[3.2] Fiery Shockwaves, Totems Galore (HC/SC, cheap, beginner-friendly)


This chick can cast up to four Shockwave Totems and is making use of Avatar of Fire, Hrimsorrow and Cold to Fire support to achieve 100% Fire Damage conversion.

Because of its very high health pool and safe play style, this build may appeal especially to beginners. Those nasty one-shots can be very discouraging, there's little worry here. It doesn't use complicated mechanics nor does it require in-depth knowledge. Few items are mandatory and they're dirt cheap. With a 6-link body armour and a somewhat decent Sceptre we're talking around 30 Chaos, give or take. The build is using Blood Magic and health is sustained via Life Regeneration and Totem leech so popping flasks is rarely necessary (anti-freeze flask to open strongboxes, some damage-boosting flasks at bosses is all really).


(FIVE totems? Lucky screen shot ;)


It's a Totem build
Tanky as phook (8k+ HP, lots of regen and Totem leech)
Safe & lazy play style


It's a Totem build
Not a DPS "multi-millionaire"
Elemental reflect map mod is a pain and better be avoided unless you want to sacrifice a blue gem for Minion/Totem Resistances.


Ancestral Bond
Avatar of Fire (obsolete with Xoph's Blood)
Blood Magic (can be refunded with Tukohama's Fortress but the 35% increased max life beyond BM are really juicy so I recommend to keep BM)
Elemental Overload

Required Uniques


Essence Worm

Optional Uniques

Ngamahu Tiki (great damage boost, some life and Fire Resistance... until you can afford Xoph's Blood)
Tukohama's Fortress (arguably the best shield for this build, comes with a hefty price tag)
Xoph's Blood (saves three passive skill points, tons of life, quite expensive)
Doryani's Catalyst (decent sceptre but no match for a b@d@$$ "shaped" rare sceptre)
The Cauteriser (good "stat stick" which can be used quite early in the game, but mobility is limited to Leap Slam)
Belly of the Beast (mucho HP)
Carcass Jack (less defence but plenty AoE and Area Damage)
Clear Mind (the best jewel in terms of damage output)
Watcher's Eye (with "Adds Cold Damage while affected by Hatred", almost as strong as Clear Mind)
Pure Talent (only with "Path of the Templar")


Hierophant (extra Totem, Arcane Surge)
Chieftain (Totem Leech to us, Life Regeneration, Ash debuff)
Path of the Marauder (for more Life) or Path of the Templar (for more Spell/Elemental Damage) ... the call is yours.


Start with Life and Strength (9 o'clock) and the Life Regeneration nodes (Shaper notable) and make your way to Ancestral Bond and Blood Magic. This requires 26 passives in total, so with a few skill quests along the way you should be ready for Shockwave Totem by the time you hit lvl 24. The next step is Avatar of Fire. Note: do not take Avatar of Fire until you have Hrimsorrow (and a Cold to Fire gem) or you will lose a ton of damage.

Now is a good time to grab some Life nodes. Mortal Conviction, Constitution, Devotion cost 7 passives and grant 68% increased maximum Life, this will go a long way.

After that into the Templar area of the tree for Amplify and across to the Witch Area for Blast Radius, pick up some more life and damage nodes and jewel sockets as you see fit.

When you have completed the second Labyrinth (Cruel) you'll get your third totem (Hierophant) and you're in business. ;)

Elemental Overload is not a priority until you get to maps, from there it's not far to Explosive Impact. Once you are connected to the Marauder or Templar start and have the according Ascendancy you can refund the first six passives from the Scion start.

To get the Dexterity required for our green gems I took Precision (which also grants Cast, Attack and Movement Speed) and Expertise but those 50 DEX are possible on a ring, however, since I get 4k tooltip DPS (unbuffed) from my Opal Ring I don't mind the three passives. All we need is 98 DEX for Hatred, 108 DEX for lvl 20 Faster Attacks is nice to have but by no means essential.

The skill tree is not set in stone. If you're comfy with less life (at lvl 97 I have a whopping 8.7k HP, without Belly mind you) and want "moar oomph" instead, you can go for Celestial Judgement or even Heart of Flame... up to you. If you have problems with resistances, you can take the Elementalist notable (12% all res, 10% elemental damage), it's only one passive skill point away.


Help Oak (1% Life Regeneration, 20% increased Physical Damage) or kill them all (2 passive skill points), the choice is yours but I recommend Oak.

