[3.4 Updated] Hiero.Crit/Non-Crit FaceBreaker.Detailed Guide

This is the build that i have been playing as my league starter in Bestiary league. It can be played on a budget and has a very high ceiling. Intended to be a dedicated labyrinth runner.

My Character Profile.
Path of Building

change Log
3.4; Herald of purity is added to the game. Use herald of purity,hatred and herald of ash. replace herald of ash with aspect of spider once obtained.
New Helmet Hale Negator is a good helmet, gret defensive stats and 2 sockets to place abyssal jewels. still less damage than abyssus but better than light poacher and better defense than devoto.
vaal ancestral warchief has been added to the game with the duration nodes for totems on this ascendancy it scales vaal AW best.

Currently Trying a Crit version with
, will update once i finish

I'll try to be as detailed as I can with this guide.
Pros & Cons
4x Totems
Budget league starter
High ceiling
High DPS
Labyrinth runner
Safe totem play-style*
High life regen
High movespeed
Endurance charge
3 Auras
Up to 80 max ele resistance and immunity to -max res map mods*

*Some might find the totem play-style to be quite boring. (personally I find it very fun)
*Only if using loreweave chest piece.

Unable to do Physical reflect map mod*
Unable to do No regen map mod
Unable to do Hall of grandmasters
Looooong neck character ruins certain MTX (there is also a clipping problem with shoulder on certain armour MTX)

*Lower tier maps with physical reflect are doable but totems need to keep being replaced after they kill themselves. Elemental reflect is not listed as a con as you can turn off hatred and ash and swap them for another aura for elemental reflect maps.

Ascendancy Options
When someone mentions "face breaker and Ancestral Warchief" the ascendancies which come to mind are chieftain and berserker. So lets review why we are choosing hierophant over the other ascendancies.

Berserker: Has the highest damage per totem among the three ascendancies (with 50 rage), the instant recovery from warcries adds a lot of survivability. However the ascendancy has a 10% increased damage downside and also a lot of degen from rage which makes it harder to do labyrinth runs with this ascendancy. Getting 50 rage stacks is also not very reliable unless you use cyclone to hit monsters on your own. however i dont like going near bosses as a totem user.
In conclusion I do not recommend using berserker.
Even though berserker has higher dps per totem, it only has 3 totems with tukohama's fortress and hierophant still has more dps with 4 totems combined. Berserker does however has more hp but due to the bad regen it is not that much tankier.
Berserker is far more inferior to hierophant.

Made a PoB with the same items as my hierophant and adjusted items/tree accordingly for comparison.

Chieftain: A great alternative. Able to convert all damage to fire with avatar of fire,totems taunt chance and leech damage from totems to your own life. Has the highest life pool among the others, Only slightly less dps and slightly less life regen.
In conclusion the chieftain is a great alternative! although he has less regen you will till be able to run labyrinth pretty smoothly. Converting all damage to fire and having fire immune totems allows you to run both reflect maps too. However the totem life leech to you and taunt on hit can be achieved by other ascendancies with items.
Chieftain if probably the better choice for hardcore as it is a much tankier option.
Note chieftain is not really a budget option since tukohama fortress i pretty much a core unique for the chieftain version, although you can use another shield until you get it.

Made a PoB With the same items as my hierophant and adjusted items/tree accordingly for comparison.

TL;DR: Hiero for more damage and chieftain for safer/hardcore gameplay.
If playing CRIT facebreakers heiro is best and only option.

Passive Tree & Pantheon

Non-crit (poe website)

Crit (poe ebsite)

Every Level after 90 just take a nearby life node of your choice.
I Dont have a levelling progression for the tree. just take resolute technique and ancestral bond as soon as you can. grab resistances whenever you need them. you can plan your levelling tree more defensively as you can breeze through content with decent gear and facebreakers.

