[3.10] Chieftain Reflect Ballistas - aka RAT Nuke 2.0

So you saw that russellhentz's Build of the Week ages ago and might be wondering, has Torchoak Step made it viable? The answer is... kinda. It's certainly way stronger than any other iteration so far.

3.10 and 3.9 gave us incredibly important tools that allow us to rebuild the concept into something pretty decent. 3.9 was the Ranged Attack Totem revamp into Ballistas, giving us a significant amount of extra totems, totem life, and some other helpful nodes on the passive tree. It also introduced the revamped Galvanic Arrow and the new Barrage support, both crucial to our build. 3.10 is also really good to us because Cluster Jewels give a metric ton of extra totem life but just as importantly, introduce The Siege unique cluster jewel meaning we no longer need to use a knockback support gem which enables the Galvanic Arrow + Barrage Support + Faster Attack set-up instead of swapping back and forth between Rain of Arrows and Barrage



+ carries most of the same pros and cons of regular totems
+ very tanky with 30k armor, 20k VMS, and 7k life
+ great boss killer and can do all end game content
+ very cheap to build (maybe initial cost of around ~25 to 50 chaos after two weeks into the league, including jewels) and min/max because it uses a bunch of cheap uniques that you can easily find good corrupts and 6Ls for
+ extremely novel, one of the more interesting builds in the game


- really weak sustain with only some decent life regen, this could mean deaths during end game bosses where flask charges are hard to come by
- mediocre clear speed compared to the zoomiest builds
- ballista change to totem placement range puts you right in the middle of mob packs leading to occasional rips, would not suggest for hardcore
- requires very specific uniques and a lot of them, Eye of Innocence is often expensive early on


= requires a lot of jewels with stats which can be very annoying when you find upgrades
= bosses that move a lot and are immune to knockback like Sirius can be very annoying to fight because you need to re-summon your totems each time
= once Delirium rotates out, cluster jewels will be harder to come by
= can't use Timeless Jewels because you need to use EE and LL is too far away
= can become very laggy because of the sheer amount of calculations being made and a billion Galvanic Arrows being shot per second is eye blinding



T16 Promenade

Might add Uber Elder or A8 Sirius later


Path of Building



Main Mechanics


Torchoak Step provides all of our DPS. Since all the damage comes from the totem reflect, the only ways to scale damage are Totem Life, Attack Speed, Resistance Reduction (penetration does not work, not sure why the original RAT Nuke said it does), and other effects that are some form of Increased Damage Taken such as Covered in Ash and Riot Queller. Technically also we scale by making sure we can ignite as much as possible but we easily reach 100% ignite chance and 100% hit chance.

The way we proc our totem reflect is from the self-damage from Eye of Innocence which means maintaining a 100% ignite chance is key. We get this from our ascendancy, combustion support, jewels, and boot enchants.

Knockback is important because the radius for the totem reflect is incredibly tiny (GGG please buff this). You might wonder why we are knocking mobs back if we want them to be close, which is where Emprie's Grasp comes in, allowing us to vacuum everything we hit with reverse knockback.

Elemental Equilibrium is incredibly important since reducing resistances is one of the only ways to scale damage and EE's reduction is massive. We proc this with added lightning damage affixes on items instead of fire damage and igniting with Stormfire. You can use Three Dragons and added cold damage until you are level 80. Even just one item giving you the necessary added damage is all you need, since you only need minimum 1 damage of the corresponding type to ignite with 100% ignite chance. This actually becomes a probably in delirium orb'd maps that give enemies damage reduction instead of increased life though because sometimes you just don't ignite.


Our main defensive layer is armor and a ton of Life. We increase our armor primarily with Formless Inferno which takes all our extra fire resistance (most of it free from our ascendancy) and transforms it into armor, along with some extra armor from our ballista passive nodes, we have more than enough armor to shoot well above 80% phys reduction and 15k+ VMS shields. We also get a lot of extra armor from Determination, Empire's Grasp, a Watcher's Eye, and just the tiniest bit extra from an Abyssal Jewel with "increased Armour if you haven't killed yet" since you will never kill anything yourself.

The Elemental Penetration Conspiracy

So according to russellhentz, the original creator of the RAT Nuke build, and Bex herself in the Build of the Week video, elemental penetration works with the totem reflect damage. This should not be the case and as far as I know, it isn't the case. Reflect damage can not be scaled in any generic (as in non-Unique modifiers) way even if the reflect came from your own character. If anyone can prove me wrong, I would gladly retool the build to take ele penetration in mind.


