[3.2] Explosive Scorching Ray Elementalist (and Friends) - cheap - Shaper viable


This is a Scorching Ray and Death-Explosion build that I made mostly for fun and to fulfill my pyromania.

While there are more effective Scorching Ray builds for endgame bossfights (Juggernaut and Guardian), this one is still able to easily defeat Shaper and his Guardians, while also being dirt cheap.

3.3+ Update
Dyadus has been butchered and there's no item that comes close to it for this build. I won't update anymore for that reason.

If you really want to, you can still play this build with Doryani's Catalyst instead (use Enfeeble instead of Warlord's Mark because it has leech on it).

The damage will be a LOT lower, about 30-40%.

Build Concept
So I wanted to make a build that produces the juicest explosions possible, but all the ways that have true chain reactions (Infernal Blow, Panquatzalitzi, Obliteration, Profane Bloom) tend to either have mediocre single target or cannot be scaled well enough to satisfy me.

The only thing that came close to this was an Obliteration Dark Pact build, which doesn't work anymore unfortunately.

We can, however, create an extremely large "fake" chain reaction using Inpulsa's Broken Heart.

Normally, enemies killed would die and not shock the remainders.
However, if we shock enemies with a skill that doesn't kill them outright, we can prime a large area to be detonated by another spell that benefits from the first cast.

Here's how this works:

Since the revamp in 3.2 it is now possible to Shock and Chill enemies with as little as one damage using Beacon of Ruin.
We make use of this by letting an extremely weak Ball Lightning shock and chill every enemy it hits (cold damage is aquired by using an Abyssal jewel). This is then proliferated, resulting in an even larger area of effect.
As a bonus, we also get some extra golems. Their main purpose is to buff you, but they also have the side effect of distracting bosses.

Scorching Ray:
SR does not hit, which means we can use Elemental Equilibrium on Ball Lightning to reduce enemies' resistances by 50% (a lot).
It's also the skill with the highest burning damage in the game, which makes it perfect for single target.

Not only do Inpulsa's explosions get scaled by our gear/passives, but they can also cause an ignite based on the target's life that does ridiculous damage.
To bring this one step further, overkill damage caused by these explosions can also trigger Herald of Ash, which is further amplified by support gems, passives and skill duration.

This thing is broken and I'm surprised it still hasn't been nerfed.
It makes every enemy we chill with Ball Lightning take 100% increased burning damage, which means Scorching Ray and explosion damage is doubled (actually a bit less because it stacks additively with shock).

Putting all of this together, the end result looks like this:

Pros and Cons
+Very easy to gear
+Can do all content up to at least Shaper
+High range
+Comes with 3 friends (golems)
+High effective life pool
+Good life/mana recovery
+Good single target and AoE damage
+Buffs the hell out of other Fire/Burn builds

-Needs two buttons to kill things
-Can't facetank a lot, needs to dodge dangerous attacks
-Requires high level uniques to work properly
-Lacks Armour/Evasion, can only be fixed with flasks

The build won't work like it's supposed to until level 69, when you can wear Dyadus and Inpulsa's Broken Heart.

You can complete the story like any other Scorching Ray build, using these two Gem setups:

Scorching Ray - Burning Damage - Efficacy - Elemental Focus
Orb of Storms - Arcane Surge - Increased Critical Strikes - Increased Duration

Linked gems are in order of priority.
Use Scorching Ray to deal damage and Orb of Storms to trigger Elemental Equilibrium/Overload.

For bossfights, especially Izaro, a Decoy Totem can be helpful.

Atziri's Foible can already be equipped at level 16, so use it.
Mostly get life and resistances on your gear while leveling. Also, movement speed on boots.

Useful Items:
Tabula Rasa
Lifesprig (2x)
Pyre (level 11)
The Searing Touch (level 60)

Don't use Pyre if you have cold damage on your Orb of Storms or else Elemental Equilibrium will buff fire resistances instead of reducing them.


Dyadus pretty much doubles your damage (a little bit less because we also shock). We could use a second one for like 30-40% more damage, but then we'd lose Shield Charge and life.

Inpulsa' Broken Heart causes the explosions, which is what this build is about.
Every stat roll is beneficial, but by far the most important one is the explosion damage.
You don't need the 6-link, but it adds some very nice damage on top.
This chest is relatively common, but can be expensive at the start of a league.

