[ 3.1 Update ] Quad Glacial Cascade Fire Totems - All Content Capable - 1.5 Million Peak DPS

3.1 Update - 3.1 has given us new item prefix and suffix mods (Shaped and Elder). These mods have made reaching incredible DPS on this build much easier! My previous league version (budget version) of this build was about 20K tooltip. I'm currently at 29K tooltip with a 5 link Soul Mantle (almost 50% higher than last league!). Over 31K tooltip when using a strong caster shield but the Tuko shield is the best due to the 4th totem (which I just purchased a couple days ago and it is well worth the 5ex price)

These new Shaper Prefix mods give "Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire(or cold or lightning) Damage". When I first saw this mod I immediately assumed that this would only work with either melee or attack skills...but no!...this mod takes Glacial Cascade base physical damage and gives you a huge spell damage multiplier. You can get up to a 40% more damage from your weapon and 20% more damage from your ammy. Keep in mind that with this build cold damage provides just as much benefit (if not more) than gaining fire damage so you have a lot of options...really incredible...

I do want to stress that this build doesn't start coming together until you begin using a Soul Mantle (lvl 49 at the earliest). I didn't begin using GC until I purchased the 5 link Soul Mantle around level 73-74 or so but this build can be completely viable with a 4 link much earlier.

Jan 20th update - This is the video of my 4th overall Shaper attempted and my 1st attempt in Abyss League. This ended up being the first time I've been able to defeat the Shaper without any deaths. My tooltip damage in this video is 52.6K using Hatred (you can use the description below in the build details to determine actual damage). Any questions feel free to ask.


Below you will find the specific build details.

Why Glacial Cascade?

Glacial Cascade has received some serious love and been given both direct and indirect buffs. In addition to the flat damage buffs, GC is now completely base physical damage making Hatred and Taste of Hate add huge amounts of additional damage. Also, keep in mind that each cast has multiple hits so the tool tip only accounts for 1/2 to 1/3 of base damage output. Lastly, the skill has a great screen coverage, is visually cool and really fun to play!

Why go through the trouble of converting a non-fire skill to 100% fire damage?

This Chieftain build uses Avatar of Fire (either from Xoph's Ammy or from Passive Tree) and uses Cold to Fire gem to convert all cold and physical damage to fire. This ensures you take full advantage of the powerful Chieftain passive skills that are associated with fire damage. Hinekora will give you additional 10% fire penetration AND gives you 20% physical damage as extra fire damage if you or totems have killed recently (because you are base physical, this gives a nice buff). Arohongui makes enemies near your totems take 16% increased Fire damage ("enemies take" is a multiplier so gives significant boost to fire damage). And Tukohama's immunity to fire damage (which will ensure your totems never die because of reflect or an Atziri Flameblast).


I have two versions of this build. In Standard, I have the primary (4) totem version with a cost in the neighborhood of 15-20 Exalts. In Harbinger League I am using a (3) totem version costing LESS THAN 1 Exalt. For the league version I have purposely avoided using more costly items (even if self found) to determine how far I could push the build at a minimal cost. As a result of using fewer (expensive) unique items on the league version, the league version is easier to obtain the necessary life, armor and resist with rare items. League version uses a 5 link armor to reduce build cost.


The tooltip base damage on the league version is about 1/2 of the damage of the Standard version. Base tooltip for Standard version (using Hatred) is just over 40k (2 hits and 4 totems is 320K). I've posted a short video below showing possible max damage (on Standard Version). In the video I use Vaal Haste, Elemental Overload, Taste of Hate, Silver Flask(Onslaught) and kill an enemy. Those actions take me to 96.6k per totem (2 hits and 4 totems is 772,800 total).

You may want to consider that at times your tooltip DPS will be impacted by lvl 20 Enfeeble (from using Soul Mantle), which will cause a -18% damage impact (damage loss is mitigated by the Kikazaru ring). Also, at times you will be impacted by up to 12 curses which give you 20% increased damage per curse (Self Flag jewel). The Enfeeble curse causes about 17k reduction in damage from the 96.6k. Each curse gives you back about 1k per. This interaction is not shown in the video due to complexity and practicality of having the information (you'd probably need to understand the odds or % of time impacted by Enfeeble and weigh it against the average number of curses inflicting the character at any one time to get a more mathematical impact). Bottom line is Enfeeble will reduce your tooltip damage by some value less than 18% when active, but when playing I would not considerate it a critical concern nor will you feel a tangible impact.

