[3.11] Flameblast Chieftain - Burn all content to the ground (0.5 - 3m shaper dps) - SSF viable
Hey there! I'm Verocan, and lately I have been having a blast (pun intended) with this build. Because I couldn't find any builds on Flameblast I had to make it myself and wanted to share this with the community for anyone that also really wants this skill to work for them!
If you have ever tried Flameblast you are probably aware of the feeling of immense power while you are channeling that god-forsaken explosion of fiery destruction. Release the button and everything either vaporizes or melts before your very eyes. Lovely!
This build is intended to force you into a new playstyle which involves quite a bit of standing still and therefore is certainly not a meta-build. It is for people who want a new and fresh, and extremely rewarding playthrough, while also being able to complete all content in SSF or on a low budget.
The basic concept is to play around the ignite portion of Flameblast, which gives us a juicy 900% more multiplier to work with!
+ Satisfying and a different experience
+ Cheap and SSF viable
+ Quite tanky for a caster
+ Non-meta, so you get special bragging rights
- Can't run elemental reflect (no regen and avoid ailments are also hard)
- Doesn't scale that well into god-tier numbers
- Standing still will get you killed from time to time
Basically you run around and place a quick "dab of Flameblast" on every pack you see. While doing this you have to quickly consider two things:
- How long do I need to charge in order to kill this pack?
- How long can I stand still, channeling, before they kill me?
While running around in maps you are constantly tweaking the answer to these questions, which adds a lot of tension to the gameplay.
For stronger monsters (rares and uniques) you usually want to add our double curse and maybe even fire exposure to melt them faster. This will be further covered in the gems section.
To kill bosses you will want to channel a full Flameblast. This is often very hard, because bosses have mechanics that will kill you if you stand still for too long. You have to time and place your Flameblast perfectly between thse mechanics, which adds a layer of depth to the understanding of boss mechanics.
Path of Building
In PoB you can find my current character (Pyrocan). In there you can also find a lot of items which I don't have, but would be very strong (labeled as BiS).
Because there are not that many passive nodes to increase the damage of ignite we have to look for other ways to increase it. We do this by implementing double curse in the build and by making a double 50% reserved aura possible. Because of the rapid casting of Flameblast we also encounter quite some mana issues. These are mostly resolved by taking 'Tireless', 'Shaper', 'Righteous Decree', 'Quick Recovery' and 'Lucidity'. If you can grab some mana-issue-fixers from your gear you can consider removing 'Righteous Decree' as it is the worst of the options.
You can convert the build to a bit more squishy version by going into the shadow area of the tree and grabbing more damage nodes there. You would then just take 'Growth and Decay', 'Blood Siphon' and 'Lethal Assult', but not 'Elemental Focus'. This nets about 10% more damage and sacrifices about 20% increased maximum life.
There are a few points in the tree (such as the curse and aura effect increase) which are not ideal, but there is not that much better available. The same holds for 'Explosive Impact', if you can get your hands on a medium cluster jewel with damage over time implicit you can get more dps by moving points around to that. You can also find an example of such a cluster jewel in the PoB link.
Besides getting a good amount of health we don't get a lot of other defenses. In the tree we don't grab any armor, evasion, block or dodge nodes. Our main defense is a large health pool and health regeneration. We do have a good amount of strength, so we can use armour based gear.
The best anointment is 'Burning Brutality', with a close second for 'Growth and Decay' (which gives 1% life regen traded for ~3% damage). Other (~half as good) options include: 'Dirty Techniques' 'Ash, Frost and Storm', 'Snowforged', 'Lava Lash'.
I chose to kill all the bandits because none of the bonuses are really good for the build. You can consider helping Alira because she helps fixing your resistances (15% all) and counters some of our mana issues, the crit is wasted. If you choose to help Alira you sacrifice about 4% dps, which is not that bad. Actually, now writing this I am starting to reconsider taking Alira after all. The choice is up to you.
Chieftain is the only logical choice: your character portrait lights on fire! What's more to want?
1st: Tasalio, helps geatly with fixing resists while leveling and makes the whole experience a lot smoother.
2nd: Ramako, this gives us big damage, grab it!
3rd: Hinekora, the ash mechanic makes this worth it, the life leech only workes on the hit portion of Flameblast (which is still respectable) and more strength gives us some life. All in all a very good point for us.
4th: Arohongui, not that special, just 16% more damage done and 8% less damage taken if your totem is next to the enemy. It is a bit unreliable, therefore you can consider replacing it for another point.
The first three are mandatory, the last one can be changed according to what you prefer. As pointed out by DUKE_OF_SNUFF, it might be worth more to grab Valako as the fourth point. In order to use this effectively you would need to use a warcry and an endurance charge removal (such as Immortal Call).
