[3.10] Wallach's Hierophant Holy Flame Totems (Full Simulacrum Clear)

Hey folks,

Welcome to my Holy Flame Totem guide for the Hierophant! This guide is currently being updated for patch 3.10 (Delirium league).

IMPORANT: In terms of 3.10, this guide update is a work in progress and you should expect things to be tweaked in the coming days. In-game testing will be needed to determine exactly how cluster jewels roll (in terms of mod groupings and what notables have the ability to appear on which jewel sizes), so the skill tree in particular is subject to change.

With 3.10 and the Delirium league, they are introducing a large number of new passive tree notables and keystones through the new cluster jewel system. For my updated version of Holy Flame Totem Hierophant, we'll aim to take advantage of the new Lone Messenger keystone to focus on boosting the effect of our Herald of Ash buff effect rather than focus on adding additional auras. This is a very strong league start character as it really needs no particular uniques to get started, and has very good scaling that will carry you through the story quite easily right from Act 1.

You can find the video version of the guide update for 3.10 here:

[YouTube] Holy Flame Totem Guide Update for 3.10

Latest videos:

NEW: [YouTube] Full Simulacrum Clear (Blind run, 4 deaths)

NEW: [YouTube] Delirium League Start Progress (Day 4) & Delirium Manifesto Thoughts

You can find previous League Start Progress video entries in the "Videos" section below as well!

Skill Tree

Path of Exile Website (Level 95)

PoE Planner (for mobile users)

Path of Building Import



A good Rare helm is your target here. Treat this slot as a defensive piece; you'll want life, mana, and resistances mostly. As of patch 3.10, the previous Scorched Fossil affix for "Nearby enemies have -9% to Fire Resistance" has been moved to a Warlord influence affix, and Shaper influence has a new "Nearby enemies take X% increased Elemental Damage" aura as well, so targeting either of these influences gives you more options for damage increases in this slot as well. Warlord influence also has a generic "Increased Elemental Damage" affix in its pool, but the Shaper aura will likely offer more damage than the -9% Fire Resistance aura. Since you can force Warlord influence onto a rare that you already have a Holy Flame Totem enchant on, it will likely be the easier option.

For your helm enchant, the 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 30% Projectile Speed enchant will be the best overall enchant for map clearing to improve the totem's range, and the basic 40% increased Holy Flame Totem damage is the middle ground between the two. After some time I've come to feel that the 30% Projectile Speed is the overall winner since it is such a good clear speed improvement, and still has some utility in boss fights like Uber Elder as it allows your totem placement to be a little messier and still reach a target, or cover more mobs during add phases.

Body Armour

My personal recommendation here is a Rare Shaper or Hunter 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 base 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. Once you hit it, simply use a Regal Orb, and decide on what crafting affix to add based on what other affixes rolled on the item. You'll generally want to hit +Life in this slot, and the +8% Life/Mana Veiled craft is a great option to craft onto your chest once you have it unveiled. Hunter specifically also has a very powerful "You can apply an additional Curse" affix in its pool which would be a really powerful secondary affix to find on this slot.

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.


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. Hunter gloves can offer a powerful "chance to apply Unnerve" effect, and Warlord has the "Culling Strike" affix as well, which are both also strong options; these influence types are a bit easier to find than Shaper gloves, but are rarer affixes and will be harder to roll on the item itself. Essence of Insanity isn't a terrible option for crafting gloves as it will force the "Socketed Gems have 16% more Attack and Cast Speed" affix onto the gloves, which make gloves a good spot to socket either your Wave of Conviction totems or your self-cast Flammability links.

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.


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.

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 the hitting / killing instead of us, we have these effects up permanently. Bear in mind that if you are using some form of self-casting that deals Hits to do something like dual-curse (such as an Awakened Curse on Hit Storm Brand or something along those lines) that even though the spell will not deal damage due to Ancestral Bond, it will still roll for critical strikes, which will regularly disable the "120% increased Critical Strike Chance if you haven't crit recently" enchant. In that sense the "Damage Penetrates 10% of enemy resistances if you have not killed recently" is the safer option overall.


