Ignite Herald of Thunder/Vaal Arc Elementalist Build (PoE Blight 3.8)

Lydia

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Introduction

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 Herald of Thunder to automate ignites across the entire screen, as well as using Vaal Arc Vaal Arc to instantly ignite entire legions or quickly burn down bosses. Stormfire Stormfire is used to enable your lightning damage to ignite, while Razor of the Seventh Sun Razor of the Seventh Sun allow you to quickly restore your life pool and significantly increase your own damage. Abberath's Hooves Abberath's Hooves are used to shock enemies and initiate Herald of Thunder 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.

Build Summary

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 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 Herald of Thunder, and Vaal Arc Vaal Arc dealing in excess of 500K DPS with ignites. It is able to Shield Charge Shield Charge quickly through maps, without losing damage, thanks to the automatic nature of the build.

Pros

+ 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

Cons

- 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 Abberath's Hooves, shocking and igniting them to begin the Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder strikes, which will quickly clear out any enemies thanks to large ignites being proliferated through enemy packs. Shield Charge Shield Charge into packs to shock them, keeping the Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder strikes going, and significantly increasing the damage that they take. The four or more golems of the build offer a huge boost to damage thanks to the Liege of the Primordial and Elemancer ascendancy keystones.

Defensively, the build utilizes either the skill Steelskin Steelskin or Immortal Call 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 Summon Stone Golem (recovering 388 life per second at level 20), and the Razor of the Seventh Sun Razor of the Seventh Sun means that all of your abilities functionally have 60 life gained on hit at 6000 maximum life. Your golems grant elemental status immunity, as well as 14% reduced physical damage taken from your Summon Chaos Golem Summon Chaos Golem. As gear is improved, the life gained on kill from a Cinderswallow Urn Cinderswallow Urn will give a serious bump in survivability while clearing maps.

The signature playstyle of the build is to activate The Writhing Jar The Writhing Jar to spawn worms, stomp on them, shocking and killing them, thus starting the Herald of Thunder 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

Ascendancy

Ascendancies should be taken in the following order:

  1. Shaper of Desolation
  2. Beacon of Ruin
  3. Liege of the Primordial
  4. Elemancer.

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 elemental ailments, a large boost to attack speed and life regeneration, and well over 100% increased damage, thanks to buff effect and their own native bonuses.

Passive Tree

This is the recommended level 90 passive skill tree.

It has 178% 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. It also picks up an additional golem, and quite a bit of fire damage over time multiplier.

At level 100, an appropriate skill tree would look like this.

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.

Bandits

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.

Pantheons

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.

Gems

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 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.

  1. Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder
  2. Ignite Proliferation Support Ignite Proliferation Support
  3. Deadly Ailments Support Deadly Ailments Support
  4. Burning Damage Support Burning Damage Support
  5. Unbound Ailments Support Unbound Ailments Support
  6. Swift Affliction Support Swift Affliction Support

Before acquiring a 6-link, Unbound Ailments or Swift Affliction can be cut, depending on the available colors.

Vaal Arc

Vaal Arc 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 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.

  1. Vaal Arc Vaal Arc
  2. Burning Damage Support Burning Damage Support
  3. Deadly Ailments Support Deadly Ailments Support
  4. Ignite Proliferation Support Ignite Proliferation Support

Ignite Proliferation Support Ignite Proliferation Support can be freely swapped out with Swift Affliction Support Swift Affliction Support, the former offering quality of life while clearing by picking off stragglers, with the latter augmenting your damage further.

Abberath’s Fury

One of the defining traits of this build is its automated damage. This is achieved by using the Abberath's Hooves 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 Shield Charge as a movement skill, as it is the only one that allows the player to step during its use.

  1. Elemental Proliferation Support Elemental Proliferation Support
  2. Innervate Support Innervate Support
  3. Culling Strike Support Culling Strike Support
  4. Combustion Support Combustion Support

These supports offer a high shock chance, over 100% ignite chance, and the useful Culling Strike ability. Innervate Support Innervate Support is one of few ways to directly add damage to Herald of Thunder 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.

Shield Charge

Just about every build needs a good movement skill, and this is no exception. Shield Charge 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.

  1. Shield Charge Shield Charge
  2. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
  3. Fortify Support Fortify Support

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.

Golems

Thanks to Elemancer and Liege of the Primordial, keeping golems up is very important to the build, both for damage and survivability. Luckily, in 3.8, all golems summoned by you are immune to elemental damage. This means that your golems will rarely die, and you will be able to simply cast them once and ignore their survivability most of the time. Having at least three active golems keeps you immune to elemental ailments.

In total, four golems will provide 80% increased damage, plus another 74% increased damage from Summon Flame Golem Summon Flame Golem, 388 life regenerated per second from Summon Stone Golem Summon Stone Golem, 33% attack and cast speed from Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem, and 14% reduced physical damage taken from Summon Chaos Golem Summon Chaos Golem.

