[3.12] Hexblast IGNITE Trickster | Laser from the Sky, Chaos Ignites! | Hybrid or CI.


  • Videos
  • Introduction
  • Passive Tree
  • Gem Links
  • Leveling Guide
  • Gear Selection

Changelog. Most Recent Update: Sept 21

9/21/2020: Sample gear for hybrid and CI added.
9/20/2020: Transcendent Mind jewel location added.
9/19/2020: gem link update for better way to trigger EO. Added more to Doomsday Mechanics. New video.
9/18/2020: Fixed leveling trees.
9/17/2020: Original post.

To see my other build guides and resources, click here.


- Sample Red Map at Level 85 and talking about how to use Witchfire Brew.
- First T1 Map at level 68 on a 4-link. (Also: overview of Doomsday Notable.)

Detailed Introduction

Core Idea: apply curses, detonate them with Hexblast for huge ignites. This spell offers some unique scaling methods which have the potential to put it over the top of other ignite sources!

Pros and Cons
+ Ignite Proliferation is awesome for clearing!
+ Trickster has great defensive mechanics.
+ Can do almost every map mod.
+ Easy transition from life-based to CI.
- Not everyone likes damage-over-time builds.
- Needs cluster jewels for DPS - potential problem for SSF.
- Bossing requires a one-two skill usage which some find clunky.

Hexblast Mechanics and Keystones

  • Spell, AoE, Chaos, Hex
  • Mana Cost: 20; Cast Time: 0.60 sec
  • Critical Strike Chance: 4.00%; Effectiveness of Added Damage: 130%
  • Quality: +20% (10% increased Area of Effect)
  • Deals chaos damage to a single enemy, dealing more damage if they are Hexed, then removes the Hex with the highest Doom. If a Hex was removed this way, also deals area damage to other enemies around the target, boosting damage and removing Hexes from those enemies in the same way.
  • All Damage can Ignite, Freeze and Shock
  • 35% more Damage with Ailments per 5 Doom on Hex with most Doom

Important mechanics of note:

- Any sort of added damage (phys, cold, chaos, etc etc) will be counted toward the ignite base hit. Damage effectiveness for added flat damage is quite high.

- Enemies do not need to be hexed to be hit with this; they only cause a big explosion if hexed, however.

Keystones in Use:

Elemental Equilibrium. Get "# to # added Lightning/Cold Damage to Spells." When an enemy is hit with one element, they gain +25 resistance to that element (cold/lightning) and -50 resist to the other (fire, boosting ignite damage).

Easiest way to get Added Lightning/Cold to Spells will be on a caster weapon, or Hypnotic Eye Abyssal jewel.

Elemental Overload. Hexblast has a very low crit chance, so to activate the buff from having crit recently, Impending Doom and Increased Crits are linked to our active curse, Flammability.

Doomsday. Quoting the Wiki: "When casting the Hex spell, instead of applying the curse which gains Doom over time, the spell creates a Hexed Area for 1 second. Enemies in the Hexed Area receive the curse, and after 1 second, the Hexed Area expires and applies the maximum amount of Doom to enemies standing in it."

In practice, when using this curse and using Hexblast, there are 3 different possible outcomes:

1. Hexblast an enemy after Doomsday's 1 second has applied. Maximum damage and a large AOE explosion (used for tough rares and bosses).

2. Hexblast without applying any curse. Will apply a small ignite, enough to kill stragglers, but with very little AOE.

3. Hexblast an enemy that is in the Doomsday hexed area, but the 1 second not yet up. Will trigger a large AOE explosion (same as #1) but with lower ignite DPS. Very good for clearing packs.

'Why Hexblast?' Comparison with Other Ignite Skills

Just doing some math reveals why Hexblast can generate such powerful ignites. Let's compare to a few other common ignite-based skills.

With Hexblast the base hit with 40 Doom and Level 20 gem is

(574 + 862)/2 = 714 average base hit * (3.80) = 2,713 base hit for ignite before any other scaling.

(3.80 is 35% * 8 = 280% more for Doom scaling).

Compare to Fireball, which has base damage 1369 * 1.88 multiplier = 2573 base hit for ignite.

AND, Fireball cannot benefit from EE easily while Hexblast can, which is basically 2x damage against bosses which is where it really counts.

Another skill which DOES benefit from EE with Ignite is Divine Ire. Supposing you channel it up to 20 stages, it deals

(140 + 210)/2 * (15) = 2625 base hit for ignite.

(70% more damage with ailments per stage, times 20 stages = 1400% more)

Divine Ire also requires using the Stormfire ring, and standing still for a long time to channel - but still has a lower base damage.

This ignores the other kinds of scaling you can add - because Hexblast allows ALL kinds of damage to infict ailments, you can boost its damage with any variety of flat added damage and it will contribute to ignite, plus a beefy 130% added damage effectiveness - highly efficient!

