Big Dark Pact Totems Hierophant Build Guide (PoE Scourge 3.16)

TbXie

39

Scourge League

Dear reader, due to real-life commitments (a job, mainly), I have not been able to edit this guide in its entirety for this league’s patch. However, I did update the Path of Building, meaning that other than some little tweaks for things that might have changed, using the PoB below the build will be fully functional.

Please excuse me for the lack of time, and for not being able to update the guide entirely. Here’s the updated Path of Building for this build that you should follow. Do note that this Path of Building is the only one you should be following, and not the other ones mentioned in this guide.

Introduction

One of the most classic build archetypes in Path of Exile are definitely Totem Builds. Totems have gone through a lot of iterations over the years, and other skills were popularized through skill balances, Ascendancy releases, and changes of mechanics. One of the most iconic builds in PoE is definitely “Pizza Sticks”, which is slang that was used for Flameblast Flameblast Totems. While this might sound horrible in the current state of the game, Flameblast Totems were considered the most broken thing to ever have happened to Path of Exile when they were popularized. Obviously, Flameblast, Ignite, and spell totem were changed and the skill lost in popularity! All of this occurred before Dark Pact Dark Pact even existed, and even then it took the Path of Exile community quite a while to realize how to use it effectively with Totems.

This immediately brings me to my first important point about the build guide: this build requires an Astral Projector Astral Projector to function. Well, I guess that might be a little harsh, but the ring basically makes the build go from kind of subpar to absolute god-tier in every single aspect. Before you acquire this ring, Dark Pact will cast an AoE around your Totems which makes it rather awkward to clear an entire screen of monsters, as you’d have to put a totem on each pack. Astral Projector makes it so Dark Pact becomes targetable and castable away from you. Totems do use this mechanic fairly well, and start casting Dark Pacts well away from their base, and targeted at monster packs, to completely obliterate entire screens of monsters in seconds.

Other than the ring, the gear can be really cheap yet can be min-maxed fairly hard towards the endgame. The build relies on a combination of Energy Shield (with high regen), a decent Life Pool and Mind over Matter, which is incredibly strong paired with the Hierophant Ascendancy, to stay alive. It easily reaches over 7,500 Effective Health Pool, resulting in a fairly tanky character. By itself, there are probably a lot more tanky characters out there, but since you’re playing a Totem build, you’ll rarely be in the fray and will rarely actually get hit by stuff. Because of the Ailment avoidance on the Astral Projector Astral Projector, getting Ailment Immunity is easy enough that it’s always worth going for. Ailment immunity is incredibly strong and often overlooked and underrated. The build is incredibly safe, unless you decide to run ahead of your totems for some reason.

Build Summary

Pros and Cons

Pros

+ The skill feels amazing to play
+ Incredible Clear Speed
+ Ridiculous damage
+ After the Astral Projector Astral Projector, it blasts on any level of gear
+ Tanky through MoM and Hierophant’s MoM

Cons

Requires an Astral Projector Astral Projector, which can be expensive, to feel good
Because of the above, it’s hardly playable in SSF
Can feel a little squishy at earlier stages of gear / levels

Map Modifiers to be Avoided

No Regeneration is annoying, but can be dealt with if you bring a Mana Flask. Otherwise, there’s nothing that’ll annoy you too much. Be careful for Elemental Reflect though; if you’re using a Trigger Wand, remove the Storm Brand Storm Brand as that will reflect its damage (which is fine if you keep it level 1, otherwise it might kill you).

Echoes of the Atlas Expansion Updates

With the introduction of Echoes of the Atlas Expansion, a couple of Ascendancies were heavily reworked. Hierophant was one of the Ascendancies that got one of these overhauls. Whilst I really don’t want to persuade you away from this build as I think it still is really solid at doing what most people want it to do, I can’t, for the life of me, understand why Hierophant needed such an annoying nerf. It’s not even a big nerf whatsoever, but it just makes stuff either clunky or unintuitive.

