2.2 - "Blue Fireball" - Pure fire non-crit Ball Lightning Elementalist [Budget, SC, HC viable (?)]

So this is my first fully theory-crafted build, and I have not seen a similar build yet, so I wanted to share. I've played this build to level 89 in Perandus league, and enjoyed it a lot. It is cheap, effective, and makes use of the currently under-played Elementalist subclass. It is also still in progress.

The build kind of does everything wrong - we use ES to shield our mana and then Mind over Matter to make it shield life again. We also use a lightning skill which has all its damage converted to fire via Avatar of Fire and then use our fire damage to shock - but it is fun!

This build does require some knowledge of game mechanics, which means that if you are completely new to the game, this is maybe not the ideal build (unless you are a fast learner and willing to read up on some of the game concepts behind it). The build is super fun though, and clears rare T10 maps at decent speed on a 4link.

Idea behind this build
I've always thought that Avatar of Fire looks interesting, I also always thought that non-crit casters should be a thing, and when looking at the Elementalist subclass, I found the "Mastermind of Discord" note pretty interesting. With Ascendancy, there have been several buffs to non-crit, and it all kind of came together.

Deal pure fire damage with Avatar of Fire, scale lots of damage rather than crit, use Elemental Overload for more damage and use Mastermid of Discord to penetrate fire resist after casting a lightning skill. The only question was: What lightning skill? I settled on Ball Lightning, but I am pretty sure that Storm Call works pretty well as well (I cleared Dried Lake easily on a 3link level 12 Storm Call - need to look into that eventually).

Offense and Defense screenshots

As you can see, easily overcapped resistances. 4817 life means 4817/0.7=6881 effective hitpoints due to Mind over Matter.


9k DPS is pretty good for Ball Lightning I think. This is with Elemental Overload and Frenzy charges, but without Pendulum of Destruction and the damage effect from my boots. With Pendulum of Destruction it surpasses 10k DPS. Remember that this is on a 4link and also note the 20% penetration. I tried with a 5link and got to 14k DPS approximately using Controlled Destruction. Elemental Overload still procs from Orb of Storms.

Pros and Cons

  • Fun-to-play and unique build
  • Cheap: About 1-2 exalt for the gear in total, does not require a 5link or 6link to work
  • Cheap (2): We don't use crit, and non-crit gear is generally cheaper
  • Safe: Almost 7k EHP and dual defensive curses / endurance charges / arctic Armour / cast when stunned make this build almost never get oneshot, stunlock to death pretty much impossible
  • Good for AOE and single target: We do enough AOE to clear packs reliably, but our single-target damage is still very good
  • Reflect can be handled: Single-type damage makes flasking easier, non-crit makes reflect more predictable
  • Satisfying: Pyre makes mobs explode, and it is fun to watch - also leaves no corpses
  • Easy to gear: Enough rare item slots are available to max resists, also gets significant resists from tree
  • Easy to level: Can easily level on (almost) the final build tree
  • No regen / no leech maps and some other ugly mods are no problem at all

  • Not super OP: If you want to shatter the entire screen with one click, you have to look elsewhere (I suggest LA / Ice Shot / TS or COC)
  • Relies on on-kill mechanics - makes you weak in case you are playing in a much stronger party
  • Rather slow move speed - no move speed from tree, -10% move speed from gloves (can use dagger / WB to counter this)
  • Both ring slots are blocked with build-enabling uniques
  • Hit pretty hard by some map mods, more so than other builds


We make use of Mastermind of Discord to get 20% fire penetration after casting a lightning skill. Because we only use lightning skills, and only deal fire damage (due to Avatar of Fire) that means we get a free 20% penetration on everything. Instead of stacking crit chance and multiplier, we just stack increased and more damage.

To be more precise, we use a lightning skill which is scaled by lightning damage. 50% of that damage is converted to cold using Call of the Brotherhood (see items section) and scaled with cold damage, the other 50% is converted to fire and scaled with fire damage. The cold damage is 100% converted to fire damage using Pyre, and also scaled with fire damage. All damage is on top of that scaled with spell damage, elemental damage, and projectile damage. We then use the "more" modifiers from Frenzy Charges, Wrath, Slower Projectiles, Elemental Overload and (if 5l/6l) Controlled Destruction until we reach about 9k+ DPS on a 4link (20% penetration) or 14k+ DPS on a 5link (also 20% penetration). I never played Ball Lightning before, but 9k+ is I think a very decent number. Slower Projectiles and knockback make mobs stay long in each cast, Faster Casting and Spell Echo make sure we get out the lightning balls fast enough. At the same time, we both shock and ignite and even our unlinked Herald of Thunder does surprising amounds of damage (also gets free penetration and ignites). Result: Mobs melt. This is all on non- or low-quality level 19 gems btw. 21/20 gems will allow for significantly higher DPS.


