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I was reading about some builds on the official PoE forums and I noticed that a criterion is

Atz: Atziri Viable

U-Atz: Uber Atziri viable

U-Lab: Uber Lab viable

I am familiar with what "Atziri/Uber Atziri" refer to (and I suppose that "Uber Lab" is just another map).

My question is: are there objective criteria to decide if a build is viable or not for those maps?

If yes, what are these?

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    Uber Lab is the fourth, endgame tier of the Lord's Labyrinth. – svavil Aug 25 '16 at 18:02
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I disagree with the answer posted by ElDuderino. Viability is important, and it does not simply mean that the build at hand can do those things deathless & with minimum time spent.

In fact, a build can be endgame-viable, yet still fail to do content reliably deathless.


Let's say you're playing an ignite build. Most of your damage (~90%) comes from igniting your target. Now you try to fight Atziri / Uber Atziri, who is immune to ignite. You're fighting her on 10% of your usual damage, and will most likely fail killing her, and even if you manage to kill her it will require high-end-gear as well as a lot of skill, luck & time.

So, builds relying solely on ignite damage are not viable for something like Atziri.

Another example: Guardians. With the "Atlas of the Worlds"-Expansion new endgame content was released, including 5 new maps. 4 of those contain the guardians, powerful bosses which have to be slain in order to acquire fragments. These fragments are then used to enter the Map where "The Shaper", the endgame boss, resides. The guardians all have immunities. The Phoenix for example is immune to being ignited, the Hydra is immune to being poisoned, etc.

Last example: Let's assume you're playing a glasscannon build. You skip all the life nodes on the passive skill tree, and only take damage, more and more and more. At the end, you might be sitting on 2k life. Now you attempt doing the uber-lab. Even normal monsters will likely oneshot you.


So, concluding this answer, no, it's not about doing something deathless and in the minimum amount of time. It's about being able to do something reliably, with a good chance of success.


Now, to cover a few basic things regarding viability. Please note that this segment will only cover basic beginners knowledge, mostly regarding survivability (stats that (basically) are required in order to make a build work).


Defense


Lifepoints: If you're playing a life-based build, you should opt for having around 4k lifepoints in the early lategame (while doing maps up to T10). When starting to grind red maps (T11+) you should try to push for 5k, optimally 6k+.

Armor/Evasion: Armor reduces the physical damage taken, based on the amount of armor and your level, meaning that 100 armor are very good at level 1, but very bad at level 70, generally speaking. There are quite a few builds that almost completely ignore armor, and focus on evasion rating, which increases the chance of the enemies missing.

Both of those choices have pros and cons. There are map mods which reduce the players armor by 40% - 60%, and there are map mods which increase the monsters accuracy by 40% - 60%. Both of those map mods can be quite detrimental, depending on which defensive setup was chosen.

I cannot name an exact amount, but if you're going for an armor build, 60% physical damage mitigation should be what you're aiming for.

Resistances: Path of Exile has 4 different resistances. The elemental resistances (Fire/Cold/Lightning) and chaos resistance. These are capped at 75% (meaning that if you have 120% lightning resistance (after subtractions) the game will count it as 75%).

The following paragraph is subject to change in the 3.0.0 release, where difficulties will be removed entirely, and the penalties will occur at certain points in the storyline.

Subtractions change with the difficulty. In normal difficulty you'll not have any subtractions, in cruel you'll lose 20% chaos resistance (so you're at effectively -20% if you have no chaos resistance anywhere), and in merciless you'll lose 60% for every resistance.

Keeping your elemental resistances capped is absolutely necessary. Without 75% resistance to elemental damage, you'll most likely get oneshot very quickly, even when you're at 6k life.

Chaos resistance is not that important, except for content like "Chayula", since that boss deals only chaos damage, and a lot of that. So, chaos resistance, not all that important. It can, however, make certain boss fights go a lot smoother, and a few monsters do deal chaos damage as well. Here's a list of monsters & bosses that deal chaos damage.

So, the stats you want to have when transitioning from early lategame to mid lategame, purely focused on survivability, are atleast 4k lifepoints and all elemental resistances capped!


Offense


Attributes: This is a bit confusing at first, but I hope it's understandable. When you're playing a caster for example, you're going to naturally be looking for intelligence as stat on your gear, since it increases your mana pool and your energy shield. That's something you'll see in most games, but for PoE, you have to adapt a bit. Due to the nature of the passive skill tree that PoE has, you'll get a ton of intelligence by traversing that skill tree. A lot of skillgems that are used in caster setups do not only require intelligence, but also or only dexterity, or even strength, meaning that having dexterity instead of intelligence on your amulet can be very beneficial.

