[3.5] Alpha and Omega, Molten Strike Raider. League Starter and End Game Finisher

Welcome to my build. Feel free to enjoy, modify, improve and comment.

This build is a molten strike raider based on synergy with raider ascendancy and heavily underrated and under used cheap unique swords for lots of attack speed, defenses, perma onslaught/phasing, tons of DPS and loads of fun.

This build is easily started at the beginning of league and starts out cheap and powerful with extreme end game scaling available with investment as the league goes on. I'll showcase both extremes in this two part guide so it will hopefully be coherent to those that play at all levels, casual or mirror tier.

Cheap league starter.
Can clear all content. Including Uber Atziri, Shaper, Uber Elder, Hall of Grandmasters
Amazing for delving.
Can run all map mods with small adjustments.
Easy minimalist playstyle.
Very tanky.
Loads of DPS from beginning to end game.
Variation available.
Can have very fast movement speed for map clear and Uber lab farming.
Can farm uber lab.
Molten Strike finally got an MTX.

Molten Strike finally got an MTX (potentially incoming nerf).
Can get expensive for optimal version.
Not the fastest zoom zoom clear speed around.

Alright. This will be a two part highlight and we'll start with the final and end game version of the build.

Passive Tree and Ascendancy
Level 93

This league im going with Avatar of the Slaughter instead of Avatar of the Veil. This isn't necessarily recommended, but it essentially trades tankiness for damage and clear speed.
I've also spec'd into Quick Recovery near the Mind over Matter keystone. Basically it trades 1% hp from 3 points off the Scion life wheel to gain 0.8% life recovery and 40% mana regeneration rate. Totally worth it.


This league im opting to run Daresso's Defiance over Kaom's Heart. This is less tanky, but more speedy and more dps. This allows me to use essentially whichever helmet i want.
Right now i have an elder helmet to give me an effective 6 link up until i am able to 6 link my armor, or buy a 6L variant. At this point i will look to replace my helmet with a rare which includes 'Molten Strike fires 2 additional Projectiles' helmet enchant.

I have also opted to not run atziri's step this league. This will make the build much easier to gather the required resistances, and with Incursion as core mechanic you can still get Spell Dodge in the boot slot.

Flasks remain the same. If using leap slam over cyclone for movement and the choice skill to ignite/crit, feel free to replace Quicksilver with Dying Sun.

Skill Gems
Skill gems relatively remain the same. They are also still a work in progress for myself.
While running a Daresso's Defiance instead of Kaom's, this will allow you to have more sockets for skill gem combinations. Feel free to experiment with choice Cast When Damage Taken set ups as well as other quality of life choices.

The biggest change is the removal of Anger support gem. I still use blasphemy enfeeble for defense, which works amazingly well, but instead of Anger i now like to use War Banner. The left over mana is a little low while also running Anger with War Banner, but feel free to use Herald of Ash or Herald of Purity along side for a bit of dps boost.
Using War Banner allows you to drop accuracy nodes in the passive tree and allocate them elsewhere.
The Adrenaline effect when placed makes a great boost in dps vs bosses or Syndicate fights as well.

Passive Tree and Ascendancy
Level 96

So this is the passive tree. I don't think a whole lot needs to be explained. This is a level 96 version of the tree so for anything of lower level refer to the 2nd section of the guide, Starter Version.
The last three passives are a full on tossup. I spec'd into the Berserker cluster for 18% attack speed because PoB calculations suggest that is the best DPS boost. Feel free to put into more hp, another jewel slot, or whatever else you may prefer.

I spec'd out of the further two life leech passives down near point blank because i didn't feel they were very necessary. I currently do not regret my decision.

One thing to note with this build is you will greatly benefit from all things projectile. More so than dual wield phys damage etc. This is why i have not spec'd into Dervish or Duality, they are just not as good per point spent than other options.

