[2.5] Molten Strike Juggernaut Volcano

As always, my builds start with a core idea of what I want to go for as a "style". Tired of the meta "big aoe" builds, I wanted to make something a little more personal. Core concept to the build: be a volcano. This means be immovable, and throw little lava balls everywhere. I'm happy to say that clearing T12 maps currently, the build is still perfectly fulfilling that goal, easily handling whatever is thrown at it, including solo uber lab at level 76 where Izaro was a pushover. In fact, the build was doing so much damage, I actually had to be careful about burning him too fast and failing the fight mechanics (stupid charge disruptors). Note that this isn't "20 mirror build" fast, but "on-level melee" fast.

Cost: Medium~ (roughly 5 ex depending on quality of items)
Difficulty: Extremely Low
Damage: High - Very High
Tankiness: Very High
Trash Clear: Medium - Slow
Boss Kill: Very Fast
Uber Lab Viable: Yes
Atziri Viable: Yes
Council Viable: Yes
T16 Viable: TBD, but well expected yes
Shaper Viable: TBD, but expected
Breaches Viable: Yes*
Hardcore Viable: Yes**

*Only exception is Tul. The damage reduction vortexes slow us down too much since we need to meet things face to face, we're often forced to fight in those zones. We can survive it no problem, but making the time is very hard

**While I would say the build is hardcore viable, you do have to be aware that different things are dangerous than most builds. Until you get your merciless ascendancy, cold mobs are terrifying. Because you're always in everything's face, what you're really scared of is things that prevent you from acting to block / build charges / leech. Once you get used to what's scary and be cautious approaching it (you're a volcano, not a god), you should be perfectly fine.


One of the great things with molten strike, is you get to understand pretty much out of the gate what it feels like to use the build. Get yourself a redbeak, or any other similar good starting weapon, get your molten strike right at level 1, and go into the next area. That's basically how your build will feel forever. You'll get more movement speed, a little bit more clear, but basically nothing can really hurt you, and everything dies reasonably fast, but you have to go up and punch everything in the face.

I personally didn't mind leveling using molten strike, but it may be a good idea to instead use a 2h while leveling, and just use double strike with melee splash, or cleave, or whatever your favorite leveling skill for melee may be. There's very few nodes you'll need to change later, with a total cost of 8 refund points to swap between 2h and 1h builds.

There's no real specific leveling uniques, just basically any standard leveling uniques you would use for a melee build will work. High phys damage or hybrid phys/fire damage. I personally like Pillar of the Caged God for early leveling due to it's long term scaling, though mid/late cruel it starts to fall off at which point a Cauteriser is amazing for synergy with our hybrid physical/weapon elemental damage build.

Core Mechanics

With molten strike we'll be focusing on the projectiles. The initial hit itself is pretty "meh", but those projectiles can do some real damage. Because of this, we'll want to stay away from "melee" damage (damage/physical damage WITH a melee weapon is fine, but not "melee damage"). That's why we're not using melee phys damage support, or similar. We also don't care about accuracy, as the projectiles can't be evaded (they are ground targeted, and splash the enemies, they don't directly hit enemies), and the initial strike hit or miss still triggers the projectiles.

Because we're focusing on the projectiles, we'll be picking up a massive bonus in Point Blank. Point blank provides a 50% more modifier at up to 10 yards, then 40% at 20 yards (then further decreasing, but this is the range we care about). Molten strike projectiles without AoE increases travel from 5-20 yards. This means we average a 43.3% more damage modifier on the projectiles from Point Blank. Note the projectile distance is calculated by how far it travels (from the initial 'hit' location), not how far it is from you, so increased melee range is perfectly fine. In this build we're avoiding increasing AoE. You could certainly modify to get a bit more AoE in, but it means losing some of that juicy point blank damage. Increasing AoE would help with trash clear a bit, but would hurt high health kills (bosses), which is what we're really best at with molten strike. Why hurt our best aspect? Watching bosses melt as they futilely swing in our direction.

Our large amount of health and damage reduction as a juggernaut, makes it hard for *most* things to deal significant damage to us, and very few enemies can oneshot us (super buffed Izaro). Combined with large amounts of %life regen, and tons of leech coming back from all the projectiles (each one individually proccing leech), any time we do take damage, it doesn't stick. We also manage to do significant damage. Though to gain this tankiness and still have damage, we're sacrificing clear speed. However due to our damage output, or clear speed isn't "horrible", it's just a matter of running to each split pack instead of hitting a button and clearing a screen of trash. As an added advantage, bosses melt fairly fast. Unlike explosive arrow that can mass clear trash, then gets to anything high health and any damage you "thought" you had just disappears.

Due to picking up leech, mana is a non-issue. You'll leach enough from even a basic attack in the event you run dry attacking thin air that your next attack will go back to molten strike. The leech very easily keeps up with warcry/totem/molten strike costs.

