[2.5/2.6] Beginner's Elementalist Dual Flameblast Totems
This guide is intended for very new players looking for a build to guide them in their first playthrough of Path of Exile. Path of Exile has possibly the steepest learning curve of any game out there, certainly of any ARPG, and is very intimidating to learn as a beginner. This build is intended to allow all players the opportunity to learn a fair bit about the game mechanics and experience the game in its entirety. It is very inexpensive to get started and leveling is very easy. I will do my best to explain as much as I can. Again, the focus for this guide is for new players. If you are more experienced then this build is generally not for you though you can modify it however you wish to suit your playstyle. Let's begin! :)
* Very safe.
* Inexpensive to get started and scales very well later in the game with investment.
* Very powerful and will let you experience most game content.
* It is not as interactive as more complex builds
* Does not utilize some nodes/skills which help the build but may be cumbersome to newer players. Would recommend a different build for those looking for that. This is strictly for new players to dip their feet into the PoE Pool!
There aren't many cons for the purposes of being a beginners guide.
By allowing the totems to do the damage for you it allows your character to stay in a relatively safe position while your totems do the work and take the damage. This is a great playstyle for experiencing the games content for the first time and it allows you to be more observant of what is happening so you can learn more quickly.
Is This a Hardcore or Softcore build?
As someone who plays exclusively Hardcore, I tailored this build to have slightly more survivability than most Softcore variations but the focus is on beginning players and allowing them to survive a bit better, potentially allowing them to experience the game more and hopefully enjoy the content that Path of Exile has to offer. You are, of course, free to alter the build however you'd like to suit your individual playstyle.
Why Didn't You Pick Up *Insert Node on Skill Tree*?
This build is tailored to very new players and I don't want to overwhelm them with having to do too much. It is intended to let them experience the game in its entirety (as far as gameplay content goes) without having to worry about more intermediate/advanced mechanics. There's plenty of time for that later if they decide to continue playing and want a more involved build. So while nodes like Elemental Overload are a very good choice for this build, that's perhaps something that we don't want new players having to focus on and keep at the front of their minds while playing. Generally, you'll enjoy the game more the less you have to do your first time around.
What Does This Build Look Like in Game?
Here is a very good example of what gameplay will look like for you once you get the build up and going:
This is not our exact build but should give you a good idea of what to expect while playing. It is a very strong build and clears content quickly and safely. It will also allow you to play at your own pace. If you'd like to take your time, you can certainly do that and if you'd like to rush you can push it a bit.
This build is centered on the skill Flameblast linked with a Spell Totem gem allowing the totems to cast the spell instead of us having to do it. This allows us to be more mobile and to avoid damage and find safer places while our totems do the damage for us.
Here should be your setup in order of importance:
This is our primary skill. We do not use it while leveling because there are other stats that we need to really get it off the ground, but this will be what carries us. Traditionally it works by channeling the skill to higher "stacks" and as it does this the damage becomes greater as does the Area of Effect (AoE). We will use the next gem to cast this skill instead of us.
This will cast Flameblast for us and it will channel the skill until it has the maximum of 10 stacks and then it will automatically release it causing the skill to detonate. The drawback to using Spell Totem is that it casts the supported skill gem slower and lowers its respective damage. In this case, it is well worth it as we can more than offset the damage reduction and cast speed losses and gain the defensive benefits.
This is the third link that you want because Cast Speed is what will allow our totems to reach the maximum 10 stacks with Flameblast faster. It will also increase the "accuracy" of your totems by being able to detonate the Flameblast before enemies can move out of its damage radius. It is also an indirect damage multiplier in that it allows you to have more casts of Flameblast per minute.
This is our biggest damage multiplier. It penetrates the fire resistance of any enemy and can even bring the enemy resistances into the negatives. While the damage increase will not show on your tooltip (this is because of the varying resistances that enemies have, and it can't calculate a variable that isn't fixed), it is the best damage support gem available to us.
For your 5th link you will have a swap depending on the content you're doing:
This will increase the AoE of Flameblast and greatly improve your general clearspeed. It does not provide a direct damage multiplier (unless it has quality), but it is a very nice quality of life improvement if you have access to 5 links.
