Shockwave Totem Hierophant Build Guide (PoE Blight 3.8)

Vvckd

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Guide Format

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:

Introduction

Shockwave Totem Shockwave Totem has been a decent skill for long time, but the great buff to base damage that came in patch 3.6 really made it viable. This totem deals physical damage in a nova; scaling physical spell damage with passive nodes, support gems, and items proves to be easy and efficient.

When it comes to playing spell-based totem builds, Hierophant is one of the best ascendancy class choice because of all the totem perks. This ascendancy also allows for a very easy transition into Chaos Inoculation or Low-Life via the Sanctuary of Thought ascendancy node.

When it comes to late game, the build has great damage potential, along with a respectable effective life pool. Combining a decent life/energy shield pool with a great amount of mana and Mind over Matter can result in over 9k effective life, easily.

Build Summary

The Shockwave Totem Shockwave Totem Hierophant is very budget-friendly build that can be played as a league-starter. Early on you would want to play as a life-based character with Mind over Matter. A simple Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa can easily carry you all the way up to red maps. Once you have a decent amount of currency, you can transition into low-life by using Shavronne's Wrappings Shavronne's Wrappings; this transition will boost your damage exponentially.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Budget friendly early on
+ Great clear speed while also maintaining respectable single target damage

Cons

- Playing a low-life totem build requires good positioning and different playstyle compared to other builds

Playstyle

Offensively, a single cast of totems will be enough to kill a pack of monsters. When fighting bosses, you have the freedom to move around and dodge fatal game mechanics while your totems take down the target.

Defensively, keeping your distance is the most important thing you should do. Blocking projectiles and other kinds of incoming damage will easily prevent you from taking unnecessary damage. Keeping up a good amount of placed totems will provide a good amount of life and mana regeneration via the Ritual of Awakening ascendancy node; this is a good source of sustain.

For Playstyle, placing totems in the center of a monster pack would be ideal when clearing. You should use Flame Dash Flame Dash to move around quickly and keep up the Arcane Surge buff. Rallying Cry Rallying Cry provides additional damage and mana regeneration.

Passive tree

Due to the nature of the build we will provide two different endgame passive skill trees.

This is the life-based Mind over Matter passive skill tree.

This is the low-life Mind over Matter passive skill tree.

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.

Gems

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.

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head Rare Helmet
Amulet Presence of Chayula Presence of Chayula
Chest Shavronne's Wrappings Shavronne's Wrappings
Gloves Rare Gloves
Boots Steppan Eard Steppan Eard
Belt Rare Stygian Vise Stygian Vise
Rings Rare Rings
Weapon Rare Rune Dagger
Shield Rare Shield

Leveling

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

Shockwave Totem Shockwave Totem is an amazing leveling skill, but it requires level 28. Until then we recommend using Storm Brand Storm Brand.

Leveling Trees

This is what your passive skill tree should look like early on. We rush to Ancestral Bond as soon as possible, which will allow us to start using Shockwave Totem Shockwave Totem at level 28 as main skill. Then we pick Mind over Matter, which acts as a life buffer.

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, which will let you worry less about gearing when approaching certain Act encounters.

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.

  1. Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support

At level 4, you can add Frost Bomb Frost Bomb for additional single target damage. War Banner War Banner can be picked for the Adrenaline buff it provides for a short duration when dropped.

At level 10, you should add Flame Dash Flame Dash for additional mobility; you should also add Clarity Clarity at this point.

At level 12, you should replace your Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse with Storm Brand Storm Brand.

  1. Storm Brand Storm Brand
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support

By level 18, your Storm Brand Storm Brand link should look like this.

  1. Storm Brand Storm Brand
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  4. Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support
  5. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  6. Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support

Finally, at level 28, you are ready to transition into your signature skill: Shockwave Totem Shockwave Totem. You should drop your Storm Brand Storm Brand and use the following Shockwave Totem link instead.

  1. Shockwave Totem Shockwave Totem
  2. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  3. Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support
  4. Physical to Lightning Support Physical to Lightning Support
  5. Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
  6. Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support

FAQ

When can I transition into Low Life?

This really depends on the currency you have. You can respec into Low Life with very little currency by just using Solaris Lorica Solaris Lorica, Eye of Chayula Eye of Chayula and an Essence of Insanity Helmet. You should be able to reach at least 5-6k Energy Shield with bad gear. It is better to farm up with the life-based version before you decide to do the transition though.

What map mods are impossible to do?

No regeneration maps are very annoying, as you will mostly have to rely on the base Energy Shield recharge and use a mana flask to refill your mana. Reflect mods will make your totems damage them selves, which is kind of annoying but it is also doable.

Conclusion

The Shockwave Totem Hierophant is a spell-based totem build which has great endgame potential. The buff to Shockwave Totem Shockwave Totem‘s damage make the skill viable for even the toughest encounters in Path of Exile.

Changelog
  •   

    Revisited and updated for Blight 3.8. The build received a buff via the changes to Hierophant.

  •   

    Revisited and updated for Legion 3.7.

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  1. Posts
    4

    Fairly new to the game so forgive me if this seems obvious… but how come the low life version goes for the Spiritual Aid and Righteous Army nodes?

    I was under the impression that Minion Damage didn’t apply to Totems.

    Am I missing something?

  2. Posts
    4

    Another question, while I’m at it… Is there any reason this build can’t swop out for another totem? Like Holy Flame?