FAQs ('What About Hexproof?')

Hexproof Enemies?

They can be immune to our curses, but aren't immune to Doom buildup or ignite.

What about multiple curses, Vixen's Entrapment, etc?

Some people have gone this direction. The downside of investing heavily in extra curses is that it doesn't help against hexproof enemies (unless you also use Cospri's Will), plus curses are much less effective against bosses.

In my opinion it's better to think of this as an ignite build that happens to use a curse spell, rather than trying to build around curse effects - for that direction, go Occultist instead.

Why not Archmage Support?

I don't think there are enough passive points available to stack up mana while also getting ignite chance, Doom passives, and fire DOT scaling. Reserving our mana with Malevolence and other useful auras may be more impactful than Archmage anyways.

When to transition to CI?

Chaos Inoculation makes us immune to chaos damage but removes our HP pool, requiring a significant investment in energy shield defenses to survive. I'd recommend waiting until about level 90 to have enough passives to comfortably use CI; ideally have good enough gear for about 7,000 ES when you transition.

How about some other ascendancy?

Elementalist would also work and Shaper of Desolation would be pretty awesome for applying more elemental ailments. It would also have ailment immunity if invested into Golems. That would also be viable, but personally I dislike using golems and I like that Trickster can easily go CI in the late game.

Passive Tree

POB: https://pastebin.com/sPuY5zMZ <-- Fork Version of PoB Required
Sample Hybrid Life/ES Build: https://pastebin.com/qdKM0BeR
Sample CI Build: https://pastebin.com/4g4NuryM

Includes some leveling trees, a life and a CI version. As I'm posting this, full gem info is not yet in POB so DPS cannot be fully calculated yet. (Update 9/19/20)
Using Path of Building

The program was created by Openarl, and can be downloaded here:

You will also need the community-maintained fork version, which adds several useful features and more regular updates. Once PoB is installed, follow the instructions here:

After you update Path of Building to the newest version, follow these steps to load a build:
- Click "New" (top middle) for a new build
- "Import/Export build" at top left
- "Import from Pastebin", paste the URL given above, and click "Import".

Ascendancy: Trickster

1. Patient Reaper - damage and life/ES recovery.
2. Prolonged Pain - massive buff to damage over time!
3. Ghost Dance - amazing defense.
4. Escape Artist - to make ghost shrouds even better.

Cluster Jewels

On large cluster jewels, you can use implicit of either 12% Increased Fire Damage or 12% Increased Chaos Damage. The fire damage notables are overall better.

TIP: Get large cluster jewels with item level 68 > ilvl >= 50 if you intend to craft yourself.

For Medium cluster jewels, need ilvl >= 68 for Wasting Affliction and Flow of Life, ilvl >= 50 for Blowback.

Notables to look for on Fire Damage Large Cluster Jewels:
  • Burning Bright: +8% to Fire Damage over Time Multiplier; 20% increased Fire Damage; 8% increased Area of Effect
  • Smoking Remains: 35% increased Fire Damage; 10% chance to create a Smoke Cloud on Kill
  • Prismatic Heart: 30% increased Elemental Damage; +10% to all Elemental Resistances
  • Widespread Destruction: 20% increased Elemental Damage; 10% increased Area of Effect
  • Lord of Drought: 25% increased Flammability Curse Effect; 10% increased Area of Effect
  • Cremator: 30% increased Fire Damage; Ignited Enemies you hit are destroyed on Kill

Notables to look for on Chaos Damage Large Cluster Jewels (much worse):
  • Unwaveringly Evil: 30% increased Chaos Damage; Chaos Skills ignore interruption from Stuns
  • Unholy Grace: 30% increased Chaos Damage; 10% increased Attack and Cast Speed
  • Wicked Pall: 35% increased Chaos Damage; 10% increased Skill Effect Duration

Medium cluster jewels give powerful DPS increases. There are many good notables on medium clusters with fire DOT multiplier implicit, but the best are:
  • Blowback: Ignites you inflict deal Damage 15% faster
  • Wasting Affliction: 20% increased Damage with Ailments; Damaging Ailments deal damage 10% faster

Get one of those plus some other notable that is good. It is very difficult to get both mods on the same jewel!

If available, Small Cluster jewels with added HP are great to take as well (Fettle).

Leveling Guide

Summary: level with Essence Drain/Contagion until Act 6. You could also level with Caustic Arrow, or do Stormblast Mine/Orb of Storms (this seems to be the meta choice).

Around level 45, switch to Hexblast and begin using Ignite to clear.

Read the following for details... (This shows the ED/C leveling method).
Acts 1 to 5

Act 1:
Item Goals: 3-socket item with BBG colors.
After Hillock take Ethereal Knives (or Explosive Trap if you prefer), link Lesser Poison.
After Medicine Chest from Tidal Island, take Quicksilver Flask and buy Arcane Surge (leave at Level 1).
After Mud Flats, take Contagion and Dash.