NOTE: The passive tree is extremely flexible (for eg. if you have enough resist from gear you can save 2 points and not take diamond skin passive and get more life nodes). Tinker around according to what you need.

mainly for the life regen but all the other stats from oak are useful too.

Ascendancy:Pursuit of faith - Ritual awakening - Conviction of power - 2 small nodes
For the last labyrinth we don't take divine guidance because the damage taken before mana is actually bad for us since we are running up to 3 auras our effective mana pool s not big enough to absorb hits with divine guidance and the notable will cause us to be unable to cast anything if we get swarmed.

Pantheon: Arakaali & Ryslatha
Arakaali provides insane life recovery that can be triggered often with a bloodrage+immortal call set up. Ryslatha provides great bonus to life recovery from flasks and also allows your life flask to generate chargeson its own which is extremely useful for labyrinth.The life recovery also scales very well with the insane regen you have as a hierophant.

Gems & Links
Gems listed according to importance and relevance. If you dont have enough links ignore the remaining gems.

Chest Piece:Ancestral warchief - Concentrated effect/Increase area of effect - Melee Physical damage - Damage on full life - Ruthless - Maim.

We use damage on full life because of our insane regen we are almost always on full life. Increase area of effect for map clearing.

Helmet:Shield Charge - fortify - faster attacks - culling strike.

Gloves/Boots:Hatred - Herald of Purity - Enlighten/vaal lightning trap/Vaal haste/Herald of ash - Enlighten/vaal lightning trap/Vaal haste/Herald of ash

Enlighten only if you need the extra mana pool to cast your skills. I recommend your mana pool to be equal to or larger than the mana cost of 3x ancestral warchief casts. The build has very high mana regen so casting all your skills should not be a problem. Vaal skills are a nice extra boost in DPS against any other content other than labyrinth.
Herald of ash only when you do not have Aspect of the spider source yet.

Gloves/boots:Summon stone golem - Vulnerability - empower - vaal lightning trap/vaal haste

Stone golem feels the best for me but I guess you can replace it with flame golem for bossing if it feels better for you.

Shield:Cast on damage taken - bloodrage - immortal call.

If you only have a 2 link for some reason immortal cal take priority over bloodrage. you must link bloodrage before immortal call to trigger the arakaali pantheon life recovery perk. The level of your CODT set up is up to preferance I personally like it to trigger when I take damage equal to 20% of my life

Unset Ring (with +x level to socketed gems):Hatred

if you are using an unset ring with no +x level to socketed gems mod then any vaal skill will do. I recommend Vaal grace.

Vaal:For Gem corruption, always try to get an extra max level corruption except for: herald of ash,Faster attacks,culling strike,increased area of effect and any gem you wish to put in your CODT set up. 23% quality corruption is better for the listed gems.

Glove (Core Unique):The only mandatory and irreplaceable item on the build.

Enchant/vaal: "of light" Labyrinth enchant is the best implicit for us providing more life regen on top of consecrated ground when we take a critical hit. higher tier is obviously better.
The next best implicit is a "+1 level of socketed gems" vaal corruption this allows you to get more damage with a corrupted level 21 hatred gem.
Or an "elemental weakness on hit" vaal corruption if you have a "+1 curse" amulet corruption.
Other labyrinth enchants that work with unarmed: "of grave" and "of reflection"

Why not "curse enemies with level x vulnerability on hit"vaal corruption ?
The vaal corruption has a max roll of level 12 vulnerability and there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't self cast a level 20 or 21 vulnerability.


Devoto's is the best helmet overall providing attack speed and move speed this helmet allows you to run lab very smoothly. The reduce physical damage downside is not a big deal and depending on your other gear you can actually gain dps from this helmet instead due to the attack speed bonus.The dexterity bonus is also essential and chaos resistance is never bad.
Abyssus provides insane dps and the all attributes is essential. Only problem is the increase physical damage taken. This makes the helmet a pain to run labyrinth with which is the reason i dont use it. you can swap into abyssus for bosses if you would like but i prefer not to use it at all.
Bringer of rain Provides great dps and also a pseudo 6 link to start you off before you get a 5/6L lore weave. The blind chance and extra block cahnce provides a nice extra layer of defense.
Hale Negator: Better than light poacher, still wont provide as much damage as abyssus but it is far better for defenses.

