[3.5] Betrayal - RF AoF Bladefall Chieftain

Hello Everyone.

This build Fierious Blades uses Bladefall with 100% conversion into fire damage and honest righteous fire to boost the spell damage.

Shaper Kill Video

Path of Building link: https://pastebin.com/mz8XBb74


+ End content viable (Shaper, Uber Atziri, Uber Elder)
+ Overall high Defense:
+7.5k life with 8% life regeneration/sec
+7 endurance charges + 5k Armor
+85% fire resist
+net +10% chaos resist
+ High map clear speed
+ Relatively cheap gear and league starter. All cheap except the 6L chest.


- The dps is not crazy high (not over a million). The map clear speed isn't crazy high either (e.g. no off screen kills)
- Problems with many map mods but it can run most of them except elemental reflect.

Main Offense

We use chieftain to utilize righteous fire and boost our blade fall damage because chieftain offers some life regeneration a high amount of which is necessary to sustain righteous fire.

As Ngamahu ascendancy boosts our dps by granting extra fire damage and already converts 50% of physical into fire, it is natural to take Avatar of Fire and achieve 100% fire conversion. This is important because Hinekora ascendancy boosts only the fire damage but not the physical damage. Moreover, fire damage (but not the physical damage) is further magnified by the Elemental Overload keystone which increases our dps with little investment (boots enchant). Note that increases to physical damage or fire gain from physical damage are still applied and boost our dps even when we have 100% physical into fire conversion.

All these damage gains can be misleading and overestimated by new players because we now need to reduce monsters' fire resistance to effectively deal high damage in the end. We accomplish this reduction in various ways (fire penetration gem, combustion, scorching ray + spell totem).

Bladefall is a ranged spell which has unique area of effect mechanics. Unlike other aoe skills, bf's single target damage suffers from increased aoe and benefits from less aoe because a single cast creates 5 volleys and a single target will be hit by more volleys when each of the volleys covers less area. Of course, this depends on the targets size. The bosses tend to be big and we can assume that they are hit by more than a single volley. This mechanic is beneficial for us as we can skip all the increased aoe passives in the tree and concentrated effect gem empowers the spell more than usual.

Main Defense

Maxing to 7 endurance charges is our priority as we get additional life regeneration and dps boost in addition to the ordinary physical mitigation. It is easy to get and sustain 7 endurance charges in maps but hard in boss fights where we are left with enduring cry to increase the number of charges slowly one by one over time. We curse enemies with warlord's mark mainly to sustain our mana as we already have life leech and endurance charge gain from the ascendancy.

Skill Gems

6-link: Bladefall + Add. Fire Dmg. + Fire Pen. + Spell Echo + Ele. Focus + Spell Cascade/Conc. effect

Use spell cascade in maps and conc. effect against bosses

4-link: Armageddon Brand + Combustion + Curse on Hit + Warlord's Mark

A very versatile setup. The curse is simultaneously applied with a damage skill which lowers monsters' fire resistance. We use ele. focus instead of combustion in our 6-link to achieve higher dps and let our auxiliary armageddon skill to lower the fire resist instead. Moreover, armageddon hits often which is important not only to sustain elemental overload but also to keep bosses covered in ash.

4-link: Flame Dash + Faster Casting + Arcane Surge + Increased Duration

Another versatile setup where our movement skill boosts our damage. Note that arcane surge is "NOT" at level 20 but at level 11 instead so that two casts of flame dash procs arcane surge.

4-link: Enlighten (3) + (Vaal) Purity of Fire + Herald of Ash + Herald of Purity

We don't have any reduced mana reservation from the tree but instead, we have a lot of reduced mana costs ( 23% ) where some of them boost our life also. With such a high reduction, we usually sustain our mana with leech granted by the warlord's mark. We still need to carry a mana flask though to replenish our mana from time to time. I don't really use the vaal purity of fire and it may even reduce dps (according to path of builder).