  3. Vvckd

    Moderator

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    643

    On 04/07/2019 at 2:04 PM, nomadD79 said

    Fairly new to the game so forgive me if this seems obvious… but how come the low life version goes for the Spiritual Aid and Righteous Army nodes?

    I was under the impression that Minion Damage didn’t apply to Totems.

    Am I missing something?

    Hey, there Spiritual Aid allows Minion Damage to apply to any type of damage you or your Totems/Traps/Mines etc. are dealing. Minion damage nodes are also more point-efficient in general so if you are near Spiritual Aid it is never a bad idea to pick it up in order to augment your damage.

  4. Vvckd

    Moderator

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    643

    On 04/07/2019 at 2:10 PM, nomadD79 said

    Another question, while I’m at it… Is there any reason this build can’t swop out for another totem? Like Holy Flame?

    You can do that, although if you want to try out Holy Flame Totem Holy Flame Totem I’d recommend checking out this guide.

  5. Posts
    3

    Hey, first – this build looks really great.
    I wanted to play SWT again for quite some time now, and as I’ve never had a LL build I guessed I try that finally.

    Just one question: I usually start most of my builds with all the skills I’ll later use, and it seems there is still a 4-link free to use.
    What should I put there? CWDT + Immortal Call + Vortex + Inc. Duration works fine on my Champion, but I don’t know if it’s worth without Endurance Charges.

    Thanks in advance!

  6. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    643

    On 05/07/2019 at 7:08 AM, GosuSan said

    Hey, first – this build looks really great.
    I wanted to play SWT again for quite some time now, and as I’ve never had a LL build I guessed I try that finally.

    Just one question: I usually start most of my builds with all the skills I’ll later use, and it seems there is still a 4-link free to use.
    What should I put there? CWDT + Immortal Call + Vortex + Inc. Duration works fine on my Champion, but I don’t know if it’s worth without Endurance Charges.

    Thanks in advance!

    Hey, you can use whatever gems you want in the free sockets, I would recommend Steelskin Steelskin linked with Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support. You can also simply level gems in these sockets.

  7. Posts
    3

    On 06/07/2019 at 4:20 AM, Vvckd said

    Hey, you can use whatever gems you want in the free sockets, I would recommend Steelskin Steelskin linked with Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support. You can also simply level gems in these sockets.

    Thanks! I level two Inc. AoE now, which seemed like a good idea.

    Another quick question. Why don’t we take the “Pain Attunement” Keystone in the low-life variant? Does it not work with Totems? It should, right? Since SWT is a Spell, that should be quite a Damage Boost, no?

  8. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    643

    On 08/07/2019 at 5:56 AM, GosuSan said

    On 06/07/2019 at 4:20 AM, Vvckd said

    Hey, you can use whatever gems you want in the free sockets, I would recommend Steelskin Steelskin linked with Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support. You can also simply level gems in these sockets.

    Thanks! I level two Inc. AoE now, which seemed like a good idea.

    Another quick question. Why don’t we take the “Pain Attunement” Keystone in the low-life variant? Does it not work with Totems? It should, right? Since SWT is a Spell, that should be quite a Damage Boost, no?

    We do, that is the main reason for going Low Life in first place.

  9. Posts
    3

    On 08/07/2019 at 7:45 AM, Vvckd said

    We do, that is the main reason for going Low Life in first place.

    Oh damn, I see it now. I probably misclicked in PoB, sorry for the inconvenience :)

  10. Posts
    4

    So I’m in the process of trying this with some variations.

    I found the shockwave totems work really well… but require that they are positioned just right. And having both the increased and decreased AoE versions means either carrying both sets of 6 links (I used a 6 link staff for the 2nd set) or stop-starting to switch out the gems.

    So I started off taking the concentrated area version for bosses and a holy flame totem for clearing packs. Eventually I realised I was using only the flame totem and so I dropped the shockwave.

    The only Tree change I made was to drop some of the AoE nodes – Righteous Decree, Lethal Assault, Blast Radius – and pick up some fire damage nodes – Divine Judgement and [somehow] Heart of Flame.

    Oh… and also instead of Orb of Storms for the Curse on Hit set up, I find Volatile Dead to be a great option. Just stand over a pile of corpses and trigger the skill to produce monster seeking orbs that apply curses on contact. No aiming required.

    Edited by nomadD79 on July 8th, 2019

  11. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    643

    On 08/07/2019 at 10:24 AM, GosuSan said

    On 08/07/2019 at 7:45 AM, Vvckd said

    We do, that is the main reason for going Low Life in first place.

    Oh damn, I see it now. I probably misclicked in PoB, sorry for the inconvenience :)

    No worries!

  12. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    643

    On 08/07/2019 at 4:03 PM, nomadD79 said

    So I’m in the process of trying this with some variations.

    I found the shockwave totems work really well… but require that they are positioned just right. And having both the increased and decreased AoE versions means either carrying both sets of 6 links (I used a 6 link staff for the 2nd set) or stop-starting to switch out the gems.

    So I started off taking the concentrated area version for bosses and a holy flame totem for clearing packs. Eventually I realised I was using only the flame totem and so I dropped the shockwave.

    The only Tree change I made was to drop some of the AoE nodes – Righteous Decree, Lethal Assault, Blast Radius – and pick up some fire damage nodes – Divine Judgement and [somehow] Heart of Flame.

    Oh… and also instead of Orb of Storms for the Curse on Hit set up, I find Volatile Dead to be a great option. Just stand over a pile of corpses and trigger the skill to produce monster seeking orbs that apply curses on contact. No aiming required.

    Interesting, glad you are experimenting.

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