Path of Exile

So You Want to Try SSF in 3.12 Heist? A Friendly Guide.

Content of the article: "So You Want to Try SSF in 3.12 Heist? A Friendly Guide."

Hello there, midtown here! As usual I'm posting this guide for the upcoming league. I don’t believe any league is inherently superior, so the goal of this post is not to convince you that SSF is the best, but simply to explain how to have some success if it is your first time! Here goes:

  1. Most important! Choose a fun league starter that doesn’t require any non-trivially farmable uniques and doesn't need Uber Lab to map efficiently. Lots of streamers play SSF and have appropriate guides. Safe uniques would be very common uniques or ones that are fast to farm via div cards: Tabula, Stormcloud, Sire of Shards, Whispering Ice, etc. There are plenty of guides in the forums that mention they are SSF-friendly, so go for one of those if it is your first time. As you get the hang of it you won’t need to follow SSF-specific guides, but it helps a lot in the beginning.
  2. That said, you have access to a lot more uniques than you think. Because trade is the easiest method to get most uniques, it’s what most people do and you never learn the other ways. A surprising number of uniques have divination cards that can be farmed. Additionally, every recent league has had access to Ancient Orbs, or access to an identical mechanic (Incursion = T3 Sacrifice, Bestiary = Beast craft recipe, Delve = Harb nodes), which can make it fairly statistically straightforward to get many uniques with the right iLvl. Finally, add Chance orbs to your loot filter as well as any bases for your most desired uniques, and chance them all. For context, my SSFHC DP Heiro had a 6L Soul Mantle, 2x Kikazarus, and a Self-Flagellation. And my TR Heiro had a 6L Quill Rain, 2 Abyssal Tombfist, and a Kintsugi.
  3. Try to fit increased item rarity (IIR) into your build. This is much more powerful than most people realize in SSF, because it gives you significantly more build-enabling uniques, significantly more alchemy orbs (via alch shards from vendors), and significantly more T1/T2 rares to identify. If you can, fit Item Rarity gem in your main skill, or swap it in for clearing. If you freeze, HoI+IR is a great combo, or if you DoT, Contagion+IR (the first DoT gets the kill credit and this includes spreading w/ ED). If you end up with an Ambitious Bandit Prophecy, this is a great one to follow through on for The Ascetic for an MF build.
  4. You’ll get more items overall than you might expect (including uniques and currency), because SSF feels like a league with inherent IIQ. I don’t mean the zones themselves have IIQ of course, but because there’s no time to spend on, looking up items, whispering for trades, doing rotas, and leaving maps for trading, etc, you simply spend more time killing monsters and will find an increased number of items per hour. It can be a really refreshing experience, and you should generally be swimming in everything you need to map (chaos / alc / scour / sextants), not only from killing more monsters, but from having more currency you aren’t spending on trades.
  5. If playing an attack-based build, you'll have the easiest time choosing a skill which provides added damage as it levels, so you aren't dependent completely on your base weapon damage. 3.7 gave a lot more attack skills added damage as they level! There are also very useful Vendor Recipes for % physical damage and added damage so you can occasionally use these on better bases as you level.
  6. Drop-only gems: With Added Chaos and Detonate Mines from vendors now, the only thing you have to worry about is Enhance/Empower/Enlightens. Generally I find them each league, but sometimes not. I wouldn't run a league starter that absolutely depends on them. To help find them roll Gemcutter strongboxes for "only support gems" and run gem Delves/Temple rooms. (GGG, can we buy these for a Divine please?)
  7. Vaal gems: You have a ~25% chance to get one with a Vaal orb, so don't be afraid to spend vaal orbs to get your Vaal Summon Skeletons / Vaal Blight / Vaal BV for sweet, sweet leveling, if you don't quickly get it from Vaal side areas.
  8. Unique Jewels: These are the hardest to plan around in my experience, because they can’t be reliably chanced. Obviously many are quest rewards, and if you need two, just race another character to A5 if it doesn’t drop. Some are more common than others, but don’t exactly plan a single-element Elemental Hit build in SSF. Some do have Div cards, so that's a great option for those (A Mother's Parting Gift for Icestorm, for example). Generally I play a solid league starter and then base my future builds around which of these (and other items) drop. (GGG, Threshold Jewel Vendor plz)