This is what you will swap to replace Increased Area of Effect in certain instances. This is much better against most bosses and difficult encounters than the Inc. AoE support gem. Do not try and swap into this during an encounter. It can often be very tricky to pull up your inventory, locate the gem and swap it with Inc. AoE while in a fight. Typically reserve this for when you're about to fight a boss or some other unique encounter where you need to deal bigger hits.
For your 6th link if you happen to be fortunate enough to get one I would recommend:
As we are not a Critical Strike/Damage based build, the loss is fairly insignificant and boosts our damage by a fair bit.
Our two options for a movement skill are Flame Dash and Lightning Warp. In many cases most players would generally use Flame Dash. We will not. Our build utilizes a great deal of Cast Speed and Lighting Warp benefits significantly more from that as well as having much greater range, allowing you to have greater mobility in many instances such as certain Act 2 bridges that are otherwise extremely difficult to move across with Flame Dash, or Labyrinth instances where the range of Flame Dash won't let you skip over dangerous areas but Lighting Warp will, and it will let us do it much faster once we have a good amount of Cast Speed.
Initially you will use it by itself and it will serve its purpose in allowing us to escape dangerous encounters or move up/down cliffs/elevated areas. The two support gems allow for greater speed with Lighting Warp and greatly enhance its effect.
This will be our end-game setup once we have completed Merciless Labyrinth to make use of Ascendancy node (more on that later). You want a Fire and Lightning Golem to increase your Cast Speed and your Damage. The Minion Life support will aid you in not having to resummon them as frequently and is a general quality of life gem.
(Feel free to substitute the Stone Golem for the Flame Golem if you want more survivability as the Stone Golem provides life regeneration.)
Defensive/Offensive Curse Setup.
Curses in PoE are extremely powerful if used correctly. I will provide easy two-links for both a defensive option and an offensive one. We will be linking the curse we use with Blasphemy which will automate our curse to an aura which will apply the curse effects to all enemies within its radius.
Enfeeble is our defensive option and it is very strong and will help significantly against heavy hitting enemies. Our offensive option is Flammability which will lower the enemy fire resistances further multiplying our damage. Choose which best suits your playstyle!
One additional defensive setup is the following links which can be seen on my gloves here:
This is a very standard Cast When Damage Taken (CWDT)+ Immortal Call + Increased Duration setup (I added in Molten Shell because it's my league starter character and didn't really have anything else to put in there. It's a good defensive choice as well and you can use it if you'd like or put anything else in there that you would want.). This is an automated setup that triggers once your character takes a certain amount of damage. Once your character takes the amount of damage specified on the CWDT gem then that will trigger the Immortal Call gem thus making you invulnerable to physical damage for a very brief period of time (this period is augmented by the Increased Duration giving you a bit more survivability). It is not very long but it could be just long enough to save your character and escape from a dangerous encounter.
As you begin the game you will not be able to use Flameblast right away. We will be leveling with a different skill which we can start using at Level 12. Until then use any skill that is available to you that you find comfortable.
This is a very powerful skill for both general clearing and single target damage and will carry us all the way to our transition to Flameblast Totems. The reason being that aside from it being a powerful skill in general, the nodes on the skill tree that benefit our main build also benefit Firestorm (e.g., Fire Damage, Increased Area of Effect, Area Damage, Spell Damage, etc.). You can begin using this at level 12. Nessa will offer it to you as a reward once you return to town after entering The Cavern of Wrath at the end of Act 1 (there is a waypoint at the start so you can head back to town to pick it up immediately).
You can link this with:
This will add a bit of damage to your Firestorm but we will eventually replace them with different supports shortly into Act 2.
This is a great support as it provides us with a lot more spell damage without a real penalty. (We are not a Crit build so losing what little crit chance we have is almost irrelevant).
Elemental Focus is another great choice as the damage of Firestorm is done by the many little hits it does and it adds up quickly. This gives us more elemental damage at the cost of not being able to inflict status ailments. Since Firestorm won't be dealing a large Burn because of how Burn scales from the initial hit, this is another great support for Firestorm.
If you get a 4th link or would like to swap either of these for Faster Casting that is also a good choice as Faster Casting can sometimes make it feel more smooth to play.
For bosses I would also recommend switching in:
This will make the AoE of Firestorm much smaller but deal significantly more damage. A great choice for tough fights.