Rule of thumb (for me) is to keep my main stat as high as possible (strength in my case), while not letting the other two (for me that's intelligence and dexterity) fall below 120, since I do need those for my skill gem setups.

Tooltip-DPS: A common beginners mistake is focusing too much on the tooltip-DPS. There are a lot of builds where the tooltip-DPS is simply misleading, for example builds that focus on DoT (Ignite, Poison, Bleed). The skills used to apply those DoTs usually have a very low DPS (like 2k), while the DoTs they apply deal a disgusting amount of damage, that is not properly displayed in the tooltip.

So, don't rely on the tooltip-DPS too much, it only leads to confusion. When you're playing a raw damage-build however, it's pretty accurate. In this case I'd aim for ~12-15k, that should be sufficient for everything up to T10 maps.


Build choices


The beautiful thing about Path of Exile is that every build has advantages and drawbacks.

A pure elemental damage build can focus on stacking %-increased Damage nodes for their elemental type, but it cannot deal with the map mod "Monsters reflect X% of the elemental damage taken" (most likely even with Vaal Pact), since you most likely will just oneshot yourself.

A pure physical damage build can focus on stacking %-increased Physical Damage nodes, but it - same as the elemental damage build - cannot deal with the map mod "Monsters reflect X% of the physical damage taken".

What can deal with reflect-mods is a build where you're not the one taking the reflect damage, but instead your minions or totems. Those builds have the drawback of usually being quite expensive due to the items required.

Generally speaking, a beginner should look for a build labeled as "Beginners Build". These are usually easy (mechanically speaking) as well as cheap. One should also check if the guide has been posted/updated recently, as the functionality and viability of builds can be heavily impacted by a small patch already.

You should also not try to get a beginners build going which is cheap, easy, and fully lategame-viable, that most likely will not work out. What most people - including me - do (per league) is creating a character using a cheap build that can tackle up to T10 maps with ease, and then use that character to farm enough currency/equipment in order to be able to equip a character that's fit for lategame.

  • I am considering switching the accepted answer to yours. My request to do so would be: could you add an outline of what makes a build "reliable" (e.g.: above Xk life, dps tooltip above Yk, rely on at least Z damage types)? – Federico Jan 31 '17 at 11:16
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    @Federico I could do that, but I think I would oversimplify PoE by doing so. The amount of life can vary (depending on using vaal pact etc.), if you're using ES instead of a life build, the tooltip dps can be very misleading, and damage types only come into play when running maps with reflect mods, elemental equilibrium mods or general immunities (like Atziri, or the Guardians). – Seth Jan 31 '17 at 11:28
  • I will, however, add very basic stats as orientation for beginners, with a disclaimer of this only adressing beginners, and why these stats are so important to look out, as beginner. – Seth Jan 31 '17 at 11:29
  • Yes, very basic stats for beginners would fit what I am looking for, thanks! – Federico Jan 31 '17 at 11:30
  • A couple of things: You need 135% resistance, not 120% to stay capped in merciless, and more if you want to do cursed with elemental weakness maps. You said intelligence raises spell damage which is just not true, unless you are using the Whispering Ice staff. Lastly chaos res is important as there are monsters other than Chayula that deal chaos damage. It's not important enough to want to cap it at 75% but you will want to aim for hitting 0% overall (or take Chaos Innoculation, but you don't talk about energy shield in your answer) – VanBuzzKill Jan 31 '17 at 18:56
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I'd not worry much about it. Viability right now means doing the content of course deathless, but also in minimal time. This minimal time is set by some 24/7 streamers and you'll never come close. So yeah, you might have a fun build and you might clear uber lab, but if you take 15 mins instead of 5 you are UNVIABLE!! Doing damage isn't a problem anymore, surviving is easier than ever, so speed is what counts. If you are slower than an arbitrary time, you are unviable.

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    While I agree on the overall sentiment that a lot of builds are able to do the endgame today, there are some objective differences between endgame activities: Atziri stops you from using curses, Labyrinth runs require defence against trap damage, etc. – svavil Aug 25 '16 at 18:04
  • @svavil if you think you have a better answer, please post it! – Federico Aug 25 '16 at 18:41

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