After entering the Prison, return to town, take Void Manipulation.

Early A1 Gem links:
Ethereal Knives - Lesser Poison
Contagion - Void Manipulation
Dash - Arcane Surge

After Brutus: take Flame Dash to replace Dash. (Can buy Combustion, Added Cold and begin leveling them)

Before Merveil, take Essence Drain and link Void Manipulation to it.

Act 2:

After Chamber of Sins: take Skitterbots and begin using it.

After the Weaver: take Faster Casting (link to Contagion), buy Controlled Destruction (link to Essence Drain) and can buy Deadly Ailments if desired.

Kill all the bandits for passive points.

A2 Gem Links:
Essence Drain - Controlled Destruction - Void Manipulation
Contagion - Faster Casting
Flame Dash - Arcane Surge

Act 3:

Tolman: take Malevolence aura to use, buy Flammability and begin leveling it (not used yet).
After Gravicius, get Hexblast (level 28) start leveling it.

Can skip the Library optional quest, or do it to get Swift Affliction to make leveling easier.

Passive Tree: Level 25

Act 4:

Take Chaos Golem or Lightning Golem as preferred.

Before Malachai, take Increased AOE Support.

Act 6 and Onwards

After clearing the Twilight Strand, can purchase necessary gems to proceed with the main strategy, re-spec slightly out of the early leveling-only nodes.

Passive Tree: Level ~50

A6 Gem Links:
Hexblast - Combustion - Ignite Prolif - (Added Cold - Deadly Ailments - Burning Damage)

If you have a source of Added Cold/Added Lightning Damage to Spells on a piece of gear to trigger EE, the Added Chaos Damage Support is slightly better than Added Cold Support.

Purchase additional copies of Hexblast to level in off-hand weapon slots. Goal being to level these up to level 20 and get lucky with a Vaal Orb corruption to hit a level 21 gem.

Gem Links

Hexblast linked with
- Combustion
- Ignite Proliferation
- Deadly Ailments (Awakened)
- Burning Damage (Awakened)

6th Link has several options. Pick one:
- Swift Affliction (Awakened) best damage but very short ignite duration!
- Hypothermia assumes enemies will always be chilled by Skitterbots
- Awakened Added Chaos Damage Slightly lower raw DPS, but most consistent.

Utility Skills

Curse: Flammability - Impending Doom - Increased Crits - Onslaught (or Enhance).

Impending Doom-Increased Crits will hit to trigger Elemental Overload buff.

With an alternate quality curse that has added maximum Doom with quality, Enhance (Level 4) is a significant damage buff!

Auras: Malevolence, Summon Skitterbots (or Discipline, when going CI).

When these are linked to Enlighten (Level 4) and with the Sovereignty node on the passive tree, it is also possible to run Aspect of the Spider from some piece of gear.

Debuff: Scorching Ray - Spell Totem - Multiple Totems - Faster Casting

Scorching Ray applies exposure to assist with boss DPS.

Utility: Cast When Damage Taken (Level 1) - Immortal Call - Cold Snap - Tempest Shield.

Cold Snap can occasionally generate Frenzy Charges for a small damage boost while clearing, and slow nearby enemies. Tempest Shield gives a small block buff - flex slot. Other option is Void Sphere to clear corpses.

Movement: Flame Dash - Second Wind - Portal.

If desired, you could find space for Enduring Cry - Urgent Orders and link those to Second Wind as well in order to manually generate endurance charges.

Alternate Quality Gem Upgrades

Alternate Quality Flammability: Curses inflicted by this Skill have +5 to maximum Doom.

Alternate Quality Hexblast: 40% increased Damage with Ailments; 20% increased Effect of non-Damaging Ailments on Enemies.

Alternate Quality Malevolence: You and nearby Allies deal 10% increased Damage with Ailments

Alternate Quality Combustion: Ignites from Supported Skills deal Damage 5% faster


Priorities for rare items include:
  • Cap all resistances at 75%
  • Increased Defenses: Maximum Life (and/or Energy Shield) and Evasion
  • Dexterity and Strength sufficient to reach Gem requirements
  • Better Ignite DPS! (see below.)

How to Scale Your Ignite Damage

"More" Damage Multipliers: (prioritize these stats)
  • Fire Damage Over Time Multiplier
  • Damage Over Time Multiplier
  • Ignites / Damaging Ailments You Inflict Deal Damage #% Faster
  • Enemies have -#% Fire Resistance
  • Additional Gem Levels for Chaos, Hex, Intelligence, AOE, or Spell Skills.

