[3.14] Corrupting Fever Elementalist! Apply with Ball Lightning! Run 9 golems!

  • Introduction

This is my second-ever build guide, and my second-ever "successful" custom build (my third-ever custom build period... my custom wander I tried in between was awful).

This build kind of built itself but I surprisingly haven't seen anyone really optimizing corrupting blood mass-pack applications per second like I have. Which is why I decided to post this guide describing how it works... with GMP Unleash Ball Lightning. Yep, you read that right.

I won't pretend the single-target dps on this build is insane, but it's over 1M and at least pretty consistent, so you never feel like you're not making progress on chipping down bosses since it's just so easy to re-apply. A good part for bossing is that you have plenty of time to dodge everything--this build was the first time I did a completely hitless uber atziri (without particularly trying--I was just running around throwing ball lightning into the center of the stage), but it's also tanky enough for most content even if you mess up sometimes (it's NOT a Hardcore-viable build though, unlike my last guide--the regen makes it exceptionally good for not dying often in softcore, but getting oneshot with big crits on rippy maps is very possible and has happened once to me at my current level).

But the real treasure of this build is clearing packs. Ultimatums, unlocking legions, whatever, just fire ball lightning into the fray and watch everything melt. I league started with this build and have been building it up the whole time.

  • Table of contents

Build concept
Pros / cons
Example Gear
Gear breakdown
Gem Setups
Ascendancy and Passive Tree
Final Thoughts

  • Build concept

Well, Corrupting Fever was announced and released this league. Most people looked at it and thought "uh this doesn't scale with spell damage? Well guess it can be nice secondary damage" But I looked at it and thought "ooh this works REALLY well with Cold Iron Point, the keystone item of my previous build guide with Herald of Agony!"

Others are off using corrupting fever as secondary dps on exsanguinate or some such. For me, I have corrupting fever as my only dps for map clearing (and a reap 4L for some extra dps on bosses when there are openings). The base damage of this skill is so high and elementalist is the best class for it because of all the generic damage we get. As long as you can maintain 10 stacks on all mobs (spoiler: you can), you're essentially doing 1M dps to everything on a screen around you before they even see you. And that's... 1M actual, consistent DoT dps, not 1M "under optimal conditions if all of your arrows hit the same enemy" (looking at you, 2016 tornado shot guides).

Here's something a lot of people also don't think about: corrupting blood scaling with so few things is actually an advantage of sorts. It has very high base damage so it can still scale high, but since it doesn't scale with spell damage, you're not tempted to go around forcing a Low Life build, putting it in its own 6L staff, or otherwise taking all the spell damage nodes. So what do you do when you run out of ways to scale the damage directly?

Elementalists in general love getting 9 golems, but how many can say that 9 golems is optimal? Usually for a generic elementalist, the golem scaling tapers off, so they search for more efficient ways to scale DPS. For us, the golem scaling stays incredibly, incredibly good. And as a result, we get a stone golem and a chaos golem that buff our defensive abilities as much as possible. And it's not like scaling golem buff effect is useless for our DPS, either--we've got a flame golem for even more generic damage scaling, after all, and a lightning golem for quality of life cast speed.

  • Pros

[+]Fast clearspeed
[+]Cheap to start
[+]Can do any map mod (though no regen requires a ring with +life gained on spell hit)
[+]Doesn't care about proximity shields (corrupting fever applies even with no-damage hits)
[+]Golems lead to high survivability
[+]Fast delving (I still like delving okay)
[+]Melts the Hall of Grandmasters until people start uploading characters with corrupted blood immunity

  • Cons

[-]Optimizing dps costs a few ex because elementalists
[-]Single-target dps isn't incredible (up to maybe 2M without doing a full chest swap into 6L reap)

  • Current Ultimatum Gear

plus magic flasks and this passive tree (check jewels)

  • Gear Breakdown

Weapons: 2x cold iron point is a good place to start and an acceptable place to end. Well-rolled rare weapons with +2 gem levels and some other stats (damage over time multipler and damage over time, really whatever you want) can absolutely be better, not only more dps but also, more levels means less life required to refresh Corrupting Fever's uptime. But I haven't found a need to change my weapons yet because I kind of like ball lightning doing ~nothing on its own.

Important: if you have even one cold-iron point equipped, you want to run an abyss jewel with +chaos damage to spells so that your ball lightning does any damage. This is because, although Corrupted Blood can apply from Fever regardless of damage being dealt, Elementalists cannot apply shock from literally 0 damage. The wording on the elementalist passive makes it sound like it might, but it won't. I tested it.

Helmet: We're looking for +minion gems first and foremost because chaos golems go up to 5% base physical damage reduction at level 23. A +3 minion gem helm is obviously optimal for stone golem regen, but +2 is enough (a level 21 chaos golem gem to go with it is cheap enough). After that, look for life and resists, an otherwise generic helm.