Enchant: "%increase ancestral warchief damage" or "%increase stone golem buff effect"
personally I chose the warchief damage but the stone golem buff effect enchant is a more defensive option and more than doubles the regen from stone golem.

Chest Piece:

Loreweave insane chest piece for builds that benefit from flat physical damage such as facebreakers. Every mod on this chest is good for our build except the increase critical strike chance.The most important mods to prioritize are max resis and the physical damage. Try to get 80 max resis with high physical damage rolls. Maximum resistance increase in effectiveness the more of it you get, so getting 80 max res is extremely important and top priority.This chest not only provides insane dps but insane defense as well. Allows you to ignore - max res map mods too.
You do not need to get all your resists to 80, getting 76 is just fine since you will almost always have at least 1 endurance charge you will get the resistance you are missing.
Belly of the beast:next best chest, provides a lot of max life and also increases the effectiveness of our life potion.

vaal: best corruption for the chest pieces would be "+1 level of socketed gems".


Lycosidae: If going Crit this is the only option and enables the build.
Great old one's ward highest damage from the shield slot. move speed implicit is nice too.
Trolltimber spire The more defensive option. Provides nice regen and increase aoe. also provides damage leech from totems to you without being a chieftain.
Skirmish Decent for leveling before you get your ascendancy notables. Once you get ritual awakening the quiver becomes extremely bad. This is because additional totems increase your damage diminishingly. similar to resistance penetration, the more totems you have the less effective an additional one becomes.
Another reason not to use this is the fact you lose 3 sockets and cant shield charge.
quick maffs
If you have 1 totem, an additional totem is 100% more damage
If you have 2 totems an additional totem is 50% more damage
If you have 3 totems an additional totem is 33% more damage
If you have 4 totems an additional totem is 25% more damage.
This is why having 5x totems with skirmish is less dps than using a great old one's with 4x totems


Darkness Enthroned:Depending on the 2 abyss jewels you place inside this belt it can greatly exceed any other belts for this build. Place your 2 best jewels inside the belt for increase effectiveness.
Meginord's girdle:Strong and cheap belt to start of with until you can afford 2 good abyss jewels for darkness enthroned. The increase life recovery from life flasks is good too.


Bubonic Trial (2 sockets):Best boots you can get for facebreakers. high move speed, depending on the jewels you use you can get high life and high flat physical damage in your boot slot.
warning: The boots might explode corpses of beasts you might want to capture with a necromancy net.
Redblade Tramplers: Cheap starting boots, completely inferior to a 2 socket bubonic trial. butits a cheap option to start of with until you can afford the 2 socket bubonic with 2 nice jewels.
Death's Door:A nice alternative if you want bleed immunity best paired with abyssus helmet to minimize the downside of the helmet.

Enchant:"Life and mana regen when hit" is the best enchant for your boots, the higher the tier the better.
If you are playing Crit version then "increased chance to crit if you have not crit recently" is the best option. as long as you dont crit with your mobility skill it is free crit chance for your totems.
Another alternative is "damage penetrate elemental resistance if you have not killed recently", which provides a nice damage boost against bosses.


Rigwald's Curse: If you are going Crit version these are the only options and enables the build.
Rare Amulet:A rare shaped/elder amulet with high physical roll , life and x% damage gained as x damage mods. Resistance on the amulet is also nice. Best base is marble for the life regen.
Craft Aspect of the spider on amulet if there is no open suffix on any of your rings.
Bloodgrip:A very good amulet for the build and allows you to run labyrinth without worrying about your staunching flasks. Increases life flask recovery which is very nice.