A Rare Sceptre, Wand or Dagger will all work here. You're looking for standard "caster" stats - spell damage, elemental damage, +1 to all Fire Spell Skill Gems, increased fire damage, critical strike chance for spells, 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, because it does not convert Chaos damage. Effects that grant "XX% Physical as Extra Cold / Lightning Damage" affixes will work, but Avatar of Fire will only convert 50% of those elements back to Fire (so they will be half as effective as they normally would be).

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). Warlord wands and scepters can also roll this affix starting at item level 78, and also have the chance for flat damage to fire spells alongside fire penetration in a single prefix, making those weapon a strong option as well. While the Shaper bases are generally harder to acquire, the Physical as Extra Fire Damage affix appears to be noticably more common on Shaper scepters than it does any Warlord bases, so they should be easier to roll once you have one.

You should also keep an eye out for Incursion weapons - the Topotante's prefix weapons roll a strong 70-79% fire damage + flat damage to fire spells as a single prefix, and with the changes to the Temple of Atzoatl in 3.10, we should be seeing a fair amount of Incursion weapons enter the trade pool as they will drop much more often, making them good weapons to be on the look out for at reasonable prices.


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.

Thanks to the 3.8 changes, we can now also roll the "+1 to All Fire Skill Gems" onto pure Intelligence requirement shields, which is a really solid damage gain and should be your second priority on a rare shield after "+1 to number of maximum summoned totems" affix. Unlike the weapon slot, this 3.8 change is a pure upgrade to the build, so keep an eye out for a shield with both these affixes.

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.


Even though Circle of Anguish made a return in 3.8, your safest bet is the Essence Worm to allow us to use Herald of Ash without reserving any mana (keeping it available for Mind Over Matter). Your other ring slot can just be a solid Rare ring with standard defensive or caster offensive affixes (cast speed, critical strike chance, critical strike multiplier, life, mana, resists, etc).

Eventually, the goal would be to run two Circle of Anguish rings that have both the Herald of Ash increased buff effect and reduced mana reservation modifiers. With the addition of cluster jewels and the new Lone Messenger keystone, the effect of Herald of Ash can be increased dramatically, and these rings will further boost the effect we get from Lone Messenger.


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).

Warlord rares will make the best rare bases to start from. This influence has many great exclusive affixes, such as "Gain XX% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage" affix (ilvl 75 or higher), "Damage penetrates X% Fire Resistance" (ilvl 82 or higher) as well as both the "+1 to All Fire Skill Gems" and "+1 to All Physical Skill Gems" prefixes (ilvl 82 or higher), making these influence bases much preferred over the other influence options.


Another Rare slot, but there are two good options here: either a Rustic Sash or Stygian Vise (the latter being preferable, but requiring the additional expense of a good Abyss jewel socketed).

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.

Warlord influence opens up a couple additional good prefixes in 3.10 such as "Increased Fire Damage" (ilvl 80) and "X to Y added Fire Damage against Burning Enemies" (ilvl 80), as well as having "% to all Elemental Resistances" (ilvl 75), "% increased Life Recovery Rate" (ivl 75), and "Remove Ignite and Burning when you use a flask" (ilvl 75), which make it my recommended influence type. Remember that even though Stygian Vise belts cannot naturally drop with any type of influence, you do have the option to use a Warlord's Exalted Orb (or any other conqueror's Exalted Orb) to force influence onto those bases, which makes for an extremely powerful belt option.


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).

Cluster Jewels

Note: This section is subject to change once the league is in full swing and we learn more about cluster jewels.