Skill Trees

89 passives, 3 Labs, around lvl 66 with skill quests



Final Tree (lvl 100)

Path of the Marauder (249% increased maximum Life / 7.4% of Life Regenerated per second)



Path of the Templar (240% increased maximum Life / 6.6% of Life Regenerated per second / more damage)



Gem Setup

Shockwave Totem - Faster Casting - Cold to Fire - Elemental Focus - Controlled Destruction - Fire Penetration

(Another option is Increased Area of Effect/Concentrated Effect instead of Fire Penetration. While CE yields a bit more damage at bosses, AoE isn't really necessary, we get enough of that in the skill tree (up to 70%) and three or four totems cover a huge area anyway. And I'm lazy so Fire Penetration it is. CE can still be swapped in for Controlled Destruction for 10% percent extra damage at bosses, if you feel the need.)

Hatred (goes into Essence Worm since we have Blood Magic)

Orb of Storm - Increased Critical Strikes - Increased Area of Effect

(This we use to trigger Elemental Overload, other spells are fine as well, Spark, Arc, Ball Lightning, whatever...)

Cast when Damage Taken (lvl 1) - Immortal Call (no higher than lvl 3) - Increased Duration (no lvl limit here)

Shield Charge - Faster Attacks - Fortify - Leap Slam (optional but handy for obstacles and traps)

Lightning Golem - Spell Echo - Culling Strike - Item Rarity

Flammability (max) - Cast when Damage Taken (lvl 1) - Arctic Breath (no higher than lvl 3) - Greater Multiple Projectiles (no lvl limit)

The last two setups are entirely optional, we only need Flammability and the Golem of choice (Lightning Golem yields a bit more DPS than Flame Golem but Stone Golem is also viable). Arctic Breath can slow down enemies nicely and also has a chance to crit (Elemental Overload). You can also combine Flammability with Curse on Hit and, say, Spark or Arc and Incr Crit (to trigger Elemental Overload), plenty options, but I don't mind casting Flammability manually.

If you want to further increase the single target damage, you can also add Searing Bond, ideally placed in a Horror Essence-crafted helmet (Socketed Gems deal 30% more Elemental Damage):

Searing Bond - Elemental Focus - Swift Affliction - Increased Burning Damage

Now, Searing Bond isn't all that great against bosses with high mobility but it will add a free additional totem to our lineup and there will be plenty "bonding" between the totems so there's a good chance to inflict a ton of extra Burning Damage.


Note: SB deals Damage over Time so it does not benefit from Fire Penetration or Spell Damage only from Totem, Elemental and Fire Damage modifiers and resistance-reducing curses such as Flammability.

Gear Choices

At the time of this writing, the cheapest (non-Tabula) 6l Chests go for 25 Chaos, you certainly don't have to break the bank. Throw in an Essence of Greed for a guaranteed big life roll.

On body armour, helmet, boots we aim for Life, Armour and Resistances. Dexterity is a bonus.

Of course, a good Stygian Vise is what we all want but a nice Leather Belt or Rustic Sash with life/resistances is fine as well.

A rare Amulet with life/resistances/attributes will do, Cast Speed and Spell Damage are welcome additions but I recommend Ngamahu Tiki (lvl 36), up to 70% increased Fire Damage and it's dirt cheap.

An Anger Essence-crafted Opal Ring is BIS in terms of DPS but any ring with Life and Resistances will do, Cast Speed and/or Dexterity is a bonus. If you manage to cap your resistances without a rare ring you can use a second Essence Worm for Anger and then - if you're FILTHY rich - look for Watcher's Eye with "Gain xx% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage while affected by Anger" and "Adds Cold Damage while affected by Hatred". One can but dream... ;)

Ideally we want a Void or Opal Sceptre with "Shaper mods". Two mods are of interest: "Gain xx% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage" and "Gain xx% of Physical Damage as Extra Damage of a Random Element" (Cold and Fire are great, although we'll lose 50% of the Lightning Damage because of AoF the boost from this mod is still huge on average). On top of that we want decent Cast Speed, Increased Spell/Cold/Fire Damage and "Adds xx Cold Damage to Spells".

If you can't afford Tukohama's Fortress use a rare Spirit Shield with Life, Resistances and damage modifiers. Or Lioneye's Remorse for tons of Life, decent armour and block rating. Or dual wield two sceptres for even more damage, however, this limits the choice of movement skills to Leap Slam or Lightning Warp and both feel like pushing custard uphill with a fork, Shield Charge makes for much smoother game play. The same goes for The Cauteriser (lvl 42, 5 Chaos) which grants 70% of Physical Damage as extra Fire Damage and Culling Strike (the DPS gain is comparable to Doryani's Catalyst).

