[2.4] SC - Loate's Low Life Triple Scorching Ray totem build

Hey everybody, just thought I would put together a guide for a build I've been having a lot of fun with over the past few days. While I wouldn't necessarily recommend this particular version of Scorching Ray totems as a starter build, that's not to say it isn't doable - you'll just need to play a bit more defensively until you save up enough for a Shav's.

That being said, once all the pieces start fitting together, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much damage this thing actually does. I've been playing this game for a long time, and this is, by far, the most powerful (while still having survivability) that I've ever felt in PoE. This is also the first character I've ever felt the urge to push past 90 with, which is pretty neat.

Without further ado, the build.


1. WHAT DOES THE BUILD DO?

Spoiler
This build utilizes the Hierophant ascendancy for 3 totems at a time, along with Scorching Ray, to create fire lasers that melt just about anything in front of them. In addition, we go low life for increased damage and extra auras (primarily the 3 elemental purities), as well as getting a larger buffer against one-shots from ES than we would from life.



2. WHAT DOES THE BUILD LOOK LIKE?

Spoiler
Atziri - https://youtu.be/nfClxaIjjNI
Colosseum Double Boss - https://youtu.be/CB2sELPADYk
Shaped T15 Courtyard - https://youtu.be/4yokhR1T26s
Pale Council - https://youtu.be/ku5T44-tRQk
Uber Lab (long) - https://youtu.be/Gd4_hURnjao
Core Double Boss - https://youtu.be/1JQkejxzMmc
Oba's Cursed Trove - https://youtu.be/GT4-2b2FqHE
Deathless Chimera - https://youtu.be/ugqUthK9ctE




3. WOW, THAT'S A LOT OF FIRE LASERS. HOW DOES IT WORK?

Spoiler
Since Scorching Ray is a relatively new skill, there is quite a bit of misinformation floating around on what it actually does. Many people believe that only one Scorching Ray can be active at a time (since every other degen in the game works this way). Scorching Ray, however, ignores this rule. Multiple Scorching Rays each apply their own degen to the same target, and while the target itself can only have 8 stacks of the minus fire resist/inc Scorching Ray damage on it at once, you still get full damage from each one.

Practically, what this means, is that additional totems with Scorching Ray will always be a net positive in DPS on a single target (bosses), and allow you to cover wide sections of the screen when clearing white/blue/yellows. In addition, due to how the debuff stacking works, multiple Scorching Rays allow you to reach 8 stacks on a target very quickly, as each Scorching Ray ticks up the overall debuff counter independently of each other. Generally, when fighting a boss, with three totems down you will hit 8 stacks in less than half a second, which means full damage from that point out. Also, in order to maintain the debuff, only one Scorching Ray needs to maintain contact with the target, allowing you to reposition totems constantly (to avoid dangerous AoE effects, dodge skill shots, etc.) while still keeping your DPS maximized.

As far as the damage on Scorching Ray itself, we combo together several "more" multipliers (Elemental Focus, Controlled Destruction, Pain Attunement, Elemental Overload, Rapid Decay) along with a massive amount of negative fire resist: -50 from Elemental Equilibrium, -56 to -60 from Elemental Weakness (depending on Curse on Hit quality), and -24 from the mechanics of Scorching Ray itself, for a grand total of -120 fire resist minimum to any non-hexproof mob in the game. With a +1 Curse amulet for the rich folks among us, that shoots up even higher because we can add in Flammability.

Suffice it to say, Scorching Ray totems can melt steel beams.



4. OK, WHAT GEAR DO I NEED FOR THIS TO WORK?

Spoiler
Starting out, you'll want at least a 5L of one of the following (in order of power from least to greatest): +1 to all gems staff -> Xirgil's Crank -> Searing Touch -> +3 fire gem staff ~ +3 fire gem bow. Currently I'm using a 6L Xirgil's Crank, with plans to upgrade to a 6L +3 fire gem bow I crafted in Essence.

