degen aspect still is a bit off putting. I was a bit disappointed in Berserker being just a higher damaging version of the Slayer cyclone in the end.

Lastly, I think it sucks that there were some serious missed opportunities for more build diversity using things like triggers, cast on criticals or channeling. Like I saw a potentially interesting cyclone cast while channeling build involving Blade Vortex and another ability. But it turned out to be more of a meme than anything pragmatic. That’s pretty sad because the idea sounds very interesting. Or perhaps a Divine Ire cast while channeling build. There’s just too much missed opportunity in these things because the basic league mechanic with the timer and opening up the army limited what people wanted to play.

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