[2.4] Molten Strike Pathfinder - The Toxic Bloom : Full Video Guide

First and foremost, the video guide: https://youtu.be/7A2-4F6t7kQ

Atlas of Builds Image


Hello Wraeclast! Welcome to the Path of Exile build guide for the Toxic Bloom Pathfinder.
This build definitely qualifies as a special snowflake as it uses the non-meta Molten Strike skill
for both clear and single target. Molten Strike has been one of my favorite skills ever since it was
introduced to Path of Exile, and I have come back to it many times to try and make a truly effective
pure molten strike build, but it has always fallen short of my expectations and for a long time
I abandoned it. For essence league I decided to revisit the skill and with several new additions
to the game it finally feels good to play molten strike in top level content.
It features respectable clearspeed with extremely high maximum
DPS for quickly shredding through high level map bosses. This build is intended for softcore use
as it is a life based evasion character, meaning it is vulnerable to the occassional one shot when
running scary map mods. You can get the build running on a fairly small budget but it does require
a few expensive uniques and some decent rares to reach it's full effectiveness, so I would not
recommend it as a league starter build or a build for newer players. Toxic Bloom is focused entirely
on chaos damage and can run every map mod other than no-leech with relative ease. For this guide, we
will start by talking about gem setups.

Gem Setup

The main link setup in your chest armour will be Molten Strike. This build really thrives on a six link
but it can perform well up through mid level maps on a five link as well. Your links should be:
Molten Strike
Added Chaos Damage
Increased Critical Strikes
Void Manipulation
and Increased Area of Effect, which gets swapped out for Concentrated Effect when it is time to take out a map boss. If you can't get your hands on a six link, drop Void Manipulation.

For mobility we use the basic whirling blades setup, linking it to
Faster Attacks
and Blood Magic

For auras we use Haste for the smoothness is gives, as well as Poacher's Mark linked to Blasphemy. Poacher's mark gives a very large effective accuracy boost by greatly reducing enemy evasion, and makes sure we are always on full frenzy charges without using Bloodrage which is very handy since this character utilizes Vaal Pact. Finally it gives large amounts of life and mana on hit which is great with how fast molten strike hits.

For survivability on this type of squishy melee character, especially considering the small delay before Molten Strike's damage lands, a cast when damage taken setup is essential. The links should be
Cast when Damage Taken
Increased Duration
Immortal Call
and Vortex
Since Immortal Calls base duration no longer goes up with levels, you want to leave all the gems other than Increased Duration in this setup at level one. This will make sure that you are always spamming vortexes which chill enemies and will ensure that your immortal call goes off immediately upon jumping into a pack.

For burning down bosses we use a vaal skill setup of Vaal Haste and Vaal Grace linked to Increased Duration.

Finally we have an Ice Golem linked to Cast when Damage Taken for auto summoning. An unlinked frenzy to maintain charges during long fights, and an Ancestral Protector we drop for bosses for the massive attack speed bonus it gives. You can use a Wither totem instead if you wish, but this will mean you either need to drop frenzy, or manually cast your ice golem, which is a major pain. I also prefer the Protector's attack speed boost for sustaining flask charges better during long fights through the Pathfinder's Master Surgeon node. Now let's discuss the skill tree.



I levelled this character using Molten Strike from the beginning because I just love the skill, but you can certainly level with blade vortex or bladefall or whatever you wish. To get the most out of Molten Strike you want to scale projectile damage as much as possible, ignoring the initial melee strike of the attack. This is because with proper enchants and a Dying Sun flask Molten Strike shoots out an enormous amount of projectiles, and due to the nature of their AOE explosions you can hit the same target with multiple projectiles from a single strike. This makes Molten Strike far and away the strongest skill currently in the game when it comes to applying flat added damage bonuses, like the one we get from the added chaos gem.

