[3.0] [Video] [HC/SC] Flee the Fire! Chieftain Sire of Shards Fireball/Flameblast Tri-Totem Build

Do you like totems? Specifically fire totems? How about 5,000 life and life leech from your totems at high levels? Enjoy using creative mechanics and rarely-used skill gems? Are you willing to push more than one button and utilize tactics based on the enemy at hand? If so, keep reading, because I have a tri-totem build that may be right up your alley. This build utilizes synergy with Self-Flagellation, Soul Mantle, and the Kikazaru Topaz ring to burn your enemies through multiple means.

High Concept

This build was born out of my Chill and Breathe build elsewhere on the forums. I wanted to make a more party-friendly build, and I wanted to do a fire build. Then I decided I wanted to find a way to reduce the threat of large packs of enemies much in the same way that freeze does, but while using fire. That's when I started looking at the Chance to Flee gem. Fire already ignites and causes some enemies to flee. Why couldn't I use that as part of my defense plan?

The core defensive mechanism of this build is that enemies don't want to attack you. We accomplish this through Chance to Flee, fire damage on certain enemies, the Chieftain "Totem Taunting" Ascendancy node, and the Lion's Roar + Empirie's Grasp combination. Our secondary defensive mechanics are Life Regeneration, Life Leech (via Ascendancy), Mind Over Matter, some energy shield, Lion's Roar Granite Flask (armour) and Arctic Armour. Being a totem build helps too.

Pros and Cons

---Safe (Totem + Chance to Flee minimizes the amount enemies actually attack you)
---Cheap to Start (Required Unique items can be had for under 20 chaos at base levesl)
---Relatively Low Budget Long-Term (5 Link, 6 Socket Sire of Shards costs around 40 chaos)
---Large Life Pool
---Decent Life Regeneration
---Life Leech
---True single target mode
---Can change your play style up in an instant
---Party friendly
---You don't need a 20 Quality Fireball gem. You ignite just fine without it.
---Uber Lab Viable
---Atziri Viable

---Flicker Strikers remain the bane of totem users.
---This build runs well at low levels. There are definitely some uniques, however, that can push the cost up if you really want to push the performance of this build.
---Chance to Flee doesn't really come on until you have a 5 link. It works okay without Chance to Flee, but the defensive mechanics really shine once you get that gem in there.
---As with all spell caster builds, the level of your primary spell (Fireball / Flameblast) makes a huge difference. Consider, if you're impatient, buying a higher level spell gem once you manage to out-level your gem. You get a very nice DPS boost at each gem level between 17 and 20.

Skill Tree and Bandits UPDATED 08/09/2017

High Level Skill Tree.

For Bandits, all passive points.

Class Ascendancy UPDATED 9/25/2016

For your Ascendancy, you should be taking Chieftain. That means you are starting life as a Marauder.
One look at the Chieftan Ascendancy and it's obvious that this is the correct path for us. Virtually everything there helps us. We have all sorts of fire totem bonuses, life regeneration, and even leech and endurance charges from our totems. This is the perfect Ascendancy for us.

Recommended Order of Ascendancy Points

Normal Lab: Ngamahu, Flames Advance. This is a pathing node, but the extra chance to ignite and burn damage is useful.

Cruel Lab: Hinekora, Death's Fury. Totems can leech for you and fire penetration? Sign me up!

Merciless Lab: Ramako, Sun's Light. Getting Endurance charges is very useful, especially since so many bosses have extra spawning enemies you can generate charges from. Getting this is useful for Uber Lab later.

Uber Lab: Aromongul, Moon's Presence. Extra damage to enemies and reduced damage done by enemies.

After completing Uber Lab, I suggest respeccing out of Ramako, Sun's Light and into Tukohama, War's Herald. The damage reduction from the taunt, combined with Aromongul, is better and more consistent than the Endurance charges for our build. In addition, you confuse enemies rather well with Taunt + Chance to Flee, resulting in enemies that don't attack much.

Suggested Leveling Trees and Leveling Notes - UPDATED 10/31/2016

A couple quick notes on leveling. You can level to 49 (or whenever you get Sire of Shards + Soul Mantle) with whatever spell you want, really. Flame totem isn't a bad choice. If you haven't done totems before, I suggest using a Flame Totem setup (Flame Totem + LMP + Faster Casting as the basic 3 link. There are lots of Flame Totem builds on the forums, so reference one of those for link setup ideas).

Secondly, this build does unfortunately use some green gems, which require dexterity. We don't get a ton of dexterity in the tree. You'll need to possibly grab some big 30 stat dexterity nodes depending on your gear and jewels.

Also, remember that all your stats must still work when you weapon swap into Realm Ender. Sire of Shards grants you bonuses to all attributes while Realm Ender does not. So your actual stat requirement formula is effectively Base Stat Requirement of Gem/Gear + Sire of Shards Attribute Bonus.

Finally, these are just suggestions, and are made from a Softcore player. Hardcore players may focus more on getting life and defenses up first.

Your First 25 Points - You start as a Marauder and immediately leave the area. Grab Diamond Skin - you're going to need it for awhile for resistances, so you may as well benefit from it for as long as possible, right?

Your First 40 Points - Pick up Elementalist. Go down and get Totemic Zeal. Pick up the jewel node on the way. Pass through the Scion life section.