So, Hierophant overall got a little bit more damage when it matters by getting 2% More Damage per Totem (which is amplified by thee amount of Totems you get and we have a lot of them) but lost its “Increased Damage per Enemy Killed Recently”, which was fairly significant in the highest content mapping-wise (5 Orbed Delirium, T19s, etc.), but really didn’t matter while doing regular maps, as there wasn’t enough pack size to put this ahead of the More Damage it has gotten in this patch.

The most problematic change to Hierophant, though, and the one that is most upsetting to the general player base, is the removal of “Skills that would Summon a Totem Summon two Totems instead”, but since we already ran a Multiple Totems Support Multiple Totems Support anyway, this really doesn’t affect us too much!

For this particular iteration of Hierophant, the single target got buffed a little bit while it lost a bit of potential in clearing very hard maps that have really high dense pack of monsters, due to the removal of increased damage per Totem. The build still remains a very strong build with excellent clear and boss damage! It probably now is hands down the best Totem build in the game, as long as you can acquire an Astral Projector Astral Projector.

Playstyle, Mechanics & Strengths

The playstyle of all Totem builds is fairly similar. Put your Totems down and watch them evaporate minions in the meanwhile. While your Totems go to town, you’re going to be casting Wither Wither, which will cast Despair Despair through the Cast while Channeling support gem. Other than that, your wand will have the trigger craft to automatically trigger a Storm Brand Storm Brand, which will take care of your Power Charge generation. This is a core enabler of the build, as without it we would never be getting close to the Critical Strike Chance cap.

Aside from the Wither casting, you don’t have anything to do, which means you’ll have a lot of downtime to move, dodge, and learn mechanics! This is one of Totem builds’ main features. It enables you to learn fights, mechanics, and just play the game in a better way in general as they allow you to have an easy time while they do your work for you. These totems push that fact to the next level, as they cast from a screen away and make it so you’ll rarely encounter monsters whatsoever.

The reason why Dark Pact Dark Pact scales so incredibly well with Totems is because it’s fairly easy to bump up Totem Life. Since Dark Pact gets its damage from “sacrificing” a part of your Life, (or in this case your Totems’ Life), scaling Totem Life is almost always your highest DPS-increasing stat. As Totems inherently have more HP than players do, the base damage Dark Pact gets from sacrificing parts of their HP is rather high and thus easier to scale up!

Passive Skill Tree, PoB, and Gem Links

You can find an optimized Path of Building here. Every build I release will use the community fork of Path of Building, which is maintained and updated in a much more regular fashion than the original one. You can find PoB’s Fork, by LocalIdentity, here.

If you are not comfortable with Path of Building, we also have a PoePlanner for you. Do note that PoE Planner does not support Cluster Jewels and some specific unique jewels and it is highly recommended you install Path of Building to follow builds most optimally.

More information about the Passive Skill Tree, as well as all the Gem Links can be found on our dedicated page.

Passive Skill Tree, PoB & Gem Links

Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheons

Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Power page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.

Ascendancy, Bandit & Pantheon Power Page

Gear Summary / TL;DR

A lot of this is explained more in depth in the Gear Page, however we will provide you with a basic idea of what gear you’re looking for in this short summary.

Gear Page

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head Rare Hubris Circlet Hubris Circlet 12% Dark Pact Cast Speed, Life, Resistances & Ailment Avoidance
Amulet Citrine Amulet Citrine Amulet with Cast Speed, Crit Multiplier, Life and Resistances
Chest Vaal Regalia Vaal Regalia with Spell Crit, Life and Life as Extra Energy Shield
Gloves Sorcerer Gloves Sorcerer Gloves with High Life, Resistances and Ailment Avoidance
Boots Any rare boots with Life, Resistances and Movement Speed
Belt Stygian Vise Stygian Vise with Life, Resistances and Mana
Rings 1x Astral Projector Astral Projector & 1x Ring with Life, Resistances and Dexterity
Weapon Rare Profane Wand Profane Wand with Spell Damage, Cast Speed, Spell Crit

Questions & Support

I made it a habit to check all comments in my guides on a daily basis. Obviously, there might be occurrences where getting a reply might take longer but I really do try to get back to you as soon as possible. I prefer you making remarks, suggestions or asking questions that way as it allows others to read through the comments, providing them with a potential answer to their question, without having to wait for me again. If I have somehow missed your question, you can try reaching me on our Discord.