We make use of the MOM/EB/ZO combination. Mind over Matter makes 30% of incoming damage hit mana instead of life. Eldritch Battery moves our ES over to mana to protect our mana and makes it possible to reserve 100% of our mana for Auras. Zealots Oath makes life regen apply to ES instead, such that we do not run out of ES for our casting. Enough regen comes from the tree and from The Blood Dance boots, which also generate Frenzy charges. Furthermore, we run Orb of Storms with dual defensive curses (Temporal Chains / Enfeeble) to reduce the incoming damage significantly. We also run Arctic Armour and Endurance Charges to be more tanky. Knockback makes it harder for mobs to get close to us. If you are really rich, you can probably stack armour, too.

This build uses four unique items. Two of them are build-enabling, two others are really useful and I recommend them. The two build enabling uniques are:

We need these to convert our lightning damage to cold / fire damage. Pyre also destroys enemies on kill (when ignited, which is pretty much always), and it is super fun to watch that.

The rest of the gear slots:


You can use either a rare wand or a rare dagger. With a wand, you will use Lightning Warp as a movement skill (which I do), with a dagger you can use Whirling Blades (which makes movement faster). Wands are easier to get with good offense, but you cannot use WB.

The stats you look for (in order of importance):
  • Flat added lightning damage - this scales incredibly well
  • Cast speed
  • Increased Spell damage / increased Lightning damage / increased Fire damage
  • Attack speed / increased attack speed on daggers

Armour / Helm / Shield

Rare ES armour / helm / shield. The stats you look for:

  • High energy shield
  • Life
  • Resists to cap your resists
  • Links on the chest (this is the only item that you can have 5l or 6l)
  • Spell damage on the shield
  • Block on the shield is nice, I tried tempest shield, but I did not seem to block much
  • Dexterity (you need some Dexterity from items to be able to use Slower Projectiles)


Stats to look for:
  • Life (sense a pattern here?)
  • Resistances
  • Dexterity
  • ES is a nice addition
  • Flask charges gained and flask life recovery rate are quite useful


Stats to look for:
  • Life
  • Resistances
  • Dexterity
  • Spell damage
  • % ES

The unique item "Rashkaldor's Patience" might be an interesting option here - I have not tried it, though.


These are probably best in slot for this build. Projectile damage, knockback, and projectile speed. The projectile damage lowers our DPS slightly (mobs stay less long in the Ball Lightning AOE field), but this is compensated partially by the knockback, and it also makes the build much nicer to play (more reach). Knockback makes us get hit less. Life is of course very welcome.


Again probably best in slot. If you have some other way of generating Frenzy charges and don't need the regen for your ES, you can use something else, but probably you want to use these. They also give movement speed and lots of Dexterity.

On the passive tree, we stack life, ES, lots of damage, and cast speed.

Passive tree at level 89 (110 points)

A possible leveling route to get there:

28 points

45 points

63 points

80 points

96 points

This requires a few respec points (less than 10), but you get enough during leveling.


Normal: Help Oak (life)
Cruel: Kill all (skill point)
Merciless: Help Alira or Kraityn (Frenzy charge for damage and ES regen, Endurance charge for survivability especially on HC)


My jewels currently are a bit mediocre. What you are looking for is:

  • Life
  • Cast speed
  • Damage in pretty much any form
  • Knockback


Of course this build guide cannot be complete without Ascendancy. Lab is reasonably easy with this character, so no problem there (did it at 38 on Normal, 60 on Cruel and 77 on Merciless I think).

The three nodes we get:

Shaper of Desolation - this is VERY strong. We can shock with our fire damage, and we also have 100% chance to shock and ignite. Fuels our Herald of Thunder of course. This is probably the first node to take.

Pendulum of Destruction - travel node. Pretty weak to be honest, the 100% extra damage give us about 10% more damage, because we stack so much damage already. Also only active about 30% of the time - meh.

Mastermind of Discord - 20% free penetration. This is the node that made me start this build to be honest. Get it on Merciless, you don't need it before maps.

Thanks for reading! Comments and improvement ideas welcome. My IGN is Elysianna if you have questions or want to see the build in action.
Remove Horticrafting station storage limit.
Last bumped on Jul 4, 2016, 12:00:22 AM
Very nice, looking forward to trying this out myself.

Very nice idea, i am working on a similar build but with storm call and using cold to fire instead of pyre, also my tree is quite different because i want to run RF with it.

Take a look if you want :) I am interested in your feedback :)


saw the new ascendancy tree for elementalist and instantly thought of ball lightning converted to fire. Area of effect on pendulum of destruction, constant 25% fire pen, fire and lightning golem
Sorry for asking this, but I simply cannot understand how you can shock after picking Avatar of fire? My guess is that Shaper of Desolation makes it so that because you are using a lightning skill you technically deal a lightning hit, even if all the damage is fire? And since it scales all the damage debuffs (Shock, Ignite ETC) based on the total hits damage, you can shock with the fire damage total?

I can't find anywhere to confirm this, so now I'm asking here.

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