Your First 49 Points - Level 49 is when we can first use Sire of Shards and Soul Mantle. Go get Ancestral Bond if you have both of these items. Now the build can begin. If you lack either of these items and the means to acquire them at this time, you may not want to grab Ancestral Bond if you're leveling with something that isn't a totem.

Your First 60 Points - We can finish up the western half of our tree now. The Devotion life area and Sovereignty wheel are your choices here. I did a little bit of respeccing of how we get to Devotion here that is mostly personal preference.

Your First 70 Points - Time for some pathing nodes! We'll end up grabbing Cruel Preparation at the end of this pathing trip.

Your First 80 Points - Lots of good nodes along the various paths here that it's time to take. So take them. The Quick Recovery wheel, Totemic Mastery, the Jewel Socket by Quick Recovery, and Sentinel (by Totemic Zeal) are our grabs here.

Your First 90 Points - Time for some DPS boosting. Heart of Flame gives us raw damage and fire penetration. Whispers of Doom lets us set up two curses, especially if you can do Blasphemy with Flammability and corrupt your gloves for Temp Chains on Hit.

Your First 100 Points - Path down to Heart and Soul. Pick up the nearby Jewel socket. Respec out of Diamond Skin if you haven't by now.

Your First 113 Points - This was my Level 91 build. I finished the Heart and Soul wheel, got the Purity of Flesh wheel (northwest of tree), and have started filling out the rest of my life and mana regeneration. Mana regeneration becomes much more important once you get a six link, as six linked totems can cost upwards of 100 mana easily. I've also picked up Mind over Matter for some extra defense.

My Current Level 93 Build: I've respecced this version a bit to have more jewel sockets so I can push my Chaos resist higher. I've pulled out a little bit of DPS and I'm still experimenting with it. However, it is working out very well, so I wanted to show this as an option.

Gear UPDATED 10/31/2016

I'm going to introduce you to the unique items you need for this build first. Most of them are quite cheap for the basis versions, so getting started shouldn't be a problem. Then I'll mention the stuff you'll want on your rare items.

Unique Items

Weapon: Sire of Shards Serpentine Staff
This is one of the core items for this build. It's main draw is that your projectiles explode out in a nova instead of shooting straight ahead. In addition, you get four more projectiles for free. This gives you the effect of the Greater Multiple Projectiles gem without any of it's drawbacks. A basic version will run you next to nothing. Purchasing a 5 link, 6 socket version will cost around 40 Chaos. A 4 link will work just fine, but you will want to upgrade to a 5 link once you're ready to add in Chance to Flee. Either socket and link one on your own or pay the Chaos.

Weapon (Off Slot): Realm Ender
Wait a minute now, this is a Sire of Shards build. What am I doing telling you to pick up a Realm Ender? Well, let us be totally honest here. Sire of Shards is terrible for single target in most cases, and this is one of the cases. Now, you could pick up a second Sire of Shards, set up a second Fireball with single target focus, and use that. But why do that when you can set up a Flameblast single target attack and get +3 to the spell gem and some of the support gems for cheap? This unique is dirt cheap (a Chaos at most) to pick up. Try it in the build; you'll be glad you did.

Chest: Soul Mantle Spidersilk Robe
This is an Energy Shield-based chest armour, which is unfortunate, but it provides us with two key things for this build. It provides us a third totem and it lets us curse ourselves (via dying or expiring totems). It also supports all gems in it with a level 14 Spell Totem, which is unfortunate since our main skill is going in Sire of Shards. It makes placing utility gems awkward, but it is a necessary piece. Pick one up today for dirt cheap (1 Chaos or less). Then socket and link it (4 Link suggested) yourself. I like to put Searing Bond in here, but I've used it for gem leveling as well.

Ring Slot #1 and Ring Slot #2: Kikazaru Topaz Ring
This is where you will start to see the synergy of the build come together. The Kikazaru Topaz Ring is a Unique Ring which grants us all sorts of useful bonuses for our build. It gives us mana regeneration (very useful), decent flat life regeneration, Lightning Resistance, and 10-15 to all attributes. Those are all excellent and useful things to us. However, the main draw of the ring is that it provides 20% Reduced Impact of Curses on us. You're going to be cursing yourself a lot thanks to the Soul Mantle. Reducing that impact is huge and wearing a pair of these allows us to remain Resistance Capped. They are also ridiculously cheap. Pay more than a Chaos and you're paying too much.

Rain of Splinters Crimson Jewel
Adding two more projectiles at a cost of 30-50% Reduced Totem Damage may sound bad, but the DPS hit per projectile isn't bad. In addition, the extra two projectiles really increase your spread and add more explosion damage. Pick a decent one up for a chaos.

Self-Flagellation Viridian Jewel
And here is where the synergy takes hold. 10-20% Increased Damage for every curse that you have means that all the curses you're putting on yourself with Soul Mantle are boosting your DPS. This jewel will take care of a lot of our DPS needs. And, like everything else, it is quite cheap. A chaos or so should get you a good one.

Empire's Grasp Goliath Gloves
These provide a boatload of armor but, more importantly, they provide us Reverse Knockback. Get these set up in your build once you get Chance to Flee in your link setup. Use decent rare gloves before then. If you can, get a corrupted version with Temporal Chains. It will make your life much easier.