Spoiler


Why do I rank a +3 fire gem bow as the best for this build? It allows you to use Soul Strike as your quiver, which gives you a massive defensive boost, as well as some needed Dex. The playstyle of this build is such that you will take sporadic, random hits, and being able to start your energy shield regen 150% faster is huge. While a +3 fire gem staff will give you more raw dps (if you roll the right stats), at skill gem level 28 you're doing more than enough damage anyway, and the challenge turns to staying alive.

Crafting a bow.
Spoiler
Crafting a +3 fire gem bow requires a couple steps that need to be taken in a particular order. First, you need the essence that guarantees +2 to fire gems. Slap that on a Crude Bow (we don't really care what other stats the bow rolls, and we want to make it as easy as possible to color it with chromes - we're looking for 5 offcolors (RRBBB) at a minimum) and hope that you get 1 additional prefix and 2 suffixes (I've never seen one roll only 2 suffixes). The reason we need an open prefix slot and open suffix slot is for what comes next.

Next, you'll need a level 8 Catarina, to craft "Cannot Roll Attack Mods" in your open suffix slot. This will cost you one exalt. After you have that, take one more exalt and use it on the bow. The only prefix left available for it to roll is "+1 to all gems", thus giving you a +3 fire gems bow. Total cost is 2ex bare minimum, plus whatever it takes to 6s and then 6l it, so this is definitely not cheap, but it will result in the most powerful iteration for this build.


Other gear you'll want is a Shav's at some point - it doesn't have to be a 6L, a 4L is more than enough, as you'll be putting your Orb of Storms CoH setup in there, and the last two gem slots are more for quality of life than anything else.

Spoiler


If a Shav's is too expensive (understandable), you can still go low life by using a Broken Crown, Lori's Lantern, and then two pieces of gear with ~30% chaos resist on each (or 3 pieces with ~20% on each). This will require you to play much more defensively in chaos threat maps (and if Bameth pops up), but I made it to T10 maps with such a setup so it's definitely doable. Just remember to put your totems in front of you at all times - you can always summon another one if they die.

An Eye of Chayula is nice for stun immunity, if you're rich get one with +1 curse.

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Auxium is fantastic for low life builds - alternatively you can live dangerously and just rely on a flask with freeze immunity, in which case you should use a good Crystal Belt.

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I really like Lori's Lantern on low life builds, both for the resist all, chaos resist, and the ability to make enemies unlucky when damaging you. You'll notice a significant difference in how hard you get hit with no Lori's versus with Lori's.

Spoiler


The rest of your gear should be filling in resists, move speed on boots (25% is good, 30% is great), and as much ES as you can fit in. For Flasks, Sorrow of the Divine is nice for the damage boost as well as some ES regen, a Rumi's can help you avoid a hit or two, and I would definitely have a flask with bleed removal and one with freeze removal.

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5. WHAT DOES THE SKILL TREE LOOK LIKE?

Spoiler
https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAABAUCAAOaA-4EBwRRCPQLYQ0fDXwQzBFQEmkW8xccFy8YahslHNwdFB1PHb4i9CY8KPopTyoTKyYspi0fL50y0TOHNbk22DeDOhY6WDwoPC1Bh0NjQ8hFR0kbS65Ms08EVcZV1lZIV5RXyVgHWOVca15dXypk52aeaFpo8mpDbAttGXFNcWJxeXUqeC97IHvXfIN85YCkgseDX4PMg9uESIaCjEaMdo8aj0aQ1pMnmK2az5uhnL6ePKbrpwinK6eUrJivbLcxtz64k8BUwGbDE8Ntxq7QH9H91abYJNlb2t3pAuvk6-7v6_Fs99f4k_no-tL-hw==

Build out the skeleton of the tree first, then grab whatever notables you feel you need at the time. Jewel slots should be Spire of Stone in the strength section (to give your totems some more life and Stun Immunity - very important when using a channeled skill), Energy Within in the Witch start to transform those Life nodes into ES, and then a solid jewel in the slot by EE/MoM. Stats to look for are any combination of +damage with totems, +spell damage, +fire damage, +damage over time, +damage, +energy shield.

I recommend grabbing a Lifesprig and leveling with Firestorm/Freezing Pulse/Incinerate/whatever spell you fancy, but make sure you grab a Scorching Ray gem as well to keep leveled (you might want to grab a couple if you plan on vaaling for level 21 or dropping them back down for quality). Once you finish Cruel Labyrinth and can drop multiple totems, switch over to Scorching Ray in spell totem. Win gaem.

