Despite taking more nerfs than most mechanics, Ignite has managed to maintain high clear speed and good enough DPS to compete with other fast-clearing builds. Thanks to a unique combination of mechanics, this build is able to use Herald of Thunder to automate ignites across the entire screen, as well as using Vaal Arc to instantly ignite entire legions or quickly burn down bosses. Stormfire is used to enable your lightning damage to ignite, while the combination of Eye of Innocence, Mokou's Embrace, and Razor of the Seventh Sun allow you to quickly restore your life pool and ignite yourself to significantly increase your own damage. Abberath's Hooves are used to shock enemies and initiate Herald of Thunder lightning strikes. The build has a unique playstyle, and is equally at home tearing through low level maps and burning down higher tier ones.
With a number of build-defining uniques, and reasonably rolled rares, this build is capable of tearing through content very quickly. It has good survivability through a combination of a reasonable life pool of 6000+ on entry level gear and fast recovery thanks to a combination of unique items and a buffed up Summon Stone Golem. While the build is designed with speed clearing lower level content quickly, it is capable of tearing through higher tier maps with ease, thanks to ignites dealing 175K+ damage per second from Herald of Thunder, and Vaal Arc dealing in excess of 500K DPS with ignites. It is able to Shield Charge quickly through maps, without losing damage, thanks to the automatic nature of the build.
+ High clear speed
+ Budget-friendly (easily assembled on a budget under one Exalted Orb, even very early in the league)
+ Lots of room for improvement via crafted or other high end gear
+ Reasonably durable, with good life sustain
- Ignite has poor options for scaling single target damage, making it a poor choice for endgame bossing
- Not SSF-friendly, thanks to requiring many specific uniques to function and a required helmet enchantment
Playstyle and Core Mechanics
Offensively, the build is centered around killing a few enemies with Abberath's Hooves, shocking and igniting them to begin the Herald of Thunder strikes, which will quickly clear out any enemies thanks to large ignites being proliferated through enemy packs. Shield Charge into packs to shock them, keeping the Herald of Thunder strikes going, and significantly increasing the damage that they take. A Summon Lightning Golem will provide a significant boost to the build’s attack speed, and the three golems of the build offer a large boost to damage thanks to the Liege of the Primordial ascendancy keystone.
Defensively, the build utilizes either the skill Steelskin or Immortal Call, cast manually at important moments such as releasing a Legion or engaging a boss. It has significant life recovery thanks to a buffed up Summon Stone Golem (recovering 183 life per second at level 20) and the combination of Razor of the Seventh Sun and Eye of Innocence means that all of your abilities functionally have 35 life gained on hit at 6000 maximum life. Additional golems will grant elemental status immunity, with freeze immunity from a Summon Ice Golem and shock immunity from Summon Lightning Golem. As gear is improved, the life gained on kill from a Cinderswallow Urn will give a serious bump in survivability while clearing maps.
The signature playstyle of the build is to activate The Writhing Jar to spawn worms, stomp on them, shocking and killing them, thus starting the Herald of Thunder strikes and charging into packs to shock them and keep the chain going. Enemies will be ignited all over the screen, no matter how near, so there is no need to worry about getting into every pack, just enough to shock enemies every six seconds, a trivial task for the build.
Ascendancy, Passive Tree, Bandits, and Pantheons
Ascendancies should be taken in the following order:
- Shaper of Desolation
- Beacon of Ruin
- Liege of the Primordial
Shaper of Desolation is largely useless, and is taken simply to gain access to Beacon of Ruin, which augments the build’s damage immensely, giving a 20% more multiplier to the build’s ignites, and 15% base damage increase shocks, which are increased to 21% via the passive tree, and potentially higher, depending on gearing choices. The removal of proliferation from this node hurt this build significantly, but not as much as many other Elementalist builds, as Ignite Proliferation Support is still a large multiplier to your ignite damage.
Liege of the Primordial and Elemancer gives us immunity to shock and freeze, a large boost to attack speed and life regeneration, and 60% increased damage. The build can opt to take Paragon of Calamity in place of Elemancer, in order to gain reflect immunity and slightly more damage, but this is not recommended due to losing freeze immunity, significantly restricting flask options.
It has 191% increased life and enough damage to inflict 150K DPS ignites from Herald of Thunder, and is capable of picking up a few more damage nodes and jewel sockets as you level towards 100. Other options on the tree include picking up the Spiritual Command and Spiritual Aid clusters, which offer efficient damage and significant attack speed, or picking up an additional curse if you prefer that as a cast when damage taken option.
