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Path of Exile Tier List: Best Ascendancy to Pick (2024)

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Path of Exile Tier List: Best Ascendancies to Play

Welcome to our Path of Exile Tier List. In this article, I’ll be covering the tiers of each Ascendancy, as well as some basic info on each one.

Before we get into it, let me start with a disclaimer. Path of Exile is a PvE game, so meta is not necessarily a priority like it is in PvP games. You can still enjoy the game while playing a class that’s ranked lower than others.

The tier list simply exists to give you an easier time through the game, so you can have an easier time reaching your goals.

Every Ascendancy Ranked

Ranking the PoE Ascendancies is quite a tough task. With enough time and resources, you can make just about any character strong regardless of Ascendancy. Some Ascendancies also have potential for some of the strongest builds in the game, but aren’t particularly amazing for a majority of players.

Overall, I won’t be ranking them from a new player or veteran perspective, but from an average player. I’ll try to balance the ratings based on damage/speed, survivability, and ease of investment.

Furthermore, I’ll be splitting the tier list into two categories. One for Trade League, and one for Hardcore SSF (Solo Self Found). These modes have different strengths, and the ascendancies also shine more in one or the other.

With all that being said, let’s get into the tier list.

Note: The tiers are not ordered, simply alphabetical.

Trade League





Deadeye, Heirophant, Inquisitor, Necromancer, Trickster


Ascendant, Champion, Chieftain, Elementalist, Juggernaut, Occultist, Pathfinder


Assassin, Berserker, Gladiator, Guardian, Raider, Saboteur, Slayer

Trade League refers to the “softcore” game mode. Your character will revive upon death, and you have access to trading with other players. This gives you better reliability for finding the specific Unique items you may want, or simply any gear you may need. (Assuming you have the currency to purchase it)

Overall, in Trade, people usually want to play builds that are fast, have high map clear speed/bossing speed, or just strong damage overall. You can opt to run less defenses in order to scale your damage higher to have a good time. Even still, a defensive character in Trade League can still be desirable if you want to reach level 100 or just comfortably clear mobs at a slower pace.

Hardcore SSF League

POE-TierList-(HCSFF) 2-13




Champion, Chieftain, Heirophant, Inquisitor, Juggernaut, Necromancer, Trickster


Elementalist, Guardian, Pathfinder, Saboteur, Slayer


Ascendant, Assassin, Berserker, Deadeye, Gladiator, Occultist, Raider

In Hardcore, once your character dies, it will move to Standard, which is basically a graveyard for your character. You won’t have access to the new league mechanic anymore, but you can start on a new character with whatever is in your stash.

In this League, high survivability is important, and low investment is also an important consideration. In SSF, you won’t have access to trade, so you will need to make do with what you find or what you can craft. Metacrafting is an entire thesis on it’s own, so I won’t go into detail, but some builds and Ascendancies have an easier time reaching good damage in SSF than others.

Recent Changes

Necropolis League has just released, and unlike Affliction, there isn’t a major form of power creep. The Necropolis league mechanic helps you craft items, but doesn’t push your character strength much higher like Affliction or Crucible League did.

There may be powerful items you can craft that are unique to Necropolis, but that remains to be seen. As more players learn about the mechanic and find OP synergies, we’ll be sure to reflect that in our tier list.

As such, the current tier list stands as an overall look at the current metagame for PoE.

Ascendancy Basic Info

Here’s a quick excerpt from the Grinding Gear Games website.

There are 19 Ascendancy classes, each with its own additional Ascendancy Skill Tree to master. Upon completing the Lord’s Labyrinth for the first time, you can pick an Ascendancy class from one of the three available for your class. The first time you complete the Labyrinth on each difficulty, you will receive two Ascendancy Points for its skill tree.

There are seven base classes in the game. Six of these classes branch off into three different Ascendancies. The last class, Scion, only has one Ascendancy, the Ascendant. Choosing the right one for you and your build is important to enjoy the game.

Let’s break down each one and give reasons as to why you might want to play them.


Path of Exile Ranger Ascendancies

Passive Tree Proximity: Dexterity, Bow, Projectile, Flask, Movement Speed, Cold damage, Crit Chance/Multiplier


  • Typically suited for Projectile based builds, usually bows but not always.
  • Specialties include: Additional projectiles, Far Shot + no Spread on Barrage, Mark Effect, and most importantly, Tailwind.
  • Tailwind is universally good to help speed up character because it’s a multiplier on all action speed.
  • Ascendancy supports going fast.
  • Has minor support for bleed but is not the main attraction.