We play a life based build, so we look for the standard life gear: A good life roll and resistances. We do not need any fire resistance after getting Tasalio (ascendancy). Armour bases are the best for us, as we use that to some extend. But beware that we require one full blue 4-link. I use a armour/energy shield hybrid for that. Besides defense we can also look for damage modifiers on our gear. You can find an overview of damage inccreasing modifiers below the uniques section.
We do not need any specific uniques or modifiers in order to play all content, but some items do provide a lot of power or some other benefit:
Kaom's Heart. This is the most valuable unique for our build. We get so much health from this item and we also use the fire damage portion! Using this, however, results in an immediate socket-starvation. You are forced to use a staff to socket your 5- or 6-link in. This last part is not such a problem, since we can use two unique staves and obtaining a decent staff is not very hard for this build.
The Searing Touch is the strongest unique staff we can use (a bit better than The Martyr of Innocence; ~10% dps).
The Martyr of Innocence is a very close second. Both are completely fine to use, but a well crafted rare staff (as usual) nets better results.
Hrimnor's Resolve is not superb, but it does open up an extra flask-immunity-slot and also helps when fighting specific cold based enemies (such as Veritania) as flasks tend to get drained during boss fights. I still use it, but I will probably swap it out when I find a better alternative.
Pyre does give us a lot of dps and also destroys those pesky corpses, but destroying corpses also destroys our ignite proliferation coming from those corpses. This severely hampers the playability and therefor I do not recommend it. It is mainly here as a reminder that corpse destuction is an option for us.
Abberath's Hooves are only usefull for clearing packs, as the ignite spread is useless for bosses. I do not own a pair, so I haven't tested them, but I think they are not worth over a good pair of boots. I only wanted to mention them because the ignite spread is such a unique mechanic.
A Watcher's Eye Jewel can also roll some pretty sweet mods for our build: Malevolence: Ailments deal damage faster, Malevolence: DoT multi and Anger: Increased fire damage. If you can get one with one or more of these mods, it is easily the best jewel I know for the build. I don't own one, so here is the wiki link:
Modifiers on Gear
In order to better understand these choices please read the mechanics part of the guide. There I will explain some of the basics and also the more advanced mechanics of ignite damage.
We can use quite a few (craftable) modifiers. The most notable being the +1 to fire skill gems from a warlord influenced amulet.
Useful damage amplifying modifiers for us are:
The number before the modifier shows the approximate(!) dps increase (in percentages) for endgame content.
(10) Prefix: (Warlord) +1 level of fire skill gems.
(4) Prefix: Increased fire damage
(10) Suffix: (Shaper) Fire DoT multi.
(3) Suffix: Increased fire damage
(5)Prefix: (Elder) Adds fire damage to spells and attacks.
(4)Prefix: (Elder) Chance to ignite and added fire dmg to ignited ememies.
(3) Suffix: Increased fire damage.
(5) Suffix: Increased elemental damage.
(5) Suffix: Increased damage with ailments.
(5) Prefix: (Warlord) Increased fire damage.
(5) Prefix: (Warlord) Added fire damage to burning enemies.
(5) Suffix: Increased damage with ailments.
(3) Prefix: (Warlord) Increased damage over time.
(10) Suffix: (Shaper) Fire DoT multi.
(8) Prefix: (Hunter) You can apply an additional curse.
(This is only useful for saving nodes, or for using Despair, the %dps increase is based on adding Despair)
(5) Prefix: (Elder) Adds fire damage to spells.
(3) Prefix: (Warlord) Increased elemental damage.
This is where we can get really big damage boosters:
(40) Prefix: +(1-2) to level of all spell skill gems.
(60) Prefix: Fire DoT multi.
(55) Prefix: +(1-3) to level of all fire spell skill gems.
(20) Prefix: Adds fire damage to spells.
(35) Suffix: (Hunter) Ignites you inflict deal damage faster.
(30) Suffix: (Hunter) Malevolence has increased aura effect.
(30) Suffix: Fire DoT multi.
(15) Suffix: Increased burning damage.
(10) Suffix: Increased fire damage.
(2) Prefix: Increased fire damage.
(3) Suffix: Fire DoT multi.
(3) Suffix: Increased burning damage.
These modifiers are the most valuable, but there might be some less obvious modifiers that also have the possiblity of increasing our damage (increase effect of curses for example). This list is therefor intended as a starting point for you to know where to look for. If you really like the build you will probably find some things that work even better for you. If you do, let me know! :)
There are no necessary flasks, so choose what you prefer. The flasks I use are easily crafted with some alterations and beastcrafting:
We do not need a remove ignite flask (ascendancy). The only damage increasing flask is a sulphur. I chose to use this because it can be crafted to have 4 uses, giving a whopping 19 seconds curse immune. This is very nice in temp chains maps. I also chose to use a granite flask with increased armor, this gives 30% physiscal reduction by itself.