This tree picks up slightly more damage, as well as a bit of attack speed and shock effectiveness. It also changes the pathing around the Templar jewel socket.
The only option here is to kill all bandits for 2 additional skill points. Oak and Kraityn are practically never worth siding with, and a small amount of resistance is not worth giving up 2 skill points.
The default recommendation for this build’s Major God is Brine King, who’s power allows you to avoid being chain stunned, a dangerous thing to have happen as you dive in and out of packs.
Soul of Lunaris with the Ambrius, Legion Slayer bonus is also a good option, allowing you to ignore projectiles that chain off of your golems, which can be deadly.
For the Minor God, either Ryslatha or Yugul with the Varhesh, Shimmering Aberration upgrade can be used to great effect. Ryslatha is useful for longer bosses and the Labyrinth, while Yugul gives you a functionally permanent 5% reduced cold damage taken, along with reduced damage taken from reflect.
For all the gem links we provide below, keep in mind that we list the gems in order of priority, meaning that if you lack the required number of sockets to fit all the gems, the first ones to drop are the ones at the bottom. Also note that in-game, as long as the sockets are linked, it makes no difference at all what order the gems are placed in.
Herald of Thunder
Herald of Thunder is the build’s main clearing skill, and the ignites from it deal the bulk of the damage. The strikes will be automated by the rest of your build, so you only need to turn it on after dying or changing out gear. It should be socketed in the body armor, with a variety of powerful options available. A powerful upgrade is to get a level 21 Herald of Thunder, which can be acquired fairly easily in Legion league.
- Herald of Thunder
- Ignite Proliferation Support
- Deadly Ailments Support
- Burning Damage Support
- Unbound Ailments Support
- Swift Affliction Support
Before acquiring a 6-link, Unbound Ailments or Swift Affliction can be cut, depending on the available colors.
Vaal Arc deals the bulk of the build’s single target damage, as well as a single cast freeing the entirety of most legions in any open layout areas. Even in a 4-link without an Essence of Delirium bonus on your gloves, Vaal Arc is able to inflict ignites dealing in excess of 400K DPS, augmented by its guaranteed shock chance. Check out the gearing section below for some notes on Delirium gloves.
Ignite Proliferation Support can be freely swapped out with Swift Affliction Support, the former offering quality of life while clearing by picking off stragglers, with the latter augmenting your damage further.
One of the defining traits of this build is its automated damage. This is achieved by using the Abberath's Hooves unique boots, which grant this unique skill. Abberath’s Fury creates a small explosion each time a step is taken, which necessitates the use of Shield Charge as a movement skill, as it is the only one that allows the player to step during its use.
These supports offer a high shock chance, over 100% ignite chance, and the useful Culling Strike ability. Innervate Support is one of few ways to directly add damage to Herald of Thunder, and is thus a very useful buff to keep up. Note that the support gems do not need to be linked to each other to work, only socketed in the boots.
Just about every build needs a good movement skill, and this is no exception. Shield Charge is chosen because it is the only movement skill that allows the player to “step”, thus triggering the explosions of Abberath’s Fury.
This is the standard setup for most movement attack skills. It offers quick movement and mitigation, and generally should not be changed without good reason.
Thanks to Elemancer and Liege of the Primordial, keeping golems up is very important to the build, both for damage and survivability. Luckily, thanks to Eye of Innocence, a level 20 Cast when Damage Taken Support supporting three golems can be easily and regularly triggered, ensuring that the build’s Ice, Stone, and Lightning Golems will remain alive. These three golems give you two useful immunities, lots of regen, more consistent critical hits for Elemental Overload, and faster Shield Charges. Summon Lightning Golem can be swapped out for Summon Chaos Golem to improve survivability against physical damage, but ensure that you don’t use Summon Flame Golem. It has an enticing bonus, but ignite immunity causes the build to lose a significant amount of damage and attack speed.
Flammability linked with Blasphemy Support is a significant boost to the build’s DPS, and while leveling will help ensure that all your hits ignite. If you favor survivability (such as playing in hardcore) Flammability can be replaced by Temporal Chains, but this will cause a noticeable drop in DPS. This is somewhat made up for by the increased duration of ignites granted by the skill.
Steelskin or Immortal Call are useful panic button skills to include, as they can save your life in dangerous circumstances. At around 6000 health, both Steelskin and Immortal Call provide similar amounts of survivability, so the default advice is Steelskin for its longer duration. With better gear and approaching 7000 life, the balance shifts slightly towards Immortal Call, for its higher possible damage mitigated.
