[2.2] Lysah's Beginner/Budget RF/Flame Surge Lab Farmer

Hello, this is a long intro, sorry, skip to the spoilers if you just want the good stuff. For a tl;dr, this build is meant to make labyrinth easy to farm for any skill level player, while also being a very budget build that can all around trivialize this content that many people consider very difficult.

If you're looking for something ground breaking, there is nothing super deep here.
If you're looking for an extremely beginner friendly build that will make merciless lab easy, keep reading.

First and foremost, why do we care about labyrinth farming? Well, many people struggle with this area. Traps can be a pain, Izaro hits like a truck on sword days, but we pretty much have to clear it for our ascendancy points because they are simply too good to miss. If we want helm enchants, we need to be able to farm it without pulling our teeth out. If you find yourself hating the labyrinth and everything it stands for, wishing a curse upon its children, and filing a lawsuit against Izaro for chronic nightmares, this guide is for you.

I've had a few requests for this since talking about it openly, so I decided to throw together a quick guide. I know there is a lot of controversy over the labyrinth, many enjoy it, many hate it, I personally love it and it is probably my favorite part of the game. I love doing it on every character while leveling and I loved farming it, the experience isn't the absolute best but it is quite good, the loot isn't the absolute best but it is quite good. For something completely spammable that requires very little thought and is always consistent (relatively), it is a quite relaxing way to grind with the right build.

When I first saw the labyrinth I knew I wanted to make a character to farm it for fun and sick enchants. My first attempt at this was a glacial cascade miner. While the DPS on this character was absolutely insane, his inability to take a hit left me pretty worried, and he has since been completely abandoned because I didn't feel like mapping with him, either. I decided to come up with a completely new plan, one that was based around a character with a few principles:

1) Tanky
We don't want to have to think too hard to clear the lab safely. We want a character that can more or less be played on autopilot because we are a hardcore player and this is supposed to be relaxing, not a heart attack every time Izaro swings his sword.

2) Decent DPS
Just surviving isn't good enough, we don't want our runs to take all year. The faster one run is, the more runs we can fit into any given play session. Most of my runs on this character take around ten minutes, which isn't bad considering five minutes is more or less the very top end of speed run builds.

3) Cheap
There are plenty of #nicebuilds out there. Many of them cost a lot of currency to get moving. I want a character that can be played completely self found with the currency I found while leveling and start running the lab as soon as possible. I don't want to have to farm maps until level 90 to get this build off the ground.

Izaro does mainly physical damage. Traps do percentage based damage. With these two things in mind, the most obvious defense is physical damage reduction and life regeneration. This leads us straight to one obvious choice (in my opinion):

Righteous Fire. The king of regeneration builds that gets all of his damage with very little investment in offensive nodes, leaving him free to bulk up as much as possible. RF itself is too boring, though, and the DPS is honestly lackluster if you don't REALLY go for it with health stacking, elemental equilibrium, and multicursing. In addition, I love the art for both RF and Divine RF, and I hate to use concentrated effect and ruin the visual appeal of my character.

This brings us to the obvious soulmate of RF - flame surge. This spell is just amazing, ridiculous damage, insane cast speed, and unlike incinerate, it can crit by default and proc elemental overload. In addition, RF automatically gives us ignites for the 50% damage increase, and they just so happen to have about the same range. Nice!

Shamelessly screen capped from my video, this does not include elemental overload, actual DPS ends up around 70k + 50% from more damage on burning enemies (~100k total) + whatever RF is.

Passive Tree:

We take Chieftan because it gives us more fire damage, fire leech, a ton of regen. All around perfect. The extra regen from endurance charges helps us reach the limits of RF and be tankier with no investment outside the ascendancy tree, which is absolutely divine.

I won't post low level trees because you can basically just follow this tree in any order. Flame surge is actually fantastic for leveling, toss it in a Lifesprig or Reverb Rod and go nuts. Toss in searing bond to cause ignites for bosses and you will melt (heh) everything instantly. My flame surge had 2400 DPS in my normal labyrinth clear and that was with me investing basically all of my points into pure health. Easy clears for days.