Lion's Roar Granite Flask
This is used for knockback purposes and to push our armor up to decent levels for short periods of time. Our end goal is Reverse Knockback, but we have limited gem slots in our Sire of Shards. This lets us use Reverse Knockback without sacrificing a gem slot. Now, we can Reverse Knockback enemies while hitting them with Chance to Flee. You now have enemies who won't attack you or your totems who are trying to get away but are being pulled closer and closer to their death.

Rare Item Guide

Impacted Slots: Helmet, Belt, Amulet, and Boots

Get rare items for these slots. Pack on as much Life and Resistance as you humanly can into these items. You are really going to need your Resistances pumped up on these. Your boots should have 25% Movement Speed or better. While you're going to be reducing the impact of Temporal Chains by 40%, if you don't have movement speed life is going to be pretty terrible.

You should be focusing on either Armour or Hybrid Armour/Energy Shield gear. We go nowhere near Evasion nodes but do pick up some incidental Armour boosters. Energy Shield, of course, adds to our effective hit point pool and makes coloring the sockets (a lot of blue gems are needed) much easier.

A Goldrim Leather Cap can be a good "Resistance Fixer" in the short term, but long term you will want to replace that with a better helmet.

You will also want some Dexterity on your gear. We do need Dexterity for our gems, so be ready to either craft some or make sure to buy some with a good bit of Dexterity on it.


I run two life flasks, a Lavianga's Spirit, Lion's Roar, and a quicksilver flask. You may want at least one Warding Flask (to remove curses in a pinch or when Enfeeble shows up ) and at definitely a Staunching Flask. I have linked my flasks in my gear section.

A Word on Jewels

Jewels are incredibly useful on this build. Obviously we're using two of them on Rain of Splinters and Self-Flagellation, but you can use more jewels to more efficiently fix stat/resistance issues or up your DPS. I've allocated, at this time, four additional jewel slots for a total of four jewel slots in the build. I have plans to potentially get a seventh jewel socket should I reach level 95.

A Word on Cost

This build doesn't cost much to start up. Sire of Shards is cheap. Realm Ender is cheap. Soul Mantle is cheap. Self-Flagellation and Rain of Splinters are cheap. You're looking at 10 chaos there.

Then you need to link your staffs and chest. That'll take some fusings and jewelers. Go for 6 sockets with your jewelers (make sure to Quality with Whetstones and Armourer's Scraps first!) then go for at least a 5 link, prioritizing your weapons (Sire of Shards, then Realm Ender). You have twice as many possibilities for a 5 link with a 6 socket, which is why you go for that first. Depending on your luck, this can be very expensive or very cheap. If you want to buy the 6 socket and focus on fusings, you're going to spend 10 chaos on each of the Sire of Shards and Soul Mantle while Realm Ender seems to be around 20 chaos at the moment. If you're looking at spending that much chaos on your chest + weapons just to get the 6 sockets, I actually advise buying a 5 link, 6 socket Sire of Shards (30-40 chaos) and focusing your jewelers and fusings on the other two. A 4 link Realm Ender is good enough early on, and the Searing Bond in a 4 link is fine too.

Jewels are the other spot you can get a little pricey. If you really, really don't want to run Purity of Elements, you may find yourself spending upwards of 20 chaos on each of the four free jewel sockets to get Resistances + Life + Damage (+possibly Dexterity). If you want to keep it cheap, you do Purity of Elements or respec a few points into Diamond Skin and it's neighboring resistance nodes (or take the 3 nodes in the Scion wheel).

Getting the Lion's Roar and Empire's Grasp (with appropriate corruption) combination rolling is 40 chaos roughly. It's optional, but does help the build out with the entire control aspect.

I've found that Lavianga's Spirit is an excellent unique flask if you want fast and easy mana regeneration. This flask makes running no regeneration maps much easier, if you can get your hands on it. It can be a little pricey but it does open up another map mod for you. If you don't want to buy one of these, that's fine. Just run a Hybrid flask instead.

All in all, you can run this build pretty cheaply. But, like most builds, to really make it shine, you'll want to invest a bit of currency in it. Then the build does the job of clearing maps and getting you currency itself.

Skill Links UPDATED 10/15/2016

We use three different spells to kill enemies. We use Fireball for most of our maps, switch to Flameblast for bosses and high life rares, and we splash in Searing Bond for extra damage when we think about it. I'm first going to go over the skill links for the three skills, then I'm going to go into detail about each one and possible alternate gem choices.

Main Skill: Fireball

Your main skill is Fireball. You'll use this for clearing packs. It should be linked as follows:

4L: Fireball - Spell Totem - Faster Casting - Fork
5L: Fireball - Spell Totem - Faster Casting - Fork - Chance to Flee
6L: Fireball - Spell Totem - Faster Casting - Fork - Chance to Flee - Controlled Destruction

Single Target Skill: Flameblast

Your off weapon skill is Flameblast. You'll use this for killing most bosses and possibly high life rares. It should be linked as follows:

4L: Flameblast - Spell Totem - Faster Casting - Fire Penetration / Concentrated Effect
5L: Flameblast - Spell Totem - Faster Casting - Fire Penetration - Concentration Effect
6L: Flameblast - Spell Totem - Faster Casting - Fire Penetration - Concentration Effect - Less Controlled Destruction

Soul Mantle Searing Bond

Your Soul Mantle comes with a free Level 14 Spell Totem. This limits what you can put in it, so you could put in a Searing Bond, as the first Searing Bond totem is free and doesn't reduce the number of Fireball / Flameblast totems you can have out. You can use it for extra damage to bosses and rare monsters. If you follow my linking guide, be warned that this is seriously off-color. Prepare to burn your chromatics! This should be your third priority of your spell links after Sire of Shards and Realm Ender.