If you enjoy my content to such an extent that you’d like to support me and my work, I have a Patreon you can check out. At no point should you feel pressured to contribute, but if you do, your support means more to me than you will ever imagine.

Leveling

Since we are very adamant about trying to give you a leveling experience that lies as close to your endgame playstyle as possible, we will be providing you a way to level up with Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse totems. If you are looking for the most optimal way to level a character to maps, we refer you to the following guides. You can swap to Dark Pact totems as soon as you can equip your Astral Projector at level 40, (or at level 28 when you get Dark Pact if you want to use Dark Pact).

Getting to Brutus & Merveil

For starters, create a Templar in whichever league you want to start.

Pick up an Explosive Trap Explosive Trap from the vendor to start your journey and go to kill Hailrake and clear Mud Flats. Set up the following links after Mud Flats:

  1. Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  1. Explosive Trap Explosive Trap

After killing Brutus, you will be adding an Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support to your Freezing Pulse.

Level 12 and Onwards Setup

From level 12, after killing Merveil, you’ll be setting up for your road to maps. It might be a little rough for some bosses, but you should eventually be fine with this setup.

  1. Spell Totem Support Spell Totem Support
  2. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support
  3. Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse
  4. Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support
  5. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  6. Lesser Multiple Projectiles Support Lesser Multiple Projectiles Support (unless you have a First Snow First Snow for leveling; use Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support in that case)

Use the following on bosses:

  1. Frost Bomb Frost Bomb
  2. Frostbite Frostbite
    or Assassin's Mark Assassin's Mark

Run the following auras:

  1. Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder
  2. Summon Skitterbots Summon Skitterbots

Changelog

  • Updated for Ritual 3.13.

  • Build added.

4
  1. Posts
    3

    I umm… isn’t the skill tree from the last century? for me it is… I .. spent some time till I realized it.. sad.

  2. TbXie

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    On 22/01/2021 at 5:33 PM, MonkaBaa said

    I umm… isn’t the skill tree from the last century? for me it is… I .. spent some time till I realized it.. sad.

    Excuse me?

    “Build Guide with Cluster Jewels” – Must be from the Last Century.
    “Caps Elemental Ailment Avoidance” – Literally impossible before 2 Leagues ago. Jep! Definitely from the last Century!

    Instead of shouting out stuff like that, perhaps you could ask a question so I could help you fix whatever it is that’s going on.

  3. Posts
    3

    I apologize.. Also as a total noob the cluster jewel was far more than I tought it was. I didnt realized It added a new branch to the tree. Im still gonna follow through with this build. :’(

    I was in the wrong!

  4. Posts
    1

    Hi,
    I looked for a new totem build and I will try this – thanks for the build guide.

    Did a bit of research regarding the ring, there is a div card “Haunting Shadows”, that can be exchanged in a set of four, for a Metamorph unique item. This div card is introduced with this 3.13 league.

    The loot table has four items, including Astral Projector.
    At the moment of this post, the card is obtainable for ~2c in SC trade league.
    I bought one set and got the ring, just a nice way if you want to save some currency and don’t fear the gamble :).

  5. TbXie

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    On 23/01/2021 at 10:35 PM, MonkaBaa said

    I apologize.. Also as a total noob the cluster jewel was far more than I tought it was. I didnt realized It added a new branch to the tree. Im still gonna follow through with this build. :’(

    I was in the wrong!

    Why is that? The build should own everything you encounter!

  6. TbXie

    Moderator

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    1443

    On 24/01/2021 at 9:23 AM, madock said

    Hi,
    I looked for a new totem build and I will try this – thanks for the build guide.

