[3.2] Chaos Orb River Revival - Selfcast Magma Orb, HC, Cheap, Everything but Uber Elder/Atziri

This build is a self-cast magma orb inquisitor that relies on additional chains to either drastically increase aoe coverage or single target damage depending on support gems. I found it a lot of fun to play and was able to kill guardians and shaper in BHC a few times without much trouble at 85-86 before falling asleep at the wheel and getting killed by an unidentified enraged strongbox.

It intentionally tries to avoid a lot of the currently popular build elements because I'm a unique special boy and there's no one else like me in the whole world. Really though, it's more fun to do things a bit off the beaten path without leaning on super expensive gear. I'm sure I'm not nearly the first person to run this build but at least it doesn't involve molten strike, totems, or juggernauts.


-Pretty cheap and only needs a couple of low-interest cheap-ish items to hit endgame

-Fairly durable and mobile - ~8.5k hp+mana with MoM by 90, whirling blades with good aps

-Flexible and customizable - 4-6 spare gem sockets, 1-2 spare curses, few required gear slots

-Good balance of speed and safety for both map clearing and boss fights

-Can pre-cast to annihilate stationary, predictable, or offscreen targets almost instantly

-Deal damage long after you're done casting, frolic freely amongst your herd of orbs

-Fairly unique playstyle that I think is really satisfying

-Self cast - I like more active playstyles but some people don't

-Not a two button build, but not super complicated either

-Can handle most individual map mods (ele reflect, no regen both require caution) but isn't suited to doing heavily buffed maps without a lot of care and slowing down. I wouldn't screw with it in hardcore.

-You can start using your endgame skillset at any point you want to and do fine, but magma orb doesn't shine until your key gear comes together at minimum in the 50s (corrupt your gloomfang)

-Limited defensive layers - Your life pool is pretty decent but you can't tank through sustained incoming damage. Almost no inherent mitigation

-Does not deal as well with highly mobile targets that want to stand on you

-Two of your three big items, a 21 magma orb and a +chain helmet enchant, may not be super easy to get. They should be relatively cheap though, because not many people want them.

-DPS does not insta-kill guardians or shaper. You can take them out fairly fast but you do have to play through the fights and use your mobility.

Main Idea

This build revolves around squeezing as much utility out of magma orb's unique chaining behavior as possible. Mostly that boils down to getting more chains, and there turns out to be a lot of effective and fun synergy with a couple of key items:

6 chains on magma orb (+3 from 21 gem, +1 gloomfang, +2 helmet) does a lot of interesting things:

-at default speed, magma orb reaches across multiple screens and lasts multiple seconds, which lets you advance through maps surrounded by a swarm of damage and/or offscreen kill a lot of mobs

-with 2x inevitability jewels, final chains have huge aoe which wipes packs and also helps single target overlap

-with gloomfang, final chains deal more than double initial damage, most of which is chaos

-at maxed slower projectiles, magma orb easily overlaps 3+ times against stationary/large targets and lasts over 6 seconds which allows you to play an almost aim-free, fire-and-forget style in arena boss fights because the area will end up saturated in orbs.


Build out life and defense in balance. You don't have any absolutely necessary keystones apart from MoM and Ele Overload, both of which should be grabbed early on. Get Dark Arts by the time you get Consuming Darks to help with dexterity and whirling blades movement speed.

Ascendancies can follow a few different orders. I'd do Instruments -> Pious Path -> Augury since the former is nice for leveling and the latter is almost entirely defense (we mostly do chaos damage from a long way off)

I'm pretty sure you could dump the Scion and Marauder areas, path to Shadow instead, and do a Life+Mana+ES build with more expensive gear and more EHP if you wanted to, but I'm not a big fan of ES myself so I haven't tried it.


The three required items are, again:

Of them, only the helmet enchant may be hard to get since most lab runners aren't going to think of it as being worth keeping while they're chasing volatile dead or molten strike money. For that same reason though, when you do find one it shouldn't be too expensive.

A level 21 magma orb gives you another chain and, obviously, more base damage. It isn't necessary but it definitely helps a lot. Cost/availability is the same situation as the helm enchant though beastcrafting has made level 21s of unpopular gems easier to find.

My gear, which at level 86 was enough to kill guardians, shaper, and generally run maps without much trouble in BHC:

As you can see most of the gear is unremarkable stats and resists. I'm not going to list out specifics for most of them because if you're looking to run a self cast character in hardcore you should already have a general idea of how to balance your defenses and dps.

Things worth mentioning:

Weapons - Consuming Dark is entirely optional. You could also use 1-2 Doryani's for more overall damage, a rare dagger for more damage or whatever crazy junk shaper/elder mods may yield, or even a shield of some sort. I like them because they're cheap, allow whirling blades, and they give us more chaos damage for leech and wither to work with. Reflect has mysteriously disappeared from 99.9% of the game but if it ever comes back, this may be more important.

Essence Worm - anger is a nice boost by itself and if you want to blow some money, there's a watcher's eye that will give up to 60% increased fire damage for running it.

