[3.3] "Permanent" Vaal Righteous Fire Occultist CI

Vaal righteous fire has been changed in 3.3 to be a damage over time effect on the player that deals damage based on a one time life and ES cost. Thanks to the new flask Soul Catcher (or even better, but far more expensive Soul Ripper) along with enough skill effect duration we can chain VRF with itself, gaining the required souls for another cast during the final ~5 seconds of it's duration.

This build is definitely not the cheapest compare to a life based build, but if you can get over the initial cost (for me it was ~2 exalts) then this build is very robust and should be able to beat all endgame content available.

The Premise:
So CI cannot use regular Righteous Fire due to it turning off at 1 health, but Vaal RF only consumes a flat amount related to your max life and ES and it doesn't kill you. It's damage scaling is also quite obscene (dealing a base of 54% your max ES as damage per second). With enough skill effect duration on tree and from Increased Duration Support we can get VRF up to ~10.5-11 seconds long, and with flask effect on tree when we use soul catcher the soul prevention duration drops to ~5.5 seconds, giving us 5 entire seconds to gather the required souls in order to chain VRF.

The nice part about this build is that because ES is not very popular anymore a lot of the gear is quite cheap, with the most expensive being a 6L rare chest with a good amount of ES. We also make use of several cheap uniques, which helps to bring the price down. I would not recommend this for a league start but it would be very well suited for a second build once you make a decent amount of currency.

Path of Building:

Videos (including a video guide):
Kill all for +2 skill points

Skill Tree:
So the skill tree progression is similar to most other CI builds where you do not want to go for CI as fast as possible, the leveling order I went for (you could likely find better) went something like this.

Level 30 Tree:

Level 50 Tree:

Level 68 Tree (after switching to CI):

Final Tree(currently level 86):

The most important pieces are the keystones (Chaos Innoculation, Zealot's Oath, Elemental Overload, and Elemental Equilibrium). EO and EE are huge boosts to the burning dps and are triggered through either shield charge or orb of storms (or even tempest shield).

All points past the final tree will likely just go into filling out the energy shield wheels we are already in (starting with all 6% points)

Occultist was the ascendancy of choice due to the powerful ES nodes as well as curse nodes. The order is pretty simple, go for ES nodes for the first two labs, then curse nodes for the final 2. You can also go for curse nodes first for higher DPS, but the ES nodes give more quality of life in my opinion (the regen and stun immunity helps leveling).

Barely matters honestly. Just don't go with brine king because you are already unstunnable thanks to occultist ascendancy nodes.

The Gear:


A nice ES chest, I aimed for over 500 ES personally. You do not necessarily need the 6th link as VRF is already insane without it, I'll talk more about what to cut for a 5L in the gems section.

You could theoretically use a unique chest instead but you will lose out on ES and res in the process, however Incandescent Heart is a safe defensive option (effectively reducing ele damage taken by 25%), but you blank basically all the mods with this build aside from the ele damage taken as chaos.

Helpful Uniques:

Bated Breath is a very cheap belt that adds tons of ES, very good for starting out and I don't even really know when you would want to replace it.

Apep's Supremacy, you can use this or the unupgraded version (Apep's Slumber) as your starter ES shield. It has a good amount of ES and several very good mods (+3% all max res is crazy strong, and 0 damage from bleed thanks to CI makes for basically no surprise deaths)

Sin Trek are some good starter boots, definitely replaceable once you can get your hands on some good rare ones.

Brightbeak is cheap and useful for increasing your clear speed (and maybe even balancing resists). You can also try out a balefire if you want better single target dps.


Really the only two I would consider required. Soul Ripper is definitely what you would shoot for but it is much more expensive. The most important stat for your Soul Catcher is the reduction in duration of soul gain prevention (goes up to 40%). Rumi's would also be decent for defense.


Atziri's Reign is a fairly important jewel as long as you are using Soul Catcher, adding skill effect duration to VRF. Try to get 2 as close to 20% as possible.

Another unique jewel to potentially look into is Conqueror's Potency for curse effect, aura effect, and flask effect. All 3 are relevant to the build.

Rare jewels should have % maximum energy shield and % burning damage.

My Current Gear:

The Gems:

VRF: Vaal Righteous Fire - Increased Duration - Efficacy - Burning Damage - Increased Area of Effect - Elemental Focus
Cut either elemental focus or increased aoe if you are on a 5L, the duration gems are the most important and ele focus is the lowest dps.

Scorching Ray: Scorching Ray - Efficacy - Burning Damage - Elemental Focus

Shield Charge: Shield Charge - Faster Attacks - Fortify

Curses: Blasphemy - Despair - Flammability

CWDT setup: Cast When Damage Taken (level 1) - Immortal Call (level 3) - Tempest Shield (level 7) - Increased Critical Strikes or Increased Duration

Orb of Storms: Orb of Storms - Increased Critical Strikes - Faster Casting

Also run Discipline wherever you can fit it.

You can also run flame dash if you can find a slot for it just to get over cliff walls and gaps.

I haven't done a lot of endgame this league yet (I like making builds more than playing them) so I don't have any red maps or guardians down (I did kill a Tier 8 elder which felt totally fine), however just going off of PoB and seeing what this build does so far in yellows I think it is fair to say that it can down all content in the game. The one downside to bossing, however, is that you will need to use scorching ray (far lower dps than VRF) to build souls before you can really do enough DPS to feel good, so for that reason I would not exactly recommend it. If I do down guardians/shaper I will update this post with the videos.

Bossing update: It seems like without modifications this build probably can't actually beat the hardest bosses (shaper should still be fine), doing a tier 10 elder was basically impossible once I got into the final phase after saving shaper, the dps just isn't there to clean the adds up unless VRF is on and it seems like they don't actually grant souls (I'll have to test further, but I could chain VRF during the portal phase and was constantly soul starved after the portals were gone). So red elder is probably possible with top end gear and good gameplay but I highly doubt you could take down uber elder without going heavy SR.

If you have any questions or if I missed anything, just leave a reply and I'll try to get to it ASAP.
Last edited by UberGoose on Jun 27, 2018, 6:25:41 PM
Last bumped on Jul 4, 2018, 2:47:02 PM
Does Soul Cather increas VRF's damage?
Karkesh wrote:
Does Soul Cather increas VRF's damage?

Yes? Why wouldnt it?
Last edited by Hydrotalcid on Jun 17, 2018, 7:47:16 PM
What about cursing yourself with a super decked out Temp Chains to increase the Vaal RF duration by a massive amount?
Hows this build going for you? How does it handle bosses? Just got a max roll Soul Ripper might try something similar.
cubagoodinjr wrote:
Hows this build going for you? How does it handle bosses? Just got a max roll Soul Ripper might try something similar.

It feels great for mapping (you literally just shield charge and mobs instantly die) and the bossing is amazing when VRF is actually up, but getting the souls for the bosses definitely makes it clunky. If you really want to do some bossing with it then you could always swap the links for VRF and SR (though SR would want different link colors) so you have a 6L scorching ray and basically just use VRF as a cooldown for it.
Never played a RF build before. What's good about this variation?
toiletdrake wrote:
Never played a RF build before. What's good about this variation?

Far higher damage and no constant degen are the big ones, also being immune to chaos damage is especially nice for this league.
Hope to see this build in the Build of the Week series :)
Did you level up using vrf and scorching Ray?

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