Around merciless, you may have to be more cautious with reflect mobs, but once you get your full complement of gear individual reflect mobs become a non-issue. Reflect modded maps are still off the table. We deal a lot of damage, it's pure fire damage, and we're not an elementalist that can deal with reflected damage. You may want to try running a sybil's around merciless when your damage too far surpasses your tankiness for a while.


Molten Strike

You could go with GMP instead of phys proj for a bit more overall AoE, though phys proj does win out for DPS by about 15%. Quality on all of these gems is worthwhile, though multistrike quality doesn't offer a lot (just melee damage). Note that the attack speed reduction from phys proj has no effect, since the projectiles are triggered by a melee attack using melee attack speed.


Hatred with cold to fire support offers a nice chunk of additional damage, winning out over anger by a decent amount. Herald of ash is also a nice augmentation along the same vein. Vengeance is just there because it is. Spare gem slot.


Typical CWDT+Immortal call. Only difference is just keep leveling these. CWDT will not overtake our max HP, so it will always fire before we die, and we don't want it triggering *too* often pac-manning our glorious endurance charges. Molten shell is linked as well to provide a bit extra armor in the aftermath of potentially high damage intake. We're not concerned about the damage of molten shell, we're just in it for the armor.

Optimally this will be blue-blue-blue. The curse on hit is also procced by reckoning provided by the shield, so optimally you'll be enfeebling anything that hits you 36% of the time in an area. It may not seem like it, but it actually is fairly reliable auto-cursing. You could also go blue-blue-green swapping out tempest shield for blind support.


Vaal Haste provides a massive damage boost for this build, and the warcry gives us a method to generate endurance charges without relying on getting hit.

Leap slam for movement with fortify. Linking it with our ancestral protector also offers the totem a little bit of damage reduction and some damage. Though the totem's damage is insignificant, it exists purely to boost our own damage. We use protector over warchief as warchief only buffs melee damage, and even if it was "all" physical damage, the attack speed still wins out.

Mandatory Uniques

This is pretty much the only one we need. It provides us with the final damage conversion to fire for maximum double (and even triple) dipping of damage multipliers. Its other stats are also often very underrated. The 10% strength is going to offer about 50 str, which is 25 base life, as well as the 10% more life. Not to mention the fire pen, and the "ash" effect which causes enemies that hit you to take increased fire damage, and move slower. All around a fantastic amulet.

An amazing defensive shield. This allows us to auto-curse without a secondary ability or blasphemy, offers high block chance, and a tremendous amount of armor. The base hp and hp on block are just little maraschino cherries.

Note: While there is no "mandatory" helm, it is mandatory that you have a helm with +3 molten strike projectiles. On what helm is up to you, but that enchant is core due to offering so much damage.

Recommended Uniques

While these aren't "mandatory" to make the build function, I still *highly* recommend them due to their synergy with the build.

Cheap effective high DPS 1h weapon. Really only 1h weapons in the 5+ ex range can start to compete with this weapon for our build.

The reduction to physical damage is a spit in the bucket compared to the bonuses from the attack speed. This helm offers a large bonus to damage output, and the movement speed is highly beneficial due to how we have to run right up to everything's face to kill it. Due to its popularity as a one helm fits all, it's fairly easy to find these with your enchant on it as well.

If you can make up the resists in other rares, this ring will offer an additional endurance charge, as well as offering up to 4% health regen per second from endurance charges. Though its lack of other stats still generally makes me prefer a rare ring with resists and damage.

A great defensive flask. Not too much to say about it. More armor, more block chance meaning not only more survivability but also more auto-curse triggers.

Note: Some people might be tempted to go with a dying sun flask. you "can" do this, but unless the boss has a large hit box, it will not actually be much of a DPS gain due to the increased AOE reducing the effectiveness of our Point Blank "more" multiplier. Certainly not worth the cost in my opinion.

Other Gear

Chest: Life, Resists (armor base preferred. Easier to gem, and better synergy)
Gloves: +[X]-[Y] Phys Damage, +[X]-[Y] Fire Damage, +X% attack speed, life, resists (to cap) (armor base preferred, easier to gem and better synergy)
Boots: +Movement Speed, Life, Resists (to cap). Movement speed is actually quite important, as we need to get right up to things to smack them across the face.
Belt Corrupted +1 endurance charges, life, resists (to cap), weapon elemental damage
Rings +[X]-[Y] Phys Damage, +[X]-[Y] Fire Damage +X% attack speed, weapon elemental damage, fire damage, life, resists (to cap)

Note: Resits to cap should be your first priority. While endurance charges *can* help with resists, you don't want to depend on them to make up missing resists, as immortal call can eat them all, leaving you under cap, and immortal call isn't blocking spell damage.

+1 endurance charge belts with good other stats can be *very* expensive. Don't worry if you can't afford the +1 endurance charges. It's optimal, but not "necessary". It's only 4% phys damage reduction, 6% increased damage, and 0.2-0.6% life/sec


Normal: Oak (+40 life)
Cruel: Kraityn (+8% attack speed)
Merciless: Oak (+1 endurance charge)

Yes, we prefer Kraityn over Oak for cruel. The attack speed offers slightly more dps.