4L: Searing Bond - Rapid Decay- Elemental Focus - Less Duration
5L: Searing Bond - Rapid Decay- Elemental Focus - Less Duration - Increased Burning Damage
6L: Searing Bond - Rapid Decay- Elemental Focus - Less Duration - Increased Burning Damage - Empower

Skill Gem Decision Logic

Fireball: Most people are going to look at Fork and Chance to Flee a little bit oddly. They aren't commonly used gems. I've chosen Fork after dozens of hours of testing for a couple different reasons. First, it has a smaller mana modifier, making it cheaper on the mana cost. It also reduces tooltip DPS less than GMP. Most importantly, it creates more explosions, doing more damage. Three GMP totems with Rain of Splinters create 33 total projectiles (11 per totem). It's very straightforward. Three Fork totems create an initial 21 projectiles (7 per totem), but then each projectile forks, splitting in two and causing its own explosion. That 's another 42 projectiles (14 per totem), totally 63 projectiles in a hopefully small space. This will do a lot of damage to a pack of enemies.

Chance to Flee is an underrated defensive mechanic that keeps enemies from attacking you and sends them scurrying off to some random location a random distance away. It has the full listed gem effect on white enemies. Magic (blue) enemies have a 50% chance of ignoring the Chance to Flee. Rare and Uniques completely ignore it. That makes this excellent for mapping because we heavily reduce the amount of incoming fire because enemies aren't attacking us. Once you get your Empire's Grasp and Lion's Roar set up, you're very party friendly because you group up enemies but those enemies don't attack anybody. If you've got Temporal Chains as a curse, then you get to slow their movement down.
You can run this build without it if you want. But I highly recommend giving it a try. I've found it an excellent defensive mechanic despite being highly skeptical of it to begin with.

Flameblast: We're focused on boss killing here. That means as much damage as possible. Concentrated Effect for the More modifier is a no brainer here. We don't care about massive AoE because we have Fireball for that. In addition, we get a lot of Increased Area of Effect on the tree, so our AoE is fine. Faster Casting speeds up our stack acquisition. Fire Penetration, of course, does just what it says it does. Controlled Destruction is yet another More modifier for us. I don't choose Empower because we're already getting 3 levels out of our Realm Ender and Empower just doesn't add as much DPS. Less Duration works alright, but I didn't like having it cut totem uptime down so much. For boss killing, I like to not have to worry about recasting totems every few seconds.

Searing Bond: Again, we're all about the More modifiers, but Searing Bond doesn't work with a lot of classic gems. All our gems are taken with the More modifier in mind whenever possible.

Other Gems to Consider

Iron Will: This build gets upwards of 300 strength. This gem is surprisingly strong as a result and can really help push your DPS upwards. Usable on Fireball and Flameblast.

Increased Area of Effect: This makes your splashes bigger. This is probably, in my opinion, the weakest option (I think the AOE you get in the tree is sufficient), but you may find a use for it over the other gems. I mention it here because it is a valid choice.

Auras and Buffs UPDATED 9/28/2016

These don't need to be linked. However, you cannot put them in Soul Mantle. Otherwise, you get totems casting these buffs, and that just won't help you. If you use pure armour gear (like I did), prepare to spend some chromatics coloring your sockets.

Purity of Elements: You may need this to push your resistances high enough. I pushed on gear and the tree to not need this. If you can avoid using it, do so.
Clarity: Mana Regeneration, plain and simple.
Arctic Armour: This gives you Physical and Fire mitigation.
Enlighten: If you can get it, link it to your auras, obviously.

Utility Skill Links UPDATED 9/28/2016

3L: Cast When Damage Taken - Immortal Call - Summon Flame Golem
This gives us some instant defense if we get hit with something hard (and serves as a warning bell). I found my golem dies a lot without a lot of minion supports, which is something we just don't do. Letting it be summoned when we take damage is one less thing you have to worry about and it's a tiny tradeoff in golem-boosted DPS. Totally a Quality of Life investment that I make every time.

Flame Dash: We're a fire build. This is a fire movement skill. It fits well. Use Lightning Warp if you hate this skill. Or Leap Slam.

Decoy Totem: Keep enemies in a specific spot. Excellent in certain scenarios, plus it is a red gem, so it's easy for us to slot. Not useful once you get totems that taunt though.

Vaal Haste: You can't level this all the way, but it's excellent for boss killing. Just beware the dexterity requirement and make sure you have enough dexterity with Realm Ender (not Sire of Shards) equipped.

Flammability: Your curse, if you don't get corrupted gloves with Elemental Weakness on Hit. Link it to Increased Area of Effect.

Temporal Chains: Your curse, if you don't get corrupted gloves with Temporal Chains on Hit. Link it to Increased Area of Effect.

Portal: I hate hauling portal scrolls. Totally optional.

Map Mods UPDATED 10/15/2016

You can do pretty much all map mods, though there are considerations to be made for Blood Magic and No Life and Mana Regeneration maps.

Blood Magic: Turn off your auras. You lose your MoM and Arctic Armour defenses, but everything else stays the same. It's runnable. You're less tanky, but you can run it.

