[3.6] Wallach's Hierophant Holy Flame Totems (Uber Elder video added)

Hey folks,

This is my Synthesis league guide for the Holy Flame Totem based Hierophant. I'm still working on improving all these sections, so if there is something missing you think would help, please let me know!



Gear


Helm


A good Rare helm is your target here. Treat this slot as a defensive piece; you'll want life, mana, and resistances mostly. Fossil crafting with Scorched Fossils will allow you to potentially roll the affix "Nearby Enemies have -X% Fire Resistance" which would be a slight boost in overall DPS, but don't go after this affix until you've crafted a Belt with those same Scorched Fossils. This build already has so much penetration available that this is not worth as much as having up to 30% Fire Damage on the belt slot which is exclusive to Fossil crafting.

For your helm enchant, the new Holy Flame Totem enchant that makes enemies take 9% more damage while in the totem's consecrated ground will be the highest single target boost, the old 30% Projectile Speed enchant will be the best overall enchant for map clearing to improve the totem's range, and the basic 40% increased Flame Totem damage is the best middle ground between the two. I personally think improving the build's boss killing power is most beneficial.

My helm as of Uber Elder kill in Synthesis league:





Body Armour


My personal recommendation here is a Rare Shaper chest with Life and +1.4 or higher critical strike chance for spells. The craft one of these you'll need an item level 84 or higher Shaper chest, which you can use a Scouring Orb on and then begin using Orbs of Alteration to try and find the +1-1.5% spell crit affix. If you find the affix by itself, I recommend using a Regal Orb immediately instead of adding a second affix via Orb of Augmentation; you'll want to eventually multi-mod this chestpiece down the road and you'd rather have the free prefix/suffix open than risk rolling something awful and not having a safe way to remove it. Craft +life until you unlock the Can Have Multiple Crafted Mods affix for your crafting bench.

This is probably our most flexible slot overall though and you're free to use whatever you prefer. Loreweave is another good choice for providing a big boost to elemental mitigation and still offering decent damage, for example.

My helm as of Uber Elder kill in Synthesis league:





Gloves


Rare Shaper gloves that have the "Socketed Gems are supported by level 18/20 Faster Casting / Increased Cast Speed" affix are ideal here. Item level 75 is needed for level 18 Faster Casting affix while 84 is needed for level 20.

Since that affix will provide global cast speed on top of the socketed gem bonus, the rest of your affixes should be defensive in nature. Life, resistances and mana if you still need to balance your mana pool for Mind Over Matter.

As far as glove enchant, I personally like Commandment of Winter here to give you a slight defensive trigger that will chill enemies sometimes when you are hit. None of the glove enchants do much for us in general so don't worry too much about getting one.

My gloves as of Uber Elder kill in Synthesis league:





Boots


Rare boots are my preference here as well; like the helmet slot I treat this mainly as a defensive piece, so life, resists and mana are the focus on top of getting as much movement speed as possible. In terms of truly min-max items, a Synthesized pair of boots with Unwavering Stance implicit would be perfect as it would trade our tiny amount of attack evasion for stun immunity and free up our Major Pantheon slot for something else.

For the boot enchant, the best options here are "120% increased Critical Strike Chance if you haven't crit recently" or "Damage Penetrates 10% of enemy resistances if you have not killed recently". Since our totems do killing instead of us, we have these effects up permanently.

My boots as of Uber Elder kill in Synthesis league:





Weapon


A Rare Sceptre, Wand or Dagger will all work here. You're looking for standard "caster" stats - spell damage, elemental damage, fire damage, critical strike chance, and critical strike multiplier.

Remember that Avatar of Fire prevents us from dealing any type of damage that isn't fire; crafted affixes like "gain X% of Fire damage as Extra Chaos Damage" do nothing for us because Avatar of Fire will delete that Chaos damage in the end.

One advantage a Wand will have over the other two options is the opportunity to roll Projectile Speed as a possible affix, which is the only stat that increases the range of Holy Flame Totem. In terms of raw damage, a Rare Shaper scepter has the potential to win out due to being able to roll the "Gain X% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage" affix; you'll want an item level 80 scepter to get the highest possible roll (ideally on a 40% Elemental Damage implicit base sceptre such as Void Sceptre).