Rare rings:The best base for rings is "steel rings". Important mods are physical damage,life and resistances. If possible craft aspect of the spider on a ring with an open suffix. The two ring slots are the primary sources of resistances other than your passive tree and jewels.
Unset ring are also a nice option if you can get +x levels to socketed gems, it will increase your hatred aura level and gives more damage.

Aspect of Spider: Best aspect skill to have. If you cant craft this on your ring or amulet for some reason you can always run arctic armour in place of it.

Weapon swap:

Screaming eagl/gryphon: grypohon upgrade wont matter wince you cant kill anything with these. They give 20% more movespeed if you dual wield them.

Brightbeak+prismatic eclipse: Make sure you colour the primatic with 3 greens. allow you to leapslam super duper fast. Highly recommended if you just want to get to all the objectives in your labyrinth runs and ignore the monsters. Make your labyrinth runs much faster.

Haku's weapons: for enlighten,empower and enhance gem leveling. the quality bonus gives them more exp. Great for making money if you dont care about weapon swaps.

MAgna eclipse: best defensive shield to weapon swap into, grants elemental aegis which reduces elemental damage you take.


setup:Life flask - silver flask - lion's roar - taste of hate/basalt flask - Sin's rebirth/Atziri's promise.

A seething divine life flask of staunching is the best life flask to use, blood of the karui is a nice alternative if using bloodgrip or death's door to mitigate bleeding. However the instant recovery from seething prefix is very strong and almost unbeatable.
Silver flask is a great damage boost, onslaught provides a decent movespeed bonus and allows you to shield charge faster through the labyrinth. "ample" or "chemist" preffix is the best for the flask. make sure the roll is high enough to allow 2 uses of the flask. "of heat" or "of warding" for suffix. mainly use "of heat" and swap to "of warding" for maps with a curse mod.
kiara's determination is a nice alternative that also provides stun immunity however it has reduced duration and only 1 use so it is not highly recommended.
Lion's Roar is the highest damage flask you can get. especially against bosses that can not be knocked back. As a granite flask base the extra armour also helps in survivability especially in labyrinth.
Sin's Rebirth is a nice flask that provides offence and defense. The smoke cloud makes most mobs miss significantly more against you and the flask has a nice duration and amount of uses.
Atziri's promise is a nice alternative if you cannot afford sin's rebirth. The chaos resistance bonus is very situational.
Note: with taste of hate flask up, atziri's promise provides more damage than sin's rebirth.
Taste of hate also provides great offence and defense. When using loreweave you actually lose 1 max cold res since the chest piece caps your max resist at 80. The freeze avoidance from the flask effect is not very reliable which is why we still want an "of heat" flask in another slot.
A basalt flask is a cheaper alternative until you can afford a taste of hate and gives a similar level of defense, especially in the labyrinth.


Having a nice mix of regular jewels and abyss jewels is the best for the build.

Regular Jewels:Prioritize;attack speed -resistance - life - damage
regular jewels are a great source of attack speed without these jewels your totems and shield charge mght not feel as smooth. A great way to fix resistances due to all the uniques we use as well. A regular jewel with life mod can be very expensive.

Abyss Jewels: Prioritize;physical damage to attacks - life
For the third/4th mod on your abyss jewels you can get : Chance to taunt,attack speed, %damage penetrates elemental resistances if you haven't killed recently,Life regen while moving , resistances
Abyss jewe;s can get pretty expensive to get with 3 useful mods.
Important: chance to taunt on at least one of your abyss jewels is very important. This allows your totems to taunt without being a chieftain. 10% chance to taunt feels sufficient since all 4 totems will have have chance to taunt applied on their hits. most bosses will always be taunted to one of your totems.

