A few days ago I posted an answer on r/PathOfExileBuilds where I tried to explain my understanding of how critical strike chance works. Since I struggled to understand this for a little over 1k+ hours of playtime I figured other beginners might be interested in that topic as well. I also would like to add that English is not my first language so I'm probably going to make a good amount of spelling/grammatical errors, and I'm lacking basic math terminology, which also might be an issue, but I'll try my best to explain everything.
I never found a proper guide on that topic, although I spend an embarrassing amount googling this topic. I tried to play a CoC Ice Nova Assassin in Heist and failed miserably due to not being able to achieve 100% crit chance as easy as other players did with far less gear than I had. I spend the entirety of Ritual on figuring out how exactly to cap your crit chance and now that I understand it a bit better I don't know why I struggled in the first place since it's pretty easy math once you know how it is calculated. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
The answer I wrote was based on a crackling lance inquisitor but it's, more or less, applicable to basically any build that wants to reach 100% crit chance. I'm also no expert by any means so feel free to correct my if I'm wrong, I'll try my best to edit this post accordingly. I also would like to add that every calculation in this post is done with PoB, I'll try my best to add screenshots, so you can do the same for your own build.
Let's get started:
There are two types of crit, the first is crit for attacks and the other one is crit for spells. Whether you need either Attack critical strike chance or Spell critical strike chance will be dependent on the skill you're using. For example, a typical attack could be Cyclone and a typical Spell could be Crackling lance.
This is your base critical strike chance, sometimes refered to as local critical strike chance as well. That's an important number since every other source of critical strike chance you get will be multiplicative with this value, for example if you take the common crit nodes on the tree, depending on your class and ascendancy, you will most likely end up with something like 300% crit chance from your tree (took those numbers from a random crackling lance inquisitor, idk if these numbers are correct or inflated). This will sometimes be called global critical strike chance as well. Your crit chance with an example value of 320% crit chance from your tree and the base critical strike chance of 6.00% will be 6.00% 4.2 = 25.2%* effective chance to crit. You need to calculate your crit chance of 320% with 6% being 100% which ends up beeing a multiplicator of 4.2 from your base value (As I said, I'm lacking basic math terminology in English :D).
As pointed out by u/ixdeh, If you're playing an Attack build you really need to make sure you have enough accuracy. You need 100% hit chance in order to be able to crit 100% of the time. You could have infinite crit chance, as long as you don't hit your enemy you won't be able to crit either. There are various sources of accurary, the most common one is probably the Precision Aura which will give you a fait bit of crit chance as well. There are plenty of other sources, it would take to much time to list them all. You can check out the Wiki Page here.
Back to topic
Inquisitor only, but other ascendancies also have some sort of crit amplification: You will get a lot of crit from your Righteous Providence Ascendancy note (based on your strength and int this will vary a bit), with good gear you can squeeze out another 200% – 300% crit chance, so you will end up with roughly 500% – 600% crit chance, which will be roughly around 40% effective crit chance at this point. That's the reason Inquisitor has a much easier time getting max crit then other classes.
Other examples of crit amplifications from ascendancies are Deadly Infusion or Toxic Delivery for Assassins (which are arguably better then the Inquisitor Ascendancy node since they'll increase your Base critical strike chance, more on that late on) or Overwhelm for Slayers. There are other nodes for other classes as well, just check PoB in order to find them.
The easiest way to progress from that point are power charges, which will add another 40% crit chance each. You can then get a few crit mods (FOR SPELLS!) on your gear, which will add another 200% – 300% crit chance. With good gear you can end up with around 60% effective crit chance.
At this point the easiest way to further scale your crit chance will be a diamond flask. A diamond flask will basically roll your crit chance twice to calculate if your critting or not. You can imagine it like this: You hit an enemy, the game will calculate your crit chance and roll either yes or no with a 60% chance of getting a yes. If you roll yes, you will crit and its done, if you roll a no though, your diamond flask will roll once again and ask the same question again. If you roll yes, you will crit, if you roll no again, unlucky, no crit for you. This will lead to a (more or less accurate) crit chance of 85%.
At this point you've done everything in your power to make your crackling lane crit (outside adding increased crit chance or inspiration to your link setup, increased crit chance will add another ~13% effective crit chance at this point and inspiration will add another 8% crit chance per charge for a roughly +5-10% effective crit chance). You can also add an Aura like Zealotry to further increase your crit chance.
Increasing your Base Critical Strike chance
This is a very important topic to understand! You will see that you would need a lot of crit from various sources to further increase your crit chance at this point so the easiest way to get more is to increase your base crit chance of 6%, since all of your other multipliers will increase your effective crit chance massively if you increase the base of that number (makes sense?). Ways to increase your base crit chance will be:
– Bottled Faith (prob the easiest to get and fit into your build atm if you're on trade league)
– Shaper or Hunter mod on the chest (Needs to be Shaper or Hunter since crackling lance is a spell, so you need to increase your spell crit chance, not the attack crit chance)
– Some Watcher's eye mods give you base crit for example: +(1.2-1.8)% to Critical Strike Chance while affected by Hatred, which won't work for you since you're most likely not running Hatred, there's another one for Zealotry or Wrath which reads like this: (100-120)% increased Critical Strike Chance against Enemies on Consecrated Ground while affected by Zealotry or (70-100)% increased Critical Strike Chance while affected by Wrath, but that won't increase your base crit and will most likely not be a viable option for you since there are better mods for your build, and it won't increase your crit chance by that much. Btw, if enemies are on Consecrated Ground you will get another 100% crit chance, so that's another easy 100% chance multiplier for an inquisitor.
– As u/ucddj pointed out, another, more or less, easy option to increase your base critical strike chance is to corrupt gloves and prey that you hit the either Spell crit chance or Attack crit chance depending on what you need. If you use unique gloves this might be a really good source since that corruption is usually pretty cheap, depending on the unqiue glove you need.
-Of course there is another pretty easy way to get to 100% crit chance without any expensive mods, as pointed out by u/TheRobinCH, which will be Curses such as Assassin's Mark or other Skills like Frost Shield. You can even get a Hunter's mod on a Ring, which will curse enemie's with Assassin's Mark automatically if you don't want to self cast. Keep in mind that these skills are rather unreliable when it comes to mapping since you either need to selfcast them every time on each pack or it will only be applied to unique enemies or bosses, or, in case of Frost Shield, will require you to be somewhat stationary. Usually you can get away with not having 100% crit chance all the time while mapping, depending on the stage of your gear and the build you're running.
A well rolled Bottled Faith alone will pust you too 100% effective crit chance easily, the chest mods will put you to 96% – 100% depending on the tier of the mod and if it's an elevated mod. These chests can go up in price really fast if you want some other good rolls on them and since you most likely run with an Inpulsa's a Bottled Faith will probably be your best option.
That was my basic guide, as I said feel free to correct me if I got something wrong or ask any question if anything should be unclear, I'll try my best to edit this post or answer in the comments. You can also post some other mechanics that are rather complicated, I love trying explaining things and I will probably learn some stuff while researching.
Have a nice day! 🙂
Edit: Added some information as pointed out in the comments, special thanks to u/SoloSin for his great explantion of local vs global critical strike chance.
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