You can take Alira for cruel, but getting to the health nodes and regen sooner is preferable, in my opinion, to an amount of cast speed you probably won't notice or miss at all. Not a huge difference either way. The extra life and endurance charge, however, are no brainers.


The main plan here is to try to stack as much armor as possible for extra defense, but really it isn't that big of a deal. Endurance charges + fortify + basalt flask are plenty when it comes to survivability.

The only thing you absolutely need is essence worm to put your purity of fire in. The +levels helps us use it at lower level, and it prevents it from costing us health with blood magic. Other than that, whatever rares you can get to max resists. I've managed to work my way up to using repentance for the DPS, but this requires a lot of int on gear and probably won't be so cheap when you're first starting out. It is not worth a massive amount of damage and the build functions fine without it - try to just stack as much life as possible and get armor on top of it if you can.

Rise of the Phoenix is the easiest shield to use and will give you better protection from RF and some extra regen. However, you lose a lot of potential armor and life. I got a decent shield for a couple of chaos and leveled Leo to 3 myself with the help of a friend (takes like 3 dailies) for this, but RoTP is quite cheap these days usually, so this is probably person preference. I think a Leo modded shield would be the obvious choice "end-game" if you had a good enough base.

End game gear wishlist:
Belly 5 or 6 linked, Coil with a second Essence Worm for Purity of Lightning
High %spell damage/flat damage dagger
2k armor shield with perfect Leo mod
Belt of the Deceiver could be a good choice for reducing the damage Izaro does with his crits, if you're one of the people who believes in that sort of thing
More armor!
Fantastic 2% regen neck from Talisman if those items ever make a return, a +1 curse neck in the meantime
+1 endurance charge belt

Skill gems:

5/6 link:
Flame surge > Echo > Fire Pen > Conc Effect > Ele focus > Destruction
All effectively more damage multipliers, one of the reasons this spell is so fantastic

4 link:
Righteous fire > Increased AOE > Ele Focus > Burn Damage
The main point of this is just to give us ignites and more damage for flame surge, but I found very quickly that the DPS was plenty to absolutely instantly melt trash mobs, making clears much quick without having to skip everything.

4 link:
Blind + Flame Totem + Faster Casting + Flame Dash
Blind + flame totem is an insane combination. Totem attacks so quickly it will essentially permanently blind anything it touches, which means Izaro. This immediately cuts his chance to hit you in half. That's always insane, but especially insane with a build that has decent mitigation and good regeneration - if he only hits you with every other attack you can easily passively regenerate the damage during his misses. Flame Dash is used for getting through doors, up ledges, and so on and is tossed into the setup for faster casting mostly.

X link:
Stone Golem. More regen is always nice. You could make a case for chaos golem, but the extra regeneration helps us ignore traps more easily. Also, since my build is not using RoTP, I actually needed the regen at low levels to sustain RF. Personal preferences here, but I linked it to minion life and resists so I wouldn't have to resummon it so much, and then threw in blind because why not.

3 link:
Whirling blades + fortify + faster attacks
Our main replacement for movement speed on a slow build. Movespeed on boots exponentially increases the price, and you can get a good pair of boots with life and resists and no movespeed pretty cheap these days. Whirling blades was already bound to be better than a small amount of movespeed anyway, and we needed a way to proc fortify, so all of this is a no brainer.

Random sockets:
Enduring cry, curse of choice (flammability, elemental weakness, enfeeble/temp chains if you really want more survivability, whatever).

Should be room for a few more gems if you want, but this was all I found necessary. Some sort of CWDT setup could be useful.

Essence Worm:
Purity of Fire of course!

Video example:

This is a pretty rough run, haven't played this character or done the lab in quite a while since I died on him (to a reflect mob in a Zana map sadly), but it is meant to showcase, even if poorly, how easy the Lab is with this build.

I take off destruction in the beginning to prove it is just as easy with a 5 link as it is a 6. Argus isn't showcased since I didn't run into him but he is just as easy to face tank as Izaro is with flasks, blind totem, and buffs.