For your Golem, while leveling, I would recommend using a Stone Golem as it provides a very good amount of life regeneration and makes surviving while leveling much easier and makes you rely a bit less on your flasks allowing you to save them for tougher encounters.
(Thank you to Mr. kashah for the excellent question regarding Dexterity!) For the Lightning Golem and perhaps for using Caracass Jack (see Required Items for more details), you will need some dexterity. Unfortunately this is a dexterity starved build and our main source of it will be though our gear, typically an amulet. We can get some on gloves and maybe on rings, but mostly we will want other stats on those items, but if you can get it then all the better! You can also invest 1 skill point and get one of the big +30 Dex nodes available to us to help! You only want as much as you need to use the armor. It is not necessary to level up the Lightning Golem gem to the max level. While it does provide survivabiltiy for the golem it doesn't make a huge difference as we can simply recast the golem at any point so it's not imperative that we make our golems very tanky. They survive decently with a fair amount of dexterity and leveling it to the highest level that dexterity allows plus the Minion Life support gem.)
You should take your time and explore the game. There is a lot to take in and Path of Exile has many areas and quests to explore and many of these quests provide unlock different skill gems which can then be purchased at various vendors within each act. They can also reward you with skill point/respec points, or a chance for a good item. There is no great rush to get to the end game. Have fun and progress however quickly you are comfortable!
These are not at all necessary to level but merely make the experience much smoother and easier.
A Lifesprig is the first choice in leveling as it boosts all of the gems socketed into it by 1 level. For spell gems this is very beneficial and provides a big damage boost! It also has life, a lot of spell damage, and regenerates life when you cast a spell. And it's common enough that even though it's extremely powerful for early game content, it's very inexpensive!
This is a great item to use in the offhand slot with Firestorm being in your Lifesprig. You still get the benefits of the added Fire Damage from this wand applied to your Firestorm while not losing the +1 Gems from your Lifesprig. A very good choice.
Wanderlust are great leveling boots as they provide an easy 20% movement speed and you cannot be frozen while wearing them. And you can use them from level 1!
Goldrim! The Granddaddy of all leveling items! This is not cheap and you can see why! It provides a massive amount of elemental resistances and can carry you from the very start of the game all the way to Act IV Merciless if necessary. It doesn't have life which you will eventually want but it is a great item for leveling your character. If you happen to find one or have a friend who can lend you one then you're in luck!
Elreon Jewelry are any rings/amulets that provide the unique property of lowering the mana cost of your skills:
At the start of a league you will not be able to get these immediately as they can only be purchased from Elreon after he is a sufficient Master level. But, shortly into a league they can be purchased relatively cheaply and make your mana worries disappear! (At least for a little while...)
The Skill Tree!
Path of Exiles most intimidating feature to new players is the Skill Tree. It is absolutely enormous! Many players see it and simply shake their head and walk away. It just looks like a mess. But, this is also a great strength of the game in that it allows for a fair amount of customization. To get comfortable with the skill tree you simply have to get used to working your way through it a few times and recognizing which areas of the tree are more suited to certain effects/playstyles. Below I will create several skill trees which will walk you through specific pathing instead of just giving you an end game skill tree and letting you try to work out which way you should go. I will also try to post an explanation as to why we chose one route when a plausible alternative route is available.
Skill Tree 1:
Here you are going to go right and pick up the cast speed as opposed to the Spell Damage. Reason being is that we benefit much more from cast speed as it allows us to offset the penalty incurred by using a Spell Totem.
Skill Tree 2:
You will want to pick up the life wheel ending in Purity of Flesh before continuing downward and getting Light of Divinity. You want a lot of life and you don't have a ton at this point and Chaos resistance is a very nice quality of life improvement. You also want to pick up Elementalist first instead of just going for the AoE nodes as a survivability improvement as it boosts our damage and our resistances.
Skill Tree 3:
Here you will grab the three AoE nodes and then pick up the Retribution node for more Spell Damage and Cast Speed and the immediately get the life nodes beneath it. You can never have enough life. After that then you will go almost back to the beginning of your tree and where we went left you will now want to go right to pick up the area radius and area damage nodes there. This will greatly enhance our area damage for Flameblast as well as our leveling skill, Firestorm.