Ascendancy wise, choose in order:
Rapid Assault
Avatar of the Chase
Quartz Infusion
Avatar of the Veil

I chose these because Avatar of the Chase gives you awesome movement speed, attack speed, but most importantly an insane boost to your evasion and defenses with 25% MORE chance to evade while you have onslaught.
Avatar of the Veil was chosen over Avatar of the Slaughter for the phasing, extra dodge options, and for immunity to elemental ailments.
Slaughter will give you more DPS, but much lower defenses and more-so requires you to spend 4 more passives getting frenzy charges.


Thats right, Beltimber Blades. I got PERFECT rolls for 20-30c. You can get great rolls for 1c even at the start of a league because nobody uses these things. Well the synergy and power they provide with this build is phenomenal. We make full use out of these weapons other than Far Shot.

Your helmet is your best friend. This is what will bring this build into the next level of power. For mirror versions you're looking at having a +3 Molten Strike Projectile enchant and maybe even also +2/3 critical strike chance for socketed gems on top of it all.

Xoph's Blood. Even though i hardly ever get hit by anything, this is still best in slot mostly for Avatar of Fire. The penetration and life provided are also bonuses. Also when something does hit you and get covered in ash the DPS boost is immense.

Rings. Don't matter a whole lot. They are used to fill in resistances, as much life as you can muster, and at least one should have +16/20 life gained on hit primarily for delving. They are also cheap crafting with Essence of Hysteria (10-12c each) to get 10% of phys as extra fire. Good dps boost.

Gloves just fill in resistances with some life. Gripped gloves benefit damage.

Atziri's step are best in slot by a mile. They are also ridiculously cheap. Boot enchants are very easy to get especially since this build EASILY farms uber lab, so buy a pair without an enchant then get your desired. I usually go for pen against single target to help vs guardians, shaper, uber elder etc.

Belt. Fill in resistances and life. everything else is a bonus. I also use leather belt for the longest time, as good stat Stygian Vise can get expensive.

Body armor. BiS is Kaom's Heart. It will give us the life pool we need to soak up a hit or two. Chest slot is fully open. Do not really need the stats nor the sockets so feel free to use Queen of the Forest (as shown above) for upwards of 240% movement speed to farm low tier maps and Uber lab runs.

Total cost of my current gear is approx: 45 exalts.


These are your best options, but feel free to mix them up how you prefer. I always like to have a Cautious Eternal of Staunching as my life flask, just preference. Jade of Reflexes helps tremendously to boost our base evasion to maximize the bonus from Avatar of the Chase. The Wise Oak is the best DPS and defense boost if you can equal your resistances. It is well worth the effort.
Last flask is open, feel free to use w/e you want. I choose to use of Warding because it greatly helps me run any map mod i want. Since we're immune to elemental status ailments, have permanent onslaught and phasing this last flask slot can literally be w/e you want.


My current jewels. 2x Wildfire and any jewel with % chance to blind are required. Everything else is whatever. I use one jewel with 15% fire resistance to help sync my resistances for The Wise Oak.

This Watcher's Eye is some final end game shit. Cost 45 exalts. I got lucky and got an Anger version of Aul's Uprising which i sold for 45 exalts. Just goes to show you how far this build CAN scale into late game. I MAY try divining it for perfect stats.

Skill Gems

Swap Ancestral Call for Elemental Damage with Attacks for single target. Elemental Focus is important. You do not want to ignite with molten strike, as that is reserved for below.


Cyclone. This activates our movement speed bonus for +2 projectiles from Beltimber Blade. It also grants us fortify, usually blinds the target, usually grants us Elemental Overload, and ignites the target for -19% fire resistance AND to activate our helmets build-in Immolate. God damn, the synergy.
We can only have one ignite on a given enemy, which will be the most powerful ignite. We want to ensure our cyclone ignites so we gain combustion's bonus of -fire res, so just to be sure elemental focus is BiS with molten strike (it also is in terms of DPS anyways, so win/win).


Nothing special here. Ancestral call and w/e you want with it. I'm still unsure if Maim support will aid our molten strike, but i have it linked anyway.


Blood rage for more attack speed and frenzy charge generation. Charged dash is my preferred movement skill to get over gaps etc, ESPECIALLY in uber lab. This is also where i store my Ele dmg to attacks for easy swap into my helmet when necessary.