To start out I went through the projectile damage Ranger start and then went down through Heart of the Oak to Finesse and grabbed the Ranger life and evasion nodes. From there I grabbed herbalism then shot over to the Duelist area to grab the projectile damage, life, and attack speed available there. Make sure you pick up Point Blank on the way, as it is a massive damage boost for Molten Strike. After that I grabbed a few frenzy charges and headed up into the shadow area to grab the life and projectile nodes there, as well as the final frenzy charge. Around the time you head into yellow maps you want to pick up Vaal pact and the leech nodes by the duelist. An Atziri's promise works great if you don't feel like picking up those nodes just yet, but eventually we want to be able to swap that out for an Overflowing Chalice, so pick up the leech nodes whenever you feel comfortable. Also be sure to spend the two points into Acrobatics whenever you feel like it.

Finally, start grabbing all the crit nodes. I left the sword nodes for last because it took me a long time to find some decent chaos swords so I was using claws up until that point. For ascendancies I grabbed Nature's Adrenaline, then Master Herbalist, then Master Surgeon, and finally Nature's Boon. For bandits, you want to help Oak in normal, Kraityn in cruel, and Kraityn in Merciless. Now let's discuss the kind of gear you want to aim for.

Gear Choices

You can see all of my gear in the Atlas of Builds image at the top.

The most important thing for this build is to get a helmet with the molten strike enchantment which adds three extra projectiles. Last time I tried to make a molten strike build was before ascendancy and you had to use greater multiple projectiles to get decent area coverage. Now that we can still get the projectiles while replacing GMP with a multiplier gem such as Void Manipulation, our damage output is way higher than ever before. Your top choice for the helmet is going to be rat's nest, closely followed by devoto's devotion. If you can't get your hands on one, any rare with the enchantment will suffice until one of these uniques becomes available.

The next thing you need are a few good chaos weapons. As mentioned previously I didn't get my hands on these swords and grab the sword crit nodes until very recently. Before I acquired them I was using some claws. A great way to get some passable chaos weapons is through the Rabid Rhoa divination cards, which can be acquired very cheaply. You want to look for a good chaos roll, as much attack speed as possible, and some crit multiplier. For crit chance a master crafted roll will work just fine.

The helmet and weapons are the only things strictly essential for the build, but I have some very strong recommendations for the rest of your gear. A six-link chest piece is a major boost for this build, and in my opinion Belly of the Beast is the best option here. You will have a very tough time achieving a decent life pool with a different chest.

Your next big dollar unique items come in the form of utility flasks. The new Dying Sun flask which is dropped by the Shaper is absolutely amazing for molten strike. It adds 30% area of effect which helps us spread our damage for good clearspeed, as well as two additional projectiles to ensure good coverage across the wider area, and add extra damage when using concentrated effect for bosses. Vessel of Vinktar is next on the list, the shock is of course a massive damage boost, and we can also get a decent bit of extra leech and damage by using one with the lightning damage added to attacks
mod since nearly all of our tree scaling is into projectile damage which will work just fine for the lightning as it does for our chaos damage.

Use the rest of your slots to fill up your resistances and pick up as much damage and life as possible. Flat chaos on jewelry is great to have, as well as the percent chaos damage roll provided by essences. Gripped gloves are a nice little damage boost especially when rolled with a crit essence and some attack speed. Also remember that you can get a pair of boots with a lot of resists for very cheap if you aren't looking for movespeed, and we don't need any on boots since we whirl everywhere, and get some movespeed on our helmet and from pathfinder bonuses.

Finally an overflowing chalice flask is pretty great for making sure your other flasks are active all the time, particularly during long fights such as the shaper's guardians. Grab a seething life flask of heat and make sure your diamond flask is rolled with grounding so your vinktar's doesn't one shot you.


