[3.0] Pizza Sticks: Flameblast Totem Inquisitor (Fully Updated for 3.0!)

3.0 Update

A fair amount of the balance changes in 3.0 affected this build. Here's the short version.
  • Damage buffed unless you had godly ignite-focused gear.
  • ES version nerfed heavily.
  • Tukohama's Fortress version nerfed.
  • Mind over Matter seems like the way to go for defenses now, although you can still do life + ES.

This guide has been extensively updated for 3.0. Large sections have been rewritten.

Good luck in the new expansion!

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CONTENTS

1. Build Concept
2. Why Play the Build (Pros and Cons)
3. Ascendancy Choice and Skill Trees
4. Gearing Recommendations
5. Gems
6. Enchantments & Pantheon
7. Levelling Tips
8. Playstyle
9. Stats
10. Videos



1. BUILD CONCEPT

Flameblast charges up while you channel it, increasing in damage and AoE the longer you hold it before releasing. Traditional Flameblast builds have struggled with the awkwardness of standing still for such a long period of time. This build does away with that by having totems do it for us, letting us run around at our leisure while our totems blow up the whole screen.

Flameblast also faces issues with reflect due to its high damage per hit. Again, totems deal with this by tanking the reflected damage for us. This also allows us to go crit with no fear.

Totems pretty much solve all of Flameblast's problems. It's a match made in heaven.



2. WHY PLAY THE BUILD? (PROS AND CONS)

Pros:
  • Very high damage. One million single target DPS is achievable without crazy gear. Every hit in a normal clearing setup deals >100k damage even with average gear, one-shotting everything without fail.
  • Large area of effect, enough to one-shot entire packs of monsters.
  • Whirling Blades/Shield Charge access + Inquisitor attack speed for zippy clearing.
  • Can do literally all map mods.
  • Can do all content up to and including Shaper quickly and safely (see videos section).
  • Totems are naturally safe - you're reflect immune, don't have to stand still to deal damage, and have extreme range (even more extreme for Flameblast because the totem will cast if the edge of a blast centred at its max range will hit a mob).
  • No unique items required or even particularly recommended.
  • Straightforward, hardcore viable, beginner friendly, self-found friendly build. If you're new to Path of Exile and have any extra questions or don't really follow anything in this guide, PM me and I'll do my best to help!

Cons:
  • Very, very dependent on cast speed due to needing to hit 10 Flameblast stacks before the totem will release. Can feel quite clunky without sufficiently increased cast speed (pretty much anything under 100%).
  • Totem playstyle is offputting to many people. Hopefully I can win a few of you over with this build!



3. ASCENDANCY CHOICE AND SKILL TREES

Trees

This is just the final skill tree at ~level 90. For advice on what to prioritise while levelling, see section 6: "Levelling Tips".

Recommended Skill Tree

Path of Building Import

Bandits: Kill all (or help Kraityn if you really want the movement speed).

BUILD VARIANT — If you prefer a more offensive version sacrificing a bit of life and totem QoL, you can follow this tree instead.

In the past, there was a fair bit of back and forth over whether Inquisitor, Elementalist or Hierophant was the best ascendancy choice. With 3.0's changes to ignite damage, it has become pretty simple. Ignite-based elementalist versions have entirely ceased to function, and Hierophant no longer has sufficient damage to compete (in testing, one Inquisitor totem dealt the same damage as four Hierophant totems). This leaves Inquisitor as pretty much the only choice, as it hardly changed at all.

BUILD VARIANT — Inevitable Judgement is a guaranteed pickup from your Inquisitor nodes. However, whether you go for Pious Path or pick up Instruments of Virtue + Augury of Penitence is up to you. Pious Path provides massive amounts of tankiness against bosses or in other cases where you're standing still. Instruments + Augury provides more damage and a huge attack speed bonus for your movement skill. I would advise going Pious if you're focusing on Shaper, and using your own preference otherwise.

BUILD VARIANT — That all said, if you want something spicy in another class check out this Elementalist version by kudrya.