Lots of options and combinations available here. My preferred setup for delving, and thus i lazily keep at all times is Anger and Blasphemy Enfeeble. I also swap anger for Grace when i want to run as fast as possible, like uber lab farming or any map under tier 14.
Feel free to use Anger/HoA and self cast Proj Weakness for highest DPS setup, or Grace/Blasphemy Enfeeble for highest defense setup, or anything inbetween.

Bandits and Pantheon
Bandits: Aid Oak or Kill All. I aided oak for the 1% regen, 2% phys dmg reduction and 20% global physical damage. I may end up respec'ing into kill all. I'm slightly unsure which would be best.

Major: Soul of Lunaris. Amazing for delves, and in general. Boosting our dodge is always welcome.
Minor: Soul of Shakari. Feel free to change, but being immune to poison is HUGE when its needed, especially in delves. I also have others maxed but basically never swap around.

Path of Building

Leveling Passive Trees

I personally like to level up as molten strike. In this case i like to rush point blank and the wildfire jewel slots. By the time you get a wildfire jewel from Act 5 you'll have a slot for it, and often times enough currency to buy a 2nd which will GREATLY increase your damage and clear.

30 Points

58 Point, 1 Ascendancy

80 Point, 2 Ascendancy

103 Point, 3 Ascendancy

Final Tree

Early Leveling Gear and Gems
Since i like to play molten strike all the way through, your best bet is to start with a duelist in order to get Molten Strike and Ancestral Call immediately. Put it in your stash and start your ranger.

The best weapons are anything with high DPS and attack speed. Elemental or physical does not matter. Unique or rare does not matter, just use the best weapons you can get. Claw, Sword, Mace, Two-handed. Does not matter.
The best way to boost our DPS will be to skip out on narrow specifical DPS passives and rush straight for point blank and wildfire jewels.

Your best 3L for awhile will be molten strike, ancestral call and fill-in-the-blank. Onslaught is great to start. Added fire or chance to bleed help quite a bit as well until you're able to pick up Elemental Damage with Attacks. Run heralds until you can pick up hatred or anger.

Mid Leveling Gear
If you want to talk about leveling uniques, i don't like almost any. I think your best bet, especially starting the league, is to just get your hands on two of the best one-handed weapons you can get.

That being said, the best leveling unique would be Edge of Madness. Its scaling damage will bring you all the way until Beltimber Blades.
Lakishu's Blade is also quite doable, but the biggest issue with league starter are weapons like these are often out of your grasp, currency wise. And any currency you do find will be better off saved.

End Leveling Gear
What the fuck does this mean?
Well calm down calm down. This is where I'll touch on the gear you should be shooting for in order to farm maps all the way up until an EASY red tier, elders, unique maps etc. This is the stage you'll spend most of your time saving your money for our next topic.

Weapons: Beltimber Blades. Haven't you been paying attention?
Now, granted, im not exactly sure how expensive these are at the beginning of the league. Obviously they'll be uncommon for the first few days but again, nobody uses them. They will very soon be 1-5c. Pick them up as soon as you can afford them unless you found a really good rare which can let you ride through a little longer.

Body Armor: Personally i save up for this before ANYTHING else. What you'll want to do is save all your chaos orbs in order to buy Emperor of Purity divination cards.
Typically these go for 4-5c on the first couple days of league start. You need 7 of them. around 30c, trade them in and bam you now have a 6L armor which can easily get the correct colours for your molten strike setup.
RRRR,BB. Molten Strike, Elemental Damage with Attacks, Multistrike, Ancestral Call (Swap Added Fire), Elemental Focus, Concentrated Effect.
Now your damage will skyrocket. In Delve league i had my 6L through these cards, including a few chaos spam for stats, BEFORE act10 Kitava fight. Like WTF? Yes, seriously. This is your biggest and best improvement for its cost, and will last you until you can get a great helmet.

