[2.4] Better than Inevitable Judgment: ES AoF Elementalist Warchief Totem with 97% Fire Penetration


Inevitable Judgment is great. Reduce enemies to 0 resistance. Amazing against certain enemies.

What if I told you there was a better way? Using Elementalist?

Well there is, and here it is.

Avatar of Fire and some damage conversion lets us break everything down to Fire damage. This means we can proc the fire penetration component of Mastermind of Discord with the best utility spell in the game, Orb of Storms.

Throw in a Fire Pen gem, and some penetration from the tree, and we can get to 67% penetration. Where do we find the other 30%?

The executive summary is that this is an ES based Dual Warchief Totem Build that can hit 12k+ES (Currently have 7k with Tabula) and easily reach 50k+ tooltip DPS per totem with 97% fire penetration. That's the equivalent of 100k DPS per totem using just a penetration support gem.

The budget for the build is ~50-100 chaos. But because it's an ES/elemental damage attack build you can probably spend an infinite amount of currency and keep improving.


Now that I have your attention, here's how it works: Convert everything to fire, stack fire penetration through the roof, kill things with totems.

The key concept, as outlined above, is to convert all damage down to fire, and then apply a 97% fire penetration to act as a damage multiplier, even against overcapped enemies, without having to rely on any curses. A basic white enemy with 0% fire resistance is dropped to -97%, meaning we do 97% more damage than the tooltip indicates. An overcapped boss on an elemental resist map beside a resistance rare and a resistance totem, with 3 endurance charges is reduced to -22% fire resistance, meaning we still do 22% more damage than our tooltip indicates.

30% of the fire penetration comes from using The Tempestuous Steel. Every hit with the weapon has 30% fire cold and lightning penetration.

37% of the penetration comes from using a Fire Penetration Support gem. Yes, we give up a support slot, but it's worth it, even compared to Inevitable Judgment.

We get 5% more fire penetration off of the passive tree. We don't need to spend a lot of effort pathing for it, so although it's not a huge impact in the overall total, it's worth having.

The final 25% comes from Mastermind of Discord. In order to get fire penetration, we need to use a lightning skill. The single most useful lightning skill is Orb of Storms. Linking Orb of Storms with Blind, Increased Critical Strikes and Power Charge on Critical is a massive boost. Now this isn't a crit build, and yes it can hit 70k+ tooltip DPS without going crit. But it does use Elemental Overload, so critting fairly frequently is necessary. So the one button click for Orb of Storms provides: defence thanks to Blind; 25% fire penetration thanks to Mastermind of Discord; and keeps Elemental Overload up.

Since there is no buff icon for Mastermind of Discord, it is helpful that Orb of Storms lasts as long as the penetration we get from it too, although we will typically be moving so fast that we just cast it whenever we feel 10 seconds are up.

So where does the damage come from?

Flat Damage
1. A trickle of flat damage from Tempestuous Steel's phys damage;
2. Anger and Wrath with 54% increased effectiveness;
3. Quite a bit of flat damage from Mantra of Flames;
4. A ton from Added Lightning Damage Support; and
5. As much flat damage on gear as we can afford.

With the conversion from Avatar of Fire, Call of the Brotherhood and Cold to Fire, my calculated average flat fire damage is 796 with pretty meagre gear.

Increased Damage
1. 30% increased area damage from tree;
2. 80% increased fire damage from Fire Golem (including Liege of the Primordial);
3. 23.28% increased fire damage from Lightning Golem (including Liege of the Primordial);
4. 88% increased elemental damage;
5. 138% fire damage;
6. 9.89% increased lightning damage*;
7. 9.60% increased cold damage*;
8. 66% increased totem damage;
9. 40% increased damage from Sorrow of the Divine (100% uptime); and
10. 25%+ from Rallying Cry (100% uptime, and often much higher).

Taken together, that's a total of 509% increased damage. Make that 609% with Pendulum active.

*For the purposes of this table, other elemental damage types are indicated as a percentage based off of a pro-rata share of their damage type compared to total fire damage (i.e. if we have 100% increased cold damage, and cold damage is 10% of the total contribution to the final flat damage, then it would be shown as 10%).

Attack Speed

1. 1.37 base attacks per second for a good Tempestuous Steel;
2. 10% less attack speed from Ancestral Totem;
3. 25% increased attack speed from tree (pathetic, I know);
4. 3% increased totem attack speed from tree;
5. 44% increased attack speed Faster Attacks Support Gem;
6. 18% increased attack speed from Lightning Golem (including Liege of the Primordial); and
7. 20% from Onslaught (use flasks for 100% uptime).

1.37 x 90% x 210% = 2.6 Attacks per second per totem

More Damage Multipliers

1. 132.8% base attack damage on Ancestral Warchief;
2. 18% more melee damage near Ancestral Warchief;
3. 59% more elemental damage with weapons from WED; and
4. 140% elemental damage from Elemental Overload.

Multiplying the above together, we get
132.8% x 118% x 159% x 140% = 349%

Final Tooltip DPS Calculation

So combining all of the above:
1. 800 flat fire damage per hit;
2. 2.6 attacks per second;
3. 509% increased damage (609% with Pendulum);
4. 349% combined 'more' multipliers;

800 damage x 2.6 attacks per second x 609% x 349% = 44,208 tooltip DPS per totem (51,500 with Pendulum).