Skill Tree 4:
Here I would recommend picking up more life by working your way from Elementalist to Devotion and the life nodes there. Then you can choose between more damage and more life/life regeneration with Quick Recovery or Explosive Impact. You will want them both eventually, but choose what you'd like. When pathing toward Explosive Impact, I would recommend pathing to the left for the Increased Cast Speed with Fire Skills instead of flat Fire Damage, at least initially.) Afterwards we are going to prepare ourselves for the transition from our leveling skill to our main skill setup. So after getting everything above begin to work your way to Ancestral Bond (BUT DO NOT GRAB IT YET!) so that you can transition seamlessly once we are ready.
Skill Tree 5:
Here you can pick up Ancestral Bond whenever you feel comfortable that you have the correct gear and links to make the transition to Flameblast Totems. Your damage should be more than enough to carry you through the rest of the general leveling (up to about level 60-70, give or take). Here we will make the biggest trek to the Scion life wheel and grab Constitution for an enormous boost to our life pool and all of the surrounding life nodes. You are welcome to pick up Totemic Mastery along the way if you feel you'd like more damage. Also, on the far side of the skill tree where we picked up our last Area of Effect/Damage nodes we continue a small way to pick up Heart and Soul and the surrounding Life/Mana nodes.
The Final Skill Tree:
This will take you all the way to level 90. I would recommend first picking up Tireless for more life as well as reduced mana cost to your skills. This is a great quality of life improvement. Then you can fill out the rest of the skill tree in whichever way you decide. I would recommend in this order: Shaper, Arsonist, Barbarism, Juggernaut, and finally Shamanistic Fury. This will give us a very well rounded build with great defenses and very strong offensive capability when couples with our Ascendancy Class: The Elementalist.
Normal: Help Oak for the +40 to life. This scales with +Life% nodes on the tree and increases our life by a fair amount.
Cruel: Help Alira for the 5% Cast Speed. We want all the Cast Speed we can reasonably get! Even if it means helping Alira.
Merciless: Kill them All. Since charges are beyond the scope of this build guide and are not something you should immediately concern yourself with and they offer us no real benefit we kill all of the bandits for the added skill point.
Ascendancy Skill Points:
Ascendancy Classes and Skill Points was a great addition to Path of Exile to offer more customization to our characters. For us we will be choosing the Witch's Elementalist. You get two ascendancy points for each difficulty of the labyrinth you complete. I will direct you to how you should progress through the Elementalist mini-tree and a short explanation as to why.
For more information on the Labyrinth and the Trials of Ascendancy I would recommend the following:
(The Wiki is a fantastic resource! Use it if you are ever confused!)
Normal Lab: Your first two points will be getting Shaper of Desolation. This doesn't provide us with an enormous bonus yet but it is a nice addition to our arsenal as it allows us to inflict status ailments with our skills. Reason we go here first is because we want the next node as soon as possible.
Cruel Lab: Beacon of Ruin. This is an enormous quality of life improvement for our build. It will increase our clear speed, our damage indirectly, and thus our survivability also. It allows the status ailments you inflicted on now dead enemies to spread to other enemies that walk into that radius. As Flameblast often inflicts a Burn (See the wiki article on Burn for more information) and a heavy one as it scales of the damage of the hit and since we're always scaling 10 stacks it hits hard, if a burn is inflicted and other enemies who walk into it will automatically burn for that same hit. You will frequently see enemies you never even hit walk into a pack of enemies you already killed and just die within a few seconds. A must-have for our build!
Merciless Lab: Liege of the Primordial. This is a great node as it allows us to now have two golems and it also doubles the implicit bonus of the golems we choose to summon. This is why we selected Lightning Golem and Fire Golem. It doubles the cast speed benefit of the Lightning Golem and doubles the Damage boost provided by the Fire Golem. (Or the life regeneration if you decide to keep the Stone Golem.) We can not have two of a specific golem as the bonus will not stack.
Uber Lab: Pendulum of Destruction. This is just a nice node to pick up that gives us greater area of effect and elemental damage periodically. It's not anything absolutely amazing but it is nice and it is the best of our remaining options.
The great thing about this build is that it doesn't have any items required to make it work well. Though there are two generic rare wands that I would recommend to get before switching to Flameblast and picking up Ancestral Bond.