Watcher's eye:An extremely strong and expensive jewel. Try to get one of the following hatred mods as priority : damage penetrates cold resistance, % damage converted to cold.
%crit chance if you are playing the Crit version
If you get % damage converted to cold make sure you have plenty of cold penetration from your jewels or gear.
If possible other mods you can get on the watcher's eye that are good : %increased cold damage when affected by hatred, increase life recovery when affected by vitality, %damage gain as extra fire when afected by anger.
If you get vitality life recovery or anger extra fire damage mod as a secondary mod for your watcher's eye you will need to replace herald of ash and use an enlighten level 3 for vitality and +1 socketed gem corrupted glove/boot to increase your enlighten level 4 to level 5 for anger. Even with enlighten level 5 affecting your hatred and anger your unreserved mana will be 4% so you will need to be high level or have some mana on gear to increase your effective mana pool.

Questions you may still have
Q:How Much dps does this build/you have?
A:I didn't want to put dps numbers in a build guide because everyone's dps will vary depending on gear.
Below is calculations in 3.2 (no herald of purity and non CRIT)
With NO flasks or temporary buffs each totem deals 368k dps so with all totems up i normally have 1.47M total dps.(Shaper:276k per totem,1.1M total.)
With ALL my flasks up and vaal haste active each totem now deals 673k dps so with all totems up we can achieve 2.69M total dps.(Shaper:500k per totem, 2M total.)
(this dps is based on the PoB link I gave, not all the gems are level 20 or have 20 quality.)
When checking the dps under config turn on: power charges(since we reliably gain them as we place totems), webs x3 (after 3 seconds aspect of spider is in full effect and stays in full effect as long as you are near enough to the boss), Always on full life (insane regen almost always on full life),enemy is maimed, have a totem out.
If you are using vaal lightning trap just add 10% more damage calculation yourself currently PoB can only show 50% shock effect so checking the shocked option in PoB shows an unrealistic dps.

Q:Can this build do guardians/elder/shaper/uber atziri/ETC?
A:Yes It can do all content except for hall of grandmaster. For uber elder I have not done it myself but it is definitely doable/possible, a friend of mine suggested using vitality with watchers eye for the uber elder fight to help sustain better.
I dont plan on doing uber elder myself anytime soon because I do not have much free time to play.

Q:Is this hardcore viable?
A:My version is currently focusing more on dps because i am a softcore scrub. But yes it is definitely viable for hardcore. Currently i hardly ever die and for hardcore leagues you can drop a few small damage nodes to get more life and if you have enough resistance on your gear you can also remove some resist nodes for life, the passive tree is very flexible.

Q:Why aspect of spider and not other aspects?
A:Aspect of the spider is actually the best damage boost among all the other aspects.Spider take 3 seconds to be in full effect but its a final 15% multiplier after your final damage dealt to the monster.
Aspect of the avian's double damage chance and duration is too low and not worth running at all.
Aspect of the crab is only good if you are using abyssus, the crab barriers will help against big hits however the barrier takes long to generate and you lose all charges when hit so its not as reliable as arctic armour.
Aspect of the cat is clearly not for us, we do not benefit from the crit and phasing is not so impressive on us.

Q: Why Herald of purity after 3.4 and what about the minions?
A: As a facebreaker build you want as much flat physical on gear as possible and herald of purity does exactly that! it gives was more dps than herald of ash.
The minions from herald of purity can still be triggered by your character unlike the herald of ash overkill burn. However they are unimportant.

Q: Any leveling guide/tree?
A: there are many levelling guides out there and usually they are all the same. Use quill rain toxic rain or poet pen vd if this is not your first char and just pick up important things on the tree like life and resis and swap to totems once you can equip some decent gear that makes the totems feel better than your levelling setup.

Any questions or feedback feel free to reply to this thread. I dont have a lot of time to play so try not to message me in-game.
If you have been playing this build do feel free to reply too and share your thoughts and experiences.