For Ascendancies, prioritize Pursuit of Faith into Ritual of Awakening, then go for Divine Guidance into Sanctuary of Thought. Uber lab isn't a requirement, but it will make your life much easier in terms of mana costs, as well as allow you to run no regen/limited regen maps with no issues.



6. BANDITS?

Spoiler
Passive/Alira/Passive

I grabbed Kraitlyn in normal for the resists, and then respecced out of it later, but feel free to just grab the passive right away if you don't want to waste the regrets. Cast speed from Alira is nice because it helps your totems swivel faster and stack up stages, but if you really needed that passive point for something you could do that instead.



7. GEMS? LINKS?

Spoiler
From left to right in order of most important to least important

6L staff/bow - Scorching Ray -> Spell Totem -> Empower -> Elemental Focus -> Controlled Destruction -> Rapid Decay

For clearing trash, swap a Faster Casting in place of Controlled Destruction, then switch back for bosses.

**Edit - Just tested totems without Faster Casting, they swivel plenty fast, keep Rapid Decay in at all times.

**Edit edit - Faster casting is still preferable on trash, as it cycles up each individual totem's stacks much quicker. The quicker a single totem kills a mob, the sooner it sweeps across the rest of the pack finding a new target. Use FC for trash, Controlled Destruction for bosses as originally stated.

6L chest - Orb of Storms -> Curse on Hit -> Temp Chains -> Elemental Weakness -> Inc Crit -> Inc AoE

If you have a +1 curse amulet, swap in Flammability for Inc AoE. Inc Crit is to proc Elemental Overload constantly.

Hat/Gloves/Boots

Blood Magic -> Discipline -> Clarity -> Flame Golem

Standard low life reservations. Clarity should be at whatever level gets you to 30% health (to avoid any Culling Strike shenanigans).

Enlighten -> Purity of Fire -> Purity of Ice -> Purity of Lightning

You don't have to use an Enlighten here once you have the reduced mana reserved cluster near Templar, but it gives you a bigger mana buffer on no-regen maps when you take damage and have to cast.

Lightning Warp -> Faster Casting -> Reduced Duration -> Rapid Decay

This is for if you gotta go fast. If you want more survivability, drop Reduced Duration for Increased Duration, and Rapid Decay for Vaal Discipline. If you're using a +3 gems bow, Blink Arrow -> Faster Attacks -> Inc Duration -> Vaal Discipline.



8. ANYTHING ELSE?

Spoiler
Scorching Ray is good. Like, really good. I'm honestly worried they'll nerf it. I still have plenty of optimization to do on my build (in those videos I'm only using a level 19 gem, haven't gotten my +3 bow yet, various equipment pieces could be upgraded for more ES, could use a Scorching Ray helmet enchant) and I'm melting through T15's with ridiculous mods like they don't even exist. Atziri is a joke, and once I get my bow and a level 20/21 gem, I'll be attempting Uber for the first time ever, as well as Shaper once I get the other fragments.

As far as map mods go, you can run literally any combination of mods except for Blood Magic, and even then I suspect you could if you took off one or two purity auras. I just don't do it because it's annoying. Temp chains doesn't effect your totems, just your movespeed, Enfeeble means you kill them in 5 seconds instead of 3 seconds, Vuln doesn't effect your totems, no-regen means you take a mana flask for those cases when you have to drop totems after you've taken damage, -max doesn't affect totems, blah blah blah run whatever you want. Totems don't care if they die. They're totems.

Compared to other high dps builds, in terms of what's required for this, I'd say it's very affordable to someone who plays a decent amount each week. The bow will probably cost you around 5-7 exalts in crafting (buying the essences, socketing, then linking), and a Shavs generally runs around 3-4ex depending on league availability. Eye of Chayula is less than an ex, and overall cost should be around 12ex in a worst case scenario.

Have fun melting things!
Last edited by Loate on Nov 27, 2016 5:38:25 PM
Last bumped on Nov 29, 2016 1:39:24 AM
interesting build,Just have some questions mainly curses,OOS,cast speed,duration

1.Curses

Can you explain more why you went with temp chains and ele weakness over flammability and vulnerability ?