•A Shaped Helmet with Innervate is needed to make Ball Lightning feel smooth. Additional stats can be found in the gear section.

•An Abyss Jewel with Added Cold Damage to Spells makes our Ball Lightning chill.
Normally I wouldn't use Atziri's Foible in a build, but our amulet slot isn't as valuable as other builds because it doesn't give us that much damage in comparison.
The mana/regeneration it grants is extremely high and we really need it.
Reduced attribute requirements essentially gives you 40 strength and 28 dexterity on top.
For endgame, you can get it corrupted with one of the following implicit mods:
•+1% to all maximum Resistances
•(3 to 6)% of Damage taken Gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit

Stormfire makes your Inpulsa explosion ignite with a 50% base chance (from Dyadus + passives). This is enough to ignite most enemies that get touched by your explosions, since you can only have the strongest one active anyways.
Note that the explosions can already ignite due to Shaper of Desolation, but this ring makes it more reliable & adds a lot of damage on top which makes it really nice for clearing.
For bosses, though, it is not a good ring.
Other Gear & Jewels
First of all get the following stats on your gear; where you get them on doesn't matter:

Elemental resistances to reach your cap (75%).
•39 Dexterity so your support gems can reach level 20.

After that, you'll want these stats.
Everything is sorted from best to worst:

Shield: fire damage (alternatively spell damage), life, mana, cast speed, mana regeneration.

Belt: life, flask mods, stun recovery.
Get a Leather Belt for budget.
For endgame, get either a Stygian Vise or an Elder Leather Belt with life recovery rate and #% increased maximum life.

Ring: life, mana, mana regen, cast speed, fire damage, attack speed, life regen.

Boots: life, mana, movement speed, life regen.

Gloves: life, mana, attack speed, life regen.

Helmet: Innervate, life, mana, mana regen, stun recovery, life regen.

•increased maximum life
•increased burning damage
•increased fire damage
•increased attack and cast speed (while holding a shield)
•increased cast speed (while holding a shield | with fire skills)
•increased damage over time
•increased damage

Abyss Jewels:
•+# to maximum life
•+# to maximum mana
•chance to hinder with spells
•minions regenerate #% life per second
•increased damage over time while holding a shield
•increased cast speed
•chance to gain onslaught on kill
•minions have #% chance to taunt/blind on hit with attacks
•life regen

Do NOT get added physical/fire damage to spells. This will cause your Ball Lightning to increase the enemies' fire resistance due to Elemental Equilibrium
Always get the following two flasks:

Instant Life Flask and Regular Hybrid Flask. Get freeze removal on one of them, bleed removal on the other.

After that, you can pick what you prefer:

Granite Flask of Ironskin and Basalt Flask make up for your lack of armour and provide some serious defense when combined together.

Silver or Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline will make you a significantly faster.
Get at least one of them (Adrenaline does not stack twice).

•Additionally, one of your flasks should also have the of Warding suffix.

Unique Options

Immortal Flesh is a very nice defensive belt if you can make room for the resistances.

You can socket your Lightning Golem into Redblade Band to turn it into a tank. The life regen and extra levels make it a lot more beefy.

Also, if you use this ring you have the option to use a fourth (ice) golem in your CWDT setup. For this, you'll need an Anima Stone.

Primordial Might can be used to make your golems more aggressive, which in turns makes them draw more attention.
Without this jewel, your golems will mostly only attack when you're also attacking.

Although Sire of Shards cannot replace Dyadus, it's really fun to use.
You can socket your Ball Lightning in it to make it fire in a Nova (check the videos)
All enchantments are ordered from best to worst.

•Scorching Ray Beam Length
•Increased stone golem buff effect
•Increased lightning golem buff effect
•Scorching Ray Damage or Cast Speed
•Increased flame golem buff effect

These are only the most important ones, there are a lot more that you can get but only have minor benefits.

•Regenerate 2% of Life and Mana per second if you were Hit Recently
•0.6% of Damage Leeched as Life and Mana if you've Killed Recently
•120% increased Critical Strike Chance if you haven't Crit Recently
•16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently
•10% increased Movement Speed if you haven't been Hit Recently
•10% chance to Freeze, Shock and Ignite if you haven't Crit Recently

Most of these should be straightforward.
Regen is insane with MoM because your base mana regemeration rate is only 1.75%. This means the enchantment more than doubles it.
The leech enchantment is very nice (but rare) because it will remove the need to run Warlord's Mark to leech from your explosions. This means that you can use Enfeeble instead.
The Crit Chance enchantment will help you trigger Elemental Overload.