For maps with no Life or Mana Regeneration, you'll want a solid Mana/Hybrid flask setup. I've actually picked up a Lavianga's Spirit Sanctified Mana Flask and use it in place of a Hybrid flask. I even use it when doing regular mapping. It costs between 20 and 30 chaos, so it is a little pricey, but I've found it well worth the investment. You burn through your mana, then you pop this flask and spam totems to kill enemies while your mana recharges. You gather your flask charges back this way. Plus you get four uses out of this flask before it runs dry. It's league specific, so not every league will have one readily available to you though.

X Additional Projectiles + Chain: This is a dangerous combination for you, just because enemies will chain their attacks off your totems and onto you. Neither of these mods is anything special on it's own, but together it's a bad combination. I suggest avoiding it.

Maps with any type of curse on them, however, are wonderful and should be viewed as free IIR, IIQ, or pack size on your maps.

DPS Numbers

With a 5 Link setup, your Fireball can get around 4,000 tooltip DPS with a level 19 gem. With a 6 Link, that jumps to 6,000 - 7,000. Your Flameblast tooltip is irrelevant. Searing Bond can crack 10,000 with a four link.

Tooltip doesn't tell most of the story though. It doesn't take into account Fire Penetration (Flammability + Tree + Gem). It also doesn't take into account overlappinng explosions. If you're looking for a Tooltip Warrior, this build isn't it. But the clear speed you'll experience, along with the safety of being a totem build, should be enough to convince you to ignore the tiny tooltip numbers.

Seriously, ignore the tooltip.

Defensive Mechanics UPDATED 10/29/2016

The primary defensive mechanics of this build are:

1) High Life Pool
2) Good Life Regeneration
3) Life Leech
4) Arctic Armour
5) Enemies running away
6) Lion's Roar Granite Flask boosting our armor when we need it
7) Being a Totem build
8) Totems Taunt + Damage Reduction
9) Mind Over Matter
10) Actual Chaos Resistance (Optional)

We take armour and hybrid armour/energy shield gear to have enough armour to survive pack ranged attacks (anything that shows up in Act 4 with high physical damage, for example). We do a small amount of armour scaling in the tree, but nothing to consider it a true focus of the build except when Lion's Roar is active. Arctic Armour helps out in a big way here as well, as long as we're standing still. As a totem build, we should be standing still quite a bit. T

Our high life pool and life regeneration gives us a very nice buffer and most degeneration effects have little to no effect on us. Reaching 5,000 life in the early 90's is very possible. Life leech from our totems helps the cause out as well.

Being a totem build, we stand a bit back from enemies, so melee foes are less of a threat and ranged foes hopefully die to our totems quickly. Chance to Flee makes enemies ignore us completely in many cases as well, (hopefully slowed with Temporal Chains on Hit), so we avoid large packs swarming us.

Our totems from our Ascendancy help us out by both reducing the amount of damage enemies do to us and they taunt enemies to attack them. This results in highly confused enemies who are being told to run away, but then are taunted back to attack the totems, who proceed to reflect damage back at the enemies.

Mind Over Matter is a node we take late, once we have some mana regeneration. We only take this if not running Blasphemy so we have around 600 or so unreserved mana. This gives us a little bit of "free" buffer on damage. It isn't a ton, but it will save you from death a few times. We go right past it, so the node is worth a look.

I reworked my tree and gear slightly to be able to fit jewels with Chaos Resistance on them. I did this specifically because of the Overgrown Ruin T15 map, but GGG seems to be slowly adding in more chaos damage. If this trend continues, building in an answer for chaos damage seems to be important. If I get one more jewel slot, I can cap my chaos resistance. And who doesn't like the idea of having overcapped elemental resistances and capped chaos resistance?

Mechanics and Math

There is a lot going on behind the scenes in this build, so I'm going to break it down a little bit.

How You Do Damage

Fireball Damage

A lot of our DPS comes from the Self-Flagellation jewel by cursing ourselves constantly. However, your DPS does just fine without the curses up. It just gets significantly better with a few curses active on you. So you should be striving to have at least 4-6 curses on you at all times. This may mean spamming extra totems. This is why we don't take a lot of totem life in the tree. We don't care if our totems die because we don't usually need them to last the full 12 seconds. Their deaths only make us stronger.

You do need to watch out for Enfeeble though, as it can undo some of your work. Use your warding flask if Enfeeble shows up as one of your first two or three curses to clear your curses away. I usually ignore Enfeeble if it's the fifth or sixth curse though. Chances are, at that point, most everything on the screen is dead and I'm moving on to the next pack. Also, at that point Enfeeble just takes you back down to the starting value (roughly), so again you're fine there.

Individually, each projectile isn't incredibly powerful. Yes, we're possibly getting lots of fire penetration. But the real power is the explosion mechanic of Fireball. They can overlap on nearby enemies. This is powerful as it lets us use walls and packs to our advantage.

The way to play this is to drop all three totems in the middle of a pack. Many totem builds want their totems to be placed in front of the enemy (between the caster and the enemy). In our case, the projectiles all hit enemies that are next to each other, causing their explosions to overlap each other and killing the pack extremely quickly. This is why we don't bother with the Rolling Flames jewel. It makes your explosion AoE bigger, but your projectile has to move a decent distance away. That isn't our style.

Searing Bond is a "free" totem now, letting us splash a little extra fire damage with either Fireball or Flameblast. Set one up for some bonus damage.