Generally, you would want to switch around level 55. Reason for this is because that is the level requirement for Heathen Wand which has a 8% cast speed implicit coupled with the suffix "of Prestidigitation" which will roll an additional 17-19% cast speed. The Pagan Wand also has an 8% Cast Speed implicit and it is available at lower levels (Level 34). If you are able to find a few of these with suitable amounts of cast speed then you can transition into Flameblast totems a bit earlier but certain suffix tiers have a higher level requirement.
A few wands like these with something like 18+% Cast Speed each will greatly enhance the speed at which your totems cast Flameblast and reach that 10 stack limit. This is why we generally want to wait before transitioning into totems because our cast speed won't be high enough for it to feel really comfortable. You are welcome to experiment as you'd like; some people will find Totems work just fine without them. That is entirely up to the individual and their preferences.
The only Unique Recommendation I will make for this build will be Carcass Jack:
This is a fantastic chest piece for our build as it has nearly everything we want: Life, Elemental Resistances, a lot of Area Radius, and even some Area Damage to top it all off. However, this is a moderately expensive item and may take some investment to obtain.
In general, we want as much life as we can get while attempting to cap our elemental resistances for Merciless difficulty. (There is a resistance penalty incurred for each difficulty jump: -20% for Cruel Difficulty and -60% for Merciless Difficulty.) At a minimum we want a total of 135% of each elemental resistance to give us a cap of 75% of each resistance. You can also increase this to 169% to cap yourself to counteract the Elemental Weakness curse which can lower your resistances. By having 169% in total you protect yourself from losing any effective resistance. (There is some variation for enemy cast Elemental Weakness curses, etc., but the general rule of 169% is a very good one as it makes Elemental Weakness on Red Maps irrelevant.)
For locating any items I would recommend a visit to www.poe.trade and you can search for items there. Nothing aside from Carcass Jack should be very expensive. It should be no more than 1-2 chaos orbs per item (with the exception of maybe the boots and their movement speed roll). If you are having difficulty using poe.trade then I would recommend YouTube'ing some poe.trade guides that help you navigate the site. It is an invaluable tool! Make use of it!
As this build is not reliant on Unique items, it is fairly easy to gear properly. A good rare item will suffice for the purposes of this build and keep us safe while our totems blast away!
Helm: Here you want a good amount of life (70-90+) and elemental resistances.
Chest: If you can not get a Carcass Jack, then any chest piece that has a large amount of life (70-100+) and elemental resistances will be fine.
Belt: A Leather Belt is preferable as it has an implicit life roll which adds to our survivability. Try to get another life roll (to total around 80-110+) and some elemental resistances. If you happen to find one with an armor roll or flask charges gained then that is a bonus but not at all necessary.
Gloves: Standard Life (65+) plus elemental resistances.
Boots: Here you want your usual Life + Resistances but you also want movement speed. Try for 20% or more. 30% is ideal but they can sometimes be expensive depending on the league and the amount of items available.
Rings/Amulet: Here you can have a bit more customization. +% Cast Speed, +% Fire Damage are both great for our damage, but we also want life on all of our defensive pieces of equipment (rings/amulet included!). If you can cap your resistances and get some cast speed/fire damage, all the better!
This took quite a bit longer than I anticipated but I hope you found the information and suggestions worthwhile! Path of Exile is a fantastic game and my hope in creating this guide was to help mitigate the very steep learning curve for new players. Unfortunately the downside of Path of Exile is that there is so much to learn and it does a poor job of teaching players what they need to know and forces them to use outside resources. I hope that this will let you comfortably explore the content this game has to offer as I think it is probably the best ARPG out there, and will let you experience the content and grow as a player to more complex builds and a richer understanding of the game that only time and experience provide.
If you have any questions please feel free to post them here or whisper me in game (@JamesMMA should find me) and I will do my best to answer anything that I can.
Thank you very much for reading to this point and welcome to Path of Exile! :)
Last edited by JamesMMA on Mar 2, 2017, 10:34:43 PM
Last bumped on Jan 29, 2018, 4:13:29 PM
on Dec 31, 2016, 4:25:33 PM
Updated it with some Spoiler tags to make it easier to navigate through the large amounts of text to relevant areas. I also made some general grammar corrections and changed some phrasings here and there to make it read better.
