In this Path of Exile Class Ascendancy Tier List we will present to you the strongest and weakest Ascendancy sub-classes that are present in the latest 3.5 patch of PoE League (Betrayal expansion). Because of the recent Betrayal league launch we have prepared two really useful guides that you should also check out: Path of Exile Leveling Guide, Path of Exile Betrayal league mechanics guide and 3.5 Path of Exile Skill Gem Tier List and Build Collection.
Please note: All Path of Exile Ascendancy classes are more than viable for casual players but for some of you that enjoy min-maxing builds and killing end-game bosses such as uber shaper and elder this PoE Class tier list will potentially be of great use.
Class Tier List Descriptors
S+ Tier – Overpowered. Path of Exile Ascendancy classes that are perfect for the players which enjoy melting bosses and reaching high damage numbers. These ascendancies often work really well even with no investment.
S Tier – Very Strong. Path of exile Ascendancy classes which strong but require some investment to get started, they’ll often be fine for doing end-game bosses (with a proper build).
A Tier – Balanced. These PoE Ascendancy classes are very viable, especially for casual players who just want to have fun and test out new interesting builds that work only with certain ascendancies.
C Tier – Underpowered. Some of these PoE Ascendancy classes are rarely played because often times there are stronger ascendancy picks for most builds.
Saboteur (Shadow Ascendancy) is arguably the best ascendancy in the game because it is the main thing if you want to play a build that revolves around traps or mines. Considering how broken Arc currently is, people tend to pick Saboteur as a league starter because he is just so strong. An Arc/Lightning Spire trapper can burst down bosses like Atziri, Shaper and Elder in no time with zero investment.
Elementalist (Witch Ascendancy) shines in a high percentage of builds. You really can’t go wrong by picking an Elementalist build because the Ascendancy keystones can boost your damage quite a bit whilst making you Reflect Immune which is awesome for Hardcore League players.
Hierophant (Templar Ascendancy) has become really popular in the Betrayal league because of the addition of Brand skills and the totem buffs. Hierophant is extremely popular among SSF players because of how strong Arc Totems are in the current meta. The Hierophant and Elementalist are the best ascendancies for Brand builds and Brands are currently really broken.
Occultist (Witch Ascendancy) has also gained traction with the launch of Betrayal league because of the buff to cold skills and addition of a cold keystone to the Occultist ascendancy. Occultist is the best Ascendancy if you plan on going CI but it’s not recommended for league starters that are not experienced with leveling as a CI build.
Juggernaut (Marauder Ascendancy) has been the go-to Ascendancy for Uber Lab farmers and it still is. Juggernaut Sunder/Earthquake builds feature a “braindead playstyle” in which you can facetank literally anything in the game but it often lacks damage without high investment. On a budget though, with just a couple exalts thrown into a Juggernaut you should be able to run Uber Izaro with ease (and make tones of currency — therefore this is an excellent league starter and money farmer).
Ascendant (Scion Ascendancy) is really strong because the Slayer ascendancy leech node offers Scion excellent survivability (cull, physical reflect immunity, leech) for just 3 points. Ascendant is the best Ascendancy for Elemental Hit builds which are really popular because they can do all content with a bit of investment. Uber lab and Delving is also a breeze for Ascendants.
Necromancer (Witch Ascendancy) — the best summoner Ascendancy. Not much to be said about this one, just a bunch of summoner nodes that make your summons do nutty damage. In my opinion, Necromancer is the best beginner Ascendancy class (especially for league starts) because having a lot of summons offers you great survivability and with no investment you’ll be able to cruise through content by just holding the left mouse button to walk while your summons do the work for you.
Guardian (Templar Ascendancy) is often picked by people that run an Aurabot (a support build which focuses on running as many auras as possible). Guardian is a great ascendancy if you have friends to play with, but in a solo setting you will not be able to do much. Playing an Aurabot Guardian is great if you want to farm maps with a buddy on a low budget.
Inquisitor (Templar Ascendancy) shines with crit builds such as Storm Brand or Winter Orb which have become meta in PoE Betrayal. The main node you should be getting on an Inquisitor is Inevitable Judgement because it makes your Critical Strikes ignore Enemy Monster Elemental Resistances.
Deadeye (Scion Ascendancy) is often the best Ascendancy pick for ranged bow skill characters. The Deadeye Ascendancy performs well in Tornado Shot, Barrage and Rain of Arrow builds because of Endless Munitions and Ricochet Ascendancy nodes. Overall you can’t go wrong with a Deadeye in bow builds but beware that bow skills that don’t scale well with levels will require very high DPS bows to perform well (making Deadeye a very high budget build choice if you want to do higher level PvM content).
Champion (Duelist Ascendancy) performs really well in melee based builds. The Ascendancy notable here is “Fortitude” which grants you permanent Fortify –this is huge! Champion is the go-to ascendancy if you hate the slow playstyle of a Juggernaut but want somewhat similar survivability. Getting the Fortitude node and acquiring at least 6000 health (with capped resists) will pretty much guarantee you that you wont get one-shot, making it a great choice for melee players in HC leagues.
Gladiator (Duelist Ascendancy) is the best ascendancy for block builds but it also shines in bleed melee builds. Though, in the current Betrayal league meta it is arguably the best Ascendancy for Herald of Agony builds on the HC ladder.
Pathfinder (Ranger Ascendancy) has lost it’s popularity because the meta shifted away from the DoT builds that were very strong during Delve League. Nevertheless, Pathfinder is still a very strong pick for DoT (Toxic Rain, Caustic Arrow) builds and is the only way to reach elemental damage immunity (via permanent flask uptime) in certain build setups — volatile dead for example. Overall, Pathfinder will cost a lot to maximize the damage output in order to become PvE end-game viable such as previously mentioned ascendancies.
Trickster (Shadow Ascendancy) works well with a variety of builds which are based around skills such as Brands, Essence Drain, Arc, Righteous Fire and Blade Vortex. The thing to note here is that for most of these there are better ascendancies. This makes Trickster more of a “hipster” pick if you want to experiment, though Trickster synergizes well with CI Evasion/MoM builds but those are often very costly to gear.
Slayer (Duelist Ascendancy) is an okay Ascendancy for melee builds and Elemental Hit but it’s nothing special and in most cases Ascendant (Scion) performs better than a Slayer.
Chieftain (Marauder Ascendancy) features great options for fire damage skills and totems. Chieftain is usually the best Ascendancy for Righteous Fire builds but since RF builds are not very meta currently it’s not a highly picked Ascendancy.
Assassin (Shadow Ascendancy) is one of the two critical hit focused Ascendancies. In most cases, Assassin gets outperformed by an Inquisitor by a LOT. Assassins are currently not played a lot as they don’t have much defensive options — making them really squishy and squishy is not good in the current state of the game (even in non HC leagues).
Raider (Ranger Ascendancy) grants you Onslaught, Phasing, easy Frenzy Charge generation and huge amounts of movement speed. Ranger is excellent for speed clearing maps as fast as possible but other than that it lacks in all aspects — especially defense. As a Raider, expect to get one-shot very often.
Berserker (Marauder Ascendancy) is currently the least played Ascendancy class across all Leagues/Servers. The only thing a Berserker is relatively good for is Ancestral Warchief Totem builds which perform good but they are sub-optimal in the current meta where a lot of other skills provide you with much better options for both single target and AoE damage.