For Flameblast we use the following 6-link:
These are in order of priority. Ignite proliferation is the worst in terms of dps, but without the area of effect it creates the build is nearly unplayable. The other gems are nearly equal in terms of dps. Infused channeling is nice for the damage reduction, but it also does not give the buff when only dropping a very short blast on a pack.
Vaal Flameblast is a worthy addition to the build! It is especially good for stationary bosses. Though it sounds good, a higher level Flameblast is worth more than a lower level vaaled one.
Curse on Hit
For the curse on hit setup I like to use Armageddon Brand:
You could use another gem that does a 'hit' in order to apply both curses. You can also get curse on hit from your gear if you can find/afford that. I like to use armageddon brand because this 4-link has pretty decent pack clearing on its own. It also fits the fire theme, which is arguably the most important reason. This is also the main source for proccing 'Elemental Overload'.
Fire Exposiure Totem
For fire exposure I prefer a Wave of Conviction totem:
The totem applies fire exposure, but also your (4th) ascendancy bonus! You could choose to use Scorching Ray instead of Wave of Conviction, but don't forget that Scorching Ray needs some time to apply the debuff. EDIT: After some testing I think the Scorching Ray totem is actually better because when fighting bosses it constantly quite litterally points at the boss.
Cast When Damage Taken
For some defense I use a 2-link Cast When Damage Taken (CWDT) (lvl 17):
I choose to run Molten Shell(lvl 19) because I'm playing a fire build and this skill is hot! Immortal Call would arguably be the stronger choice though. Personally I run the Vaal variant of Molten Shell, this provides a (vaal) panic button and an automatic shield. You can also run the CWDT on a different level if you prefer.
If you run the Valako ascendancy instead of Arohongui you would probably like to use a CWDT with Immortal Call to remove the endurance charges. You would also need to equip a warcry, which might be a hard fit with Kaom's.
Aura and Mobility
The three auras and Flame Dash:
This last one is just four on their own standing gems, no links needed. I use a level 7 Clarity. How high you can get this depends on your maximum mana, which is influenced by some of the nodes in the tree.
With Kaom's I do not have the luxury of many sockets, but if I would have more, I would: upgrade the CWDT to include both (and maybe even Phase Run), add faster casting to Flame Dash, Enlighten the auras and/or add a Flame or Stone Golem. I have not taken the time to investigate more options, because I like Kaom's defense too much.
Flameblast is available at level 28. Before this I used some molten strike and fireball (they were not great options), but any skill is fine, as our tree is not focusing on a specific damage type yet.
The order in which you progress through the tree is not very flexible, but I recommend getting the backbone (grey line) first, while grabbing some damage nodes (green) if you feel you need some more damage. The backbone probably provides all the defense you need in the early levels.
The green, yellow and red colors also indicate how early I suggest you take the nodes, with red last. Your mana should always manage to keep a 4-link running indefinately. When you go to a 5-link you might need some of the mana-management nodes, while for a 6-link you probably need all of them. Start with the life-mana-combo nodes, then the flat reduction from 'Lucidity' and lastly 'Righteous Decree'.
Quick note: I forgot to color the extra point next to Sovereignty. it should be red.
This is how I interpreted the available information. I think the following information is correct. Besides reading, I also tested these things out in-game and in PoB, but of course I'm not 100% certain that I made no mistakes. If you think I made a mistake, please post about it so I can correct it if necessary!
Let me start with a few wiki links for you to easily find my sources:
If a hit does fire damage, there is a chance to ignite. The damage per second of an ignite is 50% of the total fire damage portion of the hit. The base duration of an ignite is 4 seconds and during this time the ignite will deal its damage as burning damage to the affected target.
An enemy can only be affected by one ignite at a time period. This includes the ignites from another party member! Multiple ignites can "attach" to an enemy, but only the ignite with the highest damage per second will apply damage.
While ignite damage does not stack, burning damage can, as long as it is not from the same source. For example: two totems casting Scorching Ray will not deal two times the burning damage, but a Scorching Ray totem will stack burning damage with a Searing Bond totem.
I wanted to quickly cover the mechanic of proliferation because I found it very unclear at the start.
Proliferation of an ailment is actually an aura. What I mean by this is that the ailment on a target doesn't only affect the target, but all targets in a radius around it. More specifically: All targets within the aura are affected by exactly the same ailment, except they do not "proliferate" themselves.
It sounds like any modifier that increases the spell damage of Flameblast would also increase the damage of the ignite, but this is not the case! The damage the ignite is calculated from is before any modifiers that increase the damage are applied. This is to prevent modifiers to apply two times (such as increased fire damage = + damage for flameblast and then also + damage for the resulting ignite).