Helmet: Once you have your Beltimber Blades and your 6L armor rolling your Molten Strike setup, now you can save up for your helmet.
You will need an Elder helmet with Concentrated Effect and Immolate. I typically upgrade my helmet in stages, but it all depends how you're feeling. You can ride your 6L armor until you're able to get an ilvl 85 Elder helm, which could typically happen on day 4-6, or you could get a lower ilvl helmet to start.
As soon as you get a helmet, socket molten strike into there and setup your combustion cyclone. Now its time to save for w/e chest you want to run. an unlinked QoTF will typically go for 30c but will greatly speed up your farming. Kaom's Hearts will fall to 2-2.5 exalts soon.

What/How to Optimize Gear
Well the time at when you'll be taking this into consideration is around level 80-85. I fully suspect you should have your Merc lab complete, mapping and working towards your Uber lab.

At this point you should just be mapping your heart out, and abusing any league mechanic that is in place at the time. Delving (the time this build was released) comes VERY easily for this build. You will just not get hit.

Run the chaos recipe as best you can. Save up those precious pennies. Since we do not require a 6 link armor, or need to spend any fusings at all this will be a main source of income for you early on. Every chaos counts.

All depending on league mechanics and gear availability, typically your first big purchase will either be an essence of horror enchanted elder helmet like the one seen in finished gear, or a Xoph's Blood for typically 10 exalts. I bought my current helmet for 7 exalts and landed the enchant (not useful for this build, but BiS for soulthirst MS builds, so worth about 35ex currently).
You do not need to worry about a molten strike enchantment. They are extremely expensive, and we don't require it because of our swords.
You can decide to stick with your 6L armor to get a xoph's blood first then start saving for the helmet, but this aspect will depend on a bunch of different things. Mainly league mechanics and how available certain pieces of gear are.
I will say, i think the helmet is the most important part, as this frees up your chest armor to run w/e you want for certain situations and scenarios.

Feel free to farm uber lab. This build does it very quickly and easily. With permanent phasing and the swords giving us more evasion, ALA more movement speed with QoTF, uber lab completions come quick.
Depending how fast you can get to uber lab and start farming it, it is probably the best goldmine you can do. Quality gems, enchants, upwards of t13 map drops, currency. Abuse this. It will fund your build. Atziri runs can also be very profitable. Don't hit the mirror clone.

The rest will come with time. The other gear pieces basically do not matter. As long as you keep your resistances capped you'll easily be able to optimize gear as the currency flows.

The starter cost on this build in order to do Shaper end game stuff is seriously looking at about an exalt - 100 chaos, IF that. The end game version of this build is only what i've been able to work up to. I've been farming t16 maps and deep delves well before that.

Thats RIGHT! This build can also go a two-hander route. Ngamahu's Flame to be exact.
It is less overall life, less overall attack speed and less overall DPS, but actually higher damage per ball. The built in fire penetration works great.
This frees up a more necessary xoph's blood, as you do not need Avatar of Fire with ngamahu's build in conversion. You will have 100% conversion. However the lacking projectiles makes a molten strike helmet enchantment feel mandatory. Its a trade-off.

This is still a very solid build, and it is what i used to get 40/40 challenges in Harbinger league. It will melt the content, but i feel especially for delving that the added projectiles and evasion better suite the Beltimber Blade version. This is, however, a definite option.

Passive Tree
Final Tree

Pick up some two-hander attack speed because it feels majorly necessary with the much slower ngamahu's flame.

Exact same gear, except with a Ngamahu's Flame!!

Skill Gems
Exact same skill gems, except with a Ngamahu's Flame!!

Okay so a Cyclone/Fortify setup is still ideal just to gather the buff, but now you can socket Combustion, Blind, Inc/Crit, and Maim into your Ngamahu's Flame to give yourself those bonuses to Molten Strike, with Molten Burst! It works out quite well, especially running combustion.

While you can setup Ngamahu's Flame to have a DPS setup, it is best to use 2-3 sockets for support so you can free up some slots, now that you won't have 2x weapon to run auras and such.

Well that concludes my versions of what i like to think is one of the best league starters that can be played. It starts out strong and super cheap, and has a very high ceiling for scaling to finish as a very solid all-around build.

Any questions and comments feel free to leave. I will be updating this build as leagues continue and updates feel necessary. Thank you for your time reading, and if you try the build i hope you enjoy the playstyle!