Hope you guys find the guide informative and useful, feel free to bump the thread if you liked it.
Someday, someone will best me. But it won't be today, and it won't be you.
Last edited by Petarded on Oct 26, 2018, 10:07:28 AM
Last bumped on Jul 20, 2019, 3:06:01 AM
I didn't think I'd get a hit for a hierophant facebreaker ancestral warchief build when I Google'd; pleasantly surprised that I did! Thx for the guide; haven't tried it - but very tempted.
Edit: added a paragraph in the jewels section regarding watcher's eye jewel.
Someday, someone will best me. But it won't be today, and it won't be you.
Chima wrote:
I didn't think I'd get a hit for a hierophant facebreaker ancestral warchief build when I Google'd; pleasantly surprised that I did! Thx for the guide; haven't tried it - but very tempted.

Haha i was quite suprised too that no one else did facebreaker heirophant after the buff. I guess because the ascendancy has more perks for spell totems with the arcane surge nodes.
Someday, someone will best me. But it won't be today, and it won't be you.
what level do u recommend to hit before doing lab?
Also, do u have a leveling set up?
Last edited by SgArxen on Apr 5, 2018, 3:07:04 PM
SgArxen wrote:
what level do u recommend to hit before doing lab?
Also, do u have a leveling set up?

This build is my league starter for bestiary so I ended up getting the uber trials by approx level 80 iirc. normal-merciless labs i did them immediately once i got the trials. Its hard to tell when you can do the uber labyrinth since it depends on your gear as well. If you arent doing a full key run with a fully buffed izaro then you shouldn't worry at all this build destroys izaro, maybe you can attempt at level 75. Just make sure you got bleed removal and warding flasks on days izaro uses fonts.

For my leveling i used whatever rares i could get my hands on for resist and bought a cheap facebreaker and meginords. Used skirmish until i got my cruel lab nodes. then used great old ones the moment i could.
Right now is pretty late into the league you can use some better leveling gear if you can afford them. like 7 league steps for movespeed , goldrim for resists, perandus signet for some extra exp. whatever suites you best.
Someday, someone will best me. But it won't be today, and it won't be you.
Last edited by Petarded on Apr 6, 2018, 1:48:23 PM
I'm leveling this atm (72) didn't want to go spell or zerker so tryed this.
Been a blast and whooping through maps pretty easy , now my question , can you kill elder / shaper with this?

Currently with my gear , and missing bubonic trail sitting at 800 k dps in poeb , have you tryed tackle elder/ guardiands with this build?
kazzo92 wrote:
I'm leveling this atm (72) didn't want to go spell or zerker so tryed this.
Been a blast and whooping through maps pretty easy , now my question , can you kill elder / shaper with this?
Currently with my gear , and missing bubonic trail sitting at 800 k dps in poeb , have you tryed tackle elder/ guardiands with this build?

Glad you are having fun with the build. Face breakers does make act1-10 a joke.

IF you look at my Challenges for bestiary league, you can see i have done red tier elder with this character (my only character in bestiary). I am 100% certain you can do shaper with this build because i have done shaper with a totem build with less damage than this one in previous leagues.

The only reason I have not done Shaper in bestiary is because I dont have much time to play and I am only aiming for 24/40 this league. As long as you know the shaper fight, killing him should be a breeze especially with totems.

800k dps is definitely enough for shaper (I assume 800k total dps with all your totems up).

Btw I took the liberty of looking at your profile. You need to link bloodrage before your immortal call in your cast when damage taken set up.(i will be adding this detail to my guide later).
Cast when damage taken triggers skils in order of how they are linked(from top left clockwise)
so you want to link your bloodrage first so it gets casted then immortal call will proc and trigger pantheon.
Someday, someone will best me. But it won't be today, and it won't be you.
Ah thanks for the reply.

I didn't knew about the Arakaali mechanics , anyway i'm running lunaris , and giong to upgrade it asap , really like the projectile dodge + Gruthkul combo.
Hey why do u not use shield charge with a weapon swap? is it bad?
Last edited by SgArxen on Apr 7, 2018, 10:04:46 AM

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