In terms of uniques, something like a Doryani's Catalyst until you can get ahold of a good rare, though it can take a while in a new league for the price of these to drop where it is economical compared to a rare weapon.

My weapon as of Uber Elder kill in Synthesis league:





Shield


A Rare Shaper shield is your main goal here for the "+1 to number of maximum summoned totems" affix. This only requires an item level of 70 or higher to appear on Shaper shields so acquiring a base shield to craft isn't too bad. I recommend crafting on something like a Fossilised Spirit Shield base for the highest possible Spell Damage implicit bonus.

Otherwise, look for either defensive stats where you're currently lacking (life, mana, resists) or general offensive caster stats like cast speed, spell damage, or spell crit chance bonuses.

My shield as of Uber Elder kill in Synthesis league:





Rings


There are a few different ring setups that make sense for this build:

- Essence Worm + Rare Ring: This is the most logical early game / new league target. Essence Worm will allow you to activate Herald of Ash without reservation cost, allowing you to dedicate your mana pool to Mind Over Matter as well as utilize the Clear Mind jewel.

- Circle of Anguish + Rare Ring: The new Circle of Anguish unique ring from Synthesis is a direct DPS upgrade to the above setup even when we account for dropping Clear Mind (to the tune of 20% or more DPS) if you can get one with the "Herald of Ash has XX% increased buff effect". The ideal secondary affix for Circle of Anguish would be "Herald of Ash has 30-40% reduced mana reservation" to improve our Mind Over Matter efficiency.

- Circle of Anguish + Essence Worm: Depending on what second affix you get on Circle of Anguish there are a couple different ways you can pair these rings together. With a reduced mana reservation for Herald of Ash affix you can potentially invest more heavily into mana in the skill tree and then drop Anger into Essence Worm for a significant DPS increase. If your Circle of Anguish does not have reduced mana reservation, you can drop Herald of Ash into Essence Worm like the first setup for maximum unreserved mana on top of Clear Mind access.

- Circle of Anguish + Circle of Anguish: If one is good, two are better! If you acquire the first Circle of Anguish with reduced Herald of Ash mana reservation, you can get a second one with both "Herald of Ash has XX% increased buff effect" and "40-60% increased Fire Damage while affected by Herald of Ash" for a humongous damage boost. This is the ideal ring setup for this build (for now) by a pretty wide margin.

My rings as of Uber Elder kill in Synthesis league:





Amulet


A good Rare is my recommendation here, especially if you are running two unique rings as your resists will be harder to cap. Offensively the most important affix you can get in this slot is critical strike multiplier as it rolls higher in this slot than any other jewelry slot we have. Life should also be on this slot; beyond that pick up whatever resists you need patched and then grab more offensive caster affixes (critical strike chance, cast speed, spell / fire damage).

Elder rares in particular have a very nice "Gain XX% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage" affix (ilvl 75 or higher) which is a great offensive affix for this build. If you're going to craft an Amulet, try to use an Elder base.

My amulet as of Uber Elder kill in Synthesis league:





Belt


Another Rare slot, but there are two good options here: either a Rustic Sash or Stygian Vise.

Treat this like a standard defensive belt slot - as much life as you can get, resists, and flask bonuses. Increased damage from Veiled crafting is another good affix for this slot. Fossil crafting with Scorched Fossils will allow you to roll a potential additional 30% Fire Damage compared to a regular belt, which would be the best in slot option here I believe.

My belt as of Uber Elder kill in Synthesis league:





Jewels


Rain of Splinters is the first unique jewel that you will want to run for clear speed purposes. This will reduce your damage slightly (not by that much since it is not multiplicative), but is more than offset by the increased totem coverage as each totem will now shoot 5 gouts of flame instead of 3. The only downside really is that it can make it a little hard to see what is going on in terms of dodging dangerous enemy attacks.

Clear Mind is the second unique jewel you'll want to have access to. For as long as you are using an Essence Worm and have no reserved mana, this should be used for the nice spell damage boost and minor regen bonus. Drop it as soon as you switch to a ring setup that results in Herald of Ash reserving any mana.