The last thing we will talk about is a little on the playstyle of the build. It sounds crazy but the playstyle is actually fairly similar to earthquake, in that the big aoe punch of damage from molten strike comes after a slight delay following the initial attack. We are also attacking over 10 times per second which means that we can attack about 6 times before the first volley of chaos balls even hits the ground. This means that like earthquake, you need to quickly assess how much damage
it will take to kill white, blue, or yellow mobs for a given map and its rolls, and make sure that you only attack as many times as neccessary before whirling to the next pack, trusting that the hail of chaos balls you just summoned will clean up the enemies behind you when they land. Once you master this you will find that the build clears at a somewhat competitive pace.

The next thing to note about the build's playstyle is that we rely entirely on life leech through Vaal Pact for sustain. This means that to stay alive you need to clench hard and just keep swinging in basically every situation. You keep your flasks full by attacking through the master surgeon node, which allows you to maintain a high dps level, which means more life leeched.
If you see your health spike low, do not try and jump away to safety, just mash that health flask and keep swinging and you will be fine....most of the time anyways.


That's it for this build, I hope you'll give it a try, or at the very least be inspired to go out and try to make your own favorite skills work in a build, even if everyone says they are garbage.

If you enjoyed the video please leave a thumbs up and subscribe if you'd like to see more. Be sure to check out the other build guides on my channel if you want some more inspiration. If you have any questions feel free to ask them either in the comments below or in the forum thread linked in this video's description. I will also leave a link to a single image which will show you all of my gear, passives, and gem links in case you need a quick reference and don't want to sort through the video or forum thread to find what you are looking for.

Thanks for watching, and I'll see you in Wraeclast!
Last bumped on Mar 30, 2017, 2:40:38 AM
Hey man,

awesome build!!! I love MS aswell, such a cool skill. Thanks for sharing your idea :-)

Could you also link your offensive and defensive stats?

Thank you :-)
Fun. yeah looking at the vid I was wondering for a bit where all the projectiles were coming from with gmp.. +3 MS helm. wow. Its bizarre how OP some helm enchants are versus others.

I made a frostblades pathfinde this league.
Frostblades helm enchants are..

40% increased Frost Blades Damage
30% increased Frost Blades Projectile Speed

what the heck. that is bad compared to +3 projectiles of Moltenstrike.
I can't even recommend either. its better to get Ancestral protector enchant.. or enfeeble effect..
Ancestral Protector Totem grants 18% increased Attack Speed while Active

Dying sun is of course also crazy good for MS as you note, for both +aoe, and +projectiles.

The one thing I do note on your passive tree, is skipping druidic rite, and Primal spirit.
Huge mistake imho. Frankly, every ranger should get those. A pathfinder far and away those points are the best in the entire passive tree.
without master alch, you have 10% charge gain in passives. you get 1.1 flask charges on 10% crit chance, and 1.1 every 3s via natures boon.
another 40% flask charge gained gives you 50%, and 1.5charges per crit, and 1.5/3s. (as well as, 50% more charges on kills.)
Running overflowing chalice as a pathfinder is a bit silly, inho.

by killing enemies; a normal monster grants 1 charge, a magic monster grants 3.5 charges, a rare monster grants 6 charges, and a unique monster grants 11 charges

with 50% inc charges gained... its 1.5, 5.25, 9 and 16.5.
And this multiplies with poachers(and +charge on flask). so, with poachers, its then 3, 10.5, 18, and 33.
I appreciate the feedback, honestly though I'm not having any flask issues, overflowing chalice lets me keep my flasks up most of the time against single targets for things like guardians and shaper. You will find that most fast hitting pathfinder builds (mostly blade vortex these days) are running overflowing chalice. I may look into those nodes as I continue leveling, but currently there is nothing I would drop to get them, so they will be high level luxury if I keep going. They would probably make the guardians+ a little smoother as even with chalice I don't quite have full flask uptime against single targets.