As of this writing (the day before Delirium league's launch), my current plan is to focus exclusively on Herald of Ash as a buff effect, and look to multiply its effect through the Calamitous Visions unique jewel which grants the Lone Messenger keystone. This keystone will prevent you from running any other Herald effects OR aura effects, but will boost the effect of a single Herald by a multiplicative 50%. This means that any other sources of "increased Herald buff effect" will be multiplied even further by this keystone. We'll be hunting this effect both through Cirlce of Anguish rings, as well as the new cluster jewel notables Heraldry and Empowered Envoy, both of which offer an additional 20% increased Herald buff effect (as well as 10% reduced mana reservation in Heraldry).

Another good option for notables that I'm keeping an eye on are Master of Fear and Wish for Death, which will grant Unnerve and Culling Strike to enemies effected by curses. These seem like they could be worthwhile alternatives to the Herald-focused notables as well.

Shown in the example skill trees, I'm currently only reserving 8 skill points in my level 95 tree for cluster jewels, which will be taken in the northern outer jewel socket just to the right of Avatar of Fire. This means we'll either have the points to take a Large or Medium jewel as well as branch that jewel into the Lone Messenger keystone.

Gem Links

Primary damage links in order of priority:

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

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.

Once you have more than 20% Physical as Extra Fire Damage on your gear (i.e. affixes on both your weapon and your amulet), you will find that Added Fire Damage value falls to where Combustion is the better support gem. You can see this for yourself in the example Path of Building link; until you have such gear, though, stick with Added Fire Damage support.

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.

For late-game purposes, Projectile Weakness will actually prove to be a stronger curse damage-wise than Flammability, with two caveats; a much lower mana cost (making it harder to consistently trigger high-rank Arcane Surge) and a very high Dexterity requirement (155 Dexterity required for rank 20). As such, I recommend you stick with Flammability from the outset and only in endgame once you have the flexibility and currency to start refining gear for minor stats like +Dexterity, consider switching to Projectile Weakness. Just remember to keep an eye on your rank of Arcane Surge; you generally want to trigger that buff within 2 casts of your curse so that you are never without the Arcane Surge buff. Personally, I plan to just stick with Flammability.

Offensive support 4-link:

Wave of Conviction -> Spell Totem -> Multiple Totems -> Combustion

This 4-link will allow us to summon an additonal pair of totems (beyond our normal Holy Flame Totem limit) that will repeatedly cast Wave of Conviction, applying both -25% Fire Resist through Fire Exposure, as well as -19% Fire Resistance when an enemy is ignited thanks to Combustion. Furthermore, the additional 2 totems will boost the effects of our Ritual of Awakening ascendancy notable, further increasing our damage and life/mana regeneration. These totems will also not be trivial in terms of added DPS on single targets just through their own hits.

Utility support 4-link:

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

I've actually started running Steelskin over Immortal call as of late; even though we do generate Endurance Charges in this build, we have a low base amount of physical mitigation, and do not rebuild our Endurance Charges that consistently after Immortal Call eats them, which can leave us a bit vulnerable to physical damage once Immortal Call wears off if we are not fully out of danger. Steelskin doesn't consume our Endurance Charges when it triggers, so we get to keep the additional physical mitigation at all times. The downside of Steelskin is that it requires a much higher rank of skill gem to really be useful later, so you'll want to level up Steelskin and Cast When Damage Taken to relatively high levels. I personally run a level 17 Cast When Damage Taken and a level 19 Steelskin, which allows Steelskin to absorb up to around 2k damage during its buff effect.

The final link here is yours to decide; Vaal Righteous Fire would be my recommendation as it is a big damage increase when available. Just make sure whatever you slot here is high enough rank that it is not triggered autoamatically by Cast When Damage Taken unless you want it to be.

Movement links:

Flame Dash -> Second Wind -> Portal

Flame Dash's cooldown recovery rate was nerfed in 3.10, so we want the new Second Wind support to add an additional charge to Flame Dash's count, as well as provide some additional cooldown recovery rate to help offset the loss in recharge rate. Portal here can be replaced with whatever you prefer, I just like not being tied to Portal Scrolls.