Defenses

With the huge nerf to energy shield in 3.0, that version of the build has become a bit sketchy. You can still go for it and achieve 8k+ ES if you have a very high budget, but I don't recommend it (and at that point I'm going to assume you know how to build) so I'm not going to cover that in this guide.

The best form of defense we currently have access to is Mind over Matter. This gives us a huge amount of extra effective life for very little investment - about 8 points on the tree. The build has very low mana costs, which makes the potential risk of being caught out of mana very low. You can also fairly easily get around 2000 unreserved mana to provide a hefty barrier even against scary bosses.



4. GEARING RECOMMENDATIONS

Sample gear



In-depth gear discussion
Weapons

Three main options. The first is to dual-wield daggers, or use a dagger and a sceptre. This gives us access to Whirling Blades and plenty of attack speed and crit. Howevever, daggers with cast speed are very hard to get. Better to use a sceptre with cast speed than a dagger without.

Most important mods:

Spell damage
Increased critical strike chance for spells
Cast speed

Desirable mods:

Added damage to spells (preferably fire)
Global critical strike multiplier
Increased attack speed

The second option is to use a dagger or sceptre with a shield, using Shield Charge for mobility instead of Whirling Blades (or whichever if you use a dagger). This is particularly attractive if you can get a shield with cast speed and spell crit. Tukohama's Fortress used to be a very attractive option for this build, but with MoM buffs and Blood Magic not triggering Arcane Surge, it is no longer worthwhile.

Finally, you can use wand and shield or dual wield wands, and use Lightning Warp to get around or just run. I don't recommend it though.

Possible unique options (though neither are very good):

Armour

This is where a couple of uniques can come in, specifically:



Both of these are very strong with Mind over Matter. I would recommend using them if you have the budget to support them, but they are definitely not hugely important.

Otherwise, nothing special. Life and resists, mana where possible, and movement speed is nice on boots (particularly if you use Shield Charge).

Possible unique options (none are remotely required):

Jewelry and Accessories

Rings: Cast speed, life, mana regeneration, mana, resists.
Amulet: Cast speed, crit chance, crit multi, life, mana regen.
Belt: Life, resists.

Possible unique options (because what build doesn't this fit in?):


Flasks

As with almost all life builds, one or two Seething Divine Life Flasks are basically mandatory. They will save you from 90% of sticky situations. As a MoM build, a solid mana flask is also strongly advisable to avoid running out of mana and getting stuck in sticky situations, and because mana is basically your second life pool. If you're using Pious Path, take a Sulphur Flask instead of a mana flask to trigger all your consecrated ground bonuses (including massive mana regen).

Beyond that, a Silver Flask is highly recommended for attack and cast speed, a Quicksilver Flask is pretty much required unless you use Whirling Blades, and a Diamond Flask makes our crits very consistent.

Possible unique options:

Jewels

Unlike most crit builds (which tend to want to pick up as much crit multi as possible on jewels), I recommend trying to get as much cast speed as possible (unless you are doing boss runs, in which case by all means stack crit multi for the best DPS possible). Your blasts do enough damage already, so the extreme QoL provided by more cast speed is generally better. Attack speed for Whirling Blades and life are also highly desirable. Other than those, pick up damage stats of your choice.

Possible unique options:




5. GEMS

Flameblast - Spell Totem - Faster Casting - Increased Area of Effect - Increased Critical Strikes - Elemental Focus

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Flameblast - Spell Totem - Controlled Destruction - Concentrated Effect - Increased Critical Strikes - Elemental Focus

Primary damage setup. Gems are listed in order of importance, e.g. drop Elemental Focus if you only have a 5L. Both Increased AoE and Faster Casting make it easier to hit mobile bosses, so don't swap off them unless your totems can consistently hit the boss you're facing without them.

Anger - Clarity - Summon Lightning Golem

Auras and buffs. Turn off Anger if you need a larger mana buffer for scary situations. It's only about 12% more damage.

Whirling Blades/Shield Charge - Faster Attacks - Fortify

Primary movement. Which one you use is partly down to your gear of course, but also personal preference. Shield Charge likely will be a bit faster for you.