Until you get the enchantment for 30% corrupting fever duration (I farmed that enchantment myself on this exact helm you see linked above--lab is much less miserable than it used to be), you should be taking the 45% increased duration cluster that branches off to the right of the "Shaper" notable. It's technically not mandatory but it does feel pretty bad otherwise.

Gloves: Get your own pair of apothecary's gloves and slap on an Essence of Delirium. What you get is what you get! I stuck with this pair after crafting a few because of the life (however little) and chaos res that ended up on it.

Body Armor: We don't need any special uniques so just get a 6L astral plate with as much life and resists as you can. At lower corrupting fever levels, you don't need a 6L--the reason we need so many links (and come on, my Life Leech gem isn't doing much until I swap out my Cold Iron Points) is to make Ball Lightning cost as much life as possible now that our Corrupting Fever is level 27. I'll cover more details in the Gem Links section.

Amulet: Primordial Chain. 9 golems are insane. The less life doesn't matter because we're an elementalist. The golems (besides the stone golems) will die sometimes, but then they'll respawn. I anointed the minimum frenzy charge / frenzy charge generation notable because frenzy charges are nice, ya know?

Rings: Life and resists. I choose endurance charge crafts just for the physical damage reduction but it can be whatever you feel like. If you can get it, then the +Life Gained on Spell Hit influenced mod is optimal with ball lightning (literally the only way for you to die is to be oneshot if you get it). As you can see, I slammed some orbs on my rings with open prefixes and they failed to roll that mod. I got dex on a ring because I needed some dex, and even then, I'm still taking two dex notables in the tree. Stat requirements are hard.

Boots: Movement speed first, life and resists after that. I aisling crafted my boots for swag after buying a cheap base with high life and resists with an open prefix. Onslaught from pack to pack can be nice if you forget to manage your flasks correctly.

Belt: I took a rustic sash early for the dps and never switched, but a stygian vise is good because you can put your abyss jewel in there anyway. The optimal abyss jewel has chaos damage to spells, damage over time while dual wielding, and t1 life. If you swap off cold iron point, though, then a rustic sash is (barely) more dps (but obviously less life).

As for belt mods, pretty generic, you need life and resists. If you can get the mod for increased life recovery rate, it obviously synergizes super well with golem life regen.

Jewels: Jewels are kind of the expensive part of the build because of elementalists being so good. The Anima Stone and 2x Primordial Eminence are important to get +2 golems.

A minion damage large cluster jewel with Primordial Bond is great. 90% generic damage for us in addition to golem buff effect? Yes please.

Two physical damage over time medium cluster jewels are very good, Rend is the best notable and there are a few you can choose as a second notable.

I've talked about our abyss jewel already.

That leaves room for a Watcher's Eye. Well, we want two malevolence mods and pretty much have no need for anything else: life recovery rate, and damage over time multi. Getting them both on one jewel is like 60ex. I just have life recovery rate because that was super cheap--the damage over time multiplier costs far more.

After those you have room for regular rare jewels. Life, physical damage over time multiplier, damage over time, stats, resists... take whatever you need.

Make sure one of your jewels has a corrupted blood immunity (usually easiest for it to be a generic rare jewel). I also got a silence immunity primordial eminence (it was pretty cheap, only a 10c premium above base) since I sometimes don't remember to pop my anti-curse flask in ultimatums.

Flasks: As expected, witchfire brew for dps, and then cinderswallow urn for mapping quality of life. After that I just have two life flasks and a quicksilver flask. You can replace one of my life flasks with a sulphur flask pretty convincingly but I like the ability to spam instant heals in the middle of ultimatums if necessary.

  • Gem Links

Ball Lightning
Our corrupted blood application. The mandatory 4-link is GMP, Unleash, and Life Tap.

Faster Casting is a good next link for quality of life--it doesn't increase your dps but it does increase your clearspeed.

The last link can be whatever you want. If I had a green link instead of a red here then I'd make it Faster Projectiles instead of Life Leech (but if you have a fully optimized rare weapon setup then life leech actually becomes very good simply because of the raw number of leech events that you activate).

Again, the reason you really want a 6L is to make Ball Lightning cast as much life as possible--with my current setup, I have to cast it at least twice every 10 seconds to avoid recasting Corrupting Fever. If your Ball Lightning costs less than half of corrupting fever's requirement, though, then you could have to cast it 3 or more times in the same interval, which isn't a danger during stuff like ultimatums but can get annoying when running between packs in maps. You don't actually need to level up GMP or Life Tap here, but 20q on gmp is useful.

Corrupting Fever

There's pretty much only one 4L for it: Brutality, Swift Affliction, and Life Tap. If you look purely at the dps numbers, then empower 4 seems like a viable alternative to Life Tap, but then you need to remember that it makes the life requirement to sustain the buff that much higher.