Also for the previous guy, I will try to post some stats today, will have to do a bit of calculation because tooltip DPS is almost meaningless on molten strike since it is just the initial melee hit that is reflected in the tooltip.
Last edited by Zambash on Oct 6, 2016, 12:37:06 PM
Hey Dude, great build! Am currently running pretty much the same build except using chaos claws and the claw cluster in shadow area. Using temp chains facebreakers to make up for crit multi lost with foils wich have temp chains on hit. Working out pretty nicely. Don't have rat's nest but don't know if it is really needed think I have something like 77% crit without charges! Thanks again!
hey nice video guide, i like your style of making it. it's good explained.
i have few questions

1) do we have the possiblity to swap out molten strike for another melee skill, like lightning strike? i know molten strike is the best for single target (thats why its always used for mjölner builds), but is it the only reason? maybe for mapping lightning strike is faster and then switch to MS for bosses? just an idea

2) looks like you deal a high amount of damage and that you have a good pool of currency, could you please provide us with some guardian / shaper / uber atziri videos so we get teased a bit more? i wonder if it's capable of doing so. (just noticed you ran minotaurus while explaining the vid, still urious about shaper or atziri)

3) why chaos damage on weapons? or... chaos damage at all? i mean MS converts 60% of physical dmg to fire dmg, wouldn't it be more efficient to scale physical dmg?

4) you ever thought about running this build with CI? for example this one or instead of Foresight one could grab Throatseeker for 54% extra crit multi. Or more accuracy and more chaos damage without duelist area your thoughts?

i guess i will come along with more questions :D until then: ty
Last edited by airparisderjesus on Oct 8, 2016, 6:48:14 PM
1) You could certainly experiment with some other skills to see if you like any of them. Lightning Strike might be decent, though you probably wouldn't have any pierce other than the 50% from quality.

2) Yeah I can upload some other vids, I might try a Shaper, the switch to overflowing chalice was fairly recent so I might be able to pull it off now with that. I didn't feel like recording Atziri or Uber Lab because they are both just a total faceroll as they are for most decently planned out builds these days, but perhaps I will record some of that stuff and add it to the original post as separate videos.

3) Chaos damage is not reflected by anything, physical and elemental are. Also a physical based molten strike build would look entirely different, this build focuses on the fact that Molten Strike is by far the best skill in the game for applying flat added damage due to its massive number of hits and 100% damage effectiveness.

4) Thought about it, don't like CI and I happened to 6-link a belly. I'm sure you could make it work with a CI variant though if you wanted to.
hmm foils (crit multi implicit) with attack speed+crit chance+crit multi are really expensive or hard to acquire. did you just got them via poe.trade? lucky deal or big investment?

so far this is my damage


when i don't get a foil with speed+crit+crit multi which stats on a weapon are better? i could also skill the sword nodes at the bottom and get a "weak" offhand sword like my mainhand instead of claws maybe?

dps fully buffed around 40k
5.7k life
but im thinking of going shield + iron reflexes because i tried minotaur and failed hard..he hits too hard
will lose around 10k dps with that but it should help with survivability as damage isnt a big problem until guardians. abyss kaom melted in less than 10 sec, i guess im fine with 25% less damage
Completed 18 Challengesvasya97 wrote:

dps fully buffed around 40k
5.7k life
but im thinking of going shield + iron reflexes because i tried minotaur and failed hard..he hits too hard
will lose around 10k dps with that but it should help with survivability as damage isnt a big problem until guardians. abyss kaom melted in less than 10 sec, i guess im fine with 25% less damage

can you give an example of your DPS calculation? i'm not sure how to calc it because you miss the flat added chaos damage of one sword and not only crit/crit multi etc. also how do i calc dual wield DPS at all, do you just sum up for example crit and then devide it by 2 to get the average or what?

i'm also just lvl81 (and only 4800 life -.-) but these sudden one-hit deaths are really annoying, for example it feels like killing uber izaro is totally luck based; damage is enough to kill him fast, but maybe you're unlucky and he hits you with slam, then youre dead 100% lol - and now Uber izaro is nothing. imagining shaper, guardians with this luck-based mechanic is not so consistent :/
Last edited by airparisderjesus on Oct 15, 2016, 7:11:52 AM

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