[3.2] Pizza Sticks: Flameblast Totem Hierophant! [Hugely buffed in 3.2! Guide fully updated!]

3.2 Update

New Hierophant is a huge boon for this build. It now deals more damage than Inquis, has better survivability than Inquis, and has way better quality of life than Inquis. So that's pretty cool.

This guide has been extensively updated for 3.2. Tree, gems and itemisation are all different. Would recommend having a good look at the PoB if you're already playing the build and want to update it. I'm also going to be playing the build as my Bestiary starter so will have videos and maybe further updates as I go.

For people wanting to use this build for Glacial Cascade instead
Here's what you need to change:

Flameblast out, GC in.
Faster casting out, critical damage in.
Fire pen out, cold pen in.

Anger out, Hatred in.

Socket 2x Long Winter.

Don't worry so much about cast speed on gear.


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CONTENTS

1. Build Concept
2. Why Play the Build (Pros and Cons)
3. Skill Tree
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. We can take advantage of Flameblast's massive damage without compromise, and add on a solid defensive foundation through Mind over Matter and great quality of life through Hierophant.



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

Pros:
  • High damage. 500k shaper DPS is achievable with reasonable 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.
  • 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. This build supports safety that with 8k EHP and huge amounts of regeneration.
  • No unique items required.
  • 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%).
  • Quite similar playstyle, stats, etc. to Glacial Cascade totems, but GC does not suffer from the cast speed problems noted above.
  • Totem playstyle is offputting to many people. Hopefully I can win a few of you over with this build!



3. SKILL TREE

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 Alira. Alira mostly better on a low budget, as she helps you cap resists.

Over this build's lifetime there's been a ton of discussion about which ascendancy is best. Thankfully that's all over as of 3.2. New Hierophant is just bonkers. Provides great damage, great defense, and great quality of life for pretty much any totem caster.


Defenses

Everything about this build perfectly slots into a heavy investment in Mind over Matter. Between the node itself, Hierophant, and Cloak of Defiance we end up with 50% of damage dealt to mana, and 50% to life. This means we try to have equal amounts of life and mana, ending up at about 4,000 of each. Hierophant and a few other things also provide a ton of mana regeneration — conceivably you can get over 1,000 per second without a flask — and a good chunk of life regeneration. All this leaves you very tanky in your own right, and when you combine that with the very safe playstyle of totems dying is generally not a concern.



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.

Finally, you can use wand and shield or dual wield wands, and use Lightning Warp to get around or just run. The notable application of this is dual wielding Void Battery, which makes your damage insane (nearly double that of good crit daggers). You just lose access to a good movement skill. If you want to make that trade, go for it.

Possible unique options:

Armour

This is where uniques can come in, specifically Cloak of Defiance. While we already get Mind over Matter from the passive tree, Cloak's extra 10% damage to mana and solid amount of mana stats make it a great option. It's absolutely not required, but I recommend it.

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: An Essence Worm to run Herald of Ash for free gives a lot of EHP. You can even use a second one if you want to run Anger as well. Otherwise, rares with some combination of cast speed, life, mana regeneration, mana, resists.
Amulet: If you have Cloak of Defiance then Atziri's Foible really helps with the intense mana requirements of the build. Otherwise, some combination of cast speed, crit chance, crit multi, life, mana regen.
Belt: Life, resists.

Possible unique options:


Flasks

As with almost all life builds, a Seething Divine Life Flask is basically mandatory. It will save you from 90% of sticky situations. Even though we're using MoM, the tremendous amount of mana regen we get, and the relatively low mana cost of Flameblast totems, means a mana flask isn't necessary.

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. You then might have space for one or two uniques.

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. Your blasts do enough damage already, so the extreme QoL provided by more cast speed is generally better. Attack speed, life and mana 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/Concentrated Effect - Fire Penetration - Elemental Focus

Primary damage setup. Gems are listed in order of importance, e.g. drop Elemental Focus if you only have a 5L.

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.

Temporal Chains - Arcane Surge (level 12) - Increased Duration - Increased Area of Effect

Great defense, keeps mobs in Flameblasts more easily, and triggers Arcane Surge. Feel free to swap curse to whatever you like (e.g. Enfeeble, Assassin's Mark)!

Flame Dash - Faster Casting

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

Summon Lightning Golem - Cast when Damage Taken

Little bit of free cast speed. Don't need to use CwDT, but it guarantees that the golem is always around.

Anger

~15% Damage buff. Place this in your Essence Worm if you're using one. You can additionally use Herald of Ash for some more damage, but there's not really a good way to do so without reserving mana.

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



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 - Gruthkul does the most.



7. LEVELLING TIPS

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. 33-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, do normal lab, and head into Witch. 51-point tree.

Level 46-65: Start picking up a little crit. Do cruel lab. 89-point tree.

Level 66+: Farm up in Blood Aqueducts, 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: Pursuit of Faith
Cruel: Ritual of Awakening
Merciless: Conviction of Power
Endgame: Divine Guidance



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 generally sufficient to kill packs. Don't waste time dropping more for a single pack.
  • 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 (bring a 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. With very expensive gear you get can a lot more DPS — here is a minmaxed version with about 2.7 mil Shaper DPS.

If you don't yet use Path of Building, you should! You can find more information and a download link here.



10. VIDEOS (OUTDATED)

These videos are quite outdated thanks to Hiero replacing Inquis as the ascendancy of choice in 3.2. I'll try to record new videos ASAP.

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 Mar 3, 2018 9:13:29 PM
Last bumped on May 22, 2018 10:42:04 PM
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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