Commandment of...

Reflection will create a clone of you that is very good at distracting bosses.
Light is a minor survivability bonus that's just nice to have.

Example Gear

Gem Links
5/6 Link
Scorching Ray - Burning Damage - Efficacy - Elemental Focus - Controlled Destruction - Swift Affliction

A standard Scorching Ray setup. Gems are in order of priority.
Level 21 on SR is about 12% more damage, while quality increases your range. Both are nice to have.
If you really want to take on endgame bosses without investing into a 6-link, you can swap Inpulsa's for a cheap Tabula Rasa or 6-linked rare just for that fight.

4 Link (Helmet)
Ball Lightning (level 1) - Greater Multiple Projectiles - Faster Projectiles - Elemental Proliferation - (Innervate)

We use this to debuff our enemies and make them explode. Ball Lightning is on level 1 so we don't die to reflect.
This can more than triple your damage, so don't forget to use it for single target aswell.
Innervate is provided by your helmet.
EP and Innervate are there to boost your chance to shock to 55%. If you feel like you shock enough you can swap EP with Faster Casting or Arcane Surge.
Get quality on GMP/FP to improve your cast speed.
Single Target Setup
Orb of Storms - Arcane Surge (level 8) - Increased Duration - Increased Critical Strikes

You only really need this setup for T16 bosses and higher.
OoS is much more reliable at triggering Elemental Overload than Ball Lightning, but it also needs less support gems and lasts very long.
This means we can also use Arcane Surge, which makes us deal more damage.
I personally use this setup in a second helmet that I swap to.

4 Link
Cast When Damage Taken - Summon Stone Golem - Summon Flame Golem - Summon Lightning Golem

These guys will not only buff you a lot, but also distract bosses for you. The Stone Golem even has a taunt.
Keeping three golems alive is hard when you're not a summoner, so we link them to CWDT to have them resummoned regularily.

4 Link
Cast When Damage Taken (level 1) - Immortal Call (level 3) - Warlord's Mark (level 5) - Ice Spear (level 1)

Immortal Call is there to protect you from physical damage bursts. Since we cannot reliably get Endurance Charges from Warlord's Mark it's best to just consume them to increase IC duration.
Normally, DoT builds cannot leech, but Inpulsa's explosions will leech life from enemies after they get cursed from damaging you. Alternatively use Enfeeble.
Ice Spear has a high crit chance and is there to help you out triggering Elemental Overload from time to time. Don't try to intentially get hit to get more damage, just look at it as a bonus.

3 Link
Shield Charge - Faster Attacks - Fortify
Use this to move around, but don't charge too far into enemies.

2 Link
Herald of Ash - Burning Damage
HoA does not only increase our Scorching Ray's damage, but will cause enemies killed by explosions to burn everything around them.

1 Free Slot
Decoy Totem, Flame Dash or Portal

These can be placed into an Unset Ring.
Decoy Totem can distract bosses.
Flame Dash gets you over ledges.
Portal saves portal scrolls. (duh)

Skill Tree & Path of Building
Skill Tree:
33 Points
50 Points
74 Points
Level 72
Level 81
Level 93

This skill tree is very forgiving.
If you wish to change something out of preference, you can easily do that.
I.e. if you need some more strength early on, just skill Might.

Path of Building:

This is mostly just a reference for what gear you can get.
Items have no resists so the important stats are more visible.

PoB currently does not calculate shock and golem buffs correctly (our shock is a little bit weaker than 50%, but the golems give us additional damage, regen and cast speed).
However, the numbers should be fairly accurate.


•Normal Lab: Shaper of Desolation
•Cruel Lab: Beacon of Ruin
•Merc Lab: Liege of the Primordial
•Eternal Lab: Elemancer

Bandits & Pantheon
Kill them all for 2 passive points.

Major God: Soul of the Brine King to makes stuns less dangerous.

Minor God: we stand still while casting SR, so Soul of Tukohama is very nice to have.