Flame Dash - Faster Casting

Something to get over walls. Can use Lightning Warp - Less Duration - Fasting Casting if preferred.

Orb of Storms - Power Charge on Critical

Amazing power charge generation due to Orb of Storms' crit mechanics. Feel free to add extra support gems, such as Increased Critical Strikes, Increased Duration and/or a low level Arcane Surge.

Temporal Chains - Arcane Surge - Increased Duration - Increased Area of Effect

This build used to use Orb of Storms to curse on hit, but with the introduction of Arcane Surge it's a lot better to manually cast your curse now. Curses have a nice combination of high mana cost and low cast time, meaning that with this setup you can trigger level 20 Arcane Surge in two casts, or about 0.4 seconds. Feel free to swap curse to whatever you like (e.g. Enfeeble, Assassin's Mark)!

There are some leftover slots here. Fill them with whatever takes your fancy (e.g. CwDT Immortal Call, Vaal Haste). No other gems are particularly important to this build.

BUILD VARIANT - Replace Flameblast with Glacial Cascade, Faster Casting with Physical to Lightning and Anger with Hatred and you have yourself a strong GC totems build. TBH it might be stronger than this one...



6. ENCHANTMENTS AND PANTHEON

Preferred glove enchant - Spite (but it's not a big deal - don't worry about this).

Preferred boot enchant - Movement speed. Life/mana regen is the only competitive one. Again, this isn't very important.

Preferred helm enchant - Any of the Flameblast ones are nice, honestly. Damage is best, but if you can pick up any of them that's awesome.

Major god - Lunaris provides movement speed and physical DR, both of which are excellent. Make that your default, but feel free to use Brine King if you feel yourself needing the stun resistance.

Minor god - Ryslatha is the only one that does...anything...



7. LEVELLING TIPS

Spoiler
Levels 1-11: Level with Frostbolt and Flame Totem. Get the Quicksilver Flask from killing Hailrake (heck, use a second character and get two if you don't have any lying around already). Pick up Clarity and Flame Dash after Brutus.

Levels 12-28: Grab Firestorm and use that and Flame Totem. Grab Mind over Matter and its subsequent nodes for endless mana and tankiness. Head towards Ancestral Bond but don't take it. 31-point tree.

Level 28-45ish: You can start using Flameblast totems right from level 28. You can also continue with Firestorm + Flame Totem, or use Bladefall or Glacial Cascade totems. Levelling should be pretty breezy from here on. Pick up Ancestral Bond if you're going totems now and head into Witch. 59-point tree.

Level 46-65: Start picking up a little crit. Head into the life wheel. Also consider doing normal and cruel Labyrinth. 89-point tree.

Level 66+: Farm up in [whatever the farming zone in 3.0 is?], get your endgame gear rolling, pick up lots more crit, finish up your ascendancy. Pick up jewel sockets as you get the jewels for them. Go nuts! Final tree.

Ascendancy priorities:

Normal: Righteous Providence
Cruel: Inevitable Judgement
Merciless: Instruments of Virtue or Sanctify
Endgame: Augury of Penitance or Pious Path




8. PLAYSTYLE

This is just a few general tips on how to play the build. To get a better impression of what it feels like overall, head to the videos section.
  • Hang back and drop totems if you're scared. In low level content you can whirl along without care, but when in doubt let your totems scout out for you.
  • One totem is sufficient to kill packs. Don't waste time dropping both for a single pack.
  • While waiting for your totems to kill everything, drop Orb of Storms to generate power charges and spam your curse a bit to keep Arcane Surge active.
  • Try to use your totems to create safe zones to stand in, particularly in scary, dense situations like breaches. You can always jump to an area that has just been cleared by a blast.
  • Map mods of note: Reduced/no regen (consider bringing an extra mana flask and playing extra scared), elemental reflect (your totems will one-shot themselves so be ready to recast them constantly).



9. STATS

Please check out the Path of Building import for this build to see representative stats. If you don't yet use Path of Building, you should! You can find more information and a download link here.

