Flame Surge Hierophant Build Guide (PoE Blight 3.8)

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Introduction

The Flame Surge Hierophant is a Chaos Inoculation self-caster that deals tons of Fire damage. Flame Surge Flame Surge has very high amount of effective DPS if properly used. The skill deals substantially more damage to burning enemies but cannot Ignite itself, which is why we need to use another source of Fire damage that can reliably Ignite. For this purpose we choose to use Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction. This skill will allows us to Ignite enemies while also lowering their Fire resistance. We also utilize Arcane Surge very well via the ascendancy node Arcane Blessing.

When it comes to defenses, the character builds a very large Mana pool, which translates into a great amount of extra Energy Shield via Hierophant’s Sanctuary of Thought and the passive node Arcane Will. We also make a great use of the Mind over Matter keystone notable. The build also reaches a respectable amount of Energy Shield leech, which provides a lot of sustain.

Build Summary

The build can be very budget-friendly and can be played as a league-starter. You will have no issues leveling the character as Life-based and then transitioning to Chaos Inoculation. For the endgame we recommend Cloak of Defiance Cloak of Defiance. For other item slots you should look for good Energy Shield bases that also provide Mana if possible.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Great single target
+ Fun build concept, requires active playstyle

Cons

- Mediocre clear speed compared to top-tier clearing builds
- Bad physical damage mitigation
- Dies to Elemental Reflect

Playstyle

Offensively, you should get relatively close to enemies and obliterate them with few casts of Flame Surge Flame Surge. Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction will debuff enemies by a considerable amount and will increase the damage of your Flame Surge by a great amount, so make sure to use that skill on tougher rares and bosses.

Defensively, we achieve a respectable Energy Shield pool along with a good amount of Energy Shield leech. The build also has a large amount of unreserved Mana, which is used as an Energy Shield buffer via Mind over Matter. Hierophant’s Arcane Blessing gives us Elemental Ailment immunity while we have Arcane Surge, which is basically all the time.

For playstyle, do not be scared to get close to enemies in order to kill them. This can be classified as a mid-range build due to the nature of skills it uses and you do not have to “hug” enemies but you cannot stay too far either. Regular monster packs will die in less than a second. For harder foes make sure they are getting hit by Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction, which will improve your Flame Surge Flame Surge damage output significantly.

Ascendancy, Passive Tree , Bandits, and Pantheons

Ascendancy (Templar – Hierophant)

  1. Illuminated Devotion
  2. Arcane Blessing
  3. Divine Guidance
  4. Sanctuary of Thought

Illuminated Devotion provides a decent amount of Area of Effect and Spell Damage for the build.

Arcane Blessing essentially gives us permanent uptime on Arcane Surge and Elemental Ailment immunity, which is very strong when playing a Chaos-Inoculation-based character.

Divine Guidance provides a lot of extra Mana while also improving Mind over Matter’s effect by a third. It also grants you “Transfiguration of Mind”, causing increase and reduction to maximum Mana to also apply to damage at a percentage.

Sanctuary of Thought allows for very smooth transition to Chaos Inoculation because of all of the extra Energy Shield it provides. The less multiplier to Mana cost of skills will ensure you have no Mana issues at all and will leave up the large amount of unreserved Mana to be used when getting hit.

Passive Tree

This is what the endgame passive skill tree looks like.

The main keystone notables we utilize are Chaos Inoculation, Zealot’s Oath, and Mind over Matter. For the smaller nodes we focus on picking up Energy Shield, Mana, Energy Shield leech, Area of Effect, and all of the important Critical Strike nodes which affect spells (Arcane Potency, Annihilation, Doom Cast, Assassination).

Bandits

For this specific build we should help Alira in Act II. The Critical Multiplier, flat Mana regeneration, and 15% all elemental resistances are stronger than the 2 passive skill points.

Pantheons

Major: All major Pantheon powers can be beneficial for the build, although Soul of Solaris is probably the best choice in general.

Minor: Same as major Pantheons, all minor ones are useful for the build. We recommend Soul of Gruthkul, which improves physical damage mitigation.

Pantheon powers can be upgraded by using Divine Vessel in the Map Device while you are activating the particular Map that contains the boss you need. Once you have killed the boss and captured his soul, you need to deliver the vessel to Sin in Oriath.

Gems

Flame Surge Flame Surge is your signature skill, which should ideally be used in a 6-Link. The second skill setup we use is Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction, which is used as a utility skill in order to debuff enemies that need to take more damage in order to die. For mobility, you should use Flame Dash Flame Dash. Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem will provide extra Cast Speed when active. Steelskin Steelskin will reduce incoming damage by a significant amount. Vaal Discipline Vaal Discipline and Clarity Clarity should be used in order to reserve a portion of your Mana.