Talent Tree

Level 80: https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAABAEBAAGRAdwEswUtBWYGDgbGCfYS4RQgFHUWuxhdGS4aOCcvJ-0oKi3SLlMvzDGeMfs1kjqzOtg9Dz38QzFHfkz_TeNOKlBHVw1X4lhjW69dpF8_YuxlTWhlaPJvJ287dO1343fleA15aHy7ffV_44KbhNmE74VSi0-Mz5AKkFWRzpZsl3maaptqogCi6qTCplepbq2NrfGvp7Xytoq77b02vqfAAcAawGbBBMGCxBXE9sbYz37Tb9R81ljYvdlh2sHd1eCf4XPkUe0g7w7wH_ON85v0g_ZI97n-jw==

I recommend heading south first after picking up the initial diamond (Born to fight, Heart of the warrior, etc), and moving towards the leech and point blank ASAP. If you're leveling with something other than molten strike, feel free to go north first, grabbing the basic damage bonuses and elemental damage. After this point, you'll basically just be filling out the remaining nearby health nodes, and picking up the two close jewels at templar and just south of templar.

For ascendancy we want to go Unflinching > Unrelenting > Unyielding > Unstoppable. I wouldn't blame you for swapping the last two, as freeze is one of the biggest annoyances to this build. Unstoppable making you immune to chill, freeze, snares, and temp chains actually offers a lot of utility for the build, where Unyielding is offering 30% inc damage, 5% phs damage reduction, and 1.5% regen. Though this build has no problems soling uber lab, so you don't have to worry about "well, I normally have problems with uber lab, so I usually don't 'plan' to get the last ascendancy" <- my normal fun but very squishy builds.


Once you get to the "end game" point (all main items equipped), you only need one health flask, preferably an instant flask, since if you get to the point your regen isn't enough, flask regen speed won't be enough either. Other than that, I highly recommend a Rumi's, as well as running an amethyst flask to help with the odd chaos damage, and a grounding topaz flask to help with shock. Once you get your final ascendancy points (Unstoppable) you also no longer need thawing flasks, since chilling and freeze no longer negatively effect you.

My current Flasks:

Map Mods

Vulnerability, and large amounts of +elemental damage from mobs should make you a bit more cautious, as much of our damage reduction is in physical damage reduction from armor and endurance charges, but certainly not undoable. We do enough damage to get through enfeeble just fine, and temp chains is actually a bonus once you get unstoppable (longer buffs, no drawbacks). Pretty much all you have to avoid is elemental reflect maps. Encountering individual elemental reflect mobs is no problem, but a full map of elemental reflect is too much. Other than that, no mods are of major consequence, just be aware of the mods and play accordingly, nothing special.
Last edited by VapidActions on Dec 29, 2016 3:26:42 PM
Last bumped on Mar 9, 2017 4:53:54 PM

Overall liked this guide and build, especially with the newly announced Wildfire jewel (https://p7p4m6s5.ssl.hwcdn.net/public/bex/WildFire.jpg)

One thing you could improve is to provide some gameplay videos, if your hardware allows that of course.

I have a question,
how do you view this build for farming uber lab? Im interested in full key runs.

EDIT: Also grabbing RT because its not a crit build seems like a good idea.
Last edited by Apokryphtos on Mar 2, 2017 1:49:32 PM
I'm giving it a whirl but I'm using two Brutus' Lead Sprinkler.
TabSluppins - Pizza guy
So I've gone down a similar path and have wound up dual wielding the Sprinklers after all. I'm enjoying it, but have to get an enchanted helm. I am also going to respec into Chieftain.
The reasons behind it are a few.

Chieftain change
Endurance Charges
Endurance charge generation is easy enough for me without needing the (albeit sweet) bonus from Jugg.
I would rather have the .5% increased life regen than the damage from my charges.

The 10% strength bonus directly buffs both of my Sprinklers and a 20 str minor node is also great.

Fire Penetration
10% fire penetration is great that will just get better with Xoph's Blood 100% fire damage conversion.

Still noodling the Ignite stacking option with the very popular Taming/Emberwake combo. But the ignition chances of 15% from Chieftain + 10% from the rings + .... ??? is really appealing. I would have to do the math to see just how effective that would be.

Gear Changes
Gloves with Essence of Hysteria - Gives a free 5L until I can 6L my chest piece. The added fire damage is better than a level 20 anger. It's also 27% more damage than an added cold damage gem (average 156.5).

Anger level 20 - adds 110.5 average damage per hit
Added Cold Damage level 20 - adds 156.5 average damage per hit
Hysteria - adds 200 average damage per hit

I rolled some good gloves so I consider myself really lucky at the moment.
TabSluppins - Pizza guy

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