As a taster, single target with decent gear (per totem):
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and pack clear:
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10. VIDEOS

Many excellent videos courtesy of blajo (linked with permission). These videos were recorded on patch 2.5 but the gameplay and damage are pretty much unchanged since then.

Shaper Run

Uber Atziri Run

Phoenix Run
Minotaur Run
Hydra Run
Chimera Run

Chayula's Domain Run
Normal Atziri Run
Uber Lab Run




Thanks for reading, and I hope this guide has been useful to you!
Have you done something awesome with Sire of Shards? PM me and tell me all about it!
Last edited by viperesque on Aug 3, 2017 6:35:49 AM
Last bumped on Nov 17, 2017 10:14:23 AM
Finally
Thanks for your build.
Is it possible to run curse aura in this build? Even duel curses maybe?
Last edited by alanpower on Sep 11, 2016 10:04:14 AM
Thanks for the guide.
Gonna try it out.
Nicely written guide thank you. I am currently leveling a flameblast totem, going the hierophant route though. My reasoning behind staying away from crit is that because flameblast is so strong.. critting an enemy will either one shot it or not. My thinking is that crit merely just crits and overkills on the enemy, exception of course is vs bosses.

Also I am using the apep's rage dual wands for chaos damage and cast speed. Don't have level requirement for them but would be interesting to see how they fair. Thanks for posting this and I'll make sure to post again to see how I make out.
Im the profile linked to prove that a CI variant is HC viable and it best to logg this now. Before level 86 i used a 153% crit and 20% cast dagger and a 100% crit shield. Now i've switched to a +2 bow and Soulstrike. The switch made me go from 8.2k hp to a temporary 6.9k due to respeccing away from 15% es.

The build is faring really well and I have reached 85% critchance with charges up so far. Looking forward to writing my own guide in a few days. For now though please remember that my current tree is not optimal for a dual dagger or dagger and shield variant. This is my Dagger and shield tree. https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAABAUAAPndi4zAmgmq2fzAZjwF73yf35o7dwftPNWmytOMdrcxZp5Y5SoTWiuj8kVHMtHr7hzcjxp8g6eUXl3R_REtLJwFQkGW0PWus0yz0B_v60V-Dlxq-peVUlM9XzW5EVBtGZf0pyvZWxslS67pAiL0bAuTJ-wYwcV_xr6KoS8svxXXhq5WY4_68NVJUev1ZJ3yHRGWDkhd8ioLcFKJ04w2KwoRL45kHRSPRvemtvo2xYPzRKGuErE2Tq6LegFv4veESFxrw22HE1XgUilYWpykb560DOq6DXxGcYMJsZAtqL6Awwm5k6cI2CT60g==

Remembe to get lots of castspeed on jewels. I search for them like

http://poe.trade/search/ometabomowamorr

I hope this'll help you people trying this in hardcore before my build guide is up!
Awesome. Thanks for putting this up.

Question: Could you make an argument for getting the witch area totems for more damage instead of the scion/duelist area for totems? It's he same amount of points, but the witch area is straight up damage and the other area is mostly totem placement speed which we already have a lot of.
How do you calculate flameblast totem dps?
Last edited by Terkhev on Sep 11, 2016 2:35:59 PM
Have to say it is an interesting build. I'm still undecided as to its power, but the deep, resonant BOOOMs are quite satisfying.

Temp Chains. My goto curse. Even playing a chieftain ascendancy, so the resists of target matter, TC is great. Besides defense, it slows targets so they stay within blast radius.

As a pro-tip, you don't have to wait for 10stack auto-release of the blasts. A resummon of the totem will release the previous totem's channeling. Thus for lower hp packs I find that quick casting totems works just fine. For faster moving targets, it can be almost a required skill to get your totems to actually hit!

Playing as a chieftain allows for some differences in playstyle. Leech. Blood Magic. EE + curses for resist mitigation instead of Penetration + crit. I think both build styles will work, just in slightly different ways.
Thanks for the guide, I'd love to see the CI version soon.

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