2.Orb of storms

how is orb of storms for cursing and for proccing ele overload?
would a 4l orb of storms,curse on hit,ele weakness and flammability be viable?. scorching ray takes no AOE on the tree and no crit either.

3.Cast speed

the build has 42% cast speed from the tree and you also dont use lightning golem or faster casting in your main links.Reading other scorching ray guides and watching videos on youtube everyone seems to value cast speed very very highly for the build.Is cast speed overrated ?

4.duration

the build takes the 45% duration node on the tree,is this needed to offset the rapid decay?.Cant you remove the duration nodes and remove some rapid decay from the build,swap in faster casting in your 6l and use those points{5-10} to more damage/life wheels?

Thanks!

"
1.Curses

Can you explain more why you went with temp chains and ele weakness over flammability and vulnerability ?


Sure. Temp chains is defensive, in that it really slows monsters down a lot (which allows you to run away). One of the most powerful defensive mechanics in this game is simply not being where monsters can hit you. When you combine that with totems, you have offense while also having an extremely good defense. Temp Chains also increases the duration of the degen effect in case your totems die, which gives you time to reapply it before it falls off.

I go with Ele Weakness over Flammability because Ele Weakness actually provides more reduction to elemental resist, and we don't need the ignite effect from Flammability. If you wanted to go pure DPS, I would substitute Flammability in for Temp Chains, and if you were running 3 curses, add in Vulnerability. As explained above, though, I like the defensive bonus of Temp Chains.

"
2.Orb of storms

how is orb of storms for cursing and for proccing ele overload?
would a 4l orb of storms,curse on hit,ele weakness and flammability be viable?. scorching ray takes no AOE on the tree and no crit either.


Orb of Storms is very good for both of those applications. It is perfectly fine as a 4L, links 5 and 6 give you more quality of life (from Inc Crit and Inc AoE). They are by no means necessary. I have Ele Overload up almost every time I drop Orb of Storms. A 4L Orb with Ele Weakness and Flammability would definitely be viable.

"
3.Cast speed

the build has 42% cast speed from the tree and you also dont use lightning golem or faster casting in your main links.Reading other scorching ray guides and watching videos on youtube everyone seems to value cast speed very very highly for the build.Is cast speed overrated ?


Cast speed is extremely important if you are self casting Scorching Ray, because you need to get your stacks up as quickly as possible (in case you need to move and reapply the debuff). With totems, it's not nearly as required, because your totems don't need to move. Also, with three totems, the debuff ramps up VERY quickly (since each totem is adding to the overall debuff stack), and if one dies, well, all you have to do is resummon it :) I do recommend using Faster Casting in place of Controlled Destruction for general clearing, as you don't need the extra dps for whites/blues/rares, but swapping in Controlled Destruction for bosses is slightly better.

"
4.duration

the build takes the 45% duration node on the tree,is this needed to offset the rapid decay?.Cant you remove the duration nodes and remove some rapid decay from the build,swap in faster casting in your 6l and use those points{5-10} to more damage/life wheels?


I could, but the duration also applies to curses (handy for when a boss runs away from your Orb of Storms and you don't want to get close again any time soon), as well as totems (meaning they're up longer against bosses, assuming the boss isn't killing them right away). I'll probably test it without the duration nodes and see if it makes a big difference, but dropping that cluster would only give me 18% more es, so I don't think it's necessarily that big a deal.
What are your thoughts on using this build for Breach HC?
"
What are your thoughts on using this build for Breach HC?


Hmmm, I'm not 100% confident I can recommend it for hardcore. Leveling-wise, you should be okay just grabbing flameblast or whatever and some decent defensive gear, but you'll have to way overlevel cruel Malachai to feel comfortable (I would honestly level to where I could get through Cruel Lab first, since being able to switch to multiple totems would be much easier), and you're never going to have great amounts of life. I think it can be done if you're willing to play super defensively, especially after you switch over to LL but before you have a Shavs, but it would require an in depth knowledge of game mechanics to know precisely what could wreck your face and how to prevent that from happening.

If you feel you can pull that off, though, or if you have a ton of regrets to blow on respeccing, then yeah, by all means go for it. With a Shavs at level 68, I never felt like I was in danger except when I did something ridiculously stupid (which I'm prone to doing, and which is why I play on SC these days).
Last edited by Loate on Nov 27, 2016 10:26:05 PM
What do you recommend generally for leveling as your primary skill gem? How soon to start with the bow? Looks like a lot fun, thanks!
"
What do you recommend generally for leveling as your primary skill gem? How soon to start with the bow? Looks like a lot fun, thanks!


If you have the bow, use it right away. +3 to gems is HUGE for early game leveling. Throw in Firestorm and just go to town. Generally, though, you'll probably have access to Lifesprig or something similar for leveling - just grab your favorite AoE spell (Firestorm -> Flameblast, Arc, whatever) and you're on your way.
I've been really interested in the concept of this skill, I just have some questions.

1) Why not take Ancestral Bond? You did all the work to get there, why wouldn't we want 4 totems?

2) (tldr: Can we use the new shield?)
Follow up, they are introducing the new shield, Tukohama's fortress. Blood Magic, totem damage, and an extra totem. Couldn't we run FIVE totems then? You said each totem does their own damage, so wouldn't this setup nearly double your current totem damage? This would mean some big changes defensively I think, as it seems this would favor a life/armor setup (or maybe you could do LL?). It also means running a different weapon of course.

3) With the other things mentioned, couldn't we do Occultist totems?
An extra curse can bring in more damage, and if we run the things in my second question, you still get three totems, only now with that curse and the nice "corpse explosion" effect to help with that aoe clear. Curse the room, one thing dies and the whole room is gone. This would also be useful in breaches for the season. Boss damage should be similar I think.






Of course, some of this would change your build completely. I'm just trying to get an idea of what direction to take for the season, but I haven't played the game enough to know what is and isn't a possibilty. I just know that I like the concept of scorching ray totem, and it seems like either more totems, or the occultist could put out more damage for both bosses and trash?

Thanks for your time!
"
mebell333 wrote:
I've been really interested in the concept of this skill, I just have some questions.

1) Why not take Ancestral Bond? You did all the work to get there, why wouldn't we want 4 totems?


So if we take Ancestral bond, it means we can no longer deal damage ourselves, so we would have to trigger Orb of Storms off of a trap (which is doable with the Trap support gem, but then takes away one of your quality of life gems, most likely Inc AoE, and kind of forces you to have a second 5l). I feel like throwing traps is not my preferred playstyle with this build, but if you don't mind doing it, then yes, that 4th totem would be a significant increase in DPS on bosses (trash dies pretty quick as it is).

"
2) (tldr: Can we use the new shield?)
Follow up, they are introducing the new shield, Tukohama's fortress. Blood Magic, totem damage, and an extra totem. Couldn't we run FIVE totems then? You said each totem does their own damage, so wouldn't this setup nearly double your current totem damage? This would mean some big changes defensively I think, as it seems this would favor a life/armor setup (or maybe you could do LL?). It also means running a different weapon of course.


The math we would have to do here is checking to see if having that fifth totem is worth more DPS than losing the extra gem levels we would get from using a +gems staff/bow, which applies to *all* the totems.

For example, let's say we're using a level 20 Scorching Ray gem, linked with a level 3 Empower (both require time, but are available to any player), giving us a gem level of 22 (596 dps). For simplicity's sake, we'll forego any more modifiers other than the "less" from Hierophant's ascendancy, and we'll give each build 200% increased damage from the tree, plus the innate 40% increased from the shield to that build, as the ratios will remain the same no matter what. We'll compare that to the same gem levels in a +1 all gems staff (again, fairly easily obtainable), giving us a gem level of 24 (747.5 dps).

With one totem, both deal their base damage, modified by their increased damage modifiers (240% for the new unique shield, 200% for the +gems weapon), and then 8% less from the ascendancy. We'll assume multiple totems have equal time on target for dps.