Essence Worm ring sockets:

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.


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.

Amulet Anointment

Doom Cast - Since we aren't pathing to this part of the tree, anointing Doom Cast will net you a ton of damage through increased critical strike chance with a side of critical strike multiplier. An expensive option but hard to beat in terms of raw damage. Note that if you significantly increase your base critical strike chance (such as through the expensive Bottled Faith flask effect), the value of this will drop to where you will be better off anointing something like Heartseeker below for pure critical strike multiplier.

Heartseeker - This notable grants the exact same bonus of 30% increased critical strike multiplier as Throatseeker, but at a much lower cost due to cheaper oils, and is a strong damage gain for our build.

Soul of Steel - This is probably our premiere defensive notable option. The armor and physical damage reduction really help with our biggest defensive weakness of physical damage, and the +1% to maximum elemental resistances works out to about a 4% reduction in elemental damage taken. It also won't require any adjustment to your life or mana pools in terms of maintaining your Mind Over Matter ratio to get full effect.

Constitution - This is another great defensive choice that grants the single largest life increase of any notable on the passive tree. The only real downside is that it may require you to shuffle some investment around to ensure you can cover the additional life with Mind Over Matter, but we are connected to plenty of good mana nodes in the passive tree if that is needed.


Note: These flasks are just general recommendations, feel free to swap or experiment with other flasks to suit your needs.

Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching - Your first flask slot should generally be a life flask to help heal back from any big hits you might take. The ideal suffix here is Staunching so that you have the ability to remove dangerous bleed effects (such as the heavy bleeds put on you by Labyrinth spike traps) on demand. I personally recommend a Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching, which will reduce the overall amount healed but grant some instant healing to help counter spike damage. Some folks prefer Seething prefix for purely instant healing at an even slightly lower value. Use whatever you're comfortable with here so long as it has the Staunching suffix for the bleed removal.

Wise Oak Bismuth Flask - This unique flask will grant us up to 15% Fire Penetration so long as our Fire Resistance is the highest of our three elemental resists. It will also grant some additional damage mitigation against whatever elemental damage type we have the lowest resist of. While quite difficult to do, if you can get all three of your Fire, Cold, and Lightning resists to the exact same number, you will get both of the flask's effect in all three elements (since all three resists will technically be both your lowest and highest elemental resists). Worth doing as a very endgame point of min-maxing, but for the most part you should be concerned only with ensuring your Fire Resistance is highest so that you get the Fire Penetration effect from this flask.

Chemist's Diamond Flask of Heat - Our most vital damage flask, as making your critical strike chance "Lucky" means it rolls twice to attempt to score a critical strike with every hit. This is also a good place for your Heat suffix to allow you a way to escape from being Frozen; you don't want to open any magic or rare strongboxes if you don't have a Heat flask handy, or they can be guaranteed death if they Freeze you upon opening. Chemist's prefix here gives us 2 uses from full charges with 10 charges left over, meaning you will get a 3rd use almost immediately.

Chemist's Silver Flask of Grounding - Another good damage flask that also grants movement speed. We take Grounding here since Shock can be a pretty dangerous debuff in harder content, so its nice to have access to Shock immunity. Chemist's affix will grant us 2 uses from full charges.

Chemist's Quicksilver Flask of Warding - This isn't the fastest build around, so a Quicksilver flask is great for improving your mapping speed and general quality of life. Warding suffix will grant us more consistent protection against curses; while you can just run through your Holy Flame Totem to clear most monster-sourced curses, maps that have permanent curse debuffs can be pretty obnoxious to deal with when you don't have the regular uptime of a flask to keep them off you (particularly Temporal Chains).

