Due to the latest balancing changes, we do not recommend playing this build anymore, as it does not meet the high standards we apply to our guides in terms of fun and performance. We are leaving it up as a reference and it might be revived in a later patch.
This Forbidden Rite Totem Hierophant build guide focuses on keeping the budget down so it’s easy to league start with and perform well for the higher end-game. There are multiple crucial details that needs to be taken in to consideration when playing a totem build which I will cover in this guide!
Besides being a great league starter build there are numerous routes one can take for higher budget styles ranging from super tanky styles to mega glass-cannon styles. This guide will focus on the low budget approach and there’s a PoB to show how I would approach it for high budget if that’s something you’d like to check out.
Below you can see the build in action from my YouTube guide. Do note that the video might be outdated in terms of information, and you should always look at this guide to make sure you have the updated version.
In this section I will outline the pros, cons, & the general playstyle. This will allow you to determine if the build is for you or not!
+ DAMAGE! – This build packs an insane amount of damage without requiring to kill your currency tab.
+ League Starter – The mandatory unique items are VERY common and therefor VERY cheap!
+ Bosser – This build excels on bossing due to the nature of the ability.
+ Unique Play Style – Since the damage comes from placing a totem that then has to cast the spell it brings out a unique play-style in combination with how we approach our Wither totems on top of the Forbidden Rite totems.
– Squishy – On low budget there are very few things we can do to avoid the build from feeling squishy, higher budget investments can completely remove this feeling at the cost of damage.
– Delayed Proxy damage sequence – The build will cast totems which then will cast the Forbidden Rite spell, then projectiles from the totems will have a minor travel-time before hitting enemies which means it’s played with a delayed damage sequence, this forces your play-style outside of bosses to adapt to not rush in to packs of enemies.
– Chaos dmg – Since the damage we are dealing is 100% chaos we don’t get any cheap options to remove enemy corpses which means enemy porcupines will cause their explosions on death shooting out spikes, it is crucial to keep this in mind to avoid dying if you’re standing in the middle of such a pack of monsters!
Make sure you cast a totem or 2 in front of you on the harder rolled maps as you can easily get overrun if you don’t have any totems out for damage and find yourself forced to run away from a pack chasing you. Outside of this downside the build clears packs very effectively, what brings the clear speed down is the delayed proxy sequence of casting a totem that then will cast the spell on top of the projectile travel time before it hits the enemies. Having an “Enduring” Eternal Mana Flask helps sustain the Mind over Matter defensive layer which also means having mana modifiers on your gear is more than wanted.
DAMAGE SCALING AND DEFENSIVE LAYERS
The damage from spell based builds is normally scaled best by ramping up the level of the ability itself, this is NOT true for Forbidden Rite, instead we want to ramp up the HP of our Totems as it will scale the base damage the spell will do which we are increasing with both spell dmg, chaos damage as well as critical strikes & critical strike multiplier modifiers on both the passive skill-tree, gear & support gems.
Defensively the build is utilizing Mind over Matter all the way to 40% effect, this is easily calculated with basic algebra (4/6 = 0.66667) which essentially mean that as long as you have 66.67% of your life as unreserved mana you can multiply your life with 1.6667 to see how much life you actually have. This is why mana modifiers are more than wanted on gear as well as from the skill-tree!
PoB, PASSIVE SKILL TREE & GEM LINKS
The PoB community fork created by Localidentity is the only version being kept up to date, so make sure you have the correct version: PoB Community Fork.
Here is the Forbidden Rite Hierophant Low Budget PoB
You can find more information this, as well as about all of the build’s gem links, on our dedicated page.
A lot of the end-game gear can easily be crafted, to learn how to craft as well as learn how to craft specific items check out my crafting guides here.