Rain of Splinters does reduce our tooltip DPS. But again, it gives us even more projectile spam and more explosions. The added coverage it gives us is well worth it.

Flameblast Damage

Flameblast is much more straight forward. The totem AI for Flameblast was improved in 2.4. You just shove as much damage and speed up the stack generation as much as possible and let it kill bosses for you. Searing Bond, again, helps out here. Nice and simple boss killing.
Realm Ender (the staff you use) gives you +3 to Flameblast's gem level. An excellent pickup for cheap.

Massive Resistance Requirement: How to Survive the Curses

The biggest concern that letting yourself be cursed so much is really the drop in your elemental resistances. These are level 20 curses. That means you're cursing yourself with Level 20 Elemental Weakness (39% of Resistances gone) and Level 20 Frostbite, Flammability, and Conductivity (44% of their respective elemental resistance gone). Without mitigation, you could be looking at 83% of your Elemental Resistances being cut away, which is a rather difficult number to overcome.

The Kikazaru Topaz Ring, however, drops the curse impact by 20%. Two of them drop it by 40%. That means Elemental Weakness now hits you for -23.4% and the other three hit you for -26.4%. Because of PoE's rounding system, that comes out to -23% and -26%, for a more reasonable -49% to each resist. That is a number you can make up with a heavy focus on resistances on your gear.

This makes your Merciless Resistance Goal 184% instead of the standard 135% total resistances. The planned tree, you will notice, puts you very close to two sets of resistance wheels: The Scion southern start (Sentinel for 10% all and individual 18% nodes) and the Diamond Skin wheel (15% all and 12% individual). These should be used as crutches until your gear catches up. As you improve your gear, you can spec out of these wheels and invest in other nodes. You get 20 free respec points throughout the story and Orbs of Regret aren't too hard to get a hold of. Use them, don't hoard them.

Other curses are mitigated in a variety of ways, detailed below.

Assassin's Mark: You can't do much to mitigate this except for the Kikazaru rings. High health helps a lot, but killing things quickly does a lot too. Don't worry about this one unless you run an increased critical strikes/damage map.
Enfeeble: Our rings help a bit, but I pop my Warding Flask on this if it shows up in the first three curses that I get cursed with.
Poacher's Mark: We have very little evasion, so we don't care about this.
Projectile Weakness: We just kind of soak this one up. The knockback is annoying, but we're a totem build, so it isn't a big deal.
Punishment: Whatever, we don't care about this one being on us. We're a totem build. Stuff that gets close enough to melee us means we're doing something very wrong.
Temporal Chains: We wear high movement speed boots and run a quicksilver flask. The rings help a lot too. This isn't too bad, honestly. Just slows your speed a touch.
Vulnerability: This is hitting us for 20% Increased Damage from Damage over Time effects and 18% Physical. We mitigate this with a high life regeneration value and by running mostly armor gear and Arctic Armour.
Warlord's Mark: Another one that only the rings help with, but they help a lot. I've not found this a problem.

My Gear UPDATED 10/29/2016

Weapons, Armour, Jewelry and Flasks



Chill and Breathe - My Arctic Breath version that I based this off. Made this a couple leagues ago and it holds up quite well. If you're a solo player and prefer cold spells, check this one out.

Videos UPDATED 10/13/2016

I've broken this into three parts. Full Map Videos has a full map run through. Boss Collection Videos has the videos where all bosses of a particular tier are killed. Individual Boss Kills are just videos of killing individual bosses.

Full Map Videos

T12 Shipyard: This is pretty much a terrible map for this build to run. Teleporting bosses, lots of damage, and a layout that isn't very good for us. It still shows how the build functions, however.

T15 Abyss: This is probably only my second or third time every running an Abyss, so I'm slow, but the build is quite safe and able to handle T15 without a problem.

Boss Collection Vidoes

T10 Boss Kill Video: Shows the build killing all T10 bosses. Includes double Arsenal boss and LMP Piety.

T11 Boss Kill Video: Finally got myself video of killing all the standard T11 bosses.

Individual Boss Kills

T11 Voll Kill: Just a quick video of the build killing Voll with relative ease.

T13 High Gardens Boss Kill: Another boss kill. This time the T13 High Gardens boss. Corrupted too.

T15 Abyss Boss Kill: Kaom's clone goes down in less than 30 seconds.

Atziri Kill: This is a simple Atziri kill. The first 55 seconds or so are me going back to my hideout to drop off loot and get the correct flasks, because I forgot to grab the right ones before going in.


I originally got the idea for making an Arctic Breath totem build from r4wb1rd. That ultimately led to me to making this Fireball build based on my positive experiences with that process. His guide is here. My build uses many of the same ideas but uses self-cursing for damage and life regeneration as core components of the build.