3-link: Spell Totem + Scorching Ray + Faster Casting

Even though this is an effective 3-link setup to reduce bosses or troubling monsters fire resistance, it is not used often. Our first priority is to cast armageddon to curse bosses and acquire mana leech. Our second priority is to gain endurance charges with enduring cry. As we need to sustain some dps with bladefall in addition to those two previous skills (and possibly some flame dash casts also), we don't always get a chance to cast a totem. Also, this totem setup is not very reliable as the totem can die easily. However, it helps and can still be effectively used with a good game play.

Others: (Vaal) Rigtheous fire, Enduring Cry, Portal

I've never dared to try vaal righteous fire but it should be useful.


The build uses several uniques to the effect:

This shield is necessary to sustain righteous fire. Its legacy version is stronger with 8% additional fire res. and it is possible to replace it with Saffell's Frame instead. I've been conservative here and stuck to this standard choice.

This gloves is a large dps kicker. It yields about 18-19% more damage. It is like turning our 6-link into a 7-link with the extra iron will support gem (although with 1/0).

A bit expensive unique which cost me around 40 chaos early in the betrayal league. It hits several birds with a single stone in this build. Its intelligence supply enables us to equip the previous unique gloves. Its dexterity supply enables us to use the dexterity gem bladefall. Our passive tree wanders around near chieftain, templar, duelist and witch with mostly strength and intelligence passives but little dexterity passives. This amulet takes care all of the dexterity problem. Its strength supply boosts our life and also the damage thanks to the above gloves. Also, the chieftain ascendancy grants 10% more strength which works well with this amulet. All in all, we effectively use all the attributes massively granted by this unique amulet!

Another slightly expensive unique, around 40 chaos. Not necessary though until we get a 6-link chest. I've planned to use two of these rings originally but using only one now. I've wanted some chaos res. on my other ring as chaos res. is more important than ever in 3.5 (and also, CI is stronger than ever). Still, a single Kaom's Way does the job well. It makes our endurance charges even more useful (in contrast to using immortal call) and it makes us more tanky.

How can we ever achieve 7.5k life without this beast? Even cloak of flame which should work well with high fire resistance pales in comparison. Our six link setup seems best for this build and it is easy to achieve 2R1G3B colors on this chest. Use tabula rasa until you get a 6-link belly.

This sceptre is cheap and grants good damage boost. I was able to upgrade it myself with a good rare sceptre drop.

The rest of the gear should be all decent rares. Look for high life, armour and resistances and movement speed on boots. The ascendancy and purity of fire completely cap our fire resistance and all we need to cap are lightning and cold resistances. It is hard or expensive to boost our fire spell damage with the rest of gear unless we pick some special corrupted items or elder or shaper items. I've bought my rare gear cheaply early in the league after I 6-linked my belly (with over 3k fusings :(( my worst record was about 1.3k fusings before). My rare belt dates back to a lucky quest reward in act 10.

Jewels: Bladefall doesn't have any threshold jewel. Look for good rare jewels each of which boosts life. There are a lot of good mods: increased spell damage, fire damage, global physical damage, area damage or cast speed. Increased cast speed and increased damage from jewels have very similar boosts but their prices varied greatly early in the league in absurd amounts. I think that jewels with cast speed were the much cheaper ones.

Enchantments: Helmet enchantments are hard to get by and a large luxury but not the gloves and boots enchants. The boots enchant "120% increased Critical Strike Chance if you haven't Crit Recently" makes a very big difference. Before that, EO was not always up even in maps when I killed dozens of monsters. It gets even worse in boss fights where we hit less often. This boot enchant together with extra armageddon hits ensures that EO is usually active during boss fights.

I've thought my current gloves enchant commandment of fury is good enough but its damage is actually horribly low. Commandment of Blades should be the best enchant and it should improve the map clear speed.

My current gear

Passive Tree

Level 92 Passive Tree

Bandits: Side with Oak as it grants both life regeneration and also increases bf damage.

We get a lot of life regeneration passives to sustain RF. Fortunately, we pick a lot of life along the way and also reduced mana costs passives. The keystones elemental overload and avatar of fire are easy to reach. The remaining passives are used for +3 endurance charges, 5 x jewel slots and some useful keystones with intelligence or dexterity bonuses.