"Increased" Damage Modifiers: (also good)
  • Fire Damage or Elemental Damage
  • Burning Damage or Damage Over Time
  • Adds # to # Physical, Cold, Lightning, or Chaos Damage to Spells
  • Chaos Damage (Less effective than increased elemental damage).

Modifiers that DO NOT scale Ignite:
  • Area Damage
  • Spell Damage
  • Damage Penetrates #% Resistance
  • Chaos Damage over time Multiplier
  • Arcane Surge (not totally useless - it does improve cast speed/mana regen)
  • Adds # to # Fire Damage to Spells (Very bad! Will prevent EE from working.)

Jewel Mods

The build benefits greatly from cluster jewels, as well as Abyssal and Normal jewels. Abyssals with a lot of flat added damage are some of the best for DPS, and often cheap to trade for.

For your convenience, pre-made search terms to find good jewels. Normal - Abyssal

Watcher's Eye: "Damaging Ailments you inflict deal Damage #% faster while affected by Malevolence." You can also get the "Damage over time Multiplier" with Malevolence, but that mod is more expensive and not as good.

Transcendent Mind located above Witch

Useful Unique Items

Won't be using all of these at the same time, but some handy items include:

Flasks: Cinderswallow Urn for DPS and survival; and Witchfire Brew. Important Interaction: the Despair aura that Witchfire creates cannot generate Doom, but it CAN be detonated by Hexblast (giving extra AOE to ignites). Using this helps clear speed a LOT!

Boots: Windshriek for damage, massive AOE boost, and an extra curse.

Gloves: Fenumus Weave for added flat chaos and Aspect of the Spider.

Shield: Apep's Supremacy when going CI, good for both defenses and added flat chaos damage.


Thank you for reading this far! Leave a comment if you have questions or to share more information about the build.
Last edited by ThanatoZGaming on Sep 23, 2020, 4:02:21 AM
Last bumped on Jan 14, 2021, 10:49:55 AM
I was theorycrafting a Hexblast Assassin, but this build looks more viable

Gonna check it out
reserved post
Now I can get behind this! Just gonna go caustic arrow instead at the start. Good looking idea!
I would like more defensive layer here, some block nodes perhaps
Moridin79 wrote:
Now I can get behind this! Just gonna go caustic arrow instead at the start. Good looking idea!

Good point, that might be smoother for early levels than ED/C!

DixuMixu wrote:
I would like more defensive layer here, some block nodes perhaps

If you can get a tree which does that I'd love to see it. I think it would come at the expense of having cluster jewels.
Moridin79 wrote:
Now I can get behind this! Just gonna go caustic arrow instead at the start. Good looking idea!

Good point, that might be smoother for early levels than ED/C!

DixuMixu wrote:
I would like more defensive layer here, some block nodes perhaps

If you can get a tree which does that I'd love to see it. I think it would come at the expense of having cluster jewels.

Yeah getting block is tricky, especially now that GB was moved farther and Thread of Hope can't reach it

What's the skill you proc EE with? I'm confused how Scorching Ray won't mess with EE, because it deals fire damage

Would you think a "trigger" wand could be used for some skills? (Trigger socketed spells when you use a skill)
Last edited by DixuMixu on Sep 17, 2020, 2:15:53 PM
EE gets triggered by Hexblast as long as there's some source of added cold/lightning to the spell hit - should be easy to get with gear. Also there is low level CWDT-Storm Brand.

Scorching Ray doesn't hit anything, it's just a debuff so no worries with EE.

I generally like trigger wands, it would be a substitute for low level CWDT. Unfortunately, triggering the curse will make it ineffective at generating Doom, so that is not an option. I'm not sure what other spells you'd want to trigger
Last edited by ThanatoZGaming on Sep 17, 2020, 2:20:45 PM
EE gets triggered by Hexblast as long as there's some source of added cold/lightning to the spell hit - should be easy to get with gear. Also there is low level CWDT-Storm Brand.

Scorching Ray doesn't hit anything, it's just a debuff so no worries with EE.

I generally like trigger wands, it would be a substitute for low level CWDT. Unfortunately, triggering the curse will make it ineffective at generating Doom, so that is not an option. I'm not sure what other spells you'd want to trigger

Oh right forgot Scorching Ray doesn't "hit"

I'm looking at how many gem slots are used
I put:
- auras in shield
- hexblast in body
- scroching ray in helmet/gloves/boots
- curse in helmet/gloves/boots
- flame dash/second wind/immortal call or steelskin/increased duration in helmet/gloves/boots

I usually run with steelskin/immortal call on LMB because I'm lazy xd

That leaves trigger wand with 3 open slots: Storm Brand, Void Sphere, Tempest shield

What do you think?
Sure, that works. You could also just stick those triggered skills on a Level 1 CWDT and it saves you an affix on your wand, making gearing a bit easier. But really just a matter of preference.

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