Changelog - Last Updated 10/31/2016

9/21/2016 - Created Guide. Will likely make minor tweaks during the day today.
9/22/2016 - Posted updated tree. Added a section on jewels. Linked my jewels in the My Gear section.
9/24/2016 - I build a leveling tree section. Also, updated the Utility Skills in the Skill Links section to include Vaal Haste.
9/24/2016 - Build is tested and proven to be both Atziri and Uber Lab viable.
9/24/2016 - Added an FAQs section. Some of these based off questions in game, some from the old Chill and Breathe build I made at the start of this year.
9/25/2016 - Changed recommendation on Ascendancy path.
9/26/2016 - Added a T12 Shipyard video.
9/28/2016 - Lots of updates! Recommending self-cast Flammability or Temp Chains instead of Blasphemy now. Updated skill links section to reflect this. Added Mind Over Matter. Updated leveling trees and current tree.
9/28/2016 - Added a note on gear cost in the Gear section.
9/28/2016 - Added T10 Boss Kill video.
9/29/2016 - Added Voll (T11) Kill video and an Atziri kill video.
9/30/2016 - Updated Map Mods. With the Lavianga's Spirit flask, we can easily do No Regen maps now. Added T13 High Gardens Boss Kill video. Cleaned up the Defensive Mechanics section. Updated FAQs.
10/01/2016 - Added note in gear section about Lavianga's Spirit.
10/07/2016 - Updated videos section.
10/13/2016 - Added T15 Abyss Boss kill video and T15 Abyss Run video.
10/13/2016 - Updated map mods section.
10/15/2016 - Updated map mods section. Updated Skill Links section. Updated My Gear section.
10/29/2016 - Updated My Gear and Defenses sections.
10/31/2016 - Moved FAQs to separate post due to space limitations. Cleaned up some wording in the guide. Updated a couple skill trees.

My Builds:

https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1739942 - Flee the Fire! Fireball / Flameblast Sire of Shards Chieftain
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1572176 - Chill and Breathe: An Arctic Breath Totem Build
Last edited by Eustacio on Aug 9, 2017, 9:38:52 PM
Last bumped on Aug 9, 2017, 9:39:09 PM
FAQs UPDATED 9/30/2016

Q: Is this Hardcore Viable?
A: Probably, but I don't play Hardcore, so I can't personally attest to that fact. The build this is base off has had people play it in Hardcore successfully. I suspect it is. Please comment if you give this a whirl in Hardcore and let me know your experiences.

Q: Can I kill Atziri with this build?
A: Yes. Flameblast her to death. Stay out of her flameblasts. Bring a Ruby and Topaz flask. Standard strategy. Fireball Sire of Shards + Chance to Flee against her health restoring minions, btw, is utterly hilarious.

Q: Can I kill Uber Lab Izaro with this build?
A: Yes. Flameblast totems again here. Try to avoid getting hit by his charges. Minimum 4,500 health is my recommendation with this build, given the various defensive mechanics. You're not going to consider this until the 80's or 90's though, not without being rushed through the lab.

Can I kill Shaper with this build?
A: I have no idea. I haven't gotten to the Shaper yet. I'm slow at my map progression.

Q: Can I run this build without Soul Mantle? I hate self cursing, the Kikazaru rings, and having to overcap my resists that much!
A: Not without losing a good deal of the effectiveness of the totems. First off, you lose one of your totems. That takes away 1/3 of your DPS right there. Secondly, Self-Flagellation no longer works for you. That takes away upwards of 100% Increased Damage. That's taking a lot of what this build does away from it.

Can you run a similar build? Probably. But it won't be this build.

Q: Speaking of damage, why is my tooltip so low?
A: The Fireball aspect of the build is build off overlapping explosions. Drop the totem in the middle of a pack and watch the pack die while it tries to flee the burning death.

Q: Why don't you take a bunch of Increased Burning Damage?
A: Honestly, because I've run out of points and value taking a bunch of life nodes and regeneration nodes at high levels. I have enough DPS to kill big things with Flameblast.

Q: Why not make this an Elementalist? Elementalists are awesome!
A: Because there is more to life than offensive boosts. I would be happy taking literally any node in the Chieftain Ascendancy for this build. They are all excellent and contribute in some way to the build. They contribute in multiple offensive and defensive ways. Getting leech off your totems is absolutely game-changing for this build. Elementalist doesn't have anything that is nearly as game changing.

Q: Why not make this character a Heirophant? They get extra totems.
A: The 8% less damage per totem deployed is a major turn-off. You need 5 totems out to do equivalent damage to the 3 totems Chieftain uses. That means more mana burned to get to full strength and one totem dying reduces the DPS of all the others. No thanks. Also, again, nothing game changing for us in that Ascendancy like there is in Chieftain.

Q: Do I have to use the Kikazaru rings? They have no Life mod on them!
A: Technically, no, you don't. But you're going to have to make up the difference that they save. Through curse reduction and the mods on the rings, you are currently getting:

39% Fire Resistance
39% Cold Resistance
39% + 40%-60% Lightning Resistance (so 79% - 99%)
20 - 30 All Attributes (important for your Dexterity)
40% - 80% Mana Regeneration

You can possibly live without the mana regeneration (though it's a little painful), but you'll need to do some serious work and get some excellent, pricey rings to make up for what you lose by not running Kikazaru rings. In addition, other curses are now impacting you at full strength, so you need to consider that. For it's price, I feel Kikazaru is worth not getting Life rolls on your ring slots.

Q: Why don't you use Thief's Torment instead of Kikazaru?
A: I've answered this in the Chill and Breathe version of the build, and that answer holds true here. I've copied it in the cut below.

Why to use Kikazaru over Thief's Torment
My first thought when making this was to go Thief's Torment. But the Kikazaru rings offer five excellent mods for our build. Thief's Torment only offers two, and only one of those is significantly better. You can certainly do it with the Thief's Torment, but I think Kikazaru is the better choice. Here are the two rings to compare and a breakdown of their positive and negative attributes as they relate to this build.