All of this in delirium-crafted gloves, of course.


Golem buffs get nutty with this much golem buff effect available.

Stone Golem for life regen--with Cold Iron Point buffing stone golem levels (it's gem level 29 in my helm) and my increased life recovery rate, and all of my golem buff effect, this golem is providing me 1600 life regen (and I have 400 from other sources for 2000 total). This is the beefiest golem I have and as a result, I tend to keep 3 of him summoned (2 each of the others)

Chaos Golem--at level 23 it has a base PDR of 5%. With all of my golem buff effect it's 35% while all of my golems are alive. 35% pdr. From one gem.

Flame Golem--it's generic damage. Who can argue? Specifically, 140% generic damage while all golems are alive.

Lightning Golem--70% cast speed for quality of life.


Malevolence and Pride are musts. This is a mana-free build, but even though that sums to 100%, we're not done! Through 10% reservation reduction from the top left corner of the tree, we can fit on War Banner, for that tiny bit of extra increased physical damage taken for enemies to experience.


Movement: Flame Dash is my get-out-of-combat gem of choice. Link it to Life Tap to avoid mana issues.

We do keep a gem slot available for Portal, but one option this build offers is to, for a boss, drop the portal gem and use a Cold Iron Point for a 3-link Whirling Blades + Life Tap + Fortify. If you are too worried about endgame bosses hitting you hard, fortify can assuage your concerns a bit. Just don't accidentally use it to suicide against Atziri's mirror.

Reap: I put this on a 4-link with Brutality, Efficacy, and Swift Affliction. It's not super fun to apply and I never use it during maps, but against bosses it can almost double my dps with all five blood charges up.

  • Ascendancy and Skill Tree

1. Liege of the Primordial -- an immediate damage buff while leveling
2. Elemancer -- more scaling

I bought my first Cold Iron Point before even starting maps, which is why I didn't need reflect immunity, making my next choice

3. Shaper of Storms -- but again, with cold iron point, you need a jewel with chaos damage to spells for this to work!
4. Bastion of Elements -- just for the shield. We have a lot of physical resistance and room for chaos resistance on our gear, but we don't have any elemental survivability scaling beyond the shield granted by Bastion, which has been invaluable in my mapping survivability. If I ever got rid of Cold Iron Point, then this would become important for reflect immunity as well, but if you want to feel more powerful instead of more tanky, you can switch to Shaper of Winter while you use Cold Iron Point.

My passive tree at level 95 is here:

You can imagine how to fill in the cluster jewel passives. As expected, kill all bandits.

Not much really changes at higher levels, though we could fit in another cluster jewel in the top of the tree.

Update: I did manage to fit another cluster jewel in there. If you manage to find a cluster jewel with 9 or 8 (9 will be much cheaper) passives that has primordial bond, feasting fiends, and skeletal atrophy, then primordial bond will be immediately clockwise of the starting node, letting you get a HUGE buff for only two extra passive points (three to refill the jewel slot immediately clockwise of that). No other combination of passives seems to work to do this--everything else puts primordial bond in the central slot.

For the Pantheon, Lunaris and Gruthkul or Tukohama are best for the additional physical damage reduction. Switch to Solaris for bossing if you please. The choice between Gruthkul and Tukohama is based on how often you find yourself standing still--I used to swear by Gruthkul but have found myself standing still and tanking "Stand in the Stone Circles" ultimatums which has made Tukohama pretty appealing.

As far as passive prioritization goes while leveling, it really doesn't matter, leveling isn't hard. You can just pick up exsanguinate when it's available and stick with that, picking up corrupting fever when it's available. Corrupting Fever may not be enough on its own for the first few levels, but it picks up quickly from there. I cleared act 10 on a 3-link corrupting fever (brutality + swift affliction) applied by a 2-link ball lightning (GMP).

Just make sure you get near enough jewel slots when you're ready to add more golems.

  • Final Thoughts

I hope people can have fun trying this. I've been quietly plugging this build on youtube comments any time I see videos of someone trying to make corrupting fever work, but it feels like no one has had as much success with it as I have. My tooltip while mapping goes past 700k (technically it says 70k but it's 10 stacks) and the real dps goes higher with shock, pride, and war banner. Most importantly, ball lightning to clear ultimatums is just such a satisfying feeling. When you have the life bar visual active on packs you can really just feel them all melt as they come into contact with your ball lightnings, usually before a volley of them even passes them.

This build is so much easier to play than applying corrupting fever with cyclone :)
Last edited by codetaku on May 25, 2021, 8:25:28 AM
Last bumped on May 30, 2021, 7:24:22 AM
Yeah this is a new computer so I didn't install OBS yet, but I'll get videos eventually like I did with my last build guide.

I Think Im gonna try this build next!

Will you finally upload some videos? I will love to see how you play it

Also, what is the approximate budget for this build?


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