[3.5] Armageddon Ray - Scorching Ray Totems + Armageddon Brand Mines Hierophant - Budget High DPS

[3.5] Armageddon Ray - Scorching Ray Totems + Armageddon Brand Mines - Budget AB MoM EO EE Runebinder

Hello everyone! This is my first build guide so please be easy on me.
A quick preamble about me: I'm kind of an on-and-off player. As a result, I've never really had the time to gather much currency - and as a result I play budget builds.
I dislike spamming flasks, and I like playing totems where I can distance myself from the action and focus on dodging.
I supposedly have ~500 hours on PoE as logged by Steam, but a lot of those hours were spent creating a ton of builds that failed in some way or other before act 10.

Build Conception and Concept

Path of Building link:

In short, this:


Browsing around on the new 3.5 passive skill tree, there's a lot of damage that adds to both totems and brands. I'd played scorching ray totems before and I liked their playstyle (and very nice damage), but brands had gotten me hooked. Therefore, I set out to create a lovechild of both totems and brands - hence Armageddon Ray.

Here's what the build does:

40% MoM for damage mitigation
Ancestral Bond + Runebinder (who said you can't take both?)
Elemental Overload
Elemental Equilibrium (from Malachai's Artifice)
Sign of Purpose
-93% Fire resist stripping without curses (24% from Scorching Ray, 19% from Combustion support, 50% from EE)

How do we deal damage through Ancestral Bond? Slap Armageddon Brand onto a Remote Mine - now it's the mine doing damage, not us! A bonus effect is that we are now reflect immune, and Remote Mine is also quite a good support (49% more damage).
About brands and mines - after playing around more with it, I actually think mines are quite good as a support since they allow you to cast all your brands at once; the mines also cast brands from a range.

About DPS calculations:
Sign of Purpose makes enemies take 20% increased damage due to Runebinder's 2x brand attachment; PoB doesn't calculate this for either Armageddon Brand nor Scorching Ray.
PoB also doesn't seem to calculate Armageddon Brand's damage correctly from the 12% more damage from Ritual of Awakening + 4 totems.
I don't think PoB calculates the -19% fire res effect for Scorching Ray DPS due to it needing to be ignited by Armageddon Brand Orb of Storms.

Pros / Cons

-High damage output
-Very cheap (can get started with a couple chaos)
-Safe playstyle due to totems and 40% MoM
-Reflect Immune
-Can switch up between totem and mine/brand playstyles on the fly (if that's your thing)
-So far, no problems with Syndicate encounters/safehouses

-Damage may fall off towards endgame (I haven't tested yet)
-Totem and mine playstyle: Requires a 'startup' time
-You can get reckless with Brand Recall and running into packs
-Can be very clunky to play, especially at lower levels
-Balefire isn't available until level 60
-Tooltip dps isn't accurate, and PoB dps isn't accurate either
-Brand counter icon seems a little bugged currently (no gameplay impact)

The issue with totems and mines is that you have no instant dps, so don't expect top tier clear speed.

Your fastest dps comes by:
1: Brand Recall (armageddon brand delay only)
2: Armageddon Brand (Mine lay delay, armageddon brand delay).
3: Scorching Ray Totems (Totem cast delay, scorching ray start delay, scorching ray damage ramp-up delay)

However I summon totems first before laying mines for extra safety.

Gear Selection


Most Important Unique:

Martyr of Innocence gives us an absolutely insane amount of armageddon brand damage due to the added fire damage and 100% increased fire damage. I wouldn't count on the 15% penetration on block since most of the time we want to avoid being hit as much as possible.
Martyr of Innocence is the equivalent of a +3 Staff with ~140% increased spell/fire damage for this build. (when calculating Armageddon Brand damage)
It cost me 15c to get, plus another 10c to 5-link (although as of Jan 22 prices have dropped to around 5-10c).

Part of what makes this build cheap and not cost a couple/few ex is that you can run a 6L Armageddon Brand in your chest piece. It still benefits immensely from the staff despite not being socketed in the staff itself.

Other Important Uniques / Items:

Malachai's Artifice

A malachai's artifice + lightning golem lets us proc EE (Elemental Equilibrium) on bosses - a very large damage boost for a cost of 1-2c.
Extra cast speed from lightning golem is another cherry on top for us.