The Thief's Torment has multiple mods that don't really help us. Breaking them down:

--- Life Gain on Hit does nothing for this build.
--- Mana Gain on Hit does nothing for this build.
--- The Quantity bonus is nice, but we're not a MF build and aren't stacking IIR gear, so it isn't doing a ton for us.
--- Can't wear other rings means you're stuck with just this ring.
--- 16%-22% to all Elemental Resistances (for a total resistance bump of 48%-66%) is useful and technically better than Kikazaru, but only by a slight margin. Two Kikazaru rings get you 40%-60% Lightning Resistance though, so the total difference in resistance is quite small.
--- 50% Reduced Effect of Curses is 10% better than a pair of Kikazaru.

The Kikazaru has no wasted stats on it.

--- The implicit is 20-30% Lightning Resist. Two of them give you a total of 40-60% Resistances, a comparable number to the total amount of resistance a single Thief's Torment gives you.
--- +10-15 all Attributes on each ring does a lot of work in getting your Dexterity up.
--- 13-17 Life Regeneration doesn't sound great, but double that to 26-34 with two rings and that's sounding pretty nice for a Life Regeneration tank. To put that in perspective, I have 5190 life on my character and 506.9 life regeneration. If I was to remove the 0.8% Life Regen node, I drop down to 465.4 life regeneration. That is a 41.5 life regeneration difference for a 0.8 regeneration node (one of the best we get). At my level of life, 34 life regeneration is equal to a 0.65% life regeneration node. That is excellent, even at a high level.
--- 20%-40% Mana Regeneration is very, very useful. Two rings makes that 40-80%.
--- 20% Reduced Effect of Curses. Two of these gives you 40% Reduced Effect. This is the only spot that Thief's Torment is significantly better.

My Builds:

https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1739942 - Flee the Fire! Fireball / Flameblast Sire of Shards Chieftain
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1572176 - Chill and Breathe: An Arctic Breath Totem Build
Last edited by Eustacio on Oct 31, 2016, 7:08:17 AM
My Builds:

https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1739942 - Flee the Fire! Fireball / Flameblast Sire of Shards Chieftain
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1572176 - Chill and Breathe: An Arctic Breath Totem Build
This build is sweet. I map with Eus and I really enjoy running alongside this variant.

As with all of Eus's most brilliant innovations, I was skeptical at first. Chance to Flee? The only gem that people don't even really joke about trying to use? Turns out that it is quite solid as a defense. The power of this build's clear speed can afford the link. The overlapping explosions, especially in close quarters, do a ton of damage. The only thing that you really need to watch out for among white and magic mobs is a big ranged group that fires before the totems can trigger mass confusion.

This version is a huge step up for party play from the Arctic Breath variant. Not only is it easy to see what is going on, it has a great single target attack on the weapon swap. This fixes the two major drawbacks of the original build.

I do see another way that this build could evolve: Taking more mana regen in the tree and incorporating Mind Over Matter would introduce another large source of universal mitigation. Blasphemy could be cut and Flammability (or EleWeakness) could be moved to a CoH setup to make room on mana. You might not even need to cut AA, but I'd have to play with the tree a while to see.
Doomed for Life
Thanks SirDragos. I've gone ahead and updated my tree with a few minor tweaks and added a small note on the usefulness of jewels in this build. I just got a nice jewel that let me spec out of three stat fixing nodes, which let me up my regeneration (mana and life).

My Builds:

https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1739942 - Flee the Fire! Fireball / Flameblast Sire of Shards Chieftain
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1572176 - Chill and Breathe: An Arctic Breath Totem Build
I have created leveling trees. They start at 25 points and go up to 112 points (level 90).

Also, added in the suggestion of using Vaal Haste.
My Builds:

https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1739942 - Flee the Fire! Fireball / Flameblast Sire of Shards Chieftain
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1572176 - Chill and Breathe: An Arctic Breath Totem Build
I'm currently playing the arctic breath/self cursing/totem build Eus adapted and posted for the Templar and it has been a great experience. Due to how successful that has been for me i'll likely be giving this fire/marauder variant a go as well. Thanks again for sharing Eusatcio!
Last edited by fiveball on Sep 25, 2016, 6:31:41 AM
I've updated this guide with a T12 Shipyard video. I'm one of those horrible video posters who actually picks up his loot and runs back to his hideout in the video. Boss fight is around the 7:00 mark and the first minute is me rolling the map.
My Builds:

https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1739942 - Flee the Fire! Fireball / Flameblast Sire of Shards Chieftain
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1572176 - Chill and Breathe: An Arctic Breath Totem Build
Published a T10 boss kill video today. I've also done up to T13 maps with no problem, but don't have videos done for 11 and 12 bosses yet because I haven't unlocked them all at this time.
My Builds:

https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1739942 - Flee the Fire! Fireball / Flameblast Sire of Shards Chieftain
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1572176 - Chill and Breathe: An Arctic Breath Totem Build
More videos. Deathless Atziri and Voll (T11) kills. Slowly getting some more maps opened up to me, which means more videos to show this build at high levels.
My Builds:

https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1739942 - Flee the Fire! Fireball / Flameblast Sire of Shards Chieftain
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1572176 - Chill and Breathe: An Arctic Breath Totem Build
Last edited by Eustacio on Sep 29, 2016, 7:32:53 PM

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