For any remaining jewel slots, your Rare jewel priorities should be maximum life, critical strike multiplier with fire spells (or global critical strike multiplier), projectile speed, critical strike chance with fire spells (or global), totem damage, fire damage, damage. If you still have resists that are uncapped this is also a potential place to find additional sources.

If you are using a Stygian Vise belt (or any other item with abyss sockets), abyss jewels with life, physical damage to spells, and fire damage to spells would be ideal (again unless you have uncapped resists somewhere).

My jewels as of Uber Elder kill in Synthesis league:







Gem Links


Primary damage links in order of priority:

Holy Flame Totem -> Elemental Focus -> Infused Channelling -> Added Fire Damage -> Controlled Destruction -> Fire Penetration

Pretty straightforward, these are the highest damage supports you can link to your Holy Flame Totem. Infused Channelling claims to not apply its Infusion buff effect to totems (even though visually it shows them gaining Infusion for some reason), but even without Infusion the 39% more damage multiplier does work for totems, which is a larger damage increase than any of our other supports except for Elemental Focus.

Offensive support 4-link:

Flammability -> Arcane Surge -> Increased Duration -> Spell Cascade

This should be your priority for your first spare 4-link. Remember to level your Arcane Surge gem such that the mana cost of Flammability is equal or higher than the trigger for Arcane Surge to grant its buff effect. You want Flammability to grant Arcane Surge every single time it is cast; maximum uptime is worth more than slightly increasing Arcane Surge's buff effect. Spell Cascade allows you to both increase Flammability's cost (to give you more room for a higher level Arcane Surge) and allows you to blanket a much larger area without increasing Flammability's cast time.

The reason this gem link does not contain Faster Casting is that it is intended to be socketed into Shaper gloves that contain the affix "Socketed Gems are supported by level 18/20 Faster Casting" on them. Until you have such gloves, feel free to drop Increased Duration for Faster Casting.

Utility support 4-link:

Immortal Call -> Cast When Damage Taken -> Increased Duration -> (Your Choice)

This is an additional layer of defense that allows you to automatically trigger Immortal Call after taking a certain amount of damage via Cast When Damage Taken. Since we generate Endurance Charges via Conviction of Power, this invulnerability will last longer. The final link here is yours to decide; something like Enfeeble or Temporal Chains to automatically curse whatever enemy triggered the effect is a good defensive choice. Vaal Righteous Fire or Vaal Haste can be slotted here instead for damage-increasing cooldowns if you don't feel you need the defense.

Movement links:

Flame Dash -> Lightning Warp -> Faster Casting

Not much to say here, you just want your movement skills to cast as fast as possible. If, like me, you can't stand using golems, you can use your spare 4-link specifically for Lightning Warp in the following links:

Lightning Warp -> Faster Casting -> Reduced Duration -> Swift Affliction

This will give you the fastest possible Lightning Warp by further reducing the duration of the teleport effect. This also opens up your Flame Dash 3-link for something like this:

Flame Dash -> Faster Casting -> Portal

Just to save you some Portal Scrolls in the long run.

Essence Worm ring socket:

Herald of Ash

Even though Herald of Ash is not considered an Aura gem and thus does not gain the +2 levels from Essence Worm, a level 20 Herald of Ash still increases our damage significantly more than a level 22 Anger, so Herald of Ash takes priority. Once you swap over to Circle of Anguish rings in both slots, you can move Herald of Ash to your weapon or shield slot and potentially link it to Enlighten to free up a bit more mana.



Ascendancy


Pursuit of Faith -> Ritual of Awakening -> Conviction of Power -> Divine Guidance

Not much choice here for a totem build. Luckily all four of these nodes are very strong and make Hierophant the standard bearer for totem builds.



Bandits


Help Alira (5 Mana Regenerated per second, +20% to Global Critical Strike Multiplier, +15% to all Elemental Resistances)

Especially as a league starter, helping Alira is simply too beneficial to this build to take over 2 passive skill points. The resists and mana regeneration are super useful at the start of the game and remain good bonuses all the way through Uber Elder, while critical strike multiplier is weak early but the strongest offensive stat available to us at endgame. At the high end of things you can only get slightly more damage out of 2 passive skill points; the sacrifice of resistances and mana regeneration simply isn't worth it in my opinion.