    Did a bit of research regarding the ring, there is a div card “Haunting Shadows”, that can be exchanged in a set of four, for a Metamorph unique item. This div card is introduced with this 3.13 league.

    The loot table has four items, including Astral Projector.
    At the moment of this post, the card is obtainable for ~2c in SC trade league.
    I bought one set and got the ring, just a nice way if you want to save some currency and don’t fear the gamble :).

    I’m pretty sure those items are weighted – But I’m also not sure if Projector is actually that rare.

  7. Posts
    1

    With a tree this wide, are there any nodes you recommend taking first, or a general direction to focus on?

  8. TbXie

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    1443

    On 28/01/2021 at 3:07 AM, zelrion said

    With a tree this wide, are there any nodes you recommend taking first, or a general direction to focus on?

    Ancestral Bond is the direction you rush through while leveling. Other than that, it probably doesn’t matter much as long as you get to the level 80 tree like mentioned.

  9. Posts
    2

    Just wanted to say ‘thank you!’ for this build. As someone who actually enjoys playing totems, this one is super fun. Was able to grab the ring for just 10 chaos and it’s been a real blast to play so far.

  10. Posts
    5

    Hello TbXie i realy like the build so far but i still feel like im very weak both in terms of dps and tankyness.

    i was hopeing you coudt give me some advise on where to take my char from this point on.

    here is the link for my char: https://www.pathofexile.com/account/view-profile/lakridspiben/characters

  11. TbXie

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    On 05/02/2021 at 1:45 PM, xanderge said

    Just wanted to say ‘thank you!’ for this build. As someone who actually enjoys playing totems, this one is super fun. Was able to grab the ring for just 10 chaos and it’s been a real blast to play so far.

    Heya! Happy you’re enjoying it :)

  12. TbXie

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    On 05/02/2021 at 7:38 PM, meebz said

    Hello TbXie i realy like the build so far but i still feel like im very weak both in terms of dps and tankyness.

    i was hopeing you coudt give me some advise on where to take my char from this point on.

    here is the link for my char: https://www.pathofexile.com/account/view-profile/lakridspiben/characters

    I’m seeing an assassin?

  13. Posts
    1

    New to this game and just want to say that this build is awesome, carried me through all the acts w/o dying and now on T2 maps. Totems, totems, and totems everywhere!

  14. TbXie

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    1443

    On 07/02/2021 at 5:51 PM, Exzult said

    New to this game and just want to say that this build is awesome, carried me through all the acts w/o dying and now on T2 maps. Totems, totems, and totems everywhere!

    Thanks! :-)

  15. Posts
    1

    What about Conviction of Power Note in LAB? Drop Sacntuary of Thought at 98, take Conduit and go for perma end/power charges

  16. TbXie

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    On 11/02/2021 at 10:12 AM, NopantsNoWifeNoLife said

    What about Conviction of Power Note in LAB? Drop Sacntuary of Thought at 98, take Conduit and go for perma end/power charges

    Can only say : Try it. I think the AoE loss is huge and kinda shit but the 4 minium endurance charges are NICE for sure.

  17. Posts
    3

    Did the most recent patch just kill this build? I have been using this on console and able to clear content but after 3.13.1c every fight takes a really long time.

  18. TbXie

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    On 12/02/2021 at 12:12 PM, ToxicElitist said

    Did the most recent patch just kill this build? I have been using this on console and able to clear content but after 3.13.1c every fight takes a really long time.

    No? It shouldn’t? Most content didn’t change much. Other than a lot of extra’s being added such as Beyond / Harvest / Harbingers in certain maps or the very endgame fights.

  19. Posts
    1

    Literally unplayable, wasted 4 days, should have chosen cyclone _

  20. TbXie

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    1443

    On 15/02/2021 at 9:32 PM, nigoros said

    Literally unplayable, wasted 4 days, should have chosen cyclone _

    Okay. Great feedback! You should definitely only play cyclone then.

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