Feel free to swap the immunity suffixes on the utility flasks above around as needed. If you want to cover ignite removal / immunity as well, you'll probably want to drop the Wise Oak flask to something like a Granite Flask of Dousing, or have a spare one of the above utility flasks with Dousing you can swap into for maps where you know you might need it (such as dealing with the Enslaver Elder Guardian boss).


(Major) Soul of the Brine King - We don't get any stun immunity in this build, so Brine King helps prevent us from getting totally stunlocked in bad situations. The reduced Chill effect is also good for fights like Uber Elder where your Freeze flask can run out leaving you very vulnerable to Chill.

(Minor) Soul of Shakari - Honestly the Minor doesn't make too much of a difference in this build. I often leave Shakari on for the Poison immunity (once upgraded). Especially useful to be immune to the poison from dart traps in the Labyrinth. In the end, though, just use whatever you're most comfortable with here.


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.

Last edited by Wallach on Mar 22, 2020, 1:16:22 PM
Last bumped on Jul 23, 2021, 10:37:57 PM
Leveling Tips

Act 1

You initially acquire Holy Flame Totem at level 4 (once you have used the three shells in Mud Flats), 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, as well as Combustion, Added Fire Damage, Spell Totem Support, Clarity and Flame Dash after killing Brutus. While we won't be using Clarity in the endgame, I typically run Clarity for at least most of the leveling process to help offset your mana costs. Whichever gems you don't select as quest rewards 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. Spell Totem support can be leveled in a random socket or simply held off on until later when you're ready to put together your Wave of Conviction totem setup (Act 4). 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.

Early on, you can craft a wand (or scepter/dagger) that has flat damage to spells by vendoring any magic (blue) wand, a single Alteration Orb, and any elemental resistance ring (e.g. Ruby Ring, Sapphire Ring, or Topaz Ring). The rarity of the ring will determine the tier of damage to spells that is crafted onto the resulting wand, though it will increase the level requirement of the wand as well, so make sure to check what wand the vendor is returning to you and make sure you can actually equip it. You can also craft any type of resistance ring if you can't find one by vendoring a white Iron Ring alongside any color of skill gem to create a matching color resistance ring (e.g. Iron Ring + Green Gem will create a Topaz Ring). These weapons can be a big boost to your damage while leveling, so keep an eye out for these items.

In terms of the passive tree, your primary goal is to head towards Ancestral Bond while picking up the Light of Divinity and Retribution notables along the way. For the first 20 levels or so before you get there, I recommend keeping another active skill gem equipped such as Purifying Flame or Freezing Pulse 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 and Wave of Conviction 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 can also be linked to your Flame Dash or self-cast damage spell links, but isn't necessary as you won't be using it further down the road.

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 be able to reach Ancestral Bond at some point during this act, after which you can dump whatever active spell you were using alongside it. You can also choose to delay taking Ancestral Bond until later if you want to continue self-casting, as the initial switch can feel a little slow until you pick up the Ritual of Awakening ascendancy node (which happens around level 55). I've personally started to favor delaying it until then, but either way will work perfectly fine. Wave of Conviction can be self-cast prior to taking Ancestral Bond for Fire Exposure, but once you do take Ancestral Bond, you'll need to wait until you can link it to Spell Totem + Multiple Totems to utilize it properly again (without conflicting with your Holy Flame Totem limit), so you can just hold onto it and level it until then.

Beyond Ancestral Bond, 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 and Second Wind 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. Second Wind should be attached to your Flame Dash as soon as you have the spare links for it, as it will improve your mobility significantly. 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 and the Arcane Capacitor wheel before you start heading out of the Templar starting area towards the Witch area. You should also grab the jewel socket in our starting area (just below Arcane Capacitor) if you've managed to get your hands on a Rain of Splinters jewel; if you haven't, you can skip this jewel socket and come back for it later.

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 target is getting the Quick Recovery notable near Mind Over Matter and then working over towards the Cruel Preparation and Mystic Bulwark life & mana notables. 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 picking up Cruel Preparation and Mystic Bulwark[/b]. In this range 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.