With lots of unique items and a required helmet enchant, capping your resists is important and potentially difficult on this build. The build also needs to either get 33 total Dexterity on gear, and without a rare ring or amulet slot, that means using a combination of jewel, gloves, or belt craft to get there. Early in gearing, it is reasonable to sacrifice life to cap resists, but ideally the build wants lots of life on all its rares, especially because there is very little on your unique items. Trade site searches for well rolled rare items will be included at the end of this section.
This build uses a rare helmet, with the required enchantment, “Herald of Thunder has 30% reduced mana reservation.” (note that this is only required once you have acquired a 6-link body armour).
A base can easily be acquired with this enchant for as little as 3 Chaos Orbs. In order to get a good helmet, the easiest crafting is a 2-socket resonator with a Pristine Fossil and Scorched Fossil. Pristine Fossil makes it easy to craft 100+ flat life, while Scorched Fossil offers the “Nearby enemies have -9% to fire resistance”, a powerful offensive mod. Capping your resists is important, so ensure that you do not neglect that in this slot. An open suffix is a great place to get 30% resistance.
The body armour is one of the most flexible gear slots in the build, with several options for more offensive or defensive power, or for budget considerations.
For pure offense, Inpulsa's Broken Heart offers shock effect, explosions that scale with enemy health, and bonus damage if you have shocked recently. This combines for an extremely powerful, pure clear speed option. After the Elementalist nerfs, this is also a budget friendly option.
For the lowest budget 6-link, a Tabula Rasa offers several distinct advantages. No coloring issues, no worrying about linking it yourself, and the option to easily acquire a cheap but powerful corruption like +1 to level of socketed gems makes it a good option when you are starting out, though it should be upgraded out of as soon as possible.
Belly of the Beast offers high survivability via its increased life and resists, and is available quite cheaply, and a 6-link is more than capable of taking on all endgame content.
A rare body armour is also a good option. A 6-link base is fairly cheap, and crafting with a Pristine Fossil and crafting on a missing resist offers a powerful option on a surprisingly tight budget, and can be easily upgraded with a shaper or elder base. A rare 6-link is our default recommendation, and is likely to be the best on a high budget as well.
The recommended mod priority for a rare body armour is as follows:
- High maximum life roll
- Elemental Resistances (until capped)
- % increased maximum life ( Pristine Fossil mod)
- +1 to level of socketed active skill gems (if shaper) or +1 to level of socketed support gems (if elder)
- Recover #% of life on kill (Elder mod)
This build requires the Abberath's Hooves unique boots. They enable the playstyle of the build, and are not replaceable without losing a serious amount of clear speed.
Gloves are a slot with a lot of room for growth. On a tight budget, a Rare with life, resists, and potentially some Dexterity, are the best option. As your budget grows, switching to a pair crafted with an Essence of Delirium, for the extremely powerful “Socketed Gems deal 30% more damage over time” mod and socketing your Vaal Arc in these is highly recommended. No particular base is needed, though an energy shield base offers the easiest colors. The stat priority is similar to other rares, with resistances and life being the most important, followed by Dexterity and the Delirium modifier.
Rings are extremely important to this build, as its defining playstyle is enabled by the Stormfire unique ring, allowing your lightning damage to ignite. It also buffs your damage against ignited enemies, and skyrockets your damage when you shock a lot of enemies (such as during Breaches or Legion encounters).
The other ring slot is occupied by the unique ring Mokou's Embrace. This strange ring enables a large damage increase when combined with the Eye of Innocence amulet (see below) and provides some very helpful attack speed (which translates to movement speed with Shield Charge). It also offers decent resistance rolls, and up to 25% increased fire damage with a good roll.
Another defining piece, Eye of Innocence causes you to take 100 fire damage (reduced to 25 by resistances) whenever you ignite an enemy. This is mitigated by the Razor of the Seventh Sun weapon (see below) and enables you to ignite yourself with the Mokou's Embrace ring. That increases your damage by up to 70%, depending on the roll on the ring. The constant damage taken also quickly triggers several Cast when Damage Taken Support golems, as mentioned in the skills section.
Razor of the Seventh Sun is a necessary inclusion. With “100% increased burning damage if you’ve ignited an enemy recently” (which you functionally always have) and 1% life recovered when you ignite an enemy, it is both an offensive and defensive powerhouse of the build. This is the enabler of the trifecta of Mokou's Embrace, Eye of Innocence, and itself, and dropping this trifecta is a significant drop in the build’s quality of life and clear speed, and is not recommended.