My Current Gear



Gloves: "of Light" for life regeneration through Consecrated Ground but I prefer corrupted Hrimsorrow with Increased Cast Speed (look for suitable colours).

Boots: Elemental Damage Penetration if you haven't killed recently (we never kill, our Totems do all the dirty work and they don't count here ;) or Life Regeneration when Hit.

Helmet: 40% Shockwave Totem Damage or 15% increased Shockwave Totem Cast Speed


Clear Mind and Watcher's Eye top the wish list for sure (Pure Talent grants 5% Elemental Damage Penetration if you chose Path of the Templar). Ideally we want Abyssal Jewels for the rest. Look for the following mods:

40+ Life
Added Cold Damage to Spells
Elemental damage penetration if you haven't killed recently
Added Fire Damage to Spells
Added Physical Damage to Spells
Cast Speed
Resistances/Attributes as required (especially Dexterity)
Also useful: "x% increased cast speed if a Minion has been killed recently" (we can "kill" our minion at will, re-summon a Golem and gain up to 10% cast speed for 4 seconds)

On classic Jewels look for:

7% increased maximum Life
Increased Damage
Increased Totem Damage
Increased Area Damage
Increased Cast Speed


A Silver Flask (Onslaught for 20% increased Cast Speed, my preference is a Chemist's Silver Flask of Heat)
The Overflowing Chalice (damage boost, life regeneration, flask management, what's not to like?)
The Wise Oak (Elelemental Damage Penetration, make sure your uncapped Fire Resistance is highest)
Taste of Hate (gain a ton of physical damage as extra Cold Damage and nice damage reduction but very expensive)
A Life Flask of Staunching (to stop Bleeding)
Utility Flask of choice.

(Note: we can't really use ToH and TWO together as ToH will send our cold resistance through the roof and thus render TWO useless)


Soul of Lunaris (major)
Soul of Tukohama (minor)

These are more like a personal preference, others can be useful on occasion as well.

Final Notes

I have played this build as Chieftain in Abyss League. Atziri and Uber Izaro are a walk in the park. The Guardians were easy enough, Shaper took me a while, a "Shaper farmer", however, it is not.

The Chieftain does have some perks, namely Totem Taunt and Fire Immunity (reflect is no longer an issue) at the expense of one totem. Due to the Acendancy changes Hrimsorrow, Cold to Fire and Hatred do no longer work, so use Anger instead. But you really want Watcher's Eye with "Gain xx% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage while affected by Anger" to make up for the loss of Hatred. The Chieftain skill tree is very much the same except you don't want to take the Frost Walker notable.

A crit version of this build is certainly possible, but it will be a lot less tanky and more expensive to gear.

P.S. This is my first guide, so go easy on me if I have missed something. ;)
Last edited by tomay on Mar 22, 2018 8:47:44 AM
Last bumped on Mar 24, 2018 3:20:51 PM

10/3/18: Skill tree section updated with "Path of the Templar".
Last edited by tomay on Mar 10, 2018 8:36:58 AM
Hey, will you be posting a video anytime soon? Always been interested in Shockwave Totem builds.
Also... Pros/Cons for chieftien vs Scion? I know you mentioned a few things in the Final Notes.

Completed 2 Challengeskpshyazn wrote:
Hey, will you be posting a video anytime soon?

I'm afraid this ain't gonna happen, my old potato of a computer isn't really cut out for video capture. Sorry 'bout that... not much to see anyway since there is little animation going on with Shockwave Totems. Over-sized dildos, very FPS-friendly! ;)

Here's a SWT Chieftain video (in Russian):


He's using The Cauteriser so he's got only two totems and can't use Shield Charge, the video is most likely from 3.0 since Belt of the Deceiver has been nerfed in 3.1 (Intimidate no longer works for spells). Now, Shield Charge and three or even four totems will improve clear speed quite significantly.

Completed 2 Challengeskpshyazn wrote:
Always been interested in Shockwave Totem builds.

By default Shockwave Totems deal only physical damage which doesn't really cut it for spell casters who rely a lot on elemental damage boost and this is where conversion comes into play. I've played a SWT Inqisitor in 2.3 or 2.4 with Physical to Lightning conversion which was pretty cool. In 3.1 SWT has seen some love and we got some cool mods which add physical damage to spells, a natural boost for Shockwave Totems.

Completed 2 Challengeskpshyazn wrote:
Also... Pros/Cons for chieftien vs Scion?


via Hierophant Ascendancy:

One additional Totem (that's 50% more damage right there)
Gain Arcana Surge when your totems hit something (10% cast speed helps a lot)
20% increased Damage while you have Arcane Surge (which is all the time)

via Chieftain Ascendancy:

2% Life Regeneration, 1% Totem damage leeched to you
Ash debuff (causes the affected target to have 20% less movement speed and 20% increased fire damage taken)

Add to that the option to start at the Marauder or Templar start and five extra passive skills.