Common Builds:

Lightning Arrow, Elemental Hit of the Spectrum, Artillery Ballista, Tornado Shot, Storm Rain, Kinetic Blast, Manaforged Arrows


  • Flask and Chaos damage focused Ascendancy.
  • Specializes in Increased Flask Effect, duration, and Charge Sustain.
  • Also used for Poison builds, Chaos damage, increased Wither effect, and Poison explosions.
  • Quite good with almost anything since flasks are universally good and can be built around.
  • Very good at sustaining and surviving tough map modifiers due to constant access to flasks.

Common Builds:

Toxic Rain, Poisonous Concoction of Bouncing, Caustic Arrow, Forbidden Rite, Hexblast, Blade Vortex


  • The speed ascendancy that focuses on Frenzy charges, Onslaught, and Elemental Damage.
  • Also has access to Phasing.
  • Typically used for Attack based builds either Ranged (bows) or Melee.
  • Can be relatively Tanky compared to other ranger ascendancies due to built in Spell Suppression, Evasion, and Elemental Ailment Avoidance on the Ascendancy Tree.
  • Very easy access to Frenzy Charges.

Common Builds:

Flicker Strike, Lightning Strike, Spectral Shield Throw, Frost Blades


Path of Exile Duelist Ascendancies

Passive Tree Proximity: Dexterity, Strength, Fire, Melee, Projectile, Armor, Evasion nodes.


  • Ascendancy with a heavy focus on Block, Dual wielding, and Bleed.
  • Used mainly for access to bleed explosions.
  • Has nodes to increase Attack Speed and Movement Speed as well.
  • Relatively easy access to Frenzy charges.

Common Builds:

Split Arrow, Puncture, Lacerate of Haemorrhage


  • The go to tanky ascendancy for Duelist.
  • Excels with staying alive through 100% Fortitude uptime and taunting enemies to gain 100% hit chance and take reduced damage from taunted enemies.
  • Has minor nodes to support Banners and Intimidate enemies to weaken them further.
  • Adrenaline which is attached to the Intimidate node also helps with DPS if you ever go low in life and can be abused through mechanics to achieve 100% uptime.

Common Builds:

Splitting Steel, Corrupting Fever, Explosive Arrow, Lightning Strike, Reap, Toxic Rain


  • Ascendancy that focuses on gaining extra damage against Rare and Unique enemies and staying alive while doing so.
  • Has access to Overleech, good Crit nodes, AoE, Attack and Movement speed, and Increased damage to Rares and Uniques.
  • Fairly straight forward ascendancy to build around using attacks and can cull Rare and Unique enemies.

Common Builds:

Flicker Strike, Shockwave, Cyclone, Boneshatter


Path of Exile Marauder Ascendancies

Passive Tree Proximity: Strength, Fire, Melee, Armor, Physical damage nodes.


  • Heavy focus on Fire and Totems. Access to Fire explosions, Totem damage, Fire resistance, and Life regeneration.
  • Fire explosions allow for stronger map clear with less damage invested.
  • Has access to Max res increasing nodes on Ascendancy Tree, allowing for very tanky builds with low investment.
  • Quite decent sustain and can reduce nearby enemies’ Fire Resistance.
  • Common pick for MF builds in Affliction League.

Common Builds:

Righteous Fire, Fire Trap, Detonate Dead (Fulcrum)


  • Ascendancy focused on having high mobility, speed, and Crit.
  • Can sacrifice survivability for extra damage if wanted.
  • Main focus of ascendancy is Rage which can be built up in multiple ways, generally through attacks.
  • With enough rage, can be immune to Stun, gain Attack Speed, Attack Samage, and Movement Speed.

Common Builds:

General’s Cry, Blade Flurry, Venom Gyre, Cleave of Rage, Rage Vortex of Berserking


  • Literally a Juggernaut.
  • Ascendancy aiming to survive, tank a lot of hits, and generally be unstoppable.
  • Has easy access to Endurance Charges to increase durability and Life Regeneration.
  • Other nodes include being unaffected by slows, increased Armor from Chest piece, and ways to scale Accuracy and Attack Speed from Strength.
  • Access to increased AoE per Endurance Charge.
  • Ascendancy Node applies percentage of Armour to Elemental Hits.

Common Builds:

Boneshatter, Dual Strike of Ambidexterity, Volcanic Fissure of Snaking, Righteous Fire


Path of Exile Templar Ascendancies

Passive Tree Proximity: Strength, Intelligence, Armor, Energy Shield, Elemental Damage nodes.


  • Recently Reworked
  • Generally regarded as either a support ascendancy or a good minion Ascendancy.
  • Grants bonuses to allies through the use of Link Skills, Auras, and in their immediate area.
  • Has built in Curse/Elemental Ailment immunity on a cycle and can summon a big friend to help with survivability and damage.

