Home / Build / [3.1] Zizaran’s Ethereal Knives (EK) Nova Shadow (Assassin)

[3.1] Zizaran’s Ethereal Knives (EK) Nova Shadow (Assassin)

Intro & build description

This is Zizaran’s EK nova build from his stream (check it out btw). This build allows you to clear maps insanely fast, steal mods from rare monsters with Inspired learning (mini headhunter) and level up past 90 in a matter of days.

Build Pros

  • One of the fastest-clearing builds currently in the game
  • Not expensive, therefore great as a league starter
  • Good gearing options (can use lots of items)

Build Cons

  • Interaction with new Vaal Pact is not tested yet

Passive tree(s) and Path of Building

Skill Tree [117p]


Bandits Quest Choice
Kill all bandits

Ascendancy skill points

LabyrinthsSkill point choice
Labyrinth 1Unstable Infusion
Labyrinth 2Deadly Infusion
Labyrinth 3Ambush
Endgame LabyrinthAssasinate

Skill gem setup


Warlord's Mark (LVL 1)

Cast When Damage Taken Support (LVL 1)

Immortal Call (LVL 1)

Increased Duration (LVL 20)

Body Armor

Ethereal Knives

Spell Echo Support

Faster Projectiles Support

Increased Critical Strikes Support

Controlled Destruction Support

Increased Critical damage Support


Fortify Support

Shield Charge

Faster Attacks Support

Herald of Ash


Curse on Hit Support

Herald of Ice

Poacher's Mark

Enlighten (LVL 3 or LVL 4)

2h Weapon


1h Weapon

Faster Casting Support

Summon Lightning Golem

Warlord's Mark

Offhand weapon / shield

Arcane Surge (LVL 1)

Flame Dash (LVL 6)


Build uniques / Example rare gear

Tip: Click on the item to view it on PoE Wiki or to view similar rare items in poe.trade


Eternal Burgonet

Ideally, look for armour helmet with 40% increased Ethereal Knives Damage enchant, some life and resistances.

Body Armour

Belly of The Beast

Belly is great defensive option for the build providing tons of life.



These gloves allow us to convert physical damage to cold.



Voidwalker is great option for the build offensively and defensively.


For this build to function smoothly, you should have “0.4% of damage leeched as life and mana if you’ve killed recently” enchantment. Getting these exact boots with this exact enchantment can be challenging so you can explore other options such as rare boots with this enchantment.

Of course, you can always apply Warlord’s Mark for mana leech, but having this enchantment helps a ton.

Left Ring

Sibyl's Lament

Zizaran used this ring to reduce reflected elemental damage taken but it’s unclear how reflect will function from 3.1.

Alternatively, ideal ring would be Opal Ring with life, resistances and cast speed but that can cost a lot.

Right Ring

Diamond Ring

Ideally look for Diamond Ring with life, resistances and cast speed.


Bisco's Collar

Great amulet to boost your earnings would be well-rolled Bisco’s Collar but with 3.1 it is even rarer.

Great options would be Karui Charge or rare amulet base with attributes you need paired with global critical strike multiplier and global critical strike chance.


Leather Belt

Ideally look for leather belt with at least 80-90 life and as much resistances as you can find.

Good idea would be to find belt that you can craft increased movement speed on.

1Hand Weapon

Golden Kris

Cheapest option would be to look for dagger with increased spell damage, as high critical strike with spells as you can find and craft attack speed on it using master.


Fossilized Spirit Shield

Look for shield with as much life as you can find.

Good mods on shield are spell damage and cast speed if you want to go for more damage.


Ring of Blades

This threshold jewel allows us to shoot EK projectiles in nova and is core unique item for the build.


Inspired Learning

This jewel allows us to steal 1 mod for 20 seconds from each rare monster we kill which means some good random buffs.

It can only be socketed in 2 jewel slots for this build and they are located between Mind Drinker and Blood Drinker on passive tree and between Survivalist and Fervour nodes.


Rare Jewels

On rare jewels look for following stats:

1.) Increased maximum life
2.) Increased spell damage
3.) Increased cast speed
4.) Increased projectile damage
5.) Increased crit chance / multiplier
6.) Any attributes or resistances if you’re missing


Flask Setup

Flask setup for the build:

1.) Instant recovery Divine life flask with freeze removal
2.) Surgeon’s Silver flask with bleed removal
3.) Atziri’s Promise
4.) Taste of Hate (If you can afford it)
5.) Surgeon’s Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline
6.) You can also swap Atziri’s Promise or Taste of Hate for mana flask if you haven’t got enchantment on the boots

Feel free to share your thoughts/experiences/tips about the build in comments section below.

About gems

Always tries to keep up with the game, its ever-changing mechanisms and explain them in understandable manner.


  1. Warlord’s Mark on 1h weapon? Is that wrong?

    • It’s not wrong, why do you think it is?

      • Because the color in the guide implies warlords mark is green instead of what it actually is (red), and we already have warlords mark with cast on damage taken immortal call.

        • Yeah, color was wrong, now it’s fixed.
          Another Warlord’s mark outside of CWDT setup is a thing I like because it’s reliable way to apply curse that requires no conditions to be met. This is mostly aimed at people that do not have mana leech enchant on boots and need a way to reliably regain spent mana.

  2. Hi im new to poe….i like this build but most of the other guides are played as an inquisitor…
    So wich is better choice now ? Shadow or Inquisitor ?

    • Right now inquisitor is the strongest ascendancy for EK nova, but Assassin will be able to deal with all the same stuff inquisitor can 🙂

  3. Curse on Hit Support+Herald of Ice+Poacher’s Mark+Enlighten (LVL 3 or LVL 4)

    What skill active “Curse on Hit Support”?

    Curse, Trigger, Support
    Icon: &
    Requires Level 38
    Must support both a skill that hits enemies, and a curse skill to work. The curse will be applied when enemies are hit by the other skill. Cannot support totems, traps, or mines. Minions cannot apply curses this way.

    I don´t understand this combination….

    • If you shatter monsters while under the effect of Herald of Ice, they explode and the explosion applies the curses.

      • Wondering if there was a path of building? Also, a leveling guide? I run exclusively shadow assassin Nova ek and struggle leveling due to no life on gear etc, Any chance I could get help with that?

        • Sorry, there’s no Path of Building.
          About leveling – Blade vortex is a great skill for leveling until you complete 2-3 Labyrinths and get enough crit nodes for Ek to feel good.
          Buy Tabula Rasa, get Elreon jewelry and with that gear you could easily get to maps.

  4. is it really zizaran’s build? He always plays EK nova with Templar /Incu.

  5. Flame dash and shield charge?

  6. What Enchant i use on Gloves ??

  7. I got big big problems with t14 vault boss.. any ideas?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *