Scorching Ray CwC Firestorm Cheftain

Hey everyone! This is my build for Breach league, where I wanted to try out the new support gem "Cast while Channeling".

I tried using CwC with a number of different combinations, mainly focusing on fire skills as I wanted to pair a spell together with Scorching Ray to utilize its' debuff. That said I tried other channeling spells too.

Flameblast is so strong on its own so there's really no advantage to use CwC, incinerate still felt awful, so that leaves us with the very nice looking Ray after all.

Scorching Ray is really lacking in aoe clear in my opinion, so I combined it with Firestorm to help with that problem. So, Scorching Ray combined with Firestorm it is!
Main points about the build

This is a high life build that uses armor/endurance charges to survive. It uses Blood Magic and therefore runs no auras of any kind. Cheftain is the ideal ascendancy for this build because of its' scaling of fire damage and way to get endurance charges, along with a welcome strength boost for more hp and life leech for better staying power. This is a non-crit build but makes use of Orb of Storms to trigger Elemental Overload (this setup could also be used to trigger Elemental Equilibrium should you choose to take it but because of the small AoE on the skill I haven't so far).

Since it uses 2 spells as the damage source, getting +levels to gems on the staff should have a big impact, and using an empower should also be a strong option.
Passive tree and bandits

For bandits I went Oak/Alira/Oak. We want life and endurance charges, so those are no-brainers. For Cruel I'm not sure the cast speed is worth it, but it was some nice QoL (not sure if you actually even notice it but that's what I tell myself) while leveling with Firestorm.

For the ascendancy, get "Ramako, Sun's Light" first, as we want our endurance charges. After that if you struggle with resists you could go for "Tawhoa, Forest's Strength", life leech from "Hinekora, Death's Fury" along with the fire penetration is nice too though.

Finished Tree

Since this is a life-based build and we only need one 6L, Kaom's Heart works really well (especially as it has %increased fire damage on it).If you can't afford one, use a Belly of the Beast for starters.

For the staff the BiS item would probably be a well rolled rare with +2 levels to fire gems and +1 levels to all gems and %spell damage and so on and so forth, but Realm Ender works good too. Other than that, get gear that scales elemental damage like opal rings with %increased fire damage on them, along with life rolls on everything.

Ngamahu Tiki is a nice boost to fire damage but not mandatory in any way.


Find ones with the following:
-Increased Fire Damage
-Increased Maximum Life
-Increased Spell Damage
-AoE Damage (doesn't scale with Scorching Ray though)
- Cast speed
Cast speed might be worth it, I haven't tried that out yet.

We also don't use any auras, so the jewel "Clear Mind" is a good pickup.
Skill Gem Setup

No auras are used because of the Blood Magic keystone, damage auras like anger don't increase the damage of Scorching Ray and (so far at least) defenses are good as they are.

Main skill: Firestorm - Scorching Ray - Cast while Channeling - Controlled Destruction - Elemental Focus - Empower

If you're using a 5L odds are you can't afford a level 3 empower so skip that one at first. (It might be more effective in a 5L than Controlled Destruction/Elemental Focus, I haven't checked yet)

Movement skill:
Flame Dash - Faster Casting

Whichever you like, I chose Flame Golem for more damage as we're already quite tanky but Stone/Chaos Golem are good options aswell.

To trigger Elemental Overload
Orb of Storms - Increased Critical strike Chance

I use 2 Cast when Damage taken setups, as follows:
Cast when Damage taken - Immortal Call - Increased Duration - Warlords Mark
Cast when Damage taken - Molten Shell

Keep the first one somewhat low level and find the spot where you're comfortable losing your endurance charges for physical immunity for a few seconds. Use any curse you want to, I chose Warlord's Mark to help with getting said endurance charges (the leech from it is very noticable too actually).

Level the second setup just as ordinary gems for some armor when you need it and damage to help kill the pesky monsters that are hitting you!

There's room to experiment somewhat here too, you could put your golem in the high level CWDT setup, use Curse on Hit with Orb of Storms and your preferred Curse, etc. Listed above is the way I currently run it but one of these options might actually be more optimal, personal taste and all that too.
General Gameplay

Stand still, channel, kill stuff. Before that part, place Orb of Storms to trigger Elemental Overload (and possibly Elemental Equilibrium). Place the cursor where you want your firestorm to be.

When it comes to breaches, holding the cursor on your character is good until you clear the general zone around you, don't forget to spin-to-win too with your beautiful beam!

When running Breachlord Maps, you have to choose your spots when it comes to attacking so you reach as many monsters as possible, don't want to waste time and not reach the boss because you stop and channel too often. In the bossroom the breaches you can open up are in my experience just a hassle, you can tank the bosses (at least the 3 elemental ones) fine with just your flasks and the extra damage from the monsters are not worth getting flask charges. They made me use more than I gained from it, and killed me twice before I learned. This goes for the 3 elemental ones, haven't done Uul or Chayula yet.
Leveling tips

For leveling you can use any skill you want basically. Nothing locks you in place for fire skills until you pick up the fire damage nodes on the tree. As I started the league with this build I went with Firestorm the whole way, but you might aswell use a 2h skill or whatever you fancey.

I found it most effective to grab as much life as I could early, and picking up damage nodes around level 60 and onwards. Getting Blood Magic early if you don't use elreon jewelry/mana potions makes for smoother gameplay, but using auras with that is not recommended. While leveling it might be worth it to pick up some "Increased area of effect" nodes aswell depending on your choice of skill, they are not worth it later on in my opinion since Scorching Ray does not have an AoE-tag.

Here are some screens with my current stats on the character. Now with my 6L staff with level 3 empower, Firestorm is level 19/20% (vaal orb deleveled it) and Scorching Ray is level 21/1%, buffed by Elemental Overload (which you should have about 100% uptime on).

Without that buff Scorching Ray does 16.3k dps and Firestorm 5.3k average (this should increase when it levels).


I've killed Xoph, Esh and Tul so far.

I recently tried doing Uul'Netol but the timer ran out, which is dissapointing. Barely any rares spawned as far as I got, not sure if that zone is like that and I didn't clear fast enough or was unlucky. The damage is not the problem but the clearspeed that comes with this setup might be, I will try again soon and see how it goes.

Guardians and Shaper
I've killed Minotaur, Hydra and Chimera at this point. I will try Phoenix soon, but it should also be doable.

Tried Chimera at first going in blind with 42% minion life, bunch of crit multi/chance and 109% extra damage as lightning. His goat adds rekt me lots and due to not knowing the mechanics I died twice to his smoke attack. 40% Health on him killed though, and 2nd attempt I got him! His adds are the main problem, especially snakes with chaos damage that I don't have much resistance against (almost none in fact).

Atziri is easy to kill, haven't tried uber version yet. On that note, Uber Lab is now completed as well, as expected it wasn't much trouble and should be farmable.


Atziri Run
Killed by angry smashy-thing
If you don't feel like facetanking an enraged vaal smash this is easy to do deathless.

Breachlord kills
Esh kill with shitty music
This could be done in a more aggressive fashion, barely had to use flasks but it took a bit longer.

T11 Map
Just some general gameplay in the highest map tier I had at the time. You could be more efficient with movement, but this isn't the fastest build out there in any way.
Things to try in the future

There's still room for improvements and things to consider if you try this build on your own such as:

-Using Elemental Equilibrium to further boost the damage output. Could be done with Orb of Storms, which is now in the skill gem setup to trigger Elemental Overload as mentioned earlier.
I've tested this a little now, it's shit, more or less. Without Inc. AoE the Orb is tiny, doesn't hit often which makes Firestorm proc extra resist for fire more than Orb does for lightning, so no. Shit, not worth it!

-Getting a rare +3 staff with the crafted Affix "Socketed gems are supported by level 1 blood magic. This could be worth trying to be able to use defensive auras such as Arctic Armour, or Curses with Blasphemy, getting +1 curse on the tree isn't far off either.

-Overcapping Resistances for red maps. Right now I'm resist capped, but not for elemental weakness. Aim for 169% (170% for fire since we have +1% to max resist for that). Chaos resistance needs work too if I want to have an easier time against Chimera and try Chayula at some point.

-Getting the Unwavering Stance node. The few times I've died with this character, it has been because of stuns from damage so I couldn't move away in time. I can be somewhat careless due to being tanky, so I overreach once in a while. This would be purely QoL and is probably not worth spending points on getting, but still. You could potentially corrupt boots for this if I remember correctly, but this part isn't something I'm gonna bother with for now at least.

-Picking up flask effectiveness up by Witch in the tree is something you should probably do, those nodes are always good stuff.
Last edited by TheMadkitten on Aug 5, 2017, 12:34:08 AM
Last bumped on Jan 5, 2017, 12:16:15 PM

I'm trying your build. Just reached lv 38 so is time to taste the CwC, i'll keep you updated on how is it going.

Seems a good build, i will try to use Artic Armour also as CWDT.

Just started your build, I really like it!
I use a Sulphur Flask - the extra 4% regen is so good (since your standing still, SR doesn't leech and you only get 1% leech from ascendancy) and with a Chemist's prefix you use 15/60 flask charges.

EDIT: Started using Overflowing Chalice. Way better with the only downside being you use 20/60 instead of 15/60.

Really nice build and I think I'll be playing it for a while.

EDIT: Some of my gear:

Bought a white 6L staff for 18c and used a Shrieking Essence of Rage on it. Gonna spam more on it when I can afford it for +3 and an open prefix to craft Blood Magic. I'd lose 35% Increased Maximum Life from the tree after the Blood Magic keystone, but with Blasphemy with two curses and Arctic Armour I think that more than makes up for it.

Removing Blood Magic gives 6 skill points and going to +1 curse on the tree costs 5.

Also if you spend 5 skill points in the Tireless cluster in the tree instead of 4 in the Constitution area, you get the same amount of Increased Maximum Life with the added bonus of 15% reduced mana cost of skills. Might be worth it for when I use Blasphemy but not sure yet.
Last edited by roun on Dec 28, 2016, 9:49:59 AM
Thanks for your input man! Lots of good things to add and it would be nice if you could post here about your findings. I'll be busy in the coming weeks with exams and other stuff so I'm not sure how much I will update here but I'll take some time and try some of your ideas in the future myself. Not getting blood magic in the tree and being able to use Arctic Armour/Blasphemy would certainly be nice, my gear lacks the dexterity for AA as it is though...

Also about the flasks, I'll add a section for that eventually, thanks for the tip about Chalice!

Hey! Good luck with exams, I'll for sure post my updates in case someone else who finds this thread tries this build and wants tips as well.

I updated my gear yesterday, sold my Vinktars and 5L from my other build and got a lucky exalt drop.

The rings are nice and have 79 DEX total for AA, but they're not Opal Rings. I'd like them but one with good rolls are mighty expensive.

I'm also trying Xoph's Blood. The penetration doesn't work with SR but the Ash debuff does. Gives nice health too. Only problem is Avatar of Fire makes you unable to use Elemental Equilibrium like you wanted to try. Sucks for maps with EE, though - still clears mobs well but bosses will take a little bit longer to melt.

I think the links I have are the most efficient unless you can get a good Unset ring. I got really lucky to get four blues on my boots with Vorici - got it on my first try with crafting 3B. Was preparing to use Leap Slam!

I crafted BM on my staff since I doubt I'm getting +3 any time soon. Using AA, Flammability and Enfeeble on Blasphemy. Leaves me with just enough to cast Orb of Storms and Flame Dash.

I think that's it...

Oh, and you're still doing double tooltip damage than me. From what I can see you have two extra levels on SR, one extra level on FS, and about 200% total increased damage from your rings, amulet, and staff. Is that enough for double damage? I have Xoph's Blood and Flammability for more damage not on tooltip, though.

Again, thanks for the build, and happy holidays/new year!
Yeah I've tried Elemental Equilibrium and proccing it with Orb of Storms, this would be mostly for bosses and not for usual trash where it didn't really make any difference. Firestorm hits so often compared to Orb, and without grabbing Inc. AoE in the tree the Orb is so tiny (and also doesn't "attack" often) so that is not worth it in my opinion, it felt very clunky. I had to spend more time setting it up correctly and caring for it than it was worth, it didn't increase the damage output from what I could tell either (more like the opposite even during bosses really).

Damage wise I'm not sure, but the levels on the gems makes a huge difference. Level 20 Firestorm goes from 5.2k unbuffed up to 7k as average damage, around 3k for each level on Scorching Ray with each level, so my lucky vaal roll on that helped a lot! Not sure how much inc. ele/fire damage we get from the tree total, so I don't know how big the 200% I have more than you has a part in this too.

That said about skill gem levels, it's not the easiest to get a +3 staff or Realm Ender with 6L, got lucky there too after 250 fusings. That's after spending around 6-7k fusing in other leagues/standard and never getting a 6L though, so it was about time. :P

Thanks for reminding me about the amulet by the way, I've been meaning to try that one out and compare with Ngahamu Tiki when I can. In my mind Ngahamu Tiki is probably better since you don't have to get hit for it to boost your damage, but it's worth testing. Not sure how much 10% fire pen helps as we already have some pen from Cheftain and then debuff from Scorching Ray (and your flammability too for you), but still worth checking out.

Oh, also curious, what's your life pool at without picking up BM?

Happy new year/holidays to you too by the way =)
My life is at about 7400 at level 86.
Also moved some items around and started using this:

Compared to my other helm which had pretty much the same armour, this gives 3k more armour with the special mod. Sucks that the life is a bit low, but you get the armour and phys taken as fire.

Had to delevel AA sadly, but I still get 10/10% phys and fire reduction.
Last edited by roun on Dec 31, 2016, 6:12:10 AM
I'm playing this build as well and just got into the late game and have only one question: Is this build viable to farm uber lab? Or the down side of stading still makes it impossible to do solid uber lab runs?

I've made about 5-10 runs so far, haven't really focused on farming it. But in those runs I've had no trouble at all, with a little bit of repositioning of course.
Compared to my other helm which had pretty much the same armour, this gives 3k more armour with the special mod. Sucks that the life is a bit low, but you get the armour and phys taken as fire.

Had to delevel AA sadly, but I still get 10/10% phys and fire reduction

Yeah that helmet looks nice and all, but the problem for me so far hasn't been physical hits but elemental damage, so I'm not so sure that it's worth it. Itemisation becomes harder for the other slots with more to cover, and as you said it has a lower hp value too. That said I haven't tested it, but it doesn't seem like it has enough good traits for me to consider using it.

Was it a noticeable upgrade for you more than the numbers?

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