'Place an Additional Mine' Helm

The only important thing here is the 'Place an Additional Mine' shaper mod, which is a huge quality of life improvement - it allows us to reach max brands in half as many mine lays.
The +3% crit rate for proccing EO (Elemental Overload) from Orb of Storms is not necessary, it's just nice to have. Proccing ignites from Orb of Storms is not an issue since Combustion gives nearly 50% ignite chance in addition to always igniting on crits.
I managed to get this for a steal of 2c, then I just socketed and linked it myself.

Six-link Chest

A six-link chest gives a nice boost to your Armageddon Brand damage. If you can't afford one, a 5-L works too.
Go for life and resists - and go for an ES-based chest or at the very least an ES/evasion or ES/armor based chest to roll the 5 blue / 1 green sockets needed.

Nice-to-haves / Testing:

Essence Worm

Essence worm gives us Herald of Ash and allows us to run a Clear Mind jewel, also freeing up reserved mana for 0% reservation at the cost of resists.
The setup involving Clear Mind costs around 20c, so if you're going budget or want more life/resists then you can drop this, and opt for more life/resists with a free ring slot.

Dance of the Offered

Dance of the Offered essentially gives us free permanent Onslaught - 20% cast speed and movement speed. It goes away if we hit low mana so I'd suggest adding some extra mana to balance out the MoM setup.
It's a cheap 1c, but it does lower our mana regen slightly.

Super-budget / Tankier Build for Less DPS:


Balefire is an amazing(ly cheap) weapon that grants a level 25 scorching ray - it's between the damage of a 5-link and 6-link scorching ray for the price of 1c, but also allows us to run a shield for more survivability.
However, the resulting armageddon brand damage is much lower compared to using Martyr of Innocence.
A high cast speed modifier is nice since it also affects the hit rate of your brands; the life, mana recovery on kill, and increased scorching ray length is just a cherry on top.

A shield to consider:

+3% max res and extra life makes the build somewhat tankier, and you can hit permanent onslaught for 2 more chaos and a couple jewel slots. Plus, you can run Shield Charge + Fortify + Faster Attacks for more tankiness!

I thus present to you choices:
A: Use Ahn's Heritage, 2x Fragility jewels, + Shield Charge/Fortify/Faster Attacks. This grants you permanent onslaught and tankiness from Fortify, letting you drop Dance of the Offered for more resists.
B: Use a rare shield (or Ahn's Heritage if you wish), Shield Charge/Fortify/Faster Attacks, + Perseverance belt. This grants you Fortify and Onslaught on hit with Shield charge, letting you drop Dance of the Offered.
C: Use any shield and keep Dance of the Offered for permanent onslaught, and use Shield Charge for Fortify (optionally).

I haven't tested the shield charge/Fortify setup, but it should work although you may want to be careful since this build wants to be at a range.

You can drop Essence worm + Clear Mind (considering you're going super-budget you probably already have) if need be - remember you can drop Dance of the Offered if you're getting onslaught through your shield or in some other way.

I run 2 life, Atziri's Promise, and 2 mana because I like a large safety net.

Two flasks to consider: The Wise Oak, and a Sulfur Flask.
Witchfire brew is not worth running since it only augments Scorching Ray DPS, ignite from Armageddon Brand, and ignite from Orb of Storms,

All other equips are just rares
Things to look for in rares:
Fire and Cold res
Spell/Fire Damage
Cast Speed
Mana (to balance out life/mana ratio for 40% MoM)
Minions deal X% increased damage (due to Spiritual Aid)

Gem Links:

Scorching Ray setup in 5L/6L Martyr of Innocence Staff:
-Scorching Ray
-Spell Totem support
-Multiple Totems support
-Burning Damage support
-Elemental Focus support
-Efficacy support (drop if using 5-L)

If using Balefire:
-Spell Totem support
-Multiple Totems support
-Burning Damage support

Note that getting this combination of colours should be very easy and only take a few chromes.

Consider running Shield Charge-Fortify-Faster Attacks if using Balefire.

Why Multiple Totems support?
12% more damage due to Ritual of Awakening instead of 6% more damage with 2 totems.
Also, each totem stacks its own Scorching Ray debuff, which makes getting up to the cap of -24% fire resistance much faster (even though every totem has its own cap of 8 Scorching Ray debuff stacks; the damage is about the same at 2 vs 4 totems).
It's also safer to play if one pair of totems get AoE'd down, and faster to map with.

