Totems, Traps, & Mines

The Basics

Some builds in Path of Exile don't deal damage for themselves. Instead, they summon Totems, lay Traps, or place Mines that do damage for them.

All Spells and ranged Attacks can be attached to a Totem, Trap, or Mine if desired. In addition, there are dedicated Totem, Trap, and Mine skills that are performed by Totems, Traps, or Mines by default.

Totems

Totems are persistent, stationary units that you can summon to use particular skills. Usually, they can only use ranged Attacks or Spells, although there are a couple of Melee Totems. Once a totem is summoned, it will use the associated skill on nearby targets repeatedly until it dies, its duration expires, or you move too far away.

Totems use your Skills, with damage and effects as though you were casting them yourself (although they are not You and do not actually count as You casting). As a result, beneficial effects on Totems will not affect their damage, but beneficial effects on you will. Defensive effects, however, do matter on Totems, and they can have those effects separately from you. Totems count as Allies, and will therefore be affected by (among other things) Aura effects you cast, although these effects by nature can only benefit them defensively. Damage dealt by a Totem gains the Totem damage tag, and benefits from Totem Damage modifiers, in addition to any other modifiers that would normally apply to it (a Spell cast by a Totem, for example, still benefits from Spell modifiers in addition to Totem modifiers).

By default, you can only summon one Totem at a time. However, this limit can be raised by various effects, including a few unique items, Ascendancy classes, and one of the Keystone Passives on the tree. Summoning an additional Totem while at the limit will usually remove the first Totem placed, unless that Totem is associated with a skill that has a higher Totem limit than your default.

Traps

Traps are one-time triggers that you can throw on the ground at a distance. Traps trigger when an enemy approaches within a certain radius of the Trap, or when its duration expires.

When triggered, a Trap uses the Skill with which it is associated. If it was triggered by an enemy, it will target that enemy with the Skill; otherwise, it will target a random nearby enemy if possible (or a random location if no enemy is nearby). Once it uses the skill, the Trap breaks and vanishes.

Traps take a moment to "arm" before they're eligible to trigger. Once armed - but not triggered - they can be destroyed by area effects (although they cannot be directly targeted by enemies). There is a Passive node at the top-right section of the tree that makes Traps immune briefly when thrown, although most trap builds seek to trigger their traps more or less immediately once armed anyway.

Traps use your skills, and thus scale with anything that increases your damage. They are not Allies and are not capable of benefiting from, or even being affected by, beneficial effects themselves. Damage dealt by a Trap gains the Trap damage tag, and benefits from Trap Damage modifiers, in addition to any other modifiers that would normally apply to it (a Spell cast by a Trap, for example, still benefits from Spell modifiers in addition to Trap modifiers).

Mines

Mines are one-time triggers that you can place on the ground at your feet. Mines do not trigger on their own, and must be detonated manually by you using a special button that appears whenever you have a Mine placed (default hotkey 'D').

When triggered, a Mine uses the Skill with which it is associated. It will target a random nearby enemy if possible (or a random location if no enemy is nearby). Once it uses the skill, the Mine breaks and vanishes.

Mines take a moment to "arm" before they're eligible to trigger. They can be destroyed by Area effects during this time, although they can't be directly targeted by enemies. There is a Passive node at the top-right section of the tree that makes Mines immune briefly when placed, and it is nearly mandatory for a Mine build.

Mines use your skills, and thus scale with anything that increases your damage. They are not Allies and are not capable of benefiting from, or even being affected by, beneficial effects themselves. Damage dealt by a Mine gains the Mine damage tag, and benefits from Mine Damage modifiers, in addition to any other modifiers that would normally apply to it (a Spell cast by a Mine, for example, still benefits from Spell modifiers in addition to Mine modifiers).