Gloomfang- I didn't bother corrupting mine, but they're super cheap because almost no one wants them. For relatively little expense you could probably get yourself a +1 curse one and either save some passives or figure out a way to run three curses. Sidenote: if you're hellbent on running your endgame setup asap, a corrupted gloomfang that loses its mana regen implicit will drop its level requirement to 50-something. The life loss on hit is nearly irrelevant compared to your leech and regen even at that level.

Boots - Movement speed isn't very important since we can whirl 99% of the time. Kaom's is entirely possible but you would put yourself very tight on resists without some jewels focused toward it. I'd prefer the 120% crit enchant because ele overload is otherwise not reliable against single targets, but I didn't get around to it.

Flasks - A couple of heals, an Overflowing Chalice as a pseudo mana potion (also lets you spam everything else constantly), the rest is whatever suits you and covers debuff removals. I like Quartz and Basalt, but Silver, Stibnite, Atziri's Promise, Rumi's, etc are all viable.


Main Skill - Pierce is for mapping, slower proj for bosses. I experimented with a low level slower proj as a middle ground and it works out ok but isn't as good for either. It is way safer for mapping because it creates a denser wave of damage in front of you, but it's too slow to feel right. If you have to drop something for a 5l, controlled destruction is probably best.

Magma Orb - Conc. Effect - Cont. Destruction - Ele. Focus - Spell Echo - Pierce/Slower Proj

Movement - Whirling blades is great with an inquisitor's free attack speed. Since there are a good number of spare sockets in the build, I threw in flame dash for jumping gaps and triggering arcane surge, and a vaal grace that made high tier breaches a lot safer.

Whirling Blades - Faster Attacks - Fortify
(Optional) Flame Dash - Arcane Surge - Inc. Duration - <Some Vaal Skill>

Utility - A lot of usual suspects here. Wither is a tremendous damage booster for bosses. Stone Golem can be handy but also dies a lot. Curses are entirely up to you. Proj Weakness + Despair for dps, Enfeeble + Temp Chains for defense, I was trying out warlord's for more leech but it wasn't all that helpful in practice. You could also drop a curse and put arcane surge in its place.

CWDT-Immortal Call-<Optional>
Wither-Spell Totem-Inc Duration
Orb of Storms - Curse on Hit - <Something> - <Something>


For general mapping, cast some orbs in the direction you want to go and keep pace behind them with whirling blades. Once you get the rhythm down, you can build up a giant wave of multiple orb volleys that kills pretty much everything in your way before you even see it. It's also really satisfying. You can see it in any of the videos that aren't just boss fights. When you need to fight closer up, your orb of storms and/or wither totem can boost damage and drastically slow your targets down.

For lesser boss fights, swap in slower proj. If you can pre-cast a ton of orbs before aggroing something, you can often get a near-instant kill by setting up a slow train of orbs that land their final few chains on it right as it wakes up. Otherwise just spam and whirl around. You don't have to aim much to end up scoring a lot of hits. You can also drag faster moving bosses into your already-bouncing river of orbs.

For endgame boss fights like shaper and guardians, the strategy is mostly the same. The main thing to remember is to keep your wither totem up and focus more on dodging and moving than aiming. Target your casts closer to yourself to cover more area and you can coat most of the arena in damage. If you do have the opportunity or inclination to aim more, you want your later chains to hit because they deal more damage, so you're aiming at where the target will be in ~5 seconds, not where they are now. I'll upload some videos shortly

Stats & Screenshots

These are my stats with the gear above, not doing any gimmicky "here's my dps for the half second where I have all 30 buffs in the game active" shots. Keep in mind that for real boss dps we're getting 2-3 hits per cast with ~100% added chaos damage, wither, elemental overload, and potentially curses involved, that could be theorycrafted over 2 million in ideal conditions. Whatever the reality is, it was sufficient for everything up through shaper.

Base DPS

DPS with Attack/Cast Recently + Consecrated Ground (90% of the time in combat)

Defense on Consecrated Ground (again, pretty constant)


All deathless runs, no retries or edits involved. Shows what the build can do with a middling amount of skill and the gear listed above. I don't want to go to the trouble of digging up the elder in standard, so none of those. These are just whites, running heavily modded guardians or red maps isn't something I'd want to try in hardcore.

Minotaur + Map - Good demo of mapping style and pre-casting against a boss

Hydra Boss Only - Probably the most annoying of the guardians for this build, manage to blunder into a few big hits and come out ok

Phoenix Boss Only - Easiest of the guardians since the arena is small enough to blanket in aoe

Chimera Map + Boss - Mapping in a less open area, only occurred to me toward the end that it's easier to stand further back during the add phases and spam one wave down the middle.

Shaper Full Run - Pretty smooth except for the part where I took my headphones off to talk to someone right as a bullet hell phase was starting.
Last edited by theyaint on Apr 14, 2018, 11:24:51 AM
Last bumped on Apr 13, 2018, 10:31:38 PM

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