Armageddon Brand setup in body armour:
-Armageddon Brand
-Remote Mine support
-Immolate support
-Controlled Destruction support
-Concentrated Effect support
-Trap and Mine Damage support

Orb of Storms setup (in boots/helmet/gloves): (Procs EO and Combustion)
-Orb of Storms
-Increased Critical Strikes support
-Faster Casting support
-Combustion support

This is currently socketed in my helmet and as a result makes it supported by remote mine.
This makes it a bit clunkier than it needs to be (since mine laying time is much longer than orb of storms cast time with faster casting).
I would suggest putting this in another piece of gear (the only reason why I have it in the helmet is due to the +3% critical strikes that isn't all that necessary).

Flame Dash setup (in boots/helmet/gloves): (Procs Arcane Surge)
-Flame Dash
-Faster Casting
-Arcane Surge (Level 7)

Malachai's Artifice: (Procs EE)
-Lightning Golem

Essence Worm:
Herald of Ash. If you're not running Essence worm, tack this on elsewhere.

Vaal Righteous Fire (in boots/helmet/gloves): For when you need even more damage to melt bosses
Vaal Righteous Fire

Brand Recall is a must, you are playing with brands after all.

Bandits, Ascendancy, Pantheon

Kill them all

1) Pursuit of Faith
2-3) Sign of Purpose / Ritual of Awakening.
It doesn't matter too much, although Ritual of Awakening gives you nice regen and greatly enhances totem placement speed, whereas sign of purpose gives you a chunk of single target dps.
4) Divine Guidance

Major: Brine King to avoid chain stuns
Minor: Any (I prefer Ralakesh, you can switch depending on your needs/preferences)

Passive Tree:


Note that there is definitely more damage and jewel sockets that could be picked up in the tree if you like. I decided to pick up more damage, life, and mana at the expense of jewel sockets.

Leveling Guide:
I used Malachai's Artifice to level due to the incredible damage - I just slapped on a flame totem to it.
Use freezing pulse up to level 12, then switch to Arc/Storm Brand. Also, don't forget to grab a Scorching Ray gem from Nessa.

Head over to Runebinder / Ancestral Bond first. Depending on your playstyle, choose runebinder or ancestral bond, or if you're a masochist, both.
I recommend runebinder due to how well storm brand plays.

Anyhow, start heading over to the witch side of the tree, grabbing the fire wheel and the life below it, and head for Volatile Mines. Do not pick up Explosive Runes, it's not worth it at early levels. Volatile mines is a big quality of life improvement.
When you've obtained Volatile Mines, start linking Storm Brand / Armageddon Brand to Remote Mine. It'll take some time to get used to playing brands with mines.
You don't need to pick up the +1 to placed mines. That's just to get all 6 brands active after you've picked up all your increases to brand limit near endgame.

At this time, you should be able to grab your first ascendancy passive.

Then from there, grab Mind over Matter and the mana nodes behind it, then navigate down to the Scion Life wheel.
I would advise not to grab Explosive Runes and Shamanistic Fury until later, since there are other nodes that scale both scorching ray and armageddon brand (fire wheel, Spiritual Aid, Celestial Judgement/Punishment).

Act 10 Kitava Kill with Balefire/Ahn's Heritage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrL7p7S5H5M
(I made some pretty dumb mistakes)

Thank you for taking your time to look at this build - constructive criticism is greatly appreciated, especially since I'm still not at mid/high tier maps yet. But I do have high hopes.

V1.1: Added Martyr of Innocence staff, chest piece
V1.2: Moved Combustion from Armageddon Brand to Orb of Storms (removing Increased AoE from Orb of Storms), added Concentrated Effect. Lightened colour on gem links. Slightly changed passive tree, biased towards Armageddon Brands, added picture of passive tree. Added Vaal Righteous Fire, Atziri's Promise flask.
Last edited by brookie2664 on Jan 22, 2019, 2:49:31 PM
Last bumped on Jan 29, 2019, 1:46:08 PM
super nice build, Im starting a new character immediatly to try it. thx a lot
Since i'm making a very similar build cept going a CI route and some variations to EE apllication and defensive layers wanted to let ya know the exact cause of the counter bug. It only occurs with brand recall. if you lay mines without recall it stays true to the count. Sadly makes it very difficult to utilize brand mines without it. But just wanted to let ya know whats causing it. already submitted a bug report with pictures and sent in a video to GGG so hopefully we will see a fix soon. Below is for those who are wanting to know the bug. just look at the counter. In that picture i'm only level 35
Last edited by FateProtocol on Jan 20, 2019, 1:10:32 PM

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