Shoot your Ball Lightning into a pack to debuff them and then use your Scorching Ray to detonate.

Always keep your distance. Use your long range to kill them before they can attack you.

Shield Charging into enemies will get you killed so only use it to move around the map or away from something dangerous.

The same goes for bosses, stay away most of the time and let your golems distract them.
Only stand in their face if you're experienced enough to know it's safe.

Map Mods to avoid:
•Monsters have 90% chance to Avoid Elemental Ailments
•Players cannot Regenerate Life, Mana or Energy Shield
You can do reflect maps. The explosions do not get reflected.

I wasn't using MoM in most of these clips, so don't mind the low mana pools.

T14 Shaped Vault Map

Shaper (full run)
T16 Phoenix
T16 Chimera
T16 Minotaur

Sire of Shards test
Ball Lightning & Golem AI tutorial

Why is my damage so low?
Check if you have the following things:
•Ball Lightning with cold and lightning damage, NO fire damage
•Elemental Overload and Elemental Equilibrium
•Elementalist's Beacon of Ruin

Is there any way to automate this?
I've tried a lot of things, but to get the most juice out of your explosions, Ball Lightning is the best option.

Some ideas have been:
•Scold's Bridle -> too inconsistent
•Use Shield Charge to shock/kill -> works, but small explosions
•Use Herald of Thunder to kill, Ball Lightning to shock -> works, but requires extra mana reservation. Should not be used with MoM and is therefore more squishy. Example.

Do you really need a 5L Ball Lightning?
I don't like this setup either, but it's what works the best. If you don't add chance to shock, you'll mostly only cause large explosions when you have the Conflux buff active.
If you only run either Innervate/Proliferation support, you'll still have juicy explosions most of the time, but inconsistency at close range.
Faster Projectiles and GMP is essentially what determines your AoE and Clearspeed, so they are pretty important aswell.

The good thing is you don't really need it to grant Arcane Surge or Elemental Overload. Map bosses die pretty fast without those buffs and for T16+ you can just swap to Orb of Storms.

What about Chaos resistance?
Ignore it. Chaos damage in the game is balanced around you having little to no resistance with only a few exceptions.

How important is Stormfire?
For clear it's absolute S tier. Most of your damage doesn't come from the explosions themselves, but the resulting ignite. Yes, ignite can actually deal damage if you scale it's base damage on your enemies' life.
Herald of Ash also helps here but isn't even nearly as consistent as the ignite.

Why do you pick up all these AoE nodes?
They do not increase Scorching Ray's size, but pretty much everything else:
Ball Lightning, Proliferation, Herald of Ash and the Explosions.
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Last edited by SHEPUUURD on May 30, 2018, 7:09:23 AM
Last bumped on Nov 23, 2023, 6:09:16 AM
Very rarely bother looking at other builds, but this is just great <3 Also surprised it pulled out such nice shaper dmg, guess SR is pretty strong :P And with such cheap gear too, besides the 6l

The explosions look absolutely gorgeous, I'm so making something similar to this haha

Oh and should probably at least link your gear in this post so we don't have to look at char profile :P And yea, IK it's a WIP
Last edited by Severinus3 on Mar 18, 2018, 9:01:19 AM
Hmmm you could automate the ball lightning shocking with scolds.
How did you level it? Just standard SR?

What would you run for a 5L SR instead?
Zerber wrote:
Hmmm you could automate the ball lightning shocking with scolds.
Tried it out, but it did not feel very nice.
The CWDT triggers only every 1-2 seconds and there would be less support gems in Ball Lightning, which feels akward. Increasing the mana cost would cause even more problems.

jaerven wrote:
How did you level it? Just standard SR?

What would you run for a 5L SR instead?
I respecced a standard character that was around level 80 already. I'll add something for leveling soon.
But yeah, normal SR with Elemental Equilibrium and Overload is the easiest way.

The link priorities are in the gem section. Drop Swift Affliction for the 5L.
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That is probably the most exciting build concept I have seen in 3.2.

Very good job, I really like it and am tempted to try it out some day. :)
Andddddddddddddddd another mind blow build. Thanks for making stuff like this
You can save 1 point losing 10 dex

gataoo1993 wrote:
You can save 1 point losing 10 dex

Nice catch. :)
Will change.
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Why shouldn't i use added fire dmg to spells?

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