Leveling Tips


Act 1


You initially acquire Holy Flame Totem at level 4, which Templar can choose as a reward from the quest Breaking Some Eggs in the Mud Flats. Grab the reward gem and buy 6 more from Nessa as early as you can, and socket them in your weapon swap set (a couple of white 1-handed axes or maces are easiest as they will be most likely to have red sockets) to begin leveling them. You'll want the opportunity to create your own level 21 Holy Flame Totem much further down the road in the endgame content.

Other important gems you want to pick up in this act are Arcane Surge and Infused Channelling supports from killing Hailrake, Combustion and Added Fire Damage supports after killing Brutus, and Flame Dash also after killing Brutus. Whichever you don't select as a quest reward can be purchased from Nessa's 2nd vendor tab.

Combustion, Infused Channelling and Added Fire Damage should be linked to Holy Flame Totem, and Arcane Surge linked to Flame Dash. Even if you don't yet have available links for them, try to socket them and begin leveling these gems as you'll be using them for the rest of the game other than Combustion.

In terms of the passive tree, your primary goal is to head straight for Ancestral Bond. For the first 20 levels or so before you get there, I recommend keeping another active skill gem equipped such as Freezing Pulse, Fire Trap or Fireball as your single Holy Flame Totem won't consume that much mana and you'll want to deal some additional damage alongside your totem to speed things up.

Good unique items for jump starting your leveling process:

Tabula Rasa body armour for immediate access to a 6-link for Holy Flame Totem
Goldrim helm for a large chunk of elemental resists to get you through the early game
Wanderlust boots for early game movement speed and chill / freeze immunity
Lifesprig or Abberath's Horn wands for damage

Skill point quests in Act 1 that should be completed:

The Marooned Mariner
The Dweller of the Deep
The Way Forward



Act 2


The main four gem pickups you can get here are Herald of Ash from killing Fidelitas, and Controlled Destruction, Elemental Focus, and Faster Casting supports from killing The Weaver. Elemental Focus can replace your Combustion from this point on. You won't have links available for Controlled Destruction to Holy Flame Totem at this point (and it is not worth replacing any of the other supports on a 4-link), so just socket this gem anywhere else to start leveling it when you can. If you did manage to get a Tabula Rasa, you can add Controlled Destruction and Faster Casting to the 6-link for Holy Flame Totem and toss Added Lighting out altogether. A Faster Casting gem should also be linked to your Flame Dash at first opportunity; leveling two Faster Casting gems isn't a waste as you'll use both of them down the road (and possibly a third if you set up a Lightning Warp 4-link).

I highly recommend helping Alira during this act instead of killing all bandits for 2 passive skill points, especially if you are using this build as a league starter. The resists and mana regeneration are very powerful when your gear is at its worst, and the critical strike multiplier is very strong so the Alira choice remains competitive with 2 skill points even at endgame, even just in the context of raw damage.

For the passive tree you should get to Ancestral Bond at some point during this act, after which you can dump whatever active spell you were using alongside it. After Ancestral Bond, grab Light of Divinity and start heading towards either Divine Fury or Purity of Flesh depending on how your defenses feel.

Skill point quests in Act 2 that should be completed:

None (unless choosing to kill all bandits instead of helping Alira)



Act 3


Your main two gem targets here are Flammability from returning Tolman's bracelet in the Crematorium, and Fire Penetration from returning the Golden Pages to Siosa in the Library. Fire Penetration will be your last Holy Flame Totem link for endgame (replacing Faster Casting if you are using a Tabula Rasa), and Flammability your main damage incresaing utility by further reducing enemy fire resistance as well as being linked to Arcane Surge for more reliable triggering of that support than Flame Dash. You will also have the option of picking up Anger in this act after returning Tolman's bracelet, which you can run alongside Herald of Ash until you are ready to pick up Mind Over Matter later down the road. Mana management can be a little tight when running both but not unbearable with a mana flask on deck. Anger is not as strong for this build as Herald of Ash so if you find the mana issues too much of a burden don't feel bad about skipping it altogether.