I've mostly used the following flasks in maps or even against shaper:

When a map has troubling curses like temporal chains I use this flask instead to negate the curses:

Troublesome Map Mods

When a map has a negative maximum resists or reduced life & mana regeneration mods, simply turn off the righteous fire and then, the map can be cleared. The no leech maps can also be run as we have two distinct ways to recover life & mana: leech & regeneration. In either case, a single mana flask ameliorates these issues. By the same token, we can also run hexproof maps as we need the curse only to sustain mana but we can use the flask instead. The only maps we cannot run are with both no leech & no regeneration. Also, ele. reflect maps are not doable. They are still not safe to run even when we swap Kaom's Way with the sibyl ring, pantheon with 25% reduced reflected damage and fire flask. This failure is really disappointing because we've 85% fire res which should mitigate the reflected damage even further but all these mitigation methods are unfortunately not enough.

Additional Notes

1) This build has been created and enjoyed with the end content bosses in mind. I wouldn't have created any of this build guide without the above shaper kill video at hand.

2) This build is an improvement over my failed build in standard. The core motivation was: how can I create an end content viable & cheap RF spell caster? In my first try in standard, I implemented elemental equilibrium and used Kitava's Thirst with blade vortex to trigger EE. Fire on blade vortex was not the main damage but used only to trigger EE. As the main damage was non-fire, that build did not utilize the chieftain ascendancy passives with fire damage bonuses in any way except just to trigger EE. This current build, however, has given up all the EE ambitions but it has fully utilized the chieftain ascendancy.

3) This is my second build guide. My first one [3.4] Blizzard Blaze effectively utilizes EE with 2 x spell totem + whispering ice and 2 x spell totem + fire storm.

4) Betrayal is my first temporary league (barring my first play of PoE in Torment league). It's been very exciting and unique experience which I've never enjoyed in standard before. Nevertheless, the league has tested my patience, faith and dedication to PoE miserably as I spent over 3k fusings to 6-link my belly. I never had such 6-link miseries before. There are many numbers on the top of my head that I can share here.

My first 6-link was all white to begin with. Low item level vaal chest which cost 84 fusings + 84 x 4 armourer scraps. I beat regular atiziri after about 50-100 tries or so with that chest. My second 6-link infernal mantle cost me 492 fusings + 492x20 armourer scraps. I remember my friend's comment "that's hell a lot clicking" who didn't believe in PoE system. My best record is I think 24 fusings (scraps redundant) or so, definitely less than two stacks. My worst record before 3k should be around 1.4k fusings (scraps redundant). My last 3.1k record has two stages. 2.4k fusings before the 26% quality chest and later about 800 fusings into the 26% quality chest.

5) The current form of the build has gone through various improvements as I failed to kill shaper twice before and took him down in my third try. In my first try, I didn't have the current boots enchant and had some cwdt + blade fall + combustion + critical chance setup instead of the current armageddon setup.

6) There are obvious main skill modifications which work in the same way: ethereal knives and blade vortex. I've chosen bladefall to start with because it is a ranged spell and also, I was curious about the bladefall volley mechanics. I haven't given ethereal knives much thought or try though it should be easy to try with the current form. I want to try blade vortex first though with a somewhat modified chieftain tree and different character. What blade vortex further requires is increased area of effect and skill duration. The relevant passives are close to our build in the tree but it will cost us to pick them. I'm thinking about reducing some life nodes and endurance charge nodes to gain access to those passives. The build should lose about 800 life and will be less tanky but it should deal significantly higher single target dps and possibly, a faster map clear speed.

Thank you for reading.
Cheers & enjoy!
Last edited by Varvarel on Feb 6, 2019, 4:08:55 PM
Last bumped on Feb 25, 2019, 3:10:58 PM
Unless I'm mistaken, wouldn't any other type of glove be better than Repentance? Iron Will only applies to projectile ATTACKS, not spells. you aren't attacking with bladefall.
Iron Will is a support gem. It causes strength's damage bonus to also apply to spell damage dealt by the supported skills.

From the wiki.

You must be thinking of Iron Grip.

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