all nine new skills in Path of Exile Crucible explained guide - Vaal Absolution, Domination, Reap, Rejuvenation Totem, Animate Weapon, Arctic Armour, Ice Shot, Lightning Arrow, and Firestorm.

All New Skills in Path of Exile Crucible

Update 3.21 and the Crucible league for Path of Exile by Grinding Gear Games bring in a bunch of updates, reworks, and balance changes to make things interesting, but one of the coolest additions is the nine new Vaal skills that open the doors for all sorts of new builds and possibilities to explore, including Vaal Absolution, Domination, Reap, Rejuvenation Totem, Animate Weapon, Arctic Armour, Ice Shot, Lightning Arrow, and Firestorm.

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Skill gems are the lifeblood of Path of Exile, giving your characters skills to use and being the basis of your build. Vaal skill gems in particular have always been popular thanks to the often powerful secondary abilities that they possess from the Vaal corruption on them. Kill enough monsters to build up souls and you’ll be able to unleash the powerful secondary Vaal ability to devastate your enemies or provide yourself incredible buffs. So let’s discuss all nine new Path of Exile Crucible Vaal skills.

All the New Vaal Skills in Path of Exile Crucible Explained

Vaal Absolution

Absolution on its own is an interesting skill that is both an active attacking skill as well as a skill that summons minions. The powerful minions that you summon are called Sentinels of Absolution. However, with the Vaal version, once you’ve charged it up with souls, Vaal Absolution will let you ascend one of your existing Sentinels of Absolution. This ascended Sentinel will be much more powerful than a regular one, gaining new spells and a longer summon duration and still gaining all the bonuses of your linked support gems. This makes for a devastatingly powerful minion, and if you’re using this skill, you’ll want to use this to help you mow down any rare monsters or bosses.

Vaal Domination

The main skill is called Dominating Blow and functions in a similar way to Absolution where it’s both an active attacking skill as well as an ability that summons minions to fight alongside you. It creates a variety of  minions called Sentinels of Dominance. Similar to Vaal Absolution, the Vaal Domination skill will allow you to ascend one of your Sentinels of Dominance into a much more powerful version that will gain new attacks and an improved duration and still make use of any support gems linked to the skill. This again makes for a powerful addition to Dominating Blow with ascended Sentinels of Domination able to dish out some serious damage.

Vaal Reap

Reap is already a newer skill. It lets you swipe an area with a bloody scythe, and anything hit gains a debuff and suffers physical damage over time as well as physical damage for each strike. If monsters hit with the debuff survive, you gain a blood charge, which increases your damage but also increases the life cost of using Reap.

The Vaal Reap allows you to cause multiple bloody scythes to swing around a targeted area, hitting the enemies for physical damage and leaving a pool of boiling blood beneath them that deals damage over time and gives a bonus to the maximum number of blood charges that can be generated.

Vaal Rejuvenation Totem

Rejuvenation Totem is a basic totem skill that when summoned puts out an aura around it, regenerating life for you and your allies when in range. The new Vaal skill variation in Path of Exile Crucible summons an additional Rejuvenation Totem with the same life-regenerating abilities but with twice the amount of life regeneration rate granted, in addition to having a larger range and an ability where the totem can absorb some of the damage that your character is dealt in place of your character. This can be a very useful skill to have, especially in a boss fight where you can run out of healing potions pretty quickly!

all nine new skills in Path of Exile Crucible explained guide - Vaal Absolution, Domination, Reap, Rejuvenation Totem, Animate Weapon, Arctic Armour, Ice Shot, Lightning Arrow, and Firestorm.

Vaal Animate Weapon

Animate Weapon is an okay skill on its own; it’s not particularly powerful and is commonly used in Summoner builds as just an extra thing to be able to add to your army. The skill simply turns a melee weapon into a minion that will fight alongside you. The Vaal ability makes this skill much more interesting. Once you have enough souls to use it, you can summon multiple additional animated weapons to fight by you as minions, but they are also able to transform into various Unique weapons! It is a much more impactful skill for Summoners now that it has this Vaal ability.

Vaal Arctic Armour

Arctic Armour is a good defensive skill that allows you to create an icy barrier around your character that inflicts the chill status effect on enemies when they attack you, which essentially slows them down a lot, and you also drop a trail of chilled ground behind you as you move, which also slows enemies trying to ambush you from behind. The Vaal Arctic Armour effect immediately encases you in ice and protects you from 90% of damage for a duration or until the ice has sustained a certain number of attacks. It’s a good emergency button to have available if you find yourself out of healing and options and just need a little time for cooldowns to get out of the situation. It also provides a nice regenerative buff to mana and energy shield to get you ready to enter back into the fight.

all nine new skills in Path of Exile Crucible explained guide - Vaal Absolution, Domination, Reap, Rejuvenation Totem, Animate Weapon, Arctic Armour, Ice Shot, Lightning Arrow, and Firestorm.

Vaal Ice Shot

Ice Shot is already an amazing bow skill with some incredibly powerful builds around it. It fires an arrow that converts physical damage into cold damage when hitting its target and then converts all physical damage to cold that fires in a cone behind the target that was hit. Vaal Ice Shot has the same effect but also summons a whole squad of sharpshooter minions that fire off Ice Shots as well. Not only does this look super cool, but it deals some pretty excellent damage and has been one of the league favorite skills thus far for Path of Exile Crucible.

Vaal Lightning Arrow

Lightning Arrow is another great bow skill that fires a charged arrow, causing the enemies hit with it to be struck by lightning, which also damages surrounding enemies in an area. The Vaal version fires the charged arrows, but then they change direction after traveling for a short amount of time. This can create some interesting reactions with chain, fork, and other projectile modifiers to create a swarm of Lightning Arrows.

all nine new skills in Path of Exile Crucible explained guide - Vaal Absolution, Domination, Reap, Rejuvenation Totem, Animate Weapon, Arctic Armour, Ice Shot, Lightning Arrow, and Firestorm.

Vaal Firestorm

Firestorm is a very old skill in Path of Exile and not often used, so it’s nice to see it getting some love with a Vaal variation. Much as the name implies, you call down a rain of flaming bolts in a targeted area; they also explode on impact, damaging nearby enemies. The Vaal version sees you calling down a number of fiery bolts in a spiral that culminates in the center, which looks really awesome. They also still explode on impact and leave burning ground behind, which damages enemies over time.

That covers all nine new Vaal skills that were introduced in Path of Exile Crucible, some really cool new additions to the Vaal skill gem pool. Will you be trying out any of them in this league?


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Alex Berry has been a freelance contributor at The Escapist since January 2023. His coverage ranges from funny takes on the latest games to a whole bunch of guide content on such titles as Honkai: Star Rail, Genshin Impact, and various new games. Alex is a jack of all trades when it comes to games, playing almost every new title that shows promise. From RPGs to shooters, all the way through to sports games, he plays it all, although he does have a soft spot for turn-based RPGs having started out his gaming journey with a copy of Pokémon Red on the original Game Boy. Alex has a master's degree in Business and is fascinated by online game economies, often spending a lot of time finding ways to maximize wealth in these games (but he should really be doing that in real life instead).