In addition to the tooltip damage, there is a considerable amount of non-tooltip damage that further reduces the overall impact of Enfeeble and greatly increases the damage output of the build. Those sources are; Fire Penetration (this build has 59% base, and uses Wise Oak for an additional 20%). You can find a number of detailed explanations online regarding the full functionality of penetration but for a determination of max damage possibilities i'm going to keep it simple. Any fire pen you have that exceeds your enemies fire resist will be a multiplier. For this build, if you are battling against content which has 40% fire resist, you would have a 39% multiplier (79%-40%). In addition, the "enemies take additional fire damage" passive gives another 16% multiplier. Lastly, Xoph's Blood ammy "Ash" buff gives another 20% damage multiplier. The "enemies take" requires enemies to be near your totems and Xoph's Blood "Ash" requires you to take a hit before activating. These are both situations that are common so it isn't unreasonable that when discussing max damage possibilities to include these aspects.

End result - Using the previously described 773K max tooltip and applying 3 more multipliers you get (773 x 1.39 x 1.16 x 1.20 = 1,495). Nearly 1.5 million total damage output.

DPS video is at approximately 1/2 normal speed


To obtain 4 totems, Soul Mantle and Tuko's Shield must be used (for the league version skip the Tuko Shield - In its place you can us a strong rare with life/resist/armor)

For a weapon, I recommend a strong scepter. This will allow for the use of the Shield Charge movement skill which I feel is very beneficial. A good Doryani's is fine for League and not expensive. For max damage look for big cast speed rares. If you prefer an alternate movement skill, a good rare wand will likely outperform a scepter from a damage perspective. In my opinion it isn't worth giving up Shield Charge, which allows you get out of trouble quickly when surrounded by enemies.

You will need to use the Kikazaru ring to assist with mitigating 40% of the curse impact caused by Soul Mantle. For a more defensive build you can use two for 80%, but my recommendation is to use an Essence Worm ring with Hatred for a huge damage boost. Your ammy Choice is Xoph's Blood in Standard. For league, any strong rare ammy with life/resist/cast will be good.

Gaining resistances with this build can be challenging. I recommend using Gloves, Belt and Helm which give you as much life/resist/armor as possible. Hrimnor's can be used for a damage buff in addition to some cold resistance. Best in class helm would be stong rare with GL 40% damage enchant.

I like the new Kaoms Roots for my boots. In addition to the big life stat and Unwavering Stance, it also prevents from being slowed below base speed so Freeze and Chill have no impact. My character being slow as molasses is somewhat offset by Shield Charge. Shield Charge and Kaoms Roots really work well together to give you a great opportunity to get out of dangerous situations when necessary.

The two most impactful flasks for this build are Taste of Hate and Wise Oak(for the League version I skipped Taste of Haste to reduce build cost). One item to note when using both of these flasks at the same time; to get the additional fire penetration from Wise Oak your fire resistance must be your highest resistance. When using Taste, you will receive a large boost to Cold resistance deactivating the benefit of Wise Oak. When using both flasks simultaneously also include a Ruby flask of your choice. The Ruby flask will give you the necessary fire resistance boost to keep your Wise Oak functioning when using Taste.

For jewel selection use one slot for Clear Mind. This gives a nice damage boost when you are reserving no mana (because you are using Blood Magic). Also, use the Self-Flag jewel. The damage boost you receive for each curse on you is a nice offset to some of the impact of Enfeeble. My other jewel slots use rares with Life/Cast/Damage as a primary benefit. Depending on the usefulness of your gloves, helm, belt you may need to use a jewel slot or two for additional resistances and/or dexterity.


The biggest defensive concern with this build is the impact of multiple curses (at a 60% effectiveness on you). I have my resistances over-capped to the extent that both Elemental Weakness and a curse specific to an element active at the same time do not reduce any one of my resistances below 75%. The more uniques you use the more difficult this is to accomplish (you need to be in the 135% ball park to stay above 75%).

The biggest and most underrated defensive gain with this build is your totems TAUNT. You have 4 totems that continually have a 20% chance to distract your enemies (including most bosses!). Generally speaking, I feel that Taunt does a nice job reducing the number of attacks enough that the impact of the curses doesn't feel nearly as painful as you may anticipate.

Using the flask suffix of "of Warding" will give you curse immunity. When I first started this build I used this approach to enhance my defense and did not use the self-flag jewel. This is a completely viable option for curse control. I no longer use this approach for two reasons (and this is personal preference); First is that you are cursed for the majority of your play. It begins to feel laborious/tedious to always be thinking about when to pop flasks. This game moves fast and too often I was either a split second late (dead) or early and wasted the flask use. For me, using this approach felt like work and reduced the fun of the build too much. Secondly, the details in this build post give you enough information to reduce the impact of your curses to a point in which you will be capable of clearing all content. Adding in the extra task of flask use just isn't necessary. I'd even recommend that if you wanted to use this build for a hard-core character, use two Kikazaru rings and forget about Hatred. The damage reduction is significant but likely won't stop you from killing the Shaper or Uber and will give you nearly complete curse immunity without making you feel like playing is work.

Remember Totems gain 50% of your armor (Chieftain passive) - max it as much as you can. A highly armor focused build also helps with reducing the impact of the physical damage you take when cursed with vulnerability.