For your passive tree, grab Divine Fury or Purity of Flesh (whichever you did not work towards in the end of act 2), then grab Avatar of Fire. From there you're picking up Retribution and heading out of the Templar starting area towards the Witch.

Somewhere around the end of this act or the start of act 4 you should be ready to hit the normal Labyrinth. For your first two points you'll want to take Pursuit of Faith.

Skill point quests in Act 3 that should be completed:

Victario's Secrets
Piety's Pets



Act 4


Immortal Call from killing Voll and Cast When Damage Taken from killing Malachai are the only important gems in this act. You likely won't have the links or maybe even the sockets for these yet, so you can delay getting these until act 6 or later if you want. You also get the option to pick up a golem reward from killing Voll; I personally don't like using golems, but if you do I'd recommend using Summon Lightning Golem for this build. At this point you have access to all of the gems you'll need for the rest of the game.

In the passive tree your main targets are getting the Totemic Fury and Quick Recovery notables near Mind Over Matter. I don't recommend taking Mind Over Matter in this act.

Skill point quests in Act 4 that should be completed:

An Indomitable Spirit



Act 5


Your next passive tree steps here are heading over through the Heart and Soul line for more life and mana. After that is the earliest I would consider taking Mind Over Matter; mainly I think the Innocence fight is probably the first big difficulty spike in the game where it is worth considering. One thing to consider is to take Deep Wisdom and Arcane Will (3 points total), then the level after that respeccing out of all three and taking Mind Over Matter and the Inspiration notable behind it all at once. This way you immediately get a huge maximum mana increase at the same time you take Mind Over Matter to give you a much better buffer pool to work with. If you don't feel ready to take it, start working towards the Cruel Preparation life nodes instead.


Skill point quests in Act 5 that should be completed:

In Service to Science
Kitava's Torments



Act 6


Once you kill Kitava at the end of Act 5, you are inflicted with a permanent 30% penalty to all of your resistances; your first priority in Act 6 is to do what you can to offset this penalty and get yourself back to 75% elemental resistances. Purity of Flesh that we took earlier grants us 20% chaos resistance which is more than enough for that damage type (as it balanced around the assumping you will have little to no chaos resistance unlike elemental).

Act 6 is also an opportunity to pick up any gems you didn't or couldn't fit in your gear prior to this; Lilly Roth will sell all available gems to you after you complete her initial quest to clear the Twilight Strand of undead. As your gem links expand you can always come back to her to purchase gems you skipped earlier in the game.

Passive tree wise grab either Mind Over Matter or Cruel Preparation (whichever of the two you did not take in Act 5) and then work towards either Arcane Will for more mana and mana regeneration to support Mind Over Matter, or towards Nimbleness between the Witch and Shadow starts.

Skill point quests in Act 6 that should be completed:

The Father of War
The Puppet Mistress
The Cloven One



Act 7


Not much to advise here other than passive tree stuff - pick up either Arcane Will or Nimbleness (whichever of the two you did not choose before) and then work towards Trickery in the Shadow starting area.

Around the end of Act 7 you'll have the opportunity to hit the Cruel version of Labyrinth for 2 more Ascendancy points. Once you complete it, you'll want to take Ritual of Awakening for another big boost in power for your totems.

Skill point quests in Act 7 that should be completed:

The Master of a Million Faces
Kishara's Star
Queen of Despair



Act 8


Passive tree progression here will be hitting Trickery and then picking up the Blood Siphon life nodes below it first. After that swing over to Assassination which will be the first crit-related damage notable for the build.

Skill point quests in Act 8 that should be completed:

Reflection of Terror
Love is Dead
The Gemling Legion



Act 9


From here I recommend moving past Assassination into Coldhearted Calculation, and then picking up all three Lethal Assault nodes below it. Lethal Assault is not super efficient in pure damage but offers Projectile Speed which is the only means we have of increasing Holy Flame Totem's range. After that I recommend working towards the Melding life and energy shield notable below Nimbleness.