In order to explain the damage calculation we need to see the formula that calculates our ignite damage per second:
Hefty formula, be warned
Ignite damage = (0.5 * ([base fire hit] + SUM(added fire)) * SUM(all increases) * SUM(all multipliers)* SUM(ignite speed) * SUM(resistance) * More1 * More2 * More(n)
Let us call every part of the formula separated by a '*' symbol a "bucket" (as we dump stats into these buckets).
The first bucket is then the "hit bucket". In this bucket all additions to the hit are summed up and added to the base hit. This is then (because of the way ignite works) halved, to calculate the base ignite damage.
This damage is then amplified by our increases that apply to ignite, which are covered by the "increases bucket". All modifiers that contain the word "increase" end up being added together into this bucket (with the exception of the ones that end up in the next bucket).
Some modifiers include the wording "increase" and "multiplier" in their text. This does not mean that these modifiers stack multiplicatively, it means that they are added up in a separate bucket; the "multiplier bucket".
There are some sources of "your ignites deal damage faster". It is hard to find any data on this, but from a PoB test I found that these are (as expected) added together into the "ignite speed bucket".
Monsters also have resistances. All increases and reductions to resistances are also added together into the "resistances bucket".
Lastly, we are left over with the purely multiplicative modifiers. These show up with the text "more". These modifiers are not put into a bucket, but all of these are their own bucket. These are so extremely valuable because they do not have deminishing returns.
Deminishing returns in a nutshell:
Adding a value to one of the buckets becomes less valuable when the bucket is already full. Adding a value to an empty bucket can be considered the same as being a "more" multiplier. If you want a more in depth explanation about why addition results in deminishing returns, read the "Stat" page, linked above.
The following modifiers affect our ignite damage (per second):
+ Damage (increase bucket)
+ Damage over Time (increase bucket)
+ Elemental Damage (increase bucket)
+ Fire Damage (increase bucket)
+ Burning Damage (increase bucket)
+ Ignite Damage (increase bucket)
+ Damage over Time Multiplier (multiplier bucket)
+ Fire Damage over Time Multiplier (multiplier bucket)
+ Added Fire Damage (to spells or specific targets) (hit bucket)
+ Monster Resistance Reduction (resistance bucket)
+ Ignites you inflict deal damage faster (ignite speed bucket)
From this list and the knowledge of the "buckets" we can understand that the last three modifiers are usually the most valuable, the "multiplier" mods are also very good, while the "increase bucket" is probably quick to "feel" deminishing returns.
Note that some mods closely resemble these, but do not work:
+ Added Fire damage (to weapon)
Ingame this reads as "added fire damage" and it only boosts the damage of the weapon.
+ Penetrate Resistances
This only works for hits and ignite is not a hit.
If you, after reading this, still have questions about the mechanics, feel free to leave a comment!
Thank you for reading my guide. I hope it inspired you to play this build or helped you making your own build!
Last edited by Verocan on Aug 24, 2020, 9:13:53 AM
Last bumped on Sep 17, 2020, 4:12:31 PM
on Aug 22, 2020, 3:37:25 PM
hi, good you make a guide.
i got some few tips. try to make a POB with your real char, showcasing the items used and real stats(hp, damage, res, ect).
also what could miss is, some talk of layers of defence or the lack of.
i looked at your tree, and i think it can be optimized alot, like you use alot of points getting mediocre notes that could be much stronger in some cluster jewel setup(since here is alot of potent stuff).
regarding your accendency i think the enduring charges note are very powerfull. and hard to miss.
Last edited by DUKE_OF_SNUFF on Aug 23, 2020, 6:40:58 AM
on Aug 23, 2020, 6:39:17 AM
Hey man, thanks for the pointers!
I included the PoB link to my character, which I agree is a lot more insightful.
For the defenses; I added some text to the tree and gear section mentioning the lack of defenses and that armour is the best option.
About the tree: I don't agree with you that it can be optimized alot. As I disussed in the Passive Tree section, there are some points which aren't great, but pathing towards other options nets even less (the aura increase node still gives a 1.6% dps per point for example). I clarified the text on the medium cluster jewel, which is also found in the PoB link now. I agree with you that that would definately be the stronger option.
The note about the other ascendancy (Valako) being better I think I agree on, but getting the most out of it requires at least a warcry slotted in our gear. As I run Kaom's I don't have the room for it, but in case someone wants to use a different armour I added a section about Valako and how to use it.
on Aug 23, 2020, 3:04:44 PM
Can I replace Flameblast with the new Firestorm and keep this build the same? Thanks
on Sep 15, 2020, 9:46:22 AM
new firestorm numbers look atrocious. the alternate quality one might be OK. i would avoid it.
on Sep 17, 2020, 4:12:31 PM