I hope this helps! Oh! And Happy New Year Exiles! :)
on Dec 31, 2016, 9:19:43 PM
Thank you for the kind messages those who have sent them. I know this build won't appeal to the majority of people who frequent these forums but if you know someone who wants to break into PoE or are someone who wants a build that will let them experience the game as a new player, then you/they are who I made this for. I tried to be as thorough as possible while not going into really unnecessary details.
Please feel free to comment with any comments/questions you might have, or even suggestions or constructive criticism. I would love to see what people think or if you've tried this build I'd be interested in hearing about your experience.
Thanks again for everything and best of luck! :)
on Jan 7, 2017, 12:07:25 PM
Thanks for the build guide. I'm also trying to do a Flameblast totem build. Can you compare Elementalist to the Inquisitor?
on Jan 7, 2017, 8:45:04 PM
Thanks for the guide, it's helping me get into the game.
Even though I have had an account for years, I never really got into PoE,
and stopped playing it quite soon after starting out.
With this guide I am trying to take it slow, try to learn and get the best out of it.
Starting out with absolutely zero knowledge and equipment.
Game is quite fun so far.
on Jan 11, 2017, 1:25:40 PM
Just died and have almost no currency so I'm going to do this build. Thank you for the guide.
Last edited by HIJKLMNOPQ on Jan 11, 2017, 8:58:13 PM
on Jan 11, 2017, 8:58:03 PM
My sincerest apologies. I've been out with work and actually as a result of my job as an analyst I've developed tendonitis and have to split my wrist nightly so I haven't been able to respond. I will do my best to reply, and thank you for everyone that has shared or given this build a try. :)
I would say that the Inquisitor, of course, benefits more from being a Crit based build. It would also be a much more involved build than would most variations of an Elementalist build as if you want to make use of the Instruments of Virtue node then you would need an attack to proc its effects.
There is also a debate on how effective Inevitable Judgment is relative to something like Fire Penetration as many enemies, if I remember correctly (and please correct me if I'm wrong) have a default resistance of 30% with some enemies/bosses having a greater resistance either globally to all elemental damage or to a specific element. IJ will not be able to bring an enemy into negative resistances like Fire Penetration can. On the flip side it does to a lesser degree eliminate the need for a Fire Pen. gem and potentially giving you some additional options, such as perhaps Inc. Burning Damage or Elemental Prolif.
Ultimately, last I knew, and I haven't crunched the numbers to figure it out but rather what the general consensus was that if you wanted very good clear speed and a strong boss killer then the Elementalist is what you wanted and it can be relatively cheap and easy. If you want a build that has strong clear speed but can be a boss destroyer, then you can go the Crit. Inquisitor route. Though this variation will, on average, be a much more expensive (as most crit builds are), and more involved build.
Up to you to decide what you like, how you prefer to play, and how much you're willing to invest. I say just have fun!
on Jan 14, 2017, 4:31:47 PM
I'm glad that I was able to provide a good introduction to your PoE game!
Unfortunately the one thing PoE does absolutely terribly is provide new players with the tools to learn the game. It is awful, in general, for new players coming in to try and learn the game without having to access extensive outside resources. There is simply far too much to learn to really get into the game in any real sense. My hope was to try and ameliorate that absurd learning curve and allow players a good, effective yet safe build that will let even beginning players the opportunity to experience the content of the game. I hope you are able to do just that! :)
Happy to help!
I would imagine that with 37 challenges though that you're a bit more advanced so I would probably recommend picking up the Elemental Overload node and proc'ing it with something like an Orb of Storms setup with perhaps something like + Inc. Crit Gem + Inc AoE, and possibly a Power Charge on Crit gem for a bit more damage (also a good setup for Crit variations, though, of course Crits won't matter too much with EO, and Orb of Storms is good at giving you virtual 100% uptime.), a nice little damage boost!
Either way, I wish you the best of luck, sir! Don't want to wake up with Haku looking over you saying, "Tala Moana Standard." :)
on Jan 14, 2017, 4:38:30 PM
I'm using this build, and as a beginner, I think it is very good. Thanks.
on Feb 5, 2017, 11:24:43 PM
Good Morning i have a Question about the Guide.
How High i exactly need to level up the gem´s ?
Have a nice Day Sarah
on Feb 6, 2017, 2:42:12 AM