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.

Flame Surge (6-Link)

Flame Surge Flame Surge is a Fire-based spell with very high cast speed and one of the spells with the highest percent Critical Chance, sitting at 6%. We recommend swapping Increased Area of Effect Support Increased Area of Effect Support with Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support between clearing and single target.

For clearing, use the following link.

  1. Flame Surge Flame Surge
  2. Spell Echo Support Spell Echo Support
  3. Energy Leech Support Energy Leech Support
  4. Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support
  5. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  6. Increased Area of Effect Support Increased Area of Effect Support

For single target, use the following link.

  1. Flame Surge Flame Surge
  2. Spell Echo Support Spell Echo Support
  3. Energy Leech Support Energy Leech Support
  4. Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support
  5. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  6. Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support

Wave of Conviction (3-Link)

Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction is used as a utility skill in order to heavily debuff enemies and Ignite them (which will allow Flame Surge Flame Surge to deal its % More Damage). The skill can easily lower enemies Fire resistance by more than 40%.

  1. Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction
  2. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support
  3. Combustion Support Combustion Support
  4. Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support

Steelskin (2-Link)

Steelskin Steelskin can be used for additional damage mitigation.

  1. Steelskin Steelskin
  2. Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support

Other Gems

Flame Dash Flame Dash should be socketed for additional mobility. You should reserve your Mana with Clarity Clarity and Discipline Discipline (try to get Vaal Discipline Vaal Discipline). For golems, you should use Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem, which can be used in combination with Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support in order to be auto-casted. Vaal Righteous Fire Vaal Righteous Fire can be used in order to burst bosses. Keep in mind this skill should be used cautiously, since it can kill you if used in the wrong situation.

Gearing

Capping your elemental resistances is essential and it should always be your top priority in any build; it should be the first thing you do when gearing up a character. Obtaining a 6-link, while very powerful and certainly recommended, can potentially be very expensive (requiring an average of 1500 Orbs of Fusing, obviously depending on your luck); as such, this should not really be a goal for you while gearing up, and you should instead settle for a 5-link until you have enough resources. A simple Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa can carry you a long way. Besides that, having decently rolled rare items will be good enough to clear most game content.

Helmet

A well-rolled rare Helmet is best in slot. For enchant, look for “90% increased Flame Surge Critical Strike Chance”. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Energy Shield (200)
  3. Nearby Enemies have -9% to Fire Resistance (Scorched Fossil Scorched Fossil)
  4. # to maximum Mana

Body Armour

Cloak of Defiance Cloak of Defiance has great synergy with the build overall. A well-rolled rare Body Armour can also be very powerful. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Energy Shield (at least 500)
  3. Spells have +#% to Critical Strike Chance (Shaper Suffix)
  4. % of Damage is taken from Mana before Life (Shaper Prefix / Lucent Fossil Lucent Fossil)

Gloves

A well-rolled rare pair of Gloves is best in slot. For item base, look for Fingerless Silk Gloves Fingerless Silk Gloves for the additional damage provided by the implicit mod. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Energy Shield (at least 150)

Boots

Well-rolled rare Boots work great for the build. Skyforth Skyforth are best-in-slot but are very expensive. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Energy Shield (at least 150)
  3. % Increased Movement speed (at least 20%)

Belt

A well-rolled Stygian Vise Stygian Vise is best in slot. A Crystal Belt Crystal Belt also works very well. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. % Increased Cold Damage (Scorched Fossil Scorched Fossil)
  3. % increased Elemental Damage (Prismatic Fossil Prismatic Fossil)

Amulet

Eye of Chayula Eye of Chayula will solve all of your Stun-lock problems. If you choose to deal with Stuns in other way you can also use a rare Amulet, which would be better in the long run. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Global Critical Strike Multiplier (at least 25%)
  3. % Increased Spell Damage
  4. % Increased Fire Damage
  5. # to maximum Mana

Rings

You can use two rare Rings with resistances and Mana. Having a Shaper-based Ring with Assassin's Mark Assassin's Mark on Hit is ideal. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Curse Enemies with Level # Assassin’s Mark on Hit
  3. % increased Elemental Damage (Prismatic Fossil Prismatic Fossil)
  4. % increased Fire Damage
  5. # to maximum Mana

Weapon

The build will benefit most from a well rolled rare Dagger, since Daggers implicitly provide Global Critical Strike Chance, they also have high base Attack Speed, which will improve your Shield Charge Shield Charge speed by a great deal. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. % Increased Spell Damage (at least 40%)
  2. % Increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells (at least 90%)
  3. % Increased Fire Damage
  4. % to Global Critical Strike Multiplier (at least 25%)

Shield

A well-rolled Shield is best in slot. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Energy Shield (at least 250)
  3. % Increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells (at least 90%)
  4. % Increased Spell Damage (at least 50%)
  5. # to maximum Mana

Flasks

Diamond Flask Diamond Flask is mandatory in every Critical-based build; this is a good flask to have Curse or Freeze immunity on. For the other flask slots you can improvise, we recommend having Basalt Flask Basalt Flask, Quicksilver Flask Quicksilver Flask and Granite Flask Granite Flask flasks. Having a Mana flask will also be very beneficial. Unique flasks like The Wise Oak The Wise Oak and Atziri's Promise Atziri's Promise can provide a lot of extra damage for the build. Since you are immune to Elemental Ailments pretty much the whole time this gives you a lot of freedom when it comes to rolling flasks. All you need essentially is Bleed and Curse immunity.

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

There are no mandatory Jewels for the build. A Watcher's Eye Watcher's Eye with the mod “Gain (12-18)% of Maximum Mana as Extra Maximum Energy Shield while affected by Clarity” can be extremely powerful but also very expensive.

Regular Jewel Affix Priority

  1. % Increased Energy Shield
  2. % Increased Damage
  3. % Increased Area Damage
  4. % Increased Cast Speed
  5. % Increased Spell Damage

Abyssal Jewel Affix Priority

  1. # to Energy Shield (at least 30)
  2. Adds # to # Fire Damage to Spells while holding a Shield
  3. Adds # to # Fire Damage to Spells
  4. % increased Cast Speed if you’ve dealt a Critical Strike Recently

Leveling

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

You can start using Flame Surge Flame Surge as soon as level 12, the character is not hard to level at all.

Leveling Trees

This is what your passive skill tree should look like before you transition to Critical Strikes and Chaos Inoculation.

Useful Leveling Unique Items

As you begin a new character, there are few unique items that can boost your power exponentially. Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your leveling that much more efficient. Goldrim Goldrim provides a lot of elemental resistances, this will let you worry less about gearing when approaching certain Act encounters. Lifesprig Lifesprig and Axiom Perpetuum Axiom Perpetuum will fill your damage needs early on.

If you are a new player (or if this is your first character for the league), then note that obtaining these items will be very difficult, if not impossible. They are rare drops, which you can otherwise only acquire if you have saved up currency, so do not focus on them too much, and instead simply look for items that match the affix priorities listed in the gearing section above.

Gem Progression

Using Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa will allow you to have 6-Link gem setups early on, which is why we show such examples below. If you cannot get Tabula Rasa (or another item with a 6-Link), then simply prioritize the first gems in each link provided below.

In order to acquire gems that are not available to your class as a quest reward, simply ask a friend to buy them off vendors for you, or buy them yourself from Sioasa in The Library in Act III Library.

From level 1, you should use the following link in Lifesprig Lifesprig.

  1. Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support

At level 10, you should add Flame Dash Flame Dash for additional mobility and Clarity Clarity in order to improve your Mana situation.

At level 12, you should replace Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse with the following Flame Surge Flame Surge.

  1. Flame Surge Flame Surge
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support

At level 16, you should setup the following Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction in order to inflict Exposure upon enemies (-25% resistance to certain Element) and Ignite enemies via Combustion Support Combustion Support, reducing their Fire resistance even further and increasing your Flame Surge damage potential.

  1. Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction
  2. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support
  3. Combustion Support Combustion Support

By level 18, your Flame Surge Flame Surge should look like this.

  1. Flame Surge Flame Surge
  2. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  3. Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support
  4. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  5. Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support

At level 24, you can add Discipline Discipline in order to level up the gem or even activate it if you are comfortable with having low amount of unreserved Mana.

Once you are ready to transition into Critical Strikes (which can be done easily by picking some Critical nodes early on and dual wield Axiom Perpetuum Axiom Perpetuums) you should use the following Flame Surge Flame Surge link.

  1. Flame Surge Flame Surge
  2. Spell Echo Support Spell Echo Support
  3. Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support
  4. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  5. Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
  6. Increased Area of Effect Support Increased Area of Effect Support

FAQ

What map mods are impossible for the build to do?

You will one-shot yourself to Elemental Reflect. No Regeneration maps are also impossible/near impossible to do.

Does the build have enough damage for endgame encounters?

The build destroys endgame encounters when properly geared. It excels at dealing high amounts of single target damage.

Conclusion

The Flame Surge Hierophant specializes in dealing high amounts of Critical Fire damage by self-casting the Flame Surge Flame Surge skill. Damage is heavily augmented by Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction‘s utility. The build also utilizes a very large Mana pool, which is also gained as extra Energy Shield. The character requires an active playstyle.

Changelog
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