This build requires a shield to be used, thanks to Shield Charge. Luckily, there are a few good options.
Saffell's Frame offers tankiness through increasing maximum resistances, which is useful, especially when combined with the self-ignite setup the build runs. However, it lacks in life, which is tough on a build with many other slots struggling for life. Lioneye's Remorse is an option to simply get the largest life pool, but without resists on it, this can stress the rest of your gear. Ultimately, a rare shield offers the best combination of survivability and offense. Look for a high life roll, resistances, and ideally increased lightning or fire damage. Keep in mind that a shield with an open prefix can also have life and defenses crafted, while one with an open suffix can add a resistance, which can help out a lot when bargain hunting.
Well rolled belts are mercifully inexpensive, making them an ideal place to get 90+ life explicit, 60%+ total elemental resistances, and an open affix to craft strength+dexterity for cheap. A Leather Belt is the recommended base, as Abyssal Jewels offer very little to the build.
The base recommendation for flasks is to get The Writhing Jar for easy enemies to kill and start your Herald of Thunder strikes. A second life flask, preferably a Seething Divine Life Flask of Staunching, is recommended, as The Writhing Jar‘s restoration is fairly low. A Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline is useful on this build, as move speed matters greatly. Your last two flasks are largely up to preference, at an early stage the default recommendation is to use a Quartz Flask and a Silver Flask, making sure that at least one of them is rolled with the “Of Warding” suffix for curse immunity. As you acquire the currency to improve the build, one of the strongest additions is the unique Cinderswallow Urnflask, which offers a 10% more multiplier and a huge amount of life recovery.
Be sure to check out our Flask Crafting Guide to learn everything you need to know about how to set up your non-Unique flasks.
As an ignite build, jewels are extremely powerful on this character. The burning damage affix rolls up to 20%, and is easily augmented with elemental affixes. The stat priority on jewels is as follows.
- % increased maximum life
- % increased burning damage
- % increased fire/lightning damage (both equally powerful, and Burning + Lightning damage jewels are easily acquired cheaply)
- % increased damage/ % increased damage over time
Each of these searches is good to find a baseline of gear for this build. Other slots are generally better off crafted, as they are generally cheaper to make with fossil or essence crafting than they are to buy.
As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.
- Our step-by-step leveling walkthrough, which allows even more experienced players to save time and speed through the leveling process.
- Our guide to Unique Items for leveling, which helps you gear up your characters for the leveling process.
- Our beginner leveling guide, which answers many of the questions new players might have and will set you on the right path.
Leveling is an important topic for this build, as its core item, Stormfire, is not equippable until level 80. Luckily, it has an extremely powerful leveling item in Abberath's Hooves, which can be linked with Ignite Proliferation Support, Combustion Support, Burning Damage Support, and Deadly Ailments Support. Anger and Flammability linked with Blasphemy Support will allow you to basically just walk through all the acts, and easily charge through low tier maps until you reach level 80 and can transition into the full build. If you are struggling with single target damage, Incinerate with similar links to endgame Herald of Thunder can help quite a bit, as the release deals massive damage with ignites. If this build is being leveled at the start of a league, Incinerate or Fireball are excellent skills to use as main skills into early endgame.
What map mods do you need to avoid?
Technically, all map mods are doable for this build. Enemies have % chance to avoid elemental ailments slows your clearing quite a bit, and no regen maps are slightly awkward before you acquire a Cinderswallow Urn. Also be careful in elemental reflect maps, as casting Vaal Arc against large packs will kill you, and your survivability is significantly hampered.
Why not play Trickster?
Now that Elementalist doesn’t have built-in proliferation, Trickster is an entirely reasonable option. You move faster, have similar survivability, and deal similar damage. You do, however, lose access to shock and freeze immunity, as well as big shocks, and a slight amount of life on tree. If you prefer going trickster, simply path out through the elemental damage, and take Swift Killer, Patient Reaper, and Prolonged Pain. The fourth node should be either Weave the Arcane or Ghost Dance, depending on your personal preference and the amount of evasion and energy shield you have,
Why do you take % lightning damage on the tree and gear, when ignites always deal fire damage?
With Stormfire, increased lightning damage also effects the fire damage from your ignites directly. This is because ailment damage “inherits” the damage type from the hit that inflicted it. A similar interaction exists with poisons inflicted with elemental damage while a Volkuur's Guidance is equipped, as well as a few other items.