Skill point quests in Act 9 that should be completed:

Queen of the Sands
The Ruler of Highgate



Act 10


Your last goal in the passive tree should be to pick up Fire Walker and Divine Wrath before moving on to crit-related nodes as you start getting into mapping. As you work your way towards the level 90 version of the tree in the Path of Building link, Shaman's Dominion should be your first pickup, then Annihilation and Arcane Wrath. After that you should consider going after jewel sockets; if you are still working on earning currency and won't be able to afford worthwhile jewels, you can move those points into some of the more efficient damage notables you're already connected to (such as Divine Judgement, Singular Focus, or Will of Blades).

You'll also find the last Merciless Labyrinth trial in Act 10. I'd recommend trying to complete this before you fight Kitava and finish the campaign; you will get 2 skill points from killing Kitava, but you will also be inflicted with another permanent 30% resistance penalty on top of the one you received in Act 5. It'll likely be easier to defeat Merciless Izaro without that resistance penalty than it will with 2 more skill points, as there are a fair amount of possible elemental damage sources when facing Izaro depending on which version of Labyrinth is active that day.

Once you do complete Merciless Labyrinth and receive 2 more Ascendancy points, they should go into Conviction of Power for easy generation of both Power and Endurance charges, as well as a bit more damage and mitigation for generating them.

Skill point quests in Act 10 that should be completed:

Vilenta's Vengeance
An End to Hunger







Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the build!
Last edited by Wallach on Mar 23, 2019, 10:47:47 PM
Last bumped on Mar 25, 2019, 3:15:58 AM
Very nice, I've been planning something similar.

Why do you decide to go to the shadow area instead of going towards Totemic zeal etc? I guess you are building a more evasion/ES heavy guy with MoM while i was planning a meaty boi.
Also why do you ignore the channelling nodes? The totem has a channeling tag.
"
Aakurb wrote:
Very nice, I've been planning something similar.

Why do you decide to go to the shadow area instead of going towards Totemic zeal etc? I guess you are building a more evasion/ES heavy guy with MoM while i was planning a meaty boi.


Totemic Zeal doesn't ever really feel necessary for me on Hierophant. Shadow has some solid damage & life, but also has some Projectile Speed which is really the only way to increase the range of Flame Totem.

"
Aakurb wrote:
Also why do you ignore the channelling nodes? The totem has a channeling tag.


I'm not really ignoring them so much as just waiting for Path of Building to update so I can evaluate them more precisely. They're really just going to be damage nodes competing with all the other damage nodes we're already connected to, so once we're updated I'll check to see if they win out over anything already being taken.
Path of Building was updated for 3.6 and while I won't be able to flesh out things more here until later today my time, I did update the PoB link and add some notes (both here and in the PoB Notes section) based on the updated gems.

For my part I made it to 71 last night using this build and felt like it steamrolled pretty easily all the way there without any deaths or even any particularly close calls. Looks like I'll have to redo my gem links next time I'm on though; I definitely overestimated Immolate.
Why would you use infused channeling it says totems do not gain infusion.
I think because its 39% more damage for channelling skills
Right now I am going Shroud of the Lightless as we want a few abyss jewels and it gives us one of our 6 gems withotu having to try and 6 link a chest week one.
"
Wallach wrote:
Path of Building was updated for 3.6 and while I won't be able to flesh out things more here until later today my time, I did update the PoB link and add some notes (both here and in the PoB Notes section) based on the updated gems.

For my part I made it to 71 last night using this build and felt like it steamrolled pretty easily all the way there without any deaths or even any particularly close calls. Looks like I'll have to redo my gem links next time I'm on though; I definitely overestimated Immolate.


How do you think this build compare to Arc Totems in terms of clear speed and playstyle?

Is it smooth to play like Arc Totems?
"
ESCasati wrote:
"
Wallach wrote:
Path of Building was updated for 3.6 and while I won't be able to flesh out things more here until later today my time, I did update the PoB link and add some notes (both here and in the PoB Notes section) based on the updated gems.

For my part I made it to 71 last night using this build and felt like it steamrolled pretty easily all the way there without any deaths or even any particularly close calls. Looks like I'll have to redo my gem links next time I'm on though; I definitely overestimated Immolate.


How do you think this build compare to Arc Totems in terms of clear speed and playstyle?

Is it smooth to play like Arc Totems?


All totem builds are decently smooth, but I'm not convinced that it's better than Arc totems.

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