If you have any questions feel free to ask, I hope I covered everything well and helped people make the lab easy so they can enjoy this fantastic content more! GGG did an amazing job with this expansion and I hope people will learn to love the labyrinth in time.
Last edited by IceyDevil on Apr 22, 2016, 10:58:19 PM
Last bumped on May 25, 2016, 9:15:59 AM
WoW love the build cheap, edgy, and sexy (no Rise of the Phoenix) RF is one of my favorite skills in the game due to the ability to "break" its intended use.

Would love to recomend this too you if you havent thought of it. Bit level intensive I know.
Higher Level skill tree ( if points permit lvl 97-99 )

This would be for the higher level content and possible end-game Lab ilvl 75?
this would add a substantial amount of defense for you, due to the fact you are not degenerating ES and you have more life regen going back to your pool because of it, plus MoM :D

If you are interested I have a LL Flame Surge/RF build like 90% done you would ever want me to demo it for you i'd love to on my stream https://www.twitch.tv/incoghs102 . Feel free to check out the character name is Cobracons. GL !!
Nice One!

I've run something similar in talisman league. 2% regen ammy ftw.
Build was Called flamelord, mimicking the redblade warband monster.

It's DPS was weakened by 2 gems: bloodmagic and lifeleech.

The build got a huge buff, 2 gem slot saved lol:
Chieftain saves a LL gem and compensated for the talisman ammy.
Essence Worm made bloodmagic keystone alot better.

I'm gonna make a chieftain for some fun!

Question: You're blinding, but your character has very little evasion, isn't that a problem?

Question: You're blinding, but your character has very little evasion, isn't that a problem?

Don't think it matters, blind gives enemies 50% less hit chance period. If you have 0 evasion and therefore only a 5% chance to evade, you should still have over 50% chance to avoid a blinded mob.

IncogHS102 wrote:

Would love to recomend this too you if you havent thought of it.

I wish I had that many points to spend :p
I doubt I will ever see a character much above level 90 in my life, I can't stay interested in grinding that long on any one character. I've already made 10 characters in PHC.
Last edited by IceyDevil on Apr 23, 2016, 6:29:16 AM
I've always liked the idea of RF, but I've never been able to sustain it even with RF builds

I think I mess up somewhere. Either way, I'm going to respec my level 80 marauder once I can actually find somebody selling an essence worm for less than 1.5ex XD
G7Ghost wrote:
I've always liked the idea of RF, but I've never been able to sustain it even with RF builds

I think I mess up somewhere. Either way, I'm going to respec my level 80 marauder once I can actually find somebody selling an essence worm for less than 1.5ex XD

Yeah they are pretty overpriced in my opinion. I had to hawk trade to get mine for 15c. You could always just use PoF on life, it's certainly not ideal but doable I think.
Last edited by IceyDevil on Apr 23, 2016, 2:37:56 PM
Hi. Sorry for my bad english. What the map tier you can run? And can you record gorge run?
komokze wrote:
Hi. Sorry for my bad english. What the map tier you can run? And can you record gorge run?

He wasn't really made for maps, so I've only done up to like tier 7 on him. I can probably run some high tiers to see, but you'll have to wait until the 2 week race is over most likely :p
Cool Build!

Couple of questions though, is this build using searing bond instead of righteous fire right up until after merciless Lab?
How many ascendancy points do you need before you can actually run RF?
Which order do you get your ascendancy points in? i can't tell whether the regen from endurance charges, or the fire leech will be better for sustaining RF, or if you'll need both to run it.

Edit: Also, about the viability of running Purity of fire on life rather than having to get an essence worm...
That should actually be doable, right? I mean of course it's not ideal, i was just wondering if you'd tried it initially and found the essence worm was really pretty necessary. With the reduction in aura costs from behind the blood magic keystone, and maybe taking the aura nodes by purity of flesh, i'm not sure how much life it'll really cost. I mean essence worm is really the only expensive thing here, if i can get rid of it, and not suffer too much, i will :P
Last edited by Skinbad on May 25, 2016, 9:27:40 AM

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