  1. Summon Flame Golem Summon Flame Golem
  2. Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem
  3. Summon Stone Golem Summon Stone Golem
  4. Summon Chaos Golem Summon Chaos Golem

Support Skills

Flammability Flammability linked with Blasphemy Support 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 Flammability can be replaced by Temporal Chains 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 Steelskin or Immortal Call Immortal Call are useful panic button skills to include, as they can save your life in dangerous circumstances. At around 6000 health, both Steelskin Steelskin and Immortal Call Immortal Call provide similar amounts of survivability, so the default advice is Steelskin Steelskin for its longer duration. With better gear and approaching 7000 life, the balance shifts slightly towards Immortal Call Immortal Call, for its higher possible damage mitigated.

Gearing

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.

Helmet

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 Orb Chaos Orbs. In order to get a good helmet, the easiest crafting is a 2-socket resonator with a Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil and Scorched Fossil Scorched Fossil. Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil makes it easy to craft 100+ flat life, while Scorched Fossil 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.

Body Armour

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 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 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 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 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:

  1. High maximum life roll
  2. Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  3. % increased maximum life (Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil mod)
  4. +1 to level of socketed active skill gems (if shaper) or +1 to level of socketed support gems (if elder)
  5. Recover #% of life on kill (Elder mod)

If your armor has +1 to level of socketed support gems, Empower Support Empower Support is a powerful support gem, increasing your damage over Unbound Ailments Support Unbound Ailments Support.

Boots

This build requires the Abberath's Hooves 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

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 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.

On an very high budget, rare gloves can be replaced by Blasphemer's Grasp Blasphemer's Grasp, which provides a massive boost to your damage while wearing lots of elder items.

Rings

Rings are extremely important to this build, as its defining playstyle is enabled by the Stormfire 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 will be taken by a rare ring. The best option is to use an Opal Ring Opal Ring, but this may be out of reach early in gearing, so keep an eye out for any ring with high life and resistances. Also keep an eye out for % increased fire or lightning damage in these slots.

The recommended mod priority on rare rings is as follows:

  1. Elemental resistances
  2. High maximum life roll
  3. % increased lightning or fire damage
  4. Adds # to # lightning damage against shocked enemies

Amulet

The default recommendation for the amulet on this build is to use a rare with life, resistances, and a bit of damage. This is a good all-around option, but if you are looking for even more damage, The Primordial Chain The Primordial Chain offers quite a lot. 3 additional golems means 60% increased damage from Liege of the Primordial and a massive 150% increased effect of buffs granted by your golems. The main drawback to using this is that your golems will die more often, but this is a worthy price to pay for the bonuses it provides.

The recommended mod priority on rare amulets is as follows:

  1. Elemental resistances
  2. Dexterity (if needed)
  3. High maximum life roll
  4. % increased fire or lightning damage

Weapon

Razor of the Seventh Sun 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. With a powerful roll of fire damage over time multiplier, you can improve your damage in this slot, but it will come at a cost to survivability, so weigh your options carefully.

Shield

This build requires a shield to be used, thanks to Shield Charge Shield Charge. Luckily, there are a few good options.

Saffell's Frame 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 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.

Belt

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 Leather Belt is the recommended base, as Abyssal Jewels offer very little to the build.

The recommended mod priority for rare belts is as follows:

  1. High maximum life roll
  2. Elemental resistances
  3. Open suffix to craft dexterity and strength

Flasks

The base recommendation for flasks is to get The Writhing Jar The Writhing Jar for easy enemies to kill and start your Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder strikes. A second life flask, preferably a Seething Divine Life Flask Divine Life Flask of Staunching, is recommended, as The Writhing Jar The Writhing Jar‘s restoration is fairly low. A Quicksilver Flask 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 Quartz Flask and a Silver Flask 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 Urn 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.

Jewels

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.

  1. % increased maximum life
  2. % increased fire damage over time multiplier
  3. % increased burning damage
  4. % increased fire/lightning damage (both equally powerful, and Burning + Lightning damage jewels are easily acquired cheaply)
  5. % increased damage/ % increased damage over time

Trade Searches

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. Make sure to check that they are searching on the correct league for you.

Life+Damage+Resistance Shield
Life+Resist+Utility mod Leather Belt
Three Property Jewels

Levelling

As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.

Leveling is an important topic for this build, as its core item, Stormfire Stormfire, is not equippable until level 80. Luckily, it has an extremely powerful leveling item in Abberath's Hooves Abberath's Hooves, which can be linked with Ignite Proliferation Support Ignite Proliferation Support, Combustion Support Combustion Support, Burning Damage Support Burning Damage Support, and Deadly Ailments Support Deadly Ailments Support. Anger Anger and Flammability Flammability linked with Blasphemy Support 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 Incinerate with similar links to endgame Herald of Thunder 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 Incinerate or Fireball Fireball are excellent skills to use as main skills into early endgame.

FAQ

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 Cinderswallow Urn. Also be careful in elemental reflect maps, as casting Vaal Arc Vaal Arc against large packs will kill you, and your survivability is significantly hampered.

Why do you take % lightning damage on the tree and gear, when ignites always deal fire damage?

With Stormfire 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 Volkuur's Guidance is equipped, as well as a few other items.

Changelog
  •   

    Changed ring and amulet recommendations to reflect elementalist changes Changed golem recommendations to reflect elementalist changes Updated skill tree to 3.8.0 version

  •   

    Build added.

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