  9. Atlas: Filling out your atlas is much easier in recent updates, with the Zana map rewards and non-deterministic 3:1 recipe. The most important thing is to add Chance orbs to your loot filter while leveling so you can buy Kirac/Zana out after her daily missions as you progress through the Atlas. I believe you find Zana in your first T3 map. For red maps, 3-to-1 will help a lot as you farm them (I do this each time I hit 5 of a map so I always have at least 2 of each), and the various source of Horizon Orbs (drops, Delve, Zana missions) make life a lot easier. These are especially valuable at the higher tiers where you are more likely the get the map you want as the pool is limited! Note that the Zana "alternate of same tier" (not sure if we'll have this in 3.12) is very helpful and seems to follow drop rules such she has an increased chance to give you an uncomplete map. Don’t forget that Vaaling a map has a 12.5% to upgrade it as well. For filling out your unique maps, Ancient orb mechanics are also great once you've got the unique gear you need!
  10. Masters. 3.8 fixed a lot of issues here! Run more maps, login daily, and get lots of missions. You'll want to check Zana's inventory after every mission of hers (it resets when she open the portals), grabbing any missing/needed maps. The only minor thing to keep in mind is that when the servers roll over at midnight UTC and you get a new mission, it will be based on the tier you last ran a map on. So if you are logging out for the day, make sure the last map you run is the tier you want to receive your daily missions at.
  11. Lootfilter. Use one! For league start: > Presets > Leveling > Wands/Bows/1H as appropriate, I prefer Semi-Strict. Move Chance Orbs and Silver Coins to Fuse tier. Then quickly transition into Strict once you are all rare gear, and then potentially Very Strict around maps. For a league start, the only changes I make are to move Chance Orbs and Silver Coins to the Fusing tier so I don't miss any. Make sure to add your chancing bases, div cards, and remove any T1/T2 rares you won't use. That last bit is especially critical if you play with IIR/IIQ. Generally I keep only the top 2-3 tiers of each gear slot of the right type for my build (Evasion, ES, etc) in my loot filter, and once I have a great item for a slot, I remove all but the top tier base for that slot.
  12. Currency. So you’re short on a currency you need? Make sure you are alching every 6+ map you run for quant sustain, and Chisel + Vaaling whatever the highest tier red maps you are running/sustaining. Take any reasonably close Currency or City Delve node. If that isn’t enough, let’s see what you need:
    • Vaal orbs: sell 7 vaal gems + a fragment for a Vaal orb. Run extra fragments in your map device for a Vaal area when you need more Vaal gems. You can also run your maps that drop The Catalyst.
    • Chaos orbs: generally self-sustaining, but can do the occasional chaos recipe as needed, but focus more on Delve Currency/City nodes. Pick up <75 ilvl items from Vaal areas (above) as needed so at least one item is < 75 ilvl to get 2 Chaos.
    • Regals: there's always the regal recipe, but if you are hitting up Delves and Temples it isn't likely to be needed.
    • Alchemy: Generally self-sustaining, but in case not, you can buy them 1:1 for Regret orbs, which are otherwise useless end-game SSF! Pick up and sell identified unique items you don’t need for alch shards. Consider maps which drop good div cards (Survivalist) when you are low. "Also keep in mind that you can use unneeded fossils or Orbs of Binding to roll your maps if you are running low on alcs." – @ot4ku
    • Fuses: Sell Jeweller’s 4-to-1. Run maps for cards like Loyalty. Don’t forget to 20+ qual anything you are trying to link!
    • Jewellers: pick up every 6S of course, and pick them up from maps.
    • Silver Coins. Transmute + Augment every white Strongbox you find. “Extra silver coins” rolls surprisingly often! I ID blue Strongboxes so I can augment if it only has one mod. Adding a suffix is generally where the good stuff is, but rolling an Exile prefix is great too.
    • GCPs and Baubles: Keep a dump tab of quality gems and sell a full inventory for lots of GCPs. For Baubles you can trade Blacksmiths, or add high quality flasks to your loot filter (the latter is probably only worth doing for a league starter that benefits a lot from 20% flasks).
    • Sextants: Now you can 3-to-1 upgrade Sextants, and they are easier to move around via Watchstones. Buy them from Zana always. It is possible to run out of sextants SSF, at which point just run one or two. With Delve, Temple, and Zana, you really don't need to run entirely max sextant 20% corrupted maps to sustain 🙂
    • Scours: These generally self-sustain even with liberal map re-rolling, but you can grab extra from vendors as needed.
    • Wisdoms/Portals/Armourers: Hopefully these are off your loot filter and you just sell Transmute stacks as needed (Blacksmiths in the case of Armourers).
Read:  Compiled List of Streamer Starter Builds for Heist League

Please share anything else that has helped you or any questions you might have. It is really a lot less overwhelming and more fun than I expected, and don’t forget you can always migrate to Trade if you get stuck. Keep in mind that the “Migrate All” button migrates all of your lab trials / delve / Atlas, etc (except master missions!), so as a general rule there’s not much penalty for starting in SSF and deciding you want to go trade. And, don't forget to join Global 773! Finally, try to die…less than Ziz does 🙂


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