Passive Tree


Passive tree is pretty self-explanatory, like most builds its 90% life nodes and 10% other stuff. Being a marauder means extremely easy access to Soul of Steel and Constitution which is great. Crystal Skin is a super cheap underrated passive to allocate, giving us 5% reduced elemental damage taken and some extra resistance. Resolute Technique is free 100% hit chance since we don't crit at all.

Why not Ancestral Bond?
We won't be able to use Wave of Conviction and the 1 extra totem isn't as valuable with all our extra +1 ballista nodes.


Skill Gem Set-Up

Main 6L

Galvanic Arrow + Combustion + Barrage Support + Multiple Totems + Faster Attacks + Ballista Totem

Before 3.10 we used Rain of Arrows and Barrage, with the former for clear and latter for bossing but we don't need to do that anymore. Galvanic Arrow is a nice in-between offering both AoE and a large amount of single target damage. Barrage Support and Galvanic Arrow basically doubles the amount of attacks we do by splitting up the arrow and cone portion of Galvanic Arrow. If we shoot 6 arrows, we actually hit 12 times. At 17726 totem life (with Level 21 Ballista Totem), 8 totems, and 6 projectiles. We will do 426k damage every 0.28s leading to about 1.6m DPS before any sort of resistance or increased damage taken calculation. With 20% quality Awakened Greater Multiple Projectiles instead of Faster Attacks, it goes up to about 2m DPS but I will explain a bit later why I'm not entirely sure if this is true. As stated before, it is very important to get the Level 21 version of Ballista Totem when you can because it has way higher totem life to scale.


Summon Skitterbots
Shock increases our damage and AoE chill is a nice small defensive mechanic

Gives us a ton of armor, thus buffing our phys reduction and giving us chunky molten shell barriers. Buffed even further with a Watcher's Eye.


Wave of Conviction
Helps reduce boss resistances even further. It will proc Elemental Equilibrium in a negative way for us but an arrow hit will quickly turn it back around.

Blood Rage / Vaal Haste / Frenzy + GMP
Ways to increase our attack speed even further.

CWDT (Level 1) + Temporal Chains + Vaal Molten Shell
VMS doesn't proc off CWDT so you need to slam it yourself. Use it in particularly dangerous looking mob packs, it makes you nearly invincible. CWDT Temp Chains is pretty underrated, you'll see what I mean when you use it.

Dash + Second Wind
Gives a good bit of mobility for a generic movement skill

If you don't have a Curse on Hit ring, you'll have to self-cast this yourself. It's not too bad, just annoying.



Leveling Build

Facebreaker Ancestral Warchief is a pretty cheap way to level with totems. Make sure to be on the lookout for added physical damage rares and uniques which will help you a lot leveling up. You can also get some totem damage on the passive tree that you can just refund later, it's not too expensive to path to them since we will get totem life anyways in most of these clusters.

Leveling Uniques

Deidbell, Giantsbane, Blackheart, and Redblade Tramplers are some decent phys damage uniques to be on the lookout for when leveling alongside the generic good stuff leveling uniques like Tabula Rasa, Wanderlust, and Goldrim.

You can swap to Torchoak Step as soon as you can equip Eye of Innocence at level 68. Make sure you have either the Three Dragons or Stormfire set up because it's just not worth it without EE active.



Necessary Uniques

Torchoak Step

Eye of Innocence

Empire's Grasp

Stormfire/Three Dragons

The Siege
This unique cluster jewel gives us access to Kineticism, which makes all our arrows have a 100% chance to knockback. We need this to be able to use our new ballista set-up, otherwise we wouldn't have enough links. Also means we can't chain, so don't bother with that.

Good Uniques

Quill Rain gives us a ton of attack speed at the cost of pretty much nothing since we don't care about how much damage each individual attack does. 6L Quill Rains are very cheap nowadays, you might even be able to get the god roll corrupted 6L Quill Rain w/ Additional Arrow.

Kaom's Heart is a big nice chunk of life since we don't really need the extra sockets. The fire damage is useless. Max res or maximum life corrupt is nice.

Formless Inferno gives us like 15k+ armor through scaling our armor via fire resistance. Also a bit of phys damage reduction via converting it into fire damage which we will have a 77% max resistance to. Hard to find a viable enchant, but Wave of Conviction enchant is nice.