Multiply that by 2 totems = 88k/103k*

Now apply the total fire penetration:
0% base fire resist enemy = 97% more damage (-97% fire resist after penetration) = 173k/202k*
75%+ base fire resist enemy = 22% more damage (-22% fire resist after penetration) = 107k/126k*

* without/with Pendulum

Against shocked enemies, multiply that by 150% again.

Why Penetration instead of just more damage?
There are a couple of reasons why this build went in the direction it did. Let's imagine two hypothetical scenarios, and compare them to what we have here: Oro's Sacrifice Warchief; or Phys/Mixed Warchief

Oro's Sacrifice

We would have a faster attacking weapon that does vastly more damage. Using Oro's Sacrifice with the same build and equipment, we get a single totem tooltip of ~75kdps with 67% penetration.

Factoring in the resistances and fire penetration we get the following (Oro's/Tempestuous):
0% resistance 125k/87k (44% more dps)
25% resistance 107k/77k (40% more dps)
50% resistance 88k/65k (35% more dps)
75% resistance 69k/54k (28% more dps)

I've seen another Oro's Sacrifice Warchief Totem build (https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1753114/page/1#p13785104), and it seems to have a tooltip DPS of ~169k, with 37% fire penetration. This would do about double the effective damage that the build here deals.

So clearly Oro's deals more damage. Why not use it? Defence. Compared to just swapping out my weapon and shield for Oro's, I'd be losing a ton of ES, and suffering from Oro's 10% increased physical and fire damage taken. I don't think it's worth that.

Compared to the linked Berserker build, even though it has 8k life, with the 10% increased phys/fire damage taken from Oro's and the 10% increased damage taken from Aspect of Carnage, this Elementalist should have 50% more EHP against lightning and cold damage, and double the EHP against physical and fire damage. Furthermore, the Berserker uses Concentrated Effect, which will greatly slow overall clearspeed against packs.


If you can get a Starforge or Disfavour, use them and do something different. No questions asked.

Legacy Facebreakers and Abyssus will likely also offer far more damage. You'd be squishier than the Oro's Berserker by a longshot though.

Aside from that, I think the damage of this build is competitive with any phys or hybrid physamental build, while offering far superior defensive abilities.

Passive Trees
Bandits Rewards
Kill (Skill)
Kraityn (Attack Speed)
Kill (Skill)

Ascendancy Notables
1. Pendulum of Destruction
2. Mastermind of Discord
3. Liege of the Primordial
4. Shaper of Desolation

1 Energy from Within in slot north of Witch start
1 Energy from Within nearest to 'Melding' notable

Level 85

Required Gear
The build only requires a few select pieces of gear:
1. The Tempestuous Steel (1 chaos);
2. Call of the Brotherhood (10 chaos);
3. Mantra of Flames (1 chaos)
4. 2x Energy From Within (25-30 chaos combined)

1. The Tempestuous Steel

We need Tempestuous Steel because this is where ~1/3 of our Fire Penetration comes from. Luckily, it also provides the following benefits:
1. Hits can't be Evaded is a huge boon for a Witch, allowing us to ignore Dexterity dumping and accuracy entirely;
2. Relatively quick attack speed means our totems don't waste too much time; and
3. The 15% of physical damage added as fire and lightning is a minor boost - you could theoretically use it to scale physical damage from gear with an infinite budget, but flat elemental will always be better.

You will want your Tempestuous Steel to be as fast as possible. You can pretty well ignore the physical damage for most purposes.

2. Call of the Brotherhood

We are converting our damage down to fire. A lot of our damage comes as Lightning, via Wrath, Lightning Golem aura, or other sources. We don't want to lose half of the Lightning Damage by relying solely on Avatar of Fire.

Get one with as much increased lightning damage as you can afford.

3. Mantra of Flames

Mantra of Flames is necessary because it provides a big boost of added fire damage for each buff we have. And we will have quite a few. Massive flat damage boost.

You will want

4. Energy from Within
These jewels are necessary for making a high ES build, as I'm sure most people are aware. More ES is better. Get two with as much % increased ES as you can afford.

Gem Links
There are really only two essential skill setups to make the build work: Ancestral Warchief and Orb of Storms:

Ancestral Warchief
1. Ancestral Warchief;
2. Faster Attacks;
3. Added Lightning Damage;
4. Weapon Elemental Damage;
5. Fire Penetration; and
6. Cold to Fire.

Orb of Storms
1. Orb of Storms;
2. Blind;
3. Increased Critical Strikes; and
4. Power Charge on Critical.

You will also need the following, but how you set it up is up to you:
1. Discipline;
2. Anger;
3. Wrath;
4. Summon Fire Golem; and
5. Summon Lightning Golem.

I also use:
Rallying Cry + Increased Duration;
Vaal Discipline/Vaal Haste + Increased Duration;
Flame Dash + Faster Casting

My Gear

As you can see, my gear is pretty bad. But I'm easily clearing T12 maps at level 83 in a Tabula Rasa.

Screen Shots/Videos
Last edited by RickyDMMont2ya on Nov 9, 2016, 11:40:23 AM
Last bumped on Jan 17, 2017, 6:53:34 AM
levelling tree ?? like lvl 20 40 60 80 90 =)

look very good

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