1 Totem Out
Without +gems - (596*2.4)*.92 ~ 1315.9 With +gems - (747.5*2)*.92 ~ 1375.4

With one totem out, +gems has a slight lead of around 60dps (4.5% more damage by ratio)

2 Totems Out
Without +gems - ((596*2.4)*.84)*2 ~ 2403 With +gems - ((747.5*2)*.84)*2 ~ 2511

With two totems out, +gems has widened its lead to ~110dps (4.5% more)

3 Totems out
Without +gems - ((596*2.4)*.76)*3 ~ 3261 With +gems - ((747.5*2)*.76)*3 ~ 3409

With three totems out, +gems leads by ~150dps (4.5% more). This is the upper bound for no AB.

4 Totems out
Without +gems - ((596*2.4)*.68)*4 ~ 3891 With +gems - ((747.5*2)*.68)*4 ~ 4066

With four totems out, +gems leads by ~175dps (4.5% more). Both builds will have to throw traps to trigger EE. This is the upper bound for +gems.

5 Totems out
Without +gems - ((596*2.4)*.6)*5 ~ 4291

With the fifth totem out, without +gems finally surpasses +gems with a difference of ~225dps (5.5% more damage by ratio compared to 4 +gem totems, 26% more than 3 +gem totems).

According to our data, 5 totems out with no +gems is a 26% in damage over 3 totems with a +1gems weapon, but we also have to look at opportunity cost. Running the shield means our only 6L is our chest, which will have to be the totems to maximize DPS. This means that our Orb of Storms linked to Curse on Hit will only be able to trigger 1 curse (4L = Orb, CoH, Trap, curse), which is going to cut down our DPS or survivability significantly. We can run the curses off Blasphemy, but then we lose access to 2 of our Purities, affecting our mitigation against elemental damage. In addition, it takes longer to get the extra two totems up, and 99% of our time is going to be spent killing trash mobs anyway, which 3 totems can easily handle. In return, you gain some block chance and life, but if we're going low life then the extra life is a wasted stat in terms of defense.

If you are willing to accept all that, however, yes, 5 totems will be a raw 26% dps increase on anything all 5 beams can focus on (i.e. bosses).

Now let's compare a +3gems weapon (for an effective Scorching Ray level of 27 (1046dps)) at 3 totems.
((1046*2)*.76)*3 ~ 4770

Compared to 5 totems out with the no +gems build, this is an 11% increase, and requires significantly less setup time per pack, as well as not locking you into traps.

If you wanted to go AB and traps for 4 totems you would have:
((1046*2)*.68)*4 ~ 5690

which is a 19% increase over 3 totems without AB, and a 32.6% increase over 5 totems with no +gems. Four totems in a +3gems weapon with AB and using traps is likely to be the fastest boss killing build, but then you have to ask if it's worth dealing with throwing traps all the time (it might be, it might not be, depends on your playstyle).

Hopefully this wall of math was not too intimidating.

tl:dr - 5 totems will do more damage on bosses vs. a +1gems weapon, but will not outdamage 3 totems with a +3gems weapon. In addition, there is serious opportunity cost to using the +totem shield or quiver.


"
3) With the other things mentioned, couldn't we do Occultist totems?
An extra curse can bring in more damage, and if we run the things in my second question, you still get three totems, only now with that curse and the nice "corpse explosion" effect to help with that aoe clear. Curse the room, one thing dies and the whole room is gone. This would also be useful in breaches for the season. Boss damage should be similar I think.


For some reason, it deleted my response to this. I did a bunch of math, but basically the tl;dr is Occultist is plenty viable with AB, a +3gems bow, and Soul Strike, but I don't think I would recommend it using the shield. Occultist won't do quite as much damage as a Hierophant with similar gear, but it will be far more survivable.
Last edited by Loate on Nov 28, 2016 1:07:43 PM
"
Completed 36 ChallengesLoate wrote:


Orb of Storms is very good for both of those applications. It is perfectly fine as a 4L, links 5 and 6 give you more quality of life (from Inc Crit and Inc AoE). They are by no means necessary. I have Ele Overload up almost every time I drop Orb of Storms. A 4L Orb with Ele Weakness and Flammability would definitely be viable.


If not 4L where else are you getting that crit chance for elemental overload?

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