When using Blood Magic you want to gain as much life regen as possible since you will be using life to cast your totems. This also helps reduce the impact of "damage over time" situations when cursed with vulnerability. Stone Golem is a nice addition.

Gaining dexterity is a pain with this build. You need some to use Hatred, Stone Golem and Faster Attack (with Shield Charge). Try to get it on your rares or you will need it on your skill tree.

Passive Skill Tree

Nothing out of the ordinary with the tree. Ancestral Bond and Elemental Overload are a must. I like to take Blood Magic because it is next to a nice Life and Totem cluster but not mandatory if you are using the Tuko shield (mandatory for the league version). Same with Avatar of Fire, if using Xoph's not necessary, but needed for league version. Either way, none of these key passives take you far from any other passives needed for this build. Generally speaking, you are going for life, resist, jewel slots and elemental/fire damage.

Standard Tree

League Tree


With the standard version build and 4 totems I've been able to clear all content. I killed the Shaper before I was completely finished with the build. Will be giving it another try soon (and ideally not getting killed so much). I've been able to kill all the Guardians with the League version of this build, but lost to the Shaper (posted below - I was really bad at timing his vanish slam attack). I am very pleased with how well the League version of this build performs with minimal cost. I'm sure someone experienced with Shaper battles could be successful with the league version. Just for some perspective, my first overall Shaper battle (in Standard) was terrible and I lost all portals quickly. My second overall Shaper battle (in Standard) is posted below (successful but not pretty). My third Shaper battle (first in league play) was unsuccessful, but made it far enough to determine the potential of the build.

Uber Atziri (Standard Version)

Shaper (Standard Version) Second overall attempt.

Hydra (Harbinger League)

Shaper (Harbinger League) Fail

This is my first build post. Any comments/suggestions/questions welcome. Especially, please comment if you feel my math or logic is incorrect regarding damage info. Thanks for reading.
Last edited by Durins_Bane on Jan 21, 2018, 10:49:29 AM
Last bumped on Jun 9, 2018, 3:37:39 AM
Very nice build!

In what order did you pick did you chose your Ascendancy nodes? as well as what pantheon you are using?
Hi, thanks for reading. I'd recommend that for any Chieftain totem build always shoot for the Ascendancy passive Hinekora as soon as possible (4 points needed). The other Ascendancy passives will provide great damage/defensive benefits but your totems leeching life to you is a core reason for choosing a Chieftain totem build. The life leech greatly increases your survivability and allows you to take on all map mods.

I haven't spent a lot of time with the Pantheon system but my preference so far has been Lunaris for the major god. This further enhances the armor build with physical damage reduction based on nearby enemies and offsets your slow movement speed with speed increases based on nearby enemies. For the minor god I like Tukohama. This grants life regen and more physical damage reduction while stationary.

Any other questions let me know!
Would this build do more damage than going Inquisitor? Can you give a quick pro/con between the two ascendancies?
If you're playing League and don't have Tukohama's Fortress, what about The Cauteriser then?

70% of Physical Damage as extra Fire Damage should trump anything you get from a Sceptre, no? And Culling Srike is global I think.
Thank you for the post!...I got my hands on the Cauteriser today to give it a try. What I found out is this...the Cold to Fire gem also adds significant EXTRA fire damage based on cold damage. Because the Cauteriser converts physical damage directly to Fire, the Cold to Fire support property that adds the EXTRA fire damage based on cold damage doesn't have the additional impact. So, when looking at your tool tip, holding no weapons or shield (with Hatred active) the Cauteriser gives you about 41% more damage. When switching between weapons (90% Doryanis) the more damage multiplier is about 15%.

Both Taste of Hate and Hatred give the full amount of damage conversion (actually a little more) directly to your tool tip. It's seems crazy to think that this fire build benefits more from "more cold damage" than from "more fire damage" but that seems to be the case. I'm sure someone more experienced with the math mechanics can provide additional details. Bottom line is that this weapon is good (15% more compared to Doryanis) so it is a valid consideration. Keep in mind that this option will cost you some defense (let's say 100 life, 80% resistance, and 1000 armor).

Thanks again for pointing out this item!
The Cauteriser is dirt cheap and should be a decent option for a massive damage boost with the budget version quite early in the game. The downside is that you're limited to leap slam as your movement skill which isn't too bad if you plan on lab farming.
Hi Durins, first thank you for making this build, I'm aiming to make this my league starter. What skill or any specific pathing do you recommended for leveling? This is my first time playing totem so looking for any tips to make leveling to 90 smoother :)
Durins_Bane, I apologize if my understanding of this is incorrect: would running Elemental Focus for the "supported skills cannot inflict elemental ailments" negate the effect of our Ascendancy skill "Ngamahu, Flame's Advance" which gives chance to ignite and increased damage against targets that are burning?

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