Blood of the Karui is good for any build with a ton of life, much better than instant life flasks. You won't need bleed immunity since we reduce so much physical damage and we can get corrupted blood immunity from jewels.

Watcher's Eyes with double determination are probably one of the cheapest Watcher's Eyes variants with double effect for same auras. The most important effect is the added armor with reduced crit damage taken as a nice bonus.

Rain of Splinters is just extra projectiles and again, we don't care about any decrease in attack damage. If possible find a corrupted one with immunity to corrupted blood. You can find this on any of our jewels.

Chase Gear

Cinderswallow Urn is just a flat 10% extra damage taken to everything. I have one with regeneration which I think is nice but I'm not entirely sure to be honest.

Voices really helps in shoving even more totem cluster jewels into our build, which help us a ton. 7 passive Voices aren't ridiculously expensive, but if you have the money go ahead and splurge for better ones.

Awakened Greater Multiple Projectiles is a questionable one. The calculations for whether or not this is actually a significant DPS boost is hard to make because the animation ends up being so long since you split up every arrow into its own attack (via Barrage Support) that it seems like you shoot just as many arrows without it in a given timeframe than you do with it. With every projectile, Barrage Support slows down the attack even more. No matter what combination of modifiers I end up putting, it seems like the upper bound for DPS using the Galvanic + Barrage Support combo is around 2m DPS. In terms of raw numbers though, this is a damage boost. You'll have to feel for this one yourself.

You can see that we use an absolute tonnage of uniques, meaning you might wonder where our resistances, life, and stats come from. Obviously we already get a ton of fire resistance from our ascendancy, but we also get a good amount of resistances from our passive nodes. Our six jewel nodes give us plenty of increased maximum life and stats along with totem life if you can find cheap ones.


As for rares, there is a bit of wiggle room but not a lot. You mostly want a Stygian Vise and a Ring with all your necessary resistances and maximum life. If you can afford one and have all your needed resistances, a Flammability Curse on Hit ring is really nice. A Shaper quiver with Blind on Hit is a nice defensive layer. You can usually find a Blind on hit with Additional Arrow quiver for not too expensive.

Cluster Jewels

The two main totem cluster nodes you want is Ancestral Preservation which will increase totem life by a whopping 30% per node and Sleeping Sentries which straight up gives us an extra totem. If you have to choose between Ancestral Preservation and Sleeping Sentries, especially for the purpose of Megalomaniac, I'd choose Ancestral Preservation simply because sometimes you can't get ten totems right next to a boss. Riot Queller + Shrieking Bolts is a really nice combo you might be able to find in a Megalomaniac jewel (or among several different cluster jewels) which allows your totems to taunt for you while also making them take extra damage. Taunted enemies will do 10% less damage to you since they are taunted by your totems.


Chemist's Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline
We use Dash and Quicksilver to zoom, sadly we got nothing better but Dash is pretty good.

Quartz Flask
I tried playing this build without phasing and it absolutely sucked since you constantly are running through live mobs. Use this with either Heat or Warding.

Enduring Eternal Mana Flask
Solves our mana problem for most map clearing. Enduring is absolutely required since we reserve most of our mana. Use this with either Heat or Warding.

No real strategy to it, just piano the hell out of these flasks.




Listed in order of when you should take them.

Tasalio, Cleansing Water for the huge chunk of fire resistance, life regen, and ignite immunity. Solves your fire resistance when leveling.

Arohungui, Moon's Presence is incredibly important because it means our totems take no damage from Eye of Innocence (they are still hit) but also increases damage taken by mobs near them (all of the mobs hit by them). Some nice damage reduction too.

Ramako, Sun's Light sadly is just there for the 25% ignite chance. Everything else is useless.

Hinekora, Death's Fury gives our totems a chance to cover rares and uniques in ashes, increasing fire damage taken by 20%. Huge chunk of damage along with some extra life in the increased strength.

**Tukohoma's leech won't work for our totems since reflect damage can't be leeched, no point in entertaining the thought.


What about the Hierophant varient?

I have never tried the Hierophant variant but it is an interesting one. Woolfio has a video on it which scales using cast speed, Holy Flame Totem, and a lot of extra totem life from +level to fire skill gems. It uses significantly fewer totems and overall feels not only weaker but squishier too. Feel free to try it yourself though.
Last edited by zgish on May 19, 2020, 3:56:35 PM
Last bumped on May 19, 2020, 3:51:03 PM

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