Here will be a few videos of how i play. The first three are of a map cluster. It displays how i typically roll my maps and play through them. Since sextants last for 3 maps, here is a showcase of three maps.

Map #1
Map #2
Map #3

Now will be a quick display of how this character delves. Basically i make a video showing what im doing with my sulphite.

Delve Part 1
Delve Part 2

I can add a video of Shaper later on, but probably not of uber elder as i don't want to do the guardians and lose my shaper cluster.
Last edited by xMustard on Dec 21, 2018, 9:46:48 PM
Last bumped on Jun 12, 2019, 6:52:59 PM

I understand not everybody will have multiple tens of exalts to get the helmet im running, or the crazy watcher's eye jewel i have, or even a xoph's blood. So here i will demonstrate how powerful the build still is without all of these things.


As you can see from the gear, i will not be using a kaom's heart with damage corruption (-63% inc dmg). Nor will i be using The Wise Oak flask because my resistances will be out of whack (-15% pen). I will not even be running Anger as an aura at all, meaning i'll be missing the Anger damage as well as the damage from my double Anger Watcher's Eye jewel (-loads of damage). I will also just straight up remove the Xoph's Blood amulet. Im replacing it with just the cheapest highest life amulet i can buy, which i did for 10c.


Path Of Building


As you can see, really the only difference is DPS. and DPS on an extremely budget version is fully capable of easily clearing the game. Better gear will just make things faster as your DPS gets better.
This build can be done in under 1 exalt investment.
Last edited by xMustard on Oct 19, 2018, 2:36:19 AM
How deep has this char got into the delves?
Phase 1: Make D3

Phase 2: ?

Phase 3: Profit
We need videos )
TheFalls212 wrote:
How deep has this char got into the delves?

no idea how deep it can go. i've gotten to 350 so far and its still a supreme cake walk. i just don't get hit.
the hardest area i've been through (tho still completely deathless and easy) has been an area with 100% damage as added fire, 100% damage as added cold, crit/crit multi and added accuracy/unlucky dodge.

sure, i got hit more often, but its still easy. i fully suspect you can easily get to 600 delve.

im more limited to sulphite farm then i am delve mods or anything. i'll keep playing delve and i'll probably just try to get as deep as i can instead of going sideways anymore, but it'll take the rest of the league to really answer this question properly, if i could even do so

the damage is more than enough and forever will be, so if i ended up taking more damage than i was comfortable with i'd just stop using anger and start using grace for higher evasion
Last edited by xMustard on Oct 8, 2018, 1:35:22 PM
Stupid question: How to sustain HP?
this build has life leech (passive tree), life gain on hit (ring), good life regen (passive tree) and the life flask.
I think I'm missing something on the blind effect mechanic, I'm only seeing a 6% chance on the jewel, how are enemies always blind?
Highest Character: Level 92 86% Block/Static Strike Champion - Abyss League
I get bored of the grind around 90, probably won't ever get a higher character.
enemies are always blind because of the 6% chance. anything that gets close enough get hit by so many molten balls so fast that its blind.

you can also socket blind with cyclone, which i have done for awhile before getting that blind jewel. but consider the gem is only 10% chance the jewel being 6% chance isn't the biggest difference. cyclone also hits extremely often which really helps land those ignites, crits and blinds before dedicating to your dps against mobs that merit it.

i have been thinking about spec'ing into arrow dancing, since the blind doesn't affect things at range, nor may they be affected by the blasphemy enfeeble (lowered accuracy). this could be worth it.

super defensive setups are available if the delve level demands it as well. you can spec out of some damage or life, both of which we have plenty right now, in order to pick up the curse effect nodes (again enfeeble). can get an enfeeble curse effect helm enchant, that would be pretty massive coupled together.

also in delve you can easily give up the quicksilver flask for a basalt, and even the sulphur flask for another defensive setup as well. there are a lot of options available.
I love how you're willing to explain everything to the clueless.

Thank you.
Highest Character: Level 92 86% Block/Static Strike Champion - Abyss League
I get bored of the grind around 90, probably won't ever get a higher character.

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