You can read more details about our gearing recommendations on the dedicated page, but for now you can see a summarized version below.
|Item Slot||Item Name||Rarity|
|Head||Life & Mana then Res/Attributes as needed||Rare|
|Amulet||Life & Mana then Res/Attributes as needed||Rare|
|Gloves||Life & Mana then Res/Attributes as needed||Rare|
|Belt||Life & Mana then Res/Attributes as needed||Rare|
|Rings||1x Rare ring with high life & res/attributes as needed + 1x Kikazaru||Rare/Unique|
|Weapon||Spell, Chaos dmg with cast speed and crit/crit multi modifiers||Rare|
|Shield||Life & Mana preferably a shaper base with +1 to maximum summoned totem count||Rare|
ASCENDANCY, BANDIT & PANTHEON RECOMMENDATIONS
You can read about the recommended Ascendancy, Bandit choice, and Pantheon Power recommendations for this build on our dedicated page.
The current meta of leveling through the Campaign Acts 1-10 is to simply use very specific spells. However, this guide is not designed to guide you to finish Kitava in 2 hours; it is a build guide. With that said, the following suggestions for leveling make sure you don’t have to use a ton of Orb of Regret to change your build when you reach maps. Luckily we are able to switch rather early in the campaign to level with actual totems which helps avoid wasting currency on being forced to re-spec a ton of nodes on the tree for a smooth leveling experience.
BEFORE YOU GO TOTEMS
Since we are not going to switch to totems until Act 5 or if you prefer at level 49 using a Soul Mantle we need to run a different set-up prior to that. So the initial starting spells I would suggest to level with up to level 12 are the following:
- Freezing Pulse for clearing
- Frost Bomb for clearing when you get it instead of the Freezing Pulse
- Holy Flame Totem This will help keep enemies of you and deal some extra damage besides your other spells
At level 12, you will be able to enable Storm Brand and later on you will be able to purchase Brand Recall, which will be very helpful as you are leveling through the early acts. Do note that you get some re-spec points from just doing the mandatory quests through the acts; with this in mind you can deviate slightly from the leveling trees and pick up some extra spell/elemental or Lightning damage early on to do more damage if you feel safe enough. The Brand Recall can be in any blue socket in your gear without any links.
This works very well with Orb of Storms for extra damage output.
In Act 2, you can pick up some better support gems for your damage output such as:
Either one of these or both if you have a 4-Link:
Since the plan is to use these abilities till act 3 level 28, we would want to run some Herald skills available to use during Act 2 after Chamber of Sins (level 16):
In Act 3 we are able to also add Herald of Ash as it will scale our new set of skills that we’ll use from level 28 all the way till you go totems:
- Armageddon Brand
- Combustion Support
- Added Cold Damage Support or Added Lightning Damage Support or even Cruelty Support depending on your colors if you do have a 4-Link for this, even Faster Casting Support would work well here.
If you’re wearing a Tabula Rasa or simply don’t have the correct color set-up, these are the remaining support gems we want to use:
Quick side-note on Cremation is that it requires a corpse to be used which is why you’ll need a Desecrate somewhere on your gear as well.
We use these skills till we reach Act 5, in this act we are able to get a threshold jewel as a quest reward in which case you can get a free First Snow, this allows you to change your passive skill-tree to take away Runebinder & instead spec in to Ancestral Bond it is highly recommended to do your first ascendancy node via the labyrinth before considering this switch.
- Spell Totem Support
- Freezing Pulse
- Faster Casting Support
- Added Cold Damage Support / Added Lightning Damage Support / Cruelty Support depending on your access to colors.
The reason we don’t use Elemental Focus here is to keep the chance to freeze enemies and we don’t want Controlled Destruction here either as we want to make sure we keep being able to have the buff from Elemental Overload.
This will be the leveling approach we use till we switch to Forbidden Rite which I’d recommend doing after being able to purchase a Soul Mantle.
For more general leveling advice, we recommend the following guides.
- 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.
To guarantee that my guides are tools you can utilize to enhance your experience in Path of Exile, all you need to do is post your question in the comments and I will personally attend to them as soon as possible.
As much as I love making build guides, it is very crucial in a game like Path of Exile that you play the game the way you enjoy playing it. With that said, if you’ve made any tweaks to the build compared to what I’m showing in this guide I would love if you’d posted it in the comments! It’s an effective way to show other approaches and it helps me grow as a build guide creator!
I hope you found the build guide useful and I wish you all many Exalted Orb drops!