Remember that you want enough unreserved mana to try and cover your entire life pool; you can figure out how much mana that is with the following formula:

Mana / (amount MoM diverts) x (amount Life takes)

So if you had, say, 1,000 mana at this point, it would be:

1,000 / (.3) x (.7) = 2,333 life protected by your mana

Note that this formula is the same once you upgrade your Ascendancy with Divine Guidance, you'd just divide by .4 and multiply by .6 instead.

Remember that at this point in the campaign, you will still be reserving mana via Herald of Ash and likely Clarity, which will eat into your unreserved mana that can be used for Mind Over Matter. You may want to still run Clarity after Mind Over Matter and simply start focusing your skill point investments into mana, as even on a 4-link your skills will feel pretty mana hungry and Mind Over Matter may get you into trouble if you don't have decent mana regeneration to back it up.

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 I'd consider picking up Prodigal Perfection here, grab Mind Over Matter if you didn't pick it up in Act 5, and then start working towards Fire Walker for some additional damage while leveling.

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 - after Fire Walker, path over to Heart and Soul for some additional life & mana. You can also consider grabbing Righteous Decree near the Templar starting area at any point form here onwards if you still need mana support due to running Herald of Ash and Clarity mana reservations, but I typically don't find it necessary unless you are really having a hard time getting any mana from your gear.

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. If you've been delaying taking Ancestral Bond, this is the time to do a quick respec and pick it up so you can go full-on totems from this point.

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 Deep Wisdom and Arcane Will on your way towards the Nimbleness cast speed notable. From here we'll be heading into the Shadow area.

Skill point quests in Act 8 that should be completed:

Reflection of Terror
Love is Dead
The Gemling Legion

Act 9

Your next skill tree targets in this act are Trickery and the Blood Siphon life notable below it in the Shadow starting area.

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 during the story should be to pick up Assassination and Annihilation to start to build up your critical strike chance as you near maps.

You'll also find the 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!

Feel free to stop by the stream if you have any questions or just want to chat:

Last edited by Wallach on Mar 26, 2020, 6:59:02 PM
Also reserved. Just in case.
Thanks for your great work on totem builds. This one is bought as starter for 3.10

Asking the obvious question on page 1:

Chieftain vs. Hierophant?

You know this one would come sooner or later ;)
Last edited by Maroukh on Mar 12, 2020, 2:54:33 PM
Maroukh wrote:
Thanks for your great work on totem builds. This one is bought as starter for 3.10

Asking the obvious question on page 1:

Chieftain vs. Hierophant?

You know this one would come sooner or later ;)

I'm sure Chieftain makes for a solid Holy Flame Totem build, but I've never looked at it that seriously because the quality of life stuff on Hierophant is simply too nice for totem builds for me. The totem placement speed difference alone is dramatic, and being able to drop double totems for free makes the other options much less desirable to me, regardless of how effective they might be.
going to try this for my starter, thank you for the guide!
Thanks for the build update.. cannot wait to start tomorrow with this.
Hi, do you still recommend hierophant if I plan a holy fire totem build for HC?
Since you're taking divine fury, your fire conversion is 115%. Do you think it would be best to eventually get the 35% phys to fire conversion on gloves (plus another source? idk) and drop avatar of fire? You could then make use of + added chaos etc.
Barzhal wrote:
Since you're taking divine fury, your fire conversion is 115%. Do you think it would be best to eventually get the 35% phys to fire conversion on gloves (plus another source? idk) and drop avatar of fire? You could then make use of + added chaos etc.

Yeah, I do mention that briefly in the notes section of the PoB, but I haven't explored it too heavily to test how well the opportunity cost really works out. I haven't played the build in a while, but it's one of the things I have on my list to look into more seriously once I have league start out of the way and have some of my Atlas progression sorted (as well as stuff like seeing how I might be able to fit The Agnostic keystone into the build).

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