Marauder (Chieftain)

10% Fire Damage Penetration
Enemies near your totems deal less and take increased Damage
Totems are immune to Fire Damage (Hello, elemental reflect)
2% Life Regeneration, 1% Totem damage leeched to you
Ash debuff (new, see above)
50% of physical damage converted to Fire Damage (good and bad, I'll get to that)
Every 10 seconds gain 70% pf Physical Damage as Extra Fire damage for 3 seconds (new, really cool, it's like a free Cauteriser every few seconds ;)
Totem taunt... probably the best feature of them all, it makes life much easier as you can play the game pretty much unmolested (Now, since Abyss attack totems can taunt enemies via jewels but SWT is a spell totem, not attack. So taunting SW Totems remain exclusive to the Chieftain).

The new Ascendancy mod "50% of physical damage converted to Fire Damage" is bad insofar as it doesn't really work like Avatar of Fire which converts 50% physical AND elemental damage to fire damage. This means, the Chieftain is now deprived of the Cold damage goodies (Ascendancy + AoF = 100% converted to Fire already). Cold to Fire and Hatred are massive boosts for this build. So the Chieftain can only use Anger aura which is p*ss poor compared to Hatred (excuse my French). Anger only adds flat Fire Damage to spells and SWT only makes use of 60% of all added damage. This can be mitigated somewhat with Watcher's Eye with the mod "Gain xx% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage while affected by Anger" (which is essentially a more damage multiplier) but this jewel is expensive as f*ck. Or you play without Avatar of Fire but then 50% of your damage remains Cold and doesn't benefit from Fire Penetration. Now, there is a new body armour which supports socketed gems with "lvl 20 Elemental Penetration" but unfortunately Shroud of the Lightless has 1 abyssal socket so it can only accommodate a 5-link SWT setup... ok, it's still a pseudo 6L and combined with Shroud's other features it might be an interesting option to explore.

Bottom Line, both classes are fine really. The Scion can have a larger health pool and one more totem, the Chieftain deals a bit more damage per totem, doesn't have to worry about elemental reflect and totem taunt makes life easier in general. However, in the "budget version" (i.e. sans Tukohama's Fortress) the Chieftain can cast only two totems so I'd definitely recommend Increased AoE rather than Fire Penetration for better clear speed, swap AoE for Conc Effect at bosses.

I haven't mentioned the Hierophant. I'm sure it's also a viable class choice for Shockwave Totems. But you can't use Tukohama's Fortress as you'll be using Mind over Matter for sustainability and MoM doesn't work with Blood Magic.
Last edited by tomay on Mar 11, 2018 9:56:46 AM
By chance could you set up a skill tree link for the leveling side. Makes it a little easier to follow the path you are taking.
I might do that but the tree is rather easy to follow anyway, as I said in the Leveling section:

Ancestral Bond > Blood Magic > Avatar of Fire > Amplify > Blast Radius ... by the time you get into maps, grab Elemental Overload > Explosive Impact. Just take life/damage nodes and jewel sockets along the way as you see fit.

If you chose Path of the Templar, before you refund the 6 passives at the Scion start make sure you have some Life Regeneration nodes (Arsonist, Quick Recovery, and maybe Combat Stamina) to sustain Blood Magic.

Edit: Done. ;)
Last edited by tomay on Mar 11, 2018 7:29:01 AM
Looks fun. Any examples of a more expensive version to take down guardians/elder/shaper?
Done all of them in Abyss with the gear posted above (sans the Opal Ring and ToH), as Chieftain with only three totems. What do you mean by "more expensive"? Tukohama's Fortress, Xoph's Blood, Watcher's Eye not expensive enough for you? ;)

But as I said, a "Shaper farmer" it is not. More like a decent League starter and Lab farmer. If you want to go after Shaper/Elder you're better off with some super high-DPS build. However, there are some juicy damage options along the tree to push the deeps output much further (e.g. Heart of Flame, Celestial Judgement). Depending on the player's skills and understanding of fight mechanics one can get away with a lot less life, 6-6.5k HP should suffice.
Last edited by tomay on Mar 11, 2018 10:45:28 AM
Added a Searing Bond setup for improved single target capability to the Gem section
Last edited by tomay on Mar 12, 2018 4:14:00 AM
Ever considered blade flurry - blind - faster attack - incr crit for proccing EO and blind? It's much better and quicker then OoS.

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