Common Builds:

Mirror Arrow of Bombarding, Blink Arrow of Bombarding, Summon Holy Relic of Conviction, Raise Spectre, Summon Raging Spirits


  • Brand and Totem focused Ascendancy which also has access to Mana and Energy Shield for sustain and survivability.
  • Nodes for mana give increased effect of Arcane Surge and bonus Energy Shield.
  • Quite well rounded for self cast as well and has easy access to Endurance and Power Charges.
  • Can benefit from stacking large Mana pools to act as extra Life or damage.

Common Builds:

Ice Nova of Frostbolts (Archmage), Storm Rain of the Conduit (Manaforged Arrows), Shockwave Totem, Spark, Ball Lightning


  • Ascendancy with very high sustain with a heavy focus on elemental damage.
  • Sustain is granted from the Consecrated Ground nodes and the elemental damage nodes are quite straight forward.
  • Can ignore elemental resistances on critical strikes for attack and spell based builds and there are some nodes that support a hybrid spell/attack build.

Common Builds:

Hexblast of Contradiction, Penance Brand of Dissipation, Lancing Steel of Spraying, Ice Spear of Splitting, Righteous Fire, Tornado of Elemental Turbulence


Path of Exile Witch Ascendancies

Passive Tree Proximity: Intelligence, Energy Shield, Spell damage, Elemental Damage, Chaos Damage nodes


  • Ascendancy with heavy focus on Energy shield and Cold/Chaos damage.
  • Can apply an additional Curse and has access to Chaos Explosions.
  • Mainly used for Spellcasting since it has easy access to Power Charges.
  • Can be built relatively tanky as well with Energy Shield regen nodes, Freeze and Chill immunity, or hindering nearby enemies.

Common Builds:

Blade Vortex, Hexblast, Vortex, Creeping Frost, Cast on Crit Ice Spear/Vortex/Cyclone etc.


  • Heavy focus on dealing Elemental Damage and gaining its respective ailment with additional access to Golem nodes.
  • Mainly used for Spellcasting but can also branch out to attacks just fine.
  • Golem builds can be easily made with a lot of quality of life built into the nodes.

Common Builds:

Detonate Dead, Explosive Arrow, Ethereal Knives, Fire Trap


  • Summon based builds: Skeletons, Spirits, Zombies, etc.
  • Heavy Minion support to buff health, damage, etc.

Common Builds:

Detonate Dead (of Chain Reaction), Raise Spectre, Mirror Arrow of Bombardment, Summon Holy Relic of Conviction, Summon Raging Spirit


Path of Exile Shadow Ascendancies

Passive Tree Proximity: Intelligence, Dexterity, Crit, Energy Shield, Evasion, Mine/Trap Damage, Chaos nodes


  • Ascendancy that specializes in critical strikes with a few nodes dedicated to poison damage.
  • Has Survivabilty with Elusive on Crit.
  • Generally used to just deal a lot of damage and is able to cull with critical strikes.
  • Can be used as a Spellcaster or Attack based build.

Common Builds:

Hexblast, Penance Brand of Dissipation, Cast on Crit Cyclone, Ice Trap, Blade Vortex


  • Has access to multitude of utility such as
    • Increased base action speed
    • Reducing nearby action speed of enemies
    • Increased damage through having a variety of different masteries allocated, Spell Suppression and Energy Shield Leech.
  • Typically can be suited for anything as the ascendancy is fairly open ended.
  • Can be built quite tanky.

Common Builds:

Splitting Steel, Exsanguinate, Explosive Trap of Shrapnel, Hexblast, Frost Blades, Flicker Strike


  • Mainly focused on Mines, Traps, and Trigger Bots
  • Has fairly decent utility with nearby enemies are Blinded, Shock and Ignite immunity, and Cooldown Recovery Rate.

Common Builds:

Hexblast, Blade Blast of Unloading, Detonate Dead, Fire Trap of Blasting, Ice Trap


Path of Exile Scion Ascendant

Passive Tree Proximity: Everything (passive tree starts in the middle)


  • Jack of all trades.
  • Can have a little bit from each ascendancy and can start at different positions around the tree based on the class they choose to.
  • You can be anything you want to be.
  • Can be one of the strongest Ascendancies with very high invesment.

Common Builds:

Ice Spear/Creeping Frost/Freezing Pulse (Wardloop), Molten Strike/Smite (Armor Stacker), Kinetic Blast, Lightning Strike, and much more


That wraps up our Tier List and guide on the Ascendancies in Path of Exile. PoE is a game that has an extreme amount of depth, and all of these options can become intimidating.

Hopefully this article helped you learn a little bit in choosing your first character, or maybe second character. Overall, you shouldn’t stress too much about meta viability of a build. If you just want to have a good time, play whatever you want to or what feels good to you. It’s a PvE game after all.

Be sure to check out our other resources on the upcoming Path of Exile 2: