This build guide is split over multiple pages, both to prevent it from getting too long, as well as to help you better find the information you are looking for. In addition to the current page, which presents general information about the build and also contains a Leveling and FAQ section, we have the following pages:
The Flame Surge Hierophant is a Chaos Inoculation self-caster that deals tons of Fire damage. 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. 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.
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. For other item slots you should look for good Energy Shield bases that also provide Mana if possible.
Pros & Cons
+ Hardcore viable
+ Great single target
+ Fun build concept, requires active playstyle
- Mediocre clear speed compared to top-tier clearing builds
- Bad physical damage mitigation
- Dies to Elemental Reflect
Offensively, you should get relatively close to enemies and obliterate them with few casts of Flame Surge. 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, which will improve your Flame Surge damage output significantly.
This is what the endgame passive skill tree looks like.
For more information, be sure to check out the Passive Skill Tree page.
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.
We go over all of the gem links this build uses in the end-game on our Gem Link page.
Gear Summary / TL;DR
These items provide a good balance between offense and defense and are enough to deal with the endgame, although there is definitely a room for improvement. Please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels and Flasks page in its entirety.
|Item Slot||Item Name|
|Amulet||Eye of Chayula|
|Chest||Cloak of Defiance|
|Weapon||Rare Rune Dagger|
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.
You can start using Flame Surge as soon as level 12, the character is not hard to level at all.
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 allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your leveling that much more efficient. Goldrim provides a lot of elemental resistances, this will let you worry less about gearing when approaching certain Act encounters. Lifesprig and 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.
Using 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.
At level 16, you should setup the following Wave of Conviction in order to inflict Exposure upon enemies (-25% resistance to certain Element) and Ignite enemies via Combustion Support, reducing their Fire resistance even further and increasing your Flame Surge damage potential.
By level 18, your Flame Surge should look like this.
- Flame Surge
- Controlled Destruction Support
- Concentrated Effect Support
- Onslaught Support
- Arcane Surge Support
At level 24, you can add 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 Perpetuums) you should use the following Flame Surge link.
- Flame Surge
- Spell Echo Support
- Increased Critical Strikes Support
- Controlled Destruction Support
- Faster Casting Support
- Increased Area of Effect Support
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.
The Flame Surge Hierophant specializes in dealing high amounts of Critical